“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must have never read a book.”
John Isaac Jones is a retired journalist currently living and writing at Merritt Island, Florida.
For more than thirty years, “John I.,” as he prefers to be called, was a reporter and writer for media outlets throughout the world.
These included local newspapers in his native Alabama, The National Enquirer, News of the World in London, the Sydney Morning Herald, and NBC television.
He is the author of five novels, a short story collection and five novellas.
The greatest gift life has to offer, John I. says, is peace of mind.
“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must have never read a book.”
My new novella, For Love of Daniel, is now available for Kindle!
Although they had always dreamed of having a family, tall, horse-faced Frances and stubby, one-eyed Jack had reconciled themselves to a lifetime of abject loneliness. Then one day, out of nowhere, an infant is dropped into their midst.
Two social misfits try to raise an abandoned child!
I see Burt Reynolds has passed on over to the other side. Right now, somewhere up there in heaven, just east of Eden, ole Burt is doing 130 mph in that Camaro and running from Jackie Gleason. He was one of many celebs I chased back in the day.
In the late seventies, Burt had a beautiful ranch near the coast up at Jupiter, which is in Martin County, the next coast county north of Palm Beach. The ranch was little more than a staging area for his sexual conquests. He had all the toys that bachelors of the day needed. These included a beautiful home with a full bar, a swimming pool, a pool table, horses and a king-sized bed with a mirror.
Near Burt’s Ranch, less than five miles away, was a state park, Johnathan Dickinson State Park, where you could rent and stable horses. During those days, I usually stabled a horse there and became friends with the employees at the stables. One of the employees was a young blonde kid who said he worked at Burt’s Ranch during the week selling hay. He knew I worked for the NE and I told him, if would call me when Burt and sally were at the ranch, I would make it worth his while. He agreed.
Two weeks later, he called and announced that Burt and Sally were at the Jupiter ranch.
So, the following day, Ron Caylor, the editor on the story, told writer Bob Smith (an always smiling, fast-moving guy with a salt-and-pepper beard), to let me use his old pickup and go up to Jupiter to Burt’s ranch and buy some hay. While I was there, I should nose around and see if the famous couple were about.
So I drove up to Jupiter and, when I pulled into the ranch driveway in Bob’s old pickup, the ranch manager came out. I told him was there to buy three bales of hay.
“I’ll open the gate and you drive back to the barn,” he said.
So I drove back to the barn and waited for the guy to come load the hay. From that vantage point, I see the entire rear of the ranch house, The curtains were pulled and I could see no motion through the sliding glass door from the pool deck. As he was loading the hay, my eyes were scanning all directions, but no sign of Burt and Sally.
Just seconds after he had loaded the hay and was about to slam the tailgate, Sally, in a bathing suit, came out with a drink in her hand and took a seat in a poolside chair.
“That will be $6,” the man said.
I handed him six dollars.
“You can move on now,” he said. ‘I’ve got another truck waiting.”
I looked. Another truck was waiting to be loaded, but I had only done half of my job. I had seen Sally, but I hadn’t seen Burt.I started to get back into the truck then I knew I had to do something to stall for some more time.
”I think my tire is low.”
I stopped and knelt on the ground and pretended to check the air in the left front tire. Then….. suddenly hallelujah!! Under the bottom of the truck, I could Burt coming out of the sliding glass door to join Sally at the pool. Quickly I got back into the truck and started the engine. Now, through the windshield, I could see Burt and Sally sitting by the pool, drinks in hands, soaking up the rays.
I turned back to the ranch manager.
“Thanks!” I said. “Have a good day!”
Ron Caylor was smiling from ear to ear when I got back to the office.
I miss those days!!!
By Tammy Windsor
5 Golden Stars!!!!
In my literary book, Jones can write no wrong! And, this book just proves that fact to me, once again.
In Tembo Makaburi, Jones brings you along on a greedy man’s quest for riches and glory as he relentlessly pursues a dying, bull elephant, and his valuable ivory tusks, across the arid, heat of the Serengeti plains. The cold-hearted hunter’s avarice knows no bounds, but he is about to learn that, sometimes, revenge is best served in an inadvertent, sweltering tomb of your own making.
By now, I have read so many of Jones’ works, that you would think that I would be a little less in awe of his writing, but he STILL continues to impress, surprise and amaze me. He has that rare and unique gift of being able to describe scenery in such rich detail, that you feel like you are standing AMIDST his words. His characters are written with such tangible elements of humanity that you feel like you actually know them, and you grow to love or hate them with such visceral emotion, that it can momentarily take you aback.
This riveting novella is the perfect length for a cozy, lunch time read and is sure to hold your rapt, undivided attention.
My short story, Grandfathers, is a heart-warming tale of grandfathers and grandsons told two parts.
The first part is set in 1946 and relates the experiences of five-year-old Billy Johnson with his grandfather.
The second part is set in 1996 and tells of Billy’s experiences with his own five-year-old grandson.
What a difference 50 years makes!
Sometimes, for whatever reason, lonely, wandering souls manage to find one another. This is the story of J.L. and Karina.
Funny! Crazy! Playful! Loving! Caring!! Romantic! All of these and much, much more!!
Tembo Makaburi, the Swahili term for “elephant cemetery”, is the stuff of which dreams were made for ivory hunters.
Come along on the story of a greedy man’s quest for riches and glory as he relentlessly pursues an aging bull elephant and his valuable ivory tusks across the arid heat of the Serengeti plains.
A chilling tale of greed and revenge!
Where do you get ideas?
Funny how people always seem to ask me that. And it’s a fair question. I can remember, as a young writer, asking that question myself. First, ideas are everywhere, but you must exercise caution in choosing them. You might get an idea from some an experience, an observation, some artistic influence, some snippet of conversation, just a few words from a TV program or even a passing photo you saw on the internet. The main thing is to always be on the lookout for a good story idea. If you’re watching, you’ll find them. Once you find one, jot it down so you won’t forget it!!
And you never know when one will pop up. They come out of nowhere. I got the idea for my short story The Old Indian during a conversation with a distant relative at my aunt’s funeral in Alabama. Many years ago, while I was in high school, I watched a construction worker have an affair with a woman who lived near the construction project he was working on. Many years later, I wondered what happened to the man and woman after the project was finished. In 2015, I wrote my novel The Duck Springs Affair.
In 1975, when I was a try-out reporter with The National Enquirer I heard the story of the famous Chillingworth murders in Palm Beach County, Florida. At the time I was fascinated with the story. One summer night in 1955, Palm Beach Judge Curtis Chillingworth and his wife Marjorie disappeared from their beach home at Manalapan, Florida and were never seen again. Preliminary evidence indicated they had been kidnapped, taken out to sea and murdered. It was a tale which, at the time I read it, I knew I would never forget it.
Over the next 42 years, from 1975-2017, that story marinated deep within my subconscious mind, shaping and reshaping itself until I had the plot for a novel. In 2017, I wrote The Hand of God, a historical novel based on the Chillingworth murders.
So, from the initial germ of the idea until the actual work was written was 42 years. That’s a long time for an idea to grow in your mind before it becomes a published work, but that’s how it happened.
Many times, stories have grown out of incidents which occurred in my life. My short story The Old Men grew out of an incident which occurred when I was a teenager at my father’s grocery store. My novella Boone was based on an incident which happened to me as a young child.
The important thing to remember about ideas is they are everywhere, but you must be very selective about which ones you choose to write about. That’s why, if you’re a serious writer, you should have a notebook with you at all times and, when you see a promising idea, you jot it down. Many times, these ideas will produce nothing at first but, after your imagination works on them for a while, a full-blown plot will suddenly pop up out of nowhere. You don’t know how it happened or why your imagination put that particular cast on the idea, but it happened.
Remember that story ideas are everywhere. The main thing is to always be on the lookout for them. And once you find one, make a note then let your subconscious mind work on it. Before you know it, you’ll have the making of a solid literary work. That’s the creative process!!
“Follow love and it will flee; flee love and it will follow thee.” (Old Southern saying)
When Alma Dawson, a middle-aged, hard-working single mother, sets out to get the tuition money for her daughter’s last year of college, she never dreamed her entire world would be turned upside down. A poignant, inspiring story, this novelette is a testimony to a devoted mother’s love!
For years, the old men had been hanging around the country grocery store whiling away their days playing checkers and dominoes and talking about politics, women, drinking and life experiences. All that time, the store owner readily approved their presence in the store and went on about his business as if they were not there. Then, one fateful morning in 1956, a new owner bought the business who was not quite as tolerant. The narrator of this story, an unnamed thirteen-year-old, was the son of the new owner and explains how his father dealt with the old men who hung around his store.
An African-American man is caught between his own demons and those of 1950s American society in this historical novel. Jones (Tembo Makaburi, 2017, etc.) tells the story of 24-year-old Bobby Lincoln, who lives in the coastal town of Palm Harbor in 1955 Florida. With few jobs and no education available to him, he ekes out a living by fishing and doing any other work that he can find, often using his boat. But it’s not enough for him or his common-law wife, Idella, who keeps threatening to leave him if he doesn’t become a more effective breadwinner. None of this is helped by his own love of gambling and his tendency to keep company with some of the town’s best-known criminals. When a local gangster offers him $2,450 to take part in a serious crime, Bobby knows that it would break the heart of his deeply religious mother and disappoint a smart teenage boy who idolizes him. But he also believes that it might be his only chance to keep his wife and get back some self-respect. One little boat ride quickly turns into a nightmare that consumes Bobby’s life even as he tries to conceal it from others. As the situation spirals further out of control, he finds that there may still be a way to get the redemption he seeks, even if it takes divine intervention. Overall, this book is well-paced, drawing readers into its time period without slowing the story down with excessive description. Bobby is a believable and mostly sympathetic protagonist; his personal character flaws are many and glaring, but it’s enjoyable to watch him struggle to overcome them. The book’s flaws, by comparison, are relatively small: the author tends to use double exclamation marks in dialogue when they’re not necessary, and he often tells readers what characters are feeling (“He liked being around him because he knew the teenager looked up to him”) instead of showing it through their actions. By and large, though, the story rises above these issues.
Get a FREE copy of “Lonely Magnolia” when you sign up for my email list!!
“This fast paced novel deftly tackles complicated questions of sacrifice, loyalty, and grief while keeping the suspense high until the story’s final twist. This book should especially appeal to fans of star-crossed romances. A knotty, engaging tale of lost hope and lonely nights.” – Kirkus Reviews
“I could hear Elvis singing as tears fell on the last page of the book. One of the best short stories I’ve ever read.” — Amazon reviewer
“A compelling short story, with several unexpected twists at the end. Well written, interesting progression of the story, then Bam, a twist to the left then to the right….Since it is a short story, impossible to give any details without giving away the story. Worth a read and makes you think!” – Amazon reviewer