Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Looking ahead to 2021

Within the next two-plus days, the sands in 2020's hourglass will run out, an imaginary hand will twist its wrist and spin it, and the long year of 2021 will begin. For many, seeing New Year's Eve approach has to be a relief; 2020 has not been kind to them, and in the years to come they will flinch when anyone mentions the numbers associated with this horrid year in their presence.

For me, I count myself fortunate. Outside of brief scares, I have not been exposed to COVID. We thought my mom might have been exposed following a late summer outbreak here in my hometown, but she, luckily, turned up negative. Extended family members contracted it and have recovered. 

And outside of my wife's stroke back in May and my heart condition rearing its ugly head on me over the last month or so, my family has come out unscathed. We are incredibly thankful for that, and our hearts ache for those who have lost loved ones.

In looking back, we were lucky. We listened to the experts and wore a mask from the middle of March on whenever we left the house. We social distanced, we washed our hands, we sanitized. 

In short, we controlled what we could control. 

And as I look ahead to next year, I have to continue that mindset. Control what I can control, don't sweat the small stuff. Insert whichever cliché you need, but those are two that I will utilize when it comes to my writing business in 2021.

What can I control?

My writing output, for instance. I'm not setting a word count goal, per se, like I've done in the past, but when I plan to have two books out in 2021 and one is practically already scheduled to come out in the summer, it means that the book I'm about to start writing needs to take priority during my daily writing time in order to have it ready for a near Christmas 2021 release. When 10 a.m. arrives, I need to be in my office typing away until 2 or 3 p.m. Not doing this will hamper that goal.

On the flip side, I have to remind myself not to get completely angry at myself should other things -- like one of my other writing lives, or an emergency -- pop up, and subsequently hampers the writing schedule. That falls under not sweating the small stuff; emergencies happen, and in my other writing job, things happen that take me away from the fiction. I just have to remind myself to get back to the writing as soon as humanly possible. And if that means getting a page done in the overnight, so be it, or promising myself to write more the next day in an effort to make up for it.

What else can I control? Improving my marketing skills. I've said it time and again: my marketing skills are positively dreadful, but I'm working to improve them. I've done quite a bit of reading over the last quarter, and my hope is to continue to tweak my marketing, and not relying on the same tired methods that haven't necessarily worked, or have tailed off in their effectiveness.

And one of those things, unfortunately, is to possibly look into Kindle Unlimited for the release of INCOMING PRIVATE SHOW, at least at the start. I know that those who have bought my books on Nook, Kobo, and iBooks are shouting, "No!" at me, but I have to at least try it out and see if it works for me, with an incredibly well-written book. And honestly, if it doesn't, once the 90-day exclusivity period it up, I can easily take it out of KU and upload to the other markets.

Other things that I can control? My health, the maintenance on my new house and the various tools I need, and whether I'm wearing a mask.

What are the things I won't sweat about in 2021? Book sales -- I have no control over whether or not people buy my books -- the weather, the Revolution or Arsenal winning or losing, and whether or not people get vaccinated. I'm sure there will be other things that come up.

In short, I'm going into 2021 with a great deal of optimism for myself, my business, and the world at large. 

I hope you're doing the same.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Cover Reveal: INCOMING PRIVATE SHOW, coming Summer 2021

The last couple of days, outside of Christmas, I've been hard at work on making INCOMING PRIVATE SHOW a much better book. Earlier in the week, I took many hours editing and polishing the novel up, bringing it up to fourth draft status.

And now, I have a cover for you, as well as what the book is all about:

When 20-year-old Alyssa Young is murdered at work, police in her hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts have little in the way of clues. And when Detective Ricky Madison discovers what she does for a living — she’s a cam girl, an Internet stripper — and that it’s difficult for anyone to know where she is working, it’s a head scratcher that he doesn’t think he can solve without help from her friends. Two are away, and one of her co-workers is useless.

But when one of her best friends, too, is murdered in the same violent fashion, Ricky wants to prevent a third death from hitting his streets.

A public plea for help gains him critical information, and it leads him to look into Alyssa’s past to find the unscrupulous person behind it.

Coming Summer 2021, INCOMING PRIVATE SHOW is the third book in the Ricky Madison series, behind THE LONG CRIMSON LINE and PERSUADED BY THE REFLECTIONS. Unlike the first two books, which are thrillers, IPS is more of an erotic police procedural. You know how much I like to push the envelope with Ricky Madison stories, and I push the sex levels in this one to the fullest. 

I honestly cannot wait to show you the book. I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, December 18, 2020

While my website is down, consider this my bookstore

Every so often, I have a website glitch. When that happens, I move everything here. In short, I had an issue... and while the issue was sorted on the home page, it's not sorted everywhere else. So until then...


Basically, I had tried to freshen up the site with the new covers to Obloeron, as well as for Turning Back The Clock and Galactic Treason (formerly A Galaxy At War), and any new links. With the glitch -- which was completely my fault -- that didn't happen.

And for the record... there are sooooo many new links. If you're on Amazon, this link here is the best link as it has all the Sean Sweeney books. You can also search for John Fitch V and D.L. Boyd to see my novels under those names. All told, there are 29 novels as of today, with the 30th novel, INCOMING PRIVATE SHOW, planned for a Summer 2021 release.

Also want to let those who use Kobo Plus know that all of my books are available on that platform and service.

So without further ado.......


My books are available in a wide-range of places. Whether it be for Amazon Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, etc., my work can be read on practically every e-reading device, and all of my titles are available in old fashioned ink and paper, trade paperback style.

Titles with an asterisk — * — are available in audiobook form. Trade paperbacks are found under the Amazon Kindle links.


The Long Crimson Line: A Thriller  (Ricky Madison 1)

In the city of Boston, women are dying in a heinous manner. The police are baffled. They have no clues, nor any leads. The public is frightened.

Enter Ricky Madison, florist—an ex-Worcester cop with an insubordinate streak.

Madison and his friend, Mary Ruggles, find the patterns the killer is using, until they discover the one thing that ties all the murders together—the killer may not be male, and that the killer is a devotee to one of the most sought-after killers in the history of the world.

WARNING: The graphic nature of this book is not intended for those under the age of majority where local laws apply.

US Kindle, UK Kindle

Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords

 Persuaded By The Reflections: A Thriller (Ricky Madison 2)

Det. Ricky Madison is back is this gritty, pulse-quickening sequel!

Now suffering from PTSD following the events of The Long Crimson Line, Ricky returns to Worcester, Mass., the city where he was once a police detective; he’s undergoing therapy in both solo and group settings, and in his first session, he meets a young lady struggling to cope with her love life’s tribulations–she’s a cutter, and he offers her his ear whenever she needs it.

When elements of past crimes he had investigated creep back into the present, Ricky is brought back into the fold of Worcester Police to help link the crimes together–even though the one in charge of the investigation isn’t thrilled about his presence.

Together, the two comb through the facts and similarities of the cases until Ricky discovers the one responsible for everything.

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple iBooks

Trade paperback


The Lone Bostonian   

One hundred years in the future, after a world war and another economic downturn, the United States is in recovery. A Chinese company, Gong & Dinow, manufactures inexpensive tablet computers. Everyone has them.

Little does everyone know, those devices will lead to the destruction of the East Coast.

A man from Boston survives the carnage and rows to what was Washington D.C. in order to inform the president… and to begin the healing.

US Kindle, UK Kindle

Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, iBooks



All he wanted was a second chance at life.

Duane Thompson’s incarceration following a crime-filled night on the streets of Boston lasted just a little over a decade and a half. When the Commonwealth paroled him, his second chance at life stalled. No one wanted him near their businesses.

Despite being dogged by the police officer that had initially collared him, Duane does get his second chance, helping the poor in a small Central Massachusetts city. But when a woman is hounded by the same cop, Duane comes face-to-face with his greatest challenge.

Yet unbeknownst to him, while all of this is going on an extremist government has begun reshaping Boston in its twisted image.

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle

Nook, Kobo, Smashwords

Apple iBooks

Trade paperback

The Jaclyn Johnson code name Snapshot series

Waiting at your fingertips is the full, nine-book JACLYN JOHNSON EXPERIENCE. From MODEL AGENT to SCOURING AGENT and everything in between, slide alongside Jaclyn — the CIA’s top counterterrorism agent — in her souped-up car as she battles terrorism from the Atlantic to the Pacific, to London and to Sydney.

Feel what Jaclyn feels the day she meets Tom Messingham. Her thoughts as she encounters Tasha Verkler. Her tete-a-tetes with Parkerhurst and Desmond Daly, better known as Salt. And go deep into her meetings with Alex Dupuis and President Eric Forrister.

And as an added bonus, several never-before-seen short stories that simply add to the mystique that is Jaclyn Johnson.

Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK
Nook, Kobo, Apple iBooks

1 model agent

Model Agent *

The human body consists of two-thirds water.

As concertgoers on a steamy day in Boston find out, water can kill as much as it gives life.

A terrorist attack at City Hall Plaza has the authorities perplexed. The government, in response, sends in a capable but young agent – an agent born from the ashes of terrorism itself – to handle it.

But as her partner dies and the terrorist strikes again, Jaclyn Johnson – code named Snapshot – finds herself in a situation she has trained a decade to face: She’s up against a man with enough money to finance a war against his competition. With a deadline in place to stop him – and with a car holding enough hidden tricks to evade capture – Snapshot infiltrates his hidden installation and finds out her target’s true end game, a secret that could have the world fighting over water.

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle

Nook, Kobo, Apple


US trade paperback, UK trade paperback

2 rogue agent 

Rogue Agent *  

When the 2012 Summer Olympics opened in London, security was at a fever pitch. They said it was going to be the safest Olympic Games yet.

They were wrong.

Heightened security did not stop a terrorist attack on the final group stage match of the Olympic soccer tournament between the United States and the host Great Britain, played at the fabled Wembley Stadium, the home of British football. And when an agent of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack, it sent both the United States and the United Kingdom into a heightened state of alert.

There is only one problem for the terrorist: Outbound Eurostar service to Paris and flights out of Heathrow have been shut down – but flights into London continue to come in.

At the request of the President of the United States, the CIA calls upon the one agent – Jaclyn Johnson, a.k.a. Snapshot – he can trust to seek out the killers of many American citizens and bring them to justice.

But what occurs in London during Snapshot’s mission leads to political maneuvering – and Jaclyn going against everything she knows.

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle

Nook, Kobo, Apple


US trade paperback, UK trade paperback

3 double agent

Double Agent *

With an attack against the Las Vegas Monorail, CIA Director Alexandra Dupuis calls in the agent she counts on in dangerous situations – even though that agent feels betrayed by the very government she serves, the very country she protects – in order to protect American interests.

In Jaclyn Johnson’s latest adventure, Dupuis sends the secret agent into the path of a radical Christian terrorist, one whose designs for Sin City would spell disaster for not only the entire southwest, but for the country as a whole, too.

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle

Nook, Kobo, Apple


US trade paperback, UK trade paperback

4 promises 

Promises Given, Promises Kept

Tom Messingham and Tasha, Jaclyn Johnson’s teenage ward, are safe and sound on the east coast following Jaclyn’s daring mission to Las Vegas, and it’s time for her to head west again—this time to break up the human trafficking ring that had ensnared Tasha a year prior. Yet as she arrives in Tasha’s hometown, Jaclyn has several obstacles—a town wiped from the map, plus a persnickety police chief with one foot in the grave—to overcome before she can keep her promise to her new friend.

Set between the novels DOUBLE AGENT and FEDERAL AGENT, Jaclyn Johnson squares off against an unknown pervert in another nail-biting thriller.

US Kindle, UK Kindle

Apple iBooks

Nook, Kobo


5 federal agent 

Federal Agent *

A failed execution in Atlanta has CIA director Alex Dupuis concerned. And with President Eric Forrister and Republican challenger Dick Bennett headed there for the final debate of the election cycle, she has every reason to be: she doesn’t want the escaped prisoner, a man with ties to the Ku Klux Klan, to disturb it.

She sends Jaclyn Johnson into action after three weeks’ convalescence with her orders: protect both the president and his former White House Chief of Staff so that harm doesn’t befall them.

But what Jaclyn doesn’t realize is that the candidates may not be the ones under fire after all and that the deranged Klansman has someone else in mind—someone who isn’t what he seems on the outside.

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle

Nook, Kobo, Apple


6 Literary Agent


Jaclyn Johnson is back in an all-new, pulse-pounding adventure, and this time, the deck is stacked fully against her!

It’s the holidays, ex-FBI agent-turned-author Jack Henshaw has been kidnapped, and the secrets he holds has the government worried. Jaclyn—along with her British boy toy, Tom Messingham—are sent to Detroit, Henshaw’s hometown, on Christmas Eve to begin their investigation.

Things turn out not as they seem, and while an ex-member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police claims responsibility—as well as giving the Americans a list of outlandish demands—Jaclyn’s investigation grinds to a halt until she gets the break she needs.

It’s a break that could unravel national security as Jaclyn knows it.

US Kindle, UK Kindle

Nook, Kobo, iBooks


7 Travel Agent

Travel Agent 

Jaclyn Johnson is back for her sixth full-length adventure, and this time the CIA’s blonde bombshell has her work cut out for her.

Jaclyn, British secret agent Tom Messingham, and Tasha are vacationing in Australia, but little does Jaclyn know that she is being set up to take the fall for an assassination in Sydney. The trio, together with an old friend, must find out who’s behind it before the true terrorist’s ultimate gambit comes to fruition—all while Jaclyn learns that not everything is all right in Washington, D.C.

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Australia Kindle, Canada Kindle

Nook, Kobo, iBooks



Chemical Agent 

The first trip home for Jaclyn Johnson was supposed to be a memorable one: Gone from Seattle for well over a decade, she was home to attend the unveiling of a statue for her father, killed on 9/11.

Instead, her trip turned into a memory she would rather forget.

Thrust into an awkward position following a tragic murder at their hotel, a murder she couldn’t stop, the CIA counterterrorism agent must do something of which she had never dreamed in this, her seventh full-length adventure: reconcile with her nearly-forgotten past, all while moving forward in life without one of her closest allies.

US Kindle/trade paperback, UK Kindle, Nook

Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords

Ticket Agent 

Over the last few years, Jaclyn Johnson and Tom Messingham have turned into quite the terrorist-fighting tandem: the pair have worked together up close and personal, their bond strong.

But the job is about to affect their marriage: with the pair investigating attacks in the remote wilds of South Dakota to the military academy at West Point, the call comes in. Tom is to report to London immediately, as a business tycoon, Oliver Klozov, appears to have plotted to kill rival footballers–soccer players–in one of England’s top leagues. Klozov, the owner of the Southwest Aces FC, is allegedly behind the death of another club’s top-notch goal scorer, and he’s threatening more—for promotion to the top flight.

It is when Jaclyn discovers her cases and Tom’s case intertwine when she receives a chilling email—Tom’s life is in danger, and Klozov’s crosshairs are locked on him.

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple iBooks

Scouring Agent

A well-timed string of attacks and events in Washington, D.C. has President Eric B. Forrister and the CIA scrambling for answers in the ninth Jaclyn Johnson thriller novel.

How well-timed are they? It just so happens the attacks occur as Jaclyn is out of the country, on her honeymoon in Wales.

With Tasha Verkler, Jaclyn’s ward and confidante, at the head of the investigation alongside Desmond Daly, a.k.a. Salt, the duo look to discover who’s behind these brazen attacks—the new Supreme Court Museum has been bombed, two Justices dead; the Senate Majority Leader killed by a sniper—until the unthinkable occurs: Jaclyn and Tom’s ride home from Heathrow is also bombed.

Do Jaclyn and Tom make it back to the United States, or does Tasha manage to solve it herself?

Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Nook, Kobo, iBooks









Royal Switch

There was nothing to suggest that this baseball season would be any different than the last 20 seasons Harry Edelson had covered, even though Oklahoma City now had a Major League franchise to call its own. He covered the move of the team from Kansas City that winter and observed the new owner – a Russian billionaire – signing the best players he could, including the reigning National League MVP, Bill Revere.

Ancient rivals, observing the events from afar, note the new owner wants to upset the balance of power in the American League. But as the season progresses – even as early as Opening Day – Harry observes odd things happening in the Royals’ clubhouse. It comes to a head at the All-Star break, when Revere severely injures himself. He is carried off the field, and everyone thinks his season is over.

Not so: Revere recovers, but his form has changed. He slumps and eventually breaks out of it, yet the story written that night changes both his and Harry’s lives: Harry notices something different with Revere in the clubhouse and dutifully reports his findings. Soon, Harry’s running for his life – but that does not quench his desire for wanting to know exactly what’s going on in that clubhouse.

It all leads to a road trip like no other, which has Harry perfectly placed to write an expose that’s hard for any baseball fan to ignore.

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle

Nook, Kobo, Apple




Cold Altar  

A small-town cold case gets new life when a woman hands a 22-year-old private investigator his first assignment. Going with the notes his father used when he first investigated the case, Alex Bourque delves into the 31-year-old mystery: an 11-year-old boy, kidnapped without witnesses, abused and murdered. There is little evidence to go on except a white L on the boy’s chest as well as a black smudge on his forehead, but with the help of his girlfriend Lauryn, Alex makes do with what he has and tries to solve the case from scratch.

Yet there are people who don’t want him to find out what happened, and they’ll go to any lengths to stop Alex from discovering the truth.

A classic whodunit in the vein of the late Robert B. Parker, COLD ALTAR is the first book in the Small Town PI series.

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle

Nook, Kobo, Apple



Voir Dire

PI Alex Bourque has jury duty. As he’s challenged by the prosecution during jury selection, the defense has a brilliant idea: Hire Alex to help defend an accused murderer.

Yet as Alex delves into the case, he discovers that the defense attorney has done a shoddy job in building the defense. He also discovers something’s not right with the defendant—especially something that could set the man free.

(Note to Nook users: Use Smashwords for your .epub file)

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle

Kobo, Apple



Beach Blanket Bloodshed  

A body washing behind Small Town PI Alex Bourque turns his and Lauryn’s Cape Cod vacation upside down in the newest installment of this first-person tale.

Unable to trust police, the dead man’s wife turns to Alex for answers surrounding her husband’s murder. And when the investigation leads him back to the Cape, he enlists the help of a sexy Provincetown police officer, who offers not only her usually-unused skills to him and his fiancée, but other things, too.

BEACH BLANKET BLOODSHED is a ripped-from-the-headlines tale that’ll quicken your pulse and steam up your reading glasses.

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple iBooks

Small Town PI bundle

The Small Town P.I. Series bundle (only available in ebook)

Kindle US
Kindle UK


An Invitation to Drink… or to Die: A Murder Mystery Novella 

96-year-old Benedict Morton thinks his family is trying to kill him, so he hires Connor Wood, P.I., to attend his birthday party and sniff out who would do the deed. But when Morton is murdered that night, Wood has to sort it all out with a cast of characters that are clearly antagonistic right from the off.

Was it eldest son James, the one who may or may not be the executor of Morton’s will? His sister Tracy, who has a vindictive streak a mile long? Their half-brother Peter, who has a short fuse? The bastard son Jared? The surly cook? The maid? The butler?

This classic whodunit shows everything isn’t as it seems, and it’s up to Wood to determine exactly who it was that killed the old man.

US Kindle

UK Kindle




Apple iBooks


The Peg-Legged Privateer: A Tattered Sails Novel    

Set sail for a world of pirates, magic, and high adventure…

Long in the service of the 12th Baron Wilton, the privateer known as Paulina has reached her limit. Between a township that doesn’t care for her, the Baron assuring her pledge that she’ll go down with her last ship, and his lascivious advances toward her newest paramour, Paulina plots to betray him.

She just needs a little help in the form of her all-women crew to do it.

Taking four ladies along with her, Paulina takes the Good Queen Bess for her maiden voyage through the Caribe, where mystical beings and scoundrels alike look to thwart her and send her to the Realm of the Locker.

But they don’t count on the steel and magical energies this quintet utilizes to stain the wine-colored waters an even darker shade.

Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK

Nook, Kobo, Apple iBooks









The Obloeron Saga

When one man puts aside a great destiny, it falls on another to pick it up.

This is the full, six-book Obloeron Saga bundle, which first appeared in 2009 under the author’s old pseudonym, John Fitch V. The first five fantasy novels were published before 2013, and now the series comes together with the previously unreleased third novel, Krampel’s Revenge.

In addition, there is previously unseen prose in the form of three short stories the author has weaved into the tale, and gives the full look at some previously unanswered questions from the original three novels.

Starting with the short story The Creation of Flad-rul, the SAGA tells of Krampel Paddymeyer’s journey from that of slave to bounty hunter, from bounty hunter to war hero. Then the original trilogy picks up with Krampel’s grandson, Grumpet, his heir, as well as continues the tale of Radamuck Rosar’s journey with these two great men. Add in a halfling with a warrior complex, a bit of love, and plenty of orcs, and you have a fantasy story set to stand the test of time.

The Saga includes:

The Creation of Flad-rul (short story/prologue)
The Rise of the Dark Falcon (prequel one)
The Shadow Looms (prequel two)
Krampel’s Revenge (prequel three, previously unreleased)
Krampel’s Flight to Kayiko (short story/interstitial)
The Quest for the Chalice (original one)
The Return to Lowbridge (original two)
The Fall of Myrindar (original three)
Grumpet’s First Day (short story/epilogue)

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Nook, Kobo

Smashwords, Apple iBooks

The individual novels are also available for sale.



Zombie Showdown 

For a group of sophomores at Gardner High School, it turned out to be a class trip gone awry.

For 15-year-old twins Christian and Rachel Sanderski, it was the opportunity to tell the truth.

A zombie attack while the kids are on a ghost tour forces Christian to save a group of his friends. The events of the next day, though, lead to Chris and Rachel’s admission – they are the long lost descendants of a legendary gunman who once called Tombstone home. Their mother had forbidden them from saying a word about their genealogy in order to protect them.

With the admission, a weight has lifted from their shoulders and, with the help of their friends, Christian and Rachel battle the zombies in a late night brawl. But when the kids are told of the coming of The Three dead cowboys their ancestor had sent to Boot Hill Cemetery, they steel themselves for the fact that they may never return home.

Action and adventure, friends lost and friends found. And love, too…

US Kindle, UK Kindle


Apple iBooks Kobo



Scollay Love (by D.L. Boyd)

It is tough to lose the place where you met.

For uptown Boston Brahmin gal Charlene Phillips and downtown West End boy Joe Cafario, their starkly different lives come together in Scollay Square, Boston’s famed center, where they fall into a forbidden love amidst the tassels of the Old Howard and the aroma of slow-boiled hot dogs at Joe and Nemo. When their love is ended after Charlene’s final defiance of her parents, the two remain true to each other, despite their forced separation.

When Charlene returns and they reunite in the Square, the city of Boston is about to go through a major change—one that Joe is hell-bent in stopping.

US Kindle, UK Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks

Glorious Slip (by D.L. Boyd) 

Nick Smith is a student of history, especially that of his state’s capital, Boston.

Little does he know that he is about to live it.

Jettisoned some two and a half centuries into the past, Nick discovers that he has landed in Colonial Boston. He marvels at finding the Shawmut Peninsula in the years before the Revolutionary War, and witnesses Bostonians’ palpable anger.

Working a farm and falling in love with a young lady three years his junior, Nick must avoid conflicts with his new brother-in-law, a Crown loyalist.

Ride along with Nick as he rubs elbows with early America’s greatest minds, all while concealing America’s destiny.

The classic John Fitch V novels

Turning Back The Clock










Greg Patterson just watched his beloved Boston Red Sox lose to the New York Yankees in the 2003 American League Championship Series when he gets a radical idea: Build a time machine to make sure that one of baseball history’s worst sales — the sale of Babe Ruth — never happens. But as he’s researching out that fateful event, he runs along another piece of information that he had never known.

It leads him to ask: What if the Black Sox Scandal never happened? Could the scandal that rocked the baseball world in the early 1920s and the sale of the Sultan of Swat be connected? And if it’s possible, can these two incidents be reversed in order to correct the failings of the Red Sox and end the recent domination of the Yankees?

Greg and his friend Brandon Roy build the time machine and immediately head back to 1919, where they meet Harry Frazee, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver, Charlie Comiskey, and the catalyst of the whole thing, Babe Ruth. Greg also falls in love in the past, making for an exciting conclusion to their time in 1919 Boston.

Galactic Treason









Captain Ryan Germayne, son of the legendary Jaxson “Hot Shot” Germayne, has been living up to his late father’s reputation. He is the best pilot the Galaxy of Free Systems “GFS” has. His equally talented first mate gunner, Joslyne, happens to also be his wife.

Some believe that the GFS has grown too large, too bureaucratic for the regular person across the galaxy. This small group of rebels is slowly, but steadily, growing in numbers. In time, their numbers grow by two more.

As Ryan rises in rank and power at lightning speed, he begins to change. Even personally executing former friends and comrades no longer seems to bother him. Joslyne soon wonders to what lengths her husband would go, how low he would sink, and how cold blooded he would become for his new beliefs. And can she continue to stand beside the man he is morphing into?

Friday, November 13, 2020

A New Freebie -- From My Fantasy Series

As most of you know, I consider myself an "Every Genre Author." It's true. I've touched upon pretty much every genre there is, achieving a great deal of success over the last decade as a thriller author.

But when I started writing back in 2003, I was *just* a fantasy author. I had loved reading Lord of the Rings -- my father, who would have turned 77 today, handed me The Hobbit when I was 11 -- and R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novels, and I decided to start writing about this halfling called Yanos Kingsfoil. A friend of mine called him a halfling with a Conan complex, which tickled me. Over time and with more words on the screen of my old Gateway computer, the story became more about the dwarf king, Radamuck Rosar, and finally about Grumpet T. Paddymeyer. After about a year an a half, I discovered my backstory, which became a set of prequel novels.

Well, today marks a few things: Back in 2013, I had taken the series off the market. I wasn't pleased with the writing. It was amateurish, and I had grown past that stage. In fact, I felt rather embarrassed by it. I didn't want anyone to see it. But with maturity and introspection, I decided in the winter of 2014-15 to go back and re-write/salvage what I could from that six-book series, and even inserted some short stories in that world I had written in 2009 into the prose in order to beef them up. The renewed series came out in a box set on Nov. 2, 2015.

And I had resolved, at some point, to get all the books out as singles, in both ebook and paperback. This past week, I finally did that -- and the first book in the series, The Rise Of The Dark Falcon, is now free on Kindle and iBooks (here's the link from my newsletter; feel free to subscribe to it).

And here they are!

I'm so pleased to have this series back out in the wild as solo books again. It is my genuine hope that readers who like Lord of the Rings, Forgotten Realms, World of Warcraft, etc. dive into these books. Try The Rise Of The Dark Falcon for free, on me. If you like it, move on to The Shadow Looms. In all, it'll be $14.95 for the other five ebooks, which is a rather good price, if I do say so myself. The paperbacks are $9.95 each, all on the Amazon placements.

So that's that. My first series of novels from long ago, re-released, the writing refined and strengthened. I'm so happy that they are finally out -- I still have two more to load up to Nook, with their hacking now resolved -- for single consumption again.

Happy reading.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A New Hope... with a new cover

After posting my update blog Monday, I decided to go forth and find a new cover image for Scollay Love, my first historical romance set in 1950s/1960s Boston, and the first book that I wrote under the D.L. Boyd pen name. I'll admit, the title is weak... but the old cover, it was weaker.

I had hoped that this cover would show two 1950s era teens -- late teens, early 20s -- in love. And at 99 cents, I had hoped the romance community would flock to it.

They didn't.

And so, with my revamped business plan, getting Scollay Love a new cover and getting it out in paperback was one of my priorities.

This is what I've come up with:

A more fun cover, if I do say so myself! It catches the eye, which is really what covers are supposed to do. And to remind you of what the book is about...

It is tough to lose the place where you met.

For uptown Boston Brahmin gal Charlene Phillips and downtown West End boy Joe Cafario, their starkly different lives come together in Scollay Square, Boston’s famed center, where they fall into a forbidden love amidst the tassels of the Old Howard and the aroma of slow-boiled hot dogs at Joe and Nemo. When their love is ended after Charlene’s final defiance of her parents, the two remain true to each other, despite their forced separation.

When Charlene returns and they reunite in the Square, the city of Boston is about to go through a major change—one that Joe is hell-bent in stopping.

Hopefully the book -- which should be available in paperback in a few days -- will find its readership now.

And for 99 cents, it's an absolute bargain to see how I flex these new muscles.


Monday, October 26, 2020

A quickie update in the business plan re-evaluation: So far, so good

As you're probably aware, I'm in the middle of re-vamping and re-evaluating my business plan. I outlined my goals earlier this month, and I wanted to use this time with you to give an update on my progress.

So far, so good: I'm through the hard part, a series of deep edits to three books: Turning Back The Clock and A Galaxy At War, which I wrote under my old 00's pen name of John Fitch V, as well as to Royal Switch. When I wrote that initial post, I had already gone through TBTC and chopped some 18,000 words and some change from the original book, removed head-hopping, as well as passive voice. I did the same with Royal Switch and ended up chopping 4,000 words from the original text and massaged some of the prose there. I had intended on re-writing the entire book from scratch, but after review, I think it's better this way. And that opening to the book? Not as big of an info dump as I thought!

Galaxy, though... it was as I suspected. Much like TBTC, there was unpolished writing full of head-hopping, passive voice... just a really unrefined book, if I'm being honest. I've said it before, I'll say it again -- I really wasn't a great writer back then. Great storyteller, sure. I weaved a good tale. Did I execute it properly? Absolutely not.

That is why it pains me to relay to you that I cut over 32,000 words -- more than a third of the book -- from Galaxy's original word count, turning it more into a story the size of Zombie Showdown or Scollay Love more than anything resembling the AGENT series; it's like the old dime novels, with some beef to them. Still, my hope is that the book is better from this exercise, and I will re-read the story around Christmas to make sure it is just that. I will do the same with TBTC and Royal Switch, then re-brand with new covers. My hope is that all three books will be out for public consumption in March.

And speaking of new covers...

So far, Terry has come through with four of the six new covers for Obloeron. I've gotten peeks of what he has done, and it's amazing. At some point this week, I will make the refreshed cover for Scollay Love -- which should just be the old cover, resized for paperback -- and I will get back to my website and make sure I don't have the wrong links for Apple iBooks; some of them go to the Euro pricing, not the American. I've gone through the links in the bookstore to make sure I have no broken links.


What's next? In looking at my list, I see there are many things I can do. Copy and paste the AGENT novels into specific three-book files for segmented box sets. I can do that. The same for Obloeron. I can sign up for BookFunnel to distribute my not-yet-written freebie; I still haven't decided if it should be a Jaclyn freebie, or something else. 

I can start doing additional research for Glorious Rise. I can look into more advertising. I can do this. I can do that.

Really, so much still to do!

But the fact that I've gotten most of the really hard stuff out of the way... yeah, I'm happy with that, and my progress.

We'll take the victories, however small, as they come.


Friday, October 9, 2020

Re-focusing, Re-writing, and Reviewing My Outdated Business Plan

Over the last two weeks or so, I have taken some time to do something I've intended for the last three years: re-work my business plan in order to reclaim my audience. The last three years, it has been rather difficult to do that, whether it be taking on jobs that break up the writing week or ones that prevent me from writing, period, or not having enough money to adequately strengthen my reach via advertising on Facebook or Amazon.

That ends now. But I also end it with a mea culpa.

For most of my writing career, I've made many mistakes -- but I can safely say that I've learned from them and now want to put what I've learned into action. I've learned that some of my books, mainly my earlier ones, suffered from poor writing. I feel that I've grown as a writer, with my more recent books showing that my writing now is crisp, clear, concise. It's my intention to strengthen those books by any means possible and re-release them in 2021.

I've already done that with one book, Turning Back The Clock, one of my John Fitch V novels. When I started a deep edit on that book last week, the original novel was over 101,000 words. When I finished earlier this week, I had removed over 18,000 words, or the equivalent of 33 pages. I fixed the voice, I eliminated the head-hopping, and I just removed prose that simply didn't work for me not as the author, but as a reader. It's an 11-year-old book, but it reads so much better now with what I've done to it, and I hope the readers feel the same way. In all honesty, I fell in love with the story all over again!

The next book to strengthen is TBTC's follow-up -- but under my name -- Royal Switch. Again, something I messed up on, even though I've said that I did it for momentum reasons: I published Royal two months or so after I published Model Agent, and I wanted to take advantage of that momentum. Suffice it to say, that didn't happen.

I've known there were problems with Royal for some time -- in fairness, I thought way back then that I needed an info dump right at the beginning of the story; I've since changed my mind and earlier this year made the decision to re-tool that section. But not only that... in starting to re-read the book this morning, I've found amateurish, crap writing that is, to be sure, thoroughly embarrassing to me as a writer. No wonder the book foundered and has barely sold (11 copies since January 2015!).

What to do about that? Well, I'm going to completely re-write the book, all 75,000-plus words, almost from scratch. The story is sound, but the way I executed the book... I failed at that. My intention is to make the book better with stronger writing than I showed in 2011.

I also want to do something similar with another JFV novel, A Galaxy At War -- a book just as old as Turning Back The Clock. I have yet to print out and read the story, but I'm sure I will encounter the same problems that I have with TBTC, Royal Switch, and the Obloeron novels. It's another book that barely sells (5 copies since January 2014), and that could also be due to the mistake I made with the cover: it's relatively bland and doesn't scream sci-fi. I want to invest in this book not only with the writing, but with the cover art. I'll be talking to fellow author Daniel Arenson about his cover artist for his Earthrise sci-fi novels and Matt Verish for his stuff, as I'd like to improve that incredibly important facet. It will cost me a pretty penny, but as I've said, I can't be afraid of the cost.

What else do I need to do to regain the audience? A new cover for Scollay Love, new Obloeron covers -- Terry C. Simpson is working on those for me -- plus paperbacks for all of the above. I also want to pen a new 30,000-word novella that I'll give away as an enticement to join my mailing list, something I've failed at doing over the last five years; my hope is to get that taken care of by Christmas. My whole focus was on writing stuff that will inevitably sell, when I should have taken a longer look at the bigger picture. If I'm going to continue doing this, I need to do this correctly, and I need to grasp the bigger picture. I need to give something away to my fans. I need to spend money to gain my audience back. I need to do this. I need to do that.

In time, I will get that done. It won't be overnight. This is a marathon, not a sprint -- but I can't let years pass without doing anything, like I have since I first recognized the problem. If you want a problem to go away, you have to do something about it. You can't just ignore it.

The time is, as they say, now.

Thanks for not giving up on me.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Finally, I'm published again! Happy Book Day, Glorious Slip!

After nearly two and a half years -- an absolute lifetime in the publishing world -- I've published my 29th novel and second under the D.L. Boyd pen name today, that being the first of a time travel historical adventure and romance series, Glorious Slip.

No, I'm not crying... well, sort of. I am definitely crying.

The reason? I never thought I'd get this book out. It was a long time writing the first draft, more than a year, given that I had new jobs -- trying to get money into a house when you don't have a college degree is tough, and when you are partially handicapped with a heart ailment, there is only so much I can do -- and Kim had a computer issue (not her fault at all!). Then trying to find the right cover... and sure, this doesn't exactly scream Revolutionary War:

But it's what I had, and I'm happy with it.

Honestly, I'm so happy with the way the book came out. The story was several months in the making, after I had read Outlander and was aghast that Diana Galbadon took upward of 47 pages to get Claire Randall back to 1745. I thought to myself, "If I took 47 pages to get my protagonist to her destination, my readers would put my book down and find something else." Determined, I did months of research outside of what I already knew about the Revolutionary War, and I sketched out the entirety of this three-book series. I wrote then I could, given the new jobs that I had. Sometimes I went weeks without writing, until the offseason of the Major League Soccer season between 2018 and 2019. While the Revolution were in Spain, and with no streams of the matches to watch, I buckled down after SuperDraft and belted out the last few chapters. I did some revision and added some Doc Brown-esque writings -- you'll see when you read the book -- and then edited it over the summer of 2019, in between Revolution matches.

Kim did a wonderful job in editing, I got it back in February, and then waited. But now the book is live, to my joy. The first book that I've published in over two years... you have to forgive me, I'm emotional about it.

I hope you enjoy it, when you get to it. It's a solid read that introduces you to the character of Nick Smith, who must keep silent about what he knows... and in the second book, which I'll start writing this fall sometime, is when things start to really pick up. It's a suitable first book in a series, and at 99 cents for the ebook, it's a good value. I know a few people who have picked up the paperback and have raved about it.

I'm sure you will, too.

Happy Book Day, Glorious Slip. You're out in the world, and I couldn't be happier.

Pick up your copy at the links below:

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Inside the characters of GLORIOUS SLIP

Over the last few weeks, I've let you know about the pre-order for Glorious Slip as well as gave you a chapter snippet that you can peruse at your leisure.

Today, I'm going to tell you about the characters.

Characters are so important to any story; we see through their eyes, we feel what they are experiencing. And in Glorious Slip, the characters are on the verge of the American Revolutionary War, so there's plenty to see and feel as they go about their lives.

Nick Smith

Nick is our protagonist. He is a 21st Century boy who loves American history, and little does he know as our story opens that he's about to live it. Nick is a tall young man from Fitchburg, Mass., and he looks to keep the Wood Family safe when he arrives in 1765. He meets a young lady whose mother dies soon after his arrival, and he must navigate through early family squabbles while debating with himself about telling the young lady the truth. He bears witness to several key points in history during this series.

Constance Wood

Constance is the aforementioned young lady. She helps manage the Wood Farm after her mother Wilma's passing, and falls for the handsome stranger that her mother has hired. She accepts Nick's word pretty much as gospel, and after marriage, does her level best to support him in every decision he makes... like witnessing a pivotal moment in American history that could, if the shots go errant, kill him.

Samuel Adams

One of the heroes of the American Revolution, Adams lives near the Wood Farm and meets Nick in the intervening minutes following Wilma Wood's passing. He invites Nick to join the Sons of Liberty, as well as doing a number of tasks for him. The two men are close, as if Samuel knows the truth about Nick.

Henry Knox

At 15 years old, a young supporting character that rises to do great things for his country in due time. Henry is a bookseller in Colonial Boston during this time, and he meets up with Nick every so often to converse. Nick, even though he's older, holds young Henry in high esteem -- and for good reason.

John Wood

Our main antagonist in the story. John is the oldest surviving male at the Wood Farm, and he is an arrogant bastard. He is kicked out of the family, and he eventually gets his revenge. Is a Crown Loyalist among Colonists upset at the continued taxation.

Colton Wood

At first Colton is on Nick's side, but after one particular event, he turns on his siblings and Nick to join John's side. Both become Customs Commissioners and welcome the embargo of Boston.

And there are more where this comes from.

Reserve your copy at the links below in time for its July 1 release:

iBooks (coming soon) 


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A First Glimpse: A chapter of GLORIOUS SLIP

With just under two weeks to go until Glorious Slip is live (July 1!) for only 99 cents, I'd like to give you a glimpse into the book with one chapter of the story.

I hope you enjoy, and after reading, I hope you pre-order your copy at the links provided. And just so you know, you can order the paperback and read it before the ebook goes live. I'm just saying.


Nick flailed his arms as his head broke the surface some eight-to-ten seconds after colliding with it. A lacy cloud poured from his mouth as he gasped, taking in the cool air through wet lips. He bobbed slightly, his chin and mouth ducking underneath the surface. He choked as he noticed water had flowed in with that initial bob, his gag reflex kicking in as the panic instantly swept through him.

The water inside him didn’t get out fast enough: Nick managed to spit it out in a torrent.

Yuck, Charles River water! he cried internally. Charles River water in my mouth! The worst! Fuck, god-damn it, stay out of my belly!

The coughs racked his clenched chest as he tried treading water, swinging his arms back and forth and letting his shod feet kick out beneath the surface. He felt the chill nibbling against his face even as the water lapped against him, and he did quick math.

If I climb out of wherever the hell I am, he thought, then I’m going to catch a pneumonia. But if I stay in here, wherever here is, then I’ll turn into an icicle and die. He exhaled; another cloud spilled and twisted away to nothingness. The thoughts stemmed from a long lost memory: he was in his single digits back then, and the stubborn little boy wouldn’t get out of the local YMCA pool following a swimming lesson — the air outside the pool was too cold that day, he recalled, leading to his continual bobbing and subsequent demerit as soon as someone yanked him from the water. The latter, though, emerged from his ceaseless watching of Titanic around the same time. The decisions I have to make.

Nick tried to calm himself even as he remained buoyant. He tried to breathe normally, even as the cold water surrounded him and made his heart thump quicker than usual. He shook his head and blinked his eyelids, if only to make sure no stubborn droplets clung.

Up ahead, Nick noticed the moonlight dancing on the water, as well as what looked like a rather curved land mass just beyond it. He made out a few rocks on what he felt was a jetty, much like the one in Provincetown, since he couldn’t see over it. He guessed the jetty was only about one hundred feet away, which he figured would only take a few strokes of his water-logged jacket to reach.

Nick nodded, all as he shivered. He used both hands to displace the water in front of him, the motion countering the knife-like pains shooting through him. The cold seeped into his brain, which forced him to concentrate on getting to shore.

God, if you get me through this, he thought, I’ll go to church on Sunday. I don’t know where, but I’ll get there. Jesus Christ, this is cold.

The distance between Nick and the jetty dwindled over the next few chill-induced minutes until he felt safe enough to set his feet on the sloping scree. He closed his eyes as he hit the shallower waters and hefted himself up onto his quivering legs. Nick took three sloshing steps before he hit his knees on a somewhat un-rocky area, pulling his soaked body ashore. He kept his head bowed as he breathed, his eyes closed. His breath tingled as it escaped, caressing his cheeks like a lover.

Even as the water behind him stilled from his motions after a few moments, he heard the collision of beads against the rock, as if his harrowing ordeal gave him extra-sensory perception. He knew that wasn’t true, but with every drip from his hair to the rock, it resembled the slow pop of bacon frying on medium-low heat.

Nick blew out another long breath between pursed lips, all while the blood rampaged in his ears; he wanted to groan as he felt the sides of his head develop their own heartbeat, but he stifled himself.
The shivering — much like he had feared in that pool at the Y — started soon after.

“Warm,” he managed to spit. “Need to get warm.” Another breath vomited from deep within. “Need to get warm now.”

His teeth started their repeated chattering as the cold slowly moved deeper into him. He tried to think of warmth, if only to trigger a psychosomatic response within him. He thought of the Florida Keys where his wizened second cousin once removed had lived before he died a year ago, and how the old man had showed him where all the twenty-something co-eds skinny-dipped in a private cove off the Caribbean. Nick tried to get his lips to respond to that memory, to no avail.

He thought of sitting in a sauna, the steam canvassing its depths as he waited for a lovely co-ed or a twenty-something like himself to enter, her dirty blonde hair pulled up into a teacher-like bun, and subsequently drop her towel, exposing herself to his gaze, all while a mischievous smile played all over her face. He felt a bit of heat radiate from his groin.

Still, it wasn’t enough. He grimaced as he stood, his body trembling from the cold, and tried looking out in a 360-degree pattern, all as his clothes clung to him like a second skin.

“Where the hell am I?” he asked.

It was a good question, he had to admit. He saw nothing resembling lights in any direction, only the darkness of distant hills reflecting the moonlight. One looked impossibly high for Boston.

If I’m still in Boston, he thought. There are no lights anywhere, no sign of lights atop the skyscrapers. Maybe I got carried all the way over to Nahant? Nick shook his head, thinking it impossible. Even if I did, I would see something resembling life here, or some streetlights. He raised his hand. This isn’t life. The stars ain’t streetlights.

Nick turned and sat down, taking the opportunity to look out at the moon and where he had emerged from the water — or where he had dropped into it.

That vortex, or whatever the fuck it was, carried me a long way from Boston, that’s for sure, Nick thought with a few bobs of his head. The chills returned, even though there was no wind to be had. He instinctively wrapped his arms tight around himself, if only to try to withhold as much warmth as he had within his body for as long as possible. His jacket felt heavy, even in a sitting position. Then it dropped me, right here, into whatever this is. He stared out at the moon’s reflection before letting a tenuous swallow slip into his gullet.

Nick soon felt numb, as if he’d never feel warm again.

God, don’t let me freeze here, he thought, all as the darkness closed in on him.


He didn’t freeze.

Nick awoke just as a strengthening sun rose over his right shoulder. Pushing himself up, he detected a weight against his right cheek; he brushed the gravel and dirt aside, then rubbed the excess off with his fingertips until he felt sure he had a somewhat clear face. The shivering didn’t exactly return at once, though; seeing the sun so bright and unencumbered by practically anything made his heart swell double its size. He smiled, even though it hurt his flesh to do so.

The smiling, though…

Nick groaned reflexively, all as the sides of his head continued their incessant thrum. He swallowed, even though his saliva dragged down a parched throat with the effectiveness of rubbing sandpaper against a sheet of damp particleboard.

“I shouldn’t have drunk that much on an empty stomach,” he mused. “One would think I would have learned that lesson by now. Oy.”

He managed to get to his feet, the air pockets snapping inside his knees — he groaned — and looked toward the rising sun, holding his hands out in welcome, trying to draw in all the heat. He kept his eyes closed, the exhilaration at the warm touches seeping into his flesh. Nick shoved his shoulders back, the stiffness in his lower back giving way; he let another groan fly. A renewed vigor seeped into his joints with every deep, salt-infused breath; he wanted to stay there until he deemed himself adequately warm and dry from the mid-evening plunge, but he knew he had to find a way home, back to his off-campus apartment. He had class in only a few hours, and he needed to put the finishing touches on his discussion paper before handing it in. If there was anything he felt especially proud about, it was his penchant to stick to deadlines.

His thoughts about meeting it dissolved as soon as his eyes widened.

He had turned ninety degrees to his right. In that simple gesture, that simple movement, he finally got a good look at his surroundings.

The gasp rippled from Nick’s mouth as he took it all in, all while shuddering in quiet disbelief. In the full light of day, unencumbered by the veil of night, he looked out and just from the sight alone, he knew right away that he was not in Boston any longer — but he couldn’t place where on Earth he now stood, either. For a moment, he thought the vortex, or whatever it was, had flung him halfway across the state, yet he wiped the thought clear even as it came to him: even in the rural towns beyond Sturbridge, the roads were paved and well maintained.

Here, wherever the hell here was, they weren’t. The roads looked incredibly narrow, far narrower than anything he had experienced in his life, and puddles dotted the ways, darkening the dirt and softening it.

He saw sturdy constructions here and there, some nearly on top of their neighbors. He saw red brick forming the façade of each, yet the roofing, from his rather distant vantage point, looked rather primitive. Large pastures full of green and blooming flowers flanked the rearsides of these buildings — he felt sure they were dwellings, for a light gray smoke trickled from well-used chimneys — with livestock munching away at a fence abutting the nearby road.

Yet his eyes grew even larger as he set his gaze on the recognizable dark mountain from last night. Unmistakable, there were paths carved into it, and even from this distance, about a mile or so away, maybe even less, he saw several different things scurrying about its side.

He swallowed. He hoped they were friendly, and that they’d have an idea of how to get back to Boston from here.

Am I in Amish country? he added as an afterthought. That’s the only explanation as to where I am. I’m hanging with the fucking Amish.

Nick walked away from the shoreline and wandered down a house-less lane, taking great care not to sink into the mud. A light pile of snow caressed the side of it, caked in the same stuff on which he now stood. It was no more than five inches high at the base of the long fence, which he noticed was built almost in an X pattern between the fat posts set ten feet apart. He had seen fences constructed like that during field trips to Old Sturbridge Village during his high school years.

And on days warmer than this, too, he thought as he shoved his hands into his jacket pockets and pulled it closer to his belly. Thankfully, I didn’t catch pneumonia, unless I did, I’m dead now, and this is whatever paradise is supposed to be. Although I have to say I didn’t think paradise would be this muddy, or have the remnants of a winter storm on the side of the road, but hey, who am I, really?

Nick turned right onto a wider boulevard, this one just as muddy as the last. He noticed several piles of horse droppings smack dab in the middle, and he immediately side-stepped the first batch. In doing so, he almost stepped in the second, missing it by mere centimeters.

He let go of a throaty grunt and refrained from pulling the back of his wrist against his brow.

“So much for looking at the scenery,” he muttered, “of which there is none. Have to watch out for landmines instead.” Nick twisted his lips in disgust. “Crap.”

He continued his impromptu morning stroll, the sun clearly behind him. His shadow remained tight to him, he saw, while he tried to find the source of chickens cooing nearby. His sneakers only sank by a couple of millimeters in the loose mud; the corners of his mouth sank that amount, too.

Definitely Amish, Nick thought as he firmed his jaw and nodded his head.

“Are you lost?” a voice called from behind.

Nick whipped around and found a matronly woman standing several feet away. She had the look of Mary Poppins, but with light wrinkles near the corners of her eyes. The woman’s dress was well worn and not a bright navy, and she carried a rather large bag on her arm that was just as well-worn as her clothes. Her gaze pierced him, as if doing so with a great deal of scrutiny.

Surely she’s looking at my damp clothing and wondering if she should call the police, he thought. Yet now that I think about it, maybe I should be the one calling police. She certainly doesn’t look like she belongs in, well, my time — unless she’s Amish, of course.

“Yeah,” he replied softly. “I don’t know where I am.”

The woman approached cautiously. Her head tilted to the left as she halted practically in front of him.

“Are you looking for work, by any chance?”

Nick blinked. He didn’t understand the question, nor did he understand why she continued to shower him with that intrusive look. He wanted to say, “No, I’m looking for a way home because I’m going to miss class,” but he wasn’t sure if she would understand that — especially if she were Amish; ending one’s schooling in the eighth grade sounded too foreign to him, and he didn’t have much time left to get his degree.

What he did after that was purely up to the job market. He had thought about teaching history at a high school — his alma mater was in the process of phasing his old history teacher out, given that he neared 70 and really didn’t want to slow down, despite the superintendent’s misgivings about the man’s age and drinking problems — but wondered if teaching at a middle school was a safer bet.

“I don’t really know?” He didn’t try to hide his anxiety, at least not in his voice. Did she want him to work as her private dancer, a take-it-off kind of boy? As a masseur? “Don’t really think I’m looking for a job, but I think I’m open to anything?”

“I have a farm that needs a hand,” the woman said. “My husband passed away a few weeks ago; murdered, actually —”

Nick blinked again at her forwardness. Who is so open about such things? Christ, if my pseudo-wife was murdered — okay, let’s not go that far. I don’t even have a girlfriend, the woman in the bar with the skin-tight dress notwithstanding. It’s been a while since I’ve had a true blue lady in my life, one that actually wants to Netflix and Chill with me. But I don’t believe I’d be telling total strangers that my spouse was recently murdered and that my farm is looking for a hand, but what do I know?

“I’m so sorry to hear that, ma’am, but I’m not a farmer. Really,” he said as soon as the woman’s sadness and her own anxiety rippled, “I’m just a student of history.”

“Oh,” the woman replied. “It would be nice to have someone to give my son a hand. Lord knows my eldest remaining son doesn’t know which end of a hoe goes in the ground. Too busy playing politics.”

“I’m sorry, eldest remaining son?”

He knew he shouldn’t have asked, but it came out too fast, even before his brain had the opportunity to put his tongue on lockdown. But since she was being so open and honest, he might as well pry even more information from her.

“Yes, my eldest first-born son died in the war. Left us in a right pickle, not his fault of course, and now with my husband gone and our youngest ones doing what they can, we could use a man of strength around our farm, especially with John, the eldest remaining son, that is, being such a useless Crown sympathizer.”

Nick tilted his head by a fraction of an inch at hearing those last words and tried to process what it meant. He had never heard the words “Crown sympathizer” outside of his classes — not even in the small work groups the professor wanted did he heard those words flung about in such haphazard fashion — and hadn’t considered using them in any every day conversation.

“I’m sorry — did you just say Crown sympathizer?” he asked, growing aware that he felt a numbness near his shoulders, his flesh tingling.

“I did. My son thinks George, king for all of nearly four and a half years now, is the bee’s knees, if that’s the proper saying. Glory in the name of Britain indeed. Boy wishes he could live in London. If we could afford it, I would have put his powdered wig-loving self on an outgoing ship and made sure he stays in that dirty little town long before now. But no, the Sugar Act hurt us, even though he says it was necessary.”

Nick tried to move his lips, but he heard nothing emerge from his throat, other than a light gurgle. He thought he was in the midst of choking, or worse, having a stroke, but he didn’t feel his left arm going completely numb, or that the side of his face sloped, as if his skin and flesh wanted to fall off his skull. None of that was happening, but he realized that he didn’t feel so good.

He tried to process everything the widow woman had said, and it made his mind spin: from her eldest son being killed in the war to Crown sympathizing eldest-remaining son, to George — certainly she can’t mean Prince William’s son, right? he wondered — but what really threw him for a loop was her casual mention of the Sugar Act. That meant —

Nick never got the words out. He felt his eyelids shoot back into his skull, all while his legs lost all connectivity with his brain.

He toppled hard as they gave way, and saw nothing else.


Thanks for reading! You can reserve your copy at the links below.

iBooks (coming soon)