Friday, June 29, 2012

Author Guest Post: Ian Truman, Author of Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair

In association with Innovative Online Book Tours, Jersey Girl Sizzling Book Reviews welcomes Ian Truman, author of Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair!

I have been invited to write this guest blog and I was looking for a topic that would kinda set it apart from most blogs about writing. A lot of my work is set in real places, which I describe as vividly as possible. I had this short story that that was called A Lone Soul that was simply the story of an old man who was closing down his shop in a gentrified part of the city. He then takes a walk down St-Laurent Street towards the old port and the river and that's all you'll get if you don't want me to spoil it. That said, the angle I chose to use in that story was to simply be as descriptive as possible in order to be detached from the subject. It was compared by one of my creative writing teachers to The Street by Mordecai Richler, which is no small compliment. That was a few years ago and that was the moment I realized that "place" was incredibly important to my work, so I will present to you a few places that have inspired me over the years. If you ever visit Montreal, I hope you take the time to visit a few of them.

Griffintown: The historic borough of Griffintown is being razed as you read these lines (Summer of 2012) but I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to have worked in one of the urban factories that was the trademark of Griffintown. Sadly, the city did not see fit to protect a lot of these bicentennial (sometimes more) buildings and have green lit gigantic condominium projects to be built on the grounds of this historically working class neighborhood. Get a chance to check it out before it is all gone, it sure has inspired me. Start around Ottawa Street and head towards the south-west until you reach Patrick Street and the Canal. I mostly used this setting for poems I wrote in a series titled Waiting To Die. I would also recommend you look up the plays On The Job, Nothing To Lose, and Balconville by one of my favorite authors, David Fennario.

The Italian Social Club: The best place to feel like you are in a Scorsese movie is The Italian Social Club located on the corner of St-Viateur and De L'esplanade. Sure, the neighborhood is now filled with rich yuppies and they're kicking out artists every day, but as long as the cafe live on, you'll get a souvenir of why Mile-End was the place to be for over a decade. My next crime project (Memoirs of a Hit-Men) will be based on this location for a lot of its calmer scenes.

Masson Street: The family friendly neighborhood of Rosemont is booming with life and Masson Street is still somewhat of a city secret. The working class is still strong in the area even though there are numerous condominium projects sprawling here and there. I love this place, I'd like to spend the rest of my days here. If you ever want to see what life of a Montrealer is outside of tourist traps, this would be it. Don't miss: Jovy's Onion Bagels, Tic-Tac-Toc's toy store (if you got kids). Sadly, Masson Street still lacks a very good cafe, and with Starbucks just opening in the middle of it, such a dream might never happen. Some segments of Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair are inspired by this area.

Concordia University: Located in the heart of downtown Montreal, Concordia University is definitely a place to be if you want to study creative writing. With (still) affordable tuition for Quebec residents, I think the price for foreign students is not so high since there is an increase in foreign admissions every year. The library is well deserved and has focused on high tech and online databases, which opens up countless possibilities. The historic Irish-Scottish background of the University is still strong even though you'll probably hear 78 different languages at the same time just by sitting in the student hall. Top spot to write: 12th floor of the EV building. There's a small lounge with big windows: a great view of the city. I don't think I've written specifically about this spot or the university itself, but it was a great place to study still.

Montreal-East: You need an industrial backdrop and a piss-poor neighborhood to inspire your trashy or gritty novel, Montreal-East is the place to be. Of course, it might sound judgmental to say it's piss poor, but it is. I would know, I've worked there for years and I used to live in the nearby borough of Tetreaultville, which is basically across the street. If you want rusty, closed down factories, World War II era foundries and old refineries, that's the place you want to go to. There are no cafes that I know of or actually any place you could sit down. As far as I know the last restaurant in the entire "city" is on Notre-Dame and Broadway. The most "interesting" factories are on Durocher and Marien Streets south of Sherbrooke. My entire first novel, The Factory Line, was inspired by my life during these "factory years."

L'Assomption: You need a typical, one-factory-town, L'Assomption is where I go for half of the narrative for my next project (A Teenage Suicide) the place is just far enough to be called the country, just close enough for you not to waste your time driving. It's got an old college, a few good looking houses, a lot of ugly houses, and a small Main street that has the necessary theater, cafes and delis. There's a beautiful steel bridge next to the town's church. Go as far as L'Assomption College, don't bother going in any further.

Hochelaga: Much like the south-west, Hochelaga was a lowdown, working class, crime ridden neighborhood. The only difference is that it was the French who lived there instead of the Irish. The crime rate has gone down dramatically, but it still smells like beer and cigarettes all over the place. This is still where you go to meet punk rockers in the city and you need a torn shirt at goodwill. A surprise construction boom in the last three years has dramatically changed the neighborhood, but as I lived there for years prior to gentrification, I can say it was for the best because that place was a dump. The best place for coffee is Atomic Cafe, but you'll have to endure their horrible vintage-techno music. I know I can't take it anymore. The same building is host to the "7e" indie video store and they do have an impressive collection. Some of my characters for Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair have spent their youth in Hochelaga and it does occupy a fair portion of the storyline.

Of course, there are dozen other places you could visit in the city, I just wanted to talk about a few of the places that are less visited, or that have changed so much in the last few years that they don't have the same feel anymore.

Times are changing and I just feel like slowing down right now.

I hope you enjoyed this quick tour.

Take care,

Ian Truman

About The Author:

I am from a working class family and I am proud of my origins. For the last seven years, I have been employed as an assembly line worker, a forklift driver, a park ranger, a warehouse clerk, a janitor, an industrial laundry operator, a warehouse clerk some more and still am to this day.

I have gone back to school and just graduated from Concordia with a major in Creative Writing and a minor in Political Science.

I like to write for the rest of us and hope you will enjoy my work.


BUY THE BOOK: Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair

Book Description: Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair

Samuel Lee has known three days of freedom in the last eighteen years. Three days to come out of prison, see his daughter, settle a score and go back in again, for good this time. 

Told in the tradition of the best literary noir, Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair is a modern, lowdown and gritty take on the genre. 

Inspired by the cinema of Akira Kurosawa and Samuel Fuller as well as the music of Tom Waits, Sage Francis, Neurosis and Marilyn Manson, it is a novel that is sure to please anyone who has ever found themselves trapped and cast aside from the world. 

Book Excerpt: Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair

Donnaconna Institution
Maximum Security
145 miles north-east of Montreal
267 inmates
27% serving life sentences


Hey kid.

I know you requested to be here in person but your mother had enough sense not to allow it. You're not eighteen yet, so her decision is final and I think she made the right call. Donnaconna Federal prison ain't no place for a girl like you.

Now, I know I'm not much of a father, probably because I never had the chance to be one but I am sorry I never got to be there for you. Your grandfather came to visit a few weeks ago. I'm glad to see that there's at least one person from my side of the family who's looking out for you. He told me you applied to circus school in Montreal. I never thought you could go to school for that, but he says your heart is set on it. So my heart is now set on it too. I just hope I get to see one of your shows one day. If you'll have me, of course.

I guess what I want to say is, I ain't got much, but I do have a little money set aside. Only seven thousand or so, but it's something. It's all legit money, so don't worry about how I raised it. I don't do drugs and I've quit drinking years ago. They don't pay much here in prison, but I'm working the laundry service for 5.50 a day. I've been behaving well, and I got lucky enough to get on a Corcan program twice. It pays a little more and it gives me credits and experience to work when I get out. Now, the money is yours whether you want it or not. I don't have much use for it in here.

Your mother said you wanted to know what happened that day, said you were pretty insistent about it. I don't know if it is out of anger, which I wouldn't hold against you, or if it is out of compassion, but if you think you are old enough to hear these things, I'm ready to tell you.

I don't know everything for sure, but it was pretty easy to figure out. The news covered the story plenty. I had court records and word of mouth from friends and friends of friends and so on. Anything I didn't know for sure, I just added in the details that made the most sense. Now, there is still time for you to forget about this because I'm not going to make it pretty for you. I may be a murderer, but a liar is not something I am. I won't try to get you on my side either. I will tell it like it was and let you decide for yourself.

You have to understand that I hadn't seen you at that point except in pictures. And even then, it was Mikey who had shown it to me while I was inside. Alice ... Well, I thought your mother probably had better places to be or better people to be with. She can say whatever she wants. She never supported me in any way and that is one thing she can't deny.

But you should've seen yourself in that picture. You were beautiful. Oh yes! Those pure green eyes, brown hair, lovable little cheeks, and you wore a little princess outfit with a tiara and a wand. It was nothing too corny. All green with butterfly wings. A fairy princess or something. I'd spend days looking at that picture.

That picture was taken a year prior to that night in the bar. I didn't know what to expect anymore. How much had you grown? Had you grown all your baby teeth? Did you like music? Of course, everybody likes music, but what kind and just how much? And I remembered an oath I made to myself back in prison. I swore I'd find me a good guitar when I got out, and I would sing you all the songs I had written about you. And two years is plenty of time to work on songs, let me tell you that.

I imagined myself on a stool, playing the cords on an acoustic guitar and you'd be dancing and twirling and all of that. What can I say? You were my light. Kept me straight and out of trouble, and to this day you still do. It is strange how I've never been in trouble while I've been in prison, either in Cowansville or here in Donnaconna. I can assure you that there are plenty of ways to get into trouble in here, but I never did thanks to you. Those three days of freedom earned me a lifetime in prison, but I have been at peace ever since, knowing you were alright out there.

In so many ways, you saved me without you even knowing it so I swore I would make sure to tell you someday, what went down and why it happened and now you are asking me just that. I'm not even looking for salvation here, maybe just understanding and forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a long hard road. I just hope you can understand that.

Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair by Ian Truman

Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair by Ian Truman
Published By: Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: June 27, 2012
Format: eBook - 256 pages / Kindle - 518 KB
Genre: Murder, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller / Romantic Noir

About The Author: 

I am from a working class family and I am proud of my origins. For the last seven years, I have been employed as an assembly line worker, a forklift driver, a park ranger, a warehouse clerk, a janitor, an industrial laundry operator, a warehouse clerk some more and still am to this day.

I have gone back to school and just graduated from Concordia with a major in Creative Writing and a minor in Political Science.

I like to write for the rest of us and hope you will enjoy my work.


BUY THE BOOK: Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book review blitz tour.

Virtual Book Review Blitz Tour: On Friday, June 29, 2012, in association with Innovative Online Book Tours, author Ian Truman participated in a virtual book review blitz with an Author Guest Post on Jersey Girl Sizzling Book Reviews.

Virtual Book Review Blitz Tour Stops

Book Description:

Samuel Lee has known three days of freedom in the last eighteen years. Three days to come out of prison, see his daughter, settle a score and go back in again, for good this time. 

Told in the tradition of the best literary noir, Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair is a modern, lowdown and gritty take on the genre. 

Inspired by the cinema of Akira Kurosawa and Samuel Fuller as well as the music of Tom Waits, Sage Francis, Neurosis and Marilyn Manson, it is a novel that is sure to please anyone who has ever found themselves trapped and cast aside from the world. 

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1


It was early, early September. the sky was covered with thick gray clouds. There was rain forecast for the evening. The boss was coming down the road driving his best bike: a brand new, flat black, Fat Boy Harley. The exhaust noise echoed all around as he made his way on the deserted street. He pulled on the gas and the bike winded louder which drew a satisfied grin on the man's face.

He took a left at the gate of an abandoned industrial building lot. It was well fenced-off with plywood and tarps all around so that no one could peek inside. The building was awaiting demolition but the gates were open because the man on the bike also ran the company that would tear the place down. If they had killed me, I might have ended up in the same containers as the demolished concrete. There would have been a pile of rocks, mesh wire, floorboards, busted lamps and a dead Samuel Lee. Nobody would go looking for me.

He parked the bike right next to an old battered Buick Skylark. There were four other cars in the parking lot. The first two were a Cavalier and a revamped Impala. The other two were cars you forgot quickly about: a Hyundai and a Corolla.

He took off his helmet, went inside and up four stories. There were two men at the door, full patched men wearing leather jackets and dark sunglasses inside. They were silent and still, which was contrasted by a hell of a ruckus coming from inside the room.

Now most people imagine a Russian mob to be silent and methodical, likewise a Chinese triad or a Japanese Yakama too, and they're probably right, but these folks here were brawlers. Boxing was the fanciest martial art they were ever going to do. Their tactics were loud: they rarely got the job done right, let alone done clean.

I remember hearing the metallic door and the boss walking in. The room had been stripped of all features except for the large square frame windows that had seen too many decades. The lights were all shattered and the room was lit up by a series of double-headed industrial work lights. There wasn't any ventilation on the floor and with twenty men or so surrounding me in a closed space, it quickly felt like we were in the tropics. Each of them were granted a turn and I was hurting pretty badly. I was breathing heavily as thick, salty sweat was dripping from my forehead. The droplets ran down my cheeks and mixed with the blood pouring down from the cuts around my jaw. A pool of my own blood and sweat was starting to spread on the floor under the chair on which I was tied. I had at least a black eye and a busted lip, two teeth down and most likely a broken rib. But it seemed that would not be enough. I was in for the beating of a lifetime and I knew it was time to get tough when I heard someone say to the boss, "he's ready."

But we're not going to talk about that just yet.

My Book Review:

Samuel Lee is in a Canadian federal prison serving a life sentence for murder. His daughter Melody wants to know why her father is in prison, and since she's almost eighteen years old now, he decides to tell her the story about his life and how he ended up in prison.

The story is set in Montreal, Canada, and told in the first person narrative by Samuel. Samuel has been in prison for sixteen years, and he weaves his sad dark tale from the present time with flashbacks to 1996, when his troubles began. In 1996, Samuel was released after two years in prison for attacking a police officer. He makes his way back to his hometown in search of his ex-girlfriend Alice and their two year old daughter Melody. When he locates Alice, he finds out that she is a junkie and living with a bad ass biker dude who is also a major drug dealer. When the biker dude refuses to let Samuel see Alice or Melody, he makes a plan to get his girls away from the biker dude, only to set off a violent chain of action that will ultimately change the course of their lives forever.

Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair is a gritty, dark, sad and violent page turner of a story. Author Ian Truman brings Samuel's story to light in a brutally realistic way. The storyline is set in the seedy rundown streets of Montreal, Canada. The author provides rich detail and descriptions of the rundown sections of Montreal, from streets to establishments, you get the tourist guide version of a decaying town gone seedy with derelicts, prostitutes, drug gangs and the poor working class. His vivid descriptions of the town and Samuel's violent three days of freedom from prison in 1996 captivates the readers and leaves them sitting on the edge of their seats. The author provides a cast of characters that are realistic, complex and downright scary. The intriguing interactions and intertwining lives of Samuel, best friends Mikey and Matty, an Irish prostitute named Josie, Alice and the biker dude, are fascinating and make the story that much more powerful and compelling.

Written in an angry dark noir style, this story is one that shows the dark side of a town and its downtrodden inhabitants. If you're looking for any sunshine and roses in this story, you will be sadly left mistaken, for this story doesn't have a happy ending. Nonetheless, this intriguing story is one that true fans of the dark noir genre will surely enjoy.

RATING: 3 STARS *** (My Rating) / 4 STARS **** (Amazon Rating)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

EXtasy Books and Devine Destinies Virtual Publisher Tour & Kindle Fire Giveaway

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Sizzling Book Reviews welcomes EXtasy Books and Devine Destinies!

About Tina Haveman

Tina Haveman is the founder and CEO of eXtasy Books and Devine Destinies. Tina was born in Europe, left there at age eight, then traveled to several countries with her parents, to finally settle in Australia for many years. She immigrated to Canada in 1973 where she has lived since.
After raising a family of five as a single mother, she finally found time to concentrate on her writing. In 2000 she started her own publishing house with a partner but became too busy with eXtasy and Devine to continue her involvement and withdrew to focus entirely on eXtasy and Devine.
Tina devotes all her time to her publishing house and authors and is grateful for the success her company is experiencing. “After many years of struggling to keep my head above water while raising five children on my own, I have much to be thankful for,” said Tina. “While the company affords me a comfortable living now and I have quite a staff aboard, I thoroughly enjoy what I do and won’t stop until someone up above tells me it’s time.”

About eXtasy Books

eXtasy Books first opened its doors December 2002 with a small website that was soon revamped into a more business like site.  Within a matter of months, eXtasy outgrew that website and had to build another site to accommodate its growing catalog. Since then, the site has been revamped a number of times. Our imprint, Devine Destinies, started in 2008 to accommodate mainstream, YA, inspirational and children’s books.
Since eXtasy’s birth, it has seen several upheavals, but with hard work, a loyal staff and a loyal stable of authors, eXtasy managed to survive them, along with the depression that hit our countries hard.
This past years has seen tremendous growth at eXtasy and we have moved our website to our own dedicated server to accommodate its growing readership.
We publish a wide variety of stories ranging from short stories to full books, pricing kept reasonable to accommodate our readers. Prices range from 1.59 to 5.99.
eXtasy Books has always been and is a devout supporter of e-books and e-readers. There are so many print books destroyed every year, it’s unbelievable. Go Green, is our motto. Save our forests! With so many new e-readers on the market, think about the ease of taking books along when traveling, getting rid of dust collecting books in your house, thereby making more room, being able to read a book on your phone or handheld while going to and from work on a bus or train. Think about the many books you can store on your computer. And think about the books you can hide from nosy relatives or children…
We have an attractive reward program in place. Receive 5 dollars on first sign up for an account that can be applied if you spend 20 or more dollars. For every purchase you receive 10% of your total in rewards. These rewards can be saved or you can use them when you come back to buy more books. We’re always looking for new ways to make our site a great shopping experience. 

Follow  eXtasy at Facebook at
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Follow Devine Destinies at Facebook at
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Pump Up Your Book and eXtasy Books are teaming up to give you a chance to win a Kindle Fire!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form throughout the tour.
The Kindle Fire promotion will run from June 1 – August 31. Winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on September 1, 2012.
Visit each blog stop to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour.
*Note: Please leave a comment on this blog post and then click on the Virtual Tour Page for a listing of the other blog stops!*

                                        ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

         ~ ~ ~WIN $50 GIFT CERTIFICATE ~ ~ ~

One lucky person who comments the most on eXtasy and Devine Destinies’ blog stops will receive a $50 gift certificate. The blog host who receives the most comments through the tour will also receive a $50 gift certificate!