My Novels & Plays
My novels and plays are listed on the following pages and linked to an Amazon affiliate where they can be purchased.
Seventeen-year-old Ezra-Nori-Thorpe-Casey is in a jam. He’s locked up in the steeple of the Free Will Baptist Church in Mansfield, Oklahoma awaiting his fate: a shotgun wedding to Preacher Bascom’s daughter, Roseabeth. The shotgun-toting Preacher is convinced Ezra “ruined” Roseabeth on prom night and aims to make things right. By hook or crook, luck or logic, Ezra needs to find a way to evade the unholy union with the less that angelic Roseabeth; however, with Preacher, the town bully, the county sheriff, and the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution coming down on him like hard rain, it will take a miracle for Ezra to maintain his freedom, never mind his dignity. And sometimes miracles happen, even to those who think they’re undeserving. At other times, as Billy Joel tells us: “Only the Good Die Young.”
The Babe, the Bard & the Baron
ISBN 13: 978-1516854059
Leadville, CO—1882. Silver Baron Horace Tabor shells out an outrageous sum of money to convince Oscar Wilde to interrupt his lecture tour of America’s Wild West and direct a production of Romeo and Juliet with his lover, Elizabeth McCourt, playing Juliet. Tabor’s intent is to pressure Augusta, his wife of more than two decades, to grant him a divorce so he can marry the younger and much more alluring “Baby Doe.” Wilde agrees, but he must find his players from Leadville’s undistinguished population of miners, hookers, barkeeps and gunslingers and at the same time maintain his artistic integrity, not an easy task in a riotous boom town. Wilde discovers that in matters of literature and the heart, the settlers of the Wild West are no less enamored of or any less knowledgeable of Shakespeare than his devotees in London and elsewhere.
Red Hot Mamas
Abby Adams and Dan Casey are a couple of middle-aged empty nesters, looking forward to enjoying the first period of solitude they’ve had in years; however, their plans change abruptly when Abby invites her newly widowed mother-in-law, Sarah, to move in. Sarah immediately phones Claudia, Abby's mother, to tell her the “wonderful” news. Playing her trump card of guilt, Claudia masterfully maneuvers herself in the household as well, and by week’s end both mothers-in-law have packed their belongings and are descending on their besieged offspring. Act I delights the audience with the difficulties that ensue once the widows stake claim in the children’s nest. After a rough beginning, the mothers-in-law bond in Act II and let their spirits soar, taking up drinking, smoking, ignoring curfews and flaunting “parental” control. But is it the mothers who are out of control?
This Blood's for You
Charlie James has 10 days to live before he is executed for killing a cop. His only chance of an afterlife is to let his internal organs live on after he’s gone to the hereafter—or whatever. But the idea of donating his organs doesn’t originate with Charlie. The idea comes from Patrick Olsen, Warden at the state prison where Charlie is spending his final days, and whose son needs a kidney. Olsen sends Father John, the facility priest, to plead his case in hopes of convincing Charlie to give his all—and then some to save his son Patrick. Humor is how Charlie deals with life and death matters and his loss might well be somebody else’s gain. But the ethical implications associated with capital punishment and organ donation present a major problem for the state and its criminal justice system
Thy Brother's Wife
Nantucket, MA 1825 - As Haddie Starbuck, a young Quaker woman who at 24 has already been twice widowed from Nantucket whaler prepares for her wedding, two ships arrive carrying whale oil and Haddie's two lost loves, long since given up for dead by Haddie and the Quaker community. Both of her husbands came from the prominent Starbuck family. It is to the older brother of her two former husbands that she now prepares herself for marriage. The perplexities posed by their return prompt Haddie to examine her role as a woman and a thinker in this liberated Society of Friends. This play examines the moral and ethical dilemmas posed by the brothers’ arrival and explores the relationship between the Quaker disavowal of violence against other human beings and their wholesale slaughter of whales solely for economic gain. Against this backdrop of moral and ethical complications, Haddie finds her own voice in the insular world of Quaker Nantucket and makes a decision to find her own place in the world as well.
A Little Lower than the Angels
"A Little Lower than the Angels" was originally produced by New Gate Theatre in Providence, RI with Brien Lang directing. Subsequently the play was moved to Newport, RI and performed under the auspices of the Newport Historical Society. The characters and events occurring in this play are totally fictional; however, the major role that Rhode Island played in the American Slave Trade between 1725 and 1807 is a historical fact. During the period, the infamous trade triangle of Newport distilled rum for African slaves for West Indies molasses and sugar was a vital component of Newport’s economy. The “Guinea” trade as it was called resulted in the enslavement of 106,000 Africans; the Revolutionary War ended the trade temporarily, but after the war, the trade was revived. As pointed out by scholar Jay Coughtry, in The Notorious Triangle, the “‘American slave trade’ might better be termed the ‘Rhode Island slave trade’.” This play is the story of how the trade might have influenced the lives of a handful early American patriots and their “property.”
Code Word: Cowgirl
E-book available from Amazon
Maggie O'Shea, a Boston attorney and PI with a knack for having trouble find her, lands in the middle of an Asian conspiracy to dominate the world when a former lover sends her an encoded computer disk just before his death. Returning to her native Newport, Maggie finds that local authorities, the FBI, and the Naval Investigative Service have so bungled their investigation of the apparent suicide that the truth might never be known. Maggie's twin sister, Michaela, sheds more darkness than light on the death by implicating her ex-husband, Bobby Nathan. Nathan owns a fleet of fishing boats, a trucking company, has Mafia connections in New York’s Fulton Market and is suspected of running drugs as well as fresh fish up and down the East Coast and to Japan via Fukihara San, a New York importer/exporter. Filling in for Michaela on a blind date, Maggie meets Tom Charles, a Project Manager for a defense contractor and is attracted to him immediately. Tom, a computer hack, offers to help Maggie decode the disk, but there's a problem. Tom had an affair with the Japanese wife of Maggie's former lover, and, either through accident or by design, allowed Kazko to obtain data on the TOMAHAWK and TRIDENT guidance systems. Maggie wonders if her new love is all he seems. Romance, humor, subversion, murder and incompetence attend Maggie in her attempt to save her life, Michaela's, and the destiny of her country.
ISBN/EAN13: 1518862764 / 9781518862762
The Wall is the second play of a Vietnam War trilogy which includes American Pies, Happy Lives, Blue Skies and Other Lies and Bui-Doi: The Dust of Life. The play opens at the Vietnam War Memorial-the Wall-in 1992 where Madison McCabe, a National Park Ranger, is working her shift in the wee hours of the morning. She has a habit of talking to the names etched into the marble and has even gone so far as to contact the family of Mason Washington, a young soldier who was killed in 1972 along with three other members of his squad. When she exits, the squad-Mac McCafferty (squad leader), Sanchez, Nobel, and Mason Washington emerge from the Wall to hold their nightly vigil-waiting for Will James, the only survivor of a VC ambush, to return.
For the 20 years since surviving Vietnam, Will's life has been a shambles-tested by alcohol, drugs, PSDT and the inability to hold a job. He is guilt-ridden for surviving the ambush that killed his brothers, and he carries a dark secret that may destroy his marriage and his life. After Nam, Will married Mac's widow, Alyssa, and swore to raise Mac's daughter, Megan as is own. Mac, Will and Alyssa were best friends back in the world before the war. Now Megan is convinced that Mac died saving Will's life and holds him responsible for her father's death. Alyssa intuitively knows that the only way for her marriage and for Will to survive is for him to confront his past by visiting the Wall. Only there will he be able to face is demons and lay the past to rest.
A Day in the Wife of Avery Mann
ISBN/EAN13: 1517480930 / 9781517480936
The spirit of Avery Mann is alive, even if not well, while his body lies in repose as his widow, daughter, mother and several other significant women in his formerly abundant life get into the booze and conduct a "ginquisition" to determine just exactly who the hell this man Avery was. On the surface, he was kind and compassionate, but at his core Avery was as distant as a black hole in the deep recesses of space.
Avery is none too happy about being the object of such scrutiny; however, aside from trying to explain his side of things to the audience and keeping his former friends from killing one another, there's not much he can do other than listen. As his psyche gets picked apart by the women who knew him best, Avery comes to realize, that with a single exception, none of them knew him any better than he knew himself. By listening to the women with whom he shared only small bits and pieces of himself, Avery learns a poignant lesson about what he missed in life.
Oldest Trick in the Book
ISBN/EAN13: 151729133X / 9781517291334
Hillary McNeil is a forty-something professional woman at the top of her game. She has close friends, a daughter who's emerging into a strong woman, a devoted lover, and, most importantly, control of her life. Things seem too good to be true, and, of course, they are. Hillary's world begins to unravel with her inadvertent pregnancy. Nick Adamson and Hillary are in an exclusive relationship, but she refuses his marriage proposal. She views her pregnancy as a reason not to marry him. Having already gone through the arduous crucible of dealing with her daughter's unwanted pregnancy, Hillary is in no mood to experience such a calamity of her own. But she has no choice. What Hillary doesn't know is that Nick lied to her about having a vasectomy and intentionally got her pregnant in order to coerce her into marrying him. Will the oldest trick in the book work in reverse? Or will Nick's deception destroy Hillary's perfectly ordered world and their tenuous relationship
The Bride Wore Red
Through no fault of her own, rookie reporter Neila Andersen has just landed an assignment from her irascible editor at the Boston Mercury that could win her a Pulitzer Prize. All she has to do is find out why Boston’s most prominent geneticist, Nobel Laureate Dr. Frank Goodman was viciously assaulted by his childhood rival Christian Slaughter, a Harvard classmate who for two decades has practiced medicine in obscurity at a public clinic. As a medical resident at Mass General 22 years earlier, Goodman fell in love with Scandinavian beauty, Elena Jensen. However, Goodman lost her to his friend, rival, and fellow resident Dr. Christian Slaughter. Both men were irreparably damaged and have since been haunted by Elena’s mysterious death on her wedding day to Christian. While unearthing the story behind the assault, Neila finds herself immersed a long-running feud and enigmatically attracted to the now middle-aged Slaughter even though he is clearly in love another woman. Just as puzzling to Neila is Goodman’s more than just professional interest in her. By opening up a 22-year-old cold case about a hot blonde, Neila finds herself caught up in a story so bizarre it forces her to examine a past, present, and future too horrific to contemplate.
Rescue the Perishing
Seventeen-year-old Ezra-Nori-Thorpe-Casey is in a jam. He’s locked up in the steeple of the Free Will Baptist Church in Mansfield, Oklahoma awaiting his fate: a shotgun wedding to Preacher Bascom’s daughter, Roseabeth. The shotgun-toting Preacher is convinced Ezra “ruined” Roseabeth on prom night and aims to make things right. By hook or crook, luck or logic, Ezra needs to find a way to evade the unholy union with the less that angelic Roseabeth. However, with Preacher, the town bully, the county sheriff, and the local chapter of the DAR coming down on him like hard rain, it will take a miracle for Ezra to maintain his freedom, never mind his dignity. And sometimes miracles happen, even to those who think they’re undeserving. At other times, righteous men are so consumed by their beliefs that they justify violence in the name of the deity in which they believe. What fate awaits Ezra in this ecclesiastical clash of ideas?
Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment provides the underlying theme for Free Shot, a play exploring the idea of whether the human conscience will allow an individual who commits a criminal act to live in peace with himself, even if the crime goes unpunished by the state. Specifically, Free Shot examines what happens when young, irresponsible and unformed lives get tangled in an act of violence that is never addressed by its perpetrator or victim. The plot unfolds in and around the home of Dr. Kate Alexander and her daughter Lauren in Los Angeles. Lauren was raised believing her father died before her birth in an auto accident. His legacy is that he was a gifted athlete, a trait carried on in Lauren’s athletic prowess and demonstrated by the fact that she is the most sought after shooting guard in the country. Lauren has a great guy pal and a terrific life ahead of her – if only her over-protective mother would back off. Kate is complex and anxiety ridden; she packs heat and carries a secret so debilitating she seeks psychiatric counsel. Their lives are changed forever when Aaron Kingsley, former NBA All-Star and now coach and AD at a college recruiting Lauren, appears at their door. Kingsley, unaware that Lauren is his daughter, is in LA to persuade her to come east and play for him. However, instead of a star recruit, Kingsley gets a bullet in his gut. An LAPD detective gets involved, personally and professionally, as he uncovers the truth behind Kate’s assault on Coach Kingsley. But it is Lauren who must make things right, even if it means risking everything on a single free shot.
American Pies, Happy Lives, Blue Skies & Other Lies
“American Pies, Happy Lives, Blue Skies & Other Lies” is the first play of a Vietnam War trilogy which includes “Bui-Doi: The Dust of Life” and “The Wall.” The story unfolds at the home of decorated Vietnam veteran Sam Adams and his wife Angel in Cambridge, Massachusetts nine years after Sam and his boyhood friend Tom Charles left for Vietnam. The year is 1977. Sam returned a hero after his tour of duty and married Angel, Tom’s former fiancée. Sam has made a pile of dough as a big time stockbroker in Boston’s financial district and is living good life. Tom comes home many years later, a battered but not broken man. What starts out as a friendly reunion deteriorates into a savage battle for supremacy and survival as Tom and Sam clash over the our country’s attempt to spread the American dream into Asia with an excess of democratic rhetoric, economic clout, carpet bombing agent orange, and a half million boots on the ground, most of them bogged down in rice paddies. This is a story of how the Vietnam War changed all of us whether we were directly or indirectly involved.
Bui-doi: The Dust of Life
“Bui-doi: The Dust of Life” is the third play of a Vietnam War trilogy which includes “American Pies, Happy Lives, Blue Skies and Other Lies” and “The Wall.” Thirty years after getting out of the Vietnam War, more or less in one piece, mystery writer Taylor Munroe is confronted by a young Amerasian who claims to be his son. Dissident Hong Kong publisher Wei Chan, with his mother in tow, flees Hong Kong when China seizes control of the British Crown Colony in 1998. Bound for San Francisco, Wei's intention is to arrange a marriage between his mother and his absentee father. Taylor knows nothing of Wei's existence although he remembers a blissful time he spent in the arms of a Chinese bargirl just prior to the TET offensive exploding across Vietnam in 1968. Wei is an example of what the Vietnamese refer to as bui-doi: the dust of life. These are the children sired by soldiers in a foreign country and left behind after the war. Wei’s unexpected intrusion into Taylor’s troubled existence forces both father and son to reconcile an unconnected past with an uncertain future.
There’s a big problem in a small town when a 15-year-old grocery delivery boy reports back to the local Baptist preacher what he saw at the living quarters of two life-long friends and recent widows. As consequence, all hell is about to break loose—from the pulpit Sunday morning—if the women cannot stand up before God and man and publicly “explain themselves.” Grace is a poet and English teacher; even at 53, she is tech savvy, passionate about life and love, and perhaps she does indeed harbor a secret. The bawdy Meg is a rancher’s widow; she rides, ropes and handles a Winchester as well as any man in town. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with, but then so are the Church and town fathers. The town and the widows are in for a shock, but not the one either expected in this two act comedy of moral rights and legal wrongs. Or is it moral wrongs and legal rights?
Get on the Boat
The world is going to hell in a hand-basket, and God has had enough! The Seven Deadly Sins have so overwhelmed the Ten Commandments the Creator is taking the matter of human destiny into His own hands. The most powerful nation on earth has just elected a man to lead them who is the very personification of lust, gluttony, greed, wrath, envy and pride—six out of seven, excellent for a major league hitter, but a disaster for a world in turmoil. God sees no choice but to start over—again. High above Earth in His heavenly home, God instructs his harried assistant Gabriel to find him a good man, not a perfect one, just a decent guy with enough compassion, intelligence and integrity to lead humanity down a more humane path. However, the “chosen one” turns out to be a man with a lot more, commonsense, savvy and independence than God had reckoned for, resulting in a ride that is as haunting as it is hilarious.
A Cat Named Dog & A Dog Named Cat
“Cat” is a dog, a bloodhound and golden lab mix, living the good life on the rural south end of Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. “Dog” is a calico cat living under the same roof; she is aloof as cats are prone to be and a little on the wild side, keeping awful hours and dragging home her “trophies” from the ferry dock. Twelve-year-old Vicki Townsend loves both her pets dearly, but she shares a secret with “Dog” that “Cat” must never know. Never! When a mountain lion terrorizes the island, preying primarily on the island’s domestic pet population for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Vicki’s worst nightmare comes true: “Dog” is forced to reveal Vicki’s secret to “Cat,” bursting “Cat’s” idealistic bubble and proving that something indeed is rotten in the State of Washington. After such a devastating revelation, will “Cat” swallow his pride, put aside his hurt and help rescue “Dog” from the jowls of the vicious cougar? Only time and “Cat’s” keen sense of smell will tell.
The Bitch of Bailey's Beach
When heiress Claire Vanderbilk meets Renaissance man “Fast” Eddie Sullivan on a private beach on Aquidneck Island, sparks begin to fly in two directions: left and right. Eddie is a Vietnam veteran who lost an eye and his young Vietnamese bride in the Vietnam War three decades earlier. Claire is a Newport, RI socialite with blood the color of the deep blue sea. Even though highly skeptical of each other’s politics, Claire and Eddie find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another, this in spite of the fact that Eddie has a girl. Victoria Jefferson, a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemming is a single mom and may be the best thing that has happened to Eddie since the war. But just as Eddie is attracted to Claire, Victoria finds she is attracted to Claire’s son Elliott, a successful entrepreneur in his own right. Eddie and Victoria find themselves fighting to maintain their fragile relationship as Claire and Elliott shower them with lavish gifts and ultimately genuine affection. Through the resulting clash of ideas and social classes these four individuals experience, their lives are changed dramatically as the existing social order is explored and exploded in this tale of the true price of wealth.
What About Mimi?
Alex Brownell, 22, is about to enter his senior year at Brown University. He has just become engaged to his long-time girl friend, Melanie Chase, also 22, and a senior at Smith. Melanie is quite literally the girl next door in Alex’s hometown of Newport, RI and they have “been together” since grammar school. Alex’s mother is ecstatic about the engagement because Melanie is like a daughter to her. Alex’s best friend Kip Dyer, also a senior at Brown and Alex’s dad are a little uncomfortable about the engagement because to their knowledge Alex has never had the opportunity to “sow his wild oats.” Alex’s plans, along with those of his mother and Melanie, receive a severe jolt with the arrival in Newport of Max Halley and his daughter, Madison, 21, from Atlanta. Max is a detective, and Madison is the mother of 6-month-old Mimi, the daughter Alex fathered the previous year while on spring break in Ft. Lauderdale. Alex knows nothing of Mimi’s existence because he and Madison gave each other a false name in Ft. Lauderdale and because neither of them showed up for a final farewell rendezvous. This play uses humor to explore the issues surrounding personal accountability and shows how Alex, Melanie, Madison, Kip and Alex’s parents try to figure out what to do about Mimi?