Sunday, July 30, 2006

A beach getaway

I've just returned from a beach weekend with friends at St. George's Island on the Panhandle, an area that calls itself "The Forgotten Coast". And that's a darn good thing. SGI has strict zoning laws so all of the beachfront homes are moderately sized, not 20 story condos. Our spot was a delightful waterside retreat, a narrow house with four split levels, offering all of us privacy. We didn't go anywhere except out into the water to swim, and I was reminded again why I love the Gulf of Mexico. On the Florida side it's calm, serene, warm and inviting. The sand is like white sugar up past the Big Bend, and the entire experience was a soothing getaway. Our hosts even did all the cooking, which made me feel wonderfully pampered and lazy.

We took the convertible to drive top down and stayed to back roads--US 19, Alternate 27, not the Interstate. Yes, it was a longer trip, but it was infinitely more enjoyable, rolling through Old Town and Fanning Springs and Sopchoppy and Carabelle.

On the way back we stopped for lunch at Suwannee Gables on US 19 in Old Town and I had a perfect Florida coastal meal--lightly breaded fish, hushpuppies and sides of lima beans and green beans. I was slightly disappointed there wasn't any mullet today, but the other menu items more than made up for that lack.

I also stopped by Pink Porch Books in Alachua and dropped off a copy of Captain Sinister's Lady, doing my part to spread pirate romance across the state. One could say I'm a Florida romance version of Johnny Appleseed.

A beach house. *Sigh* Maybe after a few more sales.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I dropped by Goerings Books today and was thrilled to see their display of pirate literature for young and old, including three novels by Darlene Marshall. I also got to spend some quality time discussing sf and fantasy books with Mary Ann Evans, who's been working at Goerings 'bout as long as I've lived in town.

Independent bookstores offer so much, and a well educated and well read staff is near the top of the list of those offerings.

I also got over to the Children's Home Society of Florida to drop off a box of well loved, but now sadly neglected children's books from when my boys were small. I'm not giving away all their books, after all, someday I may have grandchildren come to visit, but I felt these would do better in a new home. The books will be distributed to children within the Society's programs, and I'm sure they'll be appreciated all over again.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Gainesville Magazine dropped by to interview me for a piece they're doing on fans of Patrick O'Brian. It's for their October issue, and I'm looking forward to seeing the entire article. We talked about O'Brian's writing, how he captures that "sense of place" so well, and how, in my opinion, one of the reasons women are such fans of the novels is because essentially it's about a relationship--the relationship between Jack and Stephen--and women enjoy books about relationships (like a good romance novel).

I also visited with a jeweler who specializes in nautical and piratical designs. I decided I wanted to reward myself for my overseas sales, and asked Bernie Reller to design a pirate ship for my charm bracelet. You can see examples of his work here, and he's expanding his pirate jewelry line.

If you're looking for the perfect accessory for the pirate, privateer or smuggler in your life, check out Reller Online.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Today was a good writing day. I did mostly research, with the occasional break to type up stray thoughts as they came to me, and it must have jarred something loose in my head 'cause I figured out the ending to my WIP. Yay!

So let me ask all of you a question: Do you like seeing characters from an author's earlier books make cameo appearances in subsequent books? I've got a couple characters I'm thinking of having a walk-on in my WIP, but I'm curious as to how others feel about this.

Oh, and unlike Pirate's Price, Captain Sinister's Lady and Smuggler's Bride, it's unlikely Richard Cooper and Robin will be in this one. Although...I did say in Pirate's Price that Richard and Robin knew each other in St. Augustine before they got back together. Hmmm...Pirate's Price is 1821, the WIP is 1817, yeah, this could work.

I'll have to see where this goes.[g]

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Well, we never made it to That Pirate Movie tonight. Got to the theater at 5:30 thinking we'd buy tickets for the 7:45 show.

Nope. No tickets were available until the 10:30 show. So instead we went out to supper with the couple that was going to join us at the film. Bob and Connie are two of my Florida sailors, people who can look over my books and let me know if I've made an error. Just in case you've spotted an error, they haven't been my beta readers yet--I asked them one or two specific questions, but they won't read the full manuscript until the next book.

Dinner was delightful, a veritable feast from the sea while we talked about travel plans, Patrick O'Brian, our kids (my son may have found an apartment today, their daughter's getting married next year) and SF books.

After supper we came back to the house to play "Dread Pirate", a board game where you try to amass all the booty while skirmishing and raiding your opponents. Aarrrgh! Fueled by mojitos, single malts and tea (we're well bred pirates) we raided each other at length until (Ta Da!) the queen of the pirates (me, of course) emerged triumphant and gloating in proper piratical fashion.

We'll get to that movie eventually. But tonight was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Is it self serving to post reviews of my own books here? Yes. Do I care? Not really.

Four Moons!--"The characterization is wonderful; you will cheer with the entire pirate crew as you wait to see if love will conquer all. PIRATE'S PRICE is a laugh-out-loud romance starring two stubborn lovers and a host of eccentric sidekicks. You won’t be able to put it down!"--Erin Brown, Mystique Books

How I Spent the 4th of July

“It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.” John Adams in a letter to Abigail on how to mark Independence Day, July 3, 1776.

There was pomp and parade, there were shows, games, sports and illuminations, and I’m sure there were guns and bells and bonfires somewhere.

July 4th in North Central Florida still has a small town feel to it. Part of that feel in Gainesville is because the town is nearly empty with the University of Florida on summer session, and so many of our residents are off to cooler climes. But for those of us who stay there’s Fanfares and Fireworks, our annual celebration of the 4th on the 3rd, sponsored by our public radio and public tv station, WUFT. It’s become a tradition now to do it on the 3rd, but a lot of folks are unaware that it started out that way because the station couldn’t afford to pay for a big show on the 4th. In addition, the sponsors felt a lot of folks had a tradition of escaping to the beach on the 4th and they’d get a better turnout a day earlier. Regardless of the reason, Gainesville now celebrates the 4th on the 3rd.

By the time we got to the bandshell the sun was sinking into the west and we found our usual spot, sitting with friends-of-friends, the same group we hang out with each year. Since this is an election year the politicians were also out in force, working the crowd and passing out literature. The most appreciated was the paper fans being passed out by one school board candidate and those fans got a workout.

One of the things that struck me about the crowd was how truly American it was for this celebration of our nation’s birthday. There were people of all colors and backgrounds, native born and immigrant, young and old. All stood for the national anthem, and all cheered when the fireworks began to explode late in the evening. The fireworks display was glorious, conducted to a background of patriotic music from our community band, and as we packed up to head home there was that strong sense of community one feels at these occasions, all of us celebrating together with our neighbors.

Today I drove down to Micanopy, ‘bout 12 miles south of Gainesville on US 441 for their 4th of July celebration and annual fish fry. The fish fry is held at the Micanopy museum, Micanopy’s early claim to fame being its designation as Florida’s oldest inland city, founded in 1821. Its latest claim to fame is being the setting for the movie “Doc Hollywood” starring Michael J. Fox.

Up on the left is an example of a Cracker farmhouse at the museum, similar to what Julia and Rand would have lived in in Smuggler’s Bride. ‘Cept theirs wouldn’t have had the fancy front door.

I’m sure they would rather have lived in the Herlong Mansion, an antebellum beauty circa 1845 that’s now a famed bed and breakfast that you see on the right. When the boys were small and things would get out of hand, I’d threaten to check myself into the Herlong Mansion for a long weekend...and not tell anyone where I was.

As the thermometer began to climb past 90F I decided to call it a day and return home, rested from my holiday celebration, and ready to wish our entire country a happy 230th birthday!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Pistols At Dawn

Michele Ann Young
Pistols at Dawn
Five Star Expressions
ISBN: 1-59414-460-5

Available from
A fatal duel leaves Victoria Torrington destitute and at the mercy of a well-known rake, Simon St. John, Earl of Travis, known as Satan to the ton, has a past shadowed by secrets and a reputation for the luck of the devil. To Victoria’s surprise, he declares she must select a bridegroom by the end of the London Season or accept one of his choosing.
Tired of irresponsible males dictating her life, Victoria refuses to acknowledge the earl’s high-handed edict and disputes his authority. Thrown into close proximity in London’ season, the couple denies their growing attraction.
Beneath the earl’s chilly exterior, Victoria senses an honorable and caring spirit. She can’t resist his sensual allure when he drops his guard. For all Victoria’s seeming innocence, Simon knows the full extent of feminine wiles. No woman will ever use or abuse him again, no matter how beautiful or alluring she is, and no matter how much light she brings to his dark world.
Together they face an enemy armed with the secrets of Simon’s past. Will Victoria’s determination thaw a heart frozen by betrayal bring them happiness and love, or will her attempt to rescue him from the sins of his youth bring them both to ruin