Thursday, December 7, 2017

Reading, Meet and Greet, and Book Signing

This should be a get together in pleasant surroundings, where you will have the opportunity to ask those questions you always wanted to ask a novelist. I will bring my award-winning books with me, and---a draft of my current work-in-progress, Witches' Gambit, to read from, if people request it.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Old Time SF Rock and Roll--A Choice of Gods

A Choice of Gods is classic Simak. Who? Right. Clifford Simak is one of the champions of early science fiction. He is credited with creating the “pastoral science fiction” genre, sci-fi set in the countryside. Heinlein once said, “to read science fiction is to read Simak. Anyone who doesn’t like Simak doesn’t like science fiction.” 

It would be hard to find many who agree with that sentiment today. Though his book, Way Station, won the Hugo, and four other books, including A Choice of Gods, were nominated for the Hugo, most of Simak’s books are out of print. He is largely ignored. And he is one of the neglected masters of the form.

You will not find space battles, swords, sorcery, blasters, urban dystopias, or zombies in A Choice of Gods. What you will find is a tale set on planet earth, in the far future, with bucolic descriptions of rural life. A tale of country folk who encounter extraordinary events. A beautifully written, well-conceived story that moves right along without seeming hurried. It’s old-school writing. And pastoral. He takes time to smell the flowers. And it may annoy some modern readers.

But to put some perspective on it, it was published in 1972. And he talks about travelling to other planets in the galaxy by the parapsychic power of the mind alone. He brings mysticism and fantasy into his science fiction picture. And AI. And sentient robots. And musical trees. And truly alien aliens. He sprinkles non-chronological journal entries into the narrative—something we modernists take for granted today. On the downside, his anti-technological stance is a bit heavy-handed, even illogical—there’s a small army of robots to do the manual labor in this rural paradise. And a lot of the significant action occurs off-stage, and is reported later in conversations. Finally, his pleasant pastoral style may be a bit too bucolic for some of today’s hyper-wired readers.

But to my mind, it’s well worth haunting second-hand bookstores to find copies of Simak’s work. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

If thought-provoking, neo-retro SF is your cup of astro-tea

The sentient moon Alvar discovers that the danger of creating a savior is he will be his own person. He will do what he will. And whether his acts are judged good or bad will only be known in the unrolling of time.  A New Novel by Award Winning Author, Charles Freedom Long. NOW 99 CENTS for a limited time. If thought-provoking, neo-retro science fiction is your cup of astro-tea, get yours at:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What It Means To Be An Empath

Being an empath is when you are affected by other people's energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others. Your life is unconsciously influenced by others' desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods. Being an empath is quite a bit more than being a highly sensitive person (HSP) and it's not limited to emotions. There are Physical Empaths, Emotional Empaths and Intuitive Empaths. And then numerous sub-categories of each. For example, at least seven different types of Intuitive Empaths have been identified. (Mediums are empaths).
There has been a lot written about the challenges that introverts and highly sensitive people (HSP) face in a society that values intellect and disdains sensitivity.
Empaths, however, take the experience of HSP (highly sensitive person) further. They can sense subtle energy, and they absorb this energy into their own minds and bodies.
For days before a disturbing event—like the recent one in Las Vegas—some empaths will feel sensory overload, out of sorts, drained, even disturbed to the point where they simply cannot live their “normal” life. They will find coping mechanisms, good or bad as it turns out. And when the event occurs, and the national mood is disturbed, will finally understand what has been happening to them. Empaths need to have good boundaries and the ability to say no, to distance from toxic relationships, to recognize and circumvent the different destructive ways they try to cope with the overload. My positive strategies are to avoid the (negative) news media, turn my phone off, actively release negative thoughts and feelings, take walks, get some time in nature, and above all else a need to be alone. My negative coping mechanisms are alcohol and overeating, and maybe saying something that disturbs other people’s sense of reality.

Being an empath and “not fitting in” to what is considered “normal” society, is both a blessing and a curse. But, “If you feel as if you don’t fit in this world, then you’re here to create a better one.” 

Monday, August 7, 2017

We had a visit from a FIDO Master, whom some of you will recognize from this photo, taken just as he announced "mate in three," playing black in a recent game where he employed the little known Russian Wolfhound Gambit to great success.

Gracious in victory or defeat, except for the occasionally over-exuberant moment when he is apt to seize upon his opponent's King and give it a good shaking, the FIDO Master's appearance at the board is a welcome sign to all.  Renowned for their aggressive and vociferous approach to the game of chess, FIDO Masters are virtuosos at intimidating opponents. Occasionally going so far as demonstrating their disdain for an opponent’s blunder by lifting their leg on the errant piece.

Unfortunately, The FIDO Master will not be attending any upcoming club meetings in the near future.. He’s been barred from local establishments after an unfortunate series of events best left unmentioned involving a rare steak, a lady's hat and a small child's ice cream sundae. For the time being, the FIDO Master must relegate his over-the-board play to non-food-related establishments, but he said he is looking forward to some chess sessions over cigars in the cabana.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


In a very favorable review, Blueink Reviews said Alvar's Spear was "neo-retro science fiction," compared my book to Ursula Le Guin's Hugo-Award-winning The Word For World Is Forest, and added, "readers who are looking for neo-retro science fiction—especially those who enjoyed Ursula Le Guin’s early works—will find this novel both entertaining and enlightening." 

I have to say, I like the classification. And I'm flattered by the complimentary comparison to Ursula Le Guin's novel. (Who wouldn't be?)

Here are some of the other nice things they said:  

"Alvar's Spear is archetypal science fiction: wildly imaginative, thought-provoking, and thematically profound."

"The story is undoubtedly a powerful read. Ideas explored include prejudice, acceptance and unity, but ultimately, the questions asked are deeply spiritual in nature."

"This is a solid science fiction offering. The philosophical undertone (quotes from Nietzsche, Cicero, Sun Tzu, Sitting Bull, Malcolm X, Sartre, etc. serve as chapter headers) adds a deeply contemplative layer to the narrative tapestry."

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


ALVAR'S SPEAR, by Charles Freedom Long, a sci-fi fantasy, is Star Wars quality action.  Alvar's Spear takes us into the future, where sentient races are at odds, where the ultimate fate awaits entire worlds unless one person, Gar, a hybrid, can find a way to save his world before it is too late. Wonderfully written, elaborately detailed, filled with engaging dialogue, heated passion, and action. 

Synopsis: Gar, a hybrid of more than one race, is given a mission to save his home world from being eviscerated. Sentient factions from different worlds are verging on conflict, and in the center of it all is Gar, who must find a way to restore stability and peace. Gar is up against a ruthless and power-hungry man, Noksun, a senior official who sees him as his only real obstruction to his plans to become the ultimate ruler. Gar calls for the help of the greatest geneticist in the known Universe, Mbali, a beautiful Terran who can help him, but who seems to oppose him at every turn, not trusting his words, until… The dynamics of power, the power-plays, the introduction of mutants and genetically modified sentients, all of it becomes a space-operatic war on a scale and with passion and violence that keeps one reading to find out how, with only a small faction of men and women behind him and the Snow Wolves, Gar can possibly go up against the organized military might that Noksun has prepared to launch in order to take control of the planet.

This story has lots of well-written dialogue between the players, scripted with a unique language of its own, with a touch of romance, conflicted jealousies, back-stabbing and of course, lots of action. You get it all!
There is also a message, the timeless message of unity, equality and humanity built into this story – where the good are fighting against the evil who want to keep the camps divided, keep hatred and division alive – a theme which is all too-real in our contemporary times.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

IT'S HERE -- A NEW NOVEL IN THE SEVEN WORLDS SERIES From Award Winning Author, Charles Freedom Long

Thirty years after dancing with the dead, half-Terran, half-Antal, Gar has just one desperate last chance to save the Antal hive from immolation at the hands of its own mother, the sentient moon-world, Alvar. He must do this before a mutant conspiracy turns Alvar into a fetid swamp, and enslaves the Antal. Alvar has sworn to hurl herself into the gas giant she orbits before she allows that to happen.

To become the planetary savior, Alvar’s Spear, Gar must confront enemies, assassins, a traitor, and a beautiful, brilliant, Terran geneticist. He must travel into the mysterious Forbidden Mountains of the vild, from which no one has returned. If successful, he will save Alvar.

But the danger of creating a savior is that he will be his own person. He will do what he will, and whether his acts are judged good or bad will only be known in the unrolling of time. Time is not on gar’s side. But time does unroll. What it reveals may not be to everyone’s liking.

Available at Amazon

Monday, February 27, 2017

Don't Be Paranoid, But Do Be Attentive

Surveillance through technology is so pervasive, the collection and use of our data is so much more sophisticated. It’s totally covert. And people don’t realize what is going on.
It’s all about the emotions. They call it bio-psycho-social profiling. It takes your physical, mental and lifestyle attributes (mining much information freely given on sites like Facebook) and, using algorithms, works out how people work, how they react emotionally, and then targets them--usually with bots--with words they will react emotionally to, and a message the manipulator wants them to accept.
Many of the techniques were refined in Russia, and then exported everywhere else. These incredible propaganda tools were developed in an authoritarian regime, and have now moved into free market economies with an absolute absence of regulatory stoppers--vacuums. And nature deplores a vacuum, so you get a firestorm.
The Oxford Internet Institute says one third of all traffic on Twitter before the EU referendum was automated “bots” – accounts that are programmed to look like people, to act like people, and to change the conversation, to make topics trend. And they were all for Leave.
Before the US election, they were five-to-one in favor of Trump – many of them Russian. Yes, Russian bots. Last week they were identified in action in the Stoke by-election in England –
We’re not quite in the alternative reality where the actual news has become “Fake news!!!” But we’re almost there.

Out on Twitter, the new transnational battleground for the future, someone has tweeted a quote by Marshall McLuhan, the great information theorist. “World War III will be a guerrilla information war. With no divisions between military and civilian participation.”

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Modest Holiday Proposal

Wednesday, February 22nd, is George Washington's birthday. As you may recall, he did a few good things for our country: won our War For Independence, served as our first president, and set the precedent of term limits on that position. And if you haven't forgotten already, February 12th is Abraham Lincoln's birthday.  He also did a few good things, such as preserving the Union, writing the Emancipation Proclamation, and producing the most memorable piece of presidential oratory--no, it was not a tweet--The Gettysburg Address.

Some of us remember when we actually celebrated these real persons' birthdays on their real dates. In our American History classes, we learned about each of them. Really.  We wanted to remember what they had done for our country, (really), and had not yet turned their two birthdays into a blended shopping event, complete with TV announcers in phony colonial garb.

Do these sound like the complaints of a retro-grouch? Well, to show that I'm hip to the times, here is a modest proposal that even Congress would love: Abolish all current public holidays and create twelve or thirteen- or even more- "Famous Person Days," which we can celebrate on Mondays with super sales! Think of the money that businesses would save: they could recycle their banners, their ads, and their commercials--they would all be "Famous Person Day" sales.  We could add, oh, famous baseball players, vice-presidents no one has ever heard of, NASCAR drivers, and people (or corporate "persons") who contribute obscene amounts of money to members of Congress.  Just think--members of Congress could add anyone they want--just like pouring more water in the soup. No more squabbling over who deserves his or her own "day".  And since there would be more Monday holidays, people would be happier, since they'd have fewer Monday mornings to gripe about!

Or, we could try to remember where we came from, who we are, and how we got here, because we surely didn't get here by doing what we're doing now.

Oh. . . . And Happy birthday, George and Abraham. And thanks.

Friday, February 3, 2017

More Appropriate Now Than Ever

Populist manifesto
(For Poets, with Love)

Poets, come out of your closets,
Open your windows, open your doors,
You have been holed-up for too long
in your closed worlds.
Come down, come down
from your Russian Hills and Telegraph Hills,
your Beacon Hills and your Chapel Hills,
your Mount Analogues and Montparnasses,
down from your foothills and mountains,
out of your teepees and domes.
The trees are still falling
and we’ll to the woods no more.
No time for sitting in them
As man burns down his own house
to roast his pig.
No more chanting Hare Krishna
while Rome burns.
San Francisco’s burning,
Mayakovsky’s Moscow’s burning
the fossil-fuels of life.
Night & the Horse approaches
eating lights, heat & power,
and the clouds have trousers.
No time now for the artist to hide
above, beyond, behind the scenes,
indifferent, paring his fingernails,
refining himself out of existence.
No time now for our literary games,
no time now for our paranoias and hypochondrias,
no time now for fear and loathing,
time now only for light and love.
We have seen the best minds of our generation
destroyed by boredom at poetry readings.
Poetry isn’t a secret society,
it isn’t a temple either.
Secret words & chants won’t do it any longer.
The hour of oming is over,
the time of keening come,
a time for keening & rejoicing
over the coming end
of industrial civilization
which is bad for earth & Man.
Time now to face outward
in the full lotus position
with eyes wide open,
Time now to open your moths
with a new open speech,
time now to communicate with all sentient beings,
All you ‘Poets of the Cities’
hung in museums, including myself,
All you poet’s poets writing poetry
about poetry,
all you poetry workshop poets
in the boondock heart of America,
all you housebroken Ezra Pounds,
All you far-out freaked-out cut-up poets,
All you pre-stressed Concrete poets,
All you cunnilingual poets,
All you pay-toilet poets groaning with graffiti,
All you A-train swingers who never swing on birches,
All you masters of the sawmill haiku
in the Siberias of America,
All you eyeless unrealists,
All you self-occulting supersurrealists,
All you bedroom visionaries
and closet agitpropagators,
All you Grouch Marxist poets
and leisure-class Comrades
who lie around all day
and talk about the workingclass proletariat,
All you Catholic anarchists of poetry,
All you Black Mountaineers of poetry,
All you Boston Brahmins and Bolinas bucolics,
All you den mothers of poetry
All you zen brothers of poetry,
All you suicide lovers of poetry,
All you hairy professors of poesie,
All you poetry reviewers
drinking the blood of the poet,
All you Poetry Police—
Where are Whitman’s wild children,
where the great voices speaking out
with a sense of sweetness and sublimity,
where the great new vision,
the great world-view,
the high prophetic song
of the immense earth
and all that sings in it
And our relation to it—
Poets, descend
to the street of the world once more
And open your minds & eyes
with old visual delight,
Clear your throat and speak up,
Poetry is dead, long live poetry
with terrible eyes and buffalo strength.
Don’t wait for the Revolution
or it’ll happen without you,
Stop mumbling and speak out
with a new wide-open poetry
with a new commonsensual ‘public surface’
with other subjective levels
or other subversive levels,
a tuning fork in the inner ear
to strike below the surface.
Of your own sweet Self still sing
yet utter ‘the word en-masse’—
Poetry the common carrier
for the transportation of the public
to higher places
than other wheels can carry it.
Poetry still falls from the skies
Into our streets still open.
They haven’t put up the barricades, yet,
the streets are still alive with faces,
lovely men & women still walking there,
still lovely creatures everywhere,
in the eyes of the secret of all
still buried there,
Whitman’s wild children still sleeping there,
Awake and walk in the open air

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, (1975)

Thursday, January 19, 2017


St. Paul's Chapel, in the shadow of what used to be the world trade center, survived and provided succor to the victims and responders of the 9-11 disaster. It survived and provided succor to the victims and responders of the 1776 burning of New York City.
Their current pastor called that "a horrible opportunity."

As Americans, we now have a horrible opportunity to show the world, by our actions, what the majority of Americans are and are not. In the midst of chaos and confusion, remember the words of Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist who survived torture and medical experimentation in the Nazi extermination camps. And then produced some of the most spiritually oriented, positive psychological philosophy the world has ever seen.

No one can make you think or do anything. You always have the choice to think or do what you choose to do, regardless of the consequences. Do not focus on the things that concern you over which you have no control. Focus on those things over which you do have control.

Then choose to do what you would want others to do to you. And do it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Lucky Friday The Thirteenth

This Friday the thirteenth may be your lucky day. 
The Goodreads Support Indie Authors group will be putting on a special 
featuring 125 books by indie authors.
Many of these featured books have won prizes. 
Many are either free or discounted. 
Here's the link:

And yes, my award winning novel, Dancing With The Dead is featured and discounted.
For the next seven days you can obtain an e-version for the grand total of 99 cents.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

They Been On The Job Too Long

The first thing Congress did in 2017, the first thing on their agenda, priority numero uno, was to revoke the independent ethics committee’s ability to operate.  The independent ethics committee investigates unethical acts of congressmen and women, and has the ability to report their findings directly to the public.

They been on the job too long.

There’s an old folk song, called “Duncan and Brady”, that was sung back in the sixties by Judy Henske. It’s about a cop who thought he was King of his beat and could do anything he wanted. It goes something like this:
“Duncan, Duncan, was a-tendin’ the bar,
Along comes Brady with his shiny star,
Brady says to Duncan, ‘you are under arrest.’
Duncan shot a hole in Mister Brady’s breast.
Well, he been on the job too long,
I say he been on the job too long.
Women all heard King Brady was dead,
They go home and they re-wrap in red,
Come a slippin’, come a slidin’,
Come a shufflin’ down the street,
In their big mother hubbards and their stockin’ feet.
Well, he been on the job too long.
I say, he been on the job too long.”

But this is the age of social media. And the Congressional phone lines went into overload from the protest raised. In this day of cell phones, we may forget that land lines are still very much in use—and in Washington D.C. in the Congress, that’s where most of the business gets done.
So they “walked it back.” Dropped it like the proverbial hot potato.

They been on the job too long.
Oh yeah, King Congress been on the job too long.

And today, I’m wearing red.