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Where Words Fail, Music Speaks - A Charity Anthology

Posted by Kyra Lennon on 10:00
Generally speaking, I tend to keep posts about my books off this blog - unless it is a charity anthology! And since this particular anthology has a very strong link with music, I'm okay with talking about it here.

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.
Each story and poem is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.
Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Ker Dukey, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, and Andrea Coventry.
All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.


Those of you who follow me on social media will know what this is all about, but for those who don't - I have several friends who live with the debilitating pain of cluster headaches. While research is being done all the time into a better way for people to manage the pain, there is still a long way to go yet, and I wanted to do something to help. Raising money is key to continuing research, so I pulled in a team of some of the coolest writers I know to put this amazing book together. 

There is something for everyone inside. There's heartbreak, there's hope, there's pain, there's joy, there's growing up, and for good measure, a little bit of bizarre! You can't fail to find something inside this book you will love! 

If you would like to donate to this fantastic charity and bag yourself a brilliant book, you can do so at the following links:

Thank you! <3 

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Mad Love for Black and White Rainbows

Posted by Kyra Lennon on 18:55 in , , , ,
I have a confession to make. I had always heard of Bush - of course, I grew up in the nineties - but back then, I was all about the cheesy music. While I was singing along to the Backstreet Boys and learning Steps' latest dance routine, I didn't realise what I was missing out on.

Fast forward to the present. Well, last December, to be more specific. I'm working on a project that involves me looking deeper into the nineties music scene, and I stumbled across a few tracks by Bush. I started listening. I loved their music.

Fast forward again to an average Saturday night watching TV - when I heard Mad Love for the first time. That was enough to sell Black and White Rainbows to me. Since then I have been listening to the album from the time I get up until the time I go to bed. When I have to stop listening to do other things, I have one of the songs from the album in my head. Just in case you were curious, today, I wandered around the supermarket singing Sky Turns Day Glo to myself. :p

This is not going to be your average music review - that's not really what I do. I can't talk to you about what is technically brilliant, or speak with any great authority about how this album compares to previous albums, because my knowledge is not strong enough. 

But what I can tell you is this. I haven't been gripped by an album this way in years. In fact, I don't think I have been this gripped by an album ever. And I listen to a LOT of music.

I wish I could explain what the hell it is about this album that makes me want to get shit done... but maybe that's a mark of how damn good it is. It's rendered me incapable of finding the right words. All I can tell you is that it's crawled under my skin and awoken something inside me that has been sleeping for WAY too long.

If there is only one album you check out this year - for the love of God - let it be Black and White Rainbows.


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Making a Murderer - One Year On

Posted by Kyra Lennon on 12:39 in , , ,
So... you know that magic thing Facebook does, where it shows you your memories from previous years? Well, yesterday, mine informed me that it was a year since I finished watching Making a Murderer. One. Whole. Year.

Making A Murderer, in numerous ways, changed my life. Changed me. My recollection of watching it for the first time is that I was totally gripped by every single episode. Not in a "well this is entertaining, I need more" kind of way, but in a "what in the hell is wrong with the world?" kind of way. It felt dark, to me. Chilling that a man such as Steven Avery could be jailed for a crime he didn't commit, and then, just when he thought the nightmare was over, it all started again, and his sixteen-year-old nephew was dragged along for the ride. It broke me. It kept me awake, wondering how the system could have failed these people. How people in positions of power could manipulate the public with such skill that, even now, many still don't see past those awful press conferences.

Like everyone else, I wasn't there when Teresa Halbach lost her life. I can't say with 100% certainty who killed that young lady who had so much life left in her. But I do know this. There are a lot of people who had a deep desire to see Avery behind bars - that is clear from the documentary. Remember the way some of those people spoke about him? The way the investigation focused mainly on Avery and his family right from the start? It was and still is troubling to me that this kind of thing happens, and the last year has highlighted just how many more Steven Averys and Brendan Dasseys there are all over the world.

Making a Murderer inspired many people to get out there and make a change. Protests were arranged, various fundraisers were set up, petitions were launched, research was done. Even those who didn't think their voices were that loud were ready to stand up and say SOMETHING. Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos set the wheels in motion for the world to stand up and make some noise. The enormity of their achievements is almost impossible to put into words.

While the fight is still ongoing for Avery and Dassey, the tables are turning, make no mistake. Those men will get back to their families because of the hard work of legends like Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin. Kathleen Zellner has frequently tweeted about progress being made in Steven's case. Justice will be done.

On a personal level, what's changed for me since this time last year? So. Many. Things. In March last year, I wrote this. It was kinda like this post, noting the things people have done since MaM first aired. But you know what's really cool? During this fight to correct the injustice, the friendships I mentioned have grown. Now, the people I used to discuss the case with talk on Skype about... everything. They're people I turn to when my days are rough. They are the people I go to when I have good news to share, and vice versa. And it never fails to fascinate me that some of my favourite people were found because we watched the same documentary.

It never fails to fascinate me that one year later, there is still an army of Making a Murderer fans who see the big picture, and are still standing up for something they believe in so passionately. At a time when so many people think only of themselves, it's constantly inspiring and exciting to know that there are some incredible people out there.

Keep fighting the good fight, my friends.




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

Posted by Kyra Lennon on 12:13
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:




LOVE IN THE FIRST DEGREE;
AN ANTHOLOGY IN AID OF THE INNOCENCE PROJECT

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.

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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…

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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."


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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.


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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.

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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 www.lauramorgan.co

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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.

www.facebook.com/authorallanawalker

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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 http://www.claredugmore.com

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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.

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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


7

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

Posted by Kyra Lennon on 16:30



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. 

0

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? 








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The Internet and Mob Mentality

Posted by Kyra Lennon on 08:33 in , , , ,
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.



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