So you can read my books

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


First, I have a polite request. I've entered a short story contest. If you don't mind, would you go here : And if you like what you read, vote for my story. Now, back to the regularly scheduled post :

There are many mysteries in the French Quarter. There is even a street called Mystery but that is a 20 minute bus ride from there in an area called Mid-City. If you are feeling brave and adventurous, you may choose to stay in the French Quarter's Mystery Hotel. 4 stars even. You know you want to.

The French Quarter, also known as Vieux Carre {Old Square in French,} has long murmured a siren call to extreme personalities -- one such was the Sultan, whose famous ghost is said to haunt the halls of the 4 story house on 716 Dauphine Street. In the latter 1800's, he rented the house from the Le Prete family. A dark day for everyone involved. The Sultan, a cruel and dangerous man, was not above kidnapping women off the streets, torturing them into submission, and then adding them to his harem.

One mysterious day, the Sultan met his fate in an ironic, cruel and hideous fashion. A neighbor strolling by his house stiffened in horror. She saw tiny rivers of blood trinkling from beneath the front door.

When the authorities broke down the door, they found a scene from a nightmare. Body parts and blood were everywhere. Every member of the household had been horribly murdered. Only the Sultan was missing. Where was he?

They discovered his body in the backyard in a shallow grave. He had been buried alive. The murderers were never discovered. It remains one of the city's most haunting, intriguing mysteries.

In NEW ORLEANS ARABESQUE, the sequel to FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE, Captain Samuel McCord finally solves the mystery, nearly at the cost of his own life. But it is not too surprising that McCord solved the mystery.

His own jazz club is itself a mystery. By day, the corner of Royal and St. Peter houses the Royal Cafe. At dusk, the corner transforms into Royal and Rue La Mort. And the haunted MEILORI'S beckons to all who pass. The fortunate keep on passing. Those unwise or ignorant enter its glittering doors. Some step out hours or days later. Many more do not. Does McCord possess the club, or is he possessed by it? Another unsolved mystery.

And here is the beginning of a chapter in NEW ORLEANS ARABESQUE entitled "The Deepest Thirst," in which Samuel solves the Sultan's murder and nearly dies in doing so.

I have been a lawman longer than two lifetimes of normal men. In that time I've bent more laws than I've upheld, made more widows than makes for a soft pillow, and caused more misery than any one man should be allowed to. In all the ways that count, I am a monster. Yet I keep on going. Let's hear it for plain old stubborness.

Through clawed woods and wild seas I've traveled, seeking the last ragged edges of the earth. Past shades of evils, down winding dark roads, and up jagged cliffs of ice I've gone. And all of it has only brought me back full circle, no wiser than when I started. Let's hear it for sheer thickheadedness.

Brooding and nursing my orange juice, I sat in the shadows. Meilori's, my French Quarter nightclub, was bustling despite Katrina and Rita. Relief workers needed relief, too. And the returning survivors needed someplace cool and dark to nurse their haunting memories and griefs. Me, too.

It was Samhain, summer's end. It had nearly marked New Orleans' end as well. But its people were a hardy lot.

The Celtic New Year began this nightfall. Someone with the name of McCord was supposed to know these things. So, of course, it had been told me by my Ningyo wife, Meilori. With a smirk of "you poor dense man" added for good measure.

It had stung at the time. Now, I would have given everything I owned to see that smirk again. I sighed at the memory of her leaving me.

It had been seven long years since I had last seen that exotic face, with or without the Mona Lisa smirk. A very long seven years. My old friend, Samuel Clemens, had Adam say over Eve's grave : Wheresoever she was, there was Eden. And so it had been with Meilori.

In ancient Welsh tradition, this evening was called The Three Spirit Night, when all kinds of beings could roam between realities. I smiled bitter. Maybe Meilori would choose tonight to return. I shook my head. For an old Texas Ranger, I was certainly pathetic. But my grief was something I couldn't seem to fight. It hit somewhere beyond reason and below the level of speech.

Love. I had searched for it for so long. With Meilori, it had come withing my grasp. And seven years ago, despite being right next to me, it had been lost to me forever.

Seven years. Tunes had gotten uglier, louder. The shouted whispers at my tables from man to woman had gotten filled with more profanities, but not more truth. I sighed. Their conversations were too contrived and too little aware of what really went on in the world.

But Katrina and Rita changed that. Now the eyes were shadowed by the recent brush with death, despair, and panic. People seemed frantic to shove as much passion into what had turned out to be a very unreliable life.

The real masks this Halloween were the attempts at laughter and high spirits, brittle denial of the end of all things that awaited them that final day which had proven to be much closer than they had once believed.

A cultured, not quite human, voice interrupted my brooding and spoke from the shadows to my left, "They say you help people."

I looked up. The business suit was black like mine, except instead of a western cut, it looked like those you see worn in India in the movies and nowhere else. The face made me go cold inside.

His eyes. Damn. His eyes. The slant to them was Ningyo.

Ningyo. The race from another plane of existence that had fled to ours. Most of them viewed humans as cattle, useful only for meals or amusement. I was either very close to my dream coming true. Or I was in deep shit.

The cold flatness of those eyes said deep shit.

I said, "Sometimes. And sometimes I hurt them."

{And so begins the mystery that will bring Samuel to the brink of madness and death.}

Despite my ghost stories, I hope all of you have a healing day today. And don't forget to vote for my short story if you're so inclined. The odds are against me I know. But I can hear Samuel chuckle, "That just makes the battle interesting, don't you know?"

The following song is the one most often requested by Samuel McCord when Diana Krall performs at Meilori's.


  1. Oh my I thought Green day had created that song (woa, am I uncultured or what?)
    Good luck on your story! =D I´ll check it out!

  2. Good luck on the short story contest!

  3. A lot of heavy, emotional reading between the short story and the excerpt. I'll be back. I only got half way through the short before I ran out of lunch hour.

    Wow, there's so many entrants. How did you find that site?

    I'll get back at you later.


  4. Good luck on the short story contest. How did you find that site? I would love to do something like that.

  5. That story excerpt was amazing! I definitely want to read more...I've never been to New Orleans but it does have a bit of a siren call, doesn't it...

    I'll try to check out the website you posted too :)

  6. I visited New Orleans years ago. The French Quarter was my favorite part. I'm glad it wasn't so bloody thought. I'll check out your short story link. Good luck!

  7. I read the piece you submitted for the contest. Beautiful writing. You got my vote.

  8. One of these days I'd love to visit New Orleans and see the French Quarter - I wonder if it would match my imagination at all :)

  9. I talked to my Editor Patricia Morrison today because my 2nd book "America's Galactic Foreign Legion - Reenlistment" was released from the printer and made available today (minutes ago) at She promised to look for your query letter if you are still going to send one. I would attach the manuscript(s), too.

    Are you still going to send Penumbra Publishing a query? Just curious.

    I could tell her you are busy on a blood run, but since she already knows you write scary stuff, that might make her nervous.

  10. I'm deliberating as to who I should vote for. Now, let's see ... Hmm ...

    Decided. I voted for the best story. By whom you may ask?

    You of course :)

  11. I voted for you. I haven't read the entire MS, but I read enough where I can vote. Best wishes for your success.

    Stephen Tremp

  12. Hi Roland! I tried to answer your question in a private email, but you don't have yours set to public, so I couldn't. I'd love to help you out, but could you email me so we can do it privately? My email is elanajohnson (at)

    Thanks! And best of luck with your short story. :)

  13. Hi Roland .. sure is interesting for someone whose never been to New Orleans .. dark and brooding and full of ghosts, mysteries and unsolved murders .. I suppose the same as any old town - except most others are covered up ..

    I'm off to vote for you .. Good Luck .. and who knows things may come right .. & good luck with the query letters etc .. sounds as though you're in the right league .. Hilary

  14. Your story in the contest...excellent. You have my vote. Good luck with it. I know what it's luck to drum up votes for a contest. I'm doing the same thing now myself! So I wish you the best of luck. :-)

  15. Good luck on the contest.:)
    I'll go check it out.

  16. Again, everyone, thanks for your gracious comments :

    Clara : I'm the originally culturally challenged. Thanks for liking my post and my music.

    KM : Thanks for the good wishes on my contest.

    Donna : You can enter the contest, too. The more the merrier.

    Choices : I found the site by blog-surfing. I sometimes just hit "Next Blog" and see where it will take me. It expands my perspective, allowing me to see blogs I wouldn't see otherwise.

    Phoenix : Thanks for the praise. And yes, New Orleans murmurs quite the siren's song.

    Theresa : I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to New Orleans. But take the wrong street there, and things can get violent just as in any large city.

    Eric : Thanks for voting.

    Jenny : Thanks for voting for my story. And it means a lot that you liked it.

    Jemi : The French Quarter never disappoints. But go with others. Life there is never dull.

    Walter : Thanks so much for going out there and promoting me to your editor, Patricia Morrison. If I go with Penumbra, I say goodbye to being able to submit to an agent or to a large New York publishing house. I just can't do that at this stage -- with four agents still looking at my manuscript. Thanks so much for being my friend, Roland

    Wendy : Thanks for voting for my story. I hope your query letter is going better.

    Stephen : Thanks for reading what you did. You're a real trooper for doing that -- and for voting. Thanks again.

    Elana : Thanks for writing me back. It meant the world to me. May someone do the same for you when you need help. Thanks again.

    Hilary : Thanks for voting. And yes, New Orleans has its own mystique and haunting tales of the supernatural.

    Lisa K. : Good luck with your contest. Let me know how I might be able to help with it. And I'm glad you liked my story.

    Amanda : Thanks for dropping by and even more thanks for checking out my story.

    The full moon is whispering my name, and sleep is on the edge of my horizon. Thanks, everyone, Roland

  17. Thanks for your offer, Roland. If you have a minute to throw a vote my way, I would surely appreciate it. I have all the information up in a post at my blog:

    By the way, when will you know how you make out in your contest? I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!