Tag Archives: historical nautical fiction

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Women on board

Transgenders serving on ships is nothing new.

I’ve long been interested in women on ships in the Age of Sail — particularly women posing as men, passing as men, doing what was considered men’s work. This interest arose when I signed aboard HM Bark Endeavour, a sailing replica of Captain James Cook’s historic ship, and lived the life of an 18th century seaman for three weeks. This life included heaving, hauling, standing watch, taking my trick at the helm, and going aloft, out on the yard arm to make and furl sail. It included stringing my hammock from the deckhead, snug alongside the other recruits, and taking my turn in the galley. (Although my husband was aboard as crew too, we never once slept together — nor did we even sleep next to each other!) What I learned was that although the work is hard and requires some training, it doesn’t require a Y chromosome.

I’m not by definition transgender. Nor is my fictional character — though in her mid-18th century world she has found it more convenient to be male than female. Actually, she’s found it expedient to be male.  The term transgender first appears in 1974, according to Miriam Webster’s online dictionary, so the concept, as such, doesn’t exist in my series. But the problems are similar: Individuals not allowed to serve in the military because of their apparent sex.

As I’m writing my way through Patricia’s story in the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventures, I’ve learned a lot about life in the 18th century from a female perspective  — a young white female of British heritage. Much depended upon parentage and social standing.  Much depended on luck. And of course much depended on their sex.

Hannah Snell, Royal Marine. Born 1723, died 1792. Buried with the old soldiers at Chelsea Hospital, which was her wish.

The Age of Sail was an Age of War. The emerging nations of Europe waged battles — entire wars — at sea. The need for sailors, marines, and craftsmen continued for several centuries, offering a few hardy and daring females an opportunity to escape social and economic confines, to find adventure – or maybe they were just looking for three meals a day and a hammock to sleep in. For a destitute young woman, life aboard a ship was safer than life on the streets.

What we know about these desperate imposters comes mostly from naval records, broadsheets, and the romanticized biographies and fictionalized memoirs written by or about these cross-dressing or transgender figures. One of the most well known and well documented 18th century female soldier/sailor was Hannah Snell who served first as a soldier in General Guise’s regiment, then as a Royal Marine in Frasier’s Regiment under the name of James Grey. She saw action and was wounded several times in India  “Here is a Woman, and an English Woman, who, notwithstanding the many Dangers and Vicissitudes she underwent for near the Space of five Years, during her Travels, was never found out to be of the feminine Gender.” — from The Female Soldier; the Life and Surprising Adventures of Hannah Snell. (Project Gutenberg) Hannah herself couldn’t write but she sold her story to a London publisher Robert Walker. After she left the service she performed military drills on stage in costume and sang military songs and The Gentleman’s Magazine reported her story for its readers’ enjoyment.  Hannah Snell’s story is unusual in that the Royal Hospital recognized her military service and granted her a pension.

Stories like Hannah Snell’s have inspired my historical novels. I’m not out to prove that cross-dressing or transgender women existed — we know they did — but to explore why they chose that path and how they might have carried it off. Although Hannah Snell’s memoir (published anonymously but likely penned by her publisher) claims finding her estranged husband was her inciting reason, I suspect that was a literary convenience for the publisher, and one the readers might readily accept. The chance of her finding her errant seaman husband was slim — but the chance of her earning a living was guaranteed. Not to mention respect, opportunity, adventure — and a pension.

There may not have been great numbers of cross-dressing women on board ships in the Age of Sail. But there were some. They existed. They carried it off. At least, for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Prodigal’s homecoming – Keogh’s voyage

Self-Publishing: What used to be the last resort of an amateur writer is becoming Plan A for many professional authors wanting more control over their creations — and more revenue from their sales.  For a growing number of authors it’s at least Plan B. That is, we initially published with a traditional or independent press but soon felt we could do a better job ourselves, selling the book for less (and keeping all of the revenue instead of the standard ten to fifteen percent). Of course there are production and marketing costs — which are large — but fully under our own control. Authors as publishers — it’s becoming the new norm.

One such author is S.K. Keogh who is pleased to announce The Prodigal, book one of The Jack Mallory Chronicles, has recently been re-released — this time with Leighlin House Publishing, an imprint she owns and operates. Book two, The Alliance, and  Book three, The Fortune, are already sailing under the Leighlin House banner. The fleet is together now, with Keogh at the helm.

If you’re new to S.K. Keogh’s historical fiction, the stories are realistic adventures set in Colonial America during the age of piracy. Rousing good reads, they feature the anti-hero protagonist Jack Mallory — along with other compelling and complex characters, both male and female.

Susan (S.K.) and I have long been supportive of each other’s work. I asked her to share some of her thoughts and experiences on writing and publishing with us, in conjunction with the news of Prodigal’s re-release.

 

WHEN YOUR [BOOK] CHILD RETURNS HOME

S.K. Keogh

I’m sure my writing journey is similar to that of other writers of my generation (I’m 52). Growing up, I was an avid reader, and that interest naturally morphed into a desire to write my own stories. First young adult, then Westerns, then contemporary, now historical. None of my early works ever made it to the world of publishing, of course.

Back then submitting a novel to publishers meant writing query letters (the physical kind you sent through the U.S. mail, not the electronic kind) to the myriad of publishing houses, most in New York City, after scouring the thick Writers Market listings for someone interested in your genre. (Nowadays you can’t even query a New York publisher without an agent to do it for you.) Then, if you were lucky, an editor would request to see your manuscript, and you’d cram that ream of paper into a box, say a prayer, and mail it through the U.S. postal service.

Much has changed since those days, and I’m not just referring to the process of querying. Now the publishing industry has shrunk to three options for today’s writers: get an agent who can query the handful of big publishers (who won’t invest much time or money into you because you are an unknown); directly query small publishing houses (who have even less money for promotions than the big houses); or self-published.

In 2012, my historical action/adventure novel, The Prodigal, was published through a small press. I won’t go into all the gory details, but let me just say it wasn’t what I expected. My displeasure grew over the years, so I decided to start proceedings to reacquire my rights to the novel. I’m happy to say, I succeeded and have just re-released The Prodigal under my own imprint.

Yep, independently published, just like the two novels that follow The Prodigal — The Alliance and The Fortune.

To me, with a lesser-read genre like nautical fiction written by a relative unknown, independent publishing is a viable option. Small publishers take most of your money and give you very little in return. You might as well keep your rights, publish your work with the cover and content you want, work your tail off to promote it (which is what you would do even with a small press), and collect the majority of the profit yourself. Why shouldn’t you? You’re the one who did all the work. Research is costly. Promoting can be costly. Writing is not easy. And neither is publishing.

But that book is your baby, your blood, sweat, and tears. And sometimes it’s better to keep it at home (self-publish) then let it go out into the wide, wild world of indifferent publishing houses. There’s nothing wrong with that. I know I’m happy that my baby came home.

The Prodigal

A story of relentless pursuit, betrayal, and revenge:

As a young boy Jack Mallory knows horror and desolation when James Logan and his pirates murder his father and abduct his mother. Falsely accused of piracy himself, Jack is thrown into jail. He survives seven years in London’s notorious Newgate prison and emerges a hardened man seeking revenge.
His obsession with finding his mother’s kidnapper drives him to the West Indies where he becomes entangled with a fiery young woman named Maria Cordero. With a score of her own to settle with James Logan, she disguises her gender and blackmails Jack into taking her aboard his pirate brig, Prodigal, in his desperate search for Logan. Their tumultuous relationship simmers while Jack formulates a daring plan to rescue his mother and exact revenge upon Logan for destroying his family. But Logan has no intentions of losing what he now treasures more than life itself—Jack’s mother, Ella.

 

Find out more about the Jack Mallory trilogy and forthcoming works on S.K. Keogh’s author website and on Goodreads. Follow her on Facebook and as @JackMallory on Twitter.

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

White witches, pirates, and night walkers, oh my!

HHSW%20Spread[1]

“To fight pirates, you use a pirate. Acorne will suit very well.”

“And you think you can trust him?”

“I do not trust him in the slightest. Which is why I want you to keep close eye on him. It will stick in your craw like a fish bone, but I want you to see he stays alive, finds me that casket, and…”

— from On The Account by Helen Hollick.

Ever dream of spending a summer at sea? If you missed the boat this year, you can still create your own virtual summer cruise by reading a selection of entertaining nautical-inspired fiction. One of this summer’s best salty beach reads is On the Account, volume 5 in Helen Hollick’s Sea Witch series, a succession of adventures in which the seasoned author spices adult pirate fiction with fantasy and racy romance. White witches, pirates, and night walkers, oh my!

Set in the early 1700s, the Sea Witch stories are grounded in history but Hollick’s make-believe world is charmed with some characters who command varying degrees of supernatural abilities. Jesamiah Acorne is a roguish merchant trader and captain of the Sea Witch. His wife Tiola is a witch; her dear friend Maha’dun, a beguiling night walker with a heightened sense of hearing — and an inherent fear of water. And then there is the murdurous Cara’mina, Lady of the Night Walkers who complicates matters exceedingly.  A lost wife, a casket of diamonds, a bone stone pendant, a past affair, a love child — Acorne’s quest in On The Account leads him out of a Briston gaol and into deep and treacherous waters.  Meanwhile, Tiola has her own troubles staying alive and keeping her husband from being killed.

Hollick writes in an engaging, seemingly effortless style; her characters spring to life through dialogue and plot twists. I like that Tiola has her own adventures (and friendships) apart from her husband and co-protagonist — even though they are trying to reunite. (And what woman hasn’t wished she could send messages telepathically to her mate, and even read his mind? Well, not ALL of his thoughts…) But Jesamiah won’t be subdued, though he loves his Tiola. He’s an anti-hero, an adventurer — and we forgive him his occasional indiscretions. As for the wily night walker Maha’dun, he tries his best to steal the show.

About the author:

Helen Hollick lives on a thirteen-acre farm in Devon, England. She wrote pony stories as a teenager, moved to science-fiction and fantasy, before discovering past lives in historical fiction. Published for over twenty years with her Arthurian Trilogy, she became a ‘USA Today’ bestseller with Forever Queen,  fiction based on the life of Emma of Normandy. Helen is Managing Editor for the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews. Check out her website  Helen Hollick’s World of Books.  

But it’s the ocean that connects Helen and I. I had the pleasure of meeting her in London; we were both on the nautical historical fiction panel at the 2012 Historical Novel Society Convention — along with authors Margaret Muir, Rick Spilman and David Davies. What I’ve learned from Helen is to have confidence in your characters, be bold in plotting, and take chances — lots of chances. As Helen says, you must write the book you want to read. I admire her ability to capture character with dialogue and her craft at weaving a good story.

On The Account, book 5 of the Sea Witch Series is available on Amazon. I believe I spy a sixth book in the offing…

OnTheAccount-2016-promo-OutNow-WEBCaptain Jesamiah Acorne is in trouble. Again. Arrested for treason and smuggling, believing his beloved ship, Sea Witch, lies wrecked on England’s North Devon coast, his only hope of escaping the noose is for someone to quash the charges. That someone turns out to be his ex-lover – but there’s a price to pay. He needs to find a boy who has disappeared, and a valuable casket that more than one person wants to get their hands on. When people start getting murdered and Barbary pirates kidnap his wife, Tiola, his priorities rapidly change – but who is lying about what? Is returning to piracy a wise idea? Is Tiola having an affair with her mysterious Night-Walker ‘friend’? Meanwhile, Tiola has her own battle to fight – keeping herself and Jesamiah alive!

 

August 2014

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save