Category Archives: audiobooks

Audiobook Release: Friday Night Knife & Gun Club

For immediate release

December 26, 2017

Friday Night Knife & Gun Club, the audiobook

Story written by L.S.Collison

Performed by Annika Connor

Cover art by Annika Connor

Author Linda Collison and New York based artist Annika Connor have collaborated to produce a 45 minute audio performance, Friday Night Knife & Gun Club, from Audible.com.

The short story is absurdist fiction, a near-future noir thriller about a shooter in an urban hospital in the American West.  Annika Connor, as Kit Carson, RN, narrates the story as her shift from hell unfolds. Collison calls the story a fictional memoir, as much of it is based on incidents in her own life as a single mother and nurse working the night shift in Denver area hospitals. “It’s a satirical statement of the current culture of gun violence in America,” the author says. “I wrote the first draft in a response to the Newtown school shootings. Unfortunately, it’s becoming less fictional every day.”

Linda Collison, who sometimes publishes as L.S.Collison, is the author of novels, essays, short fiction, and screenplays. Her historical novel Star-Crossed was a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age – 2007.  Collison worked more than a decade in Denver hospitals as a registered nurse.

Annika Connor, artist and actor, performed and produced the audiobook. She also created the cover art, from her own original water color, Night Trigger.

Friday Night Knife & Gun Club is the first of a series of “nurse noir” fiction from L.S. Collison and Annika Connor. The audiobook is available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

For more information, contact Linda Collison at Lscollison@gmail.com

Follow the author and the actress/artist on their websites and on social media:

https://www.lindacollison.com/

http://www.annikaconnor.com/

 

Twitter:      @lindacollison     @AnnikaConnor

Instagram:  lscollison               annikaconnor

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/lscollison https://www.facebook.com/annika.connor

 

 

 

Water Ghosts — the terror of the doldrums

 

ancient two-mast schooner sailing away to the horizon

dol-drums

1. a state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art

2. the doldrums, a. a belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

3. a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits

Syn. depression, gloom, melancholy, dejection

— Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary

Adrift at sea, it’s not at all what I imagined.

The literal doldrums, more scientifically called the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone, is a shifting, unpredictable belt of low pressure on either side of the equator where the trade winds of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres come together. It is a pattern observed in the great bodies of water, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and well worth studying more, particularly if you’re a meteorologist, an oceanographer — or a sailor.  Bob and I first encountered this strange, unsettled seascape when we sailed our Luders 36′, Cheoy Lee-built sailboat, from Hawaii to Tahiti, a voyage that took us twenty-one days.

Before I encountered them first hand, I imagined the doldrums to be a pleasant, placid stretch of benign water — a welcoming place, offering a respite from our relentless windward journey as we struggled to make our easting.  If the winds died for a few days, I figured it would give me a chance to wash some of our sweaty, salty clothes in a bucket of fresh water on deck, and hang them on the lifelines to dry. At rest on the deep calms might give us an opportunity to slip overboard for a refreshing bathe in the tepid water– not to mention a little sunbathing on the foredeck — an activity all the glossy sailing magazines promised as part of a tropical cruise.

Since leaving Hawaii we had been beating hard into steady, strong easterlies for eight or nine days, climbing up and plunging down sparkling blue hills of water, eight to ten feet high. Sunny skies, puffy white clouds on the horizon — it was glorious sailing weather!

But there was nothing gentle about it. Beating into those seas was physically demanding. Bob and I took our turns at the helm, watch and watch, wearing our safety harnesses and strapped to the lifeline. It was at once exhilarating, yet exhausting.

Down below, cooking presented its own challenges. I strapped myself in, took a wide stance in front of the two-burner alcohol stove swinging madly on gimbals, and prepared for the juggling act that inevitably followed. Each time the boat crashed down the back side of a roller, knives and wooden spoons became airborne and supper would lift itself up out of the pot. Simply advancing the five steps from the companionway to the v-berth at the bow was a feat requiring all four extremities. Handholds were a must as I lumbered and lurched across the swaying deck. And this was good weather, I marveled! What would a storm at sea be like?

We entered the ITCZ — the doldrums — rather suddenly. One day the wind dropped and the next day it gasped its last breath and we were dead in the water, about six degrees north. But the water in that fabled place wasn’t flat like a lake, like I imagined it would be if the wind wasn’t blowing. Energy was still surging through the ocean, rocking our boat violently from side to side,  but without the wind we were going nowhere — except possibly westward, on the North Equatorial Current.  The sun disappeared and soggy, sullen gray clouds soon enveloped us. The sails slatted and banged with each wave of energy that passed beneath us — through us — shaking the boat and the boom, rattling our teeth and our nerves.  Below — books, dishes, and anything not securely — stowed flew across the cabin, as if flung by an angry poltergeist. To keep the rigging from being damaged we sheeted the boom in to its cradle and dropped the sails, lashed the wheel and went below, wedging ourselves in the v-berth amidst the spare sails to keep from being tossed about ourselves. The seasickness we had overcome a few days into the passage, came back to haunt us. We were in our own particular hell.

Computer generated 3D illustration with a Chinese Junk at sunset

This is when the idea of water ghosts crept into my imagination. The rocking and shaking felt like malevolent forces were intent on destroying us. Now that we weren’t moving, I experienced intense claustrophobia, trapped in a small boat in the middle of the ocean, many days away from the nearest island. I drugged myself with a double dose of Dramamine and tried to sleep.

There was no thought of bathing in the ocean — the boat was rocking so hard as to make getting back on board hazardous. Not to mention the fear of sharks. On the return voyage, when passing through the doldrums, something struck our rudder (a shark? a whale? floating debris?) and Bob had to go overboard, dive down and inspect it for damage. He tied a dock line around his waist, the other end to the stanchion, donned mask and fins and dropped over the side. Fortunately, the rudder was intact — but once again I struggled with a mounting panic as I stood on the bobbing deck, feeling trapped being aboard a small floating object in the midst of a vast, unpredictable ocean, going nowhere. Oh, and did I mention it was insufferably hot and humid?

Rain squalls! The one blessing the doldrums shower upon you is fresh water. Frequent yet unpredictable little downpours, complete with their own little weather patterns, which usually involved strong but short-lived winds. A chance to raise the sails and make some progress. A chance to get out the shampoo, strip down and shower on deck. We had no water maker on that passage (and water makers take power, which requires carrying more fuel which is impractical on a small sailboat). Although we carried 120 gallons of fresh water in our tanks — and several cases of bottled water — we always took advantage of fresh water from the heavens. Cruising sailors are thrifty by necessity.

Why not turn on the engine and motor out of the doldrums, you might wonder? Being a small sailing vessel, we carried a limited amount of diesel fuel and could not afford to waste it, just to make way. Like sailors of centuries past, we had to be patient and wait for the wind. Before the advent of steam, sailing ships driven around the world by the powerful trades were often “caught” in the doldrums for days or weeks on end, until they drifted north or south enough to pick up the reliable trades again — or the invisible zone’s ever-changing boundaries shifted and steady breezes graced them once again.

“What was that?” I murmured to Bob, coming out of my drug-induced sleep.  The boat wasn’t shaking so much. There was a soughing sound in the rigging as if the ocean was breathing again, in fits, starts, and listless sighs.

“Wind,” he said.

We pulled ourselves out of our steaming hot bunks, staggered up on deck to roll out the jib, only to be disappointed. But we kept at it, each huff, each luff, we ghosted along the confused waters as far as that breath would take us.  By nightfall the breeze was steady enough to raise the mainsail and we were back on course, making two or three knots. The skies cleared and new stars appeared to guide us on our journey south, toward landfall.

2012-08-30 07.51.49

 

That brings me to the other connotations of the word doldrums: A period of inactivity or stagnation in business or art. a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.

Writers — know that encountering the doldrums is part of the creative process, part of the process of living.  If you find yourself stuck, uninspired, depressed, or afraid, don’t abandon ship. Instead, examine the deep waters beneath you, supporting you, surrounding you. Explore the deep dark waters of your subconscious mind. Feel the greater Energy that breathes Life into your valiant body, still afloat, and somewhere aboard that floating home, your Soul.  Sit down and write what surfaces. Write your way through these difficult, sometimes terrifying times.

 

WaterGhostsAudiobook

Water Ghosts is now an audio book, narrated by Aaron Landon and produced by Dennis Kao,  from Audible.com.

 

Water Ghosts: Featured in Literary Fiction Book Reviews

“Linda Collison’s Young Adult novel, Water Ghosts, is the story of fifteen-year-old James McCafferty, whose parents have signed him up for an adventure-therapy cruise for teens on a traditional Chinese junk. From the beginning, James, who sees and hears things other people don’t, feels like the ship and its young crew of misfit kids are setting sail toward doom. James befriends a young Asian girl named Ming and they, along with Truman, whom James suspects has Asperger’s, become a trio of outcasts. Accompanying them on the trip is a trio of older, larger and stronger teenage bullies. The junk sets sail on a sea James soon believes is infested with ghosts of those who have drowned. Chinese ghosts. And one in particular, Yu, who waits for the junk to pass over the place where he drowned so he can switch places with James.

The young crew eventually find themselves in a Lord of the Flies situation, alone at sea after the adult counselor disappears and First Mate Miles Chu goes looking for her in the only lifeboat, never to return. Then the captain is found dead in his quarters. Will the outcasts and bullies be able to work together to survive?

Verdict: A Young Adult story of personal growth mixed with history and fantasy” — Literary Fiction Book Reviews

You can read the full review by clicking on the above link.

Now an audio book narrated by Aaron Landon, available through Audible.com

 

WaterGhosts-FrontCoverOnly_sm

 

 

 

 

Water Ghosts

Chinese ghosts…

I have an abiding fascination in the long history and culture of China. My mother had a lacquer tri-fold screen with small shelves on which she kept some porcelain pots and clay figures of Chinese peasants, which piqued my imagination as a child. Mom was only forty-eight when she died, the autumn of my sixteenth year. The screen and the figurines were lost over the years, but I remember them quite vividly, as does my elder sister Bonnie.When I was a young adult I read Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth, which brought those clay figures to life in my mind.

My interest in Chinese maritime history came later, when Bob and I were spending time on our sailboat at Honolulu’s Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, home to all sorts of craft, including Chinese-built junks.  There we saw Princess Taiping, a replica of a Ming Dynasty Chinese junk built for a trans Pacific voyage  from China to the United States and back.  The vessel stopped in Hawaii on the return voyage and we saw her tied up at the fuel dock, where she remained for several weeks.

The Princess was was struck by a tanker after she left Hawaii, on the final leg of her long voyage, sinking approximately 42 nautical miles  from her final destination. (See Wikipedia article Princess Taiping) Fortunately, all of the crew were rescued.

I drew on both Princess Taiping and Intrepid Dragon, also moored at the Ala Wai, to create the setting for Water Ghosts. As for the characters, I can’t really say where they came from, other than my imagination.  They haunted me for years, and still do.

 

WaterGhosts-FrontCoverOnly_sm

Water Ghosts is now an audio book, narrated by Aaron Landon.