24 March 2011

Under The Black Flag - Beware Pirates!

My guest this week is a pirate website!
Under the Black Flag is an international crew, dedicated to learning and teaching the lore of piracy, factual and fictional. Their Captain is Jake Lankster – or in “real life” Leonidas Gourgourinis. Leonidas is Greek, so forgive his occasional slip with English. Hi Helen I would like to thank you for invite the Under The Black Flag team to your fine site or should say on to your fine ship...  It's a great honour for us to be your  guests.
Under the Black Flag is an internationally crewed website, dedicated to learning and teaching the lore of piracy, factual and fictional. Our diverse origins bring a richness to our ship. Our mutual lust for the gold on our horizons keeps us focused on our goal: to live the dream of freedom, fantasy, and power that piracy has sailed down through history to represent.
Everything started  one and half years ago and the task was  - and still is - to create one place on the Internet for all the information about pirate history that we can find. It's difficult and takes  time,  but the most important thing is that we try to reach that goal.  On the early stages of the project it was only myself – Jake Lankster  and my brother, Black Captain  (Paul Gourgourinis) at the helm. Some friends called us dreamers, some others,  just crazy, but the journey to the Pirates World had begun.
First we created our web site undertheblackflag.com  and then we created a page on Facebook. We had no crew, no members, no captains - only the dream but still we set sail. We needed to hoist our colours. That was difficult because we wanted to have a unique pirate flag . It took us about two months to create our personal Jolly Roger. We wanted the flag to have the style of the old times but also something from our modern days. I believe we made it and we are very proud for this flag. For this beautiful flag I must thank an old captain of utbf  - Captain Harry Flow (Harry Giannopoulos) - for his help and the awesome job he had done.
Then we started  to spread the word of undertheblackflag. The amazing thing was and I still can’t  believe it, that in the sea of the Internet we soon found many pirate souls to join our fine ship Arcadia. Our crew started to grow fast and then we realized that it was time to write the articles  or the pirate code for our ship. With this task  finished by Captain Black, our code explained everything that a member or captain should do or not.
From  that time on we become a real Internet brotherhood and that is amazing!
Some of our fine members started  to help us by sending photos to post or biographies of pirates and history texts etc. Soon we realized that It would be an idea to create a real pirate council like the Brethren of the Coast. The members of our council all have the rank of Captain or Capitana for our ladies The utbf council has acted  for a year now and we have made very good progress. To be a Captain or Capitana in utbf isn’t something easy. You must be an active member for six months  and do one great thing to help our brotherhood. So if anyone is interested please get in touch
So, here are our Captains and Capitanas I will start with our ladies.
First is  Andrea Jones  from Chicago,  better known as Capitana Red – Hand the author of the Hook & Jill book a real great lady and awesome person. She is the voice of wisdom of our council. She says  about utbf
Not many people today have the chance to live their dreams. Still fewer are bold enough to dare. I live and work in a land of adventure, where I enjoy the best -- and the worst -- of company. Lovers, companions, pirates, Indians, gypsies, fairies, wild beasts... and even Englishmen. My home port is the Neverland of J.M. Barrie, returned vividly to life for me in my own stories, a series of Neverland novels for adults, beginning with "Hook & Jill." Sailing as a storyteller on Captain James Hook's "Jolly Roger," I met up with another band of pirates. When hailed to join the company, I snatched up my quill and signed the articles. And it's honored I am to assume the role of Capitana Red-Hand.
Do you work in a cubicle? Jump ship, matie, and make it a coracle. Our Under The Black Flag crew boasts nearly 4,000 shipmates. We'll toss you a line, too, and pull you aboard the good ship Arcadia!
Second is Maya Delezou from Athens, we call her Capitana Morgana del Sol she is an actress and gives our page a more poetic and romantic style.
Third is Capitana Celina Ant  from the beautiful island of Crete. She is wild at heart and has great passion like Anna Bonny . She says about utbf.
Once I met "Under The Black Flag" and knowing slowly the other Captains, I realized that this is the best way to express my interest in piracy, not only as a recording of Pirate History, but my passion for piracy as a philosophy and lifestyle too. For me "utbf" essentially expresses my pirate soul and my dreams as ideology of some things of life.
Because every pirate ship needs a great singer we have Eric Williams from the USA. His pirate name is Captain Gabriel Black, a real pirate, leader of the Capt’n Black Sea Dogs and creator of the Barataria Pirate and Fairy Faire.
I love Pirate History and the utbf is a great place to share it. Everyone involved has a passion for Pirates and their history. I love pirates so much I'm the lead singer of a pirate rock band called Capt'n. Black's Sea Dogs. Pirate history is about freedom. Freedom to explore the world. During their day most were unable to travel more than 10 miles from their homes, but pirates traversed the world in search of adventure, fame, and fortune. I think that the utbf group is unique in that its members are from all around the world as well.
Introducing Captain  Francisco El Drako from Greece. He is real a captain in the Greek merchant navy that honour us to become part of utbf.
So, ye wanna know 'bout the brotherhood and meself huh? Well, it all started long time ago, more or less 2 years! As i was roamming in varius Fb sites and oceans i be unlucky to encounter lousy landlubers abord a flimsy vessel. The fight was terrible and i was loosing, i was cornered and almost start to walk the plank, until a boat sighted from afar. With no second though i jumped into the sea and start swimming to him. Gun shots were sounding and an evil promise was made. One day we will find you Francisco El Drako... It was Cpn Black of the Brotherhood rowing with passion to me rescue. As soon as the introduction were made he made his self clear to me as i was to him. When we reached the shore he introduced me to his brother Jake also captain an' Scholar of the brotherhood. Together they were trying to raise a brotherhood where all fugitives Cpns or not as long as they were in love with the sea and Her creatures to find shelter and accommodation. There we met other Cpns as well as Capitanas telling stories of victory and massacre next to a campfire. Drinks were coming and buxom wenches were making the see sighting interesting. From my stand i can tell one tale as far as i'm not dead yet that more stories will come of glory and history... Siempre Fe Trustfull to the core
Captain John Morris is also from Greece. He’s  a great pirate researcher  and one of the best historian that our team could have.
Captain Sanks Black is from Austria  and last summer become a real Skipper as he says   “Inspired from utbf  my dream come true….”
At the end is my brother Black Captain one of the founders of utbf. A pirate soul, my alter ego I could say.  He is  a great fighter and when he loads the cannons of Arcadia nothing can stop him. With Black Captain on the deck you have nothing to fear. As far me -  I prefer not to talk for Jake Lankster.
I would like to thank our members for their support as they  give us strength to continue to share pirates history.  You are awesome mateys….
 Leonidas says: "So far we have made to post 300 articles about pirates and their history  also  we make  27 videos  which can see it on our youtube channel. Also a large  collection of about 2800 pictures and we are very proud for this achievment. In our future plans is to make a pirate magazine and pirate tv channel. As utbf team we always give our support in any pirate activity and welcome everyone who want to advertise his pirate project.All is need to sent as a mail on utbf team  so we can discuss what she or he want. In this pirate journey i have met some wonderful persons and i'm really lucky to find them. Such the Mackay pirate family which Jeff is the script writer of the Buccanneer Movie and we hope this year will go to Hollywood. A great pirate lady and awesome blogger which give  articles for our site, Pauline you must visit  Pauline's website   and also two great pirate authors, Rima Laham Jean which wrote "The Noble Pirates" and Jen Corkil Hun that wrote "Hoist The Colours"
Thanks a lot milady Helen,
So, as Captain, who would you invite to dine at your Captain's table?
If i could i will invite all the Capitanas and Captains of utbf with all members it will be a great.
You never know maybe one day the become true. 
NEXT WEEK – I will feature Leonidas Gourgourinis’s excellent book

 Next Guest:  Margaret Gill The Scilly Isles and her book The Narwhal

10 March 2011

My Guest John Baird

My Guest this week is  John Baird author Chasing Shadows – 
John  is also the Chairman of New Writers UK

HH. You are also the Chair of NWUK – what’s that about? 
JB  New Writers UK are a non-profit making group set up to support writers. Most writers’ groups begin and end with the creative writing process. We are different. We are there to help with publishing and marketing. Our members include editors, cover designers and web specialists, together with authors of every genre. Ideas are shared and advice is given via our forum, blog and newsletters. In addition to our online presence we attend and host events where we are able to promote and sell our books.  

New Writer's Book Fair
Nottingham 2010

As the chair I help represent over eighty authors. Some of them have mainstream contracts, some are self-published and others are unpublished. What they share is an understanding that writing is a bumpy road and that you can’t go it alone.

HH. What is your thriller, Chasing Shadows, about?
JB It’s about love, death, betrayal, secrets and fear. Ed Taylor’s life is turned upside down when his father is murdered. Then Ed’s fiancĂ©e disappears. Following what few leads he has, Ed heads to Los Angeles, where danger awaits...
HH. Why did you decide to write a thriller?
JB I love writing the type of books I love to read. I want to be gripped, to laugh, to be scared, surprised, and most of all, I need to be entertained. Thrillers tick my boxes.
HH. You’re British, and so is your main character, and yet most of Chasing Shadows is set in the US - why did you choose to set it there?
JB. Partly because most of the books I read are set in the states - I subscribe to the write what you read school of advice as opposed to the write what you know brigade - but mostly, I set my novel in LA because I wanted my hero to be placed in a foreboding, unfamiliar environment. A large city where you don’t know your neighbours but you suspect they have a gun.  

You are hosting a dream dinner party. Which ten people would you invite?
To answer this I’m going to have to exclude everyone I know. You don’t want to hear about my family, and including friends becomes far too political. So here goes:  
My first guest is Edgar Allan Poe’s fictional detective, C. Auguste Dupin, without whom there’d be no Sherlock Holmes, no Poirot, and no mystery writing as we recognise it today. Solving crime with reasoning and logic, who’d have thought?
Raymond Chandler’s PI, Philip Marlowe, is the quintessential wisecracking, hard drinking, tough guy. I picture him as he was played by Humphrey Bogart.     
Next to Marlowe we have Harlan Coben’s crime fighting creation: the former basketball playing, law school graduate and FBI recruit, come sports agent turner private eye, Myron Bolitar. Yes, I know, he sounds contrived, and what’s that name all about? But he’s a real character with flaws and a good sense of humour.
Writing funny is writing well. Every word counts. That said it is possible to write great jokes but not be funny yourself. You see, some people can write a joke, some can tell a joke and others are blessed with a quick wit. Groucho Marx has the full set.
FYI If you enjoy a good autobiography then look no further than Groucho and Me. 
Sir David Attenborough – A naturalist par excellence. 
My favourite writer in any genre, Woody Allen.
Michael Moore is a modern day voice for the voiceless, and he looks like he enjoys a good meal.  
My next guest wore green and has done more than any man to put my hometown of Nottingham on the map. No, not Robin Hood, Brain Clough.  
I would invite Gerbert of Aurillac to help with the research of my next novel. He studied in a region of Spain bordered by two superpowers, one Christian, one Muslim, and became the most learned man in Europe. His knowledge of science was so ahead of its time that many accused him of obtaining it through supernatural means. News of Gerbert’s brilliance reached Rome and he was summoned to tutor the Emperor’s son. When Gerbert’s teenage pupil became the Emperor himself (Otto III) he had to elect a new Pope and chose Gerbert (in 999). The people rebelled. It was said that the Pope was an Arabian sorcerer and that he owned a talking head that gave him the answers to mathematical problems. Gerbert was forced to flee. He had taken the name Sylvester II but would later be known as the mathematical pope.

Sorry about that I got carried away, must be time for supper.
So far I have chosen three dead guests, three that are alive and three works of fiction. In which of these categories you choose to place my final guest is entirely up to you. Take a seat, Jesus Christ. More wine anyone?
Looking around the table I see only male faces. I hope this says more about history and opportunity than it does about me. To avoid calls of misogyny, let me put that right. Here’s my alternate list. Any ten of the following guests would make for a great dinner party:

Tina Fey, Miriam Margolyes, Caroline Ahern, Joan Rivers, Linda Smith, Liz Smith, Miranda Hart, Mary Higgins Clark, Karin Slaughter, Annie Lennox, Emma Thompson, Diane Keaton, Ruby Wax, Pink, Billie Jean King, Perri Shakes Drayton, Daisy Donavan, Queen Elizabeth, Harper Lee.

New Writers
Thanks John!
Visit   John's website John on Facebook  John's Blog
and Twitter@JohnBairdAuthor

And Please visit the  New Writers Website and Blog where you’ll find information
on all of members and their novels.

 Next Guest:  24th March - we turn pirate with
Under the Black Flag