Monday, August 31, 2009

Helen Island, Helen Reef, Palau. Original desc...Image via Wikipedia

Now 75K words into Castaway Dreams and I've barely started with the pirates! This could be my longest book to date!
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

October 27: St. Augustine.Image via Wikipedia

Got a lovely phone call from a lady looking for a speaker for her organization. They'd be meeting in St. Augustine some time over the next couple months. I'm always up for a trip to St. Augustine to do a little research, and by the time this is scheduled it should be ideal weather for putting the top down on the convertible and calling it "work".

I love my job!
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Monday, August 24, 2009

War of 1812Image via Wikipedia

Today's the anniversary of the British burning Washington during the War of 1812. Could have been worse. And you have to admit, they did have a legitimate beef since we trashed York up in Canada.

But Dolley Madison got to be a heroine, saving Gilbert Stuart's painting of George Washington. So here's a salute to you, Dolley, fashion leader, social lioness, and rescuer of national artifacts!
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My webmaster is giving my home page a makeover. We talked about changes, but I still like the basic design, and I'm a great believer of not fixin' what ain't broke. We did talk about easing out some of the copy, having books open in separate windows and....

....adding a teaser of info on my next release. Stay tuned for details!

Monday, August 17, 2009


I was out with the demon dachshund this morning and had one of those amazing walks where the synapses in my brain started firing off plot points for my next novel. I carry a notepad and pen with me (and a baggie, of course) but what I really wanted to do was race home with a dog flying behind me like a wiener-dog shaped kite.

Fortunately for her, she was not interested in dawdling today, so after we took care of business I got home in good shape to sit at the keyboard and make notes in the file titled "Hot Pirate". A good writing day off to a great start.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hugo award, Huge Reception, Anticipation, Worl...Image by gruntzooki via Flickr

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Worldcon 2009, Anticipation in Montreal, Canada was a blast. I saw lots of old friends and made some new ones, ate and drank my way through fabulous restaurants, and had a splendid time.

The con started for me with a glitch in my scheduled programming. Turned out I wasn't on the planned "Anatomy for Writers" program item, and as I learned that weekend there were lots of other writers/panelists in the same boat. The confusion over the program, however, did not detract from my enjoying myself. I did have two wonderful panels, "Ebooks from draft to finished product" and "Researching your world". Both were well attended and featured lively panelists from a variety of backgrounds. I took notes for myself, and enjoyed the give-and-take between the audience and the panelists.

I was also glad I wasn't on more panels, because I was working on my Voice of Ghod script on Friday and Sunday. Being the Voice of Ghod means doing the voiceovers and safety announcements during the Hugo Award Ceremonies at Worldcon. Last year at Denver I was honored to be tapped as the first female Voice of Ghod, and I was even more thrilled this year to be asked for an encore appearance. I thought the Hugos went well, and we had a balance of French and English spoken to make it a truly bilingual event. We also saw the new Hugo logo unveiled for the first time.

I met some of my Canadian fans and got to sign books for them, passed out my bookmarks, and promised to look people up if they make it to Australia for Aussiecon 4, Worldcon 2010. I even got out of our hotel to walk through Old Montreal. It reminded me a bit of St. Augustine, but had even more of that old-world flavor. And speaking of flavor, Montreal was a foodies delight. Great restaurants, and not only could I get fabulous food, but I could also get excellent cider, somewhat of a rarity in the States.

I'm home now and back at work on Castaway Dreams. I hope to have a major announcement soon about upcoming releases, so stay tuned to this blog!
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Still on the road, but I'll write about Worldcon when I get home. Meantime, keep reading!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Contemporary painting of a Revenue Marine cutt...Image via Wikipedia

"Fifteen hundred dollars worth of coffee coming in duty free meant a tidy profit, whether it was Delerue-Sanders behind the smuggling or someone else. A simple plan, but one that worked all too well given the poor state of the Revenue Marine. The revenue cutters couldn't begin to cover all of the coast, not when the ships were spread thin with surveying, rescue operations, and winter cruising between Charleston and Key West. Underfunded, understaffed, looked down on by the regular navy, despised by the merchants who paid the tariffs, the Revenue Marine was no one's darling.

Well, except maybe Alexander Hamilton, he'd loved his revenue cutters that brought money into the Treasury, but look what happened to him, Washburn thought. Irritate the wrong people and there you are, worm food."

Smuggler's Bride, Darlene Marshall

Today is the birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard, a branch of the service with a fascinating history. When I was researching Smuggler's Bride I thought at first I'd be able to use all the early 19th c. USN research I'd done for my other novels. Wrong. The more I studied, the more I realized that what I really needed to know about was the Revenue Marine, aka the Coast Guard.

From its earliest days, when the USN sneered at it as "The Treasury's pet navy", the USCG has had PR issues. Before the national income tax, tariffs were a key source of income for the nation and the Revenue Marine (later called the Coast Guard) was charged with patrolling the waters and making sure goods weren't smuggled in without payment. As one historian said, "Unlike the Navy, they never had a Marryat." There wasn't a historian crafting exciting tales of life in the Revenue Marine so few people knew what this brave service did, the branch of the armed forces that fights battles in peacetime.

Nonetheless, for over 200 years the USCG has been, as their motto so aptly puts it, "Semper Paratus"--Always Ready, whether it was keeping slavers from smuggling in illicit human cargo in the 19th C., stopping drug dealers in the 21st C., saving boaters and rescuing the shipwrecked, teaching water safety and more. Today they're part of Homeland Security and continue their work guarding our borders and waterways.

So it's time to say, "Thank you, Coasties, and Happy 219th Birthday!" They may not have gotten the PR they deserve over the last two centuries, but we're glad they're there.

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