How Americans see the world ….

World mapHi, friends and readers:

I’ve done a lot of traveling during my life, all over Europe, South America and Mexico, the Bahamas, Australia, Canada, and so on. I’m always amazed by how marrow-minded Americans can be when it comes to travel. One summer, when I told my friends I would spend three months living in Berlin, they asked me questions like, “Do they have electricity over there?” Or, “What if you need a doctor?”

Look I love my country, but there are also many other amazing places to live, and different ways to live. I think we, as Americans, would be wise to spend a little more time in cultures different from ours.

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My new novel, “The House on Fremont Drive”, is released ….

The House on Fremont Drive final cover smallerHi, friends and readers:

Today is a big day for me as an author. My latest novel, titled The House on Fremont Drive, was released this morning by Dark Hollows Press. Here’s a blurb for the book:

“Eighteen year-old Nate Ziegler has problems. A dead boy’s ghost dwells in the crawl space above Nate’s walk-in closet; the ghost won’t leave Nate alone. Nate’s cross-country teammate is a neo-Nazi astrology freak; he wants to recruit Nate as his disciple. Nate’s new boyfriend is an emotional mess; he’s a victim of physical and psychological abuse. And Nate’s parents don’t even know Nate is gay. How will he deal with it all?”

This is a large book, over 300 pages, and it took me nearly seven months to write it. I had to do a lot of research on astrology, cross-country running, and Nazi mysticism. It’s unlike anything I have written previously, and I have no idea how it will be received by reviewers and readers, but we’ll see. Here’s a buy link to the Dark Hollows website:

http://www.darkhollowspress.com/#!the-house-on-fremont-dr/cwki

And here’s a brief excerpt form the book where the main character, Nate Ziegler, has his first encounter with the undead:

****

Copyright Jere’ M. Fishback, 2016

I woke to a sound that made my eyelids flutter. I glanced at the alarm clock on my nightstand. The time was around two A.M. A metallic, tinkling noise came from someplace close by, somewhere inside my room. My limbs stiffened when I heard the sound again, and then I heard something else as well: the sound of human breathing.

I crinkled my forehead, already feeling a little scared. What was going on?

Many hours had passed since I’d smoked the Kush at Riley’s house, but I still felt the weed’s effect. My brain seemed fuzzy and my mouth tasted like I’d stuffed a woolen sock inside it. I had jerked off hours before, when memories of Peter and Riley filled my mind’s eye. Then, afterward, I lay in a weird sort of netherworld—half-asleep and half-awake—until about midnight, when I finally dozed off.

Now I sat up in my bed. My sheets rustled and the bedsprings squeaked. The palest glow from a fingernail moon entered my room through the windows, casting a faint rhombus of light onto the room’s oak floor.

“Mom, Dad,” I whispered, “is that you?”

No answer. Then I heard the tinkling sound again—I heard the breathing noise too—and my scalp prickled. Who was in my room and what did they want?

After I’d turned thirteen, back in Seattle, my folks sometimes left me at home by myself while they attended parties or enjoyed their twice-monthly “date night.” I didn’t mind, but I felt uneasy about falling asleep whenever I was alone. Break-ins in our neighborhood happened occasionally and what would I do if an intruder entered our house? What if he attacked me? So without my folks’ knowledge I always kept a wooden baseball bat under my bed—it gave me a sense of security—and now, in my Fremont Drive bedroom, I reached beneath my bed frame to retrieve a 32-inch Louisville Slugger™.

Clutching the bat, I rose to my feet while trying to stay as quiet as possible. The noises continued; they seemed to come from the corner where my closet door was located. I wore only boxer shorts and my bare feet didn’t make any noise when I took a step toward the closet. Already, sweat trickled down my ribs from my armpits. My fingers flexed against the tape on the bat’s handle. Again, I heard a metallic tinkle and the sound of breathing; the noises grew louder and more distinct as I approached the closet. No light shone from beneath the closet door’s lower edge. I took two more steps, and then I heard something else: a moan and a whimper—it was a guy’s voice for certain—but whose was it?

I reached for the closet doorknob; I turned it as quietly as I could. Then I flung the door open. I switched on the closet’s overhead light while raising the bat over my shoulder. I was ready to deliver a nasty blow to my intruder’s head, but…

No one was there.

The only sound I heard was my own breathing. My forehead crinkled while I swung my gaze here and there. Nothing seemed out of place—everything looked normal to me—until I saw the belt. It hung from a hook on the backside of the closet door, just to one side of the mirror, about four feet from the floor. The belt was made of leather, about two inches wide. I hadn’t worn it in a year or more; I stored it with my other belts in a box on the closet shelf. Someone had passed the belt’s strap through the buckle to form a sort of noose. They also enlarged one of the prong holes on the strap so the hole could fit over the hook on the closet door, and this allowed the noose to hang freely.

A shudder ran through me while I studied the belt and tried to make sense of what had just happened. Was it possible I’d imagined the noises I heard? Who knew what people saw or thought while high on Kush? I’d come home from Riley’s feeling light-headed and spaced. I barely spoke to my parents at the dinner table, and then I bolted for my room right after I’d finished my meal. Maybe I had messed around with the belt while I was high. But why would I make a noose?

My mom’s voice sounded in the hallway, startling me.

“Nate?”

“Yeah?”

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, Mom.”

“It’s late. Why are you up?”

I flexed my fingers against the baseball bat, feeling confused as shit. Was I going nuts? Had the Kush fucked up my head so badly that I’d lost contact with reality? Honestly, I’d never felt as creepy or bewildered as I did at that moment.

“I’m okay,” I said. “I woke up ’cause I needed to pee.”

A few seconds passed before Mom spoke, and when she did a hint of skepticism laced her voice. “All right, honey,” she said. “I’ll…see you in the morning.”

****

Wish me luck with this one, friends.

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I’m off to kayak the Colorado River ….

colorado riverHi, friends and readers:

If you follow this website then you know I am a huge devotee of travel, especially when I am going someplace I have never been before. I’m also big on the outdoors, when it comes to vacations; I always feel rejuvenated by nature and its beauty. I like all kinds of environments: jungle, beaches, the mountains of Maine and the California coast. And, of course, I love Florida’s natural beauty, from the Georgia border to the Florida Keys.

Tomorrow I will jump on an airliner that will take me to Southern California. Several friends and I will travel the Colorado River in Nevada with our kayaks, our camping equipment, and plenty of food and alcohol. We will kayak the river for three days while camping on its banks.

I have never been on the Colorado River; I’ve only seen it from the rim of the Grand Canyon, so I am stoked. Wish me luck, friends.

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The beauty of my fishing camp on the Chassahowitzka River ….

chassaHi, friends and readers:

I’m just home from a weekend spent at one of my favorite places in the world: my fishing camp on the Chassahowitzka River. The camp is located on a one-acre island with three cabins on it. A boyhood friend owns the island and cabins, and I rent mine along a few other partners. I keep my boat at a marina up there, and we have to travel six miles out the river to reach the camp, which sits in the middle of a wildlife refuge. We have a generator, solar power, a gravity water system, and even an indoor toilet in our cabin. We also have a propane stove and refrigerator that work quite well.

My partner and I took two old friends up there with us this weekend. We drank some beer, did some fishing, and ate some great food. The weather was perfect: warm in the day and cool enough at night that we slept under blankets.

The picture I have posted here is a typical Chassahowitzka sunset, just beautiful. I’m so lucky to have my camp.

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Happiness: 35% discount on my Prizm Books titles through March 31st ….

happinessHi, friends and readers:

One of my publishers, Prizm Books, is offering a 35% discount on my titles with them. This deal is good through March 31, 2016. It’s their way of saying “Happy Easter” to my readers. My Prizm titles are Josef Jaeger, Tyler Buckspan, and Becoming Andy Hunsinger. You can reach the Prizm site to purchase these books by clicking on the covers in the sidebar to the left here.

The discount coupon code is “easter2016″.

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I’m jumping for joy. I just ran 1.5 miles ….

jumping in a fieldHi, friends and readers:

For almost forty years, beginning in my college days, I was a dedicated distance runner. I loved running and the way it made me feel afterward when my heart and lungs were pumping and those sweet endorphins flowed through my bloodstream, making me feel at peace with the world.

Sadly, those forty years of running destroyed both my knees, and after three arthroscopic knees surgeries my surgeon told me my running days were over, unless I wanted to undergo total knee replacement (TKR) surgery.

I said no to the TKR surgery for the longest time, but my knees got so bad I couldn’t hike or surf either, and those, along with running are among my favorite activities. So last year, on May 11th, I underwent bilateral TKRs. It has now been over ten months since the TKR surgery. I did all the required physical therapy, and I went to the gym three days per week to rebuild the muscle tissue in my legs that I lost from three months of being sedentary after surgery.

jump for joyToday, around three PM, I did my traditional, pre-run leg stretches, and then I went to the street and I ran 1.5 miles without stopping, and at a pretty good pace for a guy who hasn’t run in over four years. My knees felt great and so  did my legs, and when the run was over I felt so good.

I can run again!

This will be a life-changing situation for me. I plan to run three miles per day, four days per week. The other three days I’ll go to the YMCA for a workout and lap-swimming. I’ll be a picture of fitness in no time, and how good that will feel.

I’ve heard it said that distance running is addictive, and I guess I am evidence of that fact. But it’s a good addiction. It takes weight of you, it helps control your appetite, and it helps you sleep more soundly. My doctor knew I planned to resume distance running when he did my TKR surgery, so he gave me ultra-strong knee replacements that can withstand the pounding they’ll get when I run. I should be good for at least fifteen years, and that’s enough for me.

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The joy of listening to my old vinyl LPs ….

after bahting at baxter'sHi, friends and readers:

I have a substantial collection of vinyl LP albums that date from the late 1960’s through the 1980’s. I continued to listen to them until several years ago when my turntable died, and then I listened only to CDs until my partner, considerate guy that he is, bought me a super-nice turntable for my birthday about two years ago. Since then I have listened to my vinyl quite often, and that’s what I am doing this evening.

One of my most beloved vinyl albums is one I bought my junior year of high school. I can still remember the day I bought the album, and even where I bought it–a record shop in west St. Petersburg. The album is a Jefferson Airplane recording released by RCA in 1967 titled After Bathing at Baxter’s. That’s the cover you see at the top of this post. I am listening to it as I write these words.

I have always taken good care of my vinyl, and my copy of After Bathing at Baxter’s hasn’t a single scratch on it. No hisses or pops. The sound quality is superb too. Every song on the album is unique, and a few are deeply psychedelic. I did quite a few mind-bending drugs as a college student in the early 1970’s, and I always liked listening to Baxter’s when I was tripping.

One of the great lines in the album’s song titled Wild Tyme says. “It’s a wild time; I’m doing things that haven’t got a name yet.” Ah, to be a 1960’s hippie again ….

I read the other day that the Airplane’s leader and co-founder, Paul Kantner, died in January 2016, at the age of seventy-four. It’s hard for me to believe, but then, when you do the math, Baxter’s is nearly fifty years old.

How time flies ….

 

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Living on an island is the best ….

island livingHi, friends and readers:

Way back in the 1980’s I bought a three-unit apartment building on a barrier island west of St. Petersburg. It was only intended to be an investment; I never planned on living there. But after I retired I decided I wanted to live at the beach, so I remodeled two of the apartments and combined them into one, and then I moved out here in 2004.

I have never regretted my decision to live here. The sunsets and sunrises are spectacular. My neighbors are wonderful, and on weekdays it is dead quiet around here, which enables me to write with the doors and windows open during much of the year.

There is something magical about being surrounded by water; I think it has calming effect on us. I have lived here twelve years and yet I never take a single day out here for granted. I’ll be an island guy for the rest of my life.

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A beautiful photo from Venice, Italy ….

Venice, ItalyHi, friends and readers:

I suppose we all have a travel destination we dream of visiting one day, and one of mine is Venice, Italy. Despite the many times I have visited Europe I have never taken the time to visit Venice. The photo to the left, which I came across the other day, reminded me of just how much I want to see this place, preferably when it’s not tourist season, which I understand is June through September. So, maybe October would be a good month to go there?

I remember reading Machiavelli’s book The Prince when I was in college, and I still remember how the book whetted my appetite for visiting Venice. I’d like to hire a small boat and simply cruise the canals for hours, perhaps at least part of the time at night. Imagine just how beautiful the experience would be …

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An amazing trip to Southern California ….

la-jolla-coveHi, friends and readers:

I always tell people that I think travel is the most enriching experience you can allow yourself, even if it only involves camping in a state park 100 miles from your home.

Last week, a friend and I flew to San Diego, CA. His uncle owns a very nice home in La Jolla, just a few blocks from La Jolla Cove, which you see in the top photo I have posted here. It’s one of the prettiest places I have ever visited. Of course it’s also one of the most expensive communities in California, a place I could never afford. I liked it anyways ….

We spent one day attending a PGA tournament at the Torrey Pines course, which was quite beautiful. We saw many big-name golfers up close; it was a nice way to spend a day.

camp pendelton cabinsThe next day we met two friends at Camp Pendelton Marine Base, to play a round of golf on the base course, which was lots of fun. The day was beautiful:sunny and still, and just about 72 degrees F. Then, after our round we took occupancy of two oceanfront apartments located directly on the base and at the beach. The lower photo shows you what the apartments looked like. We could only stay there because one of our foursome was a retired Marine. The beach was next to a jetty, and the surf there was really good. I didn’t have my board with me but I enjoyed watching other guys surf. The waves w ere huge compared to those in Florida.

Just walking around the base was interesting. We encountered many young Marines in uniform, going about their duties. All were friendly and respectful, and I had to admire them for all the drudgery and discomforts they have to endure.

The last day we were there it stormed so we couldn’t enjoy the outdoors much, but we did build a big bonfire in one of the concrete pits the base supplies. What a treat ….

This was my first visit to Southern California in eight years, and I’m sure glad I went. Give it a try sometime, if you get the chance. You won’t be sorry you did.

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