Op-Ed: Imagine There’s No Donald: What if the 45th President Were Orrin Hatch?

I would love to see this happen. It’s time to end the circus in the White House.

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This piece is an op-ed. It is not a report. It is based on informed speculation and chatter, but it is not a report, so I’ll keep it short. I wouldn’t call it a theory, either. My theoretical pieces have been analysis of the facts as I saw them. The Carolina Conspiracy, and my piece predicting that Jared Kushner was taped in Trump Tower under the FISA warrant on SVB Bank when talking to Gorkov.

In this piece I am going to speculate about something that cannot be proven or even inferred because it has not yet happened and would involve a decision of SCOTUS.

The chatter on this matter, and there is chatter, usually says ‘Roberts’ – I talk to more than one source in more than one area – but I am assuming that is shorthand for SCOTUS – goes like this:

Chief Justice Roberts has…

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Because we all need a laugh right now

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Photo by Patty Maher

This is the introduction to my upcoming novel BORN FIRST.

Preface

Have you ever finished a book, placed it on your lap, and pondered how much it was going to change your life? It was the kind of book all of your friends had recommended to you because it was full of wisdom, beautiful prose, and amazing three-dimensional characters. The plot left you thinking it would be nominated for every book award possible and made into a movie starring an A-list celebrity cast.

Well, this is not going to be one of those books. I’ve tried writing one of those fuckers and nobody bought it. I take that back, some people did buy it and then trashed it on Amazon causing me to dwindle in size because I ceased eating and started binge drink in the mornings, smoking weed in the afternoon and snorting cocaine around midnight–then repeat the next day.

Yes, it can be done, just takes practice.

I lashed out on Social Media, blaming all those Twitter-bugs and so-called Facebook friends of mine for making me never want to write another book again. But, alas, all that did was make them block and un-follow me causing the gaping wound in my writer’s soul to widen. Within days, I was found by a family member cowering on the floor, filthy, unshaven (My underarm hair grew long enough to braid.) whispering: “Rosebud”.

After 90 days in rehab and doctors agreeing I was no longer a danger to myself, just to old wooden snow sleds, I went back to the drawing board. I returned to the genre that’s worked for me in the past: Psychological Thriller. But for the life of me, I couldn’t get motivated. I started and quit 3 different manuscripts over a four month period. My muse didn’t just desert me, I think she changed her passport and decided to join Trump’s cabinet (always knew that bitch was a Republican). Lucky for me, Trump found out she was gay and fired her when he grabbed her, you know where, and she clobbered him right in his colossal snout. Which, FYI: was why he ended up sniffing repeatedly during the National Debates in 2016. She dramatically eluded the Secret Service of course, because she’s not human duh?—and returned pestering me with incipient conceptions and fancy words e.g. (incipient). So, I took her back and commenced a brief outline filling inspired again.

***

Last week, I researched books which had made it onto the New York Times Best Sellers List and lo and behold what do I see? It’s full of nothing but Psychological Thrillers and one cook book. What’s with writers these days? The world isn’t already cruel enough for you? Obviously not, so you had to go write more violent books where women and children get abducted, chopped, sliced and diced, raped and tortured. Hell, if I wanted more of that, I’d watch the news all day. We can’t all be Gillian Flynn or Paula Hawkins folks. Sorry to have to break the news to you. But they are great, right? That’s why I had to try once again. I mean, honestly, could you really see me trying to write a romance novel? Or worse, a Paranormal book? I’d start inhaling glue in the mornings. So let’s get a few things straight right now. This is the story about Olivia and Sophia Benson. They are identical twins who enjoy doing terrible things to each other. Or I enjoy making them do terrible things; it’s a complicated relationship as you’ll soon find out. And. As a result of performing these terrible acts, more horrific events come down the pike. What makes this puzzling is the fact that they appear to have a set of loving, albeit aloof, mother and father, Abby and Perry. OR ARE THEY? Sorry, I accidentally hit the Caps Lock key.

Wait, wait, wait, I already can hear your cantankerous (For the record, anything in parenthesis is typed with invisible keys so editors or famous people who might sue me can’t read.) demands for answers. Is this going to be a Psychological Thriller or not? Why do you people have to be such a buzz kill? If you break the two words down by definition: Psychological is rooted in Psychology which includes, but isn’t limited to a person’s brain, affecting, or arising in the mind; related to the mental and emotional state, psychosomatic, emotional, irrational, subjective, subconscious, unconscious of a person. (That’s what Google says, so it must be correct.)

Next, let’s tackle this lovely word: Thriller. I’m not going to provide you a definition because if you’ve been alive for the last 10 years, which I’ll just, go ahead and assume you have. Then, you should know what it means. But it differs from one individual to the next. For instance, some of you may have read one or all of Gillian Flynn’s books and were not thrilled in the least. If so, may a plague of 100,000 pieces of chewed up strawberry bubblegum fall on your house. (Hey, I should probably add Gillian Flynn to the invisible keys now, shouldn’t I?) Bottom line is yes. This will indeed be a Psychological Thriller/Suspense story.

Some of it will even creep you out.

Gross you out.

Keep you guessing until the end.

Things tend to get messy with twin stories, don’t they? Especially, when it’s about identical twins, think of all the things they can share—and I’m not just talking about clothes, honey. There’s silverware, glasses, plates, books and cars. I digress… And I need to get something to eat. My blood sugar is low.

***
Had lunch and feel better, now where was I? Ah, yes, the story about twins. At first, I thought about making both girls psychotic, I mean the beat the crap out of each other, rip off their heads and shit down their necks. COME BACK! I SEE YOU TURNING OFF YOUR KINDLE. This is why I didn’t write them that way… But, please, don’t you other fans of senseless violence be deterred either. They’ll be plenty of that to keep your blood flowing. The twins have no idea what I have in store for them. It’s going to be so much fun. The whole thing takes place in Pittsburgh, PA where I grew up. Music I’ll be listening to while I write will be mostly pop. Although, lately I can’t get the Broadway soundtrack of Hamilton out of my head, they rocked the Tony Awards, didn’t they?

Okay, enough of me babbling, let’s get this show on the road. Many more surprises to come…oh, Jason! Hurry up and go to the bathroom, we will wait… Everyone else went when they were supposed to. Shh! Readers, come, let’s all go hide while Jason is away, then jump up and scream when he returns. That’ll teach him. Don’t mess with the writer, people. Please be quite and turn off all cell phones, the curtain is about to rise. This reminds me, I need to take my 35th selfie of the day so you all know how young and beautiful I am and will continue reading. Enjoy the drama.

Sincerely,
Lori Lesko

PS. Beta Readers, thanks for the feedback!

Book Review: Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

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Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka

This was a decent debut novel which promises to launch Danya Kukafka writing career off in August. The genre is Mystery and Fiction, although it’s stated on Goodreads to include Thriller. After reading the book, I’d have to disagree with “Thriller”.  Yes, there is a death and it was revealed, so, I had closure. However, I felt the tone and prose leaned toward social psychology–if that can be a genre. It’s as if this tiny town in Colorado was a balloon and exploded when Lucinda was found dead in the snow. How each character was motivated, or the impact of this girl’s death effected the attitudes and behaviors of a small town was explored thoroughly.

What didn’t work for me was the changing every chapter to the character’s POVs, I expected this, as it’s a growing trend for writers to tell their story these days. But Kukafa chose to additionally switch back and forth from first person to third person narrative. I felt in doing that, she disturbed the flow of the story. There were also many lists made from teenager Cameron Whitley who was deeply disturbed. And even a screenplay thrown in the mix, this made the novel hard to enjoy. I was curious to understand why the time period 2005. My guess, it was the lack of technology??

Lastly, the teenage characters appeared to be older and more knowledgeable than I think they should have been.

3 Stars

Book Review: THE LOST GIRLS

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The Lost Girls by Heather Young

 

I feel as if I’ve been winning the jackpot lately with books. This gem is no exception. It’s told in 2 different time periods by a family still trying to come to terms with its past.

“As I sit in this dark house, listening to its exhalations that have worn the walls as smooth as vellum, it occurs to me that the whole tragic history of our family comes down to this: none of us knew how to save ourselves.”

The house by the lake is the center of a story that will haunt you for days. You might think you have the end figured out, but you don’t.

Fully developed characters along with an astonishingly beautiful prose will leave you shattered to pieces at the end.

I highly recommend reading this one.

5 Stars

Book Review: THE GIRL WHO WAS TAKEN @CharlieDonlea

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THE GIRL WHO WAS TAKEN by Charlie Donlea

This was one hell of a deliciously satisfying thriller. Trust me, it’s going to be hard to top this novel at year’s end. I snagged my copy from NetGalley which I strongly suggest you do as well. The release date is April 25th, 2017.

Two girls are taken, one returns safe. The other disappears, but not without leaving a final phone call to her older sister in desperation. The older sister, Livia never picks up.

Imagine living with that guilt for the rest of your life, huh?

The way Livia copes is to work hard at becoming a forensic pathologist in the hopes of coming across her sister’s dead body one day, that’s when she’s not working out with her kick boxer trainer.

I can’t tell you how many themes in this story reminded me of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS or DARK PLACES by Flynn. It’s that good. Mix in a little teenage angst, stir with some shady characters and you got something that will light you up and make you think you’re on a roller coaster that won’t stop.

5 Stars

The Girl Before by @originallyrena (Book Review)

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The Girl Before by Rena Olsen

How is it possible to read a novel like this and not be overwhelmed with emotion, grief and rage? In fact, to be honest, if I had known the subject of the book before I began reading, I’d have probably never picked it up. The subject is disguised, almost as a safety-net, to let you off the hook if it gets to be too much. Because, you know at the very beginning something extremely wrong has occurred.

“I am brushing Daisy’s hair at the kitchen table when the front door crashes open. The sound of gunfire and men shouting and children screaming comes in a tidal wave through the open door. Dropping the brush, I grab Daisy’s hand and pull her into the nearest closet, fumbling for the lever that will open the false back. We huddle in the small space together, and Daisy trembles in my arms.”

What a way to grab your attention, huh? And it never lets up from page one. Unimaginable things have happened to Clara Lawson, she just hasn’t realized it yet. Neither will you unless you take the astonishing journey that’s laid out, not in chapters, but in “Then” and “Now” scenes. I would love to find out if Olsen wrote them separately or together simply because it all seems too real.

Clara learns early on that she has been rescued from a horrific lifestyle. But she can’t believe it cause it’s all she’s ever known. Yes, I’m talking about human sex-trafficking. Please, please don’t allow the subject matter to turn you away from reading this novel. It’s so well done, the characters are richly developed and once again, I have to mention Olsen’s brilliant prose where she gently guides you through the story and not once does she falter. There’s not one wasted word as there shouldn’t be when the subject matter contains such rough issues like Stockholm syndrome, child-abduction, abuse and murder.

I think every parent should read this book, every woman too, there is just so much to learn from it. The healing process of Clara is amazing and her coming to terms with the role that she played even though she was the victim will take your breath away. I had many tear stains on my shirt after this one. Some of it is too much to deal with, trust me. This book will haunt you. It should win many awards. Read it and see if you agree.

5 Stars *****

The Perfect Stranger – Book Review @MeganLMiranda

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The Perfect Stranger (All the Missing Girls #2)
by Megan Miranda 

I was lucky enough to receive this ARC of THE PERFECT STRANGER  from Netgalley for an honest review.  The book will be released on April 11th, 2017. This is the second of the All the Missing Girls (2 books) Series, but I felt it could easily stand on its own.

Leah Stevens  is desperate to start a new life. So desperate, she doesn’t pay attention to the people who are willing to help her–take her in. She starts a new job as a teacher in Pennsylvania and life falls apart again.

Leah is also a character that I became extremely cautious of early on in the story. Because she was the protagonist/narrator who constantly points the finger at other people. And believe me, there are a lot to chose from:

Emmy Grey – a roommate who asks no questions, then disappears without a trace.

Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer who hides what he knows but seduces Leah anyway.

Two shady students in her classroom who appear to know more than she does.

Distant relationship with her mother and combative sister issues show lack of support.

Not to mention her boyfriend in Boston where she worked as a journalist who betrayed her on a story at the beginning of the book, making her whole world come crashing down.

So, this is why I was on the lookout for Leah to not be of sound mind and body. It’s also what makes this a great Psychological/Thriller. I love Miranda’s style of writing. She’s one of those rare writers who write like they are speaking to you in the same room, i.e. “You will not believe the story I have!”

5 Stars *****