Bronwyn Averett, from the US-based book website Book Riot, recently compiled a list of novels chronicling the Canadian war experience in honour of Remembrance Day. A Beckoning War was included in it. The list is well-worth checking out–her comments on each book are apt–and I am pleased that in her eyes, A Beckoning War succeeds in doing what it tries to do. Enjoy.
It has been a long time since I posted. It has been about a week and a half since my novel, A Beckoning War, has been published and has gone on sale. In about three weeks, I will receive a review from Kirkus Indie Reviews, which may or may not be favourable. I am confident that it will be. If it is a good review, I will put an excerpt in or on the book. If it is unfavourable, um, who said anything about a Kirkus Indie review anyway?
On the whole, I am very, very happy that the book is done. It takes A HELL OF A LOT OF WORK to ready a manuscript for publication. I would love for one day to be allied with a publishing house, to share the labours with others, and I hope that this self-published book will end up in the right hands to make that an eventuality. But whatever the case, it’s out of my system and foisted upon the world at large. I am currently re-editing a novella I wrote a few years back to enter it into a contest. It is refreshing to be able to return to writing other things now that this project is done with. I I leave you with my radio interview with CBC Sudbury from last Friday, January 24th, with Markus Schwabe, in which I discuss the inspirations and writing of the book, which along with a Sudbury Star profile in December, is my first traditional media exposure.
I bid thee adieu for now, and urge you to read some good books.
A Walk in the Woods
Footfall by footfall, the crunch of fallen twigs underfoot. Unnumbered shades of green, a deliciously deciduous verdance of leaves, vines and mosses adumbrated through the mist onto the canvas of your eyes. Rain-sodden leaves droop from the silhouetted columns of great trees, ferns fan upward from the forest floor, rich carpets of moss cling to trunk and rock, deep green grass sponges underfoot and squeaks against your shoes as you pass through this ancient grove….
Through the mist you part with your steps you see this shaded scene clearer; in the foreground drips water from the ferns; great and ancient oaks gnarl upward, cloaked in their full heads of summer leaves, reliving their yearly gift of youth before they grow in fall and winter old, each year a lifetime; from one oak you catch a flitter in the corner of your gaze and see a squirrel scurry out from a knothole and up into the leafy branches.
On the air you smell the rich green wetness of vegetation; as you step by an oak tree you see emerging from the crags of bark near the tangle of roots boring downward into the wet soil wild mushrooms clinging for life in the dark shadows and corners of the forest floor—you break one with your hand and the edge of the soffit, dry and wrinkly, crumbles away revealing the white wet ripeness of its pith—and you wonder what mystic secrets to which it might be key, what fevers it contains, what flavourings, mushrooms the great mysteries of the forest growing in dankness and in darkness, storing in their caps and stems it seems the mystic subconscious of the forest’s very thoughts—and you continue walking though the grass as the mist rises as the sun burns away the clouds above, recalling what it can of the rain, what the forest cannot absorb into its cells in time, and the mist is recalled in curtains of rising vapour wavering upward, aquarelling the forest with the its invisible brushstrokes in the appealing and suggestive haze of an Impressionist painting. As the sun’s rays wink through the tangled wickerwork of canopy above, so below forms in response a shadow forest of trunks and penumbral branches and leaves, throwing twisted and tangled bars of shade over fern and blade and fur of moss.
You stop, pause and breathe.
As you make your way through the forest the trees thin out until you make it to a lightly wooded glade, with taller grass and lies waving in the soft breeze now kicking up, centred by an ancient weeping willow whose vines sway gently in the breeze as though it were fanning itself. The clouds have broken up and the sun pours golden upon you.
Love is in the air.
You can smell its fragrance in floral pheromones, hear its strains in birdsong, see its colours in the scarlet plumage of a cardinal showing off its proud bearing, its feathered endowments, from atop a bentbacked poplar in the glade, seeking to woo a mate.
The breeze blows the leaves and as they crinkle you are sprinkled in rainwater shaken off the trees at the edge of the glade just behind you.
And you watch while the bees make love to the lilies, bending the stems under their light and shifting weight as they land on petal and stamen and adjust their footing as they, their antennae caressing as they spread pollen stuck on the hairs of their legs, spread the sperm of flowers while performing floralingus, lapping up nectar to be consummated into honey.
You feel a great peace as this scene colours your eyes like the staining of glass on arched windows, as it imprints itself on your mind. Satisfied and at peace, you make your way home.