Tag Archives: police procedural

Living BOLDLY and fearlessly (while being smart about it)


I’m honored to have one of my articles published in the June 2014 inaugural issue of BOLD Favor magazine, a publication highlighting people, organizations, and causes that inspire people to live boldly and fearlessly. I’d like to share the article with you, my wonderful readers, in its entirety.


The founder and editor-in-chief of BOLD Favor, Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, is an impressive young lady who is a published author, CPA, attorney, speaker, and leader in her community. I always tell her that she is going to be another Oprah in a few years, so I plan to stay on her good side so I can borrow—no, have—a few million bucks from her one day. So when she asked me to submit an article related to living boldly, I was very happy to do so.


When I first thought about living boldly, I considered the time I stepped out of my comfort zone to ski on a steep slope (a mountain slope in the Austrian Alps, of all places), even though I had never touched a ski in my life. After two short lessons, I went up to the top of a hill and tried to practice making turns. Instead, I shot downhill like a bullet, straight toward death or serious injury in the form of a massive concrete support column. The other skiers spotted me as an obvious newbie and decided to move out of my path. I heard the ski instructor yelling for me to turn, but my leg wouldn’t listen. As I got within 20 feet of slamming into that column, I shifted my weight so hard that I executed a perfect 90-degree left turn at the last second. I drifted away with a new lease on life and a promise to start going to church more, as my buddy gave me that smirking “you-know-you-almost-killed-yourself-don’t you?” look.


BEFORE: Living boldly and fearlessly on the ski slopes

BEFORE: Ready to live boldly and fearlessly on the ski slopes


How I lived boldly and fearlessly on the ski slopes

AFTER: How living boldly and fearlessly on the ski slope worked out for me


While that was certainly living boldly, it was also a bit stupid to try skiing in that environment, especially one where most people didn’t even speak English and I didn’t know the German words for ‘hospital’ or ‘last will and testament’. I didn’t want to inspire someone to risk his or her life, so I decided to write about safer ways to live boldly.

Enjoy the article and check out the magazine!



Pushing BOLDLY Through Fear & Past Procrastination

Reprinted from June 2014 issue of BOLD Favor magazine

by James Reid


Taking a leap of faith

Leaping out of the comfort zone (which is safer than skiing)


To me, living boldly is stepping out of your comfort zone and changing your life. Everything starts with that first step.

Most people never take that step because of fear. Fear of being a failure. Fear of uncertainty. Fear of being ridiculed or of being uncomfortable.

I had those fears when it came to my writing. I love to write. I daydream about being a famous author. And I procrastinated—for years—in writing my first novel. It isn’t good enough yet, I told myself. I never learned how to do this. What if people laugh at me and say my book is garbage? Especially after I spent all these years on it?

If you are thinking like this about your own dream, stop it.

I used to volunteer and spend time talking to elderly people with no family. They appreciated the company. And while the conversations were pleasant, all of them expressed the same regret: they wished they’d taken a chance on doing something they loved. They said they made dozens of excuses for their inaction; they were too busy, kids got in the way, etc. They warned me not to make the same mistake because life sneaks up quickly. The situation and timing for living boldly will never be perfect. The best time is always now.

So for me, the fear of having critics rip my book wasn’t as strong as the fear of getting old and looking back on my life, wishing I had taken a chance to achieve great things. How about you? What do you fear most? Failure? Or regret?

I have a feeling you want to change your life and make that big step! As you live boldly, I’ll share some things I’m learning as I go along in my career:

  • Haters will come. They’re always going to be there, so forget them. I fretted about them until someone reminded me that even the Bible has detractors. So if some people have problems with the best-selling book in history, how can I expect my book to emerge unscathed? You’ll never get everyone to like you. Focus on your supporters instead.


  • Forget about making mistakes. In fact, use corporate puffery and call them learning opportunities. You’ll have plenty of them, especially when starting any venture. Of course, you should try learning from other people’s mistakes rather than your own, but it’s still unavoidable. Just learn from them. I’ve learned more of what not to do than what to do in this early stage of my writing career.


  • Aim high. You’ll need to, because people will always be pulling you back down with them. For example, writers groups can be depressing. We’re constantly told we have a better chance of hitting the lottery than of getting an agent and making money, blah blah blah. Yes, the odds are astronomical. I experience them every day. Living boldly means you will, too. So you need to be a realist.


But don’t confuse realism with pessimism. Pessimism is naysaying, with no thought of positive outcomes or solutions. A realist understands the risks and troubles, but plans to overcome them. It’s true that most writers make little money. Yet, James Patterson made $94 million in one year. So somebody is making money by writing. Will I get there? Who knows? Most of us won’t reach that level (if money is your measure of success). But he started at zero like everyone else. Aiming high and believing you can get there is living boldly. It’s difficult, but not impossible.


  • Be patient. I struggle with this myself. But unless you’re lucky, success won’t come fast. However, people expect everything to move quickly these days, so they’ll question you and doubt you, wondering why it hasn’t happened for you yet. Just keep at it. Big things have small beginnings. That first step is the hardest. Once you get going, you start rolling.

It took me ten years to complete and publish my book. People always wonder why I didn’t give up. It never crossed my mind. I love writing stories and I still hold on to that dream.

If you take that bold step to change your life and do what you love, giving up won’t be an option for you, either!

Always Misunderstood — the Life of an Introvert


I’m an introvert. This is probably why I enjoy writing. Only someone comfortable with being alone can spend hours brainstorming, researching, and drawing up plots and sub-plots for crime fiction novels—while not becoming mentally exhausted. Unfortunately, being an introvert also means being misunderstood all the time.

If you’re an introvert, then you already know about being misunderstood. Being misunderstood is a way of life for us. We’re accused of being stuck up, aloof, or unfriendly. Usually, we’re just the opposite.

Everybody understands extroverts. Just get them around people, invite them to parties, and let them talk about themselves. They’ll be happy. In our society, extroversion is the preferred trait.

Introverts are constantly encouraged to be extroverted. We’re prodded to mix and mingle, to smile and be engaging, and to get out there and dance all night long. We’re urged to show we’re not wallflowers and that we can enjoy life as those normal, outgoing people do. And I guarantee every introvert has heard this at almost every party—“What? You’re leaving already? You just got here! Can’t hang?” It could be 3am and we’ll have been at that party for hours. But we’ll still hear that mess and be labeled party-poopers. Sometimes, it makes me want to channel my inner Samuel L. Jackson, but I refrain. After all, I don’t want to end up on Do-Not-Invite lists.


For years, I felt like something was wrong with me as I struggled to fit into a constantly outgoing lifestyle—until I realized that the difference between an introvert and an extrovert is simply how we get our energy. Introverts are givers of energy. Being around people drains us, so we recharge by being alone. Extroverts recharge by being around people. One could say that they are like vampires, sucking energy from others. That’s why introverts can only stay at parties for so long. Being drained all night by other people leaves us depleted.

Lots of people don’t understand this simple difference, which is why we’re always misunderstood. So if you’re an extrovert, let’s clear up some misconceptions you may have about us weird introverts:

We do like people

  • We just don’t like being around them 24/7. We need breaks once in a while.

When we want to be alone, that’s usually all it means

  • Just because we want to be alone doesn’t mean we’re upset with you. We just need to recharge our batteries. Especially when we come home after work. We’ve been getting drained all day.

We aren’t shy or timid

  • We have no problem telling you what we think. Especially if some of you hardcore extroverts can stop talking long enough to let us get a word in.

We aren’t boring

  • We like skiing, zip-lining, scuba-diving, and other fun things. We even like parties. But when it’s after 2am and we’ve been at it for hours, we’re going to ignore your pleas to check out that other party on the opposite side of the city just to see if it’s still ‘jumping’. We’ve got a home to get to.

We aren’t arrogant or stuck-up

  • Chances are, when you meet someone acting standoff-ish, the person probably isn’t intending to appear that way. He’s just in his own world.
  • I’m accused of being arrogant all the time because I may not greet people when we approach. It’s not intentional. Usually, I’m deep in thought about something. I may be preoccupied with a situation on the job. I may have spotted some weird-looking dude nearby and I’m wondering how to incorporate his traits into a character in my novel. I may not even notice someone trying to get my attention, and if I do, I may not remember to smile and say hello (yes, I actually have to tell myself to do those things when meeting strangers because it doesn’t come naturally to me). But if I’m aware of my behavior and concentrate on being sociable, I can be as engaging as anyone. Just don’t expect me to do it for long. I only have so much energy to give.

Of course, I envy extroverts at times. While I can easily isolate myself and write for hours, I wish I could sustain that energy level when promoting my book. Meeting strangers and striking up conversations is taxing. For example, I can go to a book festival and work the crowd for about four hours, max. I’ll have fun doing it, but I’ll be so drained that I’ll need to be alone the rest of the afternoon to recover.

I’ve gotten better at managing my energy levels, though. If you’re an introvert who needs to mix and mingle with the crowd (particularly you writers who hate promoting your books), make sure you have plenty of personal time beforehand and consider gulping an energy drink (5-hour-Energy, coffee) or eating whole fruit a couple of hours into your social events. It will give you enough energy to share with others for at least a few hours. That way, you’ll avoid having to recharge by retreating into your personal shell and being misunderstood by everyone you meet.

For you fellow introverts out there, what are some ways you prepare for your big social events?

Let’s get the Blog Hop started…my Writing Process

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I love to write.


I love the process of editing and watching my writing get better. I’ve been writing short stories since I was a child. Creating characters and situations out of thin air has always been something that’s been easy for me, and each time I write, I feel I’m honing and perfecting this craft. So when Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, Attorney-CPA, Author, Mentor, and Editor-in-Chief of BOLD magazine asked me to do a Blog Hop, I jumped at it!


So what’s a Blog Hop?   It’s a way to provide you and three of your friends or respected peers some great publicity by sharing your insight and experiences. The blog hop consists of 4 questions (answered below). One person answers them in his blog, and introduces three people who are ‘assigned’ to answer the questions the following week. Each of those three people mentions who added him or her to the blog hop, answer the questions, and find three others to continue the cycle. It’s a great way to expand your circle.


So without further ado, let me present to you the lady who invited me to this Blog Hop…the future Oprah, Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell!

Lynita Blackwell

Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, an Attorney & CPA, is the Chief Leadership Officer of The Leading Through Living Community, a personal and professional development organization that encourages, equips, and champions people to be successful members of and leaders for their communities, in their professions, and personally. LTLC accomplishes this through individual coaching, workshops, and on-going support and opportunity identification. Lynita is also author of Leading Through Living: A Guide for Women Seeking Growth Through Leadership, a “mentor in your pocket” for women seeking practical advice to personal and professional advancement; and Editor-in-Chief of BOLD Magazine. Visit Lynita online at www.LynitaMitchellBlackwell.com or www.LeadingThroughLiving.com.


Okay, now on to answering my 4 Big Questions:


1) What am I working on?

  • There’s always something! In addition to blogging and building awareness for my first fiction novel Partners in Crime, I’m busy outlining my second novel. It is the next installment in my series of murder mysteries featuring Atlanta Homicide Investigator Jeff Strickland. My goal is to finish the first draft of the manuscript by September. This will probably take me another 2-3 weeks, as I gather research, lay out scenes and character arcs, and uncover potential directions that the premise is capable of following. For those looking to outline their works of fiction, I recommend this book.


2)  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

  • I’ve been told that my writing is descriptive, suspenseful, and gritty. It evokes strong emotions in certain scenes, but is balanced with a dry sense of humor at the right times. I definitely don’t want to be “Hollywood”. I want realism. I want the characters to deal with things that some fans of crime shows or books may not think about.
  • For example, few police departments have their own crime labs capable of conducting complex forensic tests. Many resort to using a private or state lab. Some state labs handle the complex forensic tests for every police department in their states. So what happens if the state places a quantity limit of only 10 or 12 items to test for each homicide case? And what if a crime scene is littered with hundreds of commonplace things that may or may not be evidence? Which ones does a detective choose, knowing that anything could be a critical clue? I highlighted those real-life scenarios in Partners In Crime.


3) Why do I write what I write?  

  • I’ve enjoyed writing since I was six. My mother grounded me quite often as a child (I was usually up to no good), and since I had no luxuries like PlayStation or the internet back then, I entertained myself by writing stories or reading the classics in my mother’s small library. After devouring every Sherlock Holmes story, I began to enjoy reading about true crime, forensic investigations, behavioral profiling, etc.
  • I decided to write about a homicide detective after a close relative was murdered. The angst and stress it caused my family was palpable. We peppered the detectives with questions, demanding status updates on the progress of the investigation. I was engrossed in how the detectives strategized and worked our case to find and arrest the killer. When I decided to write Partners In Crime, I wanted to focus on the real-life setbacks and emotions that both the victim’s loved ones and detectives go through.


4) How does your writing process work?

  • To get into my zone, I need my noise-cancelling headphones, a fully-charged MP3 player, and a Starbucks. I can concentrate there despite being surrounded by activity. Writing at home is harder. I have a comfortable recliner, a flat-screen internet-connected TV, and a huge collection of blu-rays, so I’m easily distracted at home. A Starbucks is best for me. A library is a close second.
  • Once I have the location down, my writing process depends on where I am in my writing. As I mentioned above, I’m working on outlining my book, which is something I didn’t do for Partners In Crime. The outline isn’t set in stone; it’s great for guiding me along but if one of my characters ‘speaks’ to me and goes in an unplanned direction, I let it happen and see where it takes me. I’ve learned not to edit until I have finished the first draft of the entire manuscript. Otherwise, I will never finish the book because I’m constantly driven to edit the second after I type the words. That is a terribly inefficient way to write, which is why it took me years to do my first one. The second one will take only a fraction of the time.

So that concludes the answers to my Big 4 Questions! Now it is time to introduce the next three thought leaders, up-and-coming writers, and all around good people who will carry the torch and keep this Blog Hop moving! Here are Jewel Brodie, Kathryn McClatchy, and C. Edward Baldwin…


 Jewel Brodie

Jewel Brodie is a certified Life Purpose Coach® from the Life Purpose Coaching Centers International. Jewel is also the Owner of an independent Life Coaching Business called The Gem in You, which was created to help women achieve personal goals, accomplish career ambitions, and identify their unique purpose in life. Through one-on-one discussions, mentoring and coaching, Jewel seeks to assist women in discovering the many gems that often remain hidden from society. For more information about Jewel Brodie, visit  http://www.thegeminyou.com



Kathryn McClatchy has been reading and dreaming of writing novels since before she can remember. Writing was a large part of her first jobs in the newspaper and marketing industries. After her sons started school, Kathryn returned to college, pursuing a Master of Arts in English. She also learned that she loved teaching, and went on to teach Composition and British Literature at Texas Woman’s University, Richland College, and Lakeview Centennial High School. She has been published in newspapers, magazines, and academic journals. At thirty-seven, Kathryn suffered a number of strokes and had to relearn almost everything, including reading and writing. After being disabled by the strokes, she decided to pursue her dream of writing a novel. To learn more about Kathryn see her blog at http://kathrynmcclatchy.com/

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After spending nearly twenty years in the insurance industry investigating insurance claims and hearing some of the wildest tales imaginable, C. Edward Baldwin decided to immerse himself wholeheartedly in the realm of make-believe. His debut novel is Fathers House. Baldwin earned a BA degree in Communications from North Carolina A&T State University and a MA degree in English from East Carolina University. He and his wife Natasha are the proud parents of two boys. You can read his blog here at: https://cedwardbaldwinblog.wordpress.com/

Money’s tight? Need an escape? Win a free signed copy of Partners In Crime

Win a FREE, signed copy of Partners In Crime! Yes, you can escape with a good read and save money at the same time! No, this is not an April Fool’s Joke. My publicist and Chief Marketing Officer (which consists of only me) felt that instead of just playing jokes on people to mark April 1st, I can play jokes on people AND provide a gift for the hardworking people out there. Click below to enter your name for one of two free copies of my debut novel Partners in Crime from Goodreads. That’s all you have to do. Enjoy! Giveaway ends on tax day, April 15th!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Partners in Crime by James   Reid

Partners in Crime

by James Reid

Giveaway ends April 15, 2014. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win