There are foxes under the chicken house again.

This isn’t as dire as it sounds. Said chicken house has not actually housed chickens in many years. And baby foxes are awfully cute.

The chicken house has tall, chain link runs behind it, and the kits are very comfortable playing there, feeling very safe even with people close by watching them. There are four this year, that I’ve seen at least, but just one that is very brave.

Wanting to get a photo without three layers of chain link in the way, I climbed a fence, and crawled under the lilac hedge to open the door at the end of the run where the babies were playing. I was trying to be quiet, so as not to startle them, but if there is a way to be quiet while crawling on hands and knees over dried leaves and under branches, I don’t know it.

The gap through which I crawled. Challenging, but aesthetically pleasing.

Of course, this makes me think of my beloved Louis L’amour westerns, where a character is “a good injun” and can move through the bush with very little noise to sneak up on someone. Or a military team, moving silently through the jungle to their target.

This must be a real skill. It is not a skill I have, that’s for sure.

After I’d crashed through the bush and opened the rusty gate, three of the foxes had taken cover in the den, but one brave little kit still played outside, chasing his tail and digging in the dirt and basically being adorable.

“Look at that tail! I must bite it.”

Springtime is all about cute babies … but we keep warning the barn cat that she’d better stick with her own barn for the time being.

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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in writing


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I haven’t been writing lately.

It isn’t that I haven’t been thinking about it – I’m waiting to hear “any day now” on a manuscript, so it’s on my mind, believe me. But there are other things going on; the everyday drama that arises when you have a bunch of passionate volunteers, a big change on the horizon that is going to be good, but is still a change and therefore scary, and any number of other things that distract me and use up my creative energy.

And then, on Saturday night, there were northern lights. I know, the picture doesn’t look that spectacular, but they were. Spectacular. Best I’ve ever seen them, dancing across the sky for an hour, mostly green but with flashes of yellow and filling the whole northern sky and part of the east. Amazing.

I thought about how I would describe the lights in a story, and how the lights could play a pivotal role.

My manuscript in progress was sitting at 53,000 words and though I opened it up nearly every day, I hadn’t made a change in longer than I care to admit. On Sunday, the morning after the northern lights, I sat down and read/revised the entire thing, fixing the plot points that had been holding me back.

Monday, I wrote 3500 words.
Tuesday, 2000 words.
And today, Wednesday, I wrote another 4000 words to finish the story.

The aurora borealis came right when I needed it, and I’m am so grateful. So is Evie, who I’m sure was wondering if I was ever going to finish her story.

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in writing


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Over at the Bettyverse Today!

My post is up at the Bettyverse!  Come discuss colloquialisms!

Also, results from the pitch competition are up on Brenda Drake’s blog … and I made the list! Yay!

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in writing


Living History

My brother recently spent a week in Cuba, and took lots of photos. It is a country that lives their history in front of them every day, with ancient forts, beautiful stone buildings from every era of their long history, and even antique cars everywhere you look – being a car guy, the vintage vehicles featured fairly prominently in my brother’s photographs.

The history of Alberta isn’t nearly so obvious. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in history, writing


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Waiting For The Chinook

Yesterday morning while I was driving to work the thermometer on my car said -37. That’s minus 37 Celsius, if you were wondering, not that it makes much difference at those temperatures: -40 is -40 whether you speak Canadian or American. Until this cold snap hit, we’d been spoiled with a positively balmy winter, temperatures hovering around freezing for the most part, with some spring-like days. Up until this week, the dangerous winter weather we’d had to deal with involved wind, not frigid temperatures.

As usual, as I was looking at that -37 on the digital readout, my imagination took me back into Alberta’s past, to the early settlers. They didn’t have weathermen warning them that the cold temperatures were coming, and after weeks and weeks of temperate weather the cold snap could have easily snuck up on them. If they weren’t prepared, with food and shelter and warmth for themselves and the animals they relied on, there could be deadly consequences.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in history, writing


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Can You Hit A Perfect Pitch? Blogfest

Title: What Evie Saw

Genre: MG Historical

Word Count: 55,000

Pitch: A famous bootlegger, a rescued horse, and a schoolteacher who isn’t as mild mannered as everyone thinks. Evie Harrison is the only one who can sort it out — if she could just convince the grown-ups to believe her.

I didn’t mean to eavesdrop.

The wind was blowing, and I`d gotten chilled from the walk home from
school, so I’d taken my book into the parlor and curled up in the patch of
sunlight on the hardwood floor, up against the back of the big leather
chair that had been Father’s. The sun was so warm that by the time the
door opened, I was nearly asleep.

“Please, come in and have a seat.” Della was using her grown up voice, and
it made me start awake.

“Thank you.” The voice was deep and male and familiar, but my sleepy brain
couldn’t place it. Father’s chair moved behind me.

The door opened again. “I brought you young people some tea.” Mrs. Rich
announced in her formal, housekeeper voice. I heard the tray placed on the
table, and Mrs. Rich’s footsteps as she left.

Tea cups rattled as Della poured tea. She must be nervous; usually she was
more careful. “Cream or sugar, Mr. Jamison?”



Posted by on January 15, 2012 in writing


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You Might Be A Writer If …

  • You’ve ever taken your netbook to the movies, so you could type during the previews.
  • You hit your thumb with a hammer, and immediately start thinking of how to describe the experience for a character in your book.
  • You make up a backstory for the couple arguing in the car next to you at the red light.
  • You try to sneak up on your horses through the bushes, just to see how hard it would be for your character.
  • You wake up in the middle of the night with the perfect line of dialogue running through your head, and reach for the notebook that lives on your headboard for just such an occasion.
  • You are filled with equal parts excitement and dread every time you check your email or pick up the mail.
  • You spend a lot of time staring at the wall or ceiling and call it ‘writing’.
  • You get nothing but notebooks and Chapters gift cards for Christmas and you couldn’t be happier.
  • You cut off a chunk of your own hair with a steak knife, just to see if it would work for the scene you’re working on.

Anyone else? Please tell me I’m not the only one who is this weird …. 😉

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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in writing


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