Where were you on your first time?

hopkins first time

For those of  us who lived in this time period of the Sixties and Seventies, these stories will bring back many memories. It was a different world with much restraints on behavior between men and women.   Frank’s style is intriguing and brings you right into the personalities. A book well worth reading.


From Frank by way of explaining the stories.

While each story has separate characters they are linked by the theme that each story exposes the main character to the first time they experience an event participated in by all. The stories include anticipation of the happiness they expect; the dismay and wonder they feel during t…he event; and the surprising ending.


The collection starts with:


“Passages South” – male college students in search of excitement on a trip to Florida during spring break;


“My First Four Days in Sorrento” – romance by a mature American man, and an Italian woman, that perplexes his children;


Two college freshmen who meet and start a romance in “My First Psych Class”, taught by professors behaving strangely, who appear in need of counseling;


“My First Car” – purchased from a Mafia – connected used car salesman


“My First July 4 Rehoboth Beach Weekend” – parties and misguided fireworks;


“Steve’s First Woman” – self-explanatory;


“The Romance Life Cycle” – danger, danger do not eat yourself out of love;


“Santa Claus Stories ” – why do parents lie to their children;


“The Last Ski Trip” – two friends offer to introduce a recently divorced man to the single life at Sugarbush, VT, illustrating the validity of the theory of unforeseen consequences.


The last story, “My Trip Alone”, relates the bittersweet recollection of a widower who adjusts to his wife’s death two years earlier by revisiting their favorite fall trip to see the autumn foliage in the mountains of West Virginia.


hopkins book show 2016frank hopkins eswa


Second hit novel from Maryland author


“The setting sun dipped behind the horizon, turning the bay a dark burgundy. The only sound was their paddles dipping in and out of the water as June and Beth Ann glided back toward Annie Crow Knoll.  From the front of the canoe, June could see that, although it was getting darker, no one was waiting for them on the dock.  Grace wasn’t there wringing her hands over her daughter.  Nor was Nate standing, as he sometimes did, with hands on hips, looking disapprovingly at June for something she did or didn’t do.  This time it would’ve been for not wearing her life vest.  Neither of them did on the return trip.  They hadn’t discussed it.  They both simply hadn’t bothered.  June couldn’t help but laugh to herself.  After all the fuss about their safety in the canoe, here they were, two women willing to take their chances.  She wondered if drowning could be a more palatable option to the uncertain future Beth Ann faced.  Neither of them was afraid to die, but the difference between them, as June saw it, was that Beth Ann had never been afraid to live.”

From Sunset.


priest sunset 2016



priest kayak 2016

How to survive dying

moretimeer hide from death 3 april 2016

 “Their eyes didn’t miss one tiny detail. The long thin cut across the throat, the pool of crimson sticky liquid running down the body and covering the ground, the agonized look in the seemingly lifeless yes, the bruises on the chest beneath the streaks of blood and covering the face. Nor did they miss the deep lacerations on the jaw and forehead or the rope around the neck, just under the chin suspending him in midair from a thick tree branch.”

From To Hide from Death III: Death comes no more  Theresa Moretimer ‘s latest novel available on Amazon.http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=theresa+Mortimer


theresa mortimer photo

This writer uses an effective style of  short paragraphs and strong active phrasing that attracts immediate attention. This book is hard to put down.

Theresa Moretimer is an award winning author who began writing the To Hide from Death series after her own experience with domestic violence where she came close to losing her own life in a violent altercation. She made it through with the help of her family, children and friends, as well as the care of her doctors. She believes in always looking at the bright side of things and deeply believes in the power of prayer. She has spoken publicly in her home state of Maryland for the governor to help end this tragedy. She also speaks to students to teach them the warning signs of domestic violence in the hopes of preventing future cases and encourages her fans to email her, especially if they would like to hear her lectures at their college or school. Theresa lives on a small farm with her children and loves animals of all sorts. She has regular game and movie nights with her family and goes ghost hunting and camping with them and her friends. She loves horseback riding, fishing and crabbing as well as writing, reading and cooking. She loves spending holidays with her family and teaching her children how to prepare recipes both new and old. Theresa welcomes comments from her fans and encourages them to follow their dreams. “If I save but one person, I have helped someone”

Here Theresa meets with the Deputy Governor of Maryland to discuss battered women programs.

mortimer hide from death 3 april 2016

But this is not all. As an animal activist myself, I applaud her work with homeless horses. These animals require space and food, not to mention love. This work she undertakes at her own expense as very few charities have the wherewithal to help horses, not to mention another animals.

moretimer horse

Sell Short Stories

sakaduski short story book 2016

“The ‘build it and they will come’ approach works in movies, but seldom in real life. ‘Discoverability ‘ is key-how will readers find your work? today’s writers are urged fo build a ‘platform.’ become masters of social media, develop a fan base, and mold a personal brand. For now, let’s just talk about how to get a short story into a place where people will find it and read it.

“Unless you write only for yourself, think about where and how you’d like to publish your story before you even begin writing. there are large markets fro some stories and smaller markets for others, so do some research and check out the outlets that are available.”  Page 135 of How to Write Winning Short Stories.   

There are many more good tips in this book. It’s available at Amazon     http://www.amazon.com/How-Write-Winning-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B01BHYO13E/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458925237&sr=1-1&keywords=nancy+sakaduski

 Often one hears that if the writer has a good story, it will sell even if the writing is poorly done. Unfortunately this is not often the case. Yes, spelling counts! A good story deserves the kind of attention that Nancy offers in her book. If the writer does what is suggested, at least follow the mechanics from page 53 to 124, he or she has a pretty good chance of being competitive. Especially check out the often overlooked category of  “Voice” which is often completely overlooked by the writer.

Nancy has the experience and knows her stuff. She is an award-winning writer and editor who owns Cat & Mouse Press and runs the Rehoboth Beach Short Story Contest, which attracts entries from across the United States. She helps writers perfect their short stories and prepare them for publication, and offers writing tips and advice through her blog and newsletters. Nancy is the author of 23 books (including Scientific English, which she co-authored with Robert A. Day). Nancy founded Cat & Mouse Press, a small independent publishing company in Lewes, DE, to create “playful” books with a connection to the Delaware shore and provide a way for new and emerging writers to have their work published. She enjoys working with writers to help them perfect their writing and experience the joys of publication. Nancy writes for children and adults. One of her children’s books, Passport to History: Ancient Greece, was named best social studies book by the Society of School Librarians International, and “Mapping the Mind,” which appeared in Odyssey magazine, won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Award for Nonfiction. She served as the developmental editor for Global Energy Innovation: Why America Must Lead, a book by Nobel Peace Prize winner Woodrow Clark II. Two books she edited, The Beach House and Sandy Shorts, and one book she authored, A Rehoboth ABC, won national first-place awards from the National Federation of Press Women. Cat & Mouse Press is a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association and the Mid-Atlantic Book Publishers Association, and is active on Facebook and Twitter. Visit the website at: www.catandmousepress.com.

Here’s a picture of Nancy at work.



 An additional thought is that the index of Nancy’s book is a truly beneficial writer guide. It probably  contains the best collection  of current articles by experts on the writing of short stories.

Editor’s note:  Put this in a sign over the writing desk. It is Chekov’s immortal recommendation,  a  welcome admonition to writers:

“If there is a gun hanging on the wall in the first act, it must fire in the last.”

-Litvinov translation of letters, May 10 1886, The Stories of Anton Chekov, Matlaw, WW Norton 1979








Dance of love

“He stopped to check for new messages on the gay chat forum he had discovered . The  Web was good but hoping to find a friend who would turn out to be more than just an online acquaintance  was not so simple.

EXHIBITIONIST:  want 2 hook up?    not with someone who can’t spell. delete

BOOKLVR:  are you new here?    more my speed. save for later.

NIGHTMAN:  where are you , man?   loser .  No where you can find me.” 

selection from Lost and Found on the Dance Floor.


fretz  book

The area of southern Delaware in and around Rehoboth Beach has long had a large community of LGBT vacationers and homeowners. Into this resort area come many couples looking for a romantic setting. Sean and Harry are one such couple who travel there for a summer weekend, in search of a few days of lounging on the beach, and dancing at night. What they encounter during their time there is a series of unexpected events, which cause them to re-evaluate their relationship and their own motivations. This is also a broader story of a generation of gay men whose lives have changed dramatically from their past, from which they are making a final break. They are uncertain of what they want and need, sometimes still haunted by families and other people left behind.”  from  the author.

fretz photo

“Philip Fretz lived mainly in the Philadelphia area, graduated from Haverford College, served two plus years in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa, then two years in the U.S. Army. After 36 years in the field of computer services, he moved to Delaware, became a member of the Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild, and an active participant in the University of Delaware Osher Life Long Learning Institute in Lewes, DE. He is the author of a memoir of his Peace Corps service, ‘Softball, Snakes, Sausage Flies and Rice.’ ”  

My take:  This is as good a story about gay life as the classic Three Junes by Julia Glass.  It gives us  the softness of gay love and the sorrow of a breakup between two lovers. To any writer the true purpose of a story is to share the human condition with the reader. This book does that.

Fretz shares his book at gay festivals in Delaware. He attends most of the Eastern Shore Writers Association workshops to improve his craft. Recently his site on Amazon has been marked with five star reviews for Lost and Found on the Dance Floor. The editor can’t wait for his next book. He also hopes the wonderful illustrations will continue.




Up the Side of the Head

Precis of Geronimo Hotshot, Robert Whitehill’s new novel.

Ben Blackshaw’s wife, LuAnna, has been shot and lies in a permanent coma on Smith Island. Blackshaw has a disastrous falling out with his best friend, Knocker Ellis. Licking his wounds alone on Lethe Island, Blackshaw resolves to quit the Chesapeake. To his disgust, he soon uncovers evidence of the brutal lynching of a young black boy. Police fail to capture the murderers despite the evidence Blackshaw turns over; Blackshaw himself becomes a suspect. He deploys west to Arizona in search of the killers, and discovers an encampment of armed ranchers, along with a one-percenter biker gang, and a cult of white supremacist vigilantes who have all sworn to stop the flood of undocumented immigrants crossing the Mexico line. But everyone hides deadly secrets, including a biologic Weapon of Mass Destruction, the bizarre shoot-down of a Customs and Border Protection helicopter, and the disappearance of its crew. The vigilante camp itself is surrounded by a raging wildfire. Blackshaw teams with Del, an Apache member of the Geronimo Interagency Hotshot Crew, who was detailed to battle the blaze. Together they patrol in on the gathering of monsters. Part of their treacherous journey takes Blackshaw and Del through a cavern system of strange, wondrous, and lethal beauty. In the end, fire and hate threaten to consume everyone; the light of the inferno reveals that Blackshaw might be no better than the quary he hunts.  Amazon.com

whitehill geronimo Continue reading

analysis of publishing costs for the independent writer

Barbara Esstman provided the following blurb for an ad in The Writer’s Center Workshop & Event Guide: “With a successful track record of eight novels and two memoirs, Neal Gillen knows his way around the self-publishing world better than anyone I know, and now he shares his incredible expertise with you.  I’m recommending “How To Publish Now” to all my students and editing clients.  It will not only save them from scams and stupidities, but it will teach them how to produce a great book and maximize sales. ”

gillen book

Neal Gillen is the author of eight novels: Sugar Time, Capitol Punishment, Dinner In Bordeaux, Kitty’s Rules, Slamming The Close, The Night Clerks, Altar Boy, Lonely No More, and two Memoirs: 1954 Adventures in New York, and Moments of Truth. His most recent short story, Northwest to Huguenot, will be published this October in the Delmarva Review. Another short story, Rendezvous in Rockefeller Center was published last year in O-Dark-Thirty, the literary journal of The Veteran’s Writing Project and can be read in his Blog; and this year it will publish another of his short stories, A Christmas Saved.

Gillen lives Potomac, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. He is has served on the board of The Writer’s Center and is its former Vice Chairman. He established and funded an annual award for outstanding first novels, The McLaughlin, Esstman, Stearns First Novel Prize, administered by The Writer’s Center. He is a member of the Authors Guild, the Eastern Shore Writers Association, the Maryland Writers’ Association, and was the Secretary of the American Independent Writers.

gillen studio