nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘family

Kaye Eliot Mysteries

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There are now three books to read in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series. Set in Nova Scotia, these mysteries feature a mystery-loving family, Kay Eliot and her kids Matthew and Katie. The mysteries they solve are always based on a message they discover from the past: old letters, an old diary, post cards sent long ago.

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How Her Garden Grew

A mystery in a bundle of letters and a weird sea shell in an old garden …

In 1994, when Kaye comes to Acadia Creek to spend a quiet summer with her two children, she has no idea what waits for her. Instead of passing stress-free days of swimming and hiking, she finds herself embedded in mystery after mystery. A missing vagrant and a gang of thieves have the community worried. And neighbours seem determined to occupy all of Kaye’s time and energy in restoration of an old flower garden. Meanwhile, she and her kids have stumbled into a century-old legend of a treasure buried on the property. At the root of it all is a sinister sea-shell that will not stay where it is put. Can Kaye recover her calm or will she be the victim of neighbours, vagrants, thieves and a shell called the Grinning Tun? just click here to see the book on Amazon. Or pick up a copy at Westminster Books in Fredericton.

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Something the Sundial Said

A mystery in a diary and a murder by a sundial …

In 1995, Kaye and her young family attend a country auction, never dreaming the stone sundial in the garden is the site of a century-old murder. They end up buying the old house but someone else buys the sundial. Then Kaye finds a diary written in 1880, chronicling the days leading up to the murder. When Kaye reads the diary, she decides to search for the sundial and return it to the property. And she decides to try and solve the mystery with the clues left in the diary. At every corner, she is outmaneuvered by a local genealogist who is anxious to obtain the diary and keep information damaging to her family hidden. The woman will go to ridiculous lengths to obtain the diary, even stalking Katie, Kaye’s teenaged daughter. As Kaye discovers someone is entering her house at night to find the diary, she wonders who she can trust. The former owner of the house? The handsome stonemason who offers to mend the stone walls on the property? Or the genealogist who will go to extraordinary lengths to protect her family name? Just click here to see the book on Amazon. Or pick up a copy at Westminster Books in Fredericton.

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Land Between the Furrows

A mystery in a stack of post cards and the search for a missing stone …

When Kaye and her friend Clara hold a yard sale, they never dream a box of old post cards will send them on a search for a valuable ‘stone.’ With the help of the stone mason, Daniel, Kaye’s family will try to solve the messages in the post cards and find an old house where the lost artifact must be hidden. When Katie’s pet, Cow, gets lost in the woods, Kaye’s family gets a sudden boost in the game of ‘who finds the stone.’ Their efforts are stymied by some new arrivals in the community: the determined member of a Heritage Association, a bird watcher who doesn’t seem to know a robin from a starling and Daniel’s new, rather unlikely, apprentice. Where is the ‘stone’ and how can it save a community from loss of everything they hold dear? The third in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series is available at Amazon here. This week it will be available at Westminster Books in Fredericton or from me directly.

These are the coziest of mysteries, perfect to curl up with on a rainy day or during the long days of lockdown.

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Stay safe everyone!

Jane

Land Between the Furrows: now available!

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The third book in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series, Land Between the Furrows, is now available from Amazon in paperback and e-book!

Kaye and her family are again solving a mystery in a small community in Nova Scotia. They have found a stack of old post cards and clues to the whereabouts of a valuable stone. All they have to do is discover what is meant by those words: ‘furrow’ and ‘land.’

Land Between the Furrows is available from Amazon here. You will be able to find it at Westminster Books in Fredericton by the end of March. There will be a launch! Stay tuned!

All my best.

Jane

Written by jane tims

March 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

Merry Christmas surprise!

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This afternoon I heard a tiny knock at the front door and arrived in time to see two children walking down our driveway. On the door handle I found a gift hanging! Very festive wrapping in a white dotted cellophane bag, a red card saying Merry Christmas and a gift wrapped in green tissue paper.

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I looked out at the street and there was a group of parents and children walking and waving. I waved back and said ‘Thank you,’ feeling quite festive!

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When my husband got home, we unwrapped the gift and inside was a beautiful sparkling ornament for our tree!

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On Facebook, I discovered people all around our neighbourhood had received this surprise. Makes me feel so happy and part of the neighbourhood!

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Merry Christmas everyone and especially to the families who made and delivered my surprise!

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All my best,

stay safe,

Jane.

Written by jane tims

December 12, 2020 at 4:30 pm

abandoned gardens: rhubarb gone to seed

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When a vegetable garden is abandoned, not much will remain in a couple of years. Most of the plants are annuals and so will vanish; even though some may go to seed, most plants cannot compete with native vegetation. Perennial vegetable garden plants will struggle for a while, but few will survive. The exception is rhubarb.

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Rhubarb (Rheum spp.) is known to most of us as a component of the garden. The stalks are bitter, but cooked with sugar, the tart taste is a treat. My mom used to cook rhubarb with strawberry jello, if not real strawberries, to make a dessert. Rhubarb was grown in Europe both for food and for medicinal purposes. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous and one source says this contributes to the success of rhubarb since it is not likely to be eaten by rabbits, deer and other garden marauders.

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When rhubarb is used in a garden, the flowers are pulled and discarded, to allow harvesting of the stems for as long as possible. When a garden is abandoned, no one pulls the flower stalks and the flowers stand high above the plant to say, “once there was a garden here.”

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37 rhubarb Dorn Sett

old rhubarb plants at Dorn Ridge

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We have found rhubarb growing at abandoned house sites on Dugan Road west of Woodstock and at Dorn Ridge, near Burtt’s Corner.

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63 rhubard Dugan Road cropped

rhubarb plants on the Dugan Road near Woodstock

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Rhubarb, originally prized for its medicinal uses, is always welcome when it sprouts in early spring.  In days past, it meant the end of a long winter and a fresh source of nutrients and vitamin C.  To me, it is a tribute to the gardeners who have worked hard to cultivate a garden plot and make life more sustainable.

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This work was made possible by a Creations Grant from artsnb!

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All my best,

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

July 17, 2020 at 7:00 am

a reading and signing of my new book ‘How Her Garden Grew’

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Have you ever seen a Grinning Tun? He is the villain of my new mystery story How Her Garden Grew.

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I will be reading and signing books at our Authors Coffee House on Thursday, May 30 at 7 PM at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Nasonworth (1224, Highway 101). A portion of book sales will be donated to the Fredericton Hospice. There will be refreshments!

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Jane Tims poster

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How Her Garden Grew is available in e-book and paperback formats here and will soon be available at Westminster Books in Fredericton.

Hope to see you at the Authors Coffee House!

Jane

New mystery novel – How Her Garden Grew

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Merry, Merry

Quite contrary

How does your garden grow?

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Announcement: My new mystery novel ‘How Her Garden Grew‘ is now available on Amazon in paperback. The Kindle version will be available in a few days.

How Her Garden Grew’ is the first in my series of Kaye Eliot mysteries. Kaye is a busy mother with a business to run, two active children and an accountant husband who can’t seem to get free of tax time! The books will take us back to the 1990’s, to a time before cell phones and computers were a key ingredient of family life.

‘How Her Garden Grew’ is a novel about coping with stress, the strength of family, the problems of community, a century-old garden and a strange character called the Grinning Tun.

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In the 1990s, Kaye Eliot comes to Acadia Creek to spend a quiet summer with her two children. But instead of passing stress-free days of swimming and hiking, she finds herself embedded in mystery after mystery. A missing vagrant and a gang of thieves have the community worried. Neighbours seem determined to occupy all of Kaye’s time and energy in restoration of an old flower garden. To add to the mayhem, Kaye and her kids have stumbled on a century-old legend of a treasure buried on the property, a packet of forgotten letters from a woman named Maria Merriweather and an old map of the garden. And they dig up a sinister sea shell. A sea shell who looks like a grinning skull and will not stay where he is put. Can Kaye recover her calm or will she be the victim of neighbors, vagrants, thieves and a shell called the Grinning Tun? Restoring Maria’s garden seems a great idea, until Kaye discovers how Maria’s garden grew.

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So what or who is the Grinning Tun? The Grinning Tun is a sea shell, plucked from the sands of a faraway tropical shore. But this is a sea shell with a difference. It will not stay put! Shove it in the warming oven and, next morning, it sits on top of the stove. Bury it in the ground and it is found in the root cellar. And it grins. It thinks of the possibilities. And it links a mystery in the 1990’s with one in the 1870’s.

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To get your copy of ‘How Her Garden Grew’, go to Amazon here. If you are in the Fredericton area, I will be reading from the book and signing copies at the Authors Coffee House in Nasonworth later in May (more details soon)!

Hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it!

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 27, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Jack-o-lanterns

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pumpkins, anonymous Jack-o-lanterns

huddle in snow, flakes melt

and tears slide down

undifferentiated

cheeks

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people pass by and fail

to recognize

featureless

family

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Happy Hallowe’en

Jane

Written by jane tims

October 26, 2018 at 10:23 pm

writing life,

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This summer I have been taking a break from writing science fiction. I have my next science-fiction book Meniscus: Karst Topography ready to publish so I can take some time to think about other writing projects.

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In 1997, I wrote a long mystery novel. I thought it would be interesting to read it through and see how much my writing style has changed. It has changed a lot, as you will see below. But the story was good and I had spent a decent amount of time on characters, story arcs, and point of view, so I decided to work on the draft.

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The story is titled HHGG (big reveal later in the year) and was 162,500 words. Yikes.

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This is my first draft of an eventual cover blurb …

Kaye Eliot comes to Acadia Creek to spend a quiet summer with her two children. But instead of passing stress-free days of swimming and hiking, she finds herself embedded in mystery after mystery. A missing vagrant and a gang of thieves have the community worried. Neighbours seem determined to occupy all of Kaye’s time and energy in restoration of an old flower garden. Meanwhile, she and her kids have stumbled on a century-old legend of a treasure buried on the property, a packet of old letters and an old map of the garden. And they dig up a sinister sea shell. A sea shell who looks like a grinning skull and who will not stay where he is put. Can Kaye recover her calm or will she be victim of neighbors, vagrants, thieves and a shell called the Grinning Tun?

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the Grinning Tun (about 25 cm or 10 inches across)

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My work on the book has been on several fronts. I have ‘tweeted’ daily about my process  since May 28, 2018 (@TimsJane):

  • Reduce the number of words. I lost a lot of words through editing and style changes. I took out the dream sequences, all the ‘ly’ adverbs, a lot of thinking and feeling, and a raft of ‘that’s. I went from 162,561 words on April 13, 2018 to 148,999 words today on July 15, 2018. It is still a little long but a good read (in my opinion).
  • I did a lot of thinking about whether to keep the setting in 1994 or modernize it to 2018. With some advice, I have decided to keep it in 1994. In fact, the story would not unfold as it does with cell phones and computers at hand. So my characters drive down to the community phone booth almost every day and look for clues in whirring reels of microfiche.
  • Leaving the action in 1994 provided an opportunity to explore the culture of the 1990s. Besides the missing cell phones and computers, people collected Canadian Tire Money, waitresses smoked in restaurants and POGs were a fad among kids. In the summer of 1994, the song ‘I Swear‘ held the Canadian single charts for three weeks and the American charts for seven weeks. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon was a thing. The slang interjection ‘like’ punctuated speaking (still does).
  • Part of the text is in Spanish so I asked my friend Roger Moore to help me proof-read the Spanish text.
  • I spent a lot of time with my Grinning Tun … I bought him on line in 2010. The more you look at it, the more it looks like a skull.
  • I spent a stupid amount of time designing a curlicue for announcing a change in sections. I am glad I did, because this new novel will include ‘Drop caps’ at the beginning of every chapter and said curlicue.

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design

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It will take me a few more weeks to proof the draft. To do this, I order a Proof from CreateSpace and do my edits as a way of passing the time effectively on my stationary cycle. Once I have the Proof, I’ll be able to concentrate on painting the cover for HHGG. This is the rough outlay for the cover, tacked together from various photos …

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HHGG cover (2).jpg

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Now you know everything about HHGG except its title!

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All my best,

Jane 

Written by jane tims

July 18, 2018 at 7:00 am

Green bottles and blue berries

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We have been spending time at our cabin.

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In the window, on our bench, the light flows through green bottles.

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Our paths are green tunnels.

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And in the fields and along the trails are blueberries.

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Lots to pick and eat.

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bitter blue

for Mom

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of all the silvery summer days we spent   none so warm   sun on granite boulders   round blue berry field   miles across hazy miles away from hearing anything but bees

and berries

plopping in the pail

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beside you   I draped my lazy bones on bushes   crushed berries and thick red leaves over moss dark animal trails nudged between rocks berries baking brown   musk rising to meet blue heat

or the still fleet scent

of a waxy berry bell

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melting in my mouth   crammed with fruit   sometimes pulled from laden stems   more often scooped from your pail   full ripe blue pulp and the bitter shock of a hard green berry never ripe

or a shield bug

with frantic legs

and an edge to her shell

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From ‘within easy reach’, Chapel Street Editions, 2016

Previously published in The Amethyst Review 1 (2), Summer 1993

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 16, 2017 at 7:00 am

early schooling – what to do at recess

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When I was young, recess was a big deal. You had to take a treat to eat and something for play. In Grade Three, tops were all the rage. My Dad made me a top from a wooden spool and we painted it in a rainbow of colours. I can still see it spinning on the concrete step. We also played hop-scotch, ball games like Ordinary Secretary, marbles, skipping and tag.

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April 30, 2016 'top made from a wooden spool' Jane Tims

April 30, 2016 ‘top made from a wooden spool’ Jane Tims

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I am lucky to have some of my Dad’s writing about his early years and his experiences in a one room school. He went to the Weaver Settlement School in Digby County in Nova Scotia in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He tells about some of the activities at the school, especially at recess. Fishing was popular, as well as playing ball and trading jack knives.

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… There was a well out beside the school and it was a good appointment to take care of the water-cooler for a day of a week … Gave a student time off from books…

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… There was a brook nearby … In fall we usually built a dam so the brook became a pond for winter … A place to skate or just play on the ice …every moment of recess and noon was spent there …

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… The big contest was ‘who comes to school first in bare feet ’ … Our parents had control, not full control as there were hiding places for shoes and stockings along the way to school …

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Dad as a boy holding horse

Dad with the family horse Goldie in about 1930

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am certain recess is still a favorite time for school kids – time to talk with friends, play games and get a little break from the classroom. I think we could all build a little ‘recess’ into our busy lives!

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

 

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