Tag Archives: Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series

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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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Beyond Research: Creating Verisimilitude in Historical Fiction

Beyond Research I. _002-page-0 - CopyHere are a few of the slides from my power point outline, Beyond Research, shared at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s spring Genre Con, May 14, at Table Mountain Inn in Golden, Colorado. The keynote and morning session was given by Kristin Nelson and Angie Hodapp of Nelson Literary Agency. The afternoon was devoted to craft in genre breakout sessions.

Rebecca Bates — Mystery  Linda Collison — Historical Fiction  Nathan Lowell — SciFi/Fantasy

Bernadette Marie — Romance   Aaron Michael Ritchey — YA

The works-in-progress of the writers in my group is indicative of the wide spectrum of historical novels being written and published today. Our stories include historical mystery, historical fantasy, historical paranormal, historical adventure, literary historical, family sagas, fictional memoir, and contemporary novels with strong historical elements.  Interest in historical fiction has never been stronger.

The importance of setting is something all historical fiction has in common — and it’s generally agreed that these stories takes place before the author was born, usually set 50 years or more in the past. Setting isn’t arbitrary; a story happens in a particular place and time for a reason. Setting affects character, plot, mood, and tone.  Beyond Research D._013-page-0

But how do we go beyond gathering events, dates, and second-hand details to make our setting feel real? How can we bring first-hand authenticity to the page?

While there are effective techniques a writer can use to enhance setting, credibility can’t really be crafted. The old “write what you know best” is what leads to convincing settings.

To tap into our own individual wells of verisimilitude we discussed our personal connections to our stories.  I asked the group to consider:

What drew you to write about your particular time & place? How did you fall in love with your setting? What problems does your character face that are inherent to the setting?

What areas of expertise do you have; what skills, hobbies, and life experiences can you take back to the past with you to enrich your story and add meaningful and credible detail?

For me, it was my sailing experiences and my nursing experiences. Another woman has a biomedical background, having worked for the Federal Drug Administration. She takes her 21st century knowledge in writing about medieval herbalists and apothecaries. Several writers had a deep interest in genealogy and were writing novels based on the immigration stories of their own ancestors. These personal connections and experiences give our stories conviction and authority and direct our focus. We bring our own past and passions to the page.

Discovering your personal connection to the story and using it with authority gives your work verisimilitude.  It’s also part of your author platform. Be sure to mention it in your bio; use it to engage your readers.

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