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, November 30, 2009

A Lesson Too Late for the Learning: Don't Venture Forth on Thanksgiving Lest You Tempt the Raging Gods of the Open Road

Approaching the Delaware Memorial Bridge after the horrors were over

It was a hairy ride, as in hair-raising, hackle-lifting, heart-pounding, white-knuckle driving on one of America's most infamous major highways, the New Jersey Turnpike. How foolish we were, looking back on it, to have even considered joining millions of other homesick Americans to travel great distances by automobile to stuff our pie holes with family on Thanksgiving, that most sacred of secular holidays.

It started last Tuesday, two days before Turkey Day '09, when we left our peaceful home on the bucolic Eastern Shore of Virginia for my old peaceful home in the bucolic Berkshire hills of New England, some ten hours away. We thought we had left early enough to beat the hordes; we were wrong. In between those two idyllic points lay the Northeast Corridor and a wasteland of vehicles storming the roadways at ludicrous speeds, bumper to bumper, in rain, wind, and fog. What could be worse? It was worse, much worse, for the driver of a fully-loaded 18-wheeler who lost it, big time, going under an overpass on the Jersey Turnpike. The crash was spectacular, the resulting fire so hot it appeared to have damaged the structure of the overpass, and shut the Turnpike down for over six hours--during the Thanksgiving-go-home weekend. We know because we were there.

A hard lesson learned, sure enough. But between those bookends of vehicular madness, we had a fine time. It was the first time in over a quarter of a century that I had spent Thanksgiving with family. My ancient, nursing-home bound parents were delighted, we re-bonded with cousins/nieces/grand-nephews we had not seen in years, and I finally got Terry away from her desk/fax/email/telephones for a few days so she could de-stress. Still, had we understood the risks-per-mad-mile factor, we would have stayed very happily put right here on the Chesapeake and cooked our own turkey rather than nearly having our gooses cooked for us on the road.

Next Saturday we head to New England again, this time on business, and this time during a normal travel period. Still, we're flying and leaving the roads to the good, the brave, the mad, the bad, and the ugly.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Birthday Blog: Who's 63? Who's Crazy? Who's Happy? Who's Crazy Happy?

Me and my grandson, Konrad, on his 1st birthday, Sept. 09

Me on my first birthday, November 25, 1947

Old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.
- Sir Francis Bacon

We look at bit alike, don't you think, he and I? Just 62 years apart and the code continues, at least in a sort of diluted way, the way nature intended. He does have a great smile.

I'll be 63 on Wednesday. Tomorrow we head up country to the wilds of New England, my boyhood tramping place, and have Thanksgiving dinner with my parents in their nursing home, my first Thanksgiving with my them in maybe 25 years. I left New England long ago as a young man and won't go back permanently because of the winters, but I love the visits. You know what they say--a nice place to.....
So, I'm taking a break from the blog and will get back to it with some photos and thoughts next Sunday when we get back here to this small, forgotten paradise on the Eastern Shore.
Some of the things I'm looking forward to? My novel, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, a deep fantasy adventure, will be released in a few weeks; Seawind, our new sailboat, will go back in the water next week and I'll sail her back to her slip at the mouth of the Onancock River.
Until then....

Friday, November 20, 2009

20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Just the Beginning of Our Nightmares

Let's here it for the Berlin Wall. Remember the Berlin Wall? "Ich bin ein jelly doughnut," as J.F.K. so nobly declared (a Berliner is a jelly doughnut in Germany--and yes, it's a tired, old joke). Or, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" as Ronnie requested, and, when Communism had finally rotted away enough from inside, they had no choice but to to comply.

My son Eli and I helped in the tearing down part and here are the pix to prove it. That's what I looked like twenty years ago and he looks a bit different now, too. In any event, we were driving to Copenhagen for the weekend when the wall fell but we got to Berlin six months later and filled up seven shopping bags with the vile, asbestos-impregnated (we were later told) cement. It was hard stuff, truth be known. Reinforced somehow to make it nearly impervious to the hammer and stone chisel, tools we brought along for the purpose. We hacked and smashed at it for hours using a variety of techniques, and while we were at it, East German guards watched us through the widening cracks. It was all very exciting at the time and I still have a small basket of the stuff on a bookshelf in my study.

What does it all mean today? Germany has been successfully reunited, and Communism, except in small, fanatical enclaves here and there around the world, has disappeared as a viable form of controlling large groups of people (I don't count Red China. They saw the light and eagerly embraced Capitalism, became very good at it (better then us?) and are now just plain Fascists).

The downside to winning the Cold War? It would seem that humanity needs it's desperate battles in order to feel fulfilled and it didn't take long, after the collapse of the Evil Empire, for it to come up with something new and just as terrifying as atomic Armageddon. The Soviet Communist bosses, for all their posturing and shoe banging and huge nuclear arsenal, never managed to even blow up a 7-Eleven. But, it only took a few years for a small gang of Muslim fanatics to score a much bigger point and leave us all lying awake at night sweating through our sheets. It's because, unlike the Communists, the Islamists don't want to rule us--they want to kill us--all of us. Apparently we need our nightmares.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Deep Fantasy Delirium--THE MIRRORS OF CASTAWAY TIME To Be Published Next Month

Facing mirrors, curve us downwards,

we, the darkening face of Time.

Can you see your fading image,

endless in the warp of moments?

Where it ends, there shall you find it,

coming back upon yourself,

The very reason for your living

captured in that arc of light.

But desecrate the Sacred Mirrors,

and prepare yourself for what must come,

The dark chaos of Time unfettered

shall feast upon your naked soul.

From the Ancient Song of the Thrangs

That's the opening for my next book, The Mirrors of Castaway Time. I'd been waiting for a couple of years now for Book II in my fantasy trilogy, The Eye of the Stallion to be released by my publisher. Finally, yesterday, word came from Crossquarter Publishing Group, that it will come out in mid-December.

It is, of course, the sequel to Book I, The Face in Amber which got listed on as The Eye of the Stallion, the title of the trilogy itself, causing some confusion. The story, like Book I, is set in a far, post-apocalyptic future and begins with an amazing boy, Sol, being instructed by Mother Mar, an amazing woman. Sol, it seems, is to go out into the world armed only with his knowledge of natural medicine and a heart full of raw innocence to heal the wounded love between Sonoria and Dag-gar, the star-crossed protagonists of The Eye of the Stallion. At stake is, as you might expect, the fate of life on Earth, for Sonoria and Dag-gar's love is eternal, part of the fabric of the Space-Time continuum itself, and when that fabric is ripped apart, a terrible force is unleashed.

In writing fantasy, as long as one is consistent, one can conjure up anything that pleases the sense of the impossible and let it run amok. The possible twists and turns become infinite and so does the joy of creation.