Ranger Leads the Way

Episode Two of the Canadian Summer Podcast is now released. You can get it here from iTunes.  In this episode the boys stop to help an elderly lady when her car breaks down. This leads to a tangle with some thieves, an injured dog, and some surly teenage girls. Hope you enjoy it.

Once again if you don’t use iTunes you can listen to it here. Don’t forget to subscribe so you can get new episodes when they come out. DSC_0148

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Canadian Summer

CA Summer (1).pngIf you’ve followed this blog lately you’ll know I’ve been working on podcasting. I recently published two short story podcasts, which I hope you enjoyed. Those were all done as preparation for this moment. I am excited to announce the first episode of my newest podcast Canadian Summer is now available.

Find it here on iTunes.

Canadian Summer is a fiction podcast that tells the story of two college boys, Roy and Cale, as they journey to the Calgary Stampede. Along the way they meet with various wacky characters, and have some misadventures. They also get to know some lovely Canadian ladies, and learn that not all Canadians as are as friendly as advertised. I hope you enjoy it. The story will be told in episodes

“But Silas,” you say. “I don’t have the iTunes can I still get your podcast?”

Yes, yes you can.

Here’s the podcast website.

In this episode entitled, Heartache in a Hardhat, Roy and Cale come across a lovely distraction while sitting in traffic near Spearfish, South Dakota. This turns out to be a bit more than they bargained for when they run afoul of jealous boyfriends and angry cell tower builders. Hope you enjoy it.

Don’t forget to subscribe because each week a new episode will arrive as the boys have more adventures. Stay tuned.

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50 Shades of Plaid (Reprise)

DSC_0501Robert Burns is the most famous poet of Scotland and every year fans celebrate with something called a Burns Supper. This year it falls on January 26th.  It’s a meal that celebrates Scottish heritage involving poems, drinking, and of course Haggis. I wrote this story a couple years ago in honor of this event.

As I mentioned in my last post I am launching a podcast this year. In preparation for that I thought I would record this story.  You can listen to it by clicking here. Hope you enjoy it. If you do please share it with your friends.

The forthcoming podcast will be called Canadian Summer and will be a story loosely based on somewhat true events. Roy and Cale will be the stars but unlike these short stories, Canadian Summer will be a serial. Each week I will post a new chapter. Stay tuned.

50 Shades of Plaid.

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Jasper’s Food Drive

Hey everyone, I hope you’re all having a great December. I told you last time that I was getting ready to try something different and now I think I’m ready.

Some of you are aware of my short stories that follow the misadventures of two intrepid heroes named Roy and Cale. Well, they have a whole story now that is loosely based on somewhat true events. My goal for this longer story is to tell it via podcast. This is something new for me, but I think the story fits the podcast format well.

The first episode of this podcast will start in January, but I thought I would give you a little taste by creating a short Christmas story podcast to share with you now. So gather around your fireplace, or computer, or whatever and give it a listen. Currently this podcast is available right here on this link. When the story launches in January, it will be available here as well as iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

One more time, click here to listen! Merry Christmas!

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Wild Geese

flight sky bird blue

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a poem, but someone asked my to help translate a Chinese poem so I thought I’d post the results.

Translating poems is tricky because usually understanding the literal meaning of the words doesn’t help you capture the poetic nature. Words that rhyme in one language do not rhyme in another. Not to mention metaphors and figures of speech.

Fortunately this poem is about nature, specifically migrating birds, so the metaphors aren’t quite as strong. Still, it was tricky trying to get it into an English poem. Did I succeed? Who knows? That’s the nice thing about poetry it’s subjective.

Here are the Chinese characters

声声雁去,叶落秋空

故鸟复来,旧巢犹在

As you can see there are sixteen characters. Now, someone else did the hard work translating the literal meaning of the characters. That literal meaning does not make a poem in English so I tried my hand at making one. The nice thing is that unless you can read Chinese and English, you’ll just have to take my word for it. If you can read both I guess you can check my work. Either way I hope you enjoy it. I did two separate versions.

Option One

Hear the sound of wild geese calling
Leaving in autumn when the leaves are falling
They will find upon returning
Their old home to rest from their sojourning

Option Two

When the Autumn leaves fall the wild geese fly
Their departing calls echo from the sky
In spring the birds returning find
The same sweet home they left behind

As you can see it took a lot more English words than Chinese characters. Which one did you like better?

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Ghost in the Cupcakes

It’s been a while since I’ve had a Roy and Cale story on here, so I thought I’d share a lighthearted one with you all.

Ghost in the Cupcakes

By Silas Champion

Cale looked longingly at the frosted cupcakes balanced precariously on the plates he carried. Hopefully there’d be a few left over after the horde of hungry children cleared out of the rec center.

“You can’t have any right now,” Roy said.

“I’m not going to have any,” Cale said. “Just don’t want to drop them.”

“Or maybe you do want to drop them so you can eat one.” Roy hefted two huge bags of candy he carried. “Don’t worry, there will be plenty for all. Unless they get a thousand kids in here, I don’t think they can eat all this.”

“So you’re suggesting we help them out a little?” Cale settled the cupcakes gingerly onto a folding table festooned with a large plastic spider.

“Somebody needs to taste test this stuff to make sure it’s okay,” Roy said.

“Oh, I agree with that.”

“Especially since they have good chocolate. Why waste time eating some soggy goo of a cupcake when you can have some delicious M & M’s?” Roy dropped his treasure trove on another table.

“Soggy goo? You’re crazy,” Cale said. “Who doesn’t like cupcakes? What’s wrong with you?”

“Oh, whatever, it’s just a pile of sugar on top of more sugar.” Roy pulled out a small pack of M & M’s. “Unlike this pinnacle of human endeavor right here.”

The argument might have continued, but Roy’s girlfriend Ally came across the room holding some weird fake cobwebs. She wore little cat ears in her dark brown hair.

“Don’t eat all the candy, Roy,” she said. Cale stifled a laugh. Roy shot a quick look at his friend.

“Just sampling one to make sure they’re good,” he said though a mouthful of candy.

“There’s going to be a lot of kids here,” Ally cautioned. “We have to make sure we have enough.”

“Oh, we’re going to have plenty.” Roy popped the last few M & M’s in his mouth. “What do you need us to do?”

Ally held out the web. “Can you guys hang this up from the ceiling? We want it to be a little bit spooky in here when the kids come.”

“Yeah, I guess. Where do you want it?” Roy took the web from his girlfriend.

“I don’t know. Why do I have to think of everything?” she snapped. “You guys can get it.”

“Yes ma’am.” Roy gave a mock salute as Ally hurried away.

“What’s the deal with her?” Cale muttered.

“Who knows? She’s probably just all stressed out by this. Let’s figure out how to hang this thing.”

“Okay, I guess we will earn our candy.” Cale helped himself to a small candy bar.

After several false starts, they finally figured out a way to drape it from the ceiling fans close to the door of the community center.

“There, that should do it.” Cale wiped the dust from his hands. “Not real spooky, though, is it?”

“No, but that’s the best we can do without a ladder.” Roy shook his head. “Looks kind of pathetic actually.”

“You got it.” Ally arrived.

“We got it, but it’s not very scary,” Roy replied.

“Is there any way you could get it a bit higher?” she asked. “That way it will droop, but the kids can’t reach it.”

“Maybe if we had a ladder,” Roy said.

“If you really want to scare them, you should have somebody in a costume jump out of that closet there.” Cale pointed.

“No, it’s not a haunted house.” Ally looked at him like he’d suggested throwing rocks at the children. “Just get a ladder or something.”

“Maybe you can just stand there, that will be scary enough,” Roy said.

“Oh no, I got to find a ladder.” Cale mocked Ally’s tone. He sauntered off toward the closet, detouring past the snack table for more candy.

The closet was bigger than he expected, but the light didn’t work. Boxes of donated clothes and old detritus of past craft projects almost filled the entire space. Squinting in the dim light, he saw a stepladder wedged in behind some stacked chairs. He edged over to it, carefully eyeing the bulging form of an old blanket perched precariously on a shelf above him.

“Got it.” He brandished the ladder as he returned to Roy, who stood by the door munching a fresh bag of M & M’s.

“Good, then you can climb up there and adjust it.”

“No way, you’re taller than I am. You get up there.” Cale unfolded the ladder. Grumbling, Roy climbed up the ladder and began the slow process of adjusting the web to Cale’s instructions. Finally they had it in some semblance of order as the first children arrived.

The children were, of course, not scared at all and went straight to the candy. Roy and Cale retired to their respective stations. Roy helped Ally at the pin the broom on the witch game, while Cale helped her sorority sister, Stephanie, at the snack table. Stephanie was a no-nonsense kind of gal, which made Cale’s job easier.

He’d just returned from cleaning up spilled lemonade when Ally approached the table. Her cat ears were crooked and her face was red.

“Why didn’t you put the ladder away? The kids are playing with it.”

“I’m manning the snack table,” Cale said. “The kids showed up and Stephanie needed help.”

“Well, get it put away, before someone gets hurt.” Ally rushed off before Cale could answer.

“Yes, boss,” Cale muttered and Stephanie giggled.

“That’s why Ally will never be sorority president,” she whispered. Cale decided that Stephanie was all right.

He walked across the room and rescued the stepladder from a child just before he hit another child with it. Cale burrowed into the closet and jammed the ladder behind the chairs, but it wouldn’t fit. Grumbling he leaned forward to move the chairs.

His foot slipped and he slumped hard against the shelf. The precariously perched sheet tumbled down. Unfurling as it fell, it draped right over Cale’s head. Startled and swearing, he staggered back. He tripped over a box of discarded magazines and careened through the closet door with a loud crash, still covered in the sheet.

Every head in the room turned toward the closet, and a gaggle of sugar-addled children screamed as a bellowing ghostly figure exploded into the room.  They raced toward the front door almost as one, followed a moment later by parents and volunteers.

Cale noticed none of this because just as he’d regained his balance, he tripped over a running child and fell headfirst onto the cupcake table. The cupcakes could indeed now be described as soggy goo, and most of it covered him.

Sputtering and gasping, he at last clawed the sheet from his head, only to see the remaining people in the room all staring at him. Red-faced, he clambered slowly to his feet and stood in the scattered remains of the cupcakes. Stephanie shook her head and handed him a wad of napkins.

“What in the world are you doing?” Ally shouted.

“Sorry, it was an accident,” Cale stammered. “I tripped.”

“Whatever, you just wanted to scare the kids.”

“I really don’t think Cale would destroy cupcakes on purpose. He’s just clumsy,” Roy offered.

“Whatever.” Ally swept away. “You ruined everything.”

“Nice job,” Roy said, trying to stifle a grin.

“You better go wash that off.” Stephanie handed him more napkins. “Then we can clean up.” Ever the practical one, that Stephanie.

Cale muttered another apology before finding the kitchen, where he did his best to remove icing from his pants. At least the sheet had kept it off of his shirt mostly. He didn’t care if Ally was mad at him, but she’d probably be grouchy at Roy for a while. Hopefully none of the kids were too traumatized.

When he returned from the kitchen, all the children had returned and played the games with more gusto than ever. They laughed about the ghost and how funny it was. Many of the older children assured those who would listen that they’d not been scared at all.

“Looks like you didn’t ruin the party after all,” Stephanie said. “Your little stunt made everything more fun.”

“Yeah, too bad I didn’t mean to do it.” Cale shrugged. “Ruined the cupcakes too.”

“They weren’t that good anyway,” Stephanie said. “Just stick with M & M’s.” She handed him a bag. Yeah, Stephanie was indeed all right.

********************************************

If you like Roy and Cale there will be a big development with them coming soon. Hopefully by the first of the year. Stay tuned…

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Summer

By the time you read this, school will have probably started or will be about to start wherever you live. Even if you aren’t in school or have kids enrolled somehow the beginning of school marks the end of summer.

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Caesar’s Head State Park, South Carolina

In many ways, summer is a microcosm of life. When it begins it stretches out forever in front of you. You anticipate all the things you will do, all the places you will go. The days are long and warm. The next thing you know though, it’s August and the kids are back in school and it’s over. How does it go so fast?

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National Mall, Washington D. C.

So here’s to you, summer. See you next year. 

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Acadia National Park, Maine

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