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.
|Where/when/who is playing the Music
Matters Showcase besides Joseph Isaacs?
Mad City Coffee House, 10801 Hickory Rd Columbia MD Saturday
(look for the Long and Fosters Sign)
Dec 17th Lisa Fenstemacher, Jen Parde, Kathy Stanley
Jan 21st Fred Cassels with Dave Spiro, DL Weiner, Jon Patton
Feb 4th Caribbean Nights, Lyric Response, Masquaffers
Feb 18th Laura Christine, Nathan Zebrowski, Acoustic Wheelhouse
March 18th Denee Barr and friends, Scott Sivakoff, Dominic LaRocca
April 15th Rick LaRocca, Once a Year Band, TBA
Directions to all gigs and links to bands playing are at the bottom of
These gigs are all free - donations to Bread for the City for the
Homeless are graciously accepted
*each performer plays 2 4 song sets of songs, concerts end times are
approximate might be a bit earlier or later
|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
Email me if you are interested in reading more:
Also work on Soul Hosts II has begun.
| Soul Hosts
(first five pages)
The Gray Man's Game
I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die— Wayden
Rain poured down the sloped roof of the Temple of the Beasts, flowing out the mouths of dragonhead spouts,
splattering the cobblestones. Wayden reached a gloved hand into his pocket. The wrapped note was still there, praise
Something stirred in the corner of Wayden’s mind.
<The Third Moon>, a voice in Wayden’s head gasped.
The voice again, Wayden thought. I’m losing my mind.
The strange voice that had whispered all through Wayden’s restless sleep was still there. He wished it would go away.
<Kolram. I am Kolram,> the voice said, even louder and clearer.
Is that your name? Kolram? Like the Grandmaster of Beast Tongue, Kolram?
<Yes! You can hear me! It is I.>
Impossible, Kolram and the other Grandmasters had been murdered the same night as his own birth— the last Three
Moons Night. Another Three Moons Night was approaching. The green moon had begun its slow ascent again, each
night rising higher on the horizon.
<Yes! The Third Moon. I’ve been growing stronger as it climbs.>
The Third Moon only appeared for one month every sixteen years, not nightly like the other two moons.
It would crest in exactly a month, on his sixteenth birthday. Then, for better or worse, things would happen. Living in
the orphanage would no longer be possible. Living without a roof overhead would be difficult, but at least it would
compel him to finally head north to challenge Gar Skymaster and free his brother, Mavik. It would be tough, certainly.
Impossible even. Gar was a powerful Beast Tongue and had his army of Sky Raiders. And I . . . a no one.
<But a no-one with a dream.>
And a voice in his head. I think I’m seriously losing my mind.
Wayden turned the corner onto Temple Road. A guard, leaning lazily on a pike, stood under an overhang before the
temple doors, his orange cape and surcoat still dry. The rain was tapering off finally and the note Rory was expecting
still felt safe and dry in his pocket.
The temple before Wayden was a stepped-tower—each level containing an array of stone animals. The statues always
mesmerized him–a lion sporting a blood-stained beard, an elephant with an axe in its head, a skywolf gnawing on its
own wings—but the goat scared him the most.
Everytime Wayden saw it, he recalled the man with the goat head and the pale yellow eyes charging through the
smoke, seizing Mavik . . . No, I won’t think about that horrible day.
<’Twas a horrible day. I remember> Kolram said.
Wayden bit his lip. I wish you’d go away.
Wayden froze beneath a store’s canopy as the sound of hooves pounding toward him. A female officer rode toward
him on a dragonlander. The horse-like creature’s yellow and green diamond-shaped scales glistened in a shaft of
dawn’s light that broke through a hole in the clouds.
The soldier’s red cape marked her as a Flame. She came to a stop at the temple doors, her long-hafted mace jiggling,
from where it hung from her saddle.
Wayden shivered. Maces reminded Wayden of what happened to Nanny.
The temple guard stumbled to attention and saluted.
“At ease, Flicker,” the officer ordered the orange-cloaked guard. Flickers were lower rank soldiers than red-caped
Flames, if he recalled his military hierarchy accurately.
Well, as long as you think so. Wayden shook his head. That’s it, my mind is definitely gone. I’m crazy.
Says the voice in my head! Wayden didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the absurdity of the situation, so he settled
on doing neither.
<I’ve been with you for years, unable to communicate. The coming of the Third Moon has somehow set me free.>
Wayden shifted his gaze slightly higher, staring at the huge emerald moon. Each evening it crept slowly across the sky
toward the zenith. Come to think of it, ever since the strange sphere crested the horizon, a faint whisper had hovered
in the back of his mind, like some faint echo.
The Flame’s voice jarred Wayden from his thoughts.
“The Red Killer got another one,” the officer said, stroking her steed’s head. “Over by the pine grove.”
The Flicker shook his head. “That’s the fourth redhead in two weeks.”
Wayden shivered. He was a redhead, as were about a fifth of the population of the town of Vilanos, many of whom
could trace ancestry to the red-haired Immortal Darius Dragonking.
“We also arrested another unauthorized witch,” the Flame said. “A Tulkarian.”
Unbidden, the memory of the purple-haired Tulkarian archer flitted through his mind’s eye. His mother and him on the
backporch. Don’t think about it.
<That horrible day again.>
“Well, I best be on my way,” The officer urged her horse into a trot.
The Flicker waved to the officer and then turning noticed Wayden. “Be off with you, boy.”
Wayden shrugged and turned onto the Boulevard of Ash. Pigeons, perched on a rail at the edge of Darius’s Bluff,
took flight at his approach. Despite the partiallly cloudy sky, dawn lit up the red roofs of Vilanos below him. A cool
breeze soothed him. It’s almost pretty. I almost feel alive.
<It is pretty. You are alive.>
Wayden snorted and shook his head. It was too absurd. Kolram Grandmaster of Beast Tongue in his head whispering
to him what he wanted to hear. Aye, right, whatever, going crazy, why not?
He turned from the vista and continued on his way onto Glassmans Road. Footsteps echoed behind him, matching his
own, beat for beat. He twisted and glimpsed behind him a tall gray man, with a reptilian face, wearing a soggy, black
An Ozac. The Ozac bringing the mace down on Nanny—no, I won’t think about it.
Wayden ground his teeth. Ozacs were becoming common in the Drakingdom of Helos, as were the purple-haired
Tulkarians the guards had mentioned. I hate both equally. Almost as much as I fear them.
He headed into Market Square. Wattle and daub buildings gave way to flat-roofed stores with awnings.
An upper story window creaked. He leaped aside in time to avoid the foul-smelling contents of a chamber pot
spattering the cobblestones beside him. A heavy man in the window pulled the pot back. Lazy slob. Can’t bother to
take it to the privy.
Wayden strode down the rocky road. A grocer opened his shutters. A wagon full of sweetflower melons was parked
out front and the smell made his mouth water. The owner shot him a nasty look, so he kept moving.
Wayden passed a fishmonger with a basket around his neck. “Burble trout! Freshwater crab! Low prices!”
The fishmonger had the green skin and frilled neck of a Mantu, hidden beneath his sodden cloak. Wayden smiled. His
nanny had been a Mantu, and this one looked a bit like a male version of her. Golden eyes, green webbed hands, and
reed-like fingers. These two even had a similar stature and build.
The footsteps echoed again behind him and he tensed.
He glanced over his shoulder. The gray man strode straight toward him. Crimson eyes glared beneath a dark cowl. A
sheathed sword hung inside his open black cloak.
His red eyes were like molten lava, nearly identical to the eyes he’d seen on that day—the door of his manor had
shattered as a studded mace broke through. Two Sky Raiders entered—one with a missing ear and the other a
towering gray-skinned man with those burning red eyes.
|The Elephant and the Blindmen (A short)
The truth isn't a thing of fact or reason. It is simply what everyone agrees on.—Gregory Macguire
“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 and prints.
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.”
My Halloween Contest Short Flash Fiction Winner- had to include a pumpkin and a ghost
“’Tis most hard to a ghost,” the ghost of Sir Edward lamented.
“Being a ghost?” Jack scoffed. “You should try being a pumpkin.”
“What have you to do?” Edward asked. His chains jingled as he passed through the attic floor and
into the secret room where Mrs. Margaret had hidden her husband’s body. Edward gazed sadly at
the skeleton. “All you do is shine.”
Jack didn’t answer. He was stuck downstairs, Edward realized. He’d have to get use to this being
dead. It really was most inconvenient.
Edward flowed back into the study where Jack sat upon a desk pentagrams scrawled around him in
ash, blood, and chalk. Potions and spell books were scattered across the room.
“I was wondering when you’d realize I couldn’t follow,” Jack said. “You’ve proven my point for
me. And wait until my rot kicks in.”
“What will happen to you then?” Edward asked.
“Well, I’ll be a ghost again,” Jack said.
“So demoted is it?” Edward said triumphantly. “To being something worse. I win.”
The door swung open and Margaret stood in the doorway her face white and her kohl ringed eyes
red and angry. “Would you two quiet down? It is two AM.”
“If you are trying to sleep,” Edward said. “Why do you have a steaming cup of coffee in your hand?”
“That is for my guest, my dear,” Margaret said. Jack had been Margaret’s husband, Edward her
paramour, and the guest, her latest paramour. “A young stallion who has overstayed his welcome.”
“Poisoned coffee I suppose?” Jack asked. “It will be crowded up here soon.”
A voice from downstairs called. “Oh, Margaret? Did you find out what those noises were?”
Margaret called, “Just the floorboards, Brad. I swear sometimes I feel this house is haunted.”