Friday, August 9, 2013

Road Trip! 2014 is the year of Alaska on the Go

Nice shot, yes? Enjoying a summer day at Timberline Lodge in Oregon's Mount Hood Territory.
With the final summertime trip in the record books, it's time to start thinking about 2014. This is not entirely unusual, friends, since by Christmas I usually have the coming year all plotted, planned, and reserved. 2014, however, will be a teensy bit different.

We're going on a book tour.

We love road trips. 
Alaska on the Go: Exploring the forty-ninth state with children will be available in better bookstores (or the back of my car) by next spring, and with the boxes o' books comes the inevitable road and/or air tour to sell them. Good thing we like to travel.

University of Alaska Press  will handle the biggie destinations, and a tentative schedule will be released as soon as the final publishing date is announced, but we need your help to fill in a few extra days and places, because, gosh darn it, I hate to waste highway time.
Outside of our home state of Alaska, discussions have begun with folks in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada; Seattle, Bellevue, Bellingham, Granite Falls, and Issaquah, Washington; Portland and Bend, Oregon; and Durango, Colorado. Anybody down in California want to meet us, receive a signed copy of the book, and talk Alaska family travel? How about our Southern readers? We'd love to meet you, too!

Maybe a group campout? Book-signing under the stars, now that's something special!

Interested? is the place to find me.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Today I Feel....

Slightly stupid.

Navigating the 300+ pages (oops, three hundred-plus, according to Chicago style, in which I must now write) of manuscript with comments and edits in just about every line can wreak havoc with one's psyche. My emotional bank account is a bit low today, anyway, and if I didn't need to have my comments about the comments in asap before we leave on vacation, I'd lay this aside until I had myself under control.

Sigh. But I can't, and came to tears about a few secondary queries after I had returned  the manuscript to Production Team. FYI - it's difficult to type when your nose is running.

Added to the stress this week was the unintended replacement of not one, but two hard drives for my trusty Mac, which now has me treating it like a fragile elderly relative that needs medication. "How can I help you, dear? Would you like a nap, now?"

Vacation beings on Friday, a much-needed trip to Central Oregon and the extended family's cabin at beautiful Mount Hood. Certainly both electronics and humans will receive a recharge.

A good one, one that will allow for fresh outlooks and new ideas on the other side.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Copyedits and Coffee

After a month of only obliquely thinking about the book, the manuscript is sitting in my inbox this morning, fresh from the copy editor.

I'm filling up the coffeemaker.

Not that there's a lot to review from the editor, just a lot of looking and watching and double-checking; but I've found over the past month that some information that was accurate in May is not accurate in July, due to the usual switch-ups that occur in the travel industry. New tours, cancelled packages, additional contact information, and with my ear to the ground I've been making mental notes to check and re-check many listings in the book. Add copyedits, and I've got quite a week ahead of me, for sure.

Maybe I better grind some pre-emptive coffee, too.

Thank goodness edits didn't show up, yesterday. I'm struggling to recover from a head cold and cough, the hard drive died in my trusty Mac, and my husband is away fishing for salmon to keep us viable over the winter months.

Today is better. Mostly because my son figured out how to make me coffee. At eight, he's pretty talented, that kid, so I think I'll keep him around.

Next step, the cover. And THAT is going to be a sticky point with me. I want flashy, bold, and bright, full of images that will make potential buyers say "Ahhhhhhlaska!"

But that's next. Today is today, and I better get to it.

Right after I make more coffee.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On Summer and Writing

Kayaking Fox Island. Ahhhhlaska.

Pardon the absence, but I've been having summer. Delicious, watermelon-splattered, sunburned, real-deal Summer. Alaska has missed out, these past few years, and we are duly obligated to spend as much time outdoors as possible. My son leaves the breakfast table in a hurry these days, anxious to meet up with the Evergreen Street Biker Gang and another morning of tag, races, and the cheap yard sprinkler I bought on sale last non-summer. Hubster and I spent a weekend at secluded Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge near Seward. Life, in a curvy sort of way, is pretty good right now.
Not a bad draft, I think. 
Web Guy came through with a set of spectacular maps that impressed the UA Press production editor, and we met a few weeks ago for a final viewing and the official send-off. According to the "Steps in Process from Proposat to Book" sheet, still hanging above my desk, we are now in the phase of "Manuscript Copyedited." In a few weeks I should be seeing the framework of what will eventually be "Alaska On the Go: Exploring the 49th state with children."

Then, summer weather or no, I'm back at the desk, feverishly reading and reviewing and changing stuff for the final time, and working on a cover.

UnCruise. I do it.
In the meantime, I'm off to southeast Alaska as the host of a Kids in Nature trip with UnCruise Adventures, a small ship cruise line based in Seattle. Seven days in Glacier Bay, Alaska, with no internet, no phone, and no deadlines.

I can deal with that. Oh yes, indeed, I can.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Alaska On the Go - It Went!

The family "peaceful place," important because we do need some peace after all this.

I really, really, REALLY wanted to get the manuscript completed by the time our family hopped aboard an airplane to our former home of Port Angeles, Washington. Since the trip was vacation and not work, it was important to all of us that The Book not impede with fun, and I tried to honor that request by my husband.

As anyone who has ever written a book can tell you, a manuscript becomes an infant, needing constant care and attention to thrive, so being able to launch the words back to the Production Editor at University of Alaska Press was a welcome concept, indeed.

And so I did that via dropbox last week.

Web Guy is making maps that should provide a little bit of orientation to readers, even if they have a GPS and local tourism guide. I have photos all safely tucked away at UA Press.

The coolest part? Seeing the freelance editor adding changed files to our shared dropbox folder, knowing that he/she is creating an actual book out of words that came from my brain. My brain - MINE. The one that is so often scattered with schedules and deadlines and grocery lists and worry for bills to pay.

That's amazing.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Am I too Attached?

There it is. 

I've been staring at my laptop for several hours today, wondering if the end is near. Boxes checked on the University of Alaska Press guidlines sheet, photos and captions sent, individual chapters saved in a new folder.


Perhaps I'm ready to send in the manuscript for the final time? I'm as apprehensive about this as I was ushering my son to kindergarten a few years ago. Am I ready? Are you ready? Is Alaska ready?

The psyche vs. intellect duel is an interesting one, and today I feel like the psyche is winning. Writers are always told to "end at the ending" and "quit dragging," but in this case the ending seems to be there, it's just my helicopter parenting of this book that's keeping me from hitting the "send" button.

But I think it might be time.

After two years, I'm sure my husband would say so.

Ready, set......

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Many-Headed Monster

Thanks Manyheadedmonster.wordpress

I like these guys. Part comfort-keeper from my childhood watching "The Muppets," part definition of how I feel, today.

Today the book looks like an algebra equation married to a term paper. My checklist requires a spell-checked MS (manuscript), saved text, in both a single document and one divided by chapters, and the heads. 

Lots and lots of heads. 

Heads, for those of you who don't know (and I didn't before I became a journalist), are the quantifiable divisions of any manuscript. Introductions, chapters, sections, and sub-sections are all heads. In the average manuscript, there are usually two or three, depending upon the subject.

A guidebook, as you can imagine, has a lot. 

So, today has been spent labeling [A], [B], [C], [D]. I'd like to add an additional one for [F]..udge. 
Read, label, count, lose count, re-read, label again; it's an exercise that appears eerily similar to math. 

I hate math. 

But I love this book. 

Perhaps this is all a ploy to keep it that way.