Sasha of the Chukchi Sea

We received a wonderful surprise in the post from our lovely blogging friend Paz from Armchair Zen. He has written two books about Sasha of the Chukchi Sea that were inspired by his rescue dog Sasha, who blogs here.

The first book in the series is called Homestead.

The story begins just before Sasha is born at a homestead in the Arctic Circle to a wonderful mum who lives with many other dogs and a loving and caring human family. The family have also adopted a dog called Kotka, who had been badly treated by his previous owner. Kotka is very defensive at first and we can understand why he would be wary after all he’d been through.

close up shot of a blue and white whippet in a pink fleece with a book

As Sasha grows up she learns how to be part of a sledge team and they set off on a journey across frozen rivers and deep snow to a trading post at Dezhnevo. They meet other mushers with their own dog packs who come to trade, including a man called Tun. Some of the people arriving from further across the tundra have their sledges pulled by reindeer.

The story is told with a lot of warmth and a great understanding of dogs and their different personalities. The delightful banter and singing of the sledge dogs whilst they’re mushing made us laugh out loud!

We loved the scenery, the adventures when out on the trails and learned a lot about life for the dogs in these remote and cold conditions. We were also given a glimpse of Chukchi culture and their sense of community, even when the people and animals of this community live very far apart. Most of the journeys are more than a day away and include setting up an overnight camp.

a black whippet in a red fleece with a dog toy and two books in the living room

The second book in the series is called Lodge.

Sasha and her brother Anchu leave their home to begin a new life with Tun in the second book, an overwhelming experience for both of them to begin with. The way the loving voice of their mother continues to travel with them is beautifully told. They are now part of a new pack and quickly bond with their new team mates and their larger than life musher Tun. Tun appears to have no family of his own and he treats every person and dog he meets like family.

They quickly feel at home at Tun’s lodge and he lets the dogs roam freely when they’re not working. They travel to a larger settlement to take part in a dog race and soon after that their world is turned upside down by soldiers clearing and burning down settlements, leaving the rest of them to flee.

Sasha and the team need to be at their strongest and work together to deal with what happens next. They are reunited with their friend Kotka and the deep and independently minded Larik makes all the dogs consider whether they wouldn’t be better off living in the wild, without the humans and sledges that can keep them trapped in dangerous situations. Don’t think of it as the wilderness, he says, think of it as Home.

We really enjoyed these two books and think they will appeal to dog lovers and people of all ages with an interest in Chukchi culture, sledge dogs and the great outdoors. Scott (Paz) is a great story teller and brings a beautiful sense of balance by looking at potentially difficult situations from different perspectives, even zooming in and out of the cosmos to marvel at the tiny specs in the snow the characters in these stories are.

Homestead and Lodge by Scott R O’Connor are both available from Amazon. He is currently working on his third book in the series called Caravan. We are looking forward to reading what happens next!

a black whippet in a red fleece sitting on the floor indoors

A very big thank you to Scott for sending us these lovely books, we will treasure them. Our companion is looking forward to reading Armchair Zen – Gleanings, very soon too.

Wishing you all a very happy Friday and a wonderful weekend,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/2.8 – 1/500 s – ISO 160, f/2.8 – 1/640 s – ISO 160, f/2.8 – 1/60 s – ISO 200 and f/2.8 – 1/15 s – ISO 200.

Your Daily Word Prompt: Provision

Between Heather and Grass – Our Book is Here

We are delighted that Between Heather and Grass – Poems and Photographs Filled with Love, Hope and Whippets is now available in paperback, ebook and Kindle editions.

Front Cover of Between Heather and Grass by Xenia Tran
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When we selected images and poems for our first collection Sharing Our Horizon (September 2018), a few poems were set aside especially for this second book. One of those poems was A Message from the Stars, a poem about our nine-year old nephew Jamie Baker who suffered from leukaemia. His story shows us what love, football and a big dream can do, even in the most difficult circumstances.

With these poems in place, I dedicated the following year to creating photographs and poems that would flow naturally through the seasons with these earlier verses.

Your feedback and encouraging words helped us to select the most popular poems among these. In addition, the lovely bloggers among you who host regular photo and poetry challenges inspired us to look at what had been written from a different perspective.

As with our first book, we have created Between Heather and Grass to help raise funds for animal rehoming shelters, a cause very close to our heart.

We are also supporting Children with Cancer UK, in memory of our nephew Jamie. This charity works hard to find better and kinder ways to treat children with cancer. Their mission is to help every child ring their end of treatment bell, and to keep families together.

Children with Cancer UK Supporter's Logo

We want to say a very big thank you to Darlene Swanson for the book design and to the teams at Reedsy and Ingram Spark for putting everything together.

Our book is available in paperback and can be ordered from your local bookstore, online bookstores, Amazon, Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Fishpond, Adlibris and any other store connected to the IngramSpark Global network.

Our Apple Book can be downloaded from Apple Books in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Our ebook is available via Kobo, Google Play, Nook and many others worldwide.

Our Kindle version is available via Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Australia, Amazon India, Amazon Japan and Amazon worldwide.

For further details on where to order, please visit our Between Heather and Grass page.

a smiling blue and white whippet walking towards the camera across the tidal sands

In so many positive ways, you all played a part and this book is for you too.

A very big thank you for all your love, support and inspiration.

Wishing you all a beautiful Friday and a wonderful weekend,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/5 – 1/6 s – ISO 200 and f/2.8 – 1/2000 s – ISO 100.

Word of the Day Challenge: Accommodate

look inside feature for Between Heather and Grass
Click on the Cover to look inside …

Cover Reveal

We received our first printed copy this weekend and are delighted to give the paws up for our forthcoming book Between Heather and Grass – Poems and Photographs Filled with Love, Hope and Whippets.

A very big thank you to Darlene Swanson at Van-garde for the lovely cover design:

Front Cover of Between Heather and Grass by Xenia Tran
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The focus of this new collection of poems and images is on the comfort that love and nature can bring, even in times of loss. With that in mind we provided a mood board for our designer with a handful of carefully selected photographs, a few examples of book covers that we liked and the freedom for her to choose another photograph from the selection of images for the interior of the book if she felt this would work better for the cover.

We believe she really captured the depth and sensitivity of this collection with her combination of the two images and cannot thank her highly enough.

We are donating thirty per cent of any net profit from the sale of this book to a children’s cancer charity in memory of our nephew Jamie Baker and another thirty per cent of net profit to animal rehoming charities.

Between Heather and Grass will go on general sale on Friday 15th November, when we will publish a special post in co-ordination with the children’s cancer charity we’re supporting.

The paperback edition is available for pre-order from Barnes & Noble, Foyles, Waterstones, Indiebound and Fishpond.

Between now and the release date more retailers will be added to this list.

The ebook version is available for pre-order from Apple, Kobo, Nook and Booktopia.

The Kindle edition is available for pre-order from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Japan and Amazon Australia.

If you’re interested in receiving a complimentary copy please let us know in the comments. Eivor and Pearl will select two names from the hat on 14th November and we are happy to ship worldwide.

*** the winners are announced here ***

a smiling black whippet leaping along a forest trail in autumn

Wishing you all a magical Tuesday,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/2.8 – 1/250 s – ISO 160 and f/2.8 – 1/160 s – ISO 160.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #69: Seeing Double

Twiglet #150: Just Focus

Our Book is Here

Sharing Our Horizon

close up of black whippet looking up at the camera

We have some very exciting news today. After months of selecting poems and images …

a blue whippet looking over her right shoulder, draft papers displayed beside her in her dog bed

… placing them in seasonal order and several rounds of editing …

black whippet looking over his left shoulder towards the camera, several draft papers beside him on the floor

… we handed our final version to a designer …

front cover of Sharing our Horizon by Xenia Tran

… and our first book to help raise funds for animal rehoming shelters was born.

We want to say a very big thank you to all our followers who encouraged us to create a book with colour photographs and poems from our blog.

If we were going to do this, we wanted it to be for a good cause. We will donate 60% of our net profits to animal rehoming shelters. The more books we sell, the more charities we will be able to help. The remaining 40% will be invested in future fundraising projects.

We want to say a very big thank you to John Hubbard for his beautiful cover and print book design, to Darlene Swanson for the ebook design and the teams at Reedsy and IngramSpark for helping us put everything together.

Our book is now available in paperback and can be ordered from your local bookstore, online bookstores, Amazon, Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, Fishpond, Adlibris and any other store connected to the IngramSpark Global network.

Our Apple Book can be downloaded from Apple Books in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Our ebook is available via Kobo, Nook, Google Play and many others worldwide.

Our Kindle version is available via Amazon worldwide.

For further details on where to order, please visit our ‘Sharing Our Horizon‘ page.

We really hope we can make this book a success and help many other dogs find their happy forever homes.

We always remember where we come from and are so grateful for the staff and volunteers in shelters who looked after us when we were there.

Now we want to give something back.

Look Inside Cover for Sharing Our Horizon
Click on the cover to look inside …

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Birthday

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Color

Haibun: Frozen Footsteps

a black whippet in a blue winter coat on a frozen forest trail

Last week’s footsteps look so fresh on the frozen path where our paws leave no mark. The warm glow of the morning sun welcomes us like long lost friends and in this silence I feel like coming home. Coming home to all that is well in the world, to all the magic that nature has to offer and to the simple ways in which the sparkling frost on the trees connects us to the magic within ourselves.

frost rests
in silent caress
of the dawn

© Xenia Tran

a blue and white whippet in a pink snood and silver winter coat on a frozen forest trail

I look up at the snow covered mountain against the blue sky and my mind wanders into the green and purple heathers of September, the view down over the glen and beyond the Monadliath. Winter has landed early here and we change the paths we walk with every season. Wrapped in the arms of nature we go where she leads.

stillness
before the ski slopes
open to laughter

© Xenia Tran

mount Cairngorm covered in snow

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, unedited.

Camera: Lumix Panasonic FZ38, setting: iA.

I posted both haiku on twitter as part of my daily ‘Find the Silence’ reflections for Carpe Diem Haiku’s Winter Retreat and revisited the parts of the walk that inspired the haiku to create this haibun for dVerse Haibun Monday.

This haibun appears in

chiaroscuro__darkne_cover_for_kindle ww

which was published in December 2017 and is now available from Amazon in Europe and North America.

The poem is included in our first full-length collection Sharing Our Horizon, published in September 2018, available in paperback and ebook formats from bookstores and online retailers.

dVerse Haibun Monday Free For All

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Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend

Daily Prompt: Silent