Friday, October 28, 2011

Fighting Back

Just when I think I have regained control over my blog (that pesky Darren hacking in the last couple of weeks was okay. I just wish he would have let me know), I receive this email saying if I don’t put a guest post, something bad might happen to my front lawn. I wrote back saying nothing worse could happen since my landlord doesn’t take care of it in the first place.

Anyway, after reading the following piece, I thought it worked quite well for a good follow up to the last few weeks of the theme of martial arts mysteries. So, I welcome guest blogger and author Robert Bennett, who in exchange for my allowing his post has agreed to shovel my walk when it snows more than two inches the previous night. (Wait, that’s what I want my landlord to do.) Uh, take it away, Robert.

Fighting Back

It's Saturday night and you're at the cash machine taking care of that last, crucial detail before picking up your girlfriend for a night out-dinner, theater, the works. Suddenly, from out of the darkness, the mugger zones in and you're pulled from your wheelchair. In a few minutes he’s gone, but so is your wallet. Instead of going on a date you end up spending the evening in the emergency room.

This scenario is speculation, but the statistics are scary. Three out of four blind people are assaulted sometime during their lifetime. Women with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of sexual assault as so-called able-bodied women. And, people with developmental disabilities are at a four to ten times higher risk than able-bodied persons.

It used to be said that people with disabilities could not take care of themselves. Of course that is an old, foolish and paternalistic idea. More recently the idea has been changed to something like ‘people with disabilities can not protect themselves.” This too is wrong thinking. Everyone deserves the right to protect themselves, and to learn how to do so. But, you might ask, as many people do, why would someone who is already at a physical disadvantage take a risk of further injury by learning some sort of fighting skill? The answer is simple…why not. Most people with disabilities are no more likely to sustain injury than their able-bodied counterparts. Martial arts experts teach the skills to fight off an attacker, but perhaps more importantly, they also teach self-confidence, focus and the awareness not only of the environment, but of one's abilities.

For me, as a wheelchair-using paraplegic, the study of martial arts has allowed me to keep in good physical condition and given me the confidence to move around my environment without worrying about limitations or the possibility of assault.

Several years ago, when I decided to put together a book about martial arts for people with disabilities, I contacted teachers and students from all over the world. People with a wide range of disabilities who have learned a wide range of martial arts disciplines. Each of the people contacted had a different disability and a different reason for studying the martial arts. Finally the stories about some amazing martial artists came together in a book entitled Enabling the Dragon (available as an ebook on my website,

More recently, in my Blind Traveler mystery novels, the second of which is now available in Ebook format from Echelon Press, my protagonist is a blind man who has learned to use the ancient art of Judo to fend off would-be assailants. Through years of study he has not only improved his fighting technique, he has also regained the self-confidence he lost after the accident that blinded him, and found a community of like-minded individuals with whom he can have a relationship.


The year is 2021. Natural forces have changed our world. As the Earth's magnetic poles have shifted, pressure on the planet’s mantle layer is building. The bottom line . . . earthquakes now wreak havoc in areas they have never occurred before.

In Mexico, members of an archaeological team investigate the remains of an ancient village uncovered by a quake; racing to prove their theories about the civilization that once lived there. But, disaster strikes when the accidental destruction of an artifact unleashes a worldwide agricultural plague.

Halfway across the continent, Douglas Abledan, a blind computer technologist, embarks on a long anticipated vacation. On the plane to Chicago, he meets world-renowned agricultural pathologist Cara Cordelia. Little do either of them know she has been targeted for murder.

In this stand-alone sequel to his critically acclaimed "Blind Traveler Down a Dark River," author Robert P. Bennett continues to bring us suspense and intrigue while exploring a world of the not too distant future. While society struggles with the impact of natural changes, the advancement of new technology enables a blind man to investigate a murder.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Answers from Mallory

Hey, folks. Darren here again. I’m back this week as promised to give you the answers to questions asked of my boss, Mallory Petersen. As you know, Miss Petersen is a fourth degree black and private investigator. I provided the facts of one of her cases to author Stephen Brayton and he published the adventure in a book called Beta. The book can be purchased at various online outlets including, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Anyway, onto the questions. As I mentioned last week, I knew a few jokers out there would send in some pretty lame and sometimes crude questions. I won’t bother posting those. However, because I wanted to see how Miss Petersen would react, and because I like to tease her every now and then, I give her every question submitted. Her response to most: a roll of the eyes and an exasperated gulp of Dr Pepper. She then gave me a look that said if I ever did anything like this again, she’d toss me out the window. (Wait until she sees what I have planned for the next book.)

Before I get to the serious questions, I will mention Miss Petersen received at least ten requests for a date…including, um, one from a Brenda in Idaho. She also received a marriage proposal from Bob in Pittsburgh. I did not get a verbal response to these invitations, but my boss’ narrowed eyes told me her answer. Buck from Sedalia, Missouri, asked if Miss Petersen would be interested in selling her car. She drives a 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger bought from her father. Sorry, Buck, I know she loves her car. Mary from Ankeny, Iowa, just north of Des Moines wanted to know if Miss Petersen owned any pets. She then mentioned she raises iguanas and could make Mallory a good deal on one. Unfortunately, Miss Petersen’s schedule does not permit her the time to properly care for an animal. Plus, I don’t know how she’d react to a large lizard skulking around her house.

To all the local people interested in taekwondo classes, she asks you call her school’s number directly.

Okay, let’s get to the serious stuff.

Melissa from Chicago: Miss Petersen, how long have you been in martial arts?
Mallory: I started when I was eleven. My first instructor lived in Burlington. I earned my black belt in less than two years and my fourth degree a few years ago.

John from St. Paul: I think a woman PI is cool. Why did you want to be one?
Mallory: Thanks, John. I fell in love with mysteries as a child. I even helped solve an embezzlement case in high school. I didn’t want to be a policeman because I wanted the freedom to set my own schedule and conditions. I thought it would be a fun and fulfilling job.

Sarah from Council Bluffs: You sure get a lot of weird people coming to your office.
Mallory: You’ve noticed, huh? I’m not sure what attraction I have for the odd cases, but I do seem to get more than my fair share of them.

Tammy from Terra Haute: Can you introduce me to Lawrence Cameron? He sounds like a real hunk.
Mallory: No.

Patricia from Cincinnati: With all that you do professionally, how do you find time for yourself and what do you do to relax?
Mallory: Sometimes it’s tough. Many of my cases dictate my schedule and most weekday evenings I’m teaching my students. I love attending taekwondo tournaments. Weekends I usually spend with friends or my parents. I also work out on a regular basis. Lately, I’ve been trying to spend time with Lawrence. It’s a challenge because we live three hours away from each other.

Victor from Rapid City: I have a nine year old daughter and it was heart-wrenching to read about Cindy McGee. How did handle the aftermath and how were you able to move on, emotionally and spiritually?
Mallory: I couldn’t for a long time and my heart still aches when I think of Cindy. Knowing what happened to her, discovering who was behind the kidnapping, and everything that happened after I found her…wow, it was draining. I experienced many sleepless nights and I cried a lot. But I came away cherishing my students, my instructors, my friends and family so much more. All of them were very supportive and helped me recover faster.

Well, Miss Petersen received a few more questions, but I think I’ll save them for later. If you wish to submit a question, please do so either here or at Mr. Brayton’s email. I want to thank all the contributors (yes, even you, Norman, who wanted to know the weirdest place she’d ever had sex), and I also want to congratulate Patricia from Cincinnati as the winner of a free copy of the next book when it is published. If you could send Mr.
Brayton your information, he’ll keep it on file.

Well, thanks for dropping by this week. Feel free to leave comments as I’m sure Mr. Brayton will appreciate them. Tell your friends about Beta and watch for future posts regarding my wonderful boss, Mallory Petersen.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ask Mallory Petersen

Darren here. You know, I’m Mallory Petersen’s secretary and office manager. I’ve hacked into Mr. Brayton’s blog this week because I want to promote my boss’ latest adventure, Beta.

Often times she’s told me I am much more than a secretary and I do accomplish a lot for both her investigator practice and her taekwondo school. I make sure the bills are paid on time and I book her motel accommodations whenever she travels to tournaments or business seminars.
However, she’s the heroine in my life. I’m amazed how she can be a success at so much. It’s not easy running a full time private investigator’s business and instructing four nights per week at her martial arts studio. I know she has a loyal and well-trained staff of instructors under her in case her investigations preclude her from attending her classes.

Take the case in Beta. She was constantly on the go searching for Cindy McGee. When she discovered the connections with a child pornography ring, Miss Petersen put everything she had into the case. Sure, she may have crossed the line a few times to obtain information, and she risked damaging her reputation as an honorable taekwondo instructor, but I don’t blame her for her actions. She did her job to the best of her ability.

Anyway, I learn so much from Miss Petersen (yes, she keeps telling me to call her Mallory) and I thought this would be a good opportunity for you to learn more about her, too. If you have any questions you’d like to ask my boss, please leave them in the comments section or email them to (This email is the author’s, but don’t worry. I’ve also hacked into his email account and any questions for Miss Petersen will be transferred instantly to my account so Mr. Brayton won’t even see them and be confused.)

My problem will be to convince Miss Petersen to answer them. See, at first, she wasn’t totally accepting that I gave the facts of the McGee case to Mr. Brayton to put into book form. She’s come around and has done a few interviews on one of our Des Moines radio stations. I don’t know how she’ll react when I present her with a bunch of questions because she doesn’t know I’m soliciting them.

You may ask just about any question. From her favorite color (if that is what you really would like to know) to how her relationship with Lawrence Cameron is going. Mr. Cameron, as you may know, is a member of the Special Case Squad in the Quad Cities whom Miss Petersen paired with for a day searching for Cindy.

I know I’m probably going to get a few smart-alecks asking crude and disrespectful questions, but rest assured, I will weed out those. However, from reading Beta, you will know Miss Petersen does seem to attract the oddities in her cases, so don’t be afraid to be a little outlandish with your questions.

So, again, write your questions in the comment box or send them to Mr.
Brayton’s email. I’ll be hacking into this blog again to post the questions and answers in next week’s blog. Depending on the number of questions received I may extend it for a second week. Of course, you’ll be wanting to read Beta, so be sure to click on one of the two book cover images in this blog to be taken to a purchase site. Kindle and Nook owners can check Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well.

Oh, and I’ll give you an incentive. Everyone who participates is entered into the drawing to win a free copy of the next book, Alpha, tentatively scheduled for a 2012 release. I’ll be picking the winner based on either the quality of the question or picking a winner at random.

Thanks for your participation and let’s have some fun.