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A Temporary Arrangement
1 part / 20 pages
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updated Nov 20, 2013

GENRE: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance6,000 words; Excerpt; Chapter One of a 100,000 - 140,000 word novel, most of which is written, but not yet polished.In the late summer, 1992, an artist and a married woman meet at a Corcoran exhibit in which he is featured.  The woman’s husband, a career diplomatic service professional, is about to learn that he will be in the Far East for a year.  The story of the affair continues for 1000 weeks, almost twenty years, although the affair itself is over—except for occasional rendezvous—after the only year they have together.  It is a story of obsessive love, and how it effects their lives.  It includes paranormal and spiritual aspects that characterize the timeless nature of their union.  Told from the artist’s point of view, the tale unfolds in alternate chapters, a flashback week, followed by a contemporaneous week.  The woman cannot forget her lover, but cannot leave her husband.  Defying a fundamental precept of Romance writing, in the end, the lovers are not united, which seems enough to condemn this work to the contemporary fiction heaps.  The career diplomat leaves the State Department and is elected to Congress, which ultimately eliminates any possibility . . . The artist is condemned to search for her in every crowd and fantasize about finding her, if not in reality, in a surrogate, or in another world.  A final misunderstanding breaks all contact, and the earthly saga ends with the artist’s death and an unobserved afterlife visitation.

 
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Across the White Sands
1 part / 42 pages
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updated Nov 19, 2013

GENRE: Fiction, Historical, Western, Paranormal, Romance,12,200 words; the first chapter of a 100,000 - 120,000 word novel, well over one-third of which is written, but not yet polished.It is 1879.  Inside the AT&SF Railway station in Emporia, Kansas, Snyder Starr ended what might have been a far worse incident with a lightening quick six-gun.  Clearly, he was a capable man, short in stature but big on integrity, courage, and fair play.  A Civil War veteran, he fought for the losing side, and stood at Appomattox as the surrender was signed, then carried the news to his outfit, McNeill Rangers, awaiting word.  The war was over, but the loss did not sit easy; Snyder was a restless man.  He wandered westward plying his railroad occupation, but found he could not live long in any one place before he had to draw his gun.  To their detriment, people tended to underestimate him.  Wherever he roamed, he also won admirers by applying bow to violin.  Although accomplished, cultured, and knowledgeable, Snyder wasn’t prepared for the opportunities that killing the behemoth bully in Emporia presented.  In one act, doors to the paranormal opened to aid him in events, which he inadvertently set in motion; a struggle between two worlds, and an evilly aligned faction led by the dead giant’s even more menacing twin, who stood in the way of a bright future and a beloved woman with special talents of her own.

 
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Calling Psychic Pizza
1 part / 12 pages
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updated Dec 28, 2013

GENRE: Contemporary, Humor and Comedy, Fiction, Paranormal, Romance2,700 words; Short-Short Story; CompleteImagine the convenience of a Pizza shop that knows what you want to order even before you call.  Ah, the simplicity.  You pick up the phone to hear that your very special pie is about to come out of the oven and will arrive at your door piping hot in only minutes.  It’s the perfect solution for a sweaty guy arriving home after a hard day and hours of overtime.  A pleasant voice on the phone seals the deal; Bob’s pizza, a couple of six-packs and a wonderful-sounding woman to enjoy them with are on the way.

 
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Genesis Diner
1 part / 28 pages
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updated Nov 18, 2013

GENRE: Contemporary, Fiction8,100 words; Short Story; CompleteOn the occasion of his mom and dad’s fiftieth wedding anniversary, a father reveals a horrible secret to his son.  Possibly, if revealed, it is enough to tear the family asunder.  The son listens to his father’s confession, a nightmare if it were only a dream, but a horror this World War Two veteran has carried through his life and for some confounding reason is driven to reveal all to his son.  Ultimately, the son accepts the burden of sharing his father’s sin.  Together, they will protect the family they have created and although the foundation is flawed, their house will stand.  Years later, after the deaths of both the father and mother, the son commits a lesser sin of his own and applies the lessons of his father to save the family again.

 
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Jack, the Caretaker
1 part / 21 pages
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updated Dec 31, 2013

6,850 words; Short Story; CompleteA first-person narrator meets an odd caretaker at a roadhouse inn that is centuries old, as old as the nation; bypassed by interstate highway and frozen in time, the hotel is no longer relevant to the corporate franchise world of today, or even the world of forty-plus years ago.  The narrator and the caretaker are two people who share an outsider’s perspective.  Their surnames are famous worldwide for the distilling families, makers of fine whiskey’s on both sides of the Atlantic.  They might be part of the family, but they are from decidedly broken branches of their respective family trees.  They share a love of the old hotel, too, a fascination without specific source for the narrator; it’s just a place his heart bids him return.  Jack is connected in a more elemental way, not only to the place, but to the namesakes and makers of bourbon.  The narrator would like to report that the last time he saw Jack was at the old Summit Crest Hotel, but it wasn’t.  Old Jack might be dead, but he still gets around pretty well, he and his cronies . . .

 
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#10 in Crime
Oblivion Bridge
1 part / 79 pages
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updated Nov 23, 2013

GENRE: Contemporary, Crime, Fiction, Suspense24,850 words; Complete Novella - Ninth draft, but still not yet finely polished . . . More work to come but still readable, with all elements in place.Both lines of the first-person narrator’s Appalachian Mountain families’ are moonshiners going back generations, and as he tells it, “My uncles all were outlaws, every last one of them, and daddy was, too.  They weren’t lazy.  They knew what hard work was, and were eager to avoid it . . .”  The narrator’s daddy and his mother’s daddy were the biggest obstacles to circumvent in any situation that developed, and surrounding those two, one could always count on situations developing.  They made life difficult for people inside and out of the family, but they served the big fish that swim near the surface, the power elite of Mesach County.  Even after the end of Prohibition, their special services remained valuable.  As was clear that he would from the beginning, daddy finally took things too far.  Something had to give, and the end began at Oblivion Bridge . . .

 
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Sweet-P
1 part / 23 pages
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updated Dec 28, 2013

GENRE: Contemporary, Fiction, (potential) Graphic Novel7,300 words; Short Story; CompleteRay and Roland are buddies, maybe an unlikely pairing but an effective team nonetheless . . . If only Roland could understand what Ray is up to beforehand, he’d be a great deal more comfortable in their escapades.  This is the first complete story in a planned series.Ray looks like Ichabod Crane reinterpreted as middle-aged beatnik with a foppish Beatle-inspired haircut and half-moon reading glasses perched halfway down his hawkish nose.  He’s not a physically imposing fellow; despite his long and lanky six-foot-four frame, he tends to hover rather than impose, and in most gatherings, finds a safe observation point and makes mental notes.  In a word, Ray is an intellectual.  MIT-trained, he knows science facts and figures, but he knows people and politics, too.  While Ray will neither confirm nor deny it, the speculation is that he served an intelligence operative and that his “Army years” in Germany in the early 1960s was a mere cover . . . He may still be associated with one or more intelligence agencies twelve or thirteen years later, as his friends believe.  We meet he and Roland—a smart but unprepossessing longhair who does his best to avoid confrontations and recede into the background at every opportunity—in the middle of a frigid winter mid-70s Manhattan night, in a tiny Chinatown back alley, where big limousines arrive and discharge executive passengers in an organized procession with disarming precision.

 
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The Ponytail Palm Christmas
1 part / 9 pages
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updated Dec 06, 2013

GENRE: Contemporary, Fiction, Paranormal, Humor and Comedy,2,700 words; Short-Short Story; Complete.  Previously published in “Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors,” ISBN 978-0-9883103-0-8; A collection of short works written by service members and their families.Is it possible for a mother to understand the fate of her soldier son through a ponytail palm plant that lives in her kitchen?  She believes that the plant is in symbiotic cellular-level contact with her son; that the plant responds to his current condition.  It shrivels and contracts when he is in danger, physical or emotional.  She can predict her son’s immediate present and future no matter where in the world he is, and her husband, the young NCO’s father—and a former soldier himself—believes her.  Have you ever seen a ponytail palm plant decorated for Christmas?

 
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#2 in Paranormal
Tommy Catoctin
1 part / 34 pages
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updated Dec 28, 2013

GENRE: Contemporary, Fiction, Paranormal9,900 words; Short Story; CompleteWhen we first meet the protagonist, his name is not Tommy Catoctin, although that is what he will soon call himself.  One is not born Tommy Catoctin; one becomes Tommy Catoctin.  It is an honorarium reserved for military veterans who have tread soil—foreign and domestic—sanctified by US service members, now and throughout the last three or more centuries. As we discover, Tommy Catoctin might not exist in the world the rest of us know; he exists with only one sacred purpose.  It is his task to make sure no man is left behind to wander without direction, without orders.  He appears where he is needed and is known by many hallowed names; Tommy Normandy, Tommy Midway, Tommy Baghdad.Our eponymous Tommy Catoctin took some persuading; he had to die in the Civil War to accept his mission today . . .

 
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