My Books

Sea-Devil: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 1
Sea-Devil: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 1

You never get over your first love...how about your first murder? When a man is murdered in her bookstore the night before her grand opening, island newcomer, Delilah Duffy, makes a name for herself as prime suspect. If Delilah Duffy hopes to create a life on the island, she must navigate through a vicious family feud, shoddy police work and the mistakes of her past. Will Delilah uncover the truth before her past and her present destroy her?

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Luna-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 2
Luna-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 2

We're all just one pain away from lunacy. A seaside inn. An elegant party. A black dress. What could go wrong? For Delilah Duffy, just about anything. With her bookstore failing, the last thing she needs is a party or another mystery to solve. With nightmares, anxiety, and panic intensifying, Delilah doesn’t know what’s real and what’s in her head. With everything at risk, Delilah discovers what’s worse… becoming a lunatic or facing one.

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Sea-Crossed: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 3
Sea-Crossed: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 3

Some secrets are kept to be kind. Torture, pain, misery - that’s all someone else wants for her. When a dinner party turns deadly, Sam goes missing, and Delilah realizes she's being watched, the “book queen with a thing for crime scenes” must battle to get her life and love back. Can love and determination save them or will dark secrets ruin her chances for a normal life? With mysterious messages taunting her and a killer eluding her, what lines will she cross to get to the truth?

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Pyra-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 4
Pyra-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 4

Everything can change in seconds. Bookstore manager and crime-solver, Delilah Duffy knows that better than anyone. When her Happily Ever After Valentine’s Day Bash ends in fiery destruction, everything she’s worked for burns with it. Pregnant and brokenhearted, Delilah fans the flames of her anger toward what she’s good at: solving crimes. Hot on the trail of an arsonist while her nemesis is on hers, Delilah fights to get her life back. Will she turn ash to treasure before the pyromaniac strikes

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My Vella Story

Water World
Water World

After a tough move with his Mom and sister from his beloved country home, Ethan isn't adjusting well to city life. In trying to escape his problems in this world, he opens another, dropping him and his sister, Abby, into Water World. This trip is no vacation, not with legendary monsters and deadly sea creatures to battle. But teaming up to help the merpeople through their home-related crisis might help Ethan and Abby navigate theirs, if they survive long enough to make it home.

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  • Jessica Sherry

Writing Ideas from Petty Crime

Want to understand crime to improve your writing? Your local newspaper is a stellar resource for crime research, especially if they provide a handy-dandy Police Blotter, a list of recent arrests, or a Crime section. You can learn crucial, plot-important lessons by knowing the crimes happening in your town.


Town

Here are a few lessons for mystery writers that I’ve learned so far: 


Nothing is too small, gross, lame, or ridiculous for a criminal to steal. 


A quick perusal of the newspaper’s weekly police blotter proves thieves will steal ANYTHING.


Here’s a short list of stolen items from the last few months: loose change, Invisalign braces, a toilet, a bucket, a laundry wash tub, a porcelain dragon head, a parking sign, pill bottles, a floating dock, a water bottle, potato salad, a Jeep Patriot owner’s manual, a pedicab, and (my favorite) 3 Rhode Island Red Hens.


Thieves enjoy unlocked cars, Wal-Mart, and long walks through construction sites. 


Reading crime news regularly, you begin to see patterns. Based on my local police blotter (only a partial representation of the crime in this area), 33 crimes were thefts from cars (this does not include stealing the cars themselves). Often, whole neighborhoods are targeted in one night. 


Wal-Mart’s another popular target – and not just in frequency but quantity. In March, a single offender shoplifted Tide detergent pods, 10 towels, paper towels, toilet paper, and a comforter from Walmart. Long shoplifting lists like this are common as if thieves fill up carts and simply walk out with them. I don’t know – maybe they do. 


Tools and equipment are also big-ticket criminal items. Just because something’s big and heavy doesn’t mean it won’t get pinched – water heaters, AC units, and appliances are all up for grabs. In crime, anything goes! 


Thieves like to take their chances.


A common and easy way to steal is straight from people's doorsteps, where deliveries are left daily. According to this New York Post article, over 64% of Americans have been victims of porch piracy in the year before, over 210 million packages.


Package

Some organized criminals will follow UPS and FED EX trucks to grab and flee. But it's a crapshoot for the criminal--they have no clue if their risk will pay off. A good score might be electronics or video games. But they could just as easily end up with vegan dog food or fish tank filters. Is it worth it?


The quick answer is yes. Consumer.com reports that in their survey, only 9% of consumers filed a police report for stolen packages. And according to security.org, it's a crime of opportunity that rarely ends in arrest.


So, perhaps the biggest risk for this type of thief is an awkward encounter with the homeowner or his picture splashed on social media.


Story idea: what if the thief ends up with something that puts her in danger?


Sometimes we law-abiding citizens make a bad situation worse. 


Check out this story of over 70 reported auto burglaries in Wilmington. While thieves are consistently nabbing computers, phones, money, etc. from cars, they’re also stocking up on guns. In this rash of thievery, 31 guns were stolen, many from unlocked cars left in their driveways. If you're going to own a gun, care for it responsibly.


Gotta love the dumb ones.


Crime is often committed out of desperation, forcing us to question the larger problems in our society. And victims are forever impacted by the trauma.


But sometimes, on a lighter note, criminals make it impossible not to laugh. Like the guy who evaded the police by running into the ocean only to be chased back to shore by a shark. In this particularly fun apprehension in Surf City, the police used a drone to keep track of the guy.  


Petty crime creates awesome writing prompts. 


A couple stole $600 of Red Bull from two different stores (Wal-Mart was one of them). Why so much Red Bull? Why? Could they really like Red Bull that much? Or are there other possibilities? Sudafed is used to make drugs. Could Red Bull be used in that capacity too? Could the Red Bull be used for a caffeine-fueled time machine? Or (as my sweet daughter suggested) could this couple think that enough Red Bull would actually give them wings like the commercial says? Maybe.


What’s certain is that there are many story ideas that can come from one crime. Shoplifted from a Food Lion: a can opener, a green hand light, 2 Cokes, steel wool, pliers, a toothbrush, a set of wooden skewers, cat food, and cat treats. What kind of crazy shopping list is this? Makes me wonder about the safety of those cats. Is this criminal a survivalist gone outlaw? Campers who forgot some essentials? Something worse? Again, ideas are sparking. 





Bank robberies, art thefts, and, murders make for exciting stories, but how everyday criminals think (or don’t think) could prove just as useful. For every crime, there’s a story. Inspiration waits around every corner, so if you’re looking for new ideas for your fiction, check out your local paper, and of course, hang out with me on my blog. So glad you're here! 


What have you learned about crime in your town that you can use in your fiction? Share your ideas below!


Want more ideas to keep your writing going? Check out www.coffeebrained.com


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