Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Would I Redo

When I was in school, I wanted to travel and my dream job was to be a stewardess as they were called back then. I studied French, German, and Russian so that I would know some other languages for when I landed and maybe stayed over in another country. In my last year a job show was held at my high school and I went to talk with the representatives from an airline. She was dressed in her uniform and was very nice.
     I explained that I wanted to be a stewardess and asked for information. She told me that I had to be a certain height and weight, which I was. She said that all stewardesses had to wear a girdle even though their figures might be perfect. I was okay with that. Then she told me that anyone who wore glasses could not be a stewardess. I was devastated, since I needed prescription glasses but seldom wore them. I went to an optometrist to get contact lenses. This was when they were still made of hard material and my eyes could not adjust to them.
     So I gave up my dream of being a stewardess. However, I married, had wonderful children who have given me wonderful grandchildren and went on to become a writer. I travelled extensively through British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon and Alaska, when writing my non-fiction backroads series.
     I belong to a dragon boat team and I have taken part in international festivals in Caloundra Queensland Australia (spent four week visiting the sites of Queensland and New South Wales then a week in Fiji) Sarasota Florida USA, (my husband and I travelled through two provinces and nineteen states on our way there and back home) and will be going to Florence Italy in 2018. While there I hope to visit many other European countries. I’ve also been to Japan and China. So not being a stewardess has not stopped me from doing the travelling that I wanted to do when I was younger.
     Just a note: my sister owned the Canadian Tourism College in Vancouver for many years. One of my granddaughters took her course and is now a flight attendant. She doesn’t need to wear a girdle and, while she doesn’t wear glasses, today it wouldn’t matter if she did.

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Holiday Dessert
The following is a recipe for a dessert that I made for many years for my husband’s birthday and Christmas and when requested for other gatherings. It is simple to make but takes a while because you have to let it cool between layers. It is very rich and each person only needs a small piece.
Cherry Delight
Bottom Layer
1 ½ cup graham crumbs
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup melted butter
Mix these together and pat down into a nine by nine inch pan. Put in refrigerator to harden.
Middle Layer
1 cup whipping cream
1 4oz package softened cream cheese
¾ cup icing sugar.
Whip the cream until almost stiff. Blend in cream cheese and icing sugar and beat until mixed well and stiff. Spread on bottom layer and return to fridge until set.
Top Layer
Open a can of cherry pie filling and spread on top.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Ghosts and Haunted Houses

As far as I know, I have never seen a ghost. However, I did live in a haunted house, although without my knowledge. When my husband and I and my brother and sister-in-law first moved to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island we bought a house that had been converted into a duplex. My sister-in-law told me that she was continually seeing a man coming and going from their side. I saw no one on our side.

I returned to Alberta to visit family and friends and was describing where our place was to a friend. She began asking questions about it and said that a friend of hers had lived in that house years earlier. She also asked me if I had seen the ghost who occasionally wandered through the house there. I said no, but my sister-in-law had.

She said that a man had died in that house and her friend had seen his ghost often while living there.
I’m not sure if the reason I did not encountered that ghost nor any others in my life is because I don’t believe in them or because I’ve been lucky. However, if a ghost is reading this, this is not an invitation to come to me and prove you are real.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Support of my Writing

My family and friends have been very supportive of me during my writing career. When my first two non-fiction books were published, my parents would look for them in bookstores. If they found them with only their spines showing they rearranged the books on the shelves so that the covers of mine were facing out so they could be seen easier.
My husband is constantly telling people that I am a writer and where they can find my books. My parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren have come to book launches, sat with me during a book signing, and passed on advertising information about my new books through social media and other means.

When they were younger my grandchildren helped out at some of my launches: acting as doormen by opening doors for customers at bookstores, singing, or playing a saxophone or flute during the interlude before my reading.
I have some friends who buy and read all my books and continually tell me how much they like them.

Thank you to my family and friends for your continued encouragement.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Who Would Play the Characters in the Movie?

Total Speculation and dreaming--but wouldn't it be wonderful if a production company decided they wanted to make my historical novel, Romancing the Klondike, into a movie. When I thought about who would play my characters I went with all Canadian actors and actresses.
Here is the list:
Ellen Page as Pearl Owens
Rachael McAdams as Emma Owens
Ryan Reynolds as Sam Owens
Ryan Gosling as Donald Miller
Seth Rogen as Gordon Baker
Keanu Reeves as Joe Ladue
Jane Eastwood as Mrs. Wills

I think that the lesser characters should also be Canadian actors and actresses. After all, this is a Canadian story.

What do you think of my selections?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Writing My Novels
Writing My Novels

I have never worked with a solid outline or arc for my novels, whether they are mystery, historical or young adult. And this is mainly because I find that my characters seldom end up the way I first pictured them and the plot never takes the route I thought it would. I do start the story with a character in his/her everyday life so the reader can get to know them then I put in the trigger that is out of the control of my main character or starts the mystery. This puts the main character on his/her quest for a solution.

I do have scenes pictured where characters are going to have a certain conversation or be at a certain place but unexpected conversations or character twists surface as I am writing the story. Some of these are surprises or mishaps or problems that get in the way of my character’s quest. I strive not to make these predictable nor so far out that they don’t make sense to the story. They should leave the reader with the thought that (s)he should have figured that would happen. I find that it is no fun to read a book where you can foresee where the story line is headed and what is going to happen before it does.

For the climax my character goes through the action of resolving the problem or solving the mystery. This has to be fast paced and sometimes at a risk to the character. By this time the reader should be rooting for the main character and wanting him/her to succeed without injury. Hopefully, too, this is where the surprise comes in, where the reader goes. “Wow, I didn’t see that coming." or "I never thought it would be that person.” I have even been surprised or saddened or happy by the ending of my novels and have said that.
I believe that if my emotions are rocked by the ending so, too, should those of the readers.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Gold and My Family by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey
                                                     Gold and My Family

In the late 1930s my father, Oliver Donaldson, and his brothers, Gib and Albert, made their living by panning for gold on two gold claims on the Salmon River, now called the Salmo River, south of Nelson, British Columbia. In 1980, Dad, my Mom, my husband Mike, our five children, and I went on a holiday to the Salmo River and the site of the former claims. We found the bottom two rows of logs, all that was left of one of the cabins they had lived in and the second cabin, which was still standing, on the other side of the river.

       Under Dad’s direction we all panned the river. The children were quite excited at finding gold to take home. We toured the area seeing the route Dad and his brothers had taken into town to sell their gold and to buy some staples and where they had hunted for deer and picked apples to live on. After the trip, Mike and I had vowed that someday we would return.

       In the spring of 1992, Mike, and I found ourselves preparing for a death and a wedding in our family. At the beginning of that year, Mike’s oldest sister Sallian had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and one of our sons and his fiancĂ© had set a wedding date. For almost five months we visited Sallian, first at home and then in the hospital. I cannot describe the anger, sorrow, and frustration I felt as I watched what the disease was doing to her. She lost weight and the ability to look after herself. During her final month she was hardly more than a skeleton.

       For those same five months I experienced a mother’s delight and happiness as I helped with the marriage plans. I made the cake, watched my son pick out his tuxedo, found my dress, arranged for my hairdo, and planned a mixed shower of friends and family.

       Balancing my life while dealing with the opposing emotions was truly hard.

       Sallian died on May 25 at age 54. On June 27 over 300 people attended the wedding and partied well into the night.

       Like most people it took the death of someone close to me to make me realize how important really living is. I knew Mike and I had to do something adventurous with our lives, something out of the ordinary.

       That summer of 1992 we decided to leave life as we knew it in Spruce Grove, Alberta, and get a gold claim in southern British Columbia, preferably in the Nelson area. We sold our house and quit our jobs. For our new home we bought a used twenty-four foot holiday trailer. I phoned the Minerals Branch of the B.C. government. They sent us a map showing the separate gold claim regions of southern B.C. We picked out three regions, Salmo being one, and I called back requesting more detailed maps of the staked claims in those areas.

     On September 1, we began our journey west. Mike was pulling the holiday trailer with our half-ton truck, which had our all-terrain vehicle in the back. I was in our smaller four-wheel drive pulling a utility trailer with our prospecting equipment and other paraphernalia we thought we might need.

       It took two days of slow travel to reach the Selkirk Motel and Campsite on the side of the highway at Erie, about three kilometres west of the town of Salmo. We set up camp, hooking up to the water and power. We had until freeze-up to find a claim.

       Next morning we were up early and off to the Gold Commissioner’s Office in Nelson where Mike bought a Gold Miner’s Certificate and received two red metal tags, and a topographical map, and was given his recording form. We were hopeful as we headed back to the campsite.

       According to the maps the Salmo River was all staked so over the next two weeks we checked rivers and creeks in the area with little success. But the Salmo River kept calling us and we returned to Dad’s former claim and the remains of his old cabin. Just past it we stood on the bluff looking down on the river as we had done twelve years earlier with my parents and our children. The memories came flooding back: the walk to the river with each child carrying a pie plate to use as a gold pan, finding gold only to discover that we had nothing to put it in, one daughter coming up with the idea of sticking it to bandages, camping near the river.

       But we didn’t have time to linger. We were working against the weather. Mike went over our maps of the Salmo River again and this time noticed that there is a small portion on the curve of the river near the old cabin that was open. Because the claims on either side formed rectangles it was missed by both of them. We found the posts of those claims then hurried to Nelson to confirm that the piece was available. It was.

       It was possible to lay one claim over part of another but the first one had priority for that section enclosed in it. There wasn’t time to stake it that night so we had to wait until morning. We rose early, went out to the river and put one of Mike’s red tag on the post of the claim to the east of ours. Mike took a compass and orange flagging and we began to mark off the distance, tying the flagging to trees as we went. At the end of five hundred yards Mike cut a tree, leaving a stump about three feet high. He squared off the top and I nailed up our final tag with the information scratched by knife point onto it. The claim was five hundred yards by five hundred yards and was called the Donaldson.

       We hurried back to Nelson and handed in the recording form. We were ecstatic. Not only had we located an area on the same river as my father, but we actually had part of his old claim. We went to the river and found a clearing for us to set up camp the next spring. Mike took his gold pan and headed down to the water’s edge.

       I followed and sat on a large rock. As I watched the water flow sedately by, a deep sense of relaxation settled over me, the first I had felt since the beginning of the year. It helped me begin to deal with the fact that I had witnessed Death at work.

       Sallian was the first one in either of our immediate families to die. I had seen the tragedy of death strike my friends but didn’t understand how devastating it could be until it happened to me.

       We spent the winter in our trailer in Vancouver visiting with my sister, my aunt, and some cousins.

       Near the end of March we drove out of Vancouver eager to get back to our claim. We pulled our trailer in and set up a campsite was in the middle of tall pine, birch, spruce, and cedar. We could just barely see the mountain tops to the south. The mountains to the north were higher and made a lovely backdrop to the trees. In the morning I walked through the bush to the river. I sat on a large triangle-shaped rock and watched the water drift by. A partridge drummed in the distance. Birds sang in the trees. I took a deep breath of the cool, fresh air. It was a good place to be.

       It rained just about every day for the next couple of weeks. We sat under the trailer awning and listened to the drops hitting the canvas. Sometimes the awning sagged with the weight of the water and we had to empty it. Sometimes we let it overflow, creating a waterfall.

       Rain or shine it became my morning ritual to go to the river before breakfast. I loved to sit on my rock and stare at the water. Because of the rains and the snowmelt in the mountains the river level was rising each day. Soon I was watching logs and other debris rush past in the torrent. The water dipped over some boulders, and created a backwash when it hit others. The force of the water was mesmerizing.

       One rare sunny day we went for a walk down the road past our camp. I carried my camera. A short distance from camp we saw spring water seeping out of a hole under a large rock in the embankment beside the road. Mike reached in the hole to feel how big it was and found a bottle of wine. It had been opened at one time and then put in there to keep cool. Mike set it back.

       We followed the long, hilly road as it wound its way through trees and past cow pastures. On our way back we encountered a herd of deer. They did some scrambling to get into the bush while I did some scrambling to take pictures. They were faster than me. We reached the spring and Mike decided to set up a water system. He went for a pail and a hose. When he returned he put one end of the green hose into the hole and soon water began to trickle out of the other end. He let it run for a while to clean the hose then filled the pail. Mike carried the pail back to camp. We had fresh water for our camp.

       There was always activity around us. We heard rustling and cracking in the bush and it wasn’t unusual for a deer to trot through the clearing at any time of the day. Birds sang, a woodpecker occasionally tapped on a tree, partridge thumped, and trees scratched and rubbed against each another in the wind. All day and night there was the thundering of the boulders as the whirling river water rolled and bumped them against each other.

        As the days warmed the air became filled with the scents of pine and cedar, sweet wild flowers, and the intertwined fragrances of the bush. Colours sprang up, from pink roses, white dogwood and hazelnuts, and purple and yellow flowers, to the bright green of the ferns. Butterflies flitted throughout the clearing and there was the buzz of flies and mosquitoes and the drone of bees. The few rainy days were humid and the clouds never stayed long. Sometimes the moon at night lit up the clearing and we sat by the camp fire in the soft light.

       With the rains and spring run-off over, the river level began dropping. I sat on my favourite rock and watched the slower, shallower water flow by. The roar was gone. In the peace and tranquillity I was able to think about death. As best I could, I acknowledged that many of the people I loved would probably die before me, though I found it harder to actually accept the fact.

       Mike and I spent time digging dirt from around rocks in the water and working it in the pan. We found enough small flakes to keep us trying.

       But soon our adventure was over and by summer’s end we were back in the real world. We never did find much gold but then, for me, it really wasn’t about the gold.

       Since then I have written two novels about gold and people’s quest for it.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

My Writing by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey
Romancing the Klondike is available this month at book stores and on line.
I had worked off and on at various jobs for many years while raising my children and when I began taking writing courses I still had teenage children at home. I wrote some historical and travel articles and had them published in Canadian magazines. My children had left home when I got my first contract for a non-fiction travel book, which morphed into seven travel books about the backroads of Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon and Alaska. Researching and writing each one of those took up my days, evenings, and nights for a year. When I finished the last one, I decided to try fiction writing.

     I also decided to get a job since writing can be very lonely. I took training to be a nursing attendant also known as residential care aide and began working in a long-term facility. I also started writing my first mystery novel. Then my husband and I moved to a small acreage Vancouver Island and I got a job in a group home looking after disabled adults.

     I do not like getting up to an alarm clock so I took a position in the afternoons from 4-9 pm. This gives me time during the day to work in my yard, hike, dragonboat, pick and can or freeze fruit from my trees, and of course, write. I am thinking about retiring so I could have more time to write, but I have a feeling that I would also travel more, sit and enjoy the sunsets more, visit family more.

     I try to write something every day, even if it is just some ideas for a scene or someone the main character of my WIP will meet. Usually these ideas occur in the middle of the night so I always keep paper and pen by my bed to write this down.
     And I must be doing something right because I have had seventeen print and e-books published since I began my writing career.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Writing Historical Novels

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday Books We Love Ltd is publishing twelve historical novels, one for each of the ten provinces, one for the Yukon Territory, and one combining the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. We Canadian authors were asked to pick one of the provinces or territories to write about or to do the research on for a non-Canadian author. I chose the Yukon because I have been there twice and love the beauty and history of the territory. The following is how I write my historical novels. 

Some writers have a historical period that they like to set their stories in. I don’t. I never really know what year or time period I am going to write about when I start to research a historical novel. So the first thing I do is begin reading non-fiction books looking for some historical event or person who grabs my attention. If it is an event, then I try to learn all I can about that occurrence: when it happened, what happened, who were the famous people involved, who were the ordinary people involved. Once I know that then I have to figure out who is going to be my main character and how that person is going to take part in that event.

     If it is a legendary person I want to include in my story, I have to decide how much action that person will have and how that person will know or be related to the main character. I don’t write a novel with a well-known person as my main character.

     When I have decided on the event or person, I read about the time period so that I make sure I have the food they ate, the clothes they wore, their transportation, and their home and furnishings correct. It also important to make sure that their speech is right for that time. Words that were first used in the 1850’s cannot be spoken by people in the 1750’s.

     I don’t outline my novel but during my research I write down all the details that I can find about the time period to make sure I have the incidents that happen in order. Then I decide on my characters and weave them through the history. If I include a well-known person, I have to find out about their lives and their families and how I can weave them into a story that does not suggest anything that will ruin their memory.

     As the story progresses it is important to keep track of the details that I am including or a secondary story line that I am setting up. If I have a character thinking about something or starting something or saying something at the beginning of the book that leaves the reader hanging, I write it down on a piece of paper to make sure that I clear it up before the story ends.

     I enjoy researching the history and sometimes spend more time on that then is necessary. But I don’t mind. I want to be sure my account is as correct as I can make it.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Struggle to Give Novels Life

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday Books We Love Ltd is publishing twelve historical novels, one for each of the ten provinces, one for the Yukon Territory, and one combining the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. We Canadian authors were asked to pick one of the provinces or territories to write about or to do the research on for a non-Canadian author. I chose the Yukon because I have been there twice and love the beauty and history of the territory. The following is an overview of some of the struggles that writer's have bringing their stories to life.
Struggles to bring my story to life.
I have written in many different genres, non-fiction, mystery, romance, and historical and in each one I have had to make sure that my characters are multi-dimensional, my story plot is fast paced, and my setting is exciting. Readers what to identify with the main characters so they have to be believable and likeable. Readers want action in the story so the plot has to move along at a good clip. And readers want to learn about the place where the story is set, so it is important that I know the setting itself. This is much harder in a historical novel because that setting is no longer readily available in the way it was in the time period I am writing about. So this is where non-fiction books, museums, archives, and paintings or photos of that time come in handy.
     In any novel it is important to make sure the plot moves forward, the characters grow, and the setting is described at the same pace but, for me, it isn’t necessary to write that forward movement in sequence.
     I imagine I am like most authors in that I never write a book in the order that the reader will read it. As I am writing the first chapter, later scenes develop in my mind and I will jot down notes on them. When I come to a standstill in the progress of the story, I turn those notes into the scene. That way I seldom have writer’s block. And it gives my subconscious mind a chance to work out the next stage in my story.
     Sometimes I have an idea as to the ending of my novel but I never write it down because it is subject to change at the whim of the characters for, although I am the writer, it is their story.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Short History of the Yukon

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday Books We Love Ltd is publishing twelve historical novels, one for each of the ten provinces, one for the Yukon Territory, and one combining the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. We Canadian authors were asked to pick one of the provinces or territories to write about or to do the research on for a non-Canadian author. I chose the Yukon because I have been there twice and love the beauty and history of the territory. The following is a quick summary of the Yukon’s beginning.

The Yukon

The name Yukon is derived from the Loucheux first nations word Yukunah which means `big river'. The land was mainly occupied by the Tagish and Tlingit native people for centuries before the non-native explorers arrived in the 1820s. In the 1840s fur traders set up a few Hudson's Bay Company posts along the Yukon River. When the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, there wasn’t a clear border between Alaska and the Northwest Territories, as the land was known then. In 1887-88 William Ogilvie, a Canadian surveyor, surveyed the area making the 141st meridian the western boundary with Alaska and the 60th parallel the southern border with British Columbia. Hence the phrase North of 60.

     Prospectors went north looking for gold in the 1880s and there was a gold strike along the Fortymile River, which drains into the Yukon River, in 1886. There were other smaller strikes until 1896 when gold was discovered on Rabbit Creek later renamed Bonanza Creek. A town named Dawson sprang up on the Yukon River at the mouth of the Klondike River. When word of the gold discovery reached the outside world in the summer of 1897, thousands of men, women and children hurried to Dawson during the winter of 1897-1898 hoping to find their fortune.

     Because of the rush Dawson grew quickly to be the largest city north of San Francisco and it became known as the `Paris of the North'. It had hotels, dance halls, daily newspapers and saloons for its 30,000 inhabitants. Fresh eggs were brought by raft on the Yukon River; whiskey came in by the boatload before freeze-up; gambling made rich men out of some and paupers out of others; dance hall girls charged $5 dollars in gold for each minute they danced with a miner; the janitors made up to $50 dollars a night when they panned out the sawdust from the barroom floors. Due to the influx of people, the region officially entered into the confederation of Canada and was designated as the Yukon Territory on June 13, 1898. Dawson became the capital. Eventually the word `territory' was dropped and it was called The Yukon.

     A Territorial Administration Building was constructed in 1901 for the territorial seat of government and Dawson was the centre for the government administration until 1953 when the capital was moved to Whitehorse.

     The Klondike gold rush ended in 1899 when word of a gold discovery in Nome, Alaska, reached the prospectors and they headed further north. However, over the next few decades gold companies were formed and continued to mine the creeks, this time using dredges to dig up the creek bottom. They left behind huge piles of gravel called tailings. The dredging lasted until 1960 when gold prices declined making the operation uneconomical. Today, mining is done with big trucks, huge sluices, and back hoes.

     The north is known as the Land of the Midnight Sun after the words in Robert W. Service’s poem The Cremation of Sam McGee:

                    There are strange things done in the midnight sun

                      By the men who moil for gold.

     The Arctic Circle is the most northerly of the five major circles of latitude of the Earth. It is an imaginary line that marks the southern edge of the Arctic at 66 degrees 30' north latitude in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada, and in Alaska, Scandinavia and Russia. The land north of the Arctic Circle gets 24 hours of sunlight on the longest day of the year, June 21st. The further north of the circle you go the more days of total sunlight in the summer you will get. This is because the North Pole is tilted towards the sun and gets direct sunlight from March 20 to September 22 as the earth rotates. Conversely, on the shortest day, December 21st, the land north of the Arctic Circle gets 24 hours of darkness because the North Pole is tilted away from the sun.

     The Yukon is a great place to view the aurora borealis or northern lights. These are bright dancing lights that are really collisions between the gaseous particles of the Earth’s atmosphere and the electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. The most common colours are pink and pale green produced by oxygen molecules about sixty miles above the earth.  Silver, blue, green, yellow and violet also appear in the display. Red auroras are rare and produced at high altitudes of about 200 miles. The lights are best seen in the winter and the further north you are the better they appear.

     The Yukon has the smallest desert in the world, the Carcross Desert, near the town of Carcross. It is an area that was once covered by a glacial lake. As the glaciers melted the level of the lake lowered until just the sandy bottom was left. Winds off Lake Bennett keep the sand moving and prevent most plants and trees from taking root on this.

     During the late Wisconsin ice age (10,000 to 70,000 years ago) an arid section of the northern hemisphere was not glaciated because of the lack of moisture to support the expansion of the glaciers. The area, called Beringia after the Bering Strait which is near the centre of the region, encompassed parts of present-day eastern Siberia, Alaska, The Yukon, and ended at the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories. The growth of continental glaciers sucked up moisture which led to the sea level dropping by up to 106 metres (350 feet). As a result, a land bridge was formed between northwest North America and northeast Asia.

     It is believed that parts of western Beringia (eastern Siberia today) were occupied by man 35,000 years ago. The forming of the Bering Land Bridge allowed the first humans to travel from Asia to North America. There is evidence that the history of man in North America goes back 25,000 years ago.

     Some of the animals that survived for thousands of years in this arid land surrounded by glaciers were the North American horse and camel, the steppe bison, the giant beaver that weighed up to 181 kilograms (400 pounds), the Mastodon, the woolly mammoth, the giant short-faced bear, the scimitar cat, the American lion, and the giant ground sloth. All of these are extinct.

     The territory of The Yukon was founded on gold mining, but there has been coal and silver mining in the territory also. It is now a favourite destination for tourists.

The Bride of Romancing the Klondike

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday Books We Love Ltd is publishing twelve historical novels, one for each of the ten provinces, one for the Yukon Territory, and one combining the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. We Canadian authors were asked to pick one of the provinces or territories to write about or to do the research on for a non-Canadian author. I chose the Yukon because I have been there twice and love the beauty and history of the territory. The following is a quick introduction to the bride of my novel Romancing the Klondike.

Bride of Romancing the Klondike

In 1896, nineteen-year-old Pearl Owens and her cousin, Emma, are on their way up the Yukon River to Fortymile. Pearl is on an adventure to the north where she will be writing articles about the area for her hometown newspaper. The two women meet up with Sam Owens, Emma’s brother, and his two friends, Donald and Gordon, in Fortymile. The men, who have been searching for gold in the north for five years, have just returned from staking a claim on Rabbit Creek.

     Sam and his friends move to their claims on what is now known as Bonanza Creek. Against Sam’s instructions Pearl and Emma follow them, setting up a tent on a bench at the mouth of the Klondike River overlooking the Yukon River.

     Pearl meets Joseph Ladue, the first man to ever set her heart aflutter, while Emma’s teenage feelings for Donald are rekindled. Pearl spends her time speaking with the men and women of the north and sketching the scenery. She writes about what it is like to be in the middle of a gold strike. She also describes the early development and growth of a town eventually known as Dawson.

     During the ten months they live in the north Pearl and Emma make friends, celebrate holidays, and suffer through tragedy. One of them finds love, one does not. Of the three men two get rich, one does not.