linda collison's Sea of Words

charting a course from imagination to publication

Audiobook Now Available

Looking for Redfeather

Looking for Redfeather, a coming-of-age-on-the-road novel (and tongue-in-cheek homage to Jack Kerouace) is now out as an audiobook, read by actor Aaron Landon! Great listening for your next road trip!

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Merellä" (At Sea)  Oil on canvas by Albert Edelfelt, a Finnish artist, in 1883. Thanks to Curtis William Erling White and Barista Uno, shipmates aboard All Things Nautical.

Merellä” (At Sea)
Oil on canvas by Albert Edelfelt, a Finnish artist, in 1883. Thanks to Curtis William Erling White and Barista Uno, shipmates aboard All Things Nautical, a Facebook group.

 

The year is 1803 and times is hard in Hastings. Sometimes a young man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.  And so does a young woman..

Alaric Bond’s latest novel, The Guinea Boat (Old Salt Press) is about two English youths on the cusp of adulthood during the Peace of Amiens, a short-lived lull in hostility between England and France. But the so-called “peace” was not exactly tranquil. The reader experiences the intersecting lives of Nat, a somewhat arrogant but likeable lad from Ninfield in Sussex, who leaves home and an unexciting future as a bookkeeper in his father’s accounting business to find a more successful life at sea.  Lighting out for Rye, he is waylaid in Hastings where he meets Alex, son of a revenue man and becomes an unlikely apprentice, crewing for Ned Coglan, a local fisherman and widower with two teenaged daughters.

The story is told from alternating viewpoints of Nat and Alex, whose lives become intertwined, then go off on different tacks. Smugglers, revenue men, merchantmen, the navy, the Sea Fencibles, and three young lassies are all at work — and often at odds — in this convincing historical novel.

The Guinea Boat is filled with conflict and the plot has some good twists, but what I really appreciated was the setting — the strong sense of time and place created through well chosen details.  Bond creates his maritime settings convincingly by steeping himself in his place, as is evidenced by his blog post.

Before publication Alaric and I discussed The Guinea Boat’s potential market.  Is it for teens?   Certainly young adults will relate to the youthful protagonists who make some rash decisions. But the book will appeal to older readers as well, as it is written from an older, wiser man’s perspective — a man looking back on his youth with satisfaction, pride, and regret. In fact Nat begins the tale with “There is much I would change now…”

Coming of age novels interest me. As do sea stories and historical settings.  Combine the three and I’m hooked.

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Versatile Blogger Award

 

My writing-friend, Antoine Vanner, author of The Dawlish Chronicles, thrilling naval-based fiction set in the “heyday of British Empire,” nominated me as a “versatile blogger.” Antoine’s own blogs are chock full of historical content; he highlights ships, battles, and notables of the Victorian era, illuminating the more obscure events of this time period.  As a blogger, Antoine has built a solid platform; his readers know they will learn something of the past and catch a glimpse of the tip of the iceberg of research that is behind the thrilling adventures of the fictional British Naval Commander Nicholas Dawlish.  In a previous post I interviewed Antoine Vanner about his writing process.

Antoine, I am honored to be nominated as a Versatile Blogger.  We connect through our blogs, we keep in touch and informed.

I’m not an expert.  In anything. I’m what my mother always said I would be: a jack-of-all-trades.  I am versatile, if nothing else.  I write about adventure and discovery, in historical and contemporary settings.  I write about teenagers and coming of age in various time periods.  I write about the sea, but not exclusively.  I blog about the writing process — and about people and books that interest me.  I write about my versatile life.

Jack of All Trades words on business cards to promote job candid

 

What is a versatile blogger?  The Versatile Blogger tag is a way for practitioners to introduce their readers to new blogs. There are some wonderful ones out there, and about the most amazing subjects.

So, as a nominee, here’s what I was asked to do:

  1. Display the logo (see above)
  2. Write a post and link back to the blogger who nominated me
  3. Post seven interesting things about myself
  4. Nominate up to fifteen other bloggers (and why I’ve nominated them)
  5. Inform them of their nomination

 

Seven interesting things about me??

 

1.  A DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) historical essay contest I won in sixth grade elementary school convinced me I wanted to be a writer, and led to a life-long interest in history.  A few years ago (a dame d’un certain age) I went back to college to study History, with a minor in French.  I am of English, Scots-Irish, and French ancestry.

2.  I can’t stand the sight of blood — yet I worked in Critical Care and Emergency Departments for over a decade, as a registered nurse.  I draw from that experience in my writing.

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3.  As a kid growing up on a small farm on Deer Park Road, near Westminster, Maryland, I liked to ride my pony.  I also liked to jump off of high places.  My girlfriend and I would climb to the second story of the barn and gather our courage to jump out the hay-loading door.  It would take long minutes to gather our courage before leaping. I still remember the exhilarating rush of air followed too soon by the stinging on the soles of my feet when I landed in the barnyard below.

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4.  I took up skydiving when I was 27 years old.  Some years later I met Bob  (now my husband of 22 years) at the Loveland-Ft. Collins drop zone.  Together we became USPA certified jumpmasters and instructors. I had the pleasure of teaching a group of cadets from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the first jump course.  Bob and I taught the Circus Flora to skydive.  We competed in Nationals in 4-way competition one year, but didn’t win.  We were part of a Guinness World Record attempt for the most people to jump at one time from a hot air balloon. (Who thinks up these things?)

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5.  In 1999 Bob and I sailed aboard HM Bark Endeavour as voyage crewmembers, on her 3-week passage from Vancouver to Hawaii.  This amazing experienced fueled my interest in maritime history and inspired my novel Star-Crossed (Knopf;2006), a New York Public Library choice for Books for the Teen Age – 2007.

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6.  Bob and I have sailed thousands of nautical miles together — the inspiration for many articles and stories.  Yet I have a love/hate relationship with boats and the sea.  Ocean crossings are metaphors for me.  I am drawn to biography and literary fiction that has to do with water.  Conversely, I love the American West.  I am happily married and happily versatile.

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7. I paint (badly), sing alto (range of five notes), and love to travel by boat, foot, or car.

Now to pass on the torch.  There are so many interesting bloggers I’m connected with and many of them have already been nominated.   I nominate Margaret Muir, Sue Leonard and DJan Stewart  for their versatility.  I know all of these bloggers personally, as friends as well as writers.  Margaret and I have been cruising together, Sue Leonard is also from Baltimore but we met up at the Steamboat Springs Writers’ Group.   I taught DJan to skydive, and she now has more jumps than I do.  In fact, she still skydives.

Enjoy!

 

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The first draft is where we capture the heart, the guts, the essence, and the power of our story.  But first drafts (at least MY first drafts) are awkward, self-absorbed, disjointed and repetitious (not to mention riddled with grammatical errors.)  Revision is needed — yet caution is also needed so that the best parts, the soul of what you intend to say, doesn’t get thrown out with the bath water.

I typically revise my manuscripts many, many times.  Maybe others can get it right in fewer tries, but for me it takes multiple revisions.  For me, the second draft is crucial — just as important as the uninhibited brain storm that is the first draft.  The second revision feels like I’m standing at a fork in the road.  I have a beating heart, a living idea, but it could take on many guises; I could go in many directions with this hot, pulsating mass of words.  After the second draft, I’m pretty well set on my path.  The more I revise, the harder it is to make drastic changes.  And sometimes that’s what is needed most — a complete make-over.  My advice is to keep your first draft because if you need to start over you’ll still have that wild, imperfect, passionate heart to drive your story.

If you have the luxury of TIME, it’s best to give a few days or weeks of rest between drafts.  This allows your subconscious mind the opportunity to look at the story from a wider perspective.  Resist the urge to cut anything on the second draft.  Instead, add to it.  Flesh out your idea. Play with multiple viewpoints, if you’re writing fiction, or multiple audiences, if you’re writing nonfiction.  Take your time.

I’m a great believer in printing out first and second drafts.  It might seem like a waste of paper, but believe me, those trees will not have died in vain.  With a hard copy in hand you can cross out and highlight, you can write notes in the margins, you can give dimension and expression to your rewrite that you can’t do on the keyboard.  I have a feeling most young writers are rushing through their work, eager to see it published.  Most of our manuscripts benefit from a slower pace and careful revisions.  In fact, the revision process never really ends; at some point a deadline approaches and you declare it finished.  I’m sure most of us could continually revise one story our entire lives and when we died it would be an entirely different story from the one we started with.

On the eve of my keynote speech to the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Marketing Excellence Awards Banquet in Denver, Colorado, I am looking at a talk quite different from the first draft I shared in an earlier post.  Yet the heart and the soul of it remains.  In telling my story I aim to inspire others to find the edge, to take risks, and to share their story.

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