30 September 2019

Is Sailing Really Interesting To Non-Sailors? Writer's Tips & Tricks

One of the challenges I face writing a cozy mystery series about a reluctant sailor turned amateur sleuth is how to write about sailing in a way that's engaging for people who know nothing about boats.

Now that I've published three books in my series (plus a prequel), I've figured out a few tips and tricks about how to make it interesting. Want to know more? Hop on over to Elizabeth Spann Craig's blog HERE and check out my guest post.

25 September 2019

Wordless Wednesday | Autumnal Thoughts

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 can't believe the fall season is already upon us in the northern hemisphere.

2 - Being in Florida, we don't get the full autumnal experience that you do up north.

3 - I can live without winter, but I do miss fall.

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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23 September 2019

Buckeyes, Roller Skates & Danger | Robbery at the Roller Derby Release

Have you ever had a buckeye?

No, not the kind that falls from tree. Don't eat those. They're poisonous. Besides the whole potential-for-dying thing, why would you eat one of those anyway when you could have something that looks like a nut but is actually a candy? That's the kind of buckeye I'm talking about.

And how do I know so much about buckeyes? I grew up in Ohio and the buckeye is our state tree. This is one of the things I learned in Ohio history class. I also learned that Ohio has 88 counties. File that fun fact away for your next trivia contest.

But what they didn't teach us in school was that if you mix peanut butter, sugar, and butter together, shape it into balls, and dip it in chocolate you get something that looks like a buckeye but isn't poisonous. (Here's a recipe if you want to try them yourself.)

So what do buckeyes have to do with anything besides the fact that I now have a massive sugar craving? They were one of the fun Ohio references I weaved into my latest Mollie McGhie book - Robbery at the Roller Derby. It's a prequel novella set around twelve years before the start of Murder at the Marina. It tells the story of Mollie's roller derby days and how she met her husband, Scooter.

For those of you familiar with Mollie's antics, you can only imagine the trouble she gets up to as part of a roller derby team. Can she skate her way out of danger or will her nosiness be the death of her?

If you sign up for my newsletter HERE, you download a FREE copy of Robbery at the Roller Derby. 

Alternatively, you can pick up the ebook for 99c/99p at your favorite retailer HERE.

It's also available in paperback and coming soon in large print.

You can find out more on my author site.

Ever had a buckeye? Do you have a state/provincial/country tree? 

18 September 2019

Wordless Wednesday | Scrabble

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 - For someone who spends a lot of time writing down words and rearranging them into sentences, paragraphs, and chapters, you'd think I'd be better at Scrabble.

2 - If I had a favorite letter, I think it'd be "i" - but only the lower case version, not the upper case version.

3 - I used to only like writing in lower case letters when I was younger. I wonder if I'd be better at Scrabble if they used lower case letters instead.

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!

Want to find out more about my books? Check out my website. You can also sign up for my newsletter to get updates on new releases, sales and promos, and other fun stuff.

09 September 2019

The Bahamas Is Still Open For Business

I was thinking about what to blog about today and since the devastation that Hurricane Dorian wrought on portions of the Bahamas is very much on my mind, I thought I'd help spread the word that the rest of the Bahamas is still open for business. You can see on the map above which islands were impacted and which weren't.

Many folks are canceling their plans to visit the Bahamas not realizing that only part of this island nation was impacted by the hurricane. The Bahamian economy is very dependent on tourism and keeping that tourism continuing to flow will help them rebuild.

We've cruised throughout the Bahamas on our sailboat, both in the Abacos (marked in red above) and in the southern islands (marked in green). This lovely country is well worth a visit whether you travel by boat or plane. And if you need a little inspiration, check out all of our posts on our Bahamian adventures HERE.)

Have you been to the Bahamas? Where are you planning on taking your next vacation?

07 September 2019

Saturday Spotlight | CassaSeries By Alex J Cavanaugh

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 the pleasure of hosting Alex J. Cavanaugh the author of the Amazon best-selling CassaSeries, as well as the founder of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. I'm a big fan of Alex's books and if you like space opera, you'll love them as well!

Have a read below for details on the CassaSeries and how Alex comes up with his character names, as well as a cool giveaway!

Where Did the Character’s Names Come From?

Some people labor over character names. I read posts and comments from writers who struggle to find the right names or have to rename characters. Fortunately, I’ve never struggled with names.

Byron and Bassa came to me with their names in place. So did Athee, who appears in the next two books. Byron’s son was easy – Bassan honored his friend.

As for the rest of the names? I spent a whole thirty minutes per book making them up! That’s right – I just brainstormed unique, alien-sounding names that were also simple to pronounce and wrote them down. (My apologies for Ernx – it’s pronounced Urnks.) From that point, I paired them with the right character.

Yes, that meant that while I was writing each story, there were a lot of blanks in the manuscript. Which made it really fun filling them in later!

CassaStar Series Prequel
By Alex J Cavanaugh
Genre: SciFi Adventure, Space Opera 

The prequel to the Amazon best-selling Cassa series!

A pilot in training...

Fighting the odds, Byron is determined to complete Cosbolt training and join the Cassan space fleet. Poised at the top of his class, only one situation holds him back–his inability to work with anyone in the cockpit. Byron’s excellent piloting skills won’t be enough without a good navigator…

**Get it FREE!! **

CassaStar Series Book 1 

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.

Much to Byron’s chagrin the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.

As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo * BAM

CassaStar Series Book 2

From the Amazon best-selling author - CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

CassaStar Series Book 3

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

With a talent for worldbuilding and a compelling cast of characters, Alex J. Cavanaugh combines high powered space battles and the challenges of family dynamics to provide readers a space opera with heart.” - Elizabeth S. Craig, author of the Southern Quilting and Myrtle Clover mysteries

Get the CassaSeries Boxed Set Here! 

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the award-winning site, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

04 September 2019

Hurricane & Writing Update | 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:

"If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be 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. You can find out how I answered the question below.

I didn't have the time or energy to put together a "proper" IWSG post complete with an appearance from Simon the Time Traveling Cat. The reason has a name - Dorian the Hurricane.

I just asked my hubby when Dorian first came onto our radar as something we needed to be concerned about. He said, "Sometime last year." To be honest, that's what it feels like. In reality, I think it was just last week. When the National Hurricane Center started showing forecasts that had Dorian barrelling straight toward us as a major hurricane, that kind of got our attention. We prepped the boat, bought food, topped up the car with gas, and waited to see what Dorian would do.

Turns out we were fortunate. He bypassed us. Unfortunately, he pummeled the Bahamas. It's been heartbreaking seeing the photos and video showing the aftermath. So many of the places we've spent time cruising on our sailboat are no longer there. There really are no words to describe what I'm feeling and supposedly I'm a writer.

I have three more books planned in my Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery series. I'm currently working on the third (Dead in the Dinghy) and once I finish that I need to get started on the fourth (Shooting by the Sea). I had always planned for it to feature a hurricane and the impact that it has on Mollie, Scooter, and their marina friends. Now I'm not sure what I think about that now.

In other writing-related news, I just finished writing a Mollie McGhie prequel novella - Robbery at the Roller Derby. (Yes, Mollie used to be on a roller derby team. That's how she met her hubby.) I'm planning on using it primarily as a reader magnet for newsletter subscribers, although I'll probably also put it up for sale. Love to hear from any of you about your thoughts and experience with reader magnets and building your newsletters.

Where would you like to sit and write your next story or work on your other favorite creative pursuit? Has Dorian impacted you (or forecast to)?

Want to find out more about my books? Check out my website. You can also sign up for my newsletter to get updates on new releases, sales and promos, and other fun stuff.

02 September 2019

Nothing To See Here

I've got nothing for you today because there's been too much going on with hurricane prep, hurricane stress eating, and hurricane conversations around the marina.

At the time of writing (Sunday afternoon), things are up in the air as to what Hurricane Dorian will do. We're still in the cone of uncertainty and are keeping a close eye on things. Hopefully, he turns northward and stays well off-shore. But even if he does, the winds and rains may be pretty damaging here resulting in us losing power and internet.

In the meantime, we wait.