Microfiction: Gemini: Daily life as an air sign

I’m trying to print and the printer is out of ink. Why does that always happen?! Ugh, I just want things to work!

And the kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes! They need to be washed. I don’t have any clean forks.

And my office desk is cluttered with paperwork, unfiled bills, and old greeting cards! I pick up a folded piece of paper, look at it, and open a filing cabinet. I find a folder and stick the paper in it. Then I lose my nerve and become distracted with the plate of half-eaten toast on my desk. I grab it, dump the old toast in the trash, and open the dishwasher but the dishes are all clean. I stick the dirty plate in the sink, on top of the mound of other dirty dishes. I really need to empty the clean dishes.

I don’t have time for this! I need to be doing other things! I look around and see things that need to be put away. And there are clean clothes in the dryer that need to be folded.

As usual, I feel overwhelmed and shudder at the thought of having to do such menial, non-intellectual tasks. I like having a clean house, but not enough to actually do the cleaning.

Such tasks take away from what I really want to be doing. Reading and writing. I have several great ideas for books and short stories, but I need time to sit down.

Right now, I want to crawl into a corner with a book and hide. From everything. From phone calls. From text messages. From bills and tax collectors. From my day job. From life.



Flash fiction: Any Way you Want It

Any Way You Want It

by Maria Riegger

I opened the front door to my apartment and immediately began opening my mail.

Oh no, I thought when I saw the red Hallmark envelope. Another greeting card from my mother.

She insists on marking every occasion, from Halloween to St. Patrick’s Day, even though we’re not Irish.

“Did you get my card?” She would ask me in about a week.

For her, it’s less about the message and mostly about keeping up appearances.

“Why does everyone insist on keeping up with the Joneses?” I mused out loud. “Everyone expects you to have a huge house, change your car every two years, have the right job, the right partner, take the right vacations — “

I sighed. ‘Right’ according to them, of course. What’s better? To be miserable but have ‘status’ or to be happy and not have ‘status?’

Nobody should have to think about the answer to that.

I opened the greeting card and glanced at it. I hesitated, then placed it on my kitchen table. My apartment didn’t have a formal dining room. I always thought that those were a waste of space. How often would it get used, anyway?

My mother called me occasionally, just to see how I was doing, but we rarely talked about anything substantive. That was how I preferred it.

I leaned against my kitchen counter and shook my head.

Sorry I only live in an apartment, I thought, that I prefer to travel rather than be house poor, that I don’t have a gaggle of children, that I stay in most nights and read to feed my brain instead of go out and engage in vapid activities with superficial people, who live cookie-cutter existences.

I pretend to straighten an imaginary tie and have an imaginary conversation out loud.

“I’m John, and this is my wife Jill, and our son Jack. He just got into Harvard. Well, hello, I’m Tom, and this is my wife Tracy and our son Tim, and he just got into Georgetown. Cue the debate over whether Georgetown is an Ivy League school. Who cares?

I turned around and reached into the cabinet for a glass, then filled it with water.

The other day my mother asked me why I didn’t get a bigger house with a bigger yard. I asked her why I needed a bigger house and yard. She couldn’t answer.

But the answer for her was clear. She wants me to have a bigger house because she wants me to have a bigger house,so that she can tell people, my daughter lives in a big house.

I pursed my lips, frustrated. To her, a big house is a sign of status.

I’m an embarrassment to her. That’s why she doesn’t talk about me at parties.

Oh well, I don’t care. Why should I? I don’t go to parties. I smiled, even though there was no one to see.

I don’t have a fear of missing out. I don’t have a fear of rejection. I have a fear of living a monotonous life, without experiencing anything, without creating anything.

I live life any way I want it.

Microfiction: Intuition

February 12, 2018


by Maria Riegger

“I don’t believe in psychics. You’re crazy.”

“Then how come I always call you when you’re thinking of me?”

My sister waved a hand dismissively. “It’s because we grew up together. It’s just — intuition.”

“Aha!” I said, with the success of a mystic who has just begun to convert a newbie. “Yes, intuition.”

She looked at me, uncertain.

I continued carefully. “Did it occur to you that psychic ability is merely highly developed intuition?”

“What do you mean?”

“People who know of events before they occur, they’re just highly sensitive. They’re able to focus their energy. Sometimes they isolate —”

“Like you?” She smirked.

She was dissing my introverted nature, but I didn’t care. I was enjoying this conversation too much.

“Yes, I isolate. Wanna know why?”


“I get overstimulated by modern life. All the devices, smartphones, tablets. I go to the damn gas station, there’s a screen showing TMZ. At the doctor’s office, a TV’s blaring inane crap about how to be healthy. Of course, I want to be healthy. That’s why I go to the damn doctor’s office!”

My sister laughed and I smiled.

“My point is,” I continued, “there’s so much chatter. It interferes with my energy and my thoughts, and I can’t focus. I isolate because I can’t stand the noise. If more people rid themselves of the chatter, they could get in tune with their intuition.”

“You mean their psychic intuition.”


Microfiction: Leave Astrology out of it

February 5, 2018

Leave Astrology out of it

by Maria Riegger

“Read this book,” I told my sister, shoving the tome in front of her face.

“I’m not gonna read that,” she answered, wrinkling her nose.

I sighed. “I knew you’d say that. You Aquarians are so detached. You’d think revolutionaries would be more open-minded, but they’re so intellectually detached they can’t accept things they don’t understand.”

It was my sister’s turn to sigh. “Can we please be normal for once?”

I laughed. “Do you realize who you’re talking to?”

“Leave astrology out of it.” She shook her head.

I had ten years on my sister, but somehow she always managed to make me feel like a young child.

She shrugged. “I’m sorry, but I don’t see how the position of the planets in the solar system at the time of your birth has anything to do with your personality.”

“Look, you believe in God, right, or in some higher power?”

“Yes, of course.”

“And you’ve never seen Him, right? I mean, you don’t really have any proof that he exists.”

She considered. “I mean, kind of, but it’s all circumstantial evidence.”

“Right.” I waved the book in front of her.

“Fine, I’ll read it, just leave me alone.”

“Not very Aquarian to say, but OK.”

The Big Sheep: A delightfully humorous dystopian novel

Originally posted on http://www.bookclubbabble.com

Robert Kroese’s The Big Sheep is a fun, genre-bending ride. Kroese is largely an author of humorous, deeply sarcastic science fiction, although he writes (and writes very well) in multiple genres. Indeed, I don’t think enough work has been done in the humorous sci-fi genre. Fans of Kroese’s Mercury series, which pokes tongue-in-cheek humor at everything from lawyers (no offense taken) to bureaucratic agencies, will not be disappointed with The Big Sheep.

The Big Sheep is ultimately a work of science fiction, set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world after an event referred to as The Collapse. As a result, a large part of Los Angeles, known as the Disincorporated Zone, essentially became a chaotic, third-world country run by mafia lords. Sheep is also a detective noir thriller, featuring seemingly high-functioning autistic and mysterious private investigator Erasmus Keane (who refers to himself as a phenomenological inquisitor) and his trusty sidekick Blake Fowler, who tries to keep Keane semi-grounded.

The novel’s plot and atmosphere harken to Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which inspired the movie Blade Runner. I would strongly recommend reading Androids before reading The Big Sheep, since the reader will understand the connections and get the humorous references more easily.

In Sheep’s main plotline, detectives Keane and Fowler are hired by two different clients to solve what appear to be two different cases. In the first case, a Hollywood star is afraid that someone may be trying to kill her. In the second, a lab is searching for a missing genetically modified sheep. All this action is set against a backdrop of Hollywood-style cinema, which ties in well with the issues of antiaging and immortality raised by the novel. After all, no one likes getting old, right? Especially if you’re an actor whose ability to get work depends largely on your looks.

To make it even more interesting, there is a subplot involving Fowler’s missing girlfriend Gwen. Kroese suggests enough hints to make the reader keep guessing. What happened to Gwen? Is Keane who he says he is? What led to The Collapse? The multiple mysteries presented make for a gripping read until the very end.

Kroese’s witty dialogue has always been a huge draw for me, and here are some illustrative quotes:

“It was never a good thing when a bad guy started quoting Nietzsche.”

“You’re breaking up, Banerjee,” said Keane. “We’re going through a tunnel.” He ended the call.

“Was that a good idea?” I [Fowler] asked.

“He was getting on my nerves,” said Keane. “Go through a tunnel if it makes you feel better.”

“Oh, she’s watering his plants all right,” said Keane.

“Congratulations,” I said. “That’s the worst euphemism for intercourse I’ve ever heard.”

“No,” said
Keane. “Intercourse is the worst euphemism for intercourse you’ve ever heard. Normal people call it

One reviewer wrote that Sheep is a novel that “fires on all cylinders.” It is exactly that, an
enjoyable, humorous ride that keeps the reader on his toes until the very end.

Kroese’s The Last Iota,  a novel set in the same dystopian world as The Big Sheep, ties in well with Sheep and expands on its subplot.

99 cent ebook sale! Miscalculated Risks and Acceptable Misconduct

-January 17, 2018


For the rest of January, the ebook versions of Miscalculated Risks and Acceptable Misconduct are on sale for 99 cents!

Here are the links:

Miscalculated Risks:

http://amzn.to/2rfF3Z1 (Amazon Kindle)

http://bit.ly/2s1rfR3 (Nookpress)

Acceptable Misconduct

http://amzn.to/2mIBntQ (Amazon Kindle)

http://bit.ly/2qJxjOg (Nookpress)


Indie book stores, an author interview, and do you happen to know a Scorpio child?


-January 16, 2018 (Yes, I almost typed 2017. I’m still in denial ;))

I’ve been crazy busy working on finishing up the novel Thunderstruck for publication and engaging in other promotion and writing endeavors.

New Indie book store near Marietta, GA is carrying my books!

If you’re near the Acworth, Georgia area, about 15 miles outside of Marietta, Stacey Olson’s indie book store The Crazy Book Lady (fantastic name!) is now carrying my books. This store also carries artwork and other goodies.

Since I’m mentioning indie bookstores, please check out this great post by bestselling author Kristin Lamb on why indie book stores are thriving, and why the publishing landscape is changing.

Readers Review Room

I’ve listed the first two novels in the Law School Heretic series with Readers Review Room. If you’re a self-published author, please check them out. They are a (very) low-cost service that will share your books with their readers for free and honest reviews. Many thanks to Jena C. Henry for her insightful review of Miscalculated Risks!

Author Interview!

Author Katie O’Rourke was kind enough to interview me, which was published yesterday! Here it is.

On the subject of Scorpio children…

And lastly, in a few months I’ll be publishing what I’ll characterize as a parenting handbook that is not without humor. If you have a Scorpio child, please let me know because, for a limited time, I’ll be giving away free ebook and/or print copies of this book to parents of Scorpio children. That is how anxious I am for you to read this book!

And lastly (for real this time), I miss blogging about constitutional law issues, so expect a couple of “those types of posts” in the next week or two 😉

As always, thank you for your support!