I’ve been busy for the past month editing and revising my pirate novel “On A Lee Shore” and, wouldn’t you know it, the damn thing has got bigger instead of shrinking. This is because as I read it through I’ve realised that I have missed out bits that I knew about the characters that the reader has no way of knowing.
I’m at a bit of a loss to know what to do with it when it’s finished because I don’t think it’s sufficiently romantic and certainly not erotic enough for the M/M market. M/M readers do seem to require plenty of explicit boinkage laid out in finely detailed black and white. Maybe it’s a skill I should acquire or maybe I should get a writing partner who is good at that kind of thing? Meantime, the story is what it is – an only-loosely-historical action adventure romp that I’ve had a whale of a time writing – and I’m not apologising for that.
Here’s an excerpt from close to the beginning:
They didn’t speak again until they reached the entrance of the Navy Office and had to take their leave.
“Tonight, Dog Tavern, by Billingsgate,” Tristan said. “We’ll celebrate or drown our sorrows.”
Kit nodded. “Wish me luck?”
“With all my heart,” Tristan said then turned away to go to his office, which Kit supposed would be as well turned out and carefree as he was. Kit, on the other hand, went to sit on a hard bench in a draughty corridor to wait until his name was called.
It was a busy place, familiar too. Kit normally enjoyed the spectacle of the thronged corridors. The whole of the Navy would be represented if he stayed there for long enough. Tiny letter boys in overlarge uniform coats, so new that the folds had not yet dropped out of the cloth, would draw aside and stare in awe as the Admirals, glittering with orders, strode past. And the officers – tall, short, willowy or broad, some handsome, some merely healthy and hearty – would nod a greeting. Some would smile, ask for news of mutual friends, of ships where they had both served, suggest a meeting at this ale house or that to continue conversation.
But that had been before the <em>Malvern</em> and disgrace. Now Kit sat with his hat on his knees, his feet drawn in, taking up little space, and tried not to think about why he was there. He reviewed as dispassionately as possible all the jobs for which he might be qualified and how likely he would be to get one, then thought about something more cheerful – tonight’s revels with Tristan.
“Penrose, isn’t it?”
Kit looked up, wondering if it was his turn.. The young man was smartly dressed, but without Tristan’s extravagance and his smile was broad and cheerful.
“Yes,” Kit said, getting up. “Lt Christopher Penrose at your service.”
The other man raised an eyebrow. “Penrose – of the <em>Malvern</em>? I thought as much. Was it as bad on the <em>Malvern</em> as rumour has it?”
Aware that he was being baited, and aware of a growing audience, Kit gritted his teeth. “I do not believe I have your name, sir,” he said.
“Captain Thomas Wells,” the young man said. He paused to allow a clerk to scurry pass before taking half a step closer to look down at Kit with a smirk. He was tall, obviously well versed in intimidating underlings, and Kit felt his temper rising.
“If you would be so good as to answer my question, Penrose,” Wells said. “I have never served under such a captain and would be pleased to benefit from your experience and learn how to avoid it.”
There had been an emphasis there that Kit couldn’t ignore and he drew breath to reply – probably in a regrettable way – but another voice cut through the hubbub in the corridor.
“Penrose! What are you about, sir? Eleven of the clock I said and eleven of the clock I meant. It is now two minutes past, sir.”
The door to an office stood open and there was the clerk, partially eclipsed by the familiar bulk of Sir William Tregarne. “Get yourself inside, sir,” Sir William said, cutting off Kit’s apology. “Wells – I have no time to see you today. Same time tomorrow.”
Kit and Captain Wells exchanged looks that promised a further less friendly meeting, then Kit nodded a curt farewell and marched along to the Admiral’s office. As the door closed behind him the clock struck eleven. Admiral Tregarne snorted and pointed to a chair then lurched towards his own, cane and peg leg clicking on the polished wooden floor.