Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Review of GLW from Cold Coffee Cafe

Cold Coffee Cafe has just posted their review of The Great Liquor War and I present it here/ The first part, that which appears under the cover picture is the press release . Following that is the review which includes a short excerpt. They also offer a connection to access but an even easier method is to click on the book covers to the right.

 Just Released!
The year is 1885. Hank James has been in Canada several months panning gold from a stream near Roswell, British Columbia. When he hears a prizefight will be held in town, he attends along with everyone for miles around. With a little help from the fight referee, he wins big betting on the fight. Having realized that the life of a miner isn't nearly as romantic or rewarding as he expected, and with advice from the policeman who helped him win money on the fight, Hank goes to Farwell to haul freight with pack horses for contractors building the transcontinental railroad.
The railroad's security, a detachment of North West Mounted Police, have maintained across the West that no liquor be allowed one mile on either side of the rail bed. Provincial authorities disagree. Hank James believes in honoring and repaying his debts, but that doesn't mean he should be involved in a war between the BC Provincial Police and the North West Mounted.
He and his partners have trouble enough running their freight business, they don't need to be caught between competing policemen. They are already stuck between Canada's transcontinental railroad people and the contractors doing the actual construction. While the police are fighting one another, who is looking for criminals, particularly those stealing Hank's horses? Despite a variety of jobs, D.M. McGowan now works as a commercial driver and lives near Mile "0" of the world-famous Alaska Highway.
His stories bring Canadian history to life. "I believe in seeing morality and societal responsibility rewarded. Too much of today's fiction seems to lead into the dark instead of the light."
Great Liqour War by D. M. McGowan is a western pioneering era saga that combines great story telling, true-to-life cowboy experience with US and Canadian history combined with legends from the 1800’s.
The main character Hank James was born in Canada and migrated south into the US with his family after the Civil War. Hank’s father headed towards Oregon in search of a farmstead while protecting his family from raids by outlaws and Indians. They made it as far as Kansas to find that the land was too dry to farm so pushed on to Oregon to find the land was too wet. With Mother Nature as their biggest obstacle and many mouths to feed young Hank James set out on his own. He settled down with his own gold mine claim near Rossland, British Columbia in 1984.
Hank wasn’t afraid of hard work, but he wanted more out of life than to eke out a living on his claim. With tenacity Hank took advantage of the Transcanada Railroad, found some partners and started his own freight business. Life should be good, but where there is industry, technology, commerce and economy, there are criminals.
In all my reviews I quote a passage so readers can get a feel for the authors writing style. I quote from page 37.
“It didn’t take a detective to know that the horse thief had played a little joke on the Provincial Police. Constable Art Hubbard was over six feet tall and probably ten pounds lighter than the one eighty mentioned in the description. Not only was he a long way from round, he was also clean shaven.
I gave Constable Hubbard my story, ending with the recovery of the bay gelding and the description I had from Miller. “An’ the fella called himself Art Hubbard,” I added.
The Constable’s expression didn’t change. He worked his chew around into one cheek and sent a stream of tobacco juice into the waste basket. “Feller with a sense o’ humor,” he noted, and then added. “It’ll be one ‘o Bulldog Kelley’s outfit. They work out o’ some of the illegal saloons t’ be found back in the bush. We catch one or two of ‘em every now an’ then, but we can’t get Kelley, an’ he’s the head o’ the snake. I can think of one or two that might fit your description, but not a one that had a full beard. An’ this fella’s probably shaved by now.”
I wrote out my story, signed it, and returned to work.”
Between the horse thieves, authority over liquor sales and a war between the BC Provincial Police and the North West Mounted Hank is he in over his head? Only time will tell if he makes the right choices and will he win the heart and loyalty of Sharon Dalton?
Saddle up your horse, holster your gun and join a rugged western cast of characters that will take you back to the reality and the legends of the Wild West.
Cold Coffee Press endorses Great Liqour War by D. M. McGowan for the nuggets of history told within a great story of human experience in the Wild West. This book was given to us in a PDF for review. This review was completed on August 11, 2015. For more information, please visit Cold Coffee Press. http://www.coldcoffeepress.com

Monday, July 27, 2015

Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen


We had a great concert here (Diamond Willow Retreat) Sat. night (July 25/15) from two of the most versatile and accomplished musicians I have had the pleasure to hear and observe in a very long time. Some great songs as well, written by them in genres from country through folk to jazz. I was blown away by a composition that reminded me very much of Django Reinhardt and St├ęphane Grappelli of the “Hot Jazz Club”.
However, those two greats from France did not have the lyrics and outstanding harmonies presented by Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen.
I hope to see them back again as do all those who attended.

You can take a look for yourself at:
https://www.facebook.com/danandlaurel

or at their web-site which is:
http://www.danandlaurel.ca/Home.html

And while I’m thinking of it I’ll mention again that after you have “liked” their facebook page I would appreciate it if you did the same to mine …




Here is a shot of them performing but I didn't get one when they were here the other night. My bad.

Monday, July 13, 2015

McCabe and Me by Lee Cheney

A highly entertaining read and a view of the American music business from the inside.
                         

              I was waiting with anticipation for the release of this work since I had heard many stories about Lee Cheney. I knew that he had played folk, country and rock through the 60s, 70s and 80s. I knew that he had worked with song writers and musicians whose work I had covered in my two short excursions into the world of the road musician. I knew that he had done well with a novelty song he penned entitled “Fred” which had been recorded by Ray Stevens. I was hoping to hear, or more accurately read some great stories about the music world from someone who had been there.
I was not disappointed.
I am however disappointed that I did not have the opportunity to see Cheney perform live as a single, as a duo with the many partners he describes (including Chuck McCabe) or with a band. From what I have discovered of  his writing style, his method of telling a story, I’m sure his stage presentation was very entertaining. “McCabe and Me” had me laughing on several occasions.
Do you have an entertainer you once enjoyed – or even hated – but haven’t heard of for years? Perhaps you have one in your past that you wonder, “How did he ever get discovered?” If so you might find him or her in the pages of “McCabe and Me”. Even if you don’t you’ll be able to figure out the history of that particular person since the stories here explain the lives, emotions, distractions, abilities, talents and development of so many of those who offer their music for the world.
You may ask, “How would McGowan know that?”
Many of the stories are similar to those I experienced. True, none of my episodes were exactly the same, but I recognize it all and apparently I didn’t find some of it as funny as Lee Cheney. Or perhaps he learned better than I how to grin and bear (bare?) it.
True, I have never met the author but I must admit in the interest of full disclosure we’ve exchanged messages over the internet. In addition, that sister mentioned in the book seven years younger than him is married to me.
"McCabe and Me" is available on Amazon for $2.93
http://www.amazon.com/McCabe-Me-Lee-Cheney-ebook/dp/B00WRQJEJ8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436848996&sr=1-1&keywords=McCabe+and+Me 

By the way, the print proof copy of “The Great Liquor War” should be here in about two weeks and I can’t think of what mistakes they might make that would have me refuse it … but then again, everybody makes mistakes now and then.
I’ve also submitted “Jake’s Justice” but I haven’t heard anything back on that. Should have the first lay-out copy here in a couple of weeks on that as well.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Rex Murphy wacks Timmy

Tim Horton’s or “Timmy’s” as many call it has made a serious blunder in the world of “branding”, corporate identity and advertising in general. This gaff can not be better explained and understood than following the article/opinion that Rex Murphy has contributed to the National Post. It can be viewed and read at:


In many things I agree with Rex and even when I don’t I find his presentations highly entertaining.
Enjoy.

The new release of “The Great Liquor War” has been through the usual three checks for technical perfection (and despite my best efforts I expect there will be a mistake or two) and the next step is for them to send me a test copy. Hopefully soon.

We went with the front cover as I presented it here.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Shrine Hospitals for Children

Those reading this not in North America may not know or understand what Shriners are. Even many on this continent only see the small groups or “patrols” that will often appear in parades or at community functions and will only understand them as the “old guys” riding motorcycles (full size and min), small or model versions of a Model A (tin Lizzies) or as clowns. These groups are designed to heighten awareness of the Shrine and to offer some entertainment but they are not the primary function of the club.
            Yes, the Shrine is a club made up of members who have become members of the Antient Order of Free and Accepted Masons. Freemasons can be found through-out the world but the Shrine is a club unique to North America. The primary function is to assist children (and their families) who require specialized treatment for orthopedic and burn surgery.
            There are Shriner’s Hospitals throughout North America usually associated with a sister facility. We only have one here in Canada, in Montreal, which is affiliated with the Montreal Children’s Hospital. The Shrine Hospital (Shrine funded) contains some specialized equipment and personnel as does the Children’s Hospital (Provincial and Federal funding) and the two institutions share this expertise and equipment.
            Here in Western Canada the various Shrine clubs are primarily concerned with transportation and access to Shrine Hospitals in the US. Most of the patients here in British Columbia, for example are bussed or flown to Portland or Seattle depending on their specific needs.
            Lately I have seen tables showing the amounts as a percentage of charitable donations various groups direct toward their actual advertised function and how much goes toward administration. In the case of the Shrine the administration – all Shriners – are all volunteers.
            The following are excerpts from the Shriner’s Public Relations Voice for May.


June is National Safety Month, and the perfect time for Shriners Hospitals for Children to launch its annual On Track for a Safe Summer campaign. This campaign showcases our commitment to keeping kids safe and injury-free, and will continue throughout the summer. With the support of NASCAR driver, Shriner, father and national spokesperson for the campaign, David Ragan, we hope to educate the public about the important role our health care system plays in children’s health and their overall safety when participating in summer activities. The On Track for a Safe Summer campaign combines public service announcements, community outreach, media opportunities and local activation throughout the summer to help parents reduce the risks of life threatening and life-changing injuries to children.

 Three-year-old Sapphyre Johnson and her new puppy, Lt. Dan, have been tugging at the heartstrings of many people throughout the world recently, making them overnight celebrities. Sapphyre, who has been a patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville since she was 3 months old, and her new furry friend, have been featured on USA Today, ABC News, Good Morning America, the Today show website, Huffington Post, New York Post, BuzzFeed, the Rachel Ray Show and more, bringing far-reaching exposure and attention to both the Greenville Shriners Hospital and the Shriners Hospitals health care system. When a breeder found she had a puppy born without a paw, she decided to give the hospital a call in hopes that he could become the special friend of a patient there, and a staff member instantly knew Sapphyre would be perfect for him. Born with only two fingers on each hand and one toe on each foot due to a congenital condition, Sapphyre had both her feet amputated as a baby so that she would be able to eventually walk with prosthetics. Sapphyre and Lt. Dan, named after the Forrest Gump character, formed an instant bond, and quickly became inseparable. Their story first appeared in the Greenville News and GreenvilleOnline before it took off nationally, and then internationally.

On May 8, Shriners Hospitals for Children was featured in an episode of the popular television show Hawaii Five-0, which aired on CBS. The heartwarming scene was filmed at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu, and provided a great opportunity for national exposure. During the show’s season finale, Danny, played by actor Scott Caan, learned he has a son with an autoimmune disease and came to the hospital to see if he was a bone marrow match. The scene showed the hospital's beautiful building with its sign and colorful lobby. The Silent Messenger statue and two Fezzy bears were also seen by viewers. To view the entire episode, please visit cbs.com/shows/hawaii_five_0/.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Great Liquor War with Partners and Homesteader

            As I’ve mentioned here and in other forms I’ve been working toward the release, or perhaps re-release of my first novel, “The Great Liquor War” and things are moving along. I have had another edit done and its surprising how many errors slipped through the three edits done the first time it was printed. However, done now.
            Once GLW is out, possibly by June or July I’ll have three available with “Partners” and “Homesteader”. I also have “Jake’s Justice” ready and a collection of short stories.
            I had thought about using the same cover as the first time. It is/was a sketch done by Marilyn Meikle and though it does not show liquor, or the two police forces involved in the disagreement it does show another important character in the story which is a railroad steam engine and a depot with a man standing between the two holding a rifle. It is also a cover I like very much. However I only have a copy of it as a document, which can not be manipulated to any degree and Marilyn is far too busy to attempt another one.
            As I mentioned in an earlier post I’ve been looking at a couple of other possibilities. One is a train and the other is two men holding a bottle from opposite sides. I have a designer/artist/editor extraordinaire (www.tracywandling.com) working on a new cover and should have something soon.
            A couple of ideas:





            Several people have said in a variety of places, “Why read fiction when it isn’t real?”
            There are several answers to that question. Sometimes, perhaps more often than not, a fictionalized version of events communicates a better understanding than the “facts” surrounding that event. One of the reasons for that is that fiction is often presented in such a way that it requires the reader to “fill out” some descriptions or actions with their own imagination. This allows that reader the opportunity to “picture” what is “happening” (or isn’t, really) in a way that person can better understand.
            As I’ve said many times, a reader of fiction can be their own director/cinematographer/actor with the development of some imagination. Make your own movie in your head.
            Studies have supported this contention and shown other benefits. It has been shown, for example that those who read fiction show far more empathy for and understanding of others.
            More about that at another time, but for now, click on the book covers over to the right to be taken to my SBPRA web page or go to www.amazon.com/books and type in one of the titles or D.M. McGowan. There you can have look inside to see what you think.
            I have a couple of reviews on the back cover of “The Great Liquor War” but a new one is from R. Hadland.
“Anyone who has ridden a horse, or enjoys the history of our pioneer era, will get a lot of enjoyment out of this story.”
From A.G.Wayne Ezeard, author of “Where Eagles Soar”:

“This book is a must read. Well researched and written with an accuracy of historical events. Highly Entertaining.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Learning New Tricks and an old novel

Last October I took a trip down to Red Deer, AB and spent 2 weeks trying to absorb information presented by two NACE (type that into Google and then click on NACE International and it will be explained) Level 3 Inspectors. Despite having been away from the business of fabrication for 28 years I managed, somehow, to pass the Level 1 course the first week and then, lo and behold, Level 2 the next week. I am therefore a NACE Certified Level 2 Coating Inspector.
            Just goes to prove you CAN teach an old dog a new trick.
            There is a need apparently since some of the coating manufacturers are finding that their products may or may not have been applied as recommended. If they should fail and item they are supposed to protect fails who is responsible, the fabricator, applicator or manufacturer? Was material substandard before fabrication?
            On the first day of the first course, during the introduction to Level 1 an explanation of Corrosion and its costs were outlined. For example, a 1998 study shows that 3.1% of the US gross domestic product was lost to corrosion. As a percentage that doesn’t sound like a great deal but expressed as a dollar value the loss was $276 billion.
Worse than the cost factor, however is the safety factor. Pipelines often contain volatile materials, sometime in a gaseous state. They are usually built for several decades of service with engineered safety factors far in excess of the expected lifetime. Despite those built in safety factors they often fail and it is most often due to corrosion which might be caused by failure of the pipe or the coating or unexpected changes in atmospheric conditions.
So the need for coating inspectors in manufacturing, shipping, both off-shore and on-shore petroleum production, in the transport of those petro-chemical products, in bridges and in critical concrete construction.
The information required to be a NACE Level 2 Inspector is not the type of thing I use in writing a novel, singing a song or hauling Diesel around the country. However I’m looking forward to using that information and my Positector.

Speaking of novels, I’m hoping my first novel, “The Great Liquor War” will be available once again by June or July. Right now I have Tracy Wandling (www.tracywandling.com/) working on a new cover design.