Stowed Away

by Barb who’s celebrating the holiday in Virginia with family

Hi everyone. I hope you are having great holidays. Today is release day for Maine Clambake Mystery #6, Stowed Away.

To celebrate, I’m giving a signed copy to one lucky commenter below.

In order to keep track of what people may be writing about my books on the Web I have set up Google Alerts for my name, my series name, and my titles. Some of the alerts are nearly useless. Clammed Up and Boiled Over, for example. People are always clamming up, particularly politicians, and boiling over, particularly at sporting events. Musseled Out and Fogged Inn are much better, because of their unique spellings. When I get alerted to one of those phrases, it almost always links to my book. (Usually to a pirated edition, or much more common, some site pretending to have a free electronic edition, but actually phishing.)

So when I started writing Stowed Away, I set up a Google Alert on the title. As I result I regularly receive articles about things that have stowed away.

Some of them are adorable, like this one.

Stowaway Kitten Survives Trip From Massachusetts To Wallingford While In Car Engine
It remains to be seen how many lives the kitten has left.

The kitten was fine, by the way, and was eventually adopted by the auto technician who opened the car hood and got quite a surprise. The little fellow was named Tacoma after the car brand in which he took his ride.

But most of the articles are absolutely horrifying, like this one.

A Giant Spider Traveled 10,000 Miles in a Swing Set
He saw the world, with all eight eyes.

The article goes on to say:
“Like a guinea pig, it was seven inches long and furry. Unlike a guinea pig, it had eight legs.”

The Huntsman Spider survived by eating locusts that had also stowed away, one of many things it eats in the wild, including beetles and small lizards. These spiders don’t spin webs, but get around by cartwheeling or handspringing a yard at a time. Imagine that coming at you. I don’t know if this particular story has a happy ending (or even what would constitute a happy ending). Last seen, the spider had been removed to the Heathrow Animal Reception Center.

Arachnids aren’t the only creepy stowaways. Over the last year and a half I have received dozens of links like these:

Stowaway snake grounds Aeromexico flight – video | World news …
Footage shows snake dangling from overhead compartment…

And this one from my own back yard.

Women in rental car find 4-foot snake stowed away in trunk
A ball python gives them a scare as they remove their bags after arriving at an inn in Kennebunk.

The article continues:

“The women, who drove Wednesday from Logan International Airport in Boston to an inn in Kennebunk, found a ball python when they arrived and were taking their bags from the car’s trunk.

Kennebunk Deputy Police Chief Dan Jones said officers responded to the Port Inn on Route 1 after getting the call.

‘As calls go, this one was pretty strange,’ he said.”

BTW, if you want to hear a good stowed away story of this ilk, ask the Wicked’s own Liz Mugavero next time you see her.

I’ll keep the alert active, even though stowed away promises to be as ineffective in spotting mentions of my book as clammed up and boiled over are. I have to admit, I kind of like these stories. They’re compelling and repelling at the same time.

Readers: Do you have a story about something that stowed away? Share it here, or just say hi to be entered to win a signed copy of Stowed Away.

79 Thoughts

  1. Happy Book Birthday, Barb!

    No stowaway stories, but I had a Huntsman spider in my house in Florida this summer. Scared the bejeebers out of me. No way to catch it. It has more grand jetes than Swan Lake. We finally herded it from my office and out the back door! They call them banana spiders here in FL because of the long legs. No matter what you call them, it was the first I’d seen and I hope the last!

  2. I haven’t stowed away, but like movies (Imposters, Night at the Opera) about them. Thanks for the opportunity.

  3. Good morning! I don’t think I have any good show away stories, but did chuckle over your Google alert issues. I bet there’s lots of stories there!

  4. Wow, I don’t think I want to meet one of those spiders either. The snake would be sluggish in this December cold so….. Happy release Day!

  5. I have a cat story. He rode home 50+ miles somewhere up underneath of my dad’s car. We called him Vagabond. Glad it was not a big snake . . . or a spider.

  6. Congratulations on book #6, Stowed Away. Those are some crazy stories you’ve been sent. (I didn’t know you can set up alerts like that.) The one about the spider made me cringe. I hate large spiders. Yuck. Unfortunately, I don’t have any stowaway stories to share, but I hope Stowed Away gets rave reviews.

  7. Best of luck with your book release, can’t wait to read it!
    Interesting stories you are getting from your alerts, too. Once when I was a small child I was asleep in the back seat of our car coming home from the Drive-In Movie Theater. My dad got out to open the garage door (automatic garage doors were not around then) and in came the dog from next door who licked my face and then when my dad opened the door to get back in the car, the dog left the way he had come. My parents did not believe me that night when I told them what had happened….until the next day when my dad found muddy paw prints inside the car.

  8. Hi, Barb. Apparently, snake stowaways are fairly common. My daughter drove from Keene Valley NY to my home in New Hampshire with a four-foot snake hiding in the engine compartment. We managed to flip it out with a garden rake, and she drove home free of care. I, on the other hand, had a four-foot snake somewhere in my yard.
    Congrats on the new book, and keep them coming!

  9. Ewww, Ewww, Ewww. No stories like that, thank God. My husband’s cousin bought a real Christmas tree a few years ago and a bunch of spiders hatched once they had it inside and decorated. Because of that story, I’ll never get another live tree as long as I live. Ugh!

  10. I pre-ordered Stowed Away and will be reading it ASAP. If I win I’ll give that copy to my library. So that lots of folks can enjoy.

  11. We had a similar situation as the kitten story other than ours was for a full sized cat. My husband worked for the Arkansas Highway Department before he retired. At the time, he was working about 65 miles from home down by the Louisiana state line. The road from here to there has a speed limit of 55 and full of curves.

    Late on evening when hubby got home, he came in the house and asked me to come outside to his truck. He told me he had been hearing noises but couldn’t figure out what or where. He had even stopped once to check it out but found nothing. I followed him outside and we walked around the truck and he opened the hood up. Neither of us saw anything. Then all at once we heard a meow that was muffled sounding coming from the side of the truck. To our surprise a full sized grey and white house cat came out from the front tire well. The cat was very skittish and when we tried to come towards it ran to the wood line at the back of our property.

    We have a small dog but the neighbors had several huge less than nice dogs that we knew wouldn’t take kindly to a cat. We knew we couldn’t chase the cat down in the woods, so we put out food and water barely inside the garage and waited figuring that it must be hungry. Sure enough before long the cat meandered in to get some food. When it was in far enough, my husband signaled me from way outside and I pushed the garage door down making a rather big cage out of the garage. After allowing it to eat and settle down, we were able to get closer to it. We provided it bedding for the night and went about our normal evening activities.

    Come morning we once again took out time and got him use to us and feed him a bit more. Then hubby went back to work, to the same job as the day before, but this time he took a passenger INSIDE the truck with him. He took the cat back to where he had his truck parked the day before and let him loose. We often wondered if his owners wondered where he was the evening before. Oh what adventures that cat could tell them if only he could talk!

    Thanks for the chance to win a signed copy of Stowed Away!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  12. Hi and congrats on your newest release, Barb, I would love to be in the running to win a signed copy! barbie17(at)gmail(dot)com

  13. Congratulations on the release of Stowed Away, Barb.
    No personal stow away stories, and that Huntsman spider story totally freaks me out.
    grace dot koshida at gmail dot com

  14. Happy New Release!
    I do have a kitten stowaway story. Back when I was in highschool, I picked up a friend at her house & went inside for maybe 10-15 minutes. On the drive to my house, we both swore that we kept hearing something squeak. I was afraid there was something wrong with my car, so told my dad about it. He came outside to look & found the kitten hiding in the engine. It was only a 15 minute drive between our houses & I never heard the kitten on the way to my friend’s house, so we’re pretty sure the kitten climbed in while I was inside her house. The kitten was fine & my friend’s family ended up adopting her.

  15. We have stowaway pack rats here in Colorado — when it gets cold, they climb up through the tire well to get under the hood of your car and then proceed to chew the wiring and the hood insulation. As far as I know, I’ve never driven with one under the hood, but they have chewed up a big chunk of the hood’s insulation. All my wiring is blessedly safe (so far!) Congrats on your book birthday!

  16. I can I use to own had a air filter that you got to via the glove box. It filtered the air inside the vehicle. One time at the service center, they went to check to see if the filter needed changing and they found a mouse nest. No mice but I guess they thought it would be a nice warm place to live in the cold NH winters. So, I guess I had some stowaways at that time. I’m just glad it wasn’t the giant spider or I’d probably would have to been forced to sell the car or burn it.
    Congratulations on the new book. Can’t wait to read it.

  17. Hi Barbara, congratulations on your book birthday. I unfortunately don’t have any stow away stories. I love your stories from your alerts though. Thank you for the chance.

  18. I’m trying to relax after reading about the 7″ Huntsman’s Spider and praying I don’t have nightmares. So looking forward to Stowed Away! Hope there are no unexpected stowaways in your car as you drive to FL!

  19. Hi Barbara, glad you had a nice Christmas. I’ve never had a stow away but late one evening heard my next door neighbors making strange sounds. Went over to see what was happening and saw them using a big shop light and looking their over. The wife had told her husband that she heard a strange noise as she was going into the house. The stow away was a very tiny kitten and they were having a hard time getting it out . . They were not sure if it had hitched a ride to the house or if had climbed up on the tire after she parked but he was very greasey. Hubby finally got him down and he made his home for 18 years with them.. We all would bang on our cars after that making sure no stow aways.

  20. Happy Release Day! I love the name and it looks like there are lots of people with stowaway stories! Unfortunately I don’t have any stories to share about stowaways.

  21. I have no stowaway stories to share, thank goodness. Congratulations on the new book and thank you for the giveaway! Happy Holidays!

  22. We once had a banana that was decidedly not a stowaway but which separated itself from the bunch and hid in the back of the car. In Florida. In late June. And it took us a week to find out about it because we weren’t using the car at all on vacation just hanging out.

    That was almost ten years ago and it still smells like overripe banana when the car heats up. 🙂

  23. Happy book birthday! We bought Stowed Away in Destin, Florida this morning for my mom! She’s putting her other book aside to read Stowed first!

  24. so excited to get the book!! hopefully i can get to it before 2018 since i have a resolution to only read the things i already own… setting the bar high. can’t wait to experience all the twists and turns you’ve woven!

  25. Happy Book Birthday!! No real stowaway stories, but a spider story. I was working in a lodge in the rain forest in the Peru. I flipped a mattress over and realized I had just about put my hand on a wolf spider. They are uglier and meaner and more poisonous than tarantulas. I’m not afraid of critters in general (or I wouldn’t have been working where I was!), but that scared the holy crap out of me. I made sure none of them stowed away in my belongings before I left!

  26. These stories are hilarious. My Sister had a stowaway story and it was a small kitten too. She was unloading groceries and her Mama Cat kept trying to get in the trunk too. She finally let her and she pulled out one of her baby kittens that has gotten in there… way up… you couldn’t see her at all.. and nobody knew how…

  27. I hope to have less things stowed away soon. I will be moving soon and it is time for a purge.

  28. Growing up, I had a curious and compact pony by the name of Stowaway. On show days, he would sneak into the trailer and lay down behind the larger horses. On more than one occasion Stowaway managed to ride all the way to the fairgrounds undetected.
    My father even found him on a cold winter day, sleeping in the laundry room.
    Please enter me in your contest. Just read “Nogged Off”. Looking forward to more Julia Snowden mysteries. Happy New Year.

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