The Dancer's Spell

On March 13, 1905, Mata Hari launches her famous career to great acclaim, although her origins remain a mystery. Except to Wim Brink, a Dutchman who is appalled by her performance, but more horrified to discover she is the same girl he adored as a youth in Leeuwarden.

To his dismay, the charms that bewitched him fifteen years before captivate Europe. Everyone seems obsessed with Mata Hari, particularly the people closest to him. To Wim, Mata Hari becomes the symbol of Europe’s moral decline. He wants nothing to do with her. Taking advantage of the ambiguity of her background, he decides not to let on she is the girl he knew.

But his efforts to conceal this connection inadvertently create friction with his wife and in-laws, and begin to isolate him from society. Matters escalate in Paris where an encounter with Mata Hari reveals for Wim a solution to his inner conflict, albeit at great cost to him and his family.

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Melange and Other I.T. Stories

Classic literary influences abound in this diverse blend of stories about the corporate world. Essential reading for those working in or with IT departments, this themed collection examines the conflicts, foibles, and occasional heroics of modern office life.

In Melange, the title story, an IT hero faces a series of bureaucratic perils, akin to Homeric Odyssey. Satirical in parts, humorous in others, Melange depicts in depth the pitfalls of an ill-fated IT project.

FOOD offers a metaphorical vision of how a misguided IT department might run a restaurant. Two friends with contrasting working styles switch jobs in Greener Grass while a woman sees the value of computers after job is taken over by one in Career. Going Forward shows how a casual phrase applied literally leads to odd results.

The IT Director adapts Machiavelli’s, The Prince, for today’s manager.

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Seven-year-old Karl Stevenson loves jigsaw puzzles, but he soon encounters a jumbo in real-life when his beloved Uncle Douglas unexpectedly dies. Suspicious circumstances surround the death, and Karl refuses to believe that his uncle is gone forever. It takes a casual remark by his babysitter to turn Karl down a different path. His newborn brother, Samuel, eerily has some of the same characteristics as Uncle Douglas. Could Samuel be his uncle reincarnated? Truly a hope worth exploring, Karl believes, unaware of the personal cost involved.

From childhood through his teen years, Karl grapples with his uncle's death and deals with family secrets and escalating resistance from those closest to him. With the pieces of the mystery slowly coming together, Karl must discover the truth, no matter the serious consequences to his family and friends-or to himself.

Set in the scenic Niagara Peninsula, where the Welland Canal climbs the Niagara Escarpment, this gripping novel shares one boy's quest to solve a puzzle of deathly proportions.

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Downbound (Helen's Story)

It is 1964. An optimistic Helen Stevenson, pregnant with her first child, awaits the arrival of her husband’s younger brother at Toronto’s new airport. The outgoing, good-looking Douglas Stevenson proves more than they can handle for John and Helen. There is one thing that brings them together, a love of American football and the Buffalo Bills who are having their best season ever.

Just as they are getting accustomed to each other, the season ends, and Douglas moves out. Douglas’s private life gets out of control; he ends up getting a fifteen year prison term for manslaughter. Helen wants nothing more to do with him but, upon his earning parole, she has to admit he’s changed. Her brother-in-law once again ingratiates himself with the family, and particularly her son, Karl. Slowly Helen discovers the menace he poses to her young family.

This companion piece to Upbound is now included with the E-Book version of Upbound. Or download for free.

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Three Stories

Like many writers, I began by creating short stories. I have put together a few of my favourites and made them publicly available for the first time.

Three stories about three people living conventional lives in urban settings. That is, until something unusual happens to starkly illuminate their situations, forcing them to face their reality.

In The Value of Dignity, a downsized, downtrodden man saves up for a special night out, only to face the true nature of his life is much worse and much better than he thought. The Watchers illustrates a lonely old woman's self-indulgent reliving her past leads to an unwelcome self-awareness. A young man grasps the rigidity of his life and future in Power Failure when a power outage upsets his daily routine.

These stories offer a sample of my earlier work and can be downloaded for free.

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