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.

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

Read an E-Book Week


This week both of my books are free at Smashwords with the coupon code RW100.

Find Volume 1 here, and Volume 2 here. Volume 3 isn’t finished yet.

If you’re unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, my books are for kids about ages 8-12 and for any adults who might like to read them to their children or grandchildren. The stories are fun, funny, adventurous and informative. Much more information is available throughout this website.

More About Book Covers

Yesterday I wrote about my not-too-good book covers, and I posted a link to where you can see my new cover for Volume 2.  I uploaded a new one to Smashwords, because Volume 2 was in more need of a change than Volume 1.

Today I’ve uploaded a new cover for Volume 1. Once I’ve made the change at Kindle and with Create Space (for the printed versions), I’ll change them on this website. I guess I would like to see what the reaction is, if any. I may be deluding myself, but I think the new ones are quite a bit better.

I’m open to any comments. I may not let all the comments be visible, being as this is a family-friendly site, but I’d like to have some honest feedback.

You can see the new Volume 1 cover here.

Who Designed My Book Covers, Anyway?

A concerned reader recently asked if my book cover was designed by a kid. Ha ha! That’s not a bad idea! It probably would be better. Actually, I think the question was insulting to kids in general.  The reader said my cover was dreadful. I’m not sure which one he or she was referring to, but the I don’t deny it for either book. I especially think  the Volume 2 cover stinks.

I have been in the process of redesigning the covers. Yes, I am the designer. No, I’m not an artist. I’m a writer. I’ve never been good at art. So, you might ask, why would I design the covers? Why don’t I hire a kid to do it? I guess it comes down to not being able to afford to hire a kid or anyone else until I start selling enough books.

That brings up the next problem. People judge books by their covers. They generally won’t even look at the description if the cover doesn’t look appealing. So if nobody likes my cover, they probably won’t buy the book, so I may be forever stuck with bad book covers and selling no books.

Hopefully my next one will be better, and I uploaded a new one for Volume 2 to Smashwords to see how it goes over. You can see it here. It will take a while, but my plan is to have new covers for both books in the print and ebook form.

And I hope when Volume 3 is finished (which is not very soon), it will start out with a decent cover.

Many thanks to those of you who read my books in spite of the covers.

Smashwords July Promotion

Smashwords, one of my ebook publishers, is having a big promotion this month. I’m participating in it, so my books will be discounted. Volume 1, which is normally $0.99, will be free with the coupon code SW100. Volume 2, normally $2.99, will be $1.50 with this code: SSW50.

Many authors will be discounting their books this month, so it’s a good time to check it out.

Another Penguin Film Coming Soon

A documentary type film, called Penguins 3d,  is scheduled to be released in the U.S. in May. This one is about a young King penguin as he returns to his home at South Georgia Island in the far south Atlantic.

Perhaps they read my book. Probably not. After all, mine is about a Rockhopper.

It looks like a fun and interesting movie. I’m wondering if it will be as popular as March of the Penguins was a number of years ago.

New additions to this site

I have two additions to the site. First, for those who like penguins, I’ve added a new page with links to stories I find about real penguins. A few days ago a Royal penguin was found on the beach in New Zealand. He had apparently gotten lost and was about a thousand miles from his home. He was in bad shape, and despite efforts to revive him, he died. Penguins are still very popular all around the world, and I’m seeing quite a few articles about them.

I’ve also added a page about Volume 3 of the Fly Like a Penguin trilogy, mainly to show my writing progress. This is perhaps a way of inspiring me to keep at it. We’ll see.

Volume 3 Update

For the many of you who in my imagination are wondering how progress is going for Fly Like a Penguin, Volume 3, (tentatively called) The Last Wave, here is an update.

So far I’ve written a bit over 15,000 words, which means I have quite a way to go. I just read through the whole thing, and I like it so far. I liked Volume 2 better than Volume 1, and I think I like this one as much as Volume 2. This one is the most complex.The story has a lot of pieces, kind of like a puzzle. They all have to come together to fit into the ending that I have planned. I’m pretty confident that it will happen. I just have to get to it. I’ve taken a break from the writing, but it’s time to get back to it.

It took me over 15 years to write the first book. Most of the second one I wrote in less than a year, but with the proof-reading and rewriting it took a few more years. I hope to finish this one by next summer. I’ve already gotten behind my previous schedule. I keep getting distracted. Onward and forward, as they say.