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HAPPY 150th CANADA

July 1, 2017
mandyevebarnett


canadadaysouthhuron

I’m sharing my story of my first visit to Canada – this will be published in my writing group’s Canada 150 special anthology.book project

My First Taste of Canada by Mandy Eve-Barnett

My first visit to Canada was in the early eighties, a last big vacation before starting up my company, knowing vacations would be impossible for at least a few years while the company grew. I believed, at the time, that it would be a once in a lifetime trip.

                Arriving in Edmonton in late July invaded my senses with big city life. A country girl all my life with only occasional trips to London, UK for art galleries, museums and shows, the buzz of the city around me was hard to acclimatize to – the heat, noise, fumes, people and sirens – all assaulted my senses. Added to this was attending the unforeseen wedding ceremony and reception of a distant cousin. My mind became blurred at names and faces of people I had no real knowledge of before that day. Maybe a few too many glass of cheer didn’t help!

                The next day my Uncle and Aunt took me on a tour of the city sights, I marveled at the height of the buildings – glass and metal reflected the heat and I quickly became uncomfortable. Air conditioning, an unknown phenomenon until then, was soon my best friend. Large department stores all encased in cool aired malls saved me from heat exhaustion. Fashions, ornaments, accents and manners intrigued and delighted me. An evening meal at a nice restaurant satisfied, but a visit to a local club with a younger cousin was more enlightening than first expected. The club looked like many discos of the era and it took me a while to realize the absence of young men. Not knowing my cousin very well I was wary to ask the obvious question. All was revealed once we sat down and the lights dimmed. One after the other male strippers entertained the all female audience. With a room full of excited and tipsy women the doors opened to the young men who had queued outside waiting on nine o’clock. It was certainly an experience!

                My Uncle and Aunt owned a small RV and this was our mode of transport to Vancouver, their home town. Our route would take us through the Rocky Mountains and until I saw those magnificent structures I had no field of reference to their size and magnitude. Used to rolling hills and lush greenery these monoliths in dark steel grey, snow capped and craggy were awe inspiring. Mile upon mile of evergreen firs spread outwards in all directions, rising sharply to the base of the mountains and becoming sparse on the rocky outcrops. Taking it all in was mind blowing; my head turned this way and that at speed trying not to miss a single view, a glimpse of a wild animal or roaring river.

After several hours we took a rest stop in what seemed to me an isolated cabin restaurant overlooking a lake. The food was good, the ability to walk and stretch even more welcome. Just as we were leaving a thundering sound filled the air and the owner of the establishment urged us outside. Fearing something awful was about to happen I stayed close to my Uncle. We stood in awe as an avalanche crashed its way down the mountainside on the far side of the lake. The sound echoed around us, the ground beneath our feet shivered, and our chests felt the shock wave of air as it rushed past. In that moment I understood the absolute power of nature, trees snapped like twigs, huge boulders rolled and were consumed and the landslide of snow and ice crashed into the lake water making a tidal wave. Nothing could stop that power, that motion.

                When the last of the avalanche snow slid downwards, we returned into the restaurant by kind invitation of the owner to celebrate with a glass of champagne. He admitted in the fifteen years he had owned the restaurant it was the first avalanche he had seen. We were there no more than an hour and a half and witnessed such a spectacular event. I will always remember the sight and sound of that avalanche it has stayed with me for decades.

                Our onward journey was not without more adventure however. The temperature dropped quite significantly as we drove further into the Rocky Mountain range and I huddled under a blanket, peering out at the scenery that changed dramatically as the sky became overcast. Snowflakes began to fall much to my surprise but not to my Uncle and Aunt, who assured me it was common in the higher altitudes. The snow fell heavier and the mountains disappeared under a white curtain. Our reduced speed and burgeoned windshield wipers made me anxious but my Aunt comforted me saying my Uncle had driven in such conditions before. Then there was a sputter, a sudden decrease in speed and then all was quiet. The engine died and I saw my relative’s shoulders tense. Now what? Unfurling a map my Uncle plotted his route and estimated our location.

“There is a hotel around the next bend, if I’m correct on our position. We will make it that far.”

   Easing the RV along slowly he inched our way toward the hoped for hotel. At the bend we saw a grey shape materialize and formed into a hotel. Spluttering to the front of the building the RV stalled as if to say my work is done. There were only a couple of vehicles outside the hotel so my Uncle went in to investigate. On his return he advised us the hotel staff were working on a grand opening after a refurbishment and that they were not actually open yet. However, understanding our predicament they made up a couple of rooms for us and one young man helped fix the RV the following morning, allowing us to continue to Vancouver. A place I really loved mainly due to the ocean view and salty air so like home for me.

Canada is now my home and I have come to know a small part of it through incredible road trips with my dear friend, Linda. I will never ‘see’ all of Canada – the continent is just too vast but my experiences and friendships have given me some knowledge of Canada and it’s inhabitants.

Happy Birthday Canada

 

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Interview with Karen Magill…

January 13, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Please welcome Karen Magill, a paranormal author of Missing Flowers.

Karen Magill

When you read the synopsis for this incredible book you will understand why I linked this interview to today’s word  – Enclave – definition: a distinct territorial, cultural, or social unit enclose within or as if within a foreign territory. It describes Karen’s heroine, Julie’s experience as she becomes immersed into two diverse worlds.

a)  Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

My current favorite is one of my newest characters, Julie Seer. She is a psychic that has a past story. Julie has a special ability but in so many ways, she is so normal.

b)  Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I write paranormal. I have ventured into paranormal romance, paranormal action/adventure and my latest is paranormal mystery.

c)  What do you enjoy most about writing?

I like having control over events and for just a little while I am able to be a God and decide what is going to happen. That is until the characters take over and start guiding me on how to write.

d)  Have you got a favorite place to write?

I live in a two-bedroom apartment and I have my computer stand in the living room. I write there though there are times I will curl up on the couch and hand write notes and scenes.

e)  Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

I have a basic idea of where I want to the story to go and what I want to happen but I am developing the habit of writing scenes then connecting everything together.

f)  What inspires your stories?

The history around me, my new series combines historical fact with paranormal fiction and the question ‘what if?’

 g)   What are you currently reading?

I am reading two books. One is Burlesque West by Becki L. Ross (reading that for research for my blog, Vancouver Vagabond) and I am reading Mind Hunter by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker – the story of a man who was instrumental in setting up the FBI’s serial crime unit.

h)  Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I can’t think of anything I do that is really odd. Whenever I get stuck in writing, I put in the POISON CD, Flesh and Blood. Then I put on my headphones, turn the music up, and start writing. It usually helps.

i)   Do you have any pets?

No, I used to have cockatiel birds but I developed a rare allergy to them. A potentially fatal allergy

j)  Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I always say that I don’t play well with others so I don’t really join writing groups or partner with others. I am kind of a loner that way.

k)  What age did you start writing stories/poems?

Ever since I learned how to put words together, I have written. I used to sell poems to people in high school for a quarter each.

l)  Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?

Missing Flowers

I have three books published, all are available on Amazon. My first is a paranormal mystery entitled The Bond, A Paranormal Love Story; my second is a paranormal action/adventure called Let Us Play, A Rock ‘n Roll Love Letter (known as Mystique Rising in Kindle) and my latest is Missing Flowers. Missing Flowers is a paranormal mystery set in Vancouver, which incorporates historical fact with fiction and is published by Saga Books.

The Bond

m)  If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why?

There are so many! I would love to meet Ann Rule and thank her for her stories, which feed my imagination. Danielle Steele once wrote me a letter and I would love to meet her and thank her for that and the inspiration it gave me. The list goes on and on. LOL

n)  If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Right now, I love living where I am. I enjoy this city and Vancouver has inspired my new series of books.

o)  What’s your  favorite movie of all time?

That is a difficult question. I like the movie Timeline with Paul Walker – travelling back in time is a fascination for me; Turk 182 with Timothy Hutton is a great story of a young man taking on local government for a good cause; The Crow with the late Brandon Lee fascinates me. I love movies that spark my imagination and may plant an idea for a future book.

p)  Where can readers find you and your blog?

My blog is at http://karen-magill.blogspot.com; my website is www.karenmagill.com and I am on Facebook at : http://goo.gl/1VL3f and my Facebook fan page is: http://goo.gl/ulvSy . I am on twitter @KarenMagill

q)  Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

I am working on my next book now. It is a continuation of the Julie Seer and Santoro Ricci series. It is set in Vancouver and focuses on the area and history of this city as well as a murder and the paranormal.

r)  Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

That would have to be my parents. They have always supported me, made suggestions, and sometimes just listened. If it weren’t for them, I may have given up long ago.

Thank you for an awesome interview, Karen.

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