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Feeling Lucky? Get Gambling!


I was meeting a friend, mentor, and professional associate (all one person!) in Schenectady at a restaurant for lunch and arrived early because I ran a few errands on the way and ended up with extra time. How to spend that time? I’ve been thinking I should spend more time making money, since the book royalties gravy train chugs slowly and the financial portfolio is nosediving. So why not pop in...

Be Careful Who You Slap


A couple of years ago, I made a list of the Most Important Novels in My Life. Since then, I’ve been rereading them to see how well they stand the test of time. Christos Tsiolkas’ “The Slap” remains near the top of my list. The story is set in suburban Melbourne and follows a core group of friends and relatives that cross racial and class lines. It opens with Hector and Aisha hosting a...

The Most Important Novels in My Life


I have set myself a task for 2020: reread the ten most important books in my life. To qualify for the list, the novel (or novella or short story collections; I’m including those also), must meet one or more of the following criteria: It was so profound and meaningful to me that I’ve read the novel multiple times. It significantly influenced my own development as a novelist. The...

A Mural for the Rail Trail


I’m not someone who feels especially embedded in my community, even though mental health experts say a sense of community is important to well-being. So I’d been meaning to find ways to get more involved locally, because I always listen to what the experts say. I volunteered for the crew to help artist Fernando Orellana paint a new mural on the rail trail that runs near my house. The mural was a...

Long Live the Sugar Maple


I am stressed about our sugar maple under duress. Was it sixteen or eighteen years ago we planted it—I’m not so good at record keeping. We’ve watched the tree grow and every autumn its leaves have kept their promise. Sugar maples are experts at that. Every year I’m thinking I’ve never seen a more beautiful tree. I’ll take just one more photo. Growing. Growing. Bowing before its glory. The thick...

The NYS Writers Institute Resides in the Doughnut Hole


What does one do on a sunny, mild September Saturday? In my case, I spend it indoors at the Book Festival presented by the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany. I’ve heard people call this area of upstate New York the hole in the doughnut. They say there’s nothing really here, but we’re within easy driving distance to the world-class cities of New York, Boston, and...

Is “The Culling” Catching On?


I’ve been getting some enthusiastic feedback about “The Culling,” my dystopian thriller about a woman on the run from an unjust death sentence and the mercenary assigned to hunt her. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, here’s the link. Below is a brief scene from the novel. It takes place just after Maren meets her neighbor Ven at a small party and he offers...

A Different Kind of Mafia


Bills Mafia refers to the collective fanbase of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. The term got its start in 2010 when Bills fan Del Reid got was sparring on Twitter with Adam Schefter, an ESPN reporter. Schefter blocked Reid, who responded with the hashtag #BillsMafia. The hashtag grew and grew. Bills fans and players both embraced it. Now everyone who follows the NFL knows about the Bills Mafia, a...

The Conversationalist


1 “Yes, I was in Santa Cruz for the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. It happened at exactly 5:04 in the afternoon which I knew because that was the time when all the clocks stopped when the power cut out. I had just gotten home and was in my kitchen when the rumbling started and then the whole house was shaking and the noise was like a subway car was passing through. Absolutely deafening. Cabinets...

Goal-Oriented on Blackdome


I’m sitting with two friends on a rock outcropping on top of Black Dome in the Catskill Mountains.  It took us three hours to reach the summit, a hefty hike including hand-over-hand steep spots, shaded cols, and endless one foot in front of the other to navigate the rocks and roots. The satisfaction of the mountaintop is palpable. We’ve been rewarded with sunshine, a mild temperature, and an...

My Father Started a Fire


I got a call from my sister who said my father was in the hospital. He’s a long-time widower who lives alone a few towns away from where we do and he’d done something that can only be considered ill-conceived and a major error in judgment. This happened during the big storm that passed through the other evening, the one that brought gale winds and torrential rains. My father had planned to cook...

A Sizzling End-of-Summer Read


Hey there—if you’re looking for a hot, page-turning beach read to cap the summer season, I’ve just published my third novel: “The Culling.” This dystopian thriller is about a woman on the run from an unjust death sentence who teams up with the mercenary assigned to hunt her in an attempt to escape and join the resistance against the authoritarian regime. Think of it as Shirley...

I Had to Write a Dystopian Novel


Genre fiction fits into defined categories in order to appeal to readers who groove on that particular type of story. Fantasy, crime, science fiction, thriller, horror, and romance are popular genres. I never thought I’d dabble in genre fiction. My other novels (Stash, Clean Break) can only be considered general fiction. Not literary enough for the highbrow, not formulaic enough to fit into a...

The Scariest Scene for a Writer


Sometimes the stars align and we’re all at home and in the mood to watch a movie as a family. This time we went old school and sat down to the iconic horror film “The Shining”, directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the novel by Stephen King. From Rotten Tomatoes: “Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his...

There are Six of Us


There are six of us. We are three couples and all close friends. We live in the same town. We get together often to socialize and to celebrate birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, etc. We take turns hosting. Two of us are on second marriages. One of us is unemployed and battling a sense of worthlessness. One of us is having an affair that two others of us know about. It’s not the same one of us...

Stockholm Syndrome Turns Thirty-Nine


On this day in 1973 in Stockholm, Sweden, Jan-Erik Olsson, a 32-year-old convict, took four hostages while attempting to rob a bank. A six-day standoff ensued, during which time the hostages, trapped in a bank vault, came to sympathize with their captor. Although they were threatened and terrorized, they ended up defending him at his trial and paying for his lawyer. The phrase “Stockholm...

How Many Husbands Does a Woman Need?


Sometimes the essence of an entire novel can be distilled from one line in the text. In the case of “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” it boils down to this: “So I had two choices. I could do it for free, or I could do it for free candy.” This moment occurs early in the novel, before Evelyn has become a famous movie star or married any of her seven husbands. She’s a young teen, just developing...

A Post About Compost


Food waste accounts for eight percent of greenhouse gas admissions. The carbon footprint of U.S. food waste is greater than that of the airline industry. Food waste happens in supermarkets, in commercial kitchens, and in our own kitchens. We’ve all purchased fresh food that’s gone bad before we’ve eaten it. We’ve all been spooked by slimy things we find in the back of our refrigerators. Plus...

A Comment on Corporate Culture


I know these two companies. They have vastly different cultures. The first company has deep respect for its employees and encourages them to be their authentic selves. They offer support and resources for LGBTQ+ employees and for employees from all races and ethnicities. They celebrate Pride. They offer flexible work options. You can see how they respect their employees in everything they do...

I Held a Baby


I am asked if I want to hold her and I offer my arms and cradle the baby. She is tiny and buttery warm. Her eyes are closed and she is new and exquisite. Weightless and yet entirely substantial. I stare at her like a dream. All around me, her parents and family beam like full moons. A powerful sense of well-being flows over me. A smile arcs across my face. Immediately, instinctively, I begin a...

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.


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