Archive for November, 2014


You can tell my memories of summers spent on Sumner Avenue in Seaside Heights are fond and cherished. I tried to pass some of that fondness on to my kids – didn’t work.

It was shortly before Easter when I drove my wife and two daughters through the pine barrens of New Jersey to visit Seaside Heights for a weekend to renew my love and establish theirs for this beach town. It had been more than twenty years since I last visited the resort. I expected some change, or course, but was not prepared for the amount of change I discovered. I guess Thomas Wolfe was right. Driving down Sumner Avenue I was stunned. Where were all the bungalows, the salt water toffee selling that traditional costal confection, the bakery where daily we purchased rolls for lunch – all gone? The eccentric guy who lived on the corner of Sumner Avenue across the street from the boardwalk whose overgrown yard was the source of fantastic stories – gone. All replace by an endless parking lot surrounded by loud bars. My mind’s eye could see what was once there, but nothing could be shared with my family other than what was now.

But there was still the boardwalk.

Surprisingly, the boardwalk was more or less as I remembered. It was off-season so the only ride open was the indoor merry-go-round. Of course the penny arcade – gone, replace by mindless video games, no chance to claw-up those precious little false teeth. At least my girls got to play skeeball and watch their prize tickets accumulate to be redeemed for useless junk precious to kids their age.

Driving home, I know my family wondered what the big deal was, while I sought to regain the memories dashed by our pilgrimage, trying to erase the reality of our visit. Now, only the boardwalk anchored my memories of what used to be, and that young boy with his pennies and his dreams of the rewards they would win.

Then Sandy came for a visit and the roller-coaster was ocean-bound and the wheel-of-chance booths blown asunder. Rebuilding slowly accomplished only to be erased by fire.

First, all my memories finding no renewal other than that beloved boardwalk, and then the double dose of destruction visited upon the memorial of my youth. I cannot revisit Seaside Heights. That little boy haunting the boards did not survive fire and flood.

Here are some links where you may purchase my work.

Melange Books



Barnes &

November 30, 2014 at 9:14 pm Leave a comment


When I was young, growing up in Newark, New Jersey, a week’s vacation at the shore was rare for our cash-strapped family, but they did occur. When they did take place, it was always at Seaside Heights and always the same bungalow on Sumner Avenue. The event was an extended family affair with my mother’s siblings and always with her oldest sibling, unmarried Auntie Zosia (Polish for Sophie). I have a feeling she contributed a great deal of my family’s share of the cost, she was always helping us out. Perhaps, a future post will be dedicated to Auntie Zosia. She deserves to be remembered.

Another unusual characteristic of our shore vacation was that every night my dad would be handing out cash to us kids to spend while walking the boardwalk while normally little money was available. I think this was Auntie Zosia in action again behind the scenes. Nothing was ever said about the source of this new-found wealth, but that was the way she usually worked.

The bungalow on Sumner Avenue was only half a block from the boardwalk, and because of its close proximity to the ocean, the house was permeated with a constant salt-tinged moistness, not an unpleasant benefit of a life near the ocean.

The week was filled with family bonding and boardwalk adventures. An early morning visit to the beach to claim our piece of sand with an army blanket, in those days everyone had an army blanket, then a patrol exploring the area of the boardwalk under the shooting gallery to harvest the small copper shell casings that would fall through the boards. Why, because we were kids.

The days were spent on the crowded beach with the occasional dip into the frigid ocean jumping the waves. Nights were spent on the boardwalk playing miniature golf and going on rides. The adults would congregate around the spinning wheels of chance hoping to win towels, candy and yes – cigarettes.

Those were also the days of the penny arcade when a pocket full of pennies could entertain you for hours. Investing pennies in claw machines harvesting tiny sets of plastic false teeth along with other plastic junk you kept forever or until your mother cleaned. One of my favorite ways to spend my pennies was at the card machines. For two cents inserted, out would pop a post-card sized picture of a baseball player or airplane, depending on which machine you chose.

Rainy days were not a washout at the shore thanks to the penny arcade. If you wanted to make a slightly larger investment of a nickel, you could play the baseball pinball machine. A steel ball was pitched and the lever you worked was your bat. Depending on your skill, and of course luck, you scored runs. The best part was, as the runs added up, you were rewarded free games. A nickel sometimes brought you an hour’s worth of entertainment if you were ‘hot’ that day.

To be continues…

Here are some links where you may purchase my work.

Melange Books


Barnes &

November 29, 2014 at 9:35 pm Leave a comment


In the past I wrote about the FX series, The Strain, and indicated that I intended to read the novel. Well, I kept that promise and am now well into, The Fall, the second of the three book series.

The TV series closely follows the novel, with a few alterations and new characters that have little or no impact on the storyline. What I enjoyed about FX series, which will continue in the future, I found reinforced in my reading of the book, i.e. the science. We’ve all grown up with Bram Stoker’s classic novel, Dracula, and watched film presentations beginning with Nosferatu and on to movies starring Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee. Vampire movies still popup, usually during the summer movies season focusing more on the scantily clad, or more commonly unclad, maidens, and less on the traditional legend. What makes The Strain unique is, for the first time, there is a detailed scientific explanation for the vampire condition. Low and behold, and I don’t think I’m giving too much away, the condition is the result of a virus, a virus that has been around for hundreds or more years. Other vampire characteristics are also explained scientifically; I love it. There are also hints as to the origin of the malady and I’m looking forward to that revelation.

As a former scientist, I enjoy playing with scientific fact in my writing to make the storyline plausible and to pack a little punch. For instance, my as yet unpublished novel, The Beast Awaits, has a terrifying beast produced from mishandling stem cells, and I rely heavily on my tissue culture experience to make the story believable.

In this day and age of daily scientific breakthroughs, I feel the reading public wants and demands substance behind the terror.

Here are some links where you may purchase my work.

Melange Books

Barnes & Noble. Com

November 28, 2014 at 8:53 pm Leave a comment


I either stumbled upon site or they stumbled and found me. However it happened, it was to my benefit and became the new home for some of my poems and, if you have the poetry addiction, I encourage you to give them a try and follow them.

They refer to their site as ‘Promote Yourself’ and they give you every opportunity to do just that. Even if you’re not a Robert Frost or Billie Collins or even a Delmore Schwartz, if you have a poem you want the world to see, give them a try. If they publish your poem, it will be accompanied with a fitting picture or photo. They have a large following and you’ll get feedback as to how many enjoyed your work with the number of ‘likes’.  If you do not write poetry but like to read what other ordinary people are writing, also give them a try. Remember, those that were once ordinary, upon getting exposure, can become extraordinary.

I want to thank the Sims for their hard work and dedication to the art of poetry.

Here’s a link to their site.

Here are some links where you may purchase my work.

Melange Books


Barnes & Noble. Com

November 25, 2014 at 8:22 pm 2 comments


With this being the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, I thought I’d re-blog a post i made some time ago.

November is the month of thanksgiving, when the weather no longer bounces between summer and winter, when the chill of fall sets in with a vengeance preparing us for the hard cold of winter.  It is also the month John F. Kennedy died at the hands of an assassin.

During November 1963 I was a junior at East Side High School.  I already had a deep interest in science and forfeited my study hall to work in the school biology lab.  I designed an experiment to study Medallion heredity.  The experiment required two black and two white mice, which I purchased, and began mating the mice in all the various combinations possible, trying to predict the color of the littermates.  I soon ran out of space in the cellar where I was keeping my mouse colony and asked permission to move my many mice to school  I pressed on, until I began seeing litters with brown siblings, something I had not anticipated.  This brought an end to my experiment and an introduction to the unpredictability of science.

It was while I was working in the school lab one November Friday afternoon that someone came in and said that the president had been shot.  I recall reacting to the news with horror and disbelief.  The emotions of I felt will always stay with me, the sense of experiencing a moment that defied all logic, the vitality of our young president in jeopardy.  I sensed that the world had changed; this quiet November afternoon would become a milestone in history.  All I knew was that the president had been shot; there was still hope of survival as I headed home from school that day.  But as I walked the mile and a half home from school, I saw something I shall never forget, something that dimmed my hope.  On my way, I saw clusters of people standing on corners and most were crying.  The residents of Newark are not known for their emotional displays so this sight was disturbing.  It was the first signal I had that something was extremely wrong, that the world had changed, and not for the better.

When I reached home, my father was already there, not unusual for he began work early in the morning and was home before me most of the time.  I would find him sitting in the kitchen with his beer and paper, but today he was in the parlor watching the TV and he was crying too, something I recalled seeing only once before.  The last time I saw my father cry was when my mother lost a baby girl shortly after birth.  Ironically, my sister died almost the same time the Kennedy’s lost their third child and also for the same reason, underdeveloped lungs.  As my father sat weeping before the TV, he told me that the president had died.

The days that followed were surreal.  Long before the age of cable and satellite dishes, there were only three major networks and a few independent New York stations broadcasting to Newark.  All normal broadcasting ceased; TV carried nothing but news and insight into the assassination.  On the radio, all normal programming came to a halt.  The radio played nothing but somber music and news of the assassination.  Everyone watched the news all weekend, watching history unfold before our eyes.  Shortly after Kennedy died, Oswald was captured.  The nation viewed live, the instrument of their sorrow.  We watched Oswald’s murder at the hands of Jack Ruby, adding confusion on top of the misery.  Everyone’s thoughts were in turmoil as these historic events concluded with JFK Jr. saluting his father’s casket.

The day Kennedy died; I learned something of the unpredictability of life.

November 22, 2014 at 5:27 pm Leave a comment


Once again, I shall visit the importance of the power of observation in a writer’s life, and once made, to lock it into your memory for future reference. Come to think of it, here’s a question. Does the power of observation form the writer, or does the need to write develop the power of observation? In other words, which came first, the writer or the observer?

I’ve been walking our dog, Millie, taking advantage of the pleasant autumn weather before they’re replace by the harsh days of winter, and in the process, reviewing memories.

My family enjoyed tent camping, and one of our favorite destinations was Rickett’s Glen State Park located in the middle of northern Pennsylvania. A large man-made lake (a site I used in a horror story) is set in the park amongst the campsites and trails. We always brought along our canoe or Folbot (a collapsible kayak) and set up camp at a site right on the lake’s edge so that a short walk had us in the water.

The park is a popular place for families, and the occasional group of teenagers, to enjoy nature and bond. I distinctly remember one camping trip when, as usual, the park was full of families, mostly with young kids riding their bikes along the dirt and gravel trails and enjoying the vacation. The campsite next to us, however, gave off distinctly different vibes. Occupied by a solitary man, perhaps in his fifties, with a modest tented campsite along with a kayak for one. I watched him one morning as I cooked breakfast. His breakfast consisted of a couple beers, then he carried his kayak to the lake and was gone. The rest of the campground was filled with laughter and the sounds of children at play.

I often think of that lone camper, for observing him provided a wealth of story possibilities. All the other campers seemed to enjoy their time in the park – nothing there.

Here are some links where you may purchase my work.

Melange Books

Barnes & Noble. Com

November 21, 2014 at 6:13 pm Leave a comment


In the past I introduced you to Duotrope, a fantastic resource for writers’ markets. It’s still my favorite go-to place to place my work. The site provides you with the ability to make a highly specific market search, and then save the search if your first submission should be rejected (a little writer humor). But, there is always a ‘but’; it is not free. You can, however, give it a trial run free of charge.

For those of you who produce science fiction and horror, and on a tight budget, i.e. broke, is for you. The site provides a wealth of market information as well as additional information critical for writers no matter what your genre such a host of links to finding and checking on the credentials of agents.

This site may take a little more effort that Duotrope, but for you sci/fi and horror writers, the price is right.


Here are some links where you may purchase my work.

Melange Books

Barnes & Noble. Com

November 20, 2014 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment


With winter knocking, no banging, on the door.

With parts of the country already measuring snow in feet not inches, I thought it appropriate the we revisit my poem, Snow.


A poem inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s, The Bells.

See the delicate snowflakes fall,

Falling, falling, falling.

Whitening the earth, awaiting below,

Falling, falling, falling.

See the mounds of glittering white,

Building, building, building.

As they hide the ground from sight,

Building, building, building.

See the ceaseless falling snow,

Falling, falling, falling.

Will it stop, no one quite knows,

Falling, falling, falling.

See the drifts accumulate,

Building, building, building.

My longing for spring will no longer wait,

Building, building, building.









November 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm 2 comments


I spent some time reflecting on my impressions after reading the Catcher in the Rye and came to the conclusion that my age and the span of time since it was written were the primary factors in my interpretation of the work.

Counted among the ranks of senior citizenry when reading this novel, I found the main character, Holden Caulfield, whiny and immature. Perhaps, if I could somehow shed fifty years my impressions would be quite different. But since that is unfortunately impossible, I won’t dwell on its potential outcome.

However, I would like to address some thoughts about the novel’s impact when it was first released and how it is viewed today. The language and the fact that a prostitute appears within its pages made the work extremely controversial when it was published in 1951. I look at my own work and my use of questionable language is much more prevalent than Salinger’s, but then, my talent does not approach is so my stories slip under all radar undetected. Salinger’s novel is listed among the top ten censored books, and most frequently banned book in schools from 1966 to 1975. It is studied now in high schools but still, on occasion, provokes adversity.

What I find interesting and the reason I look forward to reading Salinger’s mysterious output produced during those 45 years of seclusion is that his classic work, once considered risqué, might now be considered a YA novel.

What are your thoughts?

Here are some links where you may purchase my work.

Melange Books

Barnes & Noble. Com

November 17, 2014 at 7:28 pm 2 comments


Until recently I knew little about J. D. Salinger other than the fact that he was the author of the Catcher in the Rye, that he was out there remaining secluded, and then he was dead. I could not remember if I had ever read his classic.

After catching some of the documentary by Shane Salerno on PBS about Salinger, I decided to read the biography he and Shields wrote about the author. I found it to be a compelling read exploring the complex personality of the writer and the influence of WW II on his work, and how an off-shoot of Buddhism, Vedanta, influenced his life and made him the man he became after the war. Shields and Salerno brought home the point that Salinger could not tolerate phoniness in people and the life that surrounded him.   This, of course, is the primary theme of Holden Caulfield, the main character in the Catcher.

After reading Salinger’s biography, I decided to either read or reread the Catcher. After finishing the book, I can say that I either totally missed the great revelations supposedly contained within the pages of the work, wouldn’t be the first time, or the book is like a good poem, you take away from the reading what you bring.

Holden Caulfield, Salinger’s alter ego, cannot tolerate the phoniness in all he sees around him. At the age of sixteen, he has an opinion on everything and yet has accomplished nothing other than being kicked out of a series of exclusive prep schools.

It seems to me, and here is where I may be missing something, that Caulfield is the biggest phony of them all. His total existence is dependent on his lawyer father’s ‘dime’. The language in the novel is true to the era, but dated by today’s standards. This should make the future publication the 45 years of constant writing Salinger supposedly accomplished in solitude interesting. During those years, Salinger was allegedly working diligently in fleshing-out the Caulfield family along with the Glass family, the subject of much of his other works.

The setting for the Catcher strongly reflects the 1940’s. It will be interesting, taking into account Salinger’s isolation from the world, how he handles the development of his characters, their language and lifestyles. Needless to say, Salinger’s publishing future provides great anticipation.

To be continued…

Here are some links where you may purchase my work.

Melange Books


Barnes & Noble. Com

November 15, 2014 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


November 2014

Posts by Month

Posts by Category