In 1946 just after the end of WWII, I was stationed on the U.S.S. CHINCOTEAGUE in TSINGTAO, CHINA. We were harbor control in the outer harbor, challenging all ships as they passed through the outer harbor toward the inner harbor. Night and day we challenged all ships by flashing dot-dash, dot-dash (morse code for a-a), the universally recognized request for identification.
The searchlight we used were carbon-arc, about 3 feet in diameter and could be seen from horizon to horizon. It took several minutes to light the carbon arcs and each carbon lasted about 2 hours.
The outer harbor was open to the weather and it was hurricane season. One night the wind kept building up until it reached hurricane force and the chincoteague along with several other ships were blown off their anchors, totally unexpectedly. Complete bedlam ensued. Absolute darkness, huge winds, an unknown number of ships careening wildly, collisions iminent, all ships communications unusable --except the searchlights.
The moment the captain arrived on the bridge he ordered all engines and the searchlights on. It took the other signalman and me several nervous minutes to get them on but when we did, we almost wished we hadn’t. The bow of a huge merchant ship was heading directly toward our bridge. In a few moments their bow would be looming over us and we would be crushed.
The captain ordered “hard a starboard,” in a strangled voice and the helmsman spun the wheel. My memory says he anticipated the order by a fraction of a second.
Our ship was a navy ship, small destroyer size and very maneuverable. Just barely under power, she slowly answered the helm and we slid, bumping and grinding down the side of the merchant ship looming over us. We were port side to port side right where I was stationed. I trained the searchlight on the two hulls and there was not a sound from our crew as we watched our ship narrowly escaping disaster. A small portion of the outer bridge was torn off but other than that we emerged unscathed.
When CASEY’S SLIP needed searchlights for a scene, my memory produced that memorable night and that’s how they got into my novel. http://tinyurl.com/caseysslip
5/24/15 - The Province, British Columbia.
The recent discovery of a black bear carcass missing its paws and gall bladder near Sechelt serves as a grim reminder that a black market for bear parts still thrives in B.C. The trade of such parts “still goes on” in B.C., said Ernie Cooper, an environmental consultant and former director of the World Wildlife Fund’s wildlife trade monitoring program.
Articles such as the above inspired me to write JOSHUA’S REVENGE, an adventure and mystery novel about a Yosemite Park Ranger who is also an expert at martial arts. He’s assigned the job of breaking up a gang killing and eviscerating Yosemite black bears. The novel progresses from the back woods of Yosemite to the back alleys of San Francisco’s Chinatown. $2.99 on Kindle. http://tinyurl/joshuasrevenge
All of my proceeds from the sale of this book in 2015 are being donated the World Wildlife Fund.
Visit my website at http://www.rlwren.com/
Don't be afraid to describe yourself as an author!
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your first or on your tenth book, you ARE an author. Referring to yourself as an author can open important doors for you, particularly in research. Don’t be afraid to say, “My name is John Doe. I’m writing a book about people that have names that are hard to remember. I need a little information that I think you can help me with.” I’ve done it successfully with Police departments, National parks, Cities, Morgues, etc.
It’s amazing! People will go out of their way to help authors.
One of many ideas and tips in “A Practical Guide to Writing & Publishing a Novel.”http://www.rlwren.com/
Shortly after WW2 and having recently been discharged from the Navy, I joined my Mother, Father, Sister and several friends for a Yosemite Vacation. If memory serves me correctly we were camping in Camp 16 between Camp Curry and Happy Isles. My father drove us up in the 1935 Dodge on a Friday night, spent the weekend with us and drove back to work on Sunday Eve, for 2 weeks.
On the first Monday I bumped into a friend of mine who was also camping with his family. We palled around, exploring the valley and flirting with lots of girls. In those days Camp Curry had a dance every Saturday night and the Fire Fall still existed. For those of you who don’t remember, the Fire Fall occurred every night shortly after dark. Park rangers would build a gigantic fire on top of Glacier Point, several thousand feet above the valley floor and after the fire burned down to a huge pile of glowing embers, they would gradually push them over the edge of the cliff resulting in a spectacular Fire Fall. A hush would fall over the whole valley, it was beautiful.
From the floor of the valley there was a very steep 4 mile switchback trail to Glacier Point. My friend and I, both recently discharged from service, were in top shape and we delighted in racing up and down that trail trying to break our own time records.
After doing that a number of times we grew bored and decided to go straight up ignoring the switchbacks, a huge mistake. At first it wasn’t too bad. Steep but negotiable. However it grew more and more steep and we started encountering huge boulders and loose shale. The shale was unstable and the boulders were haphazardly piled up. Several times we had to worm our way through small gaps between huge boulders and several times we slipped and slid on the loose shale.
At one point my buddy dislodged a small boulder and it started a fairly large boulder avalanche. It scared the hell out of us because it could have killed hikers on the switchback below us. Neither one of us admitted to the other how scared we were or how dumb our decision had been. The climbing became steeper and more terrifying but we were more afraid of retreating than advancing.
We finally reached the top, tired, scratched, bleeding, shaking and shaken, to be met by a group of very stern looking Yosemite Rangers who informed us that the last person that had tried what we did had been killed in a rock slide.
We were whisked by truck back down to the valley and taken to Park headquarters where we awaited our fate. Finally an older Ranger sat us down described in very colorful terms what had happened to the unfortunate guy that had been killed. We had already decided we’d never try that again but he cemented the decision. After that he suggested that we volunteer for a trail clearing crew to help repay the overtime the extra Rangers had incurred waiting for us. We accepted.
A variation of this story is in JOSHUA'S REVENGE. http://tinyurl.com/joshuasrevenge
If you like this anecdote there’re more on my website blog. http://www.rlwren.com/
At age 82 I started writing my first of 4 novels. At age 84 I had finished it and started on the laborious tasks of proofreading, editing and publishing. Like so many others I turned to my computer for help and found much available and advertised.
As a rank, extremely virginal author, I was totally unfamiliar with, for example, the difference between proofreading and editing. What I needed was expert proofreading plus editorial input. I paid for both and got neither at a cost of close to $2,000.
Next were ads by publishers. You’ve seen them. Mail us your book and we’ll judge if its quality is good enough for us to publish. I did it and a few days later I was thrilled to get a letter saying my book had been accepted. The offer was accompanied by a contract asking for, you guessed it, money. I almost bit, my first book? Accepted by a well-known publishing company? Fortunately, I checked their references and found they were infamous for having been put out of business numerous times by numerous district attorneys, only to re-organize and pop up again. At one time several authors ganged up to write the worst novel they could cobble together and submitted it. It was received with the same glowing praise mine was. By the way, this company is still at it.
LONG STORY SHORT: I finally convinced myself that I could do it myself mostly by myself using ingenuity, imagination and friends plus a lot of research. Finally, almost 3 years later, at a total cost of less than $100.00, CASEY’S SLIP was published and went on to garner an INDIE EXCELLENCE AWARD Finalist slot.
If I could do it, so can you. Using those same methods I published my 6 step plan in a booklet at virtually no cost to me.
No cost to me results in FREE to you on YouTube. youtube.com/richardlwren
Richard L. Wren
IN HIS NEW CAREER AS AN AUTHOR, RICHARD DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS TALL, DARK, HANDSOME AND A LIAR. A FOURTH GENERATION CALIFORNIAN, A SAILOR, FATHER OF FOUR BEAUTIFUL AND SUPPORTIVE DAUGHTERS, AND HUSBAND TO ONE OF THE BEST WIVES OF ALL TIME. [MORE]