So you can read my books

Monday, April 19, 2010



Anais Nin, the enigmatic French author famous for her journals spanning 60 fascinating years, wrote : "Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world dawns."

It would be hard to say whether King Solomon was made more alone by his many wives or by the prison of his throne. Nonetheless, King Solomon wrote : "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."

Friendship. It is what is so very lacking in today's cyber-society where everyone is twittering, but no one is listening. Or giving a damn. They are hunched over their blackberries, waiting impatiently for the message to end so they can jump in with, what is essentially, a "Listen to me!"

Because so few of us have it, friendship and its portrayal are what will bring us back to a novel over and over again. I know that it is the case for me. And for the friends I talk to.

Frodo and Sam. Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Spencer and Hawk (from the always entertaining Robert B. Parker series.) Elvis Cole and Joe Pike (from the Robert Crais fascinating detective series.) Bill and Ted. Calvin and Hobbes.

Family is a crap shoot. Love cools. But friendship endures.

Friendship is one of the cornerstones of my surreal Noir, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE. Two friends : Samuel McCord, agnostic undead Texas Ranger. Renfield, haunted revenant priest. They have known one another since Istanbul was Constantinople and honor still had meaning.

Both love mysterious, beautiful, deadly women. McCord would say all beautiful women are both mysterious and deadly. His love is Meilori, a being from another plane of existence. "Born of stardust and the sea" as she once told him.

And Father Renfield loves Sister Magda, the nun who serves with him in his church. Of course, there is a unique back story there. But I'll let Sam tell it :

{At this point in the novel, Sam is helping Renfield clean up his church after Katrina, musing on his past relations with the Vatican} :

I'd had a pretty good relationship with the last Pope. I'd fought Nazi's with him back when he was studying in that underground seminary in Poland. I smiled thinking of how he posed as a priest while only a seminarian. And how he gave false baptismal records to fleeing Jews in the underground. He called it his elective course in the humanities. I sighed as my chest grew heavy. He was gone. Another friend was gone. It seemed just when I started liking somebody, they left me.

A shout of dismay brought me out of my musings. One of the statues in the main sanctuary was toppling over. And a nun was directly underneath it. Cursing under my breath despite the surroundings, I raced as fast as my bad right knee would let me. But I made it in time. Barely.

I grunted as I caught the marble statue of Jesus struggling under the cross with a bit of a struggle myself. But I managed. Being careful not to crack it, I shoved it back into its ornate niche.

Now, I was kind of unsure if he was who he said he was. And on top of that, it was only a representation of him, mind you. Still I knew my strange luck. If I handled the statue carelessly, it would turn out he was the real deal. And I was kind of uncertain how He would feel about some of the trails I had blundered down in my life. Best to err on the side of respectful caution. I looked down at the nun.

"Magda, you've got to be more careful."

Sister Romani looked up at me with deep eyes of summer seas from out of the kind of face that had saints embezzeling from orphanages and pacifists starting wars. Her thick, silky black hair cascaded through the modern habit that had been brushed back on her head by my shoving her out of harm's way. There was a single one inch wide streak of moon-silver along the right side close by her temple -- a gift of sorts from Estanatlehi, whom the ancient Greeks had named Gaia and whom I now called 'Mother.'

Magda tapped the worn leather pouch of nails hanging from her rope belt. "He would never have harm coming to me from His statue."

I arched an eyebrow. "You stole those nails from that centurion over two thousand years ago. You think He has that long a memory?"

"Of course."

"That's what I was afraid of," I muttered.

I studied her intently. She'd been there. I felt a weight ease off my chest. I could ask her.

"Magda, did you see --"

Her face grew sad. "Him emerge from the tomb? No, Samuel, I was on the run from the Romans at the time and for some time afterwards. I just take it that He truly did rise since I am still alive some two thousands years later."

I bit back the words from my tongue and kept from telling her that her still living came from Estanatlehi. In love with language as much as she was, she had been fascinated with the parables of Jesus. And she took Magda's theft kindly and had rewarded her. I sighed. Still no answers. It was getting to be a frustrating tradition with me.

"Magda!," panted Renfield as he rushed up to her, out of breath more from fear than running, especially since he didn't breathe anymore.

He took both of her hands in his. "You must be more careful."

"You men, oh, foo on the two of you," she laughed, squeezing his hands lightly and not letting go.

"'Fu' is Mandarin for 'Good Luck' you know," I smiled at the two of them.

She made a face at me. "And you with that musty Jesuit education of yours."

"Well, they weren't exactly Jesuits."

She snorted, "Nor would I guess that you were exactly the best of students either."

"Reckon you got me there."

But she wasn't looking at me anymore. She and Renfield only had eyes for one another. Their fingers were still entwined as were their hearts. Long before they had become priest and nun, they had been man and wife. Each had entered the Vatican's service in response to my worst enemy's first demand to end their son's misery and curse. His second demand was for Renfield to assume that curse -- to become the vampire he still was.

DayStar, my worst enemy, being what he was, had still found a way to take their son from them anyway. But both Magda and Renfield were as good as their word. They remained true to both of their vows that they had taken -- though it took some doing to reconcile the two into a working system. But the pair had found a way, filled with hunger and hope, mind you. But isn't that much like life for the rest of us? The street people in the church were still and silent. They knew the story. And me? I felt hot tears blur my vision. I had failed my best friend.

I should have been smarter, should have figured out some way to defeat DayStar, found some method to save my friend's son, and to end the curse which tormented him hourly. He deserved a better friend than me. And me? I didn't deserve for him to call me 'friend.' I deserved to be called the monster I was. And you know what they did to monsters.


I'll let Mark Twain have the last word on friendship : "Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with."

At the moment, I am listening to "Into the Dark" by Jesse Cook. He is a Toronto-based Nuevo Flamenco guitarist, born in Paris to Canadian parents. It spins the mind. He was raised in the region in southern France known as the Camargue, growing up with the sounds and influences of Gypsy music {probably why my cat loves his music.} Check out his site on myspace : I especially like the second youtube video on Jesse's page. Hey, c'mon, check it out. You don't want a gypsy curse, do you?


  1. I love the quote at the beginnning of this post...

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. ;) I'll be back on task next week....

  2. What an interesting blog. I can see it wouldn't take much for me to get completely lost in your words.

    ~ Yaya
    Yaya's Home

  3. haha yes you were right, the dragon movie was brilliant :o)

    Now I'm all choked up because I just watched the Celine Dion video. Titantic is still my favourite movie of all time.

    I love this gyspy music!

  4. Love all the threads on friendship!
    This gypsy music is hauntingly beautiful! Like memories floating from deepest cavern recesses!

  5. They have known one another since Istanbul was Constantinople and honor still had meaning.

    And you're right, very few of us have it.

  6. Loved your "friendship" quotes. I am beginning to fully grasp the meaning of friendship with each day that I grow. It is not just a concept, but it is as solid as you and I!

    As for your dark novel, wow! I, personally, love novels set in the medieval ages, and you have ghosts with a sense of humor and a lyrical usage of language, too! Can't wait to read it in print! Good luck!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog!

  7. Wow. I really enjoyed this post. Friendship can be more wonderful than just a relationship. I loved all the quotes.
    Have a good day...:)

  8. You make some great points about friendship.


  9. Nice quotes and I always love reading your prose. Thanks for sharing, Roland.

  10. Great quote and a wonderful excerpt. Nice writing.

    Friendship (indeed any strong relationship, even a well developed animosity/competition) add so much depth to a story and create an added level of investment that is hard to do with general descriptions or actions.

    Thanks for a great post.

  11. There you go again, Roland. Another superbly written post.

    Wish I was an agent. You'd be snapped up before you could say the word. 'friendship' :)

  12. What a wonderful post. I was totally absorbed. Thank you stopping by my blog. I thoroughly enjoyed yours.

  13. Great post - sounds like some very interesting story lines going on there. Your thoughts on friendship are right on, all these electronics are certainly changing the face of human interaction, aren't they?

  14. I could have sworn I commented this morning. I have no idea what I said, though.

  15. What a beautiful post! I loved your excerpt and your powerful points about friendship. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today, Roland. :-)

  16. wow. what a post. incredible.

    thanks so much for sharing. :D

  17. Hi,
    Great story, and scintillating post. I don't know what I would do without friends. I have so many great friends that I can count on in so many situations! I am blessed indeed!

  18. Thanks for stopping by-I love the virtual kitties-you have a great blog.

  19. Thank you are small words to express how much your comments mean to me :

    Sharon : Isn't that the most amazing quote on friendship? May your course always be smooth.

    YaYa : Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving the kind words. Don't be a stranger.

    Niki : That Titanic clip makes my eyes a bit wet too, and I'm a manly man. Ah, my cat, Gypsy, just snickered. Glad you liked the gypsy music.

    Gemma, always good to hear from you. Your words are living poetry.

    Anne, the Mama's and the Papa's, huh? Tonight, the way I feel, it's ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL!

    Hemapen : I have a historical fantasy, RITES OF PASSAGE, set aboard a transatlantic steamer in 1853. It's not medieval but some daemons try to get medieval on poor Sam McCord. Thanks for liking my style of writing.

    Mr. Stupid : You're not so stupid. Friendship can, indeed, be better than love sometimes. Love cools. Friendships tend to only deepen over time.

    Jai : Thanks for dropping by and caring enough to comment. Come back, hear?

    Okie : Your thoughts on how the friendships of a novel's characters can deepen the readers' connection to the story are quite perceptive. I'm happy you like my writing.

    Wendy : I wish you were an agent, too. Then, we both would be published sooner. Some day. Thank you for the kind praise of my post.

    Ann : I enjoyed stopping by your blog. I'm heartened more than words than say that you like mine as well.

    Susan : You are right. Electronics and the rush of today's culture shifts the way we look at life and at each other, even friends. Thanks for the kind comments on my writing.

    Chrisit : I think Sam's enemy, DayStar, took your comments from the cyber-ether. But I know they were kind and good. Thanks for coming by again. Darn that DayStar.

    Taherah : And thank you for such words about my writing.

    Ruby : You're right, Ruby. My best friend, Sandra, has saved my sanity so many times she should charge me. And it is because of her that my burns left no scars. She told me as she did what she had to do that I would yell, I would scream, and I would end up hating her.

    She was partially right. I did yell. I even screamed a time or two ... all right, a lot. But I could never hate my best friend.

    Esme : Yeah, I love my virtual felines too. Gypsy insisted her avatar be a tiger. Ego problem? Her? She's sitting right by me, looking up as I type so I better leave that to your imagination.

  20. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Thanks, too, for introducing me to yours. You're a gem with words:-) I'll be returning.

  21. I could get some serious writing done with that guitar music playing in the background.

    What a beautiful sentiment: friendship. I'd like to think family will stick by forever, but some of my friends are closer to me than family. I don't have much in the way of social skills, so I have a hard time making friends; but when I do, it's almost like a marriage.

    The friendships you've revealed here are like that. Totally involved.

    And, I don't follow twitter for the same reason; mostly attention seeking. Though I've missed some of the writer/agent conversations. I guess it all depends on who you tweet with. Like all things.

    I stopped by last night but didn't get a chance to comment. This was a beautiful post; and if I can't take the time to do the author justice with a comment, I don't like to leave one. But I really enjoyed this sentiment.

    We all need a friend we can depend on.