Sunset from the Lois Mae - Hawaii Ocean Photography

Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler – the beginnings of a new book

Aloha!

Now that the draft of Sylvie‘s sequel is finished, I am working on a 4th book – this time a biography. I’ve got a few chapters roughed out, but I’d like to share the introduction. Let me know what you think!

 

Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler (working title)

Stepping aboard Mark’s boat, a Polaris 43 double ender christened Lois Mae after his mother, the first thing you might notice is his smile — bright and welcoming for friends and strangers alike. If you walk down the pier at Nawiliwili Harbor, regardless of the time of day, you’re likely to see a small crowd gathered on Lois Mae; no formal occasion is necessary — at some point everyone is drawn to the boat to see if Mark is home, just to say hello, regardless of the reason they are at the harbor in the first place. Stopping by to say hello leads to a cocktail with music playing in the background, and depending upon the weather, that hello may cause you to spend the day sailing around the east side of Kauai enjoying the sunshine and tradewinds, or simply sitting onboard talking story until well after the colors of the sunset have faded to a starry black. Mark may not have much in terms of worldly possessions, but he has enough Aloha to supply the world.

Mark grew up in Cardiff-by-the-Sea in Encinitas, California, just north of San Diego. In the 1950’s and 60’s, Cardiff was a classic California surf town, a tight-knit community of families and local businesses. Residents enjoyed the ocean during their time off work, and the local surf spots spawned a few professionals as well as a multitude of excellent surfers who simply enjoyed the sport daily. Eventually the small town became a tourist destination, not only for the waves but for the friendly atmosphere and beautiful scenery of the Pacific Ocean with a beach walk and tide pools to explore.

Mark’s heritage is Spanish and Scandinavian; his grandparents hail from the Canary Islands and Norway, eventually meeting in Florida, then moving to Los Angeles. Mark was born in Los Angeles in 1951, moving to Cardiff by the Sea at the age of 7 with his parents, Ralph and Lois Mae, and siblings Greg, Randee, Vickie, and Jan.

Mark credits his family as the best a boy could have wanted growing up; he and his siblings were close, while his parents taught him about hard work and values. They supported each other through every life obstacle, and still do to this day.

The family didn’t have much money during Mark’s childhood. Lois Mae was a stay-at-home mom, and Ralph worked for the California Highway Patrol as a motorcycle policeman, spending his off hours diving for fish, lobster and abalone. Providing for five children on a policeman’s salary was not easy, and money for school lunches was lacking. Instead of going hungry, Mark and his siblings normally had lobster tails or abalone sandwiches, products of his father’s diving. Nearly every day Mark was offered a bologna or peanut butter sandwich in exchange for his ocean-caught delicacies, and instead of being ashamed at his family’s lack of money he was the envy of his schoolmates.

At San Dieguito High School, Mark found a love for reading, even though he had no love for school itself. He felt his time was better spent surfing or diving, while learning on his own. Between the ages of 14-18, he spent the majority of his time as a competitive, sponsored surfer, and throughout his life surfing has remained his greatest passion — one that has persisted to this day, regardless of the health obstacles due to aging. Toward the end of high school, Mark was entering the “Junior Pirate” phase of his life, causing him to drop out in 11th grade. He took classes at a junior college a few years later, oceanography and history among others, but by that time his money-making pursuits were starting to pay off and he became a full-time student of life.

 

 

About Melissa:
Books:
Sylvie Writes a Romance – Book 1 of Sylvie’s Romance
Sylvie Falls in Love – Book 2 of Sylvie’s Romance
Wandering
Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!
Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc
Sylvie Falls in Love on Smashwords
Recent articles:
From Travel to Romcon and Beyond
BookDaily.com
Travel Writing on JenniferSAlderson.com
Recent reviews:
Indie Reader Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance
Kirkus Indie Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance
Follow me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
For fine art photography prints from the islands, check out the Hawaii Ocean Photography  website and Like the Facebook page
Lifeguard Lucy

Where has the time gone?

Lifeguard Lucy

 

As I sat down to write today, I looked back through this blog and realized nearly 3 months have passed without any updates. Where has the time gone?

Quite a bit has happened since my last post. I finally shed my indecision and made a move to forward my photography career on the Big Island of Hawaii; I love Kauai, and still consider it home, but to up my underwater game I needed to live somewhere with more wildlife, better visibility, and more people to learn from.

In some ways, the transition has been heartbreaking. After building friendships for 12 years on Kauai and learning the island, I left it all to go somewhere I didn’t know anyone save a woman I haven’t seen since high school and a couple moving away soon, and being completely lost wherever I go (thank god for gps). I left without having a home or a job, just my puppy Lucy and what would fit in the back of my truck when it shipped across the ocean.

Lucy and I spent a couple homeless weeks in a hotel and a vacation rental, the first week with my sister Mary who was amazing at helping us get our feet and paws on the ground with much less stress than anticipated. During the second week I started a job on a boat as crew for manta ray night snorkel trips out of Keauhou Bay, and moved into a tiny house 1500 feet above Kona town. If I thought I was tired, stressed, and confused, poor Lucy had no idea what had happened to the happy life she led on Kauai. Her best-puppy-friends were nowhere to be found; between the hotel, vacation rental, and new house she didn’t recognize any of the smells; her daily beach walks and normal routines were gone. At 6 months old, she was scared and angry at these major changes to her life, and was quite upset with me. When my truck finally arrived and she could ride in her customary passenger seat she settled down a little, and when I unpacked a few boxes and found her stash of well-chewed dog toys she relaxed a bit more. In the two weeks since we moved into our house we’ve found a dog park and made new puppy friends, and a couple beaches where she can splash in the ocean again. Lucy can’t come to work with me anymore, but quickly got used to spending her evenings in her crate and patiently waiting for me to come home.

I’m not sure I’ve adapted quite as quickly as Lucy, though. After packing up my house and giving away or selling most of my possessions, travel, stress about finding a place to live and work (even if it’s a short-term job), finding my way around, unpacking boxes, financial worries, and having to work nights (and – gasp – having to be somewhere at a specific time!) after a couple years of keeping my own schedule, I had to spend all my free time sleeping off the stress. I’m not sure I’ve recovered even now, and am just over a nasty cold – inevitable after the major changes in my life, I guess. My body went into survival mode, and all unnecessary functions shut down. I finally found the energy to take my camera into the ocean a couple days ago to begin building my business on this island, and sat down to work on my next book. I was blessed with a friendly pod of dolphins on my first day back in the water, and managed to write a couple pages of the book before I had to take a nap.

 

Hawaii dolphin pod

 

I’ve been on the Big Island for a month now, and see plenty of hard work ahead. I have a list of goals to achieve, and am finally ready to begin. All-in-all, though, I’m quite proud of myself for the progress I’ve made in such a short time. As each day passes I have a little more energy to put into things that aren’t merely surviving or making sure Lucy is cared for. It’s time for writing and photography, and having some fun. It’s time to explore this giant island and learn new things. It’s time to really begin to live here , and I’m excited about a whole new life with all the undreamed-of possibilities waiting just outside my door.

But first, maybe a quick nap…

 

 

About Melissa:
Books:
Sylvie Writes a Romance – Book 1 of Sylvie’s Romance
Sylvie Falls in Love – Book 2 of Sylvie’s Romance
Wandering
Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!
Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc
Sylvie Falls in Love on Smashwords
Recent articles:
From Travel to Romcon and Beyond
BookDaily.com
Travel Writing on JenniferSAlderson.com
Recent reviews:
Indie Reader Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance
Kirkus Indie Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance
Follow me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
For fine art photography prints from the islands, check out the Hawaii Ocean Photography  website and Like the Facebook page