wow!! Busy time. We were in Seattle area for about two weeks and had a great time with Donna, Peter , and Finn including nearly a week of 2 on 1 with 3yr old Finn and could barely keep up. Hiking, swimming, tulip farms, biking, Vancouver Aquarium, space needle, rode the ducks and more. Home briefly and off again.

Last evening, we got back from Homer Shorebird Festival. Busy but fun time that included a 3hr cruise and a 4+ hour cruise and other activities. we spied lots of prerequisite bald eagles, thousands of murres but only tens of murelets. Glaucus winged, herring and mew gulls, thousands of black legged kittiwakes.  Plovers, dowitchers, and sandpipers. Shovelers, pintails, mallards, greenwinged teal, and widgeons. sandhill cranes. And more, too.

This morning, I found that the crocus are long gone, but an entire phalanx of daffodils and other spring bulbs are showing and tulips are getting started. But also found lots of chickadee activity in the yard and finally spotted one pop into the nesting box. None last year, maybe some hatchlings this year.

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Winter is slow in departing Anchorage this year but we hurried it along a bit when we took a trip to Seattle. Gramma needed her grandson “fix” and we took him for most of a week to a timeshare 3hr north of the city. altogether, we had a great time. Tulip Festival, Vancouver aquarium, Mount Baker, jumping into pool, bike riding, short hike, Children’s museum, riding a duck, brunch atop the space needle. That nearly 3 yr old could really keep us busy and on our toes. We got home at 2 this am and on Wednesday, we will go to Homer for teh annual Bird Festival. more later.

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I expect that there are lots of folks out there who are tired of winter weather…   but I do know that there are lots of folks around here wishing that this snow would go away. We have had a week or more of bright sunny weather then a dump of snow. When that was nearly gone, another dump. Now, we have had more bright sunny weather and clear cold nights. Daytime thaws and nighttime freezing so melting is slowed down. But it is less messy.  Skiers and snowmachiners, however, are very happy. Glorious spring skiing conditions.

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Here is a crazy – only in Alaska – event. Arctic Man is a goofy competitive race. http://www.arcticman.com/ A downhill skier speeds down a slope with a drop of 1700 feet in 2 miles. At the bottom, the skier grabs  a tow line from a moving snowmachiner for  a 2mile tow to the top of the next slope to race down the other side. A new record was set this year. 5 miles in less than 4 minutes. This takes place in the Hoodoo Mountains in interior Alaska and the weeklong event becomes one of the largest cities in the state.

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We are just back from a short meeting at the library in midtown. It is after 9pm and the sun is just beginning to set.

We have had several days of on off snow showers and have not seen the mountains until today. Wow! This is Alaska! The mountains were very WHITE!! But there was a tinge of very gentle pale pink.

In the low angle sunlight, many houses on the hillside reflected the sun in sharp little squares of light. Glad we got out even briefly.

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This is a weekend of memories for Alaskans. And not in a good way. Good Friday, 1964, an earthquake struck throughout southcentral Alaska. 9.2 on Richter scale; 2nd largest on record. It lasted 3 minutes and caused nearly 150 deaths; some directly, some by tsunamis.
On Good Friday, 1989, the Exxon Valdez went “hard aground” spilling oil through Prince William Sound and as far as Kodiak Island. Roughly the length of most of the Lower 48 states. Birds, mammals, fish and more were killed. Some raw oil still persists in small isolated pockets on certain beaches.

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The 1,000 mile 2013 Iditarod sled dog race is over.  it ended last yesterday March 17 when the last musher finisher crossed the finish line five days after the first place winner. you can view extraordinary aerial photos of Alaska winter landscapes between Nome and Anchorage at:   http://www.adn.com/2013/03/16/2828552/nome-to-anchorage-post-iditarod.html

And www.adn.com has lots more images from the race.

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Wow. what a gorgeous day today and yesterday… ( except for the water running down the street).

We took a ride down Turnagain Arm to Indian Valley Cook Inlet, Turnagain Arm, Kenai Mountains, Alaskameat processors to pick up some caribou sausage and caribou hamburger. Along the way, we saw the same band of five Dall sheep both going and coming. They were about 50 feet above the pavement and about 50 feet off the road centerline. The tide was very low and we were watching for  a tidal bore but no luck today. The mountains across the inlet looked big and white. Nice day to be out

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Books Written Backwards How I Brought my Books to Market Part 4

Bill Hauser

One more time

Before long, I was thinking more about writing and I thought more about that other favorite topic I like to talk about—fish. I made an outline and discussed the concept with some colleagues and with Evan. Some Fish Talk articles provided a skeletal framework to help get started. The process was actually quite different from the first book. I needed reference material and technical information. I understood the vocabulary and the language after the years of practice with Fish Talk so that part was easy. Some things I thought were facts, however, I needed to correct and I also needed to learn more details about some of the fish I wanted to include. But I enjoyed the learning and relearning all sorts of information about the fish. All facts needed to be checked and rechecked and I recruited colleagues and other experts I had not met for fact checking items in each chapter. The title, Fishes of the Last Frontier, went through numerous iterations before this was selected.

The marketing and selling of books is less fun than the creative process of writing and assembling of the material. Some book signings are fun and some are boring. But again, Evan helps out. He has been involved administratively in every step of the entire process and is prompt with sending royalty reports and checks. It is more fun and more interesting to have two books to sell. I am starting to meet people who have already read one or both books and usually the feedback is pleasingly positive. Perhaps the most surprising and satisfying experience in all this was when members of the Alaska Fly Fishers (who routinely read Fish Talk) simply lined up and bought these books without opening the cover. Wow! That was exhilarating and exciting. I also appreciate the satisfied smile of a buyer as I sign a book for them.

After publication, I realized that I had also created a legacy for my family and friends that documents part of my life. And I was proud to deliver my first book to my grandson for his first Christmas. And my second book two years later.

So there you have it. If you have thought about writing a book, decide who is your target audience just do it to it. Writing books backward has worked fine for me.

Bill Hauser

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Books Written Backwards
How I Brought my Books to Market
Part 3
Bill Hauser

Fast forward
I retired from Alaska Department of Fish and Game in 2003 and I had a plan for post-retirement. Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately) the plan did not work out quite as I had expected. For several years, I performed several small projects and occasionally wondered about book writing. But one day, while I was home minding my own business, an Alaska radio station hosted an interview and shortly, I realized they were taking about me and my book. After a phone call and a week or so later, I met the interviewee, Evan Swenson, of Publication Consultants. We discussed my ideas and plans and he explained the process, costs, and options.

First, I tackled Letters from Alaska. This entailed rereading, sorting, and selecting among the letters I had written and managed to save. Most letters were handwritten. The transcription process was tedious and the sentences needed lots of editorial attention to improve readability while maintaining fidelity to the original writing and message. But all that is boring and I had a bug to do more writing so, for each letter, which became a chapter, I added a large dose of Alaskana that was related to some detail in the chapter. I was feeling good and rolling along until an opportunity to participate in a small research project appeared. Although I enjoyed the research project, one cannot think and write in technical material and non-technical material at the same time so Letters from Alaska was put on hold. I kept in touch with Evan and I appreciated his patience.

After I was able to return to the book writing business, I went through the usual process of elation about what I had accomplished and depression about . . . who would care enough to buy a copy. Evan was a constant source of support and encouragement without directing how or what to write. Eventually he guided me through the final process of copy editing, proofreading, inserting images, and printing. Soon I was in a mode of advertising, marketing, and selling.
(to be continued)

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