My Latest: The Aberrant Lives of Damian Callahan

My latest book The Aberrant Lives of Damian Callahan is now available at Amazon (and other outlets to follow).

The 50-word summary goes like this:

Damian Callahan suffers a head injury that leads to a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, and sets out on a quixotic journey to pursue the woman of his dreams—a woman who might be a figment of his imagination, only to discover the truth about his life and his death.

If you click on the cover below you can find out more.

This short novel came out of an event I experienced in the summer before seventh grade. Parents tell us never to get into cars with strangers, like the one who in the 1970s pulled to a stop in front of me while I sat on my bike waiting for a traffic light to change. I didn’t get into the man’s car. Every year, some children are not so lucky.

From time to time I always wondered about the “what if” scenario concerning the situation that had happened to me. Would I have survived? Would I have ever seen my family again?

Damian Callahan, the protagonist in my new novel, is not me. He is, however, with all of his flaws, a creation of the “what if” scenario from my own life.

Ordinarily, I don’t offer much in the way of trigger warnings for my work. With this novel, I’m making an exception. Anyone who may have suffered sexual trauma as an adolescent should read The Aberrant Lives of Damian Callahan with caution.

Drop me a line at obrien1writer@gmail.com and let me know what you think about the novel, leave a review, or both. Thanks so much.

Joe McCarthy at the Aleph Cafe or, A New Book Release

There’s nothing like waking up to the sound of two kittens defying gravity in your bedroom before sunrise as they try to pinpoint the source of scratching coming from outside. So, here I am. It’s after 6:30 AM and by now the kittens have fallen asleep again. This is a horrible segue, but I have a new book out, Aleph Cafe: Stories. It’s my first story collection. Many of the stories appeared elsewhere first. A few others are new. Here’s the back cover copy:

“Among the stories in the this collection, a man with his marriage in trouble, meets the ghost of a famous writer in a cafe and gets over writer’s block; a gambler with a knack for losing can’t stay dead for long, much to the chagrin of his bookie in 1920s New Jersey; a boy recalls watching a neighbor play chess against a stranger who just may be the devil come to collect the old man’s soul; against her family’s wishes, a young girl climbs the tallest tree in her town, glimpses a fairyland, and pays the ultimate price; and a teen girl divides her time between being institutionalized and navigating her new neighborhood where she learns a heartbreaking lesson about people moving on in life.”

Another book coming down the road is my semi-autobiographical novel Rejoice for the Dead. Once upon a time, as the fella says, it existed as a slightly different work, typed, one copy only, that was thrown out by an ex. Looking back, it was the best thing really. The new improved version is much better.

I don’t have much else this morning, owing to the events in Washington DC a couple of days ago. What happened at the Capitol Building is unconscionable, something that scarred America for good. If you made it this far and support the deplorables who perpetrated these crimes then you can stop reading now.

There are plenty of maxims and quotes one might use here. Instead, I will say this: while that orange-skinned psychopath in the White House certainly enticed his cult following to storm America’s house, the mindset in earnest began during the era of McCarthyism when intelligence became suspect and intellectualism looked up with suspicion. I’m sure the ghost of Joe McCarthy creamed in his spectral shorts.

Alas, democracy, though fragile, will endure. The beat goes on. In the interim, do check out my latest work. It’s full of stories that will take you away from this present reality and provide the break you need.

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