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Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Story Behind the Story: Busted by Michele I. Khoury + giveaway

Ten years ago I took a Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Writing Course from the University of California at Irvine’s Extension Program. One of the first assignments was to plot a novel. While driving home from class, the idea came to me. The following week I presented my outline, and my professor said, “This is fascinating. You have to write this book.”

What’s the story?

Three main characters—a female artist, a male drug dealer, and a male DEA special agent—collide over cocaine.

The problem

I knew nothing about drugs, including cocaine.
Through networking, I found and interviewed a DEA agent, a Lt. in Narcotics, a CIA agent, two plein-air artists, several party animals, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, a Superior Court Judge, and an ER Doctor. Many scenes reflect their experiences.

Library Research

I also did a ton of library research, details of which I wove into the story when appropriate. For example, an article in the Los Angeles Times provided the basis for the airplane scene.

Jail Tour

I met Orange County Sheriff Hutchens, and she arranged a jail tour. I’d interviewed two women who’d spent time in jail, and I was skeptical of their reports until I witnessed the guards’ brutal treatment of the inmates. I was shocked.

Dealer for Pablo Escobar

One of the most memorable people I spoke with was a “gentleman” who’d sold cocaine throughout the Southwest U.S. for Pablo Escobar in the late 90’s. After being caught, convicted, and serving time, he runs a halfway house for individuals transitioning into society. What makes him noteworthy is his theory about how drugs came to the U.S., and who the "real" drug dealers and suppliers are.

How the Drug Trade Began

He said the drug trade began during the Viet Nam war, where many in the military used drugs to deal with the atrocities. When they returned home, many left their drug habits behind. Some didn’t. When they needed to feed their addictions, the demand for drugs grew.

Allegedly, the CIA believed if they supplied the drugs in the U.S., they could control the flow and fund their “black ops” that Congress wouldn’t approve.

What happened?
The demand grew faster than the CIA could supply, which opened the door for Pablo Escobar.

My contact claims the CIA has become the biggest drug supplier in the world. Because of the constant budget cuts, they supplement their funding through the black market.


A parallel example of the CIA involved in illicit activities for financial gain is the Iran-Contra affair. Remember when Oliver North brokered a deal to sell arms to Iran under the guise of freeing kidnapped Americans, then funded the Nicaraguan Contras?

I asked a CIA Agent

I spoke with a senior CIA agent, explained the dealer’s theory, and asked if it was true. He said, “No. If it were true, the press would have reported it by now. You can’t say that.” While he continued denying it, I thought of the infamous Shakespearian quote: “Methinks thou dost protest too much.”

Labor of Love

Creating Busted was a labor of love. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

by Michele I. Khoury
April 13, 2017
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Page Publishing
Paperback ISBN: 9781684097708
eBook ISBN: 978-1-68409-771-5
Number of pages: 380 (Print)
Word Count: 90K
Impacted by the recession, twenty-four-year-old artist Gina McKenna is down to her last few dollars and days away from living in her car when a successful businessman buys a painting and commissions another. As their relationship evolves, she’s seduced by his charm and mesmerized by his luxurious lifestyle until she discovers he’s a drug kingpin. Her world turns upside down, and she struggles to survive vicious brutality.

Miguel Lopez is a cocaine supplier with a weightlifter’s physique and “the rules do not apply to me” attitude. Maniacal and ruthless, he has no qualms about killing anyone who interferes with his distribution network, including Gina.

Dedicated to eradicating illegal drugs, DEA Special Agent Bobby Garcia spent months and hundreds of thousands of dollars working undercover to buy his way up the dealer chain to identify the moneyman. When his fourteen-year-old daughter overdoses on cocaine, he traces the blow to Lopez. As Bobby's mission becomes personal, he makes emotional decisions, which negatively impact civilians and his job. Unable to let go, he risks his career to orchestrate the biggest drug sting in Southern California. What happens isn’t what he expected.

When a deputy district attorney meets Gina at a party, he is smitten. As his attraction grows, so does Gina’s involvement with the DEA’s case, of which he is the designated prosecutor. Mindful of his professional ethics, he tries to stifle his feelings.

Sex and violence permeate the twists and turns of this cautionary tale about choosing one’s friends well.

Available through: Amazon, Apple’s iTunes store, the Amazon Kindle store, Google Play, and Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:
Michele I. Khoury’s writing career began when she took the Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Novel Writing Classes offered through the University of California Irvine’s extension program. She was one of three out of the fourteen students her professor choose to mentor and attended weekly critique sessions for six years. Busted is her debut novel, and she is currently writing her second book, The Sheriff’s Wife, which is about domestic violence and abuse.

She lives in Orange County, California with her husband and rescued dogs, Bubbles and Thriller.

1 Paperback Book 
1 Kindle eBook
1 Promo Code for the Audio Book

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