Friday, 15 May 2020

Persuaded to Sail by Jack Caldwell - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Persuaded to Sail by Jack Caldwell
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Jack Caldwell back to Babblings of a Bookworm. Although Pride & Prejudice is my favourite novel by Jane Austen I also love books based on her other novels. My second favourite book of hers (and actually, my second favourite book of all time!) is Persuasion, so I’m very happy to say that Jack has written a sequel to Persuasion, Persuaded to Sail. This book also ties in with some of his other books, The Three Colonels, which I have yet to read, and The Last Adventureof the Scarlet Pimpernel. He’s come here today with an excerpt of Persuaded to Sail, and he’s brought an ebook giveaway too. Without further ado I will hand over to Jack.

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Greetings, everybody. Jack Caldwell here.

Ceri was kind enough to allow me to announce the publication of my latest work, my long-promised sequel to Jane Austen’s final novel, Persuasion, PERSUADED TO SAIL!
PERSUADED TO SAIL, a sequel to Persuasion and Book Three of Jane Austen’s Fighting Men, is a companion novel to my other novels in this series, THE THREE COLONELS and THE LAST ADVENTURE OF THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. This means that all three books happen at the same time (the 1815 Hundred Days Crisis and the Battle of Waterloo) and many of the characters know each other in my expanded Austenseque universe. The cross-overs include Persuasion, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice.
Persuaded to Sail, my tenth published novel, stands on its own, but your reading pleasure will be enhanced by including the other books.
So, let’s kick things off. Below is an excerpt. The newly-married Wentworths are to enjoy a honeymoon cruise to Frederick’s posting in Bermuda. Anne gets her first glimpse of HMS Laconia.
The next morning, the coach entered the county and crossed over to Portsea Island and Portsmouth by midday. The driver asked his destination.
“The navy docks, if you please,” returned Frederick. He looked intently out the window, which was a source of amusement to his wife. But before Anne could utter any remark, Frederick started.
“Here! Stop here, driver!”
Before the carriage could lurch to a stop, Frederick threw open the door and leapt out. “Mrs. Wentworth, would you like to see your new home?”
“With all my heart, Captain.”
Frederick helped Anne from the carriage. There before them, hard against the dock, lay HMS Laconia. It was one hundred forty feet long, not counting the bowsprit, with three masts and a single deck of main guns. Much lower in the water than the great line-of-battle ships, it appeared fast and deadly.
At least it should have appeared as such, but what Anne beheld was bedlam. The masts were struck down to the deck, rope and cordage were everywhere, cannons were unfastened, the sails were nowhere to be seen, and crawling over the whole like ants were at least a hundred men. A din of hammers, saws, and curses filled the air.
Anne shuddered. Was she to go to sea in that? She could not conceive the ship capable of even leaving the harbor. She turned to her husband to ask whether his command had been attacked by the French, when she saw a singular look on his face. She had seen it only once before—on their wedding night. It was at that moment that Mrs. Wentworth knew she had a rival for her husband’s affections. Frederick was in love with the Laconia.
“Is she not beautiful, my dear?”
“Oh yes,” she lied, “I have never seen the like.” She? Oh yes, of course. Sailors refer to their ships as female for some reason.
“To be sure, she looks a bit shabby with her yards every which way, but see her lines!” His eyes were bright. “She’ll do fifteen knots, ballast set right, or I’m a Spaniard. Not any leeway to speak of. Dry as a bone—and she being near twenty years on! Get her trim and shipshape with a spot of paint and a shine on her brass—why, she’d be the beauty of the ocean!”
Anne looked askew at her husband. Before she could ask why his language was so rough, a voice arose from the chaos.
“Ahoy, Captain!”
“Ahoy, Mr. Price!” Frederick returned. “Report, sir!”
Aboard the Laconia, a tall, fit-looking young officer crossed over the gangplank. He was dressed in a worn blue coat with one epaulette on the right shoulder and buff trousers. About five and twenty, his open face sported what was to prove a habitual grin. He wore his long hair in a queue.
“My dear,” said Frederick, “allow me to present the first-lieutenant of the Laconia, Commander William Price. Mr. Price, Mrs. Wentworth.”
“Your servant, madam. Allow me to wish you joy.” He bowed.
Anne curtsied in return. “Thank you, sir. You are very busy, I see.”
“Oh yes, ma’am.” Mr. Price returned his attention to Frederick. “Captain, the guns are all aboard, and the powder and shot too.”
“Excellent. I see you got the long twelves for the quarterdeck.”
“Yes, sir. They wanted to give me smashers, but I recalled your preference and stood firm.”
“Good, good. I have no desire to fight from pistol range with a lot of scurvy pirates. You got the extra powder?”
“Yes, sir—enough to practice from here to Hamilton.”
“Make sure the bill goes to my agent.” Wentworth squinted. “What’s the trouble with the fore topgallant mast?”
“Carpenter says she’s sprung. Would you come take a look?”
“Yes, yes.” Frederick turned to Anne. “I beg your pardon, my dear. Pray excuse us. We shall only be a minute.” The two quickly made their way onto the ship.
The minute turned into a quarter hour, but it did not signify to Anne. She was still attempting to clear her head. The nautical terms discussed by the two gentlemen had quite confused her. Long twelves? Smashers? Fore topgallant?
Soon her husband and his subordinate returned to the dockside. “I would like to see that mast set right before sunset tomorrow, Mr. Price.”
“Aye aye, sir—as long as the supply yard comes through with the replacement.”
“Any trouble, use Admiral Croft’s name. He will be here in four days.”
Mr. Price grinned. “It’s handy to have an admiral in the family, sir—if you don’t mind me saying so.”
Wentworth’s expression showed he did mind but did not correct his subordinate. “Well done, Mr. Price. I shall see you in the morning. Carry on.”
Mr. Price touched his forelock, the naval version of a salute. “Yes, sir. My compliments, Mrs. Wentworth.”
Anne was saying farewell to Mr. Price when a marine rider pulled up beside the party. “Excuse me, but is Captain Wentworth aboard?”
Frederick stepped forward. “I am Captain Wentworth.”
The marine dismounted, pulled an envelope from his saddlebag, and saluted, palm out at his eyebrow. “This dispatch is for you, sir.”
Wentworth frowned deeply, thanked the marine, and opened the envelope. “Pray excuse me, my dear,” he murmured as he turned to read the communication. He stared at it for a full minute, clearly puzzled, before turning back to the rider.
“Any reply, sir?” asked the marine.
“Only that I shall be there at the appointed time.”
“Yes, sir.” The marine mounted his horse and rode away.
Frederick turned to his companions, who looked at him expectantly. “A dispatch from London. I am to report to the Admiralty.” He shook his head. “We are still for Bermuda, at least for now, but it is very strange. I am to report a week hence.”
Mr. Price hesitated before responding. “Singular, sir.”
“Singular indeed. Very well—until the morrow, Mr. Price. Come, my dear.”
Anne and Frederick climbed into the carriage and set off for their rented rooms.
“Is there something wrong?” It was obvious to Anne he had strong feelings about the mysterious order.
Frederick paused a moment too long. “No, my dear. Nothing at all to worry about.”
PERSUADED TO SAIL, a sequel to Persuasion and Book Three of Jane Austen’s Fighting Men, is available from White Soup Press in paperback and Kindle. EPUB versions will be available later in the year.
BUT since I’m a nice guy, I will give away a copy in your choice of Kindle or EPUB! Just leave a comment below.
Author Jack Caldwell
Author Bio

Jack Caldwell is an author, amateur historian, professional economic developer, playwright, and like many Cajuns, a darn good cook. His nickname -- The Cajun Cheesehead -- came from his devotion to his two favorite NFL teams: the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers. (Every now and then, Jack has to play the DVD again to make sure the Saints really won in 2010.) Always a history buff, Jack found and fell in love with Jane Austen in his twenties, struck by her innate understanding of the human condition. Jack uses his work to share his knowledge of history. Through his characters, he hopes the reader gains a better understanding of what went on before, developing an appreciation for our ancestors' trials and tribulations. When not writing or traveling with his wife, Barbara, Jack attempts to play golf. A devout convert to Roman Catholicism, Jack is married with three grown sons.

Learn more about Jack by following him on Twitter or liking his Facebook page You can also find out more about Jack's work at the following sites: Ramblings of a Cajun in Exile ~ Austen Variations ~ White Soup Press

Book cover: Persuaded to Sail by Jack Caldwell
Buy Links

Can’t wait to read this book? Well maybe you should treat yourself to a copy of it. It’s available in paperback and kindle, with EPUB versions available later in the year – Amazon US / Amazon CA / Amazon UK / Add to Goodreads Shelf.

Giveaway Time

As Jack Caldwell mentioned above, he is kindly giving away an ebook of Persuaded to Sail in either kindle or EPUB format. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day worldwide on Friday 22 May. If you have any difficulties leaving a comment directly, please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

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  1. Anne may have to learn a new language called 'navy talk'

    1. Yes, definitely! Anne has only seen her husband outside of his work life, it's a side of him that she's never encountered.

  2. Looking forward to it! Congrats!

  3. The excerpt was intriguing and demonstrates Mr. Caldwell's flawless writing. I am looking forward to reading this book; Persuasion is also my 2n favorite of JA's books.

  4. Having read the other two in this series I look forward to also reading this. Persuasion is also my second favorite of JA's books. Thanks for sharing here. And thanks for a chance to win a copy.

    1. I am still a book behind, Sheila, and I've been meaning to read that one for a long time!

  5. Looking forward to reading it. I really enjoyed the first 2 books. I love how we have been meeting other JA characters alongg the way.

    1. I always enjoy that too, Deborah Ann, where other characters we recognise are woven in to the story.

  6. I'm excited about this release, I love Jane Austen Fighting Men. And I hope for an audiobook release of The Three Colonels. Pretty please.

    1. I hope you enjoy this book when you read it, KateB. I am all for more audio titles being made available, but I think it's an expensive process, unfortunately for us!

  7. I always cringe when I read this shock for a newlywed bride, to see her husband's similarly passionate feelings for the sea and the ship. However, being together on board will hopefully help to sort out those feelings and priorities. I can't really imagine Captain Wentworth would not make Anne a very high priority after all.
    Thanks for the giveaway chance!

    1. I think it would have been a real eye-opener for Anne, she's only ever known her husband when he was on-shore and not in navy mode.

  8. It's a very tempting excerpt, Jack. I feel like I'm Anne, wondering what those nautical terms are. I can't wait to see what is in store for the Wentworths.

    1. They are interesting terms aren't they, I think we will be learning alongside her!

  9. Oh, poor Anne. Bless her heart. Things will get better... spit polish and all. snicker. As Vesper said in a previous comment... our Anne will need to learn a whole new language... the Navy lingo if she is to survive her new life. I can't wait to see what will happen when she sees it again after all the alterations have been made. I'm sore Wentworth is already visualizing her in her full glory. Poor Anne can only see it as it is not what it will be. Thanks Ceri for hosting. Thanks Jack for the excerpt and the giveaway. Blessings everyone and good luck in the drawing. Stay safe and healthy.

    1. Thanks so much Jeanne! You stay safe too.

  10. I love Persuasion and enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  11. I would love to have an audiobook of The Three Colonels, but the publisher so far has shown no interest. I'll keep trying!

    1. Thanks Jack! So many of us are enjoying audio books now :)

  12. Looking forward to reading this!

    1. I hope you enjoy it when you read it Bookluver88!

  13. Thanks so much to everybody who stopped by and commented. I've posted the winner here:


If you're not logged in to Google please leave your name in your comment or it will post as anonymous. Thanks! - Ceri