I like to tell tales of quirky characters caught in the maelstrom of world events. Whether driving along parched and broken roads in central Laos or crossing the Xiang River with the Red Army, I strive to evoke people and places with meticulous accuracy, placing the reader convincingly into the times about which I write. As a novelist, I want to spin a good yarn, but as a student of history I feel an obligation to leave the reader with insights into the politics and personalities of the period. I enjoyed a long career as an engineer at IBM, Fujitsu, and Huawei Technologies. During my years working for Huawei, a Chinese manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, I developed a deep interest in Chinese history and culture. After retirement, I traveled widely in China, learning a bit of Mandarin. My observations of life in the places I visited, from quiet villages to crowded cities, have found their way into my writing. Staying in the southern city of Kunming, I visited a busy live market. On the floor was the usual mix of blood, dirty water, and sawdust. The air was filled with the stench of an overheated slaughterhouse. A girl of about ten worked at one of the stalls. A customer pointed to a caged bird. The girl seized it, slaughtered, plucked, and dressed it, and then collected cash that went into the pocket of her apron. Her parents were nowhere in sight. The girl appeared to relish her work, hacking enthusiastically at the birds and finding joy in the carnage. I could not help wondering what such a girl would be like as an adult. From this visit to the live market grew the novel Slaughtering Girl. Visiting Laos, I became interested in the secret war conducted in that country by the CIA from 1961 to 1973. Americans had been aware of US involvement in Vietnam, but the CIA’s support for the Lao monarchy against the communist Pathet Lao remained hidden for years as US participation would have violated the 1954 Geneva Accords. The Vientiane Affair is set in the early days of the secret war. An aid worker, Fred Jenkins, is found floating in the Mekong. The dead man’s drinking buddy, CIA operative Jack Gold, knows it’s not his job to investigate, but Gold has a nagging feeling that he owes it to his friend. On the same day that Jenkins’ body is discovered, a new aid worker arrives from Cambodia. Gold wonders if the appearance of the sultry redhead, Janet McCann, is a coincidence. Readers wanting to learn more about my travels are invited to visit Eastern Tales. I have been a vegetarian for more than forty years and would like readers to know that no animals were harmed in the writing of my novels. I earned a bachelor’s degree in humanities and science from MIT and a master’s degree in computer science from Penn State. I hold more than thirty US patents and a number of European and Chinese patents.