Category Archives: 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!

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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:

Leave a comment

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

Pull My Finger

“A lantern’s golden light . . . “

Old friend and raconteur Ed McKean used to amuse my sons (and numerous other young ones) with his campfire story “Pull My Finger”. I won’t go into details, but it was always a hit. Thinking back on those happy times while worrying about fires, smoke and climate disaster, prompted me to use his story’s title for one of my own. Originally published in the 2019 On Loss: An Anthology, Ab Terra’s editors graciously included it in their Issue 4: Climate and Environment. Scroll down a bit to find my story. Here’s the link:  


Leave a comment

Filed under Front Page, published story

Vintage SF! The Resident Sommelier

Neil Hogan’s new anthology

Pour yourself a glass of  Chateau Latour (or at least Opus One), settle into a comfy chair and enjoy my “The Resident Sommelier”. It’s included in Neil Hogan’s new Alien Dimensions #20 – #21 combined edition. Sip your way through some great SF! Here’s the link:

Leave a comment

Filed under Front Page, published story

Last Date – Again!

Noir stories for real!

Pete Noyes, retired newspaper and TV reporter, wrote a great book about his experiences in L.A. during the sixties and seventies.  It’s called “The Real L.A. Confidential”.  I befriended Pete through mutual friend Ed Foley. “Last Date” fictionalizes one of Pete’s more shocking investigations. Originally published in 2014 by Every Day Fiction, I’m happy to tell you that it’s just been republished on the Spillwords site:

Leave a comment

Filed under Front Page, published story

All Black Lives Matter – Duck Plucking Time

The new anthology published by Saturday Writers

The centuries long struggle for racial justice and equality continues. I am honored to have two stories about this struggle included in the Saturday Writers’ new anthology, “Duck Plucking Time” and “Sockdologizer”. 

         Some decades ago, I recall sharing a campfire with an old friend. Campfire talk led us to recalling childhood experiences, his in a Jim Crow borderland state, mine in deep South Alabama. This conversation eventually sparked a fictional exploration of our shared history – “Duck Plucking Time”.

         Historian Jim Bishop did a stellar job of detailing the traumatic events surrounding Lincoln’s assassination in his book The Day Lincoln was Shot.

I saw a chance to employ his work in a fictional treatment of those events. By creating characters, adding dialog and basing my story on Mr. Bishop’s sequence of events I hoped to pull young readers into the history by putting them next to the characters, both historical and fictional. “Sockdologizer” is the result. It won first place in the Saturday Writers contest for youth fiction.

Please view the teaching materials I’ve prepared for Sockdologizer on TPT. I’ve made both scripts for the story and classroom activities:

Here are the classroom activities:

Leave a comment

Filed under Front Page, published story