D. Pat Thomas

Writer, Yoga Teacher, Lover of Things Outdoors


Musings, author interviews, book reviews etc,: a platform for writers to exhange ideas.

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Posted by Pat on November 30, 2021 at 1:10 PM

Yes, the view from the porch was amazing at my first writers' retreat. The Salt City Genre Writers Chapter of LUW (League of Utah Writers) gathered in an enormous house for a long November weekend, and filled the kitchen with M & Ms, chocolate covered expresso beans, an impressive array of liquor and enough food to stay for weeks. During the days, folks found a corner and madly wrote as much as possible. Many were participating in NaNoWriMo, an annual November effort by participating members to set a writing goal (like 50,000 words) and then work like crazy to meet it. It was wondrous to have a whole cadre of experienced writers to ask questions like, how do I access a Thesaurus with Scriviner, or what is another word for indigestion? At night we played board games, went to the hot tub, or just hung out. It was a magical mix of fun, inspriation and hard work. This will definitely not be my last retreat.

Elk Herd

Posted by Pat on October 16, 2021 at 4:55 PM

This Elk Herd lives in the vicinity; it's always such a joy to see them. Notice the Big Guy on the left? Yep, I think he runs the group. And yep, we got hit by that big snow storm. It's melted now, and we are patiently waiting for snow. 

Quills 2021

Posted by Pat on September 10, 2021 at 4:00 PM

Quills is the annual conference of the League of Utah Writers. And what a delight it was to reunite, inspire and motivate each other, and listen to advice from those with more experience. The array of subjects covered was vast and eclectic: science fiction, weaponry, independent publishing, travel & eavesdropping, romantic sizzle, branding and comedy, for example.

It is a fundamental truth that writers work alone. No one can share a keyboard or mouse when a scene is being drafted. We have beta readers and critique groups to comment and help, but at the end of the day each gesture of a character, every word chosen, when and how it is written – only the writer working alone can decide these things. This is why Quills has a quiet room for the introvert who gets overwhelmed by busy corridors and rising human voices. That said, there can be too much of a good thing, and many of us had an overload of isolation coming into Quills this year. The joy of being able to chat and laugh and listen was deep and healing.

Writers predictably take notes when attending a conference. When I reviewed mine, one comment stuck out: “The reason to write is allow the reader to process emotions.” Let’s think about that. It is not unusual for a writer to create characters or scenes to process his or her own emotions, to get it out, let it go. In sharing the human experience, the writer evokes in the reader parallel emotional reactions. The feelings, like the ringing of a tuning fork, vibrate in the reader as well. It is a shared experience, a bond. If nothing else, we learned during quarantine that the need to share the human experience is not only deep; it is at the core of who and what we are. Appreciating this truth and its resonance between and among us, made Quills 2021 a towering canyon where the echoes amongst us crystallized and could be clearly heard. Many thanks to all who worked so hard to make this conference the success that it was.


Pain au Chocolat

Posted by Pat on August 11, 2021 at 7:30 PM

Few are the pastries that can match the delight of Pain au Chocolat. You can't get it just anywwhere; imitations have a tendency to not be flakey enough, to have flakes that are too fat and doughy, or to have chalky chocolate inside. BUT! This thinly flaked, scrumptious representation of the genre came from Trader Joe's. Yes. Now, you do have to cook it on parchment paper, and let it warm overnight after coming out of the freezer. But just in case you have that terrible craving for what cannot be had unless you go to France, there is an option. Yes. Oh, yes.Highly recommended.

North Rim

Posted by Pat on June 14, 2021 at 10:30 AM

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is other worldly. We camped out there and hiked, did yoga near the rim, frolicked and stared in amazement at the incredible beauty. This picture is from the Widforss trail, a 9.6 mile hike to a peninsula with views beyond belief. If you want restaurants, bars, gift shops and people, the South Rim is your ticket. But if you want to experience the Grand Canyon in silence, amid the trees, with stars popping in a dark night sky, then go to the North Rim. We even saw buffalo on our way out of the Park.

That said, the fire danger is frightening. Across the canyon we could see a raging fire that seemed larger every day, smoke billowing up into a hot dry sky. While we were there, the Rangers decided fires, even in the campsite metal rings, are just too dangerous. Even the sound of twigs cracking under our feet was dry. We all need to do a rain dance for the west.