Showing posts from June, 2006
The Simple Life
I noticed as I was walking around Clearwater Beach yesterday that there was a little cafe not too far from our hotel, a cafe that specialized in down home breakfasts. Since we were both up early this morning, I suggested a walk to the cafe rather than risking the hotel food. Plus the fresh air and exercise would do us good.

It was the right choice. The Sunrise Cafe had a breakfast that was absolute Southern heaven for a fraction of the hotel costs. A waitress whose "Mornin', Honey"' greeted you as soon as you walked in, good fresh coffee without any frou-frou venti nonsense about it, and a deft hand with the basics: eggs, biscuits, grits and home fries. I have no doubt their locally cured ham and bacon was every bit as good as everything else.

Now, all that sounds like simple food, but sometimes simple is the hardest to get right. For instance, about a month ago I was in Atlanta--Atlanta, by all that's holy--and I had the worst grits I'd…
From Mrs. Giggles, an 80 for Captain Sinister's Lady:

Captain Sinister's Lady
by Darlene Marshall, historical (2006)
Amber Quill, $5.25, ISBN 1-59279-500-5

"...I really like Amanda as a heroine. She wins me over from the first page when it's clear that she has a workable plan when she sets out to America. She's a refreshing change from those stupid nitwits that board a ship after they spent the last of their money on the fare only to wander around like witless fools on a distant shore with no plan and no money. For a long time, she keeps her wits around her and acts like an intelligent, sensible heroine. Morgan can be high-handed at times but his bluster hides the fact that he is socially inept when it comes to women that he wants to woo and marry. He's an adorable mix of the arrogant alpha-male and the mushy beta-hero."
Raiding the Baltics!

I got an email from my agent the other day letting me know he'd sold my books to a publisher in Estonia.

They want hot pirate romance in Estonia! Who knew?

OK, my agent knew. That's why he pulls down his paycheck. Anyway, I'm looking forward to breaking into a new market. It makes sense that Estonians want romance novels. Those long nights in winter give you a lot of reading time. And I'm looking forward to styling myself "Amastama Jumalanna", which a friend assures me is Estonian for "Love Goddess."

Knowing her, it more likely means "She Who Steps in Dog Doo". If any of you out there speak Estonian and can verify the meaning of "Amastama Jumalanna", I'd be grateful.

UPDATE 7/3--I heard back from an Estonian, and he says "Love Goddess" is "Armastusjumalanna". From now on I expect to be addressed with respect, people!
Captain Sinister’s Lady Darlene Marshall
Historical romance
Available from Amber Quill Press
ISBN: 1- 59279-500-5
March 2006
Amanda Stephenson travels on the merchantman ‘Penelope’ on her way to join her husband’s relatives in America. Now a widow, she hopes to start a new life in a world of opportunity. The Penelope is found stranded on a reef by Captain Morgan Roberts also known as Captain Sinister. Morgan has decided to end his life as a privateer and settle down on his farm but he cannot pass up such an opportunity. Once he sees Amanda he decides he needs a wife on his farm and she will do nicely. Using all his skills as a pirate, not knowing anything about romancing and courting a lady, he goes about trying to convince Amanda to marry him. Captain Sinister’s Lady is another wonderful story from Darlene Marshall. Some of the characters from her books “Pirate’s Price” and “The Smuggler’s Bride” make an appearance in this story. Her stories offer a blend of adventure, romance, and humor.…
Review--from BooksForum at ForumsAmerica:

© 2006 All Rights Reserved Readers & Writers Ink ReviewsCAPTAIN SINISTER'S LADY
By Darlene Marshall
Historical romance (19th century Florida)
March 2006
Amber Quill Press
ISBN: 1-59279-744-XAnyone who has despaired of the current state of romance can rejoice that Darlene Marshall has written of pirates -- um, privateers, courageous women, dastardly villians and a happy ever after that readers can believe in.Young widow Amanda Stephenson is en route from Yorkshire to her late husband's relatives in Charleston, where she hopes they will give her a home and a place to make her soaps and lotions. Sailing through the Florida Straits proves the unmaking of her plans when her ship is grounded and Captain Morgan Roberts takes it over.Morgan is about ready to leave the privateering life and settle down, renouncing his other name, Captain Sinister. He has loved life on the sea but he's getting to be an old sea dog rather than a young pup. That…
I had a lovely time tonight kicking off the Friends of the Library Summer Seminar series with a talk on Florida Piracy in the 19th C. There was a much larger turnout than I expected and we packed the little airconditioned office at the "bookhouse", the warehouse where the FoL has their twice a year booksales to raise extra funds for the Alachua County Library District.

The crowd was enthusiastic though, and I enjoyed myself thoroughly, talking about researching pirates, sharing Florida history, and the joy of a profession where it's "work" to drive to St. Augustine for the day and walk the streets to get a feel for how life was in the 18th C. town.

I played it smart and didn't drink the offered wine during my program. I made the mistake last year at Worldcon in Scotland of taking advantage of my free drink chit before my program. Not a pretty sight.

I also had some sales after the talk, and while that was helpful, the best part was just getting out there a…
Last night was the annual Bar Association dinner and we were there, not only 'cause my dear husband's on the local Bar's board, but because these events are entertaining. Really. I love hanging out with attorneys. They have great stories and most of them are smart and fun to be with.

I gave away a signed copy of Captain Sinister's Lady as a door prize, and much to my delight, the winner was a judge who's also a sailor! I personalized it for him, and made him promise to let me know how he liked it. He, in turn, invited me out for a sail and said anytime I needed info on sailing I could call him. So since I had him right there for research, I posed a question that's been going back and forth at a couple sites I frequent:

"The opening into a cabin, is it a hatch or a door?"
"Abovedecks or below?"
"It's a door. A hatch goes into the deck or is an entrance to a hold."
"Aaaargh!" I said. "I d…
The Storm Passes

It's now 4 p.m., and it looks like the worst is behind us, and it wasn't that bad. There's still a chance of more storms tonight, but we're no longer under a tornado watch nor do we have any flooding concerns unless something changes.

It's breezy and still spitting rain outside, but here in North Central Florida, inland, all we got was a good and much needed soaking.

We're all very grateful.
So Far, So Good

It's 11:30 a.m. and the rain just started again. It rained through the night, but when I woke this morning it had mostly stopped. I knew the storm hadn't even hit the coast yet and now the advance rain and wind has returned, but I'm optimistic based on the latest reports.

One of the first things I looked for this morning was whether there was water sitting on the ground, on top of the grass. That would have indicated the soil was so saturated it couldn't hold any more, an early sign to prepare for flooding. In past hurricanes I've seen the water rise up on the lawn, creeping over the patio and heading for the house, but so far, so good.

In a few minutes I'll break for lunch and turn on the Weather Channel to get the noon report and the latest on Alberto.
Hunkerin' down

Only 12 days into the hurricane season, and Alberto comes calling. We're right in its path, though we're 60 miles inland. I know from hurricanes Frances and Irene that doesn't necessarily mean much. You can still have tornadoes, backed-up sewers, flooding and wind damage. So, we did our hurricane prep just as we're supposed to. I've got plenty of batteries, water, a full tank of gas in my car and on my gas grill, a freezer full of ice, canned food, a camp stove, lamps and lanterns.

My biggest concern is that one of the trees I love so much will crash into the house. Otherwise, I'm prepared for just about anything else, and we'll ride this one out.

More on the storm later...
Conner Calling

I had a grand time on Hank's show yesterday, and if you're one of the fine folks who phoned in, thanks! The time passed way too quickly, and we want to do it again soon. If you came here looking for my books, they're available in signed editions at Goerings Bookstore in Gainesville on W. University Avenue and 34th Street at the Westgate Plaza. They're also available through Amazon and my publisher, and I hope if you buy them you'll write and let me know how you liked my stories!
From Your Virtual Book Bag


Celia May Hart

Kensington Aphrodisia, 0-7582-1464-2
Erotic Regency Historical The Barrington library is unique…and Miss Portia Carew just peeked into a tempting tale of desire–forbidden, lusty, and desperately erotic desire. She wants more. Much more. How fortunate that she is alone and hidden… well, almost hidden. That handsome rake Mark Knightson has witnessed her session of secret pleasure and he knows she’s ready to experience what only he can give her. Delicious, unmentionable, carnal delight. is currently running a contest, where two winners will take home some delicious chocolate! Check out her website for details!
On the Air!

I'll be the guest today from 1-2 p.m. on "Conner Calling"a phone-in/email-in radio show on WUFT-FM/WJUF-FM, Classic 89, the public radio station for North Central Florida.

We'll likely be discussing pirate romance, Florida history, ebooks and more!

Today's Wednesday, which means the Farmers' Market will be set up downtown on the Sun Plaza. It's one of the highlights of my work week, to go downtown as the sun's sinking lower in the west and check out the goodies. I've become quite the seasonal cook, basing my menus around what's fresh and available from local vendors. Now that the summer's full on us in Florida, the salads are gone. Lettuce is a winter crop here, but it can't tolerate the high heat and humidity of our summer months. Instead, we get corn, collards, squash, peppers, eggplant, onions and leeks, melons--lots of melons, luscious and dripping with juice--and for another month or so, blueberries. I usually buy three or four pints of blueberries, and they never make it into pies or cobblers. Instead, I wash them and put them out on the counter in my berry bowl, and people in the house snack on them through the day.

You get a totally different feel for food when you're eating fre…
Florida Politics

I attended a fundraiser for "Women for Rod Smith" today, and I'm going to use this post to encourage all of you who are Florida voters to support Rod Smith for governor. I've known Rod for over 20 years, and he would bring a wealth of experience, common sense and compassion to the governor's mansion in Tallahassee. And it's a two-fer. Rod's wife Dee-Dee is an long time activist for children, especially teenage girls, through her work with the Girls Club and other programs. Florida's children and families need an advocate who can work with the legislature and who cares, and Rod is that person.

Our state needs fresh leadership for the 21st century. Check out Rod's website to learn more at