Title: MORLANDER: THE PIRATE’S DAUGHTER
Category/Genre: YA Historical
Word Count: 64,000
My Main Character is most uncomfortable with:
Life on a pirate ship is nothing but half-rabid rats; rancid, rotting food; and the stench of an unwashed crew. Add snow to the mix, and seventeen-year-old Jenny might decide to walk the plank. But her mother, the Red Lady pirate, plans to sail them all to warmer waters and calmer seas — if she can avoid the hangman’s noose. No, it’s sun all the way for Jenny.
Seventeen-year-old Jenny dreams of becoming a pirate. She knows the pirate’s code by heart: Never go back on your word, honor your captain, share your bounty, kill your enemy, and eat, drink, and be merry, because today may be the day you die. But when the Red Lady–an infamous pirate Queen and Jenny’s long lost mother—returns to Jenny’s sleepy English village to train her as her successor, she realizes a life on the high seas isn’t as romantic as she thought it would be. The food is awful, the crew reeks, and the king wants them to hang from the yardarm.
Jenny’s mother reveals her plan to use stolen goods to barter pardons for herself and her crew before they sail for warmer waters. She makes Jenny swear to captain the crew and stay the course if anything happens to her. When the king’s guard captures her mother and part of the crew, Jenny must decide: break the pirate code and let them hang or rescue them and be branded a pirate.
First 250 words:
The stench of unwashed bodies drifts around me as I weave my way through the tavern crowd. My boots stick to spilled ale, scraps of leftover meat and the tacky residue of vomit. The inn is packed with loud, drunken soldiers and their companions. I hope to see one soldier in particular but he is notably absent. Worried he might be indisposed, I approach a group of his fellow soldiers.
“Where’s James tonight?” I yell over the din.
“Ah, Jenny fancies our captain.” Robert snickers. “She misses him.”
“I just wondered, since he’s been here every night.” I balance a tray of drinks on one hip.
“Back at camp,” Robert says.“Join him there later, I bet he’d welcome the distraction from guard duty.” He guffaws, elbowing one of the other soldiers who spills his drink on his uniform.
Hiding a smile, I nod. A captain who does guard duty? Unusual but not surprising. James is the type to do whatever his men need him to do. I deliver the drink to the next table over with a big smile plastered on my face even though my feet ache. One more night then they’ll be gone for a year. One more night waiting for James to ask me to be his wife.
“Jenny,” Meg yells from the doorway of the kitchen. She points. A soldier leans on the inside of the front door and vomits on the floor. I sigh. Couldn’t he have made it outside? “Clean it up!” she demands.