Soon available!

My new SHELBY F. SQUIRREL adventure, The Great FOREST CAPER, will soon be live on CreateSpace and Amazon.

Price for paperback version will be $5.99 USD. EBook will be considerably less, as usual. Still to be determined.

Canadians who would like to order the paperback, I invite you to contact me so that I can mail you a copy myself. Three advantages you might appreciate: 1)  your copy will be autographed by me, and 2) the mailing cost will be lower, and 3) you will avoid possible very high brokerage fees coming into Canada. The books are printed in the USA. (We need a CreateSpace branch in Canada!)

When I order several copies, naturally the mailing cost per copy is lower. I’m sorry that the exchange is still high, but I will always try to as fair as possible with my eventual pricing.

Use info on Contact Page, or leave a comment on this blog.  🙂

Here’s the back cover with a hint of the plot:

FOREST CAPER final 2 back cover-page-001



Happy Wednesday!



Blue skies are lovely, but not when an area desperately needs rain. It’s painfully obvious how our weather is changing, and not for the better.

Here I am living in one of the lushest gardens of Canada, prime growing climate for fruits, and a huge wine industry. But not this year, with burnt lawns everywhere and soil parched for water. Hardly any snow all winter, so the ground doesn’t have any moisture stored up from a normal spring thaw.

One has to reflect keenly on what countless billions of people have suffered in other places when famine kills crops and people. It’s always on my mind, somewhere just lurking, that even though we have modern conveniences including air conditioning, we should never forget that it could be gone overnight if the power fails. And I’m shocked and dismayed that there aren’t any programs or reminders to keep the AC low, and off as much as possible to preserve hydro. No, we merrily push all the buttons without a second thought.

It’s pure recklessness that has computers left on 24/7. While it’s possible to turn off (which I do all the time, except when in use) the cursed things, yes I do think they have ruined our lives in many ways, are actually not designed for On/Off use. I had to have the Geek Squad reset my anti-malware program so I can scan manually, otherwise it got confused because of the hours it was turned off!! Call me weird, but I want to see the scan record and what has been found or quarantined, and make sure the updates are current.

Next are we going to keep our cars idling all the time, stoves turned on? Of course not, not in a million years would we waste like that!  But what we do waste is light years more far-reaching.

Dryers are one place where power is frivolously spent. Clothes dry perfectly in the air, but clothes lines are outlawed in ‘high class’ urban neighbourhoods, and on building balconies. What nonsense! The height of absurdity, and I call it stupidity. No dryer can make things smell as fresh as sunshine and outside air, despite all the expensive additives meant to do so.

Air flow pumps that could, and I believe should, be lowered or turned off at night in high rise residential buildings and offices, are huge wasters. The ones in my building are always blowing harder than is needed to do the job, so all the power cost is added to our condo fees. Not only do they use more electricity than needed, the pumps themselves wear out sooner. Also we freeze in the hallways in the winter and cook in the summer, thanks to the direct hard pumping in of outside air.

The complete list is too long to write here, but you get the drift.

Did you get the feeling I would rather be living in a cottage in the woods? Yup, you guessed right.

Truth is I am one of the spoiled fragile beings that would likely not survive it.






Today I will do my final read, and finish uploading to CreateSpace.

The book is 72 pages, and has no illustrations. Age group for reading is 9 to 11. It’s a serious topic, told in a fast-moving adventure of 11 chapters.

Review sent me the other day:  “I think it is a winner!! I really like how the plot moves along with lots of interest and suspense. I also appreciate how much you include information about animal life,  habits and habitat. It would make a good classroom novel that a teacher could share, a chapter a day, with the students. There is so much to discuss and so many great ideas for further research.”

This was written by a teacher of 30 years, so it means everything to me. Both the SHELBY Books would make fine material for the classroom, and it’s wonderful to have that re-confirmed.

Here’s the Prologue:


Shelby F. Squirrel appeared in “The Complete Adventures of SHELBY F. SQUIRREL and Friends” at the age of three months, when young flying squirrels are taught to fly. Throughout the book’s twenty-four stories, Shelby learned a lot about life and even began to grow up.

Now Shelby definitely isn’t a little kid any more. He still lives in the same forest, with the farm right beside it.

Shelby, his sister Darby, and their mother are now part of one large family with Petra F. Squirrel, her brother Peter, and their mother. Petra and Shelby are constantly together, as are Peter and Darby. They love to play in the trees as much as ever, but are quickly becoming responsible, alert grown-ups. The mothers are content to keep the two large nests fresh and well-supplied with food, but all six of them continue to hunt together every night.

Ringtail and Lottie Raccoon and their children, Molly and Polly, have moved on with their lives, too. All four of them are the same size now, furry round animals with striped tails and saucy masks. Molly and Polly have found nests of their own close to their parents’ tree.

Shelby’s best friend, Marvin Field Mouse, still loves to spend long hours clinging to Shelby’s back, soaring from tree to tree.

Rosie Robin has produced a new clutch of eggs every spring. These days the forest boasts several families of red-breasted robins who leave for the winter and return before the snow has quite melted, announcing their arrival by filling the air with their lovely trilling songs. Rusty, her mate, remains her faithful companion.

The Wise Old Owl is the respected leader of his growing family. Nobody in the forest questions his authority, and they all love him despite his gruffness.

The well-established friendships with many of the farm animals carry on as part of everyday life. Charlie is becoming elderly, but is sought out for advice, and loves a good laugh as much as ever. He introduces Shelby and his friends to his cousins, who have vital information.

Billy Goat and his lady companions, Nanny and Capra, are kept in the loop and Sultan, the Rooster, with his extended harem of brown hens are frequently visited by the forest animals.

A family of skunks lives in the forest now, but so far everyone has avoided making contact with them, quite unable to face getting any closer to the rather offensive scent they carry.

Now something very frightening is happening in the forest. It will be necessary for everyone to join forces to try and prevent a major disaster.

Here are the Chapter titles, and page numbers:

















I’m a proud member of WRITERS FORUM, a small group that meets once a month here in the Niagara Region.

We now have a website to share our events, projects and writing. It’s a WordPress site, so the ‘HOME’ page is a blog page.


Since it’s brand new, there isn’t a lot on it yet, but there is enough to make a visit worth your while.  Hope you’ll make a point of checking us out at:

We welcome your comments and feedback.

How I spent CANADA DAY, JULY 1, 2016

Thorold Reed Band Canada Day 2016

This is the THOROLD REED BAND.  Amazingly, it was formed in 1851, in Thorold, which is near Niagara Falls. The band is the oldest group of its kind in Canada, and has been running continuously since its inception.

Nowadays, the instrumentation includes full concert band requirements, so our name is a bit of a question mark to some. Reeds are the flutes (and piccolos), oboes (which we don’t have this year), bassoons, clarinets and saxes. A full complement of brass instruments rounds out the list. Trumpets, trombones, French horns, and euphoniums, and tubas fill the stage to overflowing. And of course, our fabulous percussion section is hiding there at the back,  as is our talented electric bassist.  The personnel list is in the neighbourhood of 50 dedicated volunteers.

Here we are, performing in our usual venue, the Brian Williams Bandshell. The plaque on the front just below the edge of the stage gives the facts on that. It’s named in honour of Brian, who led the band for 20 years.  Andrew Carruthers took over when Brian decided to take life a little easier.

Oh, and that’s me directly to Andrew’s left in the front row. All you can see is my face over the black music stand, and that horizontal line on my lap is my flute. That’s because I’m playing the PICCOLO in this shot, which I do as much as possible. Yes, even when it’s just a flute part. The park can stand a little piccolo any time, the more the better if you’re me.