MICHAEL D. MANLEY

MYSTERY AUTHOR


The EVIL acts of supremely wicked people we call KILLERS have both fascinated and frightened polite society for many years.

www.michaelmanleywriter.com

MY GOALS

The evil acts of supremely wicked people we call killers have both fascinated and frightened polite society for many years. Given how gruesome murder can be, it's no wonder why it continues to captivate the human interest. Do we all have a hidden side that lusts for the forbidden? Many of us might have a dark thought or motive from time to time, but there’s a world of difference between thought and action, between fantasizing and doing.


As a writer, I seek to explore the willingness of some to step over the line and turn their twisted thoughts into horrible reality. That’s the journey I want to put the reader on and that’s the experience I hope YOU have.  Can we all be pushed to commit the ultimate taboo? 


Crafting a thrilling crime novel is always a challenge but I've enjoyed every minute and aspect of it!

I Appreciate YOU!

Thank YOU for checking out my website! I welcome any questions or feedback you have about my books {CURRENTLY 3 SERIES IN-PRINT: 8 CRIME-FICTION NOVELS}.


Please stay close for updates on the latest book releases, book signings, speaking engagements, and more...


I sincerely appreciate your interest in my work. 


PLEASE DON'T KEEP ME A SECRET... IF YOU ENJOY MY BOOKS, TELL A FRIEND!

3 CRIME-FICTION SERIES: 8 BOOKS

There's much to see here. So, take your time, look around, and learn all there is to know about Michael & his writing in the mystery genre. Hope you enjoy the site and take a moment to drop Michael a line.

Get the Books Now

Articles

DARN GOOD RESEARCH THAT WON'T DRAIN YOUR WALLET

If you’re intending to embark on a career as a writer, there’s a secret you should know: when it comes to doing research, you’ll be picking up the tab. The goal of this article is to present you with an overview of how you can conduct efficient research while ensuring prompt payment of that all-important gym membership each and every month. Let’s warm-up with some basics before moving on to the heavy lifting!


Authors face many economic challenges, but one of the toughest is that they most often have to ante up their own cash to get the ball rolling. The average author stands a better chance of busting out ten one-arm chins-ups than getting elusive advance money up front to spend on research. As a beginning writer, you'll generally need to string together everything you can to figure out how to make your story work. But here's another little secret that no one but you needs to know: you don't need to spend anything if you don't want to.


Thankfully, we’ve got a myriad of internet tools and search engines that can bring the world to your laptop screen. However, there’s no substitute for walking the streets where your characters walk. One more word about going online: BE CAREFUL! Make certain you always double-check your sources. Simply because something is posted doesn't make it true. The upside is access to a wide-variety of sources lightning fast. Let’s super-set this with some additional information about doing research on a budget, regardless of topic.


Go to the local library. This might seem a no-brainer, but it’s often overlooked. Your public library grants you free access to knowledgable librarians eager to help, a litany of books, newspapers, and journals, plus lectures hosted by experts on a wide-range of topics. You can overtrain very easily, but you cannot overuse your library card.


Go to the experts. If you wanted to know how to score well in the Mr. Universe contest, then you’d read the works of the late Mike Mentzer, who won the title in 1978 with the first and only perfect 300 score. Regardless of what you’re writing about, there’s nothing better than picking the brain of somebody who’s lived it. Just don’t forget to thank them in your acknowledgments. Along these same lines, network with other writers and reach out to readers. You will soon become keenly aware that these individuals are passionate about writing and deeply knowledgable about a wide-range of topics.


BE RIGHT! Not every reader will fact-check your writing, but there are those who do. To build credibility, you’ve got to get the details right. In fiction, certain liberties may be taken. But if you put The Golden Gate Bridge smack dab in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, expect to be called out on the carpet! 

THE ABOVE ARTICLE IS PART OF A SERIES WRITTEN ALONG WITH NORTH CAROLINA AUTHOR, VINCE GUAGLIONE. TO READ THE OTHER ARTICLES IN THE SERIES, PLEASE VISIT: https://www.vinceguaglione.com

I Am Mighty, I Am Mundane; I Am NOT Your Hero

Does a hero need to fly? Wear a utility belt?? Shoot laser beams from his eyes???


Throughout history, mankind has been mesmerized by brave tales of heroism. From the early tribes who, after learning to tame fire, would huddle for warmth and protection to tell stories of strength and resilience to modern movie-goers who sat in plush seats transfixed as powerhouse Thanos flung their favorite superheroes like rag dolls in stunning CGI combat in Marvel’s epic blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War.


Heroes elevate us from the hollow predictable to the glorious possible; they encourage us to improve ourselves and deepen our connections with others. Indeed, legendary writer Mark Twain noted, “If everyone was satisfied with himself, there would be no heroes.”*


As I type this, I’m a thirty-eight year-old guy living in Durham, North Carolina, USA. I have Cerebral Palsy, which afflicts my body with spasticity (stiffness), chronic pain and limits my mobility. I frequently use either a walker or a power-chair on the rare occasions I leave home. Throughout my life, invariably, someone will approach me and say something like, “Good for you for getting out” or “I will pray for you!” or suggest I’m a hero for merely going about my day. 


Now, admittedly, most of these people are well-intentioned; I’m good-natured about their curiosity, and there’s no animus. But sometimes it gets under my skin being hoisted onto someone’s pedestal. As we’ve witnessed, dear reader, the only thing society loves more than raising up heroes is knocking them down.


So, what’s the big deal? People are just being nice, right? On the one hand, yeah. One the other hand, it’s asserting my disability is something extraordinary or villainous that must be consciously and consistently overcome by heroic decisions and feats. And, of course, that’s condescending and marginalizing.


What I want to convey, as crystal clearly as possible, is that a person’s disability is simply part of his or her identity. It doesn’t automatically make somebody a hero any more than it necessarily makes life a struggle. People with disabilities are people, first. Their value lies in their unique identities, not in the number of hardships or hurdles to overcome. Disabled people aren’t any more heroic for existing in their bodies than anybody else. Calling someone heroic, in this context, is just the opposite side of the same coin of pity, and nobody wants that label.


It’s okay to be both mighty and mundane, forceful and fragile when slogging through the same experiences. Calling someone with a disability a hero doesn’t grant them any extra armor against the gut-wrenchingly tough experiences in life all humans must face. Sometimes in my life, I’ve felt disappointed I wasn’t living up to some ideal or standard set for me because of my disability. 


Don’t get me wrong: I truly want to set a good example for others. But, if I inspire others, let it be because of my thoughts, actions and empathy toward others rather than merely my Cerebral Palsy. 


To play devil’s advocate, some might believe that people with disabilities should be spotlighted and praised as a method for advancing social awareness, reforms and legislation. From one perspective, there’s logic in this argument. But, as we see, many minority groups have regressed and suffered a backlash when false praise is lavished upon them. 

Trust me, I’m no hero. I’m just a guy, mighty and mundane, full of potential just like everyone else.


*Source: https://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/hero-worship.html?p=2


Copyright ©️ 2018. Michael D. Manley. All Rights Reserved.

APPRECIATE YOUR GENEROSITY, BUT WE’VE OUTGROWN IT

“Generosity has built America. When we fail to invest in children, we have to pay the cost. “ ~ Bob Keeshan*


At the start, let me be clear, donating to a charity [or cause] which helps children with disabilities is wonderful. If you, dear reader, have done so then you should feel awesome about yourself. However, doing so is, quite frankly, not enough and will, most probably, not create the lifelong change you intended.


We, as human beings, have an innate desire to categorize: to put labels on people, places and ideas. It’s only natural as we’ve grown accustomed in this high-tech, modern world to having rapid solutions, to complex problems, right at our fingertips.


But the byproduct of that behavior, however unintentional, is that people get lost: paint with a broad brush and one’s bound to miss the fringes. And in the developmental disability community within the United States of America, a great many people occupy that space on the margins. It’s time we think and act very differently in America. One of my heroes Mike Mentzer quipped, “In order to lead the orchestra, you must first turn your back to the crowd.” 


Approximately six [6] million people in America are diagnosed with a developmental disability. Chances are you know one or two: perhaps in your inner circle or along the periphery of your social network. Not hitting closely enough to home? Let’s twist the example a bit: suppose YOU acquire some sort of disability and require assistance independently doing those mundane, but necessary, tasks we all take for granted. Wouldn’t you feel relief knowing a litany of services exist to ease your burden and that shouldered by your loving family? Lastly, and not to drift too deeply into the philosophical, aren’t we all bettered when the least fortunate amongst us is lifted up in a compassionate and dignified manner?


I’m a thirty-eight year-old guy living in North Carolina, USA with Cerebral Palsy [CP]. People with CP were frequently born with the condition; although, some acquire it later in life. The damage inflicted upon the brain cannot currently be fixed. Treatment and physical therapy help manage my impaired body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone and reflex, posture and balance. 


Despite my hard work and my family’s best intentions, my body is starting to deteriorate now. I’m having tremendous trouble independently doing certain activities of daily living [ADLs], such as getting my foot over the four-inch lip of the shower door. Fortunately, I’ve still got my mind, my imagination and “The Dark Knight Trilogy” on blu-ray. I started a search to determine what services and resources, both locally and nationally, I could enlist to assist me. Here’s the bottom-line, which was affirmed time and again:


A myriad of doctors and agencies are available for the disabled as children, but nobody really anticipated their needs as they entered into adulthood.


Should I have been surprised? Children are still malleable. It’s very rewarding for providers to witness the positive changes their aggressive treatments produce. Moreover, kids are cute and photogenic. Fundraising is easier, therefore, and everybody feels fulfilled. But like most conditions, developmental disabilities aren’t managed with an injection of services and compassion at the onset of symptoms. It requires repeated treatments over time. If the goal is for the kids with disabilities to grow up, let’s make sure they’ve got a support system to grow into rather than age-out of. Some clinics where children with disabilities can receive care impose seemingly arbitrary upper-limit age restrictions. For instance, a child might receive ongoing treatment until age thirty-one, and then??? There’s not a definitive plan to transition his care. 


Moreover, if a person cannot stay in her home and must enter a facility at which she could receive care / assistance with ADLs, many such facilities impose strict age minimums: fifty-five, sixty-two or similar benchmarks. If one inquiring about becoming a resident falls below the minimum age, as I surely do at age thirty-eight, the prospective facility will [with rare exception] reject the candidate.


In medicine, the term “Arrested Development” denotes a cessation of physical development. Although, mental health clinicians abandoned the use of the term in context with developmental disabilities. In the field of archaeology, the term still refers to a plateau being reached in some human endeavor. I believe American healthcare has been arrested for considerable time in the breath of services and resources available to higher-functioning persons with developmental disabilities, like myself.

Social networking sites and forums are riddled with individuals lamenting the fact that they’ve “got nowhere to go” when they can no longer care for themselves. And it’s an untenable situation to thrust that burden of care upon parents or other family who are aging and overwhelmed.


Hopefully, as more people wake up to this problem and its scope, more people will feel compelled to advocate on behalf of the disabled. Very often, people with developmental disabilities and their caregivers can’t lobby for themselves, or are too exhausted by the rigors of life to do so. On a personal note, hopefully talented writers will lend their pens [and keyboards] to help write and edit grants for services for people with developmental disabilities.


*Source: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/bob_keeshan_529981?src=t_generosity


Copyright ©️ 2018. Michael D. Manley. All Rights Reserved. 

Articles Continued

A FOUR-INCH MOUNTAIN : How My Disability Keeps Me Indoors

A four-inch rise doesn’t seem insurmountable, does it? For comparison, the standard Snickers candy bar measures one-sixteenth short of four inches, end-to-end out of the wrapper.*


However, one fateful morning, after an invigorating shower with a body wash promising a gentle but masculine aroma, I discovered I couldn’t lift my leg up and over the four-inch lip of the shower. Instantly, I knew this was a portent of some very dark days to come.

Being homebound {or housebound} means a person can’t leave his home without extreme difficulty, and because of this difficulty, generally doesn’t leave her home.**


Approximately six [6] million people in America are diagnosed with a developmental disability. I’ve got Cerebral Palsy {CP} caused by a brain injury or malformation at premature birth. The damage inflicted upon my brain cannot currently be fixed. Treatment helps manage the adverse effects on my body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone and reflex, posture and balance. The injury sustained is permanent; the brain does not “heal” as other parts of the body do. Consequently, the CP itself will not change for better or worse during my lifetime. However, ancillary {secondary} conditions do arise and may improve or worsen over time.


As I type this, I’m thirty-eight years old. I’ve had an excellent life: not a perfect one but far more blessed than most with loving, nurturing parents who stuck together and a solidly upper-middle class lifestyle that afforded a prized collection of sixteen-bit video games and the other coveted luxuries of a 1980s-era childhood. As a teenager, I joined a neighborhood gym and became infatuated with weightlifting; the real benefit wasn’t the ability to hoist progressively heavier weights or grow cannonball-size shoulders {massive exaggeration} but the sense of achievement and the camaraderie and friendship I felt amongst those with whom I trained. Simply said, I felt what Aristotle referred to as the "crown of all virtues": Pride.


The path to being homebound is a slippery slope of chronic pain and diminishing abilities. Initially, the adjustment was brutal and bleak. Loneliness is the backdrop to chronic pain and isolation; it cripples the mind and soul the way any affliction enfeebles the body. Combine this with being housebound and often physically unable to host visitors and one’s situation gets even more complex. As I regressed from using a cane to a walker to a wheelchair to a power-chair, I couldn’t participate in social events and began to lose touch with friends nor add new people to my social circle. However, I would encourage anyone in this situation to embrace whichever piece of assistive technology will allow for the greatest mobility.


For the longest time, I stubbornly clung to the belief that a certain stigma attached to a wheelchair or power-chair. Such thoughts proved misguided.

Acclaimed American playwright Tennessee Williams noted, “We are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life.”***


 If a person is going to spend a great deal of time alone, then he’d better get comfortable with himself; the elevator music sounding in the brain should be positive affirmations rather than stabbing self-criticisms. We all need help, and solace may be just a screen away; technology, especially social media, has irrecoverably changed the way humans interact with one another and the world. I went on-line and joined several disability forums on Facebook seeking out people who could directly relate to what I was {am} experiencing. I found a wealth of people and resources; I didn’t need to over-explain or water-down my feelings. I felt understood; it brought perspective to my circumstance and ongoing comfort that I’m not alone in this: that others know exactly what I am going through, and that we can help and comfort each other along the way.


Another priceless benefit is that my mother, my primary support person, gains a deeper understanding of my condition and can connect with other family members functioning in the same role. One of the most heartbreaking consequences of chronic disabilities {illness} is its devastating impact on one’s loved ones.


Experts debate whether on-line relationships are inferior to face-to-face connections. My take: I think it’s wonderful technology can enable people from opposite sides of the planet to converse as though they were sitting down at the neighborhood coffee shop. It restores a sense of community and fellowship when the traditional bonds evaporate. This world, despite all its splendors and conveniences, has never been more cold and callous. If you doubt that, dear reader, try slogging through the murky, turbulent American healthcare system. One must find happiness whenever, wherever possible. Home can be a sanctuary; however, a person should be vigilant in researching ways to rejoin the world because he’s a part of it and has a responsibility to use his talents to leave it better than he found it. A person can create a purposeful and fulfilling life wherever he finds himself and be defined not by what he couldn’t do, but by what he did do when others insisted he could not.


* Source: http://cherylbastian.blogspot.com/2013/09/measuring-in-snickers.html


** Source: https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/longtermcare/homebound-

housebound.html


*** Source: https://www.azquotes.com/quote/316257


Contact Michael

Get in Touch

Thank YOU for checking out my

website! I welcome any questions or feedback you have about my books.


Please stay close for updates on the latest book releases, book signings, speaking engagements, and more... 


Michael D. Manley