Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book Feature: Her Final Watch by Marguerite Ashton

Author: Marguerite Ashton
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Pages: 296
Genre: Crime

Speaking second-hand truths can be deadly …

Detective Lily Blanchette will stop at nothing to solve a murder. Her current case involves the killing of an undercover cop working to bring down the mob for prostitution and drugs.

But Lily's usual laser-like focus on the case has been disrupted.

Two weeks earlier, she learned she was pregnant by her murderous husband whom she'd killed in self-defense. Unsure whether to keep her baby or place the child of this cruel man up for adoption, Lily keeps the pregnancy a secret from her colleagues.

Under mounting pressure to solve the case, Lily arranges a sit-down with a local mob boss only to find out her suspect is also wanted by them. But before Lily can warn her team, she and her new partner, Jeremiah, are shot at, and another body is found.

When she discovers Jeremiah has a connection with the underworld, she is pulled into a conflict that swirls around the boss's son who's hell-bent on revenge.

To add to the complexity of the situation, Lily learns that her victim might still be alive if it wasn't for opportunistic Assistant District Attorney, Ibee Walters, who has a twisted vision of justice.

As Lily gets closer to finding the killer, she unravels ugly secrets that point to Ibee and Jeremiah - placing Lily's life and her unborn child in danger.



Detective Ariel Weeks stabbed at the small block of ice until it split into several pieces across the counter. She tossed the jagged cubes into the glass and made her client a drink.

In less than twenty-four hours, Ariel would no longer have to use the name Jasmine and keep men company to protect her cover. All she needed to do was make it through this last night and she’d be allowed to be who she was; a mom just doing her job.

After gathering evidence and recording all the data she had, it would be hard to detach. Towards the end, she’d learned things she wished weren’t true, leaving her stomach in tattered knots.

Back at home, there were two reasons Ariel would never take on another undercover assignment.


Ariel ground her teeth as the door to Cabin D opened and closed. She could feel Mikey Surace, the mob boss’s son, staring at the backless white dress she wore at his request.

The man who smiled at the sight of blood was standing behind her, breathing heavily.

When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe. 

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in
Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible.




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In the Spotlight: Stairway to Paradise by Nadia Natali

 We're thrilled to have Nadia Natali, author of the memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin today! Leave a comment below to let her know you stopped by!

Author: Nadia Natali
Publisher: RareBird Books
Pages: 304
Genre: Memoir
Growing up as Frankie Gershwin's daughter, the sister of George and Ira Gershwin, was quite a challenge. I didn't have the perspective to realize that so much unhappiness in a family was out of the ordinary. But I knew something was off. My mother was often depressed and my father was tyrannical and scary, one never knew when he would blow up. I learned early on that I had to be the cheery one, the one to fix the problems. Both sides of my family were famous; the Gershwin side and my father who invented color film. But even though there was more than enough recognition, money and parties I understood that wasn't what made people happy.

As a young adult adrift and depressed I broke from that unsatisfactory life by marrying Enrico Natali, a photographer, deeply immersed in his own questions about life. We moved into the wilderness away from what we considered as the dysfunction of society. That’s when we discovered that life had other kinds of challenges: flood, fire, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and bears. We lived in a teepee for more than four years while building a house. Curiously my mother never commented on my life choice. She must have realized on some level that her own life was less than satisfactory.

Enrico had developed a serious meditation practice that had become a kind of ground for him. As for me I danced. Understanding the somatic, the inner body experience, became my way to shift the inner story.

We raised and homeschooled our three children. I taught them to read, Enrico taught them math. The kids ran free, happy, always engaged, making things, and discovering. We were so sure we were doing the right thing. However, we didn't have a clue how they would make the transition to the so-called ‘real world’. The children thrived until they became teenagers. They then wanted out. Everything fell apart for them and for Enrico and me. Our lives were turned upside down, our paradise lost. There was tragedy: our son lost his life while attempting to cross our river during a fierce storm. Later I was further challenged by advanced breast cancer.

It was during these times that I delved deeply into the somatic recesses of myself. I began to find my own voice, a long learning process. I emerged with a profound trust in my own authority. It became clear that everyone has to find his or her way through layers of inauthenticity, where a deep knowing can develop. And I came to see that is the best anyone can offer to the world.

Enrico and I still live in the wilds of the Lost Padres National Forest, a paradise with many steps going up and down, a life I would not change.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Nadia Natali, author of the memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, published by Rare Bird, Los Angeles, 2015, and The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Zen Retreat Center published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA, 2008, is currently working on a second cookbook titled Zafu Kitchen Cookbook. 
Natali, a clinical psychotherapist and dance therapist, specializes in trauma release through somatic work. She earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in New York City in Dance/Movement Therapy and completed another masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in somatic psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Nadia is a registered practitioner of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (RCST) and is also a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) who trained with Peter Levine.

DanceMedicine Workshops is Natali’s creation where participants move through their trauma with dialogue and dance. She also offers the Ojai community, DanceMedicine Journeys. In addition to her private practice, Nadia and her husband offer Zen Retreats at their center.

Born into a famous family that was riddled with dysfunction, Nadia Natali made the choice to turn her life inside out and step away from fame and fortune. Against her parents’ consent she married an artist and moved to the remote wilderness in California. It was there that she found grounding as she and her husband raised and homeschooled their three children and opened a retreat center. As she gathered her own momentum, she enrolled in a doctorate program finally becoming a clinical psychotherapist specializing in psychosomatic work. She and her husband live in Ojai California.



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Monday, November 20, 2017

A Bookish Conversation with Crime Thriller Author Robert Parker

Robert Parker is a new exciting voice, a married father of two, who lives in a village close to ManchesterUK. He has both a law degree and a degree in film and media production, and has worked in numerous employment positions, ranging from solicitor’s agent (essentially a courtroom gun for hire), to a van driver, to a warehouse order picker, to a commercial video director. He currently writes full time, while also making time to encourage new young readers and authors through readings and workshops at local schools and bookstores. In his spare time he adores pretty much all sport, boxing regularly for charity, loves fiction across all mediums, and his glass is always half full.

His latest book is the crime/thriller, A WANTED MAN.



Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

All sorts! I have two young kids and a third due any time now, and they keep me very busy! Aside from trying to be as active a father as I can be, I box regularly to raise money for Cancer Research UK, training 6 days a week. After 3 fight camps in a row, I’m having a little break from the fights themselves at the moment but I’m still training. I’m aiming to step back into the ring in March 2018.

When did you start writing?

When I was 6, I remember wanting to write books and stories and would do so any time I could. I then picked up scriptwriting when I was 17, before coming back to writing prose at 29. That’s when I started writing novels.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

The first conversation with Linda Langton, my agent. Changed everything in an instant, and hers was the first voice in the publishing industry that told me there was something there in my work and that I should keep writing and press forward. I’ll never forget it.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

Somewhere with water. It just drags my blood pressure right down, as soon as I see it. Give me anywhere with a big quiet lake or river and a decent pub and I’d be very happy.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Be cheeky and ask for another 4! There just isn’t enough hours in the day for everything I want to do in life, but I’m going to push it has hard as I can.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

New York. I’ve been once and was so seduced by the variety, the sense of opportunity, the spirit, the scale. I am enamoured by it, but I’ll need to go a few more times before I can write about it – I full underqualified to commit everything that New York is and represents to page!

Back to your present book, A Wanted Man, how did you publish it?

It was published by Endeavour Press, after I originally self-published it 4 years ago. I’ve rewritten it over 40 times to get to this stage, to get a publisher to say yes!

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

It is set in Manchester, UK, my home city, so aside from living there and interacting with it daily, I luckily didn’t have to do anything special. I think it’s an amazing city that lends itself so wonderfully to storytelling, so much so that every location in the book is real, and only the odd street name and pub name has been changed.

Why was writing A Wanted Man so important to you?

I’m not precious about any of my work, but I’m very influenced by certain topics which play a big part in the story of A Wanted Man. I’m very inspired by the works of our armed forces, and the sacrifices they have made in recent combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. I respect them hugely, and I often wonder what it would be like to go to war, grow up during said war, then come home to a country that is much changed. I felt like telling a story like that was important to me, because I feel like a lot of people take their sacrifices for granted. 

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

A very simple answer is ‘life’. It might sound a bit grand, but just ‘living’ tends to supply all the inspiration I’m after. If you’re looking for inspiration: Just live a good varied life, day to day. Go out and embrace stuff, do things you’ve never done before, go places you’d never picture yourself visiting. The world is mad enough all by itself.

Any final words?

Never give up. Whatever it is you want to do, you can do it. You’re the only voice that says you can’t. Ignore it, and get at it. Two hands.
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Interview with Multi Award-Winning Crime Fiction Author Jennifer Chase

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and 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.

Her latest book is the crime thriller, Dead Cold.



About the Book:
What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops into a deadly game of murder. Frozen human body parts hideously displayed at the crime scenes offers a horrifying interpretation that only a sadistic serial killer could design—and execute.

On the hunt for a complex serial killer, vigilante detective Emily Stone must face her most daring case yet. Stone’s proven top-notch profiling skills and forensic expertise may not be enough this time.

Young and ambitious, Detective Danny Starr, catches the homicide cases and discovers that it will test everything he knows about police work and the criminal mind. Can he handle these escalating cases or will the police department have to call in reinforcements—the FBI.

Emily Stone’s covert team pushes with extreme urgency to unravel the grisly clues, while keeping their identities hidden from the police. With one last-ditch effort, Stone dangles someone she loves as bait to draw out the killer. She then forces the killer out of their comfort zone with her partner Rick Lopez, and with help from a longtime friend Jordan Smith. A revelation of the serial killer’s identity leaves the team with volatile emotions that could destroy them.

The killer continues to taunt and expertly manipulate the police, as well as Stone’s team, and as they run out of time—they leave behind everyone and everything—in Dead Cold.



Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I love being outdoors, hiking, taking photographs, and training my German shepherd. And of course, I love to read. I wish I had more time to read both fiction and non-fiction books.

When did you start writing?

I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest childhood memories of writing was when I was four years old. I wrote tiny script lines for all of my stuffed animals. I loved writing all throughout school and then I wrote more seriously as an adult, writing screenplays, local newspaper articles, and some copyrighting.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

I learn something from every book project, but everything really became real (for lack of a better description) for me when I won a gold medal for an action thriller, Dead Burn, in 2013 from Readers’ Favorite. There was an overwhelming amount of entrants, but it was because this particular book was almost scrapped completely because I felt that there were two separate storylines. I thought about it for a while and a solution came to me. I put the most amount of blood, sweat, and tears into that book. It meant a great deal to me to have won that award. It was a personal triumph for me.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I need to be by the water—at least that’s how I feel. It doesn’t always have to be the ocean like here in California, but it helps. I love writing where I’m at right now in my home state of California.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Read and sleep.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

I’ve been thinking about a location outside of the United States, such as Canada or Europe. The interesting settings and storylines would almost be endless.

Back to your present book, Dead Cold, how did you publish it?

Dead Cold is independently published with JEC Press.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

I did not travel for research to write Dead Cold, since it takes place in California. I did have detailed research questions that related to various aspects of forensics and law enforcement. I have wonderful expert sources that I can contact. It’s preferred over searching the Internet where information can be incomplete or erroneous.

Why was writing Dead Cold so important to you?

All of the books in the Emily Stone Thriller Series are important to me. I love writing action thrillers—I think was born to write them. Each book challenges me and I think that’s why the character hasn’t become boring or stale—at least not yet. I try to find interesting tidbits in the forensics or crime scene areas that most haven’t heard about and incorporate them into the story.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I find that when I’m not forcing ideas, scenes, or new characters, it comes to me much easier. When I’m hiking and outdoors, ideas seem to flood towards me. It’s when I’m doing the simplest tasks is when storylines begin to build up in my writing arsenal.

Any final words?

Thank you so much for the interview opportunity.

If readers are looking for a new crime thriller series with an original heroine, then I have a series for you. I love hearing from readers, please feel free to connect with me on social media.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Creating the Perfect Reading Space


Creating the Perfect Reading Space

Are you an avid reader that simply loves to slip away into your own world with a book in your hand?  If you are serious about reading, then you should probably create a special place to read.  But, if you have a family, finding a space of your own can be difficult.  Luckily, today, we are going to learn a few tips that can help you create the perfect reading space anywhere in your home.  
Books, Read, Book Pages, Literature, Learn, Relax

Use Candles to Enhance the Mood

A great way to turn an ordinary room into a peaceful reading environment is by lighting some candles.  Oxford library candles make a perfect addition to any reading area and it can set the mood as well!  This will allow you to bring down the lights but still have enough light to read by. Not only can a candlelight set the mood; many candles have a pleasant smell that can eliminate odors. But, remember to be very careful with candles and only burn them if you are going to be in the room.  Just one candle knocked over can cause major damage to your home and threaten the life of your family.  

A Comfortable Chair

No reading area would be complete without a comfortable chair to relax in.  Depending on your personal style, you can choose from many different styles of chairs.  Some readers may enjoy a plush recliner chair, while others would prefer the warmth that a soft leather chair provides.  But, you don’t have to spend a lot of money when purchasing a chair for your reading area.  There are many places that sell used furniture and you can find a really good deal on a preowned chair.  You can also buy a good-quality used chair from a flea market or garage sale.  Websites like Craigslist are also a good place to find a used chair, but remember to be very careful when dealing with people that you don’t know in person.  There are quite a few scams that happen on these sites, so make sure that you meet in a safe and well-lit area.

A Sturdy Bookshelf

Another must-have piece of furniture that you need for your reading room is a bookshelf.  Bookshelves will give you a place to keep your books safe and organized.  Make sure that the bookshelf you choose is sturdy and large enough for all the books you own.  As a book lover, you probably have a ton of books that need a proper home.  Depending on the layout of your reading area, you can choose from differently shaped bookshelves to maximize your storage capacity.

These are just three of the items that you can add to your reading area to give it more character.  Having a cozy space to read will help you relax and it will give you a place to call your own.  This area doesn’t have to be large.  In fact, you can even set up an amazing reading area inside a walk-in closet.  
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Book Review: My Brain is Out of Control by Dr. Patrick Mbaya

Publication Date: September 2016
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 76
Genre: Biography/Autobiography
Tour Dates: October 23-December 15

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Although Dr. Patrick Mbaya’s illness caused a lot distress and nearly took his life, the emotional symptoms of the depression he developed helped him understand and empathize with patients and how they feel when they become ill. In My Brain is Out of Control, Mbaya, fifty-five and at the peak of his career, shares a personal story of how he suffered from a brain infection in 2010 that caused loss of speech, right-sided weakness, and subsequent depression. He tells how he also dealt with the antibiotics complications of low white cell count and hepatitis. He narrates his experiences as a patient, the neurological and psychiatric complications he encountered, how he coped, and his journey to recovery. Presenting a personal perspective of Mbaya’s illness from the other side of the bed, My Brain is Out of Control, offers profound insight into battling a serious illness.


I have to admit I was a little leary about reading this book. My fear was that because it was written by a doctor, some of the terminology and phrases used might be too medical. Thankfully, that wasn't the case at all. 

This book chronicles what happened to Dr. Mbaya after he was diagnosed with a brain infection. The symptoms and aftermath are truly frightening, and how he overcame all of it and was able to tell his story through this book is commendable. 

Easy to read and something that could happen to anyone, I would recommend this book to all. 

Dr. Patrick Mbaya is a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. He is a consultant psychiatrist and honorary clinical lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He has a special interest in mood and addiction disorders.

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Book Feature: One Night in Amboise by Ken Malovos

Author: Ken Malovos
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 289
Genre: Legal Mystery

JIM HANSEN AND CORINNE LARSON are overseas college students at Amboise, France. After meeting at a local bar they leave and encounter a drunk. JIM hits him and the man may be dead. At the manor house where they live, they kiss and make love. The next day she accuses him of rape but does not formally charge him. He denies the charge. The police investigate the killing of the drunk.

After they return to California, CORINNE struggles with the whole incident, wondering if she was at fault. She talks to her sisters and then seeks professional help after turning to alcohol.  JIM goes to law school and becomes a deputy district attorney, always wondering if the allegation of rape will surface and whether he did the right thing. He marries another overseas student from Amboise.

ALICIA OBREGON contacts JIM and asks him to dismiss the criminal case against her husband. She informs JIM that she knows all about Amboise and threatens to expose him. He throws the case, thereby allowing a guilty person to go free. Over time he pays her money.

JIM is appointed a judge and ALICIA continues to blackmail him. CORINNE’s husband comes to Sacramento and confronts JIM in his chambers. JIM says he is sorry about the whole thing. JIM goes to a rehabilitation facility but in a few weeks he leaves, feeling he has resolved all of his concerns. 

ALICIA is found dead. ALICIA’s husband is charged with her murder but he implicates JIM because he knows all about the blackmailing scheme. JIM then is arrested and must stand trial for the murder of ALICIA. The prosecutor focuses on JIM’s motive. JIM asks noted trial lawyer MIKE ZORICH to represent him.  JIM turns down a plea bargain and a sensational jury trial follows. JIM is not truthful with his wife, his attorney or the jury. CORINNE’s husband testifies. The jury cannot reach a decision and JIM must live with a tarnished reputation amidst unsettled questions whether he killed ALICIA and raped CORINNE.



April 1985
It all happened in a couple of seconds. The man was lying on his back in the café doorway on a wet, dimly lit street in Amboise, France. He appeared to be lifeless. There was no movement.
Corinne Larson looked at the man and then at Jim Hansen in astonishment. The two American students were standing under the overhang of the closed café, as rain fell lightly. It was just after eleven at night and all the shops were closed on the dark, narrow street, just down from the Rue Nationale.
The man startled them when he jumped out from behind a garbage can and grabbed the end of Corinne’s coat. Instinctively, Jim grabbed Corinne and pulled her away. She clutched her purse and said something to the man, who was reeking of wine and looked crazed with wide open eyes. Then he lurched toward them again. Jim swung his fist and caught the man on the right side of his face, stopping his forward movement. The man was stunned. Jim quickly pushed him as hard as he could and the man fell back, banging his head on the garbage can and landing in front of the door with a thud.
Jim paused for a second, deciding what to do, but the man lay still, his eyes closed. Jim did not think he felt a pulse when he put his fingers to the man’s wrist, but he was not certain. He stared at him for a moment. The man was unshaven and hatless; his belt rested more on his ample stomach than in the loops of his pants. He wore a tattered jacket with a large tear on the left sleeve and a battered, old beret lay on the ground.
“Come on, let’s get out of here,” Jim said.
“Wait. Is he okay?”
“I don’t know. I think he’s drunk. But I think we need to get out of here.”
“Wait a minute.”
Corinne looked around, a worried expression on her face. Jim took her by the arm and they started walking, each of them checking back every few seconds to see if the man moved. He didn’t. Jim looked down the street, but there was no one in sight. It was quiet and dark and wet. They only had a few more blocks to go, as they hurried within eyesight of the Chateau Royal d’Amboise and headed to the manor house, where they were staying with other overseas college students from California.
“Maybe we should say something to somebody,” Corinne said. “Call the police?”
“There’s nobody around here. Let’s just forget this whole thing,” he said. “Leave it alone.”
“That doesn’t seem right.”
“I don’t think we should get involved. They may blame us. You never know.”
“But we didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Right. I was just defending you. We didn’t do anything wrong.”
She looked at him. He didn’t meet her eyes. Instead, he looked down the street again.
“You know, probably nobody will even miss him,” Jim said.
“Why would they blame us?”
“I don’t know. We are foreign students. I’m just afraid I could be charged with something and get locked up. Somebody else will find him…” his voice trailed off.
Jim pulled Corinne close to him. She pulled the lapels of her black coat up around her neck and leaned her head slightly into his, as they scurried along. That April night, a group of American students went to the Brasserie Hippeau, about a half-mile from their manor house. Everyone had too much to drink, but that’s what kids do in college—they drink too much.
The memories of America’s saving role in World War II and all of the G.I.s who served in France during the war were not entirely gone, even forty years later. The residual good will from that horrific time was passed down to the children and grandchildren of the town’s citizens. So a little excess drinking by the young Americans was easily tolerated. Most people took a parental interest in the students. A group of middle-aged women engaged in a game of bridge at a table about twenty feet away grinned at each other as they observed the noisy group in the corner.
The students talked about their families back home and about the year that was drawing to a close. Mostly, they drank beer. Gradually, the group of students that assembled at the watering hole decreased in size until only six remained.
The brasserie stayed open past its usual 9:30 closing time, as it often did when there were patrons. It was late and someone said it was time to go home. The other four took off and it was just the two of them. Jim waited for Corinne while she went to the restroom.
Jim watched as she sauntered to the back of the bar. He liked the way she her rear moved with each forward motion of her hips. He thought about her big brown eyes when she gazed up hazily from her glass of wine into his eyes. They were soft and her eyelashes were long. Her brown hair fell just below her shoulders and she would brush it away every now and then as it tickled her cheeks. After a couple of minutes, she emerged from the back of the brasserie with a slight smile on her face. He looked at the curve of her waist and her perky breasts. On her slender neck she wore a silver chain with a silver heart. He was glad to be with her.
“They said they wanted to get going, so I told them I would walk with you,” Jim said. “We can catch up.”
“That was nice of you, but I have walked these streets alone a lot of times at night. It’s a pretty safe town.”
“I know, but just the same. Can’t be too safe. Besides, we’re both pretty buzzed.”
“You’ve got that right,” she said. “I haven’t had that much to drink in a long time.”
Jim Hansen liked Corinne Larson, even though they had not spent much time together during their stay in France. They were part of a group of 80 students, but for some reason they did not cross paths all that much. Maybe it was because so many smaller groups formed naturally.  But then they met unexpectedly a couple of months ago on a Saturday afternoon in Amboise. Both were exploring where Leonardo da Vinci lived at the Chateau du Clos Luce in 1515 and the Chapel of Saint-Hubert where he was buried. Every citizen of the small town knew the story of how Leonardo came to France with his famous painting, the Mona Lisa. Their interest in French history drew them together.
Ever since that afternoon, Jim and Corinne often smiled at each other in class and in the dining room. But they did not spent time alone with one another. Jim was reluctant to approach Corinne, for reasons he could not explain, and Corinne was naturally shy.
They didn’t say much more on the way home, both lost in their thoughts, just walking along to avoid any further issue with the drunk who had accosted them. He saved her, so to speak. He did a good thing and he felt proud of himself. They passed the fountain in the center of the town, a favorite gathering spot for the students. As they arrived at the manor house, Jim let her scent waft over him. He wondered if he would dare make a move. He had to, she was so good-looking. And he figured he was her hero.
They opened the creaky door and shook off the raindrops, Jim keeping in close contact while he helped her out of her coat. And then he kissed her. She seemed to be surprised at first, but she reciprocated and they sat down in an adjoining parlor on a sofa. They kissed a lot that night. After a while, he closed the door to the small room. He started to unbutton her blouse, but then it ripped in the process as their kisses became stronger and longer.
It might have been the alcohol or the hormones or the exhilaration of the knight-in-shining-armor saving his lady, but only the two of them knew exactly what happened in the next few minutes. It became the subject of their memories for many years after that rainy night in the middle of France.
He recalled her saying “no” at some point, but he didn’t really think she meant it. As he saw it, her actions said the opposite. Yes, she struggled and tried to push him off and yes, he was bigger, but she never yelled out. She didn’t leave. He may have pushed her back, he couldn’t recall. She turned her head to the side when he tried to kiss her some more. Later, she grabbed her clothes, put on her coat, and left quickly. It was quiet in the old house and he was pretty sure nobody heard them.

* * *
The morning after that April night with Corinne, Jim ate breakfast with his usual gang. He was thinking of the man he shoved. Maybe he wasn’t dead. Maybe he had a pulse and Jim just didn’t feel it. He certainly seemed to be drunk. Maybe he slept it off and was okay. That was probably what happened, Jim thought to himself. The more he thought about it the more he became convinced the man survived and everything was fine. He probably should have looked for help, but it was too late now.
With a sturdy build and 6 foot 2 inches in height, blue-green eyes and dark brown hair, he bore something of a resemblance to Paul McCartney. At least that was what he was told by his sisters and a couple of their friends when he was growing up. He didn’t think he looked like the famous singer at all. He had a small scar over his right eye, the result of an accident in his youth when he was playing catch in the front yard with a friend and crashed into a lawn sprinkler attached to a hose, but he figured he was still handsome enough.
He thought of Corinne and wondered if they might become real friends. He liked her and he hoped she felt the same way. Last night was exciting and still at the front of his mind. He wished she had stayed instead of leaving so quickly. He looked around the dining room for her, but she was not to be seen. After breakfast, he went to class and then spotted her on the other side of their classroom in the stately hall that served as the large classroom. She did not even look at him when she walked by him. Odd, he thought. Surely, she couldn’t be mad at him. A couple of hours later, he saw her again as they were leaving their French Revolution history class, the last one of the morning.
“Hey, Corinne, how’s it going? I really enjoyed getting to know you last night. That bar is a happening place.”
She looked at him for a second and then turned away and walked into one of the many small rooms nearby, clearly inviting him to follow. Jim tried to close the door, but it jammed, as did so many of the doors in the old house. He fussed with it for a moment before finally getting it to shut.
“I was thinking we might go somewhere this weekend, if you are up to that, maybe Paris.”
“You know, there is an honor code in this program. And when it comes to sex, the rule is that ‘no means no.’ Have you ever heard of that?”
“Sure I have.”
“You bet you have. And I said no, but you pushed me down. You know I didn’t want to have sex. You forced me. What happened last night was not right.”
“I don’t know what to say, Corinne. I thought you agreed. I don’t know what you are talking about. I thought we were friends. I really like you.”
She stared at him without blinking, hands on her hips. “You know what I am talking about. I never wanted to do anything like that.”
“You went along with everything we did. How can you possibly say that?”
“I can say it because it’s true.”
“Look, be reasonable. That’s not what happened at all.”
“Oh yes, that’s what happened. And that’s not all. You hit that man and you pushed him over. You didn’t have to do that. He was a drunk and he wasn’t going to do anything to you or to me. And you did not even want to stop and see what happened to him. I think you might have killed him.”
“I was trying to protect you. He grabbed you!”
“Oh, for God’s sake, he was harmless. What you did was unnecessary. And you made me rush away with you. You didn’t even want to stop and help him. That wasn’t right. You need to turn yourself into the police and tell them what happened. And you need to figure out why you didn’t stop when I told you to stop.”
“I don’t want to hear it. Not until you are ready to apologize. You need to stand up and do the right thing.”
She opened the door and walked away.  Jim looked at her, speechless, and then sat down. What was that all about? She couldn’t possibly be saying he raped her, but she was. He thought again about last night. Yes, they had been drinking, but he was sure she agreed to everything.

Ken Malovos has been practicing law in Sacramento for over forty years. He spent twelve years with the Public Defender’s Office and twenty-five years as a business litigator. He now serves full-time as a mediator and arbitrator. Ken has written two previous Mike Zorich novels and both have been recognized by Chanticleer Book Reviews. Contempt of Court was a First Place Category winner in the legal genre of the Mystery and Mayhem competition in 2014. Fatal Reunion was a finalist in the Thriller and Suspense competition in 2016. Ken and his wife live in Sacramento.

His latest book is the legal mystery, ONE NIGHT IN AMBOISE.

Visit his website at www.malovoslaw.com.

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Monday, November 13, 2017


Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy worked as an actress and writer in film and television in the United States and Israel. Night in Jerusalem is her debut novel, which she has adapted to film. She lives in Ojai California with her husband and daughter.

She writes, “I lived in Israel in the 1960s, a naive twenty-year-old, hoping to find myself and my place in the world. The possibility of war was remote to me. I imagined the tensions in the region would somehow be resolved peacefully. Then, the Six Day War erupted and I experienced it firsthand in Jerusalem.

I have drawn Night in Jerusalem from my experiences during that time. The historical events portrayed in the novel are accurate. The characters are based on people I knew in the city. Like me, they were struggling to make sense of their lives, responding to inherited challenges they could not escape that shaped their destiny in ways they and the entire Middle East could not have imagined.

I have always been intrigued by the miraculous. How and where the soul’s journey leads and how it reveals its destiny. How two people who are destined, even under the threat of war and extinction, can find one another.

Israel’s Six Day War is not a fiction; neither was the miracle of its victory. What better time to discover love through intrigue, passion, and the miraculous.

Writing this story was in part reliving my history in Israel, in part a mystical adventure. I am grateful that so many who have read Night In Jerusalem have experienced this as well.”



Author: Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy
Publisher: PKZ Inc.
Pages: 246
Genre: Historical Romance

A bewitching love story that is also an extraordinary portrait of Jerusalem, its faith, spirituality, identity, and kaleidoscope of clashing beliefs, Night in Jerusalem is a novel of mystery, beauty, historical insight, and sexual passion.
David Bennett is invited to Jerusalem in 1967 by his cousin who, to the alarm of his aristocratic British family, has embraced Judaism. He introduces David to his mentor, Reb Eli, a revered sage in the orthodox community. Despite his resistance to religious teaching, David becomes enthralled by the rabbi’s wisdom and compassionate presence. When David discloses a sexual problem, Reb Eli unwittingly sets off a chain of events that transforms his life and the life of the mysterious prostitute, Tamar, who, in a reprise of an ancient biblical story, leads both men to an astonishing realization. As passions rise, the Six Day War erupts, reshaping the lives of everyone caught up in it.


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Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I read a lot, of course. I love stories that are told simply, where the writer is unobtrusive and the characters and plot say it all. I think it was Einstein who said it is easy to make something complicated, but it takes genius to make things simple. Einstein gets blamed for a lot of stuff, I know, but you get the drift – there’s a simple that takes mastery to achieve. It is hard to write stories that are so clear and transparent you can see right into the souls of the characters. That’s what works for me. I don’t care what the genre is. If it does that, I’m in! I like that kind of simple in everything, from the way my garden is laid out, to how my furniture is arranged. I love walking in nature, listening to the birds, and, especially if water is involved, I am in heaven.

When did you start writing?

I started writing at about 30, pretty much as soon as I got a sense of who I am. I had been working as an actress, and before that as a model. I knew the arts were for me. The thing that drew me to writing was that I could do it all myself without anyone telling me what my part was or where I had to fit in. I’ve always responded best to the beat of my own drum, which I can hear loud and clear most days.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

I studied creative writing at Columbia and came to appreciate the astonishing virtuosity of our writers. But the pivotal shift for me came when I realized I am not at all interested in writing for its own sake. Sometimes, I find the writing can get in the way of the work. The writing I love is where the writer becomes invisible. I found it hugely liberating to disappear into my characters and their world. I have never looked back.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I’d go to Connemara in Ireland. It was home to John O’Donohue, a poet who lights up my life. He talks about “landscape as presence” and celebrates the spiritual connection of Celtic culture with the natural world, where every brook and feature of the land has a name, a history and a divinity. I have always been affected by the energy of place. I am inspired by the mists and shades of the British Isles and the accents and wordplay of the natives. It makes me want to write!

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

I’d go to a nearby beach. It’s across railroad tracks and a scramble down a cliff, so it gets left alone a lot - but not by the seals. I love bodies of water. Here in Southern California, the most accessible one is the Pacific Ocean. Not too shabby!

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

Egypt. I spent 2 months there and it felt like déjà vu, especially sailing down the Nile, while in Luxor.

Back to your present book, Night In Jerusalem, how did you publish it?

I self-published, using a talented designer who turned my manuscript into an elegant book.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

The book draws on my experience in Jerusalem around the time of the Six Day War. I spent the best part of 10 years in the city and wanted to capture how it was when I was there. The neighborhoods and important landmarks have not changed much. I checked with Google maps to make sure I had the street names right and, where there were discrepancies, confirmed my recollection with friends who still live there. Aside from having the geography laid out accurately, it was important for the book to capture the feeling of the city at that time, so the main travelling I did was back through time, to connect with the energy of the place and its people when their everyday survival was not taken for granted, despite thousands of years of presence. The city embodies the spiritual practice at the heart of much of our civilization and is an architectural wonder in its own right. In some ways, it is with all of us, wherever we are.

Why was writing Night In Jerusalem so important to you?

Winston Churchill wrote that there is nothing as exhilarating as when someone shoots at you and misses. When I went to Israel, I was a naive twenty-year-old. To me, the possibility of war was remote. I imagined the tensions in the region would somehow be resolved peacefully. When the Six Day War erupted. I experienced it firsthand. I remember as if it was yesterday the time I spent in shelters with other women, listening to Arab news reports on the radio proclaiming victory while we contemplated how we would end it for ourselves. It turned out, of course, that the war went the other way. We were to live! Jerusalem was re-unified! Now, that was exhilarating. At the same time, the search for peace, the endless arguments about what it should look like, and the courageous, impossible loves that thrived despite all odds - the themes of Night In Jerusalem - have been with me my entire life. I do not have answers to the questions they bring up: why does it take such courage to truly love, how impossible it seems to bring peace to the world, and, of course, why “God works in mysterious ways.” The characters in the book, and their responses to the challenges they encounter, express different points of view that I share, even as they conflict with each other. I want the book to show how these differences can be contained in fulfilled and inspiring lives, and how happiness depends on us embracing our individual destiny, not on following any prescribed path. Night In Jerusalem speaks with the voice of my heart.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

The love story in Night In Jerusalem came to me on a movie set. We were filming on a blazingly hot day, dressed as lightly as possible, the men stripped to the waist. An orthodox woman in long black clothes and a wig kept coming out to look at us from her balcony. I sensed how strongly she yearned for contact. The gap between us could have been crossed in a few paces, yet we were centuries apart. I imagined what it was like to be her, what courage it would take for her to break free, how she might do it. Decades later I wrote the book. I pay attention to people and imagine their stories. They are everywhere.
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