Review – Eliot Ness: The Rise and Fall of an American Hero by Douglas Perry

Eliot Ness

The true story of Eliot Ness, the legendary lawman who led the Untouchables, took on Al Capone, and saved a city’s soul.

Eliot Ness is famous for leading the Untouchables against the notorious mobster Al Capone. But it turns out that the legendary Prohibition Bureau squad’s daring raids were only the beginning. Ness’s true legacy reaches far beyond Big Al and Chicago.

Eliot Ness follows the lawman through his days in Chicago and into his forgotten second act. As the public safety director of Cleveland, he achieved his greatest success: purging the city of corruption so deep that the mob and the police were often one and the same. And it was here, too, that he faced one of his greatest challenges: a brutal, serial killer known as the Torso Murderer, who terrorized the city for years.

Eliot Ness presents the first complete picture of the real Eliot Ness. Both fearless and shockingly shy, he inspired courage and loyalty in men twice his age, forged law-enforcement innovations that are still with us today, and earned acclaim and scandal from both his professional and personal lives. Through it all, he believed unwaveringly in the integrity of law and the basic goodness of his fellow Americans.

Published: February 2014

Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble

 

You never knew what you were going to find on the side of the road in Chicago Heights, but a dead body was never a bad guess.

My Review:

Eliot Ness is a fascinating man, best known for his role in leading The Untouchables while chasing Al Capone. Here, Douglas Perry introduces us to the real man behind all the hype. If you’ve read The Untouchables or seen the movie, you might be surprised to learn how much of Ness’s memoir was overblown hype. In fact, Eliot Ness never approved the final manuscript, which he had not actually written, because he died before the book was finished.

Legend has it that Eliot personally selected the men who would become known collectively as the Untouchables.

I was impressed with the breadth of content here. Aside from the Capone years, we learn about Ness’s career as Safety Director in Cleveland, his obsession with corruption, his battle maintaining his reputation, and his transition into business that seemed to be his final downfall. Despite all the good Ness did, he died broke and in relative obscurity.

The pack of reporters followed Eliot up to his office in the Alcohol Tax Unit’s suite and continued to fire questions at him as he cleaned out his desk. “I am going to be a working safety director,” he said. “I will do undercover work to obtain my own evidence and acquaint myself personally with conditions.”

Perry shows us the human side of the legend, which I find far more interesting than the glamorous view designed to sell books and movies. We’re also given a look at what the world was like during this tumultuous period in history, when mafia men were openly running some cities.

The Mayfield Road Mob, also known as the Hill gang, was Ohio’s leading crime outfit. They did business however they pleased, without fear of police interference.

The writing itself lacks a bit of personality, coming off a little dry with its ‘just the facts’ format. But the writing is also clear and precise, and the timeline easy to follow. Definitely a book I’d recommend to anyone interested in Eliot Ness and/or this period of history.


Thanks for reading. :)

Review: PARTNERS IN CRIME by Ian David Noakes

Partners In Crime

MILLY CLOUD’S husband did the dirty on her, using her credit card for hotel rooms, restaurant bills and sharp suits; NOAH SMITH has tried to better himself and quit his job – but failed to tell his wife when he couldn’t get another and turned to a credit card to cover it up; HARRY HOLMES thought he had a formula for winning the national lottery – he may be smart when it comes to Affidavits and Cross Examinations at University, but borrowing from a loan shark to purchase 5,000 lottery tickets wasn’t his brightest moment.

All three lives collide when Harry attempts (and fails) to take his own life in the park, but when a drug dealer pulls up selling drugs to kids they take it as a sign – rob the undeserving!

Are Milly, Noah and Harry just as bad as the people they steal from, or can they justify it by balancing a life of crime with good deeds and worthy targets?

PARTNERS IN CRIME is the comical first book of a series that will tussle with controversial current events: from law enforcement corruption to escalating debt problems, from political correctness gone mad to dysfunctional relationships.

And the question of ‘what is right, what is wrong, and how far people will attempt to bend morality if pushed in a corner and threatened to survive.

Published: April 2014

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

 

Chunky more than likely had a gun, knife and grenade tucked under his pillow, and one of these locals was casually humming along to a song from The Inbetweeners, oblivious to his surroundings, karate kicking and chopping fresh air as he rocked his head back and forth with enough force to inflict irreversible brain damage.

My Review:

Partners In Crime introduces us to three strangers who are, for various reasons, experiencing difficult times in their lives. Their chance meeting and ensuing partnership leads them into a comedy of errors. The humor sometimes takes us to the edge of credulity, which is part of the fun. It never feels ridiculous, but instead endears the characters in a way that makes us root for them.

If he had clapped his giant hands together, he’d have caused a sudden vacuum of wind and propelled Milly, Noah and Harry into the nearest brick wall.

This short read is the perfect introduction to a promising series.

It turned out that Harry was scared shitless of dying, a fact supported by his shocking scream that had, just that minute, rivaled Milly’s.

 

Thanks for reading. :)

Characters Misbehaving! The CONduct Series by Jennifer Lane

The CONduct Series
Can Two Ex-Cons Find Love?
Will the Mafia Let Them Live Long Enough to Find Out?


Romantic Suspense with a Psychological Twist: Now Available in a Boxed Set!

BOOK ONE – With Good Behavior:

With Good Behavior In a world gripped by organized crime, family dysfunction, and dim hopes of redemption, can
true love persevere? For Sophie Taylor, a beautiful psychologist who lost everything when she violated an ethical boundary, and Grant Madsen, a handsome naval officer who sacrificed everything to protect a loved one, finding that love may carry an unbearable cost.

Starting their lives over in Chicago, both are fighting influences from their family and running as fast as they can to escape the past. When their paths cross outside the parole officer’s door, the attraction is instantaneous. But a hidden connection may not only shatter their fledgling love, but prove deadly to them both.

BOOK TWO – Bad Behavior:

Bad Behavior Grant Madsen’s got issues. He’s still battling his Mafia family and doing everything possible to keep his loved ones safe. With the cruising season coming to an end, he has to find another job soon or he’ll rejoin his father in prison. And he’s trying to convince his rebellious teenage nephew to stay away from their criminal relatives (you can imagine how that’s going). But worst of all, Grant’s parole officer has mandated that he attend therapy.

The only saving grace is that they’re couples sessions with his girlfriend, Sophie Taylor, a fellow parolee who’s struggling with a few issues of her own. Sophie desperately hopes her past with
Grant’s brother won’t destroy her future with him. There’s a sleazy professor at work who revels in sexually harassing women in the psychology department. And her father still hates Grant.

Their psychologist has his work cut out for him.

When Grant’s ruthless father hints at a plot to get out of prison, Grant must use everything he’s learned in therapy and beyond to try to stop him. It’s a race against time and a race to rescue Sophie from the Mafia’s clutches once again. But this time McSailor and Bonnie refuse to play victims. This time the cuffs are coming off.

BOOK THREE – On Best Behavior:

On Best Behavior Planning a wedding is never easy—especially when the Russian Mafia wants you dead.

On Best Behavior—the third and final book in The Conduct Series—finds our favorite couple moving forward, despite the odds. Following a pardon by the Governor of Illinois, excons Sophie Taylor and Grant Madsen are finally free to pursue their love and the life that lies ahead for them. Grant now fights the forces that have hurt his loved ones by working undercover for the FBI, and he has infiltrated the Russian Mafia in Chicago. Sophie dives into swimming with Grant’s nephew, Ben, and into her career as a psychology professor. Thankfully, now it’s Ben’s turn to heal through
therapy sessions with Dr. Hunter Hayes.

With so many things going right for Grant and Sophie, it’s too bad the Russians aren’t their only threat. When Grant’s father, Enzo Barberi, discovers his own son thwarted his plan to break out of prison, his overdeveloped sense of vengeance flares to life. As Sophie scrambles to save her fiancé, it’s impossible to say who will kill Grant first—the Russians or his Italian family. Can love triumph over evil? Are hard work and a pledge to be on best behavior ever enough?

Once again, author Jennifer Lane brings a harrowing tale of romantic suspense with a psychological twist, and it’s sure to leave readers breathless.

Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble
 

Author: Jennifer Lane
Title: The CONduct Series Boxed Set
Genre: Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 9781623421694
Release Date: August 19th, 2014
Author Website: http://www.JenniferLaneBooks.com
Twitter: @JenLaneBooks

 

Character Interview with Grant Madsen and Sophie Taylor from
The Conduct Series

Sophie: Thanks for having us to your blog, Darcia. I appreciate your support of prisoners and parolees.

Grant: I do too, Mrs. Helle. Thank you for standing up for cons like us—people trying to make up for past mistakes.

Sophie: I wouldn’t call us cons anymore, honey. But we have made our fair share of mistakes.

Grant: You never were a con, Bonnie. (He laces their fingers together and she smiles.)

Sophie: So, Darcia, you asked how things are going one year after our wedding. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Grant: Let’s get the bad news over with.

Sophie: Okay. You know Grant, also known as McSailor, is back in the navy, right? Well, we thought he’d be stationed at Great Lakes for some time, but he just got orders to deploy to the Middle East.

Grant: I’ll be on a bird farm—an aircraft carrier—supplying air support to Iraq.

Sophie: And I know he’s thrilled to defend our country again, but I’ll miss him.

Grant: (He draws their enjoined hands to his mouth and kisses her hand.) I’ll miss you so much. We have a lot to work on before I go.

Sophie: I know what his wink means (Laughs). Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get pregnant yet.

Grant: But it’s not all bad news, because we sure have fun trying!

Sophie: My doctor says we’ve been through a lot of stress. I’m trying to calm down through yoga and swimming.

Grant: Sophie’s an amazing swimmer. We did a triathlon relay at the lakeshore last week—Sophie swam, Ben biked, and I ran. (Beams) Sophie had the fastest swim time of all women in the race.

Sophie: (Beams) You and Ben rocked it, too.

Grant: (Looks at Darcia) You want to know how my nephew Ben’s doing, ma’am? Here’s where we get to the good news. Ben’s been dating Lindsay for a little over a year, and he’s doing well in high school. He wants to study criminal justice in college—maybe he’ll be a cop like Lindsay’s dad, or a federal agent.

Sophie: We’re so proud of Ben. We’ve visited some universities around Chicago, and my dad offered to pay tuition. Yep, my dad’s doing well. I got him to join this dating service for professionals, and he met a woman in her fifties who’s been really good for him. I’ll let Grant tell you about his father.

Grant: (Pauses) I…I started visiting my father in prison about six months ago. (Sophie strokes his hand.) It’s rough between us—he’s still angry with me, and I’m still hurt by how he destroyed our family—but at least we’re talking. I can’t believe he finally agreed to attend therapy with the prison psychologist. Maybe he can learn how to deal with his PTSD symptoms.

Sophie: I wonder if his psychologist will make him write a letter to you, to share his feelings for you.

Grant: (Snorts) That would be some letter. (Presses his lips together) My dad never chose to be a good father to Logan and me, but maybe he can be a good grandfather to Ben some day. Well, we don’t want to take up too much of your time, Mrs. Helle. Best of luck with your health, your family, and your writing, and keep up the good behavior.

 
 
Author Bio:
Get psyched for romance with psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane! By day she witnesses tremendous growth in her psychotherapy clients, and by night she wrangles misbehaving fictional characters as she writes sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist. She can’t decide which is more fun.Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior. “In a story of betrayal, responsibility, treachery, and honor, Lane does an excellent job portraying the intricate intersection of two lives connected by love…and lies,” said reviewer Susan Swiderski.

Ultimately, whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, hanging out with her plussize, “I’m not fat, I’m bigboned” Izzie cat, and visiting her sisters and their families in Chicago and Hilton Head.

 

Giveaway:

To celebrate, Jennifer is offering a *signed* paperback copy of With Good Behavior, as well as one ebook boxed set.

a
Rafflecopter giveaway

#MusicMonday: CLOCKS AND CLOUDS – A Classical and Rock Fusion

Clocks and Clouds

I’m most often drawn to music with vocals. Lyrics play a large part in my love of music. But I also love music for the pure beauty of the sound. And now and then a musician or band with no vocals captures me, moves me, enthralls me. Clocks and Clouds is one such band.

I first listened to their cover of Madness by Muse, which immediately hooked me:

 

Then I listened to their album The Creation of Matter, which I purchased along with the Madness single.

The Creation of Matter
1. Audeamus
2. Pierce The Night
3. Their Finest Hour
4. Libertango
5. Pastorale
6. End Inevitable

 

 

 

Here’s a sample. This is Pierce The Night:

 

The band has a new single out called Aliantha.

 

They have two more albums available that I’ve already added to my wish list. What I’ve shared today is just a sampling. I encourage you to go explore!

Now that you’ve heard them, let’s meet the band.

Clocks and Clouds

Clocks and Clouds

Stephanie Shogren: violin
Lucas Shogren: cello
Derek Powers: drums/percussion

 

Connect with the band on Facebook and Twitter.

You can stream their music free on their website, Soundcloud, and Spotify. Some songs are available on their YouTube channel.

And here I go with my spiel once again. While we all love to stream music free, and it’s cool that bands allow us to do so, it doesn’t help them pay the bills or support new music ventures. So if you like what you’ve heard, please consider making a purchase. You can purchase albums or single songs on Amazon, iTunes, and their website.

* Aliantha is not currently available on Amazon. Also, be aware that, in an Amazon search for Clocks and Clouds, another band pops up with them called Of Clocks and Clouds. They are not the same. *

 

Clocks and Clouds 3

Thanks for listening. :)

Holding On To Hope: Making A Difference From Behind Prison Walls

LFP The following essay comes to you from behind prison walls. This is the fifth in a series written by Tyler, a young man serving life without the possibility of parole, for a nonviolent crime he committed at the age of 17. His words are eloquent in the face of such injustice.

 

Prosecutorial discretion or concurrent jurisdictional laws define a class of cases that may be brought in either juvenile or criminal court. No hearing is held to determine which court is appropriate, and there may be no formal standards for deciding between them. The decision is entrusted entirely to the prosecutor. ~ US Department of Justice, Juvenile Offenders and Victims: National Report Series Bulletin 2011

 

Behind and Beyond the Wall
August 10, 2014

Prison2 Prison, especially maximum security, is not a place that most people would include on a list of places that can have a positive impact on kids who are in danger of ruining their lives by entering a criminal life. There are plenty of good reasons you would leave prison off that list – and I have written about a number of those reasons in previous posts.

But, I have also written that no matter where you are and no matter what you did to get there, you can decide to live a life of purpose and positive focus. The truth is that even in a place like maximum security prison, there are men (and women, I assume) who want to help young people that are angry or confused to avoid the bad choices that harm others and themselves.

I am fortunate enough to be part of a small group of guys who carry out a program that is targeted at diverting kids who are or might be headed down a bad path. My Dad does not want me to give the exact name of the program because he is worried that it could lead people to figure out which institution I am in. My early years in prison were marked by numerous attempts on my life. Dad is not convinced that the people who were trying to eliminate me back then have given up on their goal. I told him not to worry about it, but he worries. So, in this post, I am going to call the youth diversion group I belong to “Youth Right.”

I am proud of being selected to be a member of Youth Right. Out of thousands of inmates where I am warehoused, only nine have been selected. As I said, I am fortunate. In order to be considered for the group, an inmate’s Corrections file is thoroughly reviewed. Inmates with recent disciplinary actions, sex offenses, active gang affiliation, etc. are mandatorily excluded. Correctional Officers and other prison staff step up their observations of inmates who are being considered and who are part of the program to ensure the integrity of the program.

Youth Right is not a “Scared Straight” experience. We try to reach the kids and others by relating our stories to their lives rather than play-acting the “scary convict.” Although the program is primarily about helping kids turn away from negative influences and thoughts, we also see college students seeking degrees in psychology, criminology, etc., future law enforcement and corrections personnel, even the occasional Correctional Officer’s children, and more. It is a very cool thing to be part of.

Each Youth Right visit to the penitentiary starts with the inmates addressing the crowd. Speaking with any “free person” is an anxious experience for prisoners as we feel the differences between us and the “free.” The reasons we are where we are, along with shame and embarrassment, come creeping or crashing into our thoughts. But, dealing with those feelings and letting people see us completely is also part of why we are there.

So, for the most recent visit, it was my turn to open things up. I stood up and introduced myself to the kids, parents and officers. It was a medium-sized group of 20-25 people. As always, when I began my speech, my heart raced, I felt a slight loss of breath and my hands were all clammy. Whew…

As I stared out at the crowd and made eye contact with some of the teenagers, the first thing I noticed is how young they all looked. Kids. I could see right through their attempts at confidence, resistance and cockiness. It was clear that what lies beneath is uncertainty. I wondered if I wore that same expression when adults tried to talk to me so many years ago. It is hard to believe that I was pretty much their age when I began my prison sentence. I gathered my thoughts, took a deep breath and began to tell them my story.

“My name is Tyler. I am 29 years old. I have been incarcerated for over a decade. They call me “County born and State raised.” Show me your hands if you think you know what that means…”

I always try to encourage the people who come for a Youth Right tour into participation. I want them to relax and have the confidence to ask questions. Not only do I believe this will help them to think about what I am saying, as they relax so do I. After the first few sentences, my nerves started to subside. Passion took the place of nerves and I became aware that I was holding the whole roomful’s attention.

I spoke freely as I discussed my past, the crime I committed, how fast my life spun out of control and the remorse I feel for my past actions. As I brought my speech to a close, I reminded everyone to ask questions during the tour of the facility. I directed that last reminder to the adults as well as the kids. Once the other opening speakers finished, the group started their escorted tour of the prison.

As the teenagers filed past, I curiously looked at the way they were dressed. They wore an odd combination of skater, rocker and hip-hop – all on a single person! Sagging “skinny jeans,” a strange haircut, hats on backwards and slightly tilted and tight T-shirts seem to be the new normal. When I was a teen, kids that rode the edge sure did not dress like that. It looked pretty silly to me. While I was thinking about how the kids were dressed, I had to smile to myself. I sounded just like my Dad!!! What the hell?! When did that happen?

The tour took everyone through the exercise area on the yard, into a housing building and an actual cell. Along the way we talked, interacted and found humor in the reactions of the “free people.” When we reached the dining hall, we broke up into smaller groups; each one led by a Youth Right member.

When the groups are smaller, we get the chance to have one-on-one conversations. It says a lot about the trust and confidence that the staff has in the Youth Right members that they would allow us to be so close to “free people.” We are convicts, who did something bad in our pasts. But, we are not bad now, and we are trying to do something good.

The experience is always most impactful when we split into smaller groups. It was no different on this tour. My fellow Youth Right members and I listened intently as the kids told us their stories – the things they have been through in their brief but not easy lives. We wanted to be aware of the right moments when we should interject with advice, admonishments or encouragement. Some laughed as they spoke; some cried. And we all fell silent as one kid or another released words of frustration and anger. I gave one of the kids a couple of claps on the back after he spoke. The effect that had was way more than words.

When the tour ended, I felt sad. I wondered if anything we had done that day would make a difference. Would any one of the kids we saw start out his or her usual weekend drinking a 40 oz., but this time think, “I don’t want to live this life anymore?” I wished I could be there consistently, pulling up when that kid was with the “homeboys,” taking him away from that world to get something to eat or shoot some hoops or whatever… Just something to get away from the usual.

As the last of the group left for the “free world” my Youth Right members and I looked at each other, kind of lost in our own thoughts. We all shook hands, saying things like, “Man, you did good,” or “That poor kid…” The Correctional Officers said “Good job, fellas.” Then we headed back to our “usual,” to our cells that are always waiting.

But on this day, we broke up the “usual” and we did something good for others. Let’s hope we made a difference.

Thanks for reading.

Tyler

*
Tyler’s father – Nicholas Frank – has written a memoir of his family’s experiences, which I highly recommend. Nick’s publisher recommended he change all names to protect everyone’s privacy. In the book, Tyler is called Nathan. Here he would like to be known by his own name.

Destructive Justice A LOST BOY, A BROKEN SYSTEM
AND THE SMALL LIGHT OF HOPE

By all accounts, Nathan Frank started out as a terrific kid with the brightest of futures ahead of him. With the advent of adolescence, however, Nathan’s world and his relationships begin to unravel. No matter which way he turns, he seems to find conflict. Eventually, with his powerful personality, he becomes his own generator of conflict as he steadily enters a world of drugs, defiance and ultimately a criminal street gang. Finally, he runs off the rails at full throttle, coming to a hard stop at seventeen years old when he is arrested for his participation in a botched robbery. With his arrest, Nathan is swept into a justice system of condemnation and ruination for those who enter its control. There, the fact that he is a troubled teen means nothing – maybe less than nothing. Nathan is tried as an adult and sentenced to multiple life terms for his crimes. So at seventeen, he enters a world where exploitation, violence and abject hopelessness reign. Forgiveness, rehabilitation, redemption are hardly even notions within our justice and corrections systems. Logically, Nathan should be crushed by his fate. He very nearly is. But, the man Nathan becomes, a man who finds his strength in fundamentally good qualities that he suppressed for so many years, will not be crushed. Somehow, in one of the worst places on earth, he rediscovers the best parts of himself. Destructive Justice follows Nathan from the great promise of his earliest years, to the great tragedy of his adolescence, to the small light of hope for an even greater redemption.

Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble

 

Links to Tyler’s previous essays:

Letters From Prison: Behind and Beyond the Wall
Letters From Prison: Time To Live, Not Just Exist
Letters From Prison: Dodging Bullets On The Prison Yard
Is This Forever? Choices Made, Lessons Learned

 

I’d like everyone to remember that we don’t allow kids to vote until they are 18, because we don’t trust them to make informed decisions before that time. We don’t allow kids to drink alcohol until the age of 21, because we don’t trust them to behave appropriately until young adulthood. Yet we have no problem sending a teenager to an adult court, where we expect them to participate in their defense as an adult would and we then treat them as if they are adult, long term criminals. What happened to our understanding that our youth behave irrationally? What happened to the possibility of redemption?

In 15 states, presumptive waiver laws define a category of cases in which waiver from juvenile to criminal court is presumed appropriate. Statutes in these states leave the decision in the hands of a judge but weight is in favor of transfer. A juvenile who meets age, offense, or other statutory thresholds for presumptive waiver must present evidence rebutting the presumption, or the court will grant waiver and the case will be tried in criminal court. ~ US Department of Justice, Juvenile Offenders and Victims: National Report Series Bulletin 2011

Thanks for reading. :)

New Release: A Werewolf In Love by Jade Lloyd

AWIL_med

Kaitlyn Williams has hated Zack Garrison since the first time they met, but there is always a fine line between love and hate.
With Kaitlyn having been brought up by parent’s who hate anything to do with Werewolves, no one can expect Kaitlyn to feel any differently.

When rogues start attacking the small town of Rainford, Kaitlyn is dragged into the middle of a war she never wanted to be a part of.
But for Kaitlyn, war between the werewolves and the rogues is the least worrying thing on her mind, because she is hiding a dark secret from Zack.
A secret that could tear the two apart forever. And when that secret is uncovered – and secrets always are – the two must face some dangerous choices as they decide who can be trusted and who can’t.

But above all, they must learn to trust each other in order to survive.

Published: May 29, 2014

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

Interview with Jade – About the Book:

Which is your favorite minor character and why?

My favorite minor character in ‘A Werewolf In Love’ has to be Emily. I love her character and her personality because she wasn’t actually meant to be a character in the book and Zack wasn’t supposed to have a sister. Yet she just wrote herself into the story and into my heart. Out of all the characters in this book, Emily has the closet personality to myself, so I feel I can relate to her in so many ways. And I love watching Emily’s characteristics grow as the book continues.

What was the inspiration behind this story?

The inspiration behind this story is actually quite bizarre. I didn’t plan or think this story through in the slightest and the first time I even wrote Kaitlyn and Zack’s names down was when I began writing.

I had the strangest urge to write one morning and I had nothing else to do that day. I’d been looking at the stories on Wattpad when I thought, ‘Maybe I can do this.’ I sat down at my computer and started writing. I had no idea what the storyline was going to be or where the story was going to go, but I knew I just had to write it.

I wrote the first 15 pages and then stopped. I remember thinking to myself, ‘What does this story need?’ Werewolves was my answer. After that I flew through the story outline. I planned plots and subplots, characters – well some of them – and I wrote up a chapter-by-chapter outline of what each chapter would consist of.

It went from there really and I enjoyed every second of the writing process – until the editing.

How long did it take you to write this book?

The book, from beginning to end, took me exactly 6 months to write. However, after I’d finished, I put the book away in a dark corner of the room – or laptop in this case – and left it there for around 6 to 7 months.

I then began editing my way through the endless typos and – admittedly my worst flaw – going between past and present tense.

So by the time the book was ready for publication, I’d spent around 18 months on the book.

Were you surprised by the behavior of any of your characters or the direction of your plot at any point while writing?

Yes. I think I was surprised by most, if not all of my characters behavior. And while I had clear outlines of plots and subplots, they both changed beyond recognition.

I think I was most surprised by Zack’s character more than anyone else because he wrote himself, he completely took over and I had no say on his behavior or actions. Yet I love how dominant a male he is – then again, he is an Alpha.

I think the biggest plot change happened when I decided to turn Kaitlyn’s parents from nasty to evil.

If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to play the lead characters?

I don’t think I’d ever be able to envision anyone playing the characters of Kaitlyn and Zack because in my mind’s eye I can see them. So for someone to come along and play them, it would completely destroy the image I’ve always held in my head.

I think it’s really important to keep hold of your characters appearances because it makes you have an unbreakable connect to them. Zack and Kaitlyn aren’t just my characters or figments of my imagination (although they are those too), they’re a part of me. Each having a small piece of me inside of them; my personality, maybe my hair colour or eye colour, and maybe even small, microscopic pieces of my own life and family.

So I think to answer this question, I’ll have to say, if my book was ever made into a movie, I’d let the directors make the decision on that because I’d never find anyone to fill the roles.

 

About the Author:

Jade Lloyd What can I say about myself?

I’m Nineteen years old and I have been Home Educated all my life. I can’t ever recall not writing. I’ve always been writing or reading or using my imagination for one thing or another.

I’m a University Student studying for a Creative Writing BA Single (Hons) Degree.
I have two Diplomas; One in Fiction Writing and the other in Crime Writing. (I obtained these qualifications through ‘Stonebridge Associated Colleges’.)

A Werewolf In Love is my first Self-Published Novel.
It took me six months to write, and then I left the thing alone for a few months. I’m nearing the end of the editing process now – and I’ve grown to hate my once beloved creation.

It’s, sadly, a natural process. This book has been in the works for two years now and I’ve edited, drafted and re-drafted my work countless times. And the worst and most annoying things is, there will always be mistakes.
You just can’t edit them all out!
Nothing can be perfect.

I live in Lancashire, England and I have done for many, many years – just never in the same house.

If there is one thing I want to do in my life – other than write – is to travel around the world and see new things, experience new adventures and create new stories.

Please feel free to contact me and/or follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Blogger. The links are below.

Thanks for reading.

- Jade.

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Blogger / Wattpad / LinkedIn / Blog for Writers

 

I hope you’ll take the time to connect with Jade and explore her fictional world.

Thanks for reading. :)

Advanced Review: A Cold and Broken Hallelujah by Tyler Dilts

Hallelujah

On a sweltering September night, Long Beach Homicide Detective Danny Beckett is called to a grisly crime scene at the mouth of the Los Angeles River. A defenseless homeless man has been burned to death by three teenagers with gang ties. The suspects are already in custody, and the evidence is overwhelming—but when one suspect’s brother is targeted for murder, Danny starts to think there may be more to this seemingly clear-cut case. Obsessed with discovering the true identity of the victim, a gentle vagrant who may have been hiding a tortured past, Danny and his team start to uncover a high-reaching conspiracy that puts them all at risk—and threatens to open new wounds that could cut even deeper than Danny’s old ones.

Published: September 1, 2014

Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble

 

The truth doesn’t set you free. More often than not, it does just the opposite. It weighs on you. It imprisons you. It pulls you down into its depths. The truth is a pocketful of stones at the water’s edge.

My Review:

The prologue immediately grabbed my attention, and I thought I had a compelling read ahead of me. In some respects, I did find the story compelling. Unfortunately, the problem areas detracted from my enjoyment.

I like Beckett’s character, and appreciate the unique aspects of his personality. He listens to NPR talk shows and offbeat music. This makes him interesting, different from the often stereotypical homicide detective. That being said, the constant references grew tiresome over time.

I was a morose insomniac with chronic pain who was obsessed with dead people and who was trying to learn to play the banjo. That couldn’t have been on anybody’s Match.com wish list.

Aspects of Beckett’s left-of-center personality are taken a little too far to be believable in a hardened cop. For instance, he never mentions the race of victims or suspects. In fact, none of the cops or the witnesses mention race. This is a glaring omission that simply doesn’t ring true. Acknowledging the race of a suspect or victim is like acknowledging gender; it’s standard observation.

With no name and no history, the victim was just another one of the dozens of faceless and invisible transients we see every day in a city like Long Beach.

The plot is interesting, though slow. We move along with a lot of repetitive introspection from Beckett, and meandering ventures off into his personal life, such as it is. Here, again, I have mixed feelings. I enjoyed the plot and have much respect for the way the author highlighted the struggle of our homeless population. But Beckett’s sudden and absolute fixation on this one victim felt too overblown. I understood the connection Dilts attempted, but it all stretched just a little too far for me.

I watched the traffic, waiting for the crosswalk signal to change, and thought about why Bishop’s identity seemed to mean so much to me. All I could come up with was this: “He had three pairs of shoes and none of them fit.”

Toward the end, the pace picks up with the effort to fit all the pieces together. It feels rushed and not quite believable.

This book was a little like riding a child’s see-saw – lots of ups and downs. In the end, I’m sitting midway, still not sure if reaching the highs was worth enduring the lows.

 
Thanks for reading. :)

#MusicMonday: EMILY KOPP Takes The Stage

Capitol Theatre 2 Earlier this year, my husband and I went to the Capitol Theatre to see Marc Cohn. Prior to the show, I hadn’t heard anything about the musician opening for him. Her name was Emily Kopp and her voice blew us away. She stood on that stage all by herself, with just a guitar, and held us captive.

During the intermission, my husband and I went out to the lobby to meet Emily (and her proud Dad!). We purchased both her EP, called Potential, and her full-length CD, called Serendipity Find Me. She signed them both for us, which is always a bonus!
 

Kopp CDs

This past Friday night, Emily played a small local club called The Hideaway Cafe. We got to see her play with her band – well, most of her band – and once again her voice blew us away. She is a singer-songwriter with mega talent.

Emily Kopp 2

Here’s one of my favorites, called When We Fight:

 

This one has a cool groove, as well as her signature lyrical story. It’s called While We’re Young:

 

One more, then I’ll leave it up to you to explore the rest of Emily’s songs. This one is called Friend Like You:

 

 

Connect with Emily Kopp on her website,  Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t hesitate to send her a message. She’s very cool to talk to.

Emily Kopp 1

You can stream her music free on Soundcloud and YouTube. If you’ve been following me here, you probably know my next statement by heart. But I mean these words, and they are always worth repeating. While it’s always appreciated when musicians allow us to listen free, that does not help them pay the bills or support new music ventures. So, please, if you like what you hear, consider making a purchase. You don’t have to buy the entire album. Even one song helps. You can purchase songs from Serendipity Find Me or purchase the entire album on Soundcloud, Amazon, and iTunes. I didn’t see her earlier EP, Potential, listed anywhere. If you’re interested, you can always ask her about that one.

Emily Kopp

 

Thanks for listening. :)

Literary Beauty – Edgy Suspense: STRANGERS AT SUNSET by Eden Baylee

SAS Blast Banner

A vacation can be a killer…

Stranger at Sunset Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot, Sunset Villa in Jamaica. Included in the mix are friends of the owners, a businessman with dubious credentials, and a couple who won the trip from a TV game show.

It is January 2013, following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The luxury resort is struggling, not from the storm, but due to a scathing review from caustic travel writer, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation.

Even though she is haunted by her own demons, Kate feels compelled to help. She sets out to discover the motivation behind Kane’s vitriol. Used to getting what he wants, has the reviewer met his match in Kate? Or has she met hers?

Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/thriller as seen through the eyes of different narrators, each with their own murky sense of justice. As Kate’s own psychological past begins to unravel, a mysterious stranger at Sunset may be the only one who can save her.

Amazon / Amazon UK

SAS Quote Art
Meet Eden

eden Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to become a full-time writer. She incorporates many of her favorite things into her writing such as: travel; humor; music; poetry; art; and much more.

*Stranger at Sunset* is her first mystery novel, on the heels of several books of erotic anthologies and short stories. She writes in multiple genres.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often!

To stay apprised of Eden’s book-related news, please add your name to her mailing list.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Goodreads

 

giveaway

Two prize packs with digital copies of Eden’s books.
Open Internationally
Ends 8/15/14

a
Rafflecopter giveaway

 

masq tour button

New Release Review: STRANGER AT SUNSET by Eden Baylee

Stranger at Sunset

A vacation can be a killer. 

Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot, Sunset Villa in Jamaica. Included in the mix are friends of the owners, a businessman with dubious credentials, and a couple who won the trip from a TV game show. 

It is January 2013, following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The luxury resort is struggling, not from the storm, but due to a scathing review from caustic travel writer, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation. 

Even though she is haunted by her own demons, Kate feels compelled to help. She sets out to discover the motivation behind Kane’s vitriol. Used to getting what he wants, has the reviewer met his match in Kate? Or has she met hers? 

Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/thriller as seen through the eyes of different narrators, each with their own murky sense of justice. As Kate’s own psychological past begins to unravel, a mysterious stranger at Sunset may be the only one who can save her.

Published: June 2014

Amazon / Amazon UK

“The answer is there’s no one in my life at the moment. It’s a fool’s game to fill empty spaces with people.”

My Review:

With Stranger at Sunset, Eden Baylee’s focus is on the characters. That’s not to say that the plot suffers any sort of neglect. In fact, I think the opposite is true. The plot shines brighter simply because the characters are so compelling. This story gives us a variety of perspectives, told from the points of view of different characters. We see what drives their choices and their behavior. Most complex and mysterious is Kate, who gets people to confide in her with ease while she keeps her own secrets buried deep.

“Secrets eventually erode the soul, Kate.”

The plot is multi-layered, unfolding slowly at first and building up speed as the layers unfold. The realism here is stunning. Eden Baylee proves that providing detail isn’t about how many words you write, but about which words you choose and how you put them together.

 

With one hand around his neck, and the other caressing the muscle under his shirt, she stepped in harmony with him, moving to the rhythm of the ocean waves. To dance in the rain with this stranger seemed perfectly normal.


Thanks for reading. :)