March 1, 2018–Stan Jones and Patricia Watts–How to collaborate on a book without ending up wanting to kill yourself, your collaborator, or both, and instead produce a book that someone actually wants to publish

Stan Jones is author of the Nathan Active mystery series, which is set in a fictional Inupiat Eskimo village modeled on Kotzebue. Five volumes have been published and the sixth–The Big Empty–is due out later this year from Soho Press.

He is also co-author with Sharon Bushell of “The Spill: Personal Stories from the Exxon Valdez” disaster.

The Nathan Active series has been optioned for television, but the producers don’t tell Stan much about how they’re actually doing with the project. Their attitude seems to be, “You took the money. Now take a hike.”

Stan was born in Anchorage and has also lived in Fairbanks and Kotzebue, where he flew Bush planes, but only for fun. He had careers as a journalist and as an environmentalist. He now lives with his wife in what is increasingly known–much to his dismay–as “trendy” Spenard. His wife is a state epidemiologist specializing in HIV and STDs, so much of her work is also in Spenard!


Patricia Watts was an “Air Force brat” born at Ladd Field (now Fort Wainwright). Three decades later, she returned to Alaska, after writing and editing for newspapers in Texas and Hawaii. There she continued a twenty-year journalism career as arts and features editor at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

After raising two children, becoming a grandma, and finding her inner redhead, Watts published her first novel, Watchdogs, a steamy, noir mystery set in Fairbanks, in 2013.

Her newly published noir suspense novel, The Frayer, features a Fairbanks apartment building as one of the characters, along with the quirky residents inside its walls.

Watts collaborated with Alaska mystery novelist Stan Jones on The Big Empty, the next installment in the Nathan Active series, due to be released in late 2018.

Watts worked as a human rights investigator in Anchorage for nine years before recently relocating to San Diego, California, after twenty-six years in Alaska.

Feb. 1, 2018–David G. Brown–Writing and Marketing a Book; Now is the Time to Ask and How I Choose My Book Topics

David G. Brown grew up and worked in Woonsocket, RI. He is the father of two sons, has two grandchildren, and lives with his significant better half, Maureen Hanlon. An avid reader and writer, he credits the Creative Writing program at Cuesta College (CA) and the Alaska Writers Guild for advancing his writing career. Brown freelanced for The Woonsocket Call, Castro Valley Forum (CA), and Edible East Bay (CA). He is the author of a true crime book, Deacon’s Crossbow, and his current writing project is a historical novel, Return of the Free Faller. Extra-curricular activities include politricks (disliking it), sports (especially fishing), music, creative writing workshops, and spending as much time as possible with his dog, Kaya. He resides in Anchorage, Alaska.
Brown received the Alaska Writers Guild’s 2012 Writer’s Achievement Award.

(From the back cover of David G. Brown’s latest book, Shadowing Dizzy Gillespie, 2017) In celebration of Dizzy Gillespie’s 100th birthday, author David G. Brown (Deacon’s Crossbow) shares his intimate experiences and memoirs of this humanitarian, innovator, and magical musician. After a chance meeting in Georgetown, 1985, Brown had the opportunity to spend countless hours with Dizzy at performances, testimonials, all-night card-playing sessions, hotels, restaurants, and street corners.
Brown said, “Without question the most remarkable man I have ever met. We shared tears and gut-busting laughs that are etched in my mind forever. God Bless John Birks ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie, who, by the way, wasn’t dizzy at all.”

Along with a book-load of anecdotes, there are select and unique photos spread throughout.

Photo of David Brown

David Brown


Jan. 4, 2018–Dr. Jennifer Burns–From Pole to Pole: Why Research on Seals in Antarctica is Relevant to Alaskans

Dr. Jennifer Burns is a Professor of biological sciences at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She came to Anchorage in 2000, following a gradual move north from Berkeley (undergraduate degree) California, with stops in Santa Cruz (Postdoctoral research), Seattle (MSc) and Fairbanks (PhD).

Her research focuses on understanding how the age and physiological status influences the diving and foraging abilities and behavior of marine mammals. She has conducted research on several Alaska species (northern fur seals, sea otters, harbor seals and Steller sea lions), but most of her recent work has taken place in Antarctica, where she, and her graduate students, have conducted studies on Weddell seals. This work has entailed spending long periods of time (Nov-Feb) living at McMurdo Station (a US research base), Antarctica, and traveling daily out on the sea ice to locate and collect data from adult females and their pups.

End products of her research include scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals, but have also included a children’s book, talks at local schools, and oral presentations to scientists, the public, and kids. In public presentations, she strives to convey the excitement of being a scientist who works in a remote location on questions that have–perhaps previously unappreciated–relevance to local concerns about marine ecosystem health and wildlife populations.

Currently, she is commuting between Anchorage and Washington DC, where she is serving as a program officer at the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Jennifer Burns

Dr. Jennifer Burns


Dec. 7, 2017–Michelle Tabler–Preventing ID Theft, Top Scams in Alaska, and Cyber-Security Awareness

Michelle Tabler is the Alaska Regional Manager for the Better Business Bureau Northwest. Michelle grew up in Anchorage and has more than 35 years’ experience in insurance, including 22 years as the owner of an Allstate agency, business development with Wells Fargo Insurance Services, and research-based consulting with McDowell Group.

On behalf of BBB, Michelle is working throughout the State of Alaska to continue building relationships with business owners, community organizations and consumers. Michelle does presentations state-wide to business groups and associations, senior citizens, military personnel and families, as well as high school students on various topics, such as Top Scams, ID Theft, Fraud, Senior Scams, Young Consumer Credit, and Financial Fitness. Michelle also provides public relations and communication support to all Alaska media outlets on current topics and scams.

Michelle has been a member of Anchorage East Rotary since 2007 and is currently on the Board.

Michelle Tabler

Michelle Tabler

Nov 2, 2017–David Jensen–Paws Along the Trail

David Jensen, author and owner of Pet-ography, will present “Paws along the Trail,” describing his love for animals and how those relationships have contributed to his writing projects.

Jensen is a third-generation Alaskan, born in Fairbanks. His family moved to Anchorage in 1963 just before the Great Alaska Earthquake. David graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1989 with a degree in Journalism and Public Communications. That same year, he created Alaska Pet-ography, his home-based business specializing in portraits of animal companions and their people.

In 2013, David published his first book, It’s Important to Paws, Lessons learned from Animal Companions. This coffee-table book is a collection of writings and hundreds of portraits featuring dogs, cats, horses, and many other beautiful companions. The book received the 2014 Independent Publisher’s National Gold Medal award in the category of animals and pets. His second book, When Age has no Leash, Lessons Learned from Senior Dogs, was published in 2014. Jensen just introduced two additional books: Paws on the Trail, Hiking with Layla and Friends in Alaska and Puppy Me with Love.

Oct. 5, 2017–Greg Durocher–FONSS–Preserving a Slice of Cold War History in Anchorage’s Back Yard

Greg Durocher recently retired from the U.S. Geological Survey, where he was the chief of the Science Information Services, Alaska office. He is looking forward to his wife’s retirement next year, and increasing their travels.

Greg is Director, Friends of Nike Site Summit (FONSS), which is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Nike Site Summit”, part of a Cold War missile defense system that surrounded many cities and military installations between 1959 and 1979.

He is active with Anchorage Concert Chorus, Chugach Gem & Mineral Society, and Anchorage Ski Club (Arctic Valley Ski Area lies directly across from Site Summit).

Greg Durocher

Reporter for KSTK-FM, Wrangell

KSTK-FM, public media for Wrangell, Alaska, continues to look for a reporter. Details:

KSTK provides broadcast services for the community of Wrangell, Alaska located within the Tongass National Forest on Wrangell Island in Southeast Alaska.  Wrangell is a community of roughly 2,500 people.  The local economy is based on fisheries and maritime industry with some seasonal tourism.  If you are interested in working in a small Alaska town, connecting with a variety of community members and reporting on everything from local politics to fisheries to Alaska Native issues, this may be the perfect opportunity for you.

Please send your letter of interest, resume and audio samples to: KSTK General Manager, Cindy Sweat –<>

Sept. 14, 2017–Jenny Fast–The Web: Be There or Be Square – How to Start Your Blog and Use Social Media to Self-Promote

Jenny Fast writes as “Superwife” on her blog, The Adventures of Superwife. She shares real, messy, and often humorous stories of marriage and parenting while running the occasional product giveaway for her readers. The Adventures of Superwife has been named “Best Local Blog” three times by the Anchorage Press, and Jenny’s writing has been featured in several local outlets, including the Kaleidoscape play center’s blog, Alaska Parent magazine’s social media, and in The Salmon Project’s book, Made of Salmon. “Superwife” also occasionally guest-posts on other marriage and parenting blogs around the ‘net. Jenny is a full-time working mother of three daughters under the age of 7. She and her husband live in Wasilla, but spend much of their time taking their girls and their two red labradors fishing, rafting, and camping out of town. Visit Jenny on Facebook at

Jenny Fast

Jenny Fast

June 1, 2017–Amy Armstrong and Lee Jordan, ECHO News–Reviving True Community Journalism

Amy Armstrong is the managing editor of the ECHO News (the Eagle River Chugiak Herald Observer) in Eagle River, Alaska. She worked from 1999 to 2016 in a freelance capacity for the Alaska Star, covering education and government, writing features, and becoming highly acquainted with what makes Chugiak-Eagle River so incredibly special. During that period, she was honored with more than 40 awards for excellence in journalism on a state and national level.

When Armstrong left the Alaska Star in summer 2016, she was the last remaining piece of the Lee Jordan era. She was tickled when he agreed to write the ECHO’s historical column. As ME of the ECHO, she has spearheaded an informal internship program, allowing local high school students to write for the newspaper and is active in creating community-oriented events, including a political candidate forum and an upcoming business-speed-dating event. Her focus is on bringing high-quality community journalism to ECHO readers, as well as working together with the local business sector to build partnerships and not just sell advertising. Her goal for the ECHO News is to continue delivering the information and news that matter to locals in Chugiak-Eagle River.

She is a board member of the Chugiak-Eagle River Women in Business. Armstrong is a graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University. She grew up on a dairy farm in western Washington near the Canadian border, where she learned the value of diligent work. While in college, Armstrong wrote for several agricultural publications, including The Capital City Press, The Dairyman, Farm Journal magazines and Hoard’s Dairyman. She left the agricultural world after marrying Bob, a Coast Guardsman in 1995.

Amy Armstrong

Amy Armstrong

Lee Jordan: writing on and in Alaska from a historical standpoint as well as The ECHO News column. He has been an Alaskan since 1949 when he was assigned to the Army’s historic Alaska Communication System. As a printer for the Anchorage Daily Times, he set the iconic “WE’RE IN” headline on June 30, 1958. He founded the Chugiak-Eagle River Star in 1971 and served as its editor and publisher until retiring in 2000. He has written four non-fiction books on Alaska and now writes a column on local history in The ECHO News.

Lee Jordan

Lee Jordan

May 4, 2017–Mara Severin–Eating My Words: Discovering Alaska with a Fork and a Pen

Mara Severin is a freelance writer with a bi-weekly food column in the Alaska Dispatch News.

She grew up on the East Coast, eventually landing in New York City, where she earned her BA in Literature from Columbia University. She worked as a publisher’s assistant before becoming a writer and researcher for a dealer in rare historical manuscripts. For seven years, she and her husband lived in a 300-square-foot Manhattan apartment with a tiny galley kitchen. Thus began her life-long love affair with restaurants. The kitchen was for coffee and ice cubes. The city was for eating.

In 1999, she and her husband moved to Alaska looking for adventure, but at the time she did not expect them to be of the culinary kind. In fact, she did not expect the Anchorage food scene to be as vibrant, challenging and sophisticated as it has proven to be. She is happy to eat her own words.

She began writing for local industry publications like Petroleum News Alaska, among others. She then branched out to write for a series of local lifestyle magazines including Alaska Home Magazine which regularly profiles extraordinary local chefs. These food-related features quickly became her favorite assignments.

When a restaurant reviewer position opened up at the ADN, she threw in her hat. She was offered a few pieces on spec, which then turned into a regular column. In the last four years, she has reviewed over 100 Alaska restaurants and doesn’t plan to stop until her appetite does.

Mara Severin

Mara Severin