Happy Official Start of Leaf-Peeping Season Day!

A beautiful crisp day today. Blue sky, white puffy clouds.

And if you’re in the North Country, drop by Vulgar Display of Poutine in Island Pond, VT (4-10 pm Thursday and Friday, 2-10 pm Saturday and Sunday). All they serve is poutine, but it’s the best you’ll find.

Dr. Doyle's Blog

Hey, if we’re going to continue with the grand renaming of everything, I might as well plump for my own candidate.

This date has long been the time when the New England autumnal colors start to peak, up here at the northern end of their range.  A dedicated leaf-peeper can start up here and follow the colors southward to finish up in Connecticut, by which time we up here are looking at bare trees and starting to fret about the first snowfall.

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Fitzwilliam Fantasy Faire Map

Fitzwilliam Fantasy Faire

Come on down! (Or up, depending on your starting point.)  13 Templeton Turnpike, Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire 03447.  Tons of vendors, shows, demos, and other fun.  Saturday the 5th.  9:00 am-3:00 pm.

If you see me, say “Amaze me!” and I’ll do my level best.


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Fitzwilliam Fantasy Faire

So there you are, wondering what to do, where to go, on an October morning. Specifically, October 5th, 2019. Why not come to the Fitzwilliam Fantasy Faire?  It’s Fair!  It’s Fantastic!  It’s in Fitzwilliam!(NH).  And, I’ll be there doing magic.  Come up to me, say, “Amaze me!” and I’ll do my best.

9:00 am – 3:00 pm


Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire


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Vaudeville Again!

It;s VaudevilleI’ll be doing my vaudeville thing at Newport, NH a week from Saturday, at 7:00 pm.   My turn is a recreation of a vaudeville magic act as might have been seen back in 1921, using the same patter, the same tricks, done by the same methods, as they were a century ago.  The place is the Newport Opera House.  So come on, see the show, and applaud wildly!

Vaudeville show coming to Newport


$10 in advance, $15 at the door.

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Read the Book!

Free download, in accessible, searchable Epub format, with live links to 740+ original documents: the Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election (“The Mueller Report”).

Read it.  Really.  It’s important.


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This Weekend

The Conjuror by Hieronymus BoschI’m doing the Maine RenFaire.  As always, if you come up to me and say “Amaze me!” I will do my level best.

550 ME-109 in Acton, Maine.  Saturday and Sunday July 27/28, 10:00am-5:00 pm.  Be there or don’t be there (that is the question).  Oh, yeah, and please don’t think of the Ace of Spades.  Everyone thinks of the Ace of Spades.



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Ian Randal Strock’s Fantastic Books has contracted with James D. Macdonald, Judith K. Dial, and Tom Easton for an anthology of 40 short horror stories to be called



We will open for submissions on August 8, 2019. Submissions will close September 15, 2019.  Proposed publication date is early 2020, in all the usual paper and electronic formats.

We’re looking for reprints.  Previously published where the rights have reverted to the author.   500-2000 words.  Pay is $20 flat fee for non-exclusive reprint rights.  The stories should NOT involve bathroom horror.

Send submissions (and questions) to Tom at profeaston@verizon.net.

The book will join SCIENCE FICTION FOR THE THRONE and FANTASY FOR THE THRONE on Ian’s dealer table at numerous conventions (as well as on his website at fantasticbooks.biz and on Amazon etc.). With luck, everyone will decide they just have to have the whole set.

Buy one.  Better still, buy a dozen.  They make excellent gifts.



Q. What do you mean by “horror”?

A:  Something that scares me.

Q. What rights do you take?

A. Non-exclusive reprint rights.

Q. I’m a big name author.  What’s my pay going to be?

A. Twenty bucks.

Q. My story won an award!  What’s the rate?

A.  Twenty bucks, flat fee.

Q. What’s the royalty rate?

A.  Flat fee.

Q. I have a super-scary drabble!  Can I send it in?

A.  Is it at least 500 words?  If so, yes.

Q. I have an original story!  Can I submit it?

A. I suppose so, but it’s still a flat twenty bucks, and you’ll only be able to sell it as a reprint afterward.  Are you really sure you want to do this?

Q. My novel excerpt is 5,000 words!  Will you look at it?

A. Yes, after you’ve cut 3,000 words.

Q. I don’t write horror, but I have a really funny Little Baby Bunny story.  Want to look at it?

A. Maybe for the Baby Animals for the Throne anthology (not yet scheduled).

Q. I have a 1500 word previously published really scary horror story that, unfortunately, consists entirely of bathroom humor.  Can I send “It Came From Beneath the Loo” for your consideration?

A. If you must, but be aware that it’ll had better be super scary and totally brilliant and utterly unique and all those other literary vitamins and minerals if you expect it to crawl its way up the sewer pipe.

Q. I don’t have a short horror story that fits your requirements, but I’m a big name author and I want to write a blurb for the back of the book telling everyone how much I loved it and how they should buy it.  Can we talk?

A.  Yes.  Professor Tom wants to hear from you.

Q. Can I tell all my writer friends about this anthology?

A. Yes.  If you don’t have friends make some friends just so you can tell them.

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Storyteller in Vernon Hills, Il

Meg Macdonald, Story Teller

Stories Old and New with Meg Macdonald, Friday, June 21st, 11:00 AM at Barbara’s Bookstore, Hawthorne Mall, Vernon Hills Il. Admission: free.

Be there, or have to explain to your children and grandchildren (in addition to an entire chapter in your autobiography that you’d really rather not have) why you weren’t.


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Vermont Ren Faire

Jim Macdonald, magician

Be there, or be square!

The 2019 Vermont Renaissance Faire will be held in Stowe, VT, on June 22nd and 23rd.

I’ll be doing magic on the Merchant’s Stage at 3:00 pm each day, plus walking around the fair grounds for the rest of the fair.

Come, meet my friends.  Come up to me and say, “Amaze me!” and I’ll do my best.

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The Board Having Maturely Considered These Facts….

We left the site of  Major André’s hanging and temporary grave, to journey … to lunch!

André’s self-portrait, the night before his hanging.

We went to the Old ’76 House (110 Main St, Tappan, NY 10983 (41°01’18.3″N 73°56’52.6″W (41.021752, -73.947940)), a half-mile away, which was the place where Major André had been held during his trial. Reputedly the Old ’76 House is the oldest continuously-operated dining facility in America.


The  historical marker says: “76 House” Where Major John André, British spy, plotter with Arnold, to deliver West Point, was confined before his execution.

Washington’s Headquarters, Tappan, NY. Corner of Oak Tree Road and Livingston Street.

Back in 1780 it was called Mabie’s Tavern, and was convenient to Washington’s headquarters in the DeWint House under a mile away and to the Reformed Church of Tappan just across the street where André’s trial was held.

The dining room is decorated in Colonial style, with various firearms and swords hung from the walls. There are no less than two portraits of Major André visible; an oil showing him in his scarlet regimentals with green facings, and a charcoal showing him wearing a cocked hat (in the style later associated with Napoleon).

Reformed Church of Tappan. This building dates to 55 years after André’s trial.

Tavern Fish And Chips, yum!

It being a Friday in Lent, I had the Tavern Fish and Chips, while Doyle had the Caesar Salad. The food has apparently improved a good deal since the major was held captive there: back in 1780 General Washington send food from his own table (prepared by Samuel Fraunces of Fraunces’ Tavern) to Major André, to ensure that the latter was eating right.

While Major André was held at Mabie’s Tavern, his trial was held just up the road and across the street at the Reformed Church of Tappan. His court martial board consisted of:

Major General Greene, President
Major General Lord Stirling
Major General St. Clair
Major General The Marquis de la Fayette
Major General Howe
Major General The Baron de Steuben
Brigadier General Parsons
Brigadier General Clinton
Brigadier General Knox
Brigadier General Glover
Brigadier General Patterson
Brigadier General Hand
Brigadier General Huntington
Brigadier General Stark
John Lawrence, Judge-Advocate General


Those who are interested in the trial might wish to read Proceedings of a board of general officers respecting Major John André. The major represented himself in the legal proceedings and was perfectly frank in his disclosures. Perhaps a bit too frank: he volunteered information that the Continentals would have had a terrible time proving. Not that Clarence Darrow, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., and Daniel Webster combined arguing his case would have helped a whole lot. He genuinely had gone behind American lines, in disguise, under a false name, and was carrying incredibly incriminating papers. As Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton said, “Never perhaps did any man suffer death with more justice, or deserve it less.”

Despite offers by the Continentals to trade André for Arnold (by Hamilton among others), General Sir Henry Clinton couldn’t make the deal, not if he ever wanted to see another high-level defector again. Of Major André, Baron von Steuben wrote, “It is not possible to save him. He put us to no proof, but in an open, manly manner, confessed everything but a premeditated desire to deceive. Would to God the wretch who drew him to death could have suffered in his place.” The Marquis de Lafayette said, “All the court … were filled with sentiments of admiration and compassion for him. He behaved with so much frankness, courage and delicacy that I could not help lamenting his unhappy fate. This was one of the most painful duties I ever had to perform,” and wept openly at André’s hanging.

Despite their personal feelings, the court-martial found:

The Board having maturely considered these facts, DO ALSO REPORT to His Excellency General Washington, That Major André, Adjutant General to the British army, ought to be considered as a Spy from the enemy, and that agreeable to the law and usage of nations, it is their opinion, he ought to suffer death.

General Washington affirmed the sentence, pocket vetoed the major’s request for a firing squad, and so the matter concluded.

With lunch finished, we made our way up to King’s Ferry, where Major André crossed the Hudson on the night of September 22nd, 1780, as he attempted to make his way (in civilian clothes, under an assumed name, and with the plans to West Point in his boot)  back to the British lines at New-York.

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