This is my 55th Christmas Eve. While I don’t remember all them, several stand out, including the Christmas Eve I flew home from Montreal.
A week before Christmas in the late 1980s, my brother and I went to Montreal, Quebec, to watch an NHL hockey game. My favourite team, the Philadelphia Flyers, was playing his favourite team, the Montreal Canadiens.
The days leading up to the game were spent touring the city, going on my first subway ride and shopping for gifts. I don’t remember who won the game, but meeting the players afterwards was extremely fun. These were the days of Ilkka Sinisalo, Peter Zezel, Ron Hextal and Dave Poulin. Oh yeah, and Patrick Roy and few other Canadiens, but that was the other team. Haha.
The days after the game were also spent visiting stores we’d never been in before, including one that was several stories tall. I think one shop was on the seventh floor. Here in Nova Scotia, the best we have is Mic Mac Mall, which is only three storeys.
Running out of money and not having bought anything for Mom, I came across a pink and white pull-on shirt in that 7th-floor store. It was the right price and size, so I bought it. [Just to note, Mom wore the shirt for decades. It became quite faded from all the washing, but I swear she got 20 years out of that shirt that cost me about ten dollars.]
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.
Each summer, I challenge myself. One of those challenges is to do something I’ve never done before. This summer, that something was tidal bore rafting. If you’ve never done this, all I have to say is, “Do it!”
I’ve thought about it and talked about it for many years, but I never took the plunge and jumped into the boat. It looked wild, wet and thrilling, something I knew I’d love. The benefit of living in Nova Scotia is we have the highest tides in the world on our doorstep.
The Bay of Fundy is the waterway between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. What makes the tides even greater for tidal bore rafting is the water squeezed into Minas Basin and Cobequid Bay at high tide. The rafting experience begins at Maitland and continues for several miles along the Shubenacadie River.
The company we went with was Fundy Tidal Bore Adventures. Kyle was our captain. As instructed, we arrived an hour before departure, checked in, secured our valuables with staff, got fitted with a life jacket and listened to a briefing of how the day would unfold.
The day after the plane crash, Olive’s and Johnathan’s spirits are still relatively high. The immediate threat to their lives – the crash – had passed and they were starting to get to know each other.
An exchange between them while they took a break from walking reveals Olive’s philosophy in life.
“Incredible. You shouldn’t have seen 50. How do feel?”
“Like I’m 23 again except I love life more. I’m here for the fun of it, the adventure. It’s why I don’t watch TV, avoid the news and don’t spend energy on the junk society thinks is important because it’s not. Each day, I’m living.”
He laughed. “Even here? With a city boy lost in the woods?”
“You make it challenging, but I enjoy the hike. I’d prefer more food, better accommodations, cream for my tea but…” She twitched her nose. “It could be worse. I’m alive and well, and that’s all that truly matters.”
Pick up a copy of Northern Survival today. It’s a fast-paced, quick read that mixes survival, adventure and romance.
Olive Tweed planned her trip for two years. She’d vacation at Summer Beaver, gather the research material needed to write the next book and spend a few days hiking the vast wilderness. When she is called home unexpectedly and boards a chartered plane, she never dreamt it would crash, leaving her alone with a man who knew nothing about survival or the woods. If they don’t put aside their differences and work together, they’ll never escape alive.
I’ve always been a wanderer. As a kid I’d follow the bigger kids or adults into the woods and along babbling brooks in search of adventure. Some times we walked a short distance on well-beaten paths; other times, we bush-wacked our way deep into the forest where we set up tents and spent the night.
The more time I spent in the woods, the more I wanted to be in them. The older I got, the more I went off alone. By the time I was 16, I was wandering for hours alone in the forest. By the time I was 19, there were days I’d be gone eight hours. Just me. Sometimes a dog. Most times not. I took nothing with me, not even water, a compass or matches. I never feared the woods; it made me stronger, more independent.
Like everything in life, not everyone goes on adventures or into the woods eagerly. Sometimes they are asked and feel obligated to tag along. Other times, they’re coerced, such as siblings and children, because they are forced to experience the outdoors or they couldn’t be left alone.