Small Stuff #1

My “Writing” folder contains sub-folder with 18 items I’ve been holding since July, 2009 to use for posts on my website. Yesterday while doing a little digital housecleaning I opened “Small Stuff” and took a trip down Memory Lane as I read each of the articles, most of which I had forgotten about. The first one I wrote based on a Novel-In-Progress Member’s attempt to write about aviation with no personal experience at the controls of an airplane. I’ve never flown a P-51, but in typical fighter pilot fashion, that didn’t stop me from pretending, and in retrospect, I did pretty well. And so, here is the first of my entries, which also represents the first post on my website in way too long.

Note: I have no idea who the NIPer was or if “Moves” was the title of his novel.


The first vibration in the rudder pedals tickled Jake’s feet through the heavy soles of his flying boots.

What the hell is that?

A quick visual scan of the instruments caught the oil pressure needle resting at the top of the yellow arc. He tapped the glass with a gloved finger with the thought that every pilot probably does that in the hope that it’s just a bad gauge, right?

A heavier shudder dispelled that notion.

Is that needle falling farther into the yellow?

His eyes locked on to the gauge, willing the needle to rise. It didn’t work. He eased the throttle back.

“New York Center, Angel Five-One.”

“Angel Five-One, New York, go ahead.”

“Angel Five-One has an oil pressure problem. I need a descent.”

“You declaring an emergency, Angel Five-One?”

“Not at this time, but I can’t stay at flight level two five zero.”

“Copy that, Angel Five-One. Standby.”

Jake hated that word at any time, and especially now. The oil pressure needle had reached the middle of the yellow arc. He throttled back, his mind thumbing through the checklist to the engine failure procedure. “I need that descent pretty quick, Center.”

“American sixteen-fifty, New York, turn left heading three two zero, short vector for traffic.”

“American sixteen-fifty left three two zero.”

“Angel Five-One, descend to and maintain flight level one eight zero. Expedite through two zero zero for traffic.”

Ever mindful of shock-cooling the engine even as it appeared to be failing him, Jake throttled back a little more as he lowered the nose. “Angel Five-One departing two five zero for one eight zero.”

The P-51 accelerated as its designers intended, slicing through the thin air with an easy grace. Jake let the airspeed build until the vertical speed needle touched 3000 feet per minute and then brought the nose up to hold that rate of descent. A solid rumble through the airplane hauled his eyes to the oil pressure gauge.

Oh, shit.

“Angel Five-One is declaring an emergency, New York. Request immediate vectors for landing.” Jake hauled back on the stick, brought the throttle to idle and punched up the nearest airport on his GPS. With the thought of what a WWII fighter pilot would have paid for satellite guidance, he did a fast mental calculation of glide ratio, altitude to lose versus distance to go. “I’m landing at La Guardia with total engine failure, New York.” He dialed his transponder to 7700 and adjusted the nose to settle the airspeed needle on the best glide speed of 175 knots.

 Radio chatter filled Jake’s headset as the controller sent airliners scattering in all directions to clear his path to the airport. His brain automatically filtered out much of this until he heard his new clearance.

“Angel Five-One is cleared to La Guardia via direct, descend at pilot’s discretion. Current weather is wind two seven zero at one six gust two two, visibility five, light rain and mist, ceiling one thousand two hundred broken, five thousand seven hundred overcast, temperature one six, dew point one eight, altimeter two niner seven five. Be advised that a heavy shower just passed over the field and there is standing water on both runways. Arrivals are using Runway Three One, departing Two Two. Which approach would you prefer?”

“Standby, New York.” Jake’s mind chewed all this information into little pieces and tried to digest it. The P-51 hadn’t been built to glide around with the engine along for the ride. Better than a crowbar, but not much. A glide ratio of 15:1 provided a Rule of Thumb: glide 3000′ for every 1000′ of altitude. Comparing distance to go with altitude to lose and a quick glance at the GPS to check the wind direction and speed led to the conclusion that he might be able to reach the field with some altitude to spare. “New York, Angel Five-One, what are the tops?”

“Delta twelve-twenty, New York, can you give me a tops report?”

“Ugh, sure, New York, tops on our departure were about fifty-five hundred. Good luck, Angel.”

“You get that, Angel Five-One?”

“Copy.” Jake’s current heading of 090 degrees direct to the airport made runway 04 the best choice to minimize maneuvering. He selected the approach page for La Guardia and found an ILS to runway 04. That would mean landing with a left quartering tailwind, not the best choice, but trying to extend his glide to better align with the wind and not being able to make it would be far worse. “ILS to zero four, New York.”

“The ILS is set up for Two Two, Angel Five-One. I’ll try to get it switched.”

“Roger that.” Lots to do, not much time to do it. The oil pressure had dropped to nearly zero, but the engine hadn’t yet seized. If the wind-milling propeller came to a stop, the stationary blades would add a huge chunk of drag and Jake’s glide figures would be shot all to hell. He followed the remainder of the checklist to secure the engine by placing the throttle in cutoff and turning the fuel selector off. He’d kill the master switch before landing, but he needed electrical power from the alternator now for the instruments. If the engine seized, the battery would take over until it died, unlikely in the airborne time he had left. He trimmed the airplane to hold 175 knots and engaged the autopilot, a modern addition to ease the pilot load on long flights in an airplane that no longer engaged in dogfights and ground attacks against an enemy determined to bring it down.

Heading mode kept the nose pointed at salvation as he selected the ILS Runway 04 from the approach page of the GPS database for La Guardia. A single punch of the direct-to button brought up a list of navigation fixes remaining on his route. He ignored all but the final fix for the instrument approach, highlighted the name, and entered it. An updated course line appeared on the moving-map display from his present position to the fix, but he didn’t select the navigation mode and fly toward it. The fix was about six miles from the runway, and if his calculations turned out to be optimistic, no options existed for extending the glide in a metal bathtub, even one as graceful as the P-51 Mustang.

A plan of action developed against the backdrop of radio chatter until Jake decided to take advantage of a procedure known as a single frequency approach. This request put him in contact with one controller, who would accomplish the coordination required to clear Jake’s flight path all the way to landing roll out. Especially in the crowded airspace around New York City, changing frequencies could wear out the fingers of two crewmembers and drive a single pilot to distraction.

Jake remained pointed at the airport for now on a course offset fifty degrees from the runway heading. He’d face a crucial decision at about ten miles from the field, to either turn right toward the final approach fix for the instrument landing and intercept the final course to land straight-in, or continue overhead the field and spiral down on top of two runways, taxiways and infield areas clear of major obstructions for a landing. This would require descent in the clouds from about 5500 feet to clear air below the broken ceiling at 1200 feet, at which time he would be faced with no more than half a minute to pick a touchdown point and put this powerless beast on the ground.

“Angel Five-One, New York Approach, radio check.”

“Five by five, New York, how me?”

“Loud and clear, sir. You are cleared to land at La Guardia. Are you still planning for Runway Zero Four?”

A glance at distance to go and altitude and a bit of old math resulted in, ” I think so — oh fuck me!”

“Say again, Angel Five-One?”

The prop ground to a halt as twelve pistons seized in overheated cylinders deprived of oil for too long. Four enormous blades came to rest in a perfect “X.” It got much too quiet. The Mustang sagged as the airspeed reacted to the increased drag. Jake lowered the nose to maintain best glide speed and replied, in clear violation of standard communications procedure, “I said, ‘Fuck me.’ My engine just seized. This will be an overhead approach, and I’ll pick the best runway when I break out.”

Silence, then, “Copy that, Angel. Emergency crews are standing by.”

I hope the hell so. He settled into the seat cushions, hauled the shoulder harness and safety belt straps as tight against him as they would go, and clicked off the autopilot. The cloud tops seemed to be rushing at him much too fast, but the airspeed indicator read 175 knots, just what he wanted. He didn’t look at the vertical speed indicator, which told him nothing that he could do anything about.

Concentration zoned Jake into the myopic world of the instrument panel as the cloud tops swallowed him up. Turbulence rattled the airframe with sounds he’d never heard with the engine operating. He didn’t particularly like hearing them now. As the GPS indicated zero miles to go, he eased the stick left with a little left rudder and entered an easy turn with about twenty degrees of bank. The ideal objective: break out below the clouds at twelve-hundred feet above the ground, over the approach end of Runway 04 and on a heading of 040, followed by a left 360 degree descending turn to a touchdown in the first three-thousand feet of the seven-thousand foot runway. Passing 4400 feet, he decided to leave the electrically operated flaps up until landing was assured but get the inoperative landing gear down early. Minus the engine-driven hydraulic pump, the gear became a set of muscle-powered wheels. He broke the safety wire, rotated the emergency handle and began turning it.

The procedure seemed to be taking forever. Jake cranked the handle as fast as he could with eyes fixed on the attitude indicator and airspeed to maintain the spiraling descent. The increased drag required about five degrees more of down pitch. A quick glance at the GPS screen showed .2 miles to La Guardia, probably to the geographic center of the airport. When the handle lurched to a stop, he shoved in left and then right rudder to yaw the gear into the mechanical locking detents. Three little wheel symbols appeared behind glass windows by the gear handle and confirmed success. Now if he could just put them on some hard concrete.

The world outside of his cockpit and the white, bouncy cotton surrounding it suddenly gave way to a view through a rain-streaked windscreen of a grey, dreary, and most-welcome scene: the murky waters of Flushing Bay, concrete ramps, taxiways, terminal buildings, two very wet runways in a “V” and the long lines of red rotating beacons of airplanes queued up in a standstill of anticipation waiting for the big show.

Jake’s brain instantly absorbed the updated information, processed it, and made the decision: Ignore the flaps and go for Runway 04. With the left wing blanking his view of the approach end of the runway,  he maneuvered toward a base leg to reach a point ninety degrees off of runway heading. As the runway came into view over his left shoulder, the words “too high/too fast” trumped his previous decision to ignore the flaps. He removed his left hand from the throttle (why was he still holding onto the damned thing, anyway?) and selected full flaps. The whining electric motor, pitching-down nose, and deceleration confirmed movement. When the runway end passed underneath the nose, Jake glanced at the airspeed, adjusted the nose up slightly to drop off a little more excess speed and picked out a point down the runway as his and no one else’s.

I’m going to chop a piece out of the asphalt when this is over and take it home to put on my mantle. 

He was settling onto the flare with a grin on his face when the gust hit him. The sudden increase in left quartering tailwind amplified Jake’s groundspeed and tried to shove the Mustang’s nose to the left. He added right rudder to counter the movement and align it with the runway, along with left aileron to bank into the crosswind and kill any drift. He let the left main wheel touch down first, added more aileron into the wind and rudder away from it to settle the right main wheel to the runway, and then eased the tail down. His view of the world ahead was now confined to the massive engine cowling. Peripheral vision picked up the clues needed to keep the pointy end of the Mustang lined up with the runway.

When the next gust hit him, the tires hydroplaned in a lake of standing water and the resulting slide to the right put Jake in the passenger’s seat. He felt the jolt crossing into the grassy infield and the hard swerve as the right main tire dug into the mud. The Mustang yawed to a stop in a spray of dirty water, the windscreen filled with the view of a Boeing 757 waiting patiently for termination of the emergency and normal airport operation.

Jake stared, not believing he was down safely, with little apparent damage, and his eyes zeroed in on a cabin window of the Boeing. A child stared back, mouth open, his hands pressed against the glass, one holding a toy airplane. It looked like a P-51 Mustang.

Laughter filled Jake’s oxygen mask. “I hope your engine works better than mine, young fellow.” 

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Beautiful Aviation Art – The Jet Age Slideshow

If the title of this post is black and/or you see the fighter-pilot header, click on the title to view the featured-image header and continue reading.

My good friend and fellow fighter pilot Yago F. de Bobadilla, Maj. Gen. SAF (Ret), has assembled a PowerPoint slide show as a companion to his original collection honoring the aviators and flying machines of World War II and the artists who commemorate specific events with exceptional skill and dedication to their craft.

As the title attests, this collection focuses on how aerial combat has changed since the jet engine forever altered the flying machines that pilots take into the skies. The term “into harm’s way” is fundamentally different than in WWII, although that horrendous conflict provided a chilling glimpse into the future.

But first, some background:

Throughout the history of air warfare, combatants have struggled to achieve a tactical advantage and shift the balance of power in their direction by improving the aircraft and weaponry employed in the aerial battlefield.

Between the dawn of aviation and the outbreak of World War I in 1914, military leaders had disregarded the need for armed aircraft, believing them useful only for reconnaissance. Engineers in France and Germany, however, had been experimenting with methods to allow the pilot to fire a fuselage-mounted machine gun at an opponent without damaging his own propeller. Invention of the interrupter gear led to development of the gun synchronizer, which fostered the birth of aerial combat.

Based on extensive research of surviving German and French early WWI aviation records, the first victory using a synchronized machine-gun-equipped fighter most probably occurred on July 1, 1915 when the pilot of a German Fokker M.5K/MG forced down a French Morane-Saulnier Type L, which landed in French territory and could not be officially confirmed. Three days later, the same German pilot downed an unconfirmed Morane Parasol, and finally achieved the first officially confirmed victory on July 15, 1915 against another Morane.

Fokker M5K-MG (Credit; Wikipedia Commons)
Morane-Saulnier N with fixed machine gun at Breuil-le-Sec aerodrome 2 Feb 1916 (Credit: Wikipedia Commons)
Morane Parasol (Credit: via Wikipedia)

Sole possession of a working gun synchronizer enabled Germany to dominate the skies over the Western Front in a period known as the Fokker Scourge. Although Germany was very careful to protect this advantage by forbidding its pilots from flying over enemy territory, the basic principles involved were common knowledge. By the middle of 1916, several Allied synchronizer gears were in use, and the aerial combat arena shifted to a more equal and far deadlier contest.

Escalation has most often occurred in relatively small steps, such as extra machine guns, addition of a cannon (with exploding shells rather than bullets that rely on impact inertia alone to cause damage), or a supercharger for the engine to improve aircraft performance at high altitude.

And then along came the jet engine. During WWII, the British and the Americans both developed prototype jet-powered fighters, but Germany was the only country to employ one in combat. Imagine the shock and awe among Allied aviators when the ME-262 first appeared in defense of the crumbling Third Reich. Air warfare would never be the same.

ME-262 (Credit:

Pardon me for this interruption, but I cannot resist noting some connection between me and an ME-262 through my brother, Sam C. McIntosh, PhD in aeronautics and astronautics, in his capacity as an FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER).

The aircraft is a replica, made by a group that had the Smithsonian’s permission to reverse-engineer and restore an original non-flying example. The group built a number of replicas, one of which was purchased by an individual, delivered to Sanders Aeronautics in Ione, CA for an evaluation, and eventually sold to the Collings Foundation.

Collings hired Sam to perform a ground vibration test as a key requirement to certify the aircraft as safe for flight. The Foundation had planned to fly the 262 with the B-17, B-25, and P-51 on their Wings of Freedom tour, but it took so much runway that it couldn’t get into a number of airports where the American warbirds would go.

Here is proof of that collaboration. (HINT: This is not a painting.)

Image Credit: The Collings Foundation

In addition, a WWII vet neighbor of Sam’s saw an ME-262 for real while guarding a critical bridge at night. A sound like nothing he he had ever heard caused him to look up as the German pilot rolled in and dropped a bomb, which missed the bridge, and the soldier, thankfully. The vet is 94 years young, still lives in his house, drives a car, and plays golf twice a week. Ya gotta love it!

And finally, without further delay, here is “Beautiful Aviation Art – The Jet Age Slideshow.”

Note: I have elected not to remove the first two parts of the partial presentation previously published as posts. (How’s that for alliteration?)

Don’t forget to click on the full-screen logo to view this slideshow in all its glory!

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Beautiful Aviation Art – Part Seven Slideshow

If the title of this post is black and/or you see the fighter-pilot header, click on the title to view the featured-image header and continue reading.

As stated in the post “Beautiful Aviation Art – Part Seven,” my original intent was to publish this series in six parts, but my good friend and fellow fighter pilot Yago F. de Bobadilla, Maj. Gen. SAF (ret), sent me additional examples of aviation art that deserve to be included. Text of the accompanying email follows:

I did mention that I had made a version 2.0 of my AVIATION ART – WW2 compilation, deleting some of the slides that didn’t quite meet my very exacting criteria, and adding others I had located through the web, striving all the time to avoid creating a ‘monster’ so large that my friends would be bored silly half way through the presentation.

So, as promised, I attach the PPS including only the handful of slides I have updated my presentation with; and I have also translated the captions into English. I’m pretty sure you will enjoy the crisp rendering of “Inspecting the Intrepid”, the drama and emotion behind “A Higher Call” and the incredible stroke of luck depicted in “Fastest Victory”. 

I also wanted to include some artwork related to the attack on Pearl Harbor, but the ones that had the digital image quality I demand, lacked the required ‘artistic values’ for me to give them a passing grade, and viceversa. 

So I selected “Battleship Row” even if I don’t quite like it as much as the rest. Since you’re quite familiar with the pixels-vs-quality problem, I include an image of a painting called “Pearl Harbor 0755” I would have much preferred, but did not pass the ‘image enlargement’ test. 

As an example of the opposite side of the spectrum, I also include separately “The Retreat” that with a size of only 176 KB can be blown up to your heart’s content.

But you are probably wondering how come a retired fighter pilot (MajGen is only a rank, not a way of life!), that is still quite busy as a Beltway Bandit (sorry, change that to Parkway Patriot!! I like it better!!), dedicated time and effort to these endeavors. 

Well, it started as a dare (as usual) from one of my AFA classmates. I’m from the Class of ’66 and, apart from the regular lunches of the Madrid Chapter, we organize an annual Xmas reunion and dinner with the spouses.

Customarily, as part of the celebrations, one of the class members is asked to take to the podium and deliver a speech or lecture, the only requirement being that is has to be entertaining, not too long, and related in some way to the Spanish Air Force or to aviation in general. Well, one thing led to another, and I was cajoled into walking up to the spotlight on the Xmas 2010 reunion, afraid of being boooed and bombarded with rotten tomatoes. 

So, to wrap up my story, the slides were projected on a giant screen behind me with no captions, while I briefly (but quite persuasively) described the historical events depicted by the artists. Everybody was riveted, sitting on their tables around the dining room. I even thought they had all fallen asleep!!! But they gave me a standing ovation (mostly glad that it was over after almost 45 mins) and I immediately started getting requests for copies of my speech in the form of a powerpoint presentation. I no choice but to assemble it, add the captions, find a suitable background music, and pass it around to my Academy colleagues.

What I did not anticipate, Tosh, was that in less than a month it had circulated around the globe, and I was receiving feedback from people as far as Finland, Argentina, Japan, Pakistan and even our antipodes in New Zealand!! Even a couple of the artists themselves found a way to get in touch with me, grateful (surprisingly!) that I had included some of their works alongside some of their most admired and revered aviation artists. I was awestruck, actually expecting a slap in the wrist for not having asked for permission!

Okay, so now you know the background story, and the living proof is that somebody, through that incredible network that is the World Wide Web, sent you my work and started the ball rolling for us to get back in touch after all these years.

Good night, my friend. It is 02:45 am in Spain and I am about to fall asleep on my keyboard.

Hasta la vista!


Here is the slideshow version of Beautiful Aviation Art – Part Seven

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Beautiful Aviation Art Slideshow

If you see the fighter-pilot header and/or the post title is in black, click on the title to view the featured image header.

In 2011, when I first uploaded individual slides from the PowerPoint presentations as collected by Maj. Gen Yago F. de Bobadilla, Spanish Air Force, I couldn’t find a way to embed the slide show in a post. My recent collaboration with the webmaster of the Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society, however, has prompted me to upload the entire presentation for viewing.

The process quickly morphed into a perfect example of “The McIntosh Brothers’ Pandora’s Box Syndrome,” in which a task that initially appears to be straightforward proves to be anything but, and that forced me to learn far more than I ever wanted to know about embedding PowerPoint slideshows into a WordPress site.

It should be easy, right? Online tutorials by the millions cover every possible topic imaginable. In this case, however, most of the first page of results focused on problems with achieving my objective, as evidenced by an error message that said, “Content cannot be embedded for security reasons.”

But wait! There are plug-ins that make it easy. So I try a free version of one and encounter the same error. But wait again! The paid version appears to be a possibility, so I spend $29 to find out, and when I try to download the app, here’s the result:

This is a classic example of the syndrome in action, so I try to sidestep the problem by emailing the developer, which produces the following all-too-common “it’s not our fault” response in the midst of Covid-19:

Thanks for contacting us. Your request has been received and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We currently have reduced staff and a significantly higher volume of enquiries. Our response time could be up to 4 days. We apologize for the delay and thank you for your patience.

It should come as no surprise that my quota of patience does not include paying for something that can be delivered instantly and having to wait because the download link is broken.

The saga continued with multiple searches and false starts, and finally ended with a video tutorial that allowed me to use Google Slides, which had previously worked, but far less effectively than I wanted because it didn’t embed the presentation on my website.

For visitors interested in the background for the series, I’ve elected to keep the six individual parts previously published. Here are the links to them:







And so, with a restatement of my thanks to Gen. Bobadilla for creating this tribute to the boundless heroism of airmen who took to the skies as warriors in the defense of freedom and defeat the abomination of the Axis Powers, here is the original PowerPoint Slide Show presentation as collected by my friend and fellow fighter pilot Yago, with expanded descriptions of the events added by me.

Note: To view this gorgeous slide show in all its glory, click on the full screen symbol in the toolbar of the Presentation window below. Advance the slides with the left and right arrows in your keyboard, or use the arrows in the lower left corner of the full screen presentation. Exit full screen with the esc key.


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Beautiful Aviation Art Series Makes an Impression

Not long ago I received the following email:

Dear Col. McIntosh,

I serve as webmaster for the website of the Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society (AFEES).  See  It was founded in 1964 by some American airmen who were shot down during WWII and were helped to evade capture by the Germans thanks to the help of ordinary people in the occupied countries.

A cousin of mine brought to my attention the aviation art by Yago F. de Bobadilla.  It is quite remarkable and I would like to add a page to the website devoted to it.  I think that visitors to the website would be very interested to see it.  Are you the person I should ask for permission?  If not can you direct me to the correct person?  Any assistance you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Best wishes,

Bruce Bolinger

Air Force Escape and Evasion Society (AFEES)

My reply:

Mr. Bolinger,

Although I can’t speak to the currency of Yago’s email address, I’ll be more than happy to forward your email so that he may contact you.

Yago and I haven’t corresponded recently over the past few years. I would expect him to reply to me, but in case he doesn’t, I would appreciate knowing if he responds to you.

Neither Mr. Bolinger nor I have received a response, and I have decided to honor his request for two reasons: 1) Under no circumstances could I envision that Yago would have any objection to sharing the examples of aviation art in his collection; and 2) what better way to expand the enjoyment of these paintings than to share them with visitors to a website honoring American airmen who managed to evade capture and the brave patriots in occupied territories who made that possible.

I will update this post as necessary to showcase the results of this collaboration.

“The purpose of AFEES is to encourage airmen who were aided by Resistance organizations or patriotic nationals of foreign countries to continue friendships with those who helped them. AFEES had its first reunion in Niagara Falls, NY in 1964. Over the years, hundreds of evaders, helpers, family members, and friends have gathered each year to commemorate, remember, and honor all those who were involved in escaping and evading-–both the escapers and the thousands of brave, ordinary people in occupied countries who took extraordinary risks at huge cost to help these airmen.”

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Beautiful Aviation Art – The Jet Age – Part Two

If the title of this post is black and/or you see the fighter-pilot header, click on the title to view the featured-image header and continue reading.

My good friend and fellow ex-fighter pilot Yago F. de Bobadilla, Maj. Gen. SAF (ret), has assembled a PowerPoint slide show as a companion to his original collection honoring the aviators and flying machines of World War II and the artists who commemorate specific events with exceptional skill and dedication to their craft.

He followed the original collection with an addendum to showcase more WWII art, then added a collection devoted to The Jet Age, and this second installment includes the next 9 slides. I hope you enjoy them and will check back for Parts 3-6, to be published about once per month.

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Tosh’s Book Cover Gallery v3.5

If the title of this post is black and/or you see the fighter-pilot header, click on the title to view the featured-image header.

Here’s the latest addition to my book cover design efforts.

I began writing the Future Fiction, Sci-Fi novel Oasis in 1992 and completed 11 drafts over the next 16 years while unsuccessfully attempting to secure a literary agent and a contract with one of the Big 6 (at the time) legacy publishers.

On the advice of an instructor at the Writers’ League of Texas, in 2003 I wrote Pilot Error, an aviation mystery-thriller about airborne murder, and once again tried to secure representation of a literary agent. In late 2010, I received the first positive response with agent requests for 1 partial and 3 full manuscripts.

In March 2003, I removed the novel from consideration by the one remaining agent, who kept asking for more time, and began teaching myself how to design the covers and interiors for print and eBook editions.

I indie-published Pilot Error in November 2011, the 2nd-in-series novel Red Line in 2014, and began writing the 3rd novel Test Flight in September 2017.

A debilitating case of writer’s block halted progress for the better part of two years, until I finally realized that a common cure is to begin a new project.

Then, like the proverbial cartoon light bulb, it finally dawned on me that I didn’t need to begin yet another novel. In May, 2020, I began a final revision of Oasis, and as of October 14th, the print and eBook editions are for sale on Amazon.

My publishing imprint Aviator Writer Press has assisted over 25 authors with design of interiors and covers, but the projects don’t keep my hand in Photoshop frequently enough to prevent fumbling around with using all the available tools.

This morning, for example, the time had come to write this addition to my Cover Gallery, and I had to find my notes for how to create these 3D versions of the front and back covers of the Oasis paperback.

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Tosh’s Book Cover Gallery v3.4

If the title of this post is black and/or you see the fighter-pilot header, click on the title to view the featured-image header.

Imagine my surprise when my niece, Carey McIntosh, asked for my help in publishing a book about her 25-years of living and working overseas. I had no idea she had written it, and as I would come to find out, neither did her immediate family. That began a secret collaboration lasting more than 11 months, and now that the book is published, I can showcase the cover in my gallery.

While waiting for the manuscript, I began fiddling with cover concepts. The intriguing title, Beans, Bugs & Bombs, gave me an idea that I frankly never expected to survive for very long, but Carey again surprised me by liking it.

The first version used green beans, a bug that looked like a cockroach, and a cartoon-style bomb that looks like a black sphere with a fuze. The second version featured pinto beans and a mosquito. We kept the bomb, but I couldn’t resist adding a flame burning at the tip of the fuze.

I am enormously proud of her accomplishment and pleased in the extreme that I could assist her in the publication of this marvelous book.

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Tosh’s Book Cover Gallery v3.3

If the title of this post is black and/or you see the fighter-pilot header, click on the title to view the featured-image header.

My friend and fellow author Sharon Scarborough has just published Book 2 in the Texas Ranger Nightingale series. Not an Ordinary Death follows A Promise of Water with another murder and an investigation complicated by small town interpersonal dynamics and political intrigue.

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Tosh’s Book Cover Gallery v3.2

If the title of this post is black and/or you see the fighter-pilot header, click on the title to view the featured-image header.

In July, 2018, my friend and fellow writer Laura Resnik-Chavez introduced me to Danielle Jaussaud, who had reached the point of wanting to publish a memoir and needed help with formatting and cover design. Although I can’t speak for Danielle, my guess is that at the time, she couldn’t have predicted a publication date any more accurately than I.

For my part, the project presented a number of new challenges, with photos, endnotes, and a cover design concept I’d never encountered before, with the photo of a couple superimposed on an image of the entrance to a village in Germany. After too many trial iterations to count, Danielle elected not to include the couple, and once we had a fully edited and proofed manuscript, I began the process of uploading the interior and cover files for the print and digital editions of The Dilsberg Engagement — Love, Dissent and Reprisals.

A few years ago I began working with 3-D cover images to add a little pizzazz to promotional materials. Here are front– and rear–quarter views of the paperback cover of Danielle’s book.

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