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:

Monday, July 16, 2007

Still Life: Finished Manuscript on Antique Bar

In school, I was never accused of making good use of my time. If only the teachers had understood that if they had just let me do what I wanted to do, this dreamy boy would have been fine.

In any event, I made good use of the past year and here is the evidence: the 346-page manuscript of A Drop of Wizard's Blood, Book III in The Eye of the Stallion trilogy. Yesterday I finished the big, first re-write of the original manuscript, a process that took a month of 6:00 to 11:00 mornings reading the book aloud to myself. Yesterday I also sent it to my fine editor, Linda Morehouse ( out in California. She's a pro and I pay her to be honest with me and she is, I think, sometimes painfully so.

But, I'm pleased with the way it turned out. Writing it was a complex process, because not only did I have to make sure all the plot lines in this book worked out, but I also had to make sure they complemented and did not conflict with the plot lines in the other two books in the trilogy, as all the books are bound together by characters and the idea that Time is a warp-able, twisting, bread-dough phenomena.

Now, I'm going to rest awhile and do some serious reading, something I've missed. The next writing project will be an adventure story set in the most remote islands of the western Pacific, where we live on our sailboat when we're not in Virginia or off traveling. It will concern traditional navigation, the sailing of outrigger canoes, lost boys, and World War II.

The immediate future contains my daughter's wedding, which happens this coming Saturday right here in Onancock, Virginia. A few more things to do on the house to get ready, so I'd better get going and make good use of my Time.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Water, There Must Be Water

How can anyone live away from the water? I ask myself this. When I fly across America, when I rode the Trans-Siberian Railroad across Mother Russia, when I lived in the middle of Germany for twelve years--all these people living without the sea--or most without even a pond--where does the sustenance for their souls come from if not water?

So, here is the Eastern Shore of Virginia, that great undiscovered peninsula that is a essentially a huge farm--Iowa, say--surrounded by water. On one side, the western side, there is the great Chesapeake Bay, on the eastern side there is the inevitable Atlantic. In the middle is an utterly flat, rich land where thousands and thousands and thousands of acres of crops are tilled by Mexican workers (legal? who knows). They plant, grow, and harvest, by my observations so far, corn, tomatoes, soy beans, wheat, and cucumbers. There are smaller operations that produce green beans, melons, squash, and zucchini. And then you see the huge chicken corporations, Tyson and Purdue, their chicken farms eerily resembling small concentration camps, their processing plants attracting immense flocks of seagulls and reeking of raw meat and blood when the wind blows right.

But, again, there is the water. It saves it all from being just another prairie. In my other blogs on this site you've seen photos of the Bay side of the Eastern Shore. Here are some of the sea side. Here, just six miles from the Chesapeake, is a great ocean and the barrier islands that protect the farmlands. Hundred of miles of empty, windswept beach await the beachcomber and within those barrier islands are millions of acres of marshlands, flat, shallow water filled with crabs and oysters, and hundreds of species of fish.

Yesterday I took a break from writing and accepted an invitation to go out on the water. Here are a few pics.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A Sailor's Fourth of July: Our All American Little Town on the Chesapeake

This is it, the America I've been missing. I've been out of the country pretty much steadily for the past twenty-five years and now I'm home for this: the perfect all-American experience on the perfect, all-American holiday.

The spirit of Onancock and the physical reality of Onancock are one and the same. They linger in a mythic and pleasant past when there was an ice cream party on the town common and a band played patriotic music on the gazebo after the mayor--who is also the town barber--gave a speech. Citizens gathered around on the grass, old people in chairs or on benches, young people holding hands, kids running about. And not only the town common, but all the main roads are lined with small American flags.

So, this morning I'm up at first light and was working on the re-write of the Book III, A Drop of Wizard's Blood, while Terry slept in. This is our routine--I love the early morning air and light. But the witchy mornings never last long enough. Too soon the dayspring, with its magical cool air, deep shadows, and waking birds, gives way to the bleaching reality of full daylight. As the sun rises, the elves and faeries, sylphs and zephyrs who are my muses, take their leave and I'm faced with chores that can no longer be denied. But, today is a rest day, a day of celebration, and I'm looking forward to what this town will offer.