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Then time blew the dazzle away, like so much dust. I began to see the realities of the publishing world. Glowing reviews and awards, but low print runs. Praise by schools and libraries, but no shelf space in bookstores. British editions and paperbacks on Ratha's Creature and Clan Ground, but not on Thistle-chaser or Challenge. Invitations for author appearances and readings, but little publisher support. Finally, after 1996, the series sank out of sight in the mass grave of "Out of Print". Getting back the rights loomed as an impossible or at least a formidable process. I didn't pursue it.
I mourned, tried to put Ratha behind me, even though it was hard to see old copies at used bookstores reminding me of might have been. I turned instead to my other love and vocation, electric vehicles.
In 1991 the First Gulf War sparked me into building an electric VW conversion from a kit.(The black Porsche 914 EV pictured on the site was my later car, "Black Magic".)
I became an EV journalist/editor for the Electric Auto Association, then began to build and race EVs. From 1997-2002, using electrical engineering skills acquired from my education and 12 years at IBM San Jose, I became an electric car engineer, working for small EV companies and projects, including the Alameda Station Car Project, Think Nordic (in Norway) and Corbin Motors, builders of the three-wheeled Sparrow EV.
I love EVs, but these small companies can often be rough to work for. They are often minefields of egos and people who prey on the idealism of those who follow the EV dream. After an exhausting and demoralizing stint at Corbin Motors, I hung up my EV shingle. In the process I did what I never thought I'd do, namely fell in love with and later married a sweet, supportive fellow engineer named Chuck Piper and moved out to his property in the mountains near Patterson, CA.