Tuesday, December 24, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR


But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the City of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2: 10-12)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Catching Burglars: Ex-Cop-turned-Author Writes From Her Passion

By Kathy Bennett
[Editor's Note: Author Kathy Bennett writes from her own police experience. She served 29 years with Los Angeles Police Department. And if that was not enough experience, she married a cop. Find out more about Kathy at her own web site here]

Everyone who has a job knows that there are some aspects to the job that you like better than others. If you’re a baker maybe you don’t like baking the cake but you enjoy applying the icing. Perhaps you work as an auto mechanic. You aren’t fond of replacing brakes, but tearing apart a car's engine and putting back together again provides you a great sense of accomplishment.

Police officers are no different. Some officers love to write tickets. Others like working with the community to solve ongoing problems. For some officers, spotting people driving stolen cars or detaining suspects holding narcotics gets their hearts racing.

The suspects I liked to target were burglars. It didn’t matter if they were burglars who invaded a person’s home or if the suspects broke into cars. For me, the attraction was the fact they worked 24/7. Even more incentive was that burglars are hard to catch. What can I say? I like a challenge.

One of the more memorable arrests I made I was working with another female officer whose name also happened to be Kathy. She was my favorite partner ever. We’d just started working together and were assigned to the ‘morning watch,’ which many other departments and professions call the graveyard shift. Most officers working the morning watch enjoyed patrolling in the dead of night and the ones who worked it year after year were a tight-knit group. We were newcomers, and had to prove ourselves.

There was an industrial complex where businesses were getting hit several times a week, and had been for months. Kathy and I decided our first shift together that at some point we’d go over to the industrial complex and park in the shadows and see if anything developed.

I was driving our black and white patrol car, and we slowly cruised past the many closed businesses in search of a good ‘hiding spot.’ We passed by a building that had a chain-link fence enclosure attached. The fencing had privacy slats, but that didn’t prevent Kathy and me from spotting a guy prowling around.

After detaining him, we determined there was a business in the complex that had been burglarized, and that the suspect was in possession of two large key rings containing about a hundred of regular door keys along with dozens of vending machine keys. The suspect was a transient and had no explanation for the many keys he had with him. Along with the keys, we had evidence from the business that had been burglarized to book him, so we hauled him to jail. That was the first of a number of good arrests we made on morning watch. During our first month we were readily accepted into the fold and were well respected by our co-workers. Kathy and I worked morning watch together for the better part of seven years.

Another time, there was an area where the division had a high incidence of burglaries of items from motor vehicles.  Somewhere around three o’clock one morning, Kathy and I were driving through the 'hot' area with our lights off and, lo and behold, we saw a car parked in the middle of a dark street. We nabbed three young men who all went to a religious school together. They were in the process of breaking into a car, and once we’d taken them into custody, we got them to show us the fourteen other cars they’d broken into. The boys were arrested and booked. Needless to say, when we called the kids' parents to come pick up their felon sons, the parents weren’t happy at all.

In my latest book, A Deadly Justice, my personal itch for capturing burglars led me to create a team of
sophisticated burglars as adversaries for my main character, LAPD Detective Maddie Divine to uncover. But in order to keep my story authentic, Maddie and her partner, Jade, get involved with other investigations as well…just like it happens in real life. What Maddie doesn’t know is that investigating the burglars may reveal a secret in her own life she’s tried desperately to bury.
*******
Kathy Bennett is no stranger to murder and mayhem. She served twenty-nine years with the Los Angeles Police Department - eight as a civilian employee and twenty-one years as a sworn police officer. While most of her career was spent in a patrol car, she’s also been a Firearms Instructor at the LAPD Academy, a crime analyst in the “War Room”, a Field Training Officer, a Senior Lead Officer, and worked undercover in various assignments. Kathy was honored to be named Officer of the Year in 1997.

Kathy's debut novel, A Dozen Deadly Roses, and her second book, A Deadly Blessing became bestselling ebooks at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. A Deadly Blessing, is the first book in a series featuring LAPD Detective Maddie Divine and was named a Best Nook Book Original for 2012. Law enforcement personnel laud Kathy's authentic stories of crime and suspense for 'getting it right.'

Kathy's third book, A Deadly Justice, was released in September of 2013. She's currently working on her fourth novel, A Deadly Denial.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Heart Failure, romance medical thriller by Richard L. Mabry, MD

When her fiancé’s dangerous secrets turn her world upside-down, a beautiful doctor must choose between her own safety and the man she loves—and thought she knew.

Dr. Carrie Markham’s heart was broken by the death of her husband two years ago. Now, just as her medical practice is taking off, her fresh engagement to paralegal Adam Davidson seems almost too good to be true . . . until a drive-by shooting leaves Carrie on the floor of his car with glass falling around her.

When he confesses that Adam isn’t his real name and that he fled the witness protection program, Carrie is left with an impossible choice: should she abandon the fiancé she isn’t sure she really knows, or accept his claim of innocence and help him fight back against this faceless


EXCERPT FROM HEART FAILURE


…He reached across to hug her, and she turned to find shelter in his arms. They stayed that way for a long moment, and the trembling inside her slowly eased. “What…what was that about?

“Nothing for you to worry about.”  Adam’s voice and manner were calm, and Carrie felt comforted by his very presence. Then, as suddenly as the turn of a page, he released her and swung around to face forward in the driver’s seat. His next words were terse, clipped.  “We have to get out of here.” He reached for the ignition, key in hand.

“Wait a minute!” Carrie pulled her cell phone from her purse and held it out to him. “We can’t leave. We need to call 911.”

Adam took her arm, a bit more firmly than necessary, and pushed the phone away. He shook his head. “No!”

 She flinched at his response, at the tone as much as the rebuke. “Why? Someone shot at us. We should call the police.”

“Look, I don’t have time to explain. Let’s go.” Adam’s voice was low.

What’s the matter with him? She took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Twice she started to speak. Twice she stopped.

Adam turned the key and reached for the gearshift lever.

Carrie saw his jaw clench. She was terrified, but Adam wasn’t so much scared as —she searched for the right word—he was cold and determined. The sudden change frightened her. “If this was a drive-by, we need to report it. Maybe the police can catch them before they kill someone.”

“Just let me handle this,” Adam said. “Right now, let’s get you someplace safe.”

Although Adam’s voice was low, there was an intensity to his words that Carrie had never heard before. “You have to trust me. There are things you don’t know, things that make it dangerous for me to deal with the police right now.” He pointed to her seat belt. “Buckle up and let’s leave. I’ll explain soon.”

Carrie wanted to argue, but she could see it was no use. She put away her phone and fastened her seat belt.

The lights on the theatre marquee went out. In the distance, a siren sounded, faint at first but growing louder. “We’re out of here,” Adam said. He put the car in gear and eased out of the parking lot, peering through the starred windshield to navigate the dark streets.

Carrie studied Adam as he drove. Most men would be shaking after such a close encounter with death. But he wasn’t. Why would that be? Was he used to being shot at? She shook her head. That was plain silly. But how well did she really know him? They’d only been dating a few short months. She glanced at him again. Maybe she didn’t know him as well as she’d thought. That scared her even more than being shot at.

They rode in silence for a few moments, and during that time, Carrie recreated the shooting in her mind. Her talking about ice cream. The look in Adam’s eyes, as he stared past her. Then something clicked—something she hadn’t realized before. She turned to Adam. “You pushed me down before the shots were fired. You didn’t react to the shots. You knew they were coming.”

Adam glanced at her but he didn’t respond.

Carrie thought about it once more. “I’m sure of it. You shoved me below the dashboard before I heard three shots. How did you know what was about to happen?”

He continued to peer into the night. “I was backed into the parking space, so I had a good view of the cars moving down the aisle in front of us. A black SUV pulled even with us, and the barrel of a pistol came out the driver’s side window. That was when I pushed you down.”

“Lucky you saw it.”

 Adam shook his head. “Luck had nothing to do with it. I’m always watching.”



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and the author of six published novels of medical suspense. His books have been finalists in competitions including ACFW’s Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year. His novel, Lethal Remedy, won a 2012 Selah Award from the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. His medical thriller, Stress Test (Thomas Nelson), garnered rave reviews from Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly. Richard’s latest novel, Heart Failure, releases on October 15.
You can learn more about Richard at his website: rmabry.com. He can be found on GoodReads, Twitter, and his Facebook fan page is “rmabrybooks.”


WHERE TO BUY HEART FAILURE

Amazon

B&N

CBD

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Interview: Medical thriller novelist Jordyn Redwood

By Mark Young
Medical thriller novelist Jordyn Redwood has not been idle since we last visited a little over a year ago. At that time, Jordyn had just released her debut novel from the Bloodline Trilogy titled Proof. Since then, she has released two more in the series; Poison, published in February of this year; and Peril, hitting the bookstores last month.

Jordyn writes from experience. She is a registered nurse, working in emergency departments or intensive care units for the pasts twenty years. She teaches advanced resuscitation courses and has taught all levels of medical providers regarding pediatrics. She describes herself as a “medical nerd by day,” reading medical textbooks for fun. She write a very popular bogRedwood's Medical Edgefor those seeking to know the fine line between medical reality and fiction.

I have invited Jordyn back to Hook’em & Book’em to tell us about her novels and what she had learned about the publishing industry since her last visit.

MARK: Welcome, Jordyn. It is heartening to see an author doing so well in this challenging era. We look forward to reading about your corner of the fiction world. Let’s start with an overview of the Bloodline Trilogy by focusing on some of the key characters. Who should we start with?

JORDYN: Mark, it’s so great being back on Hook’em & Book’em! I remember when you first started this blog and it’s great to see all your success.

Dr. Lilly Reeves is the heroine in Proof. She’s an ER physician and the victim of a serial rapist. When DNA testing sets him free her journey begins to prove his guilt assisted by southern charmer Detective Nathan Long. During a hostage crisis in Proof, we meet SWAT captain Lee Watson. In Poison, Lee helps Keelyn Blake, a survivor of the Proof hostage situation and now his fiancée, figure out a mystery when a hallucination of her father’s comes back in the real flesh. In Peril, Lilly discovers she has a sister, Morgan
Adams. Lilly’s famous neurosurgeon father, Dr. Thomas Reeves, is performing a medical experiment and Morgan is held hostage by a few research subjects to get him to disclose why they are sick which brings Lee and Nathan on the scene again. 

MARK: Are there other characters you would like to introduce to readers?

JORDYN: Drew Stipman is one of my favorite secondary characters. He was wrongly convicted in Proof and sent to prison. An early readers group connected so much with him that he was written into all three books. Drew was that lone character without much tie to family and he got somewhat of a happy ending at the end of the series. I would like to share more of his story. 

MARK: Your latest novel, Peril, was just released last month. Here is your trailer about this novel.
video

Give us a brief synopsis of the story. What are some of the obstacles your main character faces?

JORDYN: In Peril, Dr. Thomas Reeves is creating super soldiers by enhancing their memory. Unfortunately, the experiments go awry and a few research subjects take Morgan Adams, and the Pediatric ICU, hostage to get him to disclose why they are suffering nightmares, hallucinations and even death. His newly discovered daughter doesn’t have much will to live at the moment. Morgan’s infant daughter was murdered and she feels she could have—should have prevented it. On top of that, she’s now sick and needs a kidney transplant to save her life. Peril is Morgan’s story of overcoming great loss, connecting with her husband again and finding the will to live despite living with great sorrow.  

MARK: As I read a description of Peril, I came across these two sentences which caused me to want to read more—even if I don’t have a clue about what “enhanced NMDA receptors” are all about. Here are the lines:

An elite unit has received neural grafts from fetal cadavers of genetically altered brain cells with enhance NMDA receptors. The results are remarkable…until the recipients begin suffering hallucinations, nightmares, paralysis…and death.”

This does not sound good. Tell me how you came up with this idea? Daytime reading of all those medical textbooks?

JORDYN: Absolutely! In each book of the Bloodline Trilogy, there is a medical phenomenon I explore. In
Proof—what if DNA testing set a guilty man free because he had a genetic defect. And yes, that can really happen. In Poison, can hypnosis cause someone to do something evil? In Peril, is there such a thing as cellular transfer of memories and if there is—what does that teach us about life?

Cellular transfer of memories is where recipients of organs remember or experience memories or tastes of their donor. It’s got lots of anecdotal support in medical literature. We know memories are biologically based—we just don’t know exactly how that biological process for creating memories works. Because of this there is lots of room to explore the ethical implications behind it.

I read lots of non-fiction for my fiction stories and I was completely fascinated by Mind Wars by Jonathan D. Moreno which gave me the idea for the experiment and military angle. 

MARK: Okay, let as move onto your second Bloodline Trilogy, Poison. Tell us a little about this story? What are your characters facing?

JORDYN: Poison delves into what we believe about
truth, what influences truth, and if we believe a lie as truth how that affects our lives. What I love most about Poison is that Keelyn Blake is a body language expert and her fiancé is hiding a big secret. The interplay between the two of them as she “reads” his nonverbal communication really heightened the tension in the novel.   

MARK: All three of your novels have been published by Kregel Publications. How did you connect with them? What did you do to get their attention?

JORDYN: After Proof was finished I was able to get an agent, Greg Johnson, with WordServe Literary. He submitted my book proposal to Kregel and they picked it up. What I’ve heard one of my editors say when I asked her this question was my medical expertise was a plus in writing medical thrillers because they knew the information would be reliable and I had somewhat of a platform started with my blog Redwood’s Medical Edge

MARK: Can you share with us perceptions you had about publishing that might have changed since you have three novels under your belt? Any surprises?

JORDYN: Of course, I dreamed about getting to quit my day job a few short months after Proof was published. Financially, I haven’t been able to do that. I quickly determined I wasn’t going to make James Patterson type money but what surprised me is I wasn’t even making twenty-five percent of my part-time nursing salary. There is work on the road to publication and there is also work at building a readership. Each takes six-ten years. Even more surprising is that most authors are working other jobs and will probably have to always do so. 

MARK: Once you were accepted by a publisher, what steps did you take to help get the word out about your novels? Social networking? Speaking engagements? Website presence?

JORDYN: I have done all the above. The best marketing lesson I’ve learned is that it takes six-ten exposures to an author and/or their book title for a reader to make a decision to buy. By incorporating all these things I’m hoping to do just that. 

MARK: Some writers have a perception that once a publisher latches onto their novel, all authors have to do is keep on writing. That the publisher would take care of all the rest. What has been your experience?

JORDYN: I don’t think anyone in the publishing business (authors, agents, or marketers) would say authors get to sit in the backseat as far as marketing. I had a great working relationship with Kregel and I feel they did support marketing the book by buying advertising, supplying me with postcards to mail out, developing a book trailer, Facebook party and providing advanced reader copies to get people excited about the story. That being said, there were some things I wanted to do as well that I financed myself. For instance, I hired a publicist for Peril strictly for pitching broadcast media outlets. 

MARK: What is your next project now that you have had a moment to catch your breath from Peril?

JORDYN: I’ve developed a fiction trilogy around the phenomenon of near death experiences (NDEs) that I’m hoping will get picked up by a traditional publisher. No word yet. 

MARK: Any words of advice that you could give new writers?

JORDYN: The road to publication is hard work but it is also worth all the hard work. If your words can speak to just one person—you are a successful writer even if you’re not making a lot of money. 

MARK: Again, thank you for taking the time to tell us about your writing career. We look forward to your next step in this writing game.

JORDYN: Mark, I always enjoy being with your readers. You’re a true friend on this publishing road and I’m very thankful for you. 


*********
Jordyn Redwood is the author of the Bloodline Trilogy novels Proof, Poison and Peril. She is a registered nurse with extensive experience in emergency department and intensive care units for more than 20 years. She writes medical thrillers base upon these experiences and from her enjoyment reading medical textbooks. Jordyn hosts the widely-read blog, Redwood’s Medical Edge, where she answers medical questions for fiction writers and readers. She lectures about medical issues and fiction writing, including a popular lecture titled Medical Mayhem: Strategies to Accurately Depict Medical Fact in Fiction. Find out more about Jordyn at her web site.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

SWEET DREAMS: A Thriller by Bestselling Author Aaron Patterson


[Editor's Note: SWEET DREAMS is currently on sale for .99-cents through Bookbub as an eBook. Here is the link to Amazon: SWEET DREAMS ]

Mark Appleton is living the American Dream. Beautiful wife, loving daughter, and a high paying job in New York City. But when his family are killed in a accident he must reinvent himself. A year later in the midst of putting his life back together, Mark finds out that his family was killed and it was...No accident. Mark will stop at nothing to hunt down the men responsible for the death of his family and what he finds will change his life forever.

Kirk Weston is a Detroit detective. He hates his job, his ex-wife, and his life. He is hand selected to help the FBI on a high profile case and just when he thinks things could not get any worse...

They do.

* * * Book 1 in the WJA series is, SWEET DREAMS, Book 2, DREAM ON, and Book 3, IN YOUR DREAMS are also available! * * *

REVIEWS:

"I loved this book. It kept me turning one page after the other at a fast pace. Aaron Patterson is one of my favorite authors. I have read many on his books. Hoping to read all of them in my lifetime."--Amazon Reviewer

"Sweet Dreams was a book I read in 2 days. I truly enjoyed the read. It kept me wanting to know more. I'm looking forward to Part 2 of the WJA Trilogy!"
--Sharon Adams, Novi, MI

"Suspense, thriller with a perfect ending, leaving me wanting more. An on the edge of your seat, all night read. I most certainly will be reading "Dream On."
--Sheri Wilkinson, Sandwich, IL

"New authors come and go every day. Very few come on the scene with the ability to weave a tale that will make you sad to reach the end, longing for more. At a time when the world needs a real hero, Patterson delivers big with the WJA's Mark Appleton--an unlikely hero for the 21st century."
--The Joe Show

"Aaron Patterson spins a good tale and does it well."
--W.P.

"SWEET DREAMS is packed with action, suspense, romance, betrayal, death, and mystery."
--Drew Maples, author of "28 Yards from Safety"

* * *

SWEET DREAMS is an intense hard-boiled thriller of approximately 95,000 words / 395 pages. This book also contains the following bonus material: Excerpt from DREAM ON, by Aaron Patterson.

******

Aaron Patterson is the author of the best-selling WJA series, as well as the Breaking Steele series. He was
home-schooled and grew up in the west. Aaron loved to read as a small child and would often be found behind a book, reading one to three a day on average. This love drove him to want to write, but he never thought he had the talent. He wrote Sweet Dreams, the first book in the WJA series, in 2008. He lives in Boise, Idaho with his family, Soleil, Kale and Klayton. Aaron is an educator for Indie publishing and is the Co-Founder of StoneHouse University and speaks all over the country on subjects like eBooks, Amazon and the Future of publishing.

Visit Aaron's blog at TheWorstBookEver.blogspot.com
Follow Aaron on twitter at twitter.com/Mstersmith
Join Aaron on Facebook too!

Aaron Patterson CEO
StoneHouse Ink/StoneGate Ink
www.stonehouseink.net
www.stonegateink.com

Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Children Entrapped Into Prostitution & Pornography: Understanding the Problem

[Editor's Note: Our guest blogger today is author Joe Haggerty, who served as a police officer and detective with the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department for over 35 years. His area of expertise is investigations into the sexual exploitation of children, specifically those children victimized by criminals trafficking in prostitution and pornography. He also served as a senior investigator for the U.S. Attorney General's Commission on Pornography. He authored a novel titled SHAME: The Story Of A Pimp.]

By  Joe Haggerty
After spending 27 years on the streets of Washington, D.C. primarily investigating the sexual exploitation of children in prostitution and pornography and interviewing over 5,000 prostitutes and hundreds of pimps, I found the following to be the most common methods used by pimps to keep their victims on the street.
  
Understand that the primary targets of the pimps are young women who are runaways or throwaways.  I estimate that 85-90% of the women on the street were recruited before their 18th birthday. The youngest I personally encountered was 12, but I know of younger victims.

Love and security is probably the most powerful hold the pimp tries to establish.  Frequently these young women have lacked attention or were sexually or physically abused by a family member or a trusted friend of the family.  Pimps will shower their victim with attention, providing her the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.

Sexual advances will be limited to the victim’s consent, although I’ve known pimps who set up their victim to be raped and he comes to her rescue.  He creates a total dependence upon him, not usually with drugs, although drugs may be used as part of the seduction process.  He pays for everything—rent, clothes, food, lawyer and female necessities.  He creates structure in her life—when to get up, how much money she is supposed to earn a night (quota), what clothes she wears, time limits with tricks/johns/customers, the use of condoms and when she can come off the street each night.

Understand she turns over one hundred percent of the money she makes to the pimp and she works the street everyday even during her period or pregnancy. She is required to follow specific rules for which a violation will result in a beating. This creates a false sense of security and the mistaken belief that she is loved. To a pimplove is money.

Threats and violence are methods used by more physical pimps.  It may have been threats or violence by the pimp that forced her on the street in the first place.  After a month, more or less, she has lost all self-respect.  Conservatively speaking, she has had sex with 120 different men.  At some point the pimp’s threats against her fall on deaf ears, but in his initial seduction process he learned who had been the most significant person in her life.  He knows where she lived previously.  His threats of violence are now directed toward that significant person whether it is a family member or a close friend.  She would now be responsible for the well-being of a person she cared about.  If she actually had a child of her own, the pimp has the greatest leverage to keep her on the street and frequently he controls who takes care of the child. The Stockholm Syndrome and the Battered Wife Syndrome are common in these situations.

I cannot tell you how many times I heard a young women justify her life in prostitution by saying she was only going to work for a couple of years.  She believes at the end of that time period her man will marry her and they will settle down to a conventional life.  Many of these women still believe in the American dream, but seldom achieve it.
  
Although a pimp may have more than one victim on the street, in their world these victims are considered his wives.  The women will refer to each other as wife-in-laws. In that respect if a women refers to another woman as her wife-in-law then you know they work for the same pimp.  Some women successfully leave the street and their pimp.  They either go to jail and the pimp abandons them, they marry a trick or they find Jesus.  Unfortunately, many become drug addicts or alcoholics, are murdered or commit suicide.  Right now there are at least 12 states investigating serial killers whose primary victims are prostitutes.

In my book, Shame: The Story of a Pimp, which is fiction, but based on a number of cases I was involved in, you’ll learn what the street is really like.  You’ll learn how the pimps rule the street, how they will sell their victims to other pimps.  Like the pimps I described above, Shame preys on young women who he uses and abuses.  Falling in love is a huge taboo for a pimp, but Shame does and is betrayed.  This drives him to murder and eventually to a court of law. A Detroit policewoman and a D.C. Vice Detective gather enough evidence to have Shame arrested, but the trial doesn’t end favorably.  Street justice is sometimes the best justice and Shame is faced with the wrongs of his past.
********
JOE HAGGERTY
I was a Metropolitan Police officer in Washington, D.C. for 35 years.  From 1973 to 1997 I worked as a vice detective, primarily doing investigations of the sexual exploitation of children in prostitution and pornography. In the mid 80’s, I was selected to be a senior investigator for the U. S. Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography and wrote a portion of the final report. 

I worked with the DC homicide squad and homicide detectives from Arlington, Virginia and the Virginia State Police in a series of prostitute homicides that took place in 1989-90.  From 1998 until 2005 I was an in-service training instructor at the department’s academy. I was the co-founder of a grassroots organization initially dedicated to rescuing kids from the prostitution streets and was chosen by Children of the Night in California as one of the top ten police officers in the country in rescuing child victims of prostitution. 

I have a published novel, Shame: The Story of a Pimp, which tells the fictional story of a pimp from birth to death.  Although I used real incidents from several of my cases, I changed names, locations and circumstances. I refused to write a non-fiction novel about the sexual exploitation of children as I felt it would further exploit them.  However, I tried to portray the way the prostitution streets really are and the violent and exploitive nature of pimps.  I have been married 33 years, have six children and 11 grandchildren.  Email:  gudgerray@aol.com.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

BEYOND RECOGNITION: An LAPD Helicopter Pilot’s Story of Survival Over Adversity

[Editor’s Note: We are privilege to have Ron Corbin as a guest today, a man who served during the Vietnam war as a helicopter pilot, surviving two tours of duty in that war-torn country before serving another six years as an LAPD police officer and pilot. Corbin’s flying career with LAPD ended when he and another police officer crashed in the mountains above Los Angeles, leaving his trainee dead and Corbin with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 70 percent of his body. He left LAPD, continued college and graduate studies, and later served with Las Vegas Metro Police Department. Beyond Recognition, among other things, is about his love of flying and his story of survival over adversity.]

By Ron Corbin

After two tours in Vietnam as a chief warrant officer pilot flying Huey “slicks,” the Army offered me a direct
commission to a 2nd lieutenant if I re-enlisted. With no end in sight to the war, accepting “Uncle Sam’s” offer would mean another combat tour. I decided not to push-my-luck,” and signed-out.

To make a living as a husband and father, I returned to my old job in Southern California at UPS, putting on hold my career ambition of continuing to fly. While watching TV one evening at dinner time, a recruiting ad came on for LAPD. In the commercial, the helicopters flown by officers assigned to the Department’s air unit flashed across the screen. I looked at my wife, Kathy, and asked her what she thought about me joining the police department.


She wasn’t too keen on the idea, knowing the hazards of being a police officer. She suggested I look into the City or County Fire Department and trying to fly for them. To me, having to be a fireman first with no guarantee of ever getting to be a pilot didn’t seem any safer of a profession than being a street cop. So in my warped sense of humor, which at the time seemed logical to me, I justified my thought by saying that “I had been shot at in Vietnam, so being shot at as a cop won’t be that big of a deal. Running into a burning, smoked-filled building seemed to be a stupid idea, so I’d rather be a cop.” And with that, I started the process of becoming a Los Angeles Policeman in 1971.


After a few years fighting crime “Adam-12 style” on the streets of LA, I was one of the first two or three former military-trained pilots to be accepted into Air Support Division (ASD). Eventually I became one of their flight instructors.


During my two-year tenure as an ASD police pilot, my military training and past experience became a contention of jealousy and resentment by the unit’s chief pilot. I was called an “F-ing jet jockey.” More bitterness evolved when I was appointed by the training sergeant to be an IP under the chief pilot’s supervision.


Ironically, not wanting to be a firefighter due to the dangers of fire, I ended up receiving 70 percent 2nd & 3rd degree burns from a helicopter crash. It was June 11th, 1976, and I was the instructor pilot (IP) training another police student pilot. While landing to a pinnacle in the mountains separating the San Fernando Valley from the greater LA basin, our Bell 47-G model helicopter experienced a loss of power. We crashed and rolled down the mountain 167 feet in a ball of fire. My trainee, Jeff Lindenberg was killed, and I was fortunate to survive.


Due to my injuries, continuing need for skin graft reconstructive surgeries, and years of required rehab, I was pensioned-off from LAPD. At the age of thirty, I was faced with an uncertain future. My two greatest loves, police work and flying, had been taken from me in the blink of an eye. I was also suffering tremendous “Survivor’s Guilt” from the accident. Telling my side of the story would help with closure.


So, after thirty-six years, I finally decided to document some of my memoirs about my accident and the investigation. Having written only a few short magazine articles before, I never really considered myself as being an author for a major book. But, published or unpublished, I knew that doing so would leave something for my children and grandchildren to remember me…and it would expose the truth of what really happened that fateful day. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you’ve got something to say.”


Beyond Recognition was written to expose the truth of what happened in my accident. Rumors and speculation from hangar talk formed among the other pilots and observers in the unit. A lot of misinformation was given to the widow of my trainee, Lesa Lindenberg. As a result, she naturally shifted blame to me as the IP who was charged with keeping her husband safe. I wanted an opportunity to set the record straight.


Upon researching the transcripts from the investigation, I discovered that the post-accident investigation could not determine a cause; so typically, blame was slanted towards pilot error.


During the Board of Inquiry that was formed to investigate and interview, several interesting things occurred. The chief pilot took advantage of my hospitalization and traumatic amnesia to feed the board members lies and misleading statements that reflected negatively on my judgment and the flying skills of my student pilot.


The NTSB investigator, to this day, has never interviewed me, yet submitted her report as a matter of record as to what she thought the physical evidence was that led to the cause. As the IP and sole survivor, I find that quite intriguing.


And lastly, when litigation convened between the City of LA, the LAPD, and corporate attorneys representing Textron, Lycoming, and Bell Helicopter, a vital piece of wreckage recovered at the accident scene “mysteriously disappeared” from all the other pieces retained for investigation. This was nothing short of a “cover up” to protect and shift accountability of others’ responsibility and involvement.


Beyond Recognition goes beyond physical appearance that I exude with all my burns and scars. It goes beyond comprehending that military pilots have training and experience that cannot be duplicated from learning to fly at the local airport. It goes beyond the tolerance I needed to accept unwarranted blame for the accident by peers and friends. And it goes beyond understanding what it is to suffer a lifetime of “Survivor’s Guilt.”

*********
Ron Corbin served two tours in Vietnam as an Army helicopter and instructor pilot.  He received numerous unit and individual ribbons for combat action, to include being awarded the Air Medal 31 times, once with a “V” device for valor.  Honorably discharged in 1969, he joined the LAPD as a policeman and pilot/instructor pilot for the Air Support Division.  Retiring from LAPD after an on-duty helicopter accident, he finished his college and graduate education.

He holds a Masters in elementary education and a Ph.D. in security administration with an emphasis in terrorism threats to America’s nuclear resources.  Joining the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 1993 as a crime prevention specialist, his specialty was Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).  He attended training in this discipline at the National Crime Prevention Institute, University of Louisville.  His CPTED subject matter expertise led him to be interviewed in Reader’s Digest, Sunset Magazine, PetroMart Business and Las Vegas Life magazines.


He also was responsible for publishing Metro’s in-house training journal, the Training Wheel.  Ron has been a contributing columnist to Las Vegas Now magazine as well as a guest lecturer on Royal Caribbean International Cruise Lines, addressing citizens’ personal safety issues.  He is the previous author of stories published in several anthologies, and recently authored Beyond Recognition (Oak Tree Press), a memoir about  his helicopter crash with LAPD.  Ron retired as LVMPD’s academy training manager in 2011.  He and his wife Kathy have three children, six grandchildren, and live in Las Vegas.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Serial Killers and Criminal Profiling

By Pete Klismet
[Editor’s Note: Criminal profilers conjure up all kinds of images to the average Joe. Movies, television shows, and novels have often given us misconceptions of this special breed of investigator. Our guest writer today can help us understand this part of law enforcement because that is what he is trained to do—profile criminals. Pete Klismet, is a retired FBI criminal profiler who teaches, writes, and provides consulting services on this subject.]


“How’d you know that?”

“Are you some sort of a psychic?”

“Do you have a crystal ball or something?”

Anyone who has been trained in criminal profiling and has worked with law enforcement agencies, or has taught about the concept in college, has heard all of these comments.  And many more.  The word “profiling” conjures up some sinister images in people’s minds, and seems almost devilishly frightening to some, but yet fascinating to others.

WHAT IS CRIMINAL PROFILING?

Criminal profiling is the art of developing a behavioral profile of an offender based on evidence from a crime scene, and many other factors involved in an investigation of a violent crime.  Profiling is sometimes done by a forensic psychologist -- someone who has studied the criminal mind. However, since the mid-1980’s, the FBI has assumed a prominent role in the use of this technique.  A profile may then be used by police departments to assist in apprehending the criminal.  But a criminal profile by itself, rarely solves a crime.  In most cases, that is accomplished by old-fashioned detective work.

A profile is intended to be a behavioral portrait of an offender. If done correctly, the profiler may be able to determine ‘why’ a person committed the crime he did.  If ‘why’ can be determined, then we may have motive, and thus help identify the person who committed the crime.  There is a lot that a crime scene can tell a profiler about the person who committed the crime. This is especially true in homicide investigations. Criminal profiling is often used to help investigators identify psychopaths and serial killers who may otherwise go free. It can also be used to help identify other types of offenders, such as serial sex offenders.

In criminal profiling, a crime scene often helps to label the offender as organized or disorganized. An organized offender will plan ahead, often choosing the victim ahead of time. Any tools needed are brought by the offender. He is meticulous with details, and it is clear that the crime was well thought out. This tells a profiler much about the offender.

Organized offenders tend to be high in the birth order of their family. They are very intelligent, but often were underachievers in both school and life. Most of them have a live-in partner, are socially adept, and will follow the coverage of their crimes in the media very carefully.  Contrary to popular belief, a killer of this nature, even a serial killer, is not ‘crazy.’  Quite the opposite is true.  They also ‘hide in plain sight,’ and when identified are a complete surprise to people who know them and thought they were ‘perfectly normal.’

A more spontaneous or impulsive offense is often the work of a disorganized offender. He will act impulsively, with little to no planning involved, and the crime scene will usually show this lack of planning. Seeing this, a trained profiler can draw some conclusions about this offender.  Disorganized offenders are often of average or slightly below-average intelligence. They were younger children, they usually live alone, and are not as socially mature or competent as an organized offender. They often live or work near the scene of the crime, and tend to have a poor work history. Typically, they are younger than the organized offenders.

Criminal profiling is used not only to find potential offenders, but also to narrow down a list of offenders that has already been compiled by the police. Although it doesn’t work in every case, criminal profiling has helped investigators to apprehend hundreds of criminals. By studying the patterns and motives of previous offenders, profiling may enable investigators to predict the characteristics of current and future offenders, allowing killers and other perpetrators to be caught before they can continue on to other crimes.

SERIAL KILLERS

Serial killers are a fairly recent phenomenon on the American landscape, and many people are captivated by what they do and how they do it.  Some of them, such as Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez “The Night Stalker,” and Jeffrey Dahmer have even had cult followings, as odd as that may seem.  In some ways it seems ghoulish, and in other ways the allure of a person who commits multiple murders seems to present a fear of the unknown, of not being able to comprehend such irrational acts, and a desire to learn more about what makes these people tick.  To some it’s not all that interesting, but to many others it’s something they can’t learn or read enough about.

I became friends with the husband of one of my students, an Air Force major, some years ago.  We both enjoyed golf, and would get together once or twice every couple of weeks and play 18 holes.  After one round, we sat down and were enjoying a couple of cool, refreshing beers.  Without any prompting, and literally out of the clear blue sky, Paul said, “By the way, I want to thank you for ruining my love life.”

“Me?  What did I do?”

“Brandy lies in bed every night with a book about one serial killer or another.  I have a hard time getting between her and her books.”

“Sorry…..my bad.”

While we both got a good laugh out of that, I know I’ve had more than a few of my college students who were similarly absorbed with learning more and more about the dark and gruesome, illogical actions of people who kill others for “fun.”  It’s one of the most irrational things man can do, yet trying to learn what drives them to kill with such blood-lust can almost consume one’s life.

When I went through what we called “Profiling Boot Camp” at the FBI Academy in the mid-1980’s, I was the same way.  I’ve spent nearly thirty years reading virtually every book on particular serial killers that I could get my hands on.  To the present date, that probably numbers well over one hundred books.  With every book I read I learn something new, and I’ve continued to do the same thing for many years.

FBI DIARIES: PROFILES OF EVIL

But in my case, there’s a method to my madness.  When I combine my years of training and experience with what I may learn from a book, it almost seems unfair to not share that with other people who may have a similar interest, or may be taking a course on criminal profiling in college.   There are other books out there which some consider textbooks.  Some of these contain information which is not consistent with what I learned and practiced.  A few of these books offer the author’s own personal ‘spin’ on profiling, and more often than not, this is someone who declared themselves a ‘profiler’ because they read some books and perhaps have taken some psychology classes in college, including “Abnormal Psychology.”

I suppose anyone can make the same claim, but relatively few of us can make the claim with the training, education and experience to back it up.  And I think that’s what’s driven me for so many years.  No one “knows it all” about criminal profiling, and I certainly won’t claim to.  In fact, one thing I’ve learned over the years is the more I learn, the less I seem to know, but I continue to want to learn as much as I can.  And that’s what I hope to offer anyone who reads this book, whether you’re similarly fascinated and want to know more, or whether this book is used as a textbook for a college class.

This is not an academic treatise in which you will have to review statistical tables with boring columns of numbers and percentages.  Unlike a college textbook, I’ve tried to write this in a conversational manner, or as if I were doing a lecture in my college classroom.  I hated reading textbooks when I was in college or graduate school.  This is a practical guide which, while it won’t turn you into an instant profiler, will give you considerable understanding into how a profiler's minds work, and why they work the way they do.  Hopefully, I’ve written it in a way that will be understandable, and the cases I’ve reviewed should add some credibility to the concepts in an earlier part of the text.

I promise you that I’ve put as much of my learning and experience into this book as I possibly can, and if you study some of the concepts and cases I’ve studied or profiled, you may gain a similar thirst to know even more.  If I’ve made you think in a different way, I’ve done my job.  And an author or a teacher can’t hope to accomplish more than that.

*******
PETE KLISMET

Pete Klismet retired as full-time Professor of Criminal Justice in May of 2013. He is also retired from the FBI, where he was selected to be one of the original group of criminal profilers. He is the founder of Criminal Profiling Associates, on the web at www.criminalprofilingassociates.com. He is the award-winning author of FBI DIARY: PROFILES OF EVIL, available from Amazon.com, his publisher at Houdini Publishing  or through the links on his own web site listed above.

Monday, June 3, 2013

BLIND JUSTICE: A Legal Thriller by Bestselling Author James Scott Bell

Jake Denney has hit rock bottom. His wife has left him. He's drinking again. And his five-year-old daughter is in the middle of it all. When a judge calls him "a disgrace to the legal profession," Jake starts thinking things might be better for everyone if he wasn't around anymore.

Then a childhood friend's mother phones him. Her son, Howie, has been accused of murdering his wife. Jake takes the seemingly hopeless case in a last-ditch effort to save his client and his fading career.

Meanwhile, Howie's little sister, Lindsay, has grown into a beautiful woman. Though Jake is drawn to her, there's something about her he doesn't understand, even though it may be the very thing he needs to reclaim his humanity.

With the evidence mounting against his client, and a web of corruption closing  around them both, Jake Denney faces the fight of his life--not only in the courtroom, but in the depths of his own soul.

"Move over John Grisham. James Scott Bell has done it again with Blind Justice. A must read!" - Nancy Moser, author of The Invitation and The Quest

Excerpt from BLIND JUSTICE:

CHAPTER ONE

ON THE LAST Thursday in March, Howie Patino stepped onto Alaska Airlines Flight 190 out of Anchorage, carrying a teddy bear with a little ribbon across the front that read, Alaska’s Cool! Howie wore his best suit, his only suit, because he wanted to look like he was “dressed for success.” He also wore, he told me later, a huge smile. “A big, fat, dumb one,” he said. “How dumb, stupid, and blind can a guy be?”
     His sleep was peaceful on the trip to Los Angeles. Hardly a hint of turbulence. The guy sitting next to him was no trouble at all, chatting amiably without overdoing it. Mostly Howie slept and dreamed of Rae—Rae in a bathing suit. Rae sitting by the pool and offering him a long, cool drink. Rae making kissing noises at him just like she used to.
     Howie woke up smiling when the plane touched down at the Los Angeles Airport as smooth as a swan gliding onto a pond at Disneyland. That was one of Howie’s favorite places. He and Rae had gone there on their honeymoon. He told me that Rae’s favorite attraction was “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.” They went on it five times that night, laughing and screaming like little kids.
     The sleep on the plane had removed any creeping hint of fatigue, so Howie wasn’t tired when he finally made it to the Greyhound station and boarded the bus. It had all gone so well to this point. Howie closed his eyes and thanked God that he and Rae would be together even sooner than planned.
     The trip north, though, took forever.
     It was bumper-to-bumper into Westwood and through the Sepulveda Pass. Things opened up a little in Sherman Oaks but tightened again around Tarzana. All the way up, Howie ticked off the towns in his head in a cadence of anticipation: Calabasas and Agoura, Westlake and Thousand Oaks, Ventura and Ojai. Like stepping stones across dividing waters, they were taking him closer and closer to Rae.
     It was pure night when the bus finally pulled into Hinton. Moonless. And the town, in its peculiar rustic ceremony, was starting to fold up. Through the bus window Howie saw a few tourists sitting on the outside patio of the Hinton Hotel sipping evening wine and watching the passengers—all three of them—step out into a bit of country California.
     The first to alight was Howie, still holding the teddy bear. An older couple sitting at the hotel smiled at him. A good sign. Howie smiled back, snatched his duffel bag from the sidewalk where the bus driver had dropped it, looped it over his shoulder, and started walking west toward White Oak Avenue.
     Hinton was both strange and familiar, Howie told me. It seemed, as he got further and further from the town square, unnaturally still. Mixed with the hopeful perfume of orange blossoms and sage, the smell of cows and dry weeds wafted through the air. Howie said later that those were the last smells he remembered, until that final smell, the awful stench of fresh blood that he would mention in the police report.
     At White Oak he turned south under an awning of towering eucalyptus trees. It was like walking through a dark tunnel, Howie said, but he knew where the light at the end was—home and Rae, security and warmth. All would be well once again.
     When he finally reached the front door of the little house at the end of White Oak, he was dizzy with excitement. He tossed the duffel bag onto the porch and held the teddy bear behind his back as he reached for the doorknob. The door was locked, though, and Rae hadn’t given him a house key when he left for Alaska. This was one of her peculiarities, which Howie overlooked through eyes of love. He wouldn’t be sneaking in for the surprise he’d planned, so he knocked.
     And waited.
     And knocked again.
     He shouted, “Rae!” and pounded on the door.
     No answer. No lights on inside.
     He set the little bear on top of the duffel bag and went around to the side gate, finding it padlocked. It had never been padlocked before. Something wasn’t right.
     “Rae!”
     A dog barked in the yard next door.
     “Quiet!” Howie ordered as he scaled the wall and jumped into the side yard, knocking over a recycling container. It thudded hard on the walkway, its contents of bottles and cans spilling onto the concrete.
     The dog barked louder.
     “Quiet, boy!”
     Howie slipped around to the back patio. The sliding glass door was never locked. Never a need for it in Hinton. He would get in that way.
     But tonight it was locked. Howie banged on the glass with his fist. No answer from inside.
     Okay, so she wasn’t home.
     Where was she then? Out with friends maybe. She wasn’t expecting him, after all. He’d caught an early flight because he wanted to surprise her. All this was his own fault, Rae would tell him, maybe at the top of her lungs. That was her way sometimes. He’d grown used to it.

Howie considered his choices. He could grab his stuff and go downtown and have a Coke while he waited. He could see if she was at Sue’s house, and if not, he could ask Sue to make some calls.
     Or he could try to get in the house.
     With full force, Howie yanked the sliding glass door. The lock snapped, and the door slid open. Later, Howie would say he didn’t realize he had that much strength and speculated that his action might have been due to something more welled up inside him, a part of him he never knew he had, like when a mother suddenly gets the strength to lift an automobile when her child is trapped underneath.
     Howie entered the house, found a lamp, and turned on the light.
     The first thing he noticed was the sofa and the clothes tossed carelessly on it. Rae was never much of a housekeeper, but this was an out-and-out mess. On an end table was an ashtray with a few cigarette butts. Rae had supposedly quit smoking. Had she started up again while he was away?
     Howie stood and listened for a few moments, and not hearing anything, walked down the hall to the master bedroom.
     He opened the door and turned on the light.
     Someone was in bed. The covers moved and then Rae Patino sat up.
     “Rae, didn’t you hear me?”
     Her red hair was messy. With a head toss she whisked the strands out of her face and stared at him coldly. “What are you doing here?”
     “I’m home.”
     “Tomorrow. You said tomorrow night.”
     “Surprised?” He took a few steps toward her, his arms out for an embrace.
     Rae recoiled. “You can’t stay here.”
     “Honey, what are you talking about?”
     “You just can’t, that’s all.”
     “Can’t? But—”
     “Just leave, Howie.”
     “But Rae, I’m home.” He said it like he had to convince himself.
     Rae sighed and rolled her eyes to the ceiling. “Look,” she said, “you might as well know it now. I’m in love with somebody else.”
     It wouldn’t have been any different, Howie said later, if she had stuck a knife in his stomach and carved him like a Halloween pumpkin. That was the moment things started to go fuzzy on him. He was in and out after that, feeling dizzy half the time and plain lost the other half.
     He figured a half hour went by as he pleaded with her, cried in front of her, begged her to see someone for counseling. It seemed to him she was, by turns, cold and caring, obstinate and open. He thought there might be at least some hope of reconciliation, if only she’d try.
     And then there was the matter of Brian. During the course of the conversation, Howie asked Rae where their five-year-old son was, and she told him he was at Sue’s house, where he loved to visit. It seemed odd to Howie that Brian would be there in the middle of the week, but he paid it no mind. It was more important to talk about their future, the three of them, together.
     Howie finally said, “We can all move up there now. I’ve got a place and a good job. They’re building like crazy, and it’s a great place for a kid to grow up.”
     Rae was unmoved. “I’m not going to freeze in Alaska, you can bet on that.”
     “Rae, please. We need to be together. For Brian.”
     When he said that, her eyes seemed to darken. Howie remembered that explicitly. It was like looking into two dead pools at midnight.
     “What makes you so proud?” Rae said.
     “Proud?”
     “Yeah, proud.”
     “Proud of what?”
     “Brian.” Her voice seemed to spit the name.
     “What are you talking about, Rae?”
     “I’m talking about Brian, Howie.”
     “What about him?”
     “What makes you think he’s yours?”
     It was the smile on her face then that unlatched a dark door to some unnamed oblivion. Howie’s memories of the next few minutes were short, surreal images, which included that smile twisting her face into a funhouse clown expression, the mockery of it, and her hands clasped behind her head as she lay on the bed as if showing Howie what he would never have again. Then came the blackness followed by the gleam of a blade, a flash almost as bright as a tabloid photographer’s camera, a scream, the red stained sheets, the sounds of a woman sucking for breath, and that final image he couldn’t get away from, that he kept mentioning over and over. “The devil,” the police report stated. “Suspect keeps talking about the devil.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JAMES SCOTT BELL is the author of the #1 bestseller for writers, Plot & 
Structure, and numerous thrillers, including Don't Leave Me, Try Dying and Watch Your Back. His novella One More Lie was the first self-published work to be nominated for an International Thriller Writers Award. He served as the fiction columnist for Writer's Digest magazine and has written highly popular craft books for Writer’s Digest Books, including: Revision & Self-Editing for Publication, The Art of War for Writers and Conflict & Suspense. Jim has taught writing at Pepperdine University and at numerous writers conferences in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. A former trial lawyer, Jim lives and writes in Los Angeles. His website is www.JamesScottBell.com.

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