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In some stories, the setting becomes as important as the characters who act out their lives within its parameters. We begin to “see” the story unveil in the context of place. That place may determine what our characters think, and say and do.

In Bear Woman Rising, Jesse describes Whitey’s Road House as a “home to wayfaring strangers”. It is a safe haven for locals to gather and for strangers to feel welcome. As such it provides a backdrop for the proprietor’s wife, Ruth, to discuss her concerns for Kara’s mental stability with Jesse, whom she has just met. And later, we hear Kara tell Jesse, whom she has just met, that left alone in a cabin with blizzard force winds beating at the door, she hears an animal scratching t...

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I began telling stories in elementary school, and yes sometimes they got me in trouble, particularly when they were well, let’s say, departures from the truth. But as my third grade teacher wrote on my report card, “The class enjoys listening to Dorothy’s original stories.” Spurred on by that young audience, I never stopped writing. My heart wrenching scribblings in my early diaries, the teenage poems I wrote inspired by the vastness of Lake Michigan, and later, as an adventurous young woman, the descriptions I wrote awed by the Chugach Mountains blushing alpine pink that ringed Anchorage, Alaska, all document my life’s journey. 

My journey is unique. Each person’s journey through life is unique to that person. But if we don’t share our journeys—our joy, our heart brea...

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