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, December 22, 2008

Second Novel to Be Published This Spring, Some Pictures Regarding the Novel-in-Progress

Good news today: My publisher has notified me that The Mirrors of Castaway Time, Book II in The Eye of the Stallion trilogy will be published this spring. They've been sitting on it for a year and a half. When Terry gets home we'll pop a bottle of champagne. It's a time-twisted follow-up to the first book. My editor called it, "Prime story telling." I hope so. I had a great two years writing it in the belly of our boat, VATNA on the island of Guam.
Speaking of writing and speaking of Guam, here's a picture I took of a traditional canoe sailing in Apra Harbor, Guam in May of 07 (it's a re-run from an earlier blog, I think, but I'm mooney about Guam today and thinking about the next book). The guy at the helm is Manny Sikau, a master navigator from the island of Pulowat. My next book, The Spirit of the Voyage, is about this--two boys must learn how to navigate a canoe like this using the stars to escape the war in the Pacific. I'm 85 pages into as of this morning. Had a great write today. Lots of fun.
It's cold today here in Virginia--in the 20's with a strong wind. Terry has backed out of taking a walk with me and I might just fore go it myself. Let's just celebrate. By the way, the photo below was taken a bit earlier than the one above. I'm at the helm of the same canoe. Imagine steering a canoe like this over 500 miles of open ocean and not using a compass or a sextant? Look at the color of that water.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Wonders of Skype, Strange Headlines, Lousy Economy: Christmas 08

It's the 21st of December and a dark, rainy, raw day. Instead of writing, I'm wasting hours trying to copy photos from my camera to a CD through this laptop and having no luck. Technology is great....

On the other hand, the genius of the techies in this world continue to baffle/blow me way. This is a picture that I took from a laptop while I was in Mexico last month (you can see me in the little picture on the lower left). I'm on the yacht we just brought down from San Diego (scroll down to that blog, below), my daughter, her husband, and my grandson in the big picture, are in Georgia. We were talking, live, for free, and were able to see each other in real time. Go figure. And again, its a free download from the Internet. Just to to

In the news: they found a foot inside a tumor inside a baby's head, a Continental jet slid of the runway in Colorado (38 injured, passengers screaming and behaving badly), heavy snow across the Northwest, Midwest, and Northeast, Barack is finally taking a vacation (Hawaii), with Christmas just 3 days down the road, consumer's have not been buying much (can't imagine why not), and George W. is being largely ignored (I know exactly why), and Cheney says they did just fine over the last 8 years. Imagine. Even Mugabe thinks he done a great job. It is, I've noticed, a character trait of the power hungry: Grotesque hubris.

Had a great workout today at the Y. Feels wonderful. On the down side, I didn't write a word on the book.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Reading: Picking at Insights from Dr. Johnson and Tom Wolf; Saturday Drive to Chincoteague, the Island Misty Made Famous

Today is the 18th of December 2008.

I can't put a photo in here because my Nikon has decided, apparently on it's own volition, to change formats to one this computer can't use. I'll figure it out eventually.

The latest political hooplas include an Iraqi journalist throwing his shoes at W. during a press conference. Rank insult in his country, getting big laughs in ours. That famous American sense of humor that drives the rest of the world crazy is another thing I love about this country. Reminds me of the joke that before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes because then you'll be a mile away--and you'll have their shoes. W should have kept the shoes and started running.

The other hoopla is that Barack has asked a right-wing evangelical preacher to do the invocation at the BIG CEREMONY coming up in January. He's "reaching across the aisle" as he said he would and some folks don't like it. Well, jeeze, people who reach across the aisle are not gonna be appreciated by people on either side, especially if they are intolerant, arrogant fanatics.

Next time I have a drink, I'm going to have one for old (dead) Dr. Samuel Johnson. Reading interesting article in The New Yorker about the great man. He says a sailor on a boat is a man in jail with a chance of being drown. I should listen to that wisdom.

Reading: Tom Wolf's The Painted Word. He wrote it back in the 70's in reaction to the incomprehensibility of abstract art. Don't ask me why it took me so long to find it. I've been spending significant amounts of my time when I'm in D.C. in the National Gallery of Art and this brief history is enlightening. Braque's little cubes, indeed. And Jackson Pollock? Killed himself drinking, mercifully before he could find out the whole art world changed its mind and decided his "genius" was pure schlock (hint: nobody is buying your stuff--come to think of it, its a hint I should take).

Life: Parents now in nursing home and doing okay; grandson appears to be thriving though Jenny is now back teaching and Konrad is in day care; Terry is stressed out by her job--just back from three days in Atlanta--contract negotiations; we drove up to Chincoteague on Saturday--a walk on the cold, windy beach, ponies in the distance, snow geese in the foreground, a bookstore bought 3 copies of THE BOOK. A nice day.

We are enjoying writing the next book--The Spirit of the Voyage. 80 pages so far.

On the lighter side, I just took an "after" picture of my head and compared it to the "before" picture from 16 months ago. The hairy evidence is that Rogaine works--sort of. Maybe I'll post them here. Watch this space.

Now multi-tasking. Writing this blog and watching the Science channel: Ligers? (tiger + lion) Never heard of such a thing, but there it was, a huge overgrown-looking cat. Humans + chimps? How about a humanzee? Turned out to be untrue and they could have told us that at the beginning of the program. But they had stuff to sell. This is America.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Back from Mexico, Healing Nicely, Back to Writing, and Some Observations

Here I am, like the words to an old country song, down and out on the floor of a bar in Mexico. My brother holds my legs up, treating me for shock, while Bailey, my son's significant other, stands by to translate my situation to the incoming ambulance squad. A life well lived provides its surprises, and that day in Puerto Vallarta I fell while walking across a swaying suspension foot bridge. At near full gallop, I fell headlong into a cement post (I was galloping to keep up with the rhythm of the bridge and found I couldn't slow down when I reached the end--alright, I was horsing around). The nice Mexican ambulance paramedics examined me and deemed me badly bruised on my hip and the small of my back, but nothing broken. Two weeks later, I'm nearly all better. By the way, I was completely sober throughout the entire incident.

Now I'm back in Virginia on the very fine Eastern Shore, off the pain killers, and back to writing, reading, and working out at the Y. I'm 71 pages into the next novel and it's going well. I can always tell. Scenes flow, one from another, and the book begins to assume a shape out of the nebula of some basic, unformed idea. Just keep at it every day so you don't lose that creative rhythm--2 or 3 or 4 pages a day and it doesn't take long to see a book lying there in front of you, still hot from the printer. It's what life is all about--that ultimate level of existence that Maslow called self actualization.

Some observations: The Rightwingers, after accusing Barack of being a leftist, are slack-jawed at his appointees while the leftists are getting suspicious that he is more Right than promised. He's keeping everyone off balance. Love it.

Winter on the Eastern Shore of VA is, so far, just as expected--some nice cold days to get the Christmas spirit flying around freely, and now in the 60's and spring like. I'm warned that there is a lot more winter to come.

Had a book signing last Saturday at a local bookstore. Was very nice. Sold a few books, but more importantly, met a very friendly group of local writers and will join there writer's group that meets in Salisbury once a month. Note: All book stores should offer fresh coffee. The smell of it just makes you want to sit down and read.

My parents are now in a nursing home. Lesson: if you can afford it, get long-term care insurance.

A final note: This is what the very end of Baja California looks like--Cabo San Lucas. I'd always wondered. Here we're approaching it in the early morning after a 24-hour run down from Magdelena bay. In fact, its a resort with lots of tourists and I guess that's good for the local economy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

1000 Miles at Sea--and We Did a Bit of Fishing

This is the M/V Pageantry, an 80-ft. Ocean Alexander, a lovely ocean-going ship that my son, Eli, captains and on which his partner, Bailey is mate and chef. With my brother, John and I on board, we sailed from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta, a 1000-mile trip tha took 6 days. We also did some fishing. Below are some of the ones that didn't get away.

I bring my marlin along side.

My brother and I hoist our wahoo for the camera. Good eating.

This is Bailey and her fish, and her partner, the captain, Eli (the son).

Brother John with his fish.

A jumping marlin, well hooked.

Next time, pix of me lying on a barroom floor in Puerto Vallarta waiting for an ambulance. Really. Watch this space.