A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Wednesday, July 29, 2015



It was fourty-four years ago today
Sergeant Pepper taught the kids to play

Monday, July 27, 2015

Watch this Space

The on-line submission system at ANALOG informs me that my sestina has been rejected. Evidently, poetry is not my metier. (Ho ho) I will await official notification, then figure out if I should just post it here for free.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Now, This is Funny

The Thomism Discussion Group in Facebook has a unique way of warning against topic drift or incivility:

Acta et Decreta Omnia
Reverendissimi Inquisitoris Generalis atque Illustrissimi
Colloquii Thomistici Gregis in Libro Facierum Statuti

... In solicitude, therefore, for the continued purity of this forum, and for the exigencies of Our bounden duty, We enjoin this decree upon you, that you ensure that your prospective scriptions be more plainly conformed to the directives which are set forth for Our learned company. ...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Infodumps for Fun and Profit

One of the problems the Writer faces is the dreaded Infodump. This occurs when a writer drops a mass of information on the Reader's head as if the latter were a statue and the former a pigeon. This is especially acute when the story is set in unfamiliar terrain, such as the future, the past, or an exotic country like Iowa, because the reader really does need some info if the setting is not to degenerate into the equally dreaded White Room. 

You are here, or not
One hardly needs to describe the sunny clime of LA or the concrete canyons of NYC, the which are well covered on the screens of television. Nor need the Writer expend effort telling the Reader what subways are and how they work. "Bob, take the A train to Harlem..." is sufficient. One needn't add: "As you know Bob, subways are underground railroads that operate off a powerful electrical current carried in a "third rail" running beside the track. Of the many trains running through this maze of tunnels, one of them, designated "A," runs up the Eighth Avenue tunnel in Manhattan, and..."

...and so on into the background of the IRT, BMT, and how the IND differed from the others... etc. etc. Dig it.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Calvin and Hobbes on Art

The strip is long retired, but continues to speak to us:
Calvin and Hobbes
Always beware of artists with manifestos. Indeed, of anyone with a manifesto.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Examining some scanned photographs supplied by Pere, TOF was struck by a thought. Therefore, he is reflexively striking back. The two photographs, plus one of TOF's own, document three generations of Flynn caught at approximately the same ages, to within, he suspects, five years. Here are the images:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Too Close for Comfort, part two

TOF's cousin, his milk-sister from days of yore, was over to the stronghold the other day and, as so often the case, talk turned to the recent murder spree that touched down tornado-like in the West Ward and blew lives apart. The friends of the murdered man, one of whom ran out of the house to comfort him as he lay dying, bore names familiar to TOF from his own schooldays -- Bader and Kutz. And Mariellen, the aforesaid cousin, recollected that she had taught the fellow in middle school. He was not an academic powerhouse, but had worked hard and dutifully and had achieved respectable grades.
Jeffrey S. Knoble Jr.
There had been another murder in Easton this past March 11.

Jeffrey S. Knoble Jr. texted Andrew "Beep" White trying to get a room for the night, and White, trying to be a good Samaritan, rented a room at the Quality Inn downtown, across the street from the McDonald's that the TOFian family sometimes use.