Posted tagged ‘Fireweed’

Dreaming of Alaska

June 9, 2013

Whales of all types visit Alaskan waters.

Whales of all types visit Alaskan waters.

I had lunch this week with a friend who has just returned from in her words, “the most incredible, awesome, fantastic trip ever. What a beautiful state!”

Then she handed me her numerous photos and proceeded to tell me all the things she loved about the state.

I salivated at her memories—because, of course, I love that state also. Not only for its beauty and awesome sights, but most of all because my oldest son has made that state his home. Part of my heart will always be there.

But I also developed a serious case of lust for one of her photos. I found it incredible that she was able to get such a shot with her little camera. I want a copy of that photo. If she gives it to me, you will surely see it on this blog.

Why do I want it? Because while I’ve seen mountain sheep while I’ve been in Alaska on various trips, I’ve never been close enough to get a photo such as she did.

Waterfalls everywhere during snow melt.

Waterfalls everywhere during snow melt.

Where did she take it? Why Denali National Park which is a place everyone should see/visit.

And lucky woman that she was, the whole time she was in the park the weather was perfect and she had great shots of Mount McKinley or Denali as it is sometimes referred to. That mountain peak is so huge and high that it can create its own weather systems. Thus a visitor might be enjoying a sunny warm day in the Park but never glimpse McKinley because its peaks are shrouded in snow clouds.

And shroud is a great word to describe the clouds that can hide that beauty from a person’s view.

But all this reminds me of a note I received from my son recently. He was talking with a co-worker whose mother was reading and loving my book Fireweed which is mostly set in Alaska. Anyway, the co-worker’s mother wanted this message relayed to me. She loves my Fireweed book and wondered if I had been raised and lived a long time in Alaska. The mother said it reminded her so much of things she’d done when she and her husband first moved up there.

Glacier have deep crevasses in incredible blue.

Glacier have deep crevasses in incredible blue.

I was humbled and thankful to that reader for taking the time to send the message through my son. I got that message just before I left for the writers’ conference last weekend. And guess which of my books sold the most copies in the book sale there?

Right. Fireweed.

And how did I get those details correct so they would please a long time Alaskan resident?

My son gave her the perfect answer. Good research, long visits, and lots of phone calls to him and his expert friends.

I would have added one more item. Reviewing often the haunting photos of the state I’ve taken over the years or friends have shared with me from their trips. Photos help you relieve the moment. Find the essence. Feel the emotion and air. Smell the atmosphere.

And days can be moody and haunting...

And days can be moody and haunting…

They are memory’s friend.

Have a great week. 🙂

Look: Gauntlet Thrown

October 10, 2012

For several months now I’ve been following Lorna’s Voice, a blog always humorous, well-written, and showered with many awards. Of course, those descriptions also reflect the blogger. Well, she’s not well written but certainly well put together. 🙂

But yesterday she lobbed a challenge my way. Now this lady was finished a triathlon–something I’ll never attempt much less finish. So when she challenges me at something I can do, well, I pulled up my seasoned woman panties and accepted.

What else could I do??

Anyway, the challenge was for me as an author to comb one of my books for the word LOOK. Then when I found an instance where I thought the paragraphs surrounding that word’s placement would entice readers, I post those paragraphs for my readers. Hopefully, she wrote to me, my choice would entice them to check out my book.

You can see why I had to pick up that gauntlet…

Available January 2012–print and digital

So my choice of book is Fireweed, a mystery/suspense of corporate intrigue and espionage with an Alaskan setting. I have the top level executives on a corporate retreat at an isolated fishing lodge where, death, fire, nature and snipers soon take my characters’ minds off business to focus on staying alive. To read more about it with a longer excerpt, go here.

I also have to tag 5 other writers whose blogs I follow with the same challenge. Here they are with links to their blogs.

Stacey Joy Netzel

Florence Fois

Patricia Yager Delagrange

Donna Marie Rogers

Jamie Kersten

Fireweed: Look excerpt

“Talk, Caitlin, don’t think,” Mike snapped and heaved another rock into the river.

Her visions of a pleasant stroll along the river while discussing his morning phone calls to his brother Brian, Beth, and her friend’s parents vanished. Whatever he was doing, he had a reason. He never wasted actions, especially when fishing was involved. He threw a few more stones into the fast flowing river.

Okay, something had him spooked. Ignoring his singing request, she babbled instead about her breakfast conversation with Charlene. “So I told her I’d make time to talk privately with her when we return from fishing. Oomppph–” She collided with Mike’s broad back. He’d stopped abruptly as he rounded a bend in the river.

“Keep talking…” he commanded as he steadied her with one hand.

Following orders but running out of talking points, Caitlin segued into a boisterous, off-key rendition of “North to Alaska” and peeked around him toward the river ahead. “Sheesh!” she added new words to the lyrics. “Look at that!”

“Yeah, look, but keep singing.”

Two cubs and a huge brown bear sow were lunging at the salmon swimming upriver. The cubs weren’t very successful, but mom was dead-on accurate. Getting lunch was on her mind. That and feeding her cubs.

“You think my singing will keep them away?” She dropped the fishing rods and rummaged in her fanny pack for her camera.

“Talking lets them know we’re here.” He shot her that grin that deepened the laugh creases at his eyes and the corner’s of his mouth. “Your singing should keep them from our section of this watery restaurant. Most of all, we won’t scare them. That’s the worst, according to Gus. Except for getting between a sow and her cubs.” He scrutinized the bears as she snapped photos.

“So we fish here and be watchful.”

“Yep. But only one of us will fish at a time.” He picked up a rod and handed it to her.

“And the other?” She grabbed her rod and stuffed her camera into her pack.

“Will stand watch on shore, near the gun, and keep talking.” He waved his hand, motioning her to throw her line downstream in an area of riffles and a decent distance from the feeding bears. “Gus says they eat their fill, then go off to sleep.”

“Suppose another bear family steps up to the river for lunch?” Caitlin grumbled as she selected her lure.

“That’s possible.”

“Squelching any quality time alone with no one around to interrupt us,” she grumbled as she finished attaching her fly.

“Don’t blame the bears. I suspect Gus will be leading the others here later so we won’t be quite so vulnerable or alone. Or we could head back…if you’re really concerned.” Mike watched the bears while he talked.

Stepping gingerly into the water, she turned from him. “Not on your life. Protect my back, Rafferty, and yours, too. It’s precious to me.” She found her spot and cast perfectly into a riffle of fast moving water near some partly submerged boulders.

A Birthday, A Bottle of Wine, and Snow

January 15, 2012

Birthday Sunrise

Today, I’ll be guest blogging on Stacey Joy Netzel’s website for her Sunday Share. She asked me to talk about my book Fireweed. She is reading it now and has lots of questions for me to respond to. And as you all know, I love to talk. J And I think you might enjoy reading about how this book came about. Plus I’ll be available to answer questions my answers might inspire. And if that doesn’t entice you, I’ll be giving away a digital version of Fireweed to some lucky commenter who stops by and chats before Wednesday. At least I think that’s the day Stacey set up.

So take a minute and click over to visit me at Stacey’s cyber home today.

This was a busy week. We got our first measurable snowfall of this winter season–really late for Wisconsin. But I can’t complain since my Alaska son and all Alaskans residents are REALLY dealing with snow. When I talked with him on Wednesday night he said they were expecting another minimum 18 inches of the white stuff on top of the already 90 inches on the ground.

Winter patio

Now that’s some snow!

Another reason this was a big week was another birthday for me to chalk up. It was a great one even though it was very low-key. At this point, birthdays to me mean I’ve survived another year and all its experiences and hopefully have grown wise as a result.

Oh, and besides a great meal that my hubby made he also made his famous key lime pie. And we had a very special bottle of wine. It was a spectacular wine: delicious and brought back memories of the perfect day we spent in the Paso Robles area of CA with my brother and his wife doing wine tours. And of course, days and trips such as that one also helped me gather background information for my recent book Seasons of Wine and Love.

Here’s a linkto the boutique winery where we bought this particular bottle of Nadeau Syrah 1997. The vintner even autographed it for us. He also took us into the ageing cellars where he pulled samples of wines not quite ready to move on to the next stage of his life. He gave us a sample of the wine we had for my birthday and when we bought a few bottles because we loved it, he told us to take it home and lay it down for a few years.

What a grand Syrah

Well, I’ll tell you this. He was so right.

So this bottle of wine is significant for many reasons and I’m keeping it forever.

Thanks for stopping by today.