Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thomas Wolffe was Wrong!

You CAN go home again.

I was in North Carolina over the weekend to attend a wedding and it was like a homecoming for me. I've lived in 9 different states, 4 time zones. The longest I've ever lived anywhere was the 11 years we spent in North Carolina. The church where the wedding was held was my home church and will always be the home church of my heart.

Yes, there were some empty pews. Some of my older friends are gone now. Some have changed churches or stopped attending altogether. Other friends have had beautiful children. But every face I saw lit with delight when they saw me. I've never been hugged so much in my life!

After many twists and turns (at one point the groom was stuck in South Carolina with no gas to get home and the bride was still frosting cupcakes an hour before the ceremony was supposed to start!) the wedding went off WITH a hitch. The groom arrived home too late to get the license ahead of time, so we had to do the paper work after the fact. But everything's tied up nice and legal now and my oldest daughter (the maid of honor) and I witnessed for them

I think everyone needs someplace where they are loved unreservedly. I just spent 5 days in such a place and count myself blessed.

If you live in North Carolina and want signed copies of my books, I did take a little time to visit some booksellers to sign stock. Please visit http://www.emilybryan.com/Autographed%20Books.htm to see where I popped in.

Wishing you all more hugs than you can hold.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Carolina in my mind . . .

Tomorrow, I'm heading for North Carolina to attend a wedding. I used to live there over a decade ago and still have friends who are dear to me. The young lady getting married was a member of the youth group I worked with while I was there. My oldest daughter is flying in to be a member of the wedding party, so I'll get to spend some time with her as well as connecting with old friends.

I'm excited . . . and I'm anxious at the same time. When you move away from a place, people freeze in your mind. They don't age. They don't die. They exist in that static bubble forever. My bubble is about to be busted. The children I knew have children of their own. Some of my friends are gone now. I know that. Actually being there without them will finally make it real. Undoubtedly, some of my friends have grown and changed in ways that will make it more difficult for us to connect and they could say the same of me.

I've lived lots of places. The 11 years I spent in NC was the longest I've been any one place. It's as close to that elusive idea of home as I know. Greek sage Heraclitus said "You can't step into the same river twice." Thomas Wolffe must have been thinking the same thing when he penned You Can't Go Home Again. It's not so much that home changes. It's that we change. So our perception of home is different. Yet, I hope to find that sense of place I hold dear still intact.

I'll also be hitting some bookstores along the way, so please check out my website for places to find signed copies of my work.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Case for Silliness

Ok. I admit it. We live in a big, bad world. Terrorists are a real threat. The economy is wobbling like a top. We’re in the middle of a divisive, and increasingly nasty, election cycle. But, I would argue those truths support my conviction that every person needs a little silliness in their life. At least, once in a while.

I remember one day especially when silliness sort of took over. I was the proud companion of a 25 pound, long-haired cat (no one may be said to own a cat, you know). I loved Tommy Whiskers dearly, but his shedding drove me nuts. So instead of just vacuuming my house (again!) I went straight to the source. Yes, I put a brush on the nozzle and started vacuuming the cat. Needless to say, Mr. Whiskers didn’t think much of it, but I was making some real progress on his undercoat when the phone rang.

It was my dear husband. He was having a terrible day. One of his worker’s daughter had committed suicide over the weekend. Another had filed a sexual harassment complaint against another member of my DH’s team. The deadline for the project for which he was responsible got moved up . . . by several months. A string of unhappy people had paraded through his office that morning.

“I just had to call you,” he told me. “I needed to talk to somebody sane. What’re you doing?”

Dead silence. “Vacuuming the cat.”

Dead silence. A little chuckle. A serious guffaw. Five minutes later, my husband was still ‘tears-running-down-his-cheeks’ laughing. He desperately needed a little silliness and I unwittingly provided it for him.

Especially when times are tough, we require silliness to balance things. Not everyone can be sure of having someone to vacuum their cats at the opportune moment, so what better place to find some silliness than in our fiction?

With that in mind, let me introduce you to my latest release, PLEASURING THE PIRATE. As the title implies, there are plenty of steamy love scenes in this story. But my pirate hero, Captain Gabriel Drake, also has 5 orphaned nieces who are constantly dreaming up new devilry, a crusty first mate who follows him back to his Cornish castle and a chatelaine who tries to ambush him on his way home. Of course, the main thrust of the story is the love that develops between Gabriel and Jacquelyn (the afore-mentioned chatelaine) but there’s no reason a romance can’t give you a chuckle or two along the way.

Pirates may have been fierce in real life, but now they are such fun! In fact, September 19th was the Official International Talk Like A Pirate Day! What? You’ve never heard of it? You are a lubber of the first water and in serious need of some piratical help. After all, Septemer 19th will roll around again next year and this time you'll want to be ready.

Check out my website at http://www.emilybryan.com . In my PIRATE COVE, you’ll find pirate pick-up lines, a pirate lexicon, and of course, an excerpt from PLEASURING THE PIRATE! Vote for your favorit Pirate Name in my contest. They were all submitted by readers and believe me, it's a tough choice. Just for voting, you are entered in a drawing to receive a choice from my backlist.

Please feel free to share your own silly story.

Oh! I want to assure them that no cats were harmed in the vacuuming debacle. Tommy Whiskers lived happily to a ripe old age, and when he died full of years and many cans of tuna, he was buried with ceremony and tears in the back yard.

But my husband still laughs every time he thinks of him.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ten Little Pirates . . .

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I just posted the 10 finalists for my PIRATE NAME CONTEST on my website. Choosing from the nearly 200 entries was excruciating. I enlisted the help of family and friends, other writers and critique groups to whittle the list down to these choices. In the end, it's a purely subjective call and increased my respect for my editor no end. Bless her heart. She has to do this every day.

I thought you might be interested in what I was thinking when I settled on these entries, so . . .

Arabella Du Bois, The Bell - This one painted a picture for me. I could see this madame of the seas quite clearly, elegant and deadly. She's definitely a lady with a past . . . and maybe a grudge to settle in the future.


Hornswogglin' Holly, Hold onto yer Belongin's - This made me laugh! Can't you see her? The bag-lady of the Caribbean!

Stabber Stella, Neurotic Sea Wench - There's a place for a maniac in every vessel. She's a terror in a melee, but I bet her mates sleep lightly when she's in the next hammock.

Captain Ian Michael Wycked, "I.M. Wycked" - My DH picked this one. He loves puns. Don't tell him I think Ian Michael Wycked sounds sort of sexy, too!

Greenbeard, aka "Old Moldly" - Can we say clever? This entry took a pirate stereotype and gave it such a fun twist.

Captain Iva Gott Scurvey - Any entry that made Diet Coke shoot out my nose had to be included in the finalists. Again, this entry takes a real pirate ailment--scurvey--and made it funny.

Captain Billy Blackjack, Butcher of Barbados - Loved the alliteration. No wonder my book titles are PLEASURING THE PIRATE, DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS and coming March 2009 VEXING THE VISCOUNT!

Iron Balls McCormmick - This conjured an interesting imagel Oh! You meant cannon balls? Sorry. My bad. . .

Captain Sebastian Ashley Bennington - A gentleman-turned-pirate, no doubt. I'm seeing dark, hawkish good looks, a smoky voice, and a wicked hand with a blade. The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Seas.

Captain Greydon Quinn, the Wraith of St. Jude - Definitely a ghost pirate here. Almost like an avenging angel, with his halo slightly askew.

Now the final round of my contest has begun and I'm relieved to say visitors to my website will be the ones who choose the Grand Prize Winner. All voters will also be entered in their own drawing to win a choice from my backlist. Nip over to my website and make your choice today!

Friday, September 19, 2008

TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!

Did you know today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day? As you might imagine, I've been celebrating early since PLEASURING THE PIRATE was released last month.The PIRATE COVE on my website is chock full of pirate pick-up lines, pirate booty, and a totally fun pirate name contest in honor of TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!

Nip over smartly and join the party. Shiver me timbers, it's all in good fun!

Cyber-hugs,
Emily
http://www.emilybryan.com/

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Naked Truth about the Bad Boys of the Caribbean


Pirates? Arrg! There’s just something about a man who takes what he wants and makes us like it! When the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies came out, with the charmingly spacey Captain Jack and devastatingly attractive Will Turner, I was moved to write a swashbuckling hero with a saucy heroine to match.

Enter Captain Gabriel Drake, the hero of PLEASURING THE PIRATE. After earning a royal pardon for his wicked ways, he decides to play the prodigal and come home to the life of a gentleman. But a change of station doesn’t change his pirate’s heart, as the courtesan’s daughter, Jacquelyn Wren, soon learns. When he decides he wants her instead of the well-born woman she’s grooming him for, the pirate in Gabriel roars back to life. And what a pirate wants, a pirate takes.

In order to make my pirate believable, I had to do more than watch Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom (though I’ll confess to doing a little of that, too!). I researched the pirate era and the fascinating characters that sailed the seas in search of plunder. So here’s the naked truth about those Caribbean bad boys.

1. They weren’t all in the Caribbean. Piracy was common to every sea on earth. Barbary corsairs plied the coast of Africa. Malaccan pirates preyed on pilgrims bound for Mecca. Chinese junks join together to form massive pirate navies. Where ever you sailed, there were those with a cavalier attitude toward property ownership.

2. They weren’t all boys. While it was generally considered bad luck to bring a woman on board (and the penalty for sneaking one on could be death or marooning!), there were a few notable female pirates. Both Anne Bonney and Mary Read sailed with Calico Jack and were reputedly fierce fighters. When his ship was finally taken by the British navy, the two women were the only ones who put up any resistance. The rest of the crew was too drunk to fight. But when Anne and Mary were convicted of piracy, they “pleaded their bellies” and escaped the noose because they were pregnant. Calico Jack wasn’t so lucky. When Anne Bonney visited him while he waited for the hangman, she comforted him with, “if you’d fought like a man, you needn’t be hanged like a dog.” Talk about being an “I told you so!”

3. They weren’t all bad. Or at least, they didn’t start out that way. Like Gabriel Drake in PLEASURING THE PIRATE, some honest seamen turned to piracy because they had no choice. Black Bart Roberts began his career as a naval navigator, but was pressed into piracy when his ship was taken. He went on to become one of the most successful pirate captains in history.

4. They weren’t all naked. Though pirates went barefoot at sea, they enjoyed dressing well. Since they often took prizes of silk bales or rich brocade, pirates delighted in devising flamboyant costumes to wear once they hit port. Buccaneers had plenty of free time during long days at sea to sew. Since women were not welcome aboard ships, what else did they have to do?

5. They held to their own code of conduct. Pirate crews practiced a rough form of democracy, electing their captains and signing articles defining their goals and expected behavior. In PLEASURING THE PIRATE, Gabriel Drake’s first mate reminds him that according to the articles he drew up himself, ‘meddling’ with a woman of prudence is strictly forbidden. Good thing Jacquelyn Wren isn’t the prudent type.

6. They took care of their own. Pirates were often maimed in the course of spreading mayhem. As part of the articles they signed, payment for loss of an eye or a limb was agreed upon ahead of time. What a way to fund your retirement!

7. They were only deemed pirates if they stole from the wrong people. A privateer-one bearing a Letter of Marque—might commit the very same acts as a pirate, seizing goods and ships, with the blessing of his Sovereign so long as he shared the booty with the Crown. However, if he made the mistake of attacking the wrong ship, even a Letter of Marque couldn’t save him. Captain Kidd mistakenly attacked a British vessel and though he possessed a Letter, it wasn’t enough to save him from the noose and the gibbet.

8. They didn’t just hang a convicted pirate. They made an example of him. First, he was hung with a short rope, so his neck wouldn’t break. Death for a pirate was a protracted public strangulation. His body was left to be covered by three tides, then tarred and put on display in a gibbet as a warning to other seafaring men who might be tempted to piracy. Pirate hangings were treated as holidays by the public. When Gabriel Drake is led to the gallows in PLEASURING THE PIRATE, there’s much jostling to secure the best place from which to view the spectacle. These people seriously needed cable TV.

9. They didn’t all fly the Jolly-Roger. Each pirate captain devised his own version of the skull and cross-bones in an effort to appear as fearsome as possible. But if he really wanted to scare the living lights out of his prey, he’d run up a solid red flag. It was a signal that he’d neither give nor accept quarter. He intended to kill every soul on board.

10. Pirates didn’t bury their treasure. A few pirates might cache their goods from time to time (and in PLEASURING THE PIRATE, a treasure is rumored to be hidden somewhere in Dragon Caern, Gabriel Drake’s castle). But pirates would never leave a map to indicate where their treasure lies, lest it fall into the wrong hands. Besides, they were more likely to spend their ill-gotten gains in riotous living than to salt it away for their unlikely retirement. There were very few old pirates. “A merry life and a short one” was their motto.

Which just goes to prove what I suspected all along. Pirates just wanna have fun!
If you wanna have some fun, pick up a copy of PLEASURING THE PIRATE by Emily Bryan. It’ll have you saying “Shiver me timbers!” in no time!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

As seen on the Official INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE website!

I'm so excited! PLEASURING THE PIRATE is featured as a link on the Official International Talk Like A Pirate Day Website! You'll need to scroll down the page a bit to find the books section. PLEASURING THE PIRATE is under the Books for teens and adults section.

What? You've never heard of International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Undoubtedly, you are a 'lubber' of the first water. However, there's still time. TLAP isn't until September 19th. You can still bone up on the pirate lingo enough to pass as a swashbuckler. Visit my Pirate Cove for some pirate pick-up lines, pirate booty and a contest to win a boatload of books!

Shiver me timbers, it's all in good fun!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pleasuring the Pirate Video

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Hope you enjoyed my Pirate video. Visit www.emilybryan.com to read the first chapter of PLEASURING THE PIRATE. While you're there, sail around my Pirate's Cove. In preparation for International Talk like a Pirate Day, I've added several pages to my site--a pirate lexicon, pirate pickup lines, pirate booty, and my totally fun PIRATE NAME GAME. Someone is going to win a boatload of treasure, so be sure to enter today!