Friday, September 18, 2015

All you rogues at heart - THIS is your day...Aarrgghh

Its be a while; launching one book, writing another and preparing for the next, but I couldn't let the annual 'Talk Like a Pirate Day' slip by without my contribution.
If you happen to be in a seaport town, or America's oldest seafarers city which just celebrated its 450th birthday, you'd know it.

Talk Like a Pirate Day

by Jack M D Owen

Derek Flynt had a perfect description of the assailant.

But the Ancient City Police Department dispatcher just laughed at him.

Derek described the perp as somewhere between five to six foot tall, depending whether he was stooped under his tricorn hat or standing upright on his peg-leg with the pink Rubber-Maid non-slip tip. There was a tendency, between witness statements, for the black eye-patch to switch from left to right, but the brown orb against a black-blue and purple blood-shot background, was consistent.

Unfortunately for the St. Augustine Glamor Mall Security Guard, males of all ages and shades had chosen that date, September 19, to partake in the 'Talk Like a Pirate Day” as part of the long-weekend celebration of the Ancient City's 450th Birthday. Derek was getting reports from Hymie the Jeweler, the SmartFone Depot and even the Tittilating Truffles & Tidbits confectioner, of being robbed.

“Its no joke.” He complained to a laughing dispatcher.

Derek waddled as fast as his stretched gray-polyester pants, with broad brown-stripe down the outer seam, would allow, glowering at mini-pirates waving plastic bendy-blade swords tethered to mothers juggling shopping bags, mobile-phones and car-keys in the Friday shopping frenzy.

Every door of every store revealed its Jack Sparrow or Long John Silver replicate. Some flashed glittering medallions on gold chains framed in an open-neck blousy-shirt, one hand on a cutlass handle while the other juggled a flickering cell-phone being sprayed with cookie-crumbs. Several folks swayed like seasoned sailors stepping on-shore from a six-month cruise, augmented by an aura of rum-fumes ranging from Pinacolada to Pusser's Navy. Eyes, left, right or dual – with obligatory patch perched on foreheads – were inevitably cross-hatched pink

The rent-a-cop fan of NCIC forced himself past the 52-Variety Donut Store toward the PetsStore and its 'Treasure of the Week', a doleful-eyed, floppy-eared, saggy-dugged blood-hound. Clutching a sliver of chartreuse material, reportedly ripped from the pirate's breeches on the jeweler's security-door screen, Derek pushed through the 'Adopt-a-Pet' crowd to the manager.

“I need to borrow your sniffer dog.” 

He pushed through shoppers to the head of the line. His plea was ignored in the litany of items being rung up:
“...and two bags of gourmet rat-feed, the deluxe water trough with Avian-attachment, together with vitamin pills, sleeping pills, urinary infection and band-aids, $213.53 plus tax...” Each verbal note accompanied, with electronic pinging sound-effect, flowed uninterrupted.

“Slide here, sign-three, put your PIN in.”

Whirring sounds produced a foot-long listed of items thrust into the bag with purchases.


Derek stood in an unbroken sea of swashbuckling weekend sailors, “Aaaarrring” and “M'Hearty'ing in a plethora a pronunciations.


“Can I get some attention, here?”

“Take a ticket, sir. We'll get to you.”

Derek's pale skin gained a tint which bloomed through shades of pink to red to scarlet bordering purple at the unwelcome attention many mono-eyed faces focused upon him, while the cash-register pinged on uninterrupted.

He flourish his badge.


His hand moved to his gun

“Aaaarrrgggh.” The crowd cooed.

The blood-lust was almost palpable.

The blood-hound bayed, sensing the game was afoot.

But Derek gulped hard, removed his hand from hip and bid a farewell to the store clerk; in a gesture hard to discern on later re-runs of the security-camera, shook his head and left.

“Where's Rin-Tin-Tin when you need him?” He muttered.

Derek waded through waves of shoppers of all shapes and sizes clad in some semblance of a piratical nature.

Overhead the sound of speakers hollowly called for parents to gather lost or dumped children. Some parents routinely diverted recalcitrant replicates toward the Lost & Found kiosk for the holding-pen staffed by retirees and liberal-art students. The kids would be retrieved in a couple of hours, well-fed with finger-paint globs on clothes and play-dough blobs in hair; baby-sat at no cost but a scrub in the tub and another load of washing – later.

Sounds of the distinctive city-cop cruiser sirens bounced off the walls through the automatic sliding doors.

Derek gained his minuscule security office which housed a wall of monitors following the ebb and flow of shoppers, fire and security alarm systems together with ingress and egress controls.

He smacked a large red-button, flicked a couple of direction switches and hefted the clump of pass-keys on its retractable chain clipped to hi broad belt before setting off to meet the ancient city's finest. Jaunty was not a term normally applied to Derek's progress through the mall but, there was a certain light fillip to his step.

The multitude was congregating at the triple-door main entrance while new customers pushed through the one-way entry. Several,who tried to exit against the flow, were brushed aside and back into the mall.
Stocky Officer Darlene Lacey and horny K-9 Monty, on full-exposure as usual, stood waiting.


“Robbery, three places. Threatened assault, with a cutlass, by an assailant decked out like a pirate.”

Her eyes rolled backward.

“Y'gotta be...”

“Nope. No joke. This SoB blooded the jeweler when he nicked him after he loaded the sword-blade with chains and medallions. He's gotta look like Mr T if he's wearing all that bling.” 

Dekek ignored the jeers and jaunts from the swelling crowd.


“I've got this,”Derek held the scrap of icky-looking material between thumb and forefinger. His eyes switched to Monty who was treating himself to a slobbering full toiletry, much to the entertainment of children and chagrin of parents.

“Monty's no bloodhound.”

“But the perp doesn't know. How many pirates do you see in this color bloomers.” He shielded the sliver to display before Darlene.

“And...” she prompted. “There's more?” 

“Yeah.” Derek smirked.

“Once we've matched the patch – we've got him cold.”


“Pirates don't have no receipts for booty, matey.” Derek declared. “Har-har.”


Friday, February 27, 2015

Pssst... Don't tell anyone yet, but the KINDLE version of 'David Porter, Philadelphia & the Barbary Pirates' broke free and launched itself. Something to do with the wrong button getting pressed. Anyhoo...she's out there now, undergoing self-imposed sea-trials...prior to a few tweaks to the rigging; relaunch and the paperback version soon after. Check it out - a cock-up on the chapter-heads layout on smaller screens - otherwise text looks good. How's it read?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Visual Up-Date on Progress of Next Book

The Beta Readers are sending their zingers back to be mulled over, before the line-reading edit by a pro.

The current session is to ensure the cast of characters (you don't want to know) doesn't have a eye-color shift, a hair-change and new name somewhere with the 2-300 page saga.
For those who have not been paying attention, this is book Two of a planned Seven based on the epic nautical struggles of David Porter from Midshipman in America's War of Revolution  against George III's henchmen, to the cusp of the break-up of the Ottoman Empire and his role as Ambassador in Constantinople.

Porter, along with 305 other American sailors, were captured, held hostage and enslaved at Tripoli in1803. Sound's familiar, eh?. All will be revealed in 'David Porter, Philadelphia & the Barbary Pirates'.  If you'ver ever wondered where that line " the shores of Tripoli" came from, in the USMC the book. Out soon in Kindle and paperback.

Here's a preview of the unadorned cover as a copy of the 1803 etching - and one I goosed with with some color tinting.

Guess which one I'm going with ...

Pssst...the next book is based on events surrounding the involvement of the yacht America in the Civil War. Hope to launch her in time for the America's Cup Race in Bermuda, 2017.