Friday, July 30, 2021

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Finding George Washington by Bill Zarchy @GoddessFish

Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale

by Bill Zarchy

GENRE: Sci-Fi / Alternate History / Baseball Saga / Action Thriller


On a freezing night in 1778, General George Washington vanishes. Walking away from the Valley Forge encampment, he takes a fall and is knocked unconscious, only to reappear at a dog park on San Francisco Bay—in the summer of 2014.

Washington befriends two Berkeley twenty-somethings who help him cope with the astonishing—and often comical—surprises of the twenty-first century.

Washington’s absence from Valley Forge, however, is not without serious consequences. As the world rapidly devolves around them—and their beloved Giants fight to salvage a disappointing season—George, Tim, and Matt are catapulted on a race across America to find a way to get George back to 1778.

Equal parts time travel tale, thriller, and baseball saga, Finding George Washington is a gripping, humorous, and entertaining look at what happens when past and present collide in the 9th inning, with the bases loaded and no one warming up in the bullpen.



The General watched as the Northern Lights spread, shimmered, and swirled through the sky like the smoke from God’s own cigar, now rising, now dipping, now twirling and pulsing.

Though soldiers often considered the aurora a bad omen, at that moment it thrilled him. To the east, he could see the glow of sentry fires of some of the closer regiments, the troops hunkered down for the night. A short distance to the south, the men of his personal guard occupied their own group of makeshift huts within sight of the farmhouse.

It’s cold. I should get back before Patsy and the staff begin to miss me.

He paused and took a deep breath of the night air. He was a durable and determined man who had survived cold and wintry weather during his early life as a surveyor and, later, as a British officer. He would show his Continental Army troops that the cold didn’t bother him, that staying strong was a state of mind. Certainly they had it worse than he did, but they respected that he had refused to move out of his tent into the stone farmhouse until his men moved out of their tattered shelters into log huts.

The fluid, ethereal display of light in the skies danced and pulsated. Before he could climb down the hill and head back toward the farmhouse, the ground under his feet began to shake and rumble, providing a steady, geological drumbeat to accompany the green and red light in the sky. The terrain rolled. He lost his footing on the ice, just at a point where a crisp moonbeam seemed to hit the patch of turf he was crossing.

The earth came up to meet him, and he banged his head on the frozen ground. Woozy and lightheaded, teetering on the edge of consciousness, he felt a great sadness, felt the bones in his body melt in the shard of moonlight, even as, in his remaining awareness, he realized the moon was not out that evening. He felt his body scooped off the ground, as if by a vengeful wind, then tumbled in a heap onto something hard and unyielding that swept him along at a great rate of speed. All went dark.

Guest Post:

What-If’ World Building and Real Life

Please check out my website and blog:

My debut novel, Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale, takes place mostly in familiar surroundings in the present. More accurately, in the near-present, the summer of 2014. And yet, the development of the story involved a certain amount of “what-if” world building.

In the world of the present, Tim, the protag, lives in Berkeley, on a pleasant suburban street that seems a lot like mine. He and George Washington frequent some of my haunts in the area, visit my dog park, attend Giants games in San Francisco, and wander through the UC Berkeley campus.

Washington has wandered away from his Revolutionary War winter camp at Valley Forge and somehow been transported 3000 miles west and more than 200 years into the future. But there are consequences, and Tim begins to wonder if George’s absence from Valley Forge is causing the changes.

I knew I wanted the colonials to lose the War of Independence, as the main result of General Washington going AWOL. No longer would our Revolution serve as inspiration for the French Revolution and role model for so many other anti-colonialist revolts and wars of liberation down through the ages. I knew I wanted to demonstrate that continued, intense imperialism would result. Britain would continue to dominate their colonies on the Eastern Seaboard. Russia (who had settlements in Alaska and far down the California coast) and Spain (with colonies throughout South and Central America) would continue to control the West.

Their economic growth manipulated and stunted by their powerful mother countries, the Americas would fail to develop as independent, prosperous entities and would remain impoverished colonial backwaters.

I struggled with how to show this possibility graphically and finally decided to create a simulation of how bad things could get. I directed my character Pierre Chow, the federal agent in the story, to show Tim some innovative modeling software called Foresight. This clever, fictitious program, which will even run on a laptop, uses the same satellite mapping engine as Google Earth. It enables the user to search huge databases of events, circumstances, people, and advancements, then change some parameters, and see a complex digital representation of how history, cultural movements, and the physical environment could be affected by those changes.

For example, when Tim uses Foresight to model what would happen if George never returned to Valley Forge, he is able to see a computer simulation of his tidy, middle-class, Berkeley neighborhood, looking — like most of the area — rundown and decrepit. When Tim and George expand their search to San Francisco, they discover the Bay Bridge is now a tumbledown wooden structure, and an ancient bull ring has replaced the Giants’ magnificent baseball palace by the Bay.

Developing the Foresight software wasn’t easy. Even imaginary computer applications have to make sense and appear to work intuitively and efficiently! First, I learned the ins and outs of Google Earth, which would provide the visual background for this future-modeling program. Then I had to invent menus or commands that didn’t sound too vague or too ambitious.

Here’s a sample:

Foresight had a huge database organized into several drop-down menus, including Wars, People, Inventions, Movements, and Culture. Menu options in the People category included: Change Birth Date, Change Death Date, Change Education, Change Family, Change Accomplishments, and Change Acquaintances.

For Inventions, some of the options included: Schedule Earlier, Schedule Later, Share Credit, and Cancel Invention.

I chose Wars, then American Revolution, and was presented with these options: Change Outcome, Change Start Date, and Change End Date.

I clicked Change Outcome …

And so it goes. Tim and George and their friends are able to view the disastrous consequences of Washington’s continued absence from Valley Forge. When they realize that the actual, physical environment around them is changing in similar ways to the Foresight simulation, they decide it’s time to get the General out of town and return him to Valley Forge.

But how?

That’s the essence of the story. Check it out.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Bill Zarchy filmed projects on six continents during his 40 years as a cinematographer, captured in his first book, Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil. Now he writes novels, takes photos, and talks of many things.

Bill’s career includes filming three former presidents for the Emmy-winning West Wing Documentary Special, the Grammy-winning Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, feature films Conceiving Ada and Read You Like A Book, PBS science series Closer to Truth, musical performances as diverse as the Grateful Dead, Weird Al Yankovic, and Wagner’s Ring Cycle, and countless high-end projects for technology and medical companies.

His tales from the road, personal essays, and technical articles have appeared in Travelers’ Tales and Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, the San Francisco Chronicle and other newspapers, and American Cinematographer, Emmy, and other trade magazines.

Bill has a BA in Government from Dartmouth and an MA in Film from Stanford. He taught Advanced Cinematography at San Francisco State for twelve years. He is a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and a graduate of the EPIC Storytelling Program at Stagebridge in Oakland. This is his first novel.

Author Link:


Book Links:

Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook

Buy Links:


Paperback ~ Kindle

The book will be $0.99.


$50 Amazon GC/BN GC

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Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt. Sounds like a good read.

Bill Zarchy said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today!

Sherry said...

Sounds like a very good book.