Greetings from Portland, Oregon –
Fall is here. Footballs as well as baseballs are flying, and summer’s last gasps are now history. Oregon Summer 2013 will go down as a truly unforgettable one for many reasons including an abrupt personal writing turn and a return to my sorely neglected blog.
Typhon Trumps Simply Spectacular Oregon Weather
Just mentioning this makes me nervous about the rainy season that is already in residence, but since we’re likely already doomed there’s no reason to be bashful. Following a remarkably polite and easy-to-get-through winter/rainy season, we had the most perfect, glorious really, spring and summer I’ve seen since moving to the Northwest way back in July of ’72.
Months of sunny, warm dry days with just enough rain to avoid drought. When it rained it came in concentrated bunches and often overnight. Moderate heat sparing us the rough patches, and humidity was low. This was a textbook tomato year to boot, the antithesis of Green Tomato Year when summer is either short or MIA altogether.
A meteorological gift and I know better than to let go to my head. Remnants of the Chinese typhoon just drowned us and we’ll soon be building arks. The weather scales always balance.
Baseball’s Perfect Storm of Young Stars
An amazing season in many ways, none more astounding than the deluge of young stars shining in Major League Baseball, and they are everywhere. The Cardinals, for example, leading MLB by using19 rookies, eleven of them pitchers, and they’re hardly alone. On every team young players are making not just an impressive contribution, many are dominating as I’ve never seen, and at a younger age and far less seasoning. Making statements in the post-season and proving they aren’t flukes.
Talent so incredible even the ever-more-pathetically-painful-to-watch ARod-BioGenesis debacle couldn’t diminish its luster.
On the downside – many of the very best pitchers, consensus studs, had inexplicably awful years, trashing Fantasy Teams with an enigmatic and decisive cruelty.
And for my Cards to be in the playoffs again, it’s a real treat.
The Old Dog Passed Away in June
Mac, my wonder lab and the dog of my life, passed away on June 14th, a day after turning 14. I encourage you to read what has come to be called by more than a few, his Tribute Post: The Old Dog’s Final Gifts.
A quick snapshot of a great guy and a remarkable life, you’ll enjoy it. That said, have a tissue or three at the ready.
He really was my writing partner and the better half of Old Dog Publishing, and over three months later I still miss him every day. I drive up to house and expect him to be there. At least the tears have mostly stopped.
While he’s gone, he’s at the heart of my new book I hope to have ready this winter. Incredibly, and this comes from a novelist and fiction junkie, it’s – gasp! – non-fiction.
I was early into the next Cups Drayton crime thriller. Many of you may know that Mac inspired the character of Weller, the old black lab I introduced in The Old Dog’s New Trick, the second book in the series. That’s Mac on the cover, by the way, and Weller returned in the book that followed, Imperfect Resolution. And I’d planned on bringing him back yet again in the new Cups, tentatively titled Keep Going.
I was only a half-dozen chapters into the new novel when Mac died. As hard a time as it was for all of us, I couldn’t continue writing it then. I soon realized it was more than his absence and needing time to grieve; I had unfinished business.
Mac was the dog of my life, and the four-legged love of my life. And despite an insane medical history, he lived a remarkable, if wholly improbable, doggone-good-dog’s-life. Before returning to fiction, I had to write Mac’s story.
And surprise, surprise, I’m taking a detour into non-fiction.
Paw Prints in My Heart (Coming in 2014)
I’m about a quarter through it, and as my best friend in the world and a trusted ‘early reader’ of my four novels so aptly observed when I told him my plan: “A story that needs to be told and I’ll bet you find it therapeutic, too.”
And it’s true, I still miss the old guy every day, but don’t feel so cut-off or far away. Too many memories and mostly good ones that make me smile.
I also feel so remarkably at home with non-fiction, and my freelance writing business is thriving. I’m lucky to have amazing clients in every conceivable niche. They range from big and long established to hungry start-ups, and are located throughout the country and around the world. Most days are filled with exciting and challenging stuff that truly is a lot of fun.
Skype makes it possible – Canada, Great Britain, even Australia with a 17-hour time difference.
When I talk to them it’s tomorrow.
When they talk to me it’s yesterday.
So between all the challenging and ever-different jobs, returning to Mac’s story is a respite that heals my heart and brings new life into my memories and appreciation for just how lucky a dog lover I was for those fourteen years and a day.
I’ve neglected the blog, working through grief and working through work.
It sure feels good to be back.
Thanks for reading, and all the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –
If you enjoy the blog, you’ll love my books.
My newest novel, The Do-Over, is a hoot. Different by design from my thrillers, I hope you enjoy it.
If you’re a crime thriller aficionado, Rush to Dawn is the first in the Cups Drayton Series and Part I of The Mirano Trilogy. Like the other books in the series The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, available in paperback and Kindle eBooks.
To get the books click: To get the books click: Get the Books!
To learn about the books click: About the Books!
May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!
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