Monday, August 27, 2012

New Book By Beth Ciotta!

Friends, I am delighted to announce a terrific new book by the fabulously talented Beth Ciotta! 

How do I know it's terrific?  Beth is one of my dearest friends and I read this book right when she finished it, so I have first hand enjoyment and knowledge.

You don't have to take my word for it.  Here's what some other folks have said:

“Rich with emotional complexity and a cast of wonderfully rich characters, Fool for Love is an absolute treat.”—Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author

“Ciotta writes with style, wit and heart. Can’t wait for the next one!”
Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author

"Ciotta’s wit adds spark to this tale of extended-family joys and sorrows, smalltown living, and complicated characters with secrets that will keep readers waiting eagerly for the next Monroe family story."—Publishers Weekly on Fool For Love

Fool for Love is available for sale tomorrow, August 28th.  You can pre-order it now in print or for your e-reader at Amazon.  Just click here!

Congratulations, Beth.  Here's wishing you great success, my wonderful, sweet friend!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Whale of a Time!

I've been away from this blog for months.  I apologize, but I've been blogging regularly about my journey post-weight loss surgery over at my other blog - Weighty Matters.

It was never my intention to slight you here, and I promise to soon post with greater frequency.  I'm about to launch myself back into more fiction writing, beginning with a graduate course on Writing Romance that's being taught through McDaniel College by the incomparable Jennifer Crusie and Dr. Pamela Regis.  Ideas, characters and scenes for a new book are bubbling in my brain.  It's exciting!

Life has really been terrific for the last seven months, not that it was bad before!  I feel great and my spirit is invigorated.

I just returned from my annual vacation to Cape Cod where I had a wonderful time with family and friends.  I also took a whale watching trip out of Barnstable Village to Stellwagon Bank.  We saw at least a dozen humpback whales, including a mother and calf, as well as two minke whales.  I was able to get some cool photos and a couple of videos.  Since the last time I posted I showed you dolphin shots from the Keys, I think sharing whale pics today is in order!

Humpback whale surfacing to breathe.

A different humpback diving down to feed.

Humpback calf (probably around 8 months old) breaching.

Adult humpback slapping its huge pectoral flippers.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Boating and Dolphins = Joy

It's no secret to anyone that I love being out on the water.  I have had a bad jones for a boat trip for weeks now.  I hadn't been out on my boat since before Christmas!  That's ridiculous, but there were circumstances.  I was preparing for surgery.  Then, I wasn't cleared to go on the boat until my month follow up appointment in February.  At that point, the mighty wind picked up in the Keys and continued to blow for what seemed like weeks -- or at least every weekend.  I got a Sunday morning when I thought I could at least take a little ride and discovered that my steering wasn't working.

Got the steering repaired, but the wind and bad weather continued.  There were great conditions one week in April, but, of course, it was the week that I was away! 

Today, everything came together!  I woke to a gorgeous day with a light breeze and great tide level.  I was ready to go by 10 a.m.  Got my stuff together, climbed on the boat and lowered the lift.  I was just about to launch when I realized that my boat was listing badly to starboard.  I boosted back up and called the service guy.  He was free and came down to check things out.

Wellll....although I'd boosted the bow up a few times to drain out water that might have accumulated from all of the heavy rains, things were trapped in the starboard hull and that side's bilge pump wasn't working.  Rick grabbed a wrench and unscrewed the hull plug, then we waited while gallons of water poured out.

So, a brief delay, but not a fun-stopper.  With the boat now properly drained, we fired up the engines, checked the steering, and launched off the lift.  This also gave him a chance to feel how the steering was reacting since he'd replaced the fluid pump a few weeks ago.  He wants to make some adjustments when he comes to fix the bilge.

We cruised through the harbor out Sister Creek to the Atlantic.  Once out, the wind was higher and the water choppy, but my boat could handle it.  I throttled up and we cruised over the waves.  It was glorious!  Water like melted blue topazes as far as we could see and a brilliant blue sky.  We kept up the speed and enjoyed the view, the speed, the sunshine, and the crisp, cool breeze.

We went around Boot Key and out as far as the hump of the Seven Mile Bridge before I turned us toward the home port.  We were a couple of football field lengths away from the channel markers when we spotted the first dorsal fin.  We slowed down to look around and soon spotted multiple fins in different groups all around us.

I grabbed my camera and started snapping, which is not easy to do when the boat rocks and one doesn't know where the next dolphin will pop up.  By my estimation, there were 10 to 12 dolphins in the area, including two or three youngsters that were less than two years old.

I am extremely fortunate to be around dolphins every day at work, but I never get tired of seeing these amazing animals.  In the harbor outside my house or out in the open water, seeing them swim, play or just hang out never fails to light my spirit and fill me with joy.  What a great day!