I‘m annoyed about forgetting to sign up for Six Sunday this week because next week it will be November and if I have any time I’ll probably be Nanowrimoing rather than reading friends Sixes. 😦 I’ll do my best but I don’t know how it’ll go. However I’ll have a hop around later today to see how my mates are getting on.
Meantime I have a blog hop here where in return for a comment with an email address you could win a $10 gift card. I find blog hops interesting – the same few readers comment each time, comment to every post, no matter whether the poster writes romance, action, M/M, erotica or whatever. I think that’s nice. I enjoy reading a large range of fiction and I think it’s possible to target your marketing a bit too narrowly.
Speaking of which – I have the first round of edits back for On A Lee Shore, my novel about honour, passion and robbery on the high seas. I’m going to have to work out how best to market an action adventure novel with a bit of gay romance, some humour and loads of pirating. Maybe I should just hand out pieces of eight? No idea yet when it’s actually going to be published but I’m going to post an unedited excerpt below the cut in celebration of the fact that it’ll be published sometime. 🙂
Here reluctant new recruits Kit Penrose and Davy Forrest are formally inducted into the pirate crew. I’m using this bit because it’s all soundly based in historical fact and I haven’t even had to tweak it for plot purposes. Honestly – you don’t have to make it up!
Kit set off for the table and the Captain, who was still staring at him. Kit glared back, determined not to be the first to blink and the Captain leaned back in his chair with a laugh.
“Looks like we’ve got a bull-pup this time,” he said. “Come on then and sharp about it.”
The crew had closed in behind them in an avid, heavy-breathing press that Kit, though used to the confined quarters on a war ship, found most unpleasant.
“Gentlemen,” the Captain said, “and pirates all. We have fresh meat to add to the pot and, as you know, I’ll have everything nice and legal and above board. Forrest and Penrose are your names are they not?”
“Aye sir,” Davy said and Kit nodded.
The Captain opened his box, a fine mahogany affair that converted into a writing slope. He took out pen and ink and a large creased piece of poorly tanned parchment.
“As members of the illustrious crew of the sloop Aphrodite …”
“Africa ditty!” Denny protested.
“Africa,” the Captain said grinning, “it is only fair that you are signed up properly so you may take your fair share of the benefits and risks of our brave enterprise. And it is only just and right that you sign to abide by the same rules that govern every man aboard this ship, myself included. So I will read the articles and once we are in agreement you will append your signatures.”
“Ay, all fair and legal,” MacGregor shouted.
Kit stared at the paper as the Captain unfolded it and smoothed it out on the table top. Kit was looking at it upside down but even the right way up he doubted that he would have been able to read it. Several hands had contributed to the overall effect, which was densely written and decorative. Someone had gone to a lot of trouble to draw scenes of naval battles down one margin and there was a mermaid with enormous titties to the top right. At the foot of the paper a smudged mess comprised poorly written signatures and the marks of the illiterate, some of which had been scored or blotted out.
“Seen enough?” the Captain asked and Kit straightened up again as the man commenced to read.
“Item: That no man should endanger his compadres by taking a watch while in a state of drunkenness. Penalty for such a crime, one lash for every member of the company.
“Item: that no member of the company is to lay hands on an unwilling woman. Penalty for such a crime, to be flogged according to Moses law.
“Item: If two or more members of the company shall engage in fighting said fight to be broken up by the officers, and the combatants to be taken to such a place on dry land where they may discharge pistols without risk to any others in the company. There they may continue the fight according to the rules of the code duello, a copy of which may be obtained from the Captain. If they do not wish to duel they must accept such punishment as the Captain deems fit.
“Item: If one member of the company steals from any other he shall be marooned.
“Item: If any member of the company smokes a pipe or carries a lantern unhandily below decks he shall be flogged according to Moses law, for a first offence and hanged for a second.
“Item: Proceeds of our trade to be divided fairly and equally in the sight of all, then allocated by lot. Each member of the company to receive one share, artists, one share and a quarter, officers of the ship and surgeon, one share and a half and the Captain, two shares. Any man injured in the carrying out of his duties to be awarded recompense taken from the common fund commensurate with his injuries.
“Item: All musicians to play on the demand of any of the company but that they have the Sabbath Day to rest, except in the case of battle.
“Item: All officers to be selected, firstly by aptitude and secondly by a majority vote. Any officer deemed unfit by reason of sickness, injury or the presence of one more skilled, will stand down in good grace until such time as fit again, when he can put his name forward for selection.
“Item: all foodstuffs, water and spirituous liquors to be available to all the company until supplies run low at which time rations will be allocated. Any man found stealing another’s share will be flogged according to Moses law, for a first offence and hanged for a second.”
“Moses Law?” Kit’s interruption was met by an indrawn breath from the audience and a stare from the Captain. “I beg your pardon but what is Moses law?”
“Gentlemen,” the Captain said. “We have a pagan in our midst—which explains a lot about His Britannic Majesty’s navy. Moses Law in general, Lieutenant Penrose, is a set of rules for a civilized man to live by, but in this specific case refers to a punishment, forty lashes, minus one, upon the bare back. I pray you never give me cause to inflict it. Now,” he turned the parchment to face them and offered the pen. “You will sign.”
Davy reached for the pen but Kit grabbed his wrist. “And what if we don’t?” he asked. “This could be a death warrant for every man aboard. Why should we sign it?”
“So that we all know what we should and should not do.” O’Neill grinned at the Captain. “And so there’s no arguing about it.”
“And if the ship is taken,” Wigram said, “we have an accord to send her to the bottom rather than be taken back to hang. The articles are for the eyes of the company alone.”
“Also because it’s a damned long swim back to England, Lieutenant Penrose.” The sharpness of the Captain’s voice indicated that his patience was at an end.
Davy jerked his arm free and made a careful cross then passed the pen to Kit.
“Sign it,” the Captain snarled.
Kit stooped, dipped the pen and wrote “Lieutenant Christopher Penrose, RN, under protest”.
“Ah, there’s a fine long name,” MacGregor said with an approving nod. “A man who can write that much all in one go will surely see us safe across the ocean.”
“Of course he will,” the Captain inspected Kit’s signature with a curl of the lip, “because I will be watching him like a hawk. Now, all of you, about your business, sleep well and if you have a God, pray to him because tomorrow Mr Penrose will be taking the larboard watch.”
I’m going to get my edits done and save being excited for when I know a bit more 🙂
Is anyone else doing Nanowrimo? Do you want another buddy?