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


…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.”


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: He can be found on GoodReads, Twitter, and his Facebook fan page is “rmabrybooks.”





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.

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.