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:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Agonies of Aging: 61 in Paradise

When it came down to it, facing 61 years wasn't too tough, really. Terry and I got off the boat for the weekend and went to a nice hotel on this beautiful bay on Guam. Had a too-expensive dinner accompanied by a nice Scotch, a good bottle of Cab, and then a great night's sleep in a king-sized bed (the berth on the boat is queen sized and tapered at the end). In the morning we lounged around in the room drinking coffee, eating chocolate chip cookies, and reading on the small balcony off our room (I got into an article in Psychology Today about dream research that says we dream to rehearse our defensive moves on potential attackers, which is why most of our dreams are violent or involve running or escaping, etc. Can we escape aging? I'm running hard, but, dream on, Dougie, dream on).

Then down to a very fine, all-you-can-drink champagne brunch with good friends. So, blood pressure problems, heart arrhythmias, colonic disorders--the disheartening fruits of living to 61--were forgotten for the day as were nagging questions about what to do with the boat when I retire in June (sail it back to the Chesapeake? Sell her here?), what about Book II in The Eye of the Stallion trilogy (the person at my publishing house in charge of producing the book is very ill and now the publishing date has been pushed back for at least a month, maybe longer), and what about the stress at work where I manage a special education program and have 30 students on my speech-language pathology caseload? We have talked all these issues through, over and over and over and finally, I think, come to some reasonable options which is a huge relief. Now it's Sunday night and tomorrow begins the four-week stretch to Christmas break, during which we'll fly to Tasmania for 10 days. Now that I write all this down, it seems pretty stupid to complain about anything as inevitable as aging when life is so rich.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Searching for the Next Book: A Sweet Sunday Morning

Here' s my study carrel last Sunday morning--the cockpit of my sailboat Vatna across whose combings I saw this scene of turquoise water and topical skies. I'm starting the reading part of researching my planned young adult adventure novel (working title: The Spirit of the Voyage). Here's a picture of one of the books I found in a local bookstore and I've got a small stack of other to work my way through before I start writing.

It will concern two boys of different backgrounds/races/cultures who struggle to survive among the Pacific Islands torn by war. To do so, they will need to cooperate and share their knowledge and skills. But they must get along, must be able to accept their differences. Sailing traditional canoes, navigating across hundreds of miles of open ocean using only stars and wave forms and sea life, and living off the ocean and what food the islands have to offer.

At first, I was a bit shy about attempting this project. I'm not a native-born islander and so, there will be some questions about authenticity/spirit/depth of understanding, etc., etc. But, I've put those concerns aside. Look at Stephan Crane who wrote the Red Badge of Courage. It's a fine and authentic war story and yet Crane never set foot on a battle field during a real battle. There are lots of examples of writers who did well writing out of their milieu or beyond their culture.

I have lived and sailed among these islands for the past ten years, and I was once a boy who wandered around the woods practicing how to survive by "living off the land." In a profound sense, the experiences are the same whether they be set in the tropical pacific, or the Bershire hills of Massachusets. So, we'll see how it comes out. I've got good friends who are native to this island experience and they'll help out.