Book Cover Reveal: Peregrine’s Flight

I’m still working hard on Peregrine’s Flight, trying to finish my first draft. I hope to have it done, and into the hands of my editor in a week or two. In the meantime, I had a cover designed by my friend and fellow author, Rachael Ritchey. I think she did a great job with it. Comments and opinions are welcome.

 

Interview: Luther Wylde

Me: Hello everyone, and welcome to WriterTSJames.com. Since today is Talk Like a Pirate Day, I thought I would sit down with the pirate Luther Wylde, the protagonist of my upcoming book, “Peregrine’s Flight.” So now, let’s welcome Luther Wylde.

Luther Wylde: Thank you so much for having me here.

Me: You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure to have you here. Now I’m sure our audience is curious. How long have you been a pirate?

Luther Wylde: I first entered piracy about fifteen years ago. I started my career as a crew member on the Peregrine with Captain Clara Blackwell. Seven years ago, I assume command of the Peregrine, and became quite successful. Between then and now, I also added the Kestrel and the Storm Rider to my pirate fleet.

Me: Impressive. To what do you attribute your success as a pirate?

Luther Wylde: Well, part of that would be that I don’t kill people unless necessary. I hold my crew to that standard as well. Because we have a reputation for mercy, quite a few of the crew members of the ships that we capture come over and join my crew. The rest that don’t join me are ransomed back to their families or employers. Another key to my success is a network of informants who keep me apprised of the shipping in the region, and where the richest treasures will be located.

Me: Very commendable, minimizing bloodshed. Why did you become a pirate in the first place?

Luther Wylde: Oh, several reasons really. I grew up in Storm Haven, watching the ships coming in and leaving our port. I love the sea. And, I have to admit… I fell I love with Captain Blackwell when I met her. Tell me something, have you every done something because of a woman?

Me: Yes, I have. At a local theme park, I went on one of those spinning rides, even knowing it would make me sick. I did it because a woman asked me to.

Luther Wylde: You see, women can have a strong influence on us. That’s the effect that Clara Blackwell had on me. I turned to piracy because I loved her, I love ships, I love the sea, and I love my freedom. As a pirate, I have all of that. I didn’t before.

Me: What did you do before?

Luther Wylde: I manned one of the guns defending Storm Haven.

Me: If they were to make a movie of “Peregrine’s Flight”, who do you see playing yourself.

Luther Wylde: That’s a tough question. I guess Johnny Depp has already played Captain Jack Sparrow, so probably not him. Perhaps Benedict Cumberbatch.

Me: I think that would be a good choice. Okay, one last questions, this is Talk Like A Pirate Day. Are you going to be talking like a pirate?

Luther Wylde: What do you mean?

Me: Don’t pirates normally talk like, “Arrr me mateys.”

Luther Wylde: I don’t know what books you’ve been reading, or what movies you watch, but pirates talk like normal people. Take me for example, I’m a pirate, and I’m talking, and I don’t sound a bit like that.

Me: Okay, fair enough. I’d like to thank you for taking the time to chat.

Luther Wylde: You’re quite welcome. When do you plan on releasing “Peregrine’s Flight?”

Me: I am shooting for early October. Thank you everyone for stopping by to read this post. I’ll be doing a cover reveal for “Peregrine’s Flight” later this week, so be sure to come by then to see it. Thank you all, and good night.

 

Excerpt: Another Sunset

Nathan Pierce stopped short as he walked into the lounge car. The car and the sumptuous furnishings were lit in a ruddy glow as the sun set behind the train. He walked over to the bar, and poured a glass of water, marveling at the sight. He took a breath, and inhaled a whiff of pipe tobacco. He looked around, seeing smoke wafting up from a chair in the corner.

“Excuse me, who are you? This car is reserved for officers, and as far as I know, I’m the only officer on this train.”

A man peered around the edge of the chair back. He said, gruffly, “The only officer? What am I then, a mess cook?”

“I.. I .. I’m sorry sir. I didn’t know you were an officer as well. I thought…”

“Yes, I get it, you thought you were the only one. Well, technically you are. I’m no longer an officer. I’m retired.” He held out a hand. “Retired General Benedict Atwood.” Gingerly, Nathan shook General Atwood’s hand.

“I’m Lieutenant Nathan Pierce, sir.”

“You don’t need to call me sir. I told you, I’m retired. Have a seat, Pierce. But first, pour yourself a real drink.”

“I don’t drink.”

“You’ll drink if I tell you to drink, son.” Atwood rose, and walked over to the bar, leaning on an elaborately carved cane. He poured a glass of Bourbon and took it over to Nathan Pierce. “Here. Drink this.” He sat down again in the seat. Nathan sat down in the chair next to him.

“Beautiful, isn’t it.” Atwood said, looking out the window at the sunset.

“It is. The landscape may not be much to look at, but the sunrises and sunsets on this planet are magnificent.” He looked over at General Atwood. His short white hair seemed to be on fire in the orange glow. A deep scar cut across his face from his left ear to his chin, standing out in the harsh light.

“Never miss an opportunity to watch a sunrise or sunset, young man. In our line of work, you never know if you’ll get to see another one.” He looked at Nathan Pierce, appraising the younger man. “You’re new to command, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am. How can you tell.”

Atwood chuckled. “After serving for sixty years, I can tell. You still have the stink of OCS about you.”

“I just graduated last week. I’ve been given command of an Engineering Platoon. We’re on our way to Fort Bracken with supplies. We’re to help strengthen the fort’s defenses.”

“From what I can understand, they need it. That area has seen a lot of activity lately. The Stihlz have been moving in that direction. You’ll probably see some combat before long.”

“I certainly hope not. We’re engineers, not fighters.”

“If you’re in this army, you’re fighters. You may be trained as engineers, but you will do what is required of you, whether it be building or fighting.”

“I’ve never been in combat, “ Nathan whispered.

“On this planet, there’s no such thing as a noncombatant. Get used to it.”

The door opened, Nathan Pierce’s staff sergeant entered the car. “Sir, the cook wants me to tell you that your dinner is ready. Would you like to eat in the dining car, or should I have them bring it to you?”

“Have them bring it to the lounge car, please.”

The sergeant turned to leave, but stopped as General Atwood bellowed. “Wait a moment, Sergeant!” He turned to Lieutenant Pierce. “Please? You’re an officer now. This man is a subordinate. You give orders to subordinates, not requests.”

“But sir, I…”

“But nothing. If you want to lead, you need to learn to give orders.”

Nathan looked between the two men. He cleared his throat. “Sergeant Cobb, have my dinner brought to the lounge car.”

“Very good sir.” The sergeant turned to leave, and Nathan thought he saw the hint of a smile on the man’s face.

Benedict Atwood turned his chair slightly to face Nathan. “These men are soldiers, Lieutenant. They have been trained to take orders from officers.”

“I’m just trying to be polite, sir.”

“No. Don’t try to be polite. Lead your men, give them orders. They’re in the army, and they know what to expect from their superior officers. You get to know your men. You respect your men. But you need to be firm with them. Give them orders, not requests.”

“But what if I give them the wrong orders?”

“Then you give them wrong orders. It’s their job to follow your orders as best they can. If you have doubts, or if you need advice, that’s what your sergeant is there for. It’s okay to ask him for advice. He may very well have more experience in the military than you do. But never forget, you hold a higher rank. Work with him, but don’t ever forget who is in charge of your platoon, Lieutenant.”

Poem – Vampire’s Kiss

VAMPIRE’S KISS

You sense me hiding.
From the shadows I stalk.
You try to avoid me.
As the closer I get, the faster you walk.

You try to flee.
You try to hide.
Yet within a heartbeat,
I’m there at your side.

You stare deep,
Deep into my eyes.
You cannot move, you cannot cry,
Your whole body becomes paralyzed.

Your neck is exposed.
With one single bite.
Your blood flows to me,
As you hold me, hold me tight.

You thrill to my touch,
To my every caress.
Your life flows to me,
And to you, flows my death.

Your darkest desire,
Your deepest pain.
You cry out your longing.
Again and again.

I continue to drink.
Your life’s single spark
Starts to grow dim,
and fade into dark.

We end the embrace,
The blood ceases to flow.
I fly quickly away,
And soon, you will know.

Know how want,
Know how you’ll miss,
Know how you need,
The vampire’s kiss.

Excerpt: Selkie’s Choice

Kerrin swam quickly through the water, the cold not affecting her at all. Her grandmother’s last words echoed in her head, “Find someone worthy, Kerrin. Find someone worthy.” The bottom of the ocean began to slope upwards as she continued on her way. She swam to the surface and looked towards the distant shore. The beach was empty this time of the night. A few lights twinkled inland, but the shore was dark.
She dove back under the waves and looked behind her. As far as she could tell, she hadn’t been followed. She resisted the urge to turn and return to her clan, to her grandmother hidden in the underwater cave. She had a job to do, however. She had to find someone among the land dwellers to save her clan.
The water was getting shallower. When she could touch the sand with her flippers, she stopped. She closed her eyes and concentrated. Her sealskin slipped away, and she took on her human form. As she transformed, the amulet around her neck glowed a bright green. In her human form, she could feel the cold water surrounding her. She hurried out of the chilly water onto the beach. A ramshackle hut stood on a nearby outcropping. She looked around as she picked her way over the rocks, making sure that she had not been seen. Certain that there was no one else around, she slipped into the dilapidated building and closed the door.
Kerrin pulled up a loose floorboard and pulled out a waterproof bag. She pulled a white robe out of the bag, and put it on. It helped to cut the chill of the night air, but not much. She took a brush from the bag and ran it through her hair. Green and purple streaks stood out starkly against the blond hair. She put the brush back into the sack along with her amulet. She removed a second amulet from her neck and held it in her hand. “I will find someone to take your sealskin, Selin. The prophecy will be fulfilled. I promise you that, brother.” She placed the second amulet in the bag with her own and replaced it under the floorboard. She replaced the board, and dragged a nearby crate over it. Steeling herself, she stepped out into the chilly night.

When Hate Is Gone

When hate is gone,

when violence ends,

those once enemies,

now are friends.

 

When we stop the divide,

by thoughts or creed or race,

only then will we stand as one,

against the difficulties we all face.

 

When we come together,

when we walk hand in hand,

we can then do great things,

we can bring healing to our land.

 

When we stop the anger and the hate,

when we stop fanning the flame,

we can then accept that we are different,

and acknowledge we’re the same.

 

What love builds up, hate destroys,

I wish the world would see,

hate is killing us, it’s killing you,

hate is killing me.

 

When hate is gone

and wars will cease,

then love will reign, and only then,

then the world will be at peace.

Poem: Two Drops Of Red

Two Drops Of Red

All you’ll ever see is my shadow.

All you’ll feel of me is a cold breeze.

All you’ll hear of me is a whisper in the night.

The barest scent of death is in the air.

By the time you know I’m there- I’m gone.

The only signs that I was ever there…

A growing darkness,

A spreading chill,

And two drops of red.

Excerpt: Peregrine’s Flight

The rising sun cast a blood red glow against the sky. Ahead, the Storm Rider lay silhouetted against the dawn sky.
Luther Wylde stood at the bow of the Peregrine, the sea breeze blowing through his long blond hair. He turned and raised the lantern in his hand, and waved it from side to side. In response a light flashed briefly from the bridge. Luther gazed towards the island on their starboard side, spotting another light in the crow’s nest of the Redwing.
Luther Wylde looked over his band of pirates gathered behind him, ready to board the Storm Rider.
A cloud of black smoke arose from the stacks as the Peregrine surged forward. Deftly. The pirates waited in anticipation as they drew closer to the Storm Rider.
Luther raised the lantern again, signalling to the bridge, and the Peregrine put on another burst of speed.
Shouts arose from the deck of the Storm Rider as some of the crew saw the Peregrine approaching out of the dark.
With a crash of metal, the two ships collided. Many of the Storm Rider’s crew were knocked off their feet by the collision. Luther Wylde leaped deftly up to the bowsprit and across to the deck of the Storm Rider, followed by his crew. The Redwing approached from the other side, ready to begin boarding.
Sailors of the Storm Rider were running to the deck now, with their swords and pistols drawn.
A sailor slashed at Luther, who ducked, and then parried the back stroke. He stepped into the next attack, and struck the sailor on the chin with the pommel of his sword.
Luther Wylde turned to meet the next attack. He parried, and then counterattacked, driving his opponent back towards the railing. His opponent lost his footing, and fell over the railing into the ocean below.
Pirates from the Redwing were now pouring onto the deck of the Storm Rider. Luther Wylde looked around for the Storm Rider’s captain. Spotting a man in a crisp white uniform standing at the helm, Wylde made his way through the fighting on the deck towards the captain.
“Captain Allene,” he said, drawing his pistol. “I thought I’d find you in charge.”
Captain Allene simply glared at him as Luther Wylde aimed his pistol at Allene’s head.
“There’s no need for further bloodshed, Captain.” Luther Wylde gestured towards the deck, awash in bodies and blood. “I suggest you order your crew to lay down their arms, and surrender your cargo. I’m feeling generous today. I may even let you and your crew serve me. The Storm Rider would make a welcome addition to my pirate fleet.”
Captain Allene nodded, and hung his head. He pulled a whistle from his pocket and blew it. The shrill blast pierced the noise of the skirmish down below. Some of the crew of the Storm Rider looked up, ceasing their fight. Gradually, the rest followed suit. As they ceased to fight, the pirates from the Peregrine and the Redwing sheathed their weapons, and gathered up swords and pistols from their captives.
In short order, the captain and the sailors from the Storm Rider were gathered together in a corner of the deck. A few pirates emerged from belowdecks, leading more sailors to join the group.
Luther Wylde looked over the gathered sailors. “Sailors of the Storm Rider. As you can see, you’ve been defeated. In a short while you will be asked to transfer the cargo from your ship to the Peregrine and the Redwing. Afterwards, you have the option to join our pirate fleet.” The sailors looked at each other, murmuring.
“If you choose to join us, you will be rewarded handsomely. You certainly know our reputation, and you know our success. You will have a share of all of the plunder as long as you remain with us. If you choose not to join us… Let’s just say it will be better if you do. Now, let’s get some cargo moved.”