Our new website for Storyteller Press went live on Saturday, May 7, 2011.  Please check it out!  http://www.storytellerpress.com/

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     My father, Brad Wilson, grew up in the sleepy rural country community of Redwood Valley, California, and was used to playing with his dog, diving into the local swimming hole, and helping out on his extended family’s ranch. Then came World War II, and suddenly he was in Europe as a member of the 445th bomb group of the 8th Air Force, flying missions into enemy territory, constantly in harm’s way. Eventually he was shot down over Germany and taken as a prisoner of war. He made it through these events the only way he could… one day at a time.   He wrote this book in the last few years of his life.  I have incorporated all of his letters home as well as his actual Prisoner-of-War Journal, which he wrote while incarcerated at Stalag Luft 1 in Germany.  EVERYDAY P.O.W. is the fascinating story of an everyday boy in extraordinary circumstances.  Please give it a try! 
 
Available in paperback at 10% off at http://www.storytellerpress.com and in paperback for $13.95 and Kindle eBook for $4.99 at Amazon.
 

 
 

Midnight in Never Land is now available as a Kindle eBook for $4.99.  Download it directly to your Kindle or use the link on this page to purchase it and download it the next time you sync your Kindle.  Thanks for your support!

Visit the Kindle Store!

 

Midnight in Never Land  Now

just $4.99!

My new novel, co-written with Michael Norris, is now available for purchase in paperback at http://www.storytellerpress.com/ .  It will be available shortly at Amazon and in a Kindle eBook edition in June.

People who enjoy the nautical novels of Patrick O’Brien, pirate stories, horror stories, dark fantasy stories in the vein of Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, and literary pastiches such as League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies should all find something to like in Midnight in Never Land.  You don’t need to recognize all of the literary and historical references in order to enjoy this fast-paced book as an adventure story, but there are so many I’ve considered having a contest to see who can identify the most.  Anyone interested in participating?

The book’s back cover blurb:  “It is 1805. The Captain of a British Man of War chases Napoleon’s navy across the Atlantic to the islands of the French Caribbean. An Irish Missionary leaves his duties in the war torn revolutionary nation of Haiti to replenish his faith. A plantation owner and his family move from their London estate to the English frontier colony of Dominica. They all come together in a place that has no name, a place designated on an ancient map only by a warning: Never land.”

Mike and I started Midnight in Never Land several years ago (before, I might note, the recent vampire literature craze began.)  Now its finally done, which has as much to say about the current state of publishing technology as it does with our ability to finish something.  (Regarding the new publishing technology, I will blog about that in the near future.)

Thanks in advance for your support and we hope you enjoy reading the book.  I’ll post an item when the Kindle edition becomes available in June!

An Amazon Kindle ebook version of my first novel, Big Doin’s At The Chinese Baptist Church  [Tales of McKinleyville Book 1], became available in February. So if you are one of the cutting edge folks who use a Kindle or iPad with the Kindle for iPad app, please give it a try!

The paperback edition ("Big Doin’s At The Chinese Baptist Church," Storyteller Press in association with Page One Publishers, Inc., December 1998, 230 pages), is also available for people who prefer paper. The book has a few things the ebook version doesn’t offer: a detailed map of Huck’s version of Humboldt County and some wonderful photos taken by Humboldt photographer Brandi Easter.

If you’d like to order a copy send $12.95 plus 94 cents tax (total $13.89) to: Storyteller Press, 5774 Sierra Springs Drive, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. Please make all checks payable to Perry Bradford Wilson. The postage and handling is on me. Or, if you want to spend more money, amazon.com sells the book (click on the amazon link at the left). They also have it used from several sellers, but for new copies I’m selling the book cheaper direct, and I can autograph it for you! I really appreciate your support!

Okay, upfront:  Star Trek was a really good film.  Especially the casting, which should have been the hardest part of a reboot like this.  Pine, Quinto, Urban, et al, were uniformly good as these iconic characters without ever becoming caricatures.  The action is stunning, the direction is solid, and it looks better visually than any Star Trek film ever made.  No doubt about it.  But there are several weaknesses that still leave "ST II: Wrath of Khan" as the best film in the series.  And, as might be expected considering that these writers are the same folks who gave us "Transformers," the weaknesses are all in the writing.  The moments that stand out like sore thumbs:
1) The amazing faux science which suggests that a single supernova could "threaten the galaxy."  Okay, maybe they skipped having a science consultant on this film, but even my daughter could figure this one out, and she’s ten.  "Red Matter" I can go with (although "Protomatter" might have been better and a nice nod to ST III:TSFS.)  But supernovas are a real celestial phenomenon.  We know how they work.
2) Spock Prime standing in the snow on Delta Vega, looking up, and watching Vulcan – hanging in the sky about ten times the size of Earth’s moon – implode. In this new universe does Vulcan have a moon? An incredibly close sister planet? If its so close to Vulcan and can support life, why no Vulcan colonies?
3) Spock The Younger shooting Kirk off in a life capsule to a planet with dangerous life forms which might eat him… instead of just locking him up in the brig.
4) The SUDDEN INEXPLICABLE PROMOTION of Kirk, with absolutely no field experience, from Cadet to First Officer/Captain.
I’d add more (there are many more), but I don’t want to nitpick.  The sad thing is, every one of these weaknesses could have been cleared up easily with some better writing.  For instance:
1) It’s Romulus’s own star that is going supernova, threatening just Romulus.
2) Spock doesn’t "see" Vulcan imploding but, rather, "feels" the death of billions of Vulcans (as he did when the Vulcan ship Intrepid was destroyed in the TOS episode "The Immunity Syndrome.")  Plus it would have been a great acting moment for Nimoy, as he sees in his mind the destruction of Vulcan and feels their bewilderment and pain.
3) Uhura picks up a distress call that indicates the same "future technology" Nero uses coming from Delta Vega (being broadcast by Spock Prime, natch) and, in order to get rid of him, Spock The Younger *assigns* Kirk to take a shuttle to investigate.  This also makes the extreme coincidence of Kirk running directly into Spock Prime’s snow cave more palatable – he’s looking for Spock Prime, following the distress signal.
4) A suggestion is made that the cadets have had some field experience while still enrolled at the Academy.  Maybe Kirk has done a tour as a cadet on the Farragut, as he did in TOS, and distinguished himself a bit ("Wow!  Good job on the Farragut! You made Second Officer as a cadet!"  "Well, that’s what happens when half of your crew gets killed."  Short and sweet, suggests he has some real world experience, and is a nice nod to the TOS episode "Obsession.")  Also, it could be made clear Pike was already intending to make Kirk his First Officer on board the Enterprise when Kirk’s Kobayashi Maru reprogramming caper nixed the deal.  Kirk had gotten wind of his probable assignment, which is why he is so surprised on the flight deck when he doesn’t get assigned to a ship.  It makes Pike’s decision to go ahead and make Kirk his First Officer once he’s onboard (with McCoy’s medical help) more a reinforcement of a decision Pike had already made rather than something rash.
These are all small fixes which don’t fundamentally alter the dramatic flow or character arcs of the film, but fill in the massive plot holes.  All that said, I liked the film and will be there on day one for the sequel!  I just hope that they take more care during the screenwriting of the next film.

The History Of The Season

Posted: November 22, 2006 in History
How The Christmas Season Got This Way
 
Since it is Thanksgiving and the Season has begun, I thought I would publish this short piece I wrote a few years ago.  It is brief, but fun.  Have a great holiday!
 
Christmas
 
Why December 25th?
 
 Christmas was first established as December 25th somewhere around the year 350 to 400 A.D., possibly to coincide with the pagan “Saturnalia” festival that had been celebrated in Rome for centuries.  At that time, December 25th was established as the date of the Nativity (Christ’s birth) and January 6th was considered the Epiphany (the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem.)  The days between were festival days called “The Twelve Days Of Christmas.”
 
What was the Yule?
 
 In ancient Britain, the Anglo-Saxons celebrated a Saturnalia-type midwinter festival called “Yule.”  The celebration included decorations of holly and mistletoe (which were both used in pagan fertility rites) and a great fire around which the revellers gathered, started by a “Yule log.”  In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory “The Great” instructed his missionary Augustine to declare Yule a Christian Christmas celebration.
 
When Christmas Was The Law
 
 Around 800 A.D. King Alfred of England, who loved the holidays, made it against the law to work during the twelve days of Christmas.  Battles were lost because the army would not fight during the twelve days.  People drank and celebrated 24 hours a day for a week.  The church frowned on these types of activities during a religious holiday.
 
When Christmas Was Against The Law
 
 In 1652 Oliver Cromwell, who had deposed King Charles I, outlawed Christmas.  The Puritans objected to the wild holiday that Christmas had become.  In fact, in Massachusetts it was the law that everyone must work on Christmas Day.  It was ten years later, in 1661, that King Charles II reclaimed the throne and Christmas celebrations were made legal again.
 
The Beginning Of The Christmas Tree
 
 In the days before streetlights, lanterns were hung on the trees in Germany to light the way on foggy or snowy nights.  During mid-winter festival, apples were sometimes tied to the trees to celebrate life in the winter cold.  Later, Germans took to decorating and lighting trees in winter, calling them “Tannenbaum,” which means simply “pine tree.”  Eventually the Christmas holiday was tied with them when the Germans (some say Martin Luther) referred to them as “Christbaum,” or “Christ’s tree.”  In 1841, Prince Albert brought the idea home to England and Queen Victoria, where they placed the imported decorated evergreen tree inside the palace instead of outside.  The people of England quickly imitated their queen, and the indoor Christmas tree was born.
 
A-Caroling We Will Go
 
 As early as 120 A.D. Christmas songs were sung in Rome to teach people who could not read the story of Christ.  “The First Noel” can be dated at earlier than 1400.  A collection of British Christmas Carols was found in a diary dated 1536.  Poor people would go from house to house singing and receive hot food and drink for their performance.  By 1833 the first “hit” Christmas carol became popular; “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.”
 
Sleep In Heavenly Peace
 
 On Christmas Eve 1818, in Austria, Father Joseph Mohr was surprised to find the church organ infested with mice and unplayable.  Of all nights, Christmas Eve needed music!  Father Mohr frantically hurried over to the house of his organist, Franz Gruber, and together they wrote a song that could be sung with just guitar accompaniment.  An hour later they had written “Silent Night.”
 
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Catalogue Ad
 
 “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” did not start out as the song we know today.  In the 1930s an advertising executive for Montgomery Ward’s catalog needed a bit of holiday cheer for the back cover of Ward’s Christmas catalog.  He wrote the “Rudolph” lyrics as a poem to adorn the catalog.  It was not until years later that the music was added.
 
The Origin Of Santa Claus
 
 Actually, Santa Claus was a combination of several separate legends.  For instance, in England, Father Christmas, a bearded rotund sort, went from house to house on Christmas Eve distributing grog and ale to the poor (a sort of reverse caroling.)
 
St. Nicholas
 
 St. Nicholas of Myra (Turkey) was famous for going from house to house dropping money through windows (or down chimneys) so that poor girls would have a dowry and they could be married.  He eventually earned his own gift-giving holiday, St. Nicholas Day, which was December 6th.  Visiting  Norsemen, believing St. Nicholas to be related to the god Odin, imagined him riding a horse across the sky on St. Nicholas Eve.  Later, probably because there were more reindeer in Norway than horses, the animal in question was changed.
 
Kris Kringle
 
 Kris Kringle’s origins lie in the early bonding of the St. Nicholas day festivities and Christmas.  It was said that a bearded, robed man brought presents and a tree to poor households on Christmas Eve.  He was called “Cristkindl,” which means “Christ Child.”  The named eventually metamorphosed into “Kris Kringle.”
 
Santa Claus
 
 It was St. Nicholas who provided Santa Claus with his name.  In Dutch, the name reads Sint Niklaas.  When Dutch immigrants in New Amsterdam (now New York) in America celebrated Sint Niklaas, they colloquialized the name into Sinter Klaes.  Then, through the melting pot mix of languages in New York, it became Santa Claus.
 
Big Red Cherry Nose, Cap On Head, Suit That’s Red, Beard That’s White
 
 The image of Santa that we have today is very different from the image of St. Nicholas in old times.  Something like our version first appeared in 1822, when a college professor named Clement Moore wrote a poem called “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” which was printed in hundreds of newspapers.  Most of us remember it by its immortal first line; “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house…”  The accompanying illustrations by Thomas Nast (see the drawing on this page) featured a fat bearded man in a fur-lined suit and holly leaf cap.  Years later, the Santa in the white-trimmed red suit that we accept today as the “official Santa” was designed, based on Nast’s drawings, by an advertising artist for Coca-Cola ads.
 
The History Of The Season was researched, written by and is ©1986, 1993, & 1996 by Perry Bradford-Wilson. All rights reserved.