An excerpt from OBSCURITY: Jodi Arias. The final book in the 6 part series.

From the chapter:JA6

Jodi’s Triumph

On the way to Mesa what was Jodi thinking, for hours on end? I’m killing Travis; this is the first day of the rest of my life. I’m getting me some payback and then I’m going to make sure I live happily ever after…

She was described the same way on the day after the killing as before.  She was fine. Injured finger and all, Jodi looked fine. Why? Because she’s a karma-karma-karma-karma-Chameleon. And why shouldn’t she be, because for once in Jodi’s life she actually felt significant. She finally had the power. She finally recognized herself in the mirror.


If you think this psychology, of killing someone else in order to buy more life for yourself, or as a way of giving yourself a stronger sense of yourself; if you think that’s rare, it’s not. Bullies do it at school; celebrities do it all the time. Someone thrives at the expense of someone else. Often there must be a victim in order for there to be a hero.   valkyrie

This is why Hitler needed a scapegoat, why he needed to blame shit on someone and made himself the saviour of Germany. Hitler made the Jews his scapegoats. A short little insecure man who had sex with young girls and needed to build his legacy on the corpses of millions. That’s how he made himself into more of a man. That’s how he intended to escape social death, or death itself, and insignificance. Jodi’s murder of Travis was cruel exactly because she needed to feel her supremacy over him. She needed him to hurt, to beg, to scream, so that she could feel strong, dominant, in control, superior. And yes, all this made her feel not obscure, not lost, not pathetic – SIGNIFICANT!

AZ 4

I’ve often wondered what Jodi was thinking about while driving those hundreds of miles, eventually thousands of miles, alone through the desert. I’ve made that trip from Southern California to Phoenix, back and forth a few times, and in the middle of nowhere you have nothing but your thoughts. It’s solitude. On her way there…


OBSCURITY is available now on Amazon.   All you need to read it is the Kindle Reading App, which can be used on almost all PCs and smart devices.

What do you think Jodi was thinking about on her drive through the desert to kill Travis and then back?  Share your thoughts!

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Excerpt from OBSCENITY: Jodi Arias

The Obscenity of Pain

A major recipe for unhappiness is constantly comparing oneself unfavorably to others.  Just comparing oneself to others is a recipe for unhappiness.  It’s an existence that’s entirely ego driven, which means the good moments in it are not sustainable for any appreciable length of time.  Of course, Jodi couldn’t find a place of joy possibly because there wasn’t one.  Because she was empty.  Because she had no hobbies, no education, because she didn’t have a purpose-driven life but rather felt life owed her.  Good things would come to her via The Secret, via affirmations, via scribbling in her diary, via wishing upon a star.  And when they didn’t, it was a bitter pill to swallow.  From that passive place of waiting rose an enraged monster with years of pent up frustration, anger, bitterness and hate.  Especially hate.

JATA14.jpgIn terms of Jodi and Travis, it may be tempting to believe that Jodi was the odd dysfunctional duck.  It may be tempting to think Jodi had made a mess of her life and was not dealing with her shit, while Travis had pulled himself together.  Of course, Travis was still seeing Jodi off and on in 2008, and had sex with her on the same day she murdered him, so can we really – honestly – say Travis’ life was ‘together’?  Was he fulfilled, happy, successful?  Or was he struggling, insecure, desperate to be married and somehow failing not only in the eyes of his beloved [various beloveds], but I think he saw himself failing in the eyes of the LDS society and in his own eyes.  When you see yourself it can be scary, and tempting to run away from these realizations, and I think Travis was doing that.

What did he see in the empty vessel that was Jodi circa May 2008, parts of himself?  The same tragic woundedness?  The same empty brokenness?  I wonder.  What we do know is Travis was on a mission with Jodi to…

OBSCENITY is available on Amazon.  Featuring private communications from both Jodi and Travis.

If you don’t have a Kindle, no problem… simply download the free Kindle Reading App and read the book from any of your smart devices or PC.

OBSCENITY COVER final-p19pit48ba1rse1453g531088p3q

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Excerpt #2 from VANITY

From the chapter:

History is a Nightmare from which I’m Trying to Awaken

 “It is the disconnect between dreams and reality that causes the wishes of the past to swell up like waves on the bay and threaten to capsize the vessel of hope…” – Cassidy Whitson, Alligator Blogger

And if that isn’t a description for VANITY, I don’t know what it is. What VANITY does, and its attendant preoccupations is it progressively makes for us a gallows out of the very stuff of life, and before we know it we are caught in a sort of liminality.  If purgatory is that limbo that exists between heaven and hell, then liminality is a kind of purgatory for the living.  It’s not a place you want to find yourself, because you are trapped, paralysed and unable to live or die. 

Personal and social crisis and collapse can bring this on, but in either case, weakened foundations don’t collapse overnight.  They are eaten away by poisonous dreams:

Via Wikipedia:

Without stable institutions (which are effectively broken down in a liminal period), “people will look at concrete individuals for guidance”. This notion of imitation is closely tied to that of the trickster figure. The trickster is a universal figure that can be found in folktales and myths of nearly all cultures. These tricksters can be characterized as follows:

[they] are always marginal characters: outsiders, as they cannot trust or be trusted, cannot give or share, they are incapable of living in a community; they are repulsive, as – being insatiable – they are characterized by excessive eating, drinking, and sexual behavior, having no sense of shame; they are not taken seriously, given their affinity with jokes, storytelling, and fantasizing.

In the context of liminality, the trickster is a very dangerous figure: “in a liminal situation where certainties are lost, imitative behavior escalates, and tricksters can be mistaken for charismatic leaders”.


Do you see Jodi in that?  Do you see the relationship between the collapse of ‘stable institutions’ (these could include parents, authority figures or just good old ordinary leadership) and rise of tricksters.  Tricksters are by their very nature opportunists, who prey on vanities of the disenfranchised, and they do so using empty populism.  If this doesn’t sound particularly bad, well, the greatest arch villains of all time – factual and fictional – fall into this category.  They rise when the world falls.  They enter the world through its darkest cracks.  They are the Joker, Loki and Hitler.  And Jodi Arias.   If we are not careful, tricksters emerge through the fabric of our own lives, and may ruin vast fractions of our fortunes and eat away at our Life Force.

VANITY is available on Amazon

Vanity by Nick van der Leek-p19m7kbveb1p87h9ftdf127017rj

First Review of VANITY

VANITY: Jodi Arias– Is a must read for anyone who followed this tragic case!

By Paige on May 27, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
VANITY is one of the most comprehensive books written about the tragic relationship between Travis Alexander and Jodi Arias. Even though I had followed the trial of the convicted murderer and also read nearly every book written, I still learned more about the dynamics between these two people that I hadn’t known before.
The writers have delved deep into the psyches of both Travis Alexander and Jodi Arias. They share such insight into what we viewers and readers couldn’t quite understand–How this relationship between two people came to such a horrifying end.
On June 4, 2008, Jodi Arias butchered Travis Alexander with such absolute fury and savagery. At first glance, Jodi Arias seemed too meek and mild to have carried out such a heinous crime. Then, she confessed to killing Travis Alexander. It was still hard to fathom. I know that I was really watching her “interviews” with any media outlet who would give her the air time. Each time I watched I wanted to try to understand why. Why in the world did Jodi Arias kill Travis Alexander?!? What could make a person do such an evil thing? Was she possessed by an evil demon? I really wanted to understand.

With this book, VANITY: Jodi Arias, the authors Lisa Wilson, and Nick van der Leek, have answered some lingering questions I have had.

Case in point, one question I have had is why did Travis let Jodi inside his home when she showed up on June 4, 2008? Since reading this book, the answer is crystal clear.

I’ve read all four books in this series, and I thought this one was the absolute best. I look forward to reading their next book. Highly recommend this book!!

Available on Amazon

An Excerpt from VANITY – Book #4 in the Jodi Arias Series

From the Chapter:

Bad Boy, Bad Girl

While Travis is sexting with his buddy Maria, and hoping that Mimi says yes to Cancun, there’s something more ominous going on with Jodi.  Her snooping has graduated to a whole other level.  The email, text and social media hacking was bad enough, but this time she’s gotten into Travis’ personal journals.  Jodi’s dark tree, nourished on the ashes of failed relationship misery is coming into its full shadowy extent.  But look closer.  Are those branches? Are those leaves?  Or is that jagged outline something far more monstrous? A cunning beast of many forms is rippling through her skin, trying to emerge. Something alien, and evil, and almost reptilian is stirring, expanding through her from the inside.  It infiltrates every cell like a cancer.  Some unutterable rage, like a black ink, like some invisible chimera claiming its host, moves through her, making her able change her colours with each passing sentiment. She’s morphing into her true self; a cunning chameleon and a killer.

Vanity by Nick van der Leek-p19m7kbveb1p87h9ftdf127017rj

Jodi’s plot is simple. She’ll take her time and gather the information she needs, and then she’ll watch Travis go nuts.

April 23, 2008 Text Message

19:25:10 TRAVIS TO JODI: I just noticed that in addition to my last journal that I lost my journal before that are missing too. The 2 journals encompass all the time I was with you. Jodi please, if you have anything to do with this, if you ever had any ounce of love for me you’ll give them back. Out of all things in my life that I hold precious, my journals are near the top. It is my life that I wanted to pass down to posterity. Please Jodi, these mean everything to me. So much of my life has vanished without them. To lie about this would be the sickest thing so far. To take away so much of some body for personal interest is something that should haunt someone forever. It is killing me and could neve[r] completely get over it. Please Jodi, I am begging you. From the bottom of my heart please. I’ll do almost anything.

What’s Jodi response to this?…

VANITY is now available on Amazon.

You don’t need a Kindle to read the book, you just need to download the Kindle Reading App for your devices.

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April 13, 2015

Today was a good day.

Which seems like an incredibly odd thing to say when it’s in reference to the sentencing of a killer.  Even though we came here in unity to see that justice was done, today really wasn’t so much about Jodi as it was about us.

Today was about resiliency.  Today was about humanity.

better things are coming

We see it far too often, the destruction of life.  And in this case, the absence of any form of decency.  And for seven years, the Alexander family has quietly endured.  And people have come together in friendship to support them.

More than anything today, what I felt was love.


But resilience doesn’t come by simply wishing it into existence.  It requires being down in the trenches and being brought to your knees.  Nobody is immune from those moments in life.


Being out here today, so many people shared their own personal stories with total strangers.  They talked about darkness and despair and the desire to rise above.  There’s something beautiful in the ability to see someone else’s heart.  And I don’t mean the happy, positive stuff.  That’s too easy.  I mean seeing what’s real; the vulnerability and the scars.

And then accepting them exactly as they are.  Appreciating their realness.

begin again quote

That was my favorite part of today.  Not Jodi being driven away in a van.  Although, that does bring peace of mind.  The best part of today was connecting with other human beings who care about this world.

There will be a time very soon when I also write about my impressions of the case.  When I’ll put on my Juror13 hat and I’ll share with you my thoughts about what was said in court today.  And believe me, I have quite a few things to say.  I am however sharing my photos of all that happened today, both the good and the bad.

But right now, I just feel like writing about restoration.  I feel like focusing on new beginnings.  Doesn’t that seem like a good place to start?

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photo 1   photo 1J4T photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 52015-04-12 23.00.44


2015-04-12 23.00.52front of courtJ4T2J4T3JW & MDLR


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#Justice4Travis #Authenticity

The End of Her Story

Ten hours from now, Jodi will begin her journey to Perryville.  And I’ve just concluded my journey, at least half of it, from California.  There wasn’t a moment of my drive I wasn’t aware I was free.


I could have driven anywhere today, yet, the road I chose was the one that brought me back to Phoenix.  It’s a trip that signifies the beginning and the end.

You should do them

The last two years have been about fighting a battle.  About good over evil.  And justice in the wake of destruction.  But tomorrow is about the next chapter of our book.  Mine, yours and the Alexander’s.  It’s time to let go.  It’s time to start living.

Along my route Nick kept me company with some final thoughts about Jodi and authenticity.  Sit back and take a listen as we await the end of her story.

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Excerpt #2 from MENDACITY

An excerpt from the chapter titled With Deepest Sympathy and Humble Sincerity – an interrogation of Jodi’s letter to the Alexander family, July 28, 2008.


Jodi:  “There wasn’t any kind of magnetic attraction that I could feel, but in that short time we discovered just a few of the things that we had in common; travelling, the UFC, the 49ers, and the drive to create an amazing life.  After that weekend, I didn’t expect to hear from him again.  But surprisingly, he called the very next day.  A few days later he invited me to accompany him and some friends to church in Murrieta.  That following Wednesday, he gave me copy of the Book of Mormon.  On November 26, 2006, Travis baptized me at the Church in Palm Desert, where I was living at the time. He said he’d never met anyone more prepared to receive the Gospel. Joining the church was one of the best decisions I’d ever made and has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I know that Travis will be richly rewarded for the role he played in bringing me into the fold.”


Meet the Manipulator.  Here Jodi tries to show Travis’ active role in their relationship, when in reality, it was quite the opposite. And how in the world is joining the Church one of the greatest experiences of her life? 

But let’s examine it: What did Jodi gain from becoming a Mormon?  Well first, she could bond with Travis, and by making this public overture, could get it on in private with less interference (and suspicion) from the Church (meaning Travis’ friends and colleagues). 

According to Jodi, Travis abused her and tried to kill her… twice.  She and Travis lied constantly to their Church and themselves while they violated the laws of chastity. Fornicating is one thing.  Fornicating whilst openly swearing to uphold certain standards and behaviours is a special kind of hypocrisy. 

From this toxic, dysfunctional pairing (as Jodi details in her diary entries) – deceit, jealousy, betrayal and threats all came into being, and were nurtured and ultimately became big factors in Jodi’s growing compulsion to murder Travis in the way she eventually would.  In this context, are we really to believe joining the Church was the greatest experience of her life?

It does seem like over-exaggeration, but there may be some substance to it.  Jodi was a loner, a chameleon who developed coping strategies that many found objectionable and distasteful when they got to know her.  Colleagues, her boss and boyfriends all experienced Jodi’s mendacity, especially through her manipulative behaviour, which seems to have become a default setting with dealing with life’s challenges.  Her infatuation with the Law of Attraction only worsened her habitual dissembling.

Why I think joining the Church did mean a lot to Jodi is for the same reason it meant a lot to Travis.  It gave Jodi a social fabric to belong to, and in that belonging, I think she enjoyed some moments of genuine fellowship, and even joy.  While Jodi may have enjoyed the initial social benefits, the events, the sense of purpose, and sense of shared commitments and Christians caring for ‘their own’, I think Jodi’s insecurity and bad habits would make her increasingly paranoid about maintaining control of her benefactor.


After all, it was Travis that was introducing her to this whole new world, and she may have felt threatened by other, more wholesome, more accomplished women, and to neutralise those threats, Jodi would have wanted to monopolise and manipulate Travis’ attention (and affections).  And she did.  The Church played a huge role in tugging both of them this way and that, but while the faithful tides initially swept them in the same direction, in time Jodi drifted away.  She fell back into her ‘old average’ self, which was the duplicity, the double-dealing, the manipulation. 

MENDACITY: Jodi Arias: Secret Witness is available on Amazon

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An Excerpt from MENDACITY: Jodi Arias: Secret Witness

jury chairsThe following is an excerpt from the chapter The 17th Juror:

Claudia claimed she didn’t remember Martinez from her first husband’s trial.  Do you believe that? Here’s what she said during Excerpt 4 of her interview with Brahm Resnik from

“No, I didn’t… I… I honestly when I saw the name come up, when I saw it on social media and that link, like I didn’t… I don’t… I didn’t remember him.  I, um… “

“I wanna say that I saw it… I’m not sure if I saw it Friday” [meaning after the conclusion of trial]…

Resnick seems surprised 17 wasn’t aware of who he was.  17 tries to explain herself but starts stuttering and then goes all over the place:

“I didn’t remember that he did, if you know like… I saw that it was there and when I walked into the courtroom and I saw him at the initial jury selection, the only time that… the only memory that I have of recognizing him is from TV.  Nothing beyond that.  Nothing like past that.  You know, my husband, my husband, my ex-husband got out of jail in ’99… no I’m sorry, in 2000.  And then he ended up, our relationship was you know very tumultuous.  We got married in 2001, not in 2000, the date that’s being circulated.  It was in 2001.  And it just like, I mean… I didn’t remember him.  I don’t want to say that I didn’t know him because now I don’t know, you know… I just know when I walked into the courtroom, I recognized him from TV.”

Is she telling the truth?  One of the tell-tale signs of a dissembler is giving extraneous information when asked a simple question, and here Claudia gives a whole lot of extraneous information.  She does the exact same thing when interviewed asked about whether she watched the Lifetime made-for-television movie [Dirty Little Secret] which we’ll get to in a moment.

As discussed in an earlier chapter, Juan did move to strike this juror during voir dire, but his request was denied.  Prior to seating her on the jury, Judge Stephens asked 17:

Jodi Arias

Judge:  “Is it your position then that you can separate what’s happened in your personal life and decide this case only on the evidence and the law that you hear, in this case?”

Juror 17:  “Yes”

Did 17 actually do that?  Did she make a decision based on her own life or Jodi’s? I don’t know about you but I don’t think she put her biases aside.  Here’s what she has to say in Excerpt 6:

“I think that she looked a little more human to me just by her journal writings.  I mean what she did was horrific so that was always there.  That was always at the back of my mind.  So as much as you want to… I mean I never understood what would drive her to do that to somebody that she really loved, um, but I really did try to, I really did try to not like dwell too much personally… like try to look at everything objectively and impartial.  I felt that Dr. Geffner and Dr. Fonseca, um, I felt that they, you know, I believed that they proved a lot of the mitigating factors which was what they said that you know how it started out what they were going to show, I feel that they did.  They showed breakdown.  They basically, you know, broke down her life.  And you see, you know, you can see the gradual deterioration.  You know, you can see her dedication and her deterioration.  And one of the things that Mr. Martinez said that kind of stood out, um, was that she loved too much.” 

It’s interesting to me that of all the things Juan has said about Jodi throughout the trial, this is the one thing that she chooses to mention – Jodi loved too much.  And also that Jodi exhibited dedication?  Did she really?  To who, other than herself?  It’s truly mind-boggling to me that of all the hideous qualities Jodi exhibited, these are the two that resonated most with this juror.

“If I killed Travis, I would beg for the death penalty.”

Yes Jodi, and that’s what you deserve. But what does 17 think? Resnik asks her what punishment she would have wanted if Travis Alexander had been her son. This question interrogates whether or not Claudia was never really qualified to be seated on a death penalty case.

“I would want for that person to be punished.”

Resnick pushes the point – would you want for that person to die?…

MENDACITY:  Jodi Arias:  Secret Witness is available now on Amazon

Mendacity cover

MENDACITY: Jodi Arias: Secret Witness

MENDACITY is a follow-up to the bestselling AUDACITY.

It deals with our failures – as a society, and as individuals – to be honest not only towards one another, but even to ourselves.

We saw this in Juror 17, who single-handedly bungled the conclusion of a 7 year case that cost $3.2 million. Part of our fascination with this case is with Jodi; a young woman who seems incapable of telling the truth. But there is a dark side to our fascination that we are disinclined to admit. Why are many of us able to recognize Jodi’s attempts at deceit, and manipulation? How can we be so certain about her dishonesty?

Mendacity cover

True Crime writer Lisa Wilson travels to Phoenix to find Jodi and Justice for Travis, but both prove to be elusive. Meanwhile, South African photojournalist and bestselling author of the Oscar Trial Series does detective work in a whole new field: MENDACITY. Why do we lie? And how do we lie? Once again, both authors’ interrogations will surprise and terrify the reader.

Court 3

MENDACITY focuses almost entirely on the Penalty Phase of the jaw-dropping Jodi Arias trial. Many new dialogues between Travis and Jodi are brought to light, dissected and analyzed. The reader can expect plenty of surprises, and more than a few awkward moments, when the lessons learned about Jodi are turned and reflected – sharply – at writer and reader alike.

Note from the authors: “One of the things that differentiates our narratives from the many that are out there is besides interrogating the criminals, we also interrogate society and ourselves. If we can’t – or won’t – do that history, then these horrible crimes (and their perpetrators) are doomed to repeat themselves. Hey, these crimes are bad enough. Some of these people, are bad enough. But what if society has a role to play in why they exist? What if, if we fail to interrogate these crimes and criminals personally and meaningfully, more Travis’ and Reeva’s and Morris Blacks will die in horrible and tragic circumstances? What if, by paying attention, we can heal ourselves and our societies?”


Extract from the final chapter: “The mere attention of the world – even if it’s cynical, gloating or accusatory – is satisfying, because it is far better than what preceded it. Rejection. Insignificance. Finitude. The horror of Jodi Arias is that by murdering Travis she discovered her true self, she became the fully formed chameleon that was crawling in the shadows, and once the spotlight of the court and media fell on her, it didn’t feel like the cold light of truth, but something to warm herself under…”

Available now on AMAZON

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