A Promise To Azfal – Published and Available

To purchase A Promise to Azfal click on either link:
Barnes and Noble


I’m excited. My first novel, A Promise to Azfal, is finally published and available to the public. Completing the book was a satisfying and fulfilling accomplishment. That being said, I was overwhelmed by the support from my family and friends. Soon, most people will receive their copies and I look forward to hearing their reviews. I definitely believe it is a wonderful story and I think many readers will be pleasantly surprised. My only hope is that everyone feels like they got their money’s worth. I am grateful for those who trusted my writing abilities and purchased a copy.

The process of completing the novel took a little longer than I planned. Firstly, I required assistance to switch from a person who writes essays for History and Anthropology courses, to someone who has the technical abilities to write a story worth reading. Creating the tale came natural to me, but the actual writing was difficult, and I received a great deal of help which I am truly thankful for.

Secondly, I moved across the country from Boston to Los Angeles, (Go Red Sox!!!) which created some challenges. I love living on the west coast, but LA is an expensive city, so I made the decision to put writing on pause while I worked to ensure that I would be able to stay in the city of angels. (I still haven’t seen one angel, but they must be here, somewhere.) At the beginning of this year, my sixth on the west, I finally felt completely settled and began the long, rewarding, process of publishing the novel.

Life threw me an off-speed pitch while I was looking for a fastball, and I barely managed to foul it off and stay at the plate. To read about my biggest challenge while creating this story, click on my past post: How Writing Helped Me Escape The Halo. I didn’t cry when I wrote the post, I promise.

Recently, I had two, once in a lifetime, experiences. The first happened when I received a package from the publisher with a copy of my novel. (An amazing day to say the least.!)It’s surreal to leaf-through a book which I created. The second incident occurred when I went online and purchased a copy of my own novel. Thanks to all who helped throughout the process. I definitely include those who were enthusiastic when I revealed that I was working on a book. A kind word goes a long way!

Please purchase a copy of the novel and be sure to contact me with a review.  You’ll enjoy it…I promise.

Thank You!

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Writer’s Digest Story


     A couple months ago, I decided to submit a short story to Writer’s Digest. There was a 750 word limit and a simple premise: “A man who lives alone sees a set of footprints leading away from his house the morning after a heavy snowfall.”

Here is my submission. (I didn’t win, but that’s ok because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and dog doggone it, people like me!)   

Rick “Gator” Truman waited for his best friend to climb into the cab of his pickup truck before jumping into the driver’s seat. Bud, the four year old bull-mastiff was given to Huron, South Dakota’s new fire chief by the men in his company.

“If the weatherman is right, we’ll get at least a foot of snow tonight.” Rick said.

“Woof!” Bud responded.

Rick purchased a modest house, on a dead-end street, barely within Huron’s city limits. He enjoys the quiet, but the serenity comes with a major disadvantage; the fire chief was left to plow his long driveway. Rick drove through the sleepy town and pulled into his garage. The warmth of his king-sized solid oak bed was calling him, but one task remained.

“C’mon Bud, let’s get the plow onto the front end so we can get an early start in the morning.” Rick said.

The morning sun invaded every corner of the small bedroom, waking Rick from his nightly hibernation. The moment he opened the room door, Bud rushed in and jumped atop the quilt.

“Get down from there!” Rick ordered.

Bud quickly complied and landed on the ground. “Maybe I’ll try jumping on your bed and see if you like it.” Rick teased.

Bud ran and pawed at the exit to the garage as if he knew what was on his owner’s mind.

“Let’s go move some powder.” Rick said.

The garage door opened and God’s baby powder covered the landscape. Rick began to turn towards his pickup when a strange sight caused him to halt.  {I didn’t include the quotation marks when writing the word “god,” because I wasn’t sure how the publication would react to my atheism!}  

Inexplicably, a set of footprints leading away from his house seemed to have appeared from nowhere.

“Where the heck did those come from?”

Rick walked closer to investigate. The first track began in the middle of the driveway and trailed off into the street. Strangely, the print was clearly made with a pair of department issued work boots. The more startling fact was the shoe size; Rick was the only fireman who wore size eighteen, and his pair remained locked in the cab of the pickup.

“I knew we had ghosts. I can’t wait for the guys at the fire house to hear that I finally found proof.”

Endless jokes about the mysterious tracks filled much of the morning hours.

“C’mon Gator, the footprints are obviously not from a ghost.” Chuck Hose said.

“Ok Mr. Know-it-all, please explain where they came from.” Rick responded.

“The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you…the Lord said.” Chuck teased.

The room erupted with laughter. Countless conspiracy theories were suggested and Rick planned on debunking all of the legitimate hypotheses.

“I’ll find even more proof. You guys can laugh, but I know there is a ghost on my property.” Rick said.

News travels through Huron faster than a tide rolls in Alabama. Two days elapsed before the fire chief earned a new appointment; Chief Paranormal Specialist. True to his word, Rick investigated every possibility for an explanation to the eerie footprints. There remained only one truth; a ghost walked from the driveway to the road. Rick couldn’t wait to reveal his findings.

“Regardless of what Chuck thinks, it sounds to me like you did some great detective work, Gator.” Kenny Manning said.

“Thanks Kenny.” Rick replied.

Chuck stood from his seat and commented. “Don’t thank him yet!”

“What are you talking about?” Rick asked.

“We have to tell you something.” Chuck continued. “Hey Mike, do you want to do the honors since it was your idea?”

Mike nodded his head and began to explain. “The footprints were just a silly prank.”

Visibly disappointed, Rick spoke. “Are you serious?”

“Sorry Gator, but we had to do it.” Mike said.

“It might be me, but that smile on your face says you might not be sorry.” Chuck quipped.

“Nonetheless, we all know how crazy you get about the supernatural, so we couldn’t turn down this opportunity. Once the snow stopped, we jumped into old Ladder 13 and made the extensive excursion to your property. I hopped into the bucket and Chuck extended the ladder out to the middle of your driveway. I’m sure you can piece together the rest of the story, Sherlock.” Mike said.

“That doesn’t explain the size of the footprints.” Rick challenged.

“Oh yeah! We ordered another pair.” Mike informed.

“You can keep them for being such a good sport.” Chuck added.

“I’ll get my revenge!” Rick threatened.



Second Chance Sunday {XXX}


Writing Through Writer’s Block, from August 20th, 2011!


*The Roman numerals in the title has nothing to do with pornography. I apologize to anyone who happened upon this post while searching for some “alone time!”


History Can Be Fun (Especially when I Create It!)

The basic meaning of “have your cake and eat it too” has been lost in the wording. What is trying to be conveyed is, “you want to eat your cake and still have it when you are done.” (That’s not funny!)

I was hoping the saying meant. You want to halve your cake and eat it two. Basically meaning, you cut your cake in half and eat the two pieces in two separate sittings. (That would have been funny!)

Here is my story breaking down the origin:

A long, long time ago…

I can still remember how that music used to make me smile. Wait a minute! I think those are the lyrics to Don McLean’s song American Pie. (Sorry about that!)

There was a time, a long, long time ago. Chevys and levees played on the radio. No cell phones, just twenty thousand lights, swaying on a Saturday night…alright. (I think I screwed up again. Those are definitely the words to Five For Fighting’s song Slice!)

Once upon a time, the world was under the rule of one mighty king. The king, whose name has never been uncovered, had all the wealth that a person could wish for. He was a stern, but fair ruler. Most of the towns inside his massive kingdom were prosperous and peaceful.

There was one exception; a small town, near the outer rim of the kingdom. The people were hardworking loyal subjects, but their location created unimaginable hardships. Most families failed to get the proper nutrition, but everyone did their best to  ensure that no one starved to death.

The king wanted to do his best to help these people, but he didn’t want to create an atmosphere where laziness became accepted; a daily ration was given to his poorest subjects and nothing more. The caring king ordered his advisers to put in motion a five-year plan to improve the quality of the soil. With better farmland, the people would finally be able to provide for themselves.

In the meantime, each month, the king would hand out cakes to ten lucky families. These families were selected by the advisers and each clan was chosen based on their execution of the massive five-year plan.

The cakes were delivered to each home on the first day of the month. (Hence the famous song by Cleveland rap group Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony!)

The fortunate families had two choices. They could cut their cake into pieces and have their easiest meal. (Hence the saying “piece of cake,” when talking about things being easy!) This was truly the only option, because these were hungry people who couldn’t afford to pass up any meal.

The second option was to keep the cake for the entire month in order to receive a grand reward. Any family which managed to save their cake was invited to the castle for a massive dinner with the king. (Hence the term “a king’s feast!”)

Sitting down to dinner in the king’s castle was the ultimate prize, but an impossible dream. The longest any family held out was thirteen days. (Hence the number 13 being unlucky!)

On the twelfth day, the man’s best friend, Thomas Jinx, was heard guaranteeing that his buddy would be the first man to save his cake. (From that day forth, the name Jinx became synonymous with a curse!)

After the infamous Jinx incident, the chosen families no longer attempted to save their cakes; there was no point. Everything changed a few years later. A man named William Spender vowed to save his family’s cake for the entire month.

The Spenders land contained a small sliver of fertile land which provided enough extra food to share with some of their neighbors. Due to Mr. Spender’s generosity, his family was chosen to receive a piece of cake. Spender anticipated receiving the cake and he prepared accordingly. For a few months, he stored away some food to be served during his month-long wait.

As predicted, the Spenders were able to save their cake and the king sent a coach to transport the family to his castle. The Spenders thought they were going to see a large amount of food, but they were not prepared for the gargantuan meal.

William’s wife, Elizabeth, mentioned how difficult it was to save the cake. “The journey to your castle was the longest ride of our lives; it took all of my will power to keep from eating that cake.” Elizabeth said.

“Women are impossible to satisfy. It would appear that your wife would like to have her cake and eat it too!” The king said. (Hence the famous saying!)

Another first occurred during the long journey. The trip was the first incident in which children were heard asking the world’s most annoying travel query. Repeatedly, they yelled out “are we there yet?”

This incident is also the origin of the famous oxymoron “save like a Spender!”

***OK! We all know “save like a spender” is not a famous oxymoron, but it can be! (Let’s all do our part and make it happen!)***


This Will Happen

I’ve decided to stop blogging regularly, at least for the foreseeable future. I have a few posts to write for next week and then I will take a break. I’m not burned out or anything; I’m just taking some time to work on other projects. Who knows, I may decide to post once a week, but I’m not sure.

***Thanks to everyone who has continued to read on a regular basis!***

This Is What I’m Working On

Due to extreme fatigue, I almost decided to skip today’s post, but I’ll give a preview of what’s to come.

  1.      I have a funny idea in my head; at least I think it’s pretty hilarious. Hopefully, I will be able to post the entry this week. I don’t want to say too much but it will be the most anticipated conversation, EVER! (I will do my best to post the entry on Thursday!)
  2.      Now that I feel settled into my new life in Los Angeles, I think the creative juices are flowing so it’s time for me to start writing the second season of Bagging Up. My tentative plan is to post the first episode on Friday! (Let me apologize in advance if I fail to post new episodes on a weekly basis!)
  3.      I came up with an idea for another series. This series will be based on a random thought that I had several years ago. I don’t want the responsibility of writing two weekly series because that would feel like I have a job and I don’t get paid for these entries! In an effort to create a manageable workload, new episodes of this new series will appear on a monthly basis.

***The new series will be named Termination.***

Here is the background info:

Each episode will follow the adventures of our protagonist, [?]. (I haven’t decided on a name and I don’t feel like comitting to one!) [?] is a regular guy who graduated from the University of Florida and enjoyed watching the Mighty Gators win countless National Championships in football. [?] earned a degree in chemistry and he plans on being a wealthy man.

Following his graduation, [?] moved to Irvine, California to work for a major pharmaceutical company. After years of living a normal life, he strikes it rich. [?] spent countless hours perfecting his amazing formula; he created the world’s most necessary invention, Halitoscent. This magnificent product is a nasal spray, made with all natural ingredients.

Halitoscent is easy to use, inexpensive, and sold everywhere. The bottle is the size of a small breath spray, and contains a month’s supply of a natural odor eliminating nasal liquid. The way Halitoscent works is simple. All you have to do is spray the inside of each nostril before leaving the house and you will be protected from halitosis for eighteen hours.

[?’s] chemical ingredient eliminates the odor causing mouth bacteria instantly. The process is a little complicated for the for the average Joes and Janes of the world to understand, so I won’t get into the intricate details; just trust me that it works!

***If you are a chemist who comes across this post and you decided to steal my idea, I’ll be expecting at least a ten percent share of the profits!***

     [?] patented his formula and after a bidding was between the major players in the “fresh breath” market, he sold the patent to Wrigley, the parent company of Altoids, for four hundred and twenty-eight million dollars, plus a ten percent share. (Basically, the guy is loaded!)

With more money than a person needs, [?] devises a plan to avoid boredom. He is a prankster by nature and there are plenty of employment opportunities that he wants to take advantage of, LITERALLY! Each episode will follow [?] from the day he is hired to his last day on the job.

If you are still lost, just ask yourself, “What happens when a multi-millionaire, without a care in the world, is entrusted to uphold company standards?” This should be fun!

I’m off to see the wizard. Hopefully he will give me an imagination!


Back To Blogging

My recent inactivity from posting entries is the result of two main factors. First, I broke my phone again and I am back to the dumb phone for a few days. After having the phone repaired, I walked out of the store and immediately dropped the device on the pavement. Not only did I drop the phone, but my momentum caused me to step on top of the newly repaired smart phone. (I know; I’m an idiot!)

Thankfully, there was no major damage to the phone. I initially believed that the android escaped the incident unscathed but I was wrong; there was a large scratch on the top. I did manage to avoid causing any damage to the touchscreen.

Brian was with me and he had a good laugh over my clumsiness. When I finally looked up and began walking to the car, I noticed a middle-aged gentlemen laughing. He was an extrovert and immediately shouted, “I saw that!” I love people with a great sense of humor so his comment made my day. I explained to him that I just got the phone back from “the shop” which caused him to laugh even more. (The citizens of the Los Feliz section of Glendale are OK in my book!)

That day, I made an important decision; I decided that it was time for me to purchase a cover for my android. (Why it took me this long to arrive at that decision is a clear sign of my dumbassness!)

***This is completely unrelated but I enjoyed the Celtics big playoff win, tonight! The fact that I’m writing this post while watching the Lakers get annihilated by the Denver Nuggets is icing on the cake! The city is in complete panic mode and I love it!***

     I purchased a cover for my phone a few hours later and I felt like a new man. The moment I saw my phone, dressed in full battle gear, I knew that it would survive anything. Boy was I wrong! Less than a week later, the phone did not live through a massive fall from the table to the hardwood floor. (These are the moments when I understand why people choose to put down some carpet!)

I can now say that, after watching my phone fall two and a half feet and then slam onto the hard surface, I know what it must feel like to be a loser Patsy fan and watch Wes Welker drop the horribly thrown duck from Tom Brady in the Super Bowl! (Too Soon?)

Clearly, my inability to protect my phone shows that I am Dumb as bricks. Actually, I take that back; the saying makes absolutely no sense. Bricks are not dumb. If anything, bricks are idiot savants. They may not know much about no fancy book learning, but when it comes to being strong enough to hold up walls, bricks are exceptional. They also do a great job when it comes to serving as a tool during smash and grab robberies and serve as wonderful last minute weaponry.

The reason I blame the lack of posting on my broken phone is the fact that I feel I need the phone in order to keep tabs on the blog activity. Without a smartphone, it is also difficult for me to update any new blog postings on my Facebook page. (I must say that being disconnected from social media has been both freeing and frightening! I don’t know how I’m surviving without knowing what random people, who are called my friends, are doing with their lives. I especially miss the really cool people!)

***Unrelated information number 2: Today, I watched the movie Blood In Blood Out for the first time in a while and I discovered that El Pino, the famous tree in East LA (pictured below), is only a few streets away from the company’s main office. I’m heading there tomorrow and I am definitely going to make a detour. I hope the Carnals don’t create an unfortunate adventure for me!***

     The second factor which caused my inactivity is the fact that I just wanted to relax. I have been a little depressed since the great month of April ended and I decided to take a few days to re-energize! (Only 11 months until another fantastic April!) Thankfully, although I always reach a low-point once April ends, I never thought about pulling a Seau!