wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Books for Christmas

As Christmas is only three weeks away, you may be wondering what to do for gifts. If the person you are buying for likes to read, I have the perfect solution for you. My novels are very reasonably priced and will bring hours of pleasure and entertainment.

Three of the six are set on the west coast of Canada. The remote parts of the coast are a rough and tough “man’s world,” but in my novels, the women who live in this environment grow stronger as they face the challenges of coastal life.

A friend of mine painted a portrait that she kindly allowed me to use for the “Marlie” book cover. When I first saw the painting at her house, I knew this was Marlie, the character in my novel.

How did I recognize her? It was in the eyes.

Her left eye has a hint of tears and says, “You’ve hurt me.” But her right eye is hard. It seems to say, “Don’t you ever do that again.” Look at her eyes in the cover of the book. Do you see what I mean?

You can find Marlie on all the Amazon sites. Just go to amazon.com or amazon.ca, or amazon.co.uk and type in Marlie. If you have an e-reader other than Kindle, you can find Marlie on Smashwords.com. It is affordably priced so as not to break the bank.

If you would like to read a review of this book, please click on the link below. The review is near the end of that post.

https://wordsfromanneli.com/2018/09/26/a-great-review-for-marlie/

 

You can find out more about all my novels on my website: http://www.anneli-purchase.com


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The Murderer

  • Note: For those of you who are followers of my other post “annelisplace,” please excuse the duplication. If you like to read about books, authors, and writing, you may want to follow that blog as well as this one.
  • Also, if you are a writer and would like to post something on my annelisplace blog, please let me know and I’d be happy to host you there.

 

On Marlie’s first day of moving onto the Queen Charlotte Islands, her car has a flat tire. All her belongings are stuffed in the trunk on top of the tire changing equipment. Once removed, they don’t fit back into the trunk, but a passing islander stops to help change her tire and as the sky opens and rain threatens to soak everything, he offers to bring the excess belongings to Masset for her.

Here is the scene that follows (taken from the novel “Marlie”)

*****

“Okay, you go sit in the car and I’ll take care of the rest.” When she nodded, Brent grabbed a few things from the roadside and walked to the back of his truck. She was right behind him with an armful of odds and ends.

Brent opened the canopy door and as she shrieked, he whirled around. “Oh my God! You killer!” Her face was contorted into a mask of horror.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“You murderer! How could you kill that sweet little thing? Give me my stuff.” She tried to grab the bags from his hand but dropped what she was carrying. They both bent to pick the things up and bumped heads.

“What the hell’s the matter with you?” Brent stared at her in disbelief. The popstar image was fading fast and she was looking more like one of those angry protestors he’d seen on TV.

Her hazel eyes were huge as she glared at him. “You killed that helpless animal.”

“Yeah, I shot a deer. So what? I eat venison.”

“Is that even legal?”

“Lady, what planet did you beam down from? Of course it’s legal. Everybody eats venison here.”

“Not everyone! Not me!” She picked up her things and stomped back to her car but there was no place to put anything. She threw him a disgusted look, frowned, shook her head. She opened the back door and punched and pushed and shoved her belongings, desperate to cram her things into the Corolla’s back seat. No room. She squeezed out a growl of frustration, and looked back at Brent again. Her shoulders sagged and that’s when the tears came.

He blew out a long breath. “Look. Nothing is going to happen to your stuff in the back of my truck. The deer won’t do anything to it. You don’t even have to think about it being there. We’ll load up and you can follow me to Masset.” He waited and she appeared to mull that over. It was taking too long. “Oh, piss on it. This was a mistake. I’m leaving. You can wait for another car to pull over to pack your stuff to Masset for you. I don’t need this shit.”

She wiped her eyes with the back of her wrist and sniffed. “No wait! Yes, okay. Would you please bring my stuff for me? I guess I have to trust that you won’t take off with my belongings.”

“Have to trust me?! Jeezus you’ve got some bloody nerve. What the hell would I want your stuff for?” Brent turned to get into the truck.

“Please.” She closed her eyes and pulled herself up straight. “I’m sorry. I do need your help. If you could take some of my things in your truck…. I do trust you.”

“This is the only road that goes up or down the island, so you won’t lose sight of your boxes.” What does she think I’d do with a bunch of ladies’ clothes? Christ! What a loonie! How did I get myself mixed up with this nutcase?

“Of course. You’re right.”

“Where in Masset are you headed?”

“The teachers’ trailer court,” she said.

He straightened up and inhaled a long slow breath through his nose. Oh man. One of those! “That explains a lot.”

Find MARLIE on amazon and smashwords.


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Let Me Tell You!

 

I’m a red-shafted northern flicker. I happened to flick through the pages of Anneli’s latest book, “Marlie.” It took me back to a time when I made a return flight up to the northern coast of BC. I flew across to the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii), but the weather up there is something else, let me tell you! I nearly blew all the way to China in that windstorm.

On Graham Island near the fishing village of Masset, I ended up gripping a hemlock branch. In one wind gust, a lovely lady on the cover of Anneli’s book flew by and got hung up on the branches too. Since I was already gripping the branch, I grabbed it and thought, “How fitting!”  I’d read it before and it was  a gripping story.

When I read it, did I ever have my eyes opened. Let me tell you! Here’s Marlie, this lovely lady, newly arrived on the islands just like me, trying to make her way all by herself, just like me, and she ends up struggling not to give up on living in the new place, just like me.

I flickered through some more pages. Well! This smarmy artist fellow (I’d seen him around town looking like a charming beach boy – can’t stand the type myself), came onto Marlie. She’s a looker, let me tell you! But she’s too kind for her own good. Finds it hard to say no. And when she finally does say no – screams it, in fact (I heard her all the way to my tree in the woods near the beach) –  it doesn’t do her any good.

Now what?! She’s so much like me. She can’t go home  and admit she’s a failure. Like me, she just got here. We have to stick together. So when I found out what happened, I flew over to the dumpy trailer she was renting and imagined that I whispered in her ear, “Never mind. There are other people in the world besides those beach boy types. No one else knows what happened in the woods. Just do like me. Fly away and mend for a while. Maybe you’ll meet a friend. I know a fisherman. Handsome fellow and very capable. Good person.”

But, to be honest, I wasn’t sure they were suited. Marlie’s politics are a bit left-wing (government job, you know) and this fisherman, Brent, I’m sure is far right, being in business for himself. You never know, though. They say opposites attract.

“I’ll fly over to his fishboat in the Masset harbour,” I imagined telling Marlie, “and sit on the crossbar of his mast. I’ll get his attention, doing what birds do  in the rigging. I’ll drop some ‘e-mail’ down to him and when he looks up, I’ll tell him about you. Maybe I’ll drop the book cover image down to him so he can see how pretty you are.

“I’ll put a bug in his ear,” (Ha ha, I have some real juicy ones, let me tell you), “and then the rest is up to you.”

By the way, you lovely followers of Anneli’s blog, if you need a book to read during Christmas break (or any time) you can find Marlie on amazon (just type in the title) and on smashwords.com if you have an e-reader other than Kindle.

You will love it, let me tell you!  And so inexpensive. Less than the price of a hamburger, but fifty times as good, it lasts a long time and not on your thighs either.

*****

Thank  you all for indulging me. My book is just out and I’m a bit excited about it. I won’t hit you up about it all the time. I think I’ve got that out of my system now – for a while anyway.

I wish all of you a very happy Christmas season and hope 2018 is good to you.

See you in the next year or maybe sooner.

 


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Get in Line

The commercial salmon troller (not to be mistaken for a trawler) is shown here in early June, all tiddled up, ready to leave for the summer fishing season in the Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida Gwaii). But now that the season has ended, the boat is a bit tired and ready for some TLC. Like every summer, it has taken a beating, pounding into the waves in bad weather. Rigging, fishing lines, gear,  equipment, and even other boats have rubbed on its hull.

The question friends and acquaintances most often ask after it’s all over, is “How was your season?”

The main thing is to survive the elements, stay safe from the many hazards that can befall a fisherman. Beyond that, it’s a case of trying to be in the right place at the right time and hook some salmon that happen to be swimming by.

Commercial fishermen work hard to supply us with fish to eat. Turns out though, that we humans have to get in line. No, I don’t mean the line in the grocery store. I mean get in line behind the more aggressive predators. Here’s how it comes to be that way.

This year, the Captain tells me, it has been an exercise in frustration. Yes, there were good days, but there were extra obstacles besides the ongoing bad weather. The blue shark below is one example. Often they are quick to take advantage of the salmon’s inability to escape the hook. This one was unlucky and bit the lure himself.

Sometimes the Captain might hook a salmon and before he can get it into the boat, a shark has helped himself to a meal.  Here is what’s left of the fish after the shark has taken a bite. I’ve blurred out the deckhand’s face for the sake of his anonymity.

And then there are the pyrosomes, a new phenomenon in northern waters this year. They are not really a jellyfish although they could easily be mistaken for them. They are really small creatures (zooids)  held together in a colony by a gelatinous substance. If they break apart, they just multiply and grow again. Soon we could be overrun … er .. overswum?? with them.

The deckhand holds the hoochie (a lure meant to simulate a squid), which has the hook hidden inside its rubbery, synthetic tentacles. Some pyrosomes are snagged on the steel cable and slide down to where the monofilament line is attached, while others are snagged on the monofilament line itself and slide down to the flasher or the hoochie beyond it.   A hook that is covered with pyrosomes won’t attract a fish, so the lines have to be cleaned off constantly.And then we have the same old deadly predators, the sea lions, who often follow a boat, lazily waiting for a salmon to be caught so they can snatch it off the line for their own easy meal.

With a lot of stress and frustration, the fisherman does his best to catch enough fish to sell to the buyers who will supply the stores to feed humans. Looks like we have  to get in line behind these more aggressive feeders and take what they leave us.


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Vintage

Some people love vintage cars. Not me. I’ve had enough old cars and trucks to last me the rest of my days. The only kind of vintage I want in my life now comes in a wine bottle.

This post is a continuation of one I wrote about five years ago. You can find Part One here. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2014/07/31/deflated-2/

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The same vehicle I am talking about in that post, was part of my life for too many years. We were frugal then, by necessity. Here is the truck as it was in the early 80s. My sister Sonja was visiting and as I took her picture, the truck happened to be in the background.

Back in the 70s the Captain bought a 1967 Chev 4 x 4. We drove that truck for years and used it to haul our few belongings to the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1975 and then back to Vancouver Island again six years later. The six years in the Charlottes were hard on the truck. Severe storms are the norm up there and the salty sea air eats metal, but the Captain kept the Chev running.

After moving to Vancouver Island in the early 80s I wanted a newer vehicle so badly, but it was still hard times and we were stuck with the old Chev.

I was driving the truck into town one day. It was summer and I had the window rolled down so I heard it “loud and clear” when the driver  behind me stuck his head out his window and yelled at me, “GET THAT PIECE OF SHIT OFF THE ROAD!”

Still, we drove it for a few more years. One day we were coming down the logging road off our nearby Mount Washington and the truck was rattling rather loudly. I looked out the back cab window into the box of the truck and said to the Captain, “Is the box supposed to be moving separately from the cab of the truck?”

We slapped a “For Sale” sign on it. In no time at all, a young fellow bought it “as is,” and drove it away happily.


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Great Blue Heron

Wouldn’t it be nice if all birds could be friends? But that’s not how it is in nature. Crows rob the nests of songbirds, cowbirds lay eggs in the nests of other birds and then fly off, knowing the surrogate mother will bring up the cowbird baby that will crowd out the original nestlings. Owls and hawks will kill other smaller birds. “World bird peace” is pretty much hopeless.

Two of the larger birds, great blue herons and bald eagles, live side by side on the west coast of British Columbia. You rarely see bald eagles killing a heron, but it does happen. Turkey vultures, crows, ravens, black bears, and raccoons are all nest robbers that will clean out a heron’s nest. Eagles will do the same but they also predate on great blue herons in every stage of the heron’s life. The eagle has great grasping talons and a beak made for tearing flesh, so what chance does a heron have?

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Photo, courtesy of Ken Thorne.

Many years ago, I saw how herons escape from eagles. While living on the Queen Charlotte Islands, I was standing in my backyard one day when I heard the croaking call of a heron in a tall tree nearby. An eagle flew in and the heron lifted off. I thought the heron would fly away as the eagle went after him, but instead, the heron reached up with both of his wide-spread wings and pumped air downwards. He flew higher and higher in a tight circle going almost straight up.

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The eagle also pumped his wings and pursued the heron, circling higher and higher after him. The heron went so high that he was a mere speck in the sky. Many meters below him, the eagle soared in circles but was no longer gaining in altitude. I think he had gone as high as he was able. The two birds circled at their respective heights for several minutes, and at last the eagle gave up and flew away. The heron came down after a while, to go about his business for another day.

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The great blue heron is the ultimate stalker. He is patient beyond belief, and will stand absolutely still for so long that you might wonder if he is alive. Then he moves one leg up out of the water and hesitates. After a moment he puts the leg down, just a little closer to the fish or frog he is stalking. His folded up neck reminds me of a boxer holding his fist close to his chest, ready to fling out his arm to throw a punch at the right second. The heron’s sharp grabbing beak is his weapon for securing his dinner. His patience usually pays off and he scores a snack for his dinner.

I saw this fellow today at the shore below my house. I also took the picture of the eagle soaring over the trees beside my house today.  I sure hope these two can keep out of each other’s way and both settle for a meal of fish instead.


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Deflated

A day to remember from when I lived on the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Women! Listen to Your Man

“Don’t use the truck while I’m away,” he says.

“Why not?” I ask. “My back is a mess from pushing the Beetle to start it every time.”

“I’ll have a look at the Beetle when I get back, but meanwhile, don’t use the truck.”

After he leaves, I grumble. Fine for you to say ‘Don’t use the truck.’  Your back isn’t a wreck. I’m working too. To hell with this. I’m taking the truck to work.

The next day I get dressed for work. I have a 30-mile drive through uninhabited countryside to teach at an elementary school in the next town.  Ah, yes. It’s so fine driving the truck, even though it is an old beater. I don’t have to push it to start it, and the radio works. It even runs quietly because unlike the VW, it has a muffler.  Yes, I thought, I deserve this. I’m working and I deserve this.

But I don’t deserve what happens next.

As I round a slight curve in the highway, the truck wants to leave the road. I fight to hang onto the steering wheel to avoid careening into the ditch. I pump the brake and get the speed down to something manageable. Still holding the steering wheel in a death grip, I manage to come to a stop, just barely off the road, but safely on the shoulder. A quick inspection confirms a shredded right front tire.

Now what? I ‘m about ten miles from town and in the middle of nowhere. I take my school bag, lock the truck, and start walking.

It’s quiet out here on this sparsely used highway. At least it’s not raining for a change. I’ll be late for school. Nothing I can do about that. Maybe someone will come along and I’ll catch a ride. But at this time of the morning, why would anyone be driving this lonely road? I’m having guilty thoughts about using the truck when the Captain specifically said not to. He hadn’t said why though. I thought he was just being chintzy, as the Beetle is much cheaper on gas.

But wait! Do I hear a vehicle? Will it stop for me? I get out on the middle of the road, hoping it won’t barrel right over me. It sounds like a big engine.

Glory be! What comes around the bend but the blessed school bus. The gods love me after all. I jump aboard explaining my near disaster and am delighted to be dropped off at the school steps. I’m not late after all. Everything will be okay.

I phone my brother-in-law, Vaughn, who works at the local garage. He says he’ll see what he can do.

After school, we drive out to the blowout site with a compressor in the back of the garage’s tow truck.

Vaughn pulls up to the back of the truck. “It’s the right front,” I say.

“Well…looks like you have a flat in the back too.”

Vaughn pumps up the back tire, removes the mashed front tire, and has to pump up the flat spare tire before putting it on. He gives me a hug and says good luck.

I drive home praying silently that nothing more will happen. I vaguely remember the Captain once saying something about the truck tires only being cheap retreads. I guess I’ve learned my lesson. My day has been as bad as it can get, hasn’t it?

I pull into the driveway at home and blow out a long breath of relief. I get out of the truck and it seems there’s yet another tire doing the same thing.

S-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s!