So you can read my books

Saturday, December 31, 2011



Abigail Adams is leader of America's revenants {vampires}

because she is a revenant herself,

hence her ability to become mist in the bedroom of her dying husband.

I keep forgetting most of you don't read all my posts. Abigail as vampire can be seen in these two posts :

(1826) Quincy, Mass. -- In John Adams' bedroom the night before his death. {A FAREWELL TO LOVE}

(2005) New Orleans, La. In the home of the undead daughter of Lord Byron {DEATH WEARS 3 FACES} :

Little Lucy Wentworth can be seen in : THE DEVIL'S WIND --
{It is the year 1857 in the port city of Mumbai, India.

"The Devils Wind" is the name the sepoys gave to the mutiny of Moslems against British rule,

a barbaric, uncontrollable fury that swept across the hot plains of India as if blown by the Devil.

To keep his word to a dying British Major, Samuel McCord has fought his way across all of India to save the man's tiny granddaughter,

Lucy Wentworth -- who is cousin to Alice Wentworth by the way.

Just within sight of the ship that could take Lucy to safety, Sam and Lucy are stopped by Abigail Adams herself with her best killers.}

Abigail Adams hadn't improved with age.

Her beauty had crystalized into cold porcelain flesh. Her wisdom had brittled into cleverness. And her hate for me had bittered like over-steeped tea.

Small Lucy Wentworth clung to my left leg, looking fearfully at the revenants who ringed us on the Mumbai dock. I studied them coldly. The ship that offered freedom was only a dozen feet away.

It might as well have been moored in the dust of the moon.

India hadn't been kind to me. But then, she was harsh even to her own children.

Though there wasn't a part of me that wasn't hurting or bleeding, I could still take the revenants. Abigail, being both genius and revenant, was another matter.

Abigail whispered, "I have traveled half the world to have you at my mercy."

Lucy chirped in her proper British accent. "Then, you have traveled a long way just to die."

Abigail flicked cold eyes to Lucy then back to me. "You are weak, wounded, and unarmed."

Lucy laughed with the confidence of innocence. "And still, Captain Sam shall kill you and your bullies."

"Madripoor," I said softly, and Lucy ducked down and hugged her knees as she had in that death-trap.

I slipped into the fighting stance taught me by the Shaolin priests, and Abigail regarded me with cool, appraising eyes.

She spoke low. "Yes, even after fighting your way across all of India, I do believe you would be unstoppable ... in defense of a child."

"I-If Abigail Adams were still alive and here, you'd be sorry," quavered Lucy, her beloved pith helmet dinged and battered.

The revenants around us jerked at Lucy's words and looked to Abigail. Lucy laughed.

"See? Even your killers know the name of Abigail Adams."

And death was on the night winds like the smell of ashes as the woman named murmured, "And where did you hear that name, child?"

Lucy raised her chin in defiance. "All through these many frightful nights Captain Sam would tell me stories of her ... of how she and her husband gave birth to America ... of how strong she was, of how smart she was, of how brave she was ... of how much she sacrificed for love."

Abigail husked, "Sacrificed for love."

"Yes, for love. Oh, I can see how you scare these leeches all around us. No doubt you are strong, brave, and perhaps even smart."

Lucy hugged my leg as if it were my chest. "But you will never be loved."

Abigail's eyes sank deep in her perfect face. "No. I shall never be loved ... again."

Lucy raised her chin in defiance. "Captain Sam said I could do no better than to model myself after Abigail Adams, that if she saw any Thuggee trying to kill me, she would box their ears for them."

Lucy giggled, "I would have quite liked to have seen that."

Lucy pulled out five dirty pages, folded neat in her torn jacket pocket. "I've copied some things Abigail said to memorize and live by."

The little girl closed her eyes and repeated by rote, "To be good, and do good, is the whole duty of man comprised in a few words."

Lucy glared at Abigail. "But to a monster like you I would wager those words mean nothing."

Abigail spoke thickly. "You would lose that wager, Lucy Wentworth."

She looked at me with eyes suddenly wet. "I was mist in the darkness, Samuel, when you promised my husband you would save me if you could."

Lucy frowned, "Your husband?"

Abigail rasped, "Yes, my beloved friend and husband ... President John Adams."

Lucy looked up stunned at me. "Captain Sam? Th-This is Abigail Adams?"

I nodded, "This is what has become of a hero who made choices she thought were right ... and was mistakened."

Lucy gave a look of horror at Abigail. "B-But you are a monster."

Abigail shook her head. "Not at the moment, child. Go to the ship, Lucy. Go now. Quicky. Before the monster returns."

The circle of revenants reluctantly opened for us.

I took Lucy up in my arms and limped fast to the ship and safety. Lucy looked wistfully and sad over my shoulder at the shrinking figure of Abigail Adams in the deepening mists.

Lucy gave a forlorn, childish wave to the tall, tormented leader of America's revenants. For a short moment my enemy was gone.

And the beloved Abigail of John Adams returned the same wave.

I know it was just a trick of my mind. But for a moment I thought I felt a hand squeeze my shoulder.

And I heard President John Adams whisper in my ear, "Thank you."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A FAREWELL TO LOVE_Friday's Romantic Challenge

It is July 3rd in the year of our Lord, 1826.

And I am dying.

The question is "Do I wish to be re-born?"

At my bedroom door, the young man, wide-brimmed hat in gloved hands, has the answer.

But I fear I already know it.

The young man is a conundrum.

He looks at me with the eyes of a sad poet. Yet, he is a walking arsenal : two shoulder-harnesses of pistols, another pistol on his hip, still another in a strange stomach rigging

"Come in, Sergeant McCord," I speak in a once strong voice now grown frail.

"An honor, President Adams."

"Former President, young man."

He flashes a smile much like a wolf's. "Like with Texas Rangers, sir, once a president, always a president."

He sits down in the plush leather chair close to my bedside, and I frown. "Odd. Your face is perhaps 25. Yet your hair is moon-white."

His lean face goes somber. "There was a time when my hair was darker, my heart lighter."

My voice thickens. "As with myself, McCord. As with myself."

I pat his arm and frown again at how my hand shakes. "I met your father at my Alma Mater. He was a great patriot."

McCord nods sadly. "Father said history bleeds on every page because of patriots. But he liked teaching at Harvard, and he liked you."

"And my wife?"

The light dies in his eyes. "He thought of her as a wise and good friend ... once."

"Before she became a ...."

I find it difficult to say the word, "... revenant."

"Yes, sir."

"I need to ask a favor of you, young man."

His lips shape an uneasy smile. "I'm not going to kill Mr. Jefferson for you, sir, if that's the question."

I slap his arm at his rough jest. "Time will soon have her way with us both I'm afraid."

I tap his buckskin-covered knee. "No. I need to ask you ... w-what do you think of revenants."

McCord sucks in his upper lip, then says low, "Mighty broad question, sir. Might as well ask me what I think of humanity."

"Then, you believe revenants are no longer human?"

He rubs his face with a hand strangely gloved in this heat. "With each passing year, they lose more and more of their humanity, sir, until they forget what it means to be human."

He leans forward. "Surely, sir, you have noticed that in your ... wife."

I clutch his arm feebly. "Yes. Yes, I have."

I close my eyes. "And now, she demands I allow her to ... to ...."

I find I cannot put it into words, and McCord just pats my hand. "You would gain immortal youth at the cost of your humanity, sir."

I look at this strange man with the saddest eyes I have ever seen in a youth. "I know you are aware she rules a confederacy of shadow states all across this country."

I manage to make my lips speak the words. "Abigail says that together, we could do much good for this country."

His face twitches, then he speaks softly. "On a cattle ranch, the ranchers live mighty fine. The same cannot be said for the cattle."

I nod gravely and sigh, "I had come to a similar thought, McCord."

The decision I always knew I would make settles firm within my heart. "I -- I will refuse. Abigail will take this badly."

McCord smiles as if it were a wound. "Even so, sir, you have made a hard but wise decision."

"And in doing so, I have doomed you."

"How so?"

My mind fills with mocking echoes of shared laughter with Abigail, and I sigh, "She knows of this meeting. Once there was a wellspring of forgiveness in Abigail's heart ...."

I could not meet McCord's eyes. "Now, she will believe, despite my protests, that it was you that has robbed her of my being at her side. She will not rest until her revenge is complete against you, sir."

McCord smiles sadly. "That's all right, Mr. President. It'll mean one less monster in this sorry old world."

My blood chills, for I see he wants to die. No. I will not be the cause of the death of my friend's son. But how can I save him from the grave, from himself?

I look up at the portrait of my wife when she was still my Abigail. A plan comes to me. I whisper to McCord.

"When you think 'beautiful but diseased,' what city comes to mind, McCord? Quick. No moment for reflection. What city?"

He laughs like a wolf. "Don't need any time to reflect, sir. New Orleans is the prettiest city with the blackest heart I've ever seen."

"Then, New Orleans is the city I, as former President, charge you to save from the revenants."


"I cannot ask you the impossible task of saving my nation from the evil that has consumed my wife. But one city, McCord, one city. Pledge to save it from the curse of the revenants, and I will die at peace."

"But, sir, I took an oath to Texas."

"Do not speak to me of oaths, young man. I, Jefferson, Washington, even your father bled for this nation. If not for me, save New Orleans for them ... for your father."

I was fighting unfairly I knew. But my friend, his father, would have me do no less to save his son from self-destruction.

McCord runs gloved fingers through his silver hair and sighs, "All right, Mr. President. You have my word."

His poet eyes flick to the portrait of my wife, and he murmurs, "Beautiful but diseased is it?"

He turns to me. "Another pledge, sir. Strange as it sounds, sometimes enemies become as close as lovers. If I can, I will save your Abigail, too."

"You are a romantic, McCord. It will be the death of you."

"Something will. Might as well be that."

When he leaves, and the shadows of the night and death grow closer and closer, it is his second pledge that comforts me.


Many are still asking which they should buy: the Kindle Fire or the Nook Tablet?

One of the great advantages of the Kindle Fire over the Nook Tablet is that Amazon is a bookseller and a newsstand and has both music and full-length movies and television shows,

while Barnes & Noble is just a bookseller and newsstand, without the library of movies or music.

The Kindle Fire has direct access to that online Amazon store of TV shows, movies and music that can be bought straight from and downloaded straight to the tablet;

with the Nook Tablet, you have to connect your device to your computer via USB cord, download movies and music elsewhere, and then drag those files from your Downloads folder to your Nook folder to put them on your device.

Amazon has been building its Appstore more vigorously than Barnes and Noble, boasting over 10,000 apps.

The Nook Tablet's product page says it can access "thousands" of apps, which, reading around the marketing speak, means decidedly less than 10,000. Both are to be commended for getting essentials like Netflix on board before launch,

since that adds a lot of value, but we found several basic apps on the Nook Tablet to cost $3 when other app stores offer free versions.

1.) Installing Nook's App on the Kindle Fire has been confirmed to work!


2.) The latest version of Android can be ported to Kindle Fire with the help of a cyber-savy friend.

3.) Kindle Fire makes its way to Number 2 on the tablet market.

4.) Sonos adds Slacker streaming and Kindle Fire Apps support.

5.)You can write a review of THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH and win your very own KINDLE FIRE!!


SeekDroid app. ($2.99, lets you locate and remotely wipe your device in the event of theft).

Good news if you own a Kindle Fire:

Amazon has issued a software update for the device. It'll take a bit of time to download and install, but it's worth it thanks to a pile of performance and bug fixes.

According to Amazon, you can either grab the update manually or directly over-the-air.

No matter which option you choose though, make sure your device is fully charged before going through the update process. (Oh, and don't forget about making sure you're connected to Wi-Fi if updating over-the-air, of course.)

If you prefer to grab the software update — which is version 6.2.1, by the way —

over-the-air, you just need to reach for your Kindle Fire, tap the "Quick Settings" icon in the upper right corner, press "Sync" and wait.

The update will be automatically downloaded in the background and installed afterwards (while the device is asleep).

The manual approach to the update is a bit messier, but Amazon's got detailed instructions to get you through the process.

All you're basically doing is downloading the new software to your computer and then transferring it to your device. (

Keep in mind that the micro-USB cable you'll need to do this is sold separately from the Kindle Fire, but is conveniently the same cable that comes with most non-iPhones these days.)

Once you're done updating your device —

whether manually or over-the-air —

you should be left with enhanced fluidity and performance, improved touch navigation responsiveness, the option to choose which items are displayed on your Kindle Fire's carousel, and the ability to add a password lock on Wi-Fi access.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We write.

We strive.

We bleed the ink the page before us has been needing.

And for what?

That answer determines the manner in which we write :

hurried to meet some self-set goal


focused like light through the prism of our soul to cast the light of our dreams

onto an imagined page some unknown reader will read, becoming lost in our imagined worlds :

"To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement.

To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence,

is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...

Anybody can have ideas--

the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph."

- Mark Twain in a letter to Emeline Beach, 10 Feb 1868.

Will we be understood?

Thomas Bailey Aldrich, in a review of Emily Dickinson’s poetry published anonymously in the Atlantic Monthly, January, 1892 :

"But the incoherence and formlessness of her —

I don't know how to designate them — versicles are fatal….

An eccentric, dreamy, half-educated recluse in an out-of-the-way New England village (or anywhere else) cannot with impunity set at defiance the laws of gravitation and grammar."

Whose name is familiar to you : the poet's or the reviewer's?

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

- Emily Dickinson

Have you noticed that much of the fiction out there has become more and more stylised, more and more cut off from ordinary feeling?

Is it that so many have come to regard everything in the world around us as fiction.... All the structures in it, flyovers and motorways, office blocks and factories, are all part of this enormous novel.

And since all those around us are mere backdrop in the fiction of our lives, they cease to become living, hurting, feeling individuals.

Ernest Hemingway wrote :

"Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.

Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing.

He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates.

For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.

You know that fiction is possibly the roughest trade of all in writing.

You do not have the reference, the old important reference.

You have the sheet of blank paper, the pencil, and the obligation to invent truer than things can be true.

You have to take what is not palpable and make it completely palpable and also have it seem normal and so that it can become a part of experience of the person who reads it."

Why do you write?

To touch one human heart?

To impress someone who may not even be alive, or if alive, does not see you as your dreams and soul truly are?

To make the bestseller lists?

To become wealthy and famous? To support yourself comfortably?

To tell the stories that burn to come out and sigh in relief as you type them into being?

Why we write determines how we write and how much pleasure we derive from it/

What do you think?

Monday, December 26, 2011


I truly envy the six million of you new Kindle owners.

A whole new world of reading pleasure is beckoning for you to travel its open seas.

You are going to discover that with the ease of the Kindle, you will be finding yourself reading more.

I'm sure you've already downloaded some of your favorite authors. You've probably already found one of their books can cost you anywhere from ten dollars to fifteen each.


So you're thinking of trying one of the 800,000 more affordable ones Kindle offers. But where to start?

14 authors have sold more than a million ebooks. Why not punch in their names in the Amazon Search box to see if any tickle both your fancy and your pocket book at the same time. John Locke is #8 and charges only 99 cents. Give one of these 14 a shot :

1. Stieg Larsson

2. James Patterson

3. Nora Roberts

4. Charlaine Harris

5. Lee Child

6. Suzanne Collins

7. Michael Connelly

8. John Locke

9. Janet Evanovich

10. Kathryn Stockett

11. George R.R. Martin

12. David Baldacci

13. Amanda Hocking

14. Stephenie Meyer

I guarantee you that you will begin to love your Kindle before this year ends. You will read a review of a book, say in THE NEW YORK TIMES, and be able to sample for free the first few pages. How cool is that?

If Christmas shopping and purchasing the above authors leaves you with a free dollar, why not check out one of my books?

To get to this post, you saw a few trailers of my books. Watch one to see if it interests you.

The good news with my books is that through January, 100% of the profits go to the Salvation Army. And if you find yourself absorbed in an entertaining story on top of helping a worthy organization, you'll be a double winner.

My two most popular books are :



You are going to love your new Kindle. It is your passport to a broader horizon of reading pleasure. May it be only the first of a long string of happy surprises for you this upcoming New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011



In a world that treats God or Jesus with all the relevancy

of the Tooth Fairy or The Big Pumpkin,


No guru am I. Still, I have some reflections ...

1.) We want to believe.

Like Fox Mulder, we want to believe ...

that SomeOne is, not just watching from Up Above, but that He is invisibly walking beside us, having once walked in the flesh beside a ragtag group of common men.

We want to believe Magic and Miracles are still possible.

Ask any mother holding her first-born in her arms for the first time, marveling that this tiny, cooing life had come from within her,

if Magic and Miracles are possible.

You know what answer you will get.

Most sneer about the possibility of Miracles in our modern age. But Christmas gives us permission to be be children and believe for a season again.

Which leads me to speculate ...


CHRISTMAS allows us to redeem our childhood innocence for an all too-short season.

As VR Barkowski wrote in a comment not too long ago, the best stories have redemption at their heart. And the tales of Christmas passed down through the centuries is a great story.

And why not? It affords us a chance to look at each moment of life with a child-like sense of wonder, awe, and surprise.

Children haven't yet grown jaded. They meet no ordinary people in their lives.

All is new and fresh. And seeing their wonder at such things as elaborate Christmas lights, festive ornamented pine trees, and carols sung to neighbors for the first time --

we live our childhood and theirs at the same time.

We look out the window and just for a moment under the moonlight, we are a child again, and we see Sugar Plum Faeries skating across the frozen bird bath.

3.) GIFTS.

Business men the world over want to keep Christmas,

even though some of them replace Christ with an X to save precious space on store front windows and not to offend other religions.

But I am talking about us giving gifts. Some have made it a burden by trying to play Santa to too many people.

Still Christmas is not type specific like birthdays, anniversaries, Mother's and Father's Days. The whole world gets in on the act.

We can give to anyone -- and anyone can give to us.

C. S. Lewis said, “Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours.”

Like love.

Which leads to the greatest gift of all :


What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

And at Christmas time, most of us try to become a little better than we have been.

As World War I's Christmas Truce proved :

Christmas truce was a series of widespread unofficial ceasefires that took place along the Western Front around Christmas of 1914, during the First World War.

Through the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches;

on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides – as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units – independently ventured into "No man's land",

where they mingled, exchanging food and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing.

Troops from both sides had also been so friendly as to play games of football with one another.

Though there was no official truce, about 100,000 British and German troops were involved in unofficial cessations of fighting along the length of the Western Front.

The first truce started on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium.

The Germans began by placing candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols.

The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were excursions across No Man's Land,

where small gifts were exchanged, such as food, tobacco and alcohol, and souvenirs such as buttons and hats.

The artillery in the region fell silent that night.

The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Joint services were held.

The truce is seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events of modern history.


Farmers give a section of land rest to go fallow and revitalize. Sleep puts healing brackets between even the harshest of days. Somehow the cut of a terrible day is blunted by a night's sleep.

So The Father gave this yearly holiday to heal and become the loving, kinder soul we could be year round.

Let the cynics say what they will. A man can no more diminish the truth by saying it does not exist than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, MY FRIENDS! ROLAND, sometimes called DreamSinger.

Friday, December 23, 2011


There is a magic to Christmas Eve

that transforms even the grumpiest into children again.

The cold night winds seem to carry the faint chiming of bells as reindeer fly high in the black sky.

So it is not too surprising that the magical couple, the Victorian ghoul, Alice Wentworth, and the street gypsy, Victor Standish

have more than their share of Christmas adventures.

Some of my new friends may not know of the history of Victor and his ghoul friend, Alice.

Here is the link to their first meeting, told from both of their perspectives :

Here is a re-telling of one of their Christmas adventures that I have fallen in love with. I hope, that like viewing again THE CHRISTMAS CAROL, this tale will make you smile once or twice :

Alice and I stumbled through the mirror. Elu, that Apache Trickster, had surprised us both by grabbing and pulling us into his mirror world.

His Christmas present he laughed.

We came out in the middle of a roaring fireplace. We jumped right out of that blasted inferno. Lucky for us it was big enough to roast a buffalo.

"Oh, my!," gasped Alice as she looked all around.

"What you said, " I whispered.

We were in a humongous great hall. Three gleaming tables ran down the length of it. Twelve giant Christmas trees lined the stone walls.

And it was snowing.

Snowing! Snowing inside this enormous hall. Each flake seemed to be singing. And glowing with a tiny gleam of winter laughter.

I looked up, and my mouth dropped down.

Dozens upon dozens of tall candles were floating high above us, right below a vaulted ceiling painted to look like a night's sky.

I went a little cold. The fluffy clouds were moving. One slowly covered the spectral full moon.

Alice gasped, "Oh my, where are we?"

I smiled crooked, "We're not in Kansas any more, Toto."

"You are so not funny!"

An old man's voice rumbled behind us. "And you are in so much trouble."

I sighed, "Oh, crap -- ah, merde."

The man laughed. "It still means the same thing."

I turned around slowly. "Yeah, but when you're in the company of a beautiful .... Oh, wow."

The man 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, a purple cloak which swept the ground and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles.

And his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice.

"Merlin?," I croaked.

He smiled like Santa Claus and said, "Albus Dumbledore. And you?"

I smiled back. "I'm Victor Standish, and this is ..."

His smile turned impish, "Your ... ghoul friend, Alice Wentworth."

Alice looked like she was about to kick a shin, but he chuckled so good-naturedly that she relaxed smooth as you please. I just had to learn how to chuckle like that.

Alice looked shocked. "Y-You do not mind that I am a ghoul?"

He reached out and gently patted her head. "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. And your choices have always come from a good heart."

Alice's neon-blue eyes widened. "How do you know that?"

Dumbledore laughed softly. "Because I am quite possibly the most powerful wizard of my time."

"And humble, too," I snorted.

Alice slapped my left arm. "Hush! We are uninvited guests. Show some manners."

I grinned sheepish. "We didn't mean to barge into ...."


I frantically searched my face with flying fingers. "Where?"

He smiled amused and sad all at once. "Where you're standing."

I leapt back, looking at the spot I just left. "I don't see anything."

Alice rolled her eyes. "He means the place we are standing, this great hall, genius."

"Oh, I knew tha ...."

I suddenly heard a whispery, dirty-silk voice inside my head. "Kill. Kill. Kill!"

Dumbledore saw my look and tapped my arm. "You heard the basilisk?"

I brightened up considerably. I could pay my way here. Perhaps even get one of those roast turkeys on the tables.

Maybe they would be magic, and Alice could actually eat it without getting sick. Now, that would be a great Christmas present.

"Hey, I'm no Perseus, mind you, but I could fight that monster for you."

Alice frowned, "That is the Medusa you are thinking about!"

Dumbledore smiled like a forgiving grandfather. "You meant well. But this challenge is for someone else's growth."

I heard a thunder of footfalls, and three voices arguing like good friends will at the other end of this enormous hall.

"Speaking of which," Dumbledore said. "Here he comes now with his two friends of legend."

"Legend?," I asked.

Dumbledore nodded with such a sad look to his wise face. "Yes, but the legend will come at great price."

I nodded back. "Yeah, that's the sucky, ah, bad thing about being a legend : the price tag that goes with it."

Dumbledore gestured, and a silver platter filled to overflowing with a roasted bird appeared in his hands. He gave it to a stunned Alice.

"It is roasted goose."

His blue eyes twinkled as he nodded to me. "I saw you already had your Christmas turkey."

"But, sir," gasped Alice, "I am a ... ghoul. I cannot eat this without becoming ill."

He mussed my hair. "You were right, Victor, it is magic. Your Alice can eat her full of this."

He turned to her seriously. "But only on Christmas Night."

Alice look troubled. "Oh, tell me that I can share."

Dumbledore's eyes sparkled with eyes both happy and sad. "Alice, that is the real truth of Christmas. There is no joy unless you share."

"Oh, thank you, Mr. Dumbledore."

He smiled at some private joke it seemed, and shook his head. "Your champion thought of it as payment for slaying the basilisk."

"But I didn't kill it," I protested.

He sighed, "Just this once I wanted intent to be worthy of merit. But I cannot let you be seen by my approaching three young legends. Off with you!"

The world exploded in stars. A ghostly music filled the air. I heard Dumbledore's whisper in my ear, though all I saw was a rainbow showering all around me.

"Tell Elu to shepherd his own legends."

I felt my hair mussed again. "And tell him thank you for giving me the opportunity to share joy."

Then, Alice and I were back in the real world. Or as real as it ever got for me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


DECEMBER 21, 2012 :

Some scientists theorize that the poles will shift just at the moment that a black hole allignment, occuring only every 26,000 years, takes place.

Albert Einstein first talked of it in 1955.

The earth will slip on it axis causing many continents to move hundreds of miles in virtually a second. Many plates will fall, some thousands of feet while yet others will rise.

I see no viable way to even begin to calculate where would be a safe place to head too, given the event were to occur.

Common sense would tell me that Denver Colorado and the surrounding area (if you are in the US) would offer your best chances of survival, should you even want to face what would follow.

Know any good friends in Denver?

Pole shifts are cyclic occurrences on the Earth and the cycles are natural.

This is something that happens to the Earth naturally through cosmic cycles that happen like clockwork when looked at from the perspective of celestial events. Spiritual texts in some traditions suggest that these pole reversals happen every 26,000 years and that the north and south pole have switched before more than once.

In Hindu texts these cycles are called Yugas. Even the Bible says in Isaiah 24:1, "Behold, the Lord makes the earth empty, and makes it waste, and turns it upside down."

The Mayans also have records and legends of such occurrences. Somewhere in humanity's innate knowledge, this information is within and is recorded in a way that could be taken quite literally in light of today's challenges with the possible 2012 polar shift coming soon.

Scientific proof and evidence shows that there have been pole reversals before on Earth as well.

It is a natural cycle when Earth goes above and below the galactic equator every 26,000 years.

It takes 26,000 years for this solar system to make one full orbit around the galactic center. Each time it does this it goes through the galactic equator and the Earth's poles reverse. This happens back and forth every 26,000 years.

Go to Australia. The water swirls down the drain in the opposite direction of where it does above the equator. What other principles we take for granted will be reversed when our solar system crosses the galatic equator?

If a pole shift does take place, it is said that the axis and magnetism of Earth will be changed, the poles will flip and reverse so that the south pole will have a positive magnetic charge instead of a negative magnetic charge,

and the north pole will have a negative magnetic charge instead of the positive magnetic charge it now has.

When this happens, it is believed that the Earth's rotation will change as well. The Earth's rotation will completely reverse and will literally spin in the opposite direction.

Now no one knows this for sure, but scientists at NASA are presuming the reversal would take place. The science of magnetism depicts that if the poles reverse then Earth's rotation will also reverse.

The cataclysmic effects would be that the bodies of water would actually move just the way the water in a glass would slosh if the direction the glass is moving is changed.

All the people who live in the "slosh zone" would be subject to tsunamis and flooding in 2012 if 2012 is when it happens. This is the scientific premise in the 2012: We Were Warned movie and the movie asks "what if the Earth's spin changed, the poles flip, and the water moves?"

Of course this question gives way to another "end of the world" cataclysmic movie, which Hollywood seems to love putting out, and of course the public supports this by buying tickets! It seems that everyone loves a good special effects "end of the world" disaster movie.

But I, for one, do not want to LIVE one!

The other thing that would happen according to scientists is that the Earth would not be stable during such a drastic change in its magnetic field.

Tectonic plates would shift and move, earthquakes would happen, volcanic activity would be triggered, and incredible storms with wind and water would happen on the surface of the Earth while the weather patterns readjust.

This of course would not support human habitation. If the 2012 polar shift is this drastic, yes, everyone would have serious challenges in surviving it.

NASA has verified that there is now positive magnetism energy appearing in the south pole, which is normally supposed to be in the north pole only.

The South pole is supposed to only have a negative magnetic charge.

In the past 150 years, there has been a migration between the north and south poles and their respective magnetic charges of positive and negative magnetic reversal.

Another thing that NASA has observed is that the sun literally reverses its poles every 11 years at the peak of each sunspot cycle. The solar pole shift will happen again in 2012 exactly.

The good news?

According to a recent study by an associate professor at UC Santa Barbara, the date may also be inaccurate and at least 60 days off.

So we will have one more Christmas at least.

Or you could buy my THE LAST SHAMAN and see the Lakota Sioux take on 2012 (in Part II : TWILIGHT'S CHILDREN) for only 99 cents :


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


So many different kinds of death hunted us this Christmas Eve all through the French Quarter,

I would’ve gotten a headache trying to count them all –

If I already hadn’t had one – to go along with the broken ribs, fingers, and nose.

I looked over at Alice, my ghoul friend,

whose ability to turn to mist had been ripped from her by DayStar.

She sobbed softly, “Victor, our first Christmas together is our last.”

I had taken as many blows for her as I could.

Wasn’t that was Love did? Sacrifice themselves for the one they loved?

Alice had buried the statue of the Madonna and took its shawl. As I had done with the statue of Joseph, taking its robe and hood.

We kneeled beside the wooden manger in the St. Louis Cathedral’s courtyard Nativity Scene.

Right in plain sight of the slowly sniffing and scouting horrors prowling for us.

I didn’t even know some of the monsters hunting us. I knew enough to know Alice and I were goners.

Winged Gahe. Starved Amal. Scaled Soyoko.

And the ghosts, given flesh, fangs, and claws by DayStar, of all the people Alice had eaten over the decades.

Who would have guessed a wisp of a girl like Alice had such an appetite?

I stiffened at the tolling in the distance. I heard the bells, ringing their familiar, mocking refrain :


Peace. Good Will.

In despair, I bowed my head.

‘There is no peace on earth!,' I said to myself.

'For hate is strong and mocks the song. The innocent die. The helpless cry out. Does anybody hear them?’

The night winds became soft words : ‘You kneel on holy ground and dare to ask that?’

I looked up. I recognized the stern ghost of a priest, a book of prayers or some such in his hands. Alice went as pale as I had ever seen her.

“Pere Antoine!”

He spoke in razored whispers. “For my sins in the Inquisition I am bound to this plane. So Friar Antonio de Sedella is now who I am.”

I saw the self-hate in his eyes. I saw the same look in Alice's.

I looked to the horrors so near. To speak would be to bring them to us.

But I was going to die anyway. Why not die, letting Pere Antoine hear that I believed in him even when he no longer could?

I shook my head and whispered back. “No, before Katrina, you helped me. You’ve helped others before and since.”

The winged Gahe spun at my words, and I blurted out, “With my last words, I say you don’t deserve to be bound here. You are Pere Antoine! You are a ghost of God!”

So many horrors rushed us that I got sick to my stomach. This was going to hurt so bad. Pere Antoine’s head cocked as if he were hearing words spoken into his very mind, and his ghost eyes grew wet.

He gestured, speaking loud :

“Dark Spawns, this is Holy Ground!”

The Shadowlanders must’ve forgotten that in their lust for our deaths. It bought them their own.

Pere Antoine, the prayer book tumbling to the grass, slapped both hands on the shoulders of Alice and me.

A warm tingle cascaded through me. Reality smeared in spirals of fiery, golden stardust as if God were wiping clean a chalkboard.

Sand, not grass, was suddenly beneath our knees. Cutting through me was a cold wind that can only be birthed in the desert.

My mouth got drier than the winds. The manger scene was now real. A young man and a younger woman were looking sheer love at the cooing baby. Outside the stable, high in the night sky, rippled haunting sounds that only angels could sing.

Pere Antoine kneeled beside me.

“God is not dead, nor does He sleep. No matter how dark, He always sees you. You are a special part of His heart, and you are never alone. Due to their very natures, the wrong shall fail. And those who trust prevail.”

The baby locked eyes with mine, His eyes clear and echoing with strange wisdom and delight.

Pere Antoine whispered,

“He wanted you and Alice to have a 'down home' Christmas.”

The baby laughed long and light.

Alice reached over and squeezed my hand. “I was wrong, Victor. Our first Christmas together is THE first Christmas.”

And impossible though it was, the French Quarter bells rang all around us :




This is a version I think of as Victor Standish's version : not the tempo, tune, or words you expect. Give it a listen for me. Roland

Monday, December 19, 2011



I asked him to explain Amazon's Sales Ranking.

Let me explain how AMS can help both you and Victor in his contest :


{Why my concern with reviews?

Many readers will not buy an Amazon eBook without seeing 10 positive reviews.)

Say 10 of you review LEGEND or VOODOO. They know each other and decide among themselves to send a copy as a gift to a friend within hours of each other.

What happens?

THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH which is at 60,000 ASR goes to 7,000 ASR.

Great for me, you say. Actually since all profits go the Salvation Army, great for them.

I have tied my prizes to the ASR, so great for those 10 reviewers. Since :

** 1 of those 10 will receive the MICHAEL WHALEN AUTOGRAPHED DRAGON LITHOGRAPH right off the bat.

AND ... one of those same ten will win the following :


2.) A 16 X 20 limited, numbered fine art print, MOONDANCE, AUTOGRAPHED by the stunning artist (in two ways), OLIVIA DE BERADINAS (#1650 of 4000!) {at the 30,000 ASR mark.}

3.) An 8 X 10 photo of Tony Stark AUTOGRAPHED BY ROBERT DOWNEY, JR {at the 20,000 ASR mark!}




SAM ELLIOT! {at the 15,000 ASR mark.}


STEPHEN SPIELBERG (director, producer),

QUINCY JONES (composer, producer)

KATHLEEN KENNEDY (producer) and FRANK MARSHALL (producer!) {at the 10,000 ASR mark}

6.) The British movie poster of THE BOURNE IDENTITY AUTOGRAPHED BY

MATT DAMON! {at 7,000 ASR mark}

THAT'S APPROXIMATELY $1000 IN PRIZES because 10 reviewers decided to buy a friend a $3 gift (that goes to the Salvation Army) within hours of each other.


I am hoping to start a ripple effect and get to 100 in ASR.

Once that happens, Amazon puts Victor on several other of their lists :





Perhaps even one of the three Featured KDP Books on their monthly newsletter!

There will many Kindles given this Christmas, I want Victor to come to the attention of those who want something to read that won't cost them an arm and a leg.
Even after all those prizes are given away, there are many more.

7.) At 5,000 ASR!





8.) At 1,000 ASR!

AVATAR movie poster AUTOGRAPHED by





STEPHEN LANG {Listen up, marines. Pandora will eat you up and shit you out like little ju-ju beans!}

9.) At 999 ASR (Just for laughs - It is 666 upside down and Bruce would get a chuckle over it! And it's easier to get than the #600 I was giving it away at.)

{For fanboys everywhere!}

BRUCE CAMPBELL AUTOGRAPHED EVIL DEAD 2 special Book of the Dead edition DVD!

10.) At 700 ASR! {For Fan Boys everywhere!}

Double-sided SERENITY movie poster AUTOGRAPHED by :

JOSH WHEDON (who is now directing THE AVENGERS!)






ALAN TUDYK {of TUCKER & DALE versus EVIL fame}!

11.) At 500 ASR!

THE ROCK movie poster AUTOGRAPHED by :




12.) When Victor hits #300 in ASR :


13.) When VICTOR hits #200 in ASR!



The beautiful SALMA HAYEK



JULIETTE LEWIS and the most of the rest of the cast!


**** At 100 :


I will give the profits of ALL MY BOOKS THROUGH JANUARY to THE SALVATION ARMY whose donations plummet in that month.

If you want to give a little present to yourself, POST A REVIEW of either Victor book.

If you want to give a little present to yourself AND a friend AFTER THAT, GIVE YOUR FRIEND A COPY OF THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH.

THE SALVATION ARMY WILL THANK YOU and I will feel that my writing dreams are helping more than just me.
For chuckles and the extended footage :

Sunday, December 18, 2011


100% of this book's profits go to the Salvation Army.

Voodoo in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania?

A mystic travel trailer that has a life of its own and takes its name too seriously?

A deadly, unbeatable worker of dark magic out to unravel the fabric of reality?

A Hellhound named Puppy?

All in a normal day for the last Lakota Heyoka, Toomey Starks.

Accompanied by Puppy and a fiery, homicidal gypsy,

the Lakota Trickster snatches magic from the air and love from the shadows to

discover his destiny,

save the world,

and survive the "help" of the Spirit of the Earth --

Like I said : just a normal day for the last Heyoka.

It's only 99 cents and the profits go to The Salvation Army. Give it a try why don't you?



Come. Sit with me at McCord's table. He will arrive eventually.

Who am I? Once that question would have disturbed me.

But since my friendship with McCord, I understand that the artist should have a different ambition than to be remembered.

It is my ambition to be, as a private individual, abolished and voided from history,

leaving it markless, no refuse save the printed books.

I wish I had enough sense to see ahead thirty years ago,

and like some of the Elizabethans, not signed them.

It is my aim, and every effort bent, that the sum and history of my life, which in the same sentence is my obit and epitaph too,

shall be them both: He made the books and he died.

Who am I?

I am William Faulkner,

and much of my perceptions were shaped here in McCord's legendary jazz club, Meilori's.

Meilori’s :

the center, the focus, the hub; sitting looming in the center of the French Quarter’s circumference

like a single cloud in its ring of horizon,

laying its vast shadow to the uttermost rim of horizon; musing, brooding, symbolic and imponderable,

tall as clouds, solid as rock, dominating all: protector of the weak, judge and curb of the passions and lusts, repository and guardian of the aspirations and hopes of the helpless.

Here, McCord and I would talk about everything :

How words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless,

and how terribly living goes along the earth, clinging to it,

so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other.

That sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they have forgotten the words.

The world in minuscule would be scoured by our words. The shadows themselves seemed to gather around our table to listen to us where glass and bottle clinked.

The three potted palms around us hissed like dry sand in the dark moving air.

I can hear him still :

“All life asks is to look at it and listen to it and understand it if you can. Only the understanding it isn’t really important.

The important thing is to believe in life even if you don’t understand it.”

I can hear him laugh.

“Not that you’ll ever get it quite right. But that’s all right. Because tomorrow

Life is going to be something different, something more and new to watch and listen to and try to understand …

and even if you can’t understand, believe.”



I thought I knew what I believed in about life. Until that night when McCord asked me to his table to talk of a mysterious 75th year anniversary.

He talked of impossible things in such a way that I believed. He held his tale fixed yet vibrant so that seventy-five years later, when I, a stranger looked at it, it moved again since truth is living.

If you would be caught up in his narrative as I was caught up, read ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM.

If you would gaze upon the timeless beauty of Meilori, alas, you cannot. But one mortal woman comes close ...

Saturday, December 17, 2011




This gets you 5 entries.


GIVE LEGEND or UNDER A VOODOO MOON to a friend, sending me an email of a copy of the receipt.

(This gets you another entry and helps Victor's sales ranking on Amazon. The closer to #100 he gets, the more prizes I give away.)

Right now, there are only 7 reviews on LEGEND, hence only 7 people are entered.




Post a review now to get a chance to win it!



Remember the first two DIE HARD's?

The red-headed reporter who couldn't be bothered with silly things like facts?

Apparently the KINDLE FIRE has taken the place of Bruce Willis :

A widely circulated story in Sunday's New York Times questioned

whether or not Amazon's Kindle Fire would become, as the article's URL had it, "the Edsel of tablets."

Well, NEW YORK TIMES ... Yippie Ki Yay, Mo ... Ouch! Alice just kicked me.

Sorry. I get carried away when newspapers get carried away FROM THE FACTS.

The Kindle Fire is neither a bomb nor a failure precisely because there is no data -- as the article painfully demonstrates --

to suggest that either sales of the Kindle Fire have been disappointing or that Americans who have so far bought a Kindle Fire have, in fact,

regretted or been meaningfully frustrated with their purchase in significant or aberrational numbers.

From the Times:

A few of [users'] many complaints:
there is no external volume control.
The off switch is easy to hit by accident.
Web pages take a long time to load.
There is no privacy on the device; a spouse or child who picks it up will instantly know everything you have been doing.
The touch screen is frequently hesitant and sometimes downright balky.

Oh, you want to nit-pick TIMES?

Here are some complaints for the iPad 2, which almost everyone agrees is the best tablet on the market:

There are no HDMI, USB or SD Card slots.
It is impossible to view your content on a television screen unless you also buy an Apple TV or special cord.
The cameras are mediocre, as is battery life with iOS 5
(which is also plagued by an unimpressive Notifications Center).
Many users have complained about patchy Wi-Fi connectivity.
Also, the most disgruntled users are packing the device up
and firing it back to the retailer.

This from THE TIMES :
All this would be enough to send some products directly to the graveyard where the Apple Newton, the Edsel, New Coke and McDonald's Arch Deluxe languish.

The Edsel sold a dismally low 84,000 models in its THREE YEARS on car lots in the late 1950s;

one estimate has Apple investing $1 billion in the Newton and recouping about $250 million in sales.

Meanwhile, the Kindle Fire is on track to sell between three and FIVE MILLION units in its first THREE MONTHS (per the Times, which would easily make it the second best-selling tablet of all time!!

Given that non-iPad tablet sales combined in the U.S. from January to October were 1.2 million).

So YIPPIE KI YAY that, Times!

One analyst even has projected that Amazon will sell six million Fires, which, as John Paczkowski of All Things Digital notes, would "surpass the iPad's domestic sales in its first December quarter in 2010!"

So why bring up the Arch Deluxe or the Apple Newton or the Edsel --

since none are apt comparisons -- if not just to smear the Kindle Fire by associating it with notable failures?

The modern Press saddens me. How about you?

{Many thanks to Jason Gilbert for the facts :

Friday, December 16, 2011

LOVE'S LIGHT IS A PYRE_Sparkles Friday Romantic Post




REVIEW THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH and enter now to get in on all the other prizes yet to be given!

The icy mists flow like lost love's seeking echoes across the bayou bordering my apartment.

SPARKLES is the prompt for this Friday Romantic Challenge.

Sometimes the magic seems to slip away in the rush of plucking fingers of Christmas obligations and demands.

Fallen, the last fae,

she of the woodfire heart and storm lightning thoughts,


"Souls move slowly to their journey's end;

destinations are where we begin again.
Like ships sailing far across endless seas,

trust in starlight to lead the way."

So here is my SPARKLES post from BLACK ROSES IN AVALON

where Blake Adamson and Fallen, the last fae, find themselves deep in a dangerous, mystic forest deep within fabled Avalon :

Fallen reached out and grabbed my hand. "Somehow, I feel as if not all the powers of Darkness can separate us now."

I caught Epona, Queen of Unicorns, sharing a haunted look with her mate. Fallen hadn't noticed. And I was glad. She looked so happy that I wanted it to last as long for her as possible.

Something like a premonition, but more certain, swept over me.

And deep down, I knew that this was our first, our last, night. Something terrible was about to happen. So terrible that it would shake the Sidhe nation to its core.

So terrible that it would permanently scar Fallen ... and be the end of me. The Darkness was falling, and I would never see the light again.

I looked up into the twinkling stars peering down on us from between the branches of the ancient oaks above us. 'Oh, Father, may you light the way for Fallen when I can't be there for her, please.'

I waited for an answer of some kind but only got aching silence. I sighed. Maybe that was a kind of answer in itself.

I jerked as Fallen, caught up in her happiness, started to sing. It was ethereal, haunting, yet filled with love and passion and hope. I looked back up into the endless depths of the stars.

Maybe this was the only real answer, to cling to love while it was ours and let the future stay in the wings until it came shambling out onto the stage to reach out for us.

"All time and space are one to hearts in love," sang Fallen, her eyes locked on me.

"Death, pain, darkness but phantoms to be overcome," she trilled, reaching out and squeezing my hand gently as if reading my mind.

Her voice rose, twirled, and caressed me. As her words went from Sidhe to Angelus to some tongue so old that even Solomon's gift didn't translate it.

Then, I realized the tune had changed to the melody Fallen had identified as the lullaby sung to her by her unknown mother.

And the breath caught in my throat as I saw long, delicate wings of ethereal energy fluttering from between her shoulder blades.

Epona's eyes widened as she spotted them at the same time that I did. Azure shivered between my legs as he, too, saw Fallen's sparkling wings of fae magic tremble and beat to the rhythm of her song.

And for a moment, the unicorns slowed their movement to stare at my love just as bewitched as I was by the haunting beauty of her singing. It seemed that the four of us had walked into a medieval tapestry or painting :

A faerie princess, her mortal lover, riding the King and Queen of all unicorns ensnared by the cascading notes sung by Love which cannot truly die.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


So there I was, long ago, minding my own business.

Ah, all right, I was dozing in my chair before my laptop. There. Happy? Hey, I'm a weary blood courier.

And I dreamed. Of William Faulkner. I know. I wanted Megan Fox or Marlene Dietrich.

But I got a grizzled William Faulkner in search of the innocence of his lost youth in New Orleans.

New Orleans. Yes, you've already guessed it. In my dreams strolled that lean wolf of an undead Texas Ranger, Samuel McCord.

And there in misty scenes unfolded a prologue to my RITES OF PASSAGE set in 1853.

It was eerie, haunting, and full of yearning regret. I awoke slowly, my mind reluctant to let those words and images go.

Marlene Dietrich then appeared in the ghost chair next to mine. "Use it, Liebling."

"What? Everybody skips prologues."

She tapped my nose with her empty cigarette holder. "And everybody is usually wrong, liebling, and you know that."

She gazed half-lidded at me. "You have a good mind, Schatzi . Use it and tell me why a prologue could be good."

"Well, I guess a prologue could spotlight a time not covered in the novel."

"As does yours. Think, silly. Your novel happens in the far past. Starting with a more modern scene would help slip your readers more easily into your story."

"You seem to have a pretty good grasp of story telling."

She smirked like an evil cat. "The best screen writers and directors of Hollywood often had a pretty good grasp of this ..."

She gestured to her body now leaning against mine. "I learned to tell a good script from a bad one. My career depended on it."

"I don't know. Bad prologues can kill a novel."

Her eyebrow arched. "I do not sit on the lap of bad writers."

"Well, now I have incentive."

She mussed my hair with ghost fingers, thumping on the top of my head as if it were a door. "You have more than that. You have a brain. And talent."

She whispered in my ear. "And in your prologue, you have your protagonist shown in the future, haunted and sad for his lost love. Everyone loves a sad love story."

She stretched in her chair like a lazy cat, letting the slit in her long gown show her long legs. "These legs are not so beautiful. I just know what to do with them. As you must know what to do with your words."

She stroked my cheek. "Without tenderness a man is uninteresting. Your prologue shows McCord's tender side. And it shows it from another's perspective. It adds a touch of the real to your undead Ranger."

She fluffed her long blonde hair. "I never dressed for myself, for fashion, for women. No, I dressed for the image. And you must write this prologue for the impression it will make on the reader."

"You might be right."

"Of course I am right. Glamour, allure, mystery, these are my stock in trade."

She tweaked my nose. "Think of me as your make-up artist. And the relationship between the make-up man and the performer is that of accomplices in crime."

Her lips curved in a way that would have made Mona Lisa jealous. "You make me feel dangerous again."

I figured having a ghost look at me like that could be dangerous in itself. "Ah, I guess I could make it a mini short story with a hook of its own to draw the reader in."

Her head cocked. "You remind me of Jimmy Stewart. You and he are the only ones who could blush without blushing."

She suddenly smiled wide. "Do you know how I know your prologue is right for your novel?"

"No. How?"

"It is not necessary for the main story. If it were, then you would need to re-write the first chapter. Your prologue lends perspective and depth, like the beginning of DUEL IN THE SUN."

She looked past me into the shadows. "Affection, companionship are the most necessary food for the soul. More important than the living realize or want to realize."

She gazed deep into my eyes. "Your McCord makes his family with the hurting, the lost, and the defenseless. Your prologue shows this."

She sighed, and it was more open wound than sound. "Write your prologue. I will be watching from the shadows."

And with that she was gone. Her perfume lingered ... as did her haunting eyes. I straightened with a jerk. I had a ghost to make smile again. I set to typing.

Above me I heard her murmur, "Ah, a knight errant. A species that sadly is all but extinct. And remember when you write your prologue : the best measure of your love is sacrifice."

And here is what I typed :

A man's moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.
- William Faulkner

One day during the time while McCord and I walked and talked in New Orleans – or I talked and he listened - I found him sitting on a bench in Jackson Square, laughing to himself. I got the impression that he had been there like that for some time, just sitting alone on the bench laughing to himself.

This was not our usual meeting place. We had none. He lived in his French Quarter night club, Meilori's. And without any special prearrangement, we would meet somewhere between his club and the Square after I had something to eat at noon.

I would walk in the direction of his club. And if I did not meet him already strolling or sitting in the Square, I would simply sit down on a bench where I could see his doorway and wait until he came out. I can see him still –

A ramrod straight man in his late forties, clad entirely in black : black broadcloth jacket, shirt, tie, and slacks. His boots were black, as well, and polished so that the sun struck fire from them. Even his Stetson was black.

All of which made the silver star on his jacket stand out like a campfire in the night. It was said he had once been a Texas Ranger. He never talked to me of those days - at least not before that afternoon.

This time he was already sitting on the bench, laughing. I sat down beside him and asked what was so funny. He looked at me for a long moment.

"I am," he said.

And that was the great tragedy of his character, for he meant it. He expected people to mock and ridicule him. He expected people nowhere near his equal in stature or accomplishment or wit or anything else, to hold him in scorn and derision.

Until the Darkness came for them. Then, they scurried to his club, praying that the rumors were true : that he, indeed, was an undead champion for those who could not fight for themselves.

Perhaps that was why he worked so earnestly and hard at helping each wounded soul he met. It was as if he said to himself : 'They will not hurt as I have hurt. I will show them that they matter because their pain matters to me.'

"Why do you speak of yourself like that?," I asked.

"Today marks the seventy-five year anniversary," he said.

"Of what?"

"Drop by my table at the club this evening, and I will tell you."

And that evening I did just that. We sat, with a bottle now, and we talked. At first he did not mention the anniversary. It was as if he was slowly working himself up to something long avoided.

We talked of everything it seemed. How a mule would work ten years for you willingly and patiently just for the privilege of kicking you once. How clocks kill time, that only when the clocks stop does time come to life. And how given a choice between grief and nothing, he would choose grief.

When he had said those last words, McCord met my eyes with his own deep ones and said, "Let me tell you a story."

And I listened.

It hit me as McCord talked that Man would not merely endure as he had not merely endured. No, like McCord, Man would prevail. Man is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice. But because he has a soul, a spirit capable of endurance, love, and sacrifice.

And so now I give you McCord's words as he gave them to me. Make of them what you will. For myself, I never know what I think about something until after I've read what I've written on it. So read along with me, and we both will come to our own conclusions.
- William Faulkner, August 1923.
And so that is my prologue. It follows my three personal rules for prologues. 1) It should be compelling. 2) It should be short. 3) And it should be removed from the body of the novel by time or space.
Next is another music video by Thea Gilmore. Whenever I've heard this song, I've seen the image of Sam McCord on the decks of the Demeter, a Colt in each hand, facing overwhelming odds in his last great battle.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011



A "headache word" I used to call it whenever my mother used it as she took me out on our walks through the park near our basement apartment.

In the same manner her Lakota grandmother taught her, she taught me -- with common sights.

The lesson of the rooster weathervane. "Poor Mr. Rooster," she would cluck her tongue, "slave to whatever winds blow, never able to stand his ground.

"Wise Mrs. Willow Tree who sinks her roots deep in good soil, standing her ground, yet bending with the wind and not snapping in two like proud and foolish Mr. Pine."

She would ruffle my hair and say, "From the willow tree you must learn autonomy." I pressed my lips together hard.

I couldn't even say that "headache word," much less know what it meant. But if you wanted an untweaked nose, there were just some things better left unsaid.

We writers many times are like mimes playing to a world of the blind. Not that we are in any way better because we see beneath the surface and many others do not.

We were taught to do so, by mentors or by example. But the fate of the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind is usually not a happy one.

The wiser of us know that going in. The more foolish of us learn it eventually. The fate is the same.

Yet, it is the journey we must savor as artists.

Enjoy telling the tale for the thrill of reaching even one soul with our efforts. Push back the darkness, if only for the moment. Touch that one hurting heart.

As in that Zen teaching tale :

should we find ourselves clinging to a cliff face, bandits above shooting arrows at us, a hungry tiger waiting to feast on us should we fall,

take in the crisp Spring breeze. Watch the grace of a swooping eagle in the bright blue sky.

And should there be a strawberry bush growing on that cliff face, reach out and taste a strawberry, savoring its flavor with our last breaths.

I wrote THE BEAR WITH 2 SHADOWS in tribute to my mother's stories.

Tales told me as I lay coughing in our basement apartment without power during that terrible winter blackout that lasted for days.

In it is a story of Hibbs, the bear with two shadows, when he was but a cub. And it relates to what I've been saying :

It was the "Warming Season When The Geese Returns" in the Valley of the Shadow. Sometimes Estanatlehi would walk beside him, sometimes not.

Even as a young bear, Hibbs had known that The Turquoise Woman ranged the whole wide world. But in this season of her second coming, she always returned in the flesh.

It was something that Hibbs had thought would last forever. Such was the foolishness of young bears.

One morning, he had emerged from his comfortable den and wandered to the edge of the Snaking River. Sitting by its edge, he had looked down into its sparkling blue surface. He hushed in a breath.

A face appeared below him. A look of shock was on its furry face. He frowned. It frowned back.

He snarled at being mocked. It snarled back.

He sat back on his haunches and laughed.

The face was but a reflection of his own. He laughed again and looked down. His river-face laughed back. He stuck out a tongue. And a tongue snaked out from his reflected face. Hibbs amused himself with this game all morning.

Hibbs had finally wandered off for more exploring. But the next morning found him at the river's edge again.

The wind of an approaching storm ruffled the image of himself so that he could not see it clear. His mood darkened along with the skies, and Hibbs had been in a foul mood the rest of the day.

The weather of the third morning was still bruised and dark from the storm of the day before. Hibbs' mood was equally sour. It worsened when he found his reflection was merely a shadow.

The day had been ruined, along with the young cub's spirits.

The fourth day found dark clouds over Hibbs' head, but they were no darker than the cub's mood. The river-face below him was dim and angry. In a fit of temper, Hibbs hit the offending reflection with his open paw. Cold water splashed him back in the face. It was the last straw.

"Oooh, River-Face," he growled. "You're going to get yours!"

Like a rippling brook given life, icy laughter sounded behind the young cub, "Oh, Little One, you are a walking parable."

Hibbs turned around so swiftly, the water was slung from the fur of his face in a tiny rain. "GrandMother!"

The happy discovery of Estanatlehi's return masked her words from his understanding. The meaning of her words arrived a moment later, like thunder rolling after the flash of lightning.

Or rather their almost-meaning. Hibbs frowned. He scratched his head.

"A walking what?"

Estanatlehi's face suddenly saddened. "A way of teaching, Hibbs."

"D-Did I just make you sad?"

Hair of living lightning became a shaking display of Northern Lights. "No, Little One. The race called Whyte did that long, long ago when they killed one who meant much to me. He loved to use parables."

"GrandMother, I - I don't understand."

Estanatlehi ruffled the soft hair atop his head gently. "You will. All too soon, you will."

She forced a smile. "But for now ... these different reflections of you that are such a torment ...."

She hesitated, and Hibbs whispered, "Yes?"

Turquoise eyes peered into his questioning brown ones, and a ripple of true happiness swam beneath the pain.

"They are only different because of the wind, the rain, and the storm clouds. They are only fluff, mere changes in the external. The internal is eternal."

"I - I do not understand."

She tweaked his wrinkling nose. "You must try very, very hard to do so."

Hibbs earnestly nodded his head like a bobbing apple. "I will try. I promise."

At the sight, Estanatlehi sniffed back her tears and hugged him. "I know you will. I will help."

She stepped back, caressing his left cheek. "Reflections are but that. Reflections."

Hibbs had nodded as if he understood, which, of course, he did not. "Reflections. Yes."

Estanatlehi looked as if her heart were breaking. "Little One, did you feel pain when you slapped your river-face?"


"That is because it was not you, merely a reflection. And reflections of you will change as you meet one being after another. Reflections that change because of their surface, not your core self."


A smile born of pain and love murmured the words, "As apples have cores, so do Two-Leggeds, the seeds of who they truly are."

"S-So I have a core?"

His wrinkling nose was tweaked again.

"Yes, Little One. You have a core. And if you know who you are, you will know your core. But if you do not, you will know only the reflection of yourself that others will give you. And as they change swiftly from one to the other, you will feel all the frustration and anger you just felt at your river-faces."

"So if I know who I am, I can laugh at all the not-core reflections others reflect to me, right?"

Estanatlehi's face looked near to tears as she hugged Hibbs' tiny head. "It always comes back to laughter with you, doesn't it, Little One?"

"It has to come back to something, doesn't it, GrandMother? Why not laughter?"

Estanatlehi wet eyes squinted as if she were looking far into the distance as she murmured, "I do not have the heart to answer, Little One."
I am giving 100% of the profits for ALL MY BOOKS to the SALVATION ARMY :