Saturday, December 27, 2014

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: You Own This

Today, a gathering of police officers, from across the United States and Canada, collectively turned their backs, while New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, gave a eulogy for slain NYPD officer, Rafael Ramos. I’m pretty certain this will be repeated when Officer Liu is also eulogized.

There are many who are outraged by this act, calling it disrespectful.

I respectfully disagree.

I am not a fan of the mayor, I find fault with many of his beliefs and actions. However, that is something I can say with just about every mayor that has held office in New York City. You see, I was born and raised in the city and gave twenty years of my life to the NYPD. They were my ultimate boss; my commander-in-chief, so to speak. Even the darling child of the right, Rudy Giuliani, made my list when he graciously gave us double zero’s on our contract, after we had set record levels of crime reduction in the city.

However, while I am willing to give most mayors a pass when we don’t see eye to eye on an issue, I will always take exception when they turn on the police department they are supposed to lead. My reason is simple: they are the last line of defense the city has and they deserve the support and backing of their boss.

Former New York City Mayor, Ed Koch, knew exactly how important the NYPD was for the city. I worked for Koch and he was loved by the cops. He told all his successors that you must have the support of the cops and he was right. This is a lesson Mayor de Blasio seems to have turned a deaf ear too.

Mayor de Blasio drew the proverbial red line in the sand with his comments following the Eric Garner grand jury decision. The truth is Garner died as a direct result of resisting arrest. This is all a matter of undisputed fact. The 6’4”, 300lb man, who had a criminal history dating back to the 80’s, informed officers that he was not going to comply. When he did this, he took responsibility for setting into motion a series of events that led to his demise. Unfortunately, the man was asthmatic, something he probably should have considered before he resisted arrest.

Whether you agree or not, our society has laws in place for a reason. If you disagree with an arrest, you do not have the right to resist. The argument, as to whether an arrest is lawful or not, is one that should be taken up at court, not out in the street. Garner made a conscientious choice to not comply and this decision cost him his life.

What happened after that is what brings us to the present day action. Mayor de Blasio voiced his beliefs, and those comments were directed at the NYPD, not the criminal.

His statements were concerning alleged abuses of stop-and-frisk, a comprehensive plan to retrain the entire NYPD to reduce the use of excessive force, changing the policy to reduce low-level arrests, and launching a new pilot program for body cameras to improve transparency and accountability.  All of which seemed to place the blame squarely at the foot of the police department. If that wasn’t enough, he even commented on how he and his wife had talked to their son about encounters with the police.  

Call me crazy, but I believe that it is the height of hypocrisy when you denigrate a department that you depend on to provide security for you and your family.

When the unrest erupted in the city, he seemed to take sides with the protesters, giving them reign to run amok in the city, adding fuel to a fire that quickly grew out of control. Was it really any shock when the chants of ‘What do we want? Dead Cops! When do we want it? Now!” began to emerge from the crowds?  

Mayor de Blasio pandered to a base, never expecting what would happen, but that does not relieve him from responsibility for his comments and actions. I believe in my heart that he deserves the backlash he is getting. The old adage 'you reap what you sow' comes to mind.

But lately, it seems that alI that I have been hearing is excuses about 'who' didn't do this, or 'who' didn't do that. I am continually amazed at the level of hypocrisy that emanates from those on the left. They seem willing to lay blame so quickly, for causes they hold dear, but they are immediately incensed when the get a dose of their own medicine. Somehow all of de Blasio’s past rhetoric has been conveniently forgotten.

I’m sorry Mr. Mayor, the fact is, you don’t get to ride the anti-police bandwagon as it suits you, and then, when something happens, pretend you weren’t involved. The left may not want to admit it, but words do count. Obviously the rhetoric being spewed about freely by politicians, pundits and protesters resonated well enough with the murderer of PO’s Ramos and Liu.

Now, when the cops have had enough with their boss and his comments, somehow it is now disrespectful when they turn their backs on him or when the PBA president makes statements about the mayor’s actions.

It’s kind of ironic to me that, when de Blasio asked the protesters, whom he had previously supported, to refrain from protesting during the funerals, they thumbed their nose at him and said no. I guess that disrespect is acceptable.

The problem is, it's a two way street. If the protesters get to have their say, so do we.

De Blasio made a horrific error in judgment, he chose to make his camp among those who only seek to tear down and destroy. He is not the first politician to err, but his legacy will be determined by what he does going forward.

Being a police officer in the nation’s largest city is a seemingly thankless job. The men and women of the New York City Police Department are willing to do that job, but they want, and deserve, a leader who will stand by them.

My suggestion to the mayor is that he learns from this mistake and immediately issues a mea culpa to the members of the Finest police department in the world. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


I can understand why the average person might believe that we have a problem in this country between the citizens and their police. It seems to be the battle cry that we hear from the ‘peaceful protesters’ whenever we turn on the news. That along with the other lovely chant of: “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!

It seems that the politicians, pundits and protesters are more than willing to trip over themselves in order to flock to any city in the US to throw the spotlight on the despicable ‘racist, killer police officers’ that seem to pervade out society.

At times I struggle to understand why the United Nations has not deemed it appropriate to send in the blue helmets in order to restore order and vanquish this menace.

Then I remember that it simply isn’t true.

You see, when you peel away the façade, and look at the facts under a clear lens and not the tainted ones that the ‘activists’ and our alleged leaders would have you view them, you begin to see a different picture, one that stands in stark contradiction to the vitriol that is being spewed forth. You see, just because you scream it at the top of your lungs doesn’t make it true.

There are approximately a half a million sheriff’s deputies and police officers that patrol our streets nationwide. That doesn't include detectives and senior ranking officers. That is just the number of officers assigned to the front lines, responding to your calls for help.

The total population of people living in the U.S. is three hundred and twenty million. Consider for a moment that this equals one officer for every six hundred and forty people. That is staggering.

Of the total population, there are approximately thirty-nine million African-Americans living in the United States. 

In 2013, three hundred and twenty people were killed by the police. Of these, approximately ninety of them were African Americans. This means, there is less than a 0.0001% overall chance of a person in the US being killed by the police. If you are an African American, that number climbs to only 0.00023%.

Statistically, you have a better chance of being struck by lightning as you do being killed by the police.

So exactly where is this epidemic? Where are all these unarmed dead people that the police allegedly keep killing?

Here is a statistic that we should really be concerned about. The 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report, a compilation of annual crime statistics, shows the data: There were 6,261 blacks killed in the United States. Ninety percent of them were killed by black offenders.


That is very sad. No, strike that, it is tragic!

So where are the protests by the concerned activists and protesters?

Personally, I’m waiting for when they all board the buses and head up to Chicago. Lately, it has been particularly brutal up there. 

How brutal you ask? Well, consider that over the last decade there have been over four thousand murders in Chicago, nearly 75% of which were blacks and of those, 75% of the offenders were black. Then consider that this number is nearly double the amount of soldiers killed in Afghanistan over the same period of time. Statistically, it is twice as safe to be a solider, in an active war zone, then it is to be a male black in Chicago. So where are those same activists who want you to believe that the police are the problem?

Newsflash: They won’t go to those neighborhoods because they are afraid of becoming victims themselves. You see, the only ones brave enough are the police, the very same police who are being vilified…… can you feel the irony?

The fact is the racist, killer cop mantra is a lie. It is told by those who look to fan the fuel of racial discord in order to line their pockets. Inner city crime does not generate money, power or news; if it did they would be tripping over themselves to intervene.

So what about these racist cops in New York City?

Well, according to the most recent demographics of the department, fifty-three percent of the NYPD is white and forty-seven percent are members of minority groups. Not really all that earth shattering, but, when you look at the actual front line, patrol officers (22,000+), the numbers actually flip. Fifty-three percent of patrol is minority!

So when the minority cops respond to a call are they still racist? Yes, they are. You see, those preaching the bullshit honestly don’t care what color the cop is, they only see one color: blue.

Ironic huh?

The sad truth is this: the only ones who care about crime in poor neighborhoods are the victims and the police.

You know those racist, killer cops.

You see, unlike those screaming their catchy little lies for the news cameras, I worked there; I’ve seen the death and devastation firsthand. I never did see any of the alleged ‘rev’s’ running around protesting, as some poor child’s blood poured out into the street.

Every day I strapped on a vest and gun belt, and then went into harm’s way with my fellow officers. We did not go out on patrol to harm, but to help. During the twenty years I spent with the NYPD we lost eighty-three members in the line of duty. They died trying to protect the very citizens who vilified them.

Right now, on Christmas Eve, there are officers on patrol. They have said goodbye to their families and have put themselves in harm’s way.

They are the thin blue line that stands as societies only protection from the evil that lurks in the shadows.

If you plan on making war with them, then you better plan on making peace with the criminals. 

Is anyone ready for a road trip to the Englewood section of Chicago?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Open Letter to the Police Critics

To the politicians, pundits, and everyone else who seem to know so much about police work and how the job should be done. I challenge you, if you know so much, set aside what you are doing, put on the uniform you seem so know so much about, and walk some of the streets I have walked, alone, like I did.

Listen to vile comments of the residents, whom you are there to protect. Who despise you, not because of anything you have done, but because of what you are wearing. You will learn what racism is truly about.

I want you to share your experiences with me. Tell me how it felt to have someone point a gun at you or have some savage throw a battery off the roof at you. Not for anything you have done, but for what you represent.

Hold a mother in your arms as she grieves over the loss of her child, not at your hands, but at the hands of a criminal. Just another nightly statistic not worthy of a mention on the 11 o'clock news.

Live with eight hours of man's inhumanity to man, then go home and try to shield the pain and hurt in your eyes from your family. Listening to their 'complaints' while trying to block out the image of the dying child's last gasps.

When you have done that, I would be more than happy to listen to you tell me how to do the job better. Until then, why don't you try sitting safely on the sidelines with your mouths shut.

You see, you don't know me. You don't know anything about who I am or what I am capable of, but I know you. You are one of the protected. A sheep who lives his life in tranquility, because I, along with my brothers and sisters, are willing to put ourselves between you and the wolves who lie in wait.

We listen to your criticisms, yet when the time comes, and the wolves attack, you run away, while we run towards them. You hide behind the very people you seem to despise because you know that we, unlike the wolves, will not turn on you.

We are the thin blue line that separates you from the danger. On Saturday, that line grew a bit thinner when we lost two of our brothers, but not our resolve. We will not yield that line, we will not falter, despite the baseless accusations and vile rhetoric that you spew forth. We will uphold that oath we took, to the last man and woman.

Then, when the day comes that we are no more, you will truly learn who the real enemy was.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - President Theodore Roosevelt (NYC Police Commissioner, 1985)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

An Execution in Bed-Stuy

It’s five a.m. as I write this. I gave up sleeping several hours ago as I have wrestled with this and the nausea that has gripped me since I first heard the reports of the execution of the two NYPD police officers in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn yesterday.

The NYPD lost two brave, young men whose only crime was that they had the audacity to choose to put on the uniform of the finest police department in the world. Last night, a 3rd officer in the Bronx was spared a similar fate when a man pointed a gun at him at point blank range and pulled the trigger.  Fortunately, the gun didn’t fire and they were able to disarm him.

This was all precipitated by an incident at one of the peaceful protest marches. A professor from Baruch College in NYC was arrested after he attempted to throw a metal garbage can off the upper level of the Brooklyn Bridge onto NYPD officers on the roadway below. While attempting to arrest him, other protesters intervened and two NYPD Lieutenants were assaulted.  They were knocked to the ground where they were punched and kicked in their faces by numerous people who also attempted to steal their portable radios so they could not summon assistance.

It was during the same period of protests where chants of “What do we want? Dead Cops! When do we want it? Now!” where heard emanating from the assembled throng.

Over the weeks and months I have watched as a parade of politicians, activists, news pundits and protesters have bashed law enforcement unmercifully. In many instances these peaceful protests have been nothing more than a cover for criminal activity. Where people, acting in a completely debased and savage manner, assaulted, pillaged, burned and called for the deaths of racist police officers.

Yesterday they got exactly what they were looking for.

Of course there will be screams and condemnations. They will claim that this isn’t what they really wanted. That they only want peaceful protests to bring to light their perceived injustices and allegations of racism.

You want to see real racism? Look at the bodies of the two dead officers and understand that they were killed simply because of the color of their uniforms.

Everyone, from the President of the United States to the Mayor of New York City; from the media talking heads to the charlatan community activists, are complicit in the deaths of these two officers. You cannot stand before crowds of people, egging them on, and then, when something happens, pretend you didn’t ask for it. Your actions are like those of a man, handing out free gasoline to arsonists, who then acts shocked when they use it.

To all you celebrities and athletes who had the nerve to walk around with your hands up, or wear shirts, all I can say to you is that you are an utter disgrace.

Here is the truth: Both Michael Brown and Eric Garner were both engaged in criminal behavior at the time of their deaths. That is undisputed fact.

Immediately prior to the shooting, Michael Brown had committed a robbery. When he was stopped by the officer he engaged in a physical confrontation and assaulted the officer. He also tried to disarm the officer and was shot. Michael Brown then began to flee and was pursued by the officer. Officers are charged with upholding the law and he did not have the option to simply let Brown flee. Brown stopped and turned around and by witness accounts he rushed back toward the officers in an offensive manner and was shot fatally. Toxicology reports confirmed he had marijuana in his system.

Michael Brown was 6’4” and 290+ pounds. To put that in perspective, he was bigger than then the average weight of an NFL Defensive Lineman.

The problem with the protest chant: ‘Hand’s Up, Don’t Shoot,’ which became the clarion call of the protesters, was based on a lie. Michael Brown never had his hands up. If he did, he would still be alive.

Prior to the attempted arrest of Eric Garner, the man was engaged in selling loose cigarettes. While many would claim this to be a ‘minor’ charge, the issue is that the police were acting on a history of prior complaints. The fact is that initially, the officers had simply instructed Garner to leave. It was Garner that elevated the incident.  Garner’s own admissions of “every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I'm tired of it. It stops today” indicated that he was drawing a line. Unfortunately, the police enforce the law. We don’t say “oh, you’re breaking the law, but you want me to leave you alone, okay.”

The truth is Eric Garner had an extensive arrest history dating back to 1980, including assault, resisting arrest, and grand larceny. In addition to those charges, there were multiple arrests for selling unlicensed cigarettes. Eric Garner was not simply standing on a street corner, innocently minding his own business. He was breaking the law, perhaps a minor one, but a law that police officers are required to enforce nonetheless.

Eric Garner was 6’3” and 350+ pounds. To put that in perspective, he was bigger than then the average weight of an NFL Offensive Lineman.

The protest shirts: ‘I Can’t Breathe’ became the new catch phrase of the protesters. But the reality is that if Eric Garner had simply put his hands behind his back when instructed, and not made the conscientious decision to physically resist arrest, he would still be alive.

There was no illegal choke hold applied. You only have to look at the video to see that. Garner was subdued and held down because he had been resisting arrest. To all of those who got their police training by watching re-runs of Law and Order, I challenge you to try and take a 350lb man into custody who doesn’t want to comply. When you get him on the ground, you keep him there so he doesn’t get back up and fight you again. Maybe Garner should have thought about the ramifications before he made the choice to resist.

Despite the claims and inferences, by those who seek to fan the flames of racial discord in this country for personal gain, neither man died as a result of police racism. They died as a direct result of their criminal activities.

No, the two men who died as a result of racism, borne out of the false rhetoric callously spewed out by the perennial rabble-rousers, were Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. They were killed simply because they were blue.

The media will now wring their hands with feigned remorse, ignoring the fact that those same hands had just recently been used to fan the flames. The politicians and activists will attempt to back track their positions, saying it really isn’t their fault, and scamper back into the darkness.

And just before Christmas, two families, including a young, 13 year old boy, will bury their heroes, all because of the color of their uniforms.

Fidelis Ad Mortem

Note: In 2014, as of this writing, the number of officers killed in the line of duty stands at 112, up 10% from 2013. That averages to about one line of duty death every three days. Where are the protest marches for the war on police officers?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Interviewed at Authors to Watch

I had the opportunity recently to be interviewed by the wonderful Tricia over at the book review website: Authors to Watch.

It was a great time and I hope that you will book mark the site and use it as a resource to check out new books by emerging authors.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Introduction to MS (When your world gets turned upside down)

MS - Multiple Sclerosis 

The very words send a shiver down your spine, and makes you want to change the subject to something more pleasant.

But what happens when you cannot change the subject? What happens when the subject picks you? Worse yet, what happens when the subject picks your child?

Welcome to our new world.

Last September we received the diagnosis no parent wants to hear, our son Luke has MS. We had taken him to the ER because he was physically unable to walk. He'd been previously treated (and misdiagnosed) as having severe vertigo. However, upon examination, the ER doctor immediately diagnosed him as a severe fall risk, admitted him and sent him for an MRI which showed the scarring on his brain. He subsequently lost sight in one eye, although that has partially returned.

The disease usually affects those between the age of 20-50 and is two times more likely to affect females. He's 23 and male, guess he just got lucky.

There is no cure for MS and the current course of treatments only serve to improve function after an attack, or attempt to prevent new ones. Each attack does its damage, which is irreparable. 

I'm proud of my son. He had a choice. He could either bitch and moan about how unfair life was, or he could chose to fight back. He chose the latter. 

In retrospect the illness began most likely in May, but might have been even earlier. There were small tells with his walking, which we just passed off as being clumsy. Either way, nothing we could have done would have prevented this. We must all now learn to cope with it.

Sadly, it is not the disease which is proving to be so formidable, but the system. At 23, unable to work, and living in central Illinois, there is no assistance available to him. He lost his unemployment, because of the illness, and is not ill enough to merit disability as of now. 

We have been trying to help him as best we can, but it is an uphill battle. My wife has set-up a fund, to try and help him get out of the immediate financial hole that the disease has caused him. I would be extremely grateful if you would take the time to visit it, and perhaps share it with friends and family.

Every donation helps.

I'm a writer, and I get to create characters and the worlds they live in. If it were up to me, this is one story I would never have chosen to write.

Thank you and God bless !!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Author Interview - Wayne Zurl

I had an opportunity to sit down and talk to mystery author, Wayne Zurl, awhile back and finally had the time to put it all together. Like me, Wayne spent his formative years as a police officer back east. He worked for the Suffolk County Police Department for twenty years and also served with the United States Army. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Me: You’re a pretty prolific writer, with something like twenty books under your belt.  As I understand, they all center around a main protagonist named Sam Jenkins. So for the uninitiated, describe your debut novel, A New Prospect, for my readers in 25 words or less.

Wayne Zurl (WZ): How about 28? What it would be like if Andy Sipowitz was hired as sheriff in Mayberry? A NEW PROSPECT is like an episode of NYPD Blue in the Smoky Mountains.

Me: Like me, you’re a former cop from New York. So how on earth did you ever get dragged into the seedy world of being a professional writer?

WZ: After I retired and left Long island, I volunteered at a Tennessee state park. One of my jobs was to help the rangers keep the French & Indian War re-enactors from bayoneting each other during the battle scenarios, but more often, I wrote publicity for the living history program. That led to selling non-fiction magazine articles—twenty-six in ten years. I thought getting paid to write was cool, but when I couldn’t dream up anything new and thrilling to say about 18th century Tennessee, I hung up my spurs. Then I needed a creative outlet and I decided to try fiction. How difficult could it be? Ha! That leads me to the next question.

Me: So Sam Jenkins made the move from New York to Tennessee, where did the idea come from to have him fight crime in the not so sleepy little town of Prospect, Tennessee?

WZ: Around the time I was contemplating a foray into the world of fiction—or making model airplanes or oil paintings—I read Robert B. Parker’s NIGHT PASSAGE, his first Jesse Stone novel. I liked the premise. Stone was a former LAPD detective who took a chief’s job in a small Massachusetts town. I asked myself: Why couldn’t I write about a retired New York detective who began a second career as the chief of a small Tennessee department? I’d been a cop and Parker wasn’t. I knew all the technicalities and details and would simply recycle old cases that I investigated or supervised and transplant them from NY to the fictional small city of Prospect. (Just for clarification and comparison, some cities in Tennessee are smaller than incorporated villages in New York.) At that time I knew nothing about the publishing business, but I was enthused, so I grabbed a pen and pad and started to write. 

Me: As a fellow policeman turned writer, I know how hard it is to accurately portray the day to day ops of a department. How did you capture the small town department environment?  Did you have any inside help from local guys when you were creating the background story?

WZ: On Long Island, we had a few small town and village departments that we assisted (especially with felonies) occasionally. I had a basic idea about the differences between large PDs with many specialized bureaus and sections and the small departments that were basically uniformed service providers. But with my protagonist coming from a big place to a small one, I’d give him an ego just slightly smaller than South Dakota and let him insist on doing his own felony investigations. In Tennessee that’s not done, so I need a little suspension of disbelief here. Prospect PD is typical of the area, twelve officers and the chief with no detectives. In my last command, when we were busy and up to strength, I had twenty-eight detectives, two secretaries, and a community service aide to work with. I wanted Sam to share this background and with his move, share in my culture shock. When I need an injection of local atmosphere or procedure, I call on a friend who works as a crime scene investigator for the county sheriff. He also provides up to date scientific and forensic information that I relay to my dinosaur friend at prospect PD.

Me: Mystery writers are an odd bunch. Alcoholic beverages aside, what, or who, would you say has influenced your work the most?

WZ: I’ve got a few favorites who I take inspiration from. Robert B. Parker for his spare and snappy minimalist style and easy going dialogue. James Lee Burke as inspiration in descriptions of people, places, and events that he often turns into sheer poetry. Joseph Wambaugh, the reigning king of police procedurals, for his style of taking seemingly unrelated police incidents and eventually meld them into a coherent storyline with a common ending. And that other guy from Long Island who writes mysteries, Nelson DeMille, who seems to have an endless supply of quality smartass dialogue coming from his protagonist, retired Detective John Corey.

Me: Most people pick up a book and don’t realize just how much WORK actually goes into writing. What would you say was the hardest part in writing?

WZ: When I have the inspiration and the ideas are flowing, writing is fun. It’s after the last word is on paper, after you finish what you consider your final edit and you’re happy with the end product that the hard work begins. If you have no idea who might want your story or book, plan on a time consuming search for a publisher. I was lucky to have tied up with a couple of publishers who handled my full-length novels and the shorter novelettes. So, for a few years, I haven’t had to worry about selling what I wrote.

That brings me to a job I detest—the post-publication marketing and promotions. I had envisioned getting published and then my only other obligation would be show up at some local bookshop, smile for the customers, and sign a few books, with the publisher’s marketing people doing what they know best, and about which I am mostly ignorant. Another misconception. The last time I worked on computers, (1967) they were seven-feet tall. Today, I’m about a step above clueless with my PC. I didn’t know a blogspot from a sunspot and Twitter was another word for a stupid person. Out of necessity, I learned and I persevere—almost daily, and under protest.

Me: When you wrote A New Prospect, did you envision it being a onetime deal, or did you have an idea that you were going to do a series of books?

WZ: I was naive when I envisioned Sam’s career at Prospect PD. I not only wanted a bunch of books, but a long running TV series or a bunch of annual TV movies. Just kidding.

Like any cop who worked a crowded and busy area, I retired with a large collection of war stories. I wanted to chronicle them all and that would call for numerous books. I ended up compositing two or more actual incidents which, with a minimum of manipulation, fit together in a more readable and interesting story. This has worked for four novels and more than twenty novelettes.

We all know that police work is not always a thrill a minute, so fictionalizing and embellishing the real stuff takes them from potentially mundane semi-autobiographical sketches that might sound like a police report to what I hope comes across as good fiction.

Me: When I was writing my first novel, I had this vision of ‘and they lived happily ever after’ playing out in my mind. That didn’t work out quite so well. Did your original idea for the ending actually survive until the end or did you alter it along the way?

WZ: When I finished my first draft of A NEW PROSPECT, I hired a “book doctor” to evaluate the manuscript. He gave me good news and bad news. He liked my style and voice. He liked the characters and natural dialogue. Then he said, “In 1985 this would have been a quick sell. In 2006, it won’t fly.” He went on to explain what 21st century publishers (and readers) want to see.

So, I jumped through hoops to turn the story inside out—bury the backstory—start off with a shocker—adapt an “arrive late, leave early” style for the scenes and chapters. By the time I held what I considered a finished product, I had read and revised that thing so many times, I hated the sight of it. Then I sent it back for a second opinion. And he drew my attention to another area of seemingly necessary alteration.

In fictionalizing these actual incidents and having no obligation to remain absolutely truthful, I thought it was a great opportunity to take all the little things that didn’t go right and fix them—all the points I missed, things that could have quickly cleared the case, could be seen after Jenkins gets divine enlightenment from who knows what. He could say all the clever things I didn’t think of until after I walked away from the scene and sat drinking coffee in my car or the office. In short, I’d make Sam’s cases pieces of investigative artwork—the kind of fiction I’d like to read. Book Doctor helped me come down from “cloud nine” with a simple statement, “Perfect is boring.” He suggested a somewhat flawed character; someone who doesn’t always do the right thing; someone who might cause a reader to say, “Oh, Sam, you’re a good cop, you know better.” So, I revised yet again.

Eventually, I found a publisher willing to take a chance on Sam and me. In the end, all that work was worth it. The book won two awards and came in as a finalist in two more contests

Me: Your latest book, Pigeon River Blues, just came out last May. Are you planning any new releases before the end of the year?

WZ: After the release of PIGEON RIVER BLUES, my publisher announced that he was going out of the traditional publishing business. That left me sitting with two finished novels and no one to publish them. I had intended to participate in a couple of virtual book tours for PIGEON RIVER BLUES and then get serious about finding a new press, but as fate would have it, someone introduced me to a pair of agents who liked the first fifty pages of A TOUCH OF MORNING CALM, a story about Korean organize crime. When the agents requested the full manuscript, I spent time sprucing up the draft.  After reading it, they asked if I had anything else completed so they could try and sell a publisher on a two or three book contract deal. I just finished my final edits on A CAN OF WORMS, in which I composite two old cases and tell the story of a police officer being accused of a prior rape. I’ve got my fingers crossed, hoping they have success when the acquisitions editors return from their traditional August vacations.

Earlier this summer I signed a contract with a publisher who wants to take five previously unpublished novelettes and create an anthology in print and eBook called FROM NEW YORK TO THE SMOKIES: A Collection of Sam Jenkins Mysteries. These stories, of about 10,000 words each, span a time frame from 1963 to 2010. It’s expected out in April or May of 2015

Me: Do you ever get writers block? And if so, how do you deal with it?

WZ: Sure, there are times when I can’t dream up a nifty connection or a believable red herring to save my life. To get past that, I usually uncork a better than average bottle of wine, grab two glasses, and invite my wife to help solve my problem. She’s pretty good.  

Me: Where do you get your ideas for your books? Are they ripped from the Smoky Mountain headlines, or are you like me and let your head conjure up some truly nefarious ideas?

WZ: As I mentioned in question 3, I use actual cases and incidents and people as a basis for the stories I embellish. More recently, just like an episode of Law & Order, I’ve ripped a few local headlines apart and integrated them with my cast of regular characters and associated vignettes from the old days. I’m always honest and admit I have more of a memory than an imagination. I only have to get creative when it comes to manipulating these stories from the northeast to the mid-south. Sometimes I have to alter the dialect from NU Yawk to Tenn-uh-see.

Me: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers?

WZ: I’d like to thank you for inviting me to your blog and giving me an opportunity to meet your fans. I’m glad to meet more living proof that there is life after the PD. I wish you good luck with all your books.

Me: Wayne, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview. If you’re a fan of mystery / suspense genre, then I recommend you check out all of Wayne’s books. You can find them and more about the author at the links below.

Links to connect with Wayne Zurl:

Author website: 
Mind Wings Audio author page:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Small Town Secrets (Print Version)

Just wanted to let everyone know that the print version of Small Town Secrets is now available. You can obtain it, along with all my other books, directly through Createspace

Friday, August 29, 2014

Beach Bound Books - Interview

I had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed by Stacie Theis, over at her blog: Beach Bound Books.

I thought I would share the link for you to go and read it: Beach Bound Books - Author Interview: Andrew G. Nelson

If you are a reader, I am sure you will enjoy spending some time over there. Stacie does a lot of interviews of a diverse field of authors.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Small Town Secrets (Now available on Amazon Kindle)

Well, I am happy to announce that my latest book, Small Town Secrets, is now available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle platform.

This book introduces a new main character, Alex Taylor, who watched as the bottle eagerly consumed both a career and a chance at love.

Now the former NYPD sergeant has a shot at redemption in the idyllic small town of Penobscot, New Hampshire.

But when the body of a young woman is discovered, the clues threaten to rip the façade off the town, and expose its seedier side.

Alex soon finds that murder might be an option to protect small town secrets.

The print version should be available in the next few weeks.

For my fans of the James Maguire series, do not despair. The next book in that series will be out this fall. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Edinburg, IL - 2014 Labor Day Festival

Got some exciting news. I was contacted by the kind folks over at the Edinburg, Il. Labor Day Committee asking if I would be interested in taking part in a book signing event, being organized by the ever talented author, Courtney Michel, on Monday, September 1st, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Community Building located at 107 W. Masonic St Edinburg, IL 62531

I will have copies of both my books, Perfect Pawn & Queen's Gambit, available.

In addition, I will be joined by author and paranormal investigator, Larry Wilson. Larry has written two books, Chasing Shadows and Echoes from the Grave, and lectured extensively on the subject of the paranormal. We are currently working with him on his forthcoming third book.

Please share this with your friends and family and I will look forward to meeting with you.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Small Town Secrets - Cover Reveal

Well, it's almost time for the release of my newest book, Small Town Secrets.

If you haven't already checked it out, I posted an excerpt from chapter one previously and you can read it here: Small Town Secrets (Chapter One Excerpt)

Now I am proud to present to you the cover for the book.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Author Interview - Neil Stenton

Today I have the distinct pleasure of interviewing Neil Stenton, author of the NYPD thriller, Saving Carrie. One of the things that I believe makes the book unique is that Neil is a British author. So when I had the chance to interview him, I jumped at it. I hope that you enjoy it and pick-up a copy.

Me – Neil, describe your debut novel for my readers in 25 words or less.

Neil Stenton (NS) - An NYPD thriller about a team of detectives under pressure to keep an organized crime trial on track, protect a witness and solve a kidnapping.

Me - How on earth did you ever get dragged into the seedy world of being a professional writer?

NS - It’s something I always wanted to try my hand at and when I realized I had the makings of a storyline I thought it would be nice to give it a go. I didn’t think I could do it to be honest, but I enjoyed the mapping out of the story, the research and plotting the twists and turns needed to keep the readers guessing until the end. I’d love to do it full time, but I’m still waiting to be discovered and dragged into the big time!

Me - I have to admit that I am intrigued by a guy from England writing a book involving the NYPD. What drew you to write about them and not the Met?

NS - I’ve always enjoyed the NYPD TV shows (NYPD Blue is one of my favorites) and the thought of writing something set in New York had great appeal. I’ve visited twice and can’t wait to go back. But until then the closest I can get is writing about it. I also think it has more appeal than writing about the Met in London (apologies to those writers who do just that), it’s certainly something I read a lot about and that makes it easier to write about. And, as you say, an English guy writing about the NYPD that’s intriguing in itself and hopefully a good enough hook to pull people in to see if I’ve managed it.

Me - As a fellow NYPD writer, I know how hard it is to create an accurate picture of department operations. I had twenty years with the department to draw from, so how did you resolve that issue from 3,000 + miles away. Did you have any inside help, from professional cops, when you were creating the background story?

NS - Not really to be honest. I’ve got a great imagination and just went with the flow on the first book. I mapped out every chapter in one sentence, worked out the twists I needed to include and based a lot of what goes on procedural wise, and language, from the many shows and films I’ve seen. I drew up floor plans of the precinct building, worked out where it was situated, who sat where and why, who worked with who and built up some back stories for each character. I had a raft of street maps and directions as well as leaflets to use. That said I’ve since corresponded with John Mackie who’s ex-NYPD (he’s written a great series of books about a character called Thorn Savage) and he’s been a great help for answering some of the more technical aspects, and inside knowledge type questions I’ve had. And now there’s you of course!

Me - Mystery writers are an odd bunch. Alcoholic beverages aside, what, or who, would you say has influenced your work the most?

NS - I’m a big fan of most crime writing. From what’s called ‘Tartan noir’ which includes the likes of Ian Rankin, Peter May, Stuart MacBride, to Scandinavia and Henning Mankell’s Wallender series, right across the Atlantic to James Lee Burke and James Ellroy. I guess some of that has rubbed off on me, but my style is very much my own I suppose. I like to build in things I’d love to say and do, but realistically couldn’t get away with in real life.

Me - Most people pick up a book and don’t realize just how much WORK actually goes into writing. What would you say was the hardest part in writing?

NS - Editing, no question. After that it’s getting people to notice you, as a self published author it’s all down to me to get the messages out. I’ve picked up a good base of readers from my first novel and they all want to know when the follow up is coming so hopefully that’ll help to build up a wider base as they spread the word as well. But being so close to the storyline, having lived with it for so long in your head, it’s hard to be objective when editing. It’s my baby after all and I want people to love it as much as I do.

Me - When I was writing my first novel, I had this vision of ‘and they lived happily ever after’ playing out in my mind. That didn’t work out quite so well. Did your original idea for the ending actually survive until the end or did you alter it along the way?

NS - The ending pretty much went according to plan, the only thing that changed was who the mystery person behind it all was. That was tricky leaving it open so it could have been anyone of three or four people. Along the way I had to be sure to leave those people enough room to maneuver so they could have been involved. Even after they’ve finished the book I get people saying that they still think one of the other characters is a bad guy, and why. And, maybe they’re right, I’m building a series of books so who’s to say what might play out in the long game.

Me  - I know your fans are anticipating the release of the sequel. Can you tell us what the premise of this novel is going to be and what the time frame is for its release?

NS - It picks up straight after the first book, with the same team of detectives but on a new case. This time though, unlike the first book where events took place over the course of about48 hours, this story unfolds over a week or so. But it brings events from the past, involving links to one of the detectives, right up to the present day. Unlike my first book which I mapped out in full, I’m just seeing how the story unfolds this time. But what I can say is that there’s a sniper on the loose in Manhattan, he’s picking off seemingly innocent bystanders, and there’s some key landmarks included just to allow people to relate to the landscape, even if they’ve never been to NYC. There’ll also be a shock or two along the way. I’m about half way through now and had hoped, in fact still do, to have it out before Christmas 2014. That very much depends on how quickly the story spills out of my head and how long the proofing and editing takes. If not Christmas 2014, then early spring 2015 should do it.

Me - Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers?

NS - I really enjoyed the process of writing my first novel and the whole publishing and promoting aspects. I’ve met some great people along the way and linked up with fellow writers, and readers to share experiences and grow as a writer. I just hope that, if I write it, you’ll like reading it, but not think too harshly of me if you don’t.

Me – Neil, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks for taking the time to share your story with my readers. For those of you interested in connecting with Neil and staying up to date with writing, please visit the links below.

Twitter: @neil_sten

Remember to support your indie authors and pick-up a copy of SavingCarrie.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Small Town Secrets (Chapter One - Excerpt)


Alex Taylor awoke to a stream of bright sunlight coming in through the half closed plastic blinds, of the living room window, in the small efficiency apartment in Penobscot, New Hampshire.
It was a sleepy little community, nestled among the rugged mountain ranges in the northern part of the state. It had a regular population of fewer than ten thousand residents, but those numbers had swollen to nearly fifteen thousand, now that summer had arrived, due to its location on Lake Moriah.
The lake was renowned for its bass fishing, hosting both state and national championships every year. Its proximity to Northern New Hampshire University also ensured that it was a summer mecca for students.
The small room smelled of stale cigarettes and whiskey, both of which presently occupied a space on the oak end table that doubled as a night stand when the sleeper couch was open. Directly under the front window an old wall mounted air conditioning unit struggled to keep the interior of the room cool, even as the late July temperatures outside steadily gained traction on the thermometer.
Even at six a.m. it was brutally hot and humid.
The apartment itself was located up on the second floor and was smaller than most of the other units. However, beggars couldn’t be choosers, especially at this time of the year. Finding an available house or apartment in Penobscot wasn’t exactly an easy affair. It depended more on who you knew or, more importantly, how you were related to them.
The sleeper couch occupied the majority of the front of the room and was positioned directly across from where an old 27” color TV sat on a faux oak entertainment center. A small kitchenette took up the other half. It came furnished with a 1950’s era chrome and Formica topped table along with two matching chairs with red vinyl seats. The bathroom was in the back, next to the rear door which led out onto a small wrought iron patio. It would be a couple of months before sitting outside would be a viable option.
Taylor rolled over and sat up with a groan, fighting the urge to go back to sleep. It would be a futile attempt as the alarm on the cell phone would be going off in a few minutes anyway. Still, it didn’t make it any easier to get up.
The half-finished bottle of scotch sitting next to the glass tumbler was far too appealing a target to pass up.
“Hair of the dog,” Taylor said and knocked back the freshly poured shot.
The feel of the cool liquid on the back of the throat quickly turned into a warming sensation. It felt good, in that old familiar sort of way. Taylor then reached over to grab the pack of cigarettes, tapping one out and lighting it, before drawing in the first breath deeply. 
Alex sat on the edge of the bed, letting the combination of the morning sun; whiskey and a cigarette achieve the process of waking up.
As appealing as the thought was of staying in bed, or finishing off the remainder of the bottle for that matter, this was an important new day. As if on cue, the cell phone began to chirp its exceedingly annoying alarm ring tone.
Alex crushed out the remains of the cigarette then got up and headed across the room, flipping the switch on the coffee maker, before going to the bathroom.
The apartment itself might have been uncomfortably small, but it did have one thing going for it, water pressure. Taylor stood under the spray, feeling the stinging sensation of the hot water.
After delaying the inevitable as long as possible it was time to turn the water off. Taylor stepped out of the shower and stood in front of the mirror which was now shrouded in moisture.  There was a threadbare washcloth on the counter which Alex used to wipe away the condensation and stood there looking into the mirror.
At thirty-seven years of age Alex Taylor was far from old, but the carefree days of youthful indiscretion were now only distant memories. Still, age had certainly been kind. This was a fact that took on much more significance when one considered the battle scars borne from having spent over a decade and a half in the rough and tumble world of law enforcement.
Taylor had started with the NYPD in 1995, spending most of that time as a police officer in Brooklyn North, one of the toughest proving grounds in New York City. Hell, for that matter, Brooklyn North was one of the toughest proving grounds in the entire United States. It was one of those places where you either survived or you were simply chewed up and spit out. It tested the mettle of the strongest men, let alone a lanky, wide eyed girl from the well-manicured lawns and white picket fences of suburban Long Island. 
Small Town Secrets
by Andrew G. Nelson

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Small Town Secrets (Teaser)

They all like to pretend that they’re so much different from the folks in the big cities, but they’re not. They have white washed houses with picket fences and everyone smiles and waves when you walk by. They talk about the virtues of faith, family and community. But their words ring hollow.

At the end of the day, when they close their doors and shut their blinds, they hide the same deep, dark secrets that everyone has. You see, you can change the location but you can’t change what is in a person’s heart.

Small Town Secrets - Anonymous

Coming - Summer 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Paranormal Author - Larry Wilson

I have a great update that I would like to share with everyone.

If you are interested in paranormal investigations, you are going to love this. Nancy and I have been honored to team up with noted paranormal investigator, Larry Wilson, to re-publish his two earlier books: Chasing Shadows and Echoes from the Grave.

Of all places, we met Larry at the gym. He and I used to talk about Baseball. Then one day his dear wife, Kathy, mentioned that he was an author as well. That chance conversation led to several talks about self-publishing and Larry asking us if we would help him to re-publish his older items and help him with his forthcoming third book.

Most of you know that I am retired from the NYPD and spent twenty years doing criminal investigations and chasing bad guys. Well, I have to tell you that Larry Wilson is the real deal on the paranormal side of investigations. He spent a decade as a private investigator, before turning his attention to the paranormal realm. To be honest, the man has cojones of steel, because you couldn't pay me to do what he does. In the course of our discussions he has shared some of what has gone on during some of these investigations and it is not for the faint of heart.

I have never been a skeptic, but I have been quite skeptical of some of the other purported paranormal investigators.  I can tell you that I truly believe that Larry Wilson is 100% legitimate. Nancy and I would not have gotten involved in this undertaking if we didn't unconditionally believe him.

If you are interested in learning more, Larry has a website (click the banner below) where you can stay up to date with the most recent goings on. You can also connect with him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

We will also be doing updates regarding the re-release of his prior books as well as his forthcoming one.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Summer Reading Promo

With the summer vacation in full swing, I have decided to giveaway the Amazon Kindle version of Perfect Pawn for only $0.99.

This offer won't last long, so please tell your friends and family to act soon. A great summer mystery / suspense read.

Here are what some of the reviewers are saying:

"Amazing!! Knowing that the author uses his knowledge and experience makes this the best read! I can't wait for the next"

"The book had me hooked and it read very easily. I had a strong emotional reaction to the characters."

"An intense action driven novel with enough twists and turns through it to keep the reader very alert and attached."

"The opening scene hooked me and then I became engaged by not one but two great protagonists."

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a safe, happy and blessed 4th of July. As we enjoy our time with family and friends this day, let us never forget the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf.

To the airmen (and women), marines, sailors and soldiers, on behalf of a grateful nation: 
Thank you & God bless !

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Plugging Along - July 2014 Update

I hope everyone's summer is off to a great start.

Things here have been going rather well. I am about 2/3 finished with the 3rd book in the James Maguire series. It will be another roller coaster ride. I always know when I am in a good writing place when I finish a chapter and think to myself: wow.......

However, writing can be a difficult thing. Sometimes the words just seem to flow easily; other times, not so much. There have been a few days where I have just had to close the laptop and walk away. You can't force the moment. The worst thing you can do is find yourself in a position where you are just writing for the sake of writing. Then you get caught in the old 'garbage in, garbage out' scenario.

This new book finds Maguire dealing with even more twists and turns. In addition to having to deal with recent events, we find that the world is still not a very happy and secure place. The threat of terrorism is still ever present and now he must contend with a hate crime that threatens to rip apart the very heart of the city. But things are never as they seem.

Who do you trust in a game that everyone is trying to win?

Happy Summer Reading !!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Reading - Perfect Pawn $0.99 & Giveaway !!

I thought it was only fitting that I kick off the start of Summer 2014 with a giveaway raffle to jump start the beach reading season !! 
Starting today June 21st you will be able to get the e-book (kindle) version of Perfect Pawn for only $0.99 !! In addition, if you post a review on Amazon, you will be entered into a drawing, hosted by Rafflecopter, to win an autographed copy of Queen's Gambit.

See below for entry details !!  Good Luck !!

Perfect Pawn
By Andrew G. Nelson

Patricia Ann Browning didn’t see the deer standing in the middle of the road until it was too late, not that it would have mattered.

For retired NYPD Detective, James Maguire, the pieces of his life were finally starting to fall into place. He was running his own lucrative private security firm catering to Fortune 500 companies and had just met Melody Anderson, a highly successful business woman from Long Island's posh enclave of Southampton. Everything, it seemed, was looking up. That was until the morning newscast reported that his former high school flame was missing from a one car accident on a rural country road in upstate New York.

Arriving back in his old hometown Maguire must come to terms, not only with his past, but the fact that no one seems interested in pursuing the investigation into Patricia Browning's disappearance, including the missing woman’s husband, the local sheriff. 

As Maguire struggles to put the clues together in time, he is drawn deeper into a game where people are as expendable as pieces in a chess game and the only goal is to take down the king.

A crown Maguire unwittingly wears. 

Win one of 2 (two) Autographed copies of Queen’s Gambit, 

the Sequel to Perfect Pawn !

Have you read Perfect Pawn? If so, you could win an autographed copy of the sequel, Queen’s Gambit, just by posting a review. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter, here’s how it works:

How to enter the Perfect Pawn reader/reviewer contest:

1. Read Perfect Pawn (Starting June 21st, 2014 and continuing through midnight Thursday, June 26th, the e-book version (Kindle) will be available for purchase for only 99 cents -- after that it goes up to $3.99).

2. Post a review of the book on Amazon by July 7th – and enter a link to your review on the Rafflecopter widget below.

3. Each review gets an entry into the drawing. To gain additional entries, and increase your chances of winning, post a review on Goodreads, and/or Like myFacebook Page, and leave the links. You will receive one additional entry for EACH review, but remember that posting on Amazon is the qualifier for entering the contest.

4. What if you read it and you don’t enjoy it? Then what? Post your honest review anyway. It's a gamble I'm willing to take. So, don't forget the date: July 7th, 2014 is the deadline! I’ll announce the winner on my blog, FB, and Twitter accounts on July 8th, 2014.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Musings from the Midwest (Summer 2014 Update)

First let me wish everyone a Happy Summer !!

Yes, I am technically two days early, but with the way things have been here lately, I might be two weeks behind next time.

While my posts lately may not have been as consistent as I would have liked, that does not mean that I was 'slacking off'. No, far from it.

In mid May we attended the 2014 National Police Collectors Show in Cleveland, Ohio. While I was there I had an opportunity to do a signing of both Perfect Pawn and Queen's Gambit. It was nice meeting all those who stopped by our table and discussed the book.

Once we got returned home it was back to writing. I am happy to say that I am well over 50% done with the third installment of the James Maguire series.

Additionally, a new book titled: Small Town Secrets, will be debuting shortly. For my Christian County friends, sorry to disappoint, but it will not be a 'tell all' book. Although I think this will probably evoke a sense of relief to many...... To those outside the area, sorry it is an inside joke.

We are extremely excited about this book. It was originally intended to be a short story that I could use as a filler between Maguire novels. However, as the story line progressed, the characters took on a life of their own. In the end, they were too fun to write and so the the 'short story' became a full length novel. While the characters fit into the Maguire 'world', they are their own entities.

In the beginning of June, Nancy and I brainstormed on the sequel to Small Town Secrets. This collaboration led to an incredible story line and I have to tell you that I am extremely excited to begin working on this sequel. We even took the opportunity to head to the Kill Devil Hills / Nags Head, N.C. area for some hands on research. If you have never been there, I highly recommend it !!

So there you have it. Now it is time for me to get back to writing. Hope you enjoy the summer and that you will recommend Perfect Pawn and Queen's Gambit to all your friends !!

Stay tuned for news about the release of Small Town Secrets.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A LITERARY AFFAIR - Book Signing (Taylorville, Il.)

          TAYLORVILLE – “A Literary Affair,” featuring four area authors, will be presented from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3 at Dana’s Book Exchange on the north side of the historic Taylorville Square.

            The public is invited to meet the authors, who will display, sell and sign new releases and other books in their first joint effort.

            Each author focuses on a distinctive creative force, from the gritty streets of New York City to the heartland’s Abraham Lincoln.

            Complimentary refreshments will be provided.

            Participating will be:

·         Andrew G. Nelson, Edinburg. The retired New York City police sergeant
has released his second novel, Queen’s Gambit A sequel to his debut Perfect
Pawn, his new book realistically continues the perilous adventures of retired Big Apple detective James Maguire.

·         Pam Stone, Mechanicsburg. The author will present two children’s books
that celebrate real-life family experiences, including encounters with a turtle. Titles are Oscar’s Adventures in the Woods and The Watermelon Party.
Stone has worked in the media, insurance and marketing fields.

·         Carol Alexander, Taylorville. The second edition of her 2013 book, The Big
Squeal, will debut at the event. Endorsed by famous historian Doris Kearns
Goodwin, the books tell the true story of Lincoln vs. courthouse pigs. The expanded new edition takes a kid-friendly look at the Eighth Judicial Circuit
that prepared Lincoln for the presidency.

·         Courtney Michel, Glenarm. A state of Illinois employee, Michel has written
a collection of romance novels., She is the mother of three boys and attended Eastern Illinois University.

For more information, call bookstore proprietor Dana Frasier at 287-7888 or
Alexander at 824-2194. Authors are available for interviews and programs.