Jeff Brady | 2017 North Words Writers Symposium Rundown

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North Words Writers Symposium wrapped up in Skagway recently. Jeff Brady, co-organizer, provides a vicarious look at this year’s conference. ~ JP  The 8th annual North Words Writers Symposium in Skagway was the biggest yet. About 40 participants from all over Alaska and the Yukon were extolled by keynote author Paul Theroux to get out and work hard to experience life … Read More

Deb Vanasse | In These Times

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Just when I think I’ve achieved equilibrium, there’s a jolt. Such is life. That’s the Zen way of thinking. But I’m a writer, and writing demands focus. Under certain circumstances—death, illness, tragedy, the potential demise of democracy—focus is hard. It won’t help with all circumstances, but one source of wisdom I’ve returned to time and again in recent weeks is … Read More

North Words Writers Symposium | What A Few Can Do

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Perhaps you’ve heard how this statewide organization, 49 Writers, got started. Two people who’d never before met—that would be Andromeda Romano-Lax and me—joined forces to encourage and promote the work of Alaska writers. North Words Writers Symposium followed a similar trajectory although, in truth, their origin story is even cooler than ours. Years ago, Skagway’s legendary tourism director, Buckwheat, made … Read More

Deb Vanasse | Know Your Reader

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  “You’re a person who can handle shades of gray, aren’t you?” Judy had her hands in my mouth, probing and scraping, so I could only nod in response. “I thought so. Me, I can’t stand gray. Black or white. That’s how I like it.” A self-professed voracious reader, Judy knows I’m an author. She launched this teeth-cleaning session by … Read More

Deb Vanasse | Dirty Secrets of Revision and Editing

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I’ve warned you before—I’m obsessed with gardening. Especially this year, when after thirty-six years in Alaska, I moved to the Oregon Coast, where people informed me that everything would grow bigger and faster than I ever expected. It does. For the connections with writing, I blame Natalie Goldberg, whose wisdom I shared most recently when talking with adolescents in a treatment … Read More

New Digs for the Blog!

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It’s been almost nine years to the day since Deb Vanasse posted the very first post on this blog. 49 Writers was not yet a nonprofit organization back then, we had not started offering classes and events, and the blog still had its original name—49 Writers, No Moose. Deb’s first sentence in that first post reads “Amazing writers live in … Read More

Spotlight on Alaska Books: Wealth Woman, by Deb Vanasse

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Excerpt: An exceptional and complex woman, Kate will prove herself neither angel nor demon. Her perspective—and indeed the perspective of all Native people—will be overlooked time and again in the plethora of books that will be written about the Klondike, popular accounts of the gold rush that emphasize the values and accomplishments of outsiders. But when pieced together decades after … Read More

Alaska Shorts: An Excerpt from Wealth Woman by Deb Vanasse

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The excerpt that follows tells of events leading up to the marriage of Shaaw Tlaa (Kate) to prospector George Carmack, who took credit for the discovery of gold in the Klondike. …both [Shaaw Tláa’s husband] Kult’ús and her daughter fell sick, most likely in the late summer or early fall of 1886. As with each wave of disease that passed … Read More

Deb: The Book, Reimagined

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Short Editions vending machine dispenses a story. Image: www.travelandleisure.com I’ve become rather notorious for reading the latest sensation, the must-read pick of the season, a good ten to fifteen years after everyone else does. I could try to convince you that I do this on purpose, in order to savor the story after the furor has diminished, in order to … Read More

Book Deals: What Authors Don’t Ask Their Publishers

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I’ve been at this publishing game for a while now—twenty years, seventeen books, six different publishers. From a writer’s perspective, it’s a complicated business. You may think your contract spells out everything related to your book deal, when in fact many details that can make or break your publishing experience won’t be covered in your contract at all. That means … Read More