Monday, March 6, 2017

Lonesome Traveler by Jack Kerouac -- A Review

Jack Kerouac was on the cusp of becoming one of the best known of the Beat poets and writers when this book was written.

Cover image for Lonesome Traveler, by Jack Kerouac

Lonesome Traveler

When Jack wrote Lonesome Traveler, he was working at various jobs while he tried to get On The Road published. He observed, lived through and recorded a time period of change in the USA. It was a time of questioning, a time of epic road trips and the introduction of variety in American literature style.

In this autobiographical work, Jack Kerouac writes about the years of his wandering, when he worked as a railway brakeman in California, a steward on a tramp steamer, and a fire lookout on Desolation Peak in the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

Lonesome Traveler includes San Francisco stories, New York scenes (the clubs, the parties), and a saved-for big trip to Europe. Jack was getting his culture education and wasn't afraid of working to achieve his goals. This generation was restless, curious, and a forerunner of the social movements to come. No longer content to sit and grow old in the same place as their parents, the young adults of this time period (the 50s) wanted to see the USA and the world'.

Kerouac also reveals more about himself in this book, as he talks about his goals, his work and how he writes. His personal life is always a bit 'in limbo' as his relationships don't tend to survive. He does remain in touch with the other members of the Beat group, albeit sporadically. A bit different from his stream of consciousness rambling, Lonesome Traveler is an enjoyable read with a lot of detail packed into the narrative.  I recommend this book for those who like the historical detail of the Beat poets and writers, or those who like to read about the man, Jack Kerouac. 

An Alley in 'Frisco

In recognition of his literary contributions, Jack Kerouac has an alley behind City Lights Bookstore named for him. 'If you're going to San Francisco' as the song goes, be sure to stop by and drop in at the City Lights Bookstore. Ferlinghetti, the longtime owner-poet-writer, ensured many of the Beat authors were represented there, along with poets and other authors.

Kerouac Alley in San Francisco, CA. by AC, prop DG Hudson

Have you ever read any of the Beat writers? Are you a fan of Kerouac's novels? Ever seen Kerouac Alley?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! I'll soon be reading and reviewing several more recent books, one by Jessica Bell, and several by other current indie writers. 


American poet, painter, liberal activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers.

City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco

A to Z post on Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac, American writer


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WEP Back of the Drawer - Automatic Slim

At the back of my desk drawer, I found this story based on the very real theft of a collector blade, The Godfather knife. It's a weapon that keeps making an appearance in one dead body after another. . .

So, who is the thief?

Promotional photo of The Godfather Knife - Google Images

Automatic Slim . . . 
A short story excerpt

Yellow police tape cordoned off a small rancher a few blocks off Commercial Drive, in Vancouver’s east end, while lights flashing from several police car beacons created a strobe effect. A few blocks away, the emergency sirens blared a warning to pedestrians and traffic on Broadway. The noise grew louder as the ambulance and coroner’s van arrived one after the other at the scene of the homicide. 

Vancouver Police officers were directing pedestrians to move back from the barriers while forensics specialists and the coroner collected and tagged their evidence.  Bystanders, including a few dog walkers and a couple of joggers, stood nearby talking to their neighbours trying to determine what had happened.
“Keep back from the barricades, everyone, or I’ll have to clear the area.  No statements will be issued at this time.”  

Constable Sean McNulty glowered at the crowd and the reporters standing by the barriers, using his imposing size and bushy eyebrows as reinforcement. It didn’t stop reporters or the gawkers with their camera phones from taking photos of the house.  No one argued -- but they didn’t move either.  Any one of them could have phoned in the anonymous tip the precinct had received that morning.

“Constable, don’t we have a right to know what’s happening in our own neighbourhood?” asked the white-haired lady from the house two doors down.  “I live by myself and this violence frightens me. I need to know what to watch for.”
“Yes lady, you do.  But first, we need to do our preliminary investigation.  Now, if any of you have any information about the deceased Mr. Divenuto, please let Constable Johnson take your statement.  If anyone witnessed anything, we need to know.  Johnson’s the one standing over there by the patrol car.”

Only a couple of those hanging around went over to talk to the officer, offering what they knew of the young victim. No one seemed to like him much, judging by the comments.
“He wasn’t a friendly guy, if you know what I mean,” said one of the men.  “Kept to himself, and didn’t have many visitors.  Didn’t even cut his own lawn.  Paid some gardening service to do that.”

“Did you hear anything late last night or early this morning?  A struggle or yell, anything unusual?”  Constable Johnson said as he made eye contact with the crowd.

“Not at the time he comes home. That’s usually in the wee hours. He can walk home from Grey’s Tavern, a bar on Commercial Drive.”

Constable Johnson and the local police unit knew the exact location of Grey’s Tavern, having been called there on several occasions to settle disturbances.

Rico, born Ricardo Divenuto, had been found dead in his home with the murder weapon buried in his flesh. Between the second and third ribs, the officers had found a knife thrust through to the heart. Not just any knife, but an elegant one with a white ivory handle encasing six inches of black satin steel. 

According to the coroner, the weapon had been placed with surgical precision and the intent to kill. Judging from the lack of visible evidence and the sweet smell of chloroform, the coroner reported that the victim had been under forced sedation prior to death.

Constable McNulty pulled up a background check on the laptop in the squad car. Rico’s police profile showed minor offences, and suspected complicity in a few felonies. Lack of evidence had prevented any serious charges being laid against him.  He was thirty-one years old, but had spent time in juvenile detention as a minor.

After Rico’s body was zipped in a body bag for delivery to the morgue, Forensics packed their specimen evidence and equipment into cases for the lab. Constables McNulty and Johnson were the last to leave and locked the house. The yellow tape remained, edging the property like an ugly fence.

“What do you think happened, McNulty?  That fancy knife seems out of place, don’t you think?”
“Looks like a vengeance killing to me. And Johnson, this is off the record and goes no further than the two of us -- understand?  We’re not paid to give our opinions, nor to do any talking about it.  Let’s go get a coffee at Timmy’s before we head to the precinct, I could use a strong one.”

“I’m aware of the consequences McNulty, and I don’t talk about my job. Coffee sounds good. I’ll pay. You drive.”

“You got a deal.”

“Knives have a certain beauty to them, an aesthetic value above the actual utilitarian purpose for which they were designed,” said Jonathan Ashworth. “Especially this one,” he said pointing to a switchblade in his collection. “It’s the Protec Godfather Tuxedo Model.”

“Yes, it’s a fine piece, that one,” said Dr. Samuel Jarvis.  “Looks brand new and deadly, is it a recent acquisition?”
Sam, an authority on unusual methods of killing, had written several books on hand weapons and lectured on historical and current models. He worked with the Street Crime Investigation Unit when his expertise was needed. As an old friend of Jonathan’s, Sam came once a week for breakfast and companionship.

“As a matter of fact, yes, it is. A replacement, actually, since the original that I purchased on a trip to Florida was stolen a couple of days ago. I was showing it to a small group of guests at my annual open house, when I was asked to meet someone at the front door. When I returned, it was gone.”


He pushed the cabinet back into the hidden wall enclosure, and locked the steel door. As Sam walked back to the dining room, he noticed a stack of small rectangular boxes with elegant black and white packaging in the corner. Neither Jonathan nor Sam mentioned the police incident from the rental house three doors over. Each kept that information close to their heart

Inspector Mike Patterson had pulled Sam into the murder case at the local tavern, when Forensics saw the special knife.  Rico Divenuto, when he was among the living, had been employed at the local motorcycle dealership, and rode his bike in his off hours with the gang that hung around Grey’s Tavern. 

Inspector Patterson approved Sam's request to interview some of the people on Jonathan's guest list. They were investigating other leads from their undercover operations at the tavern.  There was no reason - yet - to advise the inspector of his friendship with Jonathan.

WC= 1071 (for story only) not including lead-in and notes.

To Be Continued. . .at a later date.

Two more bodies will be found stabbed with the same knife. This whodunit in full is about 5000 WC so can't post the whole story. Automatic Slim is a lead-in story to introduce the character Sam Jarvis who also appears in a novella/novelette based on a border story incident.

What was in the back of your drawer? A mystery object? A forgotten story? A box with someone's history in it? Do you have any special weapon, either purchased or inherited?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by!


WEP -Write, Edit, and Publish

The prompt: Create an artistic interpretation: a poem, a flash fiction piece of 1000 wc or less, a personal experience, a dream or a photographic essay. The genre and style are up to you. You could find a note about a scandal, a love lost, a deed, a lottery ticket or a will naming you the beneficiary. Have fun with it!

Thanks Yolanda and Denise for hosting this challenge and thanks to those behind the scenes as well!

What will you find at the Back of the Drawer? Check the main list here.


The Knife  - Wiki


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Duma Key by Stephen King - A Review

Amid the lulling noises of the ocean waves rushing onto the beach are the clicking of shells under the pink house that reaches out over the water . . . or is that sound, voices? No, it's only shells, only shells. . .

elsewhere in the Florida Keys. . .

This is a suspense story woven into the deceiving background of palm trees, island beaches, and shells that 'talk' beneath a house reserved for artists. In this story by Stephen King, master of the horror genre, we learn about an artist who seemingly reaches the peak of his talent after a traumatic accident. 

Edgar Freemantle has suffered from a construction accident which takes his right arm and some of his memories. He is left with a scrambled mind and a throbbing rage as he begins rehabilitation. After the accident, his marriage falters and ends, leaving Edgar wishing he had not survived.

He moves to South Florida in the Keys, those islands that extend from the mainland outward into the Gulf of Mexico. His therapist tells him to get a hobby he enjoys and try to come to terms with his new life. Edgar begins to draw and paint. . .at times feeling a driving force he cannot identify. The results astound him. Now he has a purpose, but he wonders at what is driving him. Perhaps it's the need to do something, anything. Perhaps not.

As he settles in to the Pink House, he begins to meet his neighbours and others who live or do business on Duma Key. One elderly lady who owns part of the island, including the house in which he is staying, has a few quirks of her own. She takes a liking to Edgar, as does her hired helper, called Wireman. Between trying to get his work into a gallery for an art opening and trying to determine what is real and what isn't, Edgar has his hands full. His past life intervenes when one daughter who is closer to her father, comes to visit. Everyone is praising the work that Edgar is creating, especially as he has suffered the loss of one arm. That arm occasionally feels as if it's still there. . .

Edgar realizes he must find out 'what' happened to the original family that settled here. One of them is still living. The deeper Edgar and his friends investigate, the more the paranormal activity increases. Relationships between the characters, secrets about the past and the strange behaviour of plant life and the ocean near the Pink House will keep you wondering what's next. The pace in Duma Key is much better than the pace in The Stand, which I found too drawn-out in the middle. 

I recommend Duma Key to readers who are fans of Stephen King, love paranormal stories or suspense, or those who have an interest in art. It didn't take me long to get through it, it's a page turner. 

Are you a fan of Stephen King's writing? Have you read Duma Key? What would you do if you thought the house you lived in or rented was haunted?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. I have several upcoming book reviews about books by: Jack Kerouac, Agatha Christie (2), and Diana Gabaldon. Hope you drop by to check them out, especially if you're looking for a change of pace. 


NOW in the news (Jan 28/17): Sanctuary Cities

Update: Canadian cities follow American counterparts in declaring Sanctuary for undocumented immigrants: Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, with others discussing and voting on joining the move to resist following Trump policies on the Canadian side of the border.  See CBC news Feb 21/17.

Original news: Jan 28/17
Many of the great cities in the USA are putting up resistance to the current protectionist policies of the new president, in particular, immigration. The following article is from our Canadian news. CBC News, Sanctuary cities in the USA. Egalitarian policies still prevail in some smart humane cities, managed by smart mayors! Bravo!!


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Roland Yeomans - The Not-So-Innocents Abroad Novel - A Review

Steampunk, Floating Airships, and new inventions, oh my, with an entourage of characters who are invited for a one-of-a-kind cruise. Wouldn't you like to come along?

The Not So Innocents Abroad -Cover. by Roland Yeomans

The Journey begins

Sam McCord, Meilori, Meilori's henchmen, Ada, Abigail, and a young Tesla cross paths with vampire politicians, Captain Nemo, and other assorted villains in this adventure set in a time of exploration and new inventions. The original stated purpose is to take the guests to the great world exposition in Paris, with a few side trips.

However. . .

All is not what it seems. The airship is powered by new technology and Meilori's control. Sam McCord does what a Texas Ranger is hired to do, keep the peace or control the mayhem. Somewhat. This is a cruise meant to impress and to explore, but at the same time, it is a venue where Sam McCord and Meilori can rein-in certain revenants-the undead-and others who plan their demise.

Will the tour survive? Will Captain Nemo get his way? Will Sam McCord and Meilori be able to deter the plots set in motion by those who have gone to the Dark side? This is a book which makes you want to look over your shoulder for those souls lurking in your own past. . .

In Not So Innocents Abroad, Roland Yeomans has crafted another tale of a world we can only imagine, yet one which mirrors the real world in some aspects - one in which good and evil battle for control against known and unknown enemies. Plots and sub-plots entangle our hero and his heroine, but the demon alien goddess (Meilori) paired with her solid Texas lawman with a deadly right hand manage to survive, so far. . .This tale continues in Roland's next novel, The Not So Innocents at Large.

Underneath the tension of the adventure runs the never-ending, time-spanning romance of McCord and Meilori. I recommend this novel for those who like steampunk, adventure, history and the magical world which the author has created. This is a book which will transport you to those realms where anything is possible.

To learn more about Roland Yeomans, the prolific author, please visit his website, Writing in the Crosshairs, where you can view some of his other titles. 


Are you a fan of steampunk tales? Have you read Roland Yeomans novels? Do you like adventure with a fantasy twist?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! Hope 2017 will bring us better news and events than the past year! 


Roland's website 

More info on Roland Yeomans as Author (from the A-Z authors list)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Asteroidian Dreams of Utopia - WEP Holidays 2016

Utopia? I wouldn't call it that. It's Someplace Else I dream about, A real planet. . .

Image 1, see credits 

Noises drifted into the corridor from one of the lab units. Loud voices. Aperture doors cycled open and closed with only a slight click.  Then, silence. A woman stepped into the corridor, paused for a moment as the door cycled close. She turned and headed for the marked surface exit. Two seconds later, a head popped out of the door which just cycled open again and a young man said, "Citizen Leta, excuse me Citizen Leta Buk!"

Leta tried to relax her shoulders and hands. Tension did that to her. Made her want to bite something hard. 

Keep walking. Ignore. Keep walking. Focus. That man can't tell me what I can do. My job is to study the surface, and I'm prepared this time in case the lurker I saw before is dangerous, human or something unknown. As prepared as a human can be. 

After a few minutes, the head belonging to the young man in an officer's uniform disappeared and the door cycled shut again. His name tag identified him as Citizen Dako Jon, Special Assignment Officer.


Image 2, see credits

Leta put on the custom surface suit she had bought for exploring the outer layer of the asteroid. One of the tailors in the colony made these for special request at a likewise special price. It was puncture resistant, had a longer airtime for its oxygen breathing tanks which were made with a lightweight composite, and included a built in deflector vest. No one asked the tailor how he managed to acquire the materials; they didn't want to know.

After cycling the airlock compartment closed, she left the re-purposed starship which served as the main administration centre. It was built into the highest level of the colony, stripped from the mother ship. Once she was out, where  no one could live without life support, away from the claustrophobic areas and recycled air, she felt more calm.  She checked the spot where the heat signature had appeared on her last outing. It was innocuous. There was nothing to indicate anything had been there.

She pulled out her constellation map copies to compare those to the multitudes of stars above and around her.  She wanted to map the constellations she could observe from this colony, and soon was absorbed in her study. With a special tool designed for her spacesuit -a little extra installed by the maker of the suit-she started to plot her own star chart. The flexible fingers and small manipulations she could do made the cost of the suit reasonable.

It's an investment. And it hides a very capable weapon capable of stunning or killing. I hope I can find out what was shadowing me last time.

Image 3, see Credits

The feeling of being watched suddenly came back and she turned quickly. There! She saw a flash of what looked to be a humanoid figure dart in the shadows in a different location than before. She activated the suit's weapon array and the transmitter inside her helmet. 

"Attention, intruder. This is Citizen Leta Buk. Show yourself. Identify your name and your purpose. My weapon is armed and ready."

"I acknowledge, Citizen Buk. I mean no harm. I have been shadowing you to see why you come up here, and I wanted to learn who you were. Not many ever come to the outside, not unless they have to. My name is Killian Max, I'm a historian."

He's no assassin. . .or I'd be dead. She disarmed her weapons. "Accepted. I don't remember seeing you before, did you transfer in from another part of the colony?"

"Yes, I'm from Level 8, transferred in a few weeks ago, but I'm a nobody really," he said. "But one day, that could change. I invent things, I create something new out of a bit of this and that. Like this suit I'm wearing."

"Your surface suit? You made it yourself? I couldn't get a heat signature from your suit the first time you stalked me."

"I don't know why I'm telling you that I make things, but it's my secret. I could get into more trouble if word gets out. And, I wasn't stalking. I was observing."

"It's illegal to create new technology? That doesn't make sense. But don't worry, I  can keep a secret."

"The council members fear that it was technology that derailed a lot of old civilizations, fear that it will subvert the human goals. Fear of the new. It's a way of controlling growth and it allows the council to monitor what it calls rogue citizens. . ."

"You don't seem like a crazy inventor. . ."

"I consider myself like those greats from Antiquity - Tesla, Edison, and others. I honour their memory from the age when inventions were heralded, not hidden. I like to dream about other places, planets rather than chunks of rock. Places where inventions are welcome. I want to see things. I don't want to stay here all my life."

"So, you're a dreamer like me."

"If that means dreaming of other places and better times, yes. In the meantime, I work on my inventions, test them covertly, and study our ancestors. Could I ask you something about your work?"

"Sure. I'm a mapper for the surface of this colony. I have begun to map the constellations in our system for my own interest."

"Is that what you doing with those sheets of film I saw you drawing on?"

"Yes. Mapping. This suit has been adapted for my work. It's what I do. Making star charts is like mapping the universe, or at least a part of it."

"I'll remember that if I run across any ancient maps in my work. There is so much of our history that has been suppressed here in the colony. For instance, have you ever heard of Christmas? It's an ancient Terran holiday that seems to have been lost from our collective memory."

"I've never heard anything about it. Why was it a holiday?"

"It celebrated peace, and was entangled with several religious traditions that seem like legends to us. People would sing, give gifts and try to help those less fortunate. There was a feast using some type of avian species which was unique to Terra."

"Interesting. So many things died or were lost when Old Sol, the Terran sun went nova. Will we ever find the remnants of the human race, scattered as it is? That would be a good reason to bring back some of the old ways. I'm ready."

"I've been ready for some time. I'm glad we have met. It gives me hope that there's more out there. . ."

"Yes, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, Killian."

"That sounds like something I read somewhere before. Well met, Leta."

And so, another link in the chain is formed. A chain which will eventually pull these two scientists in training away from their birthplace and toward other colonies and planets. As the circle turns and twists, what was old becomes new again.




WEP, aka Write, Edit, and Publish

Thanks to Yolanda and Denise, co-hosts of Write, Edit, Publish for once again stirring our minds to create! We all have dreams, the fleeting kind that can end up being nightmares or the ones about what we would like to achieve, but for the Utopian Dreams Challenge, we want to know about that secret desire, the something you spend time daydreaming about, talking about and maybe even secretly planning for. It can be anything that will make your life seem perfect, or utopian. However, reality is rarely ideal. Let's talk about as we end the year 2016, and look forward to perhaps getting a little closer to that dream.

The challenge: Create an interpretation of your own choosing: a poem, a flash fiction piece, a non-fiction piece detailing an experience, or write a script, draw your dream, or find photographs to show us the essence of the dream and enhance the story. It's up to you. Have fun and don't forget to visit all the participants on the list who are sharing their ideas.

Can you imagine how it might be to live underground on an asteroid? Do you think traditions can fade away as centuries pass? 

Thanks for visiting, and please leave a comment to let me know you were here. I'll respond. I also want to thank everyone who has been a regular visitor here or just occasionally drops by. I will try to get back into my own posting routine after the holidays.



NOTE: this story continues as Part 2 of Asteroid Stories

Previous WEP story: If I Wish Upon a Constellation, Part I Write Edit Publish



1st Image via Hubble
Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

2nd Image via Pixabay

3rd image via Hubble
Credit: NASA, ESA, CXC and the University of Potsdam, JPL-Caltech, and STScI


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

If I Wish Upon a Constellation - WEP October Challenge

If I Wish Upon a Constellation,  will more stars make the wish come true?

What was that old Terran saying? Star light, Star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight. . . .

Omega Nebulae *

As I look up into the darkness above me, I see multitudes of glittering stars, and a few constellations I know. Some regions of the starry sky have order and others do not, they seem splattered on the darkness in chaos. The swirling clouds of nebuli glow with colours for which we have no names, as stars are born from the etherial dust. A flash of distant brightness as a star goes nova, and a comet streaks by, its tail streaming. This is a performance, a light show of the night sky.

Eagle Nebulae Pillars *

All around me I see the dust and little rocks which make up the surface of this asteroid which is our colony's home. This fine dust gets into everything. Likely it's in our bodies, too. The surface is barren and unwelcoming. But below the surface, we manage with what we have. It's not a bad life, but it is a hard life. 

Telescope Image*
On Terra, so the teachers tell us, the ancients studied the stars, gave them names and sent probes to explore them.. All this, which they told us was unfounded however, until a recent discovery.

While working my shift turn at the main library, I found a forgotten copy of an antiquated manuscript on constellations which detailed groupings of stars in the various quadrants as seen from old Terra. It had fallen between two storage shelves. Now, I had that manuscript, hidden in my satchel, loaned to me under strict secrecy by a sympathetic librarian in our colony.  I had to return it in a few days. All artifacts had to be submitted to the colony panel.

As I leaned back on the rock, I caught a movement out of the side of my eye. All my sensors went on high alert. What was that? And, why is it hiding?

Something doesn't feel quite right. Maybe I'm sensing something. Prickly hair on my neck, and a twitchy eye.  A bad sign. No one could know about the manuscript pages I brought up to compare to our stars. . .could they?

I look around but see nothing. Only one person knows I'm on the surface and that person is out at one of the camps.  
I have to do something. . .

I reached for the laser pistol clamped on the side of the suit. I turned. Nothing. All seemed as it should. I did a quick 360 degrees turn, using my visual infrared feature of the helmet to scan for heat signatures. There, something giving off a very small heat signature  behind that outcropping. 

Then it was gone. No heat signature reading. No movement. I looked away, for just a moment. When I looked back, they were gone. I wasted no time in getting up, keeping the pistol in my gloved hand and securing the exterior door after leaving the airlock.

Another incident. 


Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and tell me how you feel about the unexplored frontier in space? 

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read my post. Please remember to visit the others on the participation list found on Denise's blog.


Write, Edit, Publish

FLASH FICTION, POETRY, NON-FICTION, PLAYSCRIPTS, ARTWORK OR PHOTOGRAPHY.  It's your choice of medium, and genre, but the word count should be about 1000 maximum. Check out more details at the WEP site, and there you will find the entrants participating in this challenge!  

Join us in these challenges, and practice your short fiction!WEP Hosts: Denise and Yolanda



* = From various telescope images. images of constellations Galactic quadrant Orion constellation


a group of stars forming a recognizable pattern that is traditionally named after its apparent form or identified with a mythological figure. Modern astronomers divide the sky into eighty-eight constellations with defined boundaries. OR a group or cluster of related things.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016


“Paris was an old city, the very moonbeams seeming but ghosts of sad lovers wandering the night in search of their lost soulmate.”
Mark Twain

Welcome to my DON’T BUY MY BOOK! Blog Tour.  This stop graciously provided by the ever kind D.G. Hudson.

Pixabay Image of the Louvre Museum

D.G. loves the Louvre … and since part of my Steampunk occurs in that fabled museum, I thought to speak of it.

But before approaching its awe-inspiring galleries, let me tell you why I named my tour: DON’T BUY MY BOOK!

R. Yeomans, for The Not-So-Innocents at Large

Like life in Paris, the craft of writing is never simple, for it embraces not just the “How” but the “Why” and the “What” as well.

I don’t wish for you to buy my book; I wish for you to WANT my book.

Most people have given up the hope of ever finding a book that so completely draws them in that they totally forget about their own lives and actually live the exploits of characters who have become more real than many of the people with whom they work.

How do you write a book like that?

Understand that there are no heroes … only ordinary folks who must step up to the challenges facing them and do more than what they feel they are capable of.

Cora Pearl’s Image above Paris

Tap into the primal fears we all have, the inner needs that comprise the human heart, and pull your reader into the turbulent lives of your characters by making him or her care if they win or lose.

How to do that?

You craft your characters so that the reader sees herself in them and her enemies in the antagonists your characters face.

When I wrote of visiting the Louvre, your mind filled with the magnificent items that the famous museum contains. I did that as a magician distracts the audience with a false flourish. You see, Paris of 1867 was an all too real city, filled with heartbreak and despair.  Those with seeing eyes found the rot beneath the gilded façade disturbing.

View the early morning streets of Paris through the eyes of Texican, Samuel McCord, and his Apache blood-brother, Elu:

Considering its many gardens, you might think Paris fragrant.  You would be right … and wrong.  Story of the human race I guess.  The streets of Paris reeked of decay both literally and figuratively.  Its idea of sanitation was to throw everything unwanted out into the street: dish water, feces … people. 

The stench of Paris made me long for the clear, clean mountain air of home.  It wasn’t the soot that layered every building I passed, but the soot that stained this city’s soul.  Six thousand children a year were delivered like so much refuse to the orphanage run by the Catholic Sisters of Charity.

In various parts of the city, there were places with small boxes in which tiny babies could be “deposited” like unwanted clothes.  I sighed.  In winter one child in three of those children died of exposure.

Elu flicked hard eyes to me as we walked the awakening streets of Paris.  “Have I told you lately how much I hate the White Man’s cities?”

My steps picked up as I thought I spotted one of those accursed boxes.  Elu growled low under his breath and walked at my side like an angry panther.  I got to the damn box and bent down, dreading what I would find.

It was empty.

Still standing tall, Elu grunted, “What would you have done, Dyami, if you had found an infant there?”

I looked up at him puzzled, “Why take care of the child, of course.”

“Of course,” he laughed without a trace of humor.  “Dyami, even you cannot take care of the whole world.”

I nodded.  “Don’t mean to.  I just take care of those lost souls whose trails cross mine.”

Elu’s face became flint as he kneeled beside me, looking with disgust at the tiny box.  I had the terrible notion that his mystic nature was having him feel all the deaths that had happened to small crying babies who died of exposure or thirst in this wooden coffin.  He flicked harder eyes to me. 

Have I told you how much I hate the White Man’s cities?


See how I put in juxtaposition your expectations of beauty with the confrontation of stark reality?  That is how you draw your reader in. Do not worry: a mysterious tour of the Louvre does take place at the end of my Steampunk novel …

Along with an aerial battle atop the Thunderbird against attacking dragons above the Eiffel Tower. And, there is much more:

The Sidhe kidnapping Princess Victoria; a deadly “Red Wedding” in the catacombs beneath the ancient Rouen Cathedral; the passengers of the first Air/Steamship, Xanadu, being attacked by the Fae Spell of St. Vitus Dance; Samuel McCord being cornered by the Rougarou, the werewolves of France. 

What are you waiting for?  

Disregard the title of my tour.  BUY MY BOOK! 


Any comments about the covers and images? Have you been to the Louvre Museum? If not, would you like to? 

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here AND to welcome Roland to the Rainforest Writing Blog. Each comment will receive a reply. . .Thanks for dropping by! Please check out Roland's blog when you have time at Writing in the Crosshairs.

References:  Roland Yeomans Blog Reference to this post