I have been blessed with a life rich with the compost of drama. But many of the personalities who have contributed to that ferment still live, and I wouldn’t want to impinge on their privacy. On the other hand, their contributions to my life have been far too precious for the storyteller in me to discard. Instead, I have fashioned a fictional world in which these personalities can thrive under layers of disguise. I have crafted a lead character whom I’ve nicknamed Kip, because his real name proves too difficult to live with, and whom I have settled in a little community called Venice on the Massachusetts coast.
Kip is close to seventy, and he has recently retired from teaching literature and writing at a little Midwestern college. Actually, “retired” is a misleading term. Kip is a man whose bread has always managed to land jam side down, and his life was in shambles. That is until Rufus Nichols, a colleague, passed away and left him the house in Venice where Nichols used to spend summers writing reasonably successful gothic romances. Going to inspect his new house, Kip was instructed to collect the keys from the postmistress, the willowy widow Amanda Lazaro. Kip’s romantic soul comes up with an equally romantic explanation for Ms. Lazaro’s holding keys to his late colleague’s house and he is immediately smitten. He decides to cut his rickety Midwestern bridges, settle in the summer house, and turn his lemon of a life into the Great American Novel, while he pursues the favors of the delectable part-time sculptress, Postmistress Amanda.
Unfortunately the writing teacher in Kip and the ambitious new novelist are not on the same page and the G.A.M. collapses of its own ponderous weight. As Kip drifts aimlessly in his new community, so begins the saga of Kip Kippur and the inhabitants of Venice, Massachusetts.
In Writer's Block (Fireship Press 2010) we meet Kip, follow him to Venice, and join his adventures as he drifts, following the collapse of his ambitious novel. He drifts into a vicious murder, a married lady’s hot tub, and an invitation to sail to Florida in November weather on a sailboat of questionable seaworthiness with a captain nobody will sail with. Kip’s strong moral sense compels him to do right by all his perceived newly acquired obligations.
The story comes to a heart-stopping climax as Kip manages to survive his ordeals by a totally unexpected ploy, wins the delectable Amanda, and sails off with her to Venice, Italy to drink Prosecco in the Piazza San Marco.
The Best Sunset in Venice (Fireship Press 2011) finds Kip, now a successful novelist, and his bride enjoying the pleasures of Europe when the Venice, Mass. librarian e-mails them to return. Kip, however, discovers that his creative Amanda is also creatively accident prone. In Barcelona she had an allergic reaction to something that swelled her face to the extent that she no longer resembled her passport photo, and they couldn’t leave Spain. At the Athens train station she hyperventilated making Kip run around looking for a paper bag for her to breathe into…....in Greek. Back in Massachusetts he discovers that her late, abusive husband, Scott, is not quite as “late” as Kip was lead to believe, when the man shows up on their doorstep and sends Kip searching for his gun. And Kip can’t get the night he shared a hot tub with the beautiful, urbane Lill Randall out of his mind. It takes a former Green Beret with his power cruiser, a group of inebriated psychologists, and a massage from a woman colonel in the Israeli army to clear up Kip’s problems.
In A Scandal in Venice (Fireship Press 2012) Kip is asked to become father figure to a needy, adolescent Erik. Looking forward to a summer of male bonding on his new sailboat, Kip discovers that Erik is terrified of sailing and much prefers to learn sculpting from Amanda. Amanda, in the meantime, decides to reconcile Kip with his memory of his deceased, overbearing mother and finds the late Mrs. Kippur formidable even in death. And Kip’s memory of the fateful night in Lill Randall’s hot tub remains as strong as ever.
In Alexander’s Part Time Band (scheduled for release in 2013) Kip’s boarding school roommate, Alex, shows up needy on their doorstep, recalling memories better left forgotten. Alex believes his own problems would be solved if he bonded with his hostile, orange-haired, saxophone-playing grandson, Thor, and the creative Amanda manages to find a way to achieve that improbable bonding.
In the meanwhile, Kip, who has come to enjoy his new celebrity, discovers to his horror that his writing ability derives directly from Amanda’s excess creative energy and that he can only write while sitting within her aura. This problem gets solved as well. But Kip still has many problems left, and they will be dealt with in future Kip-and-Amanda adventures.
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