Tag Archives: Cockpit Confessions

TENDER TUESDAYS

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I know, I know… it’s back to Wacky Wednesdays.  So hard to keep on a schedule while traveling and working on one’s book!

YOU WANT PRAIRIE GIRL TO DO WHAT?

-A SAILING GET-AWAY? ARE YOU CRAZY?

My boyfriend (now husband) had enthusiastically sailed in his earlier years, and when he suggested that we should charter a boat for a weekend and give it a try, I somewhat reluctantly agreed. After all, I was PRAIRIE GIRL, what did I know about sailing the Pacific Northwest? Absolutely nothing! He, on the other hand, had apparently moved to Vancouver Island for a stint in his early 30’s and immediately notified the Royal Victoria Yacht Club that he was ready to join their membership. (Incredible as it seems, that didn’t work out so well for him! Could it have been that he didn’t even own a sailboat at the time?)

Nevertheless, one bright and early Saturday morning, sleeping bags and pillows were loaded, in preparation of leaving the Vancouver dock in our rented vessel. Boyfriend (now husband) feeling excited to be on the water, in contrast with Prairie Girl feeling uncertain, noting how run down and grubby the tired sailboat looked. Where was the gleaming yacht with the relaxed couple sipping freshly brewed coffee, like in the Lotto Max ads? Well, they certainly hadn’t used this old tub for their ad campaign! Somehow this sea adventure felt like déjà vu. It was only a few months prior to this that boyfriend (now husband) had taken her up to the top of Blackcomb in Whistler and suggested she ski down. Prairie Girl was starting to have those same unnerving feelings as he manoeuvred his way out of the slip on Granville Island.

The selling feature of the weekend was to get away from the stress and strain of career and single parenting to RELAX! Right, that keyword RELAXED, never actually happened that entire weekend for PRAIRIE GIRL. Once out in the strait, heading towards Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast, the sails were hoisted and we were instantaneously heeled over. (Of course, she had noted that it was brisk and windy that morning, but she had no idea!) A simultaneous EXHILIARATING / FREAKY EXPERIENCE! Novice PRAIRIE GIRL had never even heard of a tiller or known anyone who knew how to use one. Her prairie roots were showing big time! She held on for dear life, trying to brace herself so that she wouldn’t fall over the edge. Can you picture her white knuckles and look of terror?

 

Did she let herself enjoy the absence of the motor sounds and the smell of the lovely sea air? Well maybe… eventually. Was her boyfriend (now husband) enjoying himself and his Prairie Girl’s reaction to the big event? Oh yes! He knew it would only get more chaotic as they entered Gibson’s overcrowded marina to be instructed to dock as far in as possible. Obviously her boyfriend (now husband) hadn’t remembered the necessity of making reservations well in advance!

 

Miraculously, the boat was docked, and the marina’s bathroom was found immediately. (That’s right, holding one’s bladder for the entire crossing was mandatory, as Prairie Girl couldn’t let go of her grip to use the somewhat stinky head below…)

 

Of course, once docked and relaxed, Prairie Girl announced that she might be more of an “après-sail” sailor. The evening was lovely, sitting out on the back of the boat gazing up at the stars that night. All was perfect until it was time to prepare for bed. Of course, boyfriend (now husband) hit his berth and was unconscious immediately. Prairie Girl… not so! She tried concentrating on the mellow rocking of the boat, but could hear some creature moving above her head on the cabin roof. It made scratching noises… RATS!!! She kept still as long as she could, but eventually had to awaken her boyfriend (now husband) to save her from the RATS invading their boat! According to him, it’s common for seagulls to perch on one’s boat and walk about. Boyfriend (now husband) wasn’t concerned and simply rolled over and resumed sawing logs, while she kept a fearful vigil waiting for the RATS to descend upon them in the cabin.

 

The deceptive weekend focus was later divulged to Prairie Girl, once safely back on the mainland. Boyfriend (now husband) was seeking a suitable partner for a future of sailboat ownership and adventure. Well, was she it? Is it possible she actually passed boyfriend’s test? (Probably some of her saner readers are questioning why she would even want to?)

 

Some of you reading this can relate to Prairie Girl’s virgin sailing experience; I know you can!  It would be such fun to read your memorable FIRST SAIL. Please leave your story in the LEAVE A COMMENT section below this post. (Just click on it and a window opens for you to write in.)

Sailing Fasionista-16

SAILING FASHIONISTA! BOATING & SHOPPING… OH YES!

 

You may find this hard to believe, but this same Prairie Girl is just about to launch a humorous picture book, illustrated by Dave Alavoine (Pacific Yachting Magazine’s cartoonist for COCKPIT CONFESSIONS) about family sailing vacations. Can you imagine?! (WHO’S the CAPTAIN? – End of September)

Mel at Helm

PRAIRIE GIRL?!?

TENDER TUESDAYS

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MEET INSPIRATION

AN APOLOGY TO MY FOLLOWERS: I know this isn’t Tender Tuesday or Wacky Wednesday, and not even Theatrical Thursday… Please accept my apology for publishing this on Freaky Friday! (I’ve been a little busy….)

Many of you may not be aware that I’m in process of publishing my first Picture Book! I waited for months to have the carefully chosen publishers respond to my query and tell me how anxious they were to get the project to print. I dreamt of bidding wars over my manuscripts- seriously! You’re shaking your head right now, thinking another disillusioned novice gets a dose of reality. Not exactly! I have had some experience with publishing in a former segment of my life and after retiring from my full-on career as an IB principal- threw myself into writing 3 humorous Middle Grade novels (the Frenchie Series). (I’m being cheeky here and pointing out that they’re listed in the blog roll to the right of this post with links to Amazon and Red Tuque Books- just in case you’d like to check them out… ha!)

I was in a BIG rush to break into the book publishing world at that point and just couldn’t wait around for publishers to acknowledge receipt of my manuscript (MEANING: those that would even consider glancing at an unsolicited manuscript). That’s right, I never looked too hard for a literary agent. I figured I had researched enough and through my amazing educational career with literacy, knew which publishers would be ideal for my books. Well, wasn’t that a bit of a shock when they didn’t immediately call, upon receipt of my query packets, to offer a contract?

At that point, I thought I could make it work on my own, so I published with CreateSpace (self-publishers associated with Amazon). Let’s just say, I’m not sure anyone actually found my novels, even though they promised great distribution, if authors did all the right things. I totally worked diligently, booking readings, setting up a website, blog , twitter accounts, and Pinterest boards. I put my ebooks out on Smashwords, as well as Kindle, so that it would be available on all e-reader platforms. I found a Canadian Distributor (Red Tuque Books) and purchased ads for catalogues and literary newspapers, etc. I set up tables at X’mas and summer markets, and the list goes on…

What was the lesson learned from all that effort? THE BOOK BUSINESS is a difficult one to break into (near impossible, in fact, no matter how many webinars you watch, How To books you buy, subscriptions you have to Writers Digest, Book Baby, Canadian Children’s Book Center, etc.). However, in spite of all that, I still had to listen to my inner voice that was saying, “Hey Mary, do you think you’re a writer?” The answer is YES! And I had one particular story going through my mind, ever since I started sailing the Pacific North-West in my late 40’s on our TwoCan Catalina sailboat. I knew I had to publish it, and as I wrote this picture book, at the core of the inspiration were the delightful cartoons that were created and published monthly by Pacific Yachting Magazine’s COCKPIT CONFESSIONS’ cartoonist. Each vignette for this repetitive language picture book, had to have an amusing twist that would engage children, as well as parents and grandparents, and the entire boating community. The day I set up a meeting with Dave Alavoine in Starbucks in North Vancouver, was a day I’ll never forget.

Dave and I gave each other hints for how we’d recognize one another. (I had already been on the web looking at his past shows of his political cartoons, so I assumed I had a bit of an advantage.) But no, he was the one who figured out it was me- could it have been the meeting agendas laid out or the stack of my Frenchie novels, that gave me away? I chuckle to myself when I reminisce about that first meeting. I left it feeling like I was walking on air. He was such a lovely man and could visualize what I was looking for in the cartoons as we went through the text (which laid the context) and the action and dialogue I envisioned for each of the 23 images. Although, he was already committed to another book deal (Learn to Sail the Hard Way) and, of course, had monthly commitments with Pacific Yachting Magazine, he agreed to collaborate with me on OUR project, WHO’S the CAPTAIN?

This is the image that will be used on the cover of our book (I thought you might just like to have a sneak preview …)

Cover_004In my next installment I’ll explore more of the “tender moments” that transpired between Dave and Mary in their collaboration process of this awesome picture book that is on its way to becoming a reality! The core element to the success of this project has been INSPIRATION!

I know many of you who read my TENDER TUESDAYS have inspirational stories of you own. I would be so grateful if you would click on LEAVE a COMMENT below this post and leave your story. I promise to respond to all comments that are left. It enriches our experience, when one shares their thoughts with us. Please do!