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.

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.

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Blade of Truth Gets a New Cover

This summer, Blade of Truth by Diane Lynn McGyver got a new cover as we prepared to release the third book in the Castle Keepers Tale series. It also got a new description.

Innocence is shattered when a young man falls victim to a horrible prank.

Blade of Truth by Diane Lynn McGyverYouth and innocence still reside in Bronwyn Darrow. When he attends a celebration with the girl he admires most, he’s elated but extremely nervous. He hopes the night will be one they’ll never forget. Instead, he should have hoped for one easily forgotten.

If you love coming of age stories and moments that shape a person, you’ll enjoy Diane Lynn McGyver’s short story Blade of Truth. One might call it a character story or a back story. It’s both, revealing the turning point in Bronwyn Darrow’s life. It exposes the source of the pain that drives him when he meets a woman who challenges his will to remain single in Shadows in the Stone. It’s a quick, easy read and the first introduction into the world of Ath-o’Lea and the adventures that lie ahead.

Blade of Truth is the second in the Castle Keepers Tale series that will have you wondering what’s next? It will introduce you to the Darrow family and the youngest member’s dreams. Brace yourself for the ride to another time and place.

McGyver wields her pencil in a similar realm where Tolkien released his imagination. It is traditional fantasy of old with magic, legends, dragons and dwarfs.

Buy Blade of Truth today and begin your journey into the Land of Ath-o’Lea where magic and sword clash.

The eBook is available on at Amazon in:

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.

Free eBook Promotion: Gardening for Her Life

Happy Hallowe’en

We are running a three-day promotion for Liana Olive Quinn‘s short story Gardening for Her Life. From now until Saturday November 2nd (12pm Pacific Time), the eBook is FREE to download. The regular price is $0.99. Canadian residents can download it here, and those in the United States will find it here. Thank you for your downloads.

This tale about a women who loves to garden under moonlight is the perfect story for Hallowe’en.

Gardening for Life Cover - Large-02

Free Short Story

McGyver-SS-Destiny Governed their LivesThe eBook Destiny Governed their Lives by Diane Lynn McGyver is currently free to download from Smashwords. The short story is about Catriona Wheatcroft, one of the characters who appear in the fantasy novel Shadows in the Stone.

Story Summary

Catriona Wheatcroft is a young, ambitious girl living in Maskil. Although she’s been told she’s not ready to cast complicated spells, she’s determined to get her hands on a magical scroll. When the perfect opportunity arrives, Catriona grabs it. Will she succeed and prove everyone wrong, or will she take on more magic than she can control and bring tragedy to her life?

Destiny Governed their Lives is the first short story in the Castle Keepers Tales. The pivotal events detailed within these stories provide insight to the characters who appear in The Castle Keeper fantasy novel series.

Check it out now!