Author Jaime Rush plots murder and mayhem where ever the mood strikes her!

Ever hear a murder plot in progress?

Been enjoying your latte or pasta primavera and overheard someone plotting murder? If you have, it was probably a writer. (At least I hope so!) You'd think that writers, being solitary souls holed away in their cave of ideas, would do their brainstorming in private. And I'm sure many do, even me. But sometimes murder and mayhem is the topic of at lunch or dinner out in public.

I often brainstorm with my mom or my husband. A few weeks ago I was trying to figure out some plot points in book five of my Offspring series. Precisely, how my heroine becomes the target of an assassin not assigned to kill her. We sat at the bar sipping margaritas while waiting for our table. I confess that while immersed in story and plot issues I am not thinking about who is around me. I'm sure the bartender got an earful!

One of the funniest incidences was what we now call "The Red Lobster story." My mom and I were plotting, trying to figure out how my villain, a serial killer, would get rid of the bodies of the young women he's killed without leaving trace evidence. We went into the restroom on the way out. You know how you walk into a restroom and it just feels like no one in there? Yeah, that's how it felt.

We went into our stalls, and my mom said, "What if you burned the bodies?"

"They can still extract DNA from the bits of bone that would be left, I think."

"How about if you bury the bodies deep?" she suggested.

"Floods can wash up the remains, and animals dig them up, too."

We finished and went to the sink to wash our hands. Then the solution hit me. "I know! On a Dateline years ago, they were investigating a possible serial killer in Ireland. All these young women were disappearing without a trace, and the authorities were stumped. They figured that the perpetrator was probably chopping up the bodies and feeding them to the pigs on the many pig farms in Ireland. Pigs eat everything. That's what I'm going to do!"

We heard a clunk in the back stall of the restroom. Mom and I looked at each other with wide eyes, then ducked down to peer beneath the stall walls … sure enough, there was a pair of shoes at the far end! Now picture this: poor, unsuspecting woman goes in to relieve herself and overhears two women plotting ways to get rid of bodies. Is very quiet, hoping they don't know she's there. Probably squatting there, legs quivering under the strain. And then something happens, and she makes a sound that gives her away. And she knows we'll have to kill her.

Except we don't, of course. What we do is even worse. Flushed and embarrassed, we duck out of the restroom and leave. It's only as we're on the road that we realize we should have let the woman know we were only plotting fictional body disposal. But hey, what a story that woman has to tell!

What's the strangest story you've ever overheard someone telling?


And for something fun! I've been running my Kick Butt First Line contest for every book I release: Shocking, suspenseful … make us want more! Cash prizes! Contest runs from May 1 through June 1, 2010. It's open to readers and writers. The entries are entertaining to read, even if you don't enter. For details on that and my books, go to my website.

- Jaime Rush