Friday, October 18, 2013

Visiting Alaska is not Folly

The Last Frontier
in the United States of America.

It’s true.
Nowhere else can you find the raw beauty of mountains and streams, glaciers and oceans, forests and wide open spaces like this place I’ve called ‘home’ for the last 44 years.

Also known as The Land of the Midnight Sun, it is mind-boggling to take it all in, especially in one visit, or one lifetime.

Even if you were born and raised in Alaska, as my children and grandchildren, the 570,665 sq. miles of mostly rugged wilderness is over-whelming.

But, don’t let that stop you.

Anchorage Museum

Musk Ox taxidermy 

It's not all wilderness. Contrary to popular belief, Alaska has museums and art galleries, hotels and shopping, theater and fast food chains. Maybe not on the grand scale of the Lower 48, but it's all here.




Anchorage Museum

Touring Mammoth Exhibit 

Anchorage Museum

Sewn seal gut strips - Raincoat


Alaska Botanical Gardens


We also boast about our wildlife, Fur Rondezvous, dog sled races, Denali National Park, record fishing, small and big game hunting, skiing and the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) that are like no place on earth.

There are people from all walks of life.
(I am partial to the many wonderful writers that live in Alaska, of course. Check the AKWRA web site & past blogs for info & books available, written by Alaskan authors:

When Vitus Bering,
a Dane working for the Russians, & Alexei Chirikov discovered the Alaskan mainland & Aleutian Islands in 1741, the huge land mass of Alaska—equal to 1/5 of the continental U.S.—was unexplored.

Secretary of State William Seward arranged for its purchase from the Russians for $7,200,000 in 1867, they dubbed Alaska “Seward’s Folly”, despite only paying about 2 cents per acre.

Folly? I think not.

Potter's Marsh - south of Anchorage

Aside from Alaska’s oil reserves, fisheries & wood industries Alaskans have preserved wetlands, such as Potter's Marsh south of Anchorage, and over 100 State Parks (3.5 million acres) for future generations to enjoy.

Portage Glacier Area


Places like Mendenhall Glacier in the North Tongass National Forest and Portage Glacier, south of Anchorage, are a tourist’s dream come true.

And with a population of only around 710,000, Alaska has lots of room to host visitors.

So, start planning your trip to Alaska, and check out our authors & books – we'd love to share our unique perspectives!

There is so much more to be said about Alaska, and our AKRWA authors can't wait to tell you!

Next turn, I’d like to tell you about a little place called Eagle River, just outside of Anchorage, where I live.

          Keep checking us out!  

--- Jae Awkins


Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Right Word

I love words. I love complicated and interesting words. Fun sounding words and words with unusual meanings. It’s a little hard to weave into normal conversation, but I’ve managed to do it on occasion. One of my favorite words is “defenestrate”.

As a writer, it’s not my job to always use the coolest word or I would say, even the most accurate word. I have to use the right word.

There are unusual words that might be correct but if the word is too unfamiliar to the reader, you run the risk of losing them. I don’t think we should dumb down our writing but sometimes the most specific, accurate word isn’t the right word.

I also believe some authors end up sounding pretentious.  I know when I’m reading a book and I run into certain words, I feel as if the author just wants to show me they know what the word means. 
For example, the word “defenestrate”.  As I said, I love this word. I would not, however, throw it into a book even if it was the most accurate word.  Who wants the reader to feel as if they need to look up words while they’re reading? I want my readers captivated by the story, not feeling like they need a vocabulary lesson.

The To Do List (Welsh Wolves 1.5)
Coming Oct. 25
I write erotic romances and I don’t want my love scenes to get boring. I’m always trying to find new words for what’s happening in my books.

Take the word “thrust”...always looking for good ways to say that. Let’s face it. Whether I’m writing m/f, m/m or m/m/f, someone is usually “thrusting” at some point.

Check out the word “thrust” in the Thesaurus and you get: advance, blitz, boost, drive, impetus, impulsion, jump, lunge, momentum, onset, onslaught, poke, pressure, prod, propulsion, punch, push, shove, stab, whack, wham.

All good words. Some I like better than others. Some I’ve never thought of and some I will never use in a love scene. Poke and prod just aren’t sexy. Wham? Don’t think so. Drive, shove or stab would have their uses as things get hot, heavy and maybe a little rough.

As a writer, it’s all about choosing the right word for your story.
--- Tielle

And a few notes about “defenestrate”. Part of the reason I love it is because it comes from the Latin word fenestra. De-fenestra. You de-window something or someone. It’s usually used as a term of political dissent. Its first known use is in 1620, according to I looked it up on Wiki-pedia (I know the challenges of Wiki-pedia but I’ve heard this story before).

The term originates from two incidents in history, both occurring in Prague. In 1419, seven town officials were thrown from the Town Hall, precipitating the Hussite War. In 1618, two Imperial governors and their secretary were tossed from Prague Castle, sparking the Thirty Years War. These incidents, particularly in 1618, were referred to as the Defenestrations of Prague and gave rise to the term and the concept.