Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Visiting the Last Frontier

In February of 2001, friend and author Shawna Delacorte and I attended the Left Coast Crime Conference held in Anchorage Alaska.

It was the absolute best time of my life.

Not only did I have the chance to hang out with some awesome mystery writers – which we always did when we attended this conference – but I got to do things there that I hadn’t done before.

My introduction to Alaska was arriving at midnight and the city looked like a fairyland with houses decorated with twinkle lights. It might have been closer to Valentine’s Day than Christmas, but you’d never know it.

Good friend and fellow author, Shawna Delacorte and I were there to network, sign our books and I even got to do a ‘a talk with’ section. Along with incredible workshops and roaming the city, we participated in some fun activities.

The FBI held a get together at their building. We got to talk to the SWAT officers there, play in their Hogan’s Alley, tour the building – I saw a huge polar bear pelt on the conference room wall – and see items they’d confiscated over the years. I also had a great time talking serial killers with one of the agents. And my introduction to reindeer sausage. I’m sorry, I ate Vixen, Comet, and Dasher.

We also were part of a group that got to go dog sledding. Talk about fun for someone who’s a total dog lover! We visited the Alaska Native Heritage Center, which showed various tribal cabins and you were able to tour each one. And we took a three-hour cruise out of Seward in a small covered boat on a day that had ice rain along with visiting the aquarium in the town. Yes, Shawna and I did sing the Gilligan’s Island theme before boarding the boat! Going outside the cabin to take pictures was cold cold cold! Only one I missed was a Bald Eagle perched on a railing when we returned to port. We even ventured out into the Bering Straits a bit and saw a newborn Orca.

We saw a moose outside the hotel, walked what they call the snow shuffle down to the Snow Sculpture Contest, and visited the carnival and fur auction that went on for Fur Rondy.

It was new to us to go outside in the morning and find it still dark. Days were still short then. And having to watch our steps on the snowy and sometimes icy sidewalks.

I spent the week with hat hair, living in jeans, heavy sweaters, a borrowed down coat, and hiking boots. I met great people, had experiences I only could have dreamed of, and I’d happily do it again.
The state and friendly people allowed my imagination to wander and even nine years later, it’s still going strong.

You never know when it will show up in a book!



  1. I am so jealous I can't stand it! I want to go to Alaska!

  2. It was a great experience, Desiree.

    Although I fell more than once when outside.

  3. Part of me would love to see Alaska. But the cold winters and giant mosquitoes in summer are a deterrent. *g*

    But then there's that major women to men ratio.... LOL!

  4. Alaska is on my dream sheet. With luck, maybe a cruise in that area in the next two or three years.

  5. That could do it, Tori.

    A good friend of mine lived there for 32 years. She'd probably tell you you'd have better luck with men in the Lower 48.

  6. Lizzie!

    I think a cruise up there would be fun, but I loved exploring the towns too.