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THE BEST PRESENT EVER: A SINNER'S GUIDE TO THE HOLY LAND
Clear Faith Publishing.
Excellent online source of Catholic-themed articles and information.
New Zealand Catholic
The major Catholic newspaper in New Zealand (scroll to page 15).
The Irish Echo
The oldest Irish newspaper in the U.S.
I didn't want to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land because I thought it would be hot and dry and boring, and I'd have to drag around on someone else's schedule with a group of serious religious types looking at one ancient shrine after another. No, thanks. This is what I told my wife every time she asked me to go with her and her parents. Then a week before Christmas in my usual state of panic over what to get her, I signed up, put the receipt in a box, and gave her the gift of myself.
Two months later, we joined a Dutch couple who owned a Catholic gift shop, a soft-spoken priest devoted to Mary who had never been to the Holy Land before, some Americans, an opinionated Eastern European teacher and her Hispanic photog husband, two young Brazilian lads learning to be tour guides, and thirty Filipinos oblivious to the shopaholic stereotype for a once in a lifetime experience.
Purposefully non-preachy, The Best Present Ever: A Sinner's Guide to the Holy Land, lays bare the narrator’s unfiltered (not always very Christian) thoughts and observations as the days and nights unfold. Experience the relentless work ethic of the ubiquitous hawkers, an argument at the Shrine of the Nativity involving a female Russian tour guide, a night-time lovers tiptoe across the rooftops of old Jerusalem, an impromptu sojourn through the poverty-stricken Muslim District of Jerusalem that the narrator will never forget, the narrator's disastrous three minutes at the Tomb of Jesus and his pilgrimage-ending confession, described by the tour group priest as "a good one.” The bus driver is Muslim, the tour guide is seriously Catholic, and the story is universal...how do we all get along?
This is not a story that overtly proselytizes the Catholic faith. Rather, it's a story written to engage and entertain believers and non-believers, male and female, young and old.
My debut collection of poetry, NO SAMARITAN, was published in April 2016 by Tebot Bach, a non-profit poetry press that among other things provides therapeutic poetry workshops to the homeless, battered, and war-ravaged. Order here. A selection of poems included in the book can be viewed by clicking the Poems tab.
THE PURPLE PIT
This novel will be completed in August 2022. I will be seeking an agent soon. A romantic comedy set in London, Los Angeles, Paris, and Lyon in the late-1980s, THE PURPLE PIT tells the true story of the night a London boy with Irish parents first met a shy, 20-year-old, go-go dancing asthmatic from California at a nightclub in Camden to the day they were married three years later.
Packed with laughter, despair, faith, and letters -- the young lovers' correspondence is reproduced verbatim, with poor spelling/grammar/spacing/ punctuation intact -- readers will marvel at the man's ineptitude, the girl's travails, and experience the heartache and joy of falling in love with someone 6,000 miles away.
THE BLACK SEA
I wrote this novel many years ago when I was learning how to write. It's hopelessly over-written, but I like the characters I created, so one day I hope to give them life. The story is about a small town No Cal journalist dealing with mild PTSD after an out of his depth attempt at war reporting in Iraq, a Bulgarian girl with hopes of a career in fashion vacationing in Los Angeles, and an English ex-professional goalkeeper working as a coach for the L.A. Galaxy trying to keep his marriage to an Irish spitfire together. The three storylines converge when the Bulgarian girl enters the Irish pub the journalist and goalkeeper work at part-time. Set in Long Beach, California in 2007, the story reflects the difficulties of recovering from trauma, finding a soul mate, holding on to the soul mate you thought you had, and what happens when a US Marine on leave from active duty, struggling to feed his young son after his wife abandons them and his claim for PTSD benefits is denied "mugs" the journalist and manipulates him into appearing on a local cable TV news program with startling results.
It's a story about beginnings. The beginning of a romance; the beginning of the end of a romance. The beginning of a recovery; the beginning of a descent. The beginning of a friendship; and the beginning of the end of a friendship. As with everything worth writing about it's about love...in all its disguises.
The short stories I've written are also about love...in one way or another.
The Man My car, London, the 80s Sea of Galilee, 7 AM