Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Things buried in the garden?

What would you do if you found a skull buried in your garden?
In my historical novel, The Old Cape House, that's exactly what present day Nancy Caldwell finds at the bottom of an old root cellar behind her barn. As the story unfolds, in alternating chapters between the 18th and 21st centuries, Nancy unearths other clues and connections that  link her land to the Cape Cod legend of the pirate Black Sam Bellamy and Maria Hallett.

The scariest thing I ever found on our property in Brewster was this gun. At first, I thought it was real; it felt heavy and looked deadly. After a few minutes of staring at it, I proceeded to slowly walk into the house, gently carrying it in the palm of my hand. Upon closer inspection and a quick search on Google, I realized, with relief, it was only a toy gun from the 40s or 50s. I immediately pictured a little boy playing outside, probably dropping the gun in the dirt, and then forgetting about it. The whole thing was so strange to me because I'd dug in that spot several times over the years and had never found anything.

Photo courtesy of Heather Struna

Our house was built in 1890 and from the moment I stepped across its threshold, I only sensed good things about it. But that's not always been the case with me as far as other houses. When we were looking to settle on the Cape, we visited several sites for purchase. One house on Route 6A in Barnstable was very different. As soon as I walked inside, I turned around and walked right out. I couldn't explain, at the time, why I had such foreboding feelings, all I knew was that I wanted to leave. Years later, when an article appeared in the Cape Cod Times about haunted houses on Cape Cod, that same house was designated as officially haunted!

Another time during the early years of our arrival on Cape Cod, I was gardening out back and found under ten inches of dirt a pattern of red bricks. It sparked my imagination and that unusual find was the beginning of my story of The Old Cape House.

I love to visit cemeteries – but only in the daytime. The Cape has wonderful ancient cemeteries scattered along old roads and main thoroughfares. This is the Cove Burying Ground in Eastham, located on Route 6 eastbound. Some of the graves date from 1605. Notice the power of nature as a tree grows around the old fence line.

And now to the contest... Here's how to win an ebook of The Old Cape House

Post a comment or send me an email.
Tell me in a few sentences about your most unusual Halloween experience.
I would prefer it to be true. After all, I think a true – real life weird experience is one of THE most frightening things that anyone could have. To be scared by a movie, book or television show is nothing compared to reality!

On October 31, at midnight, the contest closes and I'll email the winner an ebook of The Old Cape House!

If your entry doesn't get picked, you can always purchase the ebook or paperback on
Amazon  The Old Cape House

Barnes & Noble, The Old Cape House

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Blog Hop - What scares you?

Join me on a Blog Hop for Halloween!
Visit my blog on October 30 through Halloween, read something scary, enter to win a free ebook of my novel, The Old Cape House...then click on the list of other blogs participating in the blog hop for more treats and fun.
Blog hop starts on October 30 and goes through Halloween night.

What's a blog hop? A blog hop is a list of blogs that are shared on multiple blogs. You can hop from blog to blog for treats or gifts and meet authors and their books. Follow the directions on each blog to enter all the contests. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cape Cod–A Walk in Nickerson State Park

Nickerson State Park - Ober Trail -Brewster

  The first thing I do if I'm feeling stressed or anxious is exercise or take a walk. Not many things bother me but when they do...I walk.

The anticipation to see my first novel The Old Cape House on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes, and actually holding it in my hand, is driving me nuts. So Tim and I walk away the tension.

The forest canopy above our heads is filled with the green of ancient pines. Our feet press and slide across its floor, blanketed with golden pine needles. I imagine myself in a Disney animated movie, like Snow White, as the path takes us through the woods in graceful ups and downs, twists and curves.

 Parts of the trail are closed for biking because of 'rough surfaces'. The tenacity of nature shows its force as the roots of these magnificent trees burst forth from under the asphalt. I've always thought it's a reminder for us to be careful and not intrude or destroy the natural order of our environment any more than we need and always make decisions with mutual respect for each other and our surroundings.

 There's an old cemetery in the woods on this path...

...with four gravestones.

The left stone marks John Crosby - Died August 7, 1843 at the age of 68.
The stone on the right reads Dorcas Crosby – Died July 14, 1846 at the age of 35.
There are also two small stones that I assume represent two children. In my research, I discovered that Dorcas was John Crosby's daughter, not his wife as was suspected.
Not much is known about these people and why they were buried by themselves in the middle of Nickerson State Park. Could it have been smallpox? Oftentimes these victims were segregated in death as they were in life when they took sick.

Here's a map of Nickerson State Park. The Ober trail is in the upper left hand corner. On this day we cut across the middle path that separates the Ober Trail from the Deer Trail to complete our explore.
It was a little sad to view the cemetery but as we returned to where we started, we came across a tree with a unique aberration that had grown into its bark. Can you see it?

Tim and I stopped, hugged, and thanked each other for the love that we share. You never know what you'll find walking in the woods on Cape Cod.

Coming soon...The Old Cape House

A historical novel that uses alternating chapters between the 18th and 21st centuries. The Old Cape House follows two women that are lifetimes apart to uncover a mystery that has had the old salts of Cape Cod guessing for almost 300 years.

Follow me for more information when available as ebook–paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes
B.E.Struna Books on Facebook
* Purchase from and receive an autographed copy, bookmark and map of Cape Cod.

Any day now...


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oysters–Cape Cod

The delectable oyster is an eating delicacy for most people when visiting Cape Cod. But for me...not so much.
I know that these tasty, sweet, salty oysters are very fresh, but only according to my fellow Cape Codders who eat them. I am told they live free here in the cold, clear waters of Cape Cod Bay instead of in controlled environments, which gives them a distinct culinary appeal.  Some even go so far to say they are the perfect food. So I decided to find out more about these ancient treats.

Here's a copper plate engraving by Tim of Cape Cod Bay oysters. (see above)

It was on a Wednesday, a few weeks ago, that I took another walk with the Eastham Hiking Club.
The morning was beautiful and warm with a soft breeze blowing across the flats of Brewster Bay.
I could see a pattern of black squares ahead of us on the beach. To the novice, from a distance, the proverbial question in their heads would be, "What is that out there?" But as I walked closer, metal cages became recognizable and I realized that I was standing within an oyster farm. It was interesting to see them up close, lined up low to the exposed ocean floor. Each one filled with various sizes of oysters.

Seaweed covered the tops of some of the growing cages.  The owners, Dave and Diane Carlson were there to answer our questions. They have over 200,000 oysters of different ages randomly mixed throughout the cages. They buy seed(2–3 millimeters in size) from a hatchery in Dennis, place them in mesh bags and into the cages where they will begin to grow. Their growth depends on water temperature (warm is best), and the amount of plankton and salinity of the surrounding water. Because of the large tidal surges on Brewster Bay, the oyster gets the benefit of two feedings of nutrient rich water every day. In fact, the oyster can filter 3-5 gallons of water an hour, adding no toxins to its growth. They are able to harvest 15,000 to 20,000 oysters a season. In the dead of winter, oysters are removed from the ocean and put into cold storage where they lay dormant, then in March or April, back to growing on the bay. It all sounds wonderfully fresh but I still can't get my head around to eating them. Oh well, to each his own.

I lingered a bit too long and the hiking group I was with went further out to the edge of the water. I looked back quickly to catch a glimpse of the oyster farm. You can see it in the distance.

I tried to capture on camera how far away the group was – you can see the hikers walking parallel with the shoreline.

 As I hiked across the tidal flats, I came across these weird blobs of jelly-like substances. Another hiker said not to worry, their not poisonous. They're just a nuisance to walk over.

 Here's a close up of them. Without fear of getting stung, I just barreled across the sand, probably stepping on several. Does anyone know what they are?