|FREE Amazon e-Book!
Next week is your last chance to get a FREE copy of my e-Book, Tales of the Cemetery Trees…at least for a while
June 18, 19, and 20th
If you’re one of the very few, who have actually read this particular tome, then feel free to share this offer with fellow aficionados of crime,
fantasy, mystery, and the supernatural.
You can also gift to unsuspecting others by clicking on the “Give as a Gift” button at http://amzn.com/B00F6I5ALA . A darn thoughtful and
economical (cheap) gift…if you ask me.
If you’re a Mainer, you’ll recognize many of the story settings, and if you know me personally, you’ll wonder if these stories are entirely
fictional. I’m not saying, but if you ever hike Sears Island, you may wonder what might be buried under the rock cairn on the island’s
Tales of mystery, crime, fantasy, and the supernatural from the author of “Judith: A Quoddy Tale”.
A man’s annual trek to Sears Island stirs bittersweet remembrances of a past love. A woman encounters an infamous maritime whirlpool.
Two young men take up a taboo, centuries old profession. Bothered by mischievous teens, a Texas rancher plans an elaborate
comeuppance. Peculiar shadow figures trouble a locomotive engineer along his nighttime route. A woodcutter searches the Maine wilds for
a mythical stand of virgin white pine. The violent murder of a renowned sculptor stymies a small town police chief. A boy hunts the king of
serpents in the Mississippi bayous. A New Jersey hit man travels to Down East Maine to find his next mark.
All the while The Cemetery Trees are watching…
FREE e-Story, "The Pact: A Quoddy Tale" - June 5, 2014
My short story, The Pact: A Quoddy Tale, is now available FREE on Smashwords!
For readers, who enjoyed my first book, Judith: A Quoddy Tale, and those looking for a Down East thriller, you’re just one click away from an
Excellent bathroom literature!
Around 8,500 words or 20+ pages, you could knock this story out in one sitting…at least I could.
It’s FREE…FREE I say, so download or read online now…or read later…if you prefer.
A prequel to Judith: A Quoddy Tale, readers learn of an ugly incident alluded to in the original book but not fully realized until now. Beaten and
raped by her ex-husband, Betty Bean is fearful and calls upon Jasper Mann to resolve the situation. Although he has a guarded reputation
for exacting Down East justice, Jasper is averse to drastic measures without careful deliberation. At the behest of others, Russ Ireland
takes the initiative, forcing Jasper to decide a terrible man’s ultimate fate.
FREE e-Book! – June 18-20th
Tales of the Cemetery Trees
Amazon Kindle URL:http://amzn.com/B00F6I5ALA
Another rare opportunity to download a FREE copy of my e-Book!
As always, if you really, really liked the book, feel free to say so on Goodreads and\or Amazon.
Goodness knows, I could use more kind reviews.
FREE e-Story! "The Perwinkle Boy" - May 30, 2014
"The Periwinkle Boy” is the latest in a series of stories titled “Quoddy Tales”, an eclectic collection of short stories set in the farthest
reaches of Down East Maine.
Frankie had ventured onto the nighttime clam flats of Holmes Bay countless times in search of periwinkles, but on this night, he becomes
lost in a strange fog. Frankie must find his way to shore before the incoming tide engulfs him.
Download or read online for free at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view...
John's Narraguagus Blurb- May 10, 2014
Click on link below to see the actual cabin depicted in my short story, The Narraguagus Mark, from my book, Tales of the Cemetery Trees.
The story is about a New Jersey hit man, who travels to Down East Maine to find his next mark. This particular camp is situated on the
remotest part of the West Branch of the Narraguagus River in Maine. No roads nearby. Only way in is a several mile hike or a very long
I'm not saying the story is based on an actual event, but people have disappeared in that wilderness and never been seen again. ;-)
Excerpt from The Narraguagus Mark
"Rustic would have been an overly generous word to describe the rundown dwelling. It appeared to have been constructed many years ago
out of spruce logs harvested from the surrounding woods. Even the boards used for the tar-paper-covered roof had been rough-sawn from
neighboring pine logs. At one time, the structure may have been straight and even, but now, its form was lopsided from decades of winter
frost heaves. The yard was cluttered with firewood in various states of dress, interspersed with cans, bottles, and plastic containers. Frank
guessed there had to be a trash dump somewhere behind the building to dispose of the litter that could not be burned in the woodstove."
Win a FREE Book! - May 9, 2014
Win a signed and bookmarked copy of Judith: A Quoddy Tale or Tales of the Cemetery Trees!
Each month, I’ll be drawing names and mailing out books, so if you don’t win, try again and again
While you’re at it, feel free to peruse my website. There’s lots of pretty photos and plenty of stuff to read.
Just click or copy\paste the following link and enter your name and email
Please note I will not give out your information…no matter how much they bribe, blackmail, or torture me. However, you may hear from me
on occasion, but I won’t ask you to move furniture or drive me to the airport…unless you really wanna…
The Secrets of Baker Island - May 8, 2014
Oh…the dreary memory of this long past winter is finally retreating. Time for my wanderlust to awaken and tempt me to the places I hold
dear. My yard cleared of winter litter, and my new—slightly used—boat readied for adventures. I harken back to the first weekend of June
Admittedly, it’s sometimes a challenge to find a locale that stands out from Maine’s 4,613 picturesque islands, but low and behold, one
beckoned. Perusing Maine Atlas, Map # 16, I’ve looked at this island more than a few times, but given its proximity to the peopled shores of
Cranberry and Mount Desert Islands, I had skipped over it in search of more far-flung shores. However, on that long ago weekend, it was
Four or more miles southeast of Mount Desert is a roundish looking island of 123 acres called Baker Island. First settled in the early 1800s,
it was once home to the Gilley and Stanley families, who farmed and fished for a living. Nearly two centuries later, the only evidence of the
island’s former inhabitants is a lovely cemetery of ashen stones, old cottages, and stony cellars. Mostly covered with spruce woods, a
swaft of grassy meadow still remains, leading toward a lighthouse in the middle of the island. Today, Baker Island is part of Acadia National
The island’s shoreline is a tumble of pink boulders and craggy ledges, broken occasionally by flat slabs of granite. One such series of
shelves was christened the Dance Floor where people have been known to socialize and waltz. Given the rugged shoreline, it’s difficult to
make landfall and disembark unless you have a dinghy. Fortunately, I timed the tides just right for this trip. A couple of hours before low tide,
I lighted on a stretch of seaweed-covered stones. In little time, the water had sieved away leaving the boat high and dry until the incoming
After setting anchor, we had lunch on the shore before setting off for the island’s interior. As we crested a spine of pink granite, we spied
the cemetery where past generations of Gilley and Stanley Families reside. Beyond was a grassy pathway winding past a series of rustic
cottages, and still farther beyond was the Baker Island Lighthouse. Built upon a prominence of land, the lighthouse beacon is one-hundred
and five feet above the surrounding sea. Like most Maine islands, songbird and rabbit abound. Several times, we were surprised by the
sight of whitetail, seemingly unperturbed by our presence. No doubt, the remnants of an apple orchard make this a paradise for deer.
Personally, I’ve never visited a lighthouse situated so far from shore, but its location made sense given the 360 degree view. Regrettably, we
didn’t have time to seek out the island’s Dance Floor. Instead, we headed back to the beach where we flew Angry Bird kites and waited for
the rising tide. We vowed to return again someday—perhaps, this June?
John's Springtime Ruminations - April 23, 2014
Here’s an article, I wrote a few years back for my employer newsletter, “Keeping Current”. Given the lateness of spring to Maine this year, I
thought it appropriate to dust it off. Hope you enjoy.
As I trudged into Telcom Drive on a recent morning, the sight of a wriggling night crawler on the wet walkway lessened my winter blues. For
many, a lowly worm wouldn’t summon a cheerful feeling. However, for those of my fishing brethren, its emergence is the surest sign of
impending spring, more so than muddy tote roads, pussy willows, and fickle groundhogs. How else could this humble creature ascend four
feet of frozen earth unless winter had finally given up its stranglehold on the Maine landscape?
The scent of moldering sod and the sound of rushing water from nearby Birch Stream stirred youthful memories of fishing on opening day.
Images came to mind of slogging through granular snow sprinkled with springtail fleas, baiting a hook with fingers too numb to feel its
sharp barb, and watching a red and white bobber drifting in an icy flow. All too often, I ended up plodding home on cold aching feet with one
less worm and no fish.
Of course, around this time of year on most ponds and lakes in the Greater Bangor region, you cannot yet paddle a canoe from one shore to
the other. If you want a reasonable chance of catching a brook trout on April 1st, you must trek to exotic locales like Lily Pond on Deer Isle
where milder coastal weather might allow for an early ice out. Additionally, your odds are bolstered with a previous autumn stocking of
brookies, ravenous after a long winter sojourn.
Thinking back to boyhood days, bait had to be gathered before a forked alder branch could be strung with trout. Although it was still too
early to dig in the garden for angleworms, night crawlers were plentiful and plump. When I used to live across the river from Bangor, my
Uncle Trevor recommended one of his favorite haunts. Evidently, the grassy banks surrounding the old Brewer Library were usually frost-
free during much of March. So, outfitted with rubber boots, pail, and fresh flashlight batteries, I’d go there on rainy evenings.
Now, bear in mind that night crawling is an art form, requiring stealth, endurance, and skill. It’s also an activity not suited for the squeamish.
On the hunt, one must approach with a delicate footfall, lest you hear the telltale sound of elongated bodies retracting into earthen burrows.
When ready, set aside your pail and hunker down slowly while taking time to flex stiffened fingers. With lamp in hand, illumine the turf
around your feet. Already, there could be dozens of worms recoiling from the bright light, so you have little time to select a target and react.
Using thumb and index finger in a lightning movement, you must take hold of a segmented head in a firm yet gentle pincher grip and pull with
a mild tugging motion. Execution must be flawless; otherwise, you might end up with half a crawler or none at all. If successful, drop your
prize into the pail, wipe your fingers on your pant leg, and repeat a hundred more times.
Now that you have the basics, keep in mind a few important things. First of all, when shining the lawns of public buildings or cemeteries at
night, you could have unexpected visitors, as was the case, one evening, when the Brewer Police questioned me. Fortunately, under the
glare of blue strobe lights, my explanation proved convincing, along with my dripping ball cap and a brimming pail of crawlers. Secondly,
always ask for explicit permission from your mom or spouse should you keep bait in the refrigerator. Lastly, secure your perforated bait
cover. Otherwise...well, you know…
So, the next time you see a night crawler on your way into Telcom Drive, tread careful and don’t be repulsed for this creature is a harbinger
of spring. That being said, please don’t fret if you come across a Styrofoam container with my name on it in the break-room fridge, I’m quite
certain the cover is on nice and tight.
John's Lament - April 1, 2014
Last Tuesday April 1st, I had an enjoyable time at Dirigo Pines Retirement Community. Welcomed by residents, I was fed a grand meal. Linen
napkins, fancy china, and a wide assortment of forks, spoons, and knives, dinnertime was a very elegant affair—quite different from my
usual chipped plate and plastic spork at home.
Later, during my little presentation and reading, the audience seemed genuinely... receptive and interested. My accompanying photo
slideshow elicited many questions, and as usual my polished Maine rocks were scooped up by the handful. Later someone said—I don’t
remember who—that folks thought I was charming and funny. That, I don’t know about… Though my books aren’t yet bestsellers, and I’m
not in a position to start charging a stipend for appearances, at least, I’m getting fed now.
Anyhow, thanks to Juanita Taylor and staff for having me, and please keep me in mind if another speaker cancels at the last minute. I don’t
have much going on…until July…and I got other stuff…lots of stuff, I could talk about. I also wouldn’t mind another dinner invite…so feel free
to keep me in mind…please…
John's Lament - March 3, 2014
Well, I did it.
I just unleashed an e-Story titled The Pact: A Quoddy Story on unfortunate Amazon Kindle readers.
A prequel to Judith: A Quoddy Tale, readers learn of an ugly incident alluded to in the original book but not fully realized until now. Beaten and
raped by her ex-husband, Betty Bean calls upon Jasper Mann to resolve the situation. Although he has a guarded reputation for exacting
Down East justice, Jasper is averse to drastic measures without careful deliberation. At the behest of others, Russ Ireland takes the
initiative, forcing Jasper to decide a terrible man’s ultimate fate.
At around 8,500 words, I’m not comfortable offering the story for $0.99, but I’m compelled to remain within certain pricing confines.
However, rest assured, I’ll leverage my promos through Amazon Kindle at every opportunity and make the story available for free. Free
promo dates are forthcoming.
As I slowly labor on another long work, I’ve been writing short stories here and there with thought of compiling a collection titled Quoddy
Tales. I’m revisiting characters and storylines that weren’t wholly explored in my debut book, Judith: A Quoddy Tale. Knowing their eventual
fates, it’s bittersweet to revisit certain beloved characters. I’ve grown especially attached to Jasper Mann, and many times, my wife and I
converse about him like he’s a real person. Since he’s comprised of bits and pieces of influential males I’ve known through my life, I
suppose Jasper isn’t entirely fictional.
Anyhow, I’m not done with my Quoddy family yet.
John's Lament - February 28, 2014
Well, it’s hard to believe today’s the last day of February—unless it’s another one of those dumb leap years. Alas, not a whole lot of book
marketing stuff going on this month, except for the following…below.
As usual, I was pleased with my latest Goodreads’ Book Giveaway. If you’re an aspiring author and wanna get your book on peoples’ “to
read” list, then I highly recommend this. Now...if folks would finish reading the hundreds of books ahead of mine in their queue…but, I’m not
I know as an indie author, it’s up to me to actually write a story with an interesting plot and empathetic characters. For me, that’s a pretty big
challenge as is. Where I’m lacking any natural talent or formal learning, I make up for with blind doggedness. Yah know…a monkey with a
lots and lots of time…pounding keys on a typewriter…eventually producing a great literary work…
However, I don’t have lots of idle time, so I’m thinking I might have to do something outrageous to get noticed. Perhaps, a crime of sorts?
Nothing violent or perverse, mind you, or anything too morally offensible…though some nudity might be involved. Something that straddles
that thin line between rebellious and criminal. Yah know…make people say, “That was awesome. I wish I had the gonads to do something
like that. Hey…I wonder if this guy has a website?” Like fishing for a hungry pickerel with a bloody shiner… Something like that, but nothing
that would keep me incarcerated too long if I got pinched. I’ll make note of that and set it aside…for now.
My KDP discount promo for “Tales of the Cemetery Trees” was modestly successful—at least in comparison to what I’m accustomed. As
far as potential reviews go, paid promos can go either way. Amazon reviewers are rather unforgiving to begin with, even with a free e-Book,
but heaven bid if they had to pay for their indignation…
Anyways, if you ever happen to read and like any of my books, feel free to say as much on Goodreads and\or Amazon. I know it’s a chore, but
I’d be very appreciative. Written reviews are evidently in scarce supply, especially favorable ones. Not to say, I wouldn’t appreciate the value
of a gently critiqued review, but I’ll leave it up to you to go that route. And, I’ve already learned about the cardinal rule of never replying to
snarky reviews. Boy…did I ever…
Sometimes, I feel like I’m writing in a vacuum—not knowing if it’s worthwhile endeavor. Certainly, there hasn’t been a monetary incentive to
continue. For now though, I still have a few more storylines rattling around in my skull that need to be written down. After that, if
circumstances are still unchanged, I’ll reassess.
February ended on a particularly good note. The Old Town Public Library’s monthly luncheon was quite enjoyable. Feted by a featured local
speaker and treated to a free catered lunch, this coming together of library patrons is a friendly audience. Folks seemed to like my little
slideshow of Maine images and me talking about my “writing craft”, and reading excerpts from my books. As usual, my wife, Heidi, was
ready with a cut-throat motion to keep me from wandering or saying something off-color.
Anyhow, I send a heartfelt shout-out to Cynthia Jennings for hosting my appearance. Hopefully, I didn’t make too much of a mess.
Oh…Cindy, I’m always available if you ever have a last second cancellation and need a fill-in speaker. My calendar is most always open.
Yeah…it’s wide open. Just let me know.
Well…other than the Hammond Senior Center Luncheon on March 19th, I got nothing else going on this coming month, other than my regular
job as an IT Infrastructure Analyst. Believe me…it’s isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. Maybe, I’ll dig out my ice auger and go ice fishing…or
maybe, I should get off my lazy butt and write. I dunno… We’ll see…
John's Lament - February 17, 2014
It’s been a while since my last post, but it’s said that less is best, so probably just as well I don’t say much of anything.
January was a slow month in regards to writing, book promotion, and such, and with the psycho winter weather in past weeks, my regular
job has been especially demanding. Seems the phones and computers are always on the fritz. It’s also getting tiresome plowing my drive,
blowing my paths, and shoveling my roof. For me, winter lost its appeal sometime last November.
Anyhow, the “authorities” have finally removed my monitoring bracelet, so I’m free to travel outside of Penobscot County to do some book
promotion...and stuff... One of my first stops is the Portland Public Library for their Friday Local Author Series program. Thankfully, stories of
my checkered past haven’t quite yet reached southern Maine—that I know of.
So, if you're in Portland on February 21st Friday 12:00-1:00 p.m., feel free to drop by. I was told there would be free drinks, fabulous gifts, and
famous celebrities…or maybe not… In advance of this appearance, there’s a Kindle discount promo underway February 16-22nd for my
book, “Tales of the Cemetery Trees”, at the ridiculously low price of $0.99. I actually placed an ad in the Maine Sunday Telegram for this
event, so hopefully, it was worth the expense because it’ll take an appreciable number of e-Book downloads to pay for it.
Additionally, on February 25th Tuesday 11:00-1:00 p.m., the Old Town Public Library is hosting their monthly luncheon featuring an eclectic
who’s who of local artists and authors.
Don’t ask me why or how, but I’m the featured speaker this month. I’ll be droning on about the usual author gobbledygook. As always, for the
question and answer session, no topic is off limits, so I’m bound to say something provocative—most likely, ranting about something or
another…dropping a profane word here and there. Always memorable…though some reason, I don’t usually get asked back. Well…you can’
t satisfy all the people all the time…
At the outset of every Q & A session, I like to remind folks there’s no such thing as dumb questions…just dumb people asking questions.
Seems effective in keeping the back and forth to a minimum.
Anyways, I don’t have much going on in later weeks…months, so my itinerary is wide-open if you’re in need of a “celebrated” author to
speak…hangout…whatever… In fact, I’ll forego my usual appearance fee altogether just to get out of the house…at least until April 1st
when the open water fishing season begins in Maine. In truth, I’ve never been paid to appear anywhere, but free lunch is always welcome.
John's Lament - January 2, 2014
I’d like to thank Jonny Kosnow for having me on his radio show “Open Book” at WRFR (Radio Free Rockland) 93.3 FM.
Regrettably, due to technical issues, I didn’t capture the last 20-minutes of this hour long program, which unfortunately might have been the
best part of the show. Alas, I’ll take what I can get.
Feel free to listen to the broadcast at http://johnrcobb.com/Cemetery_Trees_Sunday_Telegram_Review.html.
Other than that, it was a very busy day at work, and it's colder than a witch's in Maine today.
I'll try to work on my latest manuscript this evening, but alas, I'm easily distracted.
John's Lament - December 28, 2014
Had a pretty good day today
No family dramas, no arrests, no deaths, and actually did a little writing and some book marketing stuff
Jonny Kosnow had a last minute cancellation on his radio show “Open Book”, and he called me up to fill-in as a guest author. Though I was
probably the only person on his rolodex, who happened to be home to answer the phone, I’m not complaining. Anyhow, listen for me. It's
bound to be a train wreck.
WRFR (Radio Free Rockland) 93.3 FM
Open Book with Jonathan Kosnow
January 1st, 2014 Wednesday 6-7pm
Guest Author: Me
Feel free to live-stream the radio show
I’m sure there’s a simpler way to stream the program, but give this a try:
1.Go to http://wrfr.org/live-streaming/
2.Click on the antenna icon
3.Save file (listen.pls) to your computer
4.Right-click on file and open with RealPlayer
5.Should take you to the current radio program
I also had an enjoyable author reading this afternoon at the Sunbury Village Retirement Community in Bangor, Maine. Most folks seemed
happy to have me there, and many stayed through the entire reading.
It must have been a really, really slow news day because FOX Bangor/ABC 7 actually filmed my presentation and interviewed me afterwards.
Hopefully, my eyes weren’t crossed, and I didn’t drool too much. There might be segment on the news this evening.
I’ll just stay home this evening because my day isn’t gonna get any better. Pretty much been on-call this past week due to the ice storm and
power outages. In case you didn’t know, I work as an IT Infrastructure Analyst at Bangor Hydro Electric Company. Been shoveling snow and
ice all week, and now I’m getting psyched for tomorrow’s snowstorm.
That’s all for now, but I’ll post something this coming Thursday. No telling what the FCC is gonna ding me for after the radio show.
|John's Occasional Lament