Posts Tagged With: Nature

New Release: The Search for Sunlei by H.L. Grandin

The Legend Continues …

The Search for Sunlei is Book II in The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby series, written by H.L. Grandin

The Search for Sunlei is Book II in The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby series, written by H.L. Grandin

This week, H.L. Grandin’s second installment in The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby series, The Search for Sunlei, was released. This exciting sequel to Grandin’s debut novel brings the reader closer to the intertribal tensions and international rivalries that permeated the American frontier directly before the French and Indian War and, against that backdrop, brings into stark relief Tyoga Weathersby’s struggle to thwart the inner demons that battle for his very soul.

Grandin’s sense of timing keeps the reader engaged not only with the main characters, but with an intriguing and unanticipated story line. A careful reading reveals that the author has captured the essence of the Appalachian Mountains in a way that creates a geographic “character” of sorts. The topography of the Ohio Valley and the river routes that were the highways of colonial America play a pivotal role in Tyoga’s search for Sunlei. From the tidewater of Virginia to the shores of Lake Ontario, from the Appalachian peaks to Albany, New York, Grandin brings to life the naked beauty of the land and the dispassionate ease with which it can kill.

H.L. Grandin's debut novel, The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby, has been a critical success with reviewers and readers. Yet, it is only the beginning. (click on cover to download on Amazon)

H.L. Grandin’s debut novel, The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby, has been a critical success with reviewers and readers. Yet, it is only the beginning. (click on cover to download on Amazon)

“Bringing Tyoga Weathersby to life has been a true labor of love,” Grandin said. “I answer many of the questions that remained open at the end of the first book, but left a great deal for the readers to reconcile on their own. The questions posed by the truth of the Promise are the same for everyone. But the answers that fit into your story belong to no one else.”

The critical acclaim for Grandin’s first novel caught the author and his publisher by surprise. “I recognized H.L.’s work as something special when I read the manuscript for The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby,” says Lauren Carr, owner of Acorn Book Services and Grandin’s principle editor. “I am more than pleased that others share my enthusiasm for his powerful writing style, and his creative use of the English language. I know that his readers will want to read more about the legend of Tyoga Weathersby.” H.L. is already hard at work on the third installment.

Author H.L. Grandin (click on photo to visit author website)

Author H.L. Grandin
(click on photo to visit author website)

About the Author

H.L. Grandin grew up in northern Virginia along the banks of the Potomac River. A love of history and a deep, abiding respect for the natural world fostered a yearning to, if not understand, at the very least appreciate the secrets surrounding the heritage of the land and of those who walked upon it so long ago. Childhood years were spent roaming the Appalachian Mountains with his cousin, Paul, with whom he spent many a night atop Old Mt. Rag in Sperryville, Virginia, and canoeing the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers sleeping out under the stars and whispering about things that go “bump” in the night.

The Search for Sunlei is H.L. Grandin’s second novel in The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby series. The third novel, The Promise Keep is about Tyoga and Trinity Jane’s daughter, Rebecca Jane, and how she and her father changed the course of history. H.L. is also writing a book of short stories. To learn more about the Legend of Tyoga Weathersby and H.L.’s future books, please visit

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Book Spotlight: Close Ups and Close Encounters by S.J. Brown

Sometimes I think I get as excited as the author when a new book is released. Really, that is not true. It can’t be true. No one can be as excited as the author when their first book comes out. But, I do get very excited–therefore, I need to spread the news far and wide. So here goes:

Close Ups & Close Encounters contains 60 full-color photos and a selection of stories from her life as a wildlife photographer.

Close Ups & Close Encounters contains over 50 full-color photos and a selection of stories from her life as a wildlife photographer.
(Click on Book Cover to Purchase on Amazon)

Acorn Book Services has released a new book by wildlife photographer S.J. Brown! This book is a grand read for nature buffs–or even not so nature buffs–of all ages. Containing 60 full-color photographs and stories from S.J. Brown’s life as a wildlife photographer, Close Ups and Close Encounters: A View from Behind the Lens makes the reader want to go out to spy a playful pachyderm (my favorite chapter). The print version is available now. EBook version will be on sale in a matter of days.

On a whim, S. J. Brown decided to embark on a career in wildlife photography. Armed with an inexpensive 35mm camera and a love for the natural world, her adventure began. Accompanied by her spotter and husband, she ventured to a variety of locations.

The couple soon learned that there was more to this than just camera settings, lighting, and getting the right angle. Not all wildlife is agreeable to having their picture taken, and many are not easily accessible.

Camera in hand, S. J. Brown encountered delicate butterflies, bears, birds, deer, wild horses, and more. Along the way, there are successes and failures, cooperative critters, curious subjects, and some close calls.

As a wildlife photographer S. J. Brown took her cues from her subjects. Their body language let her know when to step in for a closer shot and when to back away. When she was out in the field, she strove to observe and record not to interfere. The exception to this rule is when people pose a threat to wildlife; then she will take time to relocate a road dwelling critter to its location. Brown has saved snapper turtles from soup and other creatures from the taunts and teases of unwise humans, but she will not interfere with Mother Nature’s food chain unless it involves a domestic animal pursuing a wild creature. With this in mind, she has sent many a cat away from a bird feeder and saved many a squirrel from a curious canine.

S. J. Brown’s book Close Ups & Close Encounters features over fifty of her wildlife photographs as well as the stories behind getting those images. S. J. Brown’s photographs and written words are her way of sharing her experiences. Introducing others, such as her granddaughter, to the field is one of her primary goals and loves. She hopes her work will give others an appreciation for the natural world.

S.J. Brown getting a close up and possibly having a close encounter.Click on photo to visit S.J. Brown's website.

S.J. Brown getting a close up and possibly having a close encounter.
Click on photo to visit S.J. Brown’s website.

About the Author

Over the years, S. J. Brown has played with a number of artistic venues. Her love of the written word began in high school English class and continues on today, but it is not her only artistic endeavor. Prior to becoming an author, Brown has experimented with sketching, stained glass, and even ran ceramic business for several years.

Her love of wildlife photography began on a whim with an inexpensive 35mm camera, a few rolls of film, and a passion for nature. Quickly, her everyday life and wildlife photography became entwined. Somehow, even with a husband, a job, and household responsibilities, photographing found a place in the mix.

Visit for more information about SJ Brown and to view more of her photographs.



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Guest Post: Tyoga’s Destiny: Push vs. Pull

Today’s guest post is by H.L. Grandin, the author of the wonderfully epic The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby.

Every now and then a manuscript comes across an editor’s desk that makes one sit up and take notice.  It is a rare privilege to be pulled into a story by the sheer power of its narrative.  A gift even more exceptional is when the reader feels the earth beneath their feet and smells the wind through the pines. Such is the case when reading The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby.

TyogaWeathersby Front Cover

Click on Book Cover to Visit
Tyoga Weathersby Website.

Set at the turn of the 17th Century in the frontier of Appalachia, The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby follows the adventures of a young settler and the Native American tribe that has adopted him as their own, as he is transformed by deed and circumstance to legendary stature. Mystically awakened to the promise of “knowing” as generations of Weathersbys before, the rhythms of the natural world unfold in mysterious ways as he is embraced by primal forces that seem beyond his control. Tyoga is tested by the might and savage fury of the leader of a marauding pack of wolves, and in saving the life of his companion Tes Qua Ta Wa (the One Who Opens the Door) his life is transformed and the legend is born.

As the lines between man and myth, spirit dog and mortal soul begin to blur, Tyoga Weathersby is embroiled in the intrigue of intertribal politics, captured by the cry of the wild to fulfill destiny’s call, and ripped apart by his love for the beautiful Cherokee maiden, Sunlei, whom he must set free to keep alive.

The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby is so much more than a captivating story.  It is a “must read” for everyone who has ever questioned the whim of fate, and the power of destiny.

Take it away, H.L.!

Tyoga’s Destiny:  Push vs. Pull

Many readers have asked me about the notion in the book that has to do with nature’s grand “plan” and the part that we play in determining how that plan unfolds in our own lives.  There are several scenes in the book where Tyoga seems to accept the judgment of nature’s way, placing his fate in his closely held belief that all events unfold in accordance with the grand plan.  That plan decrees that all things happen for a purpose and to question outcomes is an exercise in futility.

Tyoga is introduced to this notion by his father, Thomas, just after his “awakening” on Carter’s Rock.  His father says to him, “All things happen only as they must.”  The  meaning of his father’s words becomes apparent after his encounter with the Runion wolves on the escarpment.  He defeats the alpha male, chooses to spare the wolf’s life, and finds himself alone in the woods with his severely injured Cherokee brother, Tes Qua Ta Wa.  The choices that he must make in the moments after the battle, hold the life of his friend in the balance.  And here is where the discussion really begins.  If Tyoga is indeed making “choices,” to what degree is that choice influenced by situation and circumstance, and, if “free will” is part of the equation at all, to what extent is the outcome determined by the exercise of that uniquely human trait?

Volumes have been written throughout the ages and the topic has been examined by some of the greatest minds the world has ever known.  So here is my answer, “I don’t know.”  But here is what I think: When the layers upon layers of excuse, explanation, mitigation, fabrication and apology are striped away from any given event – we are left with absolutes.  Absolutes cannot be measured by subjective metric such as value and worth.  Both are human constructs that have no relevance upon outcome.  The absolutes are, for example: life or death, left or right, up or down.  The test of whether a notion is an absolute is if it passes the either/or check.  One cannot proceed “sort of” left or “kind of” right.  In the final analysis, you have gone either left or right.  The only other option is straight ahead.  One cannot move “a little bit” up, or a “tiny scootch” down.  In the final analysis, you have either moved up, or down, or not at all.  You get the point.

Examples of how events unfold “exactly as they must for no other outcome could possibly be,” occur to all of us every single day of our lives.  A common example is when you arrive at an intersection at exactly the same instant as another car. Every single second of your life – up to that very moment – conspired to make that co-incidence arrival occur in exactly that way.  If every single aspect and moment of your life is taken into consideration and accounted for – no other outcome could have arisen other than meeting that car at exactly that time and in that exact space.  And there truly is no end to the chain of events that one could consider when examining the co-incident arrival.  Considering only the immediate chain of events, i.e. if you had gotten out of bed one second earlier that morning . . . if you had take three seconds longer in the shower . . .  if you had scraped your windshield a little less or a little more…. you would not have arrived at the intersection at the same time as the other car.  But how about going even farther back in time?  If you hadn’t purchased your current home . . .  if you had taken five extra minutes picking out a pair of shoes in 1998 . . . if your visit to the dentist in the spring of 2001 had taken ten seconds longer . . .  and on and on and on – you would not have arrived at the intersection at the same moment as the other car.

Analyzing the exercise of free will takes a parallel track.  We all acknowledge that we have indeed been endowed with the ability to exercise free will.  But the influence that it has on the majority of occasions in our life is – I think – negligible at best – especially if one subscribes to the positions espoused above.  If the purchase of shoes in 1998 influenced the arrival time at the intersection in 2013, then what portion of the co-incidental arrival was impacted by the choice of shoes?  Most would agree that the choice of shoes was an exercise of free will.  Many would agree that the time that it took you make the choice was not.  Time is an absolute.  It took the amount of time it took to choose the pair of shoes– and no variable of that time interval can possibly be.  So if the impact of free will could be measured at all, I contend that the degree to which it influences events – especially when a free will choice is removed from occurrence by time – is infinitesimally small.

So while it is clear to me that Tyoga made the free will choice to return to the escarpment to save Tes Qua – the battle with the wolf pack’s Alpha male, Wahaya-Wacon, seems to me to be less of a choice than an intersection of time and place.  He chose to return to help his friend, but he did not choose to battle a pack of wolves.  That event was based upon an absolute – life or death.

Other choices that he makes in the Legend of Tyoga Weathersby are less clear.  Why he chose to set Sunlei free to face the perils of the frontier alone, with little more than the admonition to “Run!” still makes me scratch my head.  There were infinite choices that he could have made.  Similarly, I understand why he butchered the Shawnee braves sent by Yellow Robe to capture him and Sunlei, but he surely could have chosen other ways to make the point .

But these are aspects of the book that I purposefully did not reconcile for the reader.  It is my hope that readers will question these things and ask how the exercise of free will impacts their own lives, and to what extend are we little more than feathers blowing in the wind.

There is a great deal to discuss about The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby.

But you knew that it was more than a story about a wolf . . . .didn’t you?

About the Author

Author H.L. Grandin

Author H.L. Grandin

H. L. Grandin grew up in the shadow of history near Mt. Vernon, Virginia. As a boy, he spent many hours exploring the hills, valleys and waterways throughout Virginia, which nurtured a deep appreciation for nature and its forces. Those adventures became he inspiration for The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby. For the past 25 years, H. L. has lived on a small farm in western Maryland where he and his wife raised three daughters and a passel of critters.


Click Here to Buy on Amazon

Click Here to Buy on Amazon

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