Tales From the Wilderness

When one visits Glacier National Park, one notices immediately that everything – YES – everything is educational! Park Rangers abound and they are friendly, and available to answer any questions. All answers to all questions are an educational experience. Now, Glacier has bears, and as soon as one steps a hiking booted foot into Glacier, that person is told immediately – Glacier has bears. Bears aren’t all THAT unusual. I think the Black Bear can be found in forty-nine of the fifty states in America. However, Glacier has the GRIZZLY Bear! I mean we are talking the BEAR of all BEARS. Now, Me, being a bear enthusiast, had to see a bear. My heart was all a flutter! I mean really, I had seen many bears in zoos, but a bear in the wild is a totally different experience. So, all the Park Rangers informed the hikers, when hiking in Glacier –  make noise. Loud noise, Noise, NOISE! Why you might ask? Well, thank-you for asking. Noise tells the bear, there are humans in the area, and normally the bear will leave the hiker alone. So, every morning after we ate our hearty breakfast, we donned our hiking boots and off we went for another adventure. Everyday as we hiked I made noise. You might ask, what kind of noise did you make? Thank-you for asking. I sang! That’s right, as loud as I could, I sang. “Ooooooooooooo! THE BEAR WENT OVER THE MOUNTAIN! THE BEAR WENT OVER THE MOUNTAIN! THE BEAR WENT OVER THE MOUNTAINNNNNNNN – TO SEE WHAT HE COULD SEEEEEEEE!” Then when I finished said song. I started singing it again. Well, when I took a breath, I noticed I could hear people talking somewhere in the distant mountains. I didn’t know how far away these people were, then, I realized, sound travels in the mountains! To this day I wonder how many people heard me singing, “The Bear Went Over the Mountain?”

Stay tuned for the continuing story of Bears!


2014 INSPY Award Winners

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

-“Barefoot Summer,” by Denise Hunter


-“Dear Mr. Knightley,” by Katherine Reay

General Fiction

-“Wings of Glass,” by Gina Holmes

Historical Romance

-“A Noble Groom,” by Jody Hedlund

Literature for Young Adults

-“The Safe Lands, Captives,” by Jill Williamson


-“The King,” by Steven James

Speculative Fiction

-“Anomaly,” by Krista McGee

CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners!

The Penderwicks on Gardem Street

What a treasure! Okay Penderwick family, the house on the corner, in our neighborhood is for sale! I would like you to buy that house and move in – we would be fast friends! Hound Penderwick is also, more than welcome!

In the prologue of this story, it is a little sad. The author takes us to a time when Mrs. Penderwick is alive. Even though it is sad, I was happy to get a glimpse, of the mother, of these amazing girls.

So, in this book, Martin Penderwick – Dr. Martin Penderwick I might add, is going to D A T E! I can’t even say the word, I had to spell it! So, the four Penderwick girls – Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty – and of course, Hound Penderwick have an emergency MOPS meeting. And of course, the Save Daddy Plan is put into action!

This book was such a FUN read. I laughed and laughed. I read parts of the story out loud to my husband. The Penderwicks are so much fun, loveable and the adventures are incredible! Read, read, read the Penderwick books.  ENJOY! Jeanne Birdsall your stories rock!

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Tales From the Wilderness

Ah yes – Fetterman Road! Oh the memories! After we loaded our vehicle with camping equipment, Doodles, our dog jumped in the back seat and we were off to Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming. Ahh! I saw your eyebrows go up when you read “Doodles.” Doodles was a great dog. She was Australian Cattle dog/Border Collie, and she was the smartest dog in the world! Her name was Snicker Doodles, but we shortened it to Doodles because Snicker Doodles was a mouth full to say! Sadly, she died early in life, but that’s another story.

So, we’re off. I was driving and Rick was the navigator. When Rick told me to turn onto a highway, I slowed the vehicle down and gazed ahead of me. The highway started as a dirt road! I was apprehensive – to say the least. Doodles was sitting between us looking out the front window of the car. I think she was apprehensive too! However, she was so excited to be on an adventure, she was ready for anything! So, I drove the car onto the dirt road, alias – a highway and we were off. Wildlife abounded! There were stretches with fenced in ranches. I don’t think we ever saw a house! We saw mailboxes and signs indicating there were homes and people somewhere in the area, but I don’t remember ever seeing a house! The road became narrow. At times the “highway” was paved. We traveled onward. At some time, Rick became the driver and I took pictures. We pressed on and the road – alias highway – became more and more narrow. I was wondering what we would do if we met another vehicle on the road. Vegetation hung over the road, scraping our windshield and the top of the vehicle, but we managed to squeeze through. Several times I wanted to turn back, but we pressed onward and forward. At times it was dark with vegetation and it was a little creepy and unnerving. We laughed and joked about the “highway” we were driving on. We drove slowly, creeping along as the narrow road stretched out before us. There wasn’t a person to be found, no one to ask for directions. If we had turned into a questionable driveway, to find a house, we didn’t know how long the drive would be to the house, so we pressed on. I don’t remember how long we were on this “highway” – but – it seemed quite suddenly, we came to the end of Fetterman Road and saw before us  – an INTERSTATE! We were exactly where we were suppose to be! We drove into Medicine Bow, found a rustic campsite and had a great week. Doodles was a natural at camping and had great fun. Rick and I still laugh about our experience with Fetterman Road! It truly was a successful shortcut to our destination. Months later, Rick met a new co-worker, where he worked, who also knew and experienced Fetterman Road.

Well, my goodness . . .

Yesterday I read, “Armored Hearts (Armored Hearts, #1)” and “Winter Fae (Armored Hearts, #0.5).”  Armored Hearts is Steampunk/Fantasy/Romance. I don’t recall ever reading Steampunk in the past. I read Armored Hearts – totally – out of curiosity. I wanted to discover Steampunk. I liked it!

Tristan Gareth Smyth is bound to a wheelchair. One day, he rescues a girl falling from a tree and discovers something about himself that surprises him and changes his life. Let me tell you – it surprised this reader also! There were several surprises in this story and I was captivated. I turned my kindle pages and wouldn’t quit until I finished this extraordinary book.

I was amazed and delighted with the inventions in the story. I thought they were creative, revealed ingenuity and meticulous thought in the inventor!

In a nutshell, it was just a really fun read! I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

Winter Fae is a short story that will answer a couple of questions the reader might have after reading Armored Hearts. I thought Winter Fae was sad, however, it was imaginative and full of wonder.

Winter Fae can be read before or after Armored Hearts.

A big “shout out” to Pauline Creeden and Melissa Turner Lee, the authors of these creative stories!

“The Penderwicks,” by Jeanne Birdsall

“A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy”

Penderwicks 001 What a fun story! There are the four Penderwick sisters, Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty – oh, I need to remember Hound Penderwick. That’s right, a dog! Don’t laugh. Hound is a very important character in the story! Mr. Penderwick is a widowed man. He’s a great guy. I liked dad! He’s smart, funny, and patient with his girls. So, anyway, the family piles into their vehicle and travel to Arundel for their summer vacation. Arundel is a beautiful estate with plenty to explore. Of course, they meet fun and interesting characters – and – not so fun characters. Of course, the owner of Arundel has a son- Jeffrey. The Penderwick  girl’s and Jeffrey become friends. The kids and Hound have adventures galore in this funny and delightful story.

Tales From the Wilderness

I have a Winnie-the-Pooh backpack. That’s right, I do. I like my Winnie-the-Pooh backpack. Yes, I do. Well, one summer, in the month of July, Rick and I loaded up our vehicle with camping equipment and we traveled to Glacier National Park. Yes, Winnie-the-Pooh was included. We used Winnie-the-Pooh daily – on ALL our hikes. The day we hiked the Highline Trail was a day to remember, for many reasons. We woke early in the morning, ate breakfast, readied ourselves for the trail and off we went! It was a beautiful morning. Glacier is beautiful, majestic, calming, cathartic, peaceful – in a nutshell – it’s AWESOME there! So, we started our trek along the Highline Trail. When I hike, I take my time. I enjoy every flower, I breath in the fresh air, and take thousands of pictures! Rick is carrying my Winnie-the-Pooh backpack on his back. We were probably four miles into the trail, when I glanced behind me and noticed two people hiking behind us. I stopped and said, “I’m sorry, we were hiking very slow. Would you like to pass us?” The man following us replied, “Oh no. I’m perfectly content. I was enjoying the Winnie-the-Pooh backpack!”

“The Hatmaker’s Heart,” by Carla Stewart

I never really thought about what goes into making a hat. This book clearly revealed to me the talent required of a milliner in the 1920’s. Nell was artistic, she drew sketches of her creations. I can’t even draw stick people!  There was fabric, bangles, and beads – just to name a few of items required in the process. The milliner had to take into consideration the gown or clothing the woman would wear with the hat, the shape of the woman’s face and her eye color, etc. Goodness! Who knew? I enjoyed learning about the art of hat making.

Nell certainly has a challenging boss, Oscar Fields. He was despicable, to say the least. The author did a fine job creating an antagonist. Oscar was a master at making everyone miserable, but Nell was assertive enough to stand up to him, especially at the end of the story.

I thought Sal’s Diner was a nice oasis for Nell.

The Roaring Twenties, hat making, fashion shows, a family secret and a young woman with a passion for hats – it was a good read.

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“For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared in the land; the time has arrived for pruning the vines, and the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.” Song of Solomon 2:11-12

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