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Call for Submissions

The Sea, Our Home

Quarter Castle Publishing has issued a call for submission for their The Sea, Our Home short story collection. READ MORE

The Tantalizing Tattler

Quarter Castle Publishing has issued a call for submission for their Tantalizing Tattler magazine. READ MORE

99-cent Sale – ONLY in Canada

From December 2nd to December 6th, the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes by Diane McGyver is on sale for 99 cents. That’s a $4.00 savings. This sale takes place only in Canada.

Reviews are starting to appear for the novel classified as Women’s Fiction / Inspirational / Mid-life Awakening / Romance.

She reserved the most convenient lies for herself

Mary Lola Barnes has everything: a loving husband, two wonderful grown children, good friends and a lovely home. She has no business asking for more. It doesn’t matter if she feels something is missing. She’s just being silly. After all, what could she ask for? When new friends enter her world, she’s ill prepared for the harsh light that shines on the imperfections in her life. It reveals the emptiness she refuses to acknowledge.

Download the eBook now at Amazon Canada.

Business as Usual by Phil Yeats in “The Coldest December”

One of the stories in The Coldest December is “Business as Usual” by Phil Yeats. It’s about a man who joins the police force in Halifax. Under normal circumstances, his application would have been rejected due to poor eyesight. However, given the shortage of men because of the First World War, he was accepted. This is his story. Here’s the first few paragraphs.

Business as Usual

Phil Yeats

“Jenkins,” Morrow, the duty sergeant, called out as I followed two other patrolmen into the Halifax Police Station. “Get over here. Now!”

After finishing school in the spring of 1916, I’d volunteered for the army. I’d been declared unfit for service because of my poor vision and thrown back onto the streets, an outcast as I’d been through my school days. I’d always been excluded from sports and treated as an invalid because I wore spectacles.

Rejection by the army turned me into a different sort of pariah. Everyone saw me as a big, strong lad shirking my responsibility to fight the Hun. It didn’t matter that I squinted at them through thick lenses and protested that I’d attempted to join the army. I was seen as a failure, a weak, passive coward who wouldn’t fight for his country.

That fall, I joined the police force, thinking it was one way to do my patriotic duty and help protect the home front. The police wouldn’t normally accept spectacles-wearing recruits, but they were short of men after the exodus of young constables to the army and navy. They accepted but didn’t welcome me, and I joined patrolmen who were mostly too old for war service. Finally, in the days following the explosion of the French munitions ship SS Mont-Blanc on December sixth, 1917, I became part of the team.

“Yes, sir,” I said as I turned toward the sergeant’s desk.

Sergeant Morrow stared at the duty roster posted on the wall beside him. “The police are no longer needed for rescue duty, and tomorrow is your day of rest. In recognition of the extra hours you’ve put in, I’m also giving you the rest of this day. Report for work at 0800 hours, Friday, when you will return to your normal schedule.”

“Sir, does that mean we are no longer part of the rescue effort?”

“That’s what I said, Jenkins. Friday you return to regular patrolman’s duties.”

After leaving the Duke Street station, I walked to Gottingen Street and headed for the centre of the Richmond district and the house where I rented a room. The explosion that had levelled more than a square mile of Richmond must have destroyed the house, but I hadn’t been back since I left for work on the morning of the sixth.

…To continue reading, pick up a copy of The Coldest December.

Book Sale

Both eBook and paperback editions of The Coldest December are on sale until the end of the year.

Pick up a copy today at the following online outlets.

eBook: 99 cents

Paperback

(prices stated in either CAD – Canadian Dollars or USD – US Dollars)

To learn more about this book, including the authors who contributed, visit The Coldest December’s page at Quarter Castle Publishing.

99-cent Countdown Sale

Scarlett and her friends were caring women, who enjoyed each other’s company. Their regular visits to the tavern were innocent and good for the soul. She would go again, and she would wear the burgundy dress she had bought at work. She’d also get her hair cut. The other women used getting out together as an excuse to dress up, and she would, too. As Sonya said, Nowadays, the only time we dress up is to attend a wedding or a funeral. We deserve more than that. Mary agreed.

Nodding off to sleep, she thought about the women around the table. Combined, they’d lived more than four hundred years. That was a lot living, loving and laughing. She smiled and allowed sleep to take her away.

From the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes by Diane McGyver.

From now until Friday November 27th, the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes is on sale for 99 cents in the United States and United Kingdom.

Grab your copy today.

Last Day to Save $4.00

Most recent review for Northern Survival at Amazon.

“This story hit all my buttons for enjoying a story. It wasn’t too long for the time I had, it was adventure, it was dramatic (plane crash), not too much about blood and gore, two strangers having to learn to adapt and share strengths and weaknesses. And a hea to boot.” (hea is happily ever after)

This is a fast-paced read for a snowy weekend at the cabin or while lounging on the beach enjoying the sun. Download it today and save $4.00. Read it this weekend or save it for that snow storm we all know that’s coming.

Exclusively at Amazon

This is a survival and adventure story laced with romance.

Harboured in Time by Lawren Snodgrass in the “Coldest December”

One of the stories in The Coldest December is “Harboured in Time” by Lawren Snodgrass. During wartime, Halifax Harbour has always been a bustle of activity. Activity during the First World War resulted in the Halifax Explosion.

With this horrifying tragedy in the minds of survivors, when the Second World War began, bringing an increase in military traffic, they worried a similar event would happen.

On December 22, 1944, smoke rolling from a ship in the harbour no doubt triggered memories of the SS Mont-Blanc on fire. However, the Governor Cornwallis ferry was not laden with explosives, only diesel fuel and passengers. It made it safely to port, where passengers disembarked. The Nova Scotia Archives website has a photograph of the Governor Cornwallis ferry engulfed in flames.

The smaller Halifax Explosion of 1945, involving volatile explosives, caused more damage, lasted longer and shook those who saw the rising smoke. The series of explosions from July 18 to the 19th originated at the ammunition depot in Bedford near the Harbour shoreline.

These two events – the ferry burning and the ammunition depot explosion – were used by Snodgrass in his short story.

Harboured in Time

Lawren Snodgrass

The warm breeze rustled the leaves on the potato plants as Wilber Coulson pulled weeds with a long-handled hoe. The showers the evening before and the warm July day had made the pesky plants explode overnight. Although Mathilda planned to weed, he insisted she rest instead. In her condition, she needn’t be in the sun working when he could tidy the garden after work. Their son Everett also helped with the chores while she recovered from the most recent bout of bronchitis. Doc Fraser left little doubt her illness would not clear unless she rested and avoided her womanly chores.

The Coldest December

Wilber paused for a moment, wiped his brow and leant onto the hoe to stare off at the harbour a few miles away. From his vantage point on Break Heart Hill, he could see the growing cities of Dartmouth and Halifax, their streets divided by the deep body of water. From this distance, he could not make out people, but he knew they were there. Given the hour, most workers had gone home for the night, yet many remained on the docks, loading or unloading and tending to ships either bound for overseas or arriving from there. The war created traffic jams in the harbour he had not seen for more than twenty years.

The ferries between the cities carried all traffic that needed to pass from one shore to the other—trucks, carts pulled by horses or oxen and passengers—to avoid the long trip around the Bedford Basin. He watched the Dartmouth approach the dock on this side of the water, its stack pumping black steam into the almost clear mid-summer sky, and memories from last December drifted into his mind: the smoke, the terror in the passengers’ eyes, the frantic actions of the ferry crew.

He had been waiting to make the crossing when he heard shouts and looked to see thick black smoke pouring from the Governor Cornwallis ferry. It was still quite a distance from the dock, and onlookers speculated about the cause and whether or not help would go out to the ship or the ship would put ashore for assistance. Wilbur’s first concern was Would it explode? He recalled staring at the flames, unable to move or respond to questions. Once again, he was a fifteen-year-old boy shocked by terrible sights, sounds and smells and running for his life. The horrid taste of burnt oil resurfaced and sweat beaded on his forehead.

A sudden thud and cries for help jolted him from his nightmare, and he sprang into action as he had in 1917. The Governor Cornwallis had docked. Passengers scrambled for shelter, and workers directed the trucks off the burning ship. Wilbur helped an elderly couple to safety, then returned to help a mother and her four children, then a wounded soldier on crutches who had returned from overseas only the week beforehand.

Book Sale

Both eBook and paperback editions of The Coldest December are on sale until the end of the year.

Pick up a copy today at the following online outlets.

eBook: 99 cents

Paperback

(prices stated in either CAD – Canadian Dollars or USD – US Dollars)

To learn more about this book, including the authors who contributed, visit The Coldest December’s page at Quarter Castle Publishing.

Amazon Reviewer: “Northern Survival” has the Wow Factor

Several reviewers that have read Northern Survival by Diane McGyver share their thoughts on Amazon and Goodreads. Here are two of them.

The Wow Factor

Wow: A really good adventure story and romance. This was my first book by this author, and I’m looking forward to reading another asap! The fact that the two leading characters were in their 50’s was terrific.

A Great Read

Thoroughly enjoyed this book…….kept me on the edge the whole way. What a great story showing the strength you can exhibit when necessary. Loved the progression of the feelings of the characters. Shed a few tears near the end…….will remember forever.

Goodreads Reviews

Read more reviews on Northern Survival’s Goodreads Page.

eBook Sale

This week, Northern Survival is on sale for 99 cents exclusively at Amazon. Download it now, read it now or later.

Kindle Unlimited members read for free.

The Connection Between Women and Horses

“When I looked back to shows I watched in the 80s to conjure up a similar show the main character in Northern Survival had starred in,” said Diane McGyver, “I thought of Young Riders. I had watched every episode and dreamt many times I was one of those riders delivering the mail in the wild west.”

This hour show was on television from September 1989 to July 1992.

“I was horse crazy long before Young Riders,” said McGyver. “It’s a girl thing. I’m led to believe there is a special connection between women and horses.

“My daughter has that connection, too. Where she took lessons at more than ten years ago, every student was female. The coach tried to persuade my son to take lessons and even threw him on the back of a couple of horses. But it didn’t happen. My sons are not riders.”

McGyver used inspiration from Young Riders and her love of horses to write the following that appears in Northern Survival. These are Olive’s thoughts.

Countless times she’d daydreamt of running away with that handsome boy, mounting a horse and riding into the sunset where adventure and romance waited. He was the reason she took riding lessons when she was 19. It put her that much closer to her dreams.

This week, the eBook for Northern Survival is $4.00 off, making it 99 cents. Grab your copy today. Exclusively at Amazon.

Kindle Unlimited members read for free.

Northern Survival eBook Sale: Save $4.00

This is the last time in 2020 Northern Survival by Diane McGyver will be on sale for 99 cents. If you haven’t already downloaded your copy, get it now before it returns to its regular $4.99 price.

Description

Adventure Mixed with Survival and Laced with Romance

When Olive is called home unexpectedly from her research assignment at Summer Beaver, she never dreamt the chartered plane she boards would crash, leaving her alone with a man who knows nothing about surviving in the woods. The struggle to put their differences aside threatens their life at every turn.

Exclusively at Amazon.

Kindle Unlimited members read for free.

In Flanders Fields the Poppies Blow

It’s been 102 years since the signing of the armistice to end the First World War. Armistice Day, as it was known in the earlier years, remembers and pays tribute to the brave souls who risked everything to defend freedom. Many had fallen but more returned, battered and bruised both physically and emotionally.

During the horrors of war, a Canadian surgeon, who was also a poet who would become world renowned, served on the front lines in Belgium. Apparently, John McCrae, consumed by reflection on the loss of lives, jotted down his famous war poem in 20 minutes during the Second Battle of Ypres on May 3, 1915.

In Flanders Fields has been spoken by millions of lips, whispered at dawn on battlefields and solemnly recited at countless cenotaphs across the world. It has been read to young and old alike.

Continue reading

Bluebirds and Daisies by Bronwyn Piper in “The Coldest December”

One of the stories in The Coldest December is “Bluebirds and Daisies” by Bronwyn Piper. Bluebirds was the nickname given to the nurses of the time.

From Canadian War Museum

More than 2,800 nurses served in the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC), as fully-enlisted officers in the specially-created all female rank of Nursing Sister, with relative rank and equal pay to men – the first women among the Allied forces to do so. Nicknamed “bluebirds” because of their blue uniforms and white veils, Canada’s nursing sisters saved lives by caring for wounded and sick soldiers as well as convalescents, prisoners of war, and even civilians on occasion.

The main character, Lorena Brody, in “Bluebirds and Daisies” was training to be a nursing sister when the Halifax Explosion happened. Here’s how the story starts.

Bluebirds and Daisies

Bronwyn Piper

The Coldest December

Lorena Brody adjusted her white veil, then fastened the top button on her overcoat. The brisk breeze blowing off the water sneaked beneath her long coat and skirt and brought a chill to her core. It brushed against her cheeks and cooled them in spite of her earlier thoughts of the handsome sailor who had caused them to warm. The crossing from Dartmouth to Halifax was almost completed, and soon she’d be in a warm building, listening to lectures on how to attend the sick and injured and then putting those lessons into practice in the afternoon as she worked alongside an experienced nurse.

Continue reading

QCP Releases “The Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes”

The second book in the Romance Collection, the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes by Diane McGyver, is now available.

She reserved the most convenient lies for herself.

Mary Lola Barnes has everything: a loving husband, two wonderful grown children, good friends and a lovely home. She has no business asking for more. It doesn’t matter if she feels something is missing. She’s just being silly. After all, what could she ask for? When new friends enter her world, she’s ill prepared for the harsh light that shines on the imperfections in her life. It reveals the emptiness she refuses to acknowledge.

If you love stories about women redefining themselves after decades of living, you’ll love the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes.

Available for Pre-order Exclusively at Amazon:

Kindle Unlimited members read for free.

7-day Count-down Sale for Quarter Castle Chronicles

Quarter Castle Chronicles Volume 1The eBook for Quarter Castle Chronicles, Volume 1, is regular $4.99. Between Friday October 23rd and Friday October 30th, it will be on sale for various prices. The lowest will be 99 cents. It will increase by $1.00 every 40 hours.

To get the cheapest price, grab it today. By Sunday morning, it will be $1.99.

A Collection of 13 stories by 12 Canadians

Quarter Castle Chronicles, Volume 1, showcases 13 short stories by 12 Canadian authors. They take place in settings across the country, both in the present and the past. From the rugged coast of Newfoundland to the streets of Vancouver, we are flung to far off places like Romania and Swaffham Prior. The authors spin tales of life, survival, death and the realm beyond.

7-Day Sale Schedule

  • October 23, 2020 at 8:00 AM (PDT)  – $0.99 – save 81%
  • October 25, 2020 at 12:00 AM (PDT) – $1.99 – save 61%
  • October 26, 2020 at 4:00 PM (PDT) – $2.99 – save 41%
  • October 28, 2020 at 8:00 AM (PDT) – $3.99 – save 21%
  • October 30, 2020 at 12:00 AM (PDT) – returns to its regular $4.99 price

Reviews at Amazon Canada, both 5 stars

  • Loved the short stories in it
  • I loved it

Pick up your copy today at Amazon

Unfortunately, Amazon does not support the count-down sale on Amazon.ca; it can be purchased from Amazon.com and Amzazon.co.uk only.

HAPPY READING

“the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes” Available for Pre-order

the Salvation of Mary Lola BarnesThe eBook for the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes by Diane McGyver is now available for pre-order at Amazon. It’s listed under the Romance Collection for Quarter Castle Publishing because a budding romance takes place, but the story is about much more than that.

It’s about a woman who has dedicated 25 years to her family and has somehow lost herself in the changing of diapers, laundry, making school lunches and cooking suppers. Her children are now grown and spreading their own wings.

This leaves Mary Lola Barnes wondering what the next phase in life will hold. She believes it involves reconnecting with her husband and rekindling the love they once knew before children.

At the essence of this story is a woman who doesn’t want the world at her feet, only a little attention and someone to experience the wonders of life with.

Available for Pre-order Exclusively at Amazon:

Release Date: October 27, 2020

Call for Submissions: The Tantalizing Tattler

Quarter Castle Publishing is making a Call for Submissions for short stories laced with romance for its first issue of The Tantalizing Tattler.

The Tantalizing Tattler is a new publication meant to revive the clean-telling of stories laced with romance. It was inspired by magazines of the past, ones girls as young as 14 had sneaked away from their mother’s nightstand and hid in closets to read. While these stories were about adults in adult situations, they were void of descriptions of bedroom activities and harsh language. At their essence, they told a good story. That’s what The Tantalizing Tattler aims to do.

Continue reading

A Common Headline from the Past: Lost at Sea

Genealogy research had uncovered my grandmother’s grandparents: Martha and William McDonald. They had at least one child: my great-grandfather William Aaron McDonald.

Little is known about this family, just a few names and dates. The further in time one travels, the less information surfaces about individuals and the more questions arise, such as what was Martha’s maiden name and what happened to William Sr.?

A few years ago, a genealogist from a far-flung branch of the McDonald family tree, who researched William Sr., wrote to say William had been ‘lost at sea’. To be exact, William had drowned 160 years ago today on October 7, 1860, when the fishing schooner he’d been aboard floundered.

Continue reading

Anniversary of the Saxby Gale

Maritimers are always talking about the weather. I think it’s because if we wait five minutes, it’ll change. We have the winds from the west bringing heat waves, winds from the north delivering cold fronts, the Gulf Steam transporting warm, humid air and the Atlantic Ocean that tries to maintain a constant weather day except for when it’s stirring up a storm.

All this activity makes for a lot of material to discuss. It also makes for a lot of data to analyse to predict the weather for the day. Forecasting the weather for an entire week is difficult at best. Predicting the weather for more than ten months into the future is impossible (though I realise almanacs can be somewhat correct at times). However that’s just what Lieutenant Stephen Martin Saxby (1804-1883) of the British Royal Navy did when he warned the public of a devastating storm that would strike the Maritimes in 1869.

Saxby was an amateur astronomer. He used his knowledge of the moon and Earth to predict the weather according to celestial events. It was known as meteorological astrology. In 1864, he published The Saxby Weather System in which he outlined his theories, explaining his method of predicting the weather.

Continue reading

“Northern Survival” Final 99-cent Sale

Northern SurvivalStarting today and ending October 5th, the eBook Northern Survival by Diane McGyver will be on sale for 99 cents. This will be the final 99-cent sale of the book launch. On October 6th, the price will rise to the book-launch price of $1.99. Then, on October 15th, it will rise to it’s full-time regular price of $4.99.

They’d left the shelter at 7:30 with thick clouds concealing the sky and billowy white fog on the lake. The silence of the early morning trek through the forest with reduced visibility made Olive feel like she walked through a mysterious land where fantastical creatures sat just out of sight, watching her pass, stalking her moves.

wolves magical fog

Grab your copy now from Amazon.

Kindle Unlimited members read for FREE.

Call for Submissions: “The Sea, Our Home” Short Story Collection

Quarter Castle Publishing is making a Call for Submissions for a short story collection to honour those who lived and died by the sea.

Atlantic CanadaThe goal is to tell the stories of life by the sea. It’s a unique existence, one in which the tides and winds set the pace. There are many joys, hardships and tragedies from living by the constantly changing waters gracing our shores in Atlantic Canada. For families who have spent generations breathing in the intoxicating saltwater-laced breeze, the sea is in our blood; it is our home. We will live here and die here.

The collection is entitled The Sea, Our Home – Honouring the resilient men and women who forged a living along the rugged coastline of Atlantic Canada throughout the centuries.

The contest is open to all residents of Atlantic Canada, and those who once lived here and still love and miss the sea. First-time authors and seasoned veterans are welcome to submit their short stories.

The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2021.

To learn more about this call for submissions, visit The Sea, Our Home Short Story Collection page.

Fall Sale: The Coldest December

From September 17th until December 31st, The Coldest December eBook will be on sale for 99 cents, and the paperback copy will be drastically reduced.

The Coldest December

a Short Story Collection to Remember the Halifax Explosion

The Coldest DecemberOn December 6, 2017, Nova Scotia commemorated the one hundredth anniversary of the Halifax Explosion. More than two thousand people were killed and another nine thousand were injured from the largest man-made explosion of its time.

To pay tribute to the many victims, survivors and heroes who emerged from the disaster, Quarter Castle Publishing gathered a collection of fictional short stories connected to the Explosion. Stories are set immediately before it, during it or in its aftermath.

Pick up a copy today at the following online outlets.

eBook: 99 cents

Paperback

(prices stated in either CAD – Canadian Dollars or USD – US Dollars)

To learn more about this book, including the authors who contributed, visit The Coldest December’s page at Quarter Castle Publishing.