Puncture Wounds

Today I was bitten by a dog.

It’s been a while.

It was the neighbour’s dog, and, well, what’s a puncture wound or two between friends? But I have thought about it since. I thought I did everything right. I had gloves on, I removed one, and when the dog approached – barking, I stood still and let him sniff and lick my fingers.

So far so good.

I let him lead me to his master. I followed. Only when I was done talking, and started walking back off the property, did the little bugger sneak up and bite me behind the knee.

Puncture wound.

Singular.

The last time was a full on scrap, out on the sea ice, with dogs at the end of ganglines, fur, teeth, and claw. In my inferior wisdom and with a colossal lack of judgement, I waded in – empty-handed. But, I now have a wonderful tattoo on my right arm – Vitus’ teeth in a half crescent.

Puncture wounds.

Plural.

It’s Emotional

Okay, I admit, I made my wife cry. Normally I wouldn’t be proud of such a thing, but in this instance it is justified. Before you click away in disgust, allow me to explain myself.

Jane is an avid reader.

I wrote a book.

She cried when she read it.

We’ve been on lots of adventures together, but the time after the Yukon River, when we were touring around Alaska – with a quick visit to Seattle – was important to us. What’s more, when waiting on an Amtrak train from Seattle to Vancouver, I saw a poster for another train: The Coast Starlight, and was inspired to write a book.

I literally plotted the whole thing on the train journey, beat it out chapter by chapter, and sent a copy to my mail as a back-up. When we arrived in England in early September, 2016, I wrote the story that has become The Starlighter. Then I waited a year, sat on it – content with the fact that I had a whole story in the drawer, something I could dust off at a later date. Well, this September, I did just that, and now it is being edited for release.

So this book is personal. The others are too, but this book was meant to be something else. I was meant to write a book about our expedition on the Yukon River, but I wasn’t ready for that. I was, however, inspired by Naomi Klein’s book: This Changes Everything, and the idea that we are all very good at “looking away”. I decided that I was tired of looking away, and I wrote about Jayla Cooper, a twelve-year-old girl who does anything but look away.

Instead of writing an account of the Yukon, I wrote about the places we visited after the Yukon. The action takes place in Fairbanks, Alaska, and in Seattle, Washington, two places that have always been of interest to me, and are now important for Jane and I. So, The Starlighter is personal, just like Greenland is personal, and reading connects the dots. And sometimes connecting those dots makes us cry.

I got emotional when editing the first and second draft of The Starlighter. It makes me wonder, will other people find it emotional too?

The Shaman’s House

In the eyes of the Danish government, Konstabel Fenna Brongaard has switched sides and gone rogue. The collateral damage she left in her wake in Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, has been brushed away by a shadowy figure known as The Magician. In return for his assistance, Fenna is tasked with entering the United States in the wake of a Presidential assassination, with one clear goal: to apprehend the assassin. As her list of allies grows thin, Fenna teams up with the man responsible for the death of her Sirius Patrol partner. Together, they must get the assassin out of North America and to a safe house in a remote country. Fenna knows the end game is in sight, and, if she is to survive it, she needs to choose the terrain and the location.

She chooses Greenland.

She chooses the Shaman’s House.

The stakes are higher, the action more intense, and the environment raw, wild, and lethal.

The final installment in the Greenland Trilogy is now available for pre-order at a special pre-order price.

Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Amazon Australia

Amazon Canada

Sneak Preview

I am useless at keeping secrets, so here’s a sneak preview of the cover of Piteraq.

It’s “in development”, which means exactly that. If, like me, you were sad when a certain Sirius Sledge Patrol member was killed in The Ice Star, then you’re in luck – Oversergent Mikael Gregersen returns in Piteraq, a stand-alone novel set in Greenland’s High Arctic.

He won’t be the only character to get his own series after The Ice Star. Greenlandic policeman David Maratse returns with his own purely crime series in 2018. But, if you’re curious, you can find out more about his early career before he met Fenna in two short stories set in Greenland: Katabatic and Container – available later this year.

I know, I’m teasing, but if you like the north, the Arctic, stories about snow, storms, and survival, you’ll like Piteraq.

Bring me that Horizon

September, two years ago, this happened – I graduated with a writer’s degree. I started studying around the time of the publishing revolution that Amazon kick-started. I realised that my dreams of being a writer were not so far-fetched after all, but I wanted to qualify my writing with  a theoretical background, to create a solid foundation for my books. Two years later and I had done it. Now I just had to make some money. it turns out that that particular aspect was going to take a little longer … another two years. While I am nowhere near full-time, the potential is there, just on the horizon.

The purpose of this pat-on-the-back post is less about me (believe it or not) and more about dreams, working hard, and getting results. Amazon might have given me a means of getting around the gatekeepers (traditional publishers), and avoiding the pitfalls of agents, but I still need to put in the legwork – and so do you. 😉

If any wannabe authors happen to pass by this website, take heart, you can do it too. Put in the time and effort, and you will begin to see results, just don’t expect it to happen anytime soon. I guess that’s that why they call them dreams. So, without further ado, I’ll finish with a suitable Jack Sparrow quote:

Now … bring me that horizon.

Adventurous Spines: Slaven’s Roadhouse

Stayed two nights at Slaven’s Roadhouse. Received an incredibly warm welcome from Randy, Cindy, and Shaelyn. Amazing service in an amazing place. We started in Whitehorse and we’re on our way to Emmonak, as long as it’s safe and fun, we’ll keep paddling! We have two children in our party: Tiuri (9) and Liva (7), and the Rangers made them feel right at home. Keep up the excellent work – we appreciate it so much!
Best regards: Lars, Suzi, Tiuri, Liva, Jane and Chris
www.lifeisgoodfollowus.com

Slaven’s Roadhouse is a halfway house, a little patch of heaven in the Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve. It was also our home for a couple of days and nights, time to recharge before pushing on deeper into Alaska. The Rangers were supercharged with humour, compassion and hospitality. They received us, our gear, and our kids with open arms. They were our heroes.

A little too dramatic for you?

Try a month on the Yukon River, through lightning, forest fires, heatwaves, rainstorms, and mud… lots of mud. Sure, we were having a great time, but a little home comfort was no small thing, and we found heaps of it at Slaven’s.

Slaven’s was also, for me, the culmination of a teenage dream. I had devoured all of Jack London’s books and stories about the Yukon, Klondike, and all things Canada and Alaska, when I should have been studying for my exams – all of them, over several years of school, high school, and university. When I put London to one side, it was only to pick up books about dogsled racing on the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. Dreams of the North took me to Alta, Norway, where I worked as a sled dog kennel helper for the very first time, but it was at Slaven’s, as an emerging writer, that I sat in one of the places I had read about, without realising it. There, on the wall, was a Yukon Quest poster signed by the dog drivers, and I realised I had arrived, and that dreams, once again, can come true, albeit not quite how one imagined them.

The kids had fun too. Tiuri and Liva explored the cabin, the outhouses, the woods, the dredge. They panned for gold, got nailed by mosquitoes the size of small aircraft, and we talked about bears – good eatin’, apparently. Or was it the skins that were good? It didn’t matter. We were on an adventure, staying at a roadhouse built for the purpose.

Suzi and Lars chilled out too, although the sting of a Yellowjacket almost ended Suzi’s Yukon adventure. We had talked about bee stings back in Denmark, before the trip. We had not talked about wasps. Suzi was stung earlier in the trip, with no reaction, but these Yellowjackets – about twice the size of a “normal” wasp – well, it took her out of the game for a while. Once again, the Rangers were on the case. She couldn’t have been stung at a better location.

Jane and I enjoyed Slaven’s too, although Lars’ boots introduced a percussive element to the experience that we had not prepared for – damn big boots, mate! But the Roadhouse was a chance to spread out and dry out. We hung our gear on the same lines with the same pegs used by dog drivers. We sat at the same table, slept in the same beds, and lived the Alaskan life I had talked about on trips in Scotland, in our home in Greenland. This was everything Greenland was supposed to have been – that is, an Arctic environment, with trees!

Adventurous spines drive one to find adventure in far-out, remote, and exciting places. I sent a copy of The Ice Star to the Rangers in Eagle, Alaska, and hope they can wedge it alongside their gear to leave it on the bookshelf at Slaven’s. I found adventure there, in the wilds. The thought of a dog driver dipping into my book during a layover… well, that’s another dream come true.