Catskills “Frontiers”

As I’ve noted before, I will always remember, in the immediate aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene ripping through the Catskills in August 2011 – and us, with a generator, so we could actually watch some news and have internet – hearing CNN’s Anderson Cooper actually say, “Prattsville, New York,” several times to a worldwide audience. It was surreal. We always see disasters played out in media “elsewhere,” but it never happens to “us,” right?:

That nearby town had been virtually destroyed when waters from the massively overflowing Schoharie Creek tore through it. Four years on, the scars are still there, yet it has rebuilt wonderfully – there are new stores and refurbished homes. (We venture in there primarily to shop at the well-stocked “Great American” supermarket.) It looks almost like another place now.

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“I cannot live without books”

Hello! Made it! Woke up in the dark here in the Catskills – still feeling on U.K. time.

Just had a coffee in my favorite mug, which sat in the cupboard waiting all these months….

A morning cup in my Monticello-bought Thomas Jefferson mug. [Photo by me, 2015.]
A morning cup in my Monticello-bought Thomas Jefferson mug. [Photo by me, 2015.]

“I cannot live without books.” That is an actual Thomas Jefferson quote. Yes, a real one.

We flew into Newark airport yesterday afternoon.

Boarding at Heathrow, in our row sat – of all things – a 60ish Australian lawyer who’d been to the Australia dismantlement of England at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday night. He was heading to New York, he’d said, because Australia wasn’t playing again for a while. He had decided to “hop over” to the U.S. for a week before flying back to England for the next match.

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Welcome To Clooney, Berkshire

Seems I’ve missed this. “Where have you been?” my wife asked. Umm, I’ve been working on my book, that’s where!:

Screen capture of web site.
Screen capture of web site.

So the Clooneys have been creating “issues” in the local village.

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Available From November 29

….on paperback and for Kindle:

The back and front covers for "Distances" - the print version.
The back and front covers for “Distances” – the print version. Click the photo to go to for Kindle.

And available for pre-order now for Kindle at….

….and at other Amazons worldwide.

This “sticky post” will be up until shortly after that 29th. Unless I decide to take it down before, of course. The reason for it is I just wanted to prominently reshare the full cover and the publication date.

I do that despite also being aware that novelists are not really supposed to talk about what they do. I know. Shush. ;-)

And You’re Sure The Minitel Could’ve Gone Global

R. J. Nello:

It’s interesting, and pleasing, when an “old” post suddenly re-attracts attention briefly – usually thanks to visitors coming in via searches such as Google.

You may not really know why they have exactly. However, that renewed attention may lead you to wonder if it could use a “repost.” Those work best, really, if the original was not “timely” and based on some particularly current issue, and especially if newer followers may have missed it the first time.

So why not? I posted this lighthearted piece back on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Now, as for today, October 2, 2015, have a good Friday…. wherever you are in the world. :-)

Originally posted on R. J. Nello:

Intriguing web page that was shared with me yesterday:

17 signs your soul belongs in France

As with most such lists, some observations – even if trite – should ring a bell:

4. You can spot Americans in France from a mile away. They’re wearing a t-shirt, and probably speaking English loudly, as if the reason they’re not being understood isn’t the language barrier but that they’ve yet to make themselves sufficiently audible. Also, they’re likely smiling. Who does that?

It’s Saturday, so whether you are American, or not, let’s, uh, risk a smile.

* * *

Reading that paragraph, Woody Allen films immediately jump to mind; but noting Americans’ distinctive national attire while traveling abroad is not all that new. That said, another giveaway, on men over “age 55,” is they are wearing white sneakers, blue jeans, and a baseball cap (sometimes with the name of a…

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An NFL Team In London?

My novelist uncle in Rhode Island was messaging me again yesterday. It wasn’t about writing or books, which I actually find useful. This time is was about the NFL’s New York Jets playing at London’s Wembley Stadium this weekend.

Are they? I had no idea. Regardless, he should be writing his next book (I’m still cleaning up mine)…. not messing around on Facebook. Eh, but nevermind, it got me thinking:

Screen capture of Messenger.
Screen capture of Messenger.

I remember Sky Sports, in the late 1990s/ early 2000s, showing the NFL from the U.S. on Sunday evenings to what must have been about “a few dozen” U.K. viewers – half of them probably Americans. (Five hours ahead here, watching the entire “4 o’clock game” E.T. was too late for anyone with a job.) The two anchors – one American, one British – hosted while sitting on what looked like reclaimed furniture. The set would not have been out of place on a U.S. TV cable local access show.

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Having Sat Out That War Is Not A Badge Of Celtic Honor (So Shut Up And Hope Everyone Else Forgets)

A very serious post to start the week. At a U.K. family get-together over the weekend, I witnessed (yet again) an ugly Irish chauvinism and excuse-making for Ireland’s “neutrality” during the Second World War. It had come up amidst chatter in “taking sides” during Saturday’s Rugby World Cup match between Wales and England, which was playing on the TV in the background.

Rooting for Wales, the London-born person of Irish descent declared snidely, “We’ve always fought the English.” That is the core position that underscores everything. If that was all, I could have lived with it.

It wasn’t. What followed was a descent into a Celtic supremacist blathering that drifted into bordering on pro-Nazi – in terms of Irish residents in England having been drafted to fight the Nazis when they were Irish not British…. and the British had been horrible to the Irish over the centuries (like no one knows that?), but the Germans, well….

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“I was neat, clean, shaved and sober….”

Check this out. I could have fallen over when I discovered this. I had to share it:



It’s a 1948 British hardcover copy – with a dust jacket! – of Raymond Chandler’s classic The Big Sleep, featuring Philip Marlowe, private eye. (Interesting bit of authoring history: Wiki says Chandler turned to writing detective fiction after losing his job at age 44 in 1932, during the Great Depression. I never knew that.) The 1946 film version had starred Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

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Our Censorious Era (“How dare you write that”)

Following on from that post the other day on For Such a Time, I’ve read here and there about accusations of “racism,” “privilege,” and “Western cultural arrogance” in “romance” and “young adult” literature. That’s not an easy subject to address in a blog post. However, authoring as I do for adults (and not for children), I just wanted briefly to note my view. (Separately, I’ve already addressed the issue of an author spewing hatred while “hiding” behind his/her characters.)

Naturally, not every novel by every writer is going to be fantastic. Still it is chilling to read anything that even vaguely argues authors should be wary about exploring characters who aren’t much like themselves. That could lead, in itself, to writers becoming fearful of trying to create what could be some truly worthwhile literature.

Free Stock Photo: Group of business workers.
Free Stock Photo: Group of business workers.

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A Motorcycle Journey Down Memory Lane

I know it’s not like me, but I have no “profound” post in mind for today.

I suppose I still recovering from the house move.

So, how about this? I saw this yesterday on Twitter:

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