Posted throughout this site you’ll find excerpts of memorable life stories that have engaged my attention as a journalist and historian over the past 20 years. One-click history at your fingertips!
For $3.99 per story!
In digital format
Listed below are the individuals profiled so far. Click on a name to view the excerpt. The full story will range from 1,000 to 3,800 words in length:
- John Brownlee: The premier brought down by Alberta’s first major political sex scandal
- Victoria Belcourt Callihoo: From buffalo hunter to folk historian during a life that lasted 104 years
- Joseph (“Fightin’ Joe”) Clarke: Perennial Edmonton candidate who ran for municipal office a record 27 times
- Morris “Two-gun” Cohen: From convicted pimp in Canada to a self-styled leader of the Chinese Revolution
- Billy Cowsill: Substance-abusing lead singer of a wholesome family band who found redemption as a country-rock performer
- Melvin Crump: Canadian-born black musician who fought racial discrimination in his own country
- Shay Duffin: A versatile Irish-born entertainer who made his mark in Canada and the United States with a one-man show about Brendan Behan
- George DuPre: The bogus Second World War spy who fooled thousands with his lies about his wartime exploits
- Bob Edwards: The booze-loving newspaper editor who broke all the accepted rules of journalism by running gossip and satirical commentary instead of news
- Leonard Gaetz: The homesteading Methodist minister who built the town of Red Deer in the grasslands of Central Alberta
- Clyde Gilmour: Beloved CBC broadcaster loved opera, jazz and banjo music, but hated rock ‘n’ roll
- Ruth Gorman: The unpaid Indian Association of Alberta lawyer who fought a successful five-year battle to prevent 122 Hobbema Cree residents from being evicted from their reserve
- Stu Hart: The one-time amateur wrestler who turned pro, made Calgary an international centre for professional wrestling, and became the patriarch of Alberta’s first family of wrestling
- Will James: The hotel dishwasher from Montreal who moved west, reinvented himself as a cowboy, and made his fortune as an artist and western novelist
- Ralph Klein: The television reporter who turned to politics after abandoning his journalistic objectivity
- Florence Lassandro: The bootlegger’s moll who shot a policeman to death and thus became the only woman ever to be hanged in Alberta
- Sir James Lougheed: The Toronto lawyer who followed the CPR westward and made a real estate fortune in Calgary
- Mike Mountain Horse: The aboriginal warrior who forfeited his military service exemption to avenge his brother’s death in the First World War
- Kathleen Parlow: The violin virtuoso who quit international touring because she couldn’t make the same money as a man
- Peter Pond: The homicidal Yankee who discovered the Athabasca tar sands and mapped the Canadian northwest
- Jerry Potts: The Métis scout who led the North West Mounted Police to a place in southern Alberta where they could build a fort and stamp out the illegal whisky trade
- Henry Marshall Tory: From Methodist minister to building such enduring Canadian institutions as the University of Alberta and the National Research Council
- Edward Arthur Wilson (Brother XII): Religious fanatic founded a cult that attracted 2,000 wealthy followers, and swindled them out of $400,000
- Henry Wise Wood: The farm leader who rejected the opportunity to become premier of Alberta
Some of these stories are brand new, never published before. Others are revised and updated profiles of individuals I first wrote about in my books. Others I first wrote about in magazines. Many of those original stories, and the publications in which they appeared, are now out of print or hard to find. All deal with the circumstances that brought the profiled individuals to the points in their lives where they became destined for either fame or infamy.
In some instances, the journey will have brought a person from one country to another. In other cases, it will have entailed moving from within one part of a country to another. Or it may have meant simply leaving one particular sphere of endeavour to try something new. Each one is “the story that brought me here.” Each one is the story of how one person set out to make a difference, whether in a positive or negative way.
I have adopted the iTunes © model for selling these stories. If a particular excerpt whets your appetite for more, you can have the full story delivered to your inbox for $3.99. Just click on the “Buy Now” button at the end of the excerpt and I will send the story to you digitally as a PDF file. If you prefer to receive it as an ePub (iPad) or Mobi (Kindle) file, I can send it to you in those formats as well. And if you enjoy the story, you’re welcome to share it with friends for no extra charge. If you’re disappointed, I’ll send you a full refund, no questions asked. Check back often to see whom else I’ve added to the collection. Or, easier yet, click on the Subscribe button at the top right of this page and the updates will be emailed to you automatically. Enjoy!