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What do you do when you discover someone who’s (sort-of) lived your life? Ask her to do a guest post, of course! Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and sci-fi/fantasy stories and is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn’t working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor. Please check out her guest blog below, and come back for my next post, a review of her hilarious upcoming release, Murder at the Marina.


by Ellen Jacobson

When I discovered Barb’s site I was excited because we have so much in common. Perhaps we’re twins separated by birth?

  • She’s American—so am I
  • She moved to Scotlandditto, although we later moved to New Zealand and then back to the States
  • She worked in HRyep, been there, done that
  • Her husband thinks buying a sailboat is a fabulous idea—mine too, except we actually bought not just one sailboat, but two
  • Yeah, you read that right—two sailboats. Considering I’m what you might call a reluctant sailor, no one is more surprised than I am to realize that we’ve owned and lived on two sailboats.

When we moved to New Zealand, my husband was overjoyed. He had become slightly obsessed with sailing during our time living in Scotland. Relocating to Auckland, also known as the City of Sails, seemed like a perfect opportunity to get me to drink the Koolaid too and fall in love with sailing.

Initially, we chartered boats in New Zealand and cruised in the beautiful Bay of Islands. No one fell overboard, the weather was pleasant, and we saw lots of dolphins, so I was starting to think this sailing stuff wasn’t all bad.

Eventually, we decided to look at chartering a boat in the Whitsunday Islands in Australia, but after adding up the costs for airfare, rental car, and the charter costs, it actually seemed more cost effective to buy a small sailboat in New Zealand instead. Crazily enough, it was my idea.

We had a lot of fun sailing on our boat on weekends and during our vacation time. My husband started to talk about how great it would be if we sold everything we owned, moved aboard our boat, and cruised full-time. For the most part, I just humored his dreams, but over time, the thought of chucking it all in, living a simpler life, and exploring more of the world started to seem like a very attractive proposition.

Then, after some organizational changes at the company I was working for, I got offered a too-good-to-pass-up redundancy package. It gave us the financial cushion to take time off from working in corporate la-la land for a few years, or possibly longer, and go off adventuring.

So we did. We moved onto our sailboat. By the way, have I mentioned that she was only 26′ long with probably less than 250 square feet of living space? Could you live with your significant other in such a small space 24/7? Oh, yeah, we didn’t have a fridge or shower either. It was kind of crazy living on that boat for six months cruising in New Zealand, but it was also good fun.

It was that experience that got me started writing. I set up a blog in 2013, The Cynical Sailor, to document our insanity and really enjoyed telling stories about our adventures and our misadventures. I kept blogging, documenting the process of selling our boat in New Zealand, heading back to the States to search for our next boat, buying that boat in Florida, and our cruising adventures in the Bahamas.

Some of my blog followers suggested that I should write a book. It was flattering feedback, but I didn’t take it all that seriously. Then my most important follower, my mom, said I should write a cozy mystery about a reluctant sailor. You can’t refuse your mother, can you?

So I did. I wrote the first in a new cozy mystery series, Murder at the Marina, which is about a woman, Mollie McGhie, whose husband, Scooter, is obsessed with sailing and dreams about buying a boat. Sound familiar? There is a key difference though—I suggested we buy our first boat, while this guy presented a dilapidated boat to his wife as an anniversary present. She was less than impressed.

I had a lot of fun writing Murder at the Marina and drawing on my own experiences. There’s a little bit of Mollie in me.


A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

Contact & Buy Links

Murder At The Marina is available at: 


If you’re interested in finding out more about my writing and daily life living aboard our boat you can follow along at:


NOTE from Barb: According to my extensive research (one click on dictionary.com) a doppelgänger is an apparition or double of a living person.  So…ever met your virtual doppelgänger? 

And reminder: please come back tomorrow for my review of Murder At The Marina