Fiction Currently Available
from L. Wade Powers
Although I enjoyed an academic career writing nonfiction in the biological and medical sciences, I have always wanted to create fictional characters and scenarios. I started reading at the age of five and quickly consumed many of the Oz books, stories about Tarzan, Sheena, and Bomba, as well as the usual children's literature, from fairy tales to Mark Twain (yes, I was politically incorrect in those far gone times and remain happily so to this day). I discovered science fiction at the Oakland Public Library at the age of twelve, starting me on a lifelong pursuit of reading and collecting that genre in its many subgenres and formats. Although a pre-med biology major in college, one of my best courses was on contemporary literature, where I was introduced to Porter, Bulgakov, Bellow, and so many others. My fascination with Steinbeck, his stories and life, continues to the present. I published a critical review in 2015 on The Winter of Our Discontent in Steinbeck Review.
The Home (2017)
What do the following individuals have in common? Walt (13), bewildered and beguiled, falling in love for the first time, second time, third time... Patti (12), precocious and outrageous, the wayward redhead; Freddie (12), freckled and fearless, the diminutive Romeo likes them all; Caroline (11), slim, blonde and innocent, Walt's companion and confidant; Frankie (12), the dormitory enforcer and bully; HoneySue (14), sexuality incorporated, dance lessons free; Ronnie (13), tattletale and frequent target of retaliatory beatings; and Jeannie (17), orphan and loner. They are all residents of The Home, a foster institution during the 1950s. It is a time of teenage ascendancy and the arrival of rock 'n roll. Walt, a naive thirteen-year-old, leaves his mother to experience dormitory living, the conflicts between group loyalty and personal ethics, the onset of introspection and its implications, and to confront the perplexing challenges of sexual awakening. Told with humor and nostalgia, the story is set against a background of first loves, music, dance, and occasional violence. Relationships shift between adolescent boys and girls as they adapt, or not, and survive, or not, in The Home.
Falling in Love and Other Misadventures (2019)
What is love and how does one attain it? Instead of the usual romantic portrayal, love in this collection of twenty stories and two interludes is viewed from a variety of perspectives and in a number of guises, including the love of adventure, the need for loyalty and social acceptance, and the feelings we express for other people, animals, and ourselves. What happens when a naive young man falls in love with his first intimate, a hotel prostitute? When do lucid dreams become real? What's so important about a wedding ring? A safety pin? What happens on a deserted, rat-infested island? What could possibly go wrong with shoplifting, burning leaves, a health fair physical, time travel, buying a car, helping an alien, or picking up someone at a local nightclub? It's all about life, real or imagined, partner. Been there and done that!
Party House Tales (2019)
A barrier island on the Gulf coast of Texas in the 1970s is only nominally part of the Lone Star State or anywhere else. It is home to a tavern and neighborhood social club called The Party House, hosting an eclectic clientele of hippies, rednecks, tourists, and others, along with their schemes, dreams, and relationships. Into the craziness steps Pete, a serious graduate student arriving on the island to conduct field research. He quickly succumbs to the drinking, dancing, gambling, and intimacies associated with the summertime beach life and wintertime bar life. His five-year sojourn includes an encounter with an outlaw biker gang, attempts to play pimp for a woman friend, surviving a hurricane, and confrontations with drunks, an angry father, a massive gathering of sharks, and poisonous jellyfish. Island life includes a young female pool hustler, an all night peyote party, and an assortment of has been and wanna be characters. Ultimately, Pete must choose between a demanding academic career or continue the raucous and comfortable lifestyle he has come to embrace. Can you have both?
$13.99 | 322 pages
$14.95 (paperback) | 286 pages
Also in e-book and hardback formats and at select bookstores.
$14.95 (paperback) | 296 pages
Also in e-book and hardback formats and at select bookstores.
Writing in Progress
I always have a few short stories circulating among literary magazines or being stockpiled for the next collection.
New Albion Sunset.
The Lost Colony of Francis Drake
The next novel is set in 1579, when Francis Drake visits the Pacific Northwest during his famous global circumnavigation. The story is real, based on the historical accounts of the voyage, such as are available. The traditional attribution of his six-week anchorage has him in California, somewhere in Marin County, where he claims New Albion for England. However, an intriguing possibility is that New Albion is actually farther north, possibly on the Oregon coast. An epilog and appendix provides a discussion and resources for armchair geographers and historians to explore the events for themselves. The fictional component chronicles the fates of 22 individuals left behind when the Golden Hinde sails west across the Pacific, homeward bound for England. Why were they left and what was their fate?
This is a daunting project. The challenge is to combine historical reality with entertaining speculation. The actual logs, maps, and journals of Drake were consumed in a London fire in the late 1600s. The fate of almost two-dozen crewmembers and others with Drake, along with a second ship, are unknown. The fun starts there. However, writing about Tudor era seamen, native culture in the Northwest that is minimally documented, and intertwining this with actual, possible consequences, is a formidable task. This will take some time.
Portus Novae Albionis, from a map published in 1589 (public domain). Although this map inset has created a lot of interest and confusion as modern historians have attempted to match it with bays and harbors on the Pacific coast of North America, it is actually a drawing of the Bay of Acapulco, Mexico, visited by Drake before sailing to the Pacific Northwest. Adds to the mystery and the basis for the novel.