The TV critic in the entertainment section of the Pittsburgh Press had recommended a classic pirate swashbuckler as a “best bet” for TV viewing that evening, even though he’d characterized the film as “swill, with more swash than buckle.” Third grader Marc wrote that if the movie was “swill”—and he knew what the word meant, he had looked it up—why was it a “best bet?” To his surprise, his letter appeared in the newspaper three days later, with a response from the critic saying sorry, it was the best swill on that evening.
Marc wasn’t published again for 35 years, until his short story, Take 17 appeared in The Naples Review.
In the interim, Marc drove a cab, worked in a steel mill during college summers and was an advertising copywriter. He also wrote and performed comedy on public radio in Pittsburgh and at comedy clubs.
Marc’s short stories have appeared in several literary magazines. His one-act play, Sex After Death, was a winner in the 2012 Etc. Reader’s Theater New Plays Contest and performed at the Sugden Theater in Naples. And his debut novel, The Leap Year Boy was published in December, 2012 by untreedreads.com.
Set in Pittsburgh in the early 1900’s, The Leap Year Boy is the story of a working class family and an extraordinary boy named Alex Miller, born in the family’s home on February 29, 1908. What makes Alex so remarkable is that even though he’s full term, he weighs just two pounds, one ounce and is nine inches long. Despite his size, Alex is perfectly healthy. However, his body grows at one-fourth the rate of a normal child—so that after one year, he’s the size of a three-month-old—but his mind grows much more quickly. Eventually, so do certain parts of his body and his ability to do various and unusual things with them. As Alex’s special abilities become apparent, those around him see him as both a miracle child and a freak of nature—a freak to exploit.
How Alex saves himself from the designs of others—his religious fanatic grandmother, who sees him as the new Messiah; his money-grubbing immigrant doctor, who wants to put him on display; his unstable nanny, who believes Alex is her lost child; and his father and father’s mistress, who are eager to tap Alex’s commercial potential—is at the heart of the novel. Ultimately, a family that has been fractured by ambition and circumstance rediscovers loyalty and love, thanks to Alex’s courage.
Marc lives in Naples, Florida with his wife, Linda, his cat, Jack and his dog, Annie. He still reads the TV section.View all authors