So you can read my books

Tuesday, March 28, 2023




Readers will come back to your book just for the fellowship of like mind, similar interests.


Deep down we are like little children who want to be read the same bedtime story that is comforting because it is familiar. fun. and the end is known ... unlike with most of daily life.


Renewing old friendships and remembering good old  times.

I re-read old SPENSER FOR HIRE and LONGMIRE mysteries ... not for the mystery but for the friendships and witty banter that makes each page crackle.


I've been emailed by several readers that they listen over and over to the campfire telling of ghost stories

 by Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Howard Carter, and Abigail Adams in my audio Egyptian fantasy, THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT.

Do you make your characters
enticing enough to be revisited?

Friday, March 24, 2023



Tonight, the exterior of Meilori's

resembled the LaLaurie Manson,


the site of the gruesome torture and murder of countless slaves by their owners,


Delphine LaLaurie and her physician husband.


Perhaps that is why the shadows around me had sharper than usual teeth.

Since Meilori's exterior was what it was tonight, 

I was surprised when the ghost of James Baldwin sat down opposite me at my rune-carved table.

Maybe I shouldn't have been since it was his birthday two weeks ago.

Besides, Mr. Baldwin never shied away from confronting racism 

as the New York waitress who refused him service as a teen found out 

when he threw a glass of water at her, shattering the mirror behind her.

He said, "Wilde speaks highly of you.  

He suggested I speak of writing to you and those who drop by this little platform you have."

{Courtesy Carl Van Vechten}


"When you’re writing, you’re trying to find out something which you don’t know. 

The whole language of writing for me 
 is finding out 
what you don’t want to know, 
 what you don’t want to find out. 

But something forces you to anyway."


"Self-delusion, in the service of no matter what small or lofty cause, is a price no writer can afford.

 His subject is himself and the world and it requires every ounce of stamina 

he can summon to attempt to look on himself and the world as they are.

No one knows your name ... not even yourself if you are honest about it."


 "One writes out of one thing only: one’s own experience. 

Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, 

sweet or bitter, it can possibly give. 

This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art."


 "I find writing gets harder as time goes on. 

I’m speaking of the working process, which demands a certain amount of energy and courage (though I dislike using the word), and a certain amount of recklessness.

 Every form of writing is difficult, no one is easier than another. 

They all kick your ass. None of it comes easy."


 "If there is no moral question, there is no reason to write. 

I’m an old‐fashioned writer and, despite the odds, I want to change the world. 

What do I hope to convey?

 Well, joy, love, the passion to feel how our choices affect the world . . . that’s all."


"You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal.

 I certainly can’t imagine art for art’s sake . . .

 that’s a European approach, which never made any sense to me. 

 I think what you have to do, which is the difficult thing about a writer, 

is avoid slogans. 

You have to have the guts to protest the slogan, no matter how noble it may sound. 

It always hides something else; the writer should try to expose what it hides."


Find a way to keep alive 
and write. 

There is nothing else to say. 

If you are going to be a writer there is nothing I can say to stop you; 

if you’re not going to be a writer nothing I can say will help you. 

What you really need at the beginning is somebody to let you know that the effort is real.

 I consider that I have many responsibilities, but none greater than this: 

To last
as Hemingway says,  
and get my work done."

Monday, March 20, 2023


 Meilori's felt eerie tonight ... which was odd to say since it was a haunted French Quarter night club.

One, there was not one ghost in sight.

Two, neither were any of my characters who people my novel in this club.

Science would say I was delusional ... many of my friends at work would agree.

But I suspected that life was not as straight forward
as long thought.

I stiffened. 

Above me, through the bronze-hued mists, Perry Como's mellow voice sang "All Through the Night."

In my Dickens' homage, Beware the Jade Christmas, it was the Seraphim Provocateur, Darael, who had done the same thing for his human friend, Lucas.

I turned the cream and rose wallpapered corner and froze.

An escalator.

 Meilori's never before had had one ... and this was guarded by the only entity from a recent horror movie that unsettled me.

I forced out of a dry throat, "DayStar, I don't mind you think me stupid, but I do mind when you treat me as if I were."

DayStar? Don't ask. You'll sleep better. Let's just say he sees through your shadow ... and laughs.

A hollow chuckle rumbled beside me. "My doing actually. The Rules I live by insisted I balance a kindness with an unkindness."

I looked to my right ... the side away from my heart. 


"No, not the Dark One. You are much too much a minnow for him to want to fry. I suspect that is why Elohim has kept you off the Best Seller list."


"You want the treatment that Rowling has gotten of late ... or worse."

I thought about arguing with him.  He was the original unreliable narrator, but I was afraid he would tell me what that worse might be.

"Where is everybody?"

"The ghosts know that Elohim is coming here soon. Your creations are slightly miffed you have left them in limbo of late."

"What? Coming here? Meilori's?"

"This Mortal Plane."

"H-How soon?"

"Define 'Soon.'

I sighed. Darael was like this. I thought about taking another tack.

"Where are my characters?"

Darael gestured grandly about us. "Your friend, Michael, believes all the world, this universe even, is a Cosmic Simulation."

"Is it?"

He flashed his paper-cut grin. "You still expect a straight answer from me? I admire your optimism."

He smiled dryly. "I will demonstrate why you should never ask a direct question of a Seraphim Provocateur ... and actually answer it."

"Ever since the philosopher Nick Bostrom proposed in the Philosophical Quarterly that the universe and everything in it might be a simulation, 

there has been intense public speculation and debate about the nature of reality."

"Physicist Frank Wilczek has argued that there’s too much wasted complexity in our universe for it to be simulated. 

Building complexity requires energy and time. Why would a conscious, intelligent designer of realities waste so many resources into making our world more complex than it needs to be?"

He flashed his paper-cut grin, pointing an accusing finger at me. "The Answer is quite simple really. You are to blame."

"What? Me? How?" 

"I see confusion limits your vocabulary, Son of Adam."

"Not just you, of course. But any author of talent, being shaped by the Finger of the Creator, can bring worlds into being themselves. 

Conan Doyle, John D. MacDonald, Hemingway, even minnow You."

He shuddered. "Even that racist Lovecraft."

"Midnight likes him."

"That furry menace would. If you write this up in a post. I wonder what your friends will think?"

His left eyebrow rose and he said sardonically,

"Of course, it well may be your friends are not creators but seers,
viewing different realms 
of already existing realities."

As he slowly faded away, leaving me once again alone, he sighed, 

"Only Elohim knows, and He comes by His Lakota name, The Great Mystery, for a reason."

Tuesday, March 14, 2023



It was St. Patrick's Night at Meilori's.

Hibbs, the cub with no clue, was hiding there from Ratatoskr, the Asgardian Squirrel.

As if hiding from that rascally rodent was possible.

Hibbs got smacked in the back of the head with a snowball so hard that for a moment he became TWO cubs!

Ratastoskr found that so funny he forgave the cub for trying to hide from him.

The squirrel scampered up beside the fuming Hibbs as the cub rubbed the back of his wet head.

"Why do people wear shamrocks on St. Patrick's Day, fur-face?"

Hibbs tried to think of a way to tweak the nose of this snowball ambusher and smiled, "Because real rocks are too heavy."

Ratatoskr pouted, "No fair!  You're not supposed to know the answer."

Hibbs smiled wider.  "I have one for you now.  Knock.  Knock."

The squirrel scowled, "Who's there?'


"Irish who?"

"Irish you a happy St. Patrick's Day,"  

And so tickled was Hibbs at the look in Ratatoskr's eyes, he fell giggling on his back.

The squirrel popped to the table to his right and snapped back his own question. 

 "How did the Irish Jig get started?"

The Asgardian Squirrel had not noticed the small man in green with murderous eyes sitting at the table who rumbled,

"Faith now, but the answer is clear: too much to drink and too few restrooms. 

And ye scrawny rodent, ye made me spill me drink. Now, I'll be spilling yer guts!"

Despite their long history of bickering, Hibbs thought of Ratatoskr as a friend so he waddled up to the table.  

"You get my pal over my dead body!"

Hibbs realized he might have possibly phrased that a bit better as the leprechaun rose evilly to his feet.

"Sure now, but that can be arranged."

A shimmer of snowflakes and stardust slowly formed into the regal Turquoise Woman

who held the First Hawk of Creation next to her icy heart.

Her voice was winter given life.  "Do you know why I love to eat leprechaun?"

First Hawk, later to be called Little Brother by Hibbs, cawed, "Short ribs!"

And off ran the yelping leprechaun with First Hawk flying happily after him.

Ratatoskr turned to Hibbs.  "What do you get when you cross a short-legged leprechaun with a hunting hawk?"

Hibbs shook his head mystified.

The squirrel laughed, "Not Fast Enough Food!"

Monday, March 13, 2023


 “A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is alright. This is common sense really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping.”

 - C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis began to light his pipe, glanced at Freud, frowned, and then put it away.  

"I forgot.  If smoking brings you memories of past pain, I will not smoke in front of you."

Freud sneered, "I thought you would be in the Great Beyond."

Lewis shrugged, "But I am, Doctor.  I thought you knew: Meilori's is a suburb of  Purgatory."

 Freud snorted, "Have you then been kicked out?"

Lewis smiled sadly.  "Perhaps I have been a bit of a scamp, and I must bide here awhile?"

"Or perhaps you died, remaining here among the dead ashes of your false faith?  You see, I never believed, and here I still am."

 “When the author walks onto the stage, the play is over.  He has not done it so there is yet time for you to reconsider your worldview."

Freud rolled his eyes.  "Please tell me that you are not going to try to harangue me into heaven!"

"Goodness, no.  A man is never successfully argued into changing his mind.  Quite the opposite: the man becomes more obstinate in his views."


Lewis sighed, “Now is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It won't last forever. We must take it or leave it.” 

"I leave it as I left life.  Ethics are merely a kind of highway code for traffic among mankind that is all. They change with time and culture."

Lewis nodded.  "The German nation under the Nazi regime obviously ignored the law and practiced a morality the rest of the world considered abominable."

Freud's face saddened.  "Indeed.  My four sisters died in one of their foul camps."

Lewis spoke softly, 

"The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, 

saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other."

Lewis took out his pipe out of habit and then put it back into the inside pocket of his coat. 

"The standard that measures two things is something different from either. 

You are in fact comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting there is such a thing as a real Right, 

 independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to that real Right than others.”

 Lewis concluded, 

"If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must be something— some Real Morality— for them to be true about.”

"Bah!" snapped Freud who turned to me.

"We are up to H, Roland.  What does H spark in your mind?"

"Hope," I said.

"Hope?  For what?" barked Freud.

"Hope that you choose wisely in the days to come."

C S Lewis smiled sadly and faded away. 



"With words one man can make another blessed, or drive him to despair;

by words the teacher transfers his knowledge to the pupil; by words the speaker sweeps his audience with him and determines its judgments and decisions.

 Words call forth effects and are the universal means of influencing human beings.”
- Sigmund Freud

The shadows darkened around my table at Meilori's as Freud leaned towards me in his chair.  

"We come now to the letter G.  What occurs to you?"

"I think Words."

He straightened in his chair.  "Words?  At the letter G?"

"Well, actually I thought of GATE.  And words are the gate through which we enter the mind of those around us.  

With words we touch the thoughts of those with whom we wish to communicate, right?"


I sighed,
"You loved literature and read William Shakespeare throughout your life.  

It's even been suggested that your understanding of human psychology was derived from his plays. 

So you know that words are indeed the gateway to the human psyche."

His eyes seemed to sink into his face.  

"Suggestions say more about the person making them than of the person who is their target." 

He waved his hand absently as if to chase away gnats.  "An astute observer does not need to suggest.  Human beings can keep no secrets."

He rolled his cigar in his fingers.

"They reveal their innermost selves with their clothes, with their twitches, with their unconscious mannerisms.  

Whatever humans do, they are expressing things about themselves to people who have eyes to see and ears to hear."

Freud snorted, "That is your true gateway, young man, and words are only a minor part of the whole of it." 

I started as another ghost sat down beside me.  

C.S. Lewis, a warm smile on his face.  

The smile on Freud's face, however, dropped like a lead brick.

From the distant poker table, Mark Twain chuckled, "This is going to be good."

"Good" wasn't exactly the word that occurred to me.

Friday, March 10, 2023




When you're a hungry street orphan, you grab the first sucker, 

ah, big-hearted human that will take you in.

How was I to know Food Guy's apartment was haunted?

First, it was the ghost of Mark Twain lurking in my human's kitchen, looking for some whiskey!

I tried hiding behind Thor, but the big goof wouldn't budge from the poster!

Old Twain kept calling me "Bambino" no matter how many times 

I told him my name was Midnight!

But he let me ride his shoulder which was fun until he whisked me away 

to visit the ghost of some long-faced human, Loves Drafts, or something.

I kind of liked some of the things he said to me:

"The cat charms you into playing for its benefit when it wishes to be amused;

 making you rush about the room with a paper on a string when it feels like exercise, 

but refusing all your attempts to make it play when it is not in the humour.

That is personality and individuality and self-respect -- 

the calm mastery of a being whose life is its own and not yours."

Then, he had to go and ruin it by saying stuff like:

 “It is good to be a cynic — it is better to be a contented cat — and it is best not to exist at all.” 

 Luckily. the ghost of Hemingway rescued me for Mark Twain had wandered off.  Whew!

He was fun and appreciated me:

"A cat has absolute emotional honesty.  

Human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not."

But a guy can get tired of being fed corn cobs,

 so I hitched a ride with the ghost of Charles Dickens who took me back to Food Guy's apartment.

He chucked me under the chin, saying,

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?”

But he sure weirded me out when he told me how grieved he was by the death of his cat, Bob, 

that he had the poor guy’s paw stuffed and mounted to an ivory letter opener. 

He had the opener engraved saying, 

“C.D., In memory of Bob, 1862” so he could have a constant reminder of his old friend. 

The ghost of Raymond Chandler showed up just then, looking for Food Guy.  

Dickens seemed to think old Chandler was a hack writer and took off. 

But Pipe Guy listened to me as we discussed the state of the world, 

the foolishness of humans, the prevalence of sorry tasting tuna, 

and my difficulty in getting doors opened at the right time 

and meals served at more frequent intervals. 

I have got Food Guy up to five times a day, but there is still room for improvement.

Hey, you out there!

Have you the good taste 
to like felines?  

I sure hope so,

I may have to send 
the ghost of Love Drafts 

to your house.