We keep getting warnings of weather advisories: snow, wind, that type of thing, but it has not happened too badly yet. Friday morning we awoke to our first snow this season, yet it was nothing but a ground dusting. I wanted to take a photo, but it was too dark that morning and by the time I got to work, at a lower elevation, the snow was gone. Yesterday I heard news of another weather system around the corner, but I am not sure if that has been changed because I don’t think it will reach freezing in the next few days. Friday afternoon on the way home from work, however, the mountains nestling our town were covered with fresh[…]

Every year I donate a portion of book sales from my press, Moon Willow Press, to planting trees. It’s really just a niche micro-press, publishing about 2-4 books a year on average. It’s such a huge endeavor for me to run personally that I’ve now put a hold on submissions so I can complete some other projects. Maybe it’s a tiny business, but I’ve also been big on mitigating any environmental impact that I have had, and that means following sustainable printing plans as well as donating to programs that plant native trees in ecologically and economically depressed areas. In the past few years, this tree-planting donation has gone to a memorial forest in honor of my late father and[…]

If you’re a writer, you might have several drafts of things sitting around. I do as well. I have two novels I am actively working on, both in a series. The first novel is just a slight revision. The second is a new book in the series, and over the weekend I just realized exactly what was happening and so now the flow will go better, I think. A third novel is on standby. A fourth novel from years ago is sitting around, which I’ll never finish (maybe). And there is yet this fifth novel: On Tuesday I went on a hike to admire all the autumn colors–the trail had more people on it than usual, probably because it was[…]

I just wrote a blog post yesterday, but wanted to quickly honor Gord Downie, amazing singer and man who died yesterday from brain cancer. He cared deeply about the environment and social justice. I am not going to write about his life, just briefly what his music meant to me. I am too choked up to write much. You can read some of my other blog posts about his music and what it has meant to me when I’m out running or just sitting around partying with friends. I had heard of Tragically Hip, his band, before I moved to Canada over a decade ago, but my husband quickly turned me onto a lot more music here and I was[…]

While northern California has had unprecedented wildfires, not too far north on the coast we are experiencing severe rain events. Last night I fell asleep to a heavy downpour. It continued on until this morning, and on the way to work I saw downed branches and wet leaves plastered everywhere. At the moment we have a small break until the rain storms continue this evening. Up to 500 mm in the mountains. That means snow. One of our cats awoke me at 2:30 this morning as the winds and rain chimed outside. Poor kitty is sick and has been throwing up a lot in the past few days. We got him when we got married in 2006, and then he[…]

I came back from Canada Thanksgiving weekend rather exhausted and needing some downtime. We did have a great time over the long weekend, including a hike around McConnell Lake Saturday morning–not an overly long hike (3.5K), but just enough to continue walking some distance, with the occasional run. On the way home, I was awed by an enchanted mountain drive, like usual, only this time of year we saw our first snow on the side of the high mountain pass and magical mountainsides full of glorious and vivid autumn foliage, mixed with deep greens of conifers shaded by shadow and light, topped by white peaks. Days are cooler. It is fall, my favorite season. Enter harvests and short days and[…]

In three days, my dad would have turned 80 years old. He died eight years ago. I cannot conceive of him as 80. Even in his dying year, eight years ago, he seemed frail but still too young to die. I’ve written about him often, and I still think about him all the time. He was a very wise and intelligent person: a writer of poetry, a mathematician, an engineer, a teacher, a patent-creator, a visionary, a down-to-earth guy, a friend, a husband, a father, a grandfather, an uncle, a brother. And so much more. Though my dad was religious, he didn’t succumb to stereotypes. He raised us with an open-mind, with an understanding that science was real, that we[…]

In the midst of a golden-lit and cooling autumn, where trail hikes and short runs coincide with dreamy days, I am going to do an indoor exercise here, and share it with other writers in hopes they take part as well. This is a long exercise, will take some time and thought to answer the questions, and I hope to gather some information about writers who tackle climate change in fiction, which may cover various environmental issues and socio-economic-political problems that either contribute to, or result from, environmental collapse. I do a lot of interviews on the main site, and have been interviewed a few times myself, but hardly ever really talk about my writing in-depth. The following author interview[…]

I’m going to let it shine. This Little Light of Mine by Measha Brueggergosman and the Nova Scotia Mass Choir from DEEP Inc. on Vimeo. Some may remember this song from Sunday School. Long gone are my days of church-going, but still lingering in my heart are some of those old songs and my exploration–thanks to Dad–of gospel music, especially the kind of music we heard in a church down in inner-city Chicago that we used to tutor at. I remember Dad said he had more fun at that church than the white suburban “sterile” church, and partly it was because of the music. Last night on the way home–after work we go to dinner once a week, and last[…]

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I joined some of my coworkers at a brewery for a couple beers after work. One of the coworkers came here from Ireland. He is the same guy who gave us great insights on the best places to go when we visited Ireland last year. That is to say, get out on the West Coast, away from tourist traps, into the country, and find small pubs that have great fiddle music lasting into the night. As we sat around the brewery chatting, he told us a story of a living in a bear-infested neighborhood nearby. By now, I was into my second Shake a Paw Smoked Porter (really, and most honestly, good, especially[…]