Your Place in This (or Any) World

In chapter 8 of The Eye-Dancers, shortly after arriving in the variant town of Colbyville, Mitchell Brant looks around and takes stock of his new surroundings.  It is, to say the least, an unsettling experience . . .

“A red vehicle drove past, its chrome fenders sparkling in the sunshine.  Just like the cars he’d seen in the parking lot, this one looked odd, old-fashioned.  All of the cars did–parked along the roadside, tight against the curb.  And there was something about the town itself, too.  The flowing, curvy shape of the street lamps, the fancy script lettering on the store fronts, the phone booth across the street . . . Everything just looked dated, off, as if the axis of the universe had shifted a quarter-inch to the left.”



It is ironic that Mitchell finds himself in such a situation, feeling like the proverbial stranger in a strange land, because that’s the same way he all-too-often feels at home.  About to enter the seventh grade, Mitchell has always envied the popular kids in his class.  He’s never been one of them.  But his feelings of isolation and awkwardness do not occur only on school property.  Even his own mother seems to think he’s a little strange.  In chapter 1, when his mom eyes him a certain way, the text reads  . . .

“Mitchell knew that look well.  It was the one that made him feel like a Martian, or a Venusian, who had crash-landed onto Earth.  Come to think of it, a lot of things made him feel that way.”



Mitchell isn’t the only one in the story who harbors such feelings.  Joe Marma is self-conscious because he’s the shortest boy in his class.  On top of that, he has the perfect older brother, and he can never measure up, no matter how hard he tries.  He has an ever-present chip on his shoulder.

Ryan Swinton struggles with always wanting to please the people around him.  He has a hard time making decisions.  What if he chooses a course of action that others don’t want to pursue?  He compensates by making jokes, always feeling pressure to make people laugh.

From chapter 3 . . .

“There was nothing worse than delivering a punch line and having no one laugh.  But the flip side was also true.  Few things could match the high he felt when he told a joke and people cracked up.  It was the greatest.  Winning their approval.  Winning their favor.  It sometimes felt scary, how important that was to him.”

And Marc Kuslanski feels like a social outcast–he has no real friends, is an only child, and sometimes wonders if he ever really had a childhood to begin with.  He sees other kids his age playing ball and having fun, but he always seems to be left out, perpetually on the sidelines.

This is the character backdrop of The Eye-Dancers, and when these four boys eventually find themselves in a new and different world, their sense of alienation only increases.  They continually come across strange things–antique-looking cars, expressions and words they’ve never heard of, a lack of PCs and cell phones, just to name a few.  As if they didn’t already struggle enough to fit in on Earth, now they have to deal with this. 



I believe that the struggles of Mitchell, Joe, Ryan, and Marc mirror our own.  We all, at one point or another, have wanted to fit in–somewhere.  Almost everyone has experienced moments of feeling like a social outcast.  I know I have.

I still remember my first day of junior high.  New school.  Lockers.  Lots of new students from other area grade schools all coming together under one roof.  In an offer of support, one of my older brothers walked me in that day, taking me to my locker.  I had never used a locker in grade school.  It intimidated me.  It seemed a cold, alien thing, metallic, gray, impersonal.  For a moment, I thought I sensed it grinning at me, as if it knew a secret I wasn’t privy to.   “You’re gonna hate it here,” I imagined it saying.

My brother, then a college student, looked around at his old stomping grounds, smiling.  A teacher stopped, said hello, remembering him.  My brother introduced me.  I shook the teacher’s hand, wishing a hole would open up right there in the hallway.  I would jump in, feet first, hoping to escape into the basement, hiding behind the old pipes and furnace and whatever else lurked, unseen, in the corners.  Anyplace else would be better than where I was.

The thing is–as time went on, I adjusted to junior high, and it pushed me to become a better student.  I met new friends, learned new lessons.  I began to grow up.  When you’re twelve or thirteen, you are searching for your place in this world.  So many options exist, just beyond the horizon.  After junior high, there is high school, then perhaps college, a career.  It is an exciting yet overwhelming time.

Back then. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life.  For a while, I wanted to be a marine biologist.  Then a private detective.  Then a teacher.  In the end, my love of writing won out, and I decided to pursue a career in the written word.  That, I eventually came to believe, was my place in this world.

For Mitchell Brant and Joe Marma and Ryan Swinton and Marc Kuslanski, they must also find their place in this world.  But before they can do that, they must first find their place, and themselves, in another, far-off world, a world where the axis of the universe may indeed seem shifted a quarter-inch to the left, but where, also, they will be forced to confront and overcome their insecurities and inner demons.



The Eye-Dancers, at its core, is a story about growing up, discovery, and keeping the faith even in the midst of adversity.  While it tackles concepts of quantum physics and journeys to an alternate reality, it is, I hope, a story everyone can relate to.

After all, we all experienced that first day of junior high.  And if that wasn’t a trip to an alternate reality, I’m not sure what is . . .



Thanks so much for reading!



The Impossible (and the Possible) Quest

I’ll never forget him.  His name was John.  I really didn’t know him all that well, but he was a fellow English major back when I went to college, and he shared several of the same classes with me.  John was passionate about writing, creating, coming up with something new.

“That’s what I want, more than anything,” he said to me one crisp fall day as we exited our class on Victorian literature.  It was the kind of clean, fresh, fragrant western New York October afternoon that makes your eyes water, the air is so pure.   “To come up with something different, something no one’s ever written before.  Some completely new idea!”




I shrugged, smiled.  He had expressed this to me (and anyone who would listen) before.  I had never really responded, though–until now . . .

“You know,” I said.  “I think, maybe, you’re not looking at this in quite the right way.”  Not the best choice of words, perhaps, but I just felt he needed to hear me out.

And he did . . .


I can relate to John’s quest.  I think any writer can.  Anyone who has ever created anything, written anything, painted anything, anyone who’s penned the lyrics of a song or the musical notes of a ballad, anyone who has ever dreamed of reaching up into the sky on a lazy summer day and grabbing hold of a billowy, passing cloud just to experience the exhilaration of it all can relate.  We all want to be unique.  We want to do what no one has ever achieved before.  We want our voices to be heard.



The thing is, though–there are no truly new ideas.  Every story has been told.  The ex-con who wants a second chance after he serves time for his wrongdoing?  It’s been told.  The jilted lover who vows revenge on the creep who wronged her?  It’s been told.  The lunatic fan of a writer who captures him and tortures him in her remote Colorado home?  That’s been told, too.





The three seventh-graders who share the same dream of a mysterious “ghost girl,” and who tell their troubles to the class genius, which, in turn, kicks off a wild, imaginative journey across the void?  Yes.  That’s been told, too . . .



Does this mean we’re all doomed?  That all artists, all creators of any kind are all relegated to endless regurgitations of the same, chewed-over themes and ideas?  To a degree, yes.  But, to a greater degree–absolutely not.  Even though every story has been told a thousand times over, a thousand-thousand times over, there is still much room for originality and “newness.”  But how?  On the surface, this appears to be a contradiction.  How can we offer anything new or different when everything’s already been done?

If we are talking strictly about ideas, themes, plots, techniques, as my friend John was–then yes.  It is impossible to be unique.  But that’s not what we’re talking about.  We are talking about individuals, writers, artists–people.  You and me.  You might write a story about a jilted lover who vows revenge.  Is that “new”?  Of course not.  But!  This particular jilted lover arises from your own imagination, which, in turn, is nurtured and shaped by your own circumstances, perspectives, points of view, experiences, outlooks, and a multitude of other aspects that are uniquely yours.  These aspects, these attributes, then, become the guiding force behind your tale.  They give newness and vitality to your voice.  They present the world with a picture, a story, a creation that only you could have made.



The idea may be as old as time itself.  But the essence, the heart of the story–that is what you bring to it.  A contradiction?  Perhaps.  But I believe it is also the truth.  We all tell the same stories.  And yet . . . we all tell different stories, too, stories that are autographed by our own imaginary and unique fingerprints.

So, John, old friend–if you’re reading this . . . somewhere . . . your quest to create something new and different is in fact possible.  Just write what you feel, write what you fear, write what you hate, write what you love.  From your perspective.

Then share it with the world.

And rest assured . . .

We’ve never seen anything like it before.



Thanks so much for reading!


“One for the Angels” (Or, Win a Gift Card, Any Gift Card!)

In an early Season One episode of The Twilight Zone titled “One for the Angels,” sidewalk salesman Lou Bookman is confronted by Mr. Death.  Death tells the personable, well-liked pitchman that his time has come–he will die at midnight.  Bookman pleads with Death, asking him to postpone his demise until he makes his one last great pitch–“one for the angels,” he calls it.  While he’s made sales all his life, Bookman tells Death he’s never made that big splash, that monumental transaction.   He yearns for the opportunity.



Death grants him his request, but then Bookman tries to outsmart him.  He retires from the sales trade; therefore, the deal with Death is null and void.  If he’s no longer a pitchman, he can’t make that exciting sale he just waxed poetic about.  He will live on indefinitely.  Death has been defeated!

Not so fast.  It turns out that Death needs to take someone–if not Bookman, then someone else.  Mr. Death selects a little girl–a girl Bookman adores.  She lives in the same apartment building as he does, and the two have become friends.  That’s not unusual for Lou Bookman–children always seem to take a liking to him, and he to them.



The girl is hit by a truck, and Bookman feels responsible.  He seeks out Mr. Death, pleads to make a deal with him to spare the girl’s life.  She is in a bed, lying comatose, barely holding on.  He asks to be taken in her place.  But Death refuses.  They had an arrangement.  Bookman broke it, and a new deal was struck.  Death will need to be in the girl’s room at the stroke of midnight to take her with him.



As midnight approaches, Bookman finds Mr. Death on the street and attempts to distract him, knowing that if  Death fails to show up in the girl’s room at midnight, she will live.  Bookman flies into a sales pitch, frantic, determined to succeed.  He shows Death everything he has to sell, and captivates him.  Mr. Death, overwhelmed, finally says, “Give me all you have!”    Midnight comes and goes.  Death has missed his appointed round.  The girl will live.



Lou Bookman has done it–he has made his last great sales pitch–“one for the angels,” indeed.  Now Death will need to take him, as per the original agreement.  In saving the girl’s life, Bookman has sacrificed his own.


The promotional pitch I am offering here cannot compare with the one made by Lou Bookman in The Twilight Zone fifty-four summers ago.  But I hope it will top a similar Eye-Dancers promo I ran back in April.



The concept is the same–during the promotional period, anyone who purchases The Eye-Dancers will have an opportunity to win a gift card.

But the specifics are different.  This promo, for one thing, will last longer–allowing for a possibly much higher gift-card amount to the winner.  Also, the current promo will not be strictly an Amazon affair, as the last one was . . .

Between today (July 11) and August 22, if you buy The Eye-Dancers, wherever it is sold, please notify me–either with a comment on this website, or via email at  I will keep track of  each person who buys the book during this time frame and then, on August 23, the day after the promotion ends, I will randomly select one winner.  The selected person will be awarded a gift card–to anywhere!  If you’d like an Amazon gift card, by all means . . .  Or B & N.  Or even something non-book-related.  Pizza Hut, perhaps?  Your favorite department store?  The choice will be yours!



The amount of the gift card will be based on the number of overall purchases of The Eye-Dancers during the promotional time period.  For each purchase, $2.00 will be earmarked toward the gift card.  So, for example, if there are thirty purchases during the promotion, the gift card would be for $60 (30 purchases x $2.00 per purchase).  The gift card amount, in other words, will be determined by you!  The more purchases, the higher the amount on the gift card.

I’ll draw the winner’s name on Thursday, August 23, and will immediately send an email notifying them of the good news.  And please just remember that if you do purchase The Eye-Dancers during the designated period to make sure and contact me so I can enter your name into the gift-card contest.

The Eye-Dancers is available for purchase at the following online retail locations . . .


B & N:



This promo may not quite be “one for the angels,” but I hope you’ll take part!



Thanks so much for reading!


At the Crossroads of Infinity . . .

Pick a point, any point.  It can, literally, be anything, anywhere, anytime.  From this point, look out in all directions.  Imagine an invisible line, tiny, microscopically thin, shooting through time and space.  If you were to imagine this line replicated again and again and again–would there be any end to it?  A million lines, a billion, a billion-billion . . . they would shoot out, imperceptibly, everywhere, never ending, always seeking and probing and searching for something more.



This is the kind of feeling I always get when I sit down to write a new story.  A story can begin anywhere.  For instance, take the following situation . . .

Sharon is a thirty-year-old woman who works for a computer software company as a technical writer.  She is the only liberal-arts sort of person amid a sea of logically thinking programmers.  She enjoys her job, mostly enjoys her coworkers, but sometimes feels out of place.  On one particular afternoon, she neglects to save a document she has been working on for several hours.  Her mind is elsewhere–on her parents’ divorce, her daughter Lauren’s struggles adjusting to the first grade, her creepy new neighbor who too often studies her with something in his eyes she doesn’t like.  And when the prompt pops up to save her changes, she doesn’t do it.   Only after closing out of the document does she realize what she’s done.  Hours of work gone to waste.  She will need to start all over, work late–it’s a time-sensitive document, and needs to be finished by tomorrow.  How could she have been so stupid?  She calls her sister, asks if she can babysit Lauren until she gets home.  “I’m so sorry,” she says.  Her sister tells her it’s no problem.

Hours later, nearing evening now, she arrives home, exhausted, frustrated.  Alarm bells immediately ring in her head when she pulls into the drive.  Her sister’s car is nowhere to be found.  “It’s okay,” she tells herself.  She must have picked Lauren up and taken her to her own house.  She pulls out her cell, calls her sister.  While the phone on the other end rings, she notices her neighbor sitting out in a lawn chair.  He salutes her with a beer bottle and smiles.  Something inside her crawls.  Of all people, why did he have to buy the house next door?

She gets her sister’s voice mail, leaves a message.  She tries to convince herself that everything is all right, but a bad feeling nags her, takes hold of something deep within, and locks on tight.


Where should this story begin?  What would the first scene look like?  The first paragraph?  The first sentence?  You could start it anywhere.  Maybe at the office, just when Sharon fails to save her changes and realizes she needs to start over.  Maybe earlier that day, in the lunch room, when she has an upsetting conversation with a coworker.  Maybe when she calls her sister, asking her to babysit.  Maybe when she arrives home, sees her ogling neighbor, and gets a bad feeling.  Any one of these starting points would work, along with so many others.  The options beckon, tantalize, mock, jockey for position.  And it doesn’t end when an opening sequence is selected.  Whichever way you begin a story has reverberations that filter through the rest of it, like ripples in a pond.  One sentence leads to the next, one scene shapes and influences the next.  At every stage, there are decisions, choices, and consequences.



When I began writing The Eye-Dancers, I had a premise–three boys each sharing the same dream, three nights in a row.  Each one thinks he is the only one having the dream, not realizing–yet–that it’s a shared experience.  Given this, I could have started the novel anywhere.  I decided to begin with Mitchell Brant in the midst of this recurring nightmare–dreaming of the “ghost girl”–again.  How would the novel read, though, if I had opened with Joe Marma or Ryan Swinton instead?  Or even Marc Kuslanski, the one protagonist who does not experience this dream?  The idea, the overall concept of the plot, might have remained the same, but the end result, with each scene leading in to the next, would have looked quite different.

And of course with writing, with art–there are no airtight equations, no 1 + 2 = 3 comfort zones.



Whatever choice you make on page 7 will influence what happens on page 8, and page 88 and page 308.  It is natural to ask, throughout the process, “Did I make the right choice?”  But the thing is, in a story, in a movie, in a painting, in a song–there is no “right” and “wrong.”  There is only art.  Hopefully, a story will interest and captivate the reader, a movie enthrall the viewer, a painting mesmerize the onlooker, and a song move and engage the listener.  Even then, every reader is different, every viewer unique.  In the end, all we can do is tell our story the best way we know how, tell it with feeling and passion, with heart–tell it because, if we don’t let it out, it will scratch and kick and punch, demanding to be let loose onto the page.

At one juncture in The Eye-Dancers, the intuitive, imaginative Mitchell Brant tells the logical, rational Marc Kuslanski, “Haven’t you ever just felt something to be true?”  When it comes to art–that may well be our best guide as we travel through the myriad choices at our disposal.  You can write the greatest scene in the world (it would pass the technical 1 +2 = 3 test with flying colors)–but if it seems out of place, if it doesn’t feel right to you, then it doesn’t belong in your story.  The detail-oriented work of revisions and line editing await–but the creative first-draft stage is all about endless possibilities and wide, expansive vistas that spread out before us like green, lush valleys full of promise and potential.



All those choices can be daunting.  You can take your story anywhere.  But isn’t life like that, too?  Each moment presents its own limitless set of possibilities, and whichever course you take directly influences the next moment, and the next, and the next . . .

Daunting?  Yes.  But liberating, too.

Because every day, every minute, every second, we stand . . .



. . . at the crossroads of infinity.

Thanks so much for reading!


Guest Post: Juli D. Revezzo–Antique Magic Series

One thing I would like to do a little more of on The Eye-Dancers blog is invite other authors and bloggers to write a guest post or take part in a Q & A for the site.  And you know the old cliche–there’s no time like the present (to get started)!


So if anyone would like to be featured on The Eye-Dancers blog, please contact me either through a comment on this site or by email at  I would love to hear from you!

Without further delay, I’d like to introduce supernatural fantasy writer Juli D. Revezzo, author of the Antique Magic series.  Please welcome her and read more about her fascinating series!



“Eye of the Beholder”


Juli D. Revezzo


The question of perception is one that we face every day.  Do we really understand what we’re seeing sometimes?  Take a car wreck.  Experts say that if you have five different witnesses to the event you will get five different explanations of what happened.

I think the same thing happens in other areas of life.  For instance, is there someone you work with or know that you just love, and others don’t? or vice versa?

Perception, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder and is something that changes throughout life.  There’s a whole field of study on it, including but not limited to Alzheimer’s patients and perception.  Sit in a warm house with an Alzheimer’s sufferer who claims they’re freezing and you’ll understand what I mean.  Or take a look at your car.  Does it really look like the color your registration lists?  (Yes, I’ve heard this question before).

The question of perception concerns even my main character, Caitlin.  In my debut paranormal novel, The Artist’s Inheritance, Caitlin’s husband—an artist—gains a new patron who he, and his mentors in the art community around them, think is just the best person to know.


Caitlin, on the other hand, spends five seconds in the dude’s presence and knows something isn’t right about him. Read here and you’ll see:


“How much will you take for these fine drawings?”

The male voice drew her attention away from Trevor’s work.  A short man with black hair and a lazy eye, dressed in a pinstripe suit and straw hat, crossed the gallery to pause at Trevor’s side.  “They’re your work, are they not? Are they available?”

“Yes, they’re mine,” Trevor said.  “They’re not for sale.  Sorry.”

Caitlin eyed the older man.  Who’s this fella?

“Don’t be absurd, Trevor.”  Abby Wilkins jumped in before Caitlin could ask.

Caitlin took in his fine coat, the diamond gleaming from his ring finger.  More than likely, the man could pay a fortune for the pictures.  Perhaps even the chair they had stashed in the attic.  Maybe they’d be rid of the stupid thing yet.

“For you, Mr. Hofter?  Of course they are.”

“No, I’m sorry,” Trevor said.  “They’re not for sale.”

Abby choked and pulled Trevor aside.  “Are you mad, darling?  Do you know who he is?”

Caitlin peered over Abby’s shoulder, seeing the man in question studying a Jeffersonian era desk.  Trevor grimaced.  “I can’t say I do.”

“That’s Marvin Hofter,”  Mrs. Wilkins said conspiratorially.

“Who’s Marvin Hofter?”  Caitlin asked.

Abby spluttered and tugged at the collar of her linen blouse.  “How can you not know him?”

The name meant nothing; Caitlin could only give her a blank look.  “I don’t.”

“My dear, he’s only the editor in chief of Antiques Daily.”

Now Caitlin understood why Trevor’s mentor was making such a huge deal.

Trevor touched one of the sketches, almost, Caitlin thought, as if he would protect them.  “I’m sorry, no.  The pictures aren’t for sale.”

Hofter pursed his lips and retrieved a card case from the pocket of his silk coat.  He pulled forth an embossed business card and handed it to him.  “If you change your mind, don’t hesitate to call me.”  The man tipped his hat and walked away.

Caitlin kept her gaze on him.  Something about him made her want to grab Trevor and move as far away as possible.  Like to Siberia.


This is something Caitlin struggles with throughout The Artist’s Inheritance; she can’t convince anyone of her feelings about Hofter, and she can’t explain why he makes her uneasy—and he’s not the only one she questions.  It seems everyone around her has some sort of duality.  Is she right about Hofter and the others comprising her husband’s new circle?  Is there something out of the ordinary about them—something supernatural and sinister?  Are they out to harm her family?  How far can she trust her perception of them?  Her questions continue in the follow-up, Caitlin’s Book of Shadows.

I hope you’ll take a look at the stories and find out for yourself.  If you’d like to see how Caitlin’s perception lines up with her reality The Artist’s Inheritance is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords and in paperback from Createspace.

Meanwhile, it’s something to think about, right?  How trustworthy are our perceptions of the world?  Are you sure of what you see?  Or is the world subject to the eye of the beholder?


The balance between good and evil can be an art . . . or a curse.

Trevor and Caitlin were once happy newlyweds, profiting from Trevor’s art.  Until Trevor inherits his brother’s house, and with it, his part of a family curse.  Now, Caitlin will stop at nothing to save her beloved husband from insanity and suicide, even if it means she must embrace her destiny and become a witch.

Caitlin’s perception continues to develop and change throughout the rest of the series.  Book 1.5, Caitlin’s Book of Shadows, is out now at Amazon, and Drawing Down the Shades (Antique Magic, Book two) is coming soon.  Stay tuned! 🙂

Caitlin’s Book of Shadows


Something terrifying stalks Caitlin and her beloved Trevor.  Something the bits and pieces she left claimed she had to make sense of–or so legend says.  When the curator of their collection finds Caitlin’s long-forgotten diary, she wonders if it will tell the whole tale.  Will it tell why Caitlin seemed so determined to tell the difference between reality and nightmare even as she continued the fight to defend her family from evil?  Will it explain why she thought her world twisted?  If she really became a witch?

Perhaps the answer lies between the lines of her story, one of lessons, struggles, and the hopes she carried like a warrior’s shield.

Thanks for having me as your guest, Michael!

About the Author

Juli D. Revezzo has long been in love with writing, a love built by devouring everything from the Arthurian legends, to the works of Michael Moorcock and the classics, and she has a soft spot for the “Goths” of the 19th century.  Juli received a Bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of South Florida, and her short fiction has been published in Dark Things II: Cat Crimes, The Scribing Ibis, Eternal Haunted Summer, Twisted Dreams Magazine and Luna Station Quarterly.  She also has an article and book review or two out there.  But her heart lies in the storytelling.  She is a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour.

You can find all the books in the Antique Magic series at: Amazon:

And you can learn more about Juli at:

Her homepage:






Thanks so much for the great post, Juli!

And thanks to everyone for reading!


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