Posted on July 24, 2015

Golden Heart City of Fairbanks

I got to spend a week in Fairbanks, Alaska recently. Its rich history (by Alaskan standards, anyway) and friendly people make it a fun place to visit.

I was staying at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to participate in a workshop, but it only met in the afternoon. So I had mornings and evenings to look through the UAF archives and see the town. And, of course, I had to take a bunch of photos to share with you all.

Fairbanks was founded by E. T. Barnette in 1901 when the steamboat captain on the Lavelle Young dropped off his trading goods next to the Chena River, the water being too shallow to go further. Barnette built his trading post there on the riverbank. Felix Pedro found gold nearby in 1902, and the town of Fairbanks grew. There are still places where you can imagine how the country must have looked back then.

Chena River, Fairbanks, AK by Lynn Lovegreen

Chena River, Fairbanks, AK by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks trees by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks trees by Lynn Lovegreen

Despite the 1906 fire, there are a few buildings still around from the Gold Rush era.

Immaculate Conception church, Fairbanks by Lynn Lovegreen

Immaculate Conception church, Fairbanks by Lynn Lovegreen

Immaculate Conception church sign, Fairbanks by Lynn Lovegreen

Immaculate Conception church sign, Fairbanks by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks cabin by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks cabin by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks continued with gold mining and trade, and grew even larger during World War II. It was the northern end of the Alaska (Alcan) Highway project, and the Lend Lease program brought the AlSib (Alaska-Siberia) route to town. American pilots ferried planes and materiel from the Lower 48 to Fairbanks’ Ladd Army Airfield. Soviet pilots took them from there to Siberia and the Russian western front to fight the Nazis. Almost 8000 planes made the journey. There is a great Lend-Lease Monument (http://www.alaska.org/detail/lend-lease-monument) next to the river.

Alcan monument, Fairbanks by Lynn Lovegreen

Alcan monument, Fairbanks by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks AlSib monument by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks AlSib monument by Lynn Lovegreen

Now, Fairbanks is the third largest city in the state at a little over 32,000 people. Downtown Fairbanks still has some interesting older buildings among the modern ones.

Fairbanks street by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks street by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks Lacey St. Theater by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks Lacey St. Theater by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks house by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks house by Lynn Lovegreen

And thanks to the Paint the Pipes project, the pipes that provide air exchange for their central heating system are now decoratively painted by artists, adding a quirky Alaskan touch to them.

Fairbanks pipe 1 by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks pipe 1 by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks pipe 2 by Lynn Lovegreen

Fairbanks pipe 2 by Lynn Lovegreen

If you get a chance to visit Fairbanks, you should take advantage of it. It’s a neat town.

Posted on July 17, 2015

Sheep and a Railroad Started Denali Park

In 1906, Charles Sheldon came to Alaska to look at sheep. Really. You see, he was a millionaire who had time for his passion, which was studying wild sheep, and he traveled to see our white Dall sheep in the Denali area. Not only did the trip change his life, but it changed many others’ as well, because it led to what we now call Denali National Park and Preserve.

 

Sheldon came to study the animals and take back a few specimens to museums, as naturalists often did in that time period. He didn’t count on falling in love with the area and returning the next year. Or on finding out that market hunters were there killing the sheep to get meat for the nearby railroad workers, who were building the Alaska Railroad to the east. Once he saw what was going on, he wanted to save the Dall sheep from being wiped out like the buffalo were in the lower 48. Sheldon concluded that a national park had to be founded.

 

Sheldon went back home and wrote about his travels and the amazing wildlife in the Denali area. He drummed up support for a park with the Boone and Crockett Club and others interested in the wilderness. He and Belmore Browne (See my post on him at http://www.lynnlovegreen.com/blog/belmore-browne-7272012.) wrote bills and visited congressmen. But the Great War in Europe took a higher priority, and it wasn’t until 1917 that Mt. McKinley National Park was created.

 

We owe Charles Sheldon a great deal for getting things rolling, then seeing them through to the founding of the park. Thank goodness for him and the others who gave us one of the crown jewels in the American park system.

 

Charles Sheldon’s talks are what bring my hero Henry Reeves to Alaska in my novel Gold Nuggets. You can learn more about the book at http://www.prismbookgroup.com/goldnuggets.html.

Posted on July 10, 2015

Writers Amusing Ourselves: Character Names

I’ve often been asked how I come up with the names of my characters. To be honest, most of the time I’m amusing myself, as many writers do with character names. With actual historical figures, of course, I’m using their real names. But since I write fiction, most of the characters can have whatever names I chose.

For minor characters, I often use the names of family and friends, sometimes in their old-fashioned forms to match the time period. For my heroines, like Ada, Ellie, Elizabeth, and Charlotte I pick names that fit the time period and their personalities. (By the way, Charlotte in Gold Nuggets, my newest novel, had her name years before the English princess was born, but it’s kind of a neat coincidence.) The only exception was Jeannie in Quicksilver to Gold; she has the middle name of a special young lady. You can read more about that in this post:

http://www.lynnlovegreen.com/blog/my-inspiration-kelly-and-katy.

Writers sometimes come up with little inside jokes that readers may or may not notice. Once I had Charlotte, and gave her two sisters, I named them all after the Bronte sisters, so I got Charlotte, Emily and Anne. It was kind of plausible, since their mother was a former schoolmarm and avid reader.

For the names of my Gold Rush heroes, I amused myself by using a pattern. Each has a first name of a Western movie actor and a last name of a real Western lawman. For example, Duke Masterson is from the Duke (John Wayne) and Bat Masterson. I also have Tom Hickock, Clint Tilghman, and James Garrett. The hero in Gold Nuggets is Henry Reeves, from Henry Fonda and Bass Reeves. (If you haven’t heard of Bass Reeves, he’s a fascinating character in himself—go look him up!)

I’m still making appearances for the new book. Online, you can see more about Gold Nuggets today at Carlene Havel’s blog at

 https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/8692138-north-to-alaska.

Kim McMahill will feature me on her blog on July 12th at

 http://kimmcmahill.blogspot.com.

I’ll write a post for the new Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog at

 http://sweetamericanasweethearts.blogspot.com/

And if you’re in Fairbanks, join me for an Alaska Writers Guild talk on July 14th (at the Bear Gallery at 7 pm).

And of course you can buy Gold Nuggets at

http://www.prismbookgroup.com/goldnuggets.html

or your favorite online retailer.

Thanks for reading this. Hope you’re amusing yourself this summer with whatever you enjoy doing!

Posted on July 3, 2015

Release Day: Gold Nuggets

Gold Nuggets, my last Gold Rush novel, is released today!

 

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the blurb:

 

In the shadow of Denali, she has a home, and he finds adventure. Charlotte Cooper wants to stay near her parents’ home in Alaska. But her dreams of being a writer call her away to college or work, and she has to choose her own path in life. 

 

Henry Reeves is a wealthy New Yorker seeking a summer adventure when he travels to Kantishna near the proposed Mt. McKinley National Park. He discovers two passions, one for Charlotte, and the other for keeping Alaska wildlife from being wiped out like the buffalo. 

 

Charlotte and Henry find an attraction they can’t deny, but can they build a new life together between the wilderness and high society?

 

Here’s my favorite quote from the book:

Henry was pleased that his horse, a mare named Mabel, responded quickly to slight pulls on the reins or nudges from his knees. She was a good companion and a pleasure to ride.

 

 “Good horse here, thank you. This looks like a well-traveled trail. Are there a lot of people who utilize it?”

 

“Nope, mostly bears use it. Keep your eyes peeled.”

 

I wish I could give real gold nuggets to everyone who played a part in this journey. I owe a big thanks to Prism Book Group’s Joan Alley and Lisa Lickel for editing the book. I also want to thank all my writing friends with AKRWA, SCBWI-Alaska, YARWA, and Prism. They were a big help in writing critiques when I was drafting the book, and giving encouragement and promo help once it was written. And last but not least, I thank the readers and fans who have supported me through the whole Gold Rush series. You have been an awesome group, and I am very lucky to have you!

 

You’ll be able to buy a print or ebook copy at several online venues. Learn more and see links at the Prism Book Group page:

http://www.prismbookgroup.com/goldnuggets.html

 

Join me for the Facebook party on Tuesday, July 7 (5-8 pm EST) at:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1456657697983103/

 

I’ll be at the Shootout Under the Midnight Sun match with the Alaska 49ers in Birchwood this weekend. And  Fairbanks, Alaska residents can see me up there on July 14 for an Alaska Writers Guild program.

 

Stay tuned here or on my Facebook page for more news on my guest posts and author appearances in the next few weeks!

Posted on June 26, 2015

Gold Nuggets Cover Reveal!

Gold Nuggets, my last Gold Rush novel, will be released on July 3rd, just around the corner! So it’s time to give you…

(drum roll please)

 

the cover reveal!

Gold Nuggets by Lynn Lovegreen print cover

Gold Nuggets by Lynn Lovegreen print cover

 

Joan Alley of Prism Book Group designed this cover, as she did for all my Gold Rush books. We knew we wanted a view of Denali (Mount McKinley) in the background, because the mountain pays an important part in the book. (And isn’t it gorgeous?!) Joan had a harder time finding the heroine in the foreground. There aren’t a lot of photos of young ladies circa 1916, so she had to look for a while. But that book in hand makes her a great Charlotte!

Here’s the blurb:

In the shadow of Denali, she has a home, and he finds adventure. Charlotte Cooper wants to stay near her parents’ home in Alaska. But her dreams of being a writer call her away to college or work, and she has to choose her own path in life.

 

Henry Reeves is a wealthy New Yorker seeking a summer adventure when he travels to Kantishna near the proposed Mt. McKinley National Park. He discovers two passions, one for Charlotte, and the other for keeping Alaska wildlife from being wiped out like the buffalo.

 

Charlotte and Henry find an attraction they can’t deny, but can they build a new life together between the wilderness and high society?

 

If you read ebooks, please preorder your copy now at:

http://www.amazon.com/Gold-Nuggets-Lynn-Lovegreen-ebook/dp/B00ZAKAXE8

 

You’ll be able to buy a print or ebook copy at several online venues starting July 3. Learn more at the Prism Book Group page:

 

Join me for the Facebook party on Tuesday, July 7 at 5-8 pm EST at:

 https://www.facebook.com/events/1456657697983103/

 

Or stay tuned here for news on guest posts and author appearances in the next few weeks!

Posted on June 19, 2015

Meet Charlotte and Henry

Meet Charlotte and Henry

 

I’d like you to meet two friends of mine, Charlotte and Henry. They happen to be fictional, but when you’re a reader and writer, that doesn’t matter very much. Some of my best friends live in books.

 

Charlotte lives in Kantishna, Alaska. It’s basically a Gold Rush ghost town, where there used to be lots of people but now her neighbors are a handful of gold miners. She works on a boat with her daddy, but she loves words. Here’s a snapshot from when she’s out on the river:

Charlotte looked up at the puffy clouds in the sky. What shade of blue would that sky be? Azure, cerulean, baby blue, cornflower blue? No, forget-me-not blue. Alder bushes and poplar trees lined the banks of the Bearpaw, and a trail led deep into the forest.

Henry is a wealthy Easterner who comes to Alaska to see the proposed Mt. McKinley National Park, and prove his manliness at the same time, one of those two-birds-with-one-stone deals. He is full of life, and a bit cocky too. Here’s how Charlotte sees him:

So far, Henry was presumptuous and chatty. But he had an inquiring mind, and it amused her to see him try to converse with Stinky.

They don’t seem to have much in common right away:

His hazel eyes dashed this way and that, taking in the scene. He was as pretty as a magpie, and just as annoying when he opened his mouth.

But they find they have a lot in common by the end of the book!

 

They are my main characters in Gold Nuggets, the last novel of my Gold Rush series, to be released on July 3rd. If you’d like to learn more, keep an eye on this website or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or Pinterest. Or you can subscribe to my  e-newsletter at

http://tinyurl.com/qc4fxyk

 

Do you enjoy Facebook parties? Join my Gold Nuggets Release party on Tuesday, July 7!

http://tinyurl.com/pokgtdv

 

Thanks for sharing my writing journey with me,

Lynn

Posted on June 12, 2015

History of Denali and Kantishna

My last Gold Rush novel, Gold Nuggets, will be released on July 3rd, four weeks from today! To whet your whistle, here’s an encore of a blog post that I wrote shortly after my research trip for that book.

Denali was the name of the tallest mountain in North America long before it was part of the United States. It is an Athabascan Indian name, usually translated as “The High One.” Most Alaskans I know call it Denali, McKinley, or The Mountain, as in “Did you see The Mountain?”  It was named Mt. McKinley in 1896 by prospector W. A. Dickey who named it for the future president and leader of the gold standard. The current name of the park is Denali National Park and Preserve.

I went to Denali to research the history of Kantishna, the setting of my current work in progress. It started as the Kantishna Mining District. When the Wickersham expedition went through the area on their way to climb Denali in 1903, they noticed it might be a good place to prospect for gold.  The gold strike and boom years for Kantishna were 1905-6, but mining continued for many years afterward.  Kantishna is in the northwest corner of the current park, which expanded in size in 1980.

At the time of my novel in 1916, a handful of hardy miners lived in the area. For example, Joe and Fannie Quigley had several claims in Kantishna, and Fannie was famous for being a consummate Alaskan woman. She could hunt, butcher, and cook any animal, and trapped for furs in the winter. She had a huge garden that provided vegetables and rhubarb, collected berries and preserved them all to provide food throughout the winter. She was also quite good at embroidery. You get the idea she could do anything she put her mind to. Joe was a self-educated geologist and one of the best miners in the area. He was a tough long-distance hiker and dog musher as well. Together they made quite a team. And other miners also had colorful personalities and accomplishments. It would have been marvelous to live in Kantishna back then. Charles Sheldon, Belmore Browne, and others have written about their experiences passing through the area, and many of the stories are shared in Tom Walker’s excellent book Kantishna: Mushers, Miners, and Mountaineers. A great book about Fannie is Searching for Fannie Quigley by Jane Haigh.

While mining was fading in the area, market hunters to the east were killing large numbers of Dall sheep and caribou in order to feed the crews building the Alaska Railroad. Charles Sheldon, Belmore Browne and other conservationists wanted to create a game preserve before these animals would be wiped out as the buffalo had been in the Lower 48 states. This was one of the major incentives for creating the national park. Together with James Wickersham, who was now the Alaska delegate to Congress, they supported a bill that would leave the Kantishna Mining District outside the park boundaries and allow the miners to susistence hunt as needed to survive. After much debate and negotiation, it was passed and Mt. McKinley National Park was created in 1917.

Thanks to the following who helped me with research connected to the trip: Jenna and Simon Hamm and staff at Camp Denali; Mary at Kantishna Roadhouse; Kantishna residents Mike & Carol Conlin; Marianne Jakob at Deneki Lakes B & B; Jane Bryant, Kirk Dietz, and Kim Arthur from NPS.

Posted on June 5, 2015

Judge James Wickersham

Judge James Wickersham was the Renaissance man of Alaska. Not only was he an author, judge, and territorial delegate to Congress, but he also enjoyed dog sled travel and mountain climbing.

 

He came to Alaska by appointment to the 3rd Judicial Division. The territory needed “cleaning up” after Judge Noyes was embroiled in the Nome claim jumpers’ conspiracy. Wickersham was the perfect person for the job, and he energetically traveled throughout the district putting things in order. He was a firm believer in justice for all, including Alaska Natives, which at the time was not a sentiment shared by some who migrated there.

 

Dog mushing across Alaska gave him a taste for the outdoors. He did not shy away from the hard life, and participated in the first recorded expedition to Denali (Mt. McKinley) in 1903. That attempt to summit led to the mountain’s Wickersham Wall being named after him. Nearby Mount Deborah is named after his wife. His book Old Yukon: Tales, Trails, Trials describes some of his travels and adventures during his time as judge.

 

He also worked with E. T. Barnette to promote the town of Fairbanks as a hub for the interior of Alaska, and was instrumental in getting federal help to rebuild the town after the 1906 fire. That’s how he came to have a cameo role in my book Golden Days. The photo here is of his Fairbanks home, moved to Pioneer Park. His house in Juneau is also preserved for posterity.

 

Wickersham is mentioned in my upcoming book, Gold Nuggets, because of his role in establishing Mount McKinley National Park (now called Denali National Park and Preserve). As Alaska’s delegate to Congress, he introduced the bill and encouraged the measure for years until it passed in 1917. He also  persuaded his fellow congressmen to pass the Home Rule Act, and the creation of the Alaska Railroad and what is now the University of Alaska.

 

Judge Wickersham was a remarkable man in a remarkable time. His name is still revered by many Alaskans. He enjoyed Alaska’s people and natural wonders, and did his best to make it a better place.

Posted on May 29, 2015

It All Counts As Writing

It All Counts As Writing

 

At our Alaska chapter of Romance Writers of America, we always end our business meetings with a Round Robin, a time for each of us to say what’s been happening in our lives, especially our writing lives. One member said she hadn’t done any writing and told us about her activities But when prodded, she admitted she had noticed some things she might write about later, and and taken a few notes. She was greeted by a chorus of, “That’s writing. That counts.”

 

Sometimes we forget that there’s more to writing than writing or revising a draft. In my case, I do a lot of historical research—the photo is of my current pile of books I am reading or using as reference. That’s part of my writing process. So is talking about writing to a friend, taking a few notes I might use later, or thinking about a character or scene. I also count reading, when I’m thinking about the details while I read. (Yes, I often notice how someone is described or how the writer makes me want to turn the page. I try not to do it so much it destroys the story, but I am aware of it.)

 

Another thing that isn’t “technically” writing that is part of the writing process is taking a break, what I call refilling the well. If I do nothing but writing 24/7, I will burn out. So sometimes I deliberately step away from the keyboard to take a walk, go to yoga class, or do a little gardening. I find that I have more ideas when I return to writing. My brain has used the break to refill the well, or let the ideas percolate to the surface. (Does that metaphor work for people too young to know coffee percolators? Maybe they can find a reference online! :-) )

 

For all your aspiring writers out there, I do recommend you put in as many hours reading and writing as you can. But don’t despair if you can’t actually write every day. Thinking about writing, and all the things I mentioned above, counts as writing, too. It’s all part of the process.

Posted on May 22, 2015

Beautiful Whittier, AK

Welcome to beautiful downtown Whittier, Alaska!

 

Whittier has a special place in my heart. When I was growing up, my dad had a boat based at the small boat harbor and a condo in Whittier, and I spent many happy hours there. That part of Prince William Sound is still my favorite place in the world. Dad sold the boat many years ago (that old adage about a boat being a hole in the water into which you pour money) but he kept the condo, and now my generation owns it. I still go out there as often as I can.

 

One day I’ll have to write a book about the history of Whittier. To summarize briefly, it was a portage area for millennia, a deep-water port, and the tunnel to it was one of the engineering feats accomplished during World War II.  It remained a military base during the Cold War. Now it’s a fishing and tourism hub.

 

I went out to Whittier this week, and hit town on one of those golden sunny days when you can’t imagine why anyone would live anywhere else. You’ll see what I mean when you see these photos. The town itself is a little ugly (unless you like Cold War-era concrete buildings). But the setting—well, those mountains and the bay are amazingly beautiful. Hope you enjoy these!

 

 

Here are some shots from the east side of town:

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These last couple shots are from the west near the tunnel:

 

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever you live, I hope your favorite place is beautiful this time of year.