Fiction & Literature

Concrete Wings

Historical Fiction/Coming of Age/Family Drama

Torn between protecting family secrets and striving for freedom, a naive teen on the verge of manhood, sent out of Cuba on the eve of the Bay of Pigs Invasion to retrieve smuggled family jewels comes of age at the height of the sexual revolution in America.


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Fiction & Literature

A Tree Frog's Eyes

A definitive collection of 194 haiku that brings together a plethora of diverse natural, cultural, and geographical influences from Navarro's life as a wandering poet-philosopher and minister emphasizing a love of nature and mindfulness.



Navarro draws on a lifetime of learning haiku (40 years), beginning at 19 years old when he discovered its origins in the heart of ancient Chinese poetry (Sensai and Hõ Un); through the quintessential influences of the four great Japanese hokku/haiku masters, Basho, Buson, Issa, and Shiki.



Readers will find everything from traditional English language 5-7-5 haiku, to more modern renditions with fewer syllables, some gendai haiku, semantic disjunctions, and even some senryu. Navarro's haiku are thoroughly steeped in modern American nature, culture, geography, and tradition. He brings haiku to life in a way that is relatable and accessible to the modern reader while faithfully maintaining the sharp visual nature of the form.

An influential haiku book which has made an impact on the haiku community and among academic researchers.


Fiction & Literature

A Free Brand New Soul

The book is mainly a poetry collection that have been written in support for Mr. Johnny Depp. Through my poems, I simply commented on my point of view about the emotional journey that Mr. Depp went through during and after the trial. The poems are mainly displaying my point of view and they apply to a lot of people as they are mainly displaying human emotions that anyone could go through.


Fiction & Literature

The Death and Resurrection of Baseball: Echoes From A Distant Past

Hello readers. I've just published my debut novel; The Death and Resurrection of Baseball. It is a delightful feel-good story getting great early reviews. Your support and review would humble me. It is a story more than just about baseball, it is a story about us as a nation.

Description:

In the year 2166, a post Second Civil War America is finally back on its feet. Among the countless personal and cultural casualties of the war, the sport of baseball has been dead for over a hundred years. 12-year-old Joe Scott lives in the northern Illinois city of McHenry and goes exploring in the woods one day in a no man's land that a hundred years earlier was the site of the bloodiest battle of the war. While there, he discovers a relic from the distant past, from before the war. It sparks a search for its meaning. Little does he know that the wheels of Providence have been unwittingly set in motion which leads to a stunning discovery in Dyersville, Iowa.

This second discovery has a direct connection with the relic found in McHenry. As events unfold, Joe finds himself at the center of the rediscovery of a sport long lost and forgotten by the ravages of time and war.

 


Fiction & Literature

Just One More

PRAISE FOR JUST ONE MORE

A thrilling multilayered book enriched by keen psychological and emotional insight. —Book Talk

An emotionally resonant thriller, Merrill's mastery of dialogue and character development combined with a propulsive plot makes for a book you won't be able to put down. Tense, riveting, and suspenseful, Just One More is one of those stories where every page reveals a new twist.—AZ Republic

A roller coaster ride of a thriller. Harriet Blimm is the serial killer you will want to hate but learn to love. The plot is compelling and energetic, racing from one event to another as it forces the reader to consider the unimaginable. The bitterness and cold reality of what is love versus what is hate and how quickly emotions can change will make the reader cringe even as the friendship between Harriet and her crows warms their hearts.  A story of contrasting emotions. Tense and suspenseful, Just One More, chapter after chapter, coerces the reader to turn the page and then the next. —Readers Favorite

For precocious, self-reliant, ten-year-old Harriet Blimm, life is complicated. An absent father and a negligent mother have placed Harriet in an untenable situation. She never planned to murder anyone, but things changed one ugly afternoon when Harriet kills to protect herself.

Excelling in school helps Harriet thrive until she finds herself frightened and living alone in the family home at age eleven. As the situation deteriorates, she befriends two crows who become her companions.

Fear causes Harriet to kill again—this time, in anger. Now with no family and only the friendship of the crows, Nevermore and Morrigan, it appears that Harriet is bound for the foster care system.

The plot twists and turns as rescue appears, disappears, and appears again. Harriet struggles to understand her own emotions and those of the people around her. However, for Harriet, killing to solve a problem seems like a logical solution.

As Harriet matures, she is soon caught in a web of her own making, and the only way she can see to find happiness, security, and love is to kill again and again.

As suspicion grows, Harriet must cover up her trail of murders. She can see only one way to remain undiscovered—she vows to kill only one more time.

Just one more—and she will be safe.


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Fiction & Literature

Things to do on Planet Earth

A collection of thought-provoking ideas and concepts. Nonconventional and unexpected.


Fiction & Literature

What Killed Downtown? Norristown, Pennsylvania from Main Street to the Malls

In 1950, the classic American downtown of Norristown, Pennsylvania, centered on the six blocks of Main Street, was the bustling commercial heart of central Montgomery County, and had been for over a century. With depression and war in the past, downtown merchants looked forward to an extended period of prosperity. It was not to be.

By 1975, downtown's core stood largely shuttered and deteriorating, with 99 storefronts vacant and countless others lost to the wrecking ball, as first shoppers and then the merchants fled Main Street.

What Killed Downtown? Was it...


  • The Malls? Commercial wisdom points to the King of Prussia Mall as the prime suspect. But were there accomplices?

  • Municipal Government? The Main Street merchants always believed that the Borough Council was the culprit--and with good reason.

  • The Downtown Merchants themselves? Did the shopholders blind themselves, then step into the firing line, ignoring the threats of a changing world?

  • Or was it something else...something more fundamental?

Historian Michael E. Tolle's extensive research into the collapse of downtown Norristown reveals not only the answers to these questions, but also recreates the classic American downtown shopping experience, long an American characteristic, but now largely foreign to anyone below middle age. In so doing, Tolle lays bare the fundamental incompatibility between the urban grid and the automobile, as he recounts how a middle-sized American city struggled -- and failed -- to solve the the issues of traffic flow and parking, issues that are no closer to solution today, regardless of the size of the city.


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Fiction & Literature

Vinegar Hill Blues

A wounded musician shipped home from WWII finds his mother has died and his old Brooklyn neighborhood obliterated by a housing project. Always poor, he now wants to succeed as a jazz musician but he also wants money. He thinks the only path open to him is to rejoin his prewar friends and become a thief. One of those buddies, now a cop, makes the decision easy.


Fiction & Literature

BIMINI DEEP

Adventure erupts around a boating couple, after they stumble upon drug runners and mystical ancients in the Bahamas Islands.


Fiction & Literature

The Pandemic Report

When a reporter is sent to investigate a mysterious illness at a military base in Kansas, he unknowingly stumbles upon the origins of the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed 50 million people around the world, in less than two years' time. Upon returning home from Kansas, he discovers that he's been drafted and is being sent to Europe to fight the Kaiser. However, a tragic accident soon sends him back to the states with a handicap, yet despite his new limitations, he resumes his old job at the newspaper and begins traveling the back roads where he reports on the killer flu that's spreading like a prairie fire across the land. Before the 1918 pandemic was declared to be over, hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life were carried to their graves, or burned on the funeral pyres, with some children left to wander the streets with no parent remaining to care for them.

Here is an excerpt from this 314 page book, The Pandemic Report.

"..No sooner had we pulled away from the train station when the Professor twisted around in his seat and turned a crank behind the driver’s seat that raised a window of thick glass between the soldier and us. He then turned to me and said: “One can never have too much privacy where such a thing is concerned. Wouldn’t want to cause a panic you know.”

I imagined that he’d been working around the military for too long, yet I was anxious to hear what he had to say, even if he was a crackpot as I first supposed. He yelled something at the driver through the glass partition to satisfy himself that he couldn’t hear a word we might say, and then he turned his attention back to me and continued.

“It was first discovered about three weeks ago, and it’s caused no small amount of panic I can assure you of that. At first, it was all quite routine you see, but then it quickly escalated into a full-blown quarantine situation.”

“Wait a minute Jenkins, all that because a few guys came down with the flu?”

“That’s Professor Jenkins if you please. While I’m willing to make some allowances because of your age, youthfulness is no excuse for a lack of professional courtesy!”

“My apologies Professor, I assure you that it won’t happen again. Now then, you were saying. About the flu?”

“My word man, didn’t they brief you on anything in Washington?”

My ears perked up when he said that, and I knew in an instant that I was the wrong person in the right place at the perfect time to get a scoop for my newspaper.

“Umm, yes, Washington. I’m still a little unclear on the details and think it best if you filled me in, from your perspective. Oh, and could you start from the beginning and bring me up to the current status, you know, so that I can compare notes with what they told me in D.C.?”

The look on his face was enough to tell me that he expected such things from ‘we Americans.’

“Right then, from the beginning.”

Though agitated, he was cooperative none the less.

“As you are probably aware, operation Night Shade was a project that King George and your President thought best if worked on by both of our governments. It’s very hush-hush you see, top-secret and classified and all that jazz, which is why I take every precaution possible whenever talking about it.

The Germans, as you know, have been doing extensive research, attempting to develop a variety of chemical gases designed to target the nervous systems of our soldiers on the battlefield, while their own troops would be protected by new types of gas masks made specifically for such gases. We know this of course and are taking our own measures to counter such actions, developing our own gasmasks and whatnot.

The problem, however, is that recent intelligence out of Europe suggests that the Germans have been pursuing biological alternatives to their chemical weapons program; ‘germ warfare’ if you please. I don’t have to tell you the kind of trouble that could be. Can you imagine what that could mean to us? Or to anyone really, who dares to try and oppose them.”

I shook my head as if I knew, but to be honest, I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. As much as I hated to admit it even to myself, most of what he was telling me went over my head. I’d spent the previous few years simply trying to make it through college, and because of my friends in combat, I hadn’t been following the war in Europe very closely, even after America joined the fight nearly a year earlier. While there were brief occasions when I considered signing up myself, I imagined that they had enough Dough Boys already in the fight, so they didn’t need me tagging along simply to become cannon fodder.

“This single endeavor, should they pull it off, could mean world domination for the Germans. The bloody Kraut’s could rule the world! Imagine that one if you can. They could enter the battlefield wearing masks designed for a specific pathogen, release the biological agent into the air, and everyone who comes into contact with it would succumb to mass bleeding of the internal organs, almost like a full-body hemorrhage.

But wait a moment, it’s not over yet. The field medics and all those who come into contact with the dead soldiers could also contract the illness from any of the victim’s fluids. They could then carry it to others who were not yet infected, sort of like walking time bombs you see. Why, they possibly wouldn’t even display any symptoms until days later after contact. It could cause a death toll of pandemic proportions if it were ever to get out of control, and I don’t think the Germans realize just how dangerous such a thing could be, to their people as well as to our own.”

He stopped speaking and appeared deep in thought about something, so I gave him a few moments before bringing him back.

“Um, Professor? You were saying… about the flu?”

“Hmm? Oh, right then. Sorry about that old bean, not been getting enough rest you know. Now then, where was I? Oh yes… So, we thought it best if we worked together to counter anything the Germans might throw at us. London and Washington both agreed on that one. We’ve been trying everything, as you might well imagine, looking for anything of value towards building a more extensive arsenal of medicines and antidotes, as well as experimenting with new gas mask designs.

Then out of the blue, one of our team members gets notified of some sort of trouble here at Fort Riley, Kansas, where more than a hundred of your boys fell sick all on the same day. On the surface, it was only a minor flu really, but we didn’t want to leave anything to chance you see, because that many men suddenly falling ill on the same day, why, that’s absolutely unheard of.”

All of a sudden it began to get interesting. Mister Jackson never mentioned that so many had suddenly and mysteriously gotten ill, and it was becoming clear to me why he sent me to Kansas. It was finally beginning to smell like a story. As one of my Professors once said to me: ‘If something doesn’t smell right, a good reporter will put a clothespin on his nose and dig into the dung heap to find the story inside.’

“You’d mentioned ‘Pandemic’ Professor?”

“Yes, that’s correct, but of course that’s only speculation on my part you see. Unlike an epidemic that’s confined to a more localized area, a pandemic would be an epidemic that covered the whole of the world, and then, well… will you listen to me going on. I do apologize for my ramblings, Doctor. I’m sure that a man of your background doesn’t need me to tell you anything about pandemics.”

His words startled me and there was a moment of silence before I responded.

“Huh? Oh no, no, of course not, I was just checking to see if I’d heard you correctly.”

What I was wondering was if I’d heard him correctly refer to me as a Doctor. While I thought myself a pretty fair reporter, and more recently a pretty good liar, I’d never considered myself much of an actor, and I was most certainly not a doctor. I realized immediately that I’d have to be careful about what I might say in future conversations once we arrived at the base.

“One of the physicians from Fort Riley called a member of our team to ask his advice after the first twenty or so lads came to the infirmary complaining of coughing, fever, and severe physical distress. He said he was quite certain that it was the flu, only this flu was behaving differently than anything he’d ever encountered before. While he was still speaking on the telephone to our man, he told him there were several dozen additional men now trying to get in through the front door with what appeared to be the same ailment. We of course dispatched a team immediately and have been here ever since the second week. As it stands right now, there have been over 1,100 soldiers stricken with this peculiar illness. It’s most remarkable really.

In the beginning of course, we feared the worse; that perhaps the Germans had attacked us right under our very noses. But things seemed to have calmed down quite a bit since then, and most of the young men have already been released to bed rest in their own quarters after showing signs of improved health. Many of them are still suffering the lingering effects that a normal flu might bring; muscle aches and joint pains for several days to a week afterward, but we simply don’t have the room to house them all while they convalesce.

It would appear that whatever it was that struck them down has pretty much gone away, and at this point, I don’t believe it to be the work of the Germans at all, and if it were, it proved to be quite unsuccessful. Not to throw caution to the wind, however, we’ve decided to maintain tight security measures on the chance that we could be wrong about the Kaisers' involvement. It’s still a rather curious incident, and I’ve alerted London to keep an eye out for similar symptoms as we’ve encountered here. Basically, I’d say that whatever it was, we were very fortunate that it went away on its own.”

“So, the problem is pretty much over then?”

“Well yes, I’d have to say so. The death toll from this incident has been just under 50 men, though it would’ve been much worse had the hospital not taken such quick action to isolate the infected soldiers before they left the confines of the base. Other than those still housed within the infirmary, I believe we can safely say that the malady has run its course. We do feel however that we should take this opportunity to fine-tune how we might handle such a crisis, in the event that next time it’s discovered to be a deliberate act of aggression.”

“Yes, yes of course. I completely agree Professor.”

Jenkins turned around to look ahead of us as we approached the entrance to Fort Riley, at which time he held his security badge up to the window which allowed us to pass through the checkpoint of guards posted at the front gate. He refrained from speaking any further until the car came to a full stop in front of a small building within sight of the laboratory.

“That’s it just up ahead, but we’ll be getting off here for now, and I’ll continue once we’re safely inside.”"


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