Virtual Book Tour

box
Would you look at that–it’s an actual box of my dreams come true!

One more day until Cloaked is released! Due to a number of factors preventing a physical launch event (like the fact that my husband is in the military and has zero control over his schedule, I have an 8 month old breastfed baby, and we live too far from any metropolis), I’m doing a virtual blog tour to promote my book. Stop by these awesome sites for an interview or guest post by your’s truly.

I answer questions about the book, talk about my quirks, rate my top 5 movie scenes, and more. Each interview is different, so follow along! I’m also giving out a $25 Amazon gift card to a lucky reader who enters the Rafflecopter. A big thanks to Goddess Fish Promotions for organizing everything!

August 27: Independent Authors
August 28: Author Deborah A Bailey
August 29: Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog
August 30: Christine Young
August 31: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
August 31: Let me tell you a story
September 3: The Reading Addict
September 4: Fabulous and Brunette
September 5: Long and Short Reviews
September 6: Viviana MacKade
September 7: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
September 7: Hope. Dreams. Life… Love
September 10: Bookaholic – review only
September 11: Jazzy Book Reviews
September 12: Iron Canuck – review only
September 13: Welcome to My World of Dreams
September 14: Beyond Romance
September 14: Nickie’s Views and Interviews
September 17: Mixed Book Bag
September 18: It’s Raining Books
September 19: Kit ‘N Kabookle
September 20: Locks, Hooks and Books – review only
September 21: Two Ends of the Pen

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Other Awesome People Doing Other Awesome Things

I try to do at least 3 blog posts every month, but if any of you readers are looking for other great blogs to follow while you wait for me to get my shit together and actually write something, I have a few recommendations.

Live Free 2 Sail Fast is another military family working to get a sailboat ready for cruising. They are on the west coast and have been incredibly supportive of our journey so far. If you think we’re crazy, they’ve got kids and a GREAT DANE on a sailboat! Follow them 🙂 https://livefree2sailfast.com/

Windtraveler has been our inspiration from day one, and got the ball rolling with thoughts of, “This looks cool. What if we could do this one day?” Their three adorable little girls are living the island life, and Mom and Dad have great tips about parenting aboard. The blog can be found at http://www.windtraveler.net/

Boats, Boards, and Babies are a family with three little boys who split time on a sailboat in the Caribbean and ‘real life’ on the east coast. They have great tips for boating and travel with little ones. Their website: https://explorenewshores.com/

Women Who Live on Rocks is a space for women writers to share funny and real stories about island life. Their experiences make me yearn for the day when I can join their ranks! https://womenwholiveonrocks.com/

The S/V Ruby Rose crew posts incredibly detailed videos about boat maintenance. They are Conor’s go-to guide for videos on engines, installation, electricity, and more. Follow at http://yachtrubyrose.com/

Jason and Nikki Wynn of Gone with the Wynns are a couple who started out with hardly any sailing experience and now cruise full time on their bluewater catamaran. Here’s their site: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/

I’m always on the lookout for other adventurers to follow, so if anyone has recommendations for other blogs, please post below in the comments section! Shout out to all the people who are making their big dreams happen.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

handstand
Does the fact that I can still do a handstand count as awesome?

Visit from YaYa

I almost titled this post, “It Rained for 2 Weeks Straight”. Our terrible weather also coincided with a wonderful visit from my mom, who came all the way out from Seattle to spend some quality time with her grandbaby. I planned to have an awesome post about my mom’s first sail (ever!) but you’ll all have to be satisfied with mini-stories from the dock instead.

It is hard to believe we didn’t have a weather window to take the boat out the entire time my mom was here. We had AM and PM thunderstorms EVERY DAY. It was ridiculous. If you remember one of my previous posts, “How to Sail With a Baby”, while W is so young, we are only comfortable taking her out if there are no thunderstorm watches. I also wanted my mom’s first time out to be an easy sail, so we just kept waiting and waiting for better weather that never came. Today, of course, it’s sunny out with a perfect 10mph NE wind. LASKDFHLKDSHGODIFGGAHHHHHH

However, this trip for YaYa was a lot more fun than the one in January. That one included a screaming newborn, snow, and being stuck inside the boat. This time, we had cocktails in the cockpit, bbq’s, and field trips with an always-inquisitive 7 month old. Other highlights included 4—count ’em—4(!) dates for me and Conor, one even on our actual anniversary! We went to fancy dinners (as fancy as you can get in Jacksonville and Swansboro), the movies, and a couple’s night with friends. YaYa spent quality time with W, while Conor and I remembered what it was like to just be us. It made me wish we were on the west coast to be closer to family.

yaya1
Airport snuggles with YaYa

Other news: for our anniversary, Conor and I gave each other the extremely romantic gift of a TRX. I want to finally get back in shape post-baby and build muscle again, and it is the perfect workout kit for boat life. It all fits into one little bag when not in use! It hooks around the mast. Here we are trying it out:

trx

We were all very sad to see YaYa go, and we will miss her very much!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

How to Repair the Mainsail

As I mentioned a few posts back, we recently tore our mainsail. We still have a full summer of sailing ahead of us, so we needed to fix it ASAP! Here was our process:

Got a sail repair kit from Amazon. Sail thread, wax, some special sewing needles, sail tape, and a palm pusher (like a thimble, but hardcore). $50 total.

sail repair1

Brought down the mainsail, got a bit discouraged that we had SEVEN tears of varying lengths.

Laid out the mainsail on the dock and applied sail tape.

sail1

Brought mainsail into cockpit because it was so f*cking hot out.

sail repair 2

Hand-sewed for 3 hours, fixed 2.5 tears. Must follow zig-zag pattern back and forth along each seam to reinforce, and realized we were in for more than we thought. Conor worked on it from the crack of dawn the next day and 10 hours later he was done.

sail repair 3

Hurricane Chris passed by east coast.

High winds + in-mast roller furler – mainsail = HORRENDOUSLY LOUD BANGING. No way could we hoist our mainsail up while tied to the dock in such high winds. Needed a temporary fix.

Had the bright idea to shove pieces of pool noodle into the mast to keep the furler from banging. Recruited our friend Zach (who recently bought his own 42 ft liveaboard) to go up in his bosun’s chair to do it for us.

zach

It worked! All was quiet while we waited for the right conditions to pull out the pool noodles and put our sail back up. Borrowed the bosun’s chair again, and this time I was initiated into another part of boat life—my own trip up the mast! Check out the view:

mast2

mast1

Fun fact: I am usually terrified of heights, but it was either Conor hauled me up the mast, or I tried to haul his 200+lbs 60ft up in the air. I picked the easier choice. Once pool noodles were out, we put up our mainsail and quickly rolled it up into the mast.

We went sailing the next day, and winched it out with our fingers crossed. SUCCESS! You can’t even tell where it was repaired. Sails held strong and we had a great day out on the water.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Pinterest Worthy?

We’ve finally accomplished some mini-projects for the inside of the boat. Just a few little touches to make life more comfortable, easier, or homier. My favorite is this cool spice rack that Conor put up:

spicerack

All you need are some powerful magnetic strips and jars with magnetic tops. Add in a label maker and you’re set! No more digging through the pantry for spices in the middle of cooking.

mixtiles

We also put up this great photo wall using a company called MixTiles. They are high-quality photos printed on foam, and they just stick right to the wall. Easy to swap out, too. $9 apiece and they are boat-proof. No glass frames in here!

Now that it is summer in North Carolina and everyday is around 100% humidity, we are trying anything and everything to keep our interior cool and dry. We stuck a product called dri-deck under our queen mattress and the v-berth mattress. It helps with air flow, especially in the v-berth, to keep bedding from getting damp. I’ll be interested to see if it helps in the winter, too.

bed

Speaking of bedding, I know some people were curious to know how we secured W’s crib to her mattress:

crib

Simple straps! Easy peasy, and that thing doesn’t move at all. There’s an adjustable strap running through each leg separately, then up and around the mattress. All 4 legs of that thing are locked down.

That’s about all of our interior updates. Each little project over the last year has customized it to our family, and it definitely feels like home!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

COVER REVEAL!

I proudly present the cover of my debut novel! Cloaked will be released on August 22, 2018. You can order it here once it becomes available:

https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/

Let me just add that this is such a surreal moment. The Wild Rose Press editorial team did an incredible job finalizing the manuscript, and the cover artist, Debbie Taylor, brought my vision to life.

Cloaked_w12562_750

As the Cloaked Shadow, Fawkes has made his career breaking into prisons for any contract with a large enough purse. He takes advantage of the kingdom’s impending revolution by playing both sides of the conflict. Each rescue contract he fulfills turns a tidy profit until he angers the wrong duke.

Charlotte is a criminal-in-training who yearns to crack her mentor’s guarded façade, but is unprepared to confront the depths of his dark past. As her sense of right and wrong blurs, Charlotte discovers just how far she will go for the Cloaked Shadow and the sacrifices he requires.

Now hunted throughout the land, Fawkes must face long-buried secrets in order to survive, but they could destroy him. Charlotte risks everything, including her heart, to set Fawkes on the path to redemption.

Will Charlotte have the strength to pull Fawkes into the light, or will she follow him into the shadows?

Thank you all for your never-ending support.
Love,
Taylor, Conor, and W

Hey There, Big Spender

helping dad
Helping Dad with paperwork is very serious business

June was an expensive month for us. It will always be an expensive month because that’s when we owe our annual insurance as liveaboards. Thankfully, we were able to switch insurance companies this year for a much cheaper option.

We were previously insured through Lloyds of London. We were grateful that they would insure us in the first place (read about our insurance struggles as a first-time boat owner here) but when it came time to re-up this year, we were disappointed that they were going to charge us the same astronomical rate, even though we were accident-free and ASA certified now. They also required a ton of paperwork hoops to jump through.

After shopping around, we realized that it was way easier to get insurance when you’ve had insurance and were able to get a much more reasonable rate through Pantaenius ($1,000 annually vs $3,600 annually). So what did we do with our savings?

Got a new A.C. unit! Our old one was 16 years old and on its last legs. We had it professionally installed, and Conor watched the process from start to finish. He is getting to be quite the expert on boat systems.

There are also some personal and decorative touches we have planned for the boat. Details and photos next post!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W