3rd Annual Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop ~ Book Spotlight: Sea Cutter by Timothy Davis

PhotobucketHello again, Paul R. Hewlett here. There’s a lot happening around here so let’s begin with a recap to ensure you don’t miss out on anything. First, make sure to check out The Circle of Tivedon Blog Tour. And here’s a few more giveaways for anyone who has time. Yesterday Sher posted the Sunshine Syndicate tour and huge giveaway. Our 1000 follower No Strings Attached Giveaway started earlier this week and runs through 21 Jan, with a box of books to a US winner and a $20 Amazon gift card to an international follower. Most current giveaway links are in Sher’s Escucha Means Listen picture book review and giveway.  Be sure to visit the blog tour of Rise of the Fire Tamer by Kailin Gow. Check out The Freak of Nature Book Blast here today too.

Also, if you’re a children’s book author (from picture books up through YA) who doesn’t have a blog, or if you’re a reader who wants to share book reviews on our blog, please contact Paul or me. We provide free training and free books to review here. In return, we ask for a six month commitment. After that you can stay with us or start your own blog.

 Any children’s book author can get a free promotion here anytime (see the author hosting tab up top), but there’s another great opportunity waiting for authors of middle grade books through the All About Middle Grade Challenge 2013. The link will open a new tab so you won’t lose your place here. What else have you got to lose but a little time? And time spent promoting your book(s) now will pay in sales later

Today we are shining the spotlight on Timothy Davis’s Middle Grade book Sea Cutter. Thanks to Kathy at I Am A Reader Not A Writer and  Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf for hosting the 3rd Annual Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop. I want to share the dedication from Mr. Davis. I feel it bears repeating.

For all girls and boys who still long for Adventure and love to read.

Photobucket It’s 1771 and I’ve just gotten a secret message from Father who—all of New Bedford says—went down with his ship in 1769, when I was eleven. I know I promised my old friend Wayland not to put to sea without Mother’s permission, but what’s more important—keeping a promise or finding Father? If you want to come with me, help me find a ship bound for the South Atlantic, and we’ll search together for a legendary island, and Father.

But watch out for a smelly, slim, oily-looking sailor with a tattoo of a viper coiled around his arm. We’re going to leave him far behind…
Now for an excerpt for you to enjoy.

Chapter One
I kicked the plaque Mother had hung on the church wall.
To the Memory
Of the Late
Captain Jonathan Childe
Of the Ship Christopher
Who in Battle with the Storm
Went Down with His Ship
August 3, 1769
This Tablet
Is Erected to his Memory
By His Son and His Widow
“He’s not dead!” I yelled.
“Please, Nathaniel. It’s been two years. He’s not coming back,” Mother begged.
“How can you give up on him?”
She put her hand on my shoulder, but I shook it off and ran from the church. When the world had said Father was dead, I’d defied it, but now Mother had given up hope.
“Whoa! Watch where you’re going, lad.”
A horse-drawn fish wagon rattled past on the cobblestones. The dying fish stared at me with wide, surprised eyes. A sob caught in my throat as I stumbled off the road, slamming into the church’s elm tree like a man being dashed against the mast of his ship in a storm.
“Lost in a storm at sea,” Wayland, my father’s first mate, had said. He was my father’s best friend—my best friend too.
“He stayed on his ship to the end,” he’d told me. “He was cutting through the lines tangled around the last lifeboat. He wanted to save James Talbot and Robert Long.”
“But you didn’t see him go under?” I’d pleaded.
“A towering wave broke over the ship. ‘Twas so big it snapped the mast off with a great crack, and it swept all three off the deck. The ship sank fast, the lifeboat still tangled. I’m sorry, Nat. Remember your father acted nobly staying on his ship to save the last of his crew.”
Mother found me sitting under the gnarled old elm. I wouldn’t look at her. She sat down beside me anyway and stroked my hair while humming a song we all used to sing together. Sometimes when I was the angriest with Mother was when I needed her the most. I turned and cradled my head against her heart, clinging to her as she rocked me gently.
“Let’s go home,” she said after a while. “I need your help.”
“With what?” We walked along the cobblestone road.
“A problem many eleven-year-old boys might not understand, but you’re smarter than most boys, and we have to be smart together to keep our home. We’re almost out of money.”
“But the trading company owes us thousands of pounds.”
“They’ve figured out a way not to pay it.”
A bomb went off in my head. “We’ll make them pay!”
Three red-coated British soldiers glanced over in surprise and laughed.
Mother lowered her head. “We’ll have to make our own money.”
We were passing the docks. The masts of great whaling and merchant ships towered above us, while the smell of salt and tar filled my nostrils. Greedy seagulls soared everywhere, filling the air with their harsh “caw-caw-caw.”
“I could go to sea. I’m old enough to work as a cabin boy.”
She swayed and sank on her knees.
“Mother! What’s the matter?” I held her shoulders so she wouldn’t fall to the ground.
She took my hand in both of hers. “Nathaniel, promise me you’ll never go to sea.”
“But I want to be a ship’s captain, like Father.”
“I’ve lost too much to the sea.” Her face was deadly pale. “Promise me. Promise me, Nat.”
“I promise,” I said, stunned by her fervor.
“Promise me. Promise!” she whispered again.
“I promise, Mother. I promise. I promise.”
Mother took a deep breath and stood. “Nat, do you know what Father would say if he were here?” We walked on. “He’d say, ‘Son, this is no time to be talking of going to sea. Mother needs a man around the house. Stick by her, Nat. Take care of her. Make me proud of you.’”
I nodded, puffing out my chest and walking taller as we passed a chandlery overflowing with ship’s tackle waiting to be repaired. I stopped, staring at the pile.
“I know. We’ll open a chandlery in our home, like Grandfather. He taught me to use the furnace and the anvil and—and all sorts of things.”
She cocked her head, studying the mound of broken tackle. “And I grew up with it. It’s hard work, though.”
“I’m big and strong for my age, and good with my hands.”
“You are. Do you think you could do it?”
We reached our heavy, red-painted door. Ambition swelled my heart.
“Mother, you can count on me. I’m going to make sure you have everything you need. Everything you would’ve had if… Everything you would’ve had if Father were still here.”
Make sure to enter the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win an autographed paperback copy of Sea Cutter (US only) or an ebook copy (INT). Leave us a comment telling us if you have you ever been on a boat in the deep sea.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. No I haven’t and probably won’t ever unless it’s a cruise ship : ) The ocean kind of scares me!

    • I’m with you. I might try deep sea fishing sometime if I’m ever in the position to do so though. Thanks so much for stopping by & sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  2. I’ve been on a few cruises, so I suppose that counts. They were wonderful!

    • Hi Laura,
      Indeed! Cruises count! I’ve never been on one. I often think I would really love to try one, but then I worry ~ what if I hate it or get sick? Then I’m stuck out there. I’m not sure, we will sea 🙂 Ha, get it? I will take the fact that you feel they are wonderful as a check in the “do it” column. Thanks for stopping by & sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  3. No, I can’t swim, so I don’t do well on boats, or with big bodies of water.


  4. I’ve never set foot in the ocean, I’m a midwest girl

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Hi Jillyn,
      Where at in the Midwest? I live in Illinois. I have, but never too far. I was stationed in Florida, right on the Gulf Coast when I was in the Air Force, so I’ve been in some bays, but that’s it. Thanks for stopping by & sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  5. Nope. One day cruises, only.

    • Hi Nancy,
      I’ll consider a cruise as a yes. It’s farther than I’ve ever been? Did you enjoy the cruise. I had a comment above discussing cruises and I guess this is a great opportunity to gather some opinions. Thanks for stopping by & sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  6. I’ve been on a few cruises, so I suppose that counts. They were wonderful!

    • Yes, cruises count. Okay, we’ve got 2 that say they are wonderful. I’m taking all this into consideration 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by & sharing Laurie!

      Paul R. Hewlett

  7. Yes many, many times. Used to go deep sea fishing with my dad in New Jersey when I was younger. Never really loved the fishing part (always thought it was icky!) but loved being way out there in the middle of the ocean with nothing but water as far as the eye could see. Haven’t been out there for a long, long, long (many longs there but don’t want to give my age away!) time now but loved it when I was a kid.

    • Hi Shelly,
      I love your comment. I was in the Air Force stationed in Florida on the Gulf Coast and one time my parents came to visit and my Dad wanted to take me deep sea fishing, had the whole trip planned and everything. I got called into work (had to go in the military) and we never got to go. Thanks for stopping and sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  8. I recenlty learned a bit about Sea Cutter and it sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing the excerpt. I would love to read this book and I appreciate the giveaway. Thanks!

    I have never been out in the deep sea- but I do love boats. There is just something about the salt air and the movement of a boat through the sea (wouldn’t want to be in a storm though).

    • Hi Jess,
      Thanks for stopping by & sharing. I think you would enjoy Sea Cutter, I really did. You’re right, the idea of the salt air, just you and the water, very intoxicating idea ~ until it storms! You are right, I agree 🙂

      Paul R. Hewlett

  9. Yes I have sailed on the deep blue briny sea. Well, it wasnt that deep, only the Med and the English Channel. Oh and the Scottish islands – it can get quite deep between them… deep enough for monsters of the Loch Ness type!

    Hmmm that gives me another idea for the adventures of the Princelings of the North…coming in a year or so to join the Princelings of the East, the pirates and their friends!

  10. WOW, is that paperback ever BEATIFUL! Lionel, you have a gorgeous format to your blog, as well. AWESOME interview here – it really brings out the stellar writing of both the blog and the author. Love it.

    • Hi Morgann,
      Thanks for the kind words. Author Timothy Davis and cover designer Laura Wright LaRoche deserve all the credit for the beautiful cover. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. Have a great night.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  11. I have never been on a boat in the high seas. In middle school we went on a whale watching trip off the coast of Boston, but that’s the only boat experience I’ve had. We had to return early because of waves being too high.

    • Hi Michelle,
      That sounds like a lot of fun. Did you see any whales in the time you were out there? How neat would that be? I went on a boat tour when I was stationed in Florida and during the tour (in a bay so not that big of a body of water) 3 dolphins followed us and played and showed off the whole time. It was fantastic. Thanks for stopping by & sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  12. I did murder on the CT river once… had a ball loved it!

    • Hi Vickey,
      That sounds like loads of fun. Is that similar to a murder-mystery dinner where you are involved in the mystery? Thanks for stopping by & sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  13. Yes. I have done two cruises. One through the ocean waters of the Caribbean. We went to the Bahamas and then to Key West. And the other was through the waters of the Baltic Sea. I went over night from Finland to Sweden.

    I also went snorkeling in open water off the coast of Cancun.


    • Hi Meghan,
      Sounds like great fun. I think traveling from Finland to Sweden sounds incredible! I have been to Cancun, but never snorkeled, my wife did swim with the dolphins though. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your amazing deep sea adventures.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  14. I have been on a bamboo boat in Maui many years ago. All I can remember is how sick I was that night. The ocean was still and beautiful too. It was a dinner cruise around the island. After that I decided the land was for me. 🙂

    • Hi Sara,
      Great to see you here! That sounds like a lot of fun, but that is the same problem I worry about. I’ve never really been to sea and think a cruise sounds like fun but that’s my biggest fear. What if I get terribly sick and then I’m stuck? Thanks so much for stopping by & sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  15. I haven’t ever been a boat out in the deep, blue sea. I have however been on many small fishing and power boats in the beautiful lakes of Minnesota.


    • Hi Brynna,
      I wonder if there is a big difference? I suppose maybe depending on how rough the waters are and how big the lakes in Minnesota are. Still sounds like fun to me. Thanks for stopping by & sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  16. coreybrennan26@hotmail.com
    Never – that creeps me out a little.

  17. brett- no it scares me.

  18. I haven’t ever been on a boat or ship that has been out to sea. I have been on a lake and I have been on a harbor cruise. I have also seen the Queen Mary but I guess that doesn’t count.

    Thank you for the giveaway.


    • Hi Melissa,
      I’m going to count seeing the Queen Mary, consider it a minor adjustment to the rules. It sounds like you do have open water experience though. Thanks for stopping by & sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  19. boat, yes but not at deep sea – regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  20. no but we did go whale watching off the coast of Massachusetts

    • Hi Kinberly,
      That sounds really cool. Did you see any whales? That is the 2nd comment involving whale watching, very neat. Thanks for stopping by & sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  21. Not in the deep sea but I have been on a boat!

  22. I went to Greece for vacation and took a boat to Turkey. Water was pouring in over the sides and our luggage was being waterlogged. I was afraid we would capsize but we made it safely to our destination!!

    • Hi Cindi,
      Wow, that sounds like quite an adventure. I would have scared out of my mind. I’m glad it ended well (minus the waterlogged luggage). Thanks so much for stopping by & sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

  23. Never – scary thought. abrennan09@hotmail.com

  24. I’ve never been on a boat in the deep sea, sounds kinda terrifying!
    Krysta Banco


  25. Looks like a great adventure tale! My youngest is just getting through the second Olympus series & I’m looking for something new for him.

    Alas, no deep sea adventures for me-lol


    • Hi Autumn,
      It is a great adventure tale. I think your youngest would love Sea Cutter if he is getting through the Olympus series. I hope he gets a chance to read it, I think he’ll love it. Thanks so much for stopping by & sharing.

      Paul R. Hewlett

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