Jack and Jester

A Celebration of Micah


"The Civil War is told well in this book. Tennessee was soaked with blood and her people suffered during these tragic years. Kirkland tells it like it really happened. He's a masterful writer and this is a powerful read."  Spur winner Dusty Richards, author of over 100 books including Writing the West and Outlaw Queen.



a novel about ordinary folks

about kith and kin

historical fiction

nominated for the

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

"Extremely well crafted and written, Kirkland steers you through the social, political, and personsal twists and turns of approaching warfare in deeply divided Tennessee and on tino the maelstrom. Unionists, racists, slaves, home-grown terrorists--they're all here, with shifting allegiances and neighbor betraying neigbhor."  Spur finalist McKendree Long, author of No Good Like It is and the recently released Higher Ground.


About the author

  • I've enjoyed living in wildly different places, including--in addition to typical suburban settings-- farms (Connecticut and Missouri), a small tropical island (Guam), and large cities (Honolulu, Boston, St. Louis, and Washington, D. C.).
  • Careers have included welfare work (in the South Bronx!), teaching high school, banking, real estate development, commercial mortgage banking, and the development and operation of assisted living facilities.
  • Odd experiences of note: sinking in quicksand with my daughter, snorkeling alone in the Philippine Sea in the dark of moonless nights, collecting giant tree ferns in Micronesia for the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, listening for the Northern Lights on the shores of the Great Slave Lake, being stalked by a cougar in the Missouri Ozarks, moonrise over the Sahara, drinking breakfast tea lightened by fresh camel milk with nomads in Mongolia, the Christmas Eve service at the Church of Saint Francois d'Assise in Fes, Morocco, being knighted by Crown Prince Phillip Makonnen, grandson of Haile Selassie.
  • A Knight Templar since 2001. Still thrilling to the words repeated as if new at every investiture when the accolade is bestowed: Rise a Knight, to be a servant and soldier of Christ all the days of your life.

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The Yesteryear Tales
By David Lee Kirkland
   and shortlisted by Foreword Reviews for best short story collection of 2008!

   now available at BooksOnStLouis.com and on Amazon.com

excerpt of a review by Harry Levins

. . . However you want to pigeonhole this book, be sure to put it somewhere on your shelf. It's a countrified delight a collection of folk wisdom and folk folly. The stories center on farming and hunting, and ranching, and Sunday sermons and Saturday-night sexual shenanigans. You'll learn how to saddle a balky mount and how to rein in a randy neighbor. And you'll read all about it in the backwoods prose that Kirkland employs to tell his terse tales. . . 
all of them sparkle with droll folk wit and wisdom. 

       for a sample story, click on the 'Jack and Jester' tab at the top of this page


God's Three Step Plan for Your Life : Scripture for the Spiritual Journey

One of the most loved verses in the Old Testament, Micah 6:8 , is the cornerstone for this new study to be published by High Hill Press in March, 2009.  A deeper understanding of the scriptural message comes from inclusion of great spiritual thinkers as diverse as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Adin Steinsaltz, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen--and even persons outside the Judeo/Christian tradion such as Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama. 

The book is intended also -- beyond being a resource for private or group study -- for use as a fund raiser for two charities that serve the poor:  Mission Honduras (with a primary focus in Honduras) and Gawad Kalinga (with a primary focus in the Philippines).

To act justly.  To love mercy.  To walk humbly with God.  Simple but invaluable guidance for our lives, explored in depth in this new work.

Intrigued?  To read the preface, simply click on the tab on top!

The Last Dark Elf

Shortlisted by Foreword Reviews for best book of 2009 in their science fiction/fantasy category, this contemporary fantasy weaves a coming to destiny tapestry with unusual threads.  Are there elves among us?  What unimaginable conflict sundered the elves into fair and dark?  Why has magic nearly faded from our world?

For high fantasy, or for vampire tales with brazen women, look elsewhere!  But if you enjoy authors like Charles de Lint and Guy Gavriel Kay, you might find yourself entranced here as well.

This is an excellent novel, very carefully crafted . . . There is a wit and charm in the pages that is not easy to capture (and) the theme--the 'ecological preservation of magic'-- (has) dramatic appeal.     

Dr. Frank Reuter

. . .  a fantastical adventure that leads readers to Hawaii. Pohnpei, and Guam before returning to the United States. . . Kirkland provides rich and vivid details bringing the settings to life. . . while the characters are searching for magic, readers can feel their anticipation and fear right along with them.  And what's a fantasy novel without a love story between two races that should not even think about falling in love?  (This) novel leaves you hoping a sequel is in the works.

Margo Dill

I've seen Nan Madol but not the way your characters did . . . I love the story but I also look at the craft of its telling and yours is powerful.

Bill Jaynes, in the Kaselehlie Press

you can take the boy out of the country. . .

 Stories accepted for publication

  • "My Brother and the Wasp Man", in the anthology Tales from the Cracker Barrel Cafe
  • "Hoot Greerson", by The Storyteller
  • "Elderberry Jelly", by The Taj Mahal Review
  • "Jack and Jester", by The Roanoke Review
  • "Fatherly Advice", by Story House
  • "Hunting Bob Kit Holler", by New American Review
  • "Heavenly Home", by Skyline Literary Review
  • "Secrets", by Fresh Ink
  • "Winnebago Queen", by The Mid-Rivers Review
  • "A Daughter's Trust", in the anthology A Cup of Comfort
  • "Remembering Amanda", by Nuvein Magazine
  • "Still Hunting", by The Landing Magazine
  • "Green Fly Brew", by The Storyteller
  • "Pig Roses", by OzarksWatch
  • "Now and Then", by The Cuirve River Anthology
  • "No New Car", by Story House
  • "To Be a Skunk", by Nostalgically
  • "Dancing the Winter Away", by Kuzdu Monthly
  • "Werewolf", by Storyzine
  • "Love is in the Air", by the Canadian Writer's Journal
  • "Christmas, Guam 1972", by Out of Line 
  • "Anna Louise", on the Santa Fe Writers Project website
  • "Legacy", by Whim's Place
  • "Jack and Jester", by The Cuivre River Anthology
  • "No Reservations", in the anthology The World's Shortest Stories of Love and Death

 Poetry Acceptances

  • Tangled Hair
  • WaterBlossoms
  • Bottle Rockets
  • Ribbons
  • Lynx
  • Candelabrum
  • The Tanka Journal
  • Rose and Thorn 
  • Haiku Hut
  • Tanka Splendor
  • In the Light
  • TSA Newsletter
  • Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka
  • St. Louis Post Dispatch

ah, a grandson for an audience. . .
time to go dancing!

And if your taste runs to poetry --

  • Tanka Moments: A Man's Life: my poetry chapbook is available on Amazon. Tanka originated as a Japanese form, and predates haiku.  It contains five lines, instead of the three for haiku, and at its best can be deeply evocative.  A sample:

 on her lips

the stain of sweetness


I dare not touch her

with these purpled hands


the old days--with a 31 horse hitch!

No need to hitch up the horses or mules to contact me--simply email to





An adventure! Golden eagles and horses in wintery Mongolia
At earth's end - Cape Horn
On the trail of Lewis and Clark - floating the Missouri breaks
At the Ainu village on Hokkaido
At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, my wife with Wajeeh Nuseibeh (a Muslim, whose family has held the post of doorkeeper for 1300 years), and with Naim Khoury, Commander of the Knights Templar of Jerusalem
Mantled in the City of David