4 December 2018

Pirates. Well actually, My pirate...

My pirate? MY pirate! I do admit that I rather enjoy having my very own pirate, even if I do get a few odd looks form non-reader or writer folk. The reader or writer knows perfectly well that our fictional characters exist (albeit in our minds, imaginations or a parallel world.) There's many a time that I've been grateful for the 'feel' of my pirate standing behind my right shoulder looking formidable with his cutlass or pistol drawn. This is especially useful in 'situations' such as when a stranger or someone I particularly don't like is harassing me, or being very annoying. 

OK, so maybe they can't see Captain Jesamiah Acorne standing behind me, (or maybe they can!) but I know he's there, and that gives me the confidence to tell them to b*gger off! I usually hear Jes chuckle as they scuttle away...

Mind you, he can also be a nuisance. I can feel him now, leaning over my shoulder reading these words as I type and getting all indignant because I've just said that he can be a nuisance.
Well, sorry Jes dear, you can be ... you hang around when I'm busy then disappear when I need you to give me directions about the next scene that I'm struggling to write. You are also very very good at getting yourself into a dire situation and then leaving me to figure out a way to get you out of it. Thanks mate!

Of course, all that above either makes me very imaginative, utterly barmy or ... I really do have my own pirate guardian...

So why am I rabbiting on about 'my' pirate today? Two reasons: one is that my book Pirates: Truth and Tales is now available in paperback from Anazon.co.uk and Amazon.com - so for anyone reading this who has friends or family who enjoy anything piratical I can 100% recommend it as a Christmas present that will be well received - the book equivalent of a treasure chest!

buy from Amazon
As one reviewer has kindly said:
"Pirates: Truth and Tales by Helen Hollick is a marvellous book about Pirates. As historian and writer of many historical Pirate books Hollick knows her subject matter, and it shows.
The book starts with time tables and chapters on frequent mis-perceptions of Pirate Life, such as the romantisation of Pirates as adventurers rather than thieves and terrorists.
Hollick intersperses her chapters on all aspects of pirates with excerpts from her own novels, which illustrate her otherwise more factual writing.
From particular pirates, historical figures and events to pirate laws and habits, the author covers pretty much everything I could have thought of.
With its delightful blend of fiction and fact the book is as entertaining as it is informative.
Having attended some lectures on Pirates as part of a Literature festival and the Welsh Year of the Sea, I can commend Helen for her knowledge and as a reader I must applaud her ability of concise and engaging writing. Hugely enjoyable."

See. Ideal Christmas present.

The second reason is that 4th December (1693) is (was?) Jesamiah's birthday. And what better present can I give him than a spotlight spot here on my blog!  (There you go, he's chuckling again.)

Happy Birthday Jesamiah!
"Don't drink too much of that rum, Jes dear, it's my last bottle."
(the response was a dismissive snort.)

The facts:
Name:      Jesamiah Acorne, formerly Mereno also known as Oakwood or Oake
Born:        4th Dec 1693, on a beach in North Devon
Father:     Charles Philip Mereno (formerly, St Croix) (deceased) 
Mother:    Dona Sofia Molina Calderón de Mereno youngest daughter of the Marquis de Molina (deceased)
Half-brother: Phillipe
.....no more information ... spoilers!

Height: 5’10
Appearance: black, curly shoulder-length hair. Jawline beard, neat moustache. Lean but muscular.
Favourites: wears blue ribbons laced into his hair and a gold acorn earring in right earlobe.

Wife: Tiola Oldstagh (formerly Garrick)
Born: 1700, Cornwall
Father : Rev. Andrew Garrick  (deceased - killed by his wife, Tiola's mother)
Mother:  Elswyth Trevithick (deceased - hanged)
Brothers: Several, some living, some deceased. Her favourites, those nearest her own age, are Carter and Ben.

Character: Quick to laugh, formidable when angry. Jesmiah turned to piracy a few months before his fifteenth birthday when he fled his recently dead father's Virginia tobacco plantation after a severe altercation with his half-brother, Phillipe. The two brothers loathed each other, Phillipe because he was jealous of the younger  Jesamiah, Jesamiah hating his brother because of his bullying and abuse. (story told in When the Mermaid Sings)

Jesamiah took some revenge on Phillipe several years later when he returned to the plantation and stole a ship and cuckolding his brother by having sex with Mrs Alicia Mereno in an upstairs bedroom - Jesamiah knew her as Arabella, a former lover and whore of Port Royal, Jamaica. (story told in Sea Witch). She will never admit it, but has always loved Jesamiah. Although she has a spiteful way of not showing it!

One for the ladies, Jesamiah often finds it difficult to keep his breeches buttoned, which is a source of annoyance for Tiola. (Pronounce it Tee-ola, not Tee-oh-la).
To be fair to Jesamiah when he has gone 'astray' it is usually because he believes that Tiola has washed her hands of him... although not always.

He had a passing affair with Francesca Chesham, (story told in Pirate Code) who later bore him a stillborn son (story told in Ripples In The Sand) and the now-widowed Alicia lured him into bed in Bring It Close... both ladies getting him into deeper trouble because of their 'flirtations'.

However, Jesamiah loves Tiola deeply - he claims his straying is not his fault.
Possibly he finds these women attractive sexually because of the need to feel wanted and worthy - his childhood was one of lonely despair and fear of his brother, with both his father and mother turning a blind-eye (whether deliberate or not is unclear).

For her part Tiola, a woman of the world - a midwife, healer and White Witch, does not, usually, mind Jesamiah 'straying' when she is not around, understanding and recognising a man's 'needs'. She also understands the difference between sex within a loving relationship (their relationship,) and sex for the mere passing pleasure. She has never felt threatened or upset by his 'one-nighters'. She does, however, feel threatened by Alicia and Francesca  because they have too much of a hold over Jesamiah. (Again, sorry, no spoilers!)

Piracy, killing in order to gain loot, has never bothered Jesamiah - he claims it is a 'kill or be killed' law of survival. He is a good shot and skilled with a cutlass.

He usually puts on a confident air, but within himself he harbours doubts and worries, his 'heart's desire' is to have a long and happy life with Tiola at his side and a boat-load of their children running around. He is not sure whether he wants sons or daughters ... sons will need to learn how to fight and therefore be in danger, daughters ... well, he'll not let any young men like himself near them, that's for certain!

He is a skilled seaman, with a gift for knowing the tides, currents and winds, and for knowing how to handle a ship well. If he really had the choice the sea or the land, he would choose the sea, but probably as a rich merchant, not a pirate.

He is loyal and folllows his own code of honour. He would never ask his men to do anything that he would not do himself.  And for the record, I know how he dies because I dreamt it in vivid detail - I woke up sobbing my heart out! I have the scene written down somewhere, but will I ever share it, include it a last Sea Witch Voyage of adventure? 
I might. I might not.

And apart from all that, I adore him. I rather like having my own pirate!

Buy from Amazon
Excerpt from When The Mermaid Sings
 a prequel novella about how Jesamiah became a pirate ,..

Awarded joint
Book of the Month
This excerpt is set on 4th December 1708, Jesamiah is serving as a foremast jack aboard a merchant ship, Anna ...  and trouble appears in the form of another ship, an enemy Spaniard...

The sense of panic was as crisp as an autumn-frosted morning when Jesamiah slid, hand-over-hand, down the backstay to the deck. Anna carried two swivel guns and two six-pound cannons along with an array of muskets, an unpredictable blunderbuss, some pistols and a few other hand weapons. She was a merchant vessel, not a fighting ship. Each pound weight of armament she carried meant a pound less of cargo – and profit took precedence.
    The expression ‘running around like headless chickens’ sprang into Jesamiah’s mind as he watched the crew bustling about but not doing anything productive.
     “We’ll never outrun ’er,” one man said gloomily.
     “More chance outrunning her than anything else,” Tom Markham stated.
     “Nay, they’ll mow us down like a scythe cuttin’ corn.”
     “Might ignore us,” someone else suggested.
     “We’d be best to ’eave to an’ surrender,” old Seth muttered through toothless gums.
     “Could we not try outwitting them?” Jesamiah asked. Everyone stared at him as if he had suddenly sprouted a second head.
     The usually grim-faced Stannis laughed, although his cackle was filled with derision. “Out of the mouths of babes,” he guffawed, then swiped the back of his hand across Jesamiah’s head. “Idiot.”
     Captain Parker, however, creased his brows into a furrow and tilting his head to one side, said, “Explain, boy.”
    A faint blush tingeing his face, Jesamiah cleared his throat, and ignoring the sniggering and Stannis’ growl of disapproval, launched into his proposal, although even as he spoke he could hear the ridiculousness of the suggestion. “Why can we not pretend to be Spanish? They will not attack another of their own kind, surely?”
     The sniggers increased to outright laughter.
     “For one thing, we b’aint Spanish,” Stannis sneered. “We’ve no Spanish Colours to ’oist.”
   “How difficult would it be to make a flag?” Jesamiah replied. “All we need is a white background and some red material to fashion a jagged Cruz de San Andrés, a rough-edged red cross.”
     “You think that’ll fool ’em?” Stannis retorted. “The boy’s addle-’eaded, Cap’n. Been in the sun too long.”
    “Privateers often fool their prey with such a ruse,” Jesamiah countered, growing more confident. “Why not merchantmen if it’s a way of avoiding conflict?”
     “Maybe, lad, because we are honest merchantmen?” Captain Parker said with a half-smile.
      Indicating the conversation should be terminated, Stannis cut the air with his hand. “We be wastin’ precious time, Cap’n. We oughta be settin’ all sail an’ ’eading for the nearest safe ’arbour.”
    Captain Parker waved vaguely towards the horizon. “Which is at least four hours away, and even with more sail we will not outdistance a Spanish frigate.”
     Stannis persisted with his objections. “A tardy flag’ll fool no one. They’ll demand we ’eave to, then what?”
    “Then we tell them a plausible cock-and-bull story to set them in a different direction,” Jesamiah answered simply.
    More laughter from Bosun Stannis. “’Ow bleedin’ careless of me, I forgot me book of Spanish nautical terms!” He thrust his snarling face close to Jesamiah’s. “They’ll soon bloody work out we ain’t Spanish when they ’ear us talkin’ English.”
      It took an effort, but Jesamiah kept a straight, calm expression. “Then I suggest we speak to them in Spanish. Sir.”
     Resting his hand on Jesamiah’s shoulder, Captain Parker gave it a little squeeze and said kindly, “It was a good possible plan, lad, but alas, I speak none of their lingo.”

     Jesamiah returned the smile, said with assured boldness, “But I do.”

published by SilverWood s-books e-books
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also available in Italian 

you might also enjoy 
a scene from Sea Witch, but with a slight difference

Read more about the Sea Witch Voyage
on Friday 
here on this blog

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  1. Even we 'blokes' can't help but wish we were like Jesamiah!

  2. You'd not be too keen on getting into some of his not quite so pleasant scrapes though!

  3. Thanks to your excellent suggestion about Christmas presents, Helen, I have done just that - tee hee! Amazon is doing free delivery on any size of order up until midnight today (use code FREEDELIVERY at checkout) so I can order just the one book. I could pretend it's for someone else, but it's a pressie for me - mwah ha ha ha!


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