A Bold Adventure

A Bold Adventure

I silenced the alarm and worked one eye open enough to read the display on my phone—4:15 AM. Was it really worth it to crawl out of this warm, toasty cocoon of blankets for a sunrise? Across the room, I heard my friend stir, providing me the motivation I needed to throw off the covers and step onto the carpeted floor.

It only took ten minutes to drive from the Bluebird Motel to Roque Bluffs State Park. I kicked off my shoes and dug my toes into the sand as I gazed in confusion at the last vestiges of color on the horizon. It was ten minutes before sunrise and yet somehow, I’d missed the show. I’ve learned since that the grandeur of sunrise actually occurs predawn.

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The two of us roused our still sleeping companion and together made our way to the famed Helen’s Restaurant in Machias to fuel up for the hike ahead. Filled to the top with great food and service and a ghost story, we loaded back into the car. IMG_6325And after a brief stop to admire the lobstering boats in the harbor, we arrived at the trailhead for the Bold Coast in Cutler, Maine.

inlandtrailWhen I stepped onto the trail, I felt as if I had been transported to another world. The ground was covered with moss in different shades of green. Feathery ferns grew beneath the deep green pines. Smooth rocks scattered the terrain. The sun shone through the canopy of leaves overhead, creating a speckled pattern on the ground at my feet. There was a magical feel to these woods and I wouldn’t have been surprised to spot a fairy flitting about the branches of the trees.

After a little over a mile of walking along two-plank bridges, packed root covered earth and smooth rocks, I smelled the ocean. And then, there I was, standing on a rugged cliff of the Maine coast.another overloock I shed my sweatshirt in the warm sunshine and enjoyed the salty air that swept across the ocean to surround me. I peered over the edge of the cliff and watched the water splash against the rocks.IMG_6407

For the next 3.8 miles the trail wove back and forth from the woods to the rocky coast. Purple irises thrust their way up from the soil between the rocks.iris2 Blueberries, not yet ripe filled the bushes along the edges of the trail. baby blueberriesA tiny green snake, slithered off the trail and into the grass as I approached.IMG_6434 I ventured out onto every overlook, breathing in the ocean air.

It was at one of these overlooks that I spotted a sea cave. I love caves almost as much as I love hiking and I really wanted to go down and explore this cave. But without a rope or some sort of climbing gear, that wasn’t happening. At least not this trip.IMG_6413

I took advantage of every opportunity to wander to down to beaches filled with colorful rocks, worn smooth by the ocean waves. There were no sandy beaches on this trail, only the rugged beauty of the rocky Maine coast.rocky beach2

As I climbed back up to the cliff from one of these pebbly beaches, I noticed a boat moving through the water, stopping frequently. Even from a distance I could see the swarm of birds that followed it. Using the zoom on my camera, I confirmed my suspicion. It was a lobsterman checking his traps. I knew that lobstering was hard work, but I never realized that it involved constant seagull harassment! I thought back to the many times I’d gone to the beach only to have a bold seagull swoop down and snatch away my bag of chips. Here was this lobsterman, confined to his boat with twenty plus seagulls, circling and diving around him. Yet he continued his work, unmindful of their presence.lobstering with seagulls

I knew we were reaching the end of the coastal portion of the trek when I heard the horn of the lighthouse. Every 8 seconds it called to me, drawing me onward with the promise of more beautiful view points, yet warning me off, because I knew that when I reached the lighthouse, I would be forced to turn away from the breathtaking ocean views.

IMG_6519I’d read about the campsites on the Bold Coast—three of them, available on a first come bases—and when I reached the first site, I regretted my stay in the motel, wishing I’d spent last night on the trail. I imagined falling asleep listening to the cry of seagulls, the water lapping against the rocks, and the now, not-so-distant, call of the lighthouse as it lulled me to sleep. I envied those campers that had rolled out of their sleeping bags and watched the sun rise over the ocean horizon. Next time, I promised myself.

As I settled onto the rocks to enjoy lunch, a group of seagulls lanIMG_6498ded on a nearby rock. I watched them preen their feathers and rest in the warm sun, and wondered if they were the same birds that had spent the morning swarming the lobstering boat, and were now resting up with bellies full from their scavenged spoils.

Not long after, I rounded the last corner of my coastal journey and the lighthouse came into view. IMG_6507I believe it to be the Little River Lighthouse. It’s not a particularly large lighthouse—only slightly taller than the two story building beside it—but I have no doubt that it helps provide safe passage to ocean travelers, just the same.

From here, the trail brought us back into the fairy forest. And although the lighthouse called me back to the ocean, the necessities of life—family, work, and my little Yorkie—steadied my feet as they carried me away from the sea.IMG_6360

Compared to the scrabble across the rocks and the steep trails along the coastal portion of our route, this part of the trail was a leisurely walk. Once again I traveled through moss covered forest and along two plank boardwalks until I reached a large bog. I clambered up onto a giant boulder that overlooked this inland water body, hoping to spot a moose grazing in the trees at its edges. Instead, I enjoyed a quiet, peaceful view without a moose.IMG_6549

When the gravel of the parking area replaced the pine-needle covered packed earth of the trail beneath my feet, I felt energized. The experience of hiking the New England coast had regenerated me. I smiled as I tossed my now empty pack into the trunk and piled into the car with my friends.

We ended our day with one more stop at Helen’s for some blueberry ice cream and piece of their famous blueberry pie, each of us vowing to return to the Bold Coast of Maine.IMG_6559

Teri Lee is the author of Troubled Spirits, a YA paranormal novel set in Maine. Troubled Spirits is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Applie iBooks, Google Play, Smashwords, Black Rose Writing and many other sites.

*Photos are taken by Teri Lee and may be used with permission only

Midnight Berries under the Strawberry Moon

I missed the mooIMG_4737n! More specifically I missed the rising of June’s full moon. But that won’t stop me from writing about it, or from gazing up into the night sky every chance I get.

One of the best things about the June moon is that it welcomes the arrival of warm weather. It is the Rose Moon, the Lotus Moon, the Green Corn Moon and the Planting Moon. But those aren’t its only names. My favorite names are the two that make my mouthwater and bring back memories of my recent trip to the Great Smokey Mountains.

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It is the Moon when June Berries are Ripe and the Strawberry Moon. Yum!

The black bear looks up at the sky. The moon is full and it shines brightly through the trees and onto the entrance of her den. She nudges brown and rust leaves from the forest floor until the opening is hidden, then pauses to listen to the steady breathing of her two cubs. Confident in their safety, she turns away to begin her nightly foraging.

Leaves rustle and twigs snap under her paws as she lumbers through the woods to the rotten stump. This is her routine. She uses her claws to tear away the soft wood, then digs her nose into the moist pulp to slurp up the insects before they can scatter to safety. Satisfied she makes her way toward the edge of the forest, snacking on bits of vegetation as she travels. The wind blows, carrying a sweet scent to her nostrils.  Her mouth waters and she breaks from her usual foraging pattern, drawn to the aroma of berries.

But she is tense. This is farther than she usually ventures from her den. She listens for a cry from her cubs, as she allows the sweet, scent to draw her forward.

She steps into the field. Along the edge of the woods are prickly bushes IMG_5213covered with berries, but they haven’t ripened. She looks down. Wild, red strawberries surround her feet. She settles onto her haunches to nibble at the feast, her black fur glistening in the moonlight as the sweet juices run down the back of her throat.

As she stretches her nose to the ground to fill it with another mouthful of the sweet fruit, a whimpering cry reaches her ears. The berries forgotten, she crashes through the brush toward the cries of her cubs.

Outside her den, something moves in the shadows. With a roar, she rises to her hind legs. A raccoon dashes away, disappearing into the night. The bear drops back down on all fours and slips into her undisturbed den. She curls up around her cubs and they snuggle into her fur and begin to nurse. She closes her eyes, content to rest with her young. She will wait for the early morning light, when the sun once again takes over the sky to bring her cubs to the edge of the forest. Together they will enjoy the luscious berries.

I sometimes wonder why I’m drawIMG_5018n to the moon and the night sky. I think it’s because when I gaze into it, I see infinite space. A space not so different from the blank page on my laptop. As my imagination fills the emptiness, my fingers move across the keyboard and soon a story appears.

IMG_4376 IMG_4402Just like the pages of a book, every shining star is a far-away world waiting to be experienced.

What does your night sky represent?

Teri Lee is the author of Troubled Spirits, a YA paranormal novel.

The Power of Words

This post was originally written as a guest post for Sophia Kimble’s Blog. You can read the original post here.

Words, whether spoken or heard are a powerful tool. They can transport a reader to faraway places. They can inspire. And they can hurt. I believe in the power of words. Which is why if you drop by my author website,  you’ll find a page titled The Bully Projectbook cover

Although in Troubled Spirits, Annie Waters is forced to overcome a supernatural bully, it is not a story about bullying. My passion to prevent bullying comes from real life.

The Boy

You don’t remember me, but I remember you.

I saw you when another nurse led you to the room.

You lingered in the doorway unsure of the organized chaos before you.

I left him long enough to lead you to his bedside.

You took his hand as our hands pumped his chest.

I pushed epinephrine into his veins.

You told him he was strong.

We tilted his head back and slid a tube into his airway.

You looked up at his soft brown curls and said, “I love you. You can beat this.”

We forced oxygen into his lungs.

Your eyes didn’t leave his face.

We continued the seemingly brutal process of resuscitation.

You said his name. Your voice cracked.

We paused compressions to check for a rhythm.

You didn’t look up at the straight line on the monitor. You leaned closer and told him to fight. Your fingers reached to touch the raw skin on his neck, but then you pulled them back and squeezed his hand instead.

The doctor shook his head. He was gone.

Tears streamed down your face and you placed your hand on his cheek. “Why?” you asked.

I didn’t answer. There was no answer to why your son took his life. I learned later that he was bullied. Not with fists, but with words.

Words have the power destroy, but words can also bring hope.

The Girl

I don’t remember you, but you remember me.

You tried to see me at my work, but I wasn’t there.

You left a card for me each year, thanking me for taking care of you and Damien.

I don’t remember you.

You called my name as I waited in line at the store.

I turned to see who called me. I don’t know you.

You said I took care of you when your son Damien was born. He’s three now.

I’m not sure why you remember me so well, so I ask.

You said I told you that you were a good mother. And that was all you needed to hear. You made a choice to leave an abusive relationship because you believed me. You believed you could be a good mother. You went back to school. It was challenging and sometimes downright hard, but soon you will be a Medical Assistant.

PrintI support The Bully Project, because its mission is not only to prevent bullying, but also to teach others to take action and use their words to encourage and take a stand when they see something happening that isn’t right.  I’ve witnessed the power of words. And I want to make others aware of the power they have to choose the right words. Will your words have a positive or negative impact in the world?

Finding Inspirtation

I originally wrote this blog as a guest post for Sapphyria’s Book Review. You can see the original post here.

Are you a runner? Illustrator? Gardener? Jewelry maker? Or are you a writer, like me? Whatever it is, finding something to inspire you is essential to success. Your inspiration can come from anywhere.  For the runner it may be passing the woman in the pink shirt. The illustrator may spot a tree, which looks like a fish. The gardener may find inspiration in jewelry and the jeweler in the garden

As a writer, my inspiration sometimes comes from the familiar. My first story was inspired by my childhood adventures.  But Troubled Spirits was inspired by something unfamiliar—ghost hunting.book cover

A group of my ER co-workers were planning an excursion into one of the older hospital buildings and they invited me to join them. My brain formulated the word no, but what I heard my mouth saying was yes. And in that moment, a seed was planted. The seed which would grow into Troubled Spirits.  What if a group of teenagers decided to try their hand at ghost hunting? But what if the ghost didn’t want to be hunted?

Although the hospital shot down any possibility of a ghostly excursion into any of their buildings, our little group huddled together in an empty ER room with a spirit box. Not only was that an experience I’ll never forget, it was the inspiration for the scene in the school cafeteria when Logan’s spirit box….

I decided to set Troubled Spirits in a haunted school instead of a hospital. And then another ‘what if?’ popped into my head. What if there was an actual haunted school in Maine?  I scoured the internet and discovered there was one Maine school rumored to be haunted:

“According to legend back in the 1950’s 5 young high school boys were murdered mysteriously at the school. No one knows who did it. Ever since late at night when you’re walking the track behind the school you’ll see glimpses of lights going on and off and hear strange noises if your near the school even feel like you’re being watched. There is also 2 graveyards near the school which also have many hauntings. Like the old man in the graveyard path whom is dark tall you speak to him and he just stares at you then vanishes into thin air.”
Source: http://www.theshadowlands.net

I went back to the internet in search of details, but all I found was this same paragraph on various websites. So I decided to take action. Along with a friend, I jumped into my car and made the two hour trip to investigate in person. We visited the “haunted” school. We visited the library. I searched through books about the town history. Finally, I spoke with the librarian. Yes, he’d heard of the rumors, but assured me they were just that—rumors. But I wasn’t done with my investigation. We visited every cemetery we could find, searching for the gravestones of teenaged boys who died in the 50’s. There were none. Not one!

Although I was disappointed that I hadn’t proven the rumor to be true, I’d gathered up bunches of inspiration along the way. I now had a model (adapted slightly) for not only the Caldwell School, but also the library.  Because the town which inspired Shady Cove is a coastal town, many of the older gravestones belonged to captains. And these gravestones were the inspiration for the short story found within the pages of Troubled Spirits titled The Captain.

What I learned while writing Troubled Spirits is that inspiration can come from any place. Sometimes it comes when you’re not looking and sometimes you need to go looking for it. So be ready. The inspiration for your success might be right in front of you, or waiting for you around the next corner.  I’d love to hear about what inspires you!