A little bonus

Voted book of the month (literary fiction) for July on Manybooks.net.

Amazon link

Phil’s life becomes a fiasco of misdirection when his charismatic brother, Magnus, shows up with the news that he has murdered someone and asks for sanctuary. Magnus then disappears – with Phil’s girlfriend, Hermia – and Phil lands on an uneasy road trip through small town Louisiana with Gus, another rival for Hermia’s attention. Phil and Gus, white and black, find racism, madness, and unlikely friendships as they roll through the bayous and into New Orleans.

Goodbye, Maggie excerpts:

First three pages

Closer to the end

Link to manybooks website here

* * *

Click covers for links

BookCoverImage    year-bfly-cover        

Alice begins

Tentative opening for a novel-in-progress, “Alice,” which seems to be developing as a post-apocalyptic, adult-hippie fairy tale. Any thoughts?

* * *

Alice sat by the pond cupping her hand in the water, as if searching for an undersea plant or animal. The sun was going down. She stripped off her gown and dove in to do something but she could not remember what. When she came up, something was in her hand and the stars were above. They were the same stars as ever, but the constellations were different. Virgo and Scorpio and all the others were gone, and some new arrangement had begun. Something moved in the woods beside the pond. Not really in the woods. In a juniper bush. It was too big to be a fairy. Alice did not know what it was that moved in the juniper bush.

As Alice approached the shack, she could hear in the dark the whispering of the forest. She saw the lovely silhouette of Evelyn through the window, sleeping in bed. She entered, and Evelyn opened her eyes.

“I was at the pond,” Alice said.

“Was the rain king there?” asked Evelyn.

“No. Not today. But something happened. I dove in and the whole cosmos changed. The stars are still there but all the old constellations are gone. Virgo and Scorpio are gone now.”

Alice chose those astrological signs to exemplify because she was Scorpio and Evelyn was Virgo.

Evelyn sat up. She was taller than average, with a nobility of stature that contrasted with the petite Alice.

“So then it’s a new age,” said Evelyn.

“Yes.”

Alice took out the thing that she had in her hand when she came up from diving in the pond. She looked at it, a small iron rod with a little flag at the end. A skeleton key. “A magic gift from old times,” smiled Alice to herself. She put it under a box in the corner. She did not really think that the skeleton key was a magic gift from old times, but it seemed respectful to put it under the box.

She sat on the bed. Evelyn leaned toward her, pushed a brown curl from the brown eye of Alice, and kissed her on the mouth.

“We can hope,” she whispered.

“Yes,” said Alice. “And when we can’t hope, we can love.”

And they lay down together in the wood frame bed in the wood frame house in the woods.

The next day, John Wilson came over to the shack. No one ever called him “John.” They always said, “John Wilson.”

“Something happened with the fairies last night,” said John Wilson.

“I knew it,” said Alice.

John Wilson lifted one of his bushy eyebrows, and the black hairs came to attention. Alice thought of a black cat’s tail with the hairs standing in response to a threat.

“Your eyebrow looks like a black cat’s tail,” she said.

John Wilson reached up with a massive paw and touched his eyebrow, and then touched his equally bushy mustache, as if to compare the two. He looked for a moment like a distraught walrus sloshed in a button-down shirt. Then he went on.

“The fairies,” said John Wilson. “The hum went away by the pond last night. No hum for an hour and a half.”

The fairies kept the whole of New Arcadia going. They were rarely visible but often audible, a humming that recalled the humming of bees restless to massacre the males and slaughter the other princesses to please their sister, the newly chosen queen. The fairies did not work in the fields or in the Factory. They did not cook or clean. But it was they who wove a sense of destiny into New Arcadia. Without a sense of destiny there would be no going on, for there would be nowhere to go.

The fairies had no enemies – for how could destiny have an enemy? – save one. Ladybugs. Tiny orange specks with wings. Wings with tinier black dots. The ladybugs made no humming noise. No hint of massacres for the newly crowned queen. They just flittered in quiet beauty, careful to disturb no one, seen but not heard. Thus, no one, not Alice or Evelyn, not the kleptomaniac, not the mapmaker, not the white witch, not the rain king, not John Wilson, not even the sweeper as far as anyone could tell, could divine their purpose or what it was about them that touched the spleen of the fairies.

* * *

BookCoverImage    year-bfly-cover        

Free Maggie Now!

Goodbye, Maggie (shortlisted for the 2019 Faulkner Prize) is FREE this week on Amazon (Kindle).

(If you don’t have a Kindle, download the app for free, and get all the books you need for COVID days.)

Click the cover below to link through. (Read some excerpts below.)

Get your copy while it’s free. Or if you have a copy, gift a copy or two to friends. Just tell them to be polite and write a brief and honest Amazon review in return for the freebie 🙂

Phil’s life becomes a fiasco of misdirection when his charismatic brother, Magnus, shows up with the news that he has murdered someone and asks for sanctuary. Magnus then disappears – with Phil’s girlfriend, Hermia – and Phil lands on an uneasy road trip through small town Louisiana with Gus, another rival for Hermia’s attention. Phil and Gus, white and black, find racism, madness, and unlikely friendships as they roll through the bayous and into New Orleans.

Excerpts:

First page

Closer to the end

* * *

BookCoverImage    year-bfly-cover        

Bargain Booksy – Faulkner Prize Finalist

Shortlisted for the 2019 Faulker Prize and now $3.88 as promoted on today’s Bargain Booksy list.

Share, enjoy, write reviews!

Link to Maggie here.
Bargain Booksy main site here.

In a culture of health nuts, gurus, quacks and seekers, Phil’s stagnant life collapses when his charismatic brother, Magnus, shows up with the news that he has murdered someone and asks for sanctuary. Thus starts a dramatic comedy of rollicking misdirection, as Magnus disappears – with Phil’s girlfriend, Hermia – and Phil lands on an uneasy road trip through small town Louisiana with Gus, another rival for Hermia’s attention. Phil and Gus, white and black, find racism, madness, and unlikely friendships as they roll through the bayous and into New Orleans.

Amazon link here.
Author site here.
Facebook link here.

* * *

(click covers for links)

BookCoverImage     year-bfly-cover          mgg cov clipped 2019-11-23

 

Hippies running free

Hippies is FREE this week on Amazon (Kindle).

Go on. Do it. Release your inner hippie.

Click the cover below to link through. (Read some excerpts below that.)

hpp snow

So get your copy now. Or if you have a copy, gift a copy or two to friends. Just tell them to be polite and write a brief and honest Amazon review in return for the freebie 🙂

Excerpts

Tripping on tan acid

Magic mushroom head shop and dry cleaners

Beach scene from Hippies

Day tripping with the hippies

A past-life regression

Rebecca’s place

(Click images below for links)

  year-bfly-cover              BookCoverImage     

Goodbye, Maggie

Here’s a draft opening for another novella (Goodbye, Maggie). If you have any thoughts, let me know.

* * *

D E S I R E
says the neon above the Royal Sonesta door on Bourbon

H U G E  A S S  B E E R S
screams the street vendor’s sign

H O M O  S E X  I S  S I N
exclaims a navy-blue banner sailing through the crowd with bold white print

To their credit, the men with the banner, who alternately huddle around it like a lodestone and spread through the crowd like feelers, are not reducibly homophobes. Draped from their shoulders, in the spirit of Corinthians 6, are full-length body posters decrying fornicators, liars, blasphemers, adulterers, thieves, hypocrites, drunkards, abortionists, witches, atheists, and money lovers. They are in the right place on this Mardi Gras day in New Orleans.

One could enjoy this scene from any of the wrought-iron balconies overlooking Bourbon St. On one such balcony, a petite woman with woven dark hair and stunning violet eyes (no one could forget the eyes), costumed as a fairy queen, surveys the festive crowd below. The unholy throng carouses the street in waves. The fairy queen disappears from the balcony. The crowd revels to a crescendo and subsides.

The fairy queen returns to balcony but with her back to us, a red chrysanthemum in one hand. After a moment, she falls, face up, arms spread like an angel in flight as her body nears the street.

* * *

A rickety old paneled Datsun mini-wagon clunks into a supermarket parking lot. Phil, nerdy, early thirties, image of mediocrity, gets out. He tries a couple of times to shut the door but the latch works poorly. He finally kicks it shut and heads toward the store.

“Piece of shit,” our hero mutters.

Phil browses the cake counter for a second. A hefty, middle-aged woman stands behind the counter.

“I’ll take that pink and yellow one. And could you put ‘Happy Birthday Mary Elizabeth’ on it?”

“Too long,” says the countress, heavy, languid, but with a spirit like a coiled spring. Phil wonders. Her hostility. Is it racial animus? Does the black woman behind the counter resent his whiteness? Is she simply beaten down by the drudgery of her job?

Phil wipes his glasses. “What do you mean, too long?”

“It’s too long, baby. All them letters on that lil’ cake. How about just ‘Happy Birthday’?”

No, she is not hostile. Phil remembers what Hermia said. He needs to allow for different personalities. But now he is aggravated.

“I can’t take a cake with just ‘Happy Birthday’! It won’t look … it won’t be special.”

“How about a bigger cake?”

Yes, she is hostile.

Phil browses impatiently.

“OK, give me that one.”

“Which one, baby?”

No, she is not hostile. But Phil cannot tone it down all the way.

“That one there. The one the size of Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch.’”

The server pulls the cake from the display case. She is mumbling, shaking her head. “Heard a no cake look like a watch.”

Phil fidgets as the server decorates the cake. She brings it over. It says, “Happy Birthday Mary Elizabeth,” and has a watch at the center. He looks at it, cocks his head.

“What’s that?”

“You said you wanted a watch.”

“I didn’t say I wanted a watch.”

The server sighs, moves her chin slightly, and shouts toward a woman by the oven.

“Hey, Bertha, you heard that man say he wanted a watch?”

“Yeah, sugar. He said a watch.”

The server looks back at Phil.

“Bertha heard you say a watch.”

Yes, she is hostile. Phil does not need this.

“OK, OK, look, can you just turn it into the star of Bethlehem or a gift from the wise men.”

“I thought you said it was a birthday cake.”

“Yeah, well, it’s Twelfth Night, too.”

“Twelfth Night? What the hell is that?”

“Feast of the Epiphany.”

She looks at him puzzled, as if awaiting an explanation. There is empathy, connection in her puzzlement.

“Epiphany,” Phil repeats. “Today’s the feast of the Epiphany.”

* * *

An art show is being held in a large, old, city home. People, some in costumes, are viewing paintings and art objects. A black cat masker observes a dark, richly colored landscape. She hears a voice.

“Too dark.”

She turns, startled by a close-up red and black Satan mask.

“Darkness,” says the Satan masker, “always comes with a tinge of light, doesn’t it?”

She moves on, uncomfortable.

* * *

Phil is in the parking lot with a couple of bags and the cake. He tries clumsily to put the cake on the roof of car, but it slowly slides off and crashes face-down in the parking lot. We in the audience well up with tears.

* * *

A burst of laughter at the art show. The Satan masker is away, observing another landscape including an apparent pagan ritual. He hears a voice.

x x x

  year-bfly-cover              BookCoverImage     

 (Click images for links)