Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Paula Rose Michelson's Second in The Crucible of Becoming Series, They Must See Me! With Book Sound Track (?!)

The second story in Michelson's Crucible Series ( a severe trial, out of which something new will come) is more contemporary--perhaps because it is much more in the news since the MeToo! movement has emboldened women and young girls to be more willing to speak out about abuse. But for the individual young girl who might have lost her virginity through rape, it is a much more traumatic experience with potential long-term feeling of no longer being the same girl, the same woman who wanted to go to her future husband as a young virgin, with love for only her fiancee...

“Need some help?” Eldora asked. Tears streamed down Myra’s face. “There, there. It can’t be that bad, can it?” 
Gulping back a sob, Myra asked, “Are you kidding? Between being raped, having a mom who always bought me what she wore, a dad who continues to call me Rosebud, as if I were still pure enough to be his substitute wife, and a sis who won’t look at me—and it’s almost time to go to back school!” She flung herself on her bed and wailed.
“I know, I know.” Eldora sat down and pulled Myra into her loving embrace. “NO, you don’t know! You have no idea! No idea at all! Even looking at the yellow and blue pinstripe wallpaper mom helped Mindy and I pick out for our bedroom makes me feel like I’ll never be me!” 
“Well, let’s see—” 
“No Gran, El, or Eldora, whichever you want me to call you! You can’t make up for all the years we didn’t know you existed.”
“That’s true and I’m sad about that. However, that wasn’t my choice! I was forced!” 
How can you use that word to describe what happened to you when you know the horror I had to endure?” 
Grandma Eldora’s blue eyes filled with tears. Aware that crying over what happened to Myra wouldn’t help her, she quickly dashed them away. 
“What’s up?” Myra’s sister Mindy flopped on the other twin bed. It’s bad enough that I have to dress like mom. Why oh, why did my twin sis and I have to have names that people mix up! Eldora’s penetrating gaze seemed to assess Myra. 
Finally, she insisted, “We’re going shopping!”
“Thanks, Gran. I’ll be ready in a minute!” Mindy exclaimed. 
“Mindy, I meant to say that I’m taking Myra shopping.” 
“Since she always wants to dress like mom, why take her?”
 I never wanted to dress like mom, but no one asked me what I wanted. No one ever has. “Well, let’s call it a coming-out-of-her-cocoon moment.” 
“Mom, I was walking by and heard one of your metaphors, so what gives?” Shirley asked. 
“It’s Gran time with Myra. Nothing special—but, I do think it’s time this gal picks out her own duds.”
“I don’t know if Dave would like that. He’s always called Myra his ‘Rosebud’ because,” she blushed, “he says that I’m his rose.” 
“And you are. But I seem to remember a wise counselor who said each person needed to self-actualize.” 
Eldora grabbed Myra’s hand.   “Trapped by my own words. Okay, Grandma, how much will you need?” Shirley asked as she hurried to her purse. Pulling Myra out of bed, Eldora said, “You’re almost an adult, so you tell your mom what you’ll need.” 
“I, I, I can’t,” she whispered. Eyes filled with tears, she insisted, “Besides, I don’t need anything!”
“All right. Then tell her what you want.” 
What I want: I want to be pure the way I was before that man raped me. I want to feel loved and accepted for being me, not a mom copy. I want to be able to go to school without everyone looking at me. I want the fear that someone might find out what happened to me—and think I liked it or that I’d want to do it again—go away. 
“Well, Myra,” her mom asked, “what do you want?” 
“I want to be me, but I don’t know who that is!” Shirley ran to Myra and held her close.
 “Is this because of the rape?”
“Then why?” 
“I don’t think I can say,” Myra sobbed. 
“Do you know why?” 
“But you won’t tell me?” Myra nodded. “Is it something I’ve done?” 
A look of terror crossed Myra’s face. “This is about the rape, isn’t it!”
Sobbing, Myra nodded.
 “Tell me.” 
While Myra ran from her and Mindy’s room, she hollered, “I can’t!”
 “Hey, what’s this all about?” Dave asked as his elder daughter almost collided with him. “Dad, I can’t do this anymore!” 
“Can’t do what? 
“You know, Dad.” 
“I know that whatever you set your mind to do, you’ve done.”
“That was then. This is now!” 
“Rosebud, I believe in you.”
 “No, Dad, you don’t, because you—none of you know me! And DON’T call me ROSEBUD!”

I am so happy that Paula Rose Michelson has taken on a challenge of dealing with the issues of today's world, using her own background, experience, and Biblical study. A teenager has it hard enough...as in this family, what was okay in the past, to dress a child as her mother, was a fun thing to do. But Myra had gotten older and realized that dressing like her mother was totally inappropriate at her age. But how to tell her parents...

But what happened to her then, being raped by a stranger, had left her totally defenseless, not knowing where to turn--she didn't feel her family even knew her--and feeling so ashamed and lost. Now she would never be the same girl. And she knew if others found out at school, they would really start with the catty remarks appropriate to the action... What to Do?!

While they waited for Randy to bring their pizza, Tom asked, “Ever heard the song “Another Brick in the Wall”?
 “Yah. That’s one of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits.”
“Do you like the song?” Randy asked as Tom handed Myra a soda. 
Playing with a straw, Myra asked, “Why do you ask?” 
“Well, the way we hear it, you’re bricking yourself in by your behavior.”

Myra was not the first, nor the last, individual who felt they were all alone. And a normal reaction, is to build ourselves a wall around us, to protect us, to ignore what pain we are experiencing with each wrong look, each sarcastic word... 

Eldora, who is a main character in the first book, has been acknowledged, and welcomed into the family as grandmother. And, fortunately, as this devastating time arose, Eldora had brought God into the house... Eldora is a wonderful character. You can feel both her own hurt from the past as she remembers, but you can also see and feel the joy of finding His love in her life, knowing that she was safe in His precious arms... How she wanted it for her family... And somehow, through experience or His Holy Spirit, she always seemed to know what to do...

First, she took Myra shopping and got clothes that she had picked out herself. That in itself took out a brick or two from her wall, don't you think?

But there was something about the man who raped her that she had never shared, except when she began counseling. But it was clear that he thought what was said was a lie by the man, to control Myra...

Eldora hugged her. “Did I ever tell you that I never married?”
 “Well, no, but that would mean that you’re not a—” 
“That’s right. I’m not a virgin. We’re sorta like two peas in a pod, you and me.” “But I heard that you loved Rodger, so—” 
“Myra, how I felt has nothing to do with what happened and what I had to deal with. You may have to face some of those things, as well. So we, you and I, need to rely upon each other.”

Myra had chosen to go goth and began to act and speak differently at school, until the day that her parents were told they couldn't have her act as she was doing. Fortunately, her parents supported Myra and they took her out of that school...but more turmoil was still ahead... and danger...

“I know where and I’ll be there.” 
“Be sure to get some booze down you before we pick you up. 
It’ll make the first time more—.”

“Promise you’re not going to tell anyone, and I’ll—”
 “Oh, dear God, how wonderful are your ways!”
 “If you think what I’m about to tell you is wonderful, you’re delusional!”

“Mom, we know you credit Jesus for who you became and that works for you but—”
 “Glad to hear that you’re afraid so I can share that God knew you’d be feeling this way.” 
“Why do you say that?” 
“Because in Proverbs 9:10, He told us, ‘The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.’” 
“Since God says we’re wise, I don’t see any reason to do this.”
 “Then you’re going to keep silent and let that man get away with what he’s done, knowing he’ll do it again?” Eldora eyed each of them. “I think I know what’ll help.” 
With a sigh of relief, Myra asked, “Gram, what’ve you got in mind?”

“English author Hannah Hurnard wrote “Hinds Feet on High Places” in 1955, Eldora said. “The heroine of her allegory is a young woman named Much Afraid, who, just like the two of you, must choose what she’ll do before she can have the courage she needs to do what she wants.”

Look, Shirl, it’s 4:30 in the morning so as long as you’re all happy, to paraphrase a popular song, ‘It Don’t Matter to Me.’” 
“But it very much will, so while I make a pot of coffee, get your butt down here.” 
“Oh, all right! But this better be good.” 
Hearing their banter, Eldora raised her eyes to heaven. 
Thank you, Lord, for all you’ve done...

“But—” When Eldora shook her head, Dave added. “Whatever you need to tell me, us, know that I love and trust you, Shirl.”
 “Your words mean the world to me. My fear of losing your love kept me silent for too long.”

El hugged them. “Lord, you’ve blessed me exceedingly. Now, let me go where fear kept me away, since the only thing I need to fear is displeasing You, Jesus!”

I think the most enthralling thing for me about this and the first story was that within the family drama, the characters were so life-like that it seemed like you were listening on your neighbors' conversations through thin walls... On the other hand, what was most fascinating was that the author was able to select contemporary songs that readers will immediately identify, and allow the words of the music to add to the setting, the "life" of the book as we read. I loved it, as you may have guessed by now. LOL And I'm certainly looking forward to the next story. With the high level of sexuality blatant in today's world, it was a blessing to have an author take these segments which are usually hidden or ignored--or worse, tucked down deep into our minds where only our nightmares may bring them to the fore again. May God's rich blessings continue to be on this Child of God, Paula Rose Michelson.

Get the books and share them with your family and friends! Highly recommended.


Thank you Paula Rose Michelson

Writing great Inspirational Christian Romances, Children's Chapter Faith Stories, Thrillers, Nonfiction, Memoir, Self-help and works to encourage are author Paula Rose Michelson's passion. Her desire to inspire others comes from being a late reader, who discovered books were her best friends! A lover of inspiring fictions where the heroine was one for her families' or the Jesus' sake, she writes about amazing women and girls who have unique faith challenges. When asked about her idea for The Naomi Chronicles, Paula said, "Naomi and I penned these fictions together." 

When not involved in writing, speaking or helping other writers, Paula pursues other passions while supporting her husband Ron who is a Lutheran Pastor and Chosen People Ministries field missionary. At one point, both of them worked for the mission. However, when the Lord called Paula to write full-time, she gladly left to devote herself to this work. 

This happy mother of two married daughters and grandmother of seven, has friends who often tell her that she weaves such wonderful tails they lose track of the time. Since both family and her ever-increasing reader family matter to Paula, she hopes to impart a blessing to those who read her books. 

Some who first knew Paula as the founder, head, and facilitator of LAMB Ministries, have mentioned that a few of those biblical teachings are found within her books. Paula knows this to be true for her desire to faithfully depict Gods love, compassion, and forgiveness while showing her readers The Jewish Messiah of Israel and the world parallel her wish to see those who feel 'less than' restored to wholeness. Therefore, within each of her books, she includes a few of the teachings God gifted her so readers can overcome and feel good about themselves.

Email Paula at: Paula.Wordsmith@yahoo.com

Paula's Facebook Author Page is at: https://goo.gl/t2a9mz

Friend her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/paula.michelson

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Paula Rose Michelson Presents Book 1 of The Crucible of Becoming, The Time Between (With "Sound Track"?!!!)

I am excited to tell you about an interesting series of short stories that have been uniquely formulated...first around various songs. Each chapter has a song as the title and provides an idea of what that chapter will provided... For instance, Chapter 1 introduces the main character and someone told her to go and find her smile...

Rock, paper, scissors, isn’t that how it goes? Sometimes we have to dig our way out…or is it dig our way in? I forget. Silence Maybe you’re not really there, but then you must be because I’m talking to you. Or am I thinking. Hahahaha…I sound crazy!! Crazy because…say, have you ever noticed that everyone’s recognized for something, and those noticing…well, they notice out of love. That is, unless you’re me. My stuff gets noticed because I’m…maybe that’s why I love food so much.
Not just any food, no siree! I love my grandpa’s baked goods, an’ it’s been workin’ for me ‘cause he owns a bakery and lives next door.  Oh, no! I remind myself as I begin to wake up. That’s not really true. They were just nice people who fed me and helped me pretend. But they weren’t mine! I hear my mom screaming for me to hurry and get dressed for school. Knowing if I’m late, I’m gonna…but I hear dad talkin’ and smile. It’s not gonna be a flyswatter day, ‘cause dad’s home. 
I jump out of bed and hurry to get to the kitchen on time. I don’t remember anything else. Nothin’ until I’m standing in someone else’s flower bed trying to snap their snapdragons and crying cause grandma…my make-believe grandma, told me ‘the scares’ would go away when I heard a snap. None snap for me.  Looking up, I see cars rounding the bend and realize I’d better hurry home before I catch hell again. 
Someone sees me and hollers, “Shirley, your mom’s lookin’ for you!”  Yah, that’s my name, Shirley, as in, “What happened to you? You were supposed to look like Shirley Temple! You got the right color hair and eyes but you’re just a…” 
Every time I hear that, I want to say, no, I was supposed to look the way God made me…and I do! Instead I hear mom sigh and then… Lalala, oh God, make it go away! I don’t want to hear THAT word again! And please don’t let her wallop me with that fly encrusted swatter! Mom doesn’t say it, at least, I think she didn’t, but all I hear is disappointment ringin’ over and over in my ears until I wish I were deaf. Oh God, why me? I must be stupid to be worried about that flyswatter while wishing and waiting for an answer from a God who dropped me into the uterus of a woman who… When all else seems to…I want to pray but…… Since no one in my home prays or talks about God, fat chance at Him listening to me. After all, what am I? Just one big mistake… That’s what!

Sometimes when life hits you hard and long and, seemingly, with no reason, it permanently affects you in some way. Crucible, a severe trial, out of which something new will come, presents in this first short story, our main character, Shirley was now an adult, a speech therapist, married, but, she never seemed to smile... You may think of this book as an "intervention." You see, Shirley had never faced what had happened to her when she was a child. Worse, she didn't understand why she had gone through what she had...

Now she was forced to...and she reacted immediately...she ran... But where could she go?

Where can you go when you are being confronted with your fear, your anger--all that has hurt throughout your life, even if it were buried from your daily life. What would it take for Shirley to take that first step?

This story is an emotional seesaw that takes readers to the depth of pain of not only one person, but another. The difference is that one of those individuals has found the love of God and his wondrous forgiveness. This discovery was not known by Shirley, but she saw and watched and listened as the other woman, once a friend, explained what had been denied Shirley all her life--the Truth!

The story itself is not heartwarming, yet the emotional response of what happened for the characters, will have an inspirational impact on readers who take the time...and understand...to see how bad things happen that, once the truth is revealed, can result in good, loving understanding...

This first story is continued in the next...I highly recommend you read this first to get the full impact of the second (I didn't, so I know)...Please read this story from the beginning!

“This is about you becoming your own best friend.”

“...You needed to grow where God planted you and learn the lessons that were there.”

It seemed to me that here, of all places, I was smiling a real heartfelt smile. I was neither angry nor sad that it happened this way, though I was mystified as to the details that brought me to this moment.

And now ‘El’ was sad, and though I couldn’t…didn’t know diddly, I thought it was something that had to do with me, though for the life of me, 
I had no idea what that could be.

I awoke, and it was another day. Feeling at sixes and sevens, as I always had when here, I suddenly knew Thomas Wolfe was wrong. I was once again home, once more a prisoner of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, ‘cept I knew this wasn’t a hotel, ‘cause it had always been the ‘Pit of Hell’!

But how can I? Knowing that families have issues that each generation has to deal with, would my giving in make me a victim again…amend that to still...

Was I a fool to stay? I’d never know if I left, so very aware that the questions I’d never asked, and those I asked that were never answered, could be...

The woman I’d called ‘sweetie’, a short while ago…  
Oh God, do I really need to know?

This is a family story. In this case, it is about a mother and child...but it is also about her husband, who loved her, Shirley, enough to know that she was not completely happy... He was willing to risk, potentially, everything for her to find her place in this world...

“Okay now, Shirley.” She forced a chuckle, and much to my surprise, she joined me in this singsong song. At the end, we were both giggling...

It’s because of that… Say, do your kids ever watch the Magilla Gorilla Show?” “What’s that got to do with this?”
 “The Magilla is what I’m about to share.” 
Oh gosh, I found myself thinking, I’ve heard many need to regress but I’m not going to play this game mom, or no mom! “In the middle of my, I mean your, story, after all this time, you want to talk about a kids’ cartoon show?”

...my head still screaming at me, it’s all your fault. You’re a sinner and though saved by grace, I cannot forgive myself unless…

“Yes. And they wanted to have children.” “It sounds like none of you got what you…” “We would have, if only—” “If only what?”

...while some woman yelled, “Please God, don’t let them kill each other!” I don’t know what would’ve happened. As it was, Shirl turned away from me.
 “You’re all about God, so that’s gotta be for you!”

 “Both of you can get where you want to be if you remember the name, I mean title, of a song from an old Broadway. Umm, what was that tune called… Ah, that’s it! ‘It’s never too late to fall in love’.”

 I held you for the very last time and sang…
of all things, what I’d come to think of as our song.”
 “I’ve been hearing a song in my heart forever.”

“How do you know that my truth is yours?”
 “Because I’ve been hearing that song in my heart forever.”

  I find myself wondering what Jesus would have done, 
not that I’m going to believe...

You know, I read a couple of comments about this not being a "clean" book. Well, many times our life, indeed, is not clean... When you stop to think about it, can you really love and thank God if He's never cleansed you of whatever "dirt" may come your way, oftentimes of no fault of your own. This is an amazing story...Don't allow yourself to be turned away by those who will not recognize that Christ died because none of us are "clean..." until we know Him.


Watch for the second story next...
Note: I substituted a song...Home Again (my only contribution to the sound track...LOL)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

JUST OUT! Karin Slaughter''s "Pieces of Her" Now Out! Extraordinary!


"I'm showing you this because it's already on the news." She swiped at the screen. "One of the patrons in the diner decided that it was more important to record what was happening on his cell phone than to call 911 or run for his life."
She turned the phone around. The image was paused. Jonah Helsinger stood at the entrance to the restaurant. The lower half of his body was obscured by a trash can. "The mall was empty behind him. From the angle, Andy knew the waitress standing in the back had not taken the video. She wondered if it was the man with the newspaper. The phone had been tilted to hide the fact that he was recording the weird kid who was dressed like the villain from a John Wayne movie.
Objectively, the hate was ridiculous; too large for Helsinger's head, stiff on the top and curled up almost comically.
Andy might have filmed him, too.
Palazzolo said, "This is pretty graphic. They're blurring the images on the news. Are you okay to see this?" She was talking to Gordon because, obviously, Andy had already seen it.
Gordon smoothed down his mustache with his finger and thumb as he considered the question. Andy knew he could handle it. He was asking himself if he really wanted to see it.
He finally decided. "Yes."
Palazzolo snaked her finger around the edge of the phone and tapped the screen.
At first, Andy wondered if the touch had registered because Jonah Hebsinger was not moving. For several seconds, he just stood there behind the trash can, staring blankly into the restaurant, his ten gallon hat high on his shiny-looking forehead.
Two older women, mall walkers, strutted behind him. One of them clocked the western attire, elbowed the other, and they both laughed.

Muzak played in the background. Madonna's "Dress You Up." Someone coughed. The tinny sound vibrated into Andy's ears, and she wondered if she had registered any of these noises when they happened, when she was in the restaurant telling the waitress she was a theater major, when she was staring out the window at the waves cresting in the distance.
On the screen, Helsinger's head moved to the right, then the left, as if he was scanning the restaurant. Andy knew there was not much to see. The place was half-empty, a handful of patrons enjoying a last cup of coffee or glass of tea before they did errands or played golf or, in Andy's case, went to sleep.
Helsinger stepped away from the garbage can.
A man's voice said, "Jesus."
Andy remembered that word, the lowness and meanness to it, the hint of surprise.
The gun went up. A puff of smoke from the muzzle. A loud pop.
Shelley was shot in the back of the head. She sank to the floor like a paper doll.
Betsy Barnard started screaming.
The second bullet missed Betsy, but a loud cry said that it had hit someone else.
The third bullet came sharp on the heels of the second.
A cup on the table exploded into a million pieces. Shards flew through the air.
Laura was turning away from the shooter when one of the pieces lodged into her leg. The wound did not register in her mother's expression. She started to run, but not away. She was closer to the mall entrance than to the back of the restaurant. She could've ducked under a table. She could've escaped.
Instead, she ran toward Andy.
Andy saw herself standing with her back now turned toward the window. Video-Andy dropped her coffee mug. The ceramic splintered. In the foreground, Betsy Barnard was being murdered. Bullet four was fired into her mouth, the fifth into her head. She fell on top of her daughter.
Then Laura tackled Andy to the ground.
She patted her hands down the same way she used to tuck Andy into bed at night. The man in black, Jonah Lee Helsinger, had a gun pointed at Laura's chest. In the distance, Andy could see herself. She was curled into a ball. The glass behind her was spider-webbing. Chunks were falling down...

Mother. Hero. Liar. Killer,

                                                            How can you tell when all you have is... 

Pieces of Her                                                                      
By Karin Slaughter

It's August, 2018, and a young girl who was enjoying lunch with her mother, was suddenly in the midst of a shooting spree! Her mother had met a woman and her daughter who she knew and had stopped to talk. In the meantime, a young man, dressed all in black like a villain in a western movie, had come into the restaurant, looked around, and took aim. The first to go down, and the second, were the woman and her daughter with whom her mother had been talking!

Andrea had walked away from the conversation, but was knocked against the window and now on the floor...Her mother was running away from the two bodies who were now at her feet. She ran toward her daughter--she was not going to allow anything to happen to her daughter. Not now, now ever... 

This extraordinary book is a fascinating thriller, but also an extraordinary psychological suspense novel that continues to drop climatic events for readers that sometimes shock, sometimes horrify, but mostly just pulls you into a continuous tension of highs and lows as each "piece" of the main character is revealed... If you are a reader like me, it will be an exhilarating experience for you to read the story, while, in the back of your mind, realizing that you...yes, you, the reader, are realizing that there are also pieces of you that are always kept hidden, while others are slowly shared, and still others sometimes sets you off into a rage that you can't seem to handle, while at the same time, you love so deeply that you hate what you become because of the need for that love, that individual, who sometimes you also hate...  And that is our main character! Any pieces of yourself seen???!

Moving from the present into the past, during the same summer months, but in 1986... We have just read of another incident where murder took place, this time in Oslo where a shooting had occurred, and a woman had been kidnapped...

Jane Queller woke in a cold sweat. She had been crying in her sleep again. Her nose was raw. Her body ached. She started shaking uncontrollably. Panic made her heart shiver inside of her chest. In the semi-darkness, she thought she was back in Berlin, then in the Oslo hotel room, then she realized that she was in her childhood bedroom inside the Presidio Heights house. Pink wallpaper, Satin pink duvet and pillows. More pink in the rug, on the couch, the desk chair. Posters and stuffed animals and dolls.
Her mother had decorated the room because Jane did not have time to do it herself. From the age of six, almost every waking moment of Jane's life had been spent in front of the piano. Tinkering. Practicing. Playing. Learning. Performing. Touring. Judging. Failing. Recovering. Coaxing. Succeeding. Mastering.
In the early days, Martin would stand behind Jane while she played, his eyes following the notes, his hands on her shoulders, gently ressing when she made a mistake. Pechenikov had requested Martin abandon his post as a condition of taking on Jane as a student, but the tension of Martin's presence had shadowed her career. Her life. Her triumphs. Her failures. Whether she was in Tokyo or Sydney or New York, or, even during her three months of isolation in Berlin, Jane could always feel an invisible Martin hovering behind her.
Janes shivered again. She glanced behind her, as if Martin might be there. She sat up and pressed her back against the headboard. She pulled the sheets around her.
What had they done?

Jane had sat and had tea and talked music that evening right before the conference, and the panel her father, Martin, would lead. The woman she had introduced to herself was a well-known speaker who was also on the panel. As they chatted Jane asked Alex if she had ever met her father. Jane and Alex smiled at each other knowingly...Alex had written a paper in opposition to her father's work...and Jane couldn't wait to see her father's face when he discovered Alex was a woman...

Now her father was dead, Alex had killed him in the middle of an argument, on stage, in front of the audience... Jane had been sitting on the front row of the audience and saw what the gunshots had done to Martin Queller, a man she had both loved...and hated...

The present time period, this month, in 2018, finds Andrea (Andy) and her mother dealing with the aftermath of the mall shooting, where the shooter, who had just killed, we find later, his ex-girlfriend and her mother, now turns toward Andrea. She wears her uniform as a 911 operator and is mistaken for an officer. He goes after her, and immediately, Laura, her mother who has run to help her daughter, steps in to confront the young man... Normally, this would have been a case of self-defense, but the young boy is a member of an influential family...and the way in which Laura killed the boy becomes questionable.

As the tape showing Laura killing the boy, runs over and over on ever channel, Andrea begins to wonder...Who is this woman who, in this strange, aggressive manner, was able to distract and kill the young boy? This is compounded by Laura, upon release from the hospital, immediately requesting that Andrea leave her home and find an apartment, as had been discussed in the past... But, why now??? Only after another dangerous incident occurs does Andrea go on the run--she wants to find out who her mother is. What she discovers is, well, quite amazing!

Slaughter is known for having chosen a topic--violence and women-- decades ago and has garnered a wide fan base for both her magnificent writing and for her psychological assessments and real-life situations for which she is well-known and loved... If you haven't read any of her books yet, you may want to click over to see my reviews of Fallen and Unseen. She's a favorite author for me and, as I've cut back on accepting new requests, I hope to be able to spend some time and share the books of Karin and my other favorite authors...

Yes, many of us have secret parts of our lives that we keep deep within us, but when that past invades the present--and "they" are still looking for you from the past--it becomes a dangerous cat-and-mouse chase. For readers, it is almost impossible to separate out the characters as to who can and cannot be trusted. The villain characters are, well, simply, very frightening, and soon are recognized as what they really were--a cult of terrorists who have been led by a charismatic leader to believe only what their leader says... And that's a very scary thing that still is happening in the present--in reality! Many are saying this is her best...I would agree. The thrills are there, but the topic underlying the impact of some men in the lives of some women, is, as the author and publisher says, "unfortunately all too common..." It's time to start reading Karin Slaughter! Start with this one, Just Out! I Loved It!


Nick walked around to her side of the table. Laura didn't flinch this time. He wrapped his fingers lightly around her arm and gently pulled. "It's the least you can do for me. I promise I won't ask for anything else."
Laura let him pull her up to standing. She reluctantly walked toward the piano. Her nerves were shot through with adrenaline. She was suddenly terrified...
"Come now, don't be shy." Nick had blocked the guard's view. He pushed her down on the bench so hard that she felt a jarring in her tailbone. "Play for me, Jinx."
Laura's eyes had closed of their own accord. She felt her stomach clench. The ball of fear that had lain dormant for so long began to stir...He dug his fingers into her shoulders. "I said play something for me."
She forced open her eyes. She looked at the keys. Nick was standing close, but not pressing against her. It was his fingers biting into her shoulders that fully awakened her old fear.
"Now," he said.
Laura raised her hands. She gently placed her fingers on the keys but did not press them. The plastic veneer was worn. Strips of wood showed like splinters.
"Something jaunty," Nick told her. "Quickly, before I get bored."
She wasn't going to warm up for him. She didn't know if there was any value in trying. She considered playing something specifically for Andy--one of those awful bubblegum bands that she loved. Laura didn't have anything classical left in her fingers. Then she remembered that smoky bar in Oslo, her conversation with Laura Juneau, and it came to her that things should end up where they had started.
She took a deep breath.

She walked the bass line with her left hand, playing the notes that were so familiar in her head. She vamped on the E minor, then A, then back to E minor, then down to D, then the triplet to punches on the C before hitting the refrain in the major key, G to D. then C, B7 and back to the vamp on E minor.
In her head, she heard the song coming together--Ray Manzerek mastering the schizophrenic bass and piano parts, Robby Krieger's guitar, John Densmore coming in on the drums,
Love me two times, baby...
"Fantastic," Nick raised his voice to be heard over the music..."My Darling."
Nick's mouth was at Laura's ear.
She tried not to shudder. She had known it would come to this. She had felt him hovering at her ear so often, first during their six years together, then in her dreams, then in her nightmares. She had prayed if she could only get him to the piano, he wouldn't be able to resist...
His thumb stroked the side of her neck. He thought the piano was canceling out his voice. "Are you still afraid of being suffocated?"...

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Murder in Germantown! Street Lit at Its Finest - By Raheim Brooks

If you are not familiar with Street/Urban Fiction, and don't want to learn, in
my opinion you should return a book and not give a review... I found Brooks' book one of the best I've read in the genre and is well worth your consideration! If you want to begin learning about Ebonics, I recommend The Magic Pencil by Karen E. Dabney. In my opinion, it is a must-read for every child living in America...and I also recommended it on Amazon to those who gave this book a low rating... Of course, this is just my personal opinion...as well as one who wants to provide a professional review of what she reads... You decide... Note that one of the sentences pointed out on Amazon was one that I simply loved... To me, it flows with rhythm, specific relevant adjectives, and a play on police issues of today... dare I say with a little sarcasm to match... Anyway...

He was never without the Burberry trench, sneer, ethics stamped on his yellowish forehead, or adroit police impracticalities glued to his aura. He had deep eyes that were slanted. Not Asian slanted, but African American slanted. In the Germantown neighborhood where he had grown up, he had been given the street moniker, China.

Sometimes, my criminals are likable, but oftentimes they’re not. The current one I hated, but I represented him (and his money) without prejudice. His name, Mark Artis. 
I was interested in Artis’ trial verdict. More than the norm. He was an alleged con man and believed to be a serious threat to the Department of Commerce. I doubted that, and my investigators found evidence to prove me correct. But hey, I was bound by attorney-client privilege so I kept those details quiet. I credit my investigators because I actually did more than try one case per year. I did not suffer from the boredom of the unfolding discoveries of one case for months at a time.
I am busy on the Philadelphia criminal judicial circuit, and on the tip of every criminal’s tongue in the Federal Detention Center (FDC) in Philadelphia and in the Philadelphia Prison Systems. It was not the same as being chased down by paparazzi, but.... I could not report to every crime scene, interview every witness, or verify every alibi for all of the clients. I multi-task. So big ups to my detectives. 
The police have theirs and I have mine. I just defended Artis in a trial on the 9th floor of the United States Courthouse at 601 Market Street. The jury deliberated for two days and requested the transcripts of the government’s key witness: Tanya “Jewel” Stalin (Russian, but no relation to the communist). Too bad the jury could not have her transcripts, and had to rely on their memories. I managed to get them the police reports and notes to compare to her testimony, though. I imagined they believe her to be a vicious liar—she was—and I had brought out her lies. Called her a terrorist, too. Yes, I was way out of line, but hey, an acquittal was acquired by any means necessary.
The jury had a verdict, and I had to wait for them to deliver it. At 9:30, Artis had found me perched at the defense table. I had known I would be in the courtroom holding my breath, so I had downloaded the sports news on Carmelo Anthony returning from his famous 15-day suspension. He would join the recently-acquired Allen Iverson with the Denver Nuggets. 
I did not have to see Artis approaching me. The heels of his loafers crashed the hardwood and his handcuffs echoed. The unarmed Marshal sat him next to me.
“It does not take a rocket scientist to find me not guilty of all charges.” He proclaimed. “No prints or DNA of mine was found at the scene. Their whole case hinged on the testimony of a sleazy coke whore who would have sold her mother out. The jury is taking long.  Does that mean anything?”
“What do you mean?” I asked with a subtle hint of sardonicism.  What happened to a good morning pleasantry? This was one of the reasons I knew he had not played the federal agents. He had no class. Or grace. Mark, or whatever his real name was, had proven himself to be a pompous, self-centered bastard. I thought I needed my black ass fanned and fed grapes like royalty considering no Philadelphia tri-state area barrister wanted to touch him. 
I defended him. Offered my Harvard Law bookishness and sound experience to the noodle despite my disgust at how he allegedly devastated the government designed to protect moi. “Could they be wrestling with finding me guilty?”
What the hell did he think? Yes, they were. Guilty or Not Guilty? That was the question. 
“Mark,” I replied. “The length of time they deliberate means nothing. My best conjecture says they are worried about Jewel’s testimony.” 
“Ravonne, she botched a kidnapping after she had already gotten away with five others, and when the FBI swooped in on her for the mastermind, she fingered me. We had a one-night stand and my voice....” He paused and looked into the air. “My goddamn voice sounded like the man that had hired her. She should be on trial alone!” 
“Mark, please! I know the facts.”  It was my way of screaming shut the fuck up. After the comment, I studied him for a second. I checked for a sign that he was upset. He had a cold stare, but I stared back. I won the stare down and had no fear of him firing me. 
“So, you wanna hear about my date last night?” Mark asked me as if I desired to relive some bimbo flashing him her boobs outside the FDC cell window overlooking Arch Street.  
Picayunish should’ve been his last name.  I stayed up countless nights constructing a solid defense, and he did nothing but eat commissary, watch Sports Center, see enough flesh to play with his wiener, and had the audacity to think I wanted to hear about it. 
It was not easy to restrain my position, but I reduced my reply to, “Mr. Artis.”  I stopped and breathed deeply. He hated the nom de guerre and was adamant it was not his.  I continued with, “I am on trial for my life. So, no, I do not care to relish your twenty-five cent booth experience.” 
“On trial for your life?” he asked and paused. “Since when?”  Marky-Pooh’s words dripped with disgust. Jewel’s pet name for him, not mine.
“I will be further ostracized from practicing law in Philadelphia if I lose this case. And that is my life,” I said candidly. “Even if I obtain an acquittal, I’ll be the attorney who freed a con artist and duped the US out of $200,000, not including trial expenses.” 
Refreshing.  I had upset my client and then left him at the defense table. I walked to the window and peered down at the Mark Artis Circus taking place out on Market Street. The press had wanted the verdict. I was not usually perturbed by my clients, but there was a time when sound seriousness was mandatory. Being inside of a courtroom staring stoically down the barrel of a life sentence was a qualifier.

The author, in an interview, suggested that readers would either love or hate his new main character, Ravonne Lemmelle. What I felt was admiration for the character himself. For the author, I thought he created a strong character that told things like they were, believing in nobody but the law and his own desire to win--within the limits of the law. I wouldn't say I love him, but I believe he would make a perfect series character. Lemmelle is introduced in Murder in Germantown. The fact that he chose defense law was an interesting choice, I think...but then, the author writes in first person and also shares Ravonne's inner thoughts. I found this amusing and it added a depth to the character that you don't always learn about... Here's one comment I loved: I had been accused of being a twenty-dollar word showoff. I read every night and I asked Mr. Webster to define any foreign wordage. My adjective and adverb coffer was corpulent. See what I mean.
At the same time, Brooks does indeed create a number of significant, memorable characters that creates a flavor unique to the genre as well as the story itself. His movement from one specific character to another is easily discovered since each has been drawn with a personality that sometimes shocks, but then delights as readers begin to sink into the novel...

Although Leslie Jones started out as a comedienne, I could see her playing the role of Jewel, a kidnapper who takes wives of men for ransom...

"The name is Jewel."
 "Okay, Jewel. Why am I here?" he asked getting down to business. She stood and threw him a sardonic grin.  "Here's the deal," she said and then added, "your wife Samantha has been kidnapped."
"No! No! No!" He barked.  It was more of a scream than a masculine yell. Mark began to rise from the floor and Jewel flashed a chrome Colt .45. 
Mark thought long and hard about getting up off the floor. Hopefully, Sue was recording all of that. The thug had activated the hand set when the ear piece had lost signal. "It's 10:30 in the morning, Mark Artis. I shall have 200,000 unmarked, non-sequential, American dollars in my possession by the close of the banking business day. That's traditionally three p.m. And I adore tradition, Mark." 
"I do not have that kind of cash," he warned her earnestly.
 "Then you no longer have a f...ing wife!"

I saw Dule Hill on Suits last night and thought he makes a cool-looking lawyer, but it was in his performance on Psych and his dry humor that made me think he'd play a perfect Ravonne...

I then sat back down at the defense table and put on my smart pince-nez. They made me look fussy and intellectual. 
A man passionate about my craft of criminal defense.
I was!
 I whispered to Mark to behave when the verdict was read. Reporters rushed in to fill the available seats. The judge hit the bench with the jury in tow. They looked forlorn. Shameful. My mind immediately began to ponder errors and plot appeal strategies. 
I doubted if I would represent Mark in the appeals process because I was aware that he would conjure a reason I, Ravonne Lemmelle, was ineffective. Yes, that was the number one appeals ground, and Mark would desperately want to get back to the streets if he was found guilty, so he would try to make me the fall guy. It was highly doubtful that would work out for him...

The thing was, however, that Ravonne had unexpectedly gotten Mark Artis off...And that was not the plan... Now everything changed... Mr. 357 now appeared... One of my favorite character actors, Sam Jackson, seem to fit this villain...

Mr. 357 was his moniker. Mr. 357 was one gargantuan tandem of mystery, suspense, thriller, and a dose of comedy. He believed the FBI caper was comical. A parody. The joke was on...
 ...Who cared? 
He was by no definition invincible. He did strive for intelligent crimes, though, which helped him thwart arrest. His crimes were plotted with droplets of sex, brilliant gun play, and Hollywood pandemonium. A web site—www.mister357.com— was devoted to theorists, propaganda weavers, and conspiracy mongers regarding his identity. He was as famous as Deep Throat. He was fortunate. He was also a slick bastard who mailed bodies to the local FBI, Interpol, and Scotland Yard at his discretion.

Mr. 357's plan had been spoiled... He had gotten off and it was payback time... And Ravonne was picked to play a part in this important plot! This time he would become Skylar Juday. He looked forward to Act 1...

Ravonne's Ex, Ariel, came to stay...she needed a husband now... But Ravonne wasn't even willing to talk unless she spent time with their son... Of course, that would also present problems since he was quite happily involved in a gay relationship with Dajuan Jones, a popular singer... And he realized there would always be a place in his heart for Ariel--heartbreak!

I was not going to allow her to eat me alive, so I popped in TP3 (12-Play Part 3 by R. Kelly for all of the R&B remedial) and commenced a lonely drive to nowhere.

I had Beyonce's Irreplaceable booming as Dajuan walked in. I pretended not to see him and continued to sing the break up track. Dajuan's smooth and creamy peanut butter complexion glowed. His curly, close-cropped hair was disheveled and his bushy eyebrows rivaled Einstein's. He sat with his exposed six-pack on the love seat and hid his deep brown eyes in the palm of his hands.

It may be obvious by now that this book was character-driven for me and I enjoyed them all. I also enjoyed Brooks' writing style moving from character in character for street language, at the same time Ravonne and others went through the legalese for a legal case.  I hadn't yet mentioned the murder... The first shot was intended for somebody else, but a young boy was shot, Quincy James, by accident! It was the third recent shooting and with Quincy being a well-known popular student, there was bound to be trouble... The police needed to get on this immediately...

The book is complex, especially with Mr. 357 in his various roles, so readers will need to be alert. I had no problem since I was hooked by the first chapter and moving strong into the story when the ending was coming... Even with some things actually taking place within the story as readers are reading, still you will not have a clue as to what is coming...and...the action is just beginning. Got to say, I loved the book and hope to see Ravonne again soon! Highly recommended!


An accomplished literary executive with 8+ years leadership experience and a flair for social media marketing and public relations.
Additionally, I have worked on the following freelance projects by other authors. 
Buffalo City Czar by James Scott (Editing/Typesetting)
Dedicated to Bmore City by Nigel Ali (Editing/Typesetting)
Hoeism by English Ruler (Proofreading/Typesetting)
High Rollers by Envy Red (Proofreading/Typesetting)
'Til It Happens To You by Kristofer Clarke (Proofreading)
My debut novel, LAUGH NOW earned 2010 AAMBC BOOK OF THE YEAR, and I was honored with 2011 AAMBC AUTHOR OF THE YEAR. LAUGH NOW won Most Creative Plot at the Creative Excellence Awards.
Specialties: developmental editing, reviewing, critiquing novels, and publishing coaching.