Sunday, December 25, 2011

Is Truth,Once Again, Stranger Than Fiction?


The sun rises over ocher-colored dunes, casting them in temporary shades of pink, peach, and orange. Tufts of tough marsh grass clack and crackle in the same stiff dawn breeze that occasionally sends sand and grit flying into your face like tiny pieces of shrapnel. The smell of the salt water and the cries of the gulls are lulling and exhilarating at the same time and you'd like to just relax and take it all in. But you can't. This is Gilgo Beach in Long Island, New York.

A young lady that happens to make her living as a lady-of-the-evening (and no, I don't mean she's a vampire) is reported as missing by her family. As the police backtrack her movements on the day of her disappearance, they make a surprising and gruesome discovery... they find the remains of ten other women's (actually 9 women and one girl) bodies buried in shallow graves! They dig up the remains and send them to labs for identification, but the initial missing woman's remains are not among them. The FBI joins the investigation as it now seems that a serial killer has been at work in Gilgo Beach. But what about the first young lady, the one whose missing person report helped uncover the serial killer's favorite burial ground? Months later they find her remains near a swampy area. Investigators rule her death an accident... she was intoxicated when she wandered into the marsh and died of exposure.

Her death led to the discovery of ten missing people and started a search, in earnest, for a heartless killer. Sounds like fiction doesn't it? Would your readers have suspended belief long enough to have accepted such a story from you? Would they have scoffed at your apparent use of Deux-ex-machina (or whatever) to create this paradigm in your story? Yet, it is all true. The young lady's family continues to state that her death must have been a homicide, along with all of the others, but the police continue to classify her death, out of all the others, as an accident. Was this lady's death a sign? Could she have been some supernatural cause that effected the finding of those bodies and started the search for their killer? Or was it all coincidence? Could you have written it any better?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Keeping Yourself Safe

New Year’s Eve is a great time to let loose and have fun, but unfortunately, criminals are out there waiting for an opportunity to take advantage.

To help your readers stay safe this New Year’s Eve, Marcia Peot, full time police officer and Chief Safety Officer at StreetSafe, offers the following safety reminders:

Ø      Don’t let your guard down.  Holidays, including New Year’s Eve, are not an excuse to throw caution to the wind.  Be careful not to leave your drink unattended and don’t become intoxicated.
Ø      Stay in groups or use the buddy system – you are more likely to become a target if you are alone.  Select a place to meet should you get separated, and check that your buddy got home safely at the end of the night.
Ø      Have a plan for how you will get home.  Don’t find yourself stranded!
Ø      Don’t use the festive atmosphere as an excuse to do something you wouldn’t normally do or put yourself in an unsafe situation.
Ø      While out, be careful what you post online.  Don’t alert others that you are not at home.
Ø      The beaten path is the better path.  Don’t take short cuts and familiarize yourself with the area before heading out.
Ø      Take extra precautions. StreetSafe is a new mobile personal security system that uses your smart phone’s GPS technology to instantly connect to help before a situation turns into an emergency. Street Safe’s “Walk with Me” service offers a live connection to a professional Safety Advisor to keep you safe when walking in unfamiliar or threatening surroundings and instant access to 911 if needed.

Marcia Peot
Chief Safety Officer
Reprinted with permission.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Real-life justice...????

Innocent dad blindsided by knife and justice system
'He walked up behind me and stuck me'
By MICHELE MANDEL, QMI Agency
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2011/12/16/19133266.html

This story appalls me. Unbelievable! I would never, repeat NEVER, be able to put something like this in one of my crime novels and get away with it. It would totally destroy my credibility as a writer. Just as this, totally destroys the credibility of Canada's justice system

Ken Lewis was seriously stabbed in front of his young daughter by Edward Travis Pafford, his deranged neighbour, who has a lengthy and violent criminal past.  Someone from victims' services assured Lewis he'd be kept in the loop regarding the man's upcoming court appearances. However, he was not.  

Pafford was charged with assault with a weapon, aggravated assault and failing to comply with a probation order andwas denied bail.  Lewis has been patiently waiting for a trial date.

The victim learned through a friend that "...On Nov. 22, for pleading guilty to aggravated assault, Justice Mara Greene gave  just 41 days in addition to the 79 days he'd spent in pre-trial custody and withdrew the assault with a weapon and failing to comply charges..." This meant the perpetrator would be released within a day or two, without the victim even knowing he'd been sentenced in the first place.


While I do believe that our justice system needs to accommodate perpetrators with mental illness, I also believe ALL victims have the right to be informed of the judicial process against their aggressors and be able to observe and participate in that process.  I also believe the judicial system has the responsibility to protect our community from violent offenders, regardless of whether or not that violence arises from mental illness.

Is there anyone out there who disagrees?


Eileen Schuh, Author
THE TRAZ   http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005199RFE

 Bikers/Blood/Drugs
A girl/A man/and the law


Adventure on the Canadian prairie in the shadows of the Rockies

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Canadian author visits young offenders


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Canadian author visits young offenders

Yellowknife, NT, December 4, 2011  Canadian author, Eileen Schuh’s, trip to Yellowknife for her grandson’s second birthday turned into a surprisingly busy week as word of her debut YA novel THE TRAZ travelled like wildfire through this northern community.

“It started with a press release I sent to the northern media, announcing the book signing the Yellowknife Public Library arranged for me.  The next thing I knew I was doing my first-ever live in-studio radio interview with William Greenland on CKLB FM 101.9 FM , visiting the after-school kids at the Side Door Youth Center, and stopping in at the Young Offenders Facility to do some story-telling.  Yellowknife weather is cold and the sun is scarce this time of year, but the people are very warm--this town has embraced me and my work."

THE TRAZ is a story about 13-year old Katrina’s year with the TRAZ biker gang.  It is written for both adolescents and the adults in their lives.  This fast-paced, high-action novel comes with a resource and discussion guide that address social issues the novel touches on, such as gangs, drugs, swearing, decision-making, and depression.

“I use this novel to teach kids the vital importance of making good decisions and to educate them about ways to do that.  At the North Slave Young Offenders Facility I told the youngsters that even though Katrina makes some very poor decisions, readers find themselves cheering for her.  We all want her to be safe and escape the gang.  I told them that is exactly how I feel about them and how their community feels about them.  We want them to successfully deal with effects of their past poor decisions, get on with their lives, and contribute to their communities.  Aside from all that, I also encouraged the children to become readers and storytellers.  I know at least one of the young offenders was intrigued by the idea of writing stories.”

Schuh’s other book, Schrödinger’s Cat, is an adult sci-fi novella that examines the roles that choice and fate play in our lives.  “I call it a psychological crime drama that spans two universes,” Schuh says.

Schuh wraps up her northern trip Monday evening from 7 – 8 pm at the Yellowknife Public Library.  She’ll be talking about her books and her life as an author as well as selling and signing copies of her two novels.

Schuh felt she needed to return some kindness to this community so in addition to her volunteer visit to the Side Door Youth Center, she donated several of my books to the Young Offenders Facility and one of each of her novels to the library.

Schuh heads back to St. Paul, Alberta Tuesday.  Her next scheduled speaking engagement will be at the end of January when she joins her home town in celebrating Literacy Day.

Schuh’s books can be purchased through all major online bookstores and can be ordered in by your favourite brick-and-mortar bookstore. Check with your local library on availability should you prefer to borrow them.
- 30 -
For more information, contact Eileen Schuh at
eileenschuh@yahoo.com
phone: 780-645-7890
http://www.eileenschuh.com
http://eileenschuh.blogspot.com

Friday, December 02, 2011

False memories....


Funny how headlines  can spark a writer's imagination.  Gini Graham Scott, PhD outlines the issue of whether-or-not people can plant false memories in others.  We learn the history of the debate and the legalities involved...and then she takes the issue for a  lively ride...



LAWSUIT OVER (DISTURBING)FALSE MEMORIES
How about some good ones?
Gini Graham Scott, PhD

Accusations of planting false memories are in the news again. In the 1980s and 1990s ago, there were a spate of repressed memory claims by women who suddenly remembered that their fathers, step-fathers, teachers, or others had abused them and even subjected them to Satan rituals, and a number of accused perpetrators were convicted.  But then in the early 1990s some of the accused fought back against the therapists, claiming these were false memories, and sometimes they won their cases and some patients retracted their claims, saying they had been swayed by the influence of their therapists to falsely believe something happened.  Some patients even won million dollar verdicts against therapists for planting recovered memories.  In fact, at the height of the interest in this topic, I wrote a fictionalized court case with two opposing attorneys, YOU THE JURY by Mark E. Roseman and William B. Craig, where one represented the victims claiming rediscovered memories and the other represented the accused claiming the memories were false.  Then, the controversy seems to have died out for the past decade.

However, now the issue of repressed memories seems to have gained a new life, according to an ABC News Article about a woman claiming a psychologist hypnotized her into “believing she possessed multiple personalities and participated in satanic rituals.” And several others who were told they were part of a satanic cult may sue as well. As the article: “Therapist ‘Brainwashed’ Woman Into Believing She Was in a Satanic Cult, Attorney Says” explains, Lisa Nasseff, 41, of Saint Paul, Minnesota is suing her former therapist, Mark Schwarz, and the Castlewood Treatment Center in St. Louis, Missouri for creating this false memory.  According to the suit, she went to the therapist there for 15 months to treat her anorexia, and when Schwarz hypnotized her to treat her depression and anxiety, she came to believe she had been involved in a satanic cult in which she participated in various criminal and other terrible acts.  She even came to believe she had sacrificed her sister’s baby on Satan’s alter. Then she discovered other women treated at the facility who had similar stories of being in cults two or three years before but they didn’t know it until they remembered under treatment. 

While the therapist and treatment center have denied doing any such thing, the False Memory Center, founded in 1992, supports the position that false memories can result from a variety of influences, such as the opinion of an authority figure, information repeated in a culture, and an individual wanting to please or conform.  And creative imaginative people can find it especially easy to come up with all sorts of images in response to being influenced.  So it is possible to possible to implant memories, including witnessing a demonic possession or being abused.

Well, assuming all of that is true about being able to implant all of these horrible memories, my question is what about the possibility of implanting good memories?  Then, rather than wanting to sue their therapists or others implanting such memories, people might actually like to have such good memories, even if they are false, implanted in them.  And the experience of these memories might be so powerful, that they might feel very real – or at least for a time, while they savor that great experience.

Then, if that’s the case, I could even imagine some entrepreneur creating a business of implanting good memories for someone to enjoy.  For example, suppose one wants to remember a joyous experience of going somewhere with a romantic partner?  What if one wants to recall wonderful childhood experiences with one’s friends or parents?  Or what about recalling how one won the lottery and had a wonderful time going to fine restaurants and traveling to exotic destinations all over the world. One could even have exciting memories of past lives as other people. The possibilities are endless. Whoever is implanting the memories just has to find out what kind of positive memories someone wants to have and then use a deep hypnotic state to implant them, much like the therapists accused of planting false memories of abuse or ritual membership are supposed to have done.

In short, if it’s possible to implant harmful false memories, why wouldn’t it be possible to implant joyful false memories – and in that case, why wouldn’t many people want to do just that, and perhaps even replace their real memories of difficult times with happy memories that bring them satisfaction and joy. 

So why not try it?  It might be fun to remember the way you’d like things to be rather than remembering the way things really were – or at least you might like to enjoy the experience for a little while before coming back to reality and the way things are.  Or then again, maybe it might be best to stay in touch with what’s really real. Or maybe not.  I’m not sure. But sometimes I sure would like to pick and choose my memories.  Would you?  Or maybe not?

      
Gini Graham Scott, PhD, is the author of over 50 books and a speaker/seminar leader, specializing in social trends, work relationships, professional development, and writing and publishing books. Her latest books include THE TRUTH ABOUT LYING; WANT IT, SEE IT, GET IT!; and USING LINKEDIN TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS OR YOURSELF. She also helps clients write, publish, and promote their own books and find publishers and agents through Changemakers Publishing and Writing. She has a publishing company Changemakers Publishing and writes screenplays, both her own and for clients.  Her Websites are at http://www.changemakerspublishingandwriting.com  and http://www.ginigrahamscott.com.

    


Book Cover Art

Traditionally book publishers allow authors very little say about how their book cover will look; especially newer, unproven authors. Agatha Christie's third book was Murder on the Links published in 1923. Here's what she had to say about her book jacket.

“Apart from being in ugly colours, it was badly drawn, and represented, as far as I could make out, a man in pyjamas on a golf links, dying of an epileptic fit. Since the man who had been murdered had been fully dressed and stabbed with a dagger, I objected.” (agathachristie.com)

Not sure if the cover shown here is the original but if so it looks like she won the battle. Luckily I have recently discovered a publisher that is allowing writers to have a say in how their book look. A very refreshing and clever approach. They do a smashing job. Imajin Press.