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:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Writer Leans Toward Autumn: Cool Temps Mean Consuming Brain Candy in the Back Yard

I guess there can never be enough books. -- John Steinbeck

I have all sorts of books to read. Piles of them that I accumulated over the past year as I browsed through book stores. But, with all the writing I've been doing, I never seemed to find the time to tuck into them. Then, as the universe turned slowly toward to the autumn soltice, it carried with it two events that left me with little choice but to stick my nose in those books and keep it there.

First, I finished both the first and second draft of The Brothers of the Fire Star, the novel I've been writing for the past two years. Then I had a health issue that made it necessary for me to lay low for a week (doctor's orders) and, wouldn't you know it, but at that very moment, the weather took a sudden and welcomed dip toward the coming cool of winter. It was now tolerable (no, not tolerable--wonderful) to lie out on a chaise lounge in the back yard and read. The grass is green, the flowers unspeakably lovely, the birds are singing their relief that egg-bearing and chick-raising days of summer are over, and our big old cat is glad to have someone to share the backyard with.

The books in question are pictured above. I've always been an admirer of Joseph Campbell but it was an admiration based on sound bites rather than hard reading. This book, Myths to Live By, is an exploration of the universal myths that inspired religions, great and small, since humans achieved self-consciousness. Cambell was a lapsed Catholic and nonthiest and an extremely bright and accomplished man. His writing is fresh and accessable and makes my heart jump with his revelations.

Next is the next work of the famous physicist, Stephen Hawking. While he is writing for the non-scientist, it's a pretty difficult task to illuminate the great new theories of quantum mechanics for the layman. The notion that we--us, you, me, your mother-in-law--are products of "quantum fluctuations in the very early universe and that our universe is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing...." is counter intuitive and tough to grasp--even for the physicists. But, as he points out, the fundamentals of quantum physics are the most tested theories in science and have passed every one of them.

That third book lying there, of couse, is my lastest published novel that came out this summer. You can read it as an adventure story, or move up to the next level and read it as kind of a fantasy world application of both Joseph Campbell and Stephen Hawking, in that it involves both ancient myths and the effects of quantum time warps.

As a final thought, the image below is a rose of sharon (hybiscus syriacus) that came visiting through the fence from the neighbor's yard and never went back home. Its blossom is a lovely, mysterious, unexpected thing, kind of like a good book. It is eye candy to match the brain candy I've been consuming.

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