Thursday, March 26, 2015

Digging around the Cape

Almost everyone likes to dig in the garden. It feels good to get your hands dirty, to smell the sweet spring soil, and then relish in your efforts of growing tasty vegetables or beautiful fragrant flowers. But sometimes your shovel can uncover some unexpected surprises and not always in the garden.

I found this toy gun buried in the dirt alongside our driveway. I'd worked in this little garden for many years and never saw it. After one summer of heavy storms, I noticed its handle peaking out among the ground cover.
At the time, the discovery frightened me but then I realized it was only a toy. It also prompted me to make use of the incident in my historical fiction, The Old Cape House.

When my first novel, The Old Cape House, was in the process of being edited, the planting of the seed for my second historical novel, The Old Cape Teapot, began to grow. Researching the story of Sam Bellamy, Maria Hallett, and the pirate ship Whydah piqued my imagination further to ponder the fate of the two survivors of the Whydah. Were they actual pirates? Not according to the courts of Boston, who found them innocent by reason of coercion. So what happened to them? I began to craft my second novel.

Several other things pushed me along in the writing process of The Old Cape Teapot.

I joined a group of Cape Codders trying to find the original cornerstone markers of the Cape Cod towns. Sometimes we would sidestep our original hunt and follow other Cape historical mysteries.
One spring afternoon we ventured into the woods of Orleans. We were told to spread out and look for anything that looked odd in the ground, specifically large stones or something that might look like a marker.
I was lucky. I spotted an aberration or mound on the forest floor that had a small, seven inch in diameter, gray circle that was visible at its top.  I began to pull the grassy moss aside.

By the time I was finished pulling, a whale of a rock was exposed. They called it Barbara's Rock! Oftentimes the early Pilgrims would use natural markers when marking off property lines. This rock almost lined up with the Magnetic North. Interesting....
Another day we returned to the same area and discovered the possible site of an old Windmill.
Here's a link to a video posted about the discovery.

Old Windmill – Orleans

While exploring with The Cornerstone Group, my imagination took flight once more and I used the discovery of the Old Windmill as a major plot point in my historical fiction, thriller and mystery, The Old Cape Teapot.
 The circle foundation of the windmill is not perfect but the step stones are clearly visible.

It was fun and exciting. Can you almost make out a large arrow that seems to be carved into the bigger stone?

Treasure can be found in all forms and places, be it diamonds, archeological evidence, or just meeting a new and interesting person. The thrill of the hunt for 'treasure' never gets old, at least not for me. I'll always be ready for the challenge. I hope you are.

The Old Cape Teapot – a historical mystery, thriller, and adventure.
Available on:
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Stone Circles – My Way

What is a stone circle? It's a monument of standing stones arranged in a circle. Like this...

Courtesy of: "Swinside (p4160146)". Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons -

 It's beautiful but there's no way I could ever build such a large circle. But I would be able to manage this...

Even though my stones are not standing, nor are they very large, I would call it a stone circle. 

Many years ago I started making these circles on the bay side of the Cape when the tide was out.
I came up with several logical reasons for my behavior.
# 1. I wanted to get my little ones involved in a nature project while playing on the beach.
# 2. I wanted to see if the circle would still be there the next day. 
I'd HAVE to return every day, no matter what, to observe the stones and, of course, replenish the concentric design. It took me to the beach almost every day.
# 3. It was fun.

One summer we were very busy in the gallery and a bit stressed. My fascination with the stone circle became an obsession with me.  I had to go see my creation, even if I was exhausted or it was raining. It forced me to take the time to get in the car, drive to the beach, and check on the progress of the stones. I always encouraged the family to come with me. I'd even drag our summer guests to the beach to assist me in rebuilding the tiny circle. A few times I went alone. By the time August rolled around, the kids had lost interest but Tim and I kept returning. Sometimes to our surprise we'd arrive only to see that another beachcomber had either filled in the circle or built their own right next to mine!

I'm still fascinated with building a stone circle every chance I get. One year I fashioned the stones into a heart. 

This past winter, we visited our son in Juneau, Alaska where we welcomed their new baby and new home. Their house is located on a small inlet from the Pacific Ocean. So what did I do? I built a stone circle with the help of Tim and my granddaughter Casey.

These dark, large rocks are covered with barnacles, very different from our smooth, sandy colored stones in the Atlantic. Tim found one of the largest heart shaped rocks I've ever seen.

We incorporated it into the rock circle. Hopefully Casey, Madison, and little Zack will look out their windows and see Grandma Barbara's circle of love.

Below you'll see the back cover of my second historical novel, The Old Cape Teapot.

That year in 2006, while I was rebuilding my rock circle on the bayside of Brewster, I found a pottery shard. It was beautiful.

I took it home. That fall I visited several antique shops trying to trace its pattern but ended my search with no information. It wasn't disappointing for me because as I traveled the roads of Cape Cod, I began to craft the plot for my second novel with the pottery shard as my inspiration. 

Nancy Caldwell uncovers a pirate mystery that had the Old Salts of Cape Cod wondering for close to 300 years in the historical fiction, The Old Cape House. Was she lucky or a good detective?  Nancy returns in The Old Cape Teapot, the second in a series of historical fiction, to uncover the trails of two survivors from the wreck of the 1717 pirate ship Whydah. Armed with the knowledge that in pirate culture the looted riches were equally shared, she takes us to the tropical island of Antigua and back to Cape Cod searching for clues to more treasure. Using alternating chapters from the 18th to the 21st century, danger and conspiracy follow her at every turn. What will help her this time?

 Click to purchase on Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and Struna Galleries to the right of my blog.
Available as an ebook and paperback.

I eagerly await the disappearance of ice and snow,  so I can begin a new stone circle.