Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fact in Fiction - Part 3 of 5

The fiction here is that the Yellowstone Supervolcano caldera finally blows its top, devastating the North American continent. (Now, that bit I really, really hope will remain fiction - at least for another millennia, though the warnings from scientists are real).

All of a sudden—long foretold by scientists but unheeded by politicians—the earth goes mad. With a roar felt around the globe, the North American Yellowstone Supervolcano explodes.  ...   

As to the Facts: The Lyubov Orlova is a very real ghost ship [this link is still good - more on links below]. 
I am giving the old wreck a new life in

After the Cataclysm, Book 3 
of the Legends of the Winged Scarab series.

Everyone thinks the Russian derelict has slipped beneath the waves of the Atlantic - thus, I was free to do with her as I pleased. I even included the cannibal rats she supposedly still harbors while she's adrift in the North Atlantic Gyre. 
(The new owner's cook does wonders with his stews for the crew!)

 My Bostonian scientists have barricaded themselves in Jonathan’s home in Marble Head. 

 [I was always fascinated just peeking through the wrought-iron fence who lived there in such splendor.]

Soon, their only hope to escape the hungry, murderous rabble pushing east is via sailboat (remember from Book 2, Jonathan is an avid sailor). The vessel here is a sturdy 34-foot Fisher Ketch.
 [I've always liked the looks of the sturdy little double-ender.]
Having pushed through the ash sludge in the harbor, they get a message from the former Cairo Museum director (through ham radio operators, the only link to the outside world left) that Jabari el-Masri is on a Venezuelan island; and he has the ancient Golden Tablets. They should come and work on the translation left unfinished before. 

During their perilous journey, looming above them out of the dark is an unidentified ship. It almost runs them down. On the way, they make a grateful stop at Necker Island in the Caribbean. (The real owner of this Island is none other than Sir Richard Branson – who is not in residence nor is he mentioned in the book as the owner).
Isla Margarita, a real Venezuelan prison colony. It becomes the luxurious lair of one of my "bad" guys; as well as a refuge (aka forced confinement) for my protagonists.

And they say the writing of a novelist is all make-belief.

Now, a warning to myself and other authors: 
We sometimes include links to websites of particular interest to attest to our research. In my Foreword, I had (and I say, had) included a site to the missing Russian ghost ship, the Lyubov Orlova. A friend of mine was re-reading her Kindle edition. “You may not want this link in here,” she messaged me. I pompously let her know that I did this, because blah, blah, blah... Curious, though, I pulled up the book’s Look Inside and clicked on this link.

To my shock, up came several suggested sex sites. Holy Cow! Apparently, the group had given up on their domain, and it was now available for “others.”

If you bought Book 3 and come across this link, I do apologize. As I have said in Part 1, “check and double-check.” I quickly heeded my own advice, re-uploaded the book sans this link, and also checked any other links that might have run amok with the passing of time.

 * * *
“Hm?” He was not ready to abandon the sweet drowsiness, feeling satiated, and in love with this exquisite woman next to him. His wife. His Nefertiti. The last thing on his mind was being drawn into any conversation. But he could feel it. It was coming.
“What really happened with Edward that day?” Naunet felt him tense in her embrace.
He did not have to ask ‘what day,’ and he took his time before he answered, “I met up with him on the cliff, just before I found you.” He paused.
She waited before prompting him, “And?”
“We fought. As we struggled against the wind and with each other, we lost our footing and crashed into the shrubbery growing out over the cliff. I managed to hang on to an exposed root.”
Naunet waited some more before she whispered, “And Edward?”
“He missed.”
“And then?”
“Sweetheart, all this was a couple of years ago. What makes you bring him up now?”
“I need to know.”
Jonathan sighed. He had always known the day would come when he would have to tell her. Why today? Why now? Had his making love to her triggered some sordid comparison? Damn the blasted man. Would they ever be free of his ghost? ...

* * *
(Read more on the Excerpts Page on this Blog)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Fact in Fiction - Part 2 of 5

Here is some insight into the research of  
Sirocco, Storm over Land and Sea -
Book 2 of the Legends of the Winged Scarab series.

For this modern-day quest to find and decipher the ancient Golden Tablets from Book 1, I incorporated real places and timely political events, namely the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. The regrettable chaos it brought to Egypt made many of my fictional events plausible.

In Sirocco, Storm over Land and Sea, my Egyptologist protagonist, the exotic Dr. Naunet Klein, is sent to Cairo and Luxor where she meets a charming stranger. After a weekend invitation to Hurgada, she is kidnapped and spends some days (rather involuntarily) imprisoned in a village on southern Crete.
Loutro, then as now, can only be reached by boat or by climbing over a treacherous mountain path.

It is from those cliffs rising straight out of the sea that she witnesses the terrifying demise of a South American by-hook-or-by-crook art collector’s luxury yacht, the Bucanero I

On board is a (real) stolen Rembrandt. 
(Check out the cover description in the LookInside on Amazon.com). If, by any chance, you know of this painting’s whereabouts (perhaps in your Uncle Guido's safe room), the FBI still promises a huge reward for the recovery of this priceless painting.

Lorenzo, my gangster-art collector, later restores a Russian ghost ship – the real Lyubov Orlova – which he registered as the Bucanero II, out of Caracas.

In Sirocco, we also reconnect with my opportunistic Con Extraordinaire, Edward Guernsey-Crock.

Throughout Books 2-5 of the  
Legends of the Winged Scarab
the increasingly less charming Englishman skitters toward his just deserves. 
Is he someone from my past life upon whom I heaped vengeance for wrongs done to me?  

That’s for me to know, for you to imagine – 
and for the indigenous Cretan Kri-Kri 
to keep silent about as they nimbly scale the craggy coast of Crete. 
(Do you spot them in this picture?)

Sirocco, Storm over Land and Sea 
is available at Amazon.com for Kindle and in Print.


Dr. William Jefferson Browning, the Boston Museum’s sixty-year-old Head of Research, was never on time. ‘Occupational hazard,’ the Einstein-maned scientist decreed when someone suggested he might think about installing an alarm clock in his lab.
The story went that after a vacation trip to Europe, Bill Browning was overheard to complain at a museum board meeting, that ‘Florence would have been great, except for all those tourists.’ At which point an illustrious member of the old Boston establishment supposedly remarked, ‘And what the hell did you think you were, Bill!’
It provided a rare snicker for the thirty-plus trustees. Over time, their meetings had become more terse than academic, and they welcomed any morsel of good humor thrown their way.

Bingham Adams, the seemingly forever museum director, was affable and well liked. He was an excellent judge of a good brushstroke. There was a saying among the crusty old Bostonians: ‘Before you invite Bingham to dinner, lock up all your Singer Sargents.’ 
More often than not, Adams would walk out of one of those patrician brownstone homes encircling Louisburg Square on Beacon Hill with a host’s unplanned contribution of a stern forefather gazing from his gilded frame.
While this was great for the collections and the museum’s standing in the art world, it became painfully clear that Adams sorely lacked in administrative talents. 
The venerable institution’s cash flow was in dire straits. The board elected a new president.
George Searing, the business-savvy fifty-six-year-old CEO of a fertilizer company, was thick-set, demanding and utterly impervious to the tender psyches of the art world. But he scythed and bullied the Grande Old Dame back into the black. 
Bingham Adams and his curators hated him.

* * *
 Legends Of The Winged Scarab Series: