A-LARPing We Should Go…. Welcome to Day 1 of Coffin Hop!

Devil Fish Bay Pic

Happy Coffin Hop Day 1!

So, as I was looking around for some semblance of inspiration for Day 1 of Coffin Hop, I was reminded of a video sent around by the good folks at Lovecraft eZine:

This LARP (Live Action Role Play) was unique in that it had a Lovecraftian theme, whereas most LARPs involve Epic Quests and running around the forested areas of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State smacking trees with swords. Please don’t ask me how I know this, because it would be embarrassing for both of us…. That said, a million years ago in my younger, wilder days, I used to LARP with a group from SUNY New Paltz and then-boyfriend Ken [last name withheld to protect the not-so-innocent].  If you’ve never LARPed, you should try it. At least try it once. It’s like acting on the largest stage possible. You lose yourself and become someone entirely different. It’s the BEST kind of mass-hysteria.

So, my Coffin Hop Day 1 post, inspired by Swedes LARPing about, is about a place on Prince of Wales that could beat Sweden hands down for an eerie place to hold a LARP. I’m talking about Devil Fish Bay. On the still-available-but-not-for-long NOAA Chart (that’s another post for another day), it’s here:

Devil Fish Bay Chart

Latitude: 56.09417 : Longitude: -133.34417

Innocuous, right? It’s a little place on a map that looks pleasant enough. Sure. Pleasure boats go through there. Never a problem, right?

Let me tell you a little bit about Devil Fish Bay (at least what I know about it). Legend has it that there was once a Native village on the shore of Devil Fish Bay. One night, a Devil Fish rose from the water, created a tidal wave, and wiped out the village. Such was the terror, that those who survived fled and never returned. No village was ever established there again. Ever. But, the strangeness doesn’t end there. The Devil Fish persists. Apparently deep beneath the water is the wreck of a boat pulled under by the Devil Fish. Through the clear water, you can still see suction cup marks all around the hull. Are we seeing a Lovecraftian LARP opportunity yet?

It gets better.

I’ve heard stories of kayakers who have attempted to spend the night on the shores of Devil Fish Bay only to be frightened by some unknown “feeling” or “presence” that they’ve fled–leaving tents and gear behind them. One kayaker reported hearing “voices” when no one was there. Another reported smelling “coffee” when there was no one around and no one else making coffee.  Are we there yet?

It gets better.

I know this guy who, for the purposes of this blog post, will remain nameless. He is one of  the most down-to-Earth guys I know. He isn’t given to flights of imagination. He isn’t dramatic or high strung. He’s even-keeled, he’s matter-of-fact, and he’s got a wry sense of humor. I thought he was kidding when he told me that Devil Fish Bay scares the hell out of him. I mean, really? He doesn’t like it there. He openly tries to avoid it. He doesn’t want to “talk about it,” but talking to him belies the fact that he’s witnessed something there.

It can’t get much better than that.

I know it would take years to set up, but a LARP in Devil Fish Bay might be just the cure for October blues that settle in with the weather.  Just throwing that out there; everyone’s gotta have a hobby.



The Coffin Hop Day One Contest is simple: Considering the Lovecraft Mythos, what creature or character would you chose to be in a LARP, and do you think you would survive?

Today’s Prize:  a Coffin FULL of Candy (35 pieces to be exact!) and a package of Raven’s Brew Deadman’s Reach Coffee!


Comments close at Midnight, so don’t delay! A new contest and prize every day!





Coffin CandyCOFFIN HOP CONTINUES! Click the link and Hop On!



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!


♫ The Cover Is The Hardest Part ♫

As it turns out, that’s completely and totally true. I should start out by apologizing for any and all redundancies and bursts of enthusiasm in this post. I’m fresh from a NaNoWriMo win, made sweeter by the fact that I didn’t actually start writing until November 15th. Also made sweeter by the fact that I started the process of finding a cover for The Fishing Widow. So, here’s my story, and I’m sticking with it ….

It took three years to write The Fishing Widow. I’m counting from the moment Colin Claybaugh snuck up behind me while I was doing dishes (and I turned and took a swing with a frying pan at this unknown, disembodied voice…it’s a good thing he ducked) saying, “I hear you’re good at writing down stories.” through to the final edit. I’m pretty sure there were no fewer than fifteen edits of the book; along with endings, and alternate endings, and fist-fights about the ending, and, at last, THE ENDing. If you write, you’re nodding sagely at that last statement. Yes. It’s a struggle. It’s a struggle even when you’re dealing with forthcoming characters who want to tell you everything. Not that that’s any good, either, because then you’re staring at a reams-long tome wondering what in the world to cut out. No one needs that much detail….

See? I’ll blame NaNoWriMo because I’m slightly rambling, but only to make a point. Three years of my life and more than two-thirds of my sanity have gone into The Fishing Widow. I’m ready to put it out there. And then, there’s the whole putting it out there. As writers, let’s face it–it doesn’t matter how long we’ve delved into something, it doesn’t matter if we have cracklingly real characters, believable dialog, compelling stories, horror, triumph, a catastrophic bettering of the human condition, and that attainment of catharsis that our high school English teachers told us we had to attain in our writing or Dante would be waiting for us in the bowels of somewhere down there in the hot spot, without a decent, eye-catching, soul-gripping, I-need-to-read-this-lest-I-die cover, your book is not going to stand out on the shelf amid the others vying for attention. To that end, I’ll add this: I know graphic design and I am no graphic designer. So, while trolling Facebook, I came across a publisher (Permuted Press) who was looking for feedback for a book cover design contest at this website called 99 Designs. Really? Book cover contest? I just had to look….

Then, I was hooked. While this isn’t an advertising blitz for 99 Designs, I’ll just say that I put up a contest, 55 designers submitted 180 possible covers based on a detailed design brief that I submitted and I worked with a number of them through a feedback process to whittle it down to 6 designers. Now, there are eight possible designs on the block–each one a bit different, each one with a different feel, but all of them by designers who are wildly talented and even better, responsive to feedback. Huh. I guess this is a bit of an advert for 99 Designs ….

But, back to the contest. There’s this poll. It lives here: https://99designs.com/book-cover-design/vote-h7sika And, I’m using this as a forum to solicit feedback from YOU. When I wrote the original design brief, I asked for a cover that would make people yank the book from the shelf and open it. So, I now ask you, looking at these designs, if you were standing in a bookstore surrounded by more compelling graphic design than one person could bear, which one would stand out? If you were strolling the Lido Deck (they all have “Lido Decks,” right?) of a cruise ship and noticed a book in someone’s hand, what cover would catch your eye and make you think, “Wow, I should so totally read that.” ?? I know, asking a lot, but if it’s not compelling enough to pick up, if it doesn’t draw your eye, you’ll never open it to read the flap (which reminds me, I’ve got to write that bit, too), or thumb through the pages.

And then you’d never meet Ethan.

Or Colin.

Or Brett.

Or St. John.

Or Elizabeth.

And that would make me sad, ’cause trust me. You’d love ’em…..