Posted on April 18, 2014
I’m planning my trip to Skagway for the North Words Writers Symposium (http://nwwriterss.com). I’m looking forward to going, but getting there is not that simple.
As you may recall, Skagway is the setting for my novel Fools Gold. I’ve been there a couple times, and it is a great little town in a beautiful setting, with lots of history. It’s a perfect place for a writing symposium, but first I have to get there.
There is no road to Skagway. You can’t fly directly from Anchorage to Skagway. You can drive to Haines, then take the ferry (on the Alaska Marine Highway system) to Skagway, but I don’t have the 3 (or more) days to do that. So I plan to take a plane to Juneau, then the ferry to Skagway (with a stop at Haines). But the schedules don’t match up very well. I’ll have to spend the night in Juneau on the way there, and maybe on the way back too. It’ll be fun, because Juneau is a cool town too, but not the most efficient or inexpensive trip I’ve taken.
So I’m taking this as an adventure, not a drawback. The trip to Skagway and back will be an interesting way to see more of Southeast Alaska. And I’m really looking forward to the ferry ride–a leisurely glide along the scenic Inside Passage is always a treat!
Back to the reservations pages for me, time to find just the right combination of Alaskan transportation!
Posted on April 11, 2014
First, here’s a few links just for fun!
Quiz: Which Jane Austen Heroine are You?
The Princess Bride by William Goldman book website
The Official Muppet Show Channel on YouTube:
And here’s a giveaway offer: One lucky new subscriber will win a free copy of Fools Gold or Worth Her Weight in Gold, your choice! Just sign up for my monthly newsletter at http://tinyurl.com/o283kkv by April 15 to be eligible. (And just to be fair, I’ll have two drawings–one of my “old” subscribers can win a book too.)
Click “READ MORE” to see the links!
Have a wonderful week,
Posted on April 4, 2014
I recently spent several weeks in California. My husband grew up there, and we went to visit friends and relatives and enjoy interesting parts of the state. I had a good time, but the contrasts led me to compare it to my home state of Alaska.
Both California and Alaska are very big. We only explored southern and central California in any detail, only spent a few days in Northern California if you count Fort Ross and Napa Valley. One of my goals is to go further north in California, although we didn’t make it on this trip. But we drove hundreds of miles in the state, and you can drive most places in California, if you have the time. You can’t do that in Alaska–the distances are too vast and there aren’t many roads. So Alaska wins that contest.
California has a more cosmopolitan feel to it. People dress nicely. And even in small towns, we often saw the latest trends, whether it was paddle boarding, or eating kale or quinoa in cafés . People try the new stuff, at least to the point it was obvious to us tourists. Back home in Alaska, we do have kale on a few menus, but don’t ask for it in other restaurants or you’ll be laughed out of the place. To our credit, we do have a lot of microbrews. So we do adopt some trends, over time. But California wins the most-likely-to-be-fashionable contest.
Californians are often in a hurry. To be fair, I only noticed this in the big cities. But there, the pace is fast and people are hurrying around (or driving fast) and thinking in terms of point A to point B. In Alaska, you might see this in an Anchorage office building, but even there it’s not absolute. Small towns in California and most of Alaska have a slower pace. I know that’s more my speed.
Californians, probably because of the fast pace, seem harder to get to know. I had more difficulty starting conversations with people there, although I had some success with the waitresses, hotel staff, and similar people if they had time to chat. And of course friends and family were easy to talk with. It seems easier to start conversations with Alaskans. But both places have great, interesting people. Which I guess is more important than all the differences I noticed.
Sure, I’d rather live in Alaska where the vast beauty and quirky people are all around me. But I found some of that in California too. It’s a great place to visit. And people are people, really the same in the most important ways. I’m glad I got to spend some time there.
Posted on March 27, 2014
Here in Alaska we refer to it as the ’64 earthquake, the Good Friday earthquake, or just the quake, as in, “Were you here for the quake?”
On March 27, 1964, Southcentral Alaska experienced one of the biggest earthquakes in history, registering at 9.2 magnitude
on the Richter scale. The epicenter was in Prince William Sound, and towns and villages from Kodiak to Chenega Bay to Valdez were devastated. Our largest city, Anchorage, had a great deal of damage too. The tremors were felt by most Alaskans, and the tsunamis and other water effects also hit residents of the Lower 48 and countries abroad.
The Anchorage Daily News has been running a series on the stories and science of the earthquake. Check it out at http://www.adn.com/earthquake/.
It’s hard to imagine how big the earthquake and tsunamis were. One thing stays in my mind–not only was the earthquake big, but it lasted four minutes. I’ve been in many smaller earthquakes, and four minutes of shaking would be a very long time. And the tsunamis were often several waves over time–the town of Seward had seven of them. I’m sure it felt like forever to the people who had to endure it.
Personally, I don’t have any ’64 earthquake stories. My family didn’t come up until 1968. But I heard lots of stories growing up, and the memories were fresh enough that we had frequent earthquake drills in school. I learned what to do during an earthquake, and how to prepare for one so my family had food and supplies in case the next big one hit. (It’s a good idea–if you want to consider that, I recommend the Red Cross website at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/earthquake.)
Some people say that you choose what kind of disaster you can deal with, whether you choose to live in hurricane country or tornado country or whatever it is. I have no problem with earthquakes generally. But I hope I don’t have to experience one as big as the ’64 quake–knock on wood.
Photo: Good Friday Earthquake at Turnagain Arm, by NOAA
Posted on March 21, 2014
To celebrate the new novella, Prism put the ebook of the first book on sale! You can now pick up Fools Gold for 99 cents on Amazon and Barnes and Noble through this weekend! Here are the links:
Fools Gold page on Prism Book Group’s site: http://www.prismbookgroup.com/foolsgold.html
Amazon link for the Fools Gold sale: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H2S4D74/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00H2S4D74&linkCode=as2&tag=inspromanove-20
Barnes and Noble link for the Fools Gold sale: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fools-gold-lynn-lovegreen/1117558138?ean=9781940099262
And while we’re at it, here’s the link to its prequel, the novella Worth Her Weight in Gold: http://www.prismbookgroup.com/WorthHerWeightinGold.html
Also, Anchorage-area residents can come to my booksigning at Kaleidooscape Play Center in the University Center. We’ll have a reading, activities, and a few surprises! Be the first to hear me read from my new novella. Join us at 3:15-4:15 Sunday, March 23rd, 2014.
Posted on March 14, 2014
Worth Her Weight in Gold: Was Ada real?
My new novella Worth Her Weight in Gold is the prequel of Fools Gold and the next book in my Gold Rush series. Ada is the main character this time. You might wonder if she was a real person in history.
Ada Weiss is a figment of my imagination. But I based her loosely on a real person, Crystal Snow Jenne. The Snow family came to Juneau, Alaska in 1887 to run the new Opera House. The family performed plays and musicals there. Their daughter Crystal went on to teach, marry, have several businesses, become Juneau’s postmistress, and serve in the Alaska territorial legislature. Her journey from performer to businesswoman and public servant inspired Ada’s story.
Here’s the blurb for the book:
Ada Weiss is content to sing with her family at the new Juneau Opera House. But
when she meets miner Tom Hickok, she wonders if there’s more to life than the stage. For Tom, Ada is more precious than all the gold in the Treadwell Mine, but he doubts a regular guy has a chance with a beautiful singer. When a mob threatens to run their friend China Joe out of town, Ada and Tom work together and learn what their true characters really are.
Released by Prism Book Group on March 7th! http://www.prismbookgroup.com/WorthHerWeightinGold.html
Posted on March 7, 2014
Fools Gold is the first book in my Gold Rush series. The next book is the prequel to Fools Gold, set in Juneau, Alaska in 1886. It’s a novella, a quick read. We get to learn more about Ada’s and Tom’s background in this one. (You may recall they own the hotel across the street from Ellie’s pie tent.) We see how they meet, what brings them to Alaska, and what shapes their characters as young people.
Here’s a short excerpt:
Ada opened a trunk, and Stephen handed them a rifle and pistol and picked up a rifle for himself.
“Thanks, let’s go,” Jack said after he checked the chamber of the Winchester.
Tom looked at her a moment after pocketing the revolver. “Here we were headed to dinner, and –”
Ada shook her head. “No, this is important. Let’s go help China Joe.”
“You can’t come, you’re just a girl,” Jack sputtered.
“They’re our guns, aren’t they?” Ada took a pistol and started out the door.
Jack shook his head. “This is a job for men. You should go back home where it’s safe.”
Ada didn’t slow in her stride up the street. “I know how to handle weapons, maybe better than you do.”
“But what if it gets ugly?”
“I’ll keep an eye on her, you just worry about the others,” Stephen said.
Ada wanted to help as much as they did. China Joe was a nice man. He needed them right now.
“Look, they’re her guns, so if she wants to come she can,” Tom pronounced.
“Oh, all right, but she better not get hurt,” Jack grumbled.
Ada’s stomach tightened at the thought, but there was little chance of that, and she wouldn’t back down now.
Worth Her Weight in Gold now published by Prism Book Group! Buy it for 99 cents on Amazon today!
Posted on February 28, 2014
My office window looks out toward a raven flyway. Each day a little after sunrise and a little before sunset, ravens fly by on their way to work and back. From their nests in the foothills east of town, they fly to their scavenging sites. They spend their days cruising for roadkill, natural carcasses, human garbage, whatever food they can find. And they commute to work just like we do, mostly individually, sometimes in pairs.
I enjoy watching them fly by. Personalities shine through as some fly slowly and deliberately, some quickly. Some flap flap flap the whole way home, others flap and glide. A few have a gap where wing feathers are missing, but still fly well enough to get around. Sometimes I make up stories for them: that is a mating couple going back to their shared nest. That is a young male strutting his way through the sky. If it’s a slow day at work, I give myself permission to watch for several minutes, let their steady wingbeats slow down my heartbeat. Instead of walking meditation, it’s watching meditation.
I am so lucky to see these ravens every weekday. Hope you are enjoying your birds or other critters wherever you are. What interesting things can you see from your window?
Encore, first posted on February 17, 2012
Photo from Wikicommons, by Calle Eklund/V-wolf
Posted on February 21, 2014
Author Suzanne Lilly and I are swapping Gold Rush posts this week. See my appearance on her blog at http://teacherwriter.net and enjoy her guest post below:
Love, lust, and gold. They’re three of the most powerful four letter words in the English language.
Say the word “gold” and people will come running from all areas of the globe. The 1849 California gold rush brought hundreds of thousands of people to the area. Nine out of ten of those people were men.
Why did mostly men arrive? Once President Polk announced the gold discovery in California, everyone wanted to capitalize on it. Some men figured if they came out west, they would strike it rich and bring home a fortune to their wives and families. Women stayed home and waited while their men worked hard in the gold fields. Single men came out west, hoping to make a fortune and then move back east to live a life of luxury.
Reality hit them hard when they arrived in California. In the mid-nineteenth century, men didn’t bother themselves too much about housekeeping or cooking. Many of the miners didn’t know the first thing about creating hearty meals. They subsisted on rice and beans, in part because they were sturdy staples, and in part, because they didn’t have time to learn how to cook much else. Gold panning took up all their time.
Beans and rice, rice and beans, morning, noon, and night. “Beans and dishwater for breakfast at the Frenchman’s; dishwater and beans for dinner; and both articles warmed over for supper,” Mark Twain wrote in his journal.
At the height of the gold rush, a slice of bread cost $1. The price doubled to $2 if the bread was buttered. The price of a single egg could range anywhere from $1 to $10, depending on supply and demand.
Due to such a limited diet, many of the men came down with scurvy, even though there was an abundance of wild onion, garlic, and other vegetation they could have added to their three-legged pots. When they became sick or injured, they were ignorant of the folk remedies that could have saved their lives.
This is the world Lucinda Martin York lives in during 1849 in Gold Rush Girl. Lucinda’s mother was a midwife and healer, and she taught Lucinda the herbal lore that was handed down through generations of women. Lucinda finds herself in a unique situation. She is one of the few people who can take care of the sick and injured miners. She also knows how to cook, and she capitalizes on that by providing meals for which the miners are willing to pay top dollar. She hits a bonanza in business, but she struggles in love.
The man she falls for, George Arnold, hails from San Francisco. Like so many other men of his time, he thinks he’ll win in the gold fields. Lucinda and George team up to ward off thieves, fire, and danger as they work their claims. But when it comes to claiming their love, they discover it’s more elusive than finding the gold nugget that will make them rich.
Gold Rush Girl, Book One of The California Argonauts, is the story of a young woman, alone in the gold fields of the Sierra Nevada, creating a daring new life in a bold new land. Immerse yourself in the wild ways of the argonauts and their lust for gold in this new series.
Available now in print and eBook formats from Amazon, Smashwords,Barnes and Noble, and independent bookstores.
During the month of February 2014, use coupon code JS59J at Smashwords and receive 50% off the price of any digital edition.
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.
Sign up for her email newsletter to find out about upcoming books before anyone else. You’ll also get exclusive bonus materials and contests just for subscribers. One subscriber is chosen to win a $25 gift card each time the newsletter comes out. Sign up for my occasional newsletter
What reviewers are saying about Suzanne Lilly’s books
This is ultimately the coolest YA book I’ve ever read. You don’t have to be a teen to love this book!~~~LAS YA Reviews Long and Short Reviews, about Shades of the Future
The story had me smiling all the way through. It’s sweet, touching, a bit scary and nerve-wracking and ultimately satisfying. The romance is sweet, and this is a book that could be read and enjoyed by readers from the mid-teens on up. ~~~Books in the Hall, about Untellable
Find Suzanne Lilly online at these sites:
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Suzanne-Lilly/e/B006HY79IY
Author website: http://www.suzannelilly.com
TeacherWriter blog: http://www.teacherwriter.net
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5258804.Suzanne_Lilly
Twitter: @suzannelilly http://twitter.com/suzannelilly
Posted on February 14, 2014
The celebration of Fur Rendezvous started as the end of the trapping season, when fur trappers would come to town to sell their pelts and enjoy the benefits of town life for a little while. I imagine some festivities took place in saloons, but they trappers also enjoyed good food and the company of friends. It was a great way to celebrate the growing daylight and shake off the doldrums of winter. That tradition grew into the Anchorage winter festival of Fur Rendezvous (Fur Rondy for short) that is celebrating its 78th year!
Even if you haven’t spent most of the winter out in the boonies by yourself on a trapline, it’s the perfect way to blow off a little steam and have fun. Activities include sled dog races, outdoor hockey, a snow sculpture contest, outhouse races, snowshoe softball, and the running of the reindeer. If it’s Alaskan, quirky, or involves the winter outdoors, it’s probably on the list! There are also indoor activities, from the oyster shucking contest to the Native musicale to the Miners and Trappers Charity Ball, known for its outlandish costumes. The last day usually coincides with the ceremonial start of the Iditarod. This year, Rondy is February 21 through March 2.
I enjoy going out to a few events each week that Rondy is held. My daughter and I usually attend the Rondy on Ice figure skating show. And I plan to browse the Native Arts Market and the Great Train Show. Maybe I’ll attend the melodrama and throw popcorn at the villain. It wouldn’t be right to miss out on Fur Rondy!
To plan your own Fur Rondy adventures, see the official website at http://www.furrondy.net