Sunday, January 29, 2012


Some of the individuals who know me would tell you that Ol’ Lewis has yet to enter the 1990’s. Not true. I have recently plunged into the 2000’s. My bride and I, because we live in a very remote area have recently given up landlines entirely and now have opted for cell phones only, and acquire our internet access with one of those little blinky thingies that is connected to my computer by one cable, and to another thingie that is suctioned-cupped to my window with yet another cable. The term “broadband” was used. I suspect it does not mean an all-girl musical organization. At any rate, modern is me.
            I have not always been the bastion of progress that is before you at the moment, oh no. There was a time, years ago, when I made the statement, publicly I might add, that I would never own a cell phone. I had watched others use them, while driving, running, shopping, eating, and dozens of other times when willing to so carelessly divert their attention from the situation at hand. I stuck valiantly to my commitment until faced by overwhelming opposition. My wife.
            Considering that I am traditional by choice, purist by nature, and Taurus by birth…the acquisition of a cell phone was a huge step. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate technology. I remember living the first few years of my life without indoor plumbing or television. The wheelbarrow, for instance, I consider to be a marvelous device. The automatic coffeemaker a dramatic boon to society. It’s not that I was technologically challenged. I had been known to change the toilet paper roll all by myself, I preferred an electric typewriter, and my lawn mower had a motor. But a cell phone?
            My wife, the coveted Laura, had possessed one of the instruments for some time and, on one or two occasions; I’d actually used hers. On each foray into cellphonedom, when attempting to do something as simple as shutting the damn thing off, I managed to scroll through so many menus and functions, that once NASA called me on the landline and asked me to release control of the space shuttle and go wait outside. After watching me pound away at the device like a woodpecker on meth for a while, Laura would wrest the instrument from my feverish grasp, push one button, smile sadly, and put the hateful machine away. The flash of pity I saw in her eyes would cut like a knife.
            Eventually it all came to the crisis point. She was leaving to spend a few years in Afghanistan, and the dear woman announced that I was simply going to have to acquire a cell phone of my own. She and her phone would not be around to protect me when I was out on the road. I had to have one. The fact that I was a big husky, that I had been trained to dispose of my fellow man with nothing more than three pounds of C-4 and a roadgrader, that I never traveled without enough weaponry to overthrown Spain, and that I possessed enough repressed fear and anger to knock down a bus with my eyebrow, made no difference. A cell phone would protect me. Off we went to Phones R Us for a phony of my owny. When I scowled at him, the guy behind the counter seemed to sense I didn’t want to be there.
            “So…what kinda phone ya looking for?” he asked.
            “Ya got one with a button that says off?” I growled.
            He took a small step backwards and licked his lips. “Ah, not really,” he replied, cringing a bit. “But we got one with buttons for yes and no. Yes and no are pretty simple.”
            “Show it to me,” I grumbled.
            “You really don’t even want a cell phone, do ya?” he asked, noticing my wife’s white-knuckled grip on the back of my neck.
            “Show me the phone,” I hissed.
            He did. I took it.
            It really was kind of a neat phone and it really did have yes and no buttons. It was simple, direct, and devoid of games. It had no belt clip to come loose and deposit the instrument on some restaurant floor, no genuine leatherette case to get in the way, no dashboard apparatus to slash at me, no earpiece to dangle from my head or cord to wrap around my neck, no Bluetooth to impress fellow shoppers a Walmart. It was in no way a symbol to prove how valuable, indispensable, busy, needed or desired I was. It didn’t flip, flop, or flap. Best of all, after only a few lessons, I learned how to shut the damn thing off.
            The cell phone I have now is a considerably more complicated instrument, roughly the equivalent of the bridge on the Starship Enterprise. At least that’s what I’ve been told. I have yet to figure out how to turn it on. But when I do…the space shuttle is mine.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Time In Prism

            In the part of the heartland where I grew up, there was a wintertime saying: “Ain’t nothin’ between here an’ the North Pole but one bob-wire fence…an’ it’s down.” It got cold and it stayed cold. It was not the bone-numbing chill of North Dakota, but it was cold enough that many a complicated snow fort built in early December was still an effective battlement two months later. Christmas was always white and the lake ice thick enough to support tractors. Then, one wonderful January, the town’s water tower froze.
            The big people said that it was an exceptionally cold winter. To my third-grade cronies and me, winter was winter. In those days before Thinsulate and Gor-tex, little kids were cold all winter long. It was the price we gladly paid for snow. But that particular winter, the lake ice reached nearly 30 inches, and the water tower froze. It caused a big flap among the adults. Such an event had never happened before! Our small town had only one tower in the entire water system, and melting snow for drinking water is slow work with little return. Everyone assumed the heater in the tank atop the 80-foot tower had given up the ghost. Something had to be done! A disaster like this should never have happened and must never happen again! But to us, a fairy tale had grown from the snow in our little city park.
            When the water froze, a portion of the tank’s top was displaced and un-frozen water cascaded slowly down all sides of the tower, freezing to the legs and support columns as it went. An 80-foot stalagmite of crystal-clear ice was formed, tapering upward from a forty-foot base to the tank high overhead and we kids, squeezing through fissures, could get inside into a room-sized interior.
            The ice walls were three to four feet thick, refracting light as a prism does…blues, pinks, greens, sparkling with distortions, dazzling to view the sun through, amazing to watch the colors splash on friend’s faces as we stood inside a frozen crystal. It was a wonderful experience, etheric, nearly profound in some ways. There was no kidhood horseplay there, no pushing, no shouting, no shoving. Wrapped in those crystal walls, such behavior was beyond us. None of us would have cursed in church. Inside our frozen cathedral we barely even spoke. Superman’s Fortress of Solitude couldn’t compare to what we had. We would slip quietly inside, sit on the now, and look at it.
            Every view was different. Each moment changed the angle of the sun and the colors mutated and shifted with its passing, ever and never the same. Those of us that spent time there were changed during the hours we were inside. Everything was so simple, so calming, so lovely. I believe our kid egos were pushed aside by the experience, and many of us reached a state of meditation. Anything that can keep a gang of eight to ten-year-olds silent and still for hours at a time, must reach something deep inside those children.
            On the second day of the event, before the city employees ran us off and destroyed all that beauty, the Methodist minister came walking by and asked if he could join us. We made room and he sat in silence with our group for some time. As he finally rose to leave, one of the girls asked him if this was what heaven looked like. His face was gentle and serious when he spoke to her.
            “My God, I hope so,” he said.
            To this day, I believe his reply was totally honest. It is said that we need to come to the truth as a small child, and as children we came to the tower. It may not have been a religious experience, but it certainly was spiritual. It wasn’t heaven, but it was close enough for a group of small children sitting on the snow, inside the ice.


Monday, January 16, 2012

I don’t like vampire books . . .

I didn’t want to write this book. Several years ago, shortly after I’d had a novel published and at the beginning of the current vampire craze, a friend advised me that I should write a vampire book. I don’t read horror or vampire novels. I have no taste for them. The only story of that genre that has ever appealed to me is Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, or Fronkunsteen, if you will. I told her so. She responded by saying the fact that I didn’t like the damn things was exactly why I should write one. Her twisted logic ignited a spark. I did my research, investigated the science behind the premise, developed the characters, worked had to arrive at an intelligent plot, prayed for Bela Lugosi to forgive me, and spent six months or so burning out my retinas in front of a computer screen. The book was published several years ago, received excellent reviews, did well at signings and such and, primarily because of the price of the hardback and paper editions, languished on the shelves.

But now there are eBooks. Now there is a way to get this novel to the huddle masses in the comfort of their very own Kindle. Now publishers and paper are no longer involved, and everybody benefits. Soon Bloodtrail can be had for just 99 cents.

As a rule, I don’t like vampire books. . . except, of course, this one. . . and the sequel . . . coming soon to a Kindle near you.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

BLOODTRAIL....The eBook coming soon.

The much abused vampire literary genre is badly in need of new blood. Bloodtrail provides a credible and convincing approach to that well-worn theme, and moves the concept from strictly horror into action and suspense.

Tired of his life and weary of his sins, Joseph Casey places himself and his fate in the hands of medical researchers as an object of study. A four hundred-year-old No...sferati now in the power of mere humans, he asks for only one thing in return: help in finding his fourteen-year-old daughter, a young woman he has not seen in over one hundred fifty years, and who is the most heartless serial killer ever to walk the earth.

From a slave ship run aground in the Plymouth Colony during the hurricane of 1635 to the secret Kansas City laboratories of The Proteus Trust; from the sub-basement of Chicago’s Field Museum to the wilds of northern Arkansas; from the beauty of the Colorado high country to the legendary mountains of Austria, Bloodtrail is a novel of lost love, found redemption, surprising humor, and merciless brutality.

With so much in literature and film on the blood and gore of the vampire legend, Bloodtrail also deals with the humanity of the subject, combining history, science, myth, and legend with memorable characters and an inventive plot. Make no mistake. This remains a brutal story, but it is also funny, tragic, hopeful, loving and, most importantly, credible. More than just another vampire tale, it puts the genus under the microscope, explaining through medical science and DNA research how the Nosferati came to be, as it transports the vampire fable to a new level of realism and believability with solid characters and honest dialogue.

How I got this way.


I was raised by my grandfather, a man born in 1895. As with many of his time and type, he was a storyteller, and that affected me. In the past thirty-plus years I have written for television and radio, penned pieces for newspapers, and had a few novels published. More than a writer, I consider myself a storyteller. Storytellers focus their energies upon the Theatre of the Mind. More than motion pictures and television, Theatre of the Mind allows a freedom they cannot provide. TV and movies dictate to us how the characters must appear, how the scenes are presented, even how the colors look. In High-Def and 3-D, Theatre of the Mind asks you to make choices and participate in the story. It is the most visual of the medias. If you like, try a few of my tales at On that site is also a link to some CDs I produced while co-hosting a broadcast program called Radio for Grownups.
C’mon, I’ll tell you a story.