Heading from Coinjock across the Albemarle Sound and then down the Alligator River took us out of cell phone and Internet range. How foreign that felt when we’d been able to talk or interact from the middle of the Chesapeake Bay and from several miles offshore. We left the frigid mornings behind and discovered windless days, the sound and rivers a mirror, reflecting a perfect sky. Look at what we experienced at anchor in the Alligator River:
After a night in Belhaven, NC, we headed to Little Washington. Once in the channel, we joined the fleet. I’ve never seen so many boats, all with the same idea: Go South. We had 17 boats surrounding us–until we turned to starboard and they continued on to Oriental.
Here we are at Day 7 of the prelude for the Becalmed’s Facebook launch Party on July 1. We’ve met James, Elvie Mae, and Rita Whitlock, along with Isa Wellington and Matt and Hannah Morgan and Matt’s brother Alex. (Oh, and Bethanne.) Today we meet Will Merritt.
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We’re also having fun with ideas for actors to play the various parts. Come take a look at the Pinterest Board for Becalmed‘s Characters and let me know if you’d like to add a suggestion. I don’t see my characters this way, which is why I like faceless covers, but one of my readers, John Pelkey, sent in his offerings.
Seventh up: Will Merritt
Will had it all. A beautiful, loving, and perfect wife named Nancy, who dreamed of sailing with him and their daughter Jilly. Work he loved as a mechanical engineer. And that precious child, their first-born.
And then his world collapsed when a drunk driver killed the love of his life. It’s been almost two years now, but he misses her more with each passing day, especially when Jilly does or says something that is so reminiscent of her mother. He sees Nancy in the toss of Jilly’s hair, in her “that would be lovely”—words Nancy used for so many things, always accompanied by that turn-his-insides-to-slush smile.
How on earth is he supposed to do this?
But he’s got to. He and Jilly are following the dream. They’re living on the Nancy Grace, and they’re traveling. Coping. Sometimes more than coping.
And he’ll allow no one, absolutely no one, to encroach on the world they’ve made for themselves.
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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!
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.
And this, sailing my little boat on jaunts out to Cape Lookout:
And this! The author gets to have some fun.
As soon as I have pictures that include the grandmother role, I’ll let you know!
Peopling worlds. That’s what we writers do, isn’t it?
I’m no longer sailing Mexican waters or dropping anchor in some exotic spot. Some mornings, I wake longing to feel that gentle roll under Sea Venture’s hull. Oh, we’ll be back on board for short trips north or south, but coming home to care for a loved one changes the cadence of life.
Finding ways to embrace these changes, I listen and watch.
As sailors, we visited exotic towns, met and played with folk from many countries.
In the Sea of Cortez, the language of conversation and of social interaction held a certain lilt, an often smiling delight in simple things.
Here, laughs from chance-met folk need more coaxing, more nurturing. Perhaps that’s because most land-based folk have worlds of their own already secured, friends already established, places they go to eat and chat, things they do that take their time. Perhaps the busyness of life forces them to hurry on past.
Cruisers are the odd folk in different worlds, the strangers who congregate to find a common ground, even if that commonality surrounds the places they’ve visited or the adventures lived and yet to live. Cruisers make fast friendships and hold to these from anchorage to anchorage, country to county, even when they return to life as a dirt dweller.
Peopling stories from the land-bound places I’ve been and folk I’ve imagined — or pieced from the chance-met and the almost-known — I enter into new worlds, new smells, new sounds. Shouts and cries that resonate because of place and circumstance, because of accents and histories and the soil in which each grew, become the fodder for a new universe.
How do you find your worlds? What in your life pushes you toward the stories you write? If you craft fantasy, suspense, romance, or horror, what propelled you in that direction? What made you want to create those worlds?
Please leave me a note. Let’s talk settings and worlds.