Coffee Chat With Ally Shields

PictureCheck out my January 30 Coffee Chat with urban fantasy writer Ally Shields. https://allyshields.com/blog.html

I enjoyed answering her thought-provoking questions about my writing journey and about Primary Source, the soon-to-be-released fifth book in my Aimee Machado Mystery Series.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/primary-source-sharon-st-george/1129752844?ean=9781603815833

IED HAS TWO MEANINGS – BOTH ARE EXPLOSIVE

You might think you know what an IED is. I thought I did, but I was only half right. Most of us who have followed the various military conflicts in the Middle East are familiar with the term. It’s an abbreviation for a deadly roadside weapon called an Improvised Explosive Device.

There is another IED, however, which is often described as a “temper tantrum,”  or “flying off the handle,” but it is more than that. It is a psychological diagnosis found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5 for short), and it’s called Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Coincidentally, it can also be set off on a roadside, as seen in cases of road rage. This diagnosis is another fact I’ve learned by writing fiction.

In Breach of Ethics, book three of my Aimee Machado Mystery series, an angry outburst occurs in a most unlikely setting—a hospital conference room during a meeting of the Ethics Committee. Until I wrote the scene, I had never heard of this other IED. Taking on the persona of my protagonist, a hospital-based health sciences librarian, I decided to research impulsive rage, and in doing so, I discovered Intermittent Explosive Disorder.

In some cases, as in extreme road rage incidents, this lesser-known IED does turn deadly. As defined by the Mayo Clinic, “Intermittent Explosive Disorder involves repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts . . . grossly out of proportion to the situation. Road rage, domestic abuse, throwing or breaking objects, or other temper tantrums may be signs of intermittent explosive disorder.” Simply put, this explosive disorder brings out the beast in some of us in a terrifying manner.

Once diagnosed, treatment might include a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medications, including antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antianxiety and mood regulators.

For more detailed information on diagnosis and treatment of this disorder, visit the sites shown below.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/intermittent-explosive-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20373921
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/intermittent-explosive-disorder
https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/treating-intermittent-explosive-disorder
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17786-intermittent-explosive-disorder

The Aimee Machado Mystery series, published by Camel Press and Harlequin Worldwide Mysteries, is available in print and e-Book format from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and by request from your local bookstore. Visit again soon to learn more facts I’ve learned by writing fiction. Primary Source, book 5 in the series, is due for release in mid-February.

(Bear photo by Andre Tan on Unsplash)

 

Music Makes Mystery Memorable

As a very small child, I recall my mother playing “The Third Man Theme” on her accordion. It was a compelling tune that evoked vivid memories for her of the 1949 suspense film, The Third Man. If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend that you add it to your film list. Visit the following link for more about The Third Man.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Man

I suspect Mom’s fondness for the movie and the tune stemmed from her belief that Joseph Cotton, the handsome leading man, bore a remblance to my father.

The movie version of the “The Third Man Theme” was played on the zither. The YouTube version at the link below captures its essence and provides some still clips from the film, which the British Film Institute voted the greatest British film of all time. Listen for a bit and decide whether this theme might linger in your mind long after seeing the film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2N5RXvzhrs

With this memory in mind, I began to think of the music I chose for my novels when writing the Aimee Machado Mysteries. As the series grew, each book lent itself to a different genre. So far, these have included country, blues, classical piano, and in Spine Damage, the most recently released book, fado. In the U.S., fado is likely the least known of these musical genres, but in the Azores Islands and in Portugal, it is part of the fabric of the country. Fado became my choice of music genre for Spine Damage, because the story spans the globe from rural Northern California to the Azores Islands of Faial and Pico in the nine-island Atlantic archipelago.

In this fourth book in the series, the solution to the mystery is advanced by the discovery of links between Ana Moura, a real-life Portuguese female vocalist who is possibly the most famous fado singer in the world, and two iconic American musicians: Prince and Mick Jagger. The links between these musical artists are real and easily researched.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42p0_L_ycFk

Here is a sample of Moura’s artistry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ia1ECfWJCM

Visit these links for more about Ana Moura and fado music.

https://www.newyorklatinculture.com/ana-moura-fado-town-hall

https://www.visitportugal.com/en/node/73868

Books in the hospital-based Aimee Machado Mysteries are published by Camel Press (an imprint of Epicenter Press) and are available for purchase in print and eBook format from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and from your local bookstore.

http://camelpress.com

Want to Get Away with It? Commit Your Crime in International Waters

Welcome to another fact I’ve learned by writing fiction.

This concerns what happens when a beautiful fifteen-year-old girl disappears after attending a yacht  party in the Portuguese Azores Islands. In Spine Damage, book four of the Aimee Machado Mystery series, family connections motivate Aimee to find the missing Azorean girl, but research into crime on the high seas reveals a stark reality. When crimes are committed in international waters, the victims often have no recourse.

A few years ago, Somalian pirates were making international headlines that resulted in Tom Hanks being cast to portray the captain of the hijacked Maersk Alabama—the case on which the movie Captain Phillips was based.

But piracy is just one example of crimes on the high seas. The list is long, and the highly diverse range of criminal activities are often underreported. It includes theft, rape and murder aboard cruise lines and private sailing vessels; drug smuggling and human trafficking; and illegal poaching of marine wildlife. And even today, unsuspecting citizens of poor countries are being shanghaied onto vessels where they’re forced to work under brutal conditions. Those who complain are likely to disappear.

What legal safeguards are in place to protect victims against these crimes?

www.britannica.com states in part:

“. . . maritime countries essentially control their territorial waters from the shore out to a distance of 12 miles . . . Within this zone, all laws of that country apply. With respect to international crimes [beyond the 12-mile limit] . . . any country or international organization can theoretically claim authority over the matter using the concept of universal jurisdiction . . . and try the assailants in their own national (or international) courts. Since the laws of individual countries and international courts are not recognized by all countries, however, there is often no fully accepted referee. Government officials in one country might choose not to recognize the legal authority of another.”

Back to our story . . .

Aimee is distressed by what she learns about crime in international waters, so she and her gang of crime-solvers travel from Timbergate, California to the mid-Atlantic Azores Islands and back seeking clues. Meanwhile, the missing teen’s fate remains unknown. Relentless pursuit of the truth finally uncovers the crime, but is it too little, too late?

For more information on crime in international waters, visit these sites:

https://www.britannica.com/story/are-there-laws-on-the-high-seas

http://mentalfloss.com/article/51708/are-high-seas-criminal-paradise

https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/07/23/sailing-beyond-the-rule-of-law/fight-high-seas-crime-with-accountability-and-commitment-to-prosecute

https://crimereads.com/crime-on-the-high-seas/

Visit www.sharonstgeorge.com again soon for another fact I’ve learned while writing fiction. 

Books in the hospital-based Aimee Machado Mysteries are published by Camel Press (an imprint of Epicenter Press) and are available for purchase in print and eBook format from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and from your local bookstore.

http://camelpress.com

RELEASE DUE FEBRUARY 2019

BOOK FIVE IN THE AIMEE MACHADO MYSTERY SERIES

A young doctor, new to the medical staff of Timbergate Medical Center and eager to make a name for himself, is appointed chairman of Timbergate Medical Center’s Ethics Committee. He comes to Aimee with an urgent request: call the committee together for an emergency meeting. He refuses to state his agenda topic, insisting it’s too sensitive to reveal outside the legal protection of a medical staff committee.

Late that night, the doctor suffers a catastrophic fall down an unlit hospital stairwell, leaving him unable to communicate. The timing troubles Aimee, who suspects foul play as clues from multiple sources begin to add up. When she discovers an outrageous black market scheme that spans the U.S. and beyond, her quest to save innocent lives puts her in mortal danger.

Visit again for further information on pre-ordering this new adventure in the Aimee Machado Mystery Series published by Camel Press. www.camelpress.com