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Laurel lives and breathes and shivers and writes and publishes in the highest incorporated town in the U.S.! She's the author of several books, all available on Amazon.

PTB ’83!

United States Military Academy
Senior West Point photo in “full dress” for parade uniform.

Today is an auspicious day. Thirty-five years ago, I traded in my cadet gray for Army blue along with all my other classmates in the class of 1983. “Proud To Be ’83” was our motto, and to this day, I’ve never questioned my decision to join the Long Gray Line.

Author Kat Seaholm posted my essay about why my goal is to write in every genre, and my decision to attend West Point factors into my story.

Someday, I’ll write about my Army years.

Find out a little bit about me and why I’ve chosen this author goal here: Friday Feature: Author Laurel McHargue

Thank you, Kat!

SPECIAL SERIES: Leadville Race Series with Ty and Roxanne Hall

Ride a mountain bike over 100 miles in tricky terrain over 10,200′ elevation? And do it again and again . . . despite extreme adversity?

Ty and Roxanne Hall have eyebrow-raising stories about their experiences training for and participating in the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race, and tips for anyone who might consider signing up for this challenging race series. Do it! Sign up!

Ty and Roxanne Hall share their experiences overcoming adversity and racing the LT100 Mountain bike race!

Show Notes with Links:

  • Leadville Race Series
  • Link to SPECIAL EPISODE: Leadville Race Series with Ken Chlouber
  • Ty and Roxanne Hall, owner of the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center,  Cookhouse and Sleep Yurts discuss how they met and why they race (are they born with the  desire?)
  • Roxanne’s mother is in the Sports Hall of Fame in Leadville and in Denver for her contributions to the skiing world. Roxanne loved gymnastics
  • The camaraderie of racing
  • The early days of the LT100 Mountain Bike Race (started in 1994, and Ty first raced in 1995 with about 150 other racers)
  • Crewing for the race
  • Roxanne talks about her horrific accident in 2008 and subsequent recovery
  • Roxanne’s Ange Guardien de Velo (Guardian Angel of the bike) project
  • Owner of Melanzana makes special items for Roxanne during her time on crutches, and Harperrose Studios promotes her work
  • They each talk about food for racing
  • Tips for newbies to the race
  • Ty’s participation in the “Tomorrow Chaser” project…raised @$35K last year for the community
  • How long will they race?
  • How do they want to be remembered?
  • First Descents (please consider donations!)
  • Wounded Warriors (please consider donations!)
  • Legacy Foundation (please consider donations!”
  • HAVE A GOAL! SIGN UP!

Other Links:

f you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

Alligator Preserves Episode 20: In Which I Answer Many Questions!

Ever wonder how writers are inspired, what their routines look like, how they make characters “real” and relatable? I have answers for aspiring writers of every age!

After my Skype session with a language arts class in Texas, the teacher compiled a list of insightful questions from her 7th grade students and sent them to me. In this episode, I answer them all!

Fun Skype session into a Texas School library! Thanks to Melanie Moore Vann (teacher), Linda Kay (Librarian and photo credit!), and Ridgeview Middle School students!

My sincere thanks go out to the staff and students of Ridgeview Middle School in Round Rock, Texas for their enthusiasm and sincere interest!

Show Notes with embedded Links:
(These are the questions I received. For answers, listen to the episode!)

What would you recommend when you have writer’s block?

Other Links:

f you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

Submit your books to the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at cipabooks.com. You have until May 19th, so don’t miss out!

And if don’t have a book to submit but love to read, please volunteer to judge this year’s submissions (and you’ll get a bunch of free books, too)! Click on this easy link to receive your favorite types of books. You choose how many and what kind of books you want. Remember – you get to keep all the books you judge for FREE!

Alligator Preserves Episode 19: Are You A Pantser?

Do you even know what a pantser is?

In this episode I visit and laugh and really mess up a knock-knock joke with Annalisa Parent, writing coach and author of “Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel Without an Outline.”

Annalisa discusses the benefits of planning and pantsing when it comes to writing a book, how neuroscience influences creativity, ways to work around writer’s block, the evolution of language, and much more.

(see the interview on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/CqeptmXHF74)

Show Notes and Links:

Other Links:

f you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

Submit your books to the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at cipabooks.com. You have until May 19th, so don’t miss out!

And if don’t have a book to submit but love to read, please volunteer to judge this year’s submissions (and you’ll get a bunch of free books, too)! Click on this easy link to receive your favorite types of books. You choose how many and what kind of books you want. Remember – you get to keep all the books you judge for FREE!

 

Special Series: Leadville Trail (LT) Race Series with Founder Ken Chlouber

Ken Chlouber, poster child for grit, guts, and determination! DIG DEEP!

Do you have what it takes to complete a 100-mile foot race through the Rocky Mountains? Ken Chlouber, founder of the Leadville Trail Race Series, believes in you–but you must make a commitment to yourself.

In the first episode of this special Alligator Preserves series, Laurel visits with Ken and learns what’s special about Leadville and this unusual race series.

Show Notes with Links:

Ken Chlouber, 60-year-old bull rider!

f you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

Submit your books to the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at cipabooks.com. You have until May 19th, so don’t miss out!

And if don’t have a book to submit but love to read, please volunteer to judge this year’s submissions (and you’ll get a bunch of free books, too)! Click on this easy link to receive your favorite types of books. You choose how many and what kind of books you want. Remember – you get to keep all the books you judge for FREE!

 

Alligator Preserves Episode 17: Just Because You Can See the Mountaintop…

Don’t let a warm, sunny start at the bottom of a mountain fool you! Our friends Anne and Eric, me, and Nick (or is that a BEAR!)

Just because you can see the mountaintop, that doesn’t mean you should attempt to summit without studying the risks and preparing for the unexpected.

Getting colder as we climbed higher. Can you tell?

In this episode, Laurel describes “losing her 14er virginity” and offers a warning to those who do not respect the power of nature. Additionally, she gives a shout out to volunteer Search and Rescue (SAR) teams everywhere. She recorded this episode while her husband was on an active SAR mission.

Pretty chilly at the top of La Plata! Nick took good care of his loopy mum!

Show Notes

  • Ingrid Pyka, CIPA representative , talks about the 2018 EVVY Awards for authors and service providers
  • Laurel shares a story she wrote about summiting her first 14er, La Plata peak.
  • She discusses the hazards of unpreparedness when attempting challenges in nature. This episode is recorded during an actual SAR mission.
  • SAR teams are VOLUNTEERS.
  • Here are all the agencies involved in today’s rescue mission (and countless others each year):
We all made it to the top, but I almost didn’t. We were not going to separate our group.

Division of Fire Prevention and Control MULTI-MISSION AIRCRAFT
DHSEM Field Manager
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Lake County Search and Rescue
Lake County Sheriff’s Office
Lake County Communications
Flight for Life
Lake County Office of Emergency Management
Air Force Rescue Coordination Center [Cell phone forensics]
Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC)

  • Support your local Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers
  • Check out FREE 14er training from REI
  • Next episode: Who Are You Calling a Cute Old Lady?

Links:

Submit your books to the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at cipabooks.com. You have until May 19th, so don’t miss out!

And if don’t have a book to submit but love to read, please volunteer to judge this year’s submissions (and you’ll get a bunch of free books, too)! Click on this easy link to receive your favorite types of books. You choose how many and what kind of books you want. Remember – you get to keep all the books you judge for FREE!

If you felt today’s episode was valuable, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

New Authors On The Rise!

A whole new batch of writers with unique tales of love, destruction,  despair, and adventure are rising through the ranks of our public school system, and it’s wonderful!

Linda Kay, school’s librarian, posted this photo on Twitter during our visit! Thank you, Linda!

Today I had the pleasure of visiting with students of Melanie Moore Vann’s 7th grade Language Arts class in Ridgeview Middle School. The school is  in Texas, which would have been quite a commute from Leadville, so I Skyped into the school’s library where the class gathered, questions in hand. The school’s librarian, Linda Kay, arranged our meeting and conducted a test visit with me days earlier.

You may wonder, why this school? Well, over a year ago I met an engaging young student at an airport. I always travel with copies of my books and search for potential new readers to give them to, and Camila looked like someone who might enjoy Waterwight. I gave her a copy after a wonderful conversation about her own writing, and never expected to hear from her.

Melanie Moore Vann took notes during our visit!

People are often delighted to receive books from strangers at airports–I’ve only been told “no thanks” once–and although I rarely hear from anyone, I’m always surprised and delighted when I do.

Camila emailed me nearly a year later and asked when Waterwight Book II was coming out. I was almost finished with it, and she kept in touch until it was published. Her interest in the story got me wondering about her other classmates, and I proposed the idea of visiting her classroom.

I had no idea we covered so many topics! Thank you, Melanie!

After a few correspondences with Linda and Melanie, we scheduled our visit. My intention was to record the session for an episode of Alligator Preserves, but I failed to foresee an issue with a Skype recording application I’d recently installed and the session didn’t record. Alas, I am human.

Perhaps I really didn’t want to record that first session so I could schedule another! Yes! That’s it!

Truth be told, I experienced a twinge of teacher envy during the all-too-fast class. I didn’t want the bell to ring. Melanie’s students had prepared far more questions than I had time to answer, and although they were probably ready to leave for lunch, I was not ready to let them go so quickly.

Writer’s Block? I say, “Pshaw!”

They asked me questions about my writing, and I asked them questions about theirs. I was astounded by the depth of their engagement with the story writing process and shared some tips I learned from a podcast episode I listened to recently hosted by Annalisa Parent with best selling author Steven James.

I loved today’s visit and hope we can get to the rest of the questions–and perhaps do some haiku?–in another session!

My takeaways from today’s experience?

  • Test your equipment several times before your scheduled visit!
  • Be prepared to answer many types of questions about your writing process (or whatever it is you do).
  • Be prepared to offer helpful advice.
  • Be prepared to be delighted by the quality and engagement of our young students!
  • Find ways to continue to interact with our young adults.
  • Continue to support and thank the teachers and administrators in our public schools who do so very much with so very little.

(Thank you, Melanie and Linda! I know what you are doing for our future leaders, dreamers, artists, teachers, . . .!)

To learn more about my experiences as a 7th grade Language Arts teacher, read “Miss?”

And for the student who wanted to hear more about my first kiss (and second and third…), listen to  Kisses, Cooties, and Other Scary Things

Teachers: If you’d like to schedule a visit with me, contact me at laurel@strackpress.com

and thank you for visiting!

 

 

 

 

Alligator Preserves Episode 16: What Makes a Man?

What will you be doing when you’re 85 years old?

In this episode, Laurel visits with her friend’s 85-year-old father–Bill Olson–and tries to determine why he still works every . . . single . . . day.

This is Laurel’s first attempt at curating a story from a last-minute decision to record an unplanned visit. She doesn’t plan to leave her home without her Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder with Interchangeable Microphone System with Deluxe Accessory Bundle ever!

Show Notes:

  • Bill Olson…still working… in his office on the Occoquan

    Laurel visits with 85-year-old Bill Olson and tries to determine what makes this Minnesota-raised man “tick”

  • Bill’s work on a farm arranged through the Vo-Ag program at his high school
  • crops and animals and processing
  • How he was treated in the family of seven and working with more than just animals and crops
  • Slaughtering pigs and eating fresh liver
  • Bill’s father built their home in 1919
  • Bill’s mother was one of 6 girls. They made a marriage pact
  • Bill shares a scary memory of murder in Minnesota
  • Me and my buddy Kristi, Bill’s daughter, in sunny…cold…Woodbridge, VirginiaScary memory from his youth
  • Early work experience
  • High School, College, and the Korean War
  • The only love of his life, and marriage
  • Kristi returns!
  • Next episode:

 

Having a chuckle with Bill at his granddaughter Kjersti’s wedding in Virginia, July 18, 2015. It was warm then!

Links:

Submit your books to the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at cipabooks.com. You have until May 19th, so don’t miss out, and GOOD LUCK!

If you enjoyed today’s episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Please also consider supporting Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

Denver Comic Con–Presented by Pop Culture Classroom!

My first VistaPrint banner for Denver Comic Con!

Can you tell how excited I am about attending this year’s Denver Comic Con? Not only will I have my books available at a table in Author Alley, I’ll also be moderating seven panels over the weekend of June 15-17!

I’d like to thank Stu Adams (all the way up in Canada) for the gorgeous tabletop display stand I’ll be using, and VistaPrint for their retractable banner product. I’ll complete my banner for the Waterwight trilogy as soon as my designers finish the cover for Book III.

Stu’s Portable Display stands are perfect for tabletop displays!

Denver Comic Con is presented by Pop Culture Classroom, which “delivers high quality, all-inclusive educational resources and programs to school districts, teachers, and community organizations using comics, graphic novels, games, costuming and other pop culture media” (among other things!)

Check out my DCC website presence and all the other exciting authors, comics, film and TV guests attending this year! So honored to be among them.

 

Alligator Preserves Episode 15: What Do You Know About Reiki?

Reiki Reiki eggs and bakie…

Diane Smith and Marjorie Kiss, Reiki practitioners and sisters

You’ve heard the word Reiki, but what do you really know about this Japanese practice of using energy and light to heal? Are you a skeptic? Find out what these two Reiki practitioners (and sisters!) think about their experience giving and receiving Reiki.

Marjorie bonds with Ranger. Good energy!

Show Notes:

  • Laurel visits with two sisters, Marjorie Kiss and Diane Smith, Reiki practitioners
  • Skepticism, and connecting to a higher energy
  • Being a conduit to heal others
  • The process of Reiki and “attunement”
  • Crystals and meridians
  • Celestial and elemental energy
  • Giving and receiving Reiki
  • Angelic Reiki and white light
  • Breath and energy
  • Connecting energy with others
  • Author Diane Smith (pseudonym D.R. Kiss) and her experience
  • Feeling versus reading about experiences
  • Different kinds of Reiki and techniques
  • Working with friends, family, animals
  • Being a conduit
  • “Seeing With Your Eyes Closed” (Diane’s premiere novel)
  • Guided meditations for youths
  • Denver Comic Con
  • Next episode: What makes a man . . .

Links:

Submit your books to the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at cipabooks.com. You have until May 19th, so don’t miss out!

If you felt today’s episode was valuable, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Please consider supporting Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!