So you can read my books

Sunday, October 26, 2014



My most popular post, visited many times each day is this one.

So I thought I would bring it to the attention of my new friends,

adding some new items to make it interesting to those who read my earlier post:

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 labor. 

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."


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 smart phones, 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 urban fantasy, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE.

The supernatural predators come out after Katrina. Can two undead legends stop them?  

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. 

Yet the friendship of the two undead men is a kind of love in itself like David's and Jonathan's:

{At this point in the novel, Renfield, the vampire priest, and his best friend, Sam McCord, are stepping out from behind MEILORI'S, looking at the flooded street before them.}:

Renfield bent down and picked up a floating child’s doll, its false hair soaked and hanging. Its glassy eyes eerily reminded me of too many human corpses I had seen floating down this same street.

Renfield stroked the plastic cheek softly as if it had been the flesh of the girl who had lost her doll. Closing his eyes, he dropped the doll with a splash that sounded much too loud.

That splash said it all. Renfield looked my way with eyes that clawed at me.

“I could take the Blitz. It came from Man. This .... This is from God.”

I just looked at him. From God? I bit back the words that first came to my lips.

It was plain he was hurting inside. And I put up with such talk from Renfield. He was my friend. And he was a priest.

Priests were supposed to see life through the filter of faith. Still, I had lost faith in the unseen long ago. It had slowly faded like mist on a summer sea.

But there is a toll to such a thing. I looked around about us, trying to see it through my friend’s eyes of faith. I failed. Not a first for me.

Renfield’s head was down, though his eyes followed the floating body of the plastic doll as the currents pulled it under the black waters.

“Do you think He finally has had enough of us, Sam? Enough of our cruelty, our madness?”

I rubbed gloved fingers across my face. Like I said, I was at a loss at whether the Great Mystery even existed or not, much less be able to give a true answer to that question.

But Renfield had his own doubts about God. He was my friend, and I wouldn't push him over that dark edge.

“Hell, Padre, I don’t know. Could be.”

I smiled bitter. “You know the Lakota Sioux call God The Great Mystery.”

“You call Him that, too, as I recall.”

“Yeah, ‘cause what He’s up to most of the times is surely a great mystery to me.”

He studied me. “You’re not ---”

He waved a hand around us. “ --- mad at Him for all of this?”

Mad at someone who might only exist in empty prayers to equally empty darkness? I saw the anguish in my friend’s eyes. I chose my words carefully.

“Hell, Padre, we all chose to live in a city seven feet below sea level right by the coast, protected by levees built and maintained by a corrupt government. What did we think would happen?”

Renfield shook his head. “We all denied. It’s what humans do.”

His lips twisted. “Even those of us whose humanity is only a memory.”

I clamped a hand on his left shoulder. “You’re human where it counts.”

His face twitched as if his tongue tasted bad. “And where’s that?”

“Your soul, Renfield, your soul.”

“I lost that a long time ago, Sam.”

I might be at a loss about God, mind you. But I was sure about the soul, for I had seen its lack often enough in too many eyes. Just like I saw its solid presence within Renfield's.

“No, you didn’t. Like mine, your soul is a cocklebur. You can’t shake it no matter what you do.”

He smiled wearily. “I must have missed that verse in the Bible.”

“Gotta read the small print, Padre.”
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."


  1. True friendship endures. And it means we matter to someone.

  2. Alex:
    You're right: if friendship doesn't endure, it was not friendship to begin with. :-)

  3. I can count my true friends on one hand -- and I'm grateful for each one. McCord is the man; great excerpt, Roland.

  4. Milo:
    Thanks. Sam tips his Stetson to you. And my job has completely spun my head around. I had forgotten your CREEPY FREEBIES started today.

    I wrote a new post spotlighting your week long event.

  5. Yes, I've read this before, but it never gets old, Roland.

    By dividing our grief, we get some solace. Holding it inside tears us apart or makes us bitter. To go on, we need some type of release. Talking to another helps, but friends must be chosen wisely. You have to see that soul within their words if you've never met that friend face to face.

  6. D.G.:
    I just think that friendship gets overlooked in today's culture or re-defined in such a selfish way that it really does not resemble true friendship anymore.

    Yes, we need someone to care when we grieve -- Mark Twain found that out in his later years sadly.

    But if Sandra were not here should I get on the New York Times Best Seller List, it would feel hollow somehow.

    Have a healing week, Roland

  7. A true friend is a treasure.


  8. And friendship can come with pain, too. Yesterday I went to the memorial service for my best friend's mother. I've known both of them most of my life, and now one of them has slipped away. But I hope my presence gave my friend some comfort.