Archive for March, 2014


If you own one of those new watches that does EVERYTHING, even tell you the time, you have wrapped around your wrist more computer power than went on the first trips to the moon.

I have witnessed the birth and development of the home computer, a presence today in the modern home almost as common as a fork or knife.  One fact that constantly amazes me, perhaps because I reside in the population of the well-seasoned is what I find to be the primary use of these machines.  That observation is what prompted the birth of this piece.

When we read, one of my favorite pastimes, whether it is fiction or nonfiction we; our mind, our imagination, created the setting of the story, ‘sees’ the story take place.  In my opinion, the more we read the more ‘muscles’ our imagination develops.  And the more you read the more satisfying the experience becomes.  That is my opinion.  I cannot speak for anyone else.

The following is pure conjecture and I hope my young readers will correct me if they find fault with what follows.

We are constantly told that the youth of today do not read as much as the youth of the past.  Today there is a host of activities to keep the mind occupied.  One of these modern marvels is the video game.

I must admit that I have dabbled with the media with my girls when they were young, but an interest never developed.  Recalling my limited exposure, the imagination did not come into play.  The story line was presented to you visually.  It was more or less as if you were watching a television program which you controlled.  Your imagination did not grow any ‘muscles’, only your thumbs.  Are we raising a generation which lacks the wonder of what an active imagination can provide?

These are the thoughts of a well-seasoned citizen.  My youthful readers, am I wrong?

March 29, 2014 at 8:27 pm 1 comment


Presently, I’m in a quandary about the subject of this piece, my writing style.

Every writer has his or her own style, the way of expressing in word the thoughts they are trying to convey.  How does this characteristic of the author originate?  Is it some deep-seated voice that represents your essence, or is it merely a manufacture of all the authors whose works you have read?

My reason for pondering this question is that I am in the process of editing my novel, Sweet Depression, and in this endeavor I am attempting to cure what others have pointed out to me as a major fault – my brevity.  I tend to concentrate on the core of the story and leave out details that would give the story more life.  But where is the line you must be careful not to cross when that life would morph into a boring existence?

Take a look at your bookshelves.  If you’re as voracious a reader as I and share my fault of not being able to part with a book once read, those shelves are overflowing.  Science fiction and horror are my writing genres, but lately some of my stories have spilled into the murky boundaries of the thriller.  But back to science fiction.  I look at the science fiction novels of fifty or more years ago and those of today and see a distinct difference.  Older science fiction is more concise, more to the point.  Of course, you have the epic series Dune written by Frank Herbert and continued by his son which are massive in length, tomes of a complex series.  But I look at H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds which is little more than  a novella and see the more typical length of science fiction of a bygone era.

Recently I have talked to writers whose work are massive and needed to be cut for publication.  My work doe not require deletion but rather addition.  But how much to add without diluting down the story or slowing the action, that’s the quandary.

While thinking this piece through I may have come up with the answer to my problem.  It is not the length that is important, rather the content and the skill of the writer.  Talent is the bottom line.  The writer must take the readers by the hand and lead them down a path without detours causing them to lose their way.  And when the readers reach the end of that path, if the writer has been successful, they are left with a treasure.


March 24, 2014 at 7:21 pm 1 comment


JpegI am dragging myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century as far as technology is concerned.

As far as socially, I still remain comfortably in the early 20th century refusing to be tied to a cell phone.

Here is one of the first photos taken with my new tablet showing our dog Millie along with our terror cat Sammy (Samantha) enjoying the sun on the first full day of spring.  Next week, chance of snow.

What has this to do with writing?  Not a damn thing.

March 21, 2014 at 6:19 pm 2 comments


At the beginning of the year I outlined my goals.  One was to publish some of my previously published work.

I’ve been working on getting some of my published poems back out there and just found out one has been accepted by Still Crazy which is both a print and online publication.

I’ll give more details when it appears.

March 19, 2014 at 6:40 pm Leave a comment


I’m trying to include in my science fiction reading some of the classic works by some past authors in the genre.  Science fiction has been with us long enough that it has a history we can follow and chart the progress of the genre incorporating prediction of the future and science fact, observing when fact becomes fact.

The book I presently wish to discuss is The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester copyrighted in 1956.

In this work we find the main character, Gully Foyle, marooned on a derelict spaceship, its sole survivor.  He thinks he is about to be saved when he spies an approaching spacecraft.  He signals, but they just pass him by.  Able to read the name of the craft, Vorga – T – 1339, his mind is consumed with the desire to revenge this abandonment.  This becomes the overwhelming theme of the book.

Through the remainder of the book he survives by the twists and turns of fate and ultimately discovers why the spacecraft passed him by.  The ship was about to dump 600 refuges into the blackness of space on the orders of the woman he falls in love with once he returns to earth, not knowing that she was the cause of his abandonment.

An interesting process introduced in this work is ‘jaunting’.  This is the ability to think yourself to another location discovered by an individual caught in a precarious situation.  He thinks of the safety of another location and suddenly finds himself there much to his surprise.  However, this ability is limited by the fact that you must know the coordinates of the location you want to go to.  You cannot go to the unknown, but Foyle somehow can.

March 17, 2014 at 8:32 pm 1 comment


9. This would make a great series – have you considered writing the next adventure?

Glad you asked this one, it’s already written.  Elmo’s Invention is a prequel to Elmo’s Sojourn.  In Elmo’s Invention Elmo is working at Los Alamos and here sets out to build a time machine using an old iron lung, but things do not go as planned.

This novella is longer than Elmo’s Sojourn and still needs a lot of editing, and then out it goes.  I’m sure there will be other stories fermenting in my brain, but they have yet come to the surface.


10. What are you working on now?

Currently, I’m doing a great deal of editing.  I have two novels written but are in need of a rewrite.

The Beast Awaits is the most complete.  It deals with a monster created through stem cell research.  It escapes into the Everglades and its destruction leads to enhanced global warming.  How’s that for ‘hot button’ issues?

Sweet Depression is a novel which is a cross between the work of James Patterson and Robin Cook, a very sinister thriller set in a pharmaceutical company.


11. In your point of view, what is the most difficult part of the writing life?

Imagining story ideas I find to be the easiest part.  The writing can be difficult and the editing is, I find, even more difficult.  But the part of writing I find the most difficult is trying to get the work published.  I agonize over writing query letters.


12. Do you outline your stories before you sit down to write?

For short stories, I mull over the plot before I put pen to paper.  I write all my first drafts by hand.  So when I begin writing the story, it’s already fully formed in my mind.

For novels I use an outline but keep it fluid.  In a steno pad, for each novel, I form an outline to include scenes and dialog when the characters start talking.


13. What plans do you have for your writing going into the future?

If I can publish Sweet Depression I have plans to write at least one sequel.

I’ve also published a short story, Martian Rebirth, which I want to develop into a novel.

And of course, my brain keeps on cranking out short story ideas.

March 14, 2014 at 7:30 pm Leave a comment


5. Your time machine seemed very well thought out – is it based on something in theoretical science.

The time machine is a product of my imagination.

While I was in college, there was a guy in the dorm who built a tesla coil.  You could pull something like a quarter million volts to your finger, but since the amperage was low, you survived.  I had to get that thing into a story.


6. How do you personally relate to your main character in your story?

I was a scientist for 34 years, but a biologist not a physicist.  I love science and the opportunity it gives you to discover something new, when all the parts of a puzzle suddenly come together.  I share the wonder Elmo has for science.


7. How challenging was it to build your alien landscapes and creatures?

I have a very active imagination so it was really quite easy.  But the creatures changed along the way.  The first creature that comes through Elmo’s machine was going to be the dominant creature on Roth, but of course that changed.  Then Valmid was going to be a sinister being and that changed.  Since I needed some conflict, Gylex came into being and I could just picture what it looked like.


8. What theme do you want to convey to your readers?

I think, as with most science fiction, I want to create adventure and the wonder of the unknown.

March 12, 2014 at 7:09 pm Leave a comment


I’m sure I’m not the only news junkie that has become aware of a growing trend, especially in the local news broadcasts.  The rush to report breaking news well before all the relevant facts are known.  The source does not matter nor are the facts checked.  This may be a major assumption on my part, but I have seen a story reported and 12 to24 hours later, when the story is reported again, the first set of facts are at odds with the well-developed story.  The news is becoming a victim of the growing rapidity of technology.

In the past, and I mean maybe thirty years ago, news events were reported in the most recent edition of newspapers or the latest scheduled broadcast.  If there was a break in programming, what was reported was what was verifiable.

Today, with the vast majority of us plugged into the electronic grid of information, hardly anything goes by without someone recording it.  Images are captured by the ever-present cell phone.  But pictures do not necessarily reveal facts.  The need to get it fast has replaced the need to get it right.

March 11, 2014 at 5:38 pm Leave a comment


A few weeks ago Jill Bisker was kind enough, through Melange Books, to ask me questions about my eBook, Elmo’s Sojourn.

I posted a link to those questions, but in case you missed them, I thought I’d post the questions directly to my blog.

I’m also posting the link to buy Elmo’s Sojourn with the hopes that this will cause my sales to skyrocket.

Yes, even at my advance age, I still dream.


1. Please tell me a little about yourself – Where you come from? What led you to writing?

I was born and raised in Newark, NJ, but since then lived in the Midwest, LA, Miami and now in Pennsylvania.

I’ve always been an avid reader, feel naked if there is not a book close by.  I began writing poetry in college and pursued that for about thirty years while I pursued a career in science. About 14 years ago I began writing fiction.

2. What books and authors influenced your career?

I’ve read a great deal of science fiction by Arthur C. Clark, Asimov, Ray Bradbury among a host of others.

For horror I’ve read H. P. Lovecraft and Stephen King and Algernon Blackwood.


3. Your story, Elmo’s Sojourn, is a space jumping sci-fi story.  Do you write other genres?

I also write horror and the occasional poem.


4. How did you come up with the premise of your story?

I belong to a writers group, The Wordwrights, and one of the members writes children’s books.  She told us she had to write a story beginning with someone yelling that they have a problem.  Couple that with a Far Side cartoon where a wife is looking from a door down into a cellar.  In the cellar is her husband with the head of a fly.  She’s yelling, “Lunch.  Are you still a fly?”

With that in mind I had intended to write a story, Cellar Science, but enjoyed the story so much that I continued and the result was the novella, Elmo’s Sojourn.

March 10, 2014 at 7:09 pm Leave a comment


The Green Brain another science fiction novel by one of the giants of the genre.

This novel deals with a subject overly used today, many times in the guise of making a profit.  Right or wrong, that is my opinion.  The subject Herbert deals with long before it was in vogue is the environment.

My paperback copy was published in 1966, with part of the story appearing in 1965 in Amazing Stories as a novelette, Greenslaves.

The story begins with the world wanting to protect the production of food from destruction by insects.  Countries begin to eliminate all insects in farm areas and then populate the land with genetically altered bees.  China is at the forefront of this effort and one of its scientists, Chen Lhu, travels to Brazil to assist in insect elimination.  What he doesn’t reveal until far into the story is that the process does not work.  This revelation only comes to light after he and other scientists are trapped in the jungle by strange insect populations.  These insects, along with other bizarre occurrences are put into play by the green brain.  This intelligence has the ability to manipulate insects and much more.

Herbert’s novel predates real world efforts to manipulate the environment with nonnative plant and animal species in order to control some condition in the habitat that man finds troublesome.  More times than not the cure is worse than the problem.

One interesting sideline not pursued to a great extent but mentioned is the existence of a group of environmentalists called Carsonites.

Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1962.



March 9, 2014 at 6:31 pm Leave a comment

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