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O Holy Night – The Sacred and Sublime in Art & Images

O Holy Night – The Sacred and Sublime in Art & Images.

Deborah Brasket’s gorgeous post in song and art.

Sailing Out of Darkness, a review

Sailing Out of Darkness, a review.

Checking in

I noticed today that we have a new follower for this blog. The only problem is that I’m not really posting here these days, but have shifted all my energies to my Writing on Board blog here:

That’s where I talk about my books and our sailing adventures. I’m no longer editing anything other than my own books and those of my critique partners, which has freed me to market Becalmed and Sailing out of Darkness, both of which released in 2013.

To keep track of new releases and our sailing adventures, please head over to my blog or my website:

I’m also on Facebook and other social media, while Michael, Sea Venture’s captain, is busy designing new and better everything.

Front and back cover, Becalmed

Front and back cover, Becalmed


Full cover, Sailing out of Darkness

Full cover, Sailing out of Darkness



Combining Blogs and Simplifying Life

I hope you’ll stick with me as I struggle to simplify my life. Because I write stories (publication date still the secret of my publisher) that combine sailing and women’s fiction (except when they don’t), I’ve decided to have fun in one place. I’ll update Sea Venture’s world along with my world of writing over on Writing on Board. Will you come join me there?

Sea Venture will be on the move again soon. So follow along as we take this new journey. If you sign up for email updates on the writing blog, you’ll know where we’re off to and where we’ll land.  

I have also set up a website from which you can follow my publishing journey:

Do come say, “Hey!”


(And, yes, I’m still editing over at Wayside, which should give you a clue why things have to shrink a bit on the blogging side of my world. Michael leaves me to the online bit. He spends his energy researching for his next new invention.)




Writing (Not) on Board

Over on my writing blog (, I ruminated on worlds we create with our words and wondered how others find their stories. As many of you are friends from the cruising years, I thought I’d repost from that blog to this. (I wave at Faye from Genesis II, who has her back to me in the picture below as she and Ken showed off their fishing skills. Miss you.) Some of you may be writers of more than your own blog posts. I hope you’ll join in the discussion either here or there.

Oh, and Sea Venture is slowly coming back together. Someday soon we’ll slide out of Beaufort and anchor someplace for a night or two. I can’t wait. . .




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.

Loreto, MX


In the Sea of Cortez, the language of conversation and of social interaction held a certain lilt, an often smiling delight in simple things.

Cruising friends jigging for trigger fish

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.


Beaufort, NC



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.

Back in the Water — Finally

Well, Sea Venture floats. Good to know. After they eased her into the water yesterday, Michael dashed below to check the bow thruster installation and the new coils of stuffing around the prop shaft. She’s been sitting on the hard, settling into an unflattering shape, so who knew what we’d find.

Good Sea Venture. A little water around her belly, and she sits up straight and proud. Her interior teak is going to be so happy now.

Of course, there’s much left to do. Scrubbing and cleaning and getting all systems back on line. Unloading the spare bedroom of SV’s gear and reloading some of it on board.

And then sanding and varnishing her brightwork. And polishing all that stainless.

The marina stuck us in a slip with a ten-foot finger pier, which means one has to climb up over the bow pulpit to get on board. Michael has gone off to turn her around, but he’s got a bounce in his step today because that bow thruster means he’s in control of the front end, and the wind isn’t. He said he might have some hair left on his head if we’d had the bow thruster way back when.

Dream on, Mr. Fischer. Besides, I like the way he looks, just as he is.

At least, I’ve almost finished varnishing the companionway doors. These were repaired and reworked in Mazatlan when we changed the entry, but they clean up well. Just need to get the hardware back on, and they’re good to go.

As soon as we can get back on board, Mama and I plan to work on the rest of the teak. Someone stopped by right after SV arrived from her marathon trip and said, “So glad to see you’re letting her go grey naturally.”  We smiled and didn’t mention that neglect at sea had let her discolor, not intention.

We all know how much harder we’ve got to work to maintain aging bodies. Put aging bodies to work on aging wood, and you’ll see a lot of lounging in between bouts of sanding.

It may take a while.


With Sea Venture still land-bound, we’re playing on little boats. Step-sister Misa and her beau, Rick, came from California to visit, and we took the motor boat out to Cape Lookout. Michael, poor darling, remained tied to big-boat repairs (with a launch date looming, there’s still much to finish), so I was the designated driver and tour guide. Unlike most summer weeks in coastal Carolina, this one gave us perfect weather: sunny days and an ocean breeze in the afternoon to keep us cool and the bugs inland.

Even my 84-year-old mama came along for the boat ride and a picnic at anchor. Misa and Rick ventured over to the ocean side of the cut, but kept their snorkeling for inside after a 10-foot black-tipped shark showed up in the shallows. I’m sorry they didn’t have a camera at hand.

Here are some pictures for the family album.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse from a bouncy boat

Misa was our boat photographer, so I don’t have any shots of her from the trip. But she did discover the origin of the tri-cornered hat: you notice that’s what mine has become, and Mama’s is working its way there.

Don’t you love our hats?

This isn’t particularly flattering of Mama, but it is of Rick. Mama was game for anything and was probably giving Rick the history of the area as we zoomed out Core Sound.

Mama and Rick on the way to the Cape

Rick, the ever smiling!

I’m so glad he agreed to come. He’s a mountain man, a climber as is Misa, but I think North Carolina now claims a piece of his heart.

A shrimper at anchor

Misa and Rick show their loving smiles

What a delightful pair: witty, warm, and just plain good company. We’d dined on shrimp and corn and kale, so we were a happy bunch.

And this last is from this morning, when we had to wave good-bye. Come again soon, folks. We love you.

saying goodbye in front of the little house

It appears that, when I upgraded Writing on Board from to, I made both blog-post pictures and people vanish into cyberspace. If, by any chance, you were among those following my writing world at, then I’d be grateful if you’d drop by again and hit Subscribe.

I apologize. Really. To you and to my time, which has been frittered away with design woes when it ought to have been spent either writing, editing, or varnishing Sea Venture’s companionway doors.


And thank you for bearing with my Internet woes.


A few posts back, you read about our bow thruster/ shipment issues. Well, here’s round two of The Shipping Gremlins At Work.

Michael sent one of our Mermaid Marine air conditioners back to the factory for some warranty work. Those folk are professional, courteous, and dedicated to keeping customers happy. We recommend them and their products highly.

But shipping companies are a different matter. Mermaid packed the rejuvenated air-conditioner unit in dense foam with screws and a stabilizer board. The box had stickers pointing UP and declaring FRAGILE, DON”T STACK on every side. We wondered if the delivery driver could read when he set the carton so that the UP arrow pointed left.

As far as we can tell, the shipper either tossed the heavy box around or dropped it during loading or unloading. The screws had come all the way out of the plywood, the foam was distorted, and the unit damaged just enough that it’s bound to rattle during use.

What are we dealing with here? Mismanagement? Unhappy and uncaring employees? Or is Something Else trying to keep Sea Venture from sailing again?

You can understand why I ask.




Fading into Silence?

What does it mean when a cruiser’s sailing blog slips into silence?

Sometimes, the sailor is busy sailing. He can’t write, because he’s at sea. She doesn’t post, because she’s too busy living the seafaring life.

Wouldn’t it be jolly if that were my excuse?

Well, I’m sorry to say, silence reigns here because Sea Venture is still on the hard.

I know. Amazing.

But true. So, here’s the update. She looks terrible. The poor dear has her stuffing pulled out and her mizzen still off, and there’s dirt everywhere. Nothing is as dirty as a boatyard.

I’m hoping this is the storm before the calm. A mess on its way to clean. The beast about to become a beauty.


So, that’s why I’ve been silent. Not because we’ve been too busy sailing.

I will say that I’ve also been just a tad preoccupied with my writing.

Oh, didn’t you know that I write women’s fiction from a sailor’s perspective? I do. And my first Beaufort story will be released sometime toward the end of the year or the first of next year in both print and e-book format. You can keep track of that by coming by to say “Hey!” on Facebook. Or hanging out at the writing blog: Writing on Board

Looking forward to seeing you there!



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