Sunday, January 23, 2011

THE JYNX review

I got a pleasant surprise today when I checked out THE JYNX on Smashwords finding this review:
Review by: Charles Aylworth on Dec. 28, 2010 :
Up to the minute gender-reversed romance novel. A good read, well worth the time. You can almost name the major players, especially if you are a fan of faux-news.

A suggestion: My novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST is available as an e-book on Smashwords, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble; as a paperback on Amazon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

To Ed Lowe: My regrets

To Ed Lowe, who died on Saturday, I offer my regrets for never having told him—as I intended--that I based a character on him in my novel, THE JYNX.
My character, Ted Neary, not surprisingly was a widely-read Newsday columnist who was the catalyst in transforming protagonist Billy Plunkett from an obscure wood sculptor into one with a national reputation.
Ted Neary enters the novel in Chapter Forty One:

First Billy spotted the old Plymouth Horizon parked in front of the house, then he saw the guy sitting on the front porch in the rocker with his feet propped up on the railing, slugging beer from a bottle.
He wanted to find out what the stranger was doing on the porch before he unloaded his gear. He walked up the porch steps and immediately recognized him. Ted Neary. The wire glasses, the black mustache and thick black hair on his head. Even the baggy sports jacket. He had seen Neary interviewed on TV and his picture in the paper a couple of times a week. He remembered the opening words of the column he did on Tommy Ledge a good number of years ago. “When Tommy Ledge, Huntington’s legendary clammer, isn’t scooping up those delicious bivalves somewhere on Huntington Bay, he can be found on his favorite bar stool in Sugar’s.”
“Hey,” Neary said with the grin that was part of his anatomy as Billy came onto the small porch.
Billy responded, “My name is Ted Neary and I write a newspaper column.” That was Neary’s pitch on radio and TV ads for his column. “Why are you here? You looking for another legend?”
Neary’s grin grew stretching almost to his ears. “I thought you might like a beer,” he said proffering the cardboard carrier with four Budweisers left in it.
“Looks like you had a two beer wait.”
“Nice day. I didn’t mind. How’d the clamming go today?”

I remember writing about the Ted Neary character with pleasure and with a clear vision of the beer-drinking, always smiling Ed Lowe in mind.
I worked with Ed for 30 years. Among my brightest memories was a night before Christmas Eve in the early 1970s before he became a columnist. Ed had an assignment to do a human interest story in keeping with the season. He wrote the item in verse to the beat of the Night Before Christmas. Before the story even reached the desk almost everyone in the city room had read and enjoyed it as an original, hilarious piece of writing.
The editor on the desk, who was rather a stiff, straight-laced creature, flashed through Ed’s offering and said with consternation on his face: “We can’t print this; it rhymes.” His reaction filled the city room with a mixture of contempt and laughter.
I’m not sure, but I think Ed’s version got in that Christmas Eve edition of Newsday. If it didn’t, it should have.

A suggestion: My novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST is available as an e-book on Smashwords, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble; as a paperback on Amazon.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


If I were a twitterer, this would be my offering for this year’s race for general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters:
The 2011 Teamsters election summarized: The dame (Sandy), the name (James), the disenchanted (Fred).
The dame, of course, is Sandy Pope, president of New York Teamsters Local 805. Dame can be use as a term for a woman, but I am using it in the expansive concept of a woman of accomplishment. In the United Kingdom, they bestow the title on female high achievers—and that’s what Sandy is. Sandy is a real Teamster having worked her way up from the hard jobs of selector and truck driver.
The name, obviously, James P. Hoffa, the son of Jimmy Hoffa, an earlier Teamster president of some repute. James P. rode his father’s name into the Teamsters presidency in 1999. His claim to being a Teamster comes from summer jobs in his college years and then becoming a lawyer for various IBT entities a couple of years after graduating from law school.
The disenchanted candidate is Fred Gegare, another real Teamster up from the rank and file from Green Bay Wisconsin, who was a vice president on Hoffa’s team until he stunned Teamsters through North America last summer when he announced he could no longer endure Hoffa’s pitiful performance as general president. He says on his campaign website: “"Over the last twelve years, James Phillip Hoffa has proven that running a union of 1.4 million members like a family fiefdom is disastrous. He has shown that the Teamsters Union will not be successful as long as it is run from Washington, D.C. by unelected lawyers, consultants and personal assistants. Just like Hoffa, they have never done the work of real Teamsters. Just like Hoffa, they are more concerned with taking care of themselves than about fighting for the members."
Another shock to Hoffa came last July when Tom Keegel, secretary-treasurer of the IBT, announced he would retire instead of running again on the Hoffa slate. Keegel warned that the Teamsters were being led in the wrong direction and said “"I do not claim to have all the answers, but I do know that continuing down the same road as the IBT has traveled for the last few years will not lead us out of our present difficulties or help us avoid the problems yet to come."
In my latest novel, THE TRUCKERS, there are two characters who seem to be very much like two of the real life characters in this year’s IBT election. The rank and file candidate, Carolyn Gordon, a tough, fearless woman who heads a small Truckers local in Colorado, is running against Steve Staski, a minor television and film actor. Steve is the choice of the Old Guard because he can run on the name of his famous father, Steamer Staski, The Truckers who was murdered on a picket line.
The rank and file leader Helmut Knall says to a doubting aide who thinks Carolyn doesn’t have much of a chance against the Staski name: “We’re going to get a million dollars worth of free publicity because she’s so young and she’s a woman.”
“Like Little Stevie gets because he’s a Staski and an actor,” the aide says.
Knall replies: “The difference is he acts tough. Gordon is tough. And don’t forget she made a name for herself, while he inherited his.”

A suggestion: my novel, THE TRUCKERS, has been described as a fun read. It is serious and tragic too. Try it free on KindleSmashwordsBarnes and Noble, or Apple.