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The Boat That Started It All

Rainbows End in the Water2
Rainbows End anchored in New Zealand.

We bought our first sailboat, Rainbows End, in December 2012 when we were living in New Zealand. She’s a Raven 26 (one of 400 built during the 1970s and 1980s), popular among local boaters, and considered to be a real Kiwi classic.

Unlike Mollie McGhie, the main character in Murder at the Marina, my husband didn’t present Rainbows End to me as an anniversary present. It was actually my idea to buy a sailboat. I’m not sure who was more surprised by the suggestion – him or me.

Scott had sailed quite a bit in Europe and had fallen in love with the idea of buying a boat, selling everything we own, moving aboard, and heading off into the sunset. I took a little bit more convincing. We had charted boats a couple of times in New Zealand and were talking about doing our next charter in the Whitsunday Islands in Australia.

When I did the sums, adding up airfare, car rental, and the charter costs, I realized that it would be more cost-effective to buy a small, relatively inexpensive boat in New Zealand. As a result, Rainbows End entered our lives as our “for now” boat. We decided to try out the cruising life in New Zealand and, if we both liked it, then look for our “forever” boat.

Although she was tiny (26 feet length, 8.9 feet beam), she was a great little starter boat. Sure, she didn’t have refrigeration, my husband had to sleep in the main cabin while I slept in the v-berth with the laundry (not enough room for both of us to sleep in the same spot), we didn’t have an oven, and there wasn’t any protection in the cockpit from the elements, but we loved her.

Rainbows End not only inspired us to buy another boat (a Moody 346 named Tickety Boo), but she also inspired me to write my cozy mystery series which follows the adventures of Mollie who is completely new to boats and sailing, much as I was back in 2012.

Rainbows End Inside
The interior of Rainbows End.

If you’re interested in reading more about Rainbows End and her specs, check out this post on our other blog, The Cynical Sailor.

Could you live on a small boat without refrigeration or oven?

USA, Writing

Writing Inspiration | Other-Worldly Landscapes

Blue Mesa3
Surreal colors on the Blue Mesa trail at the Petrified Forest National Park.

In addition to writing cozy mysteries, I also dabble in sci-fi and fantasy stories. It might seem like a strange combination of genres, but I love to read and write both. I’ve also managed to incorporate my love of sci-fi into my cozy mystery series in a humorous way with the occasional investigation of alien abductions and unexplained lights.

In 2014-2015, we traveled from the west coast to the east coast in the States in search of our next sailboat. Along the way, we visited some of our amazing National Parks where I discovered landscapes that seemed so surreal that at times I thought I was on another planet.

Yes, I have an overactive imagination. But if you saw these rock formations, wouldn’t you wonder if you had been transported someplace else?

Arches - Mountain View (800x510)
Hoodoos at Arches National Park

These remind me of an evil version of tribbles. You know, those cute furry things from Star Trek that reproduce like crazy?

Evil Tribbles - Joshua Tree
Cholla cacti in Joshua Tree National Park.

Aliens have definitely landed a spaceship here.

Devils Golf Course2
Salt flats at Death Valley National Park

Traveling not only opens up one’s mind and broadens one’s perspective, it also sparks the imagination. I’ve got a million story ideas bubbling away just looking at these pictures.

What inspires your creative pursuits?