Regarding the myth of the self-made man

You know, “I did it all on my own,” with no credit to anyone else.

It’s not the way things really work, for one thing. Think of all the support needed to survive, learn, and achieve — family, teachers, coaches and mentors, colleagues, customers, buyers, employers, friends, partners.

For another, every man for himself leaves no room for God, much less other people.

Deep down, that has to be incredibly lonely. How does someone like that mask the pain or the fear of falling?

Be among the first to read my new book … for free!

If you’re a reader of ebooks and fascinated by history, I’d love for you to get an advance copy of my new book, Quaking Dover.

In fact, as a follower of this blog, you’re getting a limited-time invitation to pick up a copy of the book for free.

Check it out at Smashwords and its associated digital ebook retailers.

All you have to do is speak up in the comments section of this post, and assuming that your address includes an email (visible only to me) or other contact info, I’ll send you a coupon to download the book in the digital format of your choice within the next 30 days.

It’s one of the advantages of ebook publication at

In the world of commercial book publishing, a printed edition typically appears in an Advanced Reading Copy run that allows reviewers, bookstore dealers, and other insiders a chance to hop on before the official publication. In the meantime, the author and editor have time to make fixes and set the stage for an auspicious opening day, one boosted by the buzz of the ARC readers.

So what I’m doing is the equivalent for a digital edition.

The release date on this book isn’t until September 8, but folks who preorder now can get in the front of the line at half-price. That strategy is one step for boosting the book in the crucial first-week sales algorithm.

Today’s offer, however, gives you a chance to own a copy now. In a way, you’ll even be getting involved with the preparations for the tiny city’s upcoming 400th anniversary.

My hope, of course, is that you’ll be excited by my story and happily post a brief review or two in response. If you don’t like it, of course, you can tell me directly and we’ll still have time to rectify that. It won’t even change my perception of you (insert Smiley Face.) From your end, it’s a no-risk proposition.

From my end, I might even gain a fan.

Now, who’s first?

Why we’re all waiting for the border to Canada to really reopen

Having to wait 72 hours for a Covid test result – but don’t you dare delay much longer – as well as the other current restrictions have meant that the U.S.-Canada border really isn’t open, not the way it was before the coronavirus outbreak.

That’s made for a hard burden where I now live. New Brunswick is very much a part of our community. Just about every long-established family has kin on the other side of the boundary. For almost everyone, it’s meant jobs or services or shopping or even cultural pursuits. There are good reasons our local newspaper covers the two adjoining counties, which share the tidal waters and weather. The virus constraints have devastated the economy of the small city of Calais, to our north, which usually carries heavy truck traffic between the two countries as well as local business at groceries, hardware stores, and other retailers and restaurants; likewise for the town of Lubec, to our south, which has the only bridge connection for Campobello Island. Many folks also have property on the other side of the line, or maybe their boat, or even dear ones buried in cemeteries, and are cut off. You go to the dentist and realize the radio is tuned to a Canadian station, that sort of thing. It’s not all one way, either. I would be back to swimming laps in the nearest indoor pool, for instance, only 45 minutes or so distant. The nearest Costco would be only an hour-and-a-half drive off, rather than eight or nine down around Boston. We’d have some fine dining options available, so I’ve been told, as well as museums and nightlife and even festivals.

The local Passamaquoddy population has long been torn by the international division, especially the differing laws regarding Indigenous peoples. I’ve also heard how the already tightening border regulations have changed other interactions. Guys my age have told me about dating girls on the other side of the water (way back then we were all teens), rowing over to court them and then returning (merrily), something nobody could do today without being detained by the Coast Guard, Customs officials, and who knows else. (Not so merrily.)

It’s also dampened summer tourism, especially by travelers who were hoping  to continue on but couldn’t, or by Canadians who usually boost the crowds at our week-long Fourth of July revels and Pirate Festival weekend.

For me, this has been a lesson in the ways seemingly arcane regulations made in distant places can hit home personally. You know, the kind of thing you might glance over in a news story with a shrug, as I would, not anticipating a trip to Europe or a Caribbean cruise or even a cross-country flight anytime soon.

What unexpected ways have you experienced Covid restrictions?   

No, it’s not always business as usual

My first published novel ends as the protagonist joins with five hippie siblings who run a restaurant they’ve just inherited.

My novel What’s Left returns to the scene, to find the family’s prospered under the alternative approach.

Do you know any “retired hippies” who did quite well professionally? Tell us about one.


When her family buys an old church like this and converts it into a hot nightspot, the move simply feels like a natural extension of what they’re already doing.

The act of tedious revision can lead to some favorite lines

My novel What’s Left, was in no rush for completion, contrary to my own desires. Still, I wasn’t going to artificially pressure this one.

As for my personal surprises this time? Some of my favorite lines popped up while swimming my daily laps in the city’s indoor pool.

Here’s one of Cassia’s outbursts that almost prompted me to change the name of the novel itself:

Oh, my, am I torn! I’ll tell you this, though. Buddhism comes in very handy when other kids are giving you so much grief you threaten to cast a spell on them and break out chanting Su To Ka Yo Me Bha Wa repeatedly and then just watch them back away. Oh, I tell you, it’s so satisfying!

What’s that do?

You’ll find out. You better be good to toads.

You get lots of respect for doing that.


Which title Do you think’s better — “What’s Left” or “You Better Be Good to Toads”? Or have I overlooked something even better?


Think of it as a cool Christmas present for somebody really special. Available at the Apple Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Scribd, Smashwords, Sony’s Kobo, and other fine ebook distributors and at Amazon in both Kindle and paperback.

Within a daughter’s own living Greek drama