My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Welp… I have to be honest here, right? Even though I have a story (and a damned good one if I do say so myself) in this book, I really wasn’t all that impressed with the anthology. While some stories were good and held my interest (and that shouldnt be hard since I LOVE PIRATES), for the most part, the stories read pretty flat to me.
I will try to go through and select the stories I really enjoyed — like a winners and losers type of thing, but at this point I have downgraded my rating from a 4 to a 3. I mean I can’t dislike a book that contains something I wrote…
This collection of pirate adventures is now available in paperback (e-book formats coming soon). The anthology features one of my short stories, titled Lost Hope. I have not yet received my contributor copy, so havent read the other included stories, but I am really looking forward to it.
Arrgh, you scallywags. Rip open these pages to find yerself lost in the world of pirates and their misdeeds. Join them as they travel to misty islands of fortune, sail the seven seas for mysterious items, kill those that betrayed them, and lay siege to monasteries. This collection of new work brings you 18 short stories and a new novella by M.S. Gardner. But beware…if ye escape Davy Jones’ Locker, ye may still face the plank.
Here is a small excerpt from my story, LOST HOPE:
Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean — August 1649
Sailors shouted to each other, their feet scuffling across the deck as their swords clashed in battle. The air in the lady hole reeked of gunpowder and death. Thankfully, the cannonballs, which had been smashing into the ship’s hull with regular, deafening precision, had stopped. A young couple huddled together in the dark. The man wrapped his arms around the woman, who feverishly rocked a swaddled bundle. She cast a wide-eyed glance at her husband as the infant wailed its dismay at the top of her lungs.
“If you don’t hush her, Margaret, they’ll find us,” the man said.
The woman rocked faster. “I’m trying.”
The door to the tiny compartment screeched open. The couple squinted toward the portal. A tall shadow filled the doorway, backlit by bright sunlight. Green eyes glowed from the dark form, its thick voice echoed through the tiny closet.
“What do we have here? Looks like a family of bilge rats.”
Untangling himself from his wife, the man stepped out first, blocking access to his family. “Please, sir. I’m a man of means. Allow me to pay safe passage for my family.
The woman released a startled scream as her husband dropped to the deck with a sickening thud. Blood gushed from the wide slice across his throat; his unseeing eyes stared at the azure sky.
Rough hands pulled the hysterical woman from her hiding spot, and dragged her, kicking, onto the deck. Tears streaked down her pale cheeks. She closed her eyes and rocked the crying child, her voice cracking as she whispered repeatedly, “though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill.”
One of the deckhand stepped forward and placed a hand on his captain’s arm. “Cap’n, let me and Joe take the baby back to The Albatross. Elsa’s been waitin’ a long time for a child of ‘er own. ‘Sides, the wee one shouldn’t be witness ta this.”
Nicor’s eyes narrowed as his gaze fell to the hand on his sleeve. Catching the look, Matthews quickly released the Captain’s arm.
Nicor’s lips curled into a dark smile. He nodded. “Aye, Pops, take the baby to her new mother while I get acquainted with this lovely prize.” The captain’s gaze swept back to the woman huddled on the deck.
The sailor squatted and tried to pull the crying bundle from the rocking woman. At his touch, the woman jerked away, locking her bleak eyes on him. “Please, keep her safe for me.”
Pops nodded. “Aye, miss, ye have me word.”
The woman let out a sigh and released her hold.
Pops rose, nodded to his captain, and took the whimpering child away. As he crossed the deck with the baby, the woman drew a hidden dagger from beneath her skirts and plunged it into Nicor’s heartless chest.
The pirate captain’s rich laughter filled the air as he pulled the useless weapon from his body. He glared at the wide-eyed woman. “Ah, biscuit, you are really going to wish you hadn’t done that.”
Pops nodded to his brother, who held a rope at the rail. Cradling the child close to his heart, he took the rope and swung across the space between the two ships. Pops Matthews landed deftly on the deck of The Albatross as the strangled cries of the woman’s tortured death filled the salt-kissed air.
How to Purchase this Anthology:
I got the email today, and after a good thirty minutes of “Oh my God” and “Woohoo”, I am still on cloud nine. My short story, Lost Hope was accepted for publication in a pirate anthology called, Cutlass and Musket: Tales of Piratical Skullduggery being put out by Wicked East Press. The projected publication date is February 2011.
No monetary payment, but I do get a contributor’s copy of the anthology when it is printed, and for a first acceptance, that is just fine by me. 🙂
Just can’t wipe the smile off my face.
Here is a copy of the book’s cover art: