A bit of historical pirate speak. No Arrs, please.

“Hey, Kat, I hear you wrote a book. What’s it about?”
“It’s a time travel romance.”
“When’s it set?”
“In the early 1700s.”
“Ooh, so it’s about the American Colonies?”
“…Sort of. It’s got pirates in it.”
And here it comes. The inevitable…
“Arrrrrr, matey! Shiver me timbers!”
Oh, ouch.

Why the cringe, you say? Because real pirates never talked like that. Our idea of pirate-speak we so love to imitate actually comes from Robert Newton’s portrayal of Long John Silver in the 1950 version of Treasure Island, and his version of Blackbeard in Blackbeard the Pirate, not the real deal.

So, how did pirates really talk?

Let’s start with a breakdown of just a few of the many different types of pirates:

-A booter is a generic term for a pirate of any sort, derived from the word freebooter.
-A corsaire, from the French, is a privateer engaging in la course, i.e. marauding for payment.  This is different from a corsair, who’s a pirate from North Africa, and let’s not forget the Spanish, who’ve got their own version: corsario.
-It’s the English who have their sea dogs, especially if we’re talking about Elizabethan-era pirates, and in later eras, they have their sea rovers and seekers.

That’s all well and good, but have you heard of the intelligencer, the linguister, or the true artist? Why, then, you’ve got a spy, an interpreter, and an expert swordsman on board.

When you’re sailing, if you’ve got a light pair of heels, you’re sailing fast, but if you’reshowing your heels, you’re running away.

And of course, let’s not forget a few choice phrases for intimidation and boarding enemy ships, taken from historical reports:

How does she stand? Which direction is the ship sailing? How’s she sailing?
Ahoy the ship: We’re hailing you! Hello!
Aviza la vela, cornuto! Lower your sail, cuckold! (Spanish!)
You speckled-shirt dog! No translation needed.
Allons, enfants, a borde! Board how you will, and let the slaughter begin. (French)
Jesus, son demonios estos! Jesus, these men are devils! (Spanish)
Open your hatches, haul down your sails. Good quarter is granted. Give up peacefully. We’ll grant you your lives… Probably.

And that, me hearts (not hearties!), is just a morsel of real pirate speak.

Trivia, Potatoes, and Caste Systems.

Nerd out with me a bit while I’m writing Three Star Island’s sequel, set in Spanish-held Florida, 1724.
Major plants brought to the Old World from the New by Spain: corn, potatoes, tobacco, tomatoes, cassava, chocolate.
Major plants and animals brought to the New World from the Old: sugarcane, horses, cows, pigs, goats, bananas.
Mestizos were the mixed-race offspring of Spaniards and Native Americans, usually with a Spanish father and Native American mother. The Spanish authorities devised a hierarchical system known as the casta, which graded the entire population according to the amount of Native American blood they possessed, and contained over 120 different grades.
At the very top of the casta system were the peninsulares and the criollos, These were both groups who claimed to be purely European. The penisulares were those who were born in the Iberian peninsula—hence peninsulares. The criollos, from which we get the word creole, were born to European-descended parents in the New World.

Soap Operas in the Desert… a light read.

From what is quite possibly the most gloriously historically trashy book in existence, not because the author wrote trash, but because the subjects in the court records behaved terribly.

Spanish Colonial Women and the Law: Complaints, Lawsuits, and Criminal Behavior. Documents From the Spanish Colonial Archives of New Mexico, 1697-1749. Compiled by Linda Tigges, editor.

I adore stuff like this, especially when I can pretend it’s totally for writing research.

Check out #20, #28, and #29 especially.


Beeswax and Shipwrecks

Ever hear of the Spanish Beeswax Wreck off the coast of Oregon, circa 1693?

From 1565-1815, the Spanish sailed a trade route that took luxury Asian goods bought in Manila across the North Pacific, down the west coast of North America to Acapulco, Mexico.

The galleon Santo Cristo de Burgos, which left Manila in 1693, wrecked off the coast of Oregon during a terrible storm.

Read more about it in this article by Scott Williams.


Image result for beeswax shipwreck spanish


A few things have happened since last I blogged.

(I’m so slack at blogging. I apologize. But really, all I had to say for a while was, “Still editing. Still editing. Still editing. Getting ready to submit my MS!)

I submitted my MS. My latest baby manuscript has gone to Soul Mate Publishing to determine if they want it. If not, it’s back to the drawing board. Fingers crossed that they’ll want a paranormal romance set in modern England with shifters and Fae and the Black Shuck.

Also, I got outdoors for a bit!

I went to the VA Harborfest at the beginning of last month and had a blast there, and just recently, I stepped out into nature. Yes. Nature. And I didn’t burst into flames. Here are some of the photos.

Harborfest 2019:


Just out for a walk: