Saturday, July 2, 2016

My Piece of the Bundle

Big Sand Lake, Transplanted

The Cauldron is only one of the many titles available in the current and MOST AWESOME SF bundle of books. So much reading for so little money…and some of the proceeds are set aside for charity.
So while The Cauldron is only one of the titles, it is the one I am most familiar with, as I wrote it with esteemed NYT Bestselling author Gene DeWeese. And so I’ll tell you about a little piece of that book.
Gene insisted on a vacation resort smack in the middle of Indiana and smack in the middle of the book. He remembered a resort in Indiana and attached fond memories to it.

Well, I remembered a fishing resort near Spooner, WI. And I had fond memories, too. Me and my parents vacationed there for one or two weeks every summer from the time I was seven until I graduated from junior college. Lots of years. Same place EVERY SUMMER. My parents’ friends owned the place, and they gave my dad a good deal on the cabin and fishing boat rental.

So I told Gene “of course there will be a vacation resort in The Cauldron.” But since I’d never been to the place he regaled me about, I took the Birch Haven Resort of Spooner, renamed it, and plopped it down in the middle of our manuscript. The characters stayed in one of my favorite cabins…it afforded probably the best view of the lake.

I can still feel the sand between my toes.
And I can picture the place so vividly in my mind, like I could step out my back door and be there.
The lake was the kind of blue you imagine heaven being…dark, bright, shiny, smooth like glass when the wind stopped, looking like silver pieces had been tossed to float when there was breeze and a faint chop.
It smelled clean and wonderful, and when you stood at the shore, your heels in the sand and the water lapping at your feet, you pulled the scent to the bottom of your lungs and held it as long as you could…before breathing it deep again.
Best of all, it smelled like summer.
Big Sand Lake had sounds too, the shush of the water, the cries of children running up and down the beach, the purr of motors on fishing boats, the cries of birds swooping low. Sometimes dogs would bark…rez dogs they were called, beautiful mixes covered in ticks. And you’d sit on the docks with a pair of tweezers, culling the ticks and trying—desperately—to talk your parents into letting you take one of the dogs home. They were friendly dogs.
And, every once in a while, parents relented.
The lake was so big you couldn’t see the other side of it, and it was a hundred feet deep at the center. Occasionally a college student or two would swim across…usually with someone in a boat following because it was a very big lake. One day me and some buddies—all the kids who vacationed at the resort instantly became friends—decided we would try it. Didn’t even get halfway. But we were age twelve or thereabouts, had no business attempting such a thing, and didn’t have anyone in a boat following. Of course we never told our parents. Back in those days parents let their kids run from sunrise until it got dark.
We got out pretty far, though. Exhausted, we treaded in some lily pads and squealed when fish brushed our legs. We knew there were some darn big fish in the lake…really...lunker pike and muskellunge. We made it back to shore and lay in the shallows, having a good laugh at our foolishness and vowing to try it again next year.
And we did.
And we turned back again.
But in my dreams I made it to the other side.
The Cauldron is about “the other side.” I am so very proud of that book. Gene DeWeese taught me that it is possible to put an elephant, the Civil War, spaceships, and a transplanted fishing resort into a science fiction tale about the fate of our planet.
There’s something amazing about that.
And now my mind is focused on that impossibly blue lake and sand between my toes. A cold orange soda slipping down my throat. I can hear the water lapping.
Join me, won’t you?

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