Fly Like a Penguin, Volume 1, Chapter 1


This story is available as a printed book or ebook in various stores online, but my plan is to post a chapter (or part of a chapter) every Sunday. If you’d like to have an idea what my writing is like, here’s the opportunity to sample it, and if you don’t want to buy the book, but still want to read the story, here you can read it for free over the course of the next 40 or so weeks.

Fly Like a Penguin, Volume 1

The Long Way Home

Chapter 1


A Prophecy


Just a small ray of sun from the East broke through the gray clouds covering the Falkland Islands as Cliffider and Cliffidee jumped from rock to rock up the cliff from the ocean to their home. They were penguins, Rockhopper penguins.

Their life, up to this time, had been spent doing the usual penguiny sorts of things, such as raising a number of little ones from the egg to maturity. As the time now drew near for another one to enter their world, they couldn’t have imagined how their lives and that of their whole colony could change. Life had been as it was for as long as they could remember, and it seemed it had been that way for their parents and grandparents.

But on this morning, something felt different, and they didn’t know why. After finishing their breakfast in the ocean, they were on their way to visit Cliffking. He was a very old and wise penguin who was considered a patriarch of their colony. Some, however, thought he was strange.

As they drew nearer to the top of the cliff the sound of the many Rockhoppers in their colony drew louder. It sounded like they were all talking at once. They could hear playful shouting, arguing, singing, and just regular conversation. It didn’t seem unusual to Cliffidee and Cliffider. That’s just the way it was, and always had been, just like the constant crashing of the waves on the rocks below them.

Finally, after reaching the cliff’s summit, they hopped and waddled through the multitudes of their folk and came out on the other side. Climbing uphill for a while, they came to the little rock cave where Cliffking usually stayed. It was a quieter place where he could think.

“Welcome, good friends,” he said. “How was the krill?” (Krill is a favorite food of penguins. It is a tiny shrimp-like creature that is very abundant in these southern waters. To us it may sound like swill, but to them it is just swell.)

“Just swell,” answered Cliffider. “I would have brought you some, but I didn’t have a good way of carrying it up the cliff.”

“That’s okay. I have plenty—all I need. So, what’s on your mind today?”

Cliffidee answered, “We came to see what’s on your mind. We have an uneasy feeling that something is about to change for us all. We were directed to come to you, because you have been given some wisdom about it. You have a message for us, don’t you?”

“Well, you know I hate to be a bearer of bad news, but the one who directed you to come here is the one who speaks to me, and what he speaks is the truth, whether we like it or not.”

“What has he told you?” asked Cliffider.

“I know my days are getting short, and soon I must lay myself down before our Creator. Soon after that a time of trouble will come to our peaceful islands. Do you see those birds up there?”

They looked up to see the brown gull-like birds flying over the colony with watchful eyes. “The caracaras?”

Cliffking continued, “They are, as you know, our natural enemies, but not that big of a concern to us. They’re mainly a nuisance, trying to steal our eggs and looking for opportunities to take away the weak or young ones among us. But a time is coming when they will become a terrible enemy. They will increase in number, attack us, and carry many of us away.”

“How do you know these things?” asked Cliffider.

“Well, son, I’ve hopped along on the rocks of these islands and swum the ocean around us for many years. All along I’ve been with the one who knows. He has shown me some things because I listened to him.”

“How long will this attack go on?”

“Until the one comes who will lead us in victory.”

“Who will that be?”

Then Cliffking stood up straight, lifted up his right wing, and his voice, saying,


When the trouble comes from the skies

He of yellow crest and eyes

Swims from the north.

He will suddenly come forth

With his mate by his side

And a seal as his ride.

Soon the flying ones will flee

And the Falklands become free.


“Hey, not bad!” said Cliffider to his mate out of the corner of his beak, “and such an old fellow, too.”

“Ay, what’s’at? If I was a bit younger, I would have heard that!” said Cliffking. “You think poetry is only for the young? I was composing it before you were an egg, and I was already old then!”

Cliffider laughed, “Sorry about that, old-timer, but I think you were born old.” Then he grew more serious and said, “Are you saying the one who will lead us to victory will be a yellow-eyed Rockhopper? We all have beady red eyes beneath our yellow crest feathers!”

Cliffking answered, “Many things are possible that we wouldn’t expect, but perhaps there is a Yellow-eyed penguin from New Zealand in his family line.”

Cliffidee asked, “Is there anything we can do to prepare for those days?”

“The most important thing is to remember the one who made us and to keep looking to him for wisdom and help.”

Cliffider and Cliffidee visited with Cliffking until late afternoon and then returned to their place in the colony. One of their neighbors asked, “What did old Methuselah have to say today?”

Cliffidee related the prophecies of the old penguin. Some laughed, some listened, and some said, “We’ll see.”

Others said, “Things have always been as they are. Why should it change?” But the prophecies remained in their minds.

In the days that followed, Cliffider and Cliffidee spent more time outside the colony in lonely places, listening and calling for help. One morning they each knew they were given a command, a message from their maker.

That hour they left their secure home on the rock and dove into the sea, heading south.

Coming Soon, Volume 1 Serial


No, it’s not something you have for breakfast with milk on it. Starting  Sunday, February 12, a chapter of Fly Like a Penguin, Volume 1, will be posted here every week until the book is done. There are 33 chapters, and some of them are longer than others, so some may be cut into two or three.  If you want a free version of the book, here it will be, if you want to take 40 weeks to finish it. I hope you like it.

This idea isn’t something I thought up on my own. Many of the classic writers, like Charles Dickens, posted their books as a serial first and then published the whole book. Also, a blogger I’ve enjoyed, Mitch Teemley, has been doing it with his story, The Wishing Map. He also has thought-provoking and/or humorous posts throughout the week.

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 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.

The Last Wave Coming Soon!

Fly Like a Penguin, Volume 3, The Last Wave, is nearing completion, and I should be able to publish it in early 2016. I realize that Volume 2 left the good readers kind of hanging, and it’s taken a while to get unhung. Sorry about that. However, I hope to be able to remedy this situation fairly soon. Thank you to all who have read the first two, and haven’t forgotten about the series. For those of you who have forgotten, I don’t really blame you. There are a lot more important things going on in the world than a book series.

I think that you will find that the wait has been worth it. Stay tuned.

The Last Wave
Fly Like a Penguin, Volume 3, The Last Wave

A Good Homeschool Resource

Recently I received a very nice compliment from a homeschool mom for my first book. She said she was enjoying reading it to her kids, and they really liked it too, especially her son. She also liked that it had some educational value too, because the kids could learn about different animals and places.

I like hearing things like that, because that is what I was hoping to accomplish with my writing. She also mentioned that she was passing on a plug for the book to her homeschooling  friends.

I mention this now because I think there is a place for good adventure and humor in fiction that can also be educational, as well as having a foundation of belief in the God who created all things and who is still involved in the lives of the creatures he created.

The Smell of Evil

Fly Like a Penguin, Volume 2, The Smell of Evil is now available. You can get the ebook at Smashwords or Kindle for $1.99. It should be available at other outlets soon. Smashwords offers formats for any type of e-reader.

Create Space is the only place you can get the printed version right now, but soon Amazon will have it also. The price is $8.99.

At those links you can also find a short synopsis of the book, which is an exciting continuation of the original Fly Like a Penguin.

Print book is out

Now I’ve officially published the print version of Fly Like a Penguin, Volume 1, The Long Way Home. So far it’s just available at Create Space. Within a week or so it should on, and following that other locations. It’s been out as an e-book for the past few weeks at Smashwords and Kindle. The price is $0.99 for the e-book and $8.99 for the printed version.