So you can read my books

Saturday, October 29, 2011



West of the voodoo moon
and beyond the help of civilization ...

That is Meilori's at THREE SPIRIT NIGHT.

Elliot kept shaking his head as his eyes darted from one part of Meilori's to another.

"Roland, this place keeps changing ... and getting bigger ... and weirder.

He was glancing at Norah and Grace Jones singing, "Strange, I've Seen Your Face Before" to the tune of LIBERTANGO.

"Odin's Beard!," bellowed Beowulf from a corner table as the golden skinned giant once again beat him at arm wrestling.

I laughed, "Beowulf thinks one day he will actually beat Doc Savage."

Elliot whispered, "THE Doc Savage?"

Mesmer, the only cat who owns a restaurant in the French Quarter, lithely leapt up on the empty chair next to me and yowled oddly.

I smiled, "Mesmer wants you to call him THE Doc Savage to his face."

Elliot laughed drily, "No, I think I'll pass."

Mesmer yowled again, and I translated once more, "She says The McCord has been delayed. And she wants to ask you a question about SOUTH OF CHARM."

Elliot, showing more adaptiveness than most, shook his head, swallowed, and turned to Mesmer. "Ask away."

Mesmer yowled a bit longer than usual, translating to : "Humans do not interest me, but I am intrigued by the cat in SOUTH OF CHARM. What does he represent? Who or what inspired you to be wise enough to include a feline?"

Elliot rubbed his chin reflectively.

"Considering the mystery behind the ageless tabby in my story, I've been asked through emails, and once or twice at a local signing, if his presence was indeed a symbolic metaphor.

A cat representing Danny's guardian angel or something of that nature. My answer remains the same...

the cat from "South of Charm" is content being whatever, or whomever you've decided upon for him. And if any of us should happen to cross his path, we should be so lucky."

Mesmer nodded sagely, then glared at the couple approaching our table and muttered. Seeing as how there is a mixed audience, I will defer translating.

I looked up and smiled. The ghosts of Samuel Clemens and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Sammy, whom the world remembers as Mark Twain, glared at Mesmer.

"You danged polecat. You told them about Captain Sam didn't you?"

Mesmer chuckled evilly. Edna patted Sammy's arm. "Was not this outing to raise my spirits, pun intended?"

"Sorry, my dear. That vixen just lives to rile me!"

Showing all the tact of a stick in the eye, he turned to her. "Yes, Edna. I should live by the wisdom of your poem found by your dead body at the foot of the stairs. What did it say?

I will control myself, or go inside.
I will not flaw perfection with my grief.
Handsome, this day: no matter who has died."

Edna flinched as if pinched, but Elliot seeing it, rose and took her hand gently. "Your biographers do not do your beauty justice by half."

She patted his face, sitting down close to him, flicking eyes to Sammy. "As eloquent with words outside your novel as well as within. I have a question."

"Y-You read my book?"

She smiled like the Sphinx. "How else could I have a question, you handsome young man?"

As Sammy jealously settled himself equally as close to Edna, she asked, "During the age of Katniss Everdeen and Laura Croft, female heroines standing atop the entertainment world, why take a chance on a ten year old boy?"

Elliot did a valiant attempt at ignoring Samuel Clemens' jealous glare. "The answer can be found in the some point, Suzanne Collins gambled on a young lady from the woods named Katniss. A girl with a bow and the heart of a lion.

And the world took notice. Danny Kaufman is my gamble. A likable kid from the countryside with a story to tell. Hoping to be heard."

Sammy grumbled, "I never heard of this Kaufman kid. Who is he?"

Elliot smiled, "Danny's a ten year old boy of average build. Unlike those super heroes from Marvel Comics, he's unable to turn invisible. He can't fly or divert a bullet's mid-air trajectory.

He'd find it nearly impossible to launch frozen pellets from his fingertips without an ice tray placed conveniently nearby. And if asked to run a mile in under a minute, he'd perhaps give it a go, but with the odds of success not in his favor.

Danny Kaufman is that boy you've no doubt passed on a street corner without offering more than a glance in his direction. He was likely concentrating on the cracked pavement under his sneakers.

Perhaps massaging his pitcher's elbow. Thinking of some way to repair a family in shambles, without any special powers other than a fastball deemed impossible to hit by his peers, and the courage of a child."

Samuel Clemens looked at Elliot with a re-appraising look. "Sounds like he could be friends with my Huck Finn."

Edna patted Elliots hand. "Do not mind Clemens. He got his education in the wilds of Missouri, his business methods in Siberia, his behaviour in vaudeville, and his brains in a raffle."

Elliot shook his head, laughing, "You wouldn't tease him so if you weren't fond of him."

As Sammy brightened up, Edna fought a smile, losing, "Pairing with him would be a mistake. But I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice.

Had I abided by it, I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.”

Mesmer suddenly hissed, bucked her back, then leapt to the table in front of Elliot as a voice like the tolling of ghost bells in Hell mocked,

"Mesmer, you possess too little real power to stop me."

A tall man in gray Armani, with living shadows making love to his frame, stood facing us. DayStar. He believed himself Lucifer ...

and had the sheer power to convince many of his delusion. If delusion it was.

Words like Texas thunder rumbled behind Elliot. "Your party favors slowed me down, DayStar. They didn't stop me."

McCord's Stetson was gone. His black clothing torn, even his gloves. But he merely smiled like the last wolf he was. "Don't bother punishing them. They're past feeling it."

DayStar shrugged. "I had hoped they would slow you longer. But no matter. I have a grievance with Grace here."

Elliot, pale but still sitting tall, frowned, "What have I done to you?"

DayStar's smile flashed like a knife from the shadows. "Your foster children. I almost had them."

Groans of tortured pain came soft and deadly from the mists behind him. "I will yet."

Behind Elliot's eyes, smoky danger like the burnished steel of a saber flashed, "Never!"

DayStar laughed like the breaking of brittle bones. "And just how will you stop me, homo sapien?"

Elliot stood from his chair. "My wife and I will wrap such strong arms of love around our children that you will never pry them from that love into your kingdom. Never!"

DayStar looked for a long moment into Elliot's defiant eyes, then murmured. "Another time."

And like a card, his body folded, spindled, then turned sideways, disappearing completely.

McCord squeezed Elliot's shoulder. "Should have known Roland would pick a man with grit for a friend."

Mesmer yowled, then thumped off the table, rushing off into the darkness.

Sammy snickered, "She said she had to go to the Little Kitty's Room."



  1. Once again, this is epic Roland. I really do enjoy your writing. My favourite line: "McCord seized Elliot hard on the shoulder. "Should have known Roland would pick a man with grit for a friend." Made me smile to no end.

  2. Wendy G :
    Welcome back! I missed you. Thanks for thinking this epic. Glad it made you smile. Don't be a stranger, hear? Roland

  3. You weave such a tale, Roland. I've missed stopping by Meilori's. Elliot is a good friend, with a lot of grit, and a fantastic book. Thanks for the interview.

  4. Dearest Wendy, my shoulder continues to throb from McCord's iron grasp ;)

    Ms.Gallagher, I'm left humbled by the compliment. I can't thank you enough for your heartfelt review of "South of Charm," and for the support you've offered since. Thanks so much!

    Roland, my friend, you've outdone yourself. It's visits like this one that remain lodged in memory for safekeeping, and never forgotten.

    Meilori's proved everything that was advertised and more. Thanks so much for the invite, and your spirited narration of an evening in the Bayou, sharing a drink or two with "the locals."

    As for now, I'm off to dinner with a special someone who's apparently followed me home.

    No worries Roland, Edna promises to be home for Holloween festivities ;)


  5. You guys kill! Thanks for such an entertaining post.

  6. Anne :
    There is always an open invitation to you at Meilori's should you ever need it. Elliot is indeed a good friend and writer, isn't he?

    Elliot :
    Keep an eye peeled for a jealous Mark Twain! It was great having you over at Meilori's. You have a standing invitation to return. If you hear snickering from the shadows. Don't worry. It is only Mesmer!

    Wendy :
    Elliot and I are certainly a pair of jesters on the stage of life! Thanks for visiting and lingering to laugh with us. Roland

  7. I love the way we learned about the story through dialogue. :)

    Great post!

  8. Roland, this was incredible. Some great, original, questions in between the wonderful story you wrap around us. Lucky Elliot getting to visit Meilori's :-)

  9. ..."I know a man that's a braver man,
    And twenty men as kind,
    And what are you, that you should be,
    The one man in my mind?"....
    From my favorite Edna St. Vincent Millay poem, The Philosopher.

  10. Put the master of prose with the sensitive, warm heart of another talented author and sheer magic is created.

    This, Roland, by far, has been THE most imaginative interview I have ever read. There are not many male bloggers I feel close to, but you an EL are truly my writing soul mates.

    I am, as always, in awe of such talent.

  11. Thanks, Golden Eagle :
    Dialogue, as Robert B Parker proved, can win or sink a story. I'm glad you think my interview "floated"! LOL.

    Sarah :
    We and Elliot made for quite the team here. I am happy you enjoyed Elliot's visit. Now, how much he enjoyed it with DayStar's gate-crashing is another story!! And you have a standing invitation to Meilori's whenever you feel brave enough!

    The Desert Rocks :
    I've always liked that poem of hers as well. In fact, I have always been a bit in love with her! LOL.

    Michael :
    I read your latest post, and you are a fine writer in your own right or is that "write"? :-)

    And I feel, not only a soul-mate writer's bond with you, but a keen friendship as well. Thanks for the kind words about Elliot and myself, Roland

  12. I love how you present Elliot and his work in story form. This is a wonderful, creative post.

  13. Medeia :
    I have always felt a story-form interview holds the interest of the reader more and is a lot of fun for everyone. I'm you enjoyed it! Roland

  14. Very interesting. I love a unique interview, and you two take the cake :)

    This was fun to read. I hope the tour has been a success for you El. And thanks for hosting and being so imaginative Roland.

    Happy Halloween


  15. Hey Roland! I'm so glad Sam showed up for Elliot's interview! What a great idea to have it at Meilori's. Your little Q&A with DayStar gave me shivers. You are so right!

    Happy November, ~ that rebel, Olivia