Link of the Week – Evading

September 25, 2018

This is great info for authors. Also awesome for those running from enemy soldiers, super intelligent zombies, post-apocalyptic bounty hunters, your children. Never know when you might need to disappear for a while.

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/04/18/how-to-escape-and-evade-a-tracker/


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 – Dear Jeff

June 19, 2018

I’m loving this!

USA Today Best-selling author Suzan Tisdale writes an open letter to founder and chief executive officer of Amazon about the cheating, thievery, and other big problems with Kindle Direct Publishing and the Kindle Unlimted program. A must read!

An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos


Link of the Week – Winter Writing Festival 2018

January 9, 2018

It’s time once again for the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival. Time to kick your writing into high gear.

winterwritingfestfacebookimageThrough the bleakest part of winter–January 10, 2018, thru February 28, 2018–the much-anticipated EIGHTH Annual Ruby Winter Writing Festival will be here to keep your creative fires burning with support, advice, inspiration, and regular writing sprints in our chat room. There are fun prizes for participants all along the way, including books, critiques, gift cards and Ruby-inspired gifts.

Unlike NaNoWriMo and other writing challenges that have a one-size-fits-all approach, the Ruby Winter Writing Festival is designed for you by busy, hard-working women: i.e., we schedule it for AFTER the holidays, and we let you DESIGN YOUR OWN approach to “winning” so it actually fits in with your real life

No matter what stage you’re at right now (brainstorming, plotting, free-writing, fast-drafting, slow-drafting, revising, layering, polishing…or any combination of the above) the Ruby Winter Writing Festival can help you reach your goals.

Get more detailed details at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog on the Opening Ceremony here.

Check out the great advice for a successful Winter Writing Festival at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood’s Blog here.  Or better still, bookmark the Ruby Slippered-Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival website!

http://www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/announcing-the-2018-winter-writing-festival/

http://www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/goal-setting-advice-for-the-winter-writing-festival-2/

http://www.rsswwf.com/

http://www.rsswwf.com/about/


Happy Halloween

October 31, 2017

MuseTracks wishes you a safe, fun, spooky Halloween!


Friday Fun Facts- Hugs,We Need ‘Em!

September 8, 2017

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This will be short and sweet. We need hugs.

Why? Check out this:

  1. It feels freaking good!
  2. Holding a hug for an extended time will boost levels of serotonin which elevates mood and happiness.
  3. They will strengthen your immune system.Big-Hearts-Deserve-Big-Hugs
  4. Oxytocin is boosted! This alleviates feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
  5. This special nurturing touch will build feelings of trust and communication.
  6. There is a saying by Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
  7. They lower your blood pressure, especially helpful if you are feeling anxious.download
  8. They lower your cortisol levels (stress hormone) which will enable you to sleep better.
  9. They can increase your social connections and feed your sense of belonging. This in turns amps up your sense of safety and security.
  10. Most all of this science is based on a really good hug for at least 20 seconds!
  11. They trigger an increase in dopamine! Low levels of dopamine are linked to Parkinson’s and depression.This is your PLEASURE hormone. Go get a fix!

There are even more reasons to give and get good hugs, more than I can include here. With the craziness of our world, the devastation of Harvey and Irma, and so many more upsetting everyday occurrences, we need a steady dose of these marvelous things. There is NO downside.2-hug

I’ll start- Sending you a virtual hug!


Harvey Will Not Win!

September 2, 2017

texas_flag

“I’m not a Texan. I don’t adore the Lone Star State. I’m a transplant who’s lived in Austin for the last four years. I can’t name the state fish, I don’t understand the thing with mums at Homecoming, and I think chicken fried steak sucks. I don’t care about Friday Night Lights.

But I married into a Texas family. A Texas family with crazy deep roots. My wife is a direct descendant from the Texas Revolution. Through my marriage, I get a front row seat to all things that filter through the Texas lens. I’ve learned a lot about bluebonnets and Whataburger. I know the difference between casual allegiance with Texas colleges, what it really means to be a Longhorn, and the difference between good salsa and crap that came out of a jar.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned as an outsider looking in, it’s that there’s a sense of purpose to these people like I’ve never seen. A central passion runs through Texans unlike any other American identity. Pride percolates here. It’s something people who aren’t from Texas just can’t grasp. We may have a docile sense of civic pride for our hometowns, but nothing like this state demands of its residents.

The Texas flag flies as high as the American flag, while the state Capitol is just a smidge taller than the U.S. Capitol, because – Texas. There are Texas flags on everything. And folks all over this huge collection of miles expect a reverential obsession from those who choose to take up this address, if only for a while.

That sense of purpose and absolute unwillingness to bend in their pride is why Texas will only become stronger in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Before Texas, I spent seven years in New Orleans, a place that knows about heartbreak and flooding. To love New Orleans is to love the city. But a New Orleanian ain’t much of a Louisianan, despite them being hand in hand. They’re two different cultures. But here, even if you’re from the Panhandle or live along the Gulf of Mexico, you still adore this state and will bond together under that flag, that symbol.21192590_10213998119964673_278738989981716636_n

Typically, cities talk smack on one another, and the outlying country towns don’t want anything to do with the big cities and their completely different personalities. There are liberals and conservatives, cowboys and city slickers, white folks, brown folks, black folks and every shade in between wearing cowboy boots. This place has many stories, many sides to the dice.
Harvey took many lives. It dumped acres of water onto the streets of Houston, decimated Rockport, and flooded Galveston and cities and towns across southeast Texas. But Texas will lick its wounds. Texas will come back bigger and better, and brighter and with more Texas-ness than you can imagine. Texans cannot allow for their diamonds to go unpolished. The thought of a place in Texas where local culture dies just doesn’t feel right. There are no places where the roads are unfinished, or the buildings lie in ruins – that would go against everything these people have known their whole lives: This land is precious and it is our birthright.

…….. H-E-B and Buc-ee’s, two Texas brand giants, came to the rescue, offering shelter, food, showers, and support. Mattress Mack, a Houston mattress maven, opened his warehouses so folks could get a good night’s rest. The people here know a love that moves deeper than their sense of pride – it’s a calling of purpose.

You cannot count Texas out. There’s no other state in our union that could handle this hurricane. New York has taken its lumps. New Orleans knows what loss feels like, but this is a monster named Harvey that we’ve never seen before. Who better to challenge Harvey head-on than Texas? They’ll do it wearing an Astros cap and with a twisted smile, daring that water to take a piece of the land they love so much.”texas

Robert Dean is a writer and journalist living in Austin.