NEW FICTION: Bourbon & Blondes has arrived!

From the bus stations of Rt. 66 to the smoky, neon-tinged jazz dives of the big cities, these wanton tales of longing introduce us to vixens on the fringe and those shifty men that drove them there.

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Watch: The 'Bourbon & Blondes' Book Trailer

Get your shot glass ready because you're about to enter a retro world of showgirls, drifters, barmaids and thieves.

The eternal question for scribes?

In this new social media landscape, the question becomes: Is blogging dead? It just may be...

Watch: The 'Front Page Palooka' Book Trailer

Read the pulp novella that one reviewer called 'A potboiler in the style of old school writers like Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler...'

Monday, September 26, 2011


"Boardwalk Empire," HBO's Prohibition drama returned Sunday night after a year of critical acclaim and sweeping several awards. It's now 1921 in Atlantic City and although his fortunes have soared in the wake of the enactment of Prohibition, Nucky Thompson is paying a steep price for wielding ultimate power in The Queen of Resorts -- that's where we are in Season Two.

And while Nucky and his ward bosses may have solidified their hold on the city, enemies are watching. Just how long, though, before Nucky starts to figure it all that out?

Some key events:

♠ Chalky White's (Michael Kenneth Williams) life and livelihood are threatened by a vicious Ku Klux Klan attack on his bootlegging warehouse where there were many casualties. Chalky may be getting more than he bargained for when the Klan member he shoots in self-defense winds up dying.

♣ Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) copes with her son's (Rory and Declan McTigue) disciplinary problems and urges Nucky to talk to him.

♥ The Commodore (Dabney Coleman), Sherrif Eli Thompson (She Wigham) and Jimmy Darmody continue their plans for domination of the city. While Eli is nervous that the vicious KKK attack will be linked to them, no one is calmer than The Commodore who urges Jimmy to start making connections and meet with various politicos.

♦ Jimmy's wife Angela Darmody (Aleksa Palladino) vies with Gillian (Gretchen Mol) for Jimmy's (Michael Pitt) affections at home;

♠ Agent Van Alden (Michael Shannon) shows his wife Rose (Enid Graham) around town as an anniversary present and in the process raids a posh eatery while out with her.

♣ Nucky gets arrested by a deputy for the state's attorney -- not for bootlegging -- but election fraud.

For my full scene-by-scene annotated recap, historical footnotes, episode videos, tunes from the era and other thoughts, click HERE.

Sunday, September 18, 2011



or THIS???

Decisions... Decisions...

Friday, September 16, 2011

THIRTEEN MEN (#fridayflash)

Press play for some groovy mood music

I tended bar at Tony's Tap Room up on Biltmore Avenue.

The gig was good enough and while I wasn't a Rockefeller by any stretch, I didn't need much. At the end of the week, my rent was paid, the cupboard was stocked and if I was lucky, I'd be able to spring for some English Leather for the weekends.

That said, I sometimes felt I wasn't paid enough to deal with the occasional bullshit that came with the gig. We had our share of regulars. There was Shade, half-hustler, half lover; Tino, the cool cat with the cool car; O'Toole, the crazy mick that everyone seemed to love; Auggie, the portly everyman and Bobby C., who was plum convinced he'd be the next Frankie Valli. And then there was Linky... He was a fucking moron.

Taking care of the guys was usually Elsa. She was Danish and gorgeous. Being that I also managed the place, Tony threw in some extra cash for some eye candy and I only hired top-shelf. And why not? If I have to look at these mooks all day long, I should be able to stare at something that jiggled once in a while. Plus, this was just the kind of watering hole men where men escaped their wives and Elsa was the icing on this crummy cake.

Looking back, maybe Linky shouldn't have said what he said. But hey, that was Linky -- half stupid, half insensitive. It all started when he bet Elsa fifty beans that she couldn't dance a whole tune without spilling the drinks on her tray. He tossed her a coin and she trotted up to the juke, choosing a song and she cut her rug.

It was the best three minutes of my shitty week. in fact, there were thirteen of us in there and I think, they'd all agree. When she finished, we all clapped except for Linky, who told her that she had lost the bet.

Perplexed, she asked why. Linky told everyone that he had to pick out the song so it was a natural forfeit. We all groaned at him and it didn't take long for tears to well up in Elsa's big brown peepers.

She looked around the joint and recognition reared its ugly head. It was obvious that Elsa had enough. She charged toward Linky and hurled that plastic blue tray right at him. He ducked so most of the glasses hit my pinball machine -- which was on its way out anyway.

Elsa grabbed her coat, told me she was sorry and walked across the street to the diner, where I see her everyday waiting tables with a smile.

She was a good kid and I'm glad for her. I'm even happier that there's no jukebox in there.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


... That glorious skyline...

Friday, September 2, 2011

DECISIONS, DECISIONS (#friday flash)

Press play for some mood music

Aggie slipped into Nunzio's Tavern at about half past ten. The bar was one of those dark daytime joints where lost souls came to meet, greet and get behind that cork with a blinding vengeance. It all reeked of regret and shame.

During this early hour there wasn't much going on except for a morning poker game buried under the neon fizzle of a Lowenbrau sign. Aggie's heels on the linoleum floor seemed to wake the place up for a moment until they realized she was there to make her own act of contrition.

At the bar, she ordered a rye. When Smitty asked what kind, Aggie replied, "The kind that'll do the trick." Then she smiled politely before placing down her purse and heading to the jukebox. No sense in drowning your sorrows if there's no song, she thought.

* * *

She thought of her three men and how they each weren't worth a squirt of piss between them. She also wondered which one was responsible. Dickie, a Salvation Army Santa, was good and honest enough but only seemed to show up when the gettin' was good. Then there was Louie, whose good looks and padded wallet didn't make up for the left hook and apology Aggie sometimes received. And Pete? He was her boss, a stoic leader who unfortunately came with a wife.

More rye. More quarters. More songs.

Lunch came in the form of a BLT ordered from the greasy spoon up the block that delivered. It was better than she expected -- as was her day at Nunzio's.

She marveled at the wisdom but wondered, though, at the same time. How could these dampened men give such great advice when they've made such poor decisions in their own life? By three o' clock she pretty much understood what was so very unspoken in that dark bar to begin with and through everyone's help, Aggie knew what she needed to do.

She kissed the men goodbye, thanked them and stumbled home.

Music: Sam Taylor - Harlem Nocturne