Sunday, October 11, 2015

Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway: Trust Me, I'm Trouble by Mary Elizabeth Summer

Welcome to my stop in TRUST ME, I'M TROUBLE by Mary Elizabeth Summer Blog Tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club. Today on my stop we have a Guest Post + an awesome Giveaway!! 

(Trust Me #2)
by Mary Elizabeth Summer
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: October 13th 2015
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Fiction

The sequel to TRUST ME, I’M LYING

Staying out of trouble isn’t possible for Julep Dupree. She has managed not to get kicked out of her private school, even though everyone knows she’s responsible for taking down a human-trafficking mob boss—and getting St. Agatha’s golden-boy Tyler killed in the process. Running cons holds her guilty conscience at bay, but unfortunately, someone wants Julep to pay for her mistakes . . . with her life.

Against her better judgment, Julep takes a shady case that requires her to infiltrate a secretive organization that her long-gone mother and the enigmatic blue fairy may be connected to. Her best friend, Sam, isn’t around to stop her, and Dani, her one true confidante, happens to be a nineteen-year-old mob enforcer whose moral compass is as questionable as Julep’s. But there’s not much time to worry about right and wrong—or to save your falling heart—when there’s a contract on your head.

Murders, heists, secrets and lies, hit men and hidden identities . . . If Julep doesn’t watch her back, it’s her funeral. No lie.

Julep is grifter and criminal mastermind. I, sadly, am not. Thus I've had to do a lot (read: a LOT) of research. When I started down this road of con artists, hackers, and mobsters, I knew just about ZILCH regarding the criminal underworld.

Confession time: I really thought I was going to be a sci-fi or fantasy author, so most of my educational and recreational background is in that—not mystery. I literally owned the Technical Manual for the Starship Enterprise. For years. What I didn't own…? Any of the Godfather movies. I hadn't even seen The Godfather until my senior year of college. Needless to say, I was vastly unprepared to write these books.

Enter the Internet.

At this point, it should come as a shock to no one that Google was my go-to for writing this book. In fact, I'll go out on a limb here and say that this book could not have been written if it weren't for Google. Here's how the Interwebs helped me learn to crime…


That's right, Google sent me to good old-fashioned books. You would be AMAZED what people are willing to put down in writing and attach their names to. I was amazed. Frankly, I wondered why they hadn't been tracked down and arrested. Here are the three books I relied on most heavily:

Author: Sheldon Charrett

Synopsis: Find out how crafty counterfeiters stay one step ahead of the bureaucrats and security professionals and readily replicate driver's licenses, birth certificates and other supposedly "secure" identity documents. In Secrets of a Back-Alley ID Man, Sheldon Charrett (The Modern Identity Changer and Identity, Privacy, and Personal Freedom) will show you the most effective "new school" and "old-school" techniques for new IDs, as well as poor man's tricks for those on a tight budget...

Author: Paul Zenon

Synopsis: As opposed to offering up typical magic tricks, this hilarious collection of scams, swindles, bets, and stunts features everyday objects and requires no special skills—just nerve. Some of the scams presented include how to drink from a champagne bottle without opening it, guess the date on a coin as it spins on the table, and pull a 10-dollar bill out from under a beer bottle without touching or knocking over the bottle. This amusing guide claims that a cheater, armed with the right skills, always wins...

Author: Frank W. Abagnale

Synopsis: Drawn from his twenty-five years of experience as an ingenious con artist (whose check scams alone mounted to more than $2 million in stolen funds), Abagnale's The Art of the Steal provides eye-opening stories of true scams, with tips on how they can be prevented. Abagnale takes you deep inside the world and mind of the con artist, showing you just how he pulled off his scams and what you can do to avoid becoming the next victim...

Blog Posts and YouTube

Just as in books, you'd be amazed what people are willing to blog about on the Internet. Wikipedia alone is a hotbed of illicit information, if you follow the bread crumbs far enough.

Here are a mere three examples, the tip of the iceberg of criminology accessible with nothing but a few keystrokes:


Title: The Ten Basic Cons

Author: Evan Andrews

Excerpt: Unlike most kinds of petty crime, a confidence game, or con, takes an enormous amount of skill and forethought to pull off. When done right, in many cases the grifters who perpetrate them have not actually done anything overtly illegal–they’ve simply used lies and manipulation to get their victim, or "mark," to willingly hand over their own money. Whether blackmail, fraud, or illegal gambling, the following are ten of the most famous ways that these swindlers try to take advantage of the confidence of their unsuspecting victims. Obviously, there are a number of takes on any kind of con, but these are the most popular variations of the most well known tricks. Read more…

 Gun Video 

Title: Underwater Bullets at 27,000fps

Author: The Slow Mo Guys

Description: Gav and Dan slow down time by over one thousand times to show you how bullets look when fired from an underwater gun. See it in action…


Title: The FBI

Author: The FBI

Description: There's a wealth of information on government sites about criminal practices and the steps law enforcement takes to bring those criminals to justice. I found most of my information about human trafficking and organized crime directly from the FBI. Check it out…

Actual, You Know, People

Beyond the Internet, there is a world full of two-legged brains all around us. And you'd, again, be shocked by the depth and breadth of knowledge those brains contain, illicit knowledge that you would never, ever in a million years expect. Like my uncle, who, inexplicably, knows how to blow up a boat using a kitchen timer. (That little tidbit came in handy, let me tell you.)

The trick to getting intel on how to game the system (any system) is in asking the people on the front lines of that system—the bank tellers, the cashiers, the busboys, the janitors. Those are the people who can give you the information on how to get free food, get into places you shouldn't be, and get away with it all scot free.

For example, long before my wife went to law school, she was a barista (and then a shift supervisor) at Starbucks for five years. (She's got the fancy pen to prove it.) So when I wanted a scene where Julep scams a free drink off a barista, I asked my wife how she would do it. She rattled off the steps she would take to finagle a free drink, and I quickly wrote them down. Then a few days later, I actually tried it. And guess what. It worked! So if you have the guts to try it, you can find out how to do it in Trust Me, I’m Lying.

The #1 Secret to Pulling Off the Perfect Con

After all my research, I did manage to find the number-one trick for pulling off the perfect con, and because I love you all so much, I'm going to tell you what it is.

It all boils down to the word "con." For those of you who don't know, the slang term "con man" is the short form of the term "confidence man." The number-one thing you must have to pull off the perfect con is confidence.

We are genetically programmed to band together to form societies. And the basic foundation of any society is mutual trust. No one can really know if you're a veterinarian who specializes in the treatment of the pink fairy armadillo. We don't have time to exhaustively research everyone we meet every day. So if you can produce a business card, rattle off a fact or two, and in general appear confident during the conversation, your mark is going to believe you 99% of the time. It's how society continues to function. And it's part of our psychological profile as a species to respond to inherent confidence.

Of course, now that I've told you, don't tell anyone else. A good grifter never reveals her secrets.


What are your go-to references for researching the criminal underworld? Have you ever used the knowledge you gleaned to commit a crime? Tell us in the comments!

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Mary Elizabeth Summer is an instructional designer, a mom, a champion of the serial comma, and a pie junkie. Oh, and she sometimes writes books about teenage delinquents saving the day. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her daughter, her partner, and her evil overlor–er, cat. TRUST ME, I'M LYING, a YA mystery, will be released by Delacorte in Fall 2014.

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