Posted on September 19, 2014

On the Alcan Highway, Post #1

My husband and I are traveling the Alcan, or Alaska Highway, for a couple reasons. First, we are taking our vintage tour bus down to the Lower 48. Second, we are using the opportunity to do some research on the building of the Alcan.


About the bus: it is a 1976 MCI tour bus that my husband ran as Raven 1 of the Laughing Raven Touring Company for many years. We have retired the tour company, and are going to take the bus Outside. Phase one of the plan is to get it to his cousin’s property in Missouri and park it there for the winter Then we’ll start on the conversion to an RV next year. Here is a photo of the bus next to the world’s largest gold pan in Burwash Landing, Yukon!

bus & world's largest gold pan

About the research: I am drafting a book about the building of the Alcan in 1942. I have already done a lot of research through books and the internet etc. Now I can see the places in person and stop at museums, etc. Today we were in Whitehorse, the terminus of the White Pass and Yukon Railroad and where many steamboats made the trip down the Yukon River. There are still some buildings around from the Gold Rush, and they have restored the S. S. Klondike so you can see what there sternwheelers were like. Whitehorse was also where many supplies came in for the construction of the Alcan, but there’s not much left from that time period.


I found some good historical details at the MacBride Museum here.

Sm McGee's cabin, Whitehorse

McBride Museum WWIIMacBride Museum WWII

Posted on September 12, 2014

What are you wishing for at the end of your rainbow?

This blog post first appeared in Prism Book Group’s Irish Gold Blog Hop, March 15-18, 2013

Jeannie Kelly is the main character in my novel Quicksilver to Gold.


What are you wishing for at the end of your rainbow?

by Jeannie Kelly


That’s funny, my Irish father always told us stories about leprechauns and the end of the rainbow, so I’ve thought about this question before. My answer is three things: true love, respect, and the big strike.


I suppose all girls wish for true love. No reason to settle down and get married otherwise. I’ve met my true love, Clint. He is strong and honest and has the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. But he won’t pursue me for some reason, so I’m taking lessons on how to be a lady so he’ll pay more attention to me.


I wish for respect, from my family and others. Everybody treats me like the same little girl, not noticing that I’m grown up now and I’m a good miner to boot. I wish people would listen to me. On top of that, claim jumpers took our mining claims, and nobody seems to be doing anything about it. Why won’t they show respect for us hardworking miners and get those thieves off our land?


I also wish for the big strike. As I said, I’m a miner. I’m better at finding gold than anybody else in my family. And one day I’ll prove it by hitting the mother lode. Won’t that get everybody’s attention?!


In the meantime, I’ll work on my lady lessons and help fight the claim jumpers. I hope to get back to our claim soon. Maybe I’ll find that rainbow by working toward it.


Hoping you find the end of your rainbow too,


Jeannie Kelly


Quicksilver to Gold is available in print or ebook formats. See details at


I will also have a guest post on Romancing the Genres on Sept. 13, at

Posted on September 5, 2014

My Inspiration: Kelly and Katy

My novel Quicksilver to Gold is dedicated to Kelly and Katy. Let me tell you about these young ladies, and why the book is dedicated to them.

Kelly’s full name is Kelly Jean Horner. She was one of my students when I was a DDF (drama debate and forensics) coach at a high school. I worked with Kelly for three years until she graduated, and saw her a few times afterwards. She was bright, vivacious, always ready to jump in and help or participate. Kelly had a great sense of humor and a hatred of injustice, wanting everything to be fair for everyone.  We shared a love of music, books, and writing. I read a few of her suspense stories, and her voice and word choice were excellent. We talked a lot about common interests and she kept me entertained during the long nights at tournaments. When my Katy joined DDF, they grew to be friends and debate partners.

Katy is my daughter. She and Kelly were a great team, their skills leading to a strong showing at the State tournament that year. Katy is also intelligent, full of life, and a natural leader. And she’s beautiful and talented enough to earn the title of Miss Alaska (which she did, but that deserves its own story another day). Both Kelly and Katy displayed roller-coaster emotions and unending enthusiasm in their teens.

Kelly died from an undiagnosed heart condition in her sophomore year of college. It was devastating for her family, but heart wrenching for all of us. It is hard to lose someone so young and so full of potential. At the time, I was just starting to plan the book that became Quicksilver to Gold. I decided to base the main character on Kelly, as a tribute.

Of course, I couldn’t transplant Kelly directly into Nome in 1900. For one thing, Kelly wasn’t used as a first name back then, so I made it her last name and used her middle name instead. Jeannie, like most girls from mining families then, is largely uneducated, so I directed Kelly’s intelligence into her ability to mine gold and learn new things. Her zest for life and keen sense of justice were easy to apply. As time went on, the book became my homage to both Kelly and Katy. Jeannie’s beauty, and a few other qualities, are borrowed from my daughter. By the time the book was complete, Jeannie had become her own person, with her own qualities as well. But the inspiration was definitely from Kelly and Katy.

To two young ladies I will always adore, I dedicate this book.

Enter the Goodreads giveaway for Quicksilver to Gold at You can buy Quicksilver to Gold in ebook or print format directly from Prism Book Group or from your favorite online retailer. To learn more, see If you’re in Alaska, it’s also available at the UAA Bookstore. Thanks for your support!


Posted on August 29, 2014

Suzanne Lilly: Gold Rush Deluge

It’s a good time to take a break from talking about myself. Today I want to tell you about my colleague, author Suzanne Lilly.


Suzanne’s books are about a gold rush too, but a different one: California. Her new book is the second one in her California Argonauts series, Gold Rush Deluge:


Sacramento is underwater. A deluge of epic proportions has engulfed the town, leaving Lucinda Martin York and George Arnold stranded. Lucinda uses her medical skills to help save the citizens of Sacramento, working as a physician’s assistant to Dr. Mitchell Kersey. When she uncovers lies and treachery in the doctor’s past, she becomes enmeshed in dangers even more deadly than the flood. Lucinda must fight to save her life, her dreams, and her future with George.

Based on historical events of 1850 Sacramento, Gold Rush Deluge is riveting and romantic.

About Suzanne Lilly

Suzanne Lilly is a teacher and a writer who occasionally takes time off to zipline in Alaska, teach in China, and traipse around Rome. She writes sweet stories with a splash of suspense, a flash of the unexplained, a dash of romance, and always a happy ending.

Find Suzanne Lilly online at these sites:

Author website:

TeacherWriter blog:

Buy links: Amazon     iBooks     Smashwords     Barnes and Noble     Kobo Books      Google Play Books 

Posted on August 21, 2014

Quicksilver to Gold Release Day!

Today’s the day! Quicksilver to Gold is having its birthday today! Excuse me if I get a little excited about this—Quicksilver to Gold was one of my favorite books to write, so I’m very happy to share it with you all.


Here’s the link to Quicksilver to Gold’s page at Prism Book Group:


Okay, let’s show the blurb and cover:

QuicksilvertoGold-Ebook copy small

Thieves took their claims…Now she wants to steal his heart. Gold mining is in Jeannie Kelly’s blood. But it’s a dangerous time to be an honest miner in Nome, Alaska—claim jumpers have invaded the territory. Jeannie has set her sights on Clint Tilghman, the strong, quiet man next door to her family’s claim. Clint fights his feelings for the impulsive lady miner, fearing he’ll lose his independence. Jeannie tries to change her tomboyish ways to attract Clint and gain respect from others, but there’s a lot to learn amidst gunplay and bar fights. Jeannie must woo Clint and beat the claim jumpers before summer’s end.


Didn’t Prism’s Joan Alley do fabulous job on that cover?

There’s lots going on today:

We’re having a release party on Facebook today at 6-8 pm EST at

I am being interviewed by I. B. Nosey, the hilarious official unofficial reporter, at

And there’s a Goodreads giveaway for Quicksilver to Gold through September 11 at

I tell people this book is like North to Alaska meets the Unsinkable Molly Brown. Wyatt Earp and his wife Josie are in there too—if you enjoy Alaska, history, love stories, Westerns, there’s something you’ll enjoy in this young adult/new adult historical romance.

That’s probably more than enough promo to throw at you at once. Thanks for stopping by, and if you’re interested in finding out more &/or buying the book, see the page at Prism Book Group at

I really appreciate your riding along on my writing journey. It’s so much more fun with company.

Posted on August 15, 2014

Wyatt and Josie Earp in Nome, Alaska

You may wonder if the Earps really were in Nome in 1900, as my book Quicksilver to Gold suggests. They were.

Wyatt Earp was most famous for his participation in the O. K . Corral gunfight in Tombstone. His vivacious wife Josephine came to Tombstone as a member of a Gilbert and Sullivan traveling troupe, and one person called her “long on daring but short on decorum.” Wyatt and Josephine led a long life together after that event. They split their time between California and gold rushes around the West, Wyatt sometimes making their living in gambling saloons. They followed the Klondike Gold Rush, spending time in Rampart and St. Michael. Then they built the Dexter Saloon in Nome, Alaska in 1899, with Charlie Hoxie. Josie’s brother Nathan joined them at one point.

As I describe in my novel, the Dexter was one of the nicer establishments in Nome, with mirrors and draperies from San Francisco, and polished wood panels and wallpaper on the walls. The Earps met many famous people in Nome including Jack London, Rex Beach, and a young Herbert Hoover. Wyatt was arrested for participating in a fight, but released. Josie helped with relief work after a storm destroyed much of the town. I enjoyed weaving these facts into the plot of Quicksilver to Gold.

The Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum in Nome has great articles from the time period and cool artifacts from the Dexter Saloon. There are many books about the Earps. My favorite is Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend by Casey Tefertiller. I recommend it if you’d like to learn more about Wyatt and Josie and the adventurous life they led.

I’ll be giving a talk about the Nome gold rush at 7 pm on Sept. 4th at the Loussac library in Anchorage, AK. Stop by if you’re in town.

Also, you can enter a Goodreads giveaway for Quicksilver to Gold at or preorder the book at Release day is August 21st!

Posted on August 8, 2014

Quicksilver to Gold: Preorder, Upcoming Events!

As you may know, Quicksilver to Gold is coming out August 21st!

Here’s a short excerpt to wet your whistle:

He looked up toward her, and their eyes locked. For one moment Jeannie forgot about the gold, the claim, everything but those liquid brown eyes focused on hers. She’d seen some handsome men in her time, but never anything like those beautiful eyes framed by long, thick lashes. They seemed to call to her, to promise to tell her things she’d never heard before.

Then she blinked, and his eyes blinked in return. She stood, exhaled as she realized she’d been holding her breath, and heard her voice saying, “You have the most beautiful eyes.”

Clint’s skin turned beet red from the neck of his shirt up to the brim of his hat.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to embarrass you,” Jeannie said as she gathered her tools. She’d spoken without thinking, again. She had to stop doing that before it got her into trouble. Luckily, that was the last panning she needed to do here, so she could leave now. She walked away, leaving the silent Clint to the gurgling stream and his gold panning.

Prism Book Group has set up a preorder page on Amazon, so you can order the paperback now and have it shipped on release day. Click here for that option:


Or you can wait until August 21st to buy the ebook or order from another venue, your choice!  :-) Click to the Quicksilver to Gold page on the Prism Book Group site here:



I’m arranging several events around the release. You can see my interview with I. B. Nosey on Aug. 21 at If you haven’t met Nosey yet, let me tell you his interviews are unique, and funny!


And if you prefer face-to-face events, I’ll be in Anchorage, Alaska for these upcoming events:

The Alaska Gold Rush, for Teens and the Young at Heart

Sept. 4, 7 pm at Z. J. Loussac Library, Public Conference Room

Young adult author Lynn Lovegreen will talk about the history of the Alaska Gold Rush and the inspirations for her novel about gold mining and the claim jumping controversy in Nome in 1900.

Each person who donates food or money to the Food Bank of Alaska at this event will receive a free bag of book swag!


All You Need is Love – Forging an emotional connection through the stories we write and read

Sept. 11, 5-7 pm at the UAA Bookstore

Alaskan Romance authors Jennifer Bernard, Tam Linsey, Lynn Lovegreen, Miriam Matthews, and DeNise Woodbury talk about their inspirations and connections made through their books.

Posted on August 1, 2014

Cover Reveal: Quicksilver to Gold

You may have heard that the next novel in my Gold Rush series is Quicksilver to Gold, set in Nome, Alaska in 1900. Here’s the blurb:


Gold mining is in Jeannie Kelly’s blood. But it’s a dangerous time to be an honest miner in Nome, Alaska—claim jumpers have invaded the territory. Jeannie has set her sights on Clint Tilghman, the strong, quiet man next door to her family’s claim. Clint fights his feelings for the impulsive lady miner, fearing he’ll lose his independence. Jeannie tries to change her tomboyish ways to attract Clint and gain respect from others, but there’s a lot to learn amidst gunplay and bar fights. Jeannie must woo Clint and beat the claim jumpers before summer’s end.

And **drum roll please** here’s the fabulous cover designed by Prism Book Group’s Joan Alley! I like how it captures the Alaskan setting and coordinates with the covers of Worth Her Weight in Gold and Fools Gold.


QuicksilvertoGold-Ebook copy small

To be released on August 21st, so stay tuned for details!

Posted on July 24, 2014

Salmon and Rhubarb Time

Alaska in mid-summer has many attractions. But two of them are salmon and rhubarb.


The red salmon are hitting big this time of year. Whether you’re a commercial fisherman in Bristol Bay or a weekend combat fisherman on the Kenai River, this is the highlight of your summer. (Side note: some people are starting to use “fisher” as a non-gender specific way to refer to fishermen and fisherwomen, but some hate it, so I go for the usual word for tradition’s sake. It can mean either gender.) My writer friend Tiffinie Helmer ( was just out in Bristol Bay, and she said it was insanely busy this year, to the point where she and her family crew members almost couldn’t handle the volume. I don’t often fish myself (long but not very interesting story), but I have three family members at the Copper River dipnetting for reds this week. I hope to have lots of filets and smoked chunks in the refrigerator by the time you read this.


Every Alaskan has his or her favorite way to preserve and cook salmon. For ease, nothing beats cleaning, filleting and throwing it in the freezer. We got a vacuum pack machine a few years ago, so our filets are preserved well for a year or more. We also smoke some if we have enough; it takes more time but it’s not hard once you get the hang of it. My husband loves to eat smoked salmon for lunch, which no doubt makes everyone in the faculty lounge green with envy. Smoked salmon is a prized gift or possession around here.


Cooking salmon is not difficult–just remember to give it a light hand and take it off before you overcook it. Our favorite way is to grill it with equal parts olive oil and lemon juice, with a little garlic, onion, and whatever herb or spice you have to throw into it. It can be baked the same way. Leftovers (or canned salmon) can be easily added to chowder, pasta, salad, made into salmon patties or salmon loaf. If you want to be a little fancy, throw the smoked salmon into those dishes, and it’ll taste like a gourmet meal.


I don’t fish, but I have a couple huge bushes of rhubarb nearby, so that’s my contribution to summer dishes. I started cooking rhubarb with my next-door neighbor’s recipe for rhubarb bread, a sweetbread heavy on brown sugar that works as a dessert. Now I’ve branched out to rhubarb pie, crisp, buckle. I like the sour taste myself, but often add berries to sweeten it up a bit. My daughter discovered that you can chop up a stalk or two and freeze it, so you can have a taste of summer anytime.


It’s time to go whip up a batch of rhubarb crisp!

Posted on July 18, 2014

Hay Fever

According to the OED, the first written use of “hay fever” was in 1835, and it is defined as “a disorder of the early summer, characterized by a catarrhal condition of the ocular, nasal, and respiratory membranes, accompanied generally by asthmatic symptoms, usually caused by the pollen of grasses and some flowers, sometimes by the dust of other substances or the odorous emanations of some fruits and animals.” (I love the way they put things, so I gave the whole definition here!) I looked it up because my hay fever has been really bad this summer.


I’ve always had hay fever. Sneezing and itchy eyes is just a sign of summer to me. I’ve taken most allergy medicines over my lifetime, changing every now and then as my body gets used to the latest one and it’s time to switch it up. I had a scratch test when I was young, where they prick your skin and deposit extracts on your back to see which things cause a reaction. My back had red dots all over it, and the doctor pronounced I was allergic to every plant in Alaska.


This year, under current conditions, the plants seem to be pollinating even more than usual. I’ve switched medications a couple times already, trying to find the best combination of chemicals that will shut down my body’s reaction to the histamines. Right now, nothing seems to work, and I’ve developed a sinus infection on top of it. So my days are filled with congestion, a raw throat, and sinus headaches. Gardening is out of the question–the weeds can take over this summer. It’s hard to focus and get things accomplished when I cough every time I talk and my head throbs. But I guess that’s the price for living in Alaska. It’s one I’ll pay, but I can’t say I’m enjoying it either. Maybe we’ll get a good rain or something so I can get a break soon.


Hoping your summer is a fun one, without hay fever!