Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas Shopping Suggestions


And get special pricing at Amazon on two of our popular Kindle titles!

Off the Grid
Getting Started

Description: In Wayne's thirteenth book in the Coastal BC Stories series, he shares how we got started in making a home in a remote location away from public utilities and services.  Have you ever dreamed of moving off the grid and living in harmony with nature? What will it take? How do you get started? In Off the Grid: Getting Started, Wayne shares valuable insights from our experiences that will inspire and assist you in fulfilling your own dream of a major lifestyle change.

Click here for your special holiday Kindle price.

Across the Galactic Sea
First Contact Science Fiction Spaceship Challenger is on mankind’s first galactic voyage using a high-tech blend of space jumps and cryogenic hibernation. Captain Tina Brett leads her ship towards the ultimate goal, first contact with alien intelligence, until a navigational glitch changes everything. Then there's a mutiny, or is it something more? Six individuals on an epic journey for the good of mankind.

Click here for your special holiday Kindle price.


Click here if you need a Kindle or a free Kindle App.
Both books are also available in print format.

Happy reading from Wayne and Margy

Saturday, December 8, 2018

"Darkest Before the Dawn" by Mike Martin

I always like to give credit to my blogging friend Crafty Gardener for leading me to a great author, Mike Martin. He's a Canadian born in Newfoundland, the location he's picked for his Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series.  I've read several of the books including A Tangled Web.

Mike's newest and seventh book in the series is Darkest Before the Dawn, One of the great things about his books is that you can read one as a stand-alone without difficulty. But knowing more of the backstory is always good.

The main character is Sgt. Winston Windflower, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer of Cree heritage that is posted in Grand Bank, Newfoundland.

Grand Bank is a real town of about 2,500 residents. It's four hour's drive west of St. John's on the southern tip of the Burin Peninsula.  As a coastal community, it's heritage is closely tied to the sea and fishing, especially cod. This YouTube video by Travis Parsons (Vinland) Photography will give you a feel for the area.

The story opens with Sgt. Winston Windflower making a presentation to women at the Grand Bank United Church. A series of break-ins has people unnerved. After all, it's a small town where people rarely lock their doors. Then circumstances escalate and the story quickly evolves into a murder mystery.

The plot expands to include the topics of suicide, limited mental health services, drugs and even bit coins. Grand Bank may be small and remote, but like most places around the world it has similar problems. You also experience small town life, get to know its people including Sgt. Windflower's wife Sheila Hillier (the mayor) and their newborn daughter Amelia Louise, his faithful collie Lady, and a ghostly specter haunting their newly renovated BandB. All of the characters are well developed and well rounded.

Wayne and I visited Newfoundland in 2009 and again in 2014. It's an exciting destination to explore with small outport villages, some much smaller than Grand Bank.

I like that Mike uses his native province as the setting because I enjoy reading about places I've visited. Now, back to the story.

Life is usually calm in Grand Bank. Then Sgt. Windflower is called to the scene of a gruesome murder in a private home. One murder leads to another. What could be happening in this seemingly quiet community? And the biggest question, will he fulfill the tradition and get his man? You'll have to read Darkest Before the Dawn to find out?

Come take a drive around Grand Bank. Your starting point is the RCMP Station.

I've said this before but it's true, the author couldn't have chosen a better locale in which to set his story. It's a perfect match.

Mike's writing style gave me a strong mental picture of the people and places. I was able to relate personally. Even if you've never been to Newfoundland, the plot and characters will make you feel right at home.

You can find out more about Mike Martin at:

Mike Martin on Crime Writers of Canada
Mike Martin on Twitter
Mike Martin's Author Page on Amazon
Mike Martin on !ndigo
Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series on Facebook
Mike Martin book reviews on the Crafty Gardener blog

Darkest Before the Dawn is available in print and ebook formats. Online options include, and !ndigo/Chapters. more exciting book reviews, head on over to Semicolon's Blog each weekend.

There's also the monthly Book Review Club for teen/young adult and adult fiction over at Barrie Summy's blog.

Join Stone Cottage Adventures for Words on Wednesday for writing tips, stories, book reviews/tours, poetry, blog posts, current events/facts, and publishing books. - Margy

Monday, December 3, 2018

Christmas Shopping Suggestions

Give a little bit of
Powell River
for Christmas

Put a little "sunshine" in your holiday shopping. Head on over to and take a look inside these exciting books in Wayne's Coastal BC Stories series. They're popular with locals and visitors to the Sunshine Coast because they're all about our Powell River region. Each book focuses on a different perspective. I know there's one that will fit someone special on your holiday shopping list.

Up the Lake with stories about hiking, boating, flying and survival off the grid in a floating cabin on Powell Lake. This was the first book in the series and has a variety of stories about the Powell River region. Up the Main focuses on getting into the Powell River backcountry by bike, quad, and hiking. Come ride along with us on a quad to places like Theodosia Inlet, the head of Powell Lake, and on logging roads and local trails near and far.

Up the Winter Trail takes the reader snowshoeing, hiking and biking during the winter months. This would be a good book if you are planning on coming to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Up the Strait cruises the Strait of Georgia to uncrowded and pristine anchorages. Follow our 24' Bayliner Halcyon Days into Desolation Sound, to unique Mittlenatch Island and the Gulf Islands.

Up the Airway wings you across Canada to show off our beautiful country from up above. Fly along with us in our Piper Arrow, land to camp at remote strips with gorgeous scenery, and meet unique animals like the muskox.

Farther Up the Lake follows in the footsteps of Wayne's most popular book, Up the Lake. Read about living off the grid in a float cabin, the beauties of Powell Lake and the many different ways you can enjoy the backcountry.

Farther Up the Main takes you beyond the original Up the Main to explore the glaciers of Mt. Alfred, the remote Theodosia wilderness, a logging road ride to our cabin, and on an impromptu overnight stay waiting for a summer swollen stream to subside.

Farther Up the Strait takes you on voyages to more remote inlets and anchorages in Desolation Sound and beyond. Did you ever want to put a new engine in your boat? Follow along as our Halcyon Days gets a new lease on life and energy boost.

Cabin Number 5 follows John as he constructs a float cabin from the water up.  Over the years, when time and money are available, the cabin grows board by board. If you've ever dreamed of living off-the-grid, you'll enjoy Cabin Number 5 (yes, it's the fifth one John's built).

Off the Grid is the story of transitioning from city-folk life when we bought our cabin. We learned how to generate our own power, use propane for appliances, maintain a kitchen garden, live in harmony with nature, and exchange our hectic lives for a more simple lifestyle.

Beyond the Main takes you beyond the stories in Up the Main and Farther Up the Main as Wayne and I explore the Powell River and Powell Lake backcountry on our ATVs. Discover trails to ride and meet local off-road enthusiasts who are glad to show you the way.

Powell Lake by Barge and Quad takes you on a unique tour around the Powell River, BC, region. Following Up the Main, Farther Up the Main, and Beyond the Main, this book takes you on Powell and Goat Lake adventures with our barge loaded with quads to explore places few people get to see.

Off the Grid: Getting Started is the newest book in the Coastal BC Stories series. Following titles like Up the Lake, Cabin Number 5 and Off the Grid, this book gives the reader information and tips about how to go from city life to living off the grid. As in previous books in the series, our float cabin home is an example of how we made the move and lifestyle switch.

All books are available online in Kindle and Kobo and print formats through Amazon. E-book readers can also find the titles available through Smashwords and many other e-book sellers. Print books are also available locally in Powell River at Coles.

For more information, go to Happy last minute Shopping! -- Margy

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Bellingham's Chuckanut Drive

On sunny fall days, Wayne and I like to take road trips. Recently, we chose Chuckanut Drive from the Skagit Valley to Bellingham. We were heading back to Bellingham from Skagit Regional Airport where our Piper Arrow is getting her annual inspection.

If you choose the other direction, heading south does give you the best views of the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands.

Skagit Valley is well known for tulips in the spring.
Heading north from Skagit Valley, take the Chuckanut Drive (Highway 11) exit from I-5 and make a right turn at the traffic circle on the west side of the freeway. From the north, take the Cuckanut Drive (State Highway 11) exit from I-5 in Bellingham.

The road passes through Old Fairhaven, an interesting destination of its own with lots of quaint shops and restaurants.

All along the drive there are spectacular views. This is particularly true south of Larrabee State Park. Turnouts are available to stop for pictures. There is also trailhead parking for a variety of Chuckanut Mountain Trails and the Interurban Trail that runs all the way back to Fairhaven. Some trails allow mountain bikes.

On this trip, we didn't stop at any restaurants along the drive. Well known ones are the Chuckanut Manor Seafood and Grill, The Oyster Bar and the Taylor Samish Oyster Bar and Shellfish Farm. Parking is limited along the busy road and both are somewhat pricey. If you've been to either of them, maybe you can leave a comment with a review.

Rock formation at Wildcat Cove.
South of Bellingham, is Larrabee State Park. Follow signs to the Boat Launch in Wildcat Cove for unobstructed views of Samish Bay. Parking is free and $5.00 to launch a watercraft. Gates close at dusk.

There are restrooms, picnic tables and rocky shores to explore or bring a kayak to paddle the headlands. There's also a nearby year-round campground for those who want to stay a little longer.

Old Fairhaven
We continued on Chuckanut all the way to Fairhaven. It was a nice fall afternoon trip. One resource I use for travels and activities in Bellingham is the Insider's Guide: Bellingham and Mount Baker. It covers just about every topic you might want. You can check it out at

Do you have any favourite day trips around Bellingham? Let us know.

Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.

And Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

Visit Letting Go of the Bay Leaf for more Mosaic Monday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

USC Basketball Sports-cation

U is for the University of Southern California

USC Galen Center basketball court.
Wayne and I enjoyed lots of USC basketball last week on our fall sun and sports-cation. Because Wayne's a USC alumnus, we plan trips around their sports events.

Both men and women play home basketball games at the Galen Center. It's a great venue for basketball, volleyball, concerts and other shows.

The Galen Center is freeway close and parking is easily accessible just after the Exposition Blvd. exit off the Harbor (110) Freeway.

We fly to Los Angeles International Airport and take a cab. It costs about $50 one way plus tip. That's cheaper than renting a car and paying parking. A bonus, most cabs have transponders to use the freeway express lanes which really cuts down on travel time and headaches.

USC women's basketball at the Galen Center.
Now that we live up north, we stay at the USC Raddison. that's right next door. There are several eating establishments within walking distance including The Lab Gastropub. We also take our mobile meal kit and go to Trader Joe's at USC Village to get breakfast items, salads and snacks for room meals.

We enjoy both men's and women's basketball. Last week we saw one men's game and two women's.

It was pre-conference so good tickets were easy to get. We especially enjoy women's games because the crowd is more supportive, and the women perform as a unified team, each player working with her peers to do the best that they can.

"Our bench" for sun in the USC quad.

In between games we grab some of that wonderful Southern California sunshine to revitalize our tans and spirits. The location of choice is the USC quad where we can student watch while we read our Kindles.

Wayne multitasking watching football and basketball live,
Last week was the annual rivalry football game between USC and UCLA. It was at the Rose Bowl this year so we didn't attend.

But we did experience the on-campus pep rally and the duct tape wrapped mascot statues.

 This year SC was successful is spray painting the UCLA bear on their campus, but Tommy Trojan and Traveler survived unscathed.

USC mascots before and "under wraps".

Vacations are great for so many reasons. What are some of your favourite destinations and activities?

Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.

And Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

For ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the twenty-third round of the meme originally established by Denise Nesbitt. It has now being maintained by Melody and her team. -- Margy

Monday, November 5, 2018

Float Cabin YouTube Video Reaches Over One Million Views

Back in 2012, I sent pictures and video clips about off-the-grid living in our float cabin home to Kirsten Dirksen in Spain. She has a YouTube channel that focuses on tiny homes, simple living and other interesting topics.

A look at the YouTube page with our 1,000,000+ views.

Kirsten took the raw images I sent and put them together into a video for her channel. Little did I know that the video she created would become so popular. This week it just crossed the 1,000,000 views mark.

In case you haven't seen it yet, here it is. You can view it right here or go to YouTube for a larger version.

Thanks Kirsten for sharing our story with so many people.

Do you want to learn more about our float cabin home and off the grid living? Visit the Powell River Books blog or check out some of the books in the Coastal BC Stories series.  -- Wayne and Margy