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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica's #WritersDiary: A Whale of a Time!

“There she blows!-there she blows! A hump like a snow-hill! It is Moby Dick!”

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Last week the OH and I had the pleasure of checking off a super fun bucket list item. We went whale watching for the first time with Capt. Dave's whale watching excursions off the coast of Dana Point! 🐳

I cannot believe we waited so long to do this. The weather was glorious after all the rain and Santa Ana winds we'd had. We opted for the raft cruise this go round--the sleek craft scooted up and down the waves with ease. Our boat was piloted by Capt. Marie, assisted by first mate Hannah, and assistant in training, Hannah. We were able to zoom over to the spot scene areas lickety-split--a blessing since these magnificent creatures can move really quickly!

Up and down the coastline of North America, many whale species cruise to follow the food supplies. Here in southern California, we are lucky to see the migration of Grey, Fin, and Blue whales along our coastline.

Blue Whales are the largest animals on Earth--we will definitely be taking another excursion when they migrate around here in May-November!

During this trip, we were expecting to see Gray Whales, and to our delight, the more elusive Fin Whales! I put up the chart above 👆 to give you an idea of how big these creatures are in comparison to a human. The Fin Whale is the 2nd largest animal on Earth. The fin on its backside is seen in the feature pic (it is spouting, the exhale is hard to see)--unfortunately we were only able to see the top portion of this creature for a quick moment. They'd surface for just a bit to spout and then deep dive under the water from 7-9 minutes, all the while traveling away. I have to give kudos to Capt. Marie--as soon as she received coordinates for a siting, we were off to the chase!

Unfortunately, the one Gray Whale 'cow' with her 'calf' spotted were too far away to get a good picture. I was able to get a picture of the 'whale trail' the moving creatures leave behind them--the slick is from the mud below churned up when they dive and resurface.

Never fear, however--I wanted to attach this headlining video from Capt. Dave's website from January 3rd of this year (my bday!). It shows a Gray Whale who has just given birth to her calf by a boat similar to the one we were on. It was an unexpected view and as you watch and listen, enchanted everyone on the craft. I can't imagine seeing this live, but this video is pretty spectacular to watch!

We were surrounded by dolphins a few times when we stopped...

And we were able to get up close and personal with a few sea lions who were sunbathing on a buoy...

When you have the chance to see these magnificent creatures up close and personal, it takes your breath away... What a fantastic day it was! 💕🐳

If you're in the southern California area, the whale watching excursions at Capt. Dave's in Dana Point are highly recommended! It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:

A big win for A Novel Noel!

I'm pleased as Christmas punch to announce some big wins for A Novel Noel! I entered my Christmas mystery collection in the 4th quarter Firebird Book Awards last December. Sponsored by Speak Up Talk Radio's Pat Rullo, the entrance fees for this book competition are used to make and send pillowcases and books to homeless shelters around the country. It's a way to give a little hope to those in need, a compassionate act I'm proud to participate in!

My Christmas mysteries swept these categories:

Christmas Mystery; Christmas Short Stories; Cozy Paranormal; Holiday Cozy Mystery; and Holiday Ghost Stories! 🎀📚🎄

The Firebird Book Awards are a great way to spread some cheer and promote your books. Thanks again to Pat Rullo and the judges for this wonderful contest and opportunity! 📚🔥

Get those stilettos ready!

It won't be long now--who's ready to walk the runway? Murder on the Runway: Fashion Week at Castlewood Manor will make its debut on Galentine's Day, February 13th! It's the perfect way to celebrate and indulge without the carbs! I'll have much more on my fashion tome in the next blog post--I hope you join Gemma and friends for this latest cozy tale filled with fashion (and deadly deeds) to die for!

Pssst...Pssst...If anyone is interested in doing an early read of this latest tale, I have an ARC PDF copy I can send you. I will also send any ARC volunteers a print copy of the book when it's out and a little something from the vault at Cherrywood Hall...LMK 💖👑👠 #ThankYou

Trouble at the shore this week from the writers of Twitter...

Author Tonya Penrose, Baubles to Die For: A Shell Isle Mystery, 5

When cousins Page Wright and Betsey Ross meet up for a relaxing stay at the beach, their holiday plans soon turn into a mysterious investigation. Their wealthy neighbor is up to something. Will Page's uncanny intuition help to uncover her nefarious plans?

A deadly find puts the cousin's lives in danger. Will they continue on the hunt for clues on their own? Or team up with the neighbor next door who's there on official business to investigate? As the sleuthing progresses, the danger intensifies as they quiz the list of suspects. Will Page's insights be enough to keep her out of harm's way?

Author Penrose weaves a charming whodunnit with captivating characters, an enviable setting by the shore, a hint of romance, and some culinary side-adventures that will keep you giggling. Sit back, dig your toes in the sand, and enjoy this entertaining whodunnit!

Next up in the reading queue:

A Tea-rrific gift for cozy mystery lovers!

This past Christmas and birthday I received some spectacular gifts for this cozy mystery book lover! It was all things tea for me---books, teapots, and some deadly teacups that made my crowns spin! The cups were a bespoke gift from a very special GF. The lovely skull and cross bone cups had a special quote from Murder on the Runway inscribed at the bottom:

"Exposing the skeleton was a clever first move..." ☠☕

Now, every time I have a cuppa, I'll be reminded of a deadly find from my Fashion Week tale... #DunDunDun ☠💖👑👠

Welcome to my world. Until next time, have a good one!

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. The whales and dolphins weren't the only spectacular site--how about this California coastline! I zoomed in on the snow-covered peaks in the distance, a beautiful California day! Gemma and Rikkhe approve 💖👑

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Feb 01, 2023

How awesome! The whale watching looks so cool!

Huge congrats on the Firebird Book Awards win! Can’t wait to dive into “Baubles” and Whoo hoo for Murder on the Runway! After the wild book trailer with an exploding mannequin head, I’ve been dying to know what happens at Fashion Week! 😂🍸✨

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Feb 01, 2023
Replying to

Thank you kindly, UberHappy--the whales were fabulous! I'm super pleased with A Novel Noel's win too--now it's time to gear up for some fun on the runway! Enjoy your week! 💖👑

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