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, May 24, 2012

Notes to Self: Good Morning! And Good for You!

                                                     Notes to Self
  • Why the sour face? It's the middle of May, the happiest, most bouyant month of the year and dalliance is in flower.
  • The bookstore in Boston got the books for your signing; stop worrying about it.
  • It's okay if the squirrels eat most of the bird food; they're critters, too. The little furry bastards have as much right to live as the cute, precious feathered ones.
  • Your blood pressure was 114/68 at Walmart yesterday! Good for you!
  • They're going to dilate your eyes today so you need to leave early for your opthamologist appointment so you can pick up the new grill and lawn furniture at Lowes before they blind you. And don't forget to take the truck, not the Prius.
  • You don't need to worry about not understanding the debate about the economy you heard on Morning Joe today. Your understanding or lack of it will affect nothing.
  • Oh, geez, that stupid screen you bought for your Powerpoint presentation about the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators? Don't forget to try to get dowels to fit the sides to hold it up better. What a stupid design.
  • You need to think about finishing taking up the bricks in the side walkway so you can put down a load of ground up seashells. The white will look nice and you won't get sued by people who trip over uneven bricks. Do a few bricks every day and stop dwelling on it. It'll get done.
  • You didn't buy Facebook stock! Good for you!
  • Call the bookstore to see if they need a few more copies. You got people asking if it's available there.
  • Yes, the cat ripped open the tip of your left ring finger this morning. She was only seeking love while you were still half asleep. So you can't play guitar for a while. It'll be fine. And you left the bloody kleenex in the toilet so Terry would be sure to notice what her little darling did to you. Good for you!
  • Don't forget to Tweet today. It's important. You're finally building up a following--sort of. And Facebook, too, man. It's all good.
  • Eat a little more breakfast. You don't want you metabolism to shut down. Your gut is getting smaller! Good for you!
  • Your heart is pretty jumpy today. Why? Who knows. Take it easy. Flutter, flutter.
  • So far the readers on Guam are loving the book. Hit all the right buttons, old man. Good for you.
  • Now, relax, take a shower. Here's a photo you took of a wild horse on the island of Chincoteague last fall. It should help settle your mind. You went up there alone, remember? You lay on the empty beach and watched the sea, so nice, and the wind was cold, and you saw this horse close to the road.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Champagne in the Rain: We Celebrate My New Novel

The Scene of the Crime: Wife Slashes Box of Books

All sorts of excitement around here yesterday among me, my wife, and the cats.

I got home from my weekly session as a volunteer speech-language pathologist to find that a shipment of fifty copies of my new novel had arrived unexpectedly. Not wanting to leave the boxes out in the pouring rain, the delivery man had, unannounced, carried them onto the side porch and put them next to the recycle bin. For an awful moment, I though my wonderful wife had evil intentions.

Shame on me. When, breathless, I told her what had arrived, she leaped into action, grabbing a knife and attacking one of the boxes. I reminded her that this was an adventure story about two boy's struggle to survive WWII while sailing around the Pacific in a canoe while mastering the secrets of the ancient navigators-- not a murder-mystery. But a moment later she had slashed open the carboard and was holding up a copy of Brothers of the Fire Star and ooohing and aaahing over the gorgeous cover.

And it does look pretty good, too. Damned good, in fact. Past experience had taught me that the first sight of one's long-awaited and just-published novel can be a devastating, heart-rending, teeth-knashing experience. When I saw the cover of my first published book I wanted to lay down and die. When I opened it up and saw how it had been printed, I wanted to crawl in a hole.

But the third time, we must believe, is a charm. This book presents well from first sight. The cover is filled with rich, dark reds and the tropical lagoon scene with its single, red-bright star shining on a sailing canoe draws you in so you want to reach out, pick up the book, and see what it's all about. Just right.

Once inside, the text looks great, too. The font is bigger and easier to read than my other books, the margins right justified, slick and perfect, and the star-palm tree glyph at the head of each chapter is striking.

So, I danced around the house for a while until Terry reminded me that we had no champagne. Around the corner from our house we are very fortunate to have a very classy store that sells high-end kitchen stuff, world class cheeses, jams, jellies, and other wonderfuls including bubbly from Eparnay, that most fortunate of towns in Champagne, France. A short time later a bottle of Dom Perignon was on ice.

Books in a Box and Champagne on Ice

I had two activities I was supposed to attend last night, but no, it was all too much; I stayed home. Terry and I sat out on the back porch under the awning watching the rain pour down while we drank the fine hooch, noshed on good cheese, and went through the book, stopping here and there to read aloud to each other. It was all quite wonderful and we understood that it was; we appreciated it, one of life's all-too-rare moments.

Handsome on the inside, too.

(Note: I invite you to read about the writing of this book by visiting