Posts Tagged ‘New England’

WITHIN A CAPTAIN’S POWER

Thursday, April 20th, 2017
WITHIN A CAPTAIN’S POWER 
by Lisa Olech
PUB DATE: 4/4/2017
Genre: Historical Romance
Never underestimate the power of a pirate . . .
Captain James Steele is duty bound to capture the privateer Scarlet Night and bring her rebellious crew to England to hang. Then he will leave his majesty’s service, make an upstanding marriage, and join the landed gentry. But the winds of fate are blowing the straitlaced commander utterly off course.
Once aboard, James comes face to face with a pirate boy who is in reality fierce, desperate—and gorgeous—Samantha Christian, on the run from a sadistic Virginia plantation owner. With her identity unbound, the good captain dutifully takes her under his personal command, whereupon decorum goes out the porthole. But while his heart is lost to Samantha by the time they reach England, her noose still awaits. Now James’s sense of duty will be severely tested. As for Samantha, she has a plan, and a duty, of her own . . .
 

Let’s Talk about Pirates!

Let’s start by dressing the part. Most pirates’ clothing was stolen from their prey. Captains picked the nicest and most fashionable garments so everyone would know, “Hey, look at me, I’m the Captain!” There are reports that captains fearing capture would rush below deck and change into something less fancy so they could blend into their crew and receive an easier punishment.

How about an earring? There are a host of reasons and theories regarding pirates wearing earrings. Some believe an earring marked the first time the sailor crossed the equator, or sailed the vicious waters around Cape Horn. Others claim that sailors believed precious metals pierced through their earlobes actually improved their eyesight. There is another theory that the gold and silver was to pay for their funerals. With their names and home ports engraved within the hoop, if they washed up on shore, their bodies could be sent home. And yet another reason for an earring is to hang waxed earplugs from in case you were a gunner and too close to those exploding cannons! Me…I just think they made those seafaring bad boys a bit more rakish.

There is some debate regarding eye patches. Yes, there’s evidence of pirates losing arms, legs, and eyes. But some believe that eye patches were worn so pirates could keep one eye adjusted to seeing in the dark found below deck. Black Beard had a wooden leg, but it wasn’t due to a 10lb. cannon ball removing his limb. It was due to diabetes. If a pirate lost a leg in battle, most times they never survived the injury, and it certainly ended their career. It is true that Captain James Hook did have an iron hook that replaced his missing hand, however. Here I thought that was only Peter Pan fiction!

Speaking of fiction… there is little evidence of anyone ‘walking the plank.’ If pirates want you tossed into the water, over the rail ye went! Of course, there were more gruesome forms of punishment. Flogging, marooning, keelhauling, and hanging…by various parts of your body…from the highest yardarm!

Also, there’s no record of a pirate having a parrot as a pet. Cats were common aboard ship to keep the mice and rat population at bay, (FYI…white cats were considered bad luck.) but parrots were seen more for the money they would bring than for a colorful shoulder accessory.

Not all pirates were cutthroats. In fact, they were fairly civilized. Rules were strictly followed regarding fighting amongst the crew, gambling onboard, compensation should you be wounded or killed. Everyone received a fair share according to rank and decisions were made by democratic vote. Stealing from a crewmember was a major no no.

There were ‘gentlemen’ pirates who were well known for treating their crews and captives well. Stede Bonnet was one of these gentlemen pirates. He was a wealthy plantation owner when he decided to buy his own ship and take to the sea. It’s rumored that a nagging wife was his motivation to become a pirate, or a mid-life crisis! Black Bart Roberts gave his musicians Sundays off.

Being a pirate was a decent way to make a living. In fact, a lot of sailors signed on to pirate crews because the Navy’s pay checks just didn’t go very far in the 1600’s. Long Ben Avery wasn’t a pirate for very long, but made the richest haul and retired less than a year after he started. And speaking of richest treasures, it is said, Oliver Levasseur had treasure estimated into the billions. When he was captured and brought to be hung, he pulled a necklace from his neck and threw it into the crowd. It contained a cryptogram of 17 lines. He shouted “Find my treasure, the one who may understand it!” Treasure hunters are still trying to ‘understand’ it.

Some pirates were brutal, vicious barbarians, however. Black Beard used to stick lit lengths of rope under the brim of his hat so smoke would circle his head and his prey would believe he was possessed. Francis l’Olonnais cut out a prisoners heart and ate it in order to get the other prisoners to cooperate. His crew deserted soon after. There’s pirate crazy…then there’s pirate ‘l’Olonnais’ crazy!

And of course, I can’t possibly forget to mention all those incredible, bad-ass, ‘tough-as-hardtack’ women who fought as pirates throughout the golden age and beyond. Anne Bonney, Mary Read, Grace O’Malley, Rachel Wall (the only female pirate from New England—and the last pirate hung in Boston Common.), and my personal favorite, Ching Shih. Ching Shih was the most powerful of all pirate queens. After being pulled from a life of prostitution to marry, and her husband’s subsequent death a short three years later, Ching Shih became one of the most feared female pirates of her time. She terrorized the Chinese coast and amassed a huge fleet of more than a fifteen hundred ships and captained more than 70,000 men. She was very fond of beheadings, and deserters who just wouldn’t listen to reason…they saved their heads, but lost their ears!

I wonder what happened to all those earrings?

Lisa A. Olech is an artist/writer living in her dream house nestled among the lakes in New England. She loves getting lost in a steamy book, finding the perfect pair of sexy shoes, and hearing the laughter of her men. Being an estrogen island in a sea of testosterone makes her queen. She believes in ghosts, silver linings, the power of a man in a tuxedo, and happy endings.
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Monday, April 11th, 2016

Jenny Hudson

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Top Ten List

  1. I was an art teacher and have been an exhibiting artist
  2. I have a giant Labradoodle named Mr. Darcy
  3. I am addicted to saag paneer and yoga
  4. My first job out of college was designing fashion ads for a Federated Department Store
  5. I love jazz if it’s not too whacked out
  6. I have a gorgeous rag doll cat with bright blue eyes
  7. My favorite city is Barcelona
  8. My 2nd favorite city is San Miguel Allende
  9. I love photographing New England
  10. I am getting married at the end of the month

Book blurb: (more…)

After the Willis Asylum closed, the secrets of its past lingered in its decaying halls

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

What makes you passionate about writing?

I started life as a classically trained artist, and writing just evolved one day when I wasn’t looking. Writing, I found, and very much to my surprise, was just painting with words. With a brush you gently stroke indigo blue or vermilion onto a canvas to shadow a face in remorse. The same can be said of the words you brush across a page to project that same face, slowly drawn down into the collar of a borrowed, wool coat, shiny from wear, yet retained the strength in its weft and warp to comfort a penitent soul. Having the ability to close my eyes and see how sunlight would dance across a marble floor after a rain, or how the long shadows of dusk transform even the most ordinary of objects into that which we fear most, is inspirational.

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Do you have a writing routine?

Very much so. I write religiously every Saturday for 8-10 hours. Some Saturdays I’ll write three chapters, others I’ll spend hours researching and write only notes for the next week. This isn’t to say I don’t spend a little time during the week writing. I’ll jot down ideas, or plot twists that come to me and deposit them on my desk so I’m ready to write on Saturday.

Interesting. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This is always a tough question because there are so many good ones to choose from. If I were casting for the protagonist, I would say Stana (more…)