The True Meaning of Memorial Day #RSsos @StephiTay

In addition to the picnics, sporting events, and a three-day weekend, Memorial Day is a time to remember the brave men and women who died serving our nation and its values.

To show my appreciation for those who risked all ensuring our freedom, I collected a few inspiring quotes that highlight the true meaning of Memorial Day. The pictures are from my trip to Washington D.C. and one I will never forget.


Iwo Jima Memorial – Washington D.C.

“Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.” -Wallace Bruce


Tomb of the Unknowns – Arlington Cemetery – Washington, D.C.

“The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.” -Aaron Kilbourn


War World II Memorial – Washington, D.C.

“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude America will never forget their sacrifices.” – President Harry Truman


Korean War Veterans Memorial – Washington, D.C.

“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men.” -Minot J. Savage


Arlington National Cemetery – Washington, D.C.

“For love of country they accepted death.” -James A. Garfield


Women in War Nurses Memorial – Washington, D.C.

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. -Joseph Campbell

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Are you the “paranoid” type? #RSsos #PoliceProcedures #Amwriting @AuthorMarian

Interview vs Interrogation

Interview vs Interrogation

What’s the difference? An interview is a fact finding expedition. An interrogation’s purpose is t0 pull a confession from the suspect that will hold up in court.

With a crime, especially murder, a police officer will question anyone whoever said a word to the victim. This procedure will eliminate a person as a suspect, or put them on the top of the detective’s persons of interest list. Interviews can take place at the person’s home, their place of business or on the street.

copIf you’re a lookie-loo at a crime scene, you’ll most likely will be interviewed by uniformed officers. There are also times you can be called in for a formal interview as a follow up to your original statement.  A formal statement is requested by the detective if he needs more information or to verify your facts. This is a request for you to appear at their place of business—the police station. To put you at ease or give you a false sense of security, the detective might interview you at his desk. It might also happen in an interview room.

An interrogation is mostly conducted in a small, closed in room at the police station which is sparsely decorated. Thanks to books and television, everyone knows the mirrors in these rooms are two way, allowing their interview to be observed and/or recorded. The walls in here will be either gray or institutional green. The chairs weren’t designed for comfort—these chairs will be constructed of hard metal or wood with metal rings attached to the floor. Two chairs are placed on each side of the table. The leg irons (rings) are used to lock up prisoners or contain unruly subjects.
It’s you against them here. The room was designed to isolate you.  There are different strategies the detectives might use to get you talking.  An experienced cop after being with you for a few minutes will determine what method will work on you.

Are you the “I’m just here to help” type?

Or are you the “paranoid” type?

Or are you the “You’re an idiot, and I’m the only smart one in the room” type?

No matter what type you are, or think, the detective is the one in control. He controls your freedom and he even controls the room temperature.

In interview, a cop and his partner might play the good cop bad cop routine. From officers I’ve interviewed they are amazed themselves that the routine still works.  No matter who you are—you’ll be nervous in interview, unless you’re a sociopath. Your only thought will be, “get me out of here now.” Most people, innocent people, will display all kinds of reactions to the process. Some will go crazy and start shouting. Some will hyperventilate and others might get sick or pass out. Still, others might mimic and agree to everything the cops says…thinking that this will get them out of there sooner. Wrong!

I suggest if you find yourself in an interview or interrogation with a police officer that you tell the truth and stick with it. Remember, cops are human, just like you.

Excerpt: Burn in Hell, A Jake Carrington Mystery

With her head down, she sat at her machine, waiting on the supervisor to come back—to unlock the machine so she could play again. More than anything, she needed to win. A hand landed on her shoulder, startling her. Jerking away, Kyra turned to see who belonged to the hand. Crap, not the supervisor. Joe Dillon, not exactly the person I want to see right now.

“Hi, Kyra.”

“Hey, Joe.”

“How’s it going?” Her host sat down next to her.

“Not good,” she whined.

“I’m sorry to hear it. You know you have a payment due soon?”

Double crapola. “Yes, I know.”

“Why don’t you leave the machine for a while? Come have something to eat with me?”

What could he be up to, she wondered?


“Why? Kyra, let’s discuss your loan payment over dinner, explore your options.”

What options? There weren’t any. All week she racked her brain trying to find a solution to the mess. Though a quiet guy, Joe scared her. Deep inside, she understood he could destroy her. Not a person she’d want to cross.

“Kyra? Please, no one’s going to touch your machine. Maybe a break will change your luck?”

“What the hell. I could eat,” Kyra hissed. Something had to change.

“How about a steak?”


They got up at the same time, bumping into each other. Joe sat back down, let Kyra get up first. He followed her as she headed to the Trenton Steak House. Joe grabbed her arm and pointed to the private elevator that went directly to the entrance to the Whale Room. She looked at him. He smiled.

“What’s up, Joe?”

“I think you need a real break Kyra, so we’ll head up.”

Curiosity got the better of her, but she figured she’d find out what he was up to in good time. Then the fear hit her. Maybe she shouldn’t leave the floor with him. She owed the casino seventy-five thousand dollars. Behind on her payments, she spent three grand tonight trying to win her next payment. Stupid—how could I be so stupid? I should’ve made a partial payment with the three grand instead of gambling tonight. They wouldn’t beat up her up, would they? Tasting the bile as it violently pushed up from her stomach, scorching a path to her throat. Kyra couldn’t control the tears that flooded into her eyes when she started to choke.

“Are you all right, Kyra?”

“I don’t want to leave the public floor, Joe.” Kyra’s hands shook along with her entire body. Unable to control her voice as it cracked, her mind searching for an escape.

“I have a deal for you, but I can’t discuss it in an open area. We’ll discuss it upstairs, over dinner.” He smiled.

Oh yeah, she thought, the farmer leading the cow to the slaughter. “What kind of deal?”

“We’ll discuss it upstairs,” he repeated firmly.

“You’re not going to break my legs or anything like that. Are you?” she half-heartily joked.

“No such thing, Kyra. Relax.” Now’s the time too really worry, she thought. Just like the “trust me” phrase, it gave her the willies.

About the author:

Marian is one of ten children. She took up writing to explore new and adventurous places. While her friends traveled on planes for vacation, Marian traveled in books. With an overactive imagination she started creating her own characters and stories. Her first book If I Fail, A Jake Carrington Mystery hit the Amazon top two hundred and was followed with Burn in Hell following winter which also resided in the top 500 on Amazon in its first month of release.

Marian also writes romance under the pseudonym Merry Holly. Her brain child, the Season of Series, includes the following books; Season of Magic Holiday Box Set (2014), Season of Love (2015), Season of Surprises Holiday Box Set (2015) and Season of Thrills mystery/suspense/ thriller box set (2015). Season of Magic hit the Amazon Bestselling list and stayed there for 17 weeks. She plans many more books in the Season of Series.

An avid reader, she discovered her love of mysteries by reading the Daily News as a youngster. Intrigued by the real life crimes, and how the police worked and eventually solved cases, ignited her imagination beyond the ordinary.

Marian has many books planned for Jake Carrington and his crew. The third book in the series Mated for Life will be out in late 2016.

seasonofthrillsBOX (3) 2D picture of cover

Connect with Marian Lanouette

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3 Concepts for #writing male POV #RSsos @StephiTay

“That’s what he said”: 3 Concepts for Writing the Male POV #RSsos

Have you ever read a novel written from the male point of view so realistic it was hard to believe the author was a female?

I think this every time I read a novel by Suzanne Brockmann, Emma Chase, J.M. Darhower, Tiffany Reisz, and Helena Hunting, to name a few. Although I love writing from the male perspective, I find it to be very challenging.

So what’s the best way to develop male characters who are realistic, and intriguing, but without defaulting to the usual stereotypes?

After reading countless tips from several blogs, I narrowed down my list to three key concepts.



Dialogue and conversations are to the point. If a guy has something to say, then he’ll say it.  Conversations are usually a means of exchanging information.

Also word choices are something to consider. Men typically don’t refer to something with flowery, expressive adjectives (i.e. marvelous, gorgeous) or give details of a woman’s clothing (i.e. crimson red A-line dress) unless this is specific to their role. They won’t describe something as being delightful, but more accurately as fine or okay.


There are many misconceptions about guys and emotions. Guys DO have feelings and emotions. They tend to push them down and choose not to discuss their problems with others. A good tip for writing a male POV is to explore their feelings and ask the tough “why” questions. For example, I wanted to know why my hero harbored so much resentment toward those who are wealthy? Did this stem from something that happened in his past or was it an outcome of his upbringing? Why was he so against accepting help from others?

Another key concept is to balance the internal and physical traits. Not every male character has to be the hunk with chiseled abs and bulging biceps. But even those guys need flaws and weaknesses. As a reader, it’s fun to peel away the layers, see their inner thoughts, and learn what drives them or what they fear most. Make him grow from those flaws.

Generally speaking, it takes a lot for guys to break down. Simply taking something away in a scene might elicit anger, but developing conflict that breaks them psychologically will elicit a stronger emotional reaction.

 “Men are different, but not complete robots.” Brett Michael OrrInk and Quills


When making decisions, they tend to stick with their original decision. Changing their minds is viewed as a blow to the ego, giving the impression their first decision was a wrong one.

Men are typically problem-solvers and tackle situations with an action-orientated approach. If they perceive a problem, their first instinct is to fix it. Many times they prefer direct action over talking.

Regardless of what type of male character I choose to write, the biggest take away for me is to focus on developing the character first. Create an intriquing hero with depth – a person with goals, desires, and fears, as well as someone the reader can root for and emphasize with. The male characters who are complex and written with those traits always become the most memorable to me.

Do you have any tips for writing realistic male characters?
What are your favorite novels written from the male point of view?


Kaitlin Hillerich with guest Brett Michael Orr, How to Write from a Guy’s POV 

Adrienne Giordano,  Anatomy of the Male Mind: Women Writing in the Male POV

Roni Loren, Man Up: Writing Male POV

Keri Arthur, Male POV

Advanced Fiction Writing, On Writing Convincing Male Characters

S.A. Taylor


S.A. Taylor: Sister of Southern Inspired Suspense

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