Sunday, June 30, 2019

Fire Season is Upon Us



 
At the end of May, a huge wildfire, some 10,000 hectares in size, was out of control and threatening the town of High Level in northwestern Alberta.  Townsfolk were evacuated. It was only one of many fires burning across the country. Fortunately, High Level was spared and residents have returned.

Fire has been both a tool and a danger. Indigenous people fired the prairie to green up the grass that, in turn, brought the bison back in their numbers. Europeans travelling across the plains described fires stretching from one horizon to the other, creating a scene worthy of Dante’s Inferno, leaving behind miles of scorched, blackened earth that they crossed for days afterward.

Forest-dwellers regularly burned the undergrowth to keep it free of trash. In the process, they created a patchy environment with a much higher carrying capacity, with browse and pasture for both their livestock and wildlife. All benefited.

For decades, received wisdom was the wild fires were bad. We now are learning, all too well, the folly of that practice. We forgot, or didn’t know, or chose to ignore that fires are Nature’s way of getting rid of mess, of eliminating the Old to make way for the New. Final succession-stage forests are prone to disease (such as Mountain Pine Beetle) and the forest floor is covered with a thick layer of trash, all of which, combined with the effects of climate change, result in a dangerously high probability of uncontrollable wild fire. Witness the partial destruction of the towns of Slave Lake (2011) and Fort McMurray (2016) in Alberta, the evacuation of thousands of residents in the interior of British Columbia (2017) and the disastrous Camp Fire (2018) in California that destroyed the town of Paradise and killed at least 86 people.

We seemed to have learned our lesson about the role of and the need for fire. Controlled burns of forests are now the norm.

The prairies are not immune. Farmers fear fire, too.

* * *

The continuous ring on our old party-line phone – a general ring, we called it –  signaled an emergency. We already knew what it was about – a fire out of control across the road from our farmyard. Through the trees around our yard, we had seen the flames leaping into the air. A neighbour had been burning stubble, the wind had caught the fire and sent it raging down the field. Now Dad and several neighbours were there, fighting to get it under control before it burned into town a mere 1/4 mile away. The situation looked desperate.

And then they set a backfire.

A major fire creates its own environment by sucking air towards it, creating an updraft. Backfires take advantage of that updraft.

I watched as the men started a second fire some distance – just the “right” distance – in front of the wall of flame. I did not understand why they thought it a good idea to set a second fire, but it didn’t take long to realize that they knew what they were doing. The smaller fire was sucked into the larger fire, burning up the stubble as it went. With no more fuel, the main fire fizzled out; the few remaining hot spots were quickly doused. The town was safe – this time.

                                                                          * * *

Meyronne wasn’t always spared. In September of 1923, a late night fire raged through the village. This is how Addie described that night:

“We were startled out of bed shortly after 11:00 pm with a general ring, but we didn’t have to answer the phone to know what the problem was, we could see light flickering on our bedroom wall. Abe said, “Don’t wait up, who knows when I’ll be back.”

“You expect me to go back to sleep while you’re off fighting a fire,” I retorted. “Don’t be ridiculous, I’ll be worried sick and won’t be able to sleep a wink until you’re back home.”

“Suit yourself,” he said, “but this will be a long night.”

And it was. I paced back and forth in the kitchen. Bert came down rubbing his eyes wanting to know what was happening, I told him that Dad was in town helping some folks fight a fire and he should get back to bed ‘cause there was nothing he could do. Edith got him settled and then sat up the rest of the night with me. We stood out on the front step and watched the flames leap up into the air. We could smell the smoke, hear men yelling, cursing, horses screaming. I made and drank an entire pot of coffee. I prayed that everyone was safe, that no one would be injured or worse, would die. It seemed to go on forever. “Is the whole town burning down?” Edith asked. “I don’t know,” I replied. “I hope not.”

Abe finally got back about 4:00 am. He reeked of smoke.

                                                                          * * *

You can read what was lost that night in Chapter 31, The Night the Village Burned, in “Our Bull’s Loose in Town!” Tales from the Homestead.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Senses & Setting, a writers' brief how-to

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There are probably as many approaches to novel writing as there are writers. Some have a tendency to see things as a screenplay—action and dialogue. Others see characters and relationships first, and find that dialogue and action grow from that. Some plot carefully and make a comprehensive outline. Others just begin when a voice begins to speak irresistibly in their mind and their novel grows organically.

Others begin with the world in which the characters will move. Science Fiction and fantasy writers often begin this way. Historical novelists may become intrigued by a particular era, and this fascination leads to the creation of characters who will exist in a “period” world.

Such writers probably have the easiest time with “world building,” because setting/or period, or that “Other Land” they are creating has already played a large part in their inner life. , supplying the kick that took them from simply imagining to actually writing.

In most writing courses you’ll find discussion of using the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell, and all of them need to be engaged—not all the time, of course, or nothing else would ever happen—but if your couple are seated side by side at a Regency dining table—even if they are thinking only of each other—either loving each other or hating, as the case may be—they will be surrounded by other people talking, servants coming and going, and a great deal of food. There will be ambiance a-plenty and the sensations will be coming from all combined senses.

In the last 30 years, people have become more than a little distracted from reality—not only by television, but by hand held games, cell phones, not to mention the artificial A/C world we inhabit during hot summers. As a result, we don’t really spend a lot of time paying much attention to where we actually are—and what signals are coming from our environment.

If you are walking down a street in a Third World Country—or on some far off planet, or London in Shakespeare’s day--there will be unfamiliar smells as well as unfamiliar sights. For instance, I went to school in the West Indies back in the 60’s, and rode the bus to the central market daily, and then walked up to the school through the narrow city streets. There was gray wash water running in slimy green gutters, the occasional furtive rat; there were fruit rinds and big greasy mango seeds scattered around as well as bottles.

 As well as sight, I experienced unfamiliar smells too. In the long ago West Indies, there was the smell of people who didn’t have facilities for washing other than the a central pump in whatever village they’d come from, of starch filled school uniforms and office clothes and the beginning of the day’s sweat. There was market refuse, discarded fruit and animal manure ripening in the sun, the smell of a hard-worked donkey as he clopped by, the heavy odor of the goats that rode the bus with you. Have you ever imagined what a werewolf or a vampire would actually smell like?  I’m not a fan of these fantasy creatures, so in my imagination—they’d smell pretty bad!

Is your character a temp, facing a vacated desk in a modern office? What’s the desk and keyboard like—are they sticky with coke, covered with ashes? Are they dusty, or spotlessly clean? How does your character deal with this temporary work-space? Does she first head for the washroom and paper towels to clean desk, keyboard and phone? Does she bring a can of Lysol with her to work on the first day at someone else's desk?

As you can see, this is not only “setting,” it also tells the reader about the characters. How do these particular people react to the environment in which you’ve placed them? Details like this breathe life into what might otherwise be wooden.

As for sound/hearing, we moderns are drowning in it. The environment has never been so distracting or noisy—thanks especially to the internal combustion engine—which roars away on every street and in every yard. Leaf blowers, lawn mowers, trucks, cars and a parade of loud pipe HD’s coming through our town are sonic assaults we endure daily. (My husband calls it “turning gasoline into noise”.) We live in a theme park town, and know what it’s like to put up with amplified concerts all summer, and an enormous volume of traffic. On top of all that, there are televisions blaring in every place we go, from restaurants to doctor’s waiting rooms. 

Conversely, if you are writing about the past, none of that existed. Cities used to be noisy with people and animals, and later, with trains and trolleys, but the countryside remained relatively quiet until fifty years ago. When night came down on the farm, people went to sleep. Two hundred years ago, a candle was an expensive item, and only the rich could afford to illuminate their world after dark. Likewise, music—an orchestra was for the rich, music provided by gifted individuals who were barely an inch more important than the rest of the servants. That used to be the draw of a parade—the fact that there was music. Even when I was a kid, people still made music at home. At our house we had a piano and a song book, and for fun our family sometimes sang and played together in the evenings instead of turning on the t.v.

 In the countryside, you’d hear wind in the trees, or blowing across wheat fields or rustling through a cornfield. You’d hear songbirds—and there were more of them 100 years — crickets. cicadas and wild geese. The first Europeans to arrive here remarked upon all our wildlife—and especially upon hearing it at night. In their world, they’d eaten just about everything that moved and cut down most of the trees and put the land under cultivation, and so their original home was already picked clean of wildlife. Here, before Europeans got a foothold, nature was thriving. If your characters are in undeveloped setting, for instance a 1600’s American forest, you might hear a panther scream or wolves howl.

Another sense to consider is taste. Taste and smell are strongly related, as we all have experienced losing some of both when we have a bad head cold.  This sense, which we take for granted, is key to our well-being. One of my aunts, now deceased, lost her sense of taste during her eighties. I remember when she was younger, she’d had to be careful about what she ate, for like so many of us, her thirties and forties were spent fighting the battle of the bulge. Now, with this vital sense gone, she was less and less interested in eating, and ended her life weighing a mere 75 pounds.

So, if we return to that Regency banquet, what do we taste—or are we so excited and overwhelmed by the presence of handsome young and very eligible Lord Brimstone-Fire seated to our right that we can barely swallow? If we’re on Planet X, how would you describe the taste of Silonian Sea Slug in Gaxican sauce? Was the dish carefully prepared, succulent and fragrant, or is it tough and indigestible, reheated too many times in the kitchen of some grungy space port diner?

Romance writers imagine the sense of touch frequently; it’s their stock in trade. If you are shopping for clothes, you will certainly run your fingers over the fabric, see if you like the feel of what you are about to put next to your skin. If you are handling a gun, besides the weight, you will be in contact with the material of handle or stock, the cool touch of metal, the slight oily feeling of bullets as you drop them into the chamber of a .38, or push small metal cylinders into a recalcitrant .22 clip. If you are kissing His Lordship, well, are his lips smooth or rough? What's his shirt (or his bare, muscular chest) feel like?
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Fantasy or s/f writers— you know you’ve got setting work to do which is far beyond the average. If you are on a distant planet, your special world will need an almost total re-imagining, because nothing would be familiar. This leaves a lot of scope for exercising your imagination, but you’ve got to be careful to construct an environment that’s inwardly consistent.  If there are many distinct and unusual plants and animals, and/or geological anomalies, magical spells, etc. you might want to write a crib sheet for yourself, so that you don’t become lost in the richness of your own creation.

Another way of attacking the business of creating a setting is what I call the “day in a life” exercise. That is, from the moment you get up in the morning until your head hits the pillow at night, spend one day really examining all the little routines you and/or others have, no matter how mundane — from brushing teeth to shining shoes, ironing, running errands, shopping, cooking, taking care of pets or organizing children, commuting to work etc. At work, we all develop routines which fill out the day in every office, hospital, factory or wherever. It’s easy to see that these slices of daily life are fodder for a writer of contemporary stories, but they can also provide a taking-off place for any novelist.

 What does your character do? Do they work for a living?  Or are they lords or ladies? If they are 16th century people, do they brush their teeth—and if so, with what? If a character is a servant in a great house, or an American Indian, or if they are the very eligible Lord Brimstone-Fire—how exactly do these folk spend their days?

It should be obvious that the aspiring historical novelist be well-grounded in manners of the period chosen. If you aren’t—pause and start researching. Afterward, you will instantly appreciate how much easier your story-telling flows. All kinds of questions will be answered. Is a maid permitted to look up from scrubbing the floor when her mistress passes by? Where do meals come from?  Who serves/prepares it? What food is available in that particular time period? If your character goes to the kitchen, what’s the room look like? What utensils and equipment are present? Where does the water come from? How often do your characters bathe and what is required in order to obtain hot water?

You really should do that research—or you won’t have a leg to stand on. Nowadays even casual readers are also watching the History Channel. For an example of how this has changed, I read a romance back in the early 80’s in which a hero and heroine make love on top of an upright at Stonehenge. This took more suspension of belief than I could muster—although it was okay with some long ago editor. If there had been magic involved and they'd levitated up there, it might have worked despite the acrobatic comedy factor of the narrow space, still, I don’t think this would pass with today's more sophisticated readers.



~~Juliet Waldron


See all my historical novels @







Friday, June 28, 2019

NATIONAL DAY OF THE COWBOY—Who Knew? By Connie Vines

NATIONAL DAY OF THE COWBOY


National Day of the Cowboy is observed annually on the fourth Saturday in July here in the United States (July 27th).

I write western novels, shouldn't I have been aware of this fact?

However, I was not aware that a national day celebrated the western-working man.

Most of us are aware of how the era of the cowboy came to be.

The era of the cowboy began after the Civil War in the heart of Texas.  Cattle were herded long before this time, but in Texas, they grew wild and unchecked.  As the country expanded, the demand for beef in the northern territories and states increased. With nearly 5 million head of cattle, cowboys moved the herds on long drives to where the profits were.

The draw of riches and adventure mixed with tales of violence and a backdrop of the Great Plains gave way to the mythological image of the cowboy.

Where the dust settles reveal much of the stoic truth of the American cowboy and cowgirl. The life of a cowboy required a particular ability to live in a frontier world.  To do so requires respect, loyalty and a willingness to work hard.

In the words of the former President Bush (Texan), “We celebrate the Cowboy as a symbol of the grand history of the American West. The Cowboy’s love of the land and love of the country are examples for all Americans.”

HOW TO OBSERVE

To quote snippet of one of my reviews: “Everyone loves a cowboy!”

 Celebrate with a cowboy you know and post on social media using #NationalDayOfTheCowboy.  Enjoy a western novel or movie, attend a rodeo and embrace the cowboy way of life.
Learn to dance the Texas-Two-Step.  Sing a cowboy song or two.

HISTORY

According to the National Day of the Cowboy Organization, this day “…is a day set aside to celebrate the contributions of the Cowboy and Cowgirl to America’s culture and heritage.” The NDOC continuously pursues national recognition of National Day of the Cowboy.  The first celebration was in 2005. 

CELEBRATING LIKE A COWBOY

Having a few friends over to celebrate the event? Or need a fun activity to share with your children?

Here are a few ideas:

Texas-Size Art contest
Cowboy Celebration Parade
Watermelon Eating Contests
Most Worn-Out Boot Contest
Best Mustache Contest (Home-grown, or Make-your-own)
Rib Eating Contest
Cowboy Karaoke Contest
Cattle Drive (City Folk will improvise: dogs, cats, stuffed animals) 
“Round’em up, move'em-out!

To end your day of celebration, or while sitting around a camp fire you can enjoy a cup of coffee.

Cowboy Coffee

Out on the trail, coffee was a staple among cowboys. Piping hot coffee helped a cowboy shake off the stiffness from sleeping on the hard desert ground, and it was also a good beverage to wash down the morning sour dough biscuits.  But cowboys didn’t have the luxury of fancy coffee brewers or French presses. They had to pack light, so all they usually had was a metal coffee pot, sans filter, to brew their coffee in. No matter. A cowboy could still make a decent cup of coffee.

Bring water to a near boil over your campfire.

Throw your coffee grounds right into the water. That’s right. Filters are for city slickers.

Stir the coffee over the fire for a minute or two.

Remove the pot from the fire and let the coffee sit for a minute or two to allow the grounds to settle at the bottom of the pot. Add a bit of cold water to help speed along the settling process.

Carefully pour the coffee into your tin cup so that the grounds stay in the pot.

Stand around the fire with your left thumb in your belt loop and your coffee cup in your right hand. Take slow sips and meditate on the trek ahead.


Looking for a way to celebrate National Cowboy day?  Why not spend the day, or two, with a rodeo cowboy?

Stop by Brede's ranch and spend a night under the stars:

What woman doesn't love a cowboy?  Lynx Maddox will gallop into your heart.  Just you, and Lynx Maddox under that star-filled Montana sky!




Books We Love

More Shopping Links:

Lynx, Rodeo Romance

Brede

Happy National Day of the Cowboy!

Connie




Thursday, June 27, 2019

Angels and Aliens - Myths and legends, or ancient history? by Vijaya Schartz

This sweet sci-fi romance novel includes a strong heroine, a brave hero, a spoiled cat, and an angel race
Find the direct link to purchase it from your favorite online store HERE
Throughout the ancient world, various mythologies feature extraordinary beings with incredible powers, coming from the heavens to teach and help, or chastise the Human race... or to mine some rare metal.

Whether we call them deities or angels, or aliens, or any other name, they look very much like technologically advanced extra-terrestrials, some with blue skin, some with several sets of arms, some with wings, others with animal heads. They taught our ancestors and made a lasting impression upon the minds of the population of the time. So much so that they left us gigantic statues and sculptures to remember them by... not unlike the US presidents immortalized in the rock at Mount Rushmore.

In the ancient Sanskrit texts of India, these beings wield fantastic weapons. There are several factions, and sometimes they wage war in the sky against equally powerful beings from the stars. They ride flying chariots of fire, and inhabit floating cities... not unlike a mother-ship.

Shiva is represented with blue skin and four arms. This protector of India, possessed a weapon so powerful, they named him the destroyer of worlds:



Some of these beings in different cultures are represented with bird heads, some with wings:

Anunnaki ancient Sumeria
 
Egyptian god Thoth
  
Indian god Garuda


Others have different animal heads, like Ganesha the elephant god, bringer of harmony and happiness in the home.


When you read the Vedas (ancient Sanskrit texts) or ask the people of India about these incredible beings, they will tell you these epic adventures actually took place in their ancient past. According to them, these beings were real and lived among the population of the time, and these are not stories or legends, but their ancient history.

If you want to explore exotic India in an award-winning novel, I suggest this one:

by Vijaya Schartz

A novel of reincarnated love, set in India - Two lovers, murdered in a previous life, meet again in India, where their murderess awaits...

To scatter her brother's ashes over the Narmada River, Fabienne leaves France for the mysterious India of her childhood dreams. As she awakens to a newfound spirituality, unexpected visions of a former life during the Raj stir ancient yearnings for a long lost passion.

Mukunda, the palace architect Fabienne loved a century and a half ago, lives again as an American engineer and works on the local dam project. As Fabienne falls in love again with India and the man of her destiny, the tapestry of her previous life unfolds.

But, in the karmic land of the blue gods, a ruthless foe lies in wait. The Kali worshiper, who murdered the two lovers in a faraway past, has come back through the centuries to thwart their dream once more.

"... a broad-stroked, magnificent picture of a lavish India of the past and the present... a vivid tale of suspense... a gripping account of a woman coming to terms with heightened awareness... a destiny that yields true fulfillment." The Book Reader Magazine - 5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Vijaya Schartz, author
 Strong heroines, brave heroes, cats, romance with a kick
 http://www.vijayaschartz.com
 amazon  -  B&N  -  Smashwords  -  Kobo  -  FB   

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The life of a female in the past—Tricia McGill

Now available for pre-release--on July 3rd


I’ve said it many times, much as I admire the women who were full of spirit and gumption in the past, there is no way I would like to share their lives other than in my books. I have often thought it would be great fun to be a time traveller so that I could return to the ages I have written about, just to be sure it really was as horrible, nasty and unhygienic as the historians tell us it was. But be sure, I am glad I live in a time when we have mod cons and the niceties in life.

When commenting on my historicals and time-travels I have always stressed my admiration for the women, especially those who had to endure tremendous hardships as the wives of the early settlers, regardless of what continent or time period. Even today, there are still women who have to endure all kinds of deprivation in certain countries where they have no running water or sanitation.

The inspiration for book one in my Settlers Series came from a book I happened upon at the library. This gem contained letters sent home to the country of their birth by women who, whether by choice or circumstance, were forced to follow their menfolk into what must have seemed like the gates of hell to them. Most of these women left comfortable lives in Britain, brought up in genteel households that possessed, if not running water and heating at a touch, in some cases housemaids to pander to their needs. Elizabeth Hawkins sent letters home telling of the journey across unfriendly seas and then the trek in 1822 across the Blue Mountains west of Botany Bay to a fledgling Bathurst, where her husband was to take up a position as Commissariat Storekeeper. This family were the first free settlers to cross the barrier of the mountains. They travelled with eight offspring aged from I to 12, and Elizabeth’s 70-year-old mother. If you read Mystic Mountains, you will see just why I hold women like Elizabeth and her mother in such high esteem. On top of enduring the constraints of a corset in much hotter weather than they were accustomed to, there was the lurking threat of snakes and venomous creatures they would never have encountered in their homeland.

Love, as the song goes, is a many splendoured thing. It convinced many women to get on a sailing ship that would take them and often their children to a far off country on the other side of the world. Apart from the odd snippet garnered from newspapers or the like, of the conditions in this New World, they had sparse knowledge of what awaited them. I’ve seen enough movies set on sailing vessels in the 1800s to understand the horrendous conditions aboard a ship that took weeks upon endless weeks to reach its destination. I recently viewed “To the Ends of The Earth” a series on TV with Benedict Cumberbatch. As a na├»ve young gentleman, his character is on his way to take up a Government post in Australia. This movie brought home more than some just how horrendous the conditions were aboard a sailing vessel, even if you were a man of substance assigned a cabin of your own.

Life in the fledgling colony was horrendous for the women who were transported, in some cases for petty crimes, such as stealing a loaf of bread to feed their children or perhaps taking a fancy to a strip of ribbon or a bauble of little value that wasn’t theirs to take.

My third book in this series starts in 1840 when certain improvements had been made, but even so, conditions were still unsanitary. My characters take off from Sydney Town on a trek to seek out adventure in a new colony recently settled down south in Port Phillip. The journey took a month—that’s four weeks travelling over a barely surveyed land on horseback. The threat of escaped convicts turned bushrangers lurked, even the scattering of inns along the way were ill prepared for travellers. Forget bathrooms or hot and cold running water. Then there was always the other inconvenience shared by young women—imagine a life with no sanitary products.

My heroine appreciates the magnificent achievements of the earlier settlers and her wish is to do something similar with her life. Women such as Caroline Chisolm, who recognised the need for assisting migrant women who arrived in Sydney but could not secure employment. Apart from sheltering many new arrivals in her own home, she took groups of them out to the bush where they easily found work with the settlers. By 1846 when she returned to England she had helped about eleven thousand people to either find work or establish themselves as farmers in outback New South Wales. Without her assistance, many of these women would have been forced to walk the streets as prostitutes in order to survive.

I guess my admiration for strong women stems from the high regard I hold for two special women in my life. Our mother reared ten children through two world wars and depressions, without the help of a washing machine, or any of the other appliances we take for granted these days. She struggled daily to make ends meet but always put a meal on the table for her children and our father, probably surviving herself on a mouthful or two. I rarely heard her complain—women just ‘got on with it’ in those days. The other woman was my dear sister whose life I have written about in “Crying is for Babies.”

Could be the reason why I have little patience for people who moan about their lot in life, as they chatter on their mobiles—or drive about in their cars.
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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

What's in a Burrito


https://books2read.com/The-Baganti-Attack

I really like Mexican food. I love Mexican food. Especially burritos.
Most of the time I get them at a retail place (from a major chain or a restaurant. They were okay. However, there was usually too much runny beans mixed in with the meat and not enough veggies. The restaurant style is similar, but includes a chair and table service. That is worth at least two points.
My homemade burrito had considerably more vegetables and more cheese. They were wrapped like you would get at a fast food place-a soft tortilla wrap. 
I’ve discovered something that was out there but not something that stuck in my mind-texture.
One day I was in a commercial area outside of downtown Toronto with a friend. We stepped into a small burrito restaurant. Rickety chairs. A mixture of table styles. Large windows opened letting a breeze in. We had to order at the counter. While in line (a very good sign) I noticed that one person took the order and two people behind prepared the burrito.
I saw immediately that the meat was cooked fresh for each order. Thus, a ten minute wait. The cheese was fresh. Everything was fresh.
This burrito cost more than any I had ever bought outside of a full-service fancy restaurant.
We had a seat and waited. Our number was called and we picked them up. The foil rap was hot. Another excellent sign.
I took my first bit. Bang! There was that texture I mentioned earlier. The vegetables had a crunch. As did the tortilla wrap. It had been placed under something similar to a panini grill. Or, it was simply properly prepared on a grill.
Each bite was met with a crunch. And, no half-cup of juice dripping out. Just a small amount. A very small amount. I slowed down and savoured each morsel.

This weekends challenge. Duplicate the amazing taste and texture on my grill at home. Under the sun. But, with a small breeze. A very small breeze.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Ley Of The Land









The Ley Of The Land

We all know that Victoria is a wonderful place to holiday, right? But have you ever wondered why so many ghosts feel the same?
Readers of my novel, The Joining, and past blogs will already know that Victoria is reported to be the most haunted city in North America, perhaps the world. What is known about spiritual Victoria is that two Ley Lines intersect the city, one North-South, another East-West. I've plotted many of the haunted sites and they draw a clear line from the seventh hole at Victoria golf course, all the way west to the inner harbour, and up to the north from there.
So the question going through many of your minds is; "What the hell are Ley Lines?"
The term was invented by Alfred Watkins in 1921, who happened to notice that many of the ancient pagan and religious sites in England (many built over older pagan sites) all seem to follow straight lines. "Ley" is based on an Anglo-Saxon term meaning 'cleared strip of land'.


Ley Lines In England As Drawn By Marian


What we refer to as Ley Lines are known in many cultures worldwide. The Shamans of South America call them Spirit Lines. In China, Dragon Lines. To the Aboriginals of Australia, they are Dream Lines. Most sacred monuments in the world, including Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, the Egyptian Pyramids, Easter Island and Stonehenge to name a few, are found along intersecting Ley Lines, like Victoria.
The ancient peoples of this planet knew of these Ley Lines. It is known that birds often migrate along magnetic meridians, which in essence is what the Ley lines are. The magnetic meridians of the Earth.
The Earth has a natural electromagnetic field, known as The Schumann Resonance, which registers at 7.8 Hertz. (To some, this is the heartbeat of Mother Earth.) Where Ley Lines are believed to cross, the charge is greater and causes a fluctuation in that field. (More of this to come in a future novel, working title Seeds of Ascension. You'll have to wait a bit though!).
Ley Lines are described by many Spiritualists as the energy chakras of Mother Earth. If you believe we are all connected to this realm, Mother Earth and the universe, and that in essence we are also a universe within ourselves, one can become in tune with this electrical current. Current that winds around the Earth like strands of DNA.
Yes, pretty heady woo-woo talk for a mere blog.
But I've been known to be a deep spiritual shamanistic person. So bear with my ramblings as we come back to Victoria.
What is known is that many of the First Nations graves (entire graveyards, back in the 1800's) were merely covered over as the city expanded. Even the entire Songhees village across the inner harbour was bought, the natives moved and the land paved over. Oh, yes, I've heard the money was supposed to go to them, but vanished into city coffers.
So what happened to the spirits buried within those coffins. Are they trapped here along with the later settlers? Can some pull memory or knowledge from these beings? Are they happy being trapped here?
This brings me to another point. Trapped within Victoria is a time vortex. Eerie I know. But many have reported to travel down Shelbourne and Hillside in the wee hours when the paved street disappears before them and they are instead travelling down an old gravel road. A minute later everything warps back to the present.  Yes, you read correctly.
So, bearing in mind the thirty or so well corroborated ghost stories I've researched, if anyone can claim that any city in the world is more haunted than Victoria, I'd be very interested to hear about it.
PS. If you have any ghost stories of Victoria and want to share them, let me know via email.
See you next month!

Frank Talaber
Email: twosoulmates@shaw.ca
Writer by Soul.
A natural storyteller, whose compelling thoughts are freed from the depths of the heart and the subconscious before being poured onto the page.
Literature written beyond the realms of genre he is known to grab readers; kicking, screaming, laughing or crying and drag them into his novels.
Enter the literary world of Frank Talaber.

My Publishers Webpage:
http://www.bookswelove.com/authors/talaber-frank-paranormal-suspense-romance/
My webpage
http://twosoulmates.wixsite.com/frankt-author-blog
My novels and reviews on Amazon are at:
https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Talaber/e/B00UC407R0
My Facebook Published Author's page.
https://www.facebook.com/FrankTalaber/
My Facebook short story page
https://www.facebook.com/franktalaberpublishedauthor/
Twitter: @FrankTalaber
https://twitter.com/FrankTalaber
Links: #urban fantasy  #books  #author #paranormal thriller  #soul #muse  #fantasy  #Vancouver  #Victoria #BC #British Columbia