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Detach And The Gold Adventures

Welcome to my page for everything to do with Detach and his search for gold.

This is the place where you’ll find all the latest info on what Detach is up to including the latest releases and everything to do with his friends and colleagues.

NOTE: For new stuff, scroll down to the bottom of the page.

The first release coming down the pike was Lusitania Gold, which went live in 2017. The next will be Spanish Gold, tentatively spring 2020.


While searching for treasure, a discovery is made that will alter history.

Lusitania Gold is an adventure/thriller that starts as a search for gold and ends with the discovery that the wreck of the Lusitania is not where it should be.

Detach, a professional diver and salvager, learns that there may be a large shipment of gold stashed on the wreck of the sunken luxury liner Lusitania. The gold is disguised as bullets, part of a scheme to smuggle them to Germany through England. Once he reaches the wreck site in Kinsale, Ireland, he discovers unexploded improvised depth charges and signs of recent damage as if someone were trying to destroy the site. He’s also warned off with a note and bomb in his hotel.

More determined than ever to get to the truth, Detach delves deep inside the ship and discovers that it’s not the Lusitania. When he finds the real ship hidden deep in another location, he comes face to face with those that will do anything to keep it a secret.

Lusitania Gold is a thrilling adventure set in the present day with plenty of action, interesting locations and a twist on the history of the early 20th century.

Here are some free shots I found on the net. They show various angles of the real Lusitania.





The Lusitania was quite a massive ship. Though more lives were lost in the Titanic disaster, and it got much more publicity, there was one big difference between these two disasters. In the case of the Lusitania, it was deliberately sunk.

Release date!

Lusitania Gold will be released August 25th!


Out Now!

Lusitania Gold is now live.

It’s available at all the usual outlets like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

It’s also available at the publisher’s web site at

You can find out the latest events and happenings at


New radio interview with James Kelly on his Aspects of Writing show.

Subject: Writing with the character in mind.



Limnophobia is the fear of marshes or lakes. People with this phobia tend to fear they may drown in the lake, get sick from the water or attacked by something in the lake. The origin of the word limno is Greek (meaning lake) and phobia is Greek (meaning fear). (From Google)


For those of you that have read a Detach adventure, you are aware that he’s got Limnophobia. His phobia is restricted to fresh water lakes and not swamps, specifically, as you all would’ve found out if you read Lusitania Gold. His fear stems from almost drowning in a lake where he grew up in Palmdale, California. This lake was known as “the bottomless lake” and is the setting for an upcoming novel called Palmdale Gold. You may think it odd that he was a Navy diver, but he trained in salt water and I did extensive research and discovered that there are SOME divers that trained exclusively in salt water and swimming pools and it’s entirely possible he could’ve avoided fresh water lakes, depending on where and when he got his basic water school training. So, I left it vague in his background history (a writing tool!) and that, my friends, is why he can still dive in oceans and never have a hint of fear of lakes. It’s an odd combination, but hey, there are some pretty strange phobias out there and this one doesn’t hold a candle to some of them. It also plays a key role in Palmdale Gold, which is the third Gold series book. More on that in a later installment.

I decided to title this newsletter the Limnophobic Chronicles on a hoot. In it, I’ll be giving news and info on Detach and his world. Here, I’ll give fiction versus reality on each of the Gold series books.

First up is info on Lusitania Gold and the fiction versus reality section we weren’t able to attach to the end of the published book.

So, sit back, relax, and get ready for the occasional spoiler and other bits of info. I’ll always put SPOILER in bold before a paragraph that affects part of the book. If not, you don’t have to worry about it. For those of you that have already read the book, it might answer questions about why I wrote something the way I did.

Let’s rock!



The main character, or hero of the story is an amalgam of people I knew in real life and people I completely made up. He’s also got a smidgen of me in there somewhere, but not a lot. His name came from someone I knew in elementary school. His appearance came from a guy I didn’t know, but used to see working at the rubber extrusion plant I worked at in Oklahoma. His personality is all over the map and is just my imagination plus, like I said, a little bit of me, a little bit of this and that.

The name Detach…

Joseph “Detach” Datchuk derived from a kid I knew in elementary school. A different first name, of course, but half the kids couldn’t pronounce his last name so someone started calling him “Detach-butt” and it kind of stuck. It was probably mortifying to him, but I’m sure after all these years, he must be over it by now. At least I hope so! He was a friend of mine, at least a little bit, best I can remember. When I was pondering a name for my hero, I wanted something quirky. I wanted something different and I’d never heard of ANYONE with a hero named Detach. It sounds like a verb to most people. In fact, at the latest Las Vegas 2018 Writer’s Conference, I was in a class and one facilitator asked me to tell her about my book. When I gave my slug line and mentioned “Detach,” she went “Huh?” That certainly got her attention and I ‘splained the origin of the name.

Just like the real kid, Joseph had the same issues in elementary school in Palmdale, California where he grew up. That’s also where I went to first grade and then high school. I went to elementary school in another town where I knew the real Detach-butt. However, in this case, Joseph spent his entire childhood in Palmdale, embraced the Detach name, took on the moniker and carried it into adult life. In fact, many people throughout his life never even knew his real name, even in the military.

The rest of the “real” Detach came from many different sources, as I explained above. More and more of his personality will come out in each book in the series, so discover more about him as the books come out!



They say about business and home, location location location. I chose the locations for a lot of reasons. Unlike some of the other upcoming novels in this Gold series, being the first one, I wasn’t able to visit the actual sites. I had to rely on either books or the Internet. All apologies to any details I got wrong, despite my best efforts! More on that below.


Mason industries is located on Galveston bay. In an effort to keep it as realistic as possible, I left details vague. Based on maps back in 1995, the original location was Houston, but I thought it would better be suited closer to the water. Many of the personnel commute from Houston. Now, given that the area has drastically changed in the 22 years since I originally wrote the book, plus several major hurricanes, just before publication, I did a Google Map search and made sure to turn on the satellite feature, hoping for the latest images. I also did a bit more research and looked for “before and after” images after the latest hurricane. Folks, the location of the Mason Industries buildings doesn’t exist! If you were to travel to Galveston and try to look the place up, or the area, good luck! You not only won’t find the address, which I never mention in any of the books, you won’t find any significant landmarks or features to give an exact location, or even a vague one where the buildings might be. Hey, this is a story, not a historical document! If I ever were to use a real location, I wouldn’t want to get sued or get something wrong and have someone that actually lives there call me on it. I’m just happy to be able to feature the town, which probably doesn’t get enough recognition as it is.




The Lothar is the disguised tramp steamer, which is actually a modern luxury craft that Detach and the crew use for their forays into the world. I thought this up back in 1995. To my surprise, Clive Cussler used it in his Juan Cabrillo stories, as well, a decade and a half later.

We both have a superb vessel, disguised as an old junker. We both have advanced technology to run them. We both have moon pools in the hull so we can dive in secret if desired.

However, the Lothar isn’t armed. It also uses conventional propellers and has a different power source.

If I recall, Cussler isn’t the only author to use such a ship either, though I can’t recall the other authors I’ve seen this same setup from at the moment and I’ve been struggling to recall it ever since I wrote this description in mid 2017.

There’ll be more on the propulsion system in a later post.




The oil rig idea was inspired by a guy I used to work with in the rubber extrusion plant I was employed at in Oklahoma. He’d worked oil rigs in not only the Gulf, but Southwest Asia, mainly around Indonesia and thereabouts. I interviewed him off and on for weeks and weeks, getting details about how oil rigs operate and what would and wouldn’t work in the North Sea. Along with research I did on line, I came up with a way to make my icky bug (the ancient shark creature) come alive. Any details I got wrong are on me.

I ran the scenario by him of what I wanted to do and we hashed out the possibilities and if it were possible or not. He’d heard of similar events happening, though not to the extreme I take it in the book. Of course, dramatic license wins out every time! It was based on a multiple of real and imagined events and exaggerated to give birth to the icky bug. That in itself (the icky bug) is an amalgam of inspirations from several classic movies and stories, some of which I’ll talk about in a later installation as well.



Becky is a bit of a girl I used to work with in Spain and a whole lot of just strong women I’ve known over my lifetime. They include a crush from high school, a bit of a few actresses, a bit of this and that thrown in and a whole lot of nobody at all. I know exactly who she looks like in my mind’s eye, but to you, the reader, I only vaguely describe her, at best and leave that up to you.

As a reader for over sixty years, I discovered in myself that when an author describes a character, I rarely, if at all grab that image in my mind. Once in a while, I’ll grab onto a detail here and there and it will stick with me. However, I generally paint my own picture, regardless of what the author describes. On the other hand, I’ve witnessed some readers who hated a book because the author described a character that closely resembled someone they personally despised! Or, the author described a character looking like some Hollywood actor or famous musician or other celebrity that a person could not stand and they hated the book because that character reminded them of the real person. Go figure.

If you’re expecting me to describe any of my characters in detail, or looking like so and so, forget it! Some of you may be like me and will ignore my description anyway, and draw your own picture. Instead, I’ll leave those descriptions vague and let you draw your own picture. Besides, if this series ever gets picked up by Hollywood, the casting crew is probably never going to go for who I have in mind anyway, and I’m pretty sure if you have someone in mind, it’ll probably not be them, either!

So, with that in mind, Becky is a strong female presence to keep Detach in check, keep a bit of unfulfilled love interest going, and keep a spark there for future endeavors. She’s a yin to his yang, to borrow a well-worn cliché. Keep in mind that unlike the Meleena series, which has a female protagonist, the protagonist here is centered around Detach, a male character, so he’s top banana. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean Becky will just be a prop. Plan to see her around a lot in every book in the series.



I’ve been to New York but never to walk around. Therefore, I used anecdotal info to describe certain areas. I don’t think I was too far off the mark on that for Detach’s short visit. We stopped over in New York briefly, on our way to and from Turkey back in the 80’s. We took an R&R trip to visit the family and had a layover at Kennedy (at the time) airport. Maybe it had already reverted back to LaGuardia by then. Anyway, we had to take a bus into town to stay at a hotel for a few hours before we got right back on the bus to the airport and another plane. That was it. The closest I ever came otherwise was when I dropped my car off there a few years before at Bayonne, New Jersey.

I based Detach’s short stay, at the beginning of Lusitania Gold on TV, movies and books, so forgive me if I got something incorrect. I had to rely on that instead of actually walking the streets. I kept it general and never named any specific streets, which would’ve got me in real trouble! I also based it a bit on incidents I remember from the news years ago. Those incidents of people ignoring chaos on the streets, closing their windows and doors, ignoring what was going on below is NOT unique to New York. In reality, the chances of someone calling it in in ANY city are relatively high. However, and that’s where I took literary license, there is the possibility cries for help would be ignored. I want to emphasize, that is NOT unique to New York. It could happen ANYWHERE. Plus, if you think about it, with so many of us glued to TVs, cell phones and other electronic media, there are so few left that are paying attention to what’s around us, is it any wonder people notice what goes on right next to them? Think about it.



The Cooper is the fancied up utility vessel in the Mason Industries fleet and the one used by Detach and his crew for show. With the same propulsion system as the Lothar, that’s the only thing disguised with a standard diesel engine. It’s the ship they use for normal business. The Cooper is named after the Alice Cooper Band, not the singer (sorry, Vince). Both Jams (because he’s old enough) and Detach (because he was exposed to the band through his dad and uncle) are fans of the band. Like with the Lothar, they broke tradition and named the ships after something they both loved. Another thing to think about. An Alice Cooper Band member has a significant, though indirect role in a future Gold novel. Stay tuned!




Seeing as how I’d just wrote an icky bug (b-movie horror) novel, The Greenhouse, I couldn’t resist throwing a bit of creature feature into Lusitania Gold. Think of the old movie Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.

Nothing real about that!

I rest my case, so any biologists out there, don’t crucify me! My impossible beast is just that, impossible but just maybe…

There’s also a bit more to it. Drama, excitement, action! Nothing like adding in a bit more of a complication to the mix. I also added a possible seed for another novel. However, after six of them, so far, I still haven’t found a use for the critter yet, nor have named it.

Another bit of coinkydink. As I’ve stated many times before, I originally wrote this novel back in 1995. It was my third effort, and it came out rather quick, given the time and my burning muse. Even with all the edits over the years, despite numerous tweaks and parings of thousands of un-needed words, not one bit of the plot was altered, including this here icky bug.

I say this because a funny thing happened a decade later (or thereabouts). I read an early novel by James Rollins and became an instant fan. In his earlier work, he employed icky bugs as part of the plots of his thrillers. He had good background for it too, because he’s also a veterinarian and using creatures was a natural for him. As it turns out, I found a kindred spirit, seeing as how I did the same thing back in 1995 with this story. In subsequent novels within the Gold series, I can’t say the same, at least to the extent of the shark creature, but you’ll another critter or two later down the road. Anyway, I finally got to meet one of my favorite authors, James himself at a writer’s conference in 2005 and we’ve stayed in contact ever since. We met again at another conference a few years later and then again last year (2017) here at a book signing. You can now read his endorsement of Lusitania Gold on the back of this book! It all ties into the use of an icky bug.




The original idea for Elroy came from a certain movie star that I won’t name. His actual character evolved over time into what he is today, which six novels later in the series, is the same, but more refined from what you see in Lusitania Gold. One reason I don’t like to compare my characters with celebrities (Detach a vague exception) is that in the case of Elroy, the movie star I loosely based him on (from a character the actor played) didn’t end up being the same guy I envisioned later in life. Like many celebrities, he got political and went activist and just did things that made him more annoying than cool. I mean, good for him if that’s what he wants to do. However, I did not want my readers seeing the activist and political preacher instead of the character, Elroy. So, he evolved over the years into other people I’ve known. He stayed African American, but his personality and just him, overall, is an amalgam of guys I’ve known over the years, race not necessarily being a factor.

He’s multi-talented, but his main expertise is with explosives. He’s becomes a writer in later stories, like me, but is a bit more successful than I am, at least so far! He also lives in Las Vegas and is a reformed gambler and drinker.

From day one, I wanted representation in the ranks. All of my stories have ethnic and sexual equality, in as much as I can write and give it reasonable reality, based on how I can relate to it without being fake, stereotyping, or pandering. There’s a girl in my writer’s group who’s mixed race and her main character is mixed race. At a recent writer’s conference, one of the faculty asked her why her main character is mixed race. Though she was polite, I wanted to say “Duh” for her. She, as a writer, has to be able to relate to her main character to make it come off genuine. In that same way, I, with my main characters, have to write them genuine. So, though I like to mix in the kitchen sink, so to speak, I have to do it without being disingenuous or pandering. I have to make it real. Yet, I also want to continue to break barriers in my own small way. So, Elroy was an early effort, not the earliest, but right up there with the first batch. He’s since developed into a major side character and one of my favorites. Well, ALL of my sidekicks are my favorites!



As much as I’d like to, I’ve never been there. I’ve been to Jolly Olde’ Englande’, but never made it to the green isle. I had to rely on web sites and books to garner the details I used in the story. The tricky part was finding the currents underwater at the time of year when Detach and crew dove on the ship. At one time I had the info but somehow it never made it to the manuscript. On a subsequent research expedition on the net, I was never able to find anything specific so, taking a cue from a long conversation I once had with best-selling author James Rollins, I gave up and left the details vague, rather than dig myself into a hole and cite something that was clearly way off base.

As for the landscape and restaurants, those details came right out of various photos and publicity web sites over the years, tweaked with last-minute up-to-date details. On the other hand, I once again had to go back into the manuscript and delete certain things and alter a bit here and there to keep myself safe. Plus, I altered the geography for story purposes so do NOT take what I describe as a geography lesson of Kinsale! I don’t need any of you that are on a trip to Ireland arriving in this beautiful town only to go “wait a minute!” All errors are mine and mine alone, some deliberate and others, well…call it literary liberties.



I used the real Lusitania for the details pertaining to it in the story. Right down to the ventilators and the blacked out portholes, I tried to make everything as realistic as possible when it came to the ship. A big reference was Bob Ballard’s excellent book, Exploring The Lusitania. This book more or less accumulated many of the drawings and other references I’d used earlier, and since, from many other sources, including on-line. There are way too many to go into here, and I don’t want to bore you with a bibliography.

If I spent any real, significant research time, it was on the ship itself, pouring over details. This was from a lifetime of reading about the ship (which gave me the initial inspiration for the story), from when I’d first seen that infamous painting of the sinking ship on my granddad’s knee, up to present day during my last-minute tweaks. My final read was the book Dead Wake, by Eric Larson. This was a detailed account of the sinking and included many details I’ve never read anywhere else. That book helped me add in a few more last-minute tweaks right before publication. Also, the web site Lusitania On-Line, the premiere web site on the Lusitania.

For story purposes, I, of course, altered things a bit. However, I tried to keep to reality as much as possible within the confines of story telling. So, minor details here and there are real, such as the different propellers mentioned near the beginning, the fact that the wheelhouse shifted, etc. Any errors are my own, some deliberate, some well…I hope I was vague enough I won’t be crucified by the true experts!




At the time I wrote the novel, I did extensive research on methods of raising sunken ships. There were many at the time because there was speculation on raising the Titanic, or parts of it (which they finally did, and I physically touched that piece at the Titanic exposition years ago in Chicago). Also, after a major inspiration came from reading Raise The Titanic by Clive Cussler, I had to look into the real-time ideas floating around.

One method involved shooting tons of ping pong balls into sealed rooms and holds on a ship.

Another involved air bags.

One involved large ships and cranes.

The one I settled on was bladders filled with diesel, since diesel is less dense than water.

None of these methods at the time had proven to work on anything as massive as the Lusitania, or even as big as a tugboat, as far as I could determine.

For story purposes, it could’ve been three UFO’s chain ganged together, for all I cared. The issue was that I tried to make it something that was actually pondered by real engineers, and something that was in the realm of suspending your disbelief.

Now for the other matter. The Lusitania. In reality, the ship sustained far more damage than could be tolerated for refloating. The ship, due to it’s inherent design, almost broke in half when it struck bottom. Because of its length, when it struck the sea bed, still going a speed of a few knots, the force buckled the keel in the well-known weak spot of all those massive ships of the era, somewhere between funnels one and two, which was inherent in all large British ocean liners. The Titanic, though, made by a different shipbuilder, had the same weakness and ripped in half when it raised out of the water. It ripped farther back, somewhere between funnels three and four, but still…

On the other hand, Walther Schweiger only shot one torpedo, which might never have sunk the ship. However, there was a second explosion and uh oh…something much larger went boom deep inside the ship. This second explosion probably either ripped out a good bit of the starboard side or at least ballooned out the hull and ripped the keel even more than the defect did when it hit the sea bed.

Hence, even if the diesel bag method could’ve had merit, as soon as the ship lifted off the bottom, the front would’ve likely fallen off the back and the ship split in two.

We’ll never know.

For story purposes, someone succeeded with the entire hull intact and the rest…is fake history.

What isn’t fake is that raising boats or small ships has been proposed with the use of diesel bags. To this day, I have no anecdotal evidence that this method has ever succeeded. It may be out there, but there comes a time when one has to move on to other projects. Maybe this story will inspire one of you to take up the flag and find out. If you do, I’d like to know!



There’s no doubt that there are vague similarities between Jams and Amiral Sandecker from the Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt series. However, that’s only the starting off point and inspiration because of his red hair. Jams is shorter, doesn’t smoke, and lives and breathes heavy metal, especially death metal. That’s partly me in there, though my tastes in metal are a bit more widespread and not so much death metal (I tend to like cleaner vocals). Also, he’s more akin to Boss Hogg from Dukes of Hazard, at least in my mind, but a lot smarter in actions. In fact, he’s a genius. He likes to put people off in his business dealings, and takes full advantage of it. He also likes to wear big cowboy hats, though he can’t stand the music.

A real character, he has a kind hart, but is a shrewd businessman who built a large empire, first on oil, then industry. He maintains a low profile yet knows lots of people in Washington and the private sector. He can get things done when needed. He also knows how to attract the best people and doesn’t need to resort to money or force to get them.



This was the trickiest to get reasonably accurate and I had to mostly throw that to the wind and just alter the geography. I apologize to the people that live there. If you notice details are wrong, blame me but also be aware that this is fiction and in no way am I trying to discredit, misrepresent or disrespect the people of Morgan City, Louisiana.

When I originally researched it, one reason I picked that area was the Hardy Boys. They had a story back in the day from down in the swamps. Can’t remember the exact title. The second seed came from Gaddabout Gaddis, the Flying Fisherman. He had a show back in the seventies and maybe eighties and flew all over the country fishing. I remember one trip into the bayous and the tall cypress trees and Spanish Moss.

There you go.

Otherwise, I used Google Maps, satellite images, and web sites to approximate, guess, flat out fictionalize and pretty much fantasize the town. I’m sure any real citizen will be screaming foul at my descriptions but I hope I got at least something correct. I know I had to make some tweaks from the original since the last batch of major hurricanes.




The ship Anastasia is pure fantasy. It’s highly unlikely that the Czar would’ve ever dreamed up such an undertaking, so this is purely from my imagination. The way it was constructed was also my imagination, especially the way the engines were left out. That’s not how ships of this size were built back in the day. That was purely for story purposes. On the other hand, the Czar and King George were cousins so there was a distant kinship of sorts. Who’s to say there wasn’t some sort of rivalry, some underhanded goings on, jealousy or something going on behind the scenes? I played with that in the story and used it as a vague link. If this were even remotely true, I’m pretty sure the Russian version would’ve had a lot more elaborate decorations on it, just to up the ante compared to the original. If you don’t know what this is all about, well…you’ll have to read the book to know what the Anastasia is!




This is where I took a page from the pyramids, Easter Island, Stonehenge and so on. It seems forever that researches and scientists could never figure out how ancient peoples built these infamous monuments. Well, some think they have them figured out, but still, to this day, various factions argue over the details.



What’s a paradigm?

A paradigm is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns including research methods, postulates and standards which constitute legitimate contributions to a field (Wikipedia).

To me, that in other words means preconceived notions based on the current knowledge.

What we know today, doesn’t necessarily compute with what was known back then.

What we think is impossible today, may not have been impossible back then because they had different paradigms back then. What we see as impossible or as something to be done differently, were looked at from an entirely different box of tools back in the day.

Therefore, when I set out to do what I did with Lusitania Gold, given the technology of the time, which should’ve made it even more impossible, I took a mad industrialist, Mad Jake, made him a little crazier due to his daughter slowly poisoning him. Then I gave him his own set of paradigms and a dose of lady luck that allowed him to do the impossible.

Who says he couldn’t pull it off?

More than likely, given the circumstances of the war, the tides, the diving technology, working with everything involved, countless other obstacles, and people…probably not.

On the other hand, I remind you again, this is fiction, not a historical document.

I no more suspend your disbelief than what any author does in every other thriller out there with the lost nuke in the suitcase, or the time warp reversing disaster, or the president doing this or that against all the rules of…well…never mind on that one! You see my point. Every thriller writer thrills. We stomp all over the rules of reality to thrill YOU, the reader. Unless you’re absolutely obsessed with reality, which in case, you would probably be reading non-fiction in the first place, you should already be prepared to suspend your disbelief. It’s up to us to make it at least a little bit believable.

I did the research, picked and chose what to use from reality, then added the fantasy (or fantastical) element into the story to make it exciting and make it work. Jules Verne did it, other authors have as well.

As you can see, I’m not going into any more specifics about what I’m alluding to here, so you’ll have to have read (or have read) the book to know what I’m talking about. I was going to put the major spoiler warning on here, but since I haven’t revealed anything more specific, I feel confident in leaving this as just a minor warning.



Around the time I originally wrote Lusitania Gold (1995), our relations with Russia were thawing significantly. They were almost friendly with Glasnost and all. I wanted to throw in a bit of color and also part of the plot warranted this connection. Vladimir is a combination of people I’ve known over the years, none of them real Russians, even though I’ve known quite a few. Okay, there was this guy I went to high school with…

Tutherwise, the name is completely made up with no significant meaning at all. As for the way he speaks, the way he acts, and his history, it evolved throughout the story. In the original tale, as with Detach and Elroy, they met in Viet Nam. However, as the rejects piled up and time passed, I couldn’t have a hero in his sixties or seventies tromping around saving the world! Therefore, Vlad, as well as Detach and crew got an update to Desert Storm. After all, just before I wrote this, we went through that period where my outfit supported Desert Storm troops when they stopped off in Spain on their way to the area. I figured Desert Storm was late enough in the game to work for the story when I finally got a publishing deal.

Vlad being downsized from the former KGB and what his department was now called, the SVR, was not that much of a stretch. After all, even in Russia, they have a budget. On the other hand, given how things have turned out recently, it seems they’re ramping up again. Not MY heroes! Vlad has left that far behind. That’s not to say I might not throw in a bit of drama someday down the line, but he’s pretty much washed his hands of his former country, all with the blessings of his family who encouraged him to get out while the getting was good.



This came from that bogus experiment a couple of researchers did a few years before I wrote the book, sometime in the late 80’s or early 90’s. I remember how it was bragged up as a breakthrough in energy. Cold fusion done on a kitchen table top, or something to that effect. It was then proven to be falsified results. Too bad.

That seed provided the inspiration for the power packs that Ruby Fenner invented as an engineer for Mason Industries, Jam’s company. Who says it couldn’t be done for real? Who says one day, something like that couldn’t be on the horizon? Maybe someone already has done it, but if you’re a conspiracy nut, maybe it’s being suppressed by you know who (fill in your own blank). On the other hand, some say there’s already an unlimited non-polluting energy supply based on alien technology, that the government actively suppresses to this day, derived from UFO technology. There is one particular author that just wrote a decent thriller about it that he says his story is not really that much fiction.

Cold fusion such a stretch? Someone else uses alien technology in a mind-boggling conspiracy theory?

It worked for this story and will in this series, and I’m sticking to it!



It was time for a bit more girl power! Ruby is the chief engineer of Mason Industries. My inspiration for her partially came from the original Night Court bailiff Selma Diamond (RIP). She was also partially modeled after my maternal grandmother. With a voice like Selma Diamond and Lemmy from Motörhead (unfortunately, now also RIP long after the initial inspiration), Ruby’s a genius of engineering, reminding me of my mother when she was a teenager, doing the Rosie The Riveter thing down in the Long Beach, California during WW2. Though Mom never got past reading engineering blueprints of ship’s boilers in a steel plant that supported the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, and then inspecting the work, she never slammed one rivet. Whenever we brought the Rosie The Riveter thing up to her, she bristled at the term and always insisted that she never riveted. “I just had a thing for being able to read and interpret blueprints. It was…different.” I wonder what she could’ve done as an engineer, if given the chance. All that, and a few other women including a Polish woman (I mean a real Polish lady here from Poland on a visa) that I worked with at the rubber extrusion plant I used to work at in Oklahoma all rolled into what became Ruby. She’s head and shoulders above so many engineers I’ve known, and of course enhanced for story purposes. As for being the only other smoker in the group besides the captain of the Cooper, Jim “Marlboro Man” Caprisi, will she one day give up that nasty habit? Time will tell.



This name I just pulled out of a hat, like all the others, except Detach (partially, anyway). I had no idea she was the main character in a novel by that name and a movie with Joan Crawford. Someone had to point it out to me because the other, more famous one came from a genre of story and movie I’d never watch or read to begin with. Oh well, I like the name and am not changing it! Mildred, the company librarian and researcher is an amalgam of people I’ve known both in the Air Force and private industry. She has certain quirks and family issues I either pulled out of the air or drew in from personal experience. However, I’m not telling! As the series progresses, more of her story will unfold. She’s another example of girl power, but mostly brain power and not brawn, at least as far as the adventures go. There may be a variance here and there, but you’ll just have to read to find out.



Crazy as crazy can be, well before his daughter started the long process to slowly kill him. Mad Jake was not only despicable, but an engineering and industrial business genius. He’s the type of character with business savvy but no ability to say no to an idea he wanted to pursue. He was wildly successful both legally and illegally, tended to keep to the shadows. He liked to manipulate things rather than stand out. Jake embraced new technology and exploited it to its full potential, and often beyond. He was one character that had no paradigms. If he wanted something, he made it happen or left a lot of bodies trying to make it happen. Through him, I stretch history with what might’ve happened to the real Lusitania. He “built the pyramids,” “created Easter Island,” “built Stonehenge” in modern times, on a smaller, but no less complicated scale. He did something everyone thinks is impossible and in reality, probably is, but hey, who cares, when this is all a flight of fancy anyway?



Very minor (but still important to me) characters, Jam’s two basselopes are Buster and Doodles. By basselopes I mean basset hounds. At the time I wrote Lusitania Gold, we had two dalmatians, but we were already thinking of getting basselopes. I got the name from the comic strip Bloom County. Berkeley Brethed’s basset had antlers, just like the jackelopes on the prairie. At the time, we lived in Oklahoma, right in the middle of the prairie, so it fit. Real bassets don’t have antlers, but the principle still applies. In subsequent edits, I tweaked Buster and Doodles actions after Sassy and Chops, our two bassets. They play a very minor part, but they make an appearance in almost every Gold novel in the series.



If you want to find the real info on the Lusitania, I highly recommend which is what I used to get when I pulled up “Lusitania On Line.” This is an outstanding site with plenty of archived info on the sinking and history of the Lusitania.



Throughout this series, you’ll notice I drop a lot of band names, especially through Jams and Detach. When you get down to it, the two ships used in the stories are both named after rock bands. Why do I do this? Not only is it my love of music, but in my former life, I was a failed musician and took up writing as a way to continue to express myself artistically. I express thanks through the Gold series by plugging some (though not always) the bands I personally like through my characters. I’ve read lots of authors who have slipped in references to bands they like. So, why not? I made it a feature of Jam’s personality, and even a quirk associated with Detach. That gives me a lot more latitude. In the second book, Spanish Gold, that musical referencing is even more significant as part of the plot.




Enya is the “witness” in Ireland that saw the Lusitania sink twice. The trick with Enya was that when I originally wrote the story in 1995, she was only almost ninety. However, twenty years later, in 2017, the actual publication date, I had to fudge a bit to get her to still be alive and fit within the story. I did some research to come up with the oldest person in Ireland, and sure enough, there were a few in the one hundred and ten year range. Enya barely squeezed into the range. So, with a bit of suspended disbelief, she remained the spry little old lady living up on the hill above town. Her name came from the musician Enya from the band Clannad (and her solo performances – we’d just bought her Orinico Flow one) and the McMurty just came out of the air, probably because I’ve known a few here and there.



Both the Lusitania and it’s sister ship, the Mauritania were originally outfitted with four three-bladed propellers. These massive seven-hundred foot, four funneled ships also sported steam turbine engines and one thing the Cunard Lines, their owners, wanted to do was break Atlantic crossing speed records to beat the Germans who were giving them some stiff competition with their own liner designs. In 1908, the Mauritania had her screws converted to a more efficient four-bladed design and in early 1909, the Lusitania followed suit. Not only did the new four-bladed, larger designs increase speed, but they also decreased an annoying vibration problem that passengers (and crew) felt throughout the ship. Both ships broke Atlantic crossing speed records after that.

Today, one of the four-blade screws sits outside a Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, while another one, the most intact of the three salvaged from the wreck, sits in the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool, England. I’m not sure what happened to the four three-bladed versions, but I’ve heard at least one of them is lying around somewhere, maybe in Ireland. As for the Mauritania’s screws, I’m not sure any of them survived at all since the ship did not meet the same infamous fate as the Lusitania. It was scrapped in 1937.



Old Bowler Bill, as he was known, was the final captain on the Lusitania when she was sunk. He’s been vilified by the British admiralty as the cause of the sinking for various reasons, mainly because they needed a scapegoat. Various stories have come forth placing the blame squarely on his shoulders for doing this and that to cause the sinking, yet it was a complete sham if anyone cared to look close at the details. There are numerous factual sources out there that show that he was not at fault for what happened, including Lusitania On Line and several books that dug deep and looked at the evidence. Unfortunately, he never lived long enough to see his name cleared and to this day, it’s never been officially cleared as far as I know. There are STILL people who blame him for what happened. In the end, after the official inquiry, in 1916, he was officially exonerated of all charges, but the pall still lingered over him for the rest of his life. He served on another Cunard line ship which was also torpedoed and survived that sinking as a hero. He finally passed away in 1933, never quite erasing the blame still hanging over him from the Lusitania disaster, despite the exoneration.



In the story, I mention the wheel house is shifted from the original position. I got this from a book source (it’s different from what I have here). I later learned that there’s another story about what happened. Apparently in 1910, while on a crossing, the ship was riding out a storm and hit a gigantic eighty foot wave, which was high enough to reach the bridge (wheel house). Considering that it put the entire front of the ship underwater for a few breathtaking moments, upon reaching the bridge, it swept the pilot back, injured him and knocked the wheel off the mount, thus disabling steering. The ship had no rudder control for a little while until they could engage the auxiliary steering at the back of the ship (or wherever it was located). In the meantime, it did significant damage to the wood and metal structure of the wheel house and shifted it out of the original position on the bridge deck. It was quickly repaired, despite the weather, the wheel placed back in the mount and steering restored for the remainder of the trip to New York. Final repairs were finished up in port.

I have not been able to glean full details, but either story covers the shifting of the wheel house on the superstructure of the ship.

A little more trivia for you!



The Lusitania was one of three of a type, all made around the same time. The Mauritania was the largest by a few feet and survived service until it was scrapped in 1934. The Aquitania, the last of the trio, was launched in 1914, two years after the sinking of the Titanic and a year before the sinking of the Lusitania. It remained in service until 1950 and was the last four-funneled ocean liner to remain in service in the 20th century. There’s a YouTube video of the sinking of the Mauritania, but it’s a simulation and is bogus. It never happened and as I stated above, the real Mauritania was sold for scrap in 1934 and had a long life for such a magnificent vessel, yet it never came close to its sister ship, the Aquitania. That vessel outlasted them all.



The Lusitania was of a class of giant ships that sported four funnels. Some claimed that one was a dummy, just there to balance out the other three to make the ship look right, proportionally. It seems like a waste of weight and metal to add such a massive chunk to the ship just for aesthetic purposes, but given the times, one couldn’t put nothing past the thinking of those rich and infamous types who designed and built these behemoths.

On the other hand, that still seems a bit absurd given the ships drawings and photographic evidence that clearly shows that all four funnels were clearly operational. Though there are some photos that show the back funnel not going, in others, it has a full head of black sooty coal smoke billowing out, while the front one is idle. The engineering drawings clearly show all funnels connected to boilers so it probably has to do with which ones were currently fired up at the moment to save fuel. It had nothing to do with being a dummy funnel to “balance out the look of the ship.”




Barry Kruger is a thin man with sharp blue eyes and blonde Aryan features. An engineer, he specializes in logistics and setting up jobs for Detach and the crew at Mason Industries. A perfectionist, he goes for the little details which helps keep Detach out of trouble. Usually, if there IS trouble, it’s not through anything Barry recommended. A lover of country music, he’s a constant source of ribbing from the rock loving Detach and metal loving Jams. It’s Barry’s attention to detail that gives Detach a wary eye when he first dives on the Lusitania.



You might think the rest home I describe where Detach goes to visit Kyle McLaughlin Jr. is random and you’re partially right. The location in Pennsylvania is, sort of. At first, I’d thought of using a state I have ties to, West Virginia. Then I looked at  the coastline and Pennsylvania was a little easier to get to than WV. That plays in later with Detach and his aversion to flying in a helicopter. The rest home description is inspired by a combination of several places I’ve seen over the years including the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia. I lived near there in the late 1970’s and used to work almost across the street from it. In fact, that building will play a role in a future Gold adventure. However, this description also includes the grounds of several Beverly Hills mansions I’ve driven by in my wanderings in and near Hollywood, as a teenager, when I made trips there from Palmdale before I graduated from high school. Plus, there’s a creepy old house halfway between the former Roanoke and Walkersville, West Virginia, where we lived in the 70’s. It was used for a private club that was supposedly haunted. That house was the inspiration for my published short story, The House. All of that rolled into the rest home that looks nothing like any of those things, yet they all were the inspiration when I came up with the description as seen by Detach as he entered the grounds to visit Kyle Jr. to fill in a piece of the Lusitania puzzle. Funny where some of these little bits in a novel can come from!



There are no more living survivors of the Lusitania disaster. I never met a real survivor from the Lusitania sinking. However, when I lived in Tipton, Oklahoma, and was deep into writing and researching the original novel, one of my neighbors across the street surprised me and knew of, or had a relative that was a survivor of the sinking. I don’t recall their name now, but it was an elderly aunt or uncle of theirs, passed on by that time, that had sailed to Jolly Olde’ Englande’ and got caught in the disaster. He or she made it, eventually, to his or her destination and back home to Kansas, or wherever, and never got on another boat again. Unfortunately, he or she had to take a boat not only across the Irish Sea to England, but another all the way back home to the good old You Ess And A after their visit. My neighbor said that was sheer terror and this relative was constantly looking over the side for signs of torpedoes, though he or she never saw the one that struck the Lusitania and never knew what to look for except what others said to expect, maybe a streak or a dolphin-like movement coming straight at the ship. This aunt or uncle was elsewhere on the ship and only felt the initial impact and a secondary boom. I know I would’ve been paranoid about getting on a boat for a long time!



This is the last post of the year and I just wanted to say thanks to all of you that bought and read Lusitania Gold. I’ve received some great feedback and positive thoughts on the story. I wanted to let you know that the adventures will continue. Since I original wrote Lusitania Gold way back in 1995, I continued with the series, despite having no publisher at the time. So far, I’ve completed Spanish Gold, Palmdale Gold, Turkish Gold, Lompoc Gold and Las Vegas Gold. Though my memory may be faulty on the order of a few of the later titles, that should be the approximate order they’ll be published in if things work out. 2019 should see the year of Spanish Gold and 2021 Palmdale Gold.

This series of weekly ramblings will transition into spots about each of those books as things move along.

I also started work on West Virginia Gold but got sidetracked with Meleena’s Adventures, so I still have to get back to that one soon!

All the best for a happy new year and keep on reading!



No hero can be perfect. I knew that from the outset. I’ve read novels in the past where the heroes were, or were practically perfect and they came off kind of bland. Without personal foibles, characters lack “character.” To tell the truth, took a while to come up with something really screwy for Detach. What would be weirder than for Detach to be a Navy diver yet be deathly afraid of lakes? First off, I had to figure if I could make it work. I had to look and see if it was a possibility and interviewed a bunch of different Navy personnel over the years. In the original incarnation of Lusitania Gold, he never had Limnophobia. It wasn’t until I wrote the third novel, Palmdale Gold, that I got the idea for this, based on a major plot point in that story. At this time, I had nothing published yet, so it was a “golden” opportunity to go back and add some much appreciated color to Detach. While he has other flaws, I thought this one was da bomb. During the writing of Palmdale Gold, I did a bunch of heavy research not only in other aspects of the story, but Limnophobia itself. I have Navy relatives and met some Navy Seals along the way. It was about that time I made major changes in Detach’s history which I won’t go into. Let’s just say I found a way to make his Limnophobia work while still allowing him to be a Navy diver, though no longer a former Seal. I ran the scenario through multiple Navy personnel and got thumbs up in the end. Well…enough to get plausible deniability, anyway. Plus, Detach constantly fights his fear and confronts it directly in Palmdale Gold. Remember, Limnophobia is a fear of fresh water lakes or marshes. It’s irrational and has no impact on swimming pools or the ocean. Of course, Detach faces it directly in Lusitania Gold as well, but his version of the phobia is more aimed at lakes and not marshes. It’s still something he fights throughout the series, just like his fear of flying in a helicopter.



The spark for the Gold series came way back in Spain when I read the Clive Cussler novel, Raise The Titanic. I found the novel in a lending library in Hangar 6, a deployment hangar for troops on their way to Desert Storm. My wife and daughters used to work there during the week as volunteers while I worked two hangars down in the AGE (Areospace Ground Equipment) shop. We had a ton of books and other items that we donated as well. I browsed the books and borrowed a few to read then returned them as well. I discovered several great authors including icky bug author Bentley Little. I loved Raise The Titanic and started seeking out Cussler’s other books. The inkling came to me that if I ever got into writing, I’d like to do something like that one day.

That day came in late 1995 after I’d already completed The Cave and The Greenhouse. I then wrote Lusitania Gold for a total of three novels in a year. For someone starting out, that’s a pretty good bit of productivity! Of course, that’s not to say these manuscripts were in any shape to be published!

Detach and crew went through many adjustments to get to what you see today in Lusitania Gold. Along the way, I went through many trials and tribblations in real life and my new writing slowed considerably, though I edited and learned to edit a lot. I worked on some short stories and started the second novel, Spanish Gold. I knew right off I wanted Gold to be in the title of each book. Gold would be the premise even if that was just a sideshow for some other adventure.

I also wanted to write about things I know. Hence, the titles so far, Lusitania Gold, Spanish Gold, Palmdale Gold, Lompoc Gold, Turkish Gold and Las Vegas Gold, I also can’t forget West Virginia Gold, which I just started when I got sidetracked with Meleena’s Adventures. One day I’ll get back to that one.

I’m getting ready to do another run-through of Spanish Gold before I submit it to my publisher. I’ll start dropping trivia about it soon.



This is a subject matter that comes up every so often on writer’s forums. Some are of the school that the best writers write what they know. By doing so, they’re able to add in more realistic details because they know the world from which they write. They’re subject matter experts. Makes sense, right? On the other hand, there are those that are of the opposite view. Write what you don’t know. Why? You should always been challenging yourself. You should be researching and getting fresh material, bla bla bla, so you don’t get lazy. While I see merits in that approach, I’m far from agreeing with it for myself. I’m the last person to try and create a realistic world around something I know nothing about. Why? The last thing I want to do is look ignorant and stupid because I didn’t do my research, at least at a reasonable level to get the basics correct. Plus, there’s another big reason. While some people may have the time and money to go off to la la land and live the life of the world they want to create, I still have to work for a living. I have a family, I also have a lot of other stuff on my plate. Therefore, by writing what I already know, I cut down drastically on the research!

Why pick Spain? I lived there for ten years. I was there from 1970-1974, 1982-1985 and 1988-1991. That’s a LOT of time to get to know the place. I didn’t just visit. I lived it. Therefore, I know details and nuances I can add to any story I want to write. Spanish Gold didn’t just pop out of the air. Okay, well, yes it did. At the same time, it was an easy pop. One that came to me as easy as breathing. It not only allowed me to come up with a great story, but also to bring to you, the reader, plenty of details and nuances of a great place that I lived in for quite a spell. I think that will show in this next novel.




I left Spain for the final time in 1991. When I consider all the drastic changes that took place between the first time I set foot in the place in December 1970 up until the time we (I say we because I then had a family) boarded a plane in March, 1991, I should expect things to change even more between then and now.

On the other hand, even going way back to December 1970 and now in 2019, some things just don’t change. As I did a recent edit late last year (2018), I not only went on line, which didn’t even exist in the quality or quantity it did when I originally wrote the manuscript, and updated (tweaked) things, but I consulted Google Maps and discovered some nasty surprises. Then again, at the same time, some things hadn’t changed one iota. It was a mixed bag. That was true not only for the locations I used in Spain but for the other spots in other countries throughout the novel.

As you’ll see in this upcoming adventure, Detach and crew go through a lot of territory to get from A to B. It should be a fun ride!



Every once in a while, I check on line to see what the latest is with the current real owner of the salvage rights to the Lusitania. Venture capitalist Greg Bemis is still the owner of the Lusitania. He’s been in an ongoing battle with the Irish government to dive on the wreck and determine, once and for all what really caused the Lusitania to sink so fast, and what caused the secondary explosion that made it happen that way. While I used one theory in Lusitania Gold, his own is that the ship was carrying illegal munitions to the British during the war (that’s World War 1, by the way). Because of his ongoing battle with the Irish, he’s not been allowed to delve deep inside the ship. Not only that, but time is not on his side either. With his age (I think he’s around 90 now) and the ship increasingly deteriorating, it will soon be too late to find out either way if he’s right. To him, it’s a mystery to be solved. To the Irish government, it’s a grave site. To others, it may also be a truth they don’t want uncovered. Who knows?



After all the hoopla, given the title of my book, in reality, what has actually been salvaged off the Lusitania? The answer is, not much, unless you consider historical or salvage value.

If you’re into bronze, well…the propellers have all been recovered. We’re talking some serious tonnage here. However, several of them were merely put on display, rather than be melted down and reused. Their history was just too precious to waste on even a few dollars for re-use.

As for other historical artifacts, many legal and illegal runs on the ship have been done over the hundred plus years since the sinking. Everything from miscellaneous fittings to lost nets have been recovered.

As for discovering the true nature of the sinking, which was the main drive behind Greg Bemis’s venture, the most that can be proved so far was a diving run a few years ago by a team that found rifle ammo. That was certainly not enough to cause the secondary explosion, but did seem to point to the German accusation that the Americans were supporting the British under the radar (well before it was invented) in the war effort.

You notice I have not mentioned a word about anything related to actual treasure. That’s because there hasn’t been any verifiable treasure recovered, as far as anyone can prove. That’s not to say that someone pulled a Detach and recovered some vast treasure that nobody else knew about, but per verifiable records, there was no vast treasure on the ship. There were plenty of rumors, but per cargo manifests, sorry. Sure, there were safes on board carrying passenger valuables, but not exactly the crown jewels.

With the ship being considered a grave site, the only salvage, or should I say, search effort would be to try and verify the true nature of the sinking. To do that might involve disrupting the extremely deteriorated state of the wreck. At this point, 104 years (as of this writing) after the sinking, it may be impossible to determine for sure what caused the secondary explosion. To find out may cause such extensive damage, it may not be worth it to find out. Maybe it still can be done surgically and with success. We may never know, as the owner, Greg Bemis is still being blocked by the Irish Government.

Oh well…



It was funny that not long ago, a precise location I use in the novel was featured on a Facebook page I frequent. Being an old veteran from Torrejon Air Base, I know the area quite well. As I’ve said before, I like to use as much as I can in my novels of places I know before I stretch out and have to utilize locations I’ve never been before. Luckily, thanks to the Air Force and other travel opportunities, I’ve been to enough places to afford a variety of locales for my adventures. Spain is one of them. In this case, a place VERY familiar to me is the setting for a significant scene midway through Spanish Gold. I haven’t physically been there since at least 1989-1990 at the latest, and I had to not only rely on old photos from the seventies (I, unfortunately, never took any my last trip), but Google Maps and satellite images. However, one of the participants on the forum took a fresh batch of shots from a recent visit back to the area. They had friends and an old apartment right near the location and snapped a bunch of shots where I needed them to be! I couldn’t have asked for a better free trip! I’ve been able to fill in the rest of the blanks with other research and tweaked the text accordingly, enough to not worry, or at least lend plausible deniability to any factual errors in memory.

Going through the exact spot in the chapters right now, I’ve found things aren’t off at all, to tell the truth. I kept the details just right. If I had any worries about getting something wrong, they were for nothing.

Things worked out!



I came to the end of Spanish Gold and turned it in to my publisher the other day. It’s now ready to go through the process. In those final chapters, I re-lived moments in time, not only in the book, but in real life. As the thrilling conclusion of the novel progressed, more places in the book came into the forefront. I had to go back to not only Google Maps, but Wikipedia and other forms of research as well as old photos, which I happen to be scanning into the computer right now, as a matter of fact, from another personal project. The photos are from the mid seventies, so they’re far from current, but they still give me a base to go from. I had to check on certain current locations, buildings, and things I cannot reveal right now. As it turns out, I had to eliminate one feature that’s no longer there. It was an aside I mentioned that Detach told the other characters, but when I wrote the original draft, it was from my seventies through nineties memory. As it turns out, this feature is no longer there, per a recent Google Maps search. It was quite a surprise but I had to make sure before I used it. Also the name of another place I used changed since the original draft. Good thing I looked!

All this does not mean I didn’t get something wrong. However, I tried to be as accurate as possible. I, of course, will have the disclaimer at the front of the book that any errors are mine alone.

Now, it’s going to be in the hands of the editors!



The whole reason this series started was my fascination with the sea and ships. Lusitania Gold and the title’s namesake was the springboard for the series yet the six adventures, so far, veer quite a bit away from not only ships, but the sea, when you get right down to it. Sure, they all will involve the water and diving, in some way, shape or form, but that’s only a part of it. Adventure is the main theme along with gold being somewhere in there. As I’m fond of saying, “mayhem ensues.” Back to my main point, the sea and ships.

I’ve always had a fascination with the sea and ships, from the first time my grandpa showed me that infamous painting of the Lusitania sinking. Years of reading books on the old ships, sailing ships to more modern steamships to the atomic powered vessels and even more advanced ships of today, it’s held. However, I tend to lean to the older stuff. In a way, it’s almost steampunk, hailing to the late 1800s to the early 1900’s. Sail was still there and the metal realm was dominated with steam.

Through all of this, however, is the fact that despite my deep fascination, I’m not like one of my favorite authors, Clive Cussler, who I freely admit, has always been a big inspiration for this series. I’m not about to embark on any expeditions out on the water. I’m not about to don a wet suit and dive on any sunken wrecks. I’m not even a great swimmer. I left that all behind in my younger years. I’m not even all that hot on ever taking a cruise!

If you ever expect (or expected me) to be one of those authors that’s paid a huge amount of cash to take elaborate trips and live the life of a deep diver or something, forget it! Never going to happen!

I’m strictly an admirer from a distance. Whenever I was young and ambitious enough to even consider trying something like that, I was serving Gods and country in the Air Force. In a way, I was already pre-researching what will be in some of the future novels, like Spanish and Turkish Gold etc. However, as for any ships and diving goes, that’s all through my research and armchair fascination, NOT real-life experience. Sea Hunt was a big help as well as countless documentaries that helped with the diving. Imagination is never far behind and a bit of science fiction as well.

All in the name of good fun.



The diving suit Detach and crew uses is a unique and complicated device. With a hard outer shell and armadillo-like joints for the arms and legs, it’s a fully self-enclosed unit. It allows the diver to descent to extreme depths, has a re-breather system, and is pressurized so there’s no decompression when the diver surfaces. It also has a series of jets that stabilizes it in some pretty stiff currents, up to a point. The helmet has a sophisticated sound system and Head Up Displays with multiple screens, easily manipulated by the diver. Speaking of the diver, the experience is like diving naked once in the water. To accomplish all this, the suit is powered by one of Ruby’s cold fusion power packs, located on the back. Because of this, sometimes the temperature in the suit can get a bit uncomfortable, though that also depends on the outside water temperature. There’s also a technical issue with one of the depth sensors that has been plaguing the suit since the first design. The suit is a marvel to behold, though not perfect.



Another feature about the diving suit, and in fact, for all of their underwater operations in Detach’s world is the special underwater lights. Ruby Fenner has designed special filters “tuned” to the sediment or crud found in the particular water they’re diving in. Through experiments in her lab, she’s figured the best color that cuts through the sediment to see clearly. While this sounds almost impossible and against physics, there’s some parts within the realm of possibility. I got the inspiration partially from fog lamps, plus the night lights such as LED lighting that’s slowly replacing mercury vapor street lights around the country. It’s not only a matter of directing the beam in the right direction, but also the hue or light frequency makes it easier to see at night. This is critical for skyglow at night and for amateur astronomers. Also, car headlights and the frequency makes a big difference when not only driving but oncoming beams. Also, just think about when you go to buy fluorescent bulbs at the local hardware store. Ever notice there are different light tones based on which room?

All of that gave me the inspiration for Ruby’s special underwater lights. I used that for great effect when diving on the Lusitania, which in particular, is in a very bad spot for visual acuity. The water is a mess, to be blunt. Visibility is very limited with conventional lighting, so I took a bit of artistic freedom, science fiction and imagination and there you go.



When I said things changed, I wasn’t kidding. During my research into Spanish Gold, I re-tweaked details due to changes that happened in the thirty years since I last lived there. Just the simple act of driving from Barajas Airport on the N-2 freeway into downtown Madrid caused a bit of a change. Back in the day, the difference was that we drove the N-2 from Torrejon Air Base into Madrid instead of merging onto it from the interchange (or going out of our way as would be the case, probably now) from Barajas to get onto the N-2 to get to that same way into Madrid. I wanted to do that to hit the Monkey Coffee plant and come up on the “leaning tower” apartment building, two landmark features very familiar to the GIs stationed at Torrejon.

The only problem was that while the leaning tower is still there (it has a name which I am using in the book and explain further there), guess what? The Monkey Coffee factory is now a park! When I went to verify it was still there (yup, the leaning tower still is), the coffee factory is gone. It’s a park with grass, sidewalks and tennis courts.

Every time we went into Madrid, on the left side of the road stood the shining stainless steel tanks and glass windows of the Monkey Coffee plant. The strong aroma of roasting coffee always penetrated the car, no matter what season. I loved that smell! I looked up Monkey Coffee on the net and came up with some Starbucks like place that sells it now, in a different part of town. No factory. I was shocked to say the least!

That’s what you get for waiting too long to write and publish a book.

As for the leaning tower, it’s still there, maybe not leaning anymore. It has an official name, which I never knew before. All I know is that I had a friend who lived on the tenth floor (I think). He put a ball on the floor and it rolled to one side of the room, just to show me the tilt. I could never understand why he’d live in a place like that! Yet, here we are, forty plus years later, and it’s still there. Go figure!



The diving suit is a nice little bundle of boogie, to quote a movie line Fred Ward said in a movie I’ve since forgotten. I still remember some scenes from it, a western about time travel, but at the moment can’t recall the title…Now I remember! Timerider – The Adventure Of Lyle Swann. Anyway, this bundle of boogie is used throughout the series. It evolves as things progress. Consisting of a hard-shell outer casing with armadillo-like joints, it has a high-tech helmet with a sophisticated HUD (head-up display), sound system, a self-contained re-breather and powered jets that keep the suit stable in swift currents. It’s all powered by one of Ruby Fenner’s cold fusion power packs. It has one little issue though, a depth sensor that causes occasional grief. Lots of fun!



Sometimes people have asked me why write a series and not just a stand-alone book? Why not flesh out Detach and his crew and move on to something else? After all, I have lots of ideas and could very well start other stories. However, that’s the key. Start. I don’t like starting something and not finishing it, for one. For another, I’m one who grew up on series novels such as The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Doc Savage, several by Andre Norton and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Of course, I can’t leave out the one that inspired this Gold series in the first place, Clive Cussler and his Dirk Pitt novels, which as of today, the latest just came out twenty-some plus years after I was initially inspired. In fact, I never intended Detach and his crew to be a one-off deal. Way back when, at the moment I first dreamed up the A and B for Lusitania Gold, I already had ideas for more adventures. I just didn’t have them fully formed yet.

As for stand-alone novels, that comes more in line with my icky bug offerings, of which I have completed two so far. To tell the truth, the first one, The Greenhouse actually does have a sequel started. I never completed it because I got distracted with Lusitania Gold! Go figure.

Finally, outside of that second icky bug, The Factory, I haven’t written anything yet that wasn’t with a series in mind. Even my first effort, The Cave would’ve been with a series in mind, even though that one will never see the light of day, at least at this point.

With the six Gold novels in the can so far, and seven started, I see no end to the series until I say it’s done. As long as I have ideas and a means to get them out there, Detach and his crew will keep at it.



An article dropped the other day on the net about an auction for a hard-tack biscuit that someone rescued off the Lusitania. Yup, you heard that right. A biscuit. This is one of only two surviving biscuits that were supplied as part of the survival kits from the lifeboats off the Lusitania. While the ship had more than enough lifeboats for all the passengers, that wasn’t the issue with so many deaths. The ship sank so fast, listed heavily to one side, that not only couldn’t all the lifeboats get off in time, but because of the tilt of the ship, some hung so far out, people couldn’t get onto them on one side of the ship. On the other side, the lifeboats scraped along the hull and flipped over. Add to that the fact that the ships crew was inadequately trained in lifeboat evacuation, and you had all the makings of a major disaster, unless the ship went down as slow as the Titanic, which was over several hours. The Lusitania sunk in twenty minutes, and it wasn’t pretty either. There were lifeboats capsized and left upright, but empty, floating away from reach in the extremely cold Spring water (after all, it was early May).

Out if all the goody bags cinched down along with flares, all of which weren’t really needed since they were so close to shore, this stuff was either stolen, thrown away, or repurposed to other vessels. This biscuit, and one other, are the only two verified souvenirs left in existence. I say “verified” which is the key that makes it so valuable. Also, being hard tack, while it may be extremely stale, being 104 years old, for all we know, it might still be edible!

The estimated value was in the thousands, $15 – $35,000. Given where it came from, I’m pretty sure some schmuck will buy it.



It’s funny how little things can bring back a flood of memories. I used to be a member of Classmates and still get residual e-mails from the site. I have rarely visited the site, however, because it’s a pay site and I haven’t seen enough payoff to warrant re-joining, I’ve remained idle with it for years.

That all changed because of Detach…indirectly.

The other day, I got a slew of e-mails from Classmates for visits to my profile. While I’ve been actively ignoring them for quite a while now, I decided to check them out. If was one of those random moments.

Lo and behold, two of the visitors happened to be people I grew up with that would’ve known the kid I copped the name Detach from in elementary and junior high school. Not the kid directly, but two people who were in some of the same classes, walked the same hallways, knew him as well.

So, I rejoined for a little while.

Flood of memories!

At the same time, a couple of other people visited my profile from where I went to high school, which included several people who knew others I also modeled Detach after!

Go figure!

As I said before, I NAMED him after one guy, but modeled him after several others. Then his appearance came from another guy I knew in another town not even connected with where I went to school. In fact, that individual happened to be in the town I worked in while I was writing Lusitania Gold, many decades later.

Then there’s always a little bit of me in Detach, but I didn’t need Classmates for that!



Lo and behold, another article hit the net this week about my favorite ship, out of the blue. One very fortunate (or unfortunate) George Beauchamp was a sailor who served on the Titanic on its maiden voyage and managed to survive by helping load women and children into a lifeboat and accompany them. A few years later, he happened to be on the crew of the Lusitania and guess what? He somehow survived that sinking as well. After that, he swore off large passenger liners and spent the rest of his life on smaller vessels. He passed away in 1944 at the age of 72.

He’s one of the few to survive both disasters, though not the only one, from what I recall. I remember hearing that a few other crew or officers also served on both ships, though maybe not on the Lusitania when it sunk. Maybe I’ll have to look that up sometime.



I skipped a week because I was at the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. A couple of things happened in regards to both the Titanic and Lusitania, both infamous shipwrecks and of course, the one being the ongoing subject I like to refer to!

First off, a new article appeared a week ago where Google Maps officially plotted out the coordinates of the wreck site of the Titanic. While it’s been kept secret for decades since its discovery by Bob Ballard, and a poorly guarded secret at that, it’s now official. You can go to that spot on the map and see where the ship sunk. It’s a lot of blank ocean, but if you look at it from the grand scale, you can see how close the Titanic actually came to land when it struck that iceberg. Of course, just ten miles from shore, like with the Lusitania, would’ve been too far without proper lifeboats, especially in such cold water, let alone seven-hundred miles, but still, it wasn’t that far on a grand scale.

Here’s the link:

Now, as for Lusitania news. On Tuesday, May 7, was the 104th anniversary of the sinking of the ship. Yup, that’s right. 104 years ago, the Lusitania was torpedoed off the Old Head Of Kinsale and sunk with the loss of over 1,000 lives. What makes it different from the Titanic was that it was a deliberate act, NOT an accident.



When you compare ships like the Lusitania and Titanic with the ocean liners of today, they take on an entirely different purpose. The leviathans of the past were built for capacity and speed, but their purpose was to get people from A to B.

Today, while capacity is certainly a factor, the main features are luxury, conveniences and routing, rather than speed and just A to B. With the advent of air travel, luxury liners had to find a new role in the grand scheme of things. No longer will you find cheap steerage cabins down in the bowels of the ship for immigrants and the poor to get to the new world, or class cabins at different levels used in the same way. Instead, while there are certainly levels of cabin luxury, they’re all tied together into a floating city that takes its time between ports on a planned route.

You don’t book an ocean liner to get from A to B anymore. You do it for a vacation.

While there are probably some passenger liners still in existence, it’s far less practical with air travel much cheaper and faster.

Times have changed.



There are countless shipwrecks to explore around the world. The sheer number of them is staggering. Throughout my life, ever since I saw that first image of the Lusitania in that Encyclopedia Britannica so long ago, I’ve been fascinated with these enigmatic artifacts on not only the bottom of the ocean, but many lakes as well. Since we first slapped two logs together to make something float, we’ve also figured a way to make them fail. Since I grew up in California, I was always relatively near the coast. When we moved to Lompoc (pronounced Lom-poke), we had a ship graveyard just a few miles away in a shark-infested, rip-current riddled place called Point Honda. Way back when, in the mid 50-s to mid 60’s when I lived there, the site, which was still relatively preserved but deteriorating fast, was still visible from a lookout point on shore. You could still see the comm towers and smokestacks of some of the nine destroyers that ran aground in the fog where they missed the turn around Point Conception while navigating along the coast of California in one of the worst peacetime Naval disasters of the era. As it turns out, that was also one of the most dangerous, if not impossible wreck dives as well. Even the Lusitania, almost beyond the real-world diving limits of the time would’ve been safer to dive on than that shallow-water wreck within sight of shore.

Today, Point Honda’s ships are nothing but lumps of rust at best. The lookout has been closed for years due to deterioration of the coastline and collapse of the cliff side. A sad state of affairs.

There are plenty of easier wrecks all over the world for recreational diving as well as some, like the Titanic, which are way too deep to every dive to except with ultra-expensive gear. Then there are those still being re-discovered, some at depths just as inaccessible as the Titanic.



Portholes have held a particular fascination with me for two reasons. One, they’re windows in the side of large ships, and they have something to do with ships. Period. The second reason has to do with astronomy. As a deep sky visual observer, telescope builder, and mirror maker, those of us that do so are always looking for cheaper ways to fabricate our heavy glass mirrors without resorting to buying them pre-made from a specialized manufacturer. The industry standard is usually 7740 Pyrex, or used to be until Corning closed their factory in New York. Nowadays, a similar borosilicate substitute is imported from Europe. Or, there’s the cheaper alternative of plate glass. While not quite as temperature stable, plain old plate glass can still do the job if the mirror maker is careful and diligent. Now, where is this all leading?

A telescope mirror, especially the larger ones for the big light bucket telescopes, from say…twelve up to twenty inches in diameter and larger have to be at least an inch and a half thick. That’s a big piece of glass. Though thinner and thicker mirrors have been made, and ARE being made, for the regular schlub trying to give a massive mirror a shot, it’s better to stick with something a little more manageable, especially given the weight involved.

Guess what a ship’s porthole comes in? They’re made of tempered plate glass, vary from twelve to about twenty-two inches in diameter, and because of the harsh conditions in which they have to be used, average an inch and a quarter to up to two inches thick. Instant mirror blank!

Just haunt the ship salvage yards, wait for an auction, and there you go.

One of my fantasies was to somehow obtain the largest porthole off the Lusitania and make a telescope out of it. As it stands right now, not only would that not be possible because it would be robbing a graveyard, but I have no idea how large the biggest porthole on the ship was, nor if it would even be accessible. Oh well, one can only dream.

So much for the Lusitania porthole telescope.



Lately, this stuff’s just been falling right into my lap. I suppose bots have been phishing my Facebook pages, my books or whatever and sending me stuff, whether I want it or not. The other day, I was browsing my phone and got an ad for YouTube. Guess what was featured?

An animated video of the sinking of the Lusitania!

I kid you not. Supposedly, this animation is based on all the accounts and evidence from the actual sinking and gives a true timeline from the minute the torpedo struck, through the 18 minutes until the ship went down. Because I was waiting to get in the door at work, I only saw about three quarters of it, but from what I saw, it was enough to know that it was relatively accurate. Outside of the fact that the torpedo struck in the wrong place (in the animation, it struck between funnels two and three, but witnesses and evidence said it struck between funnels one and two), it looked pretty good.

If you can find it, it’s worth a watch.



While I’ve known about this for a while, that same ad that popped up with the Lusitania sinking video last week showed up again. This time showing an animation of the sinking of the Titanic.

Back in the day, when I was researching the Lusitania, I ran across these simulated sinkings for several infamous ships. Funny how I missed the Lusitania one, the one I actually wanted at the time. However, I found several for other ships not on my list. The funny thing is that I DID find one for the sinking of the Mauritania. It was a pretty cool video, except for one thing. I was kind of scratching my head as I watched it and trying to recall what was wrong with it.

Then it dawned on me that the Mauritania, sister ship of the Lusitania never sunk! Yup, that’s right. The “Maury” was enlisted into service during the war and became a hospital ship. After the war it went back into service but fell on hard times as more modern ships eventually saw it become obsolete, plus the magnificent beast was becoming pretty long on the tooth. Eventually, it was scrapped.

That’s right, the Mauretania was scrapped in a shipyard. It never sank at all. This video simulation on YouTube was a “what if” thing, or just a plain fake. Never happened.

When I watched it, I couldn’t recall the details because they never occurred except in the animators imagination.

Talk about fake news!



Spanish Gold, the sequel to Lusitania Gold is in the queue at the publishers. It’ll come out sometime in the near future. In the meantime, I get flashbacks of several different aspects of the plot and environment of the novel. That not only includes several countries including Spain, but a certain member of the Alice Cooper original band. While I’m dying to divulge details, so early out of the gate, I cannot in good conscience reveal too much and spoil the fun.

I can say that if you’re a fan of Alice Cooper when the original band was together, from Pretties For You up to Muscle Of Love, you might really enjoy certain aspects of this story.

On the other hand, if you like to travel with your mind, whether you’ve ever been to the places I mention in the book, I can say for sure that the descriptions portrayed within are accurate because I’ve been there to every place in the book except one, which I won’t divulge at this time. Once, a long time ago, I was in on one of the never-ending philosophical writer’s debates about whether a writer should write what they know or write what they don’t know. While there are merits to both styles, I strongly identify with the writing what I know camp. As a consequence, most of my reality-based fiction derives from places I know. I believe it gives a more realistic touch to the environment because I’ve actually been there and lived it. In the case of Spain, I could go on and on about details. I used many in the book. As I mentioned above in Monkey Coffee and The Leaning Tower, I had to re-visit certain things just to be sure things had not changed too rapidly or radically in the nearly two decades since I lived there. I was still able to capture the essence, which was the most important element.



Okay, I skipped a week due to being out of town. Life goes on. We came home and guess what? For the 4th of July I got to feel an earthquake here in Las Vegas. It wasn’t even the big local one, which was about a hundred miles away in Ridgecrest, California. This one, for us, was mild, just a slight rocking while I was nursing a headache, sitting back in my easy chair. I thought one of the dawgs was messing with the chair at first, but nope. Then Friday evening, the 5th, I was in the bedroom watching a recorded TV show in a lawn chair and got a sizeable jolt. This one about knocked me out of the chair. The wife and daughter came running in and said “earthquake!” Ah, yup! It kept going, so I got up and walked, not ran, into the living room and out the back door to our pool and watched it slosh around, spilling water out all over the place. To be able to see this, this trembler had to last a good two minutes. Others around town experienced more or less shaking.

Why am I mentioning earthquakes in the context of Detach’s world?

Tremblers have a significant part in the third installment in the Gold series, in particular Palmdale Gold. Why? The setting is a bottomless lake that sits right in the rift zone on the San Andreas Fault. It’s based on a real lake, but because it’s privately owned, I had to change the name and location so I wouldn’t get sued. Go figure.

I grew up in earthquake country, especially living in and around the infamous San Andreas. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I skipped out on the most notorious quakes of the 70’s and 80’s because I was in Spain when they occurred. However, in 1967 or 1968, I was about 30 feet in the air in one of the elm trees in our front yard, trimming it when a trembler hit. Not only was I holding on for dear life, but facing east, I watched Palmdale Blvd and the empty desert ripple like water. Now THAT’S an eerie feeling!

Palmdale Gold will not be out for a few years yet, but it’ll be interesting to see how many major tremblers come along before it does.



While I described this ship in detail in one of my first posts in the Limnophobic Chronicles, I never did reveal the source of the name. Like with the Cooper, I broke tradition and did not name the Lothar after a female. Once again, this minor detail is an obscure band reference. The Cooper was named after the Alice Cooper Group, the original band.

Pre-dating Alice Cooper by a few years was one of the pioneering electronic bands of the mid 60’s, and one of the first to ever use an electronic musical instrument called a theremin, Lothar And The Hand People only cut two albums and made a minor splash with the hits Machines and Space Hymn. To me, that band opened up one entire world of electronic music, the polar opposite of what Blue Cheer did with heavy metal.

Have I mentioned Blue Cheer somewhere? We’ll see.


U.S.S. Eagle PE-56

Just this week it was announced that they recently discovered the wreck of a submarine off the coast of Maine. While the actual discovery was some time ago, it was just announced that divers finally convinced the Navy that this ship that was originally thought to have been sunk by accident (boiler explosion), was instead sunk by a German torpedo. While this is not necessarily related to any of the Gold novels, I find similarities. The wreck lies about 300 feet down, beyond the normal reach of recreational diving and within the realm of the Lusitania, also at around 300 feet. The water is also extremely cold at that depth, and it takes special gear and short dives. Plus, the visibility is quite limited along the coast. Finally, it’s considered a war grave, and though the Lusitania is in dispute over that issue, many consider it a grave as well.

After all this time and with the deterioration of the Lusitania, we may never know for sure why it sank so fast. On the other hand, apparently, these divers were able to somehow prove that this more recent submarine sank because of a torpedo (or something) rather than a boiler explosion.

Time…that’s the key when it comes to things under the sea. Salt water isn’t kind to our technology. That medium does a number on things. I recently had an annual check done on my hot water heater and the tech told me he was glad to see I didn’t have a water softener because with its age, if I’d had a softener, the salt in the system would have eaten the heater up long ago. Think about that when you consider anything sunk in the ocean.



As I alluded to much earlier, Spanish Gold, the next upcoming Gold thriller, features a thread of significance to Alice Cooper fans. In fact, there’s going to be a dedication in the book that only a hard-core fan of the original band will get. In no way will that impact enjoyment of the story. Let’s just call it an inside joke or maybe a better term is an Easter egg. As I said in that last installment…stay tuned!


More Shipwrecks – Better Technology

Every day it seems the news feeds come up with another shipwreck they either found accidentally, or deliberately. The underwater technology is advancing in leaps and bounds. One day, it might actually approach what I imagined for Detach and crew, and which they’re already using. As pointed out in Lusitania Gold, they utilize some stuff that’s borderline science fiction. I like to call it “wishful thinking,” but the more I watch the news feeds, the more I see that stuff become a reality. Does my heart good!


The Gold Series

Each one of the Detach novels has “Gold” in the title. There are six so far, and that’s deliberate. The other day, I did a presentation on Lusitania Gold and when I mentioned the titles of the rest of the books in the series so far, someone asked the question why I had gold in every one of them. At one time, I’d thought of having unrelated titles, coming up with something unique for each installment. Then I thought of what I wanted out of each story and what Detach was out to accomplish in the first place. I never intended him to be just a treasure hunter. That would be too repeatable. However, there could be endless variety if he went after treasure – his main goal – but (as I like to say) “mayhem ensues.” This means, some other adventure takes place in the pursuit of said hunt for gold. In fact, in the end, what he finds may or may not necessarily be gold per se, but something extremely valuable “like gold.” Hence, each book has gold in the title and is the “starting point” for each adventure. What shenanigans he and his friends get into along the way is the adventure and variety that makes each story different. Will he actually find gold in each one? Maybe. Will he find adventure and thrills? For sure! Stay tuned.


Lusitania Versus Titanic

I recently did a presentation on Lusitania Gold and when I brought up that the ship is often overlooked compared to its more famous cousin, the Titanic, the question came up why? Movies have been made about the Titanic. When one thinks of ship disasters, what comes to mind? The Titanic, of course. One of my goals was to bring more light on the “other one,” which in no way diminishes the disastrous nature of the many other infamous shipwrecks that most have never heard of either like the Sultana, the Empress of Ireland, the Morro Castle, the Andrea Doria to name a few. However, let’s just take the two biggest of their era. The Titanic and Lusitania. Sunk just a few years apart, they both had losses of over a thousand souls.

The Titanic had a loss of a little over 1,500 people. As for the Lusitania, 1,201 people were lost. The Titanic was 882 feet long with a 92 foot beam (wide), while the Lusitania was 787 feet long with a beam of 87 feet. The both had four funnels and 9 passenger decks. The Titanic was more stable in the water while the Lusitania tended to sway in the water more. The Titanic had three screws, one large center one behind the rudder and two auxiliary screws on each side of the rudder. The Lusitania had four equal sized screws, two on each side of the rudder. The original screws on the Lusitania were three-bladed and tended to vibrate which made the ride a bit uncomfortable, especially toward the stern of the ship. They were eventually replaced with a four-bladed design.

As I like to say, while the more famous Titanic was a pure accident, brought on by not only greed and poor design, the Lusitania was a deliberate act which to me, made all the difference. However, because the Titanic was touted as the epitome of luxury and arrogance of being unsinkable, it was romanticized to the point of legend before it even set sail. Then, of course, it all came crashing down by a system of failures that should’ve been foreseen except for the greed and arrogance of a few men. I guess that makes for great news copy and the way of legends. On the other hand, while the Lusitania plowed its way across the Atlantic time and time again successfully, carrying millionaire after millionaire in comparable luxury as well as the poorest of the poor in appalling steerage (same as the Titanic by the way), it was a ship already more or less shopworn and past its prime in comparison. It was not the stuff of legend. On the other hand, carrying nothing but civilians, going through a known potential war zone, the Germans couldn’t resist and though they warned everyone it could happen, nobody heeded that warning and sure enough, they torpedoed the ship and down it went. What nobody expected was how fast it went down. Was it munitions that the ship wasn’t supposed to be carrying? Coal dust from almost empty bunkers? A freak accident? We’ll probably never know, but what makes this disaster so special is that it was a DELIBERATE ACT. Not as romantic as the Titanic, but no less disastrous.


Titanic In The News Again

Well, the Titanic beat the Lusitania to the punch again. This past week the big ship made the news again. Another expedition went down to explore progress on the deterioration on the infamous wreck, 12,000 feet at the bottom of the Atlantic. The results weren’t surprising as bacteria and salt are eating away the steel at a much more rapid rate than some thought it would. The news people touted “startling images” of the wreck in its new deteriorated state, yet over and over again, they kept showing the same three or four vague images of the bow from two angles, one of the side, and one of the bathtub. While high resolution, unless you’re a super expert, they don’t really show much startling except the shape of the ship covered in rusticles, which is pretty much what it looked like a decade ago. I was not all that impressed. I was hoping for more, but of course, that footage is all being saved for the inevitable TV special and scientific articles which won’t be coming for some time. THOSE are what I really want to see. THOSE will be the really more profound images. We’ll see.


Is It Possible To Dive On The Lusitania Today?

Sometimes the question comes up if one can recreationally dive in the Lusitania today. The answer is a qualified yes, only if one is certified in Trimix diving. That is deep diving with a trimix breathing gas, which was developed for diving at depths where the Lusitania lies on the ocean bottom (300 feet). Because of low visibility, strong currents and the ever-present hazard of snagged fishing nets, this isn’t a dive for the rank amateur. There have been several injured and killed diving on the ship and the most recent just last month (Aug 2019) when a diver got a case of the bends. One report says this unfortunate person died while other reports just say he was rushed to the hospital to be treated in a pressure chamber. In any case, the wreck is in extremely bad shape and with the deep dive and short time allotted down at the ship, there’s really not much one can do but check it off their bucket list. Without extreme planning, there’s not much one can really accomplish and from what I’ve gathered, outside of several caches of rifle ammo, there’s been no smoking gun as to why the ship sank so fast. With the current condition of the ship, it’s even less likely that things are going to change much in the future.


More On Spanish Gold

Today, fifty years ago, I enlisted for the first time in the Air Force. My dad drove me down below to Ellay (Los Angeles) and dropped me off at the recruiting station. I signed up with a bunch of other schlubs, and at least for me, it was with the intent of staying well away from a foxhole in Viet Nam. I gambled and won. A little over a year later, December 1970, I set foot on the tarmac at Torrejon Air Base in Spain. It changed my life forever. It’s no wonder that when I took up writing and started my Gold series, I’d have to find a way to incorporate my many wonderful experiences into a tall tale. Each and every time I sat down to write, edited, or even thought about Spanish Gold, I got a rush of nostalgia for a place I’ll never forget. I participate in a Facebook forum dedicated to those of us that were stationed there, from those that want to go back to those that hated it there, but still reminisce for whatever reasons. We re-live many of our great times, from the tascas (bars) downtown to the castles and palaces, to the beaches to the Bob Hope show. The list of fun things is practically endless, as well as the old scratchy photos. Along the way, I incorporated my own take on things into the novel, and I hope even a smidgen of that atmosphere will come through to you, the readers. Time will tell.


Deteriorating Wreck Sites

Last night on the local news, the Titanic was featured once again. We have a local permanent display at the Luxor casino for the ship. The story featured the latest dive which I mentioned on 8/14. This time, they showed a scant few seconds more footage than the last time. I guess they’re still saving the “good stuff” for the TV special later down the road. The explorers were “shocked” at the deterioration of the ship. Well, duh! It’s sitting 12,000 feet down in a highly corrosive environment. It sunk over 100 years ago. No kidding, it’s going to deteriorate.

Of course, there was no mention of the Lusitania, of which there are no movies, no exhibitions around the world, no songs, no nothing. It’s still sitting, more easily (but still dangerously) accessed, just ten miles off the Old Head Of Kinsale in Ireland, collapsing on itself. Like the Titanic, it was sunk a little over 100 years ago and sits on the bottom, in just as extreme of conditions. Pretty soon, it too, will be an unrecognizable lump of rust.

Things don’t look good for either vessel, as far as preservation goes. Either respectfully recovering some artifacts and displaying them in museums or just leaving the whole wrecks alone as marine graves is up to the powers that be (and has been done to some extent). It would still be nice to at least preserve them as much as possible on film while there’s still time. At least that’s been done more extensively on the Titanic, and it’s in far more extreme conditions than the Lusitania. On the other hand, the Lusitania is buffeted by strong currents and is covered by fishing nets, besides the fact, it is probably already too late since the ship is half collapsed. Maybe if we’d had the camera technology back in the late 40’s and the Irish navy hadn’t decided to use the ship for depth charge practice, we might’ve had a much better view of the old ship. Oh well…


Another Titanic Story

Clive Cussler first came to my attention with Raise The Titanic. He’s one of my original inspirations to take up writing back in the mid 90’s. He just came out with The Titanic Secret, which I’m currently reading. From what I can gather, he’s keeping with his mythology of his original hero, Dirk Pitt raising the ship and bringing it back to New York. As we all know, that didn’t really happen. Then again, what happened in Lusitania Gold never really happened, either. Makes me wonder if some day, I might continue with that mythology. Hmmm…one can never tell.


We Start Editing Spanish Gold

During this past week, I got word that I’ll start the editing process with a new editor out of Ohio on the sequel to Lusitania Gold. Spanish Gold is ready to get polished and tweaked and ready for human consumption! Can’t wait!


Met My Editor

Okay, I virtually met my editor through e-mail last night. Now, the process will start. I’ve been sick the past week and have been off the computer except minimally, and mostly through my phone, so haven’t accessed everything I need to check what’s what. Last night I found everything set up to begin editing Spanish Gold. I’ve now officially said hi to my new editor, so the process should begin shorty. The fun begins, and I say that with sincerity, because to me, the entire writing process is fun, not just the first part! Rock on!


Juss’ Stuff

As you may have noticed, I skipped a week. Two reasons. #1 I was at the Age Of Chivalry festival here in Las Vegas, so I was preoccupied with that. #2 I was also recovering from surgery. Needless to say, I was a might distracted and not up to my usual witty self.

Well, I’m back now but the only real news on the Detach front is that I’m deep into editing Spanish Gold. So far, it’s been a lot of fun. Some decisions, which have slightly taxed my brain, which is normal, and a while bunch of “oh yeah, I missed that ones”. There have been a few places I’ve had to reword things a bit, and a couple coming up I need to address today, when I get of here, which may take a bit more brainpower. Trying to recover from the surgery has not been all that easy but after a week back at work, it’s at least got me thinking again.

We’ll see.


Editing Spanish Gold

Once again, as you may have noticed, I’ve been out of the loop, partially from being out of town for a star party, still recovering from surgery, plus working hard at editing Spanish Gold.

The great thing about editing Spanish Gold is not only the fun of editing, but getting to re-live the adventure not once, twice, but several times. The bad part is the latency of the program I’m stuck using. This is NOT the fault of the publisher, but my computer, which will soon be obsolete. I need to upgrade, but it hasn’t happened yet and working with it through an extremely slow internet connection is mesmerizingly slow and frustrating. Otherwise it would’ve been a fast and fun process.

I’ve revisited every scene, quirk, flaw and made corrections and modifications to tweak the story and had a lot of fun in the process. Now that the initial run-through is done, the editor is going to go through it again with a clean manuscript and look for more stuff. We’ll do another edit for major flaws, tweaks and whatever.

Getting a book ready for publication is no simple process! Or, it shouldn’t be if you want to do it reasonably right! It’s amazing that I still pick up books from some authors that look like they’re first drafts. On the other hand, I know of cases where they actually WERE first drafts because the publisher got the files mixed up! It can happen!

After all the hard work, let’s hope that never happens here!



I’m constantly reminded of Spain, particularly on social media. Not only do I belong to a Facebook site dedicated to those that served at Torrejon Air Base in Spain back in the day, but my friends from the Dutch heavy metal band Picture, are currently over there in Barcelona playing a gig at a festival. It seems there’s always something to remind me of one of my favorite places in the world, or at least it was when I lived there in the seventies and eighties.

There’s a saying that as authors, we should either write what we know or to be more challenging, write what we don’t know. I choose to write what I know and as the result, Spanish Gold will soon come to fruition. There’s a mix of other places, but the main focus is Spain, and I hope in those pages to convey just a little of what it was really like to live over there, get off the beaten path, and not just get on a plane or boat and do a whirlwind three day tour (and get lost, as in Gilligan’s Island).

For someone that lived over there for a total of ten years, I’m constantly reminded of the place, whether social media, something else in the news, or just waking up and seeing some memento lying around the house.



Once again, I skipped a week due to being otherwise engaged, this time at the happiest place on Earth. For those of you not in on that phrase, I was at Disneyland once again. My favorite place since 1956, not to date myself, but it’s a long-standing source of inspiration. It never fails to spark my imagination, no matter what stage my writing is in. This trip was no exception. While nothing directly sparked something for either genre I’m currently writing, what it did do was refresh my never-ending enthusiasm for writing and to keep on coming up with new stuff. My bottomless well from the polka-dot sewer (my imagination – long story) is alive and well and will continue. I look forward to entertaining you!



The editor and I have been tweaking Spanish Gold the past month or so. It’s been an interesting experience. This isn’t just a matter of dotting i’s and crossing t’s. It’s also fixing elements that have gone slightly astray, tightening up prose, and firming up areas that need firming up.

Nobody writes a manuscript perfect the first time, and I’m no exception. As it is, considering that I wrote the original story when Dubya was still in office, I haven’t had to do any major changes. Tweaks, yeah, major re-writes, nope.

At the same time, as I’ve said before, I’ve had a chance to let the story sit for over a decade, then come back and revisit and enjoy the process all over again. I sincerely hope you all do when you get your hands on it!



I just finished reading another Clive Cussler novel called Final Option and in it, they talked about deep diving with Heliox. It reminded me of diving on the Lusitania. For those of you that have read the book, you know the special technology Detach and crew use to avoid such hassles that real-world divers have to go through. Heliox is one of them, as is Trimix. Heliox is a mixture of oxygen and helium, which makes breathing easier at depths below the safe diving range normally employed with scuba gear. Since the Lusitania is well beyond that at 300 feet, dives to the ship have been done with both methods. Trimix is a mixture of helium, oxygen and nitrogen. In any case, these mixtures allow the diver to stay down longer and prevent, or at least minimize the effects of the bends when the diver comes back up to the surface and other factors while working down there. As it is, in any case, the diver still has to spend time in a decompression chamber. Hours and hours to adapt their body back to atmospheric pressure. If you’re not aware, the deeper you go under water, the higher the pressure, to a point where you get below fifty feet, it squeezes your body and starts to separate the blood gasses. As long as you ascend back to the surface slowly, these gasses fizzle out and don’t cause an issue. However, if you come up too fast, they tend to boil out, causing extreme pain and embolisms, strokes, death, etc. Now, this slow ascent is fine down to about a hundred and fifty feet or so. Much deeper than that, and your body starts to act all wonky. Below that depth, even though you’ve slowly adapted as you descend, your blood doesn’t care, and gasses start to separate anyway. That’s where the heliox or trimix comes into play. It helps prevent the blood gasses from doing what they want at these extreme depths. Therefore, the diver can function without going crazy or getting sick or stroking out. Now, that also has its limits. I’m not sure how deep it works, but the diver can only go so deep before even these exotic mixes don’t cut it anymore. There’s some kind of record for deep diving, but it’s like putting yourself in a big vise and slowly cranking on the handle. Your body can only take so much. The depth of the Lusitania isn’t too far from that crush depth, from what I understand.

You also have to consider the amount of time it takes to get down that deep. How long can your supply of whatever breathable mixture last? Not only that, but don’t forget water temperature. It’s not exactly going to be a warm bath down there. Then there’s fatigue, and the exotic gas mixture isn’t exactly the best way to keep your energy up.

Add all that together and you aren’t going to get a lot done once you get down to the bottom.

The special suit Detach and crew use solves all those problems, even if it doesn’t really exist. Yet.



During the course of editing Spanish Gold, I had to set my editor straight on some of the cars I mention in the story. While his intentions were in the right place, they were misguided only because he’s never been or lived there. So, I thought it was high time I give you all a small lesson in some of the European cars that may or may not still exist today. I know they all still do, maybe as broken down hulks, strapped together with duct tape and safety wire, but whether they’re currently manufactured is another story.

Most of you have heard of FIAT, which is, like I joking call them, the Italian “iat.” Not sure what the F has to do with it, and at least in my language it should be the French “iat.” Actually, Fiat, which stands for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, or Italian Automobiles Factory, Turin, as it “Turin,” Italy, is the one that started it all. An extremely successful model, it became the blueprint for several other copies around the world. One notable version was in Spain, which I refer to in Spanish Gold, is called the SEAT, or Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo. I jokingly called them the Spanish “iat.” After living there a decade, I owned two of them, and in almost every way, they were identical to their equivalent FIAT models. One big difference is that FIAT managed to make headway into the States, whereas SEAT never did. Therefore they Americanized their name to Fiat, but Spain did not with SEAT. My editor wanted to change the name to Seat, which would not have worked for several reasons, one obvious.

If you’ve been around Europe long enough, you’d soon learn that Spain was not the only country to copy FIAT, if not blatantly, at least superficially. Russia did it with the LADA and Czechoslovakia did it with the SKODA. While these brands are not nearly the only European models on the road, they represent a good chunk along with the French and German counterparts.



Without revealing too much about the upcoming Spanish Gold, I’ll say that the crew will be exploring one shipwreck this go-around. It’s called the Pozuelo del Rey. The ship was a Spanish galleon which I entirely made up. I have no idea if a real ship like that ever existed. The inspiration came from the little pueblo I used to drive through right before I came to my hometown of Eurovillas when I lived in Spain. I thought the name sounded cool, so there you go.

The actual pueblo isn’t much, or at least wasn’t when we lived there. It was one of those blink and you’ll miss it places. It had a stop sign and a junction, with a Catholic church, of course. A smattering of buildings and mostly farmers. Maybe 100 people, my best guess. It sat on the plain a few miles before Eurovillas, right after climbing up a steep hill from the much larger Loeches.

As for the ship I named it for, well, you’ll just have to see.



I just wrote a regular blog article on influences and inspiration, and guess what? Since going through the initial editing process with my editor for Spanish Gold, I had a sudden burst of inspiration for something completely different, set, of course, in Spain. To give just a bit of background, I already wrote a short story that was turned down for our writer’s group anthology a few years ago. The reasons are irrelevant. The story background is still solid and was based on a real incident that happened to me over there during our second tour. As usual, I was just sitting around yesterday and came up with a workable scenario. At this stage, I have a solid A and am still fiddling with a good B. Once I have that worked out, I’m good to go. One day, I may actually sit down and write it. It’ll become a note on a yellow sticky to languish on my computer desk for the time being. While this little tidbit is not directly related to Detach or the Gold series, it IS directly related to and inspired by my time in Spain and inspired by reliving Spanish Gold. I will say that the novel will start in the present, jump back to the 80’s, and then finish in the present. I’m only a fan of that type of novel if it’s done right so I have to make sure I follow my own standards with that one.



This is called the Limnophobic Chronicles, named so after Detach’s fear of freshwater lakes. While I’ve already told that story early on, I haven’t yet explained another phobia, or maybe I should call it an aversion of his. He also doesn’t like to ride in helicopters. He makes that very plain in one scene in Lusitania Gold. It’s almost to the point of a phobia but isn’t quite up to that point yet. Now me, on the other hand, is another story. As I sit here and type this, I can almost hear the choppers cross over the top of my house (there aren’t any right now) as they head to the Grand Canyon from McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. Most of the time, their flight path is more to the south, but once in a while they venture up this way either coming or going. Flight lanes can be pretty tight between all the jets coming into the airport to the south, plus the traffic at Nellis AFB to the north.

There’s no way in hell you’d ever catch me on a chopper. In my lifetime, I’ve seen way too many of them crash. While the technology and safety of them is impressive, I still don’t trust them to the point of a phobia. That was one inspiration, though not directly here in Las Vegas, for the scene in Lusitania Gold. I wrote the original draft long before I ever came to Las Vegas. In that case, it was Blackhawks buzzing my house in Tipton, Oklahoma.

Everyone has phobias, either full-blown or adequately suppressed. Some conquered. Using them in the story line is a great way to enhance a character. As an author, it might be a little too uncomfortable and way too personal to use more personal ones in your story, but it’s entirely up to the author to decide, when and if they want to use phobias as a character trait. The limnophobia I pulled out of the air. The fear of riding in a chopper, not so much!



This is a normal author question that I get asked often. In the case of Detach and his world, many of them are random thoughts, inspired by many people I’ve known. Some of them are combinations of characters from TV and movies, given my own twist. Many I’ve just pulled out of the air. If they happen to resemble someone real, it’s purely coincidence. That’s the way many authors do it and that’s why we often have that statement at the beginning of the book “Any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental” or something to that effect. We have to, because otherwise, virtually ANY character we make up, if given enough twisting, can be made to resemble some real person. With several billion people on this planet, it’s bound to happen. So, in order to keep things sane, we hold the freedom to create unique people that may or many not resemble someone in real life. It’s purely unintentional, for the most part. Where it may be a little intentional, the person actually inspired by it may not be the person one thinks it is. I have a lot of fun coming up with characters, and place no restrictions on myself with where I draw them from. I will say they are NEVER directly from a single real person. The main traits, or something about them may be inspired by a real person, but that’s it. Sometimes they’re even a tribute.



I’ve always said, and still do quite often, that once I discovered I could write, it’s become a passion, NOT a hobby. That realization hit me way back in 1995, well after I’d been at it in various forms for several years. 1995 was the breakthrough when I wrote my first novel, and never looked back. However, back then, I had no clue I’d be where I am today. I guess none of us ever do. I had my big dreams, like any new writer, but it didn’t take long to find out those big dreams were far from reality. I knew right away I didn’t have the luck of lightning striking in a bottle, which is one of my well-worn quotes. Some people just have all the luck. I’m not one of them. It was pretty clear right off that the only way I was going to get anywhere was through stubborn persistence and hard work. Oh, and one other thing. I really didn’t give a shit. Yup, that was always the real underlying thing about my motivation. While I did struggle and have frustrations while trying to get published, my main motivation, has and still is just to write and create these stories. Getting them out there and read by YOU, the public, is still secondary. While it can be a very satisfying bonus, that’s still not primarily why I sit down to write in the first place.

I do it because I love it. Period.

The fact that many of you are enjoying my novels is a reward for all that hard work, but to be honest, I still would’ve wrote every single word you may be holding in your hands, or have already read!

Still, looking back, it comes as a shock to think that twenty-five years ago, I sat down at a very primitive computer and banged out my first novel, just to see if I could really do it. As of today, I can go on line and see the proof of my success with three novels already in the can and #4 in the works right now. I already have a bunch of MS’s waiting in the wings as well. I’d say this passion has paid off far more than I ever could’ve imagined!



Was thinking about Spain the other day…well, actually, I think about it quite a bit because almost daily, lots of things remind me of Spain. The other day, someone posted an article on Facebook about a road trip on one of the pages I frequent. It reminded me of the many road trips we used to take. Before and after I got married, we’d often take road trips. Being in a “furrin country,” every day was an adventure. Spain has a lot more history packed into a smaller area than the You Ess And A. That’s not to say that the States doesn’t have interesting travel destinations, but things here in America are just more spread out. Over there, we’d get in the car on a Saturday or Sunday, pick a random road, and drive. As they say in (I think, Winnie The Pooh), with no particular place to go. We never failed to run across a castle ruin, or fortress, or some other fascinating piece of architecture. We’d find a random pueblo with a cathedral, an ancient Roman aqueduct or wall, or something. I ended up buying a detailed road map of Spain and started penciling in every road we traveled on. By the time we left Spain for the final (third) time in 1991, the entire center of the country was blacked in. However, we never did get up to northern Spain, at least past Zaragoza. Barcelona never quite made the list. Never made it to Portugal. As I was writing Spanish Gold, it was sometimes hard to pick and choose what to use in the novel and what to leave out. However, I had to keep things relatively simple and go with what inspired me the most. I think I did a decent job of picking sites, especially ones that always gave me chills, literally and figuratively, and not in a horror type way. Inspirationally. I’ve been waiting up to over forty plus years (since 1970) in some cases, to finally utilize those chills if inspiration in some way. Now’s my chance.



If I can, I like to use exotic locales in my adventures. However, I much prefer using places I’ve been. In the case of the Azores use in Spanish Gold, while I’d have liked to visit the place for personal research, I’ve never actually been there in real life. I got the inspiration to use the islands from my wife, who lived there as a kid. Taking her knowledge and culling bits and pieces from a lot of different people, including author John McKinna RIP, I built a realistic picture of the islands, at least enough that I think passed the basic credibility test. While I wish I could’ve visited the place personally, one has to do with what one can, especially when reality turns to fiction. The Azores is a fascinating place, off the beaten path, more or less, and not the place one normally thinks of as a tourist hot spot. The weather there can be pretty rough, but there are times it’s a paradise. I like to think of it in those terms…mostly. However, no good adventure/thriller would be complete without a bit of mayhem!



It’s hard to convey in words what the Spanish countryside is really like. No, I’m not talking about the whirlwind five day tour either on a plane with stops in Madrid, Barcelona and Cadiz, or whatever. Or, maybe a cruise liner in the Med that drops into the random port and gives you five minutes each stop to “absorb the culture.” I’m talking living, working, and spending quality time experiencing this wonderful place.

For most people, there’s nothing like home, which to the majority of my readers at this point, is the good ole’ You Ess and A (thanks Sasha Baron Cohen) and the Netherlands. However, Spain was my home for a total of ten years, spread over three Air Force tours. Probably, the tour I most savored this atmosphere was the original, where it was all new to me. That was my virgin years, from December 1970 to December 1974. After growing up in the high desert of Palmdale, California, this southern European Mediterranean climate, very similar to “down below,” as we called “Ellay” or Los Angeles, which was just over the hill from Palmdale, was at once familiar, yet strange and fascinating.

Parts of it were completely new and alien to this young spud, sort of like stepping off the plane and landing on Tattooine and that alien bar from the much later to come Star Wars movie. Yet, there were familiar touches like the rolling hills and scrub oak trees.

I’ve tried to describe some of this environment in parts of Spanish Gold. While usually, a picture is worth a thousand words, in this case, this one photo can only convey a small portion of what I was feeling, which I tried to put into words. This is the site of an actual scene in the book, though highly embellished. I want you all to know that as of the latest Google images, the site doesn’t look anything like this today. This photo was taken in 1971.



A good bit of Lusitania Gold takes place in Ireland. I may have said it before, but while I usually go for the philosophy of writing with the basis of things I know first and branching out from there, in this case, it’s someplace I’ve never been before. I had to reach out, research, and use my imagination, fudge details and generally be vague in places to keep the reader’s belief suspended throughout that time there. While that task may sound overly complex to some, it wasn’t all that bad. Reading, contacting certain people, and of course, Google Maps and images helped tremendously in that effort. I have ancestors in some branches of my past from Ireland, though not directly, so there may have been a bit of a draw for me. The main thing, of course, was the wreck of the Lusitania itself. Then again, I HAVE always been fascinated with the emerald isle. One day I’d like to visit for real, and if I ever get down Kinsale way, I’d like to see how off my mental images match with the reality of what I vaguely pictured in the book. I hope I did it justice. Even those authors that can afford to travel to those far off destinations they depict in their novels quite often draw realistic details that don’t always come out the way others see them. Therefore, I’m not all that worried that my version of Kinsale and the surroundings may seem off to those that are intimately familiar with the area. We all have our own mental pictures of places, wherever that is. Still, it’s one spot in the series, like the Azores, I had to rely on others for my source material.



This weekend, I was supposed to be at Furnace Creek in Death Valley for one of our semi-annual dark sky events with the Las Vegas Astronomical Society. Unfortunately, the weather gods chose not to smile upon us. That would’ve meant no post this week. As it turns out, here I am, Saturday morning, but not for a lack of things to write about. You see, who’s to say, one day, another Detach adventure might not be centered around Death Valley? Elsewhere on this page and maybe even somewhere above in my ramblings here at the Limnophobic Chronicles, I’ve probably mentioned that I always like to write what I know, at least as a start. Who’s to say that one day, after book number seven, which is still in the early stages, I might not tackle Death Valley as an inspiration? No, it hasn’t happened yet, and I’m not fully committing to it right now, but it’s a definite maybe. We’ll see. I already have the A and B of West Virginia Gold figured out, which would be book number seven, but it got interrupted when I sidetracked to write Treasure Of The Umbrunna and the Meleena series. However, one day I’ll get back to continue the Detach series. After all, I still have time since I have six completed manuscripts already in the series.

You never know where inspiration may come from!



We gettin’ old. The last time I lost an author I admired was the unexpected passing of John McKinna, who wrote the wonderful Ben Gannon diving adventure series. In fact, I consulted him when I was writing Spanish Gold. Before that, it was Andre Norton, who I never got to chat with.

As we age, it’s inevitable we lose loved ones and friends. The same with influences. I’m just happy they had something to do with my life, whether directly or indirectly.

As for the case of Clive Cussler, well…there’s a bit of history with him.

One of my first huge inspirations to take up writing started in an aircraft hangar at Torrejon Air Base in Spain. It was called Hangar #6 and was two down from the AGE hangar where I worked. AGE stands for Aerospace Ground Equipment and is the stuff you see on wheels being towed around the flightline at the airport. Anyway, during Desert Storm, troops were using Hangar #6 as a way station on the trip to the “theater.” There were cots set up on the main floor and lines with coffee, hot chocolate and other drinks and snacks. There were also restrooms, portable showers, phones and the lot so people could call home. Also, there was a donation library. My wife and kids used to go there and volunteer to help serve the troops. I’d walk down there at lunch time and visit. Sometimes I’d help serve in line if they’d let me, which wasn’t often (too many cooks in the kitchen), or just hang around.

I had a chance to scour the library and even donate books to it. One I found and borrowed my self was called Raise The Titanic. The title alone struck me because of my interest in sunken ships. It was by some guy named Clive Cussler.

That book changed my life! I have to give credit where credit is due, though. There were many other books along the way, but that one title, Raise The Titanic was a huge boost. From that point on, along with another book by (I’d swear) Bentley Little, my first college classes ever, plus stuff at work, and things in my personal life with a group my wife and I were involved with, all drew me into writing. It wasn’t until a few years later I actually sat down at a keyboard and followed through, but that was a start.

Jump forward to 1997, two years after I wrote the original manuscript for Lusitania Gold. I’d already written several times to Clive Cussler and he replied every time. Such a nice gentleman. I was working at the rubber extrusion plant in Frederick, Oklahoma. I found out he was doing a book signing in Ft. Worth, Texas. While it was a several hour drive, I was prepared to get off work a little early and drive down there just for the chance to meet him. I left work after researching all day for the preventive maintenance manuals I was writing. That meant crawling around in dirty and very hot machines (the air averaged around 130 degrees) and the air smelled of burned rubber, sulfur, chemicals, and was full of flocking.

On the way to Fort Worth, the left rear tire on my truck almost fell off. Somehow I’d lost all the studs. Luckily, I stopped in some Podunk little farming town with a tractor repair shop who happened to have studs that fit and I was back on the road again. I made the book signing just in time. When I met Clive, we stood together with his arm around me, while I kept my arms close to my side so (hopefully) he couldn’t smell me. He was so gracious and signed Flood Tide with “To my model for Dirk Pitt. Get it up!”

I keep that photo tacked to the bulletin board at my desk at work. I treasure it along with photos of James Rollins and a few other people I admire.

I’ve read almost every book Clive has written or co-written.

Clive, you will be missed. RIP.



I just read on line Wednesday (03/05) that there’s an expedition to recover the infamous “voice of the Titanic” from the wreck. Of course, the click bait headline doesn’t tell all the story, so once you get into the article, you find out that the “voice” is actually the telegraph machine in the wireless room. For those of you still unfamiliar with that little tidbit, “wireless” was the old-timey term for “radio.” Way back when, those doohickeys were pretty primitive. Not everyone had cell phones yet. Anyway, the telegraph machine was basically a Morse code clicker that sent out a message into the ether saying the ship was sinking. It was the “voice” of the Titanic, the only voice since they didn’t have the technology for actual voice communication, at least with any distance.

So…this guy wants to recover it because on a recent dive, they discovered the wireless (radio) room is severely deteriorating and soon, it may be too late to recover the machine, which from all indications, is still intact.

Now, here’s the rub.

Some are saying this guy that wants to recover said machine, is just a greedy, money-grubbing grave robber.


One side argues this is the last chance to preserve the machine for future generations to view in a public place.

The other side says this thing will be salvaged and taken advantage of for profit.

Not sure where I stand on it. The fact is that I can get in my car, go down to the Strip here in Las Vegas, pay admission at the Luxor Casino (the big Pyramid one with the super bright light that shines into the night sky – another issue that bugs us amateur astronomers) and see all kinds of Titanic artifacts. In fact, I saw a bunch of those artifacts at a similar show in Chicago almost twenty years ago and actually touched a piece of the Titanic hull. With the current display, you can’t touch the hull anymore.

So, is this guy just being greedy, or will the telegraph end up on display just like this other stuff?

I’m sure the Luxor makes some kind of profit off the display. I’m also sure some of it goes to charity or to maintain the museum or something. At least I assume so. Never asked.

Food for thought.



With all that’s going on with COVID 19 right now, you might wonder how that might creep into my inspiration for future novels, especially thrillers.


Surprise, surprise.

Already dun didded it in the upcoming Spanish Gold, as a matter of fact.

Of course what I did has nothing to do with the current pandemic sweeping the globe, but it is still a virus-related sub-plot.

So, I’d already thought of it when Dubya was still in office, at least sort of.

As for the current crisis, while I’ve toyed with something pandemic, like it in the horror vein, I long ago decided never to tackle such a daunting subject for one simple reason.

While I am a solid “write mostly what I know” type of author, I’ll stretch and do research at least to some degree. However, taking on something with such sweeping medical technical issues as a virus is just way beyond my scope. I’ll leave that to authors with a medical background or those interested in spending months upon months pouring through books and files and interviewing people to get those details straight.

You have to keep in mind, I still work for a living.

So, don’t expect some pandemic-related thriller to come out of Fred Central anytime soon. Will I address the current pandemic in a future Detach thriller? Maybe it will be addressed, depending on the lasting impact of our current situation. A stand-alone novel? Not likely, unless an inspiration floors me and I see an expedient (easy) path to it. We authors are human too.



Last December, they discovered the deepest land-based point on earth in the Denman Glacier in the Antarctic. It wasn’t until this week that they let the news out widespread that I heard about it. The deepest point on the earth’s surface is, of course, the Marianna’s Trench, but as for land-based, or continental-based, it used to be the Dead Sea, with someplace in east Russia and then Death Valley coming in second and third, or something like that. Well, I’ve been to Badwater in Death Valley many times, but have no desire to visit the rest of the places. Nor do I have any desire to dig a hole deep enough in the ice to say I’ve stood in the lowest continental point on earth either.

Would this make for a cool thriller someday? Probably. Will I ever write about it? Not likely. Why? Well, let’s just say I’m not a huge fan of the cold and leave it at that.

While the idea does intrigue me on certain levels, it’s not enough to have to live with it for as long as it would take to write a story about it, at least not at this point. I have too many “warmer” ideas percolating around in my head right now!



Right now I’m doing a final tweak to Spanish Gold. During the process, I came to a very minor line, just a mention of the topless beaches in the Azores. I hesitated. During the time when I wrote the novel, which as I stated before, was when Dubya was still in office, not only were topless beaches almost universal throughout Europe, but the Azores had at least one. Given that Portugal, as a whole was practically the only country in Christian Europe without topless beaches, I still considered that a given. However, when I saw that off-handed phrase again, it struck me that I’d better check it once again, since I didn’t during the last pass.

In recent years, not that the laws have necessarily changed, but many women have decided to put their tops back on, and I never found out why. On the off hand that something might have changed, I re-researched and guess what? The Azores sole topless beach closed to the public around 2014! That’s right, the difficult to get at beach, as it is, has been roped off at the pass. It’s no longer accessible. As it turns out, it was not that great of a spot anyway. With black volcanic sand, it was said to be full of rocks, anyway. It was also quite isolated. For some reason, the authorities closed off the steep path from the road down there, about a half mile walk. The more popular beaches all require tops. I deleted that sentence immediately from this final draft. A small thing, but a good thing to catch.



Despite our relative isolation, the publishing process continues. My editor fixed the tweaks I made to Spanish Gold and turned it in to the publisher. During this time at (mostly home), I also managed to squeeze out the first version of the back cover blurb. As I always do, I came up with it in just a few minutes. Now I’ve set it aside and will take a fresh look at it in a week or so and see if it still looks good, make a tweak or two, or decide on something else. As long as I’ve been at it, I’ve never had to trash one completely.

The Las Vegas Writer’s Conference turned into a virtual one. I opted to take my vacation days anyway, but got a refund because frankly, I stare at a computer screen all day at work and quite a bit of the time in the evenings, and just didn’t want to do that for what I looked forward to as an extended interactive social event. This is the first time I’ve skipped a conference since 2005, and through no fault of the organizers. I’m glad they still managed to organize and pull off such an amazing event which is now on the third day as I write this. It’s just not for me.

So, what am I doing instead?

Cleaning my pool and getting it ready for a long run of isolation! Yup, it was time to change the water. Long story, but I have some maintenance issues to take care of while the water is out as well. Not my first choice of things to do during isolation, but there you have it. I’d rather be writing or just lazing around. Not going to happen!



I have my own theory on why countries like Spain and Italy are high on the infection list during this pandemic. When we talk about social distancing, before anyone knew what was going on at the beginning of the outbreak, you have to look at the cultures in both countries. These are affectionate people. There’s a lot of hugging and kissing on the cheeks. When a nefarious and highly contagious disease is spreading, such natural tendencies are a perfect breeding ground to spread this disease. I believe for both Spain and Italy, the natural instinct among locals to hug and kiss in greeting, unfortunately, spread the disease before anyone had a chance to stop it. These two countries are surely not the only two with such practices, but they do have a lot of influx of tourists, and for good reason. I also have heard, anecdotally from those that visit regularly, that the Chinese own a lot of businesses in Spain, and maybe Italy as well. That would mean travel for natives from Asia, which would be a logical source of infection.

This disease could have originated anywhere, but it happened to come from China this time. Next time it might be right at home in the You Ess And A, or it might originate in Europe. Wherever the next one comes from, it can spread in nefarious ways. This might not be the only time we’ll need to practice social distancing. As much of a tradition/cultural thing hugging and kissing in greeting it is in Spain, Italy, or any other country, it’s probably a time to think about changing that practice as much as shaking hands. As connected as our world is today, nasty stuff can spread a lot faster and from anywhere…I mean ANYWHERE.

To tell the truth, I prefer not to shake hands, but not for the reasons you may think. One of my veteran’s disabilities is for my skin. After decades of using some pretty nasty solvents to clean mechanical parts as part of my job, even given some pretty shoddy protective gear, my skin, especially on my hands is a mess. They often get cracked and bleeding, especially during certain times of the year. When someone wants to shake my hand, not only can it be painful, but I hate to bleed all over someone. At best, I’d rather fist bump or…hey, hug them, which throws back to my time in Spain or brings up the potential for a “Me too” movement. It’s best to just have a dialogue with someone and maybe bump elbows. I do like some kind of touch, but something non-suggestive in any way, and better than a simple nod.

Oh well…life goes on.



The leaning tower only plays a minor part in the story, a trivial locale to give some flavor and realism to the story of Spanish Gold. I added it in because it’s a real place, and I lived in Spain so why not throw in details the normal tourist would never glean from the quick “three hour tour” Gilligan and the skipper would take you on? Plus, I’m not rich, so I can’t afford to write stories where I can travel off to exotic locations for weeks at a time to delve deep into locales for my next New York Times best seller. Therefore, I write places I know and I just happen to know Spain, at least central Spain pretty well, or at least I did back in the 70’s through early 90’s!

While the reputation of the leaning tower is well overblown by the “legend,” to us GIs’ stationed at Torrejon Air Base back in the day, at least for some of us, we knew this engineering marvel for what it was. A large tower apartment/office building that had a slight construction flaw. It had a defect in the foundation and leaned slightly. No joke. While it wasn’t exactly the leaning tower of Pizza, it was enough that I’m pretty sure they had to do some fancy tricks to shore it up to arrest that slight lean somewhere along the line.

I know this is true because I once visited a friend on the sixth or seventh floor and when you put a ball on the floor in his living room, it would roll from one side to the other. It was enough to creep me out. I didn’t want to stay there, but it didn’t seem to bother the other high rent patrons of this place.

The tower has a name to it nowadays, which I used in the book when Detach references it in passing. Torres Blancas or something like that.  In the image below, you can just see the top of it above the apartments in the middle of the scene. I took it out my window, stopped at a light on the street. Admittedly, not the best conditions.

Whatever the case, the building is still standing almost 40+ years after it was constructed. I guess the lean wasn’t that bad.



Spanish Gold is getting closer to publication and now I have to gather all the names and thank the people that helped me get the book to where it is today. That includes all the beta readers, the people at the publishing house, my family, and certain people that have always inspired me and got me started along the way.

In every book, I give thanks to those that helped me along the way because if not for them, I’d never be where I am today.

In the case of Spanish Gold, I also have a very special dedication to someone who inspired me for a certain plot thread. You’ll just have to pick up your own copy to find out.



Whoohoo! I finally have a cover. My publisher comes up with the cover, based on an impression out of the book. They’re usually pretty close and we go over it and tweak it to get the best deal. As an author with a traditional publishing house, I’m lucky to have that much say. So far, we’ve tweaked each of the three previous books (the two fantasy ones in the Meleena series) plus the only one so far in this series, Lusitania Gold.

Now, with the second Gold series novel coming up, Spanish Gold, I anxiously awaited to see what our art director, Richard Draude would come up with and I was quite happy with the design. Not only that, but it also got family approval once I showed it to them.

Right now, the cover is raw. It does not have the back cover blurb or anything else filled in yet and it’s the foldout. In other words, it’s the entire cover, including the front, spine and back folded out into one image. Eventually, it’ll be reprocessed, or folded to look like a book with the front and back along with the blurb filled in.



It’s been 105 years now, as of May 7, 2020, and still no movie on the sinking of the Lusitania. Go figure.

The Titanic still gets all the glory while the “little ole'” Lusitania lurks in the shadows, destined to be the disaster that never gets the attention. Oh well. Maybe one day some movie producer will read Lusitania Gold and love it enough to turn it into a movie.

For that matter, any other book on the ship will do, though a highly fictional account like mine would do, just the same.

One can only hope!



Pretty much thinking about Spain and the good old days, especially with all the time on my hands when I’m off work and not doing family stuff. With the upcoming launch date of Spanish Gold on my mind, plus a lot of people with idle time making posts on the Torrejon Air Base Facebook page, my old stomping ground is never far from thoughts. Not only that, but I also am sort of participating in a challenge to post albums from my past. The initial challenge was to post ten albums in ten days, with no explanation, no bla bla bla. Of course, I’m not one to follow rules or trends. I’ve gone well beyond the ten albums and have been giving a history of each one and what they mean to me. Right now, I’m at the point where I’m living in the barracks at Torrejon Air Base in, of course, good old Spain. The memories of those times pour in by the bucket load.

I have flashes of Detach and crew, a completely made up group of characters, galavanting around doing their thing when in reality, it’s me doing far less heroic things. I’m far younger, experiencing a “furrin” country for the first time, and everything is strange, fresh, and new for me. It was exciting times and though there were dark moments, I never dwell on that stuff being a glass is half full person. The best moments are so overwhelming for me, I cannot help but dwell on the great stuff, and there were so many great memories. How could I not translate some of that into Spanish Gold? I could never do those memories justice in just a few pages of details in a fictional book in lieu of doing a full autobiography that nobody would ever read. At least I can throw a bit of reality into my made up world.



Guess what? Back in March, I mentioned that there was a group out to salvage the Marconi wireless from the Titanic. There was also some fierce opposition to this move because of grave robbing etc. Well, as of (I think) Wednesday, the group won in court (despite the COVID lockdowns). Sometime this summer, when the weather conditions permit, this team gets their shot to dive on the ship with a robotic submersible and attempt to cut into the Titanic hull, as delicately as possible, and remove the wireless. The purpose, of course, is to display it for future generations to marvel over. Of course, considering the millions of buckaroos it’s going to cost to perform this little stunt, I assume it’ll take several years of admission fees to make up the cost.

I won’t even attempt to ponder the moral issues, but if they manage to succeed without destroying a large chunk of the remains of the wreck in the process, where will it be on display? If it happens to be in Las Vegas, it might just be worth another trip down to the Luxor to see it. It will likely be the last time I ever visit that museum, when and if it ever opens again due to isolation restrictions, but also because it ain’t cheap and we don’t like to repeat things we’ve done unless there’s a thrill ride involved.

Time will tell…



Do you ever wonder what an author does between books? Wonder what he or she does while the long and drawn out process of publication is going on?

I can tell you it varies from person to person, but to give you a little slice into my life, a snapshot of my moment in time, as of right now it goes like this:

At the moment, as far as Spanish Gold is concerned, I’m waiting.


Working on the third Meleena’s Adventures book called Across The Endless Sea – I’m almost to the end of that one.

I’m NOT working on book number three in the Gold series because it’s already written, has been read to the Henderson Writer’s Group, has a title, Palmdale Gold, and has been waiting in the wings for almost a decade! In another year or so, I’ll virtually dust it off, then start working on it again and update it like I just did with Spanish Gold.



A bit of the life of a typical, but not every writer. On the other hand, I’m also contemplating the odd short story here and there, writing these short weekly snippets, writing lots of Facebook musical posts and my weekly blog articles. In a nutshell, I’m writing almost daily.

So, there you have it.



While it was far from a direct inspiration, I have to give a big shoutout to one of the worst B-movie Indiana Jones ripoffs of all time, but still one of my favorite movies. Way back in the mid 80’s, while living in Spain and Turkey, we used to spend a lot of time renting videos (VHS format) from the local video stores.

We discovered a lot of obscure movies that those of you here in the You Ess And A would probably never see, or at least, never heard of. One of them was this spaghetti Indiana Jones ripoff called Treasure Of The Four Crowns.

Folks, this was top-of-the-line cheese. It had bad dialogue, special effects, and plot. The actors were all unknowns, unless you lived and were familiar with European cinema. You could even see the string holding up the “floating things” in certain scenes. It was shot in 3-D but that was lost on a regular screen.

However, besides just having fun and being able to suspend our disbelief, something that was admittedly quite a stretch, the film was shot mostly on location right here (and here at the time was Spain). We were thrilled to have a movie shot right in our literal back yard!

I can go on and on about the classic scenes where we would point at the screen and go “Hey, that’s such and such a place!”

I still love that cheesy movie to this day.

A funny story about the movie is that the lead was an actor named Tony Anthony. Turns out he’s Roger Pettito and originally from Clarksburg, West Virginia, which happens to be the nearest major town in the area where my wife Kim is originally from. Go figure, small world!



It’s getting that time. My publisher contacted me the other day and requested the usual publicity and marketing materials for the upcoming September release of Spanish Gold. The release date is still tentative, but it looks like September is the magic month. I’d already written a question and answer page last month. I went through it and turned it in this morning. I also just wrote out the bullet points, which I’ll now let sit a few days, then go through them again and tweak before I turn them in. My next step is to run through the manuscript and fix some things the publisher noticed when she formatted the script. Something jumped out at her that we didn’t catch in all the editing, probably because we were too close to it. It’s something that sometimes happens when a different set of eyes gets hold of it. That’s something that will take a bit longer, but still fixable well within the deadline I have been given.

Folks, things are moving right along!



My editor just sent me the .pdf for Spanish Gold. During the formatting process, she found a couple of things she wants me to go through and fix. As a result, I have to read through the entire manuscript once again, for the umpteeth time and fix these quibbles. It’s all in an effort to make this book even a better and cleaner story for you, the reader. Along the way, I get to visit Detach and the crew not only once again, but probably the fifteenth time again or more!

As my weekly blog article is going to attest to, I love this stuff. The only thing labor intensive about it is that I cannot edit the .pdf. I have to leave it intact. Instead I have to print correction sheets, write down the page and line number and list the correction needed. THEN, the publisher has to decide whether to accept my change.


A lot more labor intensive than just correcting a Word document.

All that aside, at the same time, as I’m going along, I’m also running across random facts I’ve mentioned, some I never even thought of challenging last time, and checking up on a few I never verified the last time. Sometimes it’s because I already knew them to be true. Sometimes it’s because they were so trivial it wouldn’t matter. However, at other times, the little things DO count and I want to get them as close to reality as possible. I could name examples, but I don’t want everyone digging through the book, seeking them out. If you run across something you think is wonky, look it up. If I’m wrong, let me know. If you don’t care, just enjoy the story and don’t worry about it. After all, this IS fiction and you do have to suspend your disbelief. My goal is to make it as realistic as possible but not actually REAL. Therefore, the facts are APPROXIMATE. I will tell you that a lot of what I describe in the book is real because I was there, with the exception of the Azores. I had to rely on other sources for that, much of that first-hand knowledge.



If you’ve ever read one of those critiques and got to the phrase “if the author ever did an real basic fact checking he’d know…” and then they’d slam the writer for such and such and destroying their credibility. Bla bla bla…

Yup, there are some circumstances where that might be justified. As I said last week, while I’m striving for accuracy to a point, in some cases, I’m going to say right here and now. For security reasons, I’m deliberately NOT stating certain things completely accurate. What they are, you will never know. Seeing as how I lived a good bit of what I’m writing, but also given that what I lived happened about thirty and more years ago, I had to revisit a lot to pick up on the changes and bring them into modern times. Then again, there are certain things I approximated for reasons I won’t go into. Others facts, if I’m called on them, and they ARE wrong, and it was because I goofed, my bad. I’ll take that. Other things, if I’m called on, I may or may not respond, publicly or privately with the person.

Before anyone tries to blow this way out of proportion, these facts are minor. However, you never know who might read the story and how they might react. I’m just saying…



My final tweak of Spanish Gold is coming along. I’ve reached the point where I’m in Spain. The fact checking is still going on, and while I’ve had to adjust certain things, a few “facts” I’ve left alone because after all, it’s a story, plus I needed these certain adjustments to fit with the storyline.

On the other hand, I had to revise my dedication and thanks page due to the addition of my first great grandchild.

I’m fast approaching my deadline for turning these tweaks into the publisher, so I can also move on to other things I need to get done.

Yup. Spanish Gold is getting even closer to publication!



I love editing. It’s all part of the adventure. However, now it’s come to the correction sheets. Because of the editing process, I’ve had to manually write them all out on individual sheets, so many lines per page.

I have sixteen pages of corrections.

Unfortunately, when I first made the corrections, my penmanship wasn’t up to snuff. I’m now having to go through these scribbles and re-write every page more legibly. This is the product of so many years being used to typing. As it is, I have to print my autograph because I want it legible for my readers!

While I printed these corrections originally, I did it on the fly and wasn’t so concerned with legibility as just getting them down.

Now I wished I was neater.

As I’ve “translated” them, I noticed a few minor errors I’ve had to correct. Plus there’s the tedium of having to re-write every page which takes time and care to make sure every line is legible, given my penmanship.


I made it to page seven, so far and have only had to go back to the manuscript maybe three or four times to figure out which line, page, phrase I was talking about…

Never thought editing would come to this!

On the other hand, these last minute tweaks will all be worth it.



Finally finished re-writing all the edits of Spanish Gold, scanned and e-mailed all the changes to my publisher. The only thing I have left now is the bullet statements, which I wrote weeks ago. I just have to go through them again with a fresh set of eyes before I turn them in.

While there are other things I wish I could do for the book, I wasn’t able to this time for various reasons. Oh well…have to roll with the punches.

I’m already thinking not only the next book, Palmdale Gold, but others in other genres. However, those books are not for this page!

In other very old news, I keep seeing this click bait ad pop up for the Titanic. It says something about seeing the horror of what the Titanic was really like on the last voyage or something like that, with a few variations. The news web site that usually posts this ad shall remain nameless because it’s not only the news site that does. It’s by no means alone in doing so. It is, however, notorious for highly misleading headlines. This Titanic one is a good example, even with all the variations, because they’re all the same ole’ same ole’ set of photos. There is NOTHING new in them. If you’ve ever read up anything on the Titanic, you’ll see that these “found in a floating camera salvaged off the Titanic” type photos are just the same old shots everyone else has already seen in numerous books and essays already, and the sites are nothing but ad click bait. Still, it’s worth it if you have a good virus checker and add blocker to scroll through it at least once to catch all the photos.



The fantasy first draft I’ve been working on, Across The Endless Sea, is now dun didded, so while I set that aside for a few months, I can maybe concentrate on the Gold series again. I just spent a month or so going through another edit of Spanish Gold, plus this week after completing those final chapters for Sea, I also completed the bullet points for Spanish Gold.

Now, it’s a matter of deciding whether to start on re-reading Palmdale Gold, the third book in the series, or working on the third genre I also write, icky bug!

Yes, folks, I also write pure icky bug and have submitted a novel to my publisher called The Greenhouse. While things have fallen way behind at the publisher, eventually they’re either going to tell me yes or no about The Greenhouse. I suppose I should just wait on that one and concentrate on Palmdale Gold for now since it’s already part of the Gold series. It’ll be a good while before that one will be ready for publication anyway.

We’ll see.



Time’s been creeping up on this crazy year. It’s already half past 2020, more or less. I finished my third fantasy novel, Across The Endless Sea, and Spanish Gold is in the can, getting ready for publication. I’m still waiting to hear yea or nay about my first of two icky bugs, The Greenhouse. While purging my paper files, I ran across an original draft printing of my very first novel, The Cave. Before I shredded it, I went onto this (the one I’m using now) new computer and made sure I had the latest version of it. I did. I could only open but not edit it because it was too old. So, I had to copy the entire 82K+ words, and then paste them into a brand new Word document. Now, if I choose, I can go back and maybe try and fix that science fiction adventure/thriller (a mouthful) one day.

From reading just a few random snippets, I can see how far I’ve come since early 1995. On the other hand, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Maybe one day I might actually take a stab at it.

This is the lull between deciding projects.

It’s whatever strikes my muse or whatever my publisher wants next. Maybe a combination of both.

Time creeps up.



While all six of the Gold novels were in the can long before the pandemic, I’ve thought about how I might have to adapt any of them after Spanish Gold to reflect this awful year in future installments, or whether I should at all. While they all start sometime in the past, when I shift to “present day”, what will be that present day? Considering how publishing works, the next one, Palmdale Gold, won’t likely be read for release until 2022. By that time, will we be back to some kind of normalcy? I certainly hope so!

In the meantime, how would Detach be weathering the pandemic right now in 2020?

Pretty much the same as everyone else. Yesterday, as I type this, I read an interview with Mick Jagger. While it was conducted sometime in the past, it was less than a month ago. He told the interviewer he was handling the pandemic just like everyone else. He’s currently living in France and staying isolated, not going out often, but when he does, he wears a mask, isolates, and stays away from crowds, just like most (not all) everyone else. So, even a big celebrity like him is hunkering down and keeping low to the ground until this thing hopefully blows over. It’s unfortunate, so many have no means to be able to do that, given the low income rampant in this world. However, some can. Some still work, either remotely, or can go into their jobs relatively safely (some not so safely).

What about Detach?

For him, he’d be both working remotely and coming in to the office occasionally. As for adventuring, not likely at the moment. Too much of a risk and too many unknown variables. So, don’t expect me to come up with an adventure set during the pandemic. I’m not saying it will NEVER happen, but that’s just a dose of reality I have no inspiration to explore and rub people’s noses in. Then again, if done right, maybe it wouldn’t be. Right now, it’s far on the back burner. Besides, I’m not much of a bandwagon person, and you can probably expect a flood of pandemic books in the next year or so. By the time I wrote one, it wouldn’t be ready for publication until the next decade.



Just talked to my publisher what…Tuesday over Facebook IM and found out all my edits and the thank you page went to the editor and last she heard, the manuscript is going through some “technical thingies” (my expression). So, that means, it must be getting close to dun didded. Hopefully, unless some big glitch comes along, it may just make the September publication date! Woohoo!

Unfortunately, there’s not going to be a physical book launch, given the current world situation. Oh well.

As for a virtual book launch, I may break down and do a Facebook one, though if you’ve ever read any of my regular blog posts on marketing, you should know I’m not all that enthused about the past results. We’ll see. Maybe it’ll work this time.

In other Spanish News, King Juan Carlos banished himself to parts unknown due to corruption. Ahem, no big surprise, though I’ll have to admit this kind of came out of the blue for me because I haven’t been paying attention to Spanish royal matters for some time.

Other news? Same ole same ole click bait with the Titanic. Geez, they need to dream up something a little different for click bait. At least EVERYBODY has seen the same old thing on the Titanic by now, and the same old photos that really have nothing to do with the alarming and totally misleading headlines (and variations).



Since our last chat, I talked to my editor through e-mail and the editing is done. Now, the book is getting the first galley treatment. This means, the preliminary treatments of the book are being printed to send out for review and endorsements. We’ll see how that goes.

In the meantime, if I haven’t mentioned it before (which I probably have somewhere), I’ve resurrected my very first novel, The Cave. I’ve always said it was never fit for print. However, I’ve taken another look at it and maybe it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. There are some things to fix and the deeper I get into it, it’s not so much the story, but the writing in certain spots. It’s going to take some work, but once it’s dun didded, I think I might just have another genre to add to my belt.

I’m still letting my other just finished manuscript in my fantasy series sit for a while. It needs to brew for a while before I look at it with a fresh set of eyes. In the meantime, I’m already solidifying the A and B of book #4 in the series.



In the next few weeks I’m going to be introducing a few characters from the upcoming Spanish Gold.

I’ll start with an English bloke named Mackey. He lives in Ramsey, England. He’s a little person Detach and the crew befriend on their search for clues to the treasure. Mackey is key to them getting into certain places that help the search. I’ve always wanted to include a little person in the series. The last time I did in a real-world setting was my first, still unpublished novel, The Cave, which I’ve recently resurrected.

I’ve been inspired by several little people, especially a childhood hero of mine named Billy Barty, and more recently Peter Dinklage. Mackey plays a significant role in the early part of the story.



Here it is, already Labor Day weekend, and I’m working on publicity and marketing stuff for Spanish Gold. Right now, while I thought I’d sent the bullet points to my publisher, she e-mailed me yesterday and said she never got them. I held off until this morning, so I could go through them again for another look, jussincase I missed something.

Turns out I did! Big time!

In all of those bullets, I apparently fergotted the big McGuffin! In other words, while I functionally gave all the steps of the novel, the one thing I omitted was the reason why all of this was happening! Geez!

Turns out it made for the longest bullet, but hey, I didn’t want five bullets just for that. So be it.

So, that was my latest and greatest in regards to Spanish Gold.

Happy Labor Day weekend. Stay safe!



I finally got copies of the publicity sheets for Spanish Gold from my publisher. Woohoo!

The marketing begins.

I cannot post them here because they’re for booksellers and such.

All except the Q&A give away plot points and spoilers. I’d thought of posting the Q&A, but it’s a .PDF file and I haven’t figured out how to copy and paste it here yet. One day….

In other news, I found some old photos from my 1990 trip to Jolly Olde’ Englande’. While I already posted them to my personal Facebook page, I might repost a few of them here in the next few weeks along with my usual witty narration. We’ll see.



Marco is a key character in Spanish Gold yet he plays very little in the actual novel time, real estate wise. He was a failed monk/failed priest, trying to make amends, and in the process created a twisted web for which Detach and crew are sent on their wild treasure hunt.

If you’re wondering where I came up with that name, it’s personal. It’s a real name from someone in my distant past, long gone. Someone I knew in Spain way back in the early 70’s who was very old at that time. In a way, his use in the book is an honor to his legacy.



Captain John Harwood is another key character in the dramatis personae of Spanish Gold. He’s kind of the lynch pin in the plot, the whole reason Detach and crew go off on their little adventure. In actuality, he only plays a minor role, but it’s key.

His name is inspired from two places. First off is a kid I knew in the same elementary school in Lompoc that Detach’s name came from. A different kid. The second was the bass player in a Canadian rock group that was a great underground band that never went commercial. While I sort of pulled Harwood out of thin air, there was still a bit of inspiration from a couple of people thrown in as well.



This Monday, October 5, the e-book version of Lusitania Gold will be featured on the marketing site Book Lemur. I decided to give this site a try since it has a fairly large audience. I This is the prelude to launching Spanish Gold. If it works out, I’ll use it to also feature some of my other books.



I have no idea how many, but I sold a book or two on Book Lemur last Monday. My sales ranking went up a few notches for the e-book of Lusitania Gold. I won’t know the exact amount until my quarterly statement comes out. The thing is that I posted the book at the normal price, not even at a discount, so I guess that says something. Sure, I could’ve gone the cheap route and discounted or even gave the book away, but this was my first stab at this site and after all, I put all that effort into writing it. I should get something for it. Then again, considering I still will probably get zero reviews out of it, the least I can do is get a bit of cash for my effort!



I guess I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, excuse the cliche, but after my big sale on Book Lemur, I did get a review. Five stars! Woohoo! The only issue is that it did not come with a narrative.

I could use one of my colorful metaphor expressions, but I’ll refrain to keep this PG. Instead, after griping about it on my writer’s group web site, I found out not only was I NOT the only one this happened to (think disappearing reviews on Amazon), but one of my writer friends revealed that apparently Amazon is allowing readers to post five star reviews with no narrative.


Does this have to do with not reaching the $50 buy limit?

Does this have to do with crunching web space?

Does this have to do with simplifying the review process?

I have a few other ideas in mind but I won’t bore you with a bigger list.

Lusitania Gold now has ten Amazon reviews. Woohoo! I’ve sold waaaayyy more books than that. Reviews are like getting blood out of a turnip. Yet they are also the lifeblood of an author. They help sell more books. Sure, the ultimate goal is selling books. To sell books, you need more reviews.

See where I’m going here?

Whatever the case, I’m not going going back to the beginning. I’m going to be happy and accept that gift horse. Five stars is five stars!




Margel has a special place in the story. One of the main story threads is Detach and crew are searching for him.


He’s a top virologist for the guv’mint and has disappeared with a deadly virus strain. Everybody and their brother wants it back. The “el Presidente” want’s it back, for reasons that must be kept quiet. I can’t tell you now or I’d spoil the fun.

Margel is only one half of the plot because as you know, the title of the story is Spanish Gold. Not only is he one half of the plot, but he’s also a tribute to someone very special to me. That’s all I’ll say right now.

Of course, you’ll have to read Spanish Gold to find out the rest.

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