Category Archives: creative writing

James in His Jeep Getting Java – The Camping Edition

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Maybe it’s all the apocalypse writing and reading I’ve been doing over the last few years, but I got back into camping this summer. This trip I took west instead of south, and I stayed in Canada to visit a few places I’d never been.

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My goal was to drive from Vancouver to Kokanee Creek Provincial Park. I booked campsites in Manning Park, Kokanee Creek, and Stemwinder Provincial Park. I drove the Crow’s Nest Highway (Hwy 3) from Hope to Nelson and stopped in a few really great towns.

What I didn’t know when I began was the necessity of booking your campsite ahead of time. Unlike when I was a kid, one cannot simply go into a campsite and expect a great spot. (Get the reference there?) I booked mine the week ahead, but because I was travelling on odd days (I began on a Friday and ended on a Friday) I was able to secure some sweet spots. If you haven’t used Discover Camping yet, it is a really simple service that lets you see photos of your spot. Unlike dating sites, these photos accurately represent what you’ll find when meeting.

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I originally wanted to spend Friday to Sunday in Manning Park, but by the time I went to book the only spots for that time frame were in overflow near the highway. Instead, I changed my dates to just Friday to Saturday, which opened up a spot in the Lightning Lake Large Loop section which was pretty sweet. A close walk to the lake, and a pretty private (and quiet) camping area.

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It was also early enough in the season that there were no fire bans. You do have to remember to bring cash for firewood, as it is illegal to transport out of park wood into your site.

The night I spent in Manning was actually pretty terrible. (No fault to the site at all.) Being summer, I was prepared for summer heat and not for the quickly changing temperatures of the mountains. It got cold that night–no idea how cold, but my tent, sleeping bag, and the sweater/pants/pyjamas I wore were not enough to stave off the cold. To say it was rough is to understate just how cold I got. I’m from Winnipeg–I’ve dealt with -40 and colder.

After Manning, I drove Crow’s Nest to Princeton, BC, a little town of about 3,000 people. It had an old feel to it and very friendly people. I discovered a very tasty cafe, the Cowboy Coffee. Had french toast and coffee there–highly recommend.

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While in Princeton, I knew I’d need a better sleeping bag if I wanted to survive another night. I found the outdoor store, Princeton Outdoor Supply, who was very helpful and had a sleeping bag that should do the trick. He suggested that I take the one I have and put it inside the new one, and sleep with the two if I got cold. It was a great idea, actually, and gave me the leeway to have a cooler night if needed.

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Plus, I saw this deer. Didn’t seem to mind me or the traffic at all.

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While on my trip, I listened to a local singer/songwriter Land of Deborah. Give her a listen–she’s great road trip tunes!

ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: To Die, or Not to Die, that is the Question…

Ever wonder what authors would do in the case of a zombie apocalypse? On every Thursday, I’ll be posting the answers to that question on my blog…

This week, author Jane Alvey Harris weighs in on her zombie apocalypse survival plan.

I already have a ‘Zombie Contingency Plan’ ready to go

My good friend James asked me to write up a guest post about what I would do in the event of a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. I bet he wasn’t expecting to hear that I already have a ‘Zombie Contingency Plan’ ready to go. But I totally DO.

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Here’s the thing. I don’t like zombies. Like, AT ALL.

“Well, duh, Jane,” you might scoff. “Nobody likes zombies!” Yeah, yeah. So you say. But I know some of you secretly can’t wait to get out there and dust up some undead. I for REALS want NOTHING to do with them.

Anyone who knows me well knows what I would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse. I think it’s an important disclosure, and one that can tell you a lot about a person.

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Do YOUR loved ones know about your Zombie Apocalypse Contingency Plan?

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Mine do, and it’s pretty simple: I would off myself. Immediately. 

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Trust me, I know this isn’t a popular plan, and you’re welcome to try and change my mind. But you won’t.  I promiseI would only choose this plan IF there were an apocalypse, and IF that apocalypse produced brain-eating zombies.

IF, PEOPLE!!!

SLXL Because, (sorry, James) why would anyone want to survive a Zombie Apocalypse?? The living turn into MONSTERS, and like, strap strangers to mattresses for their snacking convenience, (I’m still traumatized after reading Cormac McCarty’s “The Road”) and all the undead are gory, gross, brain-eating machines.

I see no tenable future in that scenario.

Emily, the main character in my current series, the My Myth Trilogy, would XLL Shandle things quite differently. She’s a caricature of my own personality, which makes her simultaneously stronger and weaker than I am. Emily would survive to save her siblings Jacob, Aidan, and Claire (whereas I would kill us all). They’re her whole purpose, her reason for striving, her reason for facing her demons, her reason for doing really difficult things that almost paralyze her.

Emily may joke about zombies, but if they ever threatened her brothers and sister, she would decimate them with her masculine and feminine Fae powers of Blaze and Keen.

Bottom line:

You absolutely want Emily on your side in a zombie apocalypse.

You just want to be very careful not to get to close…

and you definitely never want to piss her off.

As for me? I’m guessing you probably don’t want me on your side.

Jane

I have a Humanities degree from Brigham Young University with emphases in Art History, Italian Language, and Studio Art. I’m CRAZY about the visual and performing arts! I enjoy playing classical piano, painting & sketching, singing & acting, and especially writing poetry & prose.

 But my real passion is PEOPLE. I love to watch and study what makes us tick as human beings. I’m definitely a dreamer, and my favorite thing to do is weave together sublime settings and stories for characters to live and learn in…myself included.

 I currently live in an enchanted fairy-princess castle in Dallas, Texas, with my three often-adorable children and their three seldom-adorable cats.

Zombie Apocalypse: Heavy Metal Zombies

Ever wonder what authors would do in the case of a zombie apocalypse? For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting the answers to that question on my blog…

This week, author Arthur Slade weighs in on his zombie apocalypse survival plan.

What is your best skill in a zombie apocalypse?

Headbanging. Now some people perhaps laugh at my joyful love of 80s heavy metal. Perhaps they even look down their collective noses at me. Well, they won’t be doing so during the zombie apocalypse.

I have well over thirty years of headbanging in my system. My neck muscles are like steel bands. My ability to shake my head at great speed (the true skill of headbanging) will come in handy when those hands and fingers of the rotting dead reach for me. Twist head  to the left. Twist head to the right. Escape their grip! And if they corner me in a room with no escape I will just begin to shake and dance and play air guitar channelling Angus Young of AC/DC (look him up on YouTube you young ‘uns).

The zombies will all shake apart from the pure “metalness” of my performance. And finally, if an army of the dead approach, I will hit the high notes of Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) and Rob Halford (Judas Priest) combined and the zombies will be incinerated.

Plus, I can run pretty fast for a middle-aged man.

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Arthur Slade was raised on a ranch in the Cypress Hills of Saskatchewan. He is the author of eighteen novels for young readers including The Hunchback Assignments, which won the prestigious TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and Dust, winner of the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature. He also co-created the graphic novel Modo: Ember’s End.  He lives in Saskatoon, Canada. 

P.S. He does all of his writing on a treadmill desk. And he listens to heavy metal. At the same time.