July 19th, 2014 | No Comments »

Khaki=Killer (Book 3 of The Color of Evil Series) by Connie Corcoran Wilson – Book Review.
Disclosure : I received a free copy as part of a Virtual Author Book Tour. All opinions are honest and my own. Follow along with the tour here.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The Color of Evil series first two books (The Color of Evil and Red Is for Rage) were named: PageTurner of 2013 by Shelf Unbound magazine; Best Indie Cover of 2013; NABE Pinnacle Thriller winner; E-Lit Gold Medal winner (Horror); and Connie is a 2 time Silver Feather (IWPA) winner (2012, 2014, Chicago chapter).

The Color of Evil series describes the adventures of the young man (Tad McGreevy) with the power to detect auras around others (Tetrachromatic Super Vision) and to relive the crimes of those with “the color of evil” in his dreams.

Khaki = Killer, the third book in the Color of Evil Series, picks up where Red Is for Rage left off, answering the question, “What happened to Melody (Harris) Carpenter?”

Readers of Red Is for Rage, [Book #2], will remember that Melody was involved in a rescheduled UNI (University of Northern Iowa) football game, cheering for the Sky High Eagles. Rushed to the hospital with injuries suffered in a fall from atop the human pyramid [formed by fellow cheerleaders Heather, Kelly, Janice, Angie, and Jenny, Melody is hospitalized and fighting for her life as Khaki = Killer opens.

The budding romance between Janice and Stevie continues to grow more serious, but Janice’s parents oppose her relationship with the son of a murderer. There are more revelations about Earl Scranton’s motives, and other romance s develop (Tad and Jenny; Charlie and Andrea).

When Heather Crompton and Kelly Carter mysteriously disappear while ice skating on the Cedar River, the tension in town ratchets to a fever pitch. The entire town is involved in the search. Retired police officer Charlie Chandler reorganizes the rag-tag team that helped find Stevie Scranton and bring him back to Cedar Falls, Iowa (Book #2).

In the background lurks Michael Clay (aka, Pogo), still searching for Tad McGreevy, still hoping to permanently silence “the boy who can see the future.”

Tensions run high and the stakes run even higher in KHAKI = KILLER, Book #3 in THE COLOR OF EVIL series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Connie (Corcoran) Wilson (MS + 30) graduated from the University of Iowa and Western Illinois University, with additional study at Northern Illinois, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Chicago. She taught writing at six Iowa/Illinois colleges and has written for five newspapers and seven blogs, including Associated Content (now owned by Yahoo) which named her its 2008 Content Producer of the Year. She covers politics and entertainment and has over 1,000,000 “hits.”
She is a member of ITW (International Thriller Writers), where she is a writer for their online newsletter, and a member of IWPA (Illinois Women’s Press Association, Chicago chapter), which awarded her its Silver Feather Award in 2012 and 2014, MWA (Midwest Writers Association), AWP (American Writing Program) and MWC (Midwest Writing Center), which named her its Writer of the Year in 2010. She has won numerous E-Lit awards, a NABE Pinnacle award, an ALMA (American Literary Merit Award), Lucky Cinda competition and two IWPA Silver Feather Awards (2012, 2014).
Her stories and interviews with writers like David Morrell, Joe Hill, Kurt Vonnegut, Frederik Pohl, William F. Nolan, Anne Perry, r. Barri Flowers, Valerie Plame, Allen Zadoff and Jon Land have appeared online and in numerous journals.
Her work has won prizes from “Whim’s Place Flash Fiction,” “Writer’s Digest” (Screenplay) and she has 25 published works. Connie reviewed film and books for the Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa) for 12 years, wrote humor columns and conducted interviews for the (Moline, Illinois) Dispatch and maintains her own blog, www.WeeklyWilson.com, while also twittering (@Connie_C_Wilson), Connie Wilson Author.
Connie was a presenter at the Spellbinders Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii over Labor Day (2012) and at Love Is Murder in Chicago (February, 2014). She has three ongoing series: THE COLOR OF EVIL, HELLFIRE & DAMNATION (short stories organized around the crimes or sins punished at each of the levels of Hell in Dante’s Inferno) and THE CHRISTMAS CATS, which she writes for her granddaughters. (www.TheColorOfEvil.com; www.RedIsforRage.com; www.KhakiEqualsKiller.com; www.HellfireAndDamnationTheBook.com; www.TheXmasCats.com)
Connie lives in East Moline, Illinois with husband Craig and cat Lucy, and in Chicago, Illinois, where her son, Scott and daughter-in-law Jessica and their five-year-old twins Elise and Ava reside. Her daughter, Stacey, graduated from Belmont University in Nashville, and is currently in training in Dallas to become a Southwest Airlines stewardess.
Connie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConnieCWilson
Connie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Connie-Corcoran-Wilson/275020829241869 Connie on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/conniecwilson/

Buy Khaki=Killer:
Amazon- Paperback

MY REVIEW:

This book was just as great as the previous two books in the series. And trust me, you want to start from the beginning of this story. So much has happened to all of the characters in this story over the course of the three book so far (I hope there is another one coming!). I am so deeply involved now… I have to know what happens to everyone. The book was full of drama, terror and intrigue. But also full of characters with deep friendships and relationships and also a dose of humor thrown in.

The book was extremely well written and I was never bored. The story flowed smoothly even though there are lots of characters to keep up with. I was invested in knowing what would happen with every single one of them. The book kept me riveted to the page. I had to know what would happen next. SO much so, that it only took me a few days to read all three books in the series.

I especially loved the bond between friends Tad and Stevie. Lots of bad things had happened to them in their short lives, but they always remained the best of friends. I truly hope to be able to read more books in this series. I urge you to check out this book and the two that came before it.

Bookmark and Share
July 8th, 2014 | No Comments »

Through no fault of mine, the KDP give-away days were changed to July 9-13. I apologize, but, in one day, I had to do battle with Amazon, Staples and Facebook, not to mention a large hotel in NYC.
It’s still free, but hurry out and download it after you read this.

I haven’t posted much lately. as I’ve been busy trying to download nearly 1,000 articles that Yahoo is going to take down at the end of the month.

This came about when Yahoo eliminated their “Voices” section, for which I was named Content Producer of the Year (2009) for my coverage of Obama’s run for the presidency.

The other reason is that I am in the midst of a Virtual Book Tour with Teddy Rose of Virtual Author Book Tour, and I leave for ITW (International Thriller Writers’) Conference in New York City on Thursday, 2 days from now, where the book cover for KHAKI=KILLER will join those of other thriller writers on an easel in the lobby of mid-town Manhattan’s Hyatt Grand Central Station.

July 8th is my youngest child’s birthday. Happy 27th birthday, Stacey, wherever you are (which I think is Las Vegas.)

Please go out and download a copy of KHAKI=KILLER to your kindle or your computer. If it rises to the front page, more people see it and the novels become better known. Many of you know that KHAKI=KILLER is the third book in THE COLOR OF EVIL series, with RED IS FOR RAGE being the second.

Also, I am trying to win a “best cover” competition sponsored by a book site. The winner will win some free advertising on the site, which would be helpful.

I have 3 entries in Mystery/Thriller/Suspense, which are the covers for KHAKI=KILLER, RED IS FOR RAGE and HELLFIRE & DAMNATION II. I also have one entry in the children’s books section, which is the cover of “The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats.”

I entered four of MY favorites. What are YOUR favorites?

The cover art for both KHAKI=KILLER and HELLFIRE & DAMNATION II is by Vincent Chong of the UK, one of the world’s best cover artists who frequently works for the likes of Stephen King and has done covers for Ray Bradbury and William F. Nolan. Gary McCluskey is the illustrator for the Christmas Cats books.

If you enjoy THE COLOR OF EVIL series, consider posting a good review (5 stars is best) on Amazon. Sales are deeply influenced by feedback from readers. So far, KHAKI=KILLER has 19 reviews and they average 4.9 out of 5 stars.

Here is the link for voting (and viewing) for your favorite cover: Comments will help decide which covers get to the second round

http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=13acdr&m=3m5qn9H96vtKEEr&b=aNTewx_xDCTDZzUpB64Vfw

Thank you for (potentially) putting that link into your browser and voting for your favorite of my covers.

I have 3 book covers entered in Mystery/Suspense/Thriller and one in Children’s books. Here is the link to vote:

Bookmark and Share
Posted in Books
June 25th, 2014 | No Comments »

REVIEW:
It took me a bit longer to prepare the review of Khaki-Killer, as I read the previous two novels to get up to speed. Fortunately for me we’ve had some rainy days that keep me inside and well glued to my Kindle. I’m not completely comfortable with the classification of The Color of Evil Series as a YA novel. I’m thinking a NA (New Adult) designation would be a better genre.

This series has renewed my hatred of clowns, but the continuity of the writing and the story-line from The Color of Evil to Red is For Rage and Khaki=Killer was like the turning of a page instead of starting a new book.

This is the first of Ms. Corcoran Wilson’s work I’ve read and her strong writing and the characters became very tangible as I vanished into the series. I am certainly in line to read the next installment and I highly recommend Khaki=Killer and The Color of Evil Series!

Bookmark and Share
Posted in Books, Reviews
June 25th, 2014 | No Comments »

“Khaki=Killer” is on a virtual tour of several blogs and the first review is in, from Kristina Lenarczyk in Canada, the second stop on the tour (the total itinerary for which I will list at the bottom of this reprint of Kristina’s review of ALL THREE of the books in “The Color of Evil” series).

Without further ado, here are Kristina’s remarks on the series and on “Khaki=Killer:”

“I received these books as part of a blog tour, specifically of the third book, but that does not influence my opinion.

Something that I really enjoyed about the first book was that it got into all of the details for many characters. In the beginning there were chapters dedicated to each character, giving the reader different information on their past and ideas on their personality. It is such an easy novel to get into because it grabs your attention and keeps you interested.

The writing throughout this series is easy to read, and the chapters are short, so it is easy to fly through. This author did a fantastic job of getting you interested in each of the character’s lives, and you feel strong emotions towards all of them—both positive and negative.
Throughout the continuation of this series (“Red Is for Rage” and “Khaki=Killer”), it is evident that the writer finds her groove into the story, thus leading the reader to get even more involved.

I must inform you, however, that there is some darker, more adult content, including murder, sex (primarily only alluded to; not graphic), and child molestation, so be aware of this if that is not something you are fond of reading.

In my opinion, the third novel was the best of the three, because it wrapped everything up nicely, leaving few questions unanswered.

This is a series I would for readers around 17 or older because of the content, but it is an overall great series! You may find it odd that I am recommending such a strong series during the summer, but it is a good read because it is a quick one. Plus, guess what! Book #2 in the series (RED IS FOR RAGE) will be FREE on Kindle June 26th through June 30th. Make sure you pick it up!

Overall, I really enjoyed this series!”

(Kristina Lenarczyk, “Let’s Talk About Books!” blog (http://theprincessgummybearreviews.blogspot.ca/2014/06/the-colour-of-evil-series-review on 6/25/2014)

TOUR SCHEDULE:

Books & Quilts: June 23, 2014
Room with Books: June 24, 2014
Let’s Talk About Books: June 25, 2014 (*See above)
Cassandra M’s Place: June 26, 2014
The News in Books: June 30, 2014
Like A Bump On A Blog: July 1, 2014
BK Walker Books: July 7, 2014
Elizabeth McKenna: July 14, 2014
Giveaways & Glitter: July 18, 2014
Bound for Escape: July 21, 2014
The Wormhole: July 22, 2014
fuonlyKnew: July 23, 2014
Cheryl’s Book Nook: July 28, 2014
Paranormal Romance: July 29, 2014

Bookmark and Share
June 25th, 2014 | No Comments »

[Excerpt from Red Is for Rage
Book II in The Color of Evil trilogy
FREE on Kindle June 26-June 30]

Red Is for Rage

By Connie (Corcoran) Wilson

Chapter One

CherryWood Lane, Cedar Falls, Iowa, August 28, 2004

She stood there on the driveway, white nightgown soaked with blood, clutching the 38-caliber revolver, body shaking uncontrollably. Some of the viscous, red liquid dripped from the handle of the small silver gun. Drop by grisly drop, the blood splattered to the pavement below. Sarah Eisenstadt, still clutching the gun tightly, did not notice. She existed in an entirely different dimension—somewhere not of this Earth. Oblivious. Unstable. Out-of-it.

Andrea SanGiovanni was at home next door. It was 4:30 p.m. on a sweltering late August day. Normally, Andrea did not stop by her new house on CherryWood Lane, next door to the Eisenstadts at this time of day. Andrea had answered a frantic after-school phone call from her daughter, Jenny.

“Mom! I need my new tennies for cheerleading tryouts. They’re at home in my closet. Please, please run them over here quick!”

“Which ones, Honey? You’ve got about ten pair of tennis shoes in that closet.”

“The pink ones with the white laces, Mom. You know. The new ones.”

Andrea agreed to make the run and now she was a witness to one of the worst of many gruesome crimes in Cedar Falls, Iowa; the locals would talk about this day for years to come.

School started in three days. Andrea had a good feeling about Jenny’s upcoming senior year, especially after all the trouble last year. Greg’s death had been awful. Such a gruesome death! Michael Clay (aka Pogo) had murdered Gregory Tuttle and dismembered his corpse. Andrea felt sick to her stomach every time she remembered how Greg’s corpse had been found. But their marriage was in trouble when he died. That much Andrea knew, because she had been through the death of a marriage before, with Jenny’s father. It felt as though you were trying to pinpoint a problem, but you knew it was a problem that was bigger than a pinpoint. You could search for the cause forever. It wouldn’t bring back the good feelings that had existed when the marriage began. It’s hard to undo damage, once it’s done. Andrea didn’t know the specifics of how her second marriage would have ended, had Greg not been murdered in such a heinous fashion, but she was pretty sure that it would have ended…sooner rather than later. She recognized that old familiar feeling. It was only a matter of time.

Following Greg’s death, the police demolished the SanGiovannis’ house. They were attempting to flush out Pogo, the killer-on-the-loose holed up in the SanGiovannis’ attic with automatic weapons. It had been a year of lows, with no highs. There was no joke in that statement, just rueful realization that she was glad that year was behind them.

After their house was demolished by the city, Jenny had moved to Boulder to her father and stepmother’s house, to finish out the rest of the school year. The entire town had been traumatized by the crimes of Pogo the escaped Killer Clown. Charlie Chandler’s wife Cassie was one of the victims. Charlie’s daughter Belinda was almost his next victim. She owed her life to Andrea SanGiovanni’s calm thinking and bravery in a hostage situation.

Since Jenny left for Boulder, Andrea had seen little of her youngest child. Only at Christmas had Jenny revisited Cedar Falls, the scene of so many crimes and so many unhappy memories. Jenny stayed at the Holiday Inn then, since Andrea had not yet finalized the deal on their new house. Christmas came and went too quickly.

Andrea was anxious to make the new house on CherryWood Lane into a new start for both of them. It would just be the two of them now. Cynthia, Jenny’s older sister, had lost her mother as live-in roommate in her small one-bedroom apartment. Cynthia loved her mom, but she was glad to regain control of her small place.

The report of Sarah’s revolver was muffled. Within the SanGiovannis’ new house, at first, Andrea thought it was a car backfiring. Only when Sarah emerged from the house and half-tottered, half-stumbled down the driveway did Andrea, sitting at her own kitchen table having a quick cup of coffee, look out her kitchen window onto a tragedy unfolding. Andrea saw her next-door neighbor, clad only in a white nightgown, covered in blood. Andrea’s mind went blank with shock.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” Andrea rarely used profanity of any kind, but the words just tumbled out of her as she jumped to her feet in alarm.

On the driveway, Sarah Eisenstadt appeared to be having some sort of seizure. An epileptic seizure, maybe? Andrea had not known her new neighbor suffered from this ailment, but she had had a cousin who occasionally suffered this ailment. Although still on her feet, Sarah’s slender frame was shaking violently. Her salt-and-pepper gray hair, usually pulled back in a tidy bun, was disheveled. Eyes wide. Wild. Staring into space blankly.

Later, Andrea would ask herself why she had run outside and approached the obviously deranged woman. Why had Andrea not feared for her own safety? Someone said to her, “You always do well under pressure, Andrea. Remember how you saved Belinda Chandler’s life when Pogo had you both hostage in the Heights?”

Andrea had demurred. She gave full credit for their rescue to Alex and Roberto Jimenez, who had actually chased the psychopathic killer from the house.

But it was true. Andrea always reacted with courage under fire. She displayed total disregard for her own safety in moments of crisis. Andrea had saved Belinda Chandler’s life by remaining “calm, cool and collected” in the face of a convicted killer with a knife. Pogo had taken them both hostage. Andrea hadn’t hesitated then. Andrea wouldn’t hesitate now.

Later, when asked to describe what was going through her mind when she saw Sarah Eisenstadt on the driveway, Andrea said, “It was as though a Guardol Shield, like in those old commercials, a clear plastic bubble, came down around me. I was just operating in the zone. I could see what was happening as though I were outside myself. It’s hard to explain. It’s almost an out-of-body experience. I just knew I had to do something, so I ran outside.”

Andrea approached the stricken woman on her driveway. “Sarah! Sarah! What is it? What’s the matter?” Andrea reached for Sarah’s arm, but Sarah pulled back, like an animal that expects a blow. Sarah was still shaking violently and making a mewling sound.

“I killed them. I killed them both.” Sarah’s voice was hoarse. Coarse. Whispery.

Sarah was talking to herself. Her words were just barely audible. A monotone. Emotionless. She made no eye contact with Andrea.

“Killed who? Who did you kill? Should I call 911? Is it a break-in ?” Andrea was quickly surveying Sarah’s upper torso, trying to determine if the bloodstains you could see everywhere on her white nightgown were Sarah’s. So much blood! If it was Sarah’s blood, where was the wound?

Sometimes, Andrea felt that her hopes that Jenny would go into nursing came from Andrea’s own secret desire to be a doctor or nurse. She had always been interested in helping people who were sick or suffering. If anyone had a sore throat in the SanGiovanni household, Andrea would soon be swabbing the affected area with Mercurochrome. She splinted the occasional dislocated finger. Andrea simply had a feeling for all things medical. Like many mothers, she assumed that her daughter shared her talent and enthusiasm. She would learn differently.

Andrea was still clutching Jenny’s new pink Reeboks, her fingers twisting the white laces tightly. She had been about to leave for the high school when the shots rang out.

“They were disobedient. Mouthy. They wouldn’t listen to me. They wouldn’t do as they were told.”

Sarah was in some sort of thick fog. Her comments were barely audible. Fragmented. Slurred. Indecipherable. Andrea wondered if Sarah had taken some sort of drug.

“Who? Who did you shoot?” Andrea was becoming more agitated, while Sarah seemed calmer— but less lucid— with every passing moment.

“The children…”

“Zoe and Rachel…?” Andrea felt a sense of dread as she uttered the girls’ names.

“They had to be reprimanded. I am their mother. They need to mind me. They need to do as they are told.”

Andrea had moved into the Cape Cod house next door to Dr. Abraham and Sarah Eisenstadt after the trouble in Harvest Home. Police searched through the rubble of their old house for days looking for the body of Michael Clay (Pogo, the Killer Clown). His corpse was never found. Andrea collected $350,000 from the city on her claim that the house had been worth more than that. The city, like all cities, was none too prompt or eager to pay. But pay they did.

For a period of time Andrea lived with her oldest daughter, Cynthia, in her one-bedroom apartment near Cynthia’s job at Layne’s Insurance. Living in her daughter’s tiny place was never meant to be a long-term solution. After all, Jenny would be coming back from Boulder to complete her senior year at Sky High. She wanted to graduate with her old classmates.

“We need a new house,” Andrea told Cynthia. “I’m a realtor. I’ll find us a good one, just as soon as the city coughs up the money they owe us.” She had been close to a deal at Christmas, and she encouraged Jenny to follow her original plan in returning to Cedar Falls for her senior year.

The city had paid up and Andrea had found a smaller house in an older neighborhood.

“It will be perfect!” she thought.

The pleasant Cape Cod-style home next door to Dr. Abraham Eisenstadt, his wife Sarah, and their two teen-aged daughters, Rachel, 16, and Zoe, 13, was much smaller than the big house in Harvest Homes. But it was just Andrea and Jenny now. Frank was in college full-time, living in the dorm, and Cynthia was on her own. Andrea was shocked to realize that her nuclear family was slowly dispersing, ultimately leaving her by herself. Once, their home had been filled with five people, three of them noisy children. Now, it was just Andrea and Jenny. Soon, Andrea would be all alone. If either of the older kids came to stay overnight, there was a dormer attic guest room that ran the length of the house. It had two double beds in it, and, if Frank and Cynthia wanted to stay overnight, it was do-able.

Andrea had been working to make the smaller Cape Cod house as homey as possible before Jenny’s return. She took possession of the cozy bungalow in July. At Christmas, Andrea and Jenny and Frank and Cynthia exchanged presents in Cynthia’s crowded one-bedroom apartment. They ate at a local restaurant because Cynthia’s kitchen was so small. No one felt like trying to cook a big meal with all the trimmings in Cynthia’s poorly-equipped kitchen. Cynthia, herself, rarely cooked, typical of the younger generation.

Andrea hadn’t really had time to get close to her neighbors, yet. Like many in this town, it felt as though people weren’t really interested in getting to know you. You existed side-by-side with strangers in a neighborhood. You never really knew them. They never knew you. Not really. You never really talked to them about anything more important than the weather.

This was the first time that Andrea had ever seen Sarah Eisenstadt dressed in anything other than a professional outfit—either a dress or a business suit. Today, Sarah had on a white flowing nightgown, even though it was 4:30 p.m. She looked disheveled, distraught, and unwell.

“They had to be stopped. They wouldn’t listen to me. They had to be disciplined. You understand, don’t you? They had to pay.”

With those words, Sarah turned to Andrea. Her eyes begged for confirmation. Searching. Pleading for understanding.

Andrea finally realized that Sarah was still clutching the pistol, which was smeared with blood.

Is that Sarah’s blood? Or someone else’s?

Andrea approached Sarah speaking in a low, controlled voice—the voice you would use to speak to a small child or an animal.

“Give me the gun, Sarah.” Andrea reached for the 38-caliber revolver. Sarah held it out. She dropped it when her arm began shaking like a tree branch in a strong wind. Sarah relinquished the weapon almost gratefully.

As she picked up the gun from the driveway, Andrea thought, immediately, of fingerprints. That issue was always front and center on every television cop show. In spite of that, Andrea realized that getting this weapon out of the hands of this obviously distraught woman should be her top priority.

“Is anyone inside hurt, Sarah?”

No answer.

Andrea pulled her cell phone from her pocket. She dialed 911. “229 Freeborn Avenue and CherryWood Lane. Please hurry.”

During her brief conversation with the female dispatch officer, Andrea kept watching Sarah. Sarah didn’t move, other than the uncontrollable shaking. She didn’t make a sound. She didn’t cry. She had the emotional reactions of a zombie or of someone heavily sedated. Sarah was obviously not in any condition to talk, walk or answer questions rationally. She had a gun. And the gun had been fired recently. The odor of cordite pervaded the air.

Still trying to question Sarah Eisenstadt, Andrea asked, “Where are Zoe and Rachel? Are they okay? Are they home yet?”

Rachel was sixteen, slightly younger than Jenny. She was a bright-eyed, intelligent young girl who played the cello in the school orchestra. When Andrea and Jenny heard Rachel practicing, it was as though an angel were serenading them.

Zoe, thirteen, was the baby of the family. Only an eighth-grader, she was a joyful, spirited child, but sometimes pensive. She had large, dark, expressive eyes. Both girls were brunettes with long hair to their waists. The girls were popular at school and active in many extra-curricular activities. They would grow up to be beautiful women, like their mother. Abraham Eisenstadt, the town psychiatrist, was a doting father and justifiably proud of his two dark-haired beauties. Three dark-haired beauties, if you ignored the salt-and-pepper strands of gray in their mother’s hair, which had seemed to be increasing the last few months. Sarah was much grayer now than she had been at Christmas, when Andrea had visited the neighborhood to check on this property. She had seen the family exiting their vehicle on the driveway, returning from synagogue. This was the same driveway and almost the same spot that she had last seen Sarah Eisenstadt, looking wan and stressed both times.

But the girls’ behavior at home was not as perfect as their behavior in the classroom. Rachel, in particular, often mouthed off to her mom over her mother’s rules. Rachel didn’t like being ordered about. She would often refuse to do whatever her mother asked. Rachel and Sarah had had many screaming matches over Rachel’s interest in boys or Rachel’s choice of boyfriends.

“You can’t go out with Aaron Elgin. That’s final!”

“Why not?” Rachel had asked her mother.

“Well, for one thing, he’s too old for you. And there are other reasons.”

“Oh, I’m sure there are other reasons. You always have your reasons. But it’s just not fair. You’re always interfering in my life.” Rachel’s tone conveyed her frustration and anger. She stormed off to her room after that particular exchange.

In Rachel, Sarah saw reflected her own youthful beauty, which was now fading. Sarah was simultaneously proud and envious. Her own life was very dull. An introvert, she rarely left the house for anything other than a meeting with Abraham. She seemed to have no female friends.

Dr. Abraham Eisenstadt had become increasingly busy in the small town, especially after the opening of the new psychiatric wing at Shady Oaks. While he was a devoted husband and father, their marriage had slowly evolved into a brother-sister relationship. Recently, the two were often at odds over Sarah’s disciplining of the girls, which Abraham felt was overly harsh.

“Ease up on Rachel,” Abe told Sarah in their last conversation about discipline. “Don’t be such a shrew.”

“Oh, so now I’m a shrew? You didn’t used to think I was a shrew.” When Sarah said this, defiance blazed from her eyes. The conversation about Zoe had not gone much better.

On the driveway, in the heat of this hot August moment, Andrea had filled in her own explanation of what must have occurred. Intruders must have broken into the Eisenstadt house. Sarah shot the strangers who threatened her children. After all, what mother wouldn’t lay down their own life to protect their child? Sarah was now in shock over the violence. Sarah had always seemed as though she were wound a bit too tightly. She must have snapped after shooting the men.

The garage door was down. Andrea couldn’t see the body lying on the garage floor. All Andrea was aware of at this moment was Sarah, alone on the driveway. Shaking. Muttering. Covered in blood. Repeating, over and over, “Everyone must pay.”

Andrea did not want to enter the house alone. What if the people Sarah shot are still inside? What if they’re only wounded? What if they shoot at me? I should wait for the police to arrive.

Meanwhile, Sarah kept muttering in an almost unintelligible voice, a half-whisper. “They didn’t listen to me. They didn’t respect me. They had to be stopped. Sooner or later they had to pay. We all must pay. One way or another, we all have to pay. Now I’ll pay for killing them. But it had to be done.”

This is not helpful, Andrea thought. I’ve got to find out if the girls are okay. If I put the garage door up, maybe I can call to them to see if they’re inside. Maybe they’re being held hostage, like Belinda and I were by Pogo.

Since Andrea had just heard on the radio in her kitchen that Pogo had escaped again, she even had a momentary flashback. Perhaps this was caused by the very same psychopath who had threatened her life. Now on the loose again, he had attacked her neighbors. Andrea knew that was probably wrong, since Pogo had escaped in Brownsville, Texas, only within the last twenty-four hours, but Andrea wasn’t thinking as clearly as usual.

I hope the cops hurry up!

While waiting for help to arrive, Andrea cautiously reached for the handle at the bottom of the garage door. She wasn’t certain if it would manually open the door. Sometimes, a garage door can be opened either manually or electronically, by use of a transponder. Sometimes, the door only responds to the electronic signal. Andrea grasped the metal handle and jerked the door upwards.

The door was heavy. At first, it wouldn’t budge. Then Andrea realized that if she threw all her strength behind it, she could override the electronic opener and gain entrance to the interior of the garage.

Where are the girls now? Andrea thought, with growing anxiety, as she prepared to yank on the handle with all her strength one more time. Are they safe?

Bookmark and Share
June 25th, 2014 | No Comments »

rage_cover_Print

“Red Is for Rage,” second book in “The Color of Evil” series, will be FREE as a Kindle KDP give-away on June 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30th. If you haven’t already purchased a copy, this is your chance to pick up on the adventures of Tad McGreevy and his classmates at Sky High High School in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Even if you have already read the paperback, download a Kindle copy to help drive the book to the front page of the Amazon rankings.

Book #3, “Khaki=Killer” was released in late April and continues the adventures of the boy with Tetrachromatic Super Vision (a real thing) and, therefore, the ability to “see” auras around others and to relive their evil acts in nightmares. The whole cast is back, including Tad’s best friend Stevie Scranton, Michael Clay (the evil Pogo), Charlie Chandler and Andrea SanGiovanni, Jenny SanGiovanni, and all the Sky High cheerleaders who are her friends.

As William F. Nolan—named a Living Legend in Dark Fantasy—said of the book, it’s good because you will soon learn to care about the characters—and isn’t that what really makes you want to continue reading a book?

I hope you enjoy your FREE copy of RED IS FOR RAGE, available starting tomorrow by downloading it onto your Kindle. If you do not own a Kindle, you can still obtain a free copy, a free “app” and read it on your computer. (I KNOW you have a computer, or you wouldn’t be reading this!)

Thanks or downloading “Red Is for Rage” during its 5-day promotion that starts tomorrow, June 26th, and continues until the end of the month. The book was the winner of the Pinnacle Award in the Thriller category from NABE (National Association of Book Entrepreneurs), won an E-Lit Gold Medal, and was the Silver Feather winner from Illinois Women’s Press Association.

Bookmark and Share
June 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »

P1030641Bought tickets for Bruno Mars at Tinley Park on the lawn to celebrate Amanda Burkert Kelly’s graduation from Western Illinois University. We were so far away that Bruno was pretty much a speck, and my attempts to sneak closer to shoot video were met with resistance from the PTB. However, I did get the following pictures and really bad video.

P1030660

P1030658

P1030635

P1030642

P1030654

P1030622

P1030625

Bookmark and Share
Posted in Music, Pop Culture
June 20th, 2014 | No Comments »

P1030613

P1030618

P1030610

P1030607

P1030612

P1030603

P1030601

Bookmark and Share
Posted in Music, Pop Culture
June 19th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

Rob Reiner appeared in Chicago on Wednesday, June 18, at the Icon Theater on Roosevelt Road for the preview of his new film, “And So It Goes,” a dramedy aimed squarely at Baby Boomers, which stars Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas. The 67-year-old director of “The Bucket List” (another film focused on “mature” people) was his usual warm, engaging self in the Q&A that followed the film. While the film may only rate a “C,” Reiner gets an “A+.”

With Rob Reiner in Chicago at the Icon Theater on June 18, 2014 preview of new film "And So It Goes."

With Rob Reiner in Chicago at the Icon Theater on June 18, 2014 preview of new film “And So It Goes.”

I first met Reiner in 2004 when he came to Davenport, Iowa to campaign for presidential candidate Howard Dean; he gave me a big bear hug that night. When I mentioned it, he gave me another big bear hug. His persona is truly engaging, enthusiastic and down-to-earth. He appeared fit and virile. I wish I could say the same about either Diane Keaton (a vocal opponent of plastic surgery, who became the spokesperson for L’Oreal in 2006) or for Michael Douglas. Both of them looked their respective ages (68 and nearly 70), and, to my untrained eye, Douglas looks sick (He was diagnosed with cancer August 16, 2010.)

I enjoyed Reiner’s Q&A after the film much more than the movie. Who wouldn’t want to hear behind-the-scenes stories from the director of such great films as “Stand By Me,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “A Few Good Men,” Misery,” “The Princess Bride,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “This Is Spinal Tap” and “The American President” (another film starring Douglas)?

Reiner even has a small part in the film, cast as a piano player who accompanies Diane Keaton as she sings, (a la Michelle Pfeiffer in 1989’s “The Fabulous Baker Boys.”) When asked how he happened to take on the part of Artie Burns, the accompanist, Reiner said, “I needed an actor who would work for scale, and I found me. Plus, I had always wanted to have a role where I got to wear such a natural-looking toupee.” (A joke, as the rug is referenced with comic intent.)

Reiner’s point-of-view on the romance that slowly builds between Diane Keaton’s warm, giving widow and Michael Douglas’ unbearably cranky curmudgeonly widower in the film is, “Essentially, it’s always the same story. My view of the way woman and men react with each other. Women are more evolved, more mature. (applause from the crowd) It’s all about grabbing on to life and having fun with it.”

Reiner went on to say that turning 60 brought him to the realization that, “Thanks to medical science, we won’t be able to get out of here!” He pointed to his Morgan Freeman/Jack Nicholson 2007 hit, “The Bucket List” saying: “I think there’s an audience out there for this film,” meaning the baby boomers, the largest group in our nation (which begs the question of whether baby boomers actually leave home to go out to the theater).

The film’s message (and Reiner’s advice): “Live until you’re no more.” The script recites truisms like: “Love always comes at a price” and “Sometimes, life outlives love.” Unfortunately, the script also had dick jokes and lines like, “I’ve sold houses older than you and in worse condition,” and “What she (Keaton) lacks in curb appeal she makes up for with historic charm. She slept with Elvis.”

Originally, in the script by Mark Andrus (who also wrote “As Good as It Gets,” hence the extremely similar-sounding title), Keaton’s character was a woman who did something with tapestries and weaving, said Reiner. Declaring that pursuit essentially boring, Reiner credited Keaton, herself, with suggesting that Leah be a woman of a certain age embarking on a new career as a singer.

Keaton does all of her own singing in the film. Like Pfeiffer before her, she surprises with a pleasant delivery of old favorites like “The Shadow of Her Smile,” “Both Sides Now” and “Blue Moon.” Douglas’ character suggests she add some “more recent” tunes, specifically mentioning Bonnie Raitt. Reiner commented that he really liked the idea that Keaton was starting a new chapter in her life at an advanced age (in the film, Leah says she is 65; in real life, Keaton is 68) because his own mother started a singing career at age 65. (Audiences may remember Reiner’s mother Estelle as the older woman restaurant customer in his film “When Harry Met Sally” who says, “I’ll have what she’s having,” after Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm at the lunch table with Billy Crystal.)

Reiner described the famously eccentric Keaton telling him, “I don’t act. I just am who I am.” Reiner went on to say that there is no division between Keaton’s onscreen and off-screen images. “She just takes the dialogue and makes it come out of her mouth,” said Reiner. If only she could have taken the dialogue and made it better. The director also commented that Keaton recently told Jimmy Fallon on the “Tonight” show that Michael Douglas was one of the actors with whom she wished she had shared an onscreen kiss, but the two had never worked together.

The two share an onscreen kiss in this film, but there is no real chemistry. Douglas, in fact, as he closes in on 70 on September 25th, is showing every year. He has famously battled Stage IV tongue cancer since August of 2010. In an article that appeared January 11, 2011, medical experts said there was “a high chance of recurrence within 2 to 3 years.”

Of the “carpe diem” theme that repeats throughout the movie, Douglas, after some recently publicized marital troubles with wife of 14 years Catherine Zeta-Jones ( 25 years his junior) told “People” magazine’s Elizabeth Leonard, “When you’ve accomplished a certain amount in your career, you’re not so focused on your ambitions. It makes you appreciate— and hopefully you do that sooner rather than later—the value of your partner.”

Since part of the theme of the movie deals with Oren Little’s (Michael Douglas’) son, Luke, being a reformed heroin addict and ultimately drawing prison time, one wonders what was going through Douglas’ mind. His son Cameron with first wife Deandre Douglas has been in and out of trouble with the law for drugs since 1999 and will have to continue serving a prison sentence until at least 2018. Since much of the film deals with a son, estranged from his father, who must leave his 10-year-old daughter with his irascible father while he goes to prison, that theme may have hit close to home for the movie’s male lead.

Reiner had nothing but praise for Douglas’ professionalism onset, saying the two had both come from a background in series television (Douglas on “Streets of San Francisco;” Reiner as “Meathead” Michael Stivic on “All in the Family”) and were both the children of famous men. He remarked of Douglas, “ He’s just got incredible craft. He hits his mark and knows his lines.” (Douglas won his Best Actor Oscar in 1987 portraying Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street.” He also won an Oscar in 1975 for producing “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and an Emmy last year, portraying Liberace in Steven Soderbergh’s “Behind the Candelabra.” Keaton won her Oscar April 3, 1978 at the 50th Academy Awards portraying Annie Hall in the Woody Allen film of the same name.

Reiner noted, “Of all the movies I’ve made, not one of them could be made today, because the studios just don’t make them.” He singled out “A Few Good Men” as being particularly problematic, because of the politics in the plot. Reiner added, “The studios only make three kinds of movies today: blockbusters, usually from comic books; animated films; and R-rated raunchy comedies.” Reiner didn’t mention the recent glut of horror movies, but he might have. Recently 5 previews at my local movie house were all for slasher films.

Other questions for Rob Reiner, post-film, and his responses:

P1030587

Question 1, about Diane Keaton’s wardrobe. “Did Diane Keaton just wear her own clothes in the movie?”

Reiner responded indirectly, saying that, “All the things she wore are the things she knew she could wear.” (One woman in the theater audience commented that a certain dress had been worn previously by Keaton in another film).

Question 2: “Was it difficult to get the money to make this movie?”

Answer 2: “It’s always hard to get money from people. Give me five dollars! See (Reiner laughed), she won’t give it to me!” He noted that it took 4 years to get the financing to make “This Is Spinal Tap.”

Question 3: “What was the purpose of having Oren deliver the baby in the film?”

Answer 3: “It shows Oren’s (Douglas’) character arc. He was turning his back on life (after he was widowed). Then circumstances, a series of events, start affecting him. They’re all designed to make him come back to humanity.” Earlier, Reiner had noted that, after passing 60, he was enjoying life the most he ever had. “And so you go along and live your life. Be in the moment where you are. That’s all you have.” He joked that there was “a 100% demographic” of baby boomers for the film, saying, “60% of them will want to see it, but only 40% of them will have the ability to get to the theater.”

Question 4: “You recently played Max Belfort in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ for Martin Scorsese. How was that?”

Answer 4: “I actually met Mr. Belfort. He’s a very excitable fellow, but shorter than me, and you can see how his son Jordan could be so charming and convincing. When Martin Scorsese calls, you just do it. What is more unbelievable? That Leonardo DeCaprio is a Jew, or that I’m his father? Maybe I’m better-looking that I thought!”

Question 5: “Have you ever worked with Albert Brooks?”

Answer 5: “Yes. I worked with Albert in ‘The Muse.’ I played myself, so I was pretty believable.”

Question 6: “What is on your own personal bucket list?”

Answer 6: “Just doing what I’m doing now. In terms of life fulfillment, I’m doing what I want to do.”

Question 7: “There is a reference to Sammy Davis, Jr. in the movie, and none of the younger people know who he is. How did that come about?”

Answer 7: “That’s just so typical. Recently, I was with my family and we ran into Warren Beatty coming out of a restaurant. Now, I have three children who are 20, 23 and 16 (with second wife Michele Singer, a photographer he married in 1989 after meeting on the set of “When Harry Met Sally.”). They had no idea who Warren Beatty was, although they vaguely had heard of Bonnie & Clyde.”

Question 8: “Will you ever come back to Illinois and Chicago to direct a film?”

Answer 8: “Filmmakers today go where the tax breaks are. It was Michigan for a while—then Louisiana. If you have a small budget, you follow the tax breaks. We shot this in Connecticut because of the tax breaks. If they give you 30% above AND below the line, you go there to make a film.” He added that Chicago is a great place to make a movie and that the college scenes in “When Harry Met Sally” are represented by the University of Chicago. A representative of the Illinois Production Alliance in the audience said that Illinois does have good tax incentives for filmmaking in the state, and Reiner responded that he’d love to be able to make another film in Chicago.

Question 9: “You were politically active at one time, supporting Howard Dean in the 2004 election and also becoming active in California in 2006. Are you still considering running for office?”

Answer 9: “I sat my family down and polled them on whether I should run or not. I only polled 40%. When you only poll 40% in your own family, you shouldn’t run.”

The theme of the movie is (relentlessly) “carpe diem.” As Douglas, himself, told “Uinterview,” “When you’re older, you focus that energy on the people closest to you, on your family.”

My favorite story told Wednesday night involved a scene where Diane Keaton’s character is auditioning for a singing position that her self-proclaimed “manager,” Oren Little (Douglas), has arranged for her. Renowned singer Frankie Valli played the small part of the club owner listening to Keaton sing in a darkened room. “Diane didn’t know that Frankie Valli was sitting in the back listening to her sing and she got very nervous about it. She didn’t know he was in the movie at all. I told her, ‘Don’t feel bad. I have to play piano in front of Liberace!’” (a reference to Michael Douglas’ Emmy-winning 2013 television role opposite Matt Damon.)

The film opens in July (either July 11th or July 14th, depending on the source).

Bookmark and Share
Posted in Movies, Pop Culture, Reviews
May 29th, 2014 | 3 Comments »

P1030523

src=”http://www.weeklywilson.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/P1030504-300×225.jpg” alt=”P1030504″ width=”300″ height=”225″ class=”alignleft size-medium wp-image-4659″ />P1030512P1030536P1030513P1030535P1030519https:/

My daughter, Stacey Kristen Corcoran Wilson, age 26, a graduate of Belmont University in Nashville (who worked, briefly, for Taylor Swift’s 13M organization and traveled Australia for a year) just completed 5 weeks of training and graduated from Southwest Airlines—5 weeks of 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 pm. days. Apparently, Southwest invited around 1,000 wannabee stewardesses to come and train in Dallas their TOPS headquarters, putting the up at the downtown Sheraton. Only 700 of those are expected to make it through and (eventually) be hired.

Stewardesses are not paid during their time training, although they do get a lump sum payment of $1200 at the end of the 5 weeks’ of training, if they make it through. Unfortunately, not all do.

The RN who flunked First Aid. The 62-year-old divorced guy who made it all the way to the day their uniforms arrived (they have to buy their own uniforms) and then did not get 90% on a test and was sent home. The degreed older man who stormed out muttering during a test. Many were called, but few were chosen.

At the end, trainers with names like Margo, Ken, Becky, Alan, Alfonso, Renee stood by as host Andrea Bradford read off the names of 78 graduates of the 285th Southwest graduating class, turning them loose to fly for Southwest—thought to be the best domestic airline to work for. (Please excuse the preposition at the end there.)

Why is Southwest the “best.” I could go on about the “warrior spirit,” the “winning smile” or other things mentioned during the hour-long ceremony that began at 3:00 p.m., but the truth is they pay the best and have the most lenient policies in regards to letting relatives (i.e., Stacey’s father and me) fly free (“No Revenue,” it’s called) as well as many other very user-friendly employee policies that are as favorable as the fact that Southwest lets you take 2 bags without extra charges.

I now must learn to pack light, which will be a struggle, but I’m so excited for the daughter, who is off to see the world. I think back to her high school graduation, when I posted a picture of her wearing wings and a crown (and a darling ballerina outfit) and holding a wand and suggested that she now spread her wings and see the world.

And she has. As Andrea Bradford said, “Represent us well. Congratulations. Well done, and welcome aboard.”

Bookmark and Share
Posted in Editorial, Education, travel