Category Archives: book

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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Title to be determined

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First attempt at writing an Urban Novel.

Prologue

Miami, Florida
June 1, 2012
9:15 pm

Red and blue lights flashed repeatedly, interrupting the darkness of a summer night. Anisa pulled over as the Police Cruiser followed closely behind. The back roads were isolated and secluded from the busy streets of Miami; mostly open to the Everglades and small planes that landed on private airstrips.

The officer slowly emerged from his cruiser and approached the vehicle. Anisa and Kema were both under the provision of the Russian counsel, making them diplomatic citizens. The vehicle was registered to the Embassy and considered diplomatic property, causing Anisa to question the stop.

“Is there a problem officer?” Anisa asked as she lowered the window.

“No, not at all young lady,” the officer answered. “Just don’t get much company back here. This is just a concerned safety stop.” Anisa smiled. Kema remained composed, yet vigilant.

“We’re alright officer, just taking this road to the air strip ahead,” Anisa explained.

“Well, I see you women are alright, so I’ll let you get on your way.” Without hesitation, the officer stepped back, unholstered his service weapon and fired into the vehicle. The first trajectory grazed Anisa’s cheek as she managed to duck the second one. Kema jumped from the car and returned fire. Anisa followed in unison. A series of shots sent the officer running for cover. Kema closed in, firing at the fleeing officer as he managed to fire back. While he made his way to the driver side of the car, he saw Anisa. But it was too late. She fired a shot that ripped through the officer’s clavicle.

“Ah Shit,” he yelled in excruciating pain. Anisa walked up close as Kema made her way around the car.

“Who do you think he works for?” Kema asked.

“The Cuadras Cartel, definitely,” Anisa said, firing a bullet into his skull.

“Are you alright?” Kema asked.

“Yeah, it’s just a graze wound,” Anisa answered. “Let’s get out of here. I’m sure someone heard the shots.

 

 

A final goodbye

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“I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy — 1972

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again.

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong

I am invincible

I am woman

***
Patty Smith was one of my best friends for the past 47 years; a long time, but not long enough. Paula and I moved to Carbondale in 1971 and bought a house next door to Buddy and Bev Rogers. It was through the Rogers that Paula and I began a friendship with Dick and Patty. In many ways, the six of us – Buddy, Bev, Dick, Patty, Paula and myself – were like an extended family. We shared stories, meals, jokes, laughter, sadness, opinions, and the occasional game of pinochle. It was not unusual for the six of us to hang out two to three times a week. Based on 47 years and my rough calculations, we spent some 10,000 hours just hanging out.

Without hesitation, Patty Smith is one of the strongest women I have known. Each of us has obstacles that block our chosen path. How we deal with each challenge defines our character.

Patty was married to James Staff in1964 and lost him in 1966. During that love-filled marriage, Patty gave birth to Jimmy. In a flash, Patty had become a widow and a single mother. A few years later, she married Dick Smith and became the mother of two families rolled into one. In time, Patty and Dick lost Scott, their oldest son, to cancer. As time passed, Patty was dealt an additional challenge – Dick suffered a major stroke. In addition to the normal duties of wife and mother, she was now a caregiver, head of the household, and major provider. She stepped out of her husband’s shadow and took charge.

Any one of these challenges could break a weaker person. While family and friends offered their support, Patty turned to God, her spiritual source for guidance and strength. Her loving qualities grew and her toughness only strengthened, allowing her to face any adversary. Patty’s spirit now resides in the glory of the Lord. But her compassion, strength, and knowledge continue to live within each family member and friend who knew her well. She gave us a template, a master plan for how to face life’s challenges. But we have to act upon the lessons she has passed on. The answers, the magic is there. When faced with our next test, I suggest that each of us say, “What would Patty do?” “What would Patty do?”

***
I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can face anything
I am strong
(strong)
I am invincible
(invincible)
I am woman

 

“Knock my socks off book”

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Perhaps one’s taste in books changes as much as their favorite ice cream or the potato chip of the day.  I tend to pigeon hole my favorite authors into one of three categories:  lyricist, storyteller, and knock my socks off.

The “lyricist” chooses words that mimic the streaming of musical notes; creating the sadness of a love affair gone bad; the intensity of a raw, dark murder; or the joyful sound of children playing in the sand box sharing gentle hugs as they close out another day.  It’s the flow, the beauty of the written word.

The “storyteller” writes words as if they are carefully chosen hues, creating an succession of colors rapidly moving together, jumping from one shade to another to another.  The image grabs hold of you, unable to stop until the tale has been told.  It’s the page turner, reading one leaf while turning onto the next.

The “knock my socks off” combines the talents of a “lyricist” and the “storyteller;” a byproduct of our brain’s emotional center; the limbic system — hypothalamus, thalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, pituitary gland — working in concert to create the next great book.  Only then can the lyricist and storyteller “knock my socks off.”

Foreword for “Dark Days in Chicago”

Larry L Franklin

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Foreword

There are a special group of forgotten men who live in the Stateville Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison located in Crest Hill, Illinois. Each of them spent their early years as gang members on the streets of Chicago. All three were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. Each has served over 25 years in an Illinois prison.

The temptation to continue their gang activity while incarcerated was strong. Protection, contraband, money, and the allure of a prison family fulfilled their immediate needs. But amidst the violence and quiet roar of 2,550 troubled inmates, a miracle happened. Three like-minded inmates – Adolfo Davis, Patrick Pursley, and Stanley Davis – sought redemption as well as a need to give back to those they have harmed.

Words give testimony to their lives, thoughts, and concerns as they reflect upon their youth and the freedom they once had. Their…

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Midwest Book Review of “Supermax Prison: Controlling the most dangerous criminals

Larry L Franklin

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I’m pleased to share a recent review from “Midwest Book Review” on my latest work, Supermax Prison:  Controlling the most dangerous criminals.  

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The Social Issues Shelf

Supermax Prison
Larry L. Franklin & Rakesh Chandra MD. JD.
History Publishing Company, LLC
PO Box 700, 15 Heyhoe Woods Road, Palisades, New York 10964-0700
http://www.historypublishingco.com
9781933909837, $19.95, PB, 240pp, http://www.amazon.com

The collaborative work of Larry L. Franklin and Rakesh Chandra, “Supermax Prison: Controlling The Most Dangerous Prisoners” is a penetrating look at the violence that swept the American prison system in the 1980’s and 1990’s and the organizational structure mirroring the Mafia that erupted in them. The inmates had to make a choice between joining a gang that offered protection, friendships, financial rewards, access to drugs and other contraband or serving as a lone inmate in a dangerous, even lethal world. The worst in this violent world were sent to the supermax prison…

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Dark Days in Chicago: The Rehabilitation of an Urban Street Terrorist

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DARK DAYS IN CHICAGO:
The Rehabilitation of an Urban Street Terrorist
By Adolfo Davis, Stanley Davis, & Patrick Pursley
with Larry L. Franklin

 “Rarely does a book come along that shows the journey of three young men as they moved from street gangs to isolation in a 6 x 9 foot cell, and to the beginnings of a righteous life. ‘Dark Days in Chicago: The Rehabilitation of an Urban Street Terrorist’ serves as a template for at-risk youth, anyone searching for a better path, and those looking for a fascinating read.”
— Father Leo J. Hayes, M. Div., MA – Retired Chaplain in the Menard Maximum-Security Prison, Author of Evil in Mirror Lake
***
Dark Days in Chicago provides a view of three former gang members convicted of murder and sentenced to life-without-parole, and their struggles to find meaning to their lives. The inmates provide a fascinating insight into their spiritual transformation while incarcerated in a maximum-security prison.”
— Janet Coffman, Ph.D. Psychologist
***
“Words give testimony to the authors’ lives, thoughts, and concerns as they reflect upon their youth and the freedom they once had. They share the history that steered them towards prison, and the hope that this book supports healing, thoughtful reflection, and awareness of the 2.3 million adults and juveniles incarcerated in America’s state and federal prisons.
— Father David Kelly C.P.P.S. – Precious Blood of Ministry of Reconciliation. Doctoral Thesis – “Responding to Violence among Urban Youth: A Restorative Approach”

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NAME (Please Print)

________________________________________
ADDRESS

________________________________________
CITY/STATE/ZIP

Advanced copies available now.
$20.00 per book includes shipping and handling
Mail payment, name, and address to:
Larry L. Franklin
416 Virginia Dr.
Makanda, Il 62958
618-521-5041
Books will be available through Amazon and other retail stories
on September 1, 2018.

 

A book is about to be born.

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     It has been my honor to assist Adolfo Davis, Patrick Pursley, and Stanley Davis in the completion of their book. While the story was presented in third-person, it was my challenge to give it a cumulative-voice of three inmates determined to tell their story. Unlike most of us who have our favorite writing spots — private study, isolated cabin, library, or perhaps a table tucked away in the corner of a coffee shop – the authors wrote their story in a 6 x 9 foot prison cell.

Adolfo, Patrick, and Stanley have spent most of their incarceration in an Illinois maximum-security prison, while Adolfo spent four of those years in a supermax prison. There were times when the three of them attended prison classes and shared their thoughts on writing a book; communicated their ideas while walking in the prison yard; and the occasional trips to the gym. Then, in the isolation of their cell, they wrote their thoughts on paper to be shared at their next meeting. Adolfo combined the writings into what would become a manuscript. Unless indicated, the words will represent the thoughts of three inmates.

The driving force was their commitment to explain the path that led to their violent ways, and share their newfound secrets to a better life. Their desire to help the troubled youth of Chicago — the place where street gangs rule – gave Adolfo, Patrick, and Stanley a reason to wake up each morning, a purpose for living.

 

 

 

 

A Mighty Fine Book

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I was pleased to write a review on “Hurting Like Hell, Living with Gusto:  My Battle with Chronic Pain,” by Victoria Stopp, a fellow Goucher College recipient of an MFA in creative nonfiction writing.  Hope you get a chance to check out her latest book.

A mighty fine book.

Hurting Like Hell, Living with Gusto: My Battle with Chronic Pain serves as a template for those suffering through chronic pain; athletes searching for longevity in an aging world; and readers yearning to experience the endorphin rush enjoyed by serious athletes. By most standards, author Victoria Stopp, was at the top-of-her game when injuries threatened to break both her body and spirit. Stopp experienced off-the-chart pain, leaving her with no escape from her newfound misery. Drawing upon her experiences as a health-care professional and patient, Stopp struggles to overcome pain while recognizing the need to redefine the limitations of an aging athlete. As a reader, there was a time in the middle part of the book that I imagined that Stopp would awaken, realizing that this was a terrible dream. But that was not the case. The author picked herself up and continued her journey.

It’s a joy to read a page-burning story written in the creative nonfiction genre. There were times when I felt myself in a lockstep-pace with the author as we raced down a country road, feeling the rush of our neurotransmitters pop and crackle like fireworks on the fourth of July. And then, without warning, an unforeseen pain brought us to our knees. But that was just the beginning of a miraculous journey. Yes, this is a mighty fine book.