Category Archives: writing and publishing

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…

 

 

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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Rhode Island on the horizon

Shipping News: Rhode Island Rendezvous, Book Three of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventures, scheduled to arrive in port September 1, 2017.

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.

What began as Star-Crossed, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2006 as a Young Adult historical novel, has become the Patricia MacPherson series — adult historical fiction. Not that there is graphic sex and gratuitous violence in the adult editions, but because I always intended it for adult readers, which includes many mature teens.

For me, chronicling Patricia’s story has been a way to rediscover history through the eyes of an orphaned teenager, born of a rich English planter in Barbados, who matures as she is forced to make her own way in the world. Writing in first person as I have done is a very immediate and personal experience, almost like reliving a past life.  So intense is the immersion, and challenging because of its limitations, I’ve added a prologue to Rhode Island Rendezvous; a prologue written in close third person from Patricia’s former lover’s perspective.

Writing a book is indeed a journey.  A fourth book and final book in the series is planned and the voyage is soon to begin…

The inspiration for the fictional vessel Andromeda comes from the historic Schooner Lewis R. French, pictured here, and used with their generous permission. While not from colonial times, the Maine-built schooner was launched in 1871 and is very traditional in her design. According to her website, “she freighted bricks, lumber, firewood, granite, fish, lime, canning supplies, Christmas trees, and now people.” Bob and I were among those people, having had the pleasure of cruising aboard the French some years ago. Highly recommended, if you get the chance!

Today she is still powered by sail alone (no engine) — with occasional assistance from a motorized dinghy.  To learn more, visit the schooner’s website schoonerfrench.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let’s make a book trailer!

I don’t know if video book trailers sell more books; I rather doubt it.  The real value of making a book trailer is for the writer herself. The process forces the writer to condense her novel to an intriguing, concise visual synopsis, sixty seconds or less. The purpose of a book trailer isn’t to summarize the plot or to introduce characters, it’s simply to stimulate interest in the story through images and visual effects. Music helps convey the tone and maybe the setting.

Making your own book trailer can be a good exercise if you’re suffering from writers block; it’ll help you rediscover what it is that drives your story.

For screenwriters, making a short book trailer is an exercise in storyboarding and building shot lists.

A book trailer might even be an art form in itself.

Most importantly, making a book trailer is fun!

You can make your own trailer using apps and programs such as iMovie, Vine, Movie FX Director, YouTube Editor, Windows Live Movie Maker, Animoto and many others.  I made this trailer for Water Ghosts using Animoto. I made one for Looking for Redfeather with Windows Live Movie Maker.  I’m very much a novice, I’m still learning the ropes and experimenting.

No matter which program you use, make sure you’ve got a lot of good images to choose from — whether your own or stock photos. Keep the text minimal. As David Mamet said, “The job of the film director is to tell the story through the juxtaposition of uninflected images — because that is the essential nature of the medium.” (David Mamet On Directing Film). Don’t ponder too long over that, just jump right in and make a book trailer. You’ll learn what works as you go.

 

 

 

 

 

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Enter for a chance to win Barbados Bound

With Rhode Island Rendezvous, Book Three of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series, on the horizon we’re offering five copies of book one — Barbados Bound — as a give-away through Amazon. To enter the sweepstakes click on the link at the end of the post. We’ll also be giving away some Kindle copies soon.

I came aboard with the prostitutes the night before the ship set sail…

Portsmouth, England, 1760. Patricia Kelley, the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy Barbadian sugarcane planter, falls from her imagined place in the world when her absent father unexpectedly dies, leaving her no means of support.  Raised in a Wiltshire boarding school far from the plantation where she was born, the sixteen-year-old orphan stows away on a ship bound for Barbados in a brash attempt to claim an unlikely inheritance.  Aboard the merchantman Canopus, under contract with the British Navy to deliver gunpowder to the West Indian forts, young Patricia finds herself pulled between two worlds — and two identities — as she charts her own course for survival in the war-torn eighteenth century. 

 Barbados Bound was first published as Star-Crossed in 2006 by Alfred A. Knopf, and chosen by the New York Public Library to be among the Books for the Teen Age – 2007.  The story is basically the same but the author has made minor changes to the manuscript, in some cases replacing words and phrases edited out from Knopf’s Young Adult version.  

 

It all started with a ship. On April 14, 1999, I saw in the newspaper a startlingly anachronistic photograph of a three-masted wooden ship under sail. It looked like it had just sailed out of the eighteenth century. Below it, an intriguing advertisement:

Help wanted: Deckhands to man floating museum…a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sail as crew on Endeavour, the replica of Capt. James Cook’s ship that will visit Hawaii in November. Crewmembers sleep in hammocks slung together on the lower deck.  They must be prepared to go aloft and work the sails at any time of day in any weather, not suffer from chronic seasickness or fear of heights, and be physically fit.  Sailing experience is not essential…

Six months later Bob and I were at the dock in Vancouver, signing ship’s articles.

We spent three weeks aboard the Endeavour, as part of the foremast watch, crossing the Northern Pacific Ocean. We learned the names and functions of the hundreds of lines, sails and spars that power the ship; we learned to climb aloft on the ratlines, stepping out on the foot ropes under the yards to make and furl sail. We took turns steering the ship and were responsible for cleaning and maintaining her in eighteenth-century fashion. We slept in hammocks we strung from the deckhead every evening.

The voyage crew, as we green-but-willing sailors were called, bonded quickly, for we were all in it together and we all felt the same swing of emotions — anxiety, fear, fatigue, exhaustion, sea-sickness, hunger, occasionally resentment – but most of all, exhilaration and awe. For me, those weeks on the Endeavour were nothing short of a time machine.

When Bob and I disembarked in Kona, Hawaii, I carried with me the seeds for a novel. It would not be about Captain Cook or his extraordinary voyages, but it would begin in the mid-eighteenth century aboard a ship much like the one I had sailed on.

It would take me more than five years to research and write the story born aboard Endeavour. In 2006 Alfred A. Knopf published it under the title Star-Crossed, as a stand-alone, young adult historical novel which the New York Public Library chose it to be among the Books for the Teen Age – 2007. I had not written the story for teen readers per se, but I had written about a teenager, from her narrow and still immature perspective. Star-Crossed became Barbados Bound, the first book in a series about a young woman coming of age in the 18th century who tries to find her place in the world, disguised as a man.

Click on the link for a chance to win a trade paperback copy of Barbados Bound; Book One of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series. Open to readers in the United States who have an active Amazon account.

 

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