Thursday, 30 August 2018

I won a VHF radio!

My story, Taking the Plunge, won the Confession of the month in the September 2018 issue of Yachting Monthly and my prize is a floating hand held VHF radio and a copy of the drawing by Bill Caldwell. I'm happy that the editor liked my story but even more so, I'm ecstatic that I survived the mishap. It could have had a sad ending. Be careful out there!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Great news - another article sold

Yes, that's true. One of my stories, "If it's nine o'clock, then I must be in Spain," has been published in the August issue of Practical Boat Owner.
Also, I won a portable VHF radio for another story that will be published in the September issue of Yachting Monthly.
And thirdly, I made the news by donating a copy of Salt Water In My Veins.
So, it's been a good month.


Thanks to Kevin and Sandy Chilvers from s/v Tiger Bay who were moored in Vathi Marina for a few days, I am now the proud user of Scrivener writing program. The only thing I wish more than this is having had discovered it many years ago. 
Kevin is also a writer, who is working on his next crime adventure thriller and he was so enthusiastically gushing about it, I was initially taken aback. I am a bit of a conservative cynic (ok a lot) and and so a bit reluctant to try it. 
But after the second visit to Tiger Bay and another pitch by Kevin, I decided to give it a try. Free for 30 days, what have I got to lose, right? Besides, my writing had come to a stop for the past several months and I couldn't get myself motivated. 
So, today is the fourth day that I have been writing and copying old drafts of forgotten manuscripts to Scrivener and I just paid my 46 Euros for the licence to use it forever.  I highly (enthusiastically, gushingly) recommend it. 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Ionian Magazine - visit to the past

Almost eight years ago, in winter of 2010, I needed a job and decided to create one instead. Thanks to a generous angel seed money from my younger son, Justin, The Ionian magazine was born. For the next five years, the magazine hit the streets of the Ionian islands and neighbouring coastal mainland every month for the six or sometimes seven months between April and October. 
However, in 2014, I became ill and after recovering, decided to change my priorities - it was time to go sailing again and focus on my own writing. My older son, Ryan took over the publication in 2014 and the October issue of that year was the last one published.
Enjoy reading.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

As an alternative to Christmas cards, I would like to share with you this article on Astronomy merging with the Biblical Christmas story:
Celebrating Winter Solstice – The Sun is on the Southern Cross
For thousands of years, carvings on temples, cave walls, monuments and artefacts have honoured the sun: bringer of warmth, security, life and light.  As the days grow shorter in the period leading up to the winter solstice, December 21st, the sun appears to stop moving south or north and stays still for three days (in the northern hemisphere) – the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of December. This is the meaning of the word ‘sol-stice’ – sun standing still. To our ancestors this period symbolized the death of the sun god (son of god) and when three days later on the 25th of December the sun started moving again, the sun was reborn – hence the birth of Jesus at this time – the sun god or son of god, the saviour of mankind. It is no coincidence that our principal day of worship is called Sun Day.

The Bible tells us that three wise men came from the east, following a star that led them to Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Messiah.  Sirius is the star in the east, the brightest star in the sky, which on December 24th aligns with the three brightest stars in the constellation of Orion (Orion’s belt). The stars were referred to by many ancient cultures as the Three Kings.

During this three day period, the sun resides in the vicinity of the Southern Cross constellation and appears to ‘hang’ on the cross, hence the story of the crucifixion. However the resurrection of the sun or son is celebrated three months later at the spring equinox when the nights are equal to the daylight (Easter) and when once again the forces of light ‘defeat’ the forces of darkness, and the days grow longer than the nights. (Author: Stella Woods)

“May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you and the pure light within you guide your way on.”


Saturday, 4 November 2017

Salt Water In My Veins - Chapter 1 - read for free here.

1. Nomad

Land goes forever, there is no end to it. So, how can you decide where to live; in which town or on what street to stop; what woman to marry?
TDLemmon1900 in 'The legend of 1900'

Why do we travel? Is it in the vain hope of finding happiness and fulfillment in some other place? Nope, it's not here in Paris, perhaps over there in Rome. As they say, wherever you go, there you are.
When traveling becomes a search for happiness outside of ourselves, a means to an end; when we continue to live in the past or the future while we travel, it doesn't bring peace of mind or serenity, only frustration and disappointment. When I travel it seems easier to stay present, because everything is new, fresh, unknown, exciting, and possibly dangerous. I remember the first time I went for a long weekend sail cruise with some friends. Time stood still and the three days felt like three weeks, I felt so far away from daily worries and concerns and the present moment was so crystal clear.
Sailing offshore along the Pacific coast and later across the Atlantic, I saw sky that was truly awesome in its glory, with colours of the rainbow all around us or clouds and fog surrounding us like feathers shaken out of a duvet. At night we were often the only speck of humanity for hundreds of miles around, surrounded only by stars and their reflections in the ocean.
And now, as I cruise from country to country and from harbour to harbour, each new place amazes in some way. In Alicante, Spain, it was the sight of the old woman in black selling garlic from a converted baby carriage in the town square. On Majorca, it was the lamb dinner straight from a wood fired oven that had been simmering all afternoon while we climbed to a ruined castle near the restaurant and the farm where the lambs were raised. In Rome, it was the sudden and unexpected view of the Coliseum from a side street. In Florence, it was the sound of a young girl singing opera on a street corner.
Moments like that take my breath away and inspire. I have been wondering why the same feeling of awe is described as 'it takes my breath away,' and 'it inspires me.' One means breathing out and the other breathing in. Breathing is what keeps us alive. Is it possible that awe-some sights, smells, tastes, and sounds keep our soul alive?
Traveling is what feeds my soul, what gives me energy. Yet, perhaps, I’m beginning to think, paying more attention in one place, one town, one neighborhood would do the same thing. Perhaps there are many inspiring things that would take my breath away, right where I am, if I was just to look more deeply and with more presence. Now all I have to do is to find that place. Perhaps it’s just around the corner…
I long to belong, but cruising is not a good way of accomplishing this goal. I meet many people while traveling, however, after an evening in an anchorage or a harbor, we go our separate ways and in the morning I continue my search for a new home port.
I want to find a self-sufficient village where everyone knows from which farmer the milk comes, who makes the best bread and that the mayor is related to the inn-keeper. I want to find a community where I can work, live, play and find all I need within walking distance. There are many villages and towns like this in the Mediterranean, but which one is my home?
Am I a bird blown off course that has lost its flock and tries to join a new flock time and time again without success? No, this is not my flock and not this one either? Where is my flock? Where is my pod, my family, my tribe?
I am perhaps like a plant that was pulled up by the roots in youth when my parents decided to leave Poland and immigrate to Canada, and now it's too late for the roots to dig in deeply. Should I just stop somewhere, anywhere and put those roots down hoping the soil is fertile and my roots will take? Or are my roots so dried and withered that no matter where, they will not grow?
The old-time traveling salesman comes to mind. He was forever moving from town to town, bringing news, and spreading ideas or gossip, moving on before he got too attached to any one place or community, yet feeding on the intimacy for a while, offering the dream of foreign lands and inspiration for others to reach beyond the town walls in exchange. I think perhaps that is my purpose whether I like it or not – the life of a nomad.


Look inside and read on Kindle for free: Salt Water In My Veins

You can now look inside my new book, Salt Water In My Veins as well as read it for free (today only) on Kindle. What a great deal! Feel free to leave your review after reading!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Salt Water In My Veins - peek at my new book

Dear friends,
Salt Water In My Veins is now available on Amazon. This is what's on the back cover:

"Salt Water In My Veins is a collection of 21 stories from Barbara Molin's lifetime of sailing and living aboard in Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, and while crossing the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. From buying a dream boat that soon becomes a nightmare, to accidentally deploying the anchor in the middle of the Atlantic, the stories highlight the author's passion for the sea, persistence in the face of challenges, and independent spirit.

Barbara Molin's love of the sea and adventure began during childhood spent at the Baltic seashore in Poland. It then grew when she and her family crossed the Atlantic on board a ship immigrating to Canada. She has worked as a researcher and a project manager for an oceanographic institute and as a reporter for community newspapers. Her freelance articles and photographs have been published among others by Sail, 48 North, Latitudes & Attitudes, Living Aboard, Boat Works and Practical Boat Owner.  She was also the founding publisher and managing editor of The Ionian magazine in Greece. Barbara now lives aboard her sailboat, Eidos on Ithaka Island in Greece."

Feel free to take a look at a preview HERE and leave your comments.

Buy Salt Water In My Veins

Here are some of the messages I have received so far:

"Interesting! Thanks for sharing. It makes me want to read more. Congratulations!" Ryan S.

"I love it! You are writing about yourself but I can see myself as you journey. I'm different but there is much the same in all of us. And certainly I can relate to the human spirit in each of us that motivates our searching and our content with our finds. ...  Kind of like an armchair tour for those of us who have opted for a different life, to enjoy vicariously. Good for you to put everything together in a book. I like the personal insights. It will bring the 'travelogue' life.

Good luck!"
love, Linda S.

"Looks and reads great!"  Isha P.

"Barb, you have captured the restlessness of the Nomad! When do we get the next installment?" Nancy S.

"So glad you continued with the writing in spite of its demands. Loved the first chapter and I am enticed to follow this nomad on her discovery voyage. Loved the way it explores both the physical world and the psychological."

Mary Z. 

"What a wonderful achievement!!!! Looking forward to reading it." Barb C. 

"It's on its way!! Yippee and congrats . . . Now to get your autograph on it.  Hugs," Nancy & Rich

"Well done mom! Can't wait to read it." Justin S.

"Congratulations on your your new book. That is wonderful news! I hope it goes well."  Eirini T. 

"My lovely incredible Barbara,
This makes me feel so happy! I read the introduction and can't wait to read whole of it :)You are so awesome! Well done to you! Love love love the title." Priscilla S.

"How exciting!  Congratulations on a great achievement.  I'm going to buy it for my Kindle and really looking forward to reading it!" Mel F.

"Congratulations with your book! I read the first chapter and wanted to read more, it's good stuff." Ester

"Congratulations!!  I know how hard it is to get a book done!   Well done, and I just ordered a copy:)"
Beverly J.

"... your book seems quite interesting and I'm honored to work with such a distinguished author." M.G.M. 

"I got the book over the weekend and am enjoying it immensely.  You're a good writer- I know how many times you must have re-written each story!" Beverly J.

"Almost done your book. It's been and on again off again read! (I read a lot for work, so reading for pleasure is difficult). 
You have a very good sense of humour. The chapters I find most compelling are the funny ones, like Anchoring in Corsica (deadpan humour) and Cure for Recession Depression (wit and satire). You should consider writing more of these, even some stories that are second hand or embellished. I think you could find a publisher if you did. I think a book of humorous anecdotes by a frazzled female skipper would find an audience. " Ryan S.

"We have very much enjoyed reading your book. It brings back lots of cruising memories." Jan and Dave H.

Buy Salt Water In My Veins

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Just do it

I finally found a way to discipline myself to write for at least an hour every day.
You know that brushing teeth is not something we long to do each morning or evening. But we don't think about it, or ask whether we feel like it, or are inspired to do. We just do it. It's a habit that doesn't allow input from the mind.
Since I love early mornings and prefer to write then, I decided to treat writing the same way I treat brushing my teeth: I wake up, get dressed, put the coffee on and open my laptop. And then, I write for an hour before doing anything else such as checking my email, reading the news or making breakfast.
So far, it's been easy and I have been very productive, often working much longer than the one hour with pleasure.
The rest of the day, I allow myself to do anything else I want: nap, read, surf the Internet, knit, go for a walk, talk to friends and family on Skype or reluctantly, write or edit. I also need time to contemplate, let my mind wander and absorb my surroundings for the creative part of me to have something to use in my work, so I try not to write any more in the afternoon unless it's quick notes for future reference.
And guess what? The book I have been trying to write for years is finally complete!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Writers' Co-operative, Co-housing Retreat on Ithaka, Greece

 Be inspired. Be amazed. Be surprised. And write all about it. Ithaka, Greece. Homer wrote about it and it's a place of pilgrimage for all writers.

You know how expensive most writers' retreats can be. You save your money all year and go for a week or two and by the time you get oriented and familiarized with everything, it's time to leave and you haven't even began to write. 

Here is an opportunity to stay for up to five months, yes, five months on the island of Ithaka, Greece for the price of a three week retreat elsewhere.

You will have time not only to write as much as you want to but also to see this beautiful island, hike its many paths, experience its history and enjoy its festivals. Spend Christmas Holidays in Greece.

We will share a villa with as many bedrooms as needed for the participants, socialize together (when we want to), cook together, read parts of our manuscripts to each other (if desired) and share the expenses of rental (cheap in winter) and food. 
No one will make a profit, and there is no overhead costs to consider. A two bedroom villa can be had for E600 Euros per month in winter. It will sleep four, so price per person is only $150 Euros per month. If we have more participants, we will rent a bigger villa.
Your participation for the retreat requires a commitment between December 1 to April 30 for at least a month to take advantage of this low price. Participation limited to eight people and the deadline for your application is November 15. Non-smokers only.
Please use the contact form to the right for more information.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Things that inspire and moments that take my breath away

Have you ever thought about the two phrases? Inspire means to breathe in. Something that takes my breath away is breathing out. Breathing is what keeps us alive and so being inspired and witnessing breathtaking moments is what keeps us spiritually alive.
So what inspires me and takes my breath away? Here are a few examples:
  • Sunrise
  • Sunset
  • Bonfire
  • Wood burning in a fireplace
  • Walk along a sandy beach
  • Planting seeds in a garden
  • Listening to a live concert 
So, what inspires you?


A lot of my inspiration comes from my photography or from scenes that I would have liked to photograph if I had a camera handy at the time.
I don't always write about what is in the photograph, but when I look at a beautiful scene, my mind stops yammering and something happens which goes beyond thinking. I access my creative self and then just start typing away.

Writing life - procrastination

As I wait for my new laptop to arrive today, I wonder how soon I will start writing again. For real that is. I left my old laptop in Greece thinking I would be right back, which didn't happen and it is now ruined having spent two winters on a damp boat. 
And so for the past two years I have been borrowing my son's IPad and my daughter-in-law's desk top Mac as well as using paper note books to jot things down and the odd library computer to update my sailing blog. But soon, I will have no more excuses to procrastinate, which means actually finishing something and sending it away to get published.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

The magic of writing

I haven't written anything lately. I keep finding other things to do such as updating my address book, catching up on correspondence, doing Internet searches for boat parts, playing solitaire: anything to avoid opening my "manuscripts" file.

I know I'm procrastinating, but I'm being lenient with the writer in me. She has to be in the right mood to create. The editor too has to be in a certain frame of mind to delete and rewrite. And so it's been at least a month since I've written anything new.

Meanwhile, I received a letter of acceptance from one of my publishers, a note offering hope from another and a "we'll look at your manuscript in the future," from a third. All these encouragements do little to get my index finger to click on the "work in progress" file.

Yet, I know that I cannot force the muse to wake. She must be gently coaxed out of slumber. This is not a writer's block - I never have those, they sound too violent to me - an anathema to the creative process. And so I wait, and today finally I peek inside my "submitted" file folder and update the submission record for each of the manuscripts. And then, I just lightly click on the arrow "up" which sends me to the level above, and which has in it the folders with ideas and queries, first, second, and third drafts, ready to submit, submitted, accepted and in print. And then, leave the computer on that page. With no pressure to do anything. Almost as if I forgot to close it.

In a few minutes, the screen saver will cover up the desktop page and I can forget about writing if I choose to but the screen with my work on it will still be there when I come back and hit any key. If I want to do that. I might instead close the lid of the laptop and leave it on stand-by for hours or days. But I don't. Something has happened that I can't resist.

Slowly, like a slumbering giant, or a sleepy princess, the magic process begins to awaken. It unfolds like a flower when it feels the sun. And I, the human instrument can do nothing until the magic happens but when it does, must follow its call.

Friday, 7 December 2007

I can't because...

So you've always wanted to be a writer, but keep hitting roadblocks. You don't have enough money saved up to quit your regular job so that you'd have enough time to write that novel, and you don't have enough time and energy left after the job, the family responsibilities and the everyday things like laundry, cooking, cleaning and shopping.
Money, time, energy, job, family responsibilities – the list goes on. They are the reasons, excuses and challenges why we can't do something we say we want to do very badly, such as writing. However, you can have what you really want in your life or your reasons why not. Or come to think of it: both.
Here is how. Take a blank page and write down the heading: "I can't because…" Now tape it to your fridge so you can add the next excuse (sorry: reason or even better: challenge) you think of, of why you just can't write today. And underneath, write a creative solution (even a crazy one).
This is my list to help you get started:
I'm not an expert in… (take your pick: psychology, gardening, cooking, auto mechanics). All the non-fiction books are written by PhDs with 20 years practical experience. I have this great idea but no credentials. There are hundreds if not thousands of books and articles on the same topic written by people who really know the subject. What's the point of writing another one? Who will publish it? And who will read it? Book and magazine writing business is so competitive.