Dark Fire, available as an e-book

Just tonight I learn that Crossroad Press has put out my third Chiari novel, Dark Fire. I have been working on variants of this novel literally since first completing Messenger, which I wrote in 1979. Can’t tell you how many times I gave up on it. Finally it came together.  

George Chiari’s story was told in Messenger. His brother Angelo’s turn came in Babe in the Woods, (now retitled The Phenomenal Background and also available as an e-book from Crossroad Press). In Dark Fire, they work together, to try to save the C.T. Merriman Institute.

If you buy it and like it, please put up a review. Thanks.

This is the description that appears on Amazon.


That Phenomenal Background, available as an E-book

Originally published as Babe in the Woods, this is the first volume in a trilogy  centering on the changes and choices that accompany the dawning of a wider awareness.

Kindle version, the only version available so far, $3.99


That Phenomenal Background, an ebook

That Phenomenal Background (originally published as Babe in the Woods) is now available from Crossroad Press as an ebook.

The story? Reporter Angela Chiari is sent to attend a weeklong residential program at the CT Merriman Institute, a course that promises to help participants to develop their own “extraordinary potential.” He doesn’t believe a word of it, and expects to write a debunking article that will show people fooling themselves through their own wishful thinking.

Surprise, Mr. Chiari! It isn’t long before he begins to experience, first-hand, some of the things he has always assumed to be impossible.

As new perceptions and intuitions accumulate, he has to consider how much of his old worldview he can modify without becoming (as he would put it) “a fruitcake.” And there are more practical concerns as well, including the question of what happens when a long-married man falls in love (for reasons that cannot be explained rationally) with a long-married woman and they both know that a relationship is impossible. Yet this dilemma – which in ordinary circumstances would be front and center – is almost pushed aside by other extraordinary happenings and concerns, until Angelo finds himself living in a different world.

Here are the various links:





Smashwords: (which will feed Apple and some smaller retailers)


Google Play:


I am told it will be at Kobo after the next upload in a few days, but I don’t know what that means.


Draft 6 finished

Of the making of books, there is no end. Finished draft six of Papa’s Trial: Hemingway in the Afterlife, slimming it down from 167,000 words to 144,000, still too many.

Here’s Papa reviewing the manuscript, suggesting further changes. 🙂


Babe in the Woods pix

My second novel, Babe in the Woods, described Angelo Chiari’s week at the C.T. Merriman Institute in 1995. I placed a photo at the beginning of each day’s chapter. Came across them and here they are.









Papa’s Trial, coming along

Finished Papa’s Trial: Hemingway in the Afterlife, after a long gestation. Originally wrote a version, decided I didn’t like it, started rewriting an expanded and more intricate version, abandoned it. There it sat until recently. Upon finishing Dark Fire, my third novel, I decided Papa’s Trial should be my fourth. More work to do, of course. Probably another draft before I am satisfied, but still, progress!

Michael Ventura: “I want it to be true”




Austin Chronicle – January 11, 2013

    The Dragon is a novel almost five years in the works. It may take another five. I keep a Dragon journal. Here are entries from this year.

    May 4. I cling, as a novelist, to what Orson Welles said: “Who needs plot? But who can live without a story?” And I cling to what John [Cassavetes] told me: “In replacing narrative, you need an idea.”

Continue reading Michael Ventura: “I want it to be true”