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Archive for the ‘Virtual Book Tour Guests’ Category

Catherine Jalyon

A ferocious human predator ripped through our family, drooling over the innocent―leaving none untouched. Generations of child predators have devoured their vulnerable offspring and siblings, molesting our family’s youth unconcerned about the magnitude of their actions. Silence has become the gateway to mental health issues throughout our lineage. I Am the Product of Rape―A Memoir exposes generational secrets, lies, cover-ups and denial and their consequences. Told from my perspective, this is my family story, a glimpse into four women irreversibly scarred by traumatic abuse.”

From I Am The Product of Rape: A Memoir by Catherine Wyatt-Morley and Jalyon Welsh-Cole

Catherine Wyatt-Morley is the founder, chief executive officer and heartbeat of Women On Maintaining Education and Nutrition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit social service organization for the at-risk and HIV-positive community. In 1994, Wyatt-Morley founded Women On Reasons To Heal (W.O.R.T.H.), the first and what has become the oldest HIV-positive women’s support group in Middle Tennessee.

Wyatt-Morley has appeared in countless media outlets nationwide, including SELF Magazine, the Today Show, A&U Magazine, POZ Magazine, CNN, Voices of America, MSNBC, Talk America Radio, FX Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, the Palm Beach Post, the Indianapolis Indiana Recorder, the Los Angeles Times, the Canadian Sun, Nashville Scene, and the Tennessean.

Jalyon Welsh-Cole has been director of Women On Maintaining Education and Nutrition, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit social service organization, since 2010. Welsh-Cole began writing when she was very young, starting with short stories and poems. As a teen, she was inspired to draw, finding comfort and creativity in her art. She joined forces with Wyatt-Morley to share her story in I AM THE PRODUCT OF RAPE – A MEMOIR. Together, they also have created #HealingSecretHurts workshops, which bring the spectrum of traumatizing sexual assault into the light.

I Am the Product of Rape

Book Description:

The phrase “secrets and lies” takes on terrible new meaning in Catherine Wyatt-Morley’s devastating book, I AM THE PRODUCT OF RAPE – A MEMOIR.

Wyatt-Morley’s shocking story traces the repeated patterns of rape and incest that plagued four generations of her family, including Wyatt-Morley’s birth in a filthy basement to her 12-year-old mother, who was sexually abused by her step-father.

“…In the process of writing this book, an extremely difficult journey that has taken years, I was taken to unfamiliar destinations and exposed to unfathomable pain,” Wyatt-Morley relates. “Part of that pain was learning that I was created through the atrocities of incest by a brutally manipulative monster and, while only moments old, (I was) denied by a heartless grandmother who never bothered to look at me.”

Wyatt-Morley wrote I AM THE PRODUCT OF RAPE – A MEMOIR, she says, “as my way of dealing with my personal healing. But through conversations with many diverse women, I quickly began seeing I was not alone. So many had never told anyone of the abuse that has happened to them; yet they have a need to heal, to not feel isolated.”

Wyatt-Morley’s daughter, Jalyon Welsh-Cole, also suffered the terrible legacy of her family when she was abused by her eldest brother. She wrote the epilogue to I AM THE PRODUCT OF RAPE – A MEMOIR, an essay she called BURNING HOUSE, in response to the continued pattern of abuse that formed her familial legacy.

“Most of my family members who have learned of this are dealing with it as well as one can,” Welsh-Cole says. “However, others are still in disbelief and struggle to understand. For over two decades I kept this heinous secret to myself. I have had time to bury it, cry over it, and finally seek therapy and come to grips with it.

Welsh-Cole’s mother’s story “made me feel as if our bloodline was full of secrets and lies that I wanted to expose,” she continues. “I knew after learning of my grandmother’s story that I wasn’t alone. Today, I cannot allow this to continue to happen in our family.”

As dark and unrelenting as it is, the story told in I AM THE PRODUCT OF RAPE – A MEMOIR leads to a conclusion of overcoming tremendous odds, leaving readers riveted, inspired, and empowered.

Interview:

Thanks for visiting us today! I Am the Product of Rape: A Memoir is quite a heart-wencher. Can you tell us the reason why you wanted to share your story with the world?

Speaking with many ethnicities worldwide regarding the sensitive subjects of incest, rape and sexual abuse, I noticed in private, they freely disclosed their deepest painful experiences trusting me enough to reveal the real decay that lay behind the smiles. Overtime I saw so many people dealing with similar issues literally suffering alone, in silence. I saw a gap in leadership, a void needing correcting, and a position which needed to be up-righted. I saw no one taking up the mantel on this issue which is real and happening daily, impacting thousands. I decided to lead! I am determined to be the voice that speaks proudly, gives encouragement and leads our generation of wounded people towards their healing place. My mother instilled in me at a very young age the gratification of helping others and being a leader. She ingrained in my head how though being a follower is easy, being a leader builds character. I choose character. I want to change lives and I want to be remembered for my selfless diligent fight. You ask why I want to share my story with the world? Because I want to give people like me the opportunity to hold their heads up high and say they are survivors not victims.

Can you tell us at what point did you decide that you couldn’t harbor this secret anymore?

I had kept the secret for so long it had begun to affect me mentally, resulting in a bipolar diagnosis. In a manic state of mind I felt while I had the courage to say it, I just needed to get it out. I felt I needed to tell my mother. If I had not been in a manic state I don’t know if I would have disclosed such horrific news to her or where I would be in my healing process, as disclosing to her was my first step towards healing. Also the next step was when my mother recognized that I needed help and she proactively got that help for me that day. Because of my mental health issues with bipolar disorder I was suffering from the inside out constantly. As I stated in the Epilogue Burning House as part of I Am the Product of Rape―A Memoir, there was nothing anyone could do to my abuser to make it all better. The mental and physical scares his actions caused remain embedded in me.

Some people judge rape victims saying that they must have provoked their victims to come on to them. What do you tell those people?

To those who think this way I would say, there is no way an 8 year old little girl who had no interest in anything sexual nor had a fully shaped body could suggest to a predator that she would WANTED to be Raped/Molested. I am using myself as an example. However, there are adult women who are also victims. No one wants to be assaulted or violated. I would say they are wrong to assume a person willingly wants to have their life dramatically changed forever in that manner. That is a misunderstood misdirected assumption. I would hope sexual assault never happens to them or someone they love, unfortunately then there may be a change of heart.

Who was the first person you told and why?

The first person I told about being molested by my eldest brother was my boyfriend at the time. He was the first real/serious relationship I had ever been in. Prior to engaging in sexual activities with him we were both tested for HIV and I disclosed to him that I had been repeatedly rape/molested by my eldest brother. After telling him, he was very upset and supportive of me.

How are you helping other women deal with rape and can you tell us about Women On Maintaining Education and Nutrition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit social service organization for the at-risk and HIV-positive community?

At the soul of the authors of I Am the Product of Rape―A Memoir is assisting others in need of healing from trauma. The authors of I Am the Product of Rape―A Memoir, have developed an interactive Workbook they have titled #HealingSecretHurts or (#HSH). In conjunction with I Am the Product of Rape―A Memoir, #HSH and utilizing other tools we conduct small to mid-size acquisition sessions which, with attendees, explores the raw subject matters exposed in I Am the Product of Rape―A Memoir. Sessions are implemented in safe, confidential, comfortable environments. Making trauma a priority, the author’s ability to listen, believe, and care then encourage, empower and initiate behavior change is their principal. Their mother daughter synergy educates, enlightens and empowers as they share their experience while bringing the spectrum of traumatizing sexual assault into the light.

In addition to #HealingSecretHurts, Women On Maintaining Education and Nutrition, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit social service organization for the at-risk and HIV-positive community offers care and recovery through a thorough intake and assessment, the development of safety plans, safety kits, navigation, legal advocacy, court connection, prevention, counseling, support group, justice system advocacy, community coordination and collaboration, crisis intervention, employment counseling, culturally and linguistically specific resources and services targeting safety, locates emergency shelter and the establishment of new housing, transportation, and community outreach. The authors of I Am the Product of Rape―A Memoir alien with community based organizations, professionals and others to establish programs and services for domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault rape and stalking victims.

Thank you again for this interview. What advice can you give women to help them avoid rape/incest?

I would say don’t be naive, thinking that because it’s a family member or a boy/girlfriend they won’t hurt you or that it can’t or won’t happen to you. Get educated, read I Am the Product of Rape―A Memoir, attend one of our #HealingSecretHurts acquisition sessions, take a self-defense class, be prepared at all times, carry some type of protection, watch for signs of grooming, do your best to never put yourself in situations that can lead to something you don’t want to be involved in and lastly do the same for your friends.

 

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Jeanine Kitchel, a former journalist, escaped her hectic nine-to-five life in San Francisco, bought land, and built a house in a fishing village on the Mexican Caribbean coast. Shortly after settling in she opened a bookstore. By this time she had become a serious Mayaphile and her love of the Maya culture led her and her husband to nearby pyramid sites throughout southern Mexico and farther away to sites in Central America. In the bookstore she entertained a steady stream of customers with their own Maya tales to tell—from archeologists and explorers to tour guides and local experts. At the request of  a publisher friend, she began writing travel articles about her adopted homeland for websites and newspapers. Her travel memoir, Where the Sky is Born: Living in the Land of the Maya, and Maya 2012 Revealed: Demystifying the Prophecy, are available on Amazon. She has since branched into writing fiction and her debut novel, Wheels Up—A Novel of Drugs, Cartels and Survival, launched May 2018.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK (Personal) | FACEBOOK (Page)

BOOK BLURB:

Layla always wanted to run the family business. But is she willing to kill for it?

When her notorious drug lord uncle is recaptured, Layla Navarro catapults to the top of Mexico’s most powerful cartel. Groomed as his successor, Layla knows where the bodies are buried. But not all the enemies. She strikes her first deal to prove her mettle by accepting an offer to move two tons of cocaine from Colombia to Cancun by jet. Things go sideways during a stopover in Guatemala whe Layla unexpectedly uncovers a human trafficking ring. Plagued by self-doubt, she must fight off gangsters, outsmart corrupt officials, and navigate the minefield of Mexican machismo. Even worse, she realizes she’s become a target for every rival cartel seeking to undermine her new standing. From her lush base in the tropics, she’s determined to retain her dominant position in Mexico’s criminal world. If she can stay alive.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

 

 

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Not really.

What was your inspiration for Wheels Up—A Novel of Drugs, Cartels and Survival?

Mexico was my home for 15 years and once I moved there and opened my bookstore, there were just too many untold stories that needed telling. As a former journalist I started writing non-fiction, mostly travel articles for papers and websites, then I branched into fiction writing with Wheels Up. It deals with the Mexican cartels and how their presence has affected the peoples’ lives, from top to bottom. Because Mexico is known for its machismo, I decided to add a twist and place a Latina protagonist at the center. She inherits top spot in Mexico’s most powerful cartel when her drug lord uncle is recaptured. I thought it would be ironic for a strong-willed woman to be in the driver’s seat.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Social justice, relationship issues, self-confidence, corruption at high levels.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Four years.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I’m not as disciplined as I’d like to be! I now try, on my sequel to Wheels Up, to get in about an hour’s work in the early morning, before the day gets in the way. In the past I’ve found that afternoons from 2 to 6 were my best time to write. I still also write in the afternoons.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Figuring out how to not add too much back story. I have four main characters who’ve all lead very interesting lives. It’s mostly about the adventure they find themselves on, but it also intertwines how the cartels got first a foothold and now a stranglehold on Mexico. After much hair pulling, I hired an editor and she gave me input that helped make the book a punchier read. It moves fast I’m told, and I credit my editor for that.

What do you love most about being an author?

Putting words together that fit, that sound good. Sentences are like puzzles—there’s a million ways to make a statement and for me, the editing process and making the words fit perfectly together is a challenge. And finding out that I can tell a good story. For that I am grateful.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I self-published. It was a pretty intense process even though I’ve done it twice before with two non-fiction books, they were both years apart, and I had to re-learn the various steps of how to publish. I had a good source book, Dan Poynter’s Self Publisher’s Manual, and followed his lead. It’s a time consuming process, and at times overwhelming. But you just plug away and when the printed book is in your hand, you feel a real sense of accomplishment. I’m so glad I did it, and also that Wheels Up is out there in the world.

Where can we find you on the web?

Website, blog, Facebook and Twitter:  http://www.jeaninekitchel.com; jeanine.kitchel.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/jeaninekitchel.com, @jeaninekitchel.

Thank you!

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The author of “heart-thumping” Western romance, Charlene Whitman spent many years living on Colorado’s Front Range. She grew up riding and raising horses, and loves to read, write, and hike the mountains. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an English major. She has two daughters and is married to George “Dix” Whitman, her love of thirty years. 

The Front Range series of sweet historical Western romance novels (set in the 1870s) includes Wild Horses, Wild Hearts, set in Laporte and Greeley. Colorado Promise, set in Greeley, Colorado; Colorado Hope, set in Fort Collins; Wild Secret, Wild Longing, which takes readers up into the Rockies, Colorado Dream (Greeley), and Wyoming Tryst, set in Laramie, WY.

 

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

Two ranching tycoons. A decades-old feud. A sheriff bent on ridding the town of lawlessness . . .

In the midst of the trouble brewing in Laramie City in 1878, Julia Carson yearns to be free of her parents’ smothering and wonders whether she’ll ever find a man worthy to love in such a violent town rife with outlaws.

But when Robert Morrison sneaks onto her ranch the night of her sixteenth birthday party, Cupid shoots his arrows straight and true. Aware that their courtship would be anathema to their fathers, who are sworn enemies, Robert and Julia arrange a tryst.

Yet, their clandestine dalliance does not go unnoticed, and forces seek to destroy what little hope their romance has to bloom. The star-crossed lovers face heartache and danger as violence erupts. When all hope is lost, Joseph Tuttle, the new doctor at the penitentiary, is given a letter and a glass vial from Cheyenne medicine woman Sarah Banks.

The way of escape poses deadly dangers, but it is the only way for Robert and Julia to be together. It will take the greatest measure of faith and courage to come through unscathed, but love always conquers fear.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Yes. I grew up with a writer-mother who inspired me to write from my childhood up.

What was your inspiration for Wyoming Tryst?

Wyoming Tryst is a very close adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, set in Laramie in 1878. That should tell all!

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Lots! Issues about justice, racism (lots of Indian issues in the 1870s), honor, integrity, faith, and loyalty.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

It usually takes me about three months to write my full-length novels.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I only write during certain times of the year, as I work full-time editing and coaching writers. But when I do write, after I’ve thoroughly plotted my novel, I get started early (around 6-7 a.m.) and spend full days crafting scenes. I sometimes will break up the writing to half days. But I try to write 6-7 days a week until the book is done.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Creating a positive outcome for a tragedy. No, my characters don’t die, but they come close to it!

What do you love most about being an author?

Writing!

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self-publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I self-publish all my romance novels and I prefer that, as I can control my pricing and promotion.

Where can we find you on the web?

At my website, Charlene Whitman. And if you join my mailing list with THIS LINK, you’ll get the first book, Wild Horses, Wild Hearts, for free!

 

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UNLAWFUL DESIRES by Sassy Sinclair, Erotic Suspense, 198 pp., $10.99 (paperback) $3.99 (Kindle)

Title: UNLAWFUL DESIRES
Author: Pamela Samuels Young
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Pages: 198
Genre: Erotic Romance

Sparks fly when a handsome lawyer falls hard for a smart, seductive woman who thinks like a man and acts like one too.

Sharla Ratliff is done with having her heart broken. Her new dating rules are simple. No emotion. No expectation of commitment. Sex purely for her own physical enjoyment. Then she meets Marcel Dennard. The attractive lawyer has all the trappings of success: a thriving career, women at his beck and call, and enough money in the bank for the finer things in life.

Their lust for each other doesn’t just create sparks, it sets off explosions. The sexual attraction between them is so passionately erotic they behave in ways that can only be called reckless. After a shocking series of events place both of their careers in jeopardy, can they restrain their sexual desires long enough to keep everything they’ve worked for from going up in smoke?

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

First Chapter

Sharla

Sharla Ratliff finally figured it out. The key to protecting her heart turned out to be rather simple: think like a man and act like one too.

All that Steve Harvey crap about not giving up the cookies hadn’t worked out for her. Her last serious boyfriend wasted three years of her life. Five months after dumping her, Paul the Prick married some skank he met at the Starbucks on La Cienega and Centinela.

Every guy after him heaped on more hurt, though in much smaller doses. Sharla blamed her dating disconnections on the overabundance of phony, self-centered, knuckleheads in L.A. After taking herself off the market for an entire year, she was now ready to dip her baby toe back into the dating pool.

At 34, she was determined not to repeat the mistakes of her past. Her new dating rules were simple. No emotion. No expectation of commitment. Sex purely for her own physical pleasure. Guys enjoyed sex for what it was without hopeful thoughts of a relationship or even a call the next day. So would she.

And in just a matter of minutes, Sharla planned to put herself to the test with the man sitting inches away from her.

As Derrick steered his Escalade into her driveway, she leaned over and started massaging the bulge in his lap.

“Girl, you’re something else.” Derrick’s hand instantly tightened around the steering wheel. “I can’t wait to get with you.”

Sharla winked. “Good things come to those who wait.”

Derrick’s hazel eyes pinned her with a look so hypnotically lustful Sharla had to bite her lip to choke back a whimper. His titillating gaze would’ve melted the old Sharla right out of her red lace panties. Thank goodness that girl no longer existed.

“I like kickin’ it with you, Sharla.” Derrick’s voice had a raspy smoothness to it.

“Is that right?” She daintily cocked her head to the right. “Tell me more.”

“All through dinner I kept telling myself how lucky I was to even be in your presence. You’re beautiful. You’re smart as hell. You’re only nine years out of law school and you’re already at the top of your game. You’re every man’s dream.”

Sharla turned to peer out of the passenger window so Derrick wouldn’t see her eyes cross in skepticism.

“I bet you say that to every woman you date,” she teased.

Derrick’s strong fingers squeezed her thigh, just above the knee. “No way. I’ve never met a woman like you before. I swear.”

Normally, Sharla would’ve swatted away a hand landing that close to her goody bag on only the second date. But tonight, New Sharla was in charge.

Not that Sharla discounted everything coming from Derrick’s lips. She was pretty darn amazing. At five-eight, her body was tight and toned from years of competitive-level tennis. She dressed with the flair of a fashion model and enjoyed showing off legs even Beyoncé would envy. Her annual income topped six-figures, she owned her own home, and already had enough cash in her 401K to dump her day job if the desire ever arose. But the legal profession was a big part of her identity. She wouldn’t be giving that up anytime soon.

Derrick cut off the car, then leaned over and pressed lips as soft and sweet as a glazed donut against hers. The man deserved an A-plus in the lip-locking department.

“Let’s go inside.” He threw open the door and jogged around to help her out of his SUV.

Sharla’s feet had barely grazed the ground before Derrick curled his arms around her body like an over-anxious octopus. The firm tube jutting from his mid-section pushed against her stomach.

They kissed long and slow for several minutes before Derrick pulled away. “We better get inside or your neighbors are going to witness an X-rated show.”

Sharla giggled as he took her hand. When they reached the front door, she handed him her keys. It was important to allow Derrick to be in control. Or at least think he was.

Her best friend Reese didn’t believe she would be able to go through with this. Sharla wasn’t that kind of girl. She hungered for true love and longed to find her soul mate. But that hadn’t worked out. It was time to try something new.

So here she was about to get laid with no expectations whatsoever. If she never saw Derrick again, so what? At least she would have a night of fun under her belt.

Once they’d entered the house, Derrick pulled her into his arms again. He was much thinner than she liked her men. Although she found him attractive, he wasn’t her kind of attractive. Sharla preferred thick, well-built guys with a manly, not manicured style. Derrick was a pretty boy with light eyes, thin lips, and a shaved head.

For her first attempt at acting like a man, Sharla had intentionally selected a guy she wasn’t physically wild about. That, she assumed, would help keep her emotions in check.

“I swear I’ve been dreaming about getting with you,” Derrick mumbled, brushing her ear with those cottony-soft lips. “No female has ever got me this horny before.”

Probably because your cute behind never had to wait two weeks to get some.

Sharla made the bold move of calling Derrick the day before and inviting him to spend the night at her place. The man had become so tongue-tied with excitement he could barely form the words to accept her invitation.

Taking Derrick’s hand, Sharla led him down the hallway toward her bedroom. She turned on the crystal lamp on the nightstand and a soft, blue haze bathed the room with a sexy, nightclub ambiance.

Standing on her tiptoes, Sharla whispered into his ear. “Tell me what turns you on. I want to give it to you exactly the way you like it.”

“Damn, baby,” Derrick panted. “Everything. Everything turns me on.”

Sharla set him down at the foot of the bed, then stepped back and did a slow strip tease, sliding the spaghetti straps of her black dress off her shoulders and down her smooth arms. Once her dress, bra and matching red panties lay in a puddle on the floor, she stood with her hands on her hips, allowing Derrick to admire her nakedness.

No matter what her other issues were, body image wasn’t one of them. Her D cups stood as erect as twin doorknobs, hovering over a waist so tiny Derrick could encircle it with both hands. Her proudest attributes, her legs, were as long and sturdy as a prize stallion’s.

“I can’t believe I’m about to get with you,” Derrick muttered as he unbuttoned his shirt and unzipped his pants. Still sitting, he ripped open a condom. His hands moved so fast he had trouble unrolling it and barely got it on.

What? No foreplay?

After a year of celibacy, Sharla deserved a lover with some sensitivity, not to mention skills. He hadn’t even had the decency to ask what she liked. Did he even care about her feelings?

Old Sharla was trying to resurface, but New Sharla fought her off.

Just do it. For once in your life, experience an orgasm with no expectation of anything except fun.

New Sharla was right. She should just go for it. She was about to get busy with a man for whom she felt no emotional connection whatsoever. And that was progress.

Or was it?

Derrick gazed up at her, his tongue wagging like a thirsty German Shepherd. “C’mon, baby. Big Daddy is ready. Bring it on.”

She closed her eyes and tried to psyche herself up just as Old Sharla popped back into her subconscious. Shame on you! You’re acting like a slut.

It wasn’t a good sign that her gift box was as dry as the Sahara Desert.

“C’mere, girl.” Derrick licked his lips as he reached out for her. “I’ve been dying for some of this.”

The second his fingers grazed her waist, Sharla pushed his hands away and took a giant step backward, out of his reach.

“Um, I—I changed my mind,” she blurted out.

Snatching her dress from the floor, she covered her nakedness with a curtain of regret.

“I’m sorry. I just can’t do this!”

Sassy Sinclair, AKA Pamela Samuels Young, is an attorney and award-winning author of multiple legal thrillers. Unlawful Desires is her first foray into the erotic romantic suspense genre. Her mystery Anybody’s Daughter won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction and was a Top Ten pick by In the Margins, the best books for at-risk teens. Her novels #Anybody’s Daughter and #Abuse of Discretion are young adult adaptations of two of her most popular adult mysteries. Prior to embarking on a full-time writing career, Pamela was an associate at O’Melveny & Myers, LLP and Managing Counsel for Labor and Employment Law at Toyota. A former journalist, she also worked as a television news writer and associate producer for WXYZ-TV in Detroit and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. Pamela received her bachelor’s degree from USC and earned graduate degrees from Northwestern University and UC Berkeley School of Law. A natural hair enthusiast, Pamela wrote Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide to educate women about the true beauty of their kinky coils. The Compton native is a frequent speaker on the topics of child sex trafficking, teen sexting, self-empowerment, independent publishing and fiction writing.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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John Allen was born in Long Beach, CA. An engineer “by education, training, and experience,” he describes himself as “a recovering engineer.”  He left engineering to become the junior partner in Allen & Allen Semiotics Inc., a corporation that his wife, Lynn, launched for their diversified home business. Their projects include designing databases for mid-sized companies. John Allen holds a BS from the United States Air Force Academy, an MS from the University of Southern California, and an MA from the University of California, Riverside.

You can visit his website at http://louiseconandoyle.com/.

About the Book:

Author John Allen has a theory about the creator of Sherlock Holmes:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not create Holmes. It was Doyle’s wife, Louise Hawkins Conan Doyle, who gave birth to the beloved sleuth.

Allen has put his beliefs to the test, writing and publishing the first of a projected 12-novel series of Holmes mysteries titled BRIMSTONE. His detective is Louise Hawkins Conan Doyle, and Allen names her as the author of the tale he presents, set in 1879 Bristol, England.

In a previous book, SHADOW WOMAN, Allen set out to prove that Louise was the true creator of Sherlock Holmes. The inspiration for his startling and controversial theory of authorship was a 1980s essay by Martin Gardner called “The Irrelevance of Arthur Conan Doyle.” Gardner claimed that Arthur was “too gullible and to easily duped to have created Sherlock Holmes.”

Allen determined that Gardner was correct, but Gardner identified no alternative author. Allen continues, “So I decided to give it a try. I came to suspect Louise as the actual author, but I lacked the knowledge and tools to make a solid case.”

Then the Internet came along, giving Allen a valuable research tool. He became convinced that Louise did in fact create Sherlock Holmes. Allen presented his case in SHADOW WOMAN, which was published in 2017. To further advance Louise as Holmes’s creator, to give her the credit he believes she is due, he is now featuring her in a series of mystery novels, the first of which is BRIMSTONE.

As if Allen hadn’t set the bar too high already, he has added a subtext to BRIMSTONE that explores contemporary wrongful convictions through his Victorian thrillers.

BRIMSTONE brims with appeal to multiple audiences, from lovers of detective stories to those interested in justice for the wrongfully convicted. Sherlock Holmes would be proud.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Definitely not, particularly with respect to fiction. Though I have written five non-fiction works, I was ill prepared for writing fiction. My initial efforts were pretty pathetic, but I kept working at it. Encouraged by Lynn, my wife and a voracious reader of mysteries, I worked on my dialogue, scene description, and character development. I took an online class to improve my sentence structure. I kept devising new openings that were more and more grabbing. Most importantly, I learned that I should never ever kill the dog. Some things, I now know, are simply unforgiveable. People yes, dogs no.

Mostly I wrote and subjected my work to the withering fire of constructive criticism. And I rewrote, and rewrote, and rewrote. Jerry Pournelle, the late science fiction writer and one of the earliest bloggers, explained that anyone could be a good writer; all that was necessary was to write a million words. My rewrites of Brimstone put me over that limit.

I’m quite proud of the result.

What was your inspiration for Brimstone?

In 2017, I wrote and Lynn published Shadow Woman: The True Creator of Sherlock Holmes. In that non-fictional work, I make my case that Sherlock Holmes flowed from the mind and pen of Louise Conan Doyle, Arthur’s first wife. With respect to Louise’s character, I was severely limited to the successful efforts of Arthur’s second wife, Jean, to obliterate all records of his first wife, Louise. The Louise Conan Doyle Mystery Series allows me to portray Louise’s character as I perceiver her, based upon what I infer of her from her writing.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

In Brimstone, I meld two of my avocations, two of my passions. First and most obviously, I Louise Conan Doyle to readers of fictions, hoping that she finally receive the credit she has long deserved for her Sherlock Holmes adventures. Secondly, I hope to shine some light on our country’s problem with wrongful convictions. In each book within the mystery series, Louise somehow ends up involved in a case that shares elements from actual wrongful convictions of today. In the Author’s Note at the end of each book, I summarize the parallels in the case and I refer the readers to where they might learn more about either Louise and/or the wrongfully convicted.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

 

Brimstone was just recently published. That book began as Ghost Writer back in 2013, so Brimstone has been five years in the making. Along the way, I began and completed Shadow Woman, my non-fictional work about Louise.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I am absolutely disciplined but, unfortunately, I have many projects demanding my discipline. My work on the Louise books too frequently takes a back seat. On a typical idealized day, my fingers are on the keyboard by 8, and remain there until noon. During lunch, I research or relax. After lunch, I work on wrongful convictions or I earn the necessary tender by programming custom database systems for intermediate size companies. I then walk and think about my work. I feed the cat while thinking about my work. I spend the evenings with Lynn and give her my attention. (Lynn and I also have a date every Wednesday and one day each weekend.) I think about my work as I fall asleep, and I’m thinking about it when I wake up.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

As already described, I found it challenging to write fiction, particularly Victorian fiction, even more so Victorian fiction featuring a woman. I was a bit out of my league. With persistence and Lynn’s help, I believe I have been successful.

What do you love most about being an author?

It turns out I prefer writing fiction over non-fiction. On occasion, when working on the Louise mysteries, the story takes charge and leads me to places I had never imagined. The story becomes the master and my fingers are at its beck and call. When I’m done with the segment, and I read it, I’m surprised and pleased. When I come back considerably later and read it, I almost can’t believe I wrote it.

Those out-of-body writing experiences are pretty special.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

All my books have been published by Allen & Allen Semiotics, Inc. That is the home business that Lynn launched while I was still working for the man. We make most of our money designing custom database systems. After I failed to find a publisher for my first book, Lynn expanded our company’s offerings to include publishing, then she taught herself publishing just as she taught herself to design databases. Her publishing skills have improved as my writing skills have improved, and out latest work, Brimstone, is beautiful in every respect. It has been hard work for both of us, but I have a feeling it is all going to pay off soon.

Where can we find you on the web?

For all matters relating to Louise Conan Doyle, you can find us at http://www.louiseconandoyle.com. We are fortunate and pleased to own that URL. For all matters relating to wrongful conviction, check my Skeptical Juror blog at http://www.skepticaljuror.com.

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“The effect of the very first Heartfulness meditation on me was so profound that it was clear I had found my direction and anchor in life. But the effect of meeting Babuji was beyond even that – something so precious and subtle in its essence that it defines description. While universes and dimensions have opened in my inner world since that time, it is only one aspect of what has unfolded during these last four decades. What is even more wonderful is the walth of everyday qualities that have come through Heartfulness practice – qualities such as love, acceptance, humility, service, compassion, empathy, and a higher purpose to existence.”

From The Heartfulness Way by Kamlesh D. Patel and Joshua Pollock

KAMLESH D. PATEL is known widely as Daaji. His teachings arise from his personal experience on the path of Heartfulness, while reflecting his deep spirit of enquiry and respect for the world’s great spiritual traditions and scientific advancements. Daaji practised pharmacy in New York City for over three decades before being named the successor in a century-old lineage of spiritual masters. Fulfilling the many duties of a modern-day guru, he travels widely, extending his support to spiritual seekers everywhere. A self-professed student of spirituality, he devotes much of his time and energy to research in the field of consciousness and spirituality, approaching the subject with scientific methodology – a practical approach that stems from his own experience and mastery in the field.

Joshua Pollock is a student of Kamlesh D. Patel. After experimenting with various meditative practices, Joshua started practicing Heartfulness in the United States in 2002 and has taught it since 2007. He regularly teaches Heartfulness at universities, corporations, government institutions, and at public seminars. An accomplished violinist, Joshua has performed and taught all over the world. He holds a Bachelor of Musical Arts from Indiana University and two Masters degrees from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In August of 2015, he was invited by Daaji to co author this book.

Book Description:

Heartfulness is an ideal, a spiritual way of living by and from the heart that is inclusive of all ideologies, beliefs, and religions. In this heart-centered book, a student in conversation with his teacher, Kamlesh D. Patel—affectionately known as Daaji, the fourth and current spiritual guide of the century-old Heartfulness tradition—present a unique method of meditation with the power to facilitate an immediate, tangible spiritual experience, irrespective of a person’s faith.

Our modern, fast-paced world can be an overwhelming place. Every day, we’re bombarded with messages telling us that in order to be happy, fulfilled, and worthy, we must be better, do more, and accumulate as much material wealth as possible. Most of us move through our busy lives with our minds full of these ideas, multitasking as we strive to navigate the responsibilities and expectations we must meet just to make it through the day. But what if there is another way? What if, rather than letting the busyness of life overtake our minds, we learn to be heartful instead?

Based on Daaji’s own combination of approaches and practices for the modern seeker—which draws from the teachings of Sahaj Marg, meaning “Natural Path”—Heartfulness is a contemporized version of the ancient Indian practice of Raja Yoga, a tradition that enables the practitioner to realize the higher Self within. While many books describe refined states of being, The Heartfulness Way goes further, providing a pragmatic course to experience those states for oneself, which, per the book’s guiding principle, is “greater than knowledge.”

Heartfulness meditation consists of four elements—relaxation, meditation, cleaning, and prayer—and illuminates the ancient, defining feature of yogic transmission (or pranahuti), the utilization of divine energy for spiritual growth and transformation. Using the method, detailed practices, tips, and practical philosophy offered in this book, you’ll reach new levels of attainment and learn to live a life more deeply connected to the values of the Heartfulness way—with acceptance, humility, compassion, empathy, and love.

Interview:

Thank you so much for this interview, Daaji. Can we begin by having you tell us why you wrote your book, The Heartfulness Way: Heart-Based Meditations for Spiritual Transformation?

Daaji: Thank you also. Well, in today’s world people seem to have access to everything, instantaneously, at the click of their fingers, but there isn’t so much happiness and joy abounding. Many people say they feel like mice on a training wheel, going round and round in circles in their day-to-day activities, but without any understanding of why they are here and how they can work with their destiny. To bring a sense of purpose and fulfillment to life, it is important to nourish all aspects of our humanity – not only the physical body, but also the mind, the heart and the soul. For this we need some simple tools. The Heartfulness Way provides those tools so that we can live peaceful, contented lives with purpose and direction.

Also, often we get bogged down in emotional issues and concerns, and we don’t know how to manage these and rise above them – it could be that someone hurts us, or we are angry or worried or fearful. By working with the feeling level of the heart, through Heartfulness Meditation, and learning to let go of emotional reactions that are the cause of our suffering, we can more easily rise above hardship and suffering, and learn to accept and move on. This helps in developing healthy relationships as well as in personal growth.

You call it heart-centered. Can you explain to us what exactly that means in relation to your book?

Daaji:  When we describe a person, do we define them as soft-hearted or soft-minded? Kind-hearted or kind-minded? Stone-hearted or stone-minded? Our language shows us what we already know; that feelings and character emanate from the heart. Most of the qualities we value as human are heart-based; qualities like love, compassion, empathy, courage and willpower.

When we explore this idea more deeply through yogic science, we realize that the heart is the field of action for the mind. What does this mean? Our mental functions are primarily the four functions of consciousness, thinking, intellect and ego. All of them are essential for existence, but on their own they are only instruments, and they can be used for good or for bad purpose. They need the guidance and direction of the heart’s conscience. Just as a sharp knife can be used to cut vegetables for dinner or to hurt another person, the functions of the mind are also dependent on the heart’s purpose. For example, intellect can be used just as effectively by a criminal mind to rob a bank as it can be used by a noble person to help others. It is also why scientists were able to develop something as destructive as the atom bomb, even though they were inherently good people – they used the mind for scientific research without letting the conscience of the heart rule.

Right now we need heart. Our human species has reached a tipping point in its evolution because we have treated our planet Earth as something to be pillaged; we have effectively destroyed our own environment through greed and thoughtlessness. We have also hurt and destroyed our fellow human beings through prejudice leading to war and subjugation. Only when enough people let the heart rule will this situation be remedied. It is time.

You are considered a spiritual master. How long did it take you before you discovered your gift?

Daaji: There are many misconceptions about spiritual masters, gurus and mystics. In fact, often they have gained a bad reputation for taking advantage of ordinary people. Just like in any other field, in spirituality there are genuine teachers and there are charlatans; and there are those with different levels of experience and skill. Really speaking, a master is someone who has mastered himself or herself and is willing to help others along the same path of self-mastery. There is nothing glorious about such a role – it is a role of service and humility, of insignificance and surrender. Really I am still a student of spirituality and always will be. Withoutt always improving myself, how can I possibly help others to do so? We are all in this together as fellow travelers on the march to freedom.

My interest in spirituality has been there from birth, but it has taken many years for it to evolve into an ability, a gift, that can help others. It is thanks to the training I have received from my spiritual Masters that this has happened.

Aside from reading your book, where would one go to find their spiritual sanctuary?

Daaji: That is the easy part – inside ourselves! All religious and spiritual traditions accept that the divine principle we know as God is everywhere. It is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. So God is within us, and that is the easiest place to connect with the Divine. That is the basis of Heartfulness Meditation – we are meditating upon the source of divine light within our own hearts when we meditate, and uncovering our own spiritual nature. This we can do anywhere at any time.

Sometimes it can also be useful to visit a meditation center, an ashram or a retreat center, in order to detach from the daily routine and establish a meditation practice, which can then be integrated into daily life. In our Heartfulness Centers there are many certified trainers who can help to initiate you into this practice and continue to support you on the journey. This is done through the ancient practice of Yogic Transmission or Pranahuti.

Where did you meet your co-author, Joshua Pollock, and how did you and he get the idea to write your book?

Daaji: I first met Joshua in New York City, where I lived and worked as a pharmacist for many years. I had been practicing Heartfulness since my college days in India and met him after he started this practice. Later on we both moved to India, and for a period of a couple of years, as a dedicated practitioner, he was often asking questions about the practice and philosophy of Heartfulness, so we decided to share these question and answer sessions in the form of a book for the benefit of others.

Meditation is key to spiritual living I believe. What can you tell people about meditation that will convince them to start practicing it and incorporating it into daily life?

Daaji: Meditation is something we do most days without knowing it. It simply means to focus on one thing continuously – at least in the beginning. For example, if a little child wants a particular doll, she will meditate on it night and day, sometimes even dreaming about it until her parents give it to her as a gift on her birthday or a festival day. When a young couple is in love, they will meditate upon each other even while they are at work or with other people. People can meditate on money or power, on positive suggestions or on a spiritual goal. It is the object of meditation that matters: what do you want to become?

Of course, you can choose to simply drift in life without a purpose or goal, but for anyone who wants a life of purpose and fulfillment, meditation is the most practical simple tool to direct your mind towards that purpose. It is for this reason that for thousands of years meditation has been used as a spiritual technique for regulating and focusing the mind towards a higher purpose in life. It is so simple and effective, and it also brings about ‘skill in action’ in worldly pursuits. It keeps your mind flexible, clear and sharp, your heart open and loving, your ego under control, and your intellect open to wisdom and conscience. We all know the benefits of physical training for the body – meditation is mental training for the mind.

Like any other skill it takes practice, but that just requires interest and willingness to allocate the time, just a few minutes every day. And our certified trainers guide you through the practices until you are comfortable enough to practice them on your own. So much support is given and there is always a community of like-minded people to meet at our Heartfulness Centers.

Can you leave us with a meditation that will open up our eyes to our spirituality?

Daaji: Yes, with pleasure.

First, please sit comfortably, either cross-legged on the floor or on a chair, and relax yourself. Our guided Heartfulness Relaxation is available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYmSycW_Ayo to help you to relax, but for now simply do your best to relax.

Scan your system to see how you feel, and make a mental note of it.

Once you feel relaxed, bring your attention to your heart. Then make a very light suggestion to yourself that the source of divine light already present in your heart is drawing you inwards. Don’t try to concentrate or force your mind in any way. Let it be very natural.

You will probably have other thoughts surfacing, and that is normal. Simply let them go as they surface, like you are witnessing passing clouds in the sky. Neither repress them or indulge them; just let them go and gently come back to the source of divine light in your heart.

Meditate like this for fifteen minutes, and at the end take a few more minutes to again scan your system to see how you feel. Notice if there is any change.

If you would like to experience this meditation with a certified Heartfulness trainer, i.e. aided by Pranahuti or Transmission, please contact us at http://heartspots.heartfulness.org to find one near you. By comparing the meditation with and without Transmission, you will soon understand the benefit of Transmission, which is the specialty of Heartfulness.

Wishing you all the best, and thank you for your time, Daaji

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Title: SCENE OF THE CRIME (Book 2 of Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery Series)
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 300
Genre: Mystery Suspense

BOOK BLURB:

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

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Chapter 1

NOTHING CAPTURED HIS ATTENTION. IT wasn’t as if he wasn’t looking for anything specific or that he didn’t care about anything, but everything became like white noise. Looking down, he spotted a couple squashed beer cans, which had resulted from the constant compression of car tires repeatedly running over them. Now they lay in the gutter unnoticed—as discarded litter. Out of boredom, he kicked the aluminum pancakes with his worn out running shoes. The compressed disks clattered a ways before landing back in a different part of the same gutter, just as his life.

Roger Case was in one of those moods where everything seemed futile. It was a time when his temperament plummeted; he entertained the spirit of defeat, which was becoming more common these days. His concentration slipped farther into the dwindling mindset of drugs and crime to the point of mania. Rationalizing his motives, he preferred to enact self-medication.

He needed something strong to take away his thoughts of negativity. The repetitive movements of his hands and arms worsened. He wanted anything that would take away his fears, his depression, and his unrelenting obsession for the next quick fix. Roger knew that even when he felt the most empowering high that there was a high price to pay—and it was predictable and inevitable—the hard, downward crash.

Roger hadn’t always been teetering on that slippery slope, dangling over the life of crime; in fact, he still remembered when things were normal and even mundane. He grew up in a typical middle class family with his mom and dad, along with his older brother and sister. Reflecting on those memories now, he would trade just about anything to have those times back.

Now he waited with anticipation for his contact. It was going to make everything better—at least for a while. He convinced himself that just a little bit of crystal meth would help him get back on track—to see things clearly again. It wasn’t as if he was a full-blown addict, he just needed something to help motivate and push him in the right direction.

He heard a hollow scraping noise and stopped to listen. Standing quietly, still straining to hear, but that sound never repeated. He looked around. Curious. The sound seemed to resonate in his head instead of around the street. Upon further inspection, he realized it came from inside the cement structure.

The old water treatment plant had been decommissioned by the county some time ago, now outdated, and was nothing more than an eyesore gathering the grime and deteriorating aspects of time gone by. Something loomed in Roger’s vision and waited in darkness—he strained his eyes looking into the long structure that seemed to lead to nowhere.

Maybe his connection made a change of plans and the meeting place was at the cement sinew, and out of sight from any onlookers, or cops happening by on their route. It was possible. At this point in Roger’s life, anything was possible.

Roger contemplated his options for a moment and then decided to check it out. He turned toward the water treatment plant and headed inside. The first thing he noticed was the temperature difference—cold and damp compared to the warmer street areas.

He slowed his pace, unsure if he should call out or announce his presence. Fidgeting nonstop with his hands, pressing his fingers tighter and then releasing them, Roger moved farther into the tunnel.

A shuffling sound came from the other end.

“Hello?” he finally said, his voice weak and tinny which made him unconsciously twitch.

A muffled dragging sound was the responded answer. It resonated from the back-left area.

“Hey, I don’t have time for this… you either want the money or not.” He tried to sound tough but his nerves were frayed. It wasn’t something he was used to feeling. In fact, Roger couldn’t remember the last time he felt scared, frustrated, angry or anxious.

The damp cement tunnel seemed to pull him closer to the heart of it—into the bowels of no return. Instead of turning around and leaving, Roger slowly moved deeper into the cavern. It was as if someone or something else had control over his body. His insatiable curiosity had put him in troubling situations throughout his life. It contributed to him getting into deep trouble with a growing rap sheet to prove it.

Most memories had a calming effect on Roger, which had initiated his fidgeting to cease and his hesitation to subside. He didn’t understand many people’s fears and phobias, most things were just benign and didn’t amount to anything remotely scary or debilitating.

There it was again—a dragging sound followed by what he thought were hushed whispers.

Kids.

He would smack a kid if they jumped out at him or gave him any crap. Most likely, they were tagging gang symbols and looking to get into trouble.

There was the distinct sound of two people whispering to each other.

Roger tried to sharpen his vision but the darkness played tricks on him with weird shadow figure apparitions. He blinked his eyes quickly trying to concentrate on the area and where the kids were hiding; his eyes began to water from the extreme effort. Wiping away the aggravated tears, Roger felt his surroundings close in tightly around him as his perception changed. The darkness seemed to give a strange rippled effect.

The voices became louder. There was nothing sinister about the voices, but they were speaking faster with more of an urgent tone.

“Hey, you little maggots, I know you’re here,” stated Roger.

He stopped and stood still.

The darkness still loomed around him, but there was a quietness that overcame him.

A brief hundredth of a second, a peculiar whizzing noise filled Roger’s ears and then a brutal blow struck his head and knocked him off his feet. With a ringing in his head and a groggy consciousness, he tried to sit up but more savage blows pummeled his body. It sounded as if a tree splintered just before it fell in the forest. His breath caught in his lungs. Everything went dark.

The anonymous whispers stopped.

All buzzing in his ears stopped.

Roger Case’s heart stopped too.

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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