IWSG, Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mysteries, USA, Writing

Writing Update & Travels in Our Teeny-Tiny Camper | IWSG

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It’s a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there’s an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they’re struggling with what to say.

This month’s question is:

There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

Check out how people have answered this month’s question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list HERE. I opted out of answering the question, instead sharing a quick writing update. Check it out below.

This is going to be a short post as things are a bit frantic in my world. We hit the road in our teeny-tiny camper in the middle of May. Since then we’ve traveled from Florida up to North Dakota, spending time in Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota along the way.

It’s been really hard to concentrate on writing and blogging while traveling, camping, and enjoying the great outdoors, but I’ve been trying my best. It was the same thing when we were traveling on our sailboat – the nomadic life can be a challenge when it comes to focusing on creative projects.

Despite the travel, I have been working on two projects. The first is a Mollie McGhie short story – Buried by the Beach – which will be published in the Mystery Follows Her cozy mystery multi-author anthology coming out on July 23rd. Many, many thanks to all of you who offered to read and review an ARC copy!

The other project is book #5 in my Mollie McGhie cozy mystery series – Shooting by the Sea – due out in August. I’m in the process of finishing it up right now before getting it to my editor. Deadlines are looming and the pressure is on, but I’m having a blast with this story.

I’m looking forward to catching my breath next month once Shooting by the Sea is wrapped up, then I’ll be diving into the next book in my Smitten with Travel rom-com series.

FYI – I may be a bit slower visiting blogs and returning comments, but hopefully things will get back to “normal” and I’ll have a bit more time and headspace next month.

In the meantime, a couple of pictures from our adventures in South Dakota – a bison in Custer State Park and our teeny-tiny camper (“Scamper”) in the Black Hills National Forest.

Boat Life, USA

When a Book Comes True | A Leaky Boat & The Boatyard Blues

You know how they say that the imagination is a powerful thing? Well, in my case, it seems to be a bit too powerful. My cozy mystery, Bodies in the Boatyard, kicks off with Mollie and Scooter finding a leak on their sailboat and having to have their boat hauled out of the water and taken to the boatyard.

Sounds great on paper, right? Trust me, it’s not so great in real life, especially when you live on your boat and it’s the only home you have.

A few days ago we discovered a crack in the hull of our sailboat. A crack is bad enough. It’s even worse when it’s below the water line and letting water into your boat. Water on the outside of a boat, great. Water on the inside, not so great.

By the way, our sailboat is named Tickety Boo which means it’s all good. Things are definitely not tickety boo on Tickety Boo just now. {sigh}

So, like Mollie and Scooter, we’ve arranged to haul our boat out and move her into the boatyard to assess the damage and address it. That means that our plans to head off cruising to the Bahamas have had to be put on hold in the meantime. Hopefully, this is where the similarities end – fingers crossed we don’t stumble across any dead bodies in our boatyard.

Given how the things I’ve imagined are coming true in real life, I should probably be careful about what I write about in my next book, Poisoned by the Pier. {grin}

Here’s what it looked like last time we had our sailboat in the boatyard. This was right after we bought her when she used to be called Moody Blue.

Tickety Boo Indiantown Hard

And here’s what she looks like when she’s happiest – in the water.

Tickety Boo Little Bahama Bank - Copy

Have you ever imagined something that’s come true in your life – good or bad?

The latest Mollie McGhie cozy sailing mystery is now available! Pick up a copy of >>Bodies in the Boatyard<< at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play

Paperback available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

USA, Writing

Writing Inspiration | Cedar Key, Florida

Nothing beats a beautiful sunset.

When I was thinking about the setting for my cozy mystery series, The Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mysteries, my thoughts turned to our time visiting Cedar Key on the northwest coast of Florida. It’s a cute little tourist town full of historical sites, fun shops, inviting restaurants, and art galleries, all surrounded by the water.

I based the fictional town of Coconut Cove in part on Cedar Key. They both have palm trees and coconuts scattered about.

Nice place to sit and watch the boats anchored nearby.

You can charter boats and go out on fishing trips. Competition between fishing charter businesses plays a big part in the second book in the series, Bodies in the Boatyard.

I love the fish signs.

There are lots of great places to stop and have a drink. I can’t remember the name of this place in Cedar Key, but the local bar in the fictional town of Coconut Cove is the Tipsy Pirate.

There’s nothing better than a cold beer on a hot day.

Sailboats anchor near Coconut Cove, just like they do in Cedar Key.

Buildings on the waterfront.

And no town — fictional or real — would be complete without a few cats hanging about.

Nothing was going to disturb this kitty’s nap.

If you want to read more about our visit to Cedar Key and the surrounding area, check out this post on my other blog, The Cynical Sailor.

What inspires your creative pursuits?

MM &amp; BB Sailing Deadly Graphic


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?



Tiny Living in a 13′ Travel Trailer

scamper collage january

When people find out we live on a 34-foot sailboat, which has around 350 square feet of living space, they’re often flabbergasted that we can live in such a tiny space without killing each other. Then I tell them that we used to live in a 13-foot Scamp travel trailer, which has around 65 square feet of living space, and they’re dumbstruck.

We bought our travel trailer when we moved back to the States from New Zealand in search of our next sailboat. Originally, we had been camping, but sleeping in a tent, especially during heavy rain and cold weather, got old quick. Getting a travel trailer made life so much more pleasant.

Sure, it’s tiny, but it’s adorable. Like this kitchen area — small, but it has everything you need including a fridge, stove, and sink.

Scamp Kitchen

The bathroom is teeny. But at least it has a bathroom, complete with a shower. So much nicer than having to get up in the middle of the night and walk to the nearest bathroom when nature calls.

Scamp Shower

It has a dining area, which also doubles as a sleeping area by folding the table down.

Scamp Table

The good thing about travel trailers is that the outdoors is an extension of your living space. We had great times sitting outside, barbecuing something for dinner, and enjoying the scenery.

Scamper at Flamingo

We really enjoyed our time living in our tiny travel trailer and exploring the States from the west coast to the east coast. And, more importantly, we managed to do it without killing each other.

Do you enjoy camping? Could you live in such a tiny space with another person?