‘Penance’ Blog Tour: “You really can’t make this stuff up…”

“You really can’t make this stuff up…”

BY Edward Daniel Hunt


As a writer I am often asked where I get the ideas for my stories and novels and if I make it all up. I think all fiction writers no matter what the genre are influenced by their life experiences and relationships as well as what’s going on in the world around them, and I’m no different. Writers can exaggerate or distort or completely change an incident or character and call it artistic license. Examples in my writing would include the unsolved homicide in the beginning of my novel Penance which was loosely based on a homicide from many years ago that I really don’t know any of the details. The body being found in a quarry in Quincy is based on bodies actually being found in that quarry. 

The massage parlor featured in several chapters of Penance was based on one in Maine that was raided and shut down years ago before I lived in Maine. Again I didn’t know anybody that worked there and most of the details are fiction. In reality, working there was probably much more horrible than I described it.   

The novel I’m working on now, 96 Tears, opens with a woman’s husband burning the cabin they live in down while she and her four year old son are still in it, she survives, the son doesn’t. This was based on an incident I was told about of one of my former employee’s husband trying to burn down their cabin with her in it. No one was hurt in that incident. Rumor has it that they got back together.

On a lighter note, as noted in Penance, there really have been several Elvis impersonators working for tips by having their pictures taken with tourists at Old Orchard Beach. These impersonators were of the fat Elvis in his later years. The crack about hygiene was creative license although I do remember one of them as being a heavy smoker and smelling like a barbecue.  Also on a lighter note, in 96 Tears, a prison inmate named Weasel commented that one of the first things he was going to do after being released was visit that topless donut shop. He was very disappointed when told that it had been burned down. There really was for a short time a donut shop in a small town near Augusta, Maine that featured topless waitresses. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to go there. [For research purposes.]

One last incident I’m trying to work into my writing: Last year we spent a week in Bar Harbor at my favorite hotel, the Bar Harbor Inn. Right on the water, great food and great service but one of the things I really appreciate about it is its history. Checking in I was expressing this to the young clerks behind the counter about the Inn being a former speakeasy for the rich during Prohibition and even further back when President Taft visited the Inn and gave a speech on the lawn. The three clerks just stared back at me blankly. One commented she didn’t know that. I walked away beginning to doubt myself. The next morning on my way to breakfast I noticed a picture on the wall of President Taft giving a speech outside the hotel, dated 1914. Feeling vindicated, I hurried over to the reception desk and was pleased to see that one of the clerks from the previous day was there. I asked her to come look at the picture and she humored me and came.  She stared at the picture for a few minutes, then turned and said: “And you were here then?”

You really can’t make this stuff up.






Publication Date: April 2, 2020


Genre: Thriller/ Suspense/ Crime Fiction


PENANCE is the first book in a series of crime novels featuring retired Boston homicide detective John Gilfillan. This story is about the race to find Lori Doyle. Ten years ago, Lori, as a teenager, witnessed a killing. Today, she has established a new life for herself and her daughter in Maine under an alias. Unbeknownst to her, all that’s about to change, as some are seeking her out to do her harm and some to do her good. A page-turner to keep you in suspense until the end.


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086R51W78/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0


Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52793519-penance?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=IPtz7Ljbeh&rank=1




Marcy had never been more scared in her life. She truly believed he would have cut off one or both of her breasts if Paulie hadn’t walked in. There was nothing behind those eyes, no emotion, no caring, and no fear. Marcy had been around some scary guys in her life, including Tommy, his father, and some of the others. Tony was different. There didn’t seem to be any feeling behind his actions. No hesitation. No nothing.


She knew she had to reach out to JoJo and warn her that her worst freaking nightmare was heading her way. JoJo picked up on the first ring. There was a lot of noise in the background. Marcy held the phone slightly away from the side of her tender, bruised face.


“JoJo, this is Marcy, and you need to listen to me!” she blurted. “A guy named Tony, looked Italian, was just here, and scared the crap out of me! He’s crazy; broke my nose, cut my breasts and threatened to cut them off. I thought I was dead! He kept asking about Lori Doyle. I had to give him something. You’re next! He knows you work at Sallie O’s. Get out of there, while you can!” She was out of breath from talking so fast.


“Hey, thanks for the heads up, but an Italian in South Boston isn’t going to do very well. I’ll let my boss know and some of the regulars. They don’t like outsiders coming in here period, let alone stirring up shit.” JoJo sounded slightly sub­dued. Concerned, but not like her usual self; medicated maybe.


“JoJo, I was never more scared in my life! You be careful. You don’t know what he’s like. If you can get a message to Izzy, do it; she’s on his list too. Hey, I know you just lost Frankie and don’t need this mess but you’ve got to get away. This guy’s beyond crazy!” The whole thing replayed again in her mind and she felt like she might start crying again.


“Well, I’d like to see him go after Izzy. Izzy’s been hooked up with Tommy for a while now. Tommy can take care of himself,” JoJo said matter-of-factly.


“Please. Please JoJo, listen to me: he’s like nothing you’ve seen before! He’s an animal, no feelings, no fear! Please, you’ve got to get away now!”


Finally responding to the fear in Marcy’s voice, JoJo hes­itated. “Okay, Marcy…I’m glad you’re okay and I’m really grateful for the heads up. Really.” Marcy wracked her brain for the words to convince JoJo of the danger she was in. Before she found any, there was a click as JoJo terminated the call.

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Edward Daniel Hunt

Edward Daniel Hunt


Edward Daniel Hunt has an undergraduate degree from the University of New Haven and a graduate degree from Lesley University. His short stories have appeared in the Scarlett Leaf Review, Down in the Dirt Magazine and Adelaide Literary Magazine. “Hit Men Have Feelings Too” was named a finalist in Adelaide Magazine’s 2018 Literary Award Contest for Best Short Story. His short story “Pieces of the Puzzle” was named a finalist for Best Short Story in Adelaide’s Magazine’s 2019 contest. Much of his early work and social life was spent in restaurants and bars, as evidenced by his writing. He is a member of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime New England. Adelaide Book Publishing has recently released his crime novel Penance. He lives in Old Orchard Beach, Maine within walking distance to the beach.


Edward Daniel Hunt: https://edhuntauthor.com/blog/

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