Walk, Whelks and Work

Yup, that’s my life for a few days. Walk the beach and pick up whelks, then work on my outline, then walk the beach and pick up whelks, then work on my outline, etcetera. It’s a rough life!  It’s cold and clear here on Topsail Island and the beach is bejeweled with the biggest shells I’ve ever had the joy of seeing outside a store. I also found this cool vertebrae that belonged to a . . . I have no idea.

The Island has its cute little holiday lights up on the lightpoles. Mermaids, seahorses, palm trees, starfish, sailboats, turtles, reindeer and so much more. Very simple, but they really stand out on the dark, nearly deserted island.

One thing I know for sure about the book I’m outlining: it’s going to need a new title. I’ve been calling it The Waif, but to avoid having different titles in different English speaking markets (see my last post to understand the importance of this!), I need a title that will have more universal appeal and sound more contemporary. So John and I are brainstorming and soon I’ll be asking you all for your help, too.

It’s nearly time for bed. I can’t wait to get up early again tomorrow morning to see what gifts the sea has left for us!


  1. Denise on December 3, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    What a cute little vertebrae!

    Are you sure about changing the title from The Waif to something else? I love The Waif! It conjures some really cool mental images for me. 🙂

  2. Diane Chamberlain on December 4, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Yes, I’ve heard from my editor and it needs to be changed. They’re worried a) it sounds like an historical and b) it won’t work well in all three English speaking markets (North America, UK and Australia). It is otherwise perfect, but that’s a big ‘otherwise’!

  3. Margo on December 4, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Diane, I wish I were at the seashore picking up those whelks with you!…my favorite thing to do!…I collect seashells and have some very unique ones from Oregon, California etc…however, one of my favorites is one similar to the vertebrae your holding, only much, much larger…I found it at the farthest point of Nantucket Island at ‘Great Point’…I was looking for something unique and all of a sudden an Albatross flew right above me looking down and wouldn’t leave…I took photos of her/him and finally glanced down to see what she/he was pointing at…and there it was…a HUGE vertebrae shell that I wanted to bring home!…I kid you not…when I picked it up, my friend he/she, flew away…I carried the vertebrae/shell carefully all the way home and it is now displayed in my china hutch…had to share the story with you. (-O:

  4. Margo on December 4, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I remember last year you shared gorgeous photos with us of the light displays on the Island…each day was a new one…I loved it!…I’m looking forward to hearing more about your new outline…what a great place to be and create…enjoy your time on the Island…I bet you’re there throught the holidays.

  5. Diane Chamberlain on December 4, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Margo, wow! Did you ever figure out what animal the bone was from? I think you have a very evolved mystical side!

  6. Ann on December 4, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Diane, I have never been at Topsail to see the Christmas lights – I can imagine how they show up there when the island is almost deserted.
    We got home Tuesday after spending 10 days at Emerald Isle [our annual Thanksgiving family reunion]. We had the best weather we have ever had for our reunion [in the 60’s and 70’s everyday] Today we have snow in Greensboro!!!! That’s North Carolina weather.
    Enjoy your time at the beach!

  7. Diane Chamberlain on December 5, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Ann, so great you were at the beach last week and not this! It’s beautiful of course, but so cold. I’m glad you had a wonderful time with your family.

  8. Margo on December 5, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Diane, I have no idea what animal inhabited this unique vertebrae/shell, but I love it and its probably my favorite piece…the fact that the Albatross showed me where to find this is definitely mystical and I remember when it happened, I was absolutely floored!…I took a pic of that beautiful bird and when I got home, sketched him/her out in my studio from my photo and my memory…the finished painting of him/her hangs in our dining room near the china cabinet where the shell is.
    I think the vertebrae is very, very old…it looks it.

  9. Margo on December 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Diane, I finished a remarkable book last nite that is a true story and would like to recommend it…it’s called HOMER’S ODYSSEY by Gwen Cooper…my sister encouraged me to read it and I finally did…it’s about a blind cat but much more than that, its a book about courage, relationships, life and love…absolutely wonderful and I loved it.
    P.S….I think the best time of year to be by the seashore is when its ‘off season’ and it’s cold and brisk…there’s something about walking along the shore with hardly anyone around, with windbreakers and jackets on, that is so refreshing and peaceful…have a happy time there, Diane.

  10. Diane Chamberlain on December 6, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Thanks for this recommendation, Margo…but does anything bad happen to the cat? Is he ever unhappy? I often can’t handle animal stories!

  11. Ann on December 6, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I am with you,Diane. I have that book on my kindle but haven’t had the nerve to start it. Margo, help us.

  12. Margo on December 6, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Ok…absolutely nothing bad happens to this cat…believe me, this is a remarkable story of an absolutely FEARLESS cat who is blessed at 2 weeks old to have Gwen Cooper adopt him…it is also the incredible journey of Homer AND of the author Gwen…Diane, the opposite is true…Homer is the happiest little fellow anyone could hope to meet…the life he carves out for himself is one of courage.
    Ann and Diane…you will absolutely love this book!! (-O:

  13. Diane Chamberlain on December 6, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    But. . . does his life end?

  14. Ann on December 6, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Thanks Margo – I think I have nerve enough to start this book tonight!!!

  15. Margo on December 7, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Diane…’no’…he’s still living happily with Gwen in New York…Fearless as Ever…Read it…you’ll love it!!

  16. Margo on December 7, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Diane and Ann…believe me, I would not steer you wrong on this book…I am extremely sensitive when it comes to animals and I asked my sister the same things you’re asking me before I read it…Homer’s life does not end and he is happy as ever living with Gwen in New York…there is so much more to the story than just Homer’s life, its also about Gwen’s journey and the life lessons she learns from her precious and fearless Homer…you will love this book.

  17. Ann on December 8, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Margo, I started the Homer book and do not want to put it down!!! Thanks for making me be brave.

  18. Margo on December 9, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I’m so glad Ann!!…you will really love the journey…I was the same way…read it every opportunity I had (-O:

  19. Mary on December 26, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I cannot wait until May to visit Topsail again. Just seeing you sit there is a tease. Hope you are having a great holiday season

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