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.

To Dream the Blackbane

My own troubles began in earnest the night I set out to meet with a client to show him some surveillance photos I had taken for him. His name was Gaylord “Knuckles” Mouser—just a small-time crook and former amateur boxer. If it hadn’t been for old Mouser, I might have avoided the vampires altogether when they called on me at my office. Instead, I went to see Mouser. If I hadn’t gone to see him, maybe the lady in the red dress wouldn’t have hired my services either. Fate had a funny way of fucking you over. I might have avoided the whole mess if Mouser hadn’t owed me money for services rendered, but I had to collect my fee all the same. After all, I wasn’t running a charity foundation.

So, in 2018 Between the Lines Publishing published my fantasy novel To Dream the Blackbane. Last year I should have posted news of this, but due to some personal issues (work, health, and otherwise) I did not. This is no reflection on Between the Lines Publishing. The whole gang there has been great!

I am admittedly a bit of a dinosaur when it comes self-promotion in the social media age.

Here’s a description of the book:

A cosmic event in 2015 fused earth with the faerie realm. Scientists refer to the event as the Anomaly. A byproduct of the Anomaly was the advent of hybrid beings – people who became mixed with whatever animal or object was nearest them the moment the Anomaly occurred. Humans, or Pedigrees, soon relegated fairy refugees and hybrids into ghetto zones in large cities.

Seventy years later, Wolfgang Rex, a second-generation hybrid – part human, part Rhodesian Ridgeback – is a retired police detective who runs a private investigation business in Chicago’s Southside. It’s a one-hybrid show: though Rex couldn’t survive without his assistant, the faerie Sally Sandweb.

One evening, two vampires visit Rex and offer him a substantial reward for the recovery of a stolen scroll. Later that evening, Charlotte Sweeney-Jarhadill, a Pedigree woman from Louisiana, visits Rex and hires him to exorcise the headless ghost of a confederate soldier from her home.

To complicate matters, the private detective ends up falling for Charlotte. Meanwhile the vampires demand results in the search for the missing scroll. When Rex’s assistant Sally goes missing, he must stay alive long enough to find her. Charlotte and the vampires, however, have other plans for Rex.

If you’re an Amazon die-hard, click on the cover below to buy the book there.


If you’re taste is more Barnes & Noble, click on this link.

Here’s what some people are saying about To Dream the Blackbane:

“A compelling, original tale with a strong narrative voice…” ~ Kirkus Review

“A futuristic American Gothic dark fantasy about a gumshoe who can’t say no, even though at times, he ought to. Delightful!” ~ Chanticleer Review

Delectably wild and intentionally jolting, Richard J. O’Brien proves he is a master of this creatively difficult medium. Highly recommended!” ~ San Francisco Review of Books
As always, be sure to visit the My Books page if you want to purchase other books.


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