New Free Story

Fly Like a Penguin has many characters who come into the story. Some of them become important to the whole outcome of the penguins’ adventures. Others make a brief appearance. I’ve just finished a short story about a minor character, the dog named Goldie whom Hopper meets in Volume 1.

Goldie the Dream Dog is the first of (perhaps) many side stories I’m intending to write, in case any of my readers would like to know what other friends of Hopper did with the rest of their lives.

Goldie is available at Smashwords for free as an ebook. Most likely it will never be a printed book, unless I make an anthology of many short stories.

Also, the first two volumes of Fly Like a Penguin are free at Smashwords in the ebook form, for now anyway. More information about the books is on other pages of this website, as well as links to other retailers where they are available.

Book Review of Michael Strogoff

I just finished reading Michael Strogoff by Jules Verne, which tells the adventures of the Courier of the Czar as he carries an important message from Moscow to Irkutsk in Siberia. The Tartars have invaded the country and the czar’s brother is in danger of assassination by an evil traitor. Michael’s mission is to get the message to the Grand Duke before the invaders reach him. He is a man who because of his love for God and country, refuses to be deterred from the duty he is called to accomplish.

Jules Verne was a writer with great, and at times almost prophetic, imagination. He had a great love for science, and in many of his books, like 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, he described the scenery in much-too-detailed scientific terms. This is the case sometimes in Michael Strogoff, but the story moves forward continually with one adventure after another until the final satisfying scenes.

You might wonder why I’m writing a review of a book written 140 years ago, and one that is somewhat obscure. The first reason is I just read it and greatly enjoyed it. Also, I generally like classics, and Jules Verne has been one of my favorite authors for many years. I think it’s good to draw attention to some of these works that many overlook.

As I try to figure out what I’m going to do with this blog, one thing I’ve considered is to write reviews of books as I finish reading them. We’ll see later if that actually happens. Whatever the case, reading is good, and especially finding books that build up the imagination and the desire to grow beyond ourselves, encouraging us to fulfill the purpose God has for us.

Free and less expensive ebooks

Smashwords, my primary ebook publisher is running a promotion this month, and  my books are part of it. I’ve been offering the first two books for free for a while now (which is probably a temporary situation), so they were automatically part of the promotion. The third book in the series has been $1.99, but with the coupon code that shows up when you think about buying it, you can get it for half price.

This is a good opportunity to check out the Fly Like a Penguin series, especially if you have kids between the ages of 9 and 12.

If you buy books from Smashwords, you can download them in the right format for any type of e-reader. The books can also be found at other retailers like Amazon, Itunes, and Barnes and Noble, but the promotion is only at Smashwords.

A Night in a Canoe

Shortly after our high school graduation, my friends, Dave and Bob J., and I decided to see what it would be like to stay out all night in a canoe. I lived on the waterfront and we had a canoe, so it could be done. We shoved off from the shore and headed for the other side of the bay. Our side is Bremerton. The other side is the Other Side, where foreigners from South Kitsap County live. I’m not sure how far it is across, maybe a mile. Being on the Other Side was like being in a different country, one that could be seen from your own, but one you wouldn’t want to live in. But it could be visited by boat, and explored and conquered for the motherland. Our first mission of the night was to cross over and stake claim to this wild and unconquered territory.

The Other Side

After accomplishing that objective, we once again set sail, following the coast of our new domain until we came to a narrow passage. At this place is a little inlet, once made famous by Namu the killer whale who was kept there for a time.

Farther along we made the discovery of Echo Passage, a place where if you yelled anything on a very calm night at, say, 1:00 in the morning, the very same thing would be yelled back at you. We were very proud of this discovery, and amazingly made it past this place with no attacks by the sleeping natives. Who knows how many of their curses fell upon us.

Now on the other side of this passage is Bainbridge Island. Of course, this too had to be conquered, which was done with no loss of life and no resistance from the natives. From there we headed back more in the direction of home. To continue as we were would lead us to Seattle, and we didn’t feel we had the time or the manpower to lay siege there. That had to be left for another adventure.

We followed the coast of the island for a while and then returned to our side of the bay, about a mile or two down the beach from home. Here there is a park, Illahee State Park. On our way there I saw a fireball meteor. I could actually see fire coming off it as it fell toward the earth.

We landed and began our exploration as an army troop seeking out the enemy, one like you might see in the movies. We were in character, and Bob J. assumed command under the name of Monroe. He led us well, but all discipline broke down when Dave, who probably had a name like Kilroy, called him “Marilyn.”

By this time we were getting pretty tired. We slowly paddled our trusty craft back home as the sun came up over Bainbridge Island. Mount Rainier glowed orange as it towered over the trees on the far side of the bay. We landed back at the home base around 5:00. The other two headed for their homes and I went to bed.

The canoe adventures of that summer will continue as the intrepid crew embarks on a quest to take Seattle.

The Trilogy is Complete

The third book of the Fly Like a Penguin trilogy was published on March 15. Sometimes I call it a series, which leaves open the possibility of adding more to it. Right now it is a trilogy with the completion of Volume 3, The Last Wave.

I originally published the first book as Fly Like a Penguin in 2004, but finding more to the story, I published The Smell of Evil in 2012. At that time I also revised the first book and entitled it The Long Way Home. Volume 2 left some unanswered questions, which The Last Wave took care of. Now the story is complete, although I wonder, “Will there be more?” Time will tell. Then I wouldn’t be able to call it a trilogy.


Flap2-9-23-13jpgThe Last Wave







These books are available as printed books or ebooks. The first two are temporarily free as ebooks at most online stores. The lowest Amazon will let me go is $0.99. At Smashwords you can download a copy for any type of reading device, including Kindle. The third book is $1.99.

A list of stores where you can get them are at the right side of this page. You might have to scroll down a little bit.



The Bivouac of the World’s Worst Mountaineers

I posted this almost two years ago, but if hardly anybody saw it, I figure it’s okay to share again.

Love's Notes

Huddled inside plastic tubes, three novice climbers spent a miserable September night on a rainy wooded slope in Washington’s Olympic Mountains. Each of them remembered his nice, warm bed where he’d expected to be by that time. Thoughts of hypothermia flashed by. Sleep came and went with thoughts of worried families back home.
I was one novice climber who thought I’d never have to bivouac in the mountains. That was only for ace mountaineers on the big climbs, but here I was actually forced to spend the night on a relatively easy mountain. All each of us had for protection against the elements was a survival kit containing a plastic tube, sugar cubes, a whistle, a candle, and matches. Without those kits the night would have been much more miserable, and the possibility of hypothermia would have been greatly increased.
It began when my friends, Dave and Jorg, and I…

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The Penguin in Puget Sound

I posted this a few years ago, but I don’t know if anyone saw it. With the upcoming release of the Last Wave (Volume 3 of Fly Like a Penguin), I thought it would be good to share it again.

When I was a teenager, I saw a penguin floating on a log in Puget Sound. If you who aren’t familiar with that body of water, it’s the inlet from the Pacific Ocean that gives the state of Washington its great shape. Seattle is on the eastern side of the Sound, and my hometown, Bremerton, is on the west.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our house was on the waterfront with a porch along the whole front side, where you could stand outside, even on one of those rare rainy Washington days, and look aimlessly out at the water. The usual sights were seagulls, boats, including the ferry that went hourly to and from Seattle, other birds, seagulls, occasional jumping fish, seagulls, and boats, including canoes, rowboats, ski-boats, and yachts. Sometimes something more exciting might swim by, like a seal, or even more rarely, some whales.

A Seagull, not a Penguin

But one day a penguin floated by. Penguins don’t live in Puget Sound or anywhere near that far north. The most northerly penguins are the Galapagos Penguins on the equator off the coast of Ecuador. I really don’t remember my reaction to seeing a penguin there. It must have been whatever a typical teen reaction might have been. I didn’t think about it much after that until many years later when I had my own kids. One day, the thought came into my mind, “Hey, what was that penguin doing there?”
From that question came the years-long quest to answer it. Indeed, it took nearly 20 years for the completion of the story, in which is answered not only that first question, but also where did that penguin come from, and where was it going? Originally publishing it as Fly Like a Penguin in 2004, later on I found there was more to the story. The first book was revised (improved) in 2012, and the name changed to The Long Way Home, being Volume 1 of the Fly Like a Penguin series. Volume 2, The Smell of Evil, was published later that year. Volume 3, The Last Wave, will be published March 15.  That will probably complete the series, although I have some ideas for spinoff stories.

The Last Wave
Fly Like a Penguin, Volume 3

The first two books are temporarily free, until I make some corrections and improvements in the writing, after which I will republish them. The Last Wave can be preordered and will be available for download next week.

It’s finally here! Almost.

Volume 3 of the Fly Like a Penguin trilogy is scheduled to be published on March 15 at  Those of you who read the first two books have been left hanging for a couple of years, because Volume 2 left a few unanswered questions. Soon you will be unhung, unless something goes wrong in these final stages of the publishing process, like finding  mistakes that I haven’t seen yet. Or if any of my beta readers tell me  the story stinks.

I’m fairly confident all will proceed as planned. As I read through the story myself, looking for mistakes or bad writing, I find myself enjoying it a lot. I think it’s a really good tale, at least as good as the first two, which I also think are very good. For those of you unfamiliar with Fly Like a Penguin, I’ve written it for kids about 8-12 years old, but have attempted to make it fun for adults, too.

For a while the first two ebooks will be free in the Smashwords version, which means they’ll also be free at most other online retailers. I’m pretty sure they won’t be free on Amazon for the Kindle version, but you can get them from Smashwords with the Kindle formatting.

I’m planning on re-writing Volumes 1 and 2, because I’ve noticed a few minor mistakes in them, but I also think I can write them better. As they are, the stories are fine, and I’m not going to change that at all, just clean up the writing a bit. I will leave the price free until I re-publish them. Then they will go back to something you have to buy. Volume 3 is available as a pre-order for $1.99, and will remain at that price until I re-publish the other two. I’ve also lowered the print versions to as low as they can go, also until I re-publish them. So far the lower price for the printed books is only at Amazon. I think they will be lowered at the other retailers, too.

If you’re looking for something for your preteen to read, or a story you’d like to read to your child or grandchild, click on one of the many links in this article or at the side of the page. Even if you just want to read it yourself. If you’re using an e-reader, it will be hard for others to see that you’re reading a kids’ book. I won’t tell.