Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Trial Highlights May 19, 2015

Yesterday’s trial continued with only two witnesses: Lt. Scott Little of the Gloucester Sheriff’s Department and Dr. Owsley of the Smithsonian Institute.

Lt. Little testified about forensic examination of digital pictures and answered a number of questions related to how to determine if a picture has been tampered with. He spoke about the date/time stamp that is attached to a picture and what it all means.

Dr. Owsley testified about the remains of the child found under the shed. His testimony was moving and at times difficult to watch. He displayed photos of the baby boy assumed to be Connor Scott, but the defense argued that it had not been established that these pictures were indeed baby Connor.

It was difficult to see the baby, a slight, dark haired infant being held by his mother, on the floor with the family dog, and dressed in a little onesie. We knew his fate, but seeing him in the box that was his final resting place was stomach-churning.

Learning that he spent most of his life on his back, and as a result had a flatness to his occipital bone, a deformity, kept me awake last night.

“The child shows extreme evidence of under nutrition…this is a very underweight child,” Dr. Owsley said.

I had to leave the trial to get my own children after school, as I didn’t have child care that day. I didn’t see any emotion from either Brian or Shannon, but the news report in the Daily Press this morning ( tells of Shannon breaking down and sobbing.

I did not see her cry. The most I saw her do was sit at the front table and read a book.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Trial Highlights, May 18, 2015

The day was warm outside, but the courtroom was chilly. Brian and Shannon Gore sat next to their attorneys at the front, neither showing any emotion as the charges against them were read and as witnesses testified.

Witnesses today included four law enforcement officers, one pediatric child abuse doctor, and one friend.

My heart went out to Shannon’s friend who had to testify. Many of us know what it is like to be betrayed by a friend, someone we’ve poured our hearts out to, someone we love on an entirely different level than our partners.

It hurts. A lot.

Hopefully this trial will bring healing and closure for everyone, including the law enforcement officers who struggled with the enormity of this crime, the parents and families of the accused, and the friends who had to wake up to an entirely new reality in their world on April 29, 2011.

And may Connor Scott Gore, 7 month old baby boy, rest in peace.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

First Time At Prison

The waiting area is painted a soft, soothing blue-gray, and the seats are not uncomfortable. But waiting to enter a prison is anything but restful. What the heck was I doing? How did I come to be in this place, at this time? Did I really want to go through those doors?

All kinds of thoughts ran through my mind. This was your decision. You knew what you were doing. You can’t run out now. You’ve got to see this through.

The guards were a surprise to me. I had expected surly, dispassionate, and a touch of mean. Instead, I got warm, open, and friendly. Really? They were exceptionally nice and polite, an attitude I found somewhat disconcerting. Weren’t they supposed to snarl and snap? A sense of disquiet settled in my soul as the minutes ticked by while I sat, waiting.

And then something completely unexpected happened. I had come to this place to meet Brian Gore, to speak with him for a bit, to let him know about the book I was writing. I had my questions planned. I had put together everything I was going to say.
I was ready for this moment.

Until the guard at the front desk motioned over to me while speaking to her replacement. “They’re waiting to see Gore.”
Wait—they? When I looked behind me, a quiet man sat, patient and serene.

Brian’s father.

The last thing I want to be is intrusive and pushy. Some writers are known for those qualities, but I am not comfortable with that approach.

When we were finally called in, Mr. Gore and I began the long walk down to the visiting area. It’s not really a long walk, but once that first door clangs shut and locks, first-timers like me feel closed in.

It’s a good thing Mr. Gore was with me, because he had to show me how to get through the next set of doors. He was gracious and kind, showing a touch of humor and a bit of emotion. As a parent, I cannot imagine what it is like to have a child in prison for such a crime.

Overall, I think my first visit went well. I accomplished what I wanted to, and I was able to quickly get out so that Mr. Gore could spend some time with his son.

Tomorrow morning the trial begins. Perhaps we will find answers. Or perhaps, as Mr. Gore intimated, we’ll never really understand, no matter how many questions we ask.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Interview With My Aunt

I recently had a chance to interview a new author about a book she recently released, titled Your Story Matters...Tell It. The fun part for me is that this isn't just a first-time author, it is my aunt. Linda Bunker has finally decided to tell her story of her long-term relationship with my Aunt Nancy. It's a wonderful book, and I highly recommend the read.

What is your book about?
This is a fifty-five years journey of a lesbian couple. In 1958, a girl of sixteen met woman of twenty-four. Against all odds and self-inflicted restraints, they selfishly allowed themselves to fall passionately in love. Fifty-five years later they find themselves still sharing their “secret” love. They have decided that now is the time to come “out of the closet.”

How long ago did you have the idea to write your story and what inspired you to do so?
When I was in the bridal business I always used to say, “When I retire I am going to write a book.” I naturally thought it would be about the bridal business. As one can imagine, there were plenty of stories that amassed over our thirty-four years of being in this highly tense business. I have always enjoyed writing—letters, business advertisements, commentary for fashion shows, even eulogies! My mother was a great writer and documented many pages—all family related. One day I got a letter from my niece saying her daughter was gay, had a partner, and they wanted to get married. My initial stupid thought was, “Does my niece think my ‘gay’ gene was passed down to her daughter?” In the first place, I did not think my nieces or nephew knew I was gay—I never told them and they never asked. Anyway, this news had quite an effect on me—I felt so bad. I didn't want this beautiful girl to be a lesbian.

Long story short, it brought back memories of my fifty-five years—the hurts, the difficulties....I decided I wanted to write everything down for my family. They always held me in high esteem and I wanted them to know the truth. I had no intention of publishing my story for sale, but it was required through self-publishing.

Tell me a little about your partner…
Do you have time?
Where do I start… in our younger years she was what I would call an Italian Matriarch, ruling those around her, especially me. However, outside of those she ruled, she was the life of the party—everyone's friend—always so generous, loving, helpful, and giving of herself. In her “golden years” she has given up her “throne” and opened all her goodness, letting everyone share in her light. Our relationship has never been as wonderful as it is now.

What did she think of the book?
Would you believe that she watched me write day after day, sometimes for hours, for over a year and
never asked to read anything? She did not read the book until after it was published. I was a nervous wreck...I thought I would be “ the moon…”, but she just said she was very proud and went out in our community to spread the word that my book was published. Am I happy? No words can express how wonderful I feel.

Is there a message in your writing?
I think now that the message I want to send is that it was our hard years of living the secret that has built an acknowledgment and acceptance of gays and lesbians today. It was all part of the process. We had to live it to advance it to where it is today. The biggest message is that a lesbian is born a lesbian....why would anyone ever choose to be one—there certainly are little or no benefits!

I hope my book also promotes the idea of real love and devotion. There is such a thing! I am the luckiest person to have been blessed with it.

What are you working on now?
I got all the “serious” stuff out of my system and now I am remembering the “funny” stuff and am taking the liberty of embellishing situations Nan and I have experienced—most of which have taken place in our golden years. The title is The Adventures of Claudia and Estelle, and I hope to use some illustrations of two old cartoon-like ladies. This is going to be fun for me; however, I don't know if it will be funny to readers who don't know us... oh well!

For you, what is the most difficult part of the writing process?
This is easy to answer. My “lover” is jealous of my computer. I have to write when she is playing golf, watering the garden, or sleeping late in the morning. I also find that after three o'clock in the afternoon my body and my brain shut down. This could be attributed to the fact that they know it is almost “martini” time!

Do you write for other publications?
Yes, I write a monthly column for our local newspaper, The Prospect Pages. It is called “Residing at Regency” and I have been doing this for the past three years. We live in such an active adult community that there is always something to write about.

I really write about anything I want to and because of my love of “quotations” I try to pick one and then relate it to something here.

What do you like to read?
I love to read, and read every night when I go to bed. I have just treated myself to a Kindle reader which I love. In the past when I would be holding a “real” book, sometimes I would doze off and wake with a start as the book fell on my head!

I prefer non-fiction books—bios, memoirs, etc. Current books I have enjoyed are No Ordinary Times, The Absolutist, and An Invisible Thread.

What writer influenced you the most?
Without a doubt it was my mother. Although she never published anything she was a beautiful writer, always interjecting comedy with the serious. I never tire of reading her stories, most of which are handwritten.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I don't think I am qualified to give any advice other than follow your heart.

Where can people learn about your books?
The can order my books through Amazon. Outside of that, I guess they will have to get in touch with my niece, Narielle!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Greg Lilly, writer/publisher and all around awesome person, asked me to be part of the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. It sounded like fun, plus I get to tag some talented writers. My answers to the questions are listed below, and I’m tagging three others to be part of the hop. They will post their answers next Wednesday, December 12. You can read Greg's post here.

These are the rules/questions:

Details: Rules
*Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress)
*Tag up to five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them. It’s that simple.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
Madness in Brewster Square: Book 1 of the Brewster Square Series

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I can’t really answer that, except to say that I believe it has been simmering in my head for a while now. I was at a dinner for writers this year when the idea for the entire series came to me. That night, I went home and began outlining the story.

What genre does your book fall under?
This is definitely a cozy mystery series!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? This question is difficult to answer, because my characters are not written with any particular actress/actor in mind and because I don’t pay much attention to television shows. Casting would be challenging, but this list is close to what I visualize when I write:
Ava Maria Sophia Cecelia: Sara Rue
Giuseppe (Ava’s brother, founder of AA Paranormal Investigations): Zachary Quinto
Charlie (Ava’s best friend): Reese Witherspoon
Stanley (Ava’s new boyfriend): Simon Baker
Oliver (new police detective in Brewster Square, former DEA agent): Danny Pino

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? (One sentence did not work for me, had to make it a wee bit longer)
Ava loves working in her brother Giuseppe’s Aromatherapy store, but hates when he drags her into his paranormal investigations. Those things are boring and nobody really believes in ghosts anyway. On the night they investigate the old McAllister place, the one house Ava is convinced is truly haunted, they find a dead body in the basement. As Ava looks into the death, she starts to wonder: has everyone in Brewster Square gone mad?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
This book will be traditionally published, most likely with a small, independent publisher.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took ten months to write the first draft, and will take another three to four to edit before sending it out.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Brewster Square Series can be called a cross between Diana Killian’s Mantra for Murder Mystery Series and Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft Mystery Series. While not exactly the same, my series has similar themes of family conflict and alternative spirituality.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My family. Growing up within a large Italian family had many of moments of craziness sprinkled with lots of love (and food). Whenever I am able to spend time with my relatives in Connecticut I am surrounded by love and laughter.. Plus, I wanted to create a fictional town where I could name the streets and make it whatever I wanted it to be. Brewster Square is a combination of the Connecticut towns of New Haven and Branford, with a little imagination to mix it all up.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
My father used to tell me about the hostilities that existed between the Italian and the Irish immigrants in the Northeast when he was a kid, so I used that for this book. I hope that since I’ve been having so much fun writing this, you’re going to have just as much fun reading it.

For now, you can hop on over to next week’s participants and see who they are.
J. Conrad Guest, author of January’s Paradigm, One Hot January, January’s Thaw, The Cobb Legacy, A Retrospect in Death and 500 Miles To Go, as well as a novella and numerous articles. You can read his blog and check out his website for more information.

Jeanne Johansen, author of 27 Minutes and Tea With A Hussy in the novella collection Chesapeake Bay Christmas. As founder of High Tide Publications, Jeanne is dedicated to seeing other writers get a great story out to great readers. Her blog can be found here.

Chris Eberle is the author of the John Seraph mystery series. Check out his blog and website for fun information.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Stories

Yes, it's true, I have a new book available! I am part of a group of authors called the Bay Sisters, and we've released our first book, titled 'Chesapeake Bay Christmas'. It's a series of three novellas, and as you may have guessed, each story is tied to the holiday season. If you like Christmas stories, or are looking for a quick read, check us out. And stay tuned, the Bay Sisters have plans for more releases in 2013...

The People I Know

I don’t write to make others happy, I write because there are stories to tell. Sometimes my writing evokes an emotional response, and so far the strongest reactions have come from my family. The thing is, it’s never easy to predict how friends and family will judge my books and stories. Usually, when I give a copy of my work to someone I know, I wonder the usual things. Will he like it? Will she want to read more? It was my brother who asked the question I later discovered my entire family wanted to ask. “Who are your characters?” I didn’t know what to say. “They’re, um, the people in the story,” I said. “No, seriously, who are they? Which one is me?” he asked. Uh oh. Time to disappoint him. “None of them,” I told him. “I made it all up.” “Really?” he asked. “I spent the whole book trying to figure out who was who.” Everyone has heard the saying ‘write what you know’, which is perhaps the reason my brother assumed my characters were based on real people. But here’s the thing I know: I know humans. I know we are mean, funny, pretty, jealous, happy, ugly, grief-stricken, foul-tempered, judgmental, giving, carefree, uptight, stingy, nice and sometimes just plain crazy. And, don’t forget litigious. Writers don’t risk a lawsuit just to put you in a book when we can create someone just as interesting, put them in uncomfortable situations, kill them, bring them back to life and kill them again. And it’s all legal. The cruel sibling that lurks in my subconscious knows how much fun it would be to give my brother a vague answer, to let him pore over my work, wondering. But there are two reasons I won’t do that. First, it’s not true. And second, I like my brother too much to do that to him. I’m not so sure what I’ll say to my cousin, though.