Synopsis: A Very Tall Summer


It was a very tall summer in 1957, and I’ll tell you why…

And so begins the most terrible summer for Charlote Windover.

She and husband Jeremiah began a new life together surrounded by a wide expanse of a corn and sky. After years of brutal disappointment, she finally resolves to change her life. When Jeremiah is suddenly killed at an abandoned homestead, life becomes more isolated and harrowing. And with the threat of random fires being set by a mysterious figure known only as Croy, Charlotte’s life has become even more desperate.

In a land of big skies and small dreams, A Very Tall Summer is the tale of a broken woman’s resolve to overcome her past, and at any cost.



Drop or release


I’m still planning on a January 5 release for A Very Tall Summer. All that’s left is for for my beta reader to finish, and then give me her comments/suggestions. That would be my wife Angela. I completely trust and value her opinion.

Baring any oversights or plot threads I’ve failed to connect (entirely possible), it should be good to go. Ange is a careful reader, and she catches all my glaring errors and mishandled sentences. She intentionally did not read any of the excerpts I’ve posted because she wanted to approach it fresh, without any preconceptions. She’s also an amazing writer, so she knows what’s what.

She knew about Ordinary Handsome, of course, because it was such an important project for me… twenty-plus years in the making. This one, though, came out of nowhere and I grabbed it before it could  escape.

Speaking of which….

I am releasing this book, not dropping it. That’s a word I’ve come to dislike in that context. An artist should not drop their work, whether they be novelists, poets, singers, actors, etc. The use of that word, to me, sounds lazy and irreverent. Releasing one’s work is a monumental thing. It’s both frightening and amazing. If the work was done with passion and curiosity, then it’s best to let it fly. Dropping it? Whatev.

And so I am not dropping this like a pad of butter on the floor. I’m releasing this caged animal of mine into an unsuspecting world. It might be a rabid skunk, or it may be something that will fly, I don’t know. But I did my best, and I’m proud of it.

Pardon the rant. I guess I’m slowly turning into a get-off-my-lawn-you-whippersnappers kind of  guy.

Thanks to all who have patiently — and dare I say, enthusiastically — read the excerpts, liked them, and commented. Positive feedback for a writer is pure gold. So thanks so much.

As Tom Petty said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” 🙂

Stay sweet


It’s all a guise, you know. Staying sweet. Where did I get that? Why was it bestowed upon me that I be the sweet one? If a person has no voice, they must be filled with sugar. Any complaint is sour, and they think you have an unkind disposition, a bitter outlook. Sweet is better, silence is preferred. But what if I wanted – needed – to talk back? You’re not being very sweet, honey, you need to stay sweet. Peace is over the next hill. What hill? Show me these hills and I’ll climb them, if only to get away from the aggravation and isolation. I never asked for a tall sky. Maybe I wanted a short box of a sky, with trees and rooftops I could see. Maybe I wanted clouds I could reach and pull down like curtains. This grand, tall sky lends no perspective to who I am, or could be. I feel swallowed by Leviathan, digested every day, until the sweetness is gone, like a depleted piece of candy.

– Excerpt from A Very Tall Summer – Coming soon

Coming January 5/16


It was a very tall summer in 1957, and I’ll tell you why:

Old homesteads were set afire for no good reason, and the smoke and the dust eclipsed any kindness that may have had a chance to grow. I do recall the anger that slid in the smoky heat, uncoiling like a snake, waiting to strike. I won’t lie: the snake in the Garden must have been a woman, because I understand it perfect. Thou shalt not poured through my head, but murder did not come at the end of that thought. Goddamn it, Jeremiah, thou shalt not have done unto me.

Excerpt from A Very Tall Summer – 01/05/16

A resting man

His hands were bloody claws; dark crimson was still spurting between his spread fingers. Those hands were not used to suffering, or hard work. There were no scars, only smooth lines of flesh now savagely washed clean. The only callus was on his right forefinger, where he held his burlap jug. I know it was a mean thought, a dark and sad thought, but my husband was not a working man; he was a resting man, content to drink corn liquor on the porch. And now he was not even that.

What kind of a wife would have such dark thoughts? I loved him, yes, but that also meant I knew him. What thoughts did he have of me, I wondered. He loved me, yes, but he did not know me. Horror flowed through me as I stared at his pristine red hands, forever and ever stained….

Excerpt from A Very Tall Summer… coming soon

A Very Tall new cover


I thought I was finished with the cover for A Very Tall Summer, but I’m easily bored, and so changed it. It’s has a simpler and cleaner look, and I like it.

One more read-through, and the book should be finished, insomuch as they’re ever finished. Sometimes it’s hard to let go.


N1407P51003H copy

The burial was at the flat scratch of land next to Wilkinson’s homestead. Properly fenced and mended, it was even sparser than the surrounding acres. Thomas Weatherby from Poke Methodist did the service, said nice things about Jeremiah. He was also in charge of maintaining the grounds. He kept it nice and trim, tossing the dead flowers and replacing them with new ones when appropriate.

He was a trim and dour looking man, with clean iron-gray hair and unflinching composure. When it came to dealing with death and the digging of graves, he was the man who was called upon.

I am sorry for your loss, Missus Windover,” he said in his reedy voice. “Life is hard without a husband. Will you be moving on?”

It was a thing I had hardly considered. I knew I could not maintain the farm on my own, but I had not thought of any options. The bank still had papers on the land, and the crops were withering. The soil was almost exhausted. I was resigned to stay put until I was forced out. There were no options, other than back-breaking labor that I was not prepared to endure.

I don’t know yet, Thomas,” I said.

The land is a hard thing,” he said. “Some things are easier to plant than others.”

If that was his dry humor, it fell flat, and was buried alongside Jeremiah.

Excerpt from A Very Tall Summer – Coming Soon


summer cloverxcf

Are you really here? Were you ever? Or is it just me?”

It doesn’t matter. You should leave when it’s time. Grief will abide. This was never a good place for you.”


No. When the rain comes back. It will. You know it always will.”

Am I dreaming?”

‘If life is a dream, then yes.”

Will you stay a little longer?”

A little longer. But not for too long. You need to finish here.”

I don’t know what that means.”

You need to finish here,” she said.

I felt the breeze across the field, whirling through the corn stalks. Her hair swayed. Her smile was sweet. I sat back in Jeremiah’s chair, content just to look at her as clouds gathered in the tall sky. I still saw her even when she was gone. It happened so gradual, I didn’t notice, not for a while.

from A Very Tall Summer – coming soon

In a big room

Excerpt from A Very Tall Summer… coming soon.


“Keep looking. This is all distracting you from your job. It’s a big room, and you’ve got four walls to find it. Thinking is slowing you down.”

I’ll find it. What else do I have to do? And I’m not sure Del is coming back. He’s afraid of me.”

He likes you, is all,” said Wynn. “You’re a fresh widow. He doesn’t know when he should be pressing you.”

He said he wanted to lick my neck.” Continue reading In a big room