So you can read my books

Tuesday, February 28, 2023



"Surprise is the greatest gift
that life can grant us."
Boris Oasternak

I never have been a fan of Gore Vidal's historical novels, but I love his perceptive essays with their razor wit and humor.

I even had him accompany Victor Standish in zombie infested Detroit in my historical fantasy above.

His ghost still rails at me for that by the way.

His knowledge of American history was encyclopedic as his historical novels reflect.

Imagine my surprise when I bought an autographed copy of his THE SMITHONIAN INSTITUTION and found it was a historical FANTASY!!

In it, his hero is the true great love of his life who died on Iwo Jima.

Mr. Vidal goes back in time to when his love is 14 and devises a tale that saves him from dying on that Japanese volcanic island.

The teenage math genius is mysteriously summoned to the Smithsonian Institution, 

where a crash program to develop the atomic bomb is being conducted in the basement. 

Surrounded by figures from American history, the boy battles to save not just himself, but humanity.

I did not mind the surprise.

Things never go the way you expect them to. That's both the joy and frustration in life. 

I'm finding as I get older that I don't mind, though. It's the surprises that tickle me the most, the things you don't see coming.

Have you ever been surprised
by a book from one of your 
favorite authors
an idea for one of your
own books?

Sunday, February 26, 2023



That's what the ghost of Bertrand Russell called it when he looked at Midnight staring at himself in the mirror.

Ghost pipe smoke doesn't smell by the way, though Midnight still sneezes at it.


Anyway, he explained that "unselfing" was "some instinctive wakefulness to an aspect of the world other than myself: a helping hand extended to someone else’s struggle."

Something beyond the bruising boundaries
of ego.

He ruffled my hair (what little is left of it) with his ghost fingers ... it ticked.

"The world is vast and our own powers are limited. 

If all our happiness is bound up entirely in our personal circumstances it is difficult not to demand of life more than it has to give. 

And to demand too much is the surest way of getting even less than is possible."

Midnight coughed up a fur-ball at his feet.

He smiled thinly, "He obviously spends too much time with the ghost of Mark Twain."

He sighed, "They would both profit if they learned that the secret of happiness is this: 

let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile."

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

GONE WITH THE WIND_ You Only Think You Know This Film_ WEP Post

Controversy stormed about this film long before HBOMax removed it from its inventory.

The fact that Hattie McDaniel would be unable to attend the premiere in racially segregated Atlanta outraged Clark Gable so much

that he threatened to boycott the premiere unless she could attend. He later relented when she convinced him to go.

The Los Angeles Sentinel called for a boycott of “every other Selznick picture, present and future.”

Under that pressure, Selznick agreed to the N.A.A.C.P.’s suggestion of hiring a technical adviser “to watch the entire treatment of the Negroes.”

In fact, he hired two — both of them white.

Hattie McDaniel became the first black person to be nominated for - and win - an Academy Award.

Hattie McDaniel was criticized by some African-Americans for playing in a supposedly racist film.

She responded that she would "rather make seven hundred dollars a week playing a maid than seven dollars being one".


Vivien Leigh later said that she hated kissing Clark Gable because of his bad breath, rumored to be caused by his false teeth, a result of excessive smoking.

According to Frank Buckingham, a technician who observed the film being made, Gable would sometimes eat garlic before his kissing scenes with Vivien Leigh!

Vivien Leigh worked for 125 days and received about $25,000. Clark Gable worked for 71 days and received over $120,000.

Because of those ”garlic” kissing scenes alone she should have been paid $100,000!

Max Steiner was given only three months to compose the music, considering that 1939 was the busiest year of his career!

 In that year he wrote the music for 12 films.

In order to meet deadline, Steiner sometimes worked for 20 hours straight and took Benzedrine pills to stay awake.

(Selznick insisted that the director and actors of his THIRD MAN do the same to make the film’s hectic schedule.)

With almost three hours of music, "Gone with the Wind" had the longest film score ever composed up to that time.

The character of Ashley Wilkes was based on Margaret Mitchell's cousin by marriage John "Doc" Holliday.

Melanie was based on Mitchell's third cousin, and Doc's first cousin and close friend, Mattie "Sister Melanie" Holliday.

Doc moved West and became the gambler and gunfighter of "Gunfight at the OK Corral" fame.

Mattie joined a convent and became a nun, but maintained a correspondence with Doc, who died of tuberculosis in 1887, 13 years before Margaret Mitchell was born.


(Amazing the things I’ve learned while doing research for my DARK HOLLYWOOD series.)


Are We Capable of Love Any More?


The bronze mists of the haunted jazz club, 


curled and creamed like

 a dreaded thought 

trying to form itself 

on the fevered edge of consciousness.

"I fold," sighed the ghost of Ray Bradbury, laying his cards gently upon the rune-etched table.

"You folded your cards a long time ago," drily smiled the ghost of William Faulkner, 

"as our friend, Roland, almost did last November."

"What month is it, anyway?" asked Ray Bradbury.

"It's Valentine's Day, sir," I smiled sadly having lost my Kathleen decades that seemed only months ago.

Faulkner laid down his cigar. "Your living friends these days are incapable of love."

"Here, I find myself standing outside the window of the storefront of humanity, still observing as a writer but unable to reach out and touch with fingers of new prose"

He shook his head.

"Because of the darkness in this world , the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing


because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat of wresting something from nothing.


You must learn them again. You must teach yourself that the basest of all things is to be afraid.

 And teaching yourself that, 

forget it forever,

 leaving no room in your writing for anything but the old truths of the heart,

 the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - 

love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.

 Until you do so, you labor under a curse.

 You write not of love but of lust,

 of defeats in which no one loses anything of value,

 of victories without hope and,

 worst of all, without pity or compassion. Your griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars.

 You write not of the heart but of the sex glands."

He turned, "What do you think, Ray?"

The last breath of winter sighed down my spine, for Mr. Bradbury looked as young as a high school senior.

"What is Love? 

Perhaps we may find that love is the ability of someone to give us back to ourselves when we thought ourselves truly lost forever. 

Maybe love is someone seeing and remembering, handing us back to ourselves just a trifle better than we had dared to hope or dream we could ever be again.”

He turned to me. "What do you think, Roland."

"I think, sir, that it is, indeed, a dark world. But if we find love, we don't have to walk it alone. Because even if we lose the source of that warmth, its memory will light the way before us."

William Faulkner said, "You trouble me, Roland. You surely do."

"Me, too, sir. Me, too."


So, my friends, what do you think about love?