Here are what I’ve published so far.
This is my first book of poetry. Long finished, I had waited on publishing it in hopes that I could have it illustrated. Alas, lack of funds to finance it myself, along with the decision that the worlds would just have to make it on their own, led me to decide to publish this now.
It’s the story of a day a dad spends with his daughter. You won’t find any car chases in this. Not a lot of conflict, except the conflict in the mind of the dad as he regrets that he made the promise, almost didn’t fulfill it, and struggles with during the day. I include a couple of poems from the daughter’s perspective.
The poems are mostly in forms (as opposed to free verse), though not all are in rhyme. A couple of them make use of blank verse (un-rhymed but metered). Quite a few are short, either cinquains or haikus. I scatter some sonnets among them. Hopefully this will be enjoyable, not just for lovers of poetry, but for everyone who values family relationships.
At present it is only available as a print book at Amazon.
OPERATION LOTUS SUNDAY
Are they tourists, or are they smugglers and spies? Roger and Sandra Brownwell, American expatriates on an around-the-world vacation with their two preschool children, are scheduled for two weeks across China. It’s 1983, only two years after China opened to tourism. They are looking forward to the tour, a once in a lifetime opportunity neither dreamed of even a year before: the Great Wall, the Stone Forest, the terracotta soldiers, and the giant pandas await them. But in Hong Kong a missionary friend talks them into smuggling Chinese Bibles and delivering them in Beijing. So they add that to their already sizable amount of luggage and crammed itinerary. And in Guangzhou they talk to the wrong Chinese man, and in so doing send him away from where the CIA was going to extract him. When confronted by the CIA, they feel they must agree to go to extraordinary lengths to help save the man. Operation Lotus Sunday follows the Brownwells through China as they try to right the wrong they unwittingly did, and save a young man’s life while not ripping apart their marriage that was already under strain—traveling with rambunctious children and under the scrutiny of the Chinese government. From Guangzhou to Guilin to Kunming to the Stone Forest to Chengdu to Xian to Beijing, Operation Lotus Sunday provides plenty of danger, temptation, sights, and intimate possibilities. From the book: “Hey, you’re in a Communist country. . . You need to play this part now just as much as I do. You think I want this? I was traveling with a gorgeous woman and had great sex with her every day we worked together. Now I’m traveling with Bible-thumping Mommy.” Available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. Available from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and other places as an e-book.
IN FRONT OF FIFTY THOUSAND SCREAMING PEOPLE
Ronny Thompson just wants to play baseball. He’s good at it, and can pitch the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series victory in over a century. So why are all these Mafia-like events swirling around in his life? How does he extricate himself from them? And how does he concentrate on winning baseball games, rather than on his estranged relationship with his parents, his girlfriend, an aggressive reporter, and so much his Kansas farm upbringing didn’t prepare him for? In Front Of Fifty Thousand Screaming People is Ronny Thompson’s story, of his first two major league seasons. While he adjusts to the big city, two Mafia Dons have a major bet in place, and Ronny Thompson is the key to who wins and who loses. One Don seeks to protect him from the interferences of the other. Despite this Mafia crossfire, Ronny excels, the Cubs play above their abilities, and the whole nation takes an interest in the outcome of the season.
This is the sequel to In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People. Ronny Thompson continues in his baseball career, despite the problems from the prior season. He has further adjustments to make, and challenges. On the ballfield, he doesn’t have the kind of success as he did the prior season, though he still does well. In his personal life, he tries to find ways of having a very private life and keep it hidden from the public, while at the same time living a very public life as a major leaguer. At the same time the Mafia Dons who were for and against him last season are now out to get the woman that he loves, and he feels a need to protect her. It all comes to a head in the way you would expect it to when the Mafia is involved.
DOCTOR LUKE’S ASSISTANT
Luke, the beloved physician, returns to the Holy Land to write a massive biography of Jesus. To help him with research that a Gentile can’t do, he hires Augustus ben Adam, a young Jewish scribe. Augustus is somewhat of a bumbler, though he takes fairly well to working with Luke, as they work in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Galilee to find witnesses to the Messiah and to write the large book. Luke, however, runs afoul of both a corrupt Roman official and the Jewish leadership, both of whom try to sabotage his work. At times Augustus plays into the hands of Luke’s enemies. To impress a young woman in the Jerusalem church he bribes a prison guard to obtain her father’s release. Luke is blamed for it and almost deported. Two of Augustus’ good friends turn out to be spies for the Romans and the Jews. Always the development of Luke’s book proceeds. Augustus plays a big part of it, even though he doesn’t believe in the Messiah he is researching. All events lead to a reckoning with Luke’s Roman nemesis before the book can be finished. Click here to see it at the Kindle Store and here to see it at Smashwords.
THE GUTTER CHRONICLES
For several years I’ve written a humorous series at work, which I called The Gutter Chronicles: The Continuing Saga of Norman D Gutter, Engineer. I began this at least ten years ago, wrote a few page “episode,” and distributed it to a select few who I knew would give it wide dissemination in the company. They are all gone now, but I decided to restart the series. When I got to fifteen episodes, I decided to pull them together as a novella and publish them, as an e-book only. Here are links at Amazon and Smashwords. It’s not yet in the Smashwords premium catalog (and hence not at B&N, iTunes, and others) until I can tweak the cover.
WHISKEY, ZEBRA, TANGO
My short story, “Whiskey, Zebra, Tango”, is finished. I decided to write this story, which is based on a police action that happened in Cranston, RI in January 2011, using one of my school friends as the sort of main character. She will is an ex-CIA agent now located in Cranston, who helps a Middle Eastern man escape from the police. That puts her under investigation, and could uncover sensitive CIA operations. The story is approximately 7,000 words. This is available at Amazon and Smashwords, including the Smashwords premium catalog.
CHARLEY DELTA DELTA
This is the second short story in the series about Sharon Williams Fonseca, unconventional CIA agent. In the first story, Whiskey Zebra Tango, Sharon was semi-retired and living in her home town, yet was still used by the CIA for special projects. One of those projects ran afoul of local law enforcement, who found Fonseca a slippery customer. This second story takes us back to 1988, when Fonseca is in Greece. A struggling agent is assigned to follow her for a few days in Athens, leading him to believe she is a rogue agent. He struggles with the demands of being a one-man operation, yet witnesses something he is certain is evidence that Fonseca has indeed gone bad. Then everything explodes around him. Available at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and other places.
The Candy Store Generation: How The Baby Boomers Are Screwing Up America
Baby Boomers are now in charge of the United States. In the presidency, the Congress, the Courts, and in business. How are they doing in their positions of leadership? Not very well, if we look at the debt condition of our nation. They are not living up to the examples set by the generations before them. The nation is sinking under a mountain of public and private debt, and the Boomers in charge seem oblivious to it. They are willing to steal their children’s retirement, and their grandchildren’s college funds, to make sure no one in their own generation lives in want or lacks comforts. In this book I look at the leadership the Boomers have given since they became the dominant force in government and business around 2001. Looking at Congress’ response to the 9-11 attacks and their economic aftermath, and at the Panic of 2008, I find the Boomers have done an awful job of moving the USA forward. The Candy Store Generation is available at Kindle and Smashwords, and should soon be distributed to other e-reader stores. It will also soon be available in a print version at Amazon.
Documenting America: Lessons From the United States’ Historical Documents – Homeshcool Edition
Taking my earlier volume, I have added questions and some short essays for the home to complete. I see this as a high school elective, not as a history text. A homeschooled high schooler who is interested in US history should find this book to be of interest. The book is available on Kindle and Smashwords, and will soon be distributed by Smashwords to most e-reader platforms. I will also have a print book available soon. In addition, I have completed a short document for the homeschool instructor, providing answers to questions and some additional information on how assignments might be made. This is available for free just by sending me an e-mail to norman_d_gutter at yahoo dot com.
Documenting America: Lessons from the United States’ Historical Documents
The United States is rich in documents, many which remain in obscurity, but which contain valuable information about the formation of this nation, while at the same time contain lessons for where we are right now. In this book, a number of these documents are quoted in large blocks, the importance of the document explained, and relevancy for America shown. The documents selected cover the 18th and 19th centuries. The colonial era, the run up to Independence, the formative years, and the rise to the beginning of being a great world power are all herein. Click here to see it at the Kindle store. And here to see it at the Smashwords store. And, for those of you who prefer to hold a paper book in your hands rather than an e-book, a paper version is available at CreateSpace.
A Short Story
Thirteen year old Danny Tompkins is at the end his first week of scout camp, waiting for his family to arrive to pick him up. They are very late. He wins a special award, but they aren’t there to see it. At last his dad arrives. On the drive home he learns his mom is much, much sicker than he realized. They are going straight to the hospital. Forty years later, Daniel Tompkins comes across a letter his mom wrote him while he was at camp. Seeing those words again releases memories of those tragic events. Available at the Kindle store (though with a different cover). And at the Smashwords store.
TOO OLD TO PLAY
A short story
Thirteen year old Danny Tompkins can’t believe the party that is going on at his house, right after his mother was buried. Drinks, smoke, wild laughter comes from the adults. The young cousins are in the yard playing. But for Danny there’s no place to hide. He’s too old to play, plus he doesn’t want to. Decades later the adult Daniel returns to his childhood home and relives the memories of those awful events, even “seeing” the participants from room to room. Visits to the graves follow. To fulfill an assignment in an adult education fine arts class, he writes a sonnet explaining the memories. Available at the Kindle store. Available at the Smashwords store.
This is the third in my series of short stories dealing with teenage grief. Daniel Tompkins is attending a convention near his hometown. In some downtime he visits the old neighborhood, then decides to walk the mile to his old junior high school. He does he finds a stone on the sidewalk and kicks it on ahead. This brings back memories of how he kicked stones on those walks to school so many decades before. Memories of those days flood back, of how he dealt with his grief in the weeks immediately after his mother’s death. No counseling was given in those days, and he had to resume the routines of life, family, school, and activities almost as if nothing had happened. As he walks and kicks, he realizes an old practice was a form of grief relief for him.
Saturday Haircuts, Tuesday Funeral
This is the fourth in my series dealing with teenage grief. Danny Thompkins observes his dad in the days immediately following his mother’s death. He takes the boys to get haircuts, and observes what seems to him to be too much levity in how his father deals with the barber.
Once again, the older Daniel Thompkins then looks back upon this time, decades after the event, and tries to interpret what was going on. He had come to think much of his dad and all that he went through, raising three teenagers as a single father. The memories help him deal with this as an adult.
What Kept Her Alive?
[image of cover to be added] Daniel Tompkins realizes the 5oth anniversary of his mother’s death is approaching. A scene comes to his mind from his childhood, something he hasn’t thought of for years. His mom has returned from a long hospitalization, and his dad is helping her be reacquainted to the house. Daniel thinks about how much pain she must have been in, not only then but through the rest of her life as multiple physical problems hit her. What kept her alive, he wonders? In all the pain it would have been so easy to just give up. Daniel explores his memories of his mom, having a good remembrance of all she did.
Thomas Carlyle’s Edinburgh Encyclopedia Articles
I came across the writings of Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle almost by accident, from following other writers to him. Some of his stuff I found to be dated, mainly his political writings. Some of his later works are downright offensive as he seeks to justify slavery and subjugation of the Black race. But some of his earlier stuff was quite good, and timeless. I started studying him, especially his earlier writings, and found the articles he wrote for the Edinburgh Encyclopedia just at the outset of his career. They were nicely written, simple historical pieces.
Some of those had been gathered into a posthumous volume in the late 1800s, but they had never all been gathered into one volume. I decided to do so, and this is the result. This is not something I anticipate being a commercial success. It’s more of a labor of enjoyment, and a learning experience for me, at being an editor, and at publishing public domain material, including all the formatting and checking that goes with the task. It is available only at Amazon, both as a print book and e-book.
Seth Boynton Cheney: Mystery Man of the West
This is a family history book, about 1/3 narrative, 2/3 family data. Seth Cheney was my wife’s paternal great-grandfather. He left upstate Vermont when he was 16 to go to California in the Gold Rush. The story passed down through the family was that he was a 49er. His family knew only that, and that he arrived in the Texas Panhandle about 30 years later, and moved to Meade County in southwestern Kansas a couple of years later. It was there that he married a much younger woman and raised a family.
Genealogy research has both proved and disproved the story. We find footprints for Seth in California, but not when and where expected. And we find lingering footprints for him in New England, where we didn’t expect him to be.
This is not a book for the general public. It’s listed here, and available as a print-book only at Amazon, so that cousins in the extended family can obtain copies. It might also be of interest to those researching John Cheney of Newbury in Massachusetts Bay Colony, as Seth descended from him. The book as 20 pages of data on John.
The Learning Curve
It Happened at the Burger Joint
This short story is of a man back who looks up a friend from forty years ago. He remembered the house she lived in when they worked together at the Burger Joint, while he was in college and she in high school. Sure enough, he finds her house, learns that she is still living there, but also that she is in the last stages of life after a fight with cancer. She wasn’t exactly an old flame, but they had had feeling for each other.
He spends a couple of hours at her house, getting to know her daughter and sisters, and going through old memorabilia she had collected, which included a couple of things about him. He goes on about his business trip, while the daughter ponders exactly what he was to her mom, and the effect he has on her as she’s dying.