Selected Poems

James M. Weil - Selected Poems

James M. Weil – Selected Poems

Selected Works

Some of my earliest poems up until more recently. I don’t consider myself a poet. I am mainly a fiction writer and a journalist. I find poetry a good way to capture the main theme for a much bigger project. Most of my earliest poems got lost over the years, but back then I did keep a journal, so a few did survive. In fact, I have four journals, completely filled with thoughts and emotions that compelled me to write as I got a little older.

I wrote my first real short story at age 15, based upon a poem I wrote when I was twelve. And although I don’t consider my consider myself a poet, I do enjoy reading good poetry.

Osu!

Swiss Chocolate

Swiss Chocolate - Boarding School in The Swiss Alps

Swiss Chocolate


Publisher:
Dailey Swan Publishing
Pub. Date: January, 29 2011
Format: Trade Paperback, 461pp; eBook
ISBN 10: 0982433107
Price: $14.95
eBook: $4.99

Life in a Swiss boarding school is idyllic for Drew Smith. Captivated by the beauty of the Swiss Alps, he is also in love with the girl of his dreams, Alexandra Cavalletti, a young aristocrat from Rome.

His world is ripped apart when he and Alexandra are expelled from school after being caught making love in the woods one night. Drew goes home to a broken family, and all that he has come to expect out of life is swept away. He spends the next thirty years trying to recapture all that was lost, including the love of his life.

Reviews:

“Drew Smith didn’t have a choice about boarding school in the Swiss Alps, but once there, he falls in love with the beauty not only the area, but of Alexandra as well. Of course, the path to true love never did run true, and such is the case for the young lovers. Caught in the act, Drew is sent home to the same family who rejected him to begin with, and the results sentence him to a life of longing for all that he lost.

James Weil has written a funny, poignant, and often heart-wrenching story of the passions of youth, and of what happens when those are stolen from us. A beautiful tale. A must read.”

Susan Mary Malone Author of: By The Book; Fourth and Long: the Kent Waldrep Story; Five Keys for Understanding Men; BodySculpting See Malone’s short stories on Amazon Shorts!

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James Weil is a master of character development and human relations. Drew Smith, a troubled though gifted and sincere lad from a semi-functional, suburban NJ upper-middle class home–tennis club, private schools, alcoholic mom and philandering engineer-businessman father. There is “old money” in this family. Alexandra is an Italian aristocratic beauty: graceful, independent and determined to maintain what is rightfully hers. Weil’s depiction of their family lives, environments and social class is extraordinarily well done. Weil has a sociological gift. I especially enjoyed Drew’s Aunt Tess, an artist and cosmopolitan. We all should have an Aunt Tess in our lives.

The action takes place in the Swiss Alps, suburban New Jersey, London, Oxford, Rome, Greece, Spain and Padua. Weil makes these locations come alive.

I identified with Drew’s struggle to become a man and a writer, notwithstanding the betrayal of his callous father and the despair of his helpless mom. Alexandra deals with her loving father’s early death and the resulting insanity and self-destructiveness of her mother. Her brother, at her mother’s insistence, assumes all the power and wealth in the family. Alexandra is determined to make a new life, defying the social mores of her class and society. She will not be undercut by fate. The powerful interaction between Drew and his first love, Alexandra, makes the book riveting. A must read.

Amazon Review – March 24, 2011

El Aguila

El Aguila, Colombia

El Aguila

Publisher: Weil Editorial Services, Inc.
Publication Date: January 14, 2012
Format: Trade Paperback, 136pp; eBook
ISBN: 9781452488615
Price: $8.95
eBook: $1.99

El Aguila is about the cafeteros in Colombia who get forced into growing coca after the bottom drops out of the coffee market. The guerrillas get involved and then all hell breaks loose when the military gets wind of it and tries to force them out. It is told from the eyes of a nineteen-year-old girl who hires a coyote to bring her across the Arizona border after her entire town and family are decimated by heartbreaking bloodshed.

My ex-wife is Colombian, and I spent a summer down there with her family. Her father is a successful cafetero who owns a finca high in the Andes, just above the town of El Aguila. I worked on the farm and busted my ass from sunup until sundown, learning the fine art of coffee farming.

Every Colombian who has read El Aguila was reduced to sobbing tears because the story is so accurate and true, and so many Colombians I know have been affected in some way by the senseless violence that is so rampant in such a beautiful country. Recently, I have decided to give 5% of all proceeds from El Aguila to the Barefoot Foundation, founded for the children of Colombia by Shakira.

Reviews:
Call me stupid, but I really did not understand the horror of the politics in Colombia to the every day coffee farmer or his everyday laborer until I read James Weil’s “El Aguila.” The book really reels you in. I read the whole thing in one 4-hour sitting. I could not put it down. It changed me forever. This eloquent novel is incredibly well researched. I found that out from the Colombian immigrant that manages the property I am moving on to (a 26 acre farm). I asked him if any of his family had been caught up in this. He told me that he had lost all of them. I was heartbroken and gave him a hug. I knew I could never return his losses. They are too many to count. This book should be required reading for high school and college Social Studies students. It is not only a very well written piece of literature; it is also an excellent description of how complex the issues are. The everyday person of Colombia could do nothing, in my opinion, to survive this situation. They have NO WHERE to live the honest hard working life they yearn for. When you read it, you will see what I mean. Your view of illegal immigrants will be forever changed, and you will wonder why your government did not tell you honestly what the situation was when you were a young person. I don’t know about your friends, but all the people I partied with would have boycotted cocaine and started a company selling coffee for higher prices to help the good Colombian people retake their land and live a good, honest life. Seriously, if you are not Colombian, you can not understand the issues in Colombia unless you read this book. It should be required reading.  – Heather Akridge

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El Aguila, a short, fast-moving novel, plumbs the depths of the Colombian tragedy.

Weil’s work of historical fiction brings the verities of the “war on drugs” to the reader. The book focuses on the little understood story of the Cafeteros de Colombia, and their desperate struggle to survive death and destruction, and preserve their honest way of life.

The characters are as authentic as Steinbeck’s in the Grapes of Wrath. The dramatic lead belongs to María Suárez, the daughter of Jair, the Cafetero, and his wife, Señora Suárez. Jair works for Señor Fernandez, the owner of the finca. Marisel is María’s best friend.

El Aguila’s endearing, simple, hardworking cafetero family, from the mountains of Colombia, become caught up in producing small quantities of coca to offset their deep financial loses growing high-quality coffee for the world market. The market price for quality coffee has crashed. The cartels squeeze them, the drug warriors of the Colombian Military murder them, and the guerillas of the FARC betray them.

Weil is a master storyteller. It is impossible to set El Aguila down. This applies as well to Mr. Weil’s other great work of fiction, Swiss Chocolate. In his capable hands and swift storytelling, the principal actors of this drama play out their lives and roles.

Weil deeply penetrates the Colombian countryside and its small and medium-sized villages and towns. The Cafeteros, as a class, are doomed. Their local economy will be uprooted, their families shattered, their hopes crushed by the inexorable march of the gangsters, the Military, and the “war on drugs.”

El Aguila is as authentic as it can get. A breakthrough in historical fiction. I highly recommend this work. ~ Lawrence Gulotta

Read a book sample!

El Aguila is available  from this link.

Esmeralda

Esmeralda - A Man on The Verge of a Breakdown Finds Love

Esmeralda – James M. Weil

Publisher: Weil Editorial Services, Inc.
Publication Date: January 19, 2012
Format: Trade Paperback, 237pp; eBook
ISBN: 9781452407791
Price: $10.99
eBook: $1.99

Robert Price is a burnt-out man in his late forties  who works in a dead-end job as a programmer with a dying programming language at a medical collections agency. He knows in just a few years he will be completely obsolete. To make matters worse, he is so underpaid that he is about to lose his house. His wife is a relentless shrew that he can’t stand living with anymore, and who refuses to work.

So, to escape his miserable reality, he daydreams about being young and virile again with a phenomenally successful writing career and is in love with a beautiful Colombian rock star who very closely resembles Shakira. Basically, he is living two lives—his fantasy world and the one where he is about to be crushed by his obsolescence. In his fantasy world he is the perfect image of what he thinks he should be and is a gentleman to the core. There is nothing erotic in his fantasies; it’s all about blissfulness and being in love with the woman of his dreams.

In direct opposition to his deluded fantasies, his only true way to vent his frustrations is his overwhelming addiction to seeing a string of beautiful, Latin hookers in Queens. One of the hookers, a gorgeous Dominican named Kelly, falls in love with him, and they embark on an unlikely love affair.

Esmeralda is written for men, even though there is no true men’s fiction category in today’s publishing world. Many middle-aged men will relate to what the main character is going through, and what it feels like to be trapped by your own obsolescence. So many men feel immense loneliness in loveless marriages, and the enormous financial pressure men have on them in today’s job market where good jobs are few and far between make us feel hopeless at times. But there is a happy ending. It’s all about attitude and love!

Reviews:
I am a big fan of the novels of James Weil (Swiss Chocolate, El Aguila) and Esmeralda is no exception. Here, Mr. Weil explores the life of a middle aged, lost soul confronting a world of shrinking possibilities. A disturbing, evocative and ultimately redemptive story, Mr. Weil pulls no punches in his dissection of a male psyche on the verge of a nervous breakdown, wrestling with his demons as he tries to save himself and his family. His weapons of choice include fantasy and addictive sexuality. Not a book for the faint of heart, but definitely a book for those who are looking for a brutally honest exploration of existential despair in a fractured universe obsessed with money, fame and power. – Robert Margolis
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Loved. It. 🙂
Amazon Review

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Now, I wont say the ending, but first of all, the book was well written, I could relate to it, and I could see it on the big screen. However, I guess I believe that there should be a moral to a story, or something of a “what goes around comes around” lesson. I didn’t see that here. It was only $2.99, so oh well. – Amazon Review

Read a sample here!

Esmeralda is available for sale at this link!

On Writing Esmeralda

Harmony House

Harmony House - A Story About A Violent Divorce

Harmony House

A brutal story about a young man being torn apart by his parents’ violent divorce, and his inability to cope with his mother’s alcoholism and his father’s abuse, until, finally, things come to a head when he faces down his father.

I originally wrote Harmony House when I was eighteen-years-old in 1977. At the time I was just a tape recorder. My entire life was crashing down before me, and all I could do is write it down as it was happening. Pretty much all the dialogue in the story was taken verbatim. I was a mess back then.

Over the years, I must have submitted the story to more than 250 literary journals and magazines. I got scores of snotty rejections from editors who took my writing as a deep form of effrontery. Some of them told me the story was vulgar and my use of language was completely unacceptable. I was years ahead of my time.

Funny after all these years Harmony House won first place in Dailey Swan Publishing’s 2011 Short Story Contest. Hundreds of stories were submitted from all across the country. The top forty were chosen and posted on Dailey Swan Publishing’s website and scribd.com. The winners were decided by reader choice.

Download Harmony House as a PDF from here!

The Dance Teacher

The Dance Teacher

The Dance Teacher

A writer decides to take up salsa and falls for his temperamental dance teacher, leaving him wondering whether he is actually in love, or simply infatuated with the idea of being in love. A somewhat comedic look at the foibles of two artists, struggling with their demons as they dance their way through a myriad of nuances and mixed signals.

Her name is Jenny Levina, and she is beautiful. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with her, but she had more issues than a French automobile. She is a spectacular dancer. We didn’t dance together for very long. She met some guy and moved down to Florida to open her own dance studio.

I guess things didn’t work out so well, because a year later she moved back to New York, and was teaching private lessons. At the time I was down and out, so I called her and told her about my situation. She said to meet her at Penn Station. She took me grocery shopping and bought me two weeks worth of food. Very few of my friends would do that for me.

She had found another man, so I sort of let things drop. It didn’t take me long to get back on my feet, so I approached her about private lessons. We started dancing again, only this time I was improving rapidly. I honestly thought I was past my feelings for her, but they crept back into my heart like a thief in the night.

Jenny’s boyfriend was a Cuban immigrant. She told me she had just finished her first novel about the The Cuban War of Independence of 1895, and she asked me if I would read it.  I was flabbergasted and honored. Jenny didn’t share her writing with anyone, but then she had a lot of respect for my work.

I always knew that Jenny was a talented writer. I knew it in my bones like I know when it’s about to rain. That’s how much I believed in her.  As I started the first chapter, I was dazzled by her brilliance. Her simple, elegant style was never betrayed by her excellent word choices. Each sentence flowed like water into paragraphs that cascaded into a waterfall of wondrous descriptions and convincing dialogue.  I read the book in one sitting.

It needed serious developmental editing. There were major gaps in the plot line and the structure was a bit too loose. I called her to say that I wanted to work with her on the book. She agreed.

Well, by that time, I was head over heels in love with her, and I could not contain my feelings. When I told her, she freaked out. She just didn’t love me. The situation was horrible. I was in so much pain, and, needless to say, she was terribly uncomfortable.

As it turns out, Jenny and her boyfriend decided to move back down to Florida. Jenny hates the cold; she can’t tolerate winter emotionally and physically. Most likely I will never see her again, but I think about her often.

I still love her. I guess I always will.

Download my novella as a PDF from this link!


Turpitude & Bad Financing

Turpitude & Bad Financing - A Story About Heartbreak and Loss of Self

Turpitude & Bad Financing

A misguided, middle-aged man deals with the heartbreak of losing the love of his life, his job, his marriage, and ultimately his loss of self. A painful, brutally honest dissection of a man on the edge and what he will do to win back his identity, even though he is sitting on a house of cards.

Turpitude & Bad Financing is almost a postscript to Swiss Chocolate. After I wrote the book, I was wallowing in the aftermath of despair. That was when I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.

What a relief it was to finally have a diagnosis for what I had been suffering through for so many years. It took a while to find the right combination of medication to quell the violent mood swings I was going through, but eventually the medication became therapeutic, and I got control over my life again.

Now, I lead a fairly stable life, albeit I prefer solitude over the company of most people I know. I have a good, well-paying job, and I enjoy the company of my children. What more can a man ask for?

Download Turpitude & Bad Financing as a PDF from here!

The Last Summer

Abuse and Neglect Destroys A Summer Romance

The Last Summer

A nostalgic look at a high school summer romance from the point of view of an abused young man, whose upbringing prevents him from expressing his true feelings to the young girl he loves with all his heart. A painful, touching story of what happens to us when all we know is abuse and neglect.

This story was a reflection of a brief summer romance I had with a young girl between my Junior and Senior years at school. This was just before my parents’ divorce started, and I was tenaciously holding on to my innocence and youth. It was fruitless.

I wrote this when I was living in Philadelphia in 1989, and my loneliness was killing me. For whatever reason, I felt incredible nostalgia, so I pounded out this short short in just minutes, and left it at that.

Nothing ever came of it, until I published it on Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Sony, and other online Bookstores. Between 2012 and 2016, it was downloaded 2,759 times. Go figure.

Download The Last Summer as a PDF from here.


The War Machine

The War Machine - One of My Earliest Short Stories - First Place in Short Story Contest

The War Machine – First Place in Short Story Contest

A factory laborer destroys the machine he works on after finding out he is a cog in the instrument of war. One of my earliest stories, The War Machine won first place in a short story contest at Mesa College in San Diego in 1987. It was published in two places: Inword Journal and The Mesa Press; March 9, 1987. The restriction was 2,000 words.

After winning the short story contest, I was convinced I had what it takes to become a serious writer. Little did I know that it would take at least another 20 years before I could produce anything meaningful

In fact, I gave up on writing because most of what I wrote was garbage. It wasn’t until I had wrestled with my inner demons for the next 25 years when I was able to purge my debut novel, Swiss Chocolate, in just nine months.

After that,  my next two novels, El Aguila and Esmeralda, came easily.

Download The Story as a PDF from here!

My Very First Short Story

My first short story - A Short Story About Rage

My first short story – A Short Story About Rage

I have an old file cabinet that’s been with me for at least 30 years. I hardly ever open it anymore. It contains a lot of old notes and scribbling I did when I was much younger. Recently, I went through it and found my very first short story that I wrote when I was fifteen.

I never did give it a title, and I never showed it to anybody. I remember being filled with rage when I wrote it because of the way I was bullied by my classmates. That’s when I first discovered that I had an outlet for all the pent up emotion inside me.

Beyond being bullied by my classmates, I was terrorized by my father, who beat me relentlessly, and sometimes pinned me on my stomach and pinched my back and buttocks with a pair of needle-nose pliers. My mother was helpless in this situation because she was stone drunk by 5:00 PM. She was an angry drunk, who often became violent. It was best to stay clear of her.

I lived in a world of terror, and there was nobody I could turn to. So many doctors have asked me how I managed to survive. I can’t explain it, but I do have my fair share of scars, and my anger issues are further compounded by PTSD and bipolar disorder.

I am a fighter, and I never stopped trying to find some normalcy in my life. I put myself though college, I managed to hold on to my jobs, all the while wicked demons churned in my psyche. I somehow managed to hold it together, but, every now and again, I go off the rails and do outrageous things.

My first short story was a desperate cry for help that only fell on deaf ears. I sometimes wonder how different my life would have been if I had gotten the help when I needed it most.

Download my first story as a PDF from here!