Hunting Waterfalls and a photo challenge

Toketee Falls

I’m back from my technology-free vacation. I didn’t take my computer with me, didn’t watch a minute of television, and I read a real honest-to-goodness paper book. It was heaven.

Sarah, over at Art Expedition, offered up a 7-day B&W street photo challenge of people. Well… erm… here are my 7 color, non-people, no streets, nature photos of my trip. Sorry, Sarah, for not following the rules very well at all. I encourage everyone to browse her lovely artful blog and give her challenge a hearty try.

I’ve lived in Oregon for 7 years and haven’t explored this big state. It was about time. Randy and I traveled downstate into the dense smoke of forest fires, detoured to the Pacific coast and headed north in the fog. So much for “seeing” the state. But I gathered a few photo-memories nevertheless.

We hiked along silver rivers…

…found waterfalls…

We traveled on to Crater Lake. Looking down from the crater’s rim, you can see the thick blanket of smoke. Yes, that dark layer in the background isn’t land – it’s solid smoke.

The view of the lake was hazy with light smoke.

With scratchy throats and eyes, we headed for the coast. The Oregon shore is cold, windy and foggy.

 

And a B&W picture of a person… still no street.
I’m doing the princess wave by the waves.

I have a ton of catching up to do, but I shall visit you all shortly. ❤

Hunting Waterfalls, and other stuff

It’s August and the summer is flying by!
My backyard is beckoning.

It’s time for a technology break
as my hubby and I hunt Oregon waterfalls.

We need to get some yard work done too,
and honestly, these guys aren’t much help.

Time to join neighbors for the picnics and festivals
that we cram into our itty-bitty summer.

Wishing you many lovely days ahead.
I’ll “read” you in two weeks!

Gardeners and Architects

I’m working on the outline for my new trilogy, and it’s not going well. Summer is such a distraction, isn’t it?! The muse is not amused. I dug this post out of the 2015 archives to give me some inspiration. I hope you enjoy it.

***

When I plunked down to write my first book, Myths of the Mirror, I was on a mission of discovery, led by the muse and sheer inspiration.

I had no plot in mind beyond a mental sketch of a couple things that could happen maybe sort of somehow. It was all incredibly vague, but what did I know? Nothing. I wrote like a woman obsessed, relishing every moment of my creative forage and traipsing along behind my characters down whatever path they chose to wander.

Halfway through my journey, a secondary character whom I was in the midst of killing off stood his ground. With the unwavering support of his companions, he argued that he should not only survive but should become a main character. “Oh, okay,” I said, and skedaddled back to the beginning of the book to start over. That happened a lot.

A year later, once every character had their say and did as they pleased, my masterpiece was almost 190,000 words long. Ta da! Ready to celebrate, I enlisted a few courageous readers.

Uh oh.

For the next two years, I peeled away words, sentences, paragraphs, scenes, and whole chapters! Deleted. Recycled. 65,000+ words forever gone. I felt as though I’d been flayed.

Then an editor wielded a red pen and lopped off another 4,000. After all the anguish and suffering, I had to finally admit it – I had a much better book.

Nature-Multicolor-Flowers-Garden-Summer-Bees-Depth-HD-PhotoGeorge R. R. Martin separates writers into Gardeners and Architects. Gardeners are discovery writers, planting seeds and digging around in the dirt of writing because they can’t wait to see what grows. They thrive on a process that is full of surprises and let their stories develop organically. To them, outlines feel like straitjackets, stifling the natural unfurling of character and action.

images (22)At the other end of the spectrum, Martin’s architects are outliners. Structure is key. Charts, graphs, and spreadsheets abound. Every step is planned in advance: the story’s try/fail cycles are mapped, the hero’s journey arcs through its phases, the turning points and pinches are set in stone. For outliners, the steps of each plot and subplot form the stairwells in a skyscraper. An architect has an eye on the penthouse and knows how to get there.

awesome-tree-houses-to-live-in-plextm4bAfter my trials and tribulations as a gardener, I brushed off my hands and applied a bit of architecture to my stories. I wouldn’t say I engineer skyscrapers – that’s still too much concrete for me. In my mind, my method is more akin to building tree-houses, leaving plenty of space for nature and play.

I plot out the story’s threads and set the characters off on their journey, letting them be who they are. Occasionally we have to negotiate and backtrack, but overall they cooperate. It’s collaborative; they know their goals and I know mine.

My guess is that most authors engage in a little gardening while they construct their cottages, fortresses, and stone towers. Or they have a few fences to keep the growing things safe from rabbits. How do you bring stories to life? Are you a Gardener? An Architect? A builder of tree-houses?

At the Mirror: The Owl Factory

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Lana is a writer and poet with a wonderful voice. I’ll be reading her book Dancing with the Sandman while on vacation in August. Here’s a poem of hers that just tickled my fancy, and I’ve been saving it to share with you. Comments are closed here, so click on through for this wonderfully quirky read.

The Owl Factory

by LT Garvin

I thought I would fit in

at the Owl Factory

assembling the multi-colored

felt owls

matching their personalities

to beady sets of eyes

even the creepy guy

next to me

wasn’t much of a bother

at first…

his smirking critiques

fell off my sallow skin

as if it were waterproof

“Owls aren’t that great, you know

birds of prey

kill small animals

pink flamingos, now that’s where

you want to be…

(continue reading The Owl Factory)

Summit – #Writephoto

#writephoto image: Sue Vincent

The cane wobbled. Its tip slipped, wedged between two stones, and stuck. Morten grumbled and shuffled up a step. His grandson was born with the brains of a turnip if he thought an old man could climb the steep path in a day. “A sacred site, pretty view, and perfect breeze,” the boy had explained. Morten would need to grow wings to reach the fort’s grassy summit before nightfall.

He thrust out his cane, planted it, and heaved himself up another step. The voices behind him grew louder, the crowd gaining on him. Resigned to his predicament, he twisted aside and backed up to the low wall flanking the path. His balance akilter, he landed his bony rump on the flat rock, lucky he didn’t tip backward and tumble down the hill. His cane clattered on the stone pavers.

The younger folk—his seventy-year-old daughter and her husband, his gaggle of grandchildren and stampede of great-grandies—hiked up the path. His daughter stooped to pick up the cane. “What is dad’s cane doing here?”

Her husband patted her shoulder. “Someone must have dropped it. We’ll bring it up.”

“Ahem!” Morten protested, but the troop resumed their march, paying him no mind and stranding him where he sat. He leaned forward, rocked, and pushed to his feet. With a grunt of effort, he straightened up, though “straight” was purely a matter of perspective.

He shambled farther up the path, knees creaking and fingers inching along the top of the wall. The breeze felt good, and the view was spectacular even though he hadn’t reached the top. After a short distance, the path smoothed and seemed less steep, and he abandoned the security of the wall. He took a few confident steps, and satisfied, added a bit of spring to his gait. He swung his arms and inhaled a deep breath. His pace increased, a renewed vigor thrumming through his heart.

He considered dancing a merry little a jig but dismissed the thought as overzealous. Instead, he picked a handful of summer flowers from the bank and waltzed like a groom on his wedding day. His wife appeared at the path’s peak and laughed, the clouds framing her like downy wings. He winked at her, smiling like a fool in love, surefooted, his life in bloom. The urge to run tickled at his toes, and he leapt into a strong lope, the muscles in his limbs stretching, his arms pumping, his vision clear and soul awake.

His wife opened her arms and received him. At the summit, his grandson smiled as a gust of wind gathered up the ashes from the lifted urn.

***

The image is from Sue Vincent’s Thursday #Writephoto prompt. Join in the fun.

#Tanka Tuesday Challenge: Inspiration and Plan

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When I was eleven years old, I somehow got the idea that my family (and my best friend) should homestead on one of the uninhabited Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska.

Committed to my inspiration, I perched behind my dad’s old typewriter and with one finger, tapped out a list of everything we would need from 7 chisels and 50 hinges to 100 lbs of tuna fish and 30 sheep. Yes… sheep.

The four-page list is pretty funny. Apparently, I thought 15 rolls of toilet paper were sufficient for this adventure but wanted 200 bars of soap!

A few other items from the list (with conversions):
2 big bells
6000 packs of seeds
20 hair brushes
4 dog sleds
2 dogs
52 lbs of instant chocolate  (23 kg)
400 lbs of chicken noodle soup (181 kg)
1000 lbs of tea (453 kg!)
140 books

The plan never got off the ground, but I saved the list all these years. You never know…

Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday challenge was to create a poem using synonyms of inspiration and plan.

~*~

Childhood’s fantasies
rewrote a commonplace life
plotting a passage
my sails filled with misspellings
my dreams charting windswept isles

First Review: Soul Swallowers

I’m on the mend after sleeping off a four-day fever. I apologize for neglecting everyone’s blogs and will start catching up today. I think the old bod was telling me that I’d spent too many days happy-dancing the release of Soul Swallowers.

For me, the first review always feels monumental, and it’s a thrill and relief when it validates the months of hard work. I’m delighted to share Soul Swallower’s first review, written by talented fantasy author Cathleen Townsend. (And I promise that I’m limiting my happy-dancing to my imagination.)

Cathleen’s review:

Have you heard? D. Wallace Peach has released a new fantasy series, and news like that is worth our attention.

Soul Swallowers is D. Wallace Peach’s best book to date, and that’s saying something. From her prior books I’ve come to expect expert plotting, three-dimensional characters, and truly magnificent world building.

In this book, Ms. Peach has taken a single world-building premise—that people can swallow other people’s souls after they die—and worked it into a fantastic, detailed secondary world. Here, the powerful squabble for ever more influence while the wretches and unlucky are sold into slavery. The main character, Raze, has turned his back on a life of wealth and privilege, and joins another man in building up a small farm, a freehold, assisted by former slaves who soon become an extended family.

But the Byzantine politics of Raze’s former circle soon entangle him again, and he’s forced to re-enter his old world to try to save the members of his new family…

(To read the last bit of the review, visit Cathleen’s blog, and while you’re there, you might check out her latest novella: The Golden Key)

Happy Reading whatever book you happen to be holding!