Exclusive Excerpt: The Recluse Storyteller (on sale for a limited time)

The kindle version of my second novel, The Recluse Storyteller, is on sale now through April 6 for only 99 cents.

You can pick up a copy: HERE!

I’m happy to give you an exclusive excerpt. If you enjoy, please check out the full story.

Escape from the Margaret Meeting

The Friday evening meeting commenced, and Janice started.

“First, I’d like to thank Mrs. Johnson for hosting us here this evening. I’ve called all of you together, so we could talk freely about my niece, Margaret. Each of us knows her in one way or another, and I wanted to get an opinion from all of you about Margaret and how you think she is doing.”

“Might I ask what prompted you to call us all together to talk about another person? I’m not really comfortable with that,” asked Reverend Davies, who sat next to Michael Cheevers, who crunched his way through a bag of potato chips.

The rest of the room consisted of Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Trumble, and Chester Tomsey.

“Mrs. Trumble, would you like to address this issue?”

“Yes, I most certainly would. Now I’ve never been one to speak ill of someone without cause, and I’ve been greatly tolerant of being the recipient of coarse manners from Margaret, but I have seen her behavior become much stranger and, should I even say, violent recently.”

“Oh, come now,” interjected Chester Tomsey. “We all know that Margaret does not have the most heart-warming of personalities, but she is anything but violent.”

Reverend Davies did not like the start of this. He kept thinking about what Margaret had said when leaning up against the supermarket shelves.

“Mr. Tomsey, is it?” Mrs. Trumble inquired.

“Yes, that’s right.”

“And just what is your relationship with Margaret?”

“My firm employs her on a job-by-job basis. She writes and revises technical manuals for us. Actually, she’s a verbal genius.”

“Verbal genius! I think you are talking about the wrong Margaret,” belted out Cheevers with his mouth half-full of chips. “She’s no Margaret Queen of Scots.”

“That was Mary,” said Reverend Davies.

“That’s right, Reverend. She’s no Mary Mother of God either.”

The reverend exhaled heavily and rolled his eyes in Cheevers’ direction as did everyone else.

“Perhaps I shouldn’t have said verbal genius. What I meant was that she has a way with words—written words. I can’t tell you how much grief and stress that she has eliminated from my life. I think you are sorely mistaken if you think she is violent,” said Tomsey, trying to clarify his point.

“And how many times have you actually met her?” pressed Mrs. Trumble.

“None. I’ve never talked with the woman. We do everything over the Internet.”

“Well, I hardly think that makes you an expert on her character and behavior.”

“I’m basing my judgment on the quality and judicious nature of her work. She has an impeccable work record. Punctual. Detailed. Insightful. Any company would be lucky to have her. I know her character because it comes through in her work. If we are to suggest that she is anything but a wonderfully productive member of society, then we are mistaken.”

“And what exactly are we suggesting here?” Cheevers added. “Mrs. Johnson, do you have any beer?”


“Mr. Cheevers, please be patient. We are trying to get to the heart of the matter. Mr. Tomsey, your opinions about her work habits are duly noted, but I would like Mrs. Trumble to continue,” voiced Janice with a slight hint of annoyance.

Mrs. Trumble stood up and started addressing every incident and run-in that she ever had with Margaret. Everyone sighed with resignation that they would just need to wait it out. As the address continued, Sam and Pam crawled along the living room wall on all fours. The only person who could have seen them was Mrs. Trumble but not in her state. Sam reached safety first behind the kitchen island and waved Pam over. By the time they reached the door, Cheevers had a small window of opportunity to see them between the corner of the island and the wall of the hallway which led to a spare bedroom, but he was busy licking his fingers and sticking them back into the bag, trying to pick up the last few crumbs on his saliva-wet finger tips. Sam reached up and unlatched the door, quietly opening and closing it. They had spent the whole dinner hour planning their escape once they heard that the meeting was on. Pam even volunteered to cook her world-famous three-egg omelets so that their mother wouldn’t be in the kitchen. As Pam cooked, Sam got the WD-40 out of the hallway drawer and sprayed the front door hinges, so they wouldn’t squeak during their escape. They made it safely into the outdoor hallway.

Speed Writing. Speed Publishing. A Great Afternoon.

Besides being a writer, I’m a teacher. Sometimes those two facts collide. Like yesterday.

It was at the beginning of the high school-wide parent-teacher conference when I was sitting at my desk minding my own business. A colleague, who is in charge of the forensics team, came to me with an urgent request: could I write a duet acting script for a pair of students who desperately needed one? And by the way, could I do it quickly and could I have it published since the script for competition needs to be published?

I thought for a second. Why not? Yes, I’ll do it. This is, after all, the age for speed writing and speed publishing. I told her I would give it some thought and see if I could come up with a suitable idea to fit those two particular students, whom I knew well.

As a few parents came and went from my desk, my mind kept focused on a possible idea. I clicked into an old ideas file and browsed for a second. One in particular stood out to me, it was called GeneRations. I clicked on the file and saw a few ideas that I had about writing a short play on that topic. The ideas didn’t seem suitable. But the phrase GeneRations kept reverberating in my brain until after a few minutes, I had a simple scenario from which to start writing.

That’s it for me. Once the idea comes, it’s all Niagara Falls. And so I started pounding away at the keys as the dialogue flowed freely back and forth between my imaginary characters being written for two real students. I stopped from time to time to talk with some parents, and within an hour and a half of being asked, I walked up to my colleague and told her it was nearly finished. She asked what was finished. I said the script she requested. Her eyes lit up. I told her I’d polish it a little after school and send it to her for approval.

That evening, she told me that she loved it.

Now for the speed publishing. I plopped it into Scrivener, did some formatting, and had an ebook sample within minutes.

Now to Amazon. Got into my Kindle publishing account, set up the details and … oh … wait! Book cover!

OK. Quick. I brought up publisher and scanned through my photos from the past summer in America. I happened upon a photo I took from the 911 Memorial Museum in NYC. It was a wall that was made from pieces of chipped metal from the Twin Towers. It’s just a cool looking textured background. I recolored it, added the title and a new pen name that I use for short scripts, uploaded to Amazon and done!

The work is officially published and now eligible to be used in the local forensics competition.

What a fun and rewarding afternoon of creativity! I wish I could do that everyday. Writing and publishing a piece within 24 hours.

This is a pretty cool era in which to be a writer!


“Banyan Tree” featured on Digital Book Today new releases

My new release, The Reach of the Banyan Tree, is featured alongside a bunch of other new releases on Digital Book Today. They call it a romance & historical. That’s true, but it’s more than just that. It’s a generational tale that encompasses the time period from 1945 until 2014. I suppose that’s about seventy years or three generations. It’s a love story, adventure, and Vietnamese cultural feast. Thanks for checking it out.

Digital Book Today

Purchase on Amazon