Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Pandemic - The Meals

Christine watched a New York Times webinar last night called Breaking the Bubble: Staying Creative and Connected  while working from home. It was interesting and meaningful, and part of the emphasis was on meal planning. 

I realized Christine and I are fortunate and already quite a few pluses in our favor when quarantine kicked in. 


I'm pretty disciplined, perhaps ritualistic. I've worked from home a great deal for eight years. I taught for seven online and in the classroom. The past year I've been writing and teaching exclusively online. 

At my old school, we were allowed to do most of our grading from home. Reading creative work, I had fewer distractions except for my cats when they were alive. I learned to work with a laptop high on my abdomen and a cat in my lap.


The host of the webinar noted she often debated whether to spend 45 minutes in meal prep just for herself, but long ago I came to find some joy in the process. 

It was always a nice break from a full day of grading to pause for a sandwich. Not to mention the fact I learned to make deli quality. 

A reuben with a dash of Russian dressing I always kept on hand. Italian sandwiches with pepperoni and cheese melted to just to bubbly with just a touch of brown. Pastrami on rye. It was always a little hard to find sandwich-sliced rye like I wanted, but otherwise those were wonderful.


I'm from the South, but I guess I got a little international with my lunches, and if I shifted to salads, I'd craft quite a Caesar, sometimes Greek for variety.

Chopping cucumbers, slicing purple onions and tossing in a fall-colors blend of little tomatoes I could get from my grocer made it a bit of creative effort.

I became the dinner chef as well because Christine worked in an office. It was not far away, but the commute took a while in 5 p.m. Orlando traffic. I got pretty good at stir fry, baked chicken and fish.

That all continued when we moved to Williamsburg. Nowadays with Christine at home, we bump into each other in the kitchen from time to time, but we get by.

I never saw myself as training for quarantine times. It was just a bit of ritual as I mentioned. I tend to keep to a schedule in my head. That's all mixed with meditation, I suppose. 

That made me realize I have a lot of rituals. The morning coffee, the Saturday dinner, the writing/grading balance. Reading time. A TV break. 

I guess that's helped me keep on track a bit in these very dark times. I didn't know I was trying. 

May it help you too, if it's useful.



Tuesday, September 29, 2020


I always sweat a bit about reviews, and when Crossroad Press said they'd be sending a review copy of Fool's Run to Publisher's Weekly, I perspired a bit more. It's a natural move, but you never know what's going to be said.  


A friend who's also a publisher told me not to worry. Bad reviews can still mean sales and discovery by new readers. What a critic didn't like might be what a reader of the review is looking for. 

Brutal opening in a horror tale? Sign me up!

I guess all the sweating made the positive review all the more meaningful. 

Writing a novel is a bit like putting a puzzle together, and it's also about decisions and judgment. 

Once upon a time, I didn't think I had anything new to offer the detective novel. I wrote three trunk private eye novels starting in college and just after I started as a reporter. 

They primed me for writing the first novel that sold, Azarius, but I didn't feel I had anything new to offer the private eye tale. I put my Benjamin Ross stories away and moved on.


I returned to the form while teaching a mystery writing class and studying and codifying the mystery in its various forms for students. 

Si Reardon, hero of Fool's Run, took shape as a flawed former police officer on a dark mission. I didn't want him to simply go from one interview to another and piece a puzzle together.  I hoped to juggle the tropes of the mystery form a bit and swirl something a little different.

The reviewer from Publisher's Weekly seemed to get that. Someone will come along who doesn't love it, but so it goes. 

Pre-order the novel 

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Biblioholic's Bookshelf: The Sorceress by

Haven't done one of these in a while. Manor Books, 1977. 

The Sorceress by Tony Destefano

The Sorceress back cover

Inside, other books by the same author are noted: Mondo No. 1, 2 and 3 and Dachau Treasure

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Flash of Fear - Foolish Fire - A Bit of Flash Horror Fiction

Friction rises among friends on a night drive to check out reports of a will-o'-the-wisp in this tale called "Foolish Fire."

The most recent Flash of Fear was very brief, so this once come quicker than usual. It's an all-new story,  a tad longer, 1,500-words or so.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

A Clip from Silverline Live - Bloodline Comic

Reading loglines for upcoming comics projects on the Silverline Live show May 6.

Still Gone

Still Gone 

The sun hits the blinds
Bright, white, blinding.

I can’t quite see the tree,
But the leaves are green again.

The leaves have gone and returned.
Only Ollie is still gone. 
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