October 1, 2011

Guest Author Laurel Dewey and Book Reviews "Promissory Payback and Unrevealed"

I can't believe it's already October!!  This year seems to have gone by so fast, at least to me.  And what better way to start the month off by hosting a Guest Author as she begins her virtual tour!  Mr. Lou Aronica, from The Story Plant, is stopping by with the very busy and talented author, Ms. Laurel Dewey, as she kicks off her 2 month virtual tour with Partners In Crime Tours.  So please help me give a warm welcome to our guest today, Ms. Laurel Dewey as she visits and tells us about her latest publications.


Laurel Dewey’s writing career has been anything but predictable. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Dewey began her career working in public relations for such celebrities as Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra. Her writing talents quickly took her into other entertainment avenues. Dewey was an assistant editor at BOP Magazine, helping launch the blockbuster career of teen pop groups like The New Kids on The Block. During this time, she wrote a string of successful mystery radio plays for Los Angeles radio networks. The plays won Dewey consistent awards and caused one reviewer to write, “Dewey’s flair for creating memorable characters and great stories is a welcome change these days.”

Not satisfied to write in only one genre, Dewey went on to pen a western novella “In the Name of the Land” which was nominated for a Silver Spur Fiction Award. A collection of short stories followed, as did a successful stint writing and producing radio ads and promos.
In the early 1990’s, Dewey relocated to rural Colorado. But her eclectic writing forte continued as she pursued work as a freelance investigative journalist, advertising/marketing promoter and editor of children’s books. In the mid and late 1990’s, two of her books on plant medicine were published, along with 10 booklets and hundreds of articles on alternative health.During this time, she appeared as a featured guest on over 300 national radio and television programs and lectured extensively across the United States and Canada.

But now the pages have turned again...literally. In 2007, Dewey released her first fiction novel, Protector, a gritty, paranormal crime thriller that follows the rocky life of Denver homicide detective Jane Perry. In preparation for writing the book, Dewey immersed herself in detailed research, interviewing Colorado homicide detectives and traveling on "ride-a-longs" with street cops. The intricate research helped Dewey create a debut novel that is powerful, compelling and utterly original.

The sequel to Protector, Redemption, was released in June of 2009. She is currently writing the third book in the Jane Perry series, titled Revelations, due to be released July, 2010. She lives with her husband in rural Colorado.
You can visit Laurel Dewey at her website.

The Creation and Birth of Jane Perry
 By Laurel Dewey

“Are you Jane Perry?” I get asked that question a lot when I meet people. The assumption seems to be that there is no way I could have written such a damaged, alcoholic, abrasive yet highly intuitive and intelligent woman unless I was writing about my own life. It makes sense, right? You’re always told as a writer to “write what you know.” And readers continually comment that Jane is “so real.”

Well, the truth is, I am not Jane Perry and I am Jane Perry.

Homicide Detective Jane Perry was literally born during long trips alone in my car. I’m not sure the moment it happened, but I remember on one particularly long drive from Colorado to California, I just started talking out loud in the car—having a dialogue with an unknown character—and telling this other character what I felt about my life as a detective. Wait…I’m not a detective. In fact, I can’t even stand the sight of blood. The only real homicide detective I ever knew was my friend’s father back in Los Angeles who worked some fairly gruesome, high profile murder cases in the city. But here I was in the car, babbling on and on about my life and my problems and my horrible past. The thing was, nothing I was complaining about was related to anything in my own life. During that drive, I continued to play out this imaginary character and for some reason named her “Kate.”

I had no intention of writing about her at that point. It was just something to occupy the dull spaces during the drive. But on the drive back to Colorado, I began delving even further into her life and by the time I returned to Colorado, I’d fleshed out a fairly real character.

And this went on for literally years until I went through what some might call my own “dark night of the soul.” That was in 1999. I had been very successful as a journalist and had written two books on plant medicine that were extremely popular. But it all came crashing down in January of 1999 when I lost every freelance writing account I’d had for years. I lived on my savings and by May those savings were gone. I scored a job as a landscape laborer and worked from 7AM until 8PM, six days a week. It was back breaking but it was work. However, depression set in like I’d never felt it before and I sensed an utter pointlessness to life. I began self-medicating with alcohol and I’d never been a drinker before. There were many horrible nights during that time that I didn’t want to continue living. The self-destruction continued for the rest of the year, culminating in a freak accident where I nearly burned off part of my thumb.

That was it. I didn’t give up; I gave in. I’d lived extremely frugally that summer and was able to save some money. I decided that I would spend two months either allowing myself to just stare out the window or writing down whatever I was feeling. I was not married and I didn’t have children so I literally had the luxury of doing nothing. I think I spent about two days max staring out the window. That just got tedious. So, I started writing and lo and behold, “Kate” the homicide detective re-emerged and I wrote pages and pages about her childhood, her life as a cop, her relationships and more. I had no idea where this was going but I allowed it…yes, I allowed it for the first time in my life. And the more I allowed it to flow, suddenly a story formed around “Kate’s” life. Her past was shockingly brutal (which was not part of my upbringing) but she was a hardcore drinker and that was certainly something I could relate to. But the more I created the story that later became my first novel, Protector, the more I began to heal myself. The catharsis was outrageous. With each page, I came back to myself more. By the time I finished the first draft sixteen months later (which was a whopping 650 pages), I was a different person. A better person.

I’d always suffered from a lack of compassion for those who were alcoholics, depressed, suicidal and lost. But after one year of being all those things and delving into it via a novel, I grew a heart I didn’t know I had. No longer did I judge those people; instead, I understood them. During this time, “Kate” became “Jane Perry” and she ended up teaching me so much about myself. Through the evolution of Jane Perry (and she does evolve greatly through the series), I know I’ve made thousands of connections with readers who share the same struggles with Jane. And I do think that besides telling a suspenseful, page turning story, my goal is to show that even if you’ve experienced a brutal childhood and made a lot of mistakes in your young years, you can still emerge from that and not just survive, but excel and come out the other side with a deeper appreciation for life. There’s something to be said for emerging back into the light after drowning in the darkness. My hope is that reading about Jane Perry’s trials and tribulations will make some people more compassionate for those who still fight the good fight every day. 


PROMISSORY PAYBACK by Laurel DeweyPublished by The Story Plant
ISBN-10: 1611880076
ISBN-13: 978-1611880076
Pages:  80
At the request of The Story Plant, a PDF EBook Edition of a double novelette, Promissory Payback and Unrevealed were provided, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
Synopsis (from publisher):  In PROMISSORY PAYBACK Jane is called in to investigate the gruesome murder of a woman who profited greatly from the misfortunes of others. The case leaves Jane with little question about motive...and
with a seemingly endless number of suspects.
My Thoughts and Opinion:  This was my first introduction to both this author, Laurel Dewey and the character, Detective Jane Perry.  Although it was only 80 pages, I instantly knew that I had been missing out on a very talented author.  Within 80 pages she made the characters come to life and "transported" the reader into the plot. The writing style was fluid and very descriptive, which made it quite easy to create my own vivid visualizations as if I was watching a movie.  The novelette was a stand alone read but gave hints of giving the reader to want more and to know more about this tough, street smart, but sensitive detective. 

UNREVEALED by Laurel Dewey
Published by The Story Plant
ISBN-13: 9781611880236ISBN: 1611880238
Pages:  94
At the request of The Story Plant, a PDF EBook Edition of a double novelette, Promissory Payback and Unrevealed were provided, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
 Synopsis (from publisher):  In UNREVEALED, Dewey gives us four indelible portraits of Jane Perry:
  ANONYMOUS: One of Jane's first AA meetings leads her to an encounter with a woman in need of her detection skills...and a secret she never expected to uncover.
  YOU CAN'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER: Forced by her boss to speak at a high school career day, Jane meets a troubled boy and finds that his story is only the beginning of a much more revealing tale.
  YOU'RE ONLY AS SICK AS YOUR SECRETS: An early-morning homicide call introduces Jane to a mystery as layered as it is unsuspected.
  THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM: Jane finds herself sharing a 2:00 am conversation at a downtown bar with an old acquaintance. Will the bloody night that proceeded this moment complicate Jane's intentions?
My Thoughts and Opinion:  As I stated in my previous review, I had just found a new author and had much catching up to do.  I enjoyed her writing style and most definitely her main character, Detective Jane Perry.  Ms Dewey piqued my curiosity as to the so called "birth" of this new character that I wanted to read more about.  However, on to the second novelette.  Four (4) stories within a book of 94 pages?  How in depth could it be?  Could four (4) good suspenseful stories be told in 94 pages?  To my utter amazement the answer was yes.  The author wrote 4 descriptive concise short stories in 94 pages, that were so detailed, that I was engrossed to the point that I wasn't aware of what was going on around me.  The characters, once again, came to life and the writing was so detailed that I was able to create vivid images in my mind.  My thoughts, I need to purchase the first book starring Detective Jane Perry.  My opinion, if you enjoy reading from the genre of suspense, this is an author you need to read.

And this is my opinion and my opinion only, as for marketing, this would be a perfect solution for those times when a reader is in one of those "dreaded reader's slumps".  It is a quick, yet detailed, descriptive, gripping story line whereas you know you aren't going to have to invest a lot of time into a book, which sometimes, I know with me, is one of the reasons, it is hard for me to start getting back into the groove of reading.  Or it would also be a perfect gift  for those times when you need to purchase a "little something" such as a hostess gift, get well visit, teacher's gift, Secret Santa (it's right around the corner), etc.

Read an excerpt from PROMISSORY PAYBACK
Another victim. Another senseless, gruesome murder that she would add to the board at Denver Headquarters. When Sergeant Weyler called her half an hour ago, she hadn’t even finished her third cup of coffee. “This one is odd, Jane,” he told her with that characteristic tone in his voice that also suggested an evil tinge behind the slaying du jour. “Be prepared,” he said before hanging up. It was a helluva way to start a Monday morning.

As Jane drove her ’66 Mustang toward the crime scene in the toney section of Denver known as Cherry Creek, she tried to look on the bright side. If she’d still been a drinker, she’d be battling an epic hangover at that moment and doing her best to hide it from Weyler. But since becoming a friend of Bill W., her addictions involved healthier options such as jogging, buying way too many pounds of expensive coffee and even briefly joining a yoga group. She stopped attending the class only because the pansy-ass male instructor wasn’t comfortable with her setting her Glock in the holster to the side of her mat during class. Since she was usually headed to work after the 7 AM stretch session, Jane was obviously carrying her service weapon. She wasn’t about to leave it in her car or a locker at the facility. Nor would she be so careless as to hang it on one of the eco-friendly bamboo hooks that lined the yoga room.

So for Jane, it was obvious and more than natural for the Glock to lie next to her as she attempted the Salutation to the Sun pose and arched into Downward Facing Dog. In her mind, there was no dichotomy between the peacefulness of yoga and the brain splattering capacity of her Glock. As the annoying, high-pitched flute music played in the background—a sound meant to encourage calmness but which sounded more like a dying parakeet to Jane—she felt completely safe knowing that a loaded gun was inches from her grasp. The other people in the class, however, did have a problem and they showed it by arranging their mats as far from Jane as humanly possible. None of this behavior bothered Jane until the soy milk-chugging teacher took her aside and asked her to please remove the Glock from class. Since Jane wasn’t about to take orders from a guy in a fuchsia leotard who had a penchant for crying at least twice during class, she strapped her 9mm across her organic cotton yoga t! op and quit.

That’s what predictably happened whenever you shoved a square peg like Jane Perry in a round hole of people and situations that don’t understand the real world. Crime has a nasty habit of worming its way into the most unlikely places—churches, schools, sacred retreats and possibly yoga studios. The way Jane Perry looked at life, yoga might keep your flexible but a loaded gun kept you alive so you could continue being flexible. She knew what it felt like to be the victim of circumstance; to be held hostage by another person’s violent objective. Even though it was a long time ago, she’d never wash the stench from her memory. Her vow was always the same: Nobody would ever make Jane Perry a victim again.

But somebody apparently had made the old lady inside the Cherry Creek house a victim. Jane rolled to the curb and parked the Mustang, sucking the last microgram of nicotine from the butt of her cigarette. Squashing it onto the street with the heel of her roughout cowboy boots, she flashed her shield to the cops standing at the periphery and ducked under the yellow crime tape that was draped between the two precision-trimmed boxwood shrubs that framed the bottom of the long, immaculate brick driveway.

I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold...they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.


Gigi Ann said...

As suspense stories go, this sounds like something I would read. Nice review Cheryl.