The Nice Thing About Research - a Voyage to Nassau

Just look at that title - don't go thinking that I've been off on a jolly jaunt to the Bahamas with my dashing hero of a pirate, Captain Jesamiah Acorne, because, for all my wishful thinking (regarding jolly jaunts and my pirate) I haven't.

Traitor’s Knot : Amazon
A dear friend, and author (see last week's blog post about her book and Highwaymen) regularly visits Nassau and offered to supply me with some research information that I wanted for the next Sea Witch Voyage Gallows Wake. Although I have to be honest, it might be for the next-but-one, Jamaica Gold as, not having written Gallows Wake yet, I'm not entirely certain what will, or will not, be included.  Two hints though: Jesamiah finds himself aboard a Royal Navy Frigate, and the threat of the gallows looms... (I hope to have it written for early 2018 publication)

not yet written!
Anyway, I asked Cryssa for a few specifics because they are not easy to find via Google Wikipedia etc, and, bless her pirate boots, she came back with some fabulous information, which she generously said I could turn into a blog article. (The idea being a) gives me something to write about b) ensures I know where to find the info when I come to need it c) is a public way of saying thank you to Cryssa)

So, here's what she sent:

I’m a bit (a lot) shamefaced at the length of time that it’s taken me to write this up for you. You could have rafted to the Caribbean in less time.
I read Pirate Code while I was last down there and thought the bits you included about Nassau were very well done. I enjoyed it as much as Sea Witch which is the one thing a reader can ask for.

Now for Nassau.

December: the sun sets pretty quickly I find, no sooner than you realize the sun has set, it gets dark. I seem to remember the sun falling around 5 p.m and dark by 5.30. Sunrise is around 6.30 a.m. December is very unsettled weather because the cooler air comes down from the Florida coast and mixes with the warmer air from the south. It’s usual for it to be partly cloudy by noon (rather than clear blue skies), though the early morning seems to be more clear. There is always some heavy condensation or dew in the early morning that coats the windows and the chairs, etc. It can also be windy at this time and when the winds pick up they only die down after it rains. They can be windy for a few days in a row before the rain comes.

The half moon is very curious. Here it hangs on the side but there it lays on its back.

It’s hard to say what trees there would have been in the 18th century. I believe the palms were brought over from elsewhere. What is common along the natural coastline is a tree with soft needle like foliage. I wish I could name it but the people I asked had no clue. I can’t see Jesamiah fussing with botany though! It does remind me of an evergreen. Poincianas are also popular there but I’m not sure how far back they go. I get the sense they are native. I believe they lose some of their leaves in the winter.

There is a variety of sea gull that I’ve noticed only inhabits Paradise Island. It looks like a highwayman bandit as there is a dark band like a mask over the face. All the gulls around Nassau have black feet not yellow.

Grouper and conch are main staples down there. Yellow tailed snapper, red snapper, hog snapper are also well stocked. The island doesn’t have the soil for agriculture and they end up importing most of their food. The middle part of the island is higher than the rest of it but the elevation overall is not high. Blackbeard’s Tower, when it was still standing would have been the perfect place to see both approaches to the island.

Paradise Island used to be called Hogs Island because of the wild pigs that lived there. I believe most of these little islands were stocked with pigs, but now they are filled with high end yachts. This a brackish lake (fairly large) in the western part of the island and there are various streams and rivers that empty out into the water around Paradise Island (northern shoreline). It’s a bit sulphurous there and muddy and mucky with lots of ducks hanging out.

Nassau’s shoreline (the part that the hotels haven’t touched) tends to be both rocky and muddy. The rock is yellowish and pitted. The out islands (tiny Rose island, Harbour Island) are famous for their pink sand which isn’t what they have in Nassau.

July/August: By August, you’re getting into hurricane weather. July is hot but not completely unbearable because of the winds that blow in off the Caribbean. I’ve been in Florida during that same time (staying two blocks away from the beach) and the air felt like a closed oven. There is always humidity in Nassau but the shade does provide sufficient relief.

July is jelly fish season. I should know. I discovered them first hand - it’s not hard to get stung in the surf! When we were there in July, we noticed that it usually rained in the afternoon (around 2ish). The sky would go dark and violent as the storm came through, and then within a half-hour blew through. Sometimes there would be lightning. The sand flies are very annoying, they bite at ankles when you are on public beaches. If you see sting rays swimming close to shore, guaranteed there are sharks (sand sharks, tiger sharks) out there and most people prudently come in from the water. In July, I’ve seen warnings over lion fish (though it might have been December?)

Beaches - Cable Beach is just west of Nassau and tends to be somewhat sheltered so that even when it is very windy, you can still safely swim. There isn’t a big undertow there. Goodman’s Bay, which is beside Cable Beach is very shallow. The sand in the water is somewhat spongy.

Paradise Island is the best looking beach, but it can be very dangerous. It’s completely exposed and when the weather is windy and unsettled (no matter the season), you could have six foot waves. You’ll get the roar of the waves crashing there. In Cable Beach, not as much.

Along the west end of the island there are caves but I haven’t explored those. The southern end of the island has fewer beaches. It’s rockier there and has more places to snorkel. It looks a bit rougher too.

I’ve revisited the Pirate museum and have a few pictures, one being a map of Fort Nassau at the time of Woodes Rogers.


Legend has it that 'Blackbeard's Tower' was where he would keep watch on shipping coming in and out of harbour. It is unlikely to have been Blackbeard's - but it was a watch tower!

The tower' is situated on a ridge five miles east of Fort Montagu on the island of New Providence, Nassau. The tower was used as a lookout point, giving commanding views over the sea. Today, the ruins are nothing more than crumbling masonry, and it is not easy to find, as the site is tucked away in an overgrown location and not visible from the road.

It is highly unlikely that Blackbeard himself had anything to do with the tower - it was more likely to be a military installation to keep watch for the Spanish, who raided Nassau several times. 
I wonder if Governor Woodes Rogers was responsible for its building?

There's nothing to say the place wasn't connected with Blackbeard though...!

photos: Cryssa Bazos

This is the view from the base
of the tower facing north.
Cryssa Bazos: 17th Century Enthusiast
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Thank you Cryssa - expect some of the above information in one of the next Voyages!

a few more photos of NASSAU 
My thanks to José Bográn for these photos! 

approaching Nassau - sunset 

 Nassau Harbour
View from the cannon mount at Fort Fincastle (c 1793).

Cannon mount at Fort Fincastle. 
These are replicas, the original weaponry was sent back to England.

View of the other end of Fort Fincastle. 
Fun fact: the castle was shaped to look as a seagoing ship.

View from the bottom of the Queen’s Staircase. 
Carved by slaves in the 18th Century 
(after Jesamiah's time)

Market stalls at the bottom of Queen’s Staircase

I have more Behind the Scenes 
photos of all my books

Highwaymen: Pirates of the Road

 .... my guest this week: Cryssa Bazos

 Rogues, pirates and scoundrels. Why are we so fascinated by them?  Is it the sense of adventure or living vicariously through those who are not confined by rules? Since you’re following Helen’s blog, you know all about pirates, so I’m here instead to wax poetic about a different type of pirate, one that ruled the dark byways and wooded trails—the highwayman.

Also called highpads and knights of the road, highwaymen have seized the public’s imagination for nearly four hundred years. They’ve been celebrated for their cunning and daring, often considered the aristocrats of the criminal world; a cut above the common criminal.

Attribution: British Library via Visual Hunt [Public Domain]
Before engaging in their nefarious profession, it was not uncommon for many of these highwaymen to have been reasonably educated and employed in influential households, so they knew a thing or two on how to converse with polite society.

While the 18th century experienced a golden age for highwaymen, similar to pirates (who hasn’t heard of Dick Turpin?), the public’s fascination with these rogues goes back even further, to the 17th century, and there were a surprising number of infamous ones, including Captain Hind, Charles Duvall, and the Wicked Lady, highway(woman) Katherine Ferrers.

Attribution: The British Library via Visual Hunt [Public Domain]
The 17th century was a time of political turmoil not just in England - the Thirty Years War, War of the Three Kingdoms, specifically the English Civil War. Even during the latter part of the century, when the English crown changed hands peacefully through the Glorious Revolution, you had the ousted Jacobites to contend with. After the English Civil War, many Royalist soldiers couldn’t return to their sequestered estates and found themselves bankrupt. For these men, highway robbery was a matter of survival; for others, it was a way to avenge themselves against an enemy who had executed their king.
Attribution: NPG D29229; James Hind published
by John Scott (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) 
A highwayman who became famous for harassing Roundheads was Captain James Hind. Though Hind had been engaged in highway robbery with the Bishop Allen gang before the war, he gained notoriety for his activities during the war. Hind became a bit of a folk hero - charming, witty, entertaining his “clients” in exchange for relieving them of their purses. He couldn’t resist harassing barristers, tax collectors and pompous wealthy merchants, so you can appreciate why the masses loved this guy. There were even stories of him taking pity on the destitute by giving them back some of his “earnings”.

One of my favourite Captain Hind stories involves a bailiff, an innkeeper and a usurer. Once in Warwickshire, Hind came upon a disturbance in front of a public house which blocked traffic. The innkeeper owed £20 to the usurer, but because business was poor, he couldn’t repay the debt on time, and the officials had come to arrest him and seize what they could.

Hind felt sorry for the man. He settled the bond, paid the innkeeper’s debt and the bailiff’s fees from his own funds. Everyone was happy - the bailiffs toddled off and the usurer left the innkeeper in peace. The man’s goods had been saved.

The grateful innkeeper invited Hind to be his guest for as long as he desired, but Hind excused himself, claiming he had a matter to attend first. Hind rode after the usurer, and when they were far enough away from the town, held him up. Not only did Hind retrieve the £20 he had given to settle the bond, he stole another £20. Later than night, Hind returned to the innkeeper and gave him the cancelled bond along with £5, saying, “he had good luck by lending his money to honest men.”
[Helen says: 'I'm laughing here - what a wonderful man!']

When the English Civil War broke out, Captain Hind chose the King (rather surprising considering he lived outside the law). He fought as a Foot soldier under William Compton, the Governor of Banbury, and received his commission from him at Colchester during the second Civil War.

The legend of Captain Hind grew into the 18th century, until he became a Royalist beacon of resistance, robbing the Roundheads and leaving good Royalists unmolested. In particular, he targeted the regicides, those responsible for the King’s trial and execution. He out-sermoned Hugh Peters, robbed the King’s judge, John Bradshaw, and nearly succeeded in holding up Oliver Cromwell’s coach. All tall tales, but the public ate them up.

His service record, however, was rooted in fact, not myth. After King Charles I was executed, Hind left England and travelled to The Hague, where the new king, Charles II, lived in exile. Curiously, he stayed a few days before sailing for Ireland on a ship that carried the “king’s effects.” Cromwell’s men were engaged in fierce fighting in Ireland, and it’s possible that the ship carried supplies, and very likely dispatches for King Charles II’s supporters. Hind spent several months there fighting with the Royalists, and when Charles made an alliance with the Scots to support him against the English Parliament, Hind followed him to Scotland where he pledged him his sword.

A year later, Hind with the King’s army, returned to England. The King got as far as Worcester before being penned in at all sides by Cromwell’s army. On September 3, 1651, the final battle of the Civil War was fought.

It was a disaster, with Royalists fleeing for their lives. Being an enterprising fellow and an expert at finding hidden trails, Hind managed to escape and made it back to London, where he lived incognito for five weeks until he was caught.

Hind was never tried for highway robbery. Instead, Parliament wanted him for treason, for they believed that he had been responsible for the King’s escape from Worcester. Eventually, Hind was found guilty and was hanged, drawn and quartered. His last words on the scaffold were a reaffirmation of his loyalty to the King.

Attribution: Captain James Hind, via Visual Hunt
Captain Hind, highwayman, rogue and keen wit remained an unrepentant Royalist to the very end.

About Traitor’s Knot
England 1650: Civil War has given way to an uneasy peace in the year since Parliament executed King Charles I.

Royalist officer James Hart refuses to accept the tyranny of the new government, and to raise funds for the restoration of the king’s son, he takes to the road as a highwayman.

Elizabeth Seton has long been shunned for being a traitor’s daughter. In the midst of the new order, she risks her life by sheltering fugitives from Parliament in a garrison town. But her attempts to rebuild her life are threatened, first by her own sense of injustice, then by falling in love with the dashing Hart.

The lovers’ loyalty is tested through war, defeat and separation. James must fight his way back to the woman he loves, while Elizabeth will do anything to save him, even if it means sacrificing herself.

Traitor's Knot is a sweeping tale of love and conflicted loyalties set against the turmoil of the English Civil War.

Praise for Traitor's Knot

"A hugely satisfying read that will appeal to historical fiction fans who demand authenticity, and who enjoy a combination of suspense, action, and a very believable love story. Five stars." Elizabeth St. John, bestselling author of The Lady of the Tower

“A thrilling historical adventure expertly told.” – Carol McGrath, bestselling author of The Handfasted Wife

“Cryssa Bazos is equally at home writing battle scenes as writing romance, and the pace keeps the reader turning the pages.” - Deborah Swift, bestselling author of The Gilded Lily.

Cryssa Bazos is a member of the Romantic Novelist Association, the Historical Novel Society, the Writers' Community of Durham Region and the Battle of Worcester Society. Her articles and short stories have been featured in various publications, both in Canada and the UK. She is a co-editor and contributor of the English Historical Fiction Authors site and blogs as the 17th Century Enthusiast. 

Her debut novel, Traitor's Knot, was placed 3rd in Romance for the Ages in 2016 (Ancient/Medieval/Renaissance).

Social media and buy link:

Twitter: @CryssaBazos

Traitor’s Knot is available through Amazon.

 And as an extra bonus: Loreena McKennitt The Highwayman ...

Writing Fiction…Well How Hard Can It Be?

Please welcome my Tuesday Talk guest: Sheila Williams

First of all thank you to Helen for allowing me access to her blog. I hope she won’t regret it. 
[Helen: I'm sure I won't! *laugh*]

As a writer I am a beginner. I wear invisible L plates. I have a grammar book on my desk since my editor told me I have a penchant for dangling participles…er…what? I have a zillion saved articles about how to write and a shelf of books to take me into ‘deep point of view’, ‘crafting scenes’ and other arcane practices. I can spend hours glaring at the cursor on my screen as it stares back, balefully waiting for some action. My mind drifts to the now-forbidden ciggy; my fingers itch to press the ‘World of Solitaire’ key, just a quick game to let the ideas surface you understand.
Is it coffee time yet?

How did it come to this?

I had no early ambitions to write although I was and still am a voracious reader. I started a phase of writing non-fiction when I moved to a farm in the Yorkshire Dales and shared my time between running after errant sheep and writing. They were heady days – magazine articles, a newspaper column, a series on independent radio and even, the apogee of fame, a reading on BBC Radio Four, as it was then.  No problem, I was younger, in my thirties and surrounded by material for my next piece. Yet lurking in my mind was the idea of writing fiction…I mean how hard could it be?

And so it began.

A shedload of rejected short stories later – I still remember the pained and plaintive response from an agent – ‘I have no idea where I can place these stories’. Three novels, unfinished because I could never find a way to join the beginning to the end; the middle was always AWOL.  Perhaps it was time to look for another line of work. A divorce hastened this, took me back to reality and a ‘proper’ job although I continued to write non-fiction for professional journals related to my work.

Two decades later yet another of life’s little tsunamis swamped me and once again I was on my own and living on the east Yorkshire coast. A history book followed ‘Close to the Edge – Tales from the Holderness Coast’ after I learned of the villages that had ‘gone back to the sea’ which is to say, through coastal erosion, they had, like Gadarene Swine, fallen off the cliffs. 

Yet another novel sandwich followed, again minus its filling. Then, miracle of miracles I won a short story writing competition and the literary fires were rekindled. At the grand old age of sixty four I upped-sticks and moved to France. To hell with it, I have a small pension to live off…I would write fiction.

So if you have followed me this far and are not wondering why on earth Helen has let loose this person on her lovely blog this is where I’m at. I’ve just published a collection of short stories,  ‘The Siren and Other Strange Tales’ and completed…yes really, my first completed novel is hopping hopefully around agents and a second is on the way.

What have I learned so far and please note I am offering these as my personal learning points and not advice.

- Self-belief is vital. This is the hardest lesson I’ve learnt. I suffer from a severe lack of confidence in my work and worry incessantly about publishing it. Authors can be the most severe critics particularly of their own work. I have found that a good editor is essential both to iron out the goofs and to praise when appropriate without flattery.

- I never read any ‘how to’ books about writing when I have a w.i.p. I find they knock my confidence and/or pull me off track. I save such books either until the first draft is finished or, better still, when I’m between projects.

- For me, discipline is important…no not that sort!  I’m fortunate in some ways to live alone for the most part of the year and can write when I want providing I can ignore the lure of the garden or the other distractions this part of France offers. Weekday mornings are for writing and the evenings for review and revision. The weekend is for socialising, housework, social media and visiting vide greniers (car boot sales).

- I’ve had to train my family when they visit to respect and understand that I’m working. Occasionally this might involve lying on the sofa, eyes closed. But this is because I’m thinking and composing not snatching a sneaky siesta.

And that is how it has taken me nearly forty years to get any substantial fiction into print…better late than never. 

That’s it for now folks and once again a big thank you to Helen for giving me this opportunity. 

THE SIREN AND OTHER STRANGE TALES is a collection of six short stories spanning the twentieth century and each with a spooky twist.

• Double-dealing care assistant Mandy Robinson meets a mysterious cat. The cat knows when death approaches but does Mandy?

• On a lonely road in France, self-absorbed artist Gavin is given some ghostly marriage guidance.

• A holiday in France proves to be one life-lesson too far for rebellious teenager Sukie.

• In German-occupied France collaborator Jean Fourrier pays the price for his betrayal.

• A simple game of cards between four respectable middle-aged ladies. Nothing could be more natural…could it?

• A stranger comes to a remote seaside village in the middle of winter. What haunts him? Is it grief or guilt…? 



Twitter @SheilawWilliams 

Typo molehills deliberately made into mountains?

Remember Those Troublesome Typos I mentioned?

A couple of weeks back I posted an article about those troublesome typos that appear – as if by some mischievous act of magic – into our hard-worked work. We (authors that is) all have them, even the Top Big Writers at the Top Big Publishers; those pesky little slip-ups that sit there, hiding in the shadows then leap out, totally unnoticed, when the button is pressed to do the final print-run.

You may recall that I (one among many authors) was recently targeted by a troll-type spammer who advertises his proof reading business by sending out spam mail, mentioning his services and the typos he has found in XX book. These emails usually fall direct into the spam box, or even if they don’t their very nature screams ‘spam’ so are sent there forthwith via the delete or block button. Then, a short while later – hey presto, a derogatory comment, of 1 or 2 stars appears on Amazon as in:

“Out of courtesy, the author and the publisher were both contacted before this review was posted, but neither responded.”

No, of course I did not respond. I never respond to spam mail, especially when the theme and flavour is outright bullying.

This spam-person has targeted dozens of authors, to the extent that the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) recently issued an official Watchdog Warning against his unsavoury bullying tactics.

John Doppler wrote:

“During the first quarter of 2017, ALLi’s Watchdog Desk received several complaints about a company known as Proof Professor. The complaints were not about the proofreading services offered by the company. Rather, they described a troubling and consistent pattern of behaviour by Proof Professor’s founder, Matt Rance. In each case, Mr. Rance approached an author or publisher to offer their services, including a list of corrections Proof Professor could make to the prospect’s book. When the prospect politely declined or did not reply, Mr. Rance persisted, becoming increasingly hostile, even when the prospects made it explicitly clear that they wished no further contact…”


“The threat implicit in these reviews felt clear to their victims: pay me to fix your editing, or I will hurt your reputation. The actions we observed in the course of our investigation and the overall pattern of Proof Professor’s reviews seem to confirm this interpretation.”

Prior to the attack on myself I had been immensely proud of Pirates Truth and Tales, commissioned to write a non-fiction book about a subject I thoroughly enjoy, a recognition that I am a writer of worth, and actually being paid to write it – well, I was thrilled!

Then this roof person trashed my book.
I have attempted to make light of it, put on a brave face etc - the book does have a few major bloopers, some my fault (why on earth did I put Marie Celeste not Mary Celeste? Still, Conan Doyle made the same error…) and it does look like the publisher failed to do a final proof read to pick up those sly typos that wormed their way in. I did not get a final proof copy, the first time I saw the book in its final format was when it was printed and ready to go on sale, so yes, I am appalled, embarrassed and a bit cross that a proof read by the publisher was not undertaken – or maybe it was but the wrong file was printed? Either way there is nothing I can do about it until a new batch or the paperback is to be printed. 

But, let's put things into perspective here: are the errors really all that seriously appalling?

I am re-reading my book, searching for the 249 errors that this Proof Prof claimed to have found. I undertook this task with a heavy heart and a feeling of dread: how would I be able to continue marketing the book, hoping people would buy and read it when it was (apparently) littered with dozens and dozens of appalling errors? But face the inevitable I had to do, at least I would know to write the book off and wait for a second edition to be proud of instead... 


hang on a minute....

I am on page 250 (another 50 or so to go). I am the first to admit that it is not easy to spot your own errors (hence the essential element of using a professional editor) but so far I have found only 22 – that’s TWENTY TWO errors.

The remaining 227 must be contained in the forthcoming 50 or so pages… or … are totally unimportant and irrelevant!

Even assuming I’ve missed a similar amount of typos, that still only makes 44 errors out of 110,000 words. No, I’m not saying that is good, it would be nice to be typo free, but are minor things like a missing ‘ or, ‘off’ instead of ‘of’, or obvious editing slip-ups REALLY going to ruin the reader’s enjoyment as P.P. claims?

He highlights these errors on Amazon, making the book seem to be a heap of do-do:

- in the Timeline (p10) 1685 comes before 1684. [Yes a blooper that was missed]

- there are straightforward spelling mistakes: hansome (> handsome, p32); yeilded (> yielded, p34); rum and coke (> rum and Coke, p83); acolade (> accolade, p147).
- many proper names are incorrect: Isle of White (p268), You Tube (p283), Kings Lynn (p250), Kiera Knightly (p244). [Again, missed bloopers]
- verbs don’t agree with their subjects in terms of singular and plural: ‘the ship were in northern waters’ (p233); ‘The delight of this adventure story are…’ (p194); ‘Anne’s name and gender was widely known’ (p105). [Again, missed bloopers on the publisher's part]
- plurals follow an indefinite article: ‘an East Indiamen’ (p144), and follow a singular demonstrative pronoun: ‘at the back of this books’ (p259).  [missed bloopers on the publisher's part]
- there is consistent misunderstanding of how the hyphen is used to clarify meaning. [eh? Really?]
- ‘off’ and ‘of’ are confused (p164),  as well as homonyms such as ‘principle’/‘principal’.  [Again, missed bloopers on the publisher's part]
- apostrophes are misplaced and incorrectly reversed. [ditto]
- perfectly spelled words are nevertheless wrongly used to create an error: ‘as the ship goers down’ (p43), ‘[a] solution was set in placer’ (p177). [ditto]
- sometimes there is no spacing between words: ‘July1726’ (p284). [is this really a big deal? Worth trashing a book for?]
- the author twice misquotes the title of the book as ‘Pirates: Truth and Tale’ (p202, p319: the actual title on the cover and title page is '...Tales'), as well as styling one of her publishers, SilverWood as ‘Silverwood’ (p318). [publisher's error, not mine - but again is this really worth trashing a good book for? Do these really ruin the reading experience - assuming the reader even noticed in the first place?]

 Yes, P.P. is right, these errors are there; they should have been picked up in a final proof read that obviously hadn’t been done by the publisher, but is the reader really going to throw the book away in disgust because there is no space between July and 1726?

Has this guy really got nothing better to do than trash good books, upset good authors and rubbish their reputation - even their career - out of miffed spite because his original email was ignored?
(And by the way, ‘The author’ (me) didn’t get the title wrong twice – the publisher only decided on Pirates: Truth and Tales a few days before going to press, I therefore had to leave it to their editor to fill in the gap in the text. Unfortunate4ly he left the company and obviously failed to do so...)

This Proof Prof, from what I gather, uses a software programme to pick up the errors. I assume he scans the book and runs it through his computer. To my mind, that is NOT editing, nor is it proper, professional proof reading because it is mechanical-based not human-based. (See my note at the end of this article.)

He mentions grammar errors, syntax errors etc, again all picked up by a soul-less pedantically picky machine. I have my own writing style, which does not conform to an English literary PhD level. I write in a chatty, informal style: I am happy to ‘Boldly Go’, not ‘Go Boldly’ because, even if it is, technically, incorrect, the former sounds more ‘human’ and friendly. I write to entertain, not to gain a literary degree. For the record, I went to Secondary School, I did not pass the 11-plus, I did not get ‘A’ levels, I have not been to college or university. I have got half a history degree – and a few bl**dy good novels under my belt – with or without pedantic typos.

Yes Picky Prof did upset me. In a nutshell he deliberately set out to trash my book and  p*ss on my parade with the intention of causing harm and distress – as he does with every other author he targets.

I have no quibble with a review or comment mentioning the missed typos – they ARE there, they are fact, but to do so in a snide, nasty, harassing manner? Well, that is 100% proof that this guy is nothing more than a cyber bully, and to quote Captain Hook, is 'not good form'. 

John Doppler said in his article: “While it’s evident that some of the books in question did have errors, that’s irrelevant to the manner in which Proof Professor solicited business. Harassment has no place in the business model of a reputable service, especially when it escalates to invading someone’s home and personal life.”
(Read his full report:  )

Has this horrid little man, 'P*ss Parader', damaged me? My reputation as an author, no. I think I have enough of an established readership for his pedantics to be of no consequence, but this particular book? Maybe he has because it has just been released in the US and with only two comments on, one positive and one his out-of-proportion sniping, readers who do not know my fiction might be put-off. Which is a shame because, although I say so myself, on reading it through again I have thoroughly enjoyed it! It is a good, entertaining book!

I wrote Pirates: Truth and Tales to inform in a light and entertaining way. It is a dip-in-and-out-of book, ideal for those passionate about pirates or those who have a mild interest. I thoroughly enjoyed writing it and, damn it, no jumped-up snide little egotistical bully is going to spoil my enjoyment of something I am, overall, despite the very few bloopers, proud of!

All the same, I really would appreciate a few nice comments on Amazon if you have a moment or two to add one… Feel free to mention the missed typos, but maybe also mention how enjoyable and entertaining the book is?

And just as a comparison: I ran this article through an entire grammar and style check for Word.Doc using ALL the available features.

Apparently there are over 100 errors in the above text. Did you spot them? 
No, thought not.... that's because the check included very minor, picky issues that are, frankly, completely irrelevant. 
According to the software programme they are there, but no sensible human reader would notice, let alone care… 

(but if you do, well, I apologise for ruining your reading experience and quite understand that you’ve now smashed your computer in sheer frustration at my appalling writing….)

(Point proven, re Pirates T & T  though, I hope!)
Note: all typos in this article are there by accidental design...