Something I stumbled across …

Whenever I drove past one of those all-aluminum super-modern mobile homes of the 1950s – and I’m talking about mobile homes, not Airstream travel trailers – I always wondered who made them, and what they looked like inside. While doing research for Silken Thread I discovered that some of them were built by Spartan Aircraft.

The company had a short, interesting run – you can find out more at an enthusiast’s website here. Short take-away: the hero in my story is getting a 1959 Spartan Imperial Mansion.

That’s it – just a random share today. Keep reading. We need you.

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A Teaser from Silken Thread

Hot off the editing table. I'm about 1/3 through the manuscript.

Chapter 21

Aarens residence — three months later

It was July 4, 1967, and David was trying to act like he was fine, but he wasn’t. He stared at Wu Qiang’s business card, wondering what he should say about it. “I like the design, and the silk paper is … expensive looking. But I’m curious: How did you pick ‘Harold Wu’ for your English name?”

The Aarens table was set with blue rice china and Swedish crystal. Danish fondue pots, two-thirds full of boiling hot peanut oil, served each end of the table. Wu Qiang speared a square of lamb, dipped it for two seconds and held it above his plate. “To honor a man who helped me out of desperate circumstance.”

He blew on the morsel before popping it into his mouth. “When I seventeen, I go with uncle to Magwe, north of Yangon — you say Rangoon — because we heard British need worker at airfield there. It before the war, but China and Brits already fighting Japanese.” He shook his head. “Bad days.”

David’s parents were solemn. Ward reached for Lieve’s hand. “They walked into Burma from Kunming. Qiang lost his uncle that year.”

Wu Qiang’s face turned down. “He got stomach ache, died — and I too young and stupid to be on my own. Terrible things could happen.”

He took another morsel of lamb. “A Brit name Harold Fetters have pity, took me as helper. Old China hand, spoke Hokkien, of all things. Taught me English, protected me from … you know, men who like boys.” Qiang raised eyebrows across the table, looking for any indication he should moderate the narrative. Ward was composed, but Lieve dabbed the corner of one eye.

David looked down at the table. “Wow. I was feeling kind of sorry for myself, until just now.”

Mrs. Wu was a very pretty woman — in contrast to her husband, who came from farmer’s stock and looked it. She patted David’s hand. “You girlfriend leave. Big heartache. We know.”

Qiang gave David a serene, wise look. “Losing girlfriend not so bad as starving while bombs go off, but still a big deal. I feel for you, really I do.”

David leaned back while Hannah refilled his iced tea. “Did you ever go home?”

“No. I stay Magwe until ’41, when Madame Chiang’s army come looking for Chinese men to dress in uniform. Harold wake me at 3 in morning, put me on cargo plane to India. I work for Brits until 1950, when I sign as mechanic for ship going Taiwan. I don’t see parents or sister until ’53, in Taipei.”

Lieve Aarens made a face. “I’m almost afraid to ask what happened to Mr. Fetters.”

“Oh, he fine. Harold live in Dorchester with daughter. I send card in December, he call me on phone. We have nice talk.” Qiang grinned. “His Hokkien worse now than I remember. We had speak English.”

David perked up. <My Mandarin is getting better. What does it mean when I hear people speaking as if in riddles? Is there …> He switched back to English. “… slang in Chinese?”

“Yeah, and you probably hearing criminals when that happen. Best find someplace else to go.”

Ward adjusted alcohol burners to put more heat under the pots. “I wouldn’t want to be in China right now.”

Qiang nodded. “Cultural revolution. Red Guard. Everybody scared. Traditional people sending treasure out of mainland to keep hooligans from smashing it. My warehouse in Taipei is full of that stuff.”

Lieve indicated a gilded coromandel screen at the edge of the dining area. “Are there screens like that one?”

“Not so big. Temple hanging, Buddha statue, vase, ivory, jade, soapstone, thing for museum, very old. Five hundred year, maybe more.”

“Who brings it to you?”

“Smuggler, gangster. They leave this things in my place without paying.”

“Are they trying to sell it?”

“Ha! Taiwanese not good customer for memory of emperor. European don’t want to deal with gangboy. No certificate of origin to send to States. I bet I stuck forever.”

Lieve spoke aside to her husband. “I want to go with you to Taiwan next month.”

 

 

What you might like about my books

One of my goals in writing science fiction is to promote an ambience of authenticity — which can be problematic when much of the landscape is mythological. I cover part of this ground by wrapping the fantastic in the mundane — making the story more believable in a visceral sense. Thus, in Resilient, Sattva Pala is introduced as a disembodied soul, brought across a dimensional boundary, raised in the Virtuality under a cloud of presumption that she’s an angel sent by the Gods. In counterpoint, she manifests as a complicated young woman with a confusing life and all the insecurities a person experiences from living in a real world.

In The Illusion of Gravity, a manufacturing executive invests in an emerging technology startup, but doesn’t tell his boss the project is about anti-gravity — a decision that makes sense to anyone who understands how staggeringly unimaginative senior management can be. To close the loop, I devote a lot of energy to making the science plausible — and I think readers will notice right away that I’m staking out my own territory in the genre.

Continue reading “What you might like about my books”

Back into the fray ….

Now that I have 3 books to sell, it’s time to get serious about the trimmings. Who likes this version of a story capsule for The Illusion of Gravity? Who hates it? Tell me!

Imagine what it would be like if, in a thousand years, our civilization was little changed from the way it is today. This is the condition in which the Anye find themselves, centuries after building their first nuclear power plants — a mature race still traveling about in ground cars; flying spaceplanes to orbit, but no farther; suffering from disease, war and crime, languishing in hopeful anticipation of an historic moment with the potential to change everything, a blessing that never quite arrives.

 Until, in an event overshadowed by strife and circumstance, an epochal discovery unravels the mysteries of the universe. Physics student Rivan Saraf survives an experiment gone terribly wrong — only to be pursued by foreign agents, intent on either stealing his mentor’s work or killing those involved in it. It will be at Udak, on the boundary of Vidura’s icecap, where his team transforms emerging theory into applied science, demonstrating that gravity is not what everyone thought it was.

Now the question is: Will there be enough time for the Anye to forge a new destiny before an approaching catastrophe destroys them?

Set in an exotic yet familiar world — the Anye Legacy series is a provocative and deeply textured account of a divided people confronting the possible end of their existence.

I’m ready for my close-up.

It is seventy thousand years in the past. Vidura is three million light years from Earth. Stalled in their industrial age for centuries, the Anye are poised at the edge of space under a dying sun.

Finally, in an event overshadowed by strife and circumstance, an epochal discovery unravels the mysteries of the universe. Now it remains to be seen if there’s time for the Anye to forge a new destiny for themselves.

Vividly imagined, demonstrating finesse at wrapping the fantastic in the mundane, the Anye Legacy books venture into literary science fiction territory with strong characters and a thoughtful, well-crafted narrative.

Set in an exotic yet familiar world — a playground for adventure, romance, science, intrigue and space opera — the series is a provocative and deeply textured account of a divided people confronting the possible end of their existence.

Available now, in eBook and print, on Amazon.

Enjoy!

Resilient is live on Amazon!

Book 3 in The Anye Legacy series – eBook edition – is available to order now I expect the print edition to launch tomorrow. Woo!

The final edit was less work than I feared – I threw 2 chapters away and wrote new ones to replace them, but other than that, it was mostly about finding tiny format errors. That makes 6 full editing passes from first cut to finished manuscript over a period of about a year.

Book 4 – Vacuum Forged – is in early draft with about 40,000 words, but I’ll probably finish Silken Thread first.

Here’s a shout out to my brother Mike, who read Resilient – for what must have been the third time – during the edit. It’s conceivable that I could write without his help, but the results wouldn’t be as good.

Mike says Resilient is ‘some of my finest work’ – which I might post as a review, except a) I still want you to buy the other ones, b) he’s my brother, so there could be hyperbole involved, and c) he thinks everything I’m doing is great. Yeah, Mike – I love you, too.

Later.

 

 

 

The Third Edition is halfway published

The Illusion of Gravity – Third Edition – is available in eBook format today. You can get it on Amazon here. I uploaded the print layout this afternoon, so the paperback should pop up on their list directly. The book is now 14,000 words shorter, despite having gained more than 10,000 words of new text.

So much for getting in there to add a map and a cast of characters section. Well, it’s done … and Volume 1 of the series is a better book for it.

But, why take my word for it … did I mention you can buy it today?

Great. Keep reading. Thanks for the visit!

 

 

 

I have no business doing this right now , but …

What I’m supposed to be doing is finishing the third edition of The Illusion of Gravity. For God’s sake, Amazon says somebody read the second edition on KU yesterday. Ock! I’m so embarrassed not to have my best work out there, and I hope they don’t give me a bad review.

But I had the strangest dream last night, which is sometimes how it starts. I wrote the idea down so I wouldn’t forget it, and if you know me at all – which probably you don’t so I’ll just tell you – I have a hard time keeping things to myself.

This might be the follow on to The Dressmaker’s Apprentice, although maybe I should finish that book before I start a second one.  No matter.

Scorch – An Eric Burton Mystery

My tale begins with me driving around St. Mary, Georgia looking for the home of Caesarus “Chet” Laikul — a physician I met at a golf course — to attend the wedding of his son.

Part of the reason I was going was to see a house known as “The Elliot” — which he described as a multi-level post-modern fantasy extravagance set in a saltwater marsh — the anchor residence in what ultimately became a failed housing development. The design, he said, was drawn up for an actor who intended to have it built in Palm Springs, but apparently that never happened. Naturally, I asked him “Which actor – Elliot Gould?”.

Continue reading “I have no business doing this right now , but …”

Quantum Soul is live on Amazon, but …

My second novel in the Anye Legacy series went live on Amazon December 3, 2018. It can be ordered as an eBook here, or in print here.

As revealed in an earlier post, I’ve been working on a third edition of the first book in the series – The Illusion of Gravity – and I’d hoped to promote a new manuscript by now. That has not happened, and I still think that readers should wait for it.

The good news about this part of the announcement is: according to beta readers, Quantum Soul stands on its own.

More later.

 

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