Lou Holly Sr- Southside Chicago in the 80s

If the death of Prince (blessings upon him) doesn’t have you nostalgic for the 1980s, I’ve got something that will. My friend Lou Holly Sr. has written a tight, fast-moving crime thriller set on the Southside of Chicago.

You can nearly smell the char dogs and stale Old Style… not to mention those horrible fake leather Bulls jackets…. and if a story set in the 80s doesn’t seem very historical… try telling your kids about them some time. Besides, it’s my blog……

Lou Holly Sr, on what must be his wedding day to Liz, otherwise it's his prom
Lou Holly Sr, on what must be his wedding day to Liz, otherwise it’s his prom

Okay for those of you who don’t know, what’s the Lou Holly story?

I’m 65 years old, married, retired and live in Naperville, IL. I was brought up on the southside of Chicago in a blue-collar neighborhood. I’ve been a self-employed entrepreneur most of my adult life. Past businesses I’ve owned include a band booking agency and limousine business. In the 1990s, I worked as a private driver and bodyguard for a Chicago actress. My wife and I published a 1950s & 60s nostalgia/rock & roll magazine from 2009 to 2013 titled Keep Rockin’. I started writing novels five years ago. Basically, I’m a self-taught writer with no formal training.

I was lucky enough to help workshop your book with the Naperville Writers Group, but for those who didn’t watch your baby grow up, what’s the plot?

SOUTHSIDE HUSTLE is about a 31-year-old man called Trick (short for Patrick), who gets out of prison after serving close to three years for a drug bust. He owes a ruthless drug dealer $60,000 from a previous debt. He is having a hard time adjusting to life on the outside and is under pressure to come up with the money he owes. Trick’s life turns around when he sees a black bag thrown from a speeding car being chased by the police. The bag contains three kilos of cocaine and $285,000. He pays off his debt to the drug dealer by giving him the kilos. He thinks he is on easy street with all that cash, until the guys that the bag belongs to somehow catch up to him. That’s when Trick finds himself in a trick bag.

What was it about that time period that’s so interesting? 

The 1980s was a fascinating period in America. There was a lot of drug money

Southside Hustle, published by The Book Folks
Southside Hustle, published by The Book Folks

being thrown around and a lot of debts incurred. Some people got rich, some went broke, some went to prison and others ended up dead, all as a result of the cocaine trade. I remember the 1980s as a time of beautiful women, fancy cars, expensive clothes, jewelry, and discos.

What’s your favorite scene in the book?

One of my favorite scenes occurs when Trick is being processed into Cook County Jail. Trick is in a line with a large group of men, all stripped naked. They are instructed not to move. When the man to Trick’s left absentmindedly folds his arms, a guard hits him on the head with a billy-club and knocks him out. What results next puts Trick in a serious predicament. It’s a true story that I personally lived through.

Yeah, the reality really burns through in that scene. Southside Hustle is published by The Book Folks, same people who did my novel, The Count of the Sahara. Where can people learn more about you and your work? 

They can find me on Facebook 

Twitter  https://twitter.com/louholly_sr

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4458920.Lou_Holly

 

louandliz
Lou, his wife Liz and yours truly celebrating the launch of Southside Hustle. He seems to have greyed since his promo picture….. but then haven’t we all.

Acres’ Bastard- coming soon

Acre’s Bastard- Exciting new historical fiction from the best-selling author of

“The Count of the Sahara”

The Holy Land in 1187.

10 year old Lucca Nemo is an orphan on the streets of Acre, the Kingdom of Jerusalem’s most corrupt city. A simple prank goes horribly wrong, and catapults him into a terrifying world of spies, violence and political intrigue that ends in battle at the Horns of Hattin.

Author Wayne Turmel blends heart-pounding action, human drama and sly humor in this exciting tale set during the Second Crusade.

My friends and I were famous, if that’s the word, as The Lice. We were small, annoying, and constantly in someone’s hair. Berk was Turkish, Fadil and Murad were Syrian—supposedly converted Saracens—which is why they were allowed to live in town. They all had parents, or at least a mother, that they constantly disappointed.

Then there was me. Shorter and skinnier than my friends, and a year or so younger. My parentage, or at least what I knew of it, was written all over my brown, sharp face. At first glance I seemed purely Saracen; dark brown skin and a long beak of a nose, but my green eyes showed the other half of the tale. Depending on which story you believed, my mother was either a Syrian whore got with child by a Frankish Knight, or a pure, innocent Frank woman, dishonored by a pillaging Mussulman. The idea that my parents might have actually liked each other and wanted me never seemed to be part of the tale.

I preferred to think of my mother as a whore, giving me a claim to the ruling class by virtue of my father’s nobility, because of course he had to  be noble if he was really a knight. Whatever the truth, their union left me with the best—or worst, depending on who told the story—features of each.

Coming in the Fall of 2016 to Amazon.com

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Julie Anderson and the Reconquista

You all know my motto: Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. The rest of us are doomed too, but get to sit there smugly and say ‘told you so’. With that in mind, it’s easy to forget that the whole “clash of civilizations thing” isn’t new. Not by a long shot. That’s where Julie Anderson’s new book, “Reconquista,” comes in.

So what’s the Julie Anderson story?

I was born in the English midlands, spending much of my childhood in a semi-rural village, yet I have lived in South London with my husband and cats for most of my adult life. We enjoy the cultural life of the city and eating out with their friends, but we also have a home in Andalucia.Julie

After college I taught English Literature for five years then joined the British Civil Service. I had a fulfilling and successful career, but took early retirement to do what I had always wanted to do. Write.

I set up The Story Bazaar publishing imprint to publish my own writing and that of others. This year it is publishing books by several writers besides me, fiction and memoir. My first publication was ‘The Village; A Year in Twelve Tales’ my own first collection of short stories. My second ‘The Story Bazaar 2015’ was a compendium of articles, fiction and blog pieces from the web-site by myself and other regular contributors.  My new book is ‘Reconquista’, an adventure story and the first in the Al Andalus series.

I blog under the name ‘JulieJ’, at www.thestorybazaar.com . I report on cultural events and exhibitions in London, places and people of historical interest, life and events in southern Spain and writing and publishing.

This is a fascinating time period, and very relevant to today. What’s “Reconquista” about?

Reconquista’ is an adventure story set in 13th century Al Andalus ( Spain ) during the campaigns of the Christian north to re-conquer the rich southlands from the Moors. The book opens on 9th October 1264. Outside the walled city of Jerez an army waits the signal to attack. Within the city walls, for fourteen year old Nathan, his older cousin, Rebecca and their friend, Atta, events are about to change their lives forever. Their city is about to fall and everything they have always known will be questioned.

Across a war-torn Al Andalus King and Emir vie for supremacy and bandits and pirates roam land and sea in their wake. Our heroes set out on their own desperate journeys to find freedom and safety.  But, if they are to succeed, they must first face down their fears and decide what sort of people they want to be. In short, each of them has to grow up, but they have lots of adventures along the way.

So why does this story grab you? What is it about this period in time?

Julie's tale of Islam, Christianity and Spain is available on Kindle
Julie’s tale of Islam, Christianity and Spain is available on Kindle

The book began, ten or more years ago, as a serial story for my nephew and god-son. We have a home in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain and my nephew was about to visit there for the first time. I wanted to engage him in the history and romance of the place, so I wrote an adventure story, delivering ‘episodes’ on a gradual basis. He’s nearly twenty two now and the story which I wrote for him has changed out of all recognition.

The period is an intriguing one and full of stories of real heroes, El Cid, for example, but the truth is often more interesting than the legend. So, even though the Reconquest is presented as a religious war, in fact, lots of towns and cities changed sides, depending on circumstances rather than religion. El Cid himself fought for Muslim cities as well as for the Christians and, sometimes, on his own account.  It was the time of ‘convivencia’ or people of different faiths living together in relative tolerance.  But there was a contrast between this attitude and the religious piety and zealotry also in evidence from various sets of ‘invaders’ not just the Christian north but also the Muslims from across the Straits of Hercules (Gibraltar).  Yet ordinary life went on. I wanted to write about ordinary young people, growing up in extra-ordinary times.

And the subject matter has become ever more relevant. Right now Europe is facing the largest migration of people since the Second World War, with refugees risking their lives to get here and putting strain on services and the social fabric when they do. People are fleeing from war and terrorism. The US also has a constant influx of people entering illegally from Latin America.  I hope that readers of my book might look with some understanding and compassion on the TV pictures of weeping and frightened people waiting at Europe’s borders once they have read ‘Reconquista’.

You have a very active Social Media life. How can people find you?

Besides my blog, they can reach me at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JJAnderson-512903848873983/?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jjstorybazaar

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13818437Julie_Anderson

Pinterest:     https://uk.pinterest.com/andersonjulie4/

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/andersonjuliej

Adieu Jim Harrison

Another of my favorite writers has gone to…. well probably not his reward. There aren’t a lot of rewards for spending most of your life cooking, hunting, fishing, writing and drinking. Seems kind of redundant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall and so much more has passed. Go read something of his. Hell of a way to spend a weekend.

You can read Esquire’s last interview with him here. It’s worth it.