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22 October 2019

Wordless Wednesday | Snowbirds


 



Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:
 
1 - Snowbird season is upon us. People are driving down south in their RVs looking to spend the winter in a warmer climate.

2 - It's getting harder to find a parking spot at Walmart these days.

3 - RVs come in all shapes and sizes, just like people.

4 - If you had to describe yourself as an RV/camper, what would you say? Are you more of a travel trailer kind of person? An Airstream? A luxury motohome? A converted van? Or something else?


What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it? 

 
For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here and here.

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Get a FREE copy of Robbery at the Roller Derby by signing up for my newsletter HERE.

Or you can buy a copy for 99c/99p at your favorite retailer HERE

Also available in paperback and large print.

This prequel novella is set around twelve years before Murder at the Marina and tells the story of Mollie's roller derby days and how she and Scooter met. Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com

21 October 2019

Dogs & Cats On Boats


Because we don't have a real-life cat or dog aboard our sailboat, I have to get my fix other ways. My Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery series features a Japanese bobtail cat named Mrs. Moto and I occasionally blog here about an imaginary cat named Simon, but it's doesn't always hit the spot.

So I do what you'd expect - watch a millions cat and dog videos on YouTube. But I also read other sailing and cruising blogs / sites in order to live vicariously through their boat dogs and cats. I thought I'd share some of those links with you in case you're thinking of having a furbaby live aboard your boat or just enjoy looking at adorable pet pictures.

MJ Sailing

One of my favorite boat cats is Georgie from MJ Sailing. I've kitty sat her a number of times while Matt and Jessica were at Indiantown Marina (you can see some of my pictures HERE.)  Check out their YouTube channel and Facebook page and see if you can spot Georgie walking on her leash in ports of call or hanging out on deck.

The Boat Galley

Carolyn Shearlock not only is a guru when it comes to all things galley-related, she also has an adorable dog named Paz. She has a bunch of great resources for keeping a dog on board including:
 
Dogs on Boats 101
Boat Dog Food
Flying with a Small Dog

Denali Rose

Bill and Donna sail their Nauticat 43 in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. They have two super cute cats - Gus and Elsie - who feature regularly in their blog. Here are a couple of my favorite cat-related posts:

Kitty Mom - check out the cute shark bed
When it Happens - the time Gus fell in the water

Something Wagging this Way

Honey the golden retriever is sailing along the East Coast of the States with her humans. She shares info about dog-friendly places to visit and dog training tips and tricks. There are lots of fun and informative posts including:

Boat Dog: Everyone Should Have One
Taking the Dog for a Walk at Anchor

Bailey Boat Cat

Bailey is a gorgeous Siamese cat who sailed in Europe and even has his own book. I believe Bailey is now a land-lubber, but there is a new canine crew who are equally adorable. Check out their blog and Facebook page and be prepared to say "aww" a lot.


Do you have any dog and cat-related sailing blogs and resources to share? Leave a link in the comments and I'll add them to the list.

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!


Get a FREE copy of Robbery at the Roller Derby by signing up for my newsletter HERE.

Or you can buy a copy for 99c/99p at your favorite retailer HERE

Also available in paperback and large print.

This prequel novella is set around twelve years before Murder at the Marina and tells the story of Mollie's roller derby days and how she and Scooter met. Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com

16 October 2019

Wordless Wednesday | Archery




Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:
 
1 - I think archery may possibly be the coolest sport in the world.

2 - I'd only be successful at it if they made the target a whole lot bigger. Hitting that tiny bullseye seems tricky.

3 - We were biking when we saw this taking place. We made sure to go the other way. I think it would hurt if a stray arrow hit you.

What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it? 

 
For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here and here.

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!



Get a FREE copy of Robbery at the Roller Derby by signing up for my newsletter HERE.

Or you can buy a copy for 99c/99p at your favorite retailer HERE

Also available in paperback and large print.

This prequel novella is set around twelve years before Murder at the Marina and tells the story of Mollie's roller derby days and how she and Scooter met. Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com

14 October 2019

Eating Our Way Through A (Non-) Hurricane

When Hurricane Dorian was forecast to be on a collision course with Indiantown, we freaked out a little. What do you do when you freak out? Us? We make hotel reservations and skip town.

Fortunately for us, Dorian didn't come within spitting distance of Indiantown. Unfortunately for us, our reservations were non-refundable. So we ended up spending three nights on the Gulf coast of Florida.

To be honest, we were a bit bored. We didn't really want to leave the room, no doubt in part due to the fact that there was a large bed (yay - no need to squeeze two people onto a small boat-size bed) and a bathroom with a shower! and a toilet! attached directly to our room! Yes, when you live on a boat in a boatyard and have to use communal facilities, these little things are like winning the lottery.

It was hot outside and we've seen most of the Gulf coast before during other travels so we ended up watching a lot of TV, taking naps, and pretty much only leaving the room to go in search of food.

Want to see what we ate? Of course you do. Why wouldn't you? This will be the perfect distraction for your Monday morning. Just make sure you eat breakfast first or else you'll end up with some serious hunger pangs.

Isn't this adorable? I might have screamed a little when I saw it and made Scott turn around to go check it out. We actually didn't buy any ice cream. Are you impressed? Are you in awe of our will power? Don't be. They weren't open. We did drive-through McDonalds later for hot fudge sundaes. So all was not lost.


We love Greek food. We rarely get to have Greek food. This makes us sad. So when we saw a Greek restaurant at Fort Meyers Beach, we felt an overwhelming sense of joy. The beer was super cheap too. That helped to our happiness level.


It was pretty cute inside. Almost like we were back in Greece if you ignored the fact that they had American beer on tap.


I could use a manicure. That's what I think when I look at this picture. I also think about how delicious the gyros was.


One night we went out to dinner at the Big Hickory Fishing Nook Marina in Bonita Springs. It was a super cute place.


We barely beat the dinner rush. Turns out it was fish taco night. Very popular with the senior set. I decided to be a contrarian and ordered a cheeseburger instead of fish.


Is there anyone who doesn't like pizza? I don't understand people like that. It's like folks who say they don't like cookies. I'm immediately suspicious of them. We like pizza so much we had it twice at Leoni's in Bonita Springs. Pretty darn tasty. The fact that they give you a free glass or wine or beer doesn't hurt either.


What's your favorite food? When's the last time you ate out? What did you have?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!



Get a FREE copy of Robbery at the Roller Derby by signing up for my newsletter HERE.

Or you can buy a copy for 99c/99p at your favorite retailer HERE

Also available in paperback and large print.

This prequel novella is set around twelve years before Murder at the Marina and tells the story of Mollie's roller derby days and how she and Scooter met. Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com

12 October 2019

Saturday Spotlight | Author Interview With Charles Suddeth

In addition to the usual blog posts every Monday and Wednesday about our travel adventures and day-to-day life living aboard a sailboat, I also occasionally post on Saturdays, focusing on things related to writing such as cover reveals, book launches, reviews, interviews with authors etc. So if you're a bit of a book nerd like I am, check in on Saturdays - you never know what might pop up.


Today, I have an author interview with Charles Suddeth to celebrate the release of his book, Stone Man and the Trail of Tears. Sit back, grab a snack, and find out what Charles has to say about writing, penguins, and cookies.

1 - What inspired you to write this book? 


My great-great grandfather, Bill Pennington was born about 1830 in a Cherokee mountain village, possibly in Kentucky. The family moved north of the Ohio River around the time of the Trail of Tears to a rural area north of Charlestown, Indiana, 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky where a mixture of whites and Meti (French/Shawnee mixed bloods) lived. Many of the Cherokees in eastern Kentucky were chased out during this period.

2 - Do you have any writing rituals? 

I do love my coffee. After coffee, I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and clear my mind. My inner self takes control.

3 - What's more important - character or plot? 

I think they are equally important. A fantastic plot will generate great characters. And complex, conflicted characters will get in trouble and generate great plots.

4 - What do you like best about being an author? 


I love writing stories that people cannot stop reading. What do you like the least? I am a humble person. I hate telling editors and readers that my books are a great read. I would rather tell them about my friends’ books.

5 - What's your favorite cookie?
If you don't like cookies, what's wrong with you? Oops, sorry, scratch that. My follow-up question was meant to be far more polite - "Why don't you like cookies?"

The one in my hand. I never met a cookie I didn’t like! If pressed, I might mutter about oatmeal raisin cookies. I will answer both ways. I don’t like food that fits in my hand and contain infinite calories.

6 - A penguin walks through your front door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why did he come visit you?



“Que tal, yall?” says penguin. He has come to beg me for oatmeal cookies, but he is out of luck.







7 - What else would you like us to know about you? 


I love learning about DNA research, though I am not an expert. Dinosaur tissue has been discovered, and T-rex may come back to life. I want to write about the resurrected dinosaurs!

Editor's Note: Thanks for participating in the interview, Charles. Oatmeal cookies are a great choice! Too bad the penguin got there too late :)

About Charles

Charles Suddeth has published poetry, picture books, middle reader’s books, young adult thrillers, and adult mysteries in English, Cherokee, and Turkish. He is active with Green River Writers and leads a monthly SCBWI Social. He lives in Louisville and teaches for the Jefferson County Schools. 

You can connect with Charles on his Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Tumblr


About Stone Man

After U.S. soldiers attack twelve-year-old Tsatsi’s Cherokee village, his family flees to the Smokey Mountains. Facing storms, flood, and hunger, they’re forced to go where Stone Man, a monstrous giant, is rumored to live.

His family seeks shelter in an abandoned village, but soldiers hunt them down. Tsatsi and his sister Sali escape, but Sali falls ill and is kidnapped by Stone Man. Tsatsi gives chase and confronts the giant, only to learn this monster isn’t what he seems.

Their journey is a dangerous one. Will Tsatsi find the strength to become a Cherokee warrior? And will they ever find their family?

Print ISBN 9781939844620
Driven to Stone Man’s trail...
EBook ISBN 9781939844651

Release date – October 8, 2019

Find Stone Man: And the Trail of Tears at: Amazon | Apple Books | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


09 October 2019

Wordless Wednesday | Are They Out There?




Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:
 
1 - I bought a copy of Contact for a dollar at a thrift store last week. It's one of my favorite movies, but I've never read the book. I wonder how much they "Hollywoodized" it? Was Carl Sagan happy with the outcome?

2 - According to this Gallup survey, 60% of Americans think that UFO sightings can be explained by human activity or natural phenomenon. 16% claim that they've personally seen a UFO.

3 - What about you - do you believe in UFOs? Do you believe there's life out there in the universe?

What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it? 

 
For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here and here.

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!




Get a FREE copy of Robbery at the Roller Derby by signing up for my newsletter HERE.

Or you can buy a copy for 99c/99p at your favorite retailer HERE

Also available in paperback and large print.

This prequel novella is set around twelve years before Murder at the Marina and tells the story of Mollie's roller derby days and how she and Scooter met. Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com

07 October 2019

Cost Of Living Aboard A Broken Boat | July & August 2019

Oops! I meant to post this in September and never got around to it. Too many distractions with a hurricane headed our way. But better late than sorry.

We track and report every penny we spend living aboard and cruising on Tickety Boo, our Moody 346 sailboat for a couple of reasons.

1 - It helps us see where our money is going, helps us make informed choices about where to spend our money, which in turn helps us stretch our money further so that we can keep adventuring longer.

2 - We found it really useful to check out other people's cost of cruising when we were starting out, so we figure we can return favor by sharing ours.

While we had hoped to be in the Bahamas this season on our boat, we're currently at Indiantown Marina in south Florida on the hard in the workyard due to a crack in our hull. We've sorted things out with insurance but we're STILL working through logistics of how and when to do the repair. Yes, we're STILL on the hard. It's a long story. Buy us a beer sometime and we'll tell you all about it.

In the meantime, we've basically put everything else on hold. There's no point in spending money on our boat until we're sure the crack can be repaired. So this cost report is going to be a bit dull as there was very little spending on anything besides workyard fees and food.

You can find links to other cost updates from ourselves (on Tickety Boo, camping across the States, and our previous boat in New Zealand) and others on this page, as well as on The Monkey's Fist.

Living Aboard Costs | July & August 2019

Overall, we spent >>$4,163<< during July and August. That was up a bit from the previous two months ($3,677). You'll see why below.

When you look at the nitty-gritty details of what we spent below, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1 - All costs are in US dollars.

2 - Not all expenses are included - here's what we've left out:

(a) We don't report how much we spend on alcohol. I remember reading some horrible, judgy comments in a blog post a few years back about how much someone spent on booze, so I left it out when we first started tracking our cruising costs back in New Zealand. For consistency's sake, I've continued to leave it out when tracking our cruising costs.
(b) We've also left out our costs for medical insurance. We didn't think it made sense to include insurance costs as they can vary so widely depending upon your nationality, where you cruise, what level of coverage you want and can afford, whether you get subsidies etc. In case you are curious, while we're back in the States, we do have a high deductible/high out-of-pocket expenses insurance through the health insurance marketplace (aka the Affordable Care Act), primarily to protect our assets and cover us in case of a catastrophic medical condition.
(c) I haven't included any expenses related to my writing projects (e.g., editor, book cover design, publishing expenses, author website).

3 - I've included any shipping and taxes we've paid in what we report - Florida has a 6% sales tax.

All right, now that we've got that out of the way, let's dive into the numbers.

GROCERIES | Total = $879

This category includes everything we put in our bodies in terms of food and drink (excluding booze) that we prepare ourselves. It doesn't include things like paper towels and ziploc bags, which I know some people would classify as groceries. Sure, you could probably eat them, but they wouldn't taste very good.

Although we don't budget (you can read more about that here), I'm happiest when we keep our monthly grocery spend per person under $200. We didn't exactly pull that off this time around. I think it was in part due to the fact that we had gone through most of the provisions we had bought at the end of last year in anticipation of being out cruising.

PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD | Total = $40

This is the category where we include household things (like paper towels and ziploc bags) and personal hygiene items (like soap and shampoo). We also capture items for the "home" here - like bug spray.

ENTERTAINMENT | Total = $189

In terms of drinks and eating out, this includes everything we don't prepare ourselves, even if we get something to go and eat it back on the boat. We also track how much we spend on books, magazines, DVD rentals and going to the movies in this category, as well as the occasional lottery ticket.

Our spend in this category was a little high. I spent more on books than I normally do and we bought tickets to see the Minnesota Twins play in Miami ($22).

COMMUNICATIONS | Total = $110

Our cell phone is actually one of our biggest non-boat related expenses. We have a monthly prepaid plan with AT&T which includes 8GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. To be honest, I should probably look at our plan. We've been able to use the WiFi at the marina and haven't had to use much of our cell phone data, so we might be spending more than we need to.

BOAT FUEL | Total = Nil


Tickety Boo has been sitting in the workyard so we haven't needed to get any diesel or gas.

PROPANE  | Total = $7

We have a propane/LPG cooker on our boat, which we need to replace as the stove no longer works and replacement parts aren't available. While we're at Indiantown Marina, we use an electric hotplate and a crockpot for cooking, so we haven't had to spend any money on filling our propane tanks. But we did get some small propane bottles for our Magma grill in August.

MARINA COSTS | Total = $1,810

The workyard isn't cheap - $30 a day which includes water an electric. If you pay for a month in advance, you get a small discount. You can kind of think of our monthly fees as rent or a mortgage payment.

BOAT STUFF | Total = $194

This category is for all the stuff we buy for the boat, as well as  repair and maintenance costs. Since our boat is broken, we've put boat projects on hold for now for the most part (there are always a few things you still have to take care of to keep your boat livable). Much of our spend over the past two months was for insurance.

TRANSPORT | Total = $171

This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands. We typically fill up our vehicle once a month. However, in August, we filled up twice which added to the overall cost. In addition to driving, this category also includes $42 for two round-trip tickets for the train from West Palm to Miami (once to go see the Twins play, once to go biking).

MEDICAL EXPENSES | Total = $123

This category includes medical expenses outside of our monthly insurance premium (which aren't included here - see section on exclusions above), like over the counter medications and prescriptions, as well as doctors visits.

 
OTHER | Total = $638


In this category, we break out how much we spend on clothes and travel expenses. We also include a catch-all miscellaneous group for stuff that doesn't fit neatly anywhere else - things like laundry, Amazon Prime, presents, postage etc.

I ended up buying a new laptop in August ($329) which is one of the major reasons why our expenses were so high. My old computer decided to have a nervous breakdown. Or was that me who had a nervous breakdown when it stopped working? We also had to FedEx some documents to the UK which cost seriously pretty penny. But there wasn't any choice - it needed to get there ASAP. Sometimes, you just have to spend money, even if you don't want to.


Any money saving tips to share? What do you spend the most on each month? Are there any areas you're trying to cut back on?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!

Get a FREE copy of Robbery at the Roller Derby by signing up for my newsletter HERE.

Or you can buy a copy for 99c/99p at your favorite retailer HERE

Also available in paperback and large print.

This prequel novella is set around twelve years before Murder at the Marina and tells the story of Mollie's roller derby days and how she and Scooter met. Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com