New York City: Babies, Boats, and Books

I know you’ll forgive me for the blog silence when I explain that I’ve been just a little busy. Some of you will have seen the Facebook pictures of my time in the city, but here are a few to remind me and you of the important things in life.


Little Ella talks to her daddy
Little Ella talks to her daddy
And chats with her giraffe


The baby whisperer
The baby whisperer


My son-in-law calls me the Baby Whisperer because I could soothe our sweet little darling and give her parents a break. This was taken on my last day with her–and she did as much to soothe my spirit as I did for hers.

I did have the privilege of meeting my publicist face-to-face.  River Laker of Silver Seas PR came to town to help me at a book event in one of the top NYC book stores. Here I am, reading an excerpt from Becalmed.

Reading from Becalmed
Reading at Bluestockings


We loved our time at Liberty Landing Marina.

Just after dawn
Just after dawn
Lights come on in Manhattan as seen from SV's deck
Lights come on in Manhattan as seen from SV’s deck
View as we dined at Liberty House Restaurant
View as we dined at Liberty House Restaurant


Sea Venture is slowly wending her way south. First real stop, Chesapeake City, MD, and then it’s on to Baltimore and more book signing parties!

If you’re anywhere along our route south (Chesapeake Bay and ICW) please give us a shout out.  I’d love to meet you hither, thither, or yon.









Fun Articles from the Trip

Two slightly different articles written by reporter Dara McBride about the Chesapeake City Boat Party/Book Signing showed up in the Cecil Whig and the Newark Post.

Picture from the Cecil Whig, Chesapeake City, MD
Picture from the Cecil Whig, Chesapeake City, MD










Daria also took this of Claudia, one of our guests, holding her newly signed copy of Becalmed
Dara also took this of Claudia, one of our guests, holding her newly signed copy of Becalmed

And here is a picture one of our guests took of Dara McBride taking pictures on board Sea Venture!


Cecil Whig reporter, Dara McBride, comes to the boat party
Cecil Whig reporter, Dara McBride, comes to the boat party

The reporter was the best dressed among all the guests who showed up that day!

Another reporter also came, but her article has yet to release. I’ll link to it when it does. Such fun!



Next Stop Virtual Launch: Becalmed has a Facebook Party!

I’ve been busy. Which kept me from posting the last character post. But I can’t leave Jilly out of the list because she’s my favorite character and the star of the story.

Becalmed Party Prelude 9: Meet Jilly

Gillian Grace Merritt, seven (and almost-a-half) years old, red-haired, pig-tailed, sweet, and smart, loves living on the Nancy Grace with her daddy, Will. She misses her mommy, but it’s okay. She and her daddy get to go places, and her daddy is the best hugger in the world. He calls her his First Mate.

Being First Mate on the Nancy Grace is important work. Daddy lets her drive sometimes. And she knows how to follow his hand signals to back down on the anchor so it will set. When he twirls her around and says she’s indispensable, Jilly figures that’s about as close to heaven as she’s going to get here on earth.

Sometimes, though, she really wishes they could stop someplace long enough so she could have a best friend. Here they are, stopped in Beaufort to fix the Nancy Grace, but not for long enough. Daddy says they have to fix the boat and get out of the way of hurricanes. Hurricanes are bad for boats.

Reader John Pelkey sent in some suggestions for actors to play the various roles should the story ever go to film. I added these to a Pinterest board called Becalmed‘s Characters.  This first is his idea for Jilly.


Miffy Englefield
Miffy Englefield

She’d be great, but as I never work this way, I thought I’d toss out these next so readers can just imagine Jilly as they will. I’d be happy to add faces to the board if you send me your suggestions!

Elsie Kate Fisher
Elsie Kate Fisher

I know. She needs red hair and green eyes…but she’s cute!

Maggie Elizabeth Jones
Maggie Elizabeth Jones

Contact lenses?

If you share this post and leave a comment about it below, I’ll add you to the drawing for a copy of Becalmed. I’ll be choosing the next winner tomorrow evening!

Becalmed’s Facebook Launch Party, July 1, 8AM to 8PM

Giveaways from seven authors! Schedule coming tomorrow!





Prelude to Virtual Launch 1

Prelude to VIRTUAL LAUNCH: Day 1

As a prelude for the Becalmed’s Facebook launch Party, I’m beginning a series of posts to introduce the cast. We’ll start with the minor ones and move to the main characters, though there’s really nothing minor about anyone in our life, is there? Each person in a story—real or fabricated—counts and plays into the whole.

 Share This Blog Post to Win

For every unique share of this blog post on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or other media outlets, I’ll enter your name into the weekly drawing for a combination paperback and e-book of Becalmed. (If you win and live in Tokyo or Timbuctu, we may need to discuss the logistics a bit.)

N at Cape


First up: James Whitlock.

I adore James. He came home from the army almost thirty years ago, took one look at bouncy little Elvie Mae, and planted himself in Beaufort, NC, happy to go to work for the Longworths along side Elvie—even if some folk thought the work demeaning. The Longworths needed a driver and caretaker, what with Mr. Samuel’s eyesight being so poor and Miss Caroline’s issues keeping her too scared to get behind a wheel.

Their now grown-up daughter worries that her daddy could have done better for himself. She claims her folk are the smilingest people she knows. You want an explanation out of them and they don’t want to give it? They’ll just smile those white teeth at you and say their life is real good, thank you very much.

James is grizzled now. He’s got some new worries that nag at him something awful, but he’s hanging on—or trying to. The thing you want to remember about James is that he knows how to love and he knows how to give, even if he’s got his own ideas of what suits and what doesn’t.

Share this on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or wherever.

For each unique link to this post, I’ll enter you in a drawing to win a paperback copy of Becalmed along with an e-version! I have ten characters to introduce. After each five, I’ll pull a winner’s name from the hat.

Read more about BECALMED on the PRESS KIT


BUY Becalmed on Amazon

Save the Date: July 1

Watch for the virtual launch on Facebook, July 1

Giving away books at Becalmed’s Facebook Launch Party from authors Barbara Claypole White, Kathryn Craft, C Hope Clark, Roseanna White, Lorrie Thomson, and Robin Patchen.


(PS. In case the Internet thingies that are supposed to tell me of shares decides to fail us, will you also leave a comment and tell me where you shared this so you don’t get left out of the drawing?)



Countdown to Boat/Book Signing Party July 3

Book Signing on Board
Book Signing on Board

Sea Venture will move to the Beaufort (NC) docks on July 3 for a Book Signing Party on board. We’ll have refreshments and fun from 2-5.

Books will be available at the Rocking Chair Bookstore. Bring your book with you and come have fun!

Rocking Chair Bookstore Card 001

Hope to see you there (or at other stops on our tour north by boat).

Send me a note if you’re anywhere on the water between Beaufort, NC, and NYC, as Sea Venture brings Mama, Michael, and me to the New York City area for the birth of Mama’s namesake, her first great-grandchild, Ella Cosette Scoville.

I’d love to meet you!




Social Media for Me (Oh, and for You, too!)

You’ve heard it, perhaps in the squeak of your own voice. The fear, the worry, the I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing so why should I bother? Haven’t you wondered if anyone out there even cares?

You have. So have I.

Origami Twitter

It wasn’t all that long ago that I wrote a post where I questioned the how-tos of tribe building, of finding like-minded folk out in blog-sphere, on Facebook or Twitter.

Old Bottle top icons

But in the intervening months, you know what I’ve discovered? Tribes. Plural. More than one real, honest-to-goodness groups of online friends who matter. Whose words I like to read. Who teach me and comfort me and let me into their life.

Some of these new friends write in my genre. Over at Amy Nathan’s blog, Women’s Fiction Writers, I’ve learned of new writers whose books I want to read. Women’s Fiction Writers Association is becoming a reality. Right now we have a Yahoo group where we learn and grow together. The founders are working to get the association off the ground to offer more and varied opportunities for writers and for readers. A Tribe.

Other groups simply support writers. All writers. My favorite is the penulitmate tribe builder, Writer Unboxed. Its Facebook Group (over 3000 members now) offers a safe place for writers in all genres, of any sort, at any level of competence or success to support one another. A Tribe.

I’ve made new friends on LinkedIn, and in some of the Goodreads groups. More folk in the Tribe.

Girlfriends Book Club is another wonderful tribe builder. I’ve recently discovered Southern Writers Magazine. You know I’m likely to fit there. They’ve asked me to write a blog post, so I’m trying to put that together. More tribe members. These are only a sampling of the places I’ve discovered. I’ve sailing tribes and publishing tribes and prayer tribes and tribes of old-friends from long ago whose worlds I’d lose if it weren’t for Facebook and email.

flock of flamingos

Do you remember how small the world once seemed? We knew only those in our circle. Yes, we could enlarge the circle by moving, by changing circumstances. But we couldn’t connect with people in California on the same day we connected with someone in Italy or Japan. (Unless we were ham radio operators.)

I can’t tell you how many lovely people I’ve met. People who laugh with me and who hold my hand. People whose hands I hold and for whom I do a happy dance when there’s good news. As they do for me.

I live in rural America, and I have friends in Italy and Australia, Wales and South Africa. My son tells me these online friends aren’t real. But you know what? They feel real. And when I travel and meet some of them face-to-face, that’s about as real as it can get.

So, those of you who are still stuck in the I-can’t mud hole or on the what’s-the-purpose cliff, I want to suggest that there are a lot of folk just waiting for what you have to offer. People who want to hear your words, know your thoughts. Who want to meet YOU.


Social Icons


Come connect with me.  I’d love to welcome you into one of the tribes I frequent. What makes any group strong is its membership. Its people.

Will you let me know some of the ways you’ve connected with folk online? Has it helped you at all? Do you feel less lonely or more so in the midst of this Internet noise?


It’s Almost May

April (and earlier) showers bring on the May flowers

Toward the west
Camelias at front door


In just the same way, I’m hoping that all that Fast and Furious action on my part (oh, yes, and on my editor’s and the designer’s) will bring about good and lovely things as Becalmed moves from proofing to print and into the hands of reviewers.

Do multi-published authors go through this same angst with each book? Or do only debut titles make the palms itch and the heart palpitate, as if I were headed out on a first date with The One?



Because you know what? I want to restyle my hair and make sure the blush hasn’t created mini clown circles on my cheeks, to check my hem and my shoes, because maybe I should wear a different pair, one that doesn’t make me tower. Perhaps a better color? Oh, there goes the front-door bell. Am I ready?

Talk to me. Am I alone in craziness?







Onward and Upward: New Roles and New Hats

I’ve had a lovely time as Executive Editor of Wayside Press, the general market imprint of Written World Communications, but it’s time to hang up that hat as I move forward into new roles. Two of my books release this summer, I’ve more on the hard drive in need to tweaking, and I’m a soon-to-be grandmother.

There’s only so much time in a day and only so much energy given to each of us. I’ve loved working with Wayside’s authors, and I know I’ll miss interacting with all the new ones who will be showing up at the imprint’s door. But none of us is expendable, and if we try to do too much, none of it will be done well.

So, to those authors I’ve met at conferences who had hoped to submit to me, I’m sorry. But I’m sure someone else will take up the slack. And I’d still like to hear from you, to encourage you in your work and to gather encouragement from you!

Editor Hat
Editor Hat

The Editor becomes:

Admiral of Sea Venture as we take to the water again with Michael and Mama and our trip north! Not a flattering photo, but very real as I maneuvered us into Bahia de la Paz, Mexico.

At Sea Venture's Helm
At Sea Venture’s Helm

And this, sailing my little boat on jaunts out to Cape Lookout:

Sailing Puff
Sailing Puff

And this! The author gets to have some fun.

The Author
The Author

As soon as I have pictures that include the grandmother role, I’ll let you know!


A New Cover for Sailing out of Darkness! Releases August 15, 2013

I am so very excited to reveal the new cover from WhiteFire’s talented Roseanna White. She did a great preliminary one, but it just didn’t feel quite right. You know what I mean?

So she looked for ideas. I looked for ideas. I thought I’d found one. She thought it flat. And then she sent me this:

Sailing out of Darkness front FINAL copy

The tag line on the back:

LOVE CONQUERS ALL? Maybe for some folk.

River Laker, of Silver Seas PR, came up with that line, tweaked a little by Robin Patchen.

Now I can’t stop grinning. The gorgeous cover for Becalmed, my debut release, makes me giddy as well, but Sailing out of Darkness is a very different story, with much darker elements. There’s light at the end–and some in the middle–which I think Roseanna captured beautifully.

This cover didn’t even need to show a sailboat. With that sun shining under her arm, it looks to me as if Samantha’s sailing on her own, propelled by the light.

So tell me: would you buy it?

The book releases on August 15 in both e-book and paperback. Stay tuned!