Author’s Commentary – Gift of the Bering Sea (Part 1)


I played of the title of the first book in the series. Towards the end of the story, I’ll reveal that ‘Gift’ refers to the life she leads.

Second Book in the Trilogy

I had this master list of ideas as I wrote the first book. I kept trying to place them in a sense of chronological order, and as they began to span years, I knew I had too much for a single book. So I began to divide my ideas around three seasons of change in Jessie’s life.

Book One – Leaving childhood behind and moving into adulthood, punctuated with finding her first love.

Book Two – Seeing her solidified in the life she’d spend the last novel setting up, punctuated by the major life changes that go with creating a family of her own.

Book Three – Dealing with the changes that come with loss, and Jessie learning that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Life is cyclic like that.

The Cover

Only one version exists. I brought up my file for the cover of Daughter of the Bering Sea, changed the words, and played with changing the colors. My goal was to keep it as close to the first book as possible, to keep the relation between the two tight.


My Hubby – He seems to hold a belief that I can do whatever I get in my head to say that I can do, and he supports me all the way.

My Son – Such a curious creature. He likes to stand back and watch my process.

My Daughter – She wants to know about every step and cheers me on through it all. She listens when I need to bounce ideas around, and offers opinions. And bonus, she’s willing to come up with character names whenever called upon.

My Mother – The one that taught me how to dream this dream I chase.

Best Friend – She’s read so many rough drafts, it’s insane. She’s moral support when I need it, and is another ear for me to bounce ideas to.

My Aunt – She’s interested in the process, encourages me in every step I take, and lends a critical eye when needed. Cheerleader extraordinaire.

Another Aunt of Mine – A cheerleader and a caring listener, with a belief in me that I don’t deserve.

Chapter One – Red King Crab on The Sea Hag

I wrote chapters 2 through 4 first, because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to open the book.

After I came up with the idea of the competition for the opening scene, I went back and wrote from there, on up to where I caught up with the Christmas chapter. It just happened to be a bout a chapter’s worth of writing.


Crabbers, sailors, whatever, they curse. That’s part of the sub-culture. It just is.

Do I have her swearing like I sailor? I do not. This is way toned down from that level of cursing. This is also way toned down from the level of cursing present in my rough drafts for these novels.

I still have people I can’t please.

Some complain that I use too much profanity in this series. Others complain that I don’t put in enough to do the reality of the subculture justice.

Sometimes, as a writer, you can’t please people no matter what you do. I tried taking a safer, middle-of-the-road approach, and meet everyone in the middle.

If your sensibilities cannot handle an increased level of cursing, as compared to most other novels, I understand.

It’s okay, we can still be friends. I have plenty of other novels, with which to tempt your reading appetite. They don’t involve sailors, or their imaginative dialogues.

A Little Background on Her Showing Off for the Sun

No, she didn’t do this in the first book.

Her travelling around with that group has given her an appreciation for the sunlight. Over the last couple of years, she started making a big deal about the sun, whenever it managed to break through the near-constant cloud cover of her island home.

She was seen sunbathing in her front yard, in fifty-degree weather.

She took to sunbathing on deck, between fishing hot-spots, through the summer on Bristol Bay… Which can be an issue for a bunch of guys stuck on a boat for weeks on end, to have to deal with that visual and knowing they couldn’t do anything about it.

Chapter Two – Christmas Come to Tawia

Sarah is a very integral part of the family. She watches your kid and handles them all without complaint, cleans up after everyone, keeps them all fed, works around everyone’s schedule, and she sends a kid over to babysit your business while you’re out on the water.

Christmas is the one time of year when she absolutely demands everyone’s time and attention. It’s when you pay her back by letting her call the holiday shots, inasmuch as she reasonably can.

Yes, I Really Googled ‘Scandinavian Berry Recipes’

It took a bit of researching to realize that’s what I needed to do, in order to find out what could be made from berries found in Alaska.

*By the end of writing these first two books, my search history on my browser was both lengthy and interesting.

The Christmas Gifts

I tried to use the gifts as a way to let people in a little more of everyone’s personalities.

I totally went fake shopping on Amazon to find ideas for my characters, and came across all these things.

Let it be said now that in my real life, hubby gave me a label maker one year and I, in turn, labeled him as ‘mine’. How could I not incorporate a cute moment like that in one of my books?

Chapter Three – Opies Weren’t the Only Things We Caught…

Isn’t she overreacting?

Yes, probably. But she’s 22 and never been through anything like this before. It’s all our nightmares, to lose a baby because of the method of birth control you chose. And if you, like me, drop two eggs a cycle from time to time, you feel like the odds of something happening are doubled.

What you have to keep in mind is that Jessie’s true fear is the death of a loved one. She’s been there, done that, and has been traumatized by it.

Chapter Four – Knee-Jerk Reactions

Flynn is a sponge.

He’s one of those guys that pays attention to how others do things, and learns from them… Charlie and the butchering, his dad and woodworking, Jessie and watching her cook.

Chapter Five – Home Again

Sarah’s gift for manifesting confessions. Yet another thing I saved to reveal in this book.

I know no one with this gift. If you ever find someone who can do this, please, let me know. I’d like to go and learn from them.

The idea came from my daughter telling me that my mom-glare stares straight into her soul… My imagination took off from there.

The Old Crabby Jacket

The fact that she didn’t already have one, 2 years later, is what gets me.

Like, why the hell wouldn’t she have more than just a sweatshirt, by now.

Come to think of it, he probably didn’t like her saying that her ultimate loyalty belonged to the ship she’d one day inherit half of, back in the last book. But now she’s carrying the heir who will one day own the entirety of his ship, if the old hunk of metal is still floating by then.

“Turkeys Don’t Have Bacons”

One of the favored lines in the series.

It’s just Jessie being Jessie. She knew they’d all have a problem with it, that’s why she bought it and invited others over. She may be acting annoyed, but she’s giggling inside.

Telling Daddy

Look, she’s knows she’s a grown adult and can do as she pleases, which is why Sarah couldn’t wear her down. Bus she had a good father, and nothing can make a grown-ass woman feel like a small girl than the idea of disappointing her daddy.

Plus, there’s a bit of a complex she’s gotten from her father trying to steer her life, and being a single mother was never one of those directions.

What you don’t know is that he’s given her plenty of unseen lectures about the lewd intentions of men, and she’s seen her share of dead-beat dads on the ocean, too. And, no matter how annoyed she may get over his pushiness, he has always been troud of her, and that’s her true fear.

She’s scared her daddy won’t be proud of her anymore.

Yet, Eddie realizes that she is grown, capable, and responsible. He realizes that she would not be one to find herself in this position out of sheer laziness or ignorance of proper birth control procedures.

He knows this is not a situation of her being a teenager and he’s going to end up having to raise his grandchild. She will take care of this, and come hell or high water, so the hell will Flynn, because he knows Dave won’t let his son get away with anything. Both she and Flynn work in too close a proximity with good family members for anyone to be shirking anything. That’s why he relaxes.

Her thinking he relaxed because it would keep her onshore is her own paranoia about doing a job she knows her father would rather she not do. Meanwhile, he was thinking of the long-term repercussions.

Chapter Six – Amanda the Troublemaker

Sometimes, you’re typing along, the story is progressing well, and you plan for something to be a long-running joke. And other times, you just don’t, and yet my brain manages to turn it into one.

Mike coming up with ‘Carver’ was just something I came up with that he said, and as soon as I typed it, I realized all the jokes I could come up with for it, and I wrote them down to work in later.

No, I had no idea when I wrote that Dave gave her a label maker, that she’d turn around and start labelling everything once she was left unattended. It just popped in my mind as something someone desperate for a distraction and an outlet for nervous energy might do.

If there’s one trait I wish I sheared with Jessie, it’s that she doesn’t know how to sit still. And here, I’ve put her into a situation where she has nothing to do.

It’s the nuttiness that tips off her best friend that something has gone epically wrong. Jessie doesn’t have her father, or Flynn, to pry into her so I needed to bring in Amanda, so we can get to heart of why Jessie is so scared and upset over losing something she wasn’t even trying to obtain.

Jessie is a go-getter, a preparer, a planner. She wants to tackle the hurdles of having this child and getting prepared, but she’s afraid of losing the child, and then having constant reminders in her face.

She’s absolutely terrified of loving, looking forward to, or even anticipating life with a child, because she doesn’t want to have to mourn the child.

The real key to this is that, this is something that has been in the back of her mind since deciding to use additional birth control methods, other than the condom. And every method comes with it’s own risks involved.

This, right here, is the key to why she and Flynn refer back to discussions they’ve had in the two years we weren’t peeking in on them. It’s why they’ve discussed it more than most couples their age, and had a preliminary plan for a baby.

Honestly, when Amanda went into that bathroom ‘real quick’, I had no further plans for it. I just figured she’d run up to the house as soon as she could, and maybe she had to go.

Why am I throwing in more of a description of the town in here than I put in the first book?

Easy, because from here on out, thos book focuses on the town she lives in.

One thing I glaxed over in book one, was the town because I was so focused on portraying life at sea. I even put both houses she lived in on the main strip of road that all the businesses are on, my mind didn’t even venture to wonder where the clinic or band even were.

Once I realized the focus would be on her town life, I wanted to get my bearings on location, and threw the brief description into the book.

Business Owners Ganging Up on Her

I didn’t know that when Hadley asked her to cover the clinic, that her covering vacation time for business owners would become a thing. My only thought was that I had talked about how she had spent all this time with Hadley, in the clinic, and that I’d never once shown her in the clinic as anything other that a patient.

I thought it might be fun to explore that idea a little. Another key thought was that this is the first concrete plan she’s made with the idea of the baby staying put for the duration of a pregnancy.

If she miscarries, she’s going to want to go back out on the water, instead of being left behind in town. But, she does hang onto the fact that Hadley said the baby was growing on a normal growth curve, and she is subconsciously clinging to that. That’s what had changed in the last few moments between talking to Amanda and committing to staying on land.

It signifies a shift in her thinking, because the commitment she just took on will need to be fulfilled whether she miscarries or not.

When Damien hits her up to run the bar for a week, I was really just having fun with the whole Amanda texting people from the bathroom thing, and letting it spiral. Next thing you know, she’s making more plans with a baby in mind. And here’s when you realize that the key to forcing her adjustment and acceptance is to make her feel useful to, and needed by, other people. It’s for them that she makes plans to move forward.

Plot Hole Warning:

I know Amanda copied Jessie’s idea of being a cook on the fishing vessels, at least on the boat her dad works on, but would she really have all their phone numbers in her cell phone? Did she take time to search up some sort of island directory? Or did she text one of them and he texted the rest?

The Puppy

I had an initial notion that a tray dog would sort of adopt her, because writing about a woman spending so much time alone might be a little boring. Amanda would be leaving soon, and she needed something to keep her occupied.

But, where was a stray going to come from, on an island? And, if she knew where the dog came from puppies are harder to resist that full-grown dogs.

So, I had to make up the background story about Old Charlie. Then, I made Corey my scapegoat, because a teenager is more likely to be duped than someone older. And, honestly, once the pup is ingratiated into her home, she’d be out of excuses to deny the pup of his visits. Sometimes, it’s about working around your character’s idiosyncrasies.

Enough rambling for one week…

Tune in next week, where I’ll pick up with Chapter Seven – Post Opilio.

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Published on September 22, 2019 05:00
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