After suffering through a week-long mystery of why, after uploading 50+ books, I could not do a successful upload of The Indomitable Miss Lacey to Smashwords, I finally managed it* and can, at last, turn my attention to my blog.
*For those who have not read the explanation on Facebook: It took a week of sleuthing and SIX attempts before the upload to Smashword worked. The problem? After umpteen years, AOL changed its download rules without bothering to mention it. No matter what pixel width a pic was when sent to me, it would only download to My Pictures as a THUMBNAIL. I had to manually re-edit the pixels to the correct size before the photo was usable. A-argh!!
|Susie, one foot in Europe, one in North America|
Among the many photos and videos my daughter posted to Facebook during her circumnavigation of the globe, I found one video more remarkable than all the others. When in Iceland, Susie and Mike visited a shopping mall where a gap had been torn in the floor during an earthquake. The gap was filled in with glass (and a bit of dramatic red "lava") and each side of the gap was labeled for the tectonic plate it belonged to. It was, therefore, possible for Susie to put one foot in North America and one foot in Europe! To see my son-in-law's video of this phenomenon, click here.
Other grandmothers post photos of their granddaughters in frilly little dresses, playing with a pet, or participating in sporting events. In our family . . . here's Cassidy demonstrating her marksmanship at Police Explorers.
The place Susie most wanted to go on her round-the-world trip was the black sand beach in Iceland (sand from volcanic rock). Here are two pics of the beach, including the columnar basalt formations I've only previously seen in Northern Ireland.
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Introduction to "How to Hunt a Python"
(from my photo archives)
Only in Florida . . .
HOW TO HUNT A PYTHON
I have been talking about the Great Florida Python Hunt for years now, most recently, just to mention the results. But on Sunday, October 29, 2023, the Orlando Sentinel published a lengthy article entitled "So you want to be a python hunter?" Definitely something unique enough I felt I should share it with my readers.
Background for those who haven't heard about this unique event before:
Apparently, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and other cities at the southern tip of the peninsula of Florida have a large number of snake-lovers. Or lovers of snakes when they are still small and not menacing. But there comes a time when that baby snake grows to the point where owners fear the snake is considering them for its next meal. So into the car, drive the snake out into the wilds of the Florida Everglades and abandon it. Nice, humane decision, right? Except pythons loved the Everglades. So much so, they multiplied and multiplied, until they were killing off the species native to the Everglades at an alarming rate. So, in an attempt to close the barn door long after the horse had been stolen, the State of Florida initiated the Great Python Hunt. Hunters are paid to bring in as many dead pythons as possible and receive monetary rewards, according to size. Alas, at this late date, it's rather like attempting to clear sand off a beach. But hunters keep trying, year after year. This year the prize for the longest python went to a female hunter.
Below, I will attempt to summarize the highlights of Sunday's article.
The article is topped by a chart: how much money is paid for each python by length. For example, a four-footer will get you $50; five feet, $75; six feet, $100; seven feet, $125; eight feet, $150. Plus a bonus for the most pythons caught and the longest python caught. And if you stumble on a nest of eggs & collect them, the reward is $200.
The record of the longest python caught is nineteen feet, with a twenty-footer suspected of being still out there. Each year, about 200 hunters are contracted by the state; their haul, around 2000 pythons. It is believed more than 18,000 pythons have been removed from the ecosystem since 2000.
Since the program began with a minimal number of intrepid hunters, it has burgeoned into a major event in south Florida, with experienced hunters taking on apprentices to learn the how-to's of hunting pythons. There is even virtual online training available.
When I looked for a book to feature with python-hunting, it didn't take much thought to come up with the Matthew Wolfe series. There's a definite swashbuckle to Matthew's adventures. I think he would have enjoyed python hunting.
Matthew Wolfe, born and raised in the squalor of London's inner city, should be a nobody, forever destined to obscurity, or the hangman. But wait . . . he can read and write, is a whiz at math, can speak like a gentleman, even knows more than a bit of French. And when the boy from London ends up on a hops farm in Kent, surrounded by the remnants of the Royal 10th Hussars and a passel of children, what will this fish out of water do? Retired military and their ladies, children, dogs, a regal cat, neighbors in need, and a determined twelve-year-old—all assist Matthew on his journey toward the person he is meant to be.
There are two more books in this series: Matthew Wolfe - the Adventures Begin and Matthew Wolfe - Revelations. For drama, comedy, adventure, and a bit of romance, you can't go wrong with Matthew Wolfe.
Note to readers of my Regency Warriors series: a number of familiar characters appear in the Matthew Wolfe series, including Jack Harding, who has been in more Blair Bancroft books than any other character, even getting a "mention" in my brand new Trad Regency, The Indomitable Miss Lacey.
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Thanks for stopping by,Grace (Blair Bancroft)