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Monday 30 November 2015


Join a selection of eight fabulous authors 
over the next eight days for our 
Holiday Historical Fiction Blowout!
Dec 1st - 8th
A different author every day 
and a chance to buy some e-books for  only 99p / 99c each
(limited offer for the tour only)
That's eight books for under £8/$8

My contribution for December 5th
     let's go somewhere HOT...
         how about...?
            The Caribbean...
               The Early 18th Century...
                   At Sea... With Pirates?

So what was so 'golden' about the Golden Age of Piracy? Apart from the plundered loot - gold, silver and other valuables, not a lot really. It is one of those rather daft sayings like "The Glorious War" or "The Swinging Sixties" (war is never glorious and were the sixties really swinging?)

Piracy, let's face it, was the terrorism of the eighteenth century (still is, come to that - piracy has never gone away!)

Buy Sea Witch - special offer 99c/99p
On the other hand, maybe we only believe that pirates were ruthless killers who tortured and terrorised because these are the only ones we know about? The only ones reported in the newspapers of the day. Similar to modern news on TV or in the papers, it is always the doom and gloom that gets reported. Nice pirates were not newsworthy, nasty ones were. And rich merchants were getting poorer because of pirates, so for the ordinary person, who didn't much like the greed of the rich merchants pirates were very popular. They stole from the rich... so who cared? Don't we feel a little bit the same even now? Sir Mon E Bags gets burgled. No one is hurt but Lady Mon E Bags has had her precious diamonds nicked. Well, so what? She's insured isn't she? 

The eighteenth century is also 'famous' for the start of the African Slave Trade when thousands were transported, against their will, often tortured and murdered; those poor souls who died in appalling conditions in transit across the Atlantic. Many of our huge companies today were founded on the money made by the rich who owned lucrative plantations in the Caribbean and the Colonies - the cotton mill owners, the sugar and its off-shoot, rum, producers; the tobacco industry... Is the way they made their money really any worse than those chaps who found themselves a boat and sailed the Caribbean or the African coast in search of an easy-come fortune?

Not all pirates were as evil as the infamous (mentally deranged I'm sure) Blackbeard. He even shot members of his own crew! Most pirates didn't want a fight. All they wanted was the loot - and the easier they could get it the better. They would cruise the seas, spot a likely-looking vessel and attack with a lot of noise and a lot of threatening behaviour, but often, not much else. The ideal was for their prey to be so frightened the Chase would heave-to and surrender: "take our gold but don't harm us". Which is how most of these robberies took place.

Modern day equivalent would be for a balaclava-wearing guy dashing into a bank waving a toy pistol shouting a lot and running off with a bag full of hastily-grabbed banknotes. (Or maybe bankers swindling us and their banks out of the (we thought) safely stored savings? What's worse, robbery by bravado or robbery by  bankers' stealth and fraud? I say the latter.)

Most pirates did not get rich. Most spent their few gold and silver pieces in the nearest tavern on booze and buxom wenches. The idea of buried treasure, is, sadly, a myth.

So why do we like pirates and pirate stories? Errol Flynn, Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow.. .my own Jesamiah Acorne?

Well, I think the 'Golden Age' was bright and shiny because it was an age of derring-do, of adventure and High Sea drama. Where every day, every hour, could be your last. Where the life aboard a pirate ship was the only freedom these men (and women!) could find for themselves; where a few adventurous souls fought back against the wealthy - the merchants, the East India Company, the politicians and big-wigs of the day. Where ordinary people thought of pirates as brave heroes and where, if you were a pirate and if you were lucky you might be able to make a fortune. And if you didn't, well life was short, but as a pirate it could at least be a merry one!
Buy Sea Witch - special offer 99c/99p
I wrote Sea Witch as a swashbuckling adventure with a dash of believable fantasy thrown in for good measure. I wanted to read a book that had the same fun and action as Errol Flynn and Johnny Depp - a sailor's yarn about pirates. With gold-tinted glamour seen through very rosy-tinted glasses. A charmer of a rogue for the lead, a beautiful woman for his lover - and James Bond / IndianaJone style adventures for the plot; where, for my protagonist, Captain Jesamiah Acorne, trouble follows him like a ship's wake.... You know he'll get out of it (as Bond, Indians Jones et al always do) but the fun is discovering how he gets out of it! Therein lies the adventure!

Here's how the first Voyage of the Series, Sea Witch, begins:

Mermaid was moving fast, the ship bowling along with her sails filled, the canvas billowing, cordage creaking and straining. She climbed over the next wave, her bow lifting to linger a moment before swooping down into another deluge of spray. Completing the see-saw movement her stern soared high as the roller trundled beneath her keel. The wind smelt of hot, dry and dusty land, of jungle and grass savannah. Of Africa.

The look out, clad in an old shirt and sailor's breeches was perched high in the crosstrees, one hundred and thirty feet above the deck. Excited, he pointed to the horizon. "Over there Jesamiah, that's where I saw 'er. I swear I saw a sail!"

With the ease of years of practice, Jesamiah Acorne stepped from the rigging on to the narrow platform that swayed with the lift and plunge of the ship. He hooked his arm through a t'gallant shroud and brought his telescope to his eye, scanned the ocean. Nothing. Nothing except a flat expanse of blue emptiness going on, unbroken, for twenty miles. And beyond that? Another twenty, and another. These were the waters of the Gulf of Guinea, the huge stretch of sea beneath the bulb of land where the trade wealth of West Africa was turned into fat profit: gold, ivory and slaves. The African coast, where merchants found their plentiful supply of human misery and where an entire ship's crew could be wiped out by fever within a week. Where pirates hunted in search of easy prey.

The crew of the Mermaid were not interested in slavers or the foetid coast. Their rough-voiced, ragged-faced Captain, Malachias Taylor, had more lucrative things in mind - the sighting of another ship, preferably a full-laden, poorly manned merchantman with a rich cargo worth plundering. "What can y'see?" he shouted from the deck, squinting upwards at his quartermaster, the relentless sun dazzling his eyes. His second-in-command, Jesamiah, like his father before him, was one of the best seamen Taylor knew.

"Nothing! If young Daniel here did see a sail he has better sight than I 'ave," Jesamiah called down, the frustration clear in his voice. All the same, he studied the sea again with the telescope.

Jesamiah Acorne. Quick to smile, formidable when angered. Tall, tanned, with strong arms and a seaman's tar-stained and callused hands. His black hair fell as an untidy chaos of natural curls to his shoulders, laced into it, lengths of blue ribbon which streamed about his face in the wind, the whipping ends stinging his cheeks. The ladies ashore thought them a wonderful prize when he occasionally offered one as a keepsake.

If there was a ship, Daniel would only have glimpsed her highest sails, the topgallants; the rest of her would still be hull down, unseen below the curve of the horizon. "I think you had too much rum last night, my lad," Jesamiah grinned. "Your eyes are playing tricks on you."

Young Daniel was adamant. "I saw her I say. I'll wager m'next wedge of baccy I did!"

"You know I cannot abide the stuff," Jesamiah chuckled good-natured as he stretched out his arm to ruffle the lad's mop of hair. He had turned his back on anything to do with tobacco - except stealing it - seven years ago when his elder brother had thrown him off their dead father's plantation, with the threat he would hang if ever he returned. But then, Phillipe Mereno was only a half brother and he had always been a cheat and a bully. One day, for the misery of his childhood, Jesamiah would find the opportunity to go back and finish beating the bastard to a pulp.

Out of habit he touched the gold charm dangling from his right earlobe: an acorn, to match the signet ring he had worn since early youth. Presents from his Spanish mother, God rest her soul. She had always thought the acorn, the fruit of the solid and dependable oak tree to be lucky. It had been the first word to come to mind when he had needed a new name in a hurry. Acorne, with an "e" to make the name unique, and his own. About to shut the telescope a flash caught his eye and Jesamiah whisked the bring-it-close upwards again. The sun reflecting on something?

"Wait. Damn it, Daniel - I've got her!" The sudden enthusiasm carried in an eager flurry as he shouted down to the deck, his words greeted by a hollered cheer from the rag-tag of men who made the Mermaid's crew.

Even the usually dour-faced Malachias Taylor managed a smile. "Probably a slaver," he muttered, "but we'll set all sail an' pay her a visit." His gap-toothed smile broadened into a grin. "She might be wantin' company, eh lads?"

Aye she might, but not the sort of company the Mermaid would be offering! 

This week ONLY 
(also available on NOOK and KOBO)

visit my Amazon Author Page here
There are seven other fabulous authors 
taking part in the 
Historical Fiction Blowout
- do visit their blogs!

December 1st : A Similar Taste in Books – Linda Banche
Historical Period: Regency
A sweet, traditional Regency romantic comedy novella, but not a retelling of "Pride and Prejudice". 

December 2nd : Kingdom of Rebels –  Derek Birks
Historical Period: Fifteenth Century – the Wars of the Roses
When all hope is gone, only death lies in wait…

December 3 : Search for the Golden Serpent (Servant of the Gods, Book 1) – Luciana Cavallaro 
Historical period – 600 BCE Ancient Greece
An unwilling participant finds himself entangled in an epic struggle between the gods and his life.

December 4 : Children of Apollo (Eagles and Dragons – Book I) –Adam Alexander Haviaras
Historical Period:   The Roman Empire, A.D. 202
At the peak of Rome’s might a dragon is born among eagles, an heir to a line both blessed and cursed by the Gods for ages. 

December 5 :  Sea Witch (Voyage One) –  Helen Hollick
Historical Period: The Golden Age of Piracy – 1716
Escaping the bullying of his elder half brother, from the age of fifteen Jesamiah Acorne has been a pirate with only two loves - his ship and his freedom. But his life is to change when he and his crewmates unsuccessfully attack a merchant ship off the coast of South Africa…

December 6 : INCEPTIO – by Alison Morton
Historic Period: Modern/Roman (alternate history)
Karen Brown, angry and frightened after surviving a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice - being eliminated by government enforcer or fleeing to mysterious Roma Nova, founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women…

December 7 : Men of the Cross (Battle Scars I) –  Charlene Newcomb
Historical period: Medieval - 12th century
War, political intrigue and passion… heroes… friends and lovers… and the seeds for a new Robin Hood legend await you…

December 8 : Flavia's Secret – by Lindsay Townsend
Historical Period:    Ancient Roman Britain, 206 AD
As the wild mid-winter festival of Saturnalia approaches, many lives will be changed forever.

Thank you for supporting us -
have a very Merry Christmas! 

(Looking formy contribution to the IndieBRAG Christmas Hop? CLICK HERE )

IndieBrag Christmas Blog Hop 4th December

I've joined in the indieBRAG 

My house - built in 1769
Q: What is a Christmas tradition you and your family have?
A: We always decorate the house on the 12th December – twelve days of Christmas before the event and twelve after. It is also my husband’s birthday on the 13th December, so it is good to have the house all nice and sparkly for that day!

husband Ron enjoying the cosy log burner!
Q: What is or was your favourite stocking gift(s)?
A : The chocolate-filled selection box. When I was young they always seemed to be enormous with lots of chocolate bars – they aren’t now though. :-(
Have I got older or are the boxers smaller?
Q: Is there a humorous gift that you received?
A: Not that I received – but gave. When my daughter was about five I wrapped a fluffy growly-tiger up for a stocking-filler. There was I sneaking into her room in the early hours of Christmas morning to put the filled stocking at the end of her bed… I managed to squash it and the wrapped tiger started growling! Fortunately my daughter didn’t wake up!

Q: What is your favourite Christmas story? 
A: Oh the pantomime stories – Cinderella! Although I often do wonder......

Q: Have you ever taken a Christmas vacation somewhere? If so, where to and please share your experiences and what you enjoyed about it? 
A;Yes before I was married I often used to go away with friends. Usually we went to the Lake District (Cumbria, north-west England). I think one of the funniest moments was squeezing a very large turkey into a very small oven, and one of the nicest, walking to the nearby village pub along a disused railway on a cold, crisp bright-blue sky day for a Christmas lunchtime drink. 

Q: What are some of you favourite books you have received at Christmas time? 
A: Gosh there have been so many! Last year I got Sharon Penman’s latest, and this year I am hoping (are you listening Santa?) for a new dictionary – mine is falling apart!

Q: Egg Nog or Cocoa? 
A: Cocoa. With a nice nip of rum or Tia Maria in it!

Q: What is your favourite part of Christmas day?
A: Going up to our stables at the end of the garden to give the horses their Christmas breakfast and if the weather is not too cold or wet, waving everyone off on the Christmas Day Ride (and meeting them at the village pub!)

Q: Do you go all out on Christmas decorations? What is your favourite? 
A: Oh yes! I love a sparkly house! The tree is the best – a real one of course, covered in tinsel and bits and bobs that glitter and shimmer. We don't put a fairy or a star on the top - our tree is finished-off with an owl! There are lots of little bits that hangon the tree that have special memories - one is a little red toy mouse that sits in the branches – I have had him for almost forty years! His name is Chris Mouse.

Q: What is your favourite Christmas movie and why? 
A: A Wonderful Life is a fabulous movie – but my favourite isn’t a Christmas movie at all …. One Boxing Day several years ago I wasn’t feeling too well so my husband took my daughter off to do the horses (we lived in London then and they were in a nearby livery yard) while I stayed at home with my feet up. There was nothing on TV so I watched a DVD my daughter had given me. Last of the Mohicans…. I love that movie, and whenever  I watch it I’m reminded of Christmas and something my daughter said to me: “At Christmas, when you all stop talking and just sit and listen, the sound you can hear is love.”

Thank you for sharing Christmas with me!

buy from Amazon 
My Website:
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and Tweet me on Twitter: @HelenHollick


The previous stop  on the tour: 
And the next stop : 

and here's the full tour:

Tuesday, December 1 :  G.Egore Pitir 
Wednesday, December 2 : J.D.R. Hawkins :  Martin Crosbie   
Thursday, December 3 : R.A.R. Clouston  
Friday, December 4 : Helen Hollick    
Saturday, December 5 : Judy RidgleyKaren Lobello   Judy Voigt   
Sunday, December 6 : David Penny
Monday, December 7 : J.B. Hawker  
Tuesday, December 8 : Vinnie Hansen   : N.W. Moors  
Wednesday, December 9 : Cheri Gillard   
Thursday, December 10 : Derek Birks  
Friday, December 11 : Emily Kaplan   : Lorraine Devon Wilke   
Saturday, December 12 : Valerie Biel  : Charlene Newcomb 
Sunday, December 13 : Martha Kennedy  : Annie Daylon
Monday, December 14 : Debrah Martin     :  Helena Schrader     
Tuesday, December 15 : Maggie Pill    :  Cassi Clark 
Wednesday, December 16 : Pauline Barclay  :  Karen Aminadra
Thursday, December 17 : Alison Morton  
Friday, December 18 : Amber Foxx  : Malcolm Noble  
Saturday, December 19 : Anna Belfrage  
Sunday, December 20 : Janet Leigh : Maria Grace   
Monday, December 21 : Joe Perrone Jr.     
Tuesday, December 22 : Prue Batten  : Diana Wicker
Wednesday, December 23 : V.L. Thurman     
Monday, December 28 : Lisa Brunette    
Tuesday, December 29 : Carrie Beckort  
Wednesday, December 30 : Jackie Weger
Thursday, December 31 : Anna Castle

What's next for me? 
Follow the Holiday History Tour 
and collect some fab fiction for 99c/99p !

Friday 27 November 2015

Black (beard) Friday

So it has been Black Friday?
I thought I'd end the day of sails 
by changing things a little...
let's make it Blackbeard Friday instead!

Here's an excerpt from the third
Sea Witch Voyage for you to enjoy 

Buy on Amazon

Thursday 10th October 1718

There was a distinct chill in the air in the quiet hour before dawn. Jesamiah stood under the trees, his hands tucked beneath his armpits, staring across the dew-wet lawn at the balcony and window from where he had just climbed, leaving Tiola asleep, her body curled, contented, hair tousled. A smile on her face. He had not woken her but had dressed quietly, placed one of the less wilted flowers in the dent of the pillow where his head had been, and left her.
   “I’ll come for you when you are ready,” he had said as he had felt the shudders of ecstasy coursing through him, and had grinned as she had cheekily answered, “I am ready now, and you are about to come.”
   “That’s not what I meant,” he had repeated later, after she had crept down to the kitchens and stolen him some food; after they had sat in bed, naked, together, devouring the spoils and leaving crumbs on the sheets. “When you are finished here I’ll fetch you.” And had added, suddenly doubtful; “If you want me to?”
    He smiled up at the blank darkness of the glazed window. “Of course I do,” she had assured him.
   “I want to know about my father,” was the other thing he had said. “I want to know why he did nothing to stop Phillipe. Why he allowed a boy – a man, he was all those years older than me – to do what he did. I thought Phillipe was my elder half-brother, and I thought he did those things because being the elder somehow gave him the right. But he had no right. He was not my brother. He was not my father’s son.”
    “Leave it,” Tiola had urged him, her palm on his chest. “They are gone, it is done. Leave it.”
    He puffed air through his cheeks, his breath visible in the coldness. If only he could. If only he could!
    He was fiddling with his right earlobe, realised suddenly that the hoop of his gold earring was loose, that the attached acorn charm was not there. He cursed as he fastened the hoop, hoped the acorn had fallen off in Tiola’s bed. That she would find it, keep it safe.
     Lost in thought, he did not hear the whispered breath at his back until it was too late.
     “Move a muscle an’ thee be dead, bastard.”
    Jesamiah froze, willed himself to keep still as the pistol barrel pressed into his right temple. He forgot all about his earring as he heard the double click of the hammer. Prayed that his voice would not betray the fear thudding through him as he responded as nonchalantly as he could; “Hello Teach; you really have to learn how to move quieter if you want to creep up on people.”
    It was a lie, he had not heard a sound, but Edward Teach, Blackbeard, would not be knowing that.
   “What be thee doin’ ‘ere, Acorne, skulkin’ aroun’? Gotten thy eye on tha Guv’nor’s silver, hast thee?”
    Slowly Jesamiah lowered his hands to his waist and felt surreptitiously for the slender blade concealed inside the facing of his coat. “I would wager I’ve been doing the same as you. Taking my pleasure with one of the ladies of the house.”
    “Tha Guv’nor bain’t be pleased to be hearing tha’.”
    “The Governor ain’t goin’ t’be ‘earin’ of it, is ‘e?”
    “No’ ‘til ‘er belly swells.”
  “When that happens, Teach, I’ll be long gone. Or I could put the blame on your nocturnal activities.”
   The bigger, older man snorted, pushed the pistol harder against Jesamiah’s head. “Thee tried t’kill me. Thee crippled my sloop an’ made a gurt fool out o’ me in fron’ of my men. Give me a reason why I shoul’ nay shoot thee ‘ere an’ now. An’ make it quick, I’m in no mood fer parlour games.”
   With his left hand, Jesamiah eased the weapon aside. “You fire that an’ you’ll wake the entire household. You’ll probably think of an excuse to explain why you’re standing over a dead body, but saying why you are here, in the dark, an hour before dawn will be more difficult. Add to that, you owe me. Seeing as how you reckon I owe you, that makes us quits.”
   Teach snorted again, but he uncocked the pistol, lowered it. “An’ just how doos thee fathom tha’n?    Thee lost me my ship. She were’n a fine vessel, tha Queen Anne’s Revenge.”
  “I didn’t lose her. You were pissed out of your skull and you sailed her over a sandbar. You wrecked her, not me.”
   A snarl began to pucker Teach’s lips. “An’ what of my sloop? Adventure? Thee nigh on scuppered ‘er an’ all, thee bastard.”
   Slipping the knife into his sleeve, from where he could retrieve it in a hurry should he need to do so, Jesamiah tipped his hat back slightly. “Actually, for some fokken stupid reason I saved your life, mate.”
 “Fuckin’ tripe, thee bilge rat!” Raising the pistol Teach reversed it suddenly and brought the butt down hard into the curve where Jesamiah’s neck met his right shoulder. Jesamiah cried out and slumped to his knees. Willpower and gritted teeth made him ignore the agony shooting down his arm and stabbing up into his brain. He held his breath to ride it out.
   A couple of deeper breaths and he forced himself to his feet. Halfway up he moved quickly. Stepping forward he thrust the blade up and under Teach’s waistcoat, pushed it against the lower ribs.
   “You even think of blinking and it’ll be in to the hilt.”
   “Thee casn’t kill me Acorne, nay un can. I ‘as made a pact with tha Devil.”
   “I’m willin’ t’put that claim to the test.” Jesamiah was very close to Teach, his face almost in his; the smell of bad breath and body odour was nauseating, even with the general stench of uncleanliness a familiarity. Through the concealing bush of his beard ulcerous sores were spotted around Teach’s mouth and nose, a few blackened teeth were loose in his gums.
   “I could kill you,” Jesamiah said, taking half a step backwards, but not removing the dagger. “Send you to the Devil to find out if he lied. Or are you goin’ t’throw the pistol into that flower bed over there and talk to me like a civilised gentleman?”
   “Thee bain’t got tha guts t’kill me, worm.”
   “Ah, but I have. Only, the price on your ‘ead ain’t ‘igh enough yet. Give it another month an’ you’ll be worth killin’. Now, do you want to know why I stopped you attacking the Fortune of Virginia or not?”
   Teach growled, tossed the pistol away.
   Jesamiah removed the dagger, but kept it in plain sight. “She sailed from Nassau, where she had been commissioned by Woodes Rogers who, as you know, is a bosom pal of Virginia’s Governor. The pair of ‘em ‘ave got bees buzzing in their bonnets about pirates who ain’t sworn an oath of amnesty. Are you listenin’ to me, Teach? They’ve got it into their ‘eads t’be rid of scummers like you.”
   “I be list’nin’.”
   “You were going to attack the Fortune of Virginia – you see, Blackbeard me old mate, you’re too fokken greedy. What had you assumed? That she was laden with rum; molasses; passengers? Slaves maybe?” Jesamiah shook his head, tried to ignore the throbbing ache in his shoulder. “You’d got it wrong. She was packed to the gunnels with armed militia. Her orders were t’draw you in, wait fer you to board. Then finish you off. Savvy?”
   “An’ thee,” Teach sneered, “out o’ tha goodness of thy putrid heart decided t’save me? Pull tha other leg, it has a bell tied to it!”
   “I decided to warn you ‘cause I figured if I did you a favour you’d stop sendin’ your bloody men to spoil me pleasant evenings with a bottle and a blonde.” Jesamiah slipped the dagger into his pocket, spread his hands. “I ain’t got no quarrel with you, Teach, and I don’t p’ticlarly like the way these bastard governors are tryin’ to run us out of the Caribbean. This is our patch. Let ‘em bugger off if they don’t like the way we do things.” He folded his arms. “I came here specifically to warn you, but if you don’t want to listen, I’ll not waste m’breath.”
   Blackbeard grunted, nodded, fell for it. Every untruthful word. He put his arm around Jesamiah’s shoulder and steered him away from the house, heading through the boundary trees to walk up-creek along a gravel path of crushed ballast that crunched beneath their feet. Began boasting how he had made the girl he’d been poking scream with delirious pleasure. “Left she crumpled in a heap sobbin’ an’ wantin’ more. She’m nait been drubbed like that afore. Takes a man to show as how it be done prop’ly.”
   “Indeed it does,” Jesamiah responded, wondering who the unfortunate victim was, then wondering if it was true. He could not see any woman willingly bedding with this odious man. And Teach could not have been ashore long. They must have taken a good while to limp home, and there was fresh tar on Teach’s hand, Jesamiah noticed, while his boots were mud-caked. Come to see Governor Eden perhaps? To arrange the secret offloading of cargo?
   Stopping at the bank beside a wooden jetty, Teach indicated a bumboat, four men were huddled together in the stern, snoring.
   “I be goin’ home to me bade, Acorne. I live’n o’er to there,” he pointed in a vague direction across the creek, “at Plum Point. I be wantin’ thee to row back tha way thee came, an return to thy little ship an’ get off m’river. If ’n I catch thee here again I’ll string thee up from thy own yardarm by thy balls. Be thee understan’in’ me?”
   Jesamiah touched his hat, turned on his heel. “Aye Cap’n.” He walked away, heard the sound of a hand slapping against faces to wake up sleeping men. Heard grunts and grumbles and then the splash of oars.
   Sweat trickled down his spine. That had been close. Thank God for his ability to think quickly and lie convincingly!
   Peering over his shoulder, Jesamiah saw Teach’s men rowing across the creek, Teach standing in the stern, one arm outstretched. Saw a flash, heard a loud bang and remembered belatedly that Teach always carried more than one pistol.
   Felt the impact of a lead ball slam into his right shoulder. As he crumpled to the ground, heard a man laugh, then shout. “Nay’un tries t’better me Acorne! Nay’un!”

Buy from Amazon:
5.0 out of 5 stars
Another rip roaring read
By Bookwormon 17 May 2014
Loved this book. Cannot wait to hook up again with Tiola, the adorable Jesamiah and crew of Sea Witch. This is not my normal subject to read but I have been captured.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Have now read all of this series
By  Sparrowon 15 October 2013
Have now read all of this series, a very entertaining series of novels.
Jesamiah, an all action hero with human flaws and frailties and a glimpse into foreign lands.
You can smell the tang of salt in the air and hear the creaking of The Sea Witch.
I recommend this read.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Pirates Alive
By L. B. Luxon 20 July 2011

Bring it Close is the last book in a trilogy, and I was drawn into the fast paced adventure, pirates, sea chases, action, and thrills. What a talented author, and she has done her research, not only the time period, and Blackbeard the pirate, but the construction of a fighting ship. As a sailor myself, I was impressed with descriptions of sail handling. I must now buy the previous two in the series, and cannot recommend too highly you do the same!

(note - the series is not a trilogy, Bring It Close is the third Voyage, there will be at least six Voyages)

5.0 out of 5 stars
More Jesamiah ! Woo Hoo !
ByDemonicaon 2 September 2009

She has done it again. The literary equivalent of a journey in a time machine, Helen Hollick has transported the reader onto the deck of a magnificent three master, The Sea Witch. So vividly realised, you will hear the creak of the timbers, feel the buffetting of the wind in the sails and taste the salt spray in the air. Meticulously researched as you would expect from one of Britain's leading historical writers. This is a robust, exciting adult adventure starring the charismatic rogue Captain Jesamiah Acorne and his beloved Tiola. And the vilest villain to cast an evil shadow across the oceans, Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. What more could you want in a pirate novel!

5.0 out of 5 stars
Brilliant & Exciting!
By Sue Bon 9 July 2009

I've just finished reading Bring It Close last night and hated to see it end! And what an ending!! Wow! What a surprise that was!(I will not be giving any of it away!) The entire book was fascinating and Jesamiah is just such a bad boy, and so smart, and lucky, fun and sexy! I just love him and Tiola together! This 3rd installment to the series is just great and I don't know what more to say other than it keeps you on the edge of your seat, laughing, crying, horrified (Blackbeard was so awful), and so very interested! I can see each chapter playing out as if I were actually there! Thank you Helen so much for such wonderful reading enjoyment! I am planning on re-reading Bring it Close again very soon as I am sure I will find something that I may have missed in the first go round. I was excited to be able to purchase this from as it is not yet available here in the USA!! I am so looking forward to the next Sea Witch Series book from Helen! Bravo!!

Amazon Author Page

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Ribbonworld... out of this world with Richard Dee

Please welcome my guest this week - fellow Devonian 
Richard Dee :

How on earth did I end up here? 
And why am I writing as Richard Dee when it’s not my name? 
And why write Science Fiction?

These are questions that I have asked myself many times, never really getting the answer. I guess that it’s just the way my life has turned out but if you had asked the twenty-year-old me what I would be doing now, I don’t think I would have even got close.

And is it all the result of random events or is there something else at work? Well we all have an opinion on that.

But if I hadn’t been eating homemade Focaccia at the precise moment when an Italian work colleague asked me where I’d got it, I wouldn’t be running an Organic Bakery. (Or getting up at 5am to do it, so it may or may not be a good example)

If I hadn’t hurt my shoulder doing something (I still don’t know what) I wouldn’t have taken early retirement and if I hadn’t had such vivid dreams that I just had to write them down I wouldn’t be an author.
And if all those things hadn’t happened, something else probably would have.

My wife must take a proportion of the credit (blame?) for all the things that have happened; after all it was her who said to me, in a throwaway sort of comment when I complained about being unable to find a book that made me want to read it. 
“Well why don’t YOU go and write one then.” she said.

Of course, she didn’t know that I had been having the dreams. But she soon did.
And it was her who suggested the name Richard Dee as being shorter and snappier than Richard Dockett. Not only did I agree but I thought that I could hide behind it if things went wrong.
 “Richard Dee? Never heard of him.”
As it turns out he is a much better author than me anyway so it was pretty inspired.

I wonder if all authors have this experience or can relate.?When I start to write my alter ego (Mr Dee) leaps into action and I can’t stop him. In a previous existence I spent a lot of time at sea and found it hard to write letters home, even after four weeks crossing the Pacific all I could manage was “err…… it’s been sunny, err……”

But, put Richard Dee in front of a keyboard and it all flows, he gets a picture in his head, like a film playing on a screen on the back of his eyes. All he has to do is type what’s happening and try desperately to keep up with the action. And like a film, things happen that you weren’t expecting, emotions are engaged and shocks have you running to hide behind the sofa.

When Richard Dee has gone home for the evening (or wherever it is that he goes) I read it back and often find plot twists and conversations that I don’t remember, or didn’t plan. Narratives go off in different directions and other stories suggest themselves.

Richard Dockett?
Or Richard Dee...?
I guess that might make me officially ‘weird,’ in some people’s eyes but like I said above “Richard Dee, that’s not me mate!” (Helen: no Richard it makes you a writer - I reckon we're all weird!)

I write science fiction because the idea of the future is exciting.
You can create just about any future you want, just as long as you can make things sound more possible then they are. 

I remember seeing the first Star Wars film in New York, (we happened to be there on the ship I was on when the film was showing.) and the thing that struck me most was the casual use of the technology. Previously in a lot of Sci-fi the technology was almost seen as a God, a perfect thing. Yet here in Star Wars it was scruffy, matter of fact and even vaguely obsolete. After all, our technology today is all of those things, yet to a visitor from the past its imperfections would be ignored and it would still seem miraculous.

And that is what I set out to do, create a plausibly imperfect future, where things break down or just plain don’t work. And where humanity is still potentially at the mercy of its creation, dependant for survival on its wits and that something will actually happen when the button is pressed.
I have taken a conscious decision not to include too much gratuitous sex and violence, if you read Asimov for example it’s always present but rarely described in any detail. Also in my first work, I killed a character and the feeling of remorse was tangible. I had created her; I had given her life and emotion; thoughts, deeds and every attribute. Now I had killed her and I felt bad about it. Although I do still kill characters off and still have sex and violence, I try to make it part of the story, appropriate to the situation rather than as a means to shock.

It’s also strange that Mr Dee never showed up in forty years of living in Kent, yet within six months of moving back to my birthplace (Devon) here he was. As if he was here waiting for me to be here to start work.

Of course all this is meaningless if Mr Dee’s output isn’t any good, and that I suppose is where the second part of his persona comes in.
I’m talking about the reviews that my (his/our?) work will inevitably attract, can I get less upset about the bad ones because they’re directed at him? I could get upset on his behalf. Will he get upset? Or will we eventually turn into a Jekyll and Hyde sort of relationship where I have to do what Richard tells me, with increasingly outlandish and bizarre results?

Or perhaps I’m really Richard Dee and the other Richard is HIS alter ego. Now we are getting weird.

Hopefully you can see why I write science fiction.

You can find me at 
on Facebook 
or occasionally on twitter @RichardDockett1. 

My latest novel; (or should I say Mr Dee’s) Ribbonworld, was released by Silverwood Books on November 2nd.

Buy on  paperback    kindle
Buy on    paperback    kindle


"This fast-paced book has all the necessary ingredients for a first-rate whodunit -- with the added element of being set on a lonely, isolated planet where a local saying sums up the world's inhospitable nature: "You may use it, or live on it, and even make money from it, but never forget it can snuff you out without a second thought, or even be aware of your passing."

"Apart from the absorbing story, the believability of the setting, the interesting, intriguing characters and the thrill of the plot, the icing on the cake is the superb cover image! Love it!"

"...Richard Dee is proving to be very promising."

"Couldn't put it down."

And for interest - view Richard's video about being
 a Thames River Pilot on his Amazon author page