Update: Yolaine Clark is the winner!
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Thanks for having me on your blog today, Delilah. It’s a pleasure to be here!
Hello, me hearties! My name is Katherine Bone and I write Regency Pirate Action/Adventure Romance. Huzzah and Hoorah!!!
One of the great things about writing Historicals, as I’m sure Delilah and many other brilliant writers like her have told you, is getting to do research. I absolutely love digging into research and then using what I’ve learned to write swashbuckling romance. It’s a win, win. Besides, pirates are boat loads of fun, pardon the pun. And with a name like Bone, what couldn’t be more appropriate, right? <g>
Today, I’d like to share a bit of what I’ve learned and used to flesh out my Nelson’s Tea female characters over the years.
Pirates. Deadly. Vicious. Determined. These roving souls took to the seas hell bent on filling their coffers with other men’s treasure. Eager to escape society, boredom, the law, these fearless men and women forged a brethren code and hoisted a flag meant to stir fright in the most stalwart of men.
Admiral Nelson was assigned to protect England’s shores. In my Nelson’s Tea Series, Nelson enlists the aid of a well-connected lord, a former naval associate, and a pirate family to get the job done. I adore the swashbuckle and mayhem my characters create throughout the series. But in reality, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, especially a woman who turned to piracy in order to protect those she loved.
~ Pirate Queen Roll Call ~
Alfild ~ The beautiful daughter of a 9th Century Scandinavian king balked at marriage to the only man who made it past serpents her father kept at her door. (Good old-fashioned fatherly love in action, eh?) Hesitant to marry her champion — zounds! his name was Alf too — Alfild donned men’s clothes and took to the seas. His pride beyond wounded, Alf had no other recourse but to give chase and attack Alfild’s ship. Legend has it a fierce battle took place. Alfild fought beside her crew and, upon seeing her face for the very first time when her helmet was knocked off, Alf took the fair pirate queen for his wife, putting an end to her shenanigans.
Lady Mary Killigrew — In the late 1500s, Mary’s father was known as the “Gentleman Pirate of Suffolk”. In keeping with family tradition, she married Sir John Killigrew, a pirate who bought her a fancy house in Arwennack, near Pendeniss Castle along the Cornish coast. It was here she staged her enterprise, boarding and looting damaged ships in Falmouth Harbor. Aided by her son John, president of the corrupt Cornwall Commission for Piracy, Mary operated a lucrative business until she was tried and set free, a rescue that was both politically motivated and expensive for her son.
Grania ny Maille — “Terra marique potens” (powerful by land and sea) was Grace O’Malley’s powerful family motto. The short-haired daughter of a Gaelic chieftain married Dónal O’Flaherty whose motto “fortune favors the bold” encouraged her to raid the Thames. Together, they specialized in ambush tactics and created an impenetrable fortress, Cock’s Castle, on Clare Island in Clew Bay. Grace’s strained relationship with Queen Elizabeth is legendary but, oddly enough, culminated in friendship by the time of their deaths in 1603.
Anne Fulford, aka Anne Bonny, and Mary Read — After falling for James Bonny and then being seduced by Captain Jack Rackham — Calico Jack — Anne, not-yet 20 years old, put on trousers and joined her lover at sea. Later, they met and teamed up with Sailor Read (Mary in disguise) who pledged death by hanging was “no great hardship”. After Anne, Jack, and Mary pilfered the William in 1720 and roved around Jamaica, they were hunted down, captured, and taken to trial. Anne and Mary claimed they were with child and, instead of dancing “the hempen jig” like Jack, they were sent to prison. Mary became feverish and died before her pregnancy could be authenticated, while Anne gave birth and was never heard from again.
Fanny Campbell ~ After her beloved fiancée, merchant sailor William Lovell, was captured by pirates and then charged with piracy, Fanny knew just what to do. She changed her name to Channing, dressed as a boy, joined a ship’s crew, and staged a mutiny aboard the Constance, where she posed as second officer. Taking over as captain, to William’s surprise, she orchestrated his rescue. Soon afterward, Fanny and William married and became privateers in the American Revolution.
Rachel Wall ~ Daughter of Presbyterians, Rachel eloped with fisherman and privateer George Wall. Together their biggest ploy was to rob and kill would-be rescuers after they moored their sloop, waited out a storm, set their vessel adrift, and then raised distress flags to lure passing ships. Her greatest claim to fame? She was the last woman hung in Massachusetts in 1779.
Cheng I Sao — A Cantonese prostitute — Cheng I Sao married Cheng I and sailed with him until his death in 1807. Their confederation of 400 junks and 70,000 men was tightly bound by a constitution signed in 1805. “Wasps of the ocean” Madame Cheng’s pirates created an unbeatable naval force until Cheng I Sao went into retirement in 1810, ending her charismatic reign over the South China Sea. Twice widowed, the lovely pirate queen died peacefully at 69.
Throughout my series, similarities exist between these pirate queens and my characters. For instance, Fanny’s ship is named Constance and Constance Danbury is the heroine of my book Duke by Day, Rogue by Night. Adele Seaton, the heroine of book two, The Rogue’s Prize, channels Grace O’Malley’s, Lady Killigrew’s, and Rachel Wall’s swashbuckle. Mercedes Vasquez de la Claremont, the heroine in book three, The Rogue’s Surrender, has similarities to Anne Bonny and Alfild. And lastly, Baroness Chauncey in My Lord Rogue, the prequel novella, taps into Mary Read and Cheng I Sao’s bravado.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of pirate queens. 2014 is a new year with endless possibilities and I’m excited to announce that the first book in my Nelson’s Tea Series, Duke by Day, Rogue by Night, is relaunching with EsKape Press < http://eskapepress.com/> on March 4, 2014.
Duke by Day, Rogue by Night
CONSTANCE DANBURY is desperate to escape an arranged marriage to a man nearly twice her age. Her only hope is to board a merchantman bound for Spain to enlist her aunt’s help. Her plans go awry when she’s captured by pirates. Even more alarming, her traitorous body longs for the man who’s returning her to England! Pushed into a marriage of convenience, she’s caught between two men—one owns her heart, the other is bent on stealing it.
PERCIVAL AVERY is a member of Nelson’s Tea, an elite group assigned to protect England’s shores at any cost. On a mission to avenge his sister’s death, Percy infiltrates the gang of cutthroats responsible. When his vessel attacks a merchantman, Percy must choose between vengeance and saving the life of his commander’s niece. His only choice is to mutiny, but mutiny obliterates his well-laid plans. Forced on a new course that leads straight back to Constance Danbury, Percy has to make a decision—chase revenge or allow himself to love again.
Readers, does anything about these pirate queens surprise you? Would you be able to leave your land-loving life behind and take to the seas? One lucky commenter will receive a $10 Amazon gift card. Woot!
Katherine has been passionate about all things historical since she was an Army brat traveling all over the world. Initially, she dreamed of becoming an artist, but when she met and fell in love with Prince Charming, her own dashing Lieutenant, vowing duty, honor and country, and found herself quickly saying “I do.” Life as an Army wife took her abroad to castles, battlegrounds and cathedrals, where tales of romance, swashbuckling characters, and unforgettable adventure filled the lonely nights Uncle Sam called Charming away. Now, after raising four children, Katherine lives in the south with her rogue and fluffy Maine Coon, where she writes about alpha males and the happily ever afters they deserve.