This, then, is my thanks to all those sources (over sixty in writing) including books,
historical documents, researchers, archivists, authors, pilots, long-time admirers, and
mysterious collectors of data, who have helped me through long days and nights of writing
my own version of Earhart's flying legacy. In so doing, I considered my own. The writing
brought us together, perhaps even the two of us in one cockpit for a brief period of time.
Through researching her dilemmas, I came to better understand mine. In the end, Amelia
Earhart helped me interpret a sky-world rich in detail and demand, a world as foreign as any
Starfleet women may one day command. For that and more, I'll always be grateful.
"Without Ameila Earhart there would
have been no flying adventures of
“The most difficult thing is the
decision to act, the rest is
merely tenacity. The fears are
paper tigers. You can do
anything you decide to do. You
can act to change and control
your life; and the procedure,
the process is its own reward.
Adventure is worthwhile in
Imperfect Genius: The Unexpected Life of Amelia Earhart:
Quick Fall of Light, published in 2010, has
gone on a decade-long journey of its own.
There is a timeless quality that I recognize more
now than I did at the time of Quick Fall's
publication. In the novel, bird flu was the
specific pathogen, but mankind's reaction was
similar, sometimes eerily similar to what's
happening now. Social isolation overcame every
other effort to stop the pandemic, other than a
mysterious anti-virus known as Pass-Flu. And
Pass-Flu itself had its origins in a deepening
mystery---a possibly extinct bird once known as
America's Passenger Pigeon.
Take a closer look at this version of a worldwide
catastrophe, not for its horror or feeling of doom,
but for the dreamers within the characters
themselves. Each of them holds tight to a way of
life not easy to leave. Sometimes desperately
they want to return to "normal," yet know they
never will. The post-pandemic world will seek
their story, their experience and loss. Because
their journey, like ours, is inescapable.
When I was 21, I decided to act on a persistent dream I’d had—flying over my childhood home. Not just
flying, more like winging, as a bird would do. I identified modestly with birds, but it was Amelia Earhart who
kept inciting the struggle within. “Learn to fly,” she seemed to say. “Don’t assume anything else will replace
Imperfect Genius: The Unexpected Life of Amelia Earhart is the story of that internal dialogue
between Earhart and myself. Though we learned to fly almost exactly 50 years apart, we were both driving at
the same goal—to escape Earth and pilot an airplane while doing so. Excellently, if possible. That is what
made the writing of this project so worthwhile, and so daunting. To consider my own flying alongside
Earhart’s wasn’t the goal—but to look at our values and sensitivities as pilots behind machines meant to fly
certainly was. This look at Earhart’s often-forgotten flying style influenced my own tendencies as a young
pilot. My guess is her technique will continue to influence women pilots for the rest of time.
In this suspenseful tale a global virus sets the tone, but it's a
one-pound bird that determines who lives and who doesn't.
In this novel of a near-future pandemic, the time has come
when humanity is enduring one of the worst devastations
imaginable. Yet, Quick Fall of Light looks less at the worldwide
outbreak of bird flu than it does at the lives of three people
caught in its wake.
The story begins with Josephine Russo searching for the crash
site of her newly deceased husband deep in the mist-shrouded
Olympic Rain Forest of Washington State. As she finds herself
lost and getting sick, she meets a logger, Gary Sterns, who not
only has a long history of logging, but who has also discovered
a medical lab hidden deep within the forest’s interior. From this
mysterious realm the story reveals an experiment unknown,
except for traces left behind on a computer and Josephine’s
remembrances of the fading love between herself and her late
husband. And it is from this experiment that a bird, at one time
one of America’s most breathtaking, emerges as a source of
radically advanced medical technology.
Quick Fall of Light has its roots in the great influenza epidemic
of 1918. Based, in part, on the reported mysterious “grippe”
that spread around the globe early in the last century, the novel
tells of a world largely stunned by a similar modern tragedy,
withdrawn, sequestered, and desperate for the availability of an
anti-virus, Pass-Flu. The business of manufacturing the drug is a
thriving one despite the staggering loss of human life, and no
one questions its efficiency until Josephine reads the confession
her husband left behind on his computer. . .
That as leading ornithologist for the pharmaceutical,
Coltzer-Bremen, he had personally witnessed the deadly
exploitation of his birds for the sake of production and that he
considered the drug as dangerous as the disease. In one final
act of retribution he planned to release the bird most likely to
survive, a passenger pigeon named Gem-X. It is, without a doubt,
his dying hope that the bird will not only survive, but triumph
over mankind and the dreaded outbreak that’s wiped out
millions of birds as well. This is what takes the story well
beyond the rain forest, and into the sites of a hitman who
pursues Josephine and Sterns and the elusive Gem-X through
the wilderness of Montana, a dying town in Wyoming, and a
plains fire as big as any our nation has ever seen.
Oddly enough, the novel is neither dark nor apocalyptic. Rather,
it centers on a time of turmoil, looking at nature not as a way
out but as a remnant of our past that will always see us through.
Quick Fall of Light tells of a time yet to come and yet brings us
face to face with our past. We can only hope what it describes
never comes to be.
Ancestral: A novel of the power of lineage, both human and bird, and of beings who have mysteriously guided
our world throughout time. Speculative with a touch of magical realism, the story is revealed most by a woman
wildlife tracker, who begins her journey among California Condors, birds steeped in ancient and deadly mystery,
and the rudiments of a prophesy ready to unfold. Undergoing a final edit, the book takes on new publishing effort
1) The rudimentary beginnings of a next novel are of a dog, a young woman with cancer, and an especially ancient,
nearly forgotten cure. A look back at ancient Greece blends with our current world of medicine, its breakthroughs,
and what is lost when we distance ourselves from the innate possibilities within us.
2) What do two creatures, one domestic, one wild, have in common as they make a post-pandemic journey through
a wilderness? There are shades of The Incredible Journey here and Pax, yet the premise is complicated by a
sensory world at times unpredictable, sometimes nearly impossible. This children's book has been brewing in my
thoughts for a long time, but it took a worldwide pandemic to elevate it to serious writing.
Quick Fall of Light