The Dolphin’s Dance – A gift from Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits book release day

jb040702 (1) The Dolphins Dance Spot and Craig

Spot and Craig, photo copyright by Jason Belport

It’s book release day for Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits – An Emerson-Inspired Essay Collection on Travel, Nature, Family and Pets, and I couldn’t be more excited. In the coming days, there will be giveaways for free books and Starbucks gift cards.

Writing this book was a labor of love. It was a difficult decision which essays to include in the book. That’s where Trina Sotira came in. An early content editor, she organized the book into sections for me, advising what worked, and what didn’t. Although, I removed some of my favorite essays, there’s always another book to be penned.

So here’s a sneak peak at one of the best days in my life, the inspirational individuals, and special friends I met that unforgettable day.

This excerpt is taken from “The Dolphin’s Dance”.

“Following a second morning dive, Big Sister revved her engine, and steered a course to our afternoon site – The Wreck of the Kissimmee, a Cayman energy tugboat well past her prime, deliberately sunk in 1982 to aid in the reef system. As the boat killed her engine near the northern shore, we recognized a familiar face portside.

Spot had returned for an encore. I clapped my hands in delight. The dolphin patiently waited at the surface for our group to re-enter the ocean’s warm embrace.

We dropped quickly to the sea bottom, where visibility was excellent – as far as one’s eye could see. While exploring the wreck’s nooks and crannies, Spot lingered in the sand flats close by.”

If you enjoyed the sneak peak, you can order the book here or request it at one of your local bookstores. Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits includes complementary photographs and Emerson quotes for each essay.

Peace, love and sand dollars,


Life on the Wall (Bloody Bay Wall) – Excerpt from Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits

Good morning everyone! I hope our neighbors due south are staying safe in preparation for hurricane Florence.

Today I’ll be sharing an excerpt from “Life on the Wall”, my diving adventure with friend Sheila and divemaster Zam, about the first time I cast a gaze on Bloody Bay Wall in the Cayman Islands.

Hope you enjoy!

“Keeping the wall as my visual landmark, I fin-kick and swim downward. Pressure builds in my ear canals. Pinching my nose with my thumb and forefinger, my cheeks puff as I force an exhale, clearing my ears.

I check my depth gauge, which now reads seventy-eight feet. Glancing to my right, I study the blue abyss. An immense Caribbean reef shark, sleek and gray, appears unexpectedly out of the chasm. I inhale deeply from my regulator, and hold my breath — an action forbidden in scuba diving. I quickly remember to exhale.”

Pink Azure Sponge, Devils Grotto GC copy copyr

“The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are truly adjusted to each other, who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of mankind.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Peace, love and sand dollars,



A round of thanks, some Bestselling endorsers, and a new book – Folly Beach Dances


Well, a dream of mine is coming to fruition.  Folly Beach Dances is going to print.  I’m so happy. Thanks for all who helped in the process.

Thanks to all my endorsers –

New York Times bestselling author, Karen White – Her book, Return to Tradd Street debuted at #6 on the NYT bestseller list couple weeks ago. Thank you for always dedicating time to your fans, and being so gracious.

Joe Palazzolo, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, is a prolific writer and a wonderful cousin, as well. I enjoyed our holiday talks at the dining room table, always keeping an ever-watchful eye on Beatrice, the border collie.

Craig Burhart, Indepth Watersports –  Craig, you’re my favorite divemaster of all time.  You took me to the depths of Bloody Bay Wall in the Caymans. But my best memory is your lyrical underwater ballet with Spot, a wild dolphin (who befriended us all.)

Deborah Marshall, Founder Warrior Arts Alliance; Past president of Missouri Writer’s Guild, is a positive force in the life of many.  Deb’s dedication to our unsung heroes and veterans is commendable.  Always encouraging, she assists developing their voice through writing, art, and photography programs.  I’m indebted to Deb; she’s a wonderful friend.

Sandra Carrington Smith, bestselling author of The Book of Obeah, my mentor.  I thank you for her advice and wisdom over the past two years. You’re a sweet soul.

Max Gersh, staff photographer for the Rockford Register, is an exceptional photojournalist I met through Saturday Writers. Max, I’ll never forget your whimsical journalistic video on the St. Louis Clydesdales.

Dianna Graveman, MFS, Editor, Author and Educator, spent several hours mentoring me on social media at a local Starbucks. It was pouring rain outside, and there was no better place to be….Thank you.

Tracy Hoobyar, Living Hope Health.  You’ve always been like family to me. Thanks for interviewing me on my very first podcast!

My award-winning women friends Pat Wahler, Mary Horner, Patt Hollinger Pickett, Marcia Gaye; and songwriter friend Tina Solomon, who wrote poetry and prose for the book. I love you all.  Thanks to my hubby, Russell, who collaborated with me on the photos. He even penned a poem, although he doesn’t claim to be a writer.

My book designer, Kristina Blank Makanski.  What can I say? You’re indescribable.

Thanks to Debbie Kersting, Director Gateway Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, for writing the foreword for the book, and understanding my mission.

Thanks to Jan Morrill who helped organize the website for Folly Beach Dances, which is still a work in progress.

I’m sure there’s someone I missed. And if I did, thank you…

“The Edge” published March 15 in “The Abaconian” – newspaper of the Abaco Islands

Please enjoy my essay about an encounter with a ten-foot reef shark in the Abaco Islands.  The photo credit is to Russell Nielsen, my husband, who fearlessly snapped the picture of the shark.

Click on the links below.  Essay is on page 11 and page 18 of the newspaper.

Mar 15, 2012 A 11 The Edge

Mar 15, 2012 A 18 The Edge