Liquid Friday with author Alice Orr

This week we are featuring a romantic suspense author Alice Orr and her book A Villain For Vanessa, (Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 4)

But before we venture into her books, let us find out what cocktail is Alice’s favorite for a Friday night.

My favorite cocktail is a Cosmopolitan on the sweet side. I’ve been informed that Cosmos are no longer in vogue, but I’ll take the chance of being un-chic because I like the way they taste.


  • 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice,
  • 1 oz Cranberry juice,
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec,
  • 1 1/2 oz Citrus-flavored Vodka.


Mix all the ingredient in a shaker with ice.  Strain into cocktail glasses.  You can garnish with a lime wheel.

A Villain for Vanessa by Alice Orr

A story of tangled roots and tormented love.                                

Two families are shaken to their roots. Vanessa Westerlo must find her roots. Bobby Rizzo aliceis torn between Vanessa and his true roots. They are all tormented by love – past and too present.  Meanwhile a man has been murdered. And that is the most tormented tangle of all.

Alice Orr is known for “Delicious suspense spiced with a love story.”  She does it again in A Villain for Vanessa.

A Villain for Vanessa is Book 4 of the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series set in Riverton, New York. This book features the Kalli family and the fortunate people who find safety and welcome at the Kalli homestead on Riverton Road. A Wrong Way Home is Book 1 of the series and A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2. A Vacancy at the Inn is Book 3 and introduces the Miller family of Riverton Road Hill.

A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4


An Excerpt by Alice Orr

Suddenly, after two and a half decades of silence, Angela Kalli’s niece had decided to reappear. Bobby Rizzo’s legal training and life experience had taught him to ask one question when a person acts in an inexplicable way. What does she want? Whatever the answer might be, Vanessa Westerlo’s agenda was far down his list of priorities. He was here to protect Angela, even though experience had taught him something else too.

Family history is a tangled story with the truth nearly impossible to unwind. Many of those tangles had a secret at the center, like the secret at the center of today. He was the only person Angela had told about her niece’s arrival. She’d arrived at Bobby’s office a few days ago, more unhinged than he’d ever seen her.

“Why are you so upset?” he’d asked.

“You have to swear you’ll never breathe a word to anybody. Otherwise I’ll walk out now, and you can forget I was ever here.”

Angela perched on the edge of the chair by his desk like a frightened bird. He’d never seen her frightened, and he certainly didn’t think of her as a bird.

“If you are here as my client, I’m obligated to keep everything you say confidential.”

Talking like a lawyer to someone he cared so deeply about felt awkward, but it put her at ease.

“Then I am your client,” Angela said, settling down a little. “I need your help to bring my niece back into my life, whatever the cost may be.”

Bobby didn’t like the sound of that.

“What is it you want me to do?” he asked.

Throughout the conversation that followed, the voices of his common sense and legal judgement had screamed through his gut like a freight train telling him he was on a dangerous track. That train continued to roar as he paced the narrow airport terminal now, waiting for Angela’s niece to arrive.

alice-booksWas she coming to Riverton to continue the feud he’d heard about that day between her mother and Angela? Was Vanessa Westerlo here to take revenge? Or could she be motivated by idle curiosity? Angela cared so much. What if her niece didn’t care at all? Indifference would be the worst kind of wound to a heart as open as Angela’s.

“I won’t let that happen,” he said aloud to the empty terminal.

By the time the plane landed and taxied down the short runway, Bobby was on the tarmac and ready, his resolve as unshakable as if he were in front of the toughest jury of his career in a case he absolutely had to win. Then he saw her and something unfamiliar and unwelcome happened.

Bobby experienced a powerful ripple, like a seismic shift along a crucial fault line far beneath his controlled surface, threatening to rise and turn him suddenly less resolute. All because of a resemblance that couldn’t have been more obvious between the aunt he represented and loved like a mother, and the niece this young woman had to be.

Thick, dark hair was the first thing he saw, with a kind of life that seemed to spring from a vibrancy at the center of her. She was halfway across the distance from the plane when she turned her head quickly. Angela made that same move when she was impatient, as she could often be, even with him.

More often though, she’d been his encourager, the person who scolded him back on track when he strayed off course. Without her, he would not have won scholarships to college and law school. Without her, he wouldn’t be what he had become. He steeled himself against his first startling reaction to the striking young woman headed toward him now, who was so capable of causing Angela pain.

“Excuse me. Are you Robert Rizzo?”

ALICE ORR is the author of 15 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 alice-pixSecrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. A former book editor and literary agent, she now follows her dream as a full-time writer. A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4 is Alice’s latest novel. Here’s what readers say. “I was gripped before I was off the first page.” “After this story, I have become an Alice Orr fan.” Alice is known for “Delicious suspense spiced with a love story.” She does it again in A Villain for Vanessa.

Find out more about Alice at her website

Buy Alice’s Books at

Follow Alice on Facebook at

And Twitter at

Liquid Friday with author Lynn Marron

This week we are featuring mystery and suspense author Lynn Marron and her book ORR: Fatal DNA (A Grace Farrington Mystery Book 2)

But before we venture into her book, let us hear from Lynn, what drink does she recommend for Friday night to go with our reading.

Drink? Usually cherry brandy when I’ve got cramps or can’t sleep. Otherwise, when I’m out, I love something sweet. And being a chocolate person and more of a sweet craver than brandyanything I love a Brandy Alexander. Yeah, these days it’s hard to find a bartender that can mix them, but they are an absolute dream, a chocolate soda  that gives you angel wings! (It goes down real easy, so be careful you won’t realize how powerful it is) The recipe on line says a Brandy Alexander, (served straight up without ice!), grated nutmeg, 3 cl (1 part) Cognac and 3 cl (1 part) brown Creme de cacao, 3 cl (1 part) Fresh cream. (If you are making it at home around Yule, try substituting eggnog for the cream). Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.(The recipe I found didn’t say it, but I think there should be crushed ice in the mixing cup, that’s what you strain out). Sprinkle with fresh ground nutmeg. And the place to drink it is Cobbs Mill Restaurant, it was originally a prerevolutionary grain mill in Weston, Connecticut. It is my favorite restaurant in all the world and shows up in my novels occasionally. Upstairs you sit and look out over the mill pond, but go down to the downstairs dining, to the small bar tables right alongside the waterfall. Sit at the little table, if you aren’t love, you will be soon. (Cobbs Mill closed, reopened–I was there with my husband and sons for my birthday this year–then closed again. Watch the website, they say its getting ready to reopen! Go, and you may see me there, holding a cream colored cocktail glass up high in celebration of all that is warming and sweet in life!


In ORR: FATAL DNA  I combine my love of seance and history with a hidden treasure that orr-fatal-dna-front-cover-023has been lost since the Revolutionary War, and a present day murder of a billionaire patron at Oyster River Research. Although Grace Farrington only wants to continue her pioneering research, one of her on again off again lovers is accused of murder, but in this book she had three intriguing men pursuing her. However, she also is the being persued by a cold blooded murderer. Finally the puzzles–two sets–are ultimately solved with some clever DNA sleuthing, psychic adventures, her cast of New England eccentrics.


Oyster River Harbor, King’s Colony of Connecticut

July 15, 1778

Captain Elijah Dell squinted at the thunder clouds closing in over the slate-gray sound. Hours till sunset but rolling fog already obscured distant Long Island, an evil omen for this day’s work. White caps foaming the crests of growing waves that now pounded the beach sand. Standing closer to the sea, his daughter-in-law Rebecca stared out, paying no heed as the advancing yellow foam lapped over her boot tips. With such a Devil’s storm brewing, would Christopher dare it in only a two man sloop? Instead, should they take Elijah’s fishing boat tied back in the harbor? It would handle the waves but stand out in Wallabout bay causing the British to question. Nay. Elijah shifted his left arm again, orr-fatal-dna-023must’ve hurt it when the sail shifted, now it was numb and that added misery to the cold that sat on his chest, making breathing painful. Getting old, when all a man wanted was to be home soaking up warmth before his hearth fire.  But there was Eli– his youngest boy and Mae’s last living child. Now Eli suffered with the rest in that hell hole of prison ship under the decks, in stinking July heat: Eli, Samuel, Willy, and Jacob. If Christopher would sail to Wallabout this day, and he would for enough coin, then Elijah must crew no matter how badly he felt. Did they have enough to ransom Eli and the others? Elijah turned his eyes from the surf. Now in these times, he had to watch for dangers from the land too as his own former friends and neighbors might turn him over to the British as a traitor. Movement. He squinted, now he could see two figures coming out of the trees, down to the beach, two women in blowing capes. One unnaturally tall, Long Liz, his sister, her blonde hair streamingwith gray, and beside her trudging in the sand, that brown faced servant, Posey. Liz was his sister, but her husband Seth was a wealthy Loyalist, siding with King George, who would have them all hanged. Elijah sneaked a look to the whitening sea and curse softly. Over the dark, rolling water he could see the top of a sloop’s gray canvas sail. Better get Loyalist Liz out of here, before Christopher makes land. Elijah turned suddenly and felt dizzy, he had to stop and catch a painful breath, before he trod forward in the deep sand. Rebecca was hanging back as cold Liz’s imperial manner always cowed her. His sister waited above the black-green sodden mounds of seaweed at the high water line not wanting her fine linen cloak to get stained. As he approached, she looked directly in his eyes. Most women he always had to look down to, but Liz was his equal in ungainly height.

She spoke first. “Storm coming in.”

“Hear the red coats will be getting here first,” he said a bit coldly.

“Our King’s soldiers protect us.” Her voice lost some of its hauteur and held sisterly concern when she said, “You look terrible, Elijah, your face is gray.”

“Tis the poor light.”

“You’re an old man, who should be home before your firestead.”

“Even the flames are cold without my Mae.”

Liz looked away in shame. “I was not there when you laid your wife to rest.”

“Half the town of Oyster River was not there,” he said bitterly. “None of your good King’s friends showed up to respect a woman they’d known their whole lives.”

“They know your son for a rebel.” There was a silence, then Liz said painfully. “I should have been there…but Seth forbid it.”

Elijah nodded. “The Lord God has ordained that a wife must obey her husband. Mae would have understood that.”

Looking pained she said, “What would the Lord think of our town splitting so?”

“I seek no war with King or Rebel. I only wish to fish and be left alone.”

“But your son…”

scull“Eli listened to his fine friends. They joined a militia to battle the injustices of freeborn Englishmen not allowed to speak on their destiny, but a Connecticut Colony man should not have been fighting in New Jersey! Now Eli pays for his folly, rotting in a prison ship.”

“Then you know where he is?”

“Perhaps imprisoned in Wallabout bay with Jacob Hoyt , Samuel Chapel, and Willy Jamison. That’s where we think they took them after the battle.”

“Seth says the military will subdue Connecticut, as they have Boston and New York. When that happens, the rebels–or anyone who treated with them–will be expelled. Where will you go? The Indies? Not west into the dark forests with the painted savages…” She actually sounded pained…..

About the Author:

Lynn lives in Connecticut and has written radio and television scripts and texts for comic lynnbooks.  She lives in the woods… often avoids writing by talking to friends.  She talks to chipmunks, the squirrels, robins (spring), raccoons  (night),  frogs (summer), fish (fast), deer (seldom), tulip trees and occasionally large, intelligent rocks.

She can be contacted at



Liquid Friday with author David Ellis

This week we are featuring International Award winning Author, Lyricist, Poet and a Humorist: David Ellis and his book Life, Sex & Death – A Poetry Collection Vol. 1

But before we cross the line into his book, let us find out what cocktail does David recommend for this evening.

My drink would be a Gin, Elderflower & Prosecco cocktail because it is elegant and when drinking it I feel like I’m James Bond on an exotic island 🙂 I also have a very sweet tooth, so if I can’t have biscuits or cake then this will do very nicely.

gin_proseccoHere is the recipe:


  • 2 parts Gin
  • 1 part Elderflower Liqueur
  • Prosecco
  • Lime Wedges
  • Sugar (for the rim of the glass)


  1. Fill a shaker with ice and add the Gin and Elderflower Liqueur. Shake to combine.
  2. Place the sugar on a small plate. Run a lime wedge around the rim of a martini glass and press the rim of the martini glass in the sugar to coat.
  3. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass and top with Prosecco. Squeeze a lime wedge in the drink and garnish with an additional lime wedge.
  4. Serve immediately.

Book blurb:

Life, Sex & Death – A Poetry Collection Vol 1″ is an International Award winning volume, having won an award in the Readers’ Favorite 2016 Book Award Contest for Inspirational Poetry Books.
Life, Sex & Death” is all about exploring themes of Inspirational, Philosophical and Love/Romance. There is humour, art, wit, passion lifeand self help throughout all the diverse styles found in this book. My poems explore emotional depth of the human condition and try to make sense of the world, even when it is at its most extreme and unforgiving, there are still beautiful things to inspire us and give us courage. I write to give people hope and confidence in their lives, to take chances on the unknown and above all to love and respect themselves, along with sharing endless kindness with others.

Here is a sample poem from my poetry book Life, Sex & Death:

A Double Edged Sword (by David Ellis)

Pride can be a sword
That can stab you in the back
Don’t be the one
To take the fall
If confidence is what you lack

Hate can be a mistake 
A jealous enemy you can forsake 
Consumed by evil 
You derail your goals 
Hampering any progress you make 

Be proud of yourself 
Focus on all your achievements 
Look at how far 
That you have come 
The lives touched now have purpose 

Face your fears 
Your mind is now crystal clear 
An ocean of serene calm 
Where once was a storm 
Now you’re the pilot and the bombardier 

Asking for help 
Is not a weakness 
And neither is 
Helping others 

So wear your proudness 
On your sleeves 
And remember 
To inspire others 
As they have done for you 

A perfect circle 
That makes us all complete 
No need to compete 
No need for anger, fear, loathing 
Just love and peace

About the Author:

David Ellis is a Humorist, Lyricist, Poet, Short Story Writer and davidellisAuthor.  In addition to his poetry book, he has recently published a collection of his Flash Fiction and Short Story pieces in a collection called “A Little Bit of What You Fancy.”  He has also published a collection of Short Stories to donate the proceeds to Children’s Charities written by a variety of talented authors called “A Blend of Tea Break Tales”.  David has collaborated internationally on Poetic Duets with people from around the world. His current passion is to expand his Author Interviews section and he welcomes any enquiries from people who have published books that would like to be interviewed that wish to share information about themselves, their work and their own creativity tips.  He is a field reporter for The Nudge Wink Report where he writes spoof news articles.

His website contains many tips, tricks and techniques to inspire creativity in writers, authors, artists, photographers, poets and musicians.  The website can be found at His Twitter handle is @TooFullToWrite.

In his spare time, David enjoys Netflix, tea and biscuits and dreaming up endless puns to make people smile.  Indiana Jones is his spirit animal.  David tries not take himself too seriously and neither should you.

Liquid Friday with author Steven C. Levi

This week we are featuring author and historian Steven C. Levi and his book The Cannabis Stampede.

But before we research Steven C. Levi’s book, lets find out what is his recommendation for a Friday cocktail.

0015-bloody-maryMy mixed drink of choice is a Bloody Mary. It’s got a snap while other mixed drinks are just, well, mixed drinks. ANY FRIDAY is a good day for a Bloody Mary — or a book review. My self-published book, available on Kindle, is The Cannabis Stampede.

  • 4.5 cl (3 parts) Vodka
  • 9 cl (6 parts) Tomato juice
  • 1.5 cl (1 part) Lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco
  • Celery salt
  • Pepper

Add dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper into highball glass, then pour all ingredients into highball with ice cubes. Stir gently


With so many sides to the legalization of marijuana, how do you know who’s right?

Based on what is happening in Alaska right now, The Cannabis cannabisStampede is an on-the-ground, narrative nonfiction look at the legalization of marijuana told from 30 perspectives. These perspectives include the housewife, aging hippy, police chief, doctor, school teacher, historian, Evangelical, Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, THC refugee, and half-way house owner along with the people who will be making the money: pot delivery man, grower, importer and edible product inventor.


Nevets Harrison

Writing history is like being married; no matter what you say you were wrong. It doesn’t make any difference if you are a white male economic historian, black revisionist, Japanese deconstructionist or a Filipino-Mexican-Aleut creative nonfiction novelist. Whatever you say will be wrong. No matter how it is written or how many footnotes bolster the claim, there will always be someone in the reading crowd who will swear that his great grandfather was not the drug smuggler your footnotes proved him to be and her great aunt Harriet did not die of a heroin overdose while working as a prostitute on the South Side of Chicago – she actually died in the Ladies of Charity hospice of multiple ailments while serving the needs of the unfortunates of varied ethnic persuasions.

The criticism was be never ending. That is the price of quality scholarship. They make no statutes to historians, only bruises. All historians ever receive for their effort are curses and kicks because everyone wants to recall the past as the good old days even though they were not that good and all everyone who lived them wants to remember are the two good moments and not the avalanche of catastrophes that caused them to the marry the wrong man, accept the worst job, buy the wrong house, take the wrong fork in the road, backslide the wrong addiction or taunt the IRS. Everyone has regrets but they are easiest to forget. What is easy to recall are the golden moments and those are called “memories.” The rest of life is called “wasted.”

It was because of this juxtaposition of reality that Nevets renamed himself. In print. At home and on his paycheck he was Steven but his articles listed the author as Nevets which, as it turned out, was an unexpected blessing because it kept the bores from finding his name in the phone book and on the Internet. Often the greatest philosophical value comes from the reverse. The reward of abiding by the seven virtues is avoiding the brake on your progress applied by the associated seven vices. Chastity may not make you the vice president; lusting after the president’s daughter might. But then again, over the long run, as the old Italian expression so aptly states, “if you marry for money you will earn every penny of it.”

Nevets was well aware that destiny is not a destination but a direction of travel. He never viewed his future from the distance but from the myopic. The first step on his long journey to the future began with a blank sheet of paper, an odd metaphor for a man who was focused on a monitor screen and not a spread of parchment. Odd it was, he always said, that he started his career where he would finish his life, under wood.

Historians make no friends; they simply collect critics. When the marijuana initiative passed statewide with a more than 70% of the vote, Nevets was the only public voice of caution. That 70% of the vote, he pointed out, was not indicative of anything because the voter turnout was the lowest in eight decades. Further, the only opposition to the initiative were the gadflies who were against everything anyway. Rank and file Republicans supported the effort because it brought money into the state treasury so there would be no need to raise taxes on every other industry and Democrats were in favor of it because it was another dimension of being pro-choice. The No Party registered voters were tired of the police spending their time arresting marijuana smokers who were only going to be released on their own recognizance by the courts. The courts were tired of the time they spent convicting marijuana smokers while meth labs were burning down apartment buildings and the police were tired of elected officials who talked tough about drug abusers and then expected special consideration for their DUIs. Everyone wanted a break from reality and the Marijuana Initiative did exactly that.

Nevets never passed up the opportunity to urge people to vote and read history. At the first he clearly failed in the recent election so he was not about to let the second slip by his newspaper column. Whether or not the legalization of marijuana was a good idea was immaterial. What was a bad idea was not to be aware of the consequences of the vote. History was better than a crystal orb when it came to seeing the future. The best advice for fortune telling was to look backwards because, as Winston Churchill famously stated, “the farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” And in this town you did not have to look that far backward to see forward.

If there ever was a town based on the boom it was this one. At the beginning of the Second World War the community boasted a picture alaskapopulation of just under 5,000 people. At the end of the war, courtesy of the United States Army base, the town had tripled in size. The exploitation of the natural gas resources, coal seams and copper deposits in the hinterlands had required the city’s airport to triple in size and the teamster union to quadruple in population. Then came the construction boom. In addition to the prison and Air Force Base, there was a secret United States Navy military intelligence communication satellite complex that everyone knew about and a massive alcohol and addictive drug rehabilitation facility that no one knew anything about.

The road into town swelled to highway and then freeway and was still plugged with double-trailers loaded with nails, beer, girders and condoms. The cargo wing of the airport overspread the outskirts of town like a molasses being poured on a flat table. The only thing not coming by air or macadam was fresh water and clean air. The first was a bounty of nature courtesy of a shallow water table. It would last a century. The air was another matter: the exodus of clean air from the assault of smog proved that Gresham’s Law was multidimensional.

By 1965 the city of Anchorage had increased in size by a factor of ten from the Second World War and that was when the real trouble started.

All Virtues are linked with Vices. Patience, Kindness and Charity may be virtues but they can be overdone. Tough love, intervention and reporting charlatans to the IRS have their place as well. A better view of the Seven Virtues and Vices is to understand that they are, individually, at the extreme ends of seven continuums. Chastity can slide to Lust but not to Wrath or Pride. Envy can evolve to Kindness but not Diligence. But there is great difficulty with this metaphysical pairing because, in fact, the coupling was made in an epic poem by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius about 410 of the Christian Era when the Seven Virtues were easy for the poor to understand because they had no choice and the Seven Vices gave the poor hope that the rich who were indulging there in were going to “get theirs in the next life.” In fact, the Seven Virtues and Seven Vices are not on seven continuums but on the flip side of seven cosmic coins. Starving your family in the name of Charity is neither intelligent nor Christian while, on the other side of the coin, Avarice is not such a bad thing when the multibillionaire donates a substantial chunk of his fortune to worthy charitable causes. Philosophy – and real life – is complicated as all Virtues have their downsides while the vices have their upsides.

The same could be said of money, the seminal origin of the boom halibutthat transformed the city from a rural town to a metropolitan community. With the economic blooming came a population spurt and there was so much money it was, quite literally, running down the streets. All you needed to make a fortune was a cash registers. . Change was coming so fast that traditional transformation of the small business environment missed the twin steps of mom-and-pop to boutique and then the ethnic take over. Mom-and-pop stores simply exploded into big city takeover which were then swallowed by national chains. Ma and Pa retired to Florida while their kids left the state to universities they never dreamed they could afford.

The downside to this economic prosperity was a sizable snake in the grass. While everyone was making money hand over fist so fast that a cash register was a hindrance. That was because the money being made was in cash. The economic boom had come in the 1950s when everyone but blacks were doing well. No one had checking accounts. You were paid in cash ever Friday. You lived on credit during the week and paid your bills in cash on Friday. Everyone was doing it so it was OK. If you were a business, you had no receipts. Just as balance book of accounts. So when it came to taxes, you estimated what you had made, what you owed, paid the balance to the government in cash and that was that.

Well, ‘that was that’ lasted until 1956 when the IRS came to town.

And it came to town in a very big way.

Prior to 1956 the United States government had given no indication that it was concerned as to what happened in the city. After all, Anchorage was in Alaska and that city was a long way from anywhere important. In fact, more than one federal bureaucrat said that Anchorage was as far away from Washington D. C. you could get and still speak English. This was proof positive of the mantra of the federal bureaucrat that a city’s importance was indirectly related to its distance from Washington D. C. If Washington D. C. didn’t care what happened in Anchorage there was no reason to conduct business the way it was being done in Des Moines, Atlanta or Denver.

So the businesses didn’t.

And when the IRS showed up just after the back of winter had been broken in 1956, it could be said that the head of the pit viper in the grass made its presence known. Within three weeks there were a dozen Restraint of Trade federal law suits that included every industry from the rail yards to the flat lands. Every industry included the taverns, plumbers, electricians, grocery stories, taxicabs, restaurants, clothing stores, shoe stores, toy stores, pharmacies, labor unions, barbers and the wide range of people and businesses that called themselves doctors, nurses, naturopaths, healers, massage therapists, psychics, healers, psychic healers and healers of the psyche. There were only two industries that were not hit, the hospital because there was only one and the brothels because they did not exist in federal eyes. Everyone else, every other business in town, got the bad news by post. One day every business in town – except the hospital and brothels – were blissfully supplying and servicing the public with what it needed and wanted and the next day they were up to their armpits in an ocean of red tape.

That was the good news. When the IRS made its appearance, the waters went over their collective heads.

The United States government believed in what is known in boxing as the one-two punch. The first blow is to set the victim up for the second. The first punch was the Restraint of Trade document. What businesses in the city had been doing since the Second World War was meeting with others in their industrial ilk and setting prices. That is, in the early days no one wanted to drive a competitor out of business. The easiest way for everyone to make a living was to make sure that no one business was undercutting another. So all the bars and taverns set the price of beer at $.25 and every electrician in town only charged $.85 an hour. Paint, apples, clearing a plugged toilet and filling a tooth cost the same across the city. You did not get a better deal shopping around; you got the same deal.

While this was – and is – being done sub-rosa in every community across the United States, in every other community across the United States it is called “market forces.” In Anchorage it was called collusion. “Market forces” are legal; collusion is not. So on that fateful day in 1956, every business in the city came to understand that there was a difference between “market forces” and collusion and they, collectively, were on the wrong side of the economic concept.

The follow-up punch came quickly.

Prior to 1956 the entire economy of the city had been cash. No one kept books the way such accounting was done in the other states. Receipts were a waste of time. Cash registers slowed business and double-entry bookkeeping akin to black magic. So no one kept receipts, did not buy cash registers and guesstimated their obligation to the United States government. After all, if you had no accounting books the United States government had to take your word for what you made and what you owed. Even more important, the United States government had been “taking the word” of the businesses in the city since the business had been operating since the 1920s so no one anticipated a change.

They anticipated in error.

Right on the heel of the Restraint of Trade charges came the IRS. Its agents arrived in force and proceeded, door by door. These were not a friendly calls. Each agent assessed the value of every business. Every agent assessed what the income of the business probably was and then compared it to what the business had filed with the United States Department of Revenue. When there was a disparity, the business was billed the difference. Then the bad news got worse. The debt owed was increase seven fold for the taxes not paid the previous years and, for bad measure, interest and penalties were tacked on as well.

The initial response to the federal oversight was three-fold. Every single one of the businesses hit with the Restraint of Trade charges and the bill for back taxes believed three things to be absolutely true: 1) they had already paid their fair share of taxes, 2) because of the isolation of the city from the rest of the United States the feds were lucky anyone was paying anything at all and 3) the way the city was doing business was the way business had to be done in an isolated quasi-frontier community.

So what was the problem?

The problem, the federal authorities stated in response to the list of three was 1) no you have not, 2) distance does not make you immune from taxes, and 3) you are not special.

If this had the extent of the problem then arrangements could have been developed with the federal government – known as the feds and usually swallowed with an expectoration. But if life were simple there would be no problems. First, because of the convoluted nature of doing business in an isolated setting, the businesses had developed unique methods to be efficient and profitable. One of them had been the printing of what were called bingles.

The usual method of paying one’s bills in the city had been to live on credit from week to week. Everyone was paid in cash on Friday so, on Friday, everyone paid their bills for the week. This was not a problem for most business because the numbers were large. That is, a housewife would get $10 worth of groceries during the week and pay the $10 on account on Friday. The grocer simply kept the housewife’s name in an account book and added expenses as the groceries were bought and zeroed out the account on Friday. If the housewife bought food three times a week, there were only three entries which was not that time consuming.

But what time consuming and prone to errors was dealing with the smaller items, the occasional shopping and children. If a child wanted a piece of candy she just went in to the grocery store had the piece of candy, $.01 put on the family’s bill. When the husband needed more tobacco he just put that $.08 on the bill and if the housewife was downtown and needed some dish soap for $.06 that was put on the bill as well. Multiply these occasional buys by 3,000 people and it was possible to make a mess of the accounting book.

To deal with the deluge of what would later be called nickel-and-dime transactions, the merchants in town became printing small aluminum coins which resembled currency. They were for the smaller purchases and were thus in denominations of penny, dime, quarter and dollar. These aluminum coins, called bingles, were not illegal in the eyes of the federal government because they were being distributed by specific businesses for the use in their specific businesses. But Washington D. C. was far away and children did not understand that an Anderson dime could only spent in an Anderson store. So the Ferguson store took Anderson and Sullivan bingles and three stores would occasional meet and exchange the bingles they had and made up for the difference in cash.

But there were real problems with bingles that only came light when the Restraint of Trade and the IRS became looking at the businesses of the city with a microscope. First, the use of bingles was so widespread that there looked upon as cash that could be used anywhere in town. They showed up in change for large purchases, could be used to buy stamps in the United States Post Office and were good as tips in the restaurants. If this had been the extent of the use of bingles, the feds could have continued to turn a blind eye to the exchange. As long as everything came out in the wash, no foul no harm.

But that was not the way the system worked.

In fact, the bingles were, in themselves, duplicitous. On one hand they had value when spent in a store. That is, when a young girl bought candy for $.01, an economic transaction had occurred. The young girl got a piece of candy and the store got $.01 in payment. But at the end of the week when the grocer paid his workers, he might pay them in bingles. On his books the payment of the $10 in bingles was recorded as a debt of $10 of American money. But the clerks were saying that since they were being paid in bingles which were not American money, they had earned no American money so they had no income tax to pay. Had they been paid in American money they would have had to pay taxes of that American money earned. But since they had earned no American money, they owed no taxes. Then the deception spiraled. The landlord did not count the bingles as American money received so their reduced his income tax. So too did the electrician and plumber, the taxi cab company and the tavern owner. Bingles were as good as cash to everyone – except the IRS.

Then the problem moved up the food chain. Larger ticket consumer items like cars, washing machines and even land were bought with a collection of American dollars and bingles. The bingles were accepted as legitimate moneys but not listed on the books as having been received. So a $300 automobile bought with $100 American dollars and $200 in bingles was listed as a loss of $200 on the car company spread sheet while the automobile dealership paid its employees in the $200 worth of bingles. Thus the dealership had an artificial loss on its books and its employees were listed as having been paid in cash. But at the end of the year the employees did not list the bingles as income which reduced their tax burden.

But this was chicken feed when it was compared to how the big money moved. Since taxes had to be paid on income, the big boys and big girls in town avoided income altogether by exchanging land instead of cash. If a debtor had a debt of $1,000, he sold a piece of property worth $1,000 to the debtee for $1. The income to the debtee was thus $1 and no taxes needed to be paid on the transfer. This, however, is a very simplistic way to view the transfer of money at the top of the food chain. To muddy the waters as much as fiscally possible, those transferring the property went to convoluted lengths to hide even the ownership of the property. This was relatively easy in the days before the internet and the impact of those transactions would not be felt for decades.

Fast-forwarding to 2010, Nevets was able to use the increasing power of the internet to trace some of the land transfers – and it was this research that made him persona non grata with realtors, land title companies and banks across the city. Truth is relative and often very expensive.

With the aid of the internet Nevets was able to piece together how land had been transferred to avoid income taxes and – at the same time – how much of that same land was transferred to and from the same person so the sale of a piece of property was a way to wash cash and, at the same time, allow the land to follow a circuitous route of $1 transactions back to the individual who wanted the cash washed in the first place. In simpler terms, suppose two individuals, George and Harry, have too much cash on hand and want to avoid paying income taxes on that cash. So each buys a piece of property from the other for $10,000. Now George has paid Harry $10,000 which is an income tax deduction. And Harry has paid George $10,000 so he has a $10,000 income tax deduction. Then Harry and George sell their respective properties to Sam for $1 each and Sam, in turn, sells Harry and George back the properties they just sold for $1 each. In the next round of transactions, Sam is one of the buyer/sellers and Harry or George will be the disinterested third party. When all is said and done, Harry and George end up with $10,000 tax free dollars in their pocket, a piece of real estate and no income to report.

To convolute the process Harry, George and Sam will make the paper trail even harder to follow. Before the Second World War there were three sets of land books. One was to record property that was in the downtown area. Another was for land in what would be called midtown and the third was for property that was out of town.

At least that was the logic.

The reality was that Harry, George and Sam were constantly shuffling the recording of their land transactions through the three sets of books over a wide range of dates. Trying to keep the explanation as simple as possible, the three men would be constantly juggling a dozen land transactions at any one time through a labyrinthine process that defied logic and made the actual ownership of the land impossible to determine. As an example, one plot of land owned by Harry would be sold to Sam who then sold the land to Harriet who then sold it to Richard who then sold it back to Harry.


That was because the sale of the land to Sam – which was downtown – was recorded in the out of town books three years after the initial sale. That is, the actual transfer of the lot from Harry to Sam was made on January 1, 1936 but it was not recorded in the out of town books until March 17, 1939. In the intervening years, the plot of land was registered as having been sold from Harriet to Richard in the downtown books on April 3, 1937 and recorded on May 3, 1938. The sale of the same land by Sam to Harriet was recorded in the midtown books on February 3, 1929 even though the actual date on the sale document was December 15, 1925. Completing the peripatetic lot of land, it was then sold back to Harry, the original owner in this example, on November 5, 1929 – which was seven years before the alleged initial sale – but not recorded as belonging to Harry until it was recorded in the out of town books on June 19, 1934. So who owned that piece of property on any one day between November 5, 1929 and the May 3, 1938 was impossible to determine. And this was just one piece of property. Multiply this baffling alleged sequence of sales and recording with a dozen pieces of property being juggled at any one time and it is easy to see that by the time the IRS arrived it was not possible to see who owned what.

But the dozen participants knew exactly what they were doing. The IRS does not tax land transfers. It only taxes income. Buying land is a tax deduction. So Harry, Sam, George, Harriet and Richard kept washing the cash through land transfers. Harry gave same cash to Sam which gave Sam income. But Sam then gave the cash to Harriet for land which made the cash Sam got from Harry a wash. Then Harriet bought land from Harry for the same amount and around and around the cash went, one hand washing the other and at the end of the day, no one had made a dime of income but everyone in the cycles of deception was getting rich with cash and land transfers. Even more historically and fiscally delicious from the point of view of the land jugglers, when the feds finally came to the frozen north in 1956 and dove into the murky waters of the land transactions, all they could do was seize the land being juggled. Thus, at the end of the day, the IRS ended up with two dozen pieces of property of dubious value which were owned by everyone – and no one – at the same time.

As an historian Nevets had no trouble understanding the historical lesson being presented in these land transactions. Even though he was looking at land transactions seven decades old, he understood the present day relevance. Even more important, he could see the shadows of the future starting to fall. It did not take an auger to see what was going to happen next. All one had to do was watch television.

Speaking at the chamber of commerce shortly after the Marijuana Initiative passed, Nevets stated that there was no such thing as the present. It was simply the razor’s edge of where the past meets the future. The problems of the so-called present had come from the past. The problems you do not solve yesterday become the problems you must face tomorrow. And you solve the problems of tomorrow by looking into the past.

For a specific example for the budding legalization of marijuana salesmen and saleswomen, he advised them to look at what was happening in the other states who were legalizing cannabis as well as the history of the city. He reminded them that the city had been founded on a foundation of covering cash transactions with land sales so no income was generated. Then he pointed to what was happening in those states where marijuana was finally legal.

The problem, he pointed out, was that marijuana may be legal as far as the state was concerned but it was still an illegal drug as far as the United States government was concerned. What this meant was that the banks could not be involved in any aspect of the new industry. On a street-level, this meant that you could not buy a marijuana product with a bank instrument like a check, debit card or credit card. It was a cash-only transfer.

It also meant that the companies selling marijuana had to pay their bills in cash. Their employees were paid in cash. Their electric bill was paid in cash. Their laundry bill was paid in cash. Their car payments were made in cash.

Actually, this last statement was not true, Nevets said mischievously to the audience. Since the banks would not deal with drug money – and he made artificial quote marks in the air with his fingers around the term drug money – as soon as the banks figure out who is in the drug business – again the quote marks in the air – those car loans might be called. And home loans. And when the marijuana workers can be identified by the IRS – which will happen when they file their income taxes – the banks can’t take their cash either.

So, Nevets warned the chamber members, be prepared for a journey into the past. The Marijuana Initiative will bring the state and municipal governments tax revenues, yes, but it is also going to create massive headaches. Now the multiplier effect was going to work in reverse. Just as every dollar spent with a credit card will turn over four or five times in the city, so too will the cash dollar spent. But the difference will be that the cash dollar is going to require more workers. The grocery story is going to have to hire extra people to handle the cash. The banks will have to hire more tellers because the cash from the grocery stores and the liquor stores and shoe stores will be legal tender even though drug money – once again the quote marks in the air – was used to tomatoes and beer and sneakers. Businesses that have never seen a hard dollar paid for their services, like doctors and dentists, are going to need a cash register.

And that was the good news.

The bad news was that an entire underground economy was going to develop, a cash-only economy. It will move a legion of wage earners off the grid, so to speak. They will not be able to tracked. They will pay the plumber and electricians in cash and the plumbers and electricians will underpay their taxes. Pilfering will go up. Embezzlement will go up. A black market will erupt because as long as there is cash involved people will find a way to dodge their tax bill.

Nevets than gave a sly smile because, as a quality speaker and historian, he know how to finish with a professional flourish. “And the city was return to its past. The big money will go into land – again. And you are going to see the same land shuffling schemes of the 1930s again. But this time it is going to be on a much larger scale. There are going to be millions in tax dollars that cannot be collected. Cash is hard to use today because most of us do not use it. We use checks and credit cards and debit cards. But the moment cash washes into the local economy like a tidal wave there are going to be all kinds of opportunities to get goods and services for less if you pay in cash. If you think we have a problem with the black market now, wait until the black market includes plumbers and dentists and liquor stores. To misquote Yogi Berra, it’s going to be deja-vu all over again.”

About Me:

Steven C. Levi is an Alaskan historian and writer.  A 40-year resident of Anchorage, he has 80 books in print and on Kindle. His nonfiction books on Alaska history include BOOM TO BUST IN THE ALASKA StevenGOLD FIELDS, an historical forensic investigation into the sinking of Alaska’s ghost ship, the Clara Nevada, as well as a history of Alaska’s bush pilot heritage, COWBOYS OF THE SKY. Levi believes that his books – both fiction and nonfiction – should be readable, understandable and educational. They must be all three for the reader to keep turning the pages. He is also dedicated to making history interesting to young readers. His MAKING HISTORY INTERESTING TO STUDENTS series on Kindle is a collection of eight books specifically written to teach middle and high school students what they are supposed to be learning in their history classes

Liquid Friday with author KM Fawcett

This week we are featuring sci-fi romance author K.M. Fawcett and her book CAPTIVE (The Survival Race #1)

But before we get captivated by K.M. Fawcett’s book, let us find out what drink does she recommend for our enjoyment on Friday evening.

Homemade CAPTIVE Cabernet IMG_0732.JPGSauvignon!  My husband and I, along with a group of friends, made our own wine at Grape Finale in Flemington, NJ.  It was a fun 4 step process where we got to crush and press our grapes, rack (remove sediment from the barrel), and then bottle and decorate our wine with custom made labels. Mine was personalized with my book cover! The wine is delicious and made great gifts for friends and fun giveaways for readers!

So let us grab a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, pour some glasses, sharing with friends and kick back relaxing while we  take a closer look at CAPTIVE (The Survival Race #1):


AN IMPOSSIBLE JOURNEY The last thing Addy Dawson remembers is a blazing inferno and freezing river water overtaking her lungs. When she awakens, Addy finds herself on a Hi Res Captivestrange, alien planet, trapped in a cell with no doors, no windows– and to her horror– a naked warrior who claims to be her mate.

AN UNDENIABLE PASSION An alpha gladiator, Max is forced to breed and produce the finest specimens for the Survival Race, a deadly blood sport created by the alien rulers of Hyborea. To rebel means torture-or worse-yet Max refuses to become the animal his captors want him to be. But their jailors will not be denied, and soon Addy and Max find themselves unwilling players in this cruel game. Pushed to the limit, they will risk everything for the chance at a life free from captivity. And though fate brought them together as adversaries, Max and Addy will discover that when they’re together, there’s nothing in the universe that can stop them.


Addy glanced around the dimly lit room—if you could call it a room. Actually, it looked more like a ten-foot box. There were no doors. No windows. Nothing.

Except for a miniature fireplace and logs centered on one wall, the body pillow bed in one corner and a large terracotta flowerpot in the opposite corner, the room appeared empty.

She crept to a wall and drew her hand up, down and across it, searching for a hidden doorknob or lever.

“If you’re looking for me, I’m over here.”

She jumped and spun to face the stranger but was tripped up by her hangover and stumbled into the wall. Righting herself, she tried for a casual smile but knew it didn’t pass for anything more than a nervous tic.

When the room stopped spinning, she noticed he had propped himself up on one elbow. His dark, shoulder-length hair and sleepy eyes enhanced his wicked attractiveness. He made no attempt to move closer. Of course, he made no attempt to cover himself, either, and his sheet had slid further down.

She forced herself to look at his eyes. Eyes that shone eerily in the dark like a cat’s. Eyes that appeared emerald.

Odd choice for colored contacts.

“Come here.” He lifted the sheet with one hand and patted the pillow bedding with the other.

Her heart rate revved as she stared at the parts of him beneath the sheet. “I…uh…I…umm.”

“Skittish little thing, aren’t you?”

The only way to stop gawking was to squeeze her eyes shut. “Who are you?”

“You don’t know?” His voice oozed disappointment.

Apparently they had gone through this already. So why couldn’t she remember? What else couldn’t she remember? “Did I—? Did you—? Did we—?” There was no polite way to ask if (a) she’d given herself to him under duress or (b) he’d violated her while she was unconscious.


Okay, that was one way. Odd word choice but it sufficed. She nodded.


She relaxed.

“Not yet.” There was no menace or presumption in his words. He spoke them casually, matter-of-factly, as if they’d already discussed sex and concluded they’d sleep together. When had she given him that idea? Her head ached trying to remember.

“I’m sorry. You seem like a nice guy, but I can’t…you know…do this.”

“Oh. First time, huh?”


“Though judging your age, I wouldn’t have pegged you for a virgin.”

“Excuse me?”

“Relax.” The sleep in his voice gave the word a husky sexiness. “I’ll make sure you enjoy it, too.” He got up and strode toward her, eyes hungry and body very ready to make good on his word.

If her pulse was a car, the turbo just kicked in. “Stop right there,” she said, and he did. The surprise was evident on his face. With a body like his, he probably wasn’t used to rejection.

“Woman, this won’t work unless we’re closer. Much closer.” He winked.

She turned back to the wall, frantically feeling for that doorknob. But it was too late. He was behind her, towering over her. Sweeping the hair off her shoulder. Brushing his lips down the side of her neck.

A tingling sensation slid down her spine. “Stop it. I’m warning you.”

“I understand your hesitation,” he said between kisses. “But it’s going to happen sooner or later.”

Like hell it is. She pivoted around and kneed him in the groin.

Hey if you like it K.M. Fawcett was gratious to share with us the entire first chapter of her book.  Just follow the link below:

Long Excerpt

Buy Links:

All Romance eBooks  | Amazon  Barnes & Noble  |  Books A Million  |  Book Depository  |  Google Play  |  iBooks  | IndieBound  |  Kindle

About Me

K.M. Fawcett is the author of the thrilling sci-fi romance series, The Survival Race. She author+photoenjoys stories filled with adventure and strong, kick-butt heroes and heroines. Ranked 4th degree black belt in Isshinryu Karate and 3rd degree in Ryukonkai (Okinawan weapons), K.M. and her husband own a karate dojo in NJ. When not writing sci-fi & paranormal romances or working out at the dojo, K.M. is driving her children to drum lessons and ballet classes. Please visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and at to be the first to hear about her new books or to find out if she accidentally drops off her drummer boy at ballet classes.

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