Nina’s blog tour for “How to be a Pirate Hunter” by Marty Reeder

March 17, 2017
I have just read an amazing book called, “How To Become a Pirate Hunter” by Marty Reeder. He asked A Family Afloat if I could read his book (before it was even published!) and do some sort of review on it, so I did a interview with him. He also did a mash-up with one of my favorite book, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. A mash-up is where you mix characters from one book and a plot from another. I will post the mash-up on my blog on a later date. 
After reading this book I wondered if I had a natural-born ability. I asked Mr. Marty Reeder what he thought mine would be and I found my natural-born ability is a badminton umpire, but he is guessing I am really the next meteor jumper, what ever that is! Honestly, we’ll never know because I don’t know of any seers around (seers are characters in his book that can see anyone’s natural-born ability when they look you in the eye).  
Here are the questions that I asked Mr. Reeder for the interview;

NHow long have you been writing for?

M-Like many writers, I’ve been writing since I was old enough to spell! I still have the story that I wrote before I was a teenager about two kids surviving in the woods. I’ve gone through plenty of stories since then, some of them better than others, but almost always, I write (or read!).

N-What was the writing process like? How long did it take?

M-Most of my stories tend to germinate for quite some time before they sprout, and How to Become a Pirate Hunter. is no exception. I got the idea about 13 years ago, but I didn’t start writing until a few years after that. Then I started teaching at a school and having a family … that put things on pause. I remember taking some Saturday mornings when I didn’t have grading or other things and squeezing in some writing. In fact, I recall one Saturday morning with my baby girl on my lap while I wrote the climactic scene in the story. After I finished the story, I tinkered with it for years and kept it on a back burner. Finally, last year I decided to take it seriously. After Cedar Fort liked one of the stories that I sent them, they wanted me to do some edits on it and then send them any other stories I had written. I had been saving How to Become a Pirate Hunter for something special and this seemed like the one. I did an extensive edit of Pirate Hunter and sent it in to them

N-Are there any writers you find inspiring?
M-I’ve always loved Mark Twain. He is someone I could read as a kid and as an adult and just enjoy his humor, fun characters, and clever but sound reasoning. I also remember reading Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game) when I was younger and being blown away with how smart his characters were, but I was still allowed access to their thoughts and actions. As I grew up, I learned to love some of the classics. I have tremendous respect for authors like Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Shakespeare. While those are all good writers, whenever I need to escape the tough things in life, I invariably turn to the silly writings of British novelist P.G. Wodehouse.

N-Which character from How to Become a Pirate Hunter is most like you?
M-This is such a great question! Interestingly, I’d have to say that neither of the main characters are super close to me. I am not as reserved and subdued as Eric, but I’m also too passive to be like the confident and aggressive Charlotte. I personally think that I make for a great, loyal sidekick. So I’m going to have to say that I feel I am most similar to Samuel–though I don’t really feel like much of a natural born charioteer!

NIf you had to go up against a gang of pirates who would you want on your team (other than Eric)? (They can be real or fictional.)
M-Another great question. Okay, I’m going to list off a few here:
Jim Hawkins from Treasure Island. This 14-year-old kid holds his own against a motley arrangement of the most desperately vile pirates in literature, from Billy Bones to Israel Hands to the master mutineer himself: Long John Silver!
-Horatio Hornblower from C.S. Forester’s excellent Hornblower series. These books are for an older audience and the main character has a funny name, but when it comes to strategic naval maneuvers and modesty, Horatio is the man!
Sir Francis Drake, the real-life English privateer. Sure, that’s like pitting a pirate against another pirate … but technically he was a “privateer” (someone given permission from their government to plunder ships from other nations), and who better to anticipate a pirate’s moves that a good-hearted pirate himself.

NWhat were some of your favorite books as a teen?
M-The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Redwall (and Redwall series) by Brian Jacques
-Watership Down by Richard Adams

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

-The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I would write more about each one, but then you’d be here all day!

NAnd last, what is your natural-born ability (and mine!!)?
M-You know, you’d think I’d be ready for that question, having a lot of time to think about it. In spite of that, I’ve never really settled on something. I need a seer! My copout response is that I was naturally born to write a story on pirate hunters! … but if I were to really venture an opinion, I might say that I was a natural born Scout camp waterfront director (mainly because that is one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever done, and I felt that I was, ahem, reasonably good at it!). And yours, Nina? Well, I’m no seer, but the random natural born ability generator from my website just told me that you were a natural born badminton umpire … but I think that’s an inexact science. So I’m going to say that you are a natural born meteor jumper. What that is, exactly, I don’t know, because it’s one of those abilities for the future … but it does sound cool, I think!

 This is the ends of our quick Q & A with Mr. Marty Reeder. When How To Become a Pirate Hunter comes out, be sure to get it for yourself, and find out what crazy adventures Eric and Charlotte go on. I found I was “hooked” by the prologue. Eric, who is 15, thinks that he doesn’t have a natural-born ability, until Charlotte sends them back in time, and they have to help a boat escape pirates. This book is filled with excitement and will keep you at the edge of your seat the entire time. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  
Nina Lauducci 

“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet” 

-The Rise and Fall


Community Service at the Orphanage

February 14, 2017 I went to an orphanage/foster home with a few other kid boats. There was Velella, with Benjamin (8) and Leo (5) (though Leo did not go), Zimovia, Ellie (6), Dean (4) and Scott (7), Nomi, Maeve (8), Ceilydh with Maia (15) and last but not least Pickles with Christopher (17), Julia (15), Henry (13) and William (12) and myself. Three drivers offered cars to take us to volunteer at the home. When we arrived, one of the caretakers took us on a tour of the home. It was quite roomy; the boys from the age 5-9 got a big room on the bottom floor with bunk beds, and the younger girls 3-9 got a giant room with even more bun beds, and there were two older girls who in the age range of 13 or 15 who had there very own room. We found that non of the children had clothing of their own, and not even toys of their own, and shared everything. In the beginning, the children did not want to play with us much so, Christopher, Henry and I started a basketball game that got 3 or 4 of the children to join us. Shortly after, they all had lunch, so Maia, Julia, and I wrote carrot and banana loaf on some Ziplocks for a fun raiser. After, we finished, Maia and I help polish shoes, and organize their dresses (And they had a lot!) Julia was helping the children reading, while William and Christopher washed walls. Henry was playing with the little kids outside in their giant patio. There was this little girl Gigi, who did not Maia and I to leave. I felt bad. I thought that the children would not like the home, but it seemed that they did not know better, but to love it. I feel that it was a good experience for myself and others to see what it was like in the homes. It was very fun nonetheless. 


Fair winds🌬and lots of dolphins🐬 

Creative writing #4

My video camera is crackly at first, then it focuses on my dirty face. My hair hasn’t been brushed in a few weeks, so I resulted to me cutting into a pixie cut as best I could. It looks terrible, but works fine. “February 25, 2035. Today, might be my last. I am not sure if I can take it much longer, being alone. They took Sarah, last week. I am not sure what to do without her. I think the aliens, or what ever they are, are getting closer to finding me. I won’t say where I am now in case they find my camera, and figure out how to use it. Though I am not sure why I am hiding anymore. I should let them find me, so I can be with Sarah, my little sister, and family,” I start to tell the camera.” After day 2,548 I though for sure I was not going to I be the last living human being on earth. When my friends and I use to joke I would be the first to go, but now, I wish I really was one of the first to be taken over. Food is getting harder to find. At first, we had stayed in a Habit, burger shop. We had food the entire month. Then my mom got taken by them while looking for water. Her last words to we were, “Don’t let them go eat to your sisters. Promise me, Emily.” And I did promise her, and failed. I failed when she ran off while looking for water, then I found her body in the near by house peacefully sleeping. A sleep you could only wake up from if we found a cure. Now I am not a scientist or anything, but I can put together that these, alien/humans are trying to take over earth. The first thing they needed to do was make all of us humans gone, then they could get to work. They already are getting started. I am hoping that once they get all the human bodies taken over with their conscious’. Maybe, just maybe, they will forget about me. They I can maybe live among them. Not that it would be great, but it is living non the less. Shoot! I hear foot steps coming up the stairs. Hopefully just a dog. They are all over now. I think it is gone no-”

  Creative writing #3

  Creative writing #3The cool sand beneath my feet crunches, Anya is running up ahead, curly purple hair flapping. Behind me only a few feet, is Georgie, muttering something under her breath. Most likely some test she is preparing for some test. I take a deep breath of the salty air around me, my foot kicks something cool, so I look down. A green wine bottle with a cork is sticking up out of the sand. I reach down careful not to cut myself and pick it up, it looks new quite new. Inside is a rolled piece of parchment. Georgie is now by my side egging me to open it. I pull the cork it seemed to be jammed, I try once more and it pops loose. I shake the bottle so the letter comes out. I unroll and read out loud : 

  Dear Lucky finder, February 22, 2017

 My name is Isabella, my father , who is very sick, and I are stuck on a beach in the middle of the pacific Ocean. I think… My longitude and latitude is 102.45 W 23.56 N. Do send help. I think I am fending for myself, for my father is deathly ill. He was bitten by the rare centipede here that is deadly. I am in need of help soon. Send help or come yourself. And quick for I don’t have much food or water left. I think that I can go a few more weeks but no more. HELP ME, PLEASE!

   Yours truly, 

“Do we help?” I ask

“Of course!” Says Georgie. 

We begin to walk back chattering quietly to ourself. We figured that the letter was sent three weeks ago, how it got to us that fast is a mystery. “It must be near” I conclude. 

“We could take the lat and long and find the island ourself…” Anya suggests. 

“Why didn’t I think of that?!” Georgie complains 

“Maybe… Maybe we can help her. Let’s ask if we can sail to this island.” I say. 

We finally make it to the beach where our parents are. We show them the letter and they reckon we go find it as, an adventure. We plan to leave on the 19 of March so we get there in time. Georgie and I are thinking how they became stranded on this island, if it even is an island. Anya is running back and forth, in to the water and out listening in our conversation then adding something and leaving before we can say any more.  

“Do you reckon it might be that boat who wrecked a few weeks ago, but they found nothing behind.” Anya suggests. 

“Doubtful, but still possible.” Georgie says matter of factly 

I just shake my head at the two. No matter what I do they all ways get into little arguments about every little thing they think different. 

“No, I think she’s right. That boat had no Epirb, and VHF, so they couldn’t contact anyone at all.” 

“No, that was a rumor, silly.” Georgie laughs.

“But what if-” 

“No, I think Anya is getting onto something. Rumors all start with something. Epirb maybe is right but the VHF is the rumor part. Right?” 

“Okay, if it is them, then what?”

“I don’t know we rescue them and they fly home. Then end we saved them, become famous and live an amazing life sailing.” Anya says sarcastically. 


Back to cruising, delayed post (sorry) November 17, 2016

   Finally we are out of the marina area of San Carlos, Mexico, and have anchored out of a harbor off an island. It was an amazing sail down the Sea of Cortez to a large island by the name of Isla Carman, 150 miles in 21 hours. We had a dinner of lentil soup, then my dad put Taj to bed. I had my first night watch. It was really fun, I listened to music, read, and every 10 minutes I had to look around to see if we were off course or a boat was near by. Luckily nothing really ever happened, except that we got off course a little bit. At 10:00 I went to bed. Surprisingly I was really tired! At around 8 the next day, we made it to the island. Taj really wanted to go swimming so, I went in with him. I was by the anchor chain and pulled myself down. I thought it was only 19 ft when I dove down and when I made it to the surface, I thought I was just really outta shape. But when my dad said it was 34 ft, I was surprise that that was my first dive of the season! Taj and I got cold so we got out( Taj was so cold that his lips were blue!). It was really nice thou. 

   Today, we went on a hike up to the top of the closes ridge. I was a little out of shape because, I have not hiked in like a week and a half. I made my self run up the hill, and then as we did in my outdoor education class, Vilda, I did a “sit spot”. A sit spot is where you sit for a few minutes, and just listen and look around. Once I was done with that I ran up to the next little knoll. By the time I was back and had sat back down, my dad and Taj had made it to the top. I asked if they wanted to walk to the other knoll, of course my dad said yes. We hiked, well I ran, and then at the top of that one, I wanted to make it to the highest one. I went ahead to scout it out, but it was not possible. So we had to go down the crazy way. As in with no trail and cacti all over the place. We did make it down somehow. We kayaked back to our boat and set off the the next anchorage, which we are entering as I type.😋, hopefully we meet some cruising kids, Carumba and Kenta Anae are still in San Carlos. 

Fair winds🌬 and lots of dolphins 🐬 

Delayed post and more fun to come – January 23rd

Hey world! It’s Nina. First of all sorry for not writing in so long, as you know we were up in the states a few months ago, and I got back in November wrote a post, but that was ages ago. My mom and I got back in December, after a birthday stay in the states. I got to go to a Green Day concert with my mom, and my two friends, Zélie and Ava. But that isn’t what I am writing about. School, that’s what this is about. When we began last year homeschooling, I found homeschooling and everything about it horrible. Doing school every day with your parents, now isn’t that every child’s dream. At least for most children. That was my answer at least last year because, we did not have a decent curriculum to go by. We were choosing different sources, and not all of them worked for me. But while we were up in the states, I went to visit my old school. I had found that quite a few of my old friends, if not all, have changed and moved on. They were preoccupied by things I don’t really care about. We began an amazing homeschooling curriculum called, OakMeadow. I personally really like this a lot more than some other books (that I shall not name). Last year we found a OakMeadow Math book in La Cruz, and I enjoyed it immensely. When I found out that we were doing this curriculum I was really happy with it. We also began Vilda an outdoor education class with other homeschoolers. I personally didn’t meet any homeschoolers while homeschooling in the states before we left in 2015. This was really fun for Ellamae and I because we got to socialize with others “like us”. This changed my perspective on homeschooling a lot. I had a new group of friends, and they were a lot nicer than some of my other friends I had before. When we came down to Mexico🇲🇽 I was actually keen on doing my schooler work rather than trying to worm out if it. I got done faster because I was working on it rather than procrastinating. I was excited to work on it in the morning, so I would wake up at around six-six thirty just to get to do school (and the fact that I was done around ten-ish in the morning.). A hint to all homeschooling parents: find a curriculum that really works for you and your child, it will make life ten times more easier. 
Fair winds🌬and lots of dolphins🐬 


 One shout out to Vilda: Hey guys! I miss you tons all of you, and hope you can visit us. 

And one last shout out to Elsie: I miss you so much. I hope to see you down here February to March. Tell me when you’ll be down here. 

Back to Boat Life

We have just been in the states for about 4 months, it was great to see all of my friends… I definitely had a hard time with it because, my friends were making new groups of friends, and I was not in any of those groups. I was able to adjust to it, but then again it was quite hard and frustrating. We were on summer break when we first arrived, so we didn’t have to do any school, but for staying so long we had to start school soon. We tried to get me enrolled in my old school, The New Village School, but I did not get excepted. We found this cool Waldorf/ charter school with a home schooling program so, we enrolled Ellamae and I. Included in the school we could do this outdoor education class called VILDA with other homeschoolers. It was really fun, I made really good friends. We did it very Monday and Thursday. On Mondays we stayed near where we were dropped off in Fairfax, or on the top of Mt. Tam. And on Thursdays 6 other kids, the instructor, Spencer, and I would go all around Marin County on adventures. We would go to farms, hike off trail, or go to Angel Island, as we on my last day.
When it was time to leave, I found it wasn’t hard to leave, expect for that I would miss my good friend, Elsie, and the kids from VILDA(the outdoor education class). I still miss them, but as soon as I came back, I fell right back into the rhythm of things. We unpacked and then called a kid boat, my dad had met when he was down here(Mexico) last time. We invited them to dinner, the kids were a little shy, but by the second day they were talkative and joking with me. Logan(12), and Hunter(9) made me laugh so much. We played a version of Dudgeon & Dragons, but we just kinda made it up as we went. We visited Kenta Anae, who we knew from La Cruz and hung out with them for a day. It was all quite easy coming down, except, on Mondays and Thursdays I felt as if something was missing. And something is missing, I am not going to VILDA those days of the week. I had made some really great friends in those classes, ranging from 6th grade to 9th grade, but in those classes my better friends were five kids named, Finn (13), Cullen (13), Martha (13), Nikkos (12), and Steven (14). I think in the end it was the hardest to leave them and Elsie, but other than that I was quite excited to be back on the boat, and sleep in my own bed, and hang out with some new cruising kids (I am now counted as an old one since I came down last year.).
Fairwinds🌬 andlotsofdolphins🐬 -Nina Lauducci-