Friday, August 12, 2022

Excerpt Tour and Giveaway: Walks by Big Alex's Pond by Henry Van Berkel

Welcome to my stop on the excerpt tour for Walks by Big Alex's Pond by Henry Van Berkel. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an exclusive excerpt from the book. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more exclusive excerpts. Enjoy!
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Title: Walks by Big Alex's Pond
Author: Henry Van Berkel
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Publication Date: December 6th 2019
Print Length: 514 pages
Genre: Autobiography
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Ten years after Big Alex MacDonald leaves his home in Ashdale, Nova Scotia, in the 1880's to find his fortune, he amasses fabulous wealth almost overnight in the Yukon and becomes known as "the King of the Klondike". At his death a decade later, there is not enough money in his estate to cover expenses. What happened to his immense riches? A century after Alex's departure from Nova Scotia, the author purchases "Big Alex's" family land and finds his own El Dorado amongst the riches of friends, neighbours and family, and the endless fascinations of nature. On hikes along the roads of the historic property he muses about the drama of his own past, and the life journeys of his family members and those of his neighbours.

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:
Skagway was a rough and tumble town of tents and shacks, of saloons and con men, and of barking dogs and pugilists, with few law officers and an underworld run by a sleazy shyster known as “Soapy” Smith. Soapy attempted to exact a payment from everyone coming through and was largely successful until July 1898, when he was killed in a gunfight. Amid the chaos, there were legitimate businesses ready to help the adventurers on their way—for a price. One resourceful woman, Harriet Pullen, who arrived in town with seven dollars, made a fortune transporting freight during the day and baking pies at night. Packer Joe Brooks earned as much as five thousand dollars a day with his three hundred thirty mules.

Then came the hardest challenge: the trek over the coastal mountains to the headwaters of the Yukon River. Thousands gave up on the trail and hundreds died but thousands more persevered. By the end of the summer of 1898, Dawson City had forty thousand residents, one of the biggest towns in Canada.

Big Alex stayed on in the North Country to manage his vast, newly acquired holdings, which by the summer of 1898 included more than fifty claims, as well as riverboats, dog teams, donkeys trains, the ugliest but fastest nag in the North, and incredibly, half of Dawson City. He owned the Chisholm Block, the Bank of British North America building, the Exchange block, the MacDonald Hotel, the MacDonald Development Company, and more.

Amongst his myriad of business deals, contracts, and arrangements was a partnership he made with an entrepreneurial female phenomenon, named Belinda Mulrooney, to salvage the cargo of a riverboat that had run aground. Alex’s men got to the wreck first and cleaned out all the contents, except for a supply of rubber boots. “Hope you’re not mad at me?” Big Alex asked Belinda shortly afterwards. Belinda did not say anything, but she was not pleased and silently vowed to even the score. So, when a few months later Alex’s men were faced with a desperate boot shortage, she charged him one hundred dollars a pair— an astronomical price.

Alex lost that round. However, within less than two years after his team had found the Number 30 seam of gold “as thick as cheese in a sandwich,” he had amassed a fortune of twelve million dollars (more than six hundred million today) and was among the wealthiest men in North America. Government assessors later estimated the value of his share of just his claims at sixty million dollars.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Henry Van Berkel was born in the Netherlands under occupation in 1943. He grew up on a farm in Antigonish County, NS; earned undergraduate degrees at St. FX University and a graduate degree from the University of Alberta. He spent 33 years in the school systems in Alberta and Nova Scotia as a teacher and a principal. After his retirement in 1996, he earned the CFP designation and spent 10 years in the financial industry. Together with his wife, Elaine, he currently operates a woodlot which encompasses the Alex MacDonald family land. They have two children, Stacey and David.

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GIVEAWAY:
Henry Van Berkel will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

44 comments:

  1. My brother would like this book.
    Thanks for the contest.

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  2. This book seems like a great read. That time period of the late 1800s and early 1900s (much like any time) Is filled with it's own history and to have lived during that time would have been a very interesting way of life and discovery of new things we today take for granted.

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  3. Henry Van Berkel has had an interesting career. This book sounds fascinating!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  4. thanks this sounds like an interesting book, wonderful cover

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  5. I am SO interested in this story - I sure hope I win it!

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  6. This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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  7. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  8. Nice book cover and the book sounds interesting. :)

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  9. I enjoyed reading this well done excerpt!
    Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  10. The cover is beautiful and the synopsis and excerpt have intrigued me, I am looking forward to reading Walks by Big Alex's Pond. Thank you for sharing the author's info and book details

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  11. Do you have any advice for new writers?

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  12. This sounds right up my alley!!!

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  13. I hope you're having a great Sunday.

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  14. This sounds like a wonderful story that weaves it way across the years.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  15. Happy to find a "new to me" author to add to my list for upcoming trip.

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  16. What was your favorite book as a child?

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  17. Do you write more or read more?

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  18. What's the strangest food you've ever tried?

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  19. Hope you have a fantastic Thursday!

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  20. looks like a fun one

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  21. looks like a fun one

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  22. What is your inspiration as a writer?

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  23. Tell me about your favorite birthday.

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  24. LAST DAY
    Thanks for the contest.

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  25. Sounds great, I like the cover and excerpt.

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