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the novel

Arden McHale and Captain John Raymond are both adrift when they meet at the wake of a friend who was lost at sea. Swept up in a current of cocktails and her career, Arden is moving too fast for feelings or friendships. John, lost in the choppy rhythm of his life at sea, feels most connected when he’s performing aboard a tug in “The Wheelhouse Café,” even though he doesn’t know if anyone hears him singing his

heart out into a marine radio mic.


The instant connection between them intensifies after a disturbing encounter at the funeral home, and then heats up during a chilly first swim of the season.

Soon afterward, when Arden’s eight year-old nephew needs to be protected from his abusive father, she reaches out to John for help. During their ensuing adventure, Arden grapples with a rising tide of emotions and memories too powerful to douse with drinking and distractions.  


Will John allow himself to be heard and maybe even understood? Can Arden get close enough to fall in love, especially with someone who's given his heart to the sea for so long?

the songscape

Music is integral to THE WHEELHOUSE CAFÉ experience.  The author integrated nine songs composed by her husband when he was at sea to add dimension to the story and reveal the hopes

and struggles of Captain John Raymond.


While some songs are performed aloud, others  make more nuanced appearances -- a melody running through John's mind  (“Cold October Evening”) or a seemingly insignificant moment  being illuminated by a lyric that shows the connection between two friends (“Coolest Boy”).


How you experience the songscape is up to you -- listen before, after or while you read.


Tune in here. 

about the author


Yvonne Lieblein is a poet,

raconteur, creative producer, and communication strategist from

the seaside village of Greenport, NY.


Visit Yvonne's website.

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