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Girls Need Sailing Representation Too

Author Interview Susea Spray

A Big Blue Boat follows a young girl as she sets out for a day of sailing and teaches readers different parts of a boat. What was the inspiration for your story?

My husband and I are ocean sailors and sailed from Australia to Europe between 2013 and 2015 – the story can be found on www.gratisaustralis.com. The idea for the book originally grew from the desire to share our experiences on the sea with our own big blue boat in a fun way with our Grandchildren. I wanted them to experience that feel of being in a boat out on the sea.

As we sailed and met other people in the sailing community, I also learned that although slowly changing, it is still very much a man’s world. We need stories that are going to help promote this change.

From a simple book written for the grandchildren and their parents, A Big Blue Boat rapidly grew into a story that could be enjoyed by all and used as an educational text.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Lesley Cybulka?

Everything to do with A Big Blue Boat has just fallen into place.

I originally asked a friend, whose artwork I loved, whether he would like to join us on the journey by creating the images. Having completed the first image of the sea, Andrew felt he couldn’t do the imagery of the boat and captain full justice and wondered whether I would be happy for his friend, Lesley, to do the illustrations instead.

The partnership with Lesley was something beyond my imagination and a true collaboration.

Initially, I sent a copy of the text with some basic illustration notes and multiple photographs of the boat to Lesley. We had a long conversation via Zoom, where we discussed the manuscript, illustration notes, and mediums to be used, then I left the rest to her.

Neither of us work well when under pressure, so the time factor was left open…

The arrival of what would become the front cover image had me hyper excited. Lesley’s first illustration had taken the artwork beyond my imaginings, and it was so different to what is found in picture books of today. Having never seen her work, I discovered how exceptionally talented Lesley is and she had brought my story to life!

As each set of images were created, Lesley and I would connect to discuss whether readjustments were required. In some cases, illustrations were totally redone.

That moment when Lesley agreed to join me in illustrating A Big Blue Boat, will be one for which I will be forever grateful.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

As I searched to find sailing stories for young children – particularly girls – in the 4 – 8 year age range, I discovered the majority of picture books in the boating genre are about motor boats and the protagonists male. For girls especially, sailing stories are set within the character’s imagination, as a dream, or used as a way of introducing the reader to other cultures. Realistic sailing stories with a female protagonist that are fun for young children, are difficult to find and the female sailing community is crying out for them. Many women have told me of how they change characters from male to female when they read boat books to their young girl/s. A strong female protagonist was of utmost importance. The captain of A Big Blue Boat is based upon the ‘sailing me’ I am learning to be.

As a sport, sailing is perfect for children on many levels. It promotes and develops critical thinking, problem solving, communication and cooperation skills; builds team spirit, fitness, and strength; and shows that clean wind power can be just as much fun as motor boats. It seemed right that the first book should be one that introduced important parts of a sailing boat and the captain.

The sea is also a magical place. There is nothing like the feeling of freedom one experiences out on the water in a sailing boat. Here you are immersed within the elements and can encounter the inconceivable wonders of nature: wind, storms, a dolphin’s birth, albatross soaring, dolphins leaping and whales breaching. It has been an environment that has long called to me personally, as it does for many children, Australians as a whole and people worldwide, and I want to share it with the world.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Two sequels about A Big Blue Boat are completed and currently with Lesley awaiting illustrations. I am not sure which of the two will be first, for I have left that up to Lesley. A Big Blue Boat and the Mighty Storm tells of a storm that blows up in the Australian Bight, whilst A Big Blue Boat is Out on the Brine introduces more of our wondrous ocean creatures and the web of life. Anyone who loves Bill Martin Jr’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear is going to love The Brine.

We are hoping the second will be available for purchase sometime in 2023.

In the meantime, several more sequels and a couple of prequels are well underway.

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | Facebook Author | Facebook Book | Website

The seas are calm and the winds gently blowing, when a Big Blue Boat and her Captain head out for a day’s sail. As the winds strengthen, and the sea starts to rollick and frolic, will our Big Blue Boat and her Captain make it safely back to shore?
Parents looking for picture books about boats or picture books about sailing will fall in love with A Big Blue Boat. It’s one of the best sailing stories of 2021. Especially, if you’re looking for picture books about sailing for girls. Written for early readers and pre-schoolers, it’ll have them learning to sail in no time.
Children will love joining in with the rhythm and rhyme in this cumulative story about a boat, a girl and the rollicking frolicking sea.
A boat.
A big blue boat.
A big blue boat with billowing sails.
A big blue boat with billowing sails and …
In the tradition of There Once Was A Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus TreeThe Big Blue Boat takes readers on an ever-growing rhyming song in this beautiful yarn about boats for early readers.
The Big Blue Boat also features a female captain, making it a great option for those looking for books about sailing for girls as well as picture books about boats. All families interested in sailing and boats will love Susea Spray’s fun-filled adventure. After all, who better to write boat stories for girls, than an author living on a boat?
Beloved by educators, The Big Blue Boat reinforces key early learning skills. “From a teacher’s perspective, and thinking about literacy skills, the repetition is really great, as it helps children access reading of some key words along with the adult reader.” Dr Kathryn Macfarlane (teacher and children’s author)
Buy The Big Blue Boat to set sail on a magical journey today!

A Big Blue Boat

A Big Blue Boat is a whimsical picture book for preschoolers and early readers about a girl captain setting sail. It starts by describing parts of the beautiful blue boat. Next, children learn about the sails, mast, wheel, rudder, and anchor as the story flows from one page to another, adding a new line and fact with each page. Each page gives kids a new vocabulary word that is highlighted in bold letters and color.

The story is told in a repeating rhyme style that will have children singing along with the story as the adventure grows. I love this approach to children’s books as it helps them retain information by repeating things. The end of the book includes a glossary of terms the author has used in this engaging story. After the glossary is a quiz to name the different parts of the boat. The continued repetition of terms is a great educational resource.

Author Susea Spray has created a fun and educational story that will have children learning all about boats and sailing as they move through the pages. Illustrator Lesley Cybulka has captured the exhilarating experience of sailing in her art with bold colors and captivating images. From the captain to the dolphins, each image in this children’s book is clearly drawn with a love for the sea and a desire to capture the magic of dreaming.

A Big Blue Boat is an adventurous picture book for preschool, kindergarten, and early readers about a young girl sailing her boat. It portrays a strong girl as the captain, which shows that girls can captain boats and go on adventures by themselves. This is a great children’s book for teachers and parents to use to teach about sailing, the parts of a boat, and that it is okay to dream big.

Pages: 39 | ASIN : B09SB8K695

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Caution to the Wind

On May 5th, 1994, at 9.30 am on a chilly, sunlit day, Ebony, a 36ft Roberts Spray, left the safety of Lyttelton Harbour in New Zealand, to venture into the unknown, where nothing would be predictable.

The voyage plan was to follow the famous trade wind route, sailing from New Zealand to England.

All too soon, they found themselves battling their way to Sydney, Australia. Caught in a ruthless storm with no contact with the outside world, they were truly alone. All the romantic notions of the ultimate cruising life disappeared into oblivion.

Step aboard Ebony and take an adventure, an epic 15-month voyage. Experience this day-to-day passionate tale, packed with intrigue, and at times suspense. Experience the delights of the lands visited and learn more about the world of international sailing. This was a life-changing adventure, with a dramatic, unexpected, ending.

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George’s Pursuit Across the Perilous Ocean

Follow George after he makes the decision to become his own boss running a small boat. Follow him through the tumultuous journey that leads him to eventually hand over reigns of a successful fleet of liners. We get to see the change in his mindset from worker to supervisor and finally, owner. It took strength, wisdom, knowledge and lots of other things. This is the story of a small business growing into a conglomerate, from a toddler to a fully legal human being.

According to research, only about half of the business started will still stand strong in five years time. This is quite sad for a world where entrepreneurship is highly encouraged. This book is meant to decrease this percentage. One will learn to grow their business from a period of feast and famine to a period where the business comfortably stands on its own, where the welfare and life of the business are not threatened by regular/normal business occurrences. Like a windfall of clients for example.

According to Ray Moore, one should not wait until the growth occurs. They should anticipate it. To successfully go through these growth moments, one requires a vision. They must also keep the business in balance. That is time, team, delivery and money. They must all be applied in appropriate proportions. One must set out the stall for growth. Managing the mindset is the final condition.

This is a short book, that means that the information is presented in a compact package. The whole book is presented as a metaphor. This makes the book highly appealing. It is useful even for those who do not like or have the time to read. It is sober advice from an experienced person. It is advice that actually makes a lot of sense. The steps and tips are easy to follow and understand. One thing that readers will definitely appreciate is that the author does not use complicated business words. He shows the reader how to manage a business without confusing them with difficult economic jargon.

The author outlines the common mistakes entrepreneurs make. He shows what happens to the business after the mistakes are made. He then turns around and outlines the proper way to handle such turning points so that fatal mistakes are not made.

This is a fantastic business guide that provides an easy to understand road-map for getting from a small flailing venture to a successful business. Regardless of the goal, it can be achieved by following these simple directions. Five stars out of five for this crash course in entrepreneurship.

Pages: 52 | ISBN: 1721213287

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Consumed by the Very Ocean that I Love.

Linda K. Ford Author Interview

Linda K. Ford Author Interview

Caution to the Wind recounts your thrilling and sometimes perilous journey out on the ocean. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I kept a journal throughout the entire voyage and soon discovered that I had a real love for writing. My cruising life took me on an incredible journey, which strengthened my desire to share this adventure. My passion is to inspire those who are contemplating a similar voyage, and to encourage people to follow their dreams!

You had been through so much while sailing, both physically and emotionally, was there ever a moment that you were not prepared for and made you rethink things?

Being caught in a major storm with no ability to make contact with the outside world, was an intense experience. There was nothing that could have prepared us emotionally or mentally. What was crucial at the time was how to stay alive, in such extreme conditions. There were moments where I questioned my life and the decision that I made to make this voyage. What was paramount for me was the possibility of never seeing my family again. What really stuck in my mind is that if we didn’t survive, no one would know what had happened to us. We could disappear without a trace, consumed by the very ocean that I love.

Looking back on that time, what do you miss the most?

I miss the freedom and the simplicity of life, that cruising offers, which I found to be incredible. It is hard to replace the excitement of navigating to foreign shores, and the diversity of cultures and people, that I met along the way. I have strong memories of amazing sunsets & sunrises, brilliant starlit skies, and an interesting array of sea and bird life.

If you were to take another trip, without limitations, where would you go?

Without limitations, I would buy a yacht in Europe, to cruise around the Mediterranean without a time limit. Venture up through the beautiful canals of France once again, cross the English channel to explore the UK, and eventually head back to Australia. Which route, I am not sure at this point.

Author Links: GoodReadsFacebook | TwitterWebsite

On May 5th, 1994, at 9.30 am on a chilly, sunlit day, Ebony, a 36ft Roberts Spray, left the safety of Lyttelton Harbour in New Zealand, to venture into the unknown, where nothing would be predictable.

The voyage plan was to follow the famous trade wind route, sailing from New Zealand to England.

All too soon, they found themselves battling their way to Sydney, Australia. Caught in a ruthless storm with no contact with the outside world, they were truly alone. All the romantic notions of the ultimate cruising life disappeared into oblivion.

Step aboard Ebony and take an adventure, an epic 15-month voyage. Experience this day-to-day passionate tale, packed with intrigue, and at times suspense. Experience the delights of the lands visited and learn more about the world of international sailing. This was a life-changing adventure, with a dramatic, unexpected, ending.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Caution to the Wind

She and her partner answered the call of the sea. They wanted to heed to the breeze and sway to the wind. Such was the image of what would be expected of the sojourn. The reality was different. Marred with seasickness, a faulty water trap, uncooperative winds, and even loss of a crew member, Lin and Geoff were in for the ride of their lives. So many hurdles thrown into their plans and expectations. Frequently doubting their plans. Getting on each other’s nerves at some point. This is an outline of the journey from New Zealand to England. With an unexpected end, this story is one of a kind.

In Caution to the Wind the author does not leave even the bad parts untold. If you are going to tell a story, tell the whole of it. That is what Linda Ford has done. She has given the reader an inside view into her adventure. Her passion for the sea is evident in her narration. However, she does not let her expertise boggle the reader’s mind. She tells her story in simple language. Even providing a glossary in the back which will come in handy because this book is immersive.

Linda has quite the writing skill. Her descriptions are vivid which is perfect for the many picturesque scenes that this story sails into. The book is fairly short and can be read in one siting. From the first page, I was taken with Lin and Geoff, and did not want to put the story down until the end. The author clearly knows how to capture the readers attention.

You know when you walk up to a group of people having a conversation and it takes you a little while to catch up? That is the feeling one might experience in the beginning. The first chapter sort of starts in the middle. It feels like there should have been something before that first chapter. However, you will catch on quickly to the flow of the story.

The chapters are really short and lends to the idea that this is more of a journal with the chapters being akin to journal entries of sorts, but I was left wanting a bit more structure to allow me to be immersed in this fantastic story even further.

Some talk about bravery. Others talk about going for it. This story is inspiring in it’s ability to unveil a story that captures both of these things. I mean if Lin and Geoff can stand against treacherous weather at sea for months with overlapping disappointments, surely no goal is too ambitious. This book will have you on the edge of your seat then it will have you off that seat going after whatever that goal is that you set aside. The story is one big adventurous metaphor for the way to live life.

Pages: 250 | ISBN: 0648164756

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Xaghra’s Revenge

Xaghra's Revenge by [Nelder, Geoff]

Xaghra’s Revenge by Geoff Nelder begins with a family on a Maltese island circa fifteen hundreds that is torn apart by a barbaric pirate attack. The pirates take the island’s people captive, split up families and destroy lives in the process. I was pulled in by the fine historical detail and the emotional human experience. It starts as a historical fiction novel, but then you are catapulted into modern day where we follow two people; Zita and Reese. Paranormal forces bring these characters together and events they cannot control set them on a dangerous and thrilling journey that I enjoyed reading.

I enjoyed Zita and Reece’s characters. They were multifaceted and well developed. Their love story, although a bit contrived, is emotional and believable once events start to unfold. One thing that I really enjoyed about this novel, as I’m sure many historical fiction fans enjoy, is the depth of detail in the story’s setting and the experiences of those in the past. Reading about what happens to the captives is heartbreaking and really makes you feel as if they were real people, or at least these things could have happened to real people. I felt like I was reading a Dan Brown novel at times. The descriptions were exceptional and I felt like the author really did his homework and has the technical ability to transport me to exotic places without slowing the pace of the book. When I review books I try to take mental notes while reading, but I often got so caught up in this book that I forgot to, and found myself several chapters in before I remembered. The connection between the past and present is not immediately apparent, and lends to the overall mystery and enables some fascinating plot twists.

When the spirits of the past seek revenge, Zita and Reece are left with little choice, although they don’t know it. This novel was fun to read and getting swept away was easy. It’s hard to nail down this books genre; is it historical fiction, paranormal, romance, mystery? I think it does a magical job of blending all of them into one thrilling novel. I highly recommend this book as it has one of the more unique plots that I’ve read this year.

Pages: 360 | ASIN: B0746PHZKR

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Death by the Jaguar

Death by the Jaguar

Sudden and violent loss is the introduction to this story, a war veteran and his family fall victim to a tragic and yet seemingly deliberate attempt on their lives. Our main character survives, along with the family dog, but we quickly learn the fate of his wife and son was far more grisly. When local law enforcement fail to provide the answers he seeks, our war veteran takes matters into his own hands. Answers alone will not right this; we follow the recently widowed down the rabbit hole of his own thirst for revenge, strongly driven in his pursuit.

Death by the Jaguar piqued my interest right away, a personal fan of sailing and being on the water, and I definitely enjoyed how often it returned to that setting. Either James Ruby is experienced himself or did his research, as his attention to detail regarding many basic mechanics and proper names surrounding the handling of water craft was on point. His technical skill as a writer shined through once more in regards to setting the scene. Ruby paints a picture well, giving enough focus on the characters surroundings to immerse the reader without putting too much weight in to detail. One aspect that continuously distracted me was his over use of commas. The flow of the story remained choppy throughout, thoughts consistently broken up too much by the trip of a comma.

I feel Ruby did a solid job portraying the scattered and distracted mindset of the main character, writing his portions of the story from a first person point of view. Consistently being pulled into the memories of a war veteran while he doggedly pursues justice for his family shows a glimpse of what it is like living with PTSD. I was a little bit back and forth on how I felt overall about just how quickly he gained his thirst for revenge, with little to no mourning and not even attending the funeral. However, I still felt he wrote this broken character with fair knowledge of human psychology. One thing that caught my attention was that we never seem to catch the name of our main character. I could be wrong and just missed it, but I personally find myself relating to a character better when I at least know their name.

Another issue was the repetitive interactions of Sullivan, an arrogant Chief of the local law. It seemed that with every interaction there was so much focus on this characters need to assert his station of power, his need for it to be recognized. The story itself left me wanting; the entire tale is a build up of vengeful actions, but in many respects it lacks the expected action factor, making it somewhat difficult to stay interested.

I was impressed with James Ruby’s ability to set the scene and draw the reader in, as well as his attention to detail regarding areas that the common person wouldn’t be too educated in.

Pages: 291 | ASIN: B0755JWFNR

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