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August 2021 Summer in the rearview mirror.

Hard to believe September is just around the corner and summer is quickly coming to an end. Our vegetable garden is still producing tomatoes faster than I can freeze and dry them (or chop into a salad). The green beans and hot peppers got off to a slow start but are coming on strong now. And the Instant Pot has been a time-saver for steam-processing small batches of dill pickles: 16 pints so far!

Photo of Canned pickels

At the beginning of August, my husband and I took a three-day break from it all to explore the Coos Bay area on the Oregon coast. The foggy mornings and sunny afternoons were just what we needed.

Photo of Coos Bay Oregon boardwalk.

Coos Bay boardwalk

Photo of Face Rock at Bandon Beach Oregon.

Face Rock, Bandon beach

It even rained (something we haven't seen enough of in the city) one morning, but cleared in time for a lovely hike to Alsea Falls on our way home.

Photo of Alsea Falls in Oregon.

Photo of Cindy at Alsea Falls in Oregon

With all the busyness the summer months bring, progress has been slow on my new novel. That will change as tomato cages and trellises are stored away for the season. I'm looking forward to rejoining my cast of characters on their quest through Quartzville, Oregon's northernmost mining town in the Cascade Mountains, during its short gold boom (1863-1870).

In the meantime, you can now pick up the ebook of Come Snowfall and Ramsey Judd for just $2.99 each!

As we navigate our way through another year of a merciless pandemic, I hope this finds you safe and in good spirits. Grab joy where you can, no matter how brief. Those small joys add up.

May 2021 Sunny days and new blooms.

Photo of Lilacs in bloom

April was the driest on record for this corner of Oregon, but that didn't seem to faze the lilacs (or the dandelions!).

I completed my self-appointed March NaNo challenge: 50,703 words in 30 days! Now the revisions have begun: getting acquainted with my characters and locations, discovering themes and plot. It's another historical western adventure, similar to Come Snowfall, I can tell you that much. But it's too early in the process to have a title yet, or to reveal what the story is about. I'm what's referred to as a "pantser," meaning I write by the seat of my pants rather than work from a plot outline. So drastic changes are a given at this point.

In mid March, my husband and I took a day trip to Lebanon, Oregon, for a sunny stroll around Cheadle Lake. A few miles south, we discovered Waterloo Falls on the South Santiam River, making the day complete.

Photo of Geese on a log.

Photo of Santiam Falls Oregon

In April we stayed close to home and focused on reinforcing the exposed hillside behind the garage (where the crushed shed used to sit) with a retaining wall of scrap wood (mostly pieces of the snag that fell on the shed), and prepping the garden for planting (i.e., pulling a mess of weeds). But the ground was still too cold to plant anything yet, so we began May with another day trip, this time to Mosier Twin Tunnels in the Columbia River gorge.

Photo of Tunnel

Photo of engraved rock

The two tunnels were built in 1921 as part of the original Columbia River Highway. In 1954, when a new road opened near water level, the tunnels were abandoned and succumbed to rockfalls. Nearly 50 years later, the tunnels were restored and opened to tourists as a section of the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail. Close to one of the tunnel's viewing windows is a message scratched into the rock by Chas. J. Sadilik and E. B. Marvin, a hunting party snowbound in the tunnel Nov. 19 to 27, 1921.

Photo of Cindy with 18 Mile Island in the background

It was a gorgeous, breezy day, the desert parsley, purple lupine, and wild sunflowers in full bloom. Not to mention the fabulous views of the Columbia River and Eighteenmile Island (behind me in the photo).

I hope you've been able to spend some time outdoors this spring. If you have an adventure to share (or would just like to say hi!), I'd love to hear from you. Email me at writer@cindyhiday.com .

March 2021 Back in the saddle again

What happened to February?

For being the shortest month of the year, February seemed to take the longest to get through. We were hit with several inches of snow, which was lovely for maybe a day. Then the freezing rain began. And high winds. Power outages lasted for a week or more in some neighborhoods. We were lucky our outage only lasted 36 hours; 36 hours of trying to stay warm, making coffee on a camp stove in the garage, and hoping the food in the fridge and freezer didn't go bad. Because of COVID, I had both well stocked. A huge tree snag collapsed on our shed, crushing it for good this time (not the first time this poor shed has been attacked by falling trees!). And somewhere in the middle of it all, I had a birthday. Whoop. Whoop.

Photo of Icy whirlygig flower

Photo of Daffodils

Moving on to March: the snow and ice are history, daffodils and crocus are blooming, and I've begun a new writing project. I was disappointed that I didn't have the energy to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) last November, but a wise friend pointed out that NaNo can be in any month (except February!), so I chose March to hammer out 50,000 words of something I hope will become a novel worth reading one day. It's all about word count right now; making sense of it comes later. The only thing I know with certainty at the moment is that it appears to be another Western adventure.

My previous NaNoWriMo experiences gave birth to:

Photo of Destination Stardust book covers

Destination Stardust

Photo of Come Snowfall book covers

Come Snowfall

I discovered a bunch of pictures I had cut from This Week (a discontinued local newspaper) years ago and have been coloring them as a form of meditation. I shared this one with a special young friend of mind.

Photo of a coloring page

If you have a good read to recommend, or would just like to say hello, please email writer@cindyhiday.com .
I'd enjoy hearing from you!

Newsletter Back Issues

January 2021 Apple cake and hope

Three books launched in nine months!


December 2020 Year-end wrap-up

My cousin entrusted me with copyright ownership and the task of re-publishing.


November 2020 Come Snowfall launch

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who showed their support and encouragement.


October 2020 Looking Ahead

Temperatures have cooled, days are shorter, and the garden is gearing down.


September 2020 Looking Back

And oh the memories! The good, bad, and ugly. Fortunately...


August 2020 Come Snowfall progress

Accepting the end of one chapter and focusing on the next.


May 2020 Iditarod Nights launch

As the April 14 release date approached, it became clear this wouldn't be your typical launch.