It’s never really over!

By Mike Jastrzebski

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m sure it’s clear to all of our readers that we are no longer posting on this blog. However, it’s never really over. There have been many posts over the past six years from Chris, John, C.E., Michael, myself, and many others, and I intend to leave the blog live for now so that if you come on by you can check out those past posts at any time. I will also occasionally post on the site if I have something interesting to say or when I have a new book available.

You can find the old posts by clicking on the categories on the sidebar, and if you want to visit with any of our past regular writers, links to their websites are also posted on the sidebar.

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Fair Winds to Write on the Water

SunsetatFirst Landing

A Fijian sunset

by Christine Kling

I’ve had a good run here at writeonthewater.com but it seems the sun is now setting on this part of my life. Many of our faithful readers have noticed that this blog has been winding down. There have not been many posts lately, and no posts for me since my New Year’s 3 Words post. The time has come for me to move on. I’m not giving up on blogging — au contraire. I have simply decided to move my efforts to my personal blog at sailingwriter.com, and for those readers here who would like to continue to follow my adventures in the South Pacific, I hope you will go over and subscribe at that site.

My first post here at Write on the Water was on April 10, 2010, and the title was “An expert? Me?” I told some anecdotes about several of the extreme faux pas I have committed both as a writer and a sailor, and I questioned what I, a perennial screw-up could possibly contribute to a blog. I wrote:

“So, if I’m not an expert writer nor a master sailor, what makes me think I have anything to share on the pages of this blog? I hope that someone out there might find some kind of truth or solace or even a laugh or two as I contemplate the questions and struggles in my search to find contentment as a sailing writer. There I said it. Writer. Who, me?”

In the past almost six years,  I have tried to share my path towards finding answers to these questions. I followed Hemingway’s advice and cut open a vein and bled on the pages of this blog sharing my successes, failures, hopes, dreams, terrors, love and marriage. Blogging has made me a better writer, I have no doubt about that. I have always tried to get my blogs to conform to the premise presented here in the blog’s byline — “so you want to quit your job, move onto a boat, and write.” During the years I’ve been blogging here, I did quit my day job, I lived on my own boat and I cruised—all while writing the 3 novels in my Shipwreck Adventures series – the third book of which, Knight’s Cross is now available for sale on Amazon. But after all these years of writing about writing on the water, the topic has grown a bit stale for me. These days I much prefer blogging about the travels and adventures of cruising.

As many readers here know, in the last couple of years my life took a different turn. I met the marvelous Wayne Hodgins, ran off to Fiji, got married, moved onto his boat, sold my own boat Talespinner, and began doing some serious cruising in the Pacific. My blogs have turned more into travelogues, and I enjoy writing them. We traveled up to Majuro, spent more than a year there and then sailed down to Fiji last May.

We cruised these wonderful islands until August when we hauled out our steel motorsailer Learnativity in Vuda Point Boatyard and started a major refit, emptying the boat of everything, painting and varnishing everything inside the boat, We also replaced some hull plate that had grown too thin for our liking.

LearnativityblownoverWe were on the cusp of painting her topsides, deck and bottom when Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji. Night before last, when the winds hit over 140 knots, and the eye of this category 5 storm passed some 40 miles to the north of us, our beloved boat blew over. Wayne and I were were in the aft bunk when she went. I flew through the air and slammed into the cabinetry, landing on top of Wayne. The rest of the night as the winds howled, and we tried to make ourselves comfortable in our topsy turvy world, we wondered what the damage was and what this would mean to our lives. We won’t really know for sure until a crane arrives tomorrow and attempts to right our 30 ton baby.

InfoThey are saying that Winston is the strongest cyclone ever recorded in the southern hemisphere. The news about the damage here in Fiji is only just beginning to come to light. It is very early in the recovery, but it is confirmed that 20 are dead and at least 7 are missing. Many boats washed ashore up in Savusavu. Thousands are homeless throughout the islands of Lau, Taveuni, and Koro as many, many villages were decimated by the high winds and the storm surge.

While our boat has suffered damage, we are alive and unharmed. We have no idea what this set-back will mean for our future, but our dogs are fine, and we all have each other. We are immensely grateful to be so fortunate.

I intend to continue to write about all the adventures we will have recovering from Winston, exploring these islands, and getting on with our cruising life over at sailingwriter.com. I hope readers who are interested in following those sailing/travel blogs, finding out what the damage is to Learnativity, and learning about all our adventures will follow me over there and subscribe.

Thanks so much to Mike Jastrzebski who started this wonderful blog. Without Mike Write on the Water would never have happened. I hope Mike will continue to blog here himself.  Thanks also C.E. Grundler and to John Urban, and to all the other bloggers who wrote here for a while and to those who were guests. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to share this writing space with you, and I’ve learned so much from all of you.

Most of all, I want to thank the readers for riding along in my world all these years.

Fair winds!

Christine

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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!

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 11.32.58 AM

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:

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 11.57.17 AM

 

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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