A Seasonal Love Note and an Update*

Happy September, all!

I’m sharing one of my Evergreen Posts today, because much of its content still applies to my life right now. Between berry-picking, bread-making, and gearing up for more writing this fall with a plan to take part in November’s NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—I expect to be busy. If all goes well, I will complete the first rough draft of my fifth novel (I have two published, two un-published) by November’s end. Thanks for reading!

I know our Atlantic Canadian summers are short and I treasure the warmer days while they’re here, but there is something about this season of change I truly love as well.

Late summer and early fall has a uniquely different quality, where on a sunny day the air lends a crisper, more metallic edge to the natural world. (This love affair hinges on one important caveat: that the northeast wind doesn’t blow too much and turn our world chilly and wet for days on end.)

The outlines of clouds against the steel-blue sky look sharper, heralding the approach of what is to come. Most foliage and grasses are still summery green. I relish them all the more, knowing the colours will soon transition into vibrant shades of red and gold before finally fading to the cool grey and white hues of late autumn and winter.

It is a season of harvest and renewal, a time of new beginnings and the dawning of fresh ideas. The kiddies are back in their classes. Though my own school days and child rearing years are well behind me, I still feel that push of motivation into new plans and goals, to make the transition into a stricter work schedule, to get back to writing more in the coming months. November and NaNoWriMo are still a ways off, but I strive to clear up all loose ends in preparation for – dare I say it without jinxing myself – a 50 thousand-word first draft of a brand-spanking new novel. But hey, I did it before, so why not?

Then there are the berries. Where would this season be without the berries?

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fruits of the first trip

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…and fruits of the second

In two afternoon jaunts, the blueberries are now picked, and it won’t be long before we are in on the barrens again to pick partridgeberries. (In other parts of the world, these lovely bitter, relatives of the cranberry are called lingonberries or cowberries.) I make plenty of the jam for my other half since he likes it on his morning toast all year round, not to mention in the occasional pastry tart with a generous dollop of thick cream.

Especially anticipated, besides an excursion on the barrens, is picking the plump, juicy partridgeberries that grow right here on our land. I checked all around the Point last week and it looks like a bumper crop this year, probably a sign of how plentiful their growth is everywhere else.

My boy and me back in the day

Coinciding with the cool-down in temperature is a return to more bread-baking. There’s nothing like the smell of a fresh batch from the oven to take the chill out of your day.

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

What do you like the most about this time of year?
Relief from the heat? A return to a more orderly schedule?
Getting the children out from underfoot and back in school?
Or are you sad because the summer is nearly spent?
Do tell!

This post was inspired by Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Seasonal.*

Summer E-book Sale

Hey, Book Lovers!

It’s the perfect time to add to your summer reading list. This week only, both Calmer Girls and Calmer Secrets Kindle editions are on sale for 99¢ each on Amazon.com and £0.99 on Amazon.co.uk. Check out the latest five-star review of Book 1 below the book graphics and grab one or both before July 5th.

5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and complicated teen/family relationships (Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2021):

“I usually don’t read much YA relationship-based drama, but this book has been on my radar for a few years, and I decided to dive in. I’m glad I did. The writing is polished, the story had me hooked, and these aren’t teenage characters with frivolous problems. Samantha, her sister, and her mom are all flawed, as is Ben, the love interest of the two sisters.

The story unfolds in Samantha’s point of view. Her family is falling apart. Her father has moved away, and her mother is drinking too much. Money is tight. Samantha has a crush on Ben, but he falls for her sister, Veronica. Samantha takes a hit to her self esteem, but when the relationship fails, Samantha and Ben get a chance at love.

But it’s not that easy. Resentment drives a wedge between the sisters, and mistakes aren’t going to simply disappear. Ben has some problems of his own that the author waits to reveal. The mystery around his character and issues was intriguing, and I didn’t fully trust him. I had no idea how the story was going to resolve, and that question made me read well into the night.

Ultimately the story is about a family growing up, about dealing with love, disappointment, and wounded hearts. I could relate to how painful that process was for every character in the book. Wonderful writing and highly relatable characters. Definitely recommended for readers of YA drama and family sagas.”
— D. Wallace Peach
dwallacepeachbooks.com

A cup of tea and a Calmer Girls book on a chair in the sun

Jennifer Kelland Perry: Calmer Secrets

Canadian author, fellow blogger and e-friend Carol Balawyder recently read and reviewed my New Adult novel, Calmer Secrets, on her blog. I would love for you to check it out.

Carol Balawyder

“Calmer Secrets is a novel about good people making bad choices. . . about an affectionate family sticking together through thick and thin. It’s a heartwarming book, filled with love and tenderness and suspense.”

Read the rest here: https://carolbalawyder.com/2021/05/24/jennifer-kelland-perry-calmer-secrets/

Thanks for this, Carol, and for your lovely review of Calmer Girls as well. All of my writer friends and book-blogging buddies rock!

I can hardly believe it’s been four years since my last book was released. Although I have a finished novel and an outline for its sequel, I’m still patiently waiting for follow-up from four publishers who have requested the full manuscript. Time will tell! Have a great week, everyone.

Once Upon a Time*

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Last week while I was sifting through old papers, I found this piece of writing from decades ago. Thankfully, we have all made peace since then . . .

Once upon a time, there was a girl from St. John’s.
At the age of fourteen,
she moved around the bay with her family.
She hated her curly hair,
adored her Persian cat,
and loved to get lost inside stories and songs.

When she grew older,
she fell in love and got married.
She was happy.
She had a beautiful little daughter.
Not long after,
she gave birth to a handsome son.
She liked to tease him and call him
her little “curly boy”
because he so much reminded her of herself.

A few times,
when she and the husband had terrible fights,
she had to take her girl and boy
to her parents’ house.
But the husband would always tell her
how sorry he was,
and she would go back because she loved him,
and wanted to believe him.

Eventually, she stopped believing.
She moved back to St. John’s
and started a new job and a new life.
She still had her beautiful daughter,
but she lost her curly-boy
to his dad.

She found someone
who reminded her of her love
for stories and songs.
She loves her cats,
still hates her curly hair, and
misses her son
with an ache that never goes away
and leaves her pillow wet with tears
every night.
Still, she knows
she is doing the only thing she can.

She hopes someday he will understand
how, once upon a time,
there was a girl from St. John’s
who couldn’t fight anymore,
and only wished for
a happily ever after.

~ Jennifer Kelland, 1995

picnic table in a winter garden

*Evergreen post from 2014

52 Books: How to Read Your Way Through a Pandemic

photo by Pexels

2019 was my first year taking part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. When I achieved my goal of forty books, I decided to challenge myself in 2020 by giving fifty books a try. Here’s the link if you want to compare your list with mine.

Enter Covid 19. While coming to grips with the pandemic that descended on us all in March, I seriously stepped up my reading. Books have always been my go-to form of escape, lockdown or not. Writing the second novel of my trilogy got pushed to the back burner, because I’m one of those people who is struggling to be productive during these strange times. And apparently I’m not alone. But hey, if you’re writing up a storm, good on you! I envy you, but I predict I’ll come around very soon.

Anyhoo, one afternoon in mid-March, husband Paul came home from the library with two of my recent requests at the time, Midwives and The Silent Patient.

Hmm. . .the coronavirus, and two new books—one, a medical fiction and the other, a thriller about a psychotherapist’s patient—and what beloved show of mine was I watching on TV when he dropped the books in front of me? Grey’s Anatomy. Yep, maybe I should’ve gone into the medical field like my sister, brother-in-law, and daughter. Both of the books I’ve written include hospital stays for certain characters, and my latest manuscript is no exception, come to think of it. Wow. I’m having a small revelation here this morning!

But I did try to read a wide variety of genres in 2020, which included more classic literature (LOVE Thomas Hardy and George Eliot), a little romance, a lot of crime, historical and literary fiction, select non-fiction, and a fair sampling of my author-blogger pals’ works. I also read a few local Newfoundland books:  the historical fiction, River Thieves by Michael Crummey; Some People’s Children, a coming of age tale by Bridget Canning; and Terror Nova, a new horror anthology. By the way, these days I review very few books but almost always give a rating.

Books and Cats

By mid-December, I had reached my goal. With a couple of weeks to spare, I devoured two more books to bring the total to 52. I almost made it to 53 but didn’t finish Carrie Rubin’s The Bone Hunger (you guessed it, a medical thriller) until January 1st of this year. Now I’m reading Elton John’s official autobiography, Me, which is quite funny. I’m enjoying the wild ride his life has been, but mostly I like his writing style and his self-deprecating humour.

I’ve chosen to lower my reading expectations back to 40 books for 2021. You see, there’s this novel I’m writing that I have to finish. . .

What have you read to get you through 2020?
What is on your TBR list? Have any not-put-downable
suggestions to add to mine?
Do tell!

Further reading:
Did Canadians read more during the pandemic? Experts say yes.

Vivian’s View From Here: 6 Months Without Her

On my morning jaunt outside,
I believe I see Maisie again.

Just when I thought
I was over her,
from the corner of my eye
I see her step, sylphlike,
through the wind-riven grass
—a slim, graceful shadow.

My heart leaps.
The idea of her, home—
on Perry’s Point once more!
Joy flashes, like
the spangle of sun
upon the ocean around me.
A dream, a wish, short-lived.

As the chill of the first winter
without her closes in,
I will miss the cuddles,
the companionable silences,
the nose bumps,
our years of moments shared
ever since we were wombmates.

I won’t dwell on
what once was. Instead,
I will carry my sister with me
until we meet again.

Maisie, you may have left Perry’s Point
but you will never leave our hearts!
♥♥♥ 

In case you missed it: Sad News

Comments are closed, though my staff would appreciate you leaving a like for my post. – Vivian

Sunday Snaps: Skipper Alex

Alexander Perry

Alexander Perry, or Skipper Alex (aka Alec) as he was called by many, was my husband’s grandfather. For those that don’t already know, our home on Perry’s Point for the past ten years is the same home in which Alexander and his wife Mary Jane lived and raised their large family.

Alexander worked as a skipper  on a number of fishing schooners. He made many trips to Labrador to fish for cod, which he brought back to Newtown to be cured before it was carried by ship from St. John’s to England and sometimes Jamaica.

Although I never met the man, I’ve heard many good things about him.  Skipper Alex was widely admired for his seafaring abilities, his pleasant disposition and gentle spirit, and his flair for storytelling. Locals loved to visit with him—or he with them—to be regaled with colourful tales of his experiences. Of course, having a love of stories myself, I wish I could have known him back in the day.

Below is a letter from Pompano Beach, Florida that Paul found in a box in the attic when we renovated our house. It was written by John Maxwell Barbour, known as Max, the eldest son of Captain Alphaeus Barbour. I imagine the letter meant something to Alex for him to hold onto it like that. He would have been 81 when he received it, and Max, 69. I typed the letter out for easier reading.

Jan. 22, 1969

Dear Skipper Alex,

This carries to you and to your good wife my warm congratulations on your 56th wedding anniversary.

Seeing your excellent picture brought back many memories of my boyhood days in Newtown and of our many contacts, all of which were pleasant and helpful in shaping me for the years ahead. To put it quite plainly, during that period you were one of my favourite adults and without question your personality made a good impression on me.

To my mind’s ear the sound of the guns fired at your wedding still comes thru. I recall the happy occasion well altho I was not old enough then to be a guest.

My wife joins me in sending you and your wife best wishes for continued health and happiness.

Very sincerely,
Max Barbour.

Many thanks to Lester Barbour for giving me some background on Max.
Photo credits: James Maine

“Granda” Perry on the Point – b. 1888 – d. 1977

Blog Tour: Against All Odds by Jacqui Murray

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Today I’m happy to host Jacqui Murray, a fellow blogger and prolific author as she launches Against All Odds, Book 3 in the Crossroads series. I’ve read most of her work and hold a special fascination for her prehistoric thrillers. Here’s the summary for her newest book:

A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of her search for freedom, safety, and a new home. A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

I had the pleasure of asking Jacqui a few questions about her latest novel:

You made up the bird language—right?

Wrong. Imitating bird song to communicate over difficult-to-traverse expanses has been used throughout the world by different cultures. If you’re curious, try this link: https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/09/26/443434027/in-a-turkish-village-a-conversation-with-whistles-not-words

 Could early man really run down their prey?

That answer is a resounding Yes. Scientists call this the “Endurance Running Hypothesis”. Early Man didn’t run faster than herd animals. They ran harder—all day or more. The Homo genus evolved a more stable head, looser hips, longer legs, shock-absorbing joints, and a springier foot formation. This made them—and us—well-suited to continuous running. Other changes in body makeup meant humans didn’t tire or overheat from this activity. Most animals sprint only short distances before they must stop to catch their breath and let their bodies cool down. We didn’t.

Could primitive man build rafts as suggested in this story?

Yes, absolutely. They possessed the brainpower, and the required tools were available at the time. Because these rafts must have been made of wood and vines—-materials that don’t preserve over time—no artifacts remain to prove this. Anthropologists speculate this earliest raft was more of a floating platform made from bamboo and tied together with vine. Scientists tested this hypothesis by building rafts using the prehistoric techniques Xhosa employed to cross the Straits of Gibraltar and then sailing the raft through Indonesia as the ancient people might have done.

Thank you, Jacqui. I wish you much success with this book and with all of your writing endeavors.

Available digitally (print soon) at:
Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

Visit Jacqui’s Amazon Author page here.

A Shout-out to my Commenters

Many thanks to everyone who visits my blog.

I’m throwing out a bouquet today to all who consistently like and comment on my articles, updates and photos throughout the year, but particularly I wish to thank the six most frequent commenters of late.

I hope you know how much I value your visits and our conversations. These visits bring the reward of connection with other like-minded people from all over, as well as with those who walk an entirely different path.

Have a look. You just might hit the follow button and join our blogging community.

Book Club Mom, a.k.a. Barbara Vitelli, hails from the U.S. and is my most frequent commenter. She is a book reviewer and blogger here on WordPress, where she shares author interviews, indie author profiles and blogging advice. Barbara is also a librarian, a book-clubber, and an avid reviewer on Net Galley and GoodReads.


Jacqui Murray of WordDreams is an author, freelance journalist, teacher, Amazon Vine Voice, and the bearer of a wealth of helpful advice for all things wordy. I have learned a lot from her posts which she fills with hints, lists,  how-tos, and book reviews. Jacqui lives in California.


Jill Weatherholt is a writer of contemporary stories about love, faith, friendship and forgiveness. Her sweet novels always end with a “happily ever after.” She started her blog as a way to share her journey and to create a community for other new writers, artists and fellow bloggers. Jill lives in North Carolina.


Clanmother, a.k.a. Rebecca Budd, is a fellow Canadian living in British Columbia. She hosts several blogs, sharing her talents as a visual storyteller, photographer, podcaster, traveler and life-long learner.


Andrea Stephenson of Harvesting Hecate is a gifted writer as well as a painter. She hails from the United Kingdom, where she draws inspiration from nature, the coastline and the turn of the seasons. She has written two magical realism novels for adults.


Joanne Meadows of joannerambling  is a blogger from Australia. She loves to blog about family, write letters to pen pals, and she’s always eager to share my posts on Twitter.


Honorable mention goes out to each and every commenter and visitor.

You all rock! 

Evergreen Post: Summer Lovin’

I’ve been taking a blogging break while away from home these past couple of weeks, so today I’ll share a photography post from a beautiful July day six years ago.
Remember 2014, when life was simpler?  ~*sigh*~

I plan to return to regular blogging with a new Sunday Snap, on—you guessed it—Sunday!

***

Summer in my province of Newfoundland and Labrador, compared to most of North America, is short but ever so sweet. What makes it so cherished, to my mind?

The following photos were all taken in Lead Cove, the little community where I raised my children.

I love my home for its natural beauty,
its refreshing, rugged and
unspoiled charm,
for its clear and wide blue skies
without a whisper of smog.

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I love the clean, sparkling water
and the glistening rocks adorning the coastline
that beg to be traced
and trod upon by eager footsteps.

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I love summer in Newfoundland
for its breathtaking views
of seascapes and landscapes
when I embark on a hike.

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Whether I traverse
its beaches of sand or
climb its rocky windswept hills,
I know my camera will find its aim.

I embrace it because
the bushes and shrubs,
green and lush,
are heavy with fragrance
and of wild roses in bloom…

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…while in the gardens,
the planted perennials are brilliant with colour,
delighted at last
to spread their bright petals to the sun.

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I love the hardy trees of Newfoundland
in summer…

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…as they stretch
their ripe foliage to the sky.

184Shot through with rays of sunlight,
a shimmering haze settles over the treetops
like a warm summer veil.

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After a long winter and dismal spring
of cold, naked branches,
they, as I do,
breathe a sigh of gratitude
at the return of this warm and golden season.

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Are you filled with summer lovin’ where you live, or is the pandemic interfering?

Originally published here on July 29/14