Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tips For Parents

In honor of Halloween, I have some special tips for parents, as provided by Gang Task Force:

Impress upon your child the importance of school and good grades
Spend quality time with your children
Get involved in your child’s school activities
Establish rules, set limits and be consistent, firm and fair in punishment
Encourage good study habits
Respect your child’s feelings and attitudes and help them develop self-esteem
Watch closely for negative influences
Improve your own self-esteem so your children can model themselves after the most important “role model”—YOU.

All gang research and interviews I've shared was vital to me as I researched for my latest novel, Fear No Evil. Have a happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Night Special

So, each Saturday, I venture out of my "comfort" reading zone of Suspense/thriller/mystery/romantic suspense to bring you a recommendation in a different genre. This week, I'm pleased to suggest this upcoming release:


"I collect words. I keep them in a box in my mind. I'd like to keep them in a real box, something pretty, maybe a shoe box covered with flowered wrapping paper. Whenever I wanted, I'd open the box and pick up the papers, reading and feeling the words all at once. Then I could hide the box. But the words are safer in my mind. There, he can't take them."


Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn't speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in a remote cabin nestled in the towering redwoods-in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary.


Sierra Dawn is thirty-four, an artist, and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes and chooses to bury her pain by trying to control her circumstances. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter's death, Sierra's control begins to crumble as the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself.


Brought together by Divine design, Kaylee and Sierra will discover together the healing mercy of the Word-Jesus Christ.


This book will release in February 2011.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gang Warning Signs

I've been sharing some of what I learned while researching for my latest release, Fear No Evil. Here's more about warning signs from Gang Task Force:

WARNING SIGNS
You should be concerned if your child:

Admits to gang involvement
Is obsessed with one particular color of clothing or shows a desire for a particular logo
Wears sagging pants (this in and of itself is not indicative of gang activity)
Is obsessed with gangster-influenced music, videos and movies to the point of imitation
Withdraws from family with an accompanying change in demeanor
Associates with undesirable friends and breaks parental rules consistently
Develops an unusual desire for privacy and secrecy and may completely rearrange living quarters to create privacy
Uses hand signs while with friends and practices them at home
Or there is the appearance of:
Physical injury (such as being beaten) and then child lies about the events surrounding the injury
Peculiar drawings or language on school books (may appear later as tattoos or brands)
Unexplained cash or goods, such as clothing or jewelry
Possible use of alcohol and drugs with attitude change


As concerned adults, we need to pray and BE AWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why Do Kids Join Gangs?

My latest release,Fear No Evil, touches on the subject of gangs. One thing that intriqued me during the research was why children were attracted to gang life.

From Gang Task Force, there are several reasons kids join gangs. Here are some:
Gangs can meet needs that go unfulfilled in other aspects of a child´s life.
The gang can give a sense of security, structure and DISCIPLINE that is missing at home.
The gang appears to be loyal when others are not.
Lack of positive influence and interaction with parents.
Parents will often say their child does not respond to discipline and will not obey rules. However, every gang has rules and methods of discipline and those methods are usually brutal.Children need structure and discipline and will find it in a gang if it is not maintained at home. In this way, the gang becomes a surrogate family.

Gangs are real, people, and that's frightening. Being aware is the first step. Not just with your own children and family, but your community, your state...everywhere.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Robin's Wednesday's Recommended Reading




Special Agent Bella Jordan is assigned to investigate a series of murders in West Texas that are linked to the Spider Rock Treasure. Since she spent the first fifteen years of her life in this area, FBI authorities believe she can get the job done. What they don’t know is that one of their prime suspects—a man who’s been on their wanted list for years—is deeply connected to Bella’s past.
The other prime suspect is Carr Sullivan, the man who owns the ranch where the murders occurred. Carr was once one of the wealthiest businessmen in Dallas and has a shady past a mile long. But it appears he’s turned his life around. Can Bella trust him, or is he just trying to cover his tracks?
As Bella probes deeper into the case, threats on her own life convince her the killer is someone she knows. But it soon becomes clear he’s not working alone, and she’ll need to face the past she’s tried so desperately to forget in order to solve the case and prevent more murders.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Signs of Gang Membership

According to Gang Task Force, some signs of gang membership are:
Poor academic progress in school.
Lack of interest in school activities.
Large blocks of unsupervised time.
Signs of increased conflict at home.
Frequent disciplinary problems at home and/or school.
Frequent contact with police.
Drawing graffiti.
Imitating gang dress or behavior.
Tattoos drawn on the body.
Uses hand signs adopted by a gang.


When I was researching for writing my latest release, Fear No Evil, I found the majority of previous gang members I actually got to speak with verified these signs. I tried to portray them with authenticity in my fiction because whether we like it or not, whether we ignore it or not, gangs ARE active today. I firmly believe we should take steps to protect our youth. Our children. Before it's too late.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stopping Gang Violence

In an article in msnbc, Lindsay Hood wrote an article of how law enforcement banded together in the attack on violence.

"Over the weekend, more than 869 law enforcement officers from around San Diego County worked together during a sting operation to fight illegal gang activity stemming from Mexico."

"Operation Allied Shield was funded by the Stonegarden Program. A grant program that gave local law enforcement agencies $28 million to fund overtime pay and help officers buy sophisticated equipment to combat border crime."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Night Special

Today is Christian Bookstore Day! Go visit your local Christian bookstore today! Looking for something to pick up? Well, I have a suggestion for you!

Saturdays, I reach out of my comfort zone of romantic suspense and venture into a different genre. So, here's my Saturday Night Special recommendation for this week:




Product Description
Joy Ballard has a secret: she's a cooking show host who can't really cook.

When her South Carolina-based cooking show, Dining With Joy, is picked up by a major network, Joy Ballard's world heats up like a lowcountry boil.


Joy needs help. Then she meets chef Luke Davis who moved to Beaufort after losing his Manhattan restaurant. A cook at the Frogmore Cafe, he's paying debts and longing to regain his reputation in the elite foodie world.


Luke and Joy mix like oil and water…until Joy is exposed on national television. With her career and his reputation both under fire, they'll have to work together to fix the mess. Is it possible that they can learn to feast on God's love and dine with joy?

Publisher's Weekly on Dining with Joy: "A delectable & light tale of finding love amid everything edible, a story that goes down easy."

Robin's thoughts: Get the book and read it for a good story by a pretty cool chick! :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Does $$ Stop Gang Activity?

While researching for my latest release, Fear No Evil, I jumped into all information I could find about gangs. Here's an exercept from an interesting article from Affluence and Gangs:

You live in the good neighborhood. All of your neighbors make great money, the kids all go to private school; you walk your dogs together, go to the gym together and mow your lawns on the same day thanks to your Home Owner's Association (HOA) rules. Does that make your neighborhood any less likely to have gang activity move in? On the other hand, does it make your neighborhood all the more likely to be able to hide it when it does?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Youth Ending Violence

From Chain of Change: Youth activists and adult allies are invited to join Chain of Change by participating in a public art installation symbolizing a movement to end violence. In partnership with the Center for Community Arts Partnerships and Lawrence Minksy's Ad Agency class at Columbia College, Beyondmedia has created silicone "awareness" bracelets with the debossed words, "Youth Against Violence - ChainofChange.com," to raise awareness of the violence affecting young people in Chicago. These bracelets will be sold for $1 throughout Chicago at Chain of Change events and in select cities across the country.

Each time a bracelet is sold, a "receipt" will be generated, which includes the buyer's name, location, and a personal message relating to how violence has affected their life. These receipts will become a long paper chain, which will be installed at an outdoor venue near Columbia College. The "Wrap the Park in the Chain of Change" opening event will feature youth speakers, music and performance fall 2010.


Working together, we CAN reduce gang activity! I hope my latest release, Fear No Evil, will help raise awareness of gangs and some of their recruiting methods.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Robin's Recommended Reading Wednesday

Today's recommended reading is:


Product Description
Sensational journalism has never been so deadly.

The weekly cable news show Judgment Day with Suzanne Kidwell promises to expose businessmen, religious leaders, and politicians for the lies they tell. Suzanne positions herself as a champion of ethics and morality with a backbone of steel—until a revelation of her shoddy investigation tactics and creative fact embellishing put her in hot water with her employers, putting her credibility in question and threatening her professional ambitions..

Bitter and angry, Suzanne returns home one day to find an entrepreneur she is investigating, John Edward Sterling, unconscious on her living room floor. Before the night is over, Sterling is dead, she has his blood on her hands, and the police are arresting her for murder. She needs help to prove her innocence, but her only hope, private investigator Marcus Crisp, is also her ex-fiancĂ©–the man she betrayed in college.

Marcus and his partner Alexandria Fisher-Hawthorne reluctantly agree to take the case, but they won’t cut Suzanne any slack. Exposing her lack of ethics and the lives she’s destroyed in her fight for ratings does little to make them think Suzanne is innocent. But as Marcus digs into the mire of secrets surrounding her enemies, he unveils an alliance well-worth killing for. Now all he has to do is keep Suzanne and Alex alive long enough to prove it.

Review
“High-octane straight from the start. With breakneck action, high-strung suspense and characters you can’t help but root for, Judgment Day is an irresistible read.”
—Tosca Lee, author of Demon: A Memoir

“The Queen of High-Octane Suspense has done it again! Wanda Dyson takes us on a roller-coaster ride worthy of a whiplash warning. High suspense, romantic tension, and even comic relief will keep you riveted and turning pages as fast as you can read. It’s all in there!”
—Bonnie S. Calhoun, owner and publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine

“Judgment Day is packed with action and adventure. Private detective duo Marcus Crisp and Alexandria Fisher-Hawthorne are fascinating and keep the story rolling with their wit, sarcasm, and teamed-up tactical skills reminiscent of many favorite action-adventure movies. Dyson has penned a great suspense with strong Christian themes in Judgment Day!”
—Ronie Kendig, author of Dead Reckoning and Nightshade

“From page one I couldn’t put this book down. Suzanne is a highly flawed individual in the fight of her life. When she’s forced to call in Alex and Marcus to unravel who’s trying to frame her, they instead unravel an evil plot that ends with harvested organs. The pacing is tight, the characters people I want to know, and the plot so intricate I literally could not stop reading. Two thumbs up for those who love tightly written suspense with a very light twist of romance.”
—Cara C. Putman, author of Canteen Dreams and A Promise Forged

“Judgment Day is Dyson’s best suspense to date! The current-event woven expertly into the fast-paced plot kept me turning the pages. For a fabulous, edge-of-your-seat, keep-you-up-late novel, Judgment Day is not to be missed!”
—Robin Caroll, author of Deliver Us from Evil and Fear No Evil

Robin's Advice: DON'T MISS THIS ONE!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy EARLY Birthday to my sis, BB

Happy, um Birthday tomorrow, BB. I luvs ya!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting Involved Against Gangs

New approaches to stop gang activity are being utilized. Check out Criminal Justice website for ideas. From their site: Cities across the country are trying alternative approaches to stem gang violence - from hiring former gangbangers to mediate disputes to offering life coaches and job training - and they're working.

In St. Louis, a program called Aim4Peace is borrowing a page from Chicago's Ceasefire, a non-profit initiative that seeks to treat violence like an epidemic and stem its spread through intervention at critical moments.


I started for looking how to get involved with stopping gang activity when I was researching for my latest release, Fear No Evil . Everyone can learn a way to get involved...to stop the violence.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

NATIONAL SAFE SCHOOLS WEEK IS OCTOBER 17-23 2010

Y'all know I'm all about protecting kids...I write in my novels about issues that endanger our children such as child trafficking for prostitution in Deliver Us from Evil and gangs in Fear No Evil. Well, October 17-23rd is Safe Schools Week. Here's some info:

From Safe School Week : The week of October 17-23, 2010 is National Safe Schools Week (NSSW). According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 1 million students across America take a weapon to school each month, and over 1.3 million students are injured or threatened with a weapon each year.

National Safe Schools Week provides an opportunity to empower students to keep their schools safe by encouraging them to speak up against school violence.

Please check out their site for more information. Let's ALL get involved to keep our children safe!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Night Special

Saturdays, I reach out of my comfort zone of romantic suspense and venture into a different genre. So, here's my Saturday Night Special recommendation for this week:


Product Description
Petra, the wondrous ancient city carved from the mountains of modern Jordan, is at the height of its glory in this gripping historical novel by T. L. Higley. A young widow, Cassia, and her son, Alexander, have arrived there seeking protection with her late husband's estranged family. But when Cassia discovers the man she married was heir to the throne, the power-hungry Queen Hagiru plots to murder Alexander so that her own child will someday rule. The queen, priestess of the sun-god, Dushrat, calls on demonic powers in her quest, but Cassia is prepared for the fierce spiritual battle to save her son, joining a Roman named Julian and his community of believers in the Jewish Messiah. Together they seek a mighty movement of God far stronger than any dark heart or city made of stone.

Endorsement

"It is impossible to read a T. L. Higley novel and not be transported. Petra is filled with all the intrigue, drama, and flavors of the ancient world that Higley is so well known for. With heart-pounding action and characters that carve their way into your heart, Petra is an adventurist's read, and an escapist's dream. Who needs Indiana Jones?"

Tosca Lee, author of Demon: A Memoir and Havah: The Story of Eve


About the Author
T. L. Higley holds a degree in English literature and has written six previous novels. She lives with her family near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Robin's thoughts: Wow. I actually forgot I drifted out of my comfort genre zone while reading this one. You don't want to miss it!

Friday, October 15, 2010

How To Help Stop Gang Violence

Wanting to help get involved in the fight against gang violence? Here's a great place to check out, Gang Out. From their website:
Help Keep (or put) Gangs Out - Four Things You Can Do



Everyone (except gang members) wants a gang-free community. Parents stand to lose the most - the well being or even the life of a child - if gangs take or keep hold. But gangs are often violent and intimidating. What can you do in the face of this?

First, develop positive alternatives. Are there after-school and weekend activities kids can enjoy? Can the school offer its facilities? Can parents organize clubs or sports? Can older kids tutor or mentor younger ones? Can the kids themselves help with ideas?

Second, talk with other parents. For one thing, you’ll find out what everyone else’s parent really said. For another, you can support each other and share knowledge that will help spot problems sooner than you can on your own.

Third, work with police and other agencies. Report suspicious activity, set up a Neighborhood Watch or a community patrol; let the police know about gang graffiti, get (and share with other parents) the facts on the gang problem in your community, find out what local services - nonprofit as well as government - will work with communities against gangs.

Fourth, get organized against the gang organization. Use your neighborhood association or a new group. Get help from a variety of sources right in you community. Try these kinds of people in addition to the police, priest or minister, family counselor, community association, school counselor or principal, athletic coach, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA / YWCA, Scouts, drug abuse prevention groups, youth-serving agencies, and community centers - just to name a few.

My latest release, which addresses the topic of gangs:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ending of Interview with Former Gang Member-Part 4

...and here is the final excerpt from my interview with former gang member, *Joe*, who has graciously shared his past with me while I was doing research for my latest release,Fear No Evil


RC: So, you'd given your life to God, were in prison, and wanted to get out of the gang...

Joe: Some of my gang family was in the same camp...they saw me going to the church services, thought maybe I had an angle on a racket.

RC: What did they say?

Joe: Well, they started following me to the services...to see what I was up to. Funny thing, those preachings and songs started to get to them. Before a year was out, all 3 of them, plus me, were Christians.

RC: And all wanting out of gangs?

Joe: Yeah. And it made me realize that I needed to help everyone I could get out of gangs.

RC: But how? You told me you couldn't just walk away from a gang.

Joe: You can't. But my counselor at the camp...I came clean with him, told him what I wanted to do. And the preacher that came every week to give us services, I told him too.

RC: And they helped?

Joe: They did, and so did *others* (For the protection of others, this part is deleted)....I got out 4 years ago, been gang-drug-and crime free ever since.

RC: And you've been helping other gang members get out as well?

Joe: Yeah. We have a quiet ministry on the street. We have a few "ins" with a couple of the gangs so we aren't targeted too much. As long as we only reach one or two of the gang members, we aren't too much of a threat. But hey, saving one is one saved, right?

Very right. My heartfelt thanks, again, to *Joe* for being so open and honest with me. He shared so much more, but this was all I got approval from him to use publicly.

Stay tuned to the blog for more gang-related information...and ways you can get involved and help.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Robin's Recommended Reading Wednesday

Today's book recommendation day! WOOHOO Looking for a good read?


Product Description
For most, it's the safest place on earth. For Gracie, it's the last place she wants to be...and the one place she must return.

With nothing but five dollars and the wedding dress she's wearing, Gracie Lister flees with her daughter by train to West Texas, to the town she ran away from so long ago. There they find refuge in the home of Michael Wayne--devoted single father, seasoned soldier--who gives Gracie a job caring for his two children and the hiding place she needs from her former fiance.

Michael and Gracie aren't looking for love, but it finds them right away. And then trouble comes to call in the form of Gracie's ex-fiance who is now on the FBI's most-wanted list. Together, Michael and Gracie must find the strength they need to protect their newly forged family.

"Colleen weaves intrigue and God's love into a story full of carefully crafted characters. If you're looking for an awesome writer, I highly recommend her!" --Tracie Peterson, best-selling author of Dawn's Prelude, Song of Alaska Series

"Colleen is a master storyteller." --Karen Kingsbury, best-selling author of Shades of Blue


About the Author
RITA finalist Colleen Coble lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. She is the author of thirty-five novels and novellas including Lonestar Sanctuary, the Rock Harbor Series, the Aloha Reef Series, and two Women of Faith™ fiction selections, Alaska Twilight and Midnight Sea.

Robin's thoughts: You don't want to miss this romantic suspense that has such endearing characters, you'll feel like they're your new neighbors.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gang Stats

More stats I came across while researching for Fear No Evil :

Gang Statistics 2009
Gang Statistics
Facts at a Glance:

100% of cities with population greater than or equal to 250,000 reported gang activity in 2001
85% of cities with population between 100,000 and 229,999 reported gang activity in 2001
65% of cities with population between 50,000 and 99,999 reported gang activity in 2001
44% of cities with population between 25,000 and 49,999 reported gang activity in 2001
20% of cities with population between 2,500 and 24,999 reported gang activity in 2001
35% of suburban counties reported gang activity in 2001
11% of rural counties reported gang activity in 2001
95% of the jurisdictions reporting gang activity in 2001 had also reported gang activity in previous survey years
3,000 jurisdictions across the US are estimated to have had gang activity in 2001
56% of cities with population greater than or equal to 100,000 reported an increase or no significant change in the number of gang members in 2001
42% of cities with a population of at least 25,000 reported an increase in the number of gang members
45% of cities with a population of at least 25,000 reported an increase in the number of gangs from the previous two years
69% of cities with population at least 100,000 reported having gang related homicides in 2001
37% of cities with population between 50,000 and 99,999 reported having gang related homicides in 2001
59% of all homicides in 2001 in Los Angeles and 53% in Chicago were gang related, there was a total of 698 gang related homicides in there two cities combined where as 130 other cities with population of at least 100,000 with gang problems reported having a total of 637 homicides between them
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency

Tell me the stats aren't frightening! You may be thinking, "This is scary, but what can I do?"

Well, glad you asked! Awareness and wanting to get involved to help is the first step!

While researching, I also came across some great resources to help stop gang violence. One such site is Council for Unity
From their site: Council for Unity (CFU) is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that specializes in reducing violence in schools and communities. For over 30 years, CFU has been resolving issues of safety, bias, bullying and gang violence in schools and communities. Council for Unity has reclaimed some of our most violent and disenfranchised youth. By engaging youth to take ownership of the problems of violence and bias they themselves play a major role in developing non-violent solutions and thereby improve the environments in which they live.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Interview with a former Gang Member-Part 3

More of my chat with *Joe*....



RC: Tell me about how you got out of the gang?

Joe: I got a nickel (5 years in prison) on a drug charge. I actually got off really light. But anyway, in the camp, I met someone like me...a kid who'd been in a gang the better part of his life. But this guy, he'd found Jesus--turned his life around.

RC: And that was attractive to you?

Joe: You have no idea. So, I start talking to him, one-on-one. He shares the gospel with me. Gives me a Bible. And I started reading. And believing. Soon, I proclaimed Jesus Christ my Lord.

RC: That's amazing.

Joe: It was. It is. So, anyway, after that, I realized I didn't need the gang anymore. I wanted out.

RC: So you just left?

Joe: Girl, you don't just leave a gang. Even telling another banger you want out is like issuing a death wish.

RC: But you were in prison, right?

Joe: As if that makes a difference? Gangs are just as active in prison as on the streets. Don't let the bars fool ya.

...stay tuned

Again, let me reiterate that *Joe* is speaking about his former life, before he turned his heart to God. I couldn't have gotten gang details accurate in my most recent release, Fear No Evil, if it weren't for *Joe*. I SO appreciate his honesty and openness in sharing his past.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Saturday Night Special....

Saturdays, I reach out of my comfort zone of romantic suspense/suspense and venture into a different genre. So, here's my Saturday Night Special recommendation for this week:



Product Description
Newly elected U.S. president Bob Long is weighing reports of nuclear weapons in Iran when he learns Justice Peter Corbin Franklin, 86-year-old liberal conscience of the Supreme Court, has suffered a massive stroke. With pressing same-sex marriage and abortion laws as well as a huge antitrust case on the court's docket, the door is open for Long to appoint a conservative replacement, repaying the twenty-one million evangelicals who voted for him.

But it won't be that easy. Long suffers a series of political missteps while his court nominee, Marco Diaz, endures vicious character accusations in the media for his religious beliefs and rumors of a tragic past.

Meanwhile, terrorists in Iran have hijacked more nuclear materials and are threatening to bomb a major city if the U.S. or Israel attacks. Chaos reigns in the nation's capitol . . .

Praise for The Confirmation:

"A roller coaster ride of a political thriller. You won't be able to put it down."

Mark R. Levin, nationally syndicated radio host
New York Times best-selling author of Liberty and Tyranny

"As a participant in Supreme Court confirmations as a member of the United States Senate, I know The Confirmation weaves a tale that, while fictional, is true. Ralph Reed shines a bright light on the backroom deals, special-interest-group pleading and the politics of personal destruction that plague judicial confirmations, but he does so in a way that is ultimately hopeful and inspiring."

Rick Santorum, former U.S. Senator (R-PA)

“If you think ‘it can’t happen here,’ then don’t read this book. The Confirmation reminds me of the old dramas which concluded by stating, ‘Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.’

The Confirmation is only part fiction---the issues are as real as a massive heart attack.”

John Ashcroft, U.S. Attorney General, 2001-2005

Robin's thoughts: Keep me flipping pages to figure things out. Definitely one to read if you like political thrillers.

Friday, October 08, 2010

More Gang Statistics

While researching for my latest release,Fear No Evil , I found the gang statistics to be sickening.

The following was found from National Gang Crime Research Center

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

of the Gangs and Guns Task Force Research Report




Six gang researchers at three universities collaborated to carry out an extensive study of gangs and guns in the midwest involving 1,206 survey respondents which included 505 gang members. Four social contexts were used for the survey: eight county jails from the farmland to the urban central area (891 inmates), matched pair design samples from a Chicago public high school and an inner city program, and a sample of gang members in a private suburban probation program.




I. The jail study showed:

*** Gang problems in the midwest show a large "ripple effect" where many variables show the consistent effect of increasing in magnitude the closer one is to the urban central area, and decreasing in severity through the outlying areas and heartland to its lowest level in the farmland areas.

*** Gang membership is a variable that significantly differentiates many variables about firearms, violence, behaviors and beliefs.

*** Gang membership can be predicted with 81 percent accuracy using discriminant analysis.

*** Gang density, that is the percentage of inmates who are gang members, using a more restrictive definition of gangs, showed percentages two to ten times higher than the parameter estimated in a recent federal national assessment of gangs in corrections.




II. The high school study showed:

*** Some 87 gang members were matched with 87 demographically identical non-gang members.

*** These are essentially the same gangs represented in other social contexts studied.

*** The gang member profile is similar to that found in other social contexts.


III. The probation program study showed:

*** Some 69 gang members in a suburban-based probation had much the same "gang profile" as elsewhere, but with some new important twists.

*** Fewer suburban gang members originally joined the gang primarily "to make money", but did so mostly for essentially social rather than economic reasons. They are atypical in this regard compared to the jail inmate gang member.




IV. The inner city program study showed:

*** Some 36 gang members were matched with 36 demographically identical non-gang members.

*** The gang member profile is comparable to that found in other social contexts.




V. A Combined Analysis of Gang Members in All Contexts showed:

*** There is no difference on most variables when comparing "Peoples" and "Folks" gang members. That is, on most human traits they are they same thing differing only symbolically, not objectively.

*** There is little difference in the basic gang member profile about guns and violence across social contexts. Gang members show the higher risk profile regardless of social context.

*** A gang risk continuum exists showing a consistent violence escalation effect from the lowest level of risk (non-gang member with no gang friends) to the highest level (active gang member).

*** An analysis of factors associated with gang members who attempt to leave the gang was made. This showed, generally, a hardening effect; where the gang member who has never attempted to quit the gang appears to have a higher commitment to the gang, and is consistently more 'hard core' in regard to findings about gun crimes and gun violence.




VI. Conclusions include the following:

*** It is possible to profile individual gangs by threat analysis. For example, weapons access, acquisition, and usage patterns, level of violence threat (i.e., police shoot-outs), and related variables of interest. But research on a larger scale would have to be done to ensure specific gang identity sample development. The ideal design would ensure at least 100 members of each gang organization of interest.

*** The research findings reported here about gang density demand a serious national assessment of gangs in corrections be undertaken, because a recent federal report is believed to grossly underestimate the problem to the point of mathematical fantasy.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Interview With a Former Gang Member-Part 2

Let's get back to the conversation with *Joe*...

RC: How long were you in your gang?

Joe: Man, about 15 years I guess. Didn't really seem that long.

RC: During your time in the gang, what activities were you involved in?

Joe: I started out basically on a recruiter team, which is very cool. They set you up with the kickin' ride, crib, and clothes. Then, you hang around the streets, acting cool.

RC: What's the point?

Joe: Makes other kids want what I got. Let's the kids know that the older guys I was paired with are approachable.

RC: To get new kids into the gang.

Joe: Yeah. Exactly. We spent the day me driving around with these guys, showing off my grill and stuff, and all the time the older guys were watching to see who had the hunger in their eyes. Then, they'd find out everything about those kids...did they have strong families, how did they feel about school...all that kind of stuff.

Robin: And if they felt the kid was isolated enough, they'd target him like they did you?

Joe: Pretty much.

Robin: What was the average age of these new recruits?

Joe: Same as me--not even 13.

Robin: What else did you do over the course of your 15 years in the gang?

Joe: I'm not proud of what I've done.

Robin: I know that.

Joe: Let's see, I recruited, I sold drugs, was an enforcer, a protector, laundered money, stole...pretty much every horrible thing you can imagine, I did for my gang.

...stay tuned for part 3

All of this information *Joe* so candidly shared was vital to me in writing my latest release, Fear No Evil

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Robin's Recommended Reading Wednesday

Looking for a new book to grab and read? Here's one not to be missed:

Product Description
Soldiers all across the globe are returning home to their families after brutal tours of duty. They are discharged from the service. . .and on their own. Meet Max Jacobs, one of these discarded heroes, as he faces a wall of failure—in his career, his friendships, and his marriage. Failing again—this time to end his life—he is offered a thread of hope. Are covert government operations the answer for him, or will they only bring more danger and dissension upon his broken family?

VALOR, ACTION, ROMANCE, HEART... Nightshade is the perfect blend of everything I like best in a story. I can’t recommend it enough!


(John B. Olson Author of Powers 20100524)


Nightshade kept me up all night! A tight plot, heartthrob heroes, and description so rich I could hear the jungle noise, feel the heat slide down my back. I’ll be clearing out a shelf to make room for Ronie’s books!


(Susan May Warren Author of Nothing But Trouble )


Ronie Kendig has outdone her debute release, Dead Reckoning with Nightshade. This intense story full of action, is also full of emotion and life. Men dealing with issues they hadn’t planned on. Surprise after surprise and bomb after bomb set this adventurous trail with the reader racing to the end. I found myself crying and smiling and hated it when it ended. But, I have it on good authority that that there are more Discarded Heroes stories coming. Ronie, I can’t wait!


(Jan Crow Katy's Budget Books )


Robin's Thoughts: This is a GREAT military thriller. If you're looking for a tense read that will leave you wanting more of the Discarded Heroes series, this is a must-read!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Interview With a Former Gang Member-Part 1

I was fortunate to be able to sit down and interview a former gang member while doing research for my recent release, Fear No Evil . In order to protect his identity, upon his request, I'll just call him "Joe." Also, in everyone's best interest, I've changed details, locations, and phrasing. Please remember that this is from Joe's past...he's since given his life to Christ, and actively works trying to get gang members out of the gang. I so appreciate Joe's candor and honesty.

RC: Let's dive right into it...how did you become a gang member?

Joe: I never knew my dad. My mom worked 3 jobs to feed me and my two brothers. I had a lot of free time.

RC: Is that an excuse? I mean, a lot of kids are "latchkey" kids with working parents. A lot have single parents.

Joe: Not an excuse, just the way it was. We lived in the projects. Didn't have cable tv, internet, or anything to keep us inside. We were street kids. Got into drugs.

RC: Do drugs and gangs always go hand-in-hand?

Joe: Most of the time? Yeah. Either using it, selling it, or collecting it.

RC: So, you were a street kid...

Joe: Yeah. You know the same old story...got in with the wrong crowd, doing drugs, then not having money to buy more, so got into stealing.

RC: To support the drug habit?

Joe: Yeah. And then the cool older guys I'd always admired approached me.

RC: Older guys?

Joe: Yeah. These three dudes who I thought were cool. Had a kickin' car. Cool crib. *awesome* grills.

RC: Things you wanted.

Joe: Of course. I was so jealous of those guys. Well, maybe envious is a better word.

RC: You kinda hero-worshipped them?

Joe: Oh, yeah. So when they came to me, told me they'd been watching me and were impressed, and wanted to know if I wanted to hang out with them...I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

RC: I bet. So you did?

Joe: Well, yeah. Hung out with them a couple of times. And they started telling me that they had the kickin' stuff cuz they didn't snort all their money. And I asked them, "what money? I ain't got no money." Then they told me I could have money, but they didn't know if I was ready.

RC: What'd you say?

Joe: I told them I was ready for anything. You gotta remember that I was trying hard to impress them, so sounding tough was my only option.

RC: How'd they respond?

Joe: They told me I'd have to prove it. So I said, "okay." Next thing I know, I'm getting out of the backseat of their car, having a gun shoved into my hand, and being told to shoot anybody who tried to run out of the house they were walking up the front stairs to.

RC: What did you do?

Joe: Stood there and pointed the gun at the door.

RC: Did anybody come out?

Joe: *1* and *2* went up the front steps. *3* went around back. I stood on the sidewalk and waited. A dude answered the door and him and *2* did a little shovin'. *1* and *2* forced their way into the house. I heard yelling. Stuff breaking.

RC: Sounds scary. Were you scared?

Joe: Out of my mind. But I stayed where they told me. And then, all of a sudden, this guys comes flying out the front door, *2* right on his heels. And *2* tells me to shoot him. To shoot the dude.

RC: What'd you do?

Joe: I did what *2* told me...I shot the dude.

RC: Did he die?

Joe: No. He was running, so I hit the back of his thigh, I think.

RC: So, these 3 guys, your heroes, they were happy with you?

Joe: Yeah. They took me that night and introduced me to my new family. I'd passed their test and was now a member of their gang.

RC: How old were you?

Joe: Eleven.

Stay tuned for part two...

Monday, October 04, 2010

Gang Statistics

Want to see more "estimates" of gang statistics (C'mon...you realize no one is going to go into the streets and get 100% honest answers of gang involvement, right?) Well, here's something else for you to ponder:
From NIJ 1994 Extended Survey

Jurisdiction Size Gangs: 1993 Members: 1993 Crimes: 1993
Cities over 200,000 4,722 246,431 51,155
Cities 150,000-200,000 788 19,478 46,616
Cities 25,000-150,000 8,964 122,508 89,232
Smaller cities
(1992) 251 31,498 3,156
Selected Counties 1,918 135,266 390,172
National total 16,643 555,181 580,331


Interesting, yes? I ran across the numbers as I was doing research for my latest release:

Tomorrow, I'll share with you a candid interview with a former gang-member.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Sunday Snippet

Rejoice...this is the day the Lord hath made, be glad and rejoice!


My grandson, Benton.

Everyone have a BLESSED Sunday!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Gangs

My latest release:


deals with gang violence. Especially gangs targeting our youth. When researching Fear No Evil, I was greatly disturbed by the statistics around teen gangs. Take the following information, taken from Teen Gang Statistics :
By 2002, teen gang problems were back on the rise, particularly in the larger areas, and the most recent figures, from 2006, show a continuation of that trend. From 1999-2001 to 2006, Rural counties saw an increase of 1.5% to 14.9%. Smaller cities reported an increase of 6.7% to 32.6%. Suburban counties, though, had an increase of 10.2% for a total of 51%. And Larger cities rose 8.8% to 86.4%.

These gang statistics, however, do not tell the whole story. It is interesting to note that the majority of reports from smaller cities and rural counties, even with the increasing numbers of gangs, had no gang-related homicides, i.e., no homicides in which either a victim or a perpetrator was a gang member. Cities having populations of over 100,000 people, by contrast, tended to have at least one gang-related homicide.

While homicide was not closely associated with teen gang activity in all cases, other crimes carried a more significant link. In 2006, areas that reported an increase of gang-related crime found that it occurred in these areas, and in this order of frequency:

aggravated assault
drug sales
robbery
larceny/theft
burglary
auto theft

The factors that were indicated as most important in increasing the level of gang-related violence were, in order of reporting:

conflicts between gangs
factors related to drugs
migration of gang members within the United States
the rise of newly formed gangs
the return to the area of gang members who had been incarcerated
conflicts within gangs
migration of gang members from outside of the United States

Statistically Likely Signs of Teen Gang Involvement

Teens who exhibit multiple instances of the following signs may be involved in gang activity. These signs do not guarantee gang involvement, and especially when considered alone, may be representative of something entirely different.

knowingly associates with gang members
uses secret codes or signals to communicate with associates
fixates on particular colors of clothing or a particular logo used on clothing and to decorate other items: this may include posters, tattoos, jewelry, etc.
has unexplained physical injuries that seem related to fighting
has more cash or more valuable possessions than one might reasonably expect
shows particular interest in gang activities, gang-related media and entertainment, etc.
raises police interest
withdraws from family, school, and community activities
breaks his/her curfew and other rules
is determinedly secretive
exhibits declines in school performance


Robin again: Gang violence is something that affects us all...it's snatching our youth. More on Monday about gangs and what we can do!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Weekend Edition

Happy Friday, Everyone! Today, I'm speaking to the Mississippi State Church Library Ministry at First Baptist Church of Natchez, Mississippi. So excited!

In other news, my grandson was recently baptized and I wanted to share a few photos of the very proud moment for our family: