Category Archives: On Writing

Found an iPad – Not Giving it Back

Some people make it too easy.

I was walking through an alley and found a bag. It must have fallen out of someone’s car. Inside I found some Medicare brochures, a pack of gum and-

An iPad

I have no way to plug it in to charge it, but now I’ll at least have a way to post to the website about my travels. Right now I’m setting up shop under the Whittier St. bridge, but I totally plan on finding a warmer spot in the near future.

The other dudes around here are fine, but they’re not always too happy to see me. I think they can tell I’m not one of them.

Every once in a while a truck comes around and drops off some food. I haven’t been around for that, but if it happens I’ll keep you posted.

Homelessness in the US

Homelessness is a complicated subject when it comes to crime. It has been shown previously that homelessness is a strong predictor of criminality. I don’t know why this is the case. It could be that homeless people simply have no options other than crime in order to fulfill basic human needs. It could also be that the over-representation of the mentally ill in the homeless population could cause an increased tendency toward criminality. It could also be that people are homeless because they have committed crimes in the past and cannot get jobs because of their criminal records. Homelessness might also just drive people crazy.

I don’t know if any of that is true. I’m really interested in this topic. Does anybody have any insights into the reason why so many people who are in jail have also been homeless at one time or another? Why do so many homeless people have criminal records? As someone who writes about crime for a living, I feel that it’s my duty to understand every aspect of criminality.

Help me out.

I need some insight.

The Great Novel Contest

Hey fellow writers. A new contest, The Great Novel Contest, is opening in January. I know. I know. Many people believe that the Internet is filled with scam artists, myself included. (Not that I’m a scam artist but that I agree the Internet is filled with them!)

I researched it and “talked” with the guy who runs it. (No I didn’t work him over too badly.) It’s totally legit. They even have a New York agent judging the thing, Terra Chalberg. My publisher, The Columbus Press, will publish the winner’s novel.

Even if you don’t win, you still have a chance to win street cred as a runner up or finalist. I’ve won a contest in my day and attribute it to helping me snag a publisher for my novel, www.capitaloffensebook.com. So polish your novel and submit. Tell them Kurt sent you.

Check out the contest details at http://columbuscoop.org/2014_great_novel_contest.php.

Fall: Veil of Darkness

I want to start out by saying that this isn’t a diatribe about climate change. That’s been done to death and I don’t care about it. I just want to explain why I set my book Capital Offense, www.capitaloffensebook.com, in the fall.

First of all, violent crime tends to occur more often during summer months, at least in Texas, but I think in Columbus, OH as well. Here’s a link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3415828/.

But as the days get shorter I think there’s a transference of that violence away from the overt, on the street type, toward violence that occurs in the darkness, behind closed doors. That’s the world of Capital Offense. It’s a brooding violence with occasional fits of blind rage. It’s the blending of the contract killer and the maniac. Somewhere in the middle there’s something truly terrifying.

Why?

Why did I write, Capital Offense, a story about an executioner who is accused of illegally killing his wife?

I was intrigued by the idea of someone whose job was to legally kill people but was accused of murdering an innocent person. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that few books delved into the life of an executioner and the moral issues that an executioner faces.

I also wanted to examine how a person under stress is affected by extreme events.

Once I started writing the story, I kept adding characters to challenge Kurt and bring his internal moral fight onto an ever larger stage. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the results. I hope you are too.

New chapters are added daily at www.CapitalOffenseBook.com.

Coming to Terms

It’s hard to write about murder.  Over the weekend I saw this:

It reminded me, once again, of the seriousness of what I write about. I chose to write Capital Offense to fit the thriller genre.  When it was done, I almost didn’t know what to do with it.

I’m really happy with the way it turned out and I like it a lot.  But we live in a broken world where murder and desparation and heartbreak and impossible situations are real.  I didn’t want to glamorize violence or crime, I didn’t want anyone to come away thinking that bloodshed is cool.

After a lot of careful consideration and editing, I’m happy with what we’re publishing at www.CapitalOffenseBook.com.  I think it has the components it needs to be a successful novel, but it’s also accomplished with restraint and wisdom, and ultimately the book has a morally validating message.

Nonetheless, when I see videos like the one above and see real stories of the desolation of murder, it makes me think twice.  If you’re reading Capital Offense, let me know what you think.

What’s in a Name?

So, you may ask, your name is Kurt Stephens and the name of your main character uses the same name in your book www.capitaloffensebook.com ? What gives?

First off, I’m not vain, at least not more than any normal author. And I didn’t lack creativity in coming up with the name. I came up with several names actually. The best one being Bronson Reynolds, although the determination that it’s the best is open to opinion. The primary reason I chose to name the main character after myself is that as a relatively unknown author, I thought it would be easier to get the word out about the book by using the same name for main character as the author. (Did I mention that the book was on Twitter https://twitter.com/CapOffense and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/capitaloffensebook?)

So when you hear the name Kurt Stephens, you can think me, the author, or the awesome character in one of the hottest serial books, Capital Offense. Either way, you’ll be right.