fbpx

Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.

SIGN UP FOR SNEAK PEEKS OF MY NEXT BOOK + NEWSLETTER-ONLY UPDATES.

The dark side of America’s founding fathers

Just when I’d sworn off guest posts for good, along came an offer I couldn’t refuse. If you haven’t yet met Roland Yeomans of the blog Writing in the Crosshairs, you’re in for a treat. Roland always manages to blend historical reality with fiction in a way that’s fantastically entertaining. I’m not exaggerating when I say his is one of my all-time favourite blogs. Who else gives you writing advice from the ghost of Mark Twain?

Take it away, Roland!

“I know what you have come here for: strange, true tales of horror that make fiction pale in comparison. Among us walk monsters and if you walk into their embrace, you cannot close a book to end the nightmare.

In my latest book, I write of a few monsters you may be familiar with…

official_presidential_portrait_of_thomas_jefferson_by_rembrandt_peale_1800THOMAS JEFFERSON
Who made the phrase “All men are created equal” famous – except for his black sons, whom he freed only in his will, still leaving their mother a slave.

Who sent secret government documents to the French foreign minister during the time France was at war with America, in order to undermine the current president and become the next one.
benfranklinduplessis
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Whose desire to appear normal had him ask a wife of a prosperous family to pay off his enormous debt with a dowry, and when refused, asked the father to mortgage his home.

Skeletons of young boys were found in the basement of his dwelling in London, where he was rumored to be a member of the infamous Hellfire Club.

Who, while in Paris, assassinated the character of John Adams behind the man’s back in letters to Congress while smiling at Adams all the while.

Who did whatever the French foreign minister Vergennes asked in return for public acclaim, posh living arrangements, and…lap dances from aristocratic ladies (see David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize winning John Adams.)

fotolia_67049324_subscription_monthly_mTHOMAS EDISON
Who never ran into another’s invention that he did not want to steal. Heinrich Goebel, ill and starving, came to Edison to sell his invention of the light bulb. Edison refused, waited for the poor man to die, and then went and bought the invention for a pittance from the starving, grieving widow.

Louis Le Prince, a French inventor, invented working motion pictures before Edison. Whoever got the patents for motion-picture technology would become very wealthy indeed.

In 1890, Le Prince took a trip to patent his invention in England, where he would then sail to America to exhibit and patent it. He got on a train on September 13, 1890, and was never seen again. His luggage vanished as well.

The family continued with Le Prince’s patent quest.

Unfortunately, in 1892, while Le Prince’s son was testifying in a patent trial against Edison, he was mysteriously shot to death by an unknown assailant. This murder was never solved, but Edison did throw a small party when “told” of the murder.

Don’t get me started on what he did to poor Nikola Tesla (who also appears in my novel).

There are exotic monsters in my novel as well.innocents-at-large-cover
* Not the Loup-garou who change to wolves at the bidding of the full moon, but the Roux-ga-roux who change to wolves at the bidding of their bloodlust. (Much like the humans of whom I’ve written above.)
* The bestial Germanic dragons and the mysterious celestial dragons of China.
* The immortal, cruel Sidhe.
* Warring global revenant kingdoms who rule under the noses of mortal Man.

But Man is monster enough.

No fiction we will write will ever be as horrific as what we do to each other.

But not all is horror and murder in THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS AT LARGE.”

Consider buying Roland’s book for just 99 cents. Included is a free short story and a reader’s discussion section. Those who write an honest review will receive a free Neil Gaiman audio book, The Wolves in the Wall. How awesome is that?

You can connect with Roland and follow along with his amusing “Don’t Buy My Book” blog tour here. Every stop has a very different post.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Roland Yeomans was born in Detroit, Michigan. But his last memories of that city are hubcaps and kneecaps since, at the age of seven, he followed the free food when his parents moved to Lafayette, Louisiana. Hitchhiking after their speeding car was a real adventure.

Roland has a Bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in Psychology. He has been a teacher, counselor, book store owner, and even a pirate, since he once worked at a tax-preparation firm.

So far he has written thirty-four books. You can find Roland on his web page or at his private table in Meilori’s. The web page is safer to visit. But if you insist on visiting Meilori’s, bring a friend who runs slower than you.

Got a question for Roland? Fire away!

1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.

34 Comments

    • Roland Yeomans

      Sadly, his publicists made sure his image was squeaky clean. As an added bonus in THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS ABROAD, I have added at the end as a free bonus the 6000 word short story, EDISON’S MANSION where I go into his history of cruelty a bit more. It is also only 99 cents, too. I think you might enjoy the short story. 🙂

      Reply
  1. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    I knew Edison was ruthless when it came to inventions. Didn’t know Franklin was such a scoundrel though.

    Reply
    • Roland Yeomans

      Franklin was even worse than what you read. I just did not have the heart to go into it all.

      Reply
    • Roland Yeomans

      Edison’s cold, driving ambition propelled him into monstrous acts with apparently no regrets — probably was a sociopath before the term was coined.

      Reply
    • JH

      It’s about time.

      Reply
  2. Heather M. Gardner

    Wow!
    Great post! I had no idea.
    Heather

    Reply
    • Roland Yeomans

      The history we know is not how things really happened. As Napoleon wrote: “The winners write the histories!” Brrr,

      Reply
  3. Mary Aalgaard

    I also enjoy Roland’s blog. Brilliant writer/researcher. I bought the Not-so-Innocents Abroad book. Are you inspired by historical characters with shady pasts? What do you think of the Broadway smash hit Hamilton?

    Reply
    • Roland Yeomans

      Thanks, Mary! Give THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS AT LARGE a chance, will you? 🙂 It gives historical dark facts from the childhood of Princess Victoria to the terrible medicinal practices of the Parisian Medical Schools. Brrr!

      In McCullough’s above mentioned JOHN ADAMS, you will learn that Hamilton plotted to become America’s Napoleon, taking control of Washington’s army to become emperor … for the welfare of the country, of course.

      Because of what I know of Hamilton, I did not listen to the play. I am sure it is great entertainment though.

      Reply
  4. Lisa S.

    Not surprising. I can only imagine how many historical inventions, ideas and artistic creations were stolen from the original inventor, especially at a time when many segments of the population were oppressed (people of colour, women, poor/illiterate). Just because someone copyrights an idea doesn’t mean they invented it.
    Thanks for the guest post, Roland – and J.H. for mixing up the content a bit. Wasn’t expecting this today, so well done!

    Reply
    • Roland Yeomans

      Most of the inventions for which Edison is famous were not born of his mind but craftily snatched by the man. 🙁 In the short story, EDISON’S MANSION, I reveal his racist side as well.

      Lisa, I am happy you enjoyed my little post of historical dark secrets. Sad secrets of British-controlled Egypt are revealed in my THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT and DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE. You might enjoy finding them out, too. Thanks again, Lisa.

      Reply
    • JH

      You’re very welcome, Lisa! Thanks for being such a loyal reader and commenter. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  5. Birgit

    I knew about Jefferson except not selling to the French. I watched an excellent documentary about Ben Franklin and his part in the dead bodies. He lived there when body snatching was at its height and doctors would experiment…unclear if Ben Franklin took part but he did know about it and was not against it. I didn’t know how much in debt he was. I knew all about Edison and consider him a real bastard! In the early days of motion pictures…due to his patent, he would send out thugs to stop independent motion picture companies from making films. Arson, beating beaten up and being killed was all part of it and this is the main reason the independent film people went to California to escape this brutality. I can’t stand Edison.

    Reply
    • Roland Yeomans

      Yes, Edison was a real piece of work all right. In my first NOT-SO-INNOCENTS, that free short story, EDISON’S MANSION, has him receive a fitting punishment — even though it took place after his “death.” His motion picture viciousness is also covered in the story as well.

      Jefferson could not restrain his buying sprees even when he was deeply in debt. He died owing $100,000 (a lot in those times), and Adams died leaving that much to his heirs since he was a man who strove to live a simple life.

      Reply
    • JH

      Wow! I didn’t realize he’d sunk quite that low. That’s really chilling. How scary that we’re only taught about “his” inventions in school.

      Reply
  6. Ryan Carty

    Very interesting stuff. More examples of how what gets recorded in history favors the winners, those with influence and money, power. In the end, the stories get out, but by then the legend has sway.

    Reply
    • Roland Yeomans

      What is the saying, Ryan? When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. Money talks, and the guilty often walk. I guess we must simply decide to be the hero in our lives, right? Thanks for reading and commenting, Ryan. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Roland Yeomans

    J.H.- Thanks so much for having me here! It has been fun. 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      You’re very welcome, Roland. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Crystal Collier

    Interesting. I did know of some of these people’s illicit lifestyles/choices, but others are a total surprise. Off to do more research!

    Reply
    • Roland Yeomans

      The more research I do on historical figures for my novels, the sadder I become at the disparity of truth with history texts. 🙁

      Reply
  9. L. Diane Wolfe

    Edison was mean. They showed some of what he did to Tesla in the movie The Prestige.

    Reply
    • Roland Yeomans

      Didn’t David Bowie do a fantastic job at portraying Nicola Tesla? I had Tesla have his revenge against Edison in my New Year’s Eve horror story, EDISON MANSION, found at the end of THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS ABROAD. That is part of the fun of writing alternate histories: rectifying terrible wrongs — if only in my tales. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Chrys Fey

    The murder mystery involving Edison is chilling. I suppose no one wants us to know about the dark side of historical figures like this.

    Reply
    • Roland Yeomans

      It makes me aware that those smiling into the cameras at us from their campaign podiums may very well be monsters as well. Are there any more emotionally healthy individuals among our politicians? In my researching, only John Adams and Harry Truman, while flawed as we all are, were decent human beings.

      Reply
  11. Dianne Salerni

    Ben Franklin with the skeletons of boys in the basement? Say it isn’t so!

    Reply
    • Roland Yeomans

      Sadly, it is so. The true reason why may never be known. We only think we know who our historical figures were. Brrr.

      Reply
  12. C. Lee McKenzie

    And today we have our own monsters, do we not? Like Grandma always said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”

    Those skeletons found in Franklin’s boarding house were there, but as I recall they belonged to cadavers and some animals that a young doctor (cannot remember his name) used to discover the secrets of the vascular system. I’m sure there was grave robbing involved, and Franklin probably knew about what was going on. I’ll have to find that article. It was grim, but fascinating.

    Great post, Roland. Thanks for letting him have at, J.H.

    Reply
    • Roland Yeomans

      There are varying explanations given for those bodies, but in all probability, we will never know for sure.

      Franklin’s servant in his house in Paris told of strange rituals done behind locked doors and long midnight walks of his master. History only sketches historical in broad, often deceiving, strokes. Brrr.

      Thanks for enjoying my post, Lee! 🙂

      Reply
  13. Roland Yeomans

    Again, J.H. thanks for having me! Today being Halloween, the ghost of Mark Twain on my blog is regaling us with his tale of his harrowing night spent in a haunted Hawaiian plantation — scares and chuckles abound. Pay me a visit and let Mark know how you liked his tale, will you? 🙂

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.