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, July 2, 2009

Leaving L.A. Aboard Train 14--Coastal Starlight

I'd love to put a picture here but still having problems with the downloading thing. We're sitting in the lounge car on the Amtrak train to Seattle (we're just going to Salinas--8 hours), drinking wine and watching the suburbs of L.A. pass by. Very fine feeling to be on this small adventure. The windows are big and the view bright and truly a southern CA thing (graffitti, palm trees, desert vistas, distant hazy mountains, warehouses, junk car lots, sunshine). The wine is $13 for small bottle (train-track robbery?) but we're on VACAY so we'll hand over the cash.

The state of Amtrak, that heavily subsidized American train system? The trains are clean and efficient (so far), the terminals borderline seedy (you just can't keep the homeless from sleeping off their lastest jag in the comfort of the fat lounge chairs--hence the stains and grit) the attendants friendly and helpful. We do love traveling by train. We've Euro-railed about the Continent, and taken the Trans-Sib across Russia and we've been curious about the American train experience.

Had a great afternoon/evening with Eli and Bailey yesterday. Walked all around the San Diego harbor and had a very fine diner out at an Italian restaurant on Coranado Island right on the harbor. Couldn't have been better. Up at 4:30 this morning to catch this train--don't like that aspect of traveling, but it's always worth it.

In a tunnel now--dark. Later.

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