So you can read my books

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Do we realize what we create when we write? When we create anything for that matter? Once a mother looked at her tiny infant and beamed with love at little Adolph Hitler.

The haunting fog horn.

Did its creators know the keening sound they were creating? A sound that vibrates within the marrow of our bones and trembles inside our lost dreams. Or did they want to give warning of something more, something we dare not ignore? The loss of our mortality? Or something beyond the length of hope and past the reach of hurting hearts?

I'm in the middle of my first draft to NEW ORLEANS ARABESQUE, the sequel to FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE. Some say it is unwise to spend so much time in writing a sequel to a book that may not even sell. In my mind's eye I can see Samuel McCord smile wryly and say, "Son, some of my best memories are of those times when I was unwise."

So I continue to write of Sam's adventures.

As we join Samuel, the Intelligence Agencies of the major world powers have all decreed his death. He is leading them a not-so-merry chase while trying to discover the why of the worldwide interest in his final death. It has led to his killing a woman he raised. Her last name changed often. But she always kept the first name Samuel had given her : Eve.
Though I left her dead body in Amsterdam, Eve continued to haunt me. I seemed to see her eyes in all the hot shadows of this land that had sent her to kill me. A land that I helped give birth to.

Israel. The hottest spot in the part of the world where science says life began and ancient scrolls say it will end.

Me, I was a practical monster. Life begins when you start to see outside of yourself and ends when you stop.

Tel Aviv.

Considering its size and importance in the here and now, it was hard to believe that only a hundred years back, the place was just a sand dune. Actually, it had started out as a suburb of Jaffa, a city with a few shadows of its own -- like me.

After the Flood, it was said to have been founded by Japheth, Noah’s son. Old Jonah was swallowed off its coast when he turned his back on The Great Mystery, as the Sioux called Elohim.

In Greek mythology, Andromeda was chained to a rock in its port. The same port that King Solomon used to sail in all those cedars planks he used to build the Great Temple.

I smiled bitter. Now, it housed the Great Temple of Assassination and Spying, the Mossad. All in all, I figured the city had seen better days. Like me.

And like old Reuven Yatom, the present head of Metsada, the Special Operations Division. Fancy words for Murder Central.

I sat and watched him twitch like an old dog fast asleep. He was sprawled across his desk, his computer’s screensaver flashing erotic pictures of Angelina Jolie. Who would have figured him for a dirty old man?

Hell, where did he find the time?

His breathing was labored and wheezy. I watched the yellow hue of death tainting his life fires. How long did he have left? Five years? Two?

I sighed. I guess it would depend on how hard he pressed himself. If I didn't kill him first.

For a second I didn’t see the white, thinning hair. I saw him young and vital, his back pressed against mine as we fought ....

Hell, what was that war called now? I shook my head. I had fought too damn many of them to keep them all sorted right.

My face went hard. Somehow he had forced Eve to try to kill me. And I had done -- what had to have been done.

The chair I was in was backwards. I leaned a bit on its plush leather back, placing the barrel of my Colt right next to his temple. I pulled back the hammer with a gloved thumb. It made a loud, hollow click. He went stiff, his eyes snapping open.

I whispered the motto of the Mossad, “Be-tahbulot ta’aseh lekha milkhamah (By ways of deception, thou shalt make war).”

Only his rhuemy eyes moved, giving me a look that should have left welts. “What does it take to kill you, McCord?”

Any answer to that seemed downright stupid or suicidal so I said nothing. I had never gotten into trouble from something I hadn’t said.

His voice was thick with hate. “Eve is dead, is she not?”

“You should know. You killed her.”

“Do not blame me, monster!”

“I do. How the hell did you force her into trying to kill me, anyway?”

His face flushed, and his words came out slurred, “Eve had adopted the daughter of a murdered partner.”

He shrugged. “We merely suggested how dangerous life in Tel Aviv was for a thirteen year old.”

I nodded. “Figured as much. Now, I have to survive.”

He sneered, “So you can help that thirteen year old as well as you helped Eve?”

I pressed the barrel hard into his temple. “You know, you talk a lot of shit for a man with a Colt to his head.”

His wrinkled face paled. “How did you get that antique through the airport security?”

“Didn’t. I had this buried here a long time ago. Reckon I could outfit an army with all the Colts I have buried all over the world.”

His sneer returned. “If there was an army that would carry such antiquated weapons.”

“You need more than six bullets, you’re in the wrong line of business.”

Of course, this was a Walsh Navy Colt and fired twelve bullets. But with the Mossad it was never wise to show all your cards. Or all your bullets.

His lined face was a sagging map of the lost battles in his life. “What kind of monster, are you? You do not even mourn Eve.”

“I won’t mourn in front of you, bastard. And when I do, it will be in my own way.”

“You will die on this hunt, McCord. They are too many for even you.”

“Maybe. But the weak have one weapon.”

He sneered, “And what would that be?”

“The mistakes of those that figure they’re strong.”

His sneer clashed with his uncertain eyes. “They do not make mistakes.”

“They who? Who is so powerful that they can make the Mossad jump through hoops for them?”

His lips pressed together so hard, thin, and tight, they could’ve given a papercut. “Kill me, but I will not tell you.”

“Kill you? And spare you the suffering of these last years? Like hell.”

My gloved forefinger tapped the touch pad to his computer. “Besides, I bet anything you fell asleep after you talked to your master.”

The double-jointed pose of Angelina disappeared as Rueven yelped his outrage. I stared at the unveiled screen for a long moment. I turned to Reuven.

“Them? Them! I helped give birth to Israel, and you betray me to them?”

He didn’t answer but only swallowed once. Hard. His Adam’s apple seemed to have stuck in his throat. My fist slammed into his mouth. He flew out of his chair and hit the wall with a thud. He slid down it and stayed in a heap of clothes and blood. I got up slow.

“Said I wouldn't kill you. Didn’t say I wouldn't knock your teeth out.”

I sighed. Neither one of us seemed to feel any better after my hitting him. My face went rock-hard.

Next stop : the Vatican.
Here is a music video of Jerusalem by Herb Albert. Just imagine Samuel McCord in his all black western clothes, leading the assassins from a dozen different countries a grim chase. They are about to discover the harsh truth that when you hunt a tiger, sometimes the roles get reversed.


  1. Very interesting! I am becoming a fan of Samuel McCord - you have at least one person taht would buy your book! Thanks for sharing!

  2. "You need more than six bullets, your're in the wrong line of business."

    I'd buy the book too but you already knew that.

  3. Hitler's racist mom gazing adoringly at her baby reminded me of Rosemary's baby.

    I love the sound of train whistles in the night. They remind me of home.

    Oh sequels. I hear you. When I wrote Aura, I wrote the sequels right after, as if the series were one continuous book. The ideas wouldn't go away so the only way was to write them. By part-way through the fourth, I finally stopped.

    I hope your writing continues to go well.

  4. Samuel McCord leads an interesting life, yessir. Sorry for my absence. I've not been internet-y for a couple of weeks.

  5. Samuel McCord's got what it takes!! Another super post, Roland. And I loooove Jerusalem, lived there for awhile.

  6. I always love your posts. And I'm starting to really crave that book you're writing!!

  7. You are a great writer! And you know what, I think it's admirable what you do. You should write for yourself, because you love to and you love your characters and story, even if it doesn't find a wide audience just yet. That's what really matters. :)

    I hope you're having a great weekend!

  8. Great post! I loved the bit about Hitler.

    Interesting story.

  9. I'm working on my sequel too. Oh, well. I can't wait around while my muse whispers to me what happens next.
    I like the scene you put on here. Gritty. Intriguing. Hurry and publish so that I can read it! (=

  10. Today is all about writing, what a great way to take a break from my manuscript, reading yours! I loved this. And I love Samuel McCord. Yes, it's my first blush with him, but I already know...

    ~That Rebel, Olivia

  11. I'm a bit behind on my blogging - and likely to get even further so in the next couple weeks. I liked #1 on the hook-line blog fest. Really sent chills down my back. It gives setting and tone, and really, that's all that's important to me for a hook. Knowing the name of the potential MC and the occupation is distracting.

    This excerpt was a really good read also. I've written two sequels to the first unpublished novel. But I'm glad the first did not get an agent right away because writing the other two helped make the first better. For me, it was true what they say about the first serious novel being practice writing. I'm not giving up on it; but I may have to move on to other writings.

    You have a lot of projects you're working on, and one of them is bound to sell soon. The time and effort you put into your writing shows.

    Thanks for posting this excerpt. I already feel I know so much about Sam and his world, and I'm dying to read the whole series.


  12. We never know what we start when we put ideas into words. It's a huge responsibility and one I've considered for a long time.

  13. I'd buy your book too. But you already know that.

  14. I think you have to write what moves you, and it seems to me that you this is a story that would move anyone. So keep writing, it, Roland! My favorite line:

    "Only his rhuemy eyes moved, giving me a look that should have left welts."

    Great visual. Nice job all around. And I love how you ended the scene: "Neither one of us seemed to feel any better after my hitting him." Ha! Very good.

  15. ...I've read of many writers who were two or three segments into their series before getting signed and witnessing all puzzle pieces fall into place as planned. That's how sequels hit the shelves right as their debut comes out in paperback.

    Don't stop writing. Onward with Sam:)

  16. "Life begins when you start to see outside of yourself and ends when you stop" - I conquered this phrase! I have not read everything, but that read like it)))
    Thank you for your comment)))

  17. great sequel start...

    friend of mine wrote six novels before the seventh sold, after that, so did the first ones

    and yes, one never knows what one ends up with when creation begins... usually something unexpected....