Many of you may already know that our first ever MurderSheWrites anthology went live yesterday. It’s been a heck of a journey, and we’re all feeling a bit like proud mama hens 🙂
GUNS AND ROSES features all-new stories from some of your favorite authors of romance and suspense! Learn more here, or get your copy now:
My story in the Guns & Roses anthology does not feature characters from any of my series.
Nope. Instead, it features a character who is the protagonist in any number of books that have not yet seen the light of day. His name is Joe Bashir and I first imagined him into existence back in the summer of 2007. I’d written romance and women’s fiction before then, but never a full-fledged mystery, and I knew I would need a really special character to build my new book around.
Joe Bashir is the sort of hero who never set out to be a hero. While trying to balance the demands of a traditional culture while growing up an American teenager, the unthinkable happened – Joe’s father was the victim of senseless violence, a post-911 hate crime. Joe set aside his plans to become an engineer and became a cop instead.
I’m just a little bit in love with Joe. In addition to being ferociously committed to justice, he’s also, ahem, easy on the eyes and powerfully built (he practices an obscure form of Chinese martial arts). I built him a whole supporting cast of characters, wrote him into several short stories and a novel called HOLD FAST TO THIS, and outlined several more. So far, Joe has yet to see publication in a full-length novel, but his day – I hope – will come.
In “A Punishing Night,” Joe investigates a murder that takes place at his alma mater, the fictional University of California San Bernardino. Here’s an excerpt:
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Through the wide double doors that opened onto the dormitory lounge, Joe could see the girls, at least a dozen. Most were still wearing what they slept in, which ranged from baggy -shirts and boxer shorts to thin camisoles which barely covered their breasts. They lay about the sofas and chairs of the dorm’s lounge like women in an Ingres tableau.
Noticing Joe, a girl got to her bare feet and padded over to the door. Her thin tank top read “Boys Suck”. Her eyes were a beautiful clear green, the effect ruined by smudged black rims. It looked as though she’d lined them with a magic marker and a shaking hand.
“Are you in charge?” The girl demanded.
“I’m Detective Bashir. I’m working with Officer Collier. And you are?”
“Kaylanna Pace. We just want to know if we can like take a shower or something. Or if we have to be stuck in here, you could maybe get some coffee sent up?”
She was clearly the leader, the queen bee. She looked into his eyes with a directness that Joe still found surprising in people her age; his own niece and nephew, the second generation born in California, retained a trace of the bashful gaze cultivated by Pakistani-American parents in their children. Madiha and Taj looked adults in the chin.
“I’ll see if I can do something about refreshments,” Joe said.
“But what if we have to pee?” a girl called from inside the room.
That was a bigger problem, indeed.
In the bathroom down the hall a dead man waited for Joe.
I suppose that in a sense, Joe Bashir is “the one that got away,” my dream man who I haven’t quite found a place for yet. Anyone else have a man in your past who you look back on fondly? Let’s swap some man stories, people – and I’ll be giving away a copy of the anthology to a random commenter!