Come What May is close!

Come What May is close 2

 

Dear Readers

Thank you for your patience with me as you wait for Come What May, Book 2 of The Iceberg Trilogy. I have spent the last five weeks doing rewrites and edits of my manuscript. The good news is nothing much has changed in the arc of this novel. I’ve just been able to add greater insights, emotions and depth to the characters and some of the events that they go through. I’m much happier with the novel now and I’m hoping it will have a similar emotional resonance as my debut novel, Seldom Come By.

I am aiming to release this in mid-late September – the exact date will be advised shortly – with the Advanced Readers Edition (ARE) for Netgalley, bloggers and review sites being available on 1 September.

However, as a thank you to my supportive readers of Seldom Come By I am also going to GIVE AWAY 6 copies of the ARE (ebook) on 1 September as well.  I’m running the competition over here on my Facebook page.

The competition is geared around reviews of Seldom Come By.

3 winners will be drawn from people who have already written a review.

3 winners will be drawn from people who write a review between now and 31st August.

(Cut off will be midnight Hawaii time.)

So if you have been meaning to write a review of Seldom Come By I hope this will be the incentive you’ve been looking for.

If you haven’t read Seldom Come By yet but have been meaning to, well great news, the ebook is on sale for $1.99 until 31st August. You can buy it here.

Here’s the various locations where you can write a review:

The site where you purchased your ebook from:

Or Goodreads or Book Movement

You have to signup to be a member of both Goodreads and Book Movement but membership is free, painless and worthwhile and I would really love it if some of the book clubs who have read my book could write a review on Book Movement!!

 

The summer of her fifteenth year

Horse and icebergs

14 July 2014

One hundred years ago  today, restless and adventurous Rebecca Dalton turned fifteen in the midst of the most exhilarating summer of her life.

There was Samuel, the astounding  shipwreck survivor. There was his sensational smile and his sunny voice. There was horse riding along Sable Island beach. And soon, there would be the most amazing iceberg she had ever seen. And let’s not forget her sister, Rachel.

As a special treat in honour of Rebecca’s birthday, here’s a deleted chapter from Seldom Come By, letting you in on the secret musings of both Rachel and Rebecca during their unforgettable summer of 1914.

The summer of her fifteenth year was a summer of many firsts for Rebecca, and for Rachel and Samuel too. In what was undoubtedly the busiest time of the year, the presence of Samuel buoyed and energised Rachel and Rebecca like nothing else. Neither girl had ever spent such time in the presence of a man so clearly different from the one they knew so well. Without even trying, Samuel was warm, friendly and helpful. He was easy to be with – never solemn or withdrawn or grumpy. He was just himself. And at times himself was extremely playful.

Throughout these long summer days, Morna’s ‘keep them busy, keep them apart’ stance had mellowed into a ‘keep them together; there’s safety in numbers’ approach. After all, two’s company, three’s a crowd. But even she in the end was swayed by her growing ease with Samuel, her faith and her belief that his gratefulness towards them would prevent him from doing anything to upset them.

Besides who had time for mischief? That year Newfoundland was a summer wonderland and it did not disappoint with its ample abundance. The earth, the sea and the sky were laden with nature’s bounty And to add to their haul, care packages had started to arrive for Samuel from his mother and brother after he had written advising of his intention to bide out the summer with the Crowes.

Her father had spent a Saturday showing Samuel how to work some of his seldom-used lobster pots so Samuel could bait and check them every day or two in his absence. Rachel had taught him the fine art of jigging for squid in between cooking meals and preparing the smokehouse. Smoked fish made a pleasant change to the salted variety they got from the Deception Coop as part of Silas’s haul. Meanwhile Rebecca and her mother had single-handedly prepared a hay field so they could harvest at the end of the season to feed their stock over winter. 

In the midst of their growing friendship with Samuel, neither girl would give voice to the fluttering of her own heart. For Rachel delighted in Samuel’s company. She became more relaxed and flowing and for the first time in her life felt like a woman, ready to be a woman. She would lie in bed at night thinking of his bare shoulders and wanting to run her hands across them, wanting to know how that would feel and what changes might happen inside her, inside Samuel if she could do that, if she had permission to do that and to look inside his eyes for meaning there. She would toss and turn trying to settle her imaginings. It seemed to her that Samuel also delighted in drawing her out, in watching her rediscover her own playfulness. Yet Rachel still wore the mantle of maturity and protocol, bound by religious rights and wrongs, hoping and waiting and praying for the day when Samuel would drop the playfulness and share with her the yearnings of his own heart – the yearnings for her heart? For in Samuel she had found a companion and confidant, one she would like to claim for her own, yet it wasn’t her place to do so. She was neither brave nor sure. She was only hopeful and amazed that she could spend so much of her waking day thinking of him and concealing these thoughts from everyone. What had occupied her mind before him, she wondered?

Rebecca’s world was in a spin. She’d oscillate between wanting to gaze upon Samuel’s face, but not wanting to catch his eye, as then the hollow, sickening feeling would start up again in her stomach and she’d barely be able to breathe. To steady herself, she plotted a raft of questions to ask him as his strong sonorous voice would calm her and his replies would always entrance her. How long do you think icebergs last for? Where would you like to travel to next? How many ships does your Uncle have in his fleet? And whenever her interest was piqued she was never afraid to gaze into his animated face, to ask every question, to tap every last ounce of information and experience his body had to offer and his soul too, though she did not know that at the time. She had no notion of possession. And she was no copycat either. She was someone who wanted to live her life fully, as fully as possible. And she saw in Samuel her best opportunity to do that. He was her closest ally in mind and spirit.

But every so often in their conversations, Samuel would pause and stare at Rebecca, almost as if he was wanting to ask her a question, something entirely different to the topic at hand. Unknowingly she would hold her breath, and before long she would part her mouth and breathe through it, then Samuel would swallow before continuing. At times like this she couldn’t handle looking into his eyes. Instead, she would lower her gaze and stare into his mouth, at his teeth and his tongue and watch the words as they came out, listening to the rich deep timbre of his voice. And that was something else about him that stirred her; how someone who was only nineteen could possess the most masculine soothing voice she had ever heard.

No one noticed the subtle changes in Rebecca’s behaviour. Everyone was so preoccupied with their own business and their own version of Samuel that none noticed her ingrained eagerness giving way to teenage tremoring and the wonder of her own awakening.

As time marched on, the girls formed an unspoken pact where neither would talk about Samuel or the time they spent alone with him. Each was stockpiling their own treasured memories, not wanting to know or invade or upset the motives and dreams of the other.

About Gene

Here’s a little bit about Evangeline — Gene, Samuel and Rebecca’s younger daughter. I thought you might like to know a little bit more about the girl who grows up to have her own epic adventurous love story in Come What May, Book 2 of The Iceberg Trilogy.

When Samuel and Rebecca visited Montreal when the children were younger Gene’s favourite all time outing was the marketplace. While the other children were goggled-eyed over what was on offer, Gene’s eyes were only for the people. She would stare at the Indian woman in a patterned cotton dress with a man’s black panama hat on her head and the nuns draped in black with a crown of white wimple around their heads. Gene had asked who they were and before Rebecca had time to reply, Abby said, ‘They are God’s angels.’

‘No they’re not,’ countered Gene. ‘If they were they would be wearing white.’

‘That’s right,’ Rebecca had said, ‘They are nuns. They belong to the Catholic Church.’

But even so Gene was fixated by them. She said to her mother, ‘They look a bit like that statue back home Mommy. Maybe they do have wings under those dark outfits.’

‘Yes they do look a bit like that statue on top of the pillar but no they don’t have wings underneath their outfits,’ Rebecca had replied.

‘Maybe if I became a nun, I would grow wings,’ Gene mused.

South_africa Monument Queen St & Uni Av 1913.Quebec City Market 1919.

The youngest son

In Come What May, the sequel to Seldom Come By, Rebecca and Samuel’s children come into their own. The story opens where Seldom Come By left off — in Newfoundland in the summer of 1939. Jonathan, their eldest is twenty-one years old and has remained in Montreal, but their other four children are with them in Salvage. Abigail is twelve, Morton is eight, Gene is nearly six and Joel, just four. Here’s how Joel came into the world — a deleted scene from Seldom Come By. FYI, Leise is Analeise, Samuel’s older sister. 

Rebecca thought the phone was a fabulous invention, particularly on a day like the one she was having. ‘Hi Leise. How are things?’

‘We’re home alone without the children. It’s weird, hard to get used to. They’re all at the flicks. What about you?’

‘Oh, I’m coming along,’ said Rebecca in a sing-song voice.

‘Coming along now?’ asked Analeise in alarm.

‘Oh I think so.’

‘Is Samuel with you?’ 

‘No he’s taken Jonathan ice sailing down on the lake. I’ve got the girls and Morton here with me.’

‘Pack your bag,’ said Analeise.  ‘We’ll be there in five.’ Seven minutes later Rebecca heard Analeise calling out for her. ‘Where are you?’

‘In here,’ cried out Rebecca.

‘In the bathroom,’ queried Analeise.

‘Yes, come in. I’m sure you’ve seen it all before.’

Rebecca was inside the bath, squatting. Her bottom half was naked. On her top half she was wearing just a singlet.

‘My God, Rebecca!’ Leise rushed to her side. ‘Is the baby that close?’

‘Like a steam train,’ she said. ‘Talk about an iron will,’ and then another contraction came over her and all Rebecca could do was grunt and push with it.

‘Are you pushing already?’ 

‘I’m pushing, he’s pushing,’ she said between puffs. ‘I swear this child is a boy. It’s like Morton all over again but ten times as fast.’

Analeise leant over to have a closer look at what was going on. Her gasp said it all. Meeting Rebecca’s eyes she said, ‘Well, he’s about to head into the world, that’s for sure.’

Swallowing, Rebecca said, ‘That’s what I’m counting on,’ as she blew the air away.

‘Just hold your horses,’ said Analeise. ‘Wait a minute while I wash my hands at least and grab some clean towels.’ Analeise tore off her coat and washed her hands and went to the linen cupboard down the hall.

She returned with some towels, one of which she knelt on as she crouched next to Rebecca, patted her on the shoulder and said, ‘Okay I’m ready.’

On the next contraction, out came the baby’s head and then after another half minute his whole body. A boy, as Rebecca had predicted. Rebecca took her bloodied son to her chest and collapsed back into the bath  ‘Oh sweet Jesus,’ Rebecca said. ‘I am so pleased that’s over with. Thank you,’ she said looking at Analeise.

‘Hey, I didn’t do a thing.’

‘You were here. I wasn’t alone. That was plenty.’

When Samuel came back an hour later, he found Analeise in the kitchen and his brother-in-law Randal reading to his children.

‘Hi,’ he said. ‘This is a surprise. Where’s Rebecca?’

‘Hi back,’ said Analeise. ‘She’s upstairs.’

‘Has her labour started?’ asked Samuel, suddenly very alert.

‘I’d say you’re not far off,’ said Analeise.

‘Thanks for coming over,’ said Samuel giving his sister a quick hug as he walked by. ‘If you need to go home, Jonathan can look after the kids now.’

‘Oh we’re in no rush. We don’t mind,’ she said.

‘Okay, Thanks. I’ll just have a shower and then we can go.’

‘I’d probably look in on your wife first if I were you.’

‘Ha,’ said Samuel.

When he walked into their bedroom he found Rebecca asleep and a baby tightly bound nestled beside her. Samuel had to shake his head and blink three times. He picked the baby up and took him to the window to have a closer look at him. He was stunned at the day’s events and that his wife and Analeise had delivered this healthy robust baby without him.

‘I thought we might call him Joel after your friend,’ said Rebecca in a weary voice.

Samuel started and turned to her. ‘I think by your superhuman efforts today you’ve earned the right to call him whatever you want.’ He bent his head and kissed his wife. ‘Congratulations. You’ve got all that you asked for haven’t you? Two boys and two girls.’

‘Yes,’ sighed Rebecca, ‘after all those years in the wilderness I have been blessed.’ 

They stopped at Joel Adonis Dalton.

Here’s a pic of ice boat sailing then and now. The b&w pic taken in 1912 on Lake Ontario.

Icesailing on iceboats Tto 1912

DN

Ever wanted to go to Rio?

How to get to Rio from cover

Australian children’s and young adult author, Julie Fison, has a new book out this month called How To Get To Rio. It’s part of a cool new Choose Your Own Ever After series that lets the reader decide how the story goes. I have loved this concept ever since I read The French Lieutenant’s Woman which had three possible endings.  How To Get To Rio has seven possible endings – I can’t wait to explore them!  So today I have invited Julie to share with us a little about her latest book and upcoming projects.

Tell us more how this series works

Julie:  The Choose Your Own Ever After series is a very positive series for tweens. The reader has a series of choices to make throughout the story, and with every decision, there’s a consequence. There are no nasty endings in this series, but the message is clear – choice, not chance, determines our future. Opportunities might come our way by chance, but it’s what we choose to do with them, that is important.

That’s so true!

And what about your new book?

Julie:  The series kicks off with Hot, Cold Summer by Nova Weetman and my story, How To Get To Rio. In this one, schoolgirl Kitty McLean has to choose between going camping with her best friends or going to an exclusive beach resort with popular-girl Persephone. She wants to spend the holidays with her besties but she also wants to get to know Persephone better. The beach holiday has an added attraction – the very cute Rio, is going to be there. The decision is the first of many choices Kitty has to make in the book.

How did the pick-a-path format differ from other books you have written?

Julie:  In the other stories I have written, the main character comes up against a problem early on in the story, and spends the rest of the book trying to resolve it. How To Get To Rio is basically seven short stories in one, but they all evolve from the same opening chapters. That meant a lot of threads had to be woven into the opening chapters so they could all unfold in different paths. The plotting was a big challenge! But I had fun working out where equally appealing choices would lead. I’d love to backtrack on my own life and work out where I would have ended up if I had decided not to leave Australia at the age of 21 looking for adventure!

Where does your writing inspiration come from?

Julie:  I was a television news reporter for many years, but the idea of writing fiction crept up on me during a family holiday on the Noosa River, in Queensland. My sons teamed up with friends and spent the holidays exploring sandbanks, dodging stingrays, building camps, avoiding snakes and generally having a boys’-own adventure. I was inspired. The result was a series of adventure stories for young readers called Hazard River. The books are fast-paced and fun with an environmental twist.

Every beach holiday and camping trip I’ve ever been on – as a girl and as a mother – is in How to get to Rio. It’s essentially about friendship, but it’s also full of family food fights, leech attacks, shopping expeditions, beach soccer and of course boys. It’s action-packed!

Noosa was also the inspiration for the first of my books for young adults – Tall Dark and Distant. The next – Lust and Found – is set in Cambodia, another of my favourite destinations.  I visited the country many years ago, so I did a lot of research to update my knowledge when I wrote Lust and Found, and I was seduced by the place all over again. I knew I had to go back.

IMG_0896So, last year, when my son did a volunteer project at an orphanage in Cambodia, the whole family tagged along. We spent almost a week in Siem Reap visiting the Angkor Wat Archeological Park. It was certainly busier than it had been on my last visit. Bus loads of tourists pour in to the park every day, but it’s still possible to get away from the crowds in the massive sprawling complex of temples. And Angkor Wat at sunset is stunning, even if you have to share the experience with hundreds of others! 

(Read Julie’s blog on her trip to Angkor Wat here: It is an enthralling place to visit.)

What’s next for you?

Julie: I have another book in the Choose Your Own Ever After series coming out in July – The Call of The Wild. I’m very excited about this one because the main character, nature-loving Phoebe, has to choose between going to a party with her friends or helping at a save-the-orangutan fund raiser. The topic is close to my heart because I spent time in Borneo many years ago, and was blown away by the orangutans at the Sepilok Sanctuary near Sandakan. At that time you could walk into the forest, and the orangutans would appear out of nowhere when the ranger arrived with a bucket of fruit. One cheeky orangutan opened my friend’s money belt and ate her cash, another grabbed onto my hand and wouldn’t let go. It wasn’t easy to escape! 

As I was editing The Call of The Wild, an interview on the radio caught my attention. Orangutan rescuer and campaigner, Lone Dröscher Nielsen, was in Australia to promote her rehabilitation work in Borneo. Lone quit her job as a flight attendant in 1999 and moved to Borneo to help save wild orangutans from extinction. Since then she has established the world’s biggest reserve for these incredible animals.

When I checked out the website, I discovered that the foundation was looking for supporters to adopt a baby orangutan called ‘Julie’. Julie. It was a surprise, not just because we shared a first name, but also because people don’t call their babies Julie anymore. (It sure was big in the 60s, but now – not so much.) That’s what I call synchronicity!

 I knew I had to do something. And here’s why:

Thousands of orangutans are lost each year as their rainforest habitat is destroyed by logging, forest fires, plantations and mining. This could lead to the extinction of one of the world’s four species of great apes – one of our most intelligent and peaceful relatives.

(Save the orangutan website http://www.savetheorangutan.org/)

CounterfeitLove_3Dmockup smallMy other book for this year is a story for young adults – Counterfeit Lovea tale of ambition, power, deadlines and romance, set in Hong Kong. Counterfeit Love comes out in July. I hope you enjoy it!

I’m really looking forward to that one as I loved living in Hong Kong and can’t wait to see how you’ve brought that to life. Same with your Borneo story 🙂

 

Julie:  Thank you for having me on your blog, Sherryl. I loved Seldom Come By and I am looking forward to the sequel!

See Julie Fison’s books and blog at http://juliefison.com

Buy How To Get To Rio at Boomerang Books http://www.boomerangbooks.com.au/How-to-Get-to-Rio/Julie-Fison/book_9781742977744.htm

Follow Julie’s Blog Tour

Sherryl Caulfield https://www.sherrylcaulfield.com/

Kids’ Book Review http://www.kids-bookreview.com/

DeeScribewriting http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/

Dim’s Write Stuff http://dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au/

Cereal Readers http://www.cerealreaders.blogspot.com.au/

Bug in a Book http://buginabook.org/

Buzz Words http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.com/

The Book Chook http://www.thebookchook.com/

 

 

 

 

My Writing Process

Come what May Landing Page

Thank you to my dear friend, and highly versatile writer and author, Julie Fison, for inviting me to be part of My Writing Process Blog Tour. Julie and I go way back. In fact that tiny faded pic is of the two of us holidaying one summer on Great Keppel Island. These days, Julie writes travel articles, children’s books (The Hazard Rivers Series), teenage romances and more. In fact she’s going to be a guest here next week to celebrate the launch of her upcoming book, How to Get to Rio, so please pop back next week.

In the spirit of this tour I am going to answer 4 questions about my writing:

1)     What am I working on?

I am currently itching to work on Come What May, the second novel in The Iceberg Trilogy. I’m hoping to launch it in the second half of 2014. It’s sitting at around 108,000 words and I thought I had finished it a few years ago but the characters have been talking to me of late and I realise I have more of their life to tell. Consequently, I’m excited and longing to get back to them. The story is set in the years 1939 through to the mid 1970s. It starts in Newfoundland then moves across Canada so that a lot of the story takes place in Northern Ontario, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg. It continues Samuel and Rebecca’s story while moving to the next generation, primarily their daughter, Evangeline – Gene as she is known by everyone. In Come What May readers get to meet a wonderful new character by the name of Sonny (pronounced Sunny) who is a very talented pilot.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think this question could perhaps be more objectively answered by my readers!  I write epic adventurous love stories. Seldom Come By and Come What May are historical and maybe by the time Come Full Circle is released it will be historical too! (It’s set in the 1990s). And they’re romantic as well…however if you put the words ‘historical romance’ together you might think bodice ripper and if you did, you’d be way off the mark.

I think there are three aspects to my writing that I hope over time will define my style:

Intensity of emotions. I want my characters (and my readers) to go through the full spectrum of human experiences and emotions. Their lives are certainly deeply felt by me as the writer. I cried for them as I wrote about them. Even this line got me started: as three generations of Dalton men folded their hearts and their lives in each other’s arms.

A sense of place. I love landscapes, seascapes and nature. I want my writing to reveal the visual splendour of a place in a way that has almost a cinematic quality to it. I want to capture the imagination of my readers and transport them to places that are almost otherworldly. There are other books that do this as well so I can’t say that’s unique about my work.

‘Signature Moments’ are where I combine the two, so where emotions like elation, heartbreak and enlightenment unfold in a sublime setting, creating an intense emotional connection for the reader. The iceberg scene in Seldom Come By is one such example.

The unexpected. The other element, which I do see as a hallmark of my work, is an unexpected and shocking plot development. I can’t really say much more than that other than to say people will be reading along with a sense of where my story is going and then something happens that totally challenges that. Some in my inner circle call this the ‘Gasping Moment’.

3)  Why do I write what I do?

A starting point was to come up with a story that would explain one unusual woman I encountered during my travels in Canada.

But now that her and others’ stories have evolved it’s almost in a bizarre way like I know these people and have been given permission to tell their story, to bear witness to their pain and suffering, but also their joy, and that there are learnings to their stories.

But why did I want to write in the first place? I think it comes down to that Helen Keller quote: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” I wanted to connect with people’s hearts.

4)     How does your writing process work?

I am not a full time writer. I long for the day when I can be. My year tends to be made up of chunks of marketing project work  – the feast and famine adage applies – so what I like to do is carve out several weeks at a time when I can, as much as possible, lock myself away and write and write and write. So that’s long hours at the computer where I drink copies amounts of tea – Earl Grey, Chai, Jasmine or Russian Caravan – interspersed with walks or swims. I find that when I get a block or can’t figure something out I need to get out and get moving and the fresh air seems to help unravel things for me.

 

I hope that gives you a little more background on my writing. At this point I am meant to introduce you to the author who will continue the tour next week but I’ve been a bit snowed under so haven’t got round to doing that as yet. (I know, slack!)… but I’m hoping Jennifer Collin might be able to tell us about her writing process…  I’ll post the details on my Facebook page. Stay tuned 🙂

Meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to add a comment and I’ll respond.

 

 

 

Positioning Seldom Come By

4 books fan

 

As an indie author when it comes to marketing you have to use ‘all the weapons at your disposal’. For me that meant being very clear on who I was targetting with Seldom Come By:  fans of Outlander, Into the Wilderness and The Bronze Horseman series.

There were some common elements: young love battling adversity; an intensity of feelings – not just passion but the full spectrum of human emotions; a stunning, unusual location as the backdrop; characters you could care deeply about…the list goes on.

People have been sceptical – understandably. I get that.

Did I think twice about adding these elements to my marketing:

“If Jamie and Claire

Nathaniel and Elizabeth

Alexander and Tatiana

mean something to you”

And:

“Reminiscent of The Bronze Horseman”

Absolutely. Butterflies were in formation that’s for sure.

Did I word that extraordinarily carefully and get some trusted people to review it?  You bet.

Did I do that in complete isolation?  No.

This, from one of my early beta readers, Su:

“Their intense love for each other and the love scenes reminded me of Tatiana and Alexander.”

Was I far from the mark?

This, from Sarah who emailed me just a few weeks ago:

“I have read The Bronze Horseman, it is one of my all-time favourites, and Seldom Come By definitely gets to the same level.”

What I strove to do with this positioning was to pull my book from virtual obscurity and get it on to the consideration list. That is one of the biggest parts of the battle.

I’ve learnt long ago how true the cliché is: you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Writing like any artform is highly subjective.

But my aim is for part of the reading public to fall in love with my characters and what happens to them. If I’m honest, for enough of the reading public,  so I can write full time and provide more memorable, heart-wrenching books for people to read.

And so I want to say a special Thank You to Karen Scott from Ontario, Canada, for voicing what I’m sure a lot of people have thought when they’ve approached Seldom Come By.

I really appreciate you, Karen, telling it like it was for you. And I hope you don’t mind me reprinting your Goodreads review in full here:

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

4.5 stars

I was a little daunted by the size of this book and the fact that it was part of a trilogy. Used to books that were half this size, I wondered if my attention would last the full book (it did–in fact it grew as I continued to read!) Then, there was the summary that the author provided where she mentioned Tatiana and Alexander and Jamie and Claire. Okay, you got my attention, but can you really pull that off?? These are some literary power couples and those names should not be tossed around lightly. I’ll admit–I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder after that. Above all this, I had the encouragement from Hildy, my book boss, telling me to give this book a try and I try to listen to her suggestions. 🙂

This book was a real treat to read. Caulfield’s writing was refreshing in that if she’s writing about a scene, it’s valuable to the story. There are no wasted scenes or superfluous descriptions in this prose. (Though I love her, Diana Gabaldon might take note. *cough* Echo in the Bone *cough*) Caulfield gives you only what you need to understand and feel the characters–and feel you do! By 30% in this book, I was completely invested in the characters. I was excited to get back to reading and postponed lunch dates because I needed to return to Newfoundland! 

Are Rebecca and Samuel the Canadian Tatiana and Alexander? I wouldn’t go that far. I liked how reading this book *reminded* me of The Bronze Horseman (because I like being reminded of that book), but Seldom Come By is not a rewrite of TBH, not by a long shot. The strength, passion and adversity that the couple has to endure are reminiscent of TBH, but beyond that, Rebecca and Samuel find their own way of handling things.

I have already found myself recommending this book to others that have loved The Bronze Horseman. I do believe that if you enjoy an epic love story, this will make a fine reading suggestion.

The stuff of dreams

 

iceberg 1I have done some unforgettable kayaking and canoeing trips in my time, skimming across blue green prisms of water, trailing stunning coastlines and river banks, spying on nature in its quiet solitude.

I remember one December sea-kayaking alongside Freycinet National Park in Tasmania; one moment we battled fierce headwinds as we tried to round a rocky headland;  the next, a millpond in front of us where large stingrays appeared suspended below. One Easter, holidaying on Steward Island (New Zealand), we kayaked up Patterson Inlet. There, I encountered my first ever elephant seal. It was in a shallow bay, sighing and huffing so heavily I thought it must be a she, and in labour. Another time, we rafted down the fast-flowing snow-swollen Sunkosi River in Nepal. And, during one magical northern summer, in a Canadian canoe, we paddled the Bowron Lakes in British Columbia, a natural, 116 km quadrangle of rivers and lakes at 2,000 metres altitude on the edge of the Rocky Mountains. It’s deservedly one of the top 10 classic canoe circuits in the world. We drifted beside long-legged moose munching on sweet bulrushes; we saw the telltale signs of beaver homes. That trip made its way in to Books 2 and 3 of The Iceberg Trilogy.

But quite possibly, this all pales in comparison to the recent experience Jennifer Byrne had sea kayaking along the South-east coast of Greenland, near the 80th parallel.  She writes about in her article, Out in the Cold, in the March issue of Qantas’ in-flight magazine.

Reading her account, I felt awe and envy. How do you capture the expanse and grace and otherworldliness of such a place? I think she comes close.

These kayak trips become the stuff of dreams. It is the silence, most of all. The blissful hush as we paddle through the still water, broken only by the splash of seals breaking the surface. The flapping wings of birds. The groan of glaciers and the warning crack of an iceberg about to overturn. We see everything more closely, away from the crowd and constant hum of the ship’s motors. … We paddle, then drift, then paddle again, turning circles around icebergs. … We learn how it feels to be in a world other than the one we know. My sharpest memory is of the silence shattered by gunfire, shot after echoing shot, in reality the sound of ice as the mighty Greenland ice sheet shifts, flows, settles – a living thing, 3 km deep at its centre – the sound of the Earth going about its business.

What about yourself? Have you had some amazing adventures out on the water? And what do you think about the pic above? It really is amazing how deep that ice sheet is.

Must love wolves

 

Anyone who has read Seldom Come By might get the sense that wolves have a special place in my heart.

Some of my readers have asked how that came to be, given I grew up in rural Queensland, where the closest thing to a wolf was a TV cartoon series called: Cattanooga Cats. Do you know it? It featured a skit called: “It’s the Wolf” better known as “It’s the wool-uff!” For some reason, we – my parents included – had a fascination with this program. I loved the rock star cats; my elder bother, Greg, loved Motormouse and Autocat; and my sister, with her blonde curly hair, was nicknamed, Lambsy, after the frightened yet artful lamb forever chased by the wool-uff. The moniker stayed with her for 10 years.

There were no wolves on the sloping hills of Cedar Pocket that’s for sure. But there were rare sightings of red foxes. And whenever there were, my father would speak about them in gleeful tones: “Hello Mr Foxy Loxy.” As if they were long lost friends. His sister had married a man named Len Fox, so perhaps each time he saw them they reminded him of them. Who knows?

Even though European red foxes were an introduced species to this country they were relatively harmless to stock unless starvation or bravado forced them to raid your chicken coop. But mostly the sighting of a fox was a privilege – like the sighting of an iceberg for one Rebecca Crowe.

Many years later when I lived in Sydney I spent countless weekends in the Blue Mountains, rock-climbing, canyoning, bushwalking or horseriding in the Megalong Valley. One late September afternoon when I was horseriding by myself I came across a vixen and her cubs in a paddock that was dry and over grown with pale tussock grass. She stared at me, sizing me up, knowing instantly I was no threat to her or her young. Still, she decided to veer wide, but rather than duck under the barb-wired fence to make a quick escape, she nimbly climbed up the wooden fence post, perched ever so briefly atop to glance my way before bounding off. I loved that about her: her telling me she was leaving, not sneaking away and that her leaving was on her terms.

A few months after this encounter, I travelled to Sweden, where my partner’s brother and his wife lived about 90 minutes from Gothenburg. It was late January and each morning and afternoon we would crunch through tamped snow as we traipsed through hushed forests of spruce and birch. There, large elk roamed, carefree. So peaceful, so right, so at one with humanity.

In some things, LIKES absolutely attract LIKES. And I have been very fortunate in my life to share the communion of nature with other like-minded souls; to witness, in awe and celebration, the marvels of the animal kingdom.

Leaving Hils and Katsi was bittersweet. Ahead of us was the multi-isled city of Stockholm, with its Vasa Musuem, its Gamla Stan and its Skansen Zoo. It was there I came face to face with my first-ever wolf.

On a cool still morning I stood in front of a woven wire fence and stared at a grey Nordic wolf for so long that the fence disappeared. This wolf’s eyes were like none I had ever seen – not in a human or an animal.

Full of aquamarines and emeralds. Full of life, intrigrue and trust.

I can’t tell you how long I stood there staring at this wolf staring at me.  I did not want to move. Neither did she.

That wolf made its way into Seldom Come By.

And so I wanted to share with you this amazing four-minute movie of the wolves of Yellowstone National Park.  So you can see why I love wolves.

Sharing the Love this Valentine’s Day

Feb 12 Fbook Mast

Over on my Facebook page  I am running a 5 day promotion to celebrate Valentines day.

I am giving away 2 paperback copies of Seldom Come By  to 1 lucky person and 2 ebooks to another – so you can SHARE the book, and the LOVE. To enter you simply have to:, with a friend OR give both copies away to 2 friends you love.

1) LIKE my page (if you have not already done so)

2) COMMENT on my giveaway post, tagging the NAME of  the friend/s you would give a copy of Seldom Come By to if you won.

Tell your friends about it so they can enter as well 🙂 Competition is open worldwide!

All those who comment up to 6 pm Monday 17 Feb AEST will go into the draw. The winner will be announced on my Facebook page on Tuesday 18 Feb, so please pop back then. If not claimed within 48 hours the prizes will be redrawn.

You can also earn BONUS  entries, by commenting on any previous Facebook post – or any new ones I post over the coming days.

Please Note: this giveaway is not endorsed, affiliated with, or otherwise connected to Facebook in any way.