Are You Afraid of Me?

I’m a big guy but even in my mysterious-looking author pose I don’t find myself very intimidating. I had the good fortune of being raised in a place with near zero crime and when I finished growing, I was 6’ 2”. When I walk into a bar or down a dark street, I’m not the guy people choose to make trouble with, but I’m not one to start it either.


In the last few weeks I’ve met people in real life who thought it odd that I have a pen name. They think I’m hiding something sinister behind my nom de plume. Like in my real life I’m a mass murderer who takes women and young children and cuts them up in the name of research for my books. Really? Me?

When I finished Sin & Vengeance I had a number of people, mostly parents of children my kids wanted to play with, look at me very suspiciously. They wondered where I got the ideas for that book and they wondered (out loud!) if they should let their children play with mine. (Sorry kids if you felt isolated. It was my fault.)

I had been wondering why people find me scary this week when I got an email from a reader. Some themes in my books touch a nerve for people and they share their experiences with me. Some are so horrifying they make me feel physically ill. The evil things people do to strangers and more often than I want to believe, their children, explain why good people are afraid of someone like me. I’m large enough to have the potential to hurt them and that is enough. They aren’t spooked by me, but by things that have happened to them or their loved ones in the past.

The people who are doing these atrocious things live all around us and they are not afraid of me in the least. I’m learning about them as I research the heroin culture for my new series. I hear true stories of what people do to each other for drugs or money. I see particular graffiti as advertisements of drugs for sale. I see drugs being passed from hand to hand. I see the results of drug users stripping an abandoned home. This happens all around us and we do nothing.

The people selling drugs, pimping girls, robbing homes, and molesting children see me as a sheep not a citizen. As someone who will stand by and do nothing as they harm whomever they choose to get their drug or satisfy their fantasy. We’ve outsourced the responsibility for building safe communities to the police even though they can do almost nothing to protect us from crime. That is why criminals are not afraid.

I hope there comes a day when we begin to take responsibility for the world around us, a time when a potential burglar sees someone like me coming down the street and he’s very afraid.


18 Comments on “Are You Afraid of Me?”

  1. Great blog, CJ. And, yes, I am afraid… VERY afraid! 🙂

  2. Thats kinda strange. If they know your an author, then why be afraid? My uncle was 6’2, and when he went in a bar, people thought he was an undercover cop! He could never figure out why they thought that. In real life, he was a plumber. And as for drugs and crimes, I don’t know that we’ll ever be able to get rid of it. Just seems a lot of people thrive on it. And thats one I don’t understand. Someday, maybe they will eliminate it.

  3. Tammy says:

    What am I afraid of? You speak in your blog of the atrocious things that happen in life every day. My biggest fear is that what happened to me as a child, one of those unthinkable events that as an adult I have somehow managed to put behind me and thrive in spite of, will still cause so much distrust that the walls that I put up to protect myself from hurt will also keep out the happiness.

  4. My husband is a very tall, broad guy, and by nature very quiet. It has been astounding to see the way that men react to him when he enters a room and most especially how they will change the way they treat me. He is actually a gentle giant who likes to laugh but after years of living in his own skin he is aware that he tends to draw attention without it being his intention.

    My husband and I were in business together for almost 10 years and ran a successful company. I cannot begin to tell you how many male lawyers, bankers, sales people, pitch men, suppliers, customers would treat me in one fashion – Often harshly & aggressively, only to change their tone to a more pleasant and accommodating one the moment my husband entered the room. My husband had never experienced this before and thought that folks were treating me with the same eagerly supplied acquiescence. It has actually been an eye opening experience for the both of us.

    It is very telling actually – the way a man will treat a child, teen or woman when alone and if their tone changes when an “Alpha” type man enters the room.

    • cjwestkills says:

      Very interesting post Christine! I’m sure your husband and I see the world in much the same way.

      Rest assured, I love babies and puppies and I’m kind to them whether someone else is in the room or not.

  5. Julianna Johnston says:

    I would not be scared of you but I think the point is that today you can not trust people the way we could when we were young! Especially where our children and grandchildren are concerned! There are so many wacky people in the world today! It’s the evil that lives in the heart of man that strikes fear in our hearts! That’s the scarest thing, it’s not knowing who is out to get you, your children or your grandchildren! Your book”The end of marking time”(I think that was the title) sure opened my eyes to just how easy it would be to hide in someone’s house with intent in your heart!

  6. I am never afraid of how a person looks, it’s about what’s in their actions. You certainly don’t scare me! My biggest fear in life used to be that I would make major mistakes, raising my children, but, they both turned out to be respectful, responsible, GOOD men, who would never stand by and watch anyone hurt anything, or anybody! My greatest fear now…..being alone.

  7. Niki Bauer says:

    My family is made up of men who are over six feet tall. My “little” brother is 6’4″, so tall men don’t necessarily incite fear in me (I’m 5’9″ myself). It’s the short, quiet ones who freak me out!

    I never really thought about my fears until I had my sons. I remember when my oldest son was a baby (he’s nine now and thinks he knows it all), I started having these creepy dreams which involved my son being in different dangerous situations. In those dreams I was the heroine who knew how to take on any bad guy. I killed and stalked people in those dreams, doing whatever it took to keep my son safe. I know, sounds like someone needs mental help!

    I don’t have those dreams as much anymore, but they have been replaced by reality. Every time I hear about a shooting in a school, teen suicide, or athletic trainer who doubles as a pedophile I am immediately worried about how easily this can occur in the most average of places. I want to protect my sons and other kids, but these villians hide in the least likely places.

    Great post, CJ!

  8. Kathy says:

    I did child abuse and neglect investigations for several years and now work in the domestic violence field. You would think after so many years in these fields that nothing would surprise me, and you would be wrong. It never fails to surprise (and anger) me at the lengths that people will go to to exercise power and control over the people that they “love.” What I fear is that one of the children in my family will become a victim to violence and what reaction I might have to the situation. My other fear is SPIDERS! 🙂

    • cjwestkills says:

      The child abuse stories sicken me most. The things men do to take advantage of women are a close second. I was taught to take care of those who are vulnerable and I just can’t stand to hear these stories.

  9. Nope… You’re a big sweet heart CJ, which is evident in how you do so much for your readership…

    Now flying? That right there is terrifying!

  10. You don’t look scary to me. But then, I’m 6’0″. Tall for a girl, huh? And no…no basketball. Much too klutzy for that. LOL

    I spent 20 years doing investigations for the state and the family courts. First 9 doing child abuse investigations. So I’ve seen first hand what human monsters are capable of. But I’ve seen the good in people too. Especially those who spend their days helping others.

    At least the last 20 years learning about human behavior helps me write realistically. I once read one of my short stories at a workshop. There was silence for a few beats before someone said, “It’s always the quiet ones.” LOL That was an awesome moment for me. 🙂

  11. Gregg Donaldson says:


    That is an imposing photo. I guess what I’m afraid of most is: Not accomplishing whatever I set out to do at the time.

  12. cklaurence says:

    I tried to be afraid of you, but there’s something about your face that I like so much, I just can’t find a way to be frightened. In fact, I find you extremely attractive and if I weren’t quite old enough to be (at the very least) your mommy, I would probably find a way to meet and do whatever I could to seduce you so you would take me into your life and protect me forever after. I hope I haven’t made you blush…

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