J.E.B Stuart and Pirate Latitudes

I can’t believe September is half gone and Christmas looms just around the corner, but so it does. My birthday was the twelfth and I spent a quiet one at home remembering another birthday in Denver. There, at a writers’ conference, a group of dear friends held a surprise birthday party for me. Surprise is hardly the word for it. I couldn’t stop crying. It was the first birthday party I’ve ever had in my life and the thoughtfulness of these friends reminded me how very, very blessed I am.

I recently finished reading PIRATE LATITUDES by Michael Crichton. It was a spur of he moment buy as I have been focusing on Civil War reading, particularly books about J.E.B. Stuart.  The last one I finished I will not name because I was so dissatisfied with the job the author did. Plus, the migraines hamper reading much at all, but the book spoke to me and I answered. Yes, the cover did catch my attention. I’m one of those people who won’t buy for a cover, but they often catch my eye long enough to make me pick the book up.

In this case, I was so glad I did. The book was found on Michael Crichton’s hard drive after he passed away and the family decided to publish it. I’m so glad they did. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the historical detail and the rollicking fun adventure.

Of course, one thing that may have influenced my decision is Captain Boots Trelaine, my pirate in FAR RIDERS. I’m nearing the end of this round of revisions. I’ve added a character, changed up the story some to invest, I hope, the readers more in the existing characters, and twisted things a bit more.

One thing that niggles at the back of my mind is how the series will end. There is a satisfying enough ending if FAR RIDER is the only story that sees the light of day, but it really is part of a series. I actually know how the series ends. I have the scene roughed out already. I know what happens to some of the leading characters, but the middle is very fuzzy to completely non-existent.

I spoke to Beth Shope, a writer friend of mine, about this and posed the question, “What if FAR RIDER sells and someone asks what happens next? I really don’t know.” Her answer was perfect, as always. “Have you thought about looking at the character line and thinking about what happens to each one?’

Well, that got the wheels to turning. Lately, I’ve had problems sleeping due to pain, so that gives me a lot of hours in the dark to think. I finally worked out Capt. Trelaine’s story and I love what he does and who he will become. Trelaine is one of those characters women will love, I think. Originally, I had thought of him dying tragically soon into the second book, but this is much more satisfying and satisfies my lust for pirate adventures.

To that end, someone suggested I read Patrick O’Brian’s books. I ordered the first four books in the series and the movie MASTER AND COMMANDER. I started the first book last night and I’ve fallen in love with the writing. I wonder if O’Brian would have a hard time getting an agent or publisher today because it seems to start a bit slow, but I was so immediately caught up in the character and the writing I can’t help but believe others would be also. There is a reason he was a top-selling author, after all.

The downfall to reading both of these books is I realized how much I truly adore these novels where the settings are described in detail. I love getting sucked into these worlds and then I make the mistake of going back to my little fantasy world that seems woefully devoid of these passages I love in other books.

Somewhere twixt and between is the happy middle, I hope.


  1. Lisa, thank you. I’m satisfied with FAR RIDER. I’ve always said I’m a story teller and the muses gave me a good one with it. I just get lost in beautiful writing, as we all do.

  2. You have so many vivid scenes in FR and some great emotion. Don’t sell yourself short.

    I’ve been meaning to read the O’Brien books one of these days. I did like the movie.

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