Writing

Whales & Easter Eggs

Whale3
Image via The Graphics Fairy

Whales and Easter eggs – at first glance, they don’t seem to have much in common, but give me a minute and it will all (hopefully) make sense.

When I think of Easter eggs, what comes to mind are colorfully dyed chicken eggs, chock-full of protein. Sometimes, Easter eggs  are made out of plastic and filled with lots of delicious candy. Others are made out of chocolate (the best kind in my books). And then there are those Easter eggs that are hidden messages or inside jokes in software, video games, and even books.

Whales are, well. . .big. As far as I know, there aren’t any that are made out of chocolate. It would be amazing if there were, because that would be a LOT of chocolate. I’d like to get in on that action.

My great-grandmother, Margaret Chadwick, was born on a whaling ship in Taioha’e, Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands in 1883. Margaret’s mother was the wife of a whaling ship captain. Back then it was perfectly acceptable to hunt whales. Nowadays, it’s frowned upon, with good reason.

When the whaling ships left New Bedford, Massachusetts, they would be gone for years. I guess Margaret’s mother had a choice – stay behind and wait or join her husband on the whaling ship. She, like many other whaling captains’ wives at the time, chose the crazy option – she went with him. Can you imagine being the only woman on a boat full of whalers, giving birth to your children on board, and praying you would survive storms at sea?

My mother has done a lot of genealogical research on our family, and I’ve always been fascinated by my seafaring ancestors. Makes sense, I guess, considering I live on a sailboat.

So, I thought it would be fun to hide a little Easter egg in my cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina, as a sort of tribute. One of the characters is named Penny Chadwick, after my grandmother, and, in her spare time, she likes to read about whaling captains’ wives.

Of course, Penny Chadwick isn’t much of an Easter egg now that I’ve let you in on the secret behind her name. But, there are other Easter eggs scattered about, which someone may pick up on.

Which would you prefer – dyed eggs, plastic eggs filled with candy, or chocolate eggs? Have you ever found an Easter egg hidden in software, video games, books etc.?

Boat Life, Writing

The Writing Process | My Office

Edits Boat (800x449)
Working on a draft of my cozy mystery at anchor.

Yes, I’m pretty darn lucky. I live on a sailboat and get to work on my writing while sitting in beautiful anchorages.

When we’re at anchor, one of my favorite places to work is in the cockpit of our boat. I can watch what’s going on while getting some words down on paper.

There are two downsides of writing outside — being distracted by dolphins and the glare on my computer screen. Yeah, I know, dolphins are never a downside. They’re one of the coolest parts of cruising on a sailboat. And I guess I shouldn’t really complain about the sun. That’s what feeds our solar panels and provides energy to power things like my laptop.

Depending on solar power (or a generator when the sun isn’t shining) is a quirk of having my writing office on our sailboat. If you write on land (or you’re connected to shore power at a marina), you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to charge your laptop. Electricity is plentiful and always available.

At anchor, we have to watch very carefully how many amps our equipment is drawing. Too much demand and too little supply could mean that we drain our batteries, which would be a very bad thing.

But it’s these little quirks of living on a sailboat that makes it so interesting and such a great place to write.

Where do you work on your creative projects?