Meet the Character: Brett Dunbar

My first ever game of blog tag! I’m “it” courtesy of my friend and great author Eve Gaddy. (her book Cry Love is incredible!) This one is a meet the character game, to introduce a character in a current or upcoming book. So, here we go…oh, wait, first, a visual.

caviezel

Yeah, I thought that might get your attention!!

Okay, now that you have a picture in your head, read on. Or feel free to drool a bit more, your choice.

MEET THE CHARACTER

Answer these questions about your main character from a finished work or work in progress:

1.) What is the name of your character?

Sheriff’s Detective Brett Dunbar. This will be a familiar name to readers following the Cutter’s Code series. In this adventure, Cutter has decided that, contrary to his human’s plans Brett, who needs a little Cutter-style intervention, will be the one dog-sitting him while they are on their honeymoon.

2.) Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

To me he’s real! But I suppose I must admit he’s fictional. Sadly, because he looks like Jim Caviezel.  (See above. Drool. Repeat.)

3.) When and where is the story set?

When is what the fiction world calls “the ever present now.” Meaning present day, whenever that might be in your world. Where is my beloved Pacific Northwest, and one of our famous ferry boats even made the cover of the book!

4.) What should we know about him/her?

Brett is an ex-LAPD cop who has relocated to a smaller, much more rural location in the woods of western Washington state. He left to escape that harsh world and painful memories, and was quite happy living a quiet life alone. And then he ran into the people of the Foxworth Foundation, and their uncanny canine partner, Cutter, and his life was changed forever.

5.) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

When what starts out as a simple favor mushrooms into a dangerous mystery of huge proportions, Brett finds himself getting drawn ever more deeply into the world of Sloan Burke, a woman he finds both attractive—a shock to him, since he’d sworn off—and unavailable, since he believes she is still in love with her heroic and honorable late husband. That she is just as heroic and honorable herself makes it all even harder for him.

6.) What is the personal goal of the character?

His original goal is to help Sloan solve her simple problem and then extricate himself. But both the problem and his feelings soon become much more than that.

7.) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The title is OPERATION POWER PLAY, and it’s available for pre-order now, at the links below.

Amazon: http://bit.ly/11ix37G

B&N: http://bit.ly/1zkqE7b

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1xycq34

8.) When can we expect the book to be published or when was it published?

It is scheduled for February 3, 2015. (February 1 for Kindle)

Here’s the cover, do you think they got close? (and no, that’s not really what Cutter looks like, but they tried!)

Cutter 6 cover

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Do you love where you live?

Shack_dungeness

No, I don’t mean your house, specifically. Or that “house,” in the picture. (which, despite appearances, happens to be in one of the most beautiful spots in my state, Dungeness Spit–home of the famous and delicious Dungeness Crab).

As you may have gathered, I do love where I live. For many reasons, not the least of which is just pure, scenic beauty. I rarely leave the house without my camera, especially not my daily walks along the sound, because you just never know what you’ll see.

When people think of the Pacific Northwest, many think only of rain and gray skies. I’d like to dispute that with some of those pictures I promised. Skies in the Northwest can be the most colorful you’ll ever see. Not that they can’t be gray, mind you:

Fog

Or downright dark (yes, that’s snow):

Feb 09 snow2

But they can also be so bright it almost hurts your eyes. We call these days “severe clear”:

2013-06-30 Baker cropped

They can be golden:

sunrise2 10-12

Or pink:

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So orange you look toward Mt Rainier just to be sure it hasn’t blown:

2013-08-22 05.57.09

Sunrise can sneak up on you:

2013-04-27 06.04.36

Or explode:

Sunrise pillar2

And where I’m located, sunsets are second-hand:

Baker Sunset cropped

And on some exceptional days, the sky doesn’t even look real. I call these watercolor mornings:

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2013-09-02 06.36.30

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I think it’s pretty clear why I love living here. I knew this was home the first time I came here, even if it did take me a long time to get here. And I still wonder why it took me so long, why I just stayed where I was planted, as it were.

How about you? Have you always lived where you are, or are you a roamer by choice or by necessity? Are you happy where you are, or do you long for someplace else?

The End of My Lazy Summer

  • Note: There’s news coming! For the wonderful readers who have regularly, over the years since certain books came out, written me about them, I’ll have an announcement soon! But now, I have to turn in my “summer excuse.”

So as my last post–over a month ago–indicated, we had a rare summer for the Pacific Northwest. Lots of warm and sunny. Sometimes a bit too much warm for me. All I can say is heat pumps are the best invention ever. Well, after air conditioning in general, I suppose. Anyway, I never played hooky from school (what can I say, I was an angel–a terrified angel, but that’s another story) but I did from the blog. But it was 48 degrees this morning, the flag is whipping in 30mph winds, and I have steady rain. Yep, fall’s definitely here.

Spring is long over, according to my apple tree, which used to look like this:

apple blossoms 2012

And this little guy is bigger now…

fawn

…although mom is still close by, if a bit itchy.

itchy deer

And now summer is gone as well, along with some of the odder cloud formations, blue skies giving way to perpetual gray.

wedge cloud crop

The big question every year around here (well, at my house anyway) is will we be looking at this sometime soon?

Snow11 1-12

Most winters, when we get snow, it’s the perfect amount for me. Enough to say “Oh, snow, I can’t get up my driveway, guess I’ll build up the fire, fix a chai latte, curl up and read a book.” Or “Oh, gee, I guess I’d better finish knitting that sweater, I’m going to need it!” I love those days. But then, I’ve never lived anywhere that regularly gets snow several feet deep, which I’m sure colors my perception. They say it’s a “neutral” year so far, meaning no “El Nino” or “La Nina.” (apologies to the non-weather geeks/non-Pacific Ocean folks–they are Pacific Ocean conditions that greatly affect weather) Which would normally mean probably not this kind of snow. But then again, we had almost no snow last winter, and we very rarely have two back-to-back no or low snow years.

In other words, no clue. Yet, anyway. But my playing hooky is over, the blog is back, that news will be forthcoming, and lots of other things!

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Lazy

You may have noticed my absence. Or not. 😉 But once I finally had to admit summer was really here, even in the Pacific Northwest, life changed. You see, unlike where I grew up, here one must grab summer and run with it. It’s short, sweet, and doesn’t come back for a re-visit very often. And so I’ve been spending time out in it, and less in front of a computer screen except when actually working. (more on that next post) My eyes approve. And to keep them happy, this will be short.

But summer has been a beaut so far, long, warm (actually hot, but with parts of the world enduring three digit temperatures, I don’t feel I have the right to whine. At least, not in public!) and dry, So warm I was actually harvesting tomatoes in July, which is almost unheard of in my little corner. Which brings me to the subject of today’s brief post. You may recall my last post, a picture I titled “The mother of all strawberries.” That would be this one:

momma strawberry

Mom!!

And I mentioned how all of the little strawberries in my planter had come from this one, inexpensive plant purchased ten years ago. Strawberries, which like heat, and summer. At least these do. Because since my post at the end of June, we’ve gone from this:

 

IMG_0132

Nice, well behaved children.

To this:

Invasion

It’s an invasion, run for your life!

We have another month of sunny, dry weather predicted. I think I should be afraid.

Happy rest of summer to all!

Summer?? How’d THAT happen?

Sun halo

What is that glowing orb up there???

Well, it’s official. Summer has arrived. For most, anyway. Summer doesn’t really arrive in the Pacific Northwest until July 5th, but that’s another story. But since the sun arrived the other day, complete with rainbow necklace, I guess I have to admit it.

Problem is, I’m not ready!! Our spring here is so darned non-committal that just about the time I think it might really be here, it’s summer, and I’m blinking, thinking, Wait, what? So here I am, having to say goodbye to spring when I barely had time to enjoy it. It’s a good thing I took pictures, so I can prove at least the plant life thought it was spring. So let me introduce you to some of my friends and family:

Callas

The Carnivorous Calla Lilies

These suckers are so big that after a rain bugs drown in them. If it’s a good bug, I’ve been known to try to rescue them. If it’s an earwig, it’s on its own. Ugh.

momma strawberry

The mother of all strawberries

This, my friends, is a plant to be revered. She is indeed, the mother of all strawberries. Purchased on a whim nearly ten years ago, this little plant has provided children that have filled every planter I have. So for $7.99 I got eleventy-two hundred plants. Think I’m kidding? Here:

IMG_0132

All in the family….

Every bit of green you see in this planter here, and the little pink flowers, are all kids from that momma strawberry. I could fill every square inch of my yard with this within a year. And yes, they really bear tiny strawberries. I have it on good authority, meaning the birds that always get to them before I do, that they’re very tasty.

Now this little oddity looks like it would be happier out in the Mojave Desert somewhere, yet it seems surprisingly happy here. I bought it simply for the anachronistic look of it. Because that’s the way I am.

poker plant

Took a wrong turn at Vegas…

And now we come to one of my favorites, the creature I fondly call “Cousin Itt.” (if you’re too young to remember the Addams Family, look him up) As usual, he needs a haircut, but for now he’s so…fluffy I’m happy to just walk around him.

cousin itt

Get away from me with those clippers!!

And finally, the most productive members of the family, or at least so I hope. There is only one place I can grow tomatoes well here, and that’s my front porch. It’s sheltered from the wind, and a good 5-10 degrees warmer than anyplace else around the house. So here they are, and here they shall stay, and if anyone is bothered by produce growing in their path to the front door, then they probably aren’t people I’d want to open the door to anyway.

IMG_0129

Whaddayoulookinat??

So there you have it, my sad tribute to a spring we barely experienced. You’ll noticed I ignored the grass. That’s because I’m the one who has to mow it, and I feel little affection for it at the moment. I’m probably the only person around anxiously awaiting its death by summer heat. (no, not DEAD dead, just done for the year.) Parking that lawnmower for a few months is one of the happiest moments of my year. But alas, not yet.

So how about you? Gardener, or brown thumb? Ornamentals or edibles? Try new things every year, or stick with the old reliables? Experiment to see what you can possibly grow in a container?

Refilling The Well

Canada Geese northbound

 

It’s spring, and a young bird’s fancy turns….

Okay, I finally believe it. Spring is really here. I mean, once I’ve seen the Canada Geese flying north in formation, I know it’s just me who hasn’t felt it. I trust their internal clocks more than mine, because their time doesn’t get messed with, they don’t deal with things like daylight savings time and other man-made idiocies that keep us thinking we’re somehow in control of nature. (can you tell I’m not a fan? Grump, snarl…)

But I digress.

I’ve introduced my neighbors before. But in case you missed it, here they are, sharing a quiet moment in a nearby tree.

eagle pair

One of the great joys of living in the Northwest is seeing these magnificent creatures on a regular basis. This time of year, almost daily. One of the first bird calls  I learned when we moved here years ago was theirs; it’s unmistakable once you’ve heard it. (I was given a small, stuffed bald eagle as a gift once, the type you squeeze and get the bird’s call. They got it exactly right.)

Everyone, writer or not, I think finds themselves now and then in a place where they just can’t keep going. Where they’re beaten down, too weary to go on. Where they’ve gone to the well once too often, and this time come up dry. Times like this, you need to know what refills your well, and then make a conscious effort to do it. For some it’s reading for hours. For others it’s getting outdoors, walking or hiking. For some it’s traveling.

For some, like me,  it’s doing something with your hands, creating something entirely different. Knitting, for me, takes up an entirely different set of brain cells, and lets the writing part of the brain rest and refill. And when I can combine it with sitting outdoors and waiting for my neighbors to come by, it’s even better.

Since I’m between books at the moment, I’ve had time to enjoy the show that truly means spring around here. My neighbors are celebrating the arrival in the way only they can. By flying, soaring, together.

eagle pair flight

And this year, for only the second time since I’ve lived here, I had the soul-stirring joy of watching an eagle courtship flight. Something impossible to describe, impossible even to really show in pictures, but once you’ve seen it in person, you will never, ever forget it. These two glorious, powerful birds soar skyward. They turn. Lock talons. And fall. Fall in a turning, twisting tumble that is breathtaking. Locked together they plummet, cartwheeling, trusting their instincts and their own strength to save them when at last they break apart, only to soar upward and do it all again.

Courtship. Of the most heart-racing kind. A little bit dangerous. Requiring complete trust. But worth it, in the end. And if you didn’t already know, bald eagles mate for life.

That’s why they refill my well, in a way few things can.

 

eagle dance crop

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Wait, do I have my holidays confused??

Wait, do I have my holidays confused??

No, I’m not really confused. It is, of course, St. Patrick’s day. Since I’m half Irish, I know this. (the other half is split between Welsh and a contribution from a mercenary Hessian from the American Revolution who fell in love with America and let himself get captured so he could stay, but that’s another story….)

Green cupcake

There, that’s better. More appropriate. I was going to use a shot of a pint of Guinness, but for some reason I can’t find it…..

I’ve sometimes wonder if I would have guessed at my Irish blood if I didn’t already know it. When I first came to the Northwest, after years of trying to survive in a dry, desert region paved over with concrete and asphalt, I was off the ferry out of Seattle less than five minutes before I realized I felt I’d come home. Is it some genetic memory that hearkens back to other green covered land and blue waters? As a child, the first time I heard a Celtic flute, without even know what it was, my heart was filled with longing, an ache I couldn’t define. And heaven help me, the pipes. Yes, yes, I love the pipes. Apparently you either love or hate bagpipes. No denial here. I’ll stop for the pipes anywhere, unless they’re playing Amazing Grace, because then I’ll end up weeping my eyes out.

“Maybe it’s bred in the bone, but the sound of pipes is a little bit of heaven to some of us.” –Nancy O’Keeefe

The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots as a joke, but the Scots haven’t seen the joke yet. –Old Irish Joke

Someone once said to me “Of course you’re a writer. It’s the Irish, you know.” I didn’t know, but there certainly is a stable to choose from. And they do have a way….

“The English language brings out the best in the Irish. They court it like a beautiful woman. They make it bray with donkey laughter. They hurl it at the sky like a paint pot full of rainbows, and then make it chant a dirge for man’s fate and man’s follies that is as mournful as misty spring rain crying over the fallow earth. Rarely has a people paid the lavish compliment and taken the subtle revenge of turning its oppressor’s speech into sorcery. ”  T E Kalem

And I have Irishman Brendan Behan to thank for one of my favorite quotes ever, since becoming a writer:

“Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves.”

No, I’ve never set foot on that green, green isle, but I hope to rectify that some day. How can you not want to visit a land that has a place like this?

"Heavens Trail" A place in Ireland where every two years on June 10-18 the stars line up with this path. (H/T @Earth_Pics )

“Heavens Trail” A place in Ireland where every two years on June 10-18 the stars line up with this path. (H/T @Earth_Pics )

In the mean time, to you all, Irish, part Irish, or not, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

photo credit: Chris Devers via photopin cc

photo credit: clevercupcakes via photopin cc