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Detach And The Gold Adventures

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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





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

Release date!

Lusitania Gold will be released August 25th!


Out Now!

Lusitania Gold is now live.

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

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

You can find out the latest events and happenings at


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

Subject: Writing with the character in mind.



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


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

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

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

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

Let’s rock!



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

The name Detach…

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

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

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



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


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




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

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

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

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

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




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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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



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




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

Nothing real about that!

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

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

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

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




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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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




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

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

Another involved air bags.

One involved large ships and cranes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll never know.

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

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



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

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



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

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

There you go.

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




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




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



What’s a paradigm?

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

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

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

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

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

Who says he couldn’t pull it off?

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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




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



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

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



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



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

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

A little more trivia for you!



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



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

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




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



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



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



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

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

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

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



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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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




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

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

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



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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh well…



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

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

Things worked out!



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

All in the name of good fun.



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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

That all changed because of Detach…indirectly.

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

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

So, I rejoined for a little while.

Flood of memories!

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

Go figure!

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

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



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

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



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

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

Here’s the link:

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



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

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

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

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

Times have changed.



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

So much for the Lusitania porthole telescope.



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

An animated video of the sinking of the Lusitania!

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Talk about fake news!



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


U.S.S. Eagle PE-56

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

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

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



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


More Shipwrecks – Better Technology

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


The Gold Series

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


Lusitania Versus Titanic

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

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

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


Titanic In The News Again

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


Is It Possible To Dive On The Lusitania Today?

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


More On Spanish Gold

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


Deteriorating Wreck Sites

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

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

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


Another Titanic Story

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


We Start Editing Spanish Gold

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


Met My Editor

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


Juss’ Stuff

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

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

We’ll see.


Editing Spanish Gold

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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



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

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

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



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



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

I do it because I love it. Period.

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

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



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



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



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

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

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

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



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



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

You never know where inspiration may come from!



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clive, you will be missed. RIP.



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

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

Now, here’s the rub.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Food for thought.



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


Surprise, surprise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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

So, what am I doing instead?

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



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

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

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

Oh well…life goes on.



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

One can only hope!



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

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



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

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

Time will tell…



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

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

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


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

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



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

So, there you have it.



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

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

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

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

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

I still love that cheesy movie to this day.

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



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

Folks, things are moving right along!



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

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


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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

Yup. Spanish Gold is getting even closer to publication!



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

I have sixteen pages of corrections.

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

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

Now I wished I was neater.

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


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

Never thought editing would come to this!

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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

We’ll see.



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

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

This is the lull between deciding projects.

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

Time creeps up.



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

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

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

What about Detach?

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

Turns out I did! Big time!

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

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

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

Happy Labor Day weekend. Stay safe!



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

The marketing begins.

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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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



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



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

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


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

Does this have to do with crunching web space?

Does this have to do with simplifying the review process?

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

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

See where I’m going here?

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




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


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

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

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



You may have noticed I skipped a week here at the Detach page. My usual Saturday post was missing. The reason was that I was driving back from Tombstone, Arizona. This morning, I’m echoing this week’s regular blog article on visiting historical sites. The subject matter boils down to how we describe locations.

As with all my novels, Spanish Gold is very personal with me. With the exception of Lusitania Gold, at least so far, I’ve either spent quality time at every site, or have actually lived in the locations of all of my books (with a few notable exceptions). Therefore, I try to convey descriptions of these places nobody else would even think of. That being said, there’s no way to adequately describe any place like going there yourself.

Out of all the movies, TV, books or whatever, I never envisioned Tombstone like it actually was once we got there last week. It made me think of how I describe detail in my novels, in particular Spanish Gold.

All I can do is give you details you wouldn’t gain from the ten dollar tour. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that you, the reader are going to draw your own picture no matter how much or how little I describe the place. Therefore, I long ago decided not to bog down the story in excessive details and just tell the damn story. What I provide are unique details others probably wouldn’t acknowledge because they didn’t live there.

The best I can do.



It’s always nice to get those enticing endorsements on the cover of your book. Though not mandatory, it seems to help from a marketing perspective. While it makes no difference to me personally when I’m book shopping, I assume it does to others. On the other hand, I must admit that when I see an endorsement from the likes of Stephen King, I step cautiously. More often than not, I’ve hated the book. Not because it’s icky bug, which is a favorite genre, but either because of the writing style or the bad ending. So, I guess in a way, I do pay attention to endorsements for that name alone.

I’ve been seeking endorsements for Spanish Gold. The other day, even so late in the game, I had an inspiration, though it’s not from the usual author pool. I asked my publisher if it was too late and she said go for it. I solicited four people. It may turn out to be a total bust. However, like they say, if you don’t play the lottery, there’s no way you can possibly win.

With that in mind, I’ll give it a couple of days…week or two and see what happens.

Maybe my lucky number will be called. If not, oh well, at least I tried.



I’m currently reading a story where the author did a big disclaimer at the beginning of the book. In the story, he used a real place in a fictional way. He didn’t want any readers from the real place to call him on that.

The other day, as we were eating dinner, my youngest daughter and grandson were discussing Spain. She had looked up some of the old locations she recalled as a kid. They have changed a lot in the 30 years since we lived there. I noticed that when I freshened up my research while doing the final edits of Spanish Gold.

I had to make a few changes to the original manuscript, which as I’ve said before, I wrote when Dubya was still in office. Yeah, that was a while ago.

Still, some things are probably not going to line up exactly given the sometimes radical changes that have taken place in three decades. However, with the deep searching I did with Google Maps and satellite images, and having lived there for a decade, I can be pretty confident that what I describe in the text is good enough for guv’mint work, as we liked to say in the military.

Do I need a disclaimer?

I don’t think so. It should be obvious the book in no way represents real people or events taken in a real way. On the other hand, there are plenty of details that ARE real within those pages because I lived there and worked there and or traveled there (mostly) to the locations not in Spain. My embellishments are for the sake of the story and pure entertainment.

So, any changes I made to the geography are for the sake of Detach and the gang. Rest assured that no animals or people were hurt in the process.



I have an upcoming article about music and writing in the next few weeks, so I thought I’d mention music as it pertains to the Gold series.

If you’ve read Lusitania Gold by now, you know I like to drop band names. Some are for shock value and some are bands I really like. I’d like to drop the name of every band I like in the story but not only would that be too flagrant, but it would be disruptive and jerk you right out of the story.

So, I have to take my time and trickle them in a bit at a time. If you’ve had a chance to read the manuscripts I haven’t published yet, you’d see I already have dropped quite a few bands in those future books.

One of the character traits of both Detach, Jams and even Becky and Barry Kruger to a lesser degree, are their love of music. I so far haven’t got into Barry Kruger’s tastes since he’s a huge country freak, and I’m not, but eventually, I may drop in a name or two, especially since I once played in a country band way back when. Becky is already represented by her and Detach’s mutual love for Alice Cooper. You can notice that from their naming of the ship The Cooper.

Then there’s Jams and his taste for some of the most obnoxious metal ever recorded. Mixed in are the more conventional metal bands as well. This is where I get to drop many of my favorites, though there are some extreme bands I like as well.

If any of the Gold adventures were ever made into movies, what would the soundtrack be like? I couldn’t venture to guess, but I can imagine it would be heavy, but not to the point to chase away most of the audience!



While it’s all water under the bridge now, I’m so glad I didn’t have to do my research now, when the entire world is under lockdown. Instead, I have a lifetime of memories from Spain (a decade there) for the upcoming Spanish Gold. After writing it when Dubya was still in office, when it came time to dust it off, I was lucky enough to be able to refer to Google and the internet to tweak things.

I mustn’t forget my own personal archives as well. I’ve attempted to add images here and have only been partially successful in the distant past. Since WordPress “improved” a lot of good features out of their software, I haven’t figured out how to get a lot of them back again. So, no more photos up to this point. I’m going to try again and see what happens. Since I can’t take you all there, I may be able to show you the inspiration for some of the sites mentioned in the book.

The world may be on lockdown, but photos are not, unless the software is on lockdown as well.

Woohoo! It worked this time!

Okay. The image on the left is the leaning tower. It’s in the background sticking above those apartments in the foreground. I took the image sitting at a light on Avenida America, as we called it, which was actually N2 before it turned into the actual Avenida, as we were coming into Madrid. The tower has a regular name which I forgot. Supposedly it doesn’t really lean but we always called it that because it had wonky floors on the one we visited way back when. It was completed around the time I first got to Spain in 1970. It’s a super high-end place.

The image on the right is a castle ruin on the hill next to Alcala de Henares where Detach and crew find a clue to the treasure. It really has a dungeon in it and we used to drive to the street across the river (not shown) and walk across the rickety footbridge and hike up the mountain to the two towers. The Spanish have finally preserved the place and turned it into a historical site. Back in the 70’s and 80’s though, it was just an abandoned ruin on the side of the hill.



Nothing like a few more visual aids to brighten your day!

Here are a few more real images of selected locations from Spanish Gold.

The above is the entrance to El Rastro in Madrid, one of the largest flea markets in Europe. This is looking down the hill at Plaza de Cascurro. The photo was taken in 1972 and the area has changed radically since then. However, it’s still basically the same with a massive flea market that branches off to several streets both right and left that specialize with art, pets, electronics and at one time, even drugs. This was where, as a young pup, I learned to keep my wallet in my front pocket!

This is coming up Calle Alcala to the entrance to Gran Via in Madrid, one of the main arteries to downtown. It’s a fancy street, no doubt. Detach and crew stay at a fancy hotel a few blocks up the way. It’s the way to a lot of high end shopping and south of it is Puerta Del Sol, the heart of Spain and Plaza Mayor, which leads to El Rastro.

Not far from these places is where Detach and crew end up in their treasure hunt.



This morning when I fired up the computer, thanks to Windows 10, it pulled up another one of Microsoft’s random images from somewhere around the world. This one happened to be a lake in the Azores. I first got the image last night when I turned on the computer but it just now sunk in the perfect inspiration to chat about the second stop on Detach’s search for the treasure in Spanish Gold.

In this novel, I had to rely on my wife Kim’s knowledge, plus research, to come up with the details of this tiny group of islands. While it may seen bigger once you land there, it doesn’t take long to find out how small the place really is.

Turns out I think the photo was/is of Lago Rasa, which is on Ilha das Flores, a volcanic island not quite as large as Angra do Heroismo, where Detach and crew land. These islands are small, and not near as much area as say, Hawaii. When you’re dropped into the middle of the Atlantic, being a looong way from any other significant land, it can get even smaller, fast. My wife had plenty of stories from when she was a kid there, stuff she heard through the grapevine. I incorporated one of them into the story. Otherwise, I also highly fictionized much of the geography for the sake of the story. Maybe I made it seem a bit larger, or maybe the beaches a bit bigger or livelier than they are in real life? In any event, I also intended to pay tribute to this beautiful and isolated place that is not a usual tourist destination.

I wish I had some photos to show you of the sites Detach and crew visited while there, but since I made most of them up, or relied on Google satellite or maps (or my wife’s memory), that’s not going to happen. Sorry.



Ever since I started writing, I’ve always wanted to include the land of my roots in one or more of my stories. I finally got a chance with Spanish Gold. While the story subject matter mainly takes place in another country, it does, after all, consist of a treasure hunt and thriller. Because of that, it starts elsewhere. One of those “elsewheres” is Jolly Olde’ Englande’.

I picked a place I became intimately familiar with in my travels because I was there for six weeks.


The gist of this event was that the commander wanted to get bragging rights for meeting his quota so he sent me to the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer’s) Academy at RAF Upwood, an Air Base in Ramsey England. I won’t go into the full history of that but the result was that I became somewhat intimately familiar with the area over the six weeks I was there. In fact, I logged 151 miles walking not only around Upwood, but between the base and in and around the town (or village) of Ramsey.

I had a camera and unknown to me at the time, I also inadvertently scouted future locations for my second novel in the Gold series!

Below are a few selected visual aids to go along with my witty narrative. Keep in mind that some of these I’ve already posted on my regular Facebook page earlier this year or maybe last year.

Above is the main entrance to the Ramsey Abbey. Elroy and Becky go inside and meet Wendy. This is kind of a myopic view and doesn’t show either wing extending to the right and left.

This is inside the Ramsey Anglican church. The massive pipe organ that Detach uses to play “Titanic Overture” from the first Alice Cooper album, Pretties For You, is up front to the left (if I recall correctly).

This is the Ramsey graveyard with the church in the background. Kind of reminds me of the first Black Sabbath album!

Another view of the graveyard and the small cemetery chapel.



This was supposed to be out yesterday but it wasn’t delayed because of the holidays, as you might have guessed. No, it was because of an oil change. I had to get up early and drive across town to the dealer and spend extra time waiting because I didn’t get there first.

That upset my entire weekend writing routine. I did not call it a goal, as you might have noticed.


Because I don’t set goals.

Why again?

I don’t need to.

Writing is a passion for me. I don’t need to set goals. I don’t need any artificial deadlines or benchmarks to strive for to motivate me to write. I write because I HAVE TO, I NEED TO, I WANT TO. Therefore, I write at my own pace and get things done in their own time because I love to write. Plain and simple.

I’m not disparaging those methods for other writers, because obviously, they work and are sometimes necessary for them. For me, not needed.

As far as the Gold series?

What I expect to happen is that Spanish Gold will finally get published this year, hopefully with a couple of good endorsements on the cover. Second, once it’s in the can, I’ll begin working on the edits for Palmdale Gold, which is book #3 in the series. Also, hopefully both Lusitania Gold and Spanish Gold will continue and start to sell.

Then there are my other book projects which I’m also working on. That’s another story…



It’s almost cliche that when you have a thriller, you have a chase scene. It’s part of the genre. That usually means fast cars and wrecking half the town you’re in. I, on the other hand, am not particularly a big fan of chase scenes, at least many of them. While there ARE chase scenes in the book, they’re not all typical. In Spanish Gold, I have one close to typical. It takes place in a certain spot out in the countryside. Below, I have a photo that is as close to the inspiration for that chase scene as one can get (hey, I didn’t take photos of EVERYTHING). It’s within the ballpark, so it will do.

Notice the spacing of the trees. That will be key to the scene.

Now that I actually study the photo, the trees are the wrong type (they should be poplar, not pine). Therefore, this photo is in another part of Spain. I think this was somewhere on the road to Lake San Martin, on the other side of Madrid from where Detach and the gang were being chased. Oh well…the principle is still the same.

Until next time.



I’d mentioned earlier that I’ve been seeking book cover endorsements for Spanish Gold. Well, they’re finally coming in. With a deadline now of 14 Feb, I got my first one yesterday and it’s killer!

So glad this person liked the book. I am deeply honored they agreed to endorse it. It will make a great enhancement for my book cover!

Rock on!



While some people get their thrills reading a story, as a writer, I happen to get mine doing both. Since this is a passion to me, I have found that once I get my groove going, my adventures pour out. While due to not only time constraints, but the physicality of mechanics, I have to write in (inconvenient) fits and spurts at times. However, my thrill of creating each of my adventures, no matter the genre, never dulls even being interrupted on a regular basis. This transfers right along to the editing, tweaking, and reading it to my Henderson Writer’s Group (if I get the chance). It’s the same when I read chapters or sections for an audience at a book signing. While I may get a minor dose of the “cold dead hands” syndrome even when I read from one of my already published books (that is, the never-ending urge to edit and re-edit), I still retain the thrill of the adventure of the thing I created.

When someone else shares my thrill, it’s an awesome experience. If they don’t, oh well, I tried. Not everyone will share my enthusiasm, but that can’t be helped. Some won’t care for my writing style. Some won’t like the genre. Some won’t care for the characters or the language, the point of view, the setting, the cover…the list goes on. It goes with the territory. However, some will get it and that’s great for me. Regardless, I’m still going to keep on creating these adventures, whether it be this series or another one. I cannot adequately describe to you the feeling of sitting down at the keyboard, shutting off the outside world, and letting the ideas flow from my fingers. My hope is that you, the reader will be able to pick up on some of it. All the best!



“El-Presidente” went through an evolution, of sorts. As I’ve mentioned before, somewhere I’m sure, I originally wrote Spanish Gold when Dubya was still in office. That, my friends, was in a bygone era. Many of the inspirations came from said bygone era and aren’t what they appear to be, given present day events. While some of you readers may get your dander up, take a deep breath. Things are not that complex…or simple.

My original idea for the president came from the TV show 24. I always liked the character of the president played by the now Allstate Insurance Guy. Yeah, I’m talking about THAT actor, or to those of us who actually know his real name, Dennis Hasbert. During the show, he played an African American president. At the time, this was way before anyone ever thought about Obama ever becoming president. I just thought Mr. Hasbert played a great character, so that was my original inspiration.

Jump forward over a decade, and here we are, in the middle of an entirely different administration, and I’m editing Spanish Gold. I wasn’t really after echoing a real-life president and stirring up that kind of pot from both sides, so I decided to throw in another twist. I changed “El-Presidente’s” gender. Now, how’s that for a twist!

Little did I know that after I’d already turned in the final draft, and had it set in stone, not only would there be several female candidates running, but in the end, guess what we have now? An African American vice “El-Presidente!”

What now?

It is what it is. Not going to change it, so Spanish Gold has a non-denominational female African American president. She has all the trials and tribulations and complications of any character in one of my books, though she’s a minor character in the grand scheme of things. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a key to the plot in a way, and very helpful one, but you’re not going to find politics or grandstanding or speechifying. She plays her part like the rest of the cast of characters, plain and simple. She just happens to be a coincidence. Nothing more, nothing less.



I’m very happy to announce that I got another book cover endorsement the other day! I’m still waiting on one other potential, but if it doesn’t come through, I’ll still be quite happy with the two I have.

Rock on!



Once again, it’s time for a few visual aids. I’ve gathered a few images from my time in Spain that I used in Spanish Gold for inspiration and for Detach’s travels in the novel. They’re accompanied with my usual witty narration.

This is an arched gate in downtown Madrid that Detach and gang drive by in and around town. I don’t recall if I mentioned it specifically, but they could not have missed it going downtown.

I’ve shown a similar image before of them approaching up Calle Alcala. To the right of that dome is the entrance to Gran Via and their hotel which is up a few blocks. It’s one of the main drags in Madrid. Up there to the right along Gran Via leads to Plaza Mayor and Pureta del Sol. On a personal note, it was also one of my favorite spots to hang out and included Casa Leturiaga, a big music store nearby. I bought several guitars and amps there back in the day.

This is Cibeles, with the fountain in the right foreground and in the background the main post office and guv’mint building complex. Quite a site. Oh, and that fountain water is cold!

Finally, this is what everyone at Torrejon Air Base, at least the Americanos called “Franco’s Mountain.” It probably had a Spanish name for the geographical formation. This was taken from a skewed perspective with the base somewhere behind me. Alcala de Henares is at the base of the slope and to the left out of frame. The castle ruin Detach visits is also to the left out of frame. If you squint, you can just see the distortions of some buildings at the extreme upper lip of the edge of the mesa in the middle of the photo. There was an abandoned pueblo up there. We used to drive up there from the back side. I once lost the steering in my old Ford Falcon driving back down that dirt road. We had to hike back down and call a tow truck to get it. That was in 1972. I’d thought of somehow using that pueblo in Spanish Gold, but could never find a good reason to include it. Our home in Eurovillas was to the right of the mesa and about fifteen miles back from there, as the crow flies. In any case, Detach and crew could not have missed seeing this on their way to the castle ruin in Alcala.



My publisher said it was going to press Monday. I’d suspected it would be up soon. Then I heard from several friends that they had pre-ordered it. I was still trying to figure out how they could do that when it wasn’t even up yet. I checked Amazon, and there it was!

Spanish Gold is live!

Now, as of this morning, Saturday, it has a chart position. It, of course, has no reviews yet and also doesn’t have a “peek inside” feature. This will probably come when the Kindle version is available. Not sure when that will happen.

As I like to say, it’s now out of my cold dead hands. In other words, no more tweaks, no more edits, no more perfecting. It is what it is, so any more errors that got missed are set in stone, at least for the time being. Now, it’s time to sit back and let you, the public enjoy the read and see if I was able to weave an interesting tale for you. I know I enjoyed the ride. I hope you will as well!

Rock on!



The fact is that I love to use tunnels, regardless of genre. Spanish Gold is no exception. I fact they play a starring role in several places within the book. In one case, I had to stretch the geography unrealistically to make them work, as in Jolly Olde’ Englande’, specifically in the town of Ramsey (I never did acknowledge that in the credits). On the other hand, I’m not exaggerating…too much…in my use of tunnels under Madrid, Spain. If you’re a reader of thrillers, you’ll have probably noticed that the tunnels under Paris and New York have been beaten to death in the genre. However, little is known that the city of Madrid is also honeycombed with tunnels under the miles and miles of skyscrapers and elaborate ancient edifices and apartments that make up the city skyline. In fact, these tunnels were used extensively during the Spanish Civil War when Franco came to power. By the way, as of this morning as I write this, he’s still dead. I know, an old joke, but still…I couldn’t resist.

Will I continue to use tunnels in the future? Hey, they’re so much fun you can pretty much count on them to pop up somewhere. Maybe not in the next book, but they’ll be around, lurking…waiting…



So far, Spanish Gold continues to sell, one book at a time. I have to send out a big thank you to those of you that have invested the time and money in my little tale. I’ve sure enjoyed the journey and I hope you do as well. So far, there’s one non-verbal five star review, so while I’d love some words to go with it, I’m not complaining. I’ll take what I can get!

On with the adventure!



This upcoming week, I’m declaring castle week at Fred Central. That means that both my book pages will address castles as well as my regular blog page.

As for Detach and the Gold series, I don’t use a lot of castles in the series, per se, but they do and will make the occasional appearance. In fact, in the latest release, Spanish Gold, one is front and center when they first arrive in Spain. It’s not exactly a Disneyland inspired edifice, but it’ll do for the circumstances. In further adventures, these magnificent structures don’t have a place until…well, you’ll have to find out in future books down the line.

Castles are unique structures and are great settings for either real world, but especially historical fiction or fantasy settings. Knowing something about the real thing certainly helps. In my time in Europe, I saw plenty of them, from magnificently preserved to the more common ruins that are barely standing relics of a forgotten past. Personally, the reality of castle life was not so grand, so more than likely, outside of the safety factor from a pillaging standpoint, hovels were probably a lot more comfortable to live in, as if that’s saying much given the primitive living conditions. Not a rule, but…

I’ll go more into that in my regular blog article on Tuesday.



There’s a brief mention of El Corte Ingles in Spanish Gold. Not only does Detach and the gang walk by it on the way to Plaza Mayor during their Sunday sojourn when they first arrive in Madrid, but a character they meet that helps them along the way is an employee.

I used this huge department store because I have a long relationship with the place, dating back to the early 70’s. El Corte Ingles, which means “The English Cut” is like, or started off as sort of like a Macy’s, and evolved into a Sears, or something like that, at least from my perspective. In my lousy Spanish, I always thought of it as “English Court” but of course, my translation was way off. Whatever the case, the main building, which housed all the goodies I was interested in, mainly musical gear, and NOT clothes, was, and as far as I know, still is a multi-story building buried in downtown Madrid.

I’ve bought a few albums there over the years. However, most important, I bought my first and only Framus bass guitar, the one I used in Don Shaw and the Country Playboys and my later band, The Latineers. Later on, our bass player in Electric Mist also used it. I think they housed the musical gear, almost all of it either Hoefner or Framus, on the fifth or sixth floor, though I may be off a few floors.

I couldn’t resist using the store somewhere in Spanish Gold. I’d also thought of using their later competitor, Pryca, which was like a Wal-Mart. However, from what I’ve heard, Pryca went bankrupt, the last I heard, while El Corte Ingles is still going. After Kim and I got “she maddied,” we went there many times, along with the kids eventually as well. Our shopping was a lot different by then!



I want to mention Calle de Arturo Soria though there’s no direct mention that I recall in Spanish Gold, though if there is, it’s only in passing. Back in the early 70’s, when I first arrived in Spain, the street was well known as “suicide lane” to the local GIs, and for good reason. It was one of the first main drags when entering Madrid just after passing the exit to Barajas Airport on the A2 freeway. The driving was crazy there, and especially with a lack of good traffic control. Back then, Arturo Soria was considered, at least by us, sort of the outskirts of the city. The real action occurred further along where A2 turned into Avenida America and the Iron Horse etc.

I digress. Arturo Soria was the street that led to El Bosque where my wife lived when I first met her. It was also right at the exit off A2 where Ava Gardner had a house, at least rumor had it. The real reason I brought this up was that it was also diplomat row back then, or at least there used to be some really old houses along the way and many of them were abandoned already and then torn down for what is now the M30 lateral freeway. In doing so, they not only used a lot of what we in the You Ess and A would call Eminent Domain, but they also dug up and buried many of those old tunnels that were and still are a maze under Madrid. I know because there used to be several houses in that area with fireplaces and secret doors that are no longer there. The local kids, American and Spanish, used to go down into those tunnels and party. This is part of where I got the idea for the tunnels used in Spanish Gold. Of course, those tunnels in the book are much further along into the heart of Madrid. However, some of those passageways the kids partied in way out in the suburbs were rumored to go miles and miles toward the heart of the city. We’ll never know for sure now, but there you go. My inspiration didn’t all just come from thin air.



When I was first introduced to this (at the time) little housing oasis on the plain, little did I know what an impact the place would have on me in the decade I lived in Spain. Every time we came back there, Eurovillas was all we could think about when it came for a place to live. I, of course, couldn’t help but at least mention it in Spanish Gold. While it’s only a minor appearance in the grand scheme of things, Eurovillas is squeezed in there when Detach and crew drive through it to get to the cathedral in Nuevo Baztan. I was quite shocked at the changes not only to the (now) almost city and the roads. In fact, the road I use going down the hill is significantly altered from how it used to be, and using literary license, I kept it the old way for the sake of the story. In fact, if I were to visit Eurovillas today, I’d probably get lost and not even be able to find my old houses (I lived in three different ones). The funny thing is that when I originally wrote the draft, and checking satellite images of the time, my recollections were still accurate!



Of all the places I’ve talked about so far, I can’t help but mention thee 400lb gorilla in the room. The hub of the adventure, Madrid…and I’m not talking about a small town in Texas, given the state of our education system. For a decade, Madrid was my hangout. It was virtually my home away from home. I can say I knew driving in downtown better than my actual “hometown” of Ellay (that’s Los Angeles for outsiders). Then again, given that when I grew up in Southern California, the majority of it was spent without a driver’s licence!

I can’t say enough to adequately describe this wonderful city. I first arrived when Franco was still alive and the El Guardia Civil (the national heat, fuzz, cops) had a tight rein on things. I left there the final time with a wild and vibrant city full of life and a lot more than Franco’s regime ever envisioned.

While there was plenty of public transportation, especially the Metro (subway), for which I was quite familiar, I’d just as soon drive wherever I went. I did it with both Americano cars as well as everything form various European vehicles to a traditional Spanish SEAT. I’ve seen all (or most) of the sights (sites) and picked up endless inspiration, which is one reason you now have Spanish Gold before you today.




As those of you that follow me on Facebook know by now, I’ve been gone for a week on vacation. While I missed my weekly blog, my writing was never far away from my mind. Along the way and during our trip I found plenty of potential inspiration for further Detach adventures. Will I ever use this information? Who knows? Maybe directly, maybe indirectly. It’s just like Disneyland. It could be the starting off point, or a direct influence. Without further adieu, below are a couple of shots of what I’m talking about. Keep in mind that they may or may not EVER be used for anything, but the main gist is that I want to give you all an idea of how us writers are always coming up with ideas.



Keeping with the Gold theme and my most recent adventure, could there be the possibility of a novel called San Francisco Gold?

You never know. There are a wealth of possibilities. When you think about it, all the gold they mined and panned in the nether reaches of California funneled through “Frisco” and the bay. What’s to say some of it didn’t get lost somewhere in the bay or the surroundings? One day, I may have to research that. During our trip, I found out a few things about the flora and fauna of the bay and surroundings. This included a few surprises from the marina that had to do with Alcatraz.


All I have to do is get through Palmdale Gold, Lompoc Gold, Turkish Gold, Las Vegas Gold, and West Virginia Gold first. Then we’ll see about other places.



This post isn’t really about me, per se, but about any writer who’s seeking inspiration. As you all know, I recently took a trip to San Francisco. It DID inspire me. How I’ll use it is to be seen one day. The same can be said for our trip last year, deep in the pandemic as it was, to Tombstone, Arizona. When it comes down to it, that also applies to the many trips we’ve taken to Disneyland or any other place we or I’ve been throughout my life.

If you’re a writer, and can afford it, there’s nothing wrong with traveling for inspiration. That applies even if those places have nothing to do, directly, with whatever story you’re writing.

Now, I have to bring up the subject that is summed up in the title of an old song by the 60’s band, The Seeds. It’s called Travel With Your Mind. Many of us can’t afford to travel to those exotic places in our stories, especially if they’re real-world settings and not fantasy.

This is where research comes along. That means web sites, Google Earth, Google Maps, etc. What many never consider, is polling friends and forums for people who not only have been there, but maybe lived there. A consensus of details can help draw a better picture.

Don’t forget some sage advice my friend James Rollins gave me a long time ago. “If you don’t know the specifics, be vague.”



It’s been a long time since I’ve done a book signing. With the pandemic in full force, very few to nobody has been able to get out and do one. I know of a few that have tried with minimal results. Now that things are opening up, and with more people getting shotted up, things are looking brighter on that front. By this time, I have two books in the series to display, which is nice: Lusitania Gold and Spanish Gold.

This fall, my publisher is trying to organize an event here in Las Vegas. I’m looking forward to it. If it goes off as planned, I’ll be able to plug all four of my books so far published. I’ll address the next two on my other page, Meleena’s Adventures.



Today at 10:20 local Pacific time, I have a radio interview in Jolly Olde’ Englande’ with Chat And Spin about me and Spanish Gold. I have not done any kind of interview in a while so it’ll be nice to talk with the public again about my writing and especially my latest book. I hope some of you are up and hooked in with the link I posted on Facebook so you can listen in!



If you’ve read any of my books, you’ll know that I don’t go out of my way to describe any of my characters. Detach is the only exception, which I’ll get to in a moment.


I’d rather you draw your own picture. Originally, I’d describe my characters and maybe compare them to some celebrity. Then that celebrity would end up doing something bad, so I’d have that character forever associated with someone bad, regardless. Or, maybe half the audience would hate said celebrity, or the features of the character I described. I also learned a long time ago, that no matter who you describe, most people are going to fill in their own picture anyway.

Therefore…I let you. I, at best, give a brief and general description.

The exception is the hero of the Gold series. Detach. I describe him as looking like old Russian leader Vladimir Lenin, but with hair, or a crazed biker, both covered with tattoos. Most will agree Lenin was no hero or saint. I probably should’ve picked someone else. However, my inspiration for his look came from a guy I worked with in Oklahoma and that’s who he reminded me of, so hell or high water, I went with it. The funny thing is that I saw a documentary once on Lenin, years after I dubbed Detach with that description. It showed Lenin in disguise with a wig on. He looked nothing like what I thought he would. Go figure!

So, when someone says such and such an actor should play one of my characters, I’ll say great but I’ll never repeat it because I don’t want anyone to get that image stuck in their head. The only way that’ll happen is if my books ever get picked up for a movie. Chances are slim but not impossible. One can only hope.



During our latest Zoom writers group meeting, someone asked about my latest castle background. I sometimes change it out, now that I finally started using one instead of just having the mundane bookshelves of my computer room. While it used to be the Segovia Castle, I changed it to Pioz, a local castle about fifteen miles from where I used to live. I had to mention that while it was close to the house and also close to where Detach and the gang traveled during Spanish Gold, I never used it in the story. Segovia was waaaay out of the way, so it never made it, for obvious plot reasons. Pioz was a bit closer, but still no ceegar. While I might have been able to stretch things if I wanted, to tell the truth, I never thought of this rather neat little castle ruin. While I threw in plenty of places in and around where I lived and hung out, including Loeches, Alcala de Henares, Pozuelo del Rey, Eurovillas and Nuevo Baztan, Pioz was just too far off the beaten path. The little castle ruin on the hill next to Alcala was in my mind from the start. Since I never added it, I can at least give you a look see at the place to see what you missed.



The castle I actually used in Spanish Gold was little more than a ruin on a hillside on the outskirts of Alcala de Henares outside of Madrid. It’s called Arabes De Alcala La Vieja. At the time of writing the original manuscript, I had no idea. I also had no idea of the archeological excavations they also did in the meantime. It wasn’t until I did the rewrites and subsequent fact checking that I discovered the finally fenced off the site and dug out much more of this fascinating site. From the time I first visited it fifty years ago in 1971 to the last in probably the late 80’s, it consisted of just two towers separated by a sheep-shorn field. It’s not a bit more visible with some walls and even an arch. Below are some photos of the area and what I saw at the time. I’ve left it intact in the story except for the name.

This is me holding up the tower with the dungeon in it.

This is looking down the hill at the same tower with the dungeon entrance hidden by the slope.

This is the dungeon entrance. I have no photos from inside because they all showed up blank. I wasn’t a good enough photographer back then. Okay, I’m still not.

This is a long shot of the two towers. You can see a part of the rock wall to the far left.

The valley below and you can see all the sheep pathways in the grass. The spicy smell from the prickly weed is indescribable, but very cool.

A long shot of the valley next to the castle ruin.

Down at the base of the hill with the Henares river and Alcala at our back. This is the route Detach and crew would’ve taken. The castle is up and to the right out of view. That mesa in the background is called “Franco’s Mountain” by the local GIs from Torrejon Air Base.



Wendy is best buds with Mackey, the little person the gang meets up with when they first get to Ramsey, England. Elroy and Becky first meet her in the office inside the Ramsey abbey and she helps them by revealing some tunnels underneath the town. Wendy has multi-colored hair and face piercings typical of her age. Between her and Mackey, they’re a lot of help with the beginnings of Detach’s search for the lost treasure.



There are several “bad guys” in Spanish Gold, but the main one, the big baddie is one Lyle McNee. He’s a true whacko. Okay, he’s not the only true whacko in the book, but he pretty much takes the cake and gives the gang the most grief. I’m not going to reveal too much about him for spoiler sake, but let’s just say that pharmaceutical relief on his part may or may not have saved the gang a lot of trouble.



Igor “Karandash” Romanov is a minor character in Lusitania Gold. He’s a major Mafia kingpin called Karandash, which is pencil in Russian. He gets that moniker because bodies his gang murders tend to show up with pencils jabbed into their eyes. His part is small but memorable.



This past week I read where there was another dive down to the Titanic after restrictions were lifted from the pandemic. The purpose was to do a check on the condition of the wreck because it’s been several years since the last visit. There were mentions to starting tours again, and something about them being cheaper than space flights.

I digress.

The gist of this all was that the ship is significantly deteriorated since the last visit. Despite the depth of about a mile down, where it’s pitch black and there’s not that much wildlife and other debris to contend with, it seems like the sea has still found a way to mess with the ship. Microbes, currents, and salinity have eaten away at the structure, and it’s slowly but significantly disappearing. It won’t be long before the Titanic, or what’s left of it, will be nothing more than a lump or iron residue on the ocean floor.

This made me think of the Lusitania, which is in shallow water, only three hundred feet. It’s within deep diving depth, the range of divers with special heliox mixes. It sits in murky water, being constantly buffeted by strong currents just off the coast of Ireland. While it was slightly smaller than the Titanic and sunk three years later, plus it more or less came down on the seabed in one piece, it has pancaked on the ocean floor. It’s covered with fishing nets, was once used for target practice by the Irish Navy, and is still, today, owned for the salvage rights by a private concern.

The Lusitania makes me wonder what it looks like today, and if it’s in any better shape than the Titanic. I haven’t heard anything about it lately. Guess I’ll have to dig deeper.



For the first post-COVID event, I will be at a book signing. It’s been a long time. This is the perfect opportunity to not only meet and greet you, but sell some books and sign them. I’ll have hard copies of both Lusitania Gold and Spanish Gold.

The event will be at the Clark County Public Library at Flamingo and Maryland Parkway (or thereabouts) on August 7, 2021 between 10AM and 4PM. Included within that time is two hours for each of us authors to sell books and time for panel discussions and other things. I’m not sure what my time slot (or slots if I’m on a panel) is/are going to be yet, but as soon as I know, I’ll announce it here along with more details For those of you within a practical driving distance, would love to see you there!



The latest Titanic photos have started to leak out now in a video I saw just yesterday. An expedition earlier this week released a few snippets of video from their dive to show how deteriorated the wreck site is. It actually showed more of the debris scattered on the sea floor, rather than the ship itself.

All through this publicity, I still wonder at the severe lack of any news of the Lusitania, which is much more accessible, yet not near as famous or infamous. Maybe next week I’ll have something to say about it.



I did a bit of checking on the Lusitania, especially since news of that ship is usually buried given that even the slightest mention of the Titanic makes headlines. I found an article from the Irish Times that stated that the wreck site was “gifted” to the Lusitania Museum/Old Head Tower Group back in 2019! As some of you may know, the wreck used to be privately owned. If this is true, that makes a significant difference in how the wreck and any artifacts recovered are handled. The original owner of the ship, who was in advanced age, had been trying to dive on the ship and at the same time, deal with loads of legal issues in all that time. I guess it finally came to a head and he gave up the ghost. A neutral or relatively so organization dedicated to the preservation of Irish history is more likely to get cooperation from any authorities on further exploration.

If you were paying attention last week, you know that the Titanic has significantly deteriorated given that it’s over a mile below the surface. The Lusitania is only three-hundred feet and is constantly hit by tidal currents along the coast. It’s in far worse shape even though it was sunk three years later. In essence, it’s an oblong shaped scrap heap, even though it’s at least in one piece, unlike the Titanic. Diving on the ship requires a special Heliox mix of gasses and is extremely dangerous given not only the currents, but the masses of fishing nets entangled in the ship plus the unexploded ordnance still left over from when the Irish Navy used it for target practice. This wreck is no casual dive!

We’ll see what develops from this point on.



I know this is a repeat, but I have to get the word out again. I’ll be at the Clark County Library at Flamingo and Maryland Parkway on August 7, at the Local Author’s Literary Fair. Over 40 of the local authors will be represented in showcases that include vendor tables, panels, presentations and just all around literary fun! I’ll be there the entire time and will be manning my own table (shared with another author) from 2-4 PM and will have copies of both Lusitania Gold and Spanish Gold. Would love to see any of you locals there. For those of you out of town and who can’t make it, will miss you all! It’s great to be able to get out again, even if it’s masked up. It’s been a long time!



Today’s the day. I’ll be at the Clark County Library at Flamingo and Maryland Parkway in Las Vegas for the Local Author’s Literary Fair. It’s now grown to 70 authors and will be represented with showcases that include vendor tables, panels, presentations and literary mayhem! As I’ve said twice before, I’ll be there the entire time and will man a vendor table from 2-4 PM where I’ll be selling all four of my books, including the two Detach novels, Lusitania Gold and Spanish Gold. Would love to see you there!



If I haven’t mentioned it already, now that the dust has settled, my publisher requested my next book be the third Detach book, which is Palmdale Gold. I actually wrote it back in 2002 and have already read it to the Henderson Writer’s Group. Now I’m in the process of not only re-reading it for the umpteenth time, but updating and tweaking it, given that it’s almost two decades out of date. Same thing I had to do with Spanish Gold. There are several other things going on behind the scenes but I’d rather save them for another bit of news down the line…that is…if they become news.



While a few have already read early drafts of Palmdale Gold, soon it’ll be time to send it out again to a few beta readers. I have a few people that do that for me. This is the time when I have multiple sets of eyes look over the big picture for major flaws, if they want, they may also spot little ones along the way. Sometimes the little ones are moot once the manuscript gets to the editors, but it still never hurts. The thing is that I want a big picture feel for plot, pacing, and overall enjoyment so I can fix anything that needs fixing before turning it in. My usual gang is pretty good about pointing stuff out to me. They at least ask questions if need be, so I can explain and sometimes tweak the wording to clarify something that may not be clear to the average reader if I somehow didn’t make it that clear. Or, they may point out something I totally missed. Like I said, second sets of eyes!



Since Palmdale Gold is now in the works, the subject of sag ponds is going to come up. What’s a sag pond?

Along the visible crack in a fault line, where the ground sags down, sometimes it’ll rupture the water table. When it does, this dip in the surface ground forms a small pond or lake. This is called a sag pond. These almost perpetual water sources never seem to dry up, and don’t have a visible source, at least if you don’t have a knowledge of underground hydrology. Similar to oases in the desert, the most infamous ones known are along the San Andreas Fault in California.

Wonder why I brought this up?



Here it is, two weeks since I last posted and I’m not afraid to say nothing much is going on. So what? Things don’t always happen in the life of a writer. Last weekend, we went down to Anaheim for war games with our age of chivalry group, therefore I didn’t post. This weekend, I’m still waiting to hear from my beta readers on Palmdale Gold. In those two weeks, I haven’t written a thing, haven’t heard anything new about ships, or anything significant or “earthshaking” about earthquakes to pass on, though they had a deadly rumbler down in Mexico. As for what I’ll talk about next week? I’m working on it!



Every once in a while I think beyond book six, which is the last full novel I’ve completed so far. I started number seven years ago and need to get back to it. What about beyond that? I’ve been pondering ideas for way beyond seven for years. It’s just finding the time now to tackle all the projects! They usually center around places I’ve been and that includes many, so we’ll see where that leads.



I received a final from one of my beta readers with some very valuable suggestions for Palmdale Gold. I’m now waiting and storing up those suggestions until I hear from my other readers to make the changes. It’s great to have other sets of eyes again on this novel that’s been brewing for a little over a decade. It was a lot of fun to revisit it again too!



I was recently given one of the greatest compliments. It was a quote from Spanish Gold!

I won’t repeat it here because I don’t want to influence or bias anyone else, but let’s just say this person was deeply moved by this quote from the book.

Can’t get any better than that!



I just saw on the net news the other day that Lego came out with their most elaborate and expensive project yet. It’s a model of the Titanic. Yup, that’s right. Just in time for Christmas if you have $600 plus dollars laying around. It consists of 9000+ pieces, specialized pieces, of course. The assembled model is something like 39 inches long. Makes quite the tabletop conversation piece and an extreme challenge to build. To me, it reminds me of those large 10,000 piece blank white puzzles, for some reason.



Last Saturday, my usual posting day, I was participating in IST, International Steel Tournament at the Renaissance Faire in Las Vegas. It was a draining but rewarding weekend. I killed at archery, which was more of a surprise to me than probably anyone else! I’m too old to participate in the sword or jousting activities. So, I skipped a week, but in the meantime, there wasn’t much news anyway for that week. However, just the ‘tuther day, I finally got back feedback from the last beta reader for Palmdale Gold. Therefore, I can make some tweaks to the manuscript and turn the package into the publisher. It’ll be time to see what happens. I wanted to get feedback from the caretaker of the real lake, but so far, I still cannot contact him. Oh well…have to go with the fictional lake instead. Life goes on.



I finally got Palmdale Gold back from my beta readers. I need to make some final tweaks and will be ready to submit the draft to the publisher. I just let her know. My only regret is that I couldn’t contact the caretaker of the lake. We lost touch so I guess I’ll have to stick with the fictional lake instead of the real one. Oh well…so goes it when some things are privately owned.



Well, I did it. After some last minute tweaks from my beta readers and a question which I couldn’t resolve from my publisher, I took the plunge and submitted Palmdale Gold. We’ll see what happens. On another front, got an outstanding review of Spanish Gold! Besides the rewarding rush of writing and completing and editing a novel, it’s the things like this that make it all worthwhile.



For those of you paying attention, you may have noticed I skipped another Saturday. This time I was still at the happiest place on earth. Someone on Facebook asked me where that was, even with the photos I posted, so I have to specify Disneyland. That’s the original park in Aneheim, California, NOT the World site in Florida. I love that original park! It provides so much inspiration for writing, both directly and indirectly. I’ve mentioned that multiple times, probably here and in my blog articles. I’ve even posted photos somewhere. This time, I’m going to do the same, but just a few photos this time. No need to oversaturate things. No, I won’t write any story with Disney in the title for obvious reasons. No, I won’t write anything even remotely related to fan fiction. What I do is get inspired, like in a muse. The place helps spur me on in many ways. These are mostly ways you’ll never see or even figure out. That’s the way it should be. Besides, with the thousands of lawyers in their employ, I couldn’t even mention or give credit to anything I wanted to use without a flurry of cease and desist orders. They’re very protective. That’s okay. It’s enough to enjoy the place and derive inspiration. Thank you Walt. I still feel your impact.

My most favorite place in the entire park, right outside the Pooh ride.

A selfie looking the opposite direction.

A Titanic Lego project. 9K pieces. Quite a project!



For those of you who have read Spanish Gold, the cat’s already out of the bag. If you paid attention to the first few pages before the story started, you may have noticed the dedication was to the late great Glen E. Buxton. Last year in October here on this page, I did a little blurb on one of the characters, Margel Buxton. I said he had a special place in the story and the book was dedicated to him but you’d have to read it to find out how and why. I was just thinking about Glen yesterday when a discussion came up on Facebook about guitar players. I couldn’t help mentioning him and the original Alice Cooper band. I had the great fortune to see the band in their formative years in 1970 just after their second album, Easy Action came out. At this time, they were still a very underground freak band from (at the time) Ellay (Los Angeles) on Frank Zappa’s Bizarre label. I, on the other hand, was floored by their first two albums and to this day, Pretties For You and Easy Action are still my all-time favorites. It was about a year later when they were in Detroit and they finally hit it big with Eighteen and their album Love It To Death. The rest is history. I never got to meet Glen, but I did meet Vince (Alice) once in the 80’s in Spain. It’s a treasured experience. Unfortunately, Glen passed away at the young age of 49 in the late 90s so my chance to meet him will never happen. The best I could do was write him into my story in my own way and give him a nod.



Spanish Gold continues to sell, a trickle at a time, but still, I’ll take what I can get! I only ask you all to leave a review if you will. I’d really appreciate the feedback! The more reviews I get, the better the Amazon ranking and the more people are tempted to buy it. It’s a numbers thing.

I want to thank all of you for all your continued support!



The next adventure with Detach has to do with a bottomless lake.

Did I make that up?

No. It’s based on a real lake. The only difference is that due to the fact that the lake is privately owned at present, I had to change the name and location so I wouldn’t get sued. The owner, who might very well have passed away by now, did not want publicity drawn to the lake. While many other locals have, and continue to write about it, especially every Halloween and on certain social media, I chose the correct way and asked permission. The last time I talked to the caretaker, he relayed that the city was trying to buy the lake to preserve the ecosystem and turn it into a park, or a parking lot, or a bridge for the Cal-Trans railway, depending on the day asking. Unfortunately, I lost contact with him. Therefore, I have had to go with the different name and location. However, that won’t stop me from showing a few photos of the real lake, without naming it or the exact location!

This is me standing in front of the lake with my infamous Mark Martin NASCAR jacket on. No, I’m not a NASCAR fan, I just liked the jacket and my wife, the fan, got it for me. I finally retired it and went with a Jeff Gordon one for a while. Now I have an Air Force jacket which I sometimes wear. Geez, this was like 2009 or so. It’s been that long since I had this shot taken!

This is a shot from up the hill looking down on the lake to where the line of trees are. The deep end is toward the left. In the story, the bushes are a bit thicker in the surroundings.

This is a tree growing right at the edge of the deep end which has never been measured accurately but is somewhere around 35-40 feet where it meets up with a volcanic-like cone shape that goes even deeper.

This is the row of trees (Pinus Monophylla) where Detach and gang set up the crane to dive into the lake. That tree from the last photo is at the extreme left of this photo.

Looking over the shallower end of the lake to where the turtles live. Every (or most) winters, when the lake turns, the water lowers and becomes toxic. The wildlife either departs or dies off, but always seems to come back. That includes the fish which seem to survive the hydrogen sulfide (a deadly gas) that burps up from the depths.

An overall view of the football field sized lake including the stem from my glasses. Oh well…

In the history of the area, this lake has never dried up, though similarly formed lakes nearby have. I guess that’s one reason it got the reputation as being bottomless. It’s called a sag pond and formed when the San Andreas Fault ruptured the water table. I’m standing on the rift zone of the fault while taking the photo. The crack of the fault line runs from left to right in the photo with the lake sitting in the bottom of it. It is obvious from satellite photos. All it takes is a little imagination to make the lake a LOT deeper than the reality. Then again, what IS the reality since the real bottom has never been definitively measured? My imagination goes wild in Palmdale Gold!



When I came online this morning, the MSN home page ran an article called Things you might not know about the Titanic. While I’ll admit I sighed and went “here we go again, click bait,” I couldn’t help but, of course, click on it. Curiosity won out as I clicked through the mostly already well-known facts that have been stated over and over again, ad nauseum. However, I came to the very last one, which threw me for a loop because for some reason, it skipped my notice, or I forgot it.

The families of the Titanic band members were asked to pay for the uniforms. Can you believe that? The band, who in another one of those factoids, was proven by countless eyewitnesses from survivors to play right up to the sinking, and none survived, had their families given a double whammy by the White Star Line by demanding payment for their uniforms. Talk about a kick in the gut! Not only don’t musicians get respect, or paid a decent wage, they even can’t metaphorically get beer money. Geez!



I think I’ve mentioned them before but just the other day, there was another mention on the net about two separate ventures to rebuild the Titanic. Why, you may ask? Good question, but I’m not one to venture that, but just to marvel that someone would want to fork out all that cash to create something that didn’t make the cut (it sank, after all). Anyway, there are two major projects in the works. One in Australia and one in China. The one in Australia looks to be a private venture that may or may not get off the ground. It’s been in the works for several years and has gone through a series of legal issues. The second, in China is a conglomerate thing that may or may not be half built by now. The article was a bit vague on that one. The Chinese one portrayed it of more in a Disneyland like setting, so we’ll see how that turns out. When I think about it, it sounds sort of exciting, but that the same time, sort of morbid. Redoing an obsolete design so that it won’t sink this time? Rebuilding a ship, that by modern standards is way too small and cramped? Rebuilding a ship that has none of the modern luxuries that cruise ships have without significantly cheating on the design? Hmmm…



It just so happens that today’s post falls on New Year’s Day. So, without further adieu, I want to wish all of you a happy 2022. For those of you that are glass is half empty types, let’s hope 2022 is better than 2021. For those of you that are glass is half full types, let’s hope 2022 is just as good if not better than 2021!



On my regular blog, I’ve talked about starting the story where it begins, not doing a bunch of flashbacks. This is quite a common plot device in movies and TV. When I first started the Gold adventures, every one of them had a prologue. I’ve since turned them into Chapter One with a subtitle. Then Chapter Two became Present Day. While that’s not strictly a flashback, it starts the story in the past and moves to the present. It keeps things linear. Then, during the adventure, I don’t bring the action to a screeching halt for a chapter or two just to jump to the past to explain something or other. Occasionally, I do throw in something from the past but in short, more palatable doses so as not to lose the continuity of the story.

That’s why, unlike many of my contemporaries in the genre, you will see no Prologues. Yes, I capitalized it, to emphasize it as a proper title. Research (not me but the grand poobahs in the sky as in publishers and agents and editors) have determined that a lot of readers skip prologues, so by making it Chapter One, the reader is more likely not to skip it.

That brings up flashbacks. What about them?

I don’t know about you, but I, for one, sometimes skip flashbacks! That’s right. I can get quite annoyed with them. If they’re a long one, especially if the author decides to change tense, or change font or something, it goes in the trash barrel for me!

I, for one, don’t want to put you, the reader through that. In each Gold adventure, you’re not going to see large flashback scenes. A paragraph or two? Maybe. A bit of dialogue between characters? Maybe.

That’s it. The story, where it all begins.



Just a note in case you haven’t already figured it out. Those click bait articles on the Titanic (never the Lusitania, by the way) like to tout “Shocking photos, not for the faint of heart” or something along those lines. Or, “Never before seen photos” or “Rare photos” which when you put them all together, only means one thing.

They’re the same old crap that have been on line for years, maybe decades.

There isn’t a single one of them that hasn’t been available to the public, nor posted multiple times in probably tens to hundreds of first official, and then these click bait sources.

I’d suggest trying to find the official Titanic web sites, of which there are several and browsing them first, then maybe as a goof, if you have a great ad blocker, try one of these sites.

Keep in mind the words “click bait.”

That means they’re full of ads and cookies just itching to latch onto your computer with probably something nefarious. Luckily, most of them have a little green “Ad” or something like that in the lower left corner which clearly denotes what you’re getting into. However, don’t count on that to be there.

‘Nuff said.



This really IS Titanic news, which IS related to what I keep talking about, even though it has nothing directly to do with my book Lusitania Gold.


Because the Lusitania is the bastard child of shipwrecks. It isn’t pretty or infamous, or full of the same as its partner in crime, so to speak. I rarely, if at all, get any news to report about this once magnificent ship. However, the Titanic? Read on.

I sometimes watch a channel called Reels, mainly for the rare music shows called “Breaking The Band.” I’ve watched a few others including one on Jack The Ripper and the death of a few celebrities.

Along the way, they’ve even had an interesting show on the Titanic, which I watched and mentioned here.

Now, every week it seems, they have a series of shows about the Titanic. Called Titanic Stories or something to that effect, it’s what I like to call getting blood out of a turnip. It’s a grab for more viewers by rehashing the same ole’ same ole’ and trying to throw a slight new spin on the proceedings. I’ll admit I haven’t watched them all, but one sampling was enough. For an hour show, I got about a minute and a half of something new. That’s it.

Blood out of a turnip.

Reminds me of a show on The History Channel about some island…



In my next Gold adventure, Detach goes back to my real hometown, at least the one I used to call hometown when I was still in the Air Force. In Palmdale Gold I can’t help but give a nod to my old high school. You may think old Freddie had a great time there, but truth be told, that was definitely a fifty-fifty mix. I won’t go into the significant unpleasantries here, but let’s just say my “tribute” touches on that. It’s not literal. In fact, not even close. It’s still my own way of acknowledging both the pleasant and unpleasant times at that four-year (at least for me) institution. Almost everything about it has changed, at least superficially since 1969, which not only dates me, but gives you some idea of how things can change in five decades. Still, for a small desert community of around ten thousand people that now touts over one hundred and thirty thousand, that’s quite a significant jump and a lot of burden for an institution that, at least to me, doesn’t look much larger in physical size than it did back when I was within those fences (now lined with barbed wire).



Why is there “gold” in every title in this series?

Good question and one I decided right from the outset.

There have been lots of series with a common word, thought or theme in the titles and I chose gold specifically based on what Detach and crew set out to find on the Lusitania. Almost right from the start, when I started the first pages of Lusitania Gold way back when, I was already thinking of other titles in the series. I never had a one-off book in mind.

I was, of course, highly influenced by the works of Clive Cussler. However, it doesn’t stop there. I have to give huge nods to Franklin W Dixon (The Hardy Boys), Andrew North (Andre Norton), Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Lester Dent (Doc Savage). All did series I greatly enjoyed and while not all of them had common threads in the title, they had a common hero. In this case, rather than have “A Detach Adventure” plastered on each book (or something to that effect), which still may happen one day, depending on the publisher, I figured just the name “gold” in the title alone would designate it a series of some kind.

With Lusitania Gold and Spanish Gold in the hopper now, and Palmdale Gold on the way, it’s pretty obvious there’s a common thread. While I’ve seen some series that have a common plot yet completely different characters in each one (sorry, can’t think of examples right now), I chose to find a set of characters I can go with.

It seems to be working so far.



If you live in Southern California, especially for those with a glass is half empty attitude, you always have “the big one” lingering in the back of your mind. Why? The San Andreas Fault runs right through the entire region, not to mention countless other faults like the Reseda one that caused “the big one” in the 70’s.

However…that Reseda quake wasn’t really the big one, the big Kahuna, the mother of all earthquakes that everyone keeps talking about.

Let’s take the last time the fault line had a major…major shift, which probably generated a humongous jolt. That was around the time of the Civil War. Geologists studying the then thinly populated area, said the fault line shifted as much as 35 feet in some places. Folks, that would be quite a jolt for the solid ground along the strike-slip fault to shift thirty-plus feet right to left! Consider that the huge crack runs from at least Northern California down past the Salton Sea to wherever. That much ground shifting anywhere along the line is going to send disastrous ripples out going both ways. The severity will depend on the solidity (density) of the ground and a host of other factors. Let’s just say that such movement will be felt far and wide. While not much is recorded from that Civil War jolt, you can see plenty of evidence (or at least you could back in the day) when the Antelope Valley Freeway was first cut through the foothills southwest of Palmdale. The twists and turns in the rock strata, exposed when they cut passes through them hills attests to what can happen to solid rock under extreme pressure.

Our little lake in Palmdale Gold sits right in the middle of that fault line. While maybe not the big one happens, mayhem will ensue.



Today, I’ll be at a book signing at the Clark County library at Flamingo and Maryland Parkway in Las Vegas. I get a chance to meet and greet and sell copies of Lusitania Gold and Spanish Gold. Hope to see you there!



I wouldn’t be able to write what I do if I hadn’t traveled to many places in my life. Those adventures have provided me with plenty of fodder for my adventures, regardless of the genre. Something about each place has left me with an inspiration, at one time or another, to write something. Of course, many if not most of those places I visited before I started writing. I just consider myself extremely lucky I got to travel to where I did, despite any peril or misadventures.

Many of those places have faded into memory with time, not with specific things, but overall. Then again, it’s always fun to research and reminisce as I go along. When I lived in a place thirty or forty years ago, then want to write a story including that place, things are, of course, going to change. All part of the fun of writing. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love what I do!



The other day, my Amazon number leaped on the Spanish Gold page. I have no idea who bought it, but I sure appreciate it.

Now, all I need is another review.

So’s the life of an indie writer!

By indie I DO NOT mean self-published either. Just a smaller press, but that’s fine with me.

Many of us, traditional with small press or self-published, always struggle with marketing and getting feedback. If you’re thinking of this passion yourself, be prepared!



I just ran across a guy on Facebook who was polling present and former residents of the Antelope Valley about local monster legends. He plans to write a book about them. I couldn’t help but chime in after all the research I did on the bottomless lake for Palmdale Gold.

While I can’t say I’ve heard much about other critters/monsters/icky bugs from around the rest of the valley, I did quite a bit of research on the sag ponds along the San Andreas Fault, which borders Palmdale’s southwest side. I passed what I knew to him for his future research.

I’ve already described what a sag pond is, but a quick and dirty is that the crack in the San Andreas Fault is quite visible in the area. As a result of this crack, in multiple places it has ruptured the water table forming large puddles, or lakes, in the sag in the ground where the fault lies. The largest and most prominent in our area are Lake Hughes, Lake Elizabeth, and Una Lake. I might also add some true puddles in what they call the “Haunted Ponds.”

Palmdale Gold is loosely based on an extreme exaggeration of one of these real lakes, though I had to change the name and location because it’s privately owned (still, as of this writing).

As for icky bugs? There are local legends about the Nessie-like monster in Lake Elizabeth. It’s been seen by multiple people. However, it’s kind of hard to justify that one because the lake, along with Lake Huges have virtually dried up, which leaves no room for such a beast. The other theory is that this monster can travel underground, somewhere through the crack in the fault and reach the other lakes. The only one that hasn’t dried up completely, at one time or another, is Una Lake. That one is a lot deeper than the others and is considered by many to be bottomless. At the same time, the Chinese workers hired to build the railroad along Sierra Highway supposedly saw a dragon-like creature that flew between the lakes. So, that’s two possible icky bug sightings there.

The third thing is the Haunted Ponds. Checking Google, I’ve never seen much but a swampy area at this place that might occasionally turn into a series of ponds, or one larger one when the water table is extremely high. It’s called that because of this one old tree and supposedly someone was murdered by hanging at the tree. It’s said the ghost of that person has been spotted there on occasion.

All of this is part of the local legends and certainly an inspiration for Palmdale Gold.



I know this is probably beating a dead horse by talking about the Titanic again, but I couldn’t resist watching another show, this time on Reels again, about the ship. This one involved several main theories on why the ship sank. There are a few like the latest coal bunker fire one, but that one has been disproved because the fire wasn’t located anywhere near where the ship actually hit the iceberg, even though it was on the same side. The other one I recall is bad steel which especially involved the rivets. They did a test with the same type rivet and it held up like it was supposed to.

Anyway, the main gist of the show, and I AM giving off spoilers, is that it was a combination of errors that made the ship sink, from the rip in the hull, to the cold temp that made the steel more brittle, to the speed of the ship, to not enough lifeboats, which still had plenty of room to save many more.

There is another special, something about myths and stories of the ship, but at two hours, I may just skip it. Usually, these shows don’t provide anything earthshaking or we would’ve heard about it on the news.

Still waiting for a special on the Lusitania. Oh well…



I didn’t post anything last week because I had to work that weekend. It’s a rare thing but won’t be the only one. In the meantime, did I do anything writing related? Well…not much. Outside of posting my weekly blog article on Marketing, about all I did was a tad more investigating into Amazon Ads. Still not ready to pull the trigger because out of all the writers I know, I only got two responses from anyone that’s actually tried it. Considering how much it could potentially cost me, I’m still a bit iffy on giving it a try. If I do, I sure hope it does better than Facebook Ads. That’s all I’ll say about it.



I missed another weekend because I was working. So, what’s happened in all that time? Yeah, I know, only two weeks but…

On the net, I stumbled across a new movie coming out this year. In fact, the release date was yesterday. I wonder if it’ll be in theaters or direct to video or one of the movie channels? I digress.

The new movie is called Titanic 666, and from the title, you can pretty much guess where this one is going. I’m curious, but not enough to go to a theater. It was filmed at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA and of course, they had to do some significant alterations with CGI to make the QM look like Titanic III. Maybe they didn’t shoot any of the exteriors on the three-funnel ship to make it look like a four-funneled Titanic clone. Maybe all the shipboard shots were done there, but not far enough away to see the QM in full.

I’ve only heard of a couple of the stars, so this isn’t exactly big-budget compared to the usual fare. Then again…at least it’s some news about a Titanic, though nobody still hasn’t done anything with the Lusitania. Just not the same pizazz I guess…



Have you ever wondered if where you live is prone to earthquakes? It may or may not surprise a lot of people if they research this. Seismic zones exist throughout the world and what many people consider a stable environment may be surprised to learn what lies beneath them. For instance, when I moved to where I am now, this place wasn’t popularly known as an earthquake zone. Yet, not a mile from my house, as the crow flies lies (hey, that rhymes) a fault line. In fact, my house sits between two. They have not ruptured in a long time, but they’re there and are at least partly responsible for the contour of the local landscape. Not only that, but not far from here lies an ancient volcano. Yup, not just some hill but a real volcanic cone. One would never recognize it outright since it’s worn down to a nub, but geologists have confirmed it. What goes with volcanos? Yup, earthquakes. If you live in an area with historic volcanic activity, guess what?

Now, there are the sedimentary faults. What I mean by that is fault lines that are well-disguised by thick layers of sediment. The biggest example is the New Madrid fault from Memphis up past St Louis. History has shown this fault ruptured in the early 1800’s. It would’ve been devastating if the area was populated at the time.

Closer to home (for me), we have the infamous San Andreas fault, which has been associated with many quakes including a huge rupture about the time of the Civil War.

What about non-traditional places like the Appalachians, the East Coast? Most of Europe?

Ahem, don’t get too comfortable!



Just got my royalty statement from the publisher and I sold a copy each of Lusitania Gold and Spanish Gold.

Hope I made some new fans!



It was 107 years ago today that the German U-boat, the U-20 sent a torpedo into the side of the Lusitania off the Old Head Of Kinsale in Ireland. A secondary explosion blew out a large chunk of the hull and the ship developed a severe list (tilt). It sank in about 18 minutes, not enough time to get everyone off the ship. It also took a while for rescue crews to get there and because of the water temperature, many that managed to dive in the water died of hypothermia. The list was so bad that about half the lifeboats couldn’t be lowered which added to the casualties. The crew was also not properly trained in evacuation, which added even more to the situation. 1,198 people lost their lives. While not as many as the 1,500 lost on the Titanic, which was an accident, this was a deliberate sinking. Rumor has it that it helped bring the US into World War 1.



While technically, the Gold series are adventure/thrillers, to me, they’re all still adventures. That’s the truest definition of everything I write, regardless of genre. I never started out to make some kind of statement about whatever, I started writing for the thrill and exploratory aspects of everything. I could always see this stuff in my head, and as my skills became better, it was just a matter of taking the time to write it all out. I found out that I enjoyed every part of the writing process including editing, marketing materials and even cover design and more. Though I did not design my covers, I made suggestions and approved of them. I not only self-edited, but worked with editors and proofreaders to make each story as clear and accurate as possible, grammar and syntax-wise. The research was a lot of fun as well which helped me make some technical aspects accurate. To me, it’s all part of the adventure!



I’m continuing on the never-ending struggle to market the Gold series. As I may or may not have mentioned before somewhere, I’ve been researching Amazon Ads. This seems like it might be a way to get the word out. The issues are the complexity of the rules and all the nuances to make it so I’m not just throwing money away, like on Facebook. Apparently book buyers don’t care about anything to do with them on Facebook. However, at Amazon, that’s exactly why they are shopping there and looking for books.

So, with that in mind, what to do?

A big part of it is setting a budget so you don’t go broke.

Then there’s the ways to advertise it, from auto (letting Amazon decide) to manual setup.

In manual setup, you have to pick key words, and apparently, dependent on the word, you get charged varying amounts. I’m assuming you don’t get charged the total for all key words, but instead only when someone clicks on your book using that key word. Or…they see your book somewhere and it’s attached to a certain keyword (or words) associated with that entry.

This could all get very expensive quick if you don’t set a daily limit. Keep in mind that that daily number is multiplied by 30 days (or whatever) each month so you get a bill of $100+ dollars every month, depending whether anyone actually clicks on your book. Also keep in mind the more you spend, the more prominent your ads.

The other keys are having a good author page, a good cover, and a good blurb.




I saw an article the other day that showed an illustration of the sizes of old grand ships compared to the modern cruise ship. The difference was startling to me. They (of course) showed the Titanic compared to some nameless cruise ship, but it could’ve just as easily been the Lusitania which while a bit smaller, but wasn’t THAT much smaller. It was like the old four-funneled classic was a rowboat compared to the modern ship. Let me tell you, the old ships were nothing to sneeze at so some of these newer ships are colossal. I’ll admit I’ve never been a fan of cruise ships as to me they’re nothing but big petri dishes with no place to go until one reaches port. Sure, that could be said about any ship, regardless of size. However, seeing as how crowded they get, I’d say a cruise ship is a lot worse in that regard. That’s okay, my take is certainly not going to hurt their bottom line. Whatever the take, both the Lusitania and Titanic were HUGE.



This is something many authors are faced with during their evolution. Has it ever happened to me? I was going to say never, otherwise I wouldn’t have so many manuscripts in the can. However, when I get real honest, I’d say I spent a good bit of time staring at a blank page BEFORE I got serious about writing.

The whole deal is that you don’t just decide you want to write and sit down and start. That was a mistake I made before I knew what I was doing. I had no plan, just a desire. It wasn’t until decades later that when I got serious, I always had a plan, or as I call it, I figured out “A and B” before I ever started. Once I had that, it was easy to sit down to that blank page and let it flow.

I’ve always had a plan since I became a serious writer. I’ve never just stared at a blank page since the early 70’s.



I’ve had the past week off, so you might think I got some writing done. Nope. This vacation was for a home project which even as I write this, isn’t done yet. I certainly feel my age! On the other hand, I’ve had little down time to even think of writing except I did finally get a click on my Amazon Ads account. I also sold one of my books, so I guess something is finally happening, at least at a trickle. Gotta take whatever one can!



I started this campaign a little less than a month ago, and for a while nothing at all happened. I was getting lots of hits on my search words (this is how it’s supposed to work), but none of them were clicking on my particular ad. Then finally, a trickle started where I sold an e-book and then a paper book and then another paper book but for the other novel in the series which I have not advertised yet. I guess I may be doing something right, at least minimally so. This Amazon Ads thing is a slow process to get into the right niche and that’s from a few people who have done it before. We’ll see how it goes.



When Detach and crew go on a simple treasure hunt, it turns into anything but that. Tracing down the trail of Captain Harwood’s treasure, they start in England, then to the Azores, and finally to Spain. Along the way, they do a favor by searching for a renegade virologist, pick up a psychotic rogue government agent, and then a Spanish serial killer. Of course, mayhem ensues before they get anywhere near their goal. Will they survive intact?



I originally posted this in April 2018 but due to the energy crisis, I thought it would be great to bring it up again. Pipe dream? Of course. Impossible? Jury’s still out on that, at least in some circles.

My idea for cold fusion 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 Lusitania Gold and will continue in the Gold series (Spanish Gold and more), and I’m sticking to it!



As of now, I’ve spent a bit of money but sold three books. While the spend-to-earn ratio is far from ideal, the fact is that I sold three books. I also sold one of the others in the series, incidentally, so in a way, that makes four books now. All I can say is three/four is better than zero books!

The ad statistics are rolling in now so I’m able to manipulate the data to try and increase my odds. This ads thing is a real and complicated game. More on it on Tuesday.



I’ve always wanted to include a volcano in one of my stories and I managed to pull it off when Detach and crew visited the Azores. Why did I pick the Azores? They’re volcanic islands already and one of them even has a hot springs. I figured why not dramatize and exaggerate the hazard for a story?

Detach and crew have an intimate encounter with a volcano in Spanish Gold. It’ll have to do for now because I haven’t come up with a story involving Italy and Mt. Etna yet!



Amazon Ads is by far, the most lucrative on-line marketing technique I’ve found so far. After trying several of those e-book ad sites, I finally got results. I’ve now sold six books since taking this venture up in May. That might not seem like a lot to some of you, but it’s a hell of a lot better than zero! As indie authors, we all have a struggle to get the word out and since I’m still somewhat leery of COVID, it beats the hassle of in-person events, at least so far.



No matter what genre I’m writing, the adventure never ends. That’s because each story, regardless of genre is an adventure. Whether it be fantasy, thriller, or icky bug, each story is full of things happening. I picked up this style because that’s what I like to read. I’ve found the same style, to different ends, to be the most enjoyable. I don’t call my fantasy series Meleena’s Adventures for nothing. Plus, what about Detach’s Search For Gold doesn’t inspire adventure? I hope you all like my style because I’m sticking to it!



My next novel following Spanish Gold is going to be Palmdale Gold. It’s been written for about a decade now. Through multiple edits and after being vetted by my writer’s group, I turned it in to the publisher quite a while ago. Due to unforeseen circumstances, it’s been languishing in the to do pile.

In the meantime, my most valuable research source for the lake in the story passed away last year. I wanted him to read the draft as not only a final check, but also as a reward for helping me with the real details that I, of course, completely exaggerated and destroyed in the name of entertainment. All I can do now is dedicate the book to him. Bill you will be missed (RIP).



Just saw a new (to me) article on the net about the size and qualities of the bathrooms on the Titanic. While it may not be exact, it’s probably a good guess that the Lusitania had similar accommodations.

Even in the first-class section, there were only two baths, community ones at that. One was for women and one for men. Community bath? In steerage (the cheap seats) there was no baths at all, just a few scattered toilets. Nobody on the ship had individual bathrooms except maybe the captain and possibly one or two of the richest guests. Things have sure changed since 1912!



So far, using Amazon Ads, I’ve sold six copies of Spanish Gold. That’s six potential new fans! Of course, a review or two would be nice…



The other day, I read some more news about the Titanic. One of the numerous expeditions down to view the ship is now using super high-resolution cameras to record the deterioration of the ship. These videos and stills are much better quality than anything before and they can study how the ship is taken back by the sea. As any of you know that study this, the 110 year old shipwreck is being attacked by not only the water, but numerous creatures and bacteria. It may not be too many years from now when there’s barely a recognizable shape on the ocean floor, and little else. This camera can study that process and also maybe tweak out some more unknown details about the ship itself before it’s gone. It would be nice if they could do the same for the Lusitania.



Some of you may have noticed my absence from here last Saturday. Nothing especially nefarious going on. I just simply got tied up with other things and skipped a week. No drama!

As for today’s subject, I’m having my first live book signing in almost a year out in Primm, Nevada, which is about 50 miles away on the California border. There’s a fashion show mall out that way and a bunch of us local authors are setting up near the escalator. My buddy Stepheny Murray organized it. He’s another local author with a bunch of books published. He once got me a gig at a senior center a few years ago. Great guy!

I’ll have all of my books there today including Lusitania Gold and Spanish Gold. I expect to have a great time regardless of how many I do or don’t sell. See you there!



Okay, the book signing was not exactly a success, sales-wise. Oh well, it’s a crapshoot every time. This time it didn’t pan out but was still a great networking opportunity. Why? Got to network with other authors and my publisher (who I shared a booth with). I still had a good time and at least was able to pass out some cards and bookmarks. Oh, and I got to meet Steven Adler’s (former Guns and Roses drummer) mom, who sat right next to us while selling Steven’s autobiography, Sweet Child Of Mine. The day was an adventure!



I recently saw an article on ship disasters somewhere. It mentions the worst of the bunch, with, of course, the Titanic at the head of the list even though it didn’t have the most casualties. At least the Lusitania wasn’t left off the list, so there’s that. I recently contacted the son in law of the former caretaker of the lake in Palmdale I use in Palmdale Gold. I need to call him soon…plus, no sales this week to report, that I know of. Interest goes up and down as with anything else.



I didn’t post last Saturday because I was at Ren Faire. How does that pertain to writing? Like Disneyland, it’s a source of inspiration, no matter what I write. Nuff said.



I know this is barely related to Detach, but it’s about a ship. There’s a super mega-yacht about 130 feet long that’s been sitting for years only half-built (for whatever reason). It’s now up for auction. It would sure be nice to have the money to get that! Wouldn’t it be a kick if someone bid and got it for like $1? Never going to happen, but you’d have to be super rich just to make it seaworthy. That’s something Detach and crew could do with Jam’s help, as if they needed another boat…



I guess if you have the money to burn, you can plop down $250K for a “cheap seat” ticket on a submersible to visit the Titanic. Given that it’s two miles down below the surface, things can go whack real fast. I guess part of that fee is to support the hassle of getting to the site, maintenance on the submersible and related gear, and pay for all the support people. Still, I think I’d rather just watch it on video for free from my safe computer room.



Out of all the Titanic lore I’ve learned over the decades, there’s one thing I just discovered through an article this past week. There was apparently some mystery solved which I still am a little fuzzy on. There’s an object somewhere near the wreck, something which others have noticed on sonar scans. They thought it might be another wreck or something. Turns out it’s a volcanic ridge (or something like that) and not another nearby shipwreck. The first I heard of this. Always something new from something so old.



When you hear about shipwrecks, it’s always the Titanic. My long forgotten Lusitania is hardly ever mentioned. I went out and researched current conditions of the wreck and found that it is severely deteriorated. While the Titanic lies two miles below the surface and is an older wreck, it has fared better than the Lusitania. The Lusitania lies at a little over 300 feet, buffeted by strong currents and very salty water. On top of that, it was once used as target practice by the Irish Navy. Add to that numerous salvage operations, many of them destructive, there’s less and less of a ship to explore or even preserve. Currently, it’s hard to tell it was once a ship. Just an oblong metal lump is a simple description of what’s left. There’s no real deck to stand on and diving inside is extremely dangerous because the hull is pancaked, the strong currents make it hard to navigate, depth is the extreme limit of diving technology and the visibility is quite often close to zero. I, of course, exaggerated all of these conditions plus the condition of the wreck for story purposes in Lusitania Gold. So be it. The reality is far worse than my imaginative tale.



The closest I’ve been to boats lately are actually two pseudo-boats. The Mark Twain and the Columbia. If you haven’t guessed from the names, they’re the two boats sitting in the lagoon at Disneyland. I’ve “sailed” on them many times. I haven’t for a few years, but when I do, I still enjoy it. They also inspire me for Detach stories. Since his life normally centers around ships, I can’t help it.



Besides the two published, so far, which are Lusitania Gold and Spanish Gold, there are a few more in the can and waiting to get published. This includes Palmdale Gold, Turkish Gold, Lompoc Gold, and Las Vegas Gold. A long time ago I got started on West Virginia Gold but took a long hiatus as I worked on my fantasy and another icky bug novel. I’ll get back to it eventually.



A little about another upcoming Gold series book. Since I like to write what I know as much as I can, I chose Lompoc, California for one of my Gold novels. I lived there during elementary up to Jr high school. I had many adventures there exploring as a little kid. Back then, people didn’t lock their doors and us kids stayed out to play until dark. Of course, Lompoc Gold takes place many decades later. I incorporated my knowledge of the area into a search for a Spanish Galleon and a mad plot to get us into a war. One day it’ll see the light of day!



Another upcoming Gold series book is Turkish Gold. It takes place mainly in the part of Turkey where I lived for five years. After all, once again, I like to write mainly places I know because I can make the details more accurate. In this case, the story is centered around Adana, the fourth largest city. I was stationed at nearby Incirlik Air Base. There’s a castle nearby called Yilankale that plays a big role in the narrative. My family and I explored that structure in and out and using my wild imagination, I gave it a few features not found in real life…at least so far! Yilankale, or “Snake Castle” is a Byzantine fort where some ancient ruler used to raise snakes, hence the name. I added some of my own history for story purposes. The novel also includes the town of Karatas and several other local locales. Sorry, no real spoilers for this one!



It was with great pleasure that I discovered Clive Cussler/Jack Du Brul’s new Isaac Bell adventure The Sea Wolves contained the Lusitania as a plot point. My only issue is that in the story, the hero sees “the three props” as the ship sank. The thing is the Lusitania had four props, not three (as in the three Titanic props). One might consider this a slam against the Lusitania, but I’ll be nice and consider it just a typo.



It’s that time of year and while I could have skipped a post, I decided to wish everyone a happy holidays. Detach and crew would be celebrating somewhere in the world too. All the best!



Just a quick update. I’ve been utilizing Amazon Ads. So far, I’ve only posted Spanish Gold for the Detach adventures. I had some success here in the You Ess and A but in Jolly Olde’ Englande’, nothing so far. I just started in Australia and don’t have enough results yet. Can’t figure why no hits at all in the UK. I keep studying the keywords looking for something that will hit but so far, nothing yet.



That title is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only is there never a mention of the Lusitania, but what about the Empress of Ireland? The Morro Castle? The Britannic? The Genral Slocum? The Andrea Doria? All of these wrecks were disasters and most people don’t even know they happened. I guess the Titanic is the only ship that ever sank. LOL!

Oh, and the news about the Titanic had more to do with the movie than the actual reality. James Cameron put to rest a rumor that the character played by Leonardo Di Caprio should’ve been able to survive on that floating door with Kate Winslet. Some myth busters group proved they couldn’t have both survived.



The Gold series is in the adventure/thriller genre. In each book, the main character Detach goes after some form of treasure. However, that treasure almost becomes secondary to the trip there. With his team of regulars, Detach must navigate a dangerous journey each time. Is it a spoiler to say he always succeeds? Not really as that’s why it’s a series. These are adventures I’ve always wanted to write, especially after reading the likes of Kenneth Robeson (Doc Savage), Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan, Mars, etc), Franklin W. Dixon (Hardy Boys), Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew), and what really sparked it for me, Clive Cussler. Each one of those authors wrote an adventure with some mystery and sometimes mixing in genres such as science fiction. I can feel all of these books in each Detach adventure. I hope you do too.



This past week someone bought copies of both Lusitania Gold and Spanish Gold. That may not seem like much but I’ll take what I can get. No complaints!



While I’d thought about it many times, and actually incorporated it into my previous novels, it was James Rollins who solidified this method for me. When I write almost anything, I don’t restrict myself to a single genre, even though the main gist of the story may be one.

In the case of the Gold series, they started as adventures but expanded to thrillers with a little science fiction thrown in. I’ve never had an issue with this in any of my stories. That conversation with James at a writer’s conference just confirmed that what I did already was okay.



While I won’t be attending this year, I went to a dozen Las Vegas Writer’s Conferences in the past. I last did an in-person event a few years ago. Nowadays, they’ve gone virtual through Zoom. While I may not be there, if you are looking to get published, or just want to learn more about the craft and enhance your skills, I highly recommend you attend one.

This year the conference will again be on Zoom. While it isn’t in person face-to-face, it’s still virtually in person. The only thing really missing is the food. This is a great opportunity to meet agents, publishers, writing experts and maybe even get a piece of your work reviewed by those experts. It’s an opportunity you should not pass up. If not for the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference, I would not have anything published, let alone four novels so far. Try it, it’s worth it.



Today I’ll be at the Clark County Library (Maryland Parkway & Flamingo in Las Vegas, Nevada) from 11-12:30 selling both Lusitania Gold and Spanish Gold. Hope to see you there!



While I consider just being there a success, selling something at a book signing is a big bonus. Last Saturday, I sold two books. Not the Gold ones but still it was a great time!



In the news there have been several articles on “new revolutionary and groundbreaking high-res images of the Titanic.” Oh…kay. While they’ve been very stingy with what they’d show (I guess for some pay-per-view event), what little I’ve seen has not impressed me at all. They pretty much look just like all the other images I’ve seen. Maybe if I was able to compare side-by-side…I guess they’ll do anything to keep the ship close to our consciousness. Still waiting to see the impressive shot that’ll blow me away.



I originally posted this last November, but decided to do a deep dive for details I might have missed. This includes the latest high-res sonar imaging and a video of the dive, two things I didn’t see in my November search. It still boils down to the following with a few enhancements.

The current condition of the wreck is severe deterioration. While the Titanic lies two miles below the surface and is an older wreck, it has fared better than the Lusitania. The Lusitania lies between 290 and 310 feet, depending on the tide, buffeted by strong currents and very salty water. On top of that, it was once used as target practice by the Irish Navy. Add to that numerous salvage operations, many of them destructive, there’s less and less of a ship to explore or even preserve. Currently, it’s hard to tell it was once a ship. Sonar shows it as little more than a vaguely ship-shaped lump. There’s no real deck to stand on and diving inside is extremely dangerous because the hull is pancaked. Strong currents make it hard to navigate. The depth is the extreme limit of conventional diving, and the visibility is quite often close to zero. I, of course, exaggerated everything good and bad for story purposes in Lusitania Gold. So be it. The reality is far worse than my imaginative tale. As a recent video of a dive shows, time on the wreck is about a half hour, which doesn’t give much time for exploration. The currents can be quite nasty so the dive must be timed right with the tide, and the ship is covered with torn netting and ropes. It’s like an obstacle course just trying to get close enough to see details. So much for reality!



Still waiting on Palmdale Gold. I’ve had multiple queries about what’s going on. The manuscript has been submitted a long time ago but I guess I have to keep to the back of the line and just be patient. Same for you all. Thanks for asking!



I try not to use the stereotypical bad guys in the Gold series. In other words, I try to vary them a bit. However since about every bad guy imaginable has been used at one time or another in books, movies…whatever, to me it’s impossible to make them totally unique. The best I can do is make them in my own voice. At least I try to break the usual stereotypes, though even that’s a tough call. In the end, I just go with it and follow my instincts.



My Gold series is always with a treasure hunt at the core. However, things go wrong, as in real life, and the actual treasure often takes a back seat to other issues. Detach and his team draw in a host of talents amongst them along with a lot of luck. Never a dull moment. I also want to add that the actual treasure isn’t always what it seems, though gold is involved somehow. After all, who can resist that shiny metal that for the most part, I’ve only possessed in real life in dental fillings.



I mean, I’ll take whatever I can get, but it would be nice to get some WORDED reviews. Since Amazon allowed reviews with no words, it makes it hard to know what someone liked or didn’t like about a story. I’ve sold way more books that reviews I’ve received. Not that I’m complaining that much, but the more reviews, the more prominent a book is featured on Amazon. If you haven’t already done so and get a chance, could you give a few words with a review? It would be appreciated.



The Las Vegas Writer’s Conference is going on right now. So far, I’m glad to hear nothing but positive feedback. It’s critical that you attend at least one in your lifetime. I’ve done ten live events, but never one virtual yet. Maybe one of these days I will, and it sounds like they work just as well.



Was just thinking of Palmdale, California and the bottomless lake on the edge of town. I wonder how deep it is now given all the rain they’ve had there lately. Still can’t use it in the upcoming Palmdale Gold, but I like to keep up on the history from the inspiration for “Black Lake,” the non-existent lake in the story.



The simple answer is why not? The value of gold is universal, so why not use it as a major goal in my Gold series? I’ve personally never owned a bit of gold except for a filling once, a gold-plated silver ring that got stolen forty years ago, and the plated contacts on a synthesizer keyboard way back in the day. Yet, it’s a universally coveted treasure. Costly as well. So, it makes a great goal for a treasure hunter, which is what Detach is. My goal has been to make a series of enjoyable adventures out of that. You be the judge.



Some of you may have noticed I’ve been absent here at Fred Central for a couple of weeks. I just got back from Spain where we (my wife and I) had a great time visiting a few old haunts. As with all best laid plans, the part including the car didn’t go so well so I turned it back on the second day. Long story. As a result, I never got to visit any of our old haunts that were outside of Central Madrid (Madrid Centro). Oh well…Had a fabulous time anyway and am glad to be back home!



I intended to get back in action last week, but after a very frustrating experience trying to post to the latest version of Facebook, I gave up for the time being. I hope I can figure it out this time. After returning from Spain, I got sick (sinus infection), and I fully appreciated the week off to recover. I was able to write several more articles for the blog and did plenty of thinking. The next two months are full of book activities as well. I sit on two science fiction panels in June and July (one each) and have a book signing in July as well. Things are picking up!



There are many authors I like but I’ll admit I do have favorites in each genre. In the adventure/thriller genre, I have to give a big shout out to Clive Cussler, Lester Dent, James Rollins, Preston & Child, David Baldacci, Lee Child and even (going way back) Franklin W. Dixon, Karolyn Keene, Jules Verne, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but a good representation of the genre.

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