Tag Archives: Pirates

Pipers. Pirates. Passion. The Past. Shy Violet by Sherrie Hansen. May 1st.

When a poor choice and some wild fluctuations in the space time continuum leave school teacher Violet Johansen stranded in the car park of Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland, Violet wonders if she’ll ever find her way back to her comfort zone. She has two choices – to trust a piper who looks exactly like someone she dated a decade ago, or a band of nefarious pirates.   


21 BB 153 Scotland - Pirates


Scottish Bagpipe player 5

People – mistakes – from the past that rise up to haunt you at exactly the worst possible moment…

Scotland - Graveyard

A castle that’s been ravaged and rebuilt…

146 Scotland - Eileen Donan


Food - Teatime


Shy Violet - painting

People from the past who threaten to tie you down for all eternity.

119 Scotland Lion Growl

Can Violet and Nathan’s fragile new friendship survive to see love reborn? Or is the past so set in stone that nothing can change it?

26 BB Flower - Violet Pair

Shy Violet.  Is it Violet’s turn to bloom, or will the past crush her hopes for the future? Will the promises Nathan made prevent him from enjoying the present he’s found in Violet?

ShyViolet Final Front Cover

“A cool blend of mystery, humor, suspense and romance, and wholly believable, delightfully flawed characters is genuinely enticing in this wild romp through the Scottish countryside with Sherrie Hansen.  Evocative, sensitive, sensible and sweet, these are tales with plenty of action and adventure, making a truly lovely read.”  Author Sheila Deeth, on the Wildflowers of Scotland novels

SHY VIOLET by Sherrie Hansen – coming May 1 from Second Wind Publishing

Sherrie Hansen’s Bio:
Twenty-three years ago, Sherrie rescued a dilapidated Victorian house in northern Iowa from the bulldozer’s grips and turned it into a bed and breakfast and tea house, the Blue Belle Inn.  Sherrie has also lived in Colorado Springs, CO, Augsburg, Germany, Wheaton, IL, and Bar Harbor, Maine. She grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota. After 12 years of writing romance novels, Sherrie met and married her real-life hero, Mark Decker, a pastor. They now live in 2 different houses, 85 miles apart, and Sherrie writes on the run whenever she has a spare minute. Sherrie enjoys playing the piano, photography, traveling, and going on weekly adventures with her nieces and nephew. “Shy Violet” is Sherrie’s eighth book to be published by Second Wind Publishing.


http://www.BlueBelleInn.com or http://www.BlueBelleBooks.com


Books Titles: Night and Day, Maple Valley Trilogy – Stormy Weather, Water Lily, and Merry Go Round, Love Notes, Wildflowers of Scotland novels – Thistle Down (a prequel novella), Wild Rose, Blue Belle, and Shy Violet


Filed under Scotland, Sherrie Hansen

Pardon, But Your Book is Showing by JJ Dare

Previously, I’ve talked about how writers’ lives influence their books, but have you ever wondered how the books you read and write influence your life?

As a writer, bits and pieces of you are in the stories you tell. Words are the influences and emotions from your environment. Even if your story is set in 17th century as a pirate on the high seas, parts of your life are imprisoned in your tale.

It’s unavoidable. We write what we are, to a certain degree, before imagination and fantasy take over.

What if, after imagination and fantasy take the wheel, the influences reverse? Theoretically, do we become what we write?

Science fiction writers and readers, has a switch flipped inside you and have you started to explore the previously unimaginable? Romance writers, how about you? Do you become the hero or heroine and does your partner start to look like your hot suitor?

Crime writers, are you surrounded by clues in your everyday life? Has writing about detectives helped you find your lost keys faster? Mystery and thriller authors, do you see beneath the masks of those around you?

I had always been apathetically aware of the agendas of others, but that escalated when I started writing suspense. Now, I feel so keenly attuned to the hidden designs of people, I have a “motivation” trigger in my brain that won’t quit.

This comes as an advantage at times. When someone asks me or any of my loved ones a question, I instantly think, why do they need to know and what do they gain from the answer?

If anything, my sometimes off the wall questioning of a question forces others to think about agendas. Although I might come off as a conspiracy theorist, almost everyone has a reason, usually self-related, for the questions they ask.

A few years ago, I would have simply accepted the question and given a straightforward answer. Now, however, after being exposed to my own writing, I look beyond the question to the purpose of the question.

Do writers and readers become better people after creating or reading a book? I hesitated to use the word “better” because measuring one’s goodness (or badness) is unreliable. The meter on that varies too widely at any given second.

However, I do think you become “different” after exposure to a strong book (written or read), but the strength of the written word is subjective and relative to your emotions of the moment.

It’s an interesting concept to think about. I know my writing has changed me. Have books changed you?

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch


Filed under life, writing


By Laura S. Wharton, Author of The Pirate’s Bastard and Leaving Lukens

I struggle with internet connection at my rural home. Some days, I can get online easily. Other days, I feel like I’m standing on a hill far, far away from civilization trying to decide whether sending smoke signals would be better than using a mega horn to get my message across. Some days, I have a connection before it’s dropped … never to be made again while I’m sitting in front of the computer, trying my level best to get messages out.

We’ve switched cables, computers, internet providers … everything imaginable except our location. Still, the lack of connection goes on (or off, depending on your point of view), and with the current economic conditions, we certainly won’t be able to move anytime soon to get better, or more constant, connections. So what’s a writer to do, besides having another cup of tea, hoping that “eventually” the connection will come back? Short of packing up my laptop and going to a wifi hotspot, not much.

Since I have a good deal of down time waiting for internet connection, this issue naturally leads me to think about connections writers make with readers in stories. My father says he’s watched books transform from “who-done-it” to “where-done-it” stories – focusing so much on place, on description of flora fauna, or surroundings, or what the victim wore on the night of the murder. He points out that if all the adjectives were taken out of current books, there might be four words left to tell the story. I suppose that’s okay, as long as those remaining four words actually do the job of 70,000 plus words and connect with the reader for a memorable experience. But which four words would work? It depends on the kind of connection a writer wants with a reader.

I’m guilty of putting a great deal of emphasis on a story’s place. In The Pirate’s Bastard, the tale is set in colonial coastal North Carolina. A tale of history, piracy, blackmail, and ships, what resonates most with reviewers is the lush emerald green marsh grass from which the lead character Edward Marshall takes his name when he comes to the new world, escaping his past and his pirate father’s deeds. Readers also comment on the way I’ve described the grounds and waters near the grand mansion that Orton Plantation was going to be, where Edward served as an agent for the wealthy land owner.

In Leaving Lukens, I set out to write an adventure story filled with a little romance. According to my editor, it’s a romance filled with lots of action. I could connect with readers on the romance level, or the action level. The place connection could be strong, too, since the story is set in the small North Carolina village of Lukens on the opposite shore from Oriental and features New Bern prominently. But what about the history angle? That might be the greatest connection with readers. It’s honestly my favorite part of the story. The impact of World War II was felt hard along our coast: German U-boats sank many American tankers filled with goods bound for England in the lend-lease program. Oil, debris, and even sailors’ bodies littered our otherwise pristine beaches. The black stench of war hung in the coastal air for days after a sinking, according to eyewitness accounts. Pleasure boat-building companies stepped up their production capabilities to supply minesweepers and other ships for the war effort. And little towns like New Bern swelled with military men, or vanished from existence thanks to the “last straw” effect of a war like no other.

My characters experience all this (and so much more) in Leaving Lukens. I wonder how the story will connect with readers and reviewers when the book comes out this fall? Assuming I get a connection today, I’ll upload this blog posting, and look forward to the feedback readers might offer.

Laura S. Wharton is the author of The Pirate’s Bastard and the upcoming novel, Leaving Lukens. Learn more about her and her work at http://www.LauraWhartonBooks.com, http://www.LauraWharton.blogspot.com, or connect with her at http://www.twitter.com/LauraSWharton


Filed under writing

Thinking of Summer in the Winter

It’s true. I admit it. I’m not a winter person.

As I write this, schools (and work) have been closed thanks to a wintry mix of snow and ice. When my son wakes, it will be all I can do to find his boots in time before he runs out of the house, pell mell toward the hill with sled at his side. That will be fun for a bit, and the following fire in the fireplace, a lovely bowl of homemade soup with my freshly baked bread, games to play and a book nearby will help us pass the day away.

Still, I dream of summer: hot, sticky afternoons turning into hot sticky nights in the days before air conditioning. I fondly recall time spent in the Severn River swimming, diving, canoeing, or sailing, long before kayaks were all the rage; and I truly dream of the frequent crabbing sessions. We’d lean way out over the edge of a pier to see if the weighted chicken neck attracted the attention of a blue crab big enough to be a keeper, the imprint of the dock’s weathered boards leaving their mark on my t-shirt and mind for years to come.

For what seemed an all too brief time in my life, my family lived in a magical place near Annapolis, Maryland. We referred to it as “the Forest” or “Sherwood” … it might as well been called heaven to a kid, though. When we were summer people, we had a small green clapboard-sided cottage with white trim on Robin Hood Road – it was more of a loop, where we lived with screen doors slamming as all four of us kids ran in and out constantly off to club (they now call it camp), or back in from some waterfront activity. From the breakfast table, we’d call across ravines to friends to see who was going where when; we walked, ran, or rode bikes everywhere (the kids now take golf carts to their destinations); we swam in the river (there’s now a pool – can you imagine?); and when we got older, we visited “The Pit” – a nice name for a place to hang out at night with the same kids we were in club with all day.

The house is still there, but it’s now a three-story, glassed-in, protected-from-the-elements fortress. Hard to recognize, to say the least. There will be no undetected slipping out of those screen windows. When that window opened to the bedroom I shared with my two sisters, we regularly rolled out of bed in shorts and flip flops to meet friends down at the river for a moonlight dip. I’m sure my parents knew we did it, but it seemed like harmless, covert fun at the time.

There were dances in the clubhouse, church services in the fellowship hall, and a ten-pin bowling alley down below where my younger brother earned a little money straddling the alley so he could jump down to reset the pins for the next bowler. It was a coveted job, to be sure. When he finished a shift, he would promptly head over to the General Store, ask Duffy to make something substantial for a snack, and often as not, charge it to my parents’ account. Standing tall in his white apron, Duffy took on many roles: cook, store clerk, postmaster, and stand-in parent to all the kids of Sherwood with a watchful eye and a stern warning for anyone who crossed the line with one too many sweets. The store is still there. It’s a gourmet deli, though, and Duffy is long gone.

We played volleyball, tennis, softball, badminton, golf, and water polo. Archery was an activity for everyone, as was lacrosse. Soccer (in the days before the current soccer craze) and lacrosse were played on the same small field – at least I remember it as small, compared to the mega-soccer complexes of today.

And even on the coldest mornings (and there were cold mornings in Maryland during the summer), if swimming was the first activity of the day, we were in the water, struggling to get warm under the tutelage of Coach Cropp, and battling sea nettles. Swimming across the river was a rite of passage. At the end of summer, as a team we swam across the river en masse to psyche out the opposing time –they swam in a pool, for heaven’s sake. The trick worked well, as I recall – plus, we’d had our warm up on the way. The only down side was we had to swim back after the meet was over, and we were tired and hungry. Or at least I was. But we all made it. We all survived. We all reveled in the days of summer in Sherwood Forest.

The annual end of summer event to top all, the Corn Roast, was something special – so special, I made the trek back to attend one after many years’ absence. Aside from the family grills blazing and a beer truck at the ready, the centerpiece of the event is the definitely the corn. Large ditches are dug, fires smolder all afternoon, and corn—still in the husk—is steamed in metal canoes. Burlap is fitted over the top of the canoe and hosed down from time to time, making the absolute best corn I have ever tasted. Ever. Thoughts of visiting with old friends on Robin Hood Beach, watching the dolled-up girls make their entrance, (many of them are my dear friends’ daughters) bring a smile to my lips on a bitter cold morning. Ah, summer.

These memories flutter in and out of my mind on cold mornings as I begin in earnest my next novel. The characters deal with similar living conditions, though they have far less than we ever did. They just don’t know it. Nobody knew what life would hold. (I’m not sure any of us grownups do now, either.)

The story is set in 1942 in a small North Carolina village greatly impacted by the Great Depression and subsequent war. Summer in this waterside village is very similar in climate to Maryland’s, with sticky days, bugs, and the incredible cacophony of bugs at night where the only protection might be a screened porch – a thin veil separating occupants of home from the incredible outside life. Activities vary, but still focus on water.

While the characters and story are fictitious, the place was at one time very real, very much alive with families. There was a schoolhouse, a store, a church, and homes with gardens. There was a cemetery, which still remains on a bluff overlooking a river.

With the exception of the cemetery, the village doesn’t exist anymore. In many ways, it reminds me of the Sherwood Forest of my childhood. It no longer exists either, though the place is still very much there – just in a different way. Ah, the lens of childhood.

Laura S. Wharton is the Second Wind author of The Pirate’s Bastard and the forthcoming children’s story, Mystery at the Phoenix Festival. Learn more about her and her books at http://www.LauraWhartonBooks.com or laurawharton.blogspot.com.

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Filed under books, fiction, writing

Most Recent Fiction Releases From Second Wind Publishing

Water Lily by Sherrie Hansen:

Once upon a very long time ago, Jake Sheffield and Michelle Jones graduated from the same high school.

Jake can’t wait to take a trip down memory lane at their 20th class reunion. Being with his old friends is like guest starring in a favorite episode of Cheers. Everybody knows your name. Everybody’s glad you came. 

The last thing Michelle wants to do is dredge up a lot of old memories and relive a part of her past that wasn’t that great in the first place.

Will the murky waters of the past destroy their dreams for the future, or will a water lily rise from the depths and bloom?

Click here to read the first chapter: Water Lily

The Pirate’s Bastard by Laura Wharton:

A rollicking ride through colonial North Carolina and beyond with Edward Marshall, bastard son of infamous pirate Stede Bonnet, as he tries hard to separate his past from his future. But will his father’s former right-hand man ruin it all with blackmail?

Click here to read the first chapter: The Pirate’s Bastard

An Altar by the River by Christine Husom:

A frantic man phones the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department reporting his brother is armed with a large dagger and on his way there, intent to sacrifice himself. Sergeant Corinne Aleckson takes the call, learning the alarming reasons behind the young man’s death wish. When the department investigates, they plunge into the alleged criminal activities of a hidden cult and the disturbing cover-up of an old closed-case shooting death. The cult members have everything to lose and will do whatever it takes to prevent the truth coming to light. But will they find An Altar by the River in time to save the young man?

Click here to read the first chapter: An Altar by the River

Redstone by George Wright:

Everything that mattered to the old man was gone.  One by one he had lost his job. his wife and his health. Then  he took matters into his own hands.

A hidden valley, a lost Indian tribe and a cougar named Kitten led him to an adventurous new life, a life that fulfills his every dream.

As he establishes his kingdom in the mountains, some people call him Sasquatch, some call him crazy. He calls himself Chief of the Ruby Indians.

Click here to read the first chapter: Redstone

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Filed under books, fiction, fun, writing

With Apologies to the Beatles

I’m not sure why, but the week my book The Pirate’s Bastard came out, a long-forgotten song crept into my brain and wouldn’t leave.

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few,
I’ll be writing more in a week or two.
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

When I was younger, I don’t recall focusing on the end product – a paperback or a hardback, an e-book or some other iteration – in which my stories might appear. I just wanted to write books. The Beatles’ standard still reverberates in my brain, but after two weeks, I think the volume in my head has turned down at least three notches so I can focus on other tasks.

There are more words to the Beatles’ song than I care to repeat here, but I honestly thought there was a line stating “I’ll be famous in a week or two….” After reading the lyrics which are posted for any who want to search for them, I stand corrected. Maybe my over-active imagination was working overtime.

Laura S. Wharton is the author of the novel The Pirate’s Bastard, recently released by Second Wind Publishers. Her website is http://www.LauraWhartonBooks.com, and her blog is LauraWharton.blogspot.com.


Filed under writing

What Viral Media can do for Authors

I have a serious case of author-envy. The subject of my fascination: Jason Pinter, bestselling author of the Henry Parker crime series including THE FURY, THE STOLEN, THE GUILTY and THE MARK. He’s also working on a young reader’s series, which makes me think he’s got caffeine swilling around in his veins.

Did I mention he’s incredibly young, by writers’ standards? He’s 30. I was told in Journalism school and later in other presumably knowledgeable writing circles that a writer has to really live in order to write. Okay, scratch that. It seems one only has to have mojo, a strong imagination, and good story-telling skills. Contacts within the publishing industry don’t hurt, I suppose. Pinter worked as a book editor with three major publishing houses in New York. That may be a cynic’s view. He claims that knowing publishers and agents might get a writer in the door, but if the work’s no good, it won’t get published no matter whose name is on it.

Shortly after getting a three-book contract at age 26, his publisher’s faith in his ability to produce like James Patterson netted him a seven-book deal. Soon after, film rights for The Mark were optioned by an Irish company, Treasure Films. And now it seems he’s turned into an agent himself, working with Waxman Literary Agency as of this month. He’s specializing in commercial fiction, pop culture, sports, and young adults/middle readers. I promise I’m not making this up.

What makes Pinter’s trek even more titillating is that his books have an incredible viral appeal. I was told about him by someone who is really into social media (I’m a casual user compared to most). He said that Pinter’s books took off overnight because of a simple video, a few well-placed blogs and tweets, and a fan base that swelled like a blister ready to burst after a full day in stiff new shoes. By my source’s account, Pinter (or his publisher) sold over 40,000 in a matter of hours upon a release of a new book thanks to his fan base. Kinda takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

There are companies claiming to position writers and their books in the blogosphere for similar results (Author Buzz is one such company). Fees for launches begin around $1,000. Interestingly enough, Pinter did it organically rather than hiring a company, so this is a case study in what works.

Wonder if he’ll have time to blog/tweet/post/write/sleep now that he has a full-time gig with Waxman? Oh wait. Did I mention he’s a native New Yorker? They seem to know how to do all that, since NY is the city that never sleeps. Guess it’s inhabitants only need more coffee to get it all done.

Laura S. Wharton is the author of the upcoming Second Wind Publishing release, The Pirate’s Bastard. Her blog is laurawharton.blogspot.com.


Filed under writing