History Oozes Off

We went to a fair recently and they had some old cars on display. The one was a Model T 1909 that had never been restored. I wish I had a picture of it but when we travel across the border we don't bring our phones.

So I thought I'd go into detail about what it looked like, but each image locked in my mind is actually not of the car. Weird, but as I stood beside it, the stories seemed to come off the worn fabric in micro flakes that sparked life in my imagination.

It was in bad shape, but yet good shape... for its age and for the journey it took.

As I looked in the front seat at the worn fabric and the wood pieces on the floor, I saw a couple riding it. Snuggled in tight. She sighed against him and he had a strange smile that says life won't get better than this moment.

The one door was open and ripped so I could see exactly how it was built. But what I saw was a man holding out his hand and a girl giggling, biting her bottom lip, and then almost jumping into his arms.

The backseat was red, I remember that much, mostly because I saw a woman clutching her purse against her, her jaw tight, her hair in a bun as she stared straight ahead, nervous. She wore a blue coat, not sure that matters, but the buttons are big and black. One doesn't match because she had to stitch it on this morning and well... now she's late. Her gloves are black and one's crooked, not sure anyone will notice this but me.

And then the lanterns for headlights fastened to wood caught my attention. I could see a tall skinny guy trying to light the headlights and I had to hold my breath, because that couldn't be safe at all...

It was hard to leave it with all these haunting images. This car had so many stories to share.

Ever find something that the history just oozes off, haunting you with details that you had no idea existed?

Ghosts on the Prairies in eBook

I am very excited and proud to announce that

Elsewhen Press has released Ghosts on the Prairies as an eBook 
available on Amazon
Look for it in paperback later this fall.
Here's what they have to say about it:

Some things are worth a fight 
Strong words that Antoine’s father drilled into him. After his father mysteriously vanishes one night, Antoine must find another income or he risks losing the Sacred Land that his father swore to protect. 

Working on a ranch, Antoine meets Emma, a victim of underground slavery. Fighting for her freedom costs him his home, his sister, his best friend, and puts in question all of his values. If he succeeds, will she and her son fit into his world? 

As the law of the Ghost tribes says: 
Respect others, respect yourself, and respect nature. 

Artwork: Alison BuckThis suspenseful and beautifully written story concerns the interwoven loves, hopes, dreams and tragedies of lives lived in backwater towns and isolated farmsteads of the US-Canadian border lands, where hard work, lawlessness and harsh, summary punishment are a way of life. A network of secret underground tunnels, linking the controlled and controlling world to the south with the Sacred Lands of the Ghost tribes across the border to the north, offers the possibility of escape and freedom. 

“Using a light touch, Tanya’s story draws on spiritual beliefs and mystical traditions and deals with the dark, lingering shadow of slavery; with racism, sexual abuse and religious intolerance; with the corrosive effects of all-consuming greed; with exploitation; and with the clash of cultures, concerning the nature of ownership.” 

Tanya enjoys using the setting of the prairies for her stories, many of which are inspired by her years of research into Saskatchewan’s local Francophone history.

Petrified Has a Home at Sunbury Press!

Here is the cover for my new young adult novel Petrified. It will be released shortly by Sunbury Press.
I'm excited about this one because it is the first of the Whisperer books to be unleashed!  And even better it is a book I wrote for my kids.

I am just blown away by the cover design by Amber Rendon. Wow.

Legends say that when all hope is lost, Grey Whisperers will save the world..

It’s 2115 and hope is lost.

Bogies attack on the Saskatchewan prairies turning men to stone.

Grey Whisperers have vanished.

Yet one boy has faith. Gabe might only be thirteen but he’s studied Notebooks written by Grey Whisperers all his life. He believes they will come.

Even after bogies haul off his brother and pick Gabe as their next target, he refuses to give up.

On the run, he befriends two special Whisperers who use his Notebooks to tame the ghostly monsters with nothing but magical whispers. The trio set out to fight the enemy behind the attacks but the truth puts in question everything they believe in, even their friendship.

A Peek Into You Life in Florida

A peek into your life, is a segment spotlighting authors, specialists, and friends who brave my countless questions day in and day out. It's the best way I can share with you all, the many people who taught me the bizarre things I know, who satisfy my thirst for knowledge and adventure, and who keep me motivated.

Self portrait in the shadows
So today I am being interviewed over at Writing and Living where Richard asked me some questions about the unique place I call home. Now... we get extreme cold, he sees extreme heat...

He lives in a state I visit often because I have family there who I love dearly, and so when he ran this idea by me... I just had to jump on the chance to find out what he thinks about actually LIVING in Florida, because well... I think it's a righto swell place to visit.

Richard is the author of The Gunman in Black, Battles and Other Stories, and Only the Lonely.  He is also a painter and you can check out some of his work on his site.

But! This isn't about Richard!!! It's about peeking at where he lives and how that inspires him.

Where are you from, and did you always live here?  I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. I went away to college for four years, coming home off and on, and then lived at home for a year before going on active duty with the US Navy. When I got out of the navy, I lived in Jacksonville another two years before moving to Rhode Island in 1973, where I lived for a year before moving to Massachusetts and married my wife of 40 years in 1974. For a variety of reasons we moved to Jacksonville in 1988, where I’ve lived since.

View from the highest point in Jacksonville
What places or sites would you recommend I visit when in your area? Do you visit these places and what did you think about them? If you visit Jacksonville, the main attractions are its beaches. We have a smooth sandy coast line with usually small to moderate (2-3 foot) waves, although when storms come in those waves can get quite high (easily 6-8 feet).
For northerners, the best time to visit is April or May for wonderful weather. The summers can be brutally hot, and the winters too cold for lying in the sun and swimming. We actually have quite a few visitors from Canada during the spring.

The best nearby place to visit is St. Augustine, Florida, about an hour’s drive from Jax. It’s the oldest continuously occupied city in the U.S.A. It’s quaint and restored to its original buildings and configuration. It has many visitors from around the world every year. It’s a destination for many travelers. I’ve been there many times.

What do your pets think about the climate? I (we) have two cats. One’s an inside cat, the other goes in and out. They almost always want to be inside the house.

A good day drawing by the pool!
What do you like to do in your spare time that is outside? I dislike working outside in the summertime. The heat and humidity floors me within minutes. Unfortunately, I have to maintain the yard. I do have a swimming pool, so I jump in when I get too hot. Pool maintenance is a constant outside activity I’ve been doing since 1988.

What areas/places interest you the most about your town? 
We have a vibrant arts scene; we have some good museums and art galleries; I enjoy our library system a lot. Other than that, I don’t do a whole lot. I do take courses in art at the U of North Florida.

In what ways does where you live filter into your writing?
The lake at the Jacksonville Arboretum
Jacksonville played prominently in my early stories, but not so much now. In fact, after traveling some of the world and living up north, Jacksonville is just a place to live, nothing more. I could easily move someplace else, although I’ll probably be here the rest of my life.

Dang, our peek is already done.
Thank you so much Richard for sharing your world with us! 
Hope you enjoyed it and take the time to visit Richard's site to see what I have to say about living on the prairies. 

Floods on the Prairies

We experiences an absurd amount of rain for the prairies this weekend. Water levels were already high; so high many didn't get their crops in this year. Add to that about 190 millimeters more rain than expected in one downpour and well...

Roads are washed out, cutting entire towns off from the world. Basements are flooded. Towns had to evacuate. Livestock is forced to higher ground and many horror stories erupted.  

We were away at the time and felt powerless. Yet these great people who were stranded kept us posted, took care of the buildings in town that they could save and looked after what they could. It would have been so much worse had they given up.

Using 4x4 and taking some dirt roads we wiggled our way into town over streams and around washed out roads after the major flooding had passed. Our usually 9 minute trip took us an hour as we detoured around the rising creeks. It was interesting and dramatic. We arrived to see the town working together, fighting the water in every way imaginable. Of course, when we arrived it had already backed off our property and was slowly going down.

I can't imagine how scared they were to see the creek rise to levels never seen before and to know they were without help from the outside while high ground became surrounded by rushing water. Every community in the area was cut off from the others, forcing people to do like us, and find creative ways to get in and out, and to save their town.

As of right now, we are fine. Lots to clean up and do. We still have no phones, but the Internet is working! And our cell phones are working too. The power is on, and we have lots of food and water for drinking. Leaving town is far from everyone's mind.

We lost very little. My heart breaks as we help others who lost so much, and yet they offer to help others get back on their feet. These people are amazing and I'm so proud to live among them. I wish I could do so much more.

The damage in the area is going to take a long time to repair. Yet I already see the changes each thing we do makes. Spirits aren't down, just tired.

Everyone is safe and for right now, the worst is over. With the creek so high, who knows what will happen, but we'll cross that damaged bridge when we have to.

I do want to thank the wonderful family who rescued my dog. She is terrified of water and can't swim. I know a terrified St Bernard is not the easiest beast to house yet they did it so gracefully and happily (even though she was a drenched muddy mess who smelt wonderful) and kept us posted as we tried to get back. She is home now, washed, and happy.

Here are a few links from the news:
Leader Post news
Huffington Post