Walk away from war

When all the seas are empty

and the skies are boiling black;

When the forests are silent

and all the voices stilled

we will walk away from war.

 

When there is no one left to kiss you

or tease your trembling skin;

when all the blood has spilled

and there is no one left to sew your wounds

we will walk away from war.

 

When all the screams have echoed

and all the tears have fallen;

when all the hearts are broken

we will walk away from war.

 

When all debates have ended

and all the reasons failed;

when there is no one left to answer

we will walk away from war.

 

When someone stands beside you,

when someone takes your hand,

when someone’s arm encircles you

when a whisper tickles your ear,

when a word makes you smile,

when your body shivers with love

and your eyes close with passion,

when a soft sigh brings joy,

and joy brings relief,

then we will walk away from war.

Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment

Parsippany Library event March 1

I’ll be presenting  a session on writing and the Frank Nagler Mysteries at the Parsippany-Troy Hills Library on March 1.

The event will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the library, 449 Halsey Road.

Thanks to Kerri Jones for setting up this event.

My thanks also to Christina Williams of the Warren County Library Northeast Branch in Independence for setting up the recent event there.

It was a well-attended session, and thanks to the audience for a spirited discussion.

 

The Frank Nagler Mysteries:

 “The Swamps of Jersey” tells the story Ironton, N.J, Detective Frank Nagler, who must sort out the murder of a young woman, allegations of political corruption, a hint that the city’s famous serial killer may have a copycat, and the disappearance of his girlfriend. The story opens at the end of a weeklong tropical storm that wrecked the distressed city.

 

“A Game Called Dead,” is the sequel to “The Swamps of Jersey,” the first Frank Nagler Mystery.

Nagler is called to investigate the brutal attack on two women at the local college. It begins a tale of urban terror, much of which seems to be directed at Nagler and his associates.

The story introduces the mysterious terrorist #ARMEGEDDON, who taunts the police from cyberspace.

The title comes from the students’ name for a video game that has taken on a real-world life.

It was named a Runner-Up in the Shelf Unbound 2016 Best Indie Book contest.

 

“The Weight of Living,”  features Nagler’s search for the name and background of a young girl discovered alone in grocery store Dumpster on a cold March night The search leads to a dark family past and death. It also puts Nagler in contact with the manipulative force behind the family’s story, and places Nagler and his close circle in grave danger.

“I tried to imagine as evil a villain as I could, which resulted in finding some of the most damaged characters I have ever created. Nagler’s search is not just for a criminal, but for peace for his victims.”

“The Weight of Living” was awarded FIRST PLACE for Mysteries in the 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards.

The Frank Nagler books are available at the following New Jersey libraries:

Mountainside; Morris County Library; Somerset County Library System; Bernardsville Public Library; Hunterdon County Public Library; Mount Olive Public Library;  Phillipsburg; Warren County, Franklin branch (Main( and The Northeast Branch (Independence); Mount Arlington; Wharton; Dover; Hackettstown;  Clark, Parsippany and the Ramsey library, as part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System; The Palmer (Pa.) Branch of the Easton Public Library; Deptford Free Public Library and Franklin Township Library (Gloucester Co.), New Providence Memorial Library.

The Frank Nagler mysteries are available online at:

Amazon: http://goo.gl/hVQIII

Kobo: https://goo.gl/bgLH6v

NOOK: http://goo.gl/WnQjtr

http://www.walmart.com

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Parsippany Public Library, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I thought about after one more school shooting

What a boxed world we live in.

We consult our phones to see what we believe today, scrolling through the options – Thumbs up. Thumbs down. Smiley face. Frowny face. Aw, puppies.

The world we were handed crashes around us, the places we dined and shopped and walked closing and poisoned, collapsing.

But we don’t care. I can order it by phone and have it delivered.

I can live inside my box.

Someone else will fix it.

Hey look what they proposed.

Let’s send a nasty message. That will be fun.

It’s just words. It’s a game.

It won’t hurt anyone.

Did you hear about those kids in that hospital in Syria?

It’s a war. Why don’t they just move?

Did you hear about those kids in Africa? They’re all poor. What do you expect?

Did you hear about those people in Puerto Rico?

Too much. Too much. OK. I’ll send an electronic donation. Satisfied?

Did you know what New Orleans looked like after the flood?

What California looked like after the fires?

Do you know that a life washed away or burned to ashes feels like?

Did you see that old man with the American flag on the side of the road?

The kids in the homeless shelter, question the silence in an old mining town, see the glint of cold sunlight shine from a broken factory window?

Do you wonder why they marched, knowing the beating was coming.

Did you ever fight for change?

Do you wonder what it’s like to be six years old and look up to see a man with a gun shooting at you?

Wonder how that blood was spattered on the altar of the church in Charleston

Or in the hallways at Sandy Hook and Parkland, Florida?

Ever wonder what it’s like to hold a dying friend?

Hey, people are poor, jobs go away. I put my change in the Salvation Army bucket.

People get killed.

It’s terrible for them. Look at them crying together.

I live in a safe neighborhood..

I have an alarm system on my house I can monitor by my phone.

No one can get in.

I order take-out Chinese so I don’t have to leave the house.

Look at them crying.

It makes me feel bad.

Siri, change the channel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment

‘I want to remember touch and taste’; Scene from the WIP Frank Nagler prequel

In the Frank Nagler prequel, in progress, Frank and his wife Martha have to face her leukemia. It had been in remission. Here they face the fact that her condition might have changed.

 

“The neighborhood hummed with window fans and a few air conditioners. The cool scented air of May had never arrived; June instead brought parched lawns, aching for rain, brown before their time. The city imposed water restrictions.

Nagler sat in the hot Impala at the end of his driveway and listened as the engine grumbled to a stop and then filled the air with the pings and clicks of cooling metal, that sound then overwhelmed by the buzzing of a million unseen insects driven into a copulating frenzy by the unseasonable heat. Fuck or die, he thought, smiling. The insect’s life. He smirked and shook his head: It’s actually fuck and die. Brutal. All that life and death at the same time.

Our killer has been too quiet, he thought. Two weeks since the last death and still no answers. The city awoke each new morning expecting the newspaper headline to scream out ANOTHER DEAD WOMAN. COPS BEFUDDLED.

Instead the day’s news was the heat. Sidewalks broiling, heat waves rising like sin from soul-melting concrete. Tempers flaring, fights spilling out onto sidewalks. Fire hydrants flooding the streets with dark puddles and splashing feet; the soft jazz of stoops on hot nights, transistor radios and wine in brown bags, tossing empty beer cans toward the open trash can, only to miss and smile as the tin rattled along the curb. Passion in alleys, sweating lust and a woman’s soft cry and her man’s grunting thrusts; a city on fire, dry caverns baking under heat no one can explain, a smolder waiting a spark, an instant of fear that becomes conflagration.

It’s coming, Nagler knew as he stepped into his dark house. It’s all going to ignite at some unexplained moment for no reason, and we’ll all burn.

 

 

****

 

A radio played softly in the dark house.

Probably Martha.

She would read into the night, the radio on to fill the hollow of the big house; a voice, Nagler knew, because he was out on the streets, staring into alleys for a killer. He would call and worry sometimes when she didn’t pick up. But he knew her days – hours in hot classrooms chasing four-and-five-year-olds immune to the heat – could be hard.

He slipped out of his shoes and outer clothes in the kitchen so not to disturb Martha. In just his boxers, he reached over to turn off the radio.

Martha had a sheet tucked at her waist, her hair covering her bare back.

Odd, he thought. She usually wore a t-shirt, claiming middle-of-the-night chills when he yanked the blankets away.

When he pulled down the sheet to get into bed, he was surprised to see that she was naked.

She woke.

“Hey you. Take off your boxers and then lay next to me,” she whispered.

“Okay.”  It had been weeks  as the murder case became more intense, since they had even laid skin-on-skin, one or the other falling asleep.

He brushed the hair away from her face and shoulder and they kissed. He ran two fingers across her breasts and then drew a line toward her waist.

She broke off the kiss and shifted positions, wrapping her leg across his stomach.

“I have to see the doctor tomorrow,” she whispered into his neck.  “The last test came back….” She exhaled. “Came back.”

He didn’t have to ask what it said; he hollowed out, numb, a scream  circling his brain, his heart still.

“What can I do?”

He kissed her hair, then again, buried his face in her hair at her neck and pulled at her shoulder  as if he could cover her, create a shield, absorb her silent pain.

 “Tell me about the park, about the wet cool grass on your back when I sat on your hips. Tell me about the sweet aroma of wild roses and the petals.”

Martha rolled to her side and held his face in her hands.

“Tell me about walking home when we were seven and you had this confused look on your face when I took your hand, and I laughed and said ‘Oh, Frank, it will always be yours to hold.’”

She kissed him and pulled his arms around her back.

“I want to remember touch and taste, your tongue in my mouth, fingers dripping chocolate ice cream on my chin, what it felt like that first time you took off my blouse in the old bog as we wondered standing naked if anyone could see us.  That look on my mother’s face when I brought you home that first time, you in ripped at the knees jeans and an old sweatshirt, the shadow of the workers ghetto in your eyes, and then her smile, and mine.”

Martha sat up and pulled her knees to her chest and rested her head there, staring at Frank, who laid back stunned to silence. It was that day, the one he had avoided thinking about, the one they both knew lurked in the darkness,  that had been blinded by the light of her recovery years before; the one they feared on that day they celebrated with laughter and silent hope her remission, wrapped and lost in the soft bedding of her grandmother’s room.

“I thought…” he said.

“It’s easy to think that,” she said. “A luxury, but not a guarantee.” She smiled softly into his torn face. “This is the guarantee.”  She brushed  his eyes with a finger and pressed it into his lips. “Everything else is a gamble, Frank, dear  Frank. We gambled with time and for a while came out ahead.”

He tried to speak.

“Hush, my love.  I want to remember how it feels to be with you, how alive. The salty taste of you on my fingers, on my lips, the things we laughed about, the tears of stupid teen-age fights.”

She rolled over to him again and smiled.

“To remember this, just this, you and me  and that great big world out there and how we ran into it yelling, telling it to catch up, thinking it never would.” She closed her eyes tightly and forced out tears. “I want to hear the morning lark, the robin sing and sparrows twitter in the bushes. I want to see the sun and you squinting hopelessly toward the horizon. But that night is coming and the only bird I will hear will be the nightingale, announcing darkness. Not yet, but it will come, one last darkness.”

She settled into his shoulder and drifted to sleep, leaving him to stare at the dark ceiling, the hum of  night leaking through open windows.

He brushed her hair against her back and wept as his fingers held long strands.”

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Library event: Independence Township, Feb. 10

I’ll be speaking at the Warren County Library Northeast Branch at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10.

warrenposterThe library is located at 10 Route 46, Independence, Township, N.J.

I will also be at the Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Library at 7 p.m., March 1. Details to come.

I’ll discuss the creation of the Frank Nagler Mystery series and the use of local history and settings in that process.

The books are: THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY, (2014); A GAME CALLED DEAD, (2016); and THE WEIGHT OF LIVING (2017)

“A Game Called Dead” was a Runner-Up  in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Author Book Contest.

“The Weight of Living” was awarded FIRST PLACE in the 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Contest. The cover by Anita Dugan-Moore was awarded a GOLD MEDAL in the 2017 Cover Art Contest sponsored by http://www.authorsdb.com.

The books are published by Imzadi Publishing of Tulsa. The cover art is created by Anita Dugan-Moore.

The Frank Nagler books are available at the following New Jersey libraries:

Brick  (Ocean County Library System) Mountainside; Morris County Library; Somerset County Library System; Bernardsville Public Library; Hunterdon County Public Library; Mount Olive Public Library;  Phillipsburg; Warren County, Franklin branch; Mount Arlington; Wharton; Dover; Hackettstown;  Clark, Parsippany and the Ramsey library, as part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System; The Palmer (Pa.) Branch of the Easton Public Library; Deptford Free Public Library and Franklin Township Library (Gloucester Co.), New Providence Memorial Library.

 

The Frank Nagler mysteries are available online at:

Amazon: http://goo.gl/hVQIII

Kobo: https://goo.gl/bgLH6v

NOOK: http://goo.gl/WnQjtr

http://www.walmart.com

 

 

 

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

Kirkus Review of ‘The Weight of Living’: ‘An involving thriller with a memorable protagonist’

From the positive KIRKUS REVIEW of the third Frank Nagler Mystery, “The Weight of Living.”

dragonflyoficial badgeThe book was awarded a First Place for Mysteries in the Royal Dragonfly 2017 Book Award Contest.

 

“An involving thriller with a memorable protagonist.”

 

“A pall falls over Ironton when a traumatized young girl, wearing just a tank top and shorts, is found in a dumpster on a cold night. At the same time, a mystery group is illegally obtaining local properties. Investigating both cases leads Frank to unearth an evil family’s history. The cases eventually threaten the safety weigjht.goldwinning coverof people important to him, including Lauren; his ancient mentor, Sister Marie Katherine; Leonard; and Leonard’s girlfriend, Calista Knox. As Frank’s friend Del Williams explains, “You see how deep the poison goes, how strong is the wrong in what they doin’ and your soul cries out for justice and you just wanna bring ’em down.” Before the action is done, neither Frank nor Ironton will be the same.”

 

“Daigle’s narrative is well-paced, allowing the reader to piece together the clues right along with Frank, and it all leads to a melancholy but satisfying conclusion.”

 

The full review:  https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/michael-stephen-daigle/weight-living/

 

The other Frank Nagler Mysteries are:

“The Swamps of Jersey” (2014) is about political corruption and murder, and I attempted to write it in real time, that is to say, reflecting some of the activities that mark

THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY

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

our present lives, but use them in a story that is broad and wide, and with luck, filled with the lives of characters struggling to make sense of troubled times. The central character is Frank Nagler, a cop, whose troubled heart is ever present.

Nagler is called out on stormy night to investigate the report of a dead woman in the Old Iron Bog. It is the first event in a chain of events that set the hard-luck city of Ironton, N.J. on edge. Besides the possible murder, the city was flooded when a week-long storm settled in and wrecked homes, businesses, and streets, and Nagler is trying to make sense of a series of letters that claim to expose theft of city funds, except they are so incomplete he wonders if it is really so.

Then there is Lauren Fox, a woman sent to Ironton to jump-start economic development. She and Nagler are attracted to one another and begin to become serious when she leaves town without an explanation. Nagler was an emotional recluse following the death of his wife years before. They had been childhood sweethearts, and her death crushed Nagler.

 

DEADCOVER715deadawardpicThe story of Frank Nagler picks up two years after “Swamps”  in “A Game Called Dead” (2016)

Ironton, N.J., is still a city struggling with its economic and rebuilding troubles, but new heroes emerge. Meanwhile a break-in at the local college leaves two women badly beaten, and one later dies. Following a series of criminal acts in the city, including several that damage the book store owned by Leonard, Nagler’s friend, the story takes on a sinister twist.  The title comes from the students’ name for a video game that has taken on a real-world life. They call it “A Game Called Dead.”

The story is tense and propulsive.

 

“A Game Called Dead” was a named a Runner-Up in the 2016 Shelf-Unlimited Indie Book Award Contest.

 The books are published by Imzadi Publishing of Tulsa. The cover art is created by Anita Dugan-Moore.

The Frank Nagler books are available at the following New Jersey libraries:

Brick  (Ocean County Library System) Mountainside; Morris County Library; Somerset County Library System; Bernardsville Public Library; Hunterdon County Public Library; Mount Olive Public Library;  Phillipsburg; Warren County, Franklin branch; Mount Arlington; Wharton; Dover; Hackettstown;  Clark, Parsippany and the Ramsey library, as part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System; The Palmer (Pa.) Branch of the Easton Public Library; Deptford Free Public Library and Franklin Township Library (Gloucester Co.), New Providence Memorial Library.

 

The Frank Nagler mysteries are available online at:

Amazon: http://goo.gl/hVQIII

Kobo: https://goo.gl/bgLH6v

NOOK: http://goo.gl/WnQjtr

http://www.walmart.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take what you need

Everything falls

And nothing fits back together.

We stand in the pile, puzzled, hands filled with the broken pieces,

Some of which are not even ours.

The piles spill together, mingling at the edges.

When everything falls, we try to stand,

rake up the piles into something that offers balance.

Sometimes the pieces fit, and click together with a protective certainty;

sometimes they leave holes that offer light.

Take what you need.

Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment

5-start review for ‘Who Shot the Smart Guy at the Blackboard?”: ‘One of the best short stories I’ve read’

Found this 5-star review of my quick-hit short story, “Who Shot the Smart Guy at the Blackboard?”

Thanks for reading the story  and taking the time to post the review.

 

5.0 out of 5 starsOne of the best short stories I’ve read

Bytheweedon January 1, 2018

Intriguing story. The characters were a bit bizarre, but that lent interest to the plot. I particularly liked the ending. I read it a second time to be sure I didn’t miss anything.

 

The story is FREE on Kindle Unlimited, and 99 cents otherwise.

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077PDMP9K/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_VMGfAbEDBTVFN

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey, Ma! I’m on the TV

Here is an interview I did for “Breakfast with the Boss” on RVNT-TV in Mount Laurel.  Thanks to Herb Palmer for arranging the interview with Keith Reynolds.

 

https://radiovisionnetwork.sharefile.com/share/view/s162f41ba70f4f6d8

 

We spoke about my newspaper days and writing the Frank Nagler Mysteries.

The Frank Nagler books are available at the following New Jersey libraries:

Brick  (Ocean County Library System) Mountainside; Morris County Library; Somerset County Library System; Bernardsville Public Library; Hunterdon County Public Library; Mount Olive Public Library;  Phillipsburg; Warren County, Franklin branch; Mount Arlington; Wharton; Dover; Hackettstown;  Clark, Parsippany and the Ramsey library, as part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System; The Palmer (Pa.) Branch of the Easton Public Library; Deptford Free Public Library and Franklin Township Library (Gloucester Co.), New Providence Memorial Library.

 

The Frank Nagler mysteries are available online at:

Amazon: http://goo.gl/hVQIII

Kobo: https://goo.gl/bgLH6v

NOOK: http://goo.gl/WnQjtr

http://www.walmart.com

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Leave a comment

‘Exquisite tension’: A 5-star review of ‘The Weight of Living’

My thanks to writer Reyna Favis for a penetrating 5-star review of the third Frank Nagler Mystery, “The Weight of Living.”

weigjht.goldwinning coverReyna is the author of two fun and involving thrillers about paranormal investigations conducted by the unlikely team of Fia Saunders, Cam Ramsey and his dog Zackie, a psychopomp — a spirit that leads the dead into the afterlife — and reluctant Lucas Tremaine, a TV producer of ghost-hunting shows.

If you are unfamiliar with paranormal writing, her books, “Soul Search” and Soul Scent,” are a good place to start.

 

Reyna’s review can be viewed at  Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2132017627

and Amazon: http://goo.gl/hVQIII

 

The review: “Daigle hits his stride in this third Frank Nagler Mystery. The characters are strong and convincing, and the plot is unpredictable, with sudden twists that take even a careful reader by surprise. The setting is dark, unsettling and gritty, a northern NJ city caught up in the aftermath of decades-long political corruption and financial hardships. Detective Frank Nagler is the last honest man in this city, the white knight who defends the weak and downtrodden. Of the three books in the series, this is the one that pulls out all the stops and tells a story of such depravity and evil that there will be times when you pause your reading and you’ll want to wash your hands. But it’s in this juxtaposition of the dark and light that the exquisite tension of the story builds, the decency and strength of the Nagler character is revealed and the sordid mystery of the little girl left filthy and neglected in a dumpster unfolds. This book is recommended reading if you’re looking for an inventive plot and boldly drawn characters.”

 

IMG_5189The Frank Nagler mysteries, published by Imzadi Publishing of Tulsa, follow the investigations of Ironton, N.J. detective Frank Nagler.

THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY was published in 2014

deadawardpicA GAME CALLED DEAD followed in 2016, and was named  RUNNER-UP in the Shelf Unbound 2016 Best Indie Book contest.

THE WEIGHT OF LIVING was published in 2017.

dragonflyoficial badgeIt was awarded FIRST PLACE for Mysteries in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards.

The cover, designed by Anita Dugan-Moore of Imzadi Publishing, was presented a GOLD MEDAL in 2017 by http://www.authorsdb.com, an industry database website.

 

 

The Frank Nagler books are available at the following New Jersey libraries:

Brick  (Ocean County Library System) Mountainside; Morris County Library; Somerset County Library System; Bernardsville Public Library; Hunterdon County Public Library; Mount Olive Public Library;  Phillipsburg; Warren County, Franklin branch; Mount Arlington; Wharton; Dover; Hackettstown;  Clark, Parsippany and the Ramsey library, as part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System; The Palmer (Pa.) Branch of the Easton Public Library; Deptford Free Public Library and Franklin Township Library (Gloucester Co.), New Providence Memorial Library.

 

The Frank Nagler mysteries are available online at:

Amazon: http://goo.gl/hVQIII

Kobo: https://goo.gl/bgLH6v

NOOK: http://goo.gl/WnQjtr

http://www.walmart.com

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment