once upon a time…

Once upon a time a group of people fought one huge land developer and won. Back in 1988, artists, politicians, and environmentalists—concerned that the big developer kept carving out more and more  of the beautiful canyon walls surrounding Laguna Beach in order to build more and more homes—organized a protest to save a pristine area along the  Orange County coastline they believed to be a treasure trove of wilderness trails and scenic vistas.

Some 11,000 people turned out to build “The Tell,” a 636-foot wall mural that captured the ridgelines of what is now the Dilley Preserve.

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The Tell Image credit: LagunaBeachIndy.com

Sadly, much of the mural succumbed to a 1993 wildfire. But back in 1989, these activists invoked their talents and founded  the Laguna Canyon Conservancy to thwart the developer’s plans to rip through the canyon land. Somehow, they managed to stop the bulldozers in their tracks and went on to lead the fight to pass a $20 million bond measure that acquired the property so that it would stay open park land. Today, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and its nature center is a place where people can leave behind work schedules and hike, bike, or horseback ride through 40 miles of canyon trails. They might catch a glimpse of red-tailed hawk or a bobcat or spot a mule deer. great-vistas

To all those dedicated activists back then I say, “thank you.” Without them, the area would be just another subdivision full of houses that all look alike. Because of their efforts, thousands visit yearly and still trek through the trails in its natural state. Who says a small group of dedicated people won’t make a difference?

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Image credit: LagunaBeachIndy.com

 

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New series: A Coyote Wells Mystery

As Halloween approaches and with Thanksgiving on the horizon, I’m settling in for a long winter of writing. For starters, I’ve outlined three books for my new series, A Coyote Wells Mystery.

First up is Mystic Falls scheduled for release on Tuesday, November 7th.

Emotionally reeling after the death of her grandmother, Gemma Channing is settling into Coyote Wells, her hometown where she grew up, after a ten-year absence. While coming to terms with the loss of her Gram, MYSTIC FALLS FINAL coverdisturbing things begin to happen. Women are disappearing. Just when she begins to realize Coyote Wells has changed—and not for the better—she’s forced to bump heads with Lando Bonner, her ex, a man who still carries around a grudge. You might say Lando despises her. But since she’s digging for answers in an effort to explain exactly how her grandmother died, she needs his help. It won’t be easy. Lando has never forgiven her for leaving him. Tensions between the two rise as a killer grips the town in fear. Is it kill or be killed? Who will the killer target next? And when will it all end?

I love dabbling in mysteries and figuring out how to solve them. As you can tell by the continuing theme, Gemma and Lando will have a homicide or two to solve in each book. They’ll have help from an array of quirky characters. I hope you come to love Gemma and Lando as much as I do and hope you settle into the town with all the other odd characters who make Coyote Wells home.

summer lavender

Does anything smell better than a summer stroll through lavender? It’s taken a learning curve for me to grow it—bright sunlight and the right kind of soil. It likes its own space, Lavenderdoesn’t like to be crowded into a pot or a flower bed. I guess you could say it doesn’t like to share. But what I’ve discovered is to prune, prune, prune. Deadhead all the brown stuff and do it quickly, otherwise the part that’s just bloomed and wilted will take over your entire plant(s). As for the soil, I was told to add in limestone or sand to let it drain, drain, drain. So don’t spend years making the same mistakes I made. With a little research you can come up with the right mix to grow lavender. Just remember it doesn’t like to be neglected. But when it blooms, the fragrance is well worth the fuss. And you can’t beat the purple color that invariably brightens up a spot where white daisies and hydrangeas thrive. If you’re hesitant to grow lavender, take the plunge. What used to be a failure in the garden, is now a summer staple for me. I love the aroma. For that alone, I make the extra effort.

Mother Earth, oh, happy day!

“He plants trees to benefit another generation.”

Caecilius Statius

Earth Day. 2015.

Give back.

Plant a tree.

Big Sur

 

For most of my life I’ve taken trees for granted. They’ve always been there when I needed one. If you’ve ever been outside on a really, really hot summer day and looked for shade to get some relief, you’re probably a BIG fan of trees. Here in Southern California the average temps have increased by 6°F over the last 50 years.  We’re losing trees at a rapid rate. Every day somewhere, developers move into an area, cut down a swath of trees without blinking an eye. But trees are valuable. They give something back. They cool urban areas by up to 10°F. Trees provide shade for picnics, or for those times you take a break while riding your bike. Through their leaves, trees release valuable water vapor into the air. For the complete list of good things trees do, go to TreePeople.org.

Celebrate the earth. Plant a tree. Your children’s children might one day thank you.