Treasure Trap – “You’re not too young to read it… you’re not too old.”

Treasure Trap is complete and it goes without saying… I’m feeling really good about that.

But… by complete I mean the storytelling is complete.  I’ve still got some serious left-brain work to do… before I venture into my NEXT cleverish, imaginative narrative. (Just setting the stage).

For now I’ve got to concentrate on editing and proofing THIS present cleverish, imaginative narrative..


What do you think of the image for the COVER – above?


My recipe for the Treasure Trap COVER...

  1. Took a photo of a favorite chest sitting in my living room (a splash of jewelry included).
  2. Transferred the photo to Photoshop Elements.
  3. Googled and found some free source gold rock images for the background.
  4. Placed my chest image on the gold rock image.
  5. Cleaned and tidied up edges.
  6. Placed some of the sketches featured in the story, into the chest.
  7. Splashed a bit of gold dust here and there.
  8. …and had fun doing it.


What’s my goal – to have Treasure Trap available in both Kindle & print by the end of October, 2016.


Treasure Trap is the sequel to my first novel called The RYDER.  ( visit for the background story to the series)


As one grade 6 student who enjoyed The Ryder said …

You’re not too young to read it and you’re not too old to read it.”

The same goes for Treasure Trap.


Let’s take a sneak preview – 

Not of their own doing, David and Jessica (brother and sister)  encounter some unusual and adrenal pumping situations.

Here’s a sketch of David and Jessica… having just past through a portal into another time and place… only to find themselves smack dab in the middle of big trouble.







Treasure Trap - David & Jessica and lone wolf sketch - Carrie ©
Treasure Trap – David & Jessica and Mr. Lone Wolf, illustration – Carrie ©

David & Jessica & Mr. Lone Wolf

As for Mr. Wolf –  appearances can be deceiving.


Here comes our main antagonist – Mr. Polzin

Antagonist - Mr. Polzin and his very fine horse sketch - Carrie ©
Antagonist, Mr. Polzin and his very fine horse, illustration – Carrie ©

Antagonist, Mr. Polzin & his very fine horse

 2 of 18 illustrations you’ll find in Treasure Trap. 

David and Jessica combine forces with characters from their first adventure who are from the world of Antoch. They valiantly join to fight the evil that has taken over the once peaceful and perfect little village of Skrytyy.


This series is:

  • Well suited for family reading.
  • Recommended as a book study in the classroom (Grades 4-6).
  • Excellent for home schoolers. 
  • Complete with comprehension questions.
  • A great read for the young at heart. 
  • Filled with adventure and suspense. 

Watch for updates…

Facebook page – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 





For the Love of Books

Just a few of the books on my bookshelf.

Do you love books?

I not talking about just any kind of books. I’m talking about the kind of books you can hold in your hand – with a cover and pages that you can feel and turn.

The kind of book you can put a bookmark in – not a virtual bookmark, a bookmark made of real paper – a book that you keep in your bookshelf along with all your other favorite books.

There’s something about sitting in your most comfortable armchair, with a cup of something on the coffee table next to you, lost in a really great book.

There’s something about sitting at a bus stop, reading, a really good book… or sitting in the park on a sunny afternoon, utterly lost in your favorite genre.

Don’t try to tell me you can do that with an Ipad.

So… besides reading & writing “real” books,  I’m contemplating putting up one of those intriguing mini front-yard  libraries.


Free library 2 image
  Photo Credit: Little Free Library 6034

For the love of books.

Time to Play in the Dirt – How to Plant Outdoor Potted Flowers

Growing up in a small farming community in southern Manitoba meant one had to learn how to grow a garden. I am blessed… my mother (and grandmother and great-grandmother) excelled in gardening, growing both vegetables and flowers – naturally and organically.

Our yard was the flower showcase of the town. The older I get, the more I appreciate those years. When we ate what we planted, and harvested, preserved and fermented our food supply for the winter.

When we saved our seeds.

When we came home from school at 4:00 PM and helped ourselves to a snack of baby carrots and tender peas – fresh out of the garden.

Gardening doesn’t get any better than that.

Does anybody else out there remember those days?

Planting a garden may not be practical for you… but what about planting your own flower pots?


Every May, Mother’s Day weekend, my daughter and I go shopping for potted flowers. (Yes, I’m passing it on – this lost art of gardening). We’re getting pretty good at arranging out pots with a variety of vibrant colored plants that give us pleasure for the entire summer… and then some.


Today we are going to help you put a little sunshine and happiness into your lives and onto your patio.


But… I don’t have a “green thumb,” I can hear you say…

One thing I’ve learned along the way is – don’t believe everything you say…


In this easy to follow, practical tutorial, my daughter Minde, does a great job  of showing and telling us  How to Plant Outdoor Potted Flowers.  

Time to play in the dirt … 



© flowers just planted
© flowers just planted

Here’s a pot of flowers just after planting in late spring. 



© look at those blooms now just 3 weeks after planting.
© look at those blooms now just 3 weeks after planting.

Look at those blooms now – just 3 weeks later…


This article will guide you through the process of creating an outdoor potted flower arrangement. It will instruct on how to plant “partial-sun” flowers in a plastic pot.

This project should be done in spring in order to experience the full blooms in summer. Be prepared to use gentle hands throughout the entire process, and consider the idea that you may get a little dirty.

Before you begin – 4 basic things you need to think about:

1. The location of your flower-pot

The location of your flower-pot is categorized into 3 different types of sun exposure:

  • Full Sun – minimum 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Partial Sun – 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Shade – less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.

2. The type of flower-pot.

The two main types of flower pots available are:

  • Clay (ceramic) pots – for herbs and flowers that like dry soil.
  • Plastic pots – for most flowers.

3. The types of flowers you should buy

The types of flowers you buy should match the sun exposure of the flower-pot location. You should find similar exposure symbols on each of the plants when you purchase them:

  • Full Sun – minimum 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Partial Sun – 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Shade – less than 3 hours of direct sunlight.

4. Your ability to maintain and care for the flowers

You should be prepared to water the flowers each day and remove the dead flowers and leaves regularly. Removing dead flowers promotes new blooms.


You will also need the following materials & equipment 

All of the following materials can be found at Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Superstore, or any local garden shop. The flowers and equipment may vary in type and style. Some items are seasonal and only available in spring and early summer. Most items are available all year.

  1. Small Garden Shovel
  2. Water Hose with Shower Nozzle (or Watering Can)
  3. Small-Medium Rocks (approximately 2 liters)
  4. Flowers.

Minimum requirement for this project:

  1. 1 x 5” Saratoga
  2. 3 x 2” Petunias
  3. 4 x 1” Lobelia
  4. Potting Soil Mix – minimum 60 liters.
  5. Scissors
  6. Garden Gloves
  7. Sheet of Plastic or Garbage Bag (size: 3ft x 2ft)
  8. Plastic Pot with drainage holes (size:16”top with 10” bottom).


You are ready to plant

Just follow these simple steps 

Make sure to follow each of the steps and sub-directions in sequential order. The main steps include:

(Step 1) set up materials and equipment

(Step 2) prepare the pot

(Step 3) prepare the flowers

(Step 4) plant the flowers

(Step 5) water and care for the potted flowers.’


Step 1: Set Up Materials and Equipment

  1. Purchase and have all materials and equipment ready.
  2. Put on gloves.
  3. Place the plastic on the ground to keep the area from getting dirty.
  4. Place the pot on the plastic to one side.


© Materials & Equipment
© Materials & Equipment

Everything you need …


Step 2: Prepare the Pot

  1. Put the rocks in the bottom of the pot
  2. Fill the pot with potting soil until just over ¾ full.
  3. Make sure you have enough soil reserved to fill the remainder ¼ of the pot.
  4. Dig 6 shallow holes in the soil.


  1. © Set up - get your pot ready
    © Set up – get your pot ready

    Plastic, pot, rocks and garden shovel ready for planting. 



© Shallow holes in the soil
© Shallow holes in the soil

You’ve made 6 shallow holes in the earth. 


Step 3: Prepare the Flowers

Be gentle and take your time when handling the flowers. Try not to crush or break stems and leaves. Some breakage may happen by accident; this is usually OK. Most plants will recover from damage if cared for properly.

  1. Water the flowers using a gentle stream until the soil and roots are moist.
  2. Cut the plastic flower containers into individual pieces with the scissors.
  3. Arrange the flowers in the pot to visualize how you would like them while they are still in the plastic containers.


© plastic flower containers cut ready to safely remove the plants.
© plastic flower containers cut ready to safely remove the plants.

The flower containers cut for safe removal of plants.



© Your flowers arranged in the pot.
© Your flowers arranged in the pot.

You’ve arranged your flowers and placed them in the shallow holes. 


Step 4: Plant the Flowers

When handling the flowers, grasp gently near the base of the stems where they are strongest. Take your time and be careful with the stems and leaves.

  1. Hold the first container by the flower base, turn it upside down and look at the bottom.
  2. Remove any roots sticking out of the bottom container by pulling or cutting them.
  3. Hold the flower base with one hand and squeeze the bottom of the plastic container with your other hand.
  4. Keep squeezing the container and pushing the roots upward until the flowers and roots are out of the container.
  5. Gently break up the bottom of the roots so they are hanging loosely. (This will help the flower plant to grow quickly, and to its full potential, in the new soil.)
  6. Place the flowers and roots in one of the shallow holes in the pot.

***Repeat these steps 1-6 with each flower container you wish to plant***



Squeeze the container and push the roots out.



Break up the bottom roots


Once you have all the flowers out of the plastic containers, the bottoms of the roots are gently broken up, and each plant is placed in the pot arranged as you like; you may proceed with the following steps.

  1. Scoop soil using the shovel, from the ¼ reserved potting soil, and put it around the base of the flower plant.
  2. Repeat step 7 for each flower plant in the pot.
  3. Fill the area around each flower plant from the remaining ¼ reserved soil until there are no roots showing.
  4. Gently press the soil around the base of each flower plant with your hands.

Scoop soil and fill the area around each plant.


Step 5: Water and Care for the Plants

  1. Water the base of each flower plant in the pot, using a gentle stream of water.
  2. Wait for the water to soak in, and water again.
  3. Gently wash any soil off the leaves and flowers.
  4. Let the water fully drain out of the pot. (This may take 5-10 minutes.)
  5. Place the pot of planted flowers in the location you chose. (The flowers in this example will require a “Part Shade” location.)
  6. Water every second day, or keep soil moist.
  7. Pick off dead flowers and leaves every day, throw them away.



Using a gentle stream of water, water the base of each flower plant. 




3 Weeks later, flowers are bursting with blooms. 


Trouble shooting and problem-solving. 

Below are some potential issues that you may encounter during this project and a list of suggested solutions.

Water does not drain from the soil.

  • The pot needs to have drainage holes.
  • Check to make sure the pot has drainage holes.
  • Check to see if the drainage holes are blocked.

The flowers are limp and the leaves are wilted.

  • Most flowers need to have moist soil.
  • Do not buy wilted, dried-out flowers.
  • Do not let the soil dry out.
  • Water the flowers before you begin planting.
  • Water the flowers after you finished planting.
  • Do not let the flowers sit exposed and out of the container without water for more than 1 hour.
  • Once you have finished planting the flowers and watering them, and the water has drained out of the pot; wait 24 hours for the flower plants to recover and leaves to strengthen.

There are many broken stems and leaves.

  • There may be flowers, stems, or leaves that break off in this process.
  • Be careful while handling the flower plants.
  • Remove any broken leaves or stems.
  • As long as there is a plant fully attached to the roots, the plant should grow and recover with continued care.

The soil dries out quickly.

  • Small pots dry out faster than large pots.
  • Small pots will need more frequent watering than larger pots.
  • Use water gel from your local flower shop to decrease watering times.


The finished outdoor potted flowers in this project will be quite heavy and weigh approximately 50-60 lbs.

  • Bring the materials and equipment near the location you chose for your flower-pot.
  • Follow these directions near the location you choose for your flower-pot.

Some flower plants may be poisonous, and should not be eaten.

  • Read the labels before purchasing flowers.

Copy Right © All photos by Minde Wagner.





Read & Write by Candle Light to Step-up Your Writing

So…  how will reading and writing by candle light step-up my writing?

There was a time when this antiquated practice was the one and only option. But today??!! Is this really necessary? Certainly not. But, why not humor me?

Something doesn’t have to be necessary, to be effective.

Doesn’t simply the thought – the visual, translate you into story land?

What marvelous stories can one conjure up with an image like this?

And then… what if you actually did light that candle…?


Go ahead… light your candle.

Here are 5 sure-fire, practical tips to step-up your writing.


1.  Take time to read... and read some more.

Intentionally expose yourself to different writing styles and genres.

Stretch yourself – get out of your comfort zone.

Familiarize yourself with authors whose work captures your attention and inspires you.

Ask yourself, “What can I learn from these authors?”

Take notes…. which brings us to our 2nd. point.


2.  Keep a journal.

Keeping a journal improves long-term memory retention and sharpens your ability to visualize what you are reading or hearing.

A journal is also used to document events; events with details you might wish to include in your writing at some point in time.

Write down your ideas when you think of them. Keep your pen and paper close to your candle – or laptop – or notepad – or iPad –  or cell phone.

If something catches your attention, intrigues or interests you, make a note of it.


3.  Join a writing group.

This group can be online or in your community.

This is an excellent way to meet fellow writers and authors.

Note: Be sure to ask them what they do to improve their writing skills. Perhaps introduce them to reading and writing by candle light.

Joining a writers group in your community has greater benefits then just the online connecting.


Why? You get to practice your out-loud reading skills – to present to a live audience. Every aspiring author needs this experience. Don’t bypass this important part of your writing journey. Everybody has stage fright. You’ll just have to get over it.


Practicing my out-loud reading skills. ©
Practicing my out-loud reading skills. ©

4.  Attend a writer’s workshop – or take a writing class every now and again.


Even though I had no interest in technical writing, I took a technical writing course because I knew it would improve my overall writing skills. I gained new perspectives about writing for my audience.

I also took expository writing, writing for children, essay writing, journalism, and, of course, creative writing courses.

My husband taught me script writing.

Workshops and seminars/classes are also a great way to meet other authors, writers, editors and publishers; people you need to have in your sphere of influence if you are a serious writer.


5. Who’s your writing buddy? 

Someone whom you can trust with your creative endeavors. Someone who will give you honest feedback. Someone who’s rooting for you. Someone who’ll light that candle with you.

And you can do the same for them.



Why Do We Love Fairy Tales ?

My rendition of “Little Red Riding Hood” © – Pencil sketch & colored in Photoshop

Good Fairy tales are DANGEROUS and often FRIGHTENING!!


So why then, do we love fairy tales so much?


The TV show Once Upon A Time, has captured many a fairy tale/fantasy fan’s time and attention.

I admit I am one such fan. Sometimes I love where the creators are going with the story; other times… not so much…


Why are fairy tales so appealing?

Why do they have the power to shake the heart, mind and soul to the very core?


Let’s look at the characteristics of fairy tales…


Fairy tales:

  • Teach lessons and impart values.
  • Are direct and simple enough for a child to grasp
  •                  but are also
  • deep, solid and sound to the core, with meaning and wisdom that speaks to the mature.
  • Are timeless and seamless, crossing all boundaries and cultures.
  • Include a conflict that needs to be solved.
  • Include magic/fantasy/supernatural elements – helping us to transcend our belief system for a moment in time, and allow us to think outside of the box.
  • Make heroes out of the rejected, lonely, unnoticed, the imperfect.

Let’s take a break here and ask George McDonald, (one of my favorite authors) Why do you always write about princesses?

His answer – “…every little girl is a princess, and there would be no need to say anything about it, except that she is always in danger of forgetting her rank, and behaving as if she had grown out of the mud.” 

Moving on…

  • Fairy tales teach us perseverance, faithfulness, courage, kindness, love, and sacrifice, (among other things).
  • They teach us about life and death, good and evil.
  • The good and happy endings are reflections of our hope of heaven.
  • These good endings do not come without a price.
  • And what about the evil and harsh endings? What do they teach us?
  • We live in a fallen world, and evil is all around us. That is our reality.
  • Fairy tales remind us that God lifts up the humble, (James 4:10)” but also deals with those who are proud. (Proverbs 16:5

G.K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936) says this in the biblical story Voyage. 

“…an apple is eaten, and the hope of God is gone” (p. 259). And so these tales teach us the lessons of character we need to pick up and keep on going..”


C.S. Lewis – in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – the great Aslan represents both the triumphant Lion of Judah, Root of David and the Lamb –  the ultimate sacrifice for all man kind.

This wonderful Aslan tells Edmund and Lucy, “This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” 

 Good literature is dangerous!!! And can be frightening!!!


Editors of “Excerpts Complete Book of Everyday Christianity” Robert Banks and R. Paul Stevens say this about fairy tales… “…Any good literature is dangerous and often frightening, because it forces us to deal with these questions-and thus more deeply with spiritual issues.”

I would have to agree.

You can find me on Facebook here: 

Carrie Wachsmann – StoryTeller 

Roadblocks to Hell 

(I share storytelling tips and bits of my writing journey)


Watch Once Upon a Time – 


Little Red Riding Hood 2 - Carrie Wachsmann ©
Little Red Riding Hood 2 – Carrie Wachsmann ©

Pencil sketch & colored with Photoshop

Writing your Memoirs Leaves a Legacy


Novelist Stephen King once said, “I write to find out what I think.”

Your memoirs are a LEGACY.

Putting them on paper gives friends and family (as well as yourself) the opportunity to FULLY appreciate these valuable, interesting and “uniquely yours,” experiences.

Writing your memoirs is different from writing your autobiography.

An autobiography is the complete story of your life.

A memoir is one or more stories from your life. You can write as many memoirs as you have memories.

Outline the events of the story sequentially. Then start your story with a little action. You don’t have to necessarily start the story from the beginning. Weave your story, create suspense. Get your reader hooked, looking for more. Then fill in the pieces – the background – as you go.

Here’s what I do…
Close my eyes. Take myself back in time to the memory I’ve chosen to write about. Now, using my five senses, I recreate that scene. What do I see? What do I feel, hear, smell, taste?

I transfer those thoughts on to paper. I want my readers to feel like they are there with me experiencing what I experienced.

Writing memoirs is the easiest kind of writing to do – because you know the story, inside and out.


Writing memoirs hand and pen

A Funny Memory Worth Remembering

This funny happening,  happened several years ago – and still makes me laugh.


I went to my local House of Fine Art (HOFA) store for some Alizarin, Crimson artists’ oil paint.

Max Gumbacher paint



At the time of this humorous occurrence, I was a frequent visitor to this fine little art store.

The owner  was the president of our city’s Abbotsford Arts Council.

As I was paying for my tube of Alizarin, Crimson oil paint,  he invited me to come to the Abbotsford Arts Council (AAC) AGM meeting that evening.

He said, “tonight“, and wrote down the details on the back of his business card.


He also asked if I would consider being on the board and naturally I asked, ” What do I have to do to be part of this elite group?”

“Just come to meetings once a month.” He said “The AAC is part of the city’s planning and direction for the arts, and supports the many art groups in the community with their projects.

My response – “I can do that – that sounds like something I would actually like to do.”


I grabbed my receipt, tucked my purchase into my purse and made my way to the door. As I left he said, “See you tonight at the Kariton House.”

6:56 PM I arrived at the Kariton House where I was greeted by someone I didn’t know – I looked for Mr. HOFA but he was nowhere to be seen, so I assumed that this someone else was covering for him. Funny, I don’t recognize anybody, I thought to myself.


The “leader” asked, “Are you a new member” and I said, “Not really – I’ve been a member for a while now but this is my first meeting”.


“Well, what do I know,” he answered, looking somewhat puzzled. Then he said that I would be pleased to know that on Saturday they were going on an outing, somewhere up past the city of Hope into the mountains.


Stunned that I knew nothing about outings, I responded by saying, “I didn’t know you do outings. That’s interesting.”


“Oh yes”, he answered, “that’s what we are all about.”
I pondered that for awhile thinking, “Mr. HOFA never mentioned any outings. That sounds a lot more involved than one meeting per month.”


I know…you see it coming, but my lightening fast mind still hadn’t put the pieces together.
Here’s how the rest of that evening went:


The meeting starts and I look at the agenda. It is then that I realize….I am in the wrong meeting!
To my chagrin, I am in an Abbotsford Rock and Gem Club meeting. That explains those chunks of rocks on the table and that rock chart taped to the side of it! LOL
I must admit, my first emotion –  embarrassment, but that changes very quickly. No need for embarrassment, I tell myself. This moment is just too humorous to be wasted on embarrassment.


So I speak up at the first opportune moment (actually I butt in and have to be put in order) and I address the group – saying” Please excuse me. You can all have a good laugh at this…(I take a deep breath)… You see…” and I explain myself.


The room is awkwardly quiet for what seems like an awfully long moment. Then thankfully everyone begins to laugh, after which a few sympathetic individuals try to unsuccessfully entice me to stay – to become one of the rockin’ Rock and Gem Club enthusiasts. I insisted that I must find that Abbotsford Arts Council meeting. One individual asked, “The Abbotsford Arts” who?


At that point I realize this meeting is just not going to happen for me, at least not tonight.

Confused but still in good humor, I take my leave and make my way back home.
As it turns out, I would still have the opportunity to attend this very important meeting –  the next day.

I suppose I could have double checked and consulted my latest “Eye on the Arts” newsletter for meeting dates, before leaving my house instead of after I got back.


But then I would have missed out on a funny memory worth remembering –  and a a funny story worth telling.

You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book

Newfies to the Rescue – Tales of the Newfoundland dog



52 page book – NEWFIES to the RESCUE – Tales of the Newfoundland dog

is now available on Amazon here:


Visit Newfies to the Rescue FACEBOOK page here.


Back in March, 2016…

I am putting the finishing touches on the cover of: 



In this 52 page book, you will find remarkable stories of very exceptional Newfoundland dogs – both tales of yesteryear and tales of today. 


When our kids were teens, our daughter did a research paper on the Newfoundland dog.

The result – 2 beautiful, unforgettable Newfies joined the family!


Panda Bear & Dandie Lion

Newfies running BW





And what a trip it was…




(1 of 20 sketches and photos inside this book)


And… that is why I wrote this book.

The Newfoundland dog is a fascinating breed with a fascinating history.

Bred for water rescue, hauling heavy loads, acting as nannies, and even serving in the war, these dogs not only make excellent working dogs, but also make exceptional family pets.

Many extraordinary events involving the intriguing Newfoundland have been recorded throughout history.


Did you know the course of world history may have been changed had it not been for the lifesaving instinct of a Newfie?

(Very SOON – Available on Amazon, paper & kindle)

You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book


Heroes of Isle aux Morts – a 17-year-old girl and her Newfoundland dog

Have you heard of Ann Harvey?

Have you heard of her Newfoundland Dog, Hairy Man?

Have you heard of George Harvey or the Harvey family?


If you live in Newfoundland, you will have this story in your back pocket.

The remarkable story of a 17-year-old girl, whose selfless acts of heroism and bravery earned her the title

“The Grace Darling of Newfoundland.”




The scene:

1828 – The Despatch, a Scottish brig, flounders at Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland. 

A storm is raging – The Despatch is shipwrecked – survivors and crew are desperately clinging to the floundering ship, to rocks, and to broken rigging.

Over the next 3 days, 17-year-old Ann Harvey and her Newfoundland dog, Hairy Man, along with her father and younger brother, demonstrate remarkable courage, intestinal fortitude and acts of heroism as they fight tirelessly to save lives.


The background:

May 29, 1828, a Scottish brig called The Despatch, carrying 200 immigrants and 11 crew members, set sail from Ireland for Quebec.

42  days later, July 10, the Despatch encountered a building storm, heavy fog and ice patches.

Despatch July 1828

The story:   

July 10 – Relentlessly thrashed about by the mighty storm on open seas, the Despatch crashed into the rocks by a small island called Wreck Rock – on the Southeast tip of Newfoundland. (A cluster of Islands 15 miles from Cape Ray )

Efforts by ship’s master William Lancaster to make it to shore in a jolly boat, (dinghy) resulted in tragedy. The towering waves tossed the jolly boat about mercilessly – master Lancaster and several other passengers lost their lives. A hopeful few made it to the almost submerged, Wreck Rock. 1st Officer Coughlan was able to help several passengers to shore using the ship’s longboat.


July 12 – Locals, Ann Harvey and her father George, ventured out to search the beaches. Locals are used to seafaring ships that meet their demise during storms such as these – they are used to the loss and the tragedy that comes with a shipwreck. That day, they found what they hoped not to find – wreckage. A ship was in trouble.


The storm continued to rage.


July 13 – Despite the pouring rain, rough seas and fierce wind, Ann, her father, younger brother and Newfie dog, Hairy Man, got into their fishing boat and rowed to Wreck Rock; the most likely spot where ships flounder if passing the tip during an eastern storm. For 2 hours they rowed, struggling, fighting the wind and the waves.

When they located the surviving passengers, the Harvey’s proceeded to situate themselves as close as possible to the rocks where the survivors clung.

Working together, the Harvey’s tied a piece of rope to a block of wood. Upon instructions, Hairy Man took the block into his jaws and jumped into the water.  Fighting the wind and huge, heaving waves, the powerful dog bravely swam the icy waters to bring the lifeline to those still able to grab it.


Newfie and Shipwreck

With a little bit of photoshopping – here’s what this scene might have looked like. 


The survivors secured the rope and used it to pull themselves to the Harvey’s fishing boat. When the fishing boat was filled with passengers, the Harvey’s rowed them to shore.

George Harvey directed surviving crew to take ropes from the washed ashore longboat and jolly boat, and with Hairy Man’s help, created several more shore-to-survivors, lifelines.

For the next three days and nights, The Harvey’s, as well as neighbors, surviving crew and passengers (those able to do so), build lean-to shelters, and nursed, clothed and fed the rescued. Some passengers died at the rocks, some died on the beaches, some died in the following days.

After two days of holding on, two mothers watched their infants mercilessly swept away by the ocean. One mother, Mrs. Arnott, wrapped her baby tightly in a shawl. She clenched the knot of the shawl with her teeth to free her hands so she could grab the ropes and pull herself and her baby to safety. She and her daughter made it to safety and survived the ordeal. Record states that this shawl is still in the family’s possession.

Fishing boat
One record states 158 survived. Another record states 163 were rescued – yet another states 180 were rescued.

Considering the length and severity of the storm, it is a wonder that even one survived. Thanks to the outstanding courageous efforts of the Harvey family and their Newfoundland dog, most of the immigrants lived to tell their story. 

By the end of the rescue, the Harvey family’s winter food-source was completely depleted. A British warship – HMS Tyne’s – arrived at  week later. The ship’s master generously re-stocked the Harvey’s food supply.


The “Grace Darling of Newfoundland”

 For their heroic efforts, the Harvey family received a reward of 100 pounds. A commemorative medal from The Royal Humane Society was given to Ann, at her father’s request.

10 years later:

Another shipwreck  – the Scottish merchant ship Rankin.  Once again, George Harvey and his daughter Ann, who was now a mother, rescued ALL crew members.

Despatch Wreck 3


From that time on Ann became known as the “Grace Darling of Newfoundland.”


Ann Harvey died in 1860 at the age of 49. Her father, George passed away the year prior.



Isle Aux Morts has a rich maritime heritage of fishing and sailing with many tales of shipwrecks and loss of lives in the treacherous waters offshore. For this reason the French named it Deadman’s Island, or as it is known locally, ‘Island of the Dead.'”

“It is a town noted for its heroism and discovery. One of the first families who settled in the area in the early 1800s was the George Harvey family, well known for their heroic rescues. “
Ann Harvey’s Weblog –

You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book


Elizabeth McDougall – Canadian Frontier Woman – More Than a Survivor

A few facts to begin with:

Elizabeth (Chandler) McDougall –  1818 – 1903


  • Raised in England as a Quaker.
  • Married to Rev. George McDougall in 1842.  (Wesleyan Methodist minister.)
  • Moved to Saskatchewan in 1862 where Rev. McDougall established Victoria Mission along the North Saskatchewan River.
  • Raised six children.
  • A woman with exemplary courage and strength.

The story begins… 

Elizabeth  knew that to marry the Reverend George McDougall, an adventurous and zealous Wesleyan Methodist minister, meant a future filled with danger, isolation, and often life threatening hardships.

Elizabeth was ready…

Rev. George McDougall’s position took him on many long and dangerous trips throughout the countryside. Whenever she could, Elizabeth traveled with her husband. They traveled by covered wagon, canoe or dog sled.

At other times she remained at home to attend to the business of running the mission.

She took care of the sick and needy, “mothering all in need.”

1870s –  Smallpox epidemic hits the country.

The following account is one I’ve drawn from memory. Some 25 years ago I got my hands on the fascinating book,  “Elizabeth McDougall – Madonna of the Plains” by Frank Anderson (Canadian Historical paperback).

(I’ve read several of Canadian author, Janet Oake’s fictional frontier books – I’ve  met her – a lovely person whom I admire – and her stories are wonderful stories – I recommend them.)

But this… this is reality to the core... Elizabeth’s story has never left me.

I have that book (Elizabeth McDougall – Madonna of the Plains) somewhere, in a box, among other treasured Canadian Historical paperbacks – but do you think I can find that box? We moved. “Things” happen when one moves. Mysterious “things.” “Things” I have no control over it seems, as much as I try. I still hope to find it…

I digress… I was about to recall a memory…

The smallpox epidemic…

Elizabeth was tending to the many sick, including members of her own family. Her husband was away and she must carry on, on her own.
At one point she learned  the pox had reached a native camp 3 days journey – within their mission territory. Elizabeth packed her bags and tackled the three day trip, on her own, in the winter, through the snow and in inclement weather to bring medical aid.

When she arrived, she make a gruesome discovery – each tent she entered – she found only death.

Utterly exhausted, hungry and filled with grief, Elizabeth made the 3 day trip back to the Mission.

I am not certain how many family members Elizabeth lost to the pox. One account states that she lost two daughters, her adopted daughter and a daughter-in-law.

Surely this woman had extra angels surrounding her, protecting her, keeping her from becoming a victim of the pox.

How else did she survive?  Tending to the sick – exposure to the pox germs –  traveling for days – alone – in the cold of winter?

Is it not remarkable that Elizabeth remained well and strong throughout this horrific ordeal?

Beaten down but not undone…

The pox had done it’s worst. “This Mission thrived until a smallpox epidemic devastated both the native encampments and the McDougall family….”

What were they to do now?

They resettled at Fort Edmonton. “There George built the first church outside of the Fort in 1872. Also in 1872 he scouted the Morleyville location…”

In 1876, husband Rev. George joined his son, John, on a buffalo hunt – the intent was to supply food for the Morleyville mission, (Morley Mission).

After the hunt, George did not return back to camp.

Two weeks later his body was found at the Nose Creek.

Elizabeth buried her husband at Stoney Cemetery. (Stoney native land) 

Rev George McDougall

Note:  The Stoney natives  refer to themselves “Nakoda”, meaning friend, ally. The name “Stoney” was given them by white explorers, because of their technique of using fire-heated rocks to boil broth in rawhide bowls.

Not long after, Elizabeth’s son, George Jr., went on a trip to purchase cattle. She did not hear from him for several months. One day Elizabeth got word that George Jr. had died of pneumonia!

Despite yet another devastating loss, Elizabeth remained strong. Her strength and her spirit did not fail. She stayed in Morleyville where she continued to minister to the sick and needy. Her astounding courage  was contagious. One account states: “Elizabeth had the ability to instill courage in others and was a source of strength to many early pioneer women.”

Elizabeth Chandler McDougall lived to the ripe old age of 85. 

When this remarkable, highly respected and loved frontier woman died in 1903, “Six Stoney chiefs stepped forward to carry her casket. They carried it into the Mission Church crowded with native and non-natives waiting to show their respect.”


You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book

Was Madeleine (Hamilton) Smith Guilty? 1857 Trial


Was Madeleine Smith guilty?

A fascinating piece of historical Ann Swinfen – one of The History Girls  – (A group of best-selling, award-winning writers of historical fiction and non-fiction.)


What do you think?…Was Madeleine Smith guilty of murdering her husband?


Here’s a quote from Ann Swinfen’s January 20th post…

“‘In the words of John Inglis’ biographer: ‘The pale but fresh young face, set in the curtained bonnet of the day, the graceful figure, its lines traceable through the lace of a black mantilla, the lustrous eyes and the full quivering lips as she sat in the seat whence so many have gone to the scaffold, caused even strong men to quail at the mere apprehension of her doom. Guilty or innocent, she made them think, not of the crime, or the possibility that her hand poisoned the fatal cup, but of their own sisters and daughter.

To hang her was impossible….'”

Or was it?…

Read the rest of the story here:

The History Girls 


Moncreiff address the jury at Madeleine Smith's Trail - 1857
Moncreiff addresses the jury at Madeleine Smith’s Trail – 1857

Moncreiff addresses the jury at Madeleine (Hamilton) Smith’s murder trial in 1857.


You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book

Treasure Trap – sequel to The RYDER – in process

27,000 words!!

My next book, Treasure Trap – sequel to The Ryder – is developing nicely.

Since snow leopards intrigue me, I chose to have them play an important part in this fantasy adventure tale.

I spent the past two weeks working on illustrations. Here are 3 watercolor/sketches.




S leopard 3 Carrie ©


S leopard 1 Carrie © (2)


Back to writing… I’ll keep you posted.

You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book

A Christmas Story – ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

by Dr. Carrie Wachsmann

(inspired by a true event)

“It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old.

From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold.

‘Peace on the earth, good will toward men’,

from heaven’s all gracious King!

The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.”


“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 1  Carrie ©

Christmas music gently filled the little coffee-house. Unlike the carol heralding a ‘midnight clear’, this night was everything but. Snow fell fast and thick.

In the corner, a young man sat alone. He looked out the window and watched as the last patron of the night plowed their way out of the parking lot.

“Young man, we’re closing.”

He nodded, put on his coat and made his way to the exit. He looked to be about fourteen, fifteen at the most.

As the door closed behind him, the cold quickly bit into his face and hands.  He pulled his collar up close to his face.

“Do you have a ride?” a voice called to him.

The young man turned to see someone standing in the shadows of the building.

”No, I’m good,” he answered firmly.

The man persisted. “I’m not so sure about that. It’s Christmas eve. Shouldn’t you be home with your family, sitting by the fire and enjoying hot chocolate, or something?”

The lad shrugged his shoulders as if to say… yah, so what. Who cares anyway.

The man stepped out of the shadows.

Twas the night before Christmas 2a image


“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 2 – Carrie  ©]

The young man saw that he was an old man. Old enough to make him wonder what someone this old was doing out in a snow storm at this hour of the night.

The old man continued. “Where you’re headed… it is not worth it… You do have options you know.”

The young man was beginning to feel somewhat uncomfortable. He stared at the old man not sure what to make of the encounter.

“How do you know where I’m headed?” he finally asked.

“I know that place, under the bridge.” The old man continued.  “You won’t find what you’re really looking for out there. Running away isn’t the answer.”

Now the young man paused.

How did this old man know that he was going to that “homeless place” where he might make it through the night?

Maybe if he was lucky someone would share their Christmas “spirits” with him.

And how did this old man know that he was running away?

The old man smiled knowingly and said. “I’ve been young and now I am old…but I have never seen God’s children forsaken”… The old man talked so strange…and yet he was most compelling.

“I know a place.  A place where you can get a hot bowl of homemade soup, and a good night’s sleep.”

“Follow me,” the old man continued.


Twas the night before Christmas 1a image


“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 3 – Carrie  ©


The old man began to make his way through the deep drifts of snow. The young man hesitated but only for a second or two. “Man…what do I have to lose,” he mumbled.

He began to follow in the old man’s footsteps.

After some time, the old man stopped at a building with a sign that read, “The Welcome Home Centre”.  He turned to the young man. “They will take care of you.  You can stay as long as you wish.” Then he paused, looked the boy in the eyes and added, “God loves you, you know. He’s got plans for you”.

The young man did not know what to think. No one had ever talked to him like this before.

They stood in silence and waited.

Eventually a pleasant sort of man answered the knock on the door. The young man’s last bit of resistance melted away as he breathed in a blast of warm fragrant air. He smelled something wonderful.

“Come in… welcome,” the man said sincerely.

“I…ah..need a place to hang till this storm’s over,” the young man said, hesitantly.

“You’ve come to the right place then,” came the reassuring answer.

The young man sighed.

He turned and started to thank the old man but no one was there.

“That old man, who was here with me. He brought me here. He was just here,” the bewildered young man exclaimed .

“I didn’t see anybody but you, lad,” came the answer.

“But he was here, I followed him here. He told me about you…he knew stuff about me…he…”

Bewildered, the young man took one last look out into the white night. He saw only lonely, empty  streets and a fast disappearing single set of footprints that lead to The Welcome Home’s front porch.

Putting a kind hand on the young man’s shoulder the man at the door said, “It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened son. “I do believe you.  Come…I want to hear all about it.”

It’s now midnight and that brings our 2015 Christmas eve story to an end.

Yes, this young man’s life was changed forever that Christmas eve.

What will this Christmas bring you?

Will you let God’s love bring you a miracle this Christmas?

I wish for you, a life-changing kind of Christmas.

One that you will remember forever because it was…well…life changing.


You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book

A Horse Whisperer Who Rescues Percherons



Horse whisperer, Mel and his wife Irene, live on a farm near Steinbach, Manitoba.

This is the story of the Percheron draft horses they rescue. 


The Rush’s farm is a sanctuary for these large magnificent draft horses. There is little use for these horses in our day and age, and so they are often left unattended in the farmers’ fields. Lack of care and attention results in a very powerful, wild and unmanageable animal.

Mel is a true horse whisperer. He rescues Percherons and takes on the challenge of taming these powerful beasts. With both patience and love they become useful and gentle creatures.

On several occasions over the Christmas holiday season, I’ve had opportunity to visit the farm. Each time I am treated to a old fashioned sleigh ride drawn by two powerful draft horses. The first time it was Silver and Dollar who were hitched to the sleigh.

Rescued Percherons - Carrie ©
Oh what fun it is to ride, in a two-horse open sleigh… – Carrie ©

That day Mel told me of the latest acquired two-year-old Percheron named Diamond.

Diamond had spent his entire life out in some farmer’s field. He was wild and tough and full of fire. No one could touch him. Without attention his life would be a short one. With great difficulty they were able to catch him and have him transported to the Rush’s farm.

When I first saw Diamond, he was running free and wild in the fields at his new home. Mel stated that at this time, all attempts at getting near the horse were futile. The horse had been with them for several months.

A year passed and I once again visit the farm.

Mel hitches up two beautiful black Percherons to the sleigh and we are ready for another ride through the acres of fresh snow and bush land.

He hands ME the reigns!

I take them… and feel the thrill of the ride in a whole new way.

Mel tells me that the horse on the left is Diamond.


Diamond & Silver - Carrie ©
Diamond & Silver – Carrie ©


I am astonished. This horse was gentle and intelligent, attentive and eager to work – and loving every minute of pulling the load behind him. Diamond was transformed.

“How did you do it?” I ask.

Mel tells me how they had finally lassoed Diamond and then wrapped the end of the rope around a large tree trunk. Seemingly effortlessly, Diamond pulled the tree and dragged it around the field until he was exhausted.

The battle of the wills had been won. Now they were able to bridle him and lead him quietly to the barn. Soon Diamond’s natural gentle nature and love of companionship rose to the surface under the kind and expert hand of the horse whisperer, Mel.


Come along for the ride …

This is Sedra.

 Rush’s beautiful 6 month old Bernard. She was a delight to have on the ride with us. She’d race ahead, then sit patiently for our sleigh to catch up.

Waiting for the sleigh - Carrie ©
Waiting for the sleigh – Carrie ©


Sedra rescuing someone who fell off the wagon…

Sedra rescuing one who fell off the wagon - Carrie ©
Sedra rescuing one who “fell off the wagon” – Carrie ©


Do you know what this is called or what it was used for?

Antique in the snow - Carrie ©
Antique in the snow – Carrie ©

I think it’s a manure spreader.


Looks like a Chevy under that blanket of snow…

Antique car snow bound - Carrie ©
Antique car – snow bound – Carrie ©


Back at the farm…

Looking for sugar cubes - Carrie ©
Looking for sugar cubes – Carrie ©


For more inspiring stories of hope, check out my author’s Storyteller site.


You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book