Monday 24 March 2014

Go on, break a leg!

Over the weekend my 10-year-old goes and breaks his arm, right? He was jumping on a trampoline, except the trampoline was on its side and he was kamikazing himself up and off it, no hands just cries of delight (which quickly turned to yelps of agony and far too many swear words for one little lad).
Photo courtesy Emma Hamlin

So my husband and I do as all guilty, er, good parents do and whiz him to our local hospital to survey the damage and mop him up.

Nothing too unusual there I'd have thought but as I bring him in, face ashen, stomach in knots (and that's just me), I notice a ripple of delight amongst the older adults working in the Emergency Department. They're all smiling, one or two laugh and all want to hear the story for themselves. Like a soldier returning from war, or an aerial skiier, fresh from Sochi, young Felix is a bonafide hero. And I shine in his afterglow. Apparently.

The nurses, doctors and various medical hangers-on couldn't be more thrilled for him, and me. They'd high-5 us both if Felix's hand wasn't quite so swollen and I wasn't hiding behind mine, feeling like a Terrible Mother.

Here I was thinking they'd call the Department of Child Protection and report me for bad parenting. Turns out, it's gold medals all round.

One nurse goes so far as to say, "We love it when kids come in with fractures!" and I'm not sure whether to bite her head off or puff out my chest with pride.

Clearly reading my confused and slightly psychotic expression, she quickly back pedals. "Sorry, it's just that it's nice to know that some kids are still outdoors, having fun, getting up to mischief. At least they're not all inside on their Playstations."

Better to have lived ...

Suddenly, I feel a whole lot better. That's right. I AM a good parent. No helicopter hovering from me! My child gets to run and jump and break his arm!

And when I turn to Felix and say, "Still, you won't be doing anything quite so silly again, will you?" he stares at me blankly and then shakes his head emphatically.

"I'll just do it better next time, Mum," he declares between gasps of excruciating pain.

And now, only now, do I feel a small sliver of pride.

Sure, it's going to be a wild ride with this one, but at least he'll be riding wild in the real world, and not on the sofa with a controller in his hands.

And the writer in me can't help thinking that he'll have one hell of a story to tell on Monday at school. It'll certainly make a more gripping tale than what level he reached on Black Ops.

Happy living, everyone.
xo Christina

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Write yourself into my next mystery

Want to be the hero of my next Ghostwriter Mystery, standing side by side Roxy Parker as she attempts to thwart evil yet again?

Or would you prefer to be The Bad Guy with the good lines and the heart of darkness?

Now is your chance!

As I begin to craft Roxy Parker's sixth adventure — one that I think will surprise even my oldest fans — I am doing what I always do and simply plucking names out of the air for the various new characters I introduce. That got me thinking ...

Why randomly pick names when I can get my beloved readers involved in the process? 

I've done this once before and it was a big hit, so I'd like to try it again. But this time, I'm asking a teeny bit more of you.

How to become Roxy's friend/foe

Here's what you have to do: download a copy of Roxy's latest mystery, Words Can Kill, from Amazon. (Or if you've already done that, simply log in and click on.) Then, after you've read it, jot down a quick review on my Amazon page, letting others know whether you loved it, hated it or felt something in between. Your review doesn't have to be long, profound or even positive. I'd just like to hear more feedback from the people who really matter—you, my readers.

The first three people to review Words Can Kill on Amazon, will be named in my next book. I'll just use your first name (or a pseudonym of your choosing) but you do need to let me know, via this blog or an email, so I know I have your permission.*

What's more, if you get in FIRST, you get to choose whether your moniker is used as the hero or villain. It's completely up to you.

Sound like a deal?

If you're not interested in writing an Amazon review or have read it through another eReader, that's okay, too. Jot a review on the comments section of this blog and you will still be in the running.

Just get in quick! And thanks, again, for all your support.

xo Christina

*NB: Now for the small print... Participants can not dictate any matters regarding the character, other than their first name. All matters regarding the character, including behaviour, personality etc, are at the complete discretion of the author. If you do not contact the author through this blog or her email (above) your name will not be used, so don't hesitate to let me know once you've done your review. Thanks.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

A timely airline tale

Hi guys,
I wrote this short story many years ago, and you can tell from the writing, it's no masterpiece, but it is eerily prophetic in the light of the latest news. I dedicate this to the lost souls of Malaysian Airlines 370. I hope by reprinting this I am doing them no disrespect. That is not my intention. Instead, perhaps this is one solution (albeit unlikely) to a mystery that is, as yet, unsolved. May they rest in peace, wherever they are.   

A Voice From the Grave
By C.A. Larmer

A shrill sound woke Clare from a deep sleep and, as though on automatic pilot, she stretched one hand in the direction of the telephone and put it to her ear.
“Hello?” she said, her voice croaky with sleep.
“Clare?” She did not immediately recognise the caller. “Clare, it’s Patricia from the airline. Quick, switch on the telly, there’s been an awful accident!”
“I’ve just heard it on the late news!”
Clare slowly registered Patricia’s words then sat up with a start. “Oh God, you don’t mean ...?”
“Oh yes. Take a look ... It’s horrendous ...” Her voice trailed off as the phone went dead.
Clare hauled herself out of bed and grappled with the TV controls until she found the 24-hour news channel.
“... and still no sign of survivors,” came an urgent voice over badly lit footage.
The camera was panning the ocean, nothing but black, lolling waves and some flotsam and jetsam to be seen. But this was not random sea debris. This was the remains of Flight 405. She sat down with a thud. As the Pacific Ocean turned into a McDonald’s advertisement, the phone startled her again.
“It’s the flight you were supposed to work, isn’t it?” asked Patricia.
“Yes.” She recalled the sudden illness that had forced her to stopover in a hotel instead. They would call it a lucky escape. “Have they determined a cause yet?”
“God no, too early for that.”
“But ... but they must have said something. Do they think it could be pilot error?”
“Oh, I hope not. Wasn’t Jason flying?”
Clare’s heart skipped a beat thinking of the pilot, Jason Goddle. He would be little more than fish food now. She dropped the phone and sprinted into the bathroom to throw up.

The plane truth

Two harrowing weeks passed before the airline officials came to meet with her and it was with some relief that she opened the door to them. She wanted to get this interview out of the way. While she had escaped the flight, her luggage had not, and Clare knew that would make her an instant suspect.
“Good evening, ma’am, my name is Gary Trooper,” said the older of the two men. “I’m investigating the crash of Flight 405. This is my associate, Bob Smith.” He indicated a younger man behind him. “We just need to ask you a few questions on behalf of the airline. Can we come in?”
“Of course.” She showed them into her lounge room. “Have you determined the cause of the crash, yet?”
“Yes,” he said. “It was a bomb. An amateur one, but deadly nonetheless.”
“Oh God. And do you have any idea who? Why?”
The official shook his head. “Nothing certain, yet.”
“You must feel like a very lucky woman.” It was a statement from Smith and she simply shrugged back.
“I had a lot of good friends on that flight. I’m not so lucky to have lost them.”
“And, of course, your suitcase.”
“Yes,” she said, looking away. “It was too late to get it off and now it’s lost to the ocean forever.”
“Well, not quite.” Smith dumped a large plastic bag on the coffee table. In it were a selection of her things, including some photos, jewellery and a pair of shoes. “These washed up with the debris,” he said. “You might want to take a closer look.”
She pulled the bag towards her and noticed that each item was contained in its own Ziplock bag.
“That’s how we found them,” Trooper said. “Can you tell us, Miss Harrow, why you packed your things like this?”
Clare glanced from Trooper to Smith and back again. “I’m a pedantic packer. What are you suggesting?”
“We’re just investigating all avenues.”
“You don’t honestly think I placed the bomb?” She couldn’t believe her ears. “Surely, if the bomb was in my bag, these Prada pumps would be in a million pieces by now? Besides, in case you’ve forgotten, I was due to work that flight until my stomach suddenly gave way.”
“See, now there’s the problem,” Trooper said, leaning forward to make his point. “No one actually saw you throw up. You could easily have faked your own illness to get discharged from duty but, in case you couldn’t retrieve your luggage, you packed your special items in waterproof plastic.”
“Oh this is all so ridiculous,” she spat. “If what you say is true, tell me why! Why would I want to kill 124 people?”
“You didn’t. You just had one person in mind, the pilot, Jason Goddle.”
Clare’s eyebrows shot up. “What on earth for? Jason was a dear friend, everybody loved him ...”
“Particularly you,” Trooper boomed. “We know about your affair, Clare. Jason wanted to break it off; you weren’t going to hear of it. Not without ruining him for good.”
“This is all hypothesis,” Clare said, calmly. “You have no proof of this and, well, Jason’s hardly in a position to corroborate.”
“That’s where you’re wrong.” He signaled to Smith who produced a tape recorder.
“What’s this?” she asked, her brows furrowed.
“Let’s just call it a message from the grave.” He pressed ‘Play’.
“I don’t know what to do,” came the sound of a man’s voice. Clare’s stomach lurched. It was Jason.
Another unfamiliar voice said, “What’s the problem? Just tell her it’s over.”
“That is the problem, Clare won’t hear of it. She came to see me at the hotel today, said she’d tell my wife, blow the whole thing sky high.”
Smith turned the machine off and glared at the stunned woman. “Did you know we record everything that goes on inside the cockpit? This was taken from the cockpit voice recorder about half an hour before the bomb went off. It proves you had motive as well as access to the pilot’s bag, which we now believe contained the bomb. I’d say you placed the bomb while he wasn’t looking, then faked your own illness to get off that plane.”
Trooper looked at her angrily. “Was he really worth the lives of 123 innocent people?”
Clare crumpled. “I just wanted to see him hurt, you know, the way he hurt me?” She dropped her head into her hands. “It was such a tiny explosive, I thought it would just knock the plane around a bit, tarnish his perfect bloody record. I never expected it to blow the whole lot apart ... I just wanted the world to see him for what he was ...”
Smith tossed a recent newspaper towards her. “I’d say you failed.”
As he read Clare her rights and led her away, the last thing she saw was the headline, in large, bold type: 
“Nation mourns the death of loving husband and hero pilot.”


Tuesday 11 March 2014

New blog, new look, new era

Hi guys,

I've developed an exciting new blog that's snappier and easier to use at:

If you've found your way to this page, welcome and I hope you enjoy my future rants (and a couple of older rants I've pasted below, FYI).

If you're on my old blog: you'll still find plenty to read here. Just scroll down and enjoy. However, please be aware that all my future rants will appear on my new blog page, so I do hope you tag that page and continue following my regular sprays.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you ALL for your past support and hope you'll follow me on my new journey at:

Do get in touch with me below, or at:

Happy reading!
xo Christina (C.A.) Larmer

She's baaaaack!

Good news for Roxy Parker fans. Australia's favourite Ghostwriter is back, this time traipsing all over Europe—from the snow-capped heights of Mt Pilatus to the craggy cliffs of the Italian Riviera—in her quest to track down her estranged boyfriend Max. He's vanished from a luxury Swiss resort and his flatmate, Jake, has just shown up murdered back in Berlin. The cops think Max did it, but Roxy knows better ...

To find out more about the fifth Ghostwriter Mystery, Words Can Kill, head straight to Amazon where it's now available on Kindle. You can also download a copy through other readers, including iPad and Nook, in a few days.

In the meantime, I do hope you enjoy the read and, if you do, please jot me a quick review. It helps to spread the word and enable more Roxy Parker adventures to come.

Happy reading, everyone.
xo Christina

Writing with kids is murder

So I've just bashed a man across the head with his 1920's Gibson guitar, there's blood spurting everywhere, bits of his brain are bubbling out through his skull. We're in a dark Berlin apartment, I'm spouting Italian and he's looking very confused as he takes his final gasping breath. He'd just given me a lift from Riomaggiore, he'd thought I was a good guy, so why ... why ...?

"Muuuum! Can you come here?"

Huh? What? Who?

Damn it, there goes that thread again. Writing with kids in the house can lead to murderous thoughts, but not a lot of actual crime writing. I'm two-thirds of the way through my fifth Ghostwriter Mystery and now that the summer holidays have hit, it's all starting to go AWOL. Sort of like attempting to drive a manual vehicle when you've only ever driven automatic, it's a case of spits and spurts, bunny hops and splutters and you occaisonally make ground but you never really get anywhere. Not in a hurry, anyway.

"Mum, Felix can't find his money."

There he goes again. Except that's the other one. There's two of them, you see, so it's twice the battle and half the luck.

"It's your fault for having us," he says now, reading over my shoulder as I write this. That's the older one again, the cheekier one, the one who should know better. "It sounds like you absolutely hate us," he adds.

"Muuum, I can't find my money," says the younger one now, wandering into my office. "What are you writing?"
"Mum hates us."
"No I do not."
"Yes you do, says so right there on your blog."
"I'm just explaining to my readers why it's so HARD to finish novels with you guys on holidays. Now, if you'll let me get on with it, I'll stop writing about you."
"But what about my money?" demands the younger one.
I sigh, stop typing and turn to face him. "Why do you need your money, sweetie?"
"Because I want you to take me shopping to buy Ratchet & Clank. It's on special at EB Games."
"Shopping? Really? I was hoping to finish a few chapters today."
"But Mum, I'm really bored."
"And then we'll have something to do and we'll leave you aloooooone!" adds the other one, the older one. Did I mention he was cheekier?

At some point, this point actually, I start screaming like a hapless murder victim and they rush out of the room knowing they've pushed me too far, and I'm left alone for a blissful paragraph or two before ...

"Muuum, I can't find my socks!"
I try breathing deeply. "Why do you need your socks?"
"Because I have to put my shoes on if we're going to go shopping."
I growl quietly to myself, I save the pathetic three pars I've managed that day, I push away from my desk and I search for the money, the socks and my car keys.

It looks like we're going shopping.

xo Christina

Death by Smart Key

good_kindle_booksYou know what they say: there are two types of people who are fascinated by murder—sociopaths and crime writers. I like to think I fall into the second category but I do have to wonder whether there's a little of the former in me as well.

You see, just the other day I was thinking about the new fangled 'smart key' and how easy it would be to kill someone with it. For anyone who doesn't drive a swanky new luxury vehicle (which would be, er, me) take a look at my latest Ghostwriter Mystery—Words Can Kill (now out on Amazon and slowly making its way to other ereaders). I feature a Mercedes 'smart key' in this one, although it's not used as a means of murder. But it could be!

The 2012 Audi Q3, like the one that Amanda Stevens drives.

When Cars Attack!

I read recently in the Sydney Morning Herald how some poor woman was trapped in her own car in soaring heat by her smart key. She used the keyless entry remote to get into the luxury Audi Q3. Then, once in, the doors automatically locked and she couldn't reopen the car. What's more, she couldn't start the engine to get the airconditioning going. The key had glitched! Suddenly, the desperate soul found herself trapped on a sundrenched parking lot, in the heat of the day, with no-one else about. She couldn't get out, the heat inside the car was unbearable, and her screams for help went on deaf ears. Well, no ears, as the parking lot was empty at that time.

Saved by the bloke

Fortunately, some bloke showed up after 12 minutes and managed to open the door from outside, and the gasping woman was able to escape, collapsing onto the searing pavement with great relief and, I suspect, never quite looking at her fancy new vehicle with the same innocent delight again. Apparently someone else had a similar experience a few years ago with a Porsche.

The key to a good murder?
So, of course, this all got me thinking: What a clever way to murder someone without leaving so much as a print! Here's how it would go: You have two smart keys and one car. You give your husband—let's bump him off shall we?—the wrong key and keep the right one. Then you lure him to a secluded spot on a hot day and watch as he goes to unlock the vehicle with the useless key. You press your smart key at the same time, so he thinks his key has worked and gains entry to the car. Then, once in, you lock it again and stop him from getting out.

He tries to start the car and his key fails. He tries to get out, but you have secured the doors. He starts to panic and you walk away (or drive your old bomb, whatever works for you) as his final gasping cries for help go unheeded, his screams echoing down the empty road. (Cue sinister laughter now.)

Okay, so it's a little elaborate and he could probably just smash his way out, but it gives you a tiny glimpse of the worrying way my mind works. And it must make you wonder how my husband sleeps so soundly in the bed beside me each night. I certainly do.

Of course we can't afford a luxury vehicle with a smart key, so he's safe for now. (Cue more sinister laughter, then fade away...)

Happy reading, everybody.
xo Christina