Thursday, January 31, 2013

On Being Haunted by a Dead Writer

I could list off about a hundred reasons why a smarter writer wouldn't even think of attempting to write on the subject that I've selected for one of the novels I'm currently working on (or rather, not working on and writing this blog post instead!); however, a certain specter looms just over my left shoulder as I type each and every word, and this is new to me. I am unaccustomed to having such an unexpected guest reading and criticizing my work as the words appear on the screen.

1st Ed. Moby Dick.
The general topic?


The owner of the ghostly shadow hovering over my shoulder?


Perhaps, I am have chosen a voyage, not unlike Captain Ahab, that dooms me to the same fate as the Pequod: sunk. 

Hopefully, this ghost will get tired of haunting me and I'll be like Ishmael and live to tell the tale. (Though, if Ishmael's experience, post-white-whale encounter, was anything like the horrors the sailors from the Essex endured, the true story of a whale bark destroyed by a sperm whale, the one that Melville modeled his epic on, I am not so sure I want to survive!)

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Note of Thanks to You and 2012

So I'm a bit late with the whole out with 2012 thing. Perhaps I was still mourning the failed end of world predictions, that or I didn't expect I'd be able to actually "log on" to anything other than throwing a log on my fire!Still, there it is never too late to reflect on a year gone by or to thank folks for their support. 2012 was by all measures an amazing year for this writer kid from the tundra.
Atticus finishing my latest novel for me.

 I probably couldn't even fully capture all the incredible events that single year of my life held. Just one photo of my son's smile would be enough, and really would encapsulate so much of all that I am already grateful for in my life, but then again, I was fortunate enough to have other things to be thankful for in 2012, especially when it comes to my literary career.

Early in 2012 I learned I was awarded an Innovate Award from the University of Alaska Anchorage for research on my next novel. (You can read more about that award and the new novel I'm working on here.)

Then in May I learned that The Raven's Gift received 1st in the Alaska Professional Communicators statewide writing contest.  (This win made it eligible for the National Federation of Press Women's contest, and in the fall the novel was awarded 2nd place in that national contest!

In June I had the incredible honor to be faculty at the prestigious Kachemak Bay Writers Conference in Homer, Alaska. The keynote speaker was none other than Barry Lopez, and I can not begin to say how fortunate I felt to get to hear him, and then spend some time chatting with him. He's an amazing and generous human-being, and getting to become friends with him was one of the ultimate highlights of the year.

Just as the June sun in Alaska barely sets, so too did the excitement barely stop. July hit and The Raven's Gift began to fly off shelves in Australia and New Zealand. Published by Text Publishing, the novel has received and continues to receive some great reviews. 

The summer grew more amazing, if not unbelievable, with news that The Raven's Gift would finally be published in the good old United States of America by Pintail, a new imprint of Penguin in 2013.

So yes, 2012 was quite an incredible year. I have many people to thank, from my amazing family, friends, mentors, colleagues, and readers like you. Thank you. I can only hope that in 2013 I will be able to entertain you, surprise you, make you laugh and cry and love this great planet we call home. May you find the energy to follow your own passions in 2013, and may you strive to be the best human being you can. May you read more. Write more. Learn more. And love more.

Here is to an exciting and enriching 2013.

All the best to you,