What’s like opening day that doesn’t, a curtain rise that won’t, the new moon that refuses to appear?

For an author it is, of course, the book launch that never really happens.

Yup, Book Four in my Oceanographer Mara Tusconi Mystery Series – “Glass Eels, Shattered Sea” – was scheduled to come out two weeks ago. It did, kind of. I mean you can buy it on Amazon, from Maine Authors Publishing, in the bookstores, etc. But all my launch events plus my favorite local shindigs – like Books in Boothbay and the Maine Lobster Festival – are kaput.

Yes, here I am whining about selling books when absolutely horrible things are happening out there.

Here’s the deal, though. Every darn thing about crafting books is really hard—from coming up with a good idea you can actually use to the discipline of brainstorming, writing, editing, rewriting, editing again. It goes on and on.

At the end, there’s lots of joy—like seeing the actual book for the very first time. When the proof comes in the mail, you unwrap it and hold your creation in hand for the first time.  You run your hand across the cover, flip through the pages, scan the back cover, reread the blurbs.

Since, dear reader, I can’t tell you in person about “Glass Eels, Shattered Sea”, I’ll describe it here and add that it’s a great escape for your shelter-in-place days!

The story begins on a star-studded spring night when Mara finds an old Maine eel fisherman lying alongside a rushing river with a bleeding bullet hole in his chest. Mara has stumbled upon the deadly world of international elver (baby eel) trafficking.

Along with fellow oceanographers Harvey (female best friend) and Ted (lover), Mara next travels to the Sargasso Sea aboard Research Vessel Intrepid. Bordered only by circling currents, the Sargasso is home to Sargassum seaweed which floats in large mats on the surface. American and European eels travel thousands of miles to spawn there, although nobody has seen the event.

The story is rich with vivid scenes. One night when the ship’s wake sparkles with bioluminescence, Mara shimmies into the ship’s bow chamber to watch glowing, barrel-shaped salps drift by. By day, Mara and Ted snorkel in tropical waters to collect Sargassum samples. Vivid memories of my own trip to the Sargasso as a grad student on a research vessel informed the narrative.

Back home, an eel trafficker pushes Mara into Maine’s icy water and … well, you need to read the story for yourself!

For more details plus purchase info go to

About Charlene DAvanzo

I'm a marine ecology/college professor who never, ever thought I'd write fiction. That assumption changed in an instant as I listened to another scientist - a climatologist named Ray Bradley at UMass, Amherst - describe being harassed by climate change deniers. The idea to write mysteries with climate change understories to help readers understand what's happening to our climate in the context of a fast-paced exciting story came to me out of nowhere. That's what I do in my "Maine Oceanographer Mara Tusconi" series.
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  1. Tom Burns says:

    Sorry that your launch was impacted by the virus, Charlene. I’m a biologist myself, and your series sounds interesting. I’ll give it a look. But your current experience is what I deal with every day as an indie author. I’ve tried to get book signings locally, only to be told they’d be happy to have me if I can bring 30 people through the door. Local bookstores won’t stock my books because they’re published by Amazon. Mystery conferences won’t allow me to sell because I’m not traditionally published. Welcome to my world.

  2. Charlene DAvanzo says:

    Hi Tom – Thanks. What you describe does sound terribly frustrating! See what you think of “Glass Eels” and email me ( with comments if you like. Charlene

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