Time Trail

By Janet Slater

Book Blurb

Casey arrives in southwest Ohio expecting a working retreat, staying at a historic home along a wooded bike trail while analyzing lead-contaminated soil samples at an abandoned ammunition factory. Instead she is drawn into events that shape history along two railroads-one, buried by the bike trail, that took a newly-elected president to his inauguration and a Civil War; and the other an Underground Railroad of courageous people and high ideals, but also of buried secrets. Told through a fugitive slave interview, newspaper articles, an old diary and modern narration, three stories intertwine in this novel based on a real place and people both real and imagined.  (Goodreads.com)

My Review

This novella length novel was right up my alley.  It is a historical fiction set right in my backyard. The story takes place between the towns of Morrow, Ohio and Fosters, Ohio along the Little Miami Scenic Trail (a wooded bike/walking trail) in southwestern Ohio.  Much of the story takes place at the Peters Cartridge Factory which is abandoned and is situated between the two towns and just over the hill from my house.

Casey came to Ohio to collect soil samples at the old factory. She rented an old house in Fosters that still exists today. The house was built by Henry Butterworth and was a stop on the Underground Railroad.  In order not to reveal too much of the story, I won’t delve into what happens in this short novel, but I will say it has a time travel element where Casey is taken back in time to learn of happenings relating to that time.  From a historical point of view, though some of the details are fictionalized, there were deaths from a munitions factory explosion, president-elect Lincoln’s whistle-stop ride through Morrow, and the history surrounding the Underground Railroad and the dangers faced by slaves. For those who love romance, there is some of that, too, but not so much to scare off anyone who isn’t interested in that genre.

This was truly an enjoyable read and I would definitely recommend it to EVERYONE!

About the Author

Janet Slater is a writer and editor and a former writing instructor at the University of Cincinnati. She has served as editor of two local magazines and several books, and currently is editor of Trail Mail, the newsletter of Friends of the Little Miami State Park. Her love of local history and research inspires her writing, most recently in Time Trail, set just north of Cincinnati where she lives with her husband. She is also the author of A Home in the Storm, a historical fiction book for children ages 8 to 12. Janet volunteers on the board of directors of the Friends of the Little Miami State Park and enjoys inline skating and bicycling on its beautiful trail.

Purchase TIME TRAIL at Amazon.

Emerson’s Attic Series

Books One and Two

By Kathleen Andrews Davis

The Blue Velvet Book One – THE BLUE VELVET

In Book One we meet Emerson Mcbride, a typical American teenager who does the same things any other teen would do. That is, until she is sent up to clean the attic. What happens there will surprise you.

Emerson finds herself on her back in a large room, not her attic.  A strange voice keeps telling her to wake up and is calling her Emma. Lizzy is a housemaid in Harrington Hall.. Though Emerson is confused about everything, Lizzy helps direct her through her household chores and daily life in this huge manor..

Emerson is living in another time and has no idea how she got there, or how to get back home.  What’s more, she is becoming suspicious of the eldest son of the owner of the Manor.

Book Two – SMOKE AND MIRRORSSmoke and Mirrors

In Book Two, Emerson is late getting home from school, and her best friend Sarah is supposed to come over so they can work together on their science.  When she walks in the house, her mother tells her Sarah has gone upstairs to the attic to find a Halloween costume.  Panicked that something similar to what happened to her will happen to Sarah, Emerson dashes upstairs just as Sarah put an orange wig on her head.  She was too late.  She reached for Sarah and the next thing they knew, they woke up in a strange place, in an earlier time, and everyone was calling them Lily and Faith.  They were suddenly circus performers.  Both of the girls made the best of the situation, all the while trying to figure out how to get back home.  This adventure takes them further and further away from their hometown by way of the circus train.  Why is Emerson here with Sarah?  The two have quite a journey and end up solving a mystery before they return to their normal lives.

The characters in both books were believable in spite of the fact that they were time travelers.  They were smart and able to put clues together to solve the mysteries they were entangled in. Emerson finds out a little more about herself in each adventure.  I will stop at that to keep from giving away any spoilers.

The plots of the books were equally engaging, even though the first book was much shorter. They were well thought out and executed.  The author did a fantastic job of pulling everything together at the end.

I loved both books.  No, just so you understand, let me repeat myself.  I L-O-V-E-D these books. I couldn’t put them down.  I would highly recommend this series to any middle grade girl (age 9-14).  A boy could certainly read them, but I think they are written more to a girl’s interest.

First Chapter The Blue Velvet:

Consequences 

“It’s not fair.  It’s just not fair,” Emerson mumbled lumbering up the steep attic stairs with broom, dustpan, and trash bags in hand.

“Why am I always the one punished when Adam is the troublemaker?  No one should have to deal with little brothers!  No one! Why can’t he clean the attic!  He started it!  Mom always takes his side!”

By the time she reached the top step her long, chestnut hair had let loose from the hair clip and her bangs were pasted to her forehead with sweat.  “Humph…” She looked around the dirty attic.  Bookcases piled with old books, Time Magazines, National Geographics, and some old newspapers.  “Just what am I supposed to do with those?”

Straight ahead ice skates hung from the rafters along with tennis racquets and snowshoes.  Abandoned skis, a snowboard, and golf clubs leaned against the wall, dropped there by someone moving onto the next sport season.

To the right she saw piles of cardboard boxes, old furniture, lamp shades, a discarded ironing board, an old fashioned tall mirror in a standing frame, and the headboard of a bed propped against the chimney.  Everything was covered with a thick layer of dust and cobwebs stretched from every corner of the attic, between the rafters, and across the windows.

“I don’t know where to begin,” she said, brushing cobwebs off her jeans and out of her hair.  “I wonder where the spiders are that made the cobwebs.  I’m pretty sure we covered spiders in science class.”  She should have paid more attention to that chapter.

“First things first.  I can’t stand these cobwebs!” She dropped everything to raise the broom and wipe down the cobwebs.  “Crap!” she yelled.  Dust cascaded down on her while the cobwebs stuck to the broom.

As she wiped her face with her sleeve, light streaming in from the back window caught her attention.  There, beside the window in a rainbow of color was Grandpap’s old easy chair covered with a sheet.  “I need a break.”  She headed for the chair and took off the dusty sheet.

Sitting down she pulled her feet up onto the chair seat and wrapped her arms around her knees.  She breathed deeply, well as deeply as anyone could breathe in this stuffy old attic.  She moved her eyes around slowly.  There were four windows:  One looking out onto Elm Street,   the second looking out the side to the neighbor’s house where John the bully lived, the third looking over the garage and driveway, and the last overlooking the back yard where the grass always seemed to need mowing.

She couldn’t help wondering why her parents liked this big, old house.  She wanted to live in a new house, in a development with a pool, and lots of kids her age.  Well, not exactly her age of fourteen, but maybe a few years older.  Especially if there were boys!

As she sat wondering how all this stuff had gotten here she felt the warm sun on her face.  Closing her eyes she leaned back in Pap’s chair.  It rocked gently.  Pap’s name was John Forest McBride, but his friends called him Jack.  He was gone now, but she remembered his strong arms holding her safe and warm when she was small.  They would pretend they were riding the train where Pap had worked as a fireman until he retired.  She sat on his lap and he would tell her stories of the places he had been.  Emerson could see him as if he were here now.  Tall and thin, with the same dark chestnut colored hair she had.  His eyes were dark brown while hers were green, she guessed from her Mom’s side of the family.  He had a big moustache with which he would give her “moustache kisses.”  She could almost smell his cherry pipe tobacco.  “Boy, I miss you Pap,” she sighed drifting off to sleep.

“Emerson Amelia McBride!”  Her mother’s voice interrupted her nap. “What are you doing up there?  You’re supposed to be cleaning.”

Emerson jumped up, “Oops, sorry Mom, I’m on it!”

‘Whew, that was close. Does that woman have super hearing or what?  How does she know everything that goes on in this house? Now, I really do have to dig in.’

She brushed down cobwebs, dusted off some old boxes and moved them out of the way so she could sweep.

“What’s this?” she whispered as her broom bumped against an old steamer trunk.  “Looks interesting.”  She pulled the trunk out from under the eaves and opened the lid to peer inside.  Old clothes.  Not just old clothes… old shoes, dresses, hats, and even some men’s clothing.  “Who did these belonged to?  They’d make great stuff for Halloween.”

“Well, well, looky here.”  Emerson reached into the trunk and pulled out a very large hat.  “How weird!”  Putting the hat on her head she stood up and looked for the mirror she had seen earlier.  She walked over and looked at herself.  Not quite right.  She twisted her long hair up under the hat.  “Much better!” She turned this way and that.  “Not bad, not bad at all, if you like the style.  But who would wear a crazy hat like this?”  The hat was made of faded blue velvet with big flowers and some kind of gauzy fabric wrapped around it and tied into a huge bow on one side.  “Where’s the bird’s nest?” Emerson asked the mirror with a wink.

Looking in the mirror more closely she realized her face looked pale.  She felt beads of sweat building on her brow, she was hot, her stomach was queasy, she felt dizzy… “Oh crap, I think I’m going to throw up.”  And then, everything went black.

Kathleen DavisAbout the Author

I wish I could tell you that I am a New York Times Best Selling author or at the very least an award wining author, but alas that is not the case.

I live in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania with my husband and a horde of white tail deer who insist on annihilating all my attempts at gardening.  We are empty-nesters with two grown daughters and two beautiful grandchildren.

​During my long and varied working life I did business writing including everything from press releases to policy and procedure manuals.  I served as managing editor of an in-house newspaper where I enjoyed every aspect of production including writing, photography, and even layout.  From there, I wandered into marketing pieces and business plans.

My favorite adventure, however, was fourteen years in the Bed & Breakfast industry.  This was my passion.  When we left our lovely, old Victorian, it left a hole in my heart and I found myself with an indistinguishable yearning.  I needed more.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I just knew I wasn’t done yet!

Having done business writing and enjoying it, the light bulb finally came on and illuminated the fact that, if I liked commercial writing, surely I would like creative writing.  Right?  Well, some of us are simply slow learners.  Once that thought penetrated, ideas for stories started popping into my head.

Coming from a family of artists and authors, and being considered a creative person in my own right, it should have been clear long before this that writing was a pond into which I should dip a toe and test the water.

Being a grandmother was the fuel that fed the fire, and I decided to leave my grandchildren a legacy of words that would outlast any other inheritance I could give.  I wanted to write wholesome stories where the characters would have to use their brains instead of computers and cell phones.  They would have to think on their feet.  They would have to take responsibility and make decisions on their own.  And, they would just be darn good kids.  I wanted to challenge readers to read more by including titles of other books and alluding to their messages.

Emerson’s Attic opened a world of possibilities and I dove in with gusto.  The first draft of The Blue Velvet seemed too fast and easy, and of course it felt that way because it was just the very beginning.  I had, and still have, a lot to learn about writing but with the encouragement of friends and family it’s coming along.

​In the meantime, the knitting needles have slowed, the flower beds (or what’s left of them) have weeds, Emerson’s dollhouse remains unfinished, and my fishing rod leans lonely in a corner of the garage, but I just can’t get enough of “Emerson,” the real one or the character.

Website:  www.kathleenandrewsdavis.com

Blog:  http://www.dollhousesmemoriesandmore.com

 

Kathleen Andrews Davis, author and publisher.

Titles:  1.  Emerson’s Attic, The Blue Velvet

Cover by:  James Browne

Published July 2013

Page count:  112

  1. Emerson’s Attic, Smoke and Mirrors

Cover by Heather Jo Wingate

Published July 2014

Page count:  133

 

Books are available in print and e-book through Amazon.com

Autographed copies soon to be available through Etsy.

 

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