Going Retro on 2015 by Janine Donoho

Happy New YearAs a singular flow in the space-time continuum, 2015 crested, then mired in unpredictable ways. The year began by launching Intrepid Guy to Japan for another stint just as I published yet another novel, Soundings, Water Elemental—this time through Booktrope. That vast ocean of social media became a marathon swim. Still I virtually encountered booklovers along the way who I’d have gladly met for a delightful cuppa and conversation.Soundings Cover Upgraded 1-23-2015

Then in March, I packed and brushed off my language skills for a month in Japan that ended when I picked Intrepid Guy up at the Penticton airport before driving him to a hospital in Wenatchee. This time his immune system attacked vital organs, requiring six-months of heavy immunosuppression followed by another half year of lighter drug therapy.

Pup & Man Dome

Pup & Man Dome

As a bubble boy, what bothered Intrepid Guy most was the loss of his rafting season, especially one that included another run down the Grand Canyon. To compensate him for his loss, we adopted—wait for it—yes, a whippet puppy, Bodhilicious. Bodhi’s puppy shots coincided with Intrepid Guy’s first drug regime. And yes, we went there and shaved his head. He turns out to have a very nicely shaped dome, but you be the judge.

Home on wheels

Home on wheels

Both burst back into the world during a shakedown voyage for our 16’ Lance travel trailer as we made the rounds from home to Spokane to Wenatchee and back again. The trailer balanced beautifully with our Ram 1500 Eco diesel, so Intrepid Guy did a happy dance. We also began socializing Bodhi and the AKC show in Chelan helped. We met very cool dog people plus gorgeous Bodhi took both Best in Class and Best in Show for puppies. Since this was a beauty contest, it’ll be his last. His big brain really needs a job and with his propensity for running through culverts—gasp!—agility training might do the trick.

Bodhi Wins Big at AKC 2015

Bodhi Wins Big at AKC 2015

Our year of wildfires proved utterly predictable. Canadian fire plumes began in April and our rugged landscapes can be problematic for firefighters. We bugged out during Level 3 evacuations as the 9 Mile Wildfire roared into being. Friends and neighbors lost outbuildings and homes to the inferno even as staunch firefighters stopped the blaze ¼ mile from our home. Air quality remained hazardous throughout summer and into fall. Recovery continues while winter snow and melt cycles cause slides along burn areas.

Valiant firefighters

Valiant firefighters

Soundings at Beach Books

Soundings at Beach Books

Yes, I’m furious with Volkswagen’s intentional lies about our Golf TDI’s environmental impact. Yes, the polluting machinery sits in our garage as we lean into a buyout. Nothing less should be allowed. Still I drove the beast to Oregon this October for our Seaside writers’ retreat and book signing at the hospitable and brilliantly arranged Beach Books. As always, joy prevailed as I embraced the chance to hang with writers and make new friends.

Anj & I at Seaside signing

Anj & I at Seaside signing

Please allow me to wish you all the most joyous of new years. May health and happiness infuse your lives. With our home-on-wheels, who knows? We may find ourselves in your neck of the woods during this coming year.

Happy pack

Travel rig

Hot wheels

Book Launch for SOUNDINGS, WATER ELEMENTAL

Soundings Cover Upgraded 1-23-2015

Consider yourself a natural phenomenon and Elemental to my writing. With my latest paranormal romantic thriller SOUNDINGS, WATER ELEMENTALscheduled to launch from Booktrope on February 27, 2015, I’d like to invite you into my worlds.

If you’d like to be an Elemental, please join my exclusive social marketing team. As a member, you’ll not only receive an e-copy of the book before it’s available to the public, but also gain special access to me and Team Janine via a private Facebook group. In return, all we ask is that if you like SOUNDINGS, you commit to FIVE things to help get the word out about SOUNDINGS:

  • Leave a short review on Amazon no later than 03/10/2015,
  • Share the release date and your feedback with everyone and anyone you may know,
  • Provide ideas via our private Facebook page on how to reach a wider audience,
  • Vote for SOUNDINGS on Goodreads Listopia or talk about it in one of your Goodreads groups and add it to your bookshelf.
  • Go to janinedonoho.com and signup for my newsletter, which only shares noteworthy mentions about the state of the author and her latest opus along with chances to win truly fantabulous stuff. You’ll immediately receive my free short story collection Boundary Crossings.

Interested? Send an email to vanyad@booktrope.com by 02/11/2015 with your name, email address, and a brief description of why you want to join Team Janine. Those selected will be notified via email on 02/12/2015 and receive their advance reader copy of SOUNDINGS.

Thank you in advance for your interest and time! Your support is greatly appreciated.

When the Cougar Pounces by Janine M. Donoho

Tiny Predator

Tiny predator in the wild.

This isn’t about silly contemporary names attached to women of a certain age. And I suppose it isn’t actually about the wild cats known as mountain lions, panthers, and pumas, even though a hunting cougar provides the inciting incident. No, this blog’s about resilience and how you respond to stress.

One recent evening, I was hiking the national forest near dusk—okay, too close to dusk—with my 13 pound predator, otherwise known as Nina Sophia, Italian Greyhound extraordinaire. After staring intently into a thicket which she was focused on, I continued up the trail. Four strides later, she yelped.

I pivoted. There she was—facing off with a cougar.

He was ticked off, tail twitching, and considering his next move. Thus far, Nina, who unlike me can go from 0 to 25 mph almost instantly, was unscathed. I pulled not my gun, but the bear spray and started toward the mountain lion, about 90 pounds of volatile wildcat.

“Back off now!” I said. When I was half a VW length from him, he turned and disappeared into the forest.

“Come,” I told my little hound.

She aligned herself with me as I traded bear spray for pistol and headed up the trail. I howled, roared, and periodically spun around to catch any prowling cat midstride. That’s how the remaining ¾ mile to the truck passed. My sense of relief once Nina and I were safely inside the cab—well, it worked for me.

How I roll

Not pretty, but how I roll.

Oddly, I wasn’t shaken. Instead, I recognized my arrogance in taking this hike too late in the day, then analyzed my response to the threat. An over-reaction would have ended with a dead animal—too little a pushback with at least two dead animals. This outcome came from years living in the food chain while being both mentally and physically prepared for contingencies.

First I’m a conservation biologist—study of life, baby. Second, I had a plan. Third, I tend toward equal and opposite response. Thus we all lived to celebrate another day. My biggest regret? I failed to get a photo of the standoff between my tiny predator and the feral 90 pounder. Also in retrospect, I should have delivered a 1-2 second shot of bear spray to the cougar. He needed to learn there are consequences to bad behavior.

This entire suite of reactions equates with resilience, not a bad way to approach living in general and adversity in particular. Adapting well when faced with difficulty works. Even in something as ordinary to a writer as rejection. Never mind the occasional crazy maker.

Why I arm myself—yes, a fawn's ear in the cougar scat.

Why I arm myself—yes, a fawn’s ear in the cougar scat.

Resilience depends on behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be developed. We can all:

  • Make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out.
    In this case, I looked big, acted tough, carried bear spray and a 9 mm (last resort);
  • Keep things in perspective.
    The cougar appeared young and healthy, although inexperienced and there was no wind, thus the bear spray;
  • Nurture a positive view of yourself along with confidence in your strengths and abilities.
    Practice using your tools of choice e.g. bear spray and 9 mm;
  • Build skills in communication and problem solving.
    “Bad cougar, bad!” or equivalent;
  • Maintain a healthy and flexible body.
    Yes, step away from the Ben & Jerry’s and stay active;
  • Shore up the capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses.
    No animals were harmed in this episode—including yours truly.

With those skills, you can face down an editor who tells you you’re in the wrong business and who asks, “Whatever made you think you could write?”

Really, this happened to a well-published and renowned author and friend.

You can also apply this to team building. I have that option with BookTrope, my 21st century hybrid publisher. You recognize the potentially great book manager, editor, publicist, and cover artist, then aren’t shy about asking them to play with you.

So be prepared, do the work, and build resilience into your daily life. You never know when a mountain lion might pounce—but you’ll be ready.Mountain lion

Elphaba, Glinda & I by Janine M. Donoho

Tuolumne Wave by Tim Palmer AmericanRiversDespite an intent to steer toward the middle channel, life’s awash with sucking whirlpools and standing waves. In mid-May after losing my beloved greyt Kartoucheʹ, I collected my guy from Wenatchee Airport when he returned from Japan after a 4-month stint. Responding to seasonal parameters, we immediately leaped from winter-cave mindset and rushed into spring toward summer. Anticipation of deep winter’s freeze often sends us scurrying before we’re again forced into our rather luxurious cave.

WOTR Larry BrooksLast week after attending Write on the River, where Larry Brooks, Booktrope’s Jennifer Gilbert, Jess Walter, and Jason Brick revved my writerly engines, we sprinted to Spokane. The highlight of this jaunt? A grand performance of WICKED, The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz. The final number of Act I, Defying Gravity, launched me into blissed-out sensory overload. The same happened during the finale.

Yes, I read WICKED by Gregory Maguire. No spoilers here, but the ending worked better in the play. As with the best of story arcs and character development, we discover aspects of ourselves. So it was with WICKED. At my best I am strong and self-actualized Elphaba—at my worst, a false and shallow Glinda. Yet each needs the other to become fully realized.Wicked-poster

This theatrical production proved a delight on many levels. What struck me in this rendition was the theme of finding pack—and the joy that entails. Acceptance as theme either trickles or gushes through most of my stories.

Which makes me wonder: do we all struggle to create a pack of our own? I suspect my best friends, who are also creatives, may share this sentiment. When we gather for our biannual writers’ retreat this coming Sunday, I’ll ask. Perhaps I’ll query those who attend our book signing at A BOOK FOR ALL SEASONS in Leavenworth on June 7th from 1 – 3 pm, too. Yes, a shameless plug. In the meantime…

What steps do you take toward finding others to accompany you in your journey? Do you connect with temporary or more permanent packs? Or like me, are you a hybrid who does both?Greyhound pack

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27th, 2015
The big day is here.

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