Sunday, December 1, 2013
CYBER Monday Celebration!
Buy ONE RAVEN get ONE free!
Wondering what to give that certain someone? Well --- how about the perfect gift? Perhaps, a Washington Post 2013 Notable fiction title? Perhaps The Raven's Gift? See below for my crazy holiday offer.
Let's face it, books make a great gift. First off, when you give the gift of a book you're telling the recipient, "Hey, I think you're pretty damn smart." Everyone knows that people who read are smart, sexy, and generally just amazing human-beings. But did you know that giving a book also makes you a smarter, sexier, and more amazing human? Yup. It's a scientific fact.
So now you're wondering just what book to gift, right? Well I just so happen to have a suggestion for you, a gift, if you will, for those of you who choose to give The Raven's Gift as a gift this Christmas! Okay, I'll admit, initially I was slightly skeptical of the whole scientific fact of giving a book for the holidays making the giver of said book smarter, sexier, and more amazing, but just the other day and gave a away a whole stack of signed great Alaskan books for a school charity auction (titles included a signed first edition hardback of Seth Kantner's ground breaking novel Ordinary Wolves, a signed copy of Weathered Edge by Kris Farmen, Martha Amore, and Buffy McKay, and a signed copy of Dan Bigley's Beyond the Bear). The next thing I knew --- BAM!!! --- that's right. I can't explain it. A fraction smarter! At least that's what my two and a half year old son said.
Now I'm hoping to advance off the charts with all three --- smart-sexy-amazing --- and at the same time I'm going to help you too! Here's how we'll do it! And we'll start on CYBER Monday!
CYBER MONDAY TWO AMAZING OPTIONS!
KINDLE COPIES of THE RAVEN'S GIFT
If you purchase a Kindle Copy of the Raven's Gift for yourself or someone you love (already getting smarter and sexier, right?) I'll buy a KINDLE copy of the novel and have it sent to the person of your choosing. I know, that sounds crazy, but it's crazy smart. Yes, I'll be losing money. Yes, this makes little sense. But look, we're talking about the holidays here, giving and all that kindness stuff, you know. And don't forget about all that smarter, sexier business!
To qualify you'll need to purchase your KINDLE of The Raven's Gift no later than 12/4. (Purchases before 12/1 don't qualify, sorry!) Email me a copy of the receipt at firstname.lastname@example.org --- and include the name and email address of the person you want the gift Kindle Copy of Raven's Gift sent to.
I'll sign or personalize copies of the novel and inscribe them to you or to your loved ones AND send them to that person. You'll need to have the book sent to me, I'll then sign and mail. I'll even pay for shipping. (Book rate --- I know, I know, but it's a book and that is what the book rate is for.) You'll need to have the book delivered to me by Dec 12th, or it won't get sent until after the holidays. If you're interested in doing this, email me at the above address.
If you remember anything this holiday, let it be for you to be thankful and tell those you care how you feel about them. And keep being that smart, sexy, and amazing person you are by giving the gift of reading, and perhaps the gift of Raven.
Thanks and Happy Holidays!
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
|Quyana --- the Yup'ik word for "Thank you"|
A Writer Gives Thanks
Often at this time of year we get too wrapped up in the trappings of the holidays to actually remember the point of the actual holiday. Turkey. Or is it football? No wait. Black Friday holiday shopping! Right?
What happened to just being thankful?
For myself I wanted to take a few moments to actually give thanks as a writer. Writing is often a said to be a solitary and lonely occupation. I’m not sure who said that, and I’m not sure I agree. As I began thinking about composing a little note of thanks, I realized, maybe it isn’t so lonely.
This has been an amazing year thus far for me in terms of my writing career, and I am simply beyond grateful and I owe so many people an Alaskan sized debt of gratitude for helping make my writing dreams a reality. I owe thanks to various countries, agents, publishers, critics, newspapers, reporters, bloggers, booksellers, book clubs, readers, writers, professors, secondary teachers, students, friends, family, and fans.
Those acquainted with the long and convoluted route taken by my novel on the road to getting published in the United States, know I have much to be thankful for. Thanks to Adam Chromy, my agent here in the US for fighting for The Raven’s Gift every step of the way. Thanks to my foreign agents for getting my novel published in France this year, and thanks to that publisher Fleuve Noir and my French editor Benedicte Lombardo.
Thanks to Penguin Canada for continuing to believe in The Raven’s Gift and for getting the book into the United States with Pintail Book and Penguin USA. I am grateful to my Adrienne Kerr and Nicole Winstanley at Penguin for continuing to have faith in the novel. Thanks to Elena Hershey and the Pintail folks working tirelessly to help get the book into bookstores all over America.
I have worked tirelessly to share my novel with the world and at times it has felt an impossible task to get the book into the hands of readers or to get the attention of reviewers and critics, but the support of some awesome booksellers across Alaska and across the country continues to inspire me. I owe thanks to dedicated booksellers like Fireside Book’s David Cheezem and his staff, Nathan Dunbar in Chicago, Deb Bonito at Mosquito Books, and so many others.
There are those who I also can’t begin to even express my thanks to --- critic Michael Dirda and The Washington Post. When other newspapers and critics refused to give a book like mine the time of day, a Pulitzer Prize winning critic steps up and writes the most powerful and beautiful review of the book I’ve had to date. His review in the Washington Post was do damn good I almost ran out and bought a copy of the book myself! In addition to Dirda’s killer review, countless amazing bloggers have blogged and promoted the book --- far too many to name here, but you know who you are, and now you know I am giving you thanks, too!
I can’t thank The Washington Post without also thanking The Anchorage Daily News for their coverage of my book, so quyana to Mike Dunham and David Hulen, at ADN, and to the Alaska Dispatch and Megan Edge and others there. And while I’m thanking news folks, I would be totally remiss if I didn’t thank Steve Heimel at Alaska Public Media for inviting me on Talk of Alaska. That was definitely one of the highlights of the year, and quite an honor. When you’ve grown up in the bush, public radio is just a life essential and to get to chat with the actual voice of Alaska, well that was something I’ll never forget. So thanks to Steve and Lori Townsend, and everyone who made that incredibly fun hour possible.
Now on to thanking the readers and writers in my life. You have made this year absolutely magical. Those readers who have invited me to into their homes to meet with bookclubs? Those were some discussions I’ll forever cherish. I had never thought about visiting bookclubs as an author, and this turns out to be one of my favorite kind of author event. What more can you ask for than to sit down with a group of dedicated readers, perhaps with good wine and even better food, and talk about your novel? The answer is nothing. That is as good as it gets. So thanks to all those bookclubs, including those I haven’t attended yet!
I also never expected my book to be required reading! So I owe special thanks to those professors and highschool teachers using my book in their courses and the students writing about the book and contacting me with their thoughts and questions. I can really think of no higher honor than to know that The Raven’s Gift is being used in English courses, and even graduate level Psychology courses --- unless I suppose the book gets banned! Perhaps that can be something I am grateful for next year?! (Come on people! The book has sex, violence, cannibalism, and even bad words! It needs to be banned! Okay, I admit, I just want to be on the banned book list!)
Finally, I want to thank the readers and authors for all the support. Alaskans have been so amazing and helpful in spreading the word about my The Raven’s Gift. I couldn’t even begin to list off all of you. The support I have received here at home is overwhelming and completely awe inspiring. I am so lucky to call this place my home, so incredibly lucky. Authors have been overly generous through mentoring me, giving advice, and spreading the word about my book. Again the list is just too long, but I’d be remiss to not thank all the members of the 49 Writers, my buddies Seth Kantner and Kris Farmen, my coach Daniel and his wife Rennie, and my friend and go to warm heart and brilliant writing life advisor Jodi Picoult. I’m so fortunate to have such talented and giving souls in my life, and I’m thankful to each and every one of you!
And to those readers who continue to share the book, who email me with their kind words of appreciation, who post their reviews on Amazon and elsewhere --- I cannot thank you enough, but please know that I am endlessly grateful for your support, your encouragement, and the time and energy you’ve spent reading my work, sharing it, and thinking about the underlying messages contained within the story.
We could simply all be thankful the world hasn’t quite ended just yet, or we could pause for a moment in our busy lives, watch a raven or two, and take stock of what we have, where we’ve been, and those we love. And ---- if you’ve read this far, and weren’t mentioned yet, then for me, you must be one of those I love.
Thank you. Quyana.
Bear Valley, Anchorage Alaska
Friday, November 15, 2013
The New Book Trailer for The Raven's Gift. Enjoy and share with friends!
I finally got around to cutting a new trailer for my novel. This one includes a few of the blurbs from The Raven's Gift and footage from where I grew up. Be sure to have your volume turned up!
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
This is where I want you to be afraid. Stop for a second and feel the air around you. Is it suddenly a little cooler? Can you feel the cliché, the hair standing on your neck? Is there someone reading this over your shoulder, perhaps a shadow standing in the doorway?
I'm twelve. It's Halloween. I live in a small apartment inside an old school building on the bumpy Alaskan tundra in a Yup'ik village. The building has something of a history. My friends tell me this. The villagers who teach in the school with my mom won't stay in a classroom alone. The school cook takes students with her to retrieve supplies down the long corridors that connect the school to the boilerroom, storage, and abandoned teacher's quarters. In a village with each house cramped, every inch of floor covered with a body and a blanket at night, there are three vacant buildings.
Each one, connected to my house by a long narrow hallway that leads to darkness.
A teacher wrapped a rope around his throat and swung from a rafter in the abandoned teachers quarters. Another died of a heart attack during a school Halloween haunted house. This is the school building I called home for a year of my life. I would be lying if I told you I wasn't slightly terrified of that place then, or even today after they razed it - a new school built over the top.
It wasn't so much the lights going on and off, or the windows and doors opening and closing. Or hearing the balls bouncing, and thinking the janitor might want to shoot hoops - only to look down the long dark hallway to an even darker gym.
Even that Halloween night, when I sat there - lights off - in the school office chatting on the phone, when one of the gray filing cabinet doors slowly rolled open with a metallic groan - even then I wasn't as scared as I am now.
--------------------Because now I know something I didn't know then. ---------------------
See, my mom could explain things. She could explain the lights turning on and off. She could explain the footsteps in the hallway. She could even explain the cabinet I watched open from some invisible bony hand. The lights, she said, were part of the generator problem, and the doors and windows opened from the strong arctic drafts rushing through the building. The footsteps? Those were the building shifting from the permafrost, or a janitor working late. The cabinet? It always opened like that - why else would she tape it shut? The tape must have come loose.
This was how I became a skeptic. This was how I stopped believing. Things can be explained. Everything had a logical explanation. There was nothing to be afraid of.
Then one cold dark Alaskan night ----- make it stormy, too ---and don't forget that figure standing in the doorway ----- mom explained something else. She explained away her explanations. Those were the worst nights of my life, she said. With your dad working in Bethel. Just your sisters and you, and me.
------------------And the ghosts.
It was all a lie ========
- like Santa and that damn chocolate egg laying bunny ……….
She lied about the lights, she lied about the footsteps, and she lied about the voices - yes I forgot to mention the voices because it's 2 am and as I write this I'm scared, again.
She lied because she, "didn't want us afraid in our own home."
She didn't want us to fear the place like she did.
She even spoke to the air and said, "Look, I live here now too. Don't you bother my babies."
But they did.
One night my sister Beth, Shirley Temple curls, four or five at the time, stood at Mom's bedside and whispered, "There's someone standing there."
Mom let Beth crawl in with her, but she could feel it too. Whatever it was, whomever it was, standing there beside them at the edge of the bed.
She covered their heads with the blanket and prayed for sleep.
Thanks. Thanks a lot, Mom.
Now I live in my own home, and I'm scared. Not because of the ghosts in our old school house, but because now I have to confront these ghosts. I have to believe. I can't just want to believe. I have to somehow, believe the events I witnessed, the events we all witnessed were real. The events we experienced during that year were real. And now they are some sort of evidence. But evidence of what? Of life after death?
To believe in ghosts, is to believe in spirits.
Then too, spirits must leave a body at some time, and where do they go? Old school buildings on the tundra?
Is it too much to believe? And, why all the fuss about believing in the unbelievable anyway? What propels this desire to need something other than the ordinary life to believe in?
Why look to the heavens, the mountains, the undiscovered country, the darkness - for answers to questions we won't listen to?
- - - is there no one right question to ask????????
Not one, particular piece of pie to solve the equation, or prove beyond all doubt and reason, there is anything left in which we should (not) believe?
And those GHOSTS… those footsteps in the hall? Those basketballs bouncing in the darkness? The voices? Am I supposed to believe they are the proof I need?
The proof we all long for but refuse to accept?
[This is an excerpt from an old essay I wrote a while back, thought you might enjoy it for Halloween! If you're looking for a scary read check out my novel The Raven's Gift.]
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
In my mind, Alaska Book Week is as much about getting more Alaskans reading and inspiring young future writers as it is about raising the profile of all the amazing writing being done by Alaskans. I'm doing my part by participating as much as humanly possible this week. I even accidentally found myself over booked and will sadly miss an event at my own community council meeting tonight, but that small local meeting has to give way for a much larger event, a talk and reading in Girdwood that will be broadcast at libraries around the entire state of Alaska at 6:30. Some participating libraries are: Girdwood, Glennallen, Craig, Kenai, Cordova, Seward, Bethel, and Valdez.
I'm also the keynote speaker for the Great Alaskan Book Fair, this Friday night! More info at www.alaskabookweek.com
Have a great Alaska Book Week, and if you can get out and support your local authors, and make time to read to the kids (or if you're without kids of your own, go volunteer to read at a local school!).
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Liz Bradfield, and amazing poet friend of mine from grad school at UAA is doing some cool new work. Here is a piece that just appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, and also has been featured as a trippy new video on AQR's new YouTube Channel. Check it out, and listen to someone who will be recognized as one of America's great new poets. (Mark my words!) And give the video some love with a thumbs up and share it with your friends!