Art Crime whitepaper included in Scholar’s Edition of the art history novel

Who were these people really?

The fictional version of the story is now backed up by peer journal documentation.

This special scholar’s courseware edition of Bonfire of the Vanderbiltsincludes the full text of the novel, along with the author’s research whitepaper “Deconstructing the Scandalous Narrative of The Baptism,” which appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of The Journal of Art Crime. Also included in the endmatter are:

  • Extensive research bibliography
  • Rare photographs from the private collection of the painter’s family
  • Links to related audiovisual supplementary materials, including the recording of the author’s presentation on the The Baptism to the American Art Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

In 1892 Paris, Julius Stewart painted The Baptism, a Vanderbilt family scene that contains an embarrassing secret. In the novel, art historian Grace Atwood becomes obsessed with the painting and its hidden clues for reasons that have more to do with her personal ghosts. Either her doting husband is trying to make her think she’s crazy, or she really is in the early stages of dementia.

Praise for Bonfire of the Vanderbilts

“I must say, I am impressed with your sleuthing, your imagination and your ability to weave a story. Your theory is fascinating, and I personally would be quite excited if any piece of it proved true.”  —  Carson Joyner Clark, biographer of painter Julius Stewart

“Alva Vanderbilt Belmont would be very grateful to you for researching a Vanderbilt family painting – as will all the family. And as I do. Historians keep us alive!”  —  Margaret Hayden Rector, Vanderbilt biographer, author of Alva,That Vanderbilt-Belmont Woman

“Of the many inquiries we get, this has been the most interesting in a long time.”  —  The Very Rev. Harry E. Krauss (retired)

“I think you’ve done an extraordinary job of researching and speculating on the painting. You’ve certainly convinced me that this was a Vanderbilt affair!”  —  Mary Sudman Donovan, Historian, Episcopal Church USA, Author of A Different Call: Women’s Ministries in the Episcopal Church, 1850-1920

The new Scholar’s Edition is available from booksellers worldwide in EPUB or Kindle formats:

Amazon Kindle     B&N Nook


‘Choke Hold’ Paperback Giveaway on Goodreads

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Choke Hold by Gerald Everett Jones

Choke Hold

by Gerald Everett Jones

Giveaway ends November 27, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

New Rave Review for Choke Hold – a crime novel about police brutality

This from D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review:

Choke Hold sounds like a legal thriller, but it opens with a dose of unexpected humor: “Putting a law firm above a funeral home might seem an unwise marketing decision. But the price was right on the rent.” Both businesses are struggling, and both proprietors are involved in civil rights issues in their community which take them away from their appointed positions and into dangers which include confronting injustice and murder.

Subtle humor is injected into a story line that holds emotional connections, action, and social issues alike (“Whenever they turned on the waterworks, he could feel the size of his retainer shrinking…So, here she was – no cash, no credit – and probably (and this was the real challenge) with no idea whatever where chubby hubby had his assets hid.”). The infusion of all these elements into a story that ultimately revolves around murder and survival makes for a multi-faceted production that is, in turn, a gripping story of lost causes, choking situations, and heartbreak.

It should be noted that Choke Hold is replete with descriptions of urban noir culture and a sense of the urgency of race relations in the 1980s. Issues of oppression and justice are wound into the overall story of character choices and interactions, making for a saga that takes one man’s ill-fated encounter with the police and expands the tale to demonstrate its wider-reaching impact on individuals and the community.

What happens when authorities and justice systems don’t seem to care about injustice and the outcome of brutality?

Choke Hold succeeds in posing some hard questions in the course of its descriptions of a personal injury lawyer’s special challenge, making it a top recommendation for those who like police and legal procedural mysteries tempered by a healthy dose of social inspection and a light dash of wry humor throughout.

Choke Hold is now available in paperback and in EPUB (Nook) and Kindle formats.

One practical result of this book’s publication could be to encourage debate about whether to bring back the inquest process in police-involved wrongful-death cases. I’ve read that even some parties in law enforcement and the judiciary think that such a prompt, open process could help defuse public anger and improve communication based on facts rather than rumors.


Wuddya think? Do I need new glasses?

Martin Scorsese can make any movie he wants. Gerald Everett Jones can make any book he wants.

That’s fair.

Thank You Claude Monet

Impressionist painter Claude Monet did not become commercially successful until relatively late in his life. By that time, he was prosperous enough to buy a farm estate at Giverny, located a train-ride trip from Paris. Here’s a picture of him in his eighties, seated on a bench near the pond on the estate where he painted his masterwork series of water-lily panoramas.

Claude Monet at Giverny

I first saw this photo in the gift shop at Giverny. It’s a wall-sized blowup. I see him all dressed up in his three-piece suit – very probably, his best – waiting for the photographer. He has a straw hat to shade his eyes. He usually wore one with his bib overalls and old long-sleeved shirt when he painted. Perhaps this is a new one. You can almost see the gold-rimmed spectacles staring out beneath the brim. And the long beard was a trademark, dating from back in the day when it wasn’t all white.

I could imagine his saying to me, “Well, let’s get on with it.” Or, “What are you waiting for?”

I have a framed copy of it on the wall in my bathroom.

He asks me those questions every morning.

Uninvited Houseguests

That’s what Jean Renoir’s 1932 movie Boudu Saved from Drowning, Paul Mazursky’s 1986 flick Down and Out in Beverly Hills, and Christmas Karma have in common.

renoir-b down
FB_cover.indd Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)

Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)

Christmas Karma (2014) La Puerta

The Golden Glow of the Gilded Age


Evening on the Avenue, New York City – Original Oil on Canvas by G. Harvey (J Watson Fine Art)

I saw this painting in a recent issue of Southwest Art magazine, which covers fine art, and not just of cowboys and cattle.

It evokes a holiday feeling of yesteryear on the streets of uptown Manhattan, something we can imagine even if we’ve never experienced. The warm glow reminds us this was near the end of the gaslight era.

My historical novel Bonfire of the Vanderbilts takes place back then. I live in Los Angeles now, but looking at G. Harvey’s painting makes me think about frigid, gunmetal-gray days when reading a freshly-minted paper book by the fire was just the perfect thing.

Feeling Blue on Black Friday?

Christmas Karma book cover sketch and finished cartoon by Gary Palmatier, Ideas to Images

Christmas Karma book cover sketch and finished cartoon by Gary Palmatier, Ideas to Images

As the holidays approach, I’m not necessarily happy about it.

I wrote Christmas Karma after I’d gone through a series of personal losses. I think in those situations everyone experiences a whole spectrum of emotions, from bewilderment, to anger, and even at times some relief that your dear one’s suffering is over. And then I thought about how, if the soul is truly immortal – and, if so, it can’t ever be hurt, harmed, or endangered – wouldn’t it have a sense of humor?

You don’t need to have any particular brand of religious faith – or any at all – to enjoy this book. Most of all, please don’t take any of it too seriously. And if you post reviews – and I hope you will – please hold back the spoilers! If the sometimes bewildering plot twists entertained you, you’ll understand why it wouldn’t be, ah, good karma to give the game away.

May it bring you some welcome tears and laughter.

Not Just Another WordPress Site


LaPuerta – “The Door”

My friend and colleague Steven Sanchez advises companies and authors how to develop websites, exploit social media, and use WordPress in particular. After I took in a seminar he gave last week for the Independent Writers of Southern California (, I realized that my Web activities needed some reorganization. As you can see from the menus in the sidebar of this new site, I’m active in a lot of places. But there was no hub, nowhere I put my stake in the ground and called it my center.

So here it is, thanks in large measure to Steven’s advice –, a place where this author can rave and rant. I plan to be thoughtful here and to encourage your comment and debate. Let’s get past the cute videos (not that I don’t enjoy them) and the snippets. And the memes, whatever those are.

As to the picture, the name of my small press and production company is LaPuerta.