Yesterday morning I was reading the

2/21/07 — Yesterday morning I was reading the newspaper and saw an article that almost made me drop my coffee! I had known that there were climbers missing on Mt. Hood, here in Oregon. Now the headline read that, unlike the tragedy of December in which three climbers died, this time everyone had made it to safety, in part due to the fact that they had a dog with them. The pooch, named Velvet, crawled under their tarp and helped keep them warm when they were forced to bivouac for the night.

OK, you might be thinking, that’s cool, but why did that almost make you drop your coffee? Well, I’ll tell you why: I have been working on STORM MOUNTAIN for several months, and long ago decided to put a dog in the story, because they are great for comic relief, but also because I knew I wanted to have the dog play a crucial role when the two main characters get pinned down on the mountain by a monster storm. How? By crawling under their emergency blanket and keeping them warm! 

Talk about happy endings. Everyone in real life survives, and in the process prove that my dog-under-the-blanket idea works! Keep on eye on the newspaper, writers. Someone may be doing your research for you!