Blog

Slow Old Days on the Trail

November 4, 2014 by

My First “Sno-Go” — photo taken in 1983 on the Kukokwim River, near Akiak, AK

 

You know how every once and while you encounter a photo from when you were a child that brings back a rush of memories? Just tonight I found myself flipping mindlessly through a few old photos, looking for something to share with you and I found this. The year was 1983. I was in 2nd grade and lived in the village of Akiak. A small Yup’ik community on the Kuskokwim River. The shiny new Ski-Doo Elan was my dad’s, but I drove that “sno-go,” as we called them then and still often do, everyday after school.  I loved that machine, a simple 250cc engine, with bogey wheels. I had free reign of the area, so long as I didn’t venture too far away, but I did take a trip on it to Bethel, the big city. The windchill that day had dipped to sub-fifty below and I begged him to take me. Round trip it’s about fifty miles, but a slow fifty on a small single banger like the Elan, and on the return at night, my little feet were nearly frozen. I don’t remember much of all that happened, but I do recall  having to stop and my dad warming my toes with his bare hands and sticking my feet down into the Sno-Go’s cowling and placing them near the warm engine block.  I’m pretty sure I learned my lesson after that trip and when I asked to go along, on the rare occasion when he said I didn’t couldn’t go, I definitely didn’t beg.

The days of the Elan have passed, but a few folks in Alaska still drive them. They are gas sippers compared to the 1000 cc monster engines of today, but those changes in horsepower don’t compare to the bigger changes that have come to that area, with even bigger changes on the horizon in terms of  resource development racing that direction as fast as any sled.

Me? I skate ski now. I’m slower than the old sno-go, and I can’t pull my sister behind me, like I was in this photo. Sadly, I also can’t say I’m as carefree as I was back then, riding across the tundra without a worry or thought of what might would be down the trail. But now such thoughts fill my mind and I can’t help but see an old photo from my past and reminisce on the golden memories and think about what the future holds for my old home on the Kuskokwim now that outsiders have discovered a different sort of gold.

 

ravens gift cover

Don Rearden grew up on the tundra of Southwestern Alaska, an experience that informed his critically acclaimed debut literary thriller The Raven’s Gift. While calling Don “a master of the cliffhanger” The Washington Post went on to praise the novel’s “hunter-hunted suspense of Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male, the post-apocalyptic bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and the haunting mysteriousness of The X-Files.”

Stay tuned for more posts from Don Rearden and his upcoming Alaskan thriller only from The Rogue Reader.


Blog, Shorts & Excerpts

Ghost in the Parka

October 31, 2014 by

    Let me share with you a Halloween haunting back when I lived in one of the little Yup’ik villages on the tundra of southwest Alaska. The sun slipped beneath the horizon, my sisters and the other little kids were back from trick-or-treating, and it was our turn, the teenagers, to race down the narrow dark boardwalks between houses to fill our own plastic grocery sacks with candy. I don’t even remember if we had costumes, but I do remember that it was a fall like this one, with no snow, and tall grass lined the boardwalk like two moving walls that whispered in the winds. We grabbed candy inside the first house and when we came out and started to the next, someone spotted something strange emerging from the tall grass. A traditional Yupik parka, with the hood up, no hands or feet visible, the thick fur ruff obscuring the face, appeared on the boardwalk behind us. We sprinted to the next house, not sure what to make of the parka, but not quite willing to admit to the adults inside what we’d just seen. Back outside the little parka appeared again and again between each candy stop, each time giving us a good scare. We’d all grown up hearing the traditional stories of such haunting and we had a sense that we were being played with, but none of us were brave enough to approach the little figure or to question who or what was toying with us. The last batch of houses sat on the far north side of the village, a walk that would require us to travel down a considerable span of darkness, right past the abandoned (and haunted) teachers’ quarters that everyone in the village avoided and didn’t even like to speak about. As we made our way down the boardwalk towards the last cluster of houses the little parka appeared behind us, and when we entered the arctic entry to the house, I remember looking back and seeing it standing there mid-way beside the teachers’ quarters, blocking our passage home. When we came out, the parka was gone. As we passed the building, we expected the parka to jump out in front of us or behind us, but it didn’t. Someone gasped and pointed, and there in the darkness beneath the building, near one of the steel posts that held it above the permafrost, the parka sat upright, waiting. It sprang towards us with a cackle. We screamed and ran for our lives, and behind us the parka followed, growling and roaring. We fled in terror, but the scary sounds in our wake turned to laughter — and legs and arms popped out from the squirrel and moose skin covered coat and soon a face emerged from beneath the parka’s hood. My good friend. Ever the prankster. A boy with a contagious giggle and a hyena-like laugh. Loved by everyone. Afraid of nothing and afraid of no one. Not a soul in the village would have gone to those lengths for an all-night prank like that. Not only was he foregoing his sack of free candy, but he spent that spooky black night alone, hiding in the grass; even hiding beneath the haunted school buildings despite all the traditional Yup’ik monsters and spirits also lurking in the same shadows, just to hear our terrified squeals. A few years later we lost our prankster friend. I heard he managed to climb out from the black scar his snowmachine left through the river ice, but in the cold and wind he couldn’t escape death’s icy grip. I try to comfort myself with the notion that he feared nothing. That even in the face of death, alone and cold in the howling tundra winds, he could find a way to giggle and that he wasn’t scared. And while his death still haunts me, over twenty years later, I am comforted by the fact that his trickster spirit survives. Each Halloween I think of him and imagine if I stare hard enough into the shadows I just might catch a glimpse of the ghostly fur parka waiting to jump out and chase me.   * This story first appeared on the 49 Writers Blog.   [Bio: Don Rearden lived in haunted school buildings on the tundra. He never actually saw a ghost, but heard them playing basketball, and once watched as one of those heavy grey filing cabinets clicked and rolled open in front of him. Apparently ghosts enjoy a good game of one-on-one, but still even in death must deal with paperwork.]


Blog, Reviews & Press

Learning from Booklist and Library Journal “Books for Dudes”

October 21, 2014 by

Not long ago a great Booklist review suddenly appeared on the Amazon Page of The Raven’s Gift. In today’s world it can be incredibly difficult to get a review anywhere and I was fortunate to land some incredible reviews here at home in Alaska and one giant one in The Washington Post. Naturally that one surprised the hell out of me, but this review came as a surprise because I never heard about my novel landing a Booklist review until the review appeared. I think most writers are savvy enough to have Google Alerts in place to catch reviews good and bad (and damn, I’ve been crazy fortunate in the good department), but one thing I’ve learned is to also have a few alerts for your name misspelled. When I figured that out I learned The Raven’s Gift had been selected as a Top Five Summer Reads for Dudes! And of course I learned this around October that same year. Things like this help with publicity, when you get a chance to publicize them, right? At times this sort of discovery can be frustrating when the news comes too late, but my agent has been keen to point out to me that good reviews and book lists don’t go away. I’ve remembered that.

Back to the Booklist review. I appreciate what the reviewer, Connie Fletcher had to say, and I really loved the imagery of the last line:

This is part dystopian survival tale, part Jack London wilderness saga, and part Stephen King/Michael Crichton–style suspense story. Holding it all together, and making this much more than a what happens when people can’t defend against a massive threat exercise, is Alaska native Rearden’s deep knowledge of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and the culture of the Yupik Eskimos living there. Rearden takes an adventurous, idealistic young couple (John and Anna), gives them jobs as first-year teachers, and plunks them in a tiny village in a tiny home free of all amenities. From the start, though, readers will know something is off: Why, in the scene before the couple’s job interview, are an unidentified man and woman crawling through the snow, looking for signs of life? The narrative consists of three separate time lines—what happened before almost everyone in the village disappeared; John and Anna’s first efforts to teach and adjust; and John’s desperate efforts to survive and return to Anna. This narrative mix is deliberately confusing, like following tracks in the snow, and just as engrossing. –Booklist, Connie Fletcher

I’ll take that review with a grin, and of course have no problems with the Jack London/Stephen King/Michael Crichton comparison! So who needs a timely “starred review” with those stars involved, right? Plus, this reviewer was kind enough to post the review on Amazon herself AND spell my name correctly.

ravens gift cover

Don Rearden grew up on the tundra of Southwestern Alaska, an experience that informed his critically acclaimed debut literary thriller The Raven’s Gift. While calling Don “a master of the cliffhanger” The Washington Post went on to praise the novel’s “hunter-hunted suspense of Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male, the post-apocalyptic bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and the haunting mysteriousness of The X-Files.”

Stay tuned for more posts from Don Rearden and his upcoming Alaskan thriller only from The Rogue Reader.


Other People's Books

Pup & Pokey — Going Rogue with an Alaskan Children’s Book

October 16, 2014 by

 

 

IMG_1430

Pup & Pokey (Written by Seth Kantner, Illustrated by Beth Hill)

 

Despite what you might gather from watching reality shows, Fox News pundits, or movies set in Alaska and filmed far from Alaska, we’re not all a bunch of goofballs, idiots, and aspiring world leaders. Alaska is at once a strangely urban and multi-cultural landscape, and at the same time a rugged and pristine wilderness. The place is infinitely complex in terms of politics, people, and possibility.

One area where Alaska is rapidly finding a different place on the map that doesn’t fit within the stereotypes of our state in any shape or form is literature. We’ve had a few amazing years of literature when it comes to writers and publishing. I won’t even attempt to list all the successes that we’ve had simply for fear of missing or leaving out a friend or four. From being the home to the amazing Alaska Quarterly Review and a Pulitzer finalist to a host of best-sellers and major poetry awards, we’ve been racking up the accolades here.

For me, one of the cool things has been to be in a position to meet and become friends with some of these amazing authors. Alaska is huge, but the writing community fairly small. I’ve had the great fortune to work on some teaching materials for Whiteby award winning author Seth Kantner many years back. Seth wrote Ordinary Wolves, arguably one of Alaska’s best novels, and a great collection of essays, Shopping for Porcupine.  Through that project I met Seth, and since then he’s become the older brother I never had. We share stories, laughter, and often publishing pains — not to mention some pretty cool adventures in the wilderness.

For years I’d forward Seth photos of my sister’s artwork. She’s a commercial fisherwoman, teacher, parent, and painter in SW Alaska. She’s self-taught and talented as hell. Seth recognized her potential. Next thing I know, she’s illustrating a kid’s book he wrote and they had a publisher. The book is called Pup & Pokey, an endearing tale of the friendship between a wolf and a porcupine, and I’m really proud to have somehow been a part of this collaboration of two talented Alaskans: Seth Kantner and Beth Hill.

This is how the real Alaska works. Good people creating good art. Not everything is screwed up here, as any number of reality shows, bad movies, and political wannabes might have you believe.

 

ravens gift cover

Don Rearden grew up on the tundra of Southwestern Alaska, an experience that informed his critically acclaimed debut literary thriller The Raven’s Gift. While calling Don “a master of the cliffhanger” The Washington Post went on to praise the novel’s “hunter-hunted suspense of Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male, the post-apocalyptic bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and the haunting mysteriousness of The X-Files.”

Stay tuned for more posts from Don Rearden and his upcoming Alaskan thriller only from The Rogue Reader.


Blog

Alaskan for Gym Membership

October 8, 2014 by

Some of my best writing happens when I’m not siting at beside the woodstove abusing my laptop keyboard. Over the years I’ve found one of my favorite places to compose is a bit strange: the chopping block. For most writers I suppose this means that place where you cut your writing, but for me the chopping block is where ideas come to life.
It happens like this: set block of firewood on the chopping block, swing the big maul, split, repeat, repeat, and repeat. Spruce. Birch. Eastern hemlock.
Then, once a sweaty lather has been created, the ideas will begin to pile up with the split firewood. Characters come alive, plots unfold, and the blood gets flowing.
This is my brain and body workout. This is my Alaskan gym membership and pre-writing routine.

The Real "Alaska Club" Membership

The Real “Alaska Club” Membership

 

ravens gift cover

Don Rearden grew up on the tundra of Southwestern Alaska, an experience that informed his critically acclaimed debut literary thriller The Raven’s Gift. While calling Don “a master of the cliffhanger” The Washington Post went on to praise the novel’s “hunter-hunted suspense of Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male, the post-apocalyptic bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and the haunting mysteriousness of The X-Files.”

Stay tuned for more posts from Don Rearden and his upcoming Alaskan thriller only from The Rogue Reader.

 


Blog

The Unbearable likeness of a Bear Foot

September 29, 2014 by

Too much to bear?

Too much to bear?

I’m not a bear hunter. Early on as a kid I was obsessed with bears, constantly dreamed of them, and imagined that one day I would become some sort of bear hunter. In fact the opposite happened. A lifetime of hunting has made me fairly adept at hunting, but the older I’ve become the less interested I’ve become in hunting predators. Not for fear of them, but for respect and admiration. I’d pretty much told myself I wouldn’t kill a bear unless I had to, and in Alaska, sometimes, those promises you make to yourself get tested.
This fall I found myself skinning a black bear with my mom and dad. I’d shot the bear. And believe me, I didn’t want to. He’d broken into our supplies at our cabin and wasn’t leaving. In fact, he was a bit mad we weren’t leaving. He huffed at us and showed no signed of departing his new cache of food. I had little choice but to put the bear down. And once we started cutting into him, I became more and more relieved I did shoot him. The bear was skin and bones. The poor guy was starving. He didn’t have an ounce of fat on his body. This was a poor berry year, and the bears in the area were all troubled, but this guy — he was hurting for food. (Hence the reason he wasn’t leaving our cabin.). On further inspection, I found his intestines loaded with long thick round worms.
It had been years since I’d skinned a bear and my dad walked me through the process. My three year old son, Atticus, watched. I’d hoped to salvage not just the skull and hide, but also the fat and the meat — but this guy was too sick. His muscles were lean and wasted. The fat, non-existent.
A skinned bear looks strangely similar to a human, perhaps this is why so many Native American peoples had stories of the bear being our kin. As I worked the small sharp knife blade around the pads of the bear’s foot, popping the knuckles just behind the claws, my dad instructing me over my shoulder, I couldn’t help but notice the similarity to my own hands, and hoped that if I was ever as desperate as this bear had been, one of his relatives might do the same for me.

 

ravens gift cover

Don Rearden grew up on the tundra of Southwestern Alaska, an experience that informed his critically acclaimed debut literary thriller The Raven’s Gift. While calling Don “a master of the cliffhanger” The Washington Post went on to praise the novel’s “hunter-hunted suspense of Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male, the post-apocalyptic bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and the haunting mysteriousness of The X-Files.”

Stay tuned for more posts from Don Rearden and his upcoming Alaskan thriller only from The Rogue Reader.


Blog, Craft, Fan's Note

A Novel Mystery — Do you know this woman?

September 16, 2014 by

The Mystery Woman of Mallorca

The Mystery Woman of Mallorca

Everyone loves a good mystery. Right? How do you like this one that just came across my desk?

An Austrian man is traveling in Spain. A stranger gives him a book that she found, read and enjoyed.  She was passing it on to another stranger, as instructed by the note scrawled in the front of the book. The man is grateful for the gift, and he takes the book, begins reading on his way home and inside discovers a photo.

He has no way of finding the woman who originally gave him the book, and he has no idea how he find out who the woman is and if she might want her photo back.

The man looks up the author of the book, and on a long shot emails him.

The kind man was Samuel Lange, a teacher in Austria. The author just so happens to be your truly. The book also mine. Or at least one I wrote. He tells me the story of getting the book, enjoying it, and then breaks the news of the photo. Is it mine? No. How did the book get from the US to Mallorca, Spain? Then it hit me. I had asked friends who enjoyed my novel The Raven’s Gift to help spread the word by leaving copies in random places for strangers. One of my buddies, Zach Jordan, a co-founder of Joe Digital, made this killer little video about how he dropped two copies in Europe. One in Germany. The other, surprise surprise, in Mallorca!

[Watch the short video Zach made here!]

So I dropped Zach a line and shared the news with him, but the photo wasn’t his and he didn’t know who the woman was either. The mystery continues. Do you know this woman? Can you help us find her? Share this story, spread the word — help us solve the mystery! Use the comments section if you have any leads or contact me via my website www.donrearden.com.

ravens gift cover

Don Rearden grew up on the tundra of Southwestern Alaska, an experience that informed his critically acclaimed debut literary thriller The Raven’s Gift. While calling Don “a master of the cliffhanger” The Washington Post went on to praise the novel’s “hunter-hunted suspense of Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male, the post-apocalyptic bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and the haunting mysteriousness of The X-Files.”

Stay tuned for more posts from Don Rearden and his upcoming Alaskan thriller only from The Rogue Reader.


Blog

Moose. It’s What’s For Dinner

September 12, 2014 by

Moose Hoof Soup Anyone? (Photo courtesy of Wilson Twitchell)

Moose Hoof Soup Anyone? (Photo courtesy of Wilson Twitchell)

 

 

Fall in Alaska means hunting season for many families. In my last post I shared how this isn’t about going out and blasting animals for trophies to hang on your wall. For many people in rural and urban Alaska alike, this is a time of harvesting for the coming winter ahead. A small window of time during September is moose hunting season, usually from the 1st to around the 25th.

A moose is a giant creature. Enough to feed a family (or two!). A single moose will yield hundreds of pounds of delicious and healthy meat. The flavor of moose ranges somewhere between bison, elk, and beef. Moose meat definitely isn’t as “wild” tasting as deer, unless you get an old bull. That meat can be a little stronger in flavor.

photo 1

Moose Nose: boil, strip away the hide, eat.

Meat isn’t the only thing taken from the moose. Harvest can mean just that. My native friends and family take much more than the meat alone. Think organs, hide, nose, tongue, and even hooves. Yes, hooves. On our successful hunt last week, my brother-in-law, who is Denai’na, kept the nose, kidneys, liver, and heart. My nephew used sinew from the back to build a moose antler spear. We didn’t keep the lower leg bones or the hooves, and after I got home and saw my buddy’s photo of his family skinning the hooves (see photo above) I felt a bit guilty. Next time, I’ll save them and perhaps learn how to cook those up, too.

 

ravens gift cover

Don Rearden grew up on the tundra of Southwestern Alaska, an experience that informed his critically acclaimed debut literary thriller The Raven’s Gift. While calling Don “a master of the cliffhanger” The Washington Post went on to praise the novel’s “hunter-hunted suspense of Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male, the post-apocalyptic bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and the haunting mysteriousness of The X-Files.”

Stay tuned for more posts from Don Rearden and his upcoming Alaskan thriller only from The Rogue Reader.

Moose. In many parts of Alaska, it’s what’s for dinner!

 

 

 


Blog

“Catching” a Moose

September 9, 2014 by

 

Home from the local "store."

Home from the local “store.”

I grew up knowing where  a large majority of my food came from, and hunting and fishing has provided the majority of protein in my family’s diet. We ate moose, deer, elk, caribou, bison, bear, and a plethora of waterfowl. Today is no different. I hunt to eat. I hunt to feed my family. I hunt because meat in Alaska is crazy expensive and shipped in from afar, shrink wrapped and a bit mysterious to me. There is a certain comfort knowing where your food came from, who handled it, and the health of the animal being consumed.

In Alaska, you’ll often hear someone asking, “did you catch?” when you return from a hunt. This has always suited me, as I was raised to be a hunter and not a killer. There is a difference between catching and killing. There is an implied respect of the animal. For me, it is all about respect of the creature and the land.

When we “catch” an animal we thank it for giving itself to us, and put a little food in its mouth, to honor the creature and hope it’s spirit will return. If that sounds hokey to you, or perhaps barbaric, I get it. I don’t judge you for eating meat that comes frozen or wrapped in plastic. We eat and live the way we were raised. If anything, we should all know a little more about from where our food came. I would never expect everyone to know how to “catch” a moose — but I can tell you that when my university students ask me tomorrow if I “caught a moose” this weekend,  my wide smile will give away the successful hunt.

 

Moose Ribs ready for the grill...

Moose Ribs almost ready for the grill…

 

ravens gift cover

Don Rearden grew up on the tundra of Southwestern Alaska, an experience that informed his critically acclaimed debut literary thriller The Raven’s Gift. While calling Don “a master of the cliffhanger” The Washington Post went on to praise the novel’s “hunter-hunted suspense of Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male, the post-apocalyptic bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and the haunting mysteriousness of The X-Files.”

Stay tuned for more posts from Don Rearden and his upcoming Alaskan thriller only from The Rogue Reader.


Blog

The Top Ten Ways to Die in Alaska

July 15, 2014 by

A Common Alaskan Igloo Fire

Death and danger have become cliché in Alaska. Reality TV would have you believe that there isn’t a waking moment in the 49th State that isn’t fraught with the perils of nature looming at every turn and disaster perpetually imminent.

During the early gold rush days in the late 1800’s deaths and acts of heroism and idiocy that occurred in Alaska made newspaper headlines from San Francisco to New York City regularly, and today is no really different. Alaska still grabs headlines with bear attacks and dim-witted politicians threatening to act like attacking momma bears; however, between the hype and the actual occasional crazy death in Alaska it has become harder and harder to die in a way that might surprise or actually even capture a headline or one of the little scrolling breaking new captions on Fox or CNN.

With that in mind here are ten ways to die in Alaska that are almost guaranteed to still make headlines.*

 

  1. Bear Attack at Brooks Falls Live on Camera. Bear attacks have become somewhat commonplace it seems of late in the news, so in order to really be noteworthy the person attacked should have a truly dramatic survival story (one like you can read in Dan Bigley’s book Beyond the Bear) in which case you have survived and don’t qualify as dead and you’ll have to die another way on this list. Your real hope to make headlines with a bear is to go big. The best way to go really big in terms of bears would be to travel to Katmai National Park to the Brooks Falls where the bears are BIG. Dress like a giant salmon and swim your way up the river while the whole scene streams live on the web. You’ll swim right into the jaws of the bears fishing there at the falls. If this isn’t for you, then watch the bears fishing at this link live and wait for your first human in fish garb.
  2. Gangland Style Shooting. Don’t tell anyone this, but Alaska (mostly Anchorage) has a little bit of a gang problem and we have our share of gang related shootings. To get in on the action go to any of the local hip-hop concerts and use spray paint to tag all the lowered or tricked out cars. This will likely get you shot. You can also attract the attention of the various gangs you’ll need by watching their hilarious gangsta rap videos on Youtube and then mock them with your own parody videos and they’ll be sure to begin targeting you.
  3. Break into the Anchorage Zoo at night. One woman many years ago became famous for trying to feed her foot to Binky our polar bear, but you can one up her by crawling into the Siberian Tigers’ cage. This is sure to grab national attention because they are Siberian Tigers. In Alaska.
  4. Survive the Siberian Tiger cage only to fall into the cage with the pack of wolves. The fact that you escaped the tigers only to die from a pack of captive wolves will surely impress people. That or go get trampled by the huge Bactrian camels. Don’t ask why we have tigers or camels at our Alaska zoo, or that might also get you dead.
  5. Go golfing at midnight on solstice and get hit in the head with a golf ball. (Yes, we have golf courses and in the summer there is enough sunlight you can actually golf at midnight, and the fact that we have golf courses alone will pretty much guarantee garnering at least a nod on ESPN. Actually getting hit in the head might be the hard part. Good luck with that. Your odds are probably more likely that you’ll get trampled by a mad mamma moose while on the course. If this happens right after you hit a hole-in-one, you’ll surely make EPSN headlines that night and probably get a mention in at least 23 of the 24 hours of a single Fox News cycle.
  6. Really go into the wild and try out the nightlife in Anchorage. Hit one of our popular watering holes down town right at closing time then hang out in the parking lot at bar break and talk your best smack to everyone who passes by and you’re pretty much going to get beaten and or shot or both. This wouldn’t make headlines normally, because it happens so frequently, but the fact that your bullet riddled body was found dressed as Sarah Palin will at least grab a tweet or two from Palin herself and then the rest of the media will swarm like Mosquitoes. Sorry, death by real mosquitoes is too common in Alaska to actually make this list.
  7. Avalanche. Plenty of people die in avalanches in Alaska every year, so that’s not such a big deal, but when you invent a gasoline suit, designed to ignite and melt the snow that is supposed to save you from such deaths but instead ends in a fiery and snowy explosion? That will make for some awesome GoPro footage and will score you some serious street cred in the Alaskan Death Annals.
  8. Death by Volcano. And while you’re capturing GoPro footage, you could go really where only pros go and go find one of our 90 active volcanoes and then paraglide into it, with the camera running of course. (I’m fairly certain this has never been done and would be sure to snatch up some headlines.)
  9. Earthquake. Where there are volcanoes there are earthquakes. Alaska is situated on the ring of fire, and this means we have tremblers pretty much happening somewhere in Alaska at any give moment. Don’t believe me? Check out these two websites that monitor our quakes and volcanoes. http://www.aeic.alaska.edu/  http://www.avo.alaska.edu/ We haven’t had a quake that killed anyone in a while, but if you timed it right and say had your head resting beneath a precariously placed boulder or better yet under the axle of a jacked up truck converted into a giant Alaskan-sized Radio Flyer Wagon just at the right moment when the old plate tectonics work their magic? BAM! You’re famous! (And dead.)
  10. Igloo Fire. And finally the top ten way to have your ticket punched in Alaska that is sure to impress both Alaskans and non-Alaskans alike? Death by igloo fire. First off there are no igloos in Alaska, and frankly Alaskans are tired as hell of being asked if they live in Alaska. So when some dude dies in an actual igloo fire, even hardened Alaskans will take notice. Outside of Alaska death by igloo fire might not sound all that special, seeing it’s Alaska and such infernos must be commonplace; however, when folks hear the fire was started by your malfunctioning gasoline-filled avalanche prevention suit everyone will be seriously impressed.

 

For an all too real (and tragic) list of how people have really died in the Alaskan wilderness check out http://www.akfatal.net

 

* [No actual guarantee of death or fame comes with this list. Dying in Alaska is also not recommended.]

 

Tune in for more soon from Don Rearden – the next Editor in Residence at The Rogue Reader.

ravens gift cover

Don Rearden grew up on the tundra of Southwestern Alaska, an experience that informed his critically acclaimed debut literary thriller The Raven’s Gift. While calling Don “a master of the cliffhanger” The Washington Post went on to praise the novel’s “hunter-hunted suspense of Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male, the post-apocalyptic bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and the haunting mysteriousness of The X-Files.”

Stay tuned for more posts from Don Rearden and his upcoming Alaskan thriller only from The Rogue Reader.

 


Blog, Shorts & Excerpts

Ghost in the Parka

October 31, 2014 by

    Let me share with you a Halloween haunting back when I lived in one of the little Yup’ik villages on the tundra of …
read more →

Blog, Reviews & Press

Learning from Booklist and Library Journal “Books for Dudes”

October 21, 2014 by

Not long ago a great Booklist review suddenly appeared on the Amazon Page of The Raven’s Gift. In today’s world it can be incredibly difficult …
read more →