Author:Steve

Author Steven T. Callan and friends at Callan's Chico Barnes and Noble Book Signing for The Game Warden's Son

Scenes from a Book Signing: Chico Barnes and Noble

Author Steven T. Callan and friends at Callan's Chico Barnes and Noble Book Signing for The Game Warden's Son

Kathy and I had a great time last Saturday at our Chico Barnes and Noble book signing. Longtime friends from Orland, Chico, and Fish and Game came by for a visit, and we made a passel of new friends. Thanks so much to everyone who dropped by. Thank you, also, to the staff at the Chico Barnes and Noble store for hosting our event.

Our next stops on the book tour are the Redding Writers Forum on January 14 and the International Sportsmen’s Expo in Sacramento on January 21.

Warden Wally Callan in the ghost town of Newville, California, circa 1962. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

Game Wardens and Ghost Towns

Warden Wally Callan in the ghost town of Newville, California, circa 1962. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

Warden Wally Callan in the ghost town of Newville, circa 1962. Photo by author.

Out of beer and three sheets to the wind, the three deer poachers turned west on Newville Road and headed northeast toward Paskenta. Rounding the first bend, they passed the ghost town of Newville. Newville had thrived from the early 1850s until 1929, when all but a few buildings burned to the ground. During its heyday, the little pioneer town boasted a general store, two livery stables, two saloons, a blacksmith shop, two hotels, a post office, a race track, and a service station. Now only the ramshackle, two-story Newville Hotel and the falling-down service station remained.

Pintails mingle with white-fronted geese at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

The Most Beautiful Duck in North America

Pintails mingle with white-fronted geese at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

Pintails mingle with white-fronted geese at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. All photos by author.

Ask any waterfowl enthusiast to name the most beautiful duck in North America, and he or she will most likely point to the brilliant, multicolored, drake wood duck (Aix sponsa). Others might claim that the iridescent green head of a drake mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is hard to beat. For me, the graceful pose of a drake pintail (Anas acuta), with its long, slender neck and chocolate-brown head, places this species at the top of the list.

Our front yard in early spring, showing just a few of the 200 blue oaks on the island. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

An Island of Our Own

Our front yard in early spring, showing just a few of the 200 blue oaks on the island. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

Our front yard in early spring, showing just a few of the 200 blue oaks on the island. Photo by author.

Over the years, Kathy and I have often dreamed of escaping today’s fast-paced, hectic world and moving to an island of our own—an island of trees, flowers, and abundant wildlife, where we could experience the joys of nature without leaving the confines of our own property. Realizing that buying an island wasn’t a realistic option, we decided to do the next best thing and create one on our three-acre patch of oak woodland in the foothills of Northern California.

Scenes from a Book Signing: Lassen Volcanic National Park (Author Steven T. Callan)

Scenes from a Book Signing: Lassen Volcanic National Park

Scenes from a Book Signing: Lassen Volcanic National Park (Author Steven T. Callan)

Last Saturday, Kathy and I had the pleasure of doing a book signing at Lassen Volcanic National Park‘s Art and Wine Festival. We had a ball signing books and meeting a lot of wonderful people. Thank you to all who came.

Thank you, also, to Melanie Allen and the Lassen Association for inviting us. As passionate supporters of our national parks, Kathy and I are honored to have The Game Warden’s Son in the bookstores of the Lassen Park visitor centers.

Orland Free Library Welcomes Award-Winning Orland Author Steven T. Callan

Going Home

Orland Free Library Welcomes Hometown Author Steven T. Callan

I’ve often said that the reason I enjoyed the old Andy Griffith Show so much was because I practically grew up there. Growing up in Orland was as close to living in Mayberry as you could get without being a member of the cast.

My family moved from the Los Angeles area to Orland, a small farming community at the northern end of California’s Sacramento Valley, in 1960. By the end of our first day in school, my brother Kenny and I felt as if we’d lived there all our lives. The following Saturday, we joined several of our new friends and walked the railroad tracks to Stony Creek, where I caught my first smallmouth bass and began a childhood adventure that would last until I left for college years later.

Steven T. Callan and Orland High School Class of '66 Classmates

Two Nights to Remember

Steven T. Callan and Orland High School Class of '66 Classmates

I have to admit that I was more than a little apprehensive about my upcoming Orland High School class reunion. I hadn’t seen most of my classmates since we crossed the stage and received our diplomas on that fateful night fifty years ago. Would I recognize anyone? Would anyone recognize me? I sure hope they provide name tags. 

The fish rescue crew: Mike Cauble, Paul Martens, Glenn Tibessart, unidentified gentleman, Steve Callan, and Kenny Callan, circa 1964. As the Orland Fish and Game warden, my father, Wally Callan, had organized this effort to rescue stranded fish in Stony Creek.

The Road to Plaskett Meadows

The fish rescue crew: Mike Cauble, Paul Martens, Glenn Tibessart, unidentified gentleman, Steve Callan, and Kenny Callan, circa 1964. As the Orland Fish and Game warden, my father, Wally Callan, had organized this effort to rescue stranded fish in Stony Creek.

The fish rescue crew: Mike Cauble, Paul Martens, Glenn Tibessart, unidentified gentleman, Steve Callan, and Kenny Callan, circa 1964. As the Orland Fish and Game warden, my father had organized this effort to rescue stranded fish in Stony Creek. What fun we had!

Writing the chapter “The Road to Plaskett Meadows” in my sequel, The Game Warden’s Son, was a trip down Memory Lane for me. In it, I described growing up in Orland during the 1960s.

A wonderful slice of small-town America at the northern end of California’s Central Valley, Orland was very much like the community of Mayberry in the old Andy Griffith Show. I remember our mayor being the town butcher, people parking in the middle of 4th Street, and Cary Tommeraason running for touchdowns. Mom bought groceries at Graham Brothers, the playground at Fairview School was a converted cow pasture, and the biggest event of the year was opening day of pheasant season.

My greatest fear in those days was being called on in Mr. Valov’s chemistry class. My greatest joys were baseball, basketball, hunting, fishing, exploring Stony Creek, and riding on patrol with my dad, the local game warden.

The McCloud River Preserve encompasses 2,330 acres surrounding this iconic mountain stream. Photo by author Steven T. Callan.

The McCloud River: Relief from the Dog Days of Summer

The McCloud River Preserve encompasses 2,330 acres surrounding this iconic mountain stream. Photo by author Steven T. Callan.

The McCloud River Preserve encompasses 2,330 acres surrounding this iconic mountain stream. All photos by author.

Nothing picks up my spirits like a walk along a mountain stream during these hundred-degree days. The McCloud River is as good as it gets.

I hope these photos from our recent hike through the McCloud River Preserve with the Shasta Land Trust will pick up your spirits during these dog days of summer.

Author Steven T. Callan and friends at a book signing for The Game Warden's Son at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association Festival

Scenes from a Book Signing: Pacific Flyway Decoy Association Festival

Author Steven T. Callan and friends at a book signing for The Game Warden's Son at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association Festival

Kathy and I have always said that the best thing about giving presentations and doing book signings is the interesting people we have the opportunity to meet. Last weekend’s book signing at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s 46th Annual Classic Wildlife Festival certainly validated that notion. Wildlife sculptors from all over California and the western U.S. gathered in Sacramento to showcase their talents.