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?"
"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.
"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.
The supernatural predators come out after Katrina. Can two undead legends stop them?
AFTER KATRINA, THERE IS NONE BUT TWO TO STOP THE UNDEAD
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LISTEN to GHOST OF A CHANCE
Can an author be drawn into his own fictional world and killed by his own characters?
HIBBS HAS FOUND HIS VOICE!
A tale of enchantment
Souls At The Crossroads
Where do you need to be?
THE DEADLIEST ENEMY IS WITHIN
What if Stephen King wrote of the life of a blood courier?
Listen to this haunting tale of horror and love
It is 1853. An undead Texas Ranger is on board a cursed ship in search of a murderer who is wearing the face of her last victim as a mask.
Listen to the LAST FAE
When the world is mad, there is little else to do but show them what true insanity is!
Can a man marry both the moon and the sun?
In the eclipse of myth, he can
What Defense is an innocent soul against the Powers of Darkness?
Let Hibbs, the cub with no clue, show you
Before Indiana Jones or Allan Quartermain
There was Sam McCord and his doomed love for Meilori Shinseen
Alice and Victor in 1834 New Orleans
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Buy_FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE
Hurricane Katrina has cast New Orleans into darkness. Predators, living and undead, close in on the helpless survivors. Can Samuel McCord and a vampire priest keep the French Quarter from being drowned in blood?
Buy_LET THE WIND BLOW THROUGH YOU
Enter the dangerous world of a Native American Noir thriller where forbidden love clashes with the politics of crime
You will never see the end coming
In his beginning is his end
My 1st SERIAL TRILOGY continues
There are none so lost as those who refuse to see
The 1st SERIAL TRILOGY!
In the dark, we are all orphans
In Memoriam - Maukie my cyber friend
Maukie - the virtual cat 2 3
RITES OF PASSAGE link
The earliest Samuel McCord adventure: Dare to board a fantasy Titanic as it sails into the Bermuda Triangle
BOOK 1: No one talks openly of the misty figures seen walking along New Orleans' iron-laced terraces, casting no shadow. Of the shapes seen rising from sewer grates. And no one willingly visits the crypt of Marie Laveau at midnight. Into this strange world arrives the street orphan, Victor Standish, from Charon's Greyhound. Charon has to keep up with the times ... the End Times. And the teen destined to be called the "Ulysses of the French Quarter" has come just in time for Hurricane Katrina, the End of All Things ... and the deadly love of the Victorian ghoul, Alice Wentworth.
VICTOR AND ALICE ARE BACK!
BOOK 2: Victor's a street kid. Alice is a Victorian ghoul Their love breaks the chain of reason. Their new adventures bring the French Quarter back from the brink of nightmare.
BOOK 3: Victor & Alice are in the French Quarter of 1834. Voodoo. Demigods. Revenants. And the hilarious Menage a Trois of Death! Oh, and someone we love dies at the end.
END OF DAYS is here!
St. Marrok's. The most eerie high school in which you will ever die. Its curriculum? The End of Days. Alice Wentworth plans to get an A+.
ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM link
SEQUEL to RITES OF PASSAGE: Come aboard the doomed DEMETER with undead Texas Ranger, Sam McCord, and sail with her into the depths of madness in ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM.
SEQUEL to FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE: The dead rise. Elder Beings strain to enter our world through Katrina devastated New Orleans. And the Angel of Death is kidnapped to clear their way. Can Sam McCord stem the tide of madness in time?
Buy_THE LAST FAE
Once there was an age undreamed where legends walked this earth … and nightmares, too. Terrible were the battles, tragic the outcome of the wars. Until finally there were only two survivors : the nightmare and one bruised legend. These are the legend’s stories, each one a different facet of the same priceless gem – a jewel that has come to believe herself worthless. So come. Listen to her. Listen to THE LAST FAE.
GHOST OF A CHANCE
What if what you wrote became real?
When dreams are sacrificed, it is the soul that burns.
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Buy_THE LAST SHAMAN
Journey with the last Lakota shaman, Wolf Howl. The white govenments call him Drew August. Those who hunt him call him Death. The last day of Man has dawned. Watch as Wolf Howl turns to meet his human hunters. Shadow, the love of his life, returns to aid his hunters. Then, Mankind's death descends. Can he save Shadow before the world's time runs out?
BRING ME THE HEAD OF McCORD!
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GHOST WRITERS IN THE SKY
LEARN TO WRITE BETTER AND LAUGH ALONG THE WAY
LAST EXIT TO BABYLON
At the dawn of the End of All Things, the Last Fae finds there is no hope ... but love.
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The trilogy concludes. Not even the eclipse of myth is forever. But love is. And eclipses return. Listen. The voice of Blake, son of Man, is calling across the night skies.
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Only in the eclipse of myth can a young man find himself with both the Moon and the Sun as his brides. Can he survive what follows?
Buy_LOVE LIKE DEATH
From the pages of THE LAST FAE springs this paranormal romance/thriller. Fallen, the last fae, discovers the name of the young teenager to whom she lost her heart : Blake Adamson.But she also discovers what happens when you believe your fears over your love : heartache and loss. And so Blake Adamson finds himself torn between two loves : one fae, the other an alien drinker of souls. Their love is deadly, but love, like death, will have its way.
THE BEAR WITH 2 SHAD0WS link
Based on the stories my Lakota mother told me as a child when I was deathly ill in a freezing Detroit basement apartment. Think a Native American LORD OF THE RINGS.
Read the shadowy origin of ROSE RED
FROM THE GREAT BEYOND HOP!
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THE WORLDS OF ROLAND YEOMANS
Donna Hole astonishes with her insights on my linked worlds
FANTASTIC REVIEW OF THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH
Michael Di Gesu does a masterful review. I am honored by his friendship
LIFE LESSONS taught me by GYPSY
Dedicated to GYPSY
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HELP THE HURTING
100% of the profits for ALL my books this FEBRUARY are going to THE SALVATION ARMY. My Valentine's gift to the hurting.
Buy_BLOOD WILL TELL
One lone telepath finds himself a helpless spectator as the race of Man is subjugated into mindless drones by the very blood within their bodies.When the war is over, and he finds himself totally alone ... How can he go on and why?
CALL ME TOMBS
The last Lakota Heyoka faces voodoo and ultimate evil in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania with his Hellhound, Puppy
BLOG TOUR FOR ALEX J, CAVANAUGH'S NEWEST NOVEL
The Norse Gods Are Watching You!
BRAINE at TALK SUPE
NERDY IS THE NEW SEXY!
BECOME A JEDI KNIGHT FOR TEENS
THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL
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AMAZON KEEPS SELLING OUT!
Written by the author who could very well turn out to be the new William Faulkner, Elliot Grace
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