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:~: Tuesday, December 11, 2007 :~:

Homicidal Holidays

Hi guys! First of all, thanks to Joan and everyone here at Romance Worth Killing For for inviting me!

I'm CJ Lyons, and my first medical suspense novel, LIFELINES, will be released by Berkley in March, 2008. LIFELINES is unique because although it has been praised by Publisher's Weekly as a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller" it is told solely through the point of view of the women of Pittsburgh's Angels of Mercy's ER.

As a pediatric ER doc who has practiced in some of the country's busiest trauma centers, it was great fun bringing my experience to life with this behind-the-scenes drama of the most dangerous day of the year in a hospital.

I love talking with mystery/suspense authors because we can talk about the really important things in life: namely, the best ways to kill someone and get away with it.

So, given the winter holiday season, I thought I'd throw out a few ideas on Homicidal Holiday Hazards.

1. O Tantebaum—not only do they make for excellent firestarters (arson, anyone?) but think of the possibilities of actually obtaining one. Imagine: deserted tree farm, you and your victim far out of sight of anyone else, it's getting dark, and there you are with hatchet and saw in hand….or better yet, cutting down and hauling a live tree is a great time to induce a heart attack and given the holiday rush, it probably would go undetected as the medical examiner would be too busy to do more than a cursory examination.

2. Auld Lang Sang—do you have any idea how easy it is to slip poison into New Year's champagne or eggnog? The possibilities are endless: antifreeze in a sweet drink, an overdose of barbiturates or sedatives in an alcoholic one….

3. Dradle, Dradle—holidays with all that candy and cheating on diets make for a perfect time to induce a diabetic coma in those old folks with fat life insurance policies. Just swap out their "sugar" pills or insulin for a few days, ply them with some gelt or candy canes and pouf! There goes granny, here comes the inheritance!

4. Up on the Rooftop--Hmmm….climbing up rickety ladders, hammer and nails and aluminum gutters and electrical lights, snow and ice all around—anyone else seeing a great set up for "accidental" electrocutions or slip and falls???

5. Over the Hills—all that ice and snow (for those of you in northern climes) not to mention crazy, hectic drivers all rushing hither and yon make for a perfect recipe for disaster. Mix a slashed brake-line with faulty power steering, add a little too much holiday cheer and voila!

And then there's always the cold and hypothermia and all the possibilities the wilderness can offer us. But I'll save that for next month when we discuss Wilderness Survival—another perennial favorite worst-case-scenario!

In the meantime, what's your favorite Homicidal Holiday Hazard? C'mon, if you can't talk about it with your fellow suspense authors, who can you talk to?

I'd love to hear them!


PS: I feel honor-bound (the pediatric ER doc in me) to point out that the holidays actually do pose a very real risk, especially to children and pets. Clean up ALL remnants of alcohol after parties before you go to bed (kids tend to get up early and love sipping at all the left over drinks and it only takes a few swallows of alcohol to poison a little one) and please dress everyone warm, even for short trips. Always, always buckle up and have a designated driver! Happy--and safe--holidays to all!!


Blogger B.E. Sanderson said...

It's not my idea, of course, but stabbing someone with an icicle always sounded intriguing to me. (Bruce Willis did it in Die Hard 2.) The thought that eventually the ice would melt and just leave an unexplainable hole in a corpse sounds like a good beginning to a mystery. =o)

6:33 AM  
Blogger CJ Lyons said...

Ohhh....good one, B.E.!!! Perfect for a locked room whodunnit!

6:44 AM  
Anonymous Petrina said...

A question...although not relating to homicide. I really enjoyed your post and the new book looks fabulous. A must read for me. Is it hardback or paperback? Couldn't tell from the pic.
Thanks for the great blog...lot's of ideas there.

7:56 AM  
Blogger CJ Lyons said...

Hey there, Petrina! Thanks so much for asking about LIFELINES! It's a mass market, so it will be affordable for everyone, yeah!

It will be shelved in general fiction since it's a women's fiction/medical suspense/thriller with romantic elements. For more info (including a fantastic review by PW, hot off the presses!), feel free to go to my website: http://www.cjlyons.net


8:03 AM  
Blogger Felicia Donovan said...

CJ, very good blog but please don't ever invite me to any of your parties.

Seriously, my Black Widows would be more inclined to wreak havoc during the Holiday season by installing a stealthy little program on a computer to get the low-down scoop on Holiday gift buying! If they were ever inclined to violence, the weapon would most certainly be made of chocolate.

Felicia Donovan

11:32 AM  
Anonymous rebecca said...

Isn't mistletoe poisonous? Seems like some berries could "accidentally" fall into the punch bowl.Talk about kiss of death...

Rebecca Cantrell

12:43 PM  
Blogger CJ Lyons said...

Becky, actually misletoe is only poisonous in very large quantities for adults. Not so good for pets or small children.

Felicia, chocolate as a weapon? Hmmm...sounds like a waste of good chocolate to me. Of course, I'd probably be too tempted to eat it myself!

12:51 PM  
Blogger Felicia Donovan said...

"Felicia, chocolate as a weapon? Hmmm...sounds like a waste of good chocolate to me. Of course, I'd probably be too tempted to eat it myself!"

Yes, CJ, that's exactly how it would mysteriously disappear.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Janw said...

You had me laughing out loud! I'm with Felicia on avoiding your Chrissy parties or at least bringing along a food taster. LOL

In Australia, Christmas is the time of seafood, not roast turkey. It has something to do with the possibility of very hot weather. So how about tainted prawns or a dose of e coli in the cole slaw? ;-)

2:16 PM  
Blogger CJ Lyons said...

Hey, Jan! Thanks for putting a downunder spin on Holiday Homicide!

Italians eat a lot of seafood during the holidays as well, so those are good possibilities--or even better, how about a little puffer-fish toxin?

Oh...the possibilities!

2:33 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Hi, CJ! Thanks for being here.

Great post. I love the Christmas tree farm ideas!

I can think of plenty stalker-ideas for the holiday season (using "dropped money" to get close to the victim, etc.) but no ways to kill.

Can't wait to see what everyone else weighs in with.

And the book looks GREAT!

5:40 PM  
Blogger CJ Lyons said...

Linda, you are so right--the holidays are when folks let their guard down, perfect time for a stalker or con artist to hook a new victim!

Thanks for the warm thoughts on the book!

5:46 PM  
Blogger Roberta Isleib said...

Hi CJ, nice to see you over here--your cover is so cool! Every fan of Grey's Anatomy should rush out and buy that thing...

Meanwhile, I just had a book set at Christmas come out--the setting was in a little church on the green in small-town Connecticut. So I had a lot of fun with it. If any of you have heard of Luci Zahray "the poison lady", I had her visit my fictional women's league holiday luncheon to talk about poisons at the holidays. Of course maybe the killer was there...

And then there was the incident of the Crisco used in the church supper pies...

Loads of fun! Good luck CJ and see you at RT.

Roberta Isleib

5:02 AM  
Blogger CJ Lyons said...

Hi there! I love how you think--when a friend told me about a pie crust recall because they had nuts in them, my first thought was: what a perfect way to kill someone.....

Yeah, we're sick and twisted, but we have fun!

See you at RT!
PS: I know, doesn't that cover rock? The folks at Berkley did a fantastic job!

5:21 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Such fun and twisted ideas, CJ. Thanks so much for joining us!

I like the death by electrocution (those darn tree lights!) or the husband "accidentally" falling off the roof as he's putting up Christmas lights.

11:01 AM  
Blogger CJ Lyons said...

Thanks for having me, Elisabeth! It's been fun!

12:29 PM  

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