So you can read my books

Sunday, March 31, 2024

A IS FOR APRIL 1ST and the OUTLAW TRAIL through the days


Ambrose Bierce, c. 1866

"The covers of this book are too far apart."

Ambrose Bierce.

Haven't you read bad books where you felt like that?

This here is Outlaw Roland --

Theme?  I don't need no stinking theme, gringo.  I am a bandito. 

I follow the trail of the days and take what I want from them!

Go to  to read of my young orphan who uses the Fool tarot card as a bookmark and learns the folly of that act.

In 1700April Fool's day was the day English pranksters began this tricky annual tradition.

And after my own bandito heart:

 On this day in 1647 John Wilmot, perhaps the most notorious of the Restoration rakes, was born.

By poem and play, song and satire, maid and monkey --

some say he trained his pet monkey to excrete upon his guests, others say he merely encouraged it!

The 2nd Earl of Rochester became the talk of town and Court.

 If, as Samuel Johnson said, he "blazed out his youth and health in lavish voluptuousness," he also wrote, said Hazlitt, verses that "cut and sparkle like diamonds."

I hear some of you gringos muttering about the letter A.  You want the letter A?  I give you the letter A:
Aphorisms -- for which Ambrose Bierce was famous as in his definition for Once: Enough.

“Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.”

In 1816 on this date, Jane Austen dismissed a suggestion from the Prince Regent that she write a historical novel by saying,

"I could not sit down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life." 

Not a gringo after my own heart is Hitler --

For his part in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler was imprisoned on this day in 1924.

He used the time to dictate Mein Kampf

(“My Struggle,” shortened by Hitler's publisher from his suggested title, “Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice.”) 

Apart from its egomania and Jew-baiting, the book romanticizes Hitler’s formative years.

It was no April Fool's joke when Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his minister father in 1984

April Fool's Day was Google-touched twice:

1.) Google introduced Gmail in 2004

Given Google's propensity for April Fool's Day pranks, plenty of people assumed they were just kidding.

At the time, free e-mail with a whole gigabyte of storage was a completely new concept. The following year, they increased it to two gigs.

2.) I2007, Google sent an e-mail out to its employees at a NYC office

warning that a python was loose in the facilities. Definitely sounds like a prank, I know, but it was true:

an engineer kept a ball python named Kaiser in his cube and Kaiser escaped. 

The e-mail to employees apologized for the awkward timing and assured them that this was no April Fool stunt. 

And so I leave you with another aphorism from Ambrose Bierce:

“Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math."

Saturday, March 30, 2024



Chocolate eggs and bunnies fill the shops.


Hollywood blockbusters fill TV schedules.


But try to find a religious card and you will be busy until Christmas.


Many people do not know the story of Easter and many others believe in the paranormal more than in God.


The idea of Jesus is challenging to many.

Say you believe He rose from the dead after having been asked in a secular situation,


and you can expect condescending smiles.


I was yelled at and spit upon at the science fiction club I belonged to once


When I mentioned my worldview in relation to the movie, ARRIVAL.


To encounter Jesus is existentially challenging. It can be scary and uncomfortable.  

It is much safer in today's society to say you are an atheist.


I love munching on chocolate bunnies


and hiding colored eggs for the children to hunt for as much as the next guy.


But on Martin Luther King's Birthday, I like to think on the man and what he represented and what it cost him.

Likewise the same with Jesus on Christmas and Easter.

Did you know the word “Easter” doesn’t have anything to do with the Christian celebration?


It is derived from the name of a German deity, Estre or Ostra.


She was the goddess of the rising sun and spring, and was celebrated in springtime festivals.


Bunnies represent fertility and are associated with the re-awakening of the land in springtime.


Bunnies were first associated with Easter celebrations in the 1500s,


and by the early 1800s, German bakers were selling Easter bunnies made from chocolate and pastry.


The tradition of the Easter Bunny bringing gifts to children Easter morning is also from Germany, where he was known as Oschter Haws.


Initially, the bunny left his treats in a nest made for him by children.


 Later, the tradition merged with the notion of the Easter basket.


Most people who walk beside you on the street or drive past you on the highway are not religious.


They doubt that a historical Jesus even existed.


If a religious teacher did offend the powers-that-be 2000 years ago and get himself executed, it means less than nothing to them.


They will shake their head at you in scorn if you ask them if they believe Jesus rose from the dead.


The Apostle Paul wrote about the importance of the resurrection in his letter to the Corinthians:


"If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith… if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”


You see, long ago we broke the terms to our lease on Eden.  We got evicted.  Jesus paid the back rent and rose from the dead as concrete proof that He had done it.


Still, Easter holds a significant message for us all, religious or not.


It's a message of hope and reconciliation.


"Jesus Christ risen from the dead."


To me there is life after death but more than that it's the possibility of forgiveness and a new start.






The A to Z Challenge is but a day away ...

The Outlaw Trail looms before me ...

There will be calls for a lynching from bloggers all over the Net.

But the ghost of Mark Twain urges me onward ....

Saturday, March 23, 2024

O.K. ??


On March 23, 1839, the initials “O.K.” are first published in The Boston Morning Post. 

Meant as an abbreviation for “oll korrect,” a popular slang misspelling of “all correct” at the time, OK steadily made its way into the everyday speech of Americans.

Then, there was the gunfight at the OK Corral in October 26, 1881 ... and not much has been "OK" with America ever since!

Monday, March 11, 2024



"Lies run sprints;
But the truth runs marathons." 
- Michael Jackson

Truths are the antidotes for lies.

Especially the lies many authors believe.


They are what drives our characters to do the things that spiral into 

foolishness and adventure and wisdom won ... 

or defeat assured.


They do the same to us if we believe them about our writing dream.  

Lies can be fought with truth talk.

LIE #1



Was Emily Dickinson a nothing, a failure 

because she never gave up writing her poems her way and was never published in her lifetime?

 Creative writing is one of the best exercises we can do for the aging brain.

Don't take my word alone for it: 

Jenni Ogden, a writer AND a neuro-psychologist has found it so.

Writing adds to the intellectual and physical exercises 

that slow down the brain’s aging process most often experienced

 by the forgetting of names and words and where you put the car keys – or the car!

Use it or lose it.

LIE #2 


Oh, come on now!

A novel is more than just sitting down and cranking out a word count. 

There are those little pesky things 

like plot, and character, and pacing, and dialogue and so on and so forth. 

All of those things take time to develop.

 While you’re doing all of this as a budding novelist, 

you are also most likely doing all the other things in your days that constitute your life

A day job, spouse and family, hobbies and friends, 

reading and television and video games and even (wait for it) sleep. 

It all adds up — and it all subtracts from the amount of time you have to write.

 Writing those three or four or five novels an average writer has to burn through 

before they write a publishable novel will likely take years.

No matter who you are as an author, you pay your dues at one end or another. 

To put it another way: it takes many years to be an overnight success. 

Maybe you haven’t “made it” yet. 

That doesn’t mean 
you never will.

George Elliot didn't publish 'Middlemarch' until she was 52.

Anthony Burgess (published at 39), 

Helen Dewitt published 'The Last Sumarai' at 41,

 William S. Burroughs 
("When you stop growing, you start dying.") published his first novel at 39.

 Laura Ingalls  

("There is no great loss without some small gain.”), was in her mid-60s when she published 'Little House in the Big Woods.'

 Marquis de Sade, (Ah, let's not go there!)

 Raymond Chandler (published 'The Big Sleep' at 51)

-- all gained fame older.

Bram Stoker, too (Who didn't write 'Dracula' until he was 50)  

and said "We learn from failure not from success."  

Gee, I must be a genius!

LIE #3


Does Dean Koontz have a magic stopwatch that stops time to give him 30 hours a day to write?

Let me tell you about Robert Louis Stevenson --

A year after Kidnapped he left Scotland and southern England for America 

in search of adventure and a better climate for his tuberculosis.

Writing continued on land and sea at 400 pages a year for twenty years.

 From one letter home a year before Stevenson died:

    "For fourteen years I have not had a day's real health;
    I have awakened sick and gone to bed weary; and I have done my work unflinchingly.
    I have written in bed, and written out of it, written in haemorrhages,
    written in sickness, written torn by coughing, written when my head swam for weakness;

     And for so long, it seems to me I have won my wager and recovered my glove....

    And the battle goes on 'ill or well.'

     It is a trifle; so as it goes. I was made for a contest."


Friday, March 8, 2024



Last week, as I was delivering blood, 

an ill woman in an emergency room got up and coughed right in my face. Why?

Only the Father knows.

Now, I have come down with Covid-19 again.

To say I am under the weather is an understatement ... think having the bends! :-)

I am apartment bound until next Tuesday. Fortunately, I have soup, tea, and TV dinners enough to last ...

And hopefully, my coughing, fever, and weakness will pass soon.

Midnight insists I wear a mask while in his furry presence!

Since Lifeshare has changed to a new payment system where employees must calculate their own time each week 

and I cannot show up to do it lest I infect my friends,

my pay may be drastically reduced.

If I felt better, I would write on my sequel. Perhaps tomorrow.

But I am alive ... and while there is life, there is hope for a path to a better tomorrow, right?

Monday, March 4, 2024


Is 2024 the world's and your Swan Song?

As Dua Lipa wrote:

"This is not a Swan Song
but a Swan Dive.
It's a New Life."


What is a Swan Song anyway?

A swan song is the final performance of an actor, singer, composer, poet, or the like.
According to folklore, swans sing most beautifully before they die, 

and hence this phrase came to be used 
to describe someone who was leaving in style.

Leonardo da Vinci's Fable:


The swan arched his supple neck towards the water and gazed at his reflection for a long time.

He understood the reason for his weariness 

and for the cold that gripped his body, making him tremble as though it were winter.

 With absolute certainty, he knew that his hour had come and that he must prepare for death.

His feathers 
were still as white as they had been on the first day of his life. Seasons and years had passed without a blemish appearing on his snowy plumage. 

He could go now, and his life would end in beauty.

Straightening his beautiful neck, he swam slowly and majestically beneath a willow, 

where he had been accustomed to rest in the hot weather.

It was already evening, and the sunset was touching the water of the lake with crimson and violet.

And in the great silence that was falling all around, the swan began to sing.

Never before had he found notes so full of love for all of nature, for the beauty of the heavens, the water and the earth.

His sweet song 
rang through the air, scarcely tinged with melancholy, until, softly, softly, it faded with the last traces of light on the horizon.

"It is the swan," said the fishes, the birds, and all of the beasts of the woodland and meadow.

Touched to the heart, they said:

"The swan is dying."

Each of us will have our own Swan Song.

Some of us will choose the time.

Often that time will be chosen for us.

What sunset will be our last to see?

What bird in flight will be the last to thrill us?

What book, short story, sentence
will unknowingly be our last?

Found on the poet’s desk after his death, 

“Finale” is Pablo Neruda’s final poem, 
and a love letter to his wife, Matilde. 

“It was beautiful to live/when you lived!”

Be sure to craft each new book of yours with care.

It could be your own Swan Song.

"I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul." 

- Pablo Neruda