Liza O’Connor’s excessive Research requirements for Climbing Out of Hell
You would think the fourth book in a humorous romance series wouldn’t require a great deal of research. But you would be wrong.
The story begins with Trent almost raping the woman he loves, certain if they make love, she’ll forgive him. Fortunately, his driver and half-brother Sam pulls him from the car, tosses him to the sidewalk and drives off.
But this takes place in NYC. I know from experience, sidewalks are no place to be lying about. NYC pedestrians are like mindless, determined marching ants. So I did a bit of research and discovered more people die ‘walking’ than while driving in NYC.
Next, I had a priest ask Trent if he needs help. He asks for an exorcism. The priest takes him back to St Patrick’s Cathedral, thus requiring me to do a great deal of research on the church. Upon listening to Trent’s confession, he determines Trent does not require an exorcism (saving me from having to research that), his problem is he makes bad decisions. (That is fully documented in books 1-3, so I don’t have to prove that.)
Determined to become a better man, Trent fakes his suicide, gets a new face & identity, and follows his brother Sam to Iowa. This caused a waterfall of research. First, faking his suicide: Trent chooses the GW Bridge to pretend jump off, planning to walk off the bridge & flag a taxi to the airport where his transportation to Texas awaits him. His original plan was simple, but it would have never worked. Fortunately, he shares it with his butler, who calls in an expert to help with a better plan, and all that required research.
Once he lands in Texas, he’s taken to a plastic surgeon who alters faces for people wishing to avoid recognition. (The night time clientele are mostly criminals and the pay is lucrative.) I didn’t bother trying to prove such doctors exist because a) Doctors have God complexes and do what they want and b) it’s Texas, the most rebellious state in the union. Trust me, there is a doctor in Texas who will redo a face without any documentation that it occurred.
Instead, I researched what could realistically be done to change a face and body. Turns out there’s quite a lot. They can even permanently turn blue eyes brown. The changes between Trent’s old face and new are entirely possible.
After recovering, Trent finds where his brother has run off to and goes there as well, in hopes, now that Sam won’t know who he is, they might be able to become friends. Sam’s the sheriff of the small town in Iowa. He asks Trent to convince Leroy to stop shooting pigeons in the town park. The lead rain is going to kill someone. (I researched ‘celebratory fire’ (shots fired in the air) and discovered people have died when those bullets return to earth.) So lead rain is no laughing matter.
I choose Iowa for my story because I knew they had recently voted to allow blind people to carry guns in public. It sounded like a lax gun policy state to me. So I dug deeper into their laws to find out just how much trouble Leroy can get into. I came up with a legal way for blind Leroy to shoot pigeons with an AKA 47 rifle without breaking any laws. More disturbing, I discovered 12 year olds can go hunting without any adult supervision.
I had to learn how to make braised lamb because Trent ordered it off the menu and then asked Dani why it took so long to make.
I discovered the many diseases you can get from a blowjob, because the local prostitute pretty well poxed the whole town since no one realized you could get STDs from a blowjob.
I learned what bung was and how it tastes so similar to calamari when fried that you cannot tell the difference. (Bung is pig rectums) Trent self-induced vomiting when he found what ‘poor man’s calamari’ was. I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten Bung labeled as calamari imported in from China. (That’s where most of US Bung gets sent.) If so, it really does taste like calamari.
I researched the weather so while Trent, Dani and Leroy huddle in the basement during a hurricane warning, Leroy could tell Trent how many tornadoes they typically get in a year and talk about the F5 that struck in the past.
Then there were financial issues: Average income per person in my town ($27K and that’s including a major bump from the rich millionaires who have bought up the gorgeous Victorian mansions.) Minimum wage: $7.25. Pay rate for an incredibly dangerous job in a slaughter house: $8-$12/hr.
I reviewed the typical commercial loan clauses so I could realistically put Dani’s bar in danger of being taken from her, despite her business is doing better than ever. (Commercial loans and home loans are very different things. If you sign a commercial contract, whatever it says is what goes. There is no recourse nor protection from unreasonable covenants. Always hire a contract lawyer before signing a business loan.)
I checked to see if Nebraska was still allowing people to return their teenagers to the state’s care because one of Cougar’s girlfriends was thinking about dropping off his 2 yr old son she got stuck with. (No can do. Nebraska rewrote the law to only allow 1-3 day old babies to be dropped off.)
I had to research the symptoms of an allergic reaction to penicillin so Trent can get very ill. (When Sam slaps him awake, Trent chides his brother to be nice to him, because he’ll feel bad if Trent dies.)
I didn’t research my diatribe over the outrageous hospital costs charged to the poor. I wrote that section from personal experience.
I had to see how fast a couple in love had to wait to get married. (3 days)
And I had to assess the drinking laws to see who can work in a bar. Teens can sell beer, but can’t drink it until they are 21.
Oh, and the mafia has been in Iowa as long as it has been in Chicago.
But I think I’ve made my point. I did a lot of research. For some reason, my characters seem to go out of the way to do extraordinary things that require a great deal of fact checking. And then, despite all my diligence, I get slammed for being over the top and the situations implausible. It’s most frustrating.
Climbing Out of Hell
Book 4 of the series
A Long Road to Love
Billionaire Trent Lancaster has destroyed his relationship with the only woman who ever loved him. Now we discover the full truth of what happened.
He actually had reasons for his behaviors.
Still, there is no going back. Trent has lost Carrie forever, but he would rather die than marry Coco, so he does just that. Trent gives away most of his possessions, fakes his death, and starts over with a new face and a better attitude in a small town in Iowa where his half-brother Sam is sheriff.
Losing his true love has fundamentally broken Trent to his core. His only chance for happiness is to become the better man Carrie had always seen inside him.
True change is not easy. Can Trent grow up and become a man we can love?
Sam burst into the kitchen, frowned at Trent, then focused on Dani. “Leroy is at it again. I thought you said you were going to hide the damn thing?”
“I did. But there aren’t many places one can hide an AK-47 rifle.”
“Well, you hid it worth shit because it’s raining lead again at the downtown square!”
She gripped her head as if it might explode.
“What’s the problem?” Trent asked.
Sam rolled his eyes. “Iowa passed a law allowing blind people to carry guns in public. So her grandfather, who is blind as a bat, sits on a bench in the square and shoots his AK into the trees.”
“What’s he trying to shoot?”
“Pigeons,” Sam and Dani answered at once. She glared him into silence and continued her reply. “He likes pigeon soup. A Pakistani doctor told him it would prevent strokes.”
“Well, he’s giving me a stroke,” Sam snapped. “You have to make him stop!”
“I’ve talked to him until I’m blue in the face. He won’t listen to me. Most of the time he thinks I’m three-years old. Who listens to a three-year-old?” She threw her hands up in frustration and turned back to the grill.
Trent didn’t care for the way Sam pushed Dani. Grandparents were impossible to boss around…at least his had been. “Why don’t you talk to him?’
Sam released a hurricane of air. “Because the mayor told me to stay away from him, since he is not breaking any laws, and any attempt on my part could result in a lawsuit against the town.” He eyed Trent. “You should talk to him.”
“Sam, Trevor’s been in town an hour. You know Gramps doesn’t trust people right off.”
“Neither do you, yet here he sits, like an old friend, watching you cook him dinner.”
She rescued the burgers off the grill, slapped them both on buns, and shoved one at Sam. “This is your hamburger. Trevor is holding out for braised lamb.”
“Point still stands. Look, I think he can do the job. I intended to hit him with a ticket but he was so nice I sent him to you instead. He’s a likable guy. Let’s send him out and see if he can stop this madness.”
“Then I’m shutting this bar down for safety violations.”
She stared at him in shock. “What violations?”
“Don’t worry. Mr. Olsen will find something. He owes me big time after last night’s poker game.”
Trent stood up. “Sam, you’re digging yourself into a hole. Your initial solution was excellent, and frankly I’m honored you think so well of me. I’ll go talk to him right now. Just tell me how to get to Pigeonville.”
Sam grinned and slapped him on the back as he led him out of the kitchen. “Way to man up. Seriously, I’ll owe you one if you can get the gun away from Leroy and bury it six feet under.”
Trent just hoped being a nice guy didn’t get him buried six feet under as well.
Released May 1, 2014
Book Four of the series:
A Long Road to Love
Climbing out of Hell
“Easily, the best of the series!”
Other books in the A Long Road to Love series
Worst Week Ever
“Love this book and couldn’t stop laughing from beginning to end.” 5 stars – Alves – Amazon
Oh Stupid Heart
“Be warned though, this book is completely different from The Worst Week Ever. Yes, there is still humor, dry wit, situations that you would think…NOT AGAIN but this one humanizes Trent more.” 5 stars – Brian’s Mom – Amazon
Coming to Reason
Once again, Ms. O’Connor has written a brilliant book about the complexities of relationships, good and bad. Again, to me, the book is the best break up book EVER and it left my heart singing in the end. Best.Book.Ever…
Other Books by Liza O’Connor
Liza lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels. She loves to create interesting characters, set them loose, and scribe what happens.
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