Sunday, March 30, 2008

Espresso Nights

My story "Espresso Nights" will be available online beginning April 3, 2008. So swing on by and take a read at:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

You Don't Have to Travel Far to be Surprised!

Today I learned that Canada was bombed once - well sort of!

During World War II the Japanese floated balloons carrying bombs over North America intending to cause havoc with forest fires and such.

On January 12, 1945, one of those balloons landed south of Regina. Yes, this all happened in Saskatchewan - a Japanese bomb - you heard it right - it exploded and took out a fence!

Right here, just south of sleepy little Regina, a bomb landed and a fifteen year old boy who witnessed it all had one exciting story to tell at supper that night. To think I'd never heard about it - how is that possible? Because in Saskatchewan, even 63 years later, this is exciting news!

The things you learn when you least expect it.

Any strange stories from your corner of the world?


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Inspiration is Everywhere

A different kind of journey today - let's go back to last night's American Idol. Yeah, I know lame, but give me a break I'm feeling a little under the weather tonight with a bit of "end of winter" flu. Seriously, this guy is worth listening to. David Cook - what an incredible voice. So tonight it is a journey to TV land and inspiration from someone struggling to beat the odds in the tough music business. This may sound familiar to some of you out there, beating the odds in a tough business I mean. Writing is rather the same - tough - you need guts and you have to hone your voice.

So take a listen and get inspired.

David Cook last night on idol

Don't lead a quiet life. Let the world know you're here.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

In Borneo Things Are Happening

"Last Man Standing" - My hero, Aidan is finally happy with me. He's off the docks and into the action. There was a bit of a lull there for my Aidan chap as I reviewed other projects. But now he's under deadline and he's happy. A three day guiding gig into the Borneo rain forest with the woman of his dreams. How could he not be happy? And he is - was - until his mother showed up. I know - how many mothers show up in the middle of the Borneo jungle who are both competent guides and have years of training at annoying their grown children? Not many, and maybe that's why Aidan is pissed. Not that he'd say that word - pissed I mean. He's doesn't tend to use foul language of any kind. That's just the way he is. But until he extricates himself from a mother gone array and a heroine with well, as she would put it, "more balls than God gave most men." Well let's just say our guy is in a bit of tropical hot water.

To renewal, rejuvenation and new beginnings


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Through the Remnants of Winter

Yesterday the snow covered path on the back deck had melted clear of snow. This morning that same path is frosted over as winter makes one last attempt to lay claim to the land. But spring is hard and hot on winter's heels and it's a losing battle.

It's a great time of year as we wait in anxious anticipation of spring. Although it does make walks a challenge as I map a route that will have the least encounters with mud, water and dirt. Because it's the time of year when a dog walk means leaving a towel at the door. It's amazing how much dirt and mud one dog can collect but Rourke loves it all!

It's a time of year where you're not quite sure what to wear. The prairie breeze still has an icy chill on it but the skies are clear, the falcons screeching overhead as they stake out nesting territory. Puddles line the streets and dirty snow piles are everywhere as the winter retreats leaving treasures long forgotten over the many cold months; a dog's pull toy, a child's ball, an empty coffee cup.

But winter's debris is easily overlooked as the prairie sky shines blue and vibrant overhead, and young men venture out in t-shirts while the rest of us still huddle in winter jackets - in this season that is still winter, and not yet spring.

And a sure sign that spring is just around the bend - the kids
and their bikes
are back on the road!

Happy Easter!


Monday, March 17, 2008

On the Road to Saskatoon

Saturday, March 15, 2008 is the day of the McNally Robinson book signing in Saskatoon. A group of friends came along for the fun. And it was a fantastic time. I don't know many women who can kick off a post book signing party in the local dollar store. Yes, it was just that kind of trip.

So five women in a truck for a 2 1/2 hour drive did not even reach the outskirts of Regina before a pit stop had to be called for Egg McMuffins and coffee and then we were off.

With the prairie fields still covered in snow it's still a beautiful day for a road trip. And despite what you may have heard, Saskatchewan is not totally flat. And yes, I know the pictures that follow confirm otherwise - you're just going to have to take my word for it.

With a break to take a look at the local road signs and a few more laughs as we line up for pictures and break through the rotted snow that is so common this time of year which, of course, only causes more laughs - we are back on the road. Still, even getting your socks wet in a rotted snow bank is all part of the fun because spring is just around the corner and Saskatoon is just down the road.

And then it's off to Davidson. Considered the half way point between Saskatoon and Regina, meetings are sometimes scheduled here when the participants come from both cities. And meetings aside it is also the place where people on more lengthy journeys stop to get gas, food or just a chance to stretch their legs. While our trip is much shorter than many travelers on the road, we're not adverse to a stop - after all this is a weekend out with the girls. No marathon driving sessions for us. Not that 2 1/2 hours would ever be called a marathon but...

Further down the road there's a southern Saskatchewan classic, the grain elevator. These used to be a common sight in every bustling farming community but they are slowly disappearing.

So let me present the Bladworth elevator. Bladworth's beauty is as much in the vast prairie landscape that borders it as the peaceful elevator that announces its existence.

So we finally arrive with time to spare and a chance to admire the view. Saskatoon is known as the bridge city. And the view from our hotel leaves no question. This is a pretty little gem of a city in the middle of the Canadian prairie.

McNally Robinson did a fantastic job of promoting the event. And what a great bookstore. I think I'm in love! But it's the people that really make the event and I met so many including my Aunt Pauline and cousins Valerie, Maxine and Dakota. It thrills me every time I meet people who love words like I do because every book is a journey.

After a hard day of authoring - no, let me correct, book signing, and I enjoyed every moment - an author needs her rest. It was a great time ladies.

Cheers to Saskatoon!


Monday, March 10, 2008

On the Road

Just a short trip this time. This weekend I'm heading up to Saskatoon for a book signing for "From the Dust". I'm looking forward to this trip. And I have an entourage this time. I've never had an entourage. What - you're telling me that five women stuffed into one vehicle does not an entourage make? Possibly you're right. But it will be fun, slightly reminiscent of our youth when the journey was never too far if adventure beckoned at the other end.

And if you happen to be in Saskatoon, March 15 between 1 and 3, drop on by to McNally Robinson Booksellers, 3130 8th Street E. I'd love to meet you. After all, meeting new people - that's what traveling is all about.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Journey through time

Today I was reminded that even the things I take for granted may soon be things of the past. That maybe, for some people, they already are no more than shadows on the prairie landscape like the Gladstone school.

Today I was walking my Irish Terrier, Rourke when I saw a small car pull up ahead of me to the mailbox across the street. No out of the ordinary experience. This is a mailbox I've visited many times. So I know there are two slots - one for letters and a bigger opening for packages all going of course to the same spot - the bottom of the big red bin alias mailbox. Fairly standard stuff - mailboxes have been around for a long time.

But I am forced to slow down and have to concentrate on not stopping our walk entirely when I hear the shout.

"Which slot do I put this in?" And the young man looks around in confusion before repeating his question.

It was at that moment that I knew that the mailbox is destined for extinction. That some day, maybe in my lifetime, that big red box will no longer exist on street corners throughout the country.
Instead, well who knows what the instead will be, but obviously for that young man the instead has already occurred and to him the mailbox is the modern day dinosaur. For him instead may be called by any number of things; chat rooms, e-mail, text messaging but none of that comes in a big red bin sitting on a street corner.

The future is upon us.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Prairie Shadows

On a Saskatchewan country road the past shadows the present, layering places and people with a subtle fog of deja vu. There is a feel here, a silent reminder of the people that walked these lanes and fields so many years ago.

I wonder if there are other places where a road is identified by the name of a long silent school house that sits a few miles down a gravel, country road. There is no road sign.
The only sign that this is the right road is the school, Gladstone School. But only one familiar with the area would recognize this plain little building sitting on the edge of the field as a school. There is nothing to identify it, no name emblazoned on its bare walls - nothing. Only a decrepit building and the prairie that surrounds it. Its wooden floors have long since been emptied of children. Now it is empty, windows and doors hanging open, trembling on its worn foundation but still standing. For it is the Gladstone School and it is a landmark.

But it isn't the Gladstone School where this journey is going. Instead, it's to Buffalo Pound. Here history is more subtle. The buffalo that roamed in massive herds so many years ago are gone. But the wild beauty is still there. The lone prairie road is still the only way to reach this little patch of wilderness. While only a few miles away, the pavement hums with commerce, here things are silent, quiet with shadows of the past.

And, of course, a creature or two from the present.

Happy trails.