Monday, 18 July 2016

Love In The First Degree Anthology - Raising Money for The Innocence Project

It's been a while since I posted and that's mostly because I have been working on this project I want to share with you today!

Those of you who have read this blog before, know I've talked about Making a Murderer a lot. That documentary has literally changed people's lives, and brought people together. If you watched it too, you'll also know that the situation Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey found themselves in left many feeling upset and frustrated, searching for things they could do to help.

 Well. I'm not a lawyer, I'm not rich, I'm not the best super sleuth. What I am is a writer. And so, one of the things I knew I could do is help raise money for The Innocence Project. I think the Innocence Project is a hugely important organisation, and not only did I want to help them raise money, I also wanted to raise awareness of what they do.

Before I share the details of the book with you, I just want to extend a thank you to some amazing people. Firstly, my co-authors, Clare, Kirsty-Anne, Allana, and Laura. You have been fabulous!

I also want to thank my MaM besties, Paula Grabow, Gemma Cosgrove, and Rich Donovan (plus all of you others - you know who you are!). You three have provided me with laughs, inspiration and joy, and I can't imagine a life without you in it!

To Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos - thank you for bringing not only the Averys' story to our attention, but shining a light on the flaws in the criminal justice system. What you have done is nothing short of incredible.

And to Jerry Buting and Dean Strang - thank you for showing that there are still people of integrity in the world. It's easy to forget sometimes. You guys haven't had the easiest time of it - but please know that you did a great job back then, and you're still doing a great job now!

And on that note... I bring you the project!

Together with some of the UK's best indie authors, I created Love In The First Degree. Here are all the details you will need:


Genre: Romance (contemporary and paranormal)

Date of Release­­: July 18, 2018

Cover Artist: The Graphics Shed

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Description: Love In The First Degree is a collection of short stories written by seven authors who have come together to help raise money for The Innocence Project. This anthology includes stories by Laura Morgan, Allana Walker, Clare Dugmore, Kyra Lennon and Kirsty-Anne Still.

Each story speaks of crime, passion, determination, and most importantly, intense romance that will leave you thinking about the characters long after you have finished turning the pages.

Being wrongfully accused of a crime could happen to anyone, anywhere, and The Innocence Project works hard to overturn wrongful convictions and help innocent people get back to their real lives where they rightfully belong. All proceeds from sales of Love In The First Degree will be donated to The Innocence Project.


Author: Laura Morgan
Title: Ensnared
A hand outstretches amidst the chaos of a brutal attack, offering safety and protection—but only in the arms of a villainous gangster who certainly isn’t going to be good news. Take it and accept the consequences? Or refuse and risk losing it all in the aftermath?
That’s exactly what happens to Bree Locke the night she meets mobster Alexis Ramon.
What seems like a good idea at the time ends up being the turning point in her life, but how will things pan out, and will she be able to survive the consequences of her decision?

Because when you fall from the frying pan into the fire, you’re going to get burned…


Author: Allana Walker
Title: Believe

What happens when the one guy you thought would protect you, doesn't? What happens when your own family and friends turn against you in your time of need? What happens when all you want is someone to believe you? What happens when the one person you least expect does? Find out how one girl’s life turns upside down only to turn back with a few simple words... "I believe you."


Author: Clare Dugmore
Title: Seeking The Truth
Erin Reynolds has been on the West Midlands Police force for seven years. She’s seen some strange things in the line of duty, but nothing quite like this.
On her first day working as a detective Erin witnesses something that makes the whole department question her sanity, and leads to her being sent on a leave of absence.
Desperate to prove what she saw was real, Erin tracks down the only other witness, Arcane Specialist Morgan Jackson. The occult expert is as infuriating as he is charming. When the killer leaves a disturbing message on her answer phone, Erin is forced to work with Morgan in order to catch the culprit and get her job reinstated.
The hunt takes them around the West Midlands, visiting a flirty priestess, a druid on the wrong side of the law and a sorcerer from Morgan’s past. As Erin learns more about the supernatural world, she also realizes there’s more to Morgan than just his sarcastic wit and arcane knowledge.
She's drawn to him almost as deeply as she is to the truth of what she saw. Her feelings for him are bought into sharp when Morgan gets on the wrong side of the murderer and it's up to Erin to rescue him, and stop the occult forces plaguing the area before the darkness takes over.


Author: Kyra Lennon
Title: Reasonable Doubts
Darcy Ryan is a woman on a mission.
A mission to take down the corrupt cops who ensured her best friend, Matteo Torres, went to jail for a crime he didn’t commit – the murder of his wife, Rebecca.
Darcy is willing to do just about anything to prove his innocence, including getting up close and personal with the case’s lead detective, Finn Drake.
She knows she’s playing a dangerous game, but it gets more dangerous then she could have ever imagined when she discovers everything she thought she knew about Rebecca Torres was wrong, and Finn Drake isn’t the man she thought he was either.


Author: Kirsty-Anne Still
Title: Love Me Not
Synopsis: I love him. He loves me. Our love story was that easy. I stuck by that, making sure he knew I was his person, his rock when he was arrested for murder. A murder that I knew he didn’t commit. But here I am, breaking his heart, unravelling our love story. All to save him. I’d break his heart – and mine – a thousand times over if it clears his name. *** I wasn’t raised to be a good man. I was loved to be one. She was the one constant when my world started falling apart. Until she wasn’t. I was no longer the man I had become. I was a murderer, a criminal, a broken man. She started to see me as the murderer I was branded, but mark my words, this doesn’t end here. When I’m a free man I’ll tear this world apart to get her back.


About Laura Morgan
Laura Morgan writes dark and powerful romance novels. She’s a hopeless romantic with a dark side. Be warned, she may give her characters their Happily Ever After, but makes them work hard for it!
You can join her for more information regarding her books at


About Allana Walker
Allana Walker is from Scotland. She began writing in secret then took the big leap into self-publishing in 2015. She doesn't have a specific genre, but she's all about romance and HEA's.
She loves mafia, MC and dark reads.
Always in love with the bad guy of books when she should hate them.
Her other passions, besides reading and writing, are baking, spending time with her family, watching wrestling and going to concerts.


About Clare Dugmore
Clare Dugmore is the author of contemporary romance ALL IT TAKES.
She is a thirty-something, married, mother of two from the West Midlands, of England.
In her spare time, Clare enjoys binge watching shows with her hubby,
spending time with her two sons, and playing video games.

You can connect with Clare via her website at


About Kyra Lennon
Kyra Lennon was born on the South coast of England, and to this day, still lives by the sea. Fiction writing has always been her passion, but she also has numerous articles on a variety of topics published on prolific websites.


About Kirsty-Anne Still
Kirsty-Anne is a British author who stumbled across her love for writing just as she started university. Over the last couple of years she's found the style of writing that best defines her and her work. Her favourite genres to write are romantic suspense with dark themes, but loves to push her boundaries.
Find Kirsty on social media Twitter @KirstyAnneStill

Friday, 6 May 2016

Why Are We Still Re-Hashing the Same Making a Murderer Questions?

Some of you may recognise the name Tom Kertscher from the wildly popular Netflix documentary Making a Murderer. At the time of Steven Avery's trial, Kertscher covered the events as they unfolded. These days, he's still reporting, and most recently, Kertscher did an interview of sorts with three other journalists who also covered the trial: Colleen Henry, Aaron Keller and Dan O'Donnell. Henry and Keller answered their questions very diplomatically. Dan O'Donnell... not so much. 

The question was asked: Do you think Avery was guilty?

There is not a person in the world who knows whether Steven Avery is absolutely guilty aside from Avery himself - and the person or persons who may have really killed Teresa Halbach. For O'Donnell to outright say, "Absolutely" in answer to that question is - to my mind - further proof that the media in Wisconsin was and still is biased against the Averys.

I truly don't blame the people of Wisconsin for believing Steven Avery was guilty at the time of the trial. They were told over and over about the "proof" of his guilt and when so much was obviously against him, of course people believed it. But surely, with the magic of hindsight, should there not have been a slight shift of attitude and opinion by now? 

The other thing that troubled me was the extreme arrogance of O'Donnell's last answer. (Seriously, read the link above, it'll blow your mind!) But more worrying than the assumption that the people who watched Making a Murderer didn't do their own research to form their opinions was that he said MaM doesn't really expose flaws in the justice system.

Well, excuse me, but: 

You only have to take a look around to see that the flaws in the criminal justice system are being pointed out all over the place and because of Making a Murderer, people are listening. 

The thing that makes me saddest about Kertscher's interview is that it keeps the focus on the wrong thing. The documentary has been in the world since last December. Yes, Steven Avery MIGHT be guilty. Or he might not. Right now, it's Kathleen Zellner's job to worry about Avery. At this point, people have reached their verdicts and continuing to only ask whether Avery is guilty does a huge disservice to Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi's work. (Not in any way saying his guilt or innocence isn't important, it is, but the only people who can help him are already working on it. I'm just saying Steven Avery is not what MaM was all about). Just because Making a Murderer was centred around this one case does not mean it doesn't expose wider issues with the criminal justice system. People are interested now. They are learning now. They are trying to find a way to help now. If that isn't proof that Making a Murderer has made a difference, I don't know what is. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Ken Kratz Jumps On The Speaking Event Bandwagon

So, it's been a while since we last heard from our favourite sweat-obsessed former DA, Ken Kratz, but he's back to let the world know he's hosting a speaking event in Rockford, Illinois with Judge Jeanine Pirro.

Kratz says this event will show "never before seen evidence, omitted from the documentary, that will provide the audience an exclusive insight and new perspective into this criminal justice debate."

Now, before we get started on this, let's just clear something up. Those who think Steven Avery is guilty and other outspoken cynics might (and probably will) say, "Well, if Strang and Buting are doing a tour, why shouldn't Ken Kratz have a chance to say what he thinks too?" And that is a perfectly valid point. However loathed by much of the public, Kratz is well within his rights to speak out. However, Strang and Buting's tour is not called, "These Are The Reasons Steven Avery Is Innocent," it's called, "A Conversation on Justice." Of course Making a Murderer will be discussed, but that is not the sole purpose. Steven Avery is one man. There are a lot more Steven Averys in the world and they all need help.

Secondly, this: A significant portion of their speakers proceeds will be donated to local and national equal justice charities.

This is not a publicity seeking exercise for Strang and Buting. There is a bigger picture here.

So, what's the name of Ken Kratz's event? "Avery: Guilty As Charged."

You'd think that since Kratz was one of the people who "proved" (I use the term loosely - I'm sure you all know what I mean) Avery's guilt back in the day, there would be no need for him to re-prove it now. If he truly believed he had done his job right the first time, why the need to re-hash it all?

But most of all, what can he bring to the table in this discussion that is truly new? Everything that was not included in the documentary has been brought up in the media, and those who truly care about the case have read the trial transcripts from start to finish. What could he possibly reveal at this point that the world doesn't already know?

This feels like nothing more than an attempt to claw back a little of his former reputation by attempting to explain himself again. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed judging by the outrage expressed on Twitter as soon as the news broke. General opinion is that he's said more than enough already for free - so why pay to hear it all over again? 

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Internet and Mob Mentality

Recently, I've been saddened by some of the things I've seen online. Scratch that. For a long time I've been saddened by some of the things I've seen online.

There's a mob mentality that can come with things that reach popular culture status. As an example, let's talk about say... boybands. Back in the day, a million years ago when I was a kid, I loved Take That. They were HUGE. In a very Beatlemania way, teenage girls screamed and cried when they saw them, they put their posters up, they discussed which member they liked the best with their friends. When a member of that band got a girlfriend and it made the news, people just had to deal. Not saying there wasn't a degree of, "Hey, Robbie Williams is dating another pop star, we hate her now." It happened. But that was it. Because there was no Facebook or Twitter for people to spew their outrage into the world.

These days, One Direction (for example) haven't had the same level of privacy. One of them gets a girlfriend, and all of sudden that girl is getting messages of hate, and teenage girls are yelling their frustration into the Twittersphere because... they can. And when one person sees another person with the same thought, they retweet each other. And then someone else who agrees sees it. Another retweet. And then another, and another until people start thinking, "Well, if this many people agree with me, a) I must be right and b) it's okay for me to verbally attack a person I don't know just because I have a platform to do so."

Most recently, Liam Payne of 1D (allegedly) began dating Cheryl Cole. The abuse she received about this is mindblowing.

Now, let's swing this around to my new favourite subject: Making a Murderer. 

I have said before that it's important to remember that the people in the documentary are REAL people. This is not a fictional story. They are real the same way One Direction and Cheryl Cole are real. Yet somehow, just because they are in the public eye, suddenly they are fair game to be attacked by anyone with a social media account.

We all have our on theories and opinions, and it's absolutely okay to talk about them and discuss them. But what I'm finding more and more frustrating is the amount of certainty people are throwing their theories around with.

Let's look at some instances of things that came up since the documentary that relate to Steven Avery. Those who think he killed Teresa Halbach became obsessed with the evidence not presented in Making a Murderer. They said the fact Steven Avery used *67 when he called Halbach meant he was trying to hide his identity (how that would even work is beyond me. If she answered the phone, what was he going to say? If he wanted her at his house, he'd have to tell her where she was going, and since she'd been there before...). They said that the documentary hid the fact that Avery once opened the door to Halbach only wearing a towel so that must mean something horribly sinister. And then the infamous thing about "sweat DNA" which meant the documentary purposely tried to hide this thing that isn't even a thing.

If you look at any evidence, you can twist it any way you want to make someone LOOK guilty. "Steven Avery gave a false name to lure Halbach to his property."
"Steven Avery had leg irons and handcuffs in his room so he must have planned to do this all along."
"Someone said Avery planned to make a torture chamber so he could torture women."
These are just a few examples of things that could make him appear guilty if nobody bothers to question them properly.

What was Making a Murderer about? Wasn't part of it about the unfairness? About how the police leapt to conclusions the second Steven Avery's name was linked with Teresa Halbach, and the damage this has done to two men?

So... knowing how enraged people are about this, why are so many piecing together information they've found and saying, "THIS PERSON DID IT! I CAN PROVE IT!" Well, if you actually can prove it, great. But unless you have 100% solid evidence that puts that person in the frame, you don't have proof; you have an opinion.

I could give a list of names of people who could be suspects, but they can't all have done it. That means that 99% of that list, and maybe even 100%, would be innocent. People's reputations are being dented on maybes and what ifs.

The presumption of innocence is what Steven Avery never had. That's one of the reasons people were so upset by his story. So why are people treating others the same way Avery was treated?

And now you're thinking... what does Making a Murderer have to do with all that crap about Take That and One Direction? Well, it's this. When people club together to throw insults and attacks at a celebrity, it can lead to a massive snowball of hate which gathers more and more momentum until people notice, and until people start to believe. The same thing is happening with MaM. One person says, "I have found a piece of evidence that says (insert name) killed Teresa Halbach." And another person sees it and says, "You know... I thought that too." Retweet. "Oh my God, them too?! Wow, maybe there's something in this." Maybe a quick internet search to dig up some other "evidence" to back it up. Retweet. "Whoa... this is looking like it can't be a coincidence now." Retweet. And so on and so forth. Before you know it, someone who may be perfectly innocent is being pointed out as a murderer, and when they're harmlessly wandering down the street, people are shouting things at them accusing them. Damaging a reputation that shouldn't be damaged.

If people throw stones, others get hurt. Except accusing someone of murder is less of a stone and more of a gigantic rock. So before you pick up your next rock, ready to hurl it at some unsuspecting victim, you'd best be sure you're throwing it at the right person, and that you have more than hearsay to back it up.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Weirdest 'Making a Murderer' Merchandise

Okay, it's been a while since I wrote a brand new Making a Murderer post, and while this topic has been kind of covered by others, I thought it was time to refresh it because new stuff pops up all the time, and frankly, this level of weird needs to be shared. So, let's jump right in and look at the weirdest Making a Murderer merchandise currently on offer!

1. Making a Murderer Dreamboat Collection
Now, even the name of this product is worthy of a giggle, but when you look closer at what this is... well... this is a pair of Dean and Jerry earrings. One lawyer for each ear. There is a LOT of Strang and Buting merch out there, but this is one of the oddest things I've seen because I'm just not sure how you would explain to people who have never seen MaM why you have the faces of two different men hanging off your earlobes. On the other hand, they would be quite the conversation starter...

2. Kratzy University t-shirt
Never before have two words become more linked than Kratz and sweat. A variety of memes have depicted this, but this t-shirt kicks things up another notch because declaring oneself as a "sweaty prize" is bizarre to say the least! Also, the idea of a Kratz university... what would one learn there? I'm gonna resist the urge to take a cheap shot - but feel free to fill in the blanks! ;)

3. Steven Avery embroidery
Okay... someone has gone to the effort of making this Steven Avery embroidery, and anyone who is brave enough to put their work out into the world should be applauded. However, it is still pretty freakin' odd to hang a 5inch Steven Avery on your wall . That said, it's still a million times better than Eugene Kusche's sketch!

4. Steven Avery colouring book

Adult colouring books are quite the big deal these days. According to many, getting your felt tips out and colouring in some pretty patterns is a relaxing pastime, guaranteed to lower stress. But you know what doesn't lower stress? MAKING A MURDERER! Injustice. The reminder that while you're sitting there idly colouring, the man in the picture is still in jail. This isn't as much weird as it is outright ridiculous, but... whatever floats your boat!

4. Making a Murderer Minimalist Movie Poster 

Aaand we're back to things to hang on the wall - let's take a look at this little humdinger! This, right here, is a picture of one of the most infuriating pieces of "evidence" in the entire documentary. That damn key has been the topic of more discussions than a Kim Kardashian nude selfie, so having a reminder of it every time you look up from reading the trial transcripts...? Yeah...thanks, but no thanks.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

10 Signs You're Obsessed With 'Making a Murderer'

1. You wake up in the morning, and the first thing you do is Google Steven Avery, Making a Murderer, and/or Brendan Dassey before you do anything else.

2. You get irritated when people who think Steven Avery is guilty tell you to “read the trial transcripts.” But you’ve read them. And you still think the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department is (or was at the time) full of liars. 
3. You also get irritated when people smugly tell you that by focusing on certain aspects of the case, you’re missing the point of the documentary, when actually, you’re perfectly capable of understanding what it was about. Trying to piece together the facts of what happened to Teresa Halbach doesn’t make you any less aware of the point of the documentary. 
4. You’ve used the term “Lenk’d”. 


5. You’ve woken up in the middle of the night thinking about the injustices shown in the documentary. (Bonus points if you’ve actually got up in the middle of the night because you REALLY couldn’t get back to sleep.)
6.  You’ve trawled through Reddit theories and possibly posted your own. 
7. You can no longer hear the words, “What’s going on here?” without also hearing it in Jerome Buting’s voice. 


8. You have had lengthy discussions over whether you’re a Strang girl or a Buting girl. Or, you’ve had had lengthy discussions over which of the gorgeous news reporter ladies you prefer.
9. You have high appreciation for the people who make Making a Murderer memes for giving you a chuckle while you’re getting stressed out reading the trial transcripts.


10. You can’t see a picture or read an article relating to Ken Kratz without uttering some very bad words. 


Yeah, that was a test, sorry ;)

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Did Kathleen Zellner Take a Swipe at Steven Avery’s Former Lawyers?

EDIT: Thanks to Twitter's magic delete button, this tweet has now vanished - but the screencaps have already been taken.


This is the tweet that got people talking within seconds of its appearance in the Twittersphere early this evening. Although somewhat lacking in total clarity, the general consensus seems to be that Kathleen Zellner, Steven Avery's current lawyer, is sharing Avery's thoughts on the news that his former attorneys, Dean Strang and Jerry Buting, are planning a US tour.
Kathleen Zellner has been busting her butt to prove Steven Avery's innocence since she first got involved with his case, and has been extremely vocal, not to mention often cryptic, with her tweets, giving updates on the investigation, and on Avery himself. However, there have been murmurs amongst sceptics that Zellner might be all about the publicity, and claims that her constant "updates" could be viewed as unethical are not uncommon. Today's tweet might have taken those claims up a notch.
Nobody can deny Zellner's record for overturning wrongful convictions. In that area, she's quite the firecracker, and if she can get Steven Avery out, she WILL be a hero. But up until just five days ago, it was still being reported that Strang and Buting were "informally involved in working for Steven." In interviews, Dean Strang said that he and Jerry had even SEEN Steven Avery as recently as December. So why this sudden side swipe by Avery at the two men who fought so hard for him during his trial? And why did Zellner feel the need to share this information with the world?
Just two days ago, Jerry Buting tweeted SUPPORT for Zellner.


Regardless of whether people believe Zellner's tweets up until today have been professional, this one may well cross the line - which could explain why it got deleted so fast.
Just for the heck of it, let's take a little look at the way Strang and Buting have conducted themselves.
Remember that moment in Making a Murderer when a reporter asked Dean Strang if Ken Kratz's questioning of Bobby Dassey during the trial equated to misconduct, Strang said, "I'm not here to throw stones." When asked what he thought about Ken Kratz's upcoming book, Strang said, "I think the world needs more books, not fewer, in general." (With perfect grammar too, might I add!). Ken Kratz was the opposition - and yet Strang never once took a single opportunity to criticise him. Zellner herself may not have been the one to make this dig at Strang and Buting - it appears she was acting as a mouthpiece for Steven Avery - but it was entirely her call on whether or not to share it with her 139,000 followers.
Just to reiterate - nobody is questioning Zellner’s track record or her dedication to Steven Avery's case. However, her judgement of what to tweet... well, that one is still up for debate.

EDIT: Since writing this, Kathleen Zellner herself took a shot at Strang and Buting. To say this pissed off their supporters is an understatement, however Dean Strang - once again - showed why he and Jerry are so well-loved by saying this: “That she is criticizing some aspects of the work I did at trial means that she is doing her job.”

You see? It is, in fact, possible to be successful without crapping all over other people. 

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Best Lighthearted Moments in 'Making a Murderer'

The Netflix documentary Making a Murderer has taken the world by storm since it hit our screens last December. The story of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey has been the cause of much debate and discussion, and has seen an uprising of armchair sleuths eager to figure out exactly what happened to Teresa Halbach on October 31st 2005. 

Let’s be clear here - there is nothing lighthearted about the subject matter. However, what the documentary makers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos did well was inject a touch of lightness here and there, because let’s face it, most people’s stress levels reached a peak while viewing Making a Murderer. So, with that in mind, here is a look at some of the moments that allowed viewers a little smile (and occasionally a giggle) in between the seriousness.
7. Remember this lady? This is Reesa Evans, Steven Avery’s appointed lawyer back in 1985. We saw her a few times through the series, and in comparison with the other lawyers, she was somewhat more… laid back with her speech, let’s say. This moment of honesty was one that stuck in a lot of people’s minds and pretty much reflected everyone’s thoughts when the verdicts came in. 

6. That moment when you find a hole in a blood vial and immediately call your partner to let them know. The sheer joy on Jerry Buting’s (affectionately known here as J-Butes :p ) face brought a smile to many viewers because this looked like a major turning point in Steven Avery’s favour.

5. Another moment from Mr. Buting that made us giggle was this little bit of mocking on his way home from a hard day of… lawyering. Also, if you haven’t already, you really should follow Jerry on Twitter (@JButing) - he’s not only interesting, he also has excellent banter with his followers!

4. The look on Dean Strang’s (D-Strang - affectionate term :p) face here is awesome. Everything about him is saying, “I am SO over your crap, Colborn.” What’s missing from this GIF is the way he then very coolly replays the tape and watches Colborn squirm. 

3. This one comes in the form of a video, because, firstly I couldn’t find a GIF and secondly, it needs to be heard because it’s freaking hilarious. Yup, it’s the aliens. How Kucharski even had the balls to say, “It’s possible in the sense that aliens put it there,” will always amuse me, but not as much as Jerry’s epic, “There weren’t any aliens in the room, right?” Burn. 

2. This moment came after Bobby Dassey’s messed up testimony about “the joke” that he wasn’t actually supposed to be talking about. When Mr. Strang stepped out to speak to reporters, and someone blurted out, “What the hell happened?” - this was the result. The reason this Making a Murderer moment was so welcome was not only because it came after a very serious moment, but because this smile showed a lighter side to Mr. Strang we didn’t get to see enough of. (Plus, he’s adorable!)

1. Without a doubt, this was the best moment of happy in the whole documentary. The first episode was harrowing to watch, hearing the full story of everything Steven Avery went through, so his homecoming was a joy to see. It’s hard to imagine there’s a person in the world who didn’t laugh out loud when Steven was asked who that baby was and he said, “I don’t know.”

We thank Ricciardi and Demos for these moments of lightness that made Making a Murderer that little bit easier to take and allowed us a brief break from the overwhelming emotions we felt while watching.

Originally posted on my Tumblr blog

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Making a Murderer - Making Friends - Making a Difference

Every now and again, something will come along and capture the attention of the world. 2016's first big thing was Making a Murderer. First airing on Netflix in December 2015, the documentary telling the story of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey quickly picked up a following, and subsequently highlighted the huge amount of flaws in the US criminal justice system.

The natural side effect of anything that becomes well known to the public is the creation of a "fandom". Look at any trend over the years: LOST, Harry Potter, Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, Twilight... every one of those things gripped people and created debates and discussions. Whether it was the question about whether Professor Snape was working for good or evil, or if you were Team Edward or Team Jacob, or... who on earth is A? These things set people talking. Inevitably, you get people bickering amongst themselves, but the very positive plus side is that in amongst all this discussion, friends can be made.

The obvious difference with those things in comparison to Making a Murderer is they are all fictional. When I first got involved with voicing my thoughts and opinions about MaM, I did so with the intention of being fair to all parties - even the ones that are unpopular. Why? Because as much as they are on our screens and viewed as such, they are NOT characters. They are real people. Real people with real things to lose.

I very quickly found like-minded Making a Murderer fans. By like-minded I mean, people who were kept awake at night by the injustice. People who had very few people to discuss the documentary with. People who felt helpless. And on the lighter side, people who eased some of those feelings by sharing memes, giggling over things like the Simpsons parody, and having a joke about the now infamous love the world has for Jerry Buting and Dean Strang.

When I started writing about MaM, the last thing I expected was to make friends. I've made friends through other fandoms, but it genuinely never crossed my mind that I would make more because of Making a Murderer. Much of it happened after my last blog post - the very tongue-in-cheek post about Jerry Buting's Twitter. Imagine the shock when the man himself tweeted that he thought the post and following conversation was funny!

But here's the thing. Whilst we were having a bit of fun, and no doubt will continue to do so, real friendships began to form. And that's amazing to me.

Following on from that though, as much as we enjoy the JButes banter, we're all united in the fact that we want to do something that will help. We want to ask questions. We want to learn about all the ways things went wrong for Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey. You could be forgiven for thinking that just because I focus on the lighter areas when I can, that I don't take this seriously. That I'm not smart. But I do. And I am (well...relatively :p).

And then comes the making a difference part. Not just amongst the real friends I've made, but amongst those I've encountered and had short discussions with, people ARE trying to make a difference. Megan McGuinness and Megan Leigh Prather (apologies if I missed someone!) were involved in a protest outside the Manitowoc County Court House, and a protest is now also being planned in London. People are selling merchandise to raise money for the Innocence Project. People are selling merchandise to help the Avery/Dassey families. People are eager to study law, or they are looking other injustices that have happened. Garrett M. Scott has become an advocate for Valentino Dixon, yet another wrongly accused man sitting in prison for a crime he didn't commit(watch that video - it'll blow your mind).

My point is, when something like MaM comes along, it DOES bring people together and however slowly, it WILL make a difference. And I guess that was the point of the documentary in the first place.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

8 Times Jerry Buting's Twitter Was the Coolest Place Ever

It's no secret that Making a Murderer's favourite criminal defense lawyers Jerry Buting and Dean Strang have captured the hearts and minds of the world since the documentary first landed on Netflix. Take a look around online and you'll see all manner of tributes to this dynamic duo, and rightly so. The level of dedication and integrity they have shown both through the series and since is inspiring, and has given hope to those who were left feeling angry and helpless after watching Steven Avery's story. 

Jerry Buting has now become even more of an internet sensation with his kindness, wit, and charm in the crazy world of Twitter. Mr. B is a busy guy, yet he still manages to carve out a little time in his day to talk to his followers, finding the perfect balance between discussing the things that matter, and having a laugh with his fans. Here's a look at 8 times Jerry Buting's Twitter account was the coolest place ever!

1. That time he embraced girl power...

Is there really any better endorsement than this? There are two levels of awesome here. Firstly, the fact that JB used the phrase "girl power" which will always elicit a chuckle - especially from 90's girls who can still hear the chants echoing around their skulls from overexposure to the Spice Girls. And secondly because, it was simply an extremely kind thing to say. Zig-a-zig-ah! 

2. That time he showed off his swagger...

If you're a Buting & Strang fan, you'll be fully aware of the amount of awesome and hilarious merchandise now available, and this t-shirt is right up there with the best. When someone tweeted this genius piece of artwork at Jerry, he wasn't shy with his response! ;) The debate about which way around this sentence should be continues to this day in chat rooms across the world! 

3. That time he embraced his street name...

#JButes was something that slipped out when I was writing an article a while back, and - praise the Lord - it sort of caught on! The fact that Jerry thought this was worthy of a mention made our day! 

4. That time he said what we were all thinking...

No further explanations needed. 

5. That time he was flattered by Strang & Buting phone backgrounds...

He says this like it's not normal to set devastatingly handsome lawyers as phone backgrounds. I mean, I guess, it would be weird to have Dean Strang as your phone background... right? No...? *whistles innocently*

6. That time he politely shot down an admirer...

This is one of JButes' finest fan interactions. ccbabcocks took one for the team and asked the question many MaM fans wanted to know the answer to. Most would have casually breezed over this but not our Mr. Buting! The fact that he finished, with, "But thanks anyway," just made us love him even more!

7. That time he praised his wife (and it was so sweet, we weren't even jealous!)...


8. That time he told his followers how badass we are...
It's true. Only people with high intelligence and exquisite taste follow The Buting! 

There is no question that there will be many more moments of awesome from Jerry Buting - so if you've yet to see it for yourself, get following him! You'll get the fun stuff, but most importantly (because even though we're having a giggle, the serious stuff matters more) you'll hear info on the Avery case, and all kinds of other legal matters that are affecting people right now. 

Mr. Buting - we salute you!