Port Townsend, 1862…

Lucy’s curiosity has endless scope in Boston, but when her family moves to a tiny northwest town, she’s stuck with mud and trees. With a mouth quicker than caution, she soon betrays the only girl who’s helped her, defends a boy she resents, and lands herself in the midst of a simmering stew of conflicts between settlers and Indians, with sailors and miners swirling in the midst. A scalping, a green-eyed farm boy and the nagging feeling that her mother is hiding something leave Lucy thinking a little boredom might be welcome.

“A Cradle in the Waves is a remarkably well-told story with very believable characters based in a real town (Port Townsend) during its early development. The historical research makes 1860s Washington Territory come vividly alive. Although written for young people, Heckt grapples with very serious issues: race, politics, and the struggle to survive. What I loved the best: the petty fights, jealousies, bullying, gossip, and cliques of the teenagers—so contemporary, so real. I know these people!”

—Dr. Susan Zwinger, Author/illustrator of fine books of natural history

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Fall Update: The book, the almost book, and puppy pandemonium

 The leaves are turning to gold here in the Pacific Northwest, and it’s time to turn toward fall projects and get some work done!

After focusing most of last year on promoting Cradle in the Waves, I’ve turned to other projects that have been around almost as long.

I’ve been working away on a twin-timeline story set in Seattle in 1918 and 1969. I’m hoping to finish the book in time for the 100 year anniversaries of many of the events involved (World War 1 and the Great Influenza).

I’ll have to admit, continuing to work on a novel over the long haul can be daunting. I’m hitting a place I remember well from A Cradle in the Waves, where you think, “Who will be interested? Is it a compelling read or just history? Or, is it great history, but not so great a story?”

Cradle emerged from the long process of taming my creative scatter into something whole, and many readers seem to enjoy and relate well to both the story and the history. Kind comments from friends, family and readers help keep me going when in doubt. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to each and every one of you for taking the time to express interest or enjoyment. And all the best to you in whatever work or life situation needs persistence and grace to complete, especially as we face the shortening days of fall.

In spite of my focus on other work, Cradle in the Waves has continued to make its way in the world. I’m particularly grateful for several stores that have faithfully promoted the book:

Those of you who’ve read the book know that Lucy’s house sits at the site of what is now Fort Worden. The staff at the Fort Worden Gift Shop (all volunteer) keep ordering my book and promoting it, and selling out! I’m so glad that they’ve read and enjoyed the book, and feel comfortable recommending it to others. If you haven’t visited Fort Worden in Port Townsend, it makes a wonderful day trip for exploring the trails, bunkers, old buildings, playing in wide-open fields or walking on the sandy beach. You can also take dogs on leash there, or off leash at North Beach, which is a little beyond Fort Worden, but easy to access.

Another lovely friend to the book is Mary Kay Sneeringer, owner of The Edmonds Bookshop. She and her staff keep recommending the book, and most recently sent a copy to the Edmonds Library for a local author table. Mary Kay and her staff qualify as heroes in the book world, generously promoting and supporting reading and literacy on so many levels. 

Thank you, thank you, Friends of Fort Worden and The Edmonds Bookshop.

We’ve had a new arrival with Archie, the poodle puppy we re-homed in March. Chester had been very lonely since our children moved for school and work a year ago (mom might be a touch empty-nest too). Archie has kept us outside, active, and happy with his crazy antics. Two dogs equals puppy pandemonium, but they are a gift most moments of the day. They may have convinced me to put a bit about a dog in the WWI book.

I’m still learning to sketch and now add a little watercolor at times. Mostly I’m reaching…sometimes, things gel. Always, art rests my wordy brain and lifts my spirits when weary of the world. A quick sketch of Archie dreaming: 

Here’s to a new season, and refocusing on goals, wishes, and dreams.

I welcome questions on any of my projects, and am always glad for readers of early versions of my novels. Feel free to message me or check out my Facebook page.


All the best!

Anne-Marie Heckt


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At a library near you this week!

Many of you will be at various events on Saturday, some very far away!

I’ve had Whidbey Island on the calendar for months. I’ll be speaking and signing books at the library in Freeland on Saturday January 21 at 11 a.m.

img_7396Come join me? (and Steve, and Chester)

Freeland sports a cafe with great coffee and super friendly locals, and Chester’s favorite beach at Double Bluff where he can run for a long, long way and all of us can breathe fresh air and stretch our legs under a wide sky.

I’ll be reading from my novel, showing photos and quoting choice bits from news and letters. Some still shock me, though our political climate now would fit well with a lot going on then! The famous Isaac Ebey and his farm on Whidbey show up in the novel so I’ll be focusing somewhat on that for this audience.


Isaac Ebey’s farm on Whidbey

If you are not in Washington D.C. or trying to hide in a quiet place from the hubbub, might you consider a ferry ride and lovely place to get out for the day?

IMG_8004We all have to follow our consciences. As a former community college teacher for refugees, my conscience led me to the Martin Luther King Jr. parade. This year focused on unity, with a broad coalition of people and leaders. I loved the challenge to reach out, to love and listen to those who might oppose or even hate us. Martin Luther King Jr. lost his life in that effort.

What do we live for, even in quiet ways? What do we care enough to die for? Strong questions.

A Cradle in the Waves is a coming-of-age novel; but set here, in a community struggling with land issues, race issues, with the disenfranchised new-comers and the unseating of early peoples from their homes; with the bold, the timid, the bullied, the teenage love-struck, with mothers and chiefs.

Their concerns, sorrows, challenges and joys, their very human foibles and sometimes terrible mistakes can speak to us even now.

Hope you can join me, Saturday or at a future event. 

As always, thank you sincerely for all the love and encouragement that keeps this writer going!

Love to each and every one of you, and peace.


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Indie Saturday Tomorrow! Book Event in Edmonds

Recommended Read - Edmonds Bookshop

Recommended  – Edmonds Bookshop

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! Tomorrow is Indie Saturday all over. I’ll be signing books at the Edmonds Bookshop from 3 to 4 (Saturday, Nov 25). Hope you can make it by to say hello! Lots else to do as well. The Holiday market will be going from 10 to 2 in front of the museum. There’s a tree lighting later, and it’s a great time to browse and support small businesses. Check your local book store for events!

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Hello and Welcome, in S’Klallam

In my book, an important fictional character (Quill) is niece to the real chief Chetzemoka. Quill is named after Kwilced, S’Klallam story-teller and elder Elaine Grinnell. Elaine’s grandfather David Prince was Chetzemoka’s grandson, so her stories come from Chetzemoka via her grandfather. I enjoyed hearing her a year ago at the Jamestown Cultural Center in Blynn. Here’s Elaine greeting everyone in the S’Klallam language (about a minute), followed by one of the stories she tells with skill, humor and warmth (about 10 minutes).

Mouse and her Children (about 10 minutes):

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Time for an Update! Indie First, Langley, Gift-A-Library

I’ve been waiting for a quiet moment to share some news and upcoming events. Also, I’ve added a tab (above) with some great reviews and reader feedback.

“Meet the Author” at Langley Library: November 19, 10 a.m.

I’m excited to be speaking at the Langley Library on Whidbey Island next week on Saturday November 19th at 10 a.m. (Freeland in January). The book contains a lot about settler Isaac Ebey, so I hope locals will enjoy this event. Langley’s a great town for art, coffee, strolling (via a quick Mukilteo ferry ride). You’ll find the library on the main street. They will be selling my books in the back and have been welcoming and helpful. I’m so grateful for librarians!

Thanks to Susan Zwinger for suggesting I contact them. (Susan, you’re a peach.)

“Indie’s First” at Edmonds Bookshop: November 26, 3 to 4 p.m.

I’m honored that the Edmonds bookshop has chosen me as an author for Indie’s First Day. I’ll be signing books from 3 to 4, and sharing some of my favorite reads.

For more about the event and Indie’s First, see My Edmonds News:


Show your library some love, gift a book

At one of my events, a person bought a book to donate to the local library, which seems like a wonderful idea. Why not show love to your class, school or local library by gifting a book? You can buy in person at the above events, or here online. I’d be happy to send a signed copy to you or mail straight to the location. If the library is nearby, I might be able to hand deliver. 

Cradle in the Waves has been approved by local teachers for historical fiction (particularly middle grades), and officially by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. 


Every time I get daunted, I seem to receive just what’s needed. So many of you have shown up, sent notes, or let me know how much you loved the book and its characters. I’m so grateful!

Let us join, this Thanksgiving, in calling out the good, standing with the fragile, offering help to others in whatever small way we can. I am so thankful when I think of how much you have all offered yourselves to help me.

It keeps me going, even if you may think your offering is small. Happy Thanksgiving!

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All the events so far have been beyond expectation, selling lots of books, and meeting wonderful readers and booksellers. The event at the Edmonds Bookshop sold all copies on hand (I guess that was a first!).

A big thank you (it’s thanksgiving in Canada!) to all of you for giving the book to friends and family, who’ve recommended it to others. I’m particularly grateful to readers who’ve let me know how much they enjoyed the story and characters.


I took a little time away with my sons, before both moved for work and school. My eldest son and I enjoyed the newly reopened Smith Tower.

img_7368 img_7381

I’m glad to have the book, Steve, Chester and friends to keep me busy as I’m missing them both very much. Back to work!

November 19th I’ll be at the Langley library on South Whidbey. The libraries on Whidbey have been fantastic with their enthusiasm and support. Time tbd.


Chester and I visited this great off-leash beach on S. Whidbey last week. (Double Bluff)

I’ll speak at Freeland library in January, and have also been invited to an author event at the Jamestown S’Klallam cultural center that month—dates TBD.

Eagle Harbor bookstore in Bainbridge has invited me to speak, possibly in schools. I’m working on fun ways for students to interact with the material.

A friend and I visited Bainbridge yesterday to drop off books, enjoy the great fall color, eat soup and drink coffee of course! Chester enjoyed all the kind people who said hello at his level. Great day trip.


Hitchcock Deli, Bainbridge

img_7469 img_7450

(Above: Pegasus Coffee, Bainbridge)

In a Library Near You: A friend donated several copies to Sno-Isle libraries, and I’ve started donating a copy to locations where I’ll be speaking. So far: Edmonds, Langley, and Freeland. A copy for Bainbridge should arrive soon.


cropped-IMG_8329-1.jpgI’d love to post on Goodreads, but need reviews on Amazon to qualify. If you are one of the kind souls who has told me how much you enjoyed the book, could you please post a review on Amazon (or on Goodreads once I have a page)? Many Thanks.

We’ve only got one box of books left! That’s about 200 books sold in a few months through limited release. 🙂  I have enough for the next few readings, but if you are thinking of buying a book for the holidays, I’m trying to decide if I need to reorder before January. Also, if you’ve spotted any mistakes, please let me know. (contact form to the right)

Thank you for considering buying from a bookstore or my website (also to the right), as I still pay all the costs, but get almost nothing if the book is purchased from Amazon. I offer competitive pricing and free shipping to US addresses.

Now Available at: Edmonds Bookshop, Eagle Harbor Bookstore, Fort Worden Gift Shop, Village Books, and the libraries listed above.


Chester loves his nook by the books

Enjoy the Fall Color out there! Or a nap at home.

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Author at Art Walk, Fort Worden, and a Tour for You!

It’s been a busy month for the book! We’re a little tired, but excited!

I’ll be at the Edmonds Bookshop for Art Walk this Thursday the 18th from 5 to 8 pm. The Edmonds Beacon is running an article on Cradle the same day. Shoutout to the Edmonds Bookshop for tremendous support and inviting me to be there for Art Walk. It’s a fun event at venues around town. I’d love to see you! Drop by for a hello, a signed book, or a copy of my book-locations tour (link below).


We just visited Fort Worden yesterday and came back so refreshed. As I stood in the clear water, I remembered how much we love this place, and how I wound up writing a book. It all started here.

IMG_7030At the Marine Science Center, we found yet again a combination of wonder, water, and learning as we touched urchins and watched delicate arms move in slow-motion as plumed beauties fed.

Chester danced in the surf, scattering sand and saltwater, and smaller dogs. I always look under the dock as we leave. Today, small black fish darted through beams of light and shadow.

Otters often play here, sometimes murrelets and always plumy white anemones waving from their anchors on the pier. The kingfisher clacked and complained, as always. The air and sky? Tough to describe such clear air and true blue, or how good it is to watch small children build sandcastles and teens jump in the cold water, or throw each other in, then scream and run out again… and repeat.

Many of the book’s events happen right here, where Lucy lived. Here’s the simple, un-pretty version of the self-guided tour. I want you to have it while it’s still summer. My ideal version has photos, designs and artfulness. But, oh well. I’ll try and put up more fancy soon. This is one page (double sided) and easy!

tour for Cradle PDF

Do go if you can! Can’t beat Fort Worden beach on a sunny day!

Pertinent Points
We got up IMG_7045early and drove right on the 7:50 ferry (7:10 on summer Saturdays). The early hour is worth it to avoid a long wait. On the way back, we did wait an hour in Kingston – but there’s ice cream, coffee, and a wow view of Mount Rainier, also a nice park area.

We stopped briefly in Port Gamble – equal parts moody and lovely in the fog. The dahlia test garden is overflowing and we all loved it.

On the tour page, I say you can do the loop in a day. You’d have to be fairly brief in each spot (which we are incapable of on a warm summer day). Probably best to spend a long day on one side – Port Gamble, Chimacum, Port Townsend. Then give yourself the gift of a day on the other side of the water taking the Mukilteo Ferry to Whidbey Island for Fort Casey, Ebey’s Landing (Double Bluff for dog park) portion. Plenty to see there as well, and gorgeous views and hikes. Bring kites if you’re going to Fort Casey!

Many of these places have reduced hours after Labor Day or are closed (Marine Science Center). You can enjoy great walks and beaches and see the locations, but might not find as much to do. Depends on whether you’re a sunny day, crowds and activity type, or perhaps a fall-to-winter, blustery, more solitary type. The locations are there and easy to find in any weather.

If there’s enough interest, I may do a guided tour in fall of the locations. Please let me know if you’re interested by leaving a comment through my contact form.



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Cider, A Barn Dance and Fourth of July: The book makes a friend

Crystie Kisler, owner of Finnriver Cidery in Chimacum

Crystie Kisler, owner of Finnriver Cidery

One of the greatest delights of writing this book has been the ongoing discoveries every time I travel the roads and fields of its landscape. A few days ago we took an impulsive detour that lead to a location in my story, a wonderful business, and stellar new friend of the book.

About a year ago, we were driving through the Chimacum Valley to Port Townsend. We stopped at an intersection we’ve passed so many times. I looked sideways and couldn’t believe I was staring at a location in the novel. We got out and sure enough, this was William Bishop Jr.’s house (the son of the founder of Chimacum).

A few days ago, we drove over to collect the cover art for the book from Nina Noble. (The painting is even more beautiful up close. I’ll have it at the release on the 9th in Bellingham!) On the way back, I remembered that Finnriver Cider had bought the old Bishop place, and that their tasting room was somewhere up that road. We’d missed the next ferry and had some time. Maybe we should go find the Cidery?

IMG_7276Imagine our surprise when we reached the intersection and found a full-fledged business on the site of the original Bishop farm. Finnriver had moved down the road and built a  cider yard, with tasting room and food. When you walk into the property, you’re looking through into that lovely valley, at lavender fields and their orchard.


We’ve loved their cider for years, and had a great time tasting the different flavors, with ingredients from these fields – from their lavender and blueberry patches. I kept thinking, “They’re really busy. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything. But…the book has a scene here.”

chimney cropWithout giving too much away, there’s a barn dance on the 4th of July at the very spot where I was standing, under a soaring roof, with benches made from the boards of the Bishop’s barn. It was uncanny the way it was all converging.

I finally spoke to an employee and she kindly introduced me to the owner.

Crystie Kisler was like a tiny dragonfly zooming and alighting all over the property. I watched in wonder, and waited. I wandered over to the old house. They’d cleaned up the property, so I could now see the graceful chimney, built from rocks raked out of the soil (also a mention in Cradle!)

Then we sat down and talked about the farmers who’d loved and worked this soil, enriching it. About the history, and the lady who had been the wife of the founder of Chimacum, Klasistook/Sally (a woman from the Snohomish tribe). I offered her the book. She offered us some cider and showed me her menus, with William Bishop and his wife Sally’s photos. This woman and farm exude energy, stewardship, hard work and generosity.

Crystie Kisler, owner of Finnriver Cidery in Chimacum

Sharing cider, stories, and the book

As we talked, I realized I’d blended William Jr’s wife and Klasistook to come up with a person half-way between the two. I will leave Mrs. Bishop as she is in the book, but change the end notes. This farm belonged to Bishop’s son, who was the first Native American legislator for Washington State and served for many years, and his father’s story is remarkable.

As we left, I marveled at the way the threads had come together. My childhood love of the fields and farms I rode through on the bus in Sequim, on my way to school. Our love of this valley in Chimacum… of sustainable farming, and people who care for the land and its history.

And the way my scene resonates with the place now.

IMG_6774There’s going to be a barn dance at Finnriver! I love that people will be doing what I imagined when I wrote the story: twirling in the warm air of a late summer evening, playing fiddles and celebrating the life of the people and the land. A Cradle in the Waves is the story of a summer, and the simple joys to be had even in the midst of times of conflict and change.

I encourage you to visit Finnriver, or find another place to be outside in the fields, or to dance on these long, lovely summer nights. (Their website has great photos and information if you can’t visit in person.)

Over the next month I’m hoping to get my ‘tour’ of places in the book finished. Finnriver and the Bishop Farm will definitely be on it!

Crystie kindly invited me to do an event there sometime. If we can put that together, I’d love it! In the meantime, she’s agreed to do a post here. Oh the joy! Thank you Crystie for taking time, and for your wonderful welcome.


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My Book: How to Get It, What it’s About

I’m so grateful for all the interest in A Cradle in the WavesAbove, see a brief summary and a wonderful review from a local naturalist and author.


Release party at Village Books in Bellingham on Saturday July 9th at 4 p.m.
I’ll also be at the Edmonds Saturday Market on Saturday July 16th pretty much all day.
I’d love meet you, answer questions about the book and its background, and sign a book for you.


Ordering is now available through SwiftSong Press.

Click on this link to place your order

Who Might Enjoy this Book?

I hope you will love the story of A Cradle in the Waves. Readers of about 10 years (or 5th grade) on up who like history have loved reading this book. The story is set in a finely drawn world of conflict, beauty, danger and mystery, but is also an adventure, a love-triangle, the unfolding of a friendship forged in the midst of social and racial conflict.

The Cool Stuff at the Back

To help the reader sort through who’s real and who isn’t, I’ve included newspaper clippings, photos, journals and letters from some of the most famous people and events of the time.

The S’Klallam tribe has lived in this area for thousands of years and their tribal historian and story-teller kindly worked with me to bring unique details to the book; as well as an interview with a direct descendent of Chief Chetzemoka.

If you’re not a history lover or a child, I hope you will still take a look. So much can happen in a summer, between two people from different backgrounds, between two friends, between the covers of a book!

Coming Soon

I’ll be posting regularly with images and historical information, and a map of a tour you can take to visit all the sites on a day trip to Port Gamble, Port Townsend, and Whidbey Island.

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