Thursday, December 31, 2009


For more than two years we’ve been sailing this ship from one end of the publishing world to the other. We’ve made new friends, picked up some amazing new crew members, and been fortunate to have some of the best writers in the business grace our decks.


We cannot thank you enough for your support, enthusiasm, and encouragement. And putting up with our silly games, unpredictable tangents, and occasional cranky asses.


Here’s to 2010 being the best year ever. May the words fly from our fingertips, the characters come to life on the page, and the joy of writing never go away.


Live, Laugh, and Love. And never lose touch with your inner pirate.

A Major Reason I Read Romance: Bad Boys

Happy New Years Eve, everyone!  I hope all of you have fabulous plans for the evening.  I'm chilling at home with some friends and playing board games.  Since I can't drink, it's just as PG as it sounds. 

But though my life sometimes lacks adventure and excitement, I can always turn to romance for those things.  Lucky for me because I don't REALLY want too much adventure and excitement.  I may love reading about a bad boy, but I'll take my DH any day. 

He can be bad when I want him too.  *snicker*

Here's a blog by Sin that I think really exemplifies why I like these bad boys.  Thanks Sin!

So, enjoy your day!  And we here on the boat wish you all a prosperous and productive New Year.


‘Tis true.

I grew up loving bad boys. I have this thing for tall, dark and handsome. Just ask my DH. He’ll agree. Because he’s like that. He’s not modest at all. lol.

The ultimate bad boy just makes me tingle all over. The swagger. The way he doesn’t care about what people think. The ability to throw caution to the wind and just do it. (And not just that “do it”. But still they do it well.) There hasn’t been a time in my life when I hadn’t thought about the bad boy and how I was gonna get my hands on him. It’s that initial rush when you’re in a bad boy’s arms, the way he makes you feel about yourself. The way everything is new and exciting. And it stays that way because he’s mysterious. He’d dark and edgy. And he knows how to light you on fire with one single look.

The bad boy is my favorite part of writing a novel. Creating the man who’s gonna make my heroine want to pull her hair out with his sarcasm. The man who is gonna knock her socks off with his looks and make the room feel two sizes too small when they are together. He’s the man, who at the end of the day, when she’s trying to sleep, all she can hear is his smart ass comments. And remember the way his eyes raked over her when she stepped into the room. The way he makes her temperature sky rocket when he brushes up against her. The man who invades her dreams, kisses her lips, touches her bare skin, makes her cry out his name.

He is her bad boy. He is her crutch. He’s everything she could want and more. If she was looking for someone.

When I started fleshing out my Romantic-Suspense WIP, I had this vision of a man. I could hear his voice in my head as I was driving to work one hot summer day. I was sitting in traffic, minding my own business (okay, so I was flipping off the person who had cut me off) and I could hear him laughing. It was this deep, gruff laugh, the kind that belongs to a man with dark intentions and even darker abilities. Then I heard this woman, very girly voice, yelling about him not sneaking up on her. They got into a very heated argument. And then I knew. I had my leads for my first original.

I wasn’t looking for them at the time. At the time I was in the middle of a very intense and detailed fic about a Colombian drug lord who had almost killed my heroine in the first fic and she was trying to stay alive long enough to solve the mystery. I was thoroughly involved with the story line. I wanted to give it life, watch it soar and remember it always. After all it was a part of the first time I’d ever written for pleasure. Writing 20 page papers on music theory and computer programming are not really up my alley. No matter how much I like to talk about computers. lol

But there are some times no one listens to you, the writer. Sometimes your characters dictate what you’re going to do and what you’re going to write. And so Double Vision was born. A novel created from the insanity that is my mind. A plot that I’ve consistently changed every three months for the past year and a half. My hero/heroine are very hard to please and every time I think it’s right it’s not.

But it is this time.

So this man keeps coming to me. He talks to me in the shower. He talks to me while I’m putting on my makeup. He scolds me when I let people in front of me while being stopped in traffic. And he laughs when I swear at the person I just let in front of me. He tells me I need to get a new job because I can't shoot anyone who pisses me off. And he follows me to the gym while I run on the treadmill, bitching that I don’t stay longer ( I think an hour is long enough, thankyouverymuch! ) and he follows me into my dreams. He shows me what he wants to do, how he wants to do it. Ash is a doer. He doesn’t follow. He blazes the way and he won’t rest until he gets his way from me. And Sadie. However he can get it.

So I guess the question of the day is: Do you have a bad boy in your life? A favorite bad boy from a series or book? And if you have one in mind, does he play a major part in writing your own WIP bad boy?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Bo'sun!!  Have a wild and crazy night!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rewind to our first time...

We all have a beginning. As the year winds down, I can't help but think of another year that has gone by. I blog with some of the finest wenches and pirates to ever sail the seven writing seas but even we had our beginning. While you may not have been with us since the beginning, we at the RWR have come to love every one of our followers. So, in case you've not ever seen our debut, here it is in fine form.

Everything We Know About Writin’ We Learned From Captain Jack Sparrow

Monday, October 1st, 2007

The crew members have pointed out perhaps we should give a bit of a brief statement about us and our ship. We are writing pirates on the ship, Romance Writer’s Revenge, which we all credit the naming of to Terrio, whom you’ll meet in a minute. Keep your britches on.

Our mission is to…well, be pirates. Okay, not like that. We’re different. We like to bathe. Not together. Get your minds out of the gutter.

We’ve banded together, rebels, who write because there is no greater freedom than that which can be found between the pages of… *tomato thrown at her by Boatswain Terrio* Hey! *glowering* We’re eating that later. Once we acquire a cook. Now mind yourself, or I’ll turn the Captain’s Daughter on you.

Please let me introduce Quartermaster Sin. *pointing to a leggy brunette who looks like she’d as soon kick your ass as look at you, dressed in black, all black* Nearly six-feet tall and enough to give the rest of us inferiority complexes if we thought about it too much. She writes like a hurricane, and this is without the bionic hand she wishes she could have.

*pointing to a shorter (who isn’t shorter than QM Sin?) auburn-haired pirate in blues and silvers, black knee boots looking particularly fetish-like* This is Boatswain Terrio, our chief petty officer (emphasis on petty) and here to boost our morale. *Terrio swishes cat-o-nine tails* Despite the accessories and pirate attire, Terrio writes contemporary romance without a single whip to be featured in it.

If you want whips, I suggest reading Sin’s stuff. I’d tell you what she writes, but on any given day, I doubt Sin could tell me. *grins*

Over here, *pointing to a young woman straddling a cannon, looking quite at home* is Powder Monkey Lisa. We’ve just acquired her to load the cannons–I hear she’s wonderful with big guns. She also writes contemporary romance, but I believe she prefers to call it “smut.” Poor gel, the only thing worth writing, really.

And I am Captain Hellion. I doubt any introductions are necessary.

Don your eye patch and brandish your sword, you’re about to learn to be a writer the pirate way.

1.)Establish your reputation. “But you have heard of me,” Jack says smugly, when Norrington comments that Jack’s the worst pirate he’s ever heard of. Network, network, network. The more people who know you in the business, the better chance you’ll have to show you mean to make writing your career. Jack established he was a pirate—and we all know he’s the best pirate there is. He said so. That being said….

2.)Believe in yourself. There isn’t anyone who believes more in Jack’s credentials as the world’s best pirate than Jack himself; and frankly, you, as a writer, need to do the same. Writing is a lonely business; and being left alone with your inner critic day in and day out can have you questioning your career path. Even when Jack is feeling a bit down, he knows deep down he is a great pirate—and you must do the same. Like Jack, perhaps a bit of rum will help. It’s certainly done a lot for my manuscript.

3.)Stop being a pirate…er…writer? Never! Jack didn’t have a ship, a crew, or even a bottle of rum; however, he was still a pirate. Think of yourself in similar terms: you’re a writer first. It’s not just a hobby; it’s not something to hide or do only when you’ve made everyone else happy. If you consider yourself as a writer first, people will also start to think of you that way—and it will be easier to carve out more time for writing because people will expect it.

4.)Have fun. Do you think Jack likes being a pirate? No, Jack loves being a pirate; he embraces it. He says, “Pirate.” So if people are staring at you oddly when you’re jotting down brilliant tidbits on napkins, laughing manically to yourself, and correcting the grammar on restaurant menus, just give them the Captain Jack look and say, ‘Writer.’”

5.)Be on the lookout for new treasure. Jack never failed to find bits of treasure lying about—usually unwatched—which he could immediately pocket. Pay attention to your surroundings. Life is absurd and full of characters. You’ll never know when you find the perfect real life person to portray your quirky Lord Herrington. (Disclaimer: while Captain Jack does abscond, most roguishly, with unprotected treasure, he does not steal copyrighted treasure—and neither should you.)

6.)Speak and deliver. Jack is an Ace at one-liners (“Savvy?”), and he’s memorable in practically everything he says. Memorable writing keeps readers running to the store for your next book—so be loud, be proud, and be your own voice, not anyone else’s…and you’ll be as memorable and beloved as Jack.

7.)Get into character. There would not have been a Pirates of the Caribbean without Captain Jack Sparrow. He made that movie; no doubt about it. Plot is great; plot tells the story, but characters sell books and keep readers wanting more. Create great characters and you’ll have a great book, even if your virgin secretary is having a secret baby.

8.)Get into trouble. If there’s anything Jack does well, it’s get into trouble. Then he spends an inordinate amount of time trying to get out of it, only making it worse. And we love him for it. Do the same to your characters. Where there’s trouble, there’s conflict; where there’s conflict, there’s story. Give your characters a ship, then blow holes in it.

9.)Seize the “Opportune Moment.” Jack knows how to create his own luck and seize opportunity. He doesn’t wait for people to bring him treasure; he takes it. Therefore, don’t keep your finished manuscripts lurking under the bed because you don’t think they’re polished enough for an editor’s eagle eye. Query, query, query. Rejection is a part of the business, even pirate business. Jack might get slapped now and again, but he still thinks he’s quite the catch.

10.)Find a dependable crew. Did Jack face nasty Barbossa alone? No. He took some equally rum-soaked pirates with him. You should do the same. Find like-minded, rum-soaked writers and sail the treacherous waters of the Slush Pile and Critic’s Hell. Every once in a while you’ll hit upon treasure—and in the meantime, you’ll have a lot of fun doing it!

11.)Be daft (like Jack). People are going to think you’re daft for wanting to write a book, and even dafter for going through the crap shoot of getting it published. There will be plot twists that will even have you thinking, “They’ll think I’m a lunatic. I can’t have an alien abduction at a Regency tea party!” But as Jack says, when his madness is brought into question, “Well thank goodness for that, ’cause if I wasn’t this would probably never work.” If you over think your ideas and don’t allow your “madness” room to romp in your manuscript, you’ll end up with a book that is overdone, trite, and not at all in your original voice.

12.)Savvy that “they’re more like guidelines anyway.” Learn the rules of writing–then break them. Put a twist on them and make them your own. Except for that rule about spelling and grammar–that’s one you shouldn’t break. Nothing more annoying to the Grammar from Hell Editor than a misspelled manuscript. But most everything else is fair game, Jack says.

Whatever your writing genre, find your strengths, strengthen your weaknesses and walk that plank of being a writer. If you take the chance and follow Captain Jack’s advice, you might end up Captain yourself.

What has the fair and witty Jack taught you about writing (or living)?

Wow, we hadn't even kidnapped Marnee yet. Hells was just as cheeky then as she is now. Wench.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Seasons Change, People Change...

I chose this post for two reasons: 1) my birthday is coming up and I get antsy about getting "older" (though I prefer it to being dead and 2) Harry Potter is mentioned. Oh, and it's an awesome post, obviously.

And without further ado, here's the Loader!

Seasons Change and So Do I

Welcome ta Fall, mates! Well, nearly there. I was thinkin’ a decoratin’ the ship with pumpkins and autumn leaves scattered about, hang up some flickerin’ lamps and invite some black cats aboard. After all, what is fall without the advent a’ Halloween!


But Hel said flickerin’ lamps be a fire hazard. And Terrio vetoed the leaves, sayin’ we’d have ta buy a rake. (Personally, I thought the romantically inspired pirates would like a rake or two aboard… *g) Sin were all fer the black cats, said the undead monkey was gettin’ hungry. Santa thought the pumpkins were a fine idea and muttered somethin’ about pies…


Marnee didn’t like me idea a fake spiderwebs, said they might attract the real sort. Hal vetoed me quoting Edgar Allen Poe or invitin’ ravens on board cause a’ the mess. Lisa felt the faked bloody bandages were too over the top.




That’s all right by me. I can get along with jus’ the feelin’ in the air right now. Ever notice how the air changes as autumn slides inta the skin? It ain’t jus’ the anticipation a’ trick or treat and bags a’ candy. Or the spices of pumpkin pie floatin’ on the air outta Santa’s kitchen…or the knowledge that December be next on the calendar.


Autumn, fer me, is about longin’ ta rest and gathering the harvest a’ the year behind me. It be about harboring energy and preparin’ fer the long nights a’ tellin’ stories around the campfire while the winter roars outside. I love the way the light changes as the sun slides lower on the horizon. The smell a’ the first rain (granted, lots a’ ya known rain all year, but not here in California.) We don’t get hillsides full a bright fall leaves. We get a tree, here and there, that surprises up with a blast of orange or red.


I walk down ta the bluff and look out on the Pacific and it be all steel grey, pelicans keepin’ low…


There be a sense a’ anticipation in the autumn. I’m not a great fan a’ the major holidays a’ the year. They go ‘gainst me grain. We should be huddled before a fire, tellin’ tall tales and sharin’ brisk nights wit’ loved ones. Not runnin’ about tryin’ to find the perfect gift fer the new great niece/nephew who won’t even care about who I am or what I send.


So, seasons change and I find meself thinkin’ ahead ta the next year and behind ta the last year. Gatherin’ all the great things I learned and considerin’ how ta weave them inta me tales, told before the great fire. Tellin’ stories about where I been and where I be goin’. More than any other time a’ the year, this be the time a’ Sleepy Hollow and Headless Horseman, the closin’ of doors and the openin’ a the imagination. Ghost stories on cold nights. Tim Burton.


We be mammals, despite all our battles ta be more. And hibernation be buried in our DNA. Ta dream deep dreams and incorporate what got away, what we caught, what tasted best, what nearly killed us.


So, I went ta Nationals. I met Terrio, J Perry, Santa and others. I laughed, I stuck foot in mouth at least once. I went ta RT and pitched ta Tor, Kensington, Sourcebooks and Crescent Moon. I took a class at RT that made me angry and I wrote a letter ‘bout why…got me nowhere, but I had ta write it. I may pay fer it come next April.


I stayed away from home and took care a’ me Mum fer three weeks. My DH lost his job and got another one. I got a dog. I gained weight…(sigh.)


And were invited ta be a blogger on the Revenge…(yippee!)


So much stuff ta wind inta me winter tales. I anticipate fall more than I do spring. I plot and plan in the fall. I reflect and recall. And I write. More than any other season, this be mine. I even clean me house in the fall. And fix up the yard. Spring is not my active season…




Favorite Harry Potter movie? The one where the tree reflected the change of seasons and the passage a’ time. Evocative, loverly. Poignant. Love the bits in Practical Magic that show the seasons are changin’… They plant, they harvest, burning leaf pile… Sigh.


As fer me changing. I be in constant flux. I were inspired by several a’ our guests this year. I want ta get the fun back inta me writin’…stop strivin’ fer anything more than entertainment when I write. Ta tell me tales around the fire with a gleam in my eye, tossin’ in the occasional “Bwah ha ha!”


I’m not givin’ up on bein’ published, but I’m open ta what the wind might blow me way. Including some new ideas. Anyone heard a podcasting?



Do ya see change in yerself from this last year? Ya plant any seeds that are bearin’ fruit? Have ta fight off pests too much? (The Kraken is still behind the ship…he loves pests!) Any new discoveries that yer cradlin’ ta yer chest as the wheel a’ the year turns? Any favorite uses of seasonal changes ya see in the cinema or books?


More than spring, fer me, Fall is the season of anticipation. I have no idea why, but I swing with it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Death by Chocolate - with commentary

OK, me turn ta pay tribute ta a great blogger, a great ninja and a very…ah…wordy writer. Sin, I’m gonna add commentary. But I’m doin’ it wit’ love!

I adore this blog. Especially right now, at the holiday seasons. Fer one thing, I feel like I may be committin’ suicide by chocolate. Granted, I been really good fer months and so once that floodgate were open, well…it be hard ta stop. But the second thing? How many people did ya fantasize ‘bout killin’ these last few weeks? Have ya lost count?

In honor a’ bein’ in the mood ta kill… I present…. Death by Chocolate.

In my defense today- I ain’t right. Seriously.

The death of villains is a necessary evil in fiction. (Or the guy who stole your parking place, the co-workers who interrupted you twelve times on the day before Christmas, or the students who handed everything late… Shall I go on?)This is old news for regulars of the blog, but I’m the resident character killer. I don’t reserve killing just for the villains. When I feel like I need a change, I axe a character. (I stage an alien abduction. Different strokes for different writers!) Anyway that I can find and a few inventive ways depends how I’m feeling at the moment and where my characters are in their growth arc. My general policy is while I’m writing, "whatever works". 

My thought process behind killing characters is simple. If the story is stalling, you need sex or a murder. (And no one wants to actually have sex with that parking place thief. I hope.)You can’t always manage sex (or want it) (well, okay, I can always manage some sex but if you have sex every 5 pages, my paranormal suspense is going to have a lot of purple prose in it after the first 10 sex scenes and I can only think of a few different ways to describe splinters in your back from the door), but you can always manage a murder or two without killing the story as a whole. There is a little perverted part of my brain that extracts a little joy each time a character dies knowing that it’s going to going into the trickle effect of emotional drama. I can’t figure out why. (Not enough hugs growing up.)

Not that I put a lot of thought into why. Because I’m sure if I did, I would find something extremely wrong with that. Fictional or not. See the beginning of the blog- I ain’t right. It’s why I’m a writer.

Even before Hellion gifted me with the most wonderful of books, "Cause of Death- A writer’s guide to death, murder and forensic medicine." (by Keith D. Wilson, M.D.), I was thinking up ways a character could die. I have quite a few favorites in my repertoire. Once I killed an informant by throwing him into a shark tank. (A James Bond villain did this.) I rather enjoyed that one. Drowning. Suffocating. Bleeding out slowly. Mallet to the temple. Pit bulls. (Hey! That’s not fair to the dogs.) Car explosions.  But really in the comments the other day, I got to thinking about all the weird things you could do with killing off a character. All the accidental, quirky, random deaths that happen in the fictional world. I think my favorite part about the fictional world is that I may not know every gruesome detail that goes into writing a death, but I can use my imagination enough to get close. So close that if I put enough detail into it, you can look past my little indiscretions. (Work in some aliens and a whole new avenue opens regarding ways to kill…)

So, death by chocolate frosting? A total possibility if you get a little kinky in the sack and someone accidentally chokes (or maybe not so accidentally). (Saw that in a CSI, with a baby octopus… Really!) Crushed glass pieces in his mashed potatoes? Could happen. I mean, those damned neighbor kids are always bouncing their basketball into your kitchen window and breaking it- you can’t help that some of it landed in your bowl as you were mashing them. Loose board on the top step leading into the basement? I swear, I’ve been bitching at him for two months to fix it.

It’s so unfortunate that vehicles have gotten so technically smart. Siphoning out the brake fluid would’ve been a wonderful option as well. Can’t cut the brake line either. Or loosen the lug nuts. It’s a shame. Really. Taking a gun and killing a villain is so uninspired. Watching his car drive off a cliff could make my character’s night.

Let’s think about it.

Well, you don’t have to think about it. I’ll think about it for you.

Say your character needs a method to get rid of someone, maybe of the opposite sex. If you want it to look accidental, well you gotta think of something very creative. I’ll use Kiki as my example of a villainous heroine. (She’s a professional problem solver. Not a professional killer. I assure you, there is a difference.) (Sorta like The Equalizer? But willing to kill? Anyone remember that show? Edward Woodward was so cool.)

Kiki is only an example. She’s the closest thing in my character list that I can use without pulling her too far from her characterization.

Kiki has a target that needs professional quieting but it needs to look like an accident. (Oh, I like that. Quieting! Sin, you kill me!) She can think about it. Make her plans, watch her mark, learn his routine. She can walk up to him at happy hour at his usual spot, short black dress barely covering her ass as she leans over the bar and asks for a vodka on the rocks. She can look at him playfully over her shoulder and flash him her devastatingly fake smile like she’s really interested and turn him onto her. He could be charmed easily by her easy demeanor, the way she playfully chews her bottom lip and fiddles with his silk tie. She could score a night with him by just whispering in his ear. Once they got back to his house, she could make it look like he had a drug overdose. Wouldn’t be hard. He has a possession charge from three years prior that was swept under the rug since daddy is in politics. She watched him acquire two eight balls and a sack of pills at lunch. Kiki would be willing to do some lines in order to get the job done.

But that would be too easy for my Kiki. She’s sneaky like a ninja. All business. No fun.  She doesn’t really like to get dressed up and wear a wig out into public. She complains that wigs are itchy and cramp her style. Sadie is more mischievous. In a few years, she would be ripe for this sort of job. Even enjoy it.

Kiki would wait in her car outside the bar, follow him to his house, wait until he goes to sleep and break into his house. Easy to do when you can disable an alarm with a gadget. Easy to do when you can pick a lock like you’re magic. Easy to do when there is no guard animal to sound a wake up call. Easy to do when your target has no neighbors close by and a house shaded almost completely in trees. I can almost hear Kiki tsking.

In fact, Kiki thinks to herself, "It’s truly a pity he hasn’t taken the time to make sure the batteries in his carbon monoxide detectors are good. Even more a pity when this scum sucker doesn’t wake up in the morning." And once the plan is set, get out and go about business as usual.

Clean. Efficient. Quiet.

Kiki will be sitting at her breakfast bar with a cup of coffee and reading the paper while the guy’s alarm is blaring. By the time his office calls, she’s already in the shower getting ready for her routine day. When his secretary drops by and finds him non-responsive, Kiki’s driving across town to her office building. Just a few minutes inside the house has the secretary feeling nauseous. She calls 911 but it was too late before she even walked through the door. The ambulance speeds past Kiki’s car on it’s way to the emergency. And Kiki graciously pulls over to let them past and continues on her way like nothing happened.

You might think this is difficult to think up but think about this from a writer’s standpoint. Is there anything your hero or heroine might be allergic to? Did you know that certain wines to people with severe sulfate allergies can kill in just a few minutes without interference of an EpiPen? (Truly one of my biggest fears. And that is not for future reference, MM. (Moi? Sounds like a quality wine and since I don’t have the budget fer quality wine…yer safe, Sinster.) I’ve got my eyes on you, you sneaky pirate.) Fears? You know, if your heroine is claustrophobic and gets trapped in an elevator with no one there to buffer her panic, she could send herself into a monstrous panic attack and have cardiac arrest. Someone who is afraid of the water and can’t swim could accidentally be flipped into the water while you’re speeding around on the boat.  Accidental deaths are waiting just around the corner everywhere for your expendable characters. You just have to tap into them in the fictional world. (I saw this done on Criminal Minds, btw.)

I know most of you are in the business of writing (or reading!) the HEA or HFN (I prefer HFN) but what is the most unusual murder scene you’ve read? Saw on one of those crime shows? Imagined up to write in your WIP? And pretty pretty please can someone gift me the wonderful "Armed and Dangerous" book for my birthday? Or Christmas? I’ve been a good girl all year. I swear- cross my heart. (I have my doubts…but even the naughty deserve presents.)

No takers? C’mon, it’s not like I’m going to practice on you. (I’m startin’ a ‘What Santa Missed Fer Sin’ fund…)

Dang, I guess I could hit up Santa for the book. It’s never too early for a Christmas list...


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nearly New Years, Crew!


And we’re all thinking ‘bout how much we’d like

ta see a man takin’ care a’ how ‘e looks…dressin’

up jus’ fer us… Whether we be goin’ ta the big

party or no… There be nothing like a Sharp Dressed

Man. Or Woman fer Q!



Clean shirt, new shoes
And I don't know where I’m goin’ to
Silk suit, black tie
I don’t need a reason why
They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
Coz every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man

Gold watch, diamond ring
I ain't missin’ a single thing
And cufflinks, stick pin
When I step out I’m gonna do you in
They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
Coz every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man

Top coat, top hat
I don’t worry coz my wallet’s fat
Black shades, white gloves
Lookin’ sharp and lookin’ for love
They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
Coz every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man



Who’s goin’ ta a party? Who’s dressin’ up

and dancin’ in the dark wit’ their man? Or

lady? Who’s dancin’ in the dark without the

dressin’ up? Inquirin’ minds want ta know!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Squeek squeek squeek squeek!

I speak hamster... He's saying, Merry Christmas to All!

And squeek, squeek, squeek, sqeek, squeek.

And to all, a good night!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Market For Baby Alligators: Marnee's Favorite Blog for the Year

Hellion's blogs are always little bursts of brilliance but this one really stuck with me.  It came right at the time when I started querying and started getting some rejections.  At the beginning of the entire process, I think I figured if I didn't get an agent with this book, my world would come to an end... my life as an author would be over.


*snort*  I know.  But I've got a flair for the dramatic. 


But this piece reminds us it only takes that one agent to like your "kind of crazy."


Love it.


Happy Christmas Eve to all those who celebrate! 





Earlier this year, I went and saw the movie, UP, which is a brilliant movie designed within the first ten minutes to question your ability to tell stories at all. It’s got love and adventure, tragedy and laughter, danger and a happily ever after. It also has magic that can’t be divined; it’s clearly the magic of creating characters that seem to walk off the screen and into real life.


But you’ll need to watch the movie for yourself to appreciate it. No, I’m going to talk about the little cartoon short that was featured before the movie: Partly Cloudy. It was five minutes long, with no dialogue, but there was no info dumping or backstory—just a brilliant little tale about clouds who made babies (i.e. humans, puppies, kittens) and the one little gray cloud who made other babies (i.e. alligators, sharks, porcupines). Just another nearly crippling blow to my writer’s ego that dialogue wasn’t remotely needed to tell a story that could make you laugh and cry within five minutes, and leave you thinking about it long after.


I bought my DVD copy of the just-released movie and watched it again, still sniffling and crying at the right parts, then laughing hysterically at the baby animals the grumpy cloud creates. Talk about a character I could identify with. I look all around me at other clouds (writers) who are creating characters and stories that are much more mainstream (i.e. humans, puppies, kittens), while I am endlessly fascinated in creating characters and stories slightly off the beaten path (i.e. alligators, sharks, porcupines). And I have thrown more than my fair share of water-logged crying tantrums when my stork (i.e. CPs or potential agents) have flown off to more mainstream writers to work with. How could I blame them? Like the grumpy cloud, I don’t see what’s so special about babies, puppies, or kittens.


However, as I was staring at that baby alligator that the grumpy cloud had created, all I could think, “Awww, look how cute it is! There’s a market for baby alligators. Someone, somewhere, loves baby alligators.” And then the alligator bites the stork and I laughed. After all, that is the sensitive and caring person I am.


The black moment comes after the stork, ever faithful, ever returning for more “off the beaten path” characters, is presented with a shark. He flies off in pure self-preservation; and every writer knows, as the grumpy cloud realized, not every brilliant idea you have is going to be publishable. Or least maybe there might not be a market for it right away. It might have to be something you save for a cloudy day.


The grumpy cloud allows himself some crying and foot stomping and “it’s not fair” tantrum-throwing before he settles back down and seems to wonder, “Should I try something more mainstream?” And it’s at this crisis of faith, the stork returns, armed with hardware, ready to be the grumpy cloud’s go-to man. The agent that says: Yes, there is a market for your kind of crazy.


The grumpy cloud is so happy, he hugs the stork and presents him with an electric eel. We writers can’t change our true shades of gray. We are who we are. We just need to realize there is a market for baby alligators…and out there is a stork who is willing to go the distance to find the right home for our babies.


Having a bad writing day? Go watch Partly Cloudy. You’ll feel better.


What do you do to cheer yourself out of the writing doldrums of Doubt, Fear, and Loathing? What book or movie have you read or watched lately that has destroyed all your confidence in your ability to tell a story? Come do your grumpy clouding here. The stork is ready to listen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Deck the Mizzenmast with strings of Mistletoe... falalala lalalala

Pick your jaws up off the deck. I'm not going to rebel on Christmas. Following in the true path of Christmasness, I picked a wonderful Christmas blog to revisit. While we may have rewritten history with our spookily fantastical rendition of a Christmas Carol this year, Hellie brought us together for a wonderful Christmas Caroling event that is sure to warm even the coldest of hearts. And if it doesn't, I expect you to lie because if you don't, I'm going to follow you around singing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs. And I'm loud. And sneaky. I will pop up when you least expect it.

Christmas RWR Caroling Review

[ship railing twined with tinsel and fat Christmas lights; decorated Christmas tree with a Captain Jack Sparrow action figure tied to the top as the “angel” in the Crow’s Nest; a snow-machine on the fo’c’sle, launching fake snow onto the main decks and the crew, which most keep dusting from their costumes with various degrees of hostility. Hellion, dressed in an Elf costume and an ostentatious number of jingle bells, is handing out crib sheets to everyone.]

Terri: [taking sheet, tugging at short skirt which could double as a napkin] You know, when you did this crap on the Vagabonds, you didn’t make them wear embarrassing outfits.

Hellion: Yes, I did.

Tiffany: She really did.

Terri: Tiffany?

Tiffany: [tugging at her skirt, but to show off her belly ring] Yeah, she complains about my Nick Cave, but come Christmas, she wants my Soprano in her choir.

Ely: [fluffing hair and scarf] And mine!

Hellion: [sheepish shrugging] Caroling is more fun in large groups. Kris? Mags? Come on out! You look adorable, you do!

[Maggie and Kris emerge from below deck, looking the supreme Madonnas of Cool, elf outfits, glittery silver scarfs and sunglasses. Hellion hands them their sheets.]

Marnee: [bouncing up] I do like the outfits, but the heels are a bit much. These are not every efficient to chase toddlers in.

Ely: [winking] No, but they’re perfect for making you slow enough to be chased. [blows kiss at one of the crew hands who makes a ‘call me’ gesture]

Sin: [emerging from the Crow’s Nest, though no one can figure out how since there is a tree there; everyone stares at her elf outfit which is completely black, with no tinsel or bells. Hellion stares at her] What? I’m wearing it.

Hellion: I gave you a RED outfit.

Sin: This was hell to dye, let me tell you. Ninjas don’t wear red outfits, Hellie. I’ve told you that.

Hellion: And where are the jingle bells?

Sin: Nor do super-secret agent spies wear bells. Don’t you read spy books?

Hellion: [sighing] I should just be happy you’re wearing it at all.

Sin: Atta girl.

Hellion: Okay, ladies, a one, a one, two….

Crew & Vixens:

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want him for my own
More than he could ever know
Santa, make my wish come true…
All I want for Christmas is

[Hugh Jackman bursts out of a rum keg, wearing a Santa hat and not much else, though the rum keg does keep this all PG-13.]

Hellion: [sashaying]

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
(and I) Don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I don’t need to hang my stocking
Above my hammock on the deck
(ahhh) All I need is hot Hugh Jackman,
Lathered up, all soapy wet
I just want him for my own
More than he could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is Hugh… [Hellion spreads arms wide, belting]

[Captain Jack Sparrow staggers out onto the deck, admires Hellion, does a double-take at Hugh]

Hugh: Good-day, mate.

Jack: Where are your clothes?

Hugh: I’m not sure. I just woke up like this.

Jack: [grunting] That’s happened to me more times than I care to recall. [looking about] Hellie, baby, when is my part?

Hellion: [sheepish look] Later, baby. I told you, at rehearsal, after the Hugh song. [muttering] Like wayyyy later.

Jack: There was a rehearsal?

Crew & Vixens: There was a rehearsal?

[music replays cue. Replays cue again.]

Sin: Sh*t, damn, f*ck. I missed the cue. [plays cue again, Sin sings]

Oh I won’t ask for much this Christmas
I won’t even wish for rum
I’m just gonna keep on waiting
Right here, till my feet go numb;
I won’t make a list and send it
With my requests for all things Twilight
Vampires can’t hold a candle
To Hugh’s soapy, chesty sight
‘Cause I just want him here tonight
Holding on to me so tight
What more can I do
Baby all I want for Christmas is…Edward!

Hellion: That is not what it says!

Sin: I improved it.

Hellion: You did not!

Sin: Did too!

Jack: Ladies, ladies, ladies…I’m here. You can stop singing the song now. [sniffs, glances over at the still grinning Hugh] And I think you need to find your clothes.

[Tiffany, Ely, Kris and Maggie run over to the barrel]

Tiffany: I can help him. I think I know where he might have left them.

Kris: I think I might have a better idea of where he left them, Tiff.

Ely: [stroking a fingertip down Hugh’s chest] I’m good at finding things, Hugh….

Maggie: This goes to show how much you three know what to do with a naked man. Hugh, why don’t you come with me? You, as always, are dressed perfectly for the occasion.

[Vixens whisk Hugh Jackman below decks. A new glance on the ship shows Sin is hanging off the side railing, calling, “Edward? Are you there?”; Terri is trying to glue an extension to her short skirt; and Marnee has exchanged her heels for tennis shoes.]

Hellion: [music cues and Hellion begins striding across the ship with grand gestures]

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Here upon the ship;
Take a look at the carronades, those tinsely grenades,
What Man-o-War could be more prettily equipped?
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Toys for every Ninja Spy,

[Sin holds up three Ninja stars in one hand and a Glock in the other]

But the prettiest sight to see is the rum casks that will be
Stacked up to the sky.

Jack: There’s more rum? Excellent. I’m out. [uncorking a cask and refilling his bottle]

Sin: [sticks Glock at her back holster, starts juggling stars]

A pair of CFM boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of our Captain Hellie;
Terri wants Big Ben, Lisa wants a variety of men,
And Marnee wants cologne to make her husband smelly.

Jack: And we all want rum balls for our bellies! Bugger, are they gone too?

Lisa, Marnee, & Terri: [in harmony]

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Here upon the ship;
There’s a tree in the Crow’s Nest high, and there’s plenty of pumpkin pie,
Piled with plenty of that canned whip

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the singing will start,
And the thing that will make us sing is the jolly our ‘lubbers bring
And those little delightful rum tarts…

Hellion: Has anyone got any rum tarts? I mean, is anyone baking on this ship this year? I’m hungry….

Jack: [finishing the rum in his bottle] We’re out of rum tarts too? What is going on this ship? Stress-eating? Is it the holidays? Are you worried about what to buy me, my little love muffin? [wiggles fingers under Hellion’s chin]

Hellion: The economy. Pirating has been way down.

Terri: Oh, like you know anything about the economy. Why don’t you have some more rum? You’re a lot more coherent about the economy when you’re trashed.

Hellion: No, I’m not.

Terri: Okay, you’re not. But you are more optimistic…and well, fun, and I’ll take that. [pouring rum for Hellion] Now are we done butchering Christmas songs yet?

Hellion: Not quite. I have a special guest for the finale.

Jack: Yes! I have the finale?

Hellion: No, Ranger has the finale. [Jack pouts, Hellion blows kiss] We have a finale later.

Jack: Later? You mean… [waves a hand to the cabin]

Hellion: [nods]

Jack: [grinning] Pirate queen and naughty first mate who has to swab the deck….

Terri: Ewww, do we have to hear this? Really?

Hellion: [nods at Jack] Later, yes, my naughty first mate.

Jack: Yes!

Hellion: [clearing throat] Okay, Ranger, you can come out now!

[Ranger descends from the Crow’s Nest, again, much to the bafflement of the rest of the crew because no one can figure out how they’re fitting up there. Though we now know what Sin was doing.]

Ranger: [crossing arms] I don’t sing.

Hellion: You lost the bet, buddy. Now just like in rehearsal, one, two, thr….

Crew & Ranger: There was a rehearsal?

Hellion: Just sing it.

Ranger: [glaring at Hellion, sings]

There’s something stuck up in the Crow’s Nest
And I don’t know what it is,
But it’s been there all night long.
Well, I waited up for Stephanie all Christmas night
But she never came and it don’t seem right.
And there’s something in the Crow’s Nest
And it doesn’t make a sound,
But I wish you Merry Christmas.

There’s something stuck up in the Crow’s Nest
And I don’t know what it is,
But it’s been there all week long.
Well, Sin keeps bitchin’ ‘bout the Crow’s Nest pew
And we don’t know what we’re going to do.
Cause there’s something in the Crow’s Nest
And it doesn’t move around,
And it’s been a week since Christmas.

There’s something stuck up in the Crow’s Nest
And I don’t know what it is,
But it’s been there all month long.
Well, it’s jammed up tight in the Looking place
Now the ship smells wonky, should we replace?
That something in the Crow’s Nest,
That doesn’t talk at all,
And it’s been there since last Christmas.

There’s something stuck up in the Crow’s Nest
And I don’t know what it is,
But it’s been there all year long.
I’ll been waiting up for Stephanie like I did last year
But my pirate ninja says, “She’s already here.”
And she’s stuck up in the Crow’s Nest
And she doesn’t say a word
And she’ll be there every Christmas.
And I’ll have her every Christmas.

Hellion: [clapping] Excellent, excellent, brilliant job. Okay, there is no easy way to transition to an ending to this, I noticed that three pages ago, because well, I’m not good at finishing things.

Sin: Yeah, I saw that latch hook rug kit you got when you were in 4th grade. Are you ever going to finish that?

Hellion: No, I’m past my fascination for wall decorations in the shape of 70s-era shag carpeting. Do you know you can still get them? Latch Hook Kits. I know what my nieces are getting for Christmas! Now the question of the day: what do you want for Christmas? (The first do-gooder who says, “Peace on earth and goodwill to all men” is going to be knocked in the head with a rum bottle. I mean, I want a serious answer like, a Wii or Hugh Jackman in a red ribbon.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hellie's Favorite Blog of the Year: I'll Take Some Chicken Salad

I admit it. It was tempting to re-run one of my blogs. I was really fond of the Sponge Bob blog and the one about the Wright Brothers. Hell, the one about Terri getting her degree this year was a hell of a lot of fun too, wasn't it?

But let's be honest, nothing beats invisible chicken. Marnee's blogs always amuse me--and she does it in so few of words. I'm jealous really. (I overwrite everything.) In any case, I was having a Crap, I Suck week (month, year, whatever) and it was wonderful to run across this blog again. Thank you, Marn! :)

*     *     *

If you’ve checked out our Fore & Aft section to the left (that would be <— that way, ladies and gent) you’ve read our bios.  Though we’ve been a bit slackerish about updating them recently (we’re PIRATES), there is a reference to chicken salad in mine. 

Maybe you just thought I loved me some chicken salad.  If you did, you’d be right (what’s not to love?)  But, that isn’t the real reason.  Hellie was referencing the blog below.  I wrote this blog over a year ago and it was posted on my very very neglected personal blog.  Please read, then I shall continue.


So, I was bashing my head against the monitor of my laptop yesterday…. No, I lie. My laptop was an expensive purchase. I was really bashing my head on the table top in the kitchen. Anyway, I digress. In the midst of my self-abuse, I was ranting about how I was never going to finish, how hard it was to get this out, and worrying obsessively about whether it would even be any good.

My husband, in his infinite wisdom, squeezed my arm, and said, “Honey, you know how I always tell you that you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh!t?”  As this is a common phrase in our household, I nodded pathetically, unsure of where he was going with this.

“Well,” he said. “You also can’t make chicken salad out of an invisible chicken.” Then, after dispensing this tidbit worthy of Confucius, he went off to watch ESPN.  I sat in stunned silence.  This made it so clear to me! He was right of course. I can’t fix something or make it what I want if it’s still in my head.  It was his nice way of telling to quit whining and write the darn thing down.

My husband is brilliant.


This week, I’ve been again banging my head against my table and wondering what the heck happened to the words of my story.  I know the damn thing’s in my head someplace but I’ve been a bit paralyzed. 

This was one of those am-I-any-good/will-this-story-suck-it/I-swear-I’ll-never-finish weeks.  *le sigh*

Clearly, I needed a little chicken salad.

Anyone else got stuff that gets the lead out your brain?  Has anyone ever had these moments of clarity? And where did they come from? If not, has anyone out there had a day when they realized again why they married their spouse?  Anyone else having a “Crap, I suck” week?
Sunday, December 20, 2009

The best of the RWR wenches, take 1!

So this week, since the wenches will be sneaking off and on ship to spend time with those land-lubber relatives rich enough to bribe us into coming on shore. And since we know our trusty readers have their own crazy obligations over the next few weeks, we decided to use this time to re-post some of our favorite blogs.

Each day, one of the wenches will re-post one of their favorite blogs, either one they wrote or one someone else wrote. It's a "best-of-the-wenches", if you will, for your holiday enjoyment.

Since I'm one of the newest members of the crew, I decided to post a blog which Terri first posted December 10th, 2007. Not only is it a blog that keeps a great question in our minds while writing, but it's the first blog that drew me out of lurkdom to comment.  I'd followed Sin here before that blistery December morning when my mouse edged closer and closer to the "comment" button. But that day, Terri touched something in my writer's heart that made me respond.

This particular blog wasn't the first one I read on RWR. It won't be the last, and it may not even be the one I can recall thirty years from now when reminiscing about the Pirate ship at some futuristic Natioanls conference. But it's the one closest to my heart, because it was my first step in entering this community that's given me back so much in only two short years:

Pre-conceived Notions of a Writing Pirate

I’ve always thought of myself as open minded. I realize this is rather open minded of me considering the source but stay with me. I’ve lived in a few different regions of the U.S. and have been an avid reader since childhood. I would think this gives me some insight to other people, cultures, experiences. But maybe it doesn’t. Maybe my pre-conceived notions cloud all of this to the point that I interpret it through a narrow lens.

The expansion of my virtual life and my voyages upon this pirate ship have brought me friends from all over the world. I’m not one to think everyone should agree with me or that everyone should think alike but I’m finding there are schools of thought I don’t understand at all. And as much as it must frustrate my friends to try to explain their views to me, it frustrates me that they don’t see things the way I do. It’s perfectly clear to me! LOL!

So, is it safe to assume we (yes, I’m including all of you now) carry these pre-conceived notions into our writing. If there is something we absolutely would never do, can we write a character who does? One of my own quirks is that I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings but often you have to make your heroine or hero say something to the other that not only hurts their feelings but breaks their heart. That is going to be so hard for me.

If I write a character raised with no religious or faith based foundation as I was, can I write that character without bringing my perceptions into it? For a topical example, could I, a Catholic woman raised in the United States, write the story of an Arab woman raised in Palestine? Or a woman living in 19th century England for that matter?

I’m finding this fascinating as one of my greatest struggles is to create independent, well-rounded characters and then keep their choices and behaviors consistent with who they are. I rarely base my characters on anyone I know and definitely not on myself so how can I make them real and understand the way they think?

How do you get into your characters’ heads and do you find it difficult to separate your own experiences and perceptions from theirs? Do your characters ever do anything you find morally or fundamentally wrong? If you’re a reader, does it bother you to read characters who do things you find horribly wrong?
Saturday, December 19, 2009

Help Fer Santa!


I was thinkin’ Santa needs some help wit’ the next week. I enlisted the best elves I know!



Elrond – He knows how ta lead others. And he’s masterfully stubborn. The big guy can put Lord Elrond in charge a’ makin’ sure the schedule is kept.


Legolas – This fine lad has a way wit’ the horses, he can see ta the reindeer and keep alert fer hunters wit’ an eye toward fillin’ the frig wit’ venison. One arrow from Legolas’ bow will see them give up on that idea! Legolas be in charge a’ herd security.


Haldir – Now, he’s a fighter. Handles the long weapons with real skill. He can help pack up the ski equipment, kayaks and all manner a’ tall items on the lists.


Galadriel – I recommend asking the Lady Galadriel ta work with the list a’ beauty products. Fer the good girls and ladies (and occasional lad) who be hopin’ ta improve the vision in the mirror.


Celeborn - This one be a bit quiet. I recommend he handle the back room. Not a whole lot be known ‘bout Lord Celeborn, but he’s behind the scene a lot.


Arwen – I’d put her in charge a’ the books. All the literary good girls and boys who requested some literature from the big guy…


What da ya mean, not that kind a’ elves?


Who would ya see helpin’ out Santa?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Pirate Christmas Carol: The Happy Ending

I threw my boots on over my pink POTC pajama pants and flew out of the cabin. Once my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I found a young, blond hottie and shook him awake.


“I can’t do it again, Gunner. You worked me all night,” he said, eyes shut tight. It must have been true what they say about pregnant women being horny.


“Your body is safe from me, darling.” Glancing down I added, “For now at least.” Indeed, I wasn’t dead.  “But I need you to round up the hotties and collect all the rum on this ship.”


The rest of the instructions I whispered in his ear, then watched him stagger up the stairs to do my bidding.


The Captain doesn’t know how to celebrate Christmas?




Dashing back into the cabin, I skidded then landed flat on my ass. I was really going to have to clean up this sand.  A hottie would be on Hoover duty on the morrow.


Booting up the laptop, I found the bumbling beggars who’d accosted me the day before looking for a hand-out. A quick email and part B of the plan was set in motion.


Now, to wake the crew. And I knew just how to do it. “Wake up you mangy bildge-rats!” I bellowed, pounding on every cabin door I passed. “I want every writing pirate on this ship on the top deck in five minutes!”


A loud thud sounded from each cabin and the resulting groans made me smile. I ignored the three thuds that echoed from Sin’s cabin. No wonder she’d ordered the extra large hammock.


One by one, they scurried into line as I reclined in my Captain’s chair. A more motley lot I’d never seen. And I couldn’t have been prouder.


“You’re late. What do you have to say for yourselves?”


They looked from one to the other, mouths clamped shut. I let them suffer a bit longer then demanded, “Someone answer me.”


Immediately, the crew thrust Bo’sun forward. That’s what she got for being the talker of the bunch.


“We’re, uhm, sorry?”


“Argh, a sorry lot you are. It’s time I did what I should have done a long time ago. Turn your sorry asses around and march.”


Frozen in place, they’re eyes grew to the size of pieces of eight.


Chance muttered to Santa, “She’s throwin’ us to the Kraken. And he ain’t eaten in days. I never should have tried to hug ‘er.”


“I smell like the galley. He’s going to pick me first,” Santa said with an audible gulp.


Scuttlebutt spit in my direction. “This is going to totally fuck up your karma, just so you know.”


“I gave you an order, now turn around.”


Finally following my command, they turned as one … then squealed in surprise. There in front of them, covering the entire back half of the ship, was a make-shift island made up of what must have been a ton of sand and glitter dotted with half a dozen inflatable palm trees. In the center stood a towering Christmas tree decorated with flash drives, ink cartridges and empty rum bottles.


Our hottie crew had proved to be quite resourceful. I made a mental note to give Blondie a special bonus.


The crew raced to the tree, each finding a present with her name on it. Sin ripped into hers and beamed as she pulled shiny new ninja stars from the box. Bo’sun hugged her new Netbook to her chest, and Marn was showing the matching pirate booties and onesies to all who would indulge her.


J Perry found new beads of every color imaginable then settled in a corner to work on a new necklace. Santa mooned over the box of fragrant, imported cheeses, and Hal looked to be speechless as she flipped through the pages of 101 Ways to Kill Without Making a Mess.


I noticed Chancey standing off to the side, looking forlorn at not finding a present of her own.


It was time to give her what she wanted most.


I tapped her on the shoulder. “What’s the matter, Mo?”  She tried to look like she didn’t care, but I saw the mist in her eyes.


She ran her nose across her sleeve and said, “Nothing, Cap’n. I’m good. I know I ain’t been on the crew long so’s it makes sense I wouldn’t get nothing.”


I smiled. “But I do have a present for you, Mo.”


She looked back to the tree where all the presents were opened, then back at me in confusion.


“It’s right here.” I threw my arms wide, waiting for her to figure it out. Within seconds I found myself wrapped in the biggest bear hug I’d ever experienced.


Part of my brain twitched and told me to push her off, but I held on tight anyway. Looking up to the sky I whispered, “I won’t blow this second chance, Jane. I promise.”


Just when I thought Chance would squeeze me into an early grave, Sin tapped me on the shoulder.


“Here,” she said, handing me the box she’d tried to give me the day before.


“What is it?”


Looking very pleased with herself, Sin said, “Just the phone number to a certain hottie from the past who might consider giving you another chance at the mushy stuff.”


I couldn’t believe it. My own potential happy ending. Wrapped up in a neat little package with a bow on top.


“How did you find him?”


“International Super Secret Pirate Ninja Tart Spies have their ways,” she said.


“It’s called Google,” chimed in Bo’sun, rolling her eyes.


“Ahoy, Revenge Pirates!”  The crew turned to see two strangers climbing aboard the ship. Just the men I wanted to see.


Stepping forward, I thanked the men for returning.  Then, loud enough for all to hear, I announced, “I’ve offered these gentlemen the use of this ship to start the Tortuga Writers Sanctuary. Any writer looking for support, inspiration, or merely a means to get away is always welcome to climb aboard The Revenge. Free of charge, no questions asked. What say you, crew?”


“Huzzah!” the crew cheered. “Huzzah!”


And then, as I watched my crew embrace each other amidst tears and laughter, I vowed to appreciate them, to spread the joy of writing, and to make sure every Christmas would always be as perfect as this one.


What would make Christmas perfect for you, matey?