Author Archives: chaosgatebook

Picket Duty

This is the cover of Alien Dimensions # 22

My grandfather had some fascinating friends. He and my grandmother lived on the high desert west of Victorville back when few lived east of the San Gabriels. One of those friends was a retired WWII Army vet who would periodically grab his Thompson sub-machinegun from above his front door, leap outside in his drawers and shoot at the moon. You’ll find him (or at least a far milder version of him) in “Picket Duty”, included in Alien Dimensions #22 by editor Neil Hogan. https://www.amazon.com/Alien-Dimensions-22-Fiction-Anthology-ebook/dp/B09RPDC53L/ref=sr_1_7?crid=3QU4J1K3HJH0X&keywords=alien+dimensions&qid=1645540486&s=digital-text&sprefix=Alien+Dimensions%2Cdigital-text%2C359&sr=1-7

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Filed under Front Page, published story

Joaquin’s Gold is now published!

Emily Schwartzman created this wonderful cover for the new book!

            Hidden gold, bloody bandits, vengeful miners, mad ghosts, shipwrecks, rattlesnakes— all these and more are to be found in my stories about Joaquin Murrieta. The individual stories have all been published separately and several have won contest awards. They are now published together for the first time as both a Kindle e-book and a paperback.

Set in Central Californian locations — what is now Pinnacles National Park, the Santa Lucia Mountains, Jolon, Old Mission San Antonio de Padua and San Francisco, among others — the stories blend 19th Century historical characters and events into the action. I’ve intentionally aligned the book’s content with California Social Studies Standards. Its readability is above 90% on the Flesch scale and varies between a 2.3 and 2.9 in grade level, so most young people should be comfortable reading the stories on their own. I also created classroom activities for all of these stories — now in use as part of the reading fluency program at Chalone Peaks Middle School — that are available on TPT.

            I’m proud to share this collection with you and hope it will open California history for you and yours.

Here’s the link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09RTX6G3G/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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Filed under Front Page, published story

Mansa Musa’s Wisdom Published in Spider!

Valerie Sokolova’s art is a wonderful enhancement of my story!

Mali’s late Medieval civilization came to its height under King Mansa Musa.. He was a great King and, though possibly the wealthiest man in history, his accomplishments and times are far from current popular awareness. I wrote “Mansa Musa’s Wisdom” to introduce him and his importance to World and Western African History to young people. Because folk tales are so central to African cultures, I’ve used one for the structure of my story. Every good folk tale has a lesson and so does mine. I thank Cricket Media for making it the focus of their February issue of Spider Magazine. The factual articles about Mansa Musa and African wildlife are most supportive!

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Filed under Front Page, published story

Joaquin’s Gold

This is the paperback cover created by Emily Schwartzman.

My Joaquin Murrieta stories are now published in a Kindle e-book with a paperback coming shortly! Hidden gold, bloody bandits, vengeful miners, mad ghosts, shipwrecks, rattlesnakes— all these and more are to be found in these tales about Joaquin Murrieta. This book is set in Central Californian locations — what is now Pinnacles National Park, the Santa Lucia Mountains, Jolon, Old Mission San Antonio de Padua, San Francisco, among others — and blends 19th Century historical characters and events into the action as I’ve intentionally aligned its content with California Social Studies Standards. Its readability is above 90% on the Flesch scale and varies between a 2.3 and 2.9 in grade level, so most young people should be comfortable reading the stories on their own. 

            Allow me to mention that I first became intrigued by Joaquin Murrieta while teaching about him to my middle school students and wrote “Joaquin’s Gold”, the first story, many years ago to enhance my teaching. This worked so well with the kids that I included the famous bandit in other stories over the years. The individual stories have all been published separately and several have won contest awards. I’m proud to share them with you in this collection and hope they will open California history for you and yours. https://www.amazon.com/Joaquins-Gold-other-Tales-California-ebook/dp/B09QFRCT4N/ref=sr_1_1?crid=7ZDR13RZAH9P&keywords=Joaquin%27s+Gold+and+other+tales+of+old+California&qid=1642269095&s=digital-text&sprefix=joaquin%27s+gold+and+other+tales+of+old+california%2Cdigital-text%2C153&sr=1-1

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Filed under Front Page, published story, Western Tales

One Stone

“One Stone”, a very brief Civil War story based on actual events, was published recently in the Barely South Review. It offers a glimpse into both the end of slavery and the fighting around Atlanta. I thank the editors for including it.

May I add that those who object to the teaching of anything critical of slavery or systemic racism are those who would like to put them in place again. Our Civil War promised liberty for all. Keeping this promise is a process and knowledge of what happened then is crucial to it. I hope my story adds to our shared understanding of those events.

Here’s the link: https://barelysouthreview.com/one-stone/

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Filed under Front Page, published story, The Civil War Remembered

Sister Carmela’s Passing

It takes me a long time, often years, to smooth the flow of a formal poem. That’s true of Sister Carmela’s Passing. I began it more than ten years ago after an unexpected experience south of Carmel. I sent the resulting villanelle to the Braided Way three years ago and forgot about it. The editor dropped me a note informing me that she published it. I’d like to share it with all of you. https://braidedway.org/sister-carmelas-passing/

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Filed under Front Page, poetry

Half Moon and other poems in Verse Virtual!

Moon silver!

Half Moon and two other of my poems were published in Verse Virtual today. I’m most honored to have them included alongside those of some amazing poets! Please take a peek at mine and all the poems in this month’s issue. Here’s the link: https://www.verse-virtual.org/2021/September/walton-robert-2021-september.html

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Filed under Chaos Gate, poetry