It is a whirlwind in here


January 2016

Church And Hymns And The Call To God On A Sunday Night



An evening church service is a favourite of mine – even as a child. However, it has fallen out of favour and is no longer regularly offered.

Trusty Google helped me find one last Sunday. Not only an Evensong, but a Choral Evensong. And not only choral, but it was dedicated as a Remembrance Evensong. I was coming in, out of the cold, in style.

It was held in St. George’s Church – also know as the Round Church for its shape.

I had been in the church as a tourist, but not for years. A 5pm service in November got me there at dusk. It is a large church, complete with upper balconies. It is close in proximity to the Halifax naval yard, and I wondered if there would be some military presence. As it was, an officer in uniform read a lesson, while a military chaplain gave the sermon.

Not having been to an Evensong for decades, I don’t know if it was a large or small congregation. My guess is there were thirty or so people present, plus 10 in the choir, plus 2 ministers, 1 verger and the organist/choir director.

I would say that Evensong is a modified Morning service, perhaps more fitting for the time of day. In addition to a choral choir singing selections on their own, there were hymns that are favourites of mine. “Oh God, Our Help In Ages Past”  “Abide With Me” and three (3) stanzas of “God Save The Queen”. How close to heaven can one monarchist get?

As an added surprise (which would have made my father ecstatic) it was a High Church Anglican church, and even had incense. Perhaps that explained the choral choir.

At the end, after the procession had left, the large and booming organ belted out a selection by César Franck – Pièce Héroïque“. Members of the choir returned and sat in pews to listen.

When it was completed and people started to leave, I had a tiny ageist and sexist lapse. Two little, white-haired ladies got out of their pew to leave. Walking slowly before me, they talked of the music. I thought they were going to complain about the (admittedly) lengthy organ recital.

“Oh, that music,” said one.

“Yes,” said the other, nodding.

“It’s one of my favourite pieces.”

“I know what you mean.”


The Choices Of The World


This is almost like a found poem, or, at least, it is what it puts me in mind of.

Out of the blue, with no rhyme nor reason I can find, this is a snapshot of the places of the world that so far found their way to my site today. And the blogs they read. An odd combination, it seems to me, but what do I compare it to?

Since I do want to make some sort of imprint on the world – and get the exposure to my comments and ideas – I’d say this is a broad example.




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Leekchi (Leeks, the mild cousin of onions.)

Leekchi is like kimchi’s little cousin, a highly flavorful fermented condiment made simply of leeks, salt, ginger, garlic, and hot peppers.

Source: Leekchi

Baked Potato Chips with Sour Cream and Onion Dip

This oven baked potato chips recipe is a healthier version of the grocery store potato chips. Add a homemade sour cream and onion dip.

Source: Baked Potato Chips with Sour Cream and Onion Dip

Hitler And Mein Kampf – The Power Of A Book


As I point out in my self-serving information in As He Is Known, I owe my life to Hitler. If there was no Hitler, there would be no me. Millions of others can also say this but, still, it puts existence into some sort of perspective.

My father – from Canada, met my mother – from England, when he went overseas to fight against Hitler. Otherwise, they would have never met.

Thank you, Adolf.

So it goes.

One of the facts about Hitler (which seems little-reported) is that he made most of his money from sales of his book, Mein Kampf. Yes, his wealth came  from his royalties as an author. A guiding light for all of us wordsmiths. Now, it is true that every citizen of Germany was, er, encouraged to buy a copy of the book. But, still.

 Mein Kampf is not great literature. It is a mixture of memoir and fanaticism and politics and hate. Hitler’s genius was on the stump, and not on the page. It was banned in Germany after the war until its copyright timed out, which happened this year. And now, though it has always been available if one wanted to delve into it, the book is printed anew.

It is selling like schnitzels.

It is a best-seller.  The first printing sold out in a week.  It clocks in at 2,000 pages (annotated) and sells for $64US. There are also 15,000 pre-orders.  As an author, I am envious.

There are the usual squabbles about the propriety of having such a book published and sold. Fears it will encourage dissent and anti-Semitism.  To which I say, look around the world to any day since Hitler killed himself.


A Year Goes Past And The Writing Continues



A year ago I started (returned to, actually), writing something every day.

“Every day” is not exact, and perhaps not even wise. I have settled into six days a week, with a day (Thursday) off. When advised to write every day, a writer should know that they should write regularly, at least four or five days every week. And try for a decent amount of time per day, at least one to two hours. Find a rhythm that works and stick to it unto death.

I began last year with the intent of finishing my novel, a thriller called The Bonner Prediction. That I have done, and edited twice. One more edit remains. That should be completed in a couple of months.

However, in the intervening year, I returned to a story I had started in the previous year. It’s genesis was less as a short story, and more of a character sketch. By that I mean my main interest was to write solely about this particular character which, other than for my novel about Franz Kafka, I don’t believe has happened to me. Setting was also well-established. Other than that, I follow the character, Alison Alexandra.

Alison Alexandra is taking me on a wild, unplanned and exciting ride. It is some of the most purely enjoyable writing I have done. Fifty or so pages so far. Obviously not a short story, but I don’t know to what extent it will go. Alison Alexandra is chock -a-block full o’ surprizes. Today she is taking a ride in a Rolls Royce “Ghost”. Oh – what will happen?

So – let me tell ya – write every day. 

I wrote the following a year ago.

Perhaps my creative stream is bubbling away

I did not plan a New Year resolution. What I had planned was to write something on my current novel the first day of the new year.

This is also not planned, but – so far – I have written every day of the year except two – one a travel day, and one a deliberate ‘take-a-day-off-day’. I am two or three chapters from the end of thisThriller. I have not written fiction so steadily for months. I hope it keeps on.

This is the part which I do nor know is related to my writing situation.

I have never dreamt about any of my writing – never. I know many artists dream about their work, get ideas about their work in dreams and such, but not me. So, I did not have a dream about my writing. However, I recently awoke from a dream where I was talking to my publisher. She said I should do another book of short stories about the Elephant. Is that close?

And, finally, the incident below. On Twitter, I came across an announcement of a restaurant/bakery in Calgary. The Corbeaux. This means The Ravens. They have a store sign which has noted similarities to one which I have described in a manuscript. And you can see their sign in this photo.

And then you can read what appears in my unpublished second Satan novel, where ravens play an important part.

Perhaps my creative stream is bubbling away.

From Places Of Evil

Mr. S. does rehearse what he plans to say to Breeze, both while he waits for the taxi, and then in the twenty minute ride to her restaurant. He is surprised Dorkas and Caleb made as such little protest. He suspects they agree with his concerns about the twins, even if not enthusiastic with his solution.

Mr. S. has the taxi stop a couple of blocks from the restaurant. Breeze has installed a new sign, and she wants his opinion of how effective it will be attracting customers. Although he helped – at her insistence – to choose the design, he has yet to see the finished object.

He walks along the street, pretending to be someone looking in shop windows for a gift. He actually wants to purchase Breeze a celebratory present, but that is for later. He tricks himself enough, that when he finally does look up at the sign, it is with a degree of surprise.

Breeze has not purchased a painted sign, as he had supposed. The design is similar to the ones they discussed, but she has not chosen an image imposed upon a wooden background. Instead, there are carved and painted shapes jutting from the front of the building, parallel to the wall.

A thick piece of wood, chiseled into the shape of a tree top, is attached over the lintel. Two branches sprout from the trunk of the tree, which tapers to an uneven and jagged tip. At the very top, a life-sized carved raven sits, its head tilted up. On each of the protruding branches sits another raven, their bills open as they look at each other.

Nailed to the bottom of the tree, a metal chain hangs to the door, holding a wooden sign printed in Old German script. It announces the name of the restaurant: The Hungry Ravens.

“As black as black can be.”

Mr. S. hums as he walks across the narrow street. He has reservations about her sense of humour, with this reference to the ravens. Their unfathomable connection to the work of the Organization, and their role of `familiar’ to Satan’s intentions, are beyond – in his opinion – the wryest of humours.

As he steps toward the front door, he notices a more subtle change. Breeze has sand-blasted the brickwork facing the street. The dark red hue enhances the outline of the tree and its occupants. They look as if they are silhouetted against a sunset.


Franz Kafka And His Kafkaesque Life

Source: Franz Kafka And His Kafkaesque Life

Alison Alexandra Gets Tugged Into Fashionable Sex



Although a gal has just gotta do what a gal gotta do, it is far far better when she gets to do what she wants to do. And Alison Alexandra has always been that kinda gal, too.

Alison Alexandra is in no way a tease, but the author can have his moments. And the tweets to prove it.


Dale Estey @DaleEstey 1m1 minute ago

Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) finds she is the cause of a dare. Whiskey is involved. #character #story #writing

Dale Estey @DaleEstey 31s31 seconds ago

Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) takes the offered drink of whiskey. It is inferior stock. #character #story #writing #plot

Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) wants to jump out of this party and go to another century. #character #story #writing #plot

Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) drinks the poor whiskey, for she likes who offers it. #writing #plot #character #beginning

Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) would just as soon not have a partner at the party. #writing #plot #character #beginnings

Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) raises a glass of (inferior) whiskey to the sailor with a spyglass.#writing #plot #character
Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) is enticing sailors from their crows’ nest. They have some naughty thoughts. #write #plot
Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) discuss sailors & their spyglass with naughty Amanda. Girls, decorum please! #write #plot
Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) plans an outing to a seedy bar & a roast beef buffet with naughty Amanda.  #character #plot
Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) meets a bartender named Tug. He is full of surprises. #characters #plot
@DaleEstey 1m1 minute ago

Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka )finds that the bartender, Tug, is a fair seaman himself. On to the ship!. #characters #plot

Alison Alexandra (one time known as Hermione Kafka)  finds when with a man named Tug, that’s what he does to your clothes. #character #plot




Eleanor Roosevelt,Upton Sinclair, Fidel Castro & Me


(image) I

While reading some literary site about Amazon, I came across the fact that “Harriet Klausner, an esteemed Amazon reviewer who wrote more than 31,000 book reviews, died”. All power to her, thought I, that is quite a feat. However, I took more note of her last name, one I had not thought of for a long time.

In my tenure as an author in the world, I have had four or five agents. And I am currently looking anew. At the far beginning of my time, before I was published, I had the New York agent Bertha Klausner – at the start of my career and near the end of hers. She started her agency before I was born and was working two months before she died in 1998 at the age of 96.

Back in those over the transom days, one stuffed typed pages into an envelope, sent them off with return postage on another envelope, and waited up to three months for a reply. And when it came back, you sent it out again. One of my envelopes went to the Bertha Klausner Agency.

However, when it came back, it had other people’s manuscripts in it, and (to my memory) little hand written notes politely saying no. Mistakes happen even at revered agencies, so I sent it all back explaining what had happened. She replied, with neither apology nor thanks, annoyed that mistakes do happen and adding, “Say, you must have something. Do you want to send it to me?” Which I did. Again.

As I said, communications were through slow mails (slow on her side, as with literary agents to this day).  I now assume she initially was both being polite, plus did see some promise in what I had. But after a year or so she said – in effect – ‘thanks but no thanks’, and I sent things to other agents, and eventually had my first novel sale by, indeed, sending it over the transom directly to an editor in New York, who purchased it.

I don’t think I knew that Bertha Klausner had such a stellar career until I looked her up. An agent for decades, she had famous names like Upton Sinclair, Israel J Singer, Eleanor Roosevelt and Fidel Castro. She even represented actor Basil Rathbone.

I imagine I would have become a lost tale.



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