I can't say I have ever read a real deal romance novel or series of stories, but, hmm, the idea of time-travel and pirates, hmm, I may change my mind and try a toe tip dip into one of Maddie's books. As a bestselling Romance author, she obviously knows how to write some great tales and characters.
Here is her "things learned" writing, well, pirate things... :)
1. Pirates were cool dudes.
They were free spirits. Maybe even they were the original hippies. They floated about the seas on borrowed vessels, from island to island, coastal town to coastal town, nary a care in the world. They often partied all night and slept until they woke up. They loved their lifestyle, although not everyone else understood it.
I have that same free spirit mentality flowing in my blood. I love to sleep until I wake up, although I don’t party all night. Usually I’m up writing or working on a project. (wild woman here) People think it’s cool to be a writer, even though they don’t understand how it can be your full time job. So, pirates taught me to be cool with being cool, just the way I am.
2. Pirates charted their own course.
Although it was not so cool to chart your own course in life at the pain and suffering of others, nevertheless, pirates went “indie” early on, didn’t work for “the man” and reported only to themselves. The raping and pillaging notwithstanding, pirates were ahead of the game.
It took me a while to chart my own course in life. Even though I am a product of the 60s and 70s free spirit generation, I grew up in a conservative little town, within a conservative little family. Things were expected. High school, college graduation, a strong work ethic, get a job, pay your bills. I did what was expected for a lot of years, but the wayward pirate inside of me constantly whispered “you need to write” “you need to be in control of your life” “you need to quite your day job.”
Oops. I quit my day job. I’m now a rogue pirate writer not working for the man. I am charting my own course, and I am still working hard and paying my bills. Happily.
3. Pirates had many names.
I can relate. Pirates often didn’t want their bad reputation going back on their families, so they changed their names. This is why Edward Teach, or Edward Thatch, (even if those were his real names) changed his name to Blackbeard.
And this is why I have pen names. Not that I think I’ll ruin my family’s reputation, but in many cases, it’s just to keep my writing and personal lives separate. And oh, please don’t tell my mother about my erotica pen name….
4. Pirates loved the ocean.
They lived the “salt life.” What is the salt life? (Maybe see #1 above?) I’ve seen the bumper and window stickers, the t-shirts and ball caps. I think I know what it means but to be sure, I had to look it up. Here is what it means to live the salt life. According to the website at the previous link, “Salt Life is an authentic, aspirational and lifestyle brand that embraces those who love the ocean and everything associated with living the “Salt Life”.” Cool. Oh, so very cool. The Urban Dictionary also defines as “a surfer, bodyboarder, or general beach bum whose life centered around the ocean or related beach going activities.” See, pirates were so ahead of their times, again!
It was probably the early 90s when I was lured by the ocean and sand and surf. Once there, I could feel the pull, and it lures me back year after year….
5. Pirates liked pretty things.
Like baubles, and gold, and jewels, and buried treasure. I’m a woman, so I like these things too. In fact, in my book, Brazen, my heroine, Tory, was drawn to a silver-plated, bejeweled skull in a pirate gift shop on Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. See?
An abridged excerpt from Brazen, Book Two, Soul Mates Series:
Colt led her another aisle away and as they were about to turn the corner, a sparkling object in a darkened corner of the room caught her eye. It made her halt outright, dragging Colt back to her side.
Sitting on a black velvet covered table, with a small light shining down and illuminating its silver brilliance, sat the chalice.
“Ah, I see you’ve found me pretty.” The strong island voice was behind her now. Close. Too close. So close she could inhale the stench of him.
“What?” She whirled to face him.
“My pretty cup. What do ya think? Made from Blackbeard’s skull, itself. Or so they say. Have ya seen anything so pretty in your life, lass?”
Tory glanced at Colt, whose gaze was pinned to the thing.
“Is it real?” he asked. “The real one?”
A bellow of laughter split the stale air in the room. Both she and Colt tore their gazes away to look at the man’s face.
“Ah, but I could wish. One more quest in me search to find the bastard’s treasure. To possess the chalice would be a blessing. But sadly, this is only a fine-honed replica.” Then he winked, leaning closer to Tory. “At least that’s what I tell the people.”
“The jewels are different,” she muttered.
The man stepped closer. Tory avoided his gaze. “What say ya, missy? The jewels are different? And how would a young miss as yerself know such a thing?”
“Different than she thought they would be.” Colt put himself between her and the man. “Fascinating story, chap. I would love to speak with you more about that sometime. I’m a writer, you see, and I’m writing a book on pirate folklore in the area. A fictional account, however, and perhaps I’ll come back and chat with you another day.”
And with that, he ushered her quickly toward the front of the store, his grip tight on her elbow and his stride so long it was difficult for her shorter legs to keep up with him.
“Shut up, Tory,” he hissed under his breath.
When the door slammed behind them and she heard the tinkle of the bell cease, she kept up with six of his long strides down the street, and then stopped abruptly and jerked her arm away.
“There are no rubies in Blackbeard’s Chalice. Only emeralds and diamonds and one lone sapphire. No rubies.” She exhaled deeply as she said the words.
He moved closer and spoke again, his voice barely above a whisper. “And how do you know this?”
She knew she might as well give him everything. “Because I possess the real Blackbeard’s Chalice, Colt. It belongs to me. My family.”
Book Blurb for SOUL MATES, BOOK ONE
Soul Mates, Book One (Time Travel, Romance, Suspense, Paranormal)
The Legend of Blackbeard's Chalice
Can souls touch through time and hold on when all odds are against them?
Claire Winslow vacations on an East Coast barrier island, content with her life and her potential future--until the illusion of a man walking the misty shore haunts her. Then one kiss--a beautiful, soulful, stolen kiss in the night--and her life changes forever.
Nearly 300 years past, Jack Porter is in hot pursuit of his kidnapped wife. Not an easy feat considering the year is 1718 and the kidnapper is the notorious pirate Blackbeard aka Edward Teach. Determined to rescue his wife and take the pirate's head in the process, Jack steals aboard the pirate's ship to save her.
Entranced sends Jack and Claire on a wild search through time, not only for the resolution to a powerful attraction between them, but also for a historical artifact that holds the key to their future happiness--the coveted silver-plated chalice made from Blackbeard's skull.
Maddie James is the author of 34 books, including the Soul Mates: The Legend of Blackbeard’s Chalice romance/time travel series, where she writes about pirates of the past and a modern-day pirate cult, all caught up in the name of romance, of course. You can learn more about her books at www.maddiejames.com.