Monday, November 23, 2015

DB Corey's Infrequent Newsletter - Vol. 1

DB Corey's
Infrequent Newsletter!
No SPAM - All The Time

Vol. 1
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The Infrequent News

Hey Guys & Dolls,

I've heard that readers are curious as to when my next book is coming out. They want to know what it’s about, what the title is, where they can get a copy. So in an effort to stay in touch with those fine folks, I have decided to utilize a tried and true irritant.

I, as much as anyone, hate the daily bombardment of info-whatevers pushing merchandise I do not want, services I do not need, and a plethora of miscellaneous items I would have to switch genders to use; but considering that some of you actually want to know about the progress I am making with the new manuscript, not to mention when it will be available as a paperback or an ebook, I’ve decided to employ that most dreaded form of communiquethe newsletter.

I thought this the most efficient, most vilified, method to keep those who want to know, informed. I do not intend to send on a daily, or weekly, or even a monthly schedule, but only as events with the manuscript warrant. I’ll keep it informative and interesting, and maybe toss in a bit of humor here and there.

Should you care to continue receiving these infrequent, yet most enlightening and brilliantly written literary works concerning developments and/or setbacks of my next book, please sign up HERE. I promise not to bombard you with a bunch of worthless crap.

And so, moving right along—

Some of you may already know that I have spent a year writing #2. What you maynot know is that I spent another year looking for an agent; a year that turned out to be a total waste of time. So, after trading sea-stories with several authors at the C3 writers conference in Baltimore, I decided to self-publish this one.

On the recommendation of a fellow author who actually makes money, I hired a professional editor and the manuscript (title undecided) is now in his capable hands. I am reviewing his feedback and applying changes as needed. Next step- the final edit. That will begin in three-to-four weeks, just in time to remove more $$$
 from my wallet before Christmas. But it's worth the money to publish a quality novel, and I will keep everyone posted on its progress ... assuming you sign up for DB Corey's Infrequent Newsletter.  

In Case You're Curious:
The story centers around a woman of Faith. A Catholic girl. She is a warrior, a CIA sniper in the Afghan war. Her sister is brutally murdered and the killer is released on insufficient evidence. Needless to say, the Catholic girl is pissed.

Now, I am contemplating several titles for the new novel and I seek your opinion on which of the following you would like to see on the cover.
Possible titles:

"A Lesser Sin"

“Bless Me, Father”

“For I Have Sinned”

“Into Eternal Fire"

I thought some of you might like a look at my workshop. It's nothing special, not the big studio some name writers have. But it's cozy, and works for me.

That's Zeake beside the desk. I've written him into the next novel.
But I must warn you....
It's sad, because it's true.

Please drop me a line with your preference,
or, if you have a suggestion for something better, let me know.
If I use it, you'll get a credit mention for the title, along with a PERSONALIZED COPY of the novel, my compliments. I'll even pay the shipping.

I hate SPAM as much as anyone, so you will get none from me.

Only cool stuff.

Best Regards, 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Where IS the Power, Really?

As I frequently do between 3 and 4 AM, I found myself running lines of prose through my semi-lucid brain, watching them come and go serially one after the other. Normally that’s not enough to keep me awake. I just let them go, until I start stringing them together into concepts. Then I reach the point where I have to get out of bed and fire up the laptop.

I spent the better part of the last two weekends producing a new trailer for CHAIN OF EVIDENCE, although I did manage to slice out a bit of time for little ghosts & goblins prowling the neighborhood last Saturday night. The old trailer was okay, but it didn’t have the pop I thought it should. Then I had the idea to produce a trailer that was more along the lines of a commercial; you know, like those you hear promoting Patterson or King’s new novel booming from the car’s speakers, by an announcer with a deep voice accompanied by a riveting dramatic score. 

Yeah … that'll cost.
I can hear the cash register now.

There’s a ton of royalty-free material on the internet ranging from music to photos to videos, and even if some cost a few bucks, the prices are not prohibitive; so why run radio commercials when social media is free for the most part. I have an okay voice; at least Maggie says I do—says it’s sexy. I don’t know about all that, but what I hear in my head compared to what I hear on a recording are two different voices. However, I found that early in the morning my voice is a bit deeper, so I decided to get up before everyone else, when the house was quiet, and do the whole thing myself. 

But I digress.

I decided to use the first scene from the book. I found a two-minute dramatic score that I could match to the cadence of the writing, and breaking the sound bites into smaller, more manageable “clips” worked out well, but I found I had to edit the prose to make it really pop! There’s nothing like a little editing to reveal a better way to write a line or two of prose.

I’ve been working with an editor on my current effort, and he pointed something out that just made all the difference regarding the power of the written word, that intangible element that keeps readers turning pages, something every writer strives for. And it’s so simple.

Writers tend to write the way they talk to some degree. When we tell a story to a group of friends, we list all the elements, and then summarize for their benefit, just to insure they get the gist of the story. He pointed out that I do the same thing when I write.

I offer it here.

The Example:
I made my way to the exit and listened for the sounds that I expected to hear. Frantic cries for help among a cacophony of confusion. And when I heard them, I turned to look as anyone might. I watched the bouncers push through the crowd, saw them knock people aside as they rushed to her. And among the music and the screaming, the dancing and the panic, I knew what the bouncers did not. I knew she was dead before she hit the floor.

Now remove the last, summarizing, sentence:
I made my way to the exit and listened for the sounds that I expected to hear. Frantic cries for help among a cacophony of confusion. And when I heard them, I turned to look as anyone might. I watched the bouncers push through the crowd, saw them knock people aside as they rushed to her. And among the music and the screaming, the dancing and the panic, I knew what the bouncers did not.

THIS … is where the power is.

In the first example, the antagonist is telling the reader that he knows what the bouncers do not. At this point, the reader doesn't know either, but then, the writer (me) blows it and lets the reader in on it, destroying the tension the passage has built. Curiosity lost. Ho-hum … where’s my bookmark?

It’s a cool line ‘n all, but it kills the edge-of-your-seat mood. Maybe the reader turns the page, maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he inserts a book mark and goes to bed, and that’s tragic for a thriller writer.

So, I removed that line from the trailer, and if I decide to publish a next edition, I’ll remove it from the novel as well.

I’d love to know what you think of the trailer. 
Drop me a line at, or just leave a comment. 
I like those too.

Best Regards,

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Friday, October 30, 2015

A Must-Read Halloween Story for Parents of Teenage Girls


DB Corey

Tony DeNelli had nothing against Halloween—for the little ones. Halloween was for children—not teenagers, so when his only teenage daughter announced that she and her friends intended to Trick-or-Treat again this year, Tony got a minor case of the ass.
“You ain’t a kid no more. You and your friends are too old for Trick-or-Treat and all you’re gonna do is get yourselves in trouble.”
But his objection was overruled by his wife, Heather’s mother, so Tony conceded the outing but little else. Two days later, when Halloween rolled around, Tony treated it like any other night. He was one to catch a couple hours sleep before going in on the evening shift, so that’s what he did Halloween evening.
When he awoke, he felt restless, anxious, and stepping into the kitchen, found Heather dressed in her costume. Tony did not like what he saw.
            His wife Connie spoke first. “How’d you sleep?”
            “Not worth a shit.” Then he gestured to Heather’s costume with a dark look. “What the hell is this?”
“This is my costume, Daddy,” Heather beamed. “Like it?”
“You look like a whore.”                                                  
The sparkle in Heather’s eyes dimmed with her smile. “I’m old enough,” she said.
Anyone who knew Tony, knew what was coming next.
“You’re old enough when I say you’re old enough, which you ain’t. Go change.
You can go out, but you ain’t goin’ out dressed like that.”
Heather’s faced stretched as her eyes widened and her jaw dropped.     
Wha—? Why? Why not?
“Because I said so, that’s why.”   
“But Daddy…”                  
“Tony, it’s just a costume.”                                   
“She looks like a slut Connie          and she ain’t goin’ out lookin’ like that.”                  
“But Daddy, all my friends—”      
“I don’t give a shit what your friends do. I ain’t raisin’ them! Now, if you wanna to go trick or treatin’, change into something more presentable for a fourteen year-old girl or you ain’t goin’. You will not leave this house lookin’ like that.”
Anger flashed on Heather’s face. She stormed out making all the disgruntled noises that teenage girls make when they can’t get their way and made a point of stomping up the stairs to her room.
“Tony, really.” Connie said. “Don’t you think you’re going just a little overboard? I mean, she’s growing up. She just wants to be like everybody else her age. Jennifer is going as a sexy nurse. It’s no big deal.”
“What the hells-a-matter with you, Connie? Did you see that costume? She looks like a freaking hooker! Wearing a skirt up to her crotch with her ass cheeks hanging out.”                  “She has short-shorts on underneath, Tony. Nothing shows.”
“Jesus Christ, Connie! I don’t care! That top was too low-cut for a girl built like her. Half of her was bulgin’ out. She’s fourteen, for Christ’s sake, not twenty-four. Do you know what dressing like that says to boys? To men?”
Connie’s tone hardened. “No, Tony, I don’t! Why don't you fill me in?”
“It says she can be hadthat’s what it says.”    
“Oh for God’s sake! You’re such a Neanderthal. That kind of archaic thinking went out a long time ago.”
“You believe that, huh? What fucking planet did you come from? I don’t give a shit what them feminist bitches say. Men are men. Period! And if they see a woman—or a girl—dressed like her? You better believe they’re going to think she puts out!”
“I think you’re being too strict.”
“Too strict? She wants to look like those half-naked women on those damn music videos. They all look like tramps! The revealing clothes and the grinding against each other, damn near havin’ sex right in front of everybody! I let her dye her hair blonde, didn’t I? Makes her look cheap, but I let her do it anyway … just to keep the peace.”
“I’m a blonde. You think I look cheap?”
“You’re a full-grown woman, capable of making adult decisions. She’s a teenager who ain’t.”
Connie gave him a cross look. “Yeah … Well I’m beginning to wonder about your decisions.”
“Don’t get wise. She ain’t goin’ out looking like no whore and that’s it.”
“Well?” Heather said, interrupting her parents as she ambled into the kitchen. “Is this okay?”
She had slipped into dark gray sweatpants and a light gray sweatshirt stained with “blood,” that matched red trickling down from the corners of her mouth. She performed a pirouette, mocking her father’s overbearing and uninformed attitude. He let it slide.
“That’s better. Be home by nine-thirty.”
“Nine-thirty? But all my friends…”
“It’s a school night.”         
Jesus, Dad! Why can’t I just this once—”
“Do you want me to make it nine, young lady? Just keep arguing with me.”
Heather unleashed an exaggerated eye-roll expressing her displeasure with her father and turned on her heel. “Fine!” she snapped, and set off on the three-block walk to Jennifer’s house. “You always ruin my fun!” The door slammed behind her as she stormed out in a huff.
Tony glared through the door for a moment as if it wasn’t there, debating whether he should drag her back considering her display of blatant disrespect. But he decided that would just make things worse. He let it go and turned to his wife.
“Look, Connie, I know you mean well, and it’s not her I don’t trust. She’s a great kid … except for the occasional backtalk.” He offered a withering smile. “It’s just that every time I turn on the TV or the radio, I hear about another young woman who disappeared, only to be found days later … dead. Some of those girls are in their twenties. What the hell does a fourteen-year-old know? Nothing! That’s what! She thinks life’s one big social event. She ain’t got the street smarts to avoid danger.”
“She just wants to have a little fun.”
“She can have all the fun she wants without drawing that kind of attention to herself. Most guys are civilized enough to let it go when they hear the word, ‘no.’ They ain’t the ones I worry about. There are animals out there that don’t bother to ask. They just take what they want. I ain’t havin’ my only daughter beaten and raped—or worse—‘cause of the way she’s dressed. And you know damn well I’m right.”
Okay! Okay! You’ve made you point! Can we just drop it?”     
“Yeah … sure.”                             
Connie’s expression softened. She moved to her husband, threw her arms around his thick neck, and gave him a hug. “I know you want to protect her, but she can’t live in a bubble. She has to experience life on her own terms. We did. She’ll be fine, ok? Now, since you didn’t sleep well, why don’t you lie down and take a nap before you go in. You’re grouchier than usual.”

Three hours later Tony climbed from bed, washed his face, and decided he should have a little more faith in his daughter. He trotted downstairs feeling every bit the overbearing parent she thought he was. He walked into the kitchen and looked around, but didn't see Heather.
“Where is she?” he said to Connie, suppressing a newfound anxiety. “It’s ten-thirty….”
“Oh, I’m sure she’s at Jen’s rooting through all her goodies. She should be home soon.”
Now Tony felt overbearing had its place. “Call her cell and tell her to get her ass home. She’s in big trouble.”
“Jesus, Tony.…”
Connie huffed a bit more, but this time, Tony didn’t budge. She picked up the wall phone in the kitchen and dialed a number. A few seconds later she hung up and dialed again.”
“What’s wrong?”
“It’s going directly to her voicemail. I told her not to turn off her—”
“Call Jennifer’s house.”                                                     
Connie, now teetering on the edge of minor panic, offered no argument. She dialed a new number.
“Hi, Sandy. This is Connie. Is Heather still there?”          
… A long pause.
“No, she’s not here. I.… No. What time? Nine fifteen? And Heather wasn’t with her? Oh my God! No, no, Sandy. That’s. … No. Look, I’m sorry, I have to go.”
As Tony listened to his wife’s conversation with Jennifer’s mother, every muscle in his body tensed as if the weight of the world had just descended upon him. Connie hung up the phone, her face ashen. She looked up at Tony—the sudden terror in her eyes unmistakable. With her heart in her throat, she managed to force out the words.
“I think we better call the police.”
Two uniformed officers spent an hour questioning Tony and Connie as to Heather’s description, her dress, her plans, and her state of mind when she left. The officers glanced at one another when they found Tony and his daughter had argued before she left the house. Finishing their interview with Heather's folks, the two officers made a beeline to Jennifer’s house.
They arrived to find a hysterical teenager, sitting on a kitchen chair in the middle of the living room, being interrogated by anxious red-faced parents on the edge. It was a scene right out of a noir novel. All that was missing was the harsh overhead lamp.
The cops separated Jennifer from her worked-up parents, calming the scene. Then they took Jennifer aside.
“Tell us what happened, Miss.”
Jennifer settled herself enough to talk to the officers, now that her parents had deferred to the two cops. “She made me promise not to tell. She was mad at her father. She told me she would be home in time. We met these guys.…”
What guys?” her father bellowed.
“Please, Mr. Browning. Let us ask the questions, sir. Jennifer. Tell us about the guys you met.”
Jennifer bit a quivering lower lip. “We had just left my house … ten minutes, maybe. A car pulled up next to us and these guys asked us if we wanted to go to a party. Heather wanted to go, but I told her I didn’t think it was a good idea, but she said she was going with or without me and her father couldn’t tell her what to do anymore. I didn’t think she would really go without me, but she got in the car and they drove away.”
Jennifer fell into hysterics as she continued to detail as much as she could remember about the guys and the car. When the cops got all they were going to get from her, they went back to Heather’s house to talk to her parents.

“Apparently, Mr. DeNelli, Heather accepted an invitation from several young men to go to a party. She wanted Jennifer to go, but Jennifer knew her father wouldn’t approve. So, Heather went by herself. Jennifer said Heather was angry with you. Did something happen here that we need to know about?”           

Two hours later, after Tony filled them in, the police left. Night turned into day. The police began combing the surrounding area at dawn, waiting only that long to begin the search in the expectation that the angry teenager would show up at home by then. Day turned to night and back into day with no results. Several days passed before a knock came at the door.  
“Mr. and Mrs. DeNelli, I am Detective Burns. May I have a minute of your time?”
At the urging of the distressed parents, Burns stepped into the house and showed them a picture of a nearly naked young blonde woman, found just after sunup that morning. Her skimpy costume dress was gathered around her waist and her top lay in tatters beside her, torn from her body. She had been raped and beaten beyond recognition, and dried blood painted her throat from where it had been slit.
“I was hoping that you might be able to help us out here. This costume. Can you tell me if this is what your daughter wore that evening?”
Tony’s eyes devoured the photo as he held it in his hands. “No,” he said, denial weighing heavy in his answer. “She was wearing sweats. Not a costume like this. I would never let her go out wearing something like this.”
"We found sweat pants and a sweatshirt nearby."
Physical pain registered on Tony’s face as his heart leapt into his throat. He looked again and recognized the costume he forced Heather to change out of, and as he conceded the body’s similarity to his daughter, horror took him. He pulled the color 8 x 10 photo to his chest and began to sob.          
“Couldn’t you at least have covered her up with something?” Tony cried. “Allowed her some dignity?”    
Detective Burns stared at Tony and began to laugh, and enormous teeth shown from a half-moon grin that distorted his face like some horrific Jackolantern.
Dignity? The way she’s dressed? Dignity? She looks like a whore! Just like you said! She got what she was asking for, and it’s your fault!
The cop began to shake Tony with all his strength, as if to rattle some sense into him. “What kind of father are you?” He screamed, launching spittle from his mouth in flyaway strings. “What kind of father are you…. What kind of father—”
Then from somewhere distant, Connie’s voice floated in, layered atop the chaos.
“Honey? Honey? Are you okay?” she called, shaking her husband, trying to wake him.
Tony bolted upright, wide-eyed as his wife shook him. The sheets were soaked with his sweat and he trembled with terror. Dazed, he looked around, uncertain of his whereabouts or what was happening.
“Tony? You all right, honey?”
“I … I ain’t sure.”
“You were having night terrors … calling out. Jesus Tony … you’re crying!”
       Tony wiped the tears from his face and swung his legs out of bed. Stumbling into the bathroom, he drenched his face in cold water. He stared at the mirror and saw a terrified man. Slowly he began to realize it had all been a dream. He walked back into the bedroom and told his wife what little he could remember of his fading nightmare.
       “It was about Heather’” he said. “Something … bad happened.”
"Honey, she's fine. She's in her room. Go see for yourself."
Tony hurried to Heather’s room to see his only daughter sound asleep, her teddy bear curled up tight in her arms.
He began to weep.

A week later, Tony finished helping Connie with the dinner dishes. As they finished, Connie said, “Heather’s going out with Jennifer tonight, Tony.”    
“I don’t want her out too late.”
“She’ll be home on time. She’s a good kid.” Connie grinned at her husband. “Much better than you were at her age.”
At that moment, Heather popped into the kitchen. “I’m ready. I’m heading over to Jen’s.”
Tony took one look.
“You ain’t goin’ out dressed like that.”
“But Daddy…”
“No ‘buts’.”
“Tony, it’s just a costume.”
“She looks like a slut Connie and I ain’t lettin’ her go out like that.”                                     
“But Daddy, all my friends…”
“I don’t care what your friends do. Now, if you wanna to go trick or treatin’, change into something more presentable for a fourteen year-old girl or you can’t go. You ain’t leavin’ this house lookin’ like that.”
Heather stormed out making all the disgruntled noises that teenage girls make when they can’t get their way. She returned a few minutes later in gray sweats.
“Well?” Heather said as she reentered the kitchen. “Is this okay?”
“That’s much better. Be home by nine-thirty.”
“Nine-thirty? But everybody else…”
Something twisted Tony’s stomach, wringing it out like an old dishtowel as foreboding drained the color from his face. He looked at his wife, and the terror she saw in her husband’s eyes frightened her.
“On second thought,” he murmured, “I think I’m going with her.”


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Cabbie

I received this from an old friend in an email 
so I make no claim of authorship, 
but it touched me in such a way
I felt my own heart break,
and I wanted to pass it along.      

The Cabbie

I arrived at the address and honked the horn.
after waiting a few minutes
I walked to the
door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a
frail, elderly voice. I could hear something
being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened.  
A small woman in her 90's stood before me.  
She was wearing a print dress  
and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned
on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon
suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had
lived in it for years. All the furniture was
covered with sheets.

There were no
clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils
on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and

'Would you carry my bag
out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase
to the cab, then returned to assist the

She took my arm and we walked
slowly toward the curb.

She kept
thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I
told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers
the way I would want my mother to be

'Oh, you're such a good
boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave
me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive
through downtown?'

'It's not the
shortest way,' I answered

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said.  
'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice. '

I looked in the rear-view mirror.  
Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have
any family left,' she continued in a soft
voice.. 'The doctor says I don't have very
long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me
to take?' I asked.

For the next two
hours, we drove through the city. She showed me
the building where she had once worked as an
elevator operator.

We drove through the neighbourhood  
where she and her husband had lived
when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in
front of a furniture warehouse that had once
been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow
in front of a particular building or corner and
would sit staring into the darkness, saying

As the first hint of sun was
creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm
tired. Let's go now'.

We drove in
silence to the address she had given me. It was
a low building, like a small convalescent home,
with a driveway that passed under a

Two orderlies came out to
the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were
solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to
the door. The woman was already seated in a

'How much do I owe you?'
She asked, reaching into her

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she

'There are other
passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.  
She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an
old woman a little moment of joy,' she
'Thank you.'

I squeezed her
hand, and then walked into the dim morning
light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound
of the closing of a life..

I didn't
pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove
aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that
day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had
gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient
to end his shift?
What if I had refused to take the run,  
or had honked
once, then driven away?

On a quick review,  
I don't think that I have done anything
more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think  
that our lives revolve
around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware, 

beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.


Thank you, 

my friend...

Life may not be the party we hoped for, 

but while we are here, we might as well dance.

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Will I Leave A Mark?

I think everyone asks that question when they get to be my age. Especially if that person is a man. I believe that, for whatever reason, men seem to have a need to leave something behind; something that says, “I was here.” In my estimation, that burden becomes heavier as we grow older. When we are young, the necessity to point to a noteworthy accomplishment that defines us or our place in this world—or in Time—takes on a sense of urgency as we grow old. If we have never achieved the stature of President, or Astronaut, or Olympian; if the likelihood our names will never be etched in remembrance, or spoken with reverence, or inked on a scroll or parchment preserved against the decay of Time, the anxiety of meeting our Maker without leaving a Mark other than the Headstone on our grave can be very real.

There is no scientific proof, of course, that The Creator, in all His profound wisdom, scribbled somewhere in our double-helix chain, a message, or a directive if you will, instructing us to leave something for the generations that follow. Still, the day comes when we wake up to realize that we have fewer sunrises in front of us, than behind us. We become a bit more aware of our own mortality. We tend to look back on our lives and take stock, and some of us may find the inventory, disappointing.

I remember talking with my son one day after he himself became a father, about personal achievements and making a Mark in this life—about the things we leave behind. I told him the one thing I was leaving that I was most proud of, my “Mark” in life, was his sister and him. Your children, should you be lucky enough to have them, are your legacy, a gift given to you by God; and to my reckoning, the best and most important Mark any man could ever leave, hopefully making this world a better place in the interim.

I chose to write about this because of a birthday, not because I’m feeling particularly morose. A close friend of mine turned seventy a little while back. He was the piano player in a band I joined when I was sixteen. He was twenty-one then. I remember clearly because he and one or two other band members were old enough to buy beer. I had lost touch with the guys in that band over the years, but managed to get back in touch with the core members about two years ago. When we got together, I brought my photo album and we reminisced for quite a long time.

Don's wife invited some of his friends for a small surprise party. I found it unusual that she picked a Sunday afternoon, until I asked why.

“He’ll be at church till 1:30.”

I had forgotten Don was the organist for his church, and had been ever since I’d known him. Seems he played two services now. When I realized that Don had turned seventy, and that he had maintained his station in his church, I took a long look at my own life.

I wrote a book. I was old when I did. Other than my kids, I suppose that’s my Mark, the thing I leave behind to say I was here. The funny part is, I used a pseudonym instead of my given name. How’s that for irony? Someone told me that writing a book is more than most people ever do. That may be true, but thinking about something that Don said at his party made me realize that the things we leave behind, the Marks we make in life, are not so much accomplishments, as they are the memories of those accomplishments: slices of life, frozen in time, substantial in their importance both good and bad, stored away for others to remember us by. As I think about my own memories, I find the good vastly overshadow the bad, to the point that I dismiss the bad offhand, realizing that they were never of any real importance, anyway.                  
As most men frequently are, I found myself at a loss in choosing a gift to give my friend Don. What do you give a man, who’s been on this earth for seventy years, that he could actually take a bit of joy in?

I decided on a memory.  

The Playmates - Circa 1966

Best Regards,

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I’d love to see it.

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Exposé of Cliché

When it comes to writing, anything goes, and I'm not just whistling Dixie. All's fair in love and war so when the going gets tough the tough get going. New agents are always looking for that diamond in the rough to put a feather in their cap, but some don't know shit from Shinola, and it's a foregone conclusion that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

When the chips are down, read between the lines. A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, and a good rule of thumb is to avoid half-baked ideas. A publishing house divided against itself cannot stand if their writers are jacks of all trades and masters of none. It’s as plain as the nose on your face; you can’t judge a book by its cover. It is true that a mind is a terrible thing to waste, but some new agents are a few sandwiches short of a picnic with a face only a mother could love. A necessary evil, they are a shot in the dark. Money they make is a drop in the bucket, so they have a chip on their shoulder. Don’t beat a dead horse. Better safe than sorry.

New agents can’t hold a candle to The Real McCoy. A rolling stone that gathers no moss, it’s all in a day’s work. They bust their chops to bring home the bacon come hell or high water, so credit where credit is due.

Avoid the dark horse. They can’t cut the mustard, and come up a day late and a dollar short.    

Gee, that was a hoot! 
And I barely got into the “Ds.”
Time flies when you’re having fun.

See you later alligator.

By the way, on your way out, don’t let the door hit you in the—
Well … you know.

Best Regards,

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Are You Cool Enough Yet?

Father’s Day, 2015, mid-afternoon; kids are gone, I’m finishing up the last talking-head news show on the DVR, and Maggie drops down in the oversized chair across from the sofa where I recline.
“Are you cool enough yet?” she asks.
I look at her as if she has three eyes. I sweat if I blink my eyes. The central air is running on high, the ceiling fans are whirring away, and the single window unit in the boy’s room next to me is humping out BTUs at 70-degrees Fahrenheit. I’m in shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt, haven’t moved an inch for fear of generating a calorie of mechanical heat, and she’s wrapped in her terrycloth mom robe and pulling on a pair of my white calf-high athletic socks.
“You’re cold?”
“I wanted to dress nice for you on Father’s Day but I’m freezing. Can we turn the air condition off?”
“Off? It’s June. Its 88-degrees outside. Humidity is 55% and you’re cold.”
“Not cold. Freezing.”
“Maybe you should break out the winter coats.”

I don’t get women. At night, in bed, she’s cold, then hot, then cold. We still have the electric blanket on the bed and she uses her side of it, on high, until she kicks it onto me. I can’t keep up. Neither can Murphy. He gave up sleeping in the bed until after she gets up in the morning. Then he climbs in with me. Great. He weighs more than she does. Takes up more room too.

Am I the only one?

Best Regards,

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Father’s Day – 2015

I woke this morning about 7:15, Maggie was on her morning run, Murphy lay in the living room waiting for her, and the sun beat through the bedroom window with an annoying persistence that I swore was intentional.

Queue the pillow.

Next thing I knew, Maggie was milling about, albeit quietly, rooting through drawers for something other than running attire.

“What time is it,” I groaned.

There’s something inherently unfair about that.
“Happy Father’s Day!”

I had forgotten, having spent the day yesterday with my son and daughter, and my awesome grandkids. More on that in a minute.

“Father’s Day,” I repeated. “That’s right.”
“So,” she continued, “do you want breakfast before I go to church? I assume you’re not going today?”
“Yeah. I thought I’d skip today. I figured God would give me a pass, being a Father himself ‘n all. 
I can wait till you get back. I’ll just make some coffee and do a little writing.”
“OK,” she said. “You can watch your morning shows while I make breakfast. I thought I’d make you a fruit smoothie.”
“A what? Don’t we have any bacon? Any eggs?”
“I thought you wanted to eat healthier.”
“Well, yeah … but not on Father’s Day.”

So, about yesterday.

With married children, comes two (or more) sets of parents, and visitation on these special Hallmark days can be a scheduling challenge. So, in order to accommodate everyone, we split the weekend. I find it best to book my side of the “holiday” early (like a month early), and on the Saturday side of the weekend in order to leave Sunday, my absolute favorite day of the week, open.  Now since the two boys are almost school age, and the little girl, the one who stole my heart, is almost three, and because I just love the animated movies Pixar produces, that’s what I decided I wanted to do for Father’s Day. I treated everyone to the movies.

We saw Inside Out, and before I left the theater, I knew I would pay to see it again. It was hands down the best Pixar movie of the Pixar bunch, and that’s saying something.

Without giving anything away, the premise was one of emotions personified in the mind of young Riley Anderson: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. These characters appear one at a time as the story progresses, as do her surroundings: family, friends, school, sports, all parts of her personality represented by islands, bridged to her mind through associated short, long, and core memories.

The writing is just brilliant.

I cheated just a little and read a terrific review, and noted something that I didn’t pick up on, but actually knew all along. I will not try to paraphrase it here as I could do it no justice, so I have linked it from this page. But I will say that this is a story about growing up, about the trials and tribulations we all go through to one degree or another. It’s about being a kid. It’s about being a parent. It’s about being human. You will laugh, you will cry (yeah, even you big guy), but mostly, you will walk away with a renewed appreciation for those you love.

Go see the movie.
Love your family.
Life is far too short.     

Best Regards,

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