Sunday, March 26, 2017

5 Steps to Profiling a Serial Killer by Carolyn Arnold - Guest Post

Today, I'm featuring mystery author Carolyn Arnold. I was first introduced to Carolyn when I began exploring cozy mysteries; however, she has a wide array of police procedural mystery novels, one of them is the Brandon Fisher FBI series, which is the main focus of this post.

Along with the synopsis, there is a guest post by Carolyn on the 5 Steps to Profiling a Serial Killer and a short interview.


All that remains are whispers of the past…
When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.
With no quick means of identifying the deceased, building a profile of this serial killer is more challenging than usual. How are these targets being selected? Why are their limbs being severed and their bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this person to murder?
The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: The killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

Five Steps to Profiling a Serial Killer


He’s five seven, in his thirties, walks with a limp, works in temporary placements, and is single. He targets women because he was abused by his single mother, who slept around with men while he was growing up.

If you’re a fan of serial-killer fiction, whether it be on TV or in books, you are probably left shaking your head sometimes when the FBI sees some crime scene photos and immediately has a profile of the killer. What are they, psychic?

As it turns out, profiling is actually a science, though not an exact one. In fact, many profiles prove to have been wrong once the unsub is caught. So why bother profiling at all? Well, even if some facts are off, profiling establishes a foundation from which investigators can begin their search for—and hopefully catch!—the killer.

So what do investigators consider when building a profile?

1. Investigators focus on the crime itself. What do the crime scene photos show? What are the autopsy findings? Are there any witnesses, and if so, what are they saying? What have police officers noted in their reports?

2. Investigators visit the crime scene. They use their six senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and intuition—and make a record of their reactions. They analyze where the body was found, whether the murder was committed in the same location that the body was found or the body was dumped. They question any and all aspects of the location and what it might tell them about the killer and/or the killer’s victim selection, aka victimology.

3. Investigators look for a signature or method of operation (MO). Don’t confuse these two terms, though, as they are not the same thing. Every crime has an MO, which is how the murder was carried out, but a signature is not present in all cases. A signature only exists when a killer chooses to leave behind a personal mark.

4. Investigators consider what kind of unsub might commit the crime at hand. For example, are they organized or disorganized? Are they a hunter or a sexual sadist? Is gender, age, or religion relevant? Is there is a geographical element to the crimes?

5. Investigators take a closer look at the victims. They factor in similarities and determine whether the victims are low-, medium-, or high-risk people. Can any of the victims be connected to one or more person or place? How were the victims approached? Is there evidence of resistance, or is it possible the victims knew their killer?

Sometimes the answers to all these questions can be harder to piece together than others. In my most recent novel, Remnants, Brandon Fisher and his FBI team struggle to build a profile on the killer they’re hunting, as the identities of the victims are unknown and aspects of the MO vary among the murders. But when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found—something they haven’t seen in any of the previous deaths—the case takes a dark turn that begins to provide them with some new leads.

As the story unfolds, the FBI is drawn deeper and deeper into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though, even if they don’t have all the facts yet: The killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

I invite you to read Remnants and profile alongside the FBI to stop a serial killer in Savannah, Georgia.

Interview with Carolyn Arnold

Have you ever been on a manhunt or at the scene where a dead body was found?
Carolyn Arnold: I took part in my local police department’s Citizen’s Academy. As part of this, I received an inside look at seventeen divisions over a ten-week period. As an added benefit, each student was afforded a ride-along. And mine… Well, I went on the perfect one for a crime writer.

My ride-along actually started out with a manhunt. I experienced the excitement of wanting to find the guy and found myself scrutinizing every male I spotted in the area just to make sure he wasn’t the one we were after. Unfortunately, the search moved to the downtown area from the eastern end of the city where the hunt had begun, and the sergeant signed off the investigation. By the end of my ride-along, about five hours later, the man still hadn’t been found.

After the sergeant left the investigation, he turned to me as he was driving and asked if I had ever seen a dead body. I told him I had at memorials and funerals and then asked why. I soon found out that our next stop involved one.

I figured I’d catch a glimpse of the deceased under a tarp or being wheeled away, but I got far more than that. I received a front-row seat to a death investigation. For hours, the sergeant and I were mere feet away from the body. I witnessed firsthand how it changed color over time, but I also found that I went into detective-mode. The forensic identification unit—essentially CSIs—was called in and arrived with collection kits. The team members gloved up, snapped photographs, took fingerprints from the deceased, and more.

The entire time that I was on scene, I noticed myself going into a detached state—the result of adrenaline. Later that evening, it began to sink in that I had spent hours with a dead body, and I was nauseated. As more time passed, I became weepy as it sank in that the deceased had been a husband, a father, a lover, a friend…a person. That night I dreamed about the man. It wasn’t a nightmare, but I was an officer trying to figure out what had happened to him.

I couldn’t imagine returning to the field the next day and having a similar experience or witnessing something even worse, like a violent murder scene or that of a fatal car accident.

What do members of law enforcement say about your books?
Carolyn Arnold: Many testimonials attest that I am pleasing readers in law enforcement. They love that my mysteries are accurate in that regard, and they view that alone as a sign of my respect for them.

Here are a few testimonials that I have received on Eleven (Brandon Fisher FBI series):

“I spent thirty-eight years with a major police department in Missouri, fifteen of which were in the homicide section. I also had numerous dealings with the FBI throughout my career…Eleven kept my interest piqued throughout… Loved it.”
Richard Bartram, Sergeant (retired), St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, St. Louis, MO

“A great police procedural! … Full of twists and turns. The characters are well-developed and a mix of interesting personalities. … Holds your interest to the end!”
–Mark Davis, FBI Special Agent (retired), Washington, DC

How do you know so much about what criminals think?
CA: I can’t answer that without incriminating myself… Just kidding.
Everyone has what we call a “dark side.” In writing these books, I suppose you could say I tap into this side of my psyche. Whatever I can scheme up is possible, and I write that which scares and excites me.

When did you know that you had hit the big time with your books?
CA: When I got to say good-bye to my day job! Even before I fully resigned, I had cut back a five-day a week job to four days, then to three. It got to the point, though, that I loathed going in for that many days, and I knew it was time to make the move and become a full-time author. That was in the summer of 2014. Since then, I incorporated my own publishing company in the summer of 2015, and, at the start of 2016, my husband joined me there full time.

Remnants is available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover formats from popular retailers, including: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Google.

About the Brandon Fisher FBI series:

Profilers. Serial killers. The hunt is on. Do serial killers and the FBI fascinate you? Do you like getting inside the minds of killers, love being creeped out, sleeping with your eyes open, and feeling like you’re involved in murder investigations? Then join FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit in their hunt for serial killers.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Criminal Minds, NCIS, Silence of the Lambs, Seven, Dexter, Luther, and True Crime.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning: Eleven, Silent Graves, The Defenseless, Blue Baby, Violated, Remnants (2017), On the Count of Three (2018), and Past Deeds (2019).

Here's my book review of On the Count of Three, the 7th book in the Brandon Fisher FBI series and Past Deeds, the 8th book in the series.

If you're looking for a lighter read, check out my book review of Carolyn Arnold's Coffee Is Murder, Money Is Murder, Exercise Is Murder, and Halloween Is Murder.

About the Author
Carolyn Arnold is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series and has written nearly thirty books. Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark, POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Connect with Carolyn Arnold via her website, Twitter and Facebook.
And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Takhayyal writing prompt 58: Flames of Fury

Are you ready to be inspired?

Welcome back Ladies and Gentlemen, Artists, Poets, Writers, Authors, Dreamers, Friends and Family; Welcome EVERYONE to Nadaness In Motion's bi-weekly picture-prompt writing challenge Takhayyal.

Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres.
Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.

General rules:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Leave the link to your post in comments below OR post your piece as REPLY to this post
·        Your piece MUST be inspired in some way or other by the above picture
·        Multiple entries allowed
·        It is not required but it is a nice and encouraging gesture to comment on others' pieces.
·        Feel free to add your Twitter handle (@....) so I can tag you in my tweets!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Zoey's Post-It Notes - Book Review and Interview

Today I'm doing a book review for Zoey's Post-It Notes by Zoey and Jeff Steiner, which is followed by a short interview with the father and daughter.

"Zoey's Post-It Notes is about something that happened to me that I would like to share with you."

Zoey's Post-It Notes is a beautiful book on bullying and raising awareness about the issue especially for children. 

It also a book about self-discovery and has a lovely motivational cover.
The book is divided into incidents then the stories behind each post-it/sticky note, as well as people.

Zoey's a fifth grader who has been bullied at school and has written about it. Some acts may appear trivial to some, but in truth they have a major impact on others, especially young people and teens.

"I finally decided I didn't need others' opinions… As long as it made me happy."

Just because it feels good, doesn't mean it's good. An example of this can be seen in The Flenguin Project chapter.

In the chapter titled "Wilson", Zoey talks about how Wilson would call her names and offend her, even if he doesn't necessarily hit her 'a lot'.

"It wasn't really bullying because he didn't punch or slap me."

Isn't it?

Apart from people, there are pictures of the hand-written post-its, each with a something to motivate Zoey and others. The book tells the story behind each note.

Zoey's Post-It Notes is highly recommended for children, early teens and adults and parents alike. If you're 8-10 years old, then you should read this book. Children will easily relate to Zoey and her experiences and learn a few things as well as develop some positive habits.

"When you don't have faith in yourself, it gets you down. You are not able to do what you want to do. That can set you back a lot."

At the end of the book, there are activities for children as well as classrooms to create their own post-its. They can be done by adults and parents.

Overall rating: 5 stars

Zoey and Jeff have also answered a few questions about the book and other related topics.

Interview with Zoey and Jeff Steiner

Q: You've mentioned a lot of names in the book, are these people's/your friends' real names?
Zoey: Yes, most of the names I have in my book are real names. That was kind of my way of thanking my friends for supporting me when I really needed them. But because Wilson was the bully in the book, I wanted to change his name.

Q: If yes, how do you think people like Wilson will react when they know you've written about them?
Zoey: Sometimes, I think that kids bully other kids more than they realize. And that they don't know how much that impacts the other kid’s life. Maybe this is what happened with me and Wilson. So, when he does find out that I wrote the book, I think that he would be mad and think that I accused him of something he didn't do. But that's just my opinion and others might think differently.

Q: This book is mostly by you, how did your father help you out with it?
Zoey: My dad did a lot. He recorded me while I talked about my sticky notes and my experience with the bullying. But he is the one who typed it and also got the book published, which I couldn't have done.

Q: What are you planning to write next?
Zoey: I don't exactly know what we are planning to write next. We did come up with the idea of talking to kids around the world about their experience with bullying. I think it would be nice to write more than one book and I would love to do it with other kids like me.

And some questions for Jeff Steiner, Zoey's father

Q: What was the collaboration like in the book? Was there anything that as a father you didn't want to add in the book?
Jeff Steiner: Zoey is such a wonderfully insightful, genuine, and heartfelt person. I knew the frame for the book. Who is Zoey?  What happened? How did she deal with it (the Post-it Notes)? Then just asked the questions to fill in that frame with her words. She is so incredibly courageous to open herself up like she did, and there is very little we didn’t include that she shared.

Q: Bullying is very common in schools and the main problem apart from teachers and parents not noticing it is that the children themselves mat not be aware that they're being bullied, especially if it's more psychological bullying rather than physical bullying. Have Zoey's experiences and her story changed anything at home or at school? How can parents make children more aware of bullying?
Jeff Steiner: You touched on a point that stood out to me. Zoey was not as bothered by the physical aspects of it as much as the verbal aspects. This issue has been exasperating for us as a family. The school tries in some ways. But, there are nuances involved with these types of situations that seem to freeze a parent out from being able to “do something” about it. I suspect that most parents are like us and have a pretty good idea what is going on. And, like us, are frustrated that there isn’t much they can do about it.

Q: Going through your list of publications, I noticed the I-Goal book. Can you tell us about that out? Also, did you include any of Zoey's experiences in it or did you publish it before Zoey told you about the bullying she suffered from at school?

Jeff Steiner: Thank you for asking about I-GOAL! My education, training and early career was as a counselor with youth and families. I used all of that to develop goal setting and professional development curriculum for high school aged students. I put those curriculums into book form to have it be on as many platforms as possible. This was when Zoey was a little younger. 

Add Zoey's Post-It Notes on Goodreads, and purchase the book via Amazon.
Also, connect with Zoey via her Facebook page.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Clutching the Quartz - Poem

My mind is blank
Almost in limbo
Too many things to worry about

I clutch the rose quartz stone,
Tracing its perfect lines,
Feeling its pointy tips


I hold it tight
Willing it
To pass any energy to me

Rose quartz for love
But I need hope.

What stone brings hope,
Calm and serenity?
What stone can erase memories
And replace them with joy?

I hold on to the stone
Head bent low,
A prayer on my lips.

My rose quartz pendant by Dina El-Banna, Mystical Crystals

Written: Thursday, 16 March 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss - Book Review (A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery)

Pressed to Death
(A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery)
2nd in Series
Author: Kirsten Weiss
Publisher: Midnight Ink 
Publication date: 8 March 2017
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738750316
Kindle ASIN: B01FOR0Z7G

Book cover for Pressed to Death by Kirsten WeissParanormal museum owner Maddie Kosloski thinks she has the perfect paranormal exhibit for the harvest festival—a haunted grape press. But when she’s accused of stealing the press, and her accuser is found murdered, all eyes turn to Maddie.

Maddie knows well the perils of amateur sleuthing and is reluctant to get involved. But her mother insists she investigate. Does her mom have a secret agenda? Or is she somehow connected to the murder?

Facing down danger and her own over-active imagination, Maddie must unearth the killer before she becomes the next ghost to haunt her museum.

Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

"I was going to jail.
Worse my arch nemesis would be the one to drag me from my own paranormal museum."

Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss starts with the above lines; the cozy, possibly paranormal mystery novel is exciting, quick-paced and fun.

Maddie, the present owner of San Benedetto's Paranormal Museum, is the unlucky person who discovers the body of a man ahead of wine festival. To make things worse, the same man had accused her of stealing his antique grape press and told the police as much.

Maddie is then forced/asked – which ever you decide – to investigate the man's murder, with her former school nemesis Laurel Hammer being right on her tail and constantly trying to drag her to jail, especially after Maddie accidentally sets Hammer's hair on fire.

While investigating, Maddie can't help but notice that her mother is acting strangely and so is her mother's entire group, the Ladies' Aid.

"It was one thing for me to discover a dead body, another to suspect my mom had some knowledge of the crime."

After the discovery of the dead body, a Romeo Paganini, Maddie keeps telling herself that she wouldn't interfere with the investigation, especially after the last one nearly got her killed.

Narrated from the first person perspective of Maddie, Pressed to Death allows the reader to see how Maddie's mind works as an amateur sleuth, and engrosses the reader in the novel, the events and the mystery-ies.

"This investigation—"
"I'm not going to interfere."
"Oh yes you are, Madelyn."

As with the previous book, Pressed to Death sees Maddie investigating a case that is supposed to be the police's responsibility as well as a historical cold case pertaining to her recently-acquired antique grape press.

A relatable character, I absolutely loved Maddie, even more than in the first book in the series. She has a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong, even if that means that her actions will hurt her. She is also caring, has good instincts and has learnt to trust them. This is significant for her character development.

"Haven't you ever seen something you can't explain?"
"Yeah, the way people tend to drop dead in your vicinity, and it's never your fault."

There were a lot of beautiful lines and images in the novel. The characters are down-to-earth and I liked the friendship Maddie, Harper and Adele have.

"I wanted to evoke the romance and mystery of tea, using lush descriptive phrases."
"Lush? These are pornographic," Harper said. "No wonder people were snatching them up."

Pressed to Death is the second instalment in The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum series, but can be easily read as a standalone novel.

Overall, Pressed to Death is a perfect Halloween read and an enjoyable cozy mystery.

Overall rating: 5 stars

Check out Nadaness In Motion's book review of the first book in the series, The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, as well as my five-star review of Kirsten Weiss' poetry and prose chapbook The Tales of the Rose Rabbit.

Last but not least, check out the Nadaness In Motion-Kirsten Weiss collaboration titled What Is Cozy Mystery? And How Have Arab Readers Been Introduced tot he Genre?. The article is on the difference between a cozy and a traditional mystery and a short bit on how Arab readers were unknowingly reading cozies without being aware of the genre.
See how many of the points mentioned in the article you can find The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum mystery series.

Kirsten Weiss grew up in San Mateo, California. After getting her MBA, she joined the Peace Corps, starting an international career that took her around the fringes of the defunct USSR and into the Afghan war zone. Her experiences abroad not only gave her glimpses into the darker side of human nature, but also sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.

She writes paranormal mystery and suspense, blending her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of magic and mayhem.

Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking good wine.

Connect with Kirsten via Twitter, Facebook or her blog.

Keep up with the rest of the tour here.

Purchase Links: Amazon and B&N

Note: I received a free copy of Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour by Lori Great Escapes Book Tours. This did not in any way affect my review.