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Why Maine is so important to the Warlock Series...

If you have ever been to Maine, the idea of featuring such a beautiful state would be far less mysterious. If you lived there, or grew up there, certainly, you would not be befuddled in the slightest. It is that enchanting, and I say that with pride and no reservation.

The place was made for writing, at least writing about it is effortless. The State majestically appears first in Las Vegas on Twelve Dollars a Day : "It was a beautiful state, the summers so pleasant along the coast where the breeze carried the salty scent of the sparkling, clean Atlantic. He had watched the season’s change to Autumn with its golden birch, the occasional ruby red Japanese maple, each poignantly cast against the backdrop of the omni-present cone laden pines. Now the air turned to chill with even more crisp mornings trumpeting the harbinger of the inevitable winter..."

Not everyone grows up here; some come, in the local parlance, 'from away'. I'll combine this post with some insights of the character Brigadier General (BG), retired, Ron Clark, and how Ron has come to find Maine as his new home. I outline Ron's early life and military career in some depth in the books (read them!), but here is a tidbit not covered.

The character is derived from two different real-world officers, one from Delta, the other from another special mission unit. Without elaborating too much to protect their privacy, Ron R. actually is from Aroostook County in northern Maine, and B. Clark is a Citadel graduate and ultramarathoner. When I knew them, both were full bird colonels and exceptionally intelligent and patriotic to a fault. The derivative, BG Ron Clark, is an amalgamation of their best attributes, but, possibly still the lesser man. These two gentlemen were giants in their respective fields.

My character Ron was so stricken with the beauty of Maine that he ended up settling in a cabin there to ride out a well earned retirement. In The Baltic Chain, you get a pretty good idea of how he feels, "He had lived that life of adventure for a country he loved, and now he had his refuge along the banks of the Kennebec, its steady flow gurgling an enchantment to assuage his bereavement. The pines could sway evergreen, their annual deposits comprising the thick layer of duff on the pinewood floor. An owl awing in the dark would screech an eerie refrain to fend off predation from the prowling fox."

It's just the way it is...Maine reaches down into your soul and brings out your best. Those cold, bitter winters give way begrudgingly to a few short, but crystalline Summer months of such perfection people journey from half a world away to lie on a sandy beach, marveling at the gentle swell of a lackadaisical comber breaking on pure white sands. Well, that is the writer in me, exgagerating for a bit of effect-- 95% of the coast is rocky!

There is another character, a Navy officer called Stu Hogan who hails from Maine, but I'll let you discover him on your own. Perhaps I'm stretching the limits of probabilities with so much Maine saturation, but I was transported in ecstasy; well, that's as good an excuse as any. The place left an indelible mark on me, something for which I am grateful. I'll leave this post, maybe not with grace nor dignity, but with another snapshot from Brine of War of how Maine captured me so:

"...He rounded the last corner, and down the slightly overgrown lane he traversed the crunchy gravel dooryard. It was still summer, but the nights were cooling already. As he slid down from the pickup’s seat, he could hear-- faintly now, nearly a rumor, there! —the majestic flow of the Kennebec piercing through slippery channels of granite and moss, relentless in its quest for the sea.

Ron did a quick walkthrough, noted the buildup of cobwebs in the darker corners, restacking an untidy pile of Reader’s Digest that listed unstably on the toilet tank cover. He tidied up and opened the windows, glad for the screens as mosquitoes swarmed to the light, their droning buzz indicative of their quantities and thirst..."

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