The Next Quarter Castle Newsletter

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  • Sneak Peaks
  • Micro Stories
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The Coldest December

A Short Story Collection to Remember the Halifax Explosion

Original Stories by Nova Scotia Authors: Sheila McDougall, Phil Yeats, Lawren Snodgrass, Catherine A. MacKenzie, Polly J. Brown, Diane Lynn McGyver, Cheryl Lynn Davis, Bronwen Piper, Barbara-Jean Moxsom, Liana Olive Quinn and Annemarie Hartnett.

Silenced Memories

Lawren Snodgrass

The Coldest DecemberThe 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.

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.

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A Name is Still a Name by Any Other Name

Roots to the PastThe following genealogy article was written by Diana Tibert, the genealogy columnist for The Citizen (Amherst, NS) and The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin (Lunenburg County, NS) and author of Roots to the Past. It appeared in newspapers in January 2006.

Quarter Castle Publishing will publish Tibert’s columns in book form. Roots to the Past – Book 1 will be released in late 2018. It will contain columns written from October 2005 (when the column began) to December 2006.  Stay tuned to learn more about this book as the release date approaches.

A Name is Still a Name by Any Other Name

Diana Tibert

William and John TypertPhoto: My grandfather William (right) had a few nicknames, including Wil, Bamp and Pop. His son, John, was recorded in the family Bible as William John, but was later known as John William (1942).

While growing up in Nova Scotia, I had three friends by the name of Michael. At an early age, they were given their own variation of Michael in the neighbourhood so everyone knew which Michael was being talked about without adding last names: Michael (who sometimes was called only by his last name: Harrison), Mike and Mikey.

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The Coldest December

A Short Story Collection to Remember the Halifax Explosion

Original Stories by Nova Scotia Authors: Sheila McDougall, Phil Yeats, Lawren Snodgrass, Catherine A. MacKenzie, Polly J. Brown, Diane Lynn McGyver, Cheryl Lynn Davis, Bronwen Piper, Barbara-Jean Moxsom, Liana Olive Quinn and Annemarie Hartnett.

Business as Usual

Phil Yeats

The Coldest December“JENKSINS,” 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.

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Not Enough Blood

Diana Tibert admits upfront that, “I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT a nurse or a medical practitioner of any type. I have no formal education in the medical field.”

But she has a problem, one that started in her late 30s. In her upcoming book, she tells her story in simple terms because there is no need for text-book language when the message is meant for the common person.

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The Coldest December

A Short Story Collection to Remember the Halifax Explosion

Original Stories by Nova Scotia Authors: Sheila McDougall, Phil Yeats, Lawren Snodgrass, Catherine A. MacKenzie, Polly J. Brown, Diane Lynn McGyver, Cheryl Lynn Davis, Bronwen Piper, Barbara-Jean Moxsom, Liana Olive Quinn and Annemarie Hartnett.

Blue

Sheila McDougall

The Coldest DecemberHIS EYES WERE AS BLUE as the May forget-me-nots on Citadel Hill where they first picnicked on the cool spring earth. As blue as the cornflowers Mother grew in her summer garden. As blue as the harbour below, reflecting the summer sky.

When she’d go on, he’d colour up and shake his head in protest. “Don’t be daft,” he’d scold, but she could tell he liked it.

He liked her, too, more than her friends Jane and Mary who accompanied her to the waterfront that day. His cheeky compliments, spoken in accented English foreign to her ears, told her so.

He was short, not much taller than Kate, and slight of build. He looked no more than a boy, a handsome youth in his middy and seaman’s cap, but his wit set him apart from the other young men jostling for notice.

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City of Light and Shadow

City of Light and Shadow by Sheila McDougall

New Orleans jazz pianist Ben Breaux’s lifelong dream is realized when he scores a gig at a Paris night club, but he soon discovers his ticket to fame and fortune has come at a cost higher than dollars and cents. Corporate bigwig Arthur Goodwin is footing his bills on the condition he also keep tabs on his beautiful but unpredictable daughter, Marie. Ben’s life is further complicated when he suspects his boss may be involved in sinister activities unrelated to music.

When Marie’s friend disappears and she enlists Ben’s help to find her, he truly is in over his head. Conflicting tales and changing circumstances leave Ben wondering if anyone or anything are as they at first appear. Is his Paris dream destined to become his worst nightmare?

Get it now on Amazon.

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Throw Away Kitten

Throw Away Kitten by Candy McMudd

Children’s Novel – ages 6 to 12

Charlie McBean has always dreamt of a kitten of his own, but he’s already ten and doesn’t have one. His family moves from the city to an old farm house where he discovers a box of kittens left in his neighbour’s yard.

When his neighbour says he’ll take the throw-away kittens to the shelter, Charlie and his sister Cavell volunteer to find homes for them. As potential owners start to arrive to see the kittens, Charlie worries his plan of keeping one for himself will fail.

Get it now at Amazon.

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Catholic Irish and Protestant Irish in Canada

Roots to the PastThe following genealogy article was written by Diana Tibert, the genealogy columnist for The Citizen (Amherst, NS) and The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin (Lunenburg County, NS) and author of Roots to the Past. It appeared in newspapers in 2016.

Quarter Castle Publishing will publish Tibert’s columns in book form. Roots to the Past – Book 1 will be released in late 2018. It will contain columns written from October 2005 (when the column began) to December 2006.  Stay tuned to learn more about this book as the release date approaches.

shamrockHappy St. Patrick’s Day

Catholic Irish and Protestant Irish in Canada

Diana Tibert

I haven’t studied any religion in depth. I’m more of a browser, reading bits and pieces of various religions and cults that have been created over the centuries to try to understand why people lived the way they did. With this curiosity, I began reading about the religions that separated the Irish.

During most of my early life, I heard news reports about Catholics and Protestants battling in Northern Ireland. When I was younger, I thought they were stories from long ago because no one in my small world hated another simply because of their religion.

As a young teen in the late 70s, I learned the stories were current and told about a religious war fought in the modern-day world. It was foreign to me, and I couldn’t wrap my brain around it because—to my knowledge—it didn’t happen in Canada. Why couldn’t they just get along?

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The Coldest December – Halifax Explosion Short Story Collection

The short story collection to mark the 100th anniversary (December 6, 2017) of the Halifax Explosion will be called The Coldest December.

Here is a mock-up of the cover. (subject to change)

Quarter Castle Publishing will release The Coldest December in November 2017. It will contain short stories written by Nova Scotia authors. The book will also include information and photographs to help explain the tragic events that changed the lives of thousands of people and decimated the shorelines of the twin cities, Halifax and Dartmouth.

Event: Fall for Books 2017

Author Diane Lynn McGyver will attend the Fall for Books Festival at The Old School House, Musquodoboit Harbour, Halifax County, Nova Scotia on Sunday November 5, 2017.

Mark your calendar. Visitors will be treated to readings by almost a dozen authors, including novelists, poets and nonfiction writers. They will also have the opportunity to speak with authors and purchase books.

More information will be provided as the event approaches.

NEW RELEASE: Impressions by Diane Lynn McGyver

Quarter Castle Publishing is proud to announce the eBook release of the short story Impressions by Canadian author Diane Lynn McGyver.

A member of the East Hants Writers’ Group, McGyver is also a freelance writer and columnist. Her many articles on topics such as gardening, history, genealogy, horses, homesteading and writing have appeared in thousands of publications since 1998. Her genealogy column Roots to the Past appears in several newspapers in Atlantic Canada.

Impressions Summary

Out of work for two years, Arnold White is desperate to find a job. His long-time girlfriend is through financing his life and is threatening to leave if he doesn’t find something soon. When the owner of a prestigious company offers him a job interview, Arnold feels his luck is changing, until he learns another man is vying for the same position. In a reckless move to land the job, Arnold tells his potential new boss what he wants to hear. A few white lies are harmless if it means he’ll keep his girlfriend and the roof over his head. Or are they?

Refreshing Memories: When things got real tough, Arnold reminded Danah who had paid the bills when they first moved in together. Burdened by mammoth student debt, she had resorted to eating pasta and popcorn to fill her stomach. She lived in a closet with two roommates she despised to avoid sleeping in a cardboard box beneath the bridge. It was worth it, she’d say. It was better than returning home to Nowheresville, rural Nova Scotia, where my choices of employment were between the local camping park, gas station and grocery store.

Moving in together was the perfect solution for both of them. After all, they were in love and wanted to spend every waking and sleeping moment together.

An interesting short story that hits at the heart of Halifax, Nova Scotia, with a quirky character who deserves everything he gets. 

Impressions takes place on the streets of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and inside the local bar Cheers.

The eBook is available at Amazon.ca, Amazon.com and Smashwords.

Deadline Approaches for Short Story Collection

The deadline for submitting a story to be considered for the Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Short Story collection is one week away. Stories can be emailed (quartercastle@bellaliant.net) up until Friday March 31st 11:59 pm or postmark-dated March 31st.

The goal of the fictional short story collection is to pay tribute to the many victims, survivors and heroes who emerged from the disaster, to remember their stories and to educate readers further on the life-changing event of the twin cities of Halifax and Dartmouth.

To learn more, visit Call for Submissions.

Scattered Stones Chapter 01

The second book in The Castle Keepers series Scattered Stones launches in May 2016. Here’s a sneak peek.

McGyver-ScatteredStonesFRONTBronwyn Darrow is desperate to rescue his daughter Isla from Blackvale Castle. For five long years, he’s travelled Ath-o’Lea searching for her, but the formidable castle remains elusive. He’s surrendered his coveted sergeant’s position at Aruam Castle, but he’s willing to sacrifice everything to bring Isla home, even his honour. If he fails, his innocent little girl will face a lifetime of slavery.

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