“Send to Kindle” Now Activated

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Hi, Everyone.


I found out today that Amazon has enabled a “Send to Kindle” option for blogs.  Since some of my blog posts will be short stories and short story excerpts, I figured this would be a good thing to test.


This particular post would probably be a boring one to send to your Kindle, but you can have a look at this one, which contains the full current version of “Waiting for the Weekend”.


Anyway, I hope to make sending the posts to your Kindle worth your while, so stay tuned!

“The Fight” Has Now Landed at Amazon!

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Hi, Everyone.


I just wanted to have my official “the story has landed” post to let everyone out there (who isn’t on my Facebook or Google+ lists) know that you can now get “The Fight” from Amazon for 99 cents.  That’s less than a dollar, folks.


Here’s a little background on the story that you won’t get anywhere else:


As I talked about in a previous post, “The Fight” is one of the “camp” or “Lisa” stories.  As such, it falls into Dave Riggler’s teenage years.  The way that I have the book configured in my head right now, that would be the middle of the book.  It’s also the most stand-alone of all the stories.  As I’ve said before, all of the stories can stand on their own without reading anything else (which is only proper for a short story), but “The Fight” has the least connectedness of any of the stories.  The only character you’ll meet in “The Fight” that you’ll see in any other story is Dave.   That becomes important towards the end of Long-Distance Dedications, but that’s all I’m going to say on that score.

Believe it or not, one of the challenging things about writing “The Fight” was all of the handicapped people in it.  There are really two things that’re difficult about that:

1)  I don’t particularly like writing about being handicapped.  The more “handicapped” a story is, the more one-dimensional it feels to me.  Dave is obviously in a wheelchair, but I try not to write about Dave being in a wheelchair.  Trust me on this:  Writing about what it’s really like to be in a wheelchair would make for some pretty boring writing, or it would be too much information, if you get my meaning.  Nobody wants to hear that much personal detail about someone unless they’re dating or family.  It’d just be weird.

2)  It was important to me to get Tyrone’s speech patterns right (or at least, close to what I would hear them as).  The last thing I would want is to come across as disrespectful or mocking of someone with a speech problem.  That’s not who I am.  Tyrone is a fairly unpleasant character,  but I want to give him the respect he deserves.

I also want to say a word about a word:


That word has become very loaded in recent times, and is seen as a slur.  That’s not the way Dave uses it, and it certainly isn’t meant to offend anyone who reads the story.  Back before a certain time (and I can’t tell you exactly, but certainly in the 1980’s or before), “retarded” was a descriptor, not a slur.  You would say someone was retarded the way you’d say they were a paraplegic or quadriplegic.  In modern times, it’s become an insult, something to be ashamed of.  I think that’s unfortunate.  Anyway, I don’t use it to destigmatize it or to be shocking.  I use it because it’s a word of its time,  and because it’s the word Dave would’ve used.  He wouldn’t use it with malice, and neither would I.

Anyway, I hope you’ll check out the story, and leave a review on Amazon, if you’d be so kind. 🙂


The Unreliable Narrator (or, “Don’t trust that kid!”)

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I’ve noticed sometimes that people will come away from one of my stories thinking that Dave Riggler is inspirational, or some kind of hero.  (I’ve heard this several times with “First Steps”, for example.)  I can never be sure if it’s flattery (because they think I’m Dave) or if they’re serious.  Either way, it’s a nice compliment, but I want to make one thing very clear:  From my standpoint, Dave’s no hero.

Take a story like “First Steps” (part of Dave Riggler’s Stories).   In Dave’s mind, he’s mounting a titanic struggle against the evil forces who would make him walk.  But is that really what it is?  He has reasons for not wanting to walk, but are those reasons valid?  He’s in middle school, so we can assume he doesn’t have a long-term view of things.  (Some might even say that of the adult Dave.)

Even in his later years, Dave isn’t necessarily reliable.  When Long-Distance Dedications comes out, check out “Leaving the Union” and “The Fight”.  In both of these stories, Dave isn’t necessarily behaving reasonably.  Human beings are like that.  They’re often wrong.  Don’t forget that while you’re reading. 🙂

Let me know what you think of Dave (from what you know so far) in the comments.

“Long-Distance Dedications” – The Title

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I’ve been trying to get down

To the heart of the matter.

But everything changes

And my friends seem to scatter.


— Don Henley, “The Heart of the Matter”


On Facebook today, someone asked me what the origin of the title of my upcoming book, Long-Distance Dedications, was.  It sounded, at first, like a simple question to answer.  But it’s not.  Not really, anyway.

As Dave Riggler says in the introduction to the book (which you can find on the front page of this site), all of the stories are about, and for, the people in his life.  But they’re not all the people in his life.   These are stories about the people you lose track of, for one reason or another.  As you start to get older, people leave school and go on about their lives — work, marriages, kids, and all the other things that make up a person’s daily day-to-day regimens.  And of course, sometimes things don’t work out, and people go their separate ways.  There are stories like that in the book, too.  These are stories about the people who are not with you as much as you’d like, if they’re even there at all.

I want to say a few words about “For” vs. “To”.  You’ll see that some of the stories are “For” dedications (e.g., “For Lisa”) and some are “To” dedications (e.g., “To Cari”).  These are very different kinds of stories.  “For” stories are the equivalent of memorials.  The person isn’t “gone” as in deceased, but gone from Dave’s life.  They exist somewhere (as far as Dave would know), and if they find the story somewhere, well, good.  “To” stories are very different.  “To” stories are like gifts or letters.  They’re dedications to the person they’re written about.  These are people still in Dave’s life, although not as much or as often as he might prefer.

(And now that I say that, I have to go back and make sure all of my “To”‘s and “For”‘s are in order… :))

At any rate, that’s what the genesis of the title was.  It’s Dave reaching out to the people who mean something to him.

And now you know.

Sequels, Prequels, and Sequencing

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One of the things that’s been said about Dave Riggler’s Stories is that the stories in it don’t need to be read in any particular order.  That’s true.  They’re in chronological order  in the book, but they don’t have to be read that way.   I wrote them individually, and they can be read individually.  Personally, I think you gain some context by reading them in sequence, but if you want to do a random-access read, that’s your call.  I just write ’em.

Long-Distance Dedications is shaping up to be much the same way.  You can read them in any order you want, but I think you’ll gain more by reading them in order.  Reading through the stories I’ve written so far, you won’t “miss” anything huge if you read them out of sequence, but I think there’s more to be gained by reading them in sequence.  More even than there is with Dave Riggler’s Stories.  Let me explain.

Long-Distance Dedications, in terms of pages, is already larger than Dave Riggler’s Stories, and not all of the stories have been written yet.  In fact, just three of the stories in Long-Distance Dedications take up more pages than the entire book Dave Riggler’s Stories.  It’s a more expansive universe.  Some of the short stories, then, fit together to tell a larger story.  I’ll give you one example:


“Waiting for the Weekend” (working title)

“The Fight”



All of these stories have “Lisa”, and camp, in some way, as a common thread.

In a similar way, there are what I call “the Ramapo stories”:


“And Ye Shall Be Healed”


“John, 1:11” (working title)


You also have “the Tavia stories” (which I haven’t written as much of yet):

“The Leap Year” or “New Year’s Eve” (I haven’t decided)

“In Concert” (working title)

“Leaving the Union”


These all have their own narratives, separate from each other, but they’re interwoven.  That’s why one of my difficulties in writing the book has been how to structure it.  I really want people to read in order, because I think it makes more sense that way, and I think the final story, in particular, makes more sense if you read the others first.

Also in the book will be a sequel, of sorts, to “Last Call”.  One of the questions I get asked most often about my writing (other than the ever-present “Are you Dave?”) is, “Is there going to be a sequel for ‘Last Call’?”  Well, I’m here to say that yes, there will be a sequel to “Last Call”.  Whether it’s the sequel people want is another question.  I like the ambiguity at the end of “Last Call”.  I think that it, along with the moral question, is what makes the story interesting.  Without the ambiguity, Carol(e)’s just some drunk woman at a bar.  So if you’re looking for some easy answers to be provided by the sequel, that’s not gonna happen.  But I will close the loop on the story.   That much I can say.


Anyway, stay tuned.  And do consider reading in sequence. 🙂

Religion in “And Ye Shall Be Healed”

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When I released “And Ye Shall Be Healed” as a stand-alone short story on Amazon, one of the reviews said something to the effect of it really showing how messed-up some church-going people are.   Since it’s Sunday, I guess now would be as good a time as any to address that issue in the story.

I don’t consider “And Ye Shall Be Healed” to be an anti-Christian story.  Certainly, there are misguided believers in the story, but they’re not bad people.  Even Dave, who isn’t a believer in the story, thinks they mean well.

It’s always been my feeling that religion doesn’t make people good or bad.  Religion just gives people an outlet to be who they already are.  The same Christianity that motivates the faith healers is something Cari specifically references.  But who they are determines how they see their faith, and what they do.

Religion isn’t the villain of the story.  Or, at least, I didn’t mean it to be.  People can have their own interpretations, of course.

If you think that I gave religion or Christianity short shrift in the story, let me know in the comments below.  I won’t change the story, because it’s already out there, and it’s what I think, anyway, but I’d be interested in having a discussion about it. 🙂



The Origin of Dave Riggler (the name, at least…)

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Every once in a while, someone’ll ask me where the name Dave Riggler came from.  It’s not a complicated story, so I figured I’d let you in on it here.

For some odd reason, people have always said I “look like a Dave”.  Okay, I’m not exactly sure what a “Dave” looks like, but fair enough, I guess.  So “Dave” it is…

“Riggler” is a little bit more complicated, but not by much.  I used to go to summer camp when I was a kid.  One year, there was this guy with the last name Riggler.  At the time, he walked on crutches (the wooden kind that you put under your armpits, not the kind with the cuffs that go around your forearms), but he wanted to get better at using his wheelchair.  (It was a long time ago, so I don’t really remember why he had both, but he did.)  Anyway, I spent a few days out of the two weeks I was at camp going around with him, up and down hills, through various terrain, etc., showing him how to maneuver and getting him used to the chair.  That’s my memory of it, anyway.

His last name was Riggler, so when I was writing “First Steps”, a story (which was a play, at the time) about a kid who didn’t want to walk, but wanted to use a wheelchair, “Riggler” was a natural name.

And thus, Dave Riggler was born.

See?  Like I said, not complicated. 🙂