Category James L’Etoile

Prison and Literature

Lord of the Flies The social aspects of what goes on behind prison walls are really kind of fascinating. For those who worked there, we recognize the yard dynamics are something out of William Golding’s, Lord of the Flies. In the 1954 novel, a group of boys are stranded on an island and quickly devolve into savage […]

Rise of the Machines – The Call Center

Our world revolves around the customer. The customer is our greatest asset. The customer is always right. We go the extra mile for our customer. We provide legendary customer service. Seeing a theme here yet? Based on this week’s experience, these customer service promises were nothing but cave paintings scribbled on a rock wall by a […]

Social Media For Old Guys – The Author Page

I’m a relative newcomer to the social media world. In fact, I wouldn’t have “Liked” or “Retweeted” anything if my first publisher hadn’t dragged me there and shoved my nose in this big smelly pile called Facebook. And you had to “Like” people. Fresh out of prison (so to speak – retired, not paroled) liking people […]

Can You Read The Signs?

Where would we be without someone telling us where to go, what to do and how to get there? Thankfully, there are an abundance of signs out there to guide us poor, aimless creatures through life. Without a nudge in the right direction, it seems, we would follow the way of the lemming and fall […]

Is Life Really Life?

Life in prison. The judge hands down the sentence and most people think that’s the end of it. The convicted man (or woman) will spend the balance of their natural life behind bars. Life sentences are reserved for the worst crimes–kidnapping, murder and habitual criminals. well…maybe. I recall, early in my career, going into a […]

The Social Media Sweet Spot

How I long for the days when the National Enquirer was the only questionable media out there. Current events and how they turn up on my social media timeline is an interesting lesson in human behavior. We–as a species–are so gullible that we willingly grab onto the first snippet of information that matches our narrative, […]

Speaking of Mysteries Podcast

I recently had the opportunity to do an interview podcast with Nancie Clare, the host of Speaking of Mysteries. If you haven’t gotten around to her site yet, you really should. She and podcast interview partner, Leslie Klinger have put put together over one hundred author podcasts, including some of my favorite mystery writers; Michael Connelly, […]

Who’s On The Gun?

Little things on the inside If you haven’t worked deep in the bowels of a prison, you might not know there a whole host of things that occur everyday that determine how your shift will unfold–uneventful, a grind, or worse. Some take it for granted, but if you’ve worked there–you know better. Most seasoned prison folks […]

I Like To Watch

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Shhhh… I like to watch. No not that way! Get your mind out of the gutter and go say three Hail Mary’s and a couple of Acts of Contrition. Throw some salt over your shoulder for good measure. I’m not watching in that way. I […]

When Did Christmas Get Weird?

Christmas today is not the same holiday of my childhood. Gone are the decorated store front windows, the strolling carolers, reminders that Santa is watching and tales of eight tiny reindeer landing on the roof. All are now replaced with newer, less personal trapping of a holiday gone weird. No, I haven’t gone all Scroogey, […]