Monday, November 19, 2012

The Elk-aholics of Winslow Hill

Growing up in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, we were pretty much always aware of the wildlife that was so plentiful in the area. We often went "spotting deer" and I personally had 2 close encounters with black bears that I'll never forget. But elk were rare back then. At one time elk -- for which our county, Elk County, was named -- were plentiful but human habitation chased them out. I remember the first time I saw an elk, in a field out across from our tiny airport, and it was a beautiful and majestic creature.


So, naturally, when I was writing "The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall," I wrote about elk. In the book the huge, reclusive Oliver Eberstark, despite being the consummate woodsman, refuses to let hunters into Opelt's Wood during elk season. He lets them hunt and fish on his property the rest of the year but not to hunt elk. This causes him some problems with the pompous Hamilton Buerk who sponsors hunting parties in his elegant lodge. In a chapter titled "Wapiti," the Native American name for elk, Oliver tells the Native American folklorist Blaise Hanes why he is so protective of them. You can read part of the story here.

Recently a Facebook friend, Debbie Johnston Kronenwetter, posted some beautiful photographs of the elk at Winslow Hill and I asked her permission to post them here. I love these pictures -- especially because of the  misty periwinkle blue hills in the background. I can just imagine Oliver sitting in his truck with Toots, his dog, watching them exactly like this. Many thanks to Debbie for the photos.

The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall, a novel told in eleven stories,all set in Elk County, is available in paperback from Amazon and Barnes & NobleThe stories are also available as a digital "boxed set" for both Kindle and Nook. All eleven stories are included. Or you can buy the 3 volumes individually for Kindle only. Volume 1Volume 2, and Volume 3.

Thanks for reading.

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