Behind the Scenes of Sonder Village

Sonder Village was released today! Here’s the scoop on my new book and some fun facts.

  • This book is based off a news article I read in 2015 about abandoned villages up for sale in Spain. All the properties seemed to have a rich history and a story to tell. I had always wanted to play with setting as a character and this concept presented the perfect opportunity!
  • I finished this book right before going into labor with Baby W. Once she was born and I exited the baby fog, I realized I hated my original ending and rewrote the last 15,000 words!
  • I actually speak Spanish. It was one of my majors in college.
  • Early readers of this book include my parents, Conor, and my dear friend Annie B. Their honesty and support keeps me going! Thanks for slogging through early drafts, guys!
  • I pitched this book to my editor while we were in Atlanta after evacuating for Hurricane Florence.
  • The cover artist who did Sonder Village also did my cover for Cloaked
  • My favorite passage in the book is this one (I wonder why?):

Bieito transformed at the helm. Holding onto the tiller, he expertly steered them through the breaking waves, showing no hint of fear. He was right—it was a dance. Remy tried to stay out of the way as he raised and trimmed the sail. Soon they were flying. The little sailboat skipped over the choppy waves, riding on moonlight.

Their serious conversation from earlier was placed on an indefinite hold. Remy couldn’t speak right now even if she wanted to. The entire experience stole her breath away, and all she could do was hold on tight, smiling from ear to ear until her cheeks ached.

Let’s sail forever. Remy longed to just keep moving forward, into the unknown. To never see land again, and to live in the waves and at the whim of the wind. It blew all the thoughts and worries straight out of her head.

This was Bieito’s version of painting. The release of consciousness as he let his body live in the moment, just as Remy did with a brush. She looked back at him from her seat across the cockpit. The lines on his face were completely smoothed out in the silver light, and she could see the boy he used to be; a boy who got his love of the sea from his mother, and the respect of the sea when he learned how to ride it.

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Send me your questions! Anything about the book, the publishing process, or writing strategies. Happy reading and I hope you enjoy Sonder Village!

Love,

Taylor

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Boat Tribe Does The Derby

The boat owners of Gottschalk Marina took a little field trip together on Saturday. We all went down to Swansboro for Derby Day! I had no idea what to expect, except for the fact that that most people were going to dress up. This, as you know, is normally a momentous occasion for boat people, especially liveaboards. I think we cleaned up very nicely!

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The event itself was impressive, though no one seemed to care much about the actual race! We had a great time hanging with our boat tribe at the docks, drinking mint juleps and crowd-watching. Our friends stayed the whole weekend. They took a 42 ft sailboat and a 48 ft powerboat down on Friday to get slips in the middle of the action. We just drove there for the day this year, but we will definitely bring Story Time next year! It is only a 5 hour motor out of New River and into the ICW.

We need to keep an eye out for other day trip opportunities like this. How lucky are we that we can just take our home with us? Time to start taking advantage of it more. Although, our friends did say that they missed Gottschalk after the third day. Can you be homesick while bringing your home with you? While travel is amazing, I think it is always nice to return to familiar territory and routine. Home is also the people you surround yourself with, and we are grateful to have such amazing friends here.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

The Triumphant Return

We made it! We are back home on the boat in North Carolina. Our 14 hour journey looked like this: car—ferry—tram—plane—bus—car—sailboat. My mom is a SAINT and came along with me, W, and Scout. Don’t worry, I’m flying her back first class on Monday—she’s more than earned it!

It took about a day and a half to get the boat back up and running. It’s like we never left! My mom kept W occupied while I de-winterized everything. Huge props to Conor who cleaned the crap out of everything before he left in January. I was honestly surprised that there were no major issues and we came back to a pristine boat. It helped that our friends Zach and Corri (read their post here) checked in on Story Time for us about once per week. They emptied our dehumidifiers, checked the bilge and batteries, and made sure the heat was running.

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How we knew we were missed! Glad to be back with our boat tribe

These are a few tips we swear by if you have to leave your boat for an extended period of time:

  • Wash and bag all linens, towels, pillows, etc.
  • Prop up cushions and mattresses to help with air flow
  • Leave fans and dehumidifiers running to keep things dry
  • Bleach water tanks
  • Put vinegar in the toilet
  • Get a boat babysitter for peace of mind
  • Store all breakables in a cabinet in case of strong winds
  • Put more lines out than you think you’d need
  • Wipe down all surfaces + inside every cabinet with disinfectant wipes. It’s a pain in the butt but you don’t want to come back to any mold!
  • Damp Rid bags in every closet
  • For the love of God, empty your holding tank

 

As for the marina, we have FOUR new liveaboards that moved in while we were gone! I just love that Gottschalk is growing into such a vibrant and active liveaboard community. We love the sense of family here and sharing the lifestyle with others. It is going to be a great summer.

 

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Winter Blues

This blog is about living aboard a sailboat. Currently, baby and I are still up in Washington with my parents. Therefore, it is incredibly difficult to write insightful or interesting posts about sailboat life when we are staying in a house! Hence the blog hiatus these past few weeks. My apologies. Winter has just been so long and boring! I can’t wait until spring.

So without a boat to worry about or work on, what have I been up to? Here’s a visual:

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Minus the sleeping part. W is over a year old and STILL getting up 2+ times per night. I have to have faith that one day I will have my sleep and my sanity back. This can’t last forever, can it? Parents who have been there, please post your tips for getting baby to sleep through the night and nap for more than 45 minutes at a time.

In other exciting news, I am close to a release date on my second book! I’m working with my editor at Wild Rose Press right now to finalize Sonder Village and get the blurb/cover/date details to post here soon. Insane person that I am, I also decided that now would be a good time to start on a third book. I figure the more work I do now, the more time I’ll have for sailing come spring and summer! In between novel projects, I’m also doing content writing for extra $ to pay off the boat quicker.

W and I are really missing Conor and trying to stay busy. This should be the last long-haul separation before Conor leaves the Marine Corps, and I can’t say I’ll miss this aspect of our lives. I can’t remember a time in the last eight years when we haven’t had a training/trip/deployment hanging over our heads. Other military wives, you know what I’m talking about! I’m just daydreaming about cruising to the Caribbean one day to get through these next few weeks!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

2018 Recap Video

 

Well guys, Conor is back in North Carolina to do Marine things. W and I are still hanging in WA because he is going to be so busy, but we miss him so much! Thank God for Skype.

To commemorate what a great year we had as a family, I put together a little recap video for 2018. Our 2017 video is here, and our 2018 one picks up right where that one left off! It is crazy to look back and see how tiny W used to be. This year consisted of sleepless nights, two cross-country trips to WA, boat work, long summer nights, great sailing as a family of 3, and more. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed that I was able to put this together just a week after New Year. The 2017 recap video didn’t get posted until March 2018. I think I’m more on top of it this year!

The song is ‘End of the World’ by the Dirty Heads. Thanks for following our journey!

 

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Holiday Travel

During my 2012 trip to Nicaragua from Costa Rica, I took one backpack with stuff to last a week. I packed a toothbrush, hairbrush, 1 swimsuit, a pair of shorts, 2 t-shirts, flip flops, and a sarong that served as a blanket/towel/cover up depending on the situation. My passport, camera, and cash were my only items of value. I didn’t even have a phone. I certainly don’t remember wearing sunscreen.

I thought of this trip as we checked our baggage at Raleigh airport. The crowds parted like the sea when they saw us coming—a suitcase each for me, W, and Conor, a diaper bag, backpack with electronics, W’s crib, a car seat, Lillibaby harness, stroller, and a pet carry-on case for Scout. We wheeled this teetering monstrosity on a luggage cart amid gazes of awe and pity. Holiday travel with children. Is there anything else like it? If any readers have tips for us, please post below!

There were some things that made the trip easier. Luckily, W had her own seat for the cross-country flight to Seattle. All of our checked bags made it to the other side in one piece. We avoided any meltdowns (both parents and baby). Still, 6 hours entertaining a 1 year old who won’t sleep isn’t easy, and I am not looking forward to our return trip. It is hard living so far away from family! But now that we are here, we are relishing time with family and friends for the holidays. Plane travel with kids will get easier, especially once we don’t need to haul car seats and strollers and diaper bags.

I know that the carefree trips of my college years are part of the past, and I am okay with that. Fulfilling Baby’s needs and comfort are the most important part of taking a family-friendly trip. For that, I will load up as many bags on my back as it takes.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Scout is rockin’ her Christmas sweater

Making the Most of Evacuating

Well guys, we are still in Atlanta. The roads back to North Carolina are starting to improve but remain pretty gnarly in some spots. The plan right now is to wait a few extra days and shoot for getting home this weekend. Here’s what we know about Gottschalk Marina and how all the boats fared during the hurricane:

  • The floating docks are still floating. Yay! The storm surge was about three feet above the fixed docks.
  • One derelict boat sank in its slip
  • Three boats with some broken lines are bouncing in their slips
  • ALL the other boats were great and bobbing happily in their slips!!!
  • This means Story Time is still afloat and we have a home to return to! We’ll have to see in person if she sustained any damage but it’s looking good.

I am SO relieved. The fact that none of the boats broke loose to cause massive damage to other boats/ marina is a huge testament to how hard all of boat owners worked to prep for the hurricane. Here are some pictures that the Ragged Point Yacht Club took:

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The Gottschalk boat launch is under water, but look at all those masts still standing tall!
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This old houseboat was the only casualty at Gottschalk Marina

Sadly, our old marina in New Bern didn’t fare as well. Northwest Creek Marina faced dangerous flooding and some of the boats broke free during the high winds. Here’s what NWC looked like in the Florence aftermath:

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So many sideways sailboats 😦
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These boats broke free and are ON TOP of the fuel dock
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Thinking of all our friends at NWC

Though I am eager to go home and check on the boat, we have been making the most of our forced family vacation here. Thank goodness for USAA renter’s insurance, which has covered hotel, food, and travel costs associated with evacuating. Since finding out our boat was okay, we have been able to enjoy spending time in a big city. We took W on her first aquarium trip, and our fellow liveaboard friends (remember the packing list?) decided to come up from Florida and join us in Atlanta instead. W and I have loved having Daddy around all day!

aquarium

While we are thankful that Hurricane Florence didn’t cause too much upset in our lives, we are well aware of the devastating impact it had on the entire Carolina region. Our hearts go out to those who lost their homes, livelihoods, and family members in this disaster. Relief efforts and cleanup will ongoing for a long time. This was an eye-opening first hurricane for us.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W