Author Archives: lindacollison

About lindacollison

Linda Collison is the author of the acclaimed historical novel STAR-CROSSED (Knopf; 2006) which led to the sequel, Surgeon's Mate; book two of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series (Fireship Press). She is also a writer of magazine articles, essays, literary fiction and poetry. With her husband Bob Russell she co-authored two guidebooks: Rocky Mountain Wineries; a guide to the wayside vineyards, and Colorado Kids; a statewide family outdoor adventure guide (Pruett Publishing). . Linda has received awards from Honolulu Magazine and Southwest Writers Workshop. In 1996 she was awarded the Grand Prize from the Maui Writers Conference for her fiction. Star-Crossed, her first novel, published by Knopf, was chosen by the New York Public Library to be among the BOOKS FOR THE TEEN AGE -- 2007. Star-Crossed was the inspiration for Surgeon’s Mate; book two of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series.

lindacollison

Friday Night Knife & Gun Club fiction

Meet Kit Carson, RN — gun-toting critical care nurse on the night shift in fictional hospital in Denver, Colorado.  “Guns and cowboy boots; it’s a western thing. Part of our culture,” Kit explains as she guns up to go to work.

Author/editor Tim Queeney compares the story to Paddy Chayefsky’s screenplay, The Hospital.  Queeney writes “Gun-toting nurses and doctors do their best to make it through a wild, snowy night shift in an under-staffed hospital in the American heartland. This is a well-written funny book filled with sharply observed detail that entertains even as it touches deeper issues of disconnection and alienation in modern society. Highly recommended!”

Friday Night Knife & Gun Club is an absurd fictional memoir. Read ’em and weep.

Friday Night Knife & Gun Club is on its way to becoming #1 bestseller on Kindle in the Medical and Violence in Society categories.

Available now in paperback and electronic format — and coming soon as an audiobook, performed by Annika Connor. Stay tuned…

 

 

Herstory: Seawomen of Iceland

To visit Reykjavik’s Maritime Museum you would think there were no seawomen in Iceland’s history. (As of November, 2017, that is.) I first came across the mention of Icelandic female fishers in A Brief History of Iceland by Gunnar Karlsson (copyright 2000, translated by Anna Yates). A single, telling caption beneath a photograph (of a  restored turf shack used by crews during the fishing season in previous centuries) caught my attention:

“This shack which has survived at Stokkseyri, south Iceland, is known as Puridur’s Shack after Puridur (translated as Foreman, or, helmsman) Einarsdottir, who for 25 years was helmswoman of a boat that fished from Stokkseyri in the first half of the 19th century. It was not uncommon for women to crew fishing boats, but they very rarely stood at the helm.” ( Karlsson, pg. 24.)

Except for the brief caption, Karlsson says nothing more of female fishermen.

A Google search soon brought up Margaret Willson’s book —  Seawomen of Iceland (University of Washington Press;2016.

Willson, a professor of anthropology and Canadian studies, has experience working aboard fishing vessels in Tasmania in the 1970’s. In her very readable, painstakingly researched book she finds evidence for women working at sea historically (and has identified over fifty born before 1900.) The author includes chapters on present-day seawomen and looks at the Icelandic fishing industry, workforce, and working environment at large.

“The historic and present contributions of the seawomen of Iceland are virtually invisible,” says Willson. “These seawomen, who in recent decades have formed as much as 13 percent of Iceland’s fishing fleet, are unrecognized, even within the communities where they live…. Nearly all Icelanders with whom I have spoken, with the exception of a few seawomen themselves, are sure seawomen never existed.”

By keeping silent, by ignoring, we forget — thereby editing history through exclusion; it’s herstory too.

Thuridur’s winter fishing hut in the village of Stokkseyri, has been restored; a sign next to it gives an account of her life.

Willson, Margaret. 2016. Seawomen of Iceland. (University of Washington Press; 2016. 233 pages with appendices, notes, bibliography, index, and photographs. Highly recommended.

Iceland’s Immigrant Song

Iceland’s original immigrant song may have been the poems composed by the helmsmen and women of the open rowboats, to aid them in remembering choice fishing spots. The first immigrants to Iceland were Norse, who arrived in the ninth century. They came primarily for the arable land, which was increasingly unavailable in Scandinavia.

Ranching and hay farming to feed the livestock became the main activities. Most landowners fished seasonally, to supplement their food supply.

For 500 years or so, Icelandic shipwrights built their open boats with driftwood. After the 15th century they used imported oak, spruce, and pine. According to the museum’s display, it took two men about six weeks, on average, to build a six-oar boat.

From the 900s until the late 1800’s Icelanders fished in open row boats crewed by family members and hired hands.

Only landowners could own fishing boats. Often the landowners’ sons, daughters, and wives rowed the boat and strung the lines. They made anchors and line-sinkers from lava rock — buoys and floats from driftwood.

 

Steam changed everything.  Gone were the open boats and the hand lines. Once steam trawlers came into use, factory workers knotted sisal hemp nets to catch more fish.

In the nineteenth century a fifth of Iceland’s population emigrated to North America. Today the population of Iceland is less than 350,000; less than five percent are employed in fishing. Tourism has become the leading industry.

Credits to the Reykjavik Maritime Museum and Margaret Willson. 2016. Seawomen of Iceland. University of Washington Press.

Women at Sea was a special exhibition at the museum in 2016. Why it isn’t a permanent feature is a mystery to me. In researching Icelandic seafaring women I came across Margaret Willson’s book, the Seawomen of Iceland, which I’ll review in a future blog.

Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series — Book 3

Rhode Island Rendezvous; Book 3 of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series

“An insightful look at life at sea during the colonial era, this novel offers a combination of adventure, discovery, and intrigue.”

– The BookLife Prize

 

“Entertaining throughout, the expansive saga charts high-seas adventures between New England, the West Indies,and ports in between in the eighteenth century. The third novel in the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure series picks up the engaging narrative of a cross-dressing surgeon’s mate who strikes out as a ship captain in a profession that was then solely the province of men.

Set during a period of social unrest in the American colonies after the Seven Years’ War, when people are rioting over the newly imposed Stamp Act, the meticulously researched novel tracks Patricia MacPherson, an upperclass woman in boarding school cast adrift after the abrupt death of her Caribbean plantation–owning father. Setting off on her own, she poses as Patrick MacPherson, a former surgeon’s mate in His Majesty’s Navy, disguising herself as “a rising young merchant seaman dressed to go to a wedding feast where he will rub shoulders with Newport’s best.” Determined to make her fortune, she becomes a smuggler who sneaks in molasses for “Yankee Gold” Rhode Island Rum and ends up captaining the schooner Andromeda as it embarks on a dangerous international voyage.”

— Foreword Reviews

 

Based on the novel Star-Crossed (Alfred A. Knopf; 2006), a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age – 2007, The Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series is adult historical fiction featuring an orphaned young woman — illegitimate daughter of a profligate Barbadian sugar baron — who takes the identity of her late husband’s dead nephew in order to survive.

Rhode Island Rendezvous, the third book in the series, finds the cross-dressing Patricia master of a colonial trading schooner. It’s 1765 in Newport, Rhode Island. The Seven Years War is over but unrest in the American colonies is just heating up. Maintaining her disguise as a young man, Patricia is finding success as Patrick MacPherson. Formerly a surgeon’s mate in His Majesty’s Navy, Patrick has lately been employed aboard the colonial merchant schooner Andromeda, smuggling foreign molasses into Rhode Island. Late October, amidst riots against the newly imposed Stamp Act, she leaves Newport bound for the West Indies on her first run as Andromeda’s master. In Havana a chance meeting with a former enemy presents unexpected opportunities while an encounter with a British frigate and an old lover threatens her liberty – and her life.

 

Collison’s own extensive medical background, combined with her expertise as a blue-water wind-and-weather sailor, gives incredible natural authority to her writing.” — Steven E. Maffeo; A Perfect Wreck

 

“An excellent job has been done with MacPherson… There is a well-rounded duality of gender that allows both male and female perspectives: a clever trick, and one that comes across perfectly.” – Alaric Bond; The Fighting Sail Series.

 

“Barbados Bound is a rousing and engaging tale of the almost impossible challenges facing a young woman cast adrift in 18th Century British Empire.” – Rick Spilman; The Shantyman.

 

Available from your favorite bookstore to order, and from Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pre-order Rhode Island Rendezvous

Rhode Island Rendezvous

Newport Rhode Island: 1765

The Seven Years War is over but unrest in the American colonies is just heating up…

Maintaining her disguise as a young man, Patricia is finding success as Patrick MacPherson. Formerly a surgeon’s mate in His Majesty’s Navy, Patrick has lately been employed aboard the colonial merchant schooner Andromeda, smuggling foreign molasses into Rhode Island. Late October, amidst riots against the newly imposed Stamp Act, she leaves Newport bound for the West Indies on her first run as Andromeda’s master. In Havana a chance meeting with a former enemy presents unexpected opportunities while an encounter with a British frigate and an old lover threatens her liberty – and her life.

ISBN: 978-1-943404-12-4  Old Salt Press, LLC  Softbound. October, 2017

“An insightful look at life at sea during the colonial era, this novel offers a combination of adventure, discovery, and intrigue.” – The BookLife Prize

“Linda Collison’s Rhode Island Rendezvous thrills as a hard-to-put-down historical novel of nautical derring-do. Entertaining throughout, the expansive saga charts high-seas adventures between New England, the West Indies, and ports in between in the eighteenth century. The third novel in the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure series picks up the engaging narrative of a cross-dressing surgeon’s mate who strikes out as a ship captain in a profession that was then solely the province of men.
Set during a period of social unrest in the American colonies after the Seven Years’ War, when people are rioting over the newly imposed Stamp Act, the meticulously researched novel tracks Patricia MacPherson, an upperclass woman in boarding school cast adrift after the abrupt death of her Caribbean plantation–owning father. Setting off on her own, she poses as Patrick MacPherson, a former surgeon’s mate in His Majesty’s Navy, disguising herself as “a rising young merchant seaman dressed to go to a wedding feast where he will rub shoulders with Newport’s best.” Determined to make her fortune, she becomes a smuggler who sneaks in molasses for “Yankee Gold” Rhode Island Rum and ends up captaining the schooner Andromeda as it embarks on a dangerous international voyage…” — Foreword Reviews

Rhode Island Rendezvous, Book 3 of Patricia MacPherson’s Nautical Adventures (e-book) is available now for pre-order on Kindle

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