Night Falls on Solstice by Janine M. Donoho

Solstice lightA singular event—

Our sun hovers over lush Tropics.

The coy North Pole

Tips away.

Textured snow

Luminated hours shrink to an octet in

Our boreal climes.

View from my snow cave

Weather forecasters assess

Winter an infant,

Newborn upon December’s inception.

The bewildered prepare for end times while

Ancient rituals evoke

Natural connections—

Brief day

Morphs into prolonged night.

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Putting a Buoyant ‘T’ in Temporary by Janine M. Donoho

Fam & Temporary Pack

Fam & Pack

Celebrating the connections

Celebrating the connections

We are fireflies—transiently bright lights  in this world, then poof!—gone. If fortunate, we illuminate a tiny sphere of darkness along the way. When our luminescence briefly reflects upon others who are significant to us, we rejoice in those connections.

Doberman in sheep's clothing

Doberman in sheep’s clothing

The Temporary Pack

Increasing a pack of one Italian greyhound to a temporary pack of three.

A Few Friends

Friends, dark chocolate & a movie :~>.

Thus, after a few weeks with geographically distant family, friends, and even a temporary pack, allow me to share another pictorial journey celebrating the joy of kinship. As cave time looms, including another phase of SOUNDINGS edits, I expect to revel in these treasured moments even as the here-and-now tick-tick-ticks along.

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An old acquaintance: USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74)

Because you’re here with me now, you’re invited to join in this visual feast.

Carrier meets ferry

Carrier meets ferry

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

Gone Missing by Janine M. Donoho


You may find it astonishing that a person can go missing from the electron cloud that defines our world. Especially to those in such forward-thinking nations as Malaysia and Nigeria, where most commerce occurs on smart phones, this seems far-fetched.

However here in the United States of America, we enjoy spotty coverage at best. And when a monster wildfire like Carlson Complex melts the few fiber optics supplying this rural area, well, some of us disappear—or at least temporarily plummet from the vibrating electrons that generate the cloud.

Frankly, when measured against the loss of 300 homes, 250,000+ acres of living earth and incalculable numbers of dead and maimed critters, both wild and domestic, this proves an infinitesimal concern.

So allow me to direct you to a storyboard of summer in the Okanogan desert of Washington state. Let the photos serve as chronicle.

Now before the next supercell of thunderstorms rolls in, I’m off to finish my edit of SOUNDINGS, Water Elemental.

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

Farewell to a Greatheart by Janine M. Donoho

Our beautiful greyt puppyWhat we carry forward:

A fading rage at what invaded his rocket-scientist’s brain;

Kartouche', Manny extraordinaire to Nina SophiaThe thump of his expressive tail—Snow dog

His blissful lupine smile, eloquent look and

Dazzling flow across jagged landscapes;

Silky heat beneath the hand—

Raw tenderness where the heart resides.

Kartouche' July 6, 2007 - April 30, 2014

Kartouche’
July 6, 2007 – April 30, 2014

A Walk on the Primitive Side by Janine M. Donoho

Primitive RoadSnow, rain, wind, extreme heat and cold, my pack and I take a hike—nearly every Gift of a Plowed Roadother day. Doing so feeds our brains and recharges our bodies. With our environment stretching from sere winter into lush spring, you’re invited to take a photo journey.

We drop about 1200 feet during a winter walk. That’s about 365 meters for those Well Groomed Pathin the know. The loss of altitude takes us from Ponderosa pine forest into sagebrush steppe. Of course, that means you climb on the return.

Where Primitive Roads MeetI’ve retired my YakTrax and the pup’s Muttluks for the year and will soon graduate from hiking boots to lighter Saucony or Asics. Once we can navigate dilapidated forestry roads dependably, we’ll begin exploring higher elevation National Forest. This continues throughout spring, summer and into fall when heavy snow sends us back to hiking within ten miles of home.

As a creative process, hiking works for me. So long as I remain aware of my surroundings. Mountain lions, coyotes, and bears—oh, my!


Do you embrace an activity that stimulates your creative juices?
Nearing home - on, on...

 

Whose Series Is This Anyway? by Janine M. Donoho

Mistborn Chronicles

Mistborn Chronicles

A comment from my MISTBORN CHRONICLES page:

Josh  Mar 08, 2014.@ 06:29:44    Is this sanctioned?

My first novel KALEIDOSCOPE began moving through the submittal cycle shortly before Danielle Steele’s book by the same name hit the shelves. Amazon.com alone now lists over 25 titles by that name. While mine received a slew of encouraging rejection letters, it will never see the light of day. You see, I’ve moved on and KALEIDOSCOPE served as a terrific lesson on ‘how to write a novel’.

Borne of Mist Book 1

Borne of Mist
Book 1

My complete and original epic fantasy series MISTBORN CHRONICLES started crystallizing in the early 1990’s while I studied for my biology degree. I wrote the first novel of my MISTBORN TRILOGY after graduation. If MISTBORN TRILOGY sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone—it’s out there. Thus my tweak to MISTBORN CHRONICLES when in fact, my series is a trilogy. Great minds? Perhaps.

When BORNE OF MIST, Book 1 of MISTBORN TRILOGY, was complete, my then-agent sent it to Claire Eddy at Tor. She wrote a heartening thanks-but-no-thanks, referring to another series in the pipeline that ‘was too much like mine’. Well, long story short, that series was listed as MISTBORN TRILOGY and has done very well.

I recently read the first two books of this other fantasy series, which has expanded from the original trilogy format. Contrary to Ms. Eddy’s comment, TOR’s MISTBORN world has nothing in common with mine in which:

A rapacious mage rips the veil between realities to pursue an escaped captive. Into a world innocent of magic and meager science, mysterious powers and creatures surge through the rift. This triggers events leading to earth-shattering changes to this world and others. Two Mistborn must learn to trust each other, developing tactics and strategies even as their evolving talents become paramount. Meanwhile a mage war escalates, promising to quench the spark of this world—and others.

Forged in Mist Book 2

Forged in Mist
Book 2

So please, potential readers, understand the way of the written word. Titles describe a fictitious world and invite you into them. There may be times when one novel or series’ title appears to mimic another. Consider another view.

It takes time to finish and edit a 340,000 word trilogy. Add in the years spent going through multiple traditional publishers, who insist upon single submissions, then hold your works hostage for 6-12 months before deciding it’s ‘not-quite-right for them, but please send any other work you have’. Consider an indie writer, winner and runner-up in multiple writerly contests, who decides to take her work to an alternative platform. Because really, what more does any writer want than to find those readers who love her stories?

Chosen by Mist Book 3

Chosen by Mist
Book 3

Then understand this proposition. We writers tap into an infinite river of creativity, allowing what comes to flow through us and onto the page. Some have dubbed this process ‘writing to the bone’ or ‘ripping open a vein’. We humbly offer this gift to you.

In answer to those readers who take issue with titles that appear to provide more of what they already love: why not try the new? Decide for yourself. What do you really have to lose?

Have other writers and authors dealt with this issue? What worked for you?

Shadow Coyote by Janine M. Donoho

Lapping waves of fogLapped by vapor—

An islander on high ground.

Step, together, step in a

Freezing fogDance of nuanced solitude–

Isolated.

First above the flowing sea,

Then confronted by amorphous mist.

To enter?Ridge through fog

Or not…

Giant sage cold-sculpted by

Frozen drizzle.

Shadows parallel our track

Along shrouded ridge lines—

Four legged.

Climbing back into sunlight,

Manga spiked hair drips moisture.

Complex yips

In an untamed tongue

Follow.Reflection of trees against fog

The Half Life of Connor Owen by Janine M. Donoho

Connor Owen, whippet warrior pup

You might think we’d be better at this—

Goodbye to a beloved.

Gone our foxy rodent hunter—

Brilliant gaze, nimble mind, sleek beauty.

Torn from us too young,

His lively heart reduced

To two chambers

From the necessary three.Connor & Nina

Reckless the breeder

Of this sublime hound—

She who chose form

Over substance.

Goodbye, beloved hound,

Strong-willed young fighter,

Who battled the inevitable

Too long.

You might have thought

We’d be better at this.

Panting whippet

Connor Owen, beloved whippet – January 23, 2006 – December 30, 2013

Where his body rests beside Ziggy the greyt & Mandy the whippet

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Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27th, 2015
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