Cover Reveal: Rebel Destiny

Two worlds, two women, one purpose.

The book cover for REBEL DESTINY, a sci-fi/fantasy novel by Leslie Hodgins, is revealed! Artwork is by Jessalyn King. The cover will be displayed at Words in the Park in Sherwood Park, Alberta (Edmonton region) on Saturday, September 30, 2017.

Pre-orders will be available at a special price. You can also contact Leslie directly here. REBEL DESTINY is expected to be published in 2018.

Leslie’s writing blog

Jessalyn King website (graphic design, illustration, art)

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Summer’s End on a Lake Ontario Shoreline

After a walk in the dog park with Howie the beagle, my day in Oshawa with my sister continued with a visit to the beach at Lakeview Park.

Slide Show: Summer’s End on a Lake Ontario Shoreline

(15 photos)

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See Lake Ontario and Harmony Valley Park Off-Leash Area in winter:

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Dog Days of September

Harmony Valley Park Off-Leash Area in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada is a wonderful place for dogs and people. In the slide show below, join Howie the beagle, my sister, and me on our morning walk through fields and forest.

This is Howie. He’s 11 and he’s very beagly.

Slide Show: Dog Days of September

(31 photos)

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Also check out Howie’s World on Facebook.

Harmony Valley Park Off-Leash Area in winter.

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Photos from the Air

Flight photographs: Edmonton AB to Toronto ON (day) and return flight (night).

Slide Show: Photos from the Air

(10 photos)

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After the #Eclipse2017: What I Saw and How I Did It


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Watching the partial eclipse in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

To watch the solar eclipse that took place in North America on August 21, 2017, I made my own pinhole projector.

Edmonton saw a partial eclipse with 74% maximum coverage.

  • Eclipse began at 10:24 a.m. MDT
  • Mideclipse was at 11:35 a.m. MDT
  • Eclipse ended at 12:49 p.m. MDT

I made my pinhole projector by cutting up a cereal box, then glued white paper to the viewing panel and poked a hole in the top panel.

Here are images and instructions for a simple card projector on Time and Date.

As an experiment, I tried two hole sizes: one made with a sewing needle and one made with a small picture hook nail. For future reference, the larger hole made with the nail worked much better.

My car windshield was the perfect angle for the bottom panel, onto which the image of the eclipsed sun was projected. The top panel (Cheerios label) was held about 2 1/2 feet above the bottom panel, allowing the sun’s light to project through the pinhole. A bigger distance between the panels created a larger image.

My homemade pinhole projector.

What worked best

  • A hole made by a picture hook nail made a larger, easier-to-view image than a pin or needle.
  • Holding the top cardboard sheet farther back (2 to 2.5 feet) enlarged the image.
  • Not having to hold both panels allowed me freedom of movement with the top panel as well as a free hand with which to take photographs of the pinhole image created.


The day began with a perfectly clear sky. The few white clouds we had that morning held off until after 11:35 a.m., which was mideclipse in Edmonton. They cleared up again near the end of the eclipse, allowing for a final photo of the event. Shortly after the eclipse ended, the sky became cloudy!

Clouds on August 21, 2017.

Eclipse started at 10:24 a.m. in Edmonton

Solar eclipse begins. 10:37 a.m. MDT, Edmonton.

11:01 a.m.

11:10 a.m.

Mideclipse at 11:25 a.m. in Edmonton (maximum 74% coverage)

11:20 a.m.

Close to 74% at 11:28 a.m.

Eclipse ended at 12:49 p.m. in Edmonton

Nearing the end at 12:26 p.m.

Pinhole projector eclipse photos are my own, taken on a Huawei Nova Plus smartphone. Colour and clarity were adjusted using Windows 10 Photos.

Total solar eclipse

My son and my brother drove to the US and saw totality first hand near Rexburg, Idaho. Below is my son’s picture from Instagram:

Not something you see every day

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What totality looks and feels like

Be sure to watch this incredible 37-second video as totality hits Oregon. “You can see stars in the sky!”

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Deer in Woodland Cemetery

Deer in Woodland Cemetery, London, Ontario, Canada.

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Today’s Writing Song No. 32


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Back-to-School Author Reading

Below are pictures from our Back-to-School Author Reading on Saturday, August 26, 2017. Thank you again to Social Grounds Coffeehouse in Sherwood Park, Alberta, for the venue and to Mandy Eve-Barnett for hosting this event.

Social Grounds Coffeehouse, Sherwood Park, Alberta.

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No Eclipse Glasses? Two Ways to Make a Pinhole Projector


Image from


How to Make a Pinhole Projector to View the Solar Eclipse

by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Click on YouTube to read the information below the video about the solar eclipse, pinhole camera, and social media links.


Make a Projector to Safely See a Solar Eclipse

by Time and Date

This is a simple projector that requires only cardboard, white paper, and a pin or thumb tack that anyone can make! It requires fewer materials and less time to make than a box projector.

In a pinch, two sheets of white paper work as well,  but they are flimsier.

DIY: Simple Card Projector — click here

Instructions and diagram.

How did my projector and images turn out? Read the eclipse follow-up blog post here: After the #Eclipse2017: What I Saw and How I Did It.

Remember: Never look at the sun directly.

See also #Eclipse2017: What You Need to Know. Where Will YOU Be?

  • A compilation of articles and videos about what causes an eclipse, safe viewing, paths of total and partial eclipse, effect on animals, scientific data.
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#Eclipse2017: What You Need to Know. Where Will YOU Be?

A solar eclipse is taking place on August 21, 2017. According to many people, the event is going to be stranger than you think, and nothing beats experiencing it in person to feel the effect on people and animals.

The path of totality (sun completely covered by the moon) cuts across the United States, but a partial eclipse will occur to varying degrees in Canada.

Below are compiled information links about this rare and amazing event.

Wishing you blue skies!


Video by

The video above comes from the Mystery Science page on Facebook.

If you have kids or students, also check out Mystery Doug‘s page, which shows a “video every week that inspires your students to ask question.”

Solar eclipse explained (The Weather Channel) — What this link covers:

  • MacLean’s video (1:42): What You Need to Know About the Solar Eclipse
    • Date: August 21, 2017
    • Location: North America
    • What is a solar eclipse? How does it occur?
    • Eclipse terminology
      • Umbra (darkest part) casts a shadow called the path of totality, which is about 100 km wide = total eclipse of the sun
    • Rare event: first total eclipse that will trace the lower portion United States from coast to coast since 1918
    • Path of totality in the US and partial eclipse percentages in Canada. Victoria, BC is the major Canadian city that will come closest to the total eclipse, with 90% of the sun eclipsed by the moon
    • How to view the eclipse safely (all Canadians will need eclipse glasses since the eclipse will not be total)
    • Next total solar eclipse occurs on April 8, 2024 (see that path in Canada)

Why is a total solar eclipse such a big deal? a big deal — What this link covers:

  • Darkness in the middle of the day: eerie
  • The rarest common event
  • Don’t burn your eyes out (see tips on protective eye wear)
  • NASA glossary (terminology and definitions)–scroll to bottom
  • Totality: the coolest part of the whole event

The experience

A total solar eclipse is a dramatic celestial event, but you’ll be surrounded by eerie evidence down here on Earth. It’ll look like nighttime in the middle of the day, temperatures will drop, and confused birds might stop singing to prepare for nighttime. “If you happen to be in some place where you can see for many miles away, like on top of a mountain,” says Amir Caspi, “you’ll notice that the ground isn’t going to be dark far away because you’re in a shadow, but it’s not nighttime. The horizon may actually be bright.”

[Totality is] the coolest part of the whole event. “The solar corona is basically the thing that makes the total solar eclipse so amazing to see,” says Caspi. “It is the outer atmosphere of the sun, and it’s about as bright as the full moon. Normally, you can’t really see it during the day because it’s washed out by the very, very bright light of the sun.”

“One other cool thing to look for is Baily’s Beads,” says Paul Bryans, a solar physicist at the High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “This happens just before and just after totality, when the moon doesn’t quite cover the Sun entirely and pockets of light escape to us through the valleys of the moon.”

Pro tip: If you ever get the opportunity to experience a total solar eclipse, do it. Like we’ve mentioned, depending on where you live, it could be a rarer than once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “I’d encourage everyone else to make an effort to get into the path of totality if they can,” says Bryans. “The difference between a total eclipse and a 99 percent partial eclipse is night and day. Literally. You might not ever get another chance to see it”

(Source: — Why Is A Total Solar Eclipse Such A Big Deal?)

August 20: My brother and son are on their way to Rexburg, Idaho in the United States to experience the total solar eclipse.

Your 2017 total solar eclipse instruction manual instruction manual — What this link covers:

  • How to protect your eyes
  • Smartphone app
  • How you can help NASA study the eclipse
  • City events, including
    • South Carolina Philharmonic in Columbia performs John Williams’ classic movie themes while the eclipse approaches totality at the Star Wars Musiclipse. The orchestra will be led by “Jedi Conductor” Morihiko Nakahara.

Eclipse 2017 page: multiple articles on the solar eclipse

Millions to experience darkness in the middle of the day: Here’s why

The Weather Network: path and times — What this link covers:

  • Path of totality in United States
  • Partial eclipse times for Canada
  • Video
  • Guide to safety

What you will see in the United States maps and information — What this link covers:

  • Maps for US locations
  • Eclipse information

What Canadians need to know

Global News Edmonton: video, maps, where to watch — What this link covers:

  • Video: How Canadians will experience the solar eclipse and how to watch it
  • Maps of totality in the US and percent coverage in Canada
  • Where Canadians can go to watch the event

August 21 partial eclipse viewing times in cities across Canada

  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (MDT)
    Edmonton will see a partial eclipse with 74% coverage.

    • Eclipse begins at 10:24 a.m.

    • Mideclipse at 11:35 a.m.

    • Eclipse ends at 12:49 p.m.

How Edmontonians can experience the 2017 eclipse (Edmonton Journal)

How did my eclipse viewing turn out? Read my blog post: After the #Eclipse2017: Wht I Saw and How I Did It

Watch the solar eclipse live on August 21


The Weather Network

3 ways to make your own pinhole projector

Tips to take eclipse photos (and not destroy your phone)

News: The Weather Network: viewing the eclipse — What this link covers:

  • Path and viewing times of partial eclipse in Canada
  • Safe viewing: eclipse glasses, #14 welder’s glasses, pinhole camera
  • Taking pictures: how to use your cell phone camera

Animals get confused during an eclipse

“The birds behave as if the disappearance of the sun means evening, and the return of the sun means morning — in time-lapse of course,” Max Planck Institute ornithologist Wolfgang Fiedler told Deutsche Welle. Crepuscular animals, on the other hand, tend to become active at dusk, which is why the eerie darkness of an eclipse might bring out crickets, frogs, bats, and owls.

That means that if you witness an eclipse, you’ll want to keep your ears open just as wide as your eyes. As the moon overtakes the sun, birdsong will likely go silent, and you might hear the chirps of crickets and the buzz of bullfrogs instead.

(Read more / source: Animals In An Eclipse Get All Sorts Of Confused)

The eclipses that changed history A Shadow Over Human History — What this link covers:

  • May 28, 584 B.C.E. – The End of a War
  • March 19, 33 C.E. (or maybe November 24, 29 C.E.) – The Crucifixion of Jesus
  • November 24, 569 C.E. – The Birth of Muhammad
  • August 2, 1133 C.E. – King Henry’s Eclipse
  • May 3, 1715 C.E. – Edmund Halley Makes An Accurate Prediction
  • February 12, 1831 C.E. – Nat Turner’s Rebellion
  • May 29, 1919 C.E. – The General Relativity Eclipse

Albert Einstein became a global celebrity nearly overnight when his Theory of General Relativity predicted that when the sun was dark, astronomers would be able to see the light of the stars behind the sun being bent by its gravity. In one stroke, humanity gained a new understanding of the fundamentals of the universe.

  • First photograph of a solar eclipse

The very first photograph of a solar eclipse was taken by famed daguerrotypist Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski in 1851. At the time, images could only be captured on copper plate, and only after long periods of exposure. So Berkowski had to time his shot just right — and when he did, he not only got the eclipse, he also captured the plumes of light of caused by solar prominences all around the rim.

  • Archived eclipse photographs dating back to 1869

The High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, CO, is home to an archive of eclipse photographs going back to 1869. It’s an incredible collection, and though Einstein’s 1919 eclipse isn’t included, the 1922 eclipse that reconfirmed his theory is.

The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Will Be A Scientific Research Free-For-All scientific research — What this link covers:

  • Scientific experiments, corona, ionosphere

The next total solar eclipse will run through Canada on April 8, 2024

Totality will be visible in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, P.E.I., and Newfoundland and Labrador.

I grew up in this tip of southern Ontario. In 2024, this is where I’ll need to be!

Header image from

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