Friday, June 22, 2018

To Smooth Sailing and Healthy Sales

Thought for the day: How do you make a yacht look younger? Simple... boat-ox.

Smarticus and I grew up on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, so fishing, crabbing and boating are kinda in our blood. Although we've been on all kinds of boats, we've only owned two: a small motorboat and a canoe, and both of them came after we moved to landlocked Atlanta. Go figure, huh?

Oh, I must go down to the sea again
To sail o'er the wind and the surf,
Though I'm not all the keen,
If you know what I mean,
But I must get my money's worth. 
[Des Sleightholme]

Keeping a boat afloat often requires a good bit of money and hard work, but for people who have salt water in their veins and truly love boating, no amount of money or work can cool their ardor. For others, their best two days with a boat are the day they buy it... and the day they sell it.

Some boaters have great fun coming up with clever names for their beloved boats, but we never bothered. However, it's possible that we may have called that fiberglass canoe a name or two when a certain misguided woodpecker kept tapping his little heart out on it every morning before sunrise. But (ahem) no names appropriate for painting on the side of a boat...

On the other hand, some names are sooooo cool. Like these:
  • Seas the Day (My favorite!)
  • Pier Pressure
  • Campbell's Sloop
  • Moor Often Than Knot
  • Fish and Chicks
  • Nauti-buoy
  • Row vs. Wade (for the social activist)
  • Dock Holiday
  • Knot Paid For
  • Now Who's the Loser, Dad? (Wouldn't be terribly effective on a small motorboat or canoe.)
  • Bacon in the Sun
  • Marlin Monroe
  • Seaductress
  • Sand Witch
  • Aquafart
  • Fartbutt
(ahem) I suspect a male came up with those last two name. Just a wild guess...

We once spent a mah-velous weekend with a friend on her houseboat, but the idea of living on a boat year-round never particularly appealed to me.  I mean... where would we fit our pool table...?

But some people do live on boats year-round, and they enjoy adventures the rest of us only dream about. Sure, there's lots of routine maintenance and inconvenience involved, (Like no room for a pool table...) but spending part of the year sailing to exotic locations and the rest of the year docked in the home marina with a whole slew of like-minded boat-dwelling fun-loving friends has gotta be pretty darned exciting. Kinda like a perpetual vacation.

Tickety Boo

Fellow blogger Ellen Jacobson knows all about this kind of life, because she and her hubby happen to live on a spiffy sailboat named Tickety Boo. Unusual name, huh? It's one of their favorite New Zealand expressions, and it means Everything is all good. Besides being a good conversation-starting name and fun to say, it also reminds them of how much they enjoyed living in New Zealand. Cool, huh? Ellen's blog is lots of fun, and NOW... she's turned her first-hand knowledge about boats and the terrific camaraderie among folks in a marina community into a... BOOK! A really GOOD book. A cozy mystery with terrific characters, a head-scratching whodunit, and a healthy dollop of humor. What's not to like? Nothing, I tell you... absolutely nothing! Better yet? This is only the first book of an anticipated series, so there'll be lots more fun and mystery yet to come.

Super cover, isn't it? Nice alliterative title, too. But what's most special about this book is what you'll find inside its cover. To tell the truth, I'm not generally a huge fan of amateur sleuth tales, but I am if the characters are memorably likable and the writing is top-notch. And humor... there's gotta be humor. And this book? It scores well on all counts.

Yep, I fore-sea a great writing career for this gal. I hope this first book makes a huge splash in the reading world.



A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

A Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery #1

Buy Links

Murder at the Marina—A Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery #1

Release Date: June 21, 2018

Print ISBN 978-1-7321602-1-7
eBook ISBN 978-1-7321602-0-0

Available at:

Author Bio & Social Media Links

Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and sci-fi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn't working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor.

You can connect with Ellen on:

The Cynical Sailor Blog -
The Cynical Sailor Facebook Page -
Newsletter Sign-up -

 How about you? Think you'd like to live on a boat? If so, what would you name her?

Just as it always has, the sea still calls to me, but nowadays, I'm afraid I have to tell it to leave me a message. (sigh) Well, time for me to sail off into the sunset. So to speak. (I'm afraid waddle would be a much more accurate description.)

                                     Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

P.S. Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade will be on sale next week... Monday through Friday... for the paltry sum of ninety-nine cents. Haven't read it yet? Here's your chance to get it on the cheap.

Friday, June 15, 2018

How We Spent Our Anniversary (G-rated version)

Thought for the day:  Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? [nursery rhyme]

[source: morguefile]
My name isn't Mary, but I'll tell ya how my garden grows, anyhow. At my age, I should've known better, and I definitely should've looked more closely at the labels on those dirt cheap seeds I bought from that shady guy at the flea market.

I thought I was getting a great deal on some Lavatera and Aster seeds, but it turned out, I bought Lavatoria and Assters. (sigh) Now we have bathtubs busting out all over, and even worse, little toilets are starting to come in. (I'm afraid to plant the Moonflowers and Twolips...)

[source: morguefile]

Okay, so maybe our garden isn't quite that bad, but I'm one of those people who always started out the season with big greenhouse dreams of how gorgeous our garden was gonna be, but when the reality of hot temperatures and biting insects dug in, I kinda let nature... and the weeds... take over. That's one reason I enjoy going to botanical gardens so much. I get to see all the beauty I imagined without having to do any of the work.

Like a good part of the country, we've had an incredible amount of rain this year. So much that my sturdy old rosemary bush drowned. Literally. Its roots simply rotted away. (I WILL replace it.) On the other hand, our hydrangea has never been happier, or its blooms more beautiful.

Anyhow, as our anniversary was approaching last month, I wanted to celebrate at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, because there's a reeeeeally special exhibit going on there. But no surprise, the forecast called for rain, rain, and more rain. (sigh) BUT... in spite of the dismal forecasts, the morning of the 24th was merely overcast. No liquid sunshine. Then the actual sun (What is that strange thing in the sky?) came out... and we (ta-DA!) went to the gardens. The temperature was toasty, but not a single drop of rain fell until after we finished at the gardens, went to dinner, and then got safely back home. (Then the clouds let loose.)

So what was this special exhibit I wanted to see? In July of 2013, I wrote a post about an awesome mosaiculture exhibit we went to see at the gardens, the first big exhibit of its kind in our country. And now? The gardens are hosting another even bigger and better mosaiculture exhibit!

What the heck is mosaiculture, you ask? It's a blend of art and horticulture that first bloomed (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) in Europe as early as the 16th century. Simply put, intricate metal frames are designed and built, and then they're stuffed with a growing medium, fitted with an internal irrigation system, and then plants are plugged into pockets of a special fabric that's stretched over the frames. Just as in 2013, the exhibit came to Atlanta from the fine folks of the International Mosaiculture of Montreal.

Before I show you pics of some of the sculptures featured in this year's show, how about a brief video to take you behind the scenes?

                                Okay, ready? Here goes... and I'll save my favorite for last.

This is the earth goddess,who first appeared at the first Imaginary Worlds mosaiculture show, and is now a permanent part of the gardens. Water usually flows over her hand, but her pool was drained and she was getting some maintenance work done when we were there.

This year's show was subtitled Once Upon a Time, and most of the exhibits were much more massive and ambitious than the last time around.

Like this massive Phoenix Rising... pretty appropriate for the city of Atlanta.

And this lumbering mastodon.

It was pretty warm, but it didn't keep ole Rip Van Winkle from taking a snooze.

No fantasy story world would be complete without Pegasus.

Or a mermaid, basking in the sun.

Shades of Arabian nights, perhaps? The details in these camels were amazing.

Camel #2 in the caravan.

And camel #3.

All three of them to give a better perspective as to how large they are.

A lovely sleeping princess.

And NOW... for my favorite!


Isn't he absolutely gorgeous???

Here's a closer look at one of the dragon's legs. I took quite a few shots of the dragon, (Did I happen to mention he was my favorite...?) but none of them really do it justice. The piece is both massive and majestic. Just as a dragon should be.

The International Mosaiculture of Montreal's roots ( sorry) reach back to 1998, when it first began creating these gorgeous works of art, and each year since it first sprouted, (sorry, again) they've hosted an international festival-type competition. This year's festival hasn't yet begun, but plans are currently being planted and will soon be in full bloom. (sorry... but only a little) Would you like a sneak peek at what's happening so far?

So there ya have it. It was a glorious way to spend an anniversary... or any other day. It was every bit as wonderful as I expected it to be, and for those of you who live in the area, the show will be continuing until the end of October, so you still have plenty of time to catch it.

                                 Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                                      A pic of the earth goddess from our first visit.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Write Stuff

Thought for the day: I wrote a book about reverse psychology. Please don't buy it!

As you can probably tell by that tattletale badge on the left, it's once again time for the monthly IWSG post, and as always, many thanks go to our fearless leader, Alex Cavanaugh, for founding this fine group, and to all the other nurturing guys and gals who've helped turn it into the thriving community it is today. To join this super supportive group of writers and to see links to other participating blogs, please go HERE

Now then, what's happening with me, writing-wise? I'm working hard (or hardly working... you pick) on book two of my trilogy. Sales have been pretty lackluster for book one so far, so I must confess to having some doubts as to whether or not it's worth it to keep going. Then again... I can't help myself, dammit. I'm afflicted with this cursed writing disease, and it will NOT give me any peace until I finish telling my story. (sigh) So write I will.

I tried something different with Explosive Beginnings. I gave away 100 e-book copies through a Goodreads giveaway promotion before the book was released, because I figured that'd be a good way to get some reviews, which in turn, would be a good way to generate some word-of-mouth buzz. Right? Sound good?


Again, I say... HA!

To date, as a result of that giveaway, I've received ONE review and TWO ratings from people who won a copy of my book.

PBBBBT! I haven't entirely given up hope on receiving more giveaway-generated reviews yet, but I thought I'd share my dismal results with you, in case some of you might be considering a big e-book giveaway for one of your books. (Then again, it could work out great for you... maybe it's just ME.)

You and I know that just because something is FREE doesn't mean it's worthless, but now I'm kinda wondering what kind of message we writers send when we spend our money so we can give our books away for FREE...?

Maybe if we could figure out a way to give away free WiFi with our books?

Okay, let's move on to this month's question, shall we?

What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Hmmm, interesting question. Maybe I'll give you a clue to my response by telling you my favorite childhood riddle. Ready...?

                                                   What would you rather have chase you...

[image: morguefile]

                               An elephant...

[image: morguefile]

              or a gorilla?

Give up? The answer: I'd rather have the elephant chase the gorilla. (Yeah, okay. I'll admit it. I was a weird kid.)

But the point is, it's the same with this month's question.My answer lies beyond the parameters set by the question. I love coming up with titles and character names, so to me, that part is fun... and easy. The hard part is making those characters come alive and giving that title some significance.

                                       So in answer to this month's question, I'd have to say...


Didn't like my first riddle? Okay, here's another one: What's the difference between a hippo and a zippo? Ready for it? Simple... one is heavy and the other is... a little lighter.

One last thing. May I have a drum roll, please? It's time to announce the winner of an autographed copy of Explosive Beginnings. That winner is (ta-DA!) the lovely JOANNE FARIES. Congratulations, kiddo! Please send me an email with your snail mail address. (If you forgot my email address, that email me badge on the right hand side of my blog works just dandy.)

                                   Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.