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by James E. Haynes and Andrew J. Haynes
By Josanna K. Thompson
A Maiden’s Honor is the first book of The Woman from Eden series.
Judge Williamson motioned for the courtroom’s packed audience to take their seats.The press was there, their camera crews just outside, waiting to get shots of Brennan. “Irish” Johnny Brennan, California’s premier middle weight boxing champion, now an Alcatraz convict guilty of killing a prison guard was big news.
by Gene Hoopes
Gene Hoopes was one of those remarkable, yet humble human beings that you would like to meet and spend time with.
By W. Ward Neuman
Prologue: Part One
A New Beginning
The meeting began promptly at four o’clock on a glorious fall afternoon. The Payback Team had assembled at Henry’s, their favorite sports bar, and the first order of business, naturally, was to order a large pitcher of Guinness.
Wade “Spike” Courtland, the founder and leader of the group, raised his glass and gave a brief toast: “To a new beginning.” After clinking glasses with his partners, Tommy “Chico” Martin, and Michael “Rocky” MacMillan he suggested that they get right to the point. “Are we going to continue with our mission, or should we just spend our time playing poker and golf until dementia gets the best of us?
“It’s been three weeks since we got back from Guatemala, and so far we’ve kept our agreement not to discuss business. It was great to get in the two rounds of golf, and I know we all enjoyed the weekend we spent cruising on the Chain O’ Lakes in Chico’s Sea Ray, but we need to decide what’s next.
“I’m not really sure where to begin, but let me just put a couple of things on the table for discussion. First of all, we lost one of our team. I don’t know if either of you has fully recovered from seeing Sergeant Callahan murdered right in front of our eyes, I know I sure haven’t. So does that mean that we should hang it up, or, conversely, is that a sign that we should continue with a vengeance?”
It was a rhetorical question, so he didn’t actually expect an answer. They sat in silence for a minute or two, pondering the loss of their fallen comrade. Then Wade continued. “ And what about the list? I have it; it’s right here. Do you remember what Calllahan said just before he cashed? ‘Look in my little black bag… there’s a list I put there…I wrote down some projects I wanted us to tackle when we get back in operation again…’
“Well, I guess you could argue that we owe it to him to check out the list again; I know you both looked at it on the plane on the way back from Guatemala, but now we ought to do more than just glance at it.
“And you haven’t talked about it since it happened, but I know you both paid a price for getting involved in our cause. A broken rib, a broken jaw, a concussion, the better part of a day in jail and in court. I’m sure you weren’t planning on that when you signed on six months ago.”
Rocky and Chico both rolled their eyes as if to say “Let’s hope we never have to go through anything like that again.
“Okay, you haven’t brought it up, so I guess I’ll just say it. Rob’s gone. That wouldn’t have happened if we had just taken a pass on this crazy undertaking. No one has ever loved their son more than I loved Rob, and yes, I’ve thought of the issue that no parent should ever have to bury a child, but that’s now a fact of life in Paula’s and my case. I know you both loved him as well. Rocky, you were his godfather, and you both were there when he came into the world twenty-one years ago. Now we have to focus on accepting what can’t be changed, you know, the serenity prayer. I’m not saying I’ve accomplished it, but I’m working on it.”
As Wade paused for a breath, they suddenly realized that no one had touched a glass to their lips since the toast, ten minutes ago. They spent a minute or two gazing at two young women throwing darts about twenty feet away. Rocky was about to break the ice by commenting on the fact that their looks were in direct contrast to how badly they were playing, when Chico spoke. “Everything you said makes sense. We definitely need to assess whether the gain is worth the pain. A quick conclusion from what you just said would be to wrap it up and pack it in. But you only looked at it from one angle. Think about the results we’ve accomplished. We took out one of the worst drug running cartels in Central America, stopped a hijacking operation that had gone on for years, put an end to a child prostitution ring, and took care of the guy who raped and murdered a fourteen year old girl. I especially liked that one. We can definitely relate, because we each have a daughter. I wish I could be a fly on the wall in that prison for a day. Remember Rocky, you were going to have one of your contacts arrange for a daily dose of prison justice. I really don’t think Mr. Medrano will make it till the end of year one.”
Rocky was about to provide some feedback he had gotten from his contact, but Chico held up his hand in a “let me finish” gesture.
“Okay, that’s just a few of the things we accomplished in only about six months. And I’m not saying that those are reasons why we should continue, but I think someone should bring it up so that we can make the right decision for the right reason. I’m saying that we should look at it from more than one angle. Listen, we’ve known each other for over forty years, going back to when we met in seventh grade. We work well together, we have, as near as I can tell, about eighty million dollars that we can never spend in our lifetimes. We’re all fifty-three years old and in the best of health, and we’re retired. Life has been very good to us…no, it’s been spectacular.
“The point is, we can act like retired guys are supposed to act, or we can continue using our resources to help those who can’t do it on their own. We’ve really done a hell of a job at that so far.”
Rocky finally saw his chance to weigh in. “You both have made a lot of sense, but let’s change course for a minute. I think we should take a look at Callahan’s list and see if that helps us decide which way to go with this.”
Wade was about to respond, but Rocky wasn’t quite finished. “Before we ask Spike to read the list, I have one more thing to say. I think we should…” Rocky stopped in mid-sentence as their attention was drawn to a commotion at the bar. A woman began shouting at a large man in a tacky Hawaiian shirt. They couldn’t make out the words, but it was obvious that both were pretty well wasted. Then, to everyone’s disbelief, he planted a good one on the right side of her head and she went down in a heap, faster than a blink. Time stood still for everyone in the place, and no one moved or spoke, except, of course, for the three members of The Payback Team. ……
Here again, for devotees of Jim Dawson and his tall tales, is a collection of the wrangler’s whoppers at their best. In stories that will stand any dude’s hair on end, Jim tells how he got rid of an unsatisfactory cook (far be it from Dawson to do anything as simple as firing him),… why his horse is called “Hornet,”… how he was arrested for kidnapping, and many, many more hilarious adventures.
By Nikos Ligidakis
Power and Defiance is historical fiction that is based on a true story and actual events. This is a project that has taken over eight years to develop. My intent was to create a narrative that didn’t simply tell a story but was also meant to both challenge and enlighten the reader.
This book is a labor of love. It is about the integrity of individual freedom and the intense struggle for social justice. Such deep matters require not only profound thoughts in the writing, but also equally reflective thoughts in the reading. The reader will find such thoughts throughout the pages of this book and hopefully will be challenged to recognize the heroism of those individuals who are perceived to be ordinary and to simultaneously re-examine the character of those who proclaim themselves to be righteous and just.
All the contents of this book are my liability and fault and have their origination in my own experiences, observations and creative conjecture. Power and Defiance is written in a unique format that unfolds slowly, yet grips the reader’s curiosity and emotions almost immediately. This is not a book for the faint of heart. It is rather a book intended to generate a serious emotional and intellectual response from the reader. It is a serious book about a very serious subject.
The narrative includes the trials of several individuals, a great number of historical facts, my own personal philosophy and political ideologies as well as numerous letters reflecting my own personal thoughts. I consider Power and Defiance to actually be three books synthesized into one. As you turn the pages of the first few chapters, I urge the reader to be patient, especially with the opening chapters. The format of the story may initially be a bit difficult to comprehend because it attempts to deal with tremendously complex issues that are not often discussed these days in our twenty-four hour news cycles and their underlying thought processes. Additionally, the book contains a tremendous amount of information, written in a fused manner, which integrates historical fact with ideology, philosophy and personal observations.
To make your reading easier, under the heading of several chapters you will notice captions such, Thoughts, Memories, Observations, History, Lessons, etc. These extra chapters have been included to enhance the comprehensive picture I am attempting to portray of the political, social and ideological landscape of the times and not to interfere with the trials of the individual characters involved in the unfolding story. The stories of these characters that are scattered throughout the hundreds of pages do not include a caption under the heading of the chapter.
Power and Defiance is written in a first person format. The names of the real characters have been changed while others have been created fictionally. You will meet and hopefully come to empathize and respect the complex individuals in this book who live in complex times, and who are caught in the whirlpool of history with so much to cherish, share and overcome. Consider that, as history continues its unfolding process, these individuals could be you!
Thank you for your interest in this very compelling subject. I look forward to your feedback after digesting my thoughts and my sincere efforts to engage you in a serious dialogue regarding the fatalistic affects of Power and Defiance in both our individual and collective lives.
Three millionaires decide to use their energy, determination and resources to help others solve the problems and injustices that “the system” cannot. When there’s no one there to help a battered wife, an elderly couple who are scammed by an unscrupulous contractor, a father whose daughter was raped and murdered by a worthless sociopath who got off on a technicality, they step in and take over.
Although initially successful in their new roles as vigilantes, they find that seeking justice comes at a price, including time spent behind bars, personal injury, and other losses that exceed anything they could possibly have imagined.
Their missions become more dangerous and complex, building up to their final challenge of taking out a group of hijackers who are repeatedly robbing and kidnapping tourists in a Central American country. But they find that there is much more to this band of terrorists than they were led to believe, and achieving their goal will likely stretch them beyond their limits.
Gene Hoopes was one of those remarkable, yet humble human beings that you would like to meet and spend time with. Though I never met my paternal great-grandfather, as he passed away in 1967 and I was born in 1969, I feel that I knew him from his history and his writings. Gene Hoopes was an adventurous, resourceful, and creative person. These traits can be traced through his entire life from his time as a captain in the Army Air Service during World War I, to being president and general manager of the Union Drawn Steel Co. in his hometown of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania after the war, and president of various banks in Pennsylvania. But what really intrigued my great-grandfather was the spirit and rustic beauty of the American West and the untold stories waiting there. He decided to leave Beaver Falls after the Union Drawn Steel Co. was purchased by Republic Steel Co. and travel to the West, where he finally settled in Prescott, Arizona. There he established a dude ranch and penned several books, of which Silent Friends was one of his first and some say finest. He loved animals, and when you read this book, you will immediately fall in love with the fun and adventurous tale of Gene Hoopes four-legged animal friends. My parents, who live in Skull Valley, where my great grandfather had his dude ranch, did a great deal of research on Gene Hoopes. They uncovered many interesting facts and anecdotes about his time in Arizona. My parents have the original books that my great-grandfather published in the 1950s, and I have them to thank for their inspiration to bring this book and the others Gene Hoopes wrote, into print again so that you may enjoy some classic writing and heartwarming storytelling. My love and thanks go to my maternal grandmother for providing a safe and quiet environment in which I could compile and organize the original books to be digitized and transmitted to my friends at Inkwell Productions, who have been gracious and helpful with the process of preparing this and the other books for production. In this busy and hectic twenty-first century, I feel that, with the advent of advanced technology, we have missed taking a breath. We need to step back for a moment and see the beauty in nature and in the animals that God has provided us for company. My great-grandfather did and, during and after reading this book, you will momentarily be taken to a more peaceful world.
Jim Dawson, Head wrangler of the Lazy R. Dude Ranch, and a man of remarkable character and imagination, is the central figure of these wise and entertaining tales of the Far West.
With his slow grin, his drawling speech, his guitar, and his seemingly inexhaustible supply of stories, Jim was the terror and delight of the dude ranchers. There was never the occasion when Jim lacked a story to tell. Many of these purported to come from his own experience, as when he was asked to join Buffalo Bill’s Wild-West Show; shot a man in a saloon brawl; or when he watched baby rattle snakes dancing to the tune of “Yankee Doodle.” He also had a rich supply of Indian and western folklore, drawing on a stock containing such wonders as moving mountains, “Methuselum” crickets, superstitious snakes, and Indian-snatching buzzards.
Those familiar with American folk-heroes and legends will recognize in Jim Dawson the composite appeal of a host of popular characters. Those who love a good yarn for its own sake (and who doesn’t) can open any page at random. Here's a feast!