Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

A hiker creates a fake forest

The Grove Cover_blogsizedOn Friday, I talked about how I built a fake town called Sitka’s Quay for The Grove. Today, I’ll discuss how I created the Grove for The Grove. As I said, one of my first decisions, I make when writing a story is if I should make up the setting, or set it in a real place. But there are also a few different things to consider if one is building a place where no humans live than creating a town.

As many of my fans and friends know, I am an avid hiker so I’ve been to many trails near the Ocean, in the mountains and forests. I have lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life and I have done some volunteer trail maintenance. Trails are designed both to work with the environment, is dependent upon who owns the land and how that landowner wants the land to be used and with the people who uses them. Since when I am writing I want it to feel real…

When I envisioned the Grove, I wanted most of the trails to be family strolls, not hard wilderness hiking. The reason? It’s logical.

The landscape was inspired by Hug’s Point State Park, CapeLookout State Park, Ecola State Park, OR and Kalaloch Beaches, WA (which I’ll go into more depth in an upcoming blog post about inspirations.)


Kalaloch Beach 4 Trail

Sitka’s Quay is two miles north, so its not going to be wilderness hiking. Like many places on the Oregon Coast its right off of Highway 101. Part of the Grove, is covered by the brackish Lake Elsie which would expand during the winter and contract during summer. This area would be covered in boardwalk.  The main trails basically circles the forest and then leads down to a beach. It would be fairly accessible. People would walk their dogs there or go fishing in the lake.


Tycho surrounded by ferns, salal and blackberries

Also though there is some hills and cliff faces off the beach, realistically this would only be a couple 100 feet over sea level even at the highest point


Trees would be Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Western Cedars. Smaller plants would include Oregon grape, thickets of salal, wild lilies, and ferns.

I describe it thus in Chapter 1, Scene 3:


That being said, not everything remained the same, I originally named the Grove, Sutter’s Grove for Sutter Kane the writer whose work opened doors to another dimension from In the Mouth of Madness. However in the dialogue everyone called it “the Grove” and I ended up removing the three times it was referred to Sutter’s Grove in narration by draft 3.

So that’s how I created the Grove within The Grove. Let’s talk worldbuilding! What are some of your favorite things to create? How often do you change things?
The Grove is available for Kindle at Amazon and it will be coming on September 13th in Paperback and everywhere else.

The Mountain was out today….

That’s what local people say when we see Mt. Rainier in the distance, but it was such a nice day that I cleared my schedule and went hiking with my grandmother at Mt. Rainier today. It’s a 2 1/2 hour drive for me to Paradise, an hour for her so we just met there.  We hiked for a few hours and then had ice cream. Also it was weird, we saw three people that she knew.

This was just taken by my phone, btw. I was a goof and didn’t check my good camera before I left.


Author’s Life: Week 10


Here’s me and the dogs at Blanca Lake.  I don’t know if you can tell, but I already went wading so my pants are dripping water down the stone. Photo taken by Rebecca Brown (my hiking partner)

Just a short blog post this week. So  a couple weeks ago, I told the world or at least the people who read the blog about my exercise program in order to enjoy hiking again. Well it’s week 10.  My big hiking goal of the summer was to make it to Blanca Lake. Today Rebecca, Rosie and Tycho and I made it!

An Authors Life: Fighting writer’s block and pain of rejection and flab all at the same time.

This post is not about writing. It is a confession.

I am going to confess something which most of my readers already know. I love sweets. I love baking. I don’t necessarily consider this negative –except that I stress eat. If I only ate sweets when I wanted them, I wouldn’t worry about it at all.

Other Systems put about 30 pounds on me. The comics added some too, but they were less stress added less, but lets say I have been on an upwards creep for the past six years. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows every year my New Years resolution has been to exercise. I discovered for about a month I do really well and then give it up. Main reason I get bored. Being a writer and artist means I spend a lot of time alone. What would happen is if I don’t work out first thing in the morning, well I’d tell myself, I’ll just do it later. Then the day ended and I never exercised.

Well seven weeks ago, I have finally realized I need a workout buddy. Or more accurately I need someone to hold me accountable.

My friend, Rebecca and I started doing a few easy hikes.  We both hiked when we were younger and enjoyed it. We went to Iron Goat and Snoqualmie Tunnel…. these are both easy. Then we thought maybe we could start by doing some moderate hikes and work our way up.

So we did Rattlesnake Ridge. It is 4 miles with moderate elevation gain. We were panting terribly. In fact I am pretty sure my heart and lungs wanted to explode out through my ribs. We could only walk about a quarter mile before taking a short sip of water to cool down.


Rattlesnake Lake is where you start to get to Rattlesnake Ridge.


Then you climb to the top and see this view!

Sitting on the top of the ridge, we enjoyed the view for awhile, and I remember this is why I started hiking so many years before. I found I really missed it.

Somewhere between the ridge and the car, we decided if we really wanted to enjoy hiking again–we needed to exercise every day.

We even said we would be buddies, but we didn’t have a specific plan yet.The next day, Dennis was watching a movie and I decided to walk around my neighborhood with the dogs.

I found our workout. Seattle has a bunch of stair climbs because we are a city of hills. So Rebecca and I started climbing the stairs. (The Day Street Hill Climb)

Week 1: We made it up and over and back down the hill, resting at 27th AVE but took the easy way back through the bike tunnel. We were panting and gasping for breath. But by Friday we could talk as we walked up the stairs.

By Week 2: Now there is a noticeable difference in our breathing.  We started going up and over, and then back up and back down. We still rested at 27th Street. But on the way back through the park one day, I got the bright idea to climb over the big toy.  She had the idea to run through the rock garden.

By Week 3: One day I felt spunky and refused to stop at 27th Street. Damn it hurt, but I made it.  It took Rebecca a little longer, but now she doesn’t stop either. On that weekend we hiked up Granite Mountain, we meant to do 4 miles, instead did 7. Rebecca and I had a epiphany: Crap the daily exercise was working! We just hiked 7 miles!


This is Lake Serene: 23 switchbacks and we climbed them all.

By Week 4: We were mixing up the hill climbs with other hill climbs to get max elevation gain in an hour. Don’t ask me why except we wanted to get to Lake Serene. That weekend we made it. 7.2 miles with an elevation gain of 2000 ft.

Three weeks later: we are now at week 7! I have exercised 5 days a week and one weekly hike!

Now here is the part no one will want to hear: Though I have noticed some bits of me (legs) more toned and I am much stronger, I have NOT lost a single pound. I am still a pleasingly plump pear shaped kind of woman. I have a soft and squishy belly. I was a size ten seven weeks ago and I still am a size ten. That might not change, but something else has: I used to exercise so I could lose weight and when I didn’t lose weight, I lost interest. Now my goal is a healthy mind and body no matter what size I am.

1) I am exercising because it allows me to remain strong enough to do things that I love such as hiking.

Rebecca and I have two “goal hikes” by the end of the summer.
Hers is Easy Pass which is 7 miles and 2800 feet elevation gain.


Here we are last week at Big Creek Falls. I am in blue.

Mine is Blanca Lake. which is 7.5 miles and 3300 feet elevation gain.

Our secondary goal is to exercise all year round so we might do snowshoeing in the winter.

2) It relieves stress and pain of rejection. I still love desserts, but have stopped going for a snack every time I get a rejection letter which is good because I have gotten three this week alone.

3) I have not had a day of writers block since I began exercising in the morning. It resets my brain and ideas have flooded in.

I am, Tycho, the might mountain poodle!

I am, Tycho, the mighty mountain poodle! Where is my cookie?

4) I love my dogs and I want them to be healthy too. Tycho LOVES running up the stairs in the morning. He has gotten much more confident over the past several weeks. He wants to play with other dogs again. He has lost weight. He was plump in the middle now he has toned up through his hind quarters. So the flab part of the headline was actually for Tycho.

Stoic Rosie doesn’t show her emotions, but is always awake and ready to go. So I think she likes it. She loves the hiking, because she gets lots of attention on the trail.

So I finally found something that works for me. I still like doing DVD exercise programs, but being accountable to someone else really gives me the push to do it –even when I don’t want to. Trust me there has been complaints.

So I realize this isn’t really about writing, but what works to keep you motivated on your goals?

I claim this mountain for Rosie! It will furthmore be known as Mt. Rosie. You and You and You are my subjects. Bow before me so I might cuddle you.

I claim this mountain for Rosie! It will furthmore be known as Mt. Rosie. You and You and You are my subjects. Bow before me so I might cuddle you.

My new year’s goal: Physical health for someone who sits on their bum all day!

Bad news everyone. I don’t believe the world will end in 2012. And even if it does, nothing I can do about it. So I figure I better think about some goals for the new year.

My biggest goal this year is to get healthier. It’s not only about losing a little weight. I completely admit I do want to look sexier. (who doesn’t?)  The real reason is I want to go out and enjoy some of the things I used to enjoy: snowshoeing and hiking. Last fall, I had such a great time in the UK, but  there were some days that I hurt from all the walking and lugging suitcases that I did.

I need to get daily exercise, beyond the dog walking. Especially since I sit on my bum most of the day writing and drawing.

Don’t worry, I have a plan which I will now share with the world…

1) I am going to do yoga three times a week. Specifically Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 9 pm with my husband. I have the DVD’s, yoga mats, straps, and bricks. We just got to get stretching.

2) I am going to do my cross training DVD on Tuesday and Thursday since this is a bit more high impact than my husband would like, I plan to do this one while he is at work.

3) Every Free Saturday, my friend Rebecca and I are going out on a day trip around Washington State for a nice hike, snowshoe trip, spelunking, etc.

4) Sunday is a day of rest and recovery or of the day for my writing group. While it sounds like a lot of work, actually my Yoga DVDs are only 30-45 minutes long, and my cross training one is 20 minutes. The Saturday day trip is the reward.

Now lets just hope this works!

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