An Island Away, Excerpt 5

Captain Upton’s voice filled his head. “Keep a firm hand on the wheel, or some mother’s son will turn it for you.”

An Island Away is the story of three people who have to figure out what they want, what they want from each other, and how they’re going to get it. Set in the refinery town of San Nicolaas, Aruba, this tale of flexible morality takes a hard look at the other side of paradise. It is available at,, as well as many bookstores and gift shops in Aruba.

An Island Away, Excerpt 4

Below is the 4th Excerpt from my novel, An Island Away. Captain Beck has survived the sinking of his tug, Patricia, and has been adrift for several days… page 45 …

When he first saw land, Beck had thought it was an illusion. It was dawn, and a mile or two in the distance he perceived what seemed to be cliffs. They stood above the sea, brown blotches with streaks of black among them. He stared with his itchy eyeballs for what felt like hours. When the cliffs grew bigger, he realized they were real.

He felt a smile crack the skin of his lips. He was close enough to swim for land. His muscles cramped, but he couldn’t scream through his parched throat. Thankfully, his life preserver kept him afloat, or he would have sunk to the bottom like a rag-covered stone.

The wind lent him its assistance. It pushed him in the general direction of the cliffs. The waves steepened as they approached more shallow waters that led to dry land. As his body hopped along with the waves, he did his best to steer toward shore. 

Late in the afternoon, he was close enough to see the surf pour over the rocks. Whether it was a blessing or a curse, he wasn’t sure, but the currents pushed him parallel to the boulders. He heard the noise of rocks blunting the ocean. He saw birds playing in the updrafts at the edge of the cliffs. What he did not see was an appealing beach on which he could land safely. Those rocks would have shredded a man in excellent condition. After a week at sea, he would have felt only the first blow.

In the final light of the day, he realized he was passing by the tip of an island. It had to be Aruba because Curaçao had a lighthouse at its southern tip and Aruba did not. There was a beach in the distance, but it was tucked behind that fringe of nasty rocks. He drifted along, unable to swim against the current. Salvation had come and now it was going. The devil was laughing into the wind. He could hear his cackle echoing over the deserted beach.

An Island Away, Excerpt 3

Below is the third excerpt from my novel, An Island Away, which takes place on the island of Aruba.

Page 280… Once again, Charlie is on his veranda with his cat, Screwball, observing Main Street, where Sam and his pals as well as Captain Beck have just ended a night out…

Charlie was impressed. Captain Beck apparently knew when to call it a night. The man was a sailor, but he was of the new breed that navigated with computers and didn’t risk a flogging for sneaking booze onto the boat. That kind of person often took an overdose of San Nicolaas that left him wrecked physically and mentally.

When the refinery was first sold by Esso, the new owners had sent several dozen American managers. Five of them ended up divorced twice, once from their wives in the States, and a second time from the whores they married. Nonetheless, Charlie was pleased the Captain had fallen in with the boys. Their carousing was mostly harmless, at least to others. As for themselves, well, that was their problem.

“Sam needs to take it easy,” Charlie said to Screwball. “A little taste, maybe a bite or two.”

Captain Beck was a little smarter. He tested the water one toe at a time. Of course, it didn’t mean he wouldn’t eventually fall in. It wasn’t the first step that was slippery; they all were.

An Island Away, Excerpt 2

The second excerpt from my novel, An Island Away, posted here for those who would like a peek. A synopsis and more info is available at my website. The book is available at

Chapter 5: Captain Nathan Beck has been adrift for more than five days. At last he has come ashore in Aruba…

Finally, he was head and shoulders out of the ocean. Only a few inches of water skirted the sand. The place he wanted to go was amidst a grove of low trees. He took another rest. It felt wonderful to be on solid ground. Looking at his bare feet, he wondered what the other parts of his body looked like. He had to be a fright for whoever was going to see him first.

He sat up and stared in the direction of the music. Between the trees he saw shapes dancing. A man leaned over a bar. Beer bottles clanked as two guys toasted one another. Just a few more feet and he would be there among them. He would be safe, alive to tell the tale.

Forgetting his previous failure at walking, he tried to get up again. He heard voices, a man and a woman, very close. He looked up and there they were, a couple dancing on the beach. They stopped and the man turned the young lady to face him. He kissed her. They were so close Beck could hear their lips smack. Why couldn’t they see him?

He wanted to find out. He struggled against the all-powerful force of exhaustion that pressed down on his shoulders. His vision blurred as he wobbled upright. A screeching roar filled his ears. The distorted view before him tilted one way, then the other. He went light-headed, dizzy to the point of retching. He put his arms out to break the coming fall.

He collapsed on the beach with his feet in the water. He caught a glimpse of the moon before it went black and took all the stars with it.

“I didn’t drown,” he whispered into the darkness.