Editor's note: This article was published in Grand Traverse Scene magazine's Holidays 2018 issue. Pick up a free copy at area hotels, visitor's centers, chambers of commerce or at the Record-Eagle building on Front Street. Click here to read GT Scene in its entirety online.


by Bill O. Smith, illustrated by Charles R. Murphy

Only the fearless heart of a child can follow a dream into the wild ... to a land of birdie parades and ginormous eggs, a land of mystery and majesty. This land is our land, but not ours alone. Welcome to Chickadeeland! Bill O. Smith and Charles R. Murphy, creators of the best-selling “Chickadees at Night” and “The Chickadee Spirit,” are pleased to donate all profits from “Chickadeeland” to the National Parks Conservation Association, Historic Sleeping Bear Preservation, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Groundwork Center and National Park Foundation.


by PJ Parrish

Louis Kincaid is wearing a badge again — as part of an elite homicide squad. But the return to his Michigan home comes at the bidding of a man who once vowed to destroy him. When the cold case deaths of two little boys collides with the white-hot murder of a mega-church minister, Louis finds himself fighting to unearth the secret past of his police captain — and the demons of his own childhood.


by Joe Grimm

The Faygo Book is the social history of a company that has forged a bond with a city and its residents for more than a century. The story of Faygo, Detroit’s beloved soda pop, begins over 100 ago with two Russian immigrant brothers who were looking to get out of the baking business. Starting with little more than pots, pails, hoses and a one-horse wagon, Ben and Perry Feigenson reformulated cake frosting recipes into two carbonated beverage recipes and launched their business in the middle of the 1907 global financial meltdown. It was an improbable idea. Through recessions and the Great Depression, wartime politics, the rise and fall of Detroit’s population and the never-ending challenges to the industry, the Feigensons persisted. Out of more than 40 bottlers in Detroit’s “pop alley,” Faygo remained the last one standing.


by Barbara Stark-Nemon

Abbie Rose Stone’s acquired wisdom runs deep, and so do her scars. She has successfully navigated the shoals of a long marriage, infertility, challenging children and a career. Now it’s her turn to realize her dream: producing hard apple cider along the northern shores of Lake Michigan that she loves. She manages to resist new versions of the old pull of family dynamics that threaten to derail her plan — but nothing can protect her from the shock a lovely young stranger delivers when she exposes a long-held secret. In the wake of this revelation, Abbie must overcome circumstances that severely test her self-determination, her loyalties and her understanding of what constitutes true family.


by Richard Hill

Rich and Judy Hill had a dream: to build a simple handcrafted log home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. But what began as a grand adventure soon morphed into a complex entanglement of blueprint designs, contractor problems and unforeseen financial expense. Taking it upon themselves to complete the construction of a 2,500-square-foot full-size log house while working with a very limited budget, the Hills unwittingly waded into the quicksand of dealing with unreliable subcontractors, cost overruns and winter blizzards, as well as the unpredictable nature of building with logs. Their venture in the north woods of Lake Superior would test their persistence and resolve and teach them a great deal not only about themselves but also about the risks and rewards of pursuing an obsessive American dream. (54 color photos)


by Gene Helveston

Adam Grant, Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army Reserves, is at a crossroads in his career and personal life. Before he has time to decide which path to pursue, POTUS Phillip Tripp asks Adam to take on a top-secret assignment, instigated by an anonymous note the president received from someone in the Middle East. To unravel the mystery, Adam travels to Saudi Arabia, where he learns of an imminent terrorist plot to attack One World Trade Center. Adam and his team of CIA and FBI operatives vow to stop the terrorists inside Wilderness State Park in Northern Michigan well before the enemy has a chance to reach New York City and do any harm.


by Karin Beery

Elementary school music teacher Callie Stevens thinks she’s finally figured out God’s plan for her life — she even made a list to keep her on track. Moving in with her brother and reconnecting with her ex-boyfriend are at the top of the list. What’s not on the list is running into her childhood crush, Ryan. God wanted her to connect with Kyle, right? Trying to figure out God’s plan is hard enough. But a dating-averse older brother, the young blonde who adores him, a pregnant best friend and Callie’s continual mishaps make her wonder whether her best-laid plans were truly God-inspired. “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, Gang aft a-gley, And leave us nought but grief and pain, For promised joy.” — Robert Browning ■