Fly Like a Penguin, Volume 1, Chapter 3

The third installment of serialized Fly Like a Penguin, the Adventure for Kids and Other People…





Chapter 3




Since the days of their courtship, Emily and Emmett hadn’t been so happy. Emily huddled over the egg on her feet while Emmett waddled back and forth exclaiming every now and then, “Wow! We’ve got an egg. We’re going to have a chick! We called for help, and here it is!”

During this time of waiting for the hatching, they talked over many things, like how they would walk proudly among their fellow Emperors with their new little one, and what the name should be. They decided on Peter or Penelope.

Finally the day arrived when the little penguin began poking his beak through the shell of the egg. They could hardly contain their excitement as they watched that beak pecking the hole bigger and bigger.

Then out popped a little gray head with two beady eyes that were also radiant with joy and determination. Then the whole egg split apart as a little male penguin hopped out onto the ice at Emily’s feet. He didn’t look at all like them and was much smaller than the usual babies they had seen among their acquaintances.

When it came time for him to venture outside of the warmth of Emily’s feathers, he did something else that surprised them, although it probably shouldn’t have. Instead of waddling as they did, he hopped around as he explored his new world. He hopped over to Emmett and rubbed his beak on his feet, and then hopped back to Emily.

“Well, Emmy dear,” said Emmett, “I think we had forgotten what he was here for. He’s not here to make us proud Emperor parents. He’s here as a gift and for us to teach him the right way, loving him as he is, even though he’s not much like us. He’s a Rockhopper, and Hopper will be his name.”

Emily smiled as she cuddled the baby penguin and said, “We’re glad you’re here, Hopper. I don’t know why you were brought to us, but I’m sure you’ll grow up to be someone special.”

News traveled fast about the hatching of old Emmett and Emily’s baby, and soon their place was surrounded by friends, relatives and others from the colony. Many came to offer congratulations as a matter of social courtesy, but when they saw Hopper, they would say something like, “We just wanted to say how happy we are for you, that you were finally able to have a chick. He’s such an interesting-looking little fellow, isn’t he?” Then they would leave, whispering rapidly to each other.

Others were more honest about what they thought and said things like, “He’s really quite small, is he not?” or “You’ll have to teach him to waddle, I can tell you that right now,” or “Where’d he get those beady eyes?”

By the end of the day, Emily and Emmett were feeling crushed. The most important event in their life, and no one really cared. They’d rather find fault. But they decided they wouldn’t let it bother them. Hopper would be their son, and he would be a part of the colony. He would learn to love others who didn’t understand or care about him.

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.

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.

Read an E-Book Week

bookmanI’m participating with in Read an E-Book Week. Volume 1 is already free, but Volume 2 will be discounted to half price ($0.99). This goes into effect after midnight tonight and continues until 11:59 pm March 9. If you already have Volume 1, and you’ve been waiting for a price break on Volume 2, here’s your chance. Even if you don’t have Volume 1, because you never heard of it, here’s your chance. It’s free. More information about these books is available all over this website.

New Cover for my Paperback

The paperback version of Fly Like a Penguin, Volume 1, will be temporarily unavailable, because I finally got around to changing the cover. The changeover at Create Space will take a few days. First they have to check it out, then I’ll get a Proof Copy to make sure it looks okay to me, and if it does, I’ll tell them to publish it.

I’d already changed the cover for the ebook. The paperback is slightly different, but close enough that it doesn’t matter.

I also corrected a typo or two that I found in the interior. Here’s what the new cover should look like:


Volume 1 cover

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.

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.