Hi, I'm in Homer, Alaska, after my husband, son, and I escorted author Jessica Speart down from Anchorage on Thursday in our Silverado pulling the 26 ft travel trailer. Jessica was just back from Authors to the Schools and her visit to Kotzebue area immediately after Bouchercon (see B'con pics - http://picasaweb.google.com/karenlaubenstein/Bouchercon2007)

When Jessica left for New York yesterday, she took my service dog, Josie, with her. It's amazing how much that little dog was such a huge part of our family for six years, but my husband was getting more and more angry with the dog as time went on and gave me an ultimatum last Monday - the dog goes or he goes. Unsurprisingly, I said, "Okay, bye..." and he showed back up at the door about 3 hours later, but continued to glare at the dog and wouldn't let her curl up on the couch or anywhere near him, after 6 years of being able to do so. Josie was really frustrated and something inside of me died at this, so when Jessica offered to take her home with her, it seemed like Josie would be rescued. But now we're missing her and grieving more than I would have thought possible. No word from Jess yet on if they arrived back East okay...

We did visit the Homer High School (they already had Lori Avocato and Roberta Islieb visit their high school this past week on the Authors to the Schools) and they could not fit us in with no notice -- so we went to the Middle School and met with a writing class. It was so great to see Jessica doing her thing in person, though at first I was like uh oh -- for as an investigative journalist, she was bringing on the discussion of the endangered species trade via illegal drugs, etc., and I wasn't sure how often these topics come up in Middle School Classrooms? Anyway, it all turned out really great with those thirteen year olds creating characters of their own under Jess's instructions, and they were all surprised at what they came up with!

Her booksigning was at Homer Books on Friday evening. I was in the bookstore looking for Michael Armstrong's stuff when he drops in - quite a surprise! He's doing lots of writing for the ebooks and signed the anthology with his story about the seagull. He had a reading that evening, along with 5 other Homer-based authors (Daniel Coyne - author of one of the latest books on Lance Armstrong, lives here, also, but he and Dana were not on the local reading program - Dana's on vacation). It was also First Friday and all the art galleries around Homer were serving refreshments and hosting the multitudes. Saw some awesome art, and met some really great artists. We visited the Oceans and Islands Visitor's Center and Jess posed for photos. We also went out for Mexican and magaritas that I recorded on digital.

We return to Anchorage tomorrow - without Josie of course. Hope I can eventually accept it, it wasn't a good situation for the dog, as now I'm hearing and don't need her as a service dog during the day, so she's been having to stay home like most dogs and without anyone there to give her attention. Nights are always so busy, that she still didn't get attention. Jess clicked with her, so she'll get the attention - but oh, it is a huge void. I keep thinking I should've sent the husband and kept the dog.

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