Marlie has Arrived

Adventure, drama, love, lust. You’ll find all this in my latest novel, Marlie, set in the Queen Charlotte Islands, or Haida Gwaii, as they are now called.

Unlucky in love, Marlie flees a bad relationship. She accepts a teaching job in the remote Queen Charlotte Islands. The beauty of the islands and the rugged challenge of northern living enthrall her. A good-looking artist has his eye on her. The perfect gentleman. Or is he? And what about that handsome fisherman? Is he just a bit too real for her with his hunting and fishing? Just as Marlie hopes that her life has made a turn for the better, disaster strikes. She is shocked to see her life spiraling downwards yet again. How could she have made such an error in judgement—an error that sets more bad luck in motion?

Not willing to lose control, Marlie takes a deep breath and sets out to get her life back on track. But can she do it alone?

Set in the remote islands of coastal British Columbia, Marlie is a heartfelt romance of love and loss and love again.

Experience the fears and joys of northern island living and delight in a second chance at true love.

You can put Marlie on your Kindle by clicking this link:

Paperback version is now available on amazon as well.

For those with e-readers other than Kindle you may find the version you need at smashwords.com

Book cover:

Painting by Jan Brown

Design by Anita B. Carroll

Do you judge a book by its cover?

Re-blogged from http://annelisplace.wordpress.com

They say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I used to believe and follow that advice. I’ve read some excellent books that came “in a plain brown wrapper.”

Many years ago, most hardcover books came in  plain cloth or hard paper covers, not illlustrated. A discerning reader had to read the inside of the flap jacket for a synopsis to decide whether the book might be more interesting than its cover.

When paperbacks came out, the classics and non-fiction books were printed in paperbacks with plain covers after a suitable period of time had gone by to give the hardcover edition a chance to make a few dollars. Yes, there were a few good books among these, but along with the plain, scholarly paperbacks came book covers associated with a lesser quality of writing or cheesier topics. Often a cheap photo or drawing attempted to lure a reader into buying.

Times have changed. Now that everyone is a writer, the market is more competitive and since most authors want to realize some sales now rather than 100 years after their death, they resort to a flashy advertising campaign. And it works!

Put a boring plain cover next to a flashy modern one, and it’s no contest. Of course, in the end, the real test still lies in the text between the front and back covers of the book.

Anita Carroll has helped bring me into the modern age of competitive book covers. Her amazing imagination has created a new cover for my novel, The Wind Weeps.

After reading the book, she said it had the same suspense as the movie Sleeping With the Enemy starring Julia Roberts. I was so pleased that she found it to be a page turner.

I had thought of book cover images with a stormy ocean,  a desperate young woman, perhaps a boat … but none of these images conveyed the terror that is also a part of this love story. Andrea’s husband brings her orchids. Perhaps orchids could feature in the cover? But the cover image can’t be too rosy (sorry for the pun). It is also a dark story – the kind of darkness that makes you want to turn the page, looking for the light.

In the end, I told Anita, “Just forget my ideas and see what you come up with.”

She really came through for me. I was shocked at first because it was so different from what I expected, but she has captured all the elements of the story. The delicate orchid, the tears dripping from it into a desolate ocean; love gone wrong. The red sky symbolizing (for me) pain and fear, and the dark, rough ocean symbolizing Andrea’s remote isolation and desperation.

Here is Anita Carroll’s amazing creation for The Wind Weeps. This novel is available at all amazon outlets, and at smashwords.com

WEB_WRAP_2If you are looking for someone to design and create your next book cover, why not give Anita Carroll a try?

Anita’s  contact information:

www.race-point.com

Coming Through

This is a post from almost four years ago. Only a few of you will remember it from then.

Coming Through

“Hey! Just in time. I’m starving,” Captain Gary called as I arrived at the wharf with sandwiches and coffee. “i knew you’d come through for me.”

“Didn’t want you to have to stop working.” Like most fishermen in the last weeks of May, Gary was racing the clock to get the boat ready for opening day of commercial fishing.

He gallantly set up a sun-bleached lawn chair for me on the deck of the salmon troller. I protested, but he said, “No, you go ahead and have the lawn chair. I can sit on the galley chair,” and he hauled out an old wooden thing from the wheelhouse.

We chit-chatted away while Gary ate his lunch. “Sure you don’t want one of these sandwiches?”

“No, thanks! I had one at home.” I spread out my arms to the sky. “What a great day! So good to see the sun at last.” I slid a little lower in the lawn chair to try to catch every last ray of sunshine.

“Oh, hi there, Fraser. Want a cup of coffee?” Gary raised his mug to a fellow fisherman who came by to talk about the merits of cold cure epoxy.

As they compared notes on the best temperature for using cold cure, I tuned out the fish talk and slouched even farther down in my lawn chair. God, that sun feels good.

The sharp cracking of plastic had all eyes turning my way. I did a split-second search for the source of the noise and watched an arm of the lawn chair snap in two. The crack was followed by the caving in of the lawn chair seat, another crack of the second arm, and the thud of my rear end hitting the deck.  There I sprawled, legs out front, elbows pointing skyward, and bottom on the deck.

“Are you okay?” the visiting fisherman asked.

I nodded, feeling my face heat up.”I guess I really came through all right.”

As Gary extricated me from the tangle of the broken chair, Fraser kindly and discreetly hurried away.

Third Anniversary of Wordsfromanneli

Three years ago (on April 12) when I began my blog, this was my first post. I have also copied it to my other blog http://annelisplace.wordpress.com just this one time. Normally I use the other one only for writing, but I think the story qualifies for both this time.

A Whale of a Tale

049

Feeling sorry for myself, I slumped on an upturned white plastic pail at the back of the salmon troller. Here, I could easily hang my head over the side and retch if necessary—and it often was. The sky was gray, the sea was gray, the boat was gray and everything, absolutely everything, was in motion. I was wishing my life away, wishing it was any time in the future. Anytime without this dreadful seasickness. Who knew it could be such misery?

Captain Gary, lounged in the wheelhouse, sipping coffee as he steered. He seemed quite at ease with the tossing of the boat. A bit of a break from work.  No need to check the gear. For the time being, it was too rough for fishing. The way we were pitching around, the lures we trolled were most likely doing a spastic underwater dance. Any salmon fooled into taking a bite would have the bait jerked right out of his mouth. I imagined the shiny spoons playing keep-away with the fish.

Anyone who has ever been seasick knows, except for sheer pain, there’s not much that feels worse than nausea. Dying would have felt good if it meant an end to this wretchedness. Is it coincidence that “nausea” begins like “nautical” and ends with “sea”? I wallowed in my misery.

051

And then… a few hundred meters off our port side, a humpback whale jumped completely out of the ocean, turned on its side, and smacked down sending great splashes of water high into the air. I yelled for Gary and stammered excitedly, pointing at the place where the whale had been. He stared at the gray water for a few seconds, said, “That’s nice,” and went back in the wheelhouse.

DSC_1727ed2

Photo courtesy of Ken Thorne

He had barely settled his butt into the captain’s chair when the whale leaped out again. I screamed for Gary, “Quick! Come and look!” He ran out of the wheelhouse and looked — too late — at the spot.

DSC_1726ed

Photo courtesy of Ken Thorne

“It only jumped out two-thirds of the way before splashing down,” I said, by way of consoling him. Back in the wheelhouse, he hadn’t even had time to sit down when I shrieked for him to come see the humpback who had jumped up for a third time.

DSC_1741ed

Photo courtesy of Ken Thorne

What are the chances? This time it only came out about halfway. I guess he was getting tired. Gary, also, came out of the wheelhouse only halfway before dismissing me with a wave of his hand. I guess he was getting tired too. I felt bad that Gary had missed the show, but for me, it was the highlight of the season. For a few magical moments, I had forgotten all about turning myself inside out with dry heaves.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo courtesy of Ken Johnston

Goodbye!

Photo courtesy of Ken Johnston

The humpback seems to be waving to me. “Goodbye!”

***

Note: The photos by Ken Thorne were taken in one of the Pacific Inlets, not out on the open waters, but I wanted to include them to show how humpbacks jump out of the water. Besides, I was too seasick and surprised to take photos of the real humpback in this story.

Copper Painting

Last week I helped my husband copper paint the bottom of our troller. It’s an annual job  that I hate more every year I do it. It’s smelly, messy, sticky, and dirty. The worst thing is that it’s awkward to paint the underbelly of a boat when you don’t have much room to maneuver. You’re crouched down under the boat as it sits on a slab of cement that is still wet from the tide going out, so you don’t get on your knees. Now twist around with the roller full of copper paint and roll the paint onto the hull above you. Don’t let your head brush on the hull. Copper paint isn’t fun to get out of your hair.

This photo shows the boat hauled out of the water onto a parking lot. It’s much easier to work on a boat here than on a slab of cement near the shore.

Newcastle Marina April 14-07e

We didn’t go to the shipyard this year, but used the grid (cement slab) instead. This means waiting for the tide to drop until the boat rests on a slab of cement near the edge of the shore. Once the water level drops enough, we can work on the boat  while the tide is out.  It’s always a bit of a race to finish painting before the tide comes back in.

I’m adding this bit because I’ve been asked about the ending. I was a mess by the end of the day. I felt I hadn’t worked this hard since last year at this time. I moaned and groaned and went to bed early.

It was that kind of situation that my character,  Andrea, had to deal with when she helped Jim work on his boat in my novel, The Wind Weeps.

Excerpt from The Wind Weeps

Jim looked me over and scowled as I approached.

“What?” I asked. “Something wrong?”

“Yeah. I thought you were going to wear your worst clothes.”

“These are them.” I raised my arms up and dropped them limply at my sides.

“You have no idea, do you?”

I felt my face heating up. He shook his head and climbed up the ladder that was tied to the side of the hull. Above me, in the wheelhouse of the Serenity, I heard him moving things around, and moments later he came back down the ladder. “Here.” He tossed me a bundle of clothes.

The coveralls were way too big and I had to roll up the cuffs of the legs and arms. They covered me completely, but the crotch was down by my knees. They made these things to fit giants. Oh well, it wasn’t a fashion show.

Jim looked at me and laughed. He climbed the ladder again. This time he brought a pair of gum boots down from the boat. “You’ll have to put these on,” he said. “Those dainty runners just won’t cut it. We need to work on the bottom as soon as the tide goes out far enough to expose the hull and that often means standing in a bit of water. Anyway, even at dead low tide, it’s mucky down there.”

I was embarrassed to think how unprepared I was. I stuck my feet into the boots and put the runners on the cement retaining wall beside the boat. The boots were huge. I clomped around in them struggling to lift them with each step, hampered always by the low crotch of the coveralls. I felt hobbled. I took a deep breath to renew my determination. “So what would you like me to do first?”

“You can do the power washing of the hull. Have you used a power washer before?” At my shake of the head, Jim sighed. “No, of course not.”

He went up to the shop at the top of the beach and got a coil of hose. He tossed it over towards me.

“Go attach the end of the hose to that tap over there.” He dragged the power washer to the side of the boat, attached the other end of the hose to it, and set the machine on the retaining wall.

“Turn on the tap,” he said. “Now watch carefully.” He started the gas engine on the power washer and showed me how to run the wand back and forth to clean the boat.

“Okay, I think I’ve got it,” I reached for the wand. “It looks pretty simple.”

But Jim didn’t hand it over. He picked up a block of wood. “Watch.” He held the nozzle of the wand a couple of inches from the wood and squeezed the trigger to start the spray. Seconds later he stopped. “Now, see that?”

I nodded and tried to remember to keep my mouth closed. “Wow! It sure chewed a hole in that wood.”

“That is what I do NOT want happening to my boat.”

“For sure. I’ll be really careful.”

“Stay a good distance away from the wood and don’t stop and spray one spot for too long.”

“Got it.” I reached for the wand again, but Jim pulled it away out of my reach.

“And another thing. Don’t ever forget that the pressure in that spray is strong enough to chew up your toes right through your boots if you’re careless about where you point the nozzle. Think of it as a loaded gun. And don’t ever point it at a person—or yourself.”

I gulped and finally took the wand from him. I’d come to help and it seemed all I was doing was making more work and worry for Jim.

The power washing turned out to be fun though. I loved the way the gunk flew off the hull with the powerful water spray, leaving the wood so clean. Green sludge and hairy seaweed were forced to loosen their grip on the wooden planks. I got all the higher parts done first, and as the tide ebbed, I was able to crawl under the boat’s big belly where a few barnacles clung stubbornly to the underneath parts. I stepped back to admire the clean surface from bow to stern. The rusty burgundy of the previous year’s copper paint had soaked right into the wood.

“It hardly seems to need painting,” I said. “It looks so pretty the way it is.”

Jim crawled out from the cramped space where he was working near the bottom of the hull on the other side. “It’s cleaner now, but without a new coat of anti-fouling paint, it would be covered in weeds and barnacles in no time. Can’t afford to have any teredos latch on and start digging into the wood.”

“What’s a teredo?”

“It’s actually a kind of clam but looks more like a worm. They call them shipworms. If they get into the wood, it’s bad. Like getting termites in a house.”

“Oh, no wonder you have to do this copper painting then.” Now it was starting to make sense to me.

Jim nodded. “I’ve got the zincs replaced on the far side. I’ll trade you sides.”

“Yeah, okay. Why do you have to put zincs on?” I know I sounded like a complete idiot, but I wouldn’t learn if I didn’t ask.

“Electrolysis would eat away the metal parts of the boat, like the propeller, the rudder, and the nails that hold the boat together. I put zinc bars on for it to eat instead.” My face must have had a blank look as I tried to understand what he was talking about.  He waved me off. “Never mind. Too complicated to explain. Trust me. They’re needed.”

I made a mental note to look up electrolysis. “Wow! You sure have to know a lot of stuff to run a boat. I used to think you just had to get aboard and steer.”

“Yeah, I can see how you’d think that.” He shook his head as if he was barely able to tolerate having me around.

“Guess I left myself open for that one. But you know, we have things back East that maybe you don’t know everything about.”

“I’m sure,” he said, rolling his eyes and turning away.

I picked up the power washer wand to get back to work. I could see Jim was running out of patience with all my questions. Way to go, Andrea. You’re too stupid for words. I would just have to show him I could do a good job and impress him that way.

I held the nozzle at the distance he had shown me and began to wash the far side of the hull. Sticky, stinky copper spray flew everywhere. As I glanced down and saw the condition of the coveralls, I realized what Monique was talking about when she told me I’d have to throw away my clothes after doing this job. I concentrated on the planks and cleaned them one by one. I felt all-powerful. Barnacles, mussels, and green slime—gone with one pass of my magic wand.

A long lump was sticking out between two of the planks, so I held the nozzle a little closer to get it out. Just a quick zap. The lump was a bit stubborn so I gave it another quick zap. And another, and another. At last it was starting to come off. God! It was a long one. Must be one of those teredos Jim was talking about. Well, he’d be glad I found it and got it out of there. I blasted it the whole length of the plank until a long piece of it plopped onto the ground. I laid down the wand.

“Jim! Come see this. Get a load of this teredo I found.” Since I had gloves on I didn’t mind picking it up to show him. When he came around to my side, I held it up and he looked shocked, just like I figured he would.

He turned pale and stammered. “Wh-where’d you get that?”

“Right here.” I pointed to the space between two planks.

“Jesus Christ!” he yelled. “Didn’t I tell you not to get that nozzle in there so close?”

“B-b-but I had to get it out of there.” A stab of fear went through me.

“God dammit! You are the stupidest broad I’ve ever met!”

“I don’t understand.” I could feel tears welling up. I blinked hard so they wouldn’t spill, but it was useless.

“This is the caulking between the planks. It stops the water from getting in. Oh, Jeezus!” He threw down his wrench and stomped off in the direction of the shop.

I sat down on the retaining wall and stared at my boots. No, not my boots—Jim’s. My chin quavered as I fought to hold back more tears. I clasped my hands together between my knees and wondered what to do next. Should I get out of these coveralls and go home? No. I wasn’t a quitter. I had really messed up, but I had to make it better or I’d never live it down.

For more of the story, read The Wind Weeps.

The Wind Weeps [1]

You can find The Wind Weeps on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, and smashwords.com