I love vintage maps, the fanciful decorations, the creative spelling, the even more creative coastlines! Still, it’s impressive what navigators and mapmakers were able to do with a cross staff, an astrolabe, and bits of string. (Did you know how to calculate latitude wasn’t discovered until the eighteenth century?)
With the release of the second book in the Pirates of Port Royal series, The Penitent Pirate, I decided to create maps of my own based on vintage maps. It was a fascinating labour of love! I made one of the seas around Port Royal and Tortuga, where much of the action of the series takes place, and I did another of the old city of Port Royal. In both maps I marked places of interest in my stories.
Port Royal was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692, and no contemporary map exists. I based my map on an eighteenth century map and used archaeological studies, including the very impressive work of Michael Pawson and David Buisseret to fill in the gaps.
Both maps are included in The Penitent Pirate, but for anyone who wants to be able to zoom in for a better look, I’ve also posted them here. I hope you enjoy poring over them as much as I loved making them!
After peaceful months ashore strengthening their new union, Perry and Quinn are ready to return to the life they love best–roving with the buccaneer ship Audacious. Quinn is still haunted by his torture in a Spanish dungeon, and Perry hopes being back at sea will restore his matelot to his old self.
In Port Royal, they are swept into intrigues. The worthies of Jamaica are conspiring against the buccaneers, a baby is found on their doorstep, and a mysterious gentleman has a secret he will kill to preserve.
Just when Perry and Quinn hope to sail and leave it all behind, Quinn is asked to become the sailing master of Night Hawk, captained by the dashing Raphe Ashburn, his former lover. Charming, aristocratic, and witty, Captain Ashburn is everything Perry wishes he could be. But Night Hawk is a valuable ally, so Perry convinces Quinn to go.
All goes well until Perry must make an alliance with an old enemy. He is certain he will never see his matelot again, for Quinn is not a man to brook deceit or infidelity from a lover. And Captain Ashburn is waiting in the wings to pick up their old affair.
When everything in their path seems intent on keeping them apart, will Perry and Quinn find their way back to each other?
I’m proud to announce some new territory for me – collaboration with another author. Stephanie Lake and I put our creative heads together and came up with a short, very sweet Regency romance.
Florian is a junior gardener working at Lord Melcombe’s country house in the New Forest. Scarred by the rejection and prejudice he has faced all his life, he has little to do with the other servants on the estate.
Everett, the new groom, wants to take Florian to the village fair. He seeks out the shy gardener and discovers the beauty he has created in a secluded corner of Melcombe Park.
Florian’s Garden is on sale now for only 99 cents.
I’m proud to announce the release of The Puritan Pirate, a historical gay romance.
The Puritan Pirate is my first new novel since 2015, and it’s been a long time coming. I’d like to thank everyone at Loose Id, especially Keren Reed, my (very patient) editor, and artist Valerie Tibbs who created such a beautiful cover.
The Puritan Pirate is set in the seventeenth century, amongst the buccaneers who lived and caroused in Port Royal.
It’s the story of Perry and Quinn, two men from opposite worlds.
Lieutenant Thomas Peregrine—Perry—was raised a Puritan and joined the navy when he was a boy. Though he knows they are a necessary evil, he has always detested privateers. In his view, they are immoral, greedy, and unpatriotic. But when his ship is posted to Jamaica, he is ordered, to his horror, to serve aboard the Audacious, one of the most feared buccaneer ships in the Caribbean.
Gabriel Quinn, once a slave, is now sailing master of the Audacious. He hates the English for what they did to his native Ireland. Upon first meeting Perry, he detests the young naval lieutenant as much as Perry detests him.
Follow Perry and Quinn as sparks fly, swashes buckle, and romance abounds!
I’m proud to announce the reissue of The Winter Trail, published by Loose ID. I’m very grateful to the team at Loose ID and especially Keren Reed, my editor, for helping revamp this second edition. And once again, April Martinez has created a beautiful cover.
The Love’s Pursuit series starts with the story of Ash in Barn Dance, moves to A Summer Pursuit where Jake and Ash meet and fall in love, and then finishes with The Winter Trail. All the stories are stand-alone, and can be read in any order.
In The Winter Trail, Ash and Jake have left New York, and are now living happily in the Cascade Moutains. They rescue Evie from a blizzard, which traps her at their peaceful homestead, much to her consternation. It’s not long before Jake and Ash realize Evie is another piece in their jigsaw of life. Persuading her of this, however, is another matter.
Behind the scenes
The Winter Trail was the first novel I ever wrote, and as a result it was a little raw. I self-published it, but when Loose Id accepted A Summer Pursuit for publication, I submitted The Winter Trail to them, which they also accepted.
When I revamped A Summer Pursuit, I realized The Winter Trail also needed some changes. I wanted the deeper characters I had created for A Summer Pursuit, and I wanted to change some aspects of the background. The original story is bascially intact, it was just a matter of improving it.
This edition of The Winter Trail is longer, sexier, and I’m much happier with the new ending. Those hanging threads from A Summer Pursuit have a much more satisfactory resolution now.
I’m proud to announce the reissue of A Summer Pursuit, published by Loose ID. This second edition is bigger and better than ever, and I’m very grateful to the team at Loose ID and especially Keren Reed, my editor, for helping revamp it. There are more characters, more nineteenth century New York City, and of course, more hot action between Jake and Ash!
How A Summer Pursuit began
A Summer Pursuit started life as a prologue to The Winter Trail. It grew to four chapters, which I interspersed through The Winter Trail, but it was not terribly satisfying to jump back and forward in time. I pulled it out to write it as a stand-alone short story, but when I got to eight chapters, I realised it was actually another book.
The original novel, published in May 2015, was 41,000 words. It is now 85,000 words, more than double the original length.
Rereading the original novel, I thought it would benefit from deeper characterization and much more New York. It was such a pleasure to return to Jake and Ash’s world, and researching the city of 1853 was fascinating and fun.
The New York of 1853 was very different to the New York of today. There was no Central Park or Statue of Liberty, no Times Square or Empire State building. In fact, the tallest buildings were the churches. The streets were only paved up to Forty-Sixth St, and were dirt country roads after that. Bloomingdale was farmland, the Bronx was a village, and public transport around the city was horse-drawn omnibuses that ran on rails.
I particularly liked reading about the Five Points district, the stories of which are related in shocked and theatrical language by the virtuous citizens of the day. While there was no doubt terrible poverty and daily injustices in the Five Points, there was also fun, laughter, and excitement. It’s this side of this district I’ve tried to relate.