Dirty Brilliance Book Tour & Giveaway

Dirty Brilliance by Lea Bronsen Genre: Billionaire M/M Romance

Kace Karrington is a wealthy, self-made investor with no qualms about steamrolling others to achieve his goals. He’s attracted to men, but picks up beautiful women, giving the cold, unfeeling world of Finance the appearance he’s successful…powerful. That is until he meets a smoking hot street punk eager to show him there’s more to life than making money. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo * Smashwords * Website

Award-winning author Lea Bronsen likes her reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After a deep dive on the unforgiving world of gangsters with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between romantic suspenses, dark erotic romances, and crime thrillers. She’s signed with Evernight Publishing, Decadent Publishing, and Insatiable Press. She has also self-published half of her works and participated in the making of several anthologies. Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Chapter One 

I’m Kace Karrington, I’m an asshole, and I don’t care what you think. I screw left and right. I invest cash that doesn’t exist. I’ve built an empire on the blood of lesser smart speculators. And I’ll steamroll whoever stands in my way. 

Again, I don’t care what you think. Wanna be good? Wanna play it by the rules? Then, don’t come to me complaining you can’t afford the life I have. Don’t envy my fortune, my skills, my flair, or what you call my good luck. 

It’s not luck. It’s hard work, and it takes balls. I deserve my insane wealth, the rapacious admiration of my peers, and the attention from some of the most beautiful women in the world. I’ve earned all that and more. I’m brilliant at what I do. I’m a quick thinker, I get stuff done, I can stomach risk, and I reach my goals because I’m a wolf, a hunter. 

Dad predicted it when I came home with my first A in math. He said I would excel in analytic economics, and later—as it turned out to be true—he sent me to the best business and management schools. Having a parent willing to pay for my studies helped, but I would’ve climbed to the top. Somehow, someway. My way. My calculative, slightly treacherous, sublimely effective way. 

I wouldn’t recommend such conduct if you like company. Wolves are lonely. Sometimes, they attack in a group, but most of the time, they wander on their own. And that suits me fine. I don’t want friends. The fewer people allowed into the innermost circle, the smaller the risk. Superficial connections can be valuable assets if they help pave your path to success. 

So, I’m not married. Doesn’t mean I don’t have girlfriends. I do, but I let them seduce me at soirées and entertain me at night. Come dawn, they’re out the door faster than they can strap their sexy heels on. I have more important matters to deal with as the morning stock market news rolls in than an after-sex super-clingy female. 

Besides, chicks aren’t really my thing, but in the cold world of finance, it is better to keep what is considered a weakness (the soft-heartedness of a homo) to oneself. Therefore, you’ll see photos of me always flanked by two or three women of young age and blinding gorgeousness. Gotta tend to my reputation of tough, sharp, and serious—thus attractive—investor. 

I jokingly consider these lines for an imaginary interview as I stand on my wide balcony on the rooftop of one of the most luxurious skyscrapers in New York, gazing at the breathtaking view of the noisy, pulsating city below, feeling like the entire world is at my feet. I’m the king of my self-made kingdom, and the power and strength that being on top of a megacity gives me is absolutely intoxicating. 

Vibrant, I fill my lungs with air, making a quick mental note that it might be less polluted up here than the air people down on the street must breathe, then erase that thought and focus on myself again. I come first; the rest of the world can burn as long as I’m in control of my life. 

Control is minimizing debt and making secure placements. I earn a lot of dough from speculating on the current financial bubble and I’m wise enough to convert it to real cash and place it on safe goods. I drive the shiniest and fastest cars, the biggest yachts, and a private jet, and I’ve purchased high-value apartments in metropolitan cities and mansions on rivieras around the globe. When global economics implode—which they assuredly will, sparking another big-scale military conflict—others will bleed. 

Don’t point your finger at me. I’ve worked my ass off to acquire all of this. Years and years of coercing small-time investors, cooperating with crooks, buying officials, blackmailing politicians, befriending dirty millionaires. 

Of course, I’d never admit that in an interview. 

With a smirk, I lean against the gigantic glass window behind me and pull my phone out of my pocket. Messages and notifications glide seamlessly right to left. “Pfft, nothing of importance.” I swipe them away. 

My reflection on the dark phone pane stares back. Piercing ice-blue eyes in a tanned face with rugged features…and lines on my forehead. 

Hmm, am I looking tired? Maybe a little burnt out. At forty plus, long party nights, too little sleep, unhealthy amounts of booze, and zigzagging levels of tension will do that to your system. One starts to fry. 

Maybe I just need a new form of excitement. When you’re programmed to chase goals but have accomplished everything you’ve dreamed of, you itch for new challenges, different horizons. 

A message pops up on the screen with a discrete beep. From Ella, my sister. My twin sister and sole remaining family. 

I frown. What does she want? 

I’m not one for clichés, but she’s the opposite of me in terms of direction and success, having sunken into drug hell years ago and, after our father died, depended on me financially… And so, my feelings for her are unclear. I’d like to care about her. It would be natural, right? But her inability to give herself a kick in the ass, straighten up, and get a life, irks me to no end. 

Index finger hovering over the envelope symbol of her message, I hesitate. Is she asking for money? Or does she need me to sweet-talk to some cop because she’s gotten into trouble again? 

I’m not sure I want to be disturbed right now. I blow out a puff of air and survey the skyline ahead of me. The sun is setting in the distance, throwing an orangish light over the rooftops, reflecting off windows like they’re on fire. 

I have plans for tonight. Ella is a leech, the kind of person who once she’s got ahold of me, will hold on tight with the negative energy of an addict and suck the very life out. 

“Not tonight.” With a firm shake of my head, I slide the smartphone back into my pocket and focus on the upcoming evening events. 

A finance mogul party is being held at the fashionable St. Regis. The Steins, an unfathomably rich and odd couple—he old, short, and ugly; she young, long-legged, a thing of glamor and beauty—are inviting the Wall Street sharks for some reason I haven’t bothered to remember. There’s always something to celebrate when you have more money than you know what to do with it. And there’s always plenty of hot chicks to keep me company and enough champagne to drown my loneliness. 

My mouth waters. 

A $10 Amazon gift card + 5 ecopies of Dirty Brilliance Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!a Rafflecopter giveaway

Slave of the Sea Book Tour & Giveaway

Slave of the Sea The Chronicles of Salt and Blood Book 1 by Dawn Dagger Genre: High Fantasy, Pirates

Levanine’s life as a slave is insignificant. She has always been property; bound to her owner, content to serve quietly where no one can cause her harm. However, when her master sells her to pay a debt, her false safety is shattered, and she finds herself offered as a sex slave on the continent of Dreanis.Fearful and hopeless, Levanine expects the worst to happen. Nothing could prepare her to be suddenly swept onto a pirate ship by an infamous captain whose interests are a mystery to her. Forced to think on her feet, the silent girl must overcome a lifetime of servitude to survive on a ship where everything is trying to destroy her.As sea monsters, mutinies, and ghosts wreak havoc on the ship and its crew, Levanine realizes that she doesn’t have the luxury of simply surviving until they arrive at Avondella, her continent of redemption. Levanine must decide whether she will die the person she has always been, a meek nobody… or will she make a name for herself at sea? Goodreads * Amazon

Dawn Dagger has had a passion for reading and writing ever since she could remember. When she was six she drew and wrote her very own book, and though it hardly makes sense now, she was so proud. She has written many books, short stories, and poems since then, and continues to do so. Dawn placed highly in her two middle school years of Power of the Pen and even has her short story ‘The Haunting’ published in an anthology, She admits she isn’t good at anything physical (except some ballroom dancing), or video games, but she does enjoy a nice game of Mario Kart, a trip fishing, or just a walk in the woods. She has a knack for taking pictures of whatever catches her eye; especially brightly colored flowers. Dawn is a sucker for a good fantasy book, lives off of coffee, and loves her wonderful family and friends, and her dedicated boyfriend, Nevin, who is just like a romance novel character. Dawn has over 70 stories started (don’t believe her? Just the other night she rattled off the 37 stories she’s actually named and what they’re about to Nevin because he wanted to know) and that doesn’t include short stories or poems. She has lots of writing to do, and is excited for what’s ahead! Blog * Facebook * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!a Rafflecopter giveaway

How Far Would Borrowers Go For Student Loan Forgiveness?

My College Story

When I went into college, my job title was hyped as an “in demand” job. I chose an “affordable” two year school. I use the word affordable loosely because college is expensive. But my school was “affordable” compared to many others.

Being the oldest of 4 kids in my family, we had really hoped I’d get more financial help. In the end I got $800 a year in grants which barely covered my books. I was only able to take out about $6000 in student loans because I had no credit history and my parents had to take out the rest. I competed twice for a $2500 scholarship my school offered. Both times I made it to the final round only me and one other person. Both times I ended up losing out. The one person I lost to was a classmate that ended up failing out after only 6 months.

Then half way through my program, big changes came about with health insurance. Suddenly the school was talking about “alternative jobs” with our degree. “oh you can be an activity director or a work with architects to help make handicap accessible buildings, etc. Wait wait, why can’t I used my degree? You don’t need a degree to be an Activity Director. I also found the dirty secrets behinds college job placement claims. The truth is, if the college helps place you in a job…any job… even the Activity Director job or heck as a cashier, they can say they placed you in a job even though it’s not what you actually paid for.

Survey Says…

Which brings us to the interesting survey completed by lendedu.com. Just what would borrowers be willing to do for student loan forgiveness?

More Results

1000 adult Americans with some amount of student loan debt were surveyed. The results were interesting.

  • 30% would enlist to fight in a hypothetical World War 3 if it meant their student loan debt was completely forgiven
  • 60% would give up all streaming services for life
  • 52% would give up all payment methods besides cash for life
  • 49% would give up being vegan or have to become vegan for life
  • Only 17% would give up hot showers for the next 25 years, the lowest percentage in the report

Me personally, I wouldn’t have a problem giving up streaming services. I don’t watch much tv anyway. The rest, I’m not so sure about.

Daughter of the Sun Book Tour & Giveaway

Daughter of the Sun Cult of the Cat Book 1 by Zoe Kalo Genre: YA Contemporary Mythological Fantasy

EGYPTOLOGY. MAGIC. MYSTERY. AND CATS, LOTS OF CATS… Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew. But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities. Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Website

Storyteller at heart… A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has remained. Today, Zoe passes her stories to you with lots of mystery, adventure, a hint of romance, and the delicious sweep of magic. Currently, she balances writing with spending time with her family, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir. Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web. Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads An ancient Egyptian themed gift related to the book (I need to decide which, as I have several possibilities)

Chapter 1

One month before the summer solstice…

Goosebumps snaked up my spine.
I’d had the same sensation last night while gazing at the moon, when for an instant I’d
picture it red, bathed in blood. Then the rippling, bristling feeling had come back this morning as
I brushed my teeth and stared at the reflection of my eyes in the bathroom mirror. In a flash the
green orbs had turned crimson. I’d blinked, struck by a wave of vertigo, the cold tiles shifting
under my feet.
“Trinity…you all right?” Brianna nudged my arm, bringing me back to the present. We were
walking down the main staircase of the orphanage—where we’d lived all of our lives—toward
the open-air playground for our usual half-hour break after lunch.
“Fine. Just restless.”
“Maybe lunch did it. All those veggies. They take you for a rabbit.”
The touch of humor in her voice didn’t lift the dark cloud hovering over me. I shot her a
sideways glance. “No, not the veggies,” I muttered. “Something else.”
She stopped in the middle of the staircase and her hazel eyes studied my face. “What?”
I stopped, shrugging. “Don’t know.”

“I saw you in the dormitory last night, staring out the window. You seemed so far away.”
Red moon.
The sky had been so clear, the stars twinkling like gems, so unusual for the common
grayness of the English countryside.
Blood moon.
I’d been mesmerized, as if its eerie splendor had spoken to me in an ancient, alien language.
I hadn’t been able to understand it, but I’d felt faint by its allure.
“It’s nothing. You know me. One day up, one day down.” I looked to the bottom of the
staircase, past the hall to the open doors to the courtyard. Now the sky was gray. The girls played
outside, chatting incessantly. The little ones ran this way and that, their black and white uniforms
a blur.
When I looked back at Brianna, I saw she was staring at something past my shoulder. I
turned around and glimpsed a flash of black through the window.
“Did you see that?” I asked. “Looked like a limousine.” Not that I’d ever seen one in real
life, only in the movies we were sometimes allowed to watch in the weekends. “I wonder if it’s
coming here.”
But Brianna didn’t answer. Her spaced-out gaze was still fixed on the window. There was
something odd about her expression.
“Brianna. Hello. I’m talking to you.”
She blinked, startled. She looked at me. “What? Oh. Right. You know…I just—I just
remembered… I have to help Sister Anne at the library.”
“Now? All of a sudden?”

“Like I said, I just remembered.”
I made a dismissive gesture with my hand. “Tell her you forgot.” I did feel a twinge of guilt.
Sister Anne was one of the nice ones. “She’s so old, she won’t even remember.”
“Don’t be mean. I promised her.”
“You know, people take advantage when you’re always nice.”
She didn’t answer, but I read the gentle reproach in her eyes.
“All right, all right,” I muttered. “I’ll see you later.”
She smiled and, to my surprise, gave me a tight, warm hug. “Cheer up. I don’t like it when
you get the blues. I want you to be happy.”
“Thanks,” I mumbled. Her chestnut hair, streaked with copper and gold and woven into a
braid like we were all supposed to wear, smelled like soap, clean, fresh. Which reminded me: I
had not braided my hair today.
Brianna was my best friend in the world. Nearly seventeen years ago, when we were tiny
babies, we had been found at the door of the orphanage only a day apart—a very odd event,
according to the nuns. When we were babies we were often put in the same crib and we sucked
each other’s thumbs and took turns crying for attention.
We drew apart and she hurried up the stairs, the old wood creaking under the rubber soles of
her shoes.
I moved in the opposite direction toward the courtyard.
Outside, the sky was covered with virulent clouds, promising a downpour. A cool breeze hit
my cheeks, made me instantly alert. The air was redolent of fertilizers from the nearby farms.
The temperature was unusually cold for late May. Sister Eveline and Sister Celeste already kept
guard, but as one of the older girls, my duty was to keep watch during playtime. The courtyard

was big and was enclosed by high, rusted, spiked iron gates crawling with vines and wisteria.
Beyond the gates, on one side, a massive weeping willow loomed, its leaves rustling in the
breeze. On another side, rolling hills made most of the landscape, dotted here and there with the
silhouettes of nearby farms.
The courtyard was made of concrete and had swings and see-saws for the younger girls. The
rest was just empty space with a few stone benches for us to sit.
The Sisters strolled across the courtyard toward the main doors, their heads tilted downward,
deep in conversation—or so I thought. In their wimples and flowing habits, they looked like two
big black birds. Sister Eveline suddenly turned toward me with a hard expression and made a
gesture about my hair.
“I’ll braid it after the break,” I said, trying not to sound annoyed. I gave her a lovable grin
and pointed to the younger children. “I have to keep an eye on them, as you know.”
The look she gave me told me she didn’t buy my sweet disposition, but she let it drop and
continued her way to the doors.
I crouched and chatted with the little ones for a while, and pushed their backs at the swings.
I giggled at their silly, innocent tales. Sophie, a sweet five year-old with red corkscrew ringlets,
wrapped her small arms around me and I whirled her in the air.
When I put her down, I spotted Beth Thompson and her two evil minions emerging from the
corner of the orphanage. A cat trailed behind her.
I narrowed my eyes. Beth had tied a string around the cat’s neck and was pulling it along
like a pet—but, as I knew only too well, girls like Beth didn’t keep pets.
Then Beth did something she shouldn’t have done: when the cat refused to budge, she
yanked the string, almost choking the animal.

I winced, feeling the pain as my own.
A shiver rippled up my spine. Again.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jack the Ripper Victims Series Book Tour & Giveaway

Alan M. Clark’s Jack the Ripper Victims Series is comprised of five novels, one for each of the canonical victims of the murderer. These stories are not only meant to appeal to those interested in the horror that was the Autumn of Terror, but also those interested in the struggles of women in the 19th century. They are well-researched, fictional dramatic stories meant to help readers walk in the shoes of the victims and give a sense of the world as each of the women may have experienced it. The timelines for the stories run mostly concurrently, so it doesn’t matter in what order the books in the series are read. They are simultaneously drama, mystery, thriller, historical fiction, and horror. They are novels concerning horror that happened.

A Brutal Chill in August The First Victim of Jack the Ripper by Alan M. Clark Genre: Crime Horror Publisher: IFD Publishing Publication Date: December 7, 2019 We all know about Jack the Ripper, the serial murderer who terrorized Whitechapel and confounded police in 1888, but how much do we really know about his victims? Pursued by one demon into the clutches of another, the ordinary life of Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols is made extraordinary by horrible, inhuman circumstance. Jack the Ripper’s first victim comes to life in this sensitive and intimate fictionalized portrait, from humble beginnings, to building a family with an abusive husband, her escape into poverty and the workhouse, alcoholism, and finally abandoned on the streets of London where the Whitechapel Murderer found her. With A Brutal Chill in August, Alan M. Clark gives readers an uncompromising and terrifying look at the nearly forgotten human story behind one of the most sensational crimes in history. This is horror that happened. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Apple * Apple Audiobook * B&N * KoboMusic Video The song sung by the ghost that haunts Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols https://youtu.be/NQGvZ6arwv0

Apologies to the Cat’s Meat Man The Second Victim of Jack the Ripper Publication Date: June 9, 2017 This novel is part of the Jack the Ripper Victims Series. Each novel in the series is a stand-alone story. Annie Chapman led a hard, lower class life in filthy 19th century London. Late in life, circumstances and and her choices led her to earn her crust by solicitation. After a bruising brawl with another woman over money and a man, she lost her lodgings and found herself sleeping rough. That dangerous turn of events delivered her into the hands of London’s most notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Contrasting her last week alive with the experiences of her earlier life, the author helps readers understand how she might have made the decisions that put her in the wrong place at the wrong time Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Apple * B&N * KoboBook Trailerhttps://youtu.be/oDKsC9KJ3RI

Say Anything But Your Prayers The Third Victim of Jack the Ripper Publication Date: June 11, 2017 This novel is part of the Jack the Ripper Victims Series. Each novel in the series is a stand-alone story. An imaginative reconstruction of the life of Elizabeth Stride, the third victim of Jack the Ripper. The beast of poverty and disease had stalked Elizabeth all her life, waiting for the right moment to take her down. To survive, she listened to the two extremes within herself–Bess, the innocent child of hope, and Liza, the cynical, hardbitten opportunist. While Bess paints rosy pictures of what lies ahead and Liza warns of dangers everywhere, the beast, in the guise of a man offering something better, circles ever closer. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo

Of Thimble and Threat The Fourth Victim of Jack the Ripper Publication Date: September 28, 2017 In Victorian London, the greatest city of the richest country in the world, the industrial revolution has created a world of decadence and prosperity, but also one of unimaginable squalor and suffering. Filth, decay, danger, sorrow, and death are ever-present in the streets. Catherine Eddowes is found murdered gruesomely in the city’s East End. When the police make their report, the only indicators of her life are the possessions carried on her person, likely everything she owned in the world. In Of Thimble and Threat, Alan M. Clark tells the heartbreaking story of Catherine Eddowes, the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper, explaining the origin and acquisition of the items found with her at the time of her death, chronicling her life from childhood to adulthood, motherhood, her descent into alcoholism, and finally her death. Of Thimble and Threat is a story of the intense love between a mother and a child, a story of poverty and loss, fierce independence, and unconquerable will. It is the devastating portrayal of a self-perpetuated descent into Hell, a lucid view into the darkest parts of the human heart. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo

The Prostitute’s Price The Fifth Victim of Jack the Ripper Publication Date: August 30, 2018 A novel that beats back our assumptions about the time of Jack the Ripper. Not the grim story of an unfortunate drunken prostitute killed before her time, but one of a young woman alive with all the emotional complexity of women today. Running from a man wanting her to pay for her crimes against his brother, Mary Jane Kelly must recover a valuable hidden necklace and sell it to gain the funds to leave London and start over elsewhere. Driven by powerful, if at times conflicting emotion, she runs the dystopian labyrinth of the East End, and tries to sneak past the deadly menace that bars her exit. Although THE PROSTITUTE’S PRICE is a standalone tale, and part of the Jack the Ripper Victims Series, it is also a companion story to the novel, THE ASSASSIN’S COIN, by John Linwood Grant. The gain a broader experience of each novel, read both. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Apple * B&N * KoboBook Trailerhttps://youtu.be/9h3V9kVL2Ko

Author and illustrator, Alan M. Clark grew up in Tennessee in a house full of bones and old medical books. His awards include the World Fantasy Award and four Chesley Awards. He is the author of seventeen books, including twelve novels, a couple of novellas, four collections of fiction, some of them lavishly illustrated, and a nonfiction full-color book of his artwork. Mr. Clark’s company, IFD Publishing, has released 42 titles of various editions, including traditional books, both paperback and hardcover, audio books, and ebooks by such authors as F. Paul Wilson, Elizabeth Engstrom, and Jeremy Robert Johnson. Alan M. Clark and his wife, Melody, live in Oregon. www.alanmclark.com Visit his blog: https://ifdpublishing.com/blogWebsite * Blog * Facebook * Facebook * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads

Excerpts from Say Anything but Your Prayers

Author’s Note—The Ripper’s London

This is a work of fiction inspired by the life of Elizabeth Stride, a woman believed to be the
third victim of Jack the Ripper. For purposes of storytelling, I have not adhered strictly to her
history. I have assigned to my main character emotional characteristics and reactions that seem
consistent with her life and circumstances. I’ve addressed puzzling events in Elizabeth Stride’s
life, and a mysterious confusion that occurred during the coroner’s inquest into her murder
concerning her identity.
To be clear, this novel is not about Jack the Ripper. The series itself is not about the killer.
Instead, each novel in the series explores the life of a different victim.
I wrote this note in the month of October, a time for scary fun. I truly enjoy the cute horror of
Halloween and a good, over-the-top zombie film, yet as one who has always been intrigued by
the dark and disturbing, as a practitioner in the horror genre, a professional writer for almost two
decades, and an illustrator for almost three, sometimes that sort of fun scare falls flat. My interest
has been drawn over time to the real horror of history and the lessons to be learned from it.
Long ago, when I first learned of Jack the Ripper and the murders associated with the killer, I
was, as most everyone is, intrigued by the endless speculation about who he might have been (I
use male pronouns when referring to him merely because of the name Jack; though we don’t
know the gender of the Whitechapel Murderer). The more I read about the murders and the
various theories, the less interested I was in the killer and the more intrigued I became with the
environment in which the murders took place. As I learned more about Victorian London and

Page 2 of
how rapidly it changed due to the industrial revolution, the more interesting I found the lives of
those who lived there at the time. Although I couldn’t learn much about the killer, I could gain
some knowledge of the five female victims. Potentially, there are more than five, but those
considered canonical victims are Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride,
Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly.
Coroner’s inquests were held to determine the cause of death for each of the women. The
inquiries are essentially trials, with juries and witnesses to help make a determination about the
manner of a victim’s demise. The verdict in each of the five cases was “Wilful murder against
some person or persons unknown.”
The words, actions, movements, and motivations of each of the women are most clearly
known to history closest to the time of their deaths because of the testimony of the witnesses
called during the inquests. In some cases, such as that of Elizabeth Stride, the last couple of
hours were recounted in detail, and in other cases, such as that of Catherine Eddowes, we have a
good idea what she did within several days of her death. The farther we go into the past away
from the hour of their deaths, however, the less detailed and the more generalized is the
information about them. Within the few years prior to their deaths, all five had suffered real
hardship—all had engaged in prostitution to survive, most, if not all, had been active alcoholics,
and most had spent time in the dehumanizing workhouse system.
In Victorian England, the Industrial revolution had led to large-scale unemployment, much
the way the Tech Revolution has done in America today. Victorian London, much like large
American cities today, suffered from overcrowding and large numbers of homeless.
We can see a modern reflection of the victims of Jack the Ripper in the homeless of twenty-
first century America. Much of the cause of that homelessness went unseen in Victorian times, as

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it does now. With the rise in the numbers of the homeless, then as now, people had a tendency to
shy away from the problem.
My natural inclination is to avoid knowing why so many people are hungry and without
shelter. I want to look away, and I don’t want to look away. My experience is that many people
are just as ambivalent. Many of the homeless are intoxicated much of the time or begging for the
means to become intoxicated. I can easily become disgusted with the endless need of the addicts
among the homeless. I could justify my righteousness by blaming their lack of hygiene, and their
crimes of desperation. However, I am a sober alcoholic and expect myself to have compassion
for them, even when it doesn’t come naturally. There, but for providence, go I.
Although I avoid those who are clearly intoxicated, on occasion I’ve asked someone begging
on the street for their story. Most aren’t good at telling a story, perhaps because they are rarely
asked to tell one. Even so, from what they say, I always get the sense that they have had happier
times, that they have capabilities, and that they have aspirations involving their own personal
interests and those whom they love.
Worse than the surface irritation of having to deal with a person who might be slovenly, dirty,
inconvenient, or in-my-face is the emotional stress of considering the plight of an unfortunate
person. My immediate response is to want to look away. I speak of my experience to take
responsibility for my reactions, yet I’m not alone. We find it easy to scorn the beggars on the
streets and then project that disdain on all homeless people, further isolating them. As a result,
the down and out are less likely to find help when in danger. If they are seriously harmed or
killed, fewer people step forward to try to find out what happened. Those who prey upon the
homeless more easily get away with their crimes. The same was true for the down and out of
Victorian London.

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What events in the lives of the five Jack the Ripper victims led to their demise on the streets
of London? How much of the way they lived was a result of the choices they made? What was
beyond their control? Were they chosen at random by their killer, or did he choose them because
he knew that fewer people would step forward to find out what happened to them? We don’t
have good, solid answers to these questions.
My impression is that their choices had something to do with securing their wellbeing,
however, much of their existence was beyond their control. The environment of London itself
was a danger. Literally hundreds of thousands of Londoners were killed by the pollution in the
air, water, and food. New industries popped up everywhere to support the burgeoning population
and to exploit the cheap labor market. Small factories occupied converted tenements or houses
that once held families in residential neighborhoods. Sometimes, only a part of such a tenement
or house was occupied by industry while the rest still functioned as a residence for individuals or
families. With an increase in the use of chemistry, and with little knowledge of the damage many
chemicals inflicted upon the bodies of those exposed to them, industries, such as match making,
destroyed the lives of their workers and those living within close proximity to production. Those
who suffered often did so without knowing why until it was too late. Matchmaking is only one
example of the industrial poisoning of Londoners. Deadly chemicals were everywhere. They
were used in medicines and in prepared foods as preservatives. Madness abounded, if not as a
result of the emotional hardships of life, then from chemical damage to the brain.
A life of poverty in London was slowly killing all of the Ripper’s victims. Survival within
that environment is the story that intrigues me. Those are lives I can relate to because I see
parallels with life in my own time.

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Regardless of whether the Ripper’s victims had few opportunities to live better lives or were
responsible in large part for their predicaments, their legacy is pitiful and poignant. Not the cute
horror of Halloween perhaps or the over-the-top-turned-almost-cartoon horror of slasher and
zombie films, the stories of the five women are full of emotional content, conflict, and drama.
What happened to the victims of Jack the Ripper is true horror, and in the telling of those tales
we are reminded that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
When I was growing up, my mother had a strange way of watching scary movies on
television with the family; she’d stand in the hallway beside the living-room, peeking around the
corner at the TV, ready to run away if the film became too scary. Is that the way we as a society
treat true horror? We all love a fun scare, but when the suffering becomes too real, we want to
run away because it’s painful to witness. I suppose I’m saying that if fewer of us looked away, if
we had the courage to see, there might be less actual horror in the world. So here’s to remaining
in the living-room of life with our eyes wide open.
And so to the life of Elizabeth Stride.

—Alan M. Clark
Eugene, Oregon

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