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, February 24, 2012

The Don and his Dame ... the Stephinator ... Reading at KGB ... Rough Riders out the door ...


That's the Don (Dustin) and his Dame (Madalynn) out for a night at the opera. The youngest Stella brat visited the Metropolitan Opera House this evening and attended his first unforced opera ... the greatest opera of all, Don Giovanni. The first time I forced all three Stella brats to attend an opera, two (the boys) promptly fell asleep and the third (Nicole) was hooked. All three attended one more with the phat Dad a few years back but I honestly don’t remember which opera. Charles and his bride, Leslie, came with Ann Marie and the ugly one (moi) to see La Boheme at the Amato opera house a few years ago. So, this is pretty record setting for the famiglia Stella ... one of the boys, without a gun to his head, is stepping into the world of opera (or checking it out) ... I hope the Don and his Dame have a great time (and manage to sneak in some drinks of their own to avoid the 1%er refreshment prices).

The Stephinator ... domani Stephanie Milligan is driving down from the great state of New Hampshire (which will be featured in my next crime novel after Rough Riders) to do something illicit, no doubt, in Manhattan (her license plate suggests it might be subversive) ... but then she’ll be visiting with both Potty Mouth Mae and yours truly (and I’m not telling my wife so I don’t have to clean my friggin’ writing room) ... Stephanie is a published poet and one cool woman. We look very forward to the visit.

March 11, 2012
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Scott Wolven’s stories have appeared in The Best American Mystery Stories seven years in a row, which marks the most consecutive appearances since Houghton Mifflin began the Best American series in 1915. Wolven is one of only fifteen living authors to be selected for The Best American Noir Of The Century, by guest editor James Ellroy and series editor Otto Penzler. His collection of short stories, Controlled Burn, was selected for the fiftieth anniversary list of Books To Remember by The New York Public Library. Controlled Burn was selected as Best First Fiction by Poets & Writers and received awards from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. He has been called a Master Of Noir by Library Journal and his novel False Hopes is forthcoming from Grove/Mysterious Press, along with his second collection of short stories, Hundred Proof.

Shanna McNair is the founding editor and publisher of The New Guard. Publications include Maine Magazine, Naugatuck River Review, Village Soup Times, and Fact-Simile. She was a Summer Literary Seminar 2010 fellowship recipient for work in both fiction and poetry. McNair is an award-winning journalist, works in the visual arts, and performs music. She lives in Knightville, Maine.

The London Express has called Michael Kimball “one of the finest new exponents of the classic thriller.” Kimball’s 1996 novel Undone received the Fresh Talent Award in the U.K. and rose to #4 on the London Times’ bestseller list. Together with Mouth to Mouth, Green Girls, and Firewater Pond, Kimball’s novels have been translated into 13 languages and read worldwide. Stage plays include Ghosts of Ocean House, nominated for the 2007 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America, and The Secret of Comedy, recently seen at the Abingdon Theatre. “The best suspense stories are the ones that creep up on you, breathe on your neck and jump back into the shadows when you turn around. Michael Kimball plays that game with unnerving skill.” – New York Times Review of Books

From Publishers Weekly ... it takes a finely tuned ear to write dialogue that rings true, and Charlie Stella (Charlie Opera, etc.) has it. With his hapless crooks and wry humor, he belongs in line behind Elmore Leonard and Donald E. Westlake. Stella remains a master of creating complex and believable characters. Stella has quickly become one of crime fiction’s leading lights. His latest novel, Johnny Porno, is available from Stark House.

About the Series: KGB Bar Sunday Night Fiction

The KGB Bar Sunday Night Fiction showcases the finest in contemporary fiction from new and emerging writers.

Rough Riders is officially out the door and the focus turns to Jimmy Mangino (a ten year sequel to Jimmy Bench-Press) ... Jimmy has finished his 10 years sentence for a RICO charge and is sent to an island off the coast of New Hampshire to clip a former mobster in the witness protection program (hiding in an MFA program?) ... oy vey ... isn’t anything sacred?


Come on, how can we not do this ... I used one of my favorite exchanges between the Commendatore and DG as the epigraph for Eddie’s World. The Commendatore tells DG to repent and DG tells him where to shove it (so to speak) ...

Pentiti, cangia vita: E l’ultimo momento!
Repent, change your life: Your final moment has come!
- Il Commendatore

Recognize the overture?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tim Bemis (SNHU MFA Graduate) ... Linsanity ... the trees are the right height ... let’s make babies ... spin Masters ... my kind of Goosebumps ...


Tim Bemis is a recent graduate of the SNHU MFA program. A hell of a talented writer with as diverse a background in all things cool as it gets. Tim has been published in literary reviews and is part of several different projects, including running a music blog (with a couple of his friends) that focuses on mostly underground bands around the world.

Tim’s excellent work has been published in the following:

Lost On Route 66: Tales From The Mother Road

Tacenda Literary Magazine

Henniker Review

A couple of his music projects are right here:

At the graduation ceremony, Richard Adams Carey gave Tim’s commencement speech. Here it is:

In Midnight Train, fifteen-year-old Clark Lapine moves with his family to a small town in Connecticut where an alleged miracle has recently occurred, and where the local priest has fashioned something like a religious theocracy. Clark’s mother yearns to be accepted here, his father not at all. Clark falls in with some kids from the wrong side of the tracks, boys whose preference for secularism and personal liberty blurs into episodes of cruelty and criminal behavior. Clark finds himself in a spider’s web of tangled loyalties, a series of dilemmas that come to a life-altering head one night as an outbound freight approaches.

Tim Bemis’s narrative of those dilemmas builds into a stirring tour de force of suspense writing. Tim began this journey with just a blank page, but also plenty of discipline, energy, and a real writer’s commitment to get better, to write truer, deeper, and more piercingly. Those are the qualities that have combined to make Midnight Train well worth the trip.

Congrats to Tim!

And that Carey fella, well, I recently purchased a book of his, Raven’s Children, (and I can’t wait to read it), based on a reading he did from his work in progress (Colebrook Murders) this past semester (truly gripping and heartfelt), a horrific story about the incredible damage one madman inflicted on entire communities after he killed four people (two state troopers, an attorney/part-time judge and a newspaper editor) and fled in one of the bullet riddled police cruisers. Amici, the story doesn’t end there (nor does the violence) and it is an intriguing read I don’t want to ruin with newspaper article links (so you's'll have to do that on your own). I’ll wait for Rick’s book and take it from there. What Rick read at our winter residence was absolutely wonderful, tragic and intriguing.


I’ll say this, I haven’t watched this many NBA games since the Knicks played the Michael Jordan Bulls back in the day. Now I look for them almost every night. I’ve watched the last 3 games and they were friggin’ GREAT. How can you not root for this kid? Humble, smart, an apparently decent human being ... and he hustles ALL THE TIME.

Madison Square Garden’s friggin’ stock even rose with this kid’s play. Maybe HE should be PRESIDENT! You go Lin!

I only wish they made #17 Knicks jerseys in my tent size ...

Okay, speaking of Presidents ... it’s on to the state of our 2012 Presidential Fiasco Election ... where in any given state, the trees may be just the right height ...

Can this guy be anymore disingenuous? Probably, but we’ll have to wait for his next attempt to be human along the ever entertaining (and depressing) campaign trail.

And let’s not forget Mr. Santorum ... a guy who hates big government so much, he’d like to legislate our bedrooms ... anti-gay marriage, anti-conception, pretty much anti-21st century, Santorum is appealing to die-hard conservatives for that big chance to fall on his sword (martyr that he appears to be) ... although I do wonder how he feels about the pedophile Cardinal (Law from Boston) still being sheltered in the Vatican to escape justice. Can somebody ask him already?

He’s not a believer in birth control ... let’s everybody make great big families we can’t afford instead! Whoopee!

And the alternative to the above sideshow?

MSNBC Spin Masters … if you listen to the carnival barkers over at MSNBC, you’d think the country was SAVED and RESAVED; that THE ONE is, in fact, THE ONE (messiah, grand high exalted mystic ruler, big kahuna … you name it). Nobody there seems much interested in asking about how the American worker will ever replace the lost benefits/cost of living raises, etc. over the next several years (considering they’ve been getting steadily hammered into oblivion (and poverty) while he held hands with Wall Street (somebody say Goldman Sachs?). Nope, if you watch MSNBC, they’re crowning President Fredo an FDR II.


From the above link: The largest banks are larger than they were when Obama took office and are nearing the level of profits they were making before the depths of the financial crisis in 2008, according to government data.

Wall Street firms — independent companies and the securities-trading arms of banks — are doing even better. They earned more in the first 21 / 2 years of the Obama administration than they did during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, industry data show.

One thing for certain about Obama is this: Nobody can call him spineless anymore. Here’s a man who out and out turned his back on the Wisconsin Public Workers Union, then found the balls to request union support while campaigning with Master Lock. Now, I’m happy to see Master Lock is returning jobs to America and I sure hope and hell it isn’t because of some extra special (Solyndra-like) deal made with the white house, but the bottom line is this president made a very passionate speech in 2007 regarding workers rights to collectively bargain, then did an invisible man routine when Wisconsin public workers were being stripped of those very same rights (which is one reason why TK classifies Obama’s overall effect on labor in the U.S. as a 50-100 year setback). So, there you go … two sides of the same coin; Republicans who tell you shut up and be happy IF you have a job and Democrats who turn their back on you as soon as they have to put up or shut up ... and we all know what Obama did, right? Well, just in case yous don’t remember (you union folk):

Shoes for Obama


For Mr. Santorum, since he too is a bit of a religious zealot, it seems to us. So was Scarpia ... and here's one of the best Te Deum’s of all (I get goose bumps every single time I watch this) ... Bryn Terfel ... with the most erotic lyric in all of opera (sung in a church): Tosca, you make me forget God ...

Just remember, Rick, Tosca eventually guts him like a fish. I’m just sayin’ ...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sherry Meeks - A Georgia Peach ... The Last Kiss (L’ultimo Baccio) ... Fiat ... The Super Bowl ... Bradying & music to Brady by ...


Continuing our recent Southern New Hampshire University MFA graduates feature, today is Sherry’s day (the doll on the boat above). This Georgia Peach is s sweetheart and one terrific writer. Sherry is someone everyone loves. Her last semester was my first in the program. We and a few others shared the same mentor, Mitch Wieland. Below is a brief bio of our Peach and the words of Mitch Wieland at Sherry’s graduation.

Sherry Meeks is a recent graduate of Southern New Hampshire University’s M.F.A. in Fiction program. Sherry is a native of Georgia and spends her time writing chapters of novels, short stories, and the occasional poem. She also reads books of friends and strangers, queries agents for her novel Reading Tambri, currently applies for teaching positions, spends time with her dogs, Abby and Skye, teaches group fitness to avoid the effects of the butt in chair syndrome that plagues writers, and braves her part of the south’s seven month-a-year heat.

Sherry has two pups and here they are:

Mitch’s words at Sherry’s graduation:

Reading Tambri is a haunting exploration of the aftermath of losing a child. Sherry’s stories have true emotional depth and staying power. Over the course of this fine book, our central protagonist emerges as a psychologically complex character, a woman who struggles to hold crushing grief at bay.

Sherry’s prose is strong and sharp. Her scene work is excellent and highly effective. Throughout the stories there is a keen intelligence at work, resulting in smart and subtle observations about the nature of relationships. Sherry is highly adept at examining the complicated bonds between parents and their children, wives and husbands, and lifelong friends.

Reading Tambri covers the arc of a woman’s grief, but also deals with our sense of getting older, of where we are in life and where we want to be. It ends on a breathtaking note of hope and possibility.

Mitch Wieland
Full Professor of English
Editor of the Idaho Review

Congrats to our Peach, Sherry Meeks!

L’Ultimo Bacio ... This one was hilarious. Netflix has the subtitles so don’t be afraid ... and definitely see this version before the American remake. Hilarious.

From IMDB: Carlo's life is thrown into a tailspin when his longtime girlfriend Giulia announces she's pregnant. As Carlo faces up to his anxieties about adulthood, his buddies Paolo, Adriano and Alberto reluctantly grapple with their own responsibilities.

Much has been said about the Fiat commercial during the Super Bowl ... let’s face it, the car was friggin’ beautiful. It left me feeling guilty for buying a friggin’ Honda the week before the game. All I could think about since seeing that commercial was Fiat, Fiat, Fiat ... and a few of yous (the Doc, of course) have offered “big money” to see me get inside a Fiat Abarth. The wife, once she saw the commercial, said, “I’ll stuff your ashes in a Fiat, how’s that?”

Momma mia ... what a car!

Like I said, what a friggin’ car!

Super Bowl Thoughts ... it was a good game that could’ve went any number of ways any number of times; the Giant’s holding penalty that killed a drive that might’ve triggered a blowout; the Giant fumbles they recovered; the non-pass interference call against the Cheatriots, and, last but not least, the Welker-Branch-Hernandez drops. I was happy when Hernandez dropped his pass because of that stupid TD celebration he did earlier in the game (that required Navy flagmen to figure out WTF he was doing). I hope he remembered that little show when he dropped his last pass (the highlight reel Lombardi would’ve shoved down this throat).

What I didn’t like about the game was the “let them score” play. I also didn’t appreciate Chris Collinsworth’s take on it: “That’s a misake.”

Really? You don’t score because you assume Tom Brady is going to drive the length of the field and score a TD with 1:25 on the clock? You don’t score a TD so you can take your shot on a much riskier field goal? They’re giving you 6 points (so you can practice a field goal for next season on the extra point) and will need a TD themselves to win, but you’re supposed to not score? Bullshit. You score (as the Giants did). It was then incumbent upon the Cheatriots to score a TD (not so easy, as we saw).

And it’s not like teams haven’t blown a game or two with fumbles.

Imagine playing defense until the game is ACTUALLY OVER ... well, it just goes to show you how much confidence Belichik had in his defense after all ... and wasn’t it wonderful to see that each and every statistic machine went down to teams with defenses. Rodgers and the high flying Packer offense, defeated by the Moonachie Blue team defense ... Drew Brees and his record setting season, knocked out by the 49’er excellent defense ... and then finally (after the best game of the playoffs, Moonachie Blue v. San Fran), we all got to watch Bradying as the Brady stat machine scored all of 17 points when it counted most.

And then there was Gisele ...

“Eli owns your husband!” the heckler yelled.

"You are supposed to catch the ball when you're supposed to catch the ball," Giselle said. "My husband cannot fucking throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time."

A super model standing by her man or a spoiled brat making excuses for her husband by throwing his teammates under the bus?  Yous make the decision. I just wonder if she meant the interception he threw or the couple of passes that were batted down at the line of scrimmage.

At least Tom gave us something new with his latest Super Bowl LOSS ... Bradying.

Think he’s upset because he didn’t deliver on “Nobody beats Belichik and Brady two, three times in a row" ... or was it because he didn’t marry the Fiat girl?

— Knucks

As Mr. Brady does his thing (Bradying) ... we thought this music appropriate for him to contemplate his mistakes in life ...

Some a’yous will remember this wonderful scene from Shawshank Redemption ... same music, different boids singing it ...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Wendie Leweck ... Movies ... Romney=Putz ... Super Bowl ... a new Stellamobile ... Tosco, non la notte scorsa (no Tosca last night) ...


The 3rd featured graduate of Southern New Hampshire University’s MFA program is Wendie Leweck. She is a proud New Hampshire native. She owns Exeter- based Spotlight Publicity, a boutique publicity firm, which specializes in working with authors and other artists.

Wendie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Business Management from Daniel Webster College. She has recently graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with an MFA in Fine Arts, Fiction. She has penned two novels and is an internationally published writer, having written articles for Antiques and Collecting Magazine, Millionaire Magazine, LA Splash(Online Entertainment News) Focus Magazine (e- magazine), and numerous other publications.

Wendie has co-owned two vintage-automobile restoration companies, both in California, where she oversaw marketing and publicity resulting in numerous international feature publications.

Wendie has volunteered for many years for numerous local, national, and international charities including Service Link NH, a state-wide charitable organization for seniors; Great Bay Services NH for disabled adults; the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Program to Sustain the Arts; the World Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Mustard Seed Organization International, and the Exeter Theater Company. She is currently working to build a charter high school for the arts in the seacoast area of New Hampshire.

Wendie Leweck knew she wanted to write about a teenage girl. She knew that this girl was going to struggle with issues of identity and that she played the guitar, but this was about all Wendie had to go on when she began writing her novel, Second Chances. I had the good fortune to work with Wendie in her second semester and again in her final semester, and to see just how far she brought the original impetus for her book. Tenacious and determined in honing her characters and their story, Wendie has crafted a moving and compelling young adult novel. Her teenage protagonist Jo, brought to life with vivid force in these pages, comes to understand the true nature of her family and the relationships that have forged and defined her. At the end of her journey, Jo has made multiple discoveries – most importantly, what it means to forgive and to trust– and she has learned to love Vermont, a place not easy for a Southern girl to love. Wendie’s powerful rendering of a small town, the winter landscape, a complex cast of supporting characters, and a teenage girl’s search for the truth make this a book that will resonate with readers of all ages. Congratulations, Wendie.

Si, congratulations to the Wendinator and all the graduates this winter residency.

Trust ... a movie every FAMILY should see ... Friends aside, we’re David Schwimmer fans at casa stella (going back to his role in Band of Brothers et al) ... and although the boss knew of his directing, the ugly one (moi) didn’t. So it was a very pleasant surprise when we chose the movie Trust last week. This is a painful movie to watch (both of us cringed several times) and the double ending (what I’m calling it) was superb—absolutely masterful. I was sitting there angry; both Ann Marie and I were as emotional as we get ... and truth be told, I suspect I would have been guilty (for lack of a more appropriate word) of everything the Clive Owen (the father) did and felt throughout the movie, while Ann Marie would have been as smart and strong as Catherine Keener (the mother). Liana Liberato was truly wonderful as the girl lured into an Internet sexual assault by a professional predator.

I tip my hat to Schwimmer and the amazing cast he put together for this film. Like American History X, Trust is something every family should watch and watch it together. In Charlie world, both movies would have been required viewing throughout the land. So spoke Zarathustra (who is directly akin to the Chuckababe).

Men Who Stare at Goats ... a great cast and much funnier than either the wife or I had thought it might be, we did laugh out loud (LOL for yous unfamiliar with the mother tongue) quite a few times. Or maybe we just needed a laugh.

A recent death in the family precluded us from going to the opera last night. We had tickets for a Princeton McCarter theatre production of Tosca, something we’ve both seen at the MET several times, but we turned the tickets over to another opera lover at one of our jobs and let the emotions of family tragedy run their course. One of Ann Marie’s nieces, a very young woman and mother of three (an 8 year old and 4 year old twins) passed from cancer Thursday; a brutal reminder of how unfair life can often be.

Romney isn’t concerned about the poor. Yeah, no shit. Neither are either of the two parties of choice ... they’re all too busy bending over for the money that owns them ... or why do you think Wall Street has had record profits while the rest of the country has paid the price? And as far as Romney’s great concern for the middle class ... somebody smack that used car salesman in the face already ... Hello, moron, more than a year ago 28% of Americans fell OUT OF THE MIDDLE CLASS INTO POVERTY ... in other words, there is NO MIDDLE CLASS ANYMORE. Read this ...

What a putz.

Super Bowl ... they’re playing it inside the gymnasium again (I hate that shit) and although the Giants should continue to give Tom Brady nightmares for life, anything can happen ... therefore, this one may be too close to call.


The Moonachie Blue Team in a wipeout, 41-26 (with most of the Cheatriot scoring coming late). I have the G-men in an office pool for the 1 in 41 and the Cheatriots with the 6 in the 26.

I’ve been driving the new Stellamobile back and forth to work this past week. A new Honda has replaced the hold Honda ... the neat feature in this pretty much stripped down Accord is I can play my Ipod ... so driving to and from the last few days, it was a couple of my favorites from Tosca blasting away.

Note: The Wikipedia translations are pretty friggin' fugazy, but it'll give you an idea ...

Recondita Armonia ...

Pass me the colors...

Concealed harmony of contrasting beauties!
Floria, my ardent lover, is dark haired.
And you, unknown beauty, crowned with blond hair,
You have blue eyes,
Tosca has black eyes!

Art, in its mysterious way,
blends the contrasting beauties together...
But while I'm painting her,
My only thought,
My only thought is of you,
Tosca, it is of you!

E lucevan le stelle ...

When the stars were brightly shining ...
And faint perfumes the air pervaded,
Creaked the gate of the garden ...
And footstep its precincts invaded ...
'Twas hers, the fragant creature.
In her soft arms she clasped me..

With sweetest kisses, tenderest caresses,
A thing of beauty, of matchless symmetry in form and feature!
My dream of love is now disspelled forever.
I lived uncaring and now I die despairing!
Alas I die despairing!
And never was life so dear to me, no never,
So dear, no never!