Reading the North

Compiled by Chad WalkerJanuary 26, 2013 

The Old Night of Your Name

Written by Patrick T. Leahy (Patrick T. Leahy)

The blurb: This novel, set in Alaska's southeast wilderness, is centered around newly appointed village peace officer Norma Faunce in her search for a missing hunting guide and the trouble she fights along the way that opens old wounds created by a childhood without a father.

Excerpt: "I hadn't thought about Ralph McKay in years, but I was dreaming of him when the telephone rang, and Roscoe was right up against me in the dark. I hadn't expected him back so early. That afternoon, before he'd taken off for Whitehorse in his Cessna, he'd told me he would probably lie over at the Klondike Inn. He must have been very quiet getting into bed, a rarity for my husband. I lifted the receiver and said as quietly as I could:

" 'Hello?'

" 'Norma? Sorry to wake you.' It was Alex Patch at the weather station, our 911 hub after midnight. 'Nancy Brown just called. She had another fight with Barney and dumped him somewhere out by 9-mile bridge. She's afraid he might have gone to sleep in the snow and he could freeze to death.'

"This was the third time in a year that Barney and Nancy had gone through the same routine. I felt like giving up on them and going back to sleep, but I said:

" 'Okay, call Nancy back and tell her I'll be right out. Tell her to wait for me. I'll be there in ten minutes.' "

Becoming a Published Author

By Evan and Lois Swensen, et al. (Evan and Lois Swensen, $12.95)

The blurb: The book, published by the former publisher and editor of Alaska Outdoors magazine and producer of the TV show "Alaska Outdoors," Evan Swensen and his wife Lois, along with other Alaskan authors offer advice on how to get published.

Excerpt: "I worked as a journalist for almost three decades before writing a book -- my first -- for Publication Consultants. What took me so long? My nine-to-five job, of course. It's hard to find the time, let alone the creative stamina necessary to embark on a project as complex as a chapter book when you're reporting and writing news stories five days a week.

"Unlike most of my colleagues at the Detroit Free Press, I was self-taught. I earned my spurs the hard way, in a climb that started at the very bottom of the ladder, as a secretary/receptionist in the paper's Features Department. In college, I had majored in English, and had stumbled into the news business by pure accident a month after I graduated. I like to say that I didn't choose journalism -- it chose me. I was utterly unfamiliar with the profession, so I had to start small."

Compiled by Chad Walker, Anchorage Daily News

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