This, then, is my thanks to all those sources (over sixty in writing) including books, historical documents, researchers, archivists, authors, pilots, long-time admirers, and mysterious collectors of data, who have helped me through long days and nights of writing my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.

Female Fliers
"Without Ameila Earhart there would have been no flying adventures of my own."
-Sherri Woodley
“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 itself.”
-Amelia Earhart
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 it.”

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, Colzer-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 this year.

Upcoming Projects:

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