Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guest blogging

At Ruth A. Casie's blog today. And in her blog header are 2 of my favourite places. Can you tell where?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

USA Today

It's not everyday you get reviewed on USA Today so here's a huge thanks! Here's the whole review :) Link


Plus, I also got a fabulous 5 Star review from Maldivian Book Reviewer's (Link)


And, announcing winners from my contest with Leah Braemel. Kathy Ivan wins a backlist title from Leah, and Kari wins an ebook copy of SEA OF SUSPICION. Congratulations!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Books I've read since I loaned DH my ereader



 
There's another one that I forget right now. Not sure when I'll get it back because DH is reading...
I can't complain :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Living with type-2 diabetes

Today I'd like to welcome fellow Carina Press author and all-round lovely lady, Leah Braemel, and her husband, Gizmo Guy, to my blog to talk about life with type-2 diabetes. I'm on her blog discussing why I decided to donate some of my royalties to diabetes research. It's good stuff :)
Leah is also generously donating an ebook from her backlist to one lucky commentator.

Q. When did you discover you (your husband) had type-2 diabetes?


Gizmo Guy: It was 2 years ago - I went into the docs with the flu - doc did a blood test and had called us back before we even got home.


Leah: It's almost 2 years to the day; as GG says, he had come down with H1N1. I knew he was feeling really bad when he agreed to see the doctor, something he hated.  I knew something bad was up when the doctor phoned us back so quickly. He told me, very briefly, that my husband had diabetes, no hedging "might be", just straight out, "he has diabetes", and proceeded to give me a few short directions like "no sugar in his diet at all" and "bring him back in when he's done the flu." Then I had to break the news to GG and our sons, no fun task, especially since the boys have to be aware that it may be in their future too. 

Q. How did this change your life?


GG: In my case it was a bit of a wake-up call. Gave me the incentive to straighten up my act. Get my weight under control and finally start to eat correctly. I have always been a walker but this pushed me - I usually put in 5 kilometers a day now - sometimes more.

The biggest finding was that sugar is in everything - carbs break down into sugar in your system, you have to be aware of everything you put into your mouth.

I didn't want to be someone who just took a pill and let medicine control my life.

I have had my blood-sugar level under control, with the help of metformin, but diabetes wasn't quite done with me. I started feeling loss of sensation in my toes - I noticed when i stepped into a hot tub and couldn't feel the heat. It has spread into the lower half of both feet, and is starting to affect my balance.

And as I am a 55 year young male -  I don't know if it's age or the diabetes, but I don't seem to have the strength and endurance I had. I am tired all the 
time.


Leah:  I should mention that GG has been a vegetarian all his life. Even though being a life-long vegetarian also meant his cholesterol levels were enviably low, he ended up not only on metformin but on a cholesterol medicine as they try to bring diabetics' cholesterol levels way down. While above he says he needed to get his weight under control, he was only 5 pounds above the recommended limit for his age and height. He cut back so much that he ended up dropping 30 pounds until he was below the limit--he had no fat on him anywhere, and was starting to look skeletal.  (He's leveled off now, and is comfortably back in the middle.)  Changes for me and the rest of the family? Since he's vegetarian, mainly it meant getting creative to cut out the carbs and find good ways to provide him protein. Our holiday celebrations, especially Christmas, have had to be adjusted -- I usually spent every weekend in December baking all sorts of goodies, but now I feel I can't as it would just be cruel to put out the cookies and candies that he once loved but dare not eat any more. And considering that now we have to worry about the circulation/nerve damage in GG's feet and where that might one day lead, and the fear going into his now yearly optometry tests since diabetes also affects the eyes, every cough, sneeze, ache and pain he has now makes me worry about him that much more.    


Q. What's the most common misconception about the condition?
GG: I would guess it is that basically you can have Type 2 and really feel nothing. Before I got the flu, before the diagnosis, I felt fine.  Frequent urination was about the only symptom - and i have always had what i think to be a small bladder. So there is no excuse for getting in for that annual checkup.


Leah: the biggest misconception for me is probably that only overweight people get diabetes. As I said above, GG was only about 5 pounds above his recommended weight at the time of his diagnosis. Another misconception I see, is that people think they won't get diabetes if they turn vegetarian. Obviously, that's not true (though it's better for your cholesterol levels.) 

Q. What would you give up to find a cure?

GG: I would love there to be a cure - the twice daily medication is not that much a hardship, but between the cholesterol medication and the disease you wonder what the (&(*& its doing to your system.


Leah: I'd give up writing if it meant finding a cure to keep him around longer and make his life easier. He's a vibrant man with a wry sense of humor who has always been able to make me laugh, has been supportive of all my endeavors, and I love him. I want him around, and feeling good, for a very long time. 


Okay--not crying. I would make such a terrible nurse. Thank you SO much for sharing this with us today. There are so many misconceptions about this disease I really hope they find a cure soon.


I'm donating 15% of the royalties from EDGE OF SURVIVAL to diabetes research. It's had some great reviews so it's hopefully a pretty good read too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guest blogging and Excerpt

I had a great day yesterday and more blogs today at Book of Secrets with a STORM WARNING giveaway and the Carina Press blog this afternoon.
EDGE OF SURVIVAL came out in audiobook format too on Audible and iTunes.

And here's a previously unreleased excerpt...

A whiskey jack burst out of the nearby forest in a scream of feathers as Daniel stood back and closed the door. He squinted, trying to penetrate the dense spruce, but saw nothing except thickening shadow. He walked around the machine, doing a quick visual on the outer skin of the aircraft and climbed in. Checked the doors were closed. Then he started her up. Throttle closed, all switches in pre-start position. Battery on. He felt exposed, vulnerable sitting out here on the landing site. But they weren’t in a war zone, just a small mining community where a woman had been brutally slain.
Check fuel load.
He’d refueled on the way over, which was why he’d been delayed. All good. Boost pumps, check fuel pressure. The routine settled him. He lived to fly. He pressed the start button. The temperature rose as he opened the throttle. And while he was waiting, he radioed the closest RCMP detail on the emergency channel.
“Nain RCMP, this is Bell Foxtrot Delta Charlie Tango, over.”
“Foxtrot Delta Charlie Tango, Nain RCMP, over.”
“Nain RCMP, Delta Charlie Tango. There is a dead woman in the bathroom stalls of Bear’s Bar, Frenchmans Bight. Over.”
The comms crackled with urgent static. “Charlie Tango. Repeat, over.”
“Charlie Tango. I’m reporting a dead body at Bear’s Bar, Frenchmans Bight. Acknowledge, over.” He turned on the generator and the navigational instruments spooled up.
“What is your position, Charlie Tango? Over.” The dispatcher was Tina something. He frowned, but couldn’t remember her surname. She was kablunângajuit—half white, half Inuit. Nice girl, married to a local trader named Ollie.
Daniel brought the engines up to operating speed. “Charlie Tango, I’m currently five miles northwest of Frenchmans Bight. The woman who discovered the body went into shock at the scene and I’m flying her to the Imaviaq to be checked out. Over.”
“Charlie Tango. Roger that.”
The Doc cocked her head to one side to look at him, her face half-hidden by the bill of that cap. She’d caught him bending the truth and didn’t approve.
He did a thorough visual check of the uncontrolled airspace before taking off. He didn’t announce his intentions because he didn’t want the RCMP to catch him in a lie. He rose into the air, exhilaration punching his gut as he flew. There was nothing like flying. Nothing else had ever satisfied this one corner of his soul.
He flew fast and low over valleys strewn with massive boulders and ribboned with silver streams. It was beautiful land. Unspoiled. Untouched. Almost uninhabited. The irony that the mining operation would change all that wasn’t lost on him and he told himself not to care.
The radio squawked. “Foxtrot Delta Charlie Tango, Nain RCMP. We’ll need to interview you and the woman who found the body as soon as possible. Over.”
Daniel keyed the radio. “Charlie Tango. Roger that. The lady’s name is Dr. Cameran Young. We’re both quartered on the Imaviaq and will await your instruction. Over and out.” He snapped off the radio.
The ship was a retired coastguard icebreaker, refitted as a research vessel. It was prime accommodation for bush work. He looked at the Doc and she gave him a wobbly smile.
“Thanks for getting me out of there,” she said.
Her eyes shone and dimples made a brief appearance. Despite the utter lack of makeup and the lingering trace of shock, she was beautiful.
Shit.
He gave her his trademark grin. “Anyway, we’re the only ones we know who didn’t murder Sylvie Watson.”
Her brows slid together, a tiny crinkle denting her forehead, no doubt recalling Sylvie’s blood-soaked corpse. Then she opened her mouth as though she was going to say something but changed her mind.
“What?” he asked impatiently, knowing he wasn’t going to like what she had to say, but unable to keep his mouth shut.

Read more at Book of Secrets

ISBN: 978-14268-9263-9
Excerpt | Carina Press| Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk |Barnes & Noble | Audiobook



Monday, November 21, 2011

EDGE OF SURVIVAL released today

Yay! Today is finally release day for EDGE OF SURVIVAL available from Carina Press, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Barnes & Noble. I am donating 15% of the royalties from this book to diabetes research.

Some Reviews for EDGE OF SURVIVAL 

"... more substance than one would expect from a romantic thriller." ~Library Journal Reviews.
5 Hearts:  "Edge of Survival is so good on so many levels, you'll like this book no matter what you usually read." ~Sizzling Hot Book Reviews.
4 Stars: "Ms Anderson’s talent with words immerses you in the exciting and entertaining story she is telling." ~Obsession With Books.
5 Bookies: "Whoever thinks a story concerning a woman who does fish research would be boring hasn’t read Edge of Survival!"  ~Book Lovers Inc.

I'm also blogging at Manic Readers, Not Your Usual Suspects, and Novel Thoughts today. Also at Just Romantic Suspense where you can win a digital copy of SEA OF SUSPICION. Please stop by and visit.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Goodreads

I'm at Ask An Author on Goodreads this weekend. No idea what to expect :)
Here's the link if you want to ask me something... link

Friday, November 18, 2011

Diabetes...from the perspective of a researcher

First, I should perhaps explain how we met. Way back in 1989 I started my Ph.D. in the Gatty Marine Lab at St. Andrews University. In addition to the Gatty, there were Bute people, Harold Mitchell people, and various huts and cabins attached to the different buildings and outposts. Ian was in an annex, down a side-street, working with a bunch of drunks experts looking at such delights as the effect of nitric oxide on mammalian physiology (I'm going from memory and the memory is going :). So, you could say we met professionally but the truth is biologists always meet in the pub. So, we met over copious amounts of alcohol, some incredibly crazy friends including my hubby, who was the barman at our local. 

Since those halcyon days, Ian has moved on to become 'Professor' Ian Megson. Head of Department of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Science, UHI (University of the Highlands & islands, Scotland). So when I decided to do a few posts on diabetes I figured who else should I ask about the disease. Here's what Professor Megson had to say.
Diabetes is a common, debilitating and growing disease that has a major impact on patients’ wellbeing and life expectancy. A key feature of diabetes is unusually high levels of sugar in the blood which, if left untreated, has a highly damaging impact on blood vessel and nerve function, leading to increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, foot ulcers, loss of sensation and pain. Currently ~6.5% of the world’s population (~285 million people) has diabetes, but this number is expected to grow dramatically, with the incidence in some countries expected to reach ~30% by 2025. Healthcare costs are difficult to assess worldwide because of the enormous differences between access to healthcare in different regions; in the US alone, the overall cost of the disease was estimated at ~$175 bn in 2007.

There are two major forms of diabetes, type-1 and type-2. Although the two types share the key feature of high blood glucose, and sufferers are at risk of the same consequences, the underlying cause of the two forms could hardly be more different. Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease whereby the body’s own defence mechanism destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce the hormone (insulin) that usually keeps blood sugar at normal levels. The disease is rapid in onset and often happens in childhood. The destruction of these vital cells is irreversible and the only treatment is daily injections of insulin to compensate for the inability of the body to produce its own. Whilst the incidence of type-1 diabetes is relatively low (~0.5% of the population), its early onset means that sufferers have to live with the disease for the vast majority of their life, with massive implications in terms of their wellbeing and the associated healthcare costs. We still know little about what causes this disease: a range of genetic and environmental factors have been implicated, but the low inheritance rate of the disease from parent to child and the documented cases of only one of a pair of identical twins being affected, suggests that genes alone cannot account for the disease incidence.

In the early stages of type-2 diabetes, insulin production is not affected; instead, the hormone simply fails to have the expected effect on the downstream mechanisms that usually cause uptake of sugar from the blood. Type-2 diabetes is much more common than type-1 and usually strikes later in life. Unlike type-1 diabetes, the incidence of type-2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate, primarily on account of the well-documented link with obesity. Whilst there is a clear genetic component to type-2 diabetes, it is the link to obesity that has led to its recognition as a “lifestyle disease” and certainly weight loss is often one of the primary targets with respect to treatment. Disease progression is much slower compared to type-1 diabetes, with an array of drug therapies available. Loss of insulin production is a feature of the most advanced cases, leading to a requirement for daily insulin injections.

There is no cure for type-1 diabetes; the best hopes in the future are the so-called “artificial pancreas”, which monitors blood glucose levels and delivers the necessary insulin dose via an insulin pump, and regeneration of fully functional insulin-producing cells using stem cell technology. In the UK, it is estimated that investment into diabetes research is only ~0.5% of the cost of diabetes healthcare. (Prof. Ian Megson)

Did you see those figures? Treatment estimated around $175 billion back in 2007, rapidly expanding epidemic (30% of population by 2025? That's almost 1 in 3 people, and given type-2 is more common in older people probably 1/2 of the older adult population). Research input in UK ~0.5% of the cost of treatment. Does this seem crazy to anyone but me? 
Thanks, Ian, for your brilliant summary :)  I will hide the dodgy photos :)
This is why I'm donating a measly 15% of my royalties from EDGE OF SURVIVAL out Monday :) to diabetes research. I don't have diabetes. So far, my family does not have diabetes. But, it's such a terrible condition to have to deal with AND it's an economic disaster (yeah, another one). I'm hoping tomorrow holds a cure for both types of the disease.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Adventures in Labrador (5)

As promised, serialized into bite-sized chunks, my summer adventure in Labrador, 1997...this is just as I remember it, but I don’t have any notes so it’s possible other people have other stories. This is mine and I’m sticking to it.
Helicopter pilots. It’s no secret I love helicopters and therefore, by association, I love their pilots. This might be why my hero, Daniel Fox was a helicopter pilot. The one day I did not love helicopter pilots was when we had this pilot we didn’t know. He had a beard and never smiled. I’d heard he really missed his family. So, depressed chopper pilot heading straight for a cliff. Straight for. I said my goodbyes before we swooped up and over. The really funny thing about this introverted guy was toward the end of the project when things quieted down, he started taking us out more and more. Because he didn’t have anywhere else to go he’d build a fire and chat away to us as we waded through the freezing depths of a Labrador river in September. We even let him and the other pilots fish for us. We were the prime group to go out with :)
Side note: the great thing about these low temperatures is the fact fish can’t swim so fast (think Q10s). Anyway, you could dip net 4-5 kg fish out of the water at that time of the year. It was brilliant. But cold.
The other pilots were a blast and I really enjoyed getting to know them. I got free rides, samples of Labradorite, invited to secret parties and card games and had a lot of fun. I did creep into one of the pilot’s bedrooms when he was asleep. It was Matt and I wasn’t by myself (sounds dodgy but wasn't). We reset his alarm in the vague hopes we wouldn’t have to get up at 5 AM, but unfortunately he always seemed to know. Sigh. I am not a 5 AM person.


That's a round-up of some of my adventures. I hope you read and enjoy EDGE OF SURVIVAL. I had fun revisiting such a wonderful place and sharing it with you guys.
I'm donating 15% of my royalties to diabetes research.


Available for pre-order from Carina Press, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Barnes & Noble

Read an excerpt here

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Having a Child with Type-1 Diabetes, and alert dogs.

Back in July 2008 I wrote the following as part of blog (here is the whole post)
And one of the saddest things I've been doing is researching diabetes. I'm reading a fantastic book called 'Cheating Destiny' by James Hirsch. Well written, informative and emotive. I have to admit to being in the dumb majority who assume diabetes is almost cured with insulin whereas now I realize it is only managed. I hadn't even realized type-1 was an autoimmune disease until I read this book. The book outlines research advances and frustrations, gives insights into the medical industry, looks at scientists as individuals, and outlines where funding policies gets in the way of doing actual research. It also talks about people living with the disease--adults and children--and their strengths and personal demons. I can't imagine what parents go through when they first learn about the disease, to take on all the information in one big swallow, while dealing with the reality of glucose monitoring and insulin injections (and whose kid likes needles?) and calculating every little thing their child eats, and weighing it against how active the kids are being and trying to balance that with the changing needs of a growing body. Throw in childhood illness, school, puberty. The pressures must be enormous.

Just thought I'd mention it.

The rates of diabetes (1 & 2) are skyrocketing. Information and support and high-fives for a job well done should be the norm. Don't contribute to the myth that the patients themselves are to blame for getting the disease. Type-2 has contributing factors, but again, information, support and encouragement are needed to help people control this disease. And let's work for a cure.
This knowledge has always stuck with me and that's why I'm donating 15% of my royalties from the sale of EDGE OF SURVIVAL to diabetes research. I thought I'd invite a few people onto my blog this month who live with this devastating disease. Capri Smith is a mystery writer and her daughter was six when she was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes. I asked her some questions about how this changed her life.
***
1) Five years ago your 6-year-old daughter was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes. Can you describe the emotions you went through during that first month? Did you have any idea how hard it was going to be?
The only contact I had with diabetes was type 2. In all of my studying, even getting an MS from the Medical College of Virginia, I never read about type 1. They are two very different diseases. I wish they would stop calling it Type 1 and start calling in Pancreatic Autoimmune Disease. I knew there was something wrong. I woke up one day and knew Kitty was going to die. That maternal instinct saved her life. I remember standing at the nurses desk. They wanted our pediatrician to give us the diagnosis. I was on the phone speaking with her and my body wanted to collapse. A nurse stood next to me. Not touching me but I felt that she was giving me support, mentally holding me up, holding me together. Bless her.
There was an insane amount of information. I had to learn to give shots and I (used to) faint at the sight of a needle.
The hospital did everything wrong and to save Kitty, we ended up taking her home and trying to get her stable there. It was a nightmare.
Kitty didn't respond properly to the insulin and at one point the doctor thought I might be causing the problems (munchausen by proxy??). They sent a nurse to our house to observe my care giving. She said I did everything to the letter and STILL Kitty was having these horrible seizures. They were terrifying.


2) Most of us struggle to raise children. Parenthood isn't easy and we (or is it just me?) don't always handle it the way we should. We make mistakes. Figure it out as we go and hope we get another chance to deal with the situation better. How much harder is it when one of your children develops a life threatening condition?
Triage. I had to put my efforts into life saving. I had two teens - it was their drama time, and here Kitty was usurping their stage. That was hard. I tried to put us all in therapy, and it made everything worse. Until we got Teddy Bear, I'm sorry but I didn't have the energy for boyfriend problems. All of my focus was on keeping my daughter alive. Everything else was secondary. Though I will say that I burned myself almost completely out trying to maintain "normal" and be there equally for all of my family. Friends had to go by the wayside. I had no more energy.


3) Can you describe the impact this has had on your other kids?
Emotionally too hard for me to answer. So I'll pass.
4) I know from reading your blog that your daughter has been close to death several times. How do you cope with the emotional mincer that must put you through?
Well, I shook myself down to a size 0. Though I don't think this is a beneficial diet plan. I kept my focus on making things better. I measured success in very small increments. Again life before Teddy Bear and after are night and day. Before Teddy Bear, I honestly didn't know how I would get through a day. It felt like I was swimming in the ocean towards safety, but there was no visible land. For all I knew I could be swimming in the wrong direction. My family was depending on me, and I just kept kicking my legs and struggling forward.  


5) Sleep is very important to me--I need 7 hours a night to function. Can you describe your sleep patterns?
When Kitty's blood is doing well I sleep from 11-8 and wake up to go check her every 2-3 hours. Once I'm up and dealing with blood issues - doing math to calculate an insulin dosage or getting her juice for a low - I can't go back to sleep. I have to wait to make sure her blood sugar came up and is staying up, or her blood sugar came down properly and doesn't go too low. This is about an hour and a half process. So once there's an issue, I can pretty much kiss that night's sleep good-bye. That's the majority of nights. If Kitty is sick, I need to check her every hour. If I fall asleep, Teddy usually gets me up. 
There are times when I just can't leave the house because I am too sleep deprived to drive anywhere. It can make me cranky and sickly. It's seriously impacting my health.
6) I did a little research into medical alert dogs for my heroine in EDGE OF SURVIVAL and she discusses getting one with the hero after she has a hypoglycemic episode.  Can you tell us about the impact your dog has had on your life? I'm curious how this works. Does he spend all his time with Kitty? Does he slump around the house like an average pooch and spring to attention when her sugar levels get out of whack? I assume he sleeps with her? I see you talk about a certain line of labs from the UK (Wild Rose) being renowned for their blood sugar nose. Are there other strains or is it just this line of dogs? Is their a breeding program because it seems to me the demand would far outweigh the availability.
Our dog, Teddy bear, changed our life radically. Kitty went from have 2 or 3 seizures  a week to having NONE in 3 1/2 years. Since Teddy, Kitty has not had ketones (causing ketoacidosis a life-threatening occurance caused by high blood sugars) and has not been hospitalized. Amazing. Life is more complicated using a dog. We attract a lot of attention - some friendly some not so much. Some welcome some not so much. Disney was a night-mare. No, I don't want to explain my dog to EVERYONE. We've had police called on us, and so forth. It's like having a three year old with you all the time. Kitty has always home schooled - like her brother and two sisters. So Teddy doesn't go to a school with her. He does go to everything else. He sleeps in her bed and "calls" us at night if he senses a problem.
Other breeds of hunting dogs work. I prefer our British lab because he comes from a clean healthy line of intentional selective breeding. We want our dog to have a long healthy life with few psychological issues. These dogs have fabulous noses, great drive, are small enough for public access, soft mouths, excellent temperaments... there's a lot that goes into having a useful service dog.
Demand far outways availability. Diabetes Alert Dogs are pretty new. We are considered pioneers. Wild Rose developed their program after they heard what these dogs could do. They are a fabulous organization. And they are overwhelmed with applications.  
Thank you SO much, Capri, for sharing your story with us. You are a real inspiration. Read more about Capri's incredible journey and the amazing impact her diabetes alert dog has had on her family's life (on her blog).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Adventures in Labrador (4): Call me Goldilocks

As promised, serialized into bite-sized chunks, my summer adventure in Labrador, 1997...this is just as I remember it, but I don’t have any notes so it’s possible other people have other stories. This is mine and I’m sticking to it. 
Anyway, the next day... 
a bear (probably the same bear) comes ambling along the valley again. We’d just packed up our gear and I’d been given bear bangers to help protect us in the wild. We stood on the rocks by the falls (just like Cam does in the book, but unlike Cam...) I start loading the bear banger which is like a cap gun that shoots fireworks and I get this screech in my ear. “There’s a bear!”
I’m like, duh. But the person actually meant there was another bear. 
When we’d climbed onto the rock, another bear had popped out of the bushes beneath us (probably attracted by our stink of clove oil and fish slime). I get on the radio and, by chance, turned my head to look upriver and there is another ‘nother bear.  
By this time I’m on the radio, talking to our pilot, Matt, and Matt is laughing his ass off. Worse, he’s refueling and laughing his ass off. I heard later everyone was asking who the English chick was with all the bears :) With no immediate help on the way I aim and fire the banger at the closest bear (bear number 2). What no one had told me was I wasn’t supposed to shoot at the bear. This firework went straight between the poor guy’s ears and he took off like a rocket. My memories of the rest of that event are pretty sketchy. 

I used a similar event in EDGE OF SURVIVAL and it’s probably my favourite scene. That’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to bears in the wild; it was close enough. 
There’s another storyline in the book I extrapolated from a real event. I think the real event was both funnier and more tragic, because people lost their jobs. 
I was back in Waterloo but they needed me to tag still more fish toward the end of that summer. It was late August, maybe even September. Anyway I requested my buddy Rick come with me because he was a hell of a fisherman and we worked well together. I think the thing about being in extreme environments you need people who not only use their initiative but respect you and you respect them. I was hardly the epitome of nerdy biologist and not everyone took me seriously. Rick was great. He was also about to get married and needed the cash. We understood each other :)
Side note: the guy who was the company's lead environmentalist actually hired divers to go into the pool below the falls and check my fish weren’t dead at the bottom. I knew they weren’t but it was nice to see the evidence on video. 
Anyway, back to my story. The girl doing most of the tracking found evidence of poaching. Part of the agreement for developing this area was preserving the natural environment in its pristine state. You weren’t allowed to take the char out of the river unless you were first nations or...me :) For the record, I never tasted arctic char and I worked on about 150 fish. Even the carcasses of animals we sacrificed had to be incinerated. It was a shame but I totally understood the reasoning so I was doubly pissed when we found someone was just taking what they wanted out of the river. The miners weren’t too bright about their crimes. They actually caught fish with telemetry devices inside them, put them in plastic bags, labeled with their names and put them in the freezer. (What did they think the wire was coming out of the side of the fish, I wonder?) Not smart. That should have been the end of it, however...
As I said, Rick was getting married, I wanted to get home to my beloved. We’d spent to day on the river and we’d finished our tagging, but weren’t supposed to fly out for a few days and the weather was deteriorating. Well, dammit if there wasn’t a small flight Brian (logistics) could get us out on late that afternoon. Rick and I got back to the boat to be told we could leave--immediately. We ran around our cabins throwing our stuff into our bags. I had a wader in my hand luggage :). The trouble was we were on the same flight as the miners who’d been fired for poaching. Rick was unfortunately wearing a Fisheries and Wildlife ball cap, and one hulking guy turned and asked him if he was a biologist. Rick (I knew he was smart), said “No, man, I’m a geologist.”
“What about her?” asked the hulk. Glaring at me, who was gaping stupidly at him because I couldn’t hear what he was saying above the engine noise.
“She’s a geologist too.” 
I smiled gormlessly, no acting involved. Rick elbowed me in the ribs, and told me not to mention fish or anything else to do with the EIA because he was genuinely worried about being dangled from the aircraft at 20,000 feet. I’m pretty sure his soon-to-be wife wouldn’t have approved either. Somehow we ended up in a minibus with these guys, getting a ride from the harbor (float-plane) to the airport in Goose Bay. I sat on some guy’s lap and I’m pretty sure made him feel better about getting fired. Rick and I ran onto the commercial flight, running through the airport, wader sticking out of my backpack. I sank 2 gin and tonics. Not a good idea. 
I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and alcohol enters the bloodstream faster at altitude. By the time I got to Newfoundland I was plastered and as sick as I’ve ever been in my life. I bunked in Brian’s room (the man who’d sent us into danger who was still on the ship) and called my beloved the next day with a shaky, “I’m not feeling too good.” 

Good thing I married an Irishman. My joyful return turned into a murmured, “I’m going to bed,” the moment I got in the door. 

I'm donating 15% of my royalties from EOS to diabetes research.


Available for pre-order from Carina Press, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Barnes & Noble

Monday, November 14, 2011

Guest Author: Ruth A. Casie

Ruth A. Casie
Title: Knight of Runes
ISBN: 978-14268-9258-5
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: November 14, 2011
Genre: Historical Fantasy time-travel
Ruth’s web site: www.ruthacasie.com
Ruth’s Twitter: Twitter.com/RuthACasie
  

1.       Who are you and what do you write?
I’m Ruth A. Casie a seasoned professional with over twenty-five years of writing experience but not necessarily in writing romances. No, I’ve been writing communication and marketing documents for a large corporation. Over the past two years, encouraged by my friends and family, I gave way to my inner muse, let my creative juices flow, and began writing a series of historical time travel romance novels.
2.       What’s your favourite place in the world to visit?
There are several places I truly enjoying visiting. I’ve enjoyed England ever since my first visit. I love the country side, castles, and cities. I’m steeped in history and my characters feel at home.
My favorite state-side place to visit is the Maine coast. I’m invigorated by the power of the ocean, and the rugged rock coast. There’s a bench under a big shade tree right at the water’s edge on Pemaquid Point – I could sit there all day.
3.       Where do you write?
With our children grown and on their own I’ve conveniently taken over one of their rooms and turned it into a library. I’m surrounded by my resource materials and to-be-read piles. It’s a quiet cozy room that’s comfortable and all mine.
4.       How long have you been published or is this your first sale?
Knight of Runes is my first book. I hope the first of many.
5.       How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for over twenty-five years, but not romance. However, for years I’ve had people and voices racing around in my head. Sometimes, after I’ve read the last page of a book, I find it hard to put the book down. I want more. If there isn’t a sequel, I’d think one up. I don’t know when it began, maybe in high school or was it that creative writing class in college, I started to create characters and stories of my own, all still in my head mind you. The story played out in my ‘down time’ or when I relaxed at the end of the day. I kept my private world a secret from everyone.
Fast forward to 2009, my friend told me she was writing a romance novel. Dare I tell her my secret? Imaginary friends at my age! Would she think I was crazy? Would she think I was like James Thurber’s Walter Mitty with a romantic twist, spinning romantic daydreams?   When I finally got up the nerve to tell her my big secret she burst with excitement. She was a daydreamer too. As I met other writers I found I was not so unique. Many have their muses (ah, so that’s what the voices are) sitting by their shoulder or at their keyboard when they write.
6.       What comes first—characters or the plot?
I start with a basic story idea and then develop my characters. I consider myself a plotzer. I write out their goals, motivations and conflicts. I do a rough outline of the story to make certain I know where key points should go, more of a direction rather than a hard and fast roadmap. Sometimes the side trips I take are really worth it and my characters actually amaze me with how they develop the story. Then there are other times when they tell me there isn’t any way they would say or do what I’ve written. They can be like unruly children. 
7.       Who’s your favourite hero?
I must be a mercurial person. My favorite hero is the one I’m reading about at the time. But they all have something in common. They are all men who must surmount their own fears in order to help/save someone or something that they feel is more important than they are.
8.       Who’s on your auto-buy list for authors?
I have a diversified list: Elizabeth Peters – she writes Egyptian adventure stories centered on Lady Amelia Peabody. Clive Cussler – he writes adventure stories centered on Dirk Pit. Diana Gabaldon – I love Clare and Jamie, besides, it’s a time travel. Jude Deveraux – anything historic. Eliza Knight – she writes historicals too. 
9.       Time travel? What attracted you to writing a story with time travel elements?
The challenges of different attitudes across the centuries intrigued me. What skills would my heroine need? How would she interact with people? Would she be accepted? How would she deal with leadership? What skills would she need to acquire. Arik has his challenges in dealing with a woman who has very different attitudes about her place in his society. How would he deal with her? Working on these issues and bringing them out in a realistic way was both challenging and gratifying. 
10.   Do you write to music? Do you make soundtracks for you stories? If so, what was on the soundtrack for your latest release?
I’m less likely to write with music playing but I do use it to see something through my character’s eyes. I made a playlist of my heroine’s favorite songs. It’s as eclectic as she is and includes Santana, Eric Clapton, Andrea Bocelli, Linkin Park, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake to name a few.
11.   What’s your biggest dream?
My biggest author dream is to be a best-selling author and keynote speaker at the RWA conference. If I thought romance had a chance at the Pulitzers, I would dream that too!
12.   If you were a millionaire would you still write?
Yes, I love the creative process. For me, writing is painting with words. Being a millionaire would just give me more time to so it.
13.   Cat or dog person?
Definitely a dog person. I loved our Westie, McDuff. He was a great companion and playmate for the kids. I always threatened to get him a playmate, McBeth. 

About Knight of Runes
It’s the 21st century and time travel is still a Wellsian fantasy but not for Rebeka Tyler.

Rebeka is a renowned renaissance scholar at the prestigious Kensington University in upstate New York. She’s awarded an inheritance that includes an English manor but more importantly it includes an unknown private library with documents dating back hundreds of years, a researchers dream. She goes off to England to claim her inheritance.

While on an impromptu tour of Avebury, she takes a misstep at the standing stones, and finds herself in the same place but tossed back into the 17th century. When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style he is intrigued.

Rebeka is desparate to return to her time. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to help find out what’s killing Arik’s land to get access to the library. But as she decodes the ancient runes that are the key to solving his mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.

As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik’s household schemes to keep them apart and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. To defeat him, Arik and Rebeka must combine their skills. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart.

Win a free copy of Knight of Runes
Win a free copy of Knight of Runes (epub or pdf format) by leaving a comment with your email address on Ruth’s blog at www.RuthACasie.blogspot.com One person will be randomly selected on November 20.

Author Bio
Ruth A Casie is a seasoned professional with over twenty-five years of writing experience but not necessarily writing romances. No, she’s been writing communication and marketing documents for a large corporation. Over the past years, encouraged by her friends and family, she gave way to her inner muse, let her creative juices flow, and began writing a series of historical time travel romance novels. 

When not writing you can find her home in Teaneck, New Jersey, reading, cooking, doing Sudoku and counted cross stitch. Together with her husband Paul, they enjoy ballroom dancing and, with New York City close by, going to the theater. Ruth and Paul have three grown children and two grandchildren. They all thrive on spending time together. It’s certainly a lively dinner table and they wouldn’t change it for the world. 

Ruth is a Trustee and on the Executive Board of Shelter Our Sister (SOS) in New Jersey. SOS is Bergen County’s only shelter for victims of domestic violence. She frequently speaks at various functions around Bergen County on behalf of the Shelter.

To learn more about Ruth and her writing and browse her list of “extras” for readers and writers, visit her at her web site www.RuthACasie.com  You can also follow her on her blog at http://www.RuthACasie.blogspot.com


Thanks so much for being with me today, Ruth! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Red Moon Road

We went to see these guys last night with friends. Fabulous group. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Never Forget


I'm also blogging at Killer Chicks today. Wonderfully ironic don't you think?
 Also still at Margie Lawson's Grad blog for one more day... link 

We have many veterans in our family. I'm very grateful for the job they did to keep us safe.  Thank you, and others like you, for you service and sacrifice.
  
Also..added later because my brain woke up slow this morning,
An anthology written by some of mu favourite writers from which ALL the proceeds are going to the Veterans Research Corporation a non-profit foundation supporting veterans medical research. 
One of the authors is not only a dear friend of mine, she also writes the best stories. I'm talking the BEST. I can only say that about things I really believe in. If you haven't read Loreth Annne White's books, you are denying yourself some huge reading pleasure. I'm off to order it from Amazon.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Late post due to technical difficulties :)

I'm delighted to be on Margie Lawson's Grad blog today, having my work dissected :) It's fascinating.


Margie teaches various different writing courses and is a wonderful instructor. Check out her lectures after you read my blog.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

My Adventures in Labrador (3)

As promised, serialized into bite-sized chunks, my summer adventure in Labrador, 1997...this is just as I remember it, but I don’t have any notes so it’s possible other people have other stories. This is mine and I’m sticking to it.
Talking of bears do you want to hear my Goldilocks story?
Remember what I said about needing to pee? Well, I survived about 6 weeks working in the bush every day before I was finally overcome by the need to go. Six weeks, baby. Six weeks of long working days—Amazing Race—no problem. 

It was a gorgeous sunny day. There were about five or six of us all working brilliantly together, getting the job done. We were right next to Reid Brook falls and just along the valley there were these giant man-sized boulders. There’s a saying in Labrador—for the first six days God made the world, on the seventh, he threw rocks at Labrador. So I decided to pop along the valley a bit and peel off my rubber waders and use the facilities nature  provided. My biggest worry as I pulled down my pants was one of the pilots would fly over. Instead, as I looked up, this huge densely black, immense creature just ambled its way along, about thirty feet away from my bare butt. We formed a nice triangle, the bear, me, and everyone else. I heard banging and shouting—my buddies, Rick especially, yelling my name. Very calmly I pulled up my trousers and walked calmly (yes I wanted to run screaming, but I didn't) back to the others. Someone got on the radio and a pilot came over in one of those enormous choppers they used in ‘Nam. Anyway, the bear was terrified and ran away, straight up an almost vertical scree slope as fast as a racehorse on the flat. That was the biggest demonstration of power I have ever seen of any animal in the wild. 
No way was I ever peeing in the bush again. 

My heroine has diabetes and I'm donating 15% of my royalties to diabetes research.


Available for pre-order from Carina Press, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Barnes & Noble

Read an excerpt here
can you see my fish?

Friday, November 04, 2011

My Adventures in Labrador (2)

As promised, serialized into bite-sized chunks, my summer adventure in Labrador, 1997...this is just as I remember it,but  I don’t have any notes so it’s possible other people have other stories. This is mine and I’m sticking to it.


For the first week or so my boss and I did most of the hard graft. We had to tag over 100 fish and at first we couldn’t catch any (just like in the book :)). Our main problem was we were just premature. The fish hadn’t started running yet. Arctic char are anadromous. Like salmon, they breed in freshwater rivers, then they stay in the river over winter and swim out in the spring when the ice breaks up. They feed for a few weeks in the sea and then they return to the river to spawn (OK, that’s the simplified version, I’ll leave it there). I remember one very beautiful day when me and my boss were in the high reaches of the Ikadlivik Brook—totally out of radio contact—setting gill nets, using hook and lines and even doing a few seines. 
After a few hours we watched this chopper fly over, carrying what looked like an oil drum. 
“They’re removing a problem bear,” said my boss.
Cool—until the helicopter flew back over, minus the bear, five minutes later.
This happened several times but 45 km (the distance back to the camp) simply wasn’t far enough. Black bears can have a home range of 45 km that they patrol every day. Anyway, thankfully the bears didn’t bother us on that particular occasion. 
Wolf Track
Fresh Bear Track
Side note: At a certain time each summer, above the waterfalls at the head of this river, one of the world’s greatest natural migrations occurs. The George River caribou herd which once numbered almost a million animals, is now struggling at less than 100,000 individuals. They range from between 3,000-6,000 km on their annual search for food (I’m not a caribou scientist, this is just web info). 
In EDGE OF SURVIVAL Daniel Fox, the hero, picks up the heroine (Cameran Young) and takes her to see this amazing phenomenon. In my adventures, no one picked me up, but everyone took great pleasure in describing the spectacle when we were all eating dinner. Thanks guys. Appreciate that once in a lifetime experience.
Can you see the bear?
As I’m talking about animals and dinner, I should tell you this little story. There were a group of biologists sent to survey a puffin colony on one of the small islands off the coast. The puffin numbers were way down and people wanted to know why. Matt, the pilot (he was 23 back then), dropped off two guys, intending to leave them there and pick them up at the end of the day. Thankfully Matt did a quick circle of the island and immediately picked the guys back up. There were three polar bears munching on puffins and if Matt hadn’t picked up the team, they’d probably have been eaten. It was an easy answer to a population crisis.

One of the things I think about looking back, is my absolute naivety. I mean I had people with me, but we could have encountered a polar bear. It wasn’t totally out of the realms. I guess I got lucky :)

My heroine has diabetes and I'm donating 15% of my royalties to diabetes research.

Available for pre-order from Carina Press, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Barnes & Noble

Read an excerpt here