It’s a striving world, this thing is

It’s a striving world, this thing is,

A place of pushing and pulling,

A get outta my way place,

An I’m right, you’re wrong place

That leaves us yelling from across the road

Like a couple of squabbling chickens.

 

It’s a burning place, this thing,

Tinder dry scorched souls

And everyone is carrying a torch.

 

It’s an earbud world, this noisy place

A jogging smart phone

random selected soundtrack world of internal sounds

where you have to unplug to be heard,

to ask what was that?

Because it is my voice, my aural shield, that matters.

 

 

A place cluttered with broken pieces

We left behind like a car with a smoking transmission

On a dark street at midnight.

Things we make someone else’s problem.

Childhoods, hearts, dreams,

Stuff we picked up, rolled around and crumbled

And left scattered on some trail as if we were coming back

With a pot of glue to fix it.

As if you’d be waiting.

 

As if I could walk up, sit down and say, Hey, sweetheart, how the hell are ya?

As if it would start again where it left off.

Mid-sentence.

Wordless wondering incomplete

With sad eyes and small tears

With a hollowness that ever echoes

With a basket of loneliness strapped like a gunnysack

That I asked you to fill.

Posted in Fiction, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

On a computer near you: A .99 cent ebook sale (for a limited time only)

With the upcoming release of the audiobook version of THE RED HAND, the fourth Frank Nagler Mystery, Imzadi Publishing has placed the four award-winning books on sale.

The ebook versions are available for .99 each. https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Stephen-Daigle/e/B00P5WBOQC

UPDATE: My publisher, Imzadi Publishing, has extended this sale to the entire line of books. Info: http://www.imzadipublishing.com.

 

This is the newsreel version:

For a limited time only! All the thrills and chills, good guys and bad guys, crime solving and heart break for NINETY-NINE CENTS!

(Fill the background with your own version of dramatic cop music.)

In a city down on its luck Detective Frank Nagler offers hope. But at what cost?

Follow Frank as he tracks down Ironton, N.J.’s crooks and killers.

Will he find out who is stealing from the city in THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY? Will Frank and Lauren Fox ever figure out their romance?

What the meaning of the game in A GAME CALLED DEAD? And who is #ARMAGEDDON?

What does Sister Katherine know about the missing little girl in THE WEIGHT OF LIVING. Why does Frank call the evil genius Tank?

Find out who is leaving red hand prints on city walls in THE RED HAND. Find that tender spot in your heart as Frank and his young wife Martha learn their fate.

Yes, for NINETY-NINE cents each, here is a chance to learn about the character Kirkus Reviews called “one of modern fiction’s expertly drawn detectives.”

On sale NOW at a computer near you.

Breathless fast talk,  disclaimers,  silence as the tape runs out before the next song begins. 

Whew!!

Anyway, coming soon is the Audiobook version of THE RED HAND, read and produced by Dane Peterson.

Here’s a sample: https://www.facebook.com/imzadipublishing/videos/215441556340654/

The audiobook version of THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY is available here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNSW8Ls8Y64&list=UUhsP65gzzjDU1nYTmw2jOvQ&index=9&t=0s

 

Kirkus Review is also featuring a profile:

From the profile, written by Rhett Morgan: “Daigle paints such a convincing picture because in all the small cities where he worked, he saw former economic powerhouses slowly fading and corrupt developers and local politicians using the situation to their own advantage. It inspired him to create a character that wasn’t just a detective, but also a hopeful figure who could stand up to the powerful elements that were allowing crime to take root. “Somebody needed to stand up and say this is wrong,” Daigle says.

Nagler isn’t the only character with strong moral fiber, though. Daigle’s books feature a slew of strong women that challenge and push the protagonist through each case, including the savvy Lauren Fox, who’s heading up a project to revitalize downtown Ironton, and tough police officer Maria Ramirez. “I didn’t want any of them to be just pretty faces,” he says. “In the newspaper business, some of the best people I worked with were women reporters. They’re very brave, and they’re very smart.” The most important woman in Nagler’s world, though, is his late wife, Martha, whose untimely death provides him with a complex motivation—to recapture the era when she was alive and Ironton hadn’t yet fallen apart.”

The link: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/news-and-features/articles/michael-stephen-daigle/.

 

 

From the Kirkus Review of THE RED HAND: “This dense, engrossing prequel illuminates why Frank embraces Ironton before economic decline and corruption totally savaged the town. Ironton is a character that Daigle (The Frank Nagler Mysteries: An Anthology, 2018, etc.) brings to atmospheric life in his work: “The sun had squeezed out of the mud the greasy mix of rotten plants, moldy, sweating trash, motor oil that had leaked from dismembered, rusted cars parts, and the musk of dead animals, and then compacted it.”

The author’s pacing is immaculate in this gruesome thriller, as he ratchets up the tension as each additional body is found. He also captures a portrait of a once-thriving community in chaos as fear sweeps through Ironton. While the fledgling detective often finds himself adrift while investigating the case, Frank’s moral compass never wavers, even when the town and its officials are ready to lynch an unlikely suspect. This makes him almost a lone voice in the wilderness but his gut proves right in the end. What results is a taut look back at the birth of a memorable character.

A winning origin story for one of modern fiction’s expertly drawn detectives.”

 

The full Kirkus Review is found at this link: THE RED HAND.

 

For more entertainment, here are trailer of the books, created by Anita Dugan-Moore (https://www.cyber-bytz.com/).

 

THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbtklgTeJ1E&list=UUhsP65gzzjDU1nYTmw2jOvQ&index=28&t=0s

THE AUDIO VERSION OF THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNSW8Ls8Y64&list=UUhsP65gzzjDU1nYTmw2jOvQ&index=9&t=0s

 

A GAME CALLED DEAD

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT22V9TwhtM

 

THE WEIGHT OF LIVING

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVSlNwqbhIM&list=UUhsP65gzzjDU1nYTmw2jOvQ&index=13&t=0s

 

THE RED HAND

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ_SROHO88c

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kirkus Review campaign for THE RED HAND

Kirkus Reviews has a campaign in support of THE RED HAND, the fourth Frank Nagler Mystery, including a feature profile:

 

The link: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/news-and-features/articles/michael-stephen-daigle/.

 

From the profile, written by Rhett Morgan: “Daigle paints such a convincing picture because in all the small cities where he worked, he saw former economic powerhouses slowly fading and corrupt developers and local politicians using the situation to their own advantage. It inspired him to create a character that wasn’t just a detective, but also a hopeful figure who could stand up to the powerful elements that were allowing crime to take root. “Somebody needed to stand up and say this is wrong,” Daigle says.

Nagler isn’t the only character with strong moral fiber, though. Daigle’s books feature a slew of strong women that challenge and push the protagonist through each case, including the savvy Lauren Fox, who’s heading up a project to revitalize downtown Ironton, and tough police officer Maria Ramirez. “I didn’t want any of them to be just pretty faces,” he says. “In the newspaper business, some of the best people I worked with were women reporters. They’re very brave, and they’re very smart.” The most important woman in Nagler’s world, though, is his late wife, Martha, whose untimely death provides him with a complex motivation—to recapture the era when she was alive and Ironton hadn’t yet fallen apart.”

 

 

From the Kirkus Review: “This dense, engrossing prequel illuminates why Frank embraces Ironton before economic decline and corruption totally savaged the town. Ironton is a character that Daigle (The Frank Nagler Mysteries: An Anthology, 2018, etc.) brings to atmospheric life in his work: “The sun had squeezed out of the mud the greasy mix of rotten plants, moldy, sweating trash, motor oil that had leaked from dismembered, rusted cars parts, and the musk of dead animals, and then compacted it.”

The author’s pacing is immaculate in this gruesome thriller, as he ratchets up the tension as each additional body is found. He also captures a portrait of a once-thriving community in chaos as fear sweeps through Ironton. While the fledgling detective often finds himself adrift while investigating the case, Frank’s moral compass never wavers, even when the town and its officials are ready to lynch an unlikely suspect. This makes him almost a lone voice in the wilderness but his gut proves right in the end. What results is a taut look back at the birth of a memorable character.

A winning origin story for one of modern fiction’s expertly drawn detectives.”

 

The full Kirkus Review is found at this link: THE RED HAND.

 

COMING SOON: THE RED HAND as an audiobook.

 

“The Red Hand” was named a Distinguished Favorite in the 2019 Big NYC Book Contest

Named Second Place winner for mysteries in the 2019 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards

Named a Notable 100 in the 2019 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Awards

This is the third book in the series to honored with an award. My thanks to the contest sponsors, judges and my publisher, Imzadi Publishing of Tulsa, OK

 

Available at:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1944653198/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_H1ZgDbQJB259V

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-red-hand-michael-stephen-daigle/1132368097

Also, Kobo.com and Walmart.com.

Audiobook: Audible.com and ibooks.

 

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When iron was king

They’re not called the Iron Hills for nothing.

Underneath the modern subdivisions, warehouses, shopping centers, highways and buildings that hold the companies and schools, and offices of all types, are the iron mines. And snaking through the parks and steep hillsides of the region are the trails and rail paths that brought millions of tons of iron ore to factories that refined the ore and shaped it into products demanded by a growing population.

This is a summary of the talk I gave on March 3 to the Hackettstown, N.J. Historical Society as part of a discussion of my Frank Nagler Mysteries. 

The first Frank Nagler mystery. Available at Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Wal-Mart

The books are set in a fictional city called Ironton, which is a down-on-its-luck iron center.

The protagonist, Detective Frank Nagler, is a native of the city and his grandfather and father worked in the iron industry. That history, and the economic ups and downs influences Nagler’s police work.

That’s what I’ll discuss on Tuesday.

This is a summary of the discussion.

There is a lot of iron in Morris County and Northwest Jersey.

A 1954 report from Rutgers and the Department of Interior estimated that in the 250-year regional mining history, 26 million tons of iron ore had been extracted. The value was placed at $100 million.

It could be said that the iron business was the most important industrial undertaking in the region’s history.

What is more impressive is the estimates of how much iron remains underground: Robert Hanson, in an interesting history of Port Oram, now Wharton, said there is about 600 million tons of iron ore left underground.

Hanson, and several geologist-authors of the numerous studies of the industry, said the ore was left in the ground because its depth at nearly a half-mile down, exceeded the technological ability of the companies to extract it economically. At the end of the local industry’s life, mining techniques had become more mechanized and the discovery of a rich, easily assessible ore field in Minnesota, fed the national industry’s need for steel-grade ore.

The New Jersey ore was deposited here millions of years ago in an extended period of continental smashing and grinding that left mixed bedrock of mostly softer limestones and harder igneous rocks like granite and gneiss that had been infused with water-bearing iron ore, and then bent and folded and later ground down to leave what is called a ridge and valley terrain. The hills are not tall, but they are notable for their steep slopes.

In many places the ore bodies followed these slopes angling diagonally sometimes at a 60 degree tilt. Hanson said in those instances it was as if the ore was like a wide broadsword that had been jammed diagonally into the hills.

In other places, the ore was in a linear form: wide ore bodies were stacked upon each other separated by bedrock.

The Mount Hope mine was mined for 8,500 linear feet and to a depth of 2,400 feet, the reports said. The Mount Pleasant Mine was mined for 11,000 linear feet.

The geological reports show one thing: There was iron ore everywhere in Northwest and North Central Jersey.

The richest deposit was called the Dover Tract, an area of 80 square miles from Ironia in Randolph Township to the New York State line, north to south, and from the eastern shore of Lake Hopatcong to Boonton, east to west.

This district contained 50 mines, the reports said.

Overall, a 1910 report indicated, there were 366 mines or openings in the state, the majority in Northwest Jersey. What these reports also indicated was that at the beginning, small forges were erected across the landscape to take advantage of the easily accessible iron ore.

Some of the most productive mines produced individually more than 1 million tons of ore: Dickerson, Richards, Mount Hope, Mount Pleasant, Scrub Oaks, Hurd, and others.

The 1954 report said that while the New Jersey industry had slowed, three mines – Richards, Scrub Oaks and Mount Hope – had combined for a total of 500,000 tons of ore that year.

Along the way – starting in the late 17th Century and extending to the middle of the 20th Century – the iron industry generated the creation of towns, governments, transportation systems, industrial innovations, consumer products, in other words life as we know it.

Here’s a short list of places and things that were created by the growth of the iron business: The Morris Canal, Wharton and Dover, Lake Hopatcong and Lake Musconetcong, the Rockaway Townsquare Mall, AT&T, pick a railroad, Route 46, Route 80, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, the Holland Tunnel, Oshkosh B’Gosh, and Picatinny Arsenal.

Not bad for an industry that got its start because the raw material – iron ore — was easily picked up by early settlers right off the ground.

It is notable that the end of the New Jersey Iron Age was aided by the similar easy access to Lake Superior iron ore: It was picked up off the ground at a time when the cost of mining deep in the hills of New Jersey became cost ineffective.

How does this add to mystery fiction?

Frank Nagler’s grandfather and father worked in the industry and young Frank witnessed the effect of the decline of the industry on his father; his life and his police career were an attempt to honor the dignity of their lives.

 

A sample from THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY, expresses this:

 

“Ironton, like most of the canal and iron towns of the county at one time, was a boiling cauldron of ethnic pride, drunken rage and   lawlessness. Neighborhoods, more like encampments of Cornish, Irish, Swedes, Germans, Italians, Slavs and others, made up the towns.

Nagler’s grandfather told him the stories, he recalled. The work underground in damp, sweating mines. The rhythm of iron pounding on iron as they carved out holes in the sweating walls for blasting caps and dynamite; nervous fingers. Then the coolness of fresh air as they again broke the surface, once more alive. “We grabbed civilization out of those rocks with our fists,” his grandfather said.

And so they had. Nagler thought. Old Hurd’s forge, and soon Oram’s and a dozen mines. Canal boats tied for the night at the basin, warehouses of goods flowing east to west,   mules in rope pens, braying; campfires, and roasting meat; soft songs floating on the smoky air; then soon the towns grew along the river, brick streets and iron rails as trolleys rolled through to Lake Hopatcong where the swells built their summer homes. And shops and ice cream parlors and vaudeville at the Baker Theater, the iron money rolling in, transforming the village, while the rich men built their mansions and the poor men huddled in cold water flats. Then George Richman built his fabulous department store and sold the beautiful women fashions from Paris, and handmade silk suits for their men and marveled their children with mechanical toys and sparkly things that had just arrived by rail from New York City; the department store that filled the streets with a squadron of white horse-drawn delivery vans and draped starry red-white-and-blue banners from its three floors of windows, the place for that first suit for the young man, Maria’s white confirmation dress, a pair of hard-soled shoes and the wedding gown with the long train for the family’s first daughter.

Nagler, like anyone who grew up in Ironton, knew about George Richman. He was credited with transforming Ironton from a grimy, one mill town to one of the largest manufacturing centers in North Jersey. He owned iron mines and iron mills and the railroads that connected the two. But more, he attracted companies that could turn his iron into other products and soon the city was home to a dozen mills making kitchen pots and farm implements, stoves, then shoes and coats and ladies’ stockings; everything the growing world could want.

George Richman was also the politician to marshal Ironton’s city charter through the Legislature, creating the modern city from a section of a neighboring township.

There was nothing that George Richman couldn’t do, it seemed.

Except predict the future.

The mines played out and steel replaced iron as the building material of choice, and soon superhighways, shopping malls and subdivisions buried the old mines; weeds grew up through the rusted rails, the canal was filled in and paved over, its existence noted by a brass plaque screwed to the back side of an old warehouse. The fall, oh great Troy, is deep and far.”

https://www.audible.com/author/Michael-Stephen-Daigle/B00P5WBOQC

https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Stephen-Daigle/e/B00P5WBOQC

Amazon: http://goo.gl/hVQIII

Kobo: https://goo.gl/bgLH6v

NOOK: http://goo.gl/WnQjtr

http://www.walmart.com

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking ahead to Frank Nagler Mystery No. 5

With an audio book version of THE RED HAND well underway – look for it in possibly March – I’ve turned my attention to the untitled fifth book in the Frank Nagler Mystery series.

I have written a few scenes, tested out new characters and settings, but it all lacked a unifying theme. There has been a long story arc through the first four books. My goal is to close out that story arc and allow Frank to move on to other crimes fighting stuff. A friend suggested he solve crimes while on vacation (Thanks, G.), sort of Frank saves the world, one vacation spot at a time.

But watching the PBS series, “Finding Your Roots,” I had a thought.

So, that show, and some research I’ve been doing for a talk I’ll be giving on March 3 at 7 p.m. at the Hackettstown Historical Society, at the American Legion, 494 Willow Grove Rd., got me thinking.

This is the framework: Frank’s great friend Leonard, the bookstore owner, finds in a load of old books, a volume on the labor history of the region’s iron business, including a nasty worker’s strike.

Two characters emerge in the history: Frank’s grandfather, a miner, and the father of the old Ironton Mayor Howard Newton.

Next, Frank’s companion, Lauren Fox, is being courted by a mystery financier to run for mayor. The catch that for his support he is asking for some favors.

And last, Frank reluctantly agrees to look at an old cold case after one of his police academy students drops a file about her father on his desk.

How does all that fit together.

Guess we’ll find out.

Oh, and I think that reporter Jimmy Dawson is writing book.

 

The multiple-award winning Frank Nagler Mysteries are: THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY; A GAME CALLED DEAD; THE WEIGHT OF LIVING; and THE RED HAND.

 

Kirkus Reviews called Frank Nagler “One of modern fiction’s expertly drawn detectives” (Full review: THE RED HAND.)

Available at:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1944653198/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_H1ZgDbQJB259V

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-red-hand-michael-stephen-daigle/1132368097

Also, Kobo.com and Walmart.com.

Audiobook: Audible.com and ibooks.

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fun radio interview on ‘The Red Hand’

Thanks to friend Georjean Trinkle for the opportunity to speak about the Frank Nagler  Mysteries on her Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce Internet Radio show, “Hot in Hunterdon.”

Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/hotinhunterdon/videos/2633230310063771.

Look for an audio book  version of “The Red Hand” in a few weeks.

Posted in Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seeking that one cleansing moment that never comes

I was born during the Korean Conflict, but was too young by a long shot to understand that situation.

The first world crisis that truly scared me to death was the Cuban Missile Crisis. The news film of U.S. and Soviet ships facing off during the blockade, the loud and angry talk, and the fear that some idiot was going to push a button and launch a nuclear missile – that was all real.

I was old enough to know that 90 miles was not very far and to know how stupid it felt crouching under a wooden desk to protect me from nuclear fallout.

Then the Sixties – the Southern war for civil and voting rights, the Kennedy assassinations, then Martin Luther King; Vietnam, urban riots, Watergate, Sept. 11, the Mideast wars, and now Trump and the dismantling of our institutions and Constitution in front of our eyes.

One party sticks their collective fingers in their ears shouting “La, La, La”, while the other party rolls out a line of children trying to divide the sand in the sandbox.

We are a nation seeking that one cleansing moment that never comes.

What tripped this off was an online comment by a Republican party operative crowing about a new challenger to a sitting Democratic member of Congress; they were thrilled to have the chance to turn a blue seat red.

Why so thrilled to send to Washington another cowardly thumb-sucking Republican who will cheer as a power-mad president dismantles the standards and institutions that made your cushy life possible?

While thinking about this piece I recalled two events I covered as a newspaper reporter.

One was the lawsuit filed by police officers to remove the police chief, whose alcoholism was affecting his job performance and perhaps public safety.

They didn’t win the lawsuit, but the town did take steps to offer the chief help.

Speaking at the time with a substance abuse counselor, she said that everyone in that town was an enabler.

I thought about that comment when I had to write the story about his death. Everyone I spoke with talked around the actual cause, just as they had when he was alive. He drank himself to death. And I know that is not a clinical diagnosis, but I wondered after that what might have happened if during his life, if someone had put the social niceties and the respect for his title aside, and said that out loud.

But the truth hurts.

And so it is with Trump, a drunk-with-power man laughing in the face of our history, our laws, our lives, just because it makes him feel good.

And so his enablers stand cheering, while I suspect that inside their shrunken souls they are scared to death that he will do the unthinkable when it might be happening now before their very eyes.

The other event that came to mind was this: Last year’s widespread outbreak of Hazardous Algae Blooms that affected dozens of New Jersey lakes.

One of the worst was at Lake Hopatcong, a thriving residential and recreational community. The lake was empty nearly all summer as the cyanobacteria that causes the blooms turned the lake water green and potentially hazardous.

Oh, the hand wringing.

And now, as we live though another warmer-than-usual winter (one potential element in the bacteria growth that caused the HABs) the politicians are promising money and studies and programs to stop the pollution that has been entering the lake for decades while we all stood politely by.

Applaud the better-late-than-never action.

But I wonder whether it even matters, now the president has declared that clean water rules in place for decades are null and void.

Did our brave politicians raise their objections to such madness?

Did any of them say, “That is wrong, Mr. President?”

When does it become too much? When do you realize this madness will finally engulf you as well?

We can fix the politics.

We can vote the idiots out of office.

But there are not enough face masks and water filters and rain gardens to turn back the poison the politics have unleashed.

The chainsaws of greed and indifference are cutting away the pillars of this great, and imperfect nation.

The dream of “a more perfect union” can die in a puff of smoke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Michael Stephen Daigle, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged | Leave a comment

YouTube trailers for the Frank Nagler Mysteries

We are preparing an audio version of the latest Frank Nagler Mystery, THE RED HAND. Look for it in Spring 2020.

I have been fortunate that my publisher Imzadi Publishing of Tulsa, Ok., has supported these books with ads and video trailers displayed on YouTube.

The trailers, and the books’ award-winning covers, were created by Anita Dugan-Moore (https://www.cyber-bytz.com/).

 

 

Kirkus Review of THE RED HAND: “A winning origin story for one of modern fiction’s expertly drawn detectives.”

 The links:

THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbtklgTeJ1E&list=UUhsP65gzzjDU1nYTmw2jOvQ&index=28&t=0s

THE AUDIO VERSION OF THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNSW8Ls8Y64&list=UUhsP65gzzjDU1nYTmw2jOvQ&index=9&t=0s

 

A GAME CALLED DEAD

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT22V9TwhtM

 

THE WEIGHT OF LIVING

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVSlNwqbhIM&list=UUhsP65gzzjDU1nYTmw2jOvQ&index=13&t=0s

 

THE RED HAND

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ_SROHO88c

 

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When the world burned

Unseasoned daffodils push sampling shoots into the air.

Do they wonder why they have been summoned so early,

Ask why there was no frost to hold them sleeping for just a few weeks more?

Will they understand when their pale probes greenly ripen too quickly, when their flowers bloom and fall before their time?

 

Who will notice they have come and gone?

 

Hearts once burning full, turn silent cold;

Hands stiffened by absence no longer reach for a caress.

Heat too fast does not burn away pain, but scars.

 

Who will risk that touch?

 

The daffodils rise to an orange sky,

Pushed through scorched earth

Littered with the skeletons of those who could not run fast enough.

 

Who will be left to breathe when the earth burns and the skies fill with ash?

Who will be left to drink water poisoned by glittering fallout?

Who will be left waiting for daffodils when the inferno consumes it all?

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Parsippany Public Library, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bob and Emilio discuss Christmas

Bob brushed the cold plastic seat of the park bench before he sat.

It was an old habit.

He and his grandfather used to sit on the benches on Boston Common and gaze at the lighted trees and absorb the mystical silence of the scene. A whiff of hot chocolate would drift in as a family with overdressed kids strolled by. Bob’s mouth watered at the thought of a warm drink. The distant trill of Christmas carols filled the gaps left in the honking of cab horns on Boylston.

“You don’t know who sat here,” the old man would grumble as he swiped a flattened copy of the Boston Globe over the wooden seat with green chipped paint. “Bums, drunk, whores. Why don’t they clean this place up?”

Bob would block out the old man’s unhappiness. He’d sometimes tug on a coat sleeve and pull his grandfather to his feet and say, “Time to see Santa at Filene’s.”

Bob, on his own park bench, shook his head at the memory.

Hadn’t thought about those days for years.

His grandfather died, he moved on for work, married, had kids, the kids moved on; life, he thought, just life.

But the holidays made him grumpy. Buy this. Get ‘em that. Toys the size of pick-up trucks.

Bob decided one day watching the TV news that none of the advertisers wanted him for a customer. I’m not cool enough for you. I’m not gonna walk around in pants that don’t fit, wearing watches that talk to me and tell me when I’m too fat, too slow, too old.

I didn’t want to be your customer, he decided, because I don’t think it’s meaningful to drive to the middle of nowhere with all my groovy friends, then climb a desolate mountain, build a fire and open a bottle of bourbon.

They probably left the empty bottle behind.

He decided it was the excess, the me-me-me; it was what happened when the Hippies became hedge fund bankers and learned to spin money from thin air and suddenly nothing else mattered.

He gazed out at the passing crowd of shoppers, pushing carts piled with boxes and draped with clothes; in a week they’d be back for the bargains and returning the rest of it.

Buying love, he thought, buying affection. Salving pain with purchase.

He laughed softly. My pain is worth more than yours and here’s the receipt. We can buy something to fix everything but loneliness.

Then he stared at the ground and shook his head. God, Bob, when did you become such a fricking … he looked up and said aloud, “Jerk.”

“Sorry?” asked the woman standing before him next to a young boy. “You talking to me?”

Good thing I didn’t say that I was actually thinking, Bob thought.

“Talking to myself,” Bob muttered.

“Oh, okay,” she said. “I’m going to leave him here for just a minute, if you don’t mind,” and then walked away.

What? “Hey, lady…”

She was gone. Bob stood to find her in the crowd, then sat. “It’s just you and me, stranger,” he said to the boy in as a mild a voice as he could. The boy, whose round face peered out from the blue hood of his jacket, screwed up his face. Then he sat. “She’ll be back. Probably getting you a present and doesn’t want you to see it.”

Bob extended his hand.

“I’m Bob.”

The little boy stared at the outstretched hand and then grasped it with his weak and wet fingers.

“What’s your name?”

The boy withdrew his hand and stared into the passing crowd, the anxiety settling into his eyes.

“Emilio,” the boy whispered.

“Well, glad to meet you, Emilio,” Bob said smiling and expansive. “Your mom will be right back.”

“My aunt,” Emilio said, his voice fuller. “My mom’s, um, gone.”

Bob felt his brain banging against his skull. I’m sitting next to some orphan kid. What’d I do to deserve this?

Stop it, he scolded himself. It’s just some worried little kid. You know what that feels like.

And for that moment, Bob saw himself sitting alone on a cold broken bench after his grandfather told him to “Stay here.” He never knew how long the old man would be gone, but he would return more cheerful and swaying as he walked. “C’mmeer,” he would command, and pull Bob from the bench; the sun had collapsed behind the Back Bay high-rises and they stopped once or twice as the old man tried to remember where he had parked. “How was Santa?” his mother would ask. “Fine, fun,” Bob would lie.

Bob glanced down at Emilio, silent and withdrawn into his coat. He rubbed his gloveless hands together.
“Want a hot chocolate?” Bob asked.

Emilio glanced up and then down to his feet and nodded.

When Bob returned, he pulled open the tab and handed the foam cup to Emilio. “You might want to hold on it a second, and let it cool off. You can warm your hands.”

Emilio took the cup on both hands and raised it to his mouth. He stuck his tongue into the opening.

“What’s hot chocolate make you think of?” Bob asked.

“Breakfast.” Then, “My Mom.”

Bob winced. He didn’t want to ask, but then knew he had to.

“Where’s your Mom?”

Emilio shrugged, his coat riding above his small shoulders. “Gone. My sister, too.”

He slurped up some hot chocolate. “We used to play kick ball.”

“Will you see them for Christmas?”

Emilio shook his head, his face sliding side-to-side inside the hood. Softly: “I want a puppy for Christmas but my aunt says they won’t let puppies in.”

Bob sighed. This was small town, he thought, I could find out where Emilio and his aunt live with ease. His mood shifted. You really need some sad, lonely kid to make you feel better? he scolded himself. You really are a jerk.

Bob searched through his coat pocket for a pen and a store receipt. He wrote his name and phone number on  the receipt and stuffed it into one of the pockets on Emilio’s jacket. Maybe, he thought.

“That’s for your aunt,” he said. “If you can’t have a puppy, what do you want for Christmas?”

Emilio pulled his mouth in and tugged his eyebrows lower. “Someone to play kickball with.”

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment