I seldom check my facebook messages, but today I’m glad I did. I found this, from John Partridge who is not only, obviously, a great judge of literature, but is, I happen to know, a superb composer and performer of ragtime music.

Hi Carl.  I wanted to write a glowing review of “You Can’t Keep Her” so went to Amazon (where I think I bought it) and searched for “You Can’t Have Her Carl Brush” and it came back “Do you mean ‘You Can’t Have Her Curl Brush”?  Which I thought was pretty funny.   But, seriously, how do I write a review for the book which I really enjoyed.

Don’t believe me?

Check this out.


A while back I wrote a book called You Can’t Keep Her. It is a sequel to Bonita, the coming of age tale of twelve-year-old girl who wends her way through enormous trials and tribulations to become a woman of character and means.

I think it’s a heck of a book, but with my customary poor marketing and other circumstances, It didn’t sell worth a damn. I’ve still got a number of virgin copies I can send you if you submit a postage paid envelope. But the struggle is not over yet.

What if God had given up on Day 5? We’d be without water or elephants or redwoods or who knows what. Something important, that’s for sure. So I’m developing a new plan. By the end of next month, I should have, if all goes as promised, five novels up and ready to go. As revealed in an earlier blog,

The Three-Volume Maxwell Family Saga:

The Maxwell Vendetta

The Second Vendetta



Swindle in Sawtooth Valley.

Then comes the aforementioned Bonita

The Yellow Rose (Co-authored with Bob Stewart)

But wait, there’s more. You may have noticed I haven”t mentioned You Can’t Keep Her. That’s because I’m not keeping You Can‘t Keep her. Never fear, I’m not dumping the book, just the title.

I was never fond of that title anyhow, so with a new printing and such a small audience out there who might be familiar with it already, I figure it’s time for a change. So in the unrelenting search for the perfect name for this baby, will it be

[drum roll]









I’m going to live with these for a while, probably choose one of them in the end, but a new inspiration may appear. As my wife’s aunt used to say, “If you can’t rip, you can’t sew.” And it you can’t “kill your darlings”, Faulkner is purported to have said, you can’t write.

Now, after sleeping on it, I haven’t found the title I was searching for, have I? I think maybe I’ll go for a walk and try to hunt up an inspiration.

Stay tuned.


Throwing a plain wooden boomerang midair with blue sky and cloud background.

Time for a comeback even at this late (80) age. I have had symptoms sort o like PTSD, except this is what you might call PTCOVIDS–Post Traumatic Covid Syndrome. Seeking isolation yet also hating it–feeling trapped. But here I come. New books, new marketing strategies. It’s all the on the way.

Did JJ go through something like this?

Worse. So quit whining

James Joyce lurks


In my youth, tattoos were a badge of working class pride. You saw them on military guys and field workers–anchors, hula girls, mermaids–imprinted on beefy limbs shaped like Popeye’s grotesque forearms. In the last couple of decades, though, they’ve become fashionable. I wasn’t watching, but I believe the trend started among the youth, as most of these trends do. You began to see a blossom or two on an ankle, a pretty sunset or sunrise on the back of hand. Then there were images of loved ones, past or present. And before long, skin art appeared on the bodies of all sexes and all classes. Which brings us to yours truly.

For a period of time a few years back, we had as a boarder a wonderful young lady, in her late twenties at the time. For some reason I asked her once if an abundance of tattoos would be off-putting for a romantic relationship. She looked at me incredulously and shook her head. Then art began to appear on various grandchildren and their friends and what had once been a mark of class or lifestyle had become commonplace. And I’d become intrigued.

I wondered vaguely, but not intensely, If I were going to get a tattoo, what would it be? No images appeared in my mind. It was a matter of no more than tangential concern, then suddenly the idea of a quail popped into my mind. I’d always liked them, their call, their cute topknots, the way, they skittered through the underbrush to evade pursuers, then erupted into short flights that ended in another screen of foliage. All that, and the fact that I have spent the last few years deeply engrossed in writing historical novels set in my native state, and that the Quail is the official bird of that state–California. So, suddenly, the only decision left was where to place the image. The underside of my right forearm now proudly sports the image below with a proud history. An image with a proud and ancient history:

The word “quail” referring to this bird first appeared in English in the 14th century, derived from the Anglo -Norman “quaille,” which was almost certainly formed in imitation of the bird’s cry.