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, June 11, 2012

We Visit Tall Ships and Give the Crew a Book

Generous to a fault, I donate a copy of my new novel to the good (tall) ship Lynx.

I had a great weekend. Seems that after the Sultana (see previous blog) left our hometown, she met up with other tall ships, including the lovely Lynx, a replica of an American war ship from the War of 1812, that were calling at Cape Charles, Virginia, right down the road.  Terry and I spent Sunday down there, ogling the gorgeous lines and rigging and perfect paint and wood and lusting to go out for a sail in a brisk wind with everything up, full and by. 

That was not to happen, but we did get to walk about and chat up the crew. Nice kids, really--kids in the sense that they were adults, competent and fully matured, but still so much younger than us. I couldn't imagine running a ship like that when I was their age. From where does such youthful competence come?

So I asked that young man standing next to me in the picture. He said he started on tall ships up in New Hampshire when he was fifteen. (The Lynx hails from Portsmouth, N.H.) and never stopped and so here he is, second in command and still so young. Or so he seemed to me. I mean, could he even be thirty?

See them there, way up in the rigging? 

That's the key, then: start early and stick with it. A rule for a successful life? I suppose. Hard to argue with the evidence. 

As always on tall ships, I was fascinated by the intricate details: the coiled lines, each in its place, each perfectly maintained. The shining woodwork (ah! wood, lovely wood everywhere, warm and rich and smelling of oil and tar).

This stuff fascinates me. Look at the detail. Imagine the maintenance.

We went down below and were greeted by a couple of sweating crew in the main saloon selling hats and t-shirts. It was just fine and glossy down there, but no air conditioning and no "windows" (port light/holes) and it was a warm day. The young woman I bought a hat from said she had a degree in chemistry and was taking a little time off before deciding what to do with it. I asked her who maintained all this in such faultess condition. She said they did--she and the others. Chemistry?

Here are a couple more pix. If I were a billionaire, I'd buy one of these and live aboard and sail around the world until I wore a permanent furrow in the sea.

(That's my wife, Terry--a very good sailor.)

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