Monday, January 25, 2016

Time and Tide Wait for No Man.

As I was updating my web page today to add Bluewater Jailbird, the tenth and newest Bluewater Thriller, I realized that I haven't written a blog post since August. I've published three books since then, so before I lose myself in a fourth, here's a quick update.

My last post dealt with the way Amazon had changed payments to authors for books borrowed through Kindle Unlimited. That was new last summer, and I thought it was a good thing. I still like it, both as a reader, and as an author. I've seen my base of readers expand as a result, and because of the length of most of my books, my compensation doesn't differ much between borrowed books and purchased books.

Before that, I wrote a series of posts entitled Living What I Write that described the adventures my wife and I had while sailing back to the U.S. after 15 years as seagoing vagabonds, mostly in the Eastern Caribbean. When our sixth grandchild was born, we realized that we'd gradually lost touch with family. A trip back for a few weeks every year or two wasn't enough.

Grandchildren, children, nieces, nephews, and parents have all gotten older. We decided we should come back and live among them while we still had time to get reacquainted. Although Leslie and I feel about the same age as we always have, (early twenties, if you're curious) everybody else has aged. My sister died before cellphones and email had become ubiquitous in the islands, and I learned about it days later, by accident. Fortunately, we didn't have any other experiences like that one, but realizing that our oldest grandchild was driving -- she was an infant when we left -- alerted us to the passing of time.

We've stored Play Actor for a while and bought a car. We haven't owned one for 15 years; we're like teenagers, looking for any excuse to drive. We've spent the last several months making the rounds of relatives all over the country. Soon, we'll figure out where we want to stay for a while. Somewhere in Texas, where those six grandchildren live, is high on our list, but we'll see.

We're adjusting to not living afloat, though we both miss aspects of it. Neither of us is willing to rule out a return to the sailing life, but we're learning to cope with the changes that happened while we were away. Most of them are positive; many are surprising, and a few are disappointing.

Meanwhile, the transition to life ashore is expensive, so I've had a powerful incentive to write more books, though I didn't realize until now that it had been at the expense of blog posts. I'm beginning the fifth book in the Connie Barrera Thriller series, and I'm working on a new non-fiction book about our return to living ashore.

We plan to research the new non-fiction book by retracing the path of our first voyage down the East Coast along the Intracoastal Waterway, visiting favorite spots by car instead of boat. We'll contrast what we see from ashore with what we saw afloat. I envision a sort of companion piece to Life's a Ditch.

After 60 plus years of sailing, much of it offshore, it's odd to not worry about what the next storm will bring. Occasionally, a wind shift wakes me up, and I instinctively put my feet on deck (Carpet? Where did that come from?) and peer out the porthole (big, rectangular, and not yet familiar) to check the holding of our anchor.  So far, the buildings we've been in haven't dragged anchor, but we're in California right now, so it could happen, I guess.

When I hear the siren's call, though, I just join Dani and Liz or Connie and Paul; they're kind enough to take me sailing any time. Connie's tapping me on the shoulder now, in fact. She's got a story she wants me to tell. I'd best heed her call; she's not a patient woman. I'll write another post soon, unless Dani or Liz beats me to it.


Onisha Ellis said...

I have been wondering how your life on shore was going. Thanks for the update. I look forward to your non fiction work.

Charles Dougherty said...

Thanks, Onisha!

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