Interview with Donald Bates-Brands

How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has provided a giant step forward to literary freedom. With traditional publishing; the publisher decided what was good enough to print based on whim and what they felt would sell well. Smashwords makes self publishing easy for anybody; which in turn allows the reader to decide what they want to view.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have always had a love for words, even as a young child. I write nonfiction and it gives me great satisfaction to impart useful information in a clear manner, easily read with touches of humor. Factual or not, this is also an art form for me. I try to write with humor and a rhythm that makes for a pleasing read.
What do your fans mean to you?
It always feels good to be appreciated. I try to present information not generally available elsewhere.
What are you working on next?
Presently, I am in the process of updating "An Old Salt's Guide to Free Maritime Websites" to include more information beyond the shores of the United States. Another totally new project, is memoirs of my days in the US Coast Guard. I spent seven years in the US Coast Guard and traveled a good part of the North and South Atlantic with them. We had our adventures and I think this book will prove very interesting.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Mostly through Smashwords, but of course there are many other sources.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life. There is so much to do and see that I fail to understand how anyone could ever get bored.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
In the outdoors. Besides working on tugboats; I spend my pleasure hours with hiking, swimming, boating (both power and sail), and travel. I love to travel and experience other cultures as well as seeing new sights.

Another project is to learn the Spanish language. I have only been at it for a few years and have already published my first book in Spanish "Costa Rica, un Pais para Todas las Estaciones". I am sure there are some mistakes, but it has been a very interesting project. Feel free to send me corrections at
Do you remember the first article you ever wrote?
My first published work was an article in Offshore Magazine titled, "Enemy Lines". It was an attempt to give pleasure boaters the information that they needed to stay out of the way of large commercial craft. It was essentially an anecdotal explanation of shiphandling for the layman.
What is your writing process?
Getting started is often very difficult. The key is simply to start. I type whatever comes to mind no matter how trivial. Before long it starts to take shape and then I can rearrange and fill in whats missing.
Describe your desk
My desk is in a home office carved out of my daughters bedroom now that she is gone and married. It's fairly will organized, my wife sees to it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a lake in New Jersey. I spent a lot of time on the lake and made many trips to the nearby ocean. My life has never gotten very far from the water. Even my travel has been mostly by water or to countries with a seacoast.
Published 2013-08-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Continuing Saga of Camping the National Parks
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 33,390. Language: English. Published: February 1, 2019. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Camping & RVing, Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Hiking
The Continuing Saga of Camping the National Parks is our second cross country camping trip. This time, we toured the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier and the Badlands. We spend a month each year touring by camp trailer with no definite plans, no reservations, and no time limit. We take our time enjoying the beauty and history of each area. The biggest thing we learned is just how big America is.
Camping the Grand Circle of National Parks
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 32,500. Language: English. Published: January 17, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » National Parks
(5.00 from 1 review)
Tops on our bucket list was seeing the National Parks of the Southwest. Owning a camper and retirement made this possible. We decided to see the sights and come home when we felt like it. A spreadsheet revealed that a month trip could be done for around $2000. I’m happy to say that we took the trip and had one of the most unforgettable experiences of our lives.
Three Trips to Costa Rica
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 28,590. Language: English. Published: October 24, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Essays & Travelogues
(5.00 from 1 review)
Enjoy reliving one couple’s experience with three separate trips to both the Quepos, Manual Antonio and the Arenal, La Fortuna areas of Coast Rica. These trips encompassed both rainy and dry seasons over eight years. Many things stayed the same and many were different, but we always found a friendly country with a lot to say about ecology, peace, and responsibility for the environment.
The Arrival of SubChapter M - Reality Check
Price: Free! Words: 3,790. Language: English. Published: January 18, 2017. Categories: Essay » Legal
Subchapter M is officially here. It is supposed to make the towing industry much safer. But the issue of crew fatigue has been skipped over. We need a 4 hour on & 8 hour off watch schedule. Six & Six leads to exhaustion. Exhausted crews get injured more often, make bad decisions and fall asleep on watch. The current schedule and manning also leaves little room for proper on the job training.
An Old Salt's Guide to Sex after Sixty
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 11,020. Language: English. Published: February 4, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Sex & Relationships  » Sex guides & how tos
Ah, the Golden Years. The kids are out of the nest. Time for passion and sex, and then comes a reality check. This book is a humorous, practical and very enjoyable guide to the sensuous side of life after age sixty. It will show you how to rediscover yourselves. This isn't magic. It is about learning to talk and play while learning new sensuous and exciting things to do together. Read & enjoy!
Scooters on the Great South Bay 2015
Price: Free! Words: 5,240. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Sailing
February of 2015 ranked as the third coldest recorded winter in the US. This presented the Great South Bay Scooter sailors of Long Island NY a rare treat. Scooters are antique ice boats that can sail over bad ice relatively easily. Originally a work boat, it has no rudder, steering with the jib. There were 14 Scooters on the ice this weekend. Whole families came down to enjoy the event.
Life on a Coastal Tug
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 6,850. Language: English. Published: July 28, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Transportation » Ocean transport
Pleasure boaters will frequently see tugs and ships, but were they anything other than a moving blip on the seascape to the observer? I have worked on coastal tugs for over thirty years and I can tell you that it's not just a skill and a job, but an entire way of life. This book gives an idea as to what daily life is like on a commercial, sea going tugboat.
An Old Salt's Guide to Free Maritime Websites
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 3,940. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Boating & sailing
An Old Salt's Guide to Free Maritime Websites is a list of the various websites that I have found useful to the mariner. Some is real time information, like weather and sea conditions; other sites are for marine charts and publications. All information, electronic charts and electronic publications accessible from these sites are free. All web locations are hyperlinked for easy reference.
An Old Salt's Practical Guide to Boating
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 47,280. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Boating & sailing
(5.00 from 1 review)
A basic boating guide, told in a salty tale format. Emphasis is on the practical and not on calculations and theory that the average boater doesn't need. The author has over 40 years of experience on the water as a pleasure boater, Coast Guardsman and commercial tug captain. This is an easy reading and entertaining way to become a proficient boater.