Beyond the Ocean's Edge

More of the Story

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It's been longer than I'd hoped since I last posted an excerpt from the Stone Island Sea Stories here.  This one is from the second chapter, "Plans for the Future," of Darnahsian Pirates: The Third Stone Island Sea Story.

Cover art for the first three Stone Island Sea Stories
By the way, that story, the third Stone Island Sea Story is now available on Kindle, as well as a paperback from Amazon.  ASIN for the paperback is B09BC9P9WL.  For the Kindle version it's B09FFJSSGC

Here's the excerpt:

            “We’ve received orders, ma’am,” added Hotchkiss.
            “And they would interfere with what Edward and I might decide for our future?”
            “There is that possibility, although I doubt the naval orders would have much effect.  We simply sail to London and testify at John Sollars’ trial,” said Pierce.
            “There’s the bit about being available for Lord Nelson’s funeral.”
            “Aye, that too.”
            “But how does that concern plans you and I might make, Edward?  Surely a month or two involved there would not matter.”
            “We have also received other messages.  Another voyage appears to be in the offing.”
            “But you are not certain?”
            “The missives were not direct,” stated Hotchkiss.  “But they hint at things that cause me to refrain from establishing a firm date of marriage with Sharon.”
            “And conversely for me, they bring forth a certain urgency in the matter of our future?”
            “But this past evening, did I not indicate my willingness to be with you?  I feared you would not want me.”
            “Oh, my dear, that part has been settled.  Still, I have not asked, nor have you answered the particular question of which we speak.  As well, it is a query I’ll not directly put forth in the company of others.  Nor would I expect your answer, other than in a more private moment.”
            “I know what the question is, my dear, and I hope you know what my answer would be.”  Evangeline smiled, reached for his hand and gently squeezed it.
            Gertie stifled a giggle.  “Perhaps we shouldn’t be here, Mr. Isaac?”
            Hotchkiss reddened slightly.  “Perhaps not.”
            “No, Isaac, it is all right,” continued Pierce.  “Today we must discuss other items that revolve around that question and its expected reply.”
            “But haven’t you somehow asked it now, Mr. Edward?  And you’ve answered it as well, Miss Vangie.”
            “Goodness, I suppose I have,” Evangeline said.  “If you have asked, and I have answered, what else remains, other than to set a day?”
            “But surely, my dear, you are grounded enough to realize that other considerations enter in.”
            “Other considerations?”
            “Face the facts, dearest, you are still in mourning.  We need to wait until that period is officially over.  Propriety, you understand.”
            “True, but I’ve only another six weeks.”
            “And there is the boy.”
            “Glenn Lewis?”  Evangeline’s eyes hardened as her maternal instincts came to the fore.  “What about him?  I most certainly will not give him up!”
            “Indeed, I would not ask you to.”  She warmed noticeably at Pierce’s words.  “I would give you up, rather than see mother and child separated.  Should things work as I hope, I would be honored to consider him my son.”
            “Why bless you, Mr. Edward!”  Gertie added, “I could see he liked you, sir, even in the short time with him last night.”
            “Edward has always had a way with young ones, although more often than not, they were pups, kits, calves, or foals,” laughed Hotchkiss, his comment easing the tension built up over the last moments.
            “My concern lies more with the family of your late husband.  Surely as a member of that family, Glenn Lewis is of some importance to them.  Would their plans for his future run contrary to ours?”
            “I have never given it much thought, my dear.  Perhaps a mother’s instinct overlooks such matters.”
            “But practically speaking, we cannot overlook them.  If there is a second voyage, I believe you would wish to journey to join your father.  I hope you would travel as my spouse or my intended spouse.  Yet, you would not voyage without your son, and if that is the case, I would sail without you.”
            “Honestly,” she said, “I’ve heard naught from Kenneth’s family.  I sometimes think they did not approve of me.”
            Pierce felt indignation rise within.  Although raised within and used to the stratification of society, he had also learned that it could be bridged with understanding and openness.  Had Kenneth Carlisle’s family disapproved of Evangeline because of a difference in wealth, social standing, or heredity?  Did they object to her non-British ancestry, or that the marriage had been one of necessity, in effect, trapping their son?
            “I’m so sorry to hear that,” he said.  “But it is their approval we need.  We must know of any plans they have regarding the lad’s future.  How will they react, do we sail for Stone Island and take the child with us?”
            “Oh, I knew you wouldn’t allow the tyke to be parted from his mum.”
            “Indeed not, Gertie.  I’d rather give her up than see her parted from her child.”
            “Bless you, Mr. Edward!”
           “But need we worry his family will object?  Having not been in touch, could they have much interest in the lad?” questioned Hotchkiss.  “Perhaps a letter would be in order, stating our plans, and asking them of any determination regarding his future?”   
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

From The Distant Past

The other day I was checking something in the basement or perhaps I was looking for something.  I don't really remember.  But I did come across a couple of drawings from a very long time ago.  I've scanned them in to the computer and thought I'd share them here.

"Topsail Schooner"
This has to be from my high-school days, back in the 1960s.  I think I did this for a collection of artwork, articles and stories that the school put together in either my junior or senior year.

From 1971 or 1972.  An EA-6B Prowler attached to VAQ-129 Vikings at NAS Whidbey Island, WA.  I was stationed there, attached to the squadron to learn how to maintain the electronic systems on these aircraft.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Thoughts on Writing 29

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It's been nearly two weeks since I've posted here on this particular topic, so I suppose we might continue on with my understanding of standard format.

Not at all related to the subject matter, but here is the complete cover for the newest Stone Island Sea Story.
If I haven't mentioned it before, manuscripts are traditionally printed on only one side of the page and they are not bound or fastened in anyway.  Typically they are mailed in special boxes.  Once they reach the agency or publisher they are likely to be passed around and routed from one individual to another.  It's very easy for their pages to shift out of order, become lost or even mixed in with other manuscripts.  How do we know whose manuscript it is and what page we are dealing with?  Coming to our rescue, the slug line!

The slug line is simply the information we need to identify each page as to where it fits in numerical order, who wrote the story and what the story's name is.  Typically they go in the upper margin of each page (other than the title page we talked about last time).  They generally contain the author's name, the story(or book) title and the page number separated by slashes.  For my first book it looked like this:  MCCHESNEY/BEYOND OCEAN'S EDGE/237.  (A completely random page number for purposes of illustration.)  In most cases one can shorten things up and abreviate a little.  It is generally acceptable to put it all in caps.  Some prefer that it be aligned left and others prefer it aligned right.  A few in the industry might want it spaced across the top of the page, with the author on the left, the title in the middle and the page on the right.  And it is my understanding that there should be no brackets or flourishes around the page numbers.  If you are entering a literary contest, check carefully as to how they want the slug line done.  Many times contests are blind so you will want to make sure your name/the author's name is not there or the entry will be disqualified.  It's also possible it will be disqualified if other specific directions are not followed, such as placing the slug line to the left when the contest rules specifically said to put it on the right.

Yeah, that sounds a little chicken, but contests and even agents and publishers often use things like that to lessen the amount of entries or submissions they have to go through.  And that's why if you are submitting, trying to be published in the traditional manner, you should know as much about standard format as you can, and why you should always check an agency's or a publisher's submission guidelines.  They like it when something is received that follows standard format and their guidelines to the letter.

Early on I mentioned that a manuscript in standard format should, as much as possible, look like it had been created on a typewriter.  Even so, there are a couple of areas where we can step away from what was possible with the typewriter.  We can actually put things in italics via our computer/word processor instead of underlining as we would when handwriting or typing something.  And it's sometimes permissable to bold your book's title on the title page, although I understand not everyone is on board with this practice.  But, we don't want to change font or font size.  It's unlikely that someone using a typewriter would have had access to a second machine with a different type style and a different size (elite or pica) type.

There's often discussion on social media about people (like me) who still use two spaces after a period or other sentence ending punctuation.  Most feel we no longer need to do that, but I suppose I do it out of habit, and for a manuscript I beiieve it should be there, again because of the idea that we are duplicating a type written document.  And that extra little space can come in handy for those who might edit on paper and in ink.  Of course, if the place you are submitting to specifically states they only want one space after a period, give them what they want.

Next time I'll try to tie up any loose ends on this topic and then get on to something else.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

As the Story Continues...

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When I last posted an excerpt, it was the opening page or so of Chapter One of Darnahsian Pirates.  While I usually post just one time from each chapter, I thought I should post a second from this one.  Again, it's Chapter One, "Charting a New Course," from the third of the Stone Island Sea Stories.  It might be interesting to some because it involves Pierce meeting a real life and fairly famous historical character.

Stern windows of HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar, now drydocked in Portsmouth.  I found this pic on Twitter and have no means of identifying of crediting the photographer.

              When he came ashore earlier, he hadn’t known when he would be returning and had dismissed his gig’s crew, planning either to signal for them, or to hire a shore boat.  At the hard, he noticed a barge and crew, waiting to return a captain to his ship.  Perhaps he should have asked his gig’s crew wait or return at a specific time for him.  Yet there were boats for hire he could use, although at this instant, none seemed available.  No matter, he would wait.  While the December air was cool, it was not raining, and the moderate wind did not cut through to his skin.
            Pierce stood idly, lost in his thoughts.  His introspection dissolved when a voice behind him said:  “Commander, might I offer you transport to your ship?”
            “I would not wish to trouble you, sir.”
            “It would trouble me more to see you remain in the cold.  Has your boat’s crew defaulted?”
            “Indeed not, Captain.  I had no idea of my time ashore, and wished they not spend it waiting for me.”
            “Commendable, Commander to consider your men.  Now, if you’ll join me, sir, we’ll have you aboard shortly.”
            “I do thank you, Captain?”
            “Thomas Hardy, HMS Victory.  And you sir, are?”
            “Edward Pierce, His Majesty’s Schooner Island Expedition.  And might I express my condolences regarding your loss,” said Pierce respectfully.
            Once they were seated in the stern sheets and the barge began its journey toward the anchored ships, Hardy continued the conversation.  “Island Expedition, sir?  The large jack-ass brig we passed upon entering the roadstead today?”
            “She might be identified as such, but we have always thought of her as a schooner.  Truth be told, sir, perhaps she is a little of both.”
            “But I’m sure she answers nicely to all tasks put before her.”
            “Indeed, sir.”
            “Before I am remiss, I thank you for your expression of sympathy.  The salute rendered by your hands was noted and appreciated as well.”
            “You’re welcome, sir.  Many served under Lord Nelson in the past.”
            “And you, Commander Pierce?”
            “I was in Orion at the Nile, sir.  Two older brothers were hands aboard Captain at Cape St. Vincent.”
            “I see,” said Hardy.  “Then as for us, it is a personal loss.”
            “Quite so, sir.  Even those aboard who never served with him feel it.”
            “But I hear you have had some adventures of your own.”
            “Possibly, sir?”
            “I’ve been with the port admiral all evening.  Curiosity compelled me to ask about the unusually rigged, large schooner, and he complied by detailing what he could of your voyage.  Honestly, sir, I would react the same as he is wont to, had there not been instructions from higher levels regarding your situation.”
            “Believe me, sir, had I not experienced it, I would also regard such reports and substantiations in the same manner.”
            “Aye, the possibility of other worlds and nations not unlike those we know here, stretch one’s credibility to the breaking point.  Yet in conversation these past few moments, I do not detect any insincerity or deceit.”
            “Most kind, sir.”
            “I may not believe all aspects of your tale, or, shall I say, the parts I’m aware of, those in higher places who support you must have reasons for doing so.”
            “I am most grateful for their support and belief.  I’m sure that whatever comes my way will be for the good of King and Country.”
            “Spoken as a loyal and dutiful, subject, sir.  Now, do we approach with ceremony or not, Commander?”
            The barge with its large crew of oarsmen and the tide in its favor was already nearing Island Expedition.  “Port side, if you please, sir.”   At this hour he did not want to disturb the side boys and bo’sun’s mates to provide the proper ceremonies upon returning.  If he had command of a larger ship, a frigate or ship-of-the-line, perhaps he would make use of a private gallery ladder to come aboard unannounced.  Instead, he used the port rather than the starboard boarding ladder to indicate his return would be quiet.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Thoughts on Writing 28

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Perhaps better suited to illustrating a post on editing, this depicts a typical page in standard format.

After meandering around, posting excerpts from the Stone Island Sea Stories and talking a little of my publishing progress, today I'm back to talking about writing.  Specifically I'll continue with regards to standard format.

But, first things first.  In installment number 27, right near the end, I mentioned something about standard margin settings.  Looking back on that, it was an error and should have said standard tab settings.  That was in reference to indenting for a new paragraph.

While we are typically going to use everyone of the twenty-three or so lines available per page, there are a few times where we won't.  We've already mentioned skipping a line to indicate a scene break.  (Some folks might want a series of pound signs or asteriks on the skipped line, but in today's world, simply skipping the line is usually sufficient.)  Another place where we will have unused lines is on the first page of a chapter.  The very top line will have, "Chapter One" centered.  If one titiles one's chapters, the chapter name would go on the next line, also centered.  At this point, most sources tell us to go down about a third of the page and start the text of the chapter there. Looking at a couple of printed out chapters I happen to have laying around, it looks as if I start the text on the eighth line down.  I suppose if I were to get twenty four lines to a page, I'd drop one more and start on the ninth line.

The last page of a chapter is unique as well.  Once the chapter ends, that page is finished, even if there are just a few words or a few lines on the page.  The next chapter starts on the next page as described above.

There are some difference in the way the first page of a short story are formatted and the way the first page of the first chapter of a novel are formatted.  While I will not go into particulars here, the first page of a short story should also contain contact information about the author,etc.  The first page of a novel is simply the first page of the first chapter.  Instead, with a novel we use a title page, and that should accompany every submission, where it is a partial of a full.

There are a couple of acceptable formats for a title page, but the so called professional one, the one I use, goes something like this.
In the upper right hand corner, the basic classification or, if you will, the genre of the story.  On the next line, estimated word count.  We wouldn't want to state, 102,679 words.  Instead we'd just say 103,000 words.  Centered, top to bottom and left to right, the name of the work, and below it the name of the author.  If one uses a pen name, it goes there.  In the lower right corner is where you would put your contact information.  Here you would use your real legal name.  Today, contact information would include mailing address, phone number and e-address.  (If an agent is submitting your work to a publisher, his or her contact information would be provided there instead.)
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

At the Start

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In a moment I'll be posting an excerpt from the first chapter of Darnahsian Pirates: The Third Stone Island Sea Story.  It's now available in paperback format on Amazon... in case anyone is interested.  Hope to have it on Kindle and other platforms in the not too distant future.   The ASIN, B09BC9P9WL is the same, regardless of what Amazon market you buy from.

In the early stages of painting the cover art for Darnahsian Pirates.

Below are the opening few lines of Chapter One, "Charting a New Course."  (For those who have read the second book, Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story, the scene below with Pierce and Evangeline continues from the final scene of that book.)

           Some three weeks ago, HMS Island Expedition, Master and Commander Edward Pierce, returned to England following a voyage to find and colonize a legendary lost island.  The voyage by all accounts was a success, the expedition not only locating the island, but discovering it existed in a completely different but similar world.  However, their return coincided with news of Lord Nelson’s victory and death at Trafalgar, and was little noticed.
           Pierce understood the mood of the nation and the need for secrecy regarding a new world, so the lack of fanfare or acclaim didn’t faze him.  What did bother him was learning Evangeline had not waited.  She’d married another, borne his child, and now was widowed.  Yet the evening before he’d received her note inviting him to dine.  This morning, after witnessing HMS Victory enter Portsmouth carrying Lord Nelson’s remains, taking part, along with his crew, in a salute to the fallen hero, Pierce went ashore.  He’d made his way to the George where he reunited and possibly reconciled with Evangeline.

             After they sat for a while, embracing in the great joy of their reunion, Pierce and Evangeline parted.  They retrieved handkerchiefs from pockets or sleeves in order to wipe away the tears both had shed.  At that moment a knock came, not from the front door, but from within.  It was a gentle rap, not much more than a light tap.
            Evangeline dabbed her eyes one last time and smiled.  “A moment?” she asked softly.
            “Of course.”
            “Yes, Gertie?”
            “What the young lad’s awake, Miss Vangie,” came the voice from within the recesses of the suite.  “Might be he’s looking for his dinner, now you’ve had yours.”
            “You may bring him, if you would.”
            “Yes, ma’am.”
            Pierce had sat quietly during the short conversation.  “Gertie is here?” he asked, a smile on his face as he remembered the older woman who acted as cook, maid, and sometimes guiding light for Evangeline and her father.
            “Of course.  You think I would travel without companionship?  And at times I need her to watch Glenn Lewis.”
            “Your child?  Here as well?”
            “But of course, dear.  One does not carry a child for nine months, give birth and set it aside.”
            “I would think not!”
            The far door opened.  Gertie came in, a grandmotherly smile on her face, carrying the child nestled in her arms and the blankets surrounding it.  Upon seeing Pierce, her eyes widened and her smile grew more intense.  “By God, above, Mr. Edward, it is good you are here!”
            “I am overjoyed to see you as well, Gertie,” he said.  She tenderly passed the baby and the accompanying blankets to Evangeline and then embraced him enthusiastically.  He hugged her in return, nearly picking her off her feet and swinging her around the room.  That was not an easy task, as Gertie was not a small woman.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

The Last Chapter...

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Another look at the cover for the second of the Stone Island Sea Stories.

of Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story, that is.  As it is, this excerpt is from near the beginning of the chapter, so hopefully I do not give away any details as to how the story ends.

            As Pierce sat in his cabin that stormy December night, he felt like an old worn out gun, charged with too much powder and trying desperately not to burst from the force of the explosion.  He was drinking rum, straight and not watered into grog, rather than his usual coffee, which told of the strain he felt.
            While the trip to London had been enlightening and had brought relief in the knowledge that he would not be court martialed, Pierce grew tired of the continuous waiting.  The port admiral had no duties for him.  Letters and reports to the British Island Expedition Organization or to those whom he thought were the Organization yielded no response.  Immediately upon arrival he had seen his long continuing letter to Evangeline posted.  He had had no reply, either to that large packet or to the shorter missives he’d sent since.
            Having not yet heard from Evangeline tore at him like a hurricane force wind shredding worn and ragged topsails.  Had she completely forgotten him over the three years of the voyage?  Could he have somehow so angered her that she refused to even acknowledge his presence in England?  Had she been so in love with this Lieutenant Carlisle, and was she devoted so completely to his memory that she could not accommodate even a short letter to him?
            He heard voices on deck, the clatter of feet on the companionway, and then a knock at the door. “Yes?” he said, struggling to sound civil and relaxed, when his temper desired he answer with angry tones and vile words.
            “A letter for you sir, brought out by shore boat.”
            “A letter?  Come in, Mr. Dial.”
            “Aye, sir,” said Dial as he stepped into the cabin.  “Here, sir.  And the boatmen said they were promised sixpence each should they reach us, sir.”
            Surely whoever hired them meant that they should collect that payment when back on the hard.  Obviously the boatmen were trying to collect a double fee for their service, being paid both by those on shore and those aboard the schooner.  He was about to have Dial to tell them to shove off and collect their sixpence each from shore, but he glanced at the letter, recognized the handwriting, and softened.  With the weather as it was, he knew they had struggled to bring the letter out to him.
            “Two of them?” he asked, pawing through the loose coins in the top desk drawer.
            “Aye, sir.”
            “Well, then, Mr. Dial, they shall need to share this, as I do not have the proper coinage to give them each.”  He handed a shilling to Dial.  Then he softened a bit more.  “No, Mr. Dial, we’ll reward them double.  A shilling to each.”  He handed Dial an additional coin. “You may offer them coffee, if that will warm them.”
            “Aye aye, sir.”  Dial left to pay the boatmen, see them off, and resume his duties.
            For some time Pierce sat at his table, the letter before him.  He wanted to tear it open and to read the words she had written.  Yet he was very much afraid of what truth might be revealed once it was unsealed and the words, written with her own hand, were revealed.  Absently he reached for his glass.  The pungent odor of rum tickled his nose, and as the rim reached his lips, he thought otherwise and set it down.
            He pushed the glass, half full of rum to the back edge of the table.  Then he dug out his one remaining mug and departed the cabin.  He hoped that there was coffee, hot and fresh on the galley stove.  He suddenly and desperately wanted a cup of the hot restorative beverage.  As he made his way forward, he reminded himself to not vent his anger, frustration, or disappointment on the cook should no coffee be ready.
            Back in the cabin, Pierce took a long sip from the cup of coffee.  It was hot and relatively fresh.  He broke the seal, unfolded the paper and read:
            I have received your letters written during the voyage, and indeed a few written as you are anchored at Spithead.  I humbly apologize for not replying with more haste.
              During your absence, things occurred that I did not plan for, and because of them, things between us are not as they were.  I do not want to leave things between us unresolved, so I have journeyed to Portsmouth and have obtained rooms at the George.  Please do not be so angry that you would refuse to call upon me for dinner tomorrow.

Here's the final cover for the third book...

In a few days, I'll resume with excerpts from chapters in Darnahsian Pirates: The Third Stone Island Sea Story.  As a side note, we've taken care of the discrepencies that existed in the cover and as far as I can see, it's ready to go.  In fact, I pushed the "publish" button earlier today.  It should be available as a paperback on Amazon is a couple or three days.

Beyond the Ocean's Edge

More of the Story

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Well here we go with an excerpt from Chapter Twenty-Five, "An Unnoticed Return" from Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story.  This happens to be the final lines of that chapter.

One of just a few sunken ship pics I've painted over the years.

“Yes,” said the unidentifiable presence.  “It was his debt and a willingness to do anything to pay it that let to his recruitment.  On the other hand, Commander, you accepted command the schooner with no question of pay at all.  If I understand correctly, Smythe had to insist that you even discuss it with him.”
            “I suppose that’s true, sir.”
            “That was the biggest factor in granting our approval for him to hire you.  The arrangements with the Navy were a matter of convenience for all of us.”
            “But what now, sir?  What do we do?”
            “You may do as you wish, Commander.  If it is in your destiny to continue in service to the guardians, you will.   We will never insist or ask you to turn your back on your country or friends.”
            The conversation continued for some time after that remark.  At long last the old man, for there was something in his very presence that suggested antiquity, rang a bell.  In a few minutes, there was a knock at the door.  It opened, revealing Mr. Clemens who escorted Pierce and Hotchkiss through the club and back to the small suite of rooms at the Admiralty.
            For a long time upon their return, neither Pierce nor Hotchkiss said much.  As neither made any preparations to sleep, it was obvious that the day’s conversations continued to influence their thoughts and actions.  At last, over a second glass of fine Madeira, Pierce said, “Isaac, did you notice the gentleman’s ring?”
            “Why no, I didn’t.”
            “Perhaps there was not enough light from your seat, but a time or two he extended his hands out of the shadows.  Old hands, gnarled, and wrinkled; bent and broken with the rheumatism, but on one he wore an exquisitely fashioned ring.”
            “Not improbable for one reportedly having great wealth, Edward.”
            “No, the ring itself did not amaze me, but the figure under the translucent blue stone did.”
            “May I ask what it was, Edward?”
            “Of course.  It was a white, or lighter blue, four pointed star.”
            “The same as the Unity Congress symbol?”
            “Aye!  Exactly the same!”
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

And so the Story Continues.

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In progress photo of art work for Sailing Dangerous Waters, depicting HRMS Furious battling an as yet unportrayed Gallician frigate.

Here are the final couple of pages from Chapter Twenty Four, "HMS Pickle," of Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story.  Enjoy!  (It's probably as close to real history as the Stone Island Sea Stories get.)

            The wound was not serious, a mere scratch as he saw it, and the end of the afternoon watch saw Pierce on deck again.  Morgan had insisted that his captain get some rest, and after treating the wound himself, Doctor Matheson being aboard the prize, had stood duty until Pierce awoke.
            “Where’s Sollars?” Pierce asked, half hoping the hands had pitched the bastard into the sea.
            “Below, sir.  In chains and well guarded.”  Morgan flexed his knees slightly.  “A little roughed up, I’m afraid.  There were a great many volunteers to see him below.”
            Pierce nodded.  Several of the crew had served with Sollars in Theadora and couldn’t resist a chance to settle with their former second lieutenant.  “No doubt he fell down the ladder?”
            “Three times,” said Morgan, with a knowing and barely perceptible smile.  “I think the weather eases some.  It doesn’t pain me as it did.”
            “The prize?”
            As before sir.  Minimum sail, and in sight to leeward.”
            Pierce turned to look for the corvette, forgetting the wound Sollars had inflicted with his own pistol.  “Damn!” he exclaimed painfully.
            Before he could draw a breath and recover, the foremast lookout hollered.  “Sail off the port quarter!”
            “Details, man, details!”  yelled Morgan.
            “A schooner, sir!  Driving hard, and coming up fast.  Too much sail in this weather, I think sir!”
            “A Frog, sir?” asked Morgan.
            “I wouldn’t have the foggiest, Tom,” replied Pierce.  “Should it be, do we attempt a second prize?”
            “I shouldn’t advise it, sir.  We are undermanned and stretched to the limits as it is, now.”
            “My thought as well.  But do have our colors hoisted, and signal Mr. Hotchkiss as well.  Add that he may set additional sail as the weather eases.”
            “Aye aye, sir.”
            A few moments after the blue ensign broke out in the wind aboard Island Expedition and the captured corvette, the lookout hailed again.  “The white ensign, sir, and driving like mad!”
            “Mr. Hadley, aloft with you, sir!” said Pierce.  “My best glass, if you wish, and see if you can make her number!”
            Moments later the midshipman hollered down the approaching schooner’s recognition number.  Pierce couldn’t relate it to a particular craft and went below to consult the code book.  Back on deck, he said to all who waited anxiously for an identity to be placed on the fast approaching vessel.  “His Majesty’s Schooner Pickle, I believe, gentlemen, Lieutenant John Lapenotiere.”
            “Pickle, sir?  Why I believe she’s an advice schooner attached to Nelson.”
            “With the way she cracks on, she must have dispatches of some importance!” stated O’Brien.
            The vessel was now observable from deck, and even in the lessoning wind, Pierce thought she carried to much sail.  She was a small schooner, rigged in the traditional topsail schooner fashion.  Had she been a foe, Island Expedition would have been more than a match for her.  On her present hard driving course she would soon pass close by the larger schooner and her prize.
            “Mr. Morgan, do see that our recognition signal is out, sir!” ordered Pierce.
            “Aye aye, sir.”
            As the second dog watch began the smaller schooner neared to hailing range.  “What news, sir, if I may?” hollered Pierce with the aid of a speaking trumpet.
            “A great victory at Trafalgar, sir!” came the reply.  “Alas, poor Nelson was done in.”
            “We rejoice in the victory and mourn England’s great loss!” shouted Pierce in response.  “Mr. Morgan, a moment of silence about the deck!”  When the moment had passed, Pierce continued.  “And now lads, a cheer for His Majesty’s Schooner Pickle!”
            When the “huzzas” and the “hurrahs” died away, Pierce turned to Morgan.  “Do allow us to close with the prize, that we may inform Mr. Hotchkiss of the news.”
            “Aye aye, sir!”
            When the evening watch was set, all that could be seen of the small schooner were her lights as she raced towards England with her triumphant yet sobering news.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Publishing Progress

#AmWriting #IndieAuthor #Writing Community

Hey, we are getting really close to publishing the third Stone Island Sea Story, Darnahsian Pirates.  I'm going a different route than I did with the first two books.  Those were published through a self-publishing assistance company.  Honestly, for what they are or claim to be, they did a great job.  Still, it was more expensive than going through KDP as I'm doing with this one.

I've had both the interior and cover files on hand for a while, but was waiting for some finalizations from Sue who did much of the editing and is helping with formatting and the like.  She's the one who actually made the files and the cover from my painting and suggestions.  Anyway, we decided on Monday that I should upload and order proof copies to see just what needed to be fixed or changed.  I tried to do so a couple days ago, but evidently the size of the cover was off a little bit.  Later, she realized she'd calculated it based on white instead of cream for the interior.  That got adjusted to spec and it uploaded fine, earlier today.  Currently it's there as a draft, but I have ordered proof copies.  Hopefully we won't have to make many changes based on how those come out and I'll be able to push "publish!"  I'm guessing it'll be another week or two.

Right now we are working on getting the paperback version out there, but once that's done we'll go for the Kindle version.  Later I hope to get it on to B & N online and Nook as well.  Then I'll see about re-publishing the first two with KDP.  If anything, it should cause the cover price to drop a bit, and should also give me a higher royalty than before.

Now I guess I should start or get back to work on book four.  I did two or three chapters on it as I finished up this one, but haven't done anything with it for a while.  I'm also looking at creating a sort of companion book to the Stone Island Sea Stories, perhaps with something about how they came to be written, perhaps a glossary of naval terms, etc.  Maybe a list of characters, ships, locations and the like, as well.

This was taken fairly early on in the process of creating the cover... the second and final attempt.