Tag Archives: New Orleans

Arrrrr pyrating good time in Algiers Point New Orleans

Kids play games at Family Pyrate Day in Algiers Point in New Orleans

I had a great time at the Family Pyrate Day held in Algiers Point, New Orleans. The event was organized by Confetti Kids, an non-profit organization that funds fantastic programming for children in the Algiers neighborhood of NOLA. Here’s what their website says:

“Confetti Kids is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of children in Algiers Point. We maintain parks in our neighborhood, and we try to foster a sense of community by bringing neighbors together for child-centered programming. All Confetti Kids events are open to the public.”

Lots of kids and families played and entertained in the alleys and in the buildings. And they were creative: strollers were made up as pirate ships! A big shout out to Katy Hobgood Ray and her crew for organizing a fantastic day with a diverse set of entertainers.

John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur and Tori Baur promoting Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter and all things pirate.

Algiers is an old neighborhood, almost as old as NOLA itself. Walking the neighborhoods was very cool. The streets are narrow, and several houses have architectural features that date back to the 18th century. Many of the residences have great southern-style porches even as long, narrow shot-gun style houses line other streets. Warren’s Corner, an old bar, feels as if it hasn’t changed for over a century. I was told that the building has doubled as a movie set. On the corner across from event location is the iconic Old Point Bar, which also served as host for the event.

The day’s festivities took place at Warren’s Corner on Patterson Street across from the levee, and included readings, music and skits by professional and amateur performers. (My reading from The Pirate of Panther Bay was scheduled at 12:30 p.m, but quickly turned into a on-stage theatrical performance with pint-sized tars angling for a sword fight.) Katy has a great song over at the Confetti Kids YouTube channel the captures the spirit of the day called “Watch Out For The Pirates.”

The event had a number of “colorful” characters. I had the great fortune of meeting John and Tori Baur. John is the author of Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter (check out the review by legendary pirate historian and expert Cindy Vallar here). He is probably best known as Ol’ Chumbucket, one of the co-founders (with Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers) of International Talk Like A Pirate Day. If you want a great laugh, check out Well Blow Me Down! A Guy’s Guide to Talking Like a Pirate They have a great interview with Phil Johnson on the Under The Crossbones podcast—Episode #34. (And while you’re at it, you can check out my interview–No. 20–on the same podcast.)

John Couret, coauthor of the Captain Deadeye anti-bullying books, is swarmed by kids at Family Pyrate Day

I also spent time with another great team—Dianne De Las Casas and John Couret—co-authors of Captain Deadeye: The Bully Shark. This is a fantastic new children’s series focused on bullying, courage, and leadership published through Write Hook Media. The book is a great story for early chapter book readers, and kids dealing with bullying in elementary school (or earlier). They have an entire anti-bullying curriculum built around the series. They were incredible with the kids at Family Pyrate Day, and loved every second they had with them.

All in all, this was a great day to be in New Orleans, and inspiring to see how creatively people have put pirate lore and myth to good fun and use.

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Family Pyrate Day in New Orleans!

I’ve been late getting this up, but Confetti Kids and Old Point Bar in Algiers Point,  New Orleans are kicking off NOLA Pirate Week with Family Pyrate Day on Saturday, March 25th from 11 am to 5 pm.

A whole slate of entertainers and authors is set up starting at 11 am at the Old Point Bar. I will do a reading from The Pirate of Panther Bay at 12:30 pm.

Pirates of all ages are welcome!

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A pirate, a ninja, and a gens de couleur walk into a bar in 1784 New Orleans….

Tortuga Bay, 2016 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist

Tortuga Bay, 2016 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist!

A pirate, a ninja, and a gens de couleur wak into a bar in 1784 New Orleans….

The punchline? I think this is my next action/adventure series, probably launching after the third book in The Pirate of Panther Bay series is published by SYPP in 2017. The new series will follow three sets of characters as they branch out on their own at the end of the third book: Isabella and Juan Carlos, Gabrielle and Louis, and the ninja (yet to be named). New Orleans provides a provocative blend of Spanish and French colonial cultures. Adding a Japanese to the mix has the potential to ramp up tension and conflict immeasurably!

At the end of Tortuga Bay, I had decided to take Isabella to the U.S., cruising up the west coast of Florida to St. Marks, then Pensacola, and ending her journey in New Orleans. (I have plans for Isabella and Juan Carlos, there.) I wanted to make the third book a little more fun, however. So, I was thinking about adding a ninja. A Ninja? you (a reasonable person) might ask?

Tortuga Bay

I already had a free black (gens de couleur) added to the cast up Isabella’s daring and desperate escape from Port-au-Prince and Dr. D’Poussant’s henchmen. Why another character? In part, each of my novels explores cultural conflict. The Pirate of Panther Bay series stretches challenges readers on a number of different fronts, both in terms of how colonial powers viewed slavery as well as pirates. Fundamental differences in the value of human life are explored in The Pirate of Panther Bay, as Isabella struggles with her place in the world as an escaped slave under the contradictory philosophy and social psychology in play in Catholic, colonial Spain. In Tortuga Bay, differences between and shifting alliances among France and Spain are central to the story.  So, I think the third book is ripe for a new take on cultural differences. Why not add an Asian influence?

The glory days of the Ninja, masters of ninjutsu, were in medieval Japan between 1500 and 1700. Japan was unified in 1700, and the role of the ninja declined precipitously as their services against warring clans where no longer needed. This actually sets up the back story for my ninja pretty well. Since the demand for their skills largely disappeared, a ninja would have little reason to stay in Japan (particularly if the government was trying to shut them down).  Yet, their skills would be particularly well suited for pirating, even in the Caribbean.

While the ninja were in decline after 1700, they didn’t disappear altogether. Indeed, their training forms the basis of To-Shin do, a self-defense oriented martial art created by Stephen K. Hayes. Hayes is a member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame and is credited as one of the key figures leading the revival of ninjutsu and introducing it to the U.S. (Also, my black belt is in To-Shin Do, and this marital arts provide the foundation for my novels A Warrior’s Soul and Renegade.)

Shiraishi Island, Japan

Shiraishi Island, Japan. This old fishing village will be the boyhood home of the ninja in the third book in the Pirate of Panther Bay series.

The character really came together for me while visiting Shiraishi Island in the Seto Sea. The island would have been a tiny fishing village at the time, but my character will be discovered by a old ninja traveling through rural Japan. The old man will discover the talent of my character and bring him to a training facility in the mountains of the fabled Iga Provice of Japan. Then, he will make his way to the Caribbean. This is all backstory, but this background will be essential as his own series takes off from the Pirate of Panther Bay series.

I am very excited about this new series prospects!

 

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