1 March 2012

Please Welcome - My Pirate

.... Captain Jesamiah Acorne

Having been let down by the person who was supposed to be my guest, I thought I'd ask my favourite pirate along instead. He's quite happy to fill a gap as long as there are a few pretty ladies around....

I 'met' Jesamiah on a cold, wet, windy beach in Dorset several years ago. My agent (now ex-agent) wanted me to write something with a fantasy element. I had been researching the history of pirates - so the Sea Witch Voyages were born. How I met Jesamiah - the full story

To me, Jesamiah is a very real person. I know a lot of people I have never met in real life - my friends in the USA and Australia for instance. It just happens that Jesamiah lives in that distant land of Imagination; still at least the communication between us is free!

He was born on December 4th 1693 (and I can't say where because that will be a plot spoiler for the adventure I am currently writing) He is 5'10, has black, curly hair, dark eyes; is quick to laugh but formidable when angry.
He has a scar above his right eye (cause as yet not revealed) and several on his body, along with a variety of tattoos. He is lean, muscular - OK, drop dead gorgeous....

His trademark is his famous blue ribbons. (Pirates really did wear ribbons) He likes to give one to the ladies he meets as a keepsake, but they have a more sinister purpose. Made of silk, they are strong, flexible and as he usually has one or two tied into his hair he always has one to hand. When he is planning a raid, or thinking he fiddles with the golden acorn earring he wears, but when he is annoyed, when someone has angered him - beware! If he fiddles with that blue ribbon.... run!  Why? Because a silk ribbon makes a very effective garrote....

photo: Nicola Witcombe
Jesamiah ran away to sea when he was almost fifteen years old. His bully of a half brother had made most of his life a misery, but one event triggered the explosion - on the night when they buried their father, Phillipe taunted Jesamiah once too often - and the victim fought back. Fearing he had murdered his half brother, Jesamiah fled, found his father's friend and went to sea with him. Naturally, that friend, Malachias Taylor, was a pirate and he taught Jesamiah all he knew.

Sea Witch opens with a pirate chase, one Jesamiah has misgivings about. Aboard the anticipated Prize is a young woman, Tiola Oldstagh (say it Tee-o-la Oldstaff) and she is not all she seems....

Later, Jesamiah is to meet her again, briefly. Their paths cross and part several times, until on his birthday Jesamiah is attacked by pirate hunters. Close to bleeding to death Tiola finds him, heals him - and thus the romance begins.

The path of love never runs smooth, however, for they are parted, and that bully brother turns up again...
I won't say more because it will spoil the story. You'll just have to read the book.

In the second Voyage - Pirate Code, and subsequent adventures, Jesamiah has given up piracy, but he is a useful man to know and various government officials (Gov Woodes Rogers of Nassau, Gov Alexander Spottiswood of Virginia....) manage to co-erce him into helping out in various dastardly plots. An ex pirate makes an excellent spy.
In Bring It Close Jesamiah helps in the downfall of Blackbeard. Voyage Four, Ripples in the Sand will see him mixed up in a smuggling ring and one of the failed Jacobite rebellions, while in Voyage Five On the Account  - who is the mysterious Nightman, and what is it he really wants? Voyage Six, we are back to the Gentlemen of the Free Trade (smuggling) again, and Jesamiah (as always) is in big trouble - the title of this one will be Gallows Wake.

Trouble follows Jesamiah Acorne like a ship's wake.

And then there is the matter of Tiola, who is not all she seems, for she is a White Witch, and there is Jesamiah's dead father who wishes to make amends, and Tethys, the spirit Goddess of the Sea who wants Jesamiah for her own....

Tiola is on the back cover
In an nutshell (or maybe that should be an acorn shell) the Sea Witch Voyages are a treasure chest of adventure yarns.

I describe Jesamiah as a blend of Indiana Jones, with a pinch of Jack Sparrow, mixed in with Richard Sharpe and a dash of Hornblower.

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So who would Jesamiah invite as his ten dinner guests?
Seeing as this is make-believe I think he can take liberties with the dates when these lovely ladies were alive:  as he is something of a lady's man, I would imagine his guests will all be female, and very possibly famous for one thing in particular...

Nell Gwynne (1650-1687) was a long-term mistress of King Charles II of England, also famous for selling oranges.
Samuel Pepys called her 'Pretty, witty, Nell'.

Moll Flanders from a novel written by Daniel Defoe in 1721. The novel's full title gives  insight into the outline of the plot:

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, &c. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.

Molly Malone 'In Dublin's Fair City, where the girls are so pretty, I first laid my eyes on sweet Molly Malone ...' The song tells the fictional tale of a beautiful fishmonger who plied her trade on the streets of Dublin, but who died young, of a fever. In the late 20th century a legend grew up that there was a historical Molly, who lived in the 17th century. She is typically represented as a hawker by day and part-time prostitute by night. Right up a pirate's street.

Helen of Troy I can't imagine Jesamiah not asking the legendary most beautiful woman to dinner; and after all, she does have a connection with ships....

Emma, Lady Hamilton - mistress to Admiral Lord Nelson, so another sea nymph

Cleopatra - certainly a woman on the most famous mistress's list. Mind you, Jesamiah might be equally as attracted to her famous golden barge.

Madame de Pompadour Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de PompadourDecember 1721 – 15 April 1764 was of the French court, and the official chief mistress of Louis XV  from 1745 to her death.

Fanny Hill  is tthe lead character in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure  an erotic novel by John Cleland first published in 1748 written while the author was in a London  debtor's prison. It is considered to be the first original English prose pornography .

Madame du Barry the last mistress of King Louis XV, she went to the guillotine on 8th December 1793

Violetta, the lead character in la Traviata which means, literally, 
the Fallen Woman.

.... and seeing as Jesamiah has a passion for rum as well as women.... 

The Sea Witch Voyages
Helen's main website

photo: Nicola Witcombe