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

How I embraced the suck (and learned to love – er – respect social media) by Janine Donoho

Soundings Book Release BashWe had a day this last week: Soundings Release Day Book Bash. Or as I dubbed it, ‘The Great Be-Staunch-Launch.’ Three other illustrious authors participated and offered great content. Camela Thompson’s character sketches, Patricia Eddy’s studmuffin, Shay West’s woo-hoo face amplified our event, while I tacked the stiff breezes on this, my maiden voyage. There be dragons, indeed. To revive, I downed a home-brewed double shot Americano afterward. Then I stared at the ceiling late into the night as caffeine kicked my lagging system into overdrive.Social networking

Overall? Four hours gone in a flurry of connectivity. Early into this, I committed to sharing authentic content, which took a lot of prep. Yet, I discovered fun and excellent companions—virtually, yes, but it feels more substantial than that.

Would I rather share an Americano face-to-face? Of course. Yet as my exemplary publicist Vanya urges me into the social seas, I realize we go to launch with the vessel we have. Thank you to all who participated. I’d pit this team against Ellison’s Oracle Team USA anytime.

Now I’m going to indulge in being the shy woodland creature I am and read for an hour—or two.

What works for you in social media? How do you engage and still keep your daily page count high?Socializing

Artist, Entrepreneur or Producer? by Janine Donoho

Do not flush...Oh, the rarefied air we artists breathe. Cogs in the greater wheel or isolated hermits toiling in a cave? We’re trying to figure that out even when everyone’s a “creative” and art has transformed once again into a craft populated by artisans.

Soundings Cover Upgraded 1-23-2015With the upcoming launch of my latest novel Soundings, Water Elemental, the necessities of social media have inundated me. I’m ensnared by the current model for artists who’ve morphed into creators whose daily work and lifestyle require processing for consumption. Remember the pink slime of hamburger fame?

C’est moi. Yet since I feel privileged to have such an excellent team at Booktrope, this definitely counts as a whine. Thank goodness for book manager and publicist exemplar Vanya’s practical voice calming my wildly oscillating sine wave before it flips to completely erratic.

After reading a provocative article in The Atlantic, I realize what overwhelms me—and possibly you, dear reader—is the latest obligation to be a creative entrepreneur versus an artiste. And Gladwell’s 10,000 hours toward proficiency? Evidently networking, high concept, and branding trump that in today’s world. Yes, the cult of personality triumphs.

Yet do we allow despair to suck us into its vortex? Absolutely not—resistance may not prove futile. Still the idea that creatives exist solely as corporate brands? That’s cynicism at its dankest depths.

I know a few of the writerly 1% who’ve become brands, whose stories translate into tours of economically challenged towns featured fictitiously in nudge, nudge, wink, wink their “breakout novels.” I salute them and their successes. If one of my stories rescues a town or my preference, an endangered species, I’d go for it.

You see, those 1% writers I unabashedly love did their 10,000 hours,Lapped by clouds absorbed craft, and now? Well, they’re professionals who support families, small towns, and the new corporate paradigm of “producerism.” The destructive force of a fully operational death star—er—marketplace has been brought to bear.

As our culture tracks Jane Austin’s “aha” moments, then equates them to “yo quiero taco bell”, I wonder which of my favorite writers would fail to publish today. Which undiscovered voices will be lost in the rush toward “producerism?”

Now I’m dragging my sorry artist’s butt to the kitchen for breakfast, then out to clean both cat box and pup yard. Today’s odyssey? The cupboard’s bare and I actually do live in a remote, yet plush “cave.” On, on.The view from here

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27th, 2015
The big day is here.

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