I am a writer, educator, and speaker with an undergraduate degree in Secondary English Education and a master's degree in Counseling.
First: Marketing. Book Four in the Prescription for Adventure is out. I am into high-throttle marketing of contacting people on my "notify me when..." list, taking bookstore orders, and sending books to excited readers.
Second: I am taking a break from book writing and enjoying editing and writing for my neighborhood newsletter. Interviewing interesting and inspirational people gives me great pleasure - and I trust it will stimulate friendly neighborly relationships.
Third: My writing "notebook" consists of photos. I have photos hither and thither on CDs. Three photos on one, thirteen on another. Random collections. I'm pasting these into categories so I can more easily locate specific pictures when I want to examine a character's facial expression, write an accurate setting, or search for clues to gaps in old letters.
My favorite projects include:
- Writing the Prescription for Adventure column for The Country Register Kansas
- Writing my new blog
- Returning to the locations where the Prescription for Adventure stories originated
- Working with the Indian Health Services team and compiling the material for the Development, History, Community & Cultural Significance of the Tanana Hospital Complex
- Interviewing inspirational and interesting people for either my blog or my community newsletter
My first serious writing efforts were for a church newsletter and then an inner city ministry.
My first published material was a short Christmas reflection published in the December 1981 issue of "The Christian Leader." I was paid $25 — and felt like a real writer.
My first book was Memories & Meals. In 1983, a group of us put together the recipes and history of Deer Creek Christian Camp, Bailey, Colorado. Word processing was just coming into existence. Typing and retyping was the mode of operation. The software "publisher" was unheard of. I placed every perfectly typed page on the floor around my living and dining room to figure out which page would be right and which one left. Today, Memories & Meals is the only history of the camp. I still have requests to purchase the book, of which there are no available copies for sale. If another collaborative effort were to be ignited, I'd be happy to work on that project.
Since that time, I've been published in newspapers, magazines, and books.
What launched me into bookwriting? My father hand-scribbled some of his flying, hunting, and medical adventures. I chose one and shaped it with a lead, setting, character description, tension, and dialog. Then I submitted it to Alaska Flying magazine. It was accepted. I chose, shaped, and submitted another. It was accepted. Why not branch out? I sent his stories and some of my own articles to Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, The Christian Leader, Christian Medical Society, and other publications. They were accepted. Having accumulated a handful of Alaska stories, I naively thought that writing a book wouldn't be much more difficult. I was inexperienced. I was enthusiastic. I was a hard worker. I was persistent.
Writing a book is far more intense than writing an article. It requires seeing the entire project, conceptualizing how chapters will fit together, working with flashbacks to give the back story and to stall the climax, yet not losing the reader. Too much and too little detail needs to be weighed. The entire book needs to be balanced with the same amount of time allocated to elements in each chapter. Individual chapters have to be thoughtfully crafted within the carefully strategized book.
In 1991, Rx (prescription) for Adventure: Bush Pilot Doctor was born. Since that time, it has been through four revisions and re-publications. It's definitely a fasten-your-seat-belt type book and readers keep buying it.
What are my specific challenges as a writer? There are many:
- To be accurate with facts, techniques, and information that I am not an expert in: medicine, hunting, flying, Alaska history, 1940s and 50s era culture.
- To find first-hand experts in the above areas, and/or do my own research, and put my writing past pertinent professions and invite their comments.
- To put myself in real-time situations that provide me with sensory experiences that add knowledge and credibility to my writing: going back into the villages where the stories took place 40 to 50 years ago, taking shooting classes and rubbing shoulders with hunters, flying in a small airplane and spending time in an aviation repair hangar.
- Not over-repeating information, flashbacks, or stories among the books. Keeping each book fresh, even though it is in a series with overlapping characters. Making sure the books can stand alone and a reader can pick up any book without needing to find one prior to become oriented.
- To develop a stratgy for the series.
- To solicit questions from potential readers about my main character's life and what they would find intriguing if they were to read my book.
- To put together a Critique Group that asks suitable clarifying questions, understand good writing technique and style, and offers options on slant or development of the story.
- To be matched with an editor who likes what I write, knows my genre, is a good writer him/herself, instills my confidence, and critiques in a way that I learn how to write better.
I love to rollerblade (when there aren't snakes on the trail) because it makes me feel free and as though I'm running away. I'd be happy to hike every weekend, whether in mere hiking boots or with attached yak-tracks for snowy, icy trails. I've climbed two of Colorado's 14ner mountains. Ziplining is a thrill I want more of. I collect words - and rocks.
The smell of pines, spruce, mossy underbrush, decaying leaves, and mature berry bushes refresh me. Daily doses of sunshine lift my spirits and generate energy. Wide open spaces, fields of wheat or corn or sunflowers, broad horizons, calves gamboling beside their grazing mamas, and lazy sunsets over the mountains bring a smile to my face. These are like white space on a page. All good journalists know it is critical for readers to find eye-rests along the edges of a page and within the text; otherwise, a reader can tire out quickly, put down the article, and find something less taxing to fill their visual field.
Baking cinnamon rolls or pies weekly brings continuity to my frequent relocations - and grows good neighbors. I love a good hamburger with yellow mustard. I listen to Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Alison Krause, the Statler Brothers, Ronnie Milsap, the Oakridge Boys, Alabama, Oldies, Motown - and gospel Bluegrass.
I can't imagine living without a piece of land - see my Alaska Cabin; or a blond Golden Retriever. Read my tribute to Copperfield (March 6, 1990 - June 10, 2006: The Golden Years.
I live in a new community where 66 percent of the people are moving in from out-of-state. Because I have moved 23 times in my life and because by nature I am an information gatherer and distributor, I am the self-appointed "Welcome Wagon." I knock on doors with flyers of neighborhood and town activities — and often a small, round loaf of homemade bread. I am also the Social Activities Chairperson. Our volunteer group listens to the homeowner's interests and between their desires and our own ideas, we promote regular common interest venues for individuals, as well as seasonal family and adult events. No surprise: I put together the monthly calendar and newsletter. When we use our natural bents and work alongside people with similar goals, we build relationships, accomplish much, and have fun in the process!
I believe there are many prescriptions for adventure. In my Prescription for Adventure series, there are prescriptions of:
- rural and wilderness medicine
- bush flying
- rural and wilderness teaching
- living in a remote Alaska village
- leaving a familiar close-knit culture and venturing to a mysterious destination - away from family and friends
- relocating frequently
- using personality gifts, experience, and education for the service of humankind
- danger and action
- fulfilling the role of mother and wife within adverse situations
- exhilaration and humor of facing adversities in Alaska
- laughing at oneself when making bungled attempts to deal with rugged challenges in the north
- pushing, or being dragged, out of one's comfort zone
- taking on physical feats with unknown outcome
Here are some of my adventures.
Articles Published in the Peninsula Clarion
- 2001, "The Red Baron and the Flying Gator."
- 2001, "What Float Plane Passengers Need to Know."
- 2001, "First Snow: Brother Determines Start of Family Tradition."
- May 13, 2001, "You'll Find Her in the Garden."
- Dec 17, 2000, "Sun Worshippers."
- Click on Archives
- From the Year drop down menu, select the appropriate year
- Under Search Author, type "Naomi Gaede Penner"
- Under Search Keywords, type the name of the article
Other Articles Published
- 2006, "Sourdough Memories: Going Home to Alaska's Kenai Peninsula"
- Mar 2000, "No Ordinary Day" (Excerpted from Prescription for Adventure: Bush Pilot Doctor), Selected for the Third Annual Central Peninsula Writer's Night.
- Apr 1989, "Flight by Faith," Moody Monthly.
- Spring 1989, "Bush-Pilot Doctor in the Last Frontier," Christian Medical Society.
- Nov 1987, "Learning to Fly...Can Open Unusual Doors," Alaska Flying.
- Feb 8, 1987, "Bush Doctor," "We, Alaskans." Fairbanks News-Miner.
- Feb 1987, "The Flying Physician: Rx for Excitement," Alaska Flying.
- Dec 1986, "No Ordinary Day," Alaska Flying.