Happy New Year! 2013 roared in, in many unexpected ways for me. Here’s a picture of the New Year’s Day hike I took with my husband in Big Sur on the Skinner Trail, at Devil’s Peak.

Happy New Year from Big Sur, CA
Happy New Year from Big Sur, CA

I have a love of surprises. On the drive down to Big Sur we saw whales spouting in the ocean, a huge pod that seemed to stretch the length of the coast as far as our eyes could see. On the drive to the trail head a bobcat jumped into some bushes at the side of the road. The hike went from an elevation of 2000 ft to 4500 ft. Here in California on the coastal ranges we didn’t expect to be hiking in snow, but that’s what we found. Our dog had never seen snow before and he delighted in it.


This year finds me beginning the writing of a new novel and beginning an inward journey as well. I want to share some quotes that inspire me in these promising days of 2013:

“He who bends to himself a joy

Doth the wingèd life destroy.

But he who kisses the joy as it flies

Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.”

– Blake

And Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City on relationships:

“There are those that open you up to the exotic. Those that are old and familiar. Those that bring up lots of questions. Those that bring you somewhere unexpected. Those that bring you far from where you started. But the most exciting challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone who loves the you you love––well, that’s just fabulous.”

Are there any quotes that have inspired you in this new year? I’d love to know what they are.

What I’m listening to: Queen’s One Vision

The great escape, measuring time & The San Francisco Book Review

I’m back home after unplugging for a five day vacation with the family up to a lake in the Sierras. We had a blast. It’s so good to travel up to the mountains again. That lake is like a second home to us and a place my hubby’s family has been going to for generations.

My daughter and I were able to sneak away from the pack for a while and we started to write a little fairy tale about the lake. It’s the first time I’ve ever written up there. We were sitting on the docks, looking out at the water and she wrote a paragraph and then I wrote a paragraph and before you knew it, we had a wonderful little story brewing. It incorporated a lot of the mythology of the lake, or what we imagined the mythology to be 🙂 , and includes some of our favorite spots too. I can’t believe I haven’t written there before. I guess maybe it’s not what my brain wants to do at 7000 ft? It’s been years since we’ve vacationed there. We keep asking ourselves why it’s taken so long to travel back to the cabin. A place we’d once gone to two or three times every summer. And then it became so obvious. It hit me at unexpected times. In my search for the table extensions, I opened the wrong closet and found his coats still hanging there. Groggy, on an early morning I opened a drawer in the bathroom and found his razor and overnight bag. Ray’s been gone for about six years now. I can still hear his voice up there. I still expect him to come around the fire at night. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure his spirit does. Ray’s been a big inspiration in my writing. He finds his way into many of my books. So, when I returned home to find the 4.5/5 star San Francisco Book Review of Transfer Student. I smiled. What author isn’t pleased that her writing is well received, right? But my happiness doubled because it came from a different place. It brought more memories of Ray and made my smile grow. See, years ago when I was writing the first drafts of the story, I was trying to come up with the language of the Rethan people. I was having a terrible time trying to come up with how Rethan’s measure time. Specifically, I was hung up on inventing their word for year. I ended up calling it a ray. Here’s a link to an interview where I talk more about the behind-the-scenes inspiration for the story. 

I hope you all are getting a chance to escape to a favorite spot this summer. Whether it’s sneaking away to your favorite spot in your garden to read or write or plant something beautiful or just walk around your neighborhood or hang out with friends. Escaping sure is fun.