A long time between blog posts, I know, but this summer has been hard and busy for Alaskans living in South-Central. We've had to re-adapt to that "Fake News" climate change that, of course, doesn't really exist.
First, after an unusually warm, nearly snow-free winter, we get a heat wave that, to us un-airconditioned folks, was decidedly uncomfortable. Anchorage actually reached 90 degrees around the fourth of July-- other areas in the interior were hotter.
When the heat finally broke (after stores ran out of cooling fans and had more shipped in on an emergency basis), we looked forward to the usual cooling weather and rains that come with August. Only, they didn't. Now we are blessed with eternal sunshine and no rain-- and Alaska is on fire. 50 miles north and 50 miles south of Anchorage, scores of people are getting burned out of homes and homesteads.
Dog mushers are having to rescue and care for their many dogs as well as other farm animals as fires sweep in over the super-dry black spruce forests that dominate the land.
Never thought I would long for gray days and cold rains, but I do!
I'm about 22,000 words into my next book, a continuation of the Ben Hunnicutt series with the working title, "Red Star Down". Centers around the discovery of the wreck of a C-47 transport airplane that was turned over to Russia during the WW2 Lend-Lease program.
Untouched for 30 years, the plane entombs the bodies of its crew, including that of a courier carrying a briefcase containing information which is still of enormous value to whichever side in the Cold War can retrieve it. Naturally, Ben gets caught up in the struggle to recover the briefcase from its grave deep in Alaska's wilderness before Russian agents can beat him to it. We'll just have to see who wins and how.
The cover for Last Kill didn't come so easily. The first segment of the plot took place during the Korean War, so I hauled out my old GI helmet and borrowed a friend's Purple Heart for an image on the back cover. Another important part involved a Japanese Geisha house. My publishing advisor, First Editions, came up with a pic of several Maiko (apprentice Geisha) which fit my concept, and also went to the back cover.