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.
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.
Quarter Castle Publishing is making a Call for Submissions for a short story collection to honour those who lived and died by the sea.
The 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.
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
On 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
(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.
One of the stories in The Coldest December short story collection was written by Annemarie Hartnett. Here is the biography that accompanied her submission.
First published in 2006, Annemarie Hartnett has written stories under various pseudonyms in just about every genre. Her young adult historical romance set during the Halifax Explosion can currently be read at Watttpad. A Mount Saint Vincent University graduate, she grew up in Halifax, where she still lives, and works in the non-profit sector.
Find more about her writing and what she’s working on next by visiting her website Annemarie Hartnett.
On December 6, 2019, the twin cities of Halifax and Dartmouth will mark a devastating event in their histories. On that morning in 1917, a cataclysmic event occurred, leaving large sections of the two cities in ruins. It would go down in history as the largest man-made explosion of its time and would remain there until the atomic bomb in 1945.
The SS Imo, a Norwegian vessel chartered to transport relief supplies overseas, struck the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship en route from New York to France. Loaded with wartime explosives, the Mont-Blanc caught fire. It raged out of control and ignited the cargo.
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.