“Now Taking a Lover” – poetry

      • “NOW TAKING A LOVER”

        • by Michelle Toussaint

        • Latin American and Caribbean poetry 

          • THE BOOK

          • Now_Taking_A_Lover_Cover_for_Kindle
  • Now Taking A Lover, chronicles a woman’s journey from Spurned lover, to finding love. Who would think that the path to Her intended, would be through an erotic encounter with a lover or two? 
  • THE AUTHOR

  • 225424_1785447791105_2034089_n
  • Michelle Toussaint is your typical Island Girl. Born and raised on the beautiful island of Antigua, she fell in love with the written word at a very early age. Opinionated, Strong Willed, Powerful, Determent, Mother, Friend, Lover. These are her adjectives. What are yours?
    • EXCERPT from”NOW TAKING A LOVER”

  • And Then He Said Sorry

    He told me heartily that she meant nothing,

    Her tender nothings, reciprocated by him meant nill,

    “See ‘cause he had been lonely

    And her most appealing quality was that she was needy,”

    And he proceeded to explain reverently that… you see,

    That she had peppered her rhetoric with tender compliments and subtle tributes to his ego,

    Finally she had been so bold as to utter through lips blushed with loving smiles

    “I love you”…..

    Available at Amazon.com in print and ebook format.

    http://www.amazon.com/Now-Taking-Lover-Michelle-Toussaint/dp/1511672439/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428841377&sr=8-1&keywords=Now+taking+A+lover

    Website: My poetry blog Death by expectations is the place to get more of my poetry and updates on what comes next.

Caesar and the pirates

MY BOOKS ARE ABOUT PIRATES AND ROMANS – AND HERE’S A TALE THAT COMBINES THE TWO

Reproduced by permission of Cindy Vallar from:

Pirate FlagPirates and PrivateersPirate Flag
The History of Maritime PiracyCindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P. O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425
The Stupidest Mistake Ever Made by Pirates
By Guest Columnist David K. Bryant
 

Bust of Gaius<br /><br /><br /><br />
            Julius Caesar. Photographer: Andreas Wahra, 3/1997. Location<br /><br /><br /><br />
            of Art: National Archaeological Museum of Naples. Source:<br /><br /><br /><br />
            Wikipedia Commons.You can imagine the conversation between the pirates.

“Ah ha,” says one. “Look what we’ve got here. A Roman bigwig. We can hold him as a hostage.”

“Oh yes,” enthuses Pirate Number 2. “We’ll get a packet in ransom.”

Never has any pirate crew made a bigger mistake.

They didn’t know it, but their target was Gaius Julius Caesar, who would go on to conquer Gaul (modern France), bring Egypt under Roman control, take the Romans into England for the first time, and overcome his rivals to become dictator of Rome and all the states it controlled. Not only that, he invented the 365-day calendar.

One of the most accomplished men in history was not going to be intimidated by the ragtag bunch of miscreants who waylaid his ship on the Aegean Sea while he was on his way to learn rhetoric in Rhodes.

“So what do you want?” asked Caesar.

“I reckon we’ll get twenty talents of silver for you,” boasted the pirate chief.

Well, the only thing that overcame Gaius Julius at that point was laughter. He creased up, wiped the tears of hilarity from his eyes, and mocked: “Twenty talents. By Jupiter, you’re dumb. You just don’t realize who you’ve captured. Let me give you a tip – ask for fifty. You’ll easily make that.”

OK, I’ve paraphrased, but that’s pretty much the way it went.

The record of this historical treat from the year 75 BC is provided by the Greek author Plutarch in his Life of Julius Caesar. There is also reference to it by the Roman writer Tacitus.

Up until the misbegotten abduction of Caesar, the Romans had turned a blind eye to the pirates in return for a steady supply of slaves. The arrangement ensured that piracy became a burgeoning profession and the Mediterranean was infested with this early version of privateers.1

Plutarch tells us that the misguided kidnappers were from Cilicia, now part of southern Turkey and Cyprus. They were regarded as the most blood-thirsty villains in the world. So they must have been shocked at Caesar’s nonchalant reaction to them.2

He didn’t stop at acting as a financial advisor. While his followers were away raising the money, Caesar began bossing the pirates around. If they kept him awake with their chatter, he would send a “shut up” message. It got to the point where the man who would later prove his tactical abilities in many other ways became more like the pirate captain than their captive.

He joined in their games and exercises and even tried to improve their education by writing poems and speeches, which he read out to them. Now, anybody who has read Caesar’s turgid and self-serving memoirs will know what a torture that must have been for the wretched fortune-hunters. If they failed to admire his work, he told them straight that they were “illiterate savages.”

What a persona that man must have had. You can see why prominent Romans later feared he had ambitions of becoming their king, and he was bumped off as a result.

Anyway, back to the “blood-thirsty” pirates. “I’ll have you executed,” Caesar warned them.

“Is he simple, immature, or a joker?” they asked each other about their twenty-five-year-old guest.

The farce went on for thirty-eight days. Then, to what must have been the enormous relief of all concerned, the ransom arrived.

Caesar went off, put a fleet and an armed force together, then went back – to find his dim ex-captors languishing around in the same spot. This time they were taken prisoner and all their property, including the fifty talents, was confiscated as spoils of war.

Next, the intrepid Caesar went to Marcus Junius, the governor of Asia, and said: “This is your jurisdiction. Sit in judgment on these riff-raff.”3

Junius procrastinated. He had his eye on the treasure taken from the pirates.

So Caesar did a vigilante act. He unlocked the jail, marched out the pirates, and crucified the lot of them. But he showed some leniency – he had their throats cut first to spare them the prolonged pain of the cross. You can imagine him mocking: “I gave you fair warning.”

Crucifixion
Crucified pirate
 (Photographer: Veneratio, Source: Canstock.com)

Nine years later, the Mediterranean piracy problem was solved by Gnaeus Pompeius (later called Pompey the Great), who took out a massive fleet and defeated the pirates, taking many of them into custody. But he did not serve up the same retribution as Caesar; instead, he set up the Cilicians with plots of land and transformed them into farmers.

The ghosts of those scoundrels put on the cross by Caesar must have thought: “If only we’d waited…”

Caesar and Pompey were allies at that time and Caesar supported Pompey’s expedition against the pirates. Later, however, these two Roman titans became rivals as the Roman republic crumbled and the state moved inexorably towards being an autocracy.

After a battle won by Caesar, Pompey fled to Egypt and was betrayed by those who thought they would curry favor with Caesar. Pompey’s head was delivered to Caesar but, far from being pleased at the extermination of his competitor, Caesar was distressed that such a prominent Roman had met an ignominious end.

It left the field clear for Caesar to pursue his own ambition which, most likely, was to become a monarch.4 He probably displayed the same loftiness with his peers as he had done with the unfortunate pirates.

Those who wanted Rome to cling to its fading status as a republic had their say on the Ides of March when they murdered Caesar.

After more civil wars, Rome became an empire with Caesar’s adopted son, Augustus, becoming the first emperor. The name Caesar was to live on, being inherited by the subsequent emperors. It survives to this day. Among the derivatives are czar and kaiser.

But the names of the pirates, who thought they were kidnapping some run-of-the-mill bigwig, have long been forgotten.

Notes:

1. The Romans allowed the pirates to plunder merchant ships (in much the same way as 17th-century Britain allowed pirates to plunder other nations’ ships). In return, the pirates supplied Rome with slaves. For this reason, David chose to call the pirates “privateers.”

2. The Cilician pirates took Julius Caesar to Pharmakonisi in the Dodecanese Islands.

3. Plutarch referred to Marcus Junius as “the Governor of Asia.” In history classes, we were taught the region was called Asia Minor (Turkey today).

4. Caesar appointed himself “Dictator for Life,” a position which officially didn’t exist in the Roman constitution. The purpose of dictators (until the civil wars) had been to take office temporarily in an emergency. Therefore, by such a blatant breach of convention, Caesar was saying he wanted to be lifetime boss. The next step might well have been to seek kingship, a concept that was anathema to the Republicans – and the most likely reason they murdered him

For additional information on Julius Caesar, David recommends the following:

Plutarch of Chaeronea. Life of Julius Caesar. G. Bell and Sons, 1914.

Tacitus Histories and Annals. Penguin, 1960.

David K. Bryant

David K. Bryant is the author of the Roman novel The Dust of Cannae to be published in 2015 by Christine F. Anderson LLC. His previously published book is Tread Carefully on the Sea, a prequel to Treasure Island.

Cover Art: Dust of Cannae

My books are about pirates and Romans – this tale combines the two

MY BOOKS ARE ABOUT PIRATES AND ROMANS – AND HERE’S A TALE THAT COMBINES THE TWO

Reproduced by permission of Cindy Vallar from:

Pirate FlagPirates and PrivateersPirate Flag
The History of Maritime PiracyCindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P. O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425
The Stupidest Mistake Ever Made by Pirates
By Guest Columnist David K. Bryant

Bust of Gaius<br /><br />
            Julius Caesar. Photographer: Andreas Wahra, 3/1997. Location<br /><br />
            of Art: National Archaeological Museum of Naples. Source:<br /><br />
            Wikipedia Commons.You can imagine the conversation between the pirates.

“Ah ha,” says one. “Look what we’ve got here. A Roman bigwig. We can hold him as a hostage.”

“Oh yes,” enthuses Pirate Number 2. “We’ll get a packet in ransom.”

Never has any pirate crew made a bigger mistake.

They didn’t know it, but their target was Gaius Julius Caesar, who would go on to conquer Gaul(modern France), bring Egypt under Roman control, take the Romans into England for the first time, and overcome his rivals to become dictator of Rome and all the states it controlled. Not only that, he invented the 365-day calendar.

One of the most accomplished men in history was not going to be intimidated by the ragtag bunch of miscreants who waylaid his ship on theAegean Sea while he was on his way to learn rhetoric in Rhodes.

“So what do you want?” asked Caesar.

“I reckon we’ll get twenty talents of silver for you,” boasted the pirate chief.

Well, the only thing that overcame Gaius Julius at that point was laughter. He creased up, wiped the tears of hilarity from his eyes, and mocked: “Twenty talents. By Jupiter, you’re dumb. You just don’t realize who you’ve captured. Let me give you a tip – ask for fifty. You’ll easily make that.”

OK, I’ve paraphrased, but that’s pretty much the way it went.

The record of this historical treat from the year 75 BC is provided by the Greek author Plutarch in his Life of Julius Caesar. There is also reference to it by the Roman writer Tacitus.

Up until the misbegotten abduction of Caesar, the Romans had turned a blind eye to the pirates in return for a steady supply of slaves. The arrangement ensured that piracy became a burgeoning profession and the Mediterranean was infested with this early version of privateers.1

Plutarch tells us that the misguided kidnappers were from Cilicia, now part of southern Turkey and Cyprus. They were regarded as the most blood-thirsty villains in the world. So they must have been shocked at Caesar’s nonchalant reaction to them.2

He didn’t stop at acting as a financial advisor. While his followers were away raising the money, Caesar began bossing the pirates around. If they kept him awake with their chatter, he would send a “shut up” message. It got to the point where the man who would later prove his tactical abilities in many other ways became more like the pirate captain than their captive.

He joined in their games and exercises and even tried to improve their education by writing poems and speeches, which he read out to them. Now, anybody who has read Caesar’s turgid and self-serving memoirs will know what a torture that must have been for the wretched fortune-hunters. If they failed to admire his work, he told them straight that they were “illiterate savages.”

What a persona that man must have had. You can see why prominent Romans later feared he had ambitions of becoming their king, and he was bumped off as a result.

Anyway, back to the “blood-thirsty” pirates. “I’ll have you executed,” Caesar warned them.

“Is he simple, immature, or a joker?” they asked each other about their twenty-five-year-old guest.

The farce went on for thirty-eight days. Then, to what must have been the enormous relief of all concerned, the ransom arrived.

Caesar went off, put a fleet and an armed force together, then went back – to find his dim ex-captors languishing around in the same spot. This time they were taken prisoner and all their property, including the fifty talents, was confiscated as spoils of war.

Next, the intrepid Caesar went to Marcus Junius, the governor of Asia, and said: “This is your jurisdiction. Sit in judgment on these riff-raff.”3

Junius procrastinated. He had his eye on the treasure taken from the pirates.

So Caesar did a vigilante act. He unlocked the jail, marched out the pirates, and crucified the lot of them. But he showed some leniency – he had their throats cut first to spare them the prolonged pain of the cross. You can imagine him mocking: “I gave you fair warning.”

Crucifixion
Crucified pirate
 (Photographer: Veneratio, Source: Canstock.com)

Nine years later, the Mediterranean piracy problem was solved by Gnaeus Pompeius(later called Pompey the Great), who took out a massive fleet and defeated the pirates, taking many of them into custody. But he did not serve up the same retribution as Caesar; instead, he set up the Cilicians with plots of land and transformed them into farmers.

The ghosts of those scoundrels put on the cross by Caesar must have thought: “If only we’d waited…”

Caesar and Pompey were allies at that time and Caesar supported Pompey’s expedition against the pirates. Later, however, these two Roman titans became rivals as the Roman republic crumbled and the state moved inexorably towards being an autocracy.

After a battle won by Caesar, Pompey fled to Egypt and was betrayed by those who thought they would curry favor with Caesar. Pompey’s head was delivered to Caesar but, far from being pleased at the extermination of his competitor, Caesar was distressed that such a prominent Roman had met an ignominious end.

It left the field clear for Caesar to pursue his own ambition which, most likely, was to become a monarch.4 He probably displayed the same loftiness with his peers as he had done with the unfortunate pirates.

Those who wanted Rome to cling to its fading status as a republic had their say on the Ides of March when they murdered Caesar.

After more civil wars, Rome became an empire with Caesar’s adopted son, Augustus, becoming the first emperor. The name Caesar was to live on, being inherited by the subsequent emperors. It survives to this day. Among the derivatives are czar and kaiser.

But the names of the pirates, who thought they were kidnapping some run-of-the-mill bigwig, have long been forgotten.

Notes:

1. The Romans allowed the pirates to plunder merchant ships (in much the same way as 17th-century Britain allowed pirates to plunder other nations’ ships). In return, the pirates supplied Rome with slaves. For this reason, David chose to call the pirates “privateers.”

2. The Cilician pirates took Julius Caesar to Pharmakonisi in the Dodecanese Islands.

3. Plutarch referred to Marcus Junius as “the Governor of Asia.” In history classes, we were taught the region was called Asia Minor (Turkey today).

4. Caesar appointed himself “Dictator for Life,” a position which officially didn’t exist in the Roman constitution. The purpose of dictators (until the civil wars) had been to take office temporarily in an emergency. Therefore, by such a blatant breach of convention, Caesar was saying he wanted to be lifetime boss. The next step might well have been to seek kingship, a concept that was anathema to the Republicans – and the most likely reason they murdered him

For additional information on Julius Caesar, David recommends the following:

Plutarch of Chaeronea. Life of Julius Caesar. G. Bell and Sons, 1914.

Tacitus Histories and Annals. Penguin, 1960.

David K. Bryant
David K. Bryant is the author of the Roman novel The Dust of Cannae to be published in 2015 by Christine F. Anderson LLC. His previously published book is Tread Carefully on the Sea, a prequel to Treasure Island. VisitDavid’s website.
Cover Art: Dust of Cannae

History and present-day converge in adventure

Midnight Omen, The Déjà vu Chronicles by Marti Melville

Five stars from me

There’s a very evocative sailing ship on the front cover and I’m drawn to books like that. When you read the blurb, however, it begins by telling you about a nurse in an emergency room, which seems to put the story in the modern age. So how does Marti Melville put those two time frames together? The answer is: Skillfully.

Our heroine, Katherine, has enough of Life’s traumas to occupy her in the ER, but then she is taken on a voyage of discovery back to the 18th Century and, amid the hazards of that age, finds out what drove her into nursing in the 21st Century – she has a load of magical gifts, whose origins lie in her Celtic heritage.

Well, we’d all like to do our ancestry investigation, but Katherine’s time travel doesn’t allow her much time for reflection because she’s kidnapped by a gang of pirates. The action comes thick and fast and is driven by a masterly writing style. And don’t worry, romance lovers, there’s plenty of that as well.

One of the most important requirements of an historical novel is that it gets its facts right. I’ve done extensive research myself on the 18th Century and I was impressed with what came out of Midnight Omen’s pages. It was spot on. So my reading list now contains Marti’s other two novels, also from Christine F. Anderson Publishing. I declare an interest there. Christine is also publishing one of my own books, but I also declare that has borne no influence on my assessment of Marti’s work.

Early Morning Coffee and Donuts by Paula M. Youmell

Five stars from me

They (whoever they are) say that for every negative there’s a positive. I found myself in one of life’s tough spots and couldn’t face the demands of a mystery or anything that required following a plot. But I can’t sleep unless I’ve read. So I turned to “Early Morning Coffee and Donuts” for something to take me past the midnight hour.

What a treat! And I don’t mean that the book gives license to eat endless sugar and jam (or jelly in American English) or take in unlimited amounts of coffee. If you want that, read a different book. If you want some guidance on a healthy lifestyle and a path to fulfillment, read this one. The great refreshing thing is that you won’t be preached at – as happens in so many offerings that promise a new way forward.

Paula M. Youmell has balanced it just right and she makes a lot of sense. She’s not just a do-gooder, either. She’s got thirty years of nursing under her belt. Not the functional “sit up for your medicine” type of nursing. She’s turned her vocation into an understanding of the whole person and she’s giving the world the benefit of that.

The book is easy to follow and goes further than giving advice – it helps you apply the advice and replace the automatic and complacent old ways that it’s so easy to adopt. As well as the “what”, it gives the “why” and “how”. Thanks, Paula.

99 cents for a five-star book

  • “POLARITY IN MOTION”

    by BRENDA VICARS

    CONTEMPORARY YOUNG ADULT

    (ELEMENTS OF INTER-RACIAL ROMANCE)

    THE BOOK

    Polarity-in-Motion-Author Copy

    Fifteen-year-old Polarity Weeks just wants to lead a normal life, but with a mother diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, that’s rarely easy.

    Her life gets more disastrous when her sixth-period history classmates start ogling a nude picture of her on the Internet. Polarity would never have struck such a shameless pose, but she’s at a complete loss to explain its existence.

    Child Protective Services yanks her from her home, suspecting her parents. The kids at school mock her, assuming she took it herself. And Ethan, the boy she was really starting to like, backpedals and joins the taunting chorus.

    THE AUTHOR

    b.vicars.photo

    Brenda Vicars has worked in Texas public education for many years. Her jobs have included teaching, serving as a principal, and directing student support programs. For three years, she also taught college English to prison inmates.

    She entered education because she felt called to teach, but her students taught her the biggest lesson: the playing field is not even for all kids. Through her work, she became increasingly compelled to bring their unheard voices to the page. The heartbeat of her fiction emanates from the courage and resiliency of her students.

    EXTRACT from “POLARITY IN MOTION”

    Deputy Gonzales changed the subject. “I love your name, Polarity. Is there a story behind that?”

    “Mom knows that BPD can cause her to see people as perfect or evil. She named me Polarity, spanning positive and negative, to remind her that I’m not one or the other.” The deputy and Mrs. Sims froze—surprised and listening. “She wanted to be sure that she never judged me the way that borderlines tend to do.” I hardly ever tell people this, but I guess the hundreds of questions yesterday and today were wearing me down.

    For once Mrs. Sims didn’t write on a form.  She and Deputy Gonzales sat in silence as if waiting for more. I let them wait—there was nothing more to say.

    http://www.brendavicars.com/

    “Polarity in Motion” is available from:

    http://amzn.to/1svwCSC

    http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/polarity-in-motion

    https://www.scribd.com/book/248829744/Polarity-in-Motion

    https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Brenda_Vicars_Polarity_in_Motion?id=6LyjBQAAQBAJ

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/polarity-in-motion-brenda-vicars/1120846841?ean=2940150162716&isbn=2940150162716

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id947066871

Haunted by “The Voices in My Head”

    • “THE VOICES IN MY HEAD”

      • by Jerry Don Nicholes, Sr.

      • Horror, thriller 

        • THE BOOK

    • Revised Cover for The Voices in My Head (Cropped)Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00063]Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00063]Sean Bowers is haunted by the voices in his head. He struggles to keep a grip on reality, but the voices threaten his sanity. They also challenge the law, pressuring Sean to do terrible, evil things he can’t even consider. The voices continue, and he eventually loses the fight against them, giving in to their demands.As he is propelled into a world of murder and crime, his actions feel beyond his control—and yet, at the same time, he feels justified. The horrible occurrences that surround Sean soon cast a shadow on his small neighborhood. The townspeople want justice. Even his family finds it impossible to be on his side, turning against Sean with disastrous consequences.

      As the voices continue, secrets come to light that make it clear Sean’s troubles are not merely madness, but something much darker. With this new knowledge and the help of his remaining loved ones, will Sean return to a semblance of sanity—or will he allow the voices inside to permanently alter his fate?

      • THE AUTHOR

         Jerry in Blue Shirt & Tie

        My name is Jerry Don Nicholes, Sr., and I am the Author of the book The Voices in My Head. My addiction is writing; not just one genre but a few. My passion is murder mystery, horror, and suspense thrillers.

        My goal is to write and entertain your mind with as many great stories as I can. I will continue to write for as long as I can while hoping to entertain my reading audience for as long as humanly possible. I call the books I write mind movies. My stories will come alive and hold you hostage for the time you start to read my work until you have finished it. The end result will leave you anticipating the next edition. My joy would be to see my reading audience share in some of my great stories. They will have to hold on to the edges of their seats and prepare to be taken on the journey of a lifetime without ever leaving the comforts of their easy chair.

        • EXCERPT from”THE VOICES IN MY HEAD”

        Today, like any other day, is full of bad news and disappointments. Sometimes I feel trapped with a ton of weight bearing down on my chest, making it impossible to breathe. And then just when I think it can’t get any worse, the voices chime in and have me believing that at the moment everything is starting to fall apart once again. So what now? Do I listen to them and believe that they know what’s best for me? After all, I’ve created them in my own mind. I’m the one who woke them up, disturbing the little sanity I had left. Or perhaps I’m reading too much into what is being said in my congested head. Okay, this is the story of a mind running rampant, losing touch with reality, in the hope of discovering the truth behind the voices and what they represent.

        Website address: http://www.jerrydonnicholessr.com

        Amazon.com : http://www.amazon.com/The-Voices-In-My-Head/dp/0692282106/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0PJYZ8XMHSQ31JTFMCTM

        Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-voices-in-my-head-jerry-don-nicholes-sr/1117471057?ean=9780692282106

THE GREATEST PIRATE STORY NEVER TOLD (UNTIL NOW)

From the Readers Gazette, June 8th, 2015

THE GREATEST PIRATE STORY NEVER TOLD (UNTIL NOW)

David K. Bryant Website
History will tell my tale,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
I’ll be more famous than Jonah’s Whale,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
Captain Flint sings that ditty in my book “Tread Carefully on the Sea”. And, thanks to author Robert Louis Stevenson, the fictional Captain Flint’s notoriety (rather than fame) has indeed been kept alive through the centuries. Yet the poor buccaneer got no chance in Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island to take part in the drama. All the many references to him were retrospective as Flint was dead by the time that great adventure yarn began.

Was that fair to the man who buried the Treasure on the Island ?
Ironically, while Stevenson gives us no description of Treasure Island’s boy narrator Jim Hawkins (not even his age), we hear a lot about the deceased Flint.

Here are the major references to Captain Flint’s deeds and character in Treasure Island:
(Note: Despite all the mentions of Flint in Treasure Island, not once is his first name given. The only clue is the initial “J” on the map at the front of the book.)

TREASURE ISLAND, CHAPTER 3

Billy Bones says: I was first mate, I was, old Flint’s first mate and I’m the on’y one as knows the place (where the treasure is buried). He gave it (the map) to me in Savannah, when he lay a-dying…”

TREASURE ISLAND, CHAPTER 6

Squire Trelawney says: “He was the bloodthirstiest buccaneer that sailed. Blackbeard was a child to Flint. The Spaniards were so prodigiously afraid of him, that, I tell you, sir, I was sometimes proud he was an Englishman.”

TREASURE ISLAND, CHAPTER 11

Long John Silver says: “…the old Walrus, Flint’s old ship, as I’ve seen a-muck with the red blood and fit to sink with gold.” Long John goes on to say: “They was the roughest crew afloat, was Flint’s; the devil himself would have been feared to go to sea with them…lambs wasn’t the word for Flint’s old buccaneers.”

TREASURE ISLAND, CHAPTER 15

Ben Gunn says: “I were in Flint’s ship when he buried the treasure; he and six along – six strong seamen. They were ashore nigh on a week, and us standing off and on in the old Walrus. One fine day up went the signal, and here come Flint by himself in a little boat, and his head done up in a blue scarf. The sun was getting up, and mortal white he looked around the cut-water. But there he was, you mind, and the six all dead – dead and buried. How he done it, not a man aboard us could make out. It was battle, murder, and sudden death, leastways – him against six. Billy Bones was the mate; Long John he was quartermaster, and they asked him where the treasure was. ‘Ah,’ says he, ‘you can go ashore, if you like, and stay,’ he says; ‘but as for the ship, she’ll beat up for more, by thunder!’

TREASURE ISLAND, CHAPTER 19

Ben Gunn says: “…the old stockade, as was made years and years ago by Flint. Ah, he was the man to have a headpiece, was Flint! Barring rum, his match were never seen.”

TREASURE ISLAND, CHAPTER 31

Long John Silver, on finding a pirate’s body laid out like a marker towards the treasure burial site, says: “…by thunder! if it don’t make me cold inside to think of Flint. This is one of his jokes, and no mistake. Him and these six was here alone; he killed ‘em, every man; and this one he hauled here and laid down by compass, shiver my timbers!”

One of the pirates says: “…but if ever sperrit walked, it would be Flint’s. Dear heart, but he died bad, did Flint. “Ay, that he did,” observed another; “now he raged, and now he hollered for the rum, and now he sang. ‘Fifteen men’ were his only song, mates; and I tell you true, I never rightly liked to hear it since. It was main hot, and the windy was open, and I hear that old song comin’ out as clear as clear – and the death-haul on the man a’ready.”

TREASURE ISLAND, CHAPTER 32

“He were an ugly devil,” cried a third pirate with a shudder; “that blue in the face, too!”
“That was how the rum took him,” added Merry. “Blue! Well, I reckon he was blue. That’s a true word.”
“Fetch aft the rum, Darby!”…”They was his last words,” moaned Morgan, “his last words above board.”

Well let me correct you, Morgan. Those were not his last words. Captain Flint speaks loud and clear in my book, “Tread Carefully on the Sea”.
From the time I read Treasure Island as a child, it seemed to me wrong that this powerful figure, Captain Flint, was only recorded posthumously. To me, Flint deserved a story of his own. There was only one way to accomplish that – write a prequel to Treasure Island. It not only gave the opportunity to piece together Flint’s story and character. There were a lot of unanswered questions arising from Treasure Island, such as:

Why and how did Flint come back alone after taking six men to bury the treasure?
How did Billy Bones come by Flint’s map where X marked the spot?
How did Long John Silver lose his leg and Blind Pew his “deadlights” in the same broadside? There’s some explanation in Treasure Island about Silver’s mishap but remember that Silver was an inveterate liar and what he reveals to a young mutineer about his past just does not stand up to scrutiny of the dates and events mentioned.
Who were the fifteen men on a dead man’s chest (in the recurring Treasure Island song Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum)?
Who was the “one man of her crew alive what put to sea with seventy-five” in the same song?

Maddeningly, there’s a paucity of dates in Treasure Island. In the very first sentence, the first person storyteller Jim Hawkins says: “I take up my pen in the year of grace 17–.” Why, oh why, esteemed Mr. Stevenson, did you not give us the full year?
Flint’s treasure map is more instructive. The margins contain the information that the map was drawn in August 1750 and handed to Flint’s first mate Billy Bones on July 20th, 1754.
So, armed with Stevenson’s statements, I set about answering the questions, working around the dates and, most importantly, writing the biography for which Captain Flint had waited more than 250 years.
To be true to Stevenson’s references, Flint had to be bloodthirsty, an alcoholic, and he died from ill health in a tavern in Savannah. He also had to be cunning and resourceful. He took six men ashore with him and overcame the lot of them.
To me this added up to more than your average roughneck pirate. So I built for him a personality as an educated, witty sophisticate with intimidating black eyes and a number of complexities. In my story he kills two men with no compunction at all, and he’s happier in the company of those he takes prisoner than that of his own crew. He trusts no one except those whose loyalty he can be totally sure of – and only Billy Bones and Israel Hands meet that criterion.
The death in Savannah was a real challenge. From Stevenson’s book, Flint died in an alcoholic haze. That was too mundane for my purposes so I had him as a long-sufferer, and in denial, of consumption, but I added the biggest twist of my story to the death scene. Cindy Vallar was kind enough to say it was “inventive and unusual”.
So rest in peace Captain Flint. You may not be more famous than Jonah’s Whale but history has now told your tale.

David K. Bryant

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Review of Echoes by P J Roscoe

Five stars

As a new author, I’ve been advised of many rules to follow, one of them being “don’t cross genres”. I’ve reached the stage of ignoring such entreaties because they put writers in strait-jackets and stifle creativity.

Therefore, I was delighted to enter the pages of “Echoes” and find a kindred spirit in P.J. Roscoe. She mixes a variety of genres in this unique, compelling “where the hell will it go next?” story.

For the uninitiated, genres means things like fact, fiction, contemporary, historical, mystery, raunchiness and so on. P.J. has blended those particular examples into a wonderful cocktail.

What the reader gets from that is thrills, chills and plenty of spills as this tale bounces seamlessly between the present day and the age of good old Henry the Eighth.  The disparate characters are dimly-lit and left mostly to our imagination. They become intertwined, even though the leading lady just wants to be left alone. The complexities of the people and events are all nicely wrapped up at the end.

I thought hard about the number of stars I was going to give. I thought I’d settled on four but, bearing in mind that this a debut book, it is a great achievement and I think the author is going to grow and grow. So I’ve gone for five stars and I am going to put her “Freya’s Child” on my reading list.