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

The Inherent Music of Storytelling by Janine Donoho

Dancing with my veil

Dancing with my veil

Our brains on music

Our brains on music

“Music creates order out of chaos: for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous.” –Yehudi Menuhin

Melodic impulse suffuses our lives. We’re creatures of rhythm, beginning with biological cadence—the rush and wash of our mother’s blood sustains us. Our emotional responses to music go deeper yet.

First as inquisitive child, then dancer and choreographer, and finally as storyteller, aural patterns enrich my existence. When I discovered Bach, especially as interpreted by Yo-Yo Ma, his suites blended with breath and heartbeat, freeing me to move into relaxed openness where creativity thrives. Count this as therapy on many levels.

Different musical patterns stimulate our brain’s emotional, motor, and creative areas. Yet generalizations that the right brain equates with creativity and the left, logic, have proven to be an oversimplification. Better to visualize different parts of our brain lighting up dependent upon pitch, volume, tonality, and rhythm.

Colors of music

Colors of music

Now ponder the secondary effects of music on involuntary responses. Our vision, language, and memory align to tuneful variations. This torrent generates the subjectivity of our song choices. I won’t even get into how our unique chemistry transforms those reactions.

The one hardwired response? Emotion. The basic distinction between overtly sad and happy tunes affects us. As we age, those effects increase.

So while Mary McLaughlin’s “Sealwoman/Yundah” provided a cadence to strive for in Soundings: Water Elemental, the piece may—or may not—elicit the same response in you. How successful my writing proves to be in reaching that pinnacle? I leave that to you, dear readers.

How does music elevate your life? What are your current favorites?

Music and our brains

Music and our brains

Skirt dance.

Skirt dance.

Zils and the dancer.

Zils and the dancer.

When a Writer Travels by Janine Donoho

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.Saint Augustine

Hiked along ancient Roman roads through Italy.

Hikes along ancient Roman roads through Italy.

My longest running mantra? Head down and get the job done. Yes, a great work ethic. Now I’m toiling to hone my playful aspect. Really, toiling, which holds too much truth to be as laughable as it should be.

You see, our latest relocation shifted from anticipation to body blow within days. Such is life when those around you insist on feuding like Hatfield and McCoy. My lifestyle choice? Cooperative humanitarian. So yes, trouble from the get-go.

Dragon in Marion Platzer Munchen

Dragon in Marion Platzer Munchen

To carry on, I embraced my fiercer tendencies, even slipping into grim determination at times. I wrote through isolation and completed more work, including Soundings: Water Elemental, all three novels in my Mistborn Chronicles, numerous short stories, and essays.

Productivity and a life well lived don’t necessarily equate and The Move occurred a decade ago. Imagine stunning natural beauty—balm to a conservation biologist’s soul. Then contrast that with irreplaceable friendships and few prospects ahead. See what I mean?

Just before The Move, Intrepid Guy and I returned from an extended journey through northern Africa with stopovers in Paris and then London. To get my groove back, I’m returning to my passion for grand vistas, historic art, and time-honored civilizations. Until plan can be put into action, I’m revisiting previous adventures—and you’re invited. This will be a multipart expedition and mostly pictorial.

So fasten your seatbelts. Our journey begins—now.

What does travel mean to you? How has experiencing diverse cultures changed your approach to life? Does it inform your writing?

Not so still life

Not so still life

Blog Tour – Janine Donoho – Soundings: Water Elemental

Is there hope for a grieving mother’s heart?

Ecopsychologist Dr. Margo Updike loses herself in a shadow life after her daughter’s tragic death. When a century storm deposits a young girl on Maggie’s secluded beach in Puget Sound, a miraculous renewal begins. Then the apparent orphan exhibits signs of neglect and worse, prompting Maggie’s vow to protect and heal her—no matter the cost.

The arrival of a mysterious man claiming to be Sorcha’s father upends Maggie’s life. She finds Morrissey strangely irresistible even as her friend Sheriff Ajax Smith questions the man’s motives and odd behavior. As a serial killer’s victims begin surfacing in Seal Cove, Jax must curb his suspicions to enlist Maggie as a profiler.

Will Jax and Maggie find the murderer before he strikes again? With Morrissey’s secrets trapping Maggie on destructive shoals between reality and legend, can she grasp his true nature before losing her chance to rebuild a life worth living? To what depths—and heights—will she go for a daughter, a beloved man and, ultimately, her humanity?

 
Title: Soundings: Water Elemental
Author: Janine Donoho
Genre: adult paranormal suspense/thriller
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
 

Excerpt from Soundings: Water Elemental –

Maggie leaned toward Kaci and, keeping her voice low,
said, “Let’s go out to the deck.”

They dressed for damp cold in the mudroom, and after checking
Sorcha and shushing the dogs, they let themselves out through the sliding door.
The friends headed for the covered space around the hot tub. With Kaci’s help, Maggie
removed the locked cover.

“Remember?” she asked Kaci.

“Your dad’s old tub? Of course, silly.” When they were
girls, for the important talks they gravitated toward Ephraim’s tub, then built
of cedar staves.

“Well, that old thing’s slated to be plumbed for a water
feature. This is Mom’s state-of-the-art spa. I think it’ll do.”

Peeking from the hoods of winter coats, they traded conspiratorial
looks before stepping out of their mules and clambering onto the top platform. With
a controlled slide, they occupied the dry space. Wriggling her wool-clad toes, Kaci
said, “Comfy, Mags. You could fit six adults in here easily.”

“I know. Mom wanted to modernize. She intended this for
scads of grandkids.”

“Oh, Mags.” Kaci reached a gloved hand toward Maggie,
who gripped it for comfort. “Now. Tell me what happened this morning.”

First Maggie told her friend about the early morning swim,
finishing with, “She didn’t even seem cold afterward. I was practically blue and
the dogs were exhausted. How can a four-, maybe five-year-old girl swim that far?”

Glancing through the glass doors toward the sleeping girl,
Kaci’s mouth formed a silent wow. She
said, “No wonder she’s tired. But kids have faster metabolisms than adults, don’t
they?”

“Well, yes, but Zoe certainly couldn’t have… Anyway
some other bizarre things are starting to surface.”

“Like?”

With a sense of relief, Maggie leaned forward and said,
“Kaci, she didn’t know how to use doorknobs. And the bathroom seems like foreign
territory. I caught her squatting in the mudroom before you came. She thinks it’s
a fine game when I set her on the toilet. Just laughs and giggles. And she hasn’t
put three words together.”

Kaci’s regard wandered over the quiescent girl. “She understands
you, though. And didn’t I hear an accent? Plus Sorcha’s not a common name. What
is it? Russian?”

Maggie said, “I’m thinking Celtic. But Kaci, everything seems foreign to her. She played
at opening and shutting cabinets and drawers until the salmon distracted her. I’ve
put the pots and pans away twice now—with her helping me. She’s so bright and aware,
I’m afraid that at the very least, she’s been secluded to the point of abuse.”

“No kidding. Some strange cult, you think?”

Maggie laughed then. “This from a woman who worships
the earth as Goddess and has tattoos covering nearly every inch of her body.”

Want more? Go to EVENTS to join the fun! Don’t be shy about commenting, since I always try to respond to all.

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27th, 2015
The big day is here.

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