The “Baffling” Case of Katelyn Markham

As writers, we are also researchers. To make our stories come to life, jump off the page and resonate with readers, we must make the details as real as possible. That means we must contend with current events that are often disturbing, but nonetheless captivating. 

On this Mystery Monday, let’s look at the current case of Katelyn Markham, a girl that’s been missing without a trace for two weeks now. While we need to respect the fact that this is a case about a missing human being, we can also use the details of this case to enrich our own stories, which may actually help our readers deal with similar tragedies in their own lives, or help them explain the inexplicable.

Here are some of the details of Katelyn’s case so far:

1. There’s no evidence of foul play, not one scrap. Police have searched on foot, on ATVs and even from airplanes and have found nothing.

2. Authorities have gone through Katelyn’s cell phone and computer records. There’s nothing to indicate any reason why she would leave or any evidence that something bad has happened to her. In fact, the only thing missing is her cell phone.

3. Investigators and family members and friends alike are “baffled” by her disappearance. Said Police Chief Mike Dickey in  a TV interview, “I’ve been doing this for 40 plus years, and I can’t recall a case where there’s simply no evidence whatsoever. It’s almost like she just vanished.”

4. It’s only a month before she was going to get her college degree, and family members said there’s no way she would have run away before she completed that important goal.

So where is Katelyn Markham? And, for us writers, how can we use the details of this baffling case to influence our writing? Most times, when writers construct mysteries, there’s a certain sequence, however twisty is may be, for readers to follow. But at least there’s a sequence. What if the story was about a case like this one? Where there seems to be no rhyme or reason? And what about the details of the case? No evidence of wrong doing, no evidence of even a struggle. The boyfriend and family members, the first ones that are typically checked out by police, seem to be clean. If you were writing a story from the boyfriend’s or father’s perspective about a case like this one, would you have them moving heaven and earth to try to find her? But if a police chief with 40+ years experience can’t figure out where to start, where would that character start? Finally, what do you think happened to Katelyn Markham? And do you think that it’s right to use such tragic cases to help formulate the novels or short stories that you write? Should there be a “grace period” before mining these news stories and possibly turn news nuggets into novel gold?  

To the keyboards!


Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at

Making the most of your chamber membership

I know I said I wouldn’t post again until after Jan 1, but I couldn’t help myself. Plus, the kids are home from school and I’m hiding in my office, so forgive the typos as I’m typing in the dark.

As an “authorpreneur” you should think about joining your local chamber of commerce. Not only does it give you a chance to meet people who read and might buy signed books as business gifts, it’s important to support your local community. Because pumping money back into your nieghborhood is about the best kind of “being green” there is.

So, being a newly minted chamber member, I wanted to make the most out of my chamber membership. Having no storefront to stand akwardly in front of as I use the giant scissors to cut my chamber ribbon, I decided to incorporate my chamber ribbon cutting event into a book signing event at our local Borders book store. It was a great success as I sold out of books. At any rate, the press release about it is below. I even sent the press release to the US Chamber of Commerce magazine folks to see if it will cut the mustard and be added to their “Business Profiles” section. Because being a good authorpreneur is not just about supporting the local economy, its also about seeing an opportunity to spread the good word about your books across the land.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!   

No storefront? No problem

The ribbon cutting event is a rite of passage for new members joining a chamber of commerce. But what to do when you don’t have a storefront? Simple. You improvise.

“Because I work out of my house, I didn’t think I could do a ribbon cutting,” said Colleyville, Texas author Mark Fadden, who has been out promoting his latest novel, The Brink, for the past several months at book signings, book club meetings and civic group presentations. “But then I thought with a little creativity, it would be unique opportunity to try something different.” Fadden, who recently became a member of the Colleyville Area Chamber of Commerce, contacted Lori Lortscher of the Colleyville Borders bookstore and pitched an idea to have his ribbon cutting in their store, combining it with a book signing event. Being a local author, and the fact that Fadden had already had a very successful signing in the store when The Brink first came out this past June, Lortscher was eager to have him back again. “Mark’s appearance at our store was definitely a hit,” said Lortscher. “He drew in a good size crowd of loyal followers. He interacted with everyone and sold many copies of his book.”

This isn’t the first time that the Colleyville Chamber has done a ribbon cutting at a unique venue. “The Colleyville Area Chamber of Commerce coordinates many ribbon cuttings in the community for businesses or individuals who do not have a storefront. Ribbon cuttings may be held at the member’s home, at a favorite restaurant, at a friend’s business or even at the chamber office,” said Director of Membership Lauren Duke. “Local artists like Ann Hardy and Lamberto Alvarez, photographers like Vera Crosby and Walt Mills, and great writers like Mark Fadden add diversity and culture to our area. Creative professionals like these benefit from their involvement in a chamber of commerce by exposing their abilities and passion to their very own community. Members and residents alike can get to know these talented individuals on a deeper level and learn firsthand what motivates their craft.”

An award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink uses the current financial crisis to tell the story of a fugitive Texas Ranger who helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plot for global financial Armageddon. The book, which was written in 2006, has been seen as somewhat prophetic in that several of its events, including the global economic meltdown, the ensuing currency wars and even the recent Washington D.C. Metro bomb scare, have actually come true. Readers can get more information about Fadden and his books, including previewing The Brink, at      


 The Brink was selected for Barnes and Noble’s Special Collection for a second time! Check it out at