Friday, September 25, 2009

As You Read This

As you read this, I'll be boarding the Zaandam for Alaska. This is a fun business trip that family just happens to be tagging along on. My mother and sister have reserved a cabin, as have my aunt and her sons. Jim and I will round out the adventure. We're taking books to Sitka where I will sign them. I'll be speaking with several people about other Alaska series ideas, and touring a history museum in Juneau just to name a few things. I also plan to get a lot of writing done on the ship. I told my husband, if I experience writer's block and need to check into a hotel somewhere - I think I'll make it one of Holland America's ships.

We will see a lot of other familiar sites while on this trip. We head to Glacier Bay first thing and while there a US Wildlife and Parks Ranger will come on board. These people are fascinating to talk to. I always learn so much and get such neat information for stories.

We will also head to Juneau and enjoy the museum there, as well as touch base with a couple of folks who have been good to give me research information. Jim will probably bury himself in the museum where he'll be researching for me.

Sitka is next, then Ketchikan. Ketchikan is a fun little town. There will be lots of shopping for the travelers, but I like to experience the forests and learn about the vegetation and native people. We will definitely have fun researching and learning.

Last but not least is Victoria, BC. But I'll save that for next week as I love this little town and have enjoyed spending time there before with authors Judith Miller and Cathy Marie Hake. We had a marvelous time brainstorming on our booktour in Canada a couple of years ago.

I think I hear the ship's whistle blasting for us to leave!
Bon voyage!

Friday, September 18, 2009

This week in Denver

This week I'll be in Denver for the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference, as will be many of us on this blog. In 2000, I helped to found this wonderful organization with several really cool authors. Lynn Coleman called me one day and said, "You know we need a national Christian writer's group focused just on fiction (at that time it was focused even harder on romance). I totally agreed, and the rest is history.

This year's conference will include
keynote speaker Debbie MacComber

It's been a lot of fun being a part of ACFW and this year my husband Jim and I are teaching
the new authors continuing session. I love working with this group. New authors are like sponges. They want to learn and absorb everything they can. They are hungry to hear what experienced authors, agents and editors have to say.

It reminds me of when a person first gets saved. They are hungry for the Word of God and for the spiritual understanding of those who are more experienced. They seek out the Lord and work hard to line up with His guidelines.

As the years go by, as with experienced authors, we can take things for granted. We can stop worrying so much about learning. We can think we know it all or that there's nothing new to experience and see. We can even become prima donnas as authors and as Christians.

For me, I like to come and sit in the beginning classes and see the wonder and feel the excitement of those who haven't yet seen and done it all. I learn new things all the time from those who are seeing things for the first time. It's my way of keeping "new eyes" for familiar things.

I pray, as Paul did in Ephesians 1:18 - that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened


Friday, September 11, 2009

Getting the Goods on Sitka

In researching for any book, I try to really apply myself to the historical details. Researching my series set in Sitka was no exception, and proved to be a lot of fun. There were many people in Sitka who provided information and were very helpful to my studies. Folks at the Sheldon Jackson Museum, Bob at the Sitka Historical Museum, Carole at the Alaska Ocean View B&B, to name just a few offered great insight.

I highly recommend a visit to the museums in Sitka if you get a chance to visit. I've included photos of some of the things they offer. The museums, though small, are full of wonderful pieces of history. Sitkans are very proud of their heritage and it shows. Here's a wonderful diorama of Sitka in 1867.


We had a wonderful walk in this ancient cemetery.

The skunk cabbage was in bloom in April.

As I walked in the forest, I was always brought back to a sense wonder and praise. God has created some very beautiful places in this world, and Sitka is definitely one of them.

Friday, September 4, 2009

More on Sitka

As I mentioned last week, Sitka, Alaska is the setting for my new Song of Alaska book series. I had a lot of fun researching this series, and this week I just wanted to share some of Sitka with you.

You can only reach Sitka by boat or plane. We have approached it both ways, and the approach by sea is my favorite. The area surrounding Baranoff Island is full of tiny islets and tons of sealife. We were able to watch whales up close and personal, as well as harbor seals and numerous eagles.

Sitka gets quite a bit of rain, so things stay pretty lush and green. Winters are generally mild. I've been told more than once that our Montana winters of -20 to -40are much colder and that we get more snow on average than Sitka due to the warm Japanese current.

Speaking of Japan, Mt. Edgecumbe situated across the harbor from Sitka is known as a Mt. Fugi look alike. Mt. Edgecumbe is a dormant volcano and lends a beautiful snow-capped sight to the horizon.

Sitka itself is a charming little town full of tourist shops and friendly people. I've been there during the off-tourist season and found people to be just as kind and generous as during tourist season. In fact, I've found this to be true of Alaskans in general.
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