So you can read my books

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Hibbs, the cub with no clue -- and no breath, here!

Huff. Pant. Gasp. All this running is wearing me out!

Miss Olivia, I'll be there. Don't you worry!

But first, I want to read Mr. Roland's entry into Mr. Michael's HARRY POTTER BEST MATE blogfest :

{From the journal of Captain Samuel McCord} :

I walked through the mirror into Dumbledore's office. The scent to the air was of cherry blossoms. I smiled bitterly. It was the perfume of my wife, Meilori. He was trying to make me feel welcome and only managing to make me feel more alone.

Poor Albus. He was so wise in so many things ...

just not in matters of the heart.

Which explained his being fooled by Gellert Grindelwald.

I made my way through the maze of spindly tables upon which sat delicate looking silver instruments that whirred and emitted small puffs of smoke, as well as an incredible collection of books, which made up Dumbledore's private library, and his ill-advised Pensieve.

Fawkes the phoenix chirped my way. I winked back. The Sorting Hat chuckled. I grinned back.

Albus smiled as if it hurt him. "Come sit down, Samuel."

He was tall, thin and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, and a purple cloak.

His nose was very long and crooked. Being broken will do that to a nose. The first break came from Gellert's fist. The second came from mine in the fight that broke out when I told him the truth about Gellert.

He forgave me. Friends do that. Even to friends who speak painful truths.

As I sat down at his round desk, I pointed to his withered right hand. "Voldemort?"

He shook his head. "I myself have opened the door to the next great adventure I'm afraid."

I started to reach for his gnarled right hand. "Maybe I can ...."

A voice with all the warmth of a slap said to my left, "Do what the world's mightiest wizard could not do? Hardly!"

I turned. Serverus Snape. He gloomed a room just by entering it.

I smiled crooked. "Still wearing the cast-off's from THE ADAMS FAMILY movie I see. Angelica Huston looked better in that dress."

His right eyebrow arched so high that I was surprised it didn't cut his forehead. "How droll. Low humor from a muggle. How unsurprising."

I wagged a gloved forefinger at him. "You know you like me."

Snape looked as if he smelled his own upper lip. "Me? A friend to a muggle?"

Albus' blue eyes twinkled. "You will note that he did not deny it."

He pointed to the empty seat at the other side of the table. "Come, Serverus. Samuel promised to teach us that colorfully named game. Ah, what was it now?"

The blood of the Angel of Death burned cold in my veins as it murmured I would never see either one of them alive again. I managed a smile.

"Texas Hold 'Em."

Snape sniffed the air touched with the kiss of cherry blossoms and looked at me with haunted eyes.

"You still love her though she deserted you? After all this time?"

I nodded, and though we both saw different faces, we both said the same word,


Albus' eyes grew wet as he looked at the two of us. "I, as well."

And so three friends drawn together by broken hearts and lost love dealt meaningless cards to one another into the dregs of the hollow night.


Monday, March 28, 2011


Hibbs, the cub with no clue, here!

Pant. Pant.

Hold on, Mr. Elliot!

I'm coming just as fast as my paws will carry me. Don't start without me!

Where's Little Brother when you need him?

Oh, well, follow me to Mr. Elliot's place. It's gonna be such fun. He's got really great questions. : ***


Hibbs, the cub with no clue, here.

I am on the run for Canada. I want to see Wendy in person.

You writers live in such a weird world : I mean how strange is the world of words when skating on thin ice can land you in hot water?

Or it may not be you can live on words alone,

especially when sometimes you have to eat them!

You know, traveling as I have with Mr. Roland lately,(especially after being rejected by ABNA),

I think you humans developed language because of your deep need to complain!

Now, come with me to Canada and Miss Wendy.

I hope I see one of those Royal Canadian Mounties so I can swipe one of their hats!


Saturday, March 26, 2011


Tessa and Laura have gotten together to do this fascinating blogfest, THE NATURE OF MAGIC :

Erin Kane Spock yesterday lauched her PAINT IT PURPLE (prose) blogfest :

I have melded my entry to fit both their intriguing blogfests.

{Hibbs, the bear with two shadows, has brought the fatally wounded Sidhe, Leandra Dagda,

to his endless cabin built for him by Estanatlehi. But normal magics will not keep death at bay.

Ancient magics are called for -- but to be done in a completely new way.} :

Hibbs' great head fell, his chin resting for a long moment on his chest. Suddenly, he smiled.

“I have a thought.”

Little Brother snorted, “Bound to happen sooner or later.”

Hibbs ignored the hawk, turning to Surt. “You are the master of all the fires around you, are you not?”

The living head of flame studied Hibbs for a long heartbeat of crackling fires. “Yes, I am. Do you wish me to give her a Valkyrie’s funeral?”

Hibbs smiled wide. “No, friend. I want you to summon all the heat from this water as I squeeze it from this cloth.”

In the fireplace, the head of fire seemed to stand still. “You would be caught in the wake of such a thing.”

“I have been cold before.”

“Not like this.”

“Because I must, I will endure.”

Little Brother cawed, “Please do not.”

Knowing what it took for the hawk to say please, Hibbs turned a sad smile his way. “The hard path and the right path are usually the same, Little Brother.”

He soaked the cloth to the full and held it above the still bleeding Sidhe. “What you must do, Surt, do it now.”

A cold, so utter that it was a fire, pierced the young bear to the bone. He stiffened, stifled a groan, and then squeezed the water from the cloth.

At that instant, he realized Surt’s power would not be enough. He ground his great teeth. Thinking back upon his first sight of winter snow, Hibbs drew upon his own Orenda.

And then, it happened.

Magic breathed her whisper of hope into the darkness.

Snow, light as the wind’s kiss, began to flutter from the cloth. Hibbs, despite his great pain, started to laugh. Laugh like a young cub seeing winter’s first snow caressing the slopes.

Quickly he soaked the cloth again and began another, heavier flurry of sparkling snow. It settled like a healing mist upon the wounded Sidhe. She gasped, moaned, then her stiff body began to slowly relax. And Hibbs soaked the cloth yet again.

More snow swirled from his great paw in long, wide arcs. Hibbs laughed deep, turning to Surt, who caught up in the bear’s joy, began laughing himself. To think that he, Surt, Destroyer of Worlds, Father of All Fires, was creating crystal, cold snow.


He felt as he had long, long ages ago when the Nine Worlds were steaming and birth-new. No, more than that, he himself felt birth-new, filled with a sense of wonder and endless possibilities, a feeling he had thought Wotan had strangled long eons before.

Surt looked upon the laughing Hibbs. This strange creature had proven Wotan a liar. No, he had done much more than that. Surt felt renewed.

And with the feeling, the laughter boomed out of him over and over again. He looked on Hibbs, and for the first time that he could remember, Surt smiled.

And in that instant, he loved the young bear as one would love a brother. Gone were the plots to gain total freedom by the death of his furred savior. What had he been thinking? The bear had been right. He had let his hate blind him.

Surt laughed even deeper as Hibbs poured down another snow flurry upon the healing Sidhe. Total freedom? Look at what the young bear had just done.

He had shown Surt a power that had laid hidden in him for all his existence. What other wonders might he not show him?

And not to leave his first friend out, Hibbs called out, “Little Brother, would you beat those mighty wings of yours to make a true snow storm?”

The rough-legged hawk had been feeling left out and smiled as much as his beak would let him. “A snow storm it shall be!”

And so it was.

The First Hawk of Creation flew beside Hibbs, impossibly hovering like a Humming Bird. The beats of his huge wings filled the library with a leathery rustling and a tremendous howling of strange winds much like the moans of a thousand Apache spirit flutes.

It was a sight that no Two-Legged had seen since The Great Mystery breathed light into the darkness.

Winter visited the inside of Estanatlehi’s endless cabin. And its gales were the mingled laughter of three spirits who had become one. But there was something odd to the laughter of Hibbs, his face-fur edged in ice.

Its sound had become as thin as butter too spread out on bread. The hawk saw his brother start to shiver uncontrollably and grew worried.

“Surt! Stop -- please. More o-our brother cannot take.”

Surt grunted. Our? Then the Source of All Fires saw the hawk was right. He swore low.

A thousand Sidhe still would not be worth the life of the brother he had just found. He stopped drawing the heat from where Hibbs was weaving on snow-covered legs.

The great bear sank heavily to his ice-crusted knees. But still he was young and filled with the silly pride of youth.

“T-Thank you, Surt, Little Brother. I was tiring -- all that laughter you know.”

The hawk eyed Surt. The head of flickering fires snorted. Hibbs was silent a moment, then his great maw spread into a sheepish grin. He flung flakes of ice from his face as he shook his head and laughed at himself.

“All right, I was becoming aware of a slight chill.”

The hawk cawed, “Slight?”

Little Brother flew to the right shoulder of Hibbs and beat on his head with a flurry of huge wings. Surt chuckled at the sight. And the sound of mingled laughter from three friends filled the enchanted cabin of The Turquoise Woman.

But outside, high in the endless depths of the night sky, the face in the moon shed silent tears.
Hibbs' portrait above comes from the genius of Susan Sheldon Boulet. Here are more of her evocative, mystic works of art. Please don't deny yourself the wonder and the awe that will come from viewing her paintings :

Friday, March 25, 2011


Hibbs, the cub with no clue, and I walk out of Jo's rocking party

and out onto her lush backyard.

"Whew!," gushes Hibb.

"That is some party, Mr. Roland. Who was the Ostrich Lady,

wearing that dress of honey combs, who kept dancing with me?"

"Oh, that was Lady Gaga. You're lucky, Hibbs. Once she wore a dress of meat."

"What? Oh, Eeeyoo!"

His eyes light up. "Ah, do you know where she put that dress?"

I raise my eyebrow, and Hibbs says, "Don't look at me that way. Meat shouldn't go to waste."

He sits down on the grass with a thump beside me.

"At least that mother and daughter came to my resuce ... sort of."

"You mean Madonna and her daughter, Lourdes?"

"Yes, them. What was that weird dance that Madonna woman kept dancing with me?"

"It's called a tango, Hibbs."

"Well, it sure tangled my spine, that's for sure! Ah, speaking of spines,

her daughter looked like her spine was all rubber while she danced with me. Is that the tango, too?"

I ruffle the hair atop his small head. "No, Hibbs, that's called the Dip."

Hibbs shruggs his shoulder.

"At least that band, THE WANDERING PEPPLES, played so loud I didn't have to talk much."

"You mean THE ROLLING STONES, Hibbs."

He nods his head. "Yeah, them."

"Oh, there, you are, you little sneak!," comes a strident voice behind us.

Hibbs pops to his feet, holding out his paw. "Who's that, Mr. Roland?"

"Taylor Swift."

Taylor rushes toward Hibbs, who thrusts out his open paw even more.

"Now, you keep those spindly little legs right where they are, Miss Taylor. I'm all pooped out."

Taylor giggles. "Oh, you cute thing, you."

She wraps an arm around a squirming Hibbs, dragging him back into Jo's party.

Taylor giggles, "I dated a werewolf, but I've never danced with a bear."

Hibbs lolls his head over his shoulder, imploring me with begging eyes.

"Mr. Roland, help! Mr. Roland!!"

I chuckle back at him. "Face it, Hibbs. You just have animal magnetism!"

"Mr. Roland, that is SO not funny!"

Ah, everyone, come help me rescue Hibbs at Jo's party :

My melded entry for PURPLE PROSE and THE NATURE OF MAGIC blogfests will be a day late, coming to you Saturday.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Hibbs, the cub with no clue and no feet, here.

Look at my poor feet. They're worn down to nubs.

Ouch! Even coming through a shortcut through DreamTime, going from Fiji to California was sure no fun!

But pretty Miss Jo was worth the trip. Come listen to Jo and Roland talk about neat stuff :

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


"Hey, Little Brother! I'm freezing up here! I can't breathe and there's ice on my face fur!"

"Wakin'yan am I! From horizon to horizon is my wingspan. High is how I fly."

"Well, I'm Hibbs, the cub with no clue, not some icicle. Get me down!!"

"No fun you are."

"Ooooh, this is much better. Drop me on that beach. Ummmph! Hey, not so fast. How will I get back you flying off like this? Oh, well, I'll worry about that tomorrow.

Oh, my, look at the pretty flower. Hey, guys, Nas has already started! Time for you to vist Miss Nas and Roland here :

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Hibbs, the cub with no clue, is happily ambling next to me.

"Miss Summer was nice. Where to next, Mr. Roland?"

"To J.C. Martin."

"Where does she live?"

"It's a secret. See? We're already there."

Hibbs suddenly flashes a huge alligator smile so phony

politicians everywhere will be hounding him for his secret.

"Hi, Miss J.C. ! See me wave? Me and Mr. Roland, we're totally harmless!"

I hiss a whisper. "What are you doing, Hibbs?"

He looks up at me shocked. "Don't you even know your own species, Mr. Roland?

With beautiful female humans you have to show them you mean them no harm."

Hibbs leans in close.

"And this one knows Wing Chun. You know the stuff Bruce Lee taught. I am one bear cub that wants to keep his internal organs internal!"

He nudges me. "See how less tense she looks?"

"Ah, she looks more, not less, tense to me, Hibbs."

"I'll fix that. You just watch."

Hibbs rushes J.C. , his arms outstretched. "How about a nice big bear hug!"

J.C. is a fluid blurr. Hibbs' furry little body flies through the air in a flailing


He lands and tumbles in a flurry of arms and legs. His big head pops up from the brush.

Snorting leaves and blades of grass from his lips and cheeks, Hibbs wrinkles his long nose.

"Not big into bear hugs, huh?"

He turns to the cyber-void and chuckles,

"Hey, guys, I've paved the way. J.C. is all untense and everything. Head on over."

"Oh, Mr. Roland? Who are we seeing tomorrow?"

"Nas Dean. She lives in Naid,Fiji, by the way."

"F-Fiji? FIJI!! Mr. Roland!!"


Hibbs, the cub with no clue, here again.


Summer Ross lives in WYOMING?!

That's over 800 miles as Little Brother flies!

Sigh. Mr. Roland, do I get any of the royalties?

Mr. Roland!

Oh, well, come follow me to Wy-Wyoming :
Congratulations to Hart and Elena for making it to ABNA's semi-finals!!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Hibbs, the cub with no clue, here!

I'm all rested and raring to go ... this time to California!

To Donna Hole's blog :

I heard Roland practicing his answers. Boy, they sure interested me.

Come with me. I am one determined cub. Paws don't fail me now.

Ever wonder why your great book isn't bought? The aliens are here :

Sunday, March 20, 2011


{Thank you to Leonora (Maddelirium) of Renderosity fame

for the lovely picture which graces this post.}

You might be asking, "The Second Key to what?"

The key to writing a classic that readers will go back to over and over again.

And just what is that allusive Second Key?


There are books I go back to just to re-read favorite passages. As in this one where Mark Twain speaks of Hawaii :

"For me its balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun; the pulsing of its surf is in my ear;

I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud-rack;

I can feel the spirit of its woody solitudes, I hear the splashing of the brooks; in my nostrils still lives the breath of flowers that perished twenty years ago."

Weren't you there for a moment? Didn't you catch, not just the physical touch of the islands, but the spiritual one as well?

The love, the longing, the reluctant parting with those lush, green isles.

Twain didn't write of Hawaii. He SPOKE of it. I used that word earlier on purpose. You could almost hear his Missouri twang.

His description wasn't a mere flat reproduction of details. No. His recollections spoke as much of his character as it did of the land.

Descriptions of your setting, if done well, will make of your locale an actual character. They will paint a picture, not only of the surroundings, but also of the soul of your perceiving protagonist ...

As in this description of Amsterdam seen through the eyes of Samuel McCord in the novel I am now writing, NEW ORLEANS ARABESQUE ...

Amsterdam. I’d never much cared for it.

There was rot underneath its old world orderliness. Maybe I might have liked it at its beginning when it was just a huddle of fishing huts on the Amsel River with folks just content to hide away from the madness of kings and Popes.

It was a strange city, where coffeshops meant places where you could buy pot. But that they were found in the Red Light District was a real clue that coffee wasn’t the only thing sold there.

And what wasn’t sold in Amsterdam? Honor, dignity, pride, sex -- all was sold on the open market.

For the thing that I had become, Amsterdam was a wild mix of scents and sounds :

the tolling church bells that played snatches of hymns or Beethoven to mark the dying of the hour;

the smell of vanilla drifting off the stack of waffles as I walked by the cafes; barrel organs pumping happily off in the distance;

hearing a gaggle of laughing girls singing around a piano as I strolled by a bordello;

watching a lone professor on a park bench, closing his eyes, as he listened to the music of Sweelinck on a 17th century organ in the Oude Kerk.

But the lawman in me found other more disturbing sensations : the wave of cloyingly sweet cannabis that hit me as soon as I stepped off the train into the station;

the mewing of the drug addicts who stumbled my way, begging for the price of just one more fix;

the fine smell of aged vomit rising from off the cobblestones as I had made my way along desperate prostitutes, past their prime,

but with no other way to make a living on the street of Stormsteeg;

the silent hollow-eyed girls staring at me from the windows on Molensteeg,

awkwardly bumping and grinding in an attempt to lure me in and keep their pimps from beating the hell out of them for poor sales.

After all, waterfront property costs to keep.

The dead man’s reservation was for the InterContinental Amstel Hotel, the best hotel in the city. Hell, why not? Only the very best for the very worst.

It was where you could find movie stars, popstars, and other famous and infamous celebrities -- and me. His suite was paid up for the month.

His wallet’s money made fine dining affordable, not that I could still taste with the withered thing that passed for a tongue. But as long as I didn’t stick it out at folks, I still looked human.

The night following my arrival found me sitting in the hotel’s best restaurant, La Rive. It had a beautiful panorama of the Amstel River. The dead boy’s money bought me a prime table with the best view.

I would have felt guilty if I had been enjoying it. But all I could see were the addicts and prostitutes that clawed for a living somewhere beyond the dark beauty.

“They are cattle, nothing more,” said a velvet voice above me.

{And as Holmes would say, "The game was afoot."}

If I managed to put my muse where my mouth is, then I conveyed as much about Samuel as I did about the streets and psyche of Amsterdam.

That is what you must do :

You must be as Hemingway -- very precise in what words you use and make them do double-duty : telling as much "why" as "what."

The tight purse-strings of his newspapers forced this discipline upon him.

Telegraphing his articles from exotic locales and warfronts cost his paper $1.25 a word. At those prices each word had better be damn important to his post.

And so it should be with your prose.

Time and patience are short with agents and the average reader. If they are not wisked away by your words to become lost in your setting, they will simply walk away.

Do not let them.

Think back on a moment when the magic of a place caught you up in a moment of awe and wonder.

What did the wind taste like? The air -- was it filled with the scent of pine and lightning strikes?

What sounds did your feet make as you walked --

the crackle of brittle leaves dying at your passing ... the cat-padding of feet sinking deep into soft grass ... the lonely cry of a solitary owl casting his voice into the hollowness of the night?

Hold the reader by the sheer magic of your words. Don't write. Speak.

Speak as if to a friend by the campfire as the darkness presses in on you both -- the darkness within as much as the darkness without.

Speak of the soul of the land as seen through the heart of your main character.

If you can do that, you will have grasped the Second Key.

"The wind will tell you its truths if you but listen." -- Samuel McCord
Here is my entry for SHOW ME THE VOICE! blogfest (Happy Birthday, Brenda!)
Name : Roland D. Yeomans
Title : French Quarter Nocturne
Genre : Urban Fantasy

It rained lies and death today.

But some things even Hurricane Katrina couldn’t change.

As it had for the past century and a half, the setting sun took its last look on St. Peter’s street as it transformed to Rue La Mort. The flooded street sparkled with flakes of burning silver. Beneath the muddy water, spirits swam restlessly, looking nothing so much as seeping blood under the sea.

Though I had seen the transformation a thousand times, tonight’s still hollowed out my chest. My vision blurred. My head became light. Reality stretched like taffy pulled by some demented demon-child.

The world looked as if I were viewing it from the wrong end of a telescope. My head felt full of helium. I half-expected it to float off my shoulders.

The evening fog became blood mists billowing over the flooded street. The mists became figures out of nightmare. I stood my ground. There were dazed innocents behind me, and I would protect them as I had protected them for a hundred and fifty years.

Frightening me never worked. The ghost demons fell back to the tried and true, murmuring hollow promises in my ear. I felt off-balanced as if I would fall into madness. I still stood my ground.

Hissing in anger, they drifted off down the flooded Rue La Mort in search of more gullible souls.

A shadow loomed over me. I held onto my Stetson and craned my neck, looking up. There it was in all its hellish glory.

Meilori’s, the Crossroads of Worlds.
At a time when the Nazi's were winning WWII, and it seemed America might find herself alone against Hell, there came a movie that merged dialogue with locale :

And to end, as I started, with beauty :

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Hibbs, the cub with no clue, here.

I'm all done in, guys. I can't even lift my head.

I have just enough strength to give you the schedule for next week 's Book Blog Tour for THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS --

that's me when I grow up :

Monday (21st) -- Donna Hole - DONNA HOLE

Tuesday (22nd) -- Summer Ross - MY INNER FAIRY

Wednesday (23rd) -- J. C. Martin - FIGHTER, WRITER


Friday (25th) -- Jo Schaffer Part I - SHOVELING IN A JO STORM

Saturday (26th) -- Jo Schaffer Part II - SHOVELING IN A JO STORM

Now, guys, I am going to sleep for a century or so. YAWN. Maybe more.

Little Hibbs asked me a moment ago, "How do you write a classic, Mr. Roland."

That's a question you would like to know, too.

Sure you do. Deep down we all do.

But how to pull off that miracle?

Like the photo to today's post suggests ... by giving the reader what he wants to read.

And that's what has readers come back to read our novel a second ... even a third time.

It's what has them rush to their friends, talking about the book that they just have to read.

Word of mouth gives birth to bestsellers that become modern day classics ... to movies being made of said novels ... maybe your book.

Word of mouth.

That phrase leads us to one of the three things will ensure your book is worthy of coming back for seconds,

thus becoming a classic -- (Sorry, I ran out of space -- I only got to one of the three.) :

1) Dialogue that sparkles.

Take the sixties Western, THE PROFESSIONALS :

Burt Lancaster. Lee Marvin. Robert Ryan. Ralph Bellamy. Jack Palance. Woody Strode.

Each actor at the apex of their careers. How did the director draw in so many large stars at the time of one-star vechiles?

The studio couldn't afford that much in salaries.


Each actor was given lines that didn't just say something but words that MEANT something. Words that didn't just move the plot along but spoke to something primal within the hearts of the audience.

Such as :

Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) : Rico, buddy. I don't deserve you.

Rico (Lee Marvin): I agree. I can understand you getting in a crap game and losing $700 you didn't have, but how'd you lose your pants?

Bill Dolworth: In a ladies bedroom, trying to raise the cash. Almost had it made, too. Do you realize that people are the only animals that make love face to face?


Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) : Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning, the good guys against the bad guys. Question is, who are the good guys?


Rico: So what else is on your mind besides hundred-proof women, 'n' ninety-proof whiskey, 'n' fourteen-carat gold?

Bill Dolworth: Amigo, you just wrote my epitaph!


Jake Sharp (Woody Strode) : Mr. D, whatever got a loving man like you in the dynamite business?

Bill Dolworth: Well, I'll tell you. I was born with a powerful passion to create. I can't write, can't paint, can't make up a song...

Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan) : So you explode things.

Bill Dolworth: Well that's how the world was born. Biggest damn explosion you ever saw.


Jesus Raza (Jack Palance) : La RevoluciÛn is like a great love affair. In the beginning, she is a goddess. A holy cause. But...

every love affair has a terrible enemy: time. We see her as she is. La RevoluciÛn is not a goddess but a whore.

She was never pure, never saintly, never perfect. And we run away, find another lover, another cause. Quick, sordid affairs. Lust, but no love. Passion, but no compassion.

Without love, without a cause, we are... *nothing*! We stay because we believe. We leave because we are disillusioned. We come back because we are lost. We die because we are committed.


[last lines]
J.W. Grant (Ralph Bellamy) : You bastard.

Rico: Yes, Sir. In my case an accident of birth. But you, Sir, you're a self-made man.


On the surface THE PROFESSIONALS was just an adventure tale, plain and simple.

But your novel to become a classic cannot be plain and simple.

It must have depth. Your dialogue must do more than say something -- it must MEAN something.

As THE PROFESSIONALS had depth. Beneath the adventure was an examination of what it means to be a professional in all you did, what it took for mature, intelligent men to fight for love or for a cause when ultimately all loves, all causes, betray you.

Each character had a different surface answer. But their base-rock answer was the same : you lived in such a way as to not betray yourself -- you fought because of the people you battled alongside and for.

And that leads back to us :

as authors we write for ourselves and for those who read our words -- not to betray ourselves or the readers who paid cash money for tale. In the end, we want what all authors want :

to tell a story that sings a song of the soul, that murmurs "You are not alone."


Friday, March 18, 2011


Hibbs, here.

Jeeez! Look at my poor feet. They're worn to nubs.

First, from Australia to Miss Jodi. Then, from her to Colorado and Miss Nancy.

Then, to Miss VR in Atlanta to wave good-bye to her on her way to Santa Fe.

Now, back to Colorado and Miss Nancy for the second part of Roland's interview with her.

Just look at these feet. Medic. Medic!!!

Anybody got any ice?

Oh, here's the address to follow to see Miss Nancy and Roland :

Sigh. Samuel McCord and Victor Standish face undead threats in the French Quarter. Now comes this movie. It looks so bad, agents will remember it and turn down my books without even looking at them :

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Hibbs, the cub with no clue, here.

Mumfff. What? Eating a 4 leaf clover won't bring me luck?! Now, you guys tell me!

Sigh. Come follow me to Atlanta where VR and Roland are talking about my adventures :

Here is my entry for THE LUCK OF THE IRISH BLOGFEST. Check out pretty Colene's site for the others :

Hibbs walked through the green tangle of trees and brush. The cub was sad. Spring was here. Winter was gone. So, too, was the Turquoise Woman -- off on one of her mysterious trips.

"Faith!," chirped a voice above him.

Hibbs looked up through the velvet cover of the leaves. He went stiff. A little man, dressed in the oddest green clothes Hibbs had ever seen.

"It's me gold yer after, isn't it?"

"I can't eat gold. But have you seen any blueberries?"

The small man looked shocked, then outraged. "You don't mean to be saying, you have no yearning for me gold?"

Hibbs had quite enough of this strange two-legged. "I am yearning to be alone."

Hibbs ambled off in search of berries and solitude. The leprechaun leapt from tree to tree harassing the poor cub for his lack of discernment.

The cub walked like this for some minutes when a swirl of snowflakes danced all around him, finally becoming the tall, regal Turquoise Woman.

She tweaked his wrinkling nose softly. "Didn't you see that leprechaun fall out of that tree twelve paces back?"

Hibbs' face brightened. "Oh, that's wonderful!"

The Turquoise Woman frowned, "Wonderful?"

"Yes. I thought I had gone deaf!"

My very own production. Drumroll, please :

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Hibbs, the cub with no clue, here in Colorado.

Hello, Nancy!!

Let me give you a great big bear hug!

I love it in your neck of the woods!

Let me sit down and listen to you and Roland talk :
For those of you who have been missing Victor Standish :

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Part II of Jodi's Blog tour interview (Hibbs)_Plus Raymond Chandler's ghost brings you HART'S IDES OF MARCH entry

Hibbs, the cub with no clue, here.

I couldn't read Roland's Ides of March story. I started crying. Don't go if you get the sniffles like me.

His cat, Gypsy, liked it though.

Follow me to Miss Jodi's interview THEN to Denise's review of my adventures on the blog READING AT DAWN :

{"If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."
— Ernest Hemingway.}

Raymond Chandler's ghost here. You might go to Hart's blogs for other tales in her blogfest :

Ever see a sniffling bear cub. Ever try to say no to it? Well, I couldn't say no. Call me a sap. Just not to my face.

This tale comes from when Roland died in the Shadowlands. I didn't take it well. He listens. He cares.

When I heard he died because of the ghost of Ernest Hemingway, hiding out in Roland's apartment ...

I didn't listen. I didn't care. I got even.


If you read GHOST OF A CHANCE, you know Roland was on the run in the Shadowlands, falsely accused of the murder of Hemingway’s ghost.

The same ghost who had been laughing up his sleeve in Roland’s apartment for a week, pontificating on how to write good literature.

Apparently, he forgot how to live a good life or be a good friend.

No, the truth was worse. He was too jealous of how the ghost of Marlene Dietrich felt about Roland.

Today, ironically, is Marlene's birthday.

Hemingway had been rubbing his hands in pure joy as the ghosts closed in for revenge and others in the darkness bayed at the kid’s heels,
seeking to tear the secret of how to kill ghosts from him.

Now, where is Hemingway? On his way to Hell if there's any justice. But there isn't.

Word in the Shadowlands is that he is just walking aimlessly into the darkness, his eyes deep holes into nothingness.

I only have the cold comfort that I knocked him on his arrogant ghost-butt. How did a Hollywood hack like me do that? Easy. I cheated.

I surprised him. I walked into Roland's apartment looking clean, neat, and sober, smiling my best "ain't we chums?" smile.

Then, I let him have it with the blackjack in my fist.

He went down hard. Not hard enough.

"Good news, boxer," I grunted. "Word in the Shadowlands is that Roland's dead. Died in the arms of Marlene."

His eyes fought to focus. "Is she --"

"Yeah, hero. She's dead, too. Killed by the one who poisoned you. I hope you're --"

I didn't get the chance to finish. The most godawful yowling came from the head of Roland's bed. Then, I saw her -

Gypsy, his cat, all covered in sand. I could have sworn she hadn't been there when I first came in.

Her head was reared back, her eyes full of tears. Hell, his cat was crying.


And Gypsy howled like her guts were being cut out of her. I can hear it still. It seemed to go on forever.

I pray to God I never hear such a sound again. She stopped abruptly and looked at me with eyes gone sick and insane.

Then she just slowly faded away into the darkness like an old photograph left out too long in the sun. I shivered. And I knew. I knew.

I would never see his cat again.

I turned to Hemingway as he struggled to his feet, and I managed to get out the words. "Roland trusted you."

My grief and anger were battling so inside my heart, it felt as if I was standing outside myself.

"You hid in his apartment, knowing he was being blamed for your murder, knowing he was being hunted by things that would make a pit bull puke."

I realized I was literally shaking with my anger. "You could have stopped this. You should have."

He turned hollow eyes to me. "Right on both counts."

And with that he walked out through Roland's door. And I knew something else. I would never see him again either.

So here I am, sitting in the dark at Roland's laptop.

What do I write that would express just what the kid meant to me? It's all too fresh. I - I can't.

There are no graves in the Shadowlands.

No place where I can lay one black rose. To die there is to disappear utterly both body and spirit.

But I have to do something. Something.

I will sit out on Roland's terrace and look out as the night fog slips away from the bordering bayou.

The rains are over. The fields this far south are still green.

And with my ghost eyes I will look out over the vastness of America to the Hollywood Hills and see snow on the high mountains.

The fur stores will be advertising their annual sales. The call houses that specialize in sixteen year-old virgins will be doing a land-office business.

In Beverly Hills the jacaranda trees will be awakening to spring to bloom.

And none of that will matter ... for my friend is dead.

The French have a saying that to say good-bye is to die a little. They are right. I am a ghost, and I thought I was past feeling dead inside. I was wrong.

I think I will always see him driving down lonely roads, sitting in lonely rooms, saddened but never quite defeated.

Down those mean streets he went who was not himself mean, who was neither tarnished nor afraid ... only mortal.

Good-bye, Roland. I will miss you.


Monday, March 14, 2011


Hibbs, the cub with no clue, here.

Those small Indians from Australia followed me to Miss Jodi's ...

and they're carrying those strange crooked sticks, too.

Hey, guys, those sticks better be made of chocolate 'cause if you try to hurt Miss Jodi with them ... I'm gonna make you eat them!

Uh, huh. They say they just came to keep me safe through DreamTime.

"Thanks, guys. You stay safe on the way back, hear?"

Aw, no. Jodi's sleeping for the night. I guess the interview will be Monday morning. Sigh. I'll just curl up and sleep in her backyard.

Better keep one eye open though. You have to be careful with Indians, little or not, if you want to keep your scalp.

And when your scalp covers your whole body, I bet it hurts when they lift it!

I'll see you guys Monday here :

Hibbs back again, snuggling in Miss Jodi's backyard. I asked Roland where we would be going next. Of course I knew we'd be here tomorrow. But he gave me this news at all the places my poor feet would be sore from heading to :

I will be at Nancy's Wednesday :

Thursday, I will visit VR at her blog (a St. Patrick's Day treat) at :

Then, back to Nancy's blog again for Friday.

On Monday (the 21st) I will turn up at Donna Hole's blog :

I asked Roland if that meant I'd have the weekend to soak my feet in Lake Charles.

He just chuckled and said, "Maybe. Unless someone wants to dare the weekend."

Sigh. I have a feeling my poor paws are never going to get a rest!

Oh, Denise just told me she's writing a review of my adventures for tomorrow at her joint blog READING AT DAWN:

Sunday, March 13, 2011


It was just a midnight snack, Denise.

Oh, all right, I might have dented your cold food box a little.

And the handle. And the shelves. And ate most of the food.

But I'm a growing bear.

So here I am, chased out in her flower bed.

Ah, Denise wouldn't miss that flower, would she?

Hey, guys, hurry on over here before I get myself into more trouble!


Fast forward to the middle of this clip for the most touching part of the movie and wait for the quote at the end :

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Hibbs, the cub with no clue, here.

My feet are worn to nubs! Do you guys know how far it was to Australia?!

Lucky I took the path through Dreamtime. But those little Indians that met me had no sense of humor at all!

They kept throwing those strange crooked sticks at me. I kept ducking. Those sticks went right back to their hands. They kept on throwing. I kept on ducking them.

Finally, I said fun was fun, but I had to get to L'Aussie's place.

"Denise?!," went their head guy.

I said, "That's the one."

"Well, why didn't you say so? Now, we have to make you a member of the tribe!"

Warlpiri it was.

They gave me some strange looking worms. I usually don't eat food that's still moving. But I didn't want to insult them.

They pointed me in the right direction. And here I am.

Now, don't make me go through all that, and you not show up!

Here's the way :

If you want to know how Hibbs the cub sounds :


Friday, March 11, 2011


Hey, guys!

Hibbs, the cub with no clue here.

I can't find WordsCrafter anywhere! Do any of you know the way to her place?

Roland is already there. I wanted to curl up at his feet and listen to his stories.

Oh, I see the signpost. Here it is :

Hibbs again.

Ah, any of you know the way to Australia? L'Aussie is talking with Roland there tomorrow.

It's where?!

Aw, jeez, my feet are going to get so sore!
Oh, Hibbs back again. Take a look at my new friend :

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Hibbs here.

Hey, what are YOU doing here? WordsCrafter is expecting you. Roland is already there. C'mon, follow me :

Wait. Just in case Becky is still having Wiley E. Coyote problems, follow me to Wendy Tyler Ryan who wrote about the novel of my adventures

Oh, and she had some nice things to say about Roland, too. But pay attention to what she says of me. I'm the hero after all!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I am humbled and truly pleased at the number of my friends, old and new, that visited Michael Di Gesu yesterday.

He and I are chatting again. We do that a lot, but this time you get to eavesdrop. Come follow me to see what mischief we are up to :
A friend emailed yesterday and said how sad it was that I went through my childhood without a father. I smiled sadly and wrote back : My Father never left me :

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Welcome, Everyone!

Don't stay here. This is just the starting line.

The next stop is IN TIME, where you'll find Michael Di Gesu interviewing me.

I'm heading there right now. Follow me :

Happy Mardi Gras, Everyone!
One of the most anticipated parades of Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, the Krewe of Muses never fails to deliver.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Happy Mardi Gras Eve

Mardi Gras is a fantastic series of celebrations.

I want to celebrate ... friendship.

Michael de Gesu of IN TIME. He has been with me from the beginning of my ePublication of THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS.

He has been the cornerstone of the blog tour for it. As has Denise (L'Aussie). WordsCrafter. N.A. Williams. Donna Hole.

D'Artagnan had only three musketeers to accompany him into legend. I have five. I doff my plumed hat to you all.

My blog tour will be fun, mysterious, and legendary. There are books autographed by Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman, and Jim Butcher to win. There are maidens to save, monsters to slay, and Gypsy to feed.

Oh, sorry that last was just for me. For you, here is the initial schedule :

1. Michael @ In Time ... March 8th ... The man behind the prose. Part One

2. Michael @ In Time ... March 9th ... The man behind the prose. Part Two

3. Words Crafter @ Rainy Day Wanderer March 10th ... My personal reactions to the publication of THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS

4. Words Crafter @ Rainy Day Wanderer March 11th ... Her personal take on the publication of THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS

5. Denise @ L'Aussie March 12th ... Part I. of the genesis of my writing style

6. Denise @ L'Aussie March 13th ... Part II. The influences which shaped the style of my writing in THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS.

7. NR Williams March 16th ... Myth and world myth melding in THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS

8. Me here doing a Hibbs and St. Patrick's Day post March 17th

9. NR Williams March 18th ... Part II. How the Dreaming runs through THE BEAR WITH 2 SHADOWS.

10. Donna Hole March 21st The spiritual Native American message and reflections in THE BEAR WITH 2 SHADOWS.

11. There will be more blog hosts to join in and become fellow musketeers, storming the Bastille of the Publication World.

Oh, I mentioned Mardi Gras didn't I?

We in Louisiana think we know about Mardi Gras. But it has been around for thousands of years. Certain historians think that ancient fertility rituals performed by some tribes were the roots of Mardi Gras. These rituals welcomed spring's arrival.

Parts of the customs from the old festivals are also found in Lupercalia, a Roman circus-like festival taking place annually in mid-February. The Catholic Church wanted to shift people's attention from pagan festivals so they instituted the festival of Carnival, derived from the Latin word carnelevamen { farewell to flesh.} Or Hello to Lent so to speak.

Mardi Gras came to North America in 1699 when the French-Canadian Pierre le Monye, Sieur de Iberville was exploring the Mississippi River. He and his men camped on a bend of the river sixty miles south of New Orleans on March 3.

Pierre knew that Mardi Gras was being celebrated back in France so he decided to name that spot Pointe du Mardi Gras. And the rest is infamy, ah, I mean history
In honor of my blog tour for THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS, here is the legendary Lakota artist, John Two Eagle, with Tarja and Nightwish :

Friday, March 4, 2011


Join the excitement! Enter J.C. Martin's RACE TO 200 BLOG CONTEST :

My entry is an excerpt from VICTOR'S NOT JUST MY NAME that springs from this former post :

{The Soyoko, evolved raptors, thought to amuse themselves by placing a stolen baby in the arms of the starving ghoul, Alice, to see just how long she could hold out against her hunger before consuming the baby.

They made two mistakes : they hurt the girl Victor loved, and they didn't kill him before they did it.

Victor, tapping the power of his mother's blood, has transported Alice, the baby, and himself to the dark streets of the French Quarter. He is still learning his powers, however, and has brought along most of the Soyoko, too.}

Alice held the crying baby close to her. Her determined eyes said she would keep the baby safe no matter what.

In her odd British accent, Alice husked, “We are dead.”

“No. I’m dead. You get the baby to Meilori’s.”


“Tell Captain Sam I’m coming in hot. And I’m coming in with hell at my heels.”

“No!,” screamed Alice.

Too late.

I was already running towards the narrow alleyway. As I passed a raptor, blinking its eyes at its change in surroundings, I slapped it on the scaled cheek.

“Wake up, Sunshine! You guys want me? You’re gonna have to catch me!”

I was the best there was at parkour, free running.

I darted into the alleyway. The trick was to kick into the wall, not try to climb it. Angeline Jolie had guide-wires. All I had were tough toes.

I wall-ran up both walls on either side of me. One foot pushing me up a few inches at a time. The raptors screamed in anger and disbelief. I laughed over my shoulders as I hit the top of the tallest building with a palm spin.

“You never heard of fast food?”

Cowards. I knew what to expect. A raptor was waiting for me on the roof closest to Meilori’s.

I spun on my palms, kicking the nose of the waiting raptor and sending me onto the roof farthest from the jazz club.

I raced across it, not slowing a bit as I reached the edge. My legs were strong. I could do Olympic-quality jumps.

I did one to the top of the building caddy-corner to mine. Hiking my knees up for momentum, I hit the roof in a roll and kept on racing.

Movement all around me. I was surrounded by hissing, grasping raptors. I ran to the brick wall to my right. I wall-spun it, flipping up and over and behind the pack of Soyoko.

I spun, taking off in the other direction. A raptor leapt right at me. I bent, grabbed my right ankle and swept right through his legs, bowling him over.

I laughed. They howled. I was so dead. And I’d never felt more alive.

From building to building I bounded as they scrambled after me. Laughing, I leapt from the roof’s edge to the graveled one below. I hit with a fluid roll, picking up bloodied stone and throwing it directly behind me.

It hit the raptor inches from me in the eyes. It screamed. I laughed again. They hurt Alice. I damn well would rub their noses in that mistake.

I leapt off to the building far below me. Shit. It was a long-ass fall. I hit hard with a roll. I smiled as I heard splintering bones of idiot raptors who had tried to follow.

There. Right below me. More idiots. Human ones. Stripping a car.

I konged like a gorilla over the wall’s railing right onto the vandalized car.

“What the fuck?”

I laughed, “Great last words.”

The raptors were on them. And I was down the street still laughing. That storefront.

Was this Orleans Street? That tree ahead of me. I charged it. I felt the hot breath of the raptor on my neck.

I wall ran up the tree, spinning up and over behind the lunging raptor. I landed easy, kicking it in the butt to slam its head hard into the trunk.

Movement to my right.

Jean Lafitte and his brother, Pierre. They might have been ghosts, but their swords looked sharp.

“Run, Little Man. Pierre and I have told these brutes : Pirate Alley is ours!”

Raptors screamed as they were run through. I smiled wide. Sometimes it helped to have friends in ghoulish places.

Or not.

A knife slashed towards my eyes. I ducked down, doing the Parkour roll right between legs in a frilly hoop skirt.

Delphine LaLaurie.

The French Quarter’s Jill the Ripper. Her knife bloody from the tortured bodies of her slaves, she looked at me with insane eyes.

“I worship blood and screams.”

I jerked my thumb over my shoulder to the sound of clawed feet on pavement. “Get ready for a religious experience!”

I raced down the dark street, at whose end was St. Louis Cathedral and the spotlighted courtyard statue of Jesus, casting long shadows of waiting arms for me.

To welcome me to death …

or to safety?

I laughed. What matter? I was Victor Standish, and the only sure thing was that I would not quit. Ever.
Below are some of the parkour moves Victor Standish uses in evading the Soyoko.

Fast forward to midway to see a street athelete scaling up two walls in an alleyway as Victor did.

Some of you have emailed me, asking just who is this BOND group? So here is the answer, along with the tune, EXPLOSIVE, that could be used for the soundtrack of this entry, too :

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Here is the article on establishing mood through description that I promised Shannon yesterday.

Look around you.

Hearts have grown cold,

ears dull,

minds impatient.

And this affects you as a writer just how?

Each page of your novel could be the reader's last ...

unless ...

unless you make your novel alive and alluring.

People pick up a book in a store, thumb through it, and read a page at random.

That is your only shot at snaring him/her into buying what cost you years of sweat and effort.

Make each page count. Make each paragraph breathe. Make each moment live in the mind of the reader.

Each of the senses should be touched by your words. And one of the ways you do that is to paint your locale with such brushstrokes of prose, the reader "sees" and "feels" and "smells" the unique flavors of your locale.

New Orleans :

Hollow-eyed mothers hugging hungry children within a block of spacious mansions, framed by lush bushes and gleaming iron lacework fences.

Decaying public schools slowly devolving into raucous social jungles and tribal warfare over gang colors and drug territory.

A hardened, jaded police department that in some seasons can be scarier than the city's criminals. Official corruption at every level. Murder rates ever soaring. And hot, steamy air you can wear 7 months out of the year.

And it is a wonderful place to live :

The morning mists parting as the St. Charles streetcar happily clatters through the shimmering fog under the avenue's great oak trees.

The second-line parade of trumpet blowers high-stepping intricate steps in honor of some event or another.

The mellow, haunting notes of Ellis Marsalis playing piano as you sit at Snug Harbor, sipping a drink light on alcohol, heavy on taste.

You must paint your reader into your locale with words that touch the taste buds, stroke their cheeks, and tug on their heartstrings.

Only then, with the setting so real that they hear the sound of throaty laughter and fine jazz, will the Stetson wearing, doomed hero, Samuel McCord, feel like an actual person to them.

Remember :

Each city whispers in its own voice. Your city. My city.

You know streets that whisper to stay away at night.

You know what scandal has stained some avenue beyond repair. You know what person's name is spoken in hushed tones long after he or she has died and been buried in your city.

Each city has its own personality. Like a human's, it changes with trauma, years of abuse, and moments of historic impact.

Lifting the veil from the distinctive features of the setting of your novel makes your whole narrative come alive for your reader.

But how do you do that verbal sleight of hand?

Some obvious to tourists. Some that you have to ferret out by research in the library, on the internet, or by listening to a local visitor to your setting.

How does your hero/heroine feel about those details? How have they affected the protagonist and those important to him or her?

Weave those details and emotions into a rich tapestry of irony and longing.

What shadowed corner of your setting is especially dangerous or emotion-laden to your central characters? Why?

Paint a passage where that tapestry flutters in the shadows, not quite completely seen but more evocative because of that.

What era is it in your setting? Has your protagonist lived through more than one era of time in it?

How has the passing seasons shaped his/her mind, opinions, and outlook for the present? For the future? How does your protagonist view his and the setting's past?

Master these points, and your novel will live for your reader.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


This has been the kind of day for me that usually ends up with obituaries being written,

but I wanted to participate in Alison's intriguing SUPER SNOOPER BLOGFEST :

As it had for the past century and a half, the setting sun took its last look on St. Peter’s street as it transformed to Rue La Mort.

The flooded street sparkled with flakes of burning silver. Beneath the muddy water, spirits swam restlessly, looking nothing so much as seeping blood under the sea.

Though I had seen the transformation a thousand times, tonight’s still hollowed out my chest. My vision blurred. My head became light.

Reality stretched like taffy pulled by some demented demon-child.

The world looked as if I were viewing it from the wrong end of a telescope. My head felt full of helium. I half-expected it to float off my shoulders.

The evening fog became blood mists billowing over the flooded street. The mists became figures out of nightmare. I stood my ground. There were dazed innocents behind me.

The ghost demons fell back to the tried and true, murmuring hollow promises in my ear. I felt off-balanced as if I would fall into madness.

I still stood my ground. Hissing in anger, they drifted off down the flooded Rue La Mort in search of more gullible souls.

A shadow loomed over me. I held onto my Stetson and craned my neck, looking up. There it was in all its hellish glory.

Meilori’s, the Crossroads of Worlds.

Meilori's stood towering over me. Torch-lit iron lacework balconies stretched up high into the foggy night. I couldn't make out the building's top.

The smell of cedar, oak, ash, and lightning strikes filled the air. Screams sounded low in the distant night. Moans of warning murmured as if whispered right next to my ears.

Leathery wings sounded up high in the thick fog that masked the remaining balconies. I heard the thud of a heavy body, the ear-aching screech of talons against steel, and a husky laugh of hunger about to be fed.

It suddenly noticed me and glared my way for a long moment as if pondering its chances, then abruptly flew back the way it came.

I turned and saw the weathered sign hanging above my door :


Wasn’t that the damned truth?

I saw the gleaming window in front of me.

In strange, flowing script was the one word : Meilori's.

The letters were rippling and flowing into different fonts and colors, some for which science had no names. And that was fitting, for science had no name to describe its owner either.

A new favorite song of mine :


Don't forget to vote for Roland's GateKeeper entry (THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH) :

William Faulkner, ghost, here :

Roland is sleeping, his head settled on his folded arms as he sprawls in front of his electronic journal ... laptop he calls it.

I wanted to check in on him. We ghosts have a fondness for him. He listens.

You'd be surprised how few undead or living do that. Most spirits and living souls just wait impatiently for you to take in a breath so they can jump in with their concerns.

Samuel Clemens couldn't wait to inform me how Roland had gone wrong with his "mud or stars" post. Old Sam seemed sure he knew how he'd gone wrong.

And as usual that old talespinner was both right and wrong.

Like Roland, I taught creative writing in a university. I had been so sure I had a firm grasp of reality and how to portray it. Death showed me that only the dead see clearly.

So I do know where Roland went wrong, where so many of us writers go wrong :

People do not read to see what you think or to learn about you. No.

They read to learn about themselves, to come into contact with who they truly are.

They read that which speaks of their own hopes, their own dreams, and their own fears.

If a tale resonates with the haunting music of their unhealed wounds and silent insecurities, they will be drawn to it as if to a magnet. Only that story which tells of a heart in conflict with itself is truly literature.

That is why you must read, my friends. Read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it.

Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master.

Then write. If it's good, you'll find out.

If it's not, throw it out of the window and start again wiser.

Don't be 'a writer'.

Be writing.

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

And to work well you must write with the embers of truth stinging your eyes.

You can have 13 people looking at a black bird and none of them will get it right. No one individual can look at truth.

Even simple truth. Look deep enough, and the simplicity disappears in the murky depths.

Truth blinds you. It is too much for one set of perceptions to take in. To a man with rose-tinted glasses, the whole world is rose.

And so it is with the writer looking at Man.

We call ourselves Homo Sapien, the reasoning animal. But Man is not made of reason.

A man is the sum of his misfortunes.

One day you'd think misfortune would get tired, but then time is its own misfortune as well.

And so all human behavior is unpredictable.

Considering Man's fragility and the ramshackle universe he functions in, how could it be otherwise?

So how does that affect you as a writer?

1) The writer must not set himself up as judge :

He must focus on action, the character's behavior.

Maybe your protagonist, like so many people, has no concept of morality,

only an integrity to hold always to what he believes to be facts and truths of the human condition.

2) The character does what his nature dictates.

He acts not as the writer would, not as a man should do, but what he will do --

maybe what he can't help but do. Which leads me to my greatest fear :

3) I fear that Man is losing his individualism, his sense of self, in doing what the herd does in order to stay safe.

Which is why I do not belong to anything besides the Human Race, and I try to be a first rate member of that.

4) You are first rate as a human being and a writer if :

you do the best you can with what talents you have to make something positive that wasn't there yesterday.

How do you do that you ask :

The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. And he makes his home of the stones of his efforts.

How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home until I realized that home to a writer is where his mind, his heart is.

5) Most men are a little better than their circumstances give them a chance to be. Strive to thrive where you are. "How?" you ask again. And I will tell you :

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything good.

You have to have courage. Courage is not so hard to have in writing if you remember that :

All of us have failed to match our dream of perfection.

6) I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible. If I could write all my work again, I'm convinced I could do it better.

This is the healthiest condition for an artist. That's why he keeps working, trying again: he believes each time that this time he will do it, bring it off.

Of course he won't. Which leads us to the next point.

7) The phenomenon of writing is its hermaphroditism:

the principles of victory and of defeat inhabit the same body

and the necessary opponent, the blank page, is merely the bed he self-exhausts on.

8) I learned in the university as did Roland : You can learn writing, but you cannot teach it. A paradox but true despite that.

And what have I learned from my novels?

I learned how to approach language, words:

not with seriousness so much as an essayist does,

but with a kind of alert respect, as you approach dynamite;

even with joy, as you approach women: perhaps with the same secretly unscrupulous intentions.

Are you a writer? Really? Then, what are you doing about it?

Go, write. And remember :

Dreams have only one owner at a time. That's why dreamers are lonely.

And that's why a dream is not a very safe thing to be near...

I know; I had one once.

It's like a loaded pistol with a hair trigger: if it stays alive long enough,

somebody is going to be hurt. But if it's a good dream, it's worth it.
Hibbs, the bear with two shadows, should have looked at this before entering the Land of Fae and Sidhe.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


{"You do not how right you have things

until you handle them all wrong."

- Mark Twain.}

Just a heartbeat ago, I eased into Roland's apartment to swap tall tales when I came upon him dozing in front of his electronic newspaper,

blog he calls it. Sounds like one of those tar pits in California those poor dinosaurs critters got stuck in.

I leaned over his shoulder and read what he wrote.

Why, what was wrong with the boy? His post depressed the beejesus out of me, and I'm dead.

What he needed was a little help from his good friend, the beloved, yet humble, genius of literature ... me

What was needed here was ... I stroked my chin. Of course, what was needed here was ... me.

I would save Roland from his depressing folly.

I started to ruminate on all of life's follies when it came to me how much help those terrible horror movies Roland watches truly are.

Why there are some golden lessons to be found in those flickering frames,

especially for you folks not blessed to be ghosts like myself :

1) When it appears that you have killed the monster, ALWAYS get the loud-mouthed neighbor to check to see if it's really dead.

The bliss of silence in the neighborhood will be your reward.

2) Even if it seems to be the funniest thing in all creation, never read a book of demon summoning aloud. Your mother-in-law is demon enough, thank you.

3) When the power goes out, gals in flimsy undies will ALWAYS take a fancy to search the basement -- and they NEVER change their flashlight batteries.

4) If your young 'uns suddenly start to speak to you in Latin or any other language which they should not know, shoot them immediately.

It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. For such eventualities,

ALWAYS buy automatic handguns, since it will probably take several rounds to kill them.

A loving parent is a sure-kill parent.

This also applies to any tiny waifs who suddenly start to speak as if they have been gargling with lye.

They are either possessed or have been raiding Father's liquor cabinet.

Either way they deserve what they get.

5) As a general rule of thumb, don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell.

6) If appliances start operating by themselves, send your spouse to check for short-circuits, then get the hell out of the house.

Ignore the subsequent screaming -- or enjoy it, depending upon just how "sweet" your bitter half has been to you lately.

7) If you are offered a "steal of a deal" on a house that has been

a) built on the site of an Injun massacre,

b) the home of a family whose members had taken to dismembering one another, or

c) been an asylum whose inmates took to munching on the help --

take the real estate agent lovingly, kindly and gently by the arm --

and shove her into the basement, locking it behind you. Unnatural beasties get hungry. And better they make human jerky out of her than you.

Don't mind about the body. It won't be there when the police arrive. The police won't be around long either -- if they stay.


“Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other stars.”
- Frederick Langbridge

There are epic events in each person's life. What we make of them determines what we make of our lives.

Shelley F. Blatt

has awarded me THE STYLISH BLOGGER award where I have to reveal 7 things about myself.

Sigh. Considering how long-winded I get, this may not be easy. Let me do it like Jeopardy, couching my response in the form of questions.


Five years ago, Hurricane Rita was a category 5 hurricane. I spent the morning running rare blood to scrambling hospitals.

I drove back home to wolf down a hurried lunch. A mandatory evacuation was issued. I went downstairs.

Someone had siphoned the gas from my car. All the gas stations were shut down. I was stranded in the path of a killer hurricane.


Or not so alone.

Freddie, my supervisor, called checking in on me. He offered me a ride in his car as he drove beside his wife's car containing his two children.

So with the clothes on my back, my laptop on my lap, and Gypsy in a carrier, I rode with my friend into the darkness.

The highways were shut down. We drove the back roads, the cypress trees bending down over us in the blackness as if listening to our whispered voices. Freddie's eyes were hollow.

As we passed his wife's car, I saw she was frantic, on the verge of panic.

I winked at the pale faces of Freddie's two children, Allison and Abigail, pulled Gypsy out of the carrier, and picked up her front paw as if she were waving at the two girls.

They giggled. And the grip of panic on their mother seemed to break.

She waved back and gave a valiant smile with a thumb's up salute.

Freddie studied me for a moment and said, "Dude, you're like Job."

"How so?"

"I mean you got your gas siphoned out of your car just when you needed it most."

"I bet a lot of people did."

"Yeah, but if Rita hits Lake Charles, this will be the second time you'll have lost everything.

You lost it all when your home burned. And before that you closed your business. Your mother died before that. And before that your fiancee died. And your childhood best friend died before Kathy. Damn, it's like you're Job."

I nodded, smiling sadly, "As I recall Job ended up pretty well."

"You've got a strange way at looking at life, dude."

"You're not the first to say that."

We made it to Baton Rouge where I worked delivering rare blood to all the hospitals reeling under the impact of Katrina.

I drove to the hospital of Metairie, the first suburb of New Orleans. (It is a French term for a tenant farm.)

I saw people who had only thought they knew what having nothing meant. I smelled the stench of decaying human flesh on the breath of a too silent city.

I saw young boys in uniform trying to be men under impossible conditions.

Late at night I typed the first draft of FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE, alone in the spacious suite afforded me by the blood center for which I worked.

It had been leased for the board of directors to oversee the new center in Baton Rouge.

So for two months I slept in a prince's suite. Gypsy was, for once, satisfied with her accommodations, she being a princess and all.

I barely saw the suite. I was always driving it seemed --

down long, unfamiliar roads to strange hospitals protected by hollow-eyed young boys with automatic weapons and dry mouths.

Finally, the blood couriers were allowed back to our devastated city.

It was like something from a post-apocalyptic movie. But these ruined streets and gutted homes I knew. Our city has never truly recovered. But my friends are a hardy bunch.

Me? I just fake it.

And there you have at least 7 things you didn't know about me. And I've answered only one question. Like Freddie says, I tend to talk a lot.

But he smiles good-naturedly when he says it.

Oh, and that time in Baton Rouge was the first time I saw my soon-to-be Viking friend, Eric.

There is a tune by Muse that fits with Fallen in Tara's HOT KISS BLOGFEST :