Guest Blogger: Lisa Black

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I am delighted to welcome my guest blogger today, author Lisa Black, as her latest thriller, Close to the Bone, hits the shelves.

Close to the Bone hits forensic scientist Theresa MacLean where it hurts, bringing death and destruction to the one place where she should feel the most safe—the medical examiner’s office in Cleveland, Ohio, where she has worked for the past fifteen years of her life.

Theresa returns in the wee hours after working a routine crime scene, only to find the body of one of her deskmen slowly cooling with the word “Confess” written in his blood. His partner is missing and presumed guilty, but Theresa isn’t so sure. The body count begins to rise but for once these victims aren’t strangers—they are Theresa’s friends and colleagues, and everyone in the building, herself included, has a place on the hit list.


The Foolish Girlfriend

by Lisa Black

We all have one. That one girlfriend who falls in love at the drop of a hat, usually every other week. The one that spends your girls’ night out half-listening to you while scanning the crowd, looking for a good-looking, probably employed, and unattached male. (By dessert, her requirements will have been whittled down to ‘unattached’.) Each one she meets might be The One. The one who will sweep her off her feet, be funny, romantic, steady, incredible in the sack and oh yes, her soulmate. And we wait patiently through endless descriptions of his perfection knowing that in another day, two at the most, we will be verbally patting her hand through the depression when The One turns into One More, just another guy who wasn’t looking for an attachment lasting more than one night, or who burns like a meteor through girlfriends, jobs and family members, or has severe emotional issues, or who turns out to be not so unattached after all. We drink wine with her. We listen to her talk for hours about how stunned she is at the failure of this romance, despite the fact that any average kindergartener would have seen it coming. We tell her that it’s not her, it’s them…in other words, we lie, because we love her even as we feel that she’s pretty, well, stupid.

But stupid is such a harsh word. Let’s say foolish.

After all, how can anyone go through the same sequence of events over and over and still expect a different outcome every single time? Why doesn’t she learn?

But we stick with her because, if we’re being honest, we admire her endless optimism. It takes a tough soul to throw yourself out there time and time again, knowing the risks, having felt the pain. To offer yourself up for possible ridicule and humiliation, all for the chance to gain acceptance and joy. And along the way she goes on a lot of dates, meets a lot of new people, learns a lot of new things (some painful, yes, but not all) and lives, while we’re sitting home doing laundry and popping in a DVD.

So maybe the foolish girlfriend isn’t so foolish after all.

For isn’t this exactly what we do every time we write a book? We start out with the swell of new discovery as an idea occurs to us. We focus on it, feeling fluttery in the gleam of its fascination. Then we sidle up to the bar and introduce ourselves to our target, commit to the project and start writing, positive that this will be The One, the breakout, and will sweep the Agatha, the Edgar, Best Thriller and the Anthony, and will, maybe not the first week, or the second, but at least by the third will crack the Holy Grail—the top 10 on the NYT Bestseller’s list. Our agent will call us (not email, actually call) with champagne corks popping in the background.

Then we get to the Mushy Middle and feel that the heroine isn’t heroic enough, the villain isn’t villainous enough…similar to finding that The One picks his teeth in public, thinks orange is the perfect wall color and when he said he had separated from his wife, he kinda meant just since lunch. But we soldier on, convinced it will work. We fix all the problems as best we can, perhaps discover a new twist on the murder weapon. Just as the girlfriend convinces herself that he’s more interesting than he seems, really, he’s just shy.

We end in a shower of fireworks, wrapping up all the loose ends, no longer thinking about all four awards but maybe one, and maybe the extended NYT list, but still thousands of Amazon rankings above where we were last time.

And we put ourselves out there.

Because the truth is, talent isn’t static. We get better with every book. And our girlfriend gets smarter with every date.

Because one of these days, it really will be The One.

About the Author:

Lisa Black spent the five happiest years of her life in a morgue. As a forensic scientist in the Cleveland coroner’s office she analyzed gunshot residue on hands and clothing, hairs, fibers, paint, glass, DNA, blood and many other forms of trace evidence, as well as crime scenes. Now she’s a certified latent print examiner and CSI for the Cape Coral Police Department. Her books have been translated into six languages. Evidence of Murder reached the NYT mass market bestseller’s list.

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