Sunday, April 22, 2012

Side Effects of Filling My Head with Crime Stories

Congratulations to Julie, the winner of Alison's giveaway! Thank you to all who participated.

Yesterday I blogged about my fascination with crime stories. Well, in addition to watching the evening news, overdosing on shows like Dateline and 48 Hours, I read a lot of true crime. I never found an Ann Rule book I didn’t like. Besides being great fodder for writing romantic suspense, it does mess (a little bit) with my everyday life.

Seven Side Effects of filling my head with Crime Stories:

(1) I always lock the doors. It drives my husband nuts. He’ll go out for the mail and next thing he knows, he’s locked out. (To be fair, I didn’t know he was coming right back. J)
(2) My kids have nicknamed me “Danger.” I can’t help it if I spot the potential hazard in every situation. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?
(3) I can’t sleep without the house alarm set. Do you know how many Lifetime Movies (am I stretching the true crime, here?) I’ve seen where the bad guy springs up on the woman in her bedroom while she sleeps?
(4) As soon as I get into my car—yup, you guessed it—I lock my doors.  A safety expert once said perpetrators watch women get into their cars and while they are putting on lipstick or fiddling with their phone, they jump into the passenger side. Enough said.
(5) If I’m driving through an unfamiliar neighborhood, I leave room between my car and the one in front of me. You’ve got to have an escape route, right? And never let anyone block your car in the ATM drive-thru. 
(6) When my husband is out of town, I make sure my cell phone and the house phone are near the bed. How many movies have you seen where the murderer cuts the telephone line?
(7) I always watch the garage door go all the way down before I go into the house.  I have visions of someone slipping under the closing door and then gaining access to the house.

Surprisingly—and despite what you just read—I don’t live my life in fear. I go about my business with a confident walk and my head held high. (That deters muggers, you know. J)  I just have all these possible scenarios running through my head. I’m a writer, after all. I’m paid to have a good imagination. Yet, I feel it can’t hurt to take certain precautions. And when my husband rolls his eyes at me, I say, “If you read as much true crime as I do…” 

I have parlayed my fascination into a career as a writer. Please check out my debut release Random Acts.  Here’s the blurb:

Second chances can have a terrible sense of timing.

As a child, watching her mother always pick the wrong man left Danielle Carson wary of opening her heart to anyone—except Patrick Kingsley. But circumstances came between them and left Danielle with a broken heart. Now she buries the pain of what might have been by channeling all her energy into her career. When a family crisis brings her back to her hometown, she is forced to face the past—and the disturbing fact that her sister’s car accident was staged to mask a brutal beating.
A police officer and widower, Patrick guards his heart as fiercely as he guards his beloved daughter. Seeing Danielle again unexpectedly reignites their old flame, but no way will he introduce a woman into his daughter’s life. Certainly not one whose values on faith and family are so different from his own.
Despite their best intentions, they are drawn together—until Danielle learns Patrick had a hand in putting her sister in harm’s way. Her fragile trust is crushed, but Patrick is the only man who can help her stop the villain before everything they both love is destroyed. Faith, family…and their second chance at forever.

Read an excerpt

Random Acts available at:

Check out Alison Stone on her website (, her blog (, Twitter (@Alison_Stone) and on Facebook. She loves to connect with readers.

Have you ever been haunted by a news story? Be sure to make a comment. Be sure to stop by tomorrow and read about how Alison’s fascination with crime stories affects her day-to-day life. One lucky commenter from today or tomorrow will win their choice of a $10 gift card from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Giveaway ends 9pm EST April 22nd. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email justromanticsuspense @ with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. 


  1. When my daughter was a baby there was a little girl not far from where we live that was abducted and murdered. Now that I had a child to keep safe it felt even more awful to see this on the television. Megan's Law was eventually passed because of this crime.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

    1. I don' t think anything makes us more cautious than when it comes to protecting our children. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  2. Hey Allison,
    I have the same side effects. I am a criminologist & I too read true crime. It is true if you "harden the target" there is less chance of being attacked. In fact, just doing things in your home for safety does make us safer.
    Now, I really want to read your book!!!


    1. Awesome! Now I really can tell my husband, "I told you so!" He thinks I'm paranoid. :) Thanks for stopping by.

      And you're a criminologist? How very cool.

  3. Oops, I am sorry, I spelt your name wrong Alison,
    I am on the way to your website now....

  4. I'm all about the door locking... I spent a lot of time living in European cities, and the first thing we did was make sure everything was locked up-- and I wasn't even in very dodgy parts of Europe! Now I'm Stateside and I see people leaving their doors unlocked, windows open, and their car unlocked & running as they duck into Starbucks, and can't help but shake my head. And leaving bags/stuff in plain sight in the back seat? Completely baffles me.

    The news stories on Annie Le's murder (the graduate student murdered at Yale in 2009) hit pretty close to home-- I'm not at Yale (but have friends who are), but I am a graduate student, work in a lab, am in an "open lab space" with half the department, still undergoing construction, etc. It's crazy to think that a colleague could just up & murder someone and bury her in a wall--it really could've just as easily been anyone.


    1. Your comments reminded me of a rash of "break-ins" around town a few years ago. They really weren't break-ins because teens were simply taking advantage of unlocked garage doors. They stole beer, golf clubs, baseball mitts, etc. A friend of mine is a dispatcher for the local police and she tipped her head and said, "Doesn't *anybody* lock their doors?" Basically, they were easily prevented crimes. What baffled me is that the parents of the teens didn't question the accumulation of sporting goods in their garage.

      I agree that the murder of the young graduate student was horrible. I often get a little creeped out when I'm in an empty building ~ like my kids' school as we clean up from an event. We also have to put supplies away in the basement. I always tell somewhere where I'm going in case I don't return. I do it with a smile and pretend I'm joking, but I'm serious. :)

  5. One more nightmare story - this really did happen to me. My boss strangled and killed one of my co-workers. A beautiful lady who was just 27. I testified against him in his trial and he is still in prison. This happened over 20 years ago, but I will never forget it.

    yenastone at aol dot com

    1. Yowza...I imagine they were dating or something?

    2. They had a outside business together. He was doing something illegal and she was going to blow the whistle. It all came out in his trial.

  6. Growing up with a father that was a cop... you definitely learn to be aware of what is around you and to be cautious.

    1. I have a few friends and relatives who are police officers. Yes, their job does color their views. I think most people are blissfully unaware.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  7. The lacipeyersen case was close tome
    Ilikiemcrimen stories
    Comgrats on the book

    1. Poor Laci Peterson.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.


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