Historical Fiction and Memoir

“Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.”-Boris Pasternak

Voila! The little book about being in the back of beyond for the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic hit hard here and there, is published. It’s titled Finding Refuge and it’s available here: Amazon.

As I put this book together with some intention, I saw that it relates an interesting journey into determined optimism. For illustrations, I thought, at first, of doing drawings, but as the book evolved, I saw the black and white photos fit the content of the book. There is a whole very colorful world out there, but in 2020, some of life’s color seemed to drain away.

Trilogy: Across the World on the Wings of the Wind

Across the World on the Wings of the Wind is a trilogy loosely based on the history of part of my family who lived in Affoltern am Albis, Switzerland, in Canton Zürich. It tells the story of three generations of the Lunkhofen/Schneebeli family and spans five-hundred years.The first book is Savior. It is set during the 13th century. It tells the story of Rudolf von Lunkhofen going on Crusade in 1244 in search of salvation. The second, The Brothers Path, relates the experiences of the Schneebeli family during the Protestant Reformation. The third novel, The Price, follows the family across the Atlantic in 1843 and explores the harrowing decisions they faced.

Martin of Gfenn is the story of a young artist living in Zürich in the mid-thirteenth century. When he is nineteen, Martin contracts leprosy. He fights physical deterioration and social stigma to do what he believes he was meant to do – paint fresco. His short journey takes him from the streets of a swiftly growing Zürich to a to a small community of the Knights of Saint Lazarus, in the village of Gfenn. The story is inspiring; its philosophical focus is Christ’s teachings from the perspective of Martin whose leprosy, youth, passion for painting and education have conspired to make him an early-day Christian humanist.

Back in the 1980s, I moved to California from Colorado. Soon I found work I loved and ended up staying for more than thirty years. I always missed the Rocky Mountains.Many of these stories are set in Mission Trails Regional Park, several thousand acres of coastal sage and chaparral. The landscape was one of the few remaining pieces of untouched chaparral so close to San Diego. Because most native plants go dormant in summer, turning black and sere, to many people it looked like “nothing.” To anyone who gets to know it, the chaparral is fascinating, complex, and very alive. It taught me so much; most of all, it taught me to see. I grew to love it. About thirty miles east of the city are “real” mountains where snow falls a few times every winter. I trekked those trails as often as I could. My companions were usually one or more of my dogs, but sometimes there were human friends who went along with me. Now I am back in Colorado. Every day I have the chance to get out somewhere, I see and feel again how much I learned on the dusty trails of Southern California’s chaparral hills and the higher mountains beyond.

Living and Teaching in the People’s Republic of China in 1982/83

As a Baby Duck Listens to Thunder is a love story…. My position as a Foreign Expert in English was my first real teaching job in a career that spanned more than thirty years. I could never have imagined China would be a destination in my life, but it was. And at such a moment in history! Chairman Mao had been dead only six years. The evil Gang of Four had been “tried” only the year before. The horrors of the Cultural Revolution were still close in everyone’s memory, and people feared that the post-Mao moment of comparative freedom was a random blip. Deng Xiao Ping was determined that China would modernize and enter the world as a competitor. Every single penny of foreign exchange that came to China was used to buy technology to further China’s modernization. I was one of those “bits of technology,” too.Propelled by a consuming wanderlust, I took my ignorance and inexperience with me, and ended up receiving some of life’s great gifts. My students’ diligence, curiosity and courage inspired me, and, in turn, I inspired them. The bridge between our cultures was a shared love of poetry and beautiful language. As for China? China was the great love of my life.

This book is available in three formats. The red cover is filled with full color illustrations. The white cover has black and white illustrations and is more economical. The book is also available for Kindle with a link to Youtube for all the illustrations.

You can learn more about all my books, see what readers have said, from my Amazon Author’s Page. They are all for sale on Amazon and through other online book sellers.