Events and Appearances

September  2014


Chile con Verde Observations and musings from a recent expatriate living in Santiago

Data + Design Boring info arranged in neato images

XKCD A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.

Quotidian Poetry and magnificent muliebrity.

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Death or Quarter

There’s a lot I wouldn’t do for ten grand, but punching the shit out of some other juiced-up gorilla for the pleasure of a bunch of drug lords and tycoons doesn’t bother me. Hell, I’d do it for free.

It was a writer’s dream. A real-life character with the brutal experiences to fill in the gaps of my imagination. A person with a story to tell that would get readers nail-biting, movie producers eyebrow-raising, combat-sport enthusiasts gruffly clamoring. But then my new friend disappeared back into the dark D.O.C. hole light-years from civilized contact, and I was left with a sheaf of notes and a quickening pulse, as my first novel spun out before me, pulling me down its dark and humorous path.

All of a sudden, without intending it, I took a step up the ladder. I watched Don Aberto talking about pig farms, industrial incinerators, acids, and woodchippers; explaining contracts and honor among thieves; speaking almost reverently about Dick Nixon as if he knew the guy; indicating large stacks of money and criminal hierarchies––waving his hand on and on and on, weaving a spell over me with his words.

A door was opening, and the room behind it smelled like silk and gun oil.

Who could blame me? I dove right in.

In prison, ex-bareknuckle fighter Paulie Gaeta tries to lie low, nursing 30 years of memories and conscience. But he’s sucked into conflict by a conniving fresh fish, and is forced to choose between death or the inevitable solitary confinement that follows bad behavior.

With no sensory input to keep him sane, his imagination spirals him through past experiences, from his criminal youth in Boston’s North End to his fling with the intriguing (if underaged) escort, Holly Chen, a Chinese runaway. With a philosophy informed by years of street violence and regular chess matches with an aging heroin dealer two cells down, Gaeta’s gritty introspection hooks readers down a path that mortifies and tickles, seduces and bemuses. The narration pulls no punches, and readers can’t help but jibe with the character’s honesty and self awareness—as they arrive at the end only to find the spiral is back where it started…

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Or read the first chapter…