Posted on October 16, 2017

Happy Alaska Day!

We are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the purchase of Alaska this year. You can see some events at the Alaska Historical Society website at

For more about the holiday, here is a reprise of a post I first ran in 2013:

October 18 is Alaska Day. This is the date in 1867 when Russia handed over Alaska to the United States. The ceremony took place in Sitka, Alaska’s capitol at the time, and representatives from both countries officiated. One hundred Russian soldiers lined up on the left side of the flagpole and 250 American troops in full uniform stood to the right. A cannon salute was fired, the Russian flag was lowered, and Captain Pestchouroff said to the American commander, “General Rousseau, by authority from his Majesty the Emperor of Russia I transfer to the United States the Territory of Alaska.” General Rousseau accepted, the American flag went up, and that was that.

Sometimes formal pomp and circumstance doesn’t go as planned–oops. One account on the Alaska Day Festival website states, “The Russian flag stuck fast in the lanyards during its lowering. Several soldiers were unsuccessful in their attempts to climb the flagpole and free the flag. A sling was rigged and a Russian soldier raised to the flag, but he dropped it after freeing it. Gasps were heard as the flag dropped onto the Russian soldiers’ bayonets. The ceremony continued with the quick raising of the American flag.”

Today, the date is marked by a state office holiday and a few local celebrations in Alaskan towns. Sitka has the best; their Alaska Day Festival lasts several days including  races, dances, entertainment, and a reenactment of the transfer ceremony. See more about the history and their festival on their website,

Posted on October 9, 2017

#FellowshipofWords #TRW17 Unleash Your Story

Happy Teen Read Week! Here’s some info from the YALSA website:

Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually in October the same week as Columbus Day. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users. 

The 2017 event will be held Oct. 8 – 14th, featuring the theme ‘Unleash Your Story.’ Library staff, afterschool providers, and educators are encouraged to leverage this theme to encourage teens to tell their own stories as well as find stories, biographies, autobiographies, folktales, and more in their local library.  Join the conversation on Twitter with #TRW17.

As you may know, I’ve been writing about the #FellowshipofWords this year, encouraging everyone to connect with each other through words and books. (See more on the first #FellowshipofWords post at Teen Read Week™ is a great way to do that. 

Go to to their website at or follow #TRW17 to see what libraries are doing, find great reads for teens and more!

Posted on October 6, 2017

Alaska Book Week 2017

This year’s Alaska Book Week of October  1-7. This is a time for us to celebrate Alaskan authors and books. Events have been happening all over the state, from book signings to talks to a bookmark contest! See more at

I’ve been posting shout outs to some of my favorite Alaskan writers on my Twitter feed. Here’s a genre cross-section selection of Alaskan authors to explore. (Disclaimer: some of those are personal friends; some have won awards but I haven’t read their books yet. But I think you’ll find at least one that’s your cup of tea.)

Jennifer Bernard writes contemporary romance. I love her fireman series and baseball series.

Kris Farmen writes contemporary and historical literary fiction. His novel Turn Again is one of my favorites.

Erin Hollowell is a poet who lives in the Homer area. Her latest book is Pause, Traveler.

Eowyn Ivey write historical literary fiction. The Snow Child is brilliant.

Joan Naviyuk Kane is a poet with family connections in King Island, and her latest book is Hyperboreal.

Nancy Lord has written several books, and I just bought her new novel pH.

C.M. McCoy writes YA paranormal, and I love her novel Eerie.

Jeremy Pataky is a poet who lives in McCarthy. His latest book is Overwinter.

Don Rearden has written fiction, nonfiction, and screenplays. His novel The Raven’s Gift is stunning.

Cinthia Ritchie is a poet and novelist. Dolls Behaving Badly is one of my all-time favorite novels. And her blog is great!

Dan Walker’s new YA novel Secondhand Summer is on my to-be-read list.

Happy Alaska Book Week, and happy reading! 🙂

Posted on September 29, 2017

Back to School: Authors for Earth Day

It’s fall, and everyone’s back in school. I will attend the 2017 Ak Cross Content Conference in Fairbanks, Alaska this weekend. I’m looking forward to talking to Alaskan teachers. Now, it seems like a good time to remind folks of another great program for classrooms: Authors for Earth Day.

Authors for Earth Day (A4ED) started as an Earth Day presentation to empower students to engage in conservation. As the website puts it, “Authors for Earth Day (A4ED) is a grassroots coalition of award-winning children’s authors and illustrators who directly mentor young readers by giving them ‘an authentic research project with real-world impact.’

NOW A YEAR-ROUND PROGRAM. Each participant does one school visit a year with a unique twist: the author donates at least 30% of that day’s speaking fee to a non-profit conservation organization as directed by a student vote. Students research a list of five conservation nominees selected by their author and then vote for their favorite—the author writes a check to the winning organization. Our mission? To empower young readers to shape the world around them!”

So far, A4ED has raised almost $75,000, and they are hoping to go much higher this year, thanks to authors and teachers. Check out their website at

and contact an author about speaking to your students this school year.

Yes, I am one of the YA authors in A4ED! If you choose me, I’ll talk about the beginning of Denali National Park and Preserve, and my selected organizations are Alaska Geographic, Cook Inletkeeper, Denali Citizens Council, Denali Education Center, and Great Land Trust. I hope to connect with students through a bit of Alaska history, and inspire them to learn more about the conservation groups in their community.

Posted on September 22, 2017

Nome, Alaska’s Anniversary

On this day, September 22, in 1898, the “Three Lucky Swedes”: Norwegian-American Jafet Lindeberg, and two Swedish-Americans, Erik Lindblom and John Brynteson, staked the discovery claim on Anvil Creek near Nome. People rushed to get in on the next big rush, many from other gold strikes in the north. Eight thousand people came from Dawson in the same week, and Nome became a boomtown. 

As with other gold rushes, many stampeders arrived to find all the good claims taken. Then, a group of claim jumpers took claims by force. It took a long time to get that straightened out. But there was one silver lining—in Nome, there was also gold dust in the beach sand, and people lined the beach to sluice there.

My characters Jeannie and Clint end up mining the beach in my book Quicksilver to Gold. I had a lot of fun researching and writing that book. You’ve probably seen this photo of me on the Nome beach. 


Lynn Lovegreen on Nome beach



Later, Nome evolved into a settled town. It is now famous for being the endpoint for the Iditarod sled dog race. But the TV show Bering Sea Gold and other pop culture stories keep the Gold Rush in people’s minds.

Posted on September 15, 2017

#FellowshipofWords and #WordsMatter

As my regular readers know, for my #FellowshipofWords this year, I have been highlighting ways we can connect with each other through words and books. (See more on the first #FellowshipofWords post at Joseph Janes’ column in this month’s American Libraries magazine is a good example.

American Libraries is the magazine for the ALA (American Library Association, Twitter feed  @amlibraries). Janes’ column discusses how words matter and the need for librarians to take a stand to protect our library patrons’ intellectual freedom. He says this more brilliantly than I could, so please read his entire column at He mentions Merriam Webster’s Twitter feed (@MerriamWebster) and their use of the hashtag #WordsMatter.

I went online and read some of the tweets from Merriam Webster. They are often playful but also precise definitions that enlighten readers. Sometimes the image or timing of posts about words in the news adds commentary to what is going on in our world. Like Janes, I approve of this, and agree that sometimes it is necessary to engage with others by taking a stand in a civil, principled manner. Now I follow @MerriamWebster!

As I often say, we need to listen to each other. But we also need to speak at times, and it is essential that we use our words carefully.  Thanks to #WordsMatter, we have another way to make sure we do that.

Thank you, Mr. Janes and other librarians! And gracias, Merriam Webster!

Posted on September 8, 2017

Autumn in Denali

My husband and I had the opportunity to go to Denali National Park and Preserve during Labor Day weekend. It’s already early autumn there, and it was wonderful to see the animals in their fall coats, fresh snow on the mountains, and the colors changing in the landscape.

There’s little I can say that comes close to the beauty of the place, so I’ll just post some photos instead. Enjoy!


Denali 1Denali 2Denali 3Denali 4Denali 5Denali 6

Posted on September 1, 2017

Alaska State Fair

My husband and I went to the fair last weekend. The Alaska State Fair is in Palmer, in the Matanuska Valley. The Matanuska Colony was started by the federal government during the Great Depression as a way for Midwest farmers to get a new start, and the area still has some farming. A great middle grade book about the Colony is Carole Estby Dagg’s Sweet Home Alaska (

Like many other fairs, the Alaska State Fair has the carnival rides, fun foods, and other attractions of a standard county-type fair. I always have a salmon quesadilla, and the cream puffs are to die for! But the highlight for me is seeing the animals (including a reindeer this year!) and giant vegetables. This area is known for huge veggies, especially cabbage and pumpkins. We went too early to see the big weigh-off this year, but the past records are a 138.25 pound cabbage and 1469 pound pumpkin. (See more at  

Enjoy the fair, if you have one near you!

Reindeer at Alaska State Fair

Reindeer at Alaska State Fair




Posted on August 25, 2017

Katey Schultz and the #FellowshipofWords

I’ve been following Katey Schultz’ writing career since she gave an invaluable workshop here with 49 Writers. That experience opened up a whole new level of writing for me. She is a novelist and freelance editor who also writes flash fiction.

I got an email from Katey last month asking for my mailing address—as in my snail mail address. “I’ll be sharing parts of my writing and creative process through a series of postcards. I’m finding that it’s refreshing to hold onto a physical reminder of the creative process, and hope these little dispatches of real mail will inspire.”

True to her word, I recently received a lovely postcard:


Katey Schultz postcard














I was inspired by this postcard, and it brought to mind our #FellowshipofWords. Katey is using the power of words to make the world a better place, one postcard at a time. She graciously consented to an interview with me. 


Thanks for your time, Katey. How do we stay inspired and focused on our work with all that’s going on in our crazy world? Or is that the right goal nowadays?

Focus, space, and passion are intimately linked. It’s hard to focus if our world feels loud or discursive. It’s difficult to believe in and deepen our passions without the physical and/or mental and spiritual space to do so. For me, so much of this is solved by limiting my access to social media and the Internet, listening to my body, and making sure I feel connected to the earth. From there, I have plenty of inspiration and I feel strong and clear in my passions and in my ability to focus.


This means I can write stories from a centered and inspired heart-space, but it also means that I can take action against injustices when I feel called to do so, as well. And thriving as an artist, by the way, is a radical act that defies the “crazy world” you are referencing. So much of our culture says this kind of ease and success and joy should not be possible (cue “starving artist” stereotype). And yet, if we show up to the page and to our imaginations, we’re headed toward empathy and peace, one word at a time.  


How did you get the idea for your postcard campaign? What do you hope to achieve with it?

I’m a writer who identifies first and foremost with the imagination as a tool for not only the survival of the creative spirit, but of our species. While the Internet has certainly helped me in countless ways, I recognize that it will always be there. But each moment in the quiet morning, each sentence I may write before letting too much else in, may not always be there. In this way, postcards with provocative questions and a genuine note of connection felt more immediate and useful to me than, say, a mass email.


Can you give us a few ideas of how we can all build community through our writing?

The best advice I can offer is to find or create community that meets your needs, rather than saps your energy. What do you most wish someone would provide for you in your writing life? Chances are, you’re not the only one. Create that, and bring others into your circle as the synergy builds. As an example, I’m trying an experiment this fall based on my desire to stay connected with serious writers, curate meaningful conversation, and generate income for my business. Here’s the result, and it’s 2/3 full as of today!


What are you offering for writers, either right now or coming up this fall?

Thanks for asking. As described above, I’m experimenting with an online community for writers that is priced reasonably, offers accountability, and provides prompts and meaningful connection. That’s called Airstream Dispatches and it launches the very last week of September. The group that’s registered so far is stellar—from published to aspiring, from painters to professors. I’m so excited about this. There are six spaces left.


Where can people learn more about you?

My website is full of resources, including a pop-up to join my newsletter and get a free PDF about the Top 5 Things I Learned as a Self-Employed Author. Here’s the site: And here’s the PDF access:


Anything else you’d like to add?

Yes, I just want to say THANK YOU. We met years ago in Alaska and have maintained a light dialogue, writer-to-writer ever since. And yes, the Internet has been a big part of making that possible! But it just goes to show you that when you stay open to what other people are making, and how you might make something others care about in the world, you never know what will emerge!


Yes, and you’re welcome! 

Katey Schultz, photo by Nancy W. Smith

Katey Schultz, photo by Nancy W. Smith





Posted on August 18, 2017

Raspberry Time!

The end of summer is berry time in Alaska. I’ve written before about berries and berry picking (see But this year is extra special, because our new house has raspberries—both red and golden ones!


red raspberries

golden raspberries



I love all berries, but raspberries have a bolder taste than some I usually pick. They’re great for certain recipes, and can be combined to enhance other fruits and berries. This is the first year I’ve had so many raspberries to play with in the kitchen.

I’ve made raspberry and rhubarb pie, and raspberry and strawberry crisp. But my favorite so far is the raspberry sauce I made to go on a flourless chocolate cake. Who knows what other treats I’ll come up with as I collect more raspberries over the years? I’m excited to find out.

Wishing you all a great berry season, whatever you pick in your part of the world!


red and golden raspberries