"Refuge" is an 83,000 word women’s/mainstream novel about a man who must reconcile his adult life with an impulsive teenage decision. When shy Wes Darino is pressured by his parents to find a girlfriend for his impending graduation festivities he announces he is gay. It is a claim they cannot tolerate and Wes uses their rejection as an excuse to move out. For a decade he lives alone except for his four canine companions, training and exhibiting them at dog shows and obedience trials. When repeated attacks from an unknown source are made on his dogs and home the police recommend he find other accommodation for the duration of the investigation, so he takes refuge working at a remote northern fishing lodge. There he encounters new dangers as well as the unexpected possibility of romance. As he contends with both he learns that not all decisions are irrevocable, and who he is means more than who he was.
An optional section at the end of the book includes several of the protagonist's favorite wilderness-cooking recipes.
I am a member of the Federation of B.C. Writers and the Langley Writers' Guild and for the past ten years have been writing for various Canadian magazines. Two of my non-fiction pieces were shortlisted as finalists in recent Surrey International Conference writing contests. My experience working with purebred dogs and owning a dog show business, plus years of wilderness living provide both background information for the story and exposure to a potential audience.
I look forward to your response.
A premonition would have helped — some kind of warning that death was within arm's reach. Then when I found the broken padlock I might have been better prepared for what happened next. But there was nothing. Of course there wasn’t. My life is never that simple.
Darcy’s whining reminds me of the three other dogs. As the geriatric member of our Doberman clan he has the privilege of sleeping in my bedroom but the garage doubles as a makeshift kennel for the others. Most mornings our usual routine is to let them out first thing. Instead, this morning I started a quick shovelling of the mounds of crusted wet snow on the back patio.
“Not yet, Darcy. I’ve gotta get rid of this before the others stampede around in it.”
In the dim pre-dawn light I ram the shovel into the heavy snow and force it ahead of me, pushing until the mass is piled into the back corner of the yard. That’s when I notice the back gate is standing slightly ajar.
“What the heck!” Not only is the gate open, but there are two different sets of tracks in the snow, one of footprints alongside another of tire treads, leading from the gate to the garage’s side door. And there on the concrete stair I find the discarded padlock.
“Ah, shit! Why didn’t the dogs--?” Suddenly I’m struggling to breathe. I remember the barking last night; remember ignoring it, thinking the dogs were complaining about a prowling coyote.