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19 September 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Talk Like A Pirate Day



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 - Ahoy, mateys! It's "Talk Like a Pirate Day"!

2 - We're not big on dressing up, but I know people who take every opportunity they can fin to don their pirate apparel.

3 - Did you know that the term "filibuster" has pirate origins? It must be true - I read it here.

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

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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



Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 



17 September 2018

A Blogger Who Writes Or A Writer Who Blogs?

Last month, I offered an apology for slacking off on responding to blog comments and returning visits to all of you lovely people's blogs. Someone left a really interesting comment saying something like "some people are bloggers who happen to write, others are writers who happen to blog and you have become the latter."

This blog used to be my main creative outlet, but I wonder if that's changed over the past year or so as I've focused more on writing cozy mysteries. Have I become a writer who happens to blog? I certainly haven't given this blog the love and attention it deserves, and I've even missed posting a few times (I usually post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).

It feels like my creative well has been a bit tapped dry as of late while I've been working on my latest manuscript and The Cynical Sailor has suffered as a result. Do we have a limited amount of creativity and have to choose where we invest it?

On the bright side, I sent >>Bodies in the Boatyard<< off to the editor this weekend and am thinking of a publication date sometime in November if all goes well. (Many, many thanks to all of my wonderful beta readers!) So now I should have a bit more time for blogging while I switch gears and move into outlining the next book in the series.

Here's a sneak peek at the cover - kind of makes it real looking at it like that. You can find out more on my author blog here. There's even a post about alien abduction today over there.



Since my creative well is a bit dry at the moment, I'd love to get some ideas from you - what would you be interested in having me blog about? What questions are you dying to have me answer?

12 September 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Ethiopian Food & An Interview


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'm writing this before breakfast. I can't decide what to have. All the usual suspects sound kind of dull - oatmeal, yogurt, toast etc. What I really want this morning is Ethiopian food.

2 - We really need to learn how to make it for ourselves. It's not always easy to find Ethiopian restaurants in your travels.

3 - Want more words on your Wednesday? Hop on over to Operation Awesome to read an author interview with me. I talk about writing, living on a sailboat, and Ethiopian food.


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

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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

Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

10 September 2018

Mother Nature Is At It Again


Three hurricanes in the Atlantic - Florence, Isaac, and Helene, plus something else brewing in the Caribbean which could impact Texas and Louisiana. It's pretty awful to see what's headed toward the Caribbean islands and the States right now. Especially when we just had the one year anniversary of Hurricane Irma.

Fortunately, Florida isn't in Hurricane Florence's path so we and our sailboat aren't in any danger. Unfortunately, many other people are in the cone of destruction. It's just gut-wrenching to read people's updates about prepping their sailboats, moving them to secure locations (if they can get to one), hauling their boats out (if they can find a place that can take them), making plans for evacuation, and worrying where she'll strike and if their boats will survive.

And that's just our boating friends - there are so many people on land in danger as well. Our thoughts are with everyone watching and waiting and prepping for what may be headed their way.

Are you in the midst of hurricane prep? Is there any place less prone to natural disasters? Have you been through a natural disaster?

07 September 2018

Cost Of Cruising & Living Aboard A Sailboat | July & August 2018



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.

We're currently at Indiantown Marina in Florida. Scott is working overseas so the costs are lower than if he was here. He'll be back in the next month of two and then costs are going to skyrocket as we start work on the very long list of boat projects that we have to do.

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.


* * *

Cost of Cruising & Living Aboard | July & August 2018

Overall, we spent >>$2,402<< during July and August.

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).
(d) Scott was in Scotland during the past two months, so our expenses are a lot less than they would be if he was here.

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



* * *

GROCERIES | Total = $333

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. So that means a spend of $167 for the past couple of months for just me made me very happy.

PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD | Total = $30


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 = $140


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.

 
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 her slip so we haven't needed to get any fuel.

PROPANE  | Total = Nil


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.

MARINA COSTS | Total = $1,345


Keeping Tickety Boo in a slip is one of our biggest expenses, and the rates went up in January. The new monthly cost of a slip with electricity at Indiantown Marina for a 34' boat is $657. The guys at the marina will also come pump out our holding tank on demand - $10 for each visit.

BOAT STUFF | Total = $282


This category is for all the stuff we buy for the boat, as well as  repair and maintenance costs. Our big purchase was a new-to-us Walker Bay dinghy with a sailing kit. We also renewed our Coast Guard documentation.


TRANSPORT | Total = $32

This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands.


MEDICAL EXPENSES | Total = Nil


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, prescriptions and things for our medical kit. It also includes the costs of doctors visits and medical tests which aren't covered by our insurance. It's always nice to report nil spending in this category.


OTHER | Total = $127

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!


Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

05 September 2018

Simon Goes Nuts For Catnip | 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 question is:

"What publishing pathway are you considering / did you take, and why?"

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. If you want to see how I answered the question, have a look below. 


* * *


Image via The Graphics Fairy


"Simon, get off of my laptop." I set my coffee cup down next to my computer and stared at the unresponsive ball of fur. "Simon, come on, I need to work."

The large gray cat lifted his head and gave me a haughty look. "Leave me alone, lady. It's my nap time." He stretched out, completely covering the keyboard and erasing all of my work in the process.

"Aargh! You deleted my IWSG post!" I tried to shoo Simon off of the table, but he wasn't having it. Then I remembered the secret weapon I had stashed away. I opened a drawer, pulled out a small bag, and waved it in front of the feline's nose. "Do you want some catnip?"

Simon started meowing loudly and batting at the bag. I sprinkled some of the dried leaves on the settee and watched as Simon darted across the room in a frenzy. While he rolled around in the catnip, purring loudly and kneading the cushions, I tried to resurrect my blog post.

"Oh, this is hopeless, Simon," I said. "There's no way I can rewrite this before IWSG day."

Simon stared at me for a few moments with a glazed look in his eyes, then rolled on his back and promptly fell asleep.

"I guess I'll have to take a leaf out of your book and be lazy about my answer to this month's question. Rather than tell everyone what publishing path I took and why, I'll point them to my author blog where I've already addressed this before."

I looked over at Simon. His paws were twitching. I wondered what he was dreaming about. I kept talking out loud despite the fact that he was ignoring me.

"I'll tell everyone to check out this post, where I talk about why I chose to self-publish my cozy mystery rather than go down the traditional publishing route. Then there was the post where I discussed the pros and cons of being exclusive with Amazon or going wide and distributing to other ebook stores, like Kobo, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iBooks, and Google Play. I went wide, by the way."

I carried on while Simon continued to chase imaginary lizards in his sleep. "Then there was the post I did earlier this week, where I shared details of my book release in numbers which illustrates some of the publishing choices I made."

After I finished typing and scheduling my post, I sat next to Simon and rubbed his belly while he purred. "See isn't catnip fun? Let's make a deal. You don't sleep on my laptop anymore and I'll reward your good behavior with catnip."


* * *

If you're interested in finding out more about what publishing path I took and why, check out these posts on my author blog:


Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing - the pros and cons of both approaches to publishing and why I opted to go down the indie route.  

Amazon Exclusive vs. Going Wide - the pros and cons of making your book exclusive to Amazon and why I chose not to.

Cozy Mystery Book Release in Numbers - recap of my recent release of Murder at the Marina in numbers, including percent sold on Amazon vs. other retailers, ebook vs. paperback sales, and sales by country.


* * *

And, now for a favor. If you've read my cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina, could you take a moment to leave a review? It would mean the world to me and help other readers find my book. It doesn't have to be long - just a sentence or two would be great. You can leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. If you picked up a copy on another retailer like Kobo, Barnes & Noble, or Apple iBooks, you can also leave reviews there. Thanks for your help!


Writers - what publishing paths are you considering or have taken? Readers - does it matter to you if a book is independently or traditionally published? Do you leave book reviews?

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

Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

03 September 2018

The Big White Shoes Debate


I was at a barbecue last night and we were talking about the no-white after Labor Day rule. I remember this being such a big deal when I was younger and having to say goodbye to my white shoes at the end of each summer. Is this still a big deal? Do you wear white shoes or any white clothing after summer is over?

For those of you who are celebrating Labor Day today, I hope you have a wonderful time free of work and full of good weather. If it's just an ordinary Monday for you, I hope it's an awesome start to the week.

What fashion rules do you swear by? What fashion rules do you think are outdated?

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



Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com   

31 August 2018

Flashback Friday | Birthmarks, Tattoos & Treasure Maps




Flashback Friday takes place on the last Friday of the month. The idea is to give a little more love to a blog post you've published before that maybe didn't get enough attention, or is something you think is still relevant or even a something that you really love and want to share again.

Many thanks to Michael d’Agostino for starting Flashback Friday and inspiring me to go back and revisit some of our earlier blog posts.

* * *

A while back, at one of our Taco Tuesday get togethers, the gang started talking about some really random things like whether or not panda bears are actually bears, who starred in some old TV shows, the birthmark on my arm, and treasure map. I had this vague notion that I might have actually written a blog post about my birthmark and treasure maps once upon a time. And, lo and behold, I did - way back in September 2015. You can find the original post here.  

When I looked back at this post, two things came to mind: (1) I think about weird stuff and (2) give people enough tacos and beer and they talk about weird stuff too.


* * *

Over the past week, I've been busy cleaning out our boat, moving stuff around, digging through hard to reach cubbyholes and inventorying everything. I'm not really looking at my best with all of this work - frizzy hair, sweat dripping down, cuts, bruises and dirt everywhere.

The other day I was on deck trying to sort out my musty v-berth cushions when one of my dock neighbors at the marina stopped by for a chat. He took one look at me and said, "Hey, watch out, you've got a bunch of grease on your arm." I looked down and didn't see anything. It was probably the only place on my body that wasn't covered with grime. Then I realized that he was looking at my birthmark.

When he realized his mistake, he kind of got a little embarrassed (he's such a sweetie). I'm not sure if he was embarrassed because he mistook my birthmark for grease or if he was embarrassed for pointing out my birthmark. Some folks aren't too happy about having birthmarks. Personally, I love mine. I think the one on my arm looks like a deserted island. What do you think?



I told my dock neighbor my theory. "One of these days, when Scott and I are out sailing, we're going to find the island that matches my birthmark and we're going to lay claim! The birthmark proves its mine!" He chuckled and said that what would make it even better was if we found buried treasure on our island. Then he had brilliant idea - get a tattoo for X marks the spot on my birthmark. 

I was thinking I could go for something like this.

 
I can only imagine the look of horror on Scott's face as he reads this blog post and worries that I'm actually going to go through with this whole tattoo thing while he's away. And he thought the fabric I've picked out for curtains and throw pillows was awful. Wait until he sees my tattoo. That'll teach him for being gone so long.

On another note, I'm heading off to Portland today to visit my family. I think we're making our way up to Washington State this weekend to look for Bigfoot. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page, I'll post a picture of Bigfoot if we spot him.

Do you have a birthmark? Do you like it? Do you have any tattoos? If so, what are they of and where are they located?

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


Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com   

29 August 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Starfish




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 want to be a starfish when I grow up. Well, maybe not completely, but the idea of being able to regenerate my limbs is awfully appealing.

2 - I have this weird thing on one of my fingers and Scott told me it was probably leprosy and then proceeded to do a Monty Python bit. ("Half a shekel for an old ex-leper?") Now, each morning, I count my digits. So far, so good - twenty every time.

3 - Starfish don't have to worry about this kind of things. And, if they did, they'd only have to count up to five. How lucky are they?

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

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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


Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

27 August 2018

What Will Sailing Be Like In 100 Years?

 

Do you ever wonder what life will be like 100 years from now? Or do you want to know more about what happened 100 years ago? If someone offered you a ride in their time machine, would you go forward or back in time?

These are the types of questions I ask myself over my morning coffee. I also ask myself why anyone would have a peanut butter sandwich without jam. Then my mind works its way back to wondering what life will be like in the future and, on this particular morning, what sailing will be like.

People have used the wind to power their boats since the dawn of time. Sure technology has played a role in modern sailing, but the basic principle is the same - take a piece of fabric, hold it up, and let the wind push it.

It's kind of neat to think that at its core sailing probably won't change that much over time, but the experience of sailing might. Will there be more people out on the water, either voluntarily embracing a nomadic lifestyle or because they were forced to abandon life on land due to economic and other pressures? What will the oceans look like from an environmental perspective? Will the kraken get tired of all of our boats and take back the sea?

What do you think life will be like in 100 years? What do you think will change? What do you think won't?

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


Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

24 August 2018

An Assortment Of Oddities | Magazines, Whale Readers & Feeling Frumpy


I've got a random assortment of oddities to share with you today cause it's feeling like one of those kinds of days.

Let's start off with magazines. As part of my Amazon Prime membership, I have access to a number of free digital magazines. Although they can be fun to leaf through, I rarely buy print magazines anymore - they're so expensive for what you get. So sometimes I download a woman's magazine full of tips about how to keep your house clutter-free, despite the fact that I don't have a house or own many possessions. Other times, it's a food magazine full of gorgeous looking photos of exotic dishes that I drool over while I'm eating a PB&J, but which I'm never going to make.

Lately, I've been having a closer look at what's on offer. There's a magazine for pretty much any interest or hobby you might have or lifestyle you aspire to lead.

"Enjoy page after page of stunning photos of snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs and more in REPTILES!"

"Lost Treasure is the NUMBER ONE selling treasure magazine in the world...help make your next treasure hunt more successful whether you're hunting for lost coins or sunken treasure."


I skipped Lost Treasure, but I did download Reptiles. After all, a small family of lizards has taken up residence in my cockpit. Maybe I'll pick up tips on reptilian home decor to share with them.




Next up, >>whale readers<<. I've heard people use this term to describe voracious readers. You know, the folks who read a lot of books, sometimes even one or two a day. There's probably a magazine out there dedicated to whale readers.

I thought I read a lot (74 so far this year), but then I saw a blog post from Amy at Out Chasing Stars. She's read over 260 books in the past year! I love the picture of her reading on her catamaran. Fascinating post on what she likes to read and where she sources her ebooks. {Ebooks are so important when you live on a boat or in an RV - space is at a premium.} She's trying her hand at writing romance. Can't wait to read her book once it's published.



Finally, our Facebook page is looking a little frumpy. I haven't changed the banner image on our Facebook page probably since the day I set it up. My to do list is looking a little boring, so I think I'll procrastinate ticking life's little chores off in favor of looking through old photos and giving Facebook a new look.

What's the last magazine you bought? If you're a reader, how many books do you get through a year? If you have a Facebook page, how often do you update your banner image?

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


Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 



22 August 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Cap'n Crunch Cereal



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 was tempted to buy a box of Cap'n Crunch the other day. It's probably my favorite not-good-for-you-but-oh-so-delicious cereal. I used to eat it far more often than was good for me in college.

2 - These days I usually have a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Not nearly as delicious. Unless, of course you sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top. Not that I would ever do that.

3 - Did you know that you can do more with Cap'n Crunch than just dousing it with milk? I actually found a recipe for Cap'n Crunch chicken. It sounds rather odd. I think I'll stick with just eating mine the old fashioned way in a bowl.

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

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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


Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com