• A Tale of Five Waterfalls

    by  • January 8, 2014

    Copyright by Christine Finlayson


    When it’s 33 degrees and pouring rain, it’s hard not to enter hibernation mode. Why head outdoors and get wet, when I can stay inside my warm house and watch the downpour through the windows?

    But truthfully, there’s no better cure for cabin fever than heading outside into nature, no better way to appreciate what the Pacific Northwest has to offer—water, water, and more water.


    Copyright Christine Finlayson


    So one chilly January day, my husband and I headed into the woods for a three-mile hike. It’s been a dry year, so we weren’t quite sure what we’d find. Perhaps the streams and waterfalls in the Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge would be mere trickles.

    Or not.

    They turned out to be spectacularly beautiful in winter, one more reason I’m glad I live in the Pacific Northwest.

    The Gorge Tour of Waterfalls

    After a short, steep hike through the woods . . .

    Copyright Christine Finlayson

    . . . we spotted Elowah Falls. It was majestic, misty, and ice-laden.

    copyright Christine Finlayson, 2014

    The hike continued up, up, up to offer sweet views of the Columbia River Gorge:

    Copyright Christine Finlayson

    After walking the cliff edge (with a handrail), we discovered another waterfall on Upper McCord Creek:

    waterfall 3 copyright C Finlayson

    Post-hike, our waterfall tour continued by road. The first stop on the historic highway was Horsetail Falls. Hmm, I wonder why they called it that!

    waterfall 4 copyright C Finlayson

    There was just enough time for a quick stop at Wahkeena Falls, but alas, not long enough for a hike upstream:

    Copyright Christine Finlayson

    Our waterfall tour ended with the big daddy, one of Oregon’s most visited tourist attractions: Multnomah Falls.

    Copyright Christine Finlayson, 2014

    Wondering why they call Multnomah Falls big?  Take a look at this drop!

    Copyright Christine Finlayson, 2014

    Running the River Trail

    by  • November 18, 2013

    It could easily be a scene from The Hobbit: trees with twisted branches, dripping with moss.  The ground was pure green — with a narrow trail winding past moss-coated rocks and logs.

    Copyright CFinlayson, 2013

    It could be a scene from the Hobbit . . . but it’s not. This was just one of many lovely views along the McKenzie River Recreation Trail. I encountered this moss-forest on a trail run last week, during a brief break from writing. It made me glad I live in the Pacific Northwest.

    Cabin with a View

    by  • November 14, 2013

    Copyrighted by C Finlayson, 2013

    If this is your first visit to Winding Water Mysteries, welcome!  I’m currently ensconced in a cabin in the woods — on a writing retreat to work on my second book, a novel of suspense.

    If amazing views of nature inspire creativity, consider me inspired. :)  This is what I woke up to this morning: a wild and scenic river rushing past the deck. Now you can enjoy the view, too.

    Copyright: C Finlayson, 2013

    While you’re waiting for the next blog post, you can check out the rest of this site — or head over to christinefinlayson.com to read about Tip of a Bone, my mystery novel that just came out in September (Adventure Publications).

    The Softer Side of Greenpeace?

    by  • November 13, 2013

    blog GP waves

    Greenpeace has been touring the West Coast with their new ship, the Rainbow Warrior, and I couldn’t resist the chance to take a tour.  Here are some photos from a foggy day in November, when the ship was docked on the Columbia River.

    blog GP tall ship

    This is actually the third Greenpeace ship named the Rainbow Warrior. The first one was sunk in 1985 by French secret agents, who attached explosives to the boat, killing a Greenpeace photographer. The second Rainbow Warrior was retired after 22 years of service and now serves as a floating hospital.

    The current Rainbow Warrior was custom-built, and includes a helicopter landing pad as well as tall masts so the ship can use wind power, cruising the seas under five mammoth sails.

    blog GP big ship

     A side view of the massive ship (above)–and its equally massive masts (below). Yep, that’s a person climbing up there.

    blog GP in rigging

    On the ship’s bow sits a carved wooden dolphin, a reminder of earlier Rainbow Warriors. Circling the point are the faces and names of the crew, captain, and journalists aboard the Arctic Sunrise, Greenpeace’s icebreaker ship that was seized by Russia in September after the activists boarded an oil rig. All 30 people on board–the “Arctic 30″–have been charged with piracy and are being held in St. Petersburg, despite protests from the international community.

    blog GP dolphin and arctic

    And now for a couple of lighthearted images from the tour:

    blog GP bumper stickers

    blog GP no smoking

    Mysteries in Nature

    by  • October 23, 2013

    You don’t have to search far to find mysteries in nature. Here are two I’ve been pondering recently:

     Why does the bark peel on a paperbark maple tree?

    mysteries peeling bark

    How can one dandelion produce so many seeds?

    mysteries dandelion

    If you like mysteries, you can appreciate how nature uses disguise and camouflage every day. Check out these two photos (one taken in Seattle and one in Portland) and see if you can figure out what each picture shows.  Is it animal, vegetable, or mineral?  Gray rock, green tree bark . . . or something more fluid?

    mysteries in nature f1 lt mysteries in nature green

    Head over to my author page at christinefinlayson.com for a better view — and the answers.

    Yoga, Books, and Retro Gaming: Only in Portland?

    by  • October 5, 2013

    Copyright: C Finlayson, 2013

    I spent this sunny fall Saturday indoors, attending Wordstock — a local literary festival — where I volunteered at the Oregon Writers Colony booth. It was an opportunity to sell a few copies of my new mystery, Tip of a Bone, but more importantly, the chance to talk to many readers and writers. Fun!

    The convention center was hopping, with three events going on simultaneously: A Yoga Divine Play Festival, Wordstock’s Book Festival, and a huge Retro Gaming Expo. As I waited in line to buy my ticket, standing next to excited pre-teens, guys dressed in superhero costumes, couples holding books in hand, and sleek-looking women carrying yoga mats, I had to wonder: does every city have a mix-and-match gathering place like this, or is it only in Portland?

    Lori and Christine at Wordstock


    Here I am at the OWC booth with Lori L. Lake, author of Jump the Gun, A Very Public Eye, and other mysteries.  (The slogan on her shirt reads, “I’m a writer! What’s your super power?”)




    This colorful cow in the hall caught my eye. Again . . . only in Portland!Wordstock cowWordstock cow 2

    –Christine Finlayson

    Win a signed copy of Tip of a Bone!

    by  • September 26, 2013

    Tip of a Bone, mystery, Oregon coast

    It’s not too late to check out Tip of a Bone Week at Davy Crockett’s Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and the Wild West! (September 23rd-27th, 2013)

    To see Evan Lewis’ vintage-actor cast for the TIP OF A BONE movie (a flick yet-to-be-made), go here. To see real-life scenes from Newport and read about the book’s quirky places and people, click here. You can also find Evan’s review of Tip of a Bone and his original Skyler Hobbs story, set in “peaceful” Newport, Oregon. (Nothing’s peaceful when Skyler Hobbs is around.)

    And now, we interrupt our Wild and Weirdly Northwest programming for a brief announcement:  A signed copy of Tip of a Bone is currently available in a Goodreads Giveaway. I will personally mail the autographed paperback to the Goodreads-selected winner on October 26th. This giveaway is open to readers in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, and Australia (doing my part to keep the Postal Service solvent . . . )


    Goodreads Book Giveaway

    Tip of a Bone by Christine Finlayson

    Tip of a Bone

    by Christine Finlayson

    Giveaway ends October 25, 2013.

    See the giveaway details
    at Goodreads.

    Enter to win


    In other news: If you’re on Goodreads, drop by my author page and say hi. Book updates are available at my website, www.christinefinlayson.com.

    Evan’s Casting Couch: Tip of a Bone goes to the movies

    by  • September 24, 2013

    Today, we’re continuing our coverage of “Tip of a Bone Week,” as proclaimed by Evan Lewis* at his blog, Davy Crockett’s Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and the Wild West!

    His Tuesday post is especially fun: you can check out Evan’s Dream Team cast for the yet-to-be-sold movie of Tip of a Bone. (His casting makes clear he’s a fan of vintage actors.)

    But before you go, take this short quiz:

    Which of these classic actresses plays Maya, the lead character?


    For extra credit, which of these classic actors plays her brother?

    Errol_Flynn-1 Humphrey_Bogart-1Elvis_Presley-1

    To see if you’ve guessed right, mosey on over to Davy Crockett’s Almanack!


    *Evan Lewis is the esteemed author of the Skyler Hobbs mystery stories, teller of Tall Tales from the Davy Crockett era, and winner of the 2011 Mystery Writers of America’s Robert L. Fish award.

    It’s Tip of a Bone week!

    by  • September 23, 2013

    TIP Bone Week header 1

    Greetings!  This week, instead of swimming the winding waters, you should saddle up your steed and gallop over to Davy Crockett’s Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and the Wild West. September 23-28, 2013 has officially been proclaimed Tip of a Bone Week at the Almanack!

    Evan_LewisEvan Lewis, the blog’s esteemed host,* will reveal his review of the book and an photo essay illustrating scenes from this Oregon coast mystery. He’ll offer up a Dream Team cast to play the characters from Tip of a Bone (picture 30s starlets and vintage movie stars) and a Flash Fiction story, based on a scene from the Clam Strip.

    What are you waiting for? Mosey on over!

    Click here for Mystery, Adventure and the Wild West.

    *Evan Lewis is the very creative and talented author of the Skyler Hobbs mystery stories — and 2011 winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Robert L. Fish Award for best short story by a new writer.

    Sunrise in Newport

    by  • September 2, 2013

    Newport, Oregon coast, Yaquina Bay, dawn, Tip of a Bone

    During my August trip to Newport, Oregon, I couldn’t resist shooting some early morning photos. Under a still-bright moon, I stumbled outside at 6:30 a.m., a large cup of hotel coffee in hand, to see the city at sunrise. Spectacular! It made me glad I’d chosen Newport as the setting for my just-released mystery, Tip of a Bone.

    Newport fishing docks at dawn 2

    Of course, having taken these photos at dawn, I had to wonder, what does the place look like at sunset? For more August photos from Newport (including a sunset view and sleeping sea lions), check out my Author’s Blog at christinefinlayson.com.