I’m just back from a trip to Maine ….

gazing #2Hi, friends and readers:

This morning I returned home from an eight-day stay in the great State of Maine, one of my favorite places in the world. Maine is so very different from Florida. It is sparsely populated. Aside from Portland and Bangor, most Maine towns are small. The coastline is rocky and beautiful. Inland there are granite-peaked mountains covered with evergreens. And everywhere are huge “ponds”, as they call lakes in Maine.

One of my best friends owns a cabin on a “pond” in aa remote area of central Maine. The cabin has a generator and a gas refrigerator and stove. The lights are gas as well, so we don’t have to run the generator too often, which eliminates noise. There is no TV, radio, or Internet, and cell phones don’t work there. The nearest town is 23 miles away. We spent our time hiking, mostly. Every day we hiked a different trail. We cooked all our meals, mostly on the grille. And then one night we enjoyed a lobster dinner, a real treat.

Time spent in Maine is time I treasure. It gets me in intimate touch with nature. I had close encounters with two moose. They are majestic creatures, and despite their huge size they are timid. I love moose ….

If you have never been to Maine, I recommend you visit there, and not just Down East along the coast, which can be a bit touristy. Go inland, visit Baxter State Park and the other parks in Maine, you won’t regret your time spent there.


The pleasure of collecting Florida bay scallops ….

Seafood: ScallopHi, friends and readers:

I have a fishing camp I share with friends. It’s on an island on the Chassahowitzka River, right where the river flows into the Gulf of Mexico. I have been going up there since I was in high school, as a friend’s family owns the island and the three cabins built on it. Our cabin has a generator, a gravity water system, and even indoor plumbing. We have a propane stove and refrigerator too.

Every year, during August and September, bay scallop harvesting is permitted in Florida, and this past weekend my partner and I went up to the river to collect scallops. They are found about three miles from shore. They live on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico in grassy areas where they like to hide. We anchored our boat in such a spot, and then we spent about two hours collecting these tasty shellfish, using masks, fins and snorkels. The day was beautiful, with blue skies, a light breeze, and excellent visibility in the clear Gulf water. We collected a whole bucketful, which we shelled back at our cabin. Then, last night, I sauteed the scallops while my partner grilled a steak to go with them.

Ah-h-h-h, you’ve got to love fall in central Florida …..


My beautiful Yamaha FG180 acoustic guitar ….

Yamaha FG-180 1073Hi, friends and readers:

Back in 1972, when I was a third-year student at University of Florida, I bought myself a brand new Yamaha FG180  acoustic guitar. It cost me $150, which was a huge amount of money for me at the time, as I was living off a student loan and my part-time job in a linen room at a university dormitory. But I bit the bullet and bought the guitar, and it has traveled all over the world with me. I used it when performing in cafes and bars in Gainesville when I was at UF, and then in Tallahassee when I attended law school at FSU.

I still have the Yamaha, and it still has wonderful tone, although the face of the guitar is a bit scarred up from years of strumming chords with plastic picks. I also own an Ovation Legend guitar, which is more of a high-end acoustic. I love my Legend, but I’ve only owned it about seven years, so I don’t have all the memories with it that I have with the Yamaha. A new FG180 today costs between $500 and $600, but the old ones like mine with the red label inside the body are now collector’s items and often cost more than the new ones.

Last year one of the tuning keys on the Yamaha came loose, and I wasn’t able to keep the guitar in tune. The repair wasn’t something I felt I could do myself, and it took me forever to find a guitar repair shop who would do the job. Last week, I finally got the Yamaha fixed, and with a new set of Martin strings it sounds amazing.

I guess you could say this guitar has been one of my long-term friends, and I plan to keep it until the end of my days.


Standing in a fast-flowing flowing river ….

riverHi, friends and readers:

When I first saw this photo it completely blew me away. I’m not certain where it was taken, but there are mountains and atop those mountains are palm trees, so I’m thinking it was taken somewhere in Hawaii. I love everything about the photo: the lighting, the angle from which it was shot, and, of course, the way the model is posed. You can almost feel the water rushing past his legs while he savors the river’s coolness. It’s the kind of photo that jumps out at you the minute you see it. Enjoy, friends.


The joy of recovering from surgery ….

happiness #3Hi, friends and readers:

On May 11, 2015, I had bilateral knee replacement surgery, the first time I’d been in a hospital since I was twelve years old. The surgery was necessary because forty years of distance running had destroyed the knees I was born with. I knew if I wanted to keep doing the things I love: running, hiking, surfing, and so forth, that I’d have to replace my knees with artificial ones. So, I made the plunge. I had both done at the same time (Most people don’t.) because I didn’t want to go to the hospital twice and then go through rehab twice.

It has been thirteen weeks since my surgery, and I can tell you it’s been an ordeal. The first month was miserable; I was in a lot of pain and I couldn’t even drive. I lost fifteen pounds of muscle tissue in my arms, legs and butt. I did physical therapy exercises, both at home and at a clinic, seven days per week.

I saw my surgeon’s assistant last week, after having X-rays taken of my new knees, and he declared the surgery a complete success. This morning, for the first time since my surgery, I walked three miles on the beach at a pretty fast clip, and I did it entirely pain-free. Okay, my knees are not 100% yet. I’m not ready to run or play basketball or surf, but I will be soon; I can tell. And it sure feels good.

I have a trip to Maine scheduled for the end of September, where a friend and I are already planning several hikes through varying terrains, and I feel quite certain I’ll be able to keep up.

Hallelujah ….


Jump for joy: 35% off my Prizm Books titles ….

fire jumpHi, friends and readers:

I have published three novels through the Prizm Books division of Torquere Press: Josef Jaeger, Becoming Andy Hunsinger, and Tyler Buckspan. 

I just received an e-mail from Prizm Books that they are conducting a “back to school” sale. All their titles will be sold at 35% off their normal prices if purchased through the Prizm website from now until the end of August 2015.

The promotion code for the sale is “BTS2015″.

If you’ve ever considered buying one of my novels, now might be a good time to do so. It’s a great way to bring a close to your summer, and there’s still plenty of time to read a book at the beach before the weather turns. Go, ahead, give one a try. You can reach the Prizm website by clicking on the covers of my books in the sidebar to the left.


A beautiful footbridge; I’m convalescing ….

footbridgeHi, friends and readers:

I came across this photo not long ago and just looking at it inspired me. At this time of year it is so stinking hot and humid in Florida. How I’d love to spend a little time someplace where there are snow and evergreens and the air smells fresh.

I’ve been home from the hospital for about ten days now. My double knee replacement surgeries went about as well as they possibly could have, and now I am convalescing. This involves lots of rest along with a series of physical therapy exercises I must perform twice daily.

My surgery was performed May 11th. I had not been a hospital patient since I was twelve years old. (That was a while ago.) I can’t say my experience was pleasant, although the hospital staff did their best to be helpful and upbeat. The worst part was all the narcotics they pumped into me following surgery. For three days I didn’t know where I was, even.

Recovering from total knee replacement (TKR) surgery is a slow process. The surgery is very invasive, involving the sawing of bones and placement of implants in both knees. It has been three weeks since the surgery and I am still in a good deal of pain much of the day. I know in the end I will be a happier person when I am able to run, hike and otherwise be physically active without pain. I just have to get through this part of this process.

Wish me luck, friends.


The beauty of old Berlin; I’m in the hospital ….

BerlinHi, friends and readers:

Between  the years 2005-2009, I spent four summers living in a apartment in the city’s center. I have lived in Kreuzberg, Wilmersdorf, Scoeneberg, and Wedding.

I love everything about  Berlin: the architecture, the many parks, the cultural offering, and most of all the city’s friendly resident who are welcoming. The carving in the photo above is a part of the facade in a school of fine arts  Isn’t it beautiful/

When I am living in Berlin, I to walk the streets of the city, just soaking up the ambiance. You can also find any sort of cuisine you want, from traditional German, to Turkish and Chinese. If you ever get a chance to visit Berlin, you simply should.

On another note, I an dd writing this post from a hospital bed in St. Petersburg, FL. Yesterday I underwent surgery to replace my old knees that were beat to a pulp from 40 years of distance running. Everything went smoothly, and I’ve already  begun the rehab process. I should be out the hospital tomorrow or Thursday, Much of the rehab activites I can do at home. Wish me luck, friends.



An interesting drawing a reader sent me ….

scoutHi, friends and readers:

A few days ago I received a message via this website from a person who had recently read my historical novel, Josef Jaeger. The message was accompanied by the drawing to the left. The reader said:

“I enjoyed your novel very much, as I especially like historical fiction. I found Josef’s story fascinating. Will you write a sequel?”

“I purchased an 1955 French magazine called Scout at a Paris antiques shop many years ago, simply because I liked the cover art so much. I had it framed and the drawing hangs in my home office. When I read Josef Jaeger I was reminded of this drawing and I thought I would share it with you. I hope you like it.”

Well, I have sent my thanks for the drawing, and I do like it very much. I like its stylized quality; it’s not intended to be an exact likeness. But it’s a wonderful piece of art. I thought I should share it with all of you. I wonder if the young man who posed for the drawing is still alive today?


Che Guevara, a Twentieth Century hero ….

che guevaraHi, friends and readers:

The man you see to the left is Che Guevara. Here’s a short bio from Wikipedia:

ErnestoCheGuevara (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtʃe ɣeˈβaɾa];[5] June 14,[1] 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia in popular culture.[6]

As a young medical student, Guevara traveled throughout South America and was radicalized by the poverty, hunger, and disease he witnessed.[7] His burgeoning desire to help overturn what he saw as the capitalist exploitation of Latin America by the United States prompted his involvement in Guatemala‘s social reforms under President Jacobo Árbenz, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow at the behest of the United Fruit Company solidified Guevara’s political ideology.[7] Later, in Mexico City, he met Raúl and Fidel Castro, joined their 26th of July Movement, and sailed to Cuba aboard the yacht, Granma, with the intention of overthrowing U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.[8] Guevara soon rose to prominence among the insurgents, was promoted to second-in-command, and played a pivotal role in the victorious two-year guerrilla campaign that deposed the Batista regime.[9]

Okay, I am not a Marxist. And I don’t agree with everything the Castro regime has done since it deposed Batista, but I admire Che Guevara very much. He came from an upper-middle class family. He was a medical student, and could have chosen a very comfortable life in Argentina. Instead he fought for the rights of the working class and the poor, at great sacrifice to himself.

If you have never seen the film The Motorcycle Diaries then you should. It’s all about Che’s social and political awakening, plus it’s a great movie. You can check it out here: