Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Adventure at Sea in The Voyage of the Stingray by Richard Steinitz

In the early morning New England fog, a pair of paramedics pushed a gurney up a ramp from inside a dry dock. The dock was closed off from the rest of the world, due to a huge screen or wall that was built around it, keeping anyone and everyone from looking at what was being built there. On the gurney was a black ‘body-bag’, zipped shut but obviously full. At the top of the ramp stood a man in a dark trench coat. Though the coat was civilian, the man was obviously military. He stood by while the paramedics loaded the gurney onto an ambulance, all the while clenching his teeth, and his fists, at the same time. He showed obvious signs of anxiety, and anger, but little or no signs of sadness or mourning. 
Once the ambulance had left, he walked down into the bowels of the dry dock, and looked at what was going on there. He was not pleased by what he saw, and after a short conversation with the shipyard supervisor, he left. It would not have been a good time to approach him, or ask him what was wrong. When he got to his government-issue car, the driver opened the back door for him, and drove off without asking where to go. Though fully entitled to have a plane at his disposal, he preferred to take the car, which gave him time to relax and also to get work done. This trip, he spent the entire ride back to Washington, D.C. on an encrypted mobile phone. Five hours later, back in uniform and back in his office in the E-Ring of the Pentagon, he was in a slightly better mood, and actually thanked the driver for a quiet and uneventful drive.
Two days later, Lt. Commander James Jefferson (Jeff) Woodbridge, USN, reported as ordered to the Commander, Naval Submarine Forces (COMSUBFOR) in the E-Ring of the Pentagon. He thought he knew why he had been summoned, and he hoped he was correct. After more than 15 years in submarines, he was about to get his first command...

The Voyage of the Stingray

By Richard Steinitz

Lt. Commander Jeff Woodridge had been hoping, wishing, looking forward to the time when he would be given his own command of a Naval Submarine...

When the time came, though, he found that it had come to him as a result of the murder of the former Captain, although they had not declared it murder when Jeff had accepted the position.

He also didn't know that he was to captain a new type of submarine--one that had not yet been built! 

The new submarine had not yet been named, but it was very apparent that the design copied that of nature's stingray...

The Captain’s main task, as long as construction was still under way, was to keep track of progress and try to keep things moving. The other officers tried their best to assist him in any way they could, so it was with great surprise that, early one morning, Woodbridge’s voice came over the loudspeaker system and said: “Now hear this! All crew members are ordered off the boat immediately. Report to the Chief of the Boat at the circle in front of Electric Boat headquarters in 15 minutes. I repeat, everyone off the boat NOW, and report to the Master Chief on shore. Go Go Go!” As they were leaving the boat, several sailors were heard to remark on the absence of all the civilian workers that day. Basically, Stingray was being left totally deserted, except for the Captain – and Ethan Roth. On shore, the Chief collected all the crew, checked his list to see that they were all there and then shepherded them on to two Navy buses that were waiting for them. “This is a reward by the Captain for all the hard work you have been doing. We are on a field trip to a park not far from here, where we will have a day of R & R, on the Captain’s expense. We will be back on board by 3pm and work will resume then.”
The abandonment of Stingray had been organized by Woodbridge so that various pieces of top-secret equipment, mainly from UCI, could be installed without too many questions being asked. Almost immediately after the buses departed, two 18-wheelers appeared and began unloading large crates, using extra-long hydraulic booms to get them over the fence and down onto the dock. The whole exercise had been meticulously timed to coincide with a gap between intelligence collecting satellite passes. A crew of DoD workers arrived at the same time and proceeded to unpack the crates and remove the equipment. With the help of a dock-side crane, the machinery was swung over the edge of the dock onto Stingray’s foredeck, and from there down the forward cargo hatch into the bowels of the boat. Most of it went into the com room where Ethan instructed the DoD workers on where and how to place the new machinery, but one piece that was swathed in layers of bubble-wrap went into a very small compartment labeled FRR, between the wardroom and the crew’s living quarters. The Captain personally came to oversee the arrival of this piece, checked that it was put into the right place and then made sure the door was securely closed and locked. By the time all the unloading had taken place and the trucks were gone, it was already almost 3pm. The crew arrived back on time - rested, well-fed and re-energized after a day of baseball, hot-dogs and soft-drinks, and immediately went back to work. The civilian workers came back the next morning at 6am as usual, and all hands started installing the new equipment except for the machine in the FRR compartment.

Even though work was coordinated to ensure top-secret security, it wasn't long until the intrigue began to be known and those interested in what America was doing new in sub boats brought about destruction and danger. Still, Jess was doing a good job in keeping the crews working as well as coordinating the interactions with those off-site.

The details of boat building was strangely compelling as readers see how and what was happening to create and develop new capabilities that could occur based upon the new design. However the adventure of the book begins once the sub is ready for testing and then full operation. As a real stingray can hide stealthily before a full attack, so, too, did the new Stingray's capabilities allow for missions to be totally handled differently. One main difference was its ability to move closer to shore than any other boat, and still be hidden...

While not going into specific scenes, I felt that the type of "new" abilities from such a design were well done and showed both the complexity of dealing with events that would call for such actions and how they could be better achieved with advanced and newer technology, which interested me the most. This included a company representative that was acting as liaison to the crew and wound up as an important "stowaway." I loved the results coming from just this one character. But each of the characters carried well in their specific roles. A thoroughly enjoyable dive into creativity...with adventure! Highly recommended...


Richard Steinitz (b.1947) was born in New York to German Jewish immigrant parents, After four years at S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo, he moved to Israel where he has lived since then with his wife, Naomi. They have two children and two grandchildren.
As a 40+ year resident of Israel and veteran of more than 20 years service as a Medic in the Israeli Army Reserves, he was disappointed by the scarcity of books that paint a true picture of the Israel-Arab conflict. Many works of fiction presume to give an accurate description of the area and events, yet contain glaring errors of fact and even simple translation.
His first novel, Murder Over the Border, builds upon his intimate knowledge of the country, the people that live in and around it, and on the hopes and dreams of all the peoples of the region. It is a classic detective story, set in the turmoil of the Middle East Peace Process, and is available both in print [ISBN: 978-0692261828], and as a Kindle E-book.
Kaplan's Quest, his second novel, is a journey of discovery – both personal and historical. It is an exciting tale with unexpected twists and revelations, "that will keep you enthralled 'til the very last page." It is available in print [ISBN: 978-0692250372] and as a Kindle E-book, and has been given a Five-Star review at the Readers' Favorite website:
His third novel - The Voyage of the Stingray - has just been published. His website, with free sample chapters and more information, can be found at:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Unique Novel, Out of Sync, by Chynna Laird!


Accused Double Homicide Suspect to Stand Trial

EDMONTON – Yesterday in Alberta Criminal Court, Judge Fernadette Noseworthy ruled that there was enough evidence against double homicide suspect, Marcus Harper, to go ahead with a trial.
Immediately after the Judge’s ruling, Harper lost control and not only threatened his lawyer but also the Prosecution team as well. “This is your fault,” he yelled at them. “I will get out. And you will suffer as I did. All of you will suffer. You will know what it’s like to have everything taken away!”
Harper, who had been brought into the courtroom in shackles and restrained to the defense table with handcuffs, sprang at his lawyer, knocking the table over, in an attempt to choke the man. It took the bailiff and three police officers to remove him from the lawyer, with the assistance of a taser to control him.
Harper was immediately removed from the courtroom and ordered back to the Maximum Security Prison, where he had been held in isolation since his arrest. Back when local TV stations broke the story last month, public outcry for revenge grew intense, due to the brutality of his crime. And his antics in the courtroom only seemed to confirm public concerns.

On his way out of the courtroom, the threats he directed to Cheyenne McCarthy, the Chief-of-Police, William McCarthy’s wife, were the most chilling: “I’ll save you for last, Dr. Lady. This isn’t the first time you’ve screwed with my life. You’re gonna get what you deserve. And I’ll enjoy hearing you scream for mercy.”
Cheyenne McCarthy is the Forensic Psychologist who played a key role in bringing Harper down.
Harper is accused of gunning down two people, one, a young adult male currently known as a ‘John Doe,’ and a Hopinachi woman believed to have been in the later stages of pregnancy. Harper’s detached demeanor and lack of remorse during his arrest and pretrial have sent angry ripples through the community, creating an even stronger public outcry for justice for the three lives he’s accused of taking.
When police had arrived at the scene of the shooting, Marcus was found standing by the bodies smoking a cigarette—still holding the gun in his hand—seemingly with no acknowledgment for what he had done or remorse.
“The man is sick,” one woman was quoted to have said outside of the courthouse, shortly after court adjourned. “It’s about time this thing moved forward so that guy is put away for good.”
Not all people are happy about the ruling, however. The leader of the Hopinachi Tribe, Chief Longfellow, along other tribe members who had witnessed the pretrial, felt that Harper would do better if he were returned to his people and punished in their own traditions.
“His family has suffered too much through all of this,” Chief Longfellow said, as he was led to his car by two fellow Hopinachi members. “We all need to be at peace, including Marcus.”
The Prosecution team is currently preparing a statement for later this afternoon.
Harper is without bail until his trial on the 15th of next month.


A week has passed since the pretrial. Those involved with Marcus's trial spent much time looking over their shoulders taking his threats to heart. Even Cheyenne...
Even with the upcoming trial, and worries of Marcus' threats, Cheyenne had more important things on her mind.
The atmosphere was perfect: candles were lit, Michael Buble'
crooned from the stereo, baked gnocchi bubbled in the oven and a fruity non-alcoholic wine rested in ice. Everything was ready, except William wasn't home yet.
She glanced at the time as she switched the plasma television off to catch the news. She didn't like listening to the news--it always upset her. But she kept it on just in case.
Even though she had a private psychology practice, her expertise in Forensic Psychology and forensic sciences had made her a highly sought-after expert for the District Attorney, especially on high profile cases. So watching the news helped prepare her for any upcoming job she'd be forced to take on.
6:45 p.m. Where was William?

He was one of those anally-prompt people who got ready, then waited for everyone else. Cheyenne and William had made a promise to one another--once the clock hit 6:00 p.m., they'd leave work at work and spend their evenings together--except when those high-profile cases screamed for their attention...
As she checked on the gnocchi--fearing it's been in the oven too long--something caught her eye on the television. Perry, William's partner, was being interviewed by a local reporter. His face was white and expressionless as his lips moved. A shot of adrenaline sparked like a wildfire from her stomach out to her extremities. She reached for the remote to turn up the sound.
Perry's rich Irish accent filled the dining room. "...he didn't know what hit him."

Out of Sync

By Chynna T. Laird

It was just another case for which Dr. Cheyenne McCarthy had been asked to act as an expert witness... It was just another case where her husband, William, had been assigned...

But, this time, the killer threatened that he would come after those who had been involved in capturing him... And before long, his first victim was William McCarthy, Cheyenne's husband...

Cheyenne McCarthy is an intriguing character, with an unusual set of symptoms that affect many people in various ways. It was six months after her husband had been murdered when Cheyenne had made her first attempt to go back to her office, clearly having suffered from clinical depression as well as her long-time sensory issues which created odd responses  to people, situations, and events. In the book she was adopted through a closed arrangement so had no ability to learn of her medical background. But her description was about loud and too much noise, as well as smells which she could not stand. To me they were perhaps symptoms I had seen in forms of autism but Cheyenne had never been diagnosed, living with "being different" somehow all her life. It was her husband who had shielded her from many of these issues--now she was on her own... For me, Laird's interest in using her novels to spotlight health issues many individuals face required kudos for her, but also provided an interesting facet to the main character's personality as she found herself called in to help with... forensics of criminal cases... It would be interesting to learn more about her in other novels...

Almost before she finished watching the news where she had heard that the condition of the Chief would not be released until the family had been notified, Perry, William's partner was at her door to take her to the hospital...While turning off the stove and the lights, she saw the "positive" pregnancy test on the table, which was the basis for her surprise dinner... She left it there, hoping William would be back home soon...

Now clearly pregnant, with William gone, Cheyenne was once again depending on her friend Perry. They had previously had a relationship that seemed to stay at the friendship level, but it was Perry who took on the role of protector. Indeed he was there that first day she had come back to her office. However, it wasn't only to ensure the office was safe, but he needed her help. They had found an older native american, Chief Longfellow, who had information about the case, but he would only share it with Cheyenne...

It is at that point that the mysticism of a native american elder brings guidance... and, though blind, he sees much... 

"You are looking for a very evil and cowardly man--a man who preys on the weaknesses of others. He isn't like other men. Others aren't going to find him. But you can. You will."
His eyes, although unseeing, moved around furiously, watching the movie that played only for him. Cheyenne put her coffee down to calm her hands. "Well, Chief, I'll do my best to find him."
"He will find you," the Chief said. He squinted. "You have what he wants."
He slipped a hand into his pocket and the officers reached for their guns. Cheyenne motioned them to stand down. Chief Longfellow pulled out a picture and held it out to Cheyenne. From where she sat, she recognized little Maria.
"Take this," he said. "Read what it tells you. Your answers are here." As she leaned to take the photo, he grabbed her wrist. Her heart lurched. His other hand pressed against her belly.
The policemen drew their guns. "Remove your hands from her!"
The Chief ignored their order. "I had a vision," he moaned, his lips brushing against her ear. Musk flooded her nostrils, dizziness swept over her. "He will come for you...for him. You have what he wants."
"Did you hear me, old man? Release her!"
His hand tightened on hers with urgency. "He knows your losses and will use them against you. But remember...what was your enemy in the past will be your greatest ally in the weeks to come."
"Let her go!"
He released her and slumped back, returning to his meditation chant...

In this story, the Chief becomes a major character who works with Cheyenne on through the book. Yes, there is a connection which lends a very surprising and wondrous climax to the story.

Marcus Harper is a dangerous, vengeful man and is the villain readers will meet right from the very beginning. Indeed, readers will learn much about his thoughts as the drama begins and Marcus is on the hunt... And then specifically hones in on Cheyenne, torturing her with notes and invasions into her home...

Psychological suspense is heavy as Marcus seems to be able to get in and out of places and just disappear... Where can you hide from such a disturbed man? The book is tense, edgy, and yet is lightened by those who care about Cheyenne and support her as much as they can. But she couldn't help but remember the dream shared by Chief Longfellow--he was coming for her and what she had... And Cheyenne had realized from his notes that it could very well be her baby that he wanted... 

Traditionally, it is the Warrior Maiden who was called upon to lead a group of fearsome warriors to battle. To the Hopinachi, she's simply the woman who shared their blood--their watched on the outside--who brought peace back to their people using the very gifts she'd always feared.

Highly recommended!


CHYNNA LAIRD - is a freelance writer and award-winning author. Her passion is helping children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder and other special needs. She's authored a children's book, two memoirs, a Young Adult novella, a YA paranormal/suspense novel, a YA contemporary novel and an adult Suspense/Thriller.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Abuse of Discretion - A Mystery That Matters - By Pamela Samuels Young


The police!
My mouth is as dry as sand. “I don’t have a naked picture of anybody on my phone, Mrs. Keller. I swear, I don’t. Why’d you call the police on me?”
“I had no choice.”
My right knee won’t stop bouncing up and down. “Who said I had a naked picture?”
“I can’t disclose that information.”
There’s a knock on the door. When two police officers step into the room, I almost pee on myself. They introduce themselves to the principal but ignore me.
One of the cops is short and Asian with biceps that look like two boulders. He turns around and mean mugs me. “Is this the student?”
Principal Keller nods and hands him a piece of paper. He reads it, then turns back to me.
“I’m Officer Chin and this is Officer Fenton,” the Asian cop says, referring to a tall white man with slicked-back hair who’s staring down at me too. “We need to talk to you.”
Officer Chin opens the side door leading into the principal’s private conference room and tells me to go inside. I’m so nervous it feels like I’m walking on toothpicks.
The white cop sits in the chair next to me and turns sideways. He’s sitting so close to me that his knee keeps brushing against my thigh. I want to ask him to move back, but I don’t. Officer Chin sits on the other side of the long table, glaring at me like I shot somebody.
“So, Graylin, do you know why you’re here?” Officer Chin asks.
“Nope,” I mumble. Then I hear my grandmother’s voice. She’s old school and is always telling me to be respectful to adults. “I mean, no, sir.”
I don’t like looking at the Asian cop. If they try a good-cop, bad-cop act on me, he’s probably going to play the bad cop.
“First, I need to tell you that you’re in some major trouble,” the mean one says.
I’ve already decided that’s what I’m going to call Officer Chin—Mean Cop—because that’s what he is.
I don’t say anything since he hasn’t asked me a question.
“How old are you?”
“Your principal got a report that you have a naked picture of one of your classmates on your phone.”
“But I don’t.” Not anymore.
“Do you know Kennedy Carlyle?”
“Is she your girlfriend?”
I screw up my face. “No.” Kennedy is way too stuck-up to be anybody’s girlfriend.
“Well, how do you know her?”
“She’s in my English and algebra classes.”
I don’t want to talk to them because I know they aren’t on my side. I watch a lot of TV crime shows with my granny. The cops always act like they want to help you, but they’d rather shoot a black kid than help him. That’s why we need Black Lives Matter. They just need to read me my rights and—Oh snap! I suddenly remember what my dad told me to do if the police ever stopped me.
I sit up straight and try to look brave. “My dad told me not to talk to the police without his permission.”
Mean Cop rolls his eyes. “Is that right? Does your daddy know you have a naked picture of one of your classmates on your phone?”
But I don’t. I want to smile, but I know that will get me in even more trouble.
Mean Cop grips the edge of the table and leans forward. “If I were you, I’d want to defend myself. So, if you want us to hear your side of the story, you better start talking.”
I don’t know what to do. I want to defend myself, but my dad gave me strict instructions. If a cop stops you, don’t say a damn word.
Officer Fenton bumps my thigh with his knee again which makes me flinch. “Look, Graylin, we need you to be honest with us. If you do, we can cut you some slack.”
Even though I wish he wouldn’t sit so close to me, at least he talks nice to me. Still, I keep quiet.
“According to the report we received,” Mean Cop continues, “you’ve been going all over the school showing people a naked picture of your classmate.”
Before I can stop myself, I blurt out, “No, I didn’t! Somebody’s lying on me!”
Of course, I’d planned to show the picture to my best friend Crayvon, but you can’t go to jail for something you were only thinking about doing.
“If you have the picture on your phone,” Officer Fenton says, “just be truthful about it and we’ll see what we can do to keep you out of trouble.”
They must think I’m stupid. I do what my dad told me to do and keep my mouth shut.
Mean Cop pounds the table with his fist, making me jump two inches out of my chair. “Where’s your phone?”
I still don’t answer. Everybody has the right to remain silent, even kids.
“I said where’s your phone?” Mean Cop repeats.
I hide my hands underneath the table, so he can’t see them shaking.
Officer Fenton pats me on the shoulder. “C’mon, Graylin, you seem like a good kid. I bet you make good grades, don’t you?”
I nod and start to tell them I got honors certificates in math and science last year, but I figure they still won’t let me go. “My dad”—I start to stutter—“my dad told me not to talk to the police without his permission.”
“Why don’t you help us out here?” Officer Fenton says. “We really need to see your phone. We’ll take a quick look and if there’s no picture, we’ll send you back to class.”
A squeaky voice comes out of my mouth. “It’s…it’s in my backpack.”
As soon as the words are out, I want to kick myself. Now I’ve just lied to the police. Again.
“And where’s your backpack?”
“In my locker.”
“Why don’t we go with you to your locker, so you can get it?” Officer Fenton says.
“My dad told me not to talk to the police without his permission,” I say for the third time.
Officer Fenton frowns. “This is a very serious matter, son.”
Mean Cop thumps his fingers on the table. “Why don’t you just—”

The voice of Young Thug singing RiRi fills the room. Ah-ah-ah work. Do the work baby do the work. Tonight baby do the work baby do the work.
When I hear my ringtone, my stomach lurches up into my throat. I’m about to throw up the oatmeal I had for breakfast.
Mean Cop scrunches up his face like a WWF wrestler. “Did your daddy also teach you to lie to the police? Give me the damn phone!”
I shakily pull it from my pocket and set it on the table.
Officer Fenton picks it up, taps the screen, then looks over at me. “What’s the password?”
I stare down at the table.
“I said what’s the password?” Now he’s turning mean too.
“LeBron forty-three.”
“For your sake, young man, I hope you’re telling us the truth.”
I keep my eyes on the table. A bead of sweat falls from my forehead into my eye, but I don’t wipe it away.
“Why’re you sweating?” Mean Cop says. “You afraid we’re going to find that naked picture?”
After a couple of minutes, Officer Fenton looks at Mean Cop and shakes his head. “Nothing in his photos or texts. I only see a few recent emails. Nothing there either.” He sets it back on the table.
Mean Cop grunts. “Let me look.” He stretches one of his short arms across the table and grabs my phone.
He taps the screen a few times, then starts smiling. “Well, well, well, what do we have here? Looks like you forgot to check his deleted pictures, partner.”
Mean Cop holds up my phone and shows me the picture I thought was gone forever. A warm trickle of pee runs down my left leg.
“You’re quite the little liar, aren’t you?” Mean Cop yells at me. “Where’re the rest of the pictures?”
“There aren’t any more,” I stutter. “That was the only one I had.”
“Did you take it?”
“You lied about your phone being in your locker, you lied about having this picture, and you’re still lying now!”
“My…my dad”—I can’t get my words out—“my dad told me not to talk to the police without his permission.”
“When your daddy told you that, he didn’t realize you’d be in this kind of trouble. If you didn’t take this picture, how’d it get on your phone?”
“Somebody sent it to me.”
“I don’t know.”
My throat hurts and it feels like somebody’s pressing down on my chest. If the table wasn’t in the way, I’d hug my knees to my chest.
Mean Cop pulls out his handcuffs and dangles them from his finger. “Stop lying and tell us the truth,” he barks. “If you don’t, you’re going to jail.”


Sometimes a Crime Isn't Always Criminal

Abuse of Discretion:
The Dre Thomas Series

Pamela Samuels Young

It was the character Graylin who tore at my emotions as I watched him being taken to the principal's office, based upon an anonymous call. Getting sent to the office was bad enough, but being brought there led Graylin to immediately wonder if something had happened to his mother...

Trying hard to think what it could be, he finally realized that it might be about a picture that had been sent to him also anonymously. It was a naked picture of a girl that was in some of his classes. He had saved it, but realized now that he shouldn't even have done that and deleted it while he waited.

But it wasn't the principal who would be talking to him; it was the police. At least they had called his dad, although he wasn't looking forward to having his dad learn the possible issue...

What was horrifying to me, and to many readers, is that Graylin had stated over and over to the police that he was not supposed to talk to the police without his father present. That was the beginning--the beginning of abuse--of Graylin, a 14-year-old boy who was smart, a good student, and a relatively well-behaved child... But the police kept pressing... questioning...

"You couldn't plead it down...?
"I tried...Prosecutors have a lot of
discretion as to who gets charged.
Some of them read the statues literally
and will go after anyone in possession
of a naked picture of a kid, even if it's
a thirteen-year-old child."
I pray to God Graylin hasn't taken a
naked picture of some girl. "So will
you take the case?"
"Yes, of course. It'll take me about
forty minutes to get down to Eastlake."
"Thanks. It sounds like Graylin might
be in some serious trouble.
"If he has a naked picture of an under-
age girl on his phone, there's no might
about it." Jenny says. "These days
a smartphone in the hands of a kid can
have more devastating consequences
than giving them a loaded gun. And
 the average parent doesn't have a
I remember how much I enjoyed
the Judging Amy show, which covered our juvenile criminal justice system. But now, Young had taken me into a "shocking look inside" that justice system in today's world. It is not an easy story to read, but a very important one!

Fortunately, Graylin's family and friends made sure that an experienced youth lawyer was hired. And, for me, the legal interaction with Graylin was the primary focus, even though this book is the third in the Dre Thomas Series and there is another plot line moving concurrently... where you'll be meeting "The Shepherd" who is sitting in a low risk federal correctional facility while planning murder on the outside! And Dre is a target...

Dre is involved with Angela, a lawyer, but she knows that Graylin needs someone totally familiar with the youth system. And we meet Jenny Ungerman, who accepts the case, but then is upset when Angela can't seem to keep herself from intruding and wanting to help... The interaction between them goes from tense exasperation into a partnership that really worked well... The author might want to think of pairing those two in a new series, in my opinion.

Poor Graylin, he was getting advice from all sides, but one thing had stuck with him. If you are tried as an adult, you have a jury which would probably give him a break...Maybe, maybe not. But Graylin did everything he could to ensure that's what happened...readers will have to decide whether this turned out to be the best for Graylin...

Do your children spend hours on their phone? Are you monitoring in any way? Given the level of sexual material displayed everywhere these days, you can bet that your child is involved not only with texting friends, but...sexting with some of them... More important than your knowing whether they are is this--are you aware that it is against the law??? In this story, a young boy gets sent a naked picture of a girl he knows. Instead of immediately closing out the picture, he saves it to his phone...He is now facing charges of holding and possible dissemination of child pornography...

I already knew this from other books I've read, but this story which could also be listed under urban fiction, perfectly illustrates how a kid can be caught in a nightmare that started out to this important book to see how a good kid can be caught, condemned and swiftly in court!

Children really do not understand the consequences of actions "that everybody is doing..." I highly recommend you read this and help them understand!


Attorney, author and anti-trafficking advocate Pamela Samuels Young has always abided by the philosophy that you create the change you want to see. While growing up in Compton, California, Pamela set giant-sized goals and used her talent, tenacity and positive outlook to accomplish them. She consequently achieved success in both the corporate arena and literary world simultaneously.
For fifteen years, Pamela served as Managing Counsel for Toyota in Southern California, specializing in labor and employment law. While still practicing law, Pamela began moonlighting as a mystery writer because of her desire to see women and people of color depicted in the legal thrillers she read. That required her to rise at 4 a.m. to write before work, after work and any other spare time she could find. Dubbed by one reviewer as “John Grisham with a sister’s twist,” Pamela is now a full-time author with eight award-winning mystery novels.
Her thriller Anybody’s Daughter (2013), a gripping tale of a teen unwittingly drawn into the world of child sex trafficking via a Facebook scam, 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 latest mystery, Abuse of Discretion (2017), tackles a troubling teen sexting case that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile justice system. Pamela’s other novels include Every Reasonable Doubt (2006), In Firm Pursuit (2007), Murder on the Down Low (2008), Buying Time (2009), Attorney-Client Privilege(2012), and Lawful Deception (2015). She has also penned an erotic romantic suspense novella, Unlawful Desires (2017), as well as multiple short stories.
Pamela is a proud natural hair enthusiast and the author of Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide, a book dedicated to empowering women to discover the true beauty of their kinky coils.
Before her legal career at Toyota, Pamela served as Employment Law Counsel for Raytheon Company and spent several years as an associate with the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, LLP, in Los Angeles. A former journalist, Pamela began her broadcasting career at WXYZ-TV in Detroit and later worked as a news writer and associate producer at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles.
A graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and a master’s degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is a diehard member of Sisters in Crime-L.A., an organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers.
A frequent speaker on the topics of self-empowerment, sex trafficking and online safety, fiction writing, and pursuing your passion, Pamela lives in the Los Angeles area. To read an excerpt of her books or to schedule her for a speaking engagement or book club meeting via Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, speakerphone or in person, visit her website at

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Personal Favorite for 2018: Lady Blues by Aaron Paul Lazar!

Genesee River
I strolled along Main Street with Siegfried, my best friend and brother-in-law, unable to shake the song repeating in my head. I’d played it for my Opera 101 class yesterday at school, and since then, kept hearing Marcelo Alvarez singing “Che gelida manina,” from La Boheme...

If interested, all the music from this book, is provided in next post!

Because Camille and I had seen him perform in this role last fall in New York City, it made me long for Lincoln Center, or at least a really good hot pastrami sandwich from a decent deli.
Why I thought of food at that particular moment was a mystery, because we’d just finished a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, home fries, and bacon at Clara’s Diner. I shrugged and let the warm spring air caress my face and bare arms. The sun felt good after the lingering cold of March. I reveled in the feeling of freedom, happy to have no appointments or chores looming in the near future, and looking forward to a leisurely stop in the village bookstore. A warm breeze teased across the Genesee Valley, filling me with a curious sense of exhilaration. Just past the bagel shop, from the top of the ridge where our historic village of Conaroga, New York perched, I stopped for a minute to enjoy the view. Rolling hills swelled in the distance, coated green with winter wheat. I wanted to stay put and soak it all in, but Siegfried was rapidly disappearing into the crowded street. With his blond ponytail swaying behind him, his long legs ate up the ground. I hurried after him. “Hey, buddy. What’s going on?” I wasn’t sure why our trip to the bookstore warranted such an effort.
He frowned, walking faster. “Ja.”
What kind of an answer was that? Had he even heard me? “Sig? You okay?”
I loped for a few paces and caught up with him. Rushing along the sidewalk in front of Victorian homes with deep porches and brightly-colored gables, we finally reached the commercial part of the village, jogging side by side past quaint shop windows offering flowers, travel dreams, gourmet pizza, and works of art. A bus belched smoke and rumbled past us, its gears grinding. The advertisement on its broad side read, “Got Milk?” Beneath the text, a smiling actress wore a milk mustache. I glanced down at my black tee shirt. The slogan, “Got Opera?” had produced a few confused grins from customers at
the diner, where Siegfried and I enjoyed our breakfast. “Hey, what’s the hurry, big fella?”
Siegfried didn’t answer. I wasn’t sure why he seemed so distracted, but I responded when he motioned for me to quicken my pace because over the years, I’d learned to trust his sixth sense and recognized something in his expression that spelled danger. We crossed the street, almost at a run now. Siegfried frowned at something on the other side of the road. I followed his line of sight and realized he wasn’t headed for the bookstore, but for Thom Kim’s tailor shop.
Siegfried had been doing a lot of business there lately. A man of his height required the help of a tailor from time to time, but he’d found dozens of excuses for alterations in the past few months. A loose button here, a burst seam there. He’d been visiting the shop almost twice a week, and I wondered why. “Why are we hurrying?” I asked again.
He burst into a sprint, shouting now. “Look!” He lunged ahead of me, his sea blue eyes trained on the top floor of the building. I smelled it before I saw it, then looked up. Smoke...
A scream erupted farther down the hall. Lily. “Get her!”
I shouted over my shoulder, stumbling toward Thom.
Siegfried quickly ducked into the smoke, following the direction of her cries...

Lady Blues:

By Aaron Paul Lazar

From the front cover to the end of the book, I loved everything about Lady Blues! When I read Aaron's latest book, Murder on the Brewster Flats, earlier this month, I was pleasantly surprised that one of the main characters had been married--and I didn't know it! Well, that set me on the search where I found a Gus LeGarde Mystery which I had not read! Wow, am I'm so glad I caught my omission. Because Lady Blues became a personal favorite for me...

Gus LeGarde is a professional musician and teaches at a local college, so his books are always filled with music, which as you all know, I really enjoy exploring (please see next post for all music pieces included). But it was the two main mysteries that I was enthralled with--Gus had befriended a man in a local residence for older people:  What had happened to the woman his new friend kept asking for... and What had happened to the patients as a result of new medicine...

On the other hand, an unusual mystery came with a young woman who whom Gus and his family gave shelter when the tailor shop in which she worked with her brother caught on fire! The question was--why was Lily's back full of both old and new marks of abuse? A not-surprising answer to this but sad..

Whenever he could make it, Gus played for Sunday morning services for residents at a senior citizen's home. One man was known as "the piano man" since he could not tell him his name. But, amazingly, with Gus's bringing music to the home that day, Gus was able to bring out the older man and begin a conversation. Gus knew that he would come back to visit. As time went by, Gus was given a name and then in a somewhat mixed-up question asked--Do you know her? Although all personal memories had been taken, he was able to remember the lady he loved...

But as Gus continued to visit, he noticed that the man was becoming more verbal, more communicative--and learned from his nurse that many of the patients were improving and regaining their memories! Until they again lost them...

How I wish that the main issue of the medication being given to patients could have been true. Wouldn't it be wonderful if a new medication allowed patients who had lost their memories, to be able to regain them?! It was in this part of the book that the danger and suspense grew as the families and staff began to question just what was happening to the patients. 

Lazar weaves magic into his books...readers feel refreshed and vibrant as they leave from their visit to the LeGarde home, where the food is plentiful, mostly homegrown, and friends are welcomed for Sunday dinner when Gus takes over as chef... And it was so gratifying for those who have come to care about Siegfried to watch as he falls in love and looks toward a future of his own with a loved one...after so very long!

And Lady Blues? This mystery had a wonderful closing! I can't wait to have you read it and love it as I did! Go on...check it out right now!


Aaron Paul Lazar is obsessed with writing. He's completed twenty-seven books to date, and has earned twenty literary book awards. He writes mysteries, suspense, love stories, and more. You'll usually find him writing his heart out in the early hours of the day - preferably in the dark, quiet hours when no one else is awake in his bustling household. Visit his website at to sign up for a free book and to learn about future deals.

Aaron Paul Lazar wasn't always a mystery writer. It wasn't until eight members of his family and friends died within five years that the urge to write became overwhelming. "When my father died, I lost it. I needed an outlet, and writing provided the kind of solace I couldn't find elsewhere."

Lazar created the Gus LeGarde mystery series, with the founding novel, DOUBLE FORTÉ, a chilling winter mystery set in the Genesee Valley of upstate New York. Like Lazar's father, protagonist Gus LeGarde is a classical music professor. Gus, a grandfather, gardener, chef, and nature lover, plays Chopin etudes to feed his soul and thinks of himself as a "Renaissance man caught in the 21st century." There are twelve books to date in this series.

The creation of the series lent Lazar the comfort he sought, yet in the process, a new passion was unleashed. Obsessed with his parallel universe, he now lives, breathes, and dreams about his characters, and has written eleven LeGarde mysteries in addition to four other series.

One day while rototilling his gardens, Lazar unearthed a green cat's eye marble, which prompted the paranormal mystery series featuring Sam Moore, retired country doctor and passionate gardener. The green marble, a powerful talisman, connects all three of the books in the series, whisking Sam back in time to uncover his brother's dreadful fate fifty years earlier. (THE DISAPPEARANCE OF BILLY MOORE, TERROR COMES KNOCKING, and FOR KEEPS)

Lazar's books feature breathless chase scenes, nasty villains, and taut suspense, but are also intensely human stories, replete with kids, dogs, horses, food, romance, and humor. The author calls them, "country mysteries," although reviewers have dubbed them "literary mysteries."

"It seems as though every image ever impressed upon my brain finds its way into my work. Whether it's the light dancing through stained-glass windows in a Parisian chapel, curly slate-green lichen covering a boulder at the edge of a pond in Maine, or hoarfrost dangling from a cherry tree branch in mid-winter, these images burrow into my memory cells. In time they bubble back, persistently itching, until they are poured out on the page."

In 2009, Kodak laid him off after 28 years of service, and during the year he had off (before he landed in his job with KB America) he had time to explore and reconnect with his environment. Little did he know that several trips to the Adirondack Mountains would reawaken his passion for that part of the country. A new romantic mystery series was started entitled Tall Pines Mysteries: FOR THE BIRDS, ESSENTIALLY YOURS, SANCTUARY, and BETRAYAL.

In between all the novels, Lazar published three short writing guides based on his many years of writing advice blogs, entitled WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1-3. These are available in eBook and audio book formats.

In his twenty-first book, Lazar has jumped genre. THE SEACREST: a love story, now winner of many literary awards, is poised to capture hearts across the globe. Book 1 in the Paines Creek Beach novels (set on Cape Cod), this also launched a series, and is followed by THE SEACROFT and THE SEADOG.

When the news was filled with stories about the girls captured for ten years by that monster in Cleveland (you know who he was...), Lazar was compelled to write a book to honor the women involved. Thus was born the Bittersweet Hollow romantic suspense series, featuring award-winning DEVIL'S LAKE, DEVIL'S CREEK, and DEVIL'S SPRING.

The author lives on a ridge overlooking the Genesee Valley in upstate New York with his wife, daughter Allison, two little grandsons, two dogs, and four cats. With a total of six grandkids now, he finds grandfathering to be one of the most precious and important times of life, and spends as much time as possible with Julian, Gordon, Isabella, Christopher, Luke, and Joey.

Lazar has been featured in many magazines and newspapers and has given dozens of radio interviews over the years. You can keep up with him here:

Contact him at

Summary of series:

LEGARDE MYSTERIES (country mysteries set in the Finger Lakes)

GREEN MARBLE MYSTERIES (mysteries with time travel and a ghost)

TALL PINES MYSTERIES (sensual women’s mysteries set in the Adirondacks)

PAINES CREEK BEACH SERIES (love stories by the sea)

BITTERSWEET HOLLOW SERIES (romantic suspense involving kidnapping)




PAINES CREEK BEACH, love stories

BITTERSWEET HOLLOW, romantic suspense



Devil’s Lake
• 2015 Finalist Readers’ Favorites Awards
• 2015 Semi-finalist in Kindle Book Review Awards

The Seacrest
• 2015 Semi-finalist in Kindle Book Review Awards
• 2014 Best Beach Book Festival WINNER, Romance category
• 2013 ForeWord Book Awards, Romance, FINALIST

The Seadog
• 2016 Best Indie Book Awards, Romance, WINNER

Double Forté
• 2012 ForeWord BOTYA, Mystery, FINALIST

Tremolo: cry of the loon –
• 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards: Grand Prize Short List
• 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards: Honorable Mention, Eric Hoffer Legacy Fiction
• 2011 Global eBook Award Finalist in Historical Fiction Contemporary
• 2011 Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place Mystery
• 2008 Yolanda Renée's Top Ten Books
• 2008 MYSHELF Top Ten Reads

For the Birds
• 2011 ForeWord Book Awards, FINALIST in Mystery
• 2012 Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Reads

Essentially Yours
• 2013 EPIC Book Awards, FINALIST in Suspense
• 2013 Eric Hoffer Da Vinci Eye Award Finalist

The Disappearance of Billy Moore (formerly titled Healey’s Cave)
• 2012 EPIC Book Awards WINNER Best Paranormal
• 2011 Eric Hoffer Book Award, WINNER Best Book in Commercial Fiction
• 2011 Finalist for Allbooks Review Editor's Choice
• 2011 Winner of Carolyn Howard Johnson's 9th Annual Noble (not Nobel!) Prize for Literature
• 2011 Finalists for Global EBook Awards

Terror Comes Knocking
• 2013 Global Ebook Awards, Paranormal – Bronze

For Keeps
• 2013 Semi Finalist in Kindle Book Review Book Awards, Mystery Category

Spirit Me Away
• 2014 AuthorsdB book cover contest, Silver medal.

Under the Ice
• 2015 AuthorsdB “Bronze” Cover Award

The Music From - Lady Blues:Forget Me Not (and Intro excerpt) by Aaron Lazar

I strolled along Main Street with Siegfried, my best friend and brother-in-law, unable to shake the song repeating in my head. I’d played it for my Opera 101 class yesterday at school, and since then, kept hearing Marcelo Alvarez singing “Che gelida manina,” from La Boheme.

He spoke rapidly; apparently afraid I might back out if he didn’t agree. “Oh, yes. Of course. ‘Rock of Ages.’ ‘Morning Has Broken.’ ‘Amazing Grace.’ The old standbys.

I listened to Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” on the way home. I’d been immersed in jazz for the past month, savoring the minor tunes and enticing beats in preparation for my new book. The exotic rhythms of “Caravan” brought to mind a camel caravan weaving over the dunes in the hot desert. Beads clacking, saddles swaying, and gritty sand in the eyes. The intoxicating imagery provided an interesting backdrop to my musings about the music man’s past.

She pushed her long hair aside and flipped the sheet music to show me the cover. “I found this on the bench over there. It’s called ‘Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered.’ Do you know it?” “Do I know it?” I laughed. “It’s one of my favorites. Ella made this one famous.” I’d been playing Ella Fitzgerald’s CD for the past few weeks, preparing for my new book. “Ella?” she asked.

I stood and grabbed the CD I needed for the one o’clock class on American Composers. Today we would examine current day musicians, including a local genius I’d come to admire, Paul Oney Stuart. After attending an opera he composed, “The Sisters of Manzanar,” I’d been hooked.

I stopped and looked at her, puzzled. The urgency of the request seemed odd, especially since he’d been in homes since 1944. I wondered if he’d studied jazz, and immediately thought of the famous interlude in Dizzy Gillepsie’s “A Night in Tunisia.”

Eddie, Justin, and Reggie slouched and rolled their eyes every time I extolled the glory of Paul Stuart’s opera, Kill Bear Comes Home. The projected image on the wall, courtesy of a data show, revealed Stuart’s CD cover art, a gorgeous drawing of a young woman wearing thefeathery wings of a bird, and a hat with a prominent black beak. We listened to the last track of the CD, the Finale, entitled “Let him roam again.” The music, with its strong Native American elements, soothed and excited simultaneously. This was the third Stuart opera we’d studied in the American Composers class. If all went well, Mr. Stuart would appear next week to talk about his work. I wanted the class to be well prepared, and had worked them hard.

My brain drove me crazy. I told myself to stop worrying, realizing I’d probably find him in one of the common areas. I backtracked and headed for the sunroom. Several people leaned in the doorway, and the sound of singing burst through the air. Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me. Anyone else but me, anyone else but me. Voices rang out, not necessarily in tune, and someone plunked at the piano with great vigor. I squeezed past the three nursing assistants who leaned into the doorway and found a crowd gathered around the old spinet piano.

“Gus!” Kip called. “Come sit with me.” I slid onto the piano bench beside him. “Hey, Kip.” He started to play a left-handed boogie beat. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s jam.” Momentarily taken aback, I hesitated. Jamming wasn’t exactly my forté, although I’d dabbled in blues a few years back.

Don’t know why There’s no sun up in the sky Stormy weather. I slid over to allow him full range of the keyboard. I waited, while Debbie passed out little paper cups with big pink pills in them. Memorphyl.

Ella Fitzgerald, The Intimate Ella. The first track, Black Coffee, poured from the speakers. I sank into the seat. The music soothed me, healing my frayed nerves. I couldn’t help but think of Bella, and suddenly remembered the CDs I’d bought.

Do you enjoy music as an integral part of a novel?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Adolph Caso Presents The Sermon

The Sermon

By Adolph Caso

Under the control of Spina bifida,
His voice strong, multi directional,
And, aimed at every individual in his church,
Biju, (as he was named)
Was born with the deteriorating disease
That plagues everyone,
Including, Biju.

From visits to doctors and hospitals,
He received no reprieve;
He also sought the intervention of God--
Multiple times,
All in vain.
At wit’s end,
With God not responding,
He lashed out in despair:
God protected others and not him!

Why was God not listening, while being open to others?
He complained.
“I need help, and you are denying it to me!”
He yelled in despair.
His joints full of pain,
He admitted that
He came close to denying God’s divinity
Let alone his existence.
“Why should you doom me as such--
To walk as I walk,
When others walk with no pain,
And no waddling?”

Having reached the conclusion
Of giving up on God
And of divesting himself of his religion,
He made a second attempt.

“Could it be:
“I am asking the wrong question?”
He asked himself.

“Should I beseech God for favors,
“As I do in each prayer?
“Is God the conduit to good or bad health?
“Is God the vehicle in denying or fulfilling personal dreams?
“Is God the replacement for doctors without cures?”
“Is God’s role to re-route Nature’s laws--
“Including Destiny?”
“No!,” he concluded.
“No, no, no!”
His heart relieved,
He stopped to reflect:
“Do I ask Caesar to give me
Things which he does not possess,
Or able to grant…?"

After a few reflective seconds,
He admitted to the possibility that
He was asking the wrong questions.
With that realization,
He donned his priestly cloth--
As a better shepherd,
And marched with full confidence,
Strait away to the church—

Enlightened as never before,
His pains notwithstanding,
First he genuflected.
The large consecrated host firmly in hands,
He raised his arms high above his shoulders
In the direction of Heaven,
Where he held it for many seconds
Defying  both
His veritable Spina bifida
Gravity itself.

I always wait until I am working on
Adolfo's poetry to add to it...
Most songs seem to come to me
But the last one I had never heard before...
Adolfo, I believe your words brought it...
God Bless you and your powerful words!