Posted on December 4, 2013
Yes, it’s out, and you can buy it now!
Alaska’s gold rush is no place for a lady, but that doesn’t scare Ellie Webster.
My young adult/new adult historical romance Fools Gold is now available in ebook ($3.99) or print ($10.99) format at my publisher, Prism Book Group http://www.prismbookgroup.com/foolsgold.html or on Amazon, Smashwords, or All About Romance.
or if you prefer, Anchorage, AK area residents can buy print copies of Fools Gold at the Anchorage Museum gift shop (http://www.anchoragemuseum.org/about/aboutus.aspx) or the UAA Bookstore (http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/bookstore/). And save the date for our book celebration at the UAA Bookstore on February 10, 5-7 pm!
And since I am now officially published, you can find my author pages on Goodreads and Amazon. (Of course I’m still on Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr too.) Look me up if you frequent any of those sites.
Okay, enough links and sites for one post. But thank you so much for your support. This is an exciting day for me, to have my first book published! I’ve reached a big milestone in my career, and I appreciate your sharing it with me.
P.S. One more thing: I just signed up for Authorgraph.com. If you’d like your ebook signed, go to Authorgraph.com, click on my book to make a request, and I’ll sign it virtually.
Posted on November 29, 2013
I know it’s a cliché to write about what we’re thankful for at Thanksgiving. But it’s one of those clichés that is one because so many of us do it. It is the perfect time of year to count our blessings and remember what is important to us. I have a lot to be thankful for, especially this year: my family, my friends, my fledgling writing career. A big thank you to all who help make my life so rich.
I’m wishing you all a great Thanksgiving! Even if you don’t celebrate this particular holiday, may you find time to be with people you love this season.
Fools Gold will be released soon, on December 4! Here’s the link www.prismbookgroup.com/foolsgold.html and a teaser:
Southeastern Alaska, 1898
Ellie stood on the foredeck and watched the lush green coast pass by as the steamship chugged along. The fresh, cool breeze filled her lungs. A pod of killer whales broke the surface of the water in the distance, black and white bodies rolling, tall fins arcing toward the sky, then back into the ocean. The whales exhaled in puffs of spray. A seal rested on a small iceberg nearby, and Ellie couldn’t help but smile as she surveyed its dark, liquid eyes, gray fur, and white whiskers.
A killer whale knocked the seal off the berg and seized it in its mouth. Ellie gasped as the seal struggled for life. When the killer whale rolled under the waves—seal still in its jaws—Ellie, pulse beating at her temples, leaned forward over the rail, staring at the spot where the whale descended.
“Careful, there.” Ellie’s breath halted as a pair of strong hands grasped her waist and lifted her up and away from the rail. Her bottom brushed against someone as she was set down on the deck.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Turning to a wall of wool-clad chest, she then looked up to see a young face with a thick, brown goatee and an arrogant smile.
“Pardon me, miss.” A twinkle pierced the man’s blue eyes. “If the ship had made a sudden move, you’d have been thrown into the water.”
“Well, I never.” Ellie dismissed him with a sniff. “I wasn’t that far over the edge.” She was not used to being manhandled and wouldn’t put up with male condescension.
Posted on November 22, 2013
Ellie Webster is the main character in my upcoming young adult historical romance Fools Gold. She is an intelligent eighteen-year-old, the responsible older sister to Billy, who she accompanies to the Klondike Gold Rush to save the family farm. Ellie is savvy in the world of her Nebraska farm and nearby town of Red Cloud. But she has no experience with the outside world. Her dedication to family and her strong will lead her to an adventure unlike anything she’s ever known.
Ellie’s mama raised her to be a lady, and she takes pride in her blue traveling suit and good manners. She keeps her dignity among the scruffy miners on the trail, and proves she’s as strong as any man. Ellie learns she can remain a lady even without nice clothes and four solid walls around her. And she is a good businesswoman when the occasion arises. This empowers her in a way that she grows to enjoy.
But Ellie isn’t looking for romance. She’s not prepared for Duke Masterson and his sparkling blue eyes, or the emotions he enkindles in her. Will she have to choose between marriage and her newly-found independence?
Fools Gold will be released by Prism Book Group soon–on December 4th, 2013! See the direct link at www.prismbookgroup.com/foolsgold.html.
Posted on November 15, 2013
Skagway, Alaska was the “Gate to the Yukon” in 1898. Thousands of people started their journey to the Klondike Gold Rush through Skagway, most taking a steamship from Seattle to Skagway. Then the stampeders would take either the Chilkoot or Deadhorse Trail to the gold fields. Skagway went from a sleepy homestead to a boomtown overnight.
Although some miners did strike it rich, it was much more common for someone to make good money from other means. Many men, and a few women, set up businesses in Skagway to “mine the miners” and make their fortunes from selling supplies or services to them as they were headed out to the trail or returned to civilization. On the main streets, wooden buildings stood next to canvas wall tents. Saloons, dance halls, stores and newspapers sprung up. Churches and the Salvation Army had a presence too. Grubby miners walked down the boardwalk with businessmen in pin-striped suits.
And of course everywhere people gather for legal reasons, there are others who take advantage of the opportunity to bend or break the law. The king of Skagway was con man Soapy Smith. There are differences in opinion in how nefarious he really was, but there is evidence he and his men conned gullible people through several scams. One was the telegraph service–they’d promise to send your telegram, but there were no lines running out of town. Smith’s saloon, Jeff’s Parlor, was said to be a place were pickpockets worked. And some say that Smith was running a protection racket, extorting money from local businesses for alleged security services. Some Skagway residents decided that enough was enough in the summer of 1898, and Smith was killed by a citizen as he tried to enter a meeting about how to get rid of him.
This is the setting of my young adult historical romance Fools Gold, coming out December 4th! It was easy to create strong characters, drama, and romance with Skagway as the backdrop. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it. For the direct link to the book, go to www.prismbookgroup.com/foolsgold.html.
Posted on November 8, 2013
Here’s how the last editing steps work: Prism Book Group’s editor-in-chief, Joan Alley, got the third round of edits from Jacqueline Hopper, my book editor. Then Joan read through and gave comments for final edits. I worked through those and sent it back. Joan made a proof (pdf) of the manuscript and asked me to read line-by-line and make any last corrections by writing a list including the line number, sentence as-is, and sentence correction. I did it first on the computer, then printed the manuscript out, and now I’m reading it on paper. They say you can catch things differently then, because your eyes see it differently on paper versus the screen. I’m finishing up on that project now, and hope to turn it in before the end of the week. Then it goes to the printer!
We’re less than a month away from the December 4th release date for my young adult historical romance Fools Gold! Outside of editing, I’ve been sending press releases to the local papers, arranging a video interview, and picking a date for my book launch party at UAA Bookstore. Since my books will be shipped from the East Coast to Alaska, we’re assuming that could take weeks, so we’re looking at January or February for the party. But people can buy it online as soon as it’s released.
If you’d like more information on what I’m up to, sign up for my author newsletter! Send me your name, email address, and zip code (the last part only needed for US residents) to email@example.com, and I’ll put you on my list. I plan to send newsletters about once a month.
I am sincerely touched by your blog comments, emails, Facebook likes, Tweets, etc. Thanks for all the support from family, friends, and fellow writers and readers. It’s been a pleasure sharing the journey with you.
Posted on November 1, 2013
You’ve heard of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton. And if you’re a Downton Abbey fan like me, you know a little about what nurses did in World War I. I am taking a class from Helen Peters on Women of World War II. We learned about nurses this week, and it got me thinking about all the wonderful work that nurses do, and have done, especially in Alaska since that’s my home.
There were a few hospitals in the early years of Alaska as a U.S. territory, and nurses started working in many of them. The Sisters of Providence came to Alaska in 1902, and established the Holy Cross Hospital in Nome, adding services to other communities later. Other nurses served in small hospitals in mining districts like Council and Candle. After WWI, the American Red Cross sent nurses to work along the Alaska Railroad route and the Aleutians. The riverboat Martha Angeline housed doctors and nurses as they worked on the Yukon River from 1926-1934. The first Nurse Practice Act was passed by the territorial legislature in 1941, creating a nursing board and license requirements. During World War II, nurses were stationed in several locations in Alaska. USAAF flight nurses in some of the first airlift units were based in Alaska and helped evacuate soldiers.
Public health nurses were and still are a vital link to health care in Alaska. At first,they worked under the Alaska School Service, teaching in schools but also providing health care in villages, and then the title was changed to village or field nurse as their duties focused on health. Later through the Office of Indian Affairs, they were often itinerant nurses, traveling by dog sled between villages. Today, public health nurses work under the State of Alaska, based in clinics in small communities all over the state, and some still travel, although the plane is more common transportation now.
And of course, we have nurses in more populated areas as well. Whether it’s in a hospital, clinic, school, or other setting, our nurses save and enrich lives every day. If you’re interested in nursing in Alaska or know someone who is, see the UAA School of Nursing site at http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/schoolofnursing/, and RRANN (Recruitment and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing) http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/schoolofnursing/RRANN/about-rrann.cfm.
For more information about nursing history in Alaska, check out With a Dauntless Spirit: Alaska Nursing in Dog-Team Days edited by Effie Graham, Jackie Pflaum, and Elfrida Nord http://www.amazon.com/With-Dauntless-Spirit-Nursing-Dog-Team/dp/1889963623.
Posted on October 25, 2013
Seems like I’ve spent a lot of time talking about my writing life lately–time to get back to Alaska history!
October 18 is Alaska Day. This is the date in 1867 when Russia handed over Alaska to the United States. The ceremony took place in Sitka, Alaska’s capitol at the time, and representatives from both countries officiated. One hundred Russian soldiers lined up on the left side of the flagpole and 250 American troops in full uniform stood to the right. A cannon salute was fired, the Russian flag was lowered, and Captain Pestchouroff said to the American commander, “General Rousseau, by authority from his Majesty the Emperor of Russia I transfer to the United States the Territory of Alaska.” General Rousseau accepted, the American flag went up, and that was that.
Sometimes formal pomp and circumstance doesn’t go as planned–oops. One account on the Alaska Day Festival website states, “The Russian flag stuck fast in the lanyards during its lowering. Several soldiers were unsuccessful in their attempts to climb the flagpole and free the flag. A sling was rigged and a Russian soldier raised to the flag, but he dropped it after freeing it. Gasps were heard as the flag dropped onto the Russian soldiers’ bayonets. The ceremony continued with the quick raising of the American flag.”
Today, the date is marked by a state office holiday and a few local celebrations in Alaskan towns. Sitka has the best; their Alaska Day Festival lasts several days including races, dances, entertainment, and a reenactment of the transfer ceremony. See more about the history and their festival on their website, http://alaskadayfestival.org.
Posted on October 18, 2013
I got the second round of edits for Fools Gold (my first young adult historical romance) from my editor Thursday, corrections due the end of the weekend. So you can guess what I did most of that time–typing madly! I almost made the deadline, thought I sent the edits back late Sunday night. Then I slept in Monday, and pulled up my Gmail that afternoon to see the dreaded word “draft” next to the email. (I think maybe I turned off the computer before the email was sent completely.) So Jacqueline got it a day late. She was very gracious about it, as she is about everything. I am so lucky to be at Prism Book Group.
The other big thing I did lately was the Great Alaska Book Fair Saturday–so much fun! (Fools Gold is not out yet, but I passed out bookmarks and used my antique cigar box to collect contact info for my newsletter subscription list.) I had a half-table next to a very nice man who has two Alaska books out, and we enjoyed chatting. I also visited with many of the authors there–writers are such friendly people. Some nice folks stopped by to look at our tables and talk about books. I met my goal of signing people up for my email newsletter. And I picked up some tips from my colleagues, enough to feel comfortable getting ready for my own booksigning in a couple months. A successful day for me!
Next up: creating that newsletter, and getting my workshop plans ready for the Young Writers Conference on October 26. There’s always stuff to do–but I like that. It would be boring to do the same things every day. Always something new to learn in the writing business!
If you’d like to sign up for the email newsletter, please send your email address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise I won’t give it to anyone else, and only plan to send newsletters once a month. A little bonus–subscribers will be entered into a drawing for a free ebook of Fools Gold!
Posted on October 11, 2013
It’s been fun to see what everyone’s doing for Alaska Book Week (www.alaskabookweek.com). I’ve enjoyed following along on the website and Facebook and attending the events I can.
Wednesday evening author Eowyn Ivey spoke at the Friends of the Library annual meeting and reception at the Loussac Library in Anchorage. She is best known for her novel The Snow Child, which earned her a Pulitzer finalist award. Some of the things she talked about really spoke to me, like how libraries have always been a part of her life. And her new book project sounds great–tentatively titled Shadows on the Wolverine after the river featured in the first novel.
I got my second round of edits from my editor Thursday, so I skipped the events I planned to attend the next couple days. Writing is more important–the rest will have to wait!
Saturday is the first Great Alaska Book Fair, which should be very cool, and is also my public debut as an author. I will have a half-table there and pass out bookmarks to let people know that Fools Gold (my first young adult historical romance) will be out in a couple months! (The Fair is Saturday, Oct. 12, 10-5 at APU, if you’re in town.)
Judging by the events this week and the sheer number of exciting things going on through groups like the ones mentioned here and ones like the 49 Writing Center, I’d have to say Alaska is experiencing a literary renaissance. If you want to attend a book signing or a critique group or a writing workshop in Alaska, there’s one out there for you. If you’re interested in reading an Alaskan author–lots to choose from. There seem to be more writers and more published books coming out in the last few years. And the great thing is, Alaskan writers support each other and do their best to guide new writers in their journeys to publication. I am lucky to be a part of such a group.
Posted on October 4, 2013
Alaska Book Week is October 5-12 this year. If you’ve been following me for a while, you may recall that we celebrate Alaskan authors that week. Bookstores, libraries, authors and others get together online and in person to find new favorite authors and talk about books.
Here are a few events highlighted on the Alaska Book Week website, http://www.alaskabookweek.com:
AQR (Alaska Quarterly Review) hosts a ABW kickoff and release of their newest issue at Tap Root in Anchorage: today, October 4, 7 pm
Barnes and Noble in Anchorage has an Alaskan Authors Showcase: Sunday, October 6, 1-6 pm
Kodiak’s Baranov Museum will host an Alaska Book Week Community Conversation with local authors on Tuesday, October 8, 7 pm
Author Alex Hills discusses his book Geeks on a Mission at the UAA Bookstore: Wednesday, October 9, 5-7 pm
Anchorage’s Loussac Library hosts a discussion on The Evolution of Alaska Literature on Thursday, October 10, 7 pm
Author Deb Vanasse will be reading, speaking and signing books at Family Reading Night at Baxter Elementary School in Anchorage on Thursday, October 10 6:30-8 pm
The Dillingham Public Library hosts a Local Writer Meet and Greet on Friday, October 11, 6 pm
The Great Alaska Book Fair will host many authors at APU’s Carr-Gottstein Hall Saturday, October 12, 10 am to 5 pm
And I’ve barely scratched the surface! See the website for more events and information! (http://www.alaskabookweek.com)
I’m especially excited abut the Great Alaska Book Fair because I’ll have a half-table there! It will be my debut author appearance. Fools Gold won’t be out until December, but I’ll pass out bookmarks and start getting the word out. Stop by if you’ll be in Anchorage Saturday!