So you can read my books

Friday, November 27, 2015


Even a child of poverty like myself saw Christmas through the eyes of innocence.

I was too young to know our Christmas meal of meatloaf

was lovingly, carefully cooked dog food fresh from the can ...

Its red topping from packets of ketchup plucked from the garbage bin behind our basement apartment.

The meatloaf tasted great to me ...
You see, it was served with the most magical of sauces:


The candle atop it was saved from my birthday cupcake,

but its brightness filled our dark apartment with love and magic.

Veteran of so few Christmases,

I didn't recognize our Christmas Tree was really a wiring together of broken pine needles

Mother had stealthily scooped up from a near-by lot selling whole trees.

All I knew was that their aroma filled our small basement apartment

with the magic that anything was possible.

Looking up through the lone window at sidewalk level,

Mother and I would sing carol after carol, their titles sparked by what we saw ...

Silver Bells. Let It Snow. Pretty Ribbons. O Holy Night.

I would eventually drift off to sleep,

awakening to my present not knowing the terrible price Mother had paid for it.

The red wagon bought from the money Mother received for selling a pint of her blood,

though she was so weak and frail.

The humongous stuffed tiger nearly as large as me

kept on layaway for 8 long months by a kind, patient store owner.

(I still have stuffed tigers in my apartment, standing vigil over a perplexed Midnight and myself.)

By the way,

my childhood love of tigers nearly killed me on my first trip to the Detroit Zoo. 

That story, however, is for another time.

But the Christmas and its carols of my childhood

( and I suspect from the childhood of most children)

are captured by ears still hearing the clatter of reindeer hooves atop roofs

and the chimes of snowflakes singing.

Let us cling to that child-like wonder this Christmas for as long as we can, shall we?

What do the memories and carols
of your childhood Christmases
bring to mind?

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Thanksgiving Night.

Meilori’s is a magnet for lost souls, predators, and victims waiting for the cobra’s strike.  

 It is a place where anything might happen and almost everything has.

I sit alone at my rune-carved table, supposedly where 12 knights and a very naïve King ruled a fantasy kingdom, 

doomed to end in betrayal and regret.

The Moonlight Sonata is playing softly overhead, 

but still I hear snatches of conversation at the tables around me.  I flick both eyes and ears to the nearest.

“A conquistador,” the woman with the trapped look to her eyes says.

“Very good, Sue,” answers the man.  

 “They arrived in the 16th Century and took over.  That’s what I’m doing.”

Sue flinches, and he says, “Why do I frighten you, kitten?”

She takes long moments to answer, 

“When I was a little girl, I used to go with Dad to his plant.  There was this giant room with a huge machine that towered to the ceiling. I squeezed his hand tight whenever we walked into it.”

Sue shivers

 “It had this enormous hammer thing in it at the top and when it rammed down to the ground, you could feel the thud in your feet go up your spine.  It seemed relentless, unstoppable … unfeeling.”

She clears her throat, 

“I just knew that one day, it would smash me into nothing -- which was why I clung to Dad's hand so tightly.”

The man's hard eyes narrow, “Not too flattering, kitten.”

Sue whispers

“You don’t care about me as a person.  I’m pretty.  I wash up well.  But it’s my father’s company you want.”

His eyes become dead. 

“That’s exactly it.  And there isn’t a thing you can do about it.  Katrina took your father so there is no hand to hold.  Only me.”

Sue says very softly, “I hate you.”

“That’s a strong enough emotion, kitten.  It will do.”

I draw in a deep breath I don't need: Time to give myself an early Christmas present.

I get up slowly and make my way to the table.  The man looks up, irritation in his flat eyes.  

 “This is my table, Cowboy.”

I sit down, shaking my Stetsoned head.  

 “No, it’s mine.  All the tables in Meilori’s are mine.  I’m just letting you use this one.”

At the three closest tables, wide-shouldered men start to rise but freeze when three of my Grimms sit in front of them.

Usually they clean up the messes in my jazz club.  But sometimes they make them first.

The man's cold eyes are filled with scorn as he turns to Sue.  

 “You really believe that garbage about this place?  So that’s why you suggested me taking you here?”

He sneers at me and withdraws a hundred dollar bill from his wallet.  

 “Look whoever you really are, here’s a hundred bucks.  Now, strut back to your table like the hero you pretend to be.”

I nod.  “Let’s shake on that, shall we?”

I rip the glove from my right cursed hand and take his own.  

 He sucks in a wet gasp.  I stiffen as his life force, along with his memories surge into me.

Faces of his victims.

His own in the mirror as a child, crying at another of his father’s beatings.   

The burn of his first taste of whiskey.   

The thrill of victory as he forced his will, his body upon yet another woman.


The man lays sprawled across the table, and Sue chokes out.  “Y-You are a monster like they say!”

I get up.  

 “Reckon so.  But now at least one of us has something to be thankful for tonight.”

As my Grimms approach to make their own Thanksgiving meal of a human turkey, I smile as it occurs to me that for them, Black Friday has come a day early.

Read how it all began in 1853:
{If you like this book,
 please review as Amazon has taken away most of its other reviews.} 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Nothing witty or profound ...  just my sincere wish that this Day 

be one of healing, peace, and small acts of kindness for all of you.

Sometimes being in the right
 is not as important 
as being at the side of a friend in need:


Tuesday, November 24, 2015


It is not even Thanksgiving yet, 
 and the Christmas lights are up in my city.

“Heap on more wood! the wind is chill; 

But let it whistle as it will, 

We'll keep our Christmas merry still.”

 - Sir Walter Scott

Driving home tonight after a long day and night of transporting rare blood over lonely rural roads, 

I saw the Christmas Lights on homes had gone up all over town.

You might think this tradition has been around for a looong time.  

You would be wrong.  

It has only been around for the past 60 years or so.

Yet, the custom goes back to putting candles on the Christmas tree in upper class homes in 18th century German homes.

In 1895, President Grover Cleveland put up the first electric lights on a tree in the White House.

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." 
- Samuel McCord

I thought as I drove that you and I are the true Christmas Lights.  

The Christmas Season is dark for many.  

For others it is a financially demanding gauntlet through endless store aisles, 

crammed with ill-tempered shoppers and frayed-nerved clerks.

By the light of our compassion, our concern, and our companionship, we can be small lights in a black season for many.

A candle's light is feeble, but it casts back the darkness enough for you to see far enough to take the next step.

“When we recall Christmas past, 

we usually find that the simplest things 

- not the great occasions - 

give off the greatest glow of happiness.” 

- Bob Hope

The American tradition of decorating evergreen trees, homes, and landscapes with brightly lit Christmas lights is not as old as many people think. Most of us probably assume that Americans have always used Christmas lights in one form or another but this isn't exactly true. As it turns out, this American tradition has only been around for about 60 years - See more at:
The American tradition of decorating evergreen trees, homes, and landscapes with brightly lit Christmas lights is not as old as many people think. Most of us probably assume that Americans have always used Christmas lights in one form or another but this isn't exactly true. As it turns out, this American tradition has only been around for about 60 years - See more at:

Monday, November 23, 2015


Angelina Jolie takes her children out of the country during the Thanksgiving Holidays 

as she finds what the pilgrims did to the Indians offensive.

I cannot blame her:

But she is missing the point behind Thanksgiving:


Thanksgiving may be the only major American holiday focused on giving thanks for all of life's blessings, 

but gratitude isn't just a good excuse for chowing down on turkey and pumpkin pie; 

it's also a way to promote good mental and physical health.

Gratitude can improve your sense of well-being and fight depression ...

unless you really hate your in-laws who are visiting or they hate you!

Grateful people engage in more exercise, 

have better dietary behaviors, 

are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol, 

and have higher rates of medication adherence.

A feeling of thankfulness for the positive things in your life 

can improve your sleep and lengthen its duration --

likely in part because you are consumed with fewer negative thoughts,

 and more pleasant thoughts as you drift off at night. 

 People who report more gratitude also show better cholesterol levels and blood pressure numbers.

A key to the effect, however, is that it must be other-focused.

 In a paper published in June 2014 in the Journal of Positive Psychology, Dr.Watkins and his colleagues 

showed that keeping a diary of three blessings worked much better to boost happiness 

than recalling three times when a person felt a sense of pride in his or her own accomplishments.

He says, 

 "What we believe is happening is that the habit of gratitude 

makes people look for the good in their life more, so it trains their attention towards more good things."

Gratitude is linked to optimism, which in turn, is linked to a boost to your immune system.

And during this flu season, making each day Thanksgiving could spare you sore throats, coughs, and trips to the doctor.

You see:

Gratitude is a gift that you can daily give yourself and your body.