Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year And "The Pint Of No Return"

As we enter 2009, Paulie Decibels rings us in with a tale of love lost, and lost again. We're talking a story of Six Sentences that warns us to be extra careful when you go past "The Pint of No Return."

Happy New Year to everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best Of: "Warmer"

Okay, there are only two more "best ofs," left, then the series goes into hibernation until spring. 2008 was not a fun year in virtually any aspect, though the most fun I've had besides reading the fine fiction of others and getting published, is when Aldo, Gerald, and Patti put together a flash fiction challenge.

"Warmer" takes a hide and seek game that we all played as children, and takes it a step further. Also, note that I still wouldn't be able to pick the antagonist of this story in a crowd, even if you spotted me a video of that person.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Caption Contest #1

Here we go, this is simple enough...

...write a caption for this picture. What do you win? A mention of you or your blog, plus a large cup from my store and you the winner, get to chose which design (meaning from the Writeprocrast Cafepress Shop).

The rules are that you can only enter four times and what I mean by that, is that you can post only four comments. That doesn't mean that you can't have more than one caption in each comment, but I don't want to have to scroll way the hell down the page because someone posted more than four entries.

Fling your captions no later than 11:59 PM, January 9th, 2009. This contest is open to everyone that isn't family, and make me laugh, or make me think. Don't make me cry however, as that's the job of The Missus and she will put a hurt on you, which you won't forget in this lifetime or the next.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Oh, I've Got Your Noir

I said it before, and I'll say it again...of the five bouroughs in New York City, Akashic Books will not make a "Staten Island Noir." There's not to say that Call it a hunch or a gut feeling, but I know that I will be proven right on this one.

We straightened the house out before, during and after Christmas. I properly shelved my books this time, instead of the loose piles that I had in some wide-mesh cubicles and leaning towers of tomes that threatened to avalanche at any moment.

Not depicted but lurking somewhere in the apartment is "Havana Noir." Note the copy of "The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri" at the top of the picture that I have still yet to crack, in either Italian or English.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Eh, You Can't Win 'Em All

Dang, Meatloaf, two out of three ain't bad. L-i-n-g-o only got two hats at Eastern Standard Crime.

Hitchcock Versus Barbie?

Basically, what it came down to was years of resentment from all things avian over the that stupid Sing A Song Of Sixpence rhyme (eating them and running them over...literally at every turn, didn't help things along). The blackbirds tried to start an uprising through the poultry industry that was quietly, and swiftly crushed by Colonel Saunders, back in 1957.

Yet all the birds of the world would not stay silent and they waited to strike again, this time in 1963, in the Northern California town of Bodega Bay (a.k.a. "The Bay of Birds"). To commemorate their valiant, but inevitably futile battle, the birds of the world have issued a Barbie in memory of their fallen comrades.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas, Bah, Bug, And Hum!

Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukkah!

Buon Natale!
Mele Kalika Maka!
Feliz Navidad!
Joyeux Noël!
Maligayang Pasko!
Geseënde Kersfees!

Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia!
God Jul!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Please, Take A Moment

One of my editor friends has a loved one who is going through surgery. I don't know if he wants the rest of the world to know about the situation, so I won't mention his name. If you could please take a moment to say a prayer for his loved one, I'd appreciate it.

Best Of: "Mistletoe"

This will be the last "best of" for awhile, and I'm posting it early, to avoid any conflicts with your Christmas/Hanukkah shopping, as well as mine. "Mistletoe" was the spur of the moment coda, for the next to last screenplay that I wrote. I figured that if a script reader read the first five pages and the last five, that this little addendum would help it sell better...guess not.

At any rate, enjoy Mistletoe and recreate the end scene while you are at it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Twist Of Noir Has "The Post-Nuptial" Up

If you haven't had the chance, A Twist Of Noir has The Post-Nuptial posted for your perusal. It's a warm and wonderful tale about a family reunion just before the holidays. With plenty of puppies, kittens, bunnies, flowers, kisses, and tear-filled hugs. Because those are the kinds of stories that I tell...

...and if you believe that, please make your non-tax deductible checks out to, "The Cormac Brown, woo-hoo, he's going to Vegas-bailout package."

So what are we actually talking about? We're talking about a beautiful actress who is as eccentric as she is electric. Her soon to be former husband who stands a good chance of getting the majority of her money, and her new beau, whom it turns out, may be far more effective than any practicing divorce lawyer. Think, not "love, American-style," but, "love, James Cain-style."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quoth Greg Hurwitz

"He leaned forward, jabbing a finger at the floor. 'Everything's a f*cking story. And you're letting this one languish. What you need is something to kick down the front door, come barreling into the plot, crashing into the story. Make you react. Make you act. But in the unlikely event that that isn't gonna happen, you need to uncover what happened. If you're not afraid to.' His gazed zeroed in on me; he'd sensed perhaps that he'd flicked vulnerability. 'A writer's job, perhaps more than any other, is not to be afraid of possibilites."

From "The Crime Writer" by Greg Hurwitz

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Best Of: "The Sound It Made When It Broke"

No, it's not December 22nd (or the sunset of December 21st), but let us celebrate Hanukkah early with The Sound It Made When It Broke. Actually, this story has very little to do with Hanukkah and everything to do with me being meshugganah. Nevertheless, nosh a little while you read this, and take the goyim out for Chinese food and a movie, so that they get the full-on experience.

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree

Writing, who knew it was genetic? Megan Abbott's mom Patti gives her daughter a run for her money with the story The Instrument of Their Desire.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quoth The Dahl

Two quotes from Roald Dahl, courtesy of his IMDB bio...

A writer of fiction lives in fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not.

A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


She was passive-digressive.

When her ex-boyfriend said, "you're lending me your car," she replied, "remember when we drove to Oregon?" as she handed him her keys. Mind you, he wasn't asking and she didn't even blink or hesitate.

When her mother said, "we're having Thanksgiving at your place," despite the fact that we all knew that her apartment was too small, she replied, "I love stuffing; who doesn't?" I was only half as shocked that time, because I knew that changing the subject was her only form of protest.

To compensate for the many parasites and jerks in her life, I went out of my way not to agitate her or raise my voice...even on the rare occasion when I would've been well within my rights. So I was taken aback when she told me, "we're having corned beef for dinner tonight," knowing full well that I abhorred the stuff. There were leftovers the next day and I ate those also without complaint as well.

She had me over for dinner that next Friday night and I had to cancel out at the last minute, because of a work emergency. I tried to make it up to her the following morning with flowers and a CD, so she invited me in for breakfast...for fresh corned beef hash.

So I never called...or emailed...or called on her again...though I did send her a case of stuffing for her birthday.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday's Forgotten Books

Before you hit your library, used or new bookstore, it's always a good idea to pop on Patti Abbott's blog every week and view Friday's Forgotten Books. This week is no exception as Paulie Decibels added a Joe Keenan novel to this week's offerings.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Best Of: "Succuba"

Horror is hard for me to write. I find real life to far more scary and the trick with horror is to either come up with something that nobody has done before...or introduce a new perspective. I had to go with the latter and Succuba is the end result. If something in the basement sounds too good to be true...

A New Twist On Pop-Up Books

Are these ladies terrified at the possibility of having to read another one of my stories?

Eh, just the lass in the red. You can tell because she's actually considering strangling herself before reading yet even another word that I have written. As for the others? An artist named Liliac created three dimensional pop-up covers and collages out of existing book covers. I found this courtesy of The Rap Sheet.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm All Over The Place...Just Like The Splotchy Story Virus!

In a sense, I wasn't tagged by the same virus twice, but a variation by Bubs!

At any rate a refresher on the rules by Splotchy

Here's what I would like to do. I want to create a story that branches out in a variety of different, unexpected ways. I don't know how realistic it is, but that's what I'm aiming for. Hopefully, at least one thread of the story can make a decent number of hops before it dies out.

If you are one of the carriers of this story virus (i.e. you have been tagged and choose to contribute to it), you will have one responsibility, in addition to contributing your own piece of the story: you will have to tag at least one person that continues your story thread. So, say you tag five people. If four people decide to not participate, it's okay, as long as the fifth one does. And if all five participate, well that's five interesting threads the story spins off into.

Not a requirement, but something your readers would appreciate: to help people trace your own particular thread of the narrative, it will be helpful if you include links to the chapters preceding yours.

So here's Splotchy's starter paragraph in green...

The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me.

Then Bubs's follow up in blue...

Its owner, a fat shifty-looking hillbilly, slouched uncomfortably under the weight of his Bulgarian army surplus wool coat and cap. I could tell he wasn't cut out for this weather. He jerked around, almost spastic, when he felt the box tap against his feet. He gulped and stared at me bug-eyed, one obscene rivulet of sweat running down his temple, down along his jaw, finally disappearing somewhere between his second chin and the fake fur collar of his coat.

Right away, and for no good reason, he pissed me off.

Then here I go...

"What, are you scared?" I asked him. "It's just a box, cowboy up already, Jethro!"

I gently nudged the box towards him and he ran for the rear exit, pulling the stop cord as if the very act would stop the bus. As the vehicle finally came to a stop, he ran screaming down the street as if he were on fire. I figured that the box held a puppy or a kitten, though I was worried because it had yet to mew or yip. I carefully picked the box up and put it down in the hillbilly's vacated seat.

I opened it and a claw like that of a hawk yanked the top closed. The claw had jade-colored scales and a yellow fringe. I don't know what possessed me, but I braved another peek under the lid and two bright ruby-red eyes looked back at me...

I tag...uh, this one is open to whoever wants to do it.

P.S. Flannery might and Paulie Decibels just built on to Veronica's contribution for the original story virus.

The Reason You Are Here And No, This Isn't Existence-Related

This post is not existence-related nor is it a koan. It isn't necessarily related to my blog and this sure isn't about what your parents did years ago to bring you into this world. This is why you are here-

Forty years ago, today, a demo of the first PC was given at the Civic Center in San Francisco. One thousand people witnessed the very thing that would eventually connect the entire globe together, no matter how remote the area.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Don't Stop, Splotchy Time!

I have two posts already scheduled for Wednesday and those were to be the only posts for this week, barring any imminent publication news. Yet, when you get hit with a Spotchy story virus, you have no choice but to write or succumb.

Splotchy started it off (in green ink)...

The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me.

Then Chris chimed in with (in blue ink)...

I hunched down to see what it was, but as I did, the bus violently veered to left. I was thrown up against a heavyset Asian woman with blond hair. I pardoned myself, but she faced forward with no reply. Just then, a man wearing a jumpsuit of silver and gold stood up at the front of the bus. He was holding a megaphone and a box of graham crackers. He held the megaphone up to his face and began to speak...

And Then me...

"Don't look at me, keep your eyes on Mei Pak!" I looked over my shoulder and saw that the blonde Asian woman was deftly lifting my wallet and she almost had it out of my pants...which was really amazing considering I was sitting down. It was at this point that I had realized that while the bus driver was driving, he didn't look like any bus driver I had seen before. He was dressed like a pilgrim. After I had changed seats and some people got off, that had left me as the only person in normal attire. Mei Pak said to me...

Then Veronica emailed me this...

"Dude. Your eyes are really dilated. They look like fucking hockey pucks. What the hell are you on?"

I tried to answer, I tried to explain that I was not on anything. But as I opened my mouth to speak projectile vomit spew without warning. It was brown and sickly sweet smelling. I remembered the brownie I snatched from my brother's lunchbox just before I had left the house.

The bus halted. I was on the floor trying to focus when I felt the bus driver's hand on the back of my shirt. He dragged me forward, passing the box I had kicked and the discarded megaphone which I then realized were a woman's grocery bags and a Dunkin Donuts coffee cup respectively.
As the bus pulled away I sat on the curb. OK, I'm frying. I can accept that. And this is New York; it is actually possible there was a pilgram and a guy wearing a silver and gold jumpsuit on the bus. 'Happens every day.

I patted my ass and hips, and I confirmed that my wallet really was gone. And so was my Blackberry. I looked around trying to get a grip on where exactly I was.

That's when I saw the newstand. And the newspapers. And the headlines, which all read -

Then Paulie Decibels emailed me this beaut...

‘Di and Dodi Didn't Die!’ My jaw dropped so much that you could have scraped litter from my bottom lip. I held my breath and started to count to ten but the heaving kicked in around six as I tried to focus on the rest of the story and how the press, police and secret services were trying to track down the paparazzi scum who had tried to sell evidence of the Royal Resurrection to Buckingham Palace.

It wasn’t so much the scoop that had freaked me out but the hacks mug shot that was glaring out at me. He was a cross between Grizzly Adams and Ben Turpin, eyes at five to four. Not exactly what you’d call a handsome man but definitely, distinctive. I stroked my beard , put my sun specs back on and looked around for a barbers.

Now, the trick with trick with is that Splotchy tagged Gifted Typist and she was going to be one of my go-tos. I'll have to change the tag up and hit Veronica, Paulie Decibels and last, but certainly not least, Katie.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

An All Too Apt Raymond Chandler Quote

She hung up on me. I hung up on myself. Saying the wrong thing is one of my specialties.

From "The Pencil" a.k.a. "Marlowe Takes On The Syndicate" a.k.a. "Wrong Pigeon" by Raymond Chandler.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Paul Brazill Got Into Six Sentences!

Paul Brazill's Black White And Red All Over explores the glory of nightclub in noir films versus the cold reality of the present life under the neon lights. Good stuff, way to go Paulie Decibels!

Friday's Forgotten Books

Patti Abbott, the mother of one of the better authors of our time (and no slouch herself in the storytelling department), runs a nice little feature every week called "Friday's Forgotten Books." In it, she invites writers to scribble a small review or summary of a crime or mystery book that might have been overlooked altogether, or that needs to be brought to the public's attention again.

This Friday, among the many mentions, she was nice enough to post the little article I had on Brett Halliday's "Head's You Lose." Why don't you pop on over and take a peek?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Strawberry Quick" Is The Lucky 13th Story Posted To A Twist Of Noir

Even though I am superstitious, no, I don't suffer from triskaidekaphobia. So when I found out today that "Strawberry Quick" became the thirteenth story posted to A Twist Of Noir, I viewed that as good omen.

So please don't be offended when I tell you that you can keep that rabbit's foot, it didn't do the rabbit a bit of good. Besides, I have something else-

Best Of: "Tit-For-Tat"

Class, your assignment today, is to open the premiere issue of Astonishing Adventures Magazine. Go to page twenty-one and read the fine pulp fiction story "Tit-For-Tat."

The first person to tell me what "colcannon" is without looking it up online, gets two gold stars.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Poll Is Closed And A New Slogan Is Born

The poll on Cormac Travels is closed and why don't you pop on over, to see the winning slogan? A big thanks to everyone that voted.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

You've Got Meme On Your Shirt...

My Best Online Friend Forever Katie Schwartz tagged me and while I don't know who originated it, I know that Da Monk and Bubs had it on their pages. What's the meme called, I don't know, I'm too lazy to look it up. At any rate, here we go, Perry Farrell-

1. Five names you go by

1) The pronunciation of my name that I thought was correct, until a Danish woman straightened me out when I was twenty-four.
2) The pronunciation of my that is actually correct and what my In-laws with dere New Yawk accents, actually pronounced correctly as well.
3) My nickname, which was the bastardized version of my actual name, which no one in my family or my neighborhood could pronounce. Everybody at work calls me that or...
4) my last name.
5) Cormac is how people address me online, but I don't recognize it half the time. Whenever I see that on someone else's blog in reference to me, I'm like "who's that bastar...oh, they're talking about me.

2. Three things you are wearing right now

1) Levis.
2) A "Get Fuzzy" t-shirt.

The first panel features Satchel The Dog: So you write movies? You're a writer?
Quentin Tabbytino: Among other things. Yes.
Bucky The Cat: In fact, Quentin Tabbytino here is famous for his brilliant dialogue.

The second panel features Satchel: Really? How do you know what to say? I wouldn't know where to start!
Quentin: Well, for example, say I'm trying to write dialogue for someone who got punched in the nose...

The third panel features the word: SLAP

The fourth panel features Satchel: Oop! Son of a...
Quentin: I would write "Oop. Son of a." See, it rings true.
Bucky: Genius. Pure Genius.

3) Underwear. I don't wear shoes in the house, it's an Hawaiian/Asian-thing.

3. Two things you want very badly at the moment

1) To be further along in my writing career than I, I mean "world peace," yeah, that's it!
2) For Obama to step in and get this ship uprighted right now, not '09, RIGHT NOW.

4. Three people who will probably fill this out

1) Quin.
2) Tanya.
3) Paul, I believe you never done a meme.

5. Two things you did last night

1) Had an email conversation with Katie.
2) Watched Adult Swim with The Kid.

6. Two things you ate today

Not a damn thing and the sooner I get this meme done, the better.

7. Two people you last talked to on the phone

1) The Missus from the Autoshow (The Kid met Mario Andretti!).
2) I texted Katie, Quin and my cousin on Thanksgiving.

8. Two things you are going to do tomorrow

1) Work.
2) Writing, partly because I hate work.

9. Two longest car rides

1) Parma to Sant'Eufemia d'Aspromonte, that's almost the whole boot of Italy, people.
2) From a certain East Bay suburb that is so despised by me that I won't mention its name, to Orange County.

10. Two of your favorite beverages

1) Though I can no longer afford it, I crave Sambazon.
2) Anything from Jamba Juice or Odwalla. I don't eat healthy, but I drink healthy (with plenty of sugar to go with it).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

When did that become a word?

So I'm cleaning out my old e-mail box and I see an old Time Magazine article in which a show runner had to show up to a screenwriting symposium without his two main writers, who got fired.

But if you're going to go that road with Heroes—with its gigundous scope and cast—then you should probably do some major paring down of characters.

Wait a minute, I'm still not used to "ginormous," which apparently is now an official word and now there's "gigundous?" I'm sorry, my ears cannot tolerate "gigundous," it sounds like a podiatrist speaking in Hindi about a foot condition.

Eh, don't mind me, I'm just cranky because my XboX 360 died.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Horror, Courtesy of The Baroness And Hachette Book Group USA

Look what came in the mail a couple of days ago, courtesy of The Baroness and the Hachette Book Group USA, The 13 Best Horror Stories of All Time.

So far, I've re-read "The Tell Tale Heart" for the first time since the Carter Administration and it seemed more terrifying back then. I read"The Bottle Imp" by Robert Louis Stevenson for the first time and I am about half-way through "Green Tea" J. Sheridan Le Fanu.

Make no mistake, these tales are scary and they are riveting, but one the thing that sticks out the most is loonnnnggg prose of the 19th Century. Why say it with just one sentence, when you can say it with at least ten more? I guess because they had the luxury of time back then, they decided to reflect that with their writing style.

Now, I'm not saying this takes away from the tension, I'm just saying that the most terrified people of that era, were probably the book editors.

It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas...

Way to usher in Christmas, denizens of a certain Long Island town!

This "bah, humbug!" is for you! All that for minimum wage, yo...

But then Black Friday turns even more evil, with two guys turning a Toys R Us into a John Woo movie, minus the doves.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Best Of: "$8,400 Per Carat"

Enjoy the Heist Man here, because he's in limbo, elsewhere. I believe his third story is about to be rejected for the second time.

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area back in the 90's and into this century, we had jewel couriers getting robbed left and right as they got out of their cars, or just before they entered buildings. It was done mostly by Colombian gangs, or at least that is what the papers speculated.

So I thought up a character who goes wherever the merchandise tempts and takes him. I was lazy with names at that point and a lightbulb went off over my head when a clip of Dustin Hoffman doing a certain Eugene O'Neill play, gave way to the name "Heist Man." Of course knowing my lack of theater knowledge and the fact that the TV was muted, it was probably him doing "Death of A Salesman."

At any rate, here is the Heist Man as he first appeared in "$8,400 Per Carat"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Alterna-Title-Sequel-Tive Part III

So Flannery said of this post, yesterday "might be fun to have a 'fill in the blanks' contest." I thinks that's a great idea and I'll shoot for that next Monday, when my writing schedule is a little less hectic. In the meantime Miss Flan who owned The Bad Lieutenant's Wife Game like no other including its creator, why don't you try this?


Being a former aspiring screenwriter, why don't I adapt the same reverence and accuracy for the source material that Hollywood does, while even out "Hollywooding" Hollywood and going to the pointless sequel right off the bat.

I'll give you the original book title, and then I'll follow it up with the shameless pseudo-Hollywood rip-off, okay? As an example...The Original: "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" My Sequel: "Been There, Wish I Hadn't Done That." Got it?

The Original: "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" The Sequel: "The Smell of Pee Grows On My Brooklyn Stoop"

The Original: "Hop On Pop
The Sequel: "Hopped-Up Pop"

The Original: "The Witches of Eastwick"
The Sequel: "Your Yeast Infection Keeps You In Check"

The Original: "The World According To Garp"
The Sequel: "The Hurled Accordion Is Sharp"

The Original: "The Satanic Verses"
The Sequel: "The Satanic Knock-Off Purses"

The Original: "The Tropic of Cancer"
The Sequel: "The Topic of Pantser"

The Original: "The Sound And The Fury"
The Sequel: "The Paparazzi Hound Suri"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Tale Of The Word Pad Thief...

...or doing my own crossword puzzle, the hard way.

I have a laptop, though since the slot for my wireless card broke, I haven't used it much. I don't bring it to work as of late because of security issues there and it doesn't have Microsoft Word, which is my preferred means of writing (it has a bare bones version of Works).

At any rate, I write by hand on occasion, though I write with difficulty. I learned how to use chopsticks before I learned how to write, so I hold my pen like this...

...and that is the chicken scratch that comes out. It's usually not as neat as this either, as my hand has a tendency to cramp up after a few paragraphs.

So my main M.O. is to use a computer at work that has Word Pad only, but Word Pad is all I need to get a basic draft down. If right now you thinking "why doesn't he just use load Word on to his laptop?"

You're using logic.

Stop that this instant.

I'm a writer and am prone to quirks, don't ya know?

So I use Word Pad to type it up during lunch and then I have to get the hell out of there, because then I would have to explain why I'm using the computer. Note, there is no Internet on that connection, just an Intranet if you want to check your pay stub, so it would be safe to assume that I'm not surfing for p*rn.

Only three people from work know that I write and about five people knew that I used to screen write. The point being it's a big secret as to just what I'm up to and if you understand the poisoned culture in my workplace, you'd realize that it does me no good to tell anyone just what I'm up to.

Last week I had a pretty good thing going and I was on a roll. I was over the moon as I went to print it and I was greeted with this...

What...the...f*ck? The worst of it was the way my writing meter times out, the middle is the part of the sentence that I cannot remember for the life of me. So I had to fill in the blanks so to speak, or imagine an esoteric writing crossword puzzle. Now mind you, I obviously know where the story was going, but my problem was getting each and every word right...not so easy.

BTW, the damn printer did it again two days later, the rat bastard machine.

Friday, November 21, 2008

You Would Say That, Wouldn't You?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present Paul David Brazill.

He's a fine wit, a bon vivant and he's new to blogging. The name of his blog is "You Would Say That, Wouldn't You?" Please make him feel welcome.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Whenever You Get A Chance

BTW, whenever you get a chance? Please, pop on over to Cormac Travels and click the poll I have over there.

Best Of: "Strawberry Quick"

Sometimes as a writer, something just clicks and you get on a roll where the words flow on like a smooth, glassy wave. I was just a passenger on board with this short story and the characters were the ones doing the actual surfing, but if you appreciate crime fiction? You'll probably love this wave as much as I did.

I give you "Strawberry Quick."

I hope you enjoy it, Mr. Brazill.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A "Fictional" Writing Quote

"I am a writer Mr. Marlowe, and that is my job -- to be a lightning rod for ideas. To try them on the way people try on winter coats. If I didn't, I would be terrible at what I did. And a coward."

As said by a fictional version of Bertolt Brecht to Phillip Marlowe from "In The Jungle of Cities."

"In The Jungle..." is a short story by Roger L. Simon from the anthology "Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My First Review

Hey, Geoff of Eastern Standard Crime gave "Swerved"

Three Hats!

The other critics were not so effusive-

Ian Rankin says "he's a Mars bar that's been left in the fryer entirely too long, if you know what I mean."

Dan Brown says "In one regard, I'm sorry that I've spent any time at all around Cormac. You'd think with that last name, he would be a somewhat regular fellow, right? On the other hand, yes, I did base Silas on him. Obviously he's not an albino, but his tendency to flagellate himself...well, I've said enough."

Jackie Collins says "if I were to write a book about him, it would be titled 'Hollywood Hacks."
Tom Wolfe says "do you know what that bastard did the last time I was in the Hamptons? When I went swimming, he dyed all of my suits green. All of them and all the clothing in my suitcase, for good measure. He's not an author, he's a menace to civility and I'm lighting a great big bonfire to his insanity."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Where Have I Heard This Before?

Somehow this Fusco Brothers Cartoon sounds hauntingly familiar...

I think somehow...

...I've heard it before.

I don't know, it must be my imagination.

Best Of: "Right Between The Sound Machine"

"Right Between The Sound Machine" was a new take on an old myth and there is a lot of the old San Francisco that I remember in this story...uh, just barely. This piece was some of the most fun I ever had with JJ's Friday Flash Fiction and recently, Uberm*lf tried to bring the old FFF back. More power to her and anyone who reads this post, should please support her endeavor.

For the first time ever, I've added a jpeg to one of my stories. This will give all of you that haven't been to San Francisco, a visual reference point. Actual translation: I could add physical descriptions, but I want to leave the original Friday Flash Fiction intact.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"All That Women Desire"

Kari was done with that two-timing bastard, Heath. It was the unfamiliar ring-tone that kicked the whole thing off. In specific, it came from the pre-paid cell phone that he forgot to turn off before he came home. She griped the phone tentatively and looked towards their bathroom, where he singing in the shower after their tumble in sheets.

The wrong kind of epiphany illuminated inside of her before she even glanced at the number on the screen-

Some days Heath's endurance was better than it ever had been and on other days? He was just tired, lethargic and he became irritable about the tiniest things. And for someone who was working as much overtime as he was, why did he always hit her up for money?

Kari nearly ripped her clothes as she got dressed for work. The lone consolation to the anger and sadness that was on the verge of overwhelming her, was the satisfying sound of Heath's cell phone breaking into three pieces over his head as her throw struck true.

"If a casino gave out as many second chances as I gave him, it would go broke," she mumbled as she put her apron on. She worked at the greasy but quaint diner just outside of Red Bank and she cried through her entire shift. Her tears killed many an appetite and the paltry tips that the unsympathetic diners left her, made her feel even worse.

Every so often, Valter the Serbian fry-cook looked up from his grill. He bit his lip as he mulled her blues over and he decided to make her something special. Just past closing time, he told her that he had just the thing to cheer her up.

Kari's puffy eyes seemed to brighten in anticipation; she had no idea what Valter was up to. He went into the kitchen and brought out two steaks...

...covered in icing. Valter stepped back, clasped his hands together and beamed like a child.

"What is this, Valter?"

“It’s what all American women want; I hear them say it everyday.”

“I’m sorry…what is this?”

“Why, it is beefcake.”

To cheer your big heart up, you know who you are : )

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quin Browne Asks...

Quin Browne asks on BrooWaha New York, "where have all the plastic cowboys gone?"

All the way from Utah, no less.

How Are You Going To Keep Them Down On The Farm?

There was an old World War I saying, "how are you going to keep them down on the farm, when they've seen Paris?" Well, you add a little Katie Schwartz and they'll do a 180° right on back. Not only has Katie interviewed Farmhouse House Magazine's editor Mike Dell'Aquila on her blog, she also has an essay called "My Legs Are Closed For Business," in "The Best of Farmhouse Magazine" premiering at newstands today!

Please pop on over and read Katie's interview with Mike.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ken Bruen is in Papercuts

Hey, author Ken Bruen is in the New York Times literary blog, Papercuts. In the Living With Music segment, they asked him what his November playlist is and...he listens to the Beach Boys?

Ken "Blood, Guts, Guns, And Jaysus" Bruen listens to "Sloop John B?"

Wha? No, I've checked the calendar and it's not April 1st. Some prankster must have deleted Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak" or "Killer On The Loose" and replaced it with (snicker), The Beach Boys. Oh, Papercuts, that's high comedy, you wacky blogsters, you.

"Sleep Like The Dead"

The blue green apparition floated through the open door and came to a stop, hovering over Jesse's bed. Jesse opened one eye, pointed to the only chair in the room and said calmly, "welcome...take a seat."

The specter hesitated, and then other specters slowly materialized right by the chair. With the same tone, Jesse said, "take a seat...right next to the bank robber I shot, right next to the innocent bystander that was run over during a car chase, and right next to my partner who couldn't take all the madness that came with this job, and ate a bullet from his own gun.

"I've made peace with all of my ghosts a long time ago, though they'll never let me know a moment of peace." Jesse tugged the covers up to his neck and said "but know this; I've never missed a night...or a minute of sleep in all of my life."

Note, count the number of sentences and that will tell you who passed on this short without comment.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Katherine Tomlinson Does The Impossible

Katherine Tomlinson has done the impossible, she has interviewed magician Joel Ward without him disappearing or her being sawed in half. In Gourmet Food, she asked the wizard Ward what his most memorable meal was and how he is single-handedly keeping Apple afloat with his signature trick.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Best Of: "My Old Haunts"

From July 2007, comes the story "My Old Haunts." Please, don't be put off by the character, his behaviour will all make sense in the end...kind of. And by the way, no, this is definitely one of those stories where character and author are two different people/personae.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hello, Chad Here...

Hello, this is Chad here and I'm speaking to all of you, regardless of your political affiliation. You all let me down in 2000 by not exercising your right to vote and what happened?

This creep got a good and long look at my privates. Because you couldn't take twenty-five minutes out of your day, my family and me (sob)...I can't even say it.

Look at the lust that was in his eyes, Ladies and Gentlemen. This was just wrong on every level and the eight years of therapy have done very little to help me with my fear of exposure issues. So do me and yourselves a huge favor and vote, please! We don't want a repeat of 2000! This can only be settled with each and everyone of you voting!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bad Book Covers

Here is a site devoted to Bad Book Covers. This one is for Beth because she is a B.C. fan-

The site page has the caption, "Not many people know about Bruce Campbell's short-lived career in p*rn..." Yes that's right folks, Ash is, The P*netrator! Coming straight to DVD in your town!

This came from an article in Torontoist about Bookninja's contest-

Earlier this month, beloved Canadian book blog Bookninja asked its readers if they felt top literary novelists faced unfortunate book rebranding "to meet the purchasing habits of an embiggened sector of stupid readers." A cover contest was proposed by founding editor George Murray, where readers were asked to create and submit their own wildly inappropriate covers for literary classics, and general bookish hilarity ensued.

Of course this one below is my favorite for all the wrong reasons...

So I guess this works on some level. Say, I don't remember Natasha Richardson wearing that outfit in the film.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Minnesota Had No Chance Against The Metamorphosis

Sure, the Minnesota Golden Gophers lost the game on an interception returned back for a touchdown, but realistically, they never stood a chance. Why? Because Northwestern has the swift legs and the sure arm of Kafka!

Seriously, how do you counter that? With Kierkegaard? With Heinlein? A giant can of Raid?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Becky's Treehouse Of Horror

Hey, Becky has her Top Ten Segments From The Simpson's Treehouse of Horror episodes article in Starpulse.

Whew, today Becky is in Starpulse. Tomorrow? Rolling Stone or Time Magazine, and then we will finally get to eat at Trailer Park. We'll chuck tatertots at the fipsters (faux + hipsters= "fipsters") and run the bill up on the magazine's tab...provided that Becky would actually return a phone call...

...or two...

...or a dozen.

...or two dozen phone calls.

2019 Is Not That Far Away

It's almost 2009, right?

That means that 2019 is almost a decade away. What is so significant about that year? I'm glad that you asked, because that is the year that the film Bladerunner was to take place.

We've come a long way since 1982 and by that, I am talking technology. Your current cell phone has either; a superior computer compared to most of the PCs of the 80's, or it has Internet browser capability that would make it more powerful than the computers of old.

Yet we are lacking in the most important things that were foretold in Bladerunner...

First, where's my flying car? Please, I'm tired of dealing with traffic, red light runners, people texting while driving, people looking for phantom parking places, and suicidal jaywalking pedestrians. I'd rather fly around the whole lot.

Last but not certainly not least, where's my Zhora replicant?

I mean, seriously world scientists, get off your lazy asses and get to replicating. I'll take mine without the gun, glitter and snake, thank you very much.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Store Security Guard Pinup?" Yeah, That's Me

I lamented about this on my late blog and I'll bring it up again, because somehow it is worth mentioning security guards love me. Not in a healthy way and the word "love" is not really an appropriate word for how they feel about me. They stalk me like mental patients do Letterman and I really don't want to delve to close, into the rest of their psychosis.

I mean they will literally stop in their tracks or whatever it was that they were doing, and they will follow me around. I have yet to see a store security guard stop in the middle of arresting someone, just to tail me, but it is as inevitable as the sun setting. It doesn't matter how I am attired, be it ragged cut-offs and a t-shirt, be it a suit, they will follow me. It doesn't matter if I am clean-cut and clean-shaven, or sporting five days worth of growth, they will follow me.

What brings this post up is this article in the San Francisco Chronicle about organized shoplifting gangs. The gangs are going about it all wrong; they need to have me on their payroll. Yes, me, "Cormac Brown, Store Security Guard Pinup #1." For a limited time, I will gladly clear the way for these gangs in order to get those store security guards that follow me from the produce section, all the way to the check stand, fired.

If you think I am kidding, this past July found me at a supermarket with The Kid and as we walked into the store, a woman actually put luncheon meat in her overcoat...right in front of a security guard. Why didn't the security guard see this? Because the asshat had his eyes on me.

San Francisco gets cold in July, but not so cold that anyone would need an overcoat and I had on jeans and a t-shirt. Do you see where I'm going with this? Do you see why that security guard will (hopefully) never get a real job in actual law enforcement?

I did not appreciative this moment at all, because I had to explain security guard profiling to The Kid and he really shouldn't have to hear about this kid of garbage at twelve years of age. Not to mention the screenwriter in me despises it when anyone clearly profits off of me and walks away, counting their profits like a hack producer.

So, ladies? Go into a supermarket as skinny as an Olsen Twin and leave the store with your clothing going every which way, like Kristie Alley after a two-week chocolate bender. They won't touch you as long as I am there.

Fellas? Batteries? DVDs? Jumbo-packs of Advil? They are all free as long as you roll with "Cormac Brown, Store Security Guard Pinup #1."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Random Randomness

I enjoyed "The Brass Verdict" and without giving away/spoiling anything, the book pays off big already by page forty-five. As a matter of fact, if you haven't read the back cover or any of the reviews for it yet? Don't. This is a Connelly best served by just diving straight to page one.

Please, be forewarned however, that you will find a character acting a little unlike that character's self and that detracts from the story, ever so slightly. Parts of the ending were a little too convenient, but you won't care because after all, we're talking Connelly.

If I ever get to executive produce a TV show, you can bet that I'll have "Dancing With Mister D" on the soundtrack. I didn't like the song the first dozen times that I heard it and right now? I like it just fine. Where it really shines is setting a mood and it would blend well visually with just about any simmering evil about to boil over.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Veronica's Blog Turns Three

Whether you call it "Lonely Roads & Psycho Paths" or "Everything Is Used," Veronica's blog turns three years old today. She's a writer, a poet, an essayist, and she has a fine cache of online articles that she has written on the right-hand side of her blog.

Pop on over, wish her blog a Happy Birthday and take it all in, you'll be glad that you did.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Beth Wants You To Know What I Look Like...

...well, not just me, but everyone. Beth is having The Big Wicked Online Pageant where you-

•Scan a photo from your Halloween past.
• Post it on your blog Monday evening, October 28.
• Once you post your photo, e-mail me at the address on the navbar. If you can, include the URL to that specific post.
• I’ll post a link to every participant’s blog Tuesday morning by 9 a.m.So start digging through your archives. Warm up the scanner. Get ready to don your best Halloween masks!

Uh, yeah, well, I don't have any pictures of me in a costume, from back then or even recent ones. I've been wearing pretty much the same costume for decades and I could post pictures of myself in my "unpublished writer guise," but where's the thrill in that?

I told her so and she said "Not even a (costume of The Kid)? I guess we need to keep the secret of your fabulous face so the chickies don't start pestering you."

See, The Kid and I resemble each other to a degree, but that is neither here nor there.

Well, Beth, flattery will only get you halfway there. My uncle gave me back the pictures of me that my grandmother used to have. Here are two of them for Ms. Coffey and for anyone else who is interested-

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quoth The Hemingway

From the Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter-

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer."

– Ernest Hemingway

"If you would not be forgotten,
as soon as you are dead and rotten,
either write things worth reading,
or do things worth the writing."

– Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Becky Is In Starpulse!

Becky is in Starpulse with an article that puts the spotlight on urban legends. Which makes sense because she is an expert in the "disappearing from Dunkin' Doughnuts" act.

Psst, allegedly this is the same image that haunts Maroon 5 and Kelly Preston each night, via one of those holographic projectors from Scooby Doo.

And Another Online Mag Says Goodbye

Bryon Quertermous has just folded Demolition Magazine up. We the readers are the losers, but Bryon had about the same run as most online mags in terms of endurance and he has a lot to be proud of. I believe he also had a couple of the magazine's stories featured in the anthology, The Best American Mystery Stories.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I'm back after being virtually shut-out by the firewall on my Mother-in-law's computer. I realize that was set up to protect my nieces and nephews, but that meant no Facebook, which was labeled as "chat," and no Cormac Writes, which was labeled as "adult." The Missus will tell you that is patently absurd, as the only thing "adult" about me is my age.

That also meant that to access my Gmail, I had to go through Google because Gmail is "chat." Note too that they label Shelfari as "dating," because you really have to beat the babes off with a stick when you tell them "The Maltese Falcon" is one of your favorite books. Of course my brother-in-law that set the firewall up, didn't know and still doesn't know the password to undo it, so I couldn't thank the nice people that came over to this blog and said all those wonderful condolences.

So if somehow I don't manage to thank you all individually, please let this post reflect the gratitude of my family and me. I would also like to thank Quin, Katie and Beth for holding my hand throughout. That order has to do not with preferences, but the order in which we emailed each other. I was literally emailing Quin when received the call, and Katie and Beth emailed me as soon as they found out.

Katie was relentless in a good way with texts galore and the fact that so many of her friends who don't know me from Adam, came over hear to help us say goodbye to my Father-in-law? Wow, Katie keeps exceptional company. I don't want to leave out Beth, John, Shelly, Tom, and last but not least, Katherine. Who not only gave me hand up and also kept me busy with writing, so I wouldn't implode and go to pieces.

Once again, thank you all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

R.I.P. James

Ben Franklin said "Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." Well he was only half-right. You could in theory, live off the land and donations from friends, but you will never escape death. It might take a hundred and twenty years, but no one escapes one.

I was going to call the Grim Reaper a "craven coward" and "slacker," amongst things that would make those who make their living doing blue humor, get a healthy dose of whiplash from the language I was about to type. Yet that would take away from a man who fought bravely and fought well, despite the fact that his mind and body left his corner along time ago.

I'm talking about a man who despite Parkinson's holding him back and the removal of a good portion of his intestines holding him down, he still dealt such a blow that the Grim One pissed in his robe from the force. He did all this and more, because he wanted to get back to the woman he loved...the woman that stood by his side for over fifty years.

He did this because he wanted to see his five children go down the five different paths that they chose. And while he might not have liked each turn that they took, he loved them, and he loved to hear of their journeys. Still the one thing he wanted most was to see his eleven grandchildren grow and if you looked over your shoulder at each family gathering, you would see him beaming with pride.

It is easier to be brave or to be a hero when you have a fighting chance and it's a whole different thing when the fix is in. Let me tell you that this was as crooked a boxing match as all of them put together. My Father-in-law showed Death for the bully that he is and he knocked that scythe right out of Death's hand and clear out of the ring.

I am not a religious man so please believe me that I am not preaching when I say that James fought the good fight as a Christian. I don't mean as someone has once said, "hit them over the head with The Bible until they cry out "oh, God." I mean that he lived his life by following Christ's example. He didn't throw money at a charity and called it a day. He tutored the less fortunate, he fed the hungry and he gave work to the needy.

Yet he didn't want credit for these deeds nor would you ever hear him thumping his chest about them. You weren't going to find him in some glossy magazine, at a benefit in the Hamptons and he didn't care if whatever he did made the church newsletter or not. This was not his ticket into Heaven or a chance to one-up someone in his parish; this was simply Jim being Jim. He did the right thing because it was in his heart.

He didn't accept things at face value, either.

"There are no stupid questions, but how you ask a question, can make you look stupid."

I am paraphrasing him in the above quote, but the sentiment is dead-on. He wouldn't want anyone to merely "question authority," but for them to ask informed questions. He always pushed everyone to not just ask how something works. Find out about the thing's origin and how it could be improved. All five of his children graduated college and each of them can hold their own in any conversation, a good portion of the credit goes to Jim and his Missus.

I wrote this so you would get an idea of what my Father-in-law was like. He will get only so many column inches in his obituary and it won't tell you of the greatness of this man, or the epic battle that he waged. Oddly, so many people are praised for running companies, being rich or for their athletic prowess. Yet being a parent, putting a roof over the heads of five children, and pointing them in the right direction, will never be praised the way that it should be.

He was in the hospital since the first week of August and at about 2:30 EST, Death finally won. No, actually Death lost, because my Father-in-law gave him the whipping of a lifetime. Death will not cheapen Jim's legacy, because his children and his grandchildren will carry that on. They will thrive, they will flourish.

R.I.P. J.J.D. (1926-2008)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Interesting Inscriptions via AbeBooks and Papercuts

AbeBooks has posted some interesting author inscriptions that will amaze you as you try to contextualize them. I found the link off of the NY Times blog, Papercuts.

Thank You Anna

As alleged work-related politics (to use a more polite term) keep me from comforting my wife or from spending the last moments of with my father-in-law's life with him, I received a little pick me-up this afternoon, from Anna of SF Metroblog, and Banane. She posted about this past Saturday night's Litcrawl/This-writer-sprawled happening.

If you haven't read or seen Anna's work before, you'll be amazed. She is quite a Renaissance woman, as a writer, columnist (yes, the two can actually be exclusive) and a photographer. I hope Anna, that your karma will now improve a hundred-fold. May you have always have a seat on Muni (yes, even through Chinatown) or BART, and if you have to share that seat? May someone interesting always be in that adjoining seat and I hope that none of the bad smells of public transportation or The City waft anywhere near your nose.

May you always have the swimming lane to yourself and may you score a triple-double every game.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Heart Has Gone East

(caption: I went to Litcrawl and all I got for my trouble was some glares and this brochure)

The Missus has left for an emergency and I'm having a hard time keep it down. Yet the show must go on. So says the IRS and if I don't make an effort to promote my Cafepress shop, I'll be relegated to "hobby status," and in trouble. So unfortunately the shop promotion took precedence over all else tonight and yours truly had to hit Litcrawl with The Kid in tow.

Uh, just one problem. Even though he is very tall for his twelve years of age, he was not getting into any bars. The Missus had to pack which meant that I had to cook most of dinner while she did that and booked her trip...while I got ready for tonight. No, I didn't shave while I stirred the chili, stop it.

So we ate dinner and said our goodbyes, in case The Kid and I didn't get back in time. Now parking in certain San Franciscan neighborhoods tends to be scarce and adding a couple of thousand festival goers to a Friday night crowd, will make that situation even worse. It took several minutes to find a parking spot up the hill and we gave a bumper sticker away to some Litcrawlers (they had the guide) on the way down.

By the time we got to the first event at Ti Couz, it was already over. No problem, we went Darwin, adapted and gave away some more stuff away in front of Gestalt Haus. We gave away some stuff in front of the Clarion Alley, where there were open mic readings. The second stage was going to be a hit and run with me going into The Elbo Room, home of a good drink and fine acid jazz (at least the last time I went to it, almost a decade ago).

The idea was for me to give out some cups, T-shirts and bumper stickers to the people that run The Grotto, so I left The Kid there at the poetry readings (don't worry, he had his cell phone and there is a police station across the street). It was crowded, so crowded that I couldn't even see into the place, it was actually that crowded. I went back for The Kid and we set up shop just out front.

Note, try to give stuff away and people think that you are handing them the plague. To say it hurts when the junkie panhandlers get more respect and love just feet away from you, is an understatement.

Don't tase me, Litcrawler! Don't tase me!

It was not like I was handing out leaflets to a dry cleaner or God forbid, I'd gone Vegas with the strip club and escort flyers. I am exaggerating a bit though, people loved the T-shirts and they loved the cups. Those that received them were ecstatic and one gentleman was nice enough to put his on top of his long-sleeved shirt. Everyone that got a cup gave back the biggest smile and that counts for a lot.

My heart wasn't in it, though The Kid enjoyed himself and the salesman in him came out. We had a good time overall, though I didn't get to give away my merch to any of the authors or authors that have day jobs with the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Missus was long gone by the time we got back and she called about thirty minutes after we walked in, to say that the plane was boarding. All I am trying to do right now is keep the home happy, and to keep The Kid and myself distracted 'til my heart gets home. So if I seem like I'm trying to keep things a little too light and fluffy? You're right.

(If you see man wearing this sweatshirt, give him a hug and a cookie...preferably, just a cookie)

Friday, October 10, 2008

What Browne Can Do For You

No, not UPS, Quin Browne.

She and Thom Gabrukiewicz have changed the world of Six Sentences, putting the 6 S readers on their ears. They fired off sentences without knowing the plot in advance and the result is "Internal Combustion."

I have to recuse myself somewhat, because I believe that Miss Browne is one of the few authors that are not named Hammett or Chandler, that can do no absolutely wrong on paper.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


First things first, Powder Burn Flash has changed from a blog, to an actual URL. Aldo has worked harder than a room full of forensic accountants trying to decipher the California State budget and he has not only created a new site, but he has also posted all one hundred and eight stories from the old site.

Next, who was lucky enough to have his story be the first one on the new site? No...not Ken Bruen, me, damn it, me! Why I oughta...ahem, at any rate, check out "Swerved." It's a little story about a man with a different serial compulsion.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Overheard Downtown

As I was working last night, I witnessed this exchange-

Young Teenage Male: Excuse me Miss, you dropped something...

An attractive woman in her mid-twenties and I both looked down to see what he was talking about.

YTM: ...The conversation!

The attractive woman kept walking.

YTM: C'mon, I'll meet you halfway. I'm right here, I'll meet you halfway!

Finally she turned around and smiled, though she kept going.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I have been faithful to you, Cynara, in my fashion. I am glad that you can forgive me and I’m glad that you came back. After all, when we were just seven years old, you said that we would be together forever. Maybe if you were patient, I never would’ve strayed…but technically, I didn’t stray…you left.

The statistics for a marriage of childhood sweethearts lasting were against us, and you so desperately wanted me to get a job. I could’ve applied myself, but why would I bother when I knew my ship would come in? You should’ve trusted me on that one, though I wouldn’t have, either, with my track record.

Sure, my eyes wandered, but I was married, right? I was like a diabetic in a candy shop and I never cheated…while we married. But while I looked at women, flirted with women, texted women, I never looked for a job, and that was too much for you. What was that William Congreve quote that you would browbeat me with, whenever I pushed things too far?

Heav'n has no rage like love to hatred turn'd

Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd.

So you left me before my ship came in, as I knew it would, in the form of an inheritance from my Uncle Elijah and it was just right on time, before they could repossess my truck. Of course you were long gone by then, leaving me with an empty home, an empty wallet and an empty heart.

You left for greener pastures, Cynara, never figuring that our old house would become an oasis again. And who benefited? Why, all those women from town who were waiting in the wings, that’s who. They kept me afloat; they kept me alive; they kept me happy. But there’s only so much money to go around in this hick town, and despite whatever I could do right, not every woman could come across with some cash or food.

So that meant that for all intents and purposes, that I could’ve (or is it “should’ve?) installed a revolving door in this bedroom. Jane, Janet, Jenny, Joan, Jolene, Juanita, Jycinda, and that was just the “J’s.” Yet, you were the one that asked for and got the separation. You were the one that filed for the no-fault divorce, as long as I didn’t ask for alimony and, like I said, I was faithful to you in my own fashion. I almost waited until the divorce decree was official, so there might have been a few weeks where I wasn’t so monogamous? Well, hey.

I didn’t tell you about Uncle Elijah, but you came knocking on my door anyway. You always smelled so good…and you could always smell money. How could I say “no?”

Sitting here in this bed watching you slip into that dress...just makes me want to take it off of you again. And the way you put that lipstick on just gives me all kinds of ideas. Of course you know that I won’t be exclusive until we walk down the aisle again, right? I mean, why else would you laugh off Kara’s little message on the answering machine and Terri’s panties hanging on my headboard?

“Did you like the way I put my lipstick on, Owen?”

“You can clearly see that I do, Cynara.”

“Would you like a taste?”

“Yeah, baby.”

Wow…that tastes different, I’ve never tasted…why am I having a hard time breathing? Why is my tongue swelling? Oh, God, I’m falling off the bed. What the fuck is going on? It feels like my lungs are turning inside out and all the air went with them.

“Crawl around Owen, go ahead, you won’t find your epinephrine because it’s in my purse.”

Damn…it’s my peanut allergy, she’s known about it since we were six. I wonder if Samson and Delilah were childhood sweethearts.

“I have been faithful to you, Owen, as you say “in my own fashion.” But if you thought I would just forgive you for bringing all of these sluts into my house, while my name is still on the deed, you are sadly and fatally mistaken. My sister has told me about the parade of whores that go through here and the bank sent me a notice of foreclosure. You are not dragging my credit down with yours.”

You dumb bitch! If you’re so damn smart and your sister knows all of my business, how could you not know that we’re rolling in money...

Patti Abbott said-

What I need to do to take me away from so much stressful news is to write something short and sassy. Will you join me? It's been six months.Aldo Calgagno, Gerald So and I are ready to challenge flash fiction writers once again. I hope you're in the mood.

Since women have become a bit of a political football of late, I have a choice of two lines to use in a 750 or so word story. Both lines come from an obscure and strange Kay Francis movie from 1932 called Cynara.

"I have been faithful to you, Cynara, in my fashion."

Or "Call no woman respectable till she's dead."

Change the name to whatever suits you if you choose line 1, although it's hard to beat Cynara for mystique.We're thinking of an end date of October 20th. Aldo will post stories for those without sites on Powder Burn Flash . And Gerald So and I will post the links for those who do have blogs. Hope to hear from you.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Let's change things up here and try something new. I have this story that has literally been sitting in this blog's draft folder for over a year and a half. It's been sitting there so long in fact that I can't really remember just where I was going with this, other than the near destruction of a small Illinois town and that the protagonist was to be a police-dispatcher.

At any rate, take a gander at the thing and give me an idea somewhere just this side of absurd, as to where you think this thing should go. Hell, if you feel like it, grab the reins yourself and turn this thing into a piece of flash fiction-


Some say it takes a village to raise a child and in the case of Lodzes, it took the whole village getting burned down and built back up again. The family surname, Lodz is pronounced 'Lüj and it almost sounds like the downhill sled.

Yet as soon as the first Lodzes arrived in Bluff Creek, Illinois back in 1875, they were called Loads and they lived up to the name, only it was the village that left carrying the burden. They didn't take kindly to compliments and they didn't handle their liquor well. As witnessed in 1876 when during a celebration of America's centennial, just two small cups of potato vodka caused Danuta Lodz to mistake a compliment pertaining to her lips for something else altogether. She flung a kerosene lamp at her would-be paramour and the rest was infamy.

In the space of the next thirteen years, the town was built up and burned down again...twice. Neither times were the fault of the Lodzes. The first fire was actually the fault of a carpenter from Wisconsin that fell asleep while smoking and the second was most likely sparked by grain dust. Yet, with the Great Fire of Chicago so fresh in every one's minds, they became the new "O'Learys."

The town was virtually inhospitable to them and the then patriarch, Aleksy, wanted to move the family out, right then, and there. Knowing that they were pariahs, Aleksy knew that no one would offer the family a fair share for the property in town that they owned, nor would they get a decent deal for the family farm. Aleksy and the family had no choice but to tough it out.

Eventually the Lodzes convinced the Janiaks, a small merchant family from Aurora, to set up a general store. This was in response to the Bluff Creek retailers, whom began to charge an exorbitant rate for the most basic stuffs, in an effort to drive the Lodzes away.

Here it was, a new century around the corner and the town was reverting to feudal states. The Poles who didn't want to be associated the Lodz-Janiak faction, bonded with the Germans and Russians as if the three countries were somehow always best of friends. The Lodz-Janiak faction had taken up a small, but equal part of the town and the irony was not lost on the town's lone Black family who had just fled Louisiana over discrimination and Jim Crow laws, for Bluff Creek.

The Janiaks are where I come in. Shunned by Bluff Creek and all the surrounding towns for doing business with the Lodzes, we bonded with and eventually married into that family. A decade later during the waning days of "the war to end all wars" that decimated two-thirds of the town's male population, all was most. My great-great grandfather Filip Janiak married Danuta Lodz's granddaughter, Karol and this new union moved to the outskirts of town.

Karol's mother felt ashamed for what happened and she raised Karol to believe that the Lodz family name was a curse. Filip felt the same, so their offspring and their following generations were polite strangers to the Lodz-Janiak clan. They worshipped together, celebrated a Christmas or Thanksgiving here or there, but with all the warmth and conviction of a neighbor that you visit on occasion...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Name Is Cormac Brown And I Approve Of This Message

I do not suffer fools gladly.
-Oscar Wilde

Why should we suffer fools, angrily, bitterly or any emotional capacity? Seriously.

Yet every day, there they are and I have only the vaguest notion as to how they got there. Some seek direction; others seek guidance and most seem to be seeking a surrogate parent. I have a twelve year-old son that I helped give birth to and to the noxious moron that would attach his or herself to me like a flea or a leach? I am not your parent and you certainly are not my child.

I know this sounds cynical when I say I've grown weary of dealing with morons who not only cannot act their age, but want to include me in, or want me to witness their foolery. Go act stupid in the corner and do it quietly, please, or it's no dessert for you. No, that face won't work with me. Go to the corner, now.

To those that created the ubiquitous product (with the worst TV ad ever) that we are to apply to our forehead? Why didn't you create "Fool Off, apply directly to the fool?" Maybe it could be a stun gun or a more compact Louisville Slugger, but I believe that a headache cure would be unnecessary if we could get rid of fools, first.

To Mr. T? No, don't "pity the fool," smite the fool. Wake the fool out of his foolish stupor and slap some common sense into him. The rest of us are just as bad, because too many fools are escaping Darwinism and this is only because we enable them to. We need to put a stop to that as well.

My name is Cormac Brown...I will no longer suffer fools in any capacity and I approve of this message.