“The Coldest December” sale ends in 2 days

The Coldest December

At midnight December 31st, the epic eBook and paperback sale for The Coldest December – a Short Story Collection to Remember the Halifax Explosion ends.

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.

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

Grab your copy now.

eBook: 99 cents

Paperback

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

One Week Left of Sale: “The Coldest December”

There’s only one week left of the blow-out sale of both the eBook and paperback for The Coldest December.

The Coldest December

a Short Story Collection to Remember the Halifax Explosion

On December 6, 2017, Nova Scotia will commemorate 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 has 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.

103 Years Later: Remembering the Halifax Explosion

At 9:05* am 103 years ago, the shoreline of Halifax Harbour changed forever. The lives lost and destroyed that day left a deep scare in those who lived in the communities along its shores. This included Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, Tufts Cove, Woodside and several other small communities.

The Coldest December, a short story collection published in 2017 to mark the one hundred year anniversary, contains 11 original stories by Nova Scotia authors. Stories either take place during the explosion or shortly afterwards. One takes place in 1944 when the second Halifax Explosion, a much smaller explosion, took place.

Here’s a snippet from Lawren Snodgrass’ “Harbour in Time”, the story that takes place in 1944 with survivors from 1917.

Harboured in Time

Lawren Snodgrass

Once again, the past invaded his senses, and the burnt oil licked at his lips. The flames engulfing the homes lining the Halifax street threatened to snatch him from the ground and hurl him into the ocean. He glanced up and saw a dark figure hanging from the electric lines. His heart beat faster, and he feared it would leap from his chest and race off without him. A feral dog ran past him, throwing off his balance. He stumbled, but the girl he had rescued from the rubble held him securely, and he regained his step.

Tuft’s Cove School

“This way,” she cried, pulling him onto an unfamiliar street.

Unsure of her advice, he searched the area desperately, hunting for the way out of the war-torn downtown. He bulked and his feet grew heavy, eventually slowing to a stop. The heat lashed out at his face, and he feared any movement would make it unleash its fury.

“Come on! We have to go!”

The muffled sound of yelling reached his ears, but he hesitated to find the source. The fire watched him and if he moved, it would capture him. Its flame wrapped around his arm and tried to pull him closer, but he braced himself and stood firm.

“Run or we’ll die!”

The fire screamed, but he knew not to move. A scorching slap to his cheek shot pain to his head, and he looked down at the girl with the green eyes.

“We have to go this way.” She pulled his arm and beckoned him forward.

He allowed her to lead him through the thick clouds and onto the street that took them past the inferno. Minutes later, they emerged from the thickest of smoke, and he looked up to see the outline of the town clock in the distance. They struggled on, and dark figures turned to human form, all moving towards the Citadel. The weight of the girl from the rubble grew, and he watched her struggle to keep moving up hill. He gathered his strength and with a surge of energy, he scooped her into his arms and carried her. She clung to him, sobbing quietly against his neck. They reached the far side of the hill where exhaustion brought him to his knees. They stumbled to a rock wall and flopped onto the cold, hard ground.

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

Recovering whatever they can from the rubble.

Book Sale: The Coldest December

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.

*Some reports say 9:04 am and 9:05 am, but the majority found state 9:06 am. Regardless of the time and the clocks that stopped on the second it happened, it was a crisp, late fall Thursday in December 1917.

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.

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.

Continue reading

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.

 

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.