Friday, March 31, 2017

The Trunk of the Oak

The Trunk of the Oak

The leaves of the tall Oak whistle as the strong winds buffet branches small and large.
Dark storm clouds swallow the horizon and envelop the tree in a surging gale.
Portions of the Oak bend and groan, straining against the fury of the storm.
Leaves ripped from the small branches cloud the sky like a swarm of lost green birds.
The wind strengthens and presses against the tree until it bends in retreat. 
Branches break and fly into the distance carried by raging streams of air.
Stout branches crack and break in half, exposing the core of the Oak.
But the trunk of the tree is strong with roots going deep into the earth.
The Oak rights itself time and time again, fighting to maintain its long-held place.
The winds lesson as the storm takes its fight to other parts of the forest.
The tall tree stands proud despite its damaged limbs.
New growth will thicken the mighty oak and ready it for the next onslaught of nature.
Water from the ground runs up the mighty trunk, feeding great limbs to tiny leaves.
Sunlight hastens the re-growth of the Oak, helping it reach further into the sky.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

American Insurgency Chapter 1.

American Insurgency

I have finished the second draft of my novel "American Insurgency." The story is about Jake Cohen, a former Special Forces Captain, who has returned home to New York City after 15 years of fighting insurgents and terrorists. He is angry when he finds out that Serbian gangsters have taken over his old neighborhood and threatened his father. He is frustrated and disappointed when he realizes that his wars are not over and soon finds himself in a fight with the Serbians. At the same time, he encounters his old high school girlfriend and learns that a relationship that he thought had ended almost 20 years ago still has unfinished business.

I have posted a link to the first chapter below. I am interested in feedback and possible
beta readers. Please let me hear from you if you read the chapter. 


The Customer Isn't Always Right.
Wednesday, June 5.
3 PM
"Almost as bad as Iraq," Jake muttered after glancing at the thermometer on the old Coca-Cola sign, which registered 94°. There had been record-breaking temperatures for the past week in Brighton Beach.
           As he placed a carton filled with jars of kosher pickles on a high shelf, perspiration ran down his face and soaked his "U.S. Army" T-shirt. He grabbed a bottle of water and emptied the remaining contents. He smiled as he remembered bellowing, "Stay hydrated, stay hydrated," to the new men in the company. His muscles ached, but a hot shower would ease most of the pain. Lifting weights when not on duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and climbing mountains on patrol, had kept him in peak condition.
           He thought about his dad's concern, late last night when he talked about Serbian gangsters who had become the crime lords of the neighborhood. The Serbians had seriously injured one of his dad's friends when he spoke out against them. Dealing with another gang was the last thing Jake wanted to do when he came home from the Army.
Yesterday, he had torn out the old, shabby storage compartments, which were on the verge of falling apart. Jake had just finished installing a series of reinforced steel shelving units, which added several cubic feet of accessible storage space. Jake's dad, Mickey, prided himself on being tough and strong, but at age sixty-five, his knees and back ached from decades of lifting heavy cartons.
Loud noises coming from the front of the deli caught his attention. He stepped through the back doorway and saw a short gangster built like a middle linebacker, holding the front door open as several customers raced by him.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bitten by a toxic vampire by Neil Benson - A mostly fictional vampire story.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about my confrontation with a so-called psychic vampire while I was sitting in my neighborhood pub. After an initial onslaught, I was able to defend myself and eventually humiliated the strange man. Since then, I have received several threatening letters by other persons calling themselves psychic vampires, but nothing has transpired.
  Four nights ago, I was leaving my neighborhood pub when I was confronted by a small, hag-like elderly woman, barely five feet tall. She looked like a witch out of a bad fairy tale. Her long, gray hair was uncombed, and a beaklike nose dominated her face. What concerned me the most as she stood before me were her pulsating, glowing eyes. They bored into mine, giving me an instant, excruciating headache. When I tried to step around her, she blocked my path.

"Get out of my way" I said as I reached out with my left hand to move Her aside.

"You'll pay for humiliating my friend," she said. She leapt up and bit me in the neck.

I felt a sharp stinging sensation as two fangs pierced my neck. I put my hands around her throat and threw her to the ground.

"You'll suffer now," she said, and ran away with more speed than a young sprinter.

When I touched the side of my neck, I felt a red-hot, four inch-wide welt. I staggered a few steps, but by then other people from the pub had been alerted to the commotion. My drinking buddy, Eddie Earnhardt, took me by my arm and drove me to the nearby emergency room.

By the time the doctors examined me, I was feverish and disoriented.

In half-hour later, another doctor approached me.

"I'm Dr. Beauregard Johnston," he said. "They've called me in because I have considerable experience in treating poisonous bites, including human ones.

I'm not sure this was a human bite," I said.

"What you mean?" he asked. Through my blurry eyes, I saw him staring at me intently, trying to make sense of what I had just told him.

"You wouldn't believe. I have an acquaintance in Europe I would like you to talk to. I believe he may be of help."

"If you think he can help, I'd be glad to talk to him," the doctors said.

I took my cell phone out and called Mr. Radescu, the vampire I had met in Bucharest. Fortunately, I had stored his number in my contact file. It was 11 p.m. in Bucharest. After several rings, I heard a deep, mellifluous voice.

"How can I help you?" he asked.

"How did you know I needed help?"

He chuckled. It is unlikely you called me just for a social chat."

"I was attacked and bitten by a small, witch-like woman."

"Did her fangs pierce your neck?"


"That is most unfortunate," he said. Where are you?"

"I'm in a hospital emergency room."

"Let me talk to the doctor."

"Dr. Johnson, my friend in Romania would like to talk to you." I handed him the phone.

"Hello, this is Dr. Johnson. Who am I speaking with?" Dr. Johnson nodded several times as he listened to Mr. Radescu. At one point he asked, "Wolfsbane?" Then he listened some more. Finally, he said, "I'll do as you say."

He returned my phone and shook his head. "I'm not sure what to make of this. However, your friend assures me the only way to cure you is to apply a poultice of something called wolfsbane to the puncture marks on your neck. I don't believe in this vampire nonsense, but I will do what is necessary to help you. Mr. Radescu said he would contact someone in South Carolina who would deliver the wolfsbane to us within the hour."

That was the last thing I remembered before I passed out. Two days later, I awoke in a hospital bed. A nurse's aide was sitting by my bed, and when she saw me open my eyes, she jumped up and ran out of the room. A few minutes later, a nurse came in, checked my temperature, and took my blood pressure. Then she reached to the side of my neck and pulled off a foul smelling compress.

She smiled at me. "I'm glad to see you're still with us. Your temperature is normal and the swelling is greatly reduced."

I tried to speak, but couldn't because my throat was so dry. "Here's some water," she said, putting a container with a straw to my mouth.

I greedily imbibed the cool liquid. "What happened to me?"

"Two days ago, you passed out in the emergency room. Your fever rose to 105°. A package of leaves arrived, and they were put into the poultice that I just took off your neck."

"Thank you," I said. As I lay in bed, I realized I owed my life to a 300 year-old vampire 4000 miles away in Romania. I knew that one day I would have to repay this debt.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book Review: Unholy Embrace – Author Neil Benson

Book Review: Unholy Embrace – Author Neil Benson

Unholy Embrace imageUNHOLY EMBRACE

Author Neil Benson
Published by Night to Dawn
Publication Date: 2010
Format: Black /White – 204 pages
Price: $13.50
Unholy Embrace by Neil Benson is the story of a romantic and dangerous love affair between a beautiful, ages-old vampire and a mortal man. This story is enchanting and sexy with an edge of excitement. Not only do we read about vampires but of werewolves and demons. The New York night life and seedy underbelly do well to create a dangerous atmosphere. I enjoyed reading about the main character’s blossoming relationship but also the horrific demons and monsters that lurk about in the night. Nessa Harcanu is the sexy vampire born in 1597 in a small town near Budapest.

Though Nessa is voluptuous and sultry, she posses a power beyond mortal imagination. She becomes involved with a mortal man named Frank Thornton who is an attractive architect that is skeptical about the existence of vampires and demons. Also joining the story are members of the Meyer family of which Nessa becomes close with early on in her life as a vampire; they come to serve her and assist her with her needs throughout the ages. We also come across a weaker vampire named Narice whom, after her master is killed by Nessa, begins following Nessa waiting to exact her revenge. There are a few other characters we run across in the story who serve as a backdrop in the evolvement of the two main characters. The interaction with these other characters gives us insight to the character’s lives and personalities.

Nessa’s tale of how she became a vampire and her life up until present day is one of intrigue and even sadness. Frank listens to Nessa’s story and becomes even more enchanted with her and begins to understand her a little better. Their relationship is really one of master and subservient, Nessa the master and Frank the subservient. Even with the uneven balance of power the relationship between the two becomes stronger and the need to protect one another grows. The appearance of a demon creates more drama and trouble for the two and they realize in order to save humanity they must defeat this demon in any way possible.

I would classify this story as less horror and more romantic suspense but it is still a wonderful and exciting tale. As I delved deeper into the book I found it hard to put down. It is definitely an easy read and isn’t cluttered with unnecessary plot and lag time. There were times of some light eroticism mixed in with story to give it an edge above the teeny-bopper vampire love stories. Also we examine great power within Nessa making her almost super-heroine like in her conquests. Frank’s mind is torn between his deep love of Nessa and his wish for normalcy in his life. My only complaint as far as this novel was concerned was that I felt that the ending was a tad rushed; I felt that maybe the writer was a little unsure of how to resolve the conflict without creating more trouble for the characters.

Neil Benson has a rare talent for creating a story where you can identify and truly care about what happens to the characters. Giving life to character’s like Nessa and Frank enables the reader to walk in the footsteps of the characters, getting more in-depth in the story and almost being able to see the world through their eyes. I would also have to give Neil Benson props on creating a dueling perspective between the characters; by doing this we can see the story from the perspective of both Nessa and Frank. I would highly recommend this book to all vampire lovers out there and especially those who enjoy romantic flights of fancy.
Available at Amazon
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Attacked by a psychic vampire. . A mostly fictional story by Neil Benson .

Attacked by a psychic vampire. . A mostly fictional story.

I sat on my favorite stool in my neighborhood pub drinking a pint of my favorite brew when a black-haired, swarthy man of middle height approached me. I looked at him while he stared at me. I turned away, hoping he would disappear into the men's room. Unfortunately, I could feel his eyes boring into my back, and knew he wouldn't go away.

I shrugged my shoulders and looked him in the face. "Is there something you want?"

He continued staring at me without showing any indication he had heard what I had said.

"Okay, stare away," I said, and glared at him. After a while, the intensity of his gaze became disconcerting.

"You are the person that wrote the article stating that psychic vampirism is nonsense?" he asked in a strange foreign accent.

"I wrote a post on my blog to that effect," I replied.

"Same thing," he said. "You think psychic vampirism is a joke?"

" I don't know if it's a joke, but it's certainly not real." His intense gaze continued to bother me.  more.........

The rest of the story is contained in my anthology, Dark Journeys available on Amazon Kindle. 

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