Here is an example of the flash fairy tales I post now and again at


In the time of castles a sad queen slipped into the woods on a blue moon midnight. She hurried along the glow of a path lighting up in front of her as she muttered over and over again, ‘Never forever.’ When the cottage appeared under a drapery of vines, as she had been told it would, she stopped in her tracks and shuddered. Summoning courage for her child’s sake, she walked forward and resumed repeating, ‘Never forever.’ The cottage door swung open.

‘So here a visitor, is it? What would ye ask of Old Nan, daughter?’ asked a cracked scrape of a voice. ‘Stand still and advance not one more step.’

‘Never forever, never forever,’ repeated the sad queen, standing stock-still.

‘That’s right, my dear. Say it again and again. Ah, I see, but your daughter doesn’t,’ said Old Nan, and she cackled. ‘What reward for a daughter’s sight restored? Hmmm, Old Nan, what do ye need? Not a thing. I have all I want … but wait. I know. A troubadour to sing to me two evenings a week. More would be annoying, that’s true. If ye agree, continue repeating “Never forever.”‘

‘Never forever, never forever,’ repeated the queen with increasing urgency.

Old Nan beckoned. The queen entered the cottage, and was instantly struck blind. Or so she thought. Blackness all around, fear in her heart, nevertheless she continued to say, ‘Never forever.’ Soon a tiny flicker of a flame danced in the blackness in front of the sad queen’s eyes.

‘Never forever, never forever,’ she said, an ember of hope reborn in her soul.

Old Nan cackled. The queen awoke in her chamber. Her daughter, the princess, rushed in singing, ‘I can see! I can see!’



Following the death of L. Frank Baum, Ruth Plumly Thompson was asked by the publishers of the Oz books to continue the series with new stories. She accepted the honor of becoming the 2nd Royal Historian of Oz by producing one Oz book each year through the 1920s and 1930s. My own particular favorite of hers, The Gnome King of Oz, was the Oz book for 1927. It boasts an impressive mound of humor, wordplay and imagination. For instance, the Quilties of Patch make quilts, and their Queen, Cross Patch the 6th, falls to pieces one day. This, however, is no cause for alarm, because, as Ruth explains:

When a Quilty goes to pieces, his relatives or friends sweep up the scraps and put them away in a tidy scrap-bag and in ten years or so he comes out of the bag as good as ever.

Ruth loved adverbs and peppered and salted her prose with them. Some examples:

Giant fish wallowed desperately…

‘Blunderoo!’ breathed Peter softly.

‘Come on! Come on!’ wheezed the old Gnome King frantically.

…a golden haired mermaid plunged boldly from the window of a coral castle…

mumbled dizzily – scowling terribly – brushed rudely – nodded gloomily – yawning tremendously – answered saucily – and so on and so forth and 5th and 6th and 7th.

Why did she love adverbs so much? She couldn’t help it. After all, her middle name was Plumly.

And so, in honor of Ruth Plumly Thompson, 2nd Royal Historian of Oz, I am pleased to announce that the character narrating my new fantasy from Wild Child Publishing is to be called Plumly.


A pun jumped into my brain the other day, and I had to use it before it escaped. So here goes:

‘The wife’s lookin’ for ya. She’s to the bottom of the hill,’ Matty informed his shipmate, Dave.

‘Oh, she is, has it?’ said Dave, and he drained his tapered glass of ale. ‘Draw me another, Tim.’

Tim refilled Dave’s glass.

‘There now, I’ll be back before I’ve gone,’ said Dave, raising his full glass in a farewell salute and sauntering out the door.

Nursing his glass of ale, he went down to the she in sips.

Vineyard’s Children Now Available!

Vineyard's Children Cover Sketch

Vineyard’s Children is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from Livingston Press.

JC, a ten-year-old boy living in a wine country commune in the late ‘70s, struggles to be a normal baseball playing 4th and 5th grader despite being surrounded by his New Age family. He navigates his way through a never ending circus of séances, healing circles, Gaia worship, folksinging, vegetarianism, a psychically gifted little sister, and one kidnapping.

“Sure I remember 1979. How could I forget? JC? Well now, fine lad. Always scribbling in that book The Widger gave him. Ever in the company of his pig and his dog. Good to his little sister, Teenie Sparkle, I can tell you that. Teenie. Ah, Teenie, a far seer as ever there was. And that’s all the truth I’ve a mind to share today.”