Mixing History with A Fiction Novel


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Elaine Faber is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inspire Christian Writers, and Cat Writers Association. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three housecats. She volunteers at the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop in Elk Grove, CA. … Continue reading

The Hard Work of Telling the Truth:


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D.R. Ransdell is a writer and musician. She spent five years in Mexico teaching English and learning folk songs. Now, she plays with a mariachi group and writes a murder mystery series about mariachi bandleader Andy Veracruz. She also teaches writing at … Continue reading

Should She Risk All?

An Interview with Crystal Moore, the heroine in A Silver Medallion

JIM: Well, let’s just jump right into it. Why on earth did you decide to go to Mexico when you knew how ruthless Jose Rodriquez de Allende was? First, are you an adventurer, a thrill seeker?

CRYSTAL: You didn’t waste any time getting to that. To answer your question, no I am not a thrill seeker, or an adventurer. The most dangerous thing I’ve ever done was say “No” to a man who had never heard that word. As to why I went, that’s a question I’ve heard a lot- sometimes even from myself. Do you want the long answer or the short answer?

JIM: Let’s start with the short.Cover - A Silver Medallion

CRYSTAL: Because of the threat to kill her two little girls if she tried to escape, or even told anybody of her situation, Lucita would never escape. She would spend her entire life a slave. But, if I could rescue her two children from Jose, she would be happy to try to escape.

JIM: But Jose was a powerful and vengeful man.

CRYSTAL: Now we’re into the long answer. First, I was naive. I wasn’t prepared for just how evil the man was. And living in a society where one can depend on the police to help, I naturally thought I’d have some good local or state police help. That turned out to be foolish on my part.

JIM: Okay. I understand part of it. But this was such a risky business, I know you had other reasons. Come on, tell us.

CRYSTAL: I guess the biggest one came from my own life. My parents were killed in a car accident when I was seven. It was such a difficult time for me, for a long time. But, nothing could be done about that. They were gone, dead. No one could help me. Of course, I had loving grandparents who took me in and gave me a secure, loving home. Still, it was very difficult. Twenty years later, I could still feel the pain. Now, I’m not saying anything against my grandparents. They were the best. Grand Dad has passed, but Nana and I are still really close. She’s my best friend. I love her a lot, and she thinks I’m pretty special.

But these two little girls didn’t have grandparents. They were virtual slaves themselves, living under a brutal man. They had no one to look after them, to try to give them a happy childhood. Yet, there was something that could be done to help them. Rescue them from Jose.

Of course, there was another powerful reason. Once I talked with the mother, had pictures of the girls, I couldn’t sleep. I would have nightmares about their treatment. I became a prisoner of their large brown eyes. I swear, I would wake up thinking I heard them crying. If I wanted to have a normal life again, I had to, at least, try to rescue them.

JIM: I’m beginning to understand why you went. But did you really think you would succeed? I mean, this was a powerful man, with many henchmen, in a foreign country.

iguana 5SCRYSTAL: You understand the dangers. Well, actually, I didn’t until I met Juan Grande. He made the dangers quite clear to me. But, you fix your mind on what you want to achieve. You don’t think about failure. You say, whatever the worse case is, I will figure out a way to make it through.

JIM: Okay. You’ve convinced me. You should have gone. But one last question. Did anyone else think you should go? Maybe Lucita.

CRYSTAL: No. No one. Nana, who can face down the devil, said I shouldn’t go. Brandi, as brash as they come, said it was a dumb idea. And Mark, a former bull rider, didn’t want me to go. Even Lucita had her doubts. She feared if I tried and failed, her children might suffer the consequences. Her fears almost stopped me.

JIM: That’s all we have time for today, I’m afraid. Another time, I want to know how your boyfriend took the news you were off to fight the devil himself. But we’ll need more time for that. Thanks for being so open and honest in your answers. I look forward to reading the full account in A Silver Medallion.

Readers, what do you think?  Should she have gone into Mexico?  Leave a comment and tell us whether you think she should have gone.  Thanks.  You can get all the details in A Silver Medallion, on Amazon at:

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1WxoEaF

Paperback:     http://amzn.to/28LIdWs

A Silver Medallion is a gripping, action-packed adventure from talented author James Callan.  Crystal Moore is a tough and savvy heroine …

 New York Times Bestselling Author Bobbi Smith


James Callan’s A Silver Medallion is a fine blend of colorful characters, action, suspense, and serious.  Crystal Moore and her grandmother, Eula, are a great team as they take on modern-day slavery and academic fraud in this nonstop novel.  Check it out!

 Bill Crider, best-selling author of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series

 This book by Mr. Callan kept me hooked from the very beginning. Drawing a plot that seemed to leap from the headlines, he writes with a page turning intensity that will leave the reader satisfied. Crystal Moore is a heroine you can fall in love with. A woman willing to stand by her convictions of right and wrong, even if it means putting herself in danger, to accomplish her goal of righting the wrongs in the world.

Amazon Customer – Abookanight

Once I began reading it, putting it down became the challenge.

Amazon Review – Mary Turner

Cats Give Way to WWII


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Today’s guest is Elaine Faber, the California writer who generally has a cat as the chief sleuth.  She departs from that to bring us a story centered around World War II in her latest novel, Mrs. Odboddy – Hometown Patriot. (Of … Continue reading

Postmark from the Past


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Today, I’m interviewing Vickie Phelps, a woman who has published over 200 articles in both regional and national magazines.  She has also published five gift books with Barbour Publishing and is the co-author with Jo Huddleston of How to Write … Continue reading

4 Tips All Writers Can Use


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Today, Jennifer Slattery is offering four tips that all writers can use.  Jennifer writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers.  Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, was released last summer and her latest, When Dawn Breaks, released in December. Here’s Jennifer’s tips. … Continue reading

The Crescent City Mysteries

Today, I’m interviewing Holli Castillo, whose background runs fromholli - author pic competing as a gymnast at the 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair, to working in many positions in theatrical productions, including performing as a Can Can girl.  After she received her JD from Loyola University, she joined the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office. She quit the D.A.’s office when she had her first child, and is now an appellate public defender.  Sounds interesting to me.

 Jim:  How was it going from the DA’s office to public defender? Aren’t those on opposite sides of the aisle? 

 Holli:   They are the opposite sides, but the knowledge and skill translate well from one to the other. The D.A.’s job is supposed to be to present the truth and let the jury make a determination of whether the defendant is guilty or not. The defense’s job is to make sure that no one cheats in getting a conviction.  That isn’t the way it usually works out. Having done both, I can say both sides have the exact same goal–to win at any cost.  It’s not really so different in the end, and the law is the law.

 Jim:  At what stage did you decide to write?

Holli:   I have been writing stories since I was in Kindergarten and novels since I was in 6th grade.  I didn’t decide to try to write something for publication until I quit the D.A.’s Office to stay home with my first child in 2000.

 Jim:   holli - gumbo-2And how long did it take you from when you first started writing until Gumbo Justice appeared in 2009?

 HolliIt took about 4 years to write the novel.  But then Katrina hit in 2005 and in June of 2008 I was in a head-on collision with a drunk driver and was on my back for a year.  So it actually took 9 years, but only 4 of that was writing.

 Jim:  As with most of us, some personal history influences what gets written.  How did your experience in the District Attorney’s office color your novels?

 HolliNearly all of my ideas are sparked by real cases I’ve handled, either as a D.A. or a defense attorney.  The D.A.’s Office definitely gave me the inside track on how a prosecutor’s office works, especially the office dynamics and criminal procedure.  I can include all aspects of criminal prosecution in my novels.  My protag knows how to do everything I know how to do, she knows the same lingo, she knows how to cheat, etc. holli - jambalaya-2

  JimJambalaya Justice won an award before it was published.  Tell us just a little about that.

 HolliI entered it in the PSWA contest for unpublished fiction and it tied for first place. 

 Jim:  And the third in this Crescent City Mystery Series is called Chocolate City Justice. First, I have to ask, is New Orleans known as the Chocolate City?  I’ve never heard that term applied to New Orleans.

 HolliThe title comes from a speech our mayor made on the first Martin Luther King Day following Katrina.  He gave a grandiose speech about how at the end of the day, New Orleans would be a Chocolate City again, referring to the fact that more white people  were returning to the city than black people.  It caused quite a stir.

Jim: Well, I’ve learned something new today.  That’s good.  Tell us a little about Chocolate City Justice.

 Holli:  Ryan has just been assigned a real plum by prosecutor standards, a child’s birthday party massacre caught on videotape.  But as most things in New Orleans, nothing is what it seems and the case starts to turn into a nightmare.  And then along comes Katrina.  Ryan plans to evacuate, but does an unexpected favor for a friend, causing her to miss her window to escape the storm, ultimately putting her on the radar of the gang she’s prosecuting for the birthday party shooting.  But Ryan isn’t worried.  She’s handled some of the worst criminals the city has to offer, and hurricanes never hit New Orleans. Right? 

 Jim:  And when will that be available?

 Holli:  We’re still working on a release date, but I can safely say this year, sometime in 2014.

 Jim And lastly, where is the best place for us to buy your books? 

 Holli:  They are on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and my publisher’s website, www.oaktreebooks.com

 Thanks so much for having me!

Jim:  It was my pleasure, Holli.