My BFFs (Best Furry Friends)


“There are no ordinary cats.” – Colette

I share my household with two furry friends (although for several years I had three). You may have met a couple of them in my novels.


Josh has been with me the longest – we got him when he was a kitten and my son was in first grade, so they have grown up together. (Josh is now 19!) I answered an ad for free kittens – he belonged to the owner of a small art gallery near Vanderbilt University. He made a brief cameo appearance as Kassie’s cat in Fiend Angelical.


Morticia has not been in any of my novels – she’s rather shy and would hate the publicity. She is deathly afraid of vacuum cleaners, ceiling fans, strangers, plastic bags and ducks. (Yes, ducks – she had a traumatic experience with a brooder-full of ducklings when she was a kitten. She doesn’t like to talk about it.)


Here Morticia proudly displays some of her handiwork. She has managed to destroy nearly every piece of upholstered furniture I have owned since she became part of the family. She ruined two sofas by peeing on them – all the Nature’s Miracle in the world could not get the odour out, and there was nothing to do but haul them to the curb.

In Reading the OED, a delightful book which I heartily recommend for word-lovers, author Ammon Shea offers up some particularly wonderful and amusing words he discovered while reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary. One word he shares is “unbepissed” – “Not having been urinated on; unwet with urine.” He remarks, “Who ever thought there was an actual need for such a word? Is it possible that at some time there was such a profusion of things that had been urinated on that there was a pressing need to distinguish those that had not?” Well, Mr. Shea, I have news for you – if you had a cat like Morticia, you would understand the handiness of such a word. “My brown IKEA sofa is unbepissed.”


And then there is our fallen comrade, Rufus Maximus. Rufus was as sweet as he was beautiful and had a way of charming everyone he met. He made a brief appearance as Selena’s cat in The Blood Waltz. Also known as “Sweetums,” Rufus went on to that great catnip garden in the sky in 2009, but his alter ego returns – again, rather briefly – in Selena’s Requiem, due out later this year.


RIP Rufus 1998 – 2009

It’s away!

SELENA’S REQUIEM has been sent to the publisher, and I received a confirmation e-mail yesterday. I’m using Aventine Press this time – I’ve heard a lot of good about them. It’s too soon for a potential release date but, hopefully, it should be out before the end of the year. In the meantime, if you have not yet read THE BLOOD WALTZ, it is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s website.

Any reviewers out there, let me know if you are interested in reviewing it once the reviews copies are available.

Cat Days of Summer


I just moved into an apartment with no air conditioning, during the hottest part of the worst summer since I moved to Pittsburgh. It’s hard to think or do anything – I feel like the Nazis with the melting heads at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I think Morticia has the right idea – hide under a bed and hope it goes away.

What do you get when you cross the worst of Alabama and Minnesota? – Pittsburgh.

True Love Deserves a Second Chance

“…Selena, the moon, lighting up the darkness of my night.” – from The Blood Waltz

For those of you who enjoyed The Blood Waltz, Selena and Kieran’s story continues!

Despite the ending, I really did not intend to write a sequel at first. I just like to go out with a bang. I will only write a sequel to anything I’ve written if I have something new to offer. I can’t stand sequels to books – or movies – that simply rehash the same thing all over again. It’s lazy, and an obvious ploy to make more money out of the fans who liked the original.

But Kieran and Selena’s story wasn’t over yet. I am working on the final draft and hope to have it out before the end of the year, if all goes well. My target is, appropriately enough, Halloween. It will be print-on-demand, like the original.

For those of you who haven’t read The Blood Waltz, I’ve gotten iUniverse to re-release it. You can find it on their website and Amazon. You really need to read it first, because the sequel takes up where it leaves off. Keep checking back here, as I will post updates and previews as things roll along.

You can’t keep a good vampire down!

Requiem for my Father

“Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” – St. Augustine

I buried my father yesterday. Now I am an orphan.

I remember when he took a bus up to Minneapolis to bring my young son and me back down to Huntsville following my divorce. He stepped up to the plate for his youngest grandchild, teaching him about gardening, raising ducks, how to shoot a .22 rifle and to make a tasty squirrel stew.

He lent me the money to start my own publishing company. I didn’t ask him – he volunteered. He said he considered it a business venture.

My father showed me what a Christian marriage really was. He and my mother were married over 60 years when she passed away. As the Parkinson’s disease slowly took her mind and her body, he lovingly cared for her, staying positive and strong for her all the way through. I never found a love like that. But I gave him a beautiful grandson, so there’s one thing I got right.

After my father’s funeral, my sister gave me a copy of Fiend Angelical she found among some of his papers. I don’t know if he ever read it, had started to read it or intended to. I had no idea he had it in his possession. I don’t know what that meant.

I don’t think my father ever really understood me. But he didn’t have to. He loved me anyway.

Requiescat in pace, Papa. May your memory be eternal.

Welcome…to my blog

“So, I ask myself the question…what force is it that compels me to write so incessantly, day after day, page after page, story after story…And the answer is quite simple…I have no choice…I am a writer…”

-Neil Simon, The Good Doctor

Good evening, Gentles,

Welcome to my ramblings. I tend to ramble a lot. And sometimes weirdly. But, hopefully, you will find that amusing.

Back in the early 2000s, I wrote and published three little novels:

The Blood Waltz (2000)

Fiend Angelical (2004)

The Visconti Devils (2006)

I was turned down by the big publishers for years, so I decided to self-publish. I had stories inside me and I had to get them out. I couldn’t keep them to myself, and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

I found that it is virtually impossible to compete with the big corporate publishing houses, unless you are already rich or a celebrity. I am neither. I got some good reviews. I had some enthusiastic readers. I sold a few books. I began to doubt myself. I walked away.

But I couldn’t stay away. Not forever. It was sort of like pining away for a lost love.

Sometimes I think being a writer is a kind of madness, not unlike hearing voices or having imaginary friends. I get ideas for novels by waiting for inspiration to strike me – in other words, I don’t go looking for stories, they come and find me. Some of the characters I have to work at a bit; some of them appear out of nowhere and demand I write about them, rather like Athena springing, fully-armoured, from the head of Zeus. Sometimes two or more characters will show up and have a conversation in my head, particularly at times when I am still, such as when I am riding the bus or lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. That is why I frequently carry a notebook around with me, to write them down before they get away. Like I said, a kind of madness.

I guess I am kind of a free spirit. I always have been, much to my parents’ chagrin. Just when someone thinks they have me figured out, I pull a fast one on them. I don’t mean to. It’s just the way I am. I like to think of myself as mercurial. Or maybe ethereal. That’s why I would never have fit into the corporate straitjacket that the publishing world has become, anyway. I cannot force a story, I cannot meet a deadline and I most certainly cannot stick to a word quota. My novels are as long as the story is – I write until I get to the end, and that is where it ends. Period.

In some ways, I am very methodical. Organized. Analytical. Perhaps just a little obsessive-compulsive. I think too much. That is probably the German in me. I think my house is a mess if there are a couple of piles of paper somewhere. But my writing is different. It is always something that just flows through me – like breathing.

So, when I tried to walk away from writing, I later found I couldn’t stay away. This is such a large part of who I am. I’m not going to let anyone tell me who I am or what I can do. I can figure that out myself.

In the end, I guess you could say Kieran and Selena came calling for me. Do you remember them from The Blood Waltz? They’re back.

Strap yourselves in, ladies and gentlemen. We’re going for a ride.