Joaquin Rides again (on a boat)!


“The Wreck of the Annabelle Lee” was accepted for publication more than three years ago. Publisher Alternating Currents hit many bumps in the road while getting its “Footnote 4” anthology of historical writing out, but here it finally is and I am most pleased. “Annabelle Lee” won a prize in Moonlight Mesa’s western fiction contest a decade ago and I used it subsequently in Chalone Peaks Middle School’s reading fluency program. The middle school kids had a great time with it, especially since William Randolph Hearst, a cameo character, had a country home not far from here.  I never dreamed it would take this long to see print. The story continues Joaquin Murrieta’s adventures in a most civilized setting: San Francisco of the late 19th Century. I had a great deal of fun researching and writing the tale. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!  Here’s a link where you may purchase “Footnote 4”.

April 14th, 1865


Abraham Lincoln entered Ford Theater on April 14th, 1865 and walked down the dress circle’s aisle to his doom.Historian Jim Bishop did a stellar job of detailing the events surrounding Lincoln’s assassination in his The Day Lincoln was Shot.

I created characters, added dialog and based my story on Mr. Bishop’s sequence of events. I hoped to pull readers into the history by putting them next to the characters, both historical and fictional. I was a great fan of Walter Chronkyte’s show “You are There” and tried for the immediacy that was one of its most powerful elements.

I’m most pleased to tell you that this story just won first place in the Saturday Writers “Everything Children Contest”. I hope this story, once published, will find a YA readership.

Sam Spade Forever!


My very short story “Star Noir” was just published by Flash Fiction Magazine. It took work, but I think it’s a fun ride. Eric had this to say on the Flash Fiction Magazine site:

This is a slick piece of writing. Sam Spade -a  tough PI from past detective pulp reborn into futuristic skirmishes . Mickey Spillane would love it if he were alive. A sexy cover for a book with Angel splashed across the front with a smoking gun in her hand, a thug under her foot and foggy dew-drops in her hair.
I’d buy it.


See if you agree –

From 1965 to Now


Artist and musician Ginny Morgan and I became friends in 1965. We’re still friends. Covid denies her music right now, so she’s turned again to art. She recently paired a very old poem of mine with a wonderful new painting of hers. I hope it will lift your spirits as it has mine!

“In 1965, I received this poem from Bob Walton. I’ve kept a copy ever since and each time I paint a wave, the beautiful and moving words come back to me. Here is the poem and a recent wave painting from Big Beach.”

The Wave
By Robert Walton

I stood naked, afraid
On quivering, wind-slivered sand.
Silence was my heart,
As from far,
Far in the green, deep midnight
Of the sea-
Came hands of dark jade –
Risen from blackness,
Reached up with fingers of mist
To grasp gold-frosted air,
The sun.
Great straining wrists of emerald glass
Shattered into mocking fragments,
Gushed out death in white, fatherless foam,
Ended life that never lived.
The crusher of all sounds
Was its own knell.
Those proud, dying waves beckoned.
I went to them –
White, freckled water’s
Thousand icy needles
Pricking my nakedness.
A sun-gloved hand
Swept high,
Seized my body,
Plunged me into its surge,
Its caress –
As when lovers have breathed the sweetness
Of each other’s love.
Then a kiss—
The soft clinging of twilight to darkness;
The softer rustle of foam
Ending our embrace—
A kiss.



I’ve got this new mini-series on my calendar and will view it in hopes that it does the great man justice. Also, I owe it to the General because I played a literary game with him when I wrote “Dawn Drums”: he’s the only main character in my book who never says a word. In truth, he was a most articulate man.

“Duck Plucking Time” takes first place!


I’m pleased and most honored that “Duck Plucking Time” was awarded first place in Saturday Writers’ March short fiction contest. I’m looking forward to the autumn publication of the contest anthology and will let all know when it comes out. I should add this story was based on a true incident. Old friend Ed McKean  spent his childhood in the Jim Crow South and a campfire reminiscence of his planted the seeds of the story in my mind. The ghosts of Jim Crow that now stride openly across our land impelled me to write it. I’m ashamed of what happened before and fear what may happen again. The contest judge’s comments:

“This story flowed well from beginning to end. The voices of Jessie and Emma mirrored the voices of black people during that era perfectly. The reality of how they lived and what they lived withand through is real in every sense of the word based on past historical references.”

Here’s a link to Saturday Writers in case you wish to support their worthy efforts: