2016???

C.E. Grundler

I’m going to be honest; the last few years have been a bit fuzzy in places, and damned erratic the rest of the time. And now it’s 2016? Already? Where’d the time go? Three words for 2016? Let’s just say they start with the letters W.T.F.  (Actually, I’ve got two so far: Acceptance, and Onward. I’m giving #3 some serious thought.)

But here I am. 2016 has arrived with a bang, or more accurately, a nice steady spark, and with the doctor’s stamp of approval I can yet again attempt to resume my life. I’ve got all this wonderful energy, which is fantastic because I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, both on the ordinary day-to-day stuff and more gratifying(?) things, such as books and boats. Life can really get backlogged without a steady pulse to keep things moving. So, for 2016, one phrase sums up my outlook for the coming year.

If you’re lucky enough to get a second chance, don’t waste it.

 

 

 

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My 3 words for 2016

Lty

by Christine Kling

I know I have been a slacker when it comes to blogging the latter part of 2015. My fingers haven’t felt like dancing on the keyboard, and I haven’t been keeping folks up on the changes in my life. Currently, I am in Florida working on prepping our condo for either lease or sale, not sure which, and my husband Wayne is back on the boat in Fiji trying to get her ready to launch next month. We have made some big decisions about what we intend to do in 2016, and the short version is we are going to sail the 6-7,000 miles back to North America to sell our current boat in order to build a new one. So choosing my words for this new year has been a particularly interesting task.

2016 is my fourth year of selecting my 3 words for the new year. I have found this much more valuable than making New Year’s resolutions. In my case, the three words often work together by forming a triangulation to give direction to all my actions for that year. I view life as a long string of choices, and we are responsible for the choices we make. I pick words that will help guide my choices in the coming year. In the past three years, I have chosen these words, and if you are interested, you can click on the years to go to the blogs and read the reasons why:

2013 – Intend, Treasure, Stretch

2014   Awe, Tribe, Heart

2015 – Star, Brave, Connect

My 3 words for 2016

For 2016, I have chosen these three words, and each has a bit of a story to explain it:

Act  Okay, I admit it, I am a procrastinator. I have been since I was a little girl. But back when I was young, I thought I had all the time in the world to get things done. Today, I am 61 years old. (I know, how did that happen? I certainly don’t feel 61!) This past year, I put off calling friend. Wayne and I were traveling around Florida and Canada, and I thought I could do it later, after he was gone back to Fiji, and I was left alone here in Florida. Only tragedy struck and my dear friend was killed in a car accident, something that could have happened to someone at age 6 or 60. So this word is very important to me. Message to self: don’t put s*#t off. Live each day like it might be your last. If it matters, do it. Act now.

Believe  This word has so many ramifications for me given my avocation as a writer of fiction and our plans to build a new boat. But sometimes important lessons are revealed in small things. Wayne is always an optimist while I tend to be the catastrophizer. But a few days ago, I rode my bicycle to the grocery store here in Fort Lauderdale, and when I stopped at a picnic table in the store’s foyer to repack my backpack, I left my purse on the bench. I didn’t realize it until I got home and was unpacking my backpack. At first, I thought the worst. I began cursing myself for being so stupid. Then I thought of how Wayne would react, and I jumped back on my bike and rode back to the store with positive thoughts. When I arrived, a store manager greeted me by name and told me someone had turned in my purse. She pointed to the customer service desk and a young man handed me my bag. There had been about $100 in cash inside in addition to credit cards and cash, and it was all there. It’s not that I think that thinking positive thoughts made that happen. But good things do happen and there are really wonderful, kind people in the world. I choose to go through life believing the best of people. Sometimes I will be disappointed, for sure, but  for 2016, I choose to believe.

Tenacity  I started my search for a word here with the concept of “follow-through.” I feel as though sometimes I have very good intentions, but all too often I don’t follow them through to completion. I will get an idea, get all excited about it, and then let it fizzle. This is impacting all facets of my life. Then I looked at the concept of stick–to–itiveness which Mirriam Webster describes as dogged perseverance. That is what tenacity is.When you are tenacious, you don’t give up, don’t let go. I am soon going to turn 62 years old, and we have decided to build a new boat. At the same time, I have this career as a writer that I adore. I want to do both. It’s going to take a boatload of tenacity.

I challenge you to pick three words to guide you in your choices in 2016. I would love it if you would share them here in the comments. I look forward to reading them.

Fair winds!

Christine

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Battery Powered!

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C.E. Grundler

I got all wired up and electrified last Wednesday, and thank you all for the helpful encouragement and reassurances. I’m feeling a bit sore and bruised up, with an energy level I don’t think I’ve ever had. I feel awake, alert, alive — it’s amazing the difference some nice oxygenated blood flowing through you can make! And it’s funny to feel ‘Sparky’ kick on, it’s an odd but not uncomfortable feeling of my heart beating strong and steady. It’s reassuring, firing up at those moments when things would normally go black. The syncope that was a fact of life is no more! The hardest part is keeping me still right now, which I’m doing, but I want to run outside and play, damnit! And apparently I don’t sound ‘loopy’ anymore, something I’ve been told by everyone who talks to me post-Sparky. I’ll tell you, it’s a hell of a lot sharper inside my head — it’s as though everything became focused, and I hadn’t realized just how foggy everything had truly become. The first organ to suffer from poor blood flow is the ol’ brain, and without that nifty bit of grey mush, trying to finish a novel, trying to even write, had become a constant struggle and losing battle. Happily, I don’t think that’ll be a problem anymore. Back is that person who used to write until all hours of the night. I’ve lost a lot of time, and I’ve got a whole lot of catching up to do. The only thing stopping me now is that sitting up for long stretches still hurts, a little less each day.

I’ll admit I’m amused that it looks as though I’d been stabbed in the chest/shoulder. I mean, technically it *is* a knife wound, which is what I casually told someone in the store the other day, as she stood staring. Her eyes widened in horror and she said “Really?” I smiled and replied, “Yeah. But you should see the other guy.”  Her face was priceless, and I reassured her it was nothing that violent, merely a pacemaker. But in it’s own way the pacemaker is an invasive procedure, and there’s a whole lot of fun healing going on inside my chest, and right now I can feel weird pressure from the leads, which I’m sure I’ll eventually stop noticing. A little discomfort is a small price for knowing my heart won’t do anything wonky at some inopportune moment.

So, one week in and so far, so good. I do feel a bit odd on occasion – almost light-headed, but in a warm, pleasant, sort of tingly way, not dizzy/cold sweat/going down sort of way. That’s normal, I’m told. Right now, I’m running on the ‘Factory Default’ settings. That’s how everyone starts out, then they tune the chip to adjust how things are running…sort of like VW with my TDI. Ah, technology.

I’m just wondering — does this affect my status in the Tin Foil Hat Club?

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When will writing and publishing get easier?

KnightsCross-postage

by Christine Kling

Knight’s Cross, my latest Thomas & Mercer novel is now available for sale on Amazon. This is my seventh novel, but that doesn’t mean the release is any less fraught with anxiety. I have no idea whether people are going to like the book or not. It has been a year and a half since the last book in the series came out, and Knight’s Cross has not been given the huge launch that Dragon’s Triangle got by being a part of the Kindle First program. The new book has been out for four days now, and it has only received one review. In today’s world of publishing, books live or die by the number of reviews they get. I check the book ever few hours, and I feel like I’m watching my child’s head slip under water.

I love this book. In many ways this is a book of my heart. Wayne and I traveled Europe together doing the research for this book, he proposed to me on Malta, and I’ve dedicated the book to him. I wrote in the dedication that he proved to me I don’t have to live alone to write.

So what does it mean if this book fails? What if people hate the book? I tried to be daring, and I wrote a book with three different timelines. Was I crazy to try something so challenging?

This waiting and wondering makes me question everything.

Back in the days when I used to go out on the road and do talks and signings in bookstores, I was always terrified that no one would show up. And sometimes that did happen. But I survived. I kept on writing. And I kept telling myself that somehow I would find my audience.

Today I don’t do book signings much anymore, but I’m still terrified every time a new book is released, and I do keep asking myself, when will this get any easier? Will I always feel like a fraud and wonder if this is the time they are going to find out that I’m really not much of a writer? Is this going to be the book that ends my career? Or if this book doesn’t find it’s audience will I be able to soldier on and write another?

I don’t know if other writers go through this with every launch—and I don’t know if it’s wise to admit so publicly that I do. But I believe there are some unpublished authors who read this blog and maybe it’s okay, or even important, to let them know that whether it is the first book or the seventh, this feeling of putting your guts into a book and then sending it out into the world to be cheered or jeered at is something that never gets any easier. I would far rather face the job of clawing down a headsail on a heaving foredeck or standing a solo watch through a gale. It’s far easier to find the courage to do those things.

But this waiting and wondering about what the world will think about a book that took almost two years of my life to write?

That’s damn hard.

 

Fair winds!

Christine

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Heart of the Sea

04In-the-Heart-of-the-Sea

In the Heart of the Sea. In 2000, Nathaniel Philbrick released his book by that name and received the National Book Award for his true story account of the sinking of the whaleship Essex, which sailed out of Nantucket in the early 1800s under the command of George Pollard and first mate Owen Chase.

The story of the Essex influenced Melville’s writing of Moby Dick. Ron Howard took Nat Philbrick’s book, wove-in a central role for Herman Melville, and this Friday theatre-goers will have the opportunity to see the result.

When the film was in process, Ron Howard and Nat Philbrick visited Mystic Seaport, spending time aboard the Charles W Morgan, sitting for lunch in the captain’s quarters, drawing upon the experience aboard the nation’s oldest merchant vessel that is a sole surviving whaler from a fleet that once numbered 2,700 ships. In appreciation, Warner Brothers generously provided the Museum with an advanced showing of the movie last night. It was spectacular.

A few minutes into the movie it became obvious why so many swoon over Chris Hemsworth. By the end of the movie, I also understood why Ron Howard cast him for the lead role. It was likewise apparent that Howard’s directing drew solid performances from the entire cast.

I read the book when it first came out so I knew the movie’s central plot, but that spoiled nothing. The film held a sense of suspense from beginning to end.

There may have been some times when the allure and draw of special effects interfered with the story, but the acting carries the movie and I look forward to another viewing soon. Another read of Nathaniel Philbrick’s book, as well.

In a world where critics abound, there will likely be many views on the merits of this film. In time, we will learn if this will become a box office success or if the December release positions the movie for the awards season. In any event, I am confident that a viewing of In the Heart of the Sea will give the movie-goer a vivid fictional dream of what it meant to be aboard a whaleship two hundred years ago and that is an experience well worth the price of admission. I suggest you go to the big screen for this one, don’t wait to see it on DVD.

by John Urban

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I’m getting a Pacemaker!

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Lovely, isn’t she. Unfortunately, I don’t think Blue Cross would consider her a necessary life-saving device, and no, the last thing I need right now is another boat I can’t work on. All the same, when I hear ‘Pacemaker,’ it’s the above photo that comes to mind, not this:

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But yeah, it’s official. That’s what I’m getting, or some variation of it. The medication I’ve been on has helped, at first a lot, and then not so much. By late summer I had a bad feeling things were going downhill. And then the fainting episodes returned, and that nifty little Implanted Loop Recorder revealed what was going on — my slowly idling pulse had been ‘pausing.’ Translation: no heartbeat. No pulse. And when the heart stops pumping, there is no blood pressure. Gravity takes over and everything drains from the top (most times, the brain) and down. Take it from me, it’s not pleasant. I speak from experience. Too much experience.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 8.13.28 AM

Can you spot what’s wrong with this picture?

 

I’m sure there are other things going on, but apparently, a heart pumping properly can make a big difference in your overall health. If nothing else, it’ll keep me alive, which I’ve kind of grown accustomed to. And some fresh oxygen to the brain on a regular basis would be nice. It’s difficult to concentrate without it, and that kind of stops you from getting things like books and boats done. Every time my heart pauses, so does my life. I want to hit the PLAY button, damnit!

It’d be an understatement to say the last few weeks have been bumpy ones, and I suspect the weeks ahead will be as well. I’m back on the ‘no drive/walk on floating things/do much of anything’ list once again, and next Wednesday I’ll be getting a nifty new high-tech upgrade implanted, with wires snaked through arteries and anchored into my heart. Sounds uncomfortable, but necessary. I’ll have a device that must be guarded against unseen magnetic and radio interference. It’ll set off store alarm systems, and I’ve read I should keep circular saws and other power tools at least six inches from my chest — which I consider a good policy, implant or otherwise. And I’m still not sure how I feel about the concept of a lifetime warranty. But I do know one thing — I’ll be getting one seriously cool scar!

Anyhow, I’ll be climbing the walls for the next few days, waiting, and by this time next week I should be all wired up and officially part of the cyborg uprising.

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You say kids today don’t read?

High School Students Collaborating On Project On Campus

by Christine Kling

Well, I would like to offer you the opportunity to do something about that. It’s called the Battle of the Books Team.

As you may or may not know, I spent many years in the classroom as a high school English teacher. Today, I am very fortunate to be able to write full time, but I still have friends who are there doing the good work in the trenches to light that love for reading in the kids they see every day. Without people like that, there may not be the readers in the future to support the publishing industry.

I think these folks are nothing less than heroes, and I’d like to introduce you to one of them: my friend Barbara who works as the media specialist (aka librarian) at Miramar High school in Florida where 65% of the students are on free/or reduced lunch.

Barbara has come up with a plan to get her students to go to the countywide Battle of the Books competition. First, they have to read the 15 books on the Florida Teens Reads list. These are not the literature they might be reading in English class — they are high-interest, very current novels as seen in this video.

Barbara wants to hook her kids on reading by using the allure of competition, technology and reading ebooks. She has a plan to buy 12 Kindles for her school’s media center and load them up with the Florida Teens Reads books, as well as the thousands of classic and public domain books that are available for free.

But she needs help. Barbara has started a Donors Choose campaign to raise the money to purchase these Kindles. If you want to learn more about how Donors Choose works, click here.

This is the season of gift giving and generosity. Give up one treat for yourself this week and help a kid to learn to love reading. Maybe eat at home instead of going out. Pass on that Starbucks stop. It doesn’t have to be much. Whatever you can afford to donate will help this dedicated teacher light that flame.

And you know what? You just might be helping to create the future readers who will buy your books!

Please, click on this link Battle of the Books Team and the next time somebody tells you that kids today don’t read, stand up and say, “Yes, they do when there is someone around to encourage them—and I am one of those people.”

Fair winds!

Christine

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Enter the Kobo H2O Aura eReader Giveaway!

Final-kobo-with-names-1024x536

by Christine Kling

Some self-published authors only offer their books on Amazon’s Kindle platform. My Shipwreck Adventures series books published by Thomas & Mercer are exclusive to Amazon, but with my self-published books, I’ve been on Kobo now for two years. This Canadian company has eBook stores in 16 countries and has 4 million titles available. Today, I sell more of my Seychelle books in Canada on Kobo than I do on Kindle.

Now Kobo has come out with this awesome new piece of tech—the Kobo H2O Aura eReader— the first electronic reader that is waterproof and sandproof! Its high-def, no-glare, 6.8” Carta E Ink touchscreen reads like print on paper – even in direct sunlight. This thing supports 14 file formats natively (EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR) which means you can side load many different formats of books if they don’t have DRM.

Kobo-Giveaway-Collage-300x251So, when I was invited to participate in a this new contest which is offering the Kobo H2O as a grand prize and is sponsored by Kobo and 24 mystery/thriller/suspense authors, I jumped at the chance. And even better, the device comes pre-loaded with more than 50 FREE books from 24 of today’s hottest thriller/mystery/suspense authors!

What could be more relaxing than reading in the bath? Or on your boat? Or in the pool? And if you already own an eReader, this one would make a terrific gift wouldn’t it?

Everyone who enters will receive at least five free ebooks at the end of the contest, too!

To enter the Kobo H2O Giveaway, CLICK HERE.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Fair winds!

Christine

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Babies, super yachts, and cruising rock stars

After a long day at FLIBS (Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show) we return up the New River via water taxi.

After a long day at FLIBS (Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show) we return up the New River via water taxi.

by Christine Kling

How many people get to use those terms in one headline? More and more I have come to understand that I am one of the most fortunate people in the world.

Wayne and I flew from Fiji back to South Florida in order to be here for the birth of baby Liam, our first grandson. He is perfect in every way, not the least of which the little tyke had the good sense to be born during the month that hosts BOTH the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and the Seven Seas Cruising Association Gam.

babyLiam

I’m loving being a grandma!

 

So last weekend we spent two long days walking through the tents at FLIBS. Usually, this show has not so much to offer for the the average cruising sailor. It is primarily a powerboat show and a super yacht show at that. However, this brings out all the big manufacturer with their top tech guys in attendance. All the engine, refrigeration, electronics, water maker, etc. top folks are there. We talked to them all!

And Wayne had some wild ideas for a new dinghy!

And Wayne had some wild ideas for a new dinghy!

Now we have just returned from the SSCA Gam where we got to rub shoulders with the likes of Nigel Calder and Pam Wall and they are the rockstars of the cruising sailors’ world.

So, I just have one thing to say – thank you Liam and keep up the good work, kiddo!

Fair winds!

Christine

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Living in a Land Yacht

Our Land Yacht anchored out at the edge of the Florida Everglades

Our borrowed Land Yacht anchored out at the edge of the Florida Everglades

by Christine Kling

I grew up camping. I have vivid memories of going to sleep in a musty smelling tent in various campgrounds around Southern California and Mexico. Whether it was Ensenada, Guaymas, Big Bear, or Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the parents packed us up into the station wagon, and we took off during every school vacation.

1965 13-ft Scotsman travel trailer like the one we owned (photo from tincantourists.com)

1965 13-ft Scotsman travel trailer like the one we owned (photo from tincantourists.com)

In the mid-sixties, my parents bought a 13-foot Scotsman travel trailer like the one in this photo, and I remember the night in Yosemite when the bears were sliding their claws down the aluminum siding and rocking the thing on its wheels. We showered in the campground restrooms, washed our dishes in the creek and peed in the woods. And we all thought it was a great time.

Later, when I was just starting high school, my parents took us to Europe for over a month and we cruised around in a VW camper van. The kids slept in the tent and the parents got the van all to themselves.

This is me circa 1968. Get a look at those stylish pants!

This is me circa 1968. Get a look at those stylish pants!

So, all those experiences could be a very good reason why I took to cruising like I did. And in the early days of my cruising, our boat was simple and it was more like camping – especially when the single head failed on the passage from Hawaii back to Ventura in 1979. I have very few memories of staying in motels as a child, and we certainly never stayed in an upscale hotel.

One thing I remember Wayne telling me when he was explaining how he had Learnativity set up was, “I don’t want to be camping.” Not that he doesn’t love camping, too. And he did as much or more when he was a youngster. But for his everyday life on the boat, he wants to be comfortable.

So, when he told me we were going to be traveling in a borrowed RV on our trip back to Florida, I was thinking 13-ft. Scotsman trailer, not the 40-ft. luxurious ride we are living in (pictured above). So, we still aren’t camping. This lovely motorhome has a propane stove and fridge, a good-sized water tank, water heater, enclosed shower, holding tank, and a 12-volt electrical system. No wonder so many folks decide to get RVs when they leave cruising. This thing truly is a Land Yacht, and as far as I’m concerned, we’re still cruising.

We signed up for a membership in Passport America where we would get 50% off on their member campgrounds, and the first night in Fort Lauderdale we stayed in one of those. Yikes! It was worse than a marina. The RVs were jammed in so tight you could barely walk between them. After that we moved down to Topeekeegee Yugnee Park (known locally as TY Park) and paid $30 for a nice space next to the lake with water, holding tank pump-out, free wifi and nice air-conditioned showers. That was much cheaper than ICW transient docking of my old 33-foot boat.

Also, we have been enjoying what the current generation of RVers calls “boondocking,” otherwise known as free camping. This is comparable to anchoring out. You find places where you can park for free. We have been visiting our beautiful new grandson up in Boca Raton, and we found this great spot at the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge at the edge of the Everglades. We get to watch the sunset and the gators and we’re only about 20 minutes away from the new baby.

While I’m not thinking that I’m ready to switch to land yachting yet, I have been getting a hint at the allure of it. At least we both feel more at home traveling inside our portable home than we do when staying in hotels.

It’s time to hit the road, now, so I’ll sign off.

Fair winds!

Christine

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