SHORT STORY

“Comrade Stalin Goes to Mars”

New Short Story Release: “Comrade Stalin Goes to Mars”

I have a new short story out under the Kindle Select Program.

 This short story can be purchased at  http://amzn.to/2fp4KON

 About the story:

 The scientists created him, a clone of Comrade Stalin. The politicians deployed him, a weapon to vanquish the rising tide of global chaos. He smiles, everyone’s beloved Uncle Joe, and goes back to work.

 The music rings from his dacha, and the screams ring from the Lubyanka.

 The cowards hadn’t counted on that. No, indeed. And so they exile Comrade Stalin to Mars.

 And he goes.

 Happily . . .

 After all, where better to renew the Great October Revolution than on the red planet?

 “Comrade Stalin Goes to Mars”, part science fiction and part political thriller, explores the surprising junction between terror and opportunity.

 

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NOW PUBLISHED: THE VIEW THAT DISAPPEARED

I am pleased to announce the publication of THE VIEW THAT DISAPPEARED, a contemporary mystery set in the Seattle, Washington, USA, metro area.

Due to the success of my previous Goodreads giveaways of advanced reading copies, I am now sponsoring a giveaway of the published version of THE VIEW THAT DISAPPEARED.

About the book:

He couldn’t wait to see the headline: Old fart dies in bid to recapture youth.

Octogenarians Jack and Betty Luckner have an iron-willed sense of justice and a street-smart fearlessness.

When one too many of their friends dies unexpectedly, Jack and Betty confront the possibility that a serial killer stalks their jolly retirement community. Armed only with old newsletters and a willingness to bend the law, they set out to stop the killings, but what’s to stop the killer from adding Jack and Betty to the body count?

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FREE FICTION: THE CHINESE PANDA VASE (A NOVELLA)

panda-cover-9-2016FREE FICTION: THE CHINESE PANDA VASE (A SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA)

(Novella, Science Fiction) When two violent home invaders steal a family heirloom from Johnny Rohgan, the police threaten to arrest him of having used excessive force in his efforts to prevent the theft. As for Johnny’s stolen property, the police make it abundantly clear that they have more important things to do than attempt to recover a Chinese panda vase. They also tell him that if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll forget all about it. Undaunted, Johnny sets out to recover the vase, while steering clear of the boys and girls in blue.

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FLASHERS

MY NEW OLD DEPTH SOUNDER—PART 4

Digital depth sounders display depths as numbers: 125.6, 23.9, 45.7, and so on—one number at a time.

Flasher depth sounders, often called flashers, display depths as flashes of light around a gradated circular display. The gradations come in various scales: feet, fathoms, and so on; and often it’s possible to select between them. More often than not, flashers display multiple “depths” simultaneously.

What?

Isn’t there only one depth?

No, actually, there isn’t.

Hang tight and I’ll explain.

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Free Fiction: Honest John’s Fine Used Spaceships

HONEST JOHN COVER--smallWhen a customer demands a spaceship that can do the absurd, Honest John feels compelled to live up to his reputation for honesty and tell the guy to take a hike. On the other hand, as the saying goes, the customer is always right, especially when there’s a pile of money involved.

You can download this story in a variety of formats:

EPUB

MOBI

PDF

This story is also available through SMASHWORDS and through AMAZON

FLASHERS

MY NEW OLD DEPTH SOUNDER—PART THREE

Digital depth sounders, sometimes called digital depth instruments, report depths as a series of single numbers. For example, 23.0, 23.5, 23.7, 22.9, and so on.

Herein lies the key to the problem with digitals. They can only report one depth at a time. By their very nature, digitals display those numbers one after another, like the times displayed on the face of a digital watch: 12:31, 12:32, 12.33, and so on. Whether that one depth is the depth you’re interested in or, effectively, noise is another matter.

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FLASHERS

MY NEW OLD DEPTH SOUNDER—PART TWO

To review . . .

When it comes to being out on the water, one of the better ways to ruin a perfectly good trip is to run out of water, that is, to run aground. Just ask Joseph Hazelwood, the captain of the ill-fated Exxon Valdes. Hell, just ask me. Ask just about anyone who’s been boating for any length of time.

Eventually, almost everyone runs aground.

Ah, yes, but how to avoid this potentially lethal calamity? (And running aground can be and often is lethal, even in a small boat.)

The simple answer to that one is that you have to make sure your boat has more water under her than she needs float. If your boat draws six feet of water, as mine does, then you have to make sure you keep her in water that is over six feet deep. Duh! (Frozen water doesn’t count.)

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FLASHERS

MY NEW OLD DEPTH SOUNDER—PART ONE

Depth Finder Showing a Depth of 15 Feet
A Flasher Depth Finder Showing a Depth of 15 Feet

When it comes to boating, let’s take it as read that knowing how deep the water is under your boat is pretty important. Any mistakes in this regard can ruin your whole day.

You already know how much water your boat draws, don’t you? Of course, you do. It’s right there in the owner’s manual, under the heading “Draft.”

So, how do you know out how deep the water is?

In lots of ways.

For example, if you can plot your position on a nautical chart, you can read the depth of the water where you are, right off the chart—maybe not for your exact position, but certainly for positions nearby.

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About Writing THE VIEW THAT DISAPPEARED

Writing a novel can begin with anything: with a theme, with an image, with a snippet of dialogue, with a premise, with a real or imagined event, with a regional accent . . . with with whatever gets the writer’s fingers dancing.

The View that Disappeared began with the conjunction of a few lines of imagined dialogue and various stories that have been handed down in my family. Those lines of dialogue morphed into the Jack Luckner’s voice, his character, his attitude. As for the family stories, they were my grandmother’s tales of her time as a cook in an “old folks’ home” in Portland, Oregon. Needless to say, these stories were not happy little ditties about honored seniors living out their sunset years, or days, in a state of jolly and spritely tranquility.

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BOATING

RUNNING AGROUND FOR FUN AND PROFIT: THE PROFIT

It’s time to wrap up this series of posts on running aground and move on to other topics. “What other topics?” I hear you ask. Depth finders, anchoring, kayaks, crab pots, the release of my newest novel, hiking from one bay to another, mornings on the water, “Juneuary” weather in British Columbia, navigating rapids and narrows, writing, and so on.

Yes, fine, but what about the profit side of running aground for fun and profit?

Well, here goes.

We went aground in the Octopus Islands in the summer or 2015. (By rights, I ought to say that we went arock.) We figured at we’d taken some paint off the bottom of the keel, but that other than a patch of missing paint, we’d come through pretty much unscathed.

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