Hot and Dry – wildfires in BC

Red dahlias

We have had an incredible summer of heat and dryness in British Columbia. Yes, we’ve had wildfires, some from nature, some manmade. Our rivers are low, the salmon are suffering as they swim upstream to spawn. The forests show the effect of lack of rain –the cedars especially seem able to let whole branches go brown and drop to the ground so the rest of the tree continues to survive.

My garden is struggling. The tomatoes on the deck are too hot, even with lots of water, and the fruit starts to rot even as it ripens. Those growing in the upper garden are coming more slowly and most seem to survive long enough to turn a lovely red. I have a huge zuchini plant which gave me one fruit, about 20 inches long and weighing 5 pounds. Everything seems to be out of whack!

The dahlias? Only the red pompoms are blooming. It is so weird. I have 16 different varieties. I don’t know them by name but by description, yet other than red pompoms, I have 1 white, 1 adobe, 1 yellow (with stems so short I can’t cut them and put them in vases). Does this mean only the red ones like this heat? Hard to tell.

How are you surviving the hot weather? I”m not writing and not at work, so I’m going to cool off with a swim in the lake. 🙂

Comment on a blog – is there a right way?

Connect with your favourite blogger, and the best way is through leaving a comment. Is there a right way to do that?

We all like to connect with a blogger who writes information we can use and appreciate. Kevin Duncan, on has written an interesting column on how to go about it. His goal – to connect with the bloggers you enjoy and who you feel can contribute to your own strength on blog sites.

Kevin talks about the bad habits to avoid. Click on the link below to read them. But more interesting are the 4 good habits that he recommends.

1: The Greeting– personalize your comment. All it takes is to include the name of the author. If you’re hoping to catch the attention of bloggers and strike up a relationship, a healthy dose of etiquette will help.

2: The Compliment – make it sincere. You can focus on the blogger, the post, or a combination of the two. If you’re a fan of the blogger’s work, say so. Even better, refer to specific example where their writing has helped you. If you focus on the post, pick a particular point that hit home, and tell them that.

3: Added Value– good comments add extra value to a post. Think about what value you can add by your comments. He suggests mentioning personal insights or anecdotes, or asking thoughtful qustions about the topic.

4: The Parting Promise – I enjoyed this one, as I hadn’t given it much thought. Let them know you’ll share their blog. It’s the perfect compliment when you feel compelled to share what has already helped you. Make sure to tell the blogger so.

You can find the full blog at

Legal Obstruction – free June 5 – 9

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Liebster Award for blogging

I have been nominated for the Leibster Award, it’s all about finding new blogs to visit and enjoy.

I am thrilled to have been nominated for this award by Jacquie Biggar, blogger and author extraordinaire. You can check out her blog at I’ve followed her blog since she first began posting to it, and I love to keep current on what she’s writing. I always learn something as well as get entertained when I visit there.

She asked me a few questions that I’ll do my best to answer 🙂

1 – What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?

I have a lot of fun with it. I started my blog for my writing and my books, but I also love gardening, travel and a ton of other stuff. I can talk about whatever I want!

2- What is your favorite book and why?

I have a lot of favourite books, but one that comes to mind often is ‘Cryptonomicon’ by Neal Stephenson. This book has a lot going for it – indescribably nerdy characters, story in the present and the past, story in the future, real war encounters and fantasy war encounters, history and imagination. I have really enjoyed reading it each time.

3- If you could be any literary character, who would you be and why?

Not sure. One character who intrigues me, Winston Churchill, is perhaps not seen as a literary character, but I have several books on him that might put the lie to that. Here are some of his comments – Too often the strong silent man is silent because he does not know what to say, and is reputed strong only because he has remained silent – or this one – Of this I am quite sure, that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find we have lost the future. Lots of wisdom in those words.

4- Where is your favorite place to write?

I really like peace and quiet. I sometimes take everything into the living room, but if there are others in the house I might take my laptop upstairs to the spare bedroom. If there is still too much going on, I take it to the office.

5- What’s your ideal vacation?

I have to leave to have a vacation. Too many phone calls, drops ins and demands. We love to go to Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island even for a few days. There is nothing to do but walk on that wonderful beach, chase the storms and relax. My husband swims, (shudder) I do not. 🙂

6- If you could give any advice to a novice blogger, what would it be?

Don’t be too demanding on yourself. The advice others will give you probably includes blog at least three times a week, research your audience and speak to their interests, make sure you have them sign up for a newsletter, organize giveaways to encourage commitment. Those things are all true. But how much fun will you have? Why not write about what you love, things that interest you? When you write about what you love, that shines through the words. Then your followers will be those who are interested in the same things, and will be people you’d like to interact with.

7- Who inspires you and why?

Those who act on their convictions. There are always opportunities to be open hearted or willing to listen, but we don’t always respond the way we could. As the kids say – what would Jesus do?

8- What do you do to blow off steam?

I ride my bike. I don’t always ride it very fast, but I love to ride it. I was going down one of the trails here in Victoria the other day and a couple were walking their dog ahead of me. I called out, ‘coming through.’ They startled and the young man grabbed his girl’s arm to pull her out of the way as if a train were coming. As I drew even with them, I said, ‘I may not be fast, but I’m still riding through.’ We had a laugh together about that.

9- If you could choose anyone (real or imagined) to have dinner with, who would it be and why?

I would have dinner with General Paulo Regiment from ‘The Last War: Book One, Khandarken Rising’. This is the first book of a series of mine coming out this month and I’ve been really thrilled with the characters. Regiment fought with the Emperor at the beginning of the Last War, but ended up on the side of the freedom fighters by the finish of the long fight. I’d want to know how he decided to switch sides, and what led him to that decision. You might think I should know this, having written the books, but that would involve a whole other set of books dealing with the prequel – kind of like Star Wars.

10- What’s your favorite food?

Watermelon. Hazelnuts. Almond Roca (is that a food?). Flattened chicken. I can’t have just one favourite, right?

I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about me, and thank you Jacquie Biggar for the great questions. 🙂

I have a few favorite blogs that I follow all the time, including Jacquie Biggar at

I’m nominating the following bloggers for this wonderful award:

LizAnn Carson at

Donna Hole at

Alice Valdal

Kathleen Lawless

Reggi Allder

Marlene Moss

Susan Swiderski at

Here are the rules:

  1. Once you are nominated, make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
  2. Include the Liebster award sticker in the post.
  3. Nominate up to 10 other bloggers who you think are worthy of this award.
  4. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts.
  5. Answer the ten questions asked to you by the person who nominated you.
  6. Think of ten questions you would like your nominees to answer.
  7. Lastly, copy these rules in the post.

My questions for you are as follows –

  1. I know you’re a writer (you do a blog), what’s your favourite thing to write?
  2. Do you like surprises? Tell us about the last one you remember.
  3. How old were you when you started writing?
  4. Do you love writing or hate it, and why.
  5. What would be your dream job?
  6. What was your favourite childhood story?
  7. Where in the world do you consider home?
  8. What is your favourite book, favourite movie?
  9. What is your greatest pleasure in life?
  10. Name your favourite food.