The History of Kate Shugak in 20 Objects – 16

Warning: Spoilers spoken here.

HoZ Kate16

This was a hard one, specifically because of dueling recommendations for the copy of Robert’s Rules of Order Jim gave Kate for Christmas and the fishing line used to commit the murder. Megan said

[Jim] knew, in this instance how completely out of her element she was, and found a way to let her take back control for herself. Not through giving her authority, or patronizing her, but finding a tool that he could give her, that if she chose, she could use effectively to gain advantage.

Beverly agreed

The best means of teaching someone to do something is to give them the tools to do it with. It shows your faith in them and their ability.

And so did I, until Heather laid out a convincing argument for the fishing line

I also felt that the fishing line itself, is almost a metaphor for the Aunties. The fishing line keeps the drift nets together, much as the aunties keep The Park together. The fishing line is strong, it is tough, it is almost invisible as it does it’s job. The same can be said for the Aunties. They are strong, they are tough, and invisibly they are working behind the scenes in The Park (as well as out in front in Bernie’s Roadhouse), but they are the indelible force which holds the community together.

It is also the murder weapon. So the fishing line it is.


PS–There are many stories of people stringing fishing line and even piano wire to discourage snowmobilers and ATVs from crossing private property, and not just in Alaska. Most are I’m sure apocryphal. Some are not. Like I keep telling you, I don’t have to make this stuff up.

kate21-cover-artThe 21st Kate Shugak novel, coming May 6, 2017.

The History of Kate Shugak in 20 Objects – 15

Warning: Spoilers spoken here.

HoZ Kate15

I’m just gonna cut and paste Megan’s comment in its entirety here. As Penny said, she truly did drop the mike.

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STAR WARS A0872_EPII_Anakin_Skywalker.preview

My heart always breaks a little when I write about Willard. He is the innocent victim of a disease we see all too often here in Alaska. That doesn’t mean he can’t be manipulated to be dangerous. But it isn’t Vader he carries around in his pocket, it’s Anakin.

[PS–Willard, and Howie, that little weasel, return in Kate21. So you know.]


The 21st Kate Shugak novel, coming May 6, 2017.


St Martins Minotaur logoMy publisher wanted me to do a brief q&a for their website, so I decided to have a little fun with it.

Where do you get all your ideas?

The idea fairy.

What are your absolutely essential, can’t-do-without writing aids?

1.) A telescoping backscratcher, for those itches I can’t reach mid-chapter.
2.) Peppermints, for that late-night energy boost during the downhill gallop at the end of the book.
3.) Photos of my mom and dad watching me work.

What else do you do besides write?

I read other people’s books, I watch movies, I have marathon telephone conversations with friends, I knit, I bead, I garden, I walk on the beach, I travel.

Do you cook?

I eat, therefore I cook. Store-bought bread was too expensive in Bush Alaska when I was growing up, so Mom made bread from scratch and I grew up knowing the theraputive effects of kneading dough. I love experimenting with bread recipes, and one of my life goals is to attend a Baguette 101 class in France.

What is the worst job you ever had?

Sorting salmon roe. There were three grades, the sac intact, the sac partially broken, the sac destroyed and the eggs all over the place. The first fetched the best price from Japanese buyers, to whom saviar is a delicacy. The sorters stood on a metal grate dressed in rain gear and rubber boots in front of a conveyor belt, picking through the roe. Your hands and feet froze from the cold water used to wash the roe and your back ached from stooping over the belt, and your shift lasted as long as the tenders were delivering salmon from the upper Cook Inlet setnet sites, anywhere from four to twenty hours. Salary was minimum wage.

I prefer writing books.


kate shugak series (abridged)And making videos about them. Click here to see the Kate Shugak series (abridged) on YouTube, and catch up on your Kateology before Whisper to the Blood comes out. Twenty days and counting! I just got the finish copy and Minotaur did a fabulous job on the package, it’s absolutely gorgeous.