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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 is going to be Lusitania Gold.

LUSITANIA GOLD

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.

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55_crowd_viewing_the_rms_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!

Woohoo!

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

http://www.mysticpublishersinc.com/newlink-publishing/

You can find out the latest events and happenings at https://www.facebook.com/DetachAndHisAdventures/

03/11/18

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

Subject: Writing with the character in mind.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/aspectsofwriting/2018/02/26/writing-with-the-character-in-mind

THE LIMNOPHOBIC CHRONICLES

WARNING – PLENTY OF SPOILERS!

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)

05/13/18

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!

05/13/18

DETACH

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!

05/17/18

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – LOCATIONS

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.

GALVESTON

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.

05/20/18

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – THE SHIPS

THE LOTHAR

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.

05/27/18

***WARNING: MINOR SPOILER***

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – THE OIL RIG

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.

06/05/18

BECKY

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.

06/09/18

NEW YORK CITY

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.

06/12/18

THE COOPER

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!

06/15/18

***WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER***

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – THE ICKY BUG (THE SHARK CREATURE)

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.

06/11/18

***WARNING: MINOR SPOILER***

ELROY

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!

06/26/18

KINSALE, IRELAND

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.

06/30/18

LUSITANIA

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!

07/08/18

***WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER***

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – FLOATING A SHIP WITH DIESEL

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!

07/14/18

JAMS

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.

07/21/18

MORGAN CITY, LOUISIANA

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.

***WARNING: MINOR SPOILER***

07/28/18

ANASTASIA

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!

***WARNING: MINOR SPOILER***

08/04/18

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – TECHNOLOGY OF THE TIME

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.

Why?

Paradigms.

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.

08/11/18

VLADIMIR

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.

08/18/18

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – COLD FUSION

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!

08/25/18

RUBY FENNER

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.

08/31/18

MILDRED PIERCE

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.

09/15/18

MAD JAKE MALONE

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?

09/23/18

BUSTER AND DOODLES

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.

09/29/18

LUSITANIA ON LINE

If you want to find the real info on the Lusitania, I highly recommend http://www.lusitania.net/ 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.

10/06/18

BAND NAMES

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.

***WARNING: MINOR SPOILER***

10/13/2018

ENYA MCMURTY

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.

10/20/18

THE LUSITANIA’S PROPELLERS

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.

10/27/18

CAPTAIN TURNER

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.

11/10/18

THE LUSITANIA WHEEL HOUSE

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!

11/24/18

SISTER SHIPS

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.

12/01/18

THE FOUR FUNNELS

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.”

Stories.

12/08/18

BARRY KRUGER

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.

12/15/18

THE REST HOME

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!

12/23/18

SURVIVORS

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!

12/29/18

THE SERIES CONTINUES

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!

01/05/19

DETACH AND HIS LIMNOPHOBIA

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.

01/12/19

THE GOLD SERIES

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.

01/19/19

WHY WRITE ABOUT SPAIN?

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.

Enjoy!

01/26/19

THE SPAIN I LIVED IS A BIT DIFFERENT NOW

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!

02/02/19

WHY DID THE LUSITANIA SINK?

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?

02/09/19

WHAT TREASURE HAS ACTUALLY BEEN SALVAGED OFF THE LUSITANIA?

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…

02/16/19

EDITING OF SPANISH GOLD MOVES ON

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!

02/23/19

SPANISH GOLD COMPLETE AND TURNED IN

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!

03/02/19

MY REAL FASCINATION WITH THE SEA AND SHIPS

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.

03/09/19

THE DIVING SUIT

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.

03/16/19

SPECIAL LIGHTS

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.

03/23/19

MONKEY COFFEE AND THE LEANING TOWER

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!

03/30/19

THE DIVING SUIT

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!

04/06/19

WHY A SERIES?

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.

04/13/19

LATEST LUSITANIA NEWS – A BISCUIT

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.

04/20/19

CLASSMATES

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!

04/27/19

SURVIVED BOTH THE TITANIC AND LUSITANIA

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.

05/11/19

LUSITANIA AND TITANIC NEWS

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: http://matei.org/ithink/2012/01/09/titanic-wreck-location-on-north-atlantic-google-earth-map-in-kmz-format/

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.

05/18/19

OCEAN LINERS DIFFERENT FROM THE OLD DAYS

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.

05/25/19

DIVING SHIPWRECKS

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.

06/01/19

PORTHOLES

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.

06/08/19

LUSITANIA SINKING VIDEO

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.

06/15/19

MORE SHIP SINKING VIDEOS

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!

6/22/19

A FEW MORE WORDS ABOUT SPANISH GOLD

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.

07/06/19

EARTHQUAKES

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.

07/13/19

THE LOTHAR PART 2

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.

07/20/19

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.

07/27/19

Dedication

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!

08/03/19

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!

08/10/19

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.

08/17/19

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.

08/24/19

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.

09/01/19

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.

09/07/19

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.

09/14/19

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…

09/22/19

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.

09/28/19

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!

10/05/19

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!

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