Fatherhood with Raymond Carver and Ron Rash

Well, I’m a little over three weeks into this new fatherhood thing (our son having arrived auspiciously early last month), so it was rather serendipitous that Ron Rash’s long-nursed Something Rich and Strange short-story collection (seriously, I’ve been working this one for like three years) was in closest reach when I found myself with a short window of respite.

The next story up just happened to be “Badeye” and I don’t know if it was simply the pure joy I found in being able to read something amidst the exhaustion that made me feel the way I felt about it, but, man, it’s got to be my new favorite short story of his.  Like an Appalachian set Stand-by-Me where the narrator reaches back to his childhood and tells us, “That summer was the longest of my life…”, Rash’s story is about a little boy who loved snowcones and snakes, his mother’s spiritual and moral battle against both, how he found a way to connect to his previously distant father, how the father comes through in a big way in the boy’s time of need, the mysterious man who delivered the snowcones, the secrets both adults and children keep from each other, and the tales we weave about it all.

It instantly brought to mind one of my favorite short-stories of all time from arguably the greatest short-story writer of all-time, Raymond Carver’s “Bicycles, Muscles, and Cigarets” from his Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (fitting words for this time in my life) collection.  Like Rash’s “Badeye”, Carver’s masterpiece is also about a father and son, and the secrets both adults and children keep from each other.  Carver’s harried, cluttered, suburbia of 1950’s California seems a far cry from Rash’s brutal yet beautiful Appalachia of the same time period, yet the stories share universal themes, and as a new father with a newborn son, I can appreciate them on an added level above just their brilliant craftmanship. Continue reading

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Book to Film Adaptations I Would Love to See

2014 marks the year two of my favorite novels will finally reach the silver screen:  the oddly still kept under wraps adaptation of Ron Rash’s Serena (from Oscar-winning director Susanne Bier and staring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper), and Saul Dibb’s Oscar-baiting adaptation of Irene Nemirovsky’s Suite Francaise (well- cast with Michelle Williams and Kristen Scott Thomas).  Which made me think…what other recent or favorite reads are ripe for cinematic plucking?

Heart of a Tiger by Herschel Cobb

Ty Cobb Sliding

A young boy in the 1950’s struggles to find hope and happiness under the harsh shadows of his rage-fueled father and alcoholic mother.  In his loving grandfather he finds refuge and meaning in life.

Sounds like a trite, sachrine, run-of-the-mill, triumph over child abuse tale…except for one thing.  That loving grandfather was none other than Tyrus R. Cobb – statistically speaking the greatest baseball player of all time; American myth; and generally regarded as a world-class mean-spirited son-of-a-bitch who drove his baseball spikes into opponents, beat up fans in the stands, and was a racist, alcoholic hell-raiser.  Part of his scandal are the tall-tales that have been taken as fact, and most people seem to forget that his savvy business mind (he was a great investor in the early days of Coca-Cola) allowed him to, in old age, be a great benefactor to many good causes – from giving no-strings-attached monetary gifts to down-and-out former teammates to a scholarship fund for impoverished Georgian kids that to this day continues to fund higher education for thousands of children.  He also apparently took a shining to the children of his loose-cannon son after the son died of a heart-attack.

Herschel’s Cobb memoir is colored through the lens of a kid who loved his grandfather, so yeah, there’s a bias, but a clever screenwriter could intertwine the uplift of the book with the more colorful moments from Cobb’s legendary playing days, maybe even glimpses into Ty’s own childhood – layers upon layers, flashbacks upon flashbacks – that could weave an epic character arc of a multi-faceted man who saw the darkness in himself, recognized the cruelty of others, and attempted to rescue his grandchildren from it all and stop the cycle of abuse.  Baseball, nostalgia, dysfunctional families, tortured childhoods and redemption – it’s the stuff of great drama.  Take an up-and-coming director like Jeff Nichols who is no stranger to the themes, put some make-up and a Southern accent on Michael Shannon so he can take the lead role, and voila…you could have a gritty, sentimental barn-burner on your hands.

I mean, c’mon, wouldn’t you love to see Michael Shannon utter this famous Cobb quote to his grandson?

“I had to fight all my life to survive. They were all against me… but I beat them and left them in the ditch.”

Continue reading

coldspace Published by The Eunoia Review

The grey stripped asphalt of the lonely country road outside his home would soon bring mourners. 

It was the coldest winter in over fifty years.  Could he remember being that cold?

Andrew Wyeth's Christmas Morning

Andrew Wyeth’s Christmas Morning

It’s with great pleasure that I announce coldspace, my homage to Andrew Wyeth written in a quasi-stream-of-consciousness fit of inspiration the day his death was announced in January of 2009, has found a home on The Eunoia Review. 

Click here to read the full story.

Reader beware, the story contains some indulgent run-on sentences and is a bit more experimental than my usual fare.

Who knew that all these years later it would be published…and that THIS winter of 2014 would supplant those winters of Wyeth as the coldest in memory?

The Eunoia Review is an online literary journal committed to sharing the fruits of beautiful thinking.  Publishing eclectic and unique works daily, it has become the home for hundreds of writers over the years and a regular destination for readers looking for those entrancing “Buddhist catnaps” of Kurt Vonnegut lore.

Down Gallow’s Way Published in Underground Voices’ 2013 Anthology: Red Moon District

Underground Voices Red Mood District CoverUnderground Voices Red Mood District Back Cover

Just in time for last-minute holiday shopping, Underground Voices has released their 2013 Anthology featuring a selection of potent tales including my very own short story, “Down Gallow’s Way”.

The anthology, titled Red Moon District, can be purchased online through Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.

Pick up a copy and support indie authors, an indie publisher, and most importantly, your ol’ pal Dave.

Here’s an excerpt from “Down Gallow’s Way” to wet your whistle…

So when I moved into Clementine’s house just off the pike, the little blue rancher with the overgrown lawn and rusted metal fence that stood in the center of a clusterfuck of lesser homes and doublewides nestled at a fork in the road, we were in the middle of that blasted April heat wave. After the wretched winter of the snowpocalypse where we were hit with record snowfall amounts and left to trudge through mountains of the stuff that seemed like it wouldn’t melt until May (it was gone by March), it seemed a welcome slap in the face to be hit with record heat just after Easter. Clem’s AC didn’t work, and I was no handyman. So we spent those nights in Saundra’s chilled-to-the-bone doublewide drinking beers and watching the Phillies’ games, passing Lil’ Bibbs from knee to knee, bouncing all the way until he was as Clem liked to say, “right tuckered out.” Bibbs was, of course, always out on the road working. He was probably doing more laying of pipe than driving I imagined, but Saundra seemed blissfully oblivious.

Underground Voices started as an online literary magazine in 2004 publishing hard-hitting, raw, dark fiction, flash fiction and poetry. In 2006, it started publishing an annual print edition, alongside the monthly online issues. In 2009, they expanded into a small press. And finally, in 2013, they decided to become an independent book publisher only, publishing 1-5 books a year.

Issue Three of The Stone Digital Literary Magazine Now Available

Issue Three Cover Final

The third issue of The Stone – our special mystery/crime issue – is now available for download at Amazon.com through the Kindle app!

Here’s a preview:

My medic jacket had lost most of its initial warmth once dampened by the constant snow, yet I still tightened it desperately around me, my only safe haven from the frozen field. The snow illuminated the world before me, creating a blank canvas out of the barren field, spoiled only by the occasional dead tree. Under different circumstances, it may have been beautiful.  —  from “Dolls of Ice” by Delun Attwooll

I lived at Siding Number Two, a spur line off the Southern Pacific railroad that carried oil into Bakersfield.  Our little town changed her name to Taft in 1910, the year I was born.  My daddy used to tell me that the town was forced to change its name, because I had arrived in it.  Since I was never sure that he was telling the truth, I called it by its original name, Siding Number Two.  No matter how you dressed her for the dance, this town had an asphalt tar underbelly that no amount of commerce could wash off.   She partnered with men so corrupt that folks were too frightened to talk about it.   Fueled by greed and intimidation, there were two things that kept this town alive, oil and rail. Born to the west desert plains of the fertile valley, she was set down smack in the middle of two oil leases, the Midway Sunset and Buena Vista.  A product of the transient oil boom, she attracted the hardiest and most desperate of souls.  Nobody planned to stay here long much less die in this town, and I was no different.  —  from “Siding Number Two” by Mary Redmond

The next morning, Benjamin examined the spider web and found the lifeless lightning bug wrapped tightly in a cocoon in the spider’s feasting section that also featured a smattering of other tiny gnats and houseflies.  The tiny rear end bulb responsible for last night’s light show was detached from the rest of the body and lay on the floor underneath the web in a smoldering of dirt and dust.  The spider, of course, was nowhere to be seen, leaving behind its macabre display for the boy’s fevered imagination to run wild with monstrous images of the arachnid’s size and power.  Benjamin hated that feeling of knowing that spiders were always around him, hiding everywhere, always within a few feet, sometimes just a few inches from him, often undetected, waiting for that moment to come crawling over his face while he slept, the tiny ones creeping into his ears and nostrils, the big ones nesting in his hair.  This feeling often left him petrified at night.  — from “Night of the Spider” by D. H. Schleicher

So go ahead and roll back The Stone to uncover great stories in the digital age. Continue reading

The Stone Digital Literary Magazine Wants to Read Your Best Mystery Stories

Help THE STONE uncover some great mysteries.

For the 3rd issue of The Stone Digital Literary Magazine, we wanted to try something new and think outside of the box.

For this special issue, we are asking for your best mystery stories.  We are defining mystery just as editor Otto Penzler has done for the Best American Mystery Stories anthologies.  A mystery story shall be “any short work of fiction in which a crime, or the threat of a crime, is central to the theme or plot.”  This broad definition gives writers a wide berth in which to navigate their imaginations.  Many genres could cross over from literary fiction (our normal staple) to crime thrillers to whodunits to ghost stories.  What we hope for is to uncover stories with a strong psychological bent.  Characters and their psychological dimensions should remain paramount to plot and atmosphere.

Are you up to the challenge?  Then what the heck are you waiting for?  Follow the below guidelines and submit your mystery story to The Stone today! Continue reading

Issue Two of The Stone Digital Literary Magazine Now Available

The second issue of The Stone is now available for download at Amazon.com through the Kindle app!

Cover art for Issue Two comes courtesy of award-winning British photographer Eleanor Leonne Bennett, and inside you will find great stories from three continents.

Here’s a preview:

Stretching my long legs in perfect tandem one after the other in rhythmic fashion simultaneously thumping the ground below my feet, I spring forward—yes, I am running. At a speed either unknown to me or at the speed of light, or so I thought. Running for my life to catch a day-train to Bangalore—the Brindavan Express. – from “Train of Thought” by Prakash Jashnani

All across town clocks were tossing off seconds with loud clicks, obnoxious tapping, or with silent digital precision, and he knew that just because he couldn’t hear them didn’t mean they weren’t out there and that the ticking wasn’t happening, and more importantly, that time wasn’t running out. – from “Deadline” by Vince McGovern

Directly in front of the window, a large white ferris wheel slowly turned up, towards, and away from the window.  Up, towards, away, up, towards, away.  Here and there flashes snapped from inside the tinted windows of the ferris wheel cars.  Miek wondered if she would turn out in any of those tourist photos, a small face peering out of a window facing Dam Square, only discovered when someone’s weekend away in Amsterdam was over and their photos uploaded to their computer.  – from “The Trip” by Amanda Perino

The thought of being alone with Ritchie made Jerry nervous. Yes, the Dunwoodys had a three year-old daughter named Ritchie. Jerry had been totally against it, but it was the trend amongst all of Stephanie’s girlfriends that year to apply boys’ names to their newborn daughters. In Ritchie’s preschool class there were two girls named Sam (just Sam), a Billy and a Bobby.  – from “Puddle Jumpers” by D. H. Schleicher

So go ahead and roll back The Stone to uncover great stories in the digital age. Continue reading

The Stone Digital Literary Magazine Now Accepting Submissions for Upcoming Issues

If only digital literary magazines had existed in the era of The Overlook Hotel...

 

...then maybe Jack Torrance would've been published instead of going mad!

 
Are you a writer tired of unfairly being dumped in the slush pile?

Have you been struggling to find the proper “home” for a favorite story you’ve written?

Are you maybe looking to find ways to reach more readers in the digital age?

Well…roll back The Stone and uncover a great opportunity!

The Stone – a Digital Literary Magazine and unique new experiment from The Schleicher Spin – is actively searching for fresh talent.

Our Premier Issue was released in December of 2011, and we are currently gathering material for our Second Issue we hope to have ready by late spring/early summer.  We seek contributors, both independent and established writers, from across the globe to submit us their best and most dynamic stories.

Wondering what types of stories we publish? 

Read more about The Premier Issue by clicking here.

or click here to download a copy for only $1.99 (USD).

Think you have what we’re looking for?  Send it our way! 

Not sure if you have what we’re looking for?  Send it our way anyway!

What have you got to lose other than the potential to be read by hundreds (and hopefully soon – thousands) of people from across the globe?  We are proud to say our readers and contributors currently hail from North America, Europe and Asia. (Hint – Where are all my South Americans, Africans and Australians?)

When submitting – please follow these guidelines: Continue reading

Introducing The Premier Issue of The Stone Digital Literary Magazine

The Schleicher Spin is proud to present a unique new “experiment” with the premier issue of The Stone!

The Stone was founded as a way to bridge the gap between classic storytelling and new technology.  Our goal is to provide great stories to the masses in a modern user-friendly format, through the Kindle App, at an affordable price ($1.99 USD for four stories) – cheaper than downloading music. 

You don’t need a Kindle to read The Stone.  All you need is the free Kindle App!  Don’t have the Kindle App yet?  Click here to download it for free to your PC, Mac, iPad, tablet or smart-phone.

Have the Kindle App already?  Then click here to download The Stone Premier Issue now for only $1.99 (USD).

Continue reading

Scratch Anthology Volume 3 is Here!

The Scratch Anthology Volume 3 has finally arrived – featuring my story, “The Ballerina in Battery Park”, as well as a bountiful cornucopia of award-winning short fiction and poetry from a cavalcade of damn fine emerging writers.

Got an itch for some great stories? Why don’t you mosey on over to Scratch and get your copy today?