This and That

Winter is not yet here, but my flying attempts have been floundering lately. I planned, re-planned and hoped to succeed in organizing a Niagara Flyout this year, but failed yet again. Good thing we had a backup plan in place. We got to drive to several museums and core airports to collect stamps instead  in October.  Our plan to do more stamp collecting failed, yet again, in late October. Forecast called for high winds, and we decided to cancel. Although, several attended Chili Night at the airport for some hanger flying and firming up of plans for the upcoming Bahama Flyout.


The Citabria, has been down for maintenance most of October, so I didn’t get to fly it much. It is finally online again, and I hope to get in some flying, before winter closes in. Travel, winds, weather and more, fingers crossed on this one!

goneflying1November and in fact the winter months seem to be a perfect time to strengthen my writing skills and work on my novel. There is much research work needed and much  work in  sharpening my writing skills, to achieve a reasonable work of fiction worth publishing. This is exciting, since I have thought about this often, but never taken action.

HeroesI didn’t fly in October although,  it is the one month, I typically plan some exotic flying destination.  My life revolves around Aviation. I literally think flying 16 hours of the day. Not all about my flying 🙂

I’ve been busy, and that is always excellent news.

We have another stamp collecting flight planned in November weather permitting. The days have gotten shorter and the weather unpredictable. Lately the weather (or forecast weather) has been off a lot, making it difficult to plan, and ultimately to execute our plans.

Have a good one!

#NaNoWriMo: Teaser

50,000 words in one month is an incredibly challenging task to accomplish. Especially for a brand new, wannabe author, with no experience with serious writing!

I have two themes that are close to my heart. Over the last few years I have pondered about them now and then, and kicked around the back ground, characters,theme  and setting for a while. I tentatively started on my ideas last year, but made little progress. Until now I haven’t taken my writing seriously.

A few weeks ago, I started noticing references to NaNoWriMo again, as November approaches. I always perform better when I challenge myself and am on a deadline. So this seemed the perfect time to put my ideas on paper, commit to a deadline and see if my ideas are any good 🙂

NaNoWriMo officially kicks off today at midnight. I hope to write a little each day. So let’s see how far I will get to by the end of November. If you are a budding author like me, Good Luck! May the force be with you!

Here’s another snippet, a teaser, in passing for your enjoyment…
Happy halloween!

Disclaimer: As always this is work in progress, not edited for grammar and punctuation. Constructive feedback always welcome!


“There is nothing wrong with your flying,” I said, as I wrote in the log book. “Don’t be shy. If you let the aircraft get ahead of you, you are going to have to work doubly hard to return to normal. It’s okay to anticipate and aggressively correct your attitude. Don’t be afraid.”

“John Francisco Adams, there you are,” said Chung. “Do you have a moment?”

The world has Cher and Madonna. We had our Chung. No one knew whether it was a first name, last name or a nickname. He was only known as Chung. He worked the front desk daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, efficiently and reliably. He had the annoying habit of addressing every one by their complete name including their middle name. But we forgave him. Simply because he was the most efficient and reliable front desk helper we had in a long while. He was good natured, helpful and always cheerful. So who were we to complain? Especially considering he had to put up with the Beast, we were happy to let him handle the Beast, which he did with much aplomb. If there was anyone who could manage the Beast, it was Chung. We were happy to leave him to that and accepted the “Chung”.

Most people called me “John or Frisco”. But to Chung I was still “John Francisco Adams”. It was traditional at Desert Flying to give a nickname to all newly minted Certified Flight Instructors in the tradition of Naval Aviators. Mine was “Frisco”, not the least because I was born and brought up in the great city of San Francisco, but also because my middle name happened to be Francisco.

“Is this important? As you can see I am finishing up with my student,” I responded apologetically, not taking my eyes from the log book, as I finished adding my certificate number. “It’s Louis,” Chung voiced, as though that explained everything. For some reason, Chung never used Nathan’s full name. It was always Louis. I could still never understand why Nathan Louis Pierce was always Louis to Chung. Granted we all knew Nathan for what he was. Once he had his daily fill of alcohol, no one knew, if what he said was the truth or not.

Nathan was the local AME, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer and looked after all the flight school airplanes. He was a distinctively, unique character on the airfield. How he got away with it was another matter. To him, everything he said was important. There was always some conspiracy or the other. Once he started talking you might just question the logic of your reasoning. Nathan also had another quirky trait. He thought, none of us knew it, but we all knew: his large thermos supposedly filled with coffee, was spiked with alcohol. He thought, no one knew. But he didn’t fool us. But we let it slide. Because he was the best Mechanic in the desert. In his sober mood, he was one of the best there was. And he could tell incredible war stories.

“What about him,” I asked
“He wants you to stop by his shop,” he persisted.
“Okay. I have a few minutes free, after my next student, and I will go visit him,” I replied, preoccupied with my next student.

It was after 4:30 pm that I finally walked over to the hangers where Nathan Pierce lorded over his maintenance shop. I was still pre-occupied with my thoughts. How can I get my latest student to realize that he needed more practice? I understood he was on a budget, but heck he was nowhere near finishing his training.
“Nathan,” I called out, a trifle irritated. “Where are you? I have another student in 30 minutes. You know, I am too busy for your games,” I called out.

I walked into the hanger: irritated and preoccupied with my next student. Fred was a good student. But not one, who resonated confidence or due diligence. I needed to really work on Fred to get him prepared to take his check-ride. It was still too soon to schedule a check-ride.

“If you don’t come out in the next few minutes, I will not be here, you lousy man,” I shouted. Why did I ever give Nathan a damn? He was just drunk as usual and passed out in the rear of the hanger. A good night’s sleep was what he needed to get over his drunkenness. Why was I wasting my time here? I turned around the corner, and there he lay in the back of the hanger, as usual, too drunk to respond.

“Nathan, wake up,” I muttered as I shook him repeatedly. He opened his eyes, “John! Good you are here. I wanted to tell you about Amelia and Doc.” And the ridiculous man dozed off.
“What were you saying about Doc?” I interrupted him rudely, wanting to press on, so I could return to my next student.
“Nathan,” I kicked him over, not too gently. “What did you want to say to me? Wake up you sod!” I kicked him again none too gently. I was almost about to turn and return when I heard him feebly mutter.

“Doc, no please don’t. I won’t betray you. Please. You are hurting me,” with that he trembled uncontrollably over and over again in fear, for what seemed like incredibly long moments, before he went completely still.

“Nathan,” I shouted and patted him. But there was no movement. He remained completely still. “Wake up you fool,” I tried again and again. But he remained immovable. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think I wanted to believe it.

But even I knew, he was long gone. Nathan would never wake up again.

The Anatomy of a Good Mystery

I have always been a big fan of mystery.

First there was Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. Then there was Agatha Christie.  How can one forget Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple.

And then there were several other great mystery or action novels:  Alistair Maclean, Arthur Hailey, Michael Crichton, Robin Cook, Erle Stanley Gardner, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dick Francis and more. I always love a good action novel.

A good mystery novel is good, precisely, because there is content, style, characters, and suspense. A good mystery novel needs the suspense, to keep the reader guessing till the last page.

If you notice, you will realize, I named a whole lot of British authors. I have always admired the writing style of British novelists.The writing style is incomparable. The emotions, the sincerity, the dedication, the loyalty, the humor, the romance, the chauvinism and the heroism are undoubtedly the best. The language and style of writing, is by far the best. I rarely enjoy contemporary novels these days:  filled with profanity and sexual adventures, with no meaning or thought.

A good mystery, on the other hand, maintains the suspense from page one to the end, keeps the reader guessing and has substance. It does not need to lower itself to subservient levels or the level of the lowest reader. It can be intelligent. Most readers of mystery novels are intelligent. Each character is there because he or she serves some purpose. Each character is complete and well defined by the author.

Each character is there because the author wants them to be there. They serve a purpose and exactly that.

A good mystery exists for itself. A good author writes to the best of his or her ability.

Write for yourself, and you will find the appropriate readers who will like it!

Believe me, you will not care for any other readers!

NaNoWriMo: My First 1000+ Words

How  you  can help? By your feedback.

Here is my updated Prologue. I appreciate all your comments. Positive or Negative. If you like it, say so. If you hate it, say so.  If you have any thoughts , feel free to leave me a comment. This is work in progress and not corrected for grammar and punctuation. I first posted my working prologue here.

Here is the updated prologue. Thanks for your feedback.


There was no escape.

Sweat ran down my face in rivulets. My throat was parched. I screamed! But heard nothing.

My arms ached. My legs ached. It was the most uncomfortable position to be in. Trussed up, hands tied behind my back to my ankles, bent over backwards, and blindfolded with tape over my mouth. My head felt heavy and painful. As though I had smacked my head over and over again, against some hard object. My body ached all over. My arms were sore. My feet were sore. My stomach growled. My throat felt parched. Sweat rolled down.

I did not know if it was day or night. I did not know where I was. I did not know what day of the week it was, when and how I got to be where I was. My hands hurt. In fact, my whole body hurt from being twisted over uncomfortably. I did not even know why I was there. Where ever that was.

I yanked furiously, aching to free my hands and only hurt them more. I panted in desperation and my heart beat erratically.
“This is not the time to panic,” I urged myself. “Stay calm. Think,” I ordered myself.

It was easy to say, but hard to focus. How could one go through this and stay sane. I never thought, I was claustrophobic. It was the worst possible time to realize maybe, just maybe, I was just a little claustrophobic!

The deafening silence was unbearable. It only enhanced the erratic beating of my heart, the sound triple enhanced.
I willed my heart to slow down. An impossible feat I thought. It only quickened and raced harder.

Who could have done this to me, I wondered. I tried to recollect the last thing I remembered. Earlier in the day, Chung had told me that Dr. Johnson wanted to talk to me and would be in his hanger, prepping the Bonanza for his flight the next day. I never made it there. I remember turning around the last corner and being coshed with something hard.

Why? Who could have done it? I really needed to get hold of myself, calm down and think.

Hell! I had promised Amelia to help her plan for her upcoming trip to Ensenada. She was never going to forgive me. Thinking of Amelia brought back a smile. I could still see her face, when I had gone down on my knee and proposed, the day before. She hadn’t expected it.

I saw the confusion cross her face, followed by the joy, and finally the tears. “Johnny,” she laughed in disbelief. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Say yes, before my knee gives way,” I had joked.

“Yes, of course yes!” she had shouted in exultation. “How could you even doubt it will be any other response? I’ve been waiting ages for you to get the courage to pop the question, you maddening man,” she had teased me lightly.

“You never called me Johnny before,” I replied sheepishly, as I gathered her into my arms for a kiss.

“You will always be Johnny to me,” she smiled mischievously. “Oh no, look at the time. You promised to help me prepare for the flight. You know I have never done this before,” she said worriedly.

“It will be fine. You are a terrific pilot. And Bill is not only a proficient doctor, but an excellent pilot. He always breezes through his flight reviews fabulously. And his Bonanza is always in tip-top shape.”

Thinking of Amelia, calmed me down. It always did. She always brought a sense of fresh breath where ever she went. When she walked into a room, people forgot everything else. I would have really liked to have been with her, right now, right this moment. But here I was, all trussed up.

Calm down and think, my mind protested. As the minutes ticked away, I finally felt my heart beat slow-down.

First, I felt the heat: the familiar heat of the desert beating down on me. The sun was beating down on the desert floor. This was evident in the sweat raining down, unwarranted. At least I was still in the desert, I thought triumphantly.

As my heart beat slowed to a normal pace, almost, I barely heard it.
How could I miss it? Through the silence of the moment I heard, the exhilarating whirl of a propeller: an aircraft. Taking off, possibly into another glorious hot, summer sky. That could be my Amelia, departing to Ensenada!

“Help,” I shouted.

But all I heard was garbled and muffled sounds, barely in a whisper.


I’ve loved history, literature and philosophy since I was thirteen.

I was thirteen, when my English teacher praised the short story, I submitted, as part of my home work. That moment inspired me to consider writing. I was already fascinated to learn about histories of the world and the great leaders it produced. I’ve always been better with organizing my thoughts  with cohesion and  writing them down, as opposed, to verbally expressing them. Since then, on and off, I have dabbled with writing, but never with any seriousness.

The year I got my private pilot license, was the next trigger that propelled me towards writing – to record my flying adventures and write about my experiences. That was the year, that I officially started Fly ‘ n  Things.  That was the year, I started out as the Newsletter editor for the SLO99s.

Since then, I have contributed several articles in Newsletters, SLO99s Slipstream; Santa Clara Chapter 99s  Windsock; Southwest Section Newsletter Southwesterly; 99s Magazine; Aviatrix AerogramNo Map No Guide No Limits;  and even a brief stint as a free lance blogger for the very short-lived Forbes Wheels Up Blog.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) kicks off on November 1st. This year, I’ve decided to get serious, and to take my writing to the next level. I am committing myself to write 50,000 words towards my first novel(s) during NaNoWriMo. I have at least three very different books in mind. This is a terrific way, towards achieving one of my buckletlist items:  write a novel.

If not anything else it should be a lot of fun!