Happy Sunday *hack hack hack*
Yes, I’m still down with bronchitis, starting week two. Which is why I’m up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday, coughing and wheezing.
Only three weeks until PIRATESHIP DOWN! I’m doing a special $50 gift card giveaway for folks who preorder, so if you have already ordered please enter below. I don’t need proof of purchase until I actually pull the winner. I’ll also have the link in my newsletter that’s going out on Thursday. Note that the Kindle edition is $2.99; the paperback will be $9.99 (sorry, just trying to cover my costs) and should be available by Oct. 31 if not a day or two before.
Since I was sick all week, I only had the monstrous Readers Choice giveaway on Monday, so the winner was LINDA, who chose Gwyn Cready’s First Time with a Highlander. Let me know whether you’d like digital or print by clicking the Contact Me tab at the top of this page. Congrats!
Now, it seems only fitting to have a PIRATESHIP DOWN snippet. All of the stories except the title novella have appeared in one form or another online, although most have been updated. The most significant update came to “Talk Like a Pirate,” in which a couple of young women summon Jean Lafitte from the Beyond and get more than they bargained for. It’s the only story in which Gerry St. Simon appears, and takes place a couple of years before ROYAL STREET. DJ is not in it. The narrator is a young college grad student names Kathryn…
I MANEUVERED MEG’S TRUSTY steed, an aging VW Beetle of a mottled, sickly color that had once been yellow, along the winding curves of Jefferson Highway, driving Jean Lafitte to Destrehan Plantation. He sat in the passenger seat, long legs almost bumping his chin as we rattled along. Meg, not surprisingly, had refused to come with us.
Lafitte wasn’t complaining about the cramped quarters but, rather, watched the passing scenery and my operation of the manual transmission with equal fascination. And the man—ghost, spirit, whatever—wouldn’t shut up.
“Tell me the meaning of these red and green lights that hang over the path. Where is the river in relation to our location? Who is this Burger King—does he rule New Orleans or is America now a monarchy? Are there still fortunes to be made from profiteering?”
I answered the ones I could, although I could tell he wasn’t convinced that Burger King had no royal powers. “Explain how profiteering works.”
“I procure goods and sell them to local merchants for a lower cost than they are able to obtain them elsewhere,” he said. “In turn, they sell the goods to their customers for lower than the merchants who do not purchase them from me.”
“Supply and demand, undercutting the competition. It’s good business.” I nodded. Sound economic theory, and not illegal per se. “What kind of goods are you interested in procuring, and how would you get them?” Were there ghost-driven supply chains in his world?
“Tobacco, spices, spirits, even”—he reached over and jerked the T-shirt down to bare my shoulder, peering down the neck and almost making me drive the bug into the side of the Pontchartrain Expressway overpass—“personal items for ladies. As for where my men and I obtain our goods, it is primarily from Spanish vessels, whose crews are evil scoundrels unfit to live even in hell itself and the sworn enemies of France.”
Right, I’d forgotten for a moment. French pirate. Evil Spaniards. Thank God I came from good Irish stock.
A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office cruiser slowed as it passed us and I held my breath, praying we wouldn’t be stopped. Beside me, Lafitte pulled that bigass pistol from beneath his tunic, where he’d at least had the good sense to tuck it before parading along Bourbon Street.
We stopped at a red light and he eyed the deputy in the adjacent car, who eyed him back. “Should I kill him?” Lafitte asked, much as one might ask for the salt and pepper at the dinner table.
A new Readers Choice will be up tomorrow!