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Some observations on the American character … or the lack thereof … and where it is taking us.

A  (sort-of) well-meaning Del Taco®

Start: Let me share with you an observation of an all-too-American trait.

News outlets delight in serving up horror stories about the disgusting things that fast food restaurant employees can do to a customer’s order and about inappropriate acts done by them (oh, say, like this one) but let me turn the tables for a moment. What about the things the customers do to them?

(If you had the inkling that I was some kind of health food nut, I will lay waste to that illusion this very moment.)

A few weeks ago I walked into a Del Taco® unit with the intent of grabbing a quick lunch, and at the counter was a lanky, mid-thirtyish white guy with wild, dirty blonde hair wearing jeans and a blue plaid shirt, a guy I took to be some kind of mechanic, asking the cashier questions about the menu and trying to decide what to order. What caught my attention first was that this … what should I say … idiot was bleeding from his hands onto the counter, and that he was handing the cashier freshly bloodstained bills as he went back and forth about what he was ordering. The cashier had handed him some napkins, which this guy was using in a completely ineffectual way to clean up the unconscionable mess he was creating.

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Red Moon's New Cover

The new cover for
Red Moon

    Start: Over the last few months, Variance Publishing has hosted on their blog a number of posts featuring their offerings and commentary by their authors, and they graciously invited me to contribute. Stanley Tremblay of Variance gave me permission to repost these here, and today’s post is the last of the three I contributed.

    This is my response to the question posed to all the Variance authors about their novels: what’s your favorite line?



What’s My Favorite Line? RED MOON

Welcome back, fans, to another Thursday edition of ‘Favorite Line’. This week’s guest is Daniel Brenton, co-author of RED MOON. Let’s let Dan do the talking…

When Stanley presented his latest idea for the Variance authors to give a little inside look at their work by asking “what is the favorite line in your novel?” … I knew I was in trouble.


I, as Desi would tell Lucy, “got some ‘splainin’ to do.”

Red Moon, the novel I wrote with David S. Michaels (or, more correctly, where I played co-pilot while he did a marathon multi-month session putting the manuscript together, skillfully weaving in a number of chapters toward the end from yours truly) has a lot of lines I consider really good ones. Being human and having an ego, I confess I gravitate toward the ones I wrote.

I can’t tell you the first line I picked because that would ruin the ending of the book.

And I can’t tell you the second, because I’d have to explain it, and the simple act of explaining that one would be a pretty big spoiler.

So here’s my third favorite line, the first sentence of Chapter 52:

You are leaving the Earth.

Innocuous words in and of themselves, but in context, they bring this sequence of the narrative into sharp focus.

The story at this point has brought cosmonaut Grigor Belinsky, the only Soviet cosmonaut to attempt to reach the Moon, to the morning before his lift-off in an untried, hybrid Moon lander.

Belinsky, blackmailed into this enormously risky mission, wrestles with himself during these last few hours before the launch to do … what he knows he has no choice but to do.

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