Friday, August 29, 2014

10 Shots From Your Glock: What!?

Ferguson, Mo.

What I know about the shooting of Michael Brown I basically know from CNN. I wasn't there, haven't been there since, and have no business going there.

But as a shooter and concealed carry enthusiast myself, let me say one thing.

The officer fired ten shots, according to the Skype recording now authenticated by the FBI.

What!? Ten shots?

Either someone was a very bad shot or...

Someone was very far away and difficult to hit.

If a bad shot, that's one thing. Maybe in the heat of the moment it's imaginable (?) to miss nine times in self-defense...though very unlikely.

Or...Michael Brown was so far away from the officer that it took ten shots to...what, execute him?

If he was that far away, it doesn't smell like self-defense, to me. But it does smell.

If he was that far away, there was no need for self-defense because, from an unarmed citizen, there is no "imminent threat of great bodily harm or death" -- which is the legal standard for self-defense to be accepted by a court.

And if there was no imminent threat of great bodily harm, then the shooting was...illegal.


I'm not taking sides here, we all need to wait for all the evidence to come in. That is immutable, unchangeable, and the law and fairness requires it. All witness statements need to be analyzed, have metadata created out of them, and then likeness and differences noted and weighed. Now there is an objective yardstick to be used, which is the recording of the ten gunshots. By that tape measure we can judge the accuracy of the witness statements. In other words we can ask, is what we're hearing on the tape matching up to what the witness is saying? So we finally have a yardstick and it will go a long ways in helping us sort out whose story is accurate and whose story is inaccurate.

Let's give it time. Federal investigations are notoriously slow. I have been involved as a lawyer in many of them. I have had clients under investigation get angry with me because they thought I was delaying things when, in fact, it was the DOJ in Washington that wasn't responding to my inquiries. That's just the nature of the beast.

In the end, we can all imagine various scenarios for what actually happened.

But justice is as justice does. By this I mean, justice is only as good as the investigation in this type of case.

We all need to go back to work and go back to school and do the hardest thing that can be asked of us.

We must wait.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

About Publishing on Amazon

The Zon is the most amazing company I've ever worked with. And I love publishing my books there.

Zon's interface is easy, consistently perfect, and offers all the little creature comforts an author could want.

Zon's author help (Kindle Direct Publishing) is helpful and bends over backwards to assist me with any questions or issues.

Zon pays regularly, on time, and in full.

Zon's publishing algorithms are democratic. The more books I sell, the higher my books locate in the search rankings.

Zon can surprise me, happily. Just this morning their "Thrillers" email to subscribers featured two of my books, The Defendants, and Attorney at Large. Who else does that for its writers?

Lately Zon has been getting some bad press. It seems it's involved in contract negotiations with a publisher or two and, in an effort to effect the contract terms in their favor, the publishers have been calling on their stable of writers to post letters, articles, and even ads that attempt to create public disfavor with Zon. Please, don't fall for that. I haven't, and won't. Plus, all of us, Zon publishers and customers, don't really have a dog in that hunt anyway. The public clamor the publishers are trying to create is, at best, a miserable PR tool that attempts to enlist unsuspecting minions to its side, and, at worst, a ploy to manipulate the market during the negotiations. Damn bad business.

Zon is an exciting,forward-thinking, place to publish and purchase. It invented the Kindle and revolutionized book publishing,making millions of books cheaper to readers that ever before in history. As a customer, I can order just about anything my little heart desires and get it overnight. If it doesn't fit or isn't what I thought, returns are simple and can be self-managed on the Zon web without the necessity of phoning anyone and getting pre-approval for the return. Totally revolutionary.

So please, do what I do and use Zon. Publish there. Purchase there.

As for the ongoing publishing war that none of us really cares about anyway, just remember who's firing off the arrows and try to keep your head down.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Where I've Been...

Actually, nowhere.

That's right, I've had my you-know-what stuck in my favorite writing chair while Thaddeus drives me nuts with Book 5. I may have to take a rest from the guy after this one, you know? Maybe give someone else a chance at discoverability.

Whatever, it's been a wild ride. People seem to love Thaddeus. He sells thousands of books each month, and the way it's going, sales have literally been doubling every month, and he's barely seven months old. The books are fun for me to write, and I seriously doubt that Thaddeus and I will part ways before he makes several more appearances.

The secret to a good book (meaning what I like to read) requires two things: First, there has to be something for me to learn about. Something I wouldn't have known about if I hadn't read your book. Case-in-point: in Attorney At Large there is a quite lengthy scene where the key character is counting cards. In order to write that scene I had to really go to school on card counting. I read several books about it, went to casinos and talked to dealers and pit bosses, and even was allowed to watch from overhead, the eye-in-the-sky view. When it was all said and done, it boiled down to maybe 20 pages in the book, but it took hundreds of hours in the preparation. But that's what I mean: I like to read stuff like that because I learn something off the beaten path.

The second thing a good book needs to give me is action. Action of all types. My books aren't necessarily about car chases or run-downs from behind type action, but courtroom drama, if you've been to a lot of trials (I have, hundreds) you already know trials have a type of pace and excitement that oftentimes the jury only senses but the lawyers understand and the judge gets to watch as a referee. Witnesses come and go, your belief in one side or the other waxes and wanes, and it all comes down to that climatic moment, that reveal, when the judge says, "Madam foreman, has the jury reached a verdict?"

In the hundreds--maybe thousands--of cases I tried over the years it never failed to take my breath away when the jury was about to announce its decision. I've stood at those times beside men who were perhaps going to the gas chamber, and beside women who were looking at twenty-five years in maximum security for totally awful crimes, and on and on. And even though I was never the one at risk, I always felt as if I were. That's the kind of action I try to capture for my books. Someday, if I'm lucky and keep at it hard enough, I just might run one of those beasts to the ground and bring it back to show you.

In fact, Thaddeus 5 just might have that very kind of thing going for it. Look for it in September! The title is Defending Turquoise and she will steal your heart.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What's Up Next With Thaddeus (Book 5)

In book 5, Thaddeus in practicing law in Flagstaff. (I used to live there.) He is involved with some local cultural interplay and with a judiciary that is less than friendly. This book is very courtroom intensive. You will find probably two different trials of two different defendants caught up in unhappy circumstances. Not both defendants know it, but the two cases are related. Thaddeus is joined in Flagstaff by Katy and Sarai. Katy takes-- Oh wait. I can't give it all away! More to come. The book should publish about 4-6 weeks from now.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Welcome to John Ellsworth Books


You are very welcome here. I love  my readers and will do whatever I can to interact with you and answer questions about me, the practice of law, Thaddeus and any of the people you might meet in my books, and just about anything else you can ask me.

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John Ellsworth