The Scent of Pines

I’m sitting on a picnic bench in Water Valley Campground. I take a deep breath, the scent of pine (or spruce or fir) fills my nasal passages, conjuring up happy feelings and sending me on a journey to so many places in my memories.

  • Jasper National Park in the 70s on a family trip. My first and ever-so-memorable time in Canada’s Rocky Mountain parks. Possibly what brought me to the area I’ve lived in now for thirty-five years, with the Rockies just an hour away.
  • Mount Gambier, Australia in 1990. After almost three months of tropics and desert, a hike into the pine trees at the top of a mountain transported a homesick young woman to the Rockies for an afternoon. And now, thirty years later, the same scent in a campground in Water Valley returns her to Mount Gambier.
  • And a plethora of hiking, skiing, and horseback adventures since moving to southern Alberta in the mid-80s.
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One Year Later

Just over a year ago, my husband and I were in Toronto, there to accept his Volunteer of the Year award from Sail Canada. We flew in a plane. We stayed in a hotel. We dined in restaurants. We enjoyed what would be our last indoor live music event for more than a year. And we attended the Sail Canada awards reception and banquet. It all seems like another life now, a different reality. The idea of being in a room full of people, shaking hands, taking food from trays circulating among the guests, sitting shoulder to shoulder at dinner, all seem impossible now. A year ago, it was just life as we knew it, a life filled with people contact.

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Becoming Pablo Release

The digital version of my new novella Becoming Pablo is now available! Get your free copy by subscribing to my eNews. Just fill in the form in the sidebar and I’ll send you your book. You’ll also get updates on what’s happening in this author’s world and receive offers from fellow writers.

If you’re not the subscribing type, Becoming Pablo is also available for purchase at a number of online booksellers. The paperback version will be out soon.

About Becoming Pablo

When a troubled and mysterious woman turns up at Paul Hutchings’ Baja hotel, his thoughts are thrown back to a time when his own life lay in shambles. As he observes Sandra’s struggle to find her way through an unnamed grief, he revisits the losses that threatened to break him.

Seven years earlier, after losing a career-changing acting role, the love of his life, and in middle age, his hair, Paul was set adrift until an old friend extended a lifeline, and Paul embarked on a journey which dramatically altered the course of his life. As he left his home in the UK and travelled to Australia, the United States, to Canada, and finally to Mexico, Paul’s journey evolved from running to seeking.

A prequel to the women’s fiction/romance novel House of the Blue Sea, Becoming Pablo is a story of finding one’s true self amid the rubble of a life.

Returning to the Blue Sea

At this cold time of year in Canada, one can’t help but daydream of warm, sunny places, and this winter I found myself longing to return to Casa del Mar Azul on the Sea of Cortez, the fictional location of my novel, House of the Blue Sea.

And … drum roll, please …

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Echo: The Retirement Years (Steeds … Chapter IX)

In 1990, I embarked on a grand adventure, one that would take me away from Echo and all things horse, a nine-month journey of the South Pacific—Fiji, the Cook Islands, New Zealand, and Australia. I couldn’t afford to travel and keep a horse so Echo was leased while I was away. Continue reading

POV Interview

I was recently interviewed by Cindy DeJager of Opal Publishing and the interview was just published in October’s Point of View E-Magazine! It was fun to think back on the origins of House of the Blue Sea and it was the first time I revealed just who I had in mind when I wrote the character of Mark Jeffrey, the British film star. If you’re curious about who inspired Mark, click on the cover below. If you pictured a different actor when you read the book, I’d love to hear who it was. Send me an email!

POV_Oct16_Final cover

Echo: The Competition Years (Steeds … Chapter VIII)

After a bit of a summer break, on with the story of Echo the Wonder Horse!

Following his quarantine period, Echo was turned into a 3-acre pasture with a few other horses where he went right to work establishing himself as the alpha. This took about ten minutes. He was a confident, dominant fellow.

Echo looking back at pasture
Echo keeping an eye on his herd

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Echo the Wonder Horse (Steeds … Chapter VII)

elkana
Elkana Ranch in Bragg Creek

It was the dead of winter, 1987, and Stan the Arabian had been sold to one of the other students at Calta Stables. I wasn’t looking looking for a horse, but I had mentioned to one or two people that I might be interested in buying if the right horse came along. Hilton and Kristin Hack had been out taking a clinic in Bragg Creek in the fall at the same time the annual Elkana Ranch fox hunt was being held (a mock hunt with no actual foxes). They’d run into friends Rob and Jacquie Bishop, who were participating in the hunt, and Rob was riding a 7-year-old, black, Anglo-Arab gelding that he mentioned was for sale, for $1000, if they knew anyone looking. At the time they didn’t but a few months later, there was me, considering buying a horse. Continue reading

Fez Rebestan and the Horses Hack (Steeds … Chapter VI)

spruce meadowsWhen we last looked in on my journey with horses, I’d just rehomed my sweet, fat pony, Houdini, and moved to Alberta. Calgary … home of the Calgary Stampede, Spruce Meadows, and many more things of a horsey nature. I actually arrived in Calgary in the middle of Stampede week, an auspicious beginning to what would be a long residency. Continue reading

A Better Place

closing the door 2“Last one in close the door!”

There’s a great irony in Britain voting for Brexit largely based on concerns and fears over immigration. Through its long history, Britain has been a nation of emigrants, spreading to all corners of the globe. They may have called it colonizing or settling prior to the 20th century, but it was done in search of a better place, a better life, not so different from today’s immigrants. Continue reading