This morning I enter the transporter to pick up this week’s featured author. Where are we going and what will be our experience when we get there? Well, here’s what happened, straight from the author:
We are enjoying a rich sea food dinner right on Circular Quay just across from the opera house in Sidney. The weather, as always, is remarkable, warm with a friendly breeze. As we are eating, we happen to notice a couple a few tables away eating together. They appear more simply dressed than most of the patrons and maybe the are drinking a bottle of champagne. Perhaps it is some sort of celebration, we don’t know, but they appear so happy together. Then we notice we have the same waitress, so that is when we decide to do what I call a RAK (Random Act of Kindness). We have learned from previous experience that if you don’t share the same wait person, it is nearly impossible to succeed with a RAK. We conspire with the waitress to pay their bill. She is delighted with the conspiracy, informing us that we couldn’t possibly have picked a more deserving couple. But then, suddenly, she wants to know what to tell them, so she hurries over to our table. We are speaking in low whispers, but I don’t think it matters, the couple have not taken their eyes off each other. I explain, wait until we are gone and then tell them their bill was already paid. And so we linger over coffee while they have their desert and then we settle their bill, and our bill, and then we are gone.
Somewhere in all that, there’s the following interview.
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
I’ve been called a renaissance man by many of my friends, enemies and co-workers and I believe one of the reasons this makes me different is that I never see obstacles to what I am trying to do, just interesting problems and challenges which I enjoy solving.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
That I write award winning poetry and mathematical algorithms sophisticated enough to be patented.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rock star?
I did a lot of ‘something elses.’ I’ve played in a band, I’ve taught physics and engineering at the University level, I’ve done a variety of engineering jobs from refueling nuclear reactors to working targeting algorithms for missiles. So in short, I never experienced a “rather than something else.” If something else interested me, I did it. Being a writer interested me because of the attention to detail necessary to succeed.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
Probably P. T. Deuterman, because of the wide variety of plots he has been able to come up with in his various books. I believe it would be quite interesting to brainstorm plots with him. I’ve read all his books, but I’ve never met him. Another great possibility would be Philip Kerr, for the same reasons.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?
It would be great for a four hour layover at an airport, because it is a single contained end-to-end adventure, virtually tailor made for situations like getting delayed for donkey hours at an airport. For being stranded on a desert island, I think it might not be so good, it is not dense enough. You would need a bible or koran for something like being stranded on a deserted island.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
I generally start my stories with a fairly loose or open outline of what I want the story to include. Then I spend some time filling in the main characters; finally the events that make the story happen. I do not find that doing a detailed framework or outline works very well for me. I need a looser framework and then I fill in he story as I go. One thing this method requires me to do however, is fill in the details of the characters a I write about them, so as to avoid contradicting myself later. Usually I’ve been to the places I write about. I may google a map to help me remember details of place or orientation. I am pretty careful not to use brand names in my stories and rarely use the names of specific places unless they are in the public domain–for example if I know there is a “Pizza Pirate” at a certain location, I will just call it a pizza place. If I name a specific place, it is made up and not real. I do this to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
When I am at a loss on how to start writing a section or a book or a scene, I have often found it helpful to write about what I want to write about. For example, I have a scene in which my characters are at dinner and are discussing something critical to the plot. I can’t quite get my head around how to write the scene. Usually, I can find a way by beginning with writing about the scene, what is important and why I want to include it.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
“Make it happen.”
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
I’m working on the next “Where on Earth?” story, which is set on a new winery near Santa Fe New Mexico. I’m also working on a children’s book about an unlikely friendship between a pelican name “Fast Eddy” and a penguin named “Ibix.” Additionally, I am working on a novel about “Steel Helmet.” which is an “Iron Dome” like missile defense interceptor system being built in the Gulf States by an unlikely band of allied characters, including Israeli, Saudi, Swedish, Qatar and American engineers.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
On the Fiery Seas publishing web site, http://www.fieryseaspublishing.com.
Flying along in his Jet Ranger, Dan Richards knew they were just barely in advance of a storm closing in. Returning from his work in Fairbanks, Search and Rescue was the last thing on his mind. Besides, they didn’t have much time. They had to get this chopper on the ground and in a hanger or no one would be flying it, ever. If they didn’t make it to Base, which was the only hanger around, there was a very high likelihood the chopper would be damaged, even destroyed by the storm. Base was about twenty minutes away, so he figured they could just make it to safety. But, Base knew that as well; they wouldn’t have called him if it weren’t serious. In fact, a rescue beacon alarm was an urgent call for help. Someone was in great danger, or worse. That was something with which Dan was familiar. Although not his job, in the wilderness of Alaska, he often found it was his calling. If they thought he could help, maybe he could. He nodded to Ted Matthews, his fair-skinned, buzz-cut, no-nonsense co-pilot.
“Base, Red Wing. Go ahead.”
“Red Wing, Base. I have a constant SOS from a rescue beacon. It may indicate an avalanche victim, given the region and the weather.”
“Roger, possible avalanche victim. Where is it?”
When he got back to the infirmary, he set his cup of coffee on the counter and put the water and chow down in front of the dog. She stood up, sniffed around, and began lapping up some water. Then, she moved to the meatloaf and pretty quickly had devoured the contents of the plate and licked it clean. Checking on the patient, he found her core body temperature up to normal now but she was still unconscious. He carefully lifted her out of the bath, placed her on a clean bed and tucked the blankets firmly around her to keep her body temperature up. Once he was satisfied she’d be fine for a while, he decided to go check on the boss, but first he asked the dog, “Do you want to take a trip outside? The weather is pretty bad, but I can let you out back if you like.” The dog looked attentively at him, but otherwise made no move. For no particular reason he would ever remember, he repeated, “Veux-‐‑tu aller à l’extérieur?” (Would you like to go outside?) Immediately the dog came over to the door, right next to him. So, he thought, a French-speaking dog. What next? I assume that means the Mademoiselle speaks French as well. With that, he quickly made his way to Dan’s room. Once there, he opened the back door of the lodging and said to the dog,
“Ici, rapidement!” Apparently understanding, the dog rapidly ran outside into the howling storm, disappearing in seconds.
Oh, mon Dieu! thought Frenchie, maybe I lost her in the storm. But, before he could even begin to worry that he didn’t know the dog’s name, she was back.
“Ah, merci,” he said as he held the door.
Turning to the frozen bundle, Dan asked, “What’s the matter, Larry?”
“Don’t know,” he mumbled, hardly understandable. “She’s hurting, can’t stand. Baby not due for 10 more weeks, last check-up everything fine. I left her with enough firewood for a couple of days, been walking all night.”
“Okay, you stay here and get warm and fed. Frenchie, have Ken break out the snowmobile, get it topped off and add a couple cans of fuel; take Larry to the infirmary and get him to bed. You are going with me. I’ll be ready in two minutes; we’ll take rescue kit C.”
“Roger,” Frenchie said and left the room.
“I’m going with you,” Larry said.
“No,” Dan was quite gentle. “We have to get her back here in this storm. I’ve done this before and so has Frenchie; you rest easy, we’ll make it back. Frenchie is a combat EMT. You’ve been up all night and need to rest up for what is to come. If I take you, I won’t be able to bring Frenchie back—nothing personal, but I’d rather have the medic in this case. We’ll be back in six hours, max. You sit tight.”
“I could walk back here again,” Larry said.
“Don’t be heroic, Larry. Anne will want you here when we get this done. Sit tight, go with Frenchie.” He checked his watch. “We’ll be back around lunchtime.”
Frenchie hurried out of the room, yelling to Ken. Dan rushed into his bedroom-bath area, quickly brushed his teeth, got dressed and picked up a Winchester 30-06 with a box of ammo on his way out the door. Samantha felt forgotten in the hubbub, but he stopped in front of her, gestured to the room, and said, “Mi casa, su casa. I’ll be back as soon as I can; you won’t be stuck here any longer once we can get a chopper out. I’m sorry to leave in such a rush.” And then he was gone and she was alone in the room.
As the flight got underway, Samantha, having never experienced a helicopter ride before, saw that the view below her was quite different, in an intimate way, than the view from a passenger—plane window. She looked all around below and was amazed by the closeness and the individual features of the view. She now understood why it was sometimes called a ‘God’s eye view.’ Like God, one could stop and hover over one place, examining as long as needed. When she looked down on a scene from the chopper, it looked like what she imagined God might see if he looked down from heaven. The amount of detail she could see was amazing. She began to study the terrain, looking for anything familiar. Her reasoning was that one of the most important things in her life had happened not far from here, so she should at least be able to recognize major landmarks. It wasn’t to be, however, and she was entirely surprised when she heard Dan announce in her ear they had arrived and he would be putting the bird down. They would wait until the police caught up, in about five minutes. By this time, they were sitting on the ground, waiting.
At first Samantha didn’t recognize anything, but then as she scanned the scene, she realized her team was congregated off to the side and they were furiously active, barking and running. Suddenly, Dan leaped out of the cockpit and began running toward her dogs with a powerful-‐‑looking rifle. When he started firing at the dogs, the noise blasted in her ears, and she was sure it was powerful.
“What’s he doing shooting at my dogs?” she shouted, “I have to stop him.”
Frantically, she undid her seatbelt and moved to the door, trying to figure out how to open it and get out. By the time she had figured this out and had landed in a foot of snow, the police department chopper had arrived. The Police Chief jumped out and began clambering through the snow after Dan, carrying a shotgun—and also shooting at her dogs. She bounded into the path Dan had cut and furiously followed the two men, yelling loudly at them as she went. Etoile ran beside her, undeterred by the fluffy snow that threatened to bury her with each step, even using Dan’s tracks.
Where On Earth? An Alaska Adventure
By David H. Minton
Fiery Seas Publishing
May 30, 2017
Dan Richards, an Iraq war vet, is a surveyor for the mining company, looking to open a new silver mine. Scrambling to establish his helicopter charter business in the wilds of Alaska, while trying to stay connected to his teenage daughter, his world soon turns upside down when he rescues a woman and her dog sledding team after an avalanche.
Samantha Bettencourt, an environmental engineer, is eager to begin her first project with the university. A spokesperson for an environmentalist group intent on preserving the wilderness, she is on the path to saving the wild, but when Dan walks into her life things start to change.
Sparks fly between Dan and Samantha as they find themselves running for their lives—from the good guys as well as the bad guys out to ruin the things they long to protect. Will they be able to escape before it’s too late? Will they get a chance at love or will they lose everything. . . including their lives?
About the Author:
After graduating college, David spent two tours in United States Military Assistance Command Republic of Viet-Nam, before beginning his career as a nuclear engineer, then electronics engineer, tele-communications engineer, and software security engineer. He has previously published three non-fiction books, several poems, and many non-fiction technical and historical articles.
5 e-copies Where on Earth?
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