Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Four cannons overlook the walls of Castillo de...Image via WikipediaWhy I love my job

I spent the day sailing, all in the name of research. Work, work, work! Does this grind never end?

Seriously, it was delightful. I joined Captain Vic and First Mate Ellen aboard their 33 ft. boat Liberty in St. Augustine. I was well prepared with enough sunscreen to shield a vampire, my guaranteed-not-to-fly-off hat and my notepad. Oh, and ginger candy just in case.

But everything was perfect. We had to cut our outing a bit short because of the typical Florida afternoon thunderstorms. We wouldn't have minded the rain, but the lightning's another story.

I was given a tour of the boat, an explanation of the lines and rigging, a crash course on how to use the radio for emergency calls, and we were underway. Captain Vic really is a licensed captain and a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, so I knew I was in good hands.

Modern sailboats come equipped with small motors, which made it easier to get in and out of the marina, but once we were out on the water, the wind took over and off we went, out of the inlet and over the bar that's protected St. Augustine from raiders for centuries, but also kept it from becoming a shipping center. We sailed out into the Atlantic and I got to haul on lines, take the helm and learn a little about reading the compass and navigating out of the inlet and past the city.

We saw a number of Homeland Security boats out on the water, and it looked like they were doing exercises.

The weather was perfect in the morning--light, steady wind, small chop, and nothing ahead but nautical miles of ocean. I also learned there was a sulfur spring off of Crescent Beach that I would have loved to visit, but we didn't have time on this trip due to the afternoon storms.

When we brought the Liberty about and came back in to the city I saw the Castillo de San Marcos from the waterside, just as pirates, privateers, rum-runners and other nautical riff-raff have seen it for hundreds of years.

It was an absolutely splendid day out on the water, and I hope to do it again soon!
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Monday, July 28, 2008

I've been Kindled!

Two of my three books are now available as Kindle editions from Amazon, here. Of course, they were (and still are) available in a variety of ebook formats from my publisher via my website, from Fictionwise, and from other ebook vendors.

But I'm glad to be part of the Kindle universe.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The 2005 Hugo Award with base designed by Deb ...Image via WikipediaMy Worldcon Schedule

I'll be at Denvention3, the World Science Fiction Convention, in Denver from August 6-10. Here's my list of panels:

Survival Tips for the Beginning Writer--Wed., 4:00 p.m.

How do eBooks change writing - an eBook writing primer--Thur., 11:30 a.m.

Arrrrrrgh! The Pirate Panel--Thur., 2:30 p.m.

Swashbucklers in Space--Thur., 5:30 p.m.

SF fans who write in other genres--Fri., 10:00 a.m.

And I'll be working at the Hugos Saturday night.

Whew! Looks like a full schedule, but I hope I'll see some of you there. Leave me a note on the "voodoo board" (If you don't know what that is, you will when you get there) and say "Hi!"

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cropped screenshot of Errol Flynn from the tra...Image via WikipediaI did a talk today on Florida pirates titled "Pirates Prefer Prowling the Peninsula--Florida's Pirate History" for the Institute for Learning in Retirement. The ILR works with the University of Florida and their retirement community, Oak Hammock, arranging for presentations to the seniors who live in the Oak Hammock facility.

It was great having such an interested and lively audience, and I told them how much I enjoyed speaking to a "seasoned" group, where I didn't have to explain who Errol Flynn and Rafael Sabatini are. Some of the audience bought signed copies of my books afterwards. I picked up a request to to a speaking engagement next winter and they treated me to lunch, so it was a morning well spent.
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Monday, July 14, 2008

Photo of an open fortune cookieImage via WikipediaI was on the road yesterday and stopped for lunch at an Asian/Fusion restaurant I like. They brought me a fortune cookie for dessert, and while I'm not always in the mood for a fortune cookie, I always read the fortune.

Yesterday's fortune read, "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." A rather pedestrian sentiment, but I kept the fortune because it fit in so well with what I'd been writing that morning. The heroine of my WIP is not attractive in a conventional sense. Even the hero realizes this. He knows the heroine is far less "pretty" than the girl he's supposed to marry, yet he's still attracted to her:

"Maybe it was like beets, he thought. Some people loathed beets, and wouldn't have anything to do with them. He happened to like beets very much. His family, all beet-loathers, never understood it, but there it was."

I don't know if that passage will make it past the first draft, and incidentally, I loathe (shudder) beets, but it seemed to make sense at the time. He sees the beauty in the heroine that everyone else overlooks.

I also realized that this is my second "ugly duckling" heroine. The first one turned out to be a swan (Pirate's Price). This heroine...unlikely. But as long as the hero loves her, she'll be beautiful in his eyes.

And they can eat beets together and live happily ever after.
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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I'm off to a meeting of the Alachua County Library District Foundation this afternoon, and while I'm there I'm going to donate two copies of Rache & Rosen to the German novel collection. A lot of folks don't know the ACLD has a German novel collection. That's because they didn't before I donated Samt & Sabel to them last year.

I'm enjoying doing my part to expand the local public library's foreign novel collections.
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