A Writer's Journal

Alan's haunting novel of the AIDS epidemic, As If Death Summoned, was released on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2020, and has won the Foreword INDIES LGBT Book of the Year Award. Watch the book trailer here. Read the reviews here.



Longview artist and friend Mark Dykstra has created two cover designs for my utopian novel, The Island.

(Mark also did the traditional Japanese artwork for the cover of Tales of Tokyo, which was designed by Korina Groff, another friend and artist.)

Sending out the brief description below, I invited friends to vote for the book cover they thought is most effective in grabbing people’s attention--the seaplane or the cabin.

The story in brief:

In the early 1900s, a wealthy German industrialist establishes a utopian community on an isolated island off British Columbia. One hundred years later, Adam Gardner and two companions discover this society when their seaplane crashes in the Queen Charlotte Sound. Adam becomes fascinated by this people who live in apparent harmony with each other and with nature. However, hanging over the island is an old Haida prophecy of how the community will end, and Adam comes to suspect that he may be bearing the seeds of its destruction.



By my count, the seaplane got 13 votes and the cabin got...um, 13 votes. Well, that's helpful.

Norma Davey (seaplane) is in marketing and attuned to what sells; but Lori Steed (cabin) works in a bookstore and so probably has a good feel for book covers; added to that, my niece-in-law Robyn Clevenger Rose (cabin) is always right (it's been mathematically proven), plus, in addition to always being right, she's an Aries--or is that being redundant?

Angela Fowler likes the seaplane, without the plane (hm, hard to call, but I think I get the point.)

Michael Miller proposed that Mark combine the two--seaplane on a lake with the cabin on the shore. Clearly, we need Michael back in Washington DC.

Cynthia Moyer (Cabin) perhaps captured the difference between the two covers--the seaplane suggests "adventure" while the cabin suggests "mystery."

Nancy Leonard, Penny Wilson Lightfoot and Diane McCoy Searing are all excited to read the novel--which of course was the correct answer. Unfortunately, Diane, the book is not yet available. I am finishing up the 2nd draft and will start sending it out to agents. Until then, you might check out my website for the 3 books that are available:


My thanks to all of you who participated (even the undecideds, Francine.) While no clear choice emerged, I appreciated your input and ideas!





[First posted: October 25, 2013]



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