Saturday, August 9, 2014

In the works

Rico says he has a still-unwritten, alas, except for some meager notes, book entitled Murder on the Main Line, about a half-Indian (dot, not feather), half-Welshman named Arjay St. Mawr, who is head of security, at Newhouse University on the Main Line.
Rape and murder will, of course, figure prominently in the story...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Rico says his still-in-progress book would be Armageddon, about the Middle East:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cowboys & Indian

An excerpt from Cowboys & Indian © 2012 Mark Seymour. Available from Amazon.
I drove into Dead Fred’s driveway early on Sunday morning, as usual. We were headed for our weekly cowboy shoot, and I knew he liked to get there well before the start time. Not that we were going to shoot cowboys, of course; the event is actually referred to as Cowboy Action Shooting, thus you merely suit up like cowboys (or other typical ne’er-do-wells of the Old West), wear cowboy-era revolvers in holsters, carry cowboy-era rifles and shotguns, and shoot a lot of steel and sheetrock targets, but you shoot no cowboys. At least you try not to, as it’s frowned upon.
My spurs jingled as I stepped up on the porch, and the thud of my boots was loud on the wooden planks. That’s one of the downsides of playing cowboy; it’s hard to be quiet. You’re always making noise with something, long before you start making booms on the line. But Fred’s wife, Sally, was used to it, and occasionally said she’d damn near miss our incessant clanging and jingling. When I knocked, quietly, it being early of a Sunday, she came to the door.
“Mornin’, Rico.” She smiled when she opened the door.
“Mornin’, Miz Lynch.” It was a standing joke, among the cowboys, Fred’s last name being Lynch. But one didn’t laugh when you saw his wife. Middling height, she was built like the proverbial brick shithouse, if a brick shithouse had great tits and a narrow waist above long lean legs that she displayed by wearing, this morning, only one of her husband’s shirts, which ended well above a thick pair of socks.
“Fred’s still getting dressed.” That was another standing cowboy joke; Fred was numbingly plain and boring in real life, what with being an accountant and all, yet he insisted on appearing resplendant when he turned into a cowboy, once a month. His outfits were not the gaudy B-movie rigs that some wore, neither, he was too much a historical stickler for that, but he always came up with historically-accurate clothes and leather that put the rest of us to shame. “Want some coffee, or some breakfast?”
Coffee sounded good. “Believe I will, ma’m.”

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Mope, coming soon

Having gotten permission to publish The Mope, a splendid story by the late John Haag, a professor at Penn State, Proofmark Publishing looks forward to the opportunity to offer it to the public, complete with illustrations by Kelley, one of Haag's former students. Check back later for a link to it on Amazon.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


A novel of industrial espionage, set in Silicon Valley and Brazil, Payback is the next in the continuing Jack Hayes saga, begun in The Hero Business. Available from Amazon. Attempts were made to interest Tom Selleck in this book, as well; he'd've been perfect as Jack Hayes. Now we're going after Russell Crowe.

Friday, May 30, 2008

At All Hazards

A novel about the last days of Saigon, available from Amazon.

Embassy Down

A novel of the attack on and deliverance of an American embassy in a small sandy country, available from Amazon.

The Hero Business

A novel of intrigue and the yakuza, available from Amazon.
Attempts have been made to interest Tom Selleck in this book, thus far unsuccessful; he'd be perfect as Jack Hayes.

Skeleton Cay

A novel of piracy and retribution in Caribbean waters, available from Amazon.

Transit of Venus

A collection of stories, erotic and otherwise, available from Amazon.

Memoir by Mark Seymour & Christine Castellano

Since I Was Dead, the story of his brain injury and recovery. Now available here.

Books by his father

A novel about the early days of the space program, and an unusual group of astronauts going to the Moon. Available from Amazon.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Armageddon, still unfinished

Rico says that this, from an article in The New York Times, is germane:
To William Flesch, a professor of English at Brandeis University, fictional accounts help explain how altruism evolved despite our selfish genes. Fictional heroes are what he calls altruistic punishers, people who right wrongs even if they personally have nothing to gain. 'We enjoy fiction because it is teeming with altruistic punishers: Odysseus, Don Quixote, Hamlet, Hercule Poirot.'
Rico, of course, would include Jack Hayes...

An excerpt from Armageddon © 2012 Mark Seymour
When the telephone rang, the caller was someone I would never have expected. “Ari Kauffman!” I didn’t even try to hide the surprise in my voice; the last I’d heard from him, he’d been working for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. “What’s up, old friend?”
“Jack, I need a favor.” Conversations that began with such a request rarely go well, and I suspected this would prove no exception.
“Sure.” I knew I wouldn’t like the answer, but I figured I’d ask anyway. “What is it?”
“I want you to go into Iran, determine the state of their nuclear capability, and take it out.” Never one for beating around the bush, Ari had certainly outdone himself this time.
“Hey, no problem.” I barely restrained my laughter. “I’ll be back in time for breakfast.”
“I’m serious, Jack. We don’t want to find out they have a bomb when it goes off in Tel Aviv.”
“No, that would be bad.”
“It’s not funny.”
“No, and I apologize. You have real enemies, and if any of them had a nuke, it would be a bad thing.” (Out of respect for our friendship, I neglected to mention that their enemies probably weren’t very happy that Israel was said to have a nuke or two as well.)
“A master of understatement, as I’ve always said.”
“Okay, but why me?”
Ari laughed; at least, it sounded like what his laugh would sound like, if the joke wasn’t very funny. “Because, old friend, if you succeed in getting yourself caught, you don’t work for Mossad and you’re not a Jew. It won’t save you, of course, but it does give us something almost like plausible deniability.”
“Funny man.”
He sighed. “I wish the situation was, in any way, humorous. But it’s not, sorry.”
“Aren’t I a little long in the tooth for this?”
Kauffman laughed, a real one. “We don’t need James Bond here, my friend. We need the ability to read the tea leaves to figure out what’s really happening, and the skill and guile to figure out what to do about it, all without causing World War Three.”
“And you want me to perform this miracle when?”
“What are you doing next week?”
“Getting my passport renewed, I guess.”
“No, I don’t think we would want to send an American into Iran. A little too obvious, don’t you think?”
“Then you’ll want me to be from somewhere else.”
“How do you feel about being Canadian?”
“Why not?” I shrugged. “Make me from British Columbia; I’ve been there, I know the area well enough to lie about it, and they have no discernable accent.”
“Done. Anything else?”
“A very big life insurance policy, I would think.”
“Payable to whom?”
That was a harder question. I wasn’t married, had no kids, and my parents were long gone. “I don’t know. Can I get back to you?”
“Sure. I’ll start the paperwork and leave the beneficiary blank.”
“Thanks. I’ll think of someone.”
“Fine. Just don’t make it me; they’d think I was deliberately endangering you in order to collect.”
That wasn’t encouraging. “Anything else cheerful right now?”
“No, my friend. You’ll have enough to do, just as soon as I can get your paperwork handled.”
“Let me know.”
“Certainly. Talk to you soon.”

An excerpt from Haj Ali © 2009 Mark Seymour
It was amazing that deserts should look so similar, though they were thousands of miles apart. The desert of his birth, in the coastal city of Smyrna in Turkey, had been a white beach that fringed low hills covered in scrubby bushes. The desert here, in the American Southwest, was largely the same sort of scrub brush, but on low hills between high stony mountains. Both deserts were exceedingly dry, of course, thus the camels.
He and seven others had been selected by officers of the American ship, the Supply, to come with them and the camels to America: Yiorgos Caralambo, known as George; Mimico Teodora, known as Mico; Hadjiatis Yannaco, known as Long Tom; Anastasio Coralli, known as Short Tom; Michelo Georgios; Yanni IIIato; and Giorgios Costi. He, of course, was called Philip Tedro, though he had taken the name Haj Ali after his obligatory trip to Mecca.
The ship had picked up three camels in Tunis, nine in Egypt, and finally twenty-one in Smyrna. After a long and arduous sea journey, one the men liked no better than the camels, they arrived at Indianola, on the coast of the state of Texas, on the tenth of February, 1856. He was twenty-eight years old, and it was the first time he had traveled outside the Turkish Empire.
The beach in Texas, while of a white sand similar to that of Smyrna, was flat and featureless, with only rolling ground of no interest inland. The waters were warm and calm, however, and the camels and the camel drivers had both been relieved to be taken off the ship. While the camels were content to sit on the beach and chew their cuds, the men had taken the opportunity to bathe in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, happy to wash off the weeks at sea. With the streams coming down to the ocean, they were even able to wash off, for the first time in months, the salt crusted on their skins and in their clothes.
But their time of rest in Texas was all too short. Their backers wanted to prove, as quickly as possible, that their investment had been a wise one, so he and the others were urged to get the camels ready for an expedition to the West. They had no idea of what lay to the West, other than that it was said it was a thousand miles of desert, so they prepared as if for the journey of a lifetime. Everything was different here, of course, but they found items in the Mexican stores that at least looked similar to those they’d used at home: water containers the locals called cantinas, knives and forks and cooking pans, and many unfamiliar but lethal-looking weapons they’d need against the bandits and los Indios they’d been told they would surely meet on their journey. The food was completely different, and he was glad they were not restricted to halal food; the cuisine on the ship had been bad enough, but here on land they looked to eat beans and freshly-slain beef, unless it was beef in one of the new-fangled cans. The struggle by Short Tom to open one of the unfamiliar containers had been good for nearly an hour of laughter, interspersed with long strings of curse words and imprecations by Anastasio as he hacked at the tin with his knife.
Anastasio got the can open, finally, in time to assuage their hunger. The men were politely astonished at the oddly-tasty beef he decanted from it onto their tin plates. By the stamp on the mangled cover, the beef had been put into the can some years before, but it did not have the slightest foul smell or taste, even given the heat of Texas. It was merely one of the first amazing things they’d discovered in their new home.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Holocaust Book

This is a self-publishing book.
It is a tool for comprehending the enormity of events of the Twentieth Century like the Holocaust.
One factor in our inability to understand these occurances is that we only dimly grasp the true horror of millions of deaths.
We can feel the loss when a family member dies, or a friend, or someone down the street, but as the numbers grow larger and the events more remote, we begin to lose touch with their reality.
This is what a thousand people look like:

To create your book, estimate the number of pages based on the thousands of people involved [a sample list is below, though it is hardly comprehensive; there have been other genocides, and there will be more in the future].
Copy this image into your document and print that number of pages.
Be sure to display your book in a prominent place; a few million dead surely deserve it. Take it out at gatherings. Invite people to flip through it. Ask them to guess how many people it represents. Have a conversation about genocide. Try and prevent another one.

In order to create a book of appropriate size, use the chart below:
North American Indians......1800s............1,000
Armenia .............................1917..............1,000
Stalinist purges in Russia.....1925-1950.....10,000
European Holocaust.............1938-1945.....8,000
World Trade Center...............2001.............3

All numbers are approximate; no one ever truly knows the enormity of genocide.

When you create a Holocaust Book, please let me know by emailing me.
I will keep a registry of all created books at this URL, for others to visit or correspond as you might wish.