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Felt your hand last night,
fingers soft as air.
We held hands as we walked along the beach.
You and me,
happy and free,
as we walked along the beach.
Touched your face last night,
Moonlight in your hair.
The warm wind blew as we danced by the sea.
You and me,
happy and free,
as we danced down by the sea.

You and me on that long deserted beach,
holding hands in the night,
listening to the waves rolling in and rolling out,
falling in love under the moonlight.

Kissed your lips last night,
senses rolling ’round.
Looked deep in your eyes and you kissed me again.
You and me,
happy and free,
as we made love in the sand.

You and me on that long deserted beach,
holding hands in the night,
listening to the waves rolling in and rolling out,
falling in love under the moonlight.

Woke up in my room,
my dog right by my side.
He looked at me with his sad, sleepy glare.
Him and me,
alone as we could be.
Baby, you weren’t anywhere.
Dreamt of you last night.
Shook to clear my head.
I took your picture from inside my pillowcase.
You and me,
never to be.
I sat there staring at your face.

I cut your picture from a Cosmo that I bought:
A low-cut neckline, velvet, red.
You don’t even know that I just might exist,
So I put you back and went to bed.

Felt your hand last night,
fingers soft as air . . . .

Only one of three alive
in stillness lay
ripped from the short ride home
on her crisp orange autumn day
at the corner
where my high school stands,
and the powder green pines grow—
at the corner
where the flag whips the air
from the platinum pole,
bright contrasts to pools of red
and metal wrung like wet rags
against the asphalt gray
they were.

All blood and blond,
their beauty stripped
by a quick-ran red,
an auto-ram impacted sides
with screams and squeals
and sweet-burnt rubber
and shimmering glass like
a giant’s shaken salt
on the gray road-plate—
their flesh offered
for his consuming.

Scrap 1

Some of you may know that I’m a member of a writer’s stable for local professional theatre company called SPT Theatre. I’m part of a series they call the Writers’ Room, which is essentially a season of thematically linked shows that contain music (both original and covers), sketches, and monologues.

We have six shows between September and June, and each of us write between three and six sketches or monologues for each show. Naturally, not all of what we write is used for the show. Not all of the rejected sketches suck. Some do, but not all.

So I thought it might be fun to load up, from time to time, one of the sketches that has met the cutting room floor.

Here is one that was inspired by a story one of my writing partners told me. We were working on a show called “Pain in the Neck” and he told us a story about his grandparents — this story pans out in this sketch.

I couldn’t figure out how to work the sketch with two or three people, so I went to the tried-and-true one-man bit perfected by Bob Newhart: the phone call. Here it is.


On Call

Man on stage in doctor’s coat with clipboard. He’s writing notes. He gets a cell phone call. He answers his phone.

Doctor Fingerman

This is Dr. Fingerman.

Ah, yes, hello Mr. Feeney. How are you today?

Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Is this concerning your …



Well, which one do you like better, the Viagra or the Cialis?

Well, no. No. Mr. Feeney, you’re not supposed to take them both at the same time.

No, I don’t care what you’ve seen on the Internet — you’re 67 years old, it’s just not…


Yes, I understand how you might feel that way, but….

Oh, she does.

Yes, I can understand why you might be sore. Oh not there.

Ah, I see. Well, I’m sure it’s a long drop to the floor. Yes, I … Yes, I know I suggested a higher mattress. Yes. Easier to get in and out of. I know those were my words.

I thought you said your elbow felt better. Yes, I’m sorry. Good I’m glad it …

Yes, the Ben Gay. No. That wasn’t a prescription. It was over the counter. Yes, I know the stuff.

Can I ask why you’re call… Yes. Sorry.

Yes, Mr. Feeney. I’m a doctor. I fully understand the aging process.

Yes, I know how the body dries out with age.

Of course, I remember the Viagra, Mr. Feeney.

Look, I’m making rounds. Could you please get to the …

Yes, I know your wife is “of an age” as you say. I…

Oh, goodness. Well, that’s … that’s quite a metaphor Mr. Feeney. I’ve never really thought about it that way. No I’ve never experienced that.

Mr. Feeney, I …

Yes, I am familiar with KY Jelly. Yes, now that you say so, it does resemble Ben Gay — Oh goodness. Mr. Feeney…

Yes, I understand it was dark, but you should really…

Well, I can imagine that she’s angry, did you…

Yes, yes, I can hear her in the background. She sounds very upset. Mr. Feeney you really should…

No. No. Mr. Feeney. Mr. Feeney. Please!

Mr. Feeney, you should both go to the emergency clinic immediately.

Oh, you are there.

Well, then why are you calling me Mr. Feeney?

Oh, well, yes, three times today is … is quite impressive.

No … well, good job.

Yes, I would imagine “en fuego” would be an applicable phrase for it.

No. Mr. Feeney, no. No. No Mr. Feeney, I will not tell Nurse Goodlove about the three …

Fine. Fine. Yes, You have a good day too. Good luck. Yes. Yes. Yes, yipee kay yay to you too, sir.

Lieutenant Ruytenburgh’s Glance

on Rembrandt’s The Shooting Company of Captain
Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Ruytenburgh

aka. The Night Watch

You bombastic lout.

You ignorant peacock,
with your “Let me tell you this”
and “I think”s and “To the contrary”s.

You think you’re beloved
as you pontificate,
leading the mob
along the Amstel

But they are simply jackals
like your own dog hoping for the fox,
jumping at the scraps you drop.

They love you not.

You will say the wrong thing
or give the wrong glance
or use the wrong whore,
and the next day
court will silence when you enter,
and you will finally know
what a little man you are.

I shall,
at your fall,
become the captain.

But I?
shall shoot


This painting has always fascinated me. There is so much odd in it.

For example: did you notice the blazingly bright dwarf lady — I know, little person, sorry — who looks like Banana Grandma? She is just to the left of Cocq. Where is that light coming from? She’s got to be important, right?

Anyway, I’ve been fascinated with this painting for a while. But recently I say this documentary (with acting) called Rembrandt’s J’Acusse. If you like art or mystery or intellectual documentaries, this movie is toto boffo. I highly recommend it. Plus, you can Netflix it.

Winter claws my throat

And fills my lungs with her snow

To show my frailties.

I would like to personally thank all of you who expressed support for the Galadahnia Web Project, especially those who pledged through my site.

The Kickstarter grant, alas, has failed.

But, as I mentioned in Monday’s blog, I am not nearly as devastated as I thought I would be. Many positives came from the process.

It really forced me to clarify the project. It also made me focus on the important aspects of the project.

Another thing it did was show me that there was support for such a thing beyond my immediate circle of friends. That was really cool.

Finally, I received support by people offering their talents in a couple of different fields, specifically web coding and site conceptualization, which was very nice.

So, the Galadahnia Web Project will now slip into Plan C.

My illustrator is working feverishly on the frontispieces for each chapter. I am striving to gain a working of knowledge of LogicPro, so I can move through the recording process smoothly for the audio version. I am working on understanding how to convert text into e-books.

I am also slowly working through draft six of the book.

So, there is quite a bit of work going on.

My plan is to launch the site on April 5th. But I need to have at least two months of serialized chapters ready to go before I will feel comfortable. By that time I should have a pretty sustainable workflow created.

One of my friends also suggested adding a donation option to the web site. That way I can start paying my very patient illustrator. Also, people can give money if they want, but it doesn’t force anyone to have to pay to read my stuff.

Oh, a lot of stuff to work with.

If anyone has suggestions please shoot them to me through the contact page.

If you have already tried the contact page, just know that I have fixed it. It should work now.

Thanks for letting me blather on about this project. I’m hoping that I will now be able to move more scintillating blog posts.

We’ll see.

Well, this is the last few days of The Galadahnia Web Project Launch Plan B. Yes, I have used a previous plan.

I’m pretty sure that the Kickstarter grant is not going to go. The final day is this Thursday.  I need $6000 and only have $2400.

And here is the weird thing: I am totally at peace with it. That’s not where I thought I would be. I kind of thought it would crush me. But I’m now pretty excited about Plan C.

Don’t get me wrong. If the Kickstarter grant magically transpires, I would not be a sad little Sally.

But I have had some people come out of the woodwork to offer support for the project in a variety of ways. That has been both surprising and helpful.

So I think things will be okay. The web site might not be exactly as I hope it will be. But maybe there is providence in yada yada, you know.

Anyway, I’ve asked a few alpha-readers to give me a quote from their reading of Darnan, the first book in the Galadahnia Trilogy. Here they are. They made me feel pretty good.

I have never liked dwarves. Not when they were whistling with Disney and Snow White, not even in Tolkein’s world hording gold and giving a nasty dragon what for. Darnan changed my mind. Dwarves are rarely the hero, but after becoming acquainted with Darnan – his refulgent gift, quiet though brave ways, and love for his friends and the verdant world – I think it’s time for dwarves to be more than the sidekick or comic relief.

—Tara Marsh; illustrator and author

A problem that most writers face when telling a story that involves action and violence is describing action sequences with clarity and detail, keeping the reader excited, while not weighing the scene down. Darnan is not a particularly violent book, but in any story involving a confrontation of good with evil there have to be scenes of battle, of hardship, and sometimes, of torture. Alberty writes these scenes with power to affect the reader deeply. Alberty does this exceptionally well where even great writers often fail. In these scenes you know where the characters are positioned, what they face in the enemy, what strategies they employ, and how the characters act in accord with their personalities and abilities.

— Martin Pearson; teacher

In the grand and expansive tradition of Tolkein and drawn with all of the total world detail of Weiss and Hickman’s classic Dragonlance series comes Alberty’s first installment of his new Galadahnia Trilogy. Darnan is an amazing ride into a fresh new fantasy world filled with unlikely heroes who stay by your side long after you’ve finished book one. This is an amazing story!

— Richard Barker; artist

Thanks for the props, guys. I’m hoping everyone will be able to begin reading Darnan soon.

Answering questions about the Galadahnia Web Project

I do apologize if this is a repeat for some of you. You have seen this already, if you are on my Galadahn mailing list. But I have had some people ask me questions about the Galadahia Web Project, so here is a reprint of that email.

I only have until January 13th to fund my Galadahnia Web Project, and I am now 1/3 of the way there.

Questions & Answers

What’s the Galadahnia Web Project?

The GWP is a website that will serialize a fantasy trilogy that I’ve written. Each week, people will be able to go to it and read the next chapter for free. They can also download it to an e-reader or download an audiobook version of each chapter.

Why not just publish your book?

Well, that’s kind of like saying, “Why don’t you just make a movie.” Getting a book published is really tough right now. Trust me: I’ve tried. Even in publishing’s heyday, Stephen King received thousands of rejections before his first book was published. Also, creating my own website does several things for me. It allows me to keep creative control of my novel. It also allows me to get my work out there and let people read it.

How are you going to make any money from this?

I might not. If the GWP gets funded from the Kickstarter site then I have a better chance of making money. In theory I will be able to sell ad space on the Galadahnia web site. That way people will be able to read my novel for free, but I will still be able to get a little cash from the work I’ve done.

Why do you need so much money?

Simple: I don’t have the web skills to do what I really want done. I have to pay someone else to create the site for me. I could just use basic blogging software, but my dream is so much more than just a serialized blog site. I want the GWP to be interactive.

What do you mean by wanting the GWP to be interactive?

It will be more than just a serialized site:

There will be a web page for people to interact with maps of the world I created.

There will be an encyclopedia of the world of Galadahn.

People will be able to send in questions that will eventually expand the encyclopedia and the world itself.

I also want people to be able to write spin-off stories based in my world. They will be able to upload those stories to the GWP for other people to read.

They will also be able to upload their own images and music to the site.

That’s what I mean by interactive.

That sounds pretty ambitious!

That’s what the money is for. This is a donor funded grant. The only way I get to do this project is if people donate money to grant the project.

Say I donate money through your Kickstarter site. What happens if you don’t reach your financial goal?

If I don’t reach my goal, your transaction is not processed. You don’t lose any money. In fact, I don’t get any money unless I have at least $6000 in pledges to my project.

That’s a lot of money. Who gets it?

Well, Kickstarter gets a little of it, as well as Amazon who charges a fee for processing all the transactions. But the lion’s share of it will go to the web designer who has designed the site and will create it for me. Money will also go to my illustrator who has been working gratis for a couple of years now. I also will pay the guy who created the cool video on my project site.

What do you want me to do?

Well, even a donation of $5 or $10 would help. But one of more the important things you could do is forward this email to friends and relatives — people you think might find it interesting.

I truly believe this is a groundbreaking new form of publishing: the interactive, serialized, online novel. Please help me break this new ground by spreading the word about the Galadahnia Web Project.

And don’t forget to click on this link — — to donate money and find out more about the Galadahnia Web Project.

Please feel free to contact me with any more questions or comments. Just hit contact me in the menu.


I took a leave of absence from teaching to write my first novel called Darnan, an eponymous eco-fantasy about a young dwarf who has found himself on the adventure of a lifetime. I worked on it five days a week for about nine months, writing anywhere from 500 to 2000 words a day.

Now, if you’re not a writer, 500 words in a day may not sound like a lot. Our most prolific living writer, Stephen King, averages 2000 words a day. And when he says day, he means day. I was working only in the morning. Writing even 500 good words a day is tough.

I had the idea for Darnan years ago. In fact, the first three chapters had been sitting around for about five years before I decided that I had to finish it. Writers like to call that nesting. I had time to build a hell of a nest.

As I was writing Darnan, I had the luxury of having a writing friend edit each chapter as they came off the printer. That really helped to focus my writing and give me almost instant feedback, so things changed as the writing continued.

I also started with a pretty good outline. But the book really did take on a life of itself. Some of the major characters popped in from nowhere and have stayed for a long time. And many of the events surprised me as they occurred. I had even planned to have my main character and his love interest get it on during a scene that I had outlined. But things occurred — as they do in real life — and that magic just wasn’t there, and it subsequently won’t ever be, because the plot has taken a turn and they have grown apart from each other. That was a true surprise.

Another surprise was the length. I had planned on this story taking only one novel. But as the writing continued it became clear that the scope of Darnan’s journey, the nature of his quest, and the breadth of the world I had created was going to take considerably longer to work out. By the time I was done with Darnan, it was 90,000 words long. That’s a book around 375 pages. I was kind of shocked.

It also meant that I had to continue, which scares me a little.

But it forced me to rethink the concept of the project. And that really got my juices going. I love my concept and I shopped it around for a while. I got nothing but rejection letters.

Well, that’s not true. I got a publisher in New York that was interested in it. But they had never published a fantasy novel before. The first thing they wanted me to do was to get rid of the Dwarven language. I asked my friends who had read the book. They were split down the middle, half saying do it, the other half saying it would be crazy to get rid of it.

I was pretty conflicted until I looked at who was saying get rid of the language and who was saying to keep it. To a person, the people who told me to keep the language were avid fantasy readers. The people who told me to get rid of it were either casual fantasy readers or, in the case of my wife, fantasy novel haters. (It’s always good to have a dissenter in your camp. It makes you fight for what you believe in.)

That event made me want to retain creative control of the book. Which led me to my next epiphany.

I want to publish it on the web. Not only that, I want to create an entire web universe around the world I created for the novel: the world of Galadahn.

Here is an explanation of my project, as clear as I can make it.

There are three web components to The Galadahnia Web Project:

The Novels Page

This page consists of the serialized chapters of the Galadahnia Trilogy. Each week a new chapter is released to the web site. Along with the text on the web site, readers can download the chapters to an e-reader, and they download the audiobook version of the chapter.

The World Page

This page consists of an interactive map of the world of Galadahn as well as an Encyclopedia that deals with that world. Readers will be able to mouse over the map and click on links that will explain cities or regions. Other links on the map will take them to the chapters that take place on that spot in the map.

The Encyclopedia will act as an annotated text for the content of the novels. As people read online they can click on a word or phrase such as “Galzharlich Gom, the festival of the Great Elves’ Door.” Clicking that link will take them to the encyclopedia entry for that item, which will explain the history of the festival as well as any legends or famous poems or events connected to that festival.

This part of the site has serious cool potential. But it gets better.

The Fan Page

This page consists of several components. There will be a “Mead Hall” for readers that will act as a chat room or a comments page. There will be a “Library” where readers can upload their own stories based in the world of Galadahn. There will be a “Museum” where readers can upload art and music created with the world in mind. And there will be a “Book of Wonders” where readers can submit questions and suggestions that will be incorporated into the map or the encyclopedia.

This is my dream. And I think it’s a cool one.

I have friends that don’t get it. And I understand that. They don’t think people will have the time or the interest to visit a site like this. But they also don’t get the EverQuests (700,000 users) and the World of Warcrafts (12 mil.) and the Second Lifes (690,000) and the Farmvilles (63 mil.).

I feel like I am at the cusp of something really remarkable and ingenious. I am standing on one side of this great chasm and I can see the silver city across the way, a new world shimmering and beckoning on the far side of the cliff. And there is no bridge.

I am not an engineer, so I have to find or pay for someone to build this bridge for me.

That is what I am trying to do with the Kickstarter Grant Site.

If the idea of The Galadahnia Web Site is even remotely intriguing to you, please click here. It will take you to my Kickstarter Grant Site.

Please send this blog post to anyone you think might find it intriguing. I only have until January 13th to reach my funding goal. If I don’t reach $6000 in pledges by that date, then I don’t get any money for this project.

Help me build my bridge to a new world.


I am excited to finally tell you The Galadahnia Web Project is on its way to getting funded.

My guess is that you are wondering what The Galadahnia Web Project is. Not surprising, since I haven’t really been discussing it.

I have completed a novel entitled Darnan, the first in an eco-fantasy trilogy entitled The Galadahnia. It is a 90,000 word novel that might be described as a fantasy bildungsroman, in that it follows a young dwarf on a journey that focuses on his psychological and moral growth.

Darnan is a novel that had been swirling in my mind for years. I actually had written what was the original first five chapters — which became the new first three chapters —about six years. I had been working on them when I was still with The Barcalounger Cowboys of St. Columcille’s writing group.

Finishing Darnan was the impetus to take my first year off teaching. And it was a great year for me. There were days I could get out a good 1000 to 2000 words. I was writing every weekday, nearly finishing a chapter a week.

Darnan really took off for me and began steering the story in ways I could not have imagined. It turned into a trilogy of its own volition. And I am finally ready to begin working on the second book, which is already outlined.

But back to The Galadahnia Web Project.

This idea has been percolating for a year or more. But, like most things I think up, I am utterly unqualified to do it on my own.

Here was the idea. I wanted to create a web site based on Darnan, where the chapters would be serialized weekly. There would also be a dramatic audiobook available for download.

There would be an accompanying web page with an atlas of the world I created and perhaps a set of appendices or some kind of encyclopedia that might be linked hypertextually to the serialized text.

Finally, there would be a third page that would be devoted as a “fan site.” Okay, I hate saying this because it assumes a projected following to something I’ve written, which really smacks of outrageous ego. But if I were following a writer online and found a site like this, I would think it was totally cool. The idea here is that fans can upload their story spin offs that occur in the world of Galadahn. They can upload art and music and could create chat rooms. Maybe they could even suggest new towns and villages and create parts of the encyclopedia or add details to the world’s map. I was really jazzed about this portion of the idea.

But, alas, I am no web designer. That is where the funding comes in. I have found a web designer who seems pretty excited about this project. But, of course, it costs.

So, today I am launching The Galadahnia Web Project funding site on

If you haven’t heard of Kickstarter, you really should have. It is an almost transformative idea. It is an open funding grant site, where people put up projects, funding goals, and finishing dates, then hope that people fund them. It is an amazing thing to see.

So, please go to the website, (you can click this link), and give my project a look. If you like it, please fund it. And more importantly, tell people you know about it.

This is a dream I’ve had for a while now. I sure would like to see it happen.

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