CanapĂ©s filled with mud

If agony were the least of my sensations, then the taste in my mouth would barely register. Blood, its tang and slick coating, dribbled down my chin. Too bad it’s my own, I thought. If it were his… I could have called this adventure a success. The man deserved to die, no, not just die, suffer. Like a surfer upon a coral reef; like a skier entombed in a snowy coffin avalanche; like Dressley, his EpiPen cracked down the side, the nest of hornets erupting its occupants from the spherical paper-mache home they’d built to endure the winter.

I could still move my head. Wow, I breathed, the fall hadn’t broken my neck. To my left the sand stretched out to a metal pole stuck as a sign. My eyes rotated up its length. NO DUMPING glared at me from on high. Ha, the cabrones who’d kicked me out the back of the pickup had broken yet another law. Didn’t they realize that laws provided the very foundation of civilization they were trying to undermine? I coughed into the dust. The ants were congregating. Their leader, the one with a tiny gospel held in his mandibles, jerked his head my way, his antennae wiggling like props. I saw the third in line clean his forelegs in preparation.

Little did they know I could detect something brewing on the wind. I grinned internally, externally, it turns out my neck was truly busted, even my jaw had hardened to concrete. Rain was coming. Big, fat, dollops of desert rain, held aloft by circulating air currents, tumbling over each other, growing bulbous in their attempts to free themselves and arc to the ground, they were headed my way. The ants’ way.

The first drop struck me right in the eye. The rest was a blur. I suppose the ants got theirs — what they deserved, thinking they could take what they want from the world without repercussion. Without payment. Without an obligation to history.

The drops cooled my grey skin; washed it clean. Absolution from the heavens. It wouldn’t last, I knew. But it would be enough to wipe the ink from my forehead. Right?



The Gribble’s Eye (TGE) is now officially complete.

All 50 images are in and shaded and added to the manuscript.

And to share one which really hallmarks the action, here is an image from the end of the book — a real dynamic scene.


These two characters have names in the story — but you’d have to read it to find out. Isn’t that a great illustration? Yulian Mulyono did an excellent job on all fifty original artworks. I found Yulian on Fiverr. He and I worked out a deal and ONE YEAR LATER we are finally finished!


What would you say to Hemingway?

What would you say to Hemingway?

The Idaho sun is rising above the treetops. The Sun Valley home you find yourself within smells of Hoppe’s, old leather, whiskey and sweat. He’s there, sitting in a stiff backed chair behind a desk. You’ve plopped yourself into a leather stuffed monster that nearly swallows you whole.

“Papa,” you say, “your stories are not — have never been — real.”

“Of course they were real.” The man slurs his words, from age or alcohol, it’s hard to tell. His bearded face scowls at your presumption.

“I mean, to readers. To readers, they were always imaginings. They close the book and their own lives came back into view.”

“Your point?”

“You could go on telling stories that even you, yourself, knew to be fully rooted in the realm of imagination.”

The old man cleaned his teeth with his tongue. His jaw worked at the concept. “Imagination is not something I bother with. If it’s not been felt, rubbed into your skin, someone’s skin, then it’s not real.”

“Yes, I know the truth has gagged you.” The old man jerked his chin your way. “But,” you continue, “your readers have always believed in your stories.”

“What? Gagged? How… Well of course they have. HOW COULD THEY NOT BELIEVE?” He’d become agitated, he started rummaging through the drawers of the desk.

“What I mean to say is that, for them, real or not, imagined or not, while they read your words, they were transported into the world you created.”

Papa Hemingway stopped his searching. He lay the double barrel onto the worn and pitted desk before him. “Put it plain, man!”

“Realism is in the eye of the reader. The truth of the story — is in the telling.”

The big man sat there, staring at you. His rough, scared hands clenched over and over. He’d wandered out here, in his bathrobe, to work at some internal conflict. You’d heard the commotion, risen and joined him. You refused his offer of a finger of amber liquid, the hour being late (or early, as it were).

“If I wrote of men on Mars, for god’s sake, the readers would read that?”


“And fantastical trips to strange lands and distant shores — all full of bollocks?”

“They’d read, and enjoy that, too.”

He set his elbows on the desk and leaned forward. His forehead tilted to touch the receiver of the engraved shotgun lying like an offering there across his desk. He jerked up, startling you. “And the tales I’ve told, the rhinos and marlin and white lion, they… They think those things ‘imagined,’ creations of my mind?”

You’d gotten through to him. You knew it from the compelling look in his eyes. “If they were real, or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s your words that brought those visions to life. And can still do so.”

He stared at you. His eyes blinked. “Damn it, man! I’ve got stories to write.” He moved to get up, yet stopped. “But, this H&H has been mistreated. I’ll clean it first and bear down upon a story I’ve been dreaming about for some time. It’s about the end of the world.”

“I could clean that gun for you. I’d be happy to.”

He paused as he lifted the elegant firearm from his desk, “My gun, my responsibility.”




East Coast Maps: West is up

For those who like maps, who are aware and/or interested in the early colonial years of the United States, here is a fascinating article with maps that often use compass West as the map’s North.

In it we see a map (Library of Congress copy) drawn by the famous Captain John Smith. It’s magnificent. Conjecture proceeds in the article as to why some map makers, specifically those who drew Virginia, used west as north. I would think the reason obvious. From the coast, all roads and rivers lead up into the Appalachian Mountains. Up equals north. I could easily imagine early maps of California or Chile using a similar tactic.


The reason I bother posting this is due to the fact that my current work-in-progress story, Shadow Shoals, takes place, initially, on the Chesapeake Bay, albeit, 200+ years from today.

Learning of the various rivers and coastal cities where future events might take place has been fun. I grew up in the area and so have some experience with the Bay. Regardless, exploring it through internet research certainly opens my eyes on its heritage.