Wednesday, August 29, 2007

the publishing life; following your dreams

I have been so remiss in not writing here! I can't even remember my random facts. I've been diligently working on the layout of my quilt and craft book to send to the publisher tomorrow! Hurrah. Then the edits for my novel coming out next April arrived with a few more redlines than I like so that'll be lots of decision-making. The Approved Reader copy has arrived at the local Variety Store where UPS and FED EX like to leave things rather than drive the 25 miles out here from town. Fed Ex does sometimes...they delivered my passport before I left for Canada. The audio of A Clearing in the Wild and A Tendering in the Storm are also ready to be listened to. We leave for Portland tomorrow, spend the night, leave early for St Louis and will listen to the audio as we drive from St. Louis to Bethel, MO, the site of my first novel in ths Change and Cherish series. There's a heritage festival going on and we'll get to see where my character, Emma Wagner, once lived and visit with the oldest living descendant of the Bethel Colony. Jerry's going with me; our children will stay here and look after the cows and dogs and our single cat, Diego.

I'm pretty much brain dead at this moment but that is the part of writing that seems to be lots of feast and famine time. Meanwhile, I've had a chance to read a book called "A Book is Born: 24 Moms Tell All" that will comeout this next month from Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing. Nancy Cleary pulled these writers together and it's full of good information about publishing and marketing and about pursuing your dreams. They did and that's what they are telling all about.

That's what I'm doing too. I sometimes forget that in the midst of the chaos and deadline crunch but when I take a breath and remember, I must say how amazed I really am that so much could be going on at a place called Starvation Lane. I hope your summer is busy in the best way. Thanks for your patience at my tardiness! Jane

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Blog interviews

Today and both have interviews with me up on their sites. I'm keeping this brief as I'm still on that deadline for quilts and crafts. I hope you're writing is going well! Warmly, Jane

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The fire is out, hallelujah!

First I apologize for posting then not getting back to people. I'm still learning this blogging thing...
The fire was put out on our ranch about 150 yards from the barn on Saturday evening about 8:00 PM. In the picture on the blog you can see the wide sweep of hillside. That's all black now. The ridge that rises up from the barn that's in the lower right hand corner is where they stopped it. Three fire trucks drove across the river from another county and about 8 more trucks -- three official though still volunteer fire trucks and ranchers and neighbors -- worked above to sort of "herd" the fire toward the rocky ledges. At least that's what I called what they were doing, using shovels at the fire line to push the burn toward the edge they wanted. One of the ranchers used his disk to work a fire line in the grasslands. Then the men and women marched down the edge with shovels pushing against the fire and smoke as they went. Water from the trucks at the bottom sprayed up and they got it out.
After that, they decided if they wanted to get any sleep that night after being up for 30+ hours straight and not wanting to worry about an errant ember firing up in the night and starting all over, that they would backfire a section. So about 25 men and women stair-stepped up the hillside dragging a fire hose and shovels and then they began setting flame to the grasses and pushing it back so it burned the green area until it reached black.
At times, because of the wind, the fire moved both up and down river at the same time. The BLM figured 15,000 acres had burned. We had power the entire time which was fortunate. Most of our neighbors didn't because over 36 power poles had burned as well, some falling across the road as firefighters drove past them to fight the fires. We get our power from across the river and it is underground at our ranch so we were all right and it allowed us to continuously irrigate around the house and around the haystacks and the barn and corrals where we had the cattle holed up.
This is the third fire in 22 years we've endured here. It's the second major fire that began burning far away but was put out on our ranch. We're so grateful for the firefighters and our family who helped and all the others from dispatchers and beyond who kept us abreast of where it was and how fast it was moving. We lost no buildings though our neighbors did. We may have lost some fence posts and our big irrigation gun has to be reworked today since in moving it the an out of the way place (behind the barn to pump water onto it instead of on a flat alfalfa field!) the wheel got bent. But all in all, we were most fortunate.
Once everything was over we fell into bed and then I was off finishing the photo shoots for the quilt and craft book so...I didn't get back to you all. Thanks so much for noting your concern.
Now if I can just finish this book....Warmly, Jane
Oh, here's a link to see the movement of the fire and a small photo of what it looked like in the wheatlands on top If I knew how to attach it on my blog,I would!

Saturday, August 4, 2007


We got the call at 1:25 AM telling us that the wildfire we thought had been contained late last night wasn't. Instead it is moving toward us. The ridge in the picture is the ridge it will come over much as it did six years ago when it took out our vineyard, all our fences but not our buildings. This fire has already taken several outbuildings of ranchers upriver from us; so far, no houses, but thousands of acres of rangeland. At least today the winds are lying low.
We've spent the morning moving big irrigation guns off the alfalfa fields and onto places that we want to water down to protect the barn, haystacks, cattle in the corrals. We'll move the goat into the yard shortly. At the house we've been running irrigation sprinklers in the "green space" as we call it for several hours now and set up special sprinklers up under the deck to keep them wet. All windows and doors are being kept closed as much as possible because as the fire moves forward it sends advance-men out, so to speak, of sparks and hot ash and open doors and windows can suck that inside the house. Fortunately we don't use the area under our decks for storage so they are clear of things that might otherwise catch fire.
I'm not sure there's much more we can do now except to wait. It's been 6 hours since they called; we can see the smoke now above the ridge but if it moves as it did the last time -- there's no telling it will -- it will be another six hours before it reaches the ridge next to the house. By then, the fire department will be down here and hopefully backfire as they did last time to divert the wall of flames twenty-feet high as it raced toward the house.
We've put things into the car but the reality is there are few things that are just critical that must be saved. Or else there are simply too many to sort. The dogs are agitated. Too much activity in strange places. So now we wait.

Friday, August 3, 2007


I thought I'd be more up to date writing a blog but I'm on some deadlines and life has intervened in other ways, too. There's a fire upriver from us...and the wind is blowing hard. This is a bad time in the west.
But for fun today, I had lunch with a retired pilot in Wasco a little town 25 miles from our ranch. She's now the editor of the Historical Society journal and we sponsored a writing contest for local students so today we were going over the results, having lunch at the Lean To Deli and Goose Pit Saloon, our "external office." We talked about other things too, of course. And it was while at the post office as she was sending her uniforms to a friend that I disocvered she'd retired and was no longer a commercial pilot.
That sort of fits in to my second random fact. I am a licensed pilot but since the accident in 1986, I haven't piloted. I have flown and even that took me lots of hyperventilating and practicing imagining the pilot doing everything he or she was supposed to be doing so that we could lift and descend without incident. There's only been one incident since our accident and that was a faulty hydrolic that squealed and the engineer came to sit by my seat to assess the problem. I was sure I was supposed to have died in our small plane crash and had somehow survived and now because I was on this commercial flight, the entire plane would go down! Funny how we have delusions of power at the same time that we feel totally power-less!
But all went well.
Our own accident took us between three houses in the middle of town, missing power lines. We had no fire. We'd hit a clear air wind shear. Our friends in the back seat, one who was seven and a half months pregnant, didn't have a scratch; she didn't deliver early. She doesn't remember the accident nor anything that happened for two days after it. The baby in utero is now 20 and doing well indeed.
For me, the idea of piloting again means relearning what I once knew in order to fly. It's pretty much for me "use it or lose it." I suspect that's why "writing every day" is such a mantra. If you don't, you lose the edge. For me and flying, I feared more than losing the edge. I suppose sometime in the future, when I'm no longer focused on writing and less life-threatening possibilities, I might take lessons again. I don't like the idea that fear would keep me from doing something I once enjoyed. But for now, I'm not going to take that fear of flying class for fear someone else will discover I'm a pilot...and that wouldn't engender much confidence in the profession at all.