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Sailing Away, and Inward

Frontispiece illustration for Holding Fast depicting the sailing route, by Raegan Russell


The illustration by my stepdaughter, Raegan Russell, a terrific artist from Maine, on the frontispiece of Holding Fast depicts the route of our three-year sailing voyage on Laughing Goat down the East Coast to Florida, the Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. It captures the spirit of the voyage really well: exotic, magical and very much our own. 


When we set out, we knew we were heading south to Florida but beyond that, we hadn't decided exactly where we would go. The uncertainty made me anxious. During the voyage, whenever I got stressed out about not knowing where we were ultimately headed, it helped to remember how far we'd come, and that we had done okay so far, which gave me faith to take the next step forward.


I'm working away on my new book, which will be about my relationship with my dad who died when I was ten. Although it's a different sort of journey, an interior one, when my anxiety rises about what I may find, I remind myself how unsettled I felt setting out on Laughing Goat, and how much more wonderful and challenging the voyage turned out than I could have imagined.


If you want to find out more about our sailing voyage when we left everything behind and sailed away to the Caribbean, go here.


My book friend, Joy E. Held, is offering an online course to help authors create a discussion guide for their books that she would love to share with authors, editors, publishers, educators, librarians, book clubs, readers, students, and anyone who wants to encourage deeper engagement with a book. She has a great deal of experience in this area. If you want to learn more about it, go here




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