Sunday, January 19, 2014

Top Ten Reasons: #7

For a short time, Amazon's offering The Mountains Bow Down for $2.99. Get it while you can -- the price will soon skyrocket about three-hundred percent (Don't blame me. I don't set these prices).

But in honor of ten good days, I'm posting my Top Ten reasons for writing this Raleigh Harmon mystery. We've covered 10, 9, 8.

Today is Reason #7:


Growing up in Alaska, I watched my hometown morph from a sleepy capitol to one of the busiest tourist ports in the world. In the spirit of Scarlett O'Hara, I raised my fist and cried, "So help me, God, I will never go on those ships!"

Of course, I also swore never to nag my kids. Or eat while driving. Or say things like, "There are two kinds of people in the world . . . ."

Heaven on earth, Summer at 10 pm
And so, there I was, sailing through Alaska's Inside Passage with two thousand strangers. Everyone oohed and ahhed at the view while I tried to figure out ways to kill them. 

For the book, you know. 

Anyway, I've seen Alaska from every possible vantage --ground, air, water, skis--and I can say with certainty that water wins. The mountains literally sparkle, the sky spreads out like God's throwing a surprise party.

I even appreciate what cruise ships offer. Specifically, I liked ditching my car for a week; skipping dinner reservations yet still eating delicious meals; and sleeping every night in the same comfy bed but waking every morning in a new place. Genius! 

And, hey, it's not like my lonely boycott would stop these things from sailing into Juneau.

If you're planning an Alaska cruise, here's an inside tip. Consider traveling in May. Not only are cruise prices significantly lower, the crowds are less crushing and the weather can be glorious. When we landed in Juneau the first week of May, the temperature hovered around 75 degrees without a cloud in the sky.

 Sawyer Glacier, also featured in Mountains
Raleigh Harmon enjoyed her Alaska adventure so much she's begged to return for more far-north geology--and juicy crime. I'm seriously considering it. 

In the meantime, here she is on the cruise ship's upper deck, in the opening of The Mountains Bow Down:

     With the trajectory of launched missiles, the mountains soared from the ocean. Smothered with evergreens, the steeps pointed to a sky so blue it whispered of eternity. Though it was June, snow on the granite ridges refused to melt despite twenty-four hours of daily sunlight. And where a liquid silver sea lapped the rocky shore, a bald eagle surveyed the cold water for fish.
    First week of June: 5:00 a.m. in Ketchikan, Alaska.                             
    It felt like falling in love.

1 comment:

  1. Ohhhhhh...I LOVED my cruise to Alaska (with a stop in Canada, as well). The glacier photo above makes me wish sooooooo much that I could go back & enjoy it all again. You describe the amazing scenery in your book so vividly--I could see & smell & feel & hear & breathe all the beauty in. I would be thrilled for Raleigh to return there in a future book!!!

    BTW, if you need someone to take notes for you, run errands for you, go with you on hikes or explore places, figure out ways to kill people--well, at least render them unable to do any harm--I'm totally available to go on an Alaskan cruise with you & help with the new book!! (I'll pay my own way & everything!) :-)