Month: September 2015


Attired in innocuous garb so as not to draw undue attention, Shane Porteous and Tracey Alley moseyed into the Blues Haven Lounge, a quiet, cozy, out-of-the-way place. After obtaining their drinks at the bar, the two slyly maneuvered their way through the low voices at scattered tables and huddled themselves into a corner table, there sitting across from one another.

“You sure Gerald will be waltzing into this joint?” Shane asked in a resonate baritone, his words contemplative as he sipped at his martini, his look that of a sleepy hawk, not unlike that of a hit man in patient waiting as he scrutinized the people sitting at the other tables.

“Not to worry,” Tracey replied assuredly, sipping her gin and tonic, her voice soft, in tune with her flawless complexion, a confident gleam in her eyes. “I was informed he never misses popping into this lounge — his favorite hangout when he’s in town, and I’ve learned he’s in town…somewhere.” Following another sip of her drink, she added emphatically, “As ingenious as Gerald is in eluding us, this time we’ll NAIL him!”

“Ha!” Shane smirked in that suave manner of his. “No one nails Gerald, no matter what — unless he wants to be nailed.” Pausing, reflecting back with another sip of his martini, he continued. “With his mysterious nature…so unpredictable, figuring out what he’s going to do — nailing him — is like trying to figure out some metaphysical riddle.”

Shane paused again, sipped at his drink, took a deep breath, sighed, then managed a paradoxical grunt. “But I shouldn’t be complaining,” he confessed. “The genius of that nature gave us Of Good And Evil, that ROYALTY of thrillers!”

That reflection suddenly enlivened Shane’s mood. “That thriller royalty,” he beamed, with roguish self-congratulations, “I SO brilliantly alluded to in my gasping, unequaled review of the novel.” Shane sighed — almost ecstatically, then declared, “Such a MASTERFUL review…one for the ages…one whom no OTHER reviewer can possibly TOP — or even come close to doing so in their inept attempt to review the book. My review is just too MAGNIFICENT to beat — EVER!”

Tracey’s eyes glazed over in flabbergasted disbelief upon hearing what Shane had just said, then she felt her face flame, taking his remarks as a nasty slap at HER review of Of Good And Evil. Arching her brows, jutting out her jaw, her eyes now like daggers, Tracey’s rancor laid into Shane with a no-holds-barred verbal barrage.

“What EGO!…what GALL!” Tracey began, “appointing yourself as God’s gift to reviews. Well, let me tell you something, BUSTER! You’re no gift. You’re nothing but a bombastic braggart carried away with shameless self-indulgence! And let me tell you something else. MY review TOPS YOURS — HANDS DOWN — leaving your review withering haplessly in the wind compared to mine.

“As for you’re…you’re royalty of thrillers indulgence, my review defines that royalty more meaningfully…proclaiming more elegantly that Gerald has the rare talent of a born writer…the gift of a true story-teller going that step further that separates writers from great writers…that special way of his taking burning passion to pen in engaging the reader with harrowing action and spine tingling romance right to the end. And Gerald’s SCOPE …taking the reader on a wild ride, the world his background…making the reader believe in his daring plot and his vivid, vibrant characters…leaving the reader to sit back spellbound and with on edge suspense reading his page-turning thriller!

“That, Buster, is THRILLER ROYALTY, thank you! As set forth with majesty in MY mind-blowing, masterful review! So THERE!”

Catching her breath, Tracey quickly took a hard swig of her gin and tonic.

Poker faced, Shane had listened quietly and calmly to Tracey’s incoming, with only an ever so slightly crinkling of the eyes. It was when Tracey was gulping down her drink in respite that his eyes begin to twinkle. Then a faint smile sneaked about his lips, and he said glibly:

“I love it when you get WORKED UP like this. You’re so beautiful…so passionate, giving me such strange stirrings!”

“Now STOP THAT!” Tracey snapped. “None of your wiling guile tricks on me! Just stick to the subject — our reviews.”

Shane shrugged, his smile evaporating. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll meet your review and raise you a review. I’ll mention the great maturity Gerald displays in his writing…never seen in MOST writers’ work. I’ll further point out his uncanny knack for dealing with love. Of all the hundreds and hundreds of books I have read in my life, the love between Ron and Amber in Of Good And Evil is by far the most genuine romance I have ever read about. Not only does it boggle my mind the sheer caliber of talent Gerald possesses, it also boggles my mind that his book is not on the New York Times best seller list. It’s the very embodiment of what a paranormal thriller should be, and…”

“While wrestling with all your mind boggling,” Tracey interrupted, her manner more calm, her ire having waned since Shane’s inexplicable wiling, “I’ll tell you why it isn’t on the list. It’s Gerald’s lack of internet marketing.”

“Ah, so,” Shane begrudgingly agreed. After a measured breath, he quietly concluded, “Gerald doesn’t take to marketing — especially on the internet. He regards it as madness! Well need to twist his arm on this. But speaking of marketing, do you still carry the links to Gerald’s  book with you?”

“Why, yes. In my purse. You want to see them?”

Shane nodded. Tracey fumbled through the contents of her purse until she found what she was searching for. She handed a small sheet of paper to Shane. With the focus of a master strategist. he studied the sheet’s links  while finishing off his martini, gulping down the olive, as master strategists do.

The links he first pondered were those for purchasing OF GOOD AND EVIL, all of them provided on Gerald’s blog my clicking the “Buy the Latest Books!” box at the top of the blog’s Home page. As Shane continued to ponder these and the other links, he grimaced, shook his head, and began rubbing his chin, exclaiming, “Gerald needs a BURST of MAGIC to bring these links to life, so people will be clicking these links in mass. He needs to hit the Internet with real jumping sold out FLOOR SHOWS. He needs to wallow in them!”

Then Shane cringed. “I shudder to think how Gerald will hiss and growl — like some cornered Siberian tiger — and pounce on me for bringing all of this to his attention. But it has to be done. He must get word of his novel out. Its story — a rarity of art many know nothing about — deserves it. A lot of scrambling is needed to extend the thriller’s reach.”

When Shane leaned back, sighing in further contemplation, he noticed that his glass and Tracey’s were both empty, and said, “Just as important, we need another round of drinks, one for you…one for me.”

Tracey’s attention was suddenly grabbed by what she was eyeing at the front of the lounge. “Better make that four drinks,” she said, rather flatly. “The tiger…Gerald…just popped in, waltzing through the door with a tigress purring on his arm, some dazzling blonde looking like the cuddling type.”

WHAT?!…” Shane’s eyes popped wide as he stared at the front door’s entrance, and what he saw brought on an immediate discomfort. “My GOD,” he gasped, “that blonde is Cynthia Westland, the Boston Beauty…some claim the Boston Bomber. She’s another DANG book reviewer. She tried to outdo my review in her’s by parading Gerald’s book as a true masterpiece!”

“Well,” Tracey sighed, looking a bit envious, “I’d say he’s got his hands full with a true masterpiece now.”

“This joint is beginning to crawl with book reviewer lizards!”

“Maybe we could start some kind of weird convention, with Gerald and Cynthia providing the floor show!”

“That’s a TAKE!” Kruger von Griffin yelled out. “Performances…dey SPLENDID! JA…JA!”



MY butler — and then some, Bollero, was so shocked that I’m making another posting in the same month as my previous posting, that he had to be hospitalized. Not only that, but when he learned I was making a second posting immediately following, he had to be rushed to the Intensive Care Unit under heavy medication and placed on a ventilator with a tube down his throat because he had stopped breathing.

Ah, such are the perils of life, but Bollero seems to be making a slow, closely monitored recovery from his “posting” trauma in the hospital. Since Bollero always handled my postings here, I’m going to have to handle these two — A TALE OF TWO BOOK REVIEWERS and A TALE OF TWO BOOK REVIEWERS II — myself, so bear with me. It would be of help if you would send flowers to Bollero’s room, where psychiatrists are at the ready. He could certainly use the flowers’ calming effect.

But on to this posting, which is not so calming. It’s original idea was to honor my very good friend, Tracey Alley — among her enticing novels ERICH’S PLEA and URSULEA’S QUEST — and my exceptionally good friend, Shane Porteous — among his compelling novels RACISS and HOW GODS BLEED. Both of these authors, the stars of this posting, have given fantastic reviews of my thriller OF GOOD AND EVIL.

The way I was to honor my two friends was to write a story — which I did — that evolved into Shane and Tracey, rather heatedly, not unlike the banjo contest in the movie DELIVERANCE, debating one another as to who had given the best review of OF GOOD AND EVIL.

But when I finished the story I had strong second thoughts about using it. You see, though I had permission from Shane to use him in the story — sort of like in any way I saw fit, I didn’t have such permission from Tracey. I couldn’t contact her.

My uncle, Kruger von Griffin, the infamous film Director — in an odd twist of DNA, he had a strong heritage of German, with little UK ancestry, while I had a strong UK heritage, with little German ancestry, suggested that I use the story in the form of a dream. As he stated, “Who vould  hold you accountable for anything dat occurs in a dream? Dreams…your dream, acts vith a force of its own beyond your control, so who can hold you responsible for it? Dat vould get you off der hook vith Tracey.”

“Marvelous idea… and solution,” I replied, feeling a greatly relieved..

Further, my uncle suggested that instead of making the story just a dream, make it a movie scene dream under his strong-handed direction, with him responsible for how the dream plays out –he dictating what Shane and Tracey will say, how they will say it, what they will do, their expressions and emoting, and so forth, even if none of this is true or accurate in the two author/reviewers’ real lives. It’s only a dream.

Hearing this further suggestion from my uncle, I felt a certain inner glowing. “Even more marvelous!” I smiled. “Let’s go with that.”

So, before shooting on location in the dream, my uncle had me read these lines, “As dreams go, this one is a doozie! I dreamt it after falling asleep at a P.T.A meeting.”

These lines…my lines, would be the narration heard as a lead in to the movie scene dream action.

Also before shooting, my uncle took Shane and Tracey aside on the movie set in the dream, and said to them, “Ve vant dis scene to be JA JA MOVING, so give it SOME LIFE! Ve don’t vant me yelling, ‘Cut..Cut..Cut,’ so give great performance on der first take! Dat saves money!”

Then Kruger von Griffin shouted, “Everyvone quiet on der set! LIGHTS!…CAMERA!…ACTION!”

(The dream scene action begins on the next post — A TALE OF TWO BOOK REVIEWERS II)




“It was the best of times. it was the worst of times,” so the words on the old pages go. But in these times, at this time, Bollero was flabbergasted! At first lost for words, not knowing what to think, my sudden arrival so unexpected.

“Gerald, wha…wha…” he sputtered, a vein popping out on his forehead. He couldn’t believe his eyes, now popping out in rhythm with the vein.

“Just calm the nerves,” I deadpanned quietly. “It’s not becoming…not like you.”

Bollero strained to collect himself, finally calming down a bit. “But…but — THIS is not LIKE YOU! You only show up when there’s a posting to be made, but you just MADE ONE a month ago, and you never make another one so soon again, not at least for several months…even a year. So why are you here now? Certainly not to ask me to make a posting for you.” Then a harsh thought overtook him. “Oh, God!…Don’t tell me you’re here to tell me…tell us..that you’ve sold…”

Bollero couldn’t finish the sentence, nearly choking on the thought.

“No, I haven’t sold the place,” I assured him. “I’m too fond of it…of you,, the most dedicated of butlers, then some…the rest of the staff.” Hearing these words, Bollero exhaled a gigantic sigh of relief, allaying the abrupt, desprate need for a stiff martini the thought had brought on.. “And yes, I’m here for you to make a posting.”

“God, so quickly after the last one. The followers will have heart attacks!”

“Just as long as you don’t have one, my friend. This posting is quite important. One for the times.”

“The times?” Bollero blinked, then a brightness crept into his eyes. “Ah, now I get it,” he said, a certain expectant cheer in his tone. “You must be speaking of the coming holidays. You want a post getting the jump on all the other authors. A clever, persuasive narrative as to why your book would make the best gift for Christmas — with plenty of  HO, HO, HO cheer from Santa egging people on to buy your book for all their friends and relatives, making for them the most perfect merry Yuletide.”

 “”No…No…No!” I grimaced.  “Nothing so crass…so brazen! Of Good And Evil is not a Christmas book, but a book for all seasons, for all reasons. Anyway, some gurus — from India, I think, straight out of The Razor’s Edge — have passed the word that my novel has great appeal to turkeys — giving them sort of a last hurrah…a last uplifting of glory, a kind of solemn courage, like found in kamikaze pilots, before sacrificing themselves as  bird patriots, stuffed with goodies and  sometimes overcooked, to be placed on the holiday table before a ravenous family tribe fighting over the white meat…occasionally the drum sticks.. If there was a holiday for the book’s appeal, according to these gurus, it would be Thanksgiving, not Christmas, but this posting has nothing to do with holidays.”

Bollero flinched, as if taking a blow to the head, not liking being wrong, taking great pride in the accuracy of his guesses. A long pause followed, a deliberating silence. Then Bollero’s eyes lit up again. “The posting has to do with the movie!” he exclaimed, confidently. “Yeah — that’s IT! The movie is about to be released, and you’re going to dazzle people with the story behind it. Am I not right?”

“Wrong again, Kemo Sahbee. Still no cigar.”

Bollero’s eyes took on a pissed-off look, on the verge of recoiling. “Then  WHAT?!…dammit!”

“Calm down and I’ll tell you.”

“All right,” Bollero pouted. “OKAY!”

“It’s a new slant on Of Good And Evil. A discovery — deuces wild! Perhaps the most important element of all about the book– save for rabid seekers of daring action and gut-gripping romance, who would buy the book without it — to grab people’s interest in reading the thriller.

“I was being interviewed by this gung-ho reporter, the kind who goes ape about everything. He wanted an EXCLUSIVE…a real SCOOP…from me on Of Good  And Evil — something that I hadn’t mentioned to anyone, anywhere, before. I told him that I had already covered with others everything that was possible to mention that was significant about the novel, covered it all until I was blue in the face. Told him that anything exclusive had long been exhausted. That there were simply no scoops left. But this persistent reporter wouldn’t sit still for this. I thik he was ego driven, pushing for the Pulitzer Prize.. He insisted I go into deeper thinking in search of something new that hadn’t been revealed before and, reluctantly, I did just that.”

“And I bet you were gurgling a martini all the while,” Bollero interjected in a last frustrated attempt to guess correctly. His bad guesses were taking its toll.

“Yes, as you obviously need to be gurgling a martini right now. But my martini helped me in my uncanny focus. Helped me in searching the shadowy reaches of  my mind for wandering or random thoughts stumbling about which, when consolidated, gave me a new and significant slant on what I had actually written. It became evident that the notion that evil succeeds when good people do nothing is really what my novel is all about, something I never mentioned before. That and that the ruthless use good as a veil masking their evil, disguising evil so it appears to be good, turning evil into good. And that some of the people whom are basically good, because or ignorance or gullibility, fall like suckers for this sinister deception, thus unwittingly help evil to triumph., making them as evil as the evil they’re against.”

Bollero was gawking at me, a bit breatlhless and rather mystified, not even knowing what to guess about as I added, “That was my deuces wild scoop for the reporter.That’s my new posting. Now post it, after you  have collected yourself with a martini…or two. And don’t forget in your posting to mention where people can get a copy of Of Good And Evil. In the U.S. at ; in the UK at Or from other outlets by clicking the “Buy Book Now” heading at the top of the blog’s Home Page.

For a moment, Bollero and I remained still, encased in quietude. Then I rubbed my fingers over the prickly-like whiskers about my chin. “I need to shave.”

“I need that martini,” Bollero answered. No bad guessing there.