My Guests Revisiting: Captain Jesamiah Acorne

... recycling some posts from  an old (now deleted) blog of mine that I ran in 2011/2012 
originally published March 2012
by Me and My Pirate

I 'met' Jesamiah on a cold, wet, windy beach in Dorset several years ago. My agent (now ex-agent) wanted me to write something with a fantasy element. I had been researching the history of pirates - so the Sea Witch Voyages were born. How I met Jesamiah - the full story

To me, Jesamiah is a very real person. I know a lot of people I have never met in real life - my friends in the USA and Australia for instance. It just happens that Jesamiah lives in that distant land of Imagination; still at least the communication between us is free!

He was born on December 4th 1693 (and I can't say where because that will be a plot spoiler) He is 5'10, has black, curly hair, dark eyes; is quick to laugh but formidable when angry.

He has a scar above his right eye (the cause is revealed in an e-book novels and several on his body, along with a variety of tattoos. He is lean, muscular - OK, drop dead gorgeous....

His trademark is his famous blue ribbons. (Pirates really did wear ribbons) He likes to give one to the ladies he meets as a keepsake, but they have a more sinister purpose. Made of silk, they are strong, flexible and as he usually has one or two tied into his hair he always has one to hand. When he is planning a raid, or thinking he fiddles with the gold acorn earring he wears, but when he is annoyed, when someone has angered him - beware! If he fiddles with that blue ribbon.... run!  Why? Because a silk ribbon makes a very effective garrote....

Jesamiah ran away to sea when he was almost fifteen years old. His bully of a half-brother had made most of his life a misery, but one event triggered the explosion - on the night when they buried their father, Phillipe taunted Jesamiah once too often - and the victim fought back. Fearing his half-brother's revenge, Jesamiah fled, found his father's friend and went to sea with him. Naturally, that friend, Malachias Taylor, was a pirate and he taught Jesamiah all he knew.

Sea Witch opens with a pirate chase, one Jesamiah has misgivings about. Aboard the anticipated Prize is a young woman, Tiola Oldstagh (say it Tee-o-la Oldstaff) and she is not all she seems....

Sea Witch Voyages
Later, Jesamiah is to meet her again, briefly. Their paths cross and part several times, until on his birthday Jesamiah is attacked by pirate hunters. Close to bleeding to death Tiola finds him, heals him - and thus the romance begins.

The path of love never runs smooth, however, for they are parted, and that bully brother turns up again...
I won't say more because it will spoil the story. You'll just have to read the book.

In the second Voyage - Pirate Code, and subsequent adventures, Jesamiah has given up piracy, but he is a useful man to know and various government officials (Gov Woodes Rogers of Nassau, Gov Alexander Spottiswood of Virginia....) manage to co-erce him into helping out in various dastardly plots. An ex pirate makes an excellent spy.

In Bring It Close Jesamiah helps in the downfall of Blackbeard. Voyage Four, Ripples in the Sand will see him mixed up in with one of the failed Jacobite rebellions, while in Voyage Five On the Account who is the mysterious Nightman? Voyage Six, Jesamiah (as always) is in big trouble - the title of this one will be Gallows Wake.

Trouble follows Jesamiah Acorne like a ship's wake.

And then there is the matter of Tiola, who is not all she seems, for she is a White Witch, and there is Jesamiah's dead father who wishes to make amends, and Tethys, the spirit Goddess of the Sea who wants Jesamiah for her own....

Tiola is on the back cover
In an nutshell (or maybe that should be an acorn husk?) the Sea Witch Voyages are a treasure chest of adventure yarns.

I describe Jesamiah as a blend of Indiana Jones, with a pinch of Jack Sparrow, mixed in with Richard Sharpe and a dash of Hornblower.

available from: Amazon. (or other suppliers)

So, if he had the chance, who would Jesamiah invite a few dinner guests?
As he is something of a lady's man, I would imagine they would all be female, and very possibly famous for one thing in particular...

Nell Gwynne (1650-1687) was a long-term mistress of King Charles II of England, also famous for selling oranges. Samuel Pepys called her 'Pretty, witty, Nell'.

Moll Flanders from a novel written by Daniel Defoe in 1721. The novel's full title gives  insight into the outline of the plot: The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, &c. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.

Molly Malone   'In Dublin's Fair City, where the girls are so pretty, I first laid my eyes on sweet Molly Malone ...' The song tells the fictional tale of a beautiful fishmonger who plied her trade on the streets of Dublin, but who died young, of a fever. In the late 20th century a legend grew up that there was a historical Molly, who lived in the 17th century. She is typically represented as a hawker by day and part-time prostitute by night. Right up a pirate's street.

Helen of Troy I can't imagine Jesamiah not asking the legendary most beautiful woman to dinner; and after all, she does have a connection with ships....

Emma, Lady Hamilton - mistress to Admiral Lord Nelson, so another sea nymph

Cleopatra - certainly a woman on the most famous mistress's list. Mind you, Jesamiah might be equally as attracted to her famous golden barge.

Madame de Pompadour Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, December 1721 – 15 April 1764 was of the French court, and the official chief mistress of Louis XV  from 1745 to her death.

Fanny Hill  is the lead character in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure  an erotic novel by John Cleland first published in 1748 written while the author was in a London  debtor's prison. It is considered to be the first original English prose pornography.

The Sea Witch Voyages
Helen's website

from Amazon
an excerpt from Bring It Close
from a different character's point of view!
buy here for Kindle 

My Guest this week: Alison Morton and An Alternative World View

 Thank you for having me on your esteemed blog, Helen, in the launch week of CARINA.

Now, you asked me what the ‘North America’ of my alternative Roman world looks like. World building is essential in any novel, whether romantic, a thriller, a swords and sandals epic, space opera or pirates on the high seas. We ask readers to abandon Real Life and enter a different world for several precious reading hours, so as writers we’d better get it right!

Key principles of world building are plausibility and consistency. Characters need to act as if their world is perfectly natural to them. This is where they’ve grown up, got their first job or date and the place they have to make sense of by finding their own path through it. In other words, they have the same challenges, opportunities and disappointments we have in our world and time.

Whatever whizzy gadgets the characters use or back-breaking rural work they have to perform, their normality has to be credible and this is done by them interacting with their environment, the structures and people within it in a consistent way. In an Ancient Roman society, your characters would need to make connections with others more powerful than them who would protect them. If not, plan for those characters’ life chances to be cut short in all senses! On a larger scale, characters’ activities are regulated by the way their government works (or doesn’t) and by who holds the power.

The Roma Nova of my books is based on the foundation of small fiefdoms and city states established at the time the Roman Empire was fragmenting. My heroines’ ancestors, who worshipped the traditional Roman deities, left Rome in AD 395 to protect themselves from Christian persecution. You can read the full story here. Their presence as a tough little country robustly dealing with all-comers changed the face of Europe and later the rest of the world. The effect can be compared to ripples after a stone is thrown in a pond or the famous ‘butterfly of doom’ 

Roma Novan village
Roma Nova itself is ‘somewhere in central Europe’ but has borders with the Italian Confederation (Confederatio Italiano) and New Austria (Neuösterreich). As members of the European Economic Area based in Berlin, Roma Nova enjoys friendly relations with Bavaria and Prussia in the German Federation and ‘most favoured nation’ terms with the United Kingdom.

Speaking of which, in the Roma Novan world, the last British Governor-General didn’t leave North America until 1867 and in Carina’s time, Britons still own considerable stretches of land and business interests. The British and Dutch co-ruled Manhattan and the surrounding area from the 1600s, with Britain the junior partner. But in 1813, due to economic and political problems at home, the last Dutch Governor-General sailed out of New York in 1813, leaving the British to rule for another fifty years.

Roma Nova - Constantine Arch
The other colonies on the American continent? The rebellion in the 1770s was a ramshackle affair and the leaders squabbled too much to form a united movement. Wisely, the British granted parliamentary representation, full trading and civic rights equal to those in the mother country. The colonies known as the Eastern United States (EUS) were permitted to expand west to the Mississippi River and north to the Great Lakes with Georgetown (later Washington) as their capital. The territories beyond the original colonies were supposed to be called the Western United States, but the name faded away as the Easterners become dominant.

New York became an autonomous city, although staying within the EUS. Further west lie the Indigenous Nations Territories and the Spanish Empire lands. Louisiane gained autonomy from France under Napoleon V after the Great War of 1925-35 and the République Québecoise shortly before the time of INCEPTIO (Book I in the Roma Nova series), English-speaking Canada is more or less where it is in our timeline. Phew!

INCEPTIO itself starts in New York and from the first sentence you know you are in a different place:

The boy lay in the dirt in the centre of New York’s Kew Park, blood flowing out of both his nostrils, his fine blond hair thrown out in little strands around his head.

Kew Park, not Central Park

Beyond the trees behind it, the windows in the red-brick Dutch highthouses along Verhulst Street threw the full sun back.  

There is no Verhulst Street alongside Central Park.
(In 1625, the real Willem Verhulst oversaw the decision to locate a main fortress and town, New Amsterdam, on the tip of Manhattan Island in the colony of New Netherland. It was the first permanent European settlement, later the city of New York.)

‘If you want to be a real tourist, you could take a trip around the harbour,’ I said. ‘You know, Fort Amsterdam, Hudson statue, Franklin Island. Or a comedy club or a show. Maybe Jonas Bronck’s zoo or a walk around the old Dutch Quarter in Manhattan, or the Georgian lanes.’

None of which exists in our reality, but all of which are credible in the Roma Nova timeline.

Upper Bay near Manhattan
the statue is, of course, Governor Benjamin Franklin
(no Statue of Liberty...)
In my latest book, a novella called CARINA, nearly half of the action takes place in North America. Our heroine lands in Montreal in the République Québecoise. I drew on my own visit there and to Quebec to flesh out the location detail. It’s not entirely inconceivable that this French-speaking part of Canada could have become autonomous by Carina’s time, although it was still a French imperial territory in the 1980s when Aurelia led the action in INSURRECTIO.

Montreal, where Carina and Flavius arrive
on the first night of their mission
We’d brought a supply of Napoleonic louis as well as the livre québecois they’d recently introduced; both were used at present. We had enough for our visit, but on the way back from the supermarché on the Avenue du Mont-Royal we checked out the nearest bank in case we needed more.

This is another essential part of world building. Time has to pass; countries, treaties, governments as well as people should change.

Only about 10% of research should appear in the finished novel; a historical note and links to an author’s website can provide more. Like the Ruritania created by Anthony Hope, or the 1960s Germania of Robert Harris’s Fatherland, I don’t go into too much detail, just enough to set the tone and paint a sketch for the readers to fill in.

I hope you enjoy the world of Roma Nova. Happy reading!

about Alison Morton 

Alison Morton writes the acclaimed Roma Nova thriller series featuring modern Praetorian heroines. She blends her deep love of Roman history with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, adventure and thriller fiction.

All six Roma Nova full-length novels have been awarded the BRAG Medallion. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices.  AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. SUCCESSIO was selected as an Editor’s Choice in The Bookseller. CARINA is a novella set between INCEPTIO and PERFIDITAS.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, Alison has misspent decades clambering over Roman sites throughout Europe. She holds a MA History, blogs about Romans and writing.

Now she continues to write, cultivates a Roman herb garden and drinks wine in France with her husband of 30 years.

Social media links
Connect with Alison on her
Twitter @alison_morton

Buying links for CARINA
Barnes & Noble NOOK

read the review HERE
What’s CARINA about?
Carina Mitela is still a young inexperienced officer in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces. Disgraced and smarting from a period in the cells for a disciplinary offence, she is sent out of everybody's way on a seemingly straightforward mission overseas.

All she and her comrade-in-arms, Flavius, have to do is bring back a traitor from the Republic of Quebec. Under no circumstances will she risk entering the Eastern United States where she is still wanted under her old name Karen Brown.  But when she and Flavius discover a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of Roma Nova, what price is personal danger against fulfilling the mission?

Set in the time after INCEPTIO but before PERFIDITAS in the Roma Nova series, this thriller novella reveals hidden parts of Carina's early life in Roma Nova. And North America isn't quite the continent we know in our timeline...

Visit Discovering Diamonds during December for some
Diamond-themed short stories - one of which is written
by Alison Morton and features Carina.
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Alison is giving away a free (ebook) copy to the person who leaves the most original comment!

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