Avast, me hearties! Jack is back and with royalty too. Aye, he’s interviewing Katherine’s good friends, romance authors Cary Morgan Frates and Deborah O’Neill Cordes (writing as Morgan O’Neill) who have graciously decided to defer their part of this interview to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth I, who plays a pivotal role in their story The Thornless Rose, An Elizabethan Time Travel Novel.
Jack’s eyes grow big as emperial crowns as he covets Queen Elizabeth’s rich attire and smartly accented jewels. “‛Tis a pleasure to have you aboard ship, to be sure, Ladies Cary and Deborah. Her Majesty and me have a mutual love and respect for treasure so I believe we shall get along famously.” Reaches forward and grabs Her Majesty’s right hand to ogle her huge sapphire ring. “Yes, I do.”
Elizabeth snatches her hand back.
Jack clears his throat. “Never let it be said that it’s easy being born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth.” Leans forward to whisper in confidence. “ Your infancy and rise to Queendom is legendary. Your father was Henry VIII and mine is Cap’n Teague. This fuels me belief that our lives parallel in many ways. Both rife with danger, as it were. Me: born to search for treasure. You: born to embrace it. If you could summarize where your compass pointed to most, would your answer be to a brilliant destiny?”
Queen Elizabeth taps her toe. “I shalt forgive thine impertinence, Captain Sparrow, and answer thy questions. But first, thou must bow before thy queen.”
Scrambles to his knees and mumbles, “I adore brassy women.” Smartly waits for a signal to stand.
“Since earliest memory, my compass hath ever pointed to the throne of England. I vowed to devote my life to the good people of my realm. What else wouldst thou wish to ask of me?”
At Elizabeth’s nod, Jack rises to stand feet braced apart. “Devotin’ one’s life to a good cause is something to be proud of. You could say that’s a pirate’s motto. For instance, I’ve got pieces of eight in me pocket. Significant treasure, to be sure. If you could have eight pieces with you at all times, what would they be?”
“Dost thou not recall that all of thy treasure belongs to me?”
Jack slips his fingers out of his pockets, wiggles them where Elizabeth can see they’re empty, and pretends he was only hypothesizing.
“But I understand thy question to mean treasures of a higher sort.”
Sighs with relief.
“In truth, my greatest treasure is my Master of the Horse, Robert Dudley. He is mine oldest and dearest friend.” Elizabeth gives Jack a smile. “He also hath much talent when riding his favorite mounts.”
“I suspect your talents match his.” Grimaces slightly when Dudley and several armed guards standing in the shadows take a threatening step forward. “Ah. That would be — I suspect you are as superb a rider as he.” Blanches. “Moving on. When did the wind take hold of your sails?”
Queen Elizabeth raises her eyebrows at Jack. “Sir! Dost thou still speak of Dudley? My “sails”, as thou so boldly put it, art none of thy concern.” She huffs. “If thou dost mean when Mistress Cary and Mistress Deborah started their weighty tome, then I believe their writing began over a decade ago. It took them many years to weave the tale of their time travelers, Anne Howard and Jonathan Brandon, into mine own story. I hold Anne and Jonathan close to my heart. Didst thou hear how Anne saved my life? She and Dr. Brandon have wondrous good medical skills that surpass even mine own barber-surgeons.”
Jack blinks. “Are Anne and Jonathan swift riders too? And what is this talk of medical skills and barber-surgeons? Are you not the most protected woman in all of England? Or has the Kraken tried to pull ye down to Davy Jones Locker? If so, how’d ye escape?”
“Good sir, the Kraken hath ever been a plague on my life. But like Deborah and Cary, I say “Pfft!” to my critics and move on. Mine own hide is thick, indeed. ‘Tis a certainty that one cannot please every blessed soul in the realm – and that is the sum of it.”
“Aye. It sounds like you’ve had a run-in with that tentacled beastie more’n once. Ye’ve endured many attacks on your person throughout the years. During a broadside, what do you do to mend your sails?”
“God’s Death, man! I warned thee about mentioning my sails. Dost thou wish to have thy head impaled on London Bridge?” The queen levels a steely gaze at Jack, then relaxes. With a chuckle, she says, “Ah, well, I love a bawdy jest now and then, Captain Sparrow. And Dudley hath never once betrayed, let alone broadsided me. He is ever true, with a gilded tongue and a steady sword.” She winks.
Jack glances from Elizabeth to Dudley.
“And he is well-thighed and handsome.”
Dudley smiles and he takes a slight bow toward Her Majesty.
“Aye, it appears you’re well-serviced — I mean connected — Your Majesty. Even a virgin queen must covet that horizon. Once the Earl of Leicester, I mean your course had been charted, how long did it take ye to make port?” Winks.
Elizabeth eyes Jack. “Sir, thou art a rogue, but I like thee well. I believe Mistresses Deborah and Cary – after years of toiling to get their manuscripts ready – made that port in two years’ time.”
“Two years? Why that’s just a Catholic peasant thrown into the moat to a queen whose reign spans 44 years and 127 days. Zounds, but Lady Cary’s and Lady Deborah’s efforts paid off two-fold.” Fingers pieces of eight in his pocket again. “Of course, no success comes without a code. Pirates have a code, more like guidelines anyway, as I’m sure you’re well aware after dealin’ with Grania ny Maille, aka Grace O’Malley, and her ilk for nearly 30 years. Queen Elizabeth, what’s your code?”
“Like me, Cary and Deborah work like the very devil, yet always take time to make merry.”
Jack cannot help but grin now. “Merry-making is another thing we have in common, Your Majesty. ‘Tis one of the best things about being a pirate.” Does a little dance and adjusts his effects. “Now we arrive at the best part of me interview. Who is your all-time favorite pirate? Hint: he’s standing right in front of you.”
Queen Elizabeth nods. “Sir Francis Drake, to be sure.”
Jack’s staggers backward but is buttressed up by a smiling Dudley.
“He is daring and brave in our quest to defeat Spain. And his Golden Hind is world renowned and a fine sight, indeed.”
“I can imagine why ye chose him now.”
Elizabeth nods at Dudley then winks at Jack. “And now I must away, sir, for I plan to ride with my horse master in Windsor Park. I believe thou shalt be able to read about this very exploit in The Thornless Rose.” She winks again. “I thank thee, Captain Sparrow, for thy candor and wondrous good spirit. I bid thee fair weather and following seas in all thy future quests.”
Jack bows. “No matter who ye chose for your favorite pirate, it’s been a pleasure to have ye aboard, Your Majesty. If I do say so meself, we are more alike than ye kin. The Queen of the Golden Age of Progress vs Captain Jack Sparrow and the Golden Age of Piracy. Aye, what grand adventures we could have.”
Jack turns to Lady Deborah and Lady Cary. “Thank ye for bringin’ Queen Elizabeth aboard, m’ladies! It’s been a pleasure to squabble — I mean speak — with such a rare wench. I wish ye the grandest success in all your endeavors!”
“Thank you, Captain Jack and Lady Katherine. It’s been a joy hearing from the queen again and being here with you!”
Guest pirates: Two authors writing as one, Cary Morgan Frates and Deborah O’Neill Cordes specialize in recreating pivotal moments in history, epic adventure, and romance — with a time travel twist.
Every tar what sets foot on a ship has a story. What story do you have to tell?
THE THORNLESS ROSE by Morgan O’Neill
No one ever knew what really happened to Dr. Jonathan Brandon back in 1945. He simply disappeared from a London pub, leaving behind an unsolved mystery and his fiancée—Anne Howard’s grandmother. Seventy years later, Anne herself is haunted by the strange tale, along with inexplicable hallucinations straight out of Elizabethan England. Including a scarred, handsome man whose deep blue eyes seem to touch her very soul….
Anne wonders if there isn’t something more to the story. Is it even possible that Jonathan disappeared into England’s dark past? And why does Anne keep hearing him whisper her name? Because now she too feels the inexorable pull of the past, not to mention an undeniable attraction for a man she doesn’t even know.
It’s just a matter of time before Anne will step back into history, and face a destiny―and a love―beyond imagining…
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*Treasure Alert* What do you like most about time travel romance, me hearties? Katherine will award one lucky commenter with an ecopy of The Thornless Rose! Huzzah!!!