We’ll be discussing Sailing out of Darkness all week long at the Women’s Fiction Writers Association Café on Facebook.
Stop by any time to comment or ask a question–and perhaps win the book!
Y’all know how much fun contests are. Well, this has been a delightful week for my books.
Today, I learned that Sailing out of Darkness is one of three finalists in the Single Title Category (for romantic as opposed to romance fiction) of the Aspen Gold Contest from the Heart of Denver Romance Writers!
Readers in Denver, thank you!
For one more day, the Kindle version remains at 99 cents.
Click HERE to buy.
One of my WIPs begins with a scene taken from my first storm on board Sea Venture. We’d moved the boat from the CA Delta to Marina Bay in Richmond, CA. The wind and waves had direct access through the Golden Gate to our slip. Michael was late returning from work that night when a whopper of a storm raised its furious head. As I lay in my bunk, shuddering along with Sea Venture, I imagined what it might be like for a novice sailor (because if I were scared, how much more would she be?), alone on a boat in a strange country. So I moved my character to La Paz, MX (one of our favorite cruising grounds in the Sea of Cortez), named their boat Mystic, and gave the area a new marina.
Here’s the opening to On a Night Like This:
Waves crested Marina Algare’s finger piers, dousing the dock and anything—or anyone—still roaming abroad that night. The slaps echoed like the beat of bass drum on the uninsulated fiberglass of Mystic’s transom, and Kyra snuggled deeper under the summer-weight blankets. She longed for brick and mortar, for solid ground and the strong foundation she’d left stateside. Instead, mere inches separated her from the banshee’s fury.
Halyards flogged the mast. She should have lashed the lines before the storm hit, but how could she have known they’d be a problem? Preparing the boat had always been Stephen’s job. She winced as something thudded into the hull, once, twice. The wind howled, screeching through the rigging. Kyra flattened a pillow against her ear.
She’d been through plenty of storms in the California Delta where the inland heat sucked wind off the ocean and sent it surging up the rivers. There, tucked behind thick walls and curtained windows, she’d felt safe, immune from violence. When the weatherman warned of high winds, she had only to check the flashlight batteries, make sure Stephen had filled the generator with gas, and then slip into something comfortable before turning on a movie. Or curling up to read. Or going to sleep. Being alone wasn’t a problem in Rio Vista.
But she wasn’t in her California house, was she? Thanks to Stephen, she was on a boat in Mexico, their new home, he’d called it when he’d enticed her here—before abandoning her to face what sounded like a hurricane.
A sob clogged her throat. If he were lying next to her, he’d laugh and rub a hand up her back, his long fingers tickling her slightly before they inched toward her tense muscles. He’d remind her, in his low and soothing voice, that even if the wind piped to sixty, Mystic was a good old girl, well able to handle a storm. Kyra could imagine his chuckle. “Poor Kyra, so nervous. What is there to worry about?” He tell her that they’d head to sea if the wind got to near-hurricane force and heave to. Mystic wouldtake care of them. “And besides,” he’d insist, “The Lord watches over us.”
She leveled a curse at his missing form, though after that last thought, the curse felt dangerous, as if she’d spooked herself and her circumstances. Too bad she didn’t have Stephen’s faith—in either the boat or his God.
Lying in the dark, she had no idea how hard the wind blew, but it was loud and bad and nothing she wanted to be in the middle of, thank you very much. Everything Stephen said made sense when he was here and in charge. But he wasn’t, and she had no idea why not.
When another gust rocked the boat, Kyra started, thinking it might be Stephen’s weight causing the lurch. She listened, but no footfalls moved aft.
What good were promises if he were off gallivanting around Mexico instead of here to keep them? She couldn’t take a forty-five foot boat to sea on her own. She had to stay tethered to the dock and hope that the lines held and the pilings were strong and no other boat got loose to crash into them.
If he’d decided not to drive back from Cabo because of the storm, why hadn’t he called? He had a cell phone, and, surely, Cabo San Lucas had decent service.
She flipped on a light to check the signal strength bars on her phone’s screen. Five. So, it wasn’t a fault in La Paz. It didn’t make sense. Stephen was always so careful with her. Knowing how nervous she got when he didn’t call to say he’d be late, he always phoned. Hitting speed dial for his cell, she waited, then left her second panicky voice mail. “Where are you?!”
For his sake, she tried praying, but it felt as if the noises outside drowned her words—even though she didn’t speak them aloud. The heavens seemed too busy pouring down rain to bother with one lone woman in a dark and very foreign marina. Fine, she and God weren’t on the best of terms, but Stephen kept saying God listened.
It didn’t look like it from here.
Finally, sometime in the night, the storm quieted. But she still lay alone with a phone that didn’t ring.
(Or, it’s back to school for me.)
Editor Linda Yezak donned a flak jacket before writing to tell me what was wrong with the Sailing out of Darkness trailer. When I said that I LOVE constructive criticism, she breathed a sigh and shed the jacket. “I was sweating in there.”
I don’t know about you, but when someone I respect makes suggestions, I’m going to listen. Why? Because I want to learn to be the best “me” possible. I knew I wouldn’t be sending my work to Hollywood, and I also knew professionals could have done a better job than I, but I can’t afford the professionals and thus am grateful for all the help someone offers.
Now, it’s time to move on. Get back to my rewrites. Get the house cleaned for my daughter’s visit. In other words, stop tinkering with Animoto and get to work.
But before I do that, here’s the shortened, updated, edited version. What do you think?
What can I say? After yesterday’s fun, I decided to play some more.
Here is the new book trailer for Sailing out of Darkness. Would it make you want to read the book?
Please let me know!
Some authors and social media experts have suggested that book trailers aren’t worth the effort in terms of sales. Maybe not, but I love watching them. And I’ve wanted one for my books. Only, I hadn’t a clue how to make one. Until today.
I’ve been studying trailers, and I really love the ones that use live action and actors. But I don’t have that capability myself, nor do I have the money to pay an expert to do it for me.
So. I looked at several how-to videos and picked the method that seemed most user friendly for a novice videographer. Yes, I upgraded from free to not-as-free-but-still-shy-of-the-pro-version of Animoto. And I paid for a couple of videos from istockphoto. But we’re not talking big bucks. And this, my friends, is what I produced. I do hope you like it, because I’m feeling like a proud mama.
I love Facebook and my interaction with friends. John Pelkey was the first to come up with actors he thought would be perfect for Becalmed‘s characters, so I set up a Pinterest Board for them.
After beginning Sailing out of Darkness, Kimberli Buffaloe fell in love with Teo, and we began playing with the idea of characters for it. John Pelkey joined in this morning with some more great picks after finishing the book. I don’t see in these terms when I write, so I love what these readers have come up with.
Click here to see what they’ve come up with so far. I’d love to hear your thoughts on their choices. Do you have others to suggest?
And what about settings? Kimberli said she has some thoughts on how the settings in Sailing out of Darkness fit the story. What do you think?
As seen on my Facebook Author Page, including Chesapeake City Book Signing:
From Nicole Petrino-Salter’s blog Into the Fire comes Becalmed’s first blog review. I’m doing a happy dance.
Here’s a bit out of the middle:
Normandie Fischer leaves no question as to the authenticity of her sailing know-how in her entertaining first release Becalmed. Just as talented author Tom Morrisey has made rock climbing and diving terms real to those of us who’ve never done either, Normandie takes us right onto the boats in her story without talking down to us or forfeiting the true language and operation of those who love the wind in their sails.
Sometimes genres mesh together and don’t fit comfortably into their assigned niches, but Becalmed is Women’s Fiction from stem to stern…
…A polished wordsmith, Normandie Fischer captures the essence of Southern charm and infuses it with the love of the sailing life, the needs and desires of a still-young woman who feels old and unattractive, and the necessity for honest relationships. Becalmed fills the reader with vivid emotional and physical imagery ingesting Southern humor and expressions moving toward reaching a touching and satisfying conclusion.
Hop on over to Nicole’s blog to read the rest!
The proposed cover by the designer at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. I figure where there’s a cover, there’s bound to be a book someday.
And here’s the Back Cover Copy:
When a Southern woman with a broken heart falls for a widower with a broken boat, it’s anything but smooth sailing.
Tadie Longworth doesn’t spend much time worrying that she’s turning into one of Beaufort, North Carolina’s, spinsters. She has a gift shop full of her own jewelry designs and a sweet little sailboat to take her mind off the guy who got away. But now he’s back—with the drop-dead gorgeous wife he picked instead of Tadie—and he won’t leave her alone.
When widower Will Merritt sails into town with a broken boat and an inquisitive seven-year-old daughter, he provides the perfect distraction—until that distraction turns into something more when Tadie offers them shelter during a hurricane. Over candlelit board games, Jilly becomes the daughter she could have had and Will the man she always wanted . . . only, he’s sworn never to let another woman in his life. Any day now, he’s going to finish those repairs and that ship’s going to sail—straight out of Tadie’s life.