Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

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Are Your Veins Open?

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One of my all-time favorite writing quotes is by sportswriter Walter “Red” Smith:

There’s nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.  

If you’re a writer, you know what I mean. If not, well. Hang on a min. It goes like, “I sometimes think that if my veins were cut, they would bleed Mount Rainier snow melt.”

12 Top Trails at Mount RainierThat’s because my latest, 12 Top Trails at Mount Rainier, combines two long-time faves: hiking and Mount Rainier National Park.

From the Author’s Note:

Asking a Rainieraholic like me which Mount Rainier trail is her “favorite” is like asking a mom which kid she likes best. So selecting the “top 12” trails at one of the world’s most majestic mountain sites isn’t quite like falling off a Douglas fir, if you know what I mean. But as my dear hubby, Old Iron Knees, says: You were born to write this book.

Why does he say that? Well, either he hasn’t yet had his morning caffeine fix, or he knows I’ve been hiking Mount Rainier National Park since 1964. I have a pretty good view of the Mountain’s trails from my perch here in the nosebleed section of the “50+ yard line.”

I wouldn’t trade it for all the snow in Paradise.

So this little tome is my version of Top 12 Trails at Mount Rainier National Park (MRNP). Kindly note that it is my version of top trails at Mount Rainier. Not yours. Meaning, this list is highly subjective. If you don’t mind, neither do I. Also note that these are day hikes. Not week or month-long adventures or multi-night backpacking excursions. Savvy? …

And just so we understand each other: This isn’t another Mount Rainier trail guide. If you’re looking for mileage, elevation gain, landmarks or where to park, etc., some of that’s included. But 12 Top Trails is more like a trail guide/personal narrative/carpe diem/how in the world can you miss any of these, because your life’s not complete till you do kind of tome. Don’t forget to pack your sense of humor. Just sayin.’

Includes trails in Longmire/Reflection Lakes area, Paradise, Sunrise, and Chinook Pass. Part trail guide, part memoir, part humor. All heart. Or in this case, Mount Rainier snow melt.

Happy trails!



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What I’m Reading – And You?

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Ever notice how “summer” and “reading” seem to go hand-in-hand? Kinda like “whine and cheese.” “Peanut butter and jelly.” “Presidential debates and you’re kidding, right?”

Like most writers, I’m also a voracious reader.  Here’s what’s on my plate at present:

You may already know that Richard Paul Evans is a long-time favorite. I snap up everything this guy cranks out. Usually within a nano-second of publication. He’s that good. I’m reading through his Michael Vey series right now. Just polished off Book 4, Hunt for Jade Dragon. Fresh and engaging with a dose of gentle humor, this series is just plain fun. Highly recommended if you have a kiddo who’s a “reluctant reader.”

Dogsong – You can almost taste the snow and feel the cold in this terrific outdoor story by Gary Paulsen.  Being a dog lover helps.

Renegade – The Silver Blackthorn Trilogy Kerry Wilkinson’s novel about 11 teenage “Offerings” on the lam from King Victor and the Kingsmen is vaguely reminiscent of The Hunger Games. But there are enough intrigues and surprises to keep you turning pages. Fast. Set in a dystopian kingdom where just about everyone is a fief, a vassal, or enslaved to a sadistic, mad monarch. Bonus points: the author is British. The text is marinated with enough British-isms like “lift” (elevator) and “bonnet” (think car) to keep your average Yank guessing. Lots of fun!

Lie in Plain Sight  Maggie Barbieri’s multi-faceted “who dunnit?” *starring* baker and amateur sleuth Maeve Conlon. I don’t typically gravitate toward “who dunnits.” But this one is fun. Realistic dialogue and three-dimensional characters, with lots of unexpected twists and turns.

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Word or Less. I grabbed this one off a library shelf on a lark. It was one of those “swoop in, swoop out” expeditions. This remarkable true-life story by Terry Ryan doesn’t disappoint. Sensitive, crisp and briskly paced, this memoir is as “catchy” as the author’s mother’s “25 words or less” contest entries that keep the family afloat during the 1950s.  There’s plenty of subtle humor and rapier wit in this lively read. I loved it!

The book was made into a 2005 movie with Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore and Laura Dern.

Any favorite titles or authors to recommend?  Chime in!