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Thursday, June 7, 2018

I'm working on the next adventure for the Chasing Dragons crew(, Eddie and Nick. The first chapter is posted below. I'll post a few more over the next few weeks to see if there is any interest. If so, let me know and I'll keep on trucking.
Chapter 1
(August 7,1945)

In the pre-dawn darkness, a giant four-engine B-29 Superfortress lifted off from Tinian enroute to Kokura, Japan. It was following the same flight plan as the Enola Gay had the previous day. Painted on her nose was a buxom, scantily attired red-head brandishing a pair of six-shooters. Calamity Jane was stenciled above her head in bold, blue letters. She was the second of three planned missions. The last, targeting Nagasaki, would be flown by Bockscar two days later.

In the bomb bay sat Tin Man, the second of three atomic bombs destined for the Japanese mainland. The first, Little Boy, had devastated Hiroshima, and the third, Fat Man was scheduled for Nagasaki. The three bombs were each one-of-a-kind. Each had its own design. In many ways, they were little more than experiments…horrifically destructive experiments. Tin Man and Little Boy were Uranium-based weapons; Fat Boy used Plutonium.
The takeoff and initial climb-out were uneventful. Passing 14,000 feet enroute to her 30,000-foot cruising altitude the interphone crackled to life.
“Pilot, this is Engineer.”
“Go ahead,” came the reply.
“Manifold pressure and fuel pressure are dropping on number three.”
“How bad?”
“Not too bad”
"Okay, keep an eye on it.”
They continued to climb. Passing through 19,000 feet, the aircraft suddenly yawed to the right. The pilot quickly straightened the aircraft with left rudder. He hit the intercom.
“Engineer, Pilot. What’s going on?”
“Number three’s winding down. Manifold and fuel pressure both bottoming out.”
“Any idea what’s happening?”
“Cylinder head temp was normal. I’m thinking ruptured fuel line. We need to shut her down quickly before something catches on fire.”
The copilot, who was looking over his shoulder at the right wing broke in. “Too late, boss. Number three’s shooting flames.”
“Roger,” said the pilot. “Engineer, hit the Number three extinguisher.”
The flight engineer grabbed the red extinguisher handle and twisted it to the left. “Pilot, engineer. Number 3 extinguisher activated.”
“Rog. Copilot, what does it look like?”
“Not so good boss, still burning. Awful lot of magnesium in that crankcase. If it ignites, we’re toast.”
“Engine shutdown checklist,” commanded the pilot. “Feather three."
The pilot considered his options. His life and those of ten other crewmembers hung in the balance. He didn’t have time for extended deliberation. He needed to decide and act quickly.
“Crew, this is the pilot. Strap in. I’m going to put her into an emergency dive. Maybe we can blow the fire out.”
He nosed the bomber over and rapidly accelerated to its maximum airspeed of 300 knots. Any faster and he would risk loss of control and structural failure. The aircraft buffeted as in hurtled downward. The noise level in the cockpit increased as the aircraft ripped through the slipstream. The pilot had to yell to communicate. “How’s she look, Copilot?”
“Better. Still on fire, but a lot less flame.”
The engineer, who had unstrapped, tapped the pilot on his right shoulder. “Boss, we need some more airspeed.”
“We’re already at the max the book will allow.”
“To hell with the book, She’ll hold together. We need to get that fire completely out now!”
The pilot didn’t respond immediately. The book didn’t cover every situation. Sometimes you had to go with your gut. He pushed the nose over further and accelerated to 325 knots. The buffeting was severe. The control column vibrated violently in his hands. “Copilot, what do you see now?”
“Fire’s out!”
The pilot allowed himself a small smile as he reduced power and levelled the bomber at 9,000 feet. They had lost 10,000. He keyed the intercom. “Navigator, give me a heading back to Tinian.”
The crew relaxed. The three remaining eighteen-cylinder, R-3350 Wright radial engines each delivered 2200 horsepower…more than enough to get them home. The mission, critical to the war effort, was a bust. That couldn’t be helped. At least they had saved the Calamity Jane, themselves and, most importantly, the Tin Man.
“That was close,” said the pilot.
The copilot nodded as he looked out at the right wing. “Sure was. Number three’s a mess. Covered in soot. Cowling’s burned through in a couple of spots and…damn…it’s on fire again.”
“How can that be? The fuel and oil are cut off.”
“That damn magnesium in the crankcase.”
“Not much altitude left, but we’re gonna have to dive again.”
He pushed the nose down and began accelerating. The copilot was staring out at the wing with horror. The fire now engulfed the entire engine and was burning into the wing. Before he could say anything, there was a tremendous explosion as the engine and a chunk of the right wing blew off. Without the right wing, the bomber rolled into a tight right descending spiral. The nose was pointed straight down. The pilots struggled against the controls, but they knew it was hopeless. The nose of the aircraft rose and the bomber transitioned to a flat spin, reducing the rate of descent, but nothing could save them. All they could do was watch with resignation and terror as the ocean screamed up at them.
The Calamity Jane smashed into the surface taking crew and cargo with her. All that remained was an oil slick to temporarily mark the spot.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Check out these great deals!

This weekend only!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

In CHASING DRAGONS (, Edwina "Eddie" Watt learned to fly in her uncle's Curtiss Jenny while growing up in West Texas.

They say any landing you can walk away from is a good one. This famous photo titled "Jenny in a Tree" puts that theory to a severe test! Before and after pictures!

The Curtiss JN-4D is almost synonymous with American aviation in the 1920s. The Jenny, as it was affectionately called, appeared in 1917. Heretofore having only produced pusher aircraft, Glenn Curtiss ...hired an experienced European designer to lead the new project named B. Douglas Thomas, who had worked for Avro and Sopwith in England. The Jenny performed admirably as a trainer for the U.S. Air Service during World War I, but its more significant role in aviation history was as a barnstorming and mail-carrying airplane in the 1920s. Large numbers of relatively inexpensive war surplus Jennys were available in the United States after 1918. Its affordability, ease of operation, and versatility made the Jenny the signature airplane of the barnstorming era.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

In CHASING DRAGONS ( of the action centers round the Pan Am Clipper facility on Canton Island. The Boeing 314 Clipper was a long-range flying boat produced by the Boeing Aircraft Company between 1938 and 1941. One of the largest aircraft of the time, it used a massive wing to achieve the range necessary for flights across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Twelve Clippers were built; nine were brought into service for Pan Am and later transferred to the U.S. military.

They required numerous Island stops, such as Canton Island to transverse the Pacific.
Pan Am's Clippers were built for one-class luxury air travel, a necessity given the long duration of transoceanic flights. The seats could be converted into 36 bunks for overnight accommodation; with a cruising speed of 155 miles per hour. The flight from San Francisco to Honolulu was 19 hours. The 314s had a lounge and dining area, and the galleys were crewed by chefs from four-star hotels. Men and women were provided with separate dressing rooms, and white-coated stewards served five and six-course meals with gleaming silver service. The standard of luxury on Pan American's Boeing 314s has rarely been matched on heavier-than-air transport since then; they were a form of travel for the super-rich. Boeing 314 Clippers brought exotic destinations like the Far East within reach of air travelers and came to represent the romance of flight. By 1946 all Clippers had been retired.

The Clipper was a flying boat which differs from a seaplane. 

Anyone know the difference?

Monday, October 16, 2017

When I was writing CHASING DRAGONS, I needed to research the slang and jargon appropriate to the times. World War II produced a bunch of clever, and often colorful terms. Here are just a few for your enjoyment. In acronyms where the “F” appears, I have substituted “Fouled” for the more vulgar term. If you have some others, feel free to comment. Two rules: Keep it clean and make it appropriate to the WW II time frame.
Applesauce – Expletive
Anchor clanker -Sailor
Are you rationed? – Are you going steady?
Armored cow – Canned milk
Army banjo - shovel
Bags of mystery - Sausage
Bathtub – Sidecar for a motorcycle
Bupkis – Zero, Nothing
Canned morale – A movie
Cat’s beer - Milk
Cheaters - Sunglasses
Chrome-dome – Baldhead
Cook with gas – To do something right
Cookie – Cute Girl
Cupid’s itch - VD
Dead hoofer – Poor dancer
Devil’s piano -Machine gun
FUBAR – Fouled up beyond recognition
Gams – Legs
G.I. Jesus - Chaplain
Going fishing = looking for a date
Hen fruit – Eggs
Horsefeathers – Expletive
Khaki wacky – Boy crazy
Licorice stick - Clarinet
Moo and goo - Pancakes and syrup
Motorized freckles – Insects
Peepers - Eyes
Share cropper – Promiscuous woman
SOS – “Stuff” on a shingle
SNAFU – Situation normal all fouled up
Snap your cap – Get angry
Stompers – Shoes

Thursday, October 5, 2017

In CHASING DRAGONS ( and THE LAST RAJAH (, co-pilot Edwina "Eddie" Watt is a former WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). Their mission was to free male pilots for combat roles by employing qualified female pilots to ferry aircraft from factories to military bases and to tow drones and aerial targets. Each WASP candidate already had a pilot's license. They were trained to fly "the Army way" by the U.S. Army Air Forces at Avenger Fie...ld in Sweetwater, Texas. More than 25,000 women applied for the WASP, and fewer than 1,900 were accepted. After completing four months of military flight training, 1,074 of them earned their wings and became the first women to fly American military aircraft. WASP were stationed at 122 air bases across the U.S., assuming numerous flight-related missions, and relieving male pilots for combat duty. They flew sixty million miles of operational flights from aircraft factories to ports of embarkation and military training bases. They also towed targets for live anti-aircraft artillery practice, simulated strafing missions, and transported cargo. Women in these roles flew almost every type of aircraft flown by the USAAF during World War II. Pictured here is Elizabeth Gardner in a B-26 Marauder. Change her hair to blonde and she could be Eddie!