Chronicles of the #CaliforniaDrought The End


A local creek that has been dry for a long time

I wrote around 10 of these chronicles over the last two years, sort of tracking the whole experience. I really thought it was permanent. I had a moment of fear when we were told if we didn’t cut back, California could run out of water. We cut back a lot. The restrictions and warnings and increased prices resulted in a massive conservation effect. We were successful, yay!

I also was sad taking pictures of Sand Harbor because these shallow waters used to be deep enough to dive into.

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

You could still carefully wade out, but even that would be gone soon.

I walked in the Truckee River, the only outlet of Lake Tahoe.

Truckee River
Truckee River bed

The piers weren’t much use any more!

Lake Tahoe winter 2016


Tahoe sunset-4
These rocks aren’t really supposed to be part of Commons Beach

The gates at Fanny Bridge, the mouth of the Truckee River looked like this two years ago:


Volunteer anglers working with fisheries personnel caught the huge trout who lived there, put them in aquariums, moved them to the lake, and released them…before it was too low for them to live.

Now all 17 gates are open:

Gates open

Just like we couldn’t assume it would always be like the drought, we can’t assume it would always be like this past year, but it’s a massive relief. We now have a gravel front yard. Here’s a photo from the post when we first had it delivered a couple years ago.


We just have drip watering now.


Hope you have a nice week!

I — Inquiry and Chronicles of the #CaliforniaDrought

Real quick, this is how Lake Tahoe looked in March. The water was getting closer but not reaching the Truckee River.

The mouth of the river (1 of 1)

Well big news, it just flowed over its natural rim and has reached the mouth of the Truckee River.

Wow just when I was thinking I was running out of time to do my Monday post and couldn’t think of anything, but when I signed in to start a long overdue visitation round for my blogger friends, I discovered to my amazement a comment from Sheri Kennedy who writes as Kennedy J. Quinn with an invitation to do this interview, tag a few other writers, and read her amazing interview! Her answers really are good; please do yourself a favor and read through them. Sheri does everything a hundred percent, and her interview is no exception. And Sheri, thank you for reading and mentioning The Last Straw. I’ve been meaning to get that book up here on my blog, but for now, here are my answers to your great questions

  1. If you could write full time, would you? Why or why not. If you already do, would you want to change that? Why?
    I write full time now, and I wouldn’t change it, I’m so grateful every day for getting to write fiction and my blog.
  2. Tell me about your favorite character in literature. Why are they your fave?Sherlock Holmes. He is so logical. I love logic and logical characters. I’m also a huge fan of Spock in Star Trek and Seven of Nine.
  3. How long did it take you to write your first book? How long to get it published? Six years (I was working at the time, and had a lot of learning to do!) I didn’t publish it.
  4. What do you think the best books have in common? Great question! I have no idea how to answer it! But for me a book is great when I lose myself in it, when I am more in it than in my life as I bumble through the rituals of the day thinking about the book the whole time until I can return to it. I’m reading one like that now, and it brings me so much enjoyment, especially since several friends are all reading it and we are talking about it.
  5. What do you like to eat or drink while writing?Organic unsweetened almond milk (yes I actually like it), nuts, water. When I’m really on a hot streak, slide it under the door. When I’m struggling I spend most of my time at the refrigerator grazing, with the expected consequences.
  6. Did you ever have one of your characters surprise you? In what way? If no, why not?Oh, I love this question because it just happened to me for the first time in the book that is coming out this month, Third Strike’s the Charm. The hero had a secret I didn’t discover until the end of the third draft. Then I knew why I’d had so much trouble with his character. I didn’t understand Jason Ward until then.
  7. Regarding writing environment: Quiet or Noisy? Alone or With Others? Indoors or Outdoors? Hot or Cool?Okay, both, both, indoors, just right. LOL! I’m picky about temperature and light, otherwise, I’m flexible. I LOVE long plane rides. I get so much done!
  8. Regarding preferred stories: Happy or Complicated? Fantasy or Reality? Character-driven or Plot-driven? Scary or Funny? Classic or Modern?Happy, reality but a dramatic version, mix of character-driven and plot-driven, funny, modern.
  9. Tell me about your favorite character in your work in progress. What’s your favorite thing about them?Devin York is an arrogant emotionally disconnected billionaire CEO who scowls and broods which is interpreted by others as being domineering and tyrannical but is really caused by the tragic death of his wife for which he blames himself. He’s emerged as a Gothic character set in contemporary times, and I adore him. He breaks my heart, makes me angry, and makes me laugh, sometimes on the same page. I am finding I love writing these over-the-top characters and am very grateful Devin arrived in time to save my manuscript from the previous hero… who was a lox.
  10. Why do you write?If I had a choice, I wouldn’t. But I’m incredibly grateful that I can and do. What can I say? It’s a love-hate relationship, like every good romance!

Okay, enough about me! Here are my questions to any writer who happens to read this but specifically for the writers linked at the end, should they choose to participate:

  1. What is your favorite project that you have completed? Why?
  2. If you had to pick one book to read while you were stranded for a long time on a desert island, what would it be?
  3. What do you do when you get stuck with a story or article to get unstuck about the story or article and going all the way to the end?
  4. Do you ever write with pen and paper? If so, why? If not, why not? What do you like more about writing on the computer or about writing longhand?
  5. Who is your favorite character in literature?
  6. Do you believe in “muses” or inspiration? If so, how do you cultivate the inspiration?
  7. What made you want to write?
  8. Do you prefer reading or writing fiction or nonfiction? Why?
  9. What book, author (including blogger and journalist) has most influenced or inspired you?
  10. What would be your favorite place to write if you could write anywhere in the world?
    Here’s some inspiration for that thought!


John Holland

Cynthia Harrison

Robena Grant

Margaret Lynette Sharp

Ann of Anroworld

Susie Lindau

Ann Sandler

Marie Tuhart

Leanne Cole






Lake Tahoe

Sorry for the delay in my Friday post, and thank you for waiting. I knocked off early from writing today and went out to get these photos of Lake Tahoe. Enjoy!

Lake Tahoe-2Lake Tahoe-3Lake Tahoe-4Lake Tahoe-5Lake Tahoe-6


We’ll be driving home tomorrow. We are probably done skiing for the season. We are so happy to have had a winter with snow and are feeling good that we appreciated it by skiing a lot. I’m looking forward to getting back home. We have a few social things planned. I’ll be meeting friends to write at a cafe on Monday, then there’s a wonderful celebration on Saturday, my mother-in-laws 90th birthday. I am going to make two cakes, an angel food with strawberries (no whipped cream because she doesn’t like it) and a lemon bundt cake with powdered sugar sprinkled on top. I plan to use homegrown meyer lemons to make it.

What do you have planned?

Some photos from before the storm

I meant to put up pictures today, but I forgot and spent the day writing. I hope you all had a productive week. I can report I’ve written my three chapters for the Harlequin call, now I just have to edit them. That’s a lot easier, so I’m happy about that. Of course then there is the matter of writing the rest of the book! It will happen.

I went out yesterday to ski and the storm is coming in, the one that was to drop zillions of gallons of rain. The snow must be wiped out. The parking lot was a river, and our roof, which I think is more used to snow, leaked. However, I’m not complaining. All that water is going into Lake Tahoe, the Truckee River, and the forests.

I didn’t take my camera with me and the clouds coming in were so beautiful I was desperate to take a photo, enough to use my phone camera. I have a phone that is a lemon when it comes to the phone hardware. It won’t focus properly but most of the bad part of the photo is on the right, so I cropped and clarified a bit and at least I can show you the clouds.

Coming storm-3Coming storm-2Coming storm-1

Have a great weekend.

Chronicles of the #CaliforniaDrought 8 and Sand Harbor

So I tried drinking less water, and it really didn’t work out that well! My lips dried out, which is a sign of dehydration, as is fatigue. *pauses to drink water* Here is the article that debunks the need for 8 glasses of water a day:

I do think this bears some thought. Anyway, I tried it, and I do feel remarkably better if I have eight gulps of water right after I wake up. Then if I have a couple more big glasses throughout the day. How about you?

I made it out to Sand Harbor today to take some photos with the dusting of snow we received. It was very cold, but pretty. Enjoy.

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe
Bench overlooking Sand Harbor
Waiting for summer

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Staircase at Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe
Waiting for little feet running down to the sandy beach

Staircase at Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

I am changing my blog schedule to two times a week. I love blogging and seeing all of you, but also feel that I need to create a bit more time for writing and reading, including other blogs. So I’m going to try twice a week. I think once a week will be my minimum, but I don’t want to drop to that yet. We shall see how it goes.

Thanks so much for visiting, and have a great week.





More Halloween Hop and Tahoe photos

Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop 2015I’m still doing the Halloween hop with Melissa Snark and 60 or so other authors. Thanks to all who have commented. Details below.

The giveaways on the main site are:

(1) $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

Here is a direct link to the prizes:
Halloween Hop

Comment here on Nicci Carrera Romance to be entered for: a copy of Love Caters All, a copy of Left of the Rising Sun,  or a copy of Dynamic Range, Leanne Cole’s photography magazine. (You can see this in the side bar on her blog.)

I’m trying to decide which of these monochrome photos is best. What do you think?

A black and white image of boulders in Lake Tahoe, Sand Harblr
Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe
A black and white image of boulders in Lake Tahoe, Sand Harblr
Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe
Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe, a yellow shrub on a granite boulder
Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

And now for some color. These are also from Sand Harbor, one of my favorite places in the world.

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Thanks, and happy hump day!

Smoky skies and forest light

Lake Tahoe PaintingThe air was a bit smoky around Lake Tahoe and around the San Francisco bay area because of all the forest fires in California this summer.

When I was a child, forests called to me. Fortunately I grew up near Lake Tahoe and was allowed to hike all day alone with my dog, so I could fulfill this powerful urge.

My parents would drive to New Jersey every summer for grandparent visits, and whenever we reached Pennsylvania, my nose would be pressed to the window staring at the forest. I longed to be able to wander in the mysterious shadows, but I could see it would be difficult to move between the trunks. The trees grow much more densely there than in Tahoe National Forest, as thick as broccoli bunches, thick enough you could build a house on top of them.

To this day, feeling the soil beneath my sneakers, listening to wildlife, and soaking up the quiet presence of trees, is comforting and satisfying. Forest light-4

The way light falls in the forest draws the eye, particularly when there is something reflective, like water or tree trunks rubbed white by time.

Rancho San Antonio, Cupertino, California

As much as thick forests attracted me as a child, as an adult, I like the more scattered forests of the high Sierra. The separation among the trees happens I think because of the rugged climate and also perhaps because not many things can grow in a pine-needle carpet.

Tahoe National Forest
Tahoe National Forest

Walking through a stretch of forest like the last photo gives a satisfying crunch as your sneakers come down on the twigs…but nowadays, I stick more to the trails.

Perhaps my spirit is not as drawn to mystery any more. The cost of becoming an adult, I suppose. But at least I can still enjoy walking in the woods.

Chronicles of the #CaliforniaDrought 6

As we weather this drought, and mourn the losses, I am mostly not complaining. We have the hang of water conservation, and I continue to be a happy Californian. I’ve lived here all my life. I am one of those people who is emotionally tied to home. I do have a strong affinity for a few other places on the planet and like to visit them regularly, but my home is California.

The Truckee River is one of the things I really miss. It is, or was a source of beauty, recreation and a living for many people and a source of life for plants and animals. I hope it comes back.


Lake Tahoe has pulled far back from its shores, but is still a beloved national treasure.

Lake-Tahoe-13 Lake-Tahoe-2

I was thinking about our  water conservation efforts and the fact that we managed to meet the new quotas. I feel really good about that, and this article in the New  York Times by Charles Fishman, author of “The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water,” further encouraged me. The article is titled How California Is Winning the Drought. One of the author’s points shows that my prediction that population in California might stop growing or shrink to fit the water supply does not seem to be happening:

The drought has inspired no Dust Bowl-style exodus. California’s population has grown faster even as the drought has deepened.

Instead, we are tightening our belts and innovating, and our governor is helping with that. (Remember his comment that Californians have to learn to eat more veggie burgers? I thought that was hilarious.) I think we are eating more veggie burgers (and by implication, less water-intensive beef). I know I am! We found a super yummy one from Don Lee Farms. Super Food Veggie Burger

Governor Brown also said Californians are going to have to get over the idea that they have to have nice lawns. Um… yeah. We did this a couple years ago.

Here’s another encouraging quote from this awesome article.

Last fall, prodded by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration, the California Legislature passed a sweeping groundwater law, taking California from having the least regulated groundwater in the country to being a model. The concept is simple: No community will be allowed to pump more water from the underground aquifers than can refill those aquifers — either naturally, or with human help.

The law is so innovative, it will eventually remake water use across the state, and if other states pay attention, across the nation. The law could inspire new techniques for getting rainwater to refill overtaxed aquifers.

We still need rain and snow, though.

California’s resilience is fragile. It won’t last another two years, it might not last another year.

Some towns’ wells have run dry, leaving residents having to get bottled water. Hopefully, El Nino will bring us water this year. We’ve seen a lot of unusual precipitation, storms dragged up here from the tropics, not by El Nino, but other factors. Unfortunately, they come with lightning and trigger wildfires, but there has been some rain.

Fingers are crossed throughout the state that storms will come this year. We and friends of ours are getting roof repairs done in anticipation!