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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.

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!

 

Alligator Preserves Episode 14: Kisses, Cooties, and Other Scary Things

Do you remember your first kiss? I sure do. And the second one, and the third one . . .

In this episode of Alligator Preserves, Laurel will tell you about a most memorable kiss and how she knew she was going straight to hell.

That was me on the left next to my hunky brother-in-law. Scrawny…pimply…shag haircut…HOT!

Show Notes:

  • Laurel recalls a time when her first real kiss could have ended in disaster.
  • Next episode: What do you know about Reiki? Are you sure?

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 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 consider supporting Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

 

5 Stars!

May I brag just a bit right now?

Three 5-star reviews for Waterwight!

I’m honored and humbled by the recent reviews Waterwight received by three independent reviewers at Readers’ Favorite! Click the link to see what they all say.

Waterwight Flux: Book II of the Waterwight Series also received high praise from Kirkus Reviews. Looks like the pressure is on to make the final book in the series a mind-blower (and since only I know how it ends, I’m going to say yes, it will stun you)!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Also, have you entered your book yet for this year’s CIPA EVVY Awards?

The CIPA EVVYs are open to all types of independently published books, regardless of membership status with the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. The CIPA EVVYs recognize achievement across a diverse range of genres and technical categories.

In addition to critical recognition and the credibility afforded by the rigorous judging process, being a winner of the CIPA EVVY Book Awards has produced tangible results for authors, including:

  • PR opportunities
  • Increased book sales
  • Better marketing position
  • Distribution deals

Enter Here:

https://cipabooks.com/cipa-evvy-awards/

(and good luck!)

Alligator Preserves Episode 13: No Trampoline Tonight

Are you sure you want to know how your children live?

In this episode of Alligator Preserves, Laurel talks about a time she decided to help out her son by cleaning his apartment. She could have gone to a trampoline park . . .

On my sister’s trampoline with the son whose apartment shortened my life…!

Show Notes:

  • Unmade bed . . . empty wine bottle . . . “stuff” everywhere in my shared room at Smith College

    Laurel’s visit to her son’s apartment and indoor trampoline park opportunity

  • Decision to clean his apartment
  • Frightening things she finds in the apartment
  • “Wicked dangerous” trampolines
  • Physical education at West Point
  • Being “neat”
  • Flying (in dreams or on a trampoline)
  • New experiences (flying chambers)
  • Next episode: Something completely different
A much different room at the United States Military Academy (West Point). My Mum was amazed!

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!

Alligator Preserves Episode 12: Bataan Memorial Death March

Poster signed by three survivors of Bataan.

“You pick a race with ‘Death’ in the title as your first marathon?”

Well, yes, I did, and there were many good reasons behind my decision. In this episode, you’ll learn a little World War II history and I’ll share the ridiculous series of events leading up to my first full marathon.

The Bataan Memorial Death March marathon is just one week away, March 25, 2018. If you live within driving distance of White Sands, NM, you should check it out.

Signatures of survivors of the Bataan Death March
Another signature of a survivor of the Bataan Death March

 

Show Notes:

  • Laurel talks about her physical fitness background and training philosophy and reasons for participating in the marathon
  • A bit about the historic Bataan Death March
  • Laurel shares her article (published in Colorado Central Magazine March 1, 2012) about the race and her thoughts afterward
  • Encouragement to donate to the Wounded Warriors Project
  • Next episode: Why I missed a chance to go to a trampoline park

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 consider supporting Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

 

Feeling Honored!

Every year, Leadville’s Herald Democrat newspaper–Leadille’s hometown newspaper since 1879— runs a “favorites” poll. Readers can vote on their favorite things, including everything from restaurants to, well, just about everything!

Yesterday, a knock on my door delivered a most lovely surprise:

Thank you, Leadville and Lake County residents, for taking the time to vote in the last poll, and for nominating me as your favorite local author. I feel truly honored.

I will continue to do my best to provide books for a variety of readers, and I would encourage you to do what you can to support our other local authors. How fortunate we are to live in a county with so many talented and committed artists!

Other local authors with links to their latest work include (and please contact me if I’m missing any!):

Carol Bellhouse: Sentinel
Kathleen Fitzsimmons: Leadville: Then and Now
Peggy Forney: Healthiest Places To Live: Where You Live Makes a Difference
Amy Frykolm: See Me Naked: Stories of Sexual Exile in American Christianity
Lynn Hall: Caged Eyes: An Air Force Cadet’s Story of Rape and Resilience
Bob King: For My Grandchildren: Principles for a Successful LifeStephanie R. Sorensen: Toru: Wayfarer Returns (Sakura Steam Series) (Volume 1)
Hal Walter (former Leadville Newspaper Editor): Full Tilt Boogie: A journey into autism, fatherhood, and an epic test of man and beast
Christine Whittington: Body Marks (out of print)
Stephen Whittington: Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Iximché (Maya Studies) and Bones of the Maya: Studies of Ancient Skeletons (1997-12-31)

Special thanks to Elise Sunday (Fire On The Mountain) and Brenda Marine (B&B Shipping and More) for carrying and selling my books since my first publication in 2013.

And if you haven’t yet heard, I’m hosting a podcast (which I started in late January) called Alligator Preserves in which I tell stories and interview others with stories. Perhaps you’d like to share yours? Listen to one or two and see (*hear*) what you think!

Contact me @ laurel.mchargue@gmail.com and
find my books on Amazon HERE.