Archive for April 1, 2013

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The sun rose at 7:06 this morning, and it won’t set for 13 hours 39 minutes, at 8:45 this evening. It was 45°F Friday and the streets were wet (and slippery.) We also set a new March record Thursday for the widest daily temperature range: 24 below to 31 above, a warming of 56°F. Spring may really be on the way!

Ice Sculpture

“Singing in Unison” as it appeared March 31.

The forecasts are calling for more snow now and then, though not much, and with highs forecast for the 30’s I don’t expect much accumulation. The 22” on the ground might even melt a little.

I got out to the ice park one last time Saturday (it closes Sunday) and tried to photograph the effects of the warming weather. I didn’t get much, as I had inadvertently set the camera to video. I had to use iMovie and a screen grabber to get the photo to the right. Some of the sculptures have lost their more delicate parts, though most still look surprisingly good for the end of March. The ones out in the open sun, though, have turned from the clear “Alaska Diamond” ice to milky, as the sun has melted the internal grain boundaries of the ice.

Homecoming coverAmber is a character in all three of my published books: Homecoming, Tourist Trap and Horse Power. She is blond, blue-eyed, and pretty, but has a tendency to put on weight. This is how she might have told her story early in Homecoming, when she was still a pre-teen.

Amber is what my parents named me, but of course now I have to answer to whatever my owner calls me. I’m not sure why, because we didn’t even have slavery at home. Home. Where is my home? I don’t know. I can’t even remember the name of my planet.

I do know that I was in school when they came, because I remember how pleased I was at figuring out what multiplication meant. After that things got blurry and when they unblurred again, I was being sold at a slave auction. I was sold again several times, and I think put on another spaceship. This time my new owner asked a lot of questions, and when I said I’d had dancing lessons he sold me again, to a trainer of dancers.

That wasn’t too bad except for the slave collar, but I’d learned by then to do what I was told—fast. Those things hurt and I wasn’t going to give the trainer any excuse to use it! But that was where I met the others.

Timi first. He was a captive, like me, maybe a year older. He was determined not to give in to the collar, and he got into an awfully lot of trouble. He was a terrific dancer when he was cooperating, though. Then a little later Snowy and Flame showed up. They’re about the same age as Timi.

Mostly the slave-breds didn’t want much to do with the captives, and us captives felt the same way about them. Snowy and Flame were both slave-bred, but I noticed right away how they danced as a team. They were good! I think they were there for polishing, but Snowy was watching the rest of us, too. One day he came over and asked me if I’d like to try dancing with them. “I’ve got an idea for a dance for four people,” he said, “and I think it’d be a good one for you. If we can find another boy it might even get us a better owner.”

“Timi’s very good if you can get him to work with you,” I said, and he nodded.

“I’ll see if I can talk him around.”

Well, he did, and after a month of practicing when the trainer was busy elsewhere, we performed our dance when he was watching. Snowy was really good at making up dances, and I think the trainer was impressed. Anyway he sold us as a group, which was what Snowy was after. Our new owner wasn’t exactly what Snowy was looking for, though, and he really watched the guests we were made to dance for. I think he engineered the next sale, without either of the owners realizing it.

So the four of us came to belong to Derik. He’s nice enough, though he has an absolutely rotten overseer. I’m really worried right now, though. Snowy’s sick, and Derik took him away and told us not to worry. Timi’s kind of taken over the leadership, but he can’t make dances like Snowy could. How much longer are we going to be able to stay together? And where’s Snowy?

I’m doing my A to Z blogs from my books, both characters and background information. For characters I’ll introduce them quickly, say what point of time they’re talking from since their situations change drastically through the books, and let them talk. Background information will vary according to what I’m talking about. All of these blogs will be scheduled to go live just after midnight Alaska time. Today I’m adding an extra A: Thanks to Arlee Bird, who started this whole A to Z thing.

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