Crime Time ~ Fear Thy Neighbor ~ “Home is Where the Hearse is”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

 

Fear Thy Neighbor ~ Season 1, Episode 5,  “Home is Where the Hearse is”

Miami, Florida, October 4, 1986

In 1983, after serving in the military, Jimmy Escoto returns to his Cuban neighborhood in Miami to live with his mom, his stepbrother and his eight-year-old son, Anthony.  The neighborhood is an idyllic, respectable area where the friendly residents get along well.  Older neighbor, Baldomero Fernandez, and Escoto soon become friends. Jimmy is trying to put himself through nursing school, and Fernandez hires him to do odd jobs around his property.

Finally, Jimmy realizes his dream and graduates nursing school. He gets a job and no longer has time to help Fernandez. Fernandez, who was involved in local politics and was friends with the mayor, sees himself as someone who has earned respect. Not only does Jimmy refuse to work for him, he hosts parties, parades a string of women in and out of his home, and parks a truck he’s restoring on a strip of property between their houses that Baldomero claims is his. When Jimmy will not obey Baldomero’s demands that he keep off of that piece of land, Baldomero builds a fence. Jimmy calls the assessor’s office. A rep comes out and determines the area does not belong to Baldomero and the fence must come down. However, that ruling is quickly overturned, most likely due to Baldomero’s friends in high places. Not long after, the rep is fired and it is determined the land belongs to Baldomero after all.

Jimmy Escoto

This is just one of the many feuds that would transpire between these neighbors who were once friends. Baldomero seethes with rage and watches Jimmy’s every move, calling the police each time he feels Jimmy has violated any kind of law. The police find nothing to charge him with and eventually slap a restraining order against each of them.

Over the next few years, tensions escalate between the two. During that time, Baldomero threatens on more than one occasion that he will kill Jimmy. He even makes the threat to Jimmy’s mother.

In 1986, Jimmy lands a dream job…private nurse to the son of former Miami Dolphins linebacker, Nick Buoniconti. In 1985, when he was nineteen and a linebacker himself, Marc Buoniconti was injured in a game between Citadel and East Tennessee State when he hit, helmet first, into another player’s back. After the hit, he lay motionless on the ground. He was rushed to the hospital where it was determined he had suffered a dislocation between the third and fourth cervical vertebrae. His spinal cord was crushed, and he was paralyzed from the neck down.

Marc Buoniconti

Marc was interviewed on the episode and he credits Jimmy with getting him off the respirator. He pushed and encouraged Marc and Marc made remarkable progress under his care. Marc spoke of Jimmy’s kindness and his caring, selfless nature. Jimmy’s son, Anthony, now a grown (and might I say, very handsome) man, was interviewed on the episode as well and told about what a great father Jimmy was and how much he still misses him.

On October 1, 1986, Jimmy accompanies Marc to New York to attend the first annual, “Great Sports Legends” charity dinner for the Buoniconti fund to cure paralysis, which is still active today. The guest list included Joe DiMaggio, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Namath, Howard Cosell and Richard Nixon.

Three days later, on October 4, 1986, Jimmy’s son, Anthony, was out riding his bike and didn’t come home when Jimmy thought he should. Jimmy went out looking for him and when he returned, Fernandez was parked in his car, on Jimmy’s lawn. Jimmy approaches the car and curses at Fernandez, telling him to leave. Instead, Fernandez pulls a gun. Jimmy doesn’t think he will shoot him, and he doesn’t back down. Fernandez pulls the trigger.

Injured and shocked, Jimmy stumbles back, begging for his life. Fernandez climbs out of the car and continues firing. Jimmy runs. Weak and losing blood, he runs up onto a woman’s lawn. The woman sees the man chasing Jimmy, brandishing a weapon, and she rushes inside to call the police. As she is begging them to hurry, Fernandez runs out of bullets. Jimmy staggers away, but Fernandez chases him down and beats him with the butt of the pistol.  Fernandez’s wife arrives on the scene and takes the gun away from her husband. At that point, Fernandez picks up a cement slab and slams it into Jimmy’s head, over and over. The police finally arrive and Jimmy is rushed to the hospital, but it is too late. Jimmy Escoto is dead.

Anthony Escoto, who is now a Miami Firefighter

Fernandez was arrested and charged with second degree murder. He claimed he feared for his life and that Jimmy had attacked him with a chain. On the program, the Chief of Police stated that Fernandez was checked for injuries from the chain he claimed Jimmy hit him with, and there was no indication of any injury.

The community for the most part supported Fernandez. Among his supporters was the mayor of Miami. Fernandez was sentenced to seven years in prison, but he only ended up serving three.  

In my research I found stories that spoke of ‘vigilante justice’ and how the ‘criminal became the victim’ and all the support that Fernandez had. I know there is more than one side to every story, but the facts that were presented in the program–from people who were around at the time, including the chief of police–indicate that the feud went both ways and the violence that erupted that day was all on Fernandez. He not only shot Jimmy, he stalked him and beat him repeatedly, crushing his head with a cement block as Jimmy lay helpless on the ground. Fernandez leaves a family destroyed and a young boy fatherless. And, for that, the man serves three years? That, in my opinion, is appalling.

What do you think? Was justice served?

 

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

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Crime Time ~ On the Case with Paula Zahn ~ “Where’s Crystal”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

 

On the Case with Paula Zahn ~ Season 17, Episode 4, “Where’s Crystal”

Bardstown, Kentucky – July 2015

I usually avoid episodes where the victim survives (sorry, but I find murder much more interesting than attempted murder) or the case is never solved, but sometimes I get sucked into one or the other. Today’s post is about a case that was never solved.

Crystal Rogers, a thirty-five-year-old mother of five, went missing on or around July 3, 2015. Her family became concerned when a few days went by with Crystal not responding to their texts or calls. According to her live-in boyfriend, Brooks Houck, on the evening of July 3, he and Crystal and their two-year-old son went to Houck’s family farm and stayed until around midnight. After they returned, Crystal stayed up late playing games on her phone. When Brooks awoke the next morning, she was not in the house. Funny that he didn’t bother reporting her missing. He claims that she often went to stay at her cousin’s, so he didn’t think anything about it. However, all those who knew her insist she never went anywhere without her youngest son, Eli.

Other suspicious/interesting facts…

  • Crystal’s car was found on July 5, 2015 on the shoulder of the Bluegrass Parkway. Her tire was flat and her purse, keys and cellphone were found inside. The seat was moved back in a position that would have been too far back for Crystal.
  • Brooks was named a suspect but has denied having anything to do with Crystal’s disappearance. Brooks’ brother, Nick, was a police officer in Bardstown. He was fired for interfering after calling Brooks in the middle of his interview with police and warning him not to say anything. He wanted him that “they might be trying to trip him up” and “he should protect himself.” Video surveillance captured the two brothers, Nick in his police cruiser and Brooks in his truck, going to the family farm a few hours after Brooks’ interview with police.

Brooks’ interview:

  • Nick was questioned and claimed he does not remember what they did at the farm. He was given a polygraph and failed. As a cop, you would think he could do better than ‘I don’t recall what we did’ – That sounds highly suspect. When confronted with the results, Nick denied that he was lying, saying, “I don’t give a goddam what your f*cking computer said… You’re calling me a f*cking liar [and] I don’t like it when people call me a liar.”

Nick’s interview:

  • Crystal’s father, Tommy, launched his own intense investigation into his daughter’s disappearance. He checked out every lead and searched relentlessly. On November 19, 2016, he was fatally shot when he took his grandson hunting. The shooter has never been identified. Coincidence? I think not.

Sherry and Tommy Ballard

  • In November of 2018, a panel of judges determined that Brooks’ and Crystal’s son, who was six by then, could no longer visit Crystal’s mother, Sherry Ballard. She and her now deceased husband filed for grandparent visitation after Crystal’s disappearance and Sherry was exercising visitation with the child every other weekend. However, Brooks filed to have those visits stopped. He testified that after returning from visits with his grandmother, the child is sullen and uncooperative. And that he is accusatory, asking him ‘what did you do to my mommy,’ and that ‘everyone wants to know.'”
  • Crystal’s mother appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil in February of this year. Since then, new tips have been pouring in. Hopefully, they will lead to the arrest and conviction of Crystal’s killer, and her body will be found.

I’m just completely amazed that the case has not yet been solved and the brothers have gotten by with the lies and subterfuge. What do you think? Are the brothers guilty?

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

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Will Rise from Ashes by Jean Grant

I love hosting Wild Rose Press authors, and I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Jean Grant, with her new release, Will Rise from Ashes, a Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel.

The Writer’s Journey

Will Rise from Ashes was by far my hardest book to write. For many reasons, some personal, some technical. I’d been writing romances with HEAs for so long, shifting to women’s fiction with grittier topics took some getting used to. The romantic in me though, did toss in a romance subplot, and I am a sucker for a happ(ier) ending.

A few more facts about this book:

  1. I began writing it in 2015, 4 years ago. The first draft took a year (while working part-time and around kids’ busy schedules). Editing took a few more years…
  2. It underwent at least 8 full-length revisions before I submitted to my editor at The Wild Rose Press. I’ve also written/edited the entire manuscript at least 20 times (that is 400 pages x 20 = 8,000 pages. It’s no wonder authors can be a little nutty!)
  3. It’s my first book written in both first person (AJ, the mother) and third person (Will, the son).
  4. My villain is a volcano!
  5. The book spans over a month of time and over 2,000 miles.
  6. My theme of heartache, healing, and hope dominates this book.
  7. It is the 7th book I’ve written, but 4th published. (Yeah, that’s some funny math. Hint: 3 books are now shoved in drawers as “practice” novels).
  8. The story tackles topics of widowhood, anxiety, autism, and redemption.
  9. I threw everything but the kitchen sink at AJ. I love an emotional journey, but I do enjoy lots of external conflict and roadblocks (teehee, in this case, literal roadblocks).
  10. Its title was changed from the original. And nope, I won’t tell you the first one, but it took quite some convincing from my editor to change it!
  11. This book underwent the most “killing my darlings” (aka scene slicing!) of all my books. All for the better, or course!

Feel free to follow me on my BLOG TOUR, April 18-June 6. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

About the book:

Living is more than mere survival 

Blurb:

Young widow AJ Sinclair has persevered through much heartache. Has she met her match when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, leaving her separated from her youngest son and her brother? Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son, Will, embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can’t lose another loved one.

Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ’s fear of driving and Reid’s military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption. AJ’s anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family’s present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.

Excerpt:

Even from far away, I recognized the man’s plaid long-sleeved shirt and the large backpack, but now he was walking alongside a bike on his approach.

“Hey, look! It’s that guy you drove past this morning!”

 I shuddered inwardly. Well, karma just bit me in the butt.

“How did he catch up with us?” Motherly instinct took over as I rose, my legs wobbly. “Will, stay there. Here, take this,” I said, handing him the tire iron.

 “We already tried that, Mom.”

“Not for that, Will.”

He scratched his brown hair, which was overdue for a cut, and looked at me, confusion wrinkling his brow.

“Be my wizard, Will. It’s your sword.”

“Wizards have wands.”

“Will…”

The circuit connected. “Oh…yes, Mom, I’ll protect you!”

I smiled faintly. “Thank you, honey.” I didn’t want to explain further that it was me protecting him. I didn’t want to say that if something happened, to run and hide in the woods. Because he would run and hide. Then what? Who would come help?

I shoved my hand into my front jeans pocket to nestle my fingertips around the pocket knife I had given Harrison for our wedding anniversary. The man slowed his bicycle as he drew nearer. He gave me an understated, yet significant, nod. The nod of understanding, of kindness. I didn’t buy it.

“Hello, again,” he said.

Ouch.

Buy links:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ GooglePlay

 

 

Bio:

Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.

 Social Media links:

Website ~ Twitter  ~ FacebookGoodreads ~ Bookbub ~ Amazon Author PageThe Wild Rose Press

 

 

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Crime Time ~ Scene of the Crime ~ “Deadly Breakup”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

 

Scene of the Crime with Tony Harris, Season 1, Episode 5, “Deadly Breakup”

Monroeville, Pennsylvania – August 15, 2007

Fifteen year old Demi Cuccia was a beautiful, popular high school cheerleader. When her older brother’s friend, John Mullarkey, expressed an interest in her, she was thrilled, and they began dating.

Outwardly, things appeared fine between the couple, but a year after they started seeing each other, John’s controlling possessiveness finally became too much, and Demi broke up with him. He wouldn’t leave her alone, though. He did not want to accept the breakup. He texted and called her over and over, insisting, begging, harassing.

On August 15th,  the day after Demi’s sixteenth birthday, her mother was taking son Jake to a community college for orientation. Demi wasn’t feeling well and stayed home. Just before they left, Demi was laying on the sofa, and her phone rang. It was John. Demi was annoyed and didn’t answer. She told her mother that all she wanted to do was rest, and he wouldn’t leave her alone. Demi called her father that evening and said she was supposed to be working on cheerleading posters but wasn’t feeling well. She didn’t mention to him that John was coming over to talk about their relationship.

Demi and her mother

Demi and her father

Later that evening, Officer Sarah Bonner received a call that there had been a stabbing. She arrived at the location and a neighbor waved her down. Not knowing if the assailant was nearby, Officer Bonner drew her weapon. As she approached the neighbor, she saw Demi at the neighbor’s feet, covered in blood. The officer holstered her weapon and focused on Demi, reassuring the girl that she would be okay. Down the street, a man was laying on the ground. He’d slit his own throat after stabbing Demi sixteen times. The ambulance arrived and went immediately to him, rather than Demi. Officer Connor directed them to Demi, and said, “I have the victim here.” They treated her and rushed her to the hospital, but her injuries were too severe. She died at the hospital. The man—who turned out to be John  survived.

Demi’s devastated parents were interviewed during the episode. Her father had videotaped his son’s graduation only two months prior, and he’d videotaped John graduating as well. How could someone who was their son’s close friend, someone they’d welcomed into their home, do something so heinous to their beautiful child?

The truth came out during the investigation. There was a dark side to Demi’s life that she didn’t share with her parents. Her friends knew just a little of what was going on, but not the extent of the obsessive nature of their relationship. John didn’t want Demi hanging out with her friends. He kept close tabs on her and wanted her all to himself. His behavior became more and more abusive and controlling, but Demi didn’t understand the danger she was in.

John was charged with first degree murder, but his defense claimed he didn’t intend to kill her and wasn’t aware of what he was doing. He was suffering psychosis from taking the acne drug, Accutane. The prosecution believed he went to Demi’s with the intent of either getting the answer he wanted, or killing her. He texted beforehand, asking if her brother was going to be there. And…he brought the knife, the murder weapon, with him. Sounds like his intentions were clear.

The murderer

The jury took just forty-five minutes of deliberation to agree, convicting Mullarkey of first-degree murder. He was sentenced immediately to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The only time the defendant showed emotion was when he was handed the sentence. He never once apologized to or addressed Demi’s family.

After sentencing, John’s family hired an attorney to try to get John’s sentence reduced. John’s family refused to be interviewed for the show, but the attorney agreed to speak with Tony. He claims that Mullarkey had ineffective counsel and that the jury didn’t have all the facts. He found a forensic psychologist who will testify that John was in a frenzied, maniacal state and would not have acted without provocation. Tony asked the attorney, “Do you believe there was provocation?” The attorney replied, “There was a dispute between these two at the time.” Tony said, “He was texting her non-stop, she’d moved on, he had not.” The attorney blithely stated, “But, he didn’t break the door.” I know it’s his job to defend his client, but his statement infuriated me. It was obvious it pissed Tony off as well. He said, “Wow, she didn’t tell him to bring a knife to stab her. You can’t blame Demi for this. Sixteen stab wounds, doesn’t that speak to intent?” The attorney replied, “No, it was in the heat of passion.”

Such a tragic story, and unfortunately, not all that uncommon. Many teens are in controlling relationships and are the victims of abuse. Demi’s parents are on a crusade to get the message out and they travel around to various schools to tell their story, hoping it will save other teens from this same fate. The message is simple, if someone is trying to control and isolate you, then those are serious warning signs. It’s not normal…it’s not love…it’s not okay.

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

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Author Interview with Diane Burton ~ New Release: Rescuing Mara’s Father ~ Giveaway!!

I am thrilled to introduce today’s guest, fellow author and friend, Diane Burton. She is a fabulous writer, and I have had the honor of editing many of her stories, including her latest, which is awesome!

Welcome, Diane…

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

First, thanks for having me here today, Alicia. I’ve lived most of my life in Michigan, grew up in the Detroit area, now live near Lake Michigan. My husband and I have two children and five grandchildren who all live close enough to visit often. We’ve had three dogs but are dogless now. When we need a dog-fix, we visit our kids who have a total of three. I was an elementary teacher, an inventory clerk in a flute store, and a land technician for an oil and gas company. My favorite occupation—writer.

Where did you get the idea for Rescuing Mara’s Father?

My older grandchildren (ages 9 and almost-12) know I write novels, and that they can’t read them until they’re adults. Disappointing for them. That’s why I wrote Rescuing Mara’s Father, a book they can read. It’s the first time I’ve written in the children/young adult genre, and it was fun. I’m a pantser, write by the seat of my pants. When an idea hits, I just start writing. Around chapter 8, I need to stop and plot. Not an extensive plot but enough to know where the story is going. The hardest part of writing Rescuing Mara’s Father came near the end. I knew what I wanted for the climactic scene. Writing it was more difficult. I think I wrote five different scenes until I found what felt right.

Do you collect anything?

Nutcrackers. One Christmas, in the 1980s, my mother-in-law gave me one. I expressed delight. That meant I got nutcrackers for my birthday and Christmas every year after. And from her sister, too. Hubs got into it, and his idea was the more the better. I had to tell him only one a year. Please! Each year, the older grandchildren come over and, standing on the kitchen counter, put up the nutcrackers. Now Hubs says I have too many. Lol

Here are some of Diane’s nutcrackers…aren’t they so adorable? (and, to be fair to your husband, Diane, men are not likely going to have an affinity for something called a ‘nutcracker’ :))

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Rescuing Mara’s Father?

First, that they’ve enjoyed a good adventure. Underneath that, I want them to think that the feelings they’ve had are common. Other kids think/feel the same way.

What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?

Hallee Steinfeld (True Grit) as Mara; Jeremy Irvine (Mama Mia 2) as Lukus; Anthony Ursin (Chocolat) as Jako. With Hallee, it was the braids and her attitude in True Grit that made me think of Mara. Jeremy’s eyes in the picture—serious, old, like he had to grow up quickly. That’s why he’d make a good Lukus. Anthony’s attitude (and smile in the picture) makes me think of Jako.

Hallee Steinfeld

Jeremy Irvine

Anthony Ursin

What is your favorite quote?

“Never give up, never surrender.” (from Galaxy Quest)

Your most prized material possession? Why?

My grandmother’s ceramic nativity set. She made it for our family when I was young. It’s kind of gaudy with sequins and glitter, but she made it. And that’s what’s important.

Is there one subject you would never write about? What is it?

Cruelty, especially to children. Violence begets violence. Same with cruelty.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

Oh, yes! And many will stay hidden away. They were for practice. Will they ever be published? Probably not. I’ve discovered (with two books) that it’s easier to start fresh than try to edit/revise an old story.

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

Nora Roberts. What a sweet, considerate woman.

How much of the book is realistic?

Though Rescuing Mara’s Father takes place in a “galaxy far, far away” the relationship between a parent and daughter is quite real, especially her emotional highs and lows. I tapped into what I remembered from my own teen years and my daughter’s.

Your favorite…

Movie: The African Queen

Music:  Old-time Rock & Roll

Place you’ve visited:  Rocky Mountain National Park

Place you’d like to visit:  Alaska

TV show from childhood:  Maverick (with James Garner)

TV show from adulthoodMurdoch Mysteries & Father Brown

Food:  Pepperoni pizza

Sports team:  Detroit Tigers

Thank you, Diane, for sharing with us today. Now, Diane has a question for readers…

Since Rescuing Mara’s Father features an almost-fifteen year old girl, what do you remember about your teen angst?

RESCUING MARA’S FATHER

A Middle Grade Science Fiction Adventure

ebooks:  Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Kobo ~ B&N ~ Smashwords

print:  Amazon

3 friends, a hidden starship, a quest

Blurb:

Her father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. Mara has to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.

Instead of the kind, loving father she’s always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in their frontier outpost. Mara would rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give her a starship engine to take apart or, better yet, fly, and she’s happy. Now, he’s gone.

Never mind, they’ve had a rocky road lately.

Never mind, Father promised she could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when she turns fifteen, where she’ll learn to fly starships.

Never mind, she ran away because she’s furious with him because he reneged on that promise. Father is her only parent. She has to save him.

Along with her best friend, eleven-year-old Jako, and his brother 15-year-old Lukus, Mara sets off to find her father. Her mentor, old spaceport mechanic, seems to know why the Queen captured Father. In fact, he seems to know her father well. But, does he tell her everything? Of course not. He dribbles out info like a mush-eating baby. Worse, he indicates he’ll be leaving them soon. And Lukus can’t wait to get off their planet. Mara’s afraid they will all leave, and she’ll be on her own. Despite her fears, Mara has to rescue her father.

Excerpt

“There you are!” Jako kneels next to me, his urgent voice and torchlight in my eyes wake me up.

I gasp, my heart racing. I must have fallen asleep. I was dreaming about being chased.

“I’ve been looking all over for you!” He lowers his torch and scoots back.

As I sit up, I shove my hair out of my eyes. My braid came undone while I was sleeping. Automatically, I reach up and use my fingers to comb through my long hair. Jako is breathing hard and heat rises off his small body.

“Why were you looking for me?” I ask as I rebraid my hair.

“I was afraid they got you, too.” He gasps for breath. “I didn’t see you when they took him on board, so I ran back to your house. The Dunpus brothers were laughing about how the goons hauled you away, screaming and crying. I knew they were lying. You wouldn’t cry.” His eyes grow wide. “You should’ve seen their ship, Mara. It was so cool. It was a—”

“Hold on. Took who?”

“Isn’t that why you came up here? To get away from them?”

“Them who?” I might be awake, but my mind is still muzzy. “Slow down. You aren’t making any sense.”

Jako grabs my arm. “Your father, Mara. Coalition goons arrested your father.”

 

About the Author:

The first time D.M. Burton saw Star Wars IV: A New Hope, she was hooked on science fiction and space travel. The Star Trek movies made her want to travel to other planets. Alas, she is still Earth-bound. D.M. and her husband live in Michigan, close to their two children and five grandchildren.

Join D.M. Burton’s readers’ group on Facebook.

For more info and excerpts, visit D.M.’s website: http://www.dmburton.com

She writes adult fiction as Diane Burton, where she combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

Connect with Diane Burton online.

Blog:  http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/dmburton72

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/dianeburtonauthor

Goodreads: Diane Burton Author

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dmburton72/

Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf

GIVEAWAY!!!

A $10 AMAZON e-GIFT CARD

Many chances to win.

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Crime Time ~ Hometown Homicide ~ “Local Girl Gone”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

 

Hometown Homicide, Season 1, Episode 2, “Local Girl Gone”

Hope Mills, North Carolina – March 11, 2014

Small town high school teen Danielle Locklear was a pretty, bubbly, fun-loving, popular fifteen-year-old. She lived with her grandparents instead of her mother, because she wanted to go to  high school in their town, where she’d made many friends during her summer visits. Although she was just a freshmen, she began dating senior, Je’Michael Malloy, a responsible young man with plans to enter the military, along with his best friend, Dominic Lock.

One evening in March, 2014, Danielle asks her grandfather if she can go down the street to return a book her friend needs for homework. The grandfather gives her permission but tells her to hurry back. After a few hours when she doesn’t show up, her family begins trying to contact her. When they are unable to reach her, they call the police. Her mother is worried sick and travels to Hope Mills.

Detectives begin investigating. Friends and family spread flyers and the entire town bands together to search for the missing teen. Some of the interviews the police conducted are shown on the show. They interview her boyfriend and ask him about their relationship. He states that they were off and on and he finally broke it off completely because the spark was no longer there. He says, “She was a good girl, and I cared about her a lot.” That statement caught my attention. At this time, she’s only missing, but he says she ‘was’ a good girl–past tense. Nothing is said about it on the show but it raised a red flag for me. The authorities don’t suspect him, however. From all reports, he was a good kid and their relationship, even after the break up, was civil. Je’Michael claims he was at a friend’s house the night she disappeared. A text sent from his cell phone backs up his statement. Records show that it pings on a tower near the home.

Chena, Danielle’s aunt, decides to investigate on her own. She starts with a creek near the grandparents’ house where the teens in the area are rumored to hang out. There was also talk that it was the last place Danielle was seen alive. At the creek, her aunt finds a sock she believes belongs to Danielle.

No other clues are found and weeks go by with no sign of Danielle. Her boyfriend suggested that she might have killed herself. He said that she told him she wanted to drown herself in cold water.

One day, just more than three weeks after her disappearance, an off duty officer is on his way home and, as he drives over a bridge, he spots something in the creek that doesn’t look right. He calls it in and a retrieval team comes out. They pull Danielle’s body from the brown water. She is bound with nylon rope tied to cinderblocks. The matching sock to the one her aunt found is stuffed in her mouth. The autopsy determines that she was strangled to death.

Police continue the investigation, now looking for her killer, rather than looking for her. The creek where she is found is only a mile from his home but fifteen miles from the place where she was last seen.

The police obtain a search warrant for Malloy’s house and property. Next to the garage, they find distinctive cinderblocks speckled with pebbles — a match for the ones at the lake. They also find the same type of nylon rope.

They bring Malloy back in for an interview, and he plays it cool, continuing to deny he killed Danielle. He tells them, “You think I’m a smart kid, right?” they say they do. He says, “Why would I put her body just down the street from where I live?” But the police aren’t convinced. He takes a polygraph, which he fails. He claims he failed it because he’s nervous. They continue to pressure him. He finally breaks. He admits he killed Danielle. She asked him to meet her that night at the creek hangout. His friend, Dominic was nearby. She told Je’Michael that she was pregnant. A baby was not in his plans. He told her that he would take responsibility if the child was his, but he never wanted to be with her, ever. She flipped out and they fought. He ends up choking her to death. He goes to get his friend, who is shocked when Je’Michael tells him he killed her. Malloy says they have to get rid of the body. They load her body in the car and Je’Michael shoves the sock in her mouth because he can’t stand the noises her body was making.

As is turns out. Je’Michael had left his phone at home and sent the text through a secondary phone app. It also turns out that Danielle was not pregnant after all. She told him that to try to keep him with her. Instead, it got her killed.

Je’Michael Malloy pleads guilty to murder in the second degree. Dominic Lock, for his role in dumping Danielle Locklear’s body, pleads guilty to accessory to murder. Je’Michael Malloy is sentenced to a maximum of twenty-five years in prison. Dominic Lock is sentenced to six years behind bars.

Je’Michael Malloy will be eligible for parole when he is 43 years old. I can’t help but think it’s a shame that he’ll still have a chance at some kind of life, but the poor girl didn’t get that chance. And her family will have to live with the horror of her savage murder for the rest of their lives. The fact that he left his phone at home and used a cell phone app to send a text shows a bit of premeditation. He had to have planned it.

What do you think? Should he ever be released or should he spend the rest of his life behind bars?

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

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Love in Season by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

I’m so pleased to share a new release from one of my dear author friends. Take it away, Pamela…

 

Fun Fact: For quite some time I wanted to put together a collection of short stories that centered around the 4 seasons and 4 holidays that focus on love and family (Valentine’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas). Since I already had several stories at PBG, I mentioned this idea to my editor, the amazing Nicola Martinez, and she loved it. I submitted two previously unpublished stories to round out the collection, along with those Pelican Book Group had already published, and viola! Love in Season was born.

Blurb: Anytime is the perfect time for love.

In this anthology, author Pamela S Thibodeaux brings together eight of her most beloved romance stories—one for each season plus four holidays that revolve around love and family.

Includes two brand new stories!

PBG print: http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=34&products_id=914

PBG ebook: http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_46&products_id=913

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Season-Pamela-S-Thibodeaux-ebook/dp/B07MTT6WC2

Story Blurbs:

(Winter) Winter Madness: Sienna has survived what most succomb to – the death of a spouse and child and has maintained her faith despite her troubles. William has never met anyone who actually lived out what they say they believe. Is it true love between the faithful optimist and broody pessimist or simply winter madness?

 (Valentine’s Day) Choices: Best-selling novelist and songwriter, Camie Rogers has penned numerous accounts of the secret love she holds in her heart. Country-Music Superstar Kip Allen has changed from the shy, humble boy, to the epitome of “star.” Can the two rediscover each other after one night of his Home is where the Heart is Tour?

 (Spring) Cathy’s Angel: Single mom Cathy Johnson is tired of running her life alone…what she needs is a well-trained angel to help out. Jared Savoy gave up the dream of having a family when he discovered he is sterile. Can a confirmed bachelor and the mother of four find love amid normal daily chaos?

 (Easter) Lilies for Sandi *NEW!* Sandi and Brett did everything backwards. They got pregnant before the wedding and had a baby instead of a honeymoon. Since, Brett has resented the fact that his dreams of a football career have been cut short and wonders how long it’ll take God to forgive him for his mistakes. Sandi has played second fiddle to Brett’s dreams and desires to the point of not knowing herself any longer and fears her marriage will never be a true one because of their failures. Can two hearts broken by unfulfilled dreams find healing, wholeness and restoration?

(Summer) The Big Catch *NEW!* Karla and, the love of her life, Jeff, have uncovered some uncommon ground: The Great Outdoors. For the life of her, she does not understand his love of fishing and how he can spend so much time doing so. Will she come to love the sport as much as he or will his passion for a rod and reel tangle up their relationship?

(Fall) A Hero for Jessica: Anthony Paul Seville is known as the ‘most eligible bachelor’ in New Orleans, possibly even the entire state of Louisiana, but finds himself alone—completely and explicitly alone. Jessica Aucoin is a writer on her way to fame and fortune, but is haunted by a man from her past. Will the “champion” lawyer and the author of romantic suspense find love written in their future?

(Thanksgiving) Review of Love (Newly Edited/Revised/Lengthened!): Jason Stockwell has been commissioned to interview Kylie Erickson and to review her books. Only problem is, she won’t give the time of day much less an interview to someone whose type of writing she deems not worthy of respect. Can they suspend their judgmental attitudes and find true love?

(Christmas) In His Sight: Grade school teacher Carson Alexander has a gift—a gift that has driven a wedge between him and his family. Worse, it’s put him at odds with God. Feeling alone and misunderstood, Carson views God’s gift of prophecy as the worst kind of curse…that is until he meets Lorelei Conner, landscape artist extraordinaire, and perhaps the one person who may need Carson and his gift more than anyone ever has.

Lorelei Connor is a mother on the run. Her abusive ex-husband has followed her all over the country trying to steal their daughter. Distrusting of men and needing to keep on the move, she’s surprised by her desire to remain close to Carson Alexander. Through her fear and hesitation, she must learn to rely on God to guide her—not an easy task when He’s prompting her to trust a man.

Can their relationship withstand the tragedy lurking on the horizon?

Author Bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

 Links:

Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/pamelasthibodeauxauthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pamelasthibodea/

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pamelasthibodeauxauthor/

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1268453.Pamela_S_Thibodeaux

 

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From Here to Fourteenth Street ~ Diana Rubino

Please help me welcome today’s guest, my author friend Diana Rubino, with a fascinating look at her latest release…

 

FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET Now on Audio with the soothing voice of narrator Nina Price

Read About FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET and how Vita Found Love and Success Against All Odds

It’s 1894 on New York’s Lower East Side. Irish cop Tom McGlory and Italian immigrant Vita Caputo fall in love despite their different upbringings. Vita goes from sweatshop laborer to respected bank clerk to reformer, helping elect a mayor to beat the Tammany machine. While Tom works undercover to help Ted Roosevelt purge police corruption, Vita’s father arranges a marriage between her and a man she despises. As Vita and Tom work together against time and prejudice to clear her brother and father of a murder they didn’t commit, they know their love can survive poverty, hatred, and corruption. Vita is based on my great grandmother, Josephine Calabrese, “Josie Red” who left grade school to become a self-made businesswoman and politician, wife and mother.

An Excerpt:

As Vita gathered her soap and towel, Madame Branchard tapped on her door. “You have a gentleman caller, Vita. A policeman.”

“Tom?” His name lingered on her lips as she repeated it. She dropped her things and crossed the room.

“No, hon, not him. Another policeman. Theodore something, I think he said.”

No. There can’t be anything wrong. “Thanks,” she whispered,  nudging Madame Branchard aside. She descended the steps, gripping the banister to support her wobbly legs. Stay calm! she warned herself. But of course it was no use; staying calm just wasn’t her nature.

“Theodore something” stood before the closed parlor door. He’s a policeman? Tall and hefty, a bold pink shirt peeking out of a buttoned waistcoat and fitted jacket, he looked way out of place against the dainty patterned wallpaper.

He removed his hat. “Miss Caputo.” He strained to keep his voice soft as he held out a piece of paper. “I’m police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt.”

“Yes?” Her voice shook.

“I have a summons for you, Miss Caputo.” He held it out to her. But she stood rooted to that spot.

He stepped closer and she took it from him, unfolding it with icy fingers. Why would she be served with a summons? Was someone arresting her now for something she didn’t do?

A shot of anger tore through her at this system, at everything she wanted to change. She flipped it open and saw the word “Summons” in fancy script at the top. Her eyes widened with each sentence as she read. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing.”

I hereby order Miss Vita Caputo to enter into holy matrimony with Mr. Thomas McGlory immediately following service of this summons. 

How FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET Was Born

New York City’s history always fascinated me—how it became the most powerful hub in the world from a sprawling wilderness in exchange for $24 with Native Americans by the Dutch in 1626.

Growing up in Jersey City, I could see the Statue of Liberty from our living room window if I leaned way over (luckily I didn’t lean too far over). As a child model, I spent many an afternoon on job interviews and modeling assignments in the city, and got hooked on Nedick’s, a fast food chain whose orange drinks were every kid’s dream. Even better than the vanilla egg creams. We never drove to the city—we either took the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) train (‘the tube’ in those days) or the bus through the Lincoln Tunnel to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

My great grandmother, Josephine Arnone, “Josie Red” to her friends, because of her abundant head of red hair, was way ahead of her time. Born in 1895 (but it could’ve been sooner, as she was known to lie about her age), she left grade school, became a successful businesswoman and a Jersey City committewoman, as well as a wife and mother of four. She owned apartment buildings, parking garages, a summer home, did a bit of Prohibition-era bootlegging, small-time loan-sharking, and paid cash for everything. When I began outlining From Here to Fourteenth Street, I modeled my heroine, Vita Caputo, after her. Although the story is set in New York the year before Grandma was born, I was able to bring Vita to life by calling on the family legends and stories, all word of mouth, for she never kept a journal.

Vita’s hero Tom McGlory isn’t based on any real person, but I did a lot of reading about Metropolitan Policemen and made sure he was the complete opposite! He’s trustworthy and would never take a bribe or graft. I always liked the name McGlory—then, years after the book first came out, I remembered that was the name of my first car mechanic—Ronnie McGlory.

I completed the book in 1995, and my then-publisher, Domhan Books, published it under the title I Love You Because. The Wild Rose Press picked it up after I gave it many revisions and overhauls. My editor Nan Swanson did a fabulous job making the prose sparkle.

Changing the Title

When I proposed the story to Wild Rose, I wanted to change the title, since it went through so many revisions. I wanted to express Vita’s desire to escape the Lower East Side and move farther uptown. I considered Crossing 14th Street, but it sounded too much like Crossing Delancey. After a few more hits and misses, the title hit me—as all really fitting titles do.

A Bit of Background—What Was 1894 New York City Like?

The Metropolitan Police was a hellhole of corruption, and nearly every cop, from the greenest rookie to the Chief himself, was a dynamic part of what made the wheels of this great machine called New York turn. 

The department was in cahoots with the politicians, all the way up to the mayor’s office. Whoever wasn’t connected enough to become a politician became a cop in this city. They were paid off in pocket-bulging wads of cash to look the other way when it came to building codes, gambling, prostitution, every element it took to keep this machine gleaming and efficient. They oiled the machine and kept it running with split-second precision. The ordinary hardworking, slave-wage earning citizen didn’t have a chance around here. Tom McGlory and his father were two of a kind, and two of a sprinkling of cops who were cops for the right reasons. They left him alone because he was a very private person; he didn’t have any close friends, he confided in no one. He could’ve made a pocket full of rocks as a stoolie, more than he could by jumping in the fire with the rest of them, but he couldn’t enjoy spending it if he’d made it that way. They knew it and grudgingly respected him for it. He was here for one reason–his family was here. If they went, he went. As long as they needed him, here he was. Da would stop grieving for his wife when he stopped breathing. Since Tom knew he was the greatest gift she gave Da, he would never let his father down.

Meet Vita: An Interview With Vita Caputo, Heroine of FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET

Vita, we know you and Tom overcame astronomical odds to stay together. It’s like Romeo and Juliet. I can imagine how torn you felt when you wanted to be with Tom, but didn’t want to defy your father. Tell us, what was your family and homelife like when all this was going on?

Well, I loved my father and brothers more than anything, and didn’t want to defy them. Yet at the same time, I felt they weren’t respecting my wishes. I was in love with Tom, and they hated him for two reasons, which to me, were irrational—he’s Irish and he’s a cop. But you have to understand their underlying reasons—cops always gave Italian immigrants a hard time on the Lower East Side. They didn’t give Italians a fair shake. Many of them were bullied, arrested for crimes they didn’t commit—and of course if you know my story, you know that the police framed Papa and my brother for the murder of Tom’s cousin, also a cop. I can understand their hatred of the police force for this heinous act. But not the entire police force is corrupt. Teddy Roosevelt, the Commish, certainly wasn’t, and Tom certainly isn’t. But when you face this hatred and injustice every day, it’s easy to be bitter. Our homelife, before I met Tom, was the usual Italian household—we struggled to make ends meet and didn’t have much, but I always made sure we had more than enough to eat, and to share with those who had less. I went without new clothes, shoes, coats, to buy groceries so we wouldn’t go hungry. We argued over petty things—like who left the stove on—but we always made up in the end. We were very affectionate, and gave each other a lot of hugs and kisses. We sometimes felt the world was against us—and at times it was.

What did your childhood home look like?

Did you ever see the classic Jackie Gleason sitcom The Honeymooners? They had a walk-up flat in Brooklyn. Well, ours was on Mott Street in Manhattan, but our flat looked much like that—it was called a ‘railroad flat’ because all the rooms were in a row—kitchen sitting room, bedrooms in back. We shared a toilet on the landing. But compared to other Mott Street tenements, we had it made—we had indoor plumbing. No bathtub, but a sink with running water. We didn’t have to go to a backyard privy. The bedroom was partitioned off by a curtain that I’d made—one side was mine, the other side my brother’s. Papa and his wife Rosalia had another bedroom to themselves.

What is your greatest dream?

To be a Senator or Congresswoman, but I’m happy enough as a committeewoman for now.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?

I wish I could be calmer and slow down. I do too much—run the household because I refuse to hire help, raise our 3 kids, work and invest our savings. I follow the stock market and purchase stocks that have long-term growth potential. What’s stopping me is my drive to get ahead.

Who was your first love?

Tom, of course. My father tried to throw me together with ‘a nice Italian boy’ Roberto Riccadonna whose family owned a music store and was ‘well off’ – but he was arrogant and controlling. He threatened me when I told him I wasn’t interested in him. He and Tom got into fisticuffs when I found Roberto under my boardinghouse window singing “O Sole Mio” with a mandolin. He had a nice voice, but Tom was hardly impressed.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

When Papa and my brother Butchie were arrested for the murder of Tom’s cousin Mike. It tore me into pieces, because Tom didn’t want to believe Papa and Butchie were the killers, but evidence pointed to them. We made it our quest to find the real killer, and we did. It created a huge rift in our relationship of course, but we overcame that as we got through all the other hardships and prejudices that tried to keep us apart. 

What was your first job?

I started out as a sweatshop worker sewing ‘shirtwaists’ (blouses), and now I’m a committeewoman, with a view to being New York City’s first female mayor.

What’s your level of schooling?

I left school at 16 to go to work in a lampshade factory.

Where were you born?

Sassano, Italy, near Naples.

Where do you live now?

Greenwich Village, in a brownstone on East 14th Street.

Do you have a favorite pet?

They’re all favorites, two mongrel pups, Charlie and Shirley, two cats Romeo and Juliet, and assorted goldfish whose names we can’t keep up with!

What’s your favorite place to visit?

Coney Island, to sit on the beach, frolic in the ocean, eat those delicious hot dogs and fried dough, and stroll the boardwalk!

What’s your most important goal?

To see my three children become successful, respectable citizens. Doing all right so far—my daughter Assunta (Susan) owns a clothing store, my son Virgilio (Billy) writes Broadway musicals and my youngest Teresa (Tessie) wants to be a baby doctor.

What’s your worst fear or nightmare?

That the stock market will crash again or some other disaster will plunge us back into poverty.

What’s your favorite food?

My homemade lasagna with my grandmother’s sauce recipe (it’s a secret)

Are you wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between? 

We’re finally members of the solid middle class.

What’s your secret desire or fantasy?

To sing in one of my son’s musicals.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

I’d buy my own airplane and give the rest to charity.

A Review From Romantic Times:

Immigrant Vita Caputo escapes New York’s Italian ghetto and secures a job in a Wall Street bank, along with a room in a Greenwich Village boarding house, thanks to Irish police officer Tom McGlory. With her new beginning, Vita even joins the Industrial reform movement.

Tom is an honest cop, with little interest in women until he meets Vita. When Tom’s cousin is murdered and Vita’s father and brother are arrested for the crime, the two team up to investigate and soon discover that they are falling in love.

Vita and Tom face economic problems, prejudice, and cultural differences. Ms. Rubino’s research is obvious.—Kathe Robin

From Rhapsody Magazine:

FROM HERE TO 14th STREET by Diana Rubino is all that and then some. Everything about this book is what writing should be–original and wonderfully executed. Bravo!—Karen L. Williams 

From Book Nook Romance Reviews:

Diana Rubino has done a masterful job of researching the life of Italian and Irish immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York, its society and politics and crime. She paints a vivid picture of the degradation immigrants of Italian descent suffered, particularly at the hands of the earlier Irish immigrants they succeeded. Barred from all but the most menial jobs, forced to live crammed into the worst slums, she makes it easy for the reader to understand why many of them turned to a life of crime and violence. Not only can the reader see what Vita and Tom see, they can smell it, hear it, and taste it.

Vita is a delightful heroine, as full of vivid life as the city she lives in. Stubborn, determined to escape the ghetto in which she lives and make something of herself, she never loses her commitment to and love for her family. That very devotion, however, threatens her growing relationship with Tom, since the Irish and Italians are the Capulets and Montagues of 19th century Manhattan. Although she cannot help falling deeply in love with him, she knows that her father and brothers will never permit her to spend her life with him. And, in a departure from the usual super-masculine hero, Tom is a sensitive, secret poet as well as a cop.

If you like vivid characters and a book that carries you effortlessly back to an earlier time, FROM HERE TO 14th STREET is a good choice. –Elizabeth Burton

MORE ABOUT THE LOWER EAST SIDE:

One fascinating place to visit is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum

at 97 Orchard Street, once an actual tenement. They have tours describing life as it was back then, with each floor of the building decorated (if you want to call it ‘decorated’) to depict each time period when immigrants lived there.

I read a lot of books to research this story. One book I remember reading as a kid is How The Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis, a photographer and reformer of the time. The photos in his 1901 book vividly illustrate the poverty and deprivation of the times, for adults and children alike.

ABOUT ME:

My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. My urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. I live on Cape Cod with my husband Chris. In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, play my piano and devour books of any genre. Visit me at www.dianarubino.com, www.DianaRubinoAuthor.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/DianaRubinoAuthor, and on Twitter @DianaLRubino.

Purchase FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

getbook.at/FromHereTo14Audio

 

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Author Interview with J.A. Kazimer / New Release ~ Cuffed: A Detective Goldilocks Mystery

Please help me welcome today’s guest, J.A. Kazimer…

Good morning, J.A. So happy to have you as my guest today. Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

Thank you, Alicia. So excited to be here.

I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio (home of the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame and the only river that’s ever caught on fire, more than once). I moved to Denver, CO so many years ago that I feel like a native. My family consists of a 14-year-old Weimaraner, a 7-year-old (thirty pound) Chihuahua, and a 6-month-old Minnie mutt. In case it’s not obvious, I am that friend on Facebook. The one who drives you nuts with puppy pictures. You’re welcome.

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?

I’m a sucker for twisting the typical version of a fairytale characters. In this case, I focused my attention on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

I asked myself, what would have happened if the last line in the fairytale (And she never returned to the home of the three bears), didn’t exist? How would that have changed it? Would the bears, acting as talking bears often do, have called the cops?

I also needed to know why one bowl of porridge too hot and the other too cold? Furthermore, what bear in its right mind would leave a perfectly good porridge sitting out for an interloping blond to eat?

As you can obviously see, this brought me to a grownup Goldie Locks and her adoptive bear family. She now a homicide detective happily dating the fairest man in all the land, until the one man who jumped over a candlestick and out of her life years before returns to win her back. Or to commit murder. I always forget which.

What book have you read that you wish you had written?

Anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Julie Garwood’s historical romances. I love any romance with wit, and humor.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

I used to work as a private investigator. It was both fun and humanity destroying. I since moved on to working at a university, which, oddly enough, is also fun and humanity destroying. Kids today…Get off my lawn…

What was your first job?

When a person goes to jail, they can buy things from the commissary. I was the 15-year-old kid filling those orders. It was much like being a file clerk. Good thing I was young and dumb enough not to realize that I don’t like to file.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read [your book]?

Honestly, I want readers to live happily ever after. If my novel makes someone happy, even if just until they finish it, then my role as an author is complete.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

I’m the author of over 15 books. Some received plenty of reviews. Others very few. Some bad. Most good. I can firmly attest to the fact that getting any review beats not getting one. Silence is far from golden for authors.

What is your favorite quote?

“The world is a stage and the play is badly cast.”
– Oscar Wilde 

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Roses are red,

I’m pretty sure I’m dead.

But would you mind checking?

How did your interest in writing originate?

I loved books since I picked up my very first Johanna Lindsey novel. I believe it was Heart’s Aflame. But being a writer? That was madness. I could barely spell.

Then one day a character’s voice came into my head.

So I had two choices. Either become a writer or face the possibility that I was crazy. Writer seemed easier, and included less electrical shock therapy.

 

Now, I’d like to turn the tables. What is your favorite fairytale? And why?

Hahaha, loved the interview, J.A. You’re so funny! Your book sounds fantastic. As for my answer to the question, I think mine might be Little Red Riding Hood because it has a creepier vibe than many of the others.

 

Detective Goldie Locks isn’t looking for just the right bed. Or any bed for that matter.

She’s on the hunt for a killer.

When she discovers the fingerprints of a once-upon-a-time lover, a man who jumped over a candlestick and out a window to leave her facing some serious trespassing trouble alone, at a crime scene, she vows to see him in handcuffs.

Jack B. Nimble has other ideas.

He threatens her adoptive family if Goldie doesn’t help him clear his villainous name, much to the chagrin of her current boyfriend and quite possibly the next mayor, Beau White, the fairest man in all the land.

Trying to prove his innocence turns out to be harder than she expected, especially when Jack refuses to aid in his defense, and instead, starts a campaign to ‘win’ her back. Goldie might be a blond, but she’s far from dumb enough to fall for his charms a second time.

Or so she tells herself every time his lips meet hers.

The deeper she plows into the rabbit hole and Jack’s soul, the more she learns about his motives for returning to the city—Destroying her perfectly crafted life.

Excerpt –

Chapter 1

“My, my, what big…,” my eyes slowly slid from his mouth downward, taking in every inch of his bulging physique, finally settling on his very large and furry fingers, “…hands you have.”

His lips curled into a lecherous grin as he lifted the chains around his wrists. “The better to…” He waggled his eyebrows.

I tilted my head, letting my hair brush my shoulders. “To what? Kill innocent women wearing red hoods?” Pushing from the hard metal chair, I rose to my full five-feet, eight-inch height to stare down at the guy accused of stalking and murdering a young woman who went missing on her way to her grandmother’s house. The brutality of the crime sharpened my tone. “We’ve got your DNA all over her goodies.”

He huffed in a harsh breath, a telling reaction.

I smiled. We had the right guy. Now I just needed to break him.

The best part of my job.

I drew in a breath, ready to pluck the truth from him like a plum from a pie. The interview room door opened halting my interrogation. Irritation churned inside me, but I suppressed it, barely, as Captain Jingleheimer Schmidt stuck his head through the doorway. “Detective Locks,” he said in a whey-soaked voice. “A word.”

I glowered at the big, bad-smelling wolf, following my captain out of the institutional grey-colored room. He crossed the bullpen bursting with villains and cops, heading to his office on the other side of the New Never City police station. An office as crammed with files and arrest reports as deep, and smelling just as bad, as an old lady and all of her numerous offspring who lived in a shoe.

Motioning for me to sit on the worn chair the captain dropped into his own seat behind a wobbly desk, clasping his fingers in front of him. I wrinkled my nose at the stench wafting around me, and then sat. Like a lady, and not of the night variety, I crossed my legs, waiting. Captain Jingleheimer Schmidt was a man of few words and most of those started with the letter F. I doubted the conversation would take long.

“Goldie,” he began.

My back arched at the use of my given name. Whatever he was about to say wasn’t good, likely for me. In fact, the last time the captain had called me Goldie I’d ended up losing my back right molar to a delusional fairy. The two dollars and seventy cents left under my pillow was of little consolation. I took a calming breath, waiting for the other glass slipper to drop.

 

Bio –

J.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. When she isn’t looking for a place to hide the bodies, she devotes her time to playing with a pup named Killer. Other hobbies include murdering houseplants. She spent a few years stalking people while working as a private investigator before transitioning to the moniker of WRITER and penning over 15 titles. Visit her website at jakazimer.com and sign up for her THIS LITTLE PIGGY WENT TO MURDER Readers’ Group.

 

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Crime Time ~ People Magazine Investigates ~ “Connecticut Horror Story”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

 

People Magazine Investigates, Season 2, Episode 4, “Connecticut Horror Story”

Cheshire, Connecticut July 23, 2007

Jennifer Petit and her eleven-year-old daughter, Michaela, were shopping for groceries for Jennifer’s birthday dinner, which Michaela planned to prepare. Unbeknownst to them, they were spotted by Joshua Komisarjevsky . He and his pal were planning to find a rich family to rob, and the Petits fit the bill. He called his friend, Steven Hayes, and the plan was put into motion. Supposedly, they only planned to rob them and leave. They waited until the wee hours, while the family was sleeping. When they arrived, they found the father, William Petit, asleep on the sofa. They beat him over the head with a bat they found in the yard, then tied him up in the basement. They then went upstairs and bound and gagged Jennifer and her two daughters, Michaela, 11, and Hayley, 17.

The criminals robbed the home but were not satisfied with their haul. They found a bank book showing the balance in the account, and decided to have Jennifer withdraw money for them. The bank would not be open until 9 a.m., which was 7 hours away. With the family tied up, they drove the family’s vehicle to a nearby gas station and, using the Petits’ credit card, filled gas cans with $10 worth of gas. Then, they returned and spent all that time in the home with the family as they waited for the bank to open. From what I understand, during that time, there was no abuse, no sexual assault. They treated their victims decently.

At nine a.m., Hayes drove Jennifer to the bank. The teller told Jennifer she was unable to withdraw the money without her husband present as well. Jennifer wrote a note on the withdrawal slip stating that her children were being held hostage and would be killed if she didn’t get the money, and that if the police were called, her children would be killed. The teller contacted the bank manager. The manager spoke to Jennifer who showed her a picture of her daughters. A mother herself, the bank manager knew Jennifer was being truthful. She approved the withdrawal but went into her office and called the police. As she was on the phone with them, Jennifer left the bank.

The police first showed up at the bank, thinking there was a situation there. When they learned there was not, they headed to the Petit house. By this time, William Petit had escaped the basement through the doors which led into the yard. He called out to a neighbor who rushed over to help him. The police spotted the men and thought at first they might be the perpetrators. Mr. Petit told them his family was in the home, in danger. When it was established these men were not the criminals, Mr. Petit was rushed to the hospital.

The police were formulating a plan and setting up a perimeter around the home. While this was taking place, the home went up in flames. The criminals tried to escape in the family’s SUV, but were quickly apprehended. Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela were found dead inside the home. They’d been raped and strangled and suffered smoke inhalation.

A lot of criticism was aimed at the police for their handling of the situation. They never tried to make contact with the criminals. They wasted too much time without taking action. It appears that the sexual assaults and murders happened after the police had arrived. From the time the bank manager called to the time the house was set on fire, 50 minutes or so had passed. Critics assert that the police could have acted more quickly and saved the family.

Authorities later learned that the criminals saw the police outside the home and doused it with gasoline and set it on fire.

I am certain things could have been done differently by many of those involved. I have to wonder a few things…

  • If the bank manager hadn’t called the police at all, would the killers have let the family live? I have my doubts. They purchased the gasoline hours earlier, obviously they had a purpose in mind.
  • If they had delayed Jennifer in the bank, would the police have been able to stop the crime?
  • If the police had ascended on the home, would the murders not have happened? My thought is that they likely still would have. The killers took action when they knew police were there, so I’m not sure that converging on the home would have made a difference. In hindsight, it would have been worth a try.
  • Why did the killers only commit the rapes and murders the next morning, when police were outside, when they had all night? I assume it was because they had to keep the women calm in order to get Jennifer to make the withdrawal.
  • Why on earth would the killers go ahead and murder the family, knowing they wouldn’t get away? At that point, they had only committed home invasion/kidnapping/robbery. Why add murder charges?

When the cowardly, sick, evil monsters were interviewed, they blamed one another. Komisarjevsky  confessed to sexually assaulting 11 year old Michaela. He called her ‘KK’, a nickname the family gave her, which somehow makes the horror even more sickening. He also took photos of the sexual abuse.

His interview with police, during which he gleefully recounted the tragic details of his assault on the child, was played during his trial. His three court-appointed defense lawyers asked the judge to call a mistrial citing the grief shown on the faces of the Petit family members in court as the interview was played unfairly affected the jury. What???? Wow. Yes, let’s not be unfair to a murdering, heartless POS.

Both ‘men’ were convicted and sentenced to death. However, in 2015, Connecticut abolished the death penalty, and their sentences were commuted to life.  Jennifer’s sister was interviewed on the show, and she said she had always been against the death penalty, but she changed her mind after what her sister and nieces suffered. She thought the killers should be executed.

Later, in a diary Komisarjevsky kept, an entry was found where he called William Petit a coward and said he could have stopped it any time. Wow. The nerve.

William Petit managed to rebuild his life. The home was torn down and he built a beautiful memorial garden in its place. He remarried in 2012 to Christine Paluf, with whom he has a young son. In 2016, he was elected to the Connecticut legislature.

How do you think you would have acted had you been the bank manager? Jennifer? The police? Would you have done anything differently?

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

 

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