A Trip to Alaska with Pictures and Video!

Hello readers, and welcome! Welcome to a visual tour of some of the highlights of my trip to Alaska! I know that a lot of you have been waiting for this, and I promise once I’m done I’ll get back to work on Shadow of an Empire, Stranded, and all my other projects, but let’s be honest … This is going to be a cool post.

A little background, for those of you that are new or unfamiliar with my personal history (and haven’t glanced at the About tab or read my author blurb at the end of my books): I grew up in Southeast Alaska. Also known as “The Panhandle,” it’s that little bit of Alaska that sticks down by Canada on the East side, where the capital of the state is. It’s also largely made up of islands, with the terrain severe enough that even cities that are technically on the mainland, like Juneau and Ketchikan, and only accessible via boat or plane. There’s no road to get to any of these places, the terrain is just too extreme unless you want to put a lot of money into it and go through Canada.

It’s a different place. Here’s a shot of my hometown taken on my flight out, from the air. No, you can’t see my house in that picture (it’s a ways south from the town itself), but you might notice the water all around it. Yup, it’s an island.

Wrangell island (and town) from the air, courtesy me.

That’s mainland behind it, leading into a lot of mountains and then Canada. But yeah, that’s my hometown. That’s where I grew up. Not very big. Tiny, in fact, unless you’re from anywhere that’s tinier (and there are, in fact, small places, like Elfin Cove and its population of probably a hundred people). But hey, it’s home.

Anyway, since I grew up there, I do occasionally tend to go back to visit and take part in consumption of fresh seafood. Growing up in a fishing/tourism town (also once logging, but that era is gone for the time being), I started working on fishing boats in my family when I was about 12 or 13, and well, that’s how I made it through college without any student loans. That and dividend savings (a whole ‘nother topic).

In any case, that’s why stuff on the site was extremely light these last few weeks: I was back in Alaska! Partaking in crab, shrimp, halibut … You know, all the good stuff. Oh, and pitching in on a fishing trip as well (because fish!). While taking plenty of pictures to show off the experience on the return! So hit that jump, and let’s get looking at some cool pictures and videos of Southeast Alaska.

Because WOW did I get some good ones. Before we do hit that jump I’ll say this up front: I grew up fishing on boats and working in Alaska, and yet this trip turned out to be one of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. And now you’ll get to see it as well, through the lens of my phone. So yeah, hit that jump.

And if you want to go to Alaska and experience this kind of thing yourself, there’s probably not been a better time. After the Covid year, the state is desperate for tourists, and I’ve seen a lot of deals on flights, travel, and hotels. Get your shot and get going! It probably won’t be this cheap again!

Oh, quick warning, you guys are going to see a little fish blood and guts in a few of these shots. Be wary if you’re sensitive to blood. You’ll see it.

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Guess Who’s Back?

Hello readers! Guess who’s returned?

Yeah, I know. It’s not much of a guess. And I’m not quite 100% back yet. Physically, I’m back at my home at long last (after nearly four weeks of being away), so that’s not a worry. But as to the other kind of physically, I’m still pretty sore and tired. My fingers feel like they’ve been through the wringer, as do my hands and wrists. But hey, I can make a fist when I first wake up now so that’s progress! During the trip, at one point they were sore and swollen enough I could only just get my fingers to touch my palms when I woke up.

So I’m going to take another day or two. Oh, and this Monday there will not be a Being a Better Writer post. Why? Because when setting up the posts in advance, I completely missed that the last Monday I prepped for was Labor Day, a holiday I normally take off. Oops. So next Monday (this coming week) there won’t be a traditional post.

Which isn’t to say that there won’t be a post. No, far from it! Monday instead will see a compilation post of the last few weeks. Why? Because quite frankly a lot of people depend on ads and feeds to keep up with Being a Better Writer each week, and a number of those are manual. So quite a few people were just waiting for the notification to pop up rather than spend the time going to the site itself.

I get it. I’m not ragging on them. So this post will deliver to them all the content they may have been missing for the last four weeks.

After that? Well, I do have a large post coming. See, I took a lot of pictures this time. And video! Of some seriously awesome stuff that happened while I was in Alaska. Seriously, this trip made memories. I’ve never been as close to a killer whale (orca) pod as I came this trip. And when I say close, I mean they were close enough I could have hopped over the side of the boat and landed on one.

That close. And I got video. And pictures.

So yes, there will be a big post coming next week. But not Monday. And … I’m not actually sure when during the week either.

Why? Well, because something else happened while I was in Alaska. Something big. Something awesome.

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A 2016 Halibut Trip, With Pictures

So about a month ago I disappeared for a while. Posts stopped for two weeks, and no one could reach me.

Thankfully, it wasn’t without warning, at least for those who had kept up with my prior posts. I’d been offered a lucrative trip to Alaska to make some quick funds, and it was funds that would be greatly appreciated. In the end, despite losing a few weeks worth of writing work, I decided to take the job.

And along the way, I took a bunch of pictures.

So, you guys already know about my adventures getting to Alaska (I wrote about it here), by one thing I left out of that account was a write up of the actual fishing experience itself. Well, you’ve waited long enough. Patreon supporters got it, and now you’re getting it.

So, what was my fishing trip like? Read on.

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News of All Sorts

Hey guys! I’m here with a few updates. News both good and bad (hence the “All Sorts” in the title).

So, the bad news first. Just going to get it out of the way right away. It’s not that bad … but it will likely be disappointing for many of you.

I’m going to Alaska for a few weeks. I leave tomorrow. I had a last-minute call from an old employer offering a single commercial halibut fishing trip, and after some debate, I chose to go (I basically had a mental version of this battle playing out). If all works out, I should leave tomorrow.

Now, for me I still see this as bad news, especially in the context of this site. Basically, the trip should last about a week, maybe plus another half, as it’s only one trip … but that still comes with about a week’s worth of days around it for cleaning, set-up, etc, plus travel. All in all, I’m likely to lose two-and-a-half weeks, maybe a few days more.

Which means … all of my writing projects will be on hold for that period of time. No editing on Colony. No writing. Nothing. More delays there. It also means that Being a Better Writer posts might get a little sparse for the next few weeks, or go on hold. I’ll be trying to get some posts up on a scheduled buffer … but with this job, I can make no promises, sadly.

Granted, it’s not for long, but it’s still not great. If not for the money, I’d have turned it down. But just expect things to be a little light over the next few weeks.

Now, onto the good news!

First up, you may remember that last week I posted a new short story—The Ride—that I entered into 4A Games’ Metro Fan-creation Contest? Well, the contest results are up, and The Ride took third place!

This makes me quite happy. I really enjoyed the Metro series of games, and was happy to dip my toes into that universe for a short time. And now it turns out that a lot of other people have enjoyed reading that toe-dipping!

So, if you want to take a look at the winning entry itself, it’s here on my writing sample page. And honestly, if you’ve not looked at it yet and its victory in the contest isn’t enough to sway you, I’d encourage you to take a look anyway simply for the unique style and voice; once again I tried something new, and it turned out pretty well.

Okay, one other bit of good news. Some early responses for Shadow of an Empire‘s initial draft have been trickling in.

And they … are … positive.

Obviously it’s not perfect. There are a few small quibbles of detail to work out here and there, but so far it’s mostly little stuff like lead-line versus a picket line for a horse. But as far as the whole story itself goes, the feedback seems to be quite positive that I have nailed the western aesthetic.

This news comes with more good news, too. The better shape a book is in, the sooner I can get it out there. Right now (barring that fishing trip), Colony is the number-one priority and will be coming out next, but if Shadow feedback stays this clear, I could have it out by the end of the year.

Which would mean, yes, that I would have had three releases this year alone (Unusual EventsColony, and Shadow) totaling in at around 750,000 words.

So yes, that’s definitely the goal. And the news. Outside of me not being writing for the next two-and-a-half weeks, everything is actually looking pretty awesome.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have got to go pack. I’ll try to bring back some pictures for you guys, and see if I can’t stir up a little content while I’m gone.

The Shrimp Trip

If you’re reading this I’m currently either high in the sky on a flight home or in an airport as some small part of the journey. The important thing is, though, I’m on my way back. Hurrah!

This picture is not me leaving, however, but arriving!Better yet, thanks to the help and support of readers and fans, I managed to hold out and over long enough to make a small stockpile of cash on this trip. It means pushing all my releases back a month or so … but given that the alternative was pretty much indefinite/long-term delayment, this is the best option. I’d still like to try and get both Unusual Events and Colony released this year (after all, that’d bring my published fiction wordcount for the year to something like 775,000 words, which would be awesome) but it’s quite possible Colony will end up being an early release next year instead.

Anyway, that’s all stuff that extraneous to this post. You see, I figured if I was going to be gone for so long, I might as well give you guys a bit of an idea about what it was I was doing. As kind of a thank you for being patient. And for helping out.

I can’t say that last part enough. Thanks to everyone who supported me on Patreon or purchased/reviewed one of my books over the last few weeks, or even just sent some kind words. Thank you.

Now, what was I up to in Alaska?

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