First, a warm welcome back from New York to everyone who had the opportunity to travel to RWA this year!
I was sad that I couldn't make it, but I had a few activities going on that I couldn't get out of. One of them was a trip to Alaska. Okay, yes, I confess, it was my honeymoon. :) But, ever the author, I found a way to turn the trip into research. We visited NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association). It was quite exciting because it was a very small group and it was a comprehensive tour. Comprehensive, and downright intimate. Yes, that's a little rubber ducky in one of the fisheries research labs.
We went into the necropsy room where yours truly almost got shot by a crossbow. Crossbows are used to tag whales. One was sitting unbalanced on the edge of the examination table when the guide walked by it and brushed it with their elbow, knocking it so that it aimed directly at me. That would have been a dramatic ending to a honeymoon.
The labs at NOAA offered enough intrigue to upstage NCIS. Recently, they had a "fishy" story to investigate. A large ship loaded with fish came into the harbor and was boarded for questioning. The crew claimed that the fish were recently caught in the immediate area, but technicians were able to establish that the fish were from distant seas and illegally transported. I never knew that you could trace a salmon down to its home creek by its ear bone. Some fisheries go so far as to tamper with the temperature of the water when the salmon are babies (fry) to stamp the fish. This temperature fluctuation leaves a mark on the fish's ear bone that can later be traced back to that specific fishery. Yes, I learned more about the life of salmon than I ever thought possible.
In addition to my near brush with the crossbow, I had a bit of a tumble on this mountain. It hurt like heck, but it wasn't the pain that bothered me the most. It was that brief glimpse of the abyss beyond. The mind took the leap that the body did not. I burst out into a full-blown panic attack. My panic was founded though. Two days later a gentlemen from Florida fell to his death in the same area. It was quite jarring to read that, and my heart goes out to his family.
But such is the honeymoon of a romantic suspense author. Romance, crossbows, salmon, and stumbles.
Maureen A. Miller