Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Knock Over - A Sneak Peak for Big Picture High School

 Dear Big Picture High School Students,

As promised, here is a sneak peak of Chapter One of The Knock Over, a Moonshine Murder Sequel. I'm uploading this as an example of the process of writing: its many drafts, stages and faces. This is an early version, intended to demonstrate that.

I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of your classroom this past month. Thank you!

The Knock Over
E.S. Jameson

Copyright 2019 E.S. Jameson
All rights reserved.

All rights reserved.
Flashlight Fiction
a division of
Paper Trail Publishing
Durango, CO 81301
Published and Printed in the U.S.A.

License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. The characters and events in this ebook are fictional and any resemblance to persons, whether living or dead, is strictly coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, scanning to a computer disk, or by any informational storage and retrieval system, without express permission in writing from the publisher.

Chapter One

 It wasn’t going to be an ordinary day. Rusty had plans. He felt them in his pocket now—not entirely round, sharp cut edges yet smooth. The gold cross, about the length of a half dollar, he ran his thumb and forefinger over its smooth surface.
Rusty jingled the necklace in his pocket and couldn’t help but think of her. The red garnets around her neck, her piercing blue eyes looking at him. It wasn’t a diamond ring he had in mind for the proposal. He wanted a matching ring to the garnet necklace, the one given to Lenora by their good friend, Rosa. The necklace that reminded her so of her mother’s. After work, he would take it to the jeweler, have a few of the garnets removed to make a ring, then restring the necklace. She rarely wore it—too special for that. But she often pulled it out of the top dresser drawer in her rented flat and looked at it. He had seen her do it, especially when homesick for her mamma or papa. It was his hope to complete the task before she knew it was missing. And it hadn’t been all that easy to sneak it out of her one-room flat. He had to make run back into the flat on their way out that morning for work with the excuse that he had left his cap on the table. He had, so it wasn’t exactly a lie.
"What are you about, Rusty?" She had asked. He knew by the heat in his cheeks that his complexion matched his hair.
Avoiding her eyes, he shrugged. "Nothing to worry about, just a lost hat and misplaced memory." He gave her his most dashing smile, one arm wrapped around her shoulder, the other hand clenching the necklace in his pocket.
He couldn’t help but smile. Nah, it was a grin, and he didn’t care. He loved that lass. Everyone knew it.
So it was with that smile that he looked up from the teller table when the copper bell rang above the mahogany door of the Citizens State Bank. The green paneled walls and mahogany trim around the windows was intended to express the wealth and security of the bank in its traditional colors, but on a bright autumn day it took a few moments for one’s eyes to adjust to the customer entering through the front door.
“Good Morning. How can I help you folks?” Rusty asked, as he rearranged his ledger, allowing his eyes to turn the black specks in front of him into faces.
Customer interaction was his favorite part of the job. He missed that about running his moonshining business, the customers. It was worth it though. She was worth it. He brought his mind back to the present. He couldn’t daydream about her all day if he intended to keep this job and buy their way out of Silverton.
The smile dropped from his face as his eyes focused on the two men who had entered the lobby of the bank. One was quite tall, taller than Rusty and he was over six foot himself. The man pulled his white fedora from his head and black hair fell forward across his forehead. He slicked it back into place with his hand, his forefinger bearing a large gold ring with a symbol Rusty couldn’t quite make out across the room, but recognized as important nonetheless. He was wearing a brown felt jacket, a dark blue tie. His eyes were midnight black and beady, impassive, like staring into the eyes of an animal—carnal. There were no smiles in those eyes. One eyelid hung low, covering half his pupil, and he sported a thin mustache covering his upper lip. He wasn’t from around here, there was no doubt of that fact.
“Gentlemen,” Rusty said. He shot a glance behind his shoulder seeing if the bank president was sitting in his office. He knew he wasn’t there. He and his son never came in before ten. It was Rusty’s job to open the bank, make the coffee,  pull out cash from the safe in the back for the cash drawer, review the ledgers from the day before.
But the men made him nervous and he had had his share of experience when it came to shady characters.
The dark, tall man, turned to his partner, bushy eyebrows raised in an unanswered question. The other nodded his consent and Rusty’s attention was drawn to the man who had entered second. For the briefest moment, his heart jolted. His palms were suddenly sweaty and his button-up white shirt began to stick to the back of his broad shoulders.
The shorter man’s hair was drifting back along his hairline, but the auburn curls were apparent even after being pressed down from his felt cap. He wore a flannel shirt, tucked in to work trousers. Day laborer for the mill or mines. It was his eyes that were different enough from his, and he was stouter. Not a man to get into a brawl with. Neither of them were.
After the initial shock of the similarities, Rusty was sure it wasn’t him. But boy, it sure could have been. A relative. Sure enough, it had to be a relative.
“Hello Rusty,” the shorter man said as he came around in front of the tall man and sauntered up to the counter.
Rusty, behind the barred counter, still took a half step back as the tall man clicked the front door lock into place.
“Do I know you, sir?”
“Nope, but I know who you are, Rusty O’Donald.” The man pulled a toothpick from his pocket and began picking at his yellowed teeth.
Rusty tilted his head to the side to get a better view of the man by the door. “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to unlock that door. This bank is open for business.”
The tall man’s response was a mere raspy whisper, but Rusty heard every word. “We got business with you, boy, that doesn’t need interruption.” It wasn’t a threat exactly, but it sure felt like one.
“You knew my brother,” the man at the counter said, flicking his toothpick toward the corner of the counter where the burnt orange ceramic ashtray sat. “Tony.”
Rusty’s eyes darted between the man at the door and the man at the counter. There was a ringing in his ears and his legs were tingling. Yes. He knew Tony. He wished he didn’t, but he did.
            “How’s Tony?” Rusty asked.
            “In a jam. You see, he owes a debt, but since you and that girl of Dominick’s had him thrown in the can, he is unable to fulfill his obligation.”
            “Well that’s a shame…I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name?”
            “Victor. And this,” he said pointing his finger behind his back, “is Joe.”
            “Well, Victor, I’m sorry to hear about Tony’s troubles, but they ain’t mine.”
            “That’s where you’re wrong.” Joe had come up behind Victor, standing a near foot taller than him, and leaned on the counter. “It is your problem. You see, Tony worked with your old partner, Dominick, right?” Joe studied the clock behind Rusty’s head, never once making direct eye contact. It should have been less nerve racking, but it wasn’t.
            Rusty nodded, and splayed his palms out flat on the counter in front of him. Sweat was soaking through the ledger, green lines smearing with the brown.
            “You see, Tony was going to buy that business from Dominick. He borrowed money from us to do the job.”
            “You know there isn’t any proof that I was involved at all in his arrest,” Rusty tried to keep his voice even. “Hell, Tony getting nailed put us all in jeopardy and lost us all our jobs, should I remind you of that, Victor?”
            “Maybe there isn’t proof of your involvement Rusty, but there is no denying that kid of Dominick’s was working with the feds, and now you and her are a hot item.”
            Rusty clamped his mouth shut. It just became a lot more dangerous in the room, a dynamite stick ready to be lit.
            Victor grinned. “That’s what I thought.”
            Rusty glanced up at Joe. “Who does he owe the money to? Who is ‘us’?”
            “Cosa Nostra.”
            Rusty’s ears began to ring. The room blurred. Cosa Nostra.
These were Trouble Boys. Mafia.
Rusty forced himself to watch the man. His lips moved and a funneled noise reached his ears. It took a moment for Rusty to realize it was the sound of Joe’s voice.
“Like I said to Victor, unfortunate event.” Joe pulled out a cigarette, lit it with a match and tossed the match in the ashtray next to the toothpick. “But the truth of the matter is that I loaned that money to Tony as a favor on behalf of the Carlino brothers up north.” Joe turned his attention from the clock he had been inspecting nearly the whole time and shot a hard look at Rusty. “You know who the Carlino brothers are, yes?”
Rusty nodded. Anybody who was anybody moonshining in the state of Colorado knew who the Carlino brothers were. Pete and Sam, the most notorious bootleggers in Colorado, as far as Rusty was concerned.  Although Joe Roma could be a contender. He wouldn’t of course confuse this Joe for that Joe. Roma was a pint-sized man. He was known for it. Roma was also known to be the giant of the bootlegging underworld in Denver. Truth is, Roma and the Carlinos brothers were the bootleggers in nearly all of the state. Sure a handful of small operations like his and Dominick’s existed, but that was west of the pass. Another time or place, he might have felt a thrill to be in the company of Carlino’s associates.
This man Joe, knowing the Carlino’s personally? Rusty wanted to doubt it. He wanted to believe that Joe was throwing around a name Rusty was sure to know to intimidate him. As if he needed more intimidation as he stood shaking and sweating locked inside the bank with two big Italian mobsters. But the story fit. And now that his mind was drifting to the Carlion’s, Joe did resemble Pete Carlino. Enough to be a cousin, he thought. Of course the Carlino’s were looking for their way into the Southwest part of the state. And it would have made sense why they wanted to knock-off Dominick—he was Tyrolean after all, an Austrian, home country enemy to the Italians, Piedmonts or Sicilians. It didn’t matter.
There was certainly a large amount of respect for the Carlino brothers. But there were equal or larger amount of caution.   
“Tony was our Durango and Silverton contact. I’m here on behalf of Pete. I owe him, said I would take a look into the situation for him.
Pete. He has a thing for explosions, dynamite and such. It’s a bit of an obsession for him, you could say. I’m telling you this so’s you understand that should we not come to an agreement, the underboss is coming in the month. We would hate to see something happen to that girl of Dominick’s.”
 Victor squared his felt cap on his head, readying to leave. “Something like what happened to Peter Dalla.”
Joe flicked his fedora back in place and pushed off the counter where he had been slouching. “Tony owes us $5,000. With interest, you owe Pete $5,500. You got a month.”
The men moved to the door.
“We’ll be checking in on things from time to time,” Joe said. “Make sure you have a plan. Would be a shame to see that air tight girl of Dominick’s messed up.”
Victor snapped the lock back and they existed. Rusty watched as they crossed down Greene Street and out of view.
Rusty’s throat clenched tight. He hands were still splayed across the desk, sticking to the ledger paper. There was a weight in his pocket and for a moment he forgot about the necklace. It seemed now so trivial and yet so center point at the same time. Lenora. Dominick’s daughter. The girl he had fallen in love with despite trying to keep her unaware of her father’s moonshining business.
And who the heck was Peter Dalla? It was meant as a threat from Victor, no doubt, but he didn’t know what it meant. Which made it all the more menacing.
The back door opened and the bank president, came in whistling and hitching up his britches over his large belly.
“Morning, Rusty.”
Rusty cleared his throat and re-stacked the papers on his desk. “Morning, Richard. Nice weekend?”
“Sure, sure, and you?”
“Fine, just fine.”
“Sir, you know of a Peter Dalla?”
Richard snapped his head up from his desk behind Rusty. “Peter Dalla! Why are you asking after that old story? Bad business. Bad business. Damn fools.”
“Who?” Rusty hesitated, uncertain if he wanted the answer.
 “Nothing you want to know about, son.”
The front door bell rang and Rusty whipped his head forward.
Lenora pushed through the doors, her auburn curls swept back into a bun, a few tendrils wisped around her high-set cheeks. She was smiling, and pulled a wrapped sandwich from behind her back.
“I would have thought you to have grabbed your sandwich when you went back in for your hat this morning. It was sitting right next to it.”
Rusty put on his best smile. “Thanks, doll.” 
Doing his best not to check out the window for the two men, he studied Lenora’s laughing eyes, a cobalt blue, reminding him of a lazy summer afternoon.
She plopped the cheese sandwich on the counter and leaned toward him, exactly where Victor had been slouching only moments earlier.
“I promised Sal I would help out with the supper shift. I probably won’t be home until after 10:00. I’m sure to have leftover pie with me though if you want to stop by tomorrow morning?”
“Sounds grand. That works out best for me anyways. Jimmy invited me out tonight.”
Lenora pushed from the counter and smiled. “Well, have a good evening then. We will see you in the morning.”
“Hello Mr. Torinto,” Lenora hollered and waved, as she stood on her tiptoes and peeked over Rusty’s head.”
“Well hello there, doll. I didn’t even hear you come in. Everything going good for you over at Sal’s? She treating you right?” Mr. Torinto had come from behind the counter and stood in the door frame.
“She’s great. Thank you for putting in a good word for me.”
Mr. Torinto waved her away. “Not at all, not at all. Anything from Dominick’s daughter.”
Lenora smiled. “Well, I best be heading over that direction. Have a good day.” Lenora waived and made for the door.
Rusty let out his breathe. He was just sure the men were going to come back in when Lenora was standing right there. He needed to get his head straight, figure out how to get out of this jam. He’d been in jams before, but this one was different. First thing he needed to do was get to the bottom of this Peter Dalla story.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Gift of Writing

Grandma shared a gift, my great grandmother's school copy of Paradise Lost and her composition booklet. The novel is dated 1896, the composition booklet, 1913.

This gift is particularly special because it belonged to Martha Haldeman, the woman portrayed as Lenora on the cover of Moonshine Murder.

A writer herself, Martha wrote eloquently not only in English but also in Old German script, an extinct language. This woman, who I never met, has shared not just her image but her imagination and love of words, a trait she passed down to her daughter, Ruth--my grandma--and to me. I am thankful to Grandma for sharing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Sweet Ride

I was fifteen, earning my driver's permit when Daddy bought the Nissan. The deal was simple: I keep the truck as long as I maintain good grades. Gas was my responsibility and doable back when twenty bucks filled the tank.

(The Nissan right after Dad bought it. Notice the red paint job. This is before the fender bender in the school parking lot--not my fault--and the resulting new paint job compliments of Dad and Uncle Lance.)

I have many wonderful memories with that truck, most with my best friend, Erin Taveira Glenn by my side. We took that truck places in the mountains we probably shouldn't have. We lost a muffler and about washed the entire vehicle crossing what looked like a stream. Looking back on the experience now, I think it was more like a river!

I repaired and repaired again the Nissan, making is last for over half of my life as my first choice of transportation. It has traveled with me from Southern Colorado to Northern Colorado, across Central California, and back to Colorado. I've strapped dogs, friends (more than the legal capacity), and car seats in the cab. I have push started that truck more times than I could possibly remember, including an entire semester when my husband, Eric and I were too broke to fix the alternator. (If you are going to CSU, I can gladly share with you where to park on campus with enough slope to push start a vehicle.)

This last winter, we again dumped money into the Nissan, Eric scratching his head at how stubborn his wife can be in refusing to get a reliable vehicle. How could I part with something that has been with me over 16 years? We made a deal: The truck had to last for a full year to justify the most recent repairs. We shook on it.

It lasted three months. Right into the coldest part of the winter. With mixed emotions, we drove to the car lot and purchased my first vehicle since turning sixteen. And I love it. I love that it has air conditioning and heating. I love that it starts when I turn the ignition, and that I don't have to push it. It doesn't whine and cough in the cold. It is completely reliable. I feel safe loading up the kids, and safe on the slickest of roads. It doesn't have the odor of wet dog mixed with who-knows-what-kind of air fresheners and cleaning agents. No scars or dents.

But I found that early in the morning when I jumped into the new vehicle, I missed the smell of old vinyl and dust, and the curiosity if today I would be pushing the thing down the hill, or flooding the engine to get it going. Strange a person can miss those tasks.

What did I do with the Nissan? Well, I sold it on Ebay. And it was hard to let it go. But sitting in my driveway was doing neither of us any good. And it couldn't have gone to anyone better. A kid's dad bought it. It was just like the one he had owned, and he wanted to fix it up for his son. He loves it, and for that I'm glad.

It was a sweet ride, taking me through the adventures of adolescents and into adulthood. And the new vehicle? Well, my seven-year-old son, Ethan has dubbed it his sweet ride. We'll see.

(Saying goodbye to the Nissan. Yes, same truck, different paint job. That will happen when you've owned a vehicle for more than a decade.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Moonshine Murder Takes a Field Trip

A local homeschool group studied Moonshine Murder using the free teaching guide accompanying the novel. Their end-of-unit reward and last day of school celebration was a Moonshine Murder Field Trip. I was blessed to be able to lead the group, and would like to share some of our adventures with you.

We had a packed agenda, starting at 9am in Silverton, Colorado. Each student was given an agenda with questions to answer throughout the day.

Our first stop of the day was the Old Hundred Gold Mine tour where we rode in ore carts deep into the same mine the main character, Lenora explored in the novel.

We then panned for gold before heading to the base of the mine--where the old mill was located--to enjoy a sack lunch.

This is a view of the Old Hundred boarding house located 2,000 feet above the mill and main mine entrance.

The next stop on the tour was the Grand Imperial Hotel located downtown Silverton. The photograph above is a view of a hidden tunnel leading from the Grand Imperial Hotel to Blaire Street, several blocks east. Men would walk through the tunnel to Blaire Street where brothels were legal. It was also used as a place to smuggle moonshine during Prohibition. We were very lucky to see this tunnel. They don't give tours and they don't advertise that it exists. We all smiled very nicely to receive this honor!

Here is a picture of the two homeschool gals, Kaleena and Alexx, wearing flapper dresses they made in home economics class (how cool is that)!

After our private tour to the hidden tunnel, the group made their way over the mountains back to Durango where we met at the swinging bridge. Yes, the same swinging bridge mentioned in the novel. Here the students answered their questions and received their awards.

Kaleena and Alexx each earned a signed copy of Sirens, another 1920's YA Fiction, written by Janet Fox. They were thrilled!

The last stop of the day was at the mural of Jack Dempsey boxing at the Gem Theatre. Alexx, pictured here, chose boxing as her research topic, and was extra excited to see this amazing painting.

The Moonshine Murder Field Trip was a wonderful experience. This group was amazing and what fantastic homeschool parents, Gayle Early and Melissa Hackett, for going above and beyond in educating these young students. I hope to lead many more trips in the future, so parents, teachers, and grandparents, plan your trip soon!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Interview with Award Winning Author, Leslee Breene

This month I'm featuring an amazing writer and a fellow Women Writing the West member, Leslee Breene. Leslee's recent release, Journey to Sand Castle, is a tale of love and redemption. Leslee will be giving away a free copy of her novel to one of my blog visitors today. Be sure to leave a comment to qualify! Please enjoy meeting another Colorado author!

First of all, thank you, Erin, for inviting me to be on your awesome blog!

Thank you, Leslee, for stopping by. What are you currently reading?

I just finished Jeannette Walls’, Half Broke Horses, a true life novel. Told in the first-person voice of Ms. Walls’ no-nonsense, resourceful, and compelling grandmother Lily Smith who survived Texas tornadoes, droughts, floods and the Great Depression. A great read!

What/who has influenced your writing?
The Rocky Mtn. Fiction Writers and Colorado Romance Writers were the first groups that provided conferences and critique. In earlier years, I was influenced by authors of short fiction/novellas such as Somerset Maugham, Ernest Hemingway, western writers Jessamyn West and Annie Dillard. Later, romance authors LaVyrle Spencer, Laura Kinsale and Maggie Osborne mesmerized me.

What do you do beside write?

I have a passion for western music and support events like the annual Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering (some poetry, lots of music). The Arvada Old Town Pickin’ Parlor hosts a monthly concert with a continuous list of outstanding western, blue grass and dixieland singers and musicians that I find irresistible.

Do places you visit pop up in your writing? How so?

During leisure time away from the computer, I enjoy scouting for book settings with my husband in the Colorado Rockies. Some memorable research sites are Leadville, Georgetown, the Colorado Sand Dunes, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. And, yes, several of these historical settings have led to storylines, characters and published novels.

Here is a little bit about Leslee and her new release.

Leslee Breene, award-winning author of novel and short fiction, takes pride in being a Denver native. She lives beneath the Colorado Rockies with her husband and, hopefully soon, a beloved rescue canine.

Her newest release, JOURNEY TO SAND CASTLE (June 2013), is a contemporary inspirational romance set in the San Luis Valley next to the Sangre de Cristo mountains. "Leslee Breene confronts conflict, resistance, and a well-written story of love and redemption." ~ Heidi M.Thomas, WILLA Literary Award.

To read the first chapters go to:

Journey to Sand Castle Synopsis:
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Tess Cameron, a divorced teacher, becomes the unwitting guardian of a bi-racial orphan. She is compelled to take the little girl to the Colorado San Luis Valley to meet her grandfather. Estranged from the child’s missing mother, he is unaware of the granddaughter’s existence and doesn’t want her.
Grant Wilder, a widowed outfitter, offers Tess temporary employment on his ranch. This gives Tess a reason to stay in the area and continue with her reuniting efforts. But can Tess’s wandering spirit find the faith to accept permanent responsibility of the child? Can she open her heart to love again in this land of amazing beauty and haunting secrets?

Other works by Leslee:

STARLIGHT RESCUE, (2011- Treble Heart Books) a western romance, is available in soft cover through, and is set beneath the Wyoming Big Horn Mountains on an animal rescue ranch. It received an RWA PASIC Book of Your Heart Award in the contemporary, single-title category.

HEARTS ON THE WIND (2008 - Five Star), a Denver bestselling historical romance received an “A” review in the Rocky Mountain News. LEADVILLE LADY (2006 - Five Star) received the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers PEN Award. The RWA Valley Forge Chapter awarded second place to her debut novel, FOXFIRE .

Ms. Breene’s short fiction has been published in various magazines, won national awards, and finaled in the 2009, 2011 and 2012 Women Writing the West LAURA (Ingalls Wilder) competitions.

Ms. Breene attended the University of Denver, received a Denver Fashion Group Scholarship, and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City. For several years, she worked as a newspaper fashion illustrator in San Francisco.

She is an active member of RWA, Colorado Romance Writers, and Women Writing the West and is available for Denver/suburban area library and group speaking engagements. She welcomes visitors at her website: and

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

And the Winner of the Slang Word Scavenger Hunt is.....

And the winner of the slang word scavenger hunt is....

Eunice Boeve! Congratulations. Ok, here are her definitions:

1. Moonshine
2. Coffin Varnish
3. Daddy
4. Screwy
5. Flat Tire
6. Speakeasy
7. Prohie
8. Dumb Dora
9. Baloney
10. Jalopy
11. Bearcat

1. smuggled or illicitly distilled liquor
2. inferior liquor
3. the best moonshine also known as catdaddy. also a girl's boyfriend, especially if rich
4. Crazy was used to tell a person to leave, you're screwy
5. a bore
6. a bar tha tsells illigal liquor
7. a guy on probationary status, or a new guy
8. a foolish, scatterbrained, or stupid woman
9. nonsense
10. a dumpy old car and old heap
11. one who fights or acts with force a firey girl also lesser name for a panda

Eunice has won a free signed copy of Moonshine Murder! Thank you to all the participants. Visit my website for your own signed copy.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Moonshine Murder Slang Word Scavenger Hunt

During the 1920's, many people used coded words to represent illegal activities. Out of this new slang words were created.

Last week I did a slang word scavenger hunt with a classroom using my novel, Moonshine Murder. The students had a list of words they had to define based on the context of the sentence. We had so much fun with the activity, that I decided to share it here.

So here's the rules: Define the words listed below using the comment section of the blog. If you get them all correct, then your name will go in the drawing for a free autographed copy of Moonshine Murder. Be sure to share this link with any young adults you may know. This is a lot of fun and great education as well! The contest will stay open a full week, winner to be announced the following Wednesday, May 29th, during my usual post.

Good luck and have fun!

1. Moonshine
2. Coffin Varnish
3. Daddy
4. Screwy
5. Flat Tire
6. Speakeasy
7. Prohie
8. Dumb Dora
9. Baloney
10. Jalopy
11. Bearcat

Like the activity? View my website for the teacher / parent guide for Moonshine Murder. Tons of great activities for young adults!