The Fishing Widow eBook Release on 6 January 2013!


Three years in the making, and it’s nearly here! I’d like to take this opportunity to invite EVERYONE to the eBook Release of The Fishing Widow on Sunday, January 6, 2013. How will this work? Well, there’s a Fishing Widow eBook Release Facebook Event and then there’s also going to be a Google+ Hangout at 1:00pm Alaska Time (that’s 5pm on the East Coast of the US, and 10pm in Ireland and the U.K.). The address to join me, A.K. Marshall, is that there embedded in my user name. I will admit, the whole Google+ Hangout thing is new for me, and we’ll see how the bandwidth at the coffee shop in Craig, Alaska supports it!

If you happen to find yourself in Craig, Alaska on that date, head over to The Waterstreet Café (801 Water Street) for a cup of the good stuff and cake! You’ll also be able to use the WiFi to download the ebook for free. Actually, the codes will all be posted on the Facebook event page and here that day. Download it from Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, or Barnes & Noble.

And, whether you’re here, on Facebook, or in Craig, let me know you’re out there somewhere and interested. Join the Facebook event, hashtag a post on Twitter #thefishingwidow, or leave a comment here. Folks who join the Facebook event and/or post a comment here on January 6th (or are at Waterstreet Café) have a chance to win PRIZES! Alaskan-themed prizes; kinda like The Gift of the Magi, but with a twist. I have Raven’s Brew coffee, Moka (chocolate) Bars, Deadman’s Reach gear (including hoodies), and quintessentially Alaskan things that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Yes, if you’re overseas, you can still win (as long as it’s legal to ship coffee and chocolate and hoodies).

What’s it all about? Check out The Fishing Widow eBook Release Trailer


Want more? Check out the NEW The Fishing Widow Book Trailer

Many thanks to Stuart Spencer for his more-than-awesome-and-I’m-not-worthy cover art for both the eBook and the pending hard cover release (Coming March 2013).

Days left …. Let’s get this party started!


A to Z Alaska Style: C is for Computer (of the Evil Ilk), D is for Delivery, E is for Earthquake

If only my computer had shot this message at me first, I wouldn’t be so annoyed… While “Computer” isn’t EXACTLY an Alaskan type of thing (I’d actually toyed with “Chinook” the fish and “Chinook” the wind), it’s weighed heavily on my mind. I’m hoping the computer remains among the living while I post this… but, what the heck, even though Fed Ex doesn’t come to my island, HP claims that Fed Ex’s “Expedited Service” will work for me. *sigh* It’s at that point I just give up and say, “Yeah, well, whatever honey, and the last part took two weeks to get here, not the two days you promised…” Enough whining … in Alaska, C is for CHINOOK!

No, no … not THAT kind of Chinook….





There’s THIS kind of Chinook that we all love and adore –Oncorhynchus–The Chinook Salmon (better known as King Salmon). They’re tasty and you can eat ’em. That’s the first thing an Alaskan would want to know–being all subsistence-minded as we are. They are Anadromous Fish, which sounds kind of kinky until you realize that that only means that they’re sea-going fish that migrate up the freshwater rivers to breed (from the Greek word meaning “running up”). These fish can grow up to 58″ in length and can weigh up to 130 pounds. Once they spawn, fry and smolts usually stay in freshwater from 1 to 18 months before travelling downstream to estuaries, where they remain up to 189 days. Chinook salmon spend 1 to 8 years at sea before returning to natal streams to spawn. All science aside, they’re fun to hook, fun to catch, and great smoked or grilled on a cedar plank.

But… Chinook can also mean this: a Chinook wind. We don’t have them so much in Craig as far as I can tell, but we would get them in Copper Center and even up in Fairbanks. It’s a deceptively warm wind, usually in the middle of winter, breaking the seemingly endless days of

-40°F and sending the mercury rocketing up to the teens above …. at which point, Alaskans will decide it’s shirt-sleeve and shorts weather. The Chinook winds are fun while they last, but they never last as long as we’d like. We all know too well that soon, the wind will shift and the cold temperatures will descend … again. It’s not Breakup yet…

D is for DELIVERY. Well, it WOULD be, but I should stop whining about the whole computer and shipping thing, and concentrate on something more Alaskan … like…

Daylight …. Some people think, Wow! 24 hours of daylight! How cool would THAT be?? Well, then they think of the reverse, a world of darkness and how uncool that would be… I’m here to tell you, you’ve got it backwards. Really.

When we came to Alaska back in 2002, my son was 5 and we arrived in the warmth and light of July. We learned a lot about room-darkening shades, and I remember my boy saying, “I’ll go to bed when the sun goes down!” “Well, honey,” I replied, “That’ll be October…”

Well, not October, but we quickly learned how oppressive 24 hours of “visible light” actually is. Even with room-darkening shades, there’s really no escape–the light oozes around the edges. It’s there when you go to bed, it’s there when you get up in the morning, and while I loved the effect all the light had on parts of my garden, I could tell it was having a different effect on us. Darkness, though. Dark is different. People think that it would be the dark that would make a soul depressed. Our dark was a blue-cast dark and it washed away the colors. I describe Copper Center and Fairbanks as a “black and white existence” in winter. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It was also beautiful in the starkness. If you’re inclined, in the darkest times, you can sit in front of a SAD light, you can turn on every light in the house. You can always find some kind of light. In the full of an Alaskan summer, it’s hard to find the dark. The hardest month on kids is February into early March. That’s when the sun returns, and it’s as if kids are solar-powered. They become antsy, irritable. It has everything to do with shifts in light.

E is for March 27, 1964 at 5:36pm. Good Friday. The 9.2 magnitude Alaska Earthquake that shattered the state with a force equal to 10,000,000 (yes, million) Hiroshima bombs. 143 people died. Valdez was obliterated by a tsunami. If you visit Valdez now, you’re not visiting the original townsite. That’s further up the road and on the right. The ground shook for four full minutes. I was nearly 8 months away from being born far south of Alaska when this happened, but I’m embedding a film taken aboard a ship that rode out the tsunami in Valdez. It’s worth a watch. My daughter was saddened to realize the dogs didn’t make it…


We still have earthquakes. We were in Alaska for the November ’02 (November 3, 2002, a 7.9 magnitude that rocked the Denali fault north of Glennallen). It took out major hunks of the Tok Cutoff (that’s a road), and ponds that had frozen over by that point were shocked–their surfaces looking like shattered glass–like a giant fist had punched down from above. My office was in a  basement. The aftershocks were unnerving, to say the least, and they went on for days.

I’ve caught up now, and my computer hasn’t blue-screened out on me! Of course I’ll say that and then —




♫And on Christmas Eve … the End of The Hop … My True Love Gave to Me….♫



Days and days of 50mph+ winds have hammered Prince of Wales Island, and, since we’re on the outer edge of the western shore, it’s hammered us harder than some other places. Yesterday, in a classic sucker hole, we heard a sound that we hadn’t heard in days — a floatplane engine.  Someone had actually made it to the island!  Impressive, since even the ferry had turned back days before (they never did make it to the open water of Clarence Strait…)

It didn’t help that this came on the heels of a Southeast-wide outage of phones (cell phones, long distance, even regional in some cases) when an AT&T tower outside Juneau failed in late-November. While it was nice (in a way) to have the silence and lack of texting and internet, it went on for nearly 36 hours and we all began to realize that if someone Outside was trying to reach us … nope. Those of us with elderly (sorry mom, I can’t believe I called you guys that) parents were more than a little agitated…

But, it’s life in Southeast. It’s a trade off.  Trying to get somewhere for Christmas? Sorry–maybe not this year. It says something when you can’t get to the island that has the plane that can take you south… A family trying to get to Metlakatla when the ferry turned around came into the library lamenting that they may miss Christmas with the grandparents (and their kids’ presents were already IN Metlakatla). I like to relate the story of Tim’s (that’s my husband) travel adventure in Southeast: last February, he and another gentleman, went to Wrangell

for what was supposed to be an hour-long meeting. It turned out to be a 20 minute meeting. The weather closed in. They were there for FIVE DAYS. The two finally made it out when the Alaska Marine Highway ferry made it to port. They went back to Ketchikan and then back to Craig…because you can’t get here from there … directly..

So, living here is an exercise in living underwater (nearly 15 feet of rainfall annually) and patience when it comes to any kind of travel. I pinch at my eyes when people schedule meetings and trips for me in the winter. Luckily, I don’t get seasick, or I would be checking my Dramamine supply for when the ferry rocks and rolls…

Not much horror in this post save for the weather, and I wish I could share that with you (remotely … share it with you REMOTELY because TRUST ME, you don’t WANT this)… as I get ready to pull on my Grunden’s and run the dog around in the gale, I’m going to leave the last contest (because what better time to be all reflective and haiku-y than on Christmas Eve?) … Here it is:

It’s a HORROR HAIKU contest.  Free form (’cause that’s how Haiku is supposed to be!)! Hit me with your best 5-7-5 tribute to the genre, a creature, the weather… you get the idea. What scares you? (lately, it’s this thing that ate the bones out of one of my characters and is wearing his skin like a rag doll … ew… I can’t get off the porch at night to go bring the dog in ’cause I know it’s going to flop down from the cedar branches and GET ME! *shudders*) How would YOU enjoy brain crumpets at the Zombie Cafe? .. Go for it!

All contest winners will be announced on Boxing Day (after all, Facebook thinks I’m in Canada, so I’ll just go with that vibe…)!  Good luck!  Leave your entries as a comment here OR email to

The winner gets THIS: (with the caveat that the weather has to break for the damn float plane to get out to get it to you!)