Smith Mountain Lake Mystery Writer

Contemplations from a quiet cove on Smith Mountain Lake.

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Location: United States

I'm a Southern gal who loves life, my husband and our family (which, to date, includes 13 grandchildren). I enjoy being with friends and family. But I also like being alone and thinking up plots for future books. I've published two novels, both mysteries, and I'm working on my third. For more about my books, visit me at If you ever hear me say, "I'm bored," please get me to the ER immediately! Paddling my kayak and snapping pictures of the critters I see relaxes me. Beach music has the opposite effect--when I hear those old "doo-wops" I want to dance.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


In my first blog posts about Alaska, I exclaimed about the sights in Anchorage, the views from the train rides, the wildlife in Denali, the beauty of our 49th state, the Alaskan people. Later I ohhed and ahhed about the cruise itself, the glaciers, the side trips, the magnificent scenery. Now we're nearing the end of our land tour and cruise. And you know what? My love of Alaska hasn't diminished one bit.

I spied this little slice of heaven on the way to Ketchikan. I could 
live here. If you click to enlarge, you'll see the boats and seaplane.

A view of Ketchikan harbor from the ship.

Cruise ships loaded with eager tourists dock at the Ketchikan waterfront--and Ketchikan adores tourists and the money they spend in the numerous jewelry shops, gift shops, and restaurants. Years ago this town was rough and rugged. Lumber mills and salmon fishing abounded, although the loggers and fishermen didn't like each other. Then hard times hit; making a living here wasn't easy. That all changed when cruise lines discovered "tourist gold." Now entrepreneurs hustle their wares in every way imaginable.

Different transportation methods are offered. The 
Duck Tour vehicle can travel on land or water.

Many homes in Ketchikan display their own totem poles in their front yards. Totem poles fascinate me. If you understand the symbols, you can "read" the family's history.
We visited the Totem Cultural Heritage Center and the Potlatch Park Carving Center where I learned to appreciate the work that goes into creating a totem pole.

While at the Potlatch Park Carving Center, we watched the native woman below carving a totem pole she designed. She needed one long log for carving; two years passed before she found the perfect tree. She has worked on this one for two years. Until the last few years, women were not allowed to carve totem poles.

Ketchikanians (Is that a word?) live and work in the buildings built over the water. I took lots of pictures.

Ketchikan is the salmon and totem pole capital of Alaska. 
Click to see salmon swimming.

Imagine my delight when I saw the dogs in the window above and below. When I asked a shopkeeper about them, he said that when it's sunny they wear sunglasses. I watched them watching people for 15 minutes.