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The Ability to Manipulate

Jan Marshall Author Interview

Jan Marshall Author Interview

Romance Scam Survivor is an in depth account of your experience with an online scammer. What was the inspiration that made you want to turn your experience into a book?

Initially I gathered all the emails and texts in an attempt to understand what had happened. When I realised I had been scammed I was in a state of disorientation, so did this to try and make sense of it all, to try and see where my judgment had lapsed and how I had slipped up so badly. I chose to put all of this content together in a way that was totally honest, so the reader to see for themselves if they would have done the same thing. Once I had collated all of this I couldn’t look at it for some time.

The rest of the book wasn’t written until several years later. By that time I had done a lot of research and better understood the psychological skills that scammers have, and their ability to manipulate one’s emotions. Later I was writing to show that it is possible to come through the other side of such a devastating and traumatic experience.

It’s obvious in hindsight that this was a scam, but do you feel that there was something that someone could have said that could have helped you?

I was warned several times that it was a scam, but somehow could not believe it. I felt that the relationship was too intimate to be a scam.

I have also worked with others who are in this situation, and know it is very difficult to break through the hypnotic state that a victim is in when they are in a scam. I wish I did know what might have helped, because there are many others who could be helped with this information. There is no silver bullet that I have found, regrettably.

Do you think that finding love online is an inherently vulnerable prospect? Is there a way for people to be both safe and vulnerable online?

I am not against online dating per se. Many people have established and maintained successful relationships and marriages from meeting online. I do think it is important to not give too much away, especially personal details, until you are very confident of your partner.

For those who do want to do date online I would suggest

  • Make sure you only connect with those people you can meet face to face
  • Understand what the red flags are before you begin – later may be too late.
  • Have a friend mentor you in the process, but start with an agreement that you will take their advice. You need someone who will not be emotionally involved.
  • Follow the safety rules that are set up within the dating site – don’t get enticed to go off the site for convenience.
  • Never give money – ANY requests for money are a scam

What advice would you give to someone that is currently online dating?

  • Trust your intuition: If you have any sense that it might or could be a scam then it more than likely is?
  • Make sure you meet face to face.
  • Follow the guidance given above. If any of them raise concerns, it is likely to be a scam.
  • If you do get caught in a scam, report it to the relevant fraud agency.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Romance Scam Survivor: The Whole Sordid Story by [Marshall, Jan]

“How could you give money to someone you’ve never met?”

That’s the first question most people ask.

For Jan Marshall, life was good. She had worked hard, set herself up well, and was looking for a companion to share her future with. Just as countless thousands around the world do, every day, she turned to online dating.

In just a few months, Jan believed she was ‘in love’. She accepted a proposal of marriage, and then sent money – ALL her money – to a professional scammer.

How did it happen? How can an intelligent person be so thoroughly scammed?

Jan courageously shares the details of her devastating experience, in order to help others recognise such devious swindlers who prey on trusting souls, and maybe even to catch this thief.

You might think it can’t happen to you, or someone you love, but can you be sure?

The work is a non-fiction account and memoir covering the communication between myself and the scammer, based on my records of our communications. By sharing the personal and intimate nature of the interactions it asks the reader to put themselves in my shoes, and in response the question “how could you be so stupid?” is answered. It details the process of dealing emotionally with the scam and the financial difficulties that I found myself in afterwards. It is a story of my process through being a victim to becoming a survivor. Areas that need change are also addressed. Some support resources and links are also provided, though this is not the main purpose.

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Along with You

Along with You by [Areaux, Michelle]All Blair wanted was to fit in and find a place where her dark past wouldn’t keep following her and haunting her. After many moves Blair and her parents end up in the small farm town of Shady Oaks Kentucky. Having always moved around from one big city to the next, a small farm town with country side and horses was the last thing Blair expected to find and fall in love with. Here in Shady Oaks, Blair finds real friends and starts to imagine she could have a real life there. Than someone from her past shows up, and everything crumbles. Would she be able to stand her ground and overcome her past here with the new friends she has, or will they turn on her like everyone else has in the past?

Being a teenager is hard these days, the world is hung up on social media presence, how many followers do you have, is your life documented one image after another for all the world to see? No matter how much we may try to delay this, it happens, our children are exposed to the world online and it has permeated even into their education system. Parents can no longer protect their kids from the world online. The increase of social media has made bully’s even more prevalent, no longer is it teasing on the playground, the bullies follow their victims’ home and even when they move to their new homes. Michelle Areaux does an amazing job at showing how this can impact their lives. Written for this age group, they can relate to the characters, the school groups, the feeling of being the new kid. The story is relatable. It is not so far-fetched, even with Blair’s secret, to believe this could be any kid in the school with them. The feelings are real, and the personalities are believable. Hunter is very endearing, and you want to love him from the start, same with Grace. I was drawn to all the characters, I felt like I could have been Blair, or Grace at different points in my life. Now I relate to her parents as I navigate the world of mental illness, bullying, cyber-bullying, and all the other stress that kids these days face with my own children. They thought moving all the time was what was best for Blair, they wanted to do the right thing for her, to make her life easier. It is what all parents want, to give their kids a better life. Moving to Shady Oaks was the best thing they could do for Blair and their love and frustration at helping her find her normal is easy for parents to relate to as well.

Along with You by Michelle Areaux is a young adult novel that is filled with topics we should all be talking to our teens about. This would make a great book club or family reading novel to share with young teens that are facing a world filled with technology and social media. It covers topics of bullying, cyber bullying, and the fact that once things are online they never really go away.

Pages: 232 | ASIN: B079ZPSFJ6

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The “Urban Explorer” Subculture

Gordon MacKinney Author Interview

Gordon MacKinney Author Interview

Follow Me Down is a thrilling novel that follows Lucas as he seeks justice for his family while uncovering corruption in the city’s largest real estate development company. What was your inspiration for this novel and the setup to the story?

The never-used subway beneath Cincinnati is real—built during the Depression but abandoned and sealed up. I lived for years near Cincinnati, both scared and intrigued by ghosts beneath my feet. When I later learned about the “urban explorer” subculture, I HAD to write the story.

One thing I really appreciated in this story was the authenticity of the relationships. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your characters?

Observant readers will notice one consistent theme for the four main characters: the plight of the underdog. Lucas, suppressed by corporate corruption. Alfred Blumenfeld, put down by cruel social mores, and Tricia Blumenfeld too, unwilling to play the part of the “good girl.” And Reuben, victimized for being short and Jewish. These characters deserved a voice and a shot at justice.

Lucas explores Cincinnati’s underground in this novel and the scenes were detailed and well developed. Why did you choose this setting for the novel?

In the story, protagonist Lucas reflects on a childhood experience descending voluntarily into a well on his grandfather’s farm. That scene resembles my own childhood “adventure.” What urban explorers do is just damn cool, risking capture and physical dangers in very cool places. Also, the noblest among these modern-day adventurers respect and revere the places they infiltrate. I admire them.

I find a problem in well-written novels, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Is there a second book planned?

Thank you! While I’m finished with Lucas for now, two new stories are underway. The first fictionalizes a true 1980’s battle between an auto manufacturer and an underdog labor union. The second, set in small-town USA, explores the plight of another underdog, a young woman unjustly blamed for a deadly accident.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Follow Me Down by [MacKinney, Gordon]

Urban explorer Lucas Tremaine should buckle down and complete his Masters in Architecture, but the past torments him. Six years earlier, Drax Enterprises’ negligence killed his father and left his mother strung out on Valium. Lucas longs to punish the corrupt behemoth of Cincinnati real estate development, but what can one man do?

“Plenty,” says old Mr. Blumenfeld, Lucas’s boss and a former photojournalist with too many secrets. Evidence to bury Drax exists, he claims, but to find it, Lucas must breach the city’s welded-shut subway system. Lucas takes the plunge, aided by his best friend and moral compass, Reuben Klein.

The deeper the duo infiltrates the dangerous underground, the further back they turn the clock. They learn that Drax’s corruption intertwined with fascism’s rise in Germany. That campfire tales of a subway crypt were true. That no one can be trusted, not even Lucas’s boss.

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This World of Creative Imagination

The Ryder Quartet

Ian Patrick – Author Interview

The Ryder Quartet is a collection of four crime thriller novels featuring detective Jeremy Ryder. When creating Jeremy Ryder did you have a plan for his development and character traits or did he grow organically as you were writing the story?

Definitely organically rather than pre-determined, for me. There are, of course, authors who prefer to map out a novel before embarking on the task of writing. Some might prefer to write detailed and very specific profiles for each of their main characters. Others might prefer to work out in advance every major plot development. This is an entirely acceptable method, but it is one to which I don’t subscribe. My own preference is to discover more and more about my characters in the act of writing, as they grow together and fertilise one another and tempt me to take them down paths I had not intended. Who am I to decide, before the act of writing, the intricacies of these complex people and the nuances of their being? How can I presume to know them merely by mapping them in broad outline before I commence my intimate journey with them? I feel far more comfortable getting to know them as we proceed together through the complexities of their lives and their actions. Like the actor resistant to creativity-sapping ‘line-readings’ provided by some directors I like to think that through exploring rather than pre-determining I can create a narrative that is more organically in harmony with the personalities of the full cast of characters. Of course, this then means re-writing and adjusting and reversing and re-drafting. But for me that is the great joy of writing. It is the journey, not the destination that absorbs me.

I know that you have undertaken thorough research for these novels, visiting crime scenes, and interviewing detectives and victims. Is there anything that you saw or heard, and wanted to put in your novels, but couldn’t?

Yes. For example, I interviewed one victim of crime who described to me details that were so horrific that I could never have exposed them in print. I try to create scenes and events that are analogous, or homologous, to those from the real world, and then to develop fictional counterparts for those experiences. In that way I hope to keep my fiction rooted in – I hesitate to use the word ‘authenticity’ – a world of plausibility.

In each of the four books there are different sets of villains. Which was your favorite to write for?

I got to the point where I was living and breathing the character of Thabethe. In the middle of the night he was in my thoughts. When walking dogs, when eating meals, when watching a movie, I couldn’t get rid of this man. My wife enjoyed watching me, she says: she could see how immensely satisfied I was in this world of creative imagination. It probably also kept me out of her hair. Anyway, I wondered what made him tick, and I wondered how I could ensure that I remained honest and truthful to the character. I judged him, of course, as we always judge each other. But I didn’t want to simply invent him as a bad guy and leave him to his own devices. I needed to understand him to the best of my ability. So I never stopped exploring him. It’s an amazing process, creating fiction. I love it.

Where do you see Jeremy Ryder, let’s say, a year after the series ends?

I will definitely travel further with Ryder. I’m just completing my next book, and the focus in this one is not Ryder but another character that emerged in one of the quartet volumes. Because my focus is on the real world of policing and crime in and around Durban, Ryder will definitely be back. There are significant things happening there as I write this: things that impact upon crime, politics, morality, and many other issues in which I am interested.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Amazon

The Ryder Quartet comprises four crime thrillers. Each of them is also separately available as an independent book. In this collection they form an overall cohesive narrative. Detective Jeremy Ryder and his colleagues pursue heinous criminals into the depths of the criminal underworld. The action takes place in Durban, South Africa, but the confrontation between the forces of law and justice on the one hand and criminal machinations on the other make these four stories relevant to any major city in the world. The author’s field work involved detective-guided tours through forensic analysis, to the front line of drug dealing, and into the private pain of victims of crime. Readers of the individual volumes have hailed the work as action-packed thrillers steeped in authenticity and plausibility, reflecting the real world of police encounters with the dark world of crime.Buy Now From Amazon.com

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