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, January 28, 2013

We Babysit Dolphins in the Florida Keys: A Paradise Within a Paradise

A kiss is but a kiss: Salty smooches at the Dolphin Research Center

I get lucky sometimes. Once a year or so my brother and his S.O. (who is the medical director of the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys) need a break from their life with dolphins. And when they take a vacation, they need someone trustworthy to come down and stay at the DRC to keep an eye on things after hours--like baby sitting the dolphins so they don't have wild parties, maybe. When I'm asked, being supremely trustworthy, I go. This time, for the first time in three years, my wife, Terry, was able to come with me. Here are some pix from our eight-day stay.

On the balcony in the evening.

It's all done with hand signals and fish for a reward. For me, it's good bourbon and a cigar.

Always nice to see a friendly face.

One if by hand, two if by sea: Training is done with hand signals and fish.

Things get dreamy at sunset.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Book Review: They Liked it!

This is all I could fit of the actual book review as it appeared in a newspaper in Greenfield, MA.
You can read the full review, below.

I once read an article about book reviews by a writer who said when he got a good one, he danced around the kitchen. I vowed that if I ever got a good review, I would do the same. So, back in December, when this review of my novel Brothers of the Fire Star came out in a newspaper in Massachusetts, I did just that--skittered around the kitchen waving my hands in the air and doing a soft-shoe version of a jig. It felt good. Of course, we are never really satisfied. Had I been the reviewer, I would have raved on about Arvidson's pitch-perfect ear for dialogue and his lyrical prose, not to mention his marvelous gift for description. But, anyway, here is the text of the review: 

Book review: ‘Brothers of the Fire Star’

By Tinky Weisblat
Friday, December 14, 2012
(Published in print: Saturday, December 15
Special to The Recorder
“Brothers of the Fire Star” by Douglas Arvidson (Crossquarter Publishing Group, 209 pages, $15.95)

“Brothers of the Fire Star” combines history, spirituality and specialized knowledge to move its reader with a plea for cross-racial unity and love of nature. The book will appeal to children from middle school up as well as to adults.

Author Douglas Arvidson grew up in Ashfield and now lives in coastal Virginia. In 1997, he and his wife, both teachers, found work in a school on the island of Guahan (Guam), an American territory in the western Pacific Ocean. 

Long-time sailors, they lived on a sailboat during their 11 years there. Arvidson soon became a member of an organization dedicated to resurrecting the centuries-old Pacific-Island method of navigation. Practitioners of this art are trained to study the stars, the sea swells and wildlife in order to make their way through the sea.

Arvidson puts his knowledge of navigation and nature to good use in “Brothers of the Fire Star.” The book begins in December 1941, just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese invade Guahan.
Joseph, a 12-year-old boy from Massachusetts who has been living on the island with his uncle, hides in the woods during the attack and thus avoids the slaughter that claims his uncle and many of the island’s inhabitants.

While taking shelter in a tree, Joseph is visited by spirits who tell him that he is destined to sail away from Guahan with a boy named Napu. Together they will learn “the ways of the ancient navigators” and eventually return to Guahan to bring back those ways, now forgotten.

Napu, who is just about to escape from the war-torn island by boat, reluctantly takes the American boy along on his voyage. Together they learn to sail, learn about war and learn how to get along despite the differences in their backgrounds.

Arvidson’s prose in the book is matter of fact, letting the story shine through relatively simple words. His young heroes grow up before the reader’s eyes. 

The boys are shocked by the devastation of battle they encounter. Nevertheless, their growing bond and their study of navigation teach them that friendship and communion with nature can transcend war and death.
“Brothers of the Fire Star” isn’t always a happy book. It is set in an unhappy time and place. Nevertheless, its story is touching. And its plea for interracial cooperation and respect for tradition is beautifully articulated and inspiring.

“Brothers of the Fire Star” is available at the World Eye Bookshop.

Tinky Weisblat is a writer and singer who lives in Hawley. Her Web site is; her blog is