Happy Friday folks. And time for Hennessee Andrews’s “Slippery When Wet” Blog Hop. Just click on that picture – yes that one up there – and you’ll be taken to a nice long list of all the authors participating.
I signed up because I liked the title – slippery when wet. It means so many different things to so many people but I should imagine that the majority of people are imagining something like this:
Alternatively there’s a whole generation for whom the term conjures up an image of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy inexplicably leaping into a duck pond. Perhaps even more so now it has been admitted that the original intention was that Lizzie should get an eyeful of him completely nude – an intention thwarted by the actor’s concern that viewers would be focussing more on his love handles than his other attributes.
This would have made more sense in the context of Regency swimming – swimming suits had not yet been invented – but historical veracity aside, neither image springs to my mind when I hear the word ‘wet’. All I do is reach for an umbrella.
The state of the weather, as opposed to the nice predictable climate enjoyed by some people, is of overwhelming interest to the British. At the moment we are veering between balmy summery days and vicious bouts of driving rain. Umbrellas waterproofs and wellies are kept close to hand. The possibility of seeing a nice tight set of abs under a wet tee-shirt is remote but I don’t mind that. I don’t really mind being caught in a shower either. It’s just part of living in a place with over a yard of rain a year.
Also weather is God’s gift to the novelist. It’s a great way to change the mood of a piece, to inject a bit of danger, and that’s what I’m going to do now with an excerpt of my novel, On a Lee Shore. Comment to this post if you would like to win a copy in the eformat of your choice more details below. Kit Penrose, an English naval officer, has fallen in with a gang of pirates and, as sailing master, is partially responsible for the safety of the ship:
The steady winds they had enjoyed for the past week began to veer and fail. One moment the sails were full, the Africa leaning over as Valliere and Kit strained at the tiller to keep to their course, the next the wind fell off, leaving them rocking on a choppy sea.
“You better tell the old man and O’Neill. Saunders too. We might be needing the sawbones before the night is out.” Valliere looked to the northeast where banks of clouds were blanking out the stars. “You ever see a hurricane, Kit?”
“No, thank God,” Kit said. “You don’t think that’s what that is, do you?”
“Can’t say yet,” Valliere said. “It might just be a storm, but that can be bad enough at this latitude. I was born in a hurricane, Kit, and I don’t want to die in one.”
Kit found the surgeon already dressed, braced in a corner with a lantern swinging wildly overhead. He had a book in his hands, and it was the very first time Kit had seen him without a bottle.
“I know,” he said before Kit had a chance to speak. “Call me if you need me, until then I’m staying in the dry.”
That seemed sensible to Kit, so he went off to try and find O’Neill. He was in the fo’c’sle arguing with Wigram.
They stopped hissing at each other and stared at him. “What do you want?” Wigram demanded.
“Valliere sent me. I’ve roused the surgeon, and Valliere asked me to warn you and the captain.”
“Well, do it then,” O’Neill said. “I’m busy here.”
Kit had half hoped that O’Neill would accept this task, but he braced up and told himself not to be so childish. He cut back up on deck to check the state of the weather and to take Valliere an oilskin then went to the cabin.
The door opened as soon as he tapped on it.
“Penrose.” The captain stepped back from the door to give himself room to swing an oilskin around his shoulders. “Who’s on the tiller?”
“Valliere, sir. He sent me to warn you that we’re in for a blow.”
The captain nodded. “Thank you. If he says it will be bad, it will be bad. I would imagine that Pollack has put the galley fire out, but it would ease my mind if someone would go and check. Is that all you have to wear?”
Kit glanced down at his shirt and waistcoat. “Apart from my uniform coat, yes,” he said. “I intended to replace my belongings in St. Kitt’s once I had been paid.”
The captain grunted and reached behind the door for another waterproof. “You may borrow this,” he said, pushing it into Kit’s hands then stepped out and closed the cabin door.
On deck the veering wind had settled to a steady blow and the Africa was butting through heavy seas. In the galley, Pollack was already stowing all the loose items away.
“I don’t want my brains bashed out with one of my own kettles,” he said as Kit helped him secure them. A flicker of lightning made them both jump and Pollack sighed. “Here we go. I’m going to find somewhere safe to sit it out. You need both legs for weather like this.”
Kit agreed. He was thrown from his feet twice before he managed to get back to the tiller. The captain and Valliere were discussing what to do in polite bellows as the wind shrieked in the rigging, and a few of the hands took down the sails and lashed them tightly. The wind was such that the mast was shuddering with the strain already.
“Look out!” O’Neill was at his elbow, and they both grabbed onto the shrouds as a wave washed over the deck. The flickering of lightning was continuous, and now they were beginning to hear the first faint rumbles over the sound of wind and sea.
“Dear God,” Kit swore, shaking spray from his eyes and O’Neill laughed.
“You know any good prayers, son, you’d better say them. It’ll get worse before it gets better. Ah, fuck, here comes the rain.”
Kit turned to reply to O’Neill, and a wall of rain dashed into his face, choking him. He coughed and spat, then followed O’Neill to the tiller.
Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win a copy. Leaving a comment also gets you an entry toward the Grand Prize—the hopper with the most entries from all sites on the Hop will receive a $50 Amazon gift card! Click on this link to go back to the blog hop.