Blog Tour, Book Excerpt

Tasting the Apple by Sherilyn Decter: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Tasting the Apple CoverA young widow on the edge. A policeman back from the dead. Together, can they take down the city’s most notorious bootlegger?

Philadelphia, 1925. With a son to raise and boarders to feed, Maggie Barnes is at her wit’s end. But when a criminal element infiltrates the police force, the single mother puts her cares aside to help. As she tries to dig up dirt on bootlegger mastermind Mickey Duffey, Maggie realizes she can’t take on the case alone…

Inspector Frank Geyer used to patrol the streets of Philadelphia before Maggie was born. As he attempts to clean up crime from beyond the grave, the spirit uses his Victorian sensibilities to fight back against lawbreakers. But with corruption throughout the police force, can the phantom informant save his city and Maggie’s livelihood?
​With the roof leaking and the lawlessness spiraling, Maggie and Frank have one chance to take down a criminal and prevent the unthinkable…

Book Info

  • Release Date: March 14, 2019
  • Series: Bootleggers’ Chronicles #2
  • Page Numbers: 342

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When you hear the word Prohibition, images of Flappers, gangsters and jazz. But there was also a lot of mystery in the Roaring 20s. Today we get a chance to see how the ghost of a policeman helps a widow deal with criminal elements.

Author Sherilyn Decter is visiting today to share her latest release, TASTING THE APPLE, the second installment in her Bootleggers’ Chronicles. She also has an exciting giveaway she’s hosting for the tour. Be sure to check it out at the end of the post.



Balancing Fact and Fiction in Historical Novels

History, beyond the dry resuscitation of dates and names, is a story. ‘To the victor goes the pen’ is a gentle reminder that even academic historians bring a bias and a point of view to their reporting.

Novelists of historical fiction have an even greater challenge. What to include, how to shape the dry bones of fact to make a compelling story?
Historians are vital for those who want to understand our present and get a sense of what the future may hold. They sift through the detritus of people’s lives, pulling out facts and patterns and then reweaving them into a whole to provide us mere mortals with a path forward.

As appealing as that is, I am not an historian. I am a story teller. I take those same facts and attempt to reshape them into something that I hope you will find entertaining. My fictional characters get to live with factual characters.

At the beginning of my novels, I have the disclaimer, ”Tasting the Apple is a work of historical fiction in which the author has occasionally taken artistic liberties for the sake of the narrative and to provide a sense of authenticity. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, dialogue, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.”

The Bootleggers’ Chronicles books are works of fiction and should never be considered anything but. While I’ve tried to stay true to the grand arch of history, occasionally I’ve moved an event that happened in one month into another so that it has a better flow through the story.

The Bootleggers’ Chronicles series is based in Philadelphia during the 1920s. It is set during the time of Prohibition, an era that reshaped America. Many of the characters found between the pages of the Bootleggers’ Chronicles were actual people, walking the streets and living their lives in Philadelphia during this time. I have been inspired by their individual stories, but have reshaped them to fit the plot of my books. Sometimes things happened in real life in a similar fashion to what I have laid out, and sometimes it is a complete fabrication. In the Author Notes at the end of each book, I attempt to make the distinction.

Many of the real characters in my novels are known only through police reports and newspaper reports tucked away in dusty archives. The information they provide sparks curiosity, but rarely is there any satisfactory answer to the questions ‘why?’.

I include at the end of each book, a listing of the characters- noting whether they are factual or fictional, and links to other sources of information if the reader is curious.




Take a look. A quick look. See the pretty lady, arms and legs flying faster than her fringe? The feathers in her hair dancing, the sequins glittering, the band tearing up the stage with that razzmatazz jazz? Look close: Betty Boop mouth a cherry red, cheeks flushed pink. Beneath the short, bobbed hair, her eyes glitter. Is it excitement? Is it the bathtub gin they serve behind the bar? Or maybe, just maybe, it’s panic. Dance faster, doll, dance faster. You don’t want to get left behind; the night is young.

Take another look. See the fella in the corner? Broad shoulders, broad lapels, wide tie. Do you see that bulge by his arm? He’s packin’ heat and supposed to be listening at the door. A quick knock, a secret password, and you’re in. Look real close. See those eyes beneath the brim of his fedora? Always moving, always casing the joint. They’re narrowed. Is it boredom? Is it lust? Is it calculation? Don’t blink; it could be over in an instant.

Look again. Past the dame on the dance floor, past the goon at the door, outside the speakeasy, just down the dark street. See those two cops talking to the fella with the flasks under his coat? They’ve been caught in the cone of the street light. Two bits a drink, bub, two bits a drink. Look closer. Whaddaya see? A criminal? Two criminals? Fear? Greed?

Philadelphia. 1926. Six years into prohibition. Take a look, then look away. Nuthin to see here, folks. Moonshine and illegal hooch is washing down the streets of the city. From the mayor on down to the poor sap on the street, everybody wants a taste.

One last look. Can you see him? Behind that fella at the door of the speakeasy? Behind that moll on the dance floor? Behind those cops on the street? Behind that schmo with the tin flask and a cup?

There. Can you see him, now? You’re looking for a guy in the shadows, the glowing tip of his cigarette. He’s the man with the hooch, with the look-away bribes, with the tommy gun, with the swagger. Take a look, but not too close. He’s the bootlegger and he’s got a sweet deal—just for you.





Author Sherilyn Decter is giving away an autographed paperback copy of TASTING THE APPLE and INNOCENCE LOST.

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About the Author

Sherilyn Decter

The Roaring Twenties and Prohibition were a fantasy land, coming right after the horrors and social upheaval of World War I. Even a century later, it all seems so exotic.

Women got the vote, started working outside the home, and (horrors!) smoked and drank in public places. They even went on unchaperoned dates (gasp)! Corsets were thrown into the back of the closets, and shoes were discovered to be an addictive fashion accessory after hemlines started to rise. And thanks to Prohibition, suddenly it was fashionable to break the law. The music was made in America- ragtime, delta blues, and of course jazz. Cocktails were created to hide the taste of the bathtub gin. Flappers were dancing, beads and fringes flying. Fedoras were tipped. And everyone was riding around in automobiles (aka struggle buggies and I leave it to your imagination why- wink.)

Bootleggers’ Chronicles grew out of that fascination. Writing as Sherilyn Decter, I will eventually have a series of historical crime fiction novels dealing with the bootleggers, gangsters, flappers, and general lawlessness that defined Prohibition. The Bootlegger blog rose out of all the research that I’ve been doing about this incredible era.

Growing up on the prairies and living next to the ocean, I am a creature of endless horizons. Writing allows me to discover what’s just over the next one. My husband and I have three amazing daughters, a spoiled grandson, and two bad dogs.

Sherilyn Decter is enthralled with the flashing flappers and dangerous bootleggers from the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition. Through meticulous research, that lawless era is brought to life. Living in a century-old house, maybe the creaking pipes whisper stories in her ear.

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