Jackie Parry – author


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You Know When You’re A Writer When…..

.. you can write anywhere…

Sailing (and writing) in my slippers along the NSW coast

Sailing (and writing) in my slippers along the NSW coast

How do you know you are a writer?


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Afterlife of Books and Magazines

I don’t usually deface books or magazines, but the other day I did – out of desperation.

I should apologise to Motor Boat Monthly Magazine. But the magazine in question was several years old, ten I think, and it had been read several times, by us both – AND, they went out of print last year (according to Wikipedia).

Instead of throwing out the magazine we became inspired. Most people, who live the nomadic life (especially on boats) learn this knack, everything has at least two uses. We certainly had a use for the stiff folds of paper.

Saving your sanity
So, what can you make with an old Motor Boat Magazine, coloured tape, paper, scissors and string?

You can make something to save your sanity – that’s what!

Freedom at a price
Mooring on the French canals is a wonderful freedom. At many places, most times, you can stop for the night or even a day or two.

Currently, shade is our top priority. Fortunately, we have found great shady spots, safe depths and tied up safely on a straight stretch. (Why oh why do so many boats tie up on a blind bend?)

Slow down
It’s here, tied blissfully to a quiet spot we are hounded by hire boats that insist on racing alongside with total disregard of the ‘rules of the road’ – you must pass all moored vessels at no more than 3 kms/hr.

What happens?
As the water is sucked and pushed alongside a speeding boats’ hull, we shift forwards then backwards and our mooring pegs, that have been driven into the bank, are literally pulled out.

When we see a boat approach and ask them to slow – most do. Some look at us as if we are mad!

So, we made a sign, that’s reinforced with Motor Boats Monthly magazine. It is nowhere near big enough, it’s a little amateurish (hastily cobbled together in desperation and fear of being set adrift!), but it’s a start. I am already planning Mark 2.

What creative ideas have you developed to improve your life on the road?


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Famed Yachting Authors

Many authors dream of a publishing contract. Knowing what I know now, it’s no longer my priority – although it is definitely up for discussion.

Image courtesy of phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Alongside famous authors
However, I’ve recently signed a publishing contract that will place Of Foreign Build alongside famous authors.

pic for audio book

Who?
New Street Nautical signed me up a few weeks ago saying, ‘we’d like to do an audio version of your wonderful book.’

Research
When one receives a fantastic offer it’s prudent to make some enquiries:Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • You check out the company – TICK
  • Check the contract thoroughly – TICK
  • Check the company background again – TICK
  • See who else they’ve published – TICK (and smile)
  • Read contract again and do a happy dance – TICK!

Famed Yachting Authors
My book will be alongside famed yachting authors such as Callahan, McCormick, Lin and Larry Pardey, and Cornell!

It’s all happening!
A professional female voice artist has just been hired and in mid-July the audio version will become available via Amazon.

There’s more… !
What’s more “A Standard Journey – 5 horses, 2 people and 1 tent” will be out in June.

A Standard Journey front cover v2 reduced

Ohhh, I feel a giveaway coming on…. watch this space!


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Hot Spring Deal – Virtual Travel & Adventure for 99 cents / 99 pence!

I’m rich – that’s what people think.

While I may not be driving a Rolls Royce (yet), I am enjoying best-seller rankings with my recently published book – “Of Foreign Build – From Corporate Girl to Sea-Gypsy Woman”.

Reality
Few authors make ‘good’ money – that’s the reality. For me, my sales graph provides great pleasure as it snakes across the page continually placing “Of Foreign Build” in the top ten rankings (and often at No. 1). Yes, I am quietly satisfied with my achievements. The reviews say it all.

“Resolute” “Stimulating” ”Rousing” “Moving” “Unconventional”

An orangutan 'moment' in Borneo

An orangutan ‘moment’ in Borneo

Marketing can be just as hard as writing a book!
If people don’t know that your book exists, they aren’t going to buy it! This has become the little mantra in my head that keeps me going. Marketing costs money and time – lots and lots and lots of time!

FREE!
‘Give your book away for free’ is the advice these days. I am uncomfortable with this for several reasons:
1) How many other industries do people slog away for years and produce a product that people expect you to give them?
2) My work has value!

We experienced the world

We experienced the world

I won’t disregard all my options, maybe by my twentieth book I’ll consider a freebie to the masses. I have held (and will hold) many giveaway competitions, but they’ve all been within my control – so far. Keep an eye on my website and sign up here to be the first to know about freebies.

Promotions are important
I do understand that due to the vast choice readers have, it’s important to promote, and I am really excited about this promotion!

We made beautiful friends

We made beautiful friendships

My Promotion
This week (7th March – 14th March) I am reducing the Kindle version of “Of Foreign Build” to 99 cents/pence (for the UK and USA).

mock cover book image

That’s just 99 cents or pence for over 400 pages of:

  • Adventure
  • Fear
  • Love
  • Storms
  • Pirates
  • Finding out why my husband worked in a brothel!
  • Whale-smash!
  • Abduction
  • Redemption…
    … a nine-year odyssey

Experience the world right now from the eyes of a corporate girl that morphed into a sea-gypsy woman!

All for 99 cents / pence. Not convinced yet? Read an excerpt here.


** New Release ** May 2015 *** A Standard Journey ***

**5 horses, 2 people and a tent **

50% of proceeds going to help rescue more horses! Details here.



4 Comments

Yo Ho Ho & A Bottle of Rum!

A little while ago I wrote about the mysteries of the maritime world and how to get through your first few times on a boat at the helm.

I received many great comments – one, in particular, is important:

“Great encouragement and advice, Jackie!
Also, want to toss in the thought that not all women are the ones being persuaded to go sailing/cruising! While most sailors are super friendly, etc. it really does bug me when I run across people who just assume that I’m only there (or any woman is only there) because her husband persuaded her to be!”

Thanks Ellen You are right. It isn’t always the man’s dream to sail off into the sunset. Women are leading the way too and taking their partners or single-handing.

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Ellen goes on to say, “It’s a lack of recognition of the fact that I am (or other women are) realizing dreams that we’ve had since childhood, and the sense of accomplishment that it gives us. So my bit of advice is, when you meet people in an anchorage, to wait and hear their story before jumping to the conclusion that Girl is valiantly supporting Boy’s dream :)”

Pink and Blue Jobs
Well said! And leads me nicely into blue/pink jobs. I can understand some jobs fall to the woman and some to the man. But on our boats both of us could and can handle every job necessary, from every aspect of maintenance to navigation. For us it was the safety aspect, for me it was independence. That’s just our choice; many couples have wonderful years on board with defined jobs.

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Ellen adds
“That’s not to discount the bravery of those who do fit that narrative, just to point out that it’s not the only one! E.g. we met the skipper and cook on a luxury chart yacht where she was the captain/engineer and he the cook!”

Men vs. Women
A recent FB post on a sailing group made me smile, the magnitude and range comments that followed this question were hysterical, some thoughtless, but many were thoughtful:

drinking bottle

Image courtesy of kjnnt at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

“Sailors, what do you say to a woman who gives you lip about drinking rum on your boat before noon, and then also tells you that your plan on someday circumnavigating is ‘scary’ and ‘inconceivable’?”

Responses varied from “throw her overboard” to “go to AA!”

ID-100251603

Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

My response was along the lines of, “I wonder why so many men tell us their partner won’t sail with them? How about showing her how conceivable your plans are and proving they are not scary…. as for the rum, well, sometimes it is important and sometimes not, however – never at sea!”

What do you think?


19 Comments

There’s no such thing as bad press! (And win a freebie!)

Last week someone wrote derogatory comments about us on a forum.

What happened?
A few months back, two complete strangers told us we were not qualified to offer our new boat training service. They’d garnered this lofty view from our personal website and holiday snaps! Politely we explained our professional qualifications and experience on email, even though we didn’t have to.

It seems that wasn’t enough. So last week they voiced their concerns publicly. Others didn’t like our strong ‘come-back’. I wonder how many times they’d let someone do this to them before retaliating – twice was enough for us!

The blind
What these people didn’t see was the reams of private supportive messages that clogged our email. People who wouldn’t write publicly as they didn’t want to be ‘next’ on the target list (some had, disturbingly, already been there).

In droves, people said that this is exactly why they didn’t partake in this site any more.

The result?
Well, they say, there is no such thing as bad press and now having been on the end of it – I can attest to that!

  • People with fantastic websites are now linking our websites to theirs – providing us with tonnes of free advertising
  • Enquiries are up
  • Book sales have spiked
  • With over 300 hits on both our websites in just a few hours, Google algorithms love this – it’s a great boost!

Apology
We asked for an apology. A few people on the forum have apologised privately. The instigator has not, but that’s okay. Not because of the extra business, sales and wonderful new connections and friends we’ve made – it’s okay because they’ve shown their true colours.

In summary
I wouldn’t want to wish this experience on anyone. Initially we felt alone and bullied. But the enormous private (and some public) support was a soothing balm and a real eye-opener.

It makes you think
During our years of teaching commercial maritime and working internationally on all kinds of boats (yes, barges on canals too – sigh). We’ve learned a lot:

  • A broad experience is imperative – it’s about having the ability to adapt to every situation
  • Claiming that one-niche experience is a complete experience, is a dangerous mistake
  • We don’t know everything, only a fool would admit that!
  • You never stop learning, once you think you know it all you are a danger
  • We all have knowledge to impart

Win an Ebook
Our website was criticised too – here it is www.bargetraining.com tell us what you think – CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is always welcome. A free ebook (choice out of three) goes to the most crazy, funny amusing or helpful comment.

Website WIP – but here’s more info:
We’ll list a few more details on our website soon – it is a Work In Progress – but in the meantime here are a few more high-lights of our experience:

As well as the European Canals (on our boats, on commercial boats, on other people’s boat  – recreationally and commercially) we have also traversed the following inland waterways/canals and rivers (and hundred’s of associated locks):
New York State Canal System
The Canadian Heritage Canals
Lake Okeechobee Waterway
Trent Severn Watery
Rideau Canal
Erie Canal
Potomac
St Lawrence Canal
Sanitary Canal
St Lawrence Seaway
The Mississippi River
The Ohio River
The Illinois River
TenTombigee
Cumberland River
Tennessee River
Lake Okeechobee Waterway
Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway
Hudson River
The Great Lakes
Missouri River
The Nile
Rivers in PNG, Borneo, Australia, Ecuador, Panama, Asia, Morocco… and on it goes…

Here’s some pics – these are mostly holiday and travel snaps, most of our professional pictures are stored away at home in Australia.

If you want more information about us just drop us a line, telephone us, call around for a chat – the kettle’s always on.

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vmr adjusted1


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Travel the world from your armchair

Living on board a compact ten metre boat is not for the faint-hearted!

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Cruising is not all about calm seas, wind propulsion and dolphins at sunset. For a start moving from land to boat is confusing, frustrating and tough! You have to sell or store all of your belongings and live without ninety percent of what you usually live with!

Here’s more cruising realities you may not be aware of:

  • Flexibility is a must. Even with a large engine room you’ll have to learn to bend yourself into a pretzel.
  • Once in the engine room, you’ll learn how to perform miracles to unscrew, twist, replace…
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  • The top of the mast sways a lot, even at anchor in dead flat water.
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  • Bruises accumulate. The vice in the workshop bit me every time (until I told him to stop!)
  • Finding free WiFi on anchor is incredibly exciting.
  • It’s possible to live cheaply on board (read Cruisers’ AA to find out what I am talking about).
  • While preparing your boat for oceans, riding your bicycle sixty-seventy miles a week while balancing the equivalent of a small truck load, will become perfectly normal.
  • Movies, concerts and shows are replaced by slowly swinging on anchor, devouring the three-sixty-degree moving vista, and watching the sunset.
  • DSCF0491

    Barbados!

  • Just a couple more knots of wind can make the difference between a peaceful sleep and a fitful one.
  • Resourcefulness becomes your middle name.
  • It is a fantastic relief to be cut off from emails and phonecalls (which is how we cruised).
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  • You will never have enough rags on board.
  • The laptop and camera become cherished items, to constantly capture those memories that fade with wine, oops, time!
  • Life on board is hard work, but immensely satisfying.
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Here’s some of our memories of sailing around the world

And here’s the whole story…

Do you prefer to go adventuring, or read about it from the comfort of your armchair?


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“This is a man’s world, but….

… it would be nothing, nothing, without a woman or a girl…”

Thank you James Brown – you hit the nail on the head in more ways than one.

WARNING – THIS BLOG IS FOR WOMEN ONLY!

As a woman sailor, maritime teacher and commercial boat skipper, I’ve come up against plenty of prejudice. I fought the testosterone-fuelled nautical world and won.

You don’t have to go to the extremes I have. But I can help you take your first steps into solving the mysteries of the maritime world. If this thought scares you silly, don’t worry, I WAS TERRIFIED!???????????????????????

First Four Lessons
When we purchased Mariah, I didn’t know the front-end of a boat from the back-end. But Mariah felt ‘right’ to me. Lesson number one, trust your instincts.

The ropes and winches were a complete mystery, the boat’s behaviour an enigma. Lesson number two: don’t try to learn how to sail from a book. Step on a boat, any boat, as much as possible, be instinctive, it’ll make more sense than text (that part can come later).

Taking the helm was enough to turn me into a gibbering wreck. Lesson number three: Women are often better at the helm. During my experience of practical teaching, women listened to my instructions, many men had been ‘taught’ via mates and erm, supposedly knew it all already.* (Women are often exemplary at navigation too!)

Practical exercises on police boats, while training others

Practical exercises on police boats, while training others

I felt alone, lost and way out of my depth. Lesson number four: SO DOES EVERYONE WHEN THEY START. Persevere, chat to other women. FB groups such as Women Who Sail and Women Who Sail Australia are amazingly supportive, with zero judgement and zero tolerance for those who do judge! There are women here at every level. (If you join quickly, there’s a chance to win lots of goodies, WWS are celebrating reaching 5,000 members!)

In summary
• You can become a sailor!
• Persevere.
• Remember it takes time (but not as long as you think).
• It’s a brave move to step away from ‘normal life’.
• Ensure/remind/beg your spouse to be patient with you – I’ve seen so many men yell at their partner and then wonder why they are left alone on the boat!
• You are both working towards the same goal – when something goes wrong, you or your partner are not sabotaging it! Work together.
• Don’t panic – deal with the situation first, then panic if you must!
• Shouting and anger can be born from fear. Talk about it, work it out.
• Be buddies on the boat – that’s important, really important.

I used everything I'd learned on Mariah and studying, while skippering ships in PNG

I used everything I’d learned on Mariah and studying, while skippering ships in PNG

The outcome
Okay, sailing and cruising is not for everyone but if it is for you, you will find:

  • A life you’ve always dreamed of
  • Freedom beyond your wildest dreams
  • Kindred spirits
  • Help in the most unexpected places
  • Resourceful skills you never knew you had
  • How to live on next to nothing
  • An enormous back yard, aka ‘the world!’
  • You’ll release it’s a waste of time and energy to ‘sweat the small stuff’
  • … you will always wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

Do you agree? Ladies, what have you found once you stepped into the cruising life?

Gentlemen – if you’ve read this far without flicking off an angry email to me… well done and thank you! If you want to go sailing with your partner… buy her this – it’ll help – honest!

for FB for marketing 5 star sticker

*Noel adds that it isn’t always a male/female distinction of who listens and who doesn’t. It was, for him, the person with the most experience that didn’t usually listen or wasn’t very good at taking advice/tuition. Maybe the women I taught had less experience, but this is what I encountered. (And, yes, Noel does receive special dispensation to read this!)


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Dutch Barge Renovations Update

Rouge Corsair Winter Renovations

DSC_0492

After a ‘sticky’ start, the renovations are starting to show promise. Here’s what caused the delays:

DSC_0486The new holding tank – made from one of water tanks. Sourcing the right welder was a rather frustrating project. Having to cut the big tank up INSIDE the boat, made the boat filthy. It was too big to get out, so Noel cut it into four pieces, two were the holding tank (including lid), the other two pieces were superfluous. The plumbing parts were purchased on-line and all in French. Other bits-and-pieces from the Brico-marche, eight kilometres away, hauling all purchases by bike.

DSC_0497Noel drilling a hole for the vent.

DSC_0493There’s a hole in my hull!

DSC_0502A neat job – we now know what’s behind all the walls – good insulation and good wiring (now!) – we replaced all the old wiring.

DSC_0505Another hole, this time in the deck, for the new water tanks. These will be situated under the bed.

DSC_0507We’ve been lucky with the weather, Noel chooses the outside-projects in time with the better days.

DSC_0512rAnd cake… we like cake!


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Top Tips for Surviving Boat Renovations

“What’s the very best, top-tip you have for doing boat renovations,” I said to my hard working husband, who is grappling with two loos right now, as I type.

Without hesitation or thought he dished up these wise-words of wisdom:

“Buy a house!”

We are in a mess, cabin full of welding fumes!

We are in a mess, cabin full of welding fumes!

 

And, here’s more…

  • When taking the toilet apart, do not consume a large mug off coffee prior to the deed!
  • Seek good value gear – the renovations will cost you three-times what you originally calculated. You’d better try to make some savings somewhere.
  • Don’t become annoyed when the welding equipment sits on top of the loo all day!
His and hers!

His and hers!

  • Really try not to get irritated when the welding equipment then sits in the shower!
  • Don’t walk in bare feet after the grinder has been used.
  • Spread the dust sheet carefully, that one bit of paint you drop will do it’s best to find the tiny gap! Wear shoes when painting – you’ll find out why!
  • Drink vast quantities of wine or meditate (or both) – after the day’s work is done please!
New holding tank - done!

New holding tank – done!

  • Turn up the Radio.
  • Have a day off – at some point (someone gave me this tip, not sure what it means though!)

… and as with all boat work, double the time you think the work will take, triple that figure, and you’ll be about halfway to a good estimate on the time it will take to do the work! (More great boat/cruising tips here, from boat maintenance to make-up!)

Make time for fun - Noel's birthday!

Make time for fun – Noel’s birthday!

More humorous (house) renovation observations, here.

What are your best (funny) tips? Continue reading