Sunday, December 23, 2012

Crankin' It Up Again - Finally

Time to get serious. I've had a chance to recharge these past 6 weeks &, I'm happy to say (& Deb is even happier), I will not be going out of town in the near future. After almost 4 years on the road, this is huge. The haunted writer is officially back in his haunted seaside town. My writing room is finished, GALLOWS POINT is nearing the edit stage, & there's a giveaway set up for later this week (BAD LATITUDE A Jack Rackham Adventure will be FREE on Kindle beginning 12/26 thru 12/30. Strategically timed for the recent Santa deliveries of those phenominal e-reader gadgets for kids with discriminating taste.

Click on my Amazon Author Page here: 

Now I know I left everyone hangin' with my Jack Rackham interview. Sorry - promise I'll get back to it soon but things were really crazy. I was travelin' (as usual), then I was in a writin' funk, then I was on a GALLOWS POINT roll (a story destined to be a classic), & then, well, enough of that. JaxPop is home & I gotta tell ya . . .  this is the most awesome leather desk chair . . . uhm, got off track. My bad. What I was tryin' to say, though I still intend to sit on the beach as much as possible, as I did the other day, JaxPop is gonna be crankin' along nowadays like an author on a mission.   

                                                               And Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Jack Rackham Interview - Part 1 of ...

I was still limping around from my latest near-fatal excursion."So what's so important, Pop?" He had called my cell phone at least six times in less than ten minutes.

Pop motions me over, holding a finger to his lips telling me to keep my voice down. "There's a man waitin' in my study wants to interview you. I think it'd be a good idea to sit down with him & chat."

"Why would anyone want to interview me?"

"Well, people've been buyin' my books you know, the ones about your adventures, & they just want to know a little more about the real-life Jack Rackham. Now this guy waitin' has got some pull when it comes books n' stuff. He's well respected as an author too, almost in my league."

"So if I talk to him you think this will help sell more books . . . like you need the money."

"Nah - that's not it at all." Pop pretends to be insulted but it's a weak act at best. "What's the matter with you? It's just that, you know, I've got an obligation to my loyal fans."

I notice Pop's struggle to keep a straight face. "Well, okay then. For your loyal fans. I'll be there in a minute."

"Alright, but don't say anything 'bout what you've been doin' these past few weeks. I'm still writin' that story. In fact, the new book's called GALLOWS POINT. Don't want anyone stealin' my material," said Pop as he walked off.

Pop's study is impressive. Dark wood finishes throughout. The walls are lined with books and expensive art. Sitting in the center is a massive desk made from the helm of sunken ship. Next to the double doors leading onto the screened porch, overlooking the waterway is a brightly polished brass binnacle dating back a hundred years or so. Standing at the far side of the room, staring up at one of the many nautical paintings that Pop has collected is the man with whom I'm supposed to "chat". He turns as I enter the room, a cigar wedged between the fingers of his left hand. It's lit. Nan's likely to toss this guy out on his rear end if she gets a whiff of the smoke. I smile and cross the room to introduce myself, and to open the doors to the porch and air out the room. The closer I get, the more familiar the man seems, though I'm sure we've never met. He appears disheveled in a loose fitting white suit, a rather odd-looking white tie worn over a white shirt. He even has thick white hair and a bushy white mustache. And I thought Nan had a thing for white clothes. He smiles as we shake hands and immediately I realize that this "chat" is going to wipe out my entire afternoon.

"Hello, Jack. I'm very pleased to make your acquaintance. I was just admiring your grandpa's painting of the '03 race. Ah, I remember that one like it was yesterday."

As we shake hands, I look over his shoulder at the painting. The brass plate on the frame is engraved  "America's Cup 1903 - Reliance". Yeah this will be a long afternoon. I take a breath and clear my throat.  "Pop collects nautical art and gadgets uh, Mr . . . ," and it occurs to me at that moment that I'd forgotten to ask Pop the man's name.

"Please call me Samuel." He points to one of the plush leather chairs as if we were in his study. "Well, sir, shall we begin?" He chuckles. "Let's get your facts first, and then we can distort them as much as we please."

There's that flash thought again. Where have I seen this guy?

To be continued . . .

Saturday, July 14, 2012

You Don't Know Jack. . . . YET

6 months have passed since I last posted on this blog. Hmph!

We are back (finally) from our lengthy stint in South Florida & currently living full-time (*sigh of relief*) in our own home here in the nation's oldest city. My writing room renovation is almost finished (nautical theme - big surprise) & the push is on to get into the flow again on GALLOWS POINT, the 3rd book in The Jack Rackham Adventure series.
Sneak peak photo above - All of the pictures in my writing room were taken by Deb & mounted on canvas. The yacht shown is 'Enticer' built in 1934 sailing out of Rhode Island. It is very similar to FDR's Sequoia & is currently for sale for $3.3 million. This was taken in St Augustine during a visit from "The HMS Bounty".

Sorry - Back to the post: 

Unfortunately, blogging will continue to take a back seat for a bit longer. I totally understand the importance for writers to maintain a healthy internet presence, but spare time comes at such a premium & something's got to give. There is hope, however - a little anyway.

A few days ago I chatted about my dilemma with my good friend (& book character) 'Pop' while we enjoyed fine hand-rolled cigars a we lounged on the deck of RECKLESS ENDEAVOR, his luxurious multi-million dollar schooner moored just off the seawall near St Augustine's municipal pier. I mentioned some of the specific questions that I get from readers about Jack & the rest of the characters in the JRA books,  many  that even I can't answer & asked if he had any thoughts. This morning he called with a remedy.

Now he refuses to actually blog, though I imagine it could be very entertaining if he did, but it seems he invited one of his favorite authors (he never mentioned who & I know better than to ask) over to the mansion to interview his grandson Jack. Guess I could have done that myself but maybe it's better to get an outsider's perspective. In any case, this will give me some material to plug in for a couple of blog posts (since he agreed to let me use it all, word for word, if I want), & some Twitter linkage (which I still struggle with) &, as a bonus, I'll finally get some reader questions answered.

Well, we're just gonna have to see where this ends up. Could be interesting . . .  & I wonder who is doing the interview . . .  Do you have any questions?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sunday Stroll - in the old town

It's been almost a month since I've written anything. More than 3 since my last post. Almost zero time online. Lots going on. Getting to the final stage of my project in Miami. Pushing hard. Tired.

Six weeks ago my doctor (Dr Butcher) said I looked like crap. He ought to see me now. Dark circles under the dark circles. Guess that happens when you try to cram the work of 6 months into 3. More design changes in the works. The days seem really long but the calendar pages are flipping by way too fast. Can't believe it's almost February. Two looooong years. 

This engraving of bat wings on each side of the hour glass means "time flies". It's a marble insert on the face of a St Augustine tomb where a Catholic Bishop was once buried. He "moved" home to Cuba  about 100 years ago, 40 years after his death. Hope I get home sooner than that! (And not in a box.)

Last week Deb suggested we take a little stress-relief walk around our haunted seaside hometown. First stop was an old cemetery. Maybe she was tryin' to make a not-so-subtle point.

Next we visited the old drugstore where we buy our loose tea & organic Florida honey - but no drugs.

Deb wanted to get a shot of the old city gates. It was a gray day, not great for photos, but she managed to get a picture without tourists in the scene. Across the street, in the background, is the Castillo de San Marcos. That was our next destination. These structures are built with coquina.  

                 The Castillo pictures - same day (within minutes) 2 angles. 

Busy day at the fort. On weekends they fire cannons every hour using "Spanish" soldiers in full uniform. A few years back we were in our boat (our boat really is named Laffin' Gaff), 10 yards away from the fort's seawall facing the inlet when that cannon went off. Though my engine blew up. That incident blossomed into a part of the story in BAD LATITUDE - the night Jack & Kai were fired upon by the ghost ship.

The Bridge of Lions. This bridge was recently taken apart & hauled away. A temporary bridge was built in its place. The original was completely restored, trucked back in sections & reassembled. THAT would have been an awesome project to run. In RECKLESS (book number 2), Pop does some showin' off, sailing through this very drawbridge in his restored schooner Reckless Endeavor as they leave port in search of the Rackham treasure. 

We need to run a contest to see who can figure out where the name of the bridge comes from. (Hint: Granite statues.) The inscription P de L 1513 stands for Ponce de Leon who founded the city in 1513, making St Augustine the oldest city in America & the very first Catholic mass in all of North America.   
Now drawbridges are fairly common, but how often do you see pirate ships crossing through 'em?  
                                 Or doors with this kind of hardware?   
Seeing pirates walking the streets is no big deal - happens all the time. Certainly my idea of using a dead pirate as a character couldn't have been influenced by the history of a haunted town, a town ready to celebrate its 500th year.

Hoping to get back home soon - where inspiration lurks at every corner . . .  & where I work best as The Haunted City Writer.

It's just after midnight - I'm going to write. Tonight. Finally.