All posts by llfranklin12

About llfranklin12

Larry L Franklin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University. He performed in the U.S. Navy Band located in Washington, D.C. from 1967 to 1971. From 1972 to 1975, he taught music at Southern Illinois University. In 1976, he completed requirements for a certified financial planner designation and maintained a successful investment business until 2007 when he retired to devote his energies to writing. In 2003, he received an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Franklin is the author of “Mnemosyne: A Love Affair with Memory,” published by Xlibris; “The Rita Nitz Story: A Life without Parole,” published by Southern Illinois University Press; “Cherry Blossoms & Barron Plains: A woman’s journey from mental illness to a prison cell,” published by Chipmunka Publishing Company; and “Supermax Prison: Controlling the most dangerous criminals,” published by History Publishing Company. He currently resides in southern Illinois with his wife, Paula.

A message from the author.

I‘m supporting Jovon Scott, friend and author of “Blood of my Shadow.” I had the pleasure of editing Jovon’s book and bringing it to fruition. I’m posting a message from Jovon written from locked in a prison cell.

Writing and imagination have been an escape from the reality of my upbringing.  The ability to create a world where I can exist is compelling; perhaps enchanting.   The streets nearly killed my creativity and pulled me so far under that I lost myself.  The drugs, violence and other things that came along with the culture damaged my ability to feel; to be a kid, allowing myself to reach the potential of who I am today.

I was mentally isolated in a bondage that imprisoned my mind.  But words freed me from the mental incarceration, opening the doors that allowed my mind to run rapid and unharness my imagination.  Now at the age of 30, I’m free and more alive than I’ve felt before.   

Blood of my Shadow:  The Rise & Fall of the Syndicate is a depiction of my imagination mixed with the reality of the street culture.  Urban fiction and organized crime have never been entangled into one genre — until now!  This 6 book series is my mind run rapid on pages that allow you to enter my world of reality and creativity.  Thank you for your support.  I promise to keep the art of storytelling alive. 

Jovon Scott

Memories

Memory is life’s greatest gift.

It was an earlier time, late 19th or early 20th century, perhaps, when three learned men — Hermann Sorgel, Daniel Thorpe, and Major Barclay — gathered in an English pub.  They had attended a day-long Shakespearean conference in London, listening to lectures on the works of William Shakespeare and experiencing a lively discussion on the structure and theme of their favorite sonnet.  What better place to finish the day.  A bar lined one wall, a smoke-stained fireplace stood against another, and several like-minded patrons circled small wooden tables separated just enough for an intimate conversation.  The cigars were strong that night, and the dark, warm beer was smooth and plentiful.

     The Major abruptly changed the conversation when he pointed to a beggar standing outside.  Islamic legend has it, he said, that King Solomon owned a ring that allowed him to understand the language of the birds.  And a particular beggar, so the story goes, somehow came into possession of the ring.  Of course the ring was beyond any imaginable value and, as a result, could not be sold.  Legend has it that the beggar died in one of the courtyards of the mosque of Wazir Khan, in Lahore. 

     Sorgel jokingly added that the ring was surely lost, like all magical thingamajigs.  Or maybe some chap has it, he said with a chuckle, and can’t make out what they’re saying because of all the racket.

     Thorpe weighed in.  “It is not a parable.  Or if it is, it is still a true story.  There are certain things that have a price so high that they can never be sold.”  Thorpe went mute and stared at the floor.  He seemed to regret having spoken at all. 

     The darkening of Thorpe’s mood and the lateness of the evening moved the Major to call it a night.  Thorpe and Sorgel soon followed suit and returned to their hotel.  Thorpe then invited Sorgel to his room to continue their conversation.  It was there, in the privacy of Thorpe’s room, that he asked Sorgel if he would like to own King Solomon’s ring.  “That’s a metaphor, of course, but the thing the metaphor stands for is every bit as wondrous as the ring.  Shakespeare’s Memory, from his youngest boyhood days to early April, 1616 — I offer it to you.”  Sorgel fell silent as he struggled to find a word.  Thorpe continued.  “I am not an impostor, I am not insane.  I beg you to suspend judgment until you hear me out.” 

     Thorpe continued.  “I was a military physician.  I was in a field hospital when a soldier who had been shot twice was about to die.  What he told me might sound  quite startling, but strange things are the norm in times of war.  The soldier, Adam Clay, offered me Shakespeare’s Memory, and then, in the final minutes of his life, he struggled to explain the singular condition of the gift.  ‘The one who offers the gift must offer it aloud, and the one who is to receive it must accept it the same way.  The man who gives it loses it forever;’ he said to me.” 

     “And you, now, possess Shakespeare‘s Memory?” Sorgel asked.

     “I am now in possession of two memories — Shakespeare’s and my own.  They seem to merge, or maybe I should say that two memories possess me.”

     I’ve searched the works of Shakespeare for years, Sorgel thought.  What better gift than to know the inner workings of Shakespeare’s mind, and maybe touch his soul.  “Yes,” Sorgel declared with an assertive tone.  “I accept Shakespeare’s Memory.”

     “Shakespeare’s Memory” is a short story by Jorge Luis Borges.  While the work is fiction, Borges’ insights into memory are both precise and profound, and as real as life itself.  Borges leads us through a maze of discoveries as bits and pieces and chunks of memory begin to unfold. 

     Sorgel recalled Thorpe’s words.  “It will emerge in dreams, or when you awake, when you turn the pages of a book, or turn a corner.  Don’t be impatient; don’t invent recollections.  As I gradually forget, you will remember.”

     Sorgel’s sleepless nights were mixed with the fear that it was a hoax, or possibly an illusion, and the longing hope that he might in some way become Shakespeare.  Memories began to return as visual images, and then auditory, sounds that issued from him when Sorgel sang a melody he  had never heard before.  In a few days, Sorgel’s speech took on the “r”s and open vowels of the sixteenth century.  He began to sound like Shakespeare.

     Memory was not the stretch of rolling hills with green meadows and natural springs that Sorgel had hoped for.  It was a mountain range with beautiful and at the same time, terrifying peaks, frigid temperatures, and the threatening crevasse just around the corner.  Some memories were shadowy, and some were so traumatic that they were hidden forever.  Sorgel enjoyed the happiness of the moment, and then his mood darkened from an unwanted memory.

     At first, Sorgel’s and Shakespeare’s memories were separate and easily distinguishable each from the other.  Then they began to mix, and finally, Shakespeare’s Memory overpowered his own, causing Sorgel to question his sanity and wonder how little time was left before he was no longer the man he once knew.

     It became clear that Sorgel had no choice but to give Shakespeare’s Memory away.  He dialed telephone numbers at random.  At first they were met with skepticism and then an abrupt hang-up.  In time, he reached a more receptive gentleman and Sorgel said, “Do you want Shakepseare’s Memory?”  And to Sorgel’s surprise, the voice answered, “I will take that risk.  I accept Shakepseare’s Memory.”

     Shakespeare’s Memory was transferred a little at a time, and was irregular at best.  But years later, some residue still remained.  “I am now a man among men,” Sorgel wrote.  “In my waking hours I am Professor Emeritus Hermann Sorgel; I putter about the card catalogue and compose erudite trivialities, but at dawn I sometimes know that the person dreaming is that other man.  Every so often in the evening I am unsettled by small, fleeting memories that are perhaps authentic.”

A journey of enlightment

Larry L Franklin

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I never thought I would write or edit five prison-related books. That was not my intention some 15 years ago while traveling a beaten-down, two-lane highway to the Dwight Correctional Center. I was about to have my first interview with a female inmate, convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. What I thought would be a one-time interview, turned into a two-year journey and my first book — “The Rita Nitz Story: Life Without Parole.”

While working on Rita’s book I met another inmate who was incarcerated for killing her five-year old stepdaughter. The inmate, Becca, suffered from a bipolar disorder and unable to recall the murder. After obtaining copies of her mental health record and confirmation of her mental illness, I began another two-year journey that turned into a second book — “Cherry Blossoms & Barren Plains: A woman’s journey from mental illness to a prison…

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“Blood of my Shadow” is available.

“Blood of my Shadow:  The Rise & Fall of the Syndicate” is available on Amazon and other book stores as an ebook and a paperback.  Join me on an interesting journey, and for some, an eye opening experience.

It has been my pleasure to work with Jovon Scott, author of “Blood of my Shadow:  The Rise & Fall of the Syndicate.”  I first met Jovon while researching my previous book, Supermax Prison:  Controlling the most dangerous criminals.  As a favor, I agreed to look over Jovon’s writing that fits within the genre of urban fiction.  Since my prior work was creative nonfiction, I found urban fiction to be a new, and rewarding experience.  (Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t teach old dog new tricks.)

     What blew my mind was Jovon’s imagination and how he can spin a story.  His writing reminds me of films I’ve watched that deal with urban fiction – fast, page turners, and attention grabbers.  I decided to edit the first 50 pages of Jovon’s manuscript, showing him what I believe would improve the flow of his writing while preserving his imagination.  Moving forward, Jovon Scott has his first book of a six book series.  

     “Writing is the avenue that changed my life, and I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.”  Jovon Scott

     Jovon Scott is 30 years of age and began his incarceration in an Illinois prison at age 18.  He has a projected parole date of 2033.  Jovon was raised on the slum streets of Chicago in an area better known as the Robert Taylor Projects where unemployment reached 95%, an African-American population of 96%, 40% single-parent families, and a public assistant family income of $5,000 per year.  It comes as no surprise that Jovon turned to street gangs that offered a means of survival, a family-like environment, money, drugs, sex, and respect.    

     Jovon gives credit to the gang culture for forcing him to want more out of life, and a willingness to pursue it with gusto.  Discipline was front and center in the street gangs of the 1980s and 90s.  Being self-educated, Jovon continues to prepare himself for a more favorable future upon his release. 

     It was in a 6 x 9 foot double-occupancy cell where Jovon discovered how writing frees the soul and opens an imaginary reality, a breeding place for creativity.  “Blood of my Shadow: The Rise & Fall of the Syndicateis a work of urban fiction, focusing on the underbelly of the urban culture.  It is here where Jovon combines lessons learned on the streets of Chicago, an unharnessed imagination, and his ability to spin an exciting story. 

     This is a fictional story about control and power, accompanied by sex and violence, a lustful lifestyle, the willingness to die for your cause, and the hope of a lasting legacy.

     If you’re a new reader to urban fiction, I challenge you to give this a try and experience another patch in our quilt called America. 

Blood of my Shadow: The Rise & Fall of the Syndicate

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“Blood of my Shadow: The Rise & Fall of the Syndicate” will be released as an ebook and paperback in approximately four weeks.  As I’ve mentioned before, the author, Jovon Scott, is an inmate who I met while researching my last book, “Supermax Prison:  Controlling the most dangerous criminals.”  Jovon sent me several pages of his manuscript written in the urban novel/street lit genre.  Since I consider myself to be a writer of creative nonfiction, this has been an interesting venture for me.  

Jovon’s imagination shines through his writing like a flood light on a dark night.  One might say that I was hooked.  I edited 50 pages of the manuscript and waited for his response.  Jovon was excited about working together — Jovon as the author, and I as the editor.  Our efforts gained a contract with “History Publishing Company” out of New York.

I’m including the verbiage from the back of the book.  Hope you enjoy.  This is book one of a six book series.

The Syndicate lives by a set of rules and principles that not only govern our longevity in the underworld, but shapes who we are as a player in the game of chances.  Death is synonymous with the culture we live in; blood is only repaid in blood.  We are Penumbras, mere fractions of a shadow.  But when united, we become one full and complete shadow, absorbing the magical and spiritual strength emulated by a total eclipse.  And when Penumbras die, they become the Blood of my Shadow.
Mona Moore, Sole Proprietor of the Sheridan Syndicate.
***
It was in a 6 x 9 foot cell where the author, Jovon Scott, discovered how writing frees the soul and  opens a breeding place for creativity.  This is a work of street lit, focusing on the underbelly of urban culture.  It is here where the author combines lessons learned on the streets of Chicago, an unharnessed imagination, and an ability to spin an exciting story.  Blood of my Shadow is a narrative about control and power, accompanied by sex and violence, a lustful lifestyle, the willingness to die for a cause, and the hope of a lasting legacy.

 

 

   

Blood of my Shadow

I’ve been missing for a couple of months; editing a first for me, an Urban Novel.  Jovon Scott, an inmate in an Illinois prison, asked me if I would edit his work.  While I’ve always written nonfiction books, I was intrigued by Jovon’s imagination.  It is quiet remarkable.  A few months have passed and the manuscript is near completion, and we have a verbal commitment from a publisher.  I’m including a few pages which you might find interesting.

Blood of my Shadow

 by Jovon Scott

edited by Larry L. Franklin

About the Author

     “Writing is the avenue that changed my life, and I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.” Jovon Scott
***
     Jovon Scott is 30 years of age and began his incarceration in an Illinois prison at age 19. He has a projected parole date of 2033. Jovon was raised on the slum streets of Chicago in an area better known as the Robert Taylor Projects where unemployment reached 95%, an African-American population of 96%, 40% single-parent families, and a public assistant family income of $5,000 per year. It comes as no surprise that Jovon turned to street gangs that offered a means of survival, a family-like environment, money, drugs, sex, and respect.

Jovon gives credit to the gang culture for forcing him to want more out of life, and a willingness to pursue it with gusto. Discipline was front and center in the street gangs of the 1980s and 90s. Being self-educated, Jovon continues to prepare himself for a more favorable future upon his release.

It was in a 6 x 9 foot double-occupancy cell where Jovon discovered how writing frees the soul and opens an imaginary reality, a breeding place for creativity. “Blood of my Shadow” fits into the genre of urban fiction, focusing on the underbelly of the urban culture. It is here where Jovon combines lessons learned on the streets of Chicago, an unharnessed imagination, and his ability to spin an exciting story.

Prologue

War is a cause and blood is the ink used to write the markings on the wall. Blood spills on both sides – those who are innocent and our enemies as well. There will be casualties determined by providence, leaving us unable to choose who stays and who goes. We live by a set of rules and principles that not only govern our longevity in the underworld, but shapes who we are as a player in the game of chances. Everyone sitting at the table is family, willing to die for one another. Death is synonymous with the culture we live in. Blood is only repaid in blood.

     We are Penumbras, mere fractions of a shadow. But when united, we become one full and complete shadow, absorbing the magical and spiritual strength emulated by a total eclipse. And when Penumbras die, they become the Blood of my Shadow.    

Mona Moore, Sole Proprietor of The Sheridan Syndicate

***

The Sheridan Syndicate engaged in illegal activities for profit. While sometimes referred to as the mafia, mob, gang, or the underworld, The Syndicate had no equal. Under Mona Moore’s leadership, the organization had accumulated some $100 billion in capital; provided the umbrella under which criminal activities operate; and all for the sole purpose of granting the means to an end – control and power. The Meddstone Drilling Company and the Royal Diamond Casino & Resort were legitimate business organizations that provided cash flow and an avenue for money laundering. They too fell within the scope of the Syndicate.

The extravagant lifestyle and accumulation of wealth were mere byproducts. Underground drug traffic, money laundering, robbery, murder, blackmail, political misdeeds, investments, and inflows from outside investors led to the ultimate goal – control and power, an addiction that Mona Moore wholeheartedly admits.

While Mona maintained tight control of the Syndicate’s operations, her twin sons, Ty and Sky, assisted her. The enforcers, Kema and Anisa, protected the family and added to the core of professionals who ran the organization. Business associates, criminals, soldiers, policeman, politicians, investors, and other centers of influence made the system work.

In addition to the federal government, the Caudras and Mendoza Cartels were the Syndicate’s largest competitors. It was their job to destroy, lock up, or kill members of The Sheridan Syndicate. The Cartels were controlled by the Carlos Caudras family, the Mendoza brothers, and a large supporting cast. Drug traffic had broadened domestic terrorist activities, reaching into the international communities. Blood spilled could fill a river running from the east to the west coast, spilling over into the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.

This is a fictional story about control and power, accompanied by sex and violence, a lustful lifestyle, the willingness to die for your cause, and the hope of a lasting legacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution of my *&*&# Potato Chips

Larry L Franklin

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My wife and I modernized our shopping strategy.  We purchased an Alexis unit that sits in our kitchen waiting for our daily directions, “Hey Alexis, add peanut butter to the shopping list.”  Alexis answers with a pleasant, “I’ve added peanut butter to your shopping list.”  We installed the app on our iphones which allows each of us to access the grocery list.  I go to the south end of the store while my wife heads north.  Place an item in your grocery cart, delete it from your app.  That’s the plan.

I’m in the south end of the store moving down the potato chip aisle looking for my favorite, “Cape Cod Whole Earth Collection 40% Reduced Fat Potato Chip.”  And then it strikes me, “Where in the hell are my potato chips?”  Standing in front of me is an entire aisle of different varieties of potato chips performing the “wave”…

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Psychiatrist on the Colorado theater shooting case of James Holmes

Larry L Franklin

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Jeffrey L. Metzner served as psychiatrist on the Colorado theater shooting case of James Holmes, ruling him sane and fit to stand trial.  Holmes was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the death of 12 and the wounding of 70 individual.

Pleased to receive a review from Jeffrey L. Metzner, M.D.

This book provides the reader with a history of the burgeoning growth of supermax prisons within the United States and an insider’s knowledge regarding many of the problematic inmates housed in such prisons. The complex dynamics leading to the often bizarre self-injurious behaviors demonstrated by a small but significant number of supermax inmates is explored in this well-written book. The authors’ conclusion that the mental health treatment offered to inmates with a serious mental illness at Tamms was often better than the treatment available at other Illinois prisons, related to class action litigation, is ironic and concerning.

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The day my father loved me.

Larry L Franklin

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It was an earlier time, many decades ago, when the love between my father and I first appeared.  My parents had ended their dysfunctional marriage, leaving my older brother, Keith, to live with our father while I was sent away with my mother and a dog named Nippy.  Keith was 13 and I was 7.  I was later told that Keith and I had to be separated; he did bad things to me.

Two months later, after the spring plow and the crops had been planted, I returned to the two-story farmhouse for a one-week visit with Keith and my father.  On this summer day, my grandfather and mother were in the front seat of his 1951 Chevy while I peered over the back seat looking for the house where I had spent my earlier years.  No sooner had we turned off highway 16 and headed north on the DeLand…

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