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The Golden Leaves of British Columbia

Spending a large part of my youth in Ontario, I’m used the reds, oranges and yellows of fall. The forest of British Columbia have a different look and feel to them. Just as beautiful, but not the same.

BC Yelloe

The mountains are an inspiration to me when I think about writing. As I stopped and took in the scenery, I thought of the importance of getting details correct when writing a novel. Before living in BC, I might have assumed all forests transformed into a multitude of colours in the fall. There is nothing like seeing your imagined setting in real life.

Now, I’m not saying you have to visit every place you write about, although, if you’re lucky, maybe you get to, because with today’s technology, you can see the places without ever going there. Google Earth is a wonderful way to explore a setting, getting familiar with an area before putting words to a page.

Online videos, photos and travel blogs are also a good source to travel from the comfort of your back porch.

Every day the forest of the Purcell  Mountains inspire me to be a better writer. And now that I’m used to seeing only yellow leaves, I find them just as beautiful as the multicoloured trees of the east.

Thanks for reading. . .

Farley’s Friday: Toys for Wheaten Terriers

Farley here,

This place is PAWsome!

I run and run and run. I find toys everywhere.

Kristina tries to take this log from me, thinking she can use it in the fireplace, but the I don’t let her. The fireplace makes the house hot and I don’t like the heat, so my mission is to hide anything my humans might like to burn.

Farley and LOg

I carry the log for several kilometres, and I have to admit, my jaw is getting a little tired. Eventually I have to give, and I lie down on my neighbours lawn. By the way, they were very nice and put in soft grass for me. Florida grass is too rough and hurts my paws. This grass is soft, and I love to hang out and let the blades tickle my belly.

As I chew my stick-log I see Kristina angling toward me. I have two choices, I can let her have the stick-log, or I can run away. Guess what I chose.

I have fun jumping to the left, then to the right as she tries to grab my toy.  She laughs, and I think she’s having fun too. In the end, because she’s so nice to me, I let her have my toy. She puts it in the fireplace to burn later.

What she doesn’t know is tomorrow, I’ll find another one and we can play the chase-me game again.

Woof Woof.

Put Your Novel In A Drawer

I’m walking my dog Farley home and the forest is whispering little reminders to me, making me think, giving me story ideas.

To my left, we come across a doe and two fawns. We’ve been in the mountains long enough that Farley behaves  – for a moment. I decide I’ll be safe if I walk on the far side of the road away from the deer. The mama deer, she decides I might rethink that plan. Her two fawn hide behind her, and she turns and faces me.

She struts her fronts paws, telling me to back off. And I do. I’m not sure if she’s about to charge.

Dusk is upon us, and I’d like to reach home before dark. I can take a path down to the river, back behind the houses and up on the other side, but I’m a little nervous about bears. I can climb up a step hill to a neighbouring house and cut through their property, or I can pass the mama deer. I opt for choice number two.

I grab ahold of long grass, four feet long and full of thistles, and pull my myself toward the crest of the hill. Farley quickly jumps in front of me and pulls me forward. I’m halfway up when we startle a buck. He’d been sitting in the grass, and I’d been too focussed on the doe and her fawns to notice him. He bolts, and I catch a glimpse of his antlers as he runs by.

Buck

Change of plan. I head toward the next house, feeling like a trespasser, and walk around the front, only to come face to face with another, bigger, buck. I hold in a scream, Farley barks wildly and Mr. Buck stares at us. Doesn’t move an inch.

So, I step back, cross through my neighbours outdoor eating area, wishing I’d actually met my neighbours, and head away from the buck. And who’s behind the next house. Buck number one.

This is crazy, I think. Did the deer decide to have a party near my house? Mama doe, her fawns and both bucks are frozen like statues, staring at me. I choose the only option left and keep walking forward. They stay, I go. All works out well.

I arrive home a little exhilarated, realizing sometimes I just have to face my fears. Even when it comes to writing.

Early on in my writing career, someone told me the best thing to do after finishing a draft of a novel, is to put it in a drawer and don’t look at it for at least two weeks. How hard is that? Well, I followed that advice and haven’t looked at my novel for 6 months.

Now that I’m my new brave self, I go to my desk drawer and pull out my novel. I didn’t understand the advice at first, but now I get the act provides distance from the story. I’m so glad I put the novel away.

After hours of hard work, I find plot holes, repeated words (even if they’re a chapter apart, they can jar the reader), scenes that are not needed and of course, the dreaded typos. Now my novel is a better read, and I’m glad I put it out of sight. I’m also glad the deer are out of sight, and hopefully sleeping somewhere and dreaming finding haunting grounds farther away from my house.

Even though hiding your novel out of sight might seem impossible, if you’re looking for ways to improve the writing, this might help.

Thanks for reading . . .

Farley’s Friday: A Wheaten with Other Dogs

Farley here,

Winter is coming. I know it’s only September, but there’s snow on the ground. So what’s a dog to do. I’ve dreaming about my best  friend Joe. We used to play when I was a pup. We’d roll around in the snow, chew on each other’s ears, chase each other. Joe even let me hang on to his ear, and he’d carry me.

Farley and Joe 2008 11 09

What am I missing now? Joe doesn’t live here anymore. He lives in Italy. What a crazy dog. So I’m interviewing for new friends.

This is a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. We’re weren’t formally introduced, but we did have fun playing. He’s bigger than me, but so was Joe.

Farley and Greater Swiss Dog

Running in the snow keeps me cool, but balls of snow get caught in my fur and between my pads. Kristina is talking about making wear booties to solve this problem. Please tell her not to make me look uncool. The other dogs might laugh at me if I look silly . . . oh, who am I kidding. I look silly most of the time, so my friends better get used to it.

Woof Woof.

Writing in the Mountains

Does your location help you write?

I’ve recently moved from living on the ocean to living in the mountains. I’ve gone from warmth all year round, to 0 degrees Celsius in September.

The crisp air, the endless hiking, the deer – luckily no other wildlife – the scenery all make me feel uplifted.

Mountains

Inspiring? Yup, I think so. I’ve spend many hours writing in the last few days, many of those spent on my back porch listing to the forest tell me its secrets. Maybe those secrets will make their way into my novels. I’ll  let you know.

 

Thanks for reading . . .

Farley’s Friday: A Working Wheaten

Farley here,

If you’ve been reading, my life as a dog has changed recently. I’m a mountain dog. I used to be a boat dog. Mountains dogs are touch, rugged creatures who protect their humans from all kinds of dangers. Yup, that’s me. Tough guy. The only drawback . . . I get put to work.

September has arrived along with cold temperatures. I love the cold. On the boat, I was usually too hot. Now I hang out outside and enjoy the cool temps.

But just so you don’t get the wrong impression, I’m a working dog.

My human, Matt, collects wood – this is hard work involving axes and saws and other tools I’ve never seen before.

Then he chops the wood. I think he uses a splitter.

Chopping Wood

My job is also hard work. I get  the kindling ready.

Farley with Kindling

The next steps boggles my mind. Look what they do with the wood.

End result

These humans are crazy. It’s fab being cold and what do they do? They heat up the house, so I head outside and enjoy my deck.

Woof Woof.

Farley’s Friday:

Farley Here,

Hiking in the forests of the Purcell Mountain Range is pretty exciting. I’m doing my best to be a good off leash dog, but sometimes I get carried away and chase a squirrel. Kristina is all worried about me chasing a bear or a deer or a coyote. As if I would ever do that. We all know I’m not very brave.

I love cold water, and here I get to drink right out of a mountain stream. I’m not allowed near the big river. Apparently the current is too strong for me.

Farley in stream

But Chica, a yellow lab who used to live with my humans, got to go in the big river. I guess she was stronger than me.

Chica and stick

She would also bring sticks back to my humans when they threw one for her. Me, not so much. I like to watch the sticks float away.

I think I’m going to love living in the mountains.

Woof Woof

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