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 stinks, and the king wants them to hang from the yardarm.
Jenny’s mother reveals her plan to use the king’s stolen brooch to barter pardons for herself and her crew before they sail for warmer waters. She makes Jenny vow to follow her orders if anything happens to her.
When the king’s guard captures her mother, Jenny must decide: stay the course to sail to warmer waters and let her mother hang, or risk her own neck to rescue the mother she’s beginning to understand and maybe even love.
First 250 words:
The stench of unwashed bodies drifts around me as I weave through the tavern crowd. The tacky residue of spilled ale, scraps of leftover meat and vomit sticks to my boots as I carry trays back and forth from the kitchen. Loud, drunken soldiers and their bawds pack the room. One in particular is notably absent and my heart falls. I approach a group of them in the distinctive red and white uniform of the king’s guard.
“Where’s James tonight?” I yell over the din.
“Ah, Jenny fancies our captain.” Robert snickers and winks. “She misses him.”
A shrug. “He’s usually here every night.”
I balance a tray of drinks and avoid their eyes, fearful the longing in mine would give away how much he means to me.
“He’s 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 men, spilling ale on his uniform.
I nod and deliver drinks to the next table over with a big smile plastered on my face even though my feet ache. Tomorrow, they’ll be gone for a year. Tonight is my last chance for James to propose. My heart thumps. Do I dare ride to the camp after everyone is gone?
“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.