So you can read my books

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Not EVERYTHING stays DEAD in New Orleans

There is a darkness to New Orleans 

that is as carefully hidden as the gates to the small gardens which lurk between buildings in the Quarter. 

This dark side is there, 

just like the spectacular gardens and courtyards, but you have to know where to look for it.

 Even if you don’t see it though, 

it’s liable to creep behind you and claim you when you least expect it.


Ghosts cannot cross water. 

What is New Orleans surrounded by?


New Orleans has Lake Pontchartrain on one side, the winding Mississippi River on the other. 

Even within the city, Bayou St John snakes its way through the soggy land.


The ghost of a little boy is known to haunt the Hotel Monteleone, the Andrew Jackson Hotel and about ten other places. 

How many lost, lonely children died in those hotels over the centuries?

The lady in white has been seen at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, the Maison de Ville and, you guessed it, about ten other places.

 As for ghostly Confederate soldiers? 

We’ve got the 

Andrew Jackson Hotel, the Beauregard-Keyes House, the Sultan’s Palace, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, May Bailey’s Place and on and on.

 Ponchartrain Hotel (circa 1940)


Established in 1927, this hotel is famous for its ghosts.  

With its illustrious history, it is no surprise that the Pontchartrain Hotel has its fair share of ghosts. 

Some claim that there are as many as twenty different spirits that live here but those are just speculations. 

In 1929, during the hotel’s infancy, 

a fire broke out on the ninth floor and killed a husband and wife. 

They are said to still roam this floor, often interacting with guests by turning the lights on and off, 

activating the ice machine, and operating the elevator.

 Locals say that former famed local pianist, Tuts Washington continues to play ghostly tunes downstairs, 

while the residual energies of an elderly man and two women have been seen wandering through the hallways of the upper floors.

Rumor in the city is 

that a real-life vampire also haunts the hotel, hiding during the day-light hours and coming out once the sun goes down. 


And spend Christmas Eve Night
in the Ponchartrain Hotel

It will be a stay to die for.

Monday, November 26, 2018

WRITING TIPS and the PSYCHOLOGY behind them


Something to remember in these political debates ... and in the wisdom given to us on how to write well.


Every extra word makes readers impatient in these short-attention span days. 

Got to keep checking on those FB posts, you know.

Write as if each word cost you 50 cents.  Shorter prose is more powerful.


Tiny draws attention in this big world.

Long sentences make readers work too hard to get to your main point.  

Break sentences into bite-size ideas.  Be Hemingway not Longfellow.


Passive voice sentences hide who is acting, creating uneasiness unconsciously in your reader.  Not good!

Be the detective of your own sentences -- find out who is the actor in each sentence and link him to the verb.


Jargon and Tech words just make your readers feel stupid. Way bad.

It doesn't make you sound smart.  
It makes you look as if you are talking down to your reader.

Tell your story as if you were relaying it to your mother or next door neighbor.  Tell the tale to make the most impact to the most people.


Move key scenes and insights up as close to the front of your novel, chapter, sentence as you can.

You are not making a case in a court of law where you have to lay a foundation fact by fact.

You have only a few sentences to get the readers' attention.  

Don't waste those few precious moments.  

Grab your audience right out of the gate -- at the first sentence if possible.

Authors use foreshadowing to hint at future important events. 

Whether consciously or unconsciously,

readers pick up on these clues if they read and use them to make predictions about what will happen later in the story.

It creates tension and suspense, keeping the reader turning the pages. 


I have an Angel Provocateur
in this speculative fiction:

Thursday, November 22, 2018

BLACK Friday_JADE Christmas

Only $1.99 for the Kindle
$5.99 for the paperback!

Why do we tell Christmas 
Ghost Stories?

Halloween has just passed.  

with its chill winds promising snowy shrouds 
upon the land, looms ahead.

That sets the mood and liberates the spirits which accompany us through the following months 

as the days get colder, and Winter stretches her grasping fingers across the window pane. 

Winter nights can be terrifying when walking home alone.

Long before Santa, 

winter whispered that good deeds and sins' bills came due this season.

This was especially true in New Orleans 

where sins festered, 
memories steeped in hate, 
and restless spirits seemed to follow in the fog.

Make Midnight happy:

gamble less than two dollars on a shivering Christmas Ghost story. 

 Happy Black Friday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Switch to the news channel 
and chances are 
you will see folks 
protesting something.

Switch it again, 
and odds are 
you will see a new protest.

They obviously have more FREE TIME 
and fewer BILLS than I have!

The chronic complainer 
falls into a perpetual cycle 
of finding fault, 
feeling negative, 
unable to face the next situation 
with an open mind. 

the capacity for feeling joy 
is compromised. 

Which brings me to Thanksgiving 
here in America.

For one day out of the year, 
we live with gratitude. 

 We live with 
a sense of appreciation 
for the people who have supported us.

 We live with a deep appreciation 
for what health we have.

We live with appreciation
 for everything that we have,

and maybe even for the hardships
 that have strengthened us
  mentally, emotionally and physically.

Then the very next day, 
life takes over 
and we no longer 
feel the same way. 

Our problems 
no longer seem like blessings 
but rather burdens;

those who have hurt us 
are no longer forgiven; 

The things that we lack 
 significantly overshadow
 the things that we were grateful for
 just one single day ago. 


  We can realize
every moment of life 
had more meaning 
than we recognized at the time.

 When we're alone, 
we begin to see that 
it wasn't just 
watching sunsets together,
 or just worrying over bills.

 It was everything, 
it was the why of life,
 every event and 
precious moment of it. 

The answer to the
mystery of existence 
is the love we shared 
sometimes imperfectly.

Then we're driven to our knees
not by the weight of the loss 
but by the gratitude 
for what preceded the loss. 

The ache is always there, 
but one day not the emptiness, 
because to nurture the emptiness, 
to take solace in it,
 is to disrespect the gift of life.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018


A Tale of the Last Lakota Shaman, 
Wolf Howl

I studied Dyami ...  the Whites here in New Orleans called him Captain McCord ... among less cordial names.  I flicked my eyes to Mesmer, the fabled cat who owned this French Quarter restaurant.  

I wondered what Dyami saw when he looked at her.  Being the last Lakota shaman, I saw something ... someone quite different.

Dyami cleared his throat, "Wolf Howl, I know you don't celebrate Thanksgiving ...."

"Thanks-Taking," I corrected.  "The Indians gave those Pilgrims food to keep from starving, and afterwards, the Whites thanked every tribe they met by taking everything from them they wanted: land, children, a future."

Dyami sighed, "Long before the White Man arrived, the Delaware warred with the Iriquois; the Crow with the Cree, the Navajo with the Hopi ...." 

"Oh, yes," I said, "let us talk of the Hopi, who graciously welcomed the Spanish explorer, Garcia Lopez de Cardenas, and aided him on his way.”  

 Mesmer growled low in her throat, matching my mood, 

"And in gratitude, the Spanish occupiers enslaved the Hopi populace, compelling them to endure forced labor and hand over goods and crops."

Dyami shook his head.  "I wanted to bring you here to thank you for all you did for me and New Orleans, not ...."

I shook my own head.  "I did not do it for the Great White Father, but for those young girls you placed under my protection."

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Dyami said, "I will get Bush to call off his dogs for all you did."

I laughed without humor.  "He hunts you now."

"I'll think of a way."

I nodded, "I know you will try, but ...."

A hollow-eyed white man burst into the restaurant, waving a poorly maintained automatic.  "I want all your money!"

It hit him then that despite the smell of food from the kitchen, there was only me, Dyami, and a cat to rob.

"Well, shit!" he eloquently said.

I looked to Dyami, "Like all white men, he thinks a gun in the hand means the world by the tail."

"That gun's pointed right at you, Injun!"

I studied this white man, trying to decide just how painful to make his dying.

Dyami was looking out the swinging door and sighed, "Wolf Howl, he has a frightened wife and hungry children out there."

I sighed, "Life conspires to take away all my joy."

I met the man's uncertain eyes.  "I tell you what: I will buy that poorly kept gun of yours for a thousand dollars."


I gestured with my fingers, turning the silverware in front of me to gold-ware.  "It is yours ... on one condition."

"Wh-What condition?"

"That you bring your family in here to share our food."

My words seemed to hit him like a fist, and his face fell in on itself like the crust of a badly baked pie. 

"I ain't never done anything like this before but Katrina's put us out on the streets. I was at my wit's end."

I thought that had not been a long trail but kept that to myself.

He softly, hesitantly placed the gun on the table, and I slid the gold utensils to him.

The White Man tucked them quickly into his pockets.  "W-Why are you feeding my family after what I tried to do?"

I flicked my eyes to Dyami.  "Tradition."

As the man rushed out to gather his wife and children, Dyami smiled sadly at me and said what I could not bring myself to, "Happy Thanksgiving."