So you can read my books

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NEIL GAIMAN & MARK TWAIN on the New Year to Come!

{Neil and his beloved dog, Cabal, who died in 2013.
Neil said "I found him by the side of the road, and we rescued each other."}

“I hope you will have a wonderful year,

that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously,

that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it,

that you will be loved and that you will be liked,

and that you will have people to love and to like in return.

And, most importantly

(because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now),

that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes,

then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself,

changing yourself, changing your world.

You're doing things you've never done before,

and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself.

Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes.

Make mistakes nobody's ever made before.

Don't freeze, don't stop,

don't worry that it isn't good enough,

or it isn't perfect, whatever it is:

art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, 

Do it. 

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

 {Samuel Clemens in 1867}


Territorial Enterprise, January 1, 1863


"Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.

Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath.

To-day, we are a pious and exemplary community.

Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds

and gone to cutting our ancient short comings considerably shorter than ever.

We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time.

However, go in, community.

New Year's is a harmless annual institution,

of no particular use to anybody

save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions,

and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion."

Tuesday, December 30, 2014



Time raised a firestorm when it included "Feminism" in a list of words to vote to be banned in 2015.  Time stated:

 "Let’s stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around like ticker tape at a Susan B. Anthony parade." 

Apparently some Feminists are not big on Free Speech when their word led the list.

What words do you think should be banned or at least used less in 2015?


It is believed that the new STAR WARS movie will make more money than AVENGERS 2.  

What are your thoughts?

3.) KIM KARDASHIAN OUT according to psychics!

But only towards the end of 2015.  One can only hope!


At least in Congress. But since both parties basically seem to trash the country in some way when they are in power, it seems to be a mute point.

5.) ALS ICE BUCKET Challenge OUT/ is IN

Aren't you glad?

6.) Walter White OUT/ President Frank Underwood IN

I've watched neither show which shows you how OUT I am!

7.) Brown Shoes with Dark Suit OUT/ Sneakers with everything IN

I am so definitely OUT of the fashion scene, too!

8.) Ebola OUT/ Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis IN

Either disease is too scary to make fun of!


Either one can still get you killed on the interstate!  Distracted driving kills.


What do you think is OUT from 2014 and what is IN FOR 2015?


Chris Evans decided to surprise a 9-year-old fan Kenny Botting

who had surgery on a brain tumor a few months back and has been staying at Christopher’s Haven, 

a place for children fighting cancer. 

Chris Evans showed up at the Boston organization on Monday.

 Botting is "obsessed with Captain America" and that Evans gave the young boy gifts and took pictures with him.

 "It's their strength that gives people like me strength," Evans told CBS. 

"If there is anyway you can just give a smile or positive words or encouragement, it's worth it."

A Menage a Trois for New Year's Eve?!

{A novel I may never finish if I don't finish the two I am working on now!}

But the following is from that book floating in the nether regions of my muse.

 {Gorgeous images by the genius of Leonora Roy}


{Artwork courtesy of Orietta Rossi}

told me that I was born the very instant the old year died and the New Year began

I figure the Angel of Death should know.

I lay on my bed in agony. 

What part of my body that wasn't cut, was bruised, or throbbing -- or all three. A sharp pain stabbed into my chest as I turned.

"Happy Birthday to me," I groaned.

I heard another groan from the mirror.

"Elu, are you all right?"

His gruff voice rumbled from the mirror, "Define 'all right'."

I swayed to the side of the bed and looked into the mirror. Ouch. His face looked like raw hamburger meat.

He grunted, "Don't worry, Elu. I am Victor Standish, and I always have a plan. Some plan! You nearly got us killed!"

I made a face. "Well, we got the bad guys killed."

A snowball hit me in the face from the mirror. "There is the icing to your birthday cake, Standish."

I wiped the snow from my face, seeing the mirror had gone black. "At least, you're all rig...."

Another snowball smacked me in the face. "I am NOT all right! Now, go downstairs and clean up the mess you made."

I swayed to my feet. "Aw, man, there's body parts all over the place."

Elu chuckled, "You cannot say Dyami does not know how to throw a New Year's Eve party."

"After last year, I swore off New Year's Eve parties.  I'm double sworn off now!  Besides, body parts are not my idea of the perfect Birthday present."

The back of my head got smacked with another snowball.

I smiled bitter. Snowballs were cheap presents, but at least they were handmade.

I limped down the hallway with scattered monster parts all over the carpet. I made it to the head of the stairs.


Meilori's was a burning battle-zone below. Marshal Hickok was dosing what I considered my birthday candles on the steps.

He glared at me, and I sighed, "Don't tell me you're holding a grudg ----"

He dosed me with the fire extinguisher. "Go downstairs and start cleaning up, Birthday Boy."

I shook my head. Never, ever, had I been thrown a birthday party.

I thought Alice might --- but she had gotten mad over something I had whispered to Becca in her revealing Steam Punk outfit. 

So there went my party.

I started to sway on my feet. I had taken a few good hits last night. More than a few actually. 

The pain spread from my chest and down my left arm.

I was so hot suddenly.  Clammy sweat beaded my body.  I couldn't catch a breath.

I smiled crooked. "Alice will be so mad. She missed me dropping dead like she ask ...."

Someone cut the strings holding me up.  I fell and tumbled down the stairs.

Out of the growing darkness, I heard Alice scream, "No!!"

Suddenly, my head was cradled in her soft lap. 

My head was resting on her bare legs. Finally, a good Birthday present.

My head lolled to the left. 

Cute knees in fishnet stockings. Becca? I flicked my eyes to the front of me. Trish in her Maid Marion outfit.

I glanced up at Alice. "Y-You mean I get a menage a trois for my birthday?"

My head was jerked and thumped off her pretty legs. "That for your present!"

I weakly raised my right hand. "Dying here. Doesn't that buy me a ---"

Alice threw my right hand to the smoldering carpet. 

And just like that, an icepick stabbed into my chest and everything went black.

I heard Becca snap, "Oh, perfect, freak. The last thing he'll remember is your throwing his hand down."

Alice grumbled, "Or perhaps it will be your wanton knees in his face!!"

Women! I had died, and they still made it all about them.

 Trish sobbed, "He never even saw the surprise Birthday Party we had prepared."

I floated in an ink sea for long moments.

I shook my head, and suddenly became scared that I had a head at all to shake in the darkness.

There was a bright light right in front of me. I squinted and smiled.

A long marble table with the biggest Birthday cake I had ever seen.

And standing by the table was Mother ... the Angel of Death.

"You remembered, Mother."

Black tears gleamed in her eyes to drift up from her lids in tiny swirls of dark snowflakes.

"I always remembered, Victor."

"Now, back with you!" she said.

"I'm not dead?"

Mother smiled coldly.

"You die when I say you die, Victor. 

Besides, it will be so much fun to see you try to extradite yourself from the hole your brash tongue has dug for yourself."

Her black robe billowed as she gracefully gestured. Suddenly, I was back. Three pairs of pretty knees. Now, THIS was a Birthday present.

Alice hugged my head against the torn satin that barely covered her breasts. I hadn't died. 

But I was certainly in Heaven.

"Alice, you sure about that menage a trois?"

She threw my head down to the floor. "Oh, Victor! I should have known you were faking."

I staggered to my feet as the three of them looked at me like the Gorgon Sisters.

"Whoa. My mother WAS waiting for me. She just sent me back to say ...."

The three of them wailed and clung to me like a life saver in a rough sea.

Becca husked, "We will not let you say good-bye!"

 Trish hugged me tight. "You're Victor Standish. You can't die."

Alice embraced me with her icy arms. "You are my Victor. I will never let you say good-bye. Never!"

I made a sheepish face. "Ah, Mother just wanted me to say 'I'm sorry."

All three pairs of arms popped off me like I had been hot brass.

Alice glared at me. "So much for my special Birthday present for you!"

Becca sizzled a look at me. "And mine!"

 Trish just giggled, running off with Becca. "Only you, Victor. Only you."

Captain Sam loped up with a plate of birthday cake.

He grinned like a wolf. "Devil's Food Cake, son. Seemed to fit."

I gobbled my very first slice of Birthday cake. "When you're right, Captain Sam, you're right."

What William Joseph played for Victor's birthday (remember he is a gypsy) ... and yes, Victor tangoed with Alice to this:

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Czech airman Robert Bozdech found himself shot down with his wounded pilot in a grim no-man's land, 

between German and French forces at the beginning of World War II. 

It is January 1940 and the German army is shortly to begin its surge across the rest of continental Europe.

 In an abandoned farmhouse where Robert and his French pilot take shelter, 

he finds a starving puppy amid the rubble. 

Not weaned yet, the emaciated dog is able to suckle warmed-up chocolate from Robert's finger.

But a puppy left behind would make noise that would alert their Nazi hunters. 

Robert takes out his knife. 

He looks into trusting brown eyes.  

He puts the knife away and the puppy inside his bomber jacket.

Along with the pilot, he and the puppy make the terrifying and arduous journey to safety.  

But that is just it: 

there is no safety with the Nazis butchering their way across all of France.

So Robert & the puppy, along with six other Czech airmen, 

eventually escape to Britain to serve in the Royal Air Force, 

along the way facing not only a saga of obstacles and dangers 

but the added challenge of smuggling along a dog Robert names Ant ... 

later changing it to Antis for a reason I leave for you to find out.

 Long before Robert and his mates are welcomed into the RAF, Antis wins Robert's heart. 

His loyalty, courage, and intelligence, even as a puppy, 

create a bond of love, one that survives some of the most challenging circumstances.

 Antis was awarded the Dickin Medal, 
the animal equivalent to the Victoria Cross

Before France capitulates, Robert returns to fly with the French Air Force 

in a last-ditch effort to slow the advance of the Germans, joined by Antis. 

(Later Antis would fly with Robert in the RAF.)

"It seemed almost the most natural thing ... for Ant to leap onto the wing of the aircraft and climb in beside him ... 

The perils of the mission didn't seem to worry him ... His ears pricked up a little as the punching percussions of machine-gun fire filled the gun turret,

his nose twitched at the thick cordite fumes that drifted all around him, 

but other than that he didn't ... stir from his laid-back position prone on the metal floor."

 During the course of the war, Antis saves lives by hearing, and warning his master of, 

the approach of German bombers long before they could be detected by air defense. 

And after one horrific attack

he becomes a rescuer, sniffing out survivors in the rubble of a building.  

Even being buried by a falling wall could not stop the bleeding, crawling Antis 

from digging out his last rescue: 

a young girl who would have died but for Antis.

You will laugh, sigh, cry, and ultimately cheer this warm loving story torn from the bloody history of WWII.

You will be cheered by the ingenuity and never-say-die spirit 
of both man and dog.  

I am currently listening to the audio version of this wonderful book.

To give equal time to kittens:

Saturday, December 27, 2014


The shades of years past watch us.We, of the modern age, stumble and bumble our way,
sure of our sophistication and education.

But what if there are principles of which we are unaware that take no notice of our ignorance of them ...

only chastise us when we break them.

After all, gravity takes no breaks ...

it only gives them

Take "First Foot,"

a custom concerning the first visitor of the New Year to a home.

His function is to bring prosperity and good fortune for the ensuing 12 months to those he visits.

He comes just as soon as possible after midnight, bringing gifts which symbolize plentiful food, health, and wealth. Sometimes he carries an evergreen branch as a symbol of continuing life.

Strict rules govern the choice of First Foot:

Male always for he symbolizes the New Year.

No redheads need apply.

The luckiest representative is a dark-haired stranger, symbolizing a new year full of undiscovered mysteries.

An old form of First Foot has the visitor entering silently,
greeted by none.

He goes straight to the hearth, laying the evergreen branch on the fire and a sprig of mistletoe on the mantle above.

Then, he turns and greets those living in the home, and festivities ensue.

I wonder what thought first visited the homes of our minds last year?

Did it symbolize the atmosphere, the temper of our thoughts for the remaining 12 months?

What thought do you think should first visit your mind this New Year? What First Foot will be your physical first visitor?

Can you remember who first entered your home last January? Did he or she reflect the luck and temper of the following 12 months?

Just thought it would be fun to think on these questions, Roland

Friday, December 26, 2014


Although many of us do not admit to it, we do believe or follow some superstition at one time or another.

Knock on wood?  

I do, usually have to resort to knocking on my head, the universiality of plastics you know.

Have you known people to stop a dog from howling to prevent death or 

to get married on a rainy day to insure a long and happy marriage?

 New Year’s Eve also has its fair share of strange myths and weird superstitions 

that are followed by many around the world. 

Here are a few:

1. No sweeping on New Year’s day.  

They say that it is an ominous act and can sweep away the good luck of the entire family.

Well, why not? Anything that keeps you from the nasty chore of cleaning is welcome, right?

 2. Wearing new clothes on New Year's Eve.

 They believe that it ensures a constant supply of new clothes for the whole year to jazz up the wardrobe.

 3. No empty pockets
There are people who insist that one should take care to avoid wearing a dress with empty pockets on New Year’s Eve 

since it may be a sign of very low or no income in the year to come.

4. Say no to chicken
If you cook any chicken dish on New Year’s day, you will have monetary troubles for the rest of the year.
So now you know who is responsible for all your financial troubles this year… 

Colonel Sanders!

5. Don’t do laundry
They say that if you do your laundry, you will certainly wash off your luck or will face a year of hard work. 

Even more ominous, doing laundry on this day is also associated with facing a family member’s death.
 What can I say? These myths sound like work-relieving fun to me!

6. Don’t cry, honey!
The wise men (and women) say that one should not be miserable on this day and neither should one cry because that depression will follow you in the year to come.

So, wipe away those tears and be happy! After all, it is a new beginning.

7. Be Scrooge on New Year's Eve!

You should not give your cash, ornaments, precious items or other valuable things to anyone

 on the first day of the year because it may be a sign that wealth will be flowing out in the entire year. 

So, hang on to your cash until January 2nd!

8. Make noise and hang a lemon at New Year's Eve.

Have you ever wondered why there are fireworks on New Year’s Eve? 

It is to scare away the evil spirits and evil thoughts. 

Even hanging a lemon in the doorway helps in warding off bad spirits.

* The First Foot of New Year has a whole post coming soon here. 

Do you know of any New Year's Eve superstitions?

Thursday, December 25, 2014


One of the great things about love ...

is that it grows in ever larger ripples when shared.

One shares with another, then that heart touched by love shares, too.One becomes two. Two becomes four. And four becomes eight.

Not every heart which receives, gives, of course.

Who of us has not received compassion and felt the better for it?

We are let into a busy traffic line, and we wave thanks.

But do we give it? Do we let another in somewhere else down the line?

Or do we just go on our way, too much in a hurry to return the favor to a stranger?

Have we received compassion, wisdom, kindness repeatedly from a friend, but then have been hurt by that same friend?

Can we find it in ourselves, that after taken so much, to give one thing ...

the benefit of the doubt,

to trust in the past acts of friendship to give ...


That is the secret of Boxing Day,

celebrated in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Bermuda, and the United Kingdom ...

to give from the surplus that we have received on Christmas Day.

One of the clues to Boxing Day's origins can be found in the Christmas Carol, "Good King Wenceslas."

Wenceslas, who was Duke of Bohemia in the early 10th century, was surveying his land on

St. Stephen's Day — Dec. 26 —

when he saw a poor man gathering wood in the middle of a snowstorm.

Moved, the King gathered up surplus food and wine

and carried them through the blizzard to the peasant's door.

Christmas love and magic is better when shared.

Just like laughter is somehow more than doubled when the joke or funny movie is shared with a friend.

What is more beautiful than a unicorn in the snow?

Two unicorns racing through the flurry of snowflakes together.

Batman as the good king with Robin:


Enough with the unicorns already!!

Ratatoskr here to wish you guys a MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Oh, he's changing into warm clothes.  I gave him a White Christmas for my present.

And did he appreciate it?  Nooooooo!

I mean so I made it snow INSIDE his apartment.  

What's the big deal?  

We even had a neat snowball fight and everything.  At least I thought it was neat.  Snicker.

Know what I want for Christmas?  

Buy my book and give me a GLOWING REVIEW.  

Hey, humility is over-rated!  Only 99 cents.

Already have it?  Great!

You can get the Audio of it for ONLY $1.99!

And Shhh! No telling Roland I asked.  

He gets so bent out of shape for the strangest reasons.  

I mean I whisked Angelina Jolie to sit on his lap and everything last night.  

Ah, I did sorta bring her husband along, too.  

And all her children!

Good thing Roland has a big apartment!

Roland just says I wanted to read all her tattoos. 

Which I did! 

She giggled when I scurried down her back to read those. 

At least I choose to think it was a giggle.

Her husband promptly slugged Roland who said it wasn't his fault! 

Pitt growled that he wasn't about to slug a squirrel!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Merry Christmas to all my friends!

Christmas' present to all of us

is the subtle messages underneath the obvious ones:

1.) Love comes unexpectedly.

2.) You find love in surprising places.

3.) Love comes at its own season, in its own unique way, wearing a face you weren't looking for.

But then, we can be forgiven for not hearing those messages. After all, none of us is perfect. Well, there was that one.

But we killed Him.

Or did we? 

I choose to think not. I know His message and the messages of this day are not dead.

Love never quite dies. 

It stays in the sparkle in the eyes of each passing generation of children.

The best Christmas stories, in both movies and books, remind us that love always seems to find a way,

though it comes to us in unexpected ways, shining in the eyes of those we might have overlooked in the past.

The Jews were expecting a king.  

They never got one because they were looking in the wrong places for the wrong faces.

A manger contained the prince of peace in its straw. Few were even aware of His arrival.

Only those who were not too proud to stop and consider love might come unexpectedly 

and from a source we would never have suspected of containing it.

And only to those who had kept looking up.

Christmas teaches us to keep the child's sense of awe, of wonder, and of the willingness to believe ...

in the possibilities of miracles,

of the soft whisper of magic in the air if you but listen,

and in the healing power of love.

Like young Kevin in HOME ALONE

it is up to us alone to protect the home of our hearts from being robbed of their innocence and love. 

Sometimes we do not see unicorns in the snow because we have stopped looking for them.

Continue to look. 

Continue to hold gently to the possibility of a miracle waiting for you just around the next corner or the one after that.

Excuse me. I think I hear a strange whinnying outside my door.

I'll open it to have a look. 

My unicorn may be out there below my terrace right now waiting for me to go for a ride in the moonlight.

You never know.

Keep looking and believing, Roland

Monday, December 22, 2014


Even sugar-charged Ratatoskr has fallen victim to the dreaded HOLI-DAZE!  

(He is currently riding with me on one of my blood runs, having just collapsed after telling his last Christmas joke:

"Did you hear about the dyslexic Devil worshiper who sold his soul to Santa?")



The Great Mystery's Light visited our world in the human form of a tiny infant.

Take a moment to reflect that that very Light might reside in the hurrying body of the person next to you, 

that very Light formed the stars and the seas and the birds of the air.

Breathe in deeply and pause to soak in the wonder of His caring for the sparrows of the field ... 

and you  ... and what it cost Him.


And the cinnamon and the chestnuts and the turkey 

and all of the other delicious smells, beautiful sights, and familiar sounds 

that have become symbols of the joy of the holiday season.

Enjoy it in the way it was meant to be enjoyed, 

by relaxing and sharing quality time with family and friends. The rest is just window dressing.


Don't allow the hustle and bustle of the season to cause you to sacrifice sleep. 

It's normal during the holidays to have more on your to-do list than usual, 

but that shouldn't result in cutting SLEEP from that list!

Sleep is restorative. 

It's the time when your body replenishes itself at a cellular level 

and repairs itself from the damage of mental stress, physical strain, infection, sun exposure, and pollutants. 

Without enough sleep, 

our minds and bodies don't function as well as they could, which makes us less productive.

And sleep even aids in LOSING WEIGHT!



When you expect perfection in your holiday preparations, 

expect a lot of added and unnecessary stress and fatigue as well. 

No battle ever went as planned -- 
ask Napoleon.  

And Christmas can be a BATTLE!

If you're planning to host a party, why do you need to prepare a major feast? 

Why not try an assortment of easy-to-make side dishes or appetizers? 

Or why not consider sharing the load by making the event a pot luck? 

Most holiday guests feel compelled to bring something anyway, so why not let them bring a dish?


Block it in your calendar as if it were a visit from the Pope.

Plan a night for just you.  

Listen to your favorite music no matter if it is POLKA!  

Dance by yourself if the whim takes you.

Whatever would heal you in your down time, do it.

Even when you are alone, 
you are not alone 
if you love:


Or your boss.  Or your friends.  

Laughter has been around for awhile now.  There's a reason for that.  

Laughter heals!

Mark Twain has young Satan ask:

"Will a day come when your race will detect the funniness of these juvenilities and laugh at them--and by laughing at them destroy them?

 For your race, in its poverty, has unquestionably only one really effective weapon--laughter. 

Power, Money, Persuasion, Supplication, Persecution--these can lift at a colossal humbug,--

push it a little-- crowd it a little--weaken it a little, century by century: 

but only Laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of Laughter nothing can stand.

- "The Chronicle of Young Satan," Mysterious Stranger Manuscripts


In a sense THANKSGIVING starts the HOLIDAY season and there is WISDOM in that.

If you are not grateful for what you have,
 you will soon find yourself with even less.

Somewhere in this world someone is happy with less than what you have.

The way to start and end the day is 

to pause and list the things and people that have made and make your day better just by being in your life.

You may have lost some things, beloved persons in your life -- give yourself permission to grieve.

Take ten minutes to feel shitty.




Decide then and there that at least for Christmas

you will be a healing presence in at least one person's life -- 

even if it is only to let some harried driver in the crowded lane ahead of you.



Ratatoskr just rolled over and told me to ask you guys:

"What do you call Batman when he skips church?

Christian Bail!"


You groan at me, and Ratatoskr is fast asleep!!

My Christmas gift to you:

Look What North Korea Has Started!