Milestones

I will be mercifully short this week. I drove to Baton Rouge and back from Westerville, Ohio for a quick two day visit and am still working the road whine out of my ears and catching up on the archeological dig which I call my desk. I do have something to share with you, however.

This week marked a couple of personal milestones for me. The first, and more important of the two, was that on April 1 I completed twenty years of sobriety. I believe in giving credit where credit is due and the credit in this case is due to a now-retired Baton Rouge pediatrician named Leon Bombet whom I was fortunate enough to meet in 1989. Dr. Leon at that time had been sober for nine years, and my reaction, which I kept to myself at the time, was “What?! Nine years?! Without a drink! Wow. I’m sure glad I don’t have a drinking problem.” Of course, I did. I eventually stopped stuffing my life down the commode and it has been Dr. Leon’s friendship and example, and that of his wife Susan, that have kept me on the proper course some two decades down the road.

The second milestone was the fulfillment of a promise I made to myself as an urchin in short-pants in 1962. When I wasn’t sneaking Shell Scott and Mike Hammer paperbacks into my bedroom, I was reading a lot of science fiction. Ace Books at the time published a number of titles per month, Dick and Vance and Zelazny, oh my, as well as reprints of Burroughs’ Tarzan and John Carter titles with those beautifully painted covers by Frank Frazetta. I promised myself, at the tender age of eleven, that I would be published by Ace Books one day. That happened this week with the publication of Dark Delicacies III: Haunted, an anthology of original fiction in which my story “Starlets & Spaceboys” appears. “Starlets & Spaceboys” was inspired by a hallucination I experienced some six years ago in the New Mexico desert just west of Albuquerque while driving with author Marcus Wynne; the title was graciously given to me by my lifelong friend William D. Plant III. I would not be sitting here today but for the friendship and assistance of both of those gentlemen.

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What I’m reading: The Priest by Gerard O’Donovan. Just get it and read it, whatever you do. You won’t be sorry. You will have nightmares.

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