Merriman, da Vinci and the Wright brothers

Re-reading Dark Fire again (yeah, I know, but I like the story!) and I find one of the shortest yet one of my favorite sections of a chapter. C.T. Merriman is thinking, talking to himself:


They say Leonardo da Vinci invented the submarine but then suppressed the idea because, he said, men were so wicked that they would practice assassination at the bottom of the sea.

Can’t say he was wrong.

Orville Wright lived until 1948, long enough to see them use airplanes to destroy whole cities by fire-bombing and by atomic bombs. Remembering his happy years working with his brother, he said, “What a dream it was, and what a nightmare it has become.”

Can’t argue with that either.

Am I any smarter than Leonardo da Vinci? Do I have any more control over what people do with my work than Orville Wright had?



Publisher’s teaser for Dark Fire

Conflicting Agendas

The C.T. Merriman Institute teaches ordinary people to do extraordinary things. It gives them new insights, new abilities. It changes their lives. And a group within the government finds that threatening. They begin exerting pressure to stop that teaching.

Pressure may come in many forms: a campaign of slander, kidnapping, financial interference, even murder. The founder of the institute finds himself having to preserve the appearance of normal operations while attempting to find out who is behind the campaign. Who are the opposition? What do they want? How can they be countered?

As events unfold, lines blur. On the one hand, Merriman acquires valuable allies. On the other hand, it becomes clear that at least one of his staff is betraying him. This adds another question: Who can be trusted?

Meanwhile, ordinary life goes on. Participants taking a residential course at the institute mostly know nothing about the struggle, and yet it begins to endanger them as well.

As the conflict continues, the stakes escalate, and everyone involved finds himself working for goals very different than the ones that originally motivated them.


Thinking about the theme of Dark Fire

I just finished re-reading Dark Fire with the kind of satisfaction a parent has when the troublesome adolescent grows up to be an admirable person in his or her own right. It took so many years to write this book! Version after version, pursued a certain distance and then abandoned for a while and begun again a different way. Some day when I really have nothing else to do, I’m going to go back and count the number of times I tried and failed to write this book.

I can see why it took so long, now. The book as it exists is nothing like it would have been any time earlier. Somehow the plot took two or three seemingly separate themes and wove them together into one seamless whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

A few minutes ago, I thought, “It would be worthwhile to give people a sense of what the book is about. Give them a reason to read it.” So I thought, What is the theme of the story? And I realized that, in one way and another, it’s all about the existence and meaning of what are called higher powers.

At one level, there is the struggle for survival. Certain forces wish to destroy the C.T. Merriman Institute because they don’t want it teaching people how to access certain abilities. How do C.T. and his friends counter these forces?

At another, there is the question of life and death, faith and doubt, love and loss, as people have to cope with the mortality of those they love. There’s nothing like the specter of a possible death sentence (cancer, in this instance) to show you what you really believe.

At yet another level, there is the question of readjustment. What happens when you begin to develop new powers and abilities, when you alter your view of things? What does it do to your home life, your career, your familiar sense of yourself?

And of course always there is the question of what is real and what is illusion? What is important and what is a waste of time?

As a say, a certain sense of satisfaction. Not perfect, surely, but the best I can do at the moment. I hope people will read it with enjoyment.

Reading my novel as an e-book, a first for me

Not talking to the guys this morning. I need to write some promotional material for my upcoming series of lecture/workshops. Besides, I was up late, reading my latest novel, Dark Fire, on Kindle, a new experience for me. Enjoying it! I really like this author.

For some reason, it appears in the Amazon only when i type in “Dark Fire Frank DeMarco” in the search box. (There are other books titled Dark Fire. Why mine does not appear among them is one of those computerized mysteries.)

I must say, for $5, a bargain!

Dark Fire, available as an e-book

Just tonight I learn that Crossroad Press has put out my third Chiari novel, Dark Fire. I have been working on variants of this novel literally since first completing Messenger, which I wrote in 1979. Can’t tell you how many times I gave up on it. Finally it came together.  

George Chiari’s story was told in Messenger. His brother Angelo’s turn came in Babe in the Woods, (now retitled The Phenomenal Background and also available as an e-book from Crossroad Press). In Dark Fire, they work together, to try to save the C.T. Merriman Institute.

If you buy it and like it, please put up a review. Thanks.

This is the description that appears on Amazon.


That Phenomenal Background, available as an E-book

Originally published as Babe in the Woods, this is the first volume in a trilogy  centering on the changes and choices that accompany the dawning of a wider awareness.

Kindle version, the only version available so far, $3.99