Link of the Week – St. Elmo’s Fire

October 10, 2017

How about a fun little mix of science and history for this week’s link?  Here’s a post I wrote for History Undressed on St. Elmo’s Fire—the weather phenomenon, not the coming-of-age movie starring the Brat Pack. Check out why superstitious sailors not afraid of the hissing blue sparks shooting off masts.

http://www.historyundressed.com/2017/10/st-elmos-fire-phenomenon-at-sea.html


Link of the Week – Picking a Lock

October 3, 2017

Because picking a lock is a skill. Useful information for all.

Watch the video or read the article. It’s more great fodder from The Art of Manliness.

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/11/19/how-to-pick-a-lock-pin-tumbler-locks/


Link of the Week – Talk Like A Pirate

September 19, 2017

Ahoy, mates! For the past 22 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. Anything from orderin’ around the scurvy landlubbers at work with the business end of yer cutlass to drinkin’ rum at lunch declarin’ it’s a pirate life for you to hangin’ 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 THE LAIRD’S RECKONING released a few months ago.

Enjoy this sample, ya horn swogglin’ scurvy cur!

1726, Tradale Port, Isle of Skye, Scotland

“They’re coming!”

The panic in Sheena’s eyes matched Birk’s racing heart. Their breaths stirred the dust they had kicked up crouching behind the crates. Shouts carried down the alleys, drawing closer.

Sheena gripped his arms. “Go!” Her pleading command rushed out in a hoarse whisper. “Run, before they catch you.”

“Come with me.” It was a desperate attempt to keep Sheena by his side, a selfish one. But he was no fool. If the magistrate found out she helped him escape, his bonny lass would be imprisoned. He couldn’t protect her if he left her behind.

She shook her head, mahogany tresses slipping free from the knot at her crown. “I canna leave my father and Mallabroch Manor.” Gruff voices neared. Her eyes widened, begged. “Please, Birk. If ye are hanged, I’ll kill myself, I swear I will.”

He believed it. By the heavens, he loved his lass. Loved her more than anything this world had to offer. He’d give his life for her. But never would he allow her to give hers for him. Never. “I canna leave you.” He could hardly swallow, the lump of fear wedged tight in his throat. She was his air, the beat of his heart. He was terrified to be without her. Terrified and angry. Angry for the pain marring her beautiful effervescent smile. He swore whoever set him up, accused him of being a false coiner, would pay and pay dearly.

“Ye must go.” She grabbed his face with both hands. “Ye must. For me.”

The tears cresting in those moss green eyes, the tremble in her bottom lip, tore at his soul. What choice did he have? Sheena would not leave her father, her home. This he knew. Her love and loyalty for her da was fierce. Could he really expect her to leave Ramsay, the laird of Mallabroch, alone, as ill as he was? Would he be able to protect her any better on the lam? No. He had no choice. She was a mighty one. She’d be fine, if only he’d let her go. Let her go and run. Damn it, he never ran from anything. He tucked a wayward lock behind her ear. “For you,” he repeated.

A shaky smile accompanied her gusty breath of relief. “I love you, Birk.”

“And I you. More than the moon and stars.” He pressed a kiss to her mouth. “I will clear my name,” he vowed against her lips. “I will come back for you.”

Birk gripped the back of her neck and she deepened the kiss. For a moment, he lost himself with her. The accusations, the magistrate’s guard closing in, his damaged, jaded world faded into the light, musky, floral scent of heather and urgent caress of her lips.

“This way!” The strident shout broke the haze, yanking him back to the present.

“Promise me.” She choked on the words.

Footfalls pounded against the packed dirt.

He could take no more of her agony. Aye. He would see the man who framed him dead. “I promise, mo teine, my fire. I will return for you.”

“Back here! This way!”

Tears streamed down her creamy, flushed cheeks. She nodded once. Without a word, she spun to stand, ready to face the men chasing after him.

Birk took off at a run, dodging barrels and crates, cutting around the buildings on the leading edge the rest of the way through the town to the docks. Behind him, he heard her shrill scream. He pushed hard against the urge to hasten back to her. He had to believe she would be all right. She was a hellcat when provoked. Sheena would be fine. She had to be.

He jumped over a pile of ropes and looped through stacks of lumber. The stench of timber and pitch mixed with brine. Off to the left, a carpenter hammered, the thudding so familiar. Ahead, several stevedores unloaded cargo from a ship. Birk hadn’t thought beyond fleeing the cell which Sheena unlocked. He hadn’t thought to where he’d go. But Sheena had. He was to flee to the only place he’d known—his father’s shipyard. Now as he skidded to a stop in the middle of the yard, realization struck. He had trapped himself between the town and the men coming for him and the sea. Bloody hell. Aye, there was a boat waiting for him somewhere, but would he reach it in time?

Sheena’s plan. Take a skiff across the Sound of Sleat to the mainland. Find a horse in Mallabroch and disappear. It was his only option, though he would rather have her by his side. Running from all the injustices their young lives had suffered, together.

Birk slunk through the maze of planks, boxes, casks, and tools, weaving through the scaffolding beneath the hull of a brigantine. He set his sights to the end of the docks where fishermen cast out in their skiffs. Just as he cleared the last support beam, he came face to face with his father.

Bewilderment flashed across his haggard face but was soon replaced with a flare of venom.

Birk slid his gaze past his father to his cousin rounding the other side of the scaffolding and coming up short. Cam slowly took a step back, as if he hoped not to become entangled in a confrontation.

“Birk.” A sneer crooked his father’s mouth. “Let ye out, did they?” His tone belied he knew the better.

Shouts traveled through the shipyard. His pursuers were nearly upon him.

“Hmph.” The old man lifted his chin and sneered down his nose. “Suppose not.”

“I didna do it, Father.” Speaking truths, hell, speaking at all was lost on the man.

Since birth, Hugh Bane, laird of Creaganbroch Manor, the village of Tradale, and the surrounding lands, had shunned his youngest son—the weak, sickly child who wasn’t expected to live. But his mother refused to accept her little bairn could not grow happy and healthy. Through her love and nurturing, never leaving his side, Birk survived the infant months to become the favorite of her three sons. That didn’t change as he grew a few years older. Hugh had become resentful, claiming his wife mollycoddled Birk. He’d force Birk into harsh labor around the yard, harsher than he should have for a boy his age. This but angered his mother and many fights were waged over Birk. Until his mother fell ill with fever. Upon her final breaths, it wasn’t Hugh she called for, but Birk. And Birk had suffered for it ever since.

Except that he didn’t. He hadn’t let the old man get the better of him. Not after the last time he took a backhand across his face at the age of fifteen.

“Didna do it?” Hugh spat. “’Tis your fault I’ve buried James. Ye and your goddamned defiance.”

And there it was. The blame he’d been burdened with and the guilt that his father was right this time. But that was his cross to bear and he’d be damned to let the old man lay one more thing at his feet. He’d be damned to give him any such satisfaction.

A wicked grin crooked one side of Cam’s mouth. One day, Birk would bloody up that idiot’s face, the toady.

“I didna kill James.”

“Ye did, and ye sullied the Bane name with your thievery.” Hugh, quick as a viper, snatched Birk’s arm. “Cam.”

“Yes, uncle?”

His father’s expression hardened. “Alert the authorities in the yard,” he leaned within an inch of Birk’s face, his eyes darkened with hate, “we have the bastard here.”

Birk had never gotten along with his cousin, but something about the toothy grin splitting Cam’s face didn’t set right with him. ’Twas more than Birk facing certain death at the end of a rope. ’Twas something…triumphant. Cam spun on his heel toward the approaching men.

“May ye rot in hell,” Hugh spewed.

Birk wrenched his arm free and leaned in even further, a hair’s breadth from the man. “Ye first.”

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 – Reading Bourbon Labels

September 12, 2017

This week’s link comes from one of my favorite blogs, The Art of Manliness. And it’s a great link for anyone who likes bourbon. I, myself, went through

a spell of consuming copious amounts of Jim Beam in my youth. Good times…good times…

There are distinctions between the varying types of bourbons. This link, How to Read a Bourbon Label, gives the skinny on bourbon terminology and provides a guide for consumers when buying the next bottle of whiskey. Cheers!

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2017/08/25/read-bourbon-label/


Link of the Week – Clearing a Building

August 22, 2017

Whether for your own personal knowledge or for authors who write suspense, time travel, fantasy, sci-fi, military, and the like, today’s link is detailed post on how to clear your home or other structure of intruders. It’s from one of my favorite blogs, The Art of Manliness. The post talks about safety and gives you the best chances for survival, including how to hold your weapon, the best weapon of choice, how to utilize decor to your advantage, and the tactics used for clearing stairs, halls, corners, and rooms with closed doors.

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2017/07/12/safely-clear-home/


Link of the Week – Kindle and Clickfarms, WTH?

August 8, 2017

Clickfarm employee

I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. As a consumer, I love the ease of shopping with them. As an author, I am in no way happy with their changing book-selling landscape, their elusive algorithms, the near impossible discoverability on their search engines, and how difficult it is to make sure I’m getting paid correctly. I’m very much aware of pirate sites and scammers hanging around on Amazon and stealing MY money. And I am aware Kindle Unlimited is flawed. But I had no idea just HOW flawed. I have been apparently (and blissfully) clueless of scammers that are also authors. Clueless of clickfarms. Clueless of the unethical manipulations of popular Amazon lists—the coveted lists that also help spread author names and titles to more Amazon readers. This not only affects hard-working (starving) authors, it affects readers, too. So why isn’t Amazon doing anything about it?

Read more (in detail) here on this post by David Gaughran and what we can do to make changes (she says with only a shred of hope).

https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/scammers-break-the-kindle-store/


Link of the Week – Amazon’s Buy Button (and it sucks)

June 20, 2017

So Amazon has quietly made more changes in the selling of books. One that seems to benefit everyone but the author. Third-party sellers can now “win” the Buy Box. What does that mean? It means this seller would be listed as the default for the Buy Button. It means that these third-party

Book Burn Open Knowledge Hot Fire Paper Old

sellers can mark books down to whatever price they want (so long as the meet some Amazon criteria…haha).  It also means that slices into any profit the author MIGHT make. I say might because there are various ways these third-party sellers can get their hands on “new” copies that would cut the author completely out of the sale. And it could mean that potential customers may only have a third-party seller as a choice to buy from.

This went into effect back in March and a buzz about it was made last month, but it has only been recently that authors have noticed and/or felt the pinch.

To read more about it, check out the links below to articles from Publisher’s Weekly and Huffington Post (with visuals). Definitely worth the read.

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/73542-new-amazon-buy-button-program-draws-ire-of-publishers-authors.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/590b309be4b05279d4edc31f