Virtual Voyage by E.J. Russell

Virtual Voyage

When I saw the submission call for the States of Love novellas, most states had already been snapped up by other authors—the fact that Mystic Man is #40 should give you a clue about how few were still available! Luckily, one of the open states was Connecticut and I scrambled to stake my claim immediately, because I already had an idea of where I wanted to go.

I lived in New Haven, Connecticut, for three years while attending graduate school to get my MFA in Theater Administration from the Yale School of Drama. The summer after my first year, I worked at a theater in Dorset, Vermont, where I met the man who would become my Curmudgeonly Husband–and although CH was employed in Washington, DC during the regular theater season, he’s a Connecticut native. He grew up just a couple of towns over from New Haven, and is a Connecticut Yankee through and through.

During my third year at Yale, we lived in New Haven and had the chance to explore a lot of the places CH had known as a kid growing up in Connecticut. Many of those make appearances in Mystic Man. 🙂 One of the spots we visited was the Mystic Seaport Museum, and I liked it so much that we returned years later with our kids.

Aaron Templeton, my risk-averse historian-slash-librarian, is about to have an OMG-what-have-I-done meltdown when he encounters Cody Brown at the Seaport. While Cody talks him off the emotional ledge at first, Aaron has a relapse when the two of them visit the Seaport’s pride and joy:

The Charles W. Morgan.

The Morgan is the last surviving wooden whaleship on the planet. She was constructed in 1841, sailed on thirty-seven voyages over eighty years, and was acquired by the Seaport in 1941. In 2008, the Seaport’s Shipyard began restoration on the Morgan—and made her seaworthy again! She was relaunched for her three-month long thirty-eighth voyage in 2014 to raise awareness for ocean conservation and sustainability, stopping at historic ports along the New England seaboard.

The crew even encountered a pod of whales on the voyage—although they pointed cameras and binoculars at them rather than harpoons:

The Mystic Seaport website has a (pardon the expression) boatload of content about maritime history, including the Morgan and its very well-documented thirty-eighth voyage. But the ship docks (virtually, anyway) in other places on the web too. This video is a walkthrough of the ship, so you can tour her just like Aaron does—although your visit will be accompanied by a Morgan-themed sea chantey by Hughie Jones rather than by Mystic man Cody Brown!


Check out Mystic Man today!




When a series of personal crises prompt risk-averse research librarian Aaron Templeton to apply for a job on the other side of the country, nobody is more surprised than he is. He nearly runs home before the final interview except for one little problem: he has no home anymore. He put his condo on the market before he left California and it’s already sold. Only an encounter with free-spirited Connecticut native Cody Brown at the Mystic Seaport Museum staves off Aaron’s incipient panic attack.

Cody loves nothing better than introducing newcomers to the great features of his beloved home state, and when the newbie in question is a rumpled professorial type with the saddest blue eyes on the planet? Score! The attraction between the two men deepens as they explore Cody’s favorite spots, but when difficulties arise and Aaron’s insecurities threaten to overwhelm him, will Cody’s love be enough to keep him in Mystic?

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.


Author Bio:

E.J. Russell—certified geek, mother of three, recovering actor—spends her days wrangling data and her evenings and weekends wrestling words. Her daily commute consists of walking from one side of her office to the other, from left-brain day job to right-brain writer’s cave, where she’s learned to type with a dog attached to her hip and a cat draped across her wrists.

E.J. is married to Curmudgeonly Husband, a man who cares even less about sports than she does. Luckily, CH loves to cook, or all three of their children (Lovely Daughter and Darling Sons A and B) would have survived on nothing but Cheerios, beef jerky, and satsuma mandarins (the extent of E.J.’s culinary skill set).

E.J. lives in rural Oregon, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Twitter: @ej_russell




  1. I hadn’t heard about the MORGAN before, very cool! (I confess I can’t hear the phrase “sea chantey” without thinking about the classic “Louie Louie” sequence in the movie COUPE DE VILLE…)

    Liked by 1 person

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