Friday, September 30, 2016

Fired-Up Friday

It's All About the Roll

Just writing a quick post today. I'm going to a writing retreat this weekend along with nine other writer friends. Hoping to get pages done on the Tetons by Morning book and also some editing on the book recently finished. Without the distractions of my favorite TV shows fall premieres (which I've dutifully set to record) maybe it will happen. Have to get back in the writing mode and on a roll again. Sometimes it really is all about getting on a roll and building a writing momentum. That and getting so involved in your story you want to know what comes next, and hope when someone reads it they'll want the same thing. I don't think the weather is suppose to be so great, so I won't miss anything if I'm inside till Sunday, but the place we're going, Lily Hill Farm, looks really nice, so planning on getting in a little walk outside if I can. Perfect time of year for that. Happy October First tomorrow!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fired-Up Friday

Up in the Hills

I would venture to say that most of what fiction writers write about is make-believe. We make things up in our heads and then put them into words and hope it makes a good story. Although I set stories in real places in real states and with real landmarks, I usually like to invent my own towns and streets, etc. It’s strange, though, how sometimes the made-up stuff suddenly becomes real and you find a place that you had only imagined really does exist.

This happened recently on our trip through the West. While in Wyoming near the Tetons, we ventured up into the hills to try a little metal detecting. Our son, who lives there, had discovered an old abandoned cabin and out buildings and had gone there previously to poke around. The ride up was a bit bumpy, and bumpy is to put it mildly, on a washboard road, and took us into some rather remote country. When we got there, this is what I saw.


I am nothing if not a picture-taking fool when we’re traveling around the West, so the first thing I did while the guys were busy looking for buried treasure was take pictures (all the while clinging to a metal canister, as I was also the designated keeper of the bear spray). It was a lonely spot, a good place to hide if you didn’t want to be bothered by the world, and it dawned on me that I had imagined this place before and put it into my book, Chance’s Return. It’s the place where Chance goes to hide and try to come to grips with a tragedy in his life, and the place where he goes to avoid making a commitment to Casey, the young widow he has fallen in love with. Looking around at the old cabin and decrepit corral and outbuildings, I felt amazed that even though I’d never been to this place in the hills before, I had imagined it perfectly. It really did exist!


 I’ve written here about how, when I first came to this part of the country, I had the feeling of coming home to a place I’d never been before, and so I have to wonder is it true? Was I here in another time? Or is it just a coincidence? I’m not sure I believe in reincarnation, but seeing this old cabin in the hills that bears so much resemblance to the one I’d imagined in my story, I just have to wonder. I also wonder, who lived there? Was it a homestead? A hunting cabin? The place where someone went to hide from the rest of the world? The cabin was well-built and had been used recently by what I suspect were kids who wanted to find a place to drink and not get caught. It was also a little mysterious, with photos left behind by someone who maybe, like Chance, was trying to forget a heartache.


While we didn’t find any treasure, other than an old tin lid and some bullet casings, I still wonder what secrets that old cabin holds. What other stories it could tell. Maybe it will appear in the sequel to Chance's Return that I’m writing, which ironically starts out:

            This is it. This is the place. It really does exist.



P.S. While we didn't encounter any bears, a few days later a bow hunter was mauled by one while making elk calls not far away.   


Friday, September 16, 2016

Fired-Up Friday

A Book and a Drive through the Canyon

 When earlier this summer I made up my mind to finish my book Will O’ the Wisp before we went on vacation in September, I decided I needed a carrot to dangle in front of me as additional motivation. A great weakness of mine, and one that often keeps me from writing, is reading other people’s books. So as a prize for writing The End on my book, and not a minute before, I promised myself I could read a book I’d recently bought that was by a favorite author.

I became a fan of the TV show Longmire when it first aired four years ago. When I discovered the show was based on books by Wyoming author Craig Johnson, I started reading the series about the sheriff whose jurisdiction is the fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming. I started with the first book and have been reading them in order, but Mr. Johnson also writes stand-alone titles, and the book I’d bought this spring was one of them, called The Highwayman. It proved a good carrot to keep me writing and finishing my book. Then I decided to save The Highwayman as a vacation read, so I could enjoy it while I was actually in the setting.

That played out even better than I thought it would. The book takes place in and around the Wind River Canyon, and the highway running through the canyon is a scenic byway in the state. We’re always big on driving scenic routes, so this time we changed our plan to drive through Yellowstone (which turned out to be a lucky choice, since fire closed the south entrance and snow the northern pass) and took the road through the canyon, a way we’ve never gone before.

The Highwayman has a supernatural, Native American theme to it, as do many of the Longmire books, and the opportunity to read it before and after driving through the canyon certainly gave an extra edge to both the story and the drive. I can’t say I’ve ever read a book while I was in the real setting. The canyon is beautiful if a bit scary, because traffic, including semi-trucks, fly through it as though they’re on a six lane highway, and there isn’t much room to get out of the way. That ties into the Highwayman story, too, but I won’t give anything away. It’s a good book to read while the moon is high and full and the beginning of the autumn season is just a few days away. You might enjoy it, too, even if you can’t drive through the haunted Wind River Canyon.