Excerpt 3, Ch. 1

“Come on, will ya? I still gotta take you to your new class before I go to mine, for cryin’ out loud” Michael said.

Michael and Sal walked fast, ahead of me. I had to run to keep up. “Why can’t we go to the same class? That would be a lot better,” I said, pushing my Polly nose down as it had come unstuck from my nose.

Sal laughed some more. “Right, I could see that!” he said.

“Ha,” said Michael. “I’m in seventh grade, you nut. You can’t have kindergarten in my class. I told you that already,” he said, pushing ahead. “Come on, Danny, you’re too damned slow.”

“Please don’t make me go to that other class.” I threw the Polly-nose down and scooped up another one.

“Don’t worry, Shorty,” Michael said. “I’ll come and get you when you’re finished, then we’ll go home for lunch. Okay? What are you doing, now, crying?”

Sal laughed. “Hey Goofy,” he said, “believe me, you wouldn’t want to be in our class.”

“Listen,” said Michael, “it’s only kindergarten, for cryin’ out loud. All they do is play. I wish I could go myself. You wanna trade? I’ll go to your class and you go to mine.”

They both laughed. But tears were spilling down my face now.

“Aw, don’t worry Danny,” said Sal. “You’ll be okay.”

Just then two neighborhood bullies with backpacks passed us on the sidewalk. I recognized them because they had attacked me that summer once when I had strayed a little too far from the front stoop of our building, though was still on our block. They had acted friendly and came over and asked me if I lived on the block and I nodded. In the next minute, the big one punched me full force in my stomach, and I folded in half like a jackknife. Then the other guy pushed my folded-over body into a mud puddle and I rolled in the wet mud with piercing pain shooting through my body, trying to catch my breath. I could hear them laughing and running, and Michael, who had appeared from nowhere, running after them, yelling that he was going to break them in half, after which he came back panting, saying he had done just that, still cursing at them as he checked to see if I was okay, telling me, “I told you to stay on the stoop when I’m not home.”

Now, here they were, back at it. “Taking your little sister to school?” the bigger one asked Michael, then ran with his stupid buddy behind him, both of them laughing.

“You better run, you idiots,” Michael yelled after them. “Or I’ll pound you into the ground like I did the last time!”

Sal shook his head. “Yeah, real idiots,” he said.

We crossed 111th Avenue. “Come on, Danny.” Michael waited for me half-way into the street, his arm outstretched for my hand. “Would you hurry?” he said.

After we crossed the street I saw the giant, gray stone building looming like a rock monster just ahead on the next block. Carved into the stone were the letters spelling out Our Lady of Sorrows.

“I don’t want to go there,” I said. “Please, Michael, don’t make me, not alone. I can’t do it.”

“Danny, gimme a break, will ya? I’m gonna be late as it is, on my first freaking day.” He inhaled the last puff of his cigarette and tossed the butt into the street.

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Excerpt 2, Ch. 1

Michael was in seventh grade. Everything was easy for him. The boys tried to be like him. The girls saw how handsome he was. Even old ladies loved him.

“Danny, let’s go,” Michael said. “Come eat your breakfast or we’re gonna be late.”

I ran into the kitchen and slid into the chair at the table where Michael had put a bowl of cornflakes and milk.

“Sit down and eat,” he said, adding that they weren’t real cornflakes. They just looked like cornflakes, but were cheaper.

My sister Frances appeared in the doorway. She was starting fourth grade and thought she was pretty terrific. To me, she was just as much of a fat-mouth and as stupid as she had been in third grade.

“Oh, is that for me?” she asked, eyeing my bowl of cereal and reaching toward it with her pudgy hand.

“Touch that and I’ll break your arm,” said Michael.

So far, Michael hadn’t broken any of Frances’s arms yet. But he did threaten it a lot.

“How come you can make him something to eat and not me?” asked Frances. “What makes him so special?”

“Believe me, you don’t need anything to eat,” said Michael.

“Drop dead!” yelled Frances. “You make me sick.”

“You’re already sick. Sick in the head,” said Michael, standing at the counter shoving cheap cornflakes into his mouth with one hand and pointing to his head with the other.

Frances grabbed the box of cereal from the counter and poured it into a bowl.

“Danny, for cryin’ out loud, did you brush your teeth?” Michael asked me.

“No,” I said. “Do I have to?”

“No. You don’t have to brush your teeth. What are you, stupit or something? Whadyu want, your teeth to fall outta ya head? Get in there and do it before I smack you one.” He talked a lot about smacking me one, too, but so far, nothing. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom, still chomping on my last spoonful of cereal.

“And hurry up, or we’re gonna be late,” he called after me. He worried a lot about being late, and eating, and brushing your teeth. I guess he thought he had to, since nobody else did.

It was time to go. I followed Michael down the three flights of stairs, then outside, then through the black wrought-iron gate that squealed, and then into the street, just as Sal appeared.

“Hey, Mike,” he said. “Hey, Danny. Big first day at Our Lady of Homework, huh?”

“Yeah, and he’s moving slow,” said Michael, pulling a crumpled pack of Camels from his back pants pocket. lighting a cigarette and sucking in the smoke. “Come on. It was a lot easier when it was just me I had to get to school in the morning.”

“Yeah, right,” Sal said, falling in with Michael’s fast step, as he always did. Sal didn’t smoke. He’d told me he threw up when Michael offered it to him the first time and that was the end of it.

The morning air felt cool on my face. The giant maple trees waved with the breezes. Polly-Noses spun as they floated down from the giant maple trees, and I stopped to bend down and pick one up. I opened the end of it and stuck it to my nose. “Look, Michael, I’m a Polly Nose.”

“You’re a mental case is what you are,” he said.

Sal laughed.

Excerpt 1, Ch. 1, The Archangel of Hamilton Beach:

ARCHANGEL PIC SaintMichaelArcAngel----archangel-michael[1]

Part One: The Early Days

“The Archangel…wings upspread, sword uplifted, the devil crawling beneath…. He is the conqueror of Satan, the mightiest of all created spirits, the nearest to God. His place was where the danger was greatest; therefore you find him here.”

                          ~~Henry Adams, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: ….”                                                                                                                                                ~~Daniel 12:1

Chapter 1.     

The Razor Blades of Queens

The first day of kindergarten was my nightmare come true. The thought of being someplace where kids would make fun of me knotted up my stomach. But at least I’d get to leave the apartment with Michael that morning, and not have to stay there alone with Teresa after Michael and Frances went to school, which I had done every day since the day I could remember.

Saint Michael the Archangel looked down at me from my favorite picture on the wall between the windows leading to the fire escape outside. The archangel held his sword high to kill anyone who would dare hurt me. His wings spread wide so he could fly me away from my enemies. Saint Michael the Archangel stood tall, crushing the evil snake under his foot. He was the strongest angel in Heaven.

I pulled my pajama top up over my head and peeked at myself in the small mirror on the dresser. The face that looked back at me with my thick, dark eyelashes and “kissy” lips, as Teresa called them. I looked like her, with her darker skin, lighter than both Michael and Frances’s.

“Danny, you ready?” Michael, my big brother.

“Yes,” I called in. “I’m coming.” I started to tie the laces of my leather shoes, the ones that Michael had grown out of a long time before. I picked up his brown flannel shirt from the bed. I wished I could wear it so I would feel him with me at that dreaded new school. I crumpled it up and held it to my nose. It smelled like him. I put it in the closet, in the back, so the next time I hid there, I could dig my face into it. Then I grabbed my good yellow shirt. What it was good for I didn’t know. I hated yellow. And it was all scratchy, especially around my neck where the tag was. But Teresa told me she’d bought it new to wear to my first day of school, and I always did what my mother told me, so she wouldn’t get mad.

Update Sept. 2018

It’s been two years since I self-published Two Shores (originally as The Archangel of Hamilton Beach)!  Hard to believe.  It’s still available by the former title on Amazon in eBook format, which is where most of the book’s reviews can be found.

I plan to post to this blog much more often than I have since I started it.  Posting excerpts from the novel are my first plan, to give visitors to my blog a sense of Danny and his story.

It’s been a journey writing this novel, rewriting it, and then self-publishing.  I’ve also enjoyed helping other writers publish their first books.

I hope you will buy and read Two Shores.  Danny would enjoy that. :- )

You Won’t Be Disappointed!                                Two Shores

July 2016 (First) Proof Copy Has Arrived!

(First) Proof Copy Has Arrived! (July 2016)

Well, my Proof copy came today. Very exciting. Almost in tears. I realized I love my book, my characters (even the “bad guys” (or girls). I just last week was saying you have to love your characters, at least the main character, because if you’re writing a novel, chances are you will be with him or her for quite some time.

Of course, there are some changes to make, so I needed to fix some page spacing right at the beginning, i.e., blank pages that should be there aren’t and vice versa. Never sure if it’s me or CreateSpace (amazon.com) but things can get very glitchy (including doing an ebook with Kindle).

Then I realized I forgot to add a credit for the front cover photo, though I don’t have to because it’s copyright-free from pixabay.com (morguefile.com is good,too). But I wanted to give the photographer credit.

So after CreateSpace approves my last changes (an hour ago) I’ll have to add that, then re-convert it to a PDF file, then re-upload the file to CreateSpace, then re-wait for their approval, then re-order another proof. Sheesh!

It can all be daunting though not as daunting as the promo stuff that still lies ahead. I know, I should have already been doing that, but…I’ll be lucky to get myself out there promoting post-book, let alone pre-book. What can I say? I’m a writer not a promoter or marketer (or blogger, though that’s changing now).

Thanks for listening! Please stay tuned.

July 2016 Finally (self) Published!

Well, it’s finally (almost) done. (July 2016) The Proof copy of my 257-page novel (font size 13) is in the mail from CreateSpace (talk about feeding the monster). Oh well, we use the bad for the good as much as we have to in order to do some good, right?

It’s been a long time since I started Archangel. I don’t believe in evolution of amoebas to men, but I do believe in the evolution of writers and their books along with them, over time. As I have changed over the years since the inception of this story, so has the story changed (bringing many necessary edits and revisions–not exactly the same things–see my Let’s Write! blog for more on writing).

So the little boy in the picture above is the proverbial Danny from the cover of my novel. He’s the main character, such as he is, bless his heart. By the end of the novel (and before the sequel) he will be age 24.

On CreateSpace it’s listed with the BISAC code (subject category similar to the old Dewey Decimal system) of a Coming of Age story. Believe me, it didn’t start out that way but one never knows—and maybe one should not know when he or she starts out to write a novel or short story.

I’ll write more soon. I’m getting back into the blog mode (which I was never really in to begin with, so please bear with me). Your encouragement is welcome, and Danny appreciates it. :- ) Thank you.