The Lost Colony of Roanoke, The Dare Stones, and Georgia!

Most people know about the Lost Colony of Roanoke and the mystery surrounding it. But, did you know the story has a Georgia connection?

The Lost Colony of Roanoke Dare Stone

What we know about Roanoke

Let’s recap what we know. A group of English settlers landed at Roanoke Island North Carolina in 1587 in an attempt to establish the first permanent English settlement in North America. John White led the expedition.

In 1587, White returned to England to procure more supplies for the colony and planned to return in 1588. However, the Anglo-Spanish War delayed his return until 1590. When he returned, he found the fortified settlement abandoned and the word Croatoan carved into the palisade. He assumed that meant the colonists abandoned Roanoke for nearby Croatoan Island. However, as the ship attempted to visit Croatoan Island, a storm forced the vessel to return the England.

The Dare Stones

One of the few clues about the fate of the Lost Colony of Roanoke is tied to the Dare Stones. The Dare Stones are inscribed pieces of stone found in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The first stone (known as the Chowan River Stone) was found by Louis Hammond in 1937. Hammond brought the stone to Emory University and asked for help interpreting words on the rock he claimed to find by the Chowan River in North Carolina. Thanks to our friends at Wikipedia, here are the inscriptions on the stone (both sides are inscribed):

ANANIAS DARE &
VIRGINIA WENT HENCE
VNTO HEAVEN 1591

ANYE ENGLISHMAN SHEW
JOHN WHITE GOVR VIA

The opposite side reads:

FATHER SOONE AFTER YOV
GOE FOR ENGLANDE WEE CAM 
HITHER ONLIE MISARIE & WARRE 
TOW YEERE ABOVE HALFE DEADE ERE TOW
YEERE MORE FROM SICKNES BEINE FOVRE & TWENTIE
SALVAGE WITH MESSAGE OF SHIPP VNTO US SMAL
SPACE OF TIME THEY AFFRITE OF REVENGE RANN
AL AWAYE WEE BLEEVE YT NOTT YOV SOONE AFTER
YE SALVAGES FAINE SPIRTS ANGRIE SVDDIANE 
MVRTHER AL SAVE SEAVEN MINE CHILDE
ANANIAS TO SLAINE WTH MVCH MISARIE
BVRIE AL NEERE FOVRE MYLES EASTE THIS RIVER
VPPON SMAL HILL NAMES WRIT AL THER 
ON ROCKE PVTT THIS THEIR ALSOE SALVAGE 
SHEW THIS VNTO YOV & HITHER WEE 
PROMISE YOV TO GIVE GREATE 
PLENTIE PRESENTS
EWD

While the authenticity of the Chowan River Stone has never been established, Hammond tried to sell it to Emory University. The institution declined, so Hammond sold it to Emory Porfessor Haywood Pearce, Jr. with backing from Brenau University (owned by Pearce’s father)

The Dare Stones and Georgia

The connection doesn’t stop with the Chowan River Stone, however. After Brenau acquired the stone, they offered a reward for additional stones. And they got them! Many of the stones were provided by a stonecutter named Bill Eberhardt. Eberhardt claimed to have found stones in Greenville County, SC (13 of them). With the Chowan River Stone regarded as Dare Stone #1, the Eberhardt stones were numbered 2-14. Isaac Turner of Atlanta found Stone #15 in Hall County, GA.

Eberhardt continued to uncover stones and added stones #16-24 in 1939. This group was allegedly found in Habersham County, GA. I could detail other finds in Fulton County, Ga (near Eberhardt’s home) but you get the drift. Stone #36 was found by William Bruce of Atlanta (also found near his home). All told, Haywood Pearce received 48 Dare Stones.

Scientific Consideration

In 1940, a conference looked into the stones’ authenticity. The conclusion seemed to support the claims, but the report also said that it was still under investigation.

Haywood Pearce sent an article to The Saturday Evening Post, but the article triggered an expose article challenging the Dare Stones’ authenticity. The expose uncovered the fact that Eberhardt, Isaac Turner (Stone #15), and William Bruce (Stone #36) had known each other for years. After these facts and many others surfaced, Dare Stones 2-48 were considered fakes.

The Dare Stones Today

All 48 Dare Stones remain in Brenau’s possession, though only Dare Stone #1 (Chowan River Stone) is on display. Louis Hammond remains an enigma since researchers couldn’t find any information on him.

The debate continues on the original Dare Stone. Scholars weigh in on both sides of the argument, so unless additional information surfaces, we’ll likely never know the truth. You can see the stone with permission from the President’s Office at Brenau University in Gainesville, GA, but as I understand it, Brenau owns all rights to any photos or videos of the stones.

So there you have it. The Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Dare Stones, and the Georgia connection. There is much more to the story, so I encourage you to do your own research. If you do, find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest and let me know what you find out.

Milestones – or a Few Accomplishments over the Last Seven Years!!

Milestones!

Milestone the first:

Today’s post marks a number of milestones! What milestones, you might ask? The first significant milestone is that August 12 marks seven years since The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian publication date! Since that day,  The Carnelian picked up an Indie BRAG Medallion and a Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal. I’ve published the other three books of the series, attended many festivals and books signings, spoke at schools, and learned more than I ever thought possible about writing. I’ve met amazing authors, reviewers, and book promoters. I keep writing (can you believe three WIPs?) and hope to publish my fifth book (the start of a new series) in 2020.

The Carnelian Cover Milestones

Though I haven’t hit the bestsellers list yet, I am eternally grateful to each and every person who took the time to read one or all of the books. My favorite author moment came from a teacher (and former classmate). She told me she struggled to get a student to read. When she told the student she knew an author (me), and maybe he would read my books. I sent her a set. She reported back to me that he loved them and has become a voracious reader! That makes it all worthwhile!

Milestone the second:

I also celebrate reaching the 15,000 Twitter follower milestone! Writing The Gemstone Chronicles made me aware of the various avenues of social media and, after trying most of them, settled on Twitter as my main social media platform. I know it isn’t a huge following, but I continue to grow it and I hope I’m providing some assistance to other authors out there.

Milestone the third:

The final milestone I’m marking is that this post is my three hundredth blog post! That’s right! This blog started on August 12th, 2012 to announce The Carnelian’s publication. What a long but interesting journey it has been! I’ve written posts about my books, book promotion sites, gemstones, duct tape, conspiracy theories, and many book reviews! I’ve even slipped a few posts about submarines and my time in the Navy. I like to post my book reviews and maybe give a fellow author a bit of exposure. I hope my posts reflect my rather eclectic interests both in the different genres I review and the occasional foray into my hobbies and interests.

As always, I’m humbled and grateful for everyone’s continued support and for the readers who’ve taken time to read my books and read and comment on my blog posts. Though I can’t thank all of you personally, please know how much I appreciate you and will try to continue to provide enjoyable content!

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Pigeon Mountain Revisited – Still Not a Volcano!!

If my readers recall, I did a post about Volcanoes in Georgia, specifically Pigeon Mountain. After a number of comments from geologists, I learned that it wasn’t a volcano. However, I still wanted to visit the mountain and see things for myself. Although I didn’t doubt the experts, it’s always good to verify information. I also like to learn!

Imagine my surprise when I received a comment from Tennessee Heartwood telling me that they planned an excursion with a geologist to visit Pigeon Mountain. What is Tennessee Heartwood? It’s a 501c3 organization dedicated to the preservation of Tennessee public lands heritage. Their efforts include the Cherokee National Forest and Land Between the Lakes NRA. The Cherokee National Forest is a huge forest tract in Tennessee that joins other national forests in Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia (the Chattahoochee National Forest).

Anyway, I jumped at the chance to see the mountain and talked my brother into going with me. We got up early and hit the road since it’s about a 2 and a half hour drive to get there from our part of Georgia. We had a great time riding through the mountains and seeing the dawn break. Beautiful drive! I can truthfully say there are some wide open spaces between Gainesville, GA and the Pigeon Mountain Grill just outside of Lafayette, GA!

We joined the rest of the group and discovered we couldn’t actually go on the mountain since we didn’t have either a hunting or fishing license. it turns out that Pigeon Mountain is a Georgia Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and you can’t visit it without one of the licenses. Nonetheless, we went all around the mountain and thoroughly enjoyed our discussions with our geologist tour guide Jay. Jay grew up around Pigeon Mountain and was a wealth of knowledge about the different geologic periods. In addition, he explained in simple terms and how the formed. And yes, he confirmed that Pigeon Mountain isn’t volcanic.

Roadside Waterfall Pigeon Mountain

Roadside Waterfall Pigeon Mountain

Pigeon Mountain is part of the Cumberland Plateau and there is a ton of limestone up there. The limestone erosion caused the deep pits (like Ellison’s Cave and Petty John’s Cave) in the mountain. If you’re familiar with sinkholes in Florida, the process is similar.  All told, it was an entertaining and educational day. We found fossils, learned about chert (which can be fashioned into tools), sandstone, and limestone. We also got to see first hand evidence of the different geologic periods present in the area.

Fossils Pigeon Mountain

Pigeon Mountain Fossils

Although I confirmed first hand that Pigeon Mountain wasn’t volcanic, I was still disappointed. A bigger disappointment was that there weren’t any gemstones native to the area. Fun as it was to visit, I’ll stick to my Northeast Georgia Mountains and hunt gemstones and prospect for gold!

Connect with me: 

Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, or Pinterest and tell me what you think about Pigeon Mountain. You can leave a comment, too, or email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Expedition Bigfoot Museum Near Blue Ridge Georgia

I had the opportunity to spend a recent Saturday in Talking Rock, Georgia (near Ellijay, GA) with my children and grandchildren (and the lovely and adorable Lana) at a nice mountain cabin. While there, we discovered a neat little museum near Blue Ridge (home of fairy crosses from The Gemstone Chronicles) devoted to Bigfoot! Called Expedition Bigfoot, it was a neat place! I had no idea Georgia was home to Sasquatch, but it certainly has it share of sightings.

If you read the blog, you’ll recall my post about Bigfoot from 2016. That post focused on the Pacific Northwest, where some of the most well-known sightings, photos, and video footage originates. As I found out, though, every state in the contiguous United States, Alaska, and Canada all have sightings. I can’t leave Hawaii out, either. The Hawaiian version, known as Menehune, are humanoid creatures about 3 feet tall. Even if they don’t measure up to the Bigfoot stature, it’s still an unknown creature and makes you wonder.

So, what did we find at Expedition Bigfoot? First, check out this map of Georgia with sightings marked on it. I cropped the bottom half of the state so I could zoom in to the more numerous sightings in North Georgia.

Expedition Bigfoot

 

Though it’s hard to see, if you look closely at the map, you can see green pins showing the sightings. Interestingly, a number of sightings occurred near Cleveland, GA, where we go gemstone hunting. I’ll have to keep an eye out when I’m up there!

Another famous sighting happened near Barnesville, GA (bottom middle of the map above, just to the left of the lowermost I75 symbol). The picture of the foot casting below was taken near Elkin Creek in Pike County, GA. If this is an accurate casting, the creature certainly has a big foot!

Expedition Bigfoot

 

If you watch The Travel Channel, you’ve probably seen shows featuring Josh Gates. In 2007, Josh cast a Yeti footprint. Below is the casting with Josh Gates in the background. That’s pretty cool!

Expedition Bigfoot

There are audio recordings at Expedition Bigfoot and you can don a set of headphones and hear cries, thumping on trees, and other sounds attributed to the creatures. Cool stuff!

I know none of this proves the existence of Bigfoot, but it sure makes for interesting speculation. I’ve not seen one, and skepticism runs deep. However, one of the people we spoke with at the museum declared herself not a believer, but a knower, and claims to have experienced many sightings over the years. Who knows? She might be correct!

Which are you? Are you a skeptic, a believer, or a knower? Leave me a comment and let me know! If you’ve seen one, give the details. I’d really like to know! Have you visited Expedition Bigfoot? Let us know and tell us about your own expedition to find Bigfoot!

If you want to email about your experience, send it to bill@williamlstuart.com. I also welcome new friends on social media. Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest, say hello, and let’s connect!

The Franklin-Creighton Gold Mine in Ball Ground, Georgia!

Some time ago, I wrote blog posts about the Georgia Gold Rush, the 1832 Gold Lottery, and The Calhoun Mine. While researching those posts, I ran across the story of the Franklin-Creighton Mine and found it fascinating. I’d like to share it with you!

First, a little background. In 1832, Georgia held a land lottery and a gold lottery. As noted in the Gold Lottery post, the lottery parcels included Cherokee lands confiscated by the government. Wikipedia tells us the eligible lottery participants included the following:

  • bachelors over 18 who were 3 years residents of Georgia and US citizen
  • widows who were 3 year residents of Georgia
  • families of orphans who were 3 year residents of Georgia and US citizens.
  • married men (or male heads of family) who were 3 year residents of Georgia and US citizens. The residency requirement for the last category was waived for officers of the navy or army.

Similarly, the ineligible list kept many out of the lottery. Ineligible persons included:

  • anyone who had previously been successful in a land lottery (the 1832 Lottery was the 7th land lottery)
  • a resident of Cherokee territory
  • anyone convicted of a felony in a Georgia court
  • anyone who mined or caused to be mined gold, silver, or any metal in Cherokee territory since 1830.

The lottery excluded a very specific group. Members of the band of thieves known as the Pony Club couldn’t participate. I may have to do a post on the Pony Club…

Whoever won the lottery paid a grant fee of $10 per lot for a 40 acre parcel. That works out to be about $270 today. Among the many winners was Mary Franklin, a widow. According to www.cherokeega.com, Mrs. Franklin received over a dozen offers for her lot in the first week after the lottery. The interest intrigued her and she went to the property. There she found about 20 men shoveling dirt and panning. She had the men removed and she and her family worked the claim. Mrs. Franklin proved to have excellent business sense and she became quite wealthy. She built a large home, bought additional lots, and made sure her children were well-educated. Mary Franklin died in 1858 and a group of northern investors bought the property.

While there isn’t any definite record of the mine’s yield, estimates run as high as $1,000,000 after 1880. That’s about $23M in today’s dollars. In 1883, the mine became known as the Creighton-Franklin (or just Creighton) Mine after J.M. Creighton bought out the other investors. It continued production until 1913 when a shaft collapsed and flooded the mine. Today only 1 building (the Shingle House) remains standing at the site.

Franklin-Creighton Shingle House

In keeping with the theme of The Gemstone Chronicles, I had to see what gemstones might be around the site, too. The best information I found indicated quartz, pyrite, and a few others, though no mention of rubies, emeralds, or sapphires. Still, it would be fun to look around!

Since the property is privately owned, chances are I won’t get to dig on it. I plan on taking a drive up that way (it’s only about 25 miles from my house) and at least snap pictures of the Shingle House. If I’m lucky, I’ll see the owner, strike up a conversation, and get invited to dig around on the property!

Do you have gold mines near your home? If so, have you ever tried to mine there? In Georgia, there were once 600 or so gold mines, so if you live in North Georgia chances are there’s one near you! Do some research and, if you need someone to go panning with you, let me know!

Connect with me:

If you want to talk more about this or my books (or submarines, writing, gemstones, etc.), drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com or leave me a comment. If you want to connect on social media, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. I love meeting new friends!

 

 

Quartz, Topaz, Emerald, and Fairy Crosses!!

Quartz, Topaz, Emerald, and Fairy Crosses!!

I went rock hunting with my brother and niece recently. We found lots of great rocks and I thought I’d share a few of them. First is a nice piece of quartz (I like to call them pencil quartz but this would be a BIG pencil!). The rusty color is internal to the rock, which is pretty cool! I think I’ll try to polish it a bit, but don’t really plan on changing it much. I like the way it looks!

Quartz

 

The second find of the day was a great piece of topaz. The topaz we find is usually clear or maybe has just a touch of blue in it. As you may have read in previous gemstone posts, topaz’s blue color can come from heat and exposure to radiation. North Georgia ‘s mountains have a lot of granite (which may contain trace radioactive elements). I think I’ll play around with a smaller piece of topaz and a butane torch to see if I can get color enhancement. If so, maybe I’ll try it on this piece. At 168.4 carats, I don’t want to damage it.

 

The last find I want to share is this great piece of moonstone (I think). I love the orange colors and I believe it will make a great cabochon. I’ll cut a slab or two off it and see if I can get it to shine. I’ll post pictures and let you know how it works out.

In addition to the ones I found, I ordered a bag of chiastolite fairy crosses and staurolite fairy crosses (these came from Fannin County Georgia). If you recall from The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian, the elf Findecano was trapped in a chiastolite fairy cross, so I had to get me at least one. And Aidan found a bunch of staurolite fairy crosses before Maggie found Findecano’s prison. Given how important fairy crosses are to the books, I just had to have some.

Quartz

The last picture I wanted to share with you is this emerald. I found this one a while back and want to take it to my friend for him to examine and cut for me. This one is about 16 carats, but it has a great green color and I hope he’ll be able to create a beautiful stone from it!

I’ll be heading out for another rock hunting excursion soon. If I find some noteworthy specimens, I’ll be sure to post pictures. In the meantime, check out the blog for other gemstone posts and subscribe so you don’t miss any updates. Connect with me on social media, too! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest! I look forward to meeting new friends!!

Dragon Lightning (Dragon Dreamer Book 2) by J.S. Burke – My Review!!

Dragon Lightning – My Review!!

Lightning

 

I read J. S. Burke’s first book about dragons and octopuses (Dragon Dreamer) a while back. When she released Dragon Lightning (Dragon Dreamer Book 2), it hit my TBR list immediately. As a bonus, J. S. Burke is a Georgia author, so I got to read another of my fellow authors. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author): Dragon Lightning is a stand-alone book and the second in The Dragon Dreamer series. It’s a fast-paced adventure with flying dragons, an undersea world, and unlikely friendships. This science fantasy is layered for readers age 9 to adult.

Drakor seems like a normal young ice dragon with a talent for making lightning swords. But he alone feels the changing heart of his island Volcano. It destroyed his beloved sire. Now he foresees their doom, but none will listen. As he seeks proof, the Volcano shakes him off into the frozen sea . . .

Arak was mocked as a worthless dreamer until he and Scree, a fearless undersea misfit, saved the dragons. Now dragons and octopi sail north in search of mythical ice dragons. They find Drakor and a terrifying reality. When Scree enters the abyss to check his volcano, she discovers everyone is in peril. Can this crew of unlikely friends save three realms?

What I liked: Dragon Lightning was an excellent book! The familiar heroes from Dragon Dreamer return with new adventures starting with the search for the ice dragons of legend. Arak and Scree grow as characters and Drakor adds an interesting twist. The undersea science woven throughout provides cool information, and the trials faced by the unlikely friends entertained me. All in all, a good read!

What I didn’t like: I had a couple of minor issues with Dragon Lightning. First, Drakor stuttered at times, and didn’t at others. It seemed inconsistent. Secondly, the battle between Drakor and his leader was too predictable. Other than that, no complaints from me!

Overall impression: Dragon Lightning (Dragon Dreamer Book 2) by J.S. Burke was a great read. Written for ages 9 and above, I enjoyed the characters’ growth, the science behind the story, and the story itself. If you like dragons, octopuses, and the occasional squid, this is a book for you! I recommend it to any and all science fantasy readers!

My rating: 5 Stars

Have you added Dragon Lightning (Dragon Dreamer Book 2) to your TBR list? I hope so! Once you’ve read it, please consider leaving a review. Reviews let authors know what the reader’s think and how their work impacts readers. While you are leaving the review, check out J. S. Burke’s Amazon Author page and her website and say hi!

As always, if you want to leave me a comment on my review, please do! And, if you want to connect on the socials, find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. You can also email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. Remember to subscribe to the blog so you won’t miss a post!

Mystical Aria: Seeking the Gallion Queen – My Review!!

Mystical Aria: Seeking the Gallion Queen – My Review!!

Mystical

 

I had a spot open on my TBR and picked another Georgia author to read and review. This time, it’s Mystical Aria: Seeking the Gallion Queen by Jean Neff Guthrie. The book is a fantasy/sci-fi novel aimed more at tweens and early YA, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Synopsis (from the author): Alien RSVP: Yes!

Psychic tween Aria Vanir, of Virginia Beach, trusts only her mother with the knowledge of her visions until she connects with technically and spiritually advanced aliens, the Gallions. Then Aria confides in her best friend, Tommy Manger. His surprise doubts and anger threaten to end their friendship. When the Gallions beam Aria, Tommy, and Aria’s tomboyish older sister, Jackie, aboard their superspaceship, Aria’s mother makes a bold move to save her daughters. None of them realize that the Navy has sent Aria’s SEAL father, William, on a mission to capture the Gallions or destroy their superspaceship. Worse, William has no idea that he’s putting his daughters in harm’s way.

Nashata, Queen Supreme of the Gallions, leads a diplomatic mission to make peaceful contact with Aria, the only human she trusts with the secrets of her people. Can Aria succeed in her quest to meet the queen in person, despite the fears and disbeliefs of those closest to her?

What I liked: I enjoyed the way Aria used her hidden gift to communicate with the aliens. I also appreciated her willingness to accept the Gallions as friends, rather than with suspicion as the adults did. The supporting characters added quite a bit to the story, especially Aria’s sister Jackie and Tommy. The Gallions added a bit of comedy relief to the story, and their technology was cool! All in all, a nice read!

What I didn’t like: Despite what Tommy and Jackie brought to the story, the characters were not fleshed out as well as they could have been, and Aria’s father’s reaction was too predictable.

Overall impression: Mystical Aria: Seeking the Gallion Queen is an excellent book for the tweens and young adults. It dealt with conflict, opportunity, trust, and family all while entertaining me. Though written for younger ages, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

My rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 stars)

Does Mystical Aria: Seeking the Gallion Queen by Jean Neff Guthrie sound like your kind of book? Give it a try! While you’re at it, consider leaving a review. It only takes a few minutes and means a lot to authors! And, since you are already surfing around the web, visit Jean Guthrie’s Amazon Author page and her website.

Speaking of reviews, if you liked (or didn’t) my review, leave me a comment and let me know. Subscribe to the blog so you won’t miss any post. Lastly, find me on the socials and let’s connect. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. You can also email me at bill@williamlstuart.com.

Nefarious (The Blackwell Files Book 1) – My Review!!

Nefarious (The Blackwell Files Book 1) – My Review!!

Nefarious

 

 

As my blog readers know, I’m reading at least one book per month from a Georgia author. This time, it’s Nefarious (The Blackwell Files Book 1) by Steven F. Freeman. This one’s a thriller, so read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): When Army Communications Captain Alton Blackwell takes a hit to the leg while on active duty in Afghanistan, his self-confidence and his leg are equally shattered in the explosion. Assigned to a desk job while recovering, Blackwell manages to prove his resourcefulness as he matches wits with Al-Qaeda operatives in the dangerous regions of Kabul. Unable to fully heal, he resigns himself to the abrupt end of his military career as well as any hope to win the affections of the beautiful and intelligent Lieutenant Mallory Wilson.

Upon returning state-side, the quiet civilian life is quickly left far behind when Blackwell’s colleague Zach Lambert calls him from a weekend camping trip in the throes of a devastating illness with forbidding implications. In a story out of today’s headlines, Blackwell and now-FBI Agent Wilson explore the possible diversion of a biotech’s project to develop an improved vaccine, scouring leads at the CDC and biotec company, putting their Army and professional skills to the test, and narrowly escaping agents with a murderous agenda at every turn. The closer they come to the truth, the quicker the bodies pile up, along with the suspects. To get to the bottom of the sinister scheme, can Blackwell still use wits when his body has failed him? And will he survive long enough to tell his colleague of the feelings for her he has long kept secret?

What I liked: Nefarious is a good story! The trials Alton Blackwell goes through set the stage for his later career, his interactions with the locals in Afghanistan, and his guilt over the death of a high school friend all helped me identify with the character. As a real-life supply chain professional, I liked Mallory’s Army occupation, and her character added the love interest. The bond one finds among service members rang true, and the plot, as it evolved over the course of the story, made for a good read.

What I didn’t like: Captain Blackwell’s antagonist in the Intelligence group and their “rivalry” was too clichéd for me. Similarly, some of the intelligence gathering seemed contrived to me.

Overall impression: Nefarious (The Blackwell Files Book 1) by Steven F. Freeman was a solid and entertaining read. Good characters, a believable plot, a conspiracy, and a good writing kept me engaged throughout. If you need a new thriller series to read, try this one!

My rating: 4 stars

When do you plan to read Nefarious? Soon, I hope! When you do, please consider leaving a review. It only takes a few minutes and lets authors know they’ve reached their audience. While you are reviewing, why not stop by Steven F. Freeman’s Amazon Author page or his website, say hello, and check out Nefarious (The Blackwell Files Book 1) and his other books!

Since you’re already surfing around the web, why not visit me on the socials and connect? I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. You can email me at bill@williamlstuart.com, and subscribe to the blog so you never miss a post!

Volcanoes – In Georgia?!?! Yes! Pigeon Mountain!! (Or not)…

After receiving a number of comments about this post (most of them gently telling me that my information was incorrect), I did additional research about volcanoes in Georgia. Sadly, the comments are correct. Pigeon Mountain isn’t a dormant volcano. In fact, based on the more extensive research I did, the geology just doesn’t work. Most of the rock in the area is sandstone or limestone and doesn’t lend itself to volcanic activity. Though what is now Georgia had volcanic activity hundreds of millions of years ago, Pigeon Mountain wasn’t part of it. So, please forgive my error and thanks for all the corrections submitted to me!

Volcanoes – in Georgia???

Volcanoes

When you think of volcanoes in the US, where do you think of them? Hawaii is a good bet, since there are 3 active volcanoes in the state. Maunaloa last erupted in 1984, but Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983. In addition, Loihi is still underwater, but erupting.

How about Alaska? Lots of volcanic activity up there. Or maybe the Pacific Northwest? Mount St. Helen, Mount Shasta, Mount Rainier all come to mind. There are even a few in California that are monitored by the USGS. And, we all know about Yellowstone and the supervolcano lurking beneath the surface.

But, have you ever thought about volcanoes in Georgia? Believe it or not, Pigeon Mountain in Northwest Georgia is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1857. Besides Pigeon Mountain itself, in the Pigeon Mountain Volcanic Range there are 5 extinct volcanoes and 1 collapsed caldera. As you can see, this isn’t an impressive volcano.

Located in Walker County Georgia near Lafayette, Pigeon Mountain features two caves. One of them, Ellison’s Cave is the 12th deepest cave in the US and reaches a depth of 1063 feet. According to Wikipedia, it a a technically difficult cave to explore and beginners are severely urged not to enter the cave.

Volcanoes Ellison's Cave

The second cave, Petty John’s Cave, is a wild cave – not commercialized. As Wikipedia tells us, this is a cave much more suited to beginners. Still the basics of caving (spelunking) should be observed.

Between the two caves, explorers have mapped more than 20 miles of passages. It might be a cool trip for experienced cavers to experience. Since I’m not, I doubt I’ll be going in the caves.

So, what can you expect to find when exploring near dormant or extinct volcanoes? Well, for Pigeon Mountain, iron (usually in the form of hematite). No diamonds or any other precious gemstones are listed in the area, but the ghost town of Estelle is on Pigeon Mountain. Estelle was a iron mining town, so maybe there is a bit of iron left to find! And hematite tumbles into a beautiful silver stone.

Much like the abundance of gemstones in the North Georgia Mountains, I had no idea volcanoes had ever played a part in Georgia’s history. I’ll keep researching and let you know what I discover. And who knows, maybe what I find will become part of my next book, just as gemstones played a major role in The Gemstone Chronicles!

Connect with me:

What do you think? Did you know about the volcanoes that dot the North Georgia Mountains? Leave me a comment and let me know. And, so you don’t miss a post, subscribe to the blog. If you want to connect with me on the socials, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest.