Hurricanes devastate the Caribbean

Jefferys' map of the Caribbee Isles
Jefferys’ map of the Caribbee Isles, now known as the Lesser Antilles

As my fans will know, the Pirates of Port Royal series is set in the Caribbean of the seventeenth century. My pirates stay ashore during the well known hurricane season, and I included a storm (albeit a mild one) in The Puritan Pirate.

As the events of the 2017 hurricane season unfolded, I and my family were glued to the TV, avidly searching social media as we watched the storms meander across the sea. And hurricanes do meander. For such a frightening event, they are surprisingly slow.

Harvey.

Irma.

Maria.

At no time in recorded history have three such powerful hurricanes made landfall in such rapid succession. As the years pass and climate change worsens, they will grow in severity and travel further and further north. And they will increasingly make landfall.

Sint Maarten, Barbuda, Anguilla. St Thomas and St John. Dominica, Puerto Rico.

For once in my life, and to my family’s astonishment, my geography knowledge exceeded theirs. I knew these names, these places. Through research, I had come to know and love them. And island by island, the hurricanes proceeded to take them apart.

I have named only a few of the islands that are facing an unprecedented catastrophe, from which it will likely take years to recover. While many of these islands are territories of wealthy nations, they themselves are poor, with scarce resources and, for the most part, aging infrastructure. The press has abounded with stories of various governments’ poor responses in assisting their devastated territories. Now Oxfam, a charity with decades of experience in managing catastrophic disasters, has stepped in.

Oxfam rarely responds to humanitarian emergencies in wealthy countries. But due to government apathy, the situation in Puerto Rico worsens hour by hour. Oxfam has decided to assist in the name of human decency.

Although Puerto Rico’s situation is possibly the most desperate, Oxfam is assisting other island nations as well. If you want to help the citizens of the beautiful Caribbean islands recover from this devastating storm season, you can donate to Oxfam here.

Maps, maps, maps!

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!

Jamaica map for the Pirates of Port Royal series
A chart of the seas around the island of Jamaica, showing places of interest, currents, and sailing routes
Port Royal map for the Pirates of Port Royal series
A map of Port Royal on the island of Jamaica, showing the layout of the streets, places of note, and unpatented lots.

Florian’s Garden- out now!

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's Garden by Stephanie Lake and Jules Radcliffe

 

Driven from his childhood home because of his gypsy blood, Florian Feakes has made a life for himself on the Melcombe estate. He contents himself with nurturing park grounds and his own small, hidden garden. Until a new groom is hired. He understands the meaning of the heated looks Everett Wedmore sends his way, but knows nothing good will come from such an association.

Everett, surprised at how difficult Florian is to find, decides to invite the handsome gardener to the local summer fair with him. Things don’t work out exactly as planned…

Florian’s Garden is a short but hot story of eight thousand words. This release contains five thousand words of bonus material, including sneak peeks from Jules Radcliffe’s Pirates of Port Royal series and Stephanie Lake’s Second Chances series.

Florian’s Garden, on sale at your favourite ebook store for only 99 cents

M/M Romance Members’ Choice Awards 2016

gr-award-badges_2016_nominee_400

I’m proud to announce I’ve been nominated for several awards by the Goodreads M/M romance readers group!

 

Barn Dance by Jules Radcliffe
A Love’s Pursuit story
Jake and Ash A Summer Pursuit
Love’s Pursuit 1
The Winter Trail cover
Love’s Pursuit 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Love’s Pursuit series has been nominated for All-Time Favorite M/M Series.

A Summer Pursuit has been nominated for All-Time Favorite M/M Romance.

I’ve been nominated as All-Time Favorite M/M Author.

I don’t expect to win as there are so many great books and talented authors out there, but being noiminated is such an honour. Thanks to all my readers!

The Winter Trail – out now!

The Winter Trail, book three of the Love's Pursuit series
The Winter Trail – the second book in the Love’s Pursuit series.

 

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 hope all my fans are happy with the result!

If you are interested in more:

Read an excerpt of The Winter Trail here.

Purchase The Winter Trail from Loose Id or your favorite ebook store

 

Swearing in history; or, Avaunt, you beslubbering flock-pate!

 Ah, swearing, cursing, abuse. Where would we be without it? I’d probably lose half of my scintillating conversation.

But as writer of historical dirty stories  romances, it’s not always easy. I’m not the kind of writer who likes to use clinical words like penis or vagina, but words like dick haven’t been around that long. Well, they have, but their meaning has changed over the years

For example, the word ‘fuck’ has been around since 1502, according to the OED Historical Thesaurus of English.  But it was nothing more than a vulgar word for, um, fucking until 1874. Telling someone ‘don’t fuck with me’ literally meant ‘don’t have sexual intercourse with me’, which doesn’t have quite the same punchy implication.

Dick didn’t mean penis until the nineteenth century, and even then it had crossover with other slang terms, like detective. I’m sure we’ve all sniggered at vintage writers like Enid Blyton naming characters ‘Dick’. (I had a bit of a chortle recently when I read The Black Moth and Richard’s wife constantly calls him ‘Dickie’—I’m sure it was adorable when it was written, in the 1920s.)

So what’s a poor historical writer to do?

Well, you could ignore it, and let your characters bump dicks and bang pussies with abandon, as well as tell every cocksucker to get fucked or sod off. I love the dialogue in Deadwood and Black Sails where modern curses danced cheek to cheek with ye olde speak.

But I find it really tough to do something I know is so far out of period. I do hate being pedantic sometimes. Not that I’m that pedantic; if the thesaurus tells me a word was first recorded in use at 1720, I might push it back to the mid 1600s. My reasoning is that in the days when language changes took years to spread rather than becoming instant memes, vulgar words were likely to have been in common usage for some time before anyone bothered to write it down. Maybe I’m reaching, but whatever.

And while I’m on the pedantic topic, I’ll segue to something almost related. I find it staggering how few words there were for oral sex prior to the nineteenth century when you compare them to the number of words for shagging. Some historians have hypothesised that oral sex is a relatively modern phenomenon (ie from the nineteenth century). After it fell out of favour with the fall of the Roman Empire, that is. They give various reasons—lack of hygiene being a big one, but I figure if everyone smells as bad as you do, and your street is an open sewer, would you really notice? Another reason given is that oral sex was considered sodomy and therefore a criminal act. I doubt criminality stops anyone from doing anything pleasurable, and I have previously waxed lyrical on the overt and covert existence of sodomy in society for the last two thousand years despite it being criminalised. In any case, whether or not it was rampant among our forebears, I’m not going to deny my characters the awesomeness that is a good spigot-sucking.

Oral sex in the nineteenth century
Darling, I have a yen to go larking in your thatched cottage

One of my favourite sources for historical sexual euphemisms is timeglider, which has a series of timelines showing when vulgar words and phrases for sex etc came into use. These are based on the work of the awesome Jonathon Green, the famed slang lexicographer. Here are links for:

Wads of words for boy bits
Lashings of terms for lady parts
A plethora of phrases for rogering

It’s a fine line between historical accuracy and modern appeal. Use too much modern terminology and phrasing, and you lose the historical feel. Use too little, and a modern audience won’t be able to connect with it. While colourful, ‘Avaunt, you beslubbering flock-pate’ doesn’t quite have the manly impact of ‘fuck off, arsehole’; and ‘Begad, Lizzie, let me diddle your lady-ware and you may ride my rantipole’ may not encourage readers feel that heaven’s in the backseat of Mr Darcy’s barouche.