A JANE EXTRA: Mountains and Miracles

A Guest Blog by CJ Carmichael

When I first met Jane, it was just months after her last baby was born. And now little Ty is discovering the joys of being a big brother! Jane and I were both unpublished back then, attending a conference in Victoria, full of hopes and dreams about our Brilliant Writing Careers.

Since then, Jane and I have met at lots of different conferences and we’ve also snuck away on mini-writing retreats with our good friend, Desire author Barbara Dunlop. When choosing a location for our retreats we inevitably find ourselves drawn to the Rocky Mountains…Banff being a special favorite. Oh the fun we have had…wine & chocolate by the fire at night…tea at the Rundle Lounge looking out over the Bow Valley…spa treatments, and cool restaurants, and a little bit of shopping. Long walks and runs, taking in the beauty around us. (Did I say writing? Oops, I meant to say writing, too…)

I’m not sure what it is that inspires me about mountains, but I know Jane feels it, too. It’s a spiritual thing…a little like the awe and wonder you experience when a new baby is born. That’s why I thought I would share some photos with her–and her fans–of my favorite hikes.

Mountains inspire me…but what inspires you? I’d love to hear and I know Jane would, too…

Thanks for inviting me to be here, Jane. I often lurk, just to see what’s going on in your busy life. Love to you and ALL your boys!

CJ Carmichael

GIVEAWAY! Jane will be giving away a $10 Starbucks card and some fun Jane Porter goodies to one lucky winner. All you need to do is post a comment here and share your thoughts. The winner will be announced on Monday. Good luck! (And after you comment here, make sure you add your comment to Jane’s online book club discussion this week.)


  1. CJ-I wanted to thank you for giving the blurb/query letter writing class over at GIAM Loop-I have you to thank for an editor at St. Martin who requested the full and an agent for requested!! I think it’s great that Jane has you guest blogging. I love to hear about retreats and can’t wait until the one I am attending in the fall!!!

  2. I’m also inspired by mountains, and I know I get it from my dad. My parents met in Washington state and that was where I was born. Ironically, they were both from the Midwest which is where we all live now but I like to think I was born with my love for mountains because I was born in a part of the country with tons of mountains and spent the first year of my life there. Obviously, living in the Midwest we do not have mountains (bummer!) but we try and go somewhere with mountains as much as possible!! 🙂

  3. My parents live on a mountain surrounded by state game lands in Pennsylvania and it is beautiful. I do like the peace and quiet up there but I also enjoy the beach with the ocean breeze and beautiful sand.

  4. Mountains also inspire me along with the ocean. I love to just walk on a beach and watch the ocean! I do so love the mountains though, they are so beautiful!

  5. Beautiful pictures! I love the mountains, such a sense of peace. I am pretty lucky to live where I do, 90 min. drive to the beach or 90 min. to the mountains! 🙂 I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

  6. The ocean inspires me. I love to listen to the waves crashing againt the shore and the smell of the water is just wonderful. So relaxing and dreamy.

  7. CJ,
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures! I enjoy the mountains as they are so majestic. I love living near the ocean and hearing the waves…I’m truly an island girl. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

  8. Walking in the woods, the beach, just being outdoors in my backyard inspires me. Appreciating the beauty of nature and stopping to “smell the roses” always makes me feel in awe.

  9. Gorgeous picture! Two years ago we drove from Va. to Colorado to visit family who live there now. It was amazing. We went to the top of Pikes Peak and it was just an awesome sight to behold. I remember when we were first driving into the state and the moutains came into view. They take your breath away. We would love to live in Colorado Springs. I can understand why the mountains are one of your favorite getaways!

  10. Yay Alberta! Thanks for sharing these pictures of the Banff National Park, they are stunning. It’s a favorite spot for me too.

    Mountains, Ocean, Nature…it’s all amazing, inspiring and humbling. We are lucky to find it and appreciate it.

    However, if I had to choose, there is nothing more peaceful and calming than the waves crashing on the beach.

  11. I’m actually more of a country girl. I love going out to my parent’s farm and smelling the freshly mowed grass and the earthiness of the garden. It’s so quiet out there and you can see for miles.

    It’s just beautiful!

  12. Thanks for this wonderful post. Your photos capture the beauty, magnificence and majesty of The Rockies in Alberta. Nothing in this world is comparable. I love mountains since they are amazing and awesome scenery and I always appreciate their uniqueness.

  13. Growing up in Oregon and now living in Washington, I can’t imagine not being surrounded by mountains. The Northwest is a part of me but I would say I find true inspiration and awe in not just them but the ocean. Particularly the Oregon Coast. I can’t stand to be away from there for very long…

  14. Mountains also inspire me – what beautiful pictures you’ve chosen for this post. I live in PA & we have mountains everywhere you go. I can’t imagine living in a place that is flat.

  15. Beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing. Your retreats sound amazing. I bet Jane would love a retreat right now. I lived in Connecticut for several years and the landscape, architecture, and history there is wonderful. I miss it so much. Someday I hope to get out to the Rocky Mountains and enjoy some of what you are talking about.

  16. CJ, you know how much I love Banff! It’s one of my favorite places in the world and I’ve traveled all over the world so that’s saying something!! I even chose to be in Banff for my 40th birthday (and thank you, CJ, for picking me up at the Calgary airport and driving me to the hotel and then taking me to dinner. ) as well as special getaways with my boys and Surfer Ty.

    I grew up close to the mountains, at the base of the Sierra Nevada range and spent summers hiking and camping around Yosemite and Sequoia National Forest. Just last spring I took my boys to Yosemite for a couple days to introduce them to the mountains and valley floor that was my ‘home’ as a little girl. They loved the massive redwoods and Half-Dome. I just loved being back to places I’ve known all my life.

    I’m lucky that Surfer Ty loves the ocean and mountains (in that order) and I love the mountains and ocean (in that order) because it means we make sure we get to enjoy both!

    Thanks so much for posting, CJ. I’m delighted by the photos and the memories.

    Much love,


  17. I’d loved reading all your responses. Interesting how the ocean seems to be the other major inspiration for many of you.

    Jody, I grew up on a prairie farm, so I get the peaceful feeling that you describe so well.

    Jane, I wish we could send you a little extra peace right now to help you deal with colicky Mac. Please accept help from friends, a night nurse, whatever you can arrange. I wish I was closer to come and give you a break.

    P.s…Tonya, I wonder if you have me mixed up with another CJ? But I would love to take the credit for your success! Congratulations!

    Peace to all,


  18. What inspires me are people as honest as you. I just read your blog about baby Mac and the tough time the both of you are going through. I’m sure you’ve heard many people’s ideas and opinions of how to ease the struggle, but my offering is to continue to LIVE through this…cry, yell, get mad, feel sorry for yourself, IT’S ALL OK! It is hell, and it sucks!!! But, thank God you have this opportunity to FEEL! You are living, ALIVE (maybe just barely 🙂 You are not alone!!! Don’t be afraid to get help and all those emotions you are feeling are VALID! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

  19. Great post CJ!! This just gets me more excited for our 2 week vacation in July of exciting outdoor adventures with our travel trailer behind us and no Itinerary.
    Here’s to a mountainous adventure!!

  20. Love the photo. I am an avid hiker and spend every weekend on the trail. My favorite places are in the mountains. I lived one year in Stockton, CA, not far from where Jane grew up, and I missed the mountains. The sky there was flat; the valley so wide that the mountains in the distance hid behind the haze.
    Days when I can see Mt Rainier are always good days, and the best days are when I am able to get away to the mountains, where I think my soul resides.

  21. Mountains are stunning. I have visted Yosemite and totally fell in love with it, wanted my husband to become Ranger Rick so we could live there. However, I am mesmerized by the ocean. I could watch waves forever. I love going to Maine and have enjoyed my visits to California… sitting on the cliffs watching the waves roll in is such a relaxing way to pass the time.

  22. Prize Winner!!

    Congrats to #11 Barb C as you are the winner of the Starbucks gift card and JP goodies!

    Please shoot me a private email with your mailing address and we’ll get your prize out in the next mail!



  23. Growing up in the Sierra Nevada foothills above Millerton Lake was the best place to be. Walking distance to the lake and lots of hills and valleys to hike. Spotting a red-tailed hawk as it glides into the valley just above the water is breathtaking. Inspiring, yes.

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