Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal ( The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, ( and Visit the author's website:

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Keeping Alive an Ancient Art

This is a traditional Carolinian proa under full sail in Apra Harbor, Guam. I took this picture a few weeks ago from the bow of a small power boat.
My next book, once the last novel in the fantasy trilogy is finished this summer, will be about this--an adventure novel, maybe for young adults, and concerning the skill and courage it takes to sail a delicate craft such as this across hundreds--even thousands--of miles of open ocean using only the stars and wave patterns to navigate. It was in such vessels that the original island peoples spread themselves across the Pacific from Southeast Asia three or four thousand years ago.
This proa, or canoe, is made pretty much from traditional materials: a hand-hewn breadfruit log for the hull and no nails, screws, or bolts. Instead, it is lashed and sewn together using tuna cord. Sailing a proa for days or weeks at a time between far-flung islands requires a navigator of consumate skill and the ability to tolerate great discomfort and fatigue. In this photograph, the man on the stern steering the proa is Manny Sikau, a seventh generation master navigator from Puluwat. His father, in fact, built this canoe. As a thirteen year old boy, Manny once sailed a canoe similar to this from Puluwat to Guam, a distance of some five hundred miles, with his grandfather. Again, they found their way without a compass, without charts, without a sextant. There are things in this world that people accomplish that defy belief and such voyages must be included in that category.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Book II is Ready

It looks like the second book in the Eye of the Stallion trilogy, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, will be coming out soon. The publisher plans on having manuscript proofs and cover art ready in August and then a date for the actual publication can be set.

So what is The Mirrors of Castaway Time all about? It's a fantasy, of course, the sequel to the first, but it will stand alone as a story if you haven't read Book I. You'll find my willful, stubborn, warrior-heroine, Sonoia is still conflicted by her love for the dark and dashing Dag-gar, while Dag-gar cooks up a black-magic, Time-twisted plot to gain absolute possession of her wild soul. Meanwhile, the love battle between these two "small gods" has "upset the applecart of Time," as the eccentric old wizard Scraps would say. This has released into the world an implacable evil bent on destroying life simply because it lives--and it is doing it all by turning the fabric of Time inside out with mirrors--lots of mirrors (Have you ever held two mirrors up so they face each other and looked inside of them? You'll see what I mean.). There is also the wise and ancient sorceress, Mother Mar, and Sol, her young student in the art and science of herbal remedies and life. Mar sends the youthful Sol out into the world with the sad-faced donkey, Admiral Penance, to try to patch things up between Sonoria and Dag-gar and thus save the world. Poor innocent Sol--he soon finds himself caught up in dangers and adventures he could never have imagined including having to try to bring a badly wounded Dag-gar back from the brink of death.

It's a complex, fast paced book and the ending even surprised me. So, keep checking back here to see what's happening with it and I'll keep you updated.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Getting Ready for a Typhoon

It seemed to develop quickly. A few days ago, there was nothing, and now there is a storm developing and heading for us--tropical storm Kong Rey (where did that name come from?) It's predicted to grow into a typhoon sometime today before its closest approach to Guam tonight and tomorrow.

Because we live on a boat, people often ask Terry and I what do we do during storms. So now we're doing it. We spent yesterday, all day Sunday, getting the boat ready. Off come the sails which involves taking the big jib off the roller furling system on the forestay and getting the mainsail off the mast and boom. This takes a while and is a lot of work. The sails are balled up, tied into an awkward package with a line, and then swung off the boat using the main halyard. Then we take them to a grassy spot and fold them up properly and put them into storage.

Next, the one-inch storm lines need to be checked and the chaffing gear adjusted. I had to make a new, one-inch storm line for the port stern quarter which involves cutting off the old rusted shackle with a grinder and splicing a new thimble into the line and putting it all together with a new shackle.

The bimini and dodger come off, the sea cocks are closed, the shore power turned off and the power cables disconnected and brought ashore. The refrigerator is turned off and everything removed and either thrown away or brought with us to the friend's house where we will be staying.

Right now, I'm in my classroom at school. The island is scheduled to go into Typhoon Condition 2 at 2:00 this afternoon and we have been told we have to stay here until 11:15 a.m. We still have a few things to do like take the air conditioner off the main hatch and put it in the back of my truck and pull the boat out from the seawall a little more. Then, on the way to our friend's house, we'll stop at the store and stock up on typhoon party supplies. The weather man tells us that tonight and tomorrow will be interesting so we need to be ready.