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Detach And The Gold Adventures

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

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

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

The first release coming down the pike is going to be Lusitania Gold.

LUSITANIA GOLD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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55_crowd_viewing_the_rms_lusitania

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

Release date!

Lusitania Gold will be released August 25th!

Woohoo!

Out Now!

Lusitania Gold is now live.

 

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

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

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

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

03/11/18

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

Subject: Writing with the character in mind.

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

THE LIMNOPHOBIC CHRONICLES

WARNING – PLENTY OF SPOILERS!

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

05/13/18

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

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

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

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

Let’s rock!

05/13/18

DETACH

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

The name Detach…

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

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

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

05/17/18

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – LOCATIONS

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

GALVESTON

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

05/20/18

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – THE SHIPS

THE LOTHAR

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

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

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

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

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

05/27/18

***WARNING: MINOR SPOILER***

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – THE OIL RIG

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

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

06/05/18

BECKY

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

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

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

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

06/09/18

NEW YORK CITY

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

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

06/12/18

THE COOPER

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

06/15/18

***WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER***

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

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

Nothing real about that!

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

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

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

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

06/11/18

***WARNING: MINOR SPOILER***

ELROY

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

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

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

06/26/18

KINSALE, IRELAND

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

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

06/30/18

LUSITANIA

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

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

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

07/08/18

***WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER***

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – FLOATING A SHIP WITH DIESEL

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

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

Another involved air bags.

One involved large ships and cranes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll never know.

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

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

07/14/18

JAMS

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

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

07/21/18

MORGAN CITY, LOUISIANA

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

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

There you go.

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

***WARNING: MINOR SPOILER***

07/28/18

ANASTASIA

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

***WARNING: MINOR SPOILER***

08/04/18

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – TECHNOLOGY OF THE TIME

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

Why?

Paradigms.

What’s a paradigm?

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

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

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

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

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

Who says he couldn’t pull it off?

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

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

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

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

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

08/11/18

VLADIMIR

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

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

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

08/18/18

REALITY VERSUS FICTION – COLD FUSION

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

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

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

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

08/25/18

RUBY FENNER

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

08/31/18

MILDRED PIERCE

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

09/15/18

MAD JAKE MALONE

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

09/23/18

BUSTER AND DOODLES

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

09/29/18

LUSITANIA ON LINE

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

10/06/18

BAND NAMES

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

***WARNING: MINOR SPOILER***

10/13/2018

ENYA MCMURTY

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

10/20/18

THE LUSITANIA’S PROPELLERS

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

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

10/27/18

CAPTAIN TURNER

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

11/10/18

THE LUSITANIA WHEEL HOUSE

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

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

A little more trivia for you!

11/24/18

SISTER SHIPS

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

12/01/18

THE FOUR FUNNELS

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

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

Stories.

12/08/18

BARRY KRUGER

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

 

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