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Sailing the Sea Witch by Helen Hollick

Have you ever questioned easy methods to sail a tall ship? Today’s publish by Helen Hollick describes how she tackled that problem.

I first met Helen whereas attending the Historical Novel Society convention in London in 2014. Helen writes excellent tales and is a fierce supporter of indie authors.


Back in  2005/6 I needed to learn an grownup e book that was one thing like the entertaining journey of the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, The Curse of the Black Pearl. There have been loads of straight nautical novels, largely written by males for males, and fairly a number of tales for younger adults, however nothing fairly like the outright enjoyable and romance of P.O.C. #1. So I made a decision to jot down my very own. The Sea Witch Voyages have been the outcome, with Voyage six, Gallows Wake lately launched.

Apart from the proven fact that I needed to jot down the journey, I actually don’t know why I assumed a nautical story, with tall ships and crusing element closely concerned in the plot, can be a good suggestion. The nearest I’ve been to a tall ship is the Cutty Sark and HMS Victory, and the largest factor I’ve sailed in was a small Mirror Dinghy (which I suppose can be about the dimension of a slim single mattress with a ‘pointy’ bit at one finish.) And even then, I used to be solely allowed to carry the tiller. I knew completely nothing else about crusing.

But then, after I began writing Sea Witch all these years again, I had already written a number of historic novels – and equally I had  identified nothing about residing in post-Roman Britain or the eleventh century, nor what it was wish to struggle in an precise battle. Research had crammed in these gaps, so I figured that analysis may do the identical for easy methods to sail a ship.

I used to be proper in a manner, however I used to be additionally extraordinarily lucky in attending to know two very distinguished, extraordinarily useful and pleasant ‘sailor types’ who new all there was to learn about these pretty outdated ships.

Author James L. Nelson (who writes nautical and Viking adventures) is my ‘sailing editor’. He wrote his first nautical journey aboard the reproduction of  HMS Rose, higher identified, now, as HMS Surprise of the film Master & Commander fame. My second contact is John F. Millar who owns and runs an exquisite B & B, Newport House, simply exterior of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. If you need to know what life was like in C.W. in the late 1700s go and go to him for a number of nights! He was the man liable for initially designing the reproduction of  Rose/Surprise. I really like that ship, a lot in order that she is the template for my very own Sea Witch.

I used to be additionally very fortunate to discover a magnificent e book in a thrift store I used to be shopping, noticed the e book on the shelf and pounced on it. Seamanship in the Age of Sail: An Account of the Shiphandling of the Sailing Man-of-war, 1600-1860 by John H. Harland. I discover that Amazon solely has second-hand copies for £85. I paid £5 for mine. A cut price!

When writing any novel, it’s important to make sure believability, whether or not the e book is up to date, a romance, thriller, historic or no matter. What occurs in the narrative and the way the characters behave and discuss will need to have that air of actuality to your readers to immerse themselves in. One slip and also you’ve misplaced them. Romans consuming potatoes, a Georgian girl in England admiring a hummingbird in her backyard, a tall ship crusing up a shallow river when there isn’t any wind… Yes you’ll be able to take a number of ‘author licence’ liberties however they have to nonetheless sound and really feel reasonable. Get the particulars proper and all the pieces else will fall into place, you’ll hook your readers in and, hopefully, they’ll love your characters as a lot as you do and clamour for the internet e book in the collection.

Here’s an excerpt from Ripples In The Sand, the fourth Sea Witch Voyage. My (now ex-pirate) Captain Jesamiah Acorne must take Sea Witch up the Torridge river to Bideford in North Devon … the element is from Harland’s e book. 

Free of the restraining kedge, Sea Witch was drifting broadside with the tide, her mains’l aback to keep away from gathering too quick a velocity. A couple of yards solely, then dropping the energy of the tide, Jesamiah, at the helm, spun the wheel in reverse. With her bow dealing with nearly straight in direction of the broad sweep of the bend forward, and turning alarmingly quick to windward – the course from which the wind was coming – Jesamiah allowed her to fly up, head into the wind, till her stem was nearly touching the level of dropping management. Quickly, he shouted for the head yards to be braced aback, and once more he spun the helm. For a second Sea Witch drifted backwards, however with ability he introduced her to the wind, and the sails crammed. The solely technique to flip a ship when there was not enough space to manoeuvre, however a way that, if it failed, may lead to catastrophe and earn the eternal contempt of the pilot. That momentary pause, when the vessel was hanging in stays, confirmed the capability of the helmsman and crew. To miss stays – to overlook making the flip – was poor seamanship. In a slim channel it could possibly be the distinction between remaining afloat and working aground.

Her sails filling once more, Sea Witch glided throughout the width of the river. Almost it appeared they might hurtle into the reverse financial institution, however listening intently to the calls from the leadsman, Skylark, the sound of the water, the wind, and his personal intuition, Jesamiah shouted the order to tack an instantaneous earlier than the pilot, standing beside him, was about to offer a warning.

His sudden alarm subsiding, the man grunted, a gesture of reluctant admiration; mumbled that Captain Acorne was to hold on. Tactfully, Jesamiah avoided grinning. It wouldn’t pay to be cock-sure too quickly; they’d a pair extra miles to go but. Even with the tide of their favour and a prepared crew, she was a big craft to manoeuvre inside the confines of the 2 hundred or so yards that have been the width of the river Torridge.

Ignoring the pilot’s idle prattling, by backing, filling and shivering the mainsail whereas once more in stays, that hazard time when all management could possibly be misplaced, Sea Witch sailed neatly, and safely, round the subsequent headland level. Jesamiah ordered the foresail to stay aback. Once away from the bend he let the tide take her and the wind to fill the sails. Sea Witch proceeded sedately diagonally throughout the river to the far financial institution, the place at precisely the proper second he put the helm a-lee. The mainsail swung round and she or he was swinging to face straight upriver once more. There, a manner forward, was Bideford with its spectacular multi-arched stone bridge spanning the river.

I do know I say so myself, however not dangerous for a landlubber who’s by no means sailed in something bigger than a pleasure dinghy!

Not dangerous certainly, Helen! I’m completely impressed and want you nice success with Gallows Wake. Having learn a few of the Sea Witch voyages, I can heartily advocate them!

GALLOWS WAKE: The Sixth Voyage of Captain Jesamiah Acorne by Helen Hollick

Where the Past haunts the Future… 

Damage to her mast means Sea Witch needs to be repaired, however the nearest shipyard is at Gibraltar. Unfortunately for Captain Jesamiah Acorne, a number of males he doesn’t need to meet are additionally there, amongst them, Captain Edward Vernon of the Royal Navy, who would moderately see Jesamiah dangle.

Then there may be the spy, Richie Tearle, and manipulative Ascham Doone who has doubtful plans of his personal. Plans that contain Jesamiah, who, past unravelling the puzzle of a lifeless one who is probably not lifeless, has a precedence concern relating to the wellbeing of his pregnant spouse, the white witch, Tiola.

Forced to sail to England with out Jesamiah, Tiola should preserve herself and others near her protected, however reminiscences of the previous, and the shadow of the gallows hang-out her. Dreams disturb her, like a discordant lament at a wake. 

But is that this the previous calling, or the future?

“Hollick’s writing is crisp and clear, and her ear for dialogue and ability to reveal character in a few brief sentences is enviable. While several of the characters in Gallows Wake have returned from previous books, I felt no need to have read those books to understand them. The paranormal side of the story—Tiola is a white witch, with powers of precognition and more, and one of the characters is not quite human—blends with the story beautifully, handled so matter-of-factly. This is simply Jesamiah’s reality, and he accepts it, as does the reader.”  ~ Author Marian L. Thorpe.

THE VOYAGES – test them out at Helen’s Amazon writer web page

The Time : The Golden Age of Piracy – 1716. The Place : The Pirate Round – from the South African Coast to the Caribbean

Escaping the bullying of his elder half-brother, from the age of fifteen Jesamiah Acorne has been a pirate with solely two loves – his ship and his freedom. But his life is to alter when he and his crewmates unsuccessfully assault a service provider ship off the coast of South Africa. He is to satisfy Tiola Oldstagh an insignificant lady, or so he assumes – till she rescues him from a vicious assault, and nearly sure dying, by pirate hunters. And then he discovers what she actually is; a healer, a midwife – and a white witch…

“A superb story of pillaging pirates, with ragamuffins galore, ruthless villains, and skulduggery a-plenty. This is no light-hearted romp, though; the voyage is an emotional rollercoaster with real depth of feeling – love, betrayal, hatred, childhood trauma and revenge, to name but a few. The main character, Jesamiah Acorne, is an accomplished pirate, a man of integrity among a crew of ruffians. What I love about this author is her facility with the craft of storytelling. Stern to bowsprit, bilges to crow’s nest, this is a story told with a sure, steady hand.” Amazon overview

SEA WITCH   Voyage one

PIRATE CODE  Voyage two

BRING IT CLOSE  Voyage three



WHEN THE MERMAID SINGS  A prequel to the collection

ABOUT HELEN HOLLICK ~~ First accepted for conventional publication in 1993, Helen turned a USA Today Bestseller along with her historic novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that discover the occasions that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century model of the Arthurian legend, and she or he writes a nautical journey/fantasy collection, The Sea Witch Voyages. She is now additionally branching out into the fast learn novella, ‘Cosy Mystery’ style along with her Jan Christopher Murder Mysteries, set in the Nineteen Seventies, with the first in the collection, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, typically hilarious, reminiscences of working as a library assistant.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She lives along with her household in an eighteenth-century farmhouse in North Devon and infrequently will get time to jot down…

Website: www.helenhollick.internet

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Twitter: @HelenHollick


M.Okay. Tod writes historic fiction. Her newest novel is THE ADMIRAL’S WIFE, a twin timeline set in Hong Kong. Mary’s different novels, PARIS IN RUINS, TIME AND REGRET, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED can be found from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She might be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her web site


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