Tuesday, April 22, 2014
LIFE WRITING MAYmester Class at UAF
6:16 am edt
I will be instructing a two-week LIFE WRITING CLASS at UAF from May 12-23rd, 2014. If you are interested in writing
biographies or an autobiography, check it out. It should be good fun and helpful to you to get your project off the ground.
Topics will include: interviewing skills and practice, accessing archive info for sources, and practice and guidance on self-publishing
If the deadline has passed and you missed the course, contact me for private instruction. I might be
able to work with you one on one (even long distance) in helping you get your project off the ground and to the next
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Next BIG THING!
12:29 pm edt
I have been invited by the amazing Irish writer ADRIENNE DINES (www.AdrienneDines.com
) to participate in The NEXT BIG THING, where writers talk about their current book in progress, then tag some of their favorite
writers so you can pop over and see what they are writing, too.
You can get a peek at my NEXT BIG THING at:http://www.maryalbanese.com/id95.html
Friday, October 5, 2012
Seven Horses and a Cow
1:46 am edt
An excerpt from my manuscript SEVEN HORSES AND A COW was selected as the September 25th, 2012 daily dose of NECESSARY FICTION,
a great website for getting a daily bite-sized shot of something to think about and be transported a world away into the heart
of a great story.
Check it out at: http://necessaryfiction.com/writerinres/SevenHorsesandaCow
Monday, July 16, 2012
I've been back in England for two months since the book tour, writing other projects. Maryglenn McCombs continues to get the
book onto book reading lists, review publications, and get me interviewed. So far ALL of the reviews have been great.
3:52 pm edt
I will spend the rest of the summer writing and then start touring with the book in England in the Autumn.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Back in England
After two days of travelling from Fairbanks, I have arrived back in England after 5 weeks of touring with the book. What a
trip! I have so many people to thank for hosting me. Some invited me into their worlds and work places to talk about my book,
while others invited me into their homes and offered the best of their hospitality to help me out on the long trip. It will
take days, maybe weeks to process all my experiences and memories from the book tour. But for now, I think I will catch up
on my mail, my unpacking, my laundry, and most of all, my sleep. For now, enjoy the Book Tour Scrap Book. Cheerio!
3:33 am edt
Friday, April 13, 2012
Coming Home to Alaska
4:13 pm edt
I arrived in Ketchikan yesterday, and what a great town. The views of the water and mountains couldn't
be better (when it isn't raining). Ketchikan is the salmon capital of the world as well as the gateway to the Tongass National
Forest where something like 30% of the US lumber comes from. It is a charming town with totem poles dotted throughout and
some fabulous totem parks. Ketchikan is a blooming art community with local and native art works in shops lining Creek Street,
which was a brothel zone until the 1950's. There are special trails through the woods to Creek Street. One is called "Married
Man's Trail," and it isn't hard to guess what that was used for.
Check out the photos on the
"Book Tour Lands in Alaska" link for some interesting information that might revolutionize public conceptions about
Alaska's native tribes.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
On The Road
11:43 am edt
The book tour is in full swing. I came up from California yesterday and today am in Seattle about to head
up to Bellingham for my book signing event at Village Books. I will be visiting some good old friends along the way. Today
the book's video trailer came out as the SHELF AWARENESS "Book Trailer of the Day." Nearly every day on this book
tour has brought another happy surprise from my PR team. This has included word that my book has made it on another review
list, additions of speaking engagements along the book tour, and also the exciting news that one of my Alaska library speaking
engagements (in Haines) will be video-cast and available to the other libraries in the state. Because of the huge size of
the state, Alaska has always been progressive about using technology to brings people together.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Lucy's "Chihuahua sled dog" video trailer came out today. Tomorrow I leave for the start of the book tour. Since
I can't add photos on this blog page too easily, I will be blogging about the book tour WITH photographs on the "Book
Tour Scrapbook" page.
6:20 pm edt
Monday, March 26, 2012
Good Reviews Piling Up
ONLY SIX DAYS BEFORE THE RELEASE OF THE SECOND SECRET VIDEO TRAILER!
12:13 pm edt
are still coming in and so far they have all been great. Check out the PRESS AND REVIEW link. Honestly, I am NOT paying
these people to say all these nice things. Good grief, this latest review from Feathered Quill Book Reviews has just blown
me away. I couldn't have come up with such a powerful review if I had tried.
I am just 6 days away from releasing
the second video trailer. It is hard to keep it under wraps until April 1st, the date I had set to launch it, but at least
now, that's not too far away. This latest reviewer said that she liked my wolf dog Ruby, who lived a grand long life for a
big dog, but sadly Ruby is now gone. If she liked my white wolf dog, just wait until she sees my current "sled"
dog, Lucy. I have a feeling an awful lot of people are going to love that little munchkin. I made Lucy her own web
), and even before her video has launched, I got a request this weekend from an enterprising fellow who wants to sell advertising
on her site. I've checked out the doggie beds he sells on www.dogbedswarehouse.com
and they are pretty cool. Lucy would certainly like his "princess canopy" bed. Who knows? Maybe Lucy
will get her own career as a professional blogger.
I am all packed for the book tour. My suitcase has been loaded,
and re-packed, and re-packed again. I have rarely anticipated a trip so much.
Hope to meet lots of lovely people
on my book tour trip. If you want to schedule a Skpye with me for your book club, let me know.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
A Book with a Secret Treasure
3:08 pm est
Check out the SECRET TREASURE link I have just loaded onto the web site and find out about the secret question
embedded within the text that leads to a special little treasure. I wonder how long it will be before someone finds the right
question and gets the treasure. I tried not to make it too easy or too hard, but with just the right amount of intrigue.
I recall a fantasy book some years ago that supposedly held clues about where a tiny gold and jewelled rabbit
statue was burried. People read the book very carefully but no one found the clues that led to the burried treasure. It
turns out that the author had made the "clues" too obtuse and despite many readers trying their hardest, no
one ever got the clues and the treasure remained burried in the ground. Eventually, a dog sniffed out the little gold
rabbit and dug it up in a park. When I found out what the "clues" were, I was disappointed because they weren't
really clues after all. The author had made the burried rabbit impossible to find unless you had a dog's nose and sense
My goal was to make the clues to the secret question in my book possible to find.
What is required is a careful reading and attention to detail. No special understanding of geology or any specific subject
is required. All one needs is an attentive mind.
Good luck and happy reading. I will be very pleased
to award the little Eskimo cradle treasure to the clever reader who finds the secret question first. But I hope that other
readers will also feel rewarded and that they have gained something just by having read the book.
Cheerio to all
you intrepid treasure hunters out there!
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Book Tour Schedule
9:11 pm est
As more reviews come in (all good so far -- check out the REVIEWS AND PRESS page on this website), we are preparing to
launch the book's upcoming release with a fabulous 5-week US book tour. I have an amazing PR team with Katrina Pearson coordinating
the book tour events, Mary Bisbe-Beek handling the local west coast publicity, and Maryglenn McCombs running the US nationwide
long-lead and short-lead PR assisted by her amazing sheepdog Major.
With the book tour less than a month away, the schedule
for those five weeks is filling up with a range of events and more being added each day. Here is the rough outline of
the schedule at this point.
April 2, 2012 Arrive in SAN FRANCISCO. The first book signing/presentation will be held
at The Booksmith on April 4th at 7:30 PM. The Booksmith in the heart of San Francisco's historic flower power counter-culture
near the corner of Haight and Ashbury is one of America's most iconic bookstores. Here they have hosted world class authors
and personalities, including Allen Ginsberg, Ray Bradbury, Niel Young, Annie Liebovitz, Gracie Slick, Nobel Prize winner poet
Czeslaw Milosz, members of the Grateful Dead, and The Doors. What a great start for the book tour.
On April 9th the
tour heads up to Seattle, then up to Bellingham on April 10 to Bellingham's Village Books (7 PM).
the tour goes to Ketchikan for a presenatation at the biggest public meeting hall in town, the Ketchikan Public Lands Center
on April 12th at 7 PM.
In Juneau I'll be speaking at Hearthside Books on April 15 from 1 - 3, followed with various speaking
engagements that week at the University of Alaska's creative writing classes.
Since southeast Alaska is all about ocean-side
communities, it makes sense that the tour takes to the water. On April 17th, I take the ferry up to Haines where I will be
doing an event at 7 PM with Babbling Book in partnership with the Haines Library.
Then back to Juneau for more UA speaking
I will be in Anchorage from April 22, with engagements at UAA and at the UAA bookstore on April 23rd (5
- 7 pm).
On April 24th I will be at Fireside Books in Palmer 4 - 5:30 PM, then back down to Anchorage for a writer's
craft talk later that evening sponsored by the fantastic 49Writers organization, to be held 7-9 PM April 24th at the Harvest
Bread Co on the topic of writing memoir.
From Anchorage the tour becomes a road tour with bookings along the way
to Fairbanks at various towns including Talkeetna (TBA).
It is only right that the tour winds up in Fairbanks,
where I spent so many unforgettable years. This homecoming grand finale leg of the tour in Fairbanks (April 26 - May 6th)
will kick off with a UAF reception the university is kindly hosting for me at Rasmuson Library on April 27th (2 PM), followed
by the annual UAF Author reception at 4 PM. Other Fairbanks engagements include UAF classroom visits and oral history
recording for the alumni association. We are trying to fit in events in Ester and Healy during that week as well.
those are the towns and the dates, with more events being fit into those dates every day. I hope to see as many of you there
at the events as can make it.
They say you can never go home again. With this tour about to commence, I think
that maybe you can.
Here's to coming home.
Monday, February 13, 2012
The First Review is In!
9:19 pm est
The link shown above is the book's first review, which has just come out today in the INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER. We
are getting some favorable feedback from a number of print media sources expressing interest in reviewing the book,
and I am taking it as a good omen that this first book review is so positive.
The US book tour is only about
6 weeks away. It will start in San Francisco at The Booksmith in the Haight-Ashbury area, which is one of the world's
most iconic bookstores. How amazing to be invited to speak/sign there, and what a phenomenal place to kick off the tour!
From San Francisco, the tour will head up to Seattle, then north to Alaska. There will be some fly-in stops in southeast Alaska
before landing in Anchorage. After the Anchorage signings, the tour will turn into a road trip, with stops at various towns
along the way until the book tour arrives where it all started -- Fairbanks
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Creating the Video
6:24 am est
I spent yesterday in the studio of Brad Shaw of www.Showreelz.com
putting together the video trailer for the book. Brad is a really great editor who makes collaboration a lot of fun. He recorded
my audio voice-over in his home studio, and then we selected the pictures and dropped them into the sound where they seemed
to go the best. He also dropped in the background music, and coordinating the voice over with the pictures and the background
music was a really fun creative endeavor. It took a little over 6 hours to make the 2 1/2 minute video clip. It is a delight
to work with such a talented editor and I was really pleased that at the end of the session, we had a video clip that
looked and sounded the way I wanted it to come out. I hope it gives people an accessible multi-media advance taste
of the book.
The background music I used for the video trailer is a story in itselt. This was a piano piece I composed
years ago. I had recorded myself playing it on a creaky tape casette a week before my wedding back in 1979, and then
played the tape on a battery-operated casette player on the day in an old ski lodge up on top of Ester Dome outside of
Fairbanks, Alaska. I had found the old tape in my attic in a shoe box while I was digging up photos for the book. It had sat
in that shoe box untouched for at lealst 30 years. I wasn't sure of the quality of the tape after so many years, so I only
played it once and re-recorded it (on a digital zoom recorder). Then about a month ago, I took the digitized recording
of the tape recording to Abbey Road Studio in London to get it remastered and cleaned up.
Oh my, getting into
Abbey Road Studio is quite an experience. They don't do tours. The only way to get inside is to book a recording or mastering
session. A recording session is pretty expensive (roughly a thousand dollars) but to book a mastering session and get
an already-recorded track cleaned up isn't nearly as painful on the wallet. Normally for an editing job, I
would take it to Brad at Showreelz, but for a one-time treat, I decided to have this little track cleaned up at
the ground zero of all recording venues. For a recording studio, the security at Abbey Road Studio is very tight,
and as I signed the guest book to get in for my scheduled session, I had to wonder who else was in that guest book. No
doubt my little signature was in some very good company.
I was told in advance that the mastering session would
be held in a very small room, and I could only bring one or possibly two collaborators with me. I brought my daughter Amy,
who is in her last year at university working on a degree in music promotion, and also my friend Lisa who is a really
talented singer (www.LisaTheVoice.com
). We all felt a tremendous sense of history as we walked into the studio for our scheduled session.
Gibson did a great job of cleaning up my recording of a recording, where you could hear the piano bench squeaking
whenever I had moved up and down the keyboard. He could not only hear the extraneous sounds but see them on his video monitor
that showed the wave lengths of the various sounds. Then he would capture the errant sound it on the video screne and erase
it. When he would play it back to check, sure enough, the squeaky piano bench noise was gone. The use some very impressive
and sophisticated sound editing software and it was a delight to see a master at his craft do his thing on my little song.
It took about an hour to clean up the 5-minute track and get it as good as it could be, given the way it was recorded,
on a cheap battery-powered portable casette recorder (no external mike) that I had put on the floor next to the piano.
Then I paid for the session and we came out.
There were people at the Abbey Road zebra crossing (there usually
are) taking pictures. When they saw us come out, me with my freshly-cut cd in hand, the tourists lined up to take pictures
of us. Cameras going off everwhere. I didn't realize why until later. Apparently they thought my daughter, wearing her usual
funky style, looked like a rap star. And my friend Lisa, playing along, shielded her from the cameras, as if she was the agent
of a really hot star who didn't want publicity. And me with my disk -- well, I looked like the hired help there to carry the
goods so the rap star didn't get her hands dirty.
It was a great day, and a real kick to bring this little piece
of Alaska to Abbey Road Studio, and have them put their special touch on it.
Yesterday was another great day, as
we put all the pieces together to make this little video trailer, to craft this little glimpse of my Alaska, and send it out
on the web to wherever it wants to go.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
The Book Tour Diet
6:02 pm edt
The editing, re-editing, and re-re-editing process continues although we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel and
hoping that the editing process will be winding down soon. A new proposed cover image is being designed, and we are tossing
around ideas for a different sub-title. With a release target date of April 2012, a publicity tour is being
planned for the last three weeks of that month.
I am finding that the idea of a looming book tour is a rather
daunting prospect. To prepare for this, I have invented the "help, I've got a book tour in 7 months and need to
get into media-friendly shape" diet. This is otherwise known as the BOOK TOUR DIET.
There are any number of
diets out there, all with people who are happy to sell them to you. But you can have my BOOK TOUR DIET for free. This
is a no-messing-about diet. It is simple, a little bit draconian, but effective. If diets are like the army, the BOOK
TOUR DIET is like boot camp with a really strict sargeant. For your eating pleasure (or lack of it), here it is:
Fish or lean meat (2 or 3 times a day. Eggs are okay too, but easy on the frying oil.)
all you want (raw or lightly cooked without cream sauces or heavy oils.)
Fruit (but try to limit yourself to no more
than three pieces of fruit a day).
Cottage cheese or low fat youghurt (not more than once a day).
All the green
tea you want. Fizzy water or lightly fruity water is okay, too.
That's it. That's the BOOK TOUR DIET. Like I said,
it is very simple. And it has certainly cut down on my grocery bills. It does take some getting used to, but after about the
thrid day, I found it wasn't that bad. You can try it for free, or tweak it here and there to suit your needs and see
how you get on with it. Good luck!
Monday, October 3, 2011
Preparing for Publication
6:55 am edt
The pre-publication process has been quite a trip. The book was selected for publication around December of 2010. Just
choosing the title was a mammoth prospect that took months. We tried (but tossed out) at least 300 titles. For many nights
I went to sleep with a dictionary in hand, hoping some charmed words would rise to the surface. They didn't. We finally settled
on the title after I hounded people by taking a survey (link below), polling reactions to the top 20 choices that
had not yet been tossed out. Hey, what can I say? Once a science nerd, always a science nerd.
Now that the cover
has been designed, I am officially starting the book's website and blog. We still have a few more months to go before
the first samples come off the press, but seeing the cover is a very good reality check that this book is indeed coming
out. With winter right around the corner, spring isn't that far away.