Trimmer is trapped in fog, like a gnat in a vast white web. In the void I hear something that sounds like gasps from a monster. “What’s that?” I ask.
“Shh, boy!” Ben says, “No more from you.”
As quickly as smoke rises from a snuffed candle, the fog lifts. Standing off not twenty yards is John Bull. The British frigate is four times our size in length, breadth, and height. I hear another whoosh and I see a gun port open like an eyelid. I count fourteen sockets each with a cannon eyeing us. A voice spans the distance. “What ship goes there?”
“Schooner Trimmer, U.S. coastal trader,” replies sailing master Vail.
The British lower a launch. Rowers bring two officers aboard Trimmer. The lieutenant with a wide scar chiseled into his left cheek questions Mr. Vail.
“Storm blew us off-coarse,” says Mr. Vail, as he gathers documents and logbooks. “We are within our right to trade along our own shores.”
“You will come aboard His Majesty’s Ship Fortune,” orders Chisel Cheek.
I squeeze beside Ben aboard their launch. “They will let us return to Trimmer, will they not?” I ask. He makes no reply. The cutter rolls and bobs. I feel queasy. My head throbs. A weight in my stomach rises. I stand.
“Hold him!” says Chisel Cheek. A marine eyes me through his musket.
I puke upon a rower’s bare feet. He spits in my direction and curses.
“The devil take you,” he says.
The devil has me, I think.
Work in Progress
Three Tall Tales:
Molly Flies - Homesteader eight-year-old Molly Teresa McCardle McGee dreams big. As she chases adventure, she learns to listen to her own heart's desire.
The Warm-Headed Boy - A boy grows sequoia tall from all he reads and does, but he cannot speak until he listens to his deepest wishes.
Lord March - A ruler tormented by a secret learns from his subjects—almost more than he wants to know.
Two Middle Grade Novels:
Maisy - Maisy, who wants to save the world's diseased frogs, strives to keep herself off the endangered species list when she moves from California to New York City. She must use all of her naturalist skills to adjust to the wildlife of her new back yard.
The All True Misadventures of Phineas Hadden - Phineas, a thirteen-year-old American, runs away from home but gets more than he bargains for when he is impressed into service aboard a British frigate. The war of 1812 is underway and he must choose to betray his country or face certain death.
One Young Adult Novel:
Arctic Strains - This novel, set in the Arctic, was inspired by an Appalachian Beauty and the Beast tale.
Where do my ideas come from? The Characters ingratiate themselves to me.
In one instance, when I learned that the man who built my house drowned in 1813, I was inspired to learn about the War of 1812. Soon a determined Phineas was sitting beside me.
A brief excerpt from The All True Misadventures of Phineas Hadden follows: