Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"The Capri Girl" by D. Guy

The Capri Girl
(The LaFollette Chronicles Book 1)
by D. Guy

The Capri Girl (The LaFollette Chronicles Book 1) by D. Guy

The LaFollette Chronicles is a standalone series of books by D. Guy about different people and families in the small town of LaFollette, Tennessee, taking place at different times in the twentieth century. The chronicles describe situations and events affecting the people in the chronicles. The stories often sweep from eastern Tennessee to southern Italy and back.
The Capri Girl is the first book in The LaFollette Chronicles. Author D. Guy stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from the book. Also available in this series: Never Go to Capri Alive, Soldato Mio, A Heart’s Broken Travels, and Bobby Jack.

Never Go to Capri Alive by D. GuySoldato Mio by D. GuyA Heart’s Broken Travels by D. GuyBobby Jack by D. Guy

J.P. White's grandfather landed in New York in 1910 and started a family dynasty. Descended from hard-working, successful Italian stock, J.P. is a talented, good-looking young man. Growing up during the 1940s in the small city of LaFollette, nestled deep in the hills of East Tennessee, he had little need to worry. After all, his family, being successful, had money.
J.P. discovered at the age of 16 that he had a real knack for songwriting. In fact, he was very good. Writing songs for his agent in Nashville provided J.P. with an income he didn't need, and he had written some very successful songs, including the entire, “Capri Suite” album which brought worldwide fame and even more riches. But … some dark secret still haunted J.P. … something from a time spent in Italy. Something that happened on the beautiful island of Capri.
J.P. enjoyed popularity with the ladies, especially an old school friend in a troubled marriage named Teresa.
J.P. and Teresa enjoyed, “consoling”, each other to the fullest. But, something was still very wrong. There is a deep sadness, a dark corner in J.P.; something consoling Teresa had helped him forget for a time. Something named Rosina.
But, things are beginning to change. J.P. and Teresa's stolen moments of happiness are coming to an end. Should J.P. go back to Italy … to Capri? Should he shine a light in that dark corner even if doing so might cost him his life this time? As it had almost done once before. Maybe it is time to stop running. Just maybe, what J.P. really needs is waiting for him in Capri.

At 11:30 at night, Ruggiero Valente stepped off the last ferry running from Naples and walked purposely down the pier. He was steaming and had murder in his heart. He knew that and didn't wish to do anything to quell it either.
He had been pulled from a meeting at the Party headquarters in Benevento earlier in the evening, for an emergency phone call. After the phone call, he went back into the meeting and whispered something in the ear of the boss who was conducting this part of the meeting. He nodded his assent, and Ruggiero walked to the back of the room and grabbed two of his flunkies and almost drug them through the door.
The train to Naples seemed to take forever, and Ruggiero never sat down once. The flunkies did sit, and smoked continuously all the way, content to consume their nicotine and observe Ruggiero's pacing. They figured he would tell them the problem when it was time.
A hurried taxi ride got them to the landing just in time to run aboard. Ruggiero didn't even argue when the man punching tickets didn't know who he was and how important he was. He just paid the extra tariff for boarding without a ticket for all three. Ruggiero was mad.
Ruggiero's car was parked in an illegal parking place at the end of the pier, and had been there for three days, but no one had ticketed it or towed it. It belonged to him, so why would they?
The three men piled into the small Fiat and drove up to the Party office in Anacapri. The two flunkies still hadn't been told what the problem might be.
No matter what the problem might be, one of the flunkies took Ruggiero's pistol from his hand when he pulled it out of his desk drawer.
“Let me carry it, Boss. You're more important than me, so I will take care of whatever is bothering you.”
Flunkie number one was saying this as he wrapped his hand around the gun. He and his sidekick both knew that Ruggiero had been losing control of late, and if they kept him out of trouble, then, hopefully they would stay out of trouble too. Or at least have someone who would arrange for them to be set free if things went bad.
“You're a good man, Domenico. You're always thinking ahead about my welfare. I wish I had a hundred men like you. We would be running this country in no time.”
“We could only do it with a leader like you, Boss.” Domenico knew how to kiss ass. “Do you want to clue us in boss?”
“An Americano asshole is raping my daughter over at the Caesare Tiberio, right now. I'm going to kill both of them.”
“How long have they been in there, Boss? Maybe he's gone?”
“No. They will be there when we get there. I received a phone call that said she has come there for three nights in a row to let the son of a bitch defile her. I'm going to kill them.”
Domenico knew that he wasn't the brightest bulb in the box, but it sure didn't sound like rape to him. He sure wasn't going to argue with Ruggiero though. If he wanted to think it was rape, then it was rape, all three nights. Domenico knew what Rosina looked like, and he couldn't really blame the rapist for making her come back and be defiled for three nights in a row.
Once at the hotel, Ruggiero marched in, with his henchmen right behind him. The desk clerk was looking right at them, and didn't see a thing. Ruggiero pointed at the phone and shook his forefinger back and forth in a, “Don't even think it,” gesture. The clerk got the message and went back to reading his sports gazette.
J.P. got out of bed to go get the bottle of mineral water that had been left in the front room. While getting it, he heard voices in the hall, and being a cautious man, he cracked the door just a bit, to see if there was any cause for alarm. His grandfather's words came back to him, “It's good to trust...”
He was able to separate the voices and one of them was familiar. A few nights before, it had been walking across a platform, saying, “Look at me, look at me.”
Working quickly, J.P. tugged the writing desk over and pushed it in close to the door. For good measure, he picked the desk chair up and sat it on the desk.
Once those defensive measures were taken, J.P. rushed back into the bedroom and pulled a sleeping Rosina out onto the floor. All he had to say was, “Your father's here,” and she was wide awake and gathering clothes. He pulled the patio door open and threw her purse and shoes out, and then sent her and her wad of clothes right behind them. She was trying to get her underclothes on when he quickly went back to his room and returned just as quickly with his wallet. Pulling out all the cash in it, he pushed it into her hands and then shoved her on her way.
“Get dressed somewhere else, Rosina. It won't matter who sees you naked if you're dead. Take the money and escape, honey. No matter what happens to me, I love you. Never forget that. If I live, I will find you.”
Then J.P. turned and went back in to meet the monster. The door was being pushed in, slowly but surely. J.P. had pulled his pants on and as the door opened, he launched himself at the man in the lead. 
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“I really liked this book by Douglas Joe Guy very much as well as its sequel. I will be reading more by him. It kept my interest piqued.” ~ Judith Molique
“Very interesting historical drama. This book has an excellent plot line and keeps you interested from the very first page to the end. The characters are intriguing and fun to imagine. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!” ~ Allen Wells
“I loved the book and am anticipating reading the next in the series. Anything that mentions my hometown of LaFollette, TN and folks I may know, I love reading about.” ~ Charlene Williams

Interview with the Author
Douglas Joe Guy joins me today to discuss his book The Capri Girl, the first book in his The LaFollette Chronicles Series.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
Since my stories have adult language and adult situations at times, the minimum age should be at least 18.  Actually though, the readers should be several years out of school, be it just high school or college. I think that most people come out of both institutions not knowing how the real world and real life function.
The stories are about actual real life and actual real-life situations. Those situations may involve a cheating spouse, or crawling over the dead bodies of your friends as you hit the beach during the Salerno invasion in September 1943 (that was the first D-Day, by the way), or maybe falling in love the very first time you see a person, or maybe fighting for your very life in 50-degree-below-zero weather during the battle of “Frozen Chosin” in Korea in November 1950. Those are a few of the things that I have going on in my books.
What sparked the idea for this book?
The idea came about one afternoon when I was kicked back reading a book on songwriting by Jimmy Webb who, along with Bobby Braddock, I consider one of the best songwriters of my generation. Taking a break from the book, I started surfing YouTube looking for something interesting. I settled on a rerun of an old biography show about John Singer Sargent, an artist so famous that even I had heard of him. The show got to the part about him going to the island of Capri in 1878 in order to paint Rosina Ferrara, the 1878 version of today's supermodels. Famous artists from around the world came there to paint the 17-year-old girl. Sargent painted her about nine times. She was a fascinating-looking woman. While this was going on, I happened to look down and saw Jimmy Webb looking up at me. A thought zinged through my head: “What if the greatest songwriter of the 1950s, a combination of Webb and Braddock, was a young man from the small town of LaFollette, in East Tennessee who goes to Italy on a speaking engagement and takes a break and goes to Capri for a couple of days? Once there, he meets, falls in love with, and then loses Rosina Ferrara. Who also happens to have been dead for over 20 years.”
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
It's hard for me to say. While I was thinking of the story for The Capri Girl, I was thinking of my characters as I worked the idea out. I had my songwriter character, I knew he was going to meet a girl. For me, everything else is just filling in the blanks.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The ending. I didn't want it to end. I love my characters and by the time I finish the book, they're like real people to me. Some of my peripheral characters were also very interesting and I have always hated to finish reading a book or watching a movie and it has its happy or unhappy ending and all the side characters are left hanging there in limbo. The more I thought about it at the end of The Capri Girl, I just had to know what happened to everyone else, so I sat down and knocked out not exactly a sequel, because that hadn't been planned, but maybe more like wrapping up some loose ends, if that makes sense, and came up with my second book, Never Go to Capri Alive.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
Would it be wrong to say that I hope it makes them want more books by the author? I think that would be the honest answer by every writer.
I do want them to enjoy the story. No doubt about that. I try to write the kind of story that I myself like to pick up and read. I spent 13 years on sea-duty during my 21 years in the Navy, and I read hundreds and hundreds of books during those years. During peacetime, sea duty is pretty darn boring. Work, sleep, eat. That is the routine, other than an occasional port visit that usually lasts three to four days, then right back to work, sleep, and eat. Reading is what I did during any waking hours when I wasn't doing the other three things. I read everything available. A lot of book trading went on among the sailors and there was always a small space tucked away somewhere on the ship and called a library. I found many genres and themes I didn't care for but read anyway, and I found just as many that I did like. Those are the ones I try to write.
How long did it take you to write this book?
About twelve days.
Wow, that’s amazing! What is your writing routine?
I write fast and I binge write when I do. I have written more than 10,000 words in a day on several occasions. The most ever was a bit over 14,000. I most often hit the higher numbers when I'm first starting the book. I slow down a bit after that, when I start adding more details and descriptions about the characters and locales. My plot is laid out early on. I only have to make it happen. I know how I want it to end, and I only have to add the bumps in the road on the way there.
How did you get your book published?
Early on, I decided that I was too old and didn't have the time nor expertise to get published in the traditional way. You know, find an agent that would take me on, then wait for him or her to find a publisher that showed interest, and then all the back and forth between the three of us. As I said, I just don't have the time. So, Amazon was the quickest and easiest choice. The timeline from the date I published my first book there, up to the date I published number five, was one hundred days. You can’t do that in the traditional publishing world. I watched all of the Michael Anderle videos on YouTube and bought into his theory that one should hit Amazon every three or four weeks with a new book. I thought that I should first build up an inventory and then do what he advised. My stories are not a series like his, so I can't just knock out a story every week or so utilizing a lot of the same characters.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
That's a tough one.
I guess that you should make the decision to do it. One of the things I did early on was to find books and videos about writing. There are about a zillion do's and don'ts and they vary from source to source. Making up your mind is the hard part. Some things work, and some things don't. My first two stories, I did by the “pants” method (seat of your pants). I wrote the two books pretty rapidly but that was because the ideas came to me so quickly. After that, I decided to try outlining my story and that works about a thousand percent better and makes my writing go even quicker. The other thing that works for me is that I refuse to believe in “writer's block” and other reasons that people give for not writing. Back to being older, I simply don't have the time. I need to get my stuff written. If you have the idea and an outline, the writing is easy. The hard part for me is at the end. I hate the editing process and getting a suitable cover and someone to format it for Amazon Kindle and getting a description written. I can knock out stories that range from 50k words to 150k words, but a two- or three-hundred-word description defeats me. So, I get a professional to do it for me. I pay for that and pay for the other needed services also. Since so much of my stories often take place in Italy, I thought it suitable to find an artist there to do my book covers. I use a fellow in Barbados to do my formatting. He did a great job on my first book and I believe in dancing with the one who brung you. Just remember that you don't have to do it all. Write the book. Everything else is just “stuff”.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Family, family, family. I watch baseball when it's in season. I cook. Twenty years in Italy made me a good Italian cook. My granddaughters demand “Nonno's pasta”. Since they live next door, it gets demanded pretty often.
What does your family think of your writing?
My wife and children are my biggest fans.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in what today would be called “below poverty level”. That simple. My grandmother raised me. My parents were not often in the picture. In the early 1950s, my grandmother's Social Security pension was about thirty dollars a month. We lived on that. That amount didn't stretch very far, even back then, so she and I never made a habit of overeating. Many of the other people in our neighborhood were in the same situation, so I never really realized how poor I was until I left home and joined the Navy. I think that I thought everyone in the world ate pinto beans, fried potatoes, and cornbread at least five days (or more) a week, twice a day at a minimum. That's the way it was. I hustled at everything possible to try to earn twenty-five cents during the week so that I could go to the movies on Saturday. A ticket was fourteen cents, a coke five cents and popcorn five cents. I would use the remaining penny to buy gum on the way home. Saturdays were great because there was always a double feature and you could stay in your seat and watch them several times if you wished. I thought I had a great life, and I did.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I loved reading. My small hometown did have a library, thank goodness. It was small, more like an oversized room with bookshelves. I think I probably read every single book it had while growing up. It sure seemed like it. When I was there, I could look out the window and see another world. In adulthood, I did see a lot of that world. Those books prepared me to recognize what I found when I arrived in those foreign places.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
My fiction books, about two years ago. I wrote two pieces of nonfiction before that and stopped. I had no more nonfiction in me. I had retired for the final time and needed to keep busy and be doing something. My wife told me to stay out from under her feet and go write a book or something. That was the moment that cartoons show the character with a light bulb suddenly appearing over their head. That simple.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Yes. A great deal of me and my experiences. My impoverished childhood and being hungry. My 21 months in the Mekong Delta and being scared to death the entire time. A lot of me is in my books.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
At the top of the list is Louis L'Amour. His memoir, Education of a Wandering Man, should be on every would-be writer's list. When he wrote about a trail or a canyon or a spring, you can bet it's there.
When I write about going next door into Browder Hutson's little grocery store in 1953, you can bet I can describe it to a tee in any story that I mention it in. L'Amour's book taught me to write about what I know. I don't know London or Los Angeles or New York or a lot of other places, but I do know the people and the town of LaFollette, Tennessee, in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. I know Southern Italy in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I know life in the Navy, both in peacetime and wartime. I prefer peacetime.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I Include an email address at the end of my books and now include the name of my Facebook author page. I do get comments from readers and, believe it or not, I have not yet received any negative comments (knock on wood).
That’s great! What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I have published five titles in my The LaFollette Chronicles series, with eight more to come, for a total of 13. Any more than that depends on my health.
The chronicles in publishing order are The Capri Girl, Never Go to Capri Alive, Soldato Mio, A Heart’s Broken Travels, Bobby Jack, Lossman, Rushing to the End, Katie Mazzetti, and Nettie Ruth. The last is by request from readers of Bobby Jack, who wanted to know what happened to some of the characters. I thought, why not, because I wrote Never Go to Capri Alive for readers of The Capri Girl.
Then comes a four-book family saga, the Baird-Hunley saga. They are also part of The LaFollette Chronicles.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
D. Guy (Douglas Joe Guy)
D. Guy (Douglas Joe Guy) has an extremely interesting background. Joe is from the small town of LaFollette, nestled in the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee. Joe is a military veteran with over twenty years in the U.S. Navy. Thirteen of these years in the Navy were spent on sea duty.
Joe likes to say there are two types of stories in the Navy. One type is called a “sea story”, and these stories may even have a touch of truth to them. The other type of story always starts out with the phrase, “Now this is no s**t ....” Naturally, true stories such as these became known as “no s***ters”.
Joe read hundreds and perhaps thousands of books while at sea and from every genre imaginable. Combine that with the wealth of “sea stories” and “no s***ters” from his days in the Navy, and he has a lot of material to work with. Many of these tales were funny, some were tragic, others were love stories, and finally, some were simply preposterous. After retiring the second time, first from the Navy and then from his Financial Services Agency, Joe needed a way to get out from under his wife's feet. Therefore, he decided to write a book.
“One of the things I learned early on from information available on writers’ sites on the web and from YouTube videos is that a person should write about what they know. I felt that I knew three things. First, I know East Tennessee in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. The second thing I knew was the military. I served for 21 years, 3 months and 6 days (not like I'd been counting) in the United States Navy, retiring as a Chief Radioman. That time included serving sea tours on three ships and 21 months with III Corps in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Finally, the third thing I know is Southern Italy in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. One or more of these three topics are found in all of my stories. I am from a small town in East Tennessee, called LaFollette. It's located approximately forty miles north of Knoxville and figures in all of my stories. I have three cats (all with Italian names). I also have three (sometimes) adult children, and I have five granddaughters (all of who are smart and beautiful).”