No News


, , ,

You are reading excerpts from Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl. This is presented as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The first post is dated April 1, 2014.  Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl ends April 30.

“A certain wiseguy disappeared many years ago. Jimmy a.k.a. ‘The Little Hammer’ had arranged to meet some business associates at a restaurant well-known for its veal scalopine. He wore his lucky blue shirt, but luck was not a lady that afternoon. He ain’t been seen since. In Jimmy’s situation ‘no news’ was not good news. In your case, no news means just that…NO NEWS. Patience, panettone!”  Moe D’Vation

I checked my email. Nothing. I checked my snail mail. Zip. I stomped to the kitchen table. Moe sat in a cloud of cigar smoke with a stack of papers in front of him. He sported new reading glasses which made him look like an Italian Buddy Holly.

“Nothing. Not one stinking thing,” I complained. Moe clicked a red pen and scratched on the paper.

“Too early,” he said. “It takes time. Agents and editors have piles of papers on their desk.”

“Thank you for the vote of confidence, Mr. Muse,” I crabbed.

“Sheesh! Don’t get your underguchies in a wad.”

“My underguchies are not in a wad!”

“Au contraire, mon ami. That’s the only French phrase you will ever hear me speak. You have been tense since we sent off the queries. ” He punctuated the air with the red pen. “Do you know what you need to do?”

“Yeah,” I grumped. “Take that red pen and stick it…..” He wagged his finger at me.

“Watch your mouth, sister. Sit down.”

“I don’t want to sit down.”

“Park it, toots!”

“It is time for a big Moe monologue?” I slunk to my usual chair and glared at him.

“I’m going to ignore that,” he said. “Here’s an Italian word to add to your vocabulary—pazienza. Repeat after me…pot-zee-en-za.”

“Do I have to?” I grumbled.

“Yes. Say it!” Moe ordered.

“Pot-zee-en-za,” I said. “Big deal. What’s it mean?”

“Patience,” Moe said. “You want to be a writer, right?”


“Panettone, pazienza is a word that you should keep close to your heart. Don’t sit around bemoaning your fate. You’ll get an ulcer or develop eye twitches. Start a new project. Agents and editors want to see the works…not one stinking work. When the going gets tough, the tough…”

“I know,” I interrupted. “The tough write.”

“Rigghhht! No news is just that…no news! Keep on hoping and keep on going. Pazienza!”



, , , , , ,

You are reading excerpts from Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl. This is presented as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The first post is dated April 1, 2014.  Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl ends April 30.

“If the sauce is bland, I will only take one bite. One! Same with writing. It must be full of flavor. Ditch the bland verbs. Spice the action.”  Moe D’Vation

Moe swooped through the front door carrying a dripping umbrella and a plastic bag.

“Sheesh. It’s pouring! Just call me Moe-ah!”

“Your pomade is sliding, Moe.” I grabbed a kitchen towel and tossed it to my muse. Moe mopped his forehead and whipped out his pocket comb. With a swoop he anchored his comb-over.

“How’s that?” he asked. “Is the fur in place?” I tapped the top of my head.

“The pink is winking.”  He combed his hair again.


I nodded yes.

“Getting older sucks,” he declared. “What’s a muse to do? I need some of that Rogaine.”

“What are you packing?” I pointed to the bag under his arm. Moe grinned from ear to ear.

“It’s a little something I wanted to share with you. Coffee brewed?”

“Yep. The laptop is charged and the jelly doughnuts plated. We are good to go!”

“Great! Pull up a chair. I brought a family album.”

“Whose family?” I poured his coffee.

“Mine, toots!” He slurped his java.

“I didn’t know you had a family.”

“Of course, I have a family. Mama and Papa are long gone, but la famiglia è tutto, panettone. Family is everything!” He opened the album. “First picture….Mama.” Coffee almost erupted from my nose.


“Wow…what can I say?” I wiped my mouth to buy time. “Um…adorable?”

“Really? You think so? She’s been called many things. Adorable, ain’t one of them.”

“The hair is a bit severe, but it enhances her right eye.”

“That’s being very considerate, sugar. My mama was hell on wheels, but she made good pasta.” He turned a leaf in the album. “Here’s my papa.” My eyes widened.


“I like his…tie.” Now I knew where Moe acquired his eyes. Mama and Daddy contributed a ‘squint’ gene.

“Yeah, he was a snappy dresser. He loved my mama more than anything which was a challenge. She made his life miserable, but they did one thing that kept their marriage a’going.”

“I’m afraid to ask,” I said. “You’re not going to spill dirty family secrets, are you?”

“No, panettone! This is clean. We’re talking about my parents.” He tapped the page. “These two loved to mambo!”

“Mambo? Like the dance?”

“Yep! My parents fought like cats and dogs, but as soon as Papa put on the Mambo music, everything was copacetic! They moved and grooved.  Mambo was the spice that kept their marriage safe and sound. ”

“Moe, this is so nice of you to share. Is this a writing lesson, or an acknowledgement of my crummy love life?”

“It’s a writing lesson, panettone. I will not comment on your love life or the lack thereof. A lot of writers use bland terms for actions. You should tweak your words. Don’t say ‘jump’. Instead say ‘bounded or ‘sprang’ or…”


“Good one! What about walked? Any synonyms that sound more exciting?”

“Strolled. Loped. Sauntered. Ambled. Promenaded. Treaded…”

“Whoa,” Moe interrupted. “You got it!”

“No, but there’s more! Stepped. Hobbled. Hoofed. Limped. Lurched. Minced.” I took a deep breath.”Paced. Paraded. Perambulated.”

“Sweet St. Anthony! Panettone, you are like a walking thesaurus.”

“I could probably pull a few more out of my noggin, Moe.”

“Naah! You got the picture, sister. Here’s a Moe rule to follow: Don’t use the same-old same-old to describe actions. Spice it! Put some mambo in your writing.”

Moe’s suggested listening music:  Papa Loves Mambo by  Dino Paul Crocetti (Dean Martin)

Leave It Alone!


, , , , ,

You are reading excerpts from Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl. This is presented as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The first post is dated April 1, 2014.  Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl ends April 30.

“I had a friend who decided to help himself to a few of my prized possessions. He did it once. Do not borrow that which is not yours. Capesh?”  Moe D’Vation

I breezed into the kitchen, grabbed my happy face mug, and pranced to the coffee pot. Moe sat at the kitchen table slurping java with an ice bag on his head and a bottle of Pepto-Bismol by his side.

“Mornin’, Mr. Muse!”

“Moe. Plain Moe, sister,” he grumbled.

“What a glorious day! I feel a song coming on!” I warbled like Debbie Reynolds, “Good mornin’! Good mornin’! I wrote the whole night through! Good mornin’! Good mornin’ to you!” I spooned sugar into my coffee and sipped the pure black sweetness. I rolled my eyes in caffeinated ecstasy. “Oh, my joe has perfect mojo!”

I tap-danced to my usual chair imitating Donald O’Connor. (Of course, he had more rhythm.) I sat and ran my fingers along the edge of my laptop. “Actually, I didn’t write all night long. Just until 2:00 a.m. But, honey, it was invigorating! Whee!”  Moe winced. “What’s with the ice bag and the pink yuck?” I asked.

“I ate fried clams for dinner last night.” He unscrewed the Pepto-Bismol and swigged. “I was up to the wee hours for a different reason, and I have a splitting headache.”

“Yikes! Sad times, Moe,” I sipped my java. “Hmm…I love coffee. Black gold. The elixir of life itself. Plain Joe. Mocha Joe. Bean Juice. Go Juice. The Brewster. My daily infusion. My little helper. I could go on and on.”

“Please don’t!” He adjusted the ice bag on his head.

“I’m sorry you feel bad, Moe. Would you like an aspirin?”

“I’m good, toots.”

“Just let me know.” I patted my laptop. “Hello, big story! How are you this morning?” I whispered to Moe. “Listen! Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

I placed my ear on the laptop.

“Oh, Moe! It called me mama!” I kissed the computer. “Don’t worry, my little word baby. I will take good care of you. What? A song? Of course, sweet little bookie-wookie.” I lullabied my laptop. “Twinkle. Twinkle, little book…someday…someday… you’ll be on a Nook!” I raised the lid and hit the power button.  “I have great news, Moe!”

“What?” He snorted and raised a hand to massage his temple. “Are you auditioning for Singin’ in the Rain?”

“No, silly old muse!” I giggled. “I inserted this wonderful passage in Chapter 23. Cindy Lou is yearning for love. I have her standing on a balcony wailing ‘Some Enchanted Evening’.

“From South Pacific?”

“Oh, yeah…the entire song.” I patted my heart. “I’m telling you it will make the reader weep. It is so poignant. So full of emotion…so full of….”

“It’s full of something,” Moe interrupted. “Panettone, that song is under copyright.”


“So you can’t just copy the whole song.”

“Why not?” I asked. “Doesn’t it fall under fair use?”

Moe took the ice bag off his head. “All right. I guess this is your legal lesson for the day. Answer the following questions. Ready?”


“Do you own the copyright to ‘Some Enchanted Evening’, panettone?”

“No, but…”

“No buts! Do you have permission from Rodgers and Hammerstein to use the lyrics in your tome?”

“No, but…”

“Stop with the but’s. Is the use of this song commercial?”

“Well, duh, Moe. If my book is published, maybe I will be rolling in the greenbacks, i.e. moolah, dinero, simoleons, serious dough, cabbage, clams, lettuce, bucks, sawbucks, wampum, shekles….”

“That is a yes. Did you use just a few words from the song or the whole damn thing?”

“The whole thing.” I slumped in my chair. “Oh…something tells me that I will re-writing that passage.”

“Here’s the scoop, panettone. You can reference the song title, but you cannot spout the lyrics to “Some Enchanted Evening”. It’s not in the public domain. The same goes with the “Good Morning” Song from Singing in the Rain. Now Twinkle Twinkle is. You can slaughter that ditty as much as you want. Nobody will be riding your tail legally.”

“Well, back to the old drawing board.”

“Just climb the ladder in the right direction and don’t use other people’s stuff to scribble on the rungs.” Moe swigged more Pepto. “Hey, I’ll take that aspirin now.”

Moe’s Suggested Listening Music:  Don’t be a Do-Badder by Frank Sinatra with Dean, Bing, and Sammy


Know Da Ponies


, , , , ,

You are reading excerpts from Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl. This is presented as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The first post is dated April 1, 2014.  Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl ends April 30.

“If you are going to write about something, research it. That’s why God made the Google!”  Moe D’Vation

Moe read the newspaper while I pounded the keys. He held the paper at arm’s length and squinted.

“You are going to get a headache, Moe,” I warned.

“No, I’m not!”

“Yes, you will!  Do you need readers?”

Moe snickered, “Honey, you’ll need some readers when your literary masterpiece is published.”

“Very funny. I’m talking about reading glasses.”

“For your information, Miss Smartypants, I am not old enough for bifocals.”

“Yeah, right.” I rolled my eyes.

“Things are getting a bit tiny though.” He gave me a hard look. “I’m talking about the print.”

“I didn’t say a thing.”

“You didn’t have to. I know your brains.”

“Yada yada yada,” I said.

“So do you have any, sister?”

“Any what?”


“No, Mr. Moe D’Vation, I do not. But I have a magnifying glass.” I stood to retrieve it. I handed it to him. “Sherlock Holmes, I presume.”

“Very funny!” He took the glass. “Get back to work!” He laid the newspaper on the table and flipped the pages. “I like reading the obits to see who’s under the grass.” He poured over the page filtering everything through the magnifier. “This is so cool. I can see the dots over the i’s, and I’m not straining my eyes.”

“I’m glad that I could aid in your perusal of the dead and punctuation. Could you keep it down? I’m working!”

“Sure, toots.” He returned to the obits. “Hmm…Frankie the Fish got hooked. They’re planting him at Sunnyview. Poor schmuck. Lung cancer got him. No wonder. He smoked like a fish.”


“Sorry, panettone. I’ll be quiet.” He was silent for a few seconds and then….

“What the red marinara of Mary!” He waded the newspaper and threw it across the room.

“Hey, I was going to read that!”

“Save yourself the frustration, sister.” I retrieved the newspaper and smoothed the pages. “I don’t want to look at it. Take it away!” Moe ordered.

“All right! I’ll put it in the kitchen.” I placed it on the counter and yelled, “What crawled up your shorts?”

Moe stood in the doorway with the magnifying glass in his hand. He shook his head and groaned.

“You shouldn’t have given this to me. I wouldn’t have known.” I plucked the glass from his hand.

“What the red marinara of Mary are you talking about?” I demanded.

“The paper! It listed the capital of Italy as….”


“No. Florence! Some goof ball got it wrong. Didn’t the numb nut reporter know how to goog?”

“Goog? Are you talking about Google?”

“ Goog…google…who cares. My point is that the world is at your fingertips these days. There’s no reason to be ignorant about stuff. That’s a writing lesson in itself. Do you do your research like a good writer? Do you read the specs on the ponies?”

“I don’t gamble, Moe, but I goog all the time.”

“I thought so. You’re a smart girl. Anyways…let me have that paper back. I want to read the sports page.” I handed him the paper.  “I’ll need the big glass eye, too.” I gave him the magnifying glass.

“Can I get back to work now, Moe?”

“Sure, toots. Just tell me later where I get reading glasses. Capesh?”


Moe’s Suggested Listening Music: More Than You Know by Lena Horne


Jack of All Trades


, , , ,

You are reading excerpts from Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl. This is presented as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The first post is dated April 1, 2014.  Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl ends April 30.

“Don’t be jumping around genres like a freakin’ bunny rabbit. My Uncle Vinnie spent a lifetime perfecting his Sunday sauce. He never made anything else…no frutti di mare, no funghi e piselli, and no damn alfredo. Learn everything about your writing genre, panetonne.  Be Vinnie! Perfect your discipline.  Moe D’Vation

“Are you ready?” Moe asked as he placed two paper bags of groceries onto my kitchen counter.

“Yeah. Sort of. Do I have to wear this hairnet?” My short red hair stuck out between the threads, and I looked like an Irish hedgehog.

“Sure you do, toots. I don’t want any hair in my pasta.” He knotted a white apron around his middle and popped a chef’s hat onto his head. I cackled with laughter.

“What’s so funny?” Moe asked.

“You look like Chef Boyardee! The two of you could be twins. With the apron and the hat….and that little cookie duster on your upper lip.”

“Panettone!” Moe shook his finger at me. “Ettore Boiardi was a real chef. He made a lot of bucks with his Beefaroni.”

“It was a compliment, Moe. I’ve eaten a ton of Beefaroni.” I wiped my eyes.  I’m ready for my cooking…writing…pasta lesson.”

“All right. This is serious work here. We’re making my Uncle Vinnie’s Sunday sauce. Prepare yourself. We are going to be doing a lot of things.” He unloaded the grocery bags as he spoke. “Vegetable chopping! Browning meat….and the simmer. For hours. Then we will make the pasta.”

“Make pasta? Are you kidding me? We’re not going to use a box of Skinners? And what’s wrong with a jar of red stuff?” Moe threw his hands up in the air.

“Madonna mia! I cannot believe you said that. My mother would turn over in her grave if she knew that I used a jar of…I don’t even want to say the word.”

“Moe, I don’t cook. Ever. Except for instant oatmeal.”

“You’ll learn, sugar. The Italian way!”

And so it began. The cooking lesson from Hell. Because there was a fire. Yes, a fire. The dishtowel that I used as a pot holder caught on the electric burner and ignited. Nothing flames like cotton!  I used olive oil to douse it. NOTE: oil is an accelerant.

The smoke alarms blared! Mr. Googins, my upstairs neighbor, (God bless his soul) called 911. In a desperate move Moe poured our simmering sauce over the flames while I beat the small flare-ups with the garlic bread.  And our freshly made pasta? We threw the boiling batch of gluten onto the whole burning mess, and guess what? It smothered the fire! When the fire trucks arrived (three to be exact), Moe and I were standing in a puddle of red sauce with noodles sticking to our legs, and my apartment smelled like an Italian barbecue shack.

Don’t worry. The only casualties were Moe’s chef hat (he used it to beat the hairnet on my head) and my pride…oh…and $55.00 worth of groceries. After all the to-do was over, I sat with my muse nursing a glass of merlot.

“Well, that went well, didn’t it?” Moe muttered.

“Yeah. I’m worn out. I don’t think I’m up to a writing lesson.”

“Toots, that was the writing lesson!” Moe drained his glass. I filled it and topped mine. I offered him charred garlic bread.

“Thanks, panettone.” He took a bite. “Not bad. Smoky.”

“So…what was the big lesson for today?” I asked.

“How to apply yourself to the task at hand.” He drained his glass again and belched. “Sorry, grilled bread gives me the burps.” I let one rip.

“Wow, sister,” he exclaimed. “That was powerful.”

“Thanks, Moe. Go ahead, docente.”

“Look at you. You’ve been studying Italian, haven’t ya?”

“Un po’.”

He shook his head and grinned. I giggled.

“So teach me!” I said.

“All right. Ever heard the expression ‘jack of all trades/master of none?’

“Sure.” I dipped charred bread in my wine and gnawed on it.

“Here’s the dish. When you write, don’t genre hop! Stick to your area of expertise. Don’t hop around from fantasy to romance to whatever the hell is new because it is different. Be a student of your genre. Write like a maniaco! ”

“That’s good. I like that, Moe, but what if you don’t know your genre?”

“I think everybody who strives to write knows what speaks to them. It’s like they are talking to themselves and the reader, too. Know yourself. Know what you like and pursue.”

“Good advice, Moe. Do you know what I would like?”


“Some really good spaghetti. The kind that makes you want to lick your plate.”

“That is what you would have had if the great fire hadn’t consumed our offering to Edesia, the Roman goddess of food.”

“Bummer.” I heaved a sigh. “You know…there is an excellent Italian restaurant around the corner.”

“Really?” Moe asked. “They don’t serve charred garlic bread, do they?”

“Nope…soft breadsticks… and it would be my treat.”

“Now you are talking, toots. Let’s mangia!”

Moe’s Suggested Listening Music: Mambo Italiano by Rosemary Clooney




, , , , ,

You are reading excerpts from Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl. This is presented as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The first post is dated April 1, 2014.  Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl ends April 30.

“Where do you think the words are coming from? A gumball machine? Each and every one of them is from above…it’s divine. Appreciate that fact.” Moe D’Vation

I walked down the hallway rubbing my eyes. Oh, how I hate mornings! Chirping birds! Barking dogs! Garbage trucks and….

“Moe? What the heck!” My muse sat at the kitchen table with a over-sized top hat on his head. “We need to have a serious talk about knocking and using the front door. ”

“Sorry. Let’s start over.” He motioned to the table. “Morning, panettone!”

Whoa! A covered dish? Orange juice! Coffee! I inhaled the aroma. Dark Sumatra! This was better than room service.

“Sit your buttzinsky down! I have provided a repast.” I plopped into a chair and peeked under the draped plate. He swatted my hand.

“Wait a second! Don’t be jumping the gun. Don’t you wanna know where this banquet came from?”

“No. I just want to eat it.”

“Wrong! All the elements of a meal should be savored including the background info.”

“Please. Please. Please. I’m really hungry.” I made puppy paws with my hands and whined.

“Ah, sheesh! Go for it!”

I uncovered the dish and beheld a plate of curved golden pastries.

“Oh, my goodness! What beautiful croissants!”

“Croissants!” Moe exclaimed. “Am I French?” He picked up a pastry and held it aloft. “This is a cornetto. There’s a difference. Now do you wanna know where it came from?”

“An Italian bakery would be my guess,” I said.

“You would be right. A panetteria!” He handed me the cornetto. “Eat, panettone.” I pinched a bite and popped it into my mouth.

“Oh, Moe! This is amazing. You’re right. It’s better than a croissant. It’s sweeter and….” I stuffed the whole thing into my mouth. I spewed crumbs as I talked. “I’m so glad I have a muse.”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full, toots. And don’t be thinking this is going to be the same-old setup every morning.”

“What’s up with the topper?” I pointed to his hat.

“This?” He removed the tophat from his head. “It belongs to my cousin, Alfonso. He’s a third-rate magician and a major lounge lizard in Atlantic City.” Moe placed the hat upside down on the table and pulled a wand from his jacket pocket. “Abracadabra…alley-oop…and presto basil pesto!” He pulled a little white rabbit out of the hat. I squealed and clapped my hands.

“Oh, my goodness! This is so cool! Breakfast and a magic show!” I scratched the baby bunny’s ears. “He is so adorable.” Another bunny hopped from the hat onto the plate of cornettos. “Hey, shoo! Those are my pastries!” A third bunny catapulted out of the hat and knocked over my orange juice. I grabbed it by the scruff of its neck. Two more rabbits peeked over the edge of the hat. “Help me, Moe! Where are all these bunnies coming from?”

“That Alfonso! I told him one stinking rabbit.”

Two rabbits jumped to the floor. With every hop pellets popped from their behinds. I complained, “Gross. Now I’ll have to mop.  I hate MOPPING!”

“Sorry, panettone.” Moe walked to the front entry, and returned with an animal crate.  “Stuff the rodents in here,” he said. We cornered and imprisoned all the bunnies including the two that had stayed on the table and devoured the cornettos faster than sharks in a feeding frenzy. We sat down and surveyed the damage. The coffee was cold. The pastries were gone. There was one sip of orange juice left in a glass. I drained it.

“Well, I’m stuffed. How about you, Moe?”

“Damn rabbits. I had a perfect object lesson planned for the day.” He lit his cigar.

“Would that be…let’s see…never trust a lounge lizard?” I asked.

“No! Though that is a good point.” He gestured with his cigar. “Here’s the dish about the dishes. Where do your ideas come from?”

“My writing ideas or all my ideas?”

“We’re talking strictly copy here. I don’t want to hear about your latest invention—the miracle jelly doughnut maker. Where do your writing ideas come from?”

“I got this! I took psychology in college. My subconscious?”


“Umm…the desire to procreate without the pain, blood, and baby wails? Note that is w-a-i-l-s and not w-h-a-l-e-s.”

“Double no.”

“Book envy? Get it? It’s a Freudian slip!” I laughed and slapped the table. Moe was not an amused muse. “I give up, Moe. Where do you think they come from?”

“Upstairs!” He pointed to my ceiling.

“Mr. Googins in 323 is sending ideas to me from his apartment?”

“No, Miss Smarty-pants! You know what I’m talking about.”

“I do. They are divine.”

“Yes, you didn’t stumble down this path of wordsmithing by accident. It was ordained. When you feel blocked, it’s because you ain’t doing right with you-know-who.”

“Mr. Googins?”


“I know what you’re saying. I get it. Is this about the other day when…”

“Yeah.” He tapped ashes from his cigar onto a saucer. “You did the big freak. There was gnashing and wailing of teeth.”

“I was frustrated, Moe. I always feel like I should know everything…right now. Silly, huh?”

“A bit. You’re not alone. You got me and the Big Guy. When the going gets tough, the tough…take a break and realign their mojo.”

“I’ll work on it, Moe. Deal?”


“Mr. Moe D’Vation, would your mojo be willing to sweep up the rabbit poop while I get the mop?”

“Sheesh! I’m a muse not a maid.”

“You brought the rabbits, Moe.” I presented him with a broom and a dustpan. He heaved a sigh so loud that I’m sure Mr. Googins heard him.

“The things I do for the art of writing. Madonna Mia!”

Moe swept, and I mopped. What a team!

Moe’s Suggested Listening Music: Dedicated to You  by Ella Fitzgerald




, , ,

You are reading excerpts from Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl. This is presented as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The first post is dated April 1, 2014.  Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl ends April 30.

“Stop the whining, and go for the ka-pow! Don’t accept less than your best effort.” Moe D’Vation

“Uhhhh,” I sighed. My fingers were poised over my laptop, but they were not moving. I had nothing. NOT…ONE…WORD. Moe peered over the top of his newspaper.

“Suck it up,” he ordered. “Pound the keys.”

“Ohhhh….this is too hard,” I complained. Moe snapped the newspaper and turned a page. “I can’t even formulate one stinking interesting sentence.” Moe reached for the last jelly doughnut on the plate. I swatted his hand.

“Hey! That’s my brain food!”

“I need sugar, toots.” He patted his round belly. “Look at your poor old muse…I’m starving.” He pooched out his lower lip and made puppy dog eyes.

“Oh, go ahead!” I cradled my head in my hands. I was two feet shy of rock bottom. “Moe,” I moaned. “I’ve dreamed of being a writer ever since I was ten years old.”

“Dreams are good, sister.”

“But look at me! I’m worthless!”

“No, you’re not.” He drew his eyebrows together. “Take the doughnut. I don’t need it.”

“This is fruitless. What’s the use? I’m done! Ka-put! Finito! I QUIT!” I hit the power button on my laptop and snapped the lid shut.  I grabbed the empty pastry box, stomped into the kitchen, and threw it in the trash.

Moe yelled, “You can have the stinking doughnut! Bring your buttzinsky back in here! ”

“It’s not about the doughnut, Moe! I QUIT!” I marched past him to my bedroom and flopped on the bed. I placed a pillow over my face. I heard the tip-tap of Moe’s hard-soled shoes on the wooden floor.

“What are you doing, panettone?”

“I’m smothering myself, Moe. I don’t want to live.”  I peeked around the pillow. He had retrieved a cigarette lighter from his pocket.

“Hey! Don’t smoke in here!”

“Why not? You’re killing yourself via the pillow method. You don’t need the air.” I threw a pillow at him, and he ducked. “Stop that! I just pomaded my hair.” Moe lit his cigar and puffed a jet of smoke in my direction. I waved my hands.

“Please…not in here.”

“I’m smoking…as long as you keep…joking.”

“I’m not joking. I quit! I don’t want to be a writer.”

“You sure about that?” he asked.

“Yeah. I’ll get a job, Moe.”

“Doing what?” he asked.

“I have a decree in Acting.”

“Yeah…one word…waittress!”

I threw another pillow, and this time it hit his comb-over. His hair strands separated forming a black spider on his pink balding head.

“That’s it! Nobody messes with my pomade.”  He picked up the offending pillow and launched it back at me. I rolled my eyes.

“That was a weenie throw, Muse Man!”

“Oh, yeah?”

“My five-year-old niece can throw better than that.”

“Really? How about this?” Moe launched a direct hit to my shoulder. I jumped off the bed and walloped him. The pillow split and spewed feathers.

“War! This means war, Muse-o-lini!” I yelled. I swung again making contact with his round belly. It was an easy target. Moe grabbed a pillow off the floor, feinted to the left, and round-housed me with a feather bomb. I arced a low swing and caught his behind. He glared at me and cocked his pillow for a mighty blast. I did the same. Our pillows met with a mighty s-p-o-o-s-h, and feathers flew everywhere. Feathers floated downward and stuck to Moe’s greasy hair. I burst out laughing. Moe exploded in a sneeze.

“ Ahh-choo! I’m allergic. I gotta…ahh-choooo…get out of here…ahhhh-chooo!” He raced down the hallway. I followed him.

Ahhh-chhhoooo…stinking feathers!” He sat in a kitchen chair and puffed on his cigar.  “My Nonni made chicken cacciatore once a month. She bought the birds….ahh-choo…still squawking from Mrs. Balducci who had a illegal poultry farm in her backyard.  My Nonni would wring the bird’s necks, and I had the joy of plucking.   Nobody knew nothing about allergies then. Ahhhh-chhoooo!”

“Maybe you shouldn’t be sucking on that cigar, Moe.”

“Panettone,” Moe wheezed. “This is better than Benadryl.”

“Somehow I don’t think that’s true.”

“Here’s some truth, toots.  Scribendo disces scriber!”

“Does that mean ‘please get my inhaler’?

“No, panettone. It means: by writing you will learn to write. What do you think about that?” I sat in front of my laptop and played with the power cord.

“It sounds easy, but it’s hard, Moe.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” he agreed. “Most things that we really desire take time and effort.” He picked up the jelly doughnut. “Wouldn’t it be great if all our goals in life were as easy as biting into a jelly doughnut?” He sank his teeth into the powdered sugar delight. A big slug of grape jelly dripped down the front of his white shirt.

“Sheesh! Pass me that napkin, sugar.” I watched him dab the jelly. He wadded the napkin and tossed it onto the table. “Nothing is ever easy. That includes writing. Do your best. Don’t give up. If that means suffer…ya suffer. Be hellbent at getting the job done. Now back to….”

“I know,” I smiled. “Work.”

“Yeah, baby.” Moe winked. “It beats the hell out of waitressing, but then again you do get tips.”

Moe’s Suggested Listening MusicI’d Rather Drink Muddy Water by Cats and the Fiddle

The Garbanzo


, , , , ,

You are reading excerpts from Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl. This is presented as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The first post is dated April 1, 2014.  Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl ends April 30.

“Once I knew a fella named Lucky Louie who raked in the greenbacks every time the horses ran.  Was he really lucky? No. He worked the angles hard. He knew everything about the track, the ponies, and the jockeys before he plunked down any lira. You would be wise to network like Louie. Don’t rely on Lady Luck. She’s fickle, and she ain’t no lady.”  Moe D’Vation

My fingers were poised over the ‘send’ option. Any minute now my submission would fly across the internet and meet the eyes of an agent. They would read the first sentence of my book, fall in love with my writing, and crave my word presence.  I began to sing, ‘Luck be a lady tonight!’ I vamped and swayed. I raised my finger high above my head and….

“What the rigatoni are you doing?” Havana cigar smoke wafted around me. “Panettone, were you really gonna send that?” I sank into my usual chair.

“Yes, Moe.”

“Who’s the agent?”

“I don’t remember. I found a list agents on the net.” I fiddled with the edge of the tablecloth.

“Do they work with your genre, toots?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “They looked friendly and I thought…what the heck…give it a try.” Moe rolled his cigar between his fingers.

“Was your WIP ready for an agent’s eye?”

“I think so. I’ve edited it so much that I’m blue in the face.”

“And it didn’t matter whose eyes looked at it? Is that right, panettone?” I glanced at Moe. Oh, I hated disappointing him.

“You don’t think it’s ready, Moe? You don’t think I’m ready?” I lowered myself into a chair. All this work. For nothing!

“It ain’t for nothing, panettone,” Moe said. “You just jumped the gun. Some people think  that expression has to do with foot races, you know…the starter’s gun…the runners ready to go…but I know for a fact that it’s all about the Garbanzo.”

“A bean?” I asked.

“No, not a bean. A person…Joey Garbanzo. He was a gin maker during Prohibition. Everybody wanted a slug of Joey’s brew. Capone himself swilled a few glasses. Joey couldn’t fill his bathtub fast enough, and he jumped the gun on New Year’s Eve 1927. He cut corners.  He slung the gin together, and the hooch wasn’t right.”

“What was wrong with it?” I asked.

“Well, my panetonne, it contained wood alcohol.”


“Sooooo, the Garbanzo folded industrial methanol into his signature gin mix.”

“I’m still not getting this, Moe.”

“Toots, industrial methanol is poison.”

“Oh,” I said.

“Yeah. ‘Oh’ says it all. New Year’s Day…forty-one people died at Bellevue Hospital due to gin poisoning, and several of Mr. Capone’s relatives snoozed under white sheets in the hospital morgue.”

“That doesn’t sound good, Moe.”

“You’re right, panetonne. Nothing good came of it especially the twenty-six bullet holes in Garbanzo’s body.”

“Yuck,” I said. “That’s grizzly.”

“It was painful, too, for the Garbanzo. Don’t jump the gun, panettone. Before you hit that big send button, let other eyes give it a look-see. And research the agents. Know the who, the what, the why, and the where of them. Don’t trust Lady Luck either. She’s got ways like the Devil.”

Moe’s Suggested Listening Music:  I Got Ways Like The Devil  by  Blue Lu Barker



, , ,

You are reading excerpts from Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl. This is presented as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. If you would like to read more Moe, the first post is dated April 1, 2014.  Moe will ‘muse’ you until April 30th.

“Don’t sit around whining about not having enough time to write. Sit your derriere in the chair every day and put the fingers to the keyboard. Except not on Sundays. Go to mass. It’s good for ya. But the rest of the week? Jackhammer the work! Life is too short. Right? Now write!”  Moe D’Vation

My laptop sat on the kitchen table, fully charged. I poured coffee into my usual happy face mug and nibbled a jelly doughnut.

This was going to a great day. I could feel it in my bones.

I checked the clock on the microwave.

Eight o’clock? Hmm…where was Moe? He’s never late.

I drank another cup of java and, yes, ate another jelly doughnut.

Still no Moe. 

I facebooked as I scarfed doughnuts. How many of the wheel-shaped artery cloggers did I eat? Half a dozen? How many cups of coffee? Four!

Arggh! Thank you, Moe!

My routine was out of whack! My heart raced!

I should go back to bed and sleep off this buzz.

The doorbell rang. I was jacked with sugar and ready to rumble. I stomped across the hardwood floor to the front door.  I jerked it open, and my jaw dropped.

“Funiculi funicula, my little panettone!”  Moe doffed his fedora which had a little feather stuck in the hatband. He wore strange leather shorts held up by suspenders, and his legs looked like angry hairy sausages. “Surprise, toots!” Moe exclaimed.

“Are those lederhosen?” I asked.

“Yep. I borrowed this outfit from a friend of mine. He likes to get kinky with his girlfriend. She’s a little German frau.” He waltzed through the door, tossed his cap on the table, and picked up my happy face coffee mug. He took a swig and made a sour face. “Coffee’s cold, toots.”

“Of course, it is, Moe! You’re two hours late.”

Moe extended his arms and smiled.

“It’s good to be missed. Will ya make a fresh pot of joe for the Italian stallion?”

“Arrgghhhh!”  I stomped to the kitchen to brew the coffee. “And I don’t want to hear about the kinky frau.” Moe followed me trailing cigar smoke.

“Oh, the frau wasn’t kinky. My friend is. He’s an author with a penchant for…”

“Do not…” I shoved my measuring spoon into the coffee bag. “I repeat…do not ‘enlighten’ me about your friend. I am working my ass off here sticking to a schedule, and you were late.” I poured water into the coffee reservoir and punched the brew button.

“Settle down, sugar. Bring me a cuppa when the coffee is hot, and you are not.”

“Maybe I will, and maybe I won’t!” I yelled.

He did not say a word but sat in his usual kitchen chair, puffing on his cigar. I moped in the kitchen as the coffeemaker sputtered.

“I can’t believe you, Moe D’Vation! You waltz into my life with your Star-Trek-mind meld thingie. I lose sleep every night wondering if I will be able to produce copy, and for what?” I stuck my head around the corner and yelled, “So you, Mr. Moe D’Vation can waste my frigging time!”

Moe flicked cigar ashes into the saucer on the table.

“Hey, put some sugar and creamer in that joe, will ya?”

“You pompous bag of pasta, say please!” I yelled.

“Sure! Puh-leez put a little sugar and cream in my coffee. How’s that, panettone?”

“Fine! And quit calling me panettone!”

I swooped back to the coffee pot, pulled a mug from the cabinet, and dumped the whole sugar bowl into it. I pour coffee over it. I did not stir the caffeinated sugar bomb. I traipsed to the kitchen table and held the mug out at arm’s length. Moe took the coffee and sipped it. I waited for him to gag, but he didn’t.

“Ahh…now that is good java! Just like my Nonni used to make.” He licked his lips and dunked the butt of his cigar in his coffee. This sweetened the smoke. “So you missed me. Did you get any writing done?”

I plopped into a nearby chair and telepathically hammered him with death rays.

“No, I didn’t write a damn thing.”

“Why not? Still have fingers, don’t ya?”

“You weren’t here, Moe! I facebooked.”

“You facebooked instead of writing the book?”

“Moe, your lederhosen must too tight. You weren’t here. I couldn’t write!

“Interesting…very interesting.” He blew a smoke ring. “You budgeted writing time in your schedule, but you didn’t write because something wasn’t right.”

I glared at him, and I crossed my arms. This was my ‘bad mama’ pose for word battle.

“Moe, as you well know with the Star-Trek-mind-meld-thingie, I can not produce a thing if my elements are not neatly in a row.” I listed my requirements for a productive writing session. “I need the right font on my laptop, and, of course, MY MUSE!”

“Sugar, you have a lot of wants when it comes to writing.”

“Moe, they are not wants. They are NEEDS!”

“Funiculi funicula!” he said

“What the heck does that mean, Moe?”

“In this situation it means you are FULL OF IT! Waiting for the perfect moment means you just wait. Period. If you want to make a living writing, you write. I wasn’t here this morning. You should have still done the work.  Writing is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

“I sweat therefore I am,” I snickered.

“No, panettone, you sweat and pray that whatever you crank out will be remarkable and true to you. Not me. You. Do you know why I was late?”


“Because I saw this coming. I knew I had to blow you out of the waters of your ODD rut. ODD means ‘Over Dependence on Details.’ Quit waiting for all your ducks to be in a row. Write like a rebel anytime, anyplace, anywhere, and with anything.”

“I’m not ODD, Moe!”

“Oh, really? Who has to slurp java from a Happy Face mug or she has a crappy day? Who has to have the right pen, the right paper, and the right moment before she can write?


“Yes, you, panettone!”

I lowered my hands to my lap in defeat. Moe had spoken the truth. All my life I waited for perfect even though I knew it didn’t really exist. I was ODD.  Did I have the courage to bust loose and write whenever and wherever?

“You’ve got what it takes, sugar,” Moe said.

“I do?”

A tear trickled down my cheek.

“Yeah. Funiculi funicula!”

I wiped my eyes and laughed.

“What does that really mean?”

“I don’t know. Something about a cable car.” He squirmed in his chair. “Can I borrow some sweats? These lederhosen are really bunching the bocce.”

“Too much information, Moe. Too much.”

“Funiculi funiculi, baby.”

Moe’s Suggested Listening Music:  Funiculi funnicula!  By Sergio Bruni

Editing: Slash, baby! Slash!


, , ,

You are reading excerpts from Moe D’Vation Meets the Girl. I’m the girl. Moe is my writing muse. This is presented as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. If you would like to read more Moe, the first post is dated April 1, 2014.  Moe will ‘muse’ you until April 30th.

“Here’s the 911 on editing, my little panettone: sometimes you gotta cut words, paragraphs, pages. They may be the best copy you have ever written, but they gotta go! Be Mack the Knife.”   Moe D’Vation

Moe heaved a sigh and shook his head.

“Come on, panettone. Give it up. That whole page stinks worse that rotten Gorgonzola. It needs to be slashed.” I clutched the page against my bosom.

“No!  My character needs to know these facts, or she will not be able to solve the mystery.”

“That ain’t true, sugar.”

“Yes, it is, Moe!”

“You’re all loopy from too much java and not enough sleep, toots.” He pointed to the empty coffee pot parked near my laptop. I had nixed my usual happy face mug and had been sucking the joe straight from the carafe with a straw.

“This is not about my coffee consumption, Moe.” I waved the page like a flag. “I love this page. LOVE IT!”

“You gave the reader those facts two chapters ago!”

“I did not, and I refuse to edit this page from my manuscript.” I spelled the word. “R-E-F-U-S-E. ” Moe threw his hands up in the air.

“O-K!” Moe snarled. “I give in. Keep it, but let me look at it one last time. Muses can be wrong. It’s rare, but I’m willing to give it another go.”

I handed the page to him. We had printed my whole WIP. Moe had insisted on a hard copy even though I warned him about tree death and melting polar ice caps.  His response?

“I don’t give a hoot about the damn trees. I prefer the desert. After Adam and Eve were booted from Eden, God said, ‘Let’s make it bone dry, decorate it with neon lights, and call it Vegas.”

Moe grabbed his dead cigar from the saucer ashtray on the table and stuck it in his mouth. As he walked ten paces from my chair, he retrieved a cigarette lighter from his pants pocket and flicked it open. Instead of lighting his stogie, he did a switcheroo. He torched my page! I watched the paper curl and blacken. Moe turned to me and lifted an eyebrow.

“This stinking page needed to be slashed. I’m your muse. I know the big story.”

“Really? Well, guess what, Moe the Muse? That stinking page is still a file on my laptop. How do you like those apples?” I flashed an Evil Joker grin.  Moe raised his eyes heavenward.

“Madonna mia, editing brings out the horns.” I snapped my fingers at him.

“Hello! Any response, Saint Moe?” He crossed his arms and smiled.

“First off, I ain’t a saint. And my response? I deleted your page when you printed the hard copy.” My smile disappeared. Moe continued, “It ain’t all the way gone. I put in a safe place inaccessible to a certain wild woman jacked on java.”

“All my lovely words about Mary Lou’s discovery of the missing knife!” I moaned and groaned. “Fifteen dialogue exchanges between Mary Lou and her aunt Matilda hinting at the real killer!” I dropped my head to the kitchen table. “I’m so glad I included those in…” I inhaled and wheezed. “Wait a minute!” Realization smacked me on the head with my own book. I hurriedly shuffled my WIP’s pages. My eyes met Moe’s.

“You don’t have to say it, my little panettone. Editing is a bitch. It may hurt to slash, but usually the wound doesn’t need a Band-Aid. Capesh?”

“Capesh, Moe.”

He sat back down and picked up the next chapter.

“We are going to read this story with new eyes. We’ll look for odd words, inconsistencies, bad grammar, and fact overload.” He pointed his cigar at me. “No more coffee for you. Drink water. You are going to learn how to let go and let Moe. Get it?”

“Got it.”


Moe’s Suggested Listening Music:  Mack the Knife by Frank Sinatra


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 257 other followers