A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Adventures of Pere

The other day my father was attracted by a commotion outside his house.  He went to the living room window and looked out on the street.  This is a small town, with small streets down which few cars venture; but there were two cars stopped in the middle of the street. 

Two men were beating up on a third man with their fists and feet.  They were really lambasting him.  So Pere whips out his cell phone which, all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, he does know how to use and prepares to call 911.  Then he notices two things.  First, that two people from a house across the way are standing on their front porch watching without any sign of agitation.  Second, a flash of handcuffs in the afternoon sun.  The third man is clapped in irons and escorted into one of the cars.  The men who had been beating on him a moment before solicitously guide his head into the backseat so he does not bump it against the door frame.  This strikes him as a cop gesture, and he wonders if the two, garbed in plain clothes, are federal agents of some sort.  (They are not local fuzz.) 

A day or two later, he asks a neighbor, who is also my cousin and who has Asked Around.  The two men were bounty hunters, not cops, and the man was a bail jumper from somewhere or other.  It was all the sort of thing you expect to see on TV, he said. 
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About a week or so later he gets a call.  We haven't seen you around the detachment lately, he is told.  The detachment is the local Marine Corps League drinking establishment meeting house.  When he arrives at the meeting, he is told, "Past Commandant Flynn, front and center."  Once he is in the center of the front, they give him a certificate from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania congratulating him for winning World War II.  At least that is how the effusion of praise strikes him; so for his acceptance speech he says, "Actually, guys, I had a little help."  He also finds out that he is also the sole WW2 veteran in the detachment.  This does not sit well with him for a variety of reasons.  There must be others, he supposes, but they are not members.  In any case, he now has the official thanks of the Commonwealth, even though he was a native and resident of New Jersey at the time.  Perhaps he wonders what took them so long.  Had they waited until they could save on parchment for the certificates? 
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Adventure in Coventry

Meanwhile, your obedient servant has been On the Road in Coventry RI (Motto: Come Grow With Us), to service a client interested in statistical methods.  Margie went along since the locale was half an hour from Mystic CT, from the Newport mansions, and even somewhat from Boston.  However, it rained one of the three days, and we went to a restaurant named Flare.  When I paid the dinner bill, the waitress returned bemused: it seems her name was also M.F.Flynn, but the Flynn was by marriage and the M stood for Margaret.  Then it was Margie's turn to be bemused.
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Adventure in Writing
Just before departing for Coventry, I sat down and in the white heat of creativity, inspired by my Muse, I churned out the soon-to-be classic SF yarn "The Return of the Zombie Sea Monster."  It is a massive epic of 1100 words length and has already been dispatched to its no-doubt dimal fate at the hands of cruel and uncaring editors.  ANALOG now accommodates electronic submissions, which I suspect will lead to an uptick in half-baked stories prematurely ejaculated into the skiffy-sphere. 

A taste of the epic can be had from this opening passage, full of pathos and simmering with tension:

I was sitting on the broad, wooden front porch, listening to the ocean breakers at dusk when I saw the gnarled, stooped, leathery, grizzled, salty old sea dog hobble across the beach.  A cold hand of fear gripped my heart.  That was way too many adjectives.  That was when I knew.  I was a character in a badly-written story. 

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