First off, baking kicks into high gear. This is understandable, since the summer time is way too hot here in New Mexico to have the oven running all day. But in the fall, the kitchen doesn't heat up so much, and you have the added bonuses of the house smelling wonderful and the residual heat keeping you warm at night so you can postpone turning on the heaters or firing up the woodstove!
And just when it seems like I am busier than ever, baking cookies and breads to go in the freezer for the holidays, that's when my creative energy also kicks into overdrive. Suddenly, I have more ideas for stories than I could have imagined even a few weeks ago! This is when I start carrying a pocket notepad (for those of you who have read "End of the Road", now you know where Sheriff Rick Sutton got the habit of carrying a notepad!) for those sudden bursts of dialogue or story line that seem to pop into my head at the oddest times (like in the middle of decorating a cake!)
I really don't know what it is about this time of year that inspires creativity. Perhaps it's the riot of color that suddenly appears in the trees. One day all you see is green, the next day there's red, gold, burgundy, orange, yellow all mixed in with the green and the sky takes on a shade of blue that is almost impossible to describe. I always feel like a child who's been given a brand-new box of crayons (yeah, the 64-count with the built-in sharpener, of course!) and the whole world is a blank page, ready to be filled with words, pictures, scents, sounds, and flavors... most of which find their way into my stories.
The sight of changing leaves and the smell of wood fires and the sound of elk bugling and the taste of pumpkin bread fresh from the oven.... these are all things that combine to bring a story to life. When I experience the kaleidoscope of elements that signal the changing of the seasons, my characters experience it, too. And by extension, I hope my readers do as well!
So let me pull on a cozy sweater, cut a slice of that pumpkin bread, and brew a cup of pinon coffee and let me sit at the keyboard. The year may be coming to a close, but stories are just getting started!