WASP Sting

Every now and then I read a good novel, and WASP Sting by Lee Sweetapple is one of those. The story basically centers on a young lady in WW2 who is a ferry pilot for the Women Airforce Service Pilots (some interesting history there). Of course, it wouldn’t be as exciting if it was just about ferrying airplanes, so Sweetapple throws in some espionage and drama to go with it. My only complaint about the book is that it’s a standalone (it really should be turned into a series).

You can find Wasp Sting on Amazon Kindle for only $2.99 (but I bought the paperback – maybe one day I’ll get Lee to sign it).


Writing on Openings continues, now slightly over 60K words, which is a bit more than half-way through. I suspect I’ll be wrapping it up before the end of March (maybe April, depending on how hectic life gets). Lots of known characters in this one, but a lot younger than you’re used to.

For those that enjoy the Pleistocene scenes, plenty of that. The plot line is probably more like Surveyor than Trekker or Explorer, in that it’s not a fast and furious race, rather a day-to-day adventure (which, if you recall your reading, means somebody else in trouble far away). I think this journey is more like a marathon (which will take at least two books – the second book title is likely going to be Reset – but we’ll see).


No, not the title of a new book. Sadly, it’s what just transpired in Washington, DC. Like many, I was shocked by the events that transpired. Unlike many, I was not surprised. I have seen this building up for years. There is a great divide in our country right now, and unless cooler heads prevail, it will get worse.

I know, as a novelist, I should stay out of politics. I write for your entertainment, not to espouse my viewpoints. But, this is one time I will say something, which I hope all will take to heart.

If you’re carrying the battle flag of the Confederacy, I see you as a racist traitor to the United States and democracy. It’s quite simple. That flag has no place here. It’s the flag of violent treason.

If you think the Southern States seceded for states rights, then I suggest you read the actual articles of secession. Most state they were doing so because of slavery. Don’t take my word for it, find the documents and read them yourself.

If you’re carrying a Nazi flag, I see you as a racist hater of the United States and democracy.

If you’re wearing a shirt that says 6MWE (6 Million Wasn’t Enough) or Camp Auschwitz, I see you as an anti-Semitic racist hater. I have been to Dachau. I saw the evidence of the horror perpetrated by Nazis. Anyone that supports this is one sick puppy.

If you’re wearing a shirt with Che Gueverra, I see you as a racist homophobe who finds mass murder acceptable.

If you’re carrying a flag with the hammer and sickle on it, I see you as one who supports authoritarianism and mass murder.

I saw enough death caused by communist dictators when I volunteered to help at a refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border shortly after Vietnam invaded Cambodia. As a 17 year old, one of my tasks was moving people who had died from starvation from the make-shift hospital to the “stiff tent” (the tent where those that just died were placed prior to burial).

If you’re marching with people carrying these flags or wearing these shirts, how can I tell that you don’t support these ideals?

If you’re marching with these people, and you don’t believe their sick ideologies, but don’t force them out, then you’re part of the problem, not the solution.

Become part of the solution.

Explorer in physical form

For those that prefer the heft and feel of dead trees stained in indelible ink, Explorer is now available on Amazon in paperback format and will be available through Ingram-Spark for distribution to bookstores (such as The Sequel in Enumclaw and A Good Book and Cafe in Sumner, WA). Order (and read) away.

BTW, I’m about 54k words into Openings. Things are moving along.

Explorer is Live!

Finally, after almost two years, I published Explorer today! I’m still working on getting the paperback versions up and running, for those that like to purchase from brick-and-mortar stores (like A Good Book and Cafe in Sumner, WA, or my local store, The Sequel in Enumclaw), so give me a couple of days.

But, if you can’t wait, the electronic version is available on Amazon.

Please spread the word (and purchase the book – it’s good!)

Stay safe out there.

Waiting, waiting…

So, here I sit, waiting on some artwork. Specifically, the cover art. Looking forward to getting a final draft (la esposa liked the rough draft). As I wait (and wait, and wait, just like you’ve done so patiently for the past year), I’m working on the Openings – over 35K words right now. Hoping to turn that into a trilogy (but, we’ll see).

Explorer Blurb

So, here’s the blurb for Explorer (still waiting on feedback from a reader and the cover art – the latter of which I should get the first draft on Tuesday):

A country ripped apart with a secret that’s about to change the universe.

For Corps of Discovery Explorer Bill Clark, exploring parallel worlds in the multiverse is all in a day’s work, so entering the Confederate States of America was easy.  Leaving is a different matter.

Being hunted by some of the most dangerous people on this alternate timeline, the small team of Explorers must use their wits, skills, and experiences to outsmart their deadly foes and get home. Even if that means leaving the secret of a new technology behind, one that will shift the balance of power. But Bill isn’t about to do that. The stakes are too high.

The Explorers have been in dangerous situations before, but this one is different. This time, getting out alive may well prove impossible.

Waiting and Doing

As I await word back from my editor, my beta reader, and my cover artist, I continue to work on my other works, a sequel to Explorer that I’m just calling Corps of Discovery Book 4 for now, and Openings the first in the Chronicles of Hayek series which explores Tim Bowman’s opening of the first gate (as described in the prologue of Surveyor). CoD Book 4 is at about 3,500 words and Openings is at 20K. I’ve decided to work on them simultaneously because I really want to get the Chronicles of Hayek out but I also know readers like good sequels (and you’re gonna love the premise in CoD Book 4).

My editor (in Washington’s San Juan Islands) says I should get her edits back by the 25th. My cover artist is going on Vaca (she’s in South Africa) on December 15th, but the first rough draft of the cover looks good, and I have no clue when my Beta reader extraordinaire will wrap up his read (but he apparently stayed up hours past his normal bedtime and had to force himself to put his tablet down to go to sleep the night he got the draft). So, what this all means is that with any luck, I’ll have Explorer out in time for Christmas. Of course, some things that factor in are how fast I can do the rewrite (should be less than two days) and how long it will take Amazon and Ingram Spark to release once I submit.

I suspect this will be a dual release, with the e-book coming out before the paperback. Stay tuned.

Things might slow down a bit in the next week or so as I start a new forensic accounting for a fraud case (it looks interesting – then again, they all do to me)

Oh, and as an aside, since I also teach a course at Digipen Institute of Technology called Geography and Cartography for Worldbuilding, I just thought any geonerds out there might be interested in this blog post by author Michael Tedin: Worldbuilding 101 – How to Draw Maps for Your Fictional World (Part 1). I don’t know Tedin, but we apparently went to the same school – the University of Washington.

The Explorer wine

Tonight I cracked open a fine 2015 vintage red blend from Canoe Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. The name of the wine: The Explorer. Quite appropriate.

Why do I tell you this? Well, in an Indie Writer’s group that I belong to (and attend conferences), authors like to post pictures of their drink of choice as they celebrate completing a first draft of a novel.

What’s that? you ask. Did James actually complete the first draft of Explorer? Why yes, yes he did. It only took two years and 99900 words, but it’s done. Now to get through the rewrite and edits. Publication is still set for December, so keep your eyes peeled. And, if you want early notification of when it will finally be available, shoot me an email.

Alternative timeline maps

Two things have enthralled me ever since I was a kid: alternate history and maps. Maps, likely because I traveled a lot as a kid (and I mean, a lot!), and alternative history because it’s always interesting to ponder “what if.” Probably the first book of this genre I read was Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen by H. Beam Piper. It still remains one of my favorites. I guess you can say both interests influence my life a lot – as I am a professional geographer (I teach geography and cartography part-time) and I write novels about alternative timelines (a little difficult to do, sometimes, particularly when my chocolate lab is yipping because her lacrosse ball rolled under the sofa and I’m not there to immediately lift the sofa for her – I’ll be there in a minute!).

So, back to maps. It seems several have been produced from various novels of “what if”, and here’s the link for your reading/viewing pleasure. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20201104-the-intriguing-maps-that-reveal-alternate-histories

I do believe I’ll include a map in Explorer, as it truly deserves it. Of course, that’ll have to be after I complete it, which the first draft should be done by some time next week (yahoo!).

Stay safe out there.