Wednesday, August 31, 2016

From the Nose of Our Kayak: Chapter 14 Look Out Panhandle Here We Come!

Hello and welcome to the JLB Creatives Blog, where you'll find an array of creative features from a hand-picked group of creative geniuses. 

Wednesdays on the JLB Creatives Blog are set aside for our blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." JLB Creatives CEO, Janet Beasley, and her husband, Don, have been kayaking for nearly 10 years. Together they are excited to share with you, their awesome experiences that they have encountered. In this Wednesday feature you'll find kayaking stories, scenic nature photography from their outings, and some helpful tips when it comes to maneuvering your "butt sleds" (aka kayaks) on your journeys.

So if this is a topic that interests you, you'll want to be sure and become a follower of the JLB Creatives Blog, and stop in on Wednesdays each week for the latest chapter in Don & Janet Beasley's adventure blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." 


Previous chapters can be found in our blog archives. We began the series on June 1, 2016.

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From the Nose of Our Kayak
Don & Janet Beasley
Chapter 14: Look Out Panhandle Here We Come!

To celebrate our 30 year anniversary we headed for the panhandle of Florida...the Apalachicola area to be exact. We wanted to visit some long time friends plus do some kayaking in yet another area of Florida that was "virgin" to us. 

Along the way we stopped for some lunch. Seafood was calling our name...something it always does when we're on the gulf coast. When we came upon the town of Freeport we started looking for a local diner. Sure enough we spotted one that suited our fancy. There were plenty of cars in the parking lot.


I have to say that Oyster Po Boy Sandwich was out of this world! The oysters were heaped on in quite the fashion, and the bun was so good and soft, and the tartar sauce - lettuce  - and tomato capped it off.

Don enjoyed a plate of fried shrimp that were absolutely to die for. And in addition to the outstanding food, the service was ever so friendly, fast, and spot on. We made sure we left enough time on the way home to stop in one more time.

Once we arrived at our destination, The Gibson Inn (above), and were greeted with some awesome southern hospitality. Our room was nothing shy of stellar.

We got settled in, all of the luggage and snacks were unpacked and it was time to start exploring, looking for some great places to kayak.

First we stopped at a sharky kind of place. C'mon...you know these kinds of places make you laugh, and are always a blast to shop!

Luckily we escaped the dangers of the giant shark and headed on toward some state parks.

There were many other cool sights to behold. The boat docks filled with vessels of every size, sea-worthy displays, lighthouses, beaches, and so much more! 


The weather was not cooperating for kayaking (until the day we left of course! LOL!). Storms had moved in, and left us not wanting to be on the water. So we spent a couple of days visiting St. George Island and State Park, St. Joseph State Park, St. Vincent's State Park, and St. Mark's NWR to scout out the area. 

Believe it or not, sometimes bad weather can lend itself to being your friend, as long as you respect it. 

How can you tell when it's safe or not safe to be on the water in Florida? There are a few quick ways to get an idea. 

Obviously if the sky is getting dark in any direction that's a good sign there's going to be a storm. To be safe check your weather radar. Set the radar in motion if you can to get an idea of how fast and in what direction it is moving.  

Sometimes you may be deep in the woods and not able to see the sky. If that's the case, use your ears. Listen for thunder or "brewing" winds rushing through the leaves. If the wind is kicking up, even on the river, there's a good chance inclement weather is heading your way. 

If you think you saw a flash...if you're in Florida, you probably did. Always take lightning seriously no matter how far away you think it is. If you can't make it back to the dock before the storm reaches you and your kayak, head for the shore...get off of the water immediately and seek shelter. You can even use your kayak for such by sitting on the ground and holding it up over your head. Don't hang on to a tree...they are prime targets for lightning. If time allows you to get your kayak at least back to your dock to your vehicle, you can always leave the kayak out in the rain and lightning while you seek shelter in your vehicle. Kayaks are used to getting wet. Turn it upside down so it doesn't fill with water that you would have to "bail out" later.


Your goals when you are kayaking should be to have fun and stay safe all at the same time. A weather app on your phone is yet another good tool to have on hand. 

The best place we decided for us to kayak would be St. George Island. It was a "prairie" kind of paddle. We were used to the rivers of central Florida...not the open style water with no shade. But it ended up being another awesome adventure in the yak. We paddled for several hours, enjoying the new sights, and paying close attention to the weather. We began to hear the booming in the background and knew it was time to exit the water.

We headed to get some dinner, and found a couple of really cool places to stop and photograph Mother Nature working overtime. The sunset along with the clearing storm late that evening made for some of our best sunset shots to this day!

We plan on returning to the area some day in the fall or spring. Summer can be quite rainy in Florida...and also very hot on the water.

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Kayak Tip of the Week: If weather is not cooperating, don't get discouraged, use the opportunity to your advantage for when the storm clears. 

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Below are some shots from our launching point...
























Monday, August 29, 2016

Excerpt Extravaganza! Today's Excerpt Is From "28 Months of Heaven and Hell"

Welcome to the JLB Creatives Blog, where an eclectic team of creative geniuses share their fantastical imaginations. 

On Mondays we are featuring an excerpt from one of our creative authors. And what makes this feature so fun is that we publish a wide range of genres. You'll never know what to expect for the excerpt.

To read all of our excerpts thus far, we invite you to visit our blog archives and look for our first Excerpt Extravaganza! that began on August 1, 2016.

Enjoy!

All previous excerpts are available in our archives. We began this Monday series on August 1, 2016. 

Today's excerpt is from 5 star, historical fiction author, J.D. Karns. He wrote this, his first novel, at age 82, and we were honored to publish it. 28 Months of Heaven and Hell is based on the journal of a WWII navy veteran who sailed on the DE-416 Melvin R. Nawman. 

The skipper soon realized that out-sailing this beast was not a possibility. He shouted order after order. Men went scrambling from bow to stern as Chester and the crew began making preparations for the approaching fierce storm. The other ships near the Nawman began to break their patterns and sail their own ways to avoid collisions with the other ships in the group. In minutes the sea had taken on a haunting appearance, and Chester believed it had become angry with the ships and was beginning to take out its personal vengeance on the helpless vessels and their crews. 

Chester finished his on-deck duties in the drenching rain and salty spray and slid down the ladder to the berth quarters. A wave caught the ship, and it listed more drastically than when he had been on deck. The sound of the wind let Chester know it had begun to barrel over the water with more force. He found it harder than usual to make his way through the small doorways but eventually 

reached his chair. 




T




he roar of the engine and the noise of the creaking ship drilled their way into the depths of Chester’s ears. 







Randall came rushing by and saw Chester in trouble. “Strap in! Strap in!” 







“I’m trying, but the ship’s rolling so bad I can’t seem to hang on long enough to get it fastened!” 







The ship listed to port. Randall rushed to the lower side of the chair and pushed up on Chester, giving the straps enough slack for him to fasten the buckles. 







“Thanks, buddy!” Chester pulled on the straps to tighten them to the point where it was difficult for him to take a deep breath. 







Randall headed toward the door. He shouted before he ducked out, “Now you hang on Chester, and I’ll see you on the other side of this storm. She’s a doozy!”




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To discover more about this 82 year old author, or to get your copy of "28 Months of Heaven and Hell" visit JLB Creatives Publishing's author J.D. Karns

Friday, August 26, 2016

Author Brand

Being an author means you need to create a brand for yourself. No, not DOUBLE R-BAR, or LAZY W, but the idea is exactly the same. Your author brand is your name or pen name. It is used primarily to promote sales of your books once your brand has become familiar among readers.

Take a well-known product; how about Dodge Ram? We all know certain things about it when we hear the name. For instance, we know it's a truck. We know it has a ram's head as its logo. We know that logo appears on the front of every Dodge Ram truck. We figure it must be a pretty good truck because they do a lot advertising, enough in fact, that its name has become common. That's the same thing you want to achieve as an author. People, in general, feel that exposure equals quality. So if you can accomplish exposing your name--your brand--in enough places, you'ill most likely be considered an author whose books are worth purchasing.

As an example, let's consider author Mark Twain--that's his brand. His real name was Samuel Clemens; Mark Twain was his pen name, and that was the name that gave him his brand. People became familiar with his brand and began to trust that it indicated something good (or something bad if it had happened to obtain a bad reputation. Don't let that happen). In the case of Mark Twain, familiarity with the name meant purchasers could depend on having a good read when they chose to buy his books. That's exactly what you want to happen.

 If your name is John Smith (a perfectly good name, by the way, but rather common) you might want to consider a pen name so it will grab people's attention. PLEASE don't skate on the name of another famous writer, however. In other words, if your name is John Steinbeck, don't promote yourself by that name; choose a pen name. It will actually do you more harm than good to try and make readers think you are the famous author instead of yourself just to sell books. After all, you have your own style, and that needs to shine through. And who knows...you might actually become a more prosperous author than he was!

JLB Creatives