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, May 22, 2013

Home is the Sailor, Home from the Sea

Crew member Roy Olson took this as we approached the Vasayan island of the Philippines at dawn after eleven days at sea.

Home Is the Sailor

Home is the sailor, home from sea:
     Her far-borne canvas furled
The ship pours shining on the quay
     The plunder of the world.

Home is the hunter from the hill:
     Fast in the boundless snare
All flesh lies taken at his will
     And every fowl of air.

'Tis evening on the moorland free,
     The starlit wave is still:
Home is the sailor from the sea,
     The hunter from the hill.
A.E. Housman

Robert Louis Stevenson, a Scotsman, sailor, and writer, used the essence of this poem in his own Requiem, the last lines being used as the epitaph on his tombstone where he died on American Samoa. It's a fine sentiment for the sentimental and I admit to being one of those.

Anytime a sailor, particularly a small-boat sailor, completes an extended voyage, it is a cause for some celebratory relief for the sailor and those who love him. In our case, we were six senior citizens who, between April 15 and April 27 2013, made a successful, nonstop, 1,250-mile voyage from Guam to Cebu island in the Philippines. 

This is Carpe Diem, a Tayana 42, ready to sail. She has the lines of a race horse but our average speed was about 5.5 knots.

The author with the essentials of proper tropical voyaging:  A mahi caught from the stern rail and a stalk of slow-ripening bananas.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Midnight at the Jet Lag Hotel

It's witchy-witchy time here in Albuquerque where I'm at the Southwest Book Fiesta. I fell asleep at 8:30, wide awake at Midnight, my body-mind still lost in a time zone somewhere in the vast Pacific. One week ago I was in the Philippines, five days ago in Guam, four days ago, Honolulu, two days ago Virginia, yesterday, here.

This global soul is tired but happy. Bustling about the World, I am, after all, self-actualizing at the top of my game, and I'm not about to complain. My new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, is the engine behind all this, my artsy-cognitive lump of literary gold. And this week I learn that it has been selected as a finalist in a Book of the Year competition, this one sponsored by ForeWord Reviews, an organization that seeks to find the best writing produced by independent and academic presses. From the finalists will be selected the winners in various categories, mine Young Adult. And the winners will be announced in Chicago on June 28th at the annual convention of the American Library Association. Nice. Just being a finalist is nice. Wonderful, in fact.

So my eyes burn, my mind fogs over, and my failing memory is worse than ever, but I know who I am and where I'm going and, most important, who I love.

Now I'm going to turn out this light again and try to sleep.

Note: My latest piece in the Prague Revue is all about knots: Elegant Tangles for Sailors, Sex, Hangmen, and Cowboys.  I had fun writing it: