On November 27 I will have been writing and publishing my69drinks for exactly one year. In that year there have been 3,500 visits by 1,111 visitors from ten countries. 190 comments on the proceedings have been left. There have been many private emails to me about the blog and the curious events surrounding, or rather beneath, my house. Reader reaction has been positive; I’ve probably pissed off some folks, but if so they’re keeping it to themselves. I have had a good time, and it pleases me that so many people enjoy my interpretation of these events.

To those of you uncomplicated souls who continue to send me your sweet naïve question, “Is it real?” Yes, well, dears, some of it is, some of it isn’t.

So what’s next?

Publishing, writing, an ongoing blog is a particular, and peculiar kind of writing. I have been writing a blog (three blogs now) for almost ten years. First there was 1. my blog about writing and reading thriller novels. 2. (this is a memoir) and the present blog, 3. There are many hundreds of entries in these three blogs. Over the years I have tried to keep to a steady schedule as I hate blogs that only appear every once in awhile or are started and then quickly abandoned when the blogger finds out how much work it is. Keeping a blog up is, indeed, a lot of work. My friend, RIP, Bhob Stewart, my writing mentor, always said that a blog was “public writing.” Meaning that the style is such that the writer works as if the reader is peering over his shoulder as he writes the entry. It’s not easy. And at the same time, it’s easier than novelizing in that the writing is not as “interesting,” the prose is flatter and not nearly as descriptive as it is in a novel. This may make for less intricate, less elaborate, less literary writing, but it is more communicative. The blogger is trying to appeal to a wide spectrum of readers. Having written many novels (Google Allen Appel, Amazon .com) I have to say I miss the more literary style of writing. It’s a bigger challenge, and sometimes when you’re in the zone and everything is working it can be exhilarating. Not often, but often enough to feel almost like you’re on a great drug and the world is at your fingertips.

So, as I asked above, What’s next?

I could just keep moving on with the blog. I’m interested — no, endlessly fascinated — with my old house and old town. Come sit up with me at three AM, in the dark with the moon bright and silvery outside, and listen to the sighs and whispers that slip through the cracks in the floor, barely discernable, susurrations that pull you to the edge of your seat because you know if you listen and pay attention hard enough you will understand that these soft sounds are words, voices, and you will understand what those voices are saying. I can’t leave that silvery night and the stories these voices are telling me, and I can’t leave off telling these stories to you, those of you who are interested.

So I think I am going to treat the two hundred plus pages of this blog as the world’s longest prologue, and that I am going to continue the story as a novel. I don’t want to abandon the blog and those of you who have traveled this road with me, so I’m going to try blogging about my research for the book as I go along. And anything else that crosses my mind. The elements of life in Hillsborough, North Carolina, present day and circa 1835 to the end of the Civil War, the horrors of slavery, and the everyday life of the people who lived here.

Why fiction? Why a novel? Because it’s difficult to say what I want to say as straight non-fiction. It’s difficult to explore a topic on a deeper level when one is sticking to facts. And when do you get to see it, this nascent novel? I dunno. We’ll figure that out as we go. Maybe I’ll put up chunks of it as I write. Maybe I’ll put it up in chapters, maybe quarters, maybe I’ll wait until I’m “finished,” though I think something like this will never be finished.

I won’t be putting it up week by week. I need more time and I need the room to roam back and forth in the pages, filling in blanks and expanding where it needs expansion. I’ll put up notices on Facebook when I have a new entry, and those of you who Follow me will get a notice when something new goes up. Being a Follower is the easiest way to know: goto the blog site and look for the instructions on how to become a Follower, though I am aware that it not always easy to do. So if you’re not on Facebook and not a Follower, just check in every once in awhile to see if there’s anything new.

And to those of you who haven’t kept up with the entries, who are still vowing to get back to the blog, who just haven’t had time, don’t give up! Scroll down, find your place and dive back in to see what the rest of us are talking about.

I’m open to thoughts and suggestions on the mechanics of any of this. You can offer a comment for me and everyone else to see, or you can write me a private message at

Let me know what you want me to do, particularly those of you who have stuck with me as I have dealt with my strange house and strange life.

“Is it real, Allen, is it real?”

It is to me.







7 thoughts on “Forty-three

  1. Allen, We would love to add another of your novels to my collection! We’re cool with which ever process you choose, to move forward. We would like to hear often your thoughts, your finds when researching, and to get story updates as you have time. Just stay in touch, and rest assured your fans are hungry for as many crumbs as you can toss our way! Best Wishes and much Success to you. Cal & Pam your faithful 2.


  2. Oh!……..well you’ve got me hooked now………looking forward to anything and everything you put out in the future. Thanks for MY 69 drinks!!


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