All My Children are Apples!

but if the tree is on a hill, an apple can roll pretty far

[another bite of the novel in progress, A Republic of Books, more of which may be found elsewhere on this ethereal site]

Of all the many failures for which I hold myself responsible, my children are the most discouraging. They have each taken up one or more of my many faults and grafted them onto their own stem. My complaint might sound similar to that of any parent who has wished the best for his family and then, his best advice discarded, watched helplessly as they sallied forth to their own destinies, but I think my unhappiness is at least somewhat deepened by the degree of separation, even when they are in the same room. We love each other, well enough. I have never had any inkling that they do not love me, or their mother, and my own affections have never flagged. But it is a fact that I cannot easily speak with them about any topic closer to our personal lives than the sports results, the places we have gone or would go if we could, eating establishments we have discovered or recollections of all the more mundane things we have done. The present indicative in our own lives is pretty much verboten. Politics is off limits. The news—beyond the reportage of an ongoing catastrophe—is taboo. Philosophy is prohibited. Personal problems (other than medical) are wholly proscribed. And talk of my own work, because it so often transgresses one or more of the above categories, is banned in Boston. read more…

Skinny dipping in the Glenmacnass

and the sins of our fathers

[a lagniappe of the work in progress, A Republic of Books, more of which may be found elsewhere on this ethereal site]





Act 3: Scene 4


Skinny dipping in the Glenmacnass


Duggin’s Bar. Peter Duggin is behind the bar on a quiet Wednesday night. Doreen is on a break. Michael enters and sits at center left.



What’s the latest screw, Michael?



My income taxes.



I didn’t think you had much of that to deal with.



No. But I haven’t kept the proper records, it seems. I keep everything. Every receipt goes in a box. But so much of it’s electronic now. Hard to remember what something was that I paid two dollars and fifty-eight cents for three years ago. A bottle of Windex or packet of condoms.



No problem there. We know you didn’t buy any condoms. read more…

A veritable husband of imperfections

with a virtual wifeful of corrections

[A riff from the novel in progress, A Republic of Books, more of which can be read elsewhere on this ethereal site.]

I wrote this a few years ago: ‘He was a virtual husband of cute imperfections and she a veritable wife of helpful corrections. When first they met and fell in love, they lived together happily enough, until married, and only then found the weight of the actual contract too heavy a burden for either of them to bear; his endearing defects became unbearable to live with and the scorn of her complaints left him weary. She was not so very virtuous, and he most nearly imperfectible. He wanted verity, and she needed variety. Their divorce was inevitable.’ read more…

Scalloped again!

Wherein my education continues.

[another trifle from my alms-basket of words, A Republic of Books, the novel in progress to be found elsewhere on this ethereal site]

The door opens abruptly, only seconds after I’ve unlocked it. The customer is in a hurry and makes that clear with several wagging gestures and a quick huff of breath. She is young, in her twenties, and has the sort of blue eyes you see on con-artists and movie actors—hard, as if outlined in black. Maybe its the mascara. The muscles of her cheeks have the stiffened took of pulled taffy. Not pleasant. Her nose extends between her cheeks like the foot of a clam. read more…

Mr. Popper’s Paradox

is killing ourselves to death

[A mote from the novel in progress, A Republic of Books, more of which may be found elsewhere on this ethereal site.]

‘I remember ye olde bookshoppe.’ This will undoubtedly be the subject of countless internet articles in the coming years as the last of us disappear—no, not the internet that we know today. By Moore’s Law, that will be thrice gone, but the names for the bookish parts will still be used, just the way they now abuse so many book terms to identify the ephemeral elements of digital word processing. But what will be recalled in that waxing of nostalgia, will in fact have never been. Just another joke in the dustbin of history. read more…

What Sven Forkbeard means to me

and the consequences of lying

[ being the latest driblet from the novel in progress, A Republic of Books]

Writing is, fundamentally, a conversation with yourself. That’s it, in the nutshell. (The nut shell of your own head, of course.) Remember to listen to yourself and answer your own questions when you can. Don’t just talk. Be polite. Try to finish the conversation as you would want to with anyone else. Beyond that it’s a dressing up, or down—to gussy or hone. If you can’t talk to yourself, you can’t talk to anybody, so forget about the whole thing. If what you’ve done with your words embarrasses you, revise. Never tell the truth if the lie is better. (A lie is less likely to embarrass you or anyone else.) But tell the truth if you must. And if, after an appropriate period of absence, your words confuse you, revise or recant. If your tone seems strident, soften that. If it feels too serious, make a joke of it. If you can’t laugh at your own joke, remove it and replace the blunder. If the whole thing bores you, toss it in the round file with your other failed efforts—but keep a copy. You may be in a better mood at a later time. And always keep in mind (the afore mentioned nutshell) nothing written is ever lost. read more…

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Novels & Novellas Available for Purchase

I Am William McGuire

I Am William McGuire

It’s a bloody Cro-Magnon world.
What’s a Neanderthal to do?


A Slepyng Hound to Wake

A Slepyng Hound to Wake

Leaving well enough alone is not good enough at all—not if the reason for a death is to be found in the life that was lost.


Henry Sullivan has made a simpler life for himself, finding and selling books. There is little room in it for either love or murder.



I have been informed by trusted authority that the short quip which I have placed here for the last year or so, by way of biography, lacks gravitas. “Over-paid by others for hyphenated jobs such as lawn-work, snow-shoveling, house-painting, office-boy, dish-washer, warehouse-grunt, table-waiter and hotel night-clerk–I’ve since chosen to be a writer, editor, publisher, and for most of my life, a bookseller, and even managed to occasionally pay myself. Hound is my first published novel.” And so it does. It is hard to be serious about so unserious a subject as oneself. But herewith, and keeping the ‘nasty bits’ (Brit expressions are so brilliant) to myself, I offer then, this ongoing post begun as posts at Small Beer Press. If anyone is interested, from time to time I will add something at the end to bring the epic closer to the present moment.