My Brother’s Keeper

“And the LORD said unto Cain,

Where is Abel thy brother?


And he said, I know not:


Am I my brother’s keeper?

And he said, What hast thou done?

The voice of thy brother’s blood

Crieth unto me from the ground.” -Genesis

And thus Cain was cast out

Troubled spawn of Adam and Eve

Perpetrator of the second sin


His destiny to wander


Alone and without direction


In the land of Nod


Somewhere East of Eden


The original Bedouin

Sometimes I wonder


At the heinous sin


That I must have committed


To be censured by God


Cast out to wander


In the land of Nod


Somewhere West of Alpha Centauri

The ideological Bedouin

Surely I have sinned

Blasphemed


Lived a life none so righteous

Of excess, rage and hatred

Wastrel of dogmatic sensibilities

Philanderer of potential


Addict of self-absorption

I find my head


Full with grandiose ideals


Of healing the world

Recreating Eden


Carrying some holy grail

Upon shoulders
strong like Atlas


Leading by example


Of Humanistic common sense

You see

I long to be the keeper


Of all of my brothers and sisters

Yet I find myself hobbled


By frailty of will


And cowardice of spirit

I long to be the Abram of the age

Sire long lines


Of staunch individuals


Ripe with religious freedoms

One son Rasta

One daughter Shao-lin

Grandchildren following 10 commandments


In search of THE WAY

Methinks my best plan


Is to be my own keeper

And then get a date


With a girl-child of destiny

For it is always best

To at first kiss


Before planning the baby shower

Until then

I wander alone


Amidst nebulous swirl of ideals

Walkabout in the land of Nod

Searching for a star


To eclipse the moon


And somehow light my way

 

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The Missing Chapter

Epilogue

 

The Amtrak train pulled into Pennsylvania Station after the ten-hour journey from the Piedmont Triad to New York City. The new Mr. and Mrs. Joe Calloway rode up the long escalator to the main terminal. Qi looked around in awe. She’d been to New York many times, but this was her first time inside the vast terminal. The sheer mass of people both thrilled and terrified her. Joe felt her nails digging into his palms. They stepped aside at the end of the escalator and looked around. Joe spotted his smiling cousin a few feet away.

Déjà vu rushed over Joe in waves. He remembered a time when he was around six and standing on this very same platform. Fiona knelt down in front of him and pushing his cowlick down on his head. She’d said, ‘Now remember, Joey. This is our special secret. Not a word to your dad, okay?’

“Hiya, Joe. Welcome to New York.” Conor O’Brien stepped forward and wrapped Joe in a bear hug. He turned to Qi and did the same.

“Thanks for meeting us, Cuz.” Said Joe. “We’ve been here before, haven’t we?”

“We sure have. You were about five or six.”

“I remember now.”

Conor stepped back and put a hand on a young girl’s back pulling her towards the couple. “Guys, this is my daughter Charlie. Charlie, these are your cousins, Joe and Qi.”

Charlie stepped forward and held her arms out for a hug. Qi grabbed her first and kneeled so they were the same height. “Hi, Charlie. You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.”

“Thank you. You’re beautiful too.”

Joe bent down and did the same. “Hi, Charlie. It’s wonderful to meet you.”

“Hi, Cousin Joe. Welcome to New York.”

Joe stood back up. Conor pulled a young woman forward. “This is Charlie’s Auntie Sophie. Charlie’s mother couldn’t make it today. Sophie, this is Joe and Qi.”

Joe waggled a finger between the two of them. “Are you two…?

They both looked stricken. Conor said, “Oh no. Just friends. Sophie’s my ex-sister-in-law.”

Sophie stepped forward and shook hands with Qi and Joe. She quickly changed the subject. “I know your work, Qi. I’ve read your blog. I’m a big fan.”

“I’m retired.”

“I heard that.” She looked between Qi and Joe. Her grin indicated she was in on their secret.

Conor smiled. “We should go. We still have a long drive ahead of us.”

The past six weeks were a whirlwind. Joe and Qi flew back to Denver, where Joe tidied up his exit from the bank and Qi combined her wedding shower with one last show at the Foundry. The only thing she didn’t do was Party with Her Shirt Off. Apparently old married ladies don’t do that. They packed up their house in Denver, hired a moving truck and then drove Joe’s car across the country. It might be their only chance to make such a trip, so they spread it out and saw the sights of Austin, New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville. Then it was time for some serious wedding planning.

The ride out to Long Island was a long one. Qi sat up in the front seat of the SUV. She was now four months pregnant and prone to car sickness. Strangely enough, she was fine on the train. Conor could just smile and nod as she kept a running banter going. Joe, Charlie and Sophie sat in the back, taking turns playing a game on Charlie’s iPad. Joe was enchanted with his little cousin. He was also intrigued with her beautiful auntie. The woman was economical with her words, but when she did speak it was with a spirit that reminded Joe of Fiona. It was November on Long Island. The last half hour of the journey was along the coast. The Long Island Sound was on the inland side of the island, with Connecticut on the other side. Squalls were sweeping across New England and the wind and waves were battering the shoreline. The water was still choppy and forbidding. It was dusk by the time they got to Rock Haven.

“This is us.” Said Conor, looking at Joe through in the rearview mirror. “You guys picked the wrong time of year to honeymoon on Long Island.”

“It’s fine. We just need to decompress from the last two months of mayhem. We appreciate you, Con, and your generous offer.”

“Our grandparents built this house for all of us, Joe. Feel free to come back any time.” Conor pulled the latch on his door. “I’m going to get the place unlocked so you guys can go straight in. No sense getting soaked if you don’t have to.”

“Thanks, Con.” Conor ran up to the massive oak door. He opened it and lit the front of the house. He came back out and waved them in. “Why don’t you ladies head inside? I’ll help Conor with the bags.” The remote hatch started beeping on cue. The girls ran inside. The guys grabbed the bags. They were just in time. Conor closed the heavy door as curtains of rain started belting the house.

 

“So what the hell happened?” Conor was sitting on the hearth of a huge stone fireplace, nursing a budding fire with a poker. Sophie and Qi were folded up on opposite ends of the couch. Joe was lounging in a leather recliner and Charlie was sprawled out on the floor with a book.

“We’ll probably never know. The bottom line is this. Three known drug dealers and two Cormack cops ended up dead. The cops killed the first guy, the guy whose car hit Fiona, and then the cops killed the drug dealers and some unknown shooter killed the cops.”

“So what’s the deal with the unknown shooter. And why did they kill Fiona?”

Joe shrugged. “It could have been about the redevelopment. It could have been as simple as him being angry for being kicked out of the bar. It could just as easily have been an accident that they covered up. We do know that Hickman and Dalton were crooked as hell.”

“Follow the money.”

“What?”

“Follow the money and you’ll find the shooter. You’re a forensic accountant at heart. Look into their finances, see where the money came from.”

“I don’t do that anymore. I’m just a humble bartender.”

“Bullshit.” Conor looked over at his daughter. “Sorry, Charlie.”

She didn’t look up from the book. “It’s okay.”

Sophie laughed. “You two.” She looked at Qi, pointing to Charlie and Conor. “They’re always like this.”

Conor picked up where he left off. “Enough with the humble bartender crap. You’re a free agent, a five tool player.” He was an old athlete, with sports analogies for days. “People will pay good money for what you know, what you can do.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

“What about that girl? What was her name?”

“Vivienne.”

“Yeah, Vivienne. How did that feel when you saved her?”

“I didn’t save her. She still had to make it through a gun battle.”

“Yeah, but you gathered all the info and got there when you needed to be. Any earlier and you might have been one of the casualties.”

Qi raised her voice. “Joey, you didn’t tell me that.”

“I wasn’t in any danger. It was all over by the time I got there. Besides, I was with Ethan and Parrish.”

Whatever.” Qi did a perfect impression of Joe. He stood and went to the window. The rain was still coming in off the Sound. Countless bolts of lightning struck the surface of the water. It reminded Joe of tornado season in Denver.

“It’s nasty out there. Are you sure you guys don’t want to stay tonight?”

Sophie said, “We can’t do that. It’s your wedding night.”

“Our wedding was two nights. And Qi wore me out on the train today.”

“It’s true.” Qi said matter-of-factly. “I can’t let him get out of practice while I’m pregnant.” Four sets of eyes went to Charlie, but the eight year-old wasn’t paying attention.”

Sophie sat up on the edge of the sofa. “I want to know about the pictures. How did that happen.”

“My assistant’s boyfriend stole my phone. He uploaded the pictures because he was jealous of my success.”

“How did you find out? I mean, did he confess.”

“My assistant confessed when I shut down the websites. It was horrible.”

“Did you fire her, the assistant?”

“I fired him. Though he really fired me. He was a real drama queen anyway. It’s okay. I was ready to get off the road.” A clap of thunder rattled the chandelier. “You really should stay tonight. It’s dangerous out there.”

Conor looked at Sophie and they both shrugged.

“Well I guess that settles it.” Conor said. “Hot chocolate, anyone?”

 

 

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Writing Reviews

reviewing

via http://aletheakontis.com

 

 

 

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Happy to report that signed copies of all of my books are available. Prices include signature and shipping.

Fiona’s Rules – $20.00

unReQuiTeD – $15.00

Jackson Falls – $15.00

 

PM me on Facebook, Twitter or Email for details. Payments securely processed thru Paypal. Turnaround time is 1-2 business days.

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Distillation Of All Sacred Ideas Into One Haiku

yin yang in balance

beyond all attempts to name

God is Tao is Love

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Which book should I read first?

A friend of mine just asked me the quintessential question of my work:

Are they a series or do they stand alone?

A truly complicated question. I like to look at my books as being locations in a universe. They share the same timeline, but each is unique in setting and characters (so far, more on that later). They stem from the origin story, TRENCH, which may come to exist as a prequel someday. In chronological order:

  1. unReQuiTeD– (2006) Conor O’Brien is a man hanging on for dear life. A decorated homicide detective, Conor has been on a downward spiral for the last five years, since his beautiful wife disappeared on 9/11. Before he hits rock bottom, he gets a revelation. Maybe his wife didn’t die in the rubble of the World Trade Center. He’s forced to stare down his demons and track down the serial killer that stole his perfect life.
  2. Jackson Falls– (2010) Four friends on the cusp of rock and roll stardom have their future brought to a screaming halt by a tragic accident. Scattered to the four corners of the earth, they face unique challenges over the next three decades. Brought together by circumstance for their 30th high school reunion, they are finally forced to reckon with the night that ripped them apart.
  3. Fiona’s Rules– (2016) Joe Calloway has the perfect life; a beautiful, famous girlfriend, a lucrative IT job in banking, a penthouse apartment with a view of Denver and the front range. A call sends Joe scrambling back to his childhood home in the Piedmont Triad, a place he’d sworn never to return. Reality smacks Joe in the face. He’s forced to reexamine the choices he’s made in life and make the ultimate choice. Does he have the wherewithal to save his crumbling southern town? If so, he just might lose everything…
  4. blues- (TBD 2016-17) Conor O’Brien returns as the head of an elite agency that specializes in personal security for the rich, powerful and famous. Mayhem is sure to ensue.
  5. Cross Creek- (TBD 2017) The sequel to Jackson Falls

 

Re: the original question: The books are all stand-alone, so far, 99% independent from each other. They can be read in any order. I would advise anyone new to the universe to read them in the following order:

 

Fiona’s Rules

unReQuiTed

Jackson Falls

blues

Cross Creek

 

As the story lines grow longer, the webs between them will grow stronger. Fiona’s Rules will get you into the game.

 

 

 

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June 9, 2016 · 8:33 pm

Faces

Fun fact: I fall in love with faces. I’ll often be watching a TV show or movie, surfing social media, or just living life and see an interesting face. I take a mental snapshot and who knows? Someday that person populates one of the anonymous little towns of my books.
Classic example- The gap-toothed orchid thief John LaRoche (Chris Cooper) in Adaptation in 2002 became the grizzled bass-player turned assassin Abel Jackson in ‪#‎JacksonFalls‬

Two of my characters in ‪#‎Unrequited‬ even share the names of the long lost friends for whom they are named.

More recent example- The three Duclair sisters of ‪#‎FionasRules‬ are an amalgam of five real life friends, celebrities and fictional characters.

The moral of the story: As long as there are interesting faces in the world, I’ll have more books to write.

FIONA’S RULES- A NOVEL – Paperback and Kindle Unlimited

 

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