Saturday, September 28, 2013

Empath Blog Tour Stop

The Origin of the Flawed Series

Welcome to the Empath Blog Tour! During the tour, Empath (The Flawed Series Book One) is on sale for a discounted price of $0.99. Read on to find out more about the idea of the Flawed series came about and why I enjoy writing about people with superhuman weaknesses.

A New Twist on an Old Concept

Four and a half years ago, I decided to try a creative experiment. With no prior writing experience, I wondered if I had it in me to write a book – a full-length novel – from start to finish. The question nagged at my mind like a dare while the very idea of such a massive undertaking thrilled me to the core. So I decided to take the leap.
Before I put pen to paper (or more accurately, fingers to keyboard) I needed to have an idea. Not just a generic plot, but that perfect, riveting idea that would keep me going long after the honeymoon of inspiration had worn off. To do that, it had to be unique.
I began by considering the type of stories I like to consume via books, movies, and television. I’m a geek at heart and there’s always been something intriguing about comic-book-type stories in which people have superhuman powers.
I didn’t want to start with an overused concept as the diving board into this writing adventure. So I tried to think about how to put a twist on the typical stories in the genre. What could I do to really be different? I asked myself one question that was key: what’s the opposite? Using that, I discovered a fresh way of using an old trope for my own purpose. I explored the idea of people with superhuman weaknesses. The concept instantly struck a chord inside me, and I knew it was something I could write about. I had no idea it would turn into a series.

An Empathic Sense - A Handicap?

When I tell people I write books about people with superhuman flaws, I usually get a blank stare. That's probably because it sounds like an oxymoron and doesn't make sense to most people until they hear specific details.
Jade Edwards, the main character of Empath, has supernatural empathy as a character flaw instead of a superpowerin other words, this young woman is inhabited and controlled by the emotions of the people around her. Not only is she powerless to influence them, she can't even experience her own feelings when around others. Jade was sheltered from stray emotions by her parents since she was a young child. Here's a little peek inside her head as, now entering society, she wrestles with her first day of college.


 "When she heard the teacher enter and begin talking, Jade’s eyes flicked back open. She sat up and gripped her pen with a shaking hand.
A wave of irritation hit her like a slap in the face, jerking her away from the professor’s words. Her shoulders hunched and she dug her toes into the floor as she fought the compulsion to kick someone. The pen in her tightly clenched fist gouged into the table’s surface. She dropped it and clamped her hands together in her lap, scanning the classroom. Where was the source of this anger pounding through her skull and flooding her veins? There—a guy on the end of the third row scowled, shaking his head at the professor.
Without warning, excitement replaced the agitation. Jade straightened in her chair and fought the urge to bounce in her seat, though she couldn’t keep the dumb smile off her face. Farther down her row, one girl whispered something about a vacation to the Bahamas and another girl nodded enthusiastically.
She was gulping quick and irregular breaths, telling herself to regain control, when a surge of intense attraction hit her, knocking the wind from her lungs. Her heart beat faster and a hot blush crept over her face. She was acutely aware of every male in the room. Forcing herself to stop ogling the guy in front of her with the armpit stains, she distracted herself by searching for the culprit. Her gaze froze on a girl who was gazing at a guy two rows up. Oblivious, he seemed to be one of the few faithfully taking notes on the current topic: modern rationalism and the theories of Descartes.
Jade dropped her head into her hands and pressed on her temples, wishing for the hundredth time that she could turn off her empathic sense. She squeezed her eyes shut again and tried to focus on only her breathing. She had to escape."

Grab Empath at a Discounted Price

Empath is on sale during the blog tour for a bargain price of $0.99 (normally $2.99)! Grab your copy today:
Or purchase it on paperback.

Book Blurb:

Supernatural empathy isn’t a gift, it’s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jade’s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her.
Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces college—and the world—with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings.
When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her, unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal.
Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.

More About Becca J. Campbell:

Becca J. Campbell is the author of the New Adult Romantic Science Fiction novels Foreign Identity and Gateway to Reality, New Adult Romantic Paranormal Thriller Empath (The Flawed Series #1), and  Sub-Normal, a series of Science Fiction short stories.

An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality (even when they plunge off one side or the other), Becca looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity. You can find her on her Author BlogFacebookTwitterGoodreads, Pinterest, and Amazon.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Manga/Graphic Novel/Video Game Novel Challenge 2013 Review

So this year since I said that I would try to get to Level 3 of the Challenge That means I need to have at least 25 books read before the end of the year. That's at least 2 books a month. (and one extra one in at least one of those 12 months)   As a change from last year I'm gonna be putting the reviews up here as I get them done and then linking them in the monthly round-up at Mother/Gamer/Writer.  I also plan to try to remember my update my Challenge page at the end of the month. Want to see what the other people in the challenge are reading this month? Click here!

In the 2nd book of the multi-author Sundering series launched byNew York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore, the shadow legacy of Erevis Cale lives on even as his old foe Mephistopheles seeks to stamp it out at any cost. Cale’s son Vasen—unmoored in time by the god Mask—has thus far been shielded from the archdevil’s dark schemes, alone among the servants of the Lord of Light who have raised him since birth.
Living in a remote abbey nestled among the Thunder Peaks of Sembia, Vasen is haunted by dreams of his father, trapped in the frozen hell of Cania. He knows the day will come when he must assume his role in the divine drama unfolding across Faerûn. But Vasen knows not what that role should be . . . or whether he is ready to take it on. He only knows what his father tells him in dreams—that he must not fail.
Enter Drasek Riven, a former compatriot of Erevis Cale, now near divine and haunted by dreams of his own—he too knows the time to act is near. Shar, the great goddess of darkness, looks to cast her shadow on the world forever. Riven has glimpsed the cycle of night she hopes to complete, and he knows she must be stopped.
At the crossroads of divine intrigue and mortal destiny, unlikely heroes unite to thwart the powers of shadow and hell, and the sundering of worlds is set on its course.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Review of Ghost Memory by Maer Wilson

La Fi is not having a normal day. She broke someone’s nose, embarrassed her fiancé, Thulu, and now a dead guy is on her doorstep. Although seeing the dead is not unusual for the young medium, since she and Thulu regularly deal with the supernatural. Thulu can find anything that's lost and the amnesiac ghost is missing money, along with his memory.

Peter Swanson used to stash money throughout his San Francisco home. Now he can’t remember his hiding places, and his aging partner needs the money. That’s not normally a problem for Thulu, but some of the money is missing from the house. Thulu and La Fi must broaden the search for cash long gone, and that could prove tricky in more ways than one.

“Ghost Memory” is a Thulukan Chronicles Story set in the Relics universe. Bonus Material includes Chapter 1 from the novel, Relics.

My Review:

Ghost Memory is a nice introduction to the characters in Muir’s other story, Relics, as well as to the author’s writing style.  Obviously it isn’t a full length novel but just a glimpse into Fi and Thulu’s life.  
I enjoyed the characters.  I got just enough of a taste of the two main characters to want to read Relics to find out more about them. The story is told in first person POV from Fi’s point of view, but the author did a good job with it.  I didn’t get annoyed with Fiona or feel like I wasn’t getting a good view of what was going on. 
It was a quick read, but I think that was a combination of both its length and the fact that it drew me in.  The story was sweet, but not in an overly sappy way. For example, I really liked the relationship between Don and Peter.  It’s nice every once in a while to just see two people in love.

I think if you haven’t read Relics yet that this is a good way to see if the story itself would interest you.  If you already have then I think you will enjoy seeing Fi and Thulu again. Either way I recommend picking it up. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Wanted Dead or Alive: The Malicious “Merry Mermaid” Pirates

Thank to AimeeKay for inviting me to be part of the 900th annual Talk Like a Pirate blog event! (I may be mistaken about the “900th annual” part.)

Since there are some sneaky mermaid pirates in my book Fairyland, I thought I’d share the text from one of the “wanted” posters you might find around Faerie, especially in the southern ports by the Southward Sea.

If you catch the pirates, you could win 100 silver coins!  If not, you could still win books 1-4 of my Songs of Magic series—Fairy Metal Thunder, Fairy Blues, Fairystruck, and Fairyland. AimeeKay will tell you how to enter!

Wanted Dead or Alive:
The Malicious “Merry Mermaid” Pirates

Let it be known across all of Faerie (and above, below, and beside it) that the werewalruses, squiddites, ravenous otters, selkies and other fisher-folk of Zarmof have posted a reward of


for the reward, capture, or severed tailfins of those salacious sirens of the sea, the singing scourges of sailors, the miscreants of marine-related mayhem, the vagabonds and ne’er-do-wells occasionally known as the “Merry Mermaids.”

Said to beautiful and buxom beasts, the mermaids distract the innocent with songs of love and peace whilst robbing the unsuspecting sea-goer of his baubles, bullion, beer, and/or freshly caught bluefish.

Though charming and chatty creatures, these mermaids are only interested in that which glitters and glimmers.  These bloodthirsty beauties carry out their piratical perfidy at the tips of swordfish sabers, the blunt end of hammerhead clubs, and also sea sponges, which don’t sound all that dangerous but can be quite scratchy.

The mermaids have been seen porting at the Pirate Peninsula, anchoring at the Aardvark Aarchipelago, and sailing the Salty Sea.  They should be considered extremely dangerous, and should not approached without an angry mob armed with weapons and nets, as well as torches if you really want to look like a proper angry mob.

Capture of these mermaids will bring the above-mentioned reward, as well as free snacks at the Sugar Swamp Shack down by the docks.  Also, lots and lots of free fish.


Aha what do I spy with my pirate eye!  Avast it's another pirate chest!  Let's open it and see what it holds....

It's books 1-4 of the Songs of Magic Series!  Enter using the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win the first 4 e-books in the series!

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Find out more about J.L. Bryan:


This post be a part of the Talk Like a Pirate Event

***Also thank you to Zack over at Raven Tree Designs for the awesome buttons! ***

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Double Life and Why it Rocks by Jenn Wallace

Have you ever wanted a double life? A “normal one,” and then another where you're a rock star, a top-secret spy, or something else fun and highly dangerous? Ever wonder what it'd REALLY be like?

...Yeah, it's pretty awesome.

Don't get too excited. I work in an after school program. I'm married and I have two kids. I'm in my late twenties, and I like writing and reading books. I sound kinda boring, right?

But on Sundays, I'm a pirate.

Yes, you read that correctly. I'm a weekend pirate. I dress up and sword fight and knock people off buildings. I scream in people's faces and talk about rum and swing off ropes. Sometimes I shoot a gun, but most of the time my crew does that for me.

See, over the weekend, I transform into Captain Morgan. (Yeah, I know, I'm a chick... I'm the daughter of the Captain Morgan you're thinking of, and if a particular pose is coming to mind, yes, I do that too.) It's a free stunt show at Parrish Ranch in Oak Glen (not far from where I live), and I volunteer my time to contribute to the show because it's fun and I get to do the show alongside my husband, who plays Eli Storm. The shows are every Sunday at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm, from now until the first week of December.

I haven't always been involved with this show... in fact, I first heard of it when I got a writing job for a local magazine. That day, I was totally impressed. So was my husband. So much so, in fact, that he asked if he could be a pirate too (so he was actually the first of the two of us who got involved with it). The day we went to see it, I realized the show went by far quicker than I'd expected. When I spoke to Harley (the head of True West Stunt Team, who puts on the shows) in an interview, he explained that he left the story open to the audience's interpretation, and free from too many details, to allow the viewer to come to their own conclusions about how the events came to pass. My boss at the magazine then allowed me to write a “prequel” of sorts for the show, which is what I did. I figured some of you piratey people would like to read it, so here it is:

“Fine work of craftsmanship,” Captain Morgan muttered under his breath as he stared at the expanse of water before him. He spent much of his life searching for what he now had in his hands, but was eerily troubled. A tempest was brewing, and it appropriately reflected his state of mind. He had grown up hearing stories of pirates, and decided to become one himself. When a ship landed on shore, and a boy his own age along with it, he had jumped at his chance. He left the rules that threatened to stifle his boyish ambition and replaced them with a new friend in Cutter and a carefree lifestyle. “Every man is his own master,” Cutter used to tell him.

As they grew, Morgan and Cutter became captains of their own ships, and it seemed they'd each finally accomplished a pirate's dream. Sure, Cutter had always given him a hard time for being “raised right” and slow to act in anger, laughing when he decided to write up a “Pirate's Code”, but they never really conflicted with one another. Even so, Cutter would shake his head at his friend's forgiving ways and felt compelled to offer an, “I'd have killed him” regarding the life Morgan had spared. The two had a mutual respect, and as much as Morgan disagreed with Cutter's harshness with his crew, Morgan decided it was best to keep quiet about it. After all, Cutter's way of doing things couldn't affect Morgan. At least, it hadn't so far, but this would be the true test of their friendship, and Morgan wasn't sure what the outcome would be.

The King had issued a proclamation: that whoever could find and bring Neptune's trident to him would earn his weight in gold and become his Majesty's personal privateer. Cutter perked up at the mention of the trident, but not because of the King's offer. To Cutter, it was foolish to chase after a trident for a King when all of its glory and power could be instead kept for himself. He had it in his mind that he would raise every pirate ship for its gold, making him the richest and most well-known pirate alive. Nothing motivated Cutter like gold, and that's what made Morgan nervous.

The two Captains set off in different directions for the trident, and each had a different purpose in mind. Morgan actually liked the idea of being the King's privateer. He was getting older and had mellowed a little with age. He also had a young daughter to consider, who he loved and wanted to take care of. Being a pirate was a wild way of life, and the idea of having another option where he could still do what he loved, yet be “official” was very appealing to him. Fighting, running, and too much rum were fun for a while, but there comes a time in a man's life when he tires of those things. Morgan was tired, and he needed something new.

Captain Morgan made port, and took care of some business while he was there. Word got out that he had the trident, and he chose to hide it with his greatest treasure (Skye Morgan, his daughter). Captain Morgan knew that it would just be a matter of time before people came searching for it.  The moment came sooner than expected, and he found himself face to face with Captain Cutter.

“I hear ye have the trident,” Cutter remarked.

“Aye,” answered Morgan.

“That gold is as good as mine, then.” Cutter dared Morgan to defy him.

“Nay,” Morgan said, “It be for the King, to do whatever he desires with.”

“Ah, so you're the King's little beggar now, are ye? You always were one for the rules. I'm offerin' ya a choice: the trident or your life.” Cutter drew his sword.

With determination in his eyes, Morgan drew his. The fight was long and grueling, with both men suffering his share of battle wounds. The night drew on, and it found Captain Morgan on the floor at the hands of Cutter. As he panted for breath, his raspy, dying words were, “You'll never find it.” Cutter screamed in frustration as he took Captain Morgan's life. The trident became his obsession. It consumed his thoughts and fueled his anger.

“I'll find that trident,” vowed Cutter, “if I have to search the ends of the earth, it will be mine!”

Spoiler alert to anyone who sees the show: Captain Morgan's daughter (who also goes by Captain Morgan) is not too fond of Cutter. Now you know why. 

So if you're anywhere in the area (especially if you like apples – did I mention it's apple season?), you should totally catch a show. We have all kinds of new additions to the show, including a “ghost ship” and a house that looks like Tia Dalma's. We have started a pirate band, and we have some little jokes and references you won't want to miss... fun for the whole family!

True West Stunt Team: Pirates at Parrish Ranch
38561 Oak Glen Rd
Yucaipa, CA 92399
Showtimes: Every Sunday at 12 pm and 2 pm
Cost: FREE!

Check us out on facebook and youtube:

Find out more about Jenn Wallace at her blog Writer's Toybox.

Have ye entered yet to win one of the fabulous grand prize Pirate Swag Packs? No? Then enter using the Rafflecopter form below!

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This post be part of The Talk Like a Pirate Event

***Also thank you to Zack over at Raven Tree Designs for the awesome buttons!***

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Piratical Tales by Melissa from Books and Things

Oh who doesn’t like a good pirate book? I’ve ran across several, but I’ll mention a couple I recently reviewed. One was Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe. I hadn’t read the other tales in this series, but I knew I wanted to after reading the fourth installment. In this one Eddie is quite roguish, but not really a pirate. He had no qualms with pairing with a strong female character as well as sailing with pirates. The pirates in this one were more historically accurate with their lack of hygiene. :P However, the adventure was fab. I just missed some Jack Sparrow in my pirates! LOL

The other books I want to mention are actually a retelling of the Peter Pan story we all know too well. In that one we get a different version of Hook than we are used to seeing. It captured me right away and I just loved this imagined meeting of all those in Neverland. We get all the characters we knew as kids, but this isn’t aHook and Jill and the second book is Other Oceans. I highly recommend both books for a unique take on the handsome swoony kind of pirates. Yes, Jack Sparrow lovers will enjoy these tales.
kids book at all. It is an adult retelling of the story. It’s about growing up and finding out that change is good after all. It has adventure and romance. It’s a book that I highly recommend. There are 2 books currently out in this adventure. The first is

So what about you? What kind of pirate do you like? Historically accurate or roguish?

 Stop by and find out more about Melissa at Books and Things and be sure to catch up with her on Twitter!

Have ye entered to win one of the two grand prize pirate swag packs yet? If not be sure to enter using the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This post be part of The Talk Like a Pirate Event

***Also thank you to Zack over at Raven Tree Designs for the awesome buttons!  ***

Talk Like a Pirate Celebration with Maureen O. Betita!

Today we welcome the notorious writin' Pirate Maureen to give us all a lesson in pirate speech....

Facebook Like A Pirate
Did you know there is an option to use Pirate English as your language on Facebook, not just English/English? What’s the in this, ya wonder? Well, everyone be a cap’n. (So anyone who comments is Cap’n Whoever.) I’d like to see this changed to a random assignment of rank. As in Bosun, Gunner, First Mate, Scallaway, Landlubber… I mean, everyone can’t be a captain…

And I’m the Captain of me FB page!

Try it! You can Update yer Plunderin’ , Make yer Mark, Update yer Captain’s Log, Add a Betwithin’ Portrait

So, in honor a’ Talk Like a Pirate Day, consider Facebookin’ Like a Pirate!

And if ya like books featurin’ excitin’ pirates, romance on the high seas, some magic, some errrr…sexy stuff…check out me books!

In honor a’ the great day, I be givin’ away three e-copies a’ me pirate books. Yer choice. There be the three from me Kraken’s Caribbean series and the first three of a 30 book series, A Caribbean Spell…

Say hello ta me, Maureen O. Betita, the writin’ pirate!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  This contest is international however you do need to be 18 years or older to enter. By entering you are confirming you are over 18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This post be part of the Talk Like a Pirate Event.

***Also thank you to Zack over at Raven Tree Designs for the awesome buttons!*** 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Writing About Pirates - A Historical Approach by Rae Ryans

Writing or even rewriting history is a fun way to experience the past and bring it to life. Of course, many stories can benefit from the addition of history, but pirates just have the certain something. They make for exciting heroes, and they can make for riveting villains.

The first step is to understand their role in your story and the genre you’re writing in. Are you bringing back a historical figure into modern times like Suzanne Johnson does, with her historical undead in her Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. Perhaps you are writing Steampunk or a pure historical set to sail on the seven seas. Once you understand how you’re presenting your pirate the rest is solid research.

Researching your Pirate:

I’ll admit a pirate in modern day is far easier to build than one in a full historical work. It’s essential to know, or narrow as closely, the time period your pirate lives in. Style of dress, hairstyle, and even speech patterns evolve over time. When I wrote Chivalry and Malevolence, for example, I originally wrote it with contractions. Once it reached the editing stage, my editor pointed out that they hadn’t been invented yet. Needless to say, I ran to my shelf and pulled down historical in an attempt to prove him wrong. I was the one in error and have since performed more research.
Time period or era matters more than most writers realize, and even fantasy has to keep a notion of grounding for readers. This is easily done by slipping in small details –no need for massive monologues or pages of back story. The slightest details can have tremendous impact while it moves the story forward, and gives insight into your character. These details can be hairstyle, a lapel, a weapon, or even the type of map used.

How much detail is up to the writer, but the research is a fun way to not only equate yourself with pirates, but to give you a deep insight into the culture that spawned these menacing villains and highly sexualized heroes.

More about Rae
Rae Z. Ryans is an alternate ego who enjoys writing urban and historical fantasy in her spare time. In real life she isn’t very funny, and often comes off as sarcastic. In reality, Rae is down to earth and goes with the flow.


Aye matey! It looks as if we've found another chest! And inside this one....

Ooooo....some shiny baubles and skulls!

Swag pack includes:

-1 Book thong
-1 set of earrings
-1 small skull key ring
-1 skull Aux/Cell phone charm

For your chance at this piratical treasure trove enter using the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The post be part of The Talk Like a Pirate Event

***Also thank you to Zack over at Raven Tree Designs for the awesome buttons! ***

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

More treasure from the Pirate Vvb from Vvb32 Reads....

Ahoy mateys! What have we here? Another treasure chest with some literary loot!  It seems this chest has been left by V from VVb32Reads.  One lucky buccaneer will get...

The star of Kylie Jean, Drama Queen returns in another early chapter book adventure, this time inspired by her biography report on Grace O'Malley to don a pirate's hat and call out "Ahoy, mateys." When the boys in her class--despite her gold-star report--insist to Kylie Jean that there's no such thing as a pirate queen, she sets out to prove otherwise. She challenges her biggest naysayer, Cory, to a series of pirate-like competitions: a sword fight (their sticks fall apart on contact), walking the plank (a teeter-totter) and swinging swashbuckler-style from a rope. No matter how well Kylie Jean competes, she can't seem to convince the boys. So she comes up with a plan, and enlists the help of her girlfriends to roll it out. In the process, readers learn a great deal about pirates, such as, that pirates lived by a code, and each mate gets one vote. (Kylie Jean's bulldog acts as their parrot.) They establish their headquarters in a place they know the boys won't look: the haunted house on Kylie Jean's street. When it turns out that the haunted house is inhabited (by a nice man named Bart Black), Kylie Jean enlists his help in convincing Cory that girls can be pirates. Peschke peppers the narrative with lots of pirate-speak, and Mourning liberally illustrates the mateys' adventures--the Jolly Roger flag and treasure map are standouts. One of many nice twists results in Kylie Jean and her brother doing a good deed for Mr. Black. Discover: Kylie Jean as she gently confronts gender stereotypes, asserting her right to be pirate queen.

To enter simply use the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents 18 years of age and older only. U.S. only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This post is part of The Talk Like a Pirate Event.
***Also thank you to Zack over at Raven Tree Designs for the awesome buttons!***

Monday, September 16, 2013

Talk Like a Pirate: Do you have the courage to join us? ~ Guest Post by Kerry Lynne - Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Pirate Captain, Chronicles of a Legend
By: Kerry Lynne

Amazon Summery:  “I am Nathanael J. E. Blackthorne, the pirate captain. Please, reserve your accolades regarding me fame and conquests for another time. 
During the year of our lord 1753, I was sailing the West Indies, minding the oars in me own boat, pursuing me sole purpose in life: to disrupt the unholy alliance of two corrupt men, to destroy their lives as they destroyed mine. I mistakenly kidnap Catherine Mackenzie—wrong person, easy mistake, you understand—and me life went arsey-turvey. Having lost hearth and heart to the Jacobite War, and wanted for war crimes, Cate has the grit and savvy to have survived years destitute and alone in the cesspool known as London. When arrest seems imminent, Cate, through whose eyes this story is told, buys passage on the first ship away. Now, Cate desires but one thing: a place to belong.

Alas, if it were only that simple.

This is a story of scarred and blinded people.

It’s the story of trust, or rather, the lack of.

It’s the story of loss of faith and the disbelief that Providence might ever smile again.


Chapter 1: Journey  

May, 1753 
      “On deck there, Sail ho!” 
      “Where away?” 
      “Larboard abeam, sir, ‘about three points.” 
     Ezekiel Pryce looked to the tops. It was Damerell up there, what sung out. An extra ration of rum and the 
best  pistol on the prize would be his, if he be correct. Heaven help the blundering bastard if he weren’t, and 
the Cap’n not obliged to raise a finger. 
       The Cap’n stood peering through his glass. 
       “What be in yer mind, sir? Be it them, are ye thinkin’?” Pryce asked, coming up alongside. 
        “The bearing is fitting,” the Cap’n said, intent on the speck of white against the east Caribbean blue. 
       “Nary a ship from England what don’t come from that-a-ways.” 
      The skipper lowered the glass. A cat on the prowl, he was, and no prey was safe. “Then they’re fair game, 
are they not?  The last two proved to be a hare’s chase, but fat prizes, indeed. If nothing else, the lads need 
the practice. We’ll burn the rust out o’the guns, eh?” 
      “Aye, Cap’n.” 
      “Bearing sou’west,” Damerell called from his roost. 
       The Cap’n raised his glass, looked to the compass, and then said to the helmsman, “Make it so, Mr. 
       “Prepare to bring her about. Full cover!” The Cap’n was in high spirits. “Fly every rag she’ll bear. “ 
  The ship beneath Pryce’s feet quivered. Aye! She knew. She smelled the prey. She’d throw her shoulder 
to the wind, take every bit of canvas and beg for more. 
  “It makes for a fair night, Master Pryce, “the Cap’n said, looking skyward. “Light every lamp, so we”ll  glow 
like a damned fireship. We’ll allow them the night to think about the hell what is about to be visited upon 
them. She might try to duck and run under the cover of dark, so double the lookouts, and we’ll rig the 
grates for the first slaggardly lout caught napping.” 
  Clear skies, a steady glass and fair course: no creature of the sea could ask for more. Only a dirty night 
could save the hapless prey. 
       “D’ye think she’ll turn and fight, sir?” 
      “How often does the rabbit bite the fox, Mr. Pryce? If they opt for blood, then it shall be theirs what runs 
the decks.” 
     “The last ones we stripped to nature’s own and burned to the waterline.” 
     “Aye, well, ‘tis the price of resistance, is it not? Pass the word to the Master Gunner to pray have his 
guns ready by. . .make it eight bells of the morning watch.” 
    “Hands to yer stations,” Pryce bellowed over the break of the quarterdeck. ”Clear the braces and stand 
by to come about!” 
     Staring at the line where sky and water met, the Cap’n went uncommon guiet, a rare sight indeed when 
sniffing prey. 
    “I’ve the feeling on this one, Pryce. The Devil burn me, I don’t know why, but this one… this one is 

Welcome aboard the “Ciara Morganse”  

Chapter 2: Purgatory, or Just Hell? 
Cate Mackenzie in the Ciara Moganse’s Great Cabin with the Captain! 

Looking up from pouring, he was disconcerted to find her still standing. “Well, don’t just stand there gaping. Sit!” 
She came up against something hard and cold, and realized she had been inching backwards. It was a cannon, one of a 
pair, “Merdering Mary” roughly carved in its carriage. 
“Jump and I swear I’ll cheer whilst you drown,” he said. 
“Excuse me?” 
“Come the bloody hell away from the damned window!” 
Another glance showed she was indeed not much more than an arm’s length from a gallery of windows. Running ceiling-
high, they angled out at the top, with a broad sill at their base.  
“I didn’t mean . . . I mean, I wasn’t ---“ she began. 
“Seems once a day would be enough, but mark me, I shan’t raise a finger to preserve you from Jones’ locker. Most of the 
men believe ‘tis the hand of God on a drowning soul. To save one is to deny God, so “twill be no matter to watch you go.” 
By the sound of his voice coming out of the shadows, he was pacing. 
“Then why did you pull me out?” Cast considered how much easier things would have been if they had allowed her to 
“Because you are valuable,” he said coldly.  “At least for now. But pressing the point could prove unwise. Value can be 
ever so relative, don’t you think?” 
She had the impression the inquiry wasn’t meant to be answered. 
“Pray, would you not oblige me to shout like you’re a fc’stleman. Sit there if you like. Oh, hell, I don’t really give a damn,” 
he grumbled with an irritated swipe. 
Minding the coat, Cate reflexively sat on the nearest thing: a chest beside her. Gripping the wood beneath her, the urge to 
cough built like a rumbling bubble in her chest. She gulped several times, breathing quickly in and out, hoping to squelch 
“Be warned: puke on me deck and you’ll regret it. And take those rags off before you catch your death,” he said.  
Squinting at him, she searched for any sign of lustfulness, but found none. Turning her back she started to shed the shift, 
now so torn, nearly falling off on its own accord. 
His path around the table brought him into the full light. She sucked her breath in sharply at seeing him fully for the first 
time. Her first impression was of black eyes and a leonine head of black hair and beard. The back of her neck pricked as 
the name “Blackbeard” sprung to mind. She stoutly reminded herself that infamous personage was long since dead. He 
was of average height and slimly built, his hair bound by a faded blue headscarf. The remainder of his features being so 
buried in beard, it was blessedly difficult to tell much more about him, other than he was probably not much more than her 
score and a half in years. 
In spite of the bucket boots he wore, he moved like a great dark cat as he brought the drink around, barely making a 
footfall, a predator, lithe and lethal. She drew her legs up underneath herself and tucked in the coattail more snugly 
around her, then shakily took the proffered glass, murmuring, “Thank you.” 
Cate took a drink. Her throat constricted, requiring her to swallow several times before it was allowed to pass.  
“Rum!” She shuddered. “But, it’s fine. I’m grateful for anything, if it will allow me to warm up.” 
A fortuitous fit of coughing helped make her point. 
He eyed her with suspicion, then took a drink, closing his eyes to anxiously await its effects. She eyed him, trying to judge 
his level of drunkenness. Drink could bring a man to do many things not done when sober. His step was solid, but his 
speech seemed thickened, almost slurred, although that could have been resultant of its graveled quality.  
In spite of its noxiousness, she took another sip. If nothing else, the liquor helped erase the nasty taste in her mouth left 
by seawater and vomiting.  
He flopped into the ornate captain’s chair across the table from her.  
“Rather foolhard to jump, don’t you think?” he asked, gesturing toward the Constancy, visible through the stern windows.  
“There was an island,” Cate said with far less conviction than intended. 
He made a caustic noise. “That would have been a bloody long swim. I’d be hard pressed to find two hands what would 
be willing to row it, let alone swim it. You do know there are sharks in these water?” he asked conversationally.  
Her stomach took a sickening lurch. “No, I hadn’t thought of that.” 
His mouth hovered at the bottle’s rim as he cut her a sidelong. “Can’t imagine why anyone would do something so half-
The implication that she was either mad or lying wasn’t lost, nor was it appreciate. Cate flexed her hands aching from 
being clenched for so long. 
“I’d been told under no circumstances should I be taken by pirates.” 
He smiled at that, a dazzling display of white and gold teeth splitting the ebony mat of beard, “I’ve been told the same 
thing. Nasty rumor, luv.” 
He rose to cruise the room once more. His path weaving through the light, he popped in and out of sight like a sword-
bearing wraith.  
“The warnings were very convincing, “ she said evenly. “The Sarah Morgan and Captain Nathanael Blackthorne were 
enough to scare anyone.” 
“Ah, then you know of me, Spent the best part of me life propagating that image.” Though his face was lost in the gloom at 
that moment, the smile in his voice couldn’t be missed. 
“Then may I assume that you are . . .?” Cate tensed. On deck, she had heard him called “Captain.” For formality’s sake, 
however, it was best to be sure. Amid the swirl of unknowns, a solid bit of information seemed essential. Liquid slopping 
on her hand broke her stare; she was shaking harder than she had thought. 
“Oh, I beg your leave. Wretchedly uncommon to be introducing meself on me own ship.” 
He drew up and struck a formal pose. Doffing the battered leather tricon, he swept a surprisingly elegant bow. 
 “Captain Nathanael Blackthorne. Your servant, mum.” 


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