Somebody call Fox Mulder …

Okay, so you guys know I have been joking around online recently asking people if they believed in psychic phenomena.

I don’t.  I am a strict empiricist at heart, and right now, so far as I know, the best available evidence leads us to conclude these phenomena do not exist.

Still, coincidences do happen.  And sometimes they’re damn freaky.  Something was brought to my attention recently that was so strange that I hesitate to even post about it.

Another author commented on my Goodreads page the other day that he “almost didn’t get the reference” I’d made in my book, “The Dogs Don’t Bark In Brooklyn Any More.”  He included a link for a page about “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn,” the famous 1943 novel by Betty Smith.  “Clever!” he wrote.

I have never read “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.”  I was vaguely aware that there was a film by that title – I actually thought it was a Christmas movie.  (I am the first to admit that I am nowhere near as well read as my friends.)  Beyond the title, I knew nothing.

I pulled up the Wikipedia page for the book and started reading, curious as to what my friend was referring to.  What I found was … surprising.  Read on …

1)       For starters, the two titles are similar (employing the repetition of the sounds “r” and “o” for consonance and assonance).

2)      Both books are about a young girl growing up in an Irish family in Brooklyn.

3)      “Tree” takes place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  “Dogs” takes place in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  Williamsburg and Park Slope are less than ten miles apart.

4)      The family in “Tree” has the last name of NOLAN.  (This is where things start really getting a little odd.)

5)      The mother in “Tree” is named “Katie.”  My mother’s name is Kathleen.

6)      “Tree” has a character named “Thomas.”  My brother’s name is Thomas.

7)      The main character in “Tree” is named “Francie.”  (It is short for “Frances.”)  The most important supporting character in “Dogs” is named “Francis.”  It is suggested for thematic reasons that he is androgynous.

8)      In “Tree” a supporting character named “Johnny” (the father) is an extremely talented singer, and works as a singing waiter.  In “Dogs,” a supporting character named “Janey” is an extremely talented singer, and was once a nightclub performer.

9)      Both books portray an alcoholic father who is consequently unable to fully care for his family.  In both books, the daughter loves him anyway.

10)   In “Tree,” the alcoholic father is a singing waiter.  In “Dogs,” a scene features the father singing in the street (albeit badly) to make the neighbors laugh.

11)   “Tree” features an Irish girl dating the son of Austrian immigrants.  “Dogs” features an Irish girl dating the son of Russian immigrants.

12)   Both books follow a structure in which we jump back and forth between time periods in the characters’ lives.

13)   “Tree” depicts a girl being saved by another character from a sexual assault at the age of 14.  “Dogs” depicts a girl being saved by another character from a sexual assault at the age of 17.

14)   Both books refer to a stillbirth occurring in the past.

15)   Both books employ flowers as a central repeated motif.  In “Tree,” flowers symbolize hope and beauty, in “Dogs,” roses symbolize evil.

16)   Both books are coming of age stories in which the main character loses her innocence.

17)   Both books have an overall theme of employing tenacity and determination to overcome difficult challenges.  (In “Dogs,” this is most explicitly stated in the chapter, “Gameness.”)

18)   Both books feature scenes on a fire escape.

19)   Both books portray overcrowding in New York City.  In “Tree,” this is due to the family living in a poor area.  In “Dogs” it’s due to the influx of refugees from a war.

20)   “Tree” has WWI as a backdrop.  “Dogs” is about (a fictional) World War III.

Am I making too much of this if I find it all very strange?  I SWEAR that I have never read “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.”  I’m also pretty damned sure I never saw a film adaptation on television and just forgot about it.   (Anyone who knows me could tell you I am obsessive about movies and need to remember the names of actors and actresses.)

I think what strikes me the most is the names and location of the characters being so similar – not to mention the real names of my real family.

I’m not concluding anything from this, except that life can be strange, and coincidences can be funny sometimes.

Witness World War III For Only A Dollar?!?

It’s Dagda Publishing’s holiday sale!

The Kindle version of my book, along with all of Dagda’s titles, is on sale today for just 99 cents. 🙂

“The Siege of Fort Buzzard” draws positive feedback.

I awoke to a nice discovery today. A bunch of gracious folks over at the “Tales of the Zombie War” website left a lot of positive feedback for the story I had featured there, “The Siege of Fort Buzzard.”

As I said to someone just yesterday, horror fans can be a really kind and friendly community. 🙂

Correction re: 99 Cent Holiday Sale at Dagda Publishing.

Quick correction regarding Dagda Publishing’s 99 Cent holiday sale for Kindle versions of all its titles. Here in the United States, my book, “The Dogs Don’t Bark In Brooklyn Any More,” will be available for 99 cents from December 23 through December 30.

In the United Kingdom, it will be available at the sale price from today until Christmas.

See Amazon for all of your holiday horror needs. 🙂


Witness the end of the world — for just 99 cents!


The Kindle version of my book, along with all of Dagda Publishing’s titles, will be available for 99 cents as part of the company’s holiday sale, from December 19th through Christmas. 🙂

From Dagda Publishing: [Onto the next piece of news, as we said last week in the Newsletter, we are running a Kindle sale over the next week and a half in the run up to Christmas, starting on the 19th of December. All our titles will be £0.99/$0.99 on and (we’d love it to be on more local sites, but Amazon only allow the sale to be on their US and UK sites). So, this really is the best time to pick up a cheap copy of our books for your kindle – you can find details of them and links to purchase on Amazon on our shop (]

Nurse Your Favorite Heresies in Whispers

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