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22 July 2019

Thoughts On Being Boring & A Blogging Break

 
As I sat down to write a post for you all today, all I could do was yawn. And that wasn't just because I hadn't had any coffee yet. It's because life on our boat is pretty BORING lately. Tickety Boo is still broken and until we get her keel repaired, all other boat projects are on hold. No point in spending time and money on other stuff if we're not sure if she'll float again.

So that means that there's nothing exciting to report. Not that boat projects are all that exciting, but they're a lot more interesting than telling you all about what I've been working on in the meantime. {Spoiler alert: It's a Mollie McGhie prequel novella all about how she met Scooter at the roller derby. Yes, Mollie used to be on a roller derby team. Scary thought.}

Because I don't want to BORE you and I don't want to keep on yawning as I write blog posts, I'm going to take a little summer blogging break. I'll be back on Wednesday, August 7th for IWSG day. Hopefully, we have some forward momentum on our boat by then and I'll have exciting things to report.

Hope everyone is having a great summer (or winter if you're in the southern hemisphere) and I'll see you back here next month.



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



Have you read MURDER AT THE MARINA yet? If not, now's the perfect time as the ebook is on sale for only 99c/99p.

Pick up your copy of this humorous sailing mystery at https://books2read.com/MurderAtTheMarina

Find out more at https://ellenjacobsonauthor.com/

17 July 2019

Wordless Wednesday | Life Without A Fridge


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 - The fridge on our sailboat is broken. Again. {Sigh}

2 - It's hard to believe that I happily lived without a fridge on our first sailboat in New Zealand. Once you get used to having a "luxury" item like a fridge, it's hard to go back to not having one.

3 - It's probably worse not having a fridge in southern Florida because it's so stinking hot here in the summer. I sure am missing having a cold can of sparking water after being outside.

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!




Have you read MURDER AT THE MARINA yet? If not, now's the perfect time as the ebook is on sale for only 99c/99p.

Pick up your copy of this humorous sailing mystery at https://books2read.com/MurderAtTheMarina

Find out more at https://ellenjacobsonauthor.com/

10 July 2019

Wordless Wednesday | Tropical Drinks


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 - What is it about tiny umbrellas in drinks that makes them so much fun?

2 - I remember getting Shirley Temples when I went out to eat as a little girl. Ginger ale, a splash of grenadine, and a maraschino cherry. It all seemed so fancy, especially when there was a umbrella adorning the drink or the cherry was skewered on a tiny plastic sword.

3 - I don't think I've ever had a drink out of a coconut before. Must get to a tropical island soon and try one.

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!




Have you read MURDER AT THE MARINA yet? If not, now's the perfect time as the ebook is on sale for only 99c/99p.

Pick up your copy of this humorous sailing mystery at https://books2read.com/MurderAtTheMarina

Find out more at https://ellenjacobsonauthor.com/

08 July 2019

Cost Of Living Aboard A Broken Boat | May & June 2019

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.

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 | May & June 2019

Overall, we spent >>$3,677<< during May and June.

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 = $554

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. As you can see from the total above, we more than achieved that due in part to focusing on eating up all the provisions we had bought for the Bahamas, which we never ended up getting to this year due to the issues with our boat.

PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD | Total = $26

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 = $175

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 higher than I would have liked. We spent way too much on eating out or getting takeout food in May ($94), but managed to cut back a bit in June ($43). I also got a month of CBS All Access ($5.99) so that I could watch the latest season of Star Trek: Discovery. And, as always, I spent a chunk of change on books for my Kindle.

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.

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 June.

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.

BOAT STUFF | Total = $376

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 = $80

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.

MEDICAL EXPENSES | Total = $208

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 = $326


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, computer parts, postage etc.

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!


Have you read MURDER AT THE MARINA yet? If not, now's the perfect time as the ebook is on sale for only 99c/99p.

Pick up your copy of this humorous sailing mystery at https://books2read.com/MurderAtTheMarina

Find out more at https://ellenjacobsonauthor.com/

03 July 2019

Release Of Poisoned By The Pier & Character Traits | IWSG


The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there's an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.

This month's optional question is:

"What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?"
Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. You can find out how I answered the question below, as well as find out more about the release of my latest book!



Poisoned by the Pier is now available! This is the third book in my Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery series. You can find the blurb at the end of this post. If you'd like a copy, it's available in ebook, paperback, and large print.

EBOOK: Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play

PAPERBACK: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

LARGE PRINT: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books-A-Million 

Part of me is thrilled to have published another book. The other part of me is a mass of writerly insecurities. What if everyone hates it? What if nobody buys it? What if it isn't as funny as the previous ones? What if. . .you get the idea.

But enough about me. Now a word from our sponsor. Okay, he's not really our sponsor, but he's a really cranky cat who won't stop annoying me unless I let him speak. Yep, you know who I'm talking about. None other than Simon the Time Traveling Cat.

* * *

Simon pawed at the computer screen and growled. "Who's that stupid cat in that stupid picture?"

"He seems like a perfectly intelligent cat to me." I picked Simon off of the keyboard and set him on the seat next to me.  "Don't you think his gray and white markings are handsome?"

"If he was smart, he wouldn't be posing next to your books, lady."

"Maybe he likes my books."

Simon jumped back on the table and sprawled next to my laptop. "No one likes your books. You go on and on about chocolate. Nobody likes chocolate."

"I like chocolate," I said.

"So basically it's a book about you." He leaned over the table to look at the pen he had just knocked off. "All you did is write a book about someone just like you."

"Mollie is nothing like me."

"She likes Star Wars, you like Star Wars. She lives on a sailboat, you live on a sailboat. Need I go on?"

"She finds dead bodies everywhere and I don't," I said. "We're nothing alike. Case closed."

"She has a cat and you have a cat."

"Simon, you're imaginary. You only pop up in these IWSG posts. You know I don't have room for a real cat on my boat. Where would I put the litter box?"

"Could an imaginary cat do this?" Simon asked as he proceeded to hack up a hairball on my keyboard.

I put my head in my hands and sighed. Maybe a real cat would be less trouble than an imaginary one.



What would you do if your hubby signed the two of you up for an extreme diet?

Life without chocolate and junk food—completely miserable. Finding someone poisoned by a cake—even worse.

Mollie thought she had enough problems to deal with when her husband threw out all of her chocolate and junk food. But when someone is poisoned during a cake baking competition, she’s thrust into another murder investigation.

While she tries to identify the killer, Coconut Cove’s annual boating festival is in full swing. In between getting ready for her first sailing race and cheating on her diet, Mollie and her cat, Mrs. Moto, uncover clues, interview suspects, and do their best to avoid rutabagas.

Can Mollie nab the murderer before someone else is poisoned?


Poisoned by the Pier is the third book in the light, humorous, and original Mollie McGhie cozy sailing mystery series. If you like kooky characters, adorable cats, and plenty of chocolate, you'll love this cozy mystery. Buy Poisoned by the Pier today and laugh out loud from the first page to the last.

EBOOK: Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play

PAPERBACK: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

LARGE PRINT: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books-A-Million 

Spoiler Alert: You’ll never look at rutabagas the same way again after you finish reading this book! {Not sure what a rutabaga is? You might know it as a swede, a neep, or a snagger. Find out more here.}


Poisoned by the Pier can be read as a standalone book, but you’ll have more fun if you start at the beginning of the series with Murder at the Marina. And guess what - Murder at the Marina is currently on sale for only 99c/99p!

You can grab a copy of the ebook at your favorite retailer.

Want to know when I have new releases and hear about other fun stuff? Sign up to my newsletter.

Writers - What personal traits do you work into your character(s)? Readers - What are your favorite character traits?

01 July 2019

Happy Canada Day!


Happy Canada Day to all of our Canadian friends out there! In honor of this auspicious day, I'm rerunning a post that I originally wrote in 2017. The same sentiments hold true today.

* * *

During the winter season at Indiantown Marina, Canadians probably outnumber Americans by a sizable margin. It's quite a popular place for Canadians to store their boats during hurricane season. Once the snow starts to fly, they make their way down south to Indiantown and get their boats ready to head out cruising or just hang out here at the marina for the season enjoying the sunshine and palm trees.

You've heard all of the stereotypes about Canadians before. They say "eh" a lot (true for some), they have unibrows (no comment), they say "a-boot" and not "about" (yes, and it's adorable), they live off a diet of maple syrup and Tim Horton's donuts (sounds good to me), they're all lumberjacks (uh, no) and they're super nice (very true).

I can't emphasize how much that last one is true. Canadians are some of the nicest, helpful and most generous people you'll ever meet. They're all around good eggs. Okay, maybe there's some bad Canadians out there, but you won't find them at Indiantown Marina.

Honestly, they've restored my faith in humanity. After a bruising and divisive election cycle (no matter what side you were on), I kind of started to lose hope in the basic goodness in humanity. You know, the "do unto others, as you would have them do unto you" way of approaching each other. It seemed like it was becoming more of a "who cares about you, it's all about me" kind of a place.

Then along came the Canadians with their help, support and "pay it forward" mentality. Don't get me wrong, the Americans here are wonderful too and we'd be lost without the support and help of our dear Yankee friends (not to mention their "tool shed" and acrylic expertise). That just goes without saying.

But this is about the Canadians and how much they've been instrumental in getting our boat ready to go cruising. (I should say "somewhat ready to go cruising" just in case I jinx things and more stuff breaks.) These guys might not be lumberjacks, but they sure are geniuses when it comes to electrical systems, engines, solar arrays, you name it. And they share their knowledge freely. They even come poke around in the murky depths of our engine room or in the confines of the lazarette to help us chase down issues and sort out problems.

And when you apologize for taking up so much of their time and pestering them with annoying questions, they just shrug their shoulders and say, "Don't worry. Just pay it forward."

I always knew I loved Canadians. But now I love them even more because they've reminded me that humans (at least most of them) are good at heart and genuinely want to do unto others as they would have them do unto them.

What's your favorite things about Canada or Canadians? And for a more controversial question - only 100% genuine maple syrup on your pancakes or will Mrs. Butterworth's do?

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


Poisoned by the Pier, the latest Mollie McGhie cozy sailing mystery, is now available!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble Nook | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com


26 June 2019

Wordless Wednesday | Crazy Cat Lady Strikes Again



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 - Is there anything cuter than a kitten on a sailboat? 

2 - I wonder how they got the kitten to hold still long enough with that hat on to get this picture? 

3 - Maybe Scott and I should get sailor hats? Or maybe a kitten? Okay, the kitten is happening, but I can see the hats in our future.

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!


The latest Mollie McGhie cozy sailing mystery is releasing this Friday! 

Pre-order >>Poisoned by the Pier<< on Amazon | Barnes & Noble Nook | Apple Books | Google Play

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com