Happy Sunday! Yeah, I missed “Talk Like a Pirate Day” on Friday, thanks to the (fill-in-expletive-of-choice) day job that kept me tied up with budget battles all week. So I thought I’d play catch-up today with a few of my favorite scenes involving my favorite pirate. Although in real life he was known to give a great tongue-lashing to anyone who dared call him a pirate to his face. So today we’ll celebrate “Talk Like a Privateer” day.
Let’s see….other news…I will be offering a few workshops coming up.
From Nov. 10-Dec. 7, I’m offering a workshop on setting and description through Savvy Authors. You can find more info here. In January, I’ll be doing a workshop on Deep POV through the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of RWA. More info coming on that one. Ditto on a month-long revision workshop with FF&P in February. In March, I hope to offer my first workshop through this website, for both authors and readers, on “Mixed-Media Art Therapy for Authors and Readers: No Artists Need Apply.” No art “skill” or experience necessary and it will be lots of fun.
We’re marching toward the Dec. 2 release of DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD, and any help you guys can give me in getting the word out as the time approaches will be appreciated. This is make-or-break book for me and pretty much has to do well “or else.”
Okay, let’s talk pirates! Er…privateers!
Here are my favorite Jean Lafitte scenes to date (I’m not counting Pirate’s Alley or Belle Chasse, nor the short stories, so novels only):
From ROYAL STREET, the “cat and mouse” scene that takes place early in the book. It ended up being quite violent, although as DJ noted later in their relationship, even though they’d started out trying to kill each other, neither of them had tried very hard:
Lafitte remained quiet, watching me with a half smile and moving a step closer for each one I took away. He was playing with me, stalking me like a tiger after a stupid, whining deer.
“It is too late to pretend helplessness, Jolie. I do not make the same mistake twice.” His smile widened into a grin. “You are as weak as the alligators we fought in Barataria in the old days. We liked to toy with them for a while, then we would feast on them.”
Guess that I’m only a woman thing hadn’t worked . “I ate gator once.” My voice sounded high-pitched and breathless. “It tasted like chicken.”
He prowled closer as I backed up, his dark-blue eyes fixed on my face. I tried to avoid direct eye contact and block out as much of his emotion as I could. He smiled and whispered, “I want to play first.”
Later, DJ has sought Jean out to try and bargain with him for information. He’s distracted:
“I’m the New Orleans sentinel now. I can get you concessions from the Elders to trade antiques for modern goods between the modern world and the Beyond, as you’ve wanted. As long as no ordinary people are made aware of it and no one is injured, of course. What I’m saying is that up to a certain point, I can look the other way while you do business— if you help me.”
I wasn’t sure how well I could fulfill that promise should he go for it, but I’d sweat the details later.
He sighed and leaned forward over the table, pulling the red elastic band from my hair, loosening my ponytail and letting my hair fall around my shoulders. I thought I was going to have to slap his hand away again but he only stroked my hair once before settling back in his chair, looking at the elastic with interest and then sticking it in his pocket.
In RIVER ROAD, Jean amused the bejesus out of me for much of the book. One of my favorites is when he shows up with a stolen cherry-red Corvette convertible that he want to take to Rene. It takes DJ a while to figure out it is stolen.
“I’m almost afraid to bring it up again, but how did you get this car?” Jean was an opportunist. I figured he’d won it in a card game and planned to sell it to the merman , or Rene Delachaise had bought it and was paying Jean to deliver it. Although I had to question the judgment of anyone who’d entrust delivery of an expensive sports car to a guy who first died before the Pony Express had been conceived.
“There is an interesting story of how I procured this automobile, Jolie. In taking a morning stroll near my hotel, I took a short route to the square of Andrew Jackson and there I discovered it, behind a building.
An individual had left it for the taking.”
Uh-oh. My blood pressure began a steady climb toward stroke level. “What building?” “My apologies, but I do not remember precisely.” He smiled, closed his eyes, and leaned back as the wind whipped across his face.
My own enjoyment of the convertible dived into free-fall. I groaned. “Some idiot left his keys in the car and you stole it. Oh my God, you’re a freaking pirate. Of course you stole it.” My gullibility sometimes amazed even me. I’d try to think the best of a person and—boom—some reality obvious to everyone else knocked the bejesus out of me. I’d never hear the end of this from Alex.
“I am not a pirate, but a privateer , a simple businessman. How could you think me capable of thievery, Drusilla?” Jean sounded indignant. This from a guy with more than two hundred years’ experience in creative procurement. “Voilà! There it sat, just asking to be taken. Surely no person would leave a key in an automobile if he did not wish it to have a new owner, oui?”
Good Lord. What had I been thinking?
Later, DJ is mucking her way through the swamp near Pass a Loutre, looking for clues as to who murdered a wizard. Something sneaks up on her:
Goose bumps spread over my arms as I sat surrounded by the tall reeds, and I froze as the rustling resumed, a dry, crackling noise like wind passing through a field of corn. Except there was no field. No corn. No wind . Even Rene had remarked about it being an unusually still day in Pass a Loutre.
Something touched my shoulder from behind, and I screeched.
“Why are you sitting on the ground, Jolie?”
Crap on a freakin’ stick. I’d have killed Jean if he hadn’t already been
“It’s easier to go into cardiac arrest down here,” I snapped, waiting for my heartbeat to return to normal. I had a serious case of the creeps. “What the hell are you doing out here?” Not covering up evidence that would implicate his buddy Rene, I hoped.
Jean grabbed an arm and hauled me to my feet, raising his eyebrows as I turned to face him. He held his bulky pistol in his right hand. “I was searching for you after hearing the call of a cocodrie.”
“Holy shit .” That grunting noise was an alligator? I needed to go home and have a drink.
Jean frowned. “You should not use such language, Jolie. It is not befitting a young woman. And why are you coated with mud? You must avail yourself of a…” he frowned as he sought the word he wanted “… shower. There is a room in my hotel suite in which water comes from the wall and one may bathe standing up.”
In ELYSIAN FIELDS, the big over-arching storyline of the series really begins in earnest as the elves come into the picture. One of my favorite Lafitte scenes is his first appearance in the book (how he made it to page 71 before showing up is beyond me). DJ is outside raking leaves and being annoyed by Quince Randolph, whose species she hasn’t yet figured out.
“Tell me what you are, and then we’ll know each other better. I’m betting elf or faery.” I was kind of betting elf— it might explain his interest in me although, thankfully, he’d never shown any inclination to plunder my brain.
He grinned. “Go to dinner with me and I might tell you.” I noted the return of his peridot earrings. Big liar. Super-big cheater.
A flash of irritation spoiled his perfect features a half second before he answered. “Working. Can we—”
Whatever he planned to ask, my answer would be no , but he didn’t
get a chance because a clomping noise reached us from the direction of Prytania Street. Rand and I both were stricken speechless at the sight of Jean Lafitte sitting like royalty in the back of a gold-and-white French Quarter tourist carriage. It was being pulled by a light gray mule wearing a hat festooned with fake flowers and driven by a smiling guy who had no idea how many daggers his undead passenger had hidden on him.
The ornate carriage rolled to a stop, and the mule flicked an ear at the passing traffic. Those animals pulled tourists around the French Quarter all day, and it would take more than an impatient Toyota driver to rattle one of them. The carriages were also ridiculously expensive if one commissioned a ride outside the Quarter.
Then again, Jean Lafitte was loaded. The driver probably had a reason to smile.
Jean exited the carriage with extraordinary grace for such a large man. He was tall, powerfully built, black-haired, cobalt-eyed, a shameless flirt, and talked with a raspy French accent that made me swoon even though he was technically dead. In other words , I had a bit of a problem with Jean Lafitte and my own common sense being present at the same time.
Jean said a few words to the carriage driver, then turned to prop his hands on his hips in a broad piratelike stance, giving Rand a disapproving visual once-over. The mule backed up a few awkward steps before pulling the carriage into my driveway.
God help me, I hoped Alex didn’t get home in time to see this. I’d never hear the end of it.
Later in the scene, he steals an empty Coke bottle, likely to work out a deal with Rene to provide soda to the Beyond. But my favorite Jean Lafitte scene in this book takes place when DJ flees to Old Barataria.
I hitched the towel around me more tightly, trailed Josefin into the bedroom— and stopped. I
hadn’t really looked around it before, assuming it was a guest room. Judging by the pirate lounging on the bed, looking right at home, my assumption had been misguided.
My mouth went dry, and I couldn’t think of anything to say. If the garments piled next to him were any indication, Jean had managed to rustle up some clothing. “Uh , can you excuse me while I dress?”
We would not be discussing anything with me in his bedroom wearing a towel.
His blue-eyed gaze traveled leisurely— and blatantly— from my face to my feet and back.
I knew some good French words for that. “Cochon. Go away. Vamoose. Au revoir.”
I doubted it was the first time he’d been called a pig, and he seemed to take no offense.
“You cannot blame a man for being a man, Jolie.”
And there you have it! Hope you enjoyed a stroll down memory lane with Jean Lafitte. Come back tomorrow for a new Reader’s Choice giveaway. And remember, I’m announcing all the month’s giveaway winners on the last Sunday of each month, so for September that will be next Sunday!