Meeting A Best Selling Author

Feis [pronouced [fʲɛʃ] [it rhymes with “meas” in measure]. It’s a Gaelic word for a traditional arts and culture festival.

My Dear Wife (DW) works for a literacy council. Every November they hold a huge fundraiser and invite two authors to speak. They also hold a silent auction (where I won a DeWalt drill) and offer a delicious catered, buffet meal. Since DW has come to work for this council three years ago, I have looked forward to Feis.

It counts as date night, too. We don’t get many of those.

Thanks to this event I have now met 5 Canadian greats.

  • Sheree Fitch
  • Graham Steele
  • Lesley Crew
  • Bette MacDonald
  • Ami McKay

Ami Mckay was the speaker this year and I think I was as excited to meet her as I was to meet Sheree Fitch. She was invited along with David Muise. However, Mr. Muise had to cancel last minute. He’s been battling prostate cancer for the past three years. On the day of the event doctors discovered a second strain of cancer and he immediately underwent a dose of chemo and was instructed to go home to bed. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Ami is the author a best seller, “The Birth House”. It’s on my to read list.

The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of the Rare family. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing and a kitchen filled with herbs and folk remedies. During the turbulent years of World War I, Dora becomes the midwife’s apprentice. Together, they help the women of Scots Bay through infertility, difficult labors, breech births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling sex lives.

Mrs. McKay gave us a bit of a backstory (I love those) about the book. It’s certainly a house with so much history. I believe she told us that the midwife of the house, Mrs.Rebecca Steele, had just one child whom she adopted. When a mother came to the birth house Mrs. Steele would make the mother and baby stay in the house for a week afterwards.  It is the house the author now lives in. Her second son was born in that house.

Ami was great to listen to. She has three published books: The Birth House, The Virgin Cure, and The Witches of New York.  We received some tangent stories on those books, too. My favorite was about a blue marble. In her book a marble appears to a character. This blue marble has some significance and meaning to it. The character knows this marble was placed for her to find. After writing this part of her story, Ami was out for a walk with her husband in freshly fallen snow. Not a track to be seen in the white stuff and what does Ami find in the snow? A blue marble.

She read a bit to us from The Virgin Cure and The Witches of New York. Afterwards, I bought them both and she signed them (I already have The Birth House). DW has already finished The Virgin Cure. Ami was even gracious enough to have her picture taken with me! You can check out her blog, too!

Did I mention she’s an American (just like me) who married an amazing Canadian (just like me) then moved to Nova Scotia (just like me)? How awesome!





The Beginning


Photo Prompt © Janet Webb

Read chapter 25 or start from the beginning

Chapter 26

Outside the courthouse, I could hear the rain pounding. My lawyer said parking lots were flooded.

Inside the courthouse, my handcuffs were as cold and hard as the rain outside. I sat before the judge, ready for my verdict.

“I hearby declare the defendant not guilty in the murder of Dempsey Baynart.”

My restraints were removed and I bolted from the courtroom. Brogan’s face lit, his arms wide as he leaped from Ione’s lap and into my arms.

“Mommy’s secret worked.”

“It did, buddy. He thought that big baby doll was you”

Ione approached me smiling. “Let’s get back to Nova Scotia, shall we?”

I couldn’t wait.

Not to be continued…

I hope you liked the journey. This is the last chapter of this series. It ran for 26 chapters. I highly encourage you to start at the beginning. Our character had quite an adventure. This was a fun challenge I posed to myself. Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting these photo prompts. I will continue to write my Saturday prompts, they just won’t be connected. A HUGE thanks to all who have been following!


The End

boat NY

Photo © Jan Wayne Fields

Read chapter 24 or start from the beginning

Reflecting, boating into NY, I was still shaking, nauseous, sweating.

It had been just the three of us on the farm.

“Give me Brogan.”

“If I don’t?”

The gun he pulled was answer enough.

I responded, pulling out a small silver switch box. “The car’s rigged, Dempsey. If I’m dead anyway, he’s better off with me than you.”

He moved toward the car when saw Brogan’s silhouette. “STOP!” I hollered. “You’re not getting him!”

“Stupid, bitch. Yes, I am.”

I flipped the switch. The explosion rocked my world. He turned the gun towards me. I flung myself at him. We landed hard on the ground. A second explosion rang in my ears. Dempsey’s body, limp atop me, muffled all other sounds.

Read chapter 26

This is a continuation of an experiment. Each week there is a 100 word short story photo prompt challenge posed by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. My challenge to myself is to connect these photos into one seamless story. I hope you have enjoyed the stories. It’s been fun trying to connect these stories. This certainly wasn’t the ending I was expecting to reach when I started this challenge. Thanks, Rochelle, for providing the catalyst for creation!


Running Out of Options


PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Marler Morrill

Read chapter 22 or start from the beginning.

Chapter 23

God damn black sedan! I spotted it three cars back. On foot I knew the car couldn’t keep up. So I slipped down a side alley. In the muffled distance I heard a car door slam and I took off running.


Without looking at who shouted, I took off running. I ran until I suddenly ran out of alley. Breathless, out of options, I ran directly at my predator, hoping to get past him. He was too strong, bear hugging me to the ground.

“Dempsey wants Brogan.”

“Over my dead body, asshole.”

“Dempsey gave me full permission to make that happen. He even threw in a bonus if it did.”

Read chapter 24

This is a continuation of an experiment. Each week there is a 100 word short story photo prompt challenge posed by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. My challenge to myself is to connect these photos into one seamless story. I am going to try to end this story with the next 3 pictures. July will be the last month. I wonder how it will end? Click the blue frog to read other stories inspired by this photo.



© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Read chapter 21 or start from the beginning.

Chapter 22

Through the soapy window I could see the headlights of the black sedan pull up to the house. “Brogan, go up to your room and play for a bit, please”. I tried to keep my voice calm.

He found us. Or rather his lawyer did. I saw the dark clad figure approach, but the staccato knock still startled me. I finished cleaning the window before opening the door. “Ma’am. I’m here to deliver this. We’ll see you in court Monday morning.”

Game on.

“Brogan! Time to go!”

I have just two days left.

Read chapter 23

This is a continuation of an experiment. Each week there is a 100 word short story photo prompt challenge posed by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. My challenge to myself is to connect these photos into one seamless story. I am going to try to end this story with the next 4 pictures. July will be the last month. I wonder how it will end? Click the blue frog to read other stories inspired by this photo.


Touchdown… Again



© Rich Voza

Read chapters 19 and 20 or start from the beginning

Chapter 21

Brogan and I caught the 6am flight from Halifax to Laguardia. The court date wasn’t set yet, but I knew it was just a matter of time. I also knew it was going to be a shit show, high publicity, circus. I wanted to leave Brogan with Ione. Safe. But I wanted the courts to see the sweet, little boy involved in this. Funny thing is, he never said anything about wanting to see his father. Dempsey must know we’re back in New York. I just hope he doesn’t figure out where we’re going.

Read chapter 22

This is a continuation of an experiment. Each week there is a 100 word short story photo prompt challenge posed by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. My challenge to myself is to connect these photos into one seamless story. Click the blue frog to read other stories inspired by this photo.

The Perfect Spot

diving helmet

Photo Prompt © Douglas M. MacIlroy

Chapter 20

Read chapter 19 or start from the beginning

“Thanks for taking me cave diving. I think I was in University the last time I went diving and that wasn’t yesterday. If what you say is true, no one knows about that spot but us, even better.”

“I’ve been diving there for years. Never seen anyone else. Have you worn a diving helmet before?”

“My dad used to have one when I was growing up. I never used it. Mind if I try it out next time?”

However, the only thought clouding Dempsey’s mind was how to get that woman down there permanently before she ran her big mouth to any more media outlets.

Read chapter 21

This is a continuation of an experiment. Each week there is a 100 word short story photo prompt challenge posed by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. My challenge to myself is to connect these photos into one seamless story. Click the blue frog to read other stories inspired by this photo.


Barnaby’s Toothbrush (pt. 2 of 2)

Please, if you missed yesterday’s post click here to read part 1. Yesterday, Jack was separated from his mom in a grocery store. Today, four year old Jack continues his search for his lost mother and rabbit, Barnaby. However, things aren’t quite what they seem as this four year old’s imagination runs wild. What will he have to do to find the safety of mom’s arms?

This time there were no animals, there were no great walls and towers nor were there baskets to be tossed into. It was cold: nearly freezing. For little Jack this could only mean one thing: he had walked all the way to the North Pole. Santa Clause! His last hope rested on his luck in finding Santa because Santa knew everything. Surely He could find Barnaby and his mom. Maybe they were already here. All Jack could think of now was how much he needed to bear the cold and keep going until Santa Clause was found.
He was walking down what looked like an alley, lined with doors and highly decorated. I wonder if it’s always Christmas here? Then a door opened and blast of very cold air hit Jack and he quickly crossed his bare arms to keep them warm. After what seemed like an hour of searching, he found someone. Though he knew right away it wasn’t Santa because this person was a woman. Furthermore, it probably wasn’t Mrs. Clause either because this woman wasn’t dressed in all red like Mrs. Clause always is. But little Jack didn’t know whom else to ask. So he walked up to the woman and gently tugged on her pants. He could tell he had scared her, even though he didn’t mean to, because she jumped and almost screamed. When she regained her composure she looked down at Jack beside her knee and asked, “What’s the matter little one?”
“Have you seen Santa Clause?”
“Have I seen Santa?” the woman repeated.
“Yeah, I can’t find Barnaby and my mom and I think Santa knows where they are.”
The woman knelt down so she was at eye level with Jack. He really liked that because his neck was starting to hurt from looking straight up. “Are you lost?” she asked.
“But you can’t find your mom?”
“Or Barnaby.”
“Who’s Barnaby?”
“He’s, um, he’s Barnaby.”
“Okay, lets go see if we can find them.” Then the woman turned her cart around and began walking. Jack just stood and watched her walk away. He still wanted to find Santa. That’s where Barnaby was. The woman glanced over her shoulder and waved to Jack, motioning him to follow her. As he did, he noticed the coldness going away. Warmth was moving in in its place. Then after a minute more, all was green. Yes! This is where Barnaby would go! He loves green.
He was surrounded by green. He noticed right away that they were all vegetables. This must be the farm. This would be perfect for a rabbit like Barnaby. There was so much lettuce and plenty of carrots, along with all kinds of vegetables that Barnaby’s friends could eat. So Jack went in search of Barnaby, with Barnaby’s blue toothbrush at this farm. And when the woman looked back to make sure Jack was still following, he was gone.
The first place Jack went was to the carrots. He knew Barnaby loved carrots so why shouldn’t he be there? Much to his dismay, Barnaby was not there. He looked in the lettuce patch. Again, there was no Barnaby. Was there a farmer anywhere that may have seen his rabbit? But, there was no one around. Then, off in the distance he heard a small cry, which sounded a lot like his own name. Jack! Jack! It called from somewhere behind him. But where? Jack, Jack! It came again, this time a little bit louder. He turned and walked back towards the carrot patch. Then he saw his mother and she was carrying Barnaby! Her hands were extended with Barnaby gently clutched in them. He ran to her with his arms extended too. When they reached each other, mom knelt down on both knees and handed Barnaby, the floppy eared, dangly legged rabbit, to her little Jack. And Jack hugged him and squeezed him tightly while mom gently hugged Jack. Then mom let go and slowly stood up. “You scared me. You need to stay close to me, okay Jack?”
“Okay mom. I wasn’t scared.” Then he reached up and held out his hand. “I found Barnaby’s toothbrush.”

Barnaby’s Toothbrush (pt. 1)

I’ve written that I enjoy writing children’s stories. However, I’ve never shared any of them. Here’s part 1 (of 2) of one of my favorites. It was written back in 2002. Hard to believe that was 13 years ago! Happy Reading!

Barnaby was a rabbit. Actually, he still is. He’s probably the most loyal stuffed rabbit any five year old ever cherished. He had long swinging legs and short, little arms. Barnaby even wore a vest that Jack’s mom so kindly made for him. Jack never went anywhere or did anything without Barnaby the floppy eared rabbit. So it was when little Jack went to the grocery store with his mother that fateful morning. It all started on isle 2; the personal hygiene isle.
“Yes, Jack?”
“Barnaby wants to ride in the cart.” Mom gently reached down to the little hands, which were extended and clenched around a cotton-tailed rabbit.
“Okay, Barnaby’s all strapped in.” Sheer joy overwhelmed Jack and his toothy grin stretched from ear to ear. Then he saw the toothbrush. It was blue; just like Barnaby. Jack knew that toothbrush had to belong to Barnaby. But when he turned back around to tell mom, both she and Barnaby were not there. “Mom took Barnaby!” he thought. “Where’d they go?” Then with Barnaby’s toothbrush in hand he set off to find his beloved Barnaby and mother.
Slowly, and very cautiously, he peeked around the end of the isle. He was quite surprised to see what was there. Not his Barnaby, nor his mother, but a giant castle. Its walls were as high as trees. The towers were built with huge blocks with words on them. Some had Cheerio’s. Some had Kix, while others were built with blocks that said Fruit Loops. There were blocks of Frost Flakes and Chex and Crispix, too. There were really way too many to name them all. Then, there were the guards with giant baskets. How was he, five year old Jack, supposed to get past them without getting tossed inside one of their rolling baskets? So very carefully he entered the great castle and hid behind a column of  Lucky Charms. As the first guard walked by he heard her giggling, and quickly she was gone. Whew, she didn’t see me.
As Jack pressed further into the castle he came to an enormous tower of Pop-tarts. Instantly, another guard came around the corner and Jack ducked behind the Pop-tart tower. He peeked through a hole in the column to watch the basket and guard go by. Still clutching the toothbrush, he very slowly put one foot in front of the other until he had passed the length of the long castle. His heart sank as loneliness crept into it. There was no sign of Barnaby or his mom. He looked back over his shoulder and all he could see were more guards with more baskets patrolling between the towers and walls. With nothing left to do but go forward he vowed to keep searching, to keep the hope that they would soon be found.
As he once again peeked around a corner, watching out for his enemies so as not to be thrown in the Great Castle’s dungeon, he sneaked to his next destination. The first thing he saw was food. They were huge, enormous bags of food. And it was definitely not food for humans or little Jacks. This was animal food. Huge bags could only mean one thing, huge animals. Oh no. Giant kitties. Tigers, leopards, cheetahs… I can’t run faster than cheetahs! And look at these bags of food for doggies! They must be the size of bears! Stopping cold in his tracks, he quickly looked across the seemingly deserted jungle. They’re hiding. Walking as quietly as he could, he gently tiptoed by the giant bags of food for the giant animals they would be fed to. He nearly panicked when he saw a man with a giant basket come around the corner. His heart was racing and he frantically looked for a hiding place. There was nowhere to go. Great, now I’m going to be fed to the bears. I bet they’d really like me. Fighting back tears, he suppressed his fear and resolved to be strong and not get caught. Quickly, he walked over to one of the bags. He put a hand on it acting like he was reading it. However, the only words he recognized were “Barely any fat”. Fat bears would really love me. Five-year-old Jack continued to stand staring at the food until the bear feeder had passed. Relief washed over him like warm bath water in winter and he audibly sighed. Then, as quickly as he was relieved of his own fear of safety, he feared for the safety of his Barnaby and mom. What if they didn’t get passed the bears?
He watched the large man pushing the basket walk away before he resumed his tiptoed walk to through the dangerous land of giant animals and their feeders. He looked for the bears and all the giant cats and was comforted when he neither saw nor heard any such animals. He found himself again doing what he had already done on two separate occasions. He peeked his head around the corner to see what he could see. No Barnaby. No mom. Hope was slowly draining away. Fear was slowly creeping in.

You can read part two here!
* Side note: This was written a year before I even met my DW. I named the little boy Jack which so happens to be one of my DW’s favorite names. We didn’t name Crash Jack because well… Jack Wood sounded a like name to be teased about.