Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Friday, March 8, 2013

Kelly Stone Gamble ... James Baldwin … Patti Abbott … Nobody Else But You ... a last winter rant … Hockey … and RIP Alvin Lee …

SNHU MFA graduate and all around incredible personality & person, Kelly Stone Gamble, has signed with Svetlana Pironko at Author Rights Agency for her novel, They Call Me Crazy, which I had the pleasure of reading when still in its infancy (one of my favorite reads last year) ... visit Kelly’s website/blog here ... and congrats, Kellinator ...

As author and one of SNHU’s MFA staff, Craig Childs, said at her graduation: “Kelly Stone Gamble kicks ass.”
Go Tell It On The Mountain, James Baldwin … There’s no excuse for my not knowing anything about James Baldwin. I’m still catching up, amici. Then I listened to a Youtube debate between Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr., and I immediately wanted to know more … Google got me there and I purchased Go Tell It On The Mountain, then read it in 2 nights. It is a wonderful book that covers a broad scope of topics, including family, religion, politics, race and racism. An undeniable hint of homosexuality also tests the waters of the day (it was published in 1953). It is an autobiographical account of the author’s very tough childhood, and it is told over the course of a religious experience, during which the family history of the protagonist is revealed a generation at a time. A TK highly recommended (for the soul) read.
The nearly hour long debate can be heard/viewed here (from Youtube). The topic: “Has the American Dream been achieved at the expense of the American negro.”
The debate was an overwhelming victory for Mr. Baldwin.
Home Invasion ... author Patti Abbott has penned a collection of dark stories for Snub Nose Press that link together under the title Home Invasion. The stories are a collective condemnation and explanation of ignorance and its corollary effects when passed from one generation to another. The mother-daughter team starts the collection in 1961. Kate, the mom, is cleverly portrayed as a woman in dire need of self-esteem, disregarding her daughter for the sake of her new husband. Billie, the daughter, seeks her birth father in 1963 and finds him a reformed drunk in the grips of a charlatan. Nothing good follows Billie’s journey and in 1964, she runs off with a grifter, Dannis Batch, who shamelessly tries to shakedown Kate for Billie’s virginity.
We next find Billie in 1977, a drunk herself, but also a mother married to the grifter she ran off with several years earlier. By 1985 she’s wondering about leaving her jailed husband and is as neglectful of her own kids as her mother was of her. After one son is killed overseas on an Army base, another follows in the family line of grifting and becomes sexually involved with another kid with his own set of issues. In 1988 there’s kid-snatching that propels the collection to its uplifting end. There are no spoilers here, but TK felt there’s a sequel novel that should start with what happens from 2005 on, a series of twists and turns that feature some of the author’s best writing.
Home Invasion features the darker side of a life that has become all too familiar in modern day America. Amidst the poverty and ignorance of families spinning out of control, a ray of hope flickers on the last best hope of a young child snatched from one bad situation to the next; a child given a fighting chance by a pair of men committed to family.
Nobody Else But You ... A French version of what might’ve happened to Marilyn Monroe … with a twist. A crime writer seeking his James Ellroy masterpiece accidentally drives alongside the site of a suicide … or was it a suicide? He’s got writer’s block (and apparently women block), but things humorously happen, one after another, and before you know it, he’s hot on the trail (at the request of a policeman who suspects the suicide isn’t quite a suicide). A fun movie.
A Quick Rant … I was going to do a rant at the start of the week because of a video and an article I saw earlier in the week. First there’s this one compliments of Don Kirdendall. Check it out and take the time to watch the entire video. It’ll blow your mind.
Frankly, I’m too tired of politics and ranting about it. TK readers know where I stand. Neither party gives a flying fuck about the poor and middle classes (which, let’s face it, are one in the same these days). Workers have given both major parties, Democratic and Republican, more than enough chances to get it right.
How’s that saying go: The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over, and then expecting different results.
Reagan I, Reagan II, GHW Bush (Reagan III), Clinton I, Clinton II, W Bush, W Bush II, Obama I (W Bush III), Obama II (W Bush IV) ... when does it end?
I’m just sayin’ …
Maybe it’s time for a little green?
Hockey ... First off, I’m still pretty naive about all things hockey. I don’t have a clue about most of the teams (their names or where the hell they’re from), nor do I know the names of many of the players ... or several of the rules ... and lord knows I couldn’t spell the names of some of the players with a gun to my head. I count on co-worker Sue Bennett and friend and fellow author Dana King to educate me.
I started watching the playoffs last year and was hooked pretty quick. The first time I went to a hockey game, I was about ten years old and an altar boy (imagine?). Father Scavo took the altar boys to the old Madison Square Garden for a St. Louis Blues-Rangers game. I have no idea who won or what the hell was going on, but the franks and sodas were cheap enough so we didn’t need a corporate expense account to buy them ... and I suspect we had a great time because Father Scavo was soooooooooo cool.
I’m a football fan first and foremost, but that can definitely change. I’m a long suffering football fan since my original team, the New York Jets became the Moonachie Green Team (a.k.a., the Y-E-T-S, Yets, Yets, Yets) ...  back when I had to give up my season tickets (a few rows from the roof behind the home plate end zone at Shea Stadium). I was told I’d have to pay New Jersey tolls to see them in the future.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Casa Stella remained a New York football supporter ... my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills. The other teams that USED to be New York teams forever became, respectfully, Moonachie Blue and Moonachie Green.
Casa Stella has since moved to New Jersey, but Buffalo remains in New York (even if the morons running the organization up there insist on giving up home field advantage once a year to play in a dome in another country). The drought between the end of one football season and the start of a new one was nothing short of cruel and unusual punishment (i.e., torture) ... until last year.
The NBA just doesn't do it for me. Watching an NBA game when there’s about 5 minutes remaining in a game seven of the finals I can deal with, but anything short of that is pretty much pointless.
Baseball ... well, since they changed the rules and shortened the fences and juiced the balls and the players, and then added interleague play to the abomination of having designated hitters, well ... MLB, for lack of a better way to put this, can blow me.
Even the announcing is better in the NHL. Mike "the Doc" Emrick rocks.
Since last year hockey has spared me the NFL drought. I missed the NHL during the strike, but now watch it nearly nightly (the Devils or Islanders usually play on nights when the Rangers are off, and every Wednesday NBC’s Sports channel showcases a Rivalry of the Week ... and Wednesday night’s game (Blackhawks vs. Avalanche) was an incredible battle with the Hawks about to keep the streak alive with a simple tie, then won the game outright with less than a minute left to play.
The other thing about hockey I love is the lack of prima donna assholes. The players are much more selfless in the NHL than they are in the NFL, NBA and MLB combined. Ryan Callahan, Rick Nash and Dan Girardi for the Ranges play team hockey first. Lead-by-example captain, Ryan Callahan, is the Pete Rose (minus the gambling and arrogance) of the NHL. I’ve never seen any team leader play with anything near this kid’s self sacrifice, determination and/or 100 MPH hustle. As for Nash, this big boy has super skills that make all his minutes (check me out using hockey terms) exciting for Ranger fans ... and nobody is more clutch (i.e., see the last 4 games ... hell, see last night!).  Dan Girardi might as well be a second goalie for all the diving in front of pucks he does to block slap shots. Absolutely selfless, Girardi is.
What you don’t see in the NHL is the prima donna attitude so prevalent in the NFL ... the “me, me, me!” attitude of too many assholes—Desean Jackson immediately comes to mind (in any word association with “asshole”) ... but he’s not nearly the only one. The clowns who point at the back of their jerseys (their names) after making one play qualify along with shirt-tearing Superman antics, etc. Over in the NBA, the cancer that Dwight Howard is to any team will probably get another coach fired (so long Mike D) ... and Carmelo Anthony’s walk off the other night is more typical than the aberration it should be regarded as ... and baseball is front loaded with superstars who refuse to run out a ground ball (Robinson Cano).
TK says: Fuck them ... all of them.
Casa Stella now hearts hockey ... and the Principessa Ann Marie now cracks hockey jokes at my expense and says she’ll buy me a Rangers jersey for Christmas ... one can only hope they come in 5X’s ...
Ann Marie’s new brand of humor ... I came home from visiting Momma Stella the other night and turned on the Ranger game when it was tied 1-1 ...
Annie said: “How’d your mother like the gravy you made?”
I said: “She said it needed salt.”
Annie said, “It does need salt.”
The Flyers score immediately after that.
I said, “Jesus Christ, the Rangers are losing, my mother wants more salt and now you’re breaking my balls, too.”
Annie smiled and said: “A hat trick.”
RIP Alvin Lee ... I saw him at the Garden with Ten Years After way back in the day ... 1972, I think ... 41 years ago! ... Redbone opened for them ... am I friggin’ old or what?
Redbone ...