So you can read my books

Monday, August 31, 2015


I don't mean Miley Cyrus flashing a nipple on the MTV awards

 or doing another classless routine for the finale 

or having a childish, inappropriate playground tiff with Nicki Minjaj.

I'm not talking about Kanye West ending a 12 minute rant 

by announcing he would run for President in 2020 ... 

and would give free sneakers to each person if he were elected.

Wayne Dyer died the night of the awards and no one noticed due to the nipple and ego flashing.

Joining him on the" next great adventure" as Tony Robbins said of Mr. Dyer's dying was Wes Craven.

Mr. Craven,  the famed maestro of horror known for the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream franchises, 

died Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76.

Wes Craven also guided Meryl Steep to an Oscar nom for 'Music of the Heart.' 

Trump is gaining ground in his run for President, and the rest of the GOP seems to trying to adopt some of his policies.

I am worried about us.

A state trooper stopped to help a driver whose car had run off the interstate.  

He was shot in the face with a shotgun for his efforts.

I am a rare blood courier, and I have noticed a spike in the need for blood recently due to violent crimes.

 Psychologists who study pathology have turned a mostly blind eye to influences from the wider world

In general, how much, and in what ways, do events in the wider world affect our individual personalities?

  Societal factors clearly influence our observable behavior

—what we will and won’t do in public on a day-to-day basis—

but can societal, cultural, political, and even technological factors soak into our very psyches, 

infiltrate our inner cores and make lasting changes to who we are


Sunday, August 30, 2015


Writing is precarious

Amazon seems to want to prune its ranks of unknown Indies. 

 Struggling Indie writers find their novels lost in an ever-growing sea of self-published prose.

Twitter, Facebook, and Blog Book Tours offer fewer and fewer dividends to authors.

It’s a time when it would make a lot of sense to quit 

— and a time when simply not quitting is becoming its own art form.

Academics who left the scholarly world that no longer seemed relevant have invented their own genre --  

Quit Lit.

 Many creative writers today seem to be writing what you might call “STAY LIT — 

accounts of how the publishing world has bruised and sometimes bloodied their egos, 

and why they’re still writing anyway.

Read the early letters of Mark Twain, Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, and Raymond Chandler --

And you will read the same thing:

Those who quit never win.  
Those who stay the course 
always win their self-respect ... 
if not their dreams. 

Writing lives and writing careers are very hard-won even when they’re successful.

If it were easy, everyone would do it.  Stay the course.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


 {Image Courtesy of Stevie Z Photography}

Friends have asked to see a bit of my novel, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE. So here are a few paragraphs from the first chapter.

“Our Nation is prepared, as never before, to deal
quickly and capably with the consequences of
disasters and domestic incidents.”

--FEMA chief Michael D. Brown - March 09, 2005

Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans August 29, 2005


It rained lies and death today.

I stood knee-deep in water outside my French Quarter jazz club, Meilori’s. It was a place in which almost anything was likely to happen and in which almost everything had. 

Inside, the fifty-one survivors of Katrina that I could house were huddled in shivering, too quiet clusters. 

Words have no meaning when a city dies. Nothing much does.

My soul stretched tight across my chest. Everything I saw in the shadows spoke to me ... in threats. 

The sudden, short explosion of an unseen gun. A quick, sharp scream in the distance. And the blue spurt of a lighted match at the far end of the street. 

My city bled slowly in the ripples of the flooded streets.

Somewhere distant in the hot, red darkness a shot rang out. Another called out to it like a wolf. But it came from a different direction.

I smiled bitterly. The predators had crawled out from their boarded shelters. They knew the restraint of law had died this day. Soon they would come for me.

You see, I had enemies. And not all of them were human. But that was all right. I wasn't human either.
If you like what you read, let me know. If not, let me know how I could improve. Thank all of you for caring to drop by.
Here's a song about hope and Hurricane Katrina :

Friday, August 28, 2015


Visit where the mayor's office would rather not have you come 

and see:

The corner of Flood and North Galvez streets, Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans.

This isn't the place President Obama crooned of Thursday, a city that "is coming back better and stronger."


this is where the ruins of sinking curbs and shattered concrete foundations betray the missing homes.

They speak of people lost and whole sections of community obliterated. 

They murmur of what has not -- and perhaps will not ever -- be replaced.


One word that symbolizes major failing and limited redress, for belated reaction, and selective improvement.

Ten years have not made New Orleans forget George W. Bush

the president who called himself compassionate 

while he had Air Force One fly over New Orleans during the city's many hours of tremendous need --

and never stop.

Early requests for transportation assistance went unmet 

and post-storm efforts to evacuate those in the worst conditions stretched well beyond reason,


Against the backdrop of my two urban fantasies, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE and END OF DAYS

I reveal what might have been done -- and was not.

The tourists have returned to the French Quarter

 but in Orleans Parish, the share of people living below the poverty level has only grown.

Now, during Hurricane Season, the deeply personal knowledge that officialdom will not save you 

transforms small talk about the weather into animated, anxious faces that know 

they are alone in the storm.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


I. Agnes Hedengård's Video Accuses Fashion Agencies Of 'Absurd' Standards

This Swedish young woman has modelled since she was 15, according to Metro UK.

But now she says she hasn't been able to find work in the last five years

due to the industry's "absurd" standard that has her pegged as "too big."

II. Dating in America is completely unfair

The main idea is that women have been attending college at much higher rates than men since the 1980s, in the U.S.

The dating pool for college-educated people in their 30s now has five women for every four men. For people in their 20s, it's four women for every three men.

 In Manhattan, there are 38 percent more female college grads under the age of 25 than college-grad men.

86 percent in Miami, 49 percent in Washington and 37 percent in Los Angeles!  Ouch!

III. Murder is the second most likely way for women to die at work

The gruesome killing of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward reminded us Wednesday,

murder happens surprisingly often on the job. 

After car accidents, homicide is the most likely way for women to die at work, representing 21 percent of workplace deaths.

Men, on the other hand, are more likely to die many other ways.

But it is really playing with numbers as the politicians love to do.

There were 341 men and 67 women murdered on the job.

Yet, the share of workplace killings by co-workers appears to be inching up.

The world has always been a crazy place

in which to try to live and love.

It just seems to have gotten crazier for women lately.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


If you're like me and Survivor Duck --

 you got an email this morning from Amazon telling you of the Kindle Scout program.

Kindle Scout is a reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. 

It’s a place where readers help decide if a book receives a publishing contract.

(Amazon's American Idol)

Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, 

a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.

What to do, right?

I went to our age's Oracle of Delphi, Google.

And the best information came from Victoria Strauss's site:

 in a comment from Ebook Bargains UK :

Going with Kindle Scout means you will be exclusive to the Kindle site 

and automatically lose any chance of finding readers among the 35% of the US ebook market that does not shop at Amazon.
Which of course is the key purpose of the show – 

to identify and get exclusive rights to material that might otherwise end up on Apple or Nook or Google Play.

 Shelling out $1500 to keep a good quality book off a rival site is sound business sense for Amazon.

 Not so much for the author.

What indie authors need to ask themselves is why, if Amazon thinks their book is worth investing in at all, 

they don’t go the whole way and do it properly through the existing Amazon imprints?

As it is, Amazon stands to make substantial sums from these books while the author struggles to cover their costs.

Amazon will pay you 50% of net, not list price.

 So first Amazon takes 30% of list price for selling the book you paid to have edited, proofed, formatted, covered, etc. 

THEN it takes half of what’s left as well.

 Which means in real terms Amazon will be TAKING 65% of list price on every sale.

What does this mean in the real world of monthly payments?

It means that for doing absolutely nothing above and beyond what you can do on your own through KDP, 

you the author will be paid out as follows:

Pricing at $4.99 (and remember, Amazon decides the price, not you

AMAZON will make $3.25 a sale so will need to sell only 462 copies to make back the advance it paid out.

The AUTHOR will have to sell 1,200 copies to pay back that advance before they see another cent from Amazon.

Going it alone if you sold 1,200 copies at $4.99 you’d have $4,200 in the bank. 

PLUS your sales from other retailers.

At $3.99 list price Amazon grabs $2.60 per sale against your $1.40. 

You’ll need to sell 1,072 copies just to pay back the advance. Amazon will have made $2,800 off you in that time.

Going it alone if you sold 1,072 copies at $3.99 you’d have three grand in the bank plus your sales from other retailers.

At $2.99 Amazon will be taking $1.95 a shot while you get a buck. 

You’ll need to sell 1,500 copies just to pay back the advance. 

Amazon will have made nearly three grand off you on those same sales.

Going it alone that 1,500 sales at the same price you’d have just over three grand in the bank plus your sales from other retailers.

Unquestionably the first few titles selected will get the full promo they are “eligible” for and do well. 

Amazon needs this scam to be seen to be successful for the participating authors. 

But once the word is out that this is the latest road to riches Amazon can then apply the brakes, 

and just like KU it will be handful of selected authors who become all-stars and are the rest get shafted.

Now, the above is Ebook Bargains UK's perspective not mine. 

 Research yourself and come to your own conclusions.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Did you know that there is an OPTICAL ILLUSION within the brush-strokes of the MONA LISA?

It is extraordinarily hard to duplicate to this very day.

More extraordinary is that it is connected to VICTOR STANDISH!

Poor Victor Standish.  

On his best days, Victor is only PG-13 in his language.

But Alice, the Victorian ghoul, who is the love of his life, insists he prune his "colorful metaphors"

as does Elu, his Apache mentor 

(who painfully tweaks his nose when he forgets!)

So in desperation, Victor, veteran of long hours in many libraries, 

resorted to using the term "Sfumato!" since it sounded much like what he really wanted to say!

And just what is SFUMATO?

Monday, August 24, 2015



I am quite fortunate to have Robert Rossmann as graphic designer of my audiobook cover 

(didn't he do a fantastic job?)

And he is also the narrator of the book as well.

Robert Rossmann played would-be producer Max Bialystock in "The Producers"this July at Sierra Stages in Nevada City --

before then, he played Vanya in Christopher Durang's "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" this past spring, 

and he has played, among other roles, Willie Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" 

and Pseudolus in Stephen Sondheim's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum". 

{Robert is on the left}



Listen for a week to a book by Hemingway, and when you next write, you will discover your phrasing, dialogue, and plotting will be colored by the master.

Listen to many great writers, and your writing style will become deepened and enriched.


Music teachers know this. 

They send students home with professional recordings 

so they can absorb the “tone” of a particular instrument. 

They accompany students on the piano so they can hear how two parts should flow together. 

 We learn a second language in a similar manner.


Turns out the ears are extremely important to a writer. 

You need to be able to “hear” how your prose is sounding, 

and if you have a good ear, you can detect the problems just by listening.

 When you read your draft out loud or listen to someone else read it, 

 your brain gets the information in a new way, and you may notice things that you didn’t see before.

But you need to see how the professional does it -- and no way is better than listening to their prose.


No skimming.  You take in all the words and see what impact they make.

Audiobooks  have taught me a lot more about the importance of the rhythm of language. 

Good writing has a musical quality to it, a mathematical quality, a balance and a rhythm. 

You can "feel" the prose that much better when it’s read aloud.

One other thing I notice when reading audiobooks:

 You have to tune in.

 Zone out for even a few seconds and you lose the train of the story. 

 That’s good for developing focus, 

but also helps your brain really pay attention to the words, the rhythm of the phrases, and the way the story flows.
Even when reading a book, 

we can get caught up in the story and zoom through the pages without really registering the prose. 

Impossible to do when you’re listening. You have to focus on what you’re hearing.


 Don’t worry about being overly influenced. 

Your brain has a way of taking what it receives, churning it up, and spewing out something that’s yours.

 It’s what we writers do all the time, with everything else we’re exposed to in life.

 The best way I can describe the subtle but profound shift is that as I write, 

I hear the story in my head as if someone else is narrating it. 

 This small change gives me some distance from the story and allows me to better assess my work-in-progress as a reader. 

It makes me want to make my sentence structure, diction, and punctuation a clear road map to show the reader how the story should sound.


Of course, I would like you to buy mine -- 

but the public library has thousands of audiobooks you can listen to for FREE!

Please Buy Food Guy's Audio Books


 Midnight here -- Food Guy's new roommate.

So there I was at the Witching Hour with all the lights blazing 

since Food Guy was out on one of his blood runs --

I think he is a delivery guy for vampires --

 but, hey, I am NOT asking!  I take being a scaredy cat very seriously.

I was sitting on his little computer table in the Food Treasury of this place, 

trying not to see the DVD of THE MUMMY behind me ...

when a really creepy voice intoned,

"Life has never interested me so much as the escape from life."

Aw, jeez.  

It was that Lovecraft ghost again, but I worked up the spit to say, "Well, how is that working out for you?"

"Do you wish to find out for yourself, little feline?"

I ducked behind Food Guy's autographed poster of THOR and yowled, 

"Don't make me have this guy with the hammer get all Asgard on your butt!"

He chuckled like the ghost he was, 

"Madness rides the star-wind... claws and teeth sharpened on centuries of corpses... dripping death astride a bacchanale of bats from night-black ruins of buried temples of Belial."

I managed to get out, "Aren't you late for a hot date with Cthulhu or something?" 

Another ghost strolled through the front door, "Now, H.P., leave the little fella alone."

I heaved a sigh of relief.  It was good old Mark Twain.  

He loved cats, and at the moment, I loved him back ... even though he insisted on calling me Bambino!

Mark tugged on Lovecraft, and the two of them flowed through the front door out into the night.  

I shook my furry head.  Being scared out of two of my nine lives sure had taken it out of me.

I decided to do what I do second best until Food Guy stumbled through the front door himself.

Sunday, August 23, 2015



Take letter writing:

The art of the handwritten letter has largely fallen victim to the evolution of technology. 

Communications today have become more immediate and almost entirely digital. 

When I went off to college, I would communicate with friends at far-flung locations 

by writing and mailing letters updating them on developments and responding to their own letters. 

When college classmates would spend a semester abroad, 

we would exchange letters on special airmail paper that was lighter weight and thus cost less to mail.

 Phone calls were few and far between — even domestically — because long distance rates were so high.

 Today, Skype can be used at low-cost to talk to friends overseas. 

Email lets you stay in touch with friends in every corner of the country and the globe 

virtually instantly at no significant cost. 



Term papers are cold, impersonal.  Short emails and texts are chaotic without form or structure or reasoned thinking.


Text messaging discourages correct spelling.  There is no safety net of spell check with letters.  You are forced to do it right the first time.


Words matter. 

When writing a letter, it is important to consider how the words will be interpreted on the other end by the recipient.

The lag-time between writing and receiving a letter meant we'd best be careful we would not be misunderstood. 


Emails are fleeting, highly perishable.  

How many emails do you save for years?

All letters, old and new, are still-existing parts of a life.

To read them now is to be present in the past 

with some discovery of truth or revelation of the soul that for the writer is just now occurring for them.

To come upon a personal truth of a human being, now gone forever, is to admit them in a way to our friendship.

It is much like receiving a winking glance from some very bright eye, 

still mischievous and mischief-making, arriving from 50 or 100 years ago.

The letters of Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Raymond Chandler are good at that last.


Except as audience, of course.

I am ancient enough to remember photographs.  

The treasured book of them contained more pictures of our loved ones and friends than of ourselves.


Saturday, August 22, 2015


Here is a little reflection on how setting can be made alive in your novels:

Look around you.

Hearts have grown cold,

ears dull,

minds impatient.


And this affects you as a writer just how?


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

unless ...


unless you make your novel alive and alluring.


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

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


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

Each of the senses should be touched by your words. 

And one of the ways you do that is to paint your locale with such brushstrokes of prose, the reader "sees" and "feels" and "smells" the unique flavors of your locale.

New Orleans:

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

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

A hardened, jaded police department that in some seasons can be scarier than the city's criminals. 

Official corruption at every level. 

Murder rates ever soaring. And hot, steamy air you can wear 7 months out of the year.


And it is a wonderful place to live:

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

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

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


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

Only then, with the setting so real that they hear the sound of throaty laughter and fine jazz, 

will the Stetson wearing, doomed hero, Samuel McCord, feel like an actual person to them.



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

You know streets that whisper to stay away at night.

You know what scandal has stained some avenue beyond repair. 

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

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

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

But how do you do that verbal sleight of hand?


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



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

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

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

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



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

How has the passing seasons shaped his/her mind, opinions, and outlook for the present? For the future? 

How does your protagonist view his and the setting's past?

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

For D G Hudson and all lovers of MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

Friday, August 21, 2015


“People with weaknesses get killed by those who lack them. Notice I am not dead.”
- Oyggia, High Queen of Faerie 

{Image Courtesy of the Genius of Leonora Roy from END OF DAYS}

In the terrible days following Hurricane Katrina,
 a strange school appears in the French Quarter, offering aid only to the children of the elite.

Soon after, gruesome murders begin to occur. 

To discover the truth behind this "school," McCord sends three girls 

who only want their own deaths slightly more than the deaths of each other.

Read Alice Wentworth's account of their first entrance into St. Marrok's:
Our first sight of St. Marrok’s was … impressive.

The Sidhe were also called the Wild Ladies.  

They, who decide and unwind the distaff of Man’s expectations.  It is said our dreams are but a reflection of the sparkling, efflorescent vapors of their spirits.  Here we were met with light and shadow and madness.

Achuzzah Street should have been flooded but was not.  

High walls of slowly moving water bracketed our path to the lacy Iron Gate leading to St. Marrok’s.  Swimming effortlessly up and down and along those “walls” were exquisitely beautiful water fae.   

They eyed us with love, warmth, and concern.  It was their magics which held back the waters from flooding over us.

Becca was mesmerized, “Oh, they are like fragile little angels.”

Trish looked ill.  I remembered her contact lenses touched with the magic of the Turquoise Woman.  Obviously, Trish saw the reality before us.  

 I sucked in a breath, willing myself to see through the fae glamour.  I went somewhat ill myself.

The black gates slowly opened inwards, and Becca whispered, “I guess we ain’t tardy.”

“Lucky us,” grumbled Trish.

We walked cautiously through them.  My feet became mist.  I slipped between Becca and Trish, lifting them up as I floated above the sparkling gravel.  

 We would enter on our own steam as it were, touching not what could be cursed ground.

Becca cooed, “Oh, neat!”

Trish smiled at me, and then frowned.  “You thought the ground was booby-trapped somehow, didn’t you?”

I nodded, willing a bit of my spirit to touch each of them.  Now, we three would be anchored to each other.  Even in Avalon, the power of three was a force to be reckoned with.

Becca eyed me.  “You did something else, didn’t you?”

“Outside I will tell you exactly what.  Here, inside the lion’s den, we must beware of what we speak aloud.”

Trish looked all around us.  “Oh, my!”

St. Marrok’s stunned me.

Trees, majestic and towering, branched a canopy of lush green over our heads.  Exotic blossoms were in full bloom on every branch, lilting tunes whispering from their petals.  

 It was a dream described in greenery, golden flowers, and verdant trunks breathing as if with lungs.

White does scampered among the trees, looking innocent and beckoning.  I blinked my eyes to clear them of fae glamour and saw their needled teeth.  Snow flittered down upon the bubbling fountain to our right.  

 I blinked again.  The flakes were tiny skulls melting in the frothing blood being spouted by the marble fountain in the shape of a grotesque human heart.

Tall statues of brooding, sad scholars and elegant fae ladies looked down upon us.  The scholars were whispering, whispering.  One caught my eye.  His stony lips moaned:

“Along Faerie paths, the resting place of the soul.”

Becca grumbled, “Hell of a school song.”

One statue of a tall, troubled fae lady whispered, “The Sidhe are like beautiful children, oh, so charming, but oh, so without conscience.”

Trish said low, “Can we go now?”

“Too late,” laughed a young human-looking girl as she scampered up to us. 

She was dressed in huge hiking boots, frayed jeans, and black tank top.  She pointed at Becca’s similar wardrobe and squealed.

“That is so neat!  We dress alike.”

She leaned in close.  “On these first paths, the new students drift like beautiful clouds, passing from the shade into the sun, looking like they are searching for their souls.”

She frowned.  “But not you.  Why?”

Becca snorted, “Why not?”

The newcomer laughed wide … and cold.  “Why not indeed?  You can call me Maxine.”

Not that her name was Maxine.  But that we could call her that.  How informative of her despite her subterfuge.

Becca put out her hand which I knocked down, and I said, “We are the Three Musketeers.  We were sure that you were D’Artangan.”

“Maxine” laughed for real.  "I like you.  You talk like a Sidhe.”

Becca looked thoughtful for a moment, and then smiled with only her lips, murmuring, “Better than talking like a ‘he,’ wouldn’t you say?”

Maxine laughed again.  “My, but you are fun, too.   The three of you might just live out the day.”

{Image Courtesy of Leonora Roy}