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Frank Luke & ‘The Red Baron’s Daughter’

Original caption: Frank Luke, carefree fighter ace, who died during World War I. He downed four planes and fourteen balloons in 17 days.

Like most of my stories, the ‘Red Baron’s Daughter’ (from The Feast of Saint Anne) was inspired by historical people, including the Luke Edwards’ character who was based heavily on Frank Luke, a tragic hero and legendary American fighter pilot in WWI. Luke was the quintessential ‘loose canon’ and was disliked by many of his fellow pilots for his tendency to fly alone and disobey orders. Much as this sort of thing is romanticized in Hollywood, in the battlefield it quickly becomes a liability. The only person he consistently flew with was his friend, Lt. Joseph Wehner, who would typically fly cover while Frank took down German observation balloons.  After Wehner was killed in a dogfight with the German’s  on Sept 18th, 1918, Luke when on a rampage, scoring a blistering 18 victories flying ten sorties in 8 days. After the final two – both German observation balloons – he was shot down and crashed behind enemy lines, allegedly crawling out of his wrecked Spad to a nearby stream where he pulled out his side arm and fire a few rounds at approaching German Soldiers before succumbing to his wounds. His whole story reads like an epic movie, yet oddly he is largely forgotten today except for military history buffs. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  Daring hero? Obsessed killing machine? A little of both, I think. I hope he rests in peace.

What Lies Beneath #2

SubmergedFollowing up on the earlier post on the sunken villages in the nearby reservoir . . . part of the process of writing (for me) involves visuals that inspire me, usually things I see while out and about, which is why I always have my trusty camera slung over my shoulder all the time. So two things here: one, it’s critical as a writer to get out there and interact with the world, take it in. Second, observe. Like this image of the remains of a sunken pier in the Hudson River, sunken, rotting. Decaying. What’s lurking down there? Imagination is great, but experiencing things directly even better. It informs the process.

The Octagonal House

Octogon houseAlso known as the “Armour-Stiner” house, this unusual Victorian masterpiece was completed in 1860. Sorry, no sordid history with this one (but I’m pretty sure I can cook one up), but it is apparently the only known domed octagonal house still existing in the United States. It’s certainly adorned with all sorts of curious details, including reliefs of the original owner’s dogs. Check out some of the internal photos on the official FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheArmourStinerOctagonHouse/

What Lies Beneath…

Croton2Inspiration behind the current novel in the series being written. Few people know that there are not one, but FOUR villages submerged beneath the placid surface of this local reservoir. The church steeple of one can be seeing emerging out of the gloom on days when the water level is low enough. Just the thought of that kind of gives me gives me the willies. Which of course begs the question – what else could be lurking down there?

The Tale of another Falls

Honeoye FallsThe other source of inspiration behind the “Wyvern Falls” name is in fact a nod to the village I spent much of my misbegotten youth in, a scenic little village in upstate New York known as ‘Honeoye Falls’.  It was (and still is) a quaint place and will always occupy an admittedly idyllic place in my mind. All the old friends and neighbors are now gone but that house and street where so many of my youthful dreams were forged still exists, and always will in my mind. For me and my family, at least, it was as perfect a place to grow up in as one can imagine, though not without it’s excitement. Like the time my uncle and a certain (unnamed) local biker nearly got pegged by a drive-by shotgun shooting after a bar fight downtown, taking out the window of the (then) Brick Oven Pizza at the four corners, or the time the bridge from where I shot this photo collapsed. There were plenty of odd and eccentric characters there of course, and plenty of devious adventures gotten into. Possibly involving fireworks, blowing up ship models in the creek, chasing girls and getting drunk. Not necessarily in that order. But there were also the Fireman’s Parades, the Fireman’s Carnivals, the endless summer days and long winters. It was a safe place. Which was of course why I had to leave it, though I realize now it’s still with me even now, partially re-imagined through the distorted lens of a certain village along the Hudson River.

It was also the place where, as a High-School teenager, I sat down at my Mom’s old Smith Corona and wrote my first short story.

Odds and Sods

Wyvern02Part of the creative process is like a scavenger hunt and part of it is this sort of mystery you have to let yourself surrender to. When you do, well, that’s when the magic happens. Not the Harry Potter/Houdini/ILM sort, but the kind where you feel like you’ve plugged into something bigger than yourself. When that happens you find things revealing themselves to you in a kind of synchronicity, such as this little fellow discovered on the inside arch of a church in London that is one of the inspirations behind the village name. You’ll also find him on the inside cover of the Hudson Horror novels as part of the Deathwatch Books imprint.

Keep your eyes and mind open. Inspiration is everywhere.

Another tale to be published!

Okay folks, just a heads up another short story, “The Witchering”, has been picked up by U.K.’s Dark Chapter Press for their upcoming “Edge of Darkness” anthology, slated for release later this year. Check in with the Dark Chapter website and I’ll post more info as it becomes available.

New Video!

Okay Folks, we have a new feature video on Wyvern Falls that has just come out…enjoy!

https://vimeo.com/166152270

The Devil’s Engine

DE banner 02Another shameless plug for the YA novella I had published by Muzzleland Press this past year . . . it’s a quick little romp about an abandoned train a few unsuspecting local teens discover in a rail shed known only as ‘Building 18’.  Inside they are about to discover a locomotive that has been sealed up since it’s one fateful run on the eve of the Second World War . . . a diabolical piece of machinery known as ‘The Devil’s Engine’

Get your copy today from Muzzleland Press here