On January 18th, I was honored to be invited to present my Civil War historical fiction novel, “Will O’ the Wisp: Madness, War, and Recompense”, to the earth-quakin’, muck-rakin’, pasta-makin’, rule-breakin’, booty-shakin’, for-sakin’, legendary E-Street WORMS Book Club of Ocean Grove, New Jersey.
Lead by the famous Monmouth County barrister Prosper Bellizia (aka- The Perry Mason of Traffic Court) I was cross-examined regarding story origins, character development (or lack thereof), word selections, plot twists, and other issues until I broke down on the stand like Kyle Rittenhouse.
For those of you who have carefully followed my meteoric literary assent, you will recognize the name Bellizia from both of my first two novels, “Occam’s Razor” and “Two Drifters” when I introduce Dr. Declan Murphy’s legal antagonist, Vincent Bellizia. For those of you who have not, here are the introductory paragraphs from the critical confrontation scene in “Occam’s Razor”.
“Entering the reception area, I was greeted by the hospital’s attorney, Vincent Bellezia. He was a rumpled little guy, perpetually sporting a second Sunday suit and tie. We exchanged pleasantries, but he gave away nothing of whatever thoughts were nesting behind his small bird-like eyes and pinched wire-rimmed glasses”…………. “As the hospital lawyer, I imagine they thought he added a measure of intimidation. My one-time testifying as an expert witness probably gave me more actual trial experience than Vincent. He had long ago chosen to take the security of a corporate paycheck rather than hunt for live prey. He was certainly smart enough and knew all the applicable rules, but he was a paper tiger. His threats would be hollow as well. On the other hand, I also knew he would be cautious. Anything he claimed to know would be well substantiated. If you were playing poker, you’d be a fool to ever think that Vincent Bellizia was bluffing.”
Lead by Prosper Bellizia, I was interrogated by the WORMS Star Chamber tribunal for almost two hours. While not quite as pointed as the Spanish Inquisition, my queriers were informed and insightful, and in the end, supportive and complimentary. The opportunity for “Will O’ the Wisp: Madness, War, and Recompense” to be featured at their book club and to be favorably reviewed are greatly appreciated, especially considering why they call themselves WORMS. We Only Read Meaningful S**t. It was so much fun and I look forward to meeting with you again in a year or so with a new book to talk about.
Having solved the mystery of the missing Jimi Hendrix riff, next time we will explore Prosper’s role in the phantom Rolling Thunder Review!