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Reporter Gary Craig’s new book “Seven Million”

Craig will be giving a reading at Writers & Books on Thursday, May 18, at 7:00 PM. More information on that here.

 

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Reporter Gary Craig has been following the Rochester Brinks heist since he covered the story in 1993. It is one of the nation’s biggest armored car company heists in history, with a priest, a cop, and an IRA rebel suspected of the robbery. When the investigation was reopened in 2007, the police called on Craig for his assistance and knowledge of the case that has yet to uncover the missing 5.2 million dollars.

Seven Million looks at the intense FBI investigation of the heist in a story that is populated by a colorful cast of characters, including cops and FBI agents, prison snitches, a radical priest of the Melkite order who ran a home for troubled teenag- ers on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and the IRA rebel who spent long years jailed in one of Northern Ireland’s most brutal prisons, and later was living under- ground in New York posing as a comics dealer.

Craig investigates the strange, sad fate of Ronnie Gibbons, a down-and-out boxer and muscle-for-hire in illegal New York City card rooms, who was in on the early planning of the heist, and who disappeared one day in 1995 after an ill-advised trip to Rochester to see some men about getting what he felt he was owed. Instead, he got was what was coming to him.

And there’s Officer Tom O’Connor, a retired Rochester cop working security for Brinks at the time, and an easy suspect. O’Connor had been previously suspected of everything from robbery to murder to complicity with the IRA. One ex-IRA soldier, in particular, was indebted to O’Connor for smuggling he and his girlfriend into the United States, and when he was caught in New York City with $2 million in cash from the Brink’s heist, prosecutors were certain they finally had enough to nail O’Connor. But they were wrong.

Seven Million is a meticulous re-creation
of a complicated heist executed by a variegated and unsavory crew, and of its many repercussions. Some of the suspects are now dead, some went to jail; none of them are talking about the robbery or what really happened to Ronnie Gibbons.

“Fascinating. . . . Craig has the talent to guide us through the various intricacies and helps tie up the possibilities. Along the way, veteran area crime watchers will find references to the double initial murders of the past, and even a bit of Rochester mob history.”

—Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

“A priest, an Irish revolutionary, and an ex- cop walk into a bar—no, it’s not the setup for a joke, it’s the premise of Gary Craig’s thrilling nonfiction heist narrative. Finally, this story has been told in all its glory. Using superlative research, and written in the style of a hard-boiled thriller, Seven Million will keep you up at night. Sheer entertainment. . . . Read this book!”

—T. J. English, New York Times–bestselling author of Where the Bodies Were Buried and The Westies

“One of the most mysterious heists of our age finally has an account to match its scale and ambition. Seven Million investigates every aspect of this amazing story with a reporter’s obsession and with uncommon grace.”

—Robert Kolker, author of Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery

GARY CRAIG is a reporter for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s Watchdog team, focusing on public safety and criminal justice. He has more than two decades of investigative reporting experience and has won state, regional, and national awards. is is his first book.

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Testimonial from Writer in Residence at Gell, Kelli Jo Ford

 

The Gell Residency for Writers with Children has been such a gift. Because my partner is teaching this summer, his time away from school didn’t coincide with our daughter’s. We wrestled some with how to make the trip work for all three of us, and ultimately decided to ask my mom, who lives in Texas, if she could join us and look after our daughter while I worked. We were all a little disappointed that my partner couldn’t join us, but being able to spend time at the Gell House with my mom and my daughter was a really beautiful experience. I believe it was just the way it was supposed to be, and the generous travel reimbursement provided by Gell and the Sustainable Arts Foundation gave us a way to make the trip happen.

 

Spending the week with Mom and Cypress was special for us as a family. (With Mom so far away, we just never seem to get enough time together.) However, it was also really good for my work. As I mentioned in my application, my manuscript is about an inter-generational family of women—what better way to immerse myself into that world than at a writing retreat with my mom and daughter?!

I was able to make solid progress on my manuscript while I was at Gell. Though I was in a beautiful, secluded location, I was able to consult with my readers by both phone and email. Much of the time was spent revising the first story of my manuscript based on those talks and emails. I also started a new story for the first time in a while—something that only happened because I was able to dedicate hours each day to reading and thinking.

 

The land around Gell is inspiring. We took many walks during work breaks, and while I was writing, I would often look out the front windows and see my mom and daughter at the spring blowing bubbles or having boat races. When they’d come in, my daughter was always excited to tell me about the deer tracks they saw or the many wonders the spring held for her. Thank you for providing such a special work experience at Gell House. I’m grateful that I had the time to work and that I was able to share that time with my family. We’ll always remember it.

 

With Gratitude,
Kelli Jo Ford

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LTYM Megaphone Sponsor spotlight: Writers & Books

by MONICAGEBELL on MAY 4, 2017

We are thrilled to once again have Writers & Books as a sponsor! Writers & Books is Rochester’s literary center that fosters and promotes reading and writing as lifelong activities. If you have ever been to Writers & Books, you know what an incredible place it is. They are the only local organization that focuses specifically on nurturing the literary arts in individuals and families through classes, workshops, and programs that help readers and writers develop their skills at all levels. Writers & Books has something to offer for everyone, ages 5-105!

 

They support and promote reading and writing in people of all ages and backgrounds, from the SummerWrite program for children, to memoir-writing and veterans groups for older members of the community. They engage our community through public readings and programs in schools and other settings, and they offer a large scholarship program so anyone has access their wide spectrum of programming. Writers & Books is a place for people to gather and share thoughts and ideas about reading and writing, and Rochester is very lucky to have such a place! Not many communities have such an active and prominent literary center that hosts classes, community reading programs, and so much more.


When our Listen To Your Mother production team first gathered together for our inaugural show, we knew that Writers & Books had to be involved with the production in some way. With a mission so closely aligned to the project’s goal, we figured we were natural partners. A hard-working and very busy bunch of people, this small but mighty nonprofit took on the task of Megaphone Sponsorship for our show through their in-kind donation of space.

 

They have been the perfect home for our auditions and our initial-read through for all three years of the show, and their beautiful books graced the photos of many of our cast head-shots! Accommodating, patient, and endlessly kind, Writers & Books has such a wonderful part of our Listen To Your Mother experience.

Read the entire blog piece here.

Head to their website to purchase tickets & get more information on the 2017 cast, sponsors, and more: http://listentoyourmothershow.com/rochester/

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Write. Harp. Wine. Howl. A blog about the upcoming Mother Wolf Writing Retreat by Christine Green

As I write this post I can hear rock music drifting from the kitchen. My twelve-year-old son is a beep-beep-beeping to some game on his phone. The dog is sniffing my heels begging for a walk. There is laundry to fold and we’re out of milk. Again. My email inbox is overflowing and I have at least 6 partially read books begging for my attention.

 

I love my family and the life I’ve co-created with my partner and children. I love my job (reviewing local books), and I enjoy taking care of my home.  But…

 

There is always a “but” isn’t there?

 

I crave space to write. Even when my house is empty and it is blissfully quiet I still see my “to-do” list on the fridge. My work and volunteering obligations (and, again, that inbox!) somehow always take center stage. I can go days, even weeks, without doing any personal writing.

 

But writing is what feeds my heart. It is what keeps me going and stimulates my mind. When I spend time putting pen to paper and exploring my inner self through the written word I am not only a healthier and happier person, but I’m also a better mother, spouse, and friend. I have the energy to tackle my work and care for my home and family with vigor and joy.

 

I deserve space and time to write. You deserve it, too.

 

Many women and women-identified writers spend so much of their life caretaking and loving others that self-care and self-love fall to the wayside. We can easily forget to nourish our own souls.

 

Writing retreats and workshops provide a safe, nurturing, and empowering space to writers who, like me, need to renew their spirit and reinvigorate their writing practice.

 

Writing retreats can:

 

  • Inspire writing and project ideas
  • Teach new writing techniques
  • Provide new self-care strategies
  • Help you escape (in a healthy way) the demands of work and family obligations
  • Introduce you to like-minded people
  • Allow you to enjoy quiet time in nature or a space designed specifically to feel comforting and relaxing
  • Assist you in overcoming creative blocks

 

 

We hope you are now inspired to show yourself a little love. Please join the Mother Wolf Writer’s Retreat at the Gell Center in Bristol, NY on May 13th. Award-winning Rochester-area writers and artists come together to inspire attendees through meditation, hypnosis, music, spiritual crafting, and professional coaching. For more information visit our website. https://www.motherwolfwritersretreat.com/