I love autumn/fall so this is my favorite time of year. Sunsets here can be quite dramatic, even without the wildfires. This one was particularly spectacular so I just had to share it with you.
There's lots of new stuff going on in my life, including more writing on the latest Demon Trappers book. Here's what's up . . .
We really wish it would RAIN! Some places are getting inundated, our area received 8/100s of an inch (not a typo) a few weeks ago, then 7/100s last night. That's it. The ground is rock hard, the trees are wilting and the fire season continues. Like other parts of Europe (and the rest of the world), we have wildfires and those can be devastating. We got a closeup view of exactly what that means a couple weeks back.
Behind our house and garden are a series of terraces that march down the mountain. These are planted in various crops and are usually 10-15 feet below each other, bordered by fences and stone walls.
A little after eight on a Friday evening the third terrace down from our garden started burning. Since there is a whole mountain full of trees on either side of us this could have gotten very dangerous for us and our neighbors. We were incredibly lucky because was little wind, the firefighters were ON this blaze very quickly (within a few minutes), and the fire didn't cross the road and head up the moutain to the north. There are only two *very* narrow roads off this mountain through various small villages with trees on either side. Not a good thing in a wildfire.
Whilst my husband kept an eye on the status of the fire, I stuffed our important documents, laptops, meds, and other valuables in our Bug Out Bags. In this case two backpacks and a larger carry bag. I had everything at the front door ready to go if needed (we would have had to walk out as our car was blocked in by the fire engines), then realized that it might be good if I packed some clothes. (duh!) I was wearing yoga pants with holes in them (been working in the garden) and there was no guarantee this fire would continue to advance only north and south. So clothes were packed.
Within an hour the firefighters had extinguished the blaze, then some of them babysat that area for hours overnight to ensure it didn't flare up again. They managed to stop it before it engulfed a large grove of trees, some of which were definitely scorched. To get their hoses to that burn they had to climb through fences, down those terrace walls, in gear, while toting their equipment.
Did I mention that the firefighters in our area are VOLUNTEERS? Such amazing people. And a goodly number were women, which really made me smile. What caused the blaze? We have no idea. One of our neighbors suspects arson. Sometimes it's just plain stupidity. Either way, the thought horrifies me.
In many ways this was an excellent dry run for our potential evacuation plans as no one lost their home or their lives. Those plans have now been tweaked to deal with the things we hadn't allowed for. <Fortunately, our financial records, immigration documents and my writings are all archived on the Cloud. Nowadays it's a must.> Again, we were incredibly fortunate and are immensely thankful for that.
(Demon Trappers #9)
So when we're not watching out for wildfires, I've been working on BITTER MAGIC (Demon Trappers #9) which continues to be as feral as a rabid street cat. I am making progress, but not fast enough to make me happy. It's a not-so-subtle reminder that creativity isn't like a water faucet you can turn and off at will.
Every now and then a phrase pops out even in the first draft. I was struck by a comment Simon makes because it's the truth.
"Often the evil we see in others is our own.”
So far the story has rogue necromancers, journeys into other realms and some seriously weird monsters. I'm sure I'll like it once I get this draft hammered out.
Author A.J. Griffiths-Jones kindly invited me to participate in an Author Spotlight! I'll be online at her Facebook group page answering your questions, talking about my books, and posting pictures from various places across the globe. Please join us!
When: Sunday, 11 September
Where: We Love AJs Award Winning Books (Facebook)
Time: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. GMT (4 hours earlier for U.S. Eastern Daylight Time)
Painting the House
We put it off as long as we could. Paint is hellishly expensive in Portugal, even for the supposedly "cheap" stuff, which is why houses aren't often given a touch-up before they're listed for sale (unlike in the U.S. for instance). Due to the tight time frame before we moved in, there was no way we could get the house painted and still be out of our apartment on time. Fast forward to last month and our Ordeal By Paint Brush finally happened.
This project required that we remove almost all the furniture from our living room and dining area, as well as anything in the hallways upstairs. Our living room ceiling is really, really tall (4.7m/16ft in one area) so the project involved scaffolding and the amazing talents of our favorite handyman, Luis Marques. Luis has done a number of projects for us and does top quality work so he was the obvious choice for this labor-intensive project. Much like in the U.S. you sometimes need to keep a close eye on your contractors to ensure they're doing a decent job. Not the case with Luis. We kept him supplied in coffee and various munchies, as one does.
Five full days' worth of work (sanding the rough spots, priming, painting and trimming) and the job was complete. It took the spouse and myself a weekend to clean the house as that dust goes everywhere. As you can see in the pix above we decided to add an accent color to the fireplace (it's the original color from the back wall) and we also did the same on the long wall above the stairs. Definitely brightens up a previously dull white space. The Portuguese LOVE bright colors and luckily so do we.
Down the line we'll have my office and our bedrooms painted, but not this year. It's great to sleep in (Luis was always here at 8 a.m.). Like Riley Blackthorne, I am SO not a morning person. Now we check that big project off our To Do List.
That's what's new in my life. Wishing you all a grand autumn/fall. Please stay well!
Until next time,
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Demon Trappers® is a registered trademark of Jana G. Oliver
is an international & multi award-winning author in various genres including young adult, urban fantasy and paranormal romance.