Winter Over? Spring Nearly Here?

Everybody in most of North America, probably, can agree its been a hard winter. Temperatures in the minus 30s over the northern sections. Heavy snows over most of the south and north. Only a few tantalizing days with temperatures above freezing and then a return to harsh winter days and even harsher feels like (wind chill) temperature because of unforgiving winds.

Today as I write this near Lake Champlain in  Vermont, the snow is nearly gone from my roof. There are puddles of water in the streets surrounding my home, the result of real melting of ridges of snow left by snow plows over the past weeks. Patches of bare grass are starting to peek through the snow burden. I desperately want to believe spring is immediately around the corner. But, the forecast is calling for some more below freezing days. I’ll have to suck it up and endure awhile longer. But I know it can’t last much longer.

Then it will be mud season in Vermont. That’s a cry for help in a different blog post. Here’s a hint. Back roads, ones that don’t have blacktop, have never had blacktop, will become a morass of sodden earth, rutted and soft. Cars, owned by residents on such roads, will become a uniform grey-brown color, looking like they’ve deliberately been driven through a bog, like they’ve been driven by big boys churning their 4×4’s through sloughs. Most of them though are the result of ordinary home owners just trying to get back and forth from town on roads still recovering from the frozen months.

The ending days of winter form a backdrop to the action in The Chechen’s Revenge, though not imagined as harshly as experienced this year in North America. Sean-Guy O’Dwyer-Lariviere and Everet Tailfeathers conduct their investigation of an abandoned bread factory in Mississauga, proven to have been used for the building of bombs, after a weekend snow storm. As they approach the back of the building Everet’s sharp eyes detect that a vehicle has recently exited the building from an interior loading dock. The pair have approached when the sun’s low position in the sky cast the slightest shadow across the vehicle’s tracks partly covered over with the last of the snow flurries. It a clue, a good one, that suggests they need to be looking for a vehicle, probably a van according to Everet’s estimation of the character of the tracks.

Previous information about stolen credit cards used by the suspected bomb maker makes a decision to search for van or truck rentals by the same series of cards logical. A lead comes through to confirm the likelihood, but without a real name to put on the suspect, it looks like a lead of little value. Nevertheless Sean-Guy puts out a bulletin seeking a van like the one rented. In time a connection is made to a van apparently abandoned on a street designated for no parking when snow clearing is required. It’s a small event in the process of trying to catch a terrorist before any harmful action can occur.

As in real life, it’s the painstaking collection of small details that is required to track toward a satisfying solution. That is certainly the case for the detective skills of the team of the Canadian Anti-terrorism Service in the Chechen’s Revenge. I’ll not tell you any more at the moment. I do encourage you to read The Chechen’s Revenge to find your way to the end along with the team..

My attitude with respect to weather in the context of my writing of fiction is that it is always a factor to be considered. In my second novel, A Prairie Vendetta, the time frame of the setting in Saskatchewan is early June. Under normal circumstances one should not wish to expect winter conditions at that time of year.* Historically, however, Canada and the prairies have experienced snow at every month of the year. I’m in the midst of revising early chapters and so far no snow, but other kinds of weather remain logical. How about sudden summer thunderstorms replete with hail? Always a possibility and when they occur havoc comes with. Stay tuned. I don’t have a delivery date yet but my goal is toward the end of 2014. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

In the meantime, good reading everyone. Thanks for your support.

Regards. Ron Stotyn, PhDImage

*In The Chechen’s Revenge I use the name of a real CBC Meteorologist, Claire Martin, in discussing weather forecasts. Claire recently left her position as Senior Meteorologist to begin a  new career as a producer of other kinds of fare for television. I wish her well in that new endeavor, but with all due respect, in the world of fiction I’m going to continue to have Claire work for the CBC telling viewers what the weather is going to be. It’s an author’s prerogative I think.

I am a retired college professor and former broadcast journalist. I live in Vermont with my wife. I write near the shores of Lake Champlain. As an author I cast characters in the task of anti-terrorism efforts. The setting for my stories is Canada. My first novel is The Chechen's Revenge, a story of Sean-Guy O'Dwyer-Lariviere and his team of Canadian Anti-terrorism Service agents on the trail of a rebel Chechen, determined to create havoc and death on Toronto's Go Train system. The Chechen's Revenge is now in print and can be ordered online at

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