The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Nine

*St. Clare Manor* Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artists.

*St. Clare Manor*
Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artists.

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Nine

The room fell silent for a moment as each woman struggled with her own heartbreak. Seeing Joona’s swollen stomach unleashed a torrent of fresh hatred in Amalee’s heart for the monster she had wed. If not for Derek’s brutal lusts, she too would be carrying her first child by now. He had stolen much from her in the months since their wedding, but sitting in this quiet from with her friends so near, Amalee felt the depth of the injustice anew. But as powerful as her hate was, it was tinged with a strange sort of relief as well. With no child, there was nothing linking her to Derek but a name, unpleasant perhaps but remedied easily enough with a lie. Perhaps it was best the only thing she took from her marriage was herself. Thinking back to the wrenching fear and perils of just the last few days of flight, she blanched whiter than snow. Escaping with a child, even one unborn would have been nearly impossible, she may not have made it — though she would have perished trying, to save the child if not herself.

With a war of emotions blazing across her face, she looked up to find Joona’s sharp green gaze upon her, taking in her tattered, dirt-streaked appearance with a calm that only St. Clare possessed among them. Amalee flushed a heated scarlet to be seen in such a disgraceful manner in her friend’s elegant home, but there was no judgment in Joona’s gaze, only love, and a readiness to do what must be done. It was when her eyes moved to Maddie that Amalee saw them widen with suppressed tears.

Oh Maddie…my poor Maddie.

Cursing herself as a fool for thinking only of her own woes, she turned and felt her heart splinter at the sight of such longing and grief as was etched into Maddie’s lovely face.  If ever a woman deserved a child to love and raise in happiness, it was Madeline…fate had been cruel indeed to take this possibility from her.

As one, Amalee and Joona silently rose and went and knelt by their friend, wrapping her into a tight embrace that spoke of more love than words could ever hope to.  For several long minutes the three women held one another safe, Joona with the fierceness of a fledgling mother, Madeline with the tender hope of an innocent soul, and Amalee with the raw determination of a survivor.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Are you new to the Ratha James story or just feel like you need a refresher to catch back up, just click here and read to your heart’s content my lovelies 😀

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Four

Image From Google.

Image From Google.

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Four

The crew of the Raven’s Wing was completely comprised of women; no man was allowed to set foot aboard her, not even to keep her from sinking. Most of the women were runaways, orphans, poor, but some were ladies of English society who had given up their fine titles and jewels because of abuse or mistreatment at the hands of their fathers, husbands, brothers or others. All those who boarded the Raven’s Wing, boarded as equals; there was no discrimination of rank allowed other than that of Ratha’s officers. Traveling home was a cause of joy but it was also dangerous, should the women fall foul of their old tormentors or the crown. “Be safe, all of you. Should you need me or become separated and cannot return, give the signal and I will come.” The women nodded solemnly at her, they knew she would find them, return any one of them that was stolen from her. It had happened before, they all prayed it never happened again. “The rest of you, let’s move. St. Clare, if you would be so kind to lead the way.”

 

Amalee had only been in this chamber once but still, everything was as she remembered it: the massive, white bed, the cream colored desk and chair, the scarlet drapes, framing the view of the sea, of the ship that was now hers. It had not been hers the last time she was in this chamber, not yet anyway. It had been night then, pitch black outside, with no moon to shine down on the two runaways as they raced to their friend to beg her to join them, to leave this awful place. They had run to her for help, they had run for their lives and now six years later Ratha was back inside the chamber that St. Clare had led her to that night. She wondered if Maddie was feeling the same in her chambers next door, did she feel this confliction of joy and sadness, of hope and hopelessness, of love and fear.

They were eighteen when their fathers sent them to England to be wed. It was a heady journey across the channel, filled with anxious joy and nervous excitement. When finally, they arrived the three dressed in their finest and fixed one another’s hair as best as they could before stepping onto the dock where their future husbands waited. They had known Eric St. Clare their whole lives and had known since early childhood that he was intended for Joona. In their youth they had had even nick-named her St. Clare, a name Eric found amusing and when he met them on the dock, he embraced all three of them like sisters. But though he loved them, he had eyes only for Joona, who sparkled in a fine, pale lavender that accented her fiery red hair and softened her watchful green eyes.

Madeline’s intended was a southern gentleman who made his fortune in tea leaves, which he imported from India and China. Lord Robert Gamsley was a fair-haired grey-eyed man with an unsettling smile and a slick countenance. Maddie had dressed in her nicest blue silk and a halo had shown around her golden head as she stepped forward to greet the man who would give her his name but would take much more from her. He kissed her hand and drew her away with sweet promises of the years to come.

But it was Amalee’s husband who drew every female eye; he was breath-taking in a way that left women shaking. With his dark chestnut hair slicked back framing his strong, marble chiseled face, dark arrogant eyes and a cruel, perfect lip, Lord Derek Richards was a lion amid lambs. And what’s more, he knew it. Derek had shown like a godling in his austere blacks when Amalee approached, a hesitant smile twitching on her nervous lips. Instantly she knew he approved of her golden dress that highlighted the gold flecks in her eyes and hair and curved dangerously low over her high, full breasts. The cut of the dress had not been to Amalee’s taste but her new husband had commissioned the gown and so she tried to wear it proudly.

 

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

The Adventures of Ratha James Pt. Three

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Three

This picture reminds me of St. Clare! Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

This picture reminds me of St. Clare! Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

 

“Are you excited to be back?” Maddie chirped unaware that her friend was no longer listening. “Amalee! I asked if you were excited to be coming back?”

“Yes,” Ratha sighed, “It’s been too long Maddie. We’ve been gone too long.”

 

The sun was high and the rain gone when Ratha stepped out of the long ship and nearly flung herself into the arms of her closest and most beloved friend other than Madeline. In seconds Maddie was there and for a moment it was like it had been before: the three of them wild with freedom and privilege, running untamed through their fathers’ lands in Ireland, best friends, all but sisters. Tall, willowy Amalee James with her unusual dark coloring, a laughing Maddie Kingston, shapely even then, and the cunning and far-sighted Joona O’ Donald, already known as the future St. Clare amongst her friends, they had grown up together. Born within months of one another and their fathers’ land bordering each other, the girl’s had been thrown together young, sent off to play in the woods and the friendship they had formed had stuck, becoming unbreakable with age.

“I thought you’d never arrive!” St. Clare exclaimed as she pulled away from her friends, holding them at arm’s length to inspect them properly. Amalee needed sleep, but she doubted she would rest well on English soil; there was nothing to be done about that. Madeline looked well, thinner than she remembered, and darker. Both of her friends had been bronzed by the sun, – Ratha resembled a Spaniard with her dark hair and sun-kissed face! Their skin would never be the porcelain it was in their youth but it didn’t hinder their beauty in the least. “I feared you would be taken before you reached me.”

“The Captain would never allow us to be taken!” exclaimed a young girl as she stepped boldly from the little boat and reached back to help the others. She was fairly new to the crew but her fervor and belief in Ratha’s ability to protect her shone in every facet of her expressive face. Amalee faded in an instant and once again Captain Ratha James stood surveying her crew of forty women, the oldest in her early fifties, the youngest only eight. Forty pairs of eyes turned to her expectantly, excitedly. These women were her crew, her friends, her family and her responsibility. She protected them, sheltered and harbored them and they trusted her with their lives, she would not let that knowledge slip from her just because her feet were once again on English soil.

She stepped away from Joona and Maddie, planting her arms on her hips as she moved to stand before them all. “Listen up, your lives and mine depend on this. You are currently standing on the shoreline of the St. Clare family holdings. This,” she said pointing to Joona, “is Lady St. Clare and this is her home. While you are here you will abide by the rules she and I set to you or you will be punished however I see fit. For those of you who plan to depart, you will give your names and intended destinations to Ulsa, if you plan on not returning to us inform her. We will leave in two weeks from this day. If you have not returned and I receive no word of distress then I will leave you. Do not miss the tide.”

Immediately twenty or so women lined up to give their information to Ulsa, the ship’s head cook and scribe. Ratha surveyed them, they would all return to her, she was almost positive. She had known most of the women in this group for years, they would never desert her but if they did she knew it would only be because they had found something better. But even then, most still returned to tell their captain of such good fortune and she wished them well. For safety, she required them to travel in pairs or trios; no one was allowed to travel anywhere alone, and Ratha meant anywhere.

 

And just in case you missed them, here are part one and part two of this epic pirate tale!

The Adventures of Ratha James Part One

This one reminds me of Ratha! Image From Google. All rights Belong To Artist.

This one reminds me of Ratha! Image From Google. All rights Belong To Artist.

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Two

And this one reminds me of Maddie! Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

And this one reminds me of Maddie! Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Adventures of Ratha James Pt. Two

This one reminds me of Maddie! Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

This one reminds me of Maddie! Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Two

With a shake of her head, Ratha dismissed such dangerous daydreams. St. Clare had made many provisions for such a thing happening, and they’d encountered none of the pre-advised warnings alerting her to turn back and flee. No, if there was any hint of danger, she would know. Her stomach somersaulted excitedly. It had been far too long since she’d been this close to home. The women aboard the Raven’s Wing needed this, they had been at sea for nearly five years, making port all over Europe, staying in one place for no longer than a fortnight or so. They returned to England a few times a year only long enough to reload supplies and gather the new recruits. A day, perhaps two if the women were lucky. But this visit would be the longest; two weeks, not a day longer, and then they would move to another port further north for those whose families dwelt closer to Scotland for yet another two weeks and then south to France. Or maybe Spain. Ratha had not yet decided.

“Maddie,” Ratha called, knowing her closest friend would be nearby waiting for instructions. Madeline Kingston, a shapely girl with a tumble of impossibly bright gold hair stepped out of the shadows. Her blue eyes were bright with barely suppressed excitement, her mouth pursed to keep from smiling. Ratha chuckled; her friend was nearly shaking with happiness, like an excitable puppy who was trying its upmost not to embarrass itself. “Drop anchor on the far side of St. Clare’s farthest vessel, I won’t have us too near the stranger.”

Maddie nodded, stepping forward to reclaim her place at the wheel. “Aye Captain.” The young girl who had taken the night’s steering patrol nodded sleepily at Ratha before clamoring below deck to her cot.

“Avangaline is doing well under your tutelage,” Ratha remarked as she and Maddie watched the other women begin their preparations to port. Most had been with Ratha and Maddie since the beginning, others had joined them over the years but each person knew her place and her job when it came to anchoring the massive ship. Ratha stood by with pride as the women silently and efficiently trimmed the sails and readied the massive anchor ropes.

“She’s young yet, sixteen is young Amalee James and don’t you give me that look,” Madeline snapped as her friend and captain smirked at her. “She’s a good listener, and heaven’s know she has some brains in that pretty head of hers but it will be some time yet before I let her steer without some sort of guardian standing near.”

“Not everyone was born with your father’s knowledge of ships at her fingertips,” Ratha ribbed, her eyes still on the approaching coastline. If she squinted now she could just make out the window where St. Clare would be watching their entrance into England. She felt like giving a wave, knowing that St. Clare would be watching them like a hawk for any signs of distress but decided not to antagonize her friend who risked her wealth, land, title and life merely by not turning them over to the crown, let alone harboring them. With the inky green and blue pennants flying from her masts, anyone looking their way would think that Reginald O’ Donald was making an unplanned visit from his native Ireland to see his English married daughter. Reginald himself had given Ratha the flags and had instructed them to rename the Raven’s Wing when they visited his daughter, with the name of his flagship the Sea Daughter. The name had indeed been painted over the original just yesterday, in gold sparkling paint that caught the sun’s every flickering ray.

The Adventures of Ratha James Pt. One

Alright my lovelies, here is the first installment of the pirate story that I told you about last week! Remember, these will only be small snippets for each post, that way y’all don’t get bogged down reading for more than a few minutes. 😀

Image From Google. All rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All rights Belong To Artist.

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part One

It was a typical sunny English morning when the familiar coastline came into sight at long last. That is to say the sky was dreary grey and a steady drizzle slicked the ground and dripped off the nose of anyone who happened to be out and about so early in the day. But it was fine English weather, the sort that no English gentlemen would allow to spoil his morning plans – which at this hour could only be stealing away from a splendid mistress or the arms of whatever woman was available at the nearest brothel. Indeed, no man could dare call himself an Englishman should he even take notice of such common weather. But then, Rath was no common English gentlemen. He wasn’t a fine lord or a lowly cur and he could claim no fine titles or ancient honorable holdings, not even a hovel at the river bank. He was, in fact, a woman, and she was not so fond of being dismally wet, even though she was thankful of the cover the rain provided.

Amalee Ratha James – Ratha as she was known to those closest to her, and Rath by her enemies – was a woman with much on her mind as she paced the polished oak planks of the Raven’s Wing gleaming broad deck. Her heavy brown-black hair was pulled high, out of her face and held into a slick bun with a shining silver clasp as she studied the coastline once more. Devilish amber eyes sparkled under elegant dark brows that knitted together as she squinted to distinguish the different flags fluttering from the masts of the three other vessels anchored near her intended place of port. With a muttered curse, she finally yanked the battered but gleaming looking-glass from the pocket of the fitted black trousers that she preferred to any silk dress or mess of ruffled petticoats. The reflective glass revealed that two of the ships were those of her friend the Lady St. Clare, who allowed Ratha to anchor the Raven’s Wing here in the first place. The third ship bore garish orange and silver flags stamped with entwined songbirds; it was one Ratha wasn’t familiar with. She hesitated, perhaps this was trap; had her friend at long last been discovered as her protector and now was helpless to alert her to the impending danger?

To Be A Pirate Or Not To Be A Pirate?

Hello my lovelies! Sorry for the blogging lapse this week, it’s been a bit of a scheduling nightmare and honestly I just didn’t have anything ready to post (my bad lol). That being said, in my mini desperation I thought back to an old idea I had about posting an on-going story for the blog and I wondered how you all felt about that? I have part of the story already written and I’d post anywhere from 500-1,000 words at a time maybe once or twice a week. The story is a raucous historical romance about a notorious female pirate by the name of Ratha James and her ill-fated return to England where her deadliest enemy — her husband Lord Derek Richards — still waits to reclaim his runaway bride. When her best friend and fellow runaway Maddie Kingston is kidnapped Ratha is forced to delve into a life she thought safe behind her to bring her friend home before it’s too late.

Image From Google. All rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All rights Belong To Artist.

So what do y’all think? Sound intriguing enough for a reoccurring post? Let me know what you think!

Writing Mr. Right: Pt. One…Recon

What it is about fictional men that causes our hearts to go all a pitter-patter and leaves us twitter-pated, with loopy grins on our faces and a perpetual squeal lodged in our throats for days after we’ve finished a book? Why do they capture our hearts and minds so easily and so thoroughly that we can’t stop thinking about them and fantasizing about how we would handle such a guy? Sigh…I don’t know, but I love them (not in the over-the-top fan-girl way, but they definitely steal a piece of my heart)! When I’m reading a book with a well-written male love interest, I’m completely one hundred percent captivated for the length of time it takes to complete that book. And if I’m being honest, there’s little chance of me getting through a book that doesn’t at least have a romantic sub-plot for crying out loud. There are a few I’ve gotten through and actually enjoyed – and I mean a miniscule amount – but romance is a crucial element in my reading happiness. With that being said, the leading men are therefore vital to holding my attention; I want a swoon-worthy man – that’s why I’m buying the book (be it fantasy, sci-fi, modern, or whatever, I’m not just talking about ‘romance’ novels here)! But how does one write a swoon-worthy man? Hmm…let’s ponder a bit on this most delicious of subjects why don’t we… *loopy grin emerging*

Ladies and gentleman don your protective goggles and camouflage face paint; it’s time for a little recon!

To write a good man, you have to be familiar with good men. That means do your research, head to the classics or your own favorite novels for inspiration and being the analysis. Why do you like the men in these books, what aspects of their personalities appeal to you? How does the author get that personality across? Does this character remind you of the character you’re working with in your head? Study study study. The more familiar you are with the type of man you want to write, the easier it will be to write him. That does NOT mean copy that author’s work/character; that is a no-no of the highest degree. These books and characters are not there for you to copy, they’re there to inspire you. Think of these novels as your textbooks, break them down, analyze them and try putting some of the pieces together yourself (most of us do this unconsciously anyway when we read, or most writers that I know anyway).

You also need to know the genre you will be writing in, and who you’re target audience is. Men are presented different ways in different genres and readers know it and have blatant expectations when they pick up a novel in their favorite section of the bookstore. This goes without saying, but if you’re writing for mature women then you need a mature man, if your writing for teens then keep that in mind because a teenage boy and a mature man are completely different (at least in the realm of books, we’re going to forget reality here for the moment). You need to know how to present your guy to the readers, make sure he fits into the parameters of the ‘type’ of writing you’re doing. Most genres already have archetypal men: gentlemen, rogues, leaders, warriors, bad boys, wounded souls etc. and they all come with prerequisite but slightly malleable, well-known rules. Gentleman tend to be cordial and understanding, rogues are deliciously impossible, bad boys have that sense of dangerous uncertainty, leaders contain a sense of hope and overpowering duty, while the wounded…well they’re wounded aren’t they. There’s no saying that you can’t bend these rules slightly to suit your own character, but you need to at least be aware of them. Readers reading a historical romance are not going to want an emo-esque whiny leading man, and fantasy lovers don’t usually break their hearts over a sharp dressed businessman. Know who you are dealing with because readers are just as picky as vicious as writers are.

But perhaps most important in the recon portion of writing a great Mr. Right, is knowing your character inside and out; this goes with any character in any story. Writers need to know the people they are writing, all the shallow edges and dark chasms, the good the bad and the ugly…everything, because if the writer doesn’t know and understand the character, how can the readers? Take the time to discover the ins and outs of this human being, the whys and how come’s, the things he doesn’t want anyone to know and habits and mannerisms that makes him who he is. What is his back story, what has led him to this moment in his life with this woman and how will his past dictate his present, and how will he handle being placed in this situation and why? Who is he? Go beyond his looks and get to know the man you want people to fall in love with, because if he doesn’t seem real to you in your head then he won’t be real for anyone else either.

So here we are, back to the beginning of our stories, a little tired and grumpy but perhaps a bit inspired. All in all troops, I believe the recon portion of writing Mr. Right has been successful, I hope you all enjoyed the ride and part two of our journey into writing the men of our dreams (the actual writing part) will be posted by the end of the week!