Thursday, March 24, 2022

Geocaching continued... What is it?


The above picture depicts the bottom of a geocache found in Millbury, MA

In my opinion, it's an adventure with a side of suspense and fun.

Officially, geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Geocaching was founded by Matt Stum on May 30, 2000. Today there are over three million+ geocaches hidden in 190 countries.

Sounds technical and yet, people of all ages and education are geocaching. My youngest daughter introduced me to it a few years ago but I never followed through with her suggestions of, "Try it. You'll like it!"

I should have listened to her back in 2016 because a few years after, I became hooked and so did my husband, Tim.

We've been adventuring almost every day. Sometimes we find a cache that is less than an inch long and inside is a small paper log to record your name and the date of when you found it.

Mini-cache



Mid-size cache wrapped with a magnet and hidden, but we found it.


When I tell people about our outings, they ask, "What did you find? What kind of treasure?"
I answer, "I didn't find anything that's worth anything!"  Everyone laughs and I explain.

It's not about the treasure, it's about the thrill of the journey. It's the suspenseful searching through the woods, old paths, and back roads of where you live or visit. It's about using your observation skills and problem solving, following GPS co-ordinates and solving a puzzle.

 GPS leads us into the woods.


Searching with some help from a friend visiting Cape Cod.  

 Recently, Tim and I have returned to the woods to search. Local Nickerson Park is full of geocaches. 

 

My latest explore

 

You need to be curious, adventuresome, and determined. Just like Nancy Caldwell, modern day amateur sleuth, who is the main character in all my historical novels.

As you read the stories, Nancy Caldwell finds something in present day and then in the next chapter, you'll meet the person and the 'who' or 'what' behind what Nancy found. The story unfolds in alternating chapters between time periods.

If you love a suspenseful adventure with touches of romance about Cape Cod, 18th century pirates, 1947 Hollywood starlets, serial killers, and the Alaska Gold Rush, choose The Old Cape Series.


BUY

BUY
BUY

 

BUY
 

If you've already read them, Thank You!

If you have time, I would appreciate a review, either on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews always help authors. Have a great Spring!



Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Two historic love stories and a Goodreads Giveaway!

 

Sadie's gravestone found at Lower Road Cemetery in Brewster.

 

In 1896 Brewster - Cape Cod, love reared its ugly head. 

Young Sadie Hassard was being courted by Frederick Alexander.

Sadie grew tired of him and wanted to move on. 

It was a Sunday. Pastor Dawes began reading the opening prayer at the Brewster Unitarian church. The sound of gunshots drew the congregation outside. They found poor Sadie dead on the sidewalk from a gunshot wound behind her right ear. 

The young girl had been living with Pastor Dawes out of fear from Alexander. Sadie's father knew about Alexander's jealous and desperate heart. He hoped Sadie would be safer with the Pastor.

Excerpt from The Barnstable Patriot, May 18, 1896, 

The article continues to tell us that Alexander committed suicide and eventually was found in Snow's Pond with a bottle of strychnine in his pocket.

Love unrequited. 

 

************
 

Crosby Mansion - 1888 - Brewster
 

Albert Crosby was born on Cape Cod in 1823. He married Margaret Henderson in 1845 and they moved to Chicago where he made his fortune producing distilled alcohol. After Albert took over the Chicago Opera House and refurbished it, a fire in 1871 destroyed everything. He lost 1.5 million and Margaret and Albert divorced. 

Soon he married Matilda Sourbeck. She was 23 years younger than Albert and a burlesque performer. They returned to Brewster and his family home.

It was not what Matilda expected. 

To please his new bride, he began to build an addition around his small family home in 1877 incorporating many details and lavish accents they had admired honeymooning in Europe.  The Crosby Mansion, also known as "Tawasentha" was completed in 1888.  Albert loved Matilda and wanted her to be happy.

Matilda standing in the art gallery.

He even built a special extension on the house for an art gallery. Tawasentha was available for Matilda's social schedule. She loved to entertain.

The front lawn of the mansion, Matilda dressed in white sits in the foreground.

Legend says that when Albert needed to get away from all the lunches and parties, he retired to his rocking chair in the old homestead.

Albert found a second chance at love and spared no expense to keep young Matilda.

 

************ 


 I've always been fascinated doing research for the basis of my historical novels in my Old Cape Series.

Finding the two love stories above and being able to visit the sites connected with the people inspires me to keep looking and writing.

 

Just finished a new...

BOOK TRAILER

FOR

THE OLD CAPE HOLLYWOOD SECRET 

#3 in The Old Cape Series

When researching and plotting, The Old Cape Hollywood Secret

I traveled to Hollywood, ate at restaurants, stayed in old hotels that were open in 1947, and experienced some of the feelings that my characters felt. It was a wonderful adventure.

Today I'm going to offer through Goodreads, a giveaway of The Old Cape Hollywood Secret.  100 copies of the ebook!!

All you have to do to win an ebook is enter your name on the Goodreads website.  

Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers and book recommendations. Their mission is to help people find and share books they love. It's free to join Goodreads.

Here's a link to enter


Good Luck! The Giveaway begins February 19, 2022 and ends on March 3, 2022.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Love

 Nature gives us signs of love in many ways.

Winter

Spring


Summer  

 

Autumn

 

LOVE: an intense feeling of deep affection.

Love  makes the world go round. People love other people, animals, plants, ideas, or places. People experience love found, love lost, and the saddest - love unrequited. 

My blog today is about love. It's about my husband and me.
 
I want to yell it to the highest mountain. My husband and I are still in love with each other.
 

 
So what's our secret to stay married and in love for 53+ years?
Could it be that we respect each other? Talk to each other? And listen? Maybe, it's because we're also best friends, or that we care for each other? We've never gone to bed angry...no matter what.
 

Lately we've been discovering new things from our past together. How could that be?  The other day Tim commented about an event from our past as a married couple and I said, "I didn't know that."

I'm not talking about secrets, just tiny facts that passed our notice because life makes you busy.

 


 As I was preparing this Valentine blog, I came across something I wrote twenty years ago.

It recalls the first glimpse of my future husband.

 

I saw him that night in 1962. The music moved my friend and I, along with hundreds of teenagers in loops around the gym’s edges. All of us looking across the sea of faces wanting to be noticed, sometimes casually brushing against each other in hopes of catching the eye of someone new.

 

I passed him several times. Finally, I stopped. My friend stopped. He stood there with his friend and I stood there with my friend. Our two friends began to dance and without a word we followed their lead.

 

Barely able to hear the other’s words as we swayed back and forth, we were forced to lean close each time the other spoke. My cheek lightly brushed against his smooth, strong jaw; his scent was Old Spice. It was exciting. The music was slow and melodic as we said our names to each other. My heart raced. I wanted to stay close to him. And then it was over.

 

The music returned to loud and fast. We said goodbye. I continued my path around the gym searching and looking and aching to see his face again. 

 

Over the years, we've laughed, loved, cried, and rejoiced. We've held hands throughout it all. 


 

We have been blessed with five wonderful children and four beautiful grandchildren. 

So...Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. My wish for all my readers, friends, and family is that you experience love, a long love, a romantic love. And if it was a fleeting love, stay grateful you were able to love someone in your life, even if it was short-lived.



Saturday, February 5, 2022

Winter - Cape Cod 1700s


Here's a re-post from February 2013. It reminded me of the recent storm and electrical outage that we experienced throughout the Northeast. I smiled to myself as I read, thinking we got through that storm in 2013 and we did it again in 2022. The only difference was that in the 2022 storm we lost power on a Friday afternoon instead of a Saturday and... now I have four novels instead of one. Change  comes to challenge us at every turn. Knowing our past helps us move forward with courage and hope.

2022

 ❖❖❖

 

Cape Codders of the 1700s would have thought you destitute, poor or perhaps a lunatic if you built your house on or near the beach. If you wanted to survive on this spit of North America you would need to build your house inland, not on the coast. Those hearty folks were practical people.

2013

As we hunkered down for the winter storm that blew across Cape Cod this past weekend, I couldn't stop thinking of 1700 Cape Cod.


Inside our house, we listened to the constant roaring of the wind. Every once in a while, it would gust to over 75mph. We only received 14 inches of snow but other places on the Cape accumulated totals up to 32 inches. As the temperatures plummeted into the teens and the power went out Saturday morning, I felt my bones chill anticipating the cold night ahead of us.


Looking out our dark and snow covered house, I thought of how the early Cape Codders fared in winter storms that blasted the coastline.
We had insulated our 1890 home to modern day standards and had use of a woodstove, gas stove and a cooking gas stove. Because of that we were able to enjoy hot drinks through most of the blustery day and ate a one-pan skillet of beans, hotdogs and biscuits at dusk.



Then, just as our ancestors did before us, we slept close to the fireplace and tried to amuse ourselves as best as we could in the dimly lit rooms. Tim kept bringing in firewood and we played cards for over 6 hours through the day and evening, finally going to bed early before 9pm.
As I lay in the dark, trying to sleep, I thanked the Lord that the old house had very few drafts, not like houses of centuries ago, when leaves, old rags, straw and grasses had to be stuffed into openings that were exposed to the frigid outside air.  Of course, there were no worries about pipes freezing, there was no indoor plumbing. Snow melted by the hearth was all that was needed.




 In my novel The Old Cape House, the main character Maria Hallett is banished in 1716 by the elders of the church for fornication and witchery. She tries to survive by herself in a shack on the bluffs of Eastham. It's winter, she's alone and has few supplies.
I close my eyes again, I can't get poor Maria out of my head.
My nose is cold. My feet are like ice.
Would I have survived in 1720? I think I could have but...



The next morning, the blizzard stopped and the sun came out against a brilliant blue sky. It cast long, luxurious shadows across the glistening white snow. My heart sang as a new day broke the storm.

Legends label poor Maria a witch, but legends sometimes are only myths and never proven, which is why optimism rules in my soul and I try to write new endings to old tales.



Sunday, January 23, 2022

Isolation Fosters Creativity


Isolation  fosters creativity and the frigid temperatures only add to the inspiration. At least, that's how it works with my artist husband and me. We're always busy in the summer but when the calming of winter settles in, it affords us the opportunity to step back, clear our heads, and begin new projects. 

All I need is a warm office, coffee, and movie themes from Pandora to create interesting characters and suspenseful plots. Listening to Batman themes will make my thoughts race if someone is chasing one of my characters. Thomas Newman's music from Passengers will encourage my character to continue and hopefully save the day. 

Recently I came across old 78 records that my father had made. They were recordings of my siblings and me back in 1952. My brother pretended to be a,  "Man On the Street Interviewer".

 

Advertisement from 1952

 

I decided to scour old photo albums to find any pictures that might accompany the recording. Then with the magic of iMovie on my Macbook air, I created a five minute nostalgic trip back in time.  

My Office


 

I finalized it into an Mp4, uploaded it to my vimeo account and sent links to my children, nieces, and nephews. 

For privacy concerns, I can't make the link public. If you would like to view the movie and I'm acquainted with you, use Contact the Author option, located bottom right of the blog, and I'll send it to you. 

This family portrait was taken in the summer of 1952. The following Christmas, my dad recorded the, "Man On The Street Interview".

That's me on the left. I was the youngest in the family.


My Dad always wanted to be an engineer but dropped out of high school in his junior year. His father had died and he became the breadwinner for his mother and two younger brothers. 

Through the years and as we were growing up, he was always the first on the block to get a TV, stereo, or any new technical gadget. Popular Mechanics magazine was his go-to for the latest in high tech news. We rarely had a repair man come to the house, my Dad would fix it.

My Mom and Dad loved to dance and every room in our house had a custom built speaker, made by Dad. We had the ability to listen to a baseball game or music where ever you were, just by flipping a switch. 

I kind of grew up with elevator music, instrumental, with very little singing or vocals in the background. Maybe that's why I write to music. The quiet and no music is actually disruptive to my mental creativity. 

I think my Dad would have been proud of me as I recently waded through the technicals of iMovie for over two+ weeks. If he was alive now, he would have liked all the new tech. 

If you haven't seen the trailer for my latest historical novel, The Old Cape Blood Ruby, here's the final product. I made it with iMovie.

My trailer 

Stay creative, warm, and safe,

Barbara

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Reflections in a New Year

Rock Harbor - Orleans Cape Cod

 Reflections that signal a new beginning. A time to take stock in where you have come from and where you're going.

The Pandemic affected everyone whether you believed it was real or a conspiracy. It didn't matter. You were touched by it. 

Tim and I felt grateful that all our children and extended family were all on the same page, as far as vaccination, boosters, masks, social distancing, and evaluating the risk when leaving our homes. On the plus side, no one in our family has been sick. We were careful. We followed science. I guess, we were also lucky.

This morning as we walked around the harbor, a beautiful sky inspired us. Behind the grey clouds, an azure blue sky promised hope for a better year. 

Some thoughts:

Hope pushes us to get out of bed each day. It's the foundation of our life. It's what keeps us going.

We may not be able to stop a negative energy but it's how we face it that makes the difference. 

Today, the New York Times and other news sources have said that omicron is on the downside for infections.

Here's hoping...We will always have another day to make things right. Things will be better. 


My fourth novel in the Old Cape Series was published on May 18 of 2021. The Old Cape Blood Ruby achieved success even though the pandemic circled around it at every turn.


I was forced to cancel appearances at book clubs, bookstores, and inside venues. 

If there was a fair or art event outside, I was able to attend and meet, once again, my readers and, of course, sell books. Always feeling grateful for those outdoor opportunities.  

I had a wonderful interview through the Cape Cod Writers Center about The Old Cape Blood Ruby. The CCWC host, Madeline Miele Holt asked the right questions and made the half hour fly by. It was fun.

INTERVIEW

At this time, I plan to participate in several outdoor events in and around Cape Cod. See Events.

All my books are available at the bookstores and gift shops listed on the right side column of the Home Page.

Stay safe. Good Wishes for you and days filled with hope and peace.

Barbara

P.S. Work is in progress for my fifth historical novel.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Walking Cape Cod Again

 

It was a beautiful morning. The sun reflected across the blue ocean and crashing waves like sparkling diamonds.

 
Nauset Light Beach in Eastham is under construction but still well worth a visit.  

After being restricted in my walking before my hip replacement, and even where I could wander, it was glorious to be adventuring again.
My freedom brought Tim and I to West Brewster and the boundaries of Dennis to visit the Ancient Sears Cemetery adjacent to Bound Brook.
 
Park behind the sign. You'll see a path on your left, then turn right.   
 
Just off the Old King's Highway (Route 6A), you'll find 124 headstones and foot-stones lined up in rows and all facing West. Most all are descended from the Sears family and date approximately from the early 1700s to 1949. 
 
On your right will be an old iron gate.


An ornate finial awaits your touch.

My advice is to start on your right where you can see the water, that's where you'll find some of the older graves.

As I walked up and down the rows, I couldn't help thinking of how hard a life so many of these early settlers encountered.
 
 
In Memory of Mrs. Desire, wife of Noah Sears
.



















As we turned back to return to our car, Tim pointed to the tree that was the inspiration for a watercolor, Bound Brook. It's available as a limited edition giclee print on our website and in the galleries, both Brewster and Chatham.

Struna Galleries

 
PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL AND REMEMBER THIS ANCIENT CEMETERY BORDERS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.
 
 
If you take a left on the Old King's Highway and go further into Dennis, make sure you visit Scargo Tower. 
 
Scargo Tower

 
There have been three Scargo towers at this spot. The first tower was built in 1874 by the Tobey family. Constructed out of wood, it was destroyed by a gale in 1876. The second tower, known as "Tobey Tower" and also made of wood, burned down in 1900. The present tower, was built of cobblestone in 1901 as a memorial to the Tobey family. The tower stands thirty feet high. It is located on the highest hill in the area. From the tower, one can see almost all of Cape Cod on the bay side, including Provincetown and the Sagamore Bridge

 

For fun, I recorded my footsteps climbing up the spiral staircase.


 Once you reach the top, it's a breathtaking view and worth the effort.


The Dennis adventure only took about 1 1/2 hours. You should try it.

The Cape has so many places to explore...get moving.

 

Available to BUY


During the much appreciated success of my latest historical novel, The Old Cape Blood Ruby, I have started my fifth historical novel featuring Brewster, Cape Cod and Central Mass, Millbury. 
Stay Tuned...