Category Archives: News

Trip Report – New England

Trip Report – New England

We have returned, slightly jet-lagged (but recovering), from our trip to the northeastern United States. New England as a whole is lovely. I’ve been there only once before, making a trip to Rode Island and the surrounds. This time around, Kari-Lise and I went for the Labor Day weekend to celebrate the wedding of my brother-in-law in northern New Hampshire. Then we extended our visit into a week-long road trip—an extended celebration from our anniversary trip in July.

We made a big loop, heading north out of Boston, then swinging east into Maine before we headed down the coast and back to Boston. This time around I figured it’d be the best to break it down around our three central stops: Lincoln, Acadia National Park, and Salem.


Lincoln, New Hampshire

I'm on a gondola!
I’m on a gondola!

Lincoln is a small tourist town nestled in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. It’s beautiful countryside full of rolling hills covered with thick forests of deciduous trees. We were a few weeks early and weren’t able to experience the fall colors, but the soft green hills were lovely.

The wedding weekend was a three-day long party for us, and it was a blast. It was great to connect with family and meet new people. The ceremony itself was held atop Loon Mountain, a ski resort accessible via a gondola. It was a quick service at one of the most beautiful settings I’ve seen, and it was an honor to be invited to attend. My brother and sister-in-law now live in Hawaii a bit of a jaunt from New Hampshire but not too far from the Pacific Northwest. Clearly, we’re going to have to go visit. I’ve never been to the Hawaiian Islands.

Coming from Washington State, it was difficult not to go in all condescending over the classification of “mountain” in New Hampshire, especially comparing them to our hills here at home. They’re a titch on the small side. But, dear reader, I resisted, at least until now. (They got us beat when it comes to wind, however.)

The stunning location of the wedding atop Loon Mountain
The stunning location of the wedding atop Loon Mountain

Maine & Acadia

Stephen King's house in Bangor, Maine
Stephen King’s house in Bangor, Maine

After the weekend, Kari-Lise and I drove the back roads of Maine making our way toward Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park. Maine is a rolling landscape pocked marked with lakes and rivers and small towns. We made a brief pilgrimage through Bangor to the site of Stephen King’s house and saw his infamous gate. I have to be honest, it felt a little weird to be standing outside his house. I’m a fan, and his work is a big influence on my own, but at the same time, it was like a strange little invasion of privacy. So, I’m sorry Mr. King, but you do have a cool gate.

From Bangor, we drove to the island. Much of the landscape reminded me of home: a myriad of lakes and rivers, glacially formed valleys, rugged coastlines. Our home base was an old hotel in Southwest Harbor a small village on the western side of the island located along Somes Sound. It was a nice little post for the next three days.

Lobster is everywhere and… it’s fine. I’m not sure I understand the hype. When it comes to my preferences for sea bugs I’m much more partial to crab, heck, even shrimp. Lobster, on the whole, tastes relatively bland to me. It lacks the sweetness found in other crustaceans. I tend to like it better as an ingredient in something—a salad or a bisque. We did have lobster and grits at a restaurant called Coda in Southwest Harbor, and it was phenomenal. So when done right, it can be really effective. That meal was easily the best on our trip.

Acadia National Park was stunning. We spent several days in the park. The first day was dominated by an eight-mile hike to the top of Pemetic Mountain. (Here’s the trail which we hiked and then combined with this one.) We also caught the sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain, witnessed several sunsets all over the park, ate popovers at Jordan Pond House, explored the craggy coastline, and toured a few gardens. I feel like we caught most of the park in those packed days. Acadia is a busy place—even in September after the kids go back to school. It’s tiny, and as such, it can get a little crowded especially around points of interests. (Not too dissimilar from Yellowstone in July and August.) It continually is in the top ten when it comes to visitors, and I can see why.


Salem, Massachusetts

After Acadia, we drove the last leg of our road trip heading south to Salem, Massachusetts. Taking time we stayed along the coast and passed through Essex County aka Lovecraft Country. Things have changed a lot since ol’ Howie’s day, but we hunted down (roughly) the location of the fictive Innsmouth near Essex Bay. It’s charming. Rural in some places, built up in others. The towns and small farms are picturesque. It lacks much of the foreboding and uneasiness one would expect reading Lovecraft’s writings—even with the summer thunderstorms passing overhead. But I can see the appeal. A lot of history in that part of the country.

The Witch House in Salem, MA — once the former home of Judge Jonathan Corwin and the only building with ties to the trials still standing
The Witch House in Salem, Massachusetts — once the former home of Judge Jonathan Corwin it is the only building with ties to the trials still standing

We arrived at Salem that evening and walked the town wandering through The Burying Point graveyard during a storm which certainly added to the mood. The next day was our last in New England. We opted to stay in Salem since it was near the airport and was full of all sorts of weirdness. On the more serious side, we visited the House of the Seven Gables and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Both were excellent.

Longtime readers know that I’m a sucker for history and both Kari-Lise and I love roadside attractions. So, of course, we took the opportunity to visit some of the goofier museums in the area. There’s plenty of both to be found in Salem. It seems like every corner has some museum willing to spin you their version of the Salem witch trials. We hit up two: the Witch Dungeon Museum and the Witch History Museum. Both had that bizarre dated feel that I love. You know the type: disjointed narratives presented in a dim room filled with lovingly crafted mannequins that haven’t been dusted in decades. Both told the tragic story of the Salem Witch Hunts, and both tried hard, but the life-sized dioramas from the 70s made the whole thing feel silly rather than serious. Luckily, they paled in comparison to our walking tour with a local guide named Jeff. His knowledge of the area was impressive, and his tour opened up the story in a way the museums can’t achieve. He has an intimate understanding of the stories of the victims, and he really made the tragedy feel more alive. It was an excellent cap to our time in Salem. The next morning we packed up and made our way to the airport for an early flight home.


The United States is enormous and there’s as much to see here as there is in the wider world. Unplugging from the internet and the news cycle was refreshing. Mentally living in the moment had a recentering effect. Coming back really put the drama on social media and in the twenty-four-hour news cycle into perspective. It all feels so small and so much of it is incredibly petty.

It was a fantastic little trip. Much fuller than I had anticipated. Celebrating a wedding, visiting a national park, and delving into some history was an excellent way to spend a week. The weather worked against us a few times, but it was good to go beyond Boston and explore the countryside.

Travel is energizing for me creatively, but it’s good to be back home. Autumn is quickly settling into Seattle, the nights grow longer, there’s a crispness to the air, and the rains have returned. And, as always, I have books to write.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Quick Hiatus

Quick Hiatus

For the next ten days or so I will be intentionally incommunicado with this blog and the rest of the internet as a whole. Responses to emails and comments will be delayed. Kari-Lise and I will be traveling to New England, where we will be attending a wedding, visiting a National Park, and where I hope to eat a lobster roll (or seven.) I might occasionally post to Instagram, so if you’re not following me over there, feel free.

There are quite a few posts in the hopper (including one already scheduled.) My current plan is to resume normal blog activities around mid-September. If you’re looking for something to read here in the interim, here are a few of my more popular posts over the last few years:

Farewell Facebook

Farewell Facebook

Today, I clicked delete on my Facebook account. It was a long time coming, and I’m not sad to see it go. Facebook has become a behemoth in the last decade, an irresponsible behemoth that created unethical systems used to prey on its users. Participation felt like a taciturn approval, and I didn’t want to validate that sort of behavior any longer.

For creators, Facebook has changed. A once vibrant landscape has slowly walled creators off onto Pages where our projects and content was no longer seen by the very people who were interested. It began to urge us to “boost posts”—five dollars here or a ten spot there. But boosted posts rarely returned worthwhile engagement. Promoting Pages often yielded poor results—likes and shares from shell accounts generated by click farms. Practices Facebook claims don’t exist, but the evidence says otherwise. I’ve watched friends with thousands and thousands of followers grow frustrated as engagement slipped away and the site became a meaningless money pit.

It was also a distraction. Yet one more place to waste time doing nothing. Over the last few years, I’ve shifted away from social media and doubled down on blogging. I love this blog. Here I control my content. If anyone wants to see what I am working on they just have to visit. I share newsphotos, thoughts, and opinions all the time. I get traffic. I get emails from readers. It’s not hidden by algorithms or walled off on some buried Page. It’s all accessible, and that’s glorious. It’s the old web, sure, but it’s reliable.

Things can always change. Microsoft isn’t the same company it was in the 90s. Apple isn’t the same company it was in the late-80s. Facebook ten years from now will be different than it is today. Under new leadership perhaps Facebook could turn things around quickly, but in the meantime, I’m not holding my breath, and I’m not wasting my time. I got books to write.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

My SPFBO Interview

My SPFBO Interview

SPFBO 4 is in full swing. Some folks are advancing already while others have been eliminated. Eventually, the final ten will emerge. It’s been fun watching the community rally and support one another. Yeah, this is an award contest, and we’re all each other’s competition, but it is also very good-natured and encouraging which is really refreshing. We need more of that in the science fiction and fantasy community.

To celebrate the contest, author Michael R. Baker had undertaken a bold quest. He is attempting to interview every one of the three hundred contestants. An admirable and impressive goal. Believe me, I know. Blog posts take a lot of work. Yesterday, it was my turn, and you can read our conversation by clicking on the button below. It was a lot of fun. We discuss my projects, The Stars Were Right, inspiration, the advice I have for aspiring authors, and a whole lot more.

SPFBO Entry Interview: K. M. Alexander

Big thank you to Michael for the opportunity. You can follow him and his crusade at his blog at thousandscarsblog.wordpress.com, and be sure to follow him on Twitter. Likewise, make sure to check out his dark fantasy novel The Thousand Scars—also apart of SPFBO 4.

Good luck to the rest of the entrants! I look forward to reading all of your interviews with Michael in the coming days.


🎙 Interviews & Articles

Looking for further conversations with me? Perhaps you’re interested in articles I’ve written elsewhere? You can find all of this and more at my About Page. There’s a lot of great stuff with posts going back as far as 2013.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Where in the World was K. M. Alexander... Whidbey Island!

Trip Report – Whidbey

In celebration of our fifteen-year anniversary, Kari-Lise and I skipped town for a few days and did a bit of exploring in our backyard. Our destination was Whidbey Island, located centrally in the Puget Sound, a short drive north of Seattle.


The Captain Whidbey's sign—I'm a sucker for old hand-painted signs like this.
I’m a sucker for hand-painted signs and The Captain Whidbey’s didn’t disappoint.

We have been to Whidbey before, usually to hike the always exceptional Ebey’s Landing, but we’ve never spent much time on the island. We wanted to change that and ended up finding a weird 111-year-old inn (yeah, same age as Bilbo Baggins) on Penn Cove called The Captain Whidbey that became our home for a few days.

We came onto the island via the highway that crosses Deception Pass and connects Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island and the mainland. We hung out there for a few hours and took a quiet walk along the beach before we made our way to the hotel. After settling in, we found ourselves a short drive from Coupeville, a teeny fishing village that has been around since the 1850s. It also resides alongside Penn Cove, and its little waterfront is a great spot to grab a bite, especially if you like mussels and shellfish.


Deception Pass viewed from Macs Cove on the north side of Whidbey Island
Deception Pass viewed from Macs Cove on the north side of Whidbey Island

The second day, we walked on the ferry that runs from Keystone Landing to Port Townsend and spent most of the day there. Taking the ferry is a great way to visit the town, which is easily one of my favorite places in Western Washington. A lot of history there, it’s nearly as old as Coupeville and full of ornate Victorian architecture.

At one time there was a hope it’d become the largest seaport in Washington, but today it’s mostly focused on tourism. That said, it’s picturesque, quite chill, and full of places to explore and eat. While there I met an old woman who was sitting outside her apartment listening to a folk band, and she told me how every building in town was haunted and how you can see all the ghosts during thunderstorms because of the static electricity in the air. GHOST SCIENCE.

We returned to Whidbey that afternoon. Right next to the Keystone Landing is Fort Casey, a decommissioned U. S. Army emplacement designed and built to protect the Puget Sound and the Bremerton Navy Yard around the 1890s. The Pacific Northwest is dotted with these little emplacements and they come in all shapes and sizes and in various states of dilapidation. I haven’t seen one as intact and explorable as Fort Casey. Poking around was fun. We climbed ladders, checked out the disappearing guns, and dared ourselves to delve into the deep spaces within the fort that our tiny cell-phone lights couldn’t penetrate.


Fort Casey huddled behind its bluff

Our last day consisted of exploring a rhododendron forest garden, a little art farm that also sold cheese, and a quiet drive south where we caught the ferry to the mainland. It was a good trip. I read a book, we both relaxed, and we came away knowing Whidbey a bit better. All in all, it was a lovely little flash-vacation, and I’m glad I got to spend it with my favorite person. You can check out a few photos from the trip below.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

When the Book is Better than the Movie

When the Book is Better than the Movie

This summer, PBS launched The Great American Read—a show about the best-loved books in America. You can see the top 100 list over here. Along with this series, you can also vote for your favs, which you should. (Sadly, none of my Bell Forging Cycle made it, sorry folks.)

Along with the launch, PBS Digital Studios—creators of some of the best content on YouTube—released a Great American Read-themed video on the comparison of films to the books they were based upon. It’s good. Watch it here:

The narrator is the very talented Lindsay Ellis. I’m excited to see her work with PBS and hope this is the start of more collaborations. I’ve been following her work since her Channel Awesome days, and I consider myself a fan.

For those who don’t know Ellis runs a channel where she does longer-format deep-dives into specific films or movie concepts. Her observations on storytelling are wonderful—a big reason why I am drawn to her videos. Some of my favs:

You can find Ellis on Twitter, Patreon, and of course YouTube.