Sunday, June 25, 2017

Muldoon Market

Anchorage for Free    

Partly because I want to share my hometown with the world, and partly to motivate me to get out and enjoy it, I've decided to post a series of fun places to see in Anchorage for free. Today, I visited the Muldoon Market,held on Saturdays throughout the summer at Begich Middle School. This isn't the big Saturday market downtown, just a neighborhood market where vendors can sell their fresh farm produce and crafts. 


The items aren't free, but the entertainment is. Today's singer had a wonderful voice. There's was a clown, a bubble fun area for the kids, and a table of free recipe cards and books. I dropped off a couple of books I'd finished reading, hoping someone who doesn't know about the Harlequin Heartwarming line will discover them and love them. 





Summer just got here, so there were no carrots or fresh potatoes yet, but there were salad greens and starter plants for sale. Lots of fun crafts: crochet, art, photography, fabric. Even a pipecleaner guy. Yes, that car he's wearing is made of pipecleaners. Bake sale items and other good stuff to eat. Some adorable child-size aprons that made me wish I had a granddaughter to shop for. Mostly there were just lots of people out sharing their talents and enjoying the day. 





I ended up with some recipe cards, moose notecards for an upcoming giveaway, and a pack of poppies to plant in my flowerbed. 


Are you a fan of farmer's markets?









Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Book Brain


Have you ever suffered from temporary book amnesia? That disorientation you feel when you finish a really good book, look around the room, and wonder for a moment where you are and how you got there? 


Kind of like half the atoms in your brain are still in that fictional world?







I’ve experienced this phenomenon all my life, but now it's climbed to a new level. I’m currently writing book #3 of the Northern Lights Series. Meanwhile the first book, THE ALASKAN CATCH, comes out in August, so I’m working on excerpts and articles for marketing that book. The second book, A GIFT FOR SANTA, comes out in December and I've been working on frontmatter and am expecting edit notes for that one any day. 

All the stories are related, but have different characters and plot lines. Plus, I have a couple of different non-writing projects that need my attention. Sometimes, I find myself staring at a my keyboard, trying to remember what I'm supposed to be working on.

I know lots of writers have multiple projects going at any given time, but my approach has always been to immerse myself in one world at a time. That’s no longer an option. I'm going to have to learn how to transport from story to story without getting lost. Not that I’m complaining. Writing multiple books for Harlequin is a dream come true, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity. I just need to develop better juggling skills.


How about you? Do you read or write more than one story at a time? Any tips for organizing multiple projects? I'd love to hear them. 

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Friday, May 26, 2017

When in Doubt, Check It Out

Physically, I’ve always considered myself extraordinarily average. Brown hair, five-feet-five, not athletic but not hopelessly clumsy, just average. But I discovered I was wrong. My appendix was an overachiever.


It all started a little over a week ago, with an aching stomach. Just your usual stomach bug, and not a particularly bad one. I was just glad I had a week to recover before boarding a plane to Anchorage. The pain worked its way from my stomach down the right to the lower right side of my abdomen over the next couple of days. I felt better, but that area was still tender when I moved or touched it.

Then I had a fairly healthy couple of days, but the tenderness was still there, maybe a little worse. Sunday, I was fatigued as well as sore. I started googling appendicitis. While the pain and loss of appetite were classic symptoms, I had no fever, vomiting, etc. Still, I thought I should get checked out before flying. I called a walk-in clinic, but they said for appendicitis symptoms I should go to the emergency room. It didn’t feel like an emergency.

Monday, I tried to see the doctor who’d done my colonoscopy a couple of years ago, but he’s booked until October. They said go to emergency room. The tenderness wasn’t any better.  I gave in and my husband took me in.

The fine people at the ER did the usual – blood work, urine, etc. and started an IV for the dye they use in a CT scan. Turns out I don’t have particularly good veins for IVs, but eventually they got one in.

I went for my first CT scan. I’m sure I’ll be using that in a book someday, with that futuristic spinning light and that mechanized voice telling me to hold my breath. But then they stopped the scan. The IV wasn’t taking in the dye. They backed me out of the machine and lowered my arm. The dye started again. Raised my arm. It stopped. So, the IV only worked at table level, and I couldn’t go into the machine with my arm beside me.

Various people punched a few more holes, trying unsuccessfully to start another IV. Then a nurse discovered if I held my arm behind my head, turned outward to just the right angle, the drip worked. We were in business. The CT scan was completed and they sent me back to my ER room to wait for results.

And we waited. I presumed the delay had something to do with the difficulty getting the scan and half-expected to be sent back to do it again. The nurse confided to me she’d never seen someone with no fever or more pain than I was having come back positive for appendicitis. Finally, we got the call. I not only had appendicitis, it was ulcerated and I was going into surgery. Soon.

As it turns out, my appendix was in an unusual position, kind of hidden behind my colon, which for some reason tends to confine and mask the symptoms. The surgeon took it out in three pieces, and I spent a miserable two days in the hospital. But now I’m home, I’m alive, and I’m thankful.

Things could have been so much worse. If it weren’t for the flying deadline, I might have continued putting it off until my fever spiked and I got really, really sick before the surgery. What if I’d continued to blow off the symptoms and my appendix went kerboom halfway between Seattle and Anchorage? That wouldn’t have been pleasant, for me or the other passengers.

Here’s my Public Service Announcement for others with my tendency not to want to make a fuss. Go. The people in the ER are there to help. If it’s not a heart attack, or appendicitis, or whatever, that’s good news. If it is, thank goodness you went.



Friday, May 19, 2017

Newsletter


My first newsletter is out! You can read it by clicking here. To celebrate, I'm giving away this bracelet to one lucky newsletter subscriber. Hurry, the contest ends soon. 


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Antelope Canyon


On the way home from Durango, we took a little detour to Page, Arizona for a tour of Antelope Canyon, on the Navajo Reservation. I'd seen pictures, but they didn't compare to the real thing.

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon. It's only about six to eight feet wide, and during flash floods the water rushes through, forming these fantastic shapes in the rock. Up above, the narrow opening means the light peeks in and paints the rocks with light and shadow, changing during the day. Our tour was in the evening, so didn't have direct beams shining in.

The tour starts in Page. While we waited, a talented hoop dancer performed for us. He manipulated a series of hoops over and around his body as he danced to the beat of a drum. Then they loaded us into the back of pickups and off we went to the canyon. 

Look up
Petrified waves
Like clouds, the forms of the rocks often seem to contort themselves into recognizable patterns and surreal shapes.




It's humbling to think of the millions of years it took to build up the rock, and then for the water to wear it away once again. 









Outside the canyon
Light and shadow

Can you see the bird?
I can almost make out faces in the outcrops.
I like the color contrast here.




Reverse cave






If you're in the area, maybe to see the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon is worth a visit, if only to exercise your imagination.



What shapes do you see?


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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Finding Rainbows

Yesterday we flew from Anchorage to Arizona, with a stopover in Seattle. It was raining (big surprise I know.) For various reasons, our plane out of Seattle was late getting off and we had to wait behind ten other planes for takeoff. So I was waiting, reading my book, and happened to look out the window to see this. 



I don't think I've ever seen a rainbow this low across the sky, or with such definition between the colors. The photo really doesn't do it justice, especially with the raindrops on the window, but you can take my word that it was spectacular. 

This is one of those lessons I keep having to relearn. Beauty is all around us if we pay attention. 

Look up. Do you see something beautiful?