Author Archives: Dan Moore

TWYNER’S BRIDGE: A Tribute to the Child We Never Knew

     On Christmas morning, 1979 our second child died through miscarriage. Diana and I were devastated. Time stood still, and our world was shaken. Christmas was for births, not deaths. We struggled to understand the pain and sorrow. Honestly, though modulated by time, we can still feel the loss as though it was scar tissue on an old wound. Each Christmas since, we have shared a knowing glance in silent acknowledgement of our precious child. We recall our grief while giving thanks for our other two children.

      We have often wondered what our child would have been like. Although we never knew for certain, we have always believed she was a girl. The name we had chosen for her was Erika Joy. Had she lived, I am sure Erika would have been an amazing person.  She would have captured the heart of a remarkable man. He would have been blessed by her joy, and their love would have carried them to places they never imagined.

     As my musings about our beloved Erika took shape in my imagination, I realized I had to write about her. The story would be told from the perspective of her life-partner, and the tale would explore the poignancy of loss and the power of love. That is why I wrote my latest novel, “Twyner’s Bridge.”

     Jake Twyner and Erika Joy are the central characters of the story. They are a couple, but far from ordinary. Through their passion, they can twyne the fabric of the cosmos, folding the space-time continuum at will and forming portals. They journeyed throughout the galaxy. Harnessing their love enabled them to become star voyagers and see the breathtaking majesty of the universe.

     Jake and Erika had tried to have children, but they lost their first child through a miscarriage. They are twyning over the Rocky Mountains when Erika tells Jake she wants to try again to have a baby. Jake is rattled by the prospect, and the muse that empowers their twyne is shattered.

     The story begins in the next moment. Jake awakens. Erika is lying next to him, her dead eyes and expressionless face burned into his memory. Jake is temporarily paralyzed, unable to pull her into his arms. An unseen man, surprised by their sudden appearance, is standing in the dark over Erika’s lifeless body. He has just stabbed her.

     Jake discovers that the interrupted twyne has deposited him in another time, as well as a new place. He is emotionally and physically marooned. Jake is reeling from Erika’s death. He is struggling to fit into an unfamiliar place. The unknown killer is stalking him, seeking to eliminate any witnesses to his murderous deed. What will become of Jake? Will the killer have his way? How can Jake move on without Erika?

     I write this, hoping your interest will be piqued, and you will take a chance on my new novel, “Twyner’s Bridge.” It is a story that rings with the overtones of my family and the fathomless mystery of love and loss.

Moore later…

Dan

Here are links to Twyner’s Bridge

Amazon Kindle Edition

Smashwords Digital Editions

Paperback Edition

On an Economy of Words

Check out my guest blogpost on Jae Blakney’s site.

On an Economy of Words

Fixing Unwanted Indentations in Kindle Files

I write my novels in Microsoft WORD. There is dialogue, of course. Sometimes I write a half a page of one and two-line paragraphs. When I upload my file through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), I invariably find that the resulting Kindle file has indented the second line of the two-line paragraphs.

Here’s what I mean. The following passage is how I intended it to look.


When KDP’s software was done with it, it looked like this:


Notice the second lines of all the two-line paragraphs were indented.

Here’s what I did to solve the problem. I saved my WORD document as an html document and uploaded that version to KDP. The resulting manuscript was perfect. NOTE: This works if your document doesn’t have any external content, such as images. If it does, you will need to use Mobipocket Creator.

I hope this helps you avoid a long night of bashing your head against your monitor.

Moore later…

Adding Kindle eBooks with Your Computer

If you get an ebook in an email, or CDRom, it’s easy to transfer it directly to your Kindle. I have successfully transferred .mobi files (native Kindle e-books), .prc files (readable on Kindles), and .pdf files (Acrobat files) to my Kindle. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Attach your Kindle to your computer via the USB power cable supplied with the Kindle.
  2. Turn on the Kindle
  3. A new window should open on your computer. Notice the “documents” folder on the Kindle.
  4. Drag the ebook file (mobi, prc, pdf) into the “documents” folder.
  5. Disconnect your Kindle.
  6. Press the “Home” button on the Kindle.
  7. The ebook should be visible with “new” to the left of the title. You are ready to read the ebook!

I hope this helps.

Moore later…

Review: “Dreams Unleashed” by Linda Hawley

Ann Torgeson is troubled by her dreams. She earns her living as a technical writer for AlterHydro, an alternative-energy engineering firm based in Bellingham, Washington. She lives alone with her dog in a Craftsman-style home which is packed full of high technology and ruled by Sinéad, a sophisticated computer. At first glance, Ann is a forty-four year old widow whose daughter has recently gone to college, but she is far more than that.

“Dreams Unleashed” is Linda Hawley’s debut novel, the first in her “The Prophecies” trilogy. She introduces Ann Torgeson, who is a richly textured, multidimensional character. Hawley offers an entertaining voyage through the swells and storms of the not-too-distant future where government and societal forces are threatening everyone’s privacy. This novel is both detailed and compelling. Written in the first person, the author effectively draws the reader into her heroine’s mind. Ann is a former employee of the CIA. She is an enigma. As the story unfolds, the reader journeys with her as she relives her past and tries to make sense of her vivid dreams.

This is a nonlinear tale which immerses the reader in a tantalizing paranormal mystery. Its twists and discontinuities leave the reader breathless, creating a world where the unexpected is commonplace. Linda Hawley tears down the boundaries which have traditionally framed reality. Her book offers a mind-bending experience which grips the reader and offers a fantastic glimpse of a world beyond our imagining. This is a book filled with cerebral action and metaphysical mystique.

One of the dominant threads in the story is a pair of phantom Herkimer Diamonds. Ann and her late father spent some time in Upstate New York, digging for them in the southern foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. They found the crystals during their excursion. From that day on, they wore the Herkimer Diamonds as symbols of the powerful bond they shared. (The Herkimer Diamond Mine is a couple of hours drive from my home. I enjoyed every word of this account, having spent time rock hounding there. My first wedding ring is still somewhere in the West Canada Creek near the Herkimer Diamond Mine KOA.)

Linda Hawley invites the reader into Ann Torgeson’s inner thoughts. “Dreams Unleashed” is a labyrinthine tale where Ann discovers her link with cataclysmic events and startling powers, which will change her life forever. If you like paranormal fare, you will enjoy this book.

Moore later…

Review: “Voyagers II: The Alien Within,” by Ben Bova

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read the first novel in Ben Bova’s “Voyagers” series, you may want to stop reading. This review reveals its ending.

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The man who had been Keith Stoner awoke. Ben Bova offers another tour de force in “Voyagers II: The Alien Within,” his second installment in the acclaimed “Voyagers” series. In the first novel, a mysterious signal near Jupiter leads to the discovery of an alien ship. A scientist and astronaut, Stoner boards the craft. He discovers a sarcophagus containing the body of an ancient alien. Stoner remains on the ship as it swings by the earth and heads out of the solar system. He freezes to death.

Eighteen years have passed. Jo Camerata, the young grad student who fell in love with Keith Stoner in the first novel, has climbed the corporate ladder and mounted a rescue mission to save the man she loves. She is president of Vanguard Industries and has married Everett Nillson, the chairman of the board. Their company is harvesting advanced technology from the alien spacecraft. The resulting profits have made Vanguard the wealthiest corporation in the world.

In the opening pages, Keith awakens to a world that has changed drastically. Ben Bova paints a portrait of a future world which is in a tug of war between fantastic new scientific innovations and age old problems. Fusion generators have solved the energy crisis. Force fields which can shield cities from nuclear blasts have ended the standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, greed and war and poverty remain.

Bova takes Keith Stoner across the globe, from the sunny beaches of Hawaii to the cold mountains of High Asia. Through his character, the reader is introduced to an Indian woman who will do anything for her children: a glimpse of nobility and courage. Stoner journeys into the heart of Central Africa where a war rages between tribal leaders; a war fueled by weapons provided by the developed world. Through his eyes, the reader sees the horrors of war, experiences the needless killing. And then Stoner sojourns in a crowded refugee camp, where the raw masses of humanity seek hope where there is no hope. This book is an unforgettable read.

As the story progresses, the reader discovers that Keith Stoner has changed. He is not the man he used to be. As the novel’s title suggests, Stoner’s mind has been infiltrated. The alien’s presence emerges slowly, casting Stoner into an inner dialog with his strange passenger: a dispute over the nature of humanity and the character of human society. Stoner straddles two worlds, human and alien. His struggle to accommodate his mental companion becomes the perfect vehicle for Bova to raise questions about wealth and power, war and peace, self-sufficiency and love.

Ben Bova’s “Voyagers II: The Alien Within” is much more than a well crafted science fiction novel. When the story is over, the reader is left with the impression that each of us hosts an alternate presence in our psyche: an internal whisper that urges us to question the disparities of society and challenge the base instincts which lead us to destruction.

Moore later…

We Are Not Our Scars

I met a man who had been injured in the Korean War. One of his legs had been badly damaged, and he walked with a cane, twisting his body awkwardly with every step. I asked him what it was like to be scarred for life. He told me that he was lucky. That got my attention. In fact, it was the last thing I expected him to say. The man told me that he felt lucky because his scars were on the outside. He understood what had happened to him. He had learned to live with them. “Most people’s scars,” he said, “are on the inside where nobody sees them.”

The man was right. Even the most beautiful woman or handsome man carries scars. They come with living. Things happen to us that we don’t understand. We feel guilty for something that occurred a long time ago, or we misinterpret a thoughtless comment made by someone important to us. Some of us hold secrets and are full of fear because of what might happen if society ever found out the truth we carry inside. Some scars are born of fear. Some of us have been hurt, letting down our guard with people or institutions we thought we could trust. And then there are parents who, for whatever reason, seared defining messages into our psyches. You get the idea. You know what I mean, because you have scars, too.

One of the reasons I wrote my first book, Meridian’s Shadow, was to explore what people do with their scars. The opening scene tells the story of my main character, Hunter Logan, cutting his finger in front of some boys he wanted to impress. That story happened to me. My right index finger carries the little scar, reminding me of that day.

The overarching message of my book, and this blog, is that we do not have to be the sum total of our scars. They need not define us. Some of my characters are debilitated by what they have done or what has happened to them. Others lose their way, following self-destructive paths. Still others are broken by their scars, but learn to avoid the shadows the scars can cast over their lives.

Every day I have to remind myself that I am not my scars. My parents were human, but they left marks on my life. I cannot be defined by my parents’ weaknesses. I once trusted close friends, who I later learned were using our relationship to betray me. I cannot be defined by my friends, no matter how good or bad they are. I spent a majority of my professional life serving an institution that discarded me. I cannot allow my personal worth to be determined by any institution. I struggle with diabetes, massive doses of insulin bloating my big-boned body until all I see is an old fat guy in the mirror. I cannot allow myself to be defined by my illness, or my size.

I struggle with these things. They are the sack of rocks I carry with me. However, on a good day, I know they are not who I am.

When we are young, our families tell us who we are. Later, when we leave the homes of our parents, life takes a whack at us, and we learn more lessons about ourselves. All these experiences are precursors to our truly defining moments. We are not necessarily who our family says we are. We are not a foregone conclusion of the scrapes and bruises of life, of the misinformation and projections of people we meet. Our defining moments need not be when bad things happen to us, but when we decide how we will respond to our scars.

I don’t claim to have any quick answers, but I am learning to see the boundary between what has happened to me, and the person I truly am. I wish you well, as you listen to the scars in your life, and encourage us all to listen to the inner, whispering voice that reminds us, against all odds, who we really are.

Moore later…

Review: “Abduction” by Robin Cook

Perry Bergman has bet his fortune and his company on a risky venture. When Dr. Suzanne Newell, a geophysical oceanographer, accidentally discovers a seamount on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, her studies reveal a magma chamber with surprisingly thin walls. Earth’s liquid core could be within four hundred feet of the ocean floor. Perry dispatches his ship, the Benthic Explorer to drill into the mount and determine what lies beneath it. Bergman’s team struggles to penetrate the hard shell of the chamber, breaking drill bits and shattering the project’s budget.

Perry arrives on the Benthic Explorer as another drill fails. Richard Adams and Michael Donaghue are the company divers tasked with changing out the broken bit. Perry is deathly afraid of submarines and reluctantly joins Dr. Newell and her pilot Donald Fuller in the Oceanus, a submersible which is carrying tools for the repair. They descend to the well head in advance of the divers. Suzanne and Donald take Perry on a tour of the seamount, showing him dramatic undersea columns, which resemble the Giant’s Causeway on the northern coast of Ireland. They approach a transverse fault that penetrates the seamount and are startled when they find it isn’t a fault at all. It is a large rectangular shaft that is so deep their sonar can’t find its bottom. As Donald pilots the Oceanus into the shaft, unknown forces suck them down beneath the sea floor. Perry is certain they’re lives are over. This is where Robin Cook’s delicious science fiction tale begins.

Perry Bergman and his associates are mysteriously reunited with the two divers. The five characters are now adventurers, exploring Interterra, a world beyond their comprehension. All is not as it appears. They learn of an ancient age when humanity was faced with annihilation and are astonished by the steps taken by an advanced civilization to ensure survival. It becomes unclear whether they will ever return. They have been abducted.

“Abduction” is reminiscent of Jules Verne’s classic, “A Journey to the Center of the Earth,” but offers the reader much more. It is a novel filled with cutting-edge science and a haunting vision of a society born of the fantastic application of hyper-advanced genetic engineering. Perry Bergman and his associates must choose between the utopia of Interterra and the lives they’ve left behind on the ocean’s surface. Cook bends our minds in the final pages, leaving us thoroughly entertained and breathless as we emerge from his imaginative tale. The implications are startling. The vision of our inhumanity is troubling. And the story’s afterglow is enlightening.

Moore later…

Review: “The Green Trap” by Ben Bova

Paul Cochrane’s life is turned upside down when his brother Mike is murdered. Mike invites Paul to his laboratory at the Calvin Research Center, a private biotech company in Palo Alto, California to tell him of a scientific breakthrough which will transform the world and make him a wealthy man. However, before Paul sees him, Mike is found bludgeoned to death, his laptop computer gone. Paul is left with many unanswered questions. Who killed his brother? Why was Mike killed? And what had he discovered? Paul Cochrane begins a labyrinthine journey to find answers. His life will never be the same.

“The Green Trap” by Ben Bova is a first-rate thriller constructed around cutting-edge microbiology and the power politics of alternative energy research. It pits those who profit from traditional fossil-fuels against scientists who are ushering in a paradigm shift in energy production. The story is a classic David and Goliath tale where a man, seeking the truth about his brother’s death, must challenge overwhelming adversaries.

When Elena Sandoval, a lovely and mysterious woman, joins in Paul in his search for Mike’s murderer, the pair finds themselves locked in a deadly tug of war with Lionel Gould, the chairman of the board and principal stock holder of Gould Energy Corporation. Gould wants control of Mike’s discovery. Paul wants to protect the research for which his brother died. Paul and Elena are immersed in a shadowy world where they are stalked by thugs and confounded at every step. Their search takes them from Boston to San Francisco, from the halls of Washington’s power to seductive bedrooms of sexual intrigue.

Once again, Ben Bova delivers a literary masterwork, taking his readers on a thrilling roller-coaster ride through smart science and rough and tumble action. He never disappoints. Paul Cochrane is a likeable and approachable character. When his brother’s discovery threatens those who are heavily vested in the status quo, Paul Cochrane shows us that the heralds of innovation can change the world in spite of them. “The Green Trap” offers an honest look at the political and economic strictures which stifle discovery, wrapped in an enjoyable who-done-it.

Moore later…

Review: “Voyagers” by Ben Bova

Keith Stoner is caught in a web of intrigue and deception. A former NASA astronaut, Stoner helped design and build the “Big Eye,” Ben Bova’s vision of the yet-to-be Hubble Space Telescope. When extra-terrestrial signals are detected from Jupiter, Stoner is recruited because of his ties with NASA. He obtains photographs of Jupiter and discovers what appears to be an alien spacecraft orbiting the gas giant.

“Voyagers” crackles with personal and political drama as scientists from around the globe come together to decipher the mysterious radio transmission. Written in 1981, a decade prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, the story is filled with cold war tension and hot sexual passion. The plot unfolds beneath the leaden skies of Moscow and New England, on the beaches of a tropical island in the South Pacific and far above the Earth in the cold emptiness of space.

Ben Bova takes his time developing the narrative, weaving together the lives and ambitions of many disparate characters. Keith Stoner is a scientist who is obsessed with scientific discovery. Jo Camerata is a beautiful grad student who will do anything to save him. Caught in a faltering marriage, a Russian linguist and his wife must face their mutually inflicted wounds. A British double agent who is shattered by past imprisonment and torture, must decide where his loyalties belong. Bova creates believable, textured characters who reach out of the narrative. They invite us into a world where national distrust and insatiable egos threaten to derail the greatest discovery in history. The alien spacecraft’s mysterious appearance puts these characters on a collision course in a masterful literary tapestry, surrounding the reader with a highly enjoyable tale.

The first novel in an epic series, “Voyagers” raises a timeless question. How will we navigate the historical discontinuity when we encounter intelligent life from beyond our world? When the stakes are high and established beliefs are shattered, will the human race be at its best or worst? Ben Bova offers a sobering and realistic glance at one possible response to such an encounter, encouraging us to exchange our pettiness for nobility and our fears for a glimpse into the unknown.

Ben Bova delights the reader with a story that twists and turns its way toward a remarkable final act. Be sure to buy the second book in the series, “The Alien Within,” before reading this novel. The stunning conclusion of “Voyagers” will leave you breathless and wanting more.

Moore later…