Lovers Dive

The veiled dark descends on the lovers.  She peers into his face and his black, almond eyes. Goose bumps explode under her pale skin at his touch, softly running up her arm. Gently he gathers her up, silently dropping kisses on her lips soft as flower petals falling.

“I beat death at the game of life. I’m not afraid,” he whispers.

She turns and dives into the sparkling water, Ron after her. They swim to an artificial island and float, fingers entwined, staring up at the black sky through steamy condensation clouds.

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At the Berkeley Marina

Rick’s home away from home is the Baywatch, a 1979 37.8 ketch which sleeps six, but he rarely has guests.  Here he’s hooked up his network through a stack of servers on Coast Guard Island, ten miles away in San Francisco Bay. Rick’s network hack is a reverse Cherry Blossom, the CIA spyware, creating a virtual firmware fake ID for his server and mirroring it back through the Coast Guard servers. This allows him to monitor and redirect internet traffic remotely, using the Coast Guard’s own encryption tool to disguise and prevent his detection.

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The Backstory

The rolling hills of oak savanna surrounding the Sebastopol, California, area is a recurring setting for the story. Here, Mai Martin grew up in a geodesic dome and returned with her husband Rick during the dot com bust.

The rolling hills of oak savanna surrounding the Sebastopol, California, area is a recurring setting for the story. Here, Mai Martin grew up in a geodesic dome and returned with her husband Rick during the dot com bust.

Hi fans, the first in the new Origin series, Human Hybrids, is finished. From the first pages the character, Mai Martin, is pregnant and struggles for control of her body after a dramatic collapse and re-vivication involving manufactured blood carrying miniature nano bots developed by the American government. This Sci bi – Science fiction bio subgenre – illustrated story about high technology in the near future, when humanity attempts to save itself with advances in nanotechnology and the creation of augmented humans, is 113 pages, 27,800 words, and 13 illustrations.

The three novellas, Human Hybrids, Dangerous Visions and Wasted Time, will be released in 2019 in a boxed set!

Born Maia Perizzolo, she shortened her name to Mai legally when she married Rick. Classic Gen-X’er, she was born in 1972 to hippie parents enrolled at Cal Berkeley who then migrated with the back-to-the-land movement to the Northern California idyll of Sonoma County. She grew up in a geodesic dome her parents built from recycled beams and hand-hewed redwood, with solar-powered lights and a composting toilet. The commune was a short drive from Sebastopol up Highway 12 in the Redwoods, called New World Utopia. It attracted dreamy idealists from the city who wanted to get in touch with their inner wa—harmony and peacewith the help of a little LSD, plenty of pot, a couple of hot tubs, and free love.

With both parents Cal alum, she’d had a leg up on getting in, despite—or because of—being home-schooled on the commune. Meeting Rick, with his more “normal” childhood and middle-class personality, Mai fled into his world but never lost her Sonoma roots. When the dot-com bust knocked them out of their yuppie fast-track, they packed up computers, painting canvases, mountain bikes, kayak, boxes and boxes of books, and schlepped to Sonoma.

Mai’s folks had moved on too, transitioning into a local CPA firm servicing the big agriculture families planting grapes and making wine in between the old apple orchards and pot farms. They’d moved into Sebastopol, a trendy laid back quintessential Northern California lifestyle community, bought a house in the historic district and left behind the commune and the geodesic home.

Mai and Rick put first and last month’s rent and deposit on a farmhouse in the middle of an orchard. It belonged to one of Mai’s parents’ clients. Mai found a good location downtown, a hole in the wall, twenty feet wide but sixty feet deep, where she opened a web-design business with her friend, Desiree, from the commune days, and put away her paints for a while. It was 2001, and they were starting over at 28 and 30.  What she didn’t yet know was that Rick began working covertly for Homeland Security after 9/11, the same year they moved.  That was then, this is now. 

As the result of attending a job fair at her alum, Mai Martin travels to a staff position at Beijing University in the Media Communications Department.  When she arrives in Beijing, a series of events and clues lead to North Korean mercenaries attempting to lure Rick to campus where they plan to abduct and exchange him for a bounty put up by Iran over a stunt he played on their intranet revealed in the Wikileaks scandal.

In the series, An American in Beijing, Mai Martin works at a Chinese university while Rick continues working for DHS. Over the three volumes, Mai discovers Rick’s deceptions and falls in love with her Chinese security guard, Ronald Zhao. She plunges into joint covert operations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China and synthetic telepathy research. After the series ends, she escapes corrupt officials and gangsters chasing her and flies away to Kyoto with her lover and her husband for a few weeks of R and R before returning to her hometown, Sebastopol, California.

In the Origin series, the story enters the digital age of 2012. Nano technology emerges, promoted by sovereign nations with generous research grants for advancements with military applications. In Book I, Human Hybrids, Mai Martin is the first of her kind, an augmented human, hosting nano-scale bio devices while pregnant and propelling Artificial Intelligence research into ethically questionable fields. 


The man looks at the bandage on his arm and back to the woman, mumbling, and reaches toward a bowl of cold rice.  Soon he is strong enough to walk outside and sit in the sunshine.  Jimo trades baskets for a pair of man’s pants, a shirt and sandals.  He goes with her to collect reeds.  He can carry twice as much as she.  But the words come slowly.  And when they do the dialect is foreign to Jimo.  The man can’t remember anything about the river.  He touches the key on the chain and frowns from the effort of remembering. 

I wish I could remember.  I must be someone.  All I want is to remember!

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3 Trailers from CWP Publishing

Suddenly panicked, he doesn’t see her the farther he penetrates the bamboo grove.  He runs.  On the other side are rows of parked cars.  Another memory, of the Park Avenue and now he remembers the kick!  He leans on his arms against his thighs until the pounding in his ears subsides.

“Are you okay?” she asks.  Suddenly she’s standing next to him in the hot sun, not in the snow.

“I guess, I’m… remembering things.”

Dui, this is the place.  Here, in the parking lot, they grabbed Rick,” she points to the back of a monolithic building on the other side of the cars.  “We chased them.  It was snowing.”

A metallic taste in his throat gags.

“We can go.  You look ill,” she continues, concerned.

Ron straightens, shrugs off the unpleasant sensations and smiles at her knitted brows.  “Bu fengle, don’t worry.  The Commander says to meet him at the coffee bar, you know where. Zouba.”

Walking along the avenue next to the canal, families with baby strollers and toddlers are out enjoying the day.  Pretty girls twirl umbrellas resting on their shoulders.  A humongous bush of double yellow roses tumbles over the wall and reflects in the still water below. 

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Sha Li at 5th Annual Literary Festival

“It’s not enough that you’ve been a tough champion of the people and rooted out gobs of corruption.  You have to tell them what you’ve done.  And video.  Really powerful stuff.  Can we use any of the bust video from Xi’an?”

The really powerful video from Lianyungang has already filtered through the selection committee.  Mai doesn’t know it, but the tee-shirt contest clip has made the rounds.  HUANG paid 1,000 yuan to the karaoke host for a copy of the video made by the sleazy entrepreneur.  He knew it was a matter of time before it would circulate farther.

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Sha Li's List - Best of 2015

Berlin’s sporadic and spasmodic career is traced by citations of stories published in magazines since the 60s onward.  She received the Jack London Short Prize in 1985, the American Book Award in 1991 and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Behind the Scenes Snapshots: Wounds of Attraction

In Rick’s Narcotics Anonymous group, he met a woman about his age.  She was a nurse in a local hospital who became over-familiar with the pill dispensary.  She lost her job and her credentials.  Mary Jo Thompson was divorced with two children in middle school.  She shared custody with her ex-husband who worked for the City of Santa Rosa.  After meetings, Rick and Mary Jo started having lunch together at Taco Bell.  Soon, it became a regular part of their daily routine:  finding enough things to fill the hours to mute the cravings.  Mary Jo listened to Rick’s crazy sounding ramblings about secret agents and his wife’s travels.  Rick listened to her domestic stories.  

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