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Guest Blog by Author F.J. LENNON!

Today we have a guest blog double feature! Our second guest blog today is brought to us by F.J. LENNON!

 

http://www.fjlennon.com/

 


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F.J. Lennon is a novelist, screenwriter, and digital media producer, designer, and writer.

His love of all things paranormal spawned two novels: Devil'S Gate (Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 2012) and Soul Trapper (Atria, 2011), the first two novels in a trilogy that follows the turbulent life of rogue ghost hunter, Kane Pryce. He is also the author of Every Mistake in the Book (HarperCollins/Regan Books, 2001), a light-hearted business memoir about Lennon's years in the video game industry as well as numerous screenplays and teleplays in various stages of development.

 

During his 25+ year career, Lennon has been actively employed in multiple industries including video games, interactive television, advertising, and toys. Since 1985, Lennon has been instrumental in the development of 50 interactive games, educational software titles, and entertainment properties for companies including Electronic Arts, Take 2 Interactive, Disney Interactive, Mattel, Sesame Street, DIRECTV, Paramount Digital Entertainment, Simon and Schuster Interactive, Marvel Comics, MicroProse Software, and the U.S. Federal Government.

 

Lennon is a 1986 magna cum laude graduate of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where he earned a degree in Communications and a minor in English Literature.

 

He is a native of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, but relocated to the West Coast in 1996. He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and two daughters.

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The Fine Line Between Fact and Fiction

 
 
Anyone who knows me knows that when I research a story, I dig deep.  Sometimes, the depths of my  research borders on obsession.  But with DEVIL’S GATE, fiction blended uncomfortably close to fact, and I believe I opened gateways to unseen forces that directed my research efforts as well as the novel’s plot construction.  The end result—DEVIL’S GATE—is a novel that left me, literally, a haunted man.  
The centerpiece of DEVIL’S GATE is the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena, CA.  Since the bridge opened in 1912, nearly 200 people have committed suicide by jumping off the bridge, earning it the nickname Suicide Bridge.  The suicides continue to this day, and the location is a well-known hub of ghostly activity and dark paranormal phenomena.  My protagonist, Kane Pryce, must unravel the mystery of why so many lost souls are drawn to end their lives at this location.

Colorado Street Bridge History
I compiled most of this information on the bridge at Huntington Library in Pasadena.  They have a number of folders locked in a case that detail the entire history of the bridge.  You can’t take any of this material out of the library, or copy it, but you can, under supervision, study it.  It’s a hodgepodge of information that goes back a century.  Time periods overlap.  There is no real order to it.  But I did find interesting information that I began to piece together.

 
 
1913
 
1915
 
 
 Today


  • Pre-dating the bridge—actually pre-dating the arrival  of the Spanish missionaries in the late 1700s—there was a Gabriellino Shoshone Indian camp on the site where the bridge now stands.  I found a report confirming that.  It appears the camp migrated to where San Gabriel Mission now stands when the missionaries arrived.  I’ve often wondered if there’s a link between Native American shamanism and the negative energy of the bridge.  Maybe there’s a curse on that land.  I touch upon this in Devil's Gate.   
  • A hundred years after the Indians inhabited that land, an industrialist fromChicago named James W. Scoville bought the land and built a large home.  He had a dam and a pump house built to irrigate his orange and avocado groves.  You can still see remnants of this pump house beneath the bridge.  After moving West to Pasadena, Scoville was one of the early trustees of Throop Polytechnic, which went on to become Caltech.  Scoville was a major philanthropist.  He lived where the bridge now stands with his family all during the 1880s.  He died in 1893.  Upon further research, I learned that Scoville was distantly related to three American presidents, and is part of one of the Illuminati bloodlines. 
 
 Scoville home and dam pump house (1880s)
  • The bridge was built in 1913.  Trouble began almost immediately.  On August 1, 1913, a crew was pouring concrete into the forms when the segment they were working on dropped out.  They tumbled down the side of the canyon with all the wreckage landing on top of them.  Many men were seriously injured.  At least one died—John Visco.  Two more might have died a few days later.  I haven't been able to find the original newspapers in the archives to verify that. There's a urban legend that a worker was poured into the concrete, but, based on my research, that's not true.  
  • The first suicide occurred in 1915.  After that, the floodgates opened.  I personally counted 144 suicides in the newspaper accounts, but I think the actual number is over 200.  The greatest rate  of suicides occurred during the great depression.  I documented ninety-five suicides between 1920 and 1937; there were a dozen in 1935 alone.  That was the most suicides to occur in a single year.  Shortly after the depression, an ugly, tall barbed-wire fence was installed around the perimeter of the bridge, but that didn’t stop people from jumping.  Jumpers still found ways to get up and over the barrier.  There are periods of time when the suicides wane, but they never cease.  
  • There has been only one survivor.  On May 1, 1937, a despondent woman went to the bridge, threw her three-year-old daughter over the side, then jumped.  The mother was found dead below.  But inexplicably, the police found the little girl wandering around near her mother’s body.  Amazingly, the little girl had no broken bones.  No major injuries.   The police speculated that tree limbs broke the little girl’s fall.  I found a newspaper interview with this woman from 1976.  In the interview she claims that “angels carried her down.” That statement stuck with me as I wrote the book.
  •  I find it interesting that no one ever jumps off the 134 freeway bridge that runs alongside the Colorado Street Bridge.  It’s equally high and much easier to jump from.  But no one ever does.  They only jump off Colorado Street Bridge.  Weird.
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Re: Guest Blog by Author F.J. LENNON!

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Devil's Gate  

 

Devil's Gate: A Kane Pryce Novel

 

Overview

Some places are doomed to be haunted . . .

Twenty-eight-year-old Kane Pryce used to have one of the strangest jobs in the world—capturing and exorcising spirits from people’s lives. After the stress of the job finally got to him, he left ghost hunting and has been busy reinventing himself as the lead guitarist of a band on the brink of success. But it isn’t long before Kane is asked to investigate a case involving Pasadena’s infamous Suicide Bridge, and gets sucked back into the supernatural realm. A mysterious force is luring hopeless victims to their death off the bridge, and Kane must discover what power is keeping the lost souls trapped there.

 

As Kane uncovers the sinister, deadly secrets of the bridge, he spirals into the dangerous, shadowy world of the occult—the seedy underground world of the Hollywood music scene, tumultuous romances, and maddening journeys into the shattered minds of suicide victims. With the Soul Trap as his only defense, Kane must combat evil supernatural forces on a spiritual battlefield, a place between life and death, where the fate of his own soul hangs in the balance.

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B&N Guest Blog by F.J. Lennon

A Smoking iPhone

 

When I first began outlining my new novel, Devil’s Gate, I set out to create three separate plotlines that would converge into a single, sizzling finale. 

At its heart, Devil’s Gate is a ghost story.  My protagonist Kane Pryce must discover why Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge, also known as Suicide Bridge, is haunted.  He must uncover what dark forces lure hopeless victims to leap from the bridge and what power keeps their souls trapped there.  

Second, it’s a story about the seedy underbelly of the Hollywood music scene.  Kane is the lead guitarist in a band that is on the verge of landing a record deal.  Though the road ahead for Kane’s band, Astral Fountain, is paved with gold, the obstacles to success for Kane and his merry band of wannabe rock stars are plentiful—sex, drugs, ego, jealousy, insecurity, and. . .  more sex and drugs. 

But third, and what I’m most proud of, is that Devil’s Gate is a genuine, bona fide murder mystery. 

The murder plotline in Devil’s Gate novel was the most challenging part of the book to write.  My goals in writing this plotline were: 

1) To have it stand on its own as a real world crime, to not ground it in the paranormal, as there would be enough of that in the other parts of the book.  It couldn’t be a nefarious ghost.  This had to be a real murder with a real killer. 

2) Like any mystery writer, I wanted the identity of the killer to shock and surprise readers.  And

3) I wanted to write something unique to the time—to create the first murder mystery centering on the pervasive and inescapable presence of social media and tech gadgets in our daily lives. 

Without giving specific plot details away, I’ll offer this glimpse of the murder mystery I created for Devil’s Gate.  The murder itself isn’t committed with a knife or gun, but rather a new kind of weapon—a weapon in the form of the social pressures of Facebook, especially those felt by today’s teenagers.  In Devil’s Gate, social networking becomes social deathworking.  The murderer isn’t lurking in dark alleys or secret lairs, but instead in Wi-Fi hubs or streets outside houses or businesses with unprotected networks.  The detectives in Devil’s Gate aren’t dusting for fingerprints; they’re tracking a smart phone via user logs and GPS signals.  And in the end, the killer isn’t exposed via a hard-nose interrogation, but rather by a thoughtless slip up regarding a pop culture reference. 

When I started plotting the book in early 2010, I consulted with a well-known hacking legend.  Nearly three years later, some of the shocking things that I learned from him then are only now coming to light—that our online identities are astoundingly vulnerable, that our reputations can be unjustly destroyed in short order by vindictive forces who have mastered major social media outlets, that our smart phones are basically homing devices that track and log our every move, and that many apps available for purchase let predators, crooks, and enemies spy on our lives. 

As we all march through life with our devices, loaded with apps, always in hand, we’re all vulnerable targets for tech-savvy criminals.  And we’re all in seeming denial regarding this vulnerability. 

Today, it’s hard to say what’s really more dangerous—a smoking gun or a smoking smart phone. 

 

 

 

iPh_smoking_v02_(2).jpg
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Re: Guest Blog by Author F.J. LENNON!

Welcome F.J.

 

I noticed that you are from Latrobe PA which is also where Arnold Palmer is from. I live in PA too in Bucks County, 1 hour north of Philadelphia. My husband is an avid golfer so I learn my golf facts from him.

 

I have a connection to bridge building too. My grandfather came from Croatia in 1914 and helped to paint the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia. Sadly he died from lead poisioning in 1946.

 

Your books look very interesting to me. I just ordered SOUL TRAPPER and DEVIL'S GATE. I enjoy paranormal very much and the fact that it is mixed with real facts fascinates me even more. It's great to read a novel and learn historical facts at the same time.

 

Hope you enjoy your visit with us!

 

 

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Re: Guest Blog by Author F.J. LENNON!


eadieburke wrote:

Welcome F.J.

 

I noticed that you are from Latrobe PA which is also where Arnold Palmer is from. I live in PA too in Bucks County, 1 hour north of Philadelphia. My husband is an avid golfer so I learn my golf facts from him.

 

I have a connection to bridge building too. My grandfather came from Croatia in 1914 and helped to paint the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia. Sadly he died from lead poisioning in 1946.

 

Your books look very interesting to me. I just ordered SOUL TRAPPER and DEVIL'S GATE. I enjoy paranormal very much and the fact that it is mixed with real facts fascinates me even more. It's great to read a novel and learn historical facts at the same time.

 

Hope you enjoy your visit with us!

 

 


Eadie - How sad about your grandfather! You are a font of information on Pennsylvania history - very cool!

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eadieburke
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Re: Guest Blog by Author F.J. LENNON!


becke_davis wrote:

eadieburke wrote:

Welcome F.J.

 

I noticed that you are from Latrobe PA which is also where Arnold Palmer is from. I live in PA too in Bucks County, 1 hour north of Philadelphia. My husband is an avid golfer so I learn my golf facts from him.

 

I have a connection to bridge building too. My grandfather came from Croatia in 1914 and helped to paint the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia. Sadly he died from lead poisioning in 1946.

 

Your books look very interesting to me. I just ordered SOUL TRAPPER and DEVIL'S GATE. I enjoy paranormal very much and the fact that it is mixed with real facts fascinates me even more. It's great to read a novel and learn historical facts at the same time.

 

Hope you enjoy your visit with us!

 

 


Eadie - How sad about your grandfather! You are a font of information on Pennsylvania history - very cool!


Lived in PA all my life and I like history and weird facts!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author F.J. LENNON!


eadieburke wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

eadieburke wrote:

Welcome F.J.

 

I noticed that you are from Latrobe PA which is also where Arnold Palmer is from. I live in PA too in Bucks County, 1 hour north of Philadelphia. My husband is an avid golfer so I learn my golf facts from him.

 

I have a connection to bridge building too. My grandfather came from Croatia in 1914 and helped to paint the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia. Sadly he died from lead poisioning in 1946.

 

Your books look very interesting to me. I just ordered SOUL TRAPPER and DEVIL'S GATE. I enjoy paranormal very much and the fact that it is mixed with real facts fascinates me even more. It's great to read a novel and learn historical facts at the same time.

 

Hope you enjoy your visit with us!

 

 


Eadie - How sad about your grandfather! You are a font of information on Pennsylvania history - very cool!


Lived in PA all my life and I like history and weird facts!


Me, too!