Defending True Crime

I’ve loved true crime since I was a little girl. I can’t imagine I’m the only one who got hooked watching Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack. My great-grandma and I used to watch it together. I still think of her any time I hear that theme song.

Now True Crime is everywhere. Documentaries, tv shows, podcasts. I even co-host a true-crime podcast.

Recently I’ve found a reason for guilt over my enjoyment, though. The latest Scream movie pointed out that there’s a darker side to these stories. These are real stories. People died. Families were left shattered. The very last thing I’d ever want to do is belittle someone’s loss. The second to last thing I’d want to do is make a killer into a celebrity.

It’s not like mentally ill people need another excuse to kill innocent people. 

Are we just encouraging killers to think of themselves as rock stars? Are we dehumanizing victims for the sake of entertainment?

I’ve spent some time thinking about this. This world’s in a bad enough place right now, I don’t need to make things worse with some insensitive little tale.

And after some consideration, I don’t think True Crime does much harm. Dare I even say it might do some good? If, of course, it’s done right.

The good true crime podcasters don’t glorify the killers

On my podcast, Off The Bone, we don’t glorify killers. We tend to mock them. Most serial killers, by the way, wet the bed way longer than anyone else.

The killer is never the good guy, and the victim is never the punchline. To talk about True Crime in any other way is disrespectful and dangerous. 

We say their names

So many True Crime stories are unsolved. That’s part of the fascination, at least for me. We don’t know who the Somerton Man was, so we can’t let his family know what happened to him. Same for the Lady of The Dunes (Though Stephen King’s son might have helped solve that one.)

We’re all going to die someday. And most of us hope to be remembered by our loved ones. We want friends and family to share stories about us. And we don’t want a bunch of question marks hanging over our coffins. 

When we talk about unsolved murders, there’s a chance that someone might recognize the victim. That maybe, by saying their names, someone who loves them might hear. 

And even if they don’t, we remember them. 

I remember Bella in the witch elm.

I remember the Lady of The Dunes.

I remember the Somerton Man.

And I’ll be you do too.

If you have any information regarding this case.

Remember how each episode of Unsolved Mysteries ended? 

“If you have any information regarding this case, please call us.”

Well, people did call them. And because of that show, at least 260 cold cases were solved. 

Crowdsourcing mysteries gets results. And in the age of the internet, we’re even better at it. 

Because of consistent attention, the Keddie Cabin murder case was reopened. And as I mentioned earlier, Owen King might have helped solve the Lady of The Dunes mystery. He recognized an extra from Jaws who just might be her. 

True Crime done badly isn’t moral. But True Crime done well might actually solve crimes. And even if you’re not one of those who helps solve a cold case, you still enjoyed a damn good story.

And that’s worth something. I hope that when I go, I leave a good story behind.

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Smashwords/ Amazon

We need to talk about abortion

I’m coming to you with an extra post this morning, and I’m sure you can imagine what the topic’s going to be. 

That’s right, I’m discussing the death of Roe V. Wade. 

I didn’t post anything about it over the weekend because honestly, I was just in a down place. I was angry. I’m still angry. I was scared. I’m still scared.

I’m not scared because I think I might have an unwanted pregnancy. I’m scared because a part of my body, that God gave to me, doesn’t belong to me anymore. 

Politicians get to vote on whether or not I get to make a medical decision for myself. And don’t get it twisted, an abortion is a medical decision. 

It’s also a financial decision, a family decision. A personal decision. It’s not, under any circumstances, a community decision. 

I have two messages today. The first is for anyone who wanted Roe V. Wade to be overturned. 

Most of you know that I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Most of you also know that I’m now a Unitarian Universalist. But many lessons from my LDS upbringing have stuck with me. For instance, young LDS members are taught that when you chose the first step of a road, you also chose the last.

If you chose to force a person to have a baby when they don’t want to, you’re choosing to let people die unnecessarily in childbirth. You’re choosing to force people to bring children into this world that they are unable or unwilling to care for. You’re choosing to put unwanted babies into an already bloated adoption and foster care system. You’re choosing to increase child poverty. You’re choosing to lower women’s ability to attend college. You’re choosing to lower women’s ability to join the workforce. 

But, you might say, they chose to have sex.

So what? So because they made one decision about their bodies, they don’t get to make any more? It is absolutely none of your business. Your life will not be affected by anyone else having an abortion. 

Your life might be affected by someone’s lack of ability to get an abortion.

If you, like me, support abortion rights, here’s what I have to say to you. The fight is not over yet. We can still vote, we can still protest. 

We can still donate to protect local clinics. 

We can, and absolutely should, start getting involved in our local politics right now. Because at least for now, your right to make medical decisions about your body rests in the hands of your local representatives. Get to know who they are, and get involved. 

I’m in Pennsylvania. For now, my rights are safe. But it’s really scary to think that my ability to make medical decisions for myself can be voted on. 

On a personal note, I’m 36 years old. If I were to get pregnant, I’m at a higher risk of complications just because of my age. 36 isn’t old, but it’s old enough to start thinking about things like this. If I were to get pregnant, I would be having some serious discussions with my doctor about any risks involved. I’d be talking with the darling husband, about how a baby would affect us. Whether I could safely carry. 

Those would be hard, heavy talks. And they would be between me, my husband, and my doctor. 

And absolutely not one other person. This time last week, every person in America could say that. Today, maybe half of us can. 

Vote.

Protest.

Speak up.

Donate.

It’s Quiet Apocalypse Launch Day!

Happy Friday the 13th, everybody.

And happy launch day. Quiet Apocalypse has now made its way into the world. If you haven’t yet, you can get your very own virtual copy on Amazon or Smashwords.

I’ll be documenting my whole day on Instagram if you want to follow along on my launch day adventures.

The end of the world began with a winter storm.

Sadie’s quiet life is interrupted when a tree crushes the roof of her attic apartment. She’s forced to move to a smaller apartment in the building. Then, her aunt guilts her into clearing an ouija board of a particularly irritating spirit.

But it wasn’t just the roof that was broken by the tree. There was something trapped within the building, waiting. Waiting to wake and bring about the end of the world.

Not with screams, but with silence.

Some early reviews for Quiet Apocalypse

Here’s some early reviews from some amazing people for Quiet Apocalypse.

Nicole C. Luttrell’s *A Quiet Apocalypse *is a haunting tale about the horrors that lurk within what we think are our safest spaces. Her visceral imagery, witty dialogue and eloquent prose bring the story to life. We are sucked into a world we won’t, can’t look away from. It is a terrifying, exciting story that will haunt you and leave you yearning for more.

-Court Court

Nicole Luttrell’s story of a witch, a house, and a storm carries the primal nature, fury, and bone chilling fear of circumstances beyond the control of humanity and the horrific depths we may all very well succumb to when confronted by them.

-David Davis

From the very first page, “Quiet Apocalypse” weaves a subtly sinister spell, drawing the reader into its many-layered mystery. Fans of atmospheric horror will enjoy the way the tension builds until all hell breaks loose, and the real terror begins.

Kristen Cleaves

You can preorder Quiet Apocalypse now on Amazon and Smashwords!

Sylvermoon Chronicles X is available now!

Hey, guys. Just jumping in here quick today to let you know that Sylvermoon Chronicles X is officially available.

If you’ve missed the last few installments, it’s an anthology series with some incredible authors, including yours truly. And this one’s a little sad, because it’s the final one.

Ten years is a massive amount of time, and I just can’t thank the editor, Madolyn Locke for committing herself to this.

Definitely check out Sylvermoon Chronicles issue X. It’s a really fun read from some amazing writers.

Preptober, Week One

Alright, it’s the first day of October. And this month is dedicated to exactly two things in my house. Celebrating Halloween as hard as possible, and getting ready for Nanowrimo. 

So this year I’m going to take you along for the ride with me, in a four-week course that will let you hit the ground running on November first. I’ve done Nanowrimo or Nanoedmo every year for the last eight years. And I never lose.

Why don’t I ever lose? Because I plan my life and my project in such a way that failure is not possible. 

If you’re with me, we’re starting today. This week, you have two tasks. 

1. Make your plan of action.

2. Get your people together.

Let’s break these down.

Make your plan of action

Especially if you’re new to the whole novel-writing thing, you need to make a plan for how this is going to happen. Because it’s sure as hell not going to happen by accident. Especially if you have other responsibilities. Like, you know, a life.

So you’ll want to ask yourself these questions. 

When am I going to write?

What projects do I need to wrap up before November to make space for this?

Are there any days I know right now I won’t be able to write? What days will I work ahead or catch up?

What are the other obligations that I still need to meet like work, school, finals, or home care?

What I’m saying is this. You are going to have excuses aplenty to not write. Get rid of those excuses by planning for them, not succumbing to them.

Find your people

This is broken down into two groups. Who are you writing with, and who is supporting your writing?

Do you have any friends, online or IRL who want to write with you? Nanowrimo is always better when you have other people participating with you. Start talking to your buddies now, and see who’s going to join you.

More important even than that, though, is your in-person support team.

Who’s going to help you out during November? My support team is my husband, who will help me out with the house and give me space. My best friend, who will be there for emotional support. And my group of friends, always ready for weird questions at random moments. 

Make a list of your support team. Ask them if they’re ready for that. Let them know what you’ll need of them. Do you need your mother-in-law to watch the kids an extra hour a week? Do you need your wife to make dinner on a night that would normally be yours?

You need time to prep. Your support system does too. And if you’ve got to do something extra to support your loved ones in return, best to know that early. 

So that’s it for this time. You’ve got a week for these two tasks. I’ll see you back here next week for a new assignment. 

Like this post? You can buy me a cup of coffee on Ko-fi.

Meet the AA Characters, Jim

Meet Jim

Played by Jim Phonix 

Jim’s everyone’s friend. He teaches the kids of the community, helps out at meetings. He’s quick to led an ear when needed, or pick someone up from the train station. And he’s happy to make friends with Josey. Maybe more than friends. 

A transplant himself, Jim is one of the only members of the community to move to Peach Springs as an adult. But he’s found himself a member of the community anyway. 

You can hear about Jim in the first season of AA, starting on September second. 

Meet The AA Characters, Rose

Meet Rose

Played by J.M. Brannyk

There’s something in Rose’s past that her family doesn’t know. That even her best friend Stevie doesn’t know. Whatever it is, it’s made her less than happy to find a human has found her way inside the community. In Rose’s eyes, there’s no way Josey’s there for good reasons. More likely she’s a spy for the men in grey, just waiting to take the community out one by one. And Rose has got no intentions of letting that just happen. 

Not if she can do anything about it.

You can hear about Rose in the first season of AA, starting on September second.

 

Meet The Characters from AA, Josey

Meet Josey-

Played by me.

When Josey moves to a new town, she thinks her life’s going to get better. Then her new job falls through. So she finds herself working two jobs to afford an overpriced apartment. But it’s the divorce papers sent from her ex that really sends her past demons back to haunt her. 

Josey needs to find a meeting.

What she finds is a community of aliens hiding in plain sight. 

You’ll be able to hear Josey’s story starting on September second on Haunted MTL.

Announcing a brand new scifi/horror podcast

As you might have noticed, we’re more than halfway through 2021. And I, gasp, haven’t launched a book yet. 

For those of you keeping track, I’ve launched a book every year for the past five years. Often, more than one. 

Well, I have some bad news and some good news, you guys. The bad news is, I’m not launching a book in 2021. 

The good news is, I’m launching a podcast instead. The even better news? It’s based on my most popular short story ever. 

You guys, Haunted MTL is launching a podcast that I wrote called AA on September second. 

Yeah, that’s happening. 

When Josey moves to a new town, she finds that she can’t escape her demons. She needs a meeting. But the one she finds isn’t the one she was looking for.

She discovers a community of aliens, hiding in plain sight. Josey is thankful to find a group of people who accept her, including a new roommate and a cute guy. 

But the community isn’t without its darkness. And they have their enemies. Josey soon finds herself caught in a war that she barely understands, but can’t help but join.

During this war, Josey learns that the alien community is hardly the only thing unexpected in her new home. She stumbles into one dark place after another, realizing that small towns hold more secrets than outsiders could ever imagine.

I originally published AA as a standalone short story with Solstice Publishing. And I’m pretty proud to say it had a good reception. I even had one delightful commenter on Amazon say they thought this would be a great tv series. I don’t know who this person is, but I will love them for the rest of my life. And yes, this did inspire this idea.

AA includes some amazing voice talent. I play a few characters, of course. But you’ll also hear the voice of my talented and amazing co-star of Off The Bone, J.M. Brannyk. 

Along with us, you’ll hear Jim Phonix, Ev, Jennifer Weigel, and Kal Scarlett. This is such an awesome group of voice actors that I was blessed to work with. They’re also great writers, artists, and critics who share amazing content every day on Haunted MTL.

AA is creepy fun. It’s about addiction. It’s about being new in a small town. It’s about the dark shadows in hometowns that we all know but don’t talk about. It’s about all of those things and more, and I think you’re going to love it.

Stay tuned for more info as we get closer to the release date. I can’t wait to introduce you all to the world of AA. 

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