Skip to content

A Favourite Restaurant in “A December Knight”

December 3, 2021

One of the things I love about writing stories is the ability to include places I’ve been. A December Knight takes place in the community where I spent the first 29 years of my life. This allowed me to use one of my favourite restaurants in a scene: The Palladium Family Restaurant.

The Palladium wasn’t always The Palladium. It started out in the early 1980s as Champ’s Restaurant. When I was in grade 9 and attending Sir Robert Borden Junior High, which was across the street and up a short hill from the eatery, my friends and I would sometimes go to this restaurant for lunch.

Sir Robert Borden Junior High today – street view

I didn’t have much money, so I always ordered the same thing: plate of fries and chocolate sundae. I can’t remember the exact price, but it was something like $2.20 for the meal. I recall the dark-haired waitress who served us was very kind to us teenagers. Probably because we didn’t make unnecessary noise and were respectful. We came, we ate, we chatted about the day and left quietly.

Read more…

A Hot Christmas Romance that Will Melt the Snow from Your Tree

December 2, 2021

A December Knight was supposed to be released last year, but… Sometimes things don’t go as planned. However, this year, it’s a go!

I consider this novel to be your typical, run of the mill romance story. It has two main characters looking for love and when they find it, they’re eager, yet there’s something holding them back. I’m no Nora Roberts or Harlequin Romance author, but from the ones I’ve read, A December Knight follows a similar story line.

Here’s the first scene.

Chapter 1, Scene 1

Emmie Cooper stiffened when she heard the exasperation in her mother’s voice.

“Christmas? It comes too early and never leaves quick enough.”

“Humbug, Jan! I love the holidays,” said Lorette Dalrymple. “Magic fills the air when everyone is happy and giving.”

“You mean when they are spending money they don’t have on gifts no one needs.”

Emmie burrowed deeper into the closet, letting the jackets on the clothes hangers disguise her hiding place. Her mother and Aunt Lorette sat at the kitchen table drinking tea. She hadn’t intended to eavesdrop, but she was almost into the room before she realised they were there. Instead of saying hello and drawing attention to herself, she sneaked into the shadow of the closet. With Christmas only two weeks away, she expected to hear about a gift bought for her. She had been dreaming of many wonderful things but had narrowed her list down to ten: five for the list she’d given to her mother and five written in her letter to Santa.

“Oh, come on; where’s your holiday spirit?” said Lorette.

“It went out with last week’s trash,” said Jan.

“Honestly, sis, I don’t know what to make of you. Every year you dive into depression as if it’s a punch bowl laced with rum. It’s as if someone killed your cat, swiped your favourite heels and posted your baby-fat pictures on Facebook all in one day.”

Read more…

Do you believe in giants?

December 1, 2021

All my life, I’ve been reading stories with giants in them. The first was probably Jack and the Bean Stock where Jack trades the family cow for a few bean seeds, grows the stalk into the clouds, climbs it, steals the goose that lays the golden eggs and escapes (sometimes killing the giant and sometime not, depending on the version).

There’s also David and Goliath, where little David kills the giant Goliath with a sling shot, and Gulliver’s Travels. In fact, if you search for books for kids with giants, you’ll find many. Why are giant stories popular with kids or at least with authors?

Locally, we have Glooscap, a legendary figure of the Wabanaki peoples, native peoples located in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Atlantic Canada. While some say he is fictional and certainly some of the tales about him are, there’s some evidence that suggest he was an actual person. How tall was he? Probably not as tall as the statue erected just outside Truro, Nova Scotia, along the 102 Highway.

Read more…

Why do you write the books you do?

November 30, 2021

I’ve been asked many times, “Why do you write the books you do?”

My answer is simple: I write the books I want to read.

Not everyone will like my books. Those who like one book may not like another. I accept that, and I will continue to write books I enjoy reading.

Northern Survival is not like Natural Selection. Northern Survival is for adults and focusses on adult issues: marriage, divorce, betrayal, kids, lost love, survival. The characters are adults in their 50s who have lived different lives but have both experienced the cruelty of people, ones they initially trusted. There is cursing, cruel words exchanged and mild sex.

Natural Selection, on the other hand, can be read by anyone 14 and up. In fact, mature youth as young as 12 years old can read it. Two of the main characters are in their early 20s. They’re naïve, have never had a serious relationship and have no children. They have not been made cynical about love by past experiences. There is no cursing, cruel words or sex.

Read more…

A Glimpse into the Magical World of G. Michael Vasey

November 29, 2021

Do you want a peek into the world of magic? Do you want to hear what those who make a little magic think of their craft? Do you want to hear about the experiences they’ve had?

This year, I came upon the podcasts of author G. Michael Vasey. During the 30 minutes or so conversations, Vasey talks with someone connected with magic or the supernatural in some fashion.

Last week, he had an interesting conversation with author Alan Richardson about his latest book, Visions of Paviland. Richardson refers to the book as a magical diary.

Read more…

Describing an Abandoned Town

November 28, 2021

I’ve stumbled upon several abandoned buildings tucked away on rarely-travelled dirt roads. Exploring them is exciting and creepy. Some where sketchy when it came to structural integrity and others were mysterious because of possible wildlife they may have harboured.

I can describe collapsed roofs, sun-baked decomposing wood, weather-soiled floors that felt spongy when I walked on them, and the stillness of the air when glassless-windows made it feel like the building was part of the overgrowth.

However, I’ve never been in a town or city that has been abandoned for so long that the buildings are hollow, signs are missing letters and the streets are a patchwork of broken pavement grown in with weeds and shrubs and hardly recognisable.

Read more…

Warm Memories of Hot Cocoa

November 27, 2021

When I was born, my family lived in a run-down shack on the outskirts of town. My bed was a drawer in my mother’s dresser. It had also been the bed for the brother who had been born 23 months before me and the brother born 15 months after me.

The shack, as my parents referred to it in later years after we moved into the house my father and old brothers had built on the same piece of property, had four spaces. I say spaces because while I don’t recall living in the house, my mother described it in a similar manner. It had a living room and kitchen combined. My parents had a bedroom that had room for their double bed, a dresser and a crib. The other ‘room’ was a space off the living room and kitchen, but there was no wall separating it. My mother had put up a curtain to create privacy and to block light from reaching the children as they slept.

A cinder block basement provided additional space for storage and beds for the four oldest boys. The outhouse was out back down by the large birch tree.

Read more…

An Easy Perennial Source for Garlic Flavour

November 26, 2021

While I have a good supply of garlic bulbs, there’s another plant that can provide the flavour, and it’s available fresh from the garden between early May to late October. This plant also provides greenery for the dish, whether that be scrambled eggs or soups.

The perennial that everyone can grow and that thrives from being cut regularly is garlic chives. It’s so easy to grow and propagate that once you have one small plant in your garden, it won’t take many years before the clump grows to a fair size and new plants pop up around the mother plant. Don’t consider these new plants as weeds, though they may be mistaken for blades of grass in the early stage. Move them to the location of your choice or share them with a friend.

Read more…

Midgarden Garlic Update

November 25, 2021

On November 4th, I planted my Midgarden garlic. I had prepared the bed a few weeks earlier by cleaning out the weeds and spreading two inches of compost over the top. No, I do not work it into the soil. I practise the no-dig method.

I estimated between 33 and 44 cloves from the 11 bulbs I had harvested in August (see the post: Garlic Update for 2021). However, I was shocked to have 71 cloves. That’s an average of 6.45 cloves per bulb. I knew the bulbs were big, but I had no idea I’d get more than four cloves from each.

Doing the math, this indicates I may get 458 cloves to plant in the fall of 2022.

Read more…

Reconnect with the Land and Local Farmers

November 24, 2021

Heavily processed and unnatural food practices have been a normal part of the food system in North America for only about 60 years. Before that time, most foods were naturally organic and few people ate processed foods. Both my parents grew up in rural areas where everyone in the community got 90% of what they consumed from their backyard, the forest around them or the ocean. Flour, salt, sugar and a few other basic baking ingredients were the only food items they bought.

While governments, organisations and activist groups prattle on about environmental issues and claim the end of the world is nigh, they offer little in real solutions. They keep talking globally when the answer is locally. When I think of the popular slogan “Buy Local”, I don’t think about buying from a local store. I think of buying food and products grown and created near me, not a thousand miles away. I want apples grown within 100 miles of me, not 500.

Read more…