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Entries in Hiking (3)


The view from here

The countdown begins. It's officially T-35 days until Songs of Willow You Know What arrives in stores. I'm busy researching (new book), editing (short story), running (eight miles!), and going AFK once in a while (AFK means: Away From Keyboard) in anticipation of my upcoming book travels which will be a whirlwind of airports, rental cars, hotels, bookstores, libraries, and the occasional concert hall.

In related news, Willow was chosen as an Indie Next List pick for September, and was also highlighted in August's Goodreads.com newsletter which went out to twenty million readers. No going back now.

Between edits I managed to get out and climb Mt. Henkel, which was akin to climbing the stairs of three-and-a-half Empire State Buildings. Misery loves company, so bring a friend.


Back on the leash

Summer is ending. Kids are back in school—which isn't such a terrible thing—I get to play my son's DBZ guitar during the day, cranking his amp to eleven, much to the chagrin of my neighbors and most of the dogs in the neighborhood. And I'm back in the thick of writing. What began as a short story about a group of orphans in Seattle during the Great Depression is screaming to be written as a novel. Or at least a novella. It's a sad story (with a redemptive ending) and it's breaking my heart with each page. Want to know more? I'll be reading the first two chapters here.

After spending the past several months working on the new manuscript, I've spent the last few weeks trying to squeeze a little magic out of summer. That included:

One more hike up in Glacier National Park. We set off to climb Mount Henkel, but the entire mountain was closed because of grizzly activity. We punted and hiked up and through the Ptarmigan Tunnel, a 13-mile jaunt that was breathtakingly scenic. And we still ran into a bear. But it was a brown bear who was more interested in huckleberries than gnawing on my femur.

Then I spent a few days in Bigfork where Taylor was attending the Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop. Here he is doing his best Eddie Van Halen impression. (His solo is at the 3:00 mark).

I also made it out to Seattle once more (my 8th trip this year). But on this trip I was able to spend some time with family and friends and dine in places like the Lunchbox Labratory.

I haunted Chinatown and my grandparent's old neighborhood, enjoying my "back eddy, a pool of jetsam beyond the pull of the main currant."

Next week I'm touring again, traveling to Texas, Seattle, California, and then Frankfurt, where I have, at last count, 187 meetings. Okay, it's only 14, but it feels like a lot.

Now off to bed, where I will dream of things untwittered.


Off the leash

The new manuscript has officially been turned in (again). Which means I’ve been off the literary leash, or at least away from my writing desk.

The first getaway was a hike to the top of Choteau Mountain on the Rocky Mountain Front. After seven miles and 3,300 feet of elevation gain, we had to turn back a mere 40 feet from the summit. Too much exposure. To much wind. No ropes. And an unsigned life insurance policy sitting on my desk…

The second getaway was a jaunt down to Cody, Wyoming, for an event at the Park County Library. The library gig was in conjunction with this weekend’s dedication and grand opening of the Interpretive Learning Center at Heart Mountain.

A particularly stirring moment was a shared talk by former internee (and former US Transportation Secretary) Norman Mineta and retired US Senator, Alan Simpson. The two first met as 12-year-olds in 1943, when they were boy scouts—Simpson on the outside, Mineta behind barbed wire.

And while I’m playing catch up, I should mention that Latvian rights to HOTEL have just been sold. Total languages: 30. Pig Latin, anyone? 

Also, here’s a recent interview with fellow writer, Patti Murphy.

Goodnight. We’ll talk again in the morning.