Talk Like A Pirate Day 2018

September 19, 2018

Ahoy, mates! For the past 23 years, September 19th marks International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Yes, there is such a thing. Read how it all started HERE.

How do you celebrate ITLAPD? Well, you can dress, talk, and act like a pirate, of course. Turns out there are boatloads of ways to get yer pirate on. Order around the scurvy landlubbers at work with the business end of yer cutlass. Drink rum at lunch declarin’ it’s a pirate life for you. Hang out the driver’s window of yer vehicle hollerin’ “move yer aft end!” You can even change your Facebook language to English Pirate (just go to your settings to easily make the switch). Aye, me hearties, there’s tomfoolery to be had.

Need help with yer buccaneer vernacular? Check out this spot-on, cheeky how-to video in proper pirate jargon.

And to help commemorate such a fine day, below is an excerpt to my latest pirate adventure The Righteous Side of Wicked, a Pirates of Britannia and Romancing the Pirate novel coming this December.

Enjoy this raw, unedited sample, ya horn swogglin’ scurvy cur!

***

1730, Late October

Isle of Man, Irish Sea

 

“The devil is afoot.”

Coire might have laughed at the irony in Mr. Shaw’s remark had he not felt the same slick unease slithering up his spine.

Minutes ago, they had weighed anchor and slipped into the night on a hushed breeze, his ship’s belly full of contraband. That they were smuggling gunpowder and firearms hadn’t mattered. Coire and his crew had done countless nefarious deeds, commissioned by landowners, powerful men, and scheming governments. ’Twas what they were good at, a prosperous pirate’s life. But tonight, something was…different. Before the sun tucked under the blueing horizon as the men loaded the last of the hogsheads and smaller barrels, he had noticed the change in the wind. He couldn’t put a finger on it, but the foreboding was there, clinging like thick soot. Even now, the dark waves glittering from the light of the full moon were subdued despite the swift currents. Hardly a sound could be heard save the creak of Kelpie’s hull, a twist in her braces, or whisper of her shrouds. Or so it seemed.

“Best we not get in his way, then, eh, Mr. Shaw? He might find us worthy adversaries to engage.”

The haggard old sea dog’s bushy, graying brows rose as he slowly nodded in amused agreement. “That he may, capt’n. And a grand affair we’d give ’im.” Mr. Shaw cast one last weathered eye out to the darkness before leaving Coire at the railing. He recognized the look in his first mate’s gaze. ’Twas one of longing for warmer climates and friendlier ports. Or maybe Coire directed his own wish upon his interpretation. He wanted to return to the West Indies, resume his privateering ways. And he vowed he would do so…soon.

An unseasonal, low, wispy fog clung to the coastline. Up ahead, Coire could just make out the obscure outline of Peel Castle, the garrisoned administrative center, church, and prison of the west side of the island. Torchlight dotting the castle provided a guide to the open sea and the North Channel beyond.

It had been brazen coming to Man under the nose of the British for more gunpowder to add to their haul. Brazen, but necessary. He and his men would be paid a hefty sum to get the arms and ammunition to Scarba and into the hands of Jacobite rebels. And they had to do so ahead of planned attacks on key locations. Pockets heavy and lined with gold while aiding in the war against the British succession suited Coire just fine. Though he no longer claimed family there, or allegiance for that matter, Scotland was the home of his blood. She and her people deserved better than to be subjected to the whims of an English parliament and her abusive militias. But ’twasn’t his fight.

Kelpie passed the tidal island which the Peel Castle perched upon. More torchlight winked along the battlements. Odd so many lights would be burning at this late hour. A dark silhouette bobbed in the water between the ship and the shore. Was that…a skiff? As soon as he questioned his eyes his topman straddling a cross tree in the mast above him confirmed it.

“Boat, two points starboard bow,” the topman called down.

As the skiff neared, Coire grasped the rail and squinted hard, willing the thin gossamer veil of fog away. What kind of fool would be out in a tiny boat in the middle of the night?

Aw, hell. His imagination must have been running rampant. Was that a…? Could it be?

Mr. Shaw was once again by his side, along with Jonesy, Redd, and a few other crewmen, all wearing confused expressions.

“Do me deadlights deceive me? Is that a…woman?”

“’Twould appear so, Mr. Shaw.” Indeed, by the figure’s slight frame and long tendrils of hair lifting on the tender breeze, ’twas a female manning the oars.

That sinister unease lingering on the fringes of his conscious all evening suddenly pressed down upon him. Whatever this woman was about, whatever reason for her to be out in a rowboat in the middle of the night, it couldn’t be good.

The lass waved valiantly between pulls of the oars while trying to intercept the ship. Coire ordered the sails reefed before they rammed into her and a line thrown. ’Twasn’t long and the girl had a grip on the rope.

“Hello, there.” The woman’s words rushed out in her shortness of breath, yet she smiled. “A fine evening to ya. Permission to come aboard?”

“What are ye doing out here?” In no way was Coire going to blindly invite someone on board whilst he carried sensitive goods, especially a crazy lass paddling out to sea at midnight.

“Ah, well, ’tis a bit embarrassing, see. I was to rendezvous with a, um, friend on the bank. She swiped her shirtsleeve across her brow. Though the night air was cool, she’d be sweaty from the exertion. “I fell asleep waiting and the tide must have come in.”

A tryst, eh? She’d willingly admit to it? Coire wasna so quick to believe her story.

“Why is it then, lass, ye are rowing away from the shore instead of to it?”

“Please, sir. ’Tis a long way back and my arms are tired.” She glanced back toward the craggy shoreline and castle losing its shape in the thickening fog.

“Nay, ’tisn’t too far” he assured her. “I’m certain ye can make it.”

“Capt’n.” Jonesy frowned, worry pinching his brow. “Aren’t we gonna rescue the lady?”

“Rescue? The lady is hardly in distress.”  Not when he had caught a glimpse of two pistols shoved beneath her waistband. In fact, he was beginning to believe she intentionally set out to board his ship.

“I winna make it,” she called up.

“This is not a vessel ye wish to board, lass. That be a veritable truth. I advise ye to return from which ye came before yer journey back becomes overly taxing.”

Mr. Shaw’s jaws flapped, wrestling with the moral obligation of plucking the lass from the water and the problem she would pose if they did. “This ain’t right.”

“On many levels, I’m afraid,” Coire agreed. “We canna fish her out and go back to the wharf. ’Tis too dangerous and we must stay on schedule. We canna put the mission at risk.”

“Please, captain. Ye are the captain, aye?”

He nodded once. “I am.”

The woman’s grin was gone, replaced by a bothered moue. She flung another glance to the island. “There are sharks in these waters.”

“And ye are in a boat,” Coire pointed out.

“What if I sink?”

“Ye’ve a sturdy craft.” Persistent little fluff. “Let go of the rope or I shall cut it.” Coire drew his dirk and gripped the cord.

“But my boat is sinking.”

“I dinna—”

She tugged out a pistol, pointed it at the hull, and fired a shot. Bits of timber exploded. A puff of smoke and the echo of the blast snagged upon the breeze. Water flooded through the resulting hole.

“Shite! Are ya daft?” She was mad! Hell bent and mad!

“My boat is sinking.” Her calmness was unsettling as she tossed the spent pistol to the floorboards.

The lass had an unflinching composure given the speed her vessel took on water. And that she, herself, went to such lengths to board his ship was enough to set warning bells clanging loud between his ears.

“Drop a ladder!” Coire ordered.

He damned near growled at the sight of the girl standing ankle deep in the faltering skiff patiently waiting for the rope ladder. Her dangerous stunt reinforced why Coire did not trust women. They twisted and crooked circumstances to fit their fancy. Manipulating anyone to get what they wanted, even young impressionable men. Most especially young impressionable men.

***

If ye haven’t signed up FOR MY NEWSLETTER for sneak peeks, excerpts, and giveaways, what are you waiting for? Escape into a world full of adventure, rum, fearless pirates, spirited wenches, and swoon-worthy, steamy romance with the Romancing the Pirate series.

Happy International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Fair winds and following seas, mates!


Link of the Week – #cockygate continues

June 5, 2018

Forward motion and a win in the #cockygate debacle from Authors Guild posted on June 1st.

https://www.authorsguild.org/industry-advocacy/authors-guild-rwa-prevail-court-defending-authors-cocky-trademark-dispute/

The court transcript as provided by Courtney Milan.


Link of the Week – #cockygate

May 8, 2018

Here in Romancelandia, we’ve had another kerfuffle that has left us a bit dumbfounded. It has been dubbed #cockygate, among other clever hastags. Seems an author is sending takedown notices to other authors who use the word “cocky” in their titles. This author is threatening legal action if they do not comply. You see, she has a registered trademark on the word. As you might imagine, this isn’t going to go well.

For those of you who haven’t watched this train wreck unfold, here are a few links for your amusement to get you up to date.

One by Legal Inspiration to help decipher what this means.

http://legalinspiration.com/?p=503

Here’s another post by The Digital Reader to show you first hand the goings-on.

https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/05/05/cockygate-faleena-hopkins-has-registered-a-trademark-on-cocky-and-is-using-it-to-threaten-other-romance-authors/

One to a Twitter thread to a well-known, best-selling romance author, Courtney Milan, who also happens to have legal experience.

And now one of our own, who happens to know a thing or two about intellectual property being a lawyer, and all, is about to go after the author like a dog with a bone.

 

 

 


Link of the Week – Amazon and Money Laundering

March 20, 2018

There seems to be no end to scams and the author is always on the raw end of the deal. Read, or watch the short video, on Fortune.com about a money-laundering scheme using independently published authors’ Amazon accounts.

http://fortune.com/2018/02/22/money-laundering-books-amazon/


Link of the Week – Rank Stripping

January 3, 2018

Instead of a Hump Day Kick Start today, I am posting a link to writer David Gaughran’s blog Let’s Get Digital. He outlines one author’s ongoing rank-stripping issue by Amazon. It’s a serious problem for innocent authors following the rules and it’s costing time, ranks, sales and marketing dollars. Ultimately, it’s just another punishment to authors trying to get any type of visibility in Amazon’s crowded marketplace using legitimate marketing techniques. It’s an outrageous abuse by Amazon’s KDP program—stripping ranks, deleting reviews, jacking with but buttons, burying discoverability in favor for Select authors, and more!

This is a must read!

https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/new-year-old-problem-innocent-author-rank-stripped-for-third-time/ 

We need to make a lot of noise over this. We must put on pressure for viable change. Spread the word and let Amazon know how you feel.


Happy Holidays!

December 25, 2017

MuseTracks wishes you a safe, joyous holiday filled with peace, love, and laughter.

 


2017 RWA Orlando in Pictures

August 2, 2017

Did you miss us? Sure you did!

The Romance Writers of America conference was held at Disney’s Mariott Swan and Dolphin last week. Naturally, it was an opportunity to take the kiddos on a magical vacation. So I came to town five days earlier, building memories. Nine to twelve hour days for three days at the Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and the Magic Kingdom. My feet were screaming for mercy before the conference even started. Still, the awe and wonderment in my youngest daughter’s eyes when she met her favorite Disney characters, the laughter and squeals of my oldest daughter as we rode coasters, and the speed at which my hubby whipped out his camera to take pictures of Storm Troopers marching through the park made it all well worth it. Most definitely a vacation to cherish.

After the fam returned home, I stayed behind for the second leg on my Florida stay. I can’t say I was disappointed. How could I be? Workshops, education, networking, inspirational keynote speakers, meeting new friends, hugging old friends, yummy cocktails, and dancing—it was all so wonderful! See for yourself.

Arriving gives me the giggles.

We start off the conference with Level Up workshops on Wednesday. Stacey and I took a Master Class and an Indie Track class, each lasting 2 hours and each chock full of great information.

Intensive Workshop with Mark Dawson.

Another great workshop with Roxanne St. Claire and Kristen Painter.

Thursday was filled with more workshops, book signings, the Golden Heart luncheon, and the Rita Awards. Avon Books sponsored a dance party following the Rita ceremony. Dancing, drinking, laughing, nonsense ensued. It’s not a party until you break your favorite pair of kitten heels.

The Golden Heart luncheon with our friends from our local chapter, Northwest Houston. Amazing ladies, they are.

Posing with our superstar sister and Rita finalist, Sarah Andre.

Dancing the night away!

Drinks while strutting to the music with Rita finalist and fellow Ruby sister, Vivi Andrews.

Fun with friends Chloe, Eliza, & Ruth. Pics were taken for prosperity, of course.

Friday ushered in tired feet, more workshops, the trade show, networking, an impromptu podcast, another luncheon, RWA’s AGM, and volunteering to set up the literacy signing event.

This was just the beginning of getting the massive event set up. Even better when you have friends like Becca St. John (who took this pic) toiling away with you.

Throughout the conference, there were so many opportunities to meet new friends, catch up with old pals, finally meet online buddies, and make connections, usually with a nice relaxing cocktail.

One of my newest friends, my kindred spirit and fellow pirate wench, Chloe Flowers.

Finally meeting in person after being friends for years, Pam Stack, executive producer of Author on the Air Global Radio Network.

Are we ever serious? No…not really.

Stacey chilled with a (literally) smoking drink.

Saturday brought in, you guessed it, more workshops, the leadership breakfast, posing for a new author photo, the literacy signing, and a special book launch for one of my all-time favorite authors, Sherrilyn Kenyon.

2017 Readers For Life Literacy Autographing!

Stacey and Jami, beautiful ladies with beautiful smiles, showing us how it is done!

Lark and I were ready to sell out!

Girl crushing on Sherrilyn Kenyon. What a great way to end the week!

Last night at the Dolphin. So pretty!

No conference trip is complete without the TSA rummaging through my (locked) suitcase. Again.

Musetracks had a great time in Florida. Next year…Denver, Colorado. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.