FREE BOOK AND GUEST POST: On Fathers and Sons by Drexel Deal

Posted by Ryder Islington, author of Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, and coming in the spring of 2015: Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to author Drexel Deal, who has written a book about young men who end up in gangs, and in prison, and how the absence of a father figure multiplies this phenomenon. Below you’ll also find links to two short videos as well as access to a free chapter, and also a way to get a FREE E-COPY of the book.

And now, meet Drexel Deal:

Guest Post: On Fathers and Sons

Have you ever wondered why some students find it difficult to focus on their school work, even though they have the potential to do better?  Do you want to know what is the major home condition that produces at risk youth? Do you want to know what is the major condition that gives birth to violent street gangs? Have you ever tried to figure out, how prisons convert youngsters into remorseless monsters?

The answers and more for the above behaviors, can be found in my book entitled: The Fight of My Life is Wrapped up in My Father.  This book is a candid and riveting portrait about the birth of the Rebellion Raiders, which was the largest street gang ever in the history of The Bahamas. Why were so many young men and myself drawn to this gang? How did we go from innocence to menacing and from youngsters to monsters?

As you would discover in your reading, this book go way beyond me just sharing my testimony; rather, it’s an experience of a life time. With more than 12 years of researching and studying why young people go astray, this book possess a vast data base of real life stories or teachable moments that is second to none. They will provide your blog readers with a reference base of proven solutions in addressing problematic youth, that are all base on Biblical principles. These stories not only entertain and fascinate the reader, but they also sharpen existing skills which is the true purpose of storytelling!

Thus, the central theme of this book is prevention, by making parents and others aware of the many real life pit falls and ditches that await a problematic  child: some of which are impossible to climb out from. My book takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride, where I wrap the lessons, the warnings and the principles in short entertaining and unforgettable stories.

I guess this is why the former Assistant Commissioner of Police Hulan Hanna, of the Royal Bahamas Police Force can say that my story is: “Wonderful, fascinating and one that resonates with young people.”

You can read chapter one free at this link:

Keep reading to learn how to receive a free e-copy of

The Fight of My Life is Wrapped up in My Father

What makes my book so unique?

When I set out to write my first book I was not interested in writing about my life on the streets. Rather, I was interested in learning, why did I and so many other thousands of young men went astray? Thus I have been fortunate to sit down with individuals who were once my rivals, these are individuals whom I shot before and those I attempted to shoot. I have also sat down with those who shot me and those who attempted to kill me: one of them I even dub to be the godfather of
street gangs in The Bahamas. However, during my interviews with these individuals even though blind, I discovered that we all shared the same upbringing, the same home conditions and the same abandonment/ rejection by our fathers.

More importantly, I continue to discover through my research and interviews with gang leaders, drug dealers and death row inmates that we were all preventable. We were the disconnected children who rebelled, even though we lived in different areas and were apart of different gangs: we all were the first generation of the rebellions in The Bahamas.

I have also been fortunate to interview educators such as Mr. Charles Chuck Mackey [former VP and respected coach of R. M. Bailey Senior High School.] As well as Mrs. Vinita Curtis now deceased, a former primary school teacher for more than 28 years. Not to mention, one of the top school psychologists in The Bahamas, Ms. Daynette Gardiner from the Lyford Cay School. A long with police officers, youth pastors and psychologists.

See why a lot of people are talking about this candid youtube interview:

 Have you ever wondered what are the REAL ROOT causes for violent

crimes? Please see this telling YouTube video below:

To receive a free copy of:

The Fight of My Life is Wrapped up in My Father

contact author Drexel Deal:
You can also learn more about Drexel at his website:

Testimonials and Reviews:

Good morning Mr. Deal:
I purchased your book at Chapter one about a month ago and although I
have not had time to complete it, I can tell you it is one of the most
honest, insightful and empowering books that I have ever read.
I would love to arrange for you to come and speak to our youth at
The Red Cross After-care centre on Blue Hill Road if you had the time
to do so.
Many thanks,

Shelagh Pritchard
Chairperson of Lignum Vitae Centre
Monday, September 29th 2014

Good day Mr. Drexel Deal:
This book The Fight of My Life Is Wrapped up in My Father is indeed
a well written, comprehensive, and intriguing composition. I truly
enjoyed reading this book and it was extremely hard for me to put it
down. This book definitely gave me much better prospective regarding
delinquent and violent teens. Mr. Deal you were very good in providing
the historical background of gangs in Nassau, Bahamas as well as the
importation of illegal firearms. I liked your style of writing and how
you presented the information in a clear and meticulous manner with
solid references and great research.

I would recommend this book especially to male teenagers as well as
parents to give them a better understanding of why teens rebel at
times and the actions one would need to take to provide crucial
assistance in such times.

I truly enjoyed this book and can’t wait for your next book.
When are you releasing the second part of this book?
Thanks much and keep up the good work and may the Lord God Almighty
keep you safe and bless you immensely in Jesus name Amen!

Javon Johnson/
Tuesday, May 13th 2014

Hello Mr. Deal.
I finally got around to purchasing your book online and spent my
evening reading it to the end.

Your book also finally explained to me the shift I noticed in this
society in the early 90s. I graduated high school in 1988 and in the
early 90s began seeing young men with grimaces on their faces acting
the fool, most likely because they were strapped. I remember the
incident you talk about which occurred at Junkanoo. I was there.

The Junkanoo incident is memorable because it was the first time that
my eyes were opened to the menace of the gang culture. At the time I
didn’t know what or who the Rebellions were but I remember the shock
and fear that went through the crowd. My friends and I ended up
leaving that part of the parade route all together. When I read your
account of that night, I get chills because I and my friends didn’t
realize the danger.

I became a stenographer in 1996 and as I sat in court listening to
case after case against young men from over the hill communities, I
couldn’t figure out for the life of me why so many of our young men
were entering and remaining in the system. They were so young. They
seemed to revel in the fact that they caught a case. Some days in
court one young man would have up to 30 armed robbery cases against
him. During the breaks, I would talk with them. I realized that they
weren’t necessarily evil people, just lost and caught up in thugging.
I didn’t kid myself though because I knew that if they had the
opportunity I would and could be a target.

You are correct that what we experienced and are experiencing as a
nation is due to absent fathers and tolerant, poor mothers creating
lives for children where abuse and deprivation take a toll on the
psyche of the children. But what I wanted to point out to you is that
our young ladies are angry too, and for the very same reason that our
young men are angry – absent fathers, poor struggling mothers who lack
the skills to raise fully socialized children. Poverty is a major
factor. But so is the poor decision making of our females.

There must be a solution, of course, and my prayer is that the women
of this country get the message that they have the power to change
allot of what is wrong.

Be at peace.
Odecca Gibson
Senior Staff Attorney at Bahamar
Friday, July 11th 2014

Hello Drexel,
Awesome. A riveting story of Real Life. I am touched by just reading
what you shared. It’s a compelling book that you just can’t stop
reading. A must read for All: young and old, male and female. You need
to tell the world this story.

Colyn Major
College counselor at the College of The Bahamas
Friday, August 8th 2014

Hi Mr. Deal,
I purchase a copy of your book which I think should be made available
to reach all of the young men/women in all of the schools in The
Bahamas. It is quite inspiring!!
Wishing you much success in all of your endeavours. I recently (3
weeks ago) lost my mother (who was both mother and father) to me and
my siblings.

May God continue to richly bless you and your family!

Lynne Hanna
Executive Assistant at Clipper Group [Management] Ltd.
Tuesday, September 2nd 2014

Mr. Deal
I am a prison sergeant and when you came up to the prison a few months
ago to present your book. You were being led by Mr. Carlos Reid. I was
told who you were and when you left I was given your book by Miss
Sweeting the education officer at the prison. I open the book and
begin to read it and could not put it down for some reason. You got my
attention from the start from your first robbery to you finding out
your father was not your real father, you also talk about the

Rebellions and when you went to Junkanoo with the brothers. Some parts
of the book you had me in stitches but most of all you open my eyes to
the real world. God Bless you Mr. Deal and I hope others get the
chance to read the book because I can’t wait on the next one to be publish.

Sergeant Gregory Williams, of Her Majesty Prison
Tuesday, June 3rd 2014

This last review comes from an American inmate from Her Majesty Prison, who has since been released…

Dear Mr. Deal,
My name is Kenneth Wayne Smith and I have just now finished
reading your very insightful book, The Fight of My Life Is Wrapped Up
In My Father.

I am presently remanded in H.M.P Fox Hill South Wing Cell H-12.
My journey which led me to be here is different than yours, although a
gun and some very poor decisions by me put me here.  I am a Yachty as
I am referred to here who was traveling through the Bahamas out to
fulfill a lifelong dream.  I did not declare my weapon when clearing
customs as I was traveling with one for the first time and just plain
forgot I had it.

The series of events that unfolded in Nassau began
with a domestic issue with my girl who suffers from Bi-Polar disease.
During one of her episodes she hailed the police, informed them of my
weapon onboard and sent my life spiraling out of control.  My personal
nightmare is how I describe it.

But this is not the reason for my letter.
God tells us everything happens for a reason.  Well I believe he
does.  And although I believe and pray and try to live by the Golden
Rules, I am not as well versed in the Bible as you seem to be.  Life
is a journey and I will learn along the way.  My reason for writing is
to thank you for sharing your experiences in life and giving me
insight into the Bahamian culture and the reasons children are drawn
to the gang mentality.  I agree with your analogies completely.

As I am sure you well know this place.   I guess we can call it a
place but certainly not a place I would ever want to return to.  Yet I
am compelled to try and make a difference in the lives of my fellow
inmates.  It’s extremely hard to ignore the inhumanity that goes on
here, especially for someone who is from a middle class family who
grew up in the Boston, MA., USA area with a complete family unit and
also at the age of 57.

I will say the boating life has somewhat prepared me to deal with
the small confined areas maybe better than most. The secret for me so
far is to block out my outside life (very difficult) and live in my
surroundings but most importantly reading. So after 26 days here I
believe I have found the path to receiving books for myself but most
importantly some of the other inmates.

It started when my lawyer brought me a book while I waited in the holding
cell for court at Central Police Station. When I returned to Fox Hill Prison
It was taken away and I was told my lawyer should know better than to give me
a book. Nothing comes in unless it clears proper channels. LOL.

Anyway, I asked the P.O. again nicely. He looked it over and handed
it back to me. That book lasted me 3 days and supplied me with 3 days
of “Roadtime”, the term used here for Freedom. I noticed during my
time in the Court holding cell 2 or 3 inmates had shown interest in
what I was reading.

One was clearly illiterate but fortunately this
book had some pictures and a map so I showed him where the adventure
took place then showed him the pictures. He later wanted to share his
lunch with me. I have found the Bahamians I have met since being
remanded are very giving souls willing to share what they have with
me, a white boy from Boston, and it has been most appreciated for this
“Fish out of Water”, as a guard referred to me.

I started my quest to get books to read not just for me but for
everyone who wanted to read as I had been continually asked if they
could read my book when I was done. I passed it down the Block and
after 2 weeks I have received 2 thank yous.

I then started to ask the officers for another book, anything I
said, “Sure, see what I can do”. Days went by. I continued to ask at
any opportunity. Not easy when locked down 23 1/2 hrs a day, 4 days a
week and 24 hrs a day, 3 days a week, except on holiday you get an
extra lockdown day.

Then at exercise I asked the officers outside at
their desk, 3 or 4 higher up officers, if there was a library. “Oh
sure”, “Could I get a book?”, “What kind of book?”, “History,
non-fiction, adventure, anything”. I was overheard by the officer in
charge of the library. “I will get you a book, what cell are you in?”
“H-12”. So that afternoon a book shows up but it was some book about
gang members without fathers, written by someone called Drexel Deal?

Well so much for history, non-fiction, adventure. But I said I will
read anything right! So read it I did and it was everything I asked
for. Although not the adventure story I was seeking but none the less
a good read written from a true experience. The next day I thanked
the officer and also asked if he had read the book? The answer was,
no, but they all talked about how you were here and such. So I told
them about what I had read and shared some of the quotes you used.

My favorite is the Nelson Mandella quote about the judging of nations by
their prisons. Another was Jesse Jackson’s, of children needing your
presence more than presents. They all looked around and agreed then
one asked “where can I get copy of that book”? I told him he could
swing by H-12 and I would lend him my copy. We laughed. Then I told
them I believed the officer in charge of the library said you left some
copies behind.

I then went on to share how there was much interest around the block of
books and would it be possible for some of the other guys to get a book.
“Hmmm? We’ll see”. About 3 hours later, 3 large boxes of books
showed up at our cell. “You can pick first White Boy, sign the book” – O.k.
Then another guy in my cell stepped up to select a book. And so it went down
the line, cell after cell as each cell signed out a book.

I smiled and prayed this becomes the norm and the books are treated properly.
My cellmate has been telling me all day what a good book he chose and which
chapter he was on. I smiled again, happy for him. I will pass your book onto
the officer and hope he reads it too!

So maybe I have found my calling for now to help Fox Hill turn
out a more literate, open minded, better educated person. Maybe one
of these books will open up the mind of a lost soul and show them
there is a better way to go about life then to sit and rot in Fox

Put their past behind them and create a brighter future for
their families, their sons & daughters and themselves. And, hopefully
we can end this curse of the broken family unit and turn things around
so we may all benefit and learn to live together as free, proud,
citizens watching our children grow to men in a safe, happy

God Bless,

Kenneth Wayne Smith 

Cell H-12 Fox Hill

University of Yamacraw
P. S. I would of e-mailed this, but the internet is down here.
Ho-Ho-Ho!  Looking forward to Book 2.

My Favorite Things Blog Tour!

Posted by Ryder Islington, Author of Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, and coming soon: Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

I’m so pleased to have met Kylie Betzner, and to be included in is fun blog tour. Our goal is to introduce you to our writing by telling you our favorite things about something we’ve written. To see more Favorite Things Tour participants, check out Kylie Betzner’s blog at:

and also:

Jennifer Conway at

And now, here’s some of My Favorite Things

Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery was my first published book. It came out in June of 2011 and book two, Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, is in the final stages of preparation for release. Though the main character of these books is Special Agent Trey Fontaine, they are told in several points of view, including those of the antagonists.


Ultimate Justice lg


It seems that some evil force had moves into the small town of Raven Bayou, Louisiana. It is brimming with dead bodies. FBI special agent Trey Fontaine realizes that a lot of the bodies turn out to be men who were child molesters, rapists, wife beaters and murderers. Someone seems to think it’s okay to take the law into their own hands. But is it evil to put a stop to molestation, rape, beatings and murder?

Can Trey Fontaine bring a halt to the violence? He has always followed the rules, worked within the system. He’s a straight shooter, a stickler for working within the parameters of the law. When the truth is revealed, will he be able to maintain his professional integrity? Or will doing the right thing be more important?


This seems like a strange exercise, sharing my feelings about my book. It’s so much easier to let the work speak. As I contemplated this post, it was hard to decide on a favorite scene, character and quote. Then I opened the book and read the prologue and the answer was obvious.


One of my favorite characters is Wile, a seven year old boy who has been abused. He hates school, loves cheeseburgers, and has two siblings who are his best friends, fifteen year old Drew, and twelve year old Rocky. The three are inseparable, and Wile is the leader of this little pack.

Wile grew up in a small town in southwest Louisiana. His daddy had a quick temper and didn’t bother using his hands for discipline if there was a hose or a board around. Wile knows what ‘mean’ is and what it feels like to be in its path. Now he takes great pleasure in redirecting the path of ‘mean.’


One of my favorite Wile quotes reflects his sense of humor as well as the depth of his pain, though until you see it in context, you won’t understand it. Here it is:

“He ain’t lying. Daddy taught Rocky how to hunt ’em, skin ’em and dress ’em, and he’s real good at it. He can even tan the hides,” I said.

Now that you know a little about Wile and have heard his voice, check out the scene below.


“You know what to do,” I whispered.

Drew moved toward him slow and slinky-like, and unbuttoned the top of her sleeveless shirt and smiled. “Hey, handsome.”

He turned and looked over his shoulder. His lips smiled but the rest of his face didn’t. He didn’t have time to bat an eye before I stepped out in front of Drew. My foot hit his ribs and knocked him over. That kind of kick would make me a super star, if I was playing soccer.

“Surprise,” I said. I whupped up on him. He rolled onto his back and a grunt whooshed outta his mouth. His evil eyes stared right at me and I saw fear skip through ’em before the mad started to show.

He looked bumfuzzled clear through.

The man was big. I’d end up sorry if I didn’t do something fast. I landed on him and shoved the knife in deep. He bled like a stuck hog. His arms fell away, and his eyes scrunched up with pain and a look I didn’t know. Maybe he was confused, or scared. Ever what it was, it served him right. And ever what plans he had weren’t gonna happen.

Blood covered my left hand. “Warm. Velvety.”

Drew got on her knees next to the girl, but she didn’t move. She was all still and asleep. She looked sorta dead. The girl’s skin looked too white and her long hair tangled into a halo around her head. Drew cuddled the girl up into her lap and talked real soft like. She’s pretty good with kids. She’s sorta like a little kid inside and she kinda knows how it feels to be scared. She ran her fingers over the girl’s forehead.

We seen good mamas do that when their babies got sick.

I picked up a rag and sniffed it. “Smells of a dentist office.” I looked at Drew. “We can’t leave things like this. If she wakes up and finds him bleeding and looking kinda dead, she’ll feel more scared than ever.” Besides, I had a special surprise in the truck for him.

A dog barked.

“Grab a leg,” I told Rocky, and we pulled the man deeper into the woods. For three scrawny kids, we did okay. Noises stopped us. We stood still, trying to be super quiet, but we huffed and puffed so hard we scared our own selves. We decided faster was better, even if somebody might hear us.

Sweat ran down my back as we dragged the man over old leaves and tree roots until we found a place to rest a minute. “Go bring the truck down the ole’ dirt road off the highway,” I told Drew. She’s the oldest and she’s got another year till she gets her license, but she always takes us places.

Another yap from the dog and I knew it was near where we left the little girl. A sissy scream blasted through the trees. I stopped, breathing hard, listening.

A man’s voice.

And a woman’s.

She kinda cried.

The dog whined.

More crunching leaves. They found her.

Rocky smiled and I reckoned we thought the same thing. He squatted by the man’s head. “Daddy was a hunter. He taught me how to handle animals,” he whispered, his first finger layin’ against the dull side of the blade, just short of the gut hook.

“He ain’t lying. Daddy taught Rocky how to hunt ’em, skin ’em and dress ’em, and he’s real good at it. He can even tan the hides,” I said.

The man didn’t respond. He weren’t gonna. He was sleeping, peaceful like. We dragged him up close to the dirt road on the other side of the woods. When Rocky finished with him, people would know the man was bad. Rocky had a way of making wickedness spill right out in plain sight.

As you can see, Wile is damaged. But he has a good heart. He’s just a little boy who has decided there are a lot of bad men in the world who mistreat women and children, and it’s time to do something about it. Maybe the next time you feel anger or a need for revenge, you should remember Wile. Sometimes those feelings can lead to unexpected results.

Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery is available in paperback and as an ebook and is available through online resources as well as brick-and-mortar stores. Below is a buy link for

BOOK BLAST: Vacant by Alex Hughes

Posted by Ryder Islington, Author of Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, and coming next spring, Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery.

Book Details:

Genre: Science Fiction / Mystery-Thriller

Published by: Penguin (Roc)

Publication Date: December 2, 2014

Number of Pages: 352

ISBN: 0451466942

Series: Mindspace Investigation, #4

More: This Book Contains Excessive Strong Language

Purchase Links:



Nothing ruins a romantic evening like a brawl with lowlifes—especially when one of them later turns up dead and my date, Detective Isabella Cherabino, is the #1 suspect. My history with the Atlanta PD on both sides of the law makes me an unreliable witness, so while Cherabino is suspended, I’m paying my bills by taking an FBI gig.

I’ve been hired to play telepathic bodyguard for Tommy, the ten-year-old son of a superior court judge in Savannah presiding over the murder trial of a mob-connected mogul. After an attempt on the kid’s life, the Feds believe he’s been targeted by the businessman’s “associates.”

Turns out, Tommy’s a nascent telepath, so I’m trying to help him get a handle on his Ability. But it doesn’t take a mind reader to see that there’s something going on with this kid’s parents that’s stressing him out more than a death threat…


Read an excerpt:


A sea of thoughts crashed into me like a tsunami, chaos given form with impossible force. I focused only on the back of Isabella’s sweatshirt, as I followed her through the crowds, past the food on the outside rim of Phillips Arena.

She finally moved into one of the alcoves with the big sign–A something and a number. My eyes were in slits, focused only on her to block out all those damn minds. She stopped against the concrete wall, pulling me a bit out of the way. The crowd pushed against my shoulder periodically anyway, bursts of particular minds striking mine as their bodies ran into my shoulder.

She said something.


“This was a terrible idea,” Isabella said, in the tone of someone repeating themselves. “You’re not…”

“It’s fine,” I said, through gritted teeth. “You paid all the money for the tickets, You begged me to come. We’re here. Let’s see the show.”

“But–” Isabella waffled. Isabella Cherabino was a senior homicide detective for the DeKalb County Police Department, and as such was normally decisive. She must have had strong emotions about this concert, which I’d know if I wasn’t spending every spare bit of my energy shielding against the crush of minds all around me. There were times when telepathy was more of a curse than a blessing.

“It’s okay,” I said. It wasn’t, of course, but I was here, damn it. Might as well get through this.

She pulled me further down the hall, and waved our tickets again at new people, who pointed her down a set of stairs. I followed, one step behind her, entire vision focused on the back of her shirt.

The ancient twice-remodeled stadium hosted hockey games, so it wasn’t exactly gorgeous, and the floating screens overhead looked like they’d fall down at any time. The whole place smelled like fried food and beer, old beer, but that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was the people. Maybe a hundred thousand people were jostling and yelling and talking and thinking around me, loudly. Their mental waves in Mindspace, groups upon groups of thin, normal mind-waves, added up to an ocean of force that overwhelmed all of my senses.

She found our seats and pushed me into mine. I gripped the ancient wooden armrests with shaking hands.

I had no idea how she’d talked me into this. Telepaths did not like crowds. I hadn’t had to deal with this level of overwhelming mental force since my final testing, more than twenty years ago now, and I strained under the pressure like a piano suspended over a cartoon character’s head. I swallowed, forcing myself against it.

My old teacher’s voice in my head reminded me that strength didn’t always get the job done, no matter how manly it felt at the time. Sometimes you had to be the duck, and swim with the current while the rain slipped off your back. I tried that, focusing on moving through the pressure cleanly rather than blocking it. A surfer on the edge of the sea, pushed along but not fighting. It helped, but only some.

Then Isabella reached over and took my hand, and warm feelings leavened with a little guilt rolled up my arm.

“Thank you for coming, Adam,” she said, quietly. With the physical connection I could feel her even through my shielding.

And I looked over, and remembered why I’d come. I was with her.

Isabella was a beautiful woman with strong Italian features, thick, slightly-curly hair she usually wore up, and a curvy body well worth a second look. She was a few years younger than me at just-forty, had a black belt in something Asian and deadly, and was one of the smartest people I knew. Her sense of justice in working with the police had been one of the things that had kept me on the wagon these last four years.

er strength of character and huge work ethic had been an inspiration for far longer.

It was impossible for me to believe that she was willing to date me; I’d been in love with her for years, and even though I couldn’t say it out loud yet, and even though we hadn’t had sex–she hadn’t been willing to make the nearly-permanent commitment sex with a telepath implied–we were dating. Four months and change now. And she’d been falling asleep in my arms nearly as long. She’d even filled out the official relationship form with the department, calling me boyfriend in plain text where anyone could read it. It was a miracle, as far as I was concerned.

So if I had to stand in the middle of the worst press of minds in my life, I would. I’d do nearly anything for her.

After ten minutes or so, the lights dimmed and the crowd roared. The minds roared too, pressing against my consciousness like a hand squeezing a tube of toothpaste with the lid still on–like that lid, I felt under pressure, impossibly strained. I wondered whether I’d really be able to survive this.

The screens came on, and the image of the aging rock musician Cherabino liked came on in a still photograph. Then the image fractured to be replaced by the concert logo. The crowd roared, and Mindspace trembled with pressure and interacting minds. Only two hours until it was over. She’d spent a fortune on the tickets, I told myself.

A manufactured smell–of volcanic gas, engine oil, and ozone–flooded the stadium, and the roaring of the crowd grew louder. Then the lights dimmed, green spotlights flooded the empty stage floor in front of us. The smell of deep woods added to the mix in the air, growing things and moss and sunlight cutting through the darker smells of civilization. The smell came back to me from the minds around me, lessening the pressure with pure sensation.

A trapdoor opened in the middle of the stage, and a figure was slowly raised into the green light. The rocker’s peaked hair caught the light with glitter and phantom holograms, and the clothes were not much better, tight-fitting to a fault, glittering. She slung her spiky guitar in front of her body, and strummed.

The noise filled the stadium and every mind in it, shaking our seats with pure sound. Isabella next to me was transfixed, her focus coming through between our psychic link.

The minds around me echoed back the sound of the opening bars of the song, echoed back the lights now turning red as the rocker screamed about dropping bombs, about bursting minds in the sixty-year-ago Tech Wars. And as she quieted, and sungintense notes about a child growing up in a shattered city, every mind in the place cried with her.

I dropped my shields, dropped them entirely, and pulled my hand away from Isabella.

“What?” she said.

“Shh,” I said. The band was rising up at the back of the stage on more platforms from the floor, the lights ramping up, but I didn’t care. I closed my eyes.

The music swelled in screams again, drums coming in, and the beat fell into the minds of the crowd, rising too. The vision of what was happening on stage came through a thousand minds, an overlapping kaleidoscope vision of one idea, one experience, one moment. And it continued. It continued.

No one was here who didn’t love this band. No one paid who didn’t live for this moment. And here, in the middle of all of it, I felt like a feather flying in the wind, a glider sailing on the sea of emotional high. The music swelled again, and my heart with it. Sound and vision and fury and a thousand happy minds crashed into me, and I breathed them in. I breathed them in.

Some time later, the world dissipated into a sea of clapping, and I came back to myself. I built shields, slowly, to block out the Mindspace now fracturing into chaos. The pressure, the unpleasantness returned, and I returned to laboring against it, but left in my mind was that one, pure note, the note that had started it all.

Isabella poked me.

“What?” I said, reluctantly opening my eyes.

“I said, did you like it?”

“That was… that was great,” I said. It was the understatement of the century.

“Are you okay?” she asked. Then she got that facial expression where she wondered if she needed to call Swartz, my Narcotics Anonymous sponsor. “You look… high.”

“Just the concert,” I said. I stood then; someone pushed by on their way to the aisle. “Can we hang around until most of the people are gone?” I asked. I’d rather not deal with all those minds wanting so desperately to get out of here; I was already feeling the edge of that flight response and didn’t want it intensified.

“Sure,” she said, but she looked at me suspiciously.

As another couple moved out of the row, squeezing in front of us, I realized I had to make an effort at conversation now. I really wanted to sit down and process what I’d just experienced–something I’d never, in my forty years, even dreamed of–but this was Isabella.

“What did you think of the ballad about the miniature giraffe?” I asked her.

“That was hilarious,” she said, still looking suspicious. But she sat down, and I sat down, and as people moved out of the old stadium like ants and strange smells moved through the system, we talked.

After awhile she was even smiling.

I’d done well tonight, I thought to myself. But at the back of my brain, I wondered. Did I really need something else in my life that was that… addictive?


We waited over an hour, until the majority of the minds had left. When we walked out of the arena building, it was dark, and the street was nearly deserted, just a few clusters of people here and there. Our breath fogged in the late-February air, the winter on its last greedy weeks of cold. Bioengineered trees with luminescent glowing orbs illuminated the sidewalk in dim blue light that stretched farther than you thought it should, beautiful and simple, feeling artificial and natural all at once. They held up well to the cold, I noticed, as I huddled in my jacket a little deeper.

A small group of guys stood about a hundred feet away, their body language tense and confrontational. Cherabino’s hand moved towards the gun on her waist she wasn’t carrying.

Then one guy yelled, and the group turned inward. The dull slap of repeated fist-blows hit the air.

Cherabino considered whether to get involved.

I turned—but it was too late. A man stood there, at least fifty-five and thin. He was short for a man, balding, with dark skin that caught up blue highlights from the bioluminescent streetlight. In Mindspace, his presence had wiry strength and desperation mixed. He held a pole as tall as himself, maybe fifty t-shirts hooked into loops on the pole, shirts with a cheaply-copied logo of the band we’d just seen.

“Buy a shirt. Just ten ROCs,” he said, but his tone was angry.

“No thanks,” I said.

“Keep moving, sir,” Cherabino said, a little of her cop voice leaking into her speech, moving towards a defensive stance.

Another guy came up, behind us, one of the ones from the group who’d been fighting. The others held back, working out their aggression, close to leaving. I moved around to look at him.

“Buy a shirt or my buddy and I have something to say.”

“No way those are official shirts,” I said. “You’re stealing from the artist.”

I felt the first guy’s decision, but Cherabino was already moving.

Pain from behind me. Cherabino in judo mode.

The buddy charged me. I went to get a grip on his mind—and failed.

He punched me in the jaw. I saw stars, and my legs went out from underneath me.

I blinked up, trying to get my bearings, but he kicked me. I whimpered. Not the most manly moment, but it hurt, damn it. I pushed back up.

Cherabino was over me, then, badge out in the guy’s face. “Police,” she said.

She went flying and somebody kicked me back down again. I put my hands over my head to protect it and tried to get a grip on the guy’s mind one more time. Slippery fellow—we had bad valence, terrible valence, and I couldn’t get a grip.

I went for the first one—and him I could grip. I hit the center of his mind, knocking him out. He slumped down, landing on top of the abandoned t-shirt rack.

I got up to my knees just in time to watch Cherabino punch the buddy in the face. “Police,” she said, standing over him. “Don’t ever let me see you around here again.”

“Shouldn’t you arrest them?” I asked.

She considered it, then gave me a hand up.

The buddy took off running, and she let him go. “Not worth interrupting my date over,” she said.

She glanced back at the guy I’d knocked out. Then sighed. “Is there a way to wake him up? Leaving him unconscious probably isn’t the best of ideas.”

I took a look at my handiwork in Mindspace. “If I wake him right now he’ll have the world’s worst headache.”

“Serve him right. Do it. Then let’s get out of here.”


We walked back to the parking garage across the street, her feet moving faster than I preferred. Her anger was still in play. Mine too. We shouldn’t have gotten involved in a stupid fight outside of Philips.

She found her car, an old beat up sedan, where she’d left it on the fourth floor. Her parking job was crooked, which was typical for her. She unlocked the car and let us in.

“You sure we shouldn’t have arrested them?” I asked, as I swung myself down into the seat.

“We’re in Fulton County and off-duty. More trouble than it’s worth,” she said, but wasn’t exactly happy about it. She turned on the fusion engine, it slowly warming up with a whine.

I closed the door. My body was calm by now, my heartbeat more settled, but I still felt jumpy, still felt too sensitive. I was open to Mindspace, monitoring what was going on, which is why I felt it.

All at once, I felt a shift in the world, a collapsing in, a hole disappearing into the fabric of Mindspace. A cold wind across my sense of the future, itching and then gone. A mile away, perhaps, just at the edge of my senses for even the strongest signal. A mile away behind us.

My stomach sank. “Someone just died.”

“What?” she said.

“Someone just died behind us. Violently, to be that strong.”

“Murder?” she asked.

“Or they fell off a building and impacted the ground. Strong, violent stuff.”

She sighed. I felt her considering.

“Go ahead and turn around,” I said. She was a workaholic, and obligated to the department. Getting in the way of her job wasn’t going to get me anywhere. And the feeling of that death bothered me. I wanted to know what was going on.


“It’s fine,” I said. “Let’s find out who died.”

“Okay.” So she turned the car around.


Author Bio:

Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc, has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. She is a graduate of the prestigious Odyssey Writing Workshop, and a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily all at the same time! You can visit her at

You can visit her at:


Tour Participants:

This is the tour schedule as of 11/30/14 & is subject to change.

1. Urban Girl Reader
2. Beans Book Reviews
3. Ryder Islingtons Blog
4. FictionZeal
5. Mommabears Book Blog
6. Marys Cup of Tea
7. Literary R&R
8. Bless Their Hearts Mom
9. Hott Books
10. Bunnys Review
11. Sapphyrias Book Reviews



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GUEST POST: Two Approaches to Portraying Characters Three-Dimensionally by Pamela Nicole

Posted by Ryder Islington, Author of Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery,and coming soon: Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery
I hope all of you enjoy this article as much as I did. She may only be eighteen but Pamela Nicole has a a working knowledge of how to build a character. Read on as she shares her knowledge.


2 Approaches to Portraying Characters Three-Dimensionally


It’s not uncommon for readers to blame it on the characters when they haven’t enjoyed a book. In fact, poor characterization, Mary-Sues, and flat characters, are the reasons why some books just don’t work, in spite of having a great plot. And that’s where writers begin climbing the walls and request the deity of literature to please make readers just see what perfect characters they have.


So, maybe your beta readers have told you the characters aren’t really there for them, your critique partners aren’t convinced either, or perhaps you, yourself can’t get over the feeling that they’re lacking something.


That’s okay. In order for this post to be useful, you’ve got to accept you may be doing something wrong, or need to do more.


Readers know their thing. If they say characters are your weak point, it’s worth checking it out.


Let’s get to it, then.


Approach #1: The Dialogue and Action


By now, it’s understood you have your characters. Let’s say they are Jane and Joe, BFFs. We’re going to focus on how to use dialogue to portray Jane and Joe in a way that seems believable, and not forced. If you have been reading about shy Jane for now 156 pages and then Jane gets all ‘Let’s Party!’, you might want an explanation. But if this explanation never comes, or it’s just not enough, you have a characterization problem there.


Dialogue plays a important role in characterization, because, while we enjoy reading thoughts and conclusions, it’s what characters say and do what really stick with us.


I’m sure you must be at least okay at writing dialogue. No biggie. Your dialogues are not bad. Maybe there really isn’t anything wrong with them. But I assure you, you can make it even better and make good use of it for the benefit of the characters.


Here are some ideas:


  • Read some of your dialogue aloud. Do you feel like you want to laugh? Gag? It needs revising.
  • Tweak it so everytime there’s a conversation, the speakers show a trait. (It’s a good idea to keep a list of personality traits for major characters in order for this to be easier)


And for Actions


  • Try to always keep your characters in motion, or you’ll bore readers.
  • Every thing they do must have consequences. I repeat: Don’t forget the consequences.
  • Pay close attention. Jane and Joe do what Jane and Joe typically do, unless they have a reason to not to. Ex. Joe is afraid of the dark, but he enters a dark cave, albeit sweaty and shaking, to rescue his best friend, Jane.Note here that Joe isn’t happy about confronting this fear.


Approach #2: Opposite/Similar Character Traits


This is something I always strive to do. Do you sometimes feel your characters are hard to tell apart from each other? This is the solution. And it’s two-fold. Apart from being the answer to your characterization prayers, it also offers a much needed element in your story: Conflict.


Consider Jane:

  • Shy
  • Studious
  • Likes Gardening
  • Bossy


And Joe:

  • Friendly
  • Movie geek
  • Likes Videogames
  • Bossy


Now, these situations:

  • Jane going with Joe to a party. Jane is unconfortable and this can lead to several embarrasing moments.
  • Joe stuck in a study appointment with Jane and preferring to clean rather than study.


And then this one,

  • Jane and Joe are working with other classmates in a group project. Both have different but good ideas.


See what I mean? If you dig a little deeper, you can easily build a network of interactions between your characters that brings out the best/worst in them, gives them a distinct voice, and also offers situations you can use for the benefit of the plot.


Happy writing to all!


Fit In or Fit Out

Book Blurb:

Every person is the main character of their own story, and no one is less important thant anyone, right? Then, why do we have such a hard time understanding this simple concept? Why do we push people away and keep the wrong one close? In this work of non-fiction, written by a teenager herself, the subject is analyzed to some hard-to-admit depths, using famous quotes and relatable examples, the truth about high schools and human nature in general is revealed.





Pamela NicoleBio:

Pamela Nicole is an Ecuadorian 18-year old writer and blogger. After several attempts at productive hobbies, she discovered she could finish a YA book in three hours and forget about the real world in that time. So, after reading more, and more, she started writing short stories online and a novel draft. She published a short essay based on her own highschool experience. Pamela is currently working on her second novel.





This Is My Toolbox

This is for you. You know who you are.

I talk a great deal in counseling about “the toolbox”. It is a psychological construct that many of us are familiar with. Talking about a toolbox is trendy now, and for good reason. Knowing what it is and how to effectively use the toolbox can be a powerful metaphor. One woman I work with told me that the toolbox doesn’t work for her. She has a sewing kit. The actual metaphor isn’t important, working it very much is.

And so, in deference to the few who have asked, I’ll tell you about my personal toolbox. Sharing this, for some reason, feels like a very intimate confession. This is not your toolbox, but it is mine. Welcome to my particular version of psychological weirdness.

My toolbox is, in point of fact, an actual toolbox. Years ago, I once owned a rusty, red…

View original post 807 more words

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Kathleen Kaska author of Murder at the Driskill, The Sydney Lockhart Mysteries

Posted by Ryder Islington, Author of Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, and coming soon: Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery.

I consider it an honor to be able to interview Kathleen Kaska. If you’ve visited her blog or read her books, then you know how talented she is. Below the interview is a beautiful cover of her latest book, Murder at the Driskill, along with a blurb, and also, Kathleen’s bio. I hope all of you enjoy having Kathleen here as much as I do. So, here we go:

Murder at the Driskill is the fourth book in your Sydney Lockhart Mystery Series. How did the story come about?

All my Sydney Lockhart mysteries are set in the 1950s in different historic hotels. Since Sydney is a reporter, she is often sent out of town for several days on assignment, which gives me a great excuse for checking her into hotels. I felt it was time to have Sydney solve a murder (or two) in her hometown of Austin, Texas.

  1. The are several historic hotels in Austin. Why choose the Driskill Hotel for your setting?

Austin was my home for twenty-five years. When my husband and I decided to downsize, we sold our house and moved into a high rise near the state capitol. I loved living in downtown Austin. After I got home from work, I’d tuck my car away in the parking garage, and my husband and I would walk to the Driskill bar for a cocktail on our way to dinner at one of Austin’s many eateries. On the weekends, I’d stop by the hotel, order coffee, pull out my laptop and start writing. It was only natural that I feature this gorgeous old hotel in one of my mysteries.

  1. One of the characters in Murder at the Driskill is a twelve-year-old girl named Lydia who is an intellectual challenge for Sydney. Lydia often dresses up like Sherlock Holmes. Why did you add this element to the story?

Like all of my characters, they come to me and insist upon me writing them into the story. I have little to do with who they are or how they behave. Lydia appeared in the first few pages and refused to go away. Her father owned a live theatre in Austin, and Lydia often finagled her way onto the stage. When her father was suspected of murder and went on the lam, Lydia took over running the theatre. The company was in the middle of rehearsing an original play called “Hamlet at the Alamo.” Lydia became disgruntled with the production and changed it to “Sherlock Holmes at the Alamo.” She also gave herself the lead role. It was like opening Pandora’s Box. Once she donned the Holmes’ costume, she decided she was smart enough to solve the murder and save her father. Sydney had different ideas.

I’m also a Holmes fanatic; this might have had something to do with it too.

  1. Sydney has recently declared herself a private investigator, although she is still working as a reporter. Both professions are unusual or rare for woman in the early 1950s. What made you decide to give your protagonist two challenging jobs?

I love writing about independent women who take risks. The 1950s was a decade of opportunity for women. Sydney’s reporting naturally led to investigating murders. In some of these cases, she was the main suspect, which meant finding the real killer to save her own skin. I also wanted to make life a bit difficult for her. Working as a reporter and an investigator causes great conflicts and leads to discord in Murder at the Driskill.

  1. Both you can Sydney were science teachers at one time. Do you share any other professions?

Although Sydney and I both worked for newspapers, the job I had was not as exciting as hers. She got to write about murders. I worked in the display-advertising department. The most exciting thing I did was to draw clothes on the scantily dressed women in the X-rated movie ads before they went to press. This was in the early 1970s in Waco, Texas. You gotta love it!

Now here’s a taste of Murder at the Driskill.

500_Murder at the Driskill_mockup01

You’d think that newspaper reporter Sydney Lockhart, comfortable at home in Austin, Texas, could stay away from hotels and murders therein. But when she and her detective boyfriend, Ralph Dixon, hang out a shingle for their new detective agency, they immediately land a high-profile case, which sends them to the swanky Driskill Hotel. Businessman Stringer Maynard has invited them to a party to meet his partner/brother-in-law, Leland Tatum, who’s about to announce his candidacy for governor. Maynard needs their help because Tatum is hanging out with the wrong crowd and jeopardizing his chances for winning the election. Before Sydney can finish her first martini, a gunshot sounds and Leland Tatum is found murdered in a suite down   the hall.


2DSC_0050 copy

Kathleen Kaska writes the award-winning Sydney Lockhart mysteries. Her first two books Murder at the Arlington and Murder at the Luther, were selected as bonus-books for the Pulpwood Queens Book Group, the largest book group in the country. Kaska also writes the Classic Triviography Mystery Series.Her Alfred Hitchcock and the Sherlock Holmes trivia books were finalists for the 2013 EPIC award in nonfiction. Her nonfiction book, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story (University Press                                                                                 of Florida) was published in 2012.

You can check out Kathleen’s blog at