author, musician, and organizer of
the Music Matters Showcase
Four different acts take turns playing 4 song sets each and
then going back around. Its an eclectic mix of music, all of
it wonderful. Showcases are free,but donations to Bread for
the City for the Home are accepted.
|Come hear great free music!
(voluntary donations for homeless accepted)
Mad City Cafe
6:30 to 9:30PM
10801 Hickory Ridge Rd.
Columbia, MD 21044
When/who is playing besides Joseph Isaacs?
Dec 16th Denee Barr and Timeless Fusion,
Sophie Lasher, Nathan Zebrowski
Jan 20th Purple Jim, Scott Sivakoff, Jamitis
Band, (Charles of Brown-Smith Vibration)
Feb 3rd Lyric Response, Alani Sugar, Sarah
Beth Driver (of spectacles)
Feb 17th Rick LaRocca, Guitarlaur,
March 17th DL Weiner, Lisa Fenstemacher,
April 21st Dominic LaRocca, TBA
May 5th Good Measure, TBA
May 19th TBA
|Mad City Coffee House
10801 Hickory Ridge Road
Columbia MD 21044
Look for the Long & Fosters- its tucked in a plaza and hard to see from the
road. Its across from HCC.
From 95 (between Baltimore and DC) take route 32 West and then take
Broken Lands Parkway North to Hickory Ridge Road. (From route 29 you
will be taking Broken Lands Parkway West).
Take Broken Lands Parkway towards Hickory Ridge RD.
Turn left on Hickory Ridge (it only goes in one direction). Take Hickory
Ridge RD past Howard Community College and right after Sunny Spring Rd
there is a Long and Fosters on your left. That is Hickory Ridge Plaza
where Mad City is tucked next to a chinese restaurant. Let the Madness
|Soul Hosts by Joseph Isaacs
An older version of my book made the best seller's list on Random House's YouWriteOn Harper
Collin's authonomy website and won a review from Harper Collins. Here are some quotes from the
"15 years ago, in a bid to strengthen his power and obtain complete control of magic across Helos, the
Dracon slayed his finest mages and tried to steal their souls. But instead of following his bidding, the
mages’ souls scattered throughout the land, entering the bodies of infant children. These children, now
grown, are thrown into action when it becomes clear that the Dracon is planning to take control again.
With little knowledge of each other or the ties that bind them all together, they must fight to save the
balance of the world as they know it, and ward off the threat of an even darker evil...
There is definitely promise here, and a depth of background which makes it clear you have put a lot of
effort into creating this world
The battle scene at the end is absolutely triumphant. It had me on the edge of my seat, and it is without
a doubt where your no-nonsense style worked best. What made it all the better was that the outcome
was in no way predictable – at no point could I have sat back and thought ‘oh, I know what’s coming
Looking for advanced readers. Email me if you are interested in reading the full story for free:
Also work on Soul Hosts II has begun.
|Rain coursed down the tiled roof of the Temple of the Beasts, spewed from the open mouths of terracotta
dragonheads, showering worn cobblestones with their watery breath.
Robe damp, Wayden shivered in the cold morning air. Was the note safe? He reached deep in his cloak pocket,
touched the leather pouch protecting it. He breathed a sigh of relief. Rory’s previous letter was safe.
Stupid Rory. Why did he have to send him off before dawn in a downpour? Couldn’t it have waited until after
A strange twinge pulsed through Wayden’s head, causing him to wince.
<Kol—Kol—Kol,> said a male voice, speaking from within Wayden’s mind.
No! Not again. I thought it was just a dream.
Was he losing his mind? He wished the voice away, but wishes were like prayers—seldom granted.
<Kolram,> the male voice panted, as if he had just surfaced from a long spell underwater. <My name is . . . Kolram.>
Wayden drew in a sharp breath. Kolram? As in the Grandmaster of Beast Tongue Magic Kolram?
<You can hear me?>
Wayden shook his head. Impossible. Kolram and the other Grandmasters died the same night he was born— the last
Three Moons Night.
<I can speak again! I can be heard! The green moon—it must have awoken me. I’ve been trapped in here, half
asleep, since you were born. >
The great green moon currently hovered, hidden by a blanket of clouds, but Wayden knew it was still there, lurking. It
had begun its gradual ascent again, each night rising higher on the horizon. It would reach its zenith in a month’s time.
The Third Moon came rarely. Wayden had never seen it for himself until last night.
<It appears for one month every sixteenth year. The last time was—>
My birthday. Wayden sighed. And when it reaches its zenith again, I’ll no longer be allowed to remain in the
orphanage. No roof over his head and no money or food. On the good side, it would force him to finally do what he’d
vowed to do. He imagined himself journeying north, killing Gar Skymaster and freeing his brother, Mavik.
<By yourself?> the voice asked. <Gar is a powerful Beast Tongue with an army of Sky Raiders. And, I’m sorry to
say, your brother is likely no longer alive.>
He’s alive. And it doesn’t matter the odds. I have to.
<You’ll take out an army of Sky Raiders singled-handed? Madness!>
Says the voice in my head. Go away.
<I can’t go away. I’m a prisoner inside you.>
<I don’t know. I can’t remember. There was some sort of meeting. We were to perform a spell. It’s all a muddle.>
Wayden scoffed, deciding to ignore the voice and hope it went away. He strode down the street that passed by the
temple. A bearded guard holding a pike stood flat against the sanctuary door.
The rain had dwindled to a drizzle. Rivulets of water streamed down cracks in the cobbled street.
The temple, a stepped tower, housed an array of obsidian statuettes of various animals—elephants, skywolves,
snakes, tigers. Of them all, it was the goat that haunted Wayden.
He fingered the burn mark on his left cheek as the memories assaulted him--the man with the goat head and pale
yellow eyes charging through the smoke. He dropped his hand. I won’t think about it.
<’Twas a horrible day. I remember.>
You said you were casting a spell? How could a spell put you in my mind?
<Can’t remember. We were blindfolded for focus. Something happened. My consciousness started to drift. Below
me. My corpse. My wife’s corpse. On the marble floor of the inner ring. We were in the temple Dark Fist.>
Could Kolram be real? He’d sensed a presence in his mind for as long as he could remember. Someone had sung
lullabies to him after his mother died and he was alone in the orphanage. Someone had whispered faint words to him
that he couldn’t quite make out. He’d thought he’d been imagining it, but what if it was more than that?
The clip of hooves diverted Wayden’s attention. A female soldier rode in at a canter on a black warhorse, red cape
trailing behind her. Wayden was impressed. Women rarely rose to the rank of Flame.
The rider halted a few strides from the temple stairs, long-hafted mace jiggling from where it hung from the saddle.
Unwanted images again flashed through Wayden’s mind. The mace cracking Nanny’s skull . . .
<You’re all right. That happened long ago.>
The temple guard, an orange-cloaked Flicker, straightened and saluted.
“At ease, Flicker,” the Flame ordered.
Wayden shifted his gaze higher, staring at the huge emerald moon, still visible in the unfolding dawn.
The Flame was speaking quietly to the Flicker. Wayden moved in closer, curious.
“All quiet, Ma’am,” the Flicker answered.
“Not all,” she said, patting her skittish steed. “The Red Killer murdered another. Found her in a pine grove. Same as
the others, redhead, young, no marks on her body.”
Wayden’s breath caught.
The Flicker frowned and shook his head. Beads of rain clung to his beard. “That’s the fourth in two weeks.”
Wayden twitched nervously. He had red hair too, as did many of the people in Vilanos City and all over Helos for that
“We also arrested another unauthorized witch,” the Flame said. “A Tulkarian.”
Images flooded Wayden’s mind— the purple-haired Tulkarian archer drawing back his bow, mother gasping as she
slumped onto the grass. Wayden tasted his own bile rising. I won’t think about it. But holding memories at bay was
like trying to stop the wind.
<That horrible day. I couldn’t speak or help you, though I strained to. I saw the fire. I saw the archer. I remember.>
“Keep an eye out. I must be on my way.” The red-cloaked officer urged her horse into a trot.
The Flicker’s eyes settled on Wayden, “Off with you, boy.”
Wayden hurried around the corner. Pigeons, perched on a rail at the edge of Darius’s Bluff, took flight. Dawn
illuminated the red-shingled roofs of Vilanos below.
Turning from the vista, he continued on his way down the road.
Why are you able to talk to me now?
<I think the green moon rising. Magic grows stronger as the three moons begin to converge. It reaches its pinnacle on
Three Moons Night. That’s why we had to cast the spell then.>
Footsteps echoed behind him. He peered over his shoulder. Behind him strode a gray man with a leathery face
shrouded in a black hood. The outline of a sword’s pommel pushed out the side of his gold-trimmed cloak.
Gray Skin! An Ozac. His mind flooded with terror—the Ozac entered through the doorway, a sneer on his face.
Wayden shivered, pushing the nightmarish recollection away.
<That was a long time ago. A different Ozac. There is no reason to be scared.>
I’m not. I’m angry.
Ozacs were becoming common in the Drakingdom of Helos, as were the purple-haired Tulkarians the guards had
mentioned. Wayden wasn’t sure which he hated more.
<Not all Ozacs and Tulkarians are evil.>
Wayden scoffed. I have to be imagining you. No real wizard would be so dense.
<You’d be surprised. I’ve met a few that would saddle a horse backwards and try to gallop in reverse.>
He headed into Market Square. Wattle and daub buildings gave way to flat-topped stores made of mortared stone.
A grocer opened his shutters. Wayden’s stomach rumbled as he watched the old man set up fresh fruit in front of his
A fishmonger rounded the corner with a basket around his neck and a dark mustache so thick and wild it looked like a
raven had gotten stuck in the man’s mouth. “Burble trout! Freshwater crab! Low prices!”
Footsteps still echoed behind, causing him look over his shoulder again. The gray man still followed, crimson eyes
smoldering like lava. Wayden’s memory jarred back five years—a studded mace breaking through the manor door.
Two Sky Raiders—one with a missing ear and a torch. The other a towering gray-skinned man with burning red eyes .
<He’s stalking us.>
To read more email me, I'll send you a beta-copy no charge, payment will just be your feedback. Thanks!
|The Elephant and the Blindmen (A short)
The truth isn't a thing of fact or reason. It is simply what everyone agrees on.—
“What is it?” the first blind man asked.
“An elephant,” said the second.
The third and fourth nodded. “Clearly.”
The fifth and sixth stroked their beards. “Absolutely.”
The seventh twiddled his mustache. “Indubitably.”
They stood in front of the Grand Portrait in the Gallery of Fountains off of the Plaza Rivere
beneath the cliffs of Saint Paul in the country of Grief.
The portrait stood nearly six hundred feet by six hundred and was done in exquisite shades
of gray. It wasn’t of an elephant, and artist Ray Jamone had to laugh at the art critics, the
blind men as he called them.
It wasn’t of anything really. Ray Jamone had painted what was in his heart.
But the next day his agent told him: “It’s an elephant, Ray.”
“The hell it is,” Ray said sipping a beer, tennis shoes up on a desk cluttered with drawings
His agent, Harry Sugar, a man who perhaps himself was an elephant despite his numerous
fad diets, the latest one being an all-beef one, shook his head. “It is, what they think it is.
Once it’s done, it’s out of our hands. If they say it’s an elephant, than it’s an elephant.”
Harry showed Ray a check. Ray’s eyes widened. His apartment had a leak in it, he couldn’t
afford to fix the shocks and muffler in his car, so it both slumped and sounded like a
lawnmower. This check would go a long way.
“And that’s just from yesterday’s show. George Mammoth wants to show your painting at a
special exhibition he’s calling the ‘Elephant Show’ next week.
“George Mammoth?” Ray’s tennis shoes came off his desk and his rolling chair spun
backwards as he stood. “The George Mammoth?”
“Yep,” Sugar said. “We are on a sweet boat ride.”
Finally, Ray’s hard work had paid off. He’d slaved for years barely making it by on
unemployment checks, trying to make a name for himself as an artist. Was he selling himself
out? Of course he was. But could he afford not to? It’s all fine and dandy to talk ideals, but
ideals wouldn’t fix his leak. It wouldn’t make his muffler shut up.
“Here’s the contract,” Sugar said.
Ray stared at Sugar holding the paper and pen. He stared at the miniature version of his
work 74 in gray that sat on an easel. The gray shapes seemed to transform before his eyes.
A trunk formed. Heavy tree-like legs.
“I’ll be damned,” Ray said. “It is an elephant.” He let out a harsh laugh.
“I don’t have to lie to myself. My eyes. My eyes will do it for me.”