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William F. "Bill" Kaiser

HELLEBORE: A Novel of Reconstruction
BLOODROOT: A Novel of the Civil War
Excerpts from BLOODROOT
William F. "Bill" Kaiser's Biography
Civil War Research References


DECEMBER 2, 2010

Oh my it is cold.

Though winter does not arrive officially until Tuesday, Dec. 21, we are forecast to have colder than normal weather the next several days - with snow possible hereabout on Saturday and/or Sunday.

This week it was time to change over from summer wear to winter wear. I took my heavier wool and cotton shirts and trousers out of storage and hung them out with the hope most of the wrinkles will fade away. I folded my light-weight shirts and pants and stored them. I have so little closet space I have to go through the summer to winter to summer ritual every year.

Next, I pulled out my heavier sweaters, jackets and long-johns. I'm as ready for winter as I'll ever be.

On Saturday, Nov. 27, as I mentioned previously, Maggie Bishop and I ventured to Todd and the marvelous General Store to make our books available for Christmas shoppers. Though it was a chilly day scores of visitors came in to enjoy the Store's luncheon vittles.

We were joined in greeting the visitors by famed storyteller Orville Hicks and his wife Sylvia. He regaled his audience with some of his Jack Tales.

By 3:00 p.m. the visitors had mostly vanished. We packed up having scored few sales.

Sunday, Nov. 28, was my day of relaxation with the Charlotte Observer and the Carolina Panthers - Cleveland Browns football game. The Panthers found another way to lose another game: a field goal attempt by John Kasey that would have won the game as the clock ran out - missed. The Panthers now are one win and 10 losses for this season.

Back to real life on Monday, Nov. 29. Our Stewart Simmons first responders and firefighters were called in late afternoon to a medical emergency at a residence on Elk Creek Road. The patient was transported to Watauga Medical Center.

The firefighters assembled again at the fire station on Monday evening for a review training session with the department's heat sensing device and the emergency rapid intervention team (RIT) air supply kit.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were mostly taken up with work on my manuscript of "Hellebore" - my sequel to "Bloodroot."

We note from an e-mail from the PHM manager that the hiatus in Bow & Arrow hunting in the forest surrounding our residences will end today. The deer-slayers will again be about our green areas and hiking trails beginning Friday, Dec. 3. Too bad. Our residents and guests over the weekend will be limited in their movement about our community. We hope all are warned of the danger.

My next "Bloodroot" sale and signing will occur on Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Boone Mall. A morning rush of shoppers is expected due to the crowds who will come to Boone for the Champion playoff between ASU and Western Illinois.

The next day, Sunday, Dec. 5, I have been invited to discuss the Civil War in our North Carolina mountains with visitors to the Mountain Grounds Coffee & Tea Company shop on Rte. 105 in Banner Elk. I will hold forth from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

My next "Bloodroot" occurrence at the Boone Mall will take place on Saturday, Dec. 11. I will join several other authors to sell and autograph from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. That will be followed by the opportunity for several authors including me and Maggie Bishop to discuss, sell and autograph our books at the Powder Horn Mountain clubhouse "Celebration of the Season" from 6:30 until whenever.

Come. Visit with us. Books are much appreciated gifts. Especially those signed by the author.

NOVEMBER 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving.

Son Doug and I enjoyed a bountiful repast at the Golden Corral in Boone. We were joined by Wayne Crissman and Clinton Triplett for an afternoon of food and chat.

It took some doing, though. When we arrived at 2:00 we found a waiting line of hopeful diners that spilled out onto the sidewalk. We decided to defer to later in the day. When we returned at 3:30 the line was still long but was at least contained in the building. Some 20 minutes later we passed the cash register and faced a full restaurant of patrons. We had to wait some 10 minutes before we were seated.

But it was all worthwhile the wait. We left an hour later gorged with turkey and everything else and pumpkin pie. Urp.

Our calendar the past several days has been full. Over the three days Fri., Sat., and Sun., we joined with several High Country authors to sell and autograph our books. The long hours of work were exhilarating and exhausting. We were pleased about the many friends, Bloodroot fans, and readers of my, now in hiatus, Community News column in the Watauga Democrat.

Monday, Nov. 22, was a day to catch up on updating my computer files and responding to a avalanche of e-mails. The day was interrupted at 4:45 with an emergency page to Stewart Simmons firefighters. A brush fire was spotted on Wildcat Ridge, the eastern edge of the SSVFD fire district where it abuts the Deep Gap fire district.

Consequently firefighters from both departments were called out to handle the blaze which burned out a half-acre patch of scrub on a steep, boulder strewn mountain side.

The fire was contained within a hand dug fire line and completely doused by 7:00 p.m.

Firefighter teams from Stewart Simmons and Deep Gap were treated to a dinner of hamburgers and fries at the Deep Gap station.

Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 23 and 24, were devoted to catching up on various household chores and repairs. I managed to devote some hours to working on my manuscript for "Hellebore." Scene by scene the story is unfolding about the turmoil in the North Carolina mountains during the post Civil War years.

Over the past few days I have received reports of some of our Triplett and Powder Horn friends who are ailing. They include Marylan Priebe, Christie Church, Clinton Triplett and Nancy Johnson. I pray they all recover quickly from their ailments.

I note the slaying of our tame deer on Powder Horn Mountain property has been temporarily halted due to the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. At least the weekend visitors, renters and guest are spared the danger of hiking our trails and the sight of dead deer.

Would it not be humane if the bow hunting activity were terminated?

We are sent notices almost daily of the numbers of hunters who will be on our green spaces and hiking trails. It would be even more useful to receive reports daily of the number of deer "harvested" - as the "thinning of the herd" has been explained.

Looking ahead on my calendar I note Maggie Bishop and I will hold a book sale and signing at the Todd General Store on Saturday, Nov. 27. The store and area have an unique appeal to visitors.

Coming up on Saturday, Dec. 4, I will, again, hold forth at the Boone Mall with "Bloodroot." On the following day, Sunday, Dec. 5, I have been invited again to bring "Bloodroot" to the customers of the Mountain Grounds Coffee & Tea Company in Banner Elk.

Looking ahead I note the annual Triplett Community Christmas party at the Stewart Simmons fire station is scheduled for the evening of Friday, Dec 10, beginning at 6:30.

Saturday, Dec. 11, will be a busy day. From 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I will join with local authors at the Christmas celebration at the Boone Mall.

In the evening of Dec. 11, several authors including me and Maggie Bishop have been invited to display, discuss and autograph our books at the Powder Horn Mountain "Celebration of the Season" at the clubhouse.

Come. Visit with us. Books are much appreciated gifts. Especially those signed by the author.

NOVEMBER 18, 2010

The past week has been fulfilling.

Friday, Nov. 12, I joined with a large group of ASU Senior Scholars to enjoy an outstanding mountain weather day by hiking a Cone Estate trail up to the top of a knoll in the area known as Deer Meadow. The 360 degree view of the surrounding mountain crests was exhilarating. We returned to our vehicles parked at Trout Lake in time for ten of us to take a late lunch at Knight's on Main in Blowing Rock.

The weekend was one of computer file updating, house cleaning, and leaf raking interspersed with TV viewing of college football games; especially ASU's victory over Wofford.

Monday's highlight was the medical first responder introduction to the latest protocol for dealing with a mass disaster situation. The purpose for those of us who are first on the scene of disaster involving multi-injured is to quickly evaluate patients for the level of treatment required.

Tuesday and Wednesday were primarily devoted to advancing the text of my upcoming novel "Hellebore." It has been two years in development so far. I'm determined to have the manuscript finish by the end of the year and the book published early in 2011.

On Thursday, Nov. 18, I joined with the High Country Writer group and guests to participate in writer's workshop in "character creation." The workshop leader was Triplett author Maggie Bishop. I found it interesting to measure my characters in "Bloodroot" and "Hellebore" against workshop guidelines.

To date I have received a number of e-mails and phone calls regarding my posted and e-mailed opposition to the current slaughtering of Powder Horn Mountain deer.

I have been accused of publishing "false and misleading information." "PHM owners voted to approve the deer management program." "The tone and content of your email borders on bizarre." "Discontinue disclosing PHM business and budget."

On the other hand I have received messages supporting my opposition to the needless slaying of our deer and my concern of the dangers of allowing hunting on Powder Horn Mountain property.

I have heard at least two of the current PHM board members privately support the halting of the killing.

The facts: At the 2008 PHM annual meeting a wildlife management proposal was approved. The proposal reads "In order to effectively manage the ecology of the Mountain, the membership authorizes the POA Board to direct the Manager to implement wildlife management programs in conjunction of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission."

Nothing was said about killing deer. Minutes of the meeting report several members raised the issue of "no hunting" allowed on PHM according to the Bylaws. There is nothing on record of the meeting that the manager nor the board said there would be deer hunting.

At the time of the vote there were 230 homes and 154 lots. 138 voting for; 26 against. The report does not indicate how many of the 138 votes were cast by full-time residents (note - most POA members are non-residents). The report does not record how many of the votes were proxy votes cast by the board.

In 2009, the manager proposed the deer hunt. The board approved the deer hunt.

The PHM board is made up of nine members. The voting majority of five members do not live on Powder Horn. Of the minority four members one resides in Powder Horn Estates. Only three of the nine members of the board actually live full-time in Powder Horn.

You can look it up.

Coming up on Friday, Nov. 19, Saturday, Nov. 20, and Sunday, Nov. 21, I will be at the Boone Mall to sell and sign my novel "Bloodroot." Other High Country Writers who will be at the Mall with their books will be Bart Bare, Maggie Bishop, Nancy Kaiser, Nora Percival, Beverly Pinske, Jack Pyle, and Taylor Reese.

Come. Visit with us. Books are much appreciated gifts. Especially those signed by the author.

NOVEMBER 11, 2010

My final Triplett Community News column was written on Oct. 26 to be published in the Watauga Democrat edition of Oct. 29. It was not. The news column was finally published in the Democrat edition of Nov. 5. Not exactly news anymore. At least those who have faithfully followed my column learned I've given it up for the time being.

Saturday, Nov. 6, I responded to a dispatch page to SSVFD medical responders to a Triplett home. We aided the individual. He was transported to Watauga Medical Center.

One of our roles as first responder is to assemble a patient's medications so they are transported with the patient. As what happens with many of the elderly we aid, I collected two bags of some dozen vials.

I often wonder why so many different drugs are prescribed for the same ailments. Who do they aid the most - the patients or the pharmaceutical corporations? Why do many of them carry the side effects warnings such as dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, headache, blurred vision, constipation, etc. etc. The side effects sound worse than the ailment.

Our U.S. economy still seems to be in a bad shape even as one side of our government claims things are looking up - employment is up and unemployment is down. I came across a bit of information via an editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal on Saturday, Nov. 6. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics put out a report, U6, that counts a lot more unemployed people than we get in the traditional monthly tally. U6 counts people who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, given up on looking for a job, or taking part-time work.

The U6 report for September counts 855,000 unemployed in North Carolina. And 46 percent of them have been unemployed for six months or more. The traditional tally we read in the newspapers said there were only 430,263 filing for unemployment.

Years ago we read a little book titled "Numbers Never Lie: Liars Often Use Numbers."

I've received a "My News" item from my daughter Kyla - a nurse. She is unemployed; let go by a hospital in Bend, Oregon.

The news isn't all bad. She is going back to college to earn a BSN - something to do with advance nursing. She said she will get her degree a year from now. If you want to e-mail her the address is

From Kyla: Today is a gift. That is why it is called the Present.

Late Tuesday night, Nov. 9, I (and other PHM residents) received an e-mail announcing the "second annual deer management hunt (read "slaughter") will begin tomorrow (11/10)" Nice to have such advance notice.

I vigorously opposed last year's bow hunter killing spree. I will continue to fight to have it ceased. I have posted notice of my opposition on the bulletin board at the PHM mail boxes. The notice has been e-mailed to members of the PHM board, several additional PHM residents and others on my personal e-mail list.

There is no "hunt" involved. Deer on PHM are used to people and vehicles. They wander on to our lots to feed on fallen acorns and other nuts. I have stood on my deck not more than a dozen feet from deer feeding in my front yard.

I reported in the Watauga Democrat last year about a doe who visited almost daily the PHM Maintenance area. It fed from the hand of an employee. It did not move when a bowman approached and sank an arrow into her. Is that hunting? Or slaughter.

My protest has been answered by the defense POA members ok'd a "wildlife program in 2008." Nothing was said about slaughtering our deer. Contacting the NC Wildlife Resources Commission for suggestion was mentioned.

The deer were on our mountain long before there was a POA. We human are interlopers. Let us learn how to live with them. Let nature take care of "thinning the herd." As it did this past winter when several deer died of starvation.

NOVEMBER 4, 2010

I am sending out these personal notes in place of my weekly Triplett Community News column for The Watauga Democrat. On Nov. 1, I quit writing for the newspaper. There are various reasons for this decision. The most important is my need to devote every day possible to completing my manuscript for my sequel to "Bloodroot," get it published, and expand my marketing universe.

I have been writing the weekly Triplett column since 1998 when I took over from Clinton Triplett. I wrote about my decision in last week's edition so readers of the Democrat would know about it - if they cared. My column last week for the Democrat was not published in the Friday, Oct. 29, edition, nor in the Sunday, Oct. 31, edition. Therefore, only those on the personal e-mail list know of my decision.

Since finishing my "goodbye" column I have been writing almost daily on my sequel, currently titled "Hellebore." This new novel takes the characters introduced in "Bloodroot" into the continued turmoil in the western North Carolina mountains during the Reconstruction era in the south 1886-1876.

When will it be available? Early next year, I hope.

Even while devoting as many hours as possible I will continue as an active member for the Stewart Simmons fire department and medical first responders, participation and support of the High County Writers, and participation and support of the ASU Senior Scholar programs.

This periodic, sometimes weekly, "My News" will include information and comments about these activities and other information that comes my way.

On Saturday, Oct. 30, I held a book signing for "Bloodroot" at the ArtWalk gallery in Boone. The ArtWalk Gallery carries arts and crafts created by hundreds of local and distant artisans. On most Saturdays and Sundays there is a High Country author in residence. The gallery staff is most welcoming and supportive of local authors.

On the following day, Sunday, Oct. 31, I held a signing of "Bloodroot" at the Mountain Grounds Coffee and Tea Company in Banner Elk. The reader-friendly shop is located next to the McDonald's in the Mall on Rte.105 across the highway from the Tynecastle shopping Center.

The venue is a new one for our local authors. Owner Dale McCorvey was most gracious and "pitched" my book to customers who came in to purchase the special ground coffees and teas offered in the shop.

Following my afternoon at ArtWalk on Saturday I changed hats and joined in with Powder Horn Mountain residents and guest for the annual Chili Cook-Off and Halloween Party. There must have been a hundred adults and children at the event, many of them decked out in costumes beautiful and outlandish.

My personal highlight was the "Authors" night. Maggie Bishop and I were invited to set up a table with our books for purchase by party guests.

In between the ArtWalk and Powder Horn Mountain events I responded to an emergency call for Stewart Simmons medical responders. The patient was an elderly Triplett resident. Our responder group carried out the treatment procedures required by the situation. The patient was transported by Watauga Medics ambulance and crew to Watauga Medical Center. I later learned the patient was declared deceased.

Monday night, Nov. 1, I joined with and group of Stewart Simmons firefighters to review the procedures for identifying various hazardous materials and the operations required for dealing with a hazardous material spill.

Tuesday, Nov. 2, I voted. Did you? Now that the election is over I hope the winners and losers will remove the hundreds of signs that have littered our county roadsides. As of this afternoon some have been removed but a lot still remain.

I've received a report of a dog poisoning on Jakes Mountain Road. The dog has survived but it should serve as a warning to those who let their pets rove away from their property.

That's it for now. If you do not want to receive this periodic My News, tell me so in an e-mail. If you hear from others who want to be added to my personal list, have them send me an e-mail saying so.

If you have an item or opinion you would like me to include in a future "My News" send an e-mail to You are free to share "My News" with others. Anyone who would like to receive these personal e-mail notes, send me a request and include the e-mail address.

William F. "Bill" Kaiser * North Carolina Writer