WINGSPREAD E-zine for January, 2019

“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”
January, 2019                                                                                                 James Hurd


  • New story: Flying the Bright Red Line
  • Writer’s Corner
  • How to purchase Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying
  • Puzzlers
  • E-zine subscription information


New story: Flying the Bright Red Line

When I walk into Dirk Van Dam’s office and sit down, he tells me, “Jim, I want you to work on cross-country a bit and then we’ll ride again.” In other words, I’ve failed the cross-country stage check. I taste the bitter fruit of failure. I’ll have only one more chance before they cull me, wash me out.

I need to practice for Van Dam’s recheck, so the next week I lay the Chicago sectional aeronautical chart on the ready room table and draw a bright red line from our little grass airport, Moody-Wood Dale, to Dixon. It should take 50 minutes to fly to Dixon, but with the forecast headwind, I add five more minutes. To check my groundspeed, I draw little cross-hatches for checkpoints every twenty miles or so—a road, railroad, or other good landmark.

Just after takeoff I try to follow the red line on the chart. The northwest wind will blow me south, so I steer five degrees north of course….

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Word of the Month:  Story-worthy problem. Without a problem, you ain’t got a story. A story must start with trouble that threatens the protagonist’s wellbeing, his future, his very identity. (After Les Edgerton, Hooked)


Book of the month: Hooked: Grab readers at page one. Les Edgerton, 2007. Edgerton’s simple thesis—“Hook ‘em!”  If your reader doesn’t read the first sentence, paragraph, page, first chapter, you’ve lost ‘em. Highly recommended.

Author of the Month: Ron Chernow. A scrupulous researcher, he tells you way more than you care to know about people, but tells it in a compelling way. Washington: A Life, 2010. Alexander Hamilton, 2004, John D. Rockefeller 1998.

Watch for my upcoming novel: A young Californian travels east to train for mission aviation at Torrey Bible Institute. One problem—he’s losing his faith, and upon reaching campus, declares himself an atheist. Target publication date: Fall, 2019.


Buy James Hurd’s Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying.  How childhood (Fundamentalist) faith led to mission bush-piloting in South America—and Barbara. Buy it here:  (or order it at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.)

See pics here related to Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying:

NEW PUZZLER:   A lawyer in London has a brother in New York who is also a lawyer. But the brother in New York does not have a brother in London. Why not?

Answers to last month’s puzzler: Two fathers and two sons go hunting. They shoot three ducks and each one gets one. How is that possible? Answer: One of the hunters was a son and also a father¾grandpa, son, and grandson.


Follow “james hurd” on Facebook, or “@hurdjp” on Twitter

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