The Great Smokies

Returned from the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee on Friday. I already miss them.

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Someday we’ll return to Townsend to complete the Middle Prong Trail and to Gatlinburg to hike to Grotto Falls. Far too much to do in this area when the goal is leisure and you take your sweet time waking up and having breakfast and sipping tea while morning departs.

My kids had a blast and have the injuries to prove it. Real life with early morning rush and schedules and traffic resumes tomorrow. I’ll be daydreaming about our next road trip.

Words added to THE CATALYST while on vacation: 1,176. Words since I’ve returned: 451.

A Win For Trey’s Coyotes! But They Still Need Your Help…

Coyotes are as critical to our world as they are in my books. They’re already saving Trey and Liv’s butts in book four and I’m only four chapters in. If you’d like to help protect America’s predators from becoming senseless trophy kills that disrupt ecological balance, please read the letter from Project Coyote below. I’m a monthly donor, and I wish I could give more. I don’t want our country’s majestic predators to only live in fiction.

Four donors will match all donations up to $25K by December 31st!

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Warning: The link in the letter below contains gruesome images.

From projectcoyote.org:

Salmon, Idaho Predator Derby Canceled!

As a result of sustained legal and grassroots efforts by a coalition of organizations including Project Coyote, sponsors of the infamous Salmon Idaho “Predator Derby” announced they are canceling the cruel event this winter. This is a huge win for the coyotes, wolves and other predators targeted in this barbaric event that awards prizes to those who kill the most and largest of a given species. You helped achieve this victory!

While we celebrate this hard-fought victory and take comfort in knowing that coyotes and wolves in the Salmon, Idaho area won’t be targeted this winter, the stark reality is that killing contests are still legal in Idaho – and in every U.S. state except California.

To Expose this barbarity, Educate the public and policy makers, and Empower the grassroots to help End this practice, we are producing a film about wildlife killing contests and trophy hunting of predators. Most people have no idea wild animals are being killed for prizes and trophies across the U.S.- and are shocked and horrified to learn such cruelty is legal.

Education is key to changing the way our wildlife is treated in North America. We must raise public awareness and then change the laws to ensure that coyotes, wolves, bobcats and other native carnivores are treated and valued with the kind of respect and appreciation they deserve.

Will you help us complete this film, distribute it and continue our work to end wildlife-killing contests, trapping and other cruelties inflicted against our important apex predators? Four generous donors have pledged to match all donations, dollar for dollar, up to $25K by December 31st. Please help us and double your impact for wildlife.

Please watch my message below & thank you for your steadfast support.

Camilla H. Fox
Founder & Executive Director

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Warning: Video contains gruesome images.

Trey’s Coyotes Need Your Help

projectcoyote-sm“Project Coyote, a North American coalition of wildlife scientists, educators, predator-friendly ranchers and community leaders, promotes compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife. As a national non-profit organization based in Northern California, Project Coyote works to change negative attitudes toward coyotes, wolves and other native carnivores by replacing ignorance and fear with understanding, respect and appreciation. All of our work — through education, science, and advocacy — strives to create fundamental and systemic changes in the ways wild carnivores are viewed and treated in North America.” –ProjectCoyote.org

Two supporters have agreed to match all donations through the end of 2014, which means today’s the last day to take advantage of that match! Donate $5, donate $500. Someday, the coyotes will thank you by having your back when you’re ambushed by a 10-man team of assassins. :)

Go to Project Coyote: Who We Are to learn more, or donate now. (These links are safe, but other parts of their website might contain graphic images.)

Women and Heroism in Fiction

There’s a through-provoking essay and discussion going on about how we write women in fiction and how we view women in our real world over on aidanmoher.com. The comments are all worth reading. My own is on page 3. If you get that far, the rest of this post will be a rerun.

I consider myself a feminist. But I struggle. The feminist I am lives in a world where our definitions of heroism, strength, and courage are often defined by a male-oriented world.

I often struggle with this masculine filter that obscures our view of our world. To write strong heroines, we often give them guns. We put them in armies. We make them fight. We give them a “male” role. We make them single and childless and tattooed and badass.

In real life, we often gain respect by joining the boys. We shove our way into their No-Girls-Allowed fort and we demand equality. And in doing so, we’re declaring our roles to be worthless. Our playhouse to be inferior.

I want the boys longing to get into our playhouse. And not for the stereotypical reason, for the lazy writing reason–to get into our pants. I want them hungry to join us. To be like us. I want motherhood and teaching and nursing to be as valued as being a soldier.

Can you think of any highly-respected traditional female role that men fight their way for the privilege of taking on? I’ve tried, and I can’t think of any and I know I must be overlooking something. Because if nothing exists, that just isn’t right.

Our definition of heroism lives in a man’s world. How do we overcome that without undermining the value of our own roles?

I don’t think we will ever know the answer to this until men and women are truly equal, and women are respected as women–not as women who have become more like men. But if, or when, that happens, this question will be irrelevant.

Have you seen Joss Whedon’s Equality Now speech? It’s good.

Why Do We Create?

What compels an artist to create?

There’s this inner beast of creativity that will consume me to the point of being miserable if I don’t let it out and do something with it.
–Ryan Woodward

That’s one half of it. The other half is the unceasing urge to perfect the creation while knowing it will never be perfect.

Here’s Ryan’s creation process:

Here’s his creation: