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:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Manipulating the American Mind: Watching the Campaign Unfold

It's wonderful to witness this, the beginning of last few months before the great American presidential election of 2008. We are, apparently, a nation of morons who can be counted on to change our political affiliations based on the day a vice-presidential running mate is announced (announce it too soon and I'll vote this way, announce it too late and I'll vote the other way). Or if Barack Obama's mother was too young when she gave birth to him, I can be counted on to vote for the other guy.

And take the "Dr." I heard interviewed on the news the other day. She was terminally bitter about how her candidate, Hillary, had been treated (she lost), and so was going to vote for McCain and Company despite disagreeing with everything he stands for. I wonder what kind of doctor she is. One would assume she bought her degree on the Internet.

And how about all the trash being put out on the blogosphere about Mr. Obama. The hope is that the All-American Moron won't be able to see clearly through the mud smeared across the windshields of our minds and won't bother to question the motivations and characters of those who do the smearing.

We need to think, people. Stop and ask yourself the real question here. It's not "is Obama a Muslim?" It's what are the motivations of the people who want us to believe he is. And if you won't vote for him simply because he is "black," then read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. You'll find that it is your patriotism that is in question, not his.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Getting Back in Writing Shape: Working On the Body-Brain Connection

The last two months--no, the last four months--have be such an uproar of change and adjustments that I began to think I'd never be able to sit still long enough to get another writing project going. It takes some sort of routine to write well, at least to write a longer work, like a short story or novel. I knew that after the dust settled, after the emotional storm of a complete life change had passed, that I would need to get back into shape, cognitively and physically. This takes time--and time takes patience.

To that end, as far as the mind goes, I like the surroundings to be the same, the sounds--noises, squeaks, cat scratchings, birds chirpings--the feeling of the air, and even the smells (morning coffee? Very fine). Also critical is a dependable lack of disruptions. When I was writing on the boat, the only disruption I could count on was a cat climbing on my lap, also very fine. And now, finally, I've got all that going here ashore. The house is put together enough so we can live in it comfortably, the yard work is minimal, and I can line up my other non-writing, house projects, one my one, and get them done--whenever.

Now the schedule is working out something like this: up at 7:00--that's A.M. I'd be up earlier but the Red Sox games don't get over sometimes until past midnight)and in my chair with this laptop going by 7:30. I've got the first chapter of the long-self-promised young adult adventure novel done (draft form--let's call it a sketch), so the book is underway and it feels wonderful, like having a purpose again. By Noon, my brain is full, as the Far Side cartoon had it, and I need to be excused from this chair--it's time to move.

So, today I got up and spent a couple of hours getting rid of (surendering) my Guam driver's license and acquiring the Virginia version (it required dealing with the usual DMV hassels and took me three trips back home to get just the right documentation). Then I switched to my workout clothes and went for a delicious hour's walk/run down to the harbor and along quiet summer streets lined with crape myrtle and green lawns.

There's a good chance VATNA, the boat on Guam, will sell this week and then we'll buy a nice, shallow-draft, 22 ft. skiff to have on the Chesapeake and for the shallow water inside the barrier islands on the sea side of the Eastern Shore. Wonderful. At some point we'll also get a good sailboat that is capable of cruising the Bay. This evening we looked at a slip where we can keep the boat(s) and it looked perfect. Love it when things are perfect.

So, there is life after teaching and it's starting to look nice, fine, great and cool. We keep our heads down, though, lest a sniper get us.