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One of the few good things about winter’s short days–the sun comes up at a civilized hour.

Barkis lying low

Barkis lying low

smells like summer

smells like summer

(click the photo for a bigger view)

(Reminder: You can instantly share your pics right here– Show us your part of the world…post a link in Comments.)

From the Deborah Bouziden interview:

DB: In October, there was an incident involving a pair of hiking shoes. Writers know that everything that happens to them is fodder for the written page some day. Please relate the story and do you see it showing up in a book later down the road? Do you suggest writers keep a notebook/journal to record incidents like this? Why?

fair game for fiction

fair game for fiction


I won’t relate the story because it’s routine (I am routinely klutzy). It’s “dog bites man” rather than “man bites dog.” Digest version–slippery shoes+wet grass+dog tugging at lead=dislocated elbow. Now, the part that might be of use are the details a writer absorbs from incidents like this–the expression on a stranger’s face when he saw the grotesque angle of the arm. Pain so intense I thought the top of my head would come off. The stranger’s kindness and swiftness as he dialed 911, crated the dog, secured the house, found my purse and mobile phone…all the time keeping his eyes averted from the arm. My feeling of dismay as the EMT cut off my brand new, expensive Patagonia hoodie. The interesting apparatus filled with styrofoam beads, which they used to immobilize the arm. A busload of school kids on the ferry (had to take the ferry to the ER in Seattle), lining up to peer into the ambulance to see if there was any blood and guts. Little details, like the meth addict screaming obscenities. Oh, wait, that was me! The doc’s name: Milkman. A nurse rushing in, saying, “I have your diagnosis! #1, you have a severely dislocated elbow. #2, you’re famous, I love your books!”

A writer should pay attention when strange things happen. I wasn’t taking notes because it was my left arm and I’m left handed. Generally, if they’re dramatic enough, you remember the important bits. Some things, you don’t need a journal for.

How do you put life into your fiction?

I’ve been grilled by Bill! Listen in on an interview with Author Magazine.

I'm talking and I can't shut up

I'm talking and I can't shut up

Sister, niece and I picked the hike labeled “most difficult” in Snow Canyon. No wonder we were the only ones on the trail. Big payoff, though. Check out these shots of us scaling the volcano, looking down into the crater and out across the white rock and red rock canyons.

top o the world

top o' the world

Avalon and Willow Lake are made-up places. But if they were real, they’d look a bit like this:

So this is a first, not just for me but for the ENTIRE FREAKIN FERRY SYSTEM. I’m having a booksigning on the ferry Thursday, on the 4:40pm Seattle/Bainbridge run. 

Come to a booksigning aboard a Washington State Ferry!
Come to a booksigning aboard a Washington State Ferry!

I’m known for doing signings in unusual places. This one is to celebrate the publication of JUST BREATHE, and because there will be ads for the book on the ferry. Enter a drawing to win a gift basket filled with gourmet treats, a signed book and a certificate for an oxygen facial. There’s a nice article about the event in Shelf Awareness here.

All this scenery and a new book to read, too. You can’t beat that!

This just in–Summer by the Sea is a New York Times bestseller. Look for it on the list for Sunday, August 17. Update! AND AGAIN on Sunday, August 24. Yeah!

I have the nicest publisher!

I have the nicest publisher!

They make every milestone into a party.

They make every milestone into a party.


I took this shot at 6:00am....

Do you think it's too early to crack open the bubbly?

Is that too early to crack open the bubbly?

Great blue heron photo by Mike Siegel

So Mike came over to take some photos of the house for a magazine article. He’s a talented photographer, and here’s one of his recent images. I love this shot because it shows how truly blue a blue heron is.

great blue heron on my beach

great blue heron on my beach

In contrast, here’s a shot of a heron on my beach. Nice lines, but you can’t see how blue it truly is.

This heron seems to be territorial because I see it here a lot. It’s the most patient of hunters, standing as still as a statue for the longest time before it strikes.

Sonny finds a way to escape Barkis.

Sonny finds a way to escape Barkis.

There’s a heron statue in my pool. Here’s a shot of Sonny, who swims over to the rock to escape Barkis, who refuses to get wet.

The tall ships are all over Puget Sound. A lovely one passed by our house. There’s a slide show here.

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I tend to spontaneously give stuff away to readers and libraries. Join the fun here. Really.

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January 2021