The pause that refreshes

It’s true: I’ve been missing in action for some time. The past few months have been my equivalent of an embryonic diapause. This is a mechanism where certain mammals do not reproduce when the environment is not right for nurturing young. Embryos remain in a state of dormancy until conditions are right for reproduction. In 2016 my dormant young were my YA and contemporary stories.

I’ve been writing in a different genre, under a different name. But that’s another story for another day.

A couple of things stirred my interest in disaster scenarios again. One trigger was listening to this chilling podcast from CBC. It dramatizes an earthquake event in the Pacific Northwest. Add to that the new earthquake threat, identified as the Devil’s Mountain fault. Suddenly interest in prepping was alive again. Do you want to read a fictional account of an earthquake hitting Vancouver and surrounds? Look for my book Lockdown.

What about you? Are you ready for a disaster? Is your grab-and-go bag packed? Have you stockpiled food yet? If you’re unsure how to do any of that, there is a world of reference material out there to help you. One place to start your emergency preparations is with the Geek Prepper site. Here’s their recommendation as to how to build your food resources – 35 Survival Foods. Or click on the picture to get to their site.

In the meantime, I’m going back to my story in the mountains where a trio of teenagers are dealing with a disaster of great magnitude. Someone has prepped for this event but will they share their emergency supplies?

Weekend Warriors - Outback Promise - half truths

I love the Weekend Warriors blog and I’m sorry that time has swept away and I haven’t been able to participate more.

Today's excerpt comes from my novel, Outback Promise. Ros has just told her best friend, Suzanne, that she has accepted her husband’s invitation to go walkabout in the Outback. Suzanne knows nothing about Grady’s affair. That’s a secret that Ros has kept close to her chest.

As she finished her last microdot of tomato, she set her fork down and cleared her throat. ‘Okay, you can stop the act now – what I really want to know is, when’s the big divorce?’

It took every bit of my willpower to bite back the first questions that sprang into my head. How did you find out? What do you know? I speared a small green leaf and chewed slowly, half-smiling at her. My pulse raced as I tried to imagine what she’d heard and how.

She drained her glass of chardy while her attention lit on a surfer half her age strutting past on the beach below. When I didn’t answer she continued, ‘You know – the two of you. Sleeping in a tent. Nothing around but dirt, dingos, and drongos. How long’s that going to last?’

***

Please join other authors on the blog hop by clicking here or on the image above.

***

Outback Promise - blurb:

Tragedy. Betrayal. Hope.

After losing their only child, Roslyn and Grady Balfour's lives are destroyed, shattering their perfect marriage. When Ros discovers Grady's infidelity, it sets their love on a destructive downward spiral. Grady hopes that three months camping together will rekindle what was lost so long ago. 

Attempting to repair their broken marriage, Ros and Grady set out on a journey of self-discovery and redemption deep into the Australian outback. Packing resentment and bitterness along with them on their quest, the couple struggles with what they've lost. Forced to battle the challenges of the other travelers along with the dangers of the harsh outback, their only chance for survival lies in facing the secrets of the past. Will Ros and Grady find a way to hold onto each other when everything else has fallen apart?

***

4.6 stars out of 5 – 36 reviews – Amazon.com

Buy links:

Amazon HarperCollinsKoboBarnes & NobleiBooksGoogle Play

And now for something completely different - Weekend Writing Warriors' hop

This is my first week on the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop. Thank you for letting me join!

My excerpt comes from my novel, Outback Promise. Ros’s husband Grady has just suggested they escape to the Australian outback to try to heal the rift in their marriage:

How long had I been marooned on my desert island? I stood and brushed the dust off my dark brown shorts, untied the blouse from around my waist and pulled it over my exposed shoulders. The sun was hotter than ever and I hoped it wouldn’t burn.

Grady unfolded his tanned legs and sprang to his feet beside me. He tried to kiss me but I stepped away and started down the track to Bantry Bay and the old Explosives Magazine. It was my way of saying maybe, and a spiteful part of me gladdened at the hurt disappointment in his eyes. That’s the problem with being a victim – pain turns you into a tormentor.

***

Please join other authors on the blog hop by clicking here or on the image above.

 

Outback Promise - blurb:

Tragedy. Betrayal. Hope.

After losing their only child, Roslyn and Grady Balfour's lives are destroyed, shattering their perfect marriage. When Ros discovers Grady's infidelity, it sets their love on a destructive downward spiral. Grady hopes that three months camping together will rekindle what was lost so long ago. 

Attempting to repair their broken marriage, Ros and Grady set out on a journey of self-discovery and redemption deep into the Australian outback. Packing resentment and bitterness along with them on their quest, the couple struggles with what they've lost. Forced to battle the challenges of the other travelers along with the dangers of the harsh outback, their only chance for survival lies in facing the secrets of the past. Will Ros and Grady find a way to hold onto each other when everything else has fallen apart?

***

4.6 stars out of 5 – 35 reviews – Amazon.com

Buy links:

Amazon HarperCollinsKoboBarnes & NobleiBooksGoogle Play

What happened to summer?

Back in June, I decided to give my blog a short rest after almost five years of regular posting.

 

Back lane in Oak Bay June 2016

Back lane in Oak Bay June 2016

When I opened my blog notebook this week, I discovered the last notes were scribbled in the first flush of June heat. I’d donned a swishy sundress and a floppy hat for the first time in the season and set off for a walk. The notes I made on that stroll probably made a lot of sense when I wrote them.

Garry oak leaves and acorns July 2016

Garry oak leaves and acorns July 2016

Way led onto way, to paraphrase Robert Frost. Countless hours were spent at the beach, walking the breakwater, hiking the forests and enjoying the gorgeous homes and gardens of my neighbourhood. I’ve been writing fiction too (that’s another subject for another day) but my blog has been idle.

Apples August 2016

Apples August 2016

"Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets," says Tim Kreider in his article The Busy Trap.

Now the blog vacation is over and it’s time to get back to work. What did you do on your summer break?

One of the lovely houses in my neighbourhood. August 2016  

One of the lovely houses in my neighbourhood. August 2016

 

Oak Bay beach Victoria BC (a short walk from my home)

Oak Bay beach Victoria BC (a short walk from my home)

Cheaper than a cup of coffee!

Outback Promise is on sale for two weeks for only 99¢ until June 25

You can buy it here:

Amazon.com

Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Coffee for love by Nevit Dilman

Do you see what I see?

In the Globe and Mail not long ago there were pictures of two women who were so similar, they could have been the same person. At first glance, my overactive imagination leapt to the conclusion that they were. I envisioned a woman with a double life, maybe even two families, a female version of Jack Lyons in The Pilot’s Wife.

Subsequent investigation proved me wrong, as so often happens when my imagination takes over. The women’s similarity in appearance and the fact that the memorial notices were published on the same day was a simple coincidence.

Still, there may be a novel in what I thought I saw. One more idea for my File of Possible Plots. An advantage of having a healthy imagination is that this file is almost always overflowing. It’s well furnished with romantic, dramatic, and comic perspectives on things that were quite ordinary in real time. Hoof beats? It has to be zebras.

A disadvantage of an overactive imagination is the unproductive distortion of reality. It can cultivate fears when there is nothing to be fearful about. As quickly as I can imagine success, I can imagine failure. This makes it necessary to choose which vision I keep alive. What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. (Plutarch)

When my imagination seizes a common and everyday event and embellishes it to be extraordinary, it’s decision time. Do I let it run loose or do I muzzle it?

Is your imagination a double-edged sword? Does it drive your creativity on one hand and discourage it on the other? How do you harness it for the maximum benefit?

Zebra picture from Wikimedia Commons: A zebra by Lunkwill

Memorial pictures from the Globe and Mail newspaper, Saturday March 19, 2016

 

 

Where am I?

In case you’re wondering where I’ve been lately, for the month of April I’m touring with Outback Promise. You can find me here:

 

Another day to celebrate!

Read any poetry lately? Monday March 21st 2016 is World Poetry Day.

From the United Nations website:

Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings.

Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures. In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.

Do you still remember poems or rhymes from childhood?

Occasionally I even try to write the stuff but almost everything I create is only suitable for personal consumption. Sort of like my attempt to bake perfect bread.

I wrote one poem, through the eyes of the protagonist of Outback Promise. I know it’s not bad because it was published in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine before that publication started specializing in erotic verse.

This is Rosalyn’s voice, at age 25, before she leaves her hometown of Vancouver forever:

Upward Mobility

A raven squats on the peeling roof

crows boil by, bleating and scolding,

      as cherry blossoms strain in crusted-green captivity

I schlep my heavy backpack up the hill

away from the white-capp