BOOK TOUR: When the Mermaid Sings by Helen Hollick #NauticalFantasy #HistoricalFantasy @HelenHollick

When The Mermaid Sings

Series: The Sea Witch Voyages

Author: Helen Hollick

Publication Date: 21st June 2021

Publisher: Taw River Press

Page Length: 190 Pages

Genre: Historical/Nautical Fantasy

A prequel short read story to the Sea Witch Voyages of Captain Jesamiah Acorne

When the only choice is to run, where do you run to?

When the only sound is the song of the sea, do you listen?

Or do you drown in the embrace of a mermaid?

Throughout childhood, Jesamiah Mereno has suffered the bullying of his elder half-brother. Then, not quite fifteen years old, and on the day they bury their father, Jesamiah hits back. In consequence, he flees his Virginia home, changes his name to Jesamiah Acorne, and joins the crew of his father’s seafaring friend, Captain Malachias Taylor, aboard the privateer, Mermaid.

He makes enemies, sees the ghost of his father, wonders who is the Cornish girl he hears in his mind – and tries to avoid the beguiling lure of a sensuous mermaid…

An early coming-of-age tale of the young Jesamiah Acorne, set in the years before he becomes a pirate and Captain of the Sea Witch.

Trigger Warnings: Sexual content, adult language.

Praise for When the Mermaid Sings

Ms Hollick has skillfully picked up the threads that she alludes to in the main books and knitted them together to create a Jesamiah that we really didn’t know.” Richard Tearle senior reviewer, Discovering Diamonds

Captain Jesamiah Acorne is as charming a scoundrel as a fictional pirate should be. A resourceful competitor to Captain Jack Sparrow!” Antoine Vanner author

Helen Hollick has given us the answer to that intriguing question that Jesamiah fans have been aching for – how did he start his sea-going career as a pirate?” Alison Morton, author

I really enjoyed the insight offered into Jesamiah’s backstory, and found the depiction of our teenage hero very moving.” Anna Belfrage, author

I loved this little addendum to the Jesamiah series. I always had a soft spot for the Lorelei stories and enjoyed that the author cleverly brought her over from the Rhine valley to fit into the story.” Amazon Reviewer

Buy Links

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A brief bit about the Sea Witch Voyages:

I wrote the first Voyage (Sea Witch) back in 2005 after thoroughly enjoying the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Like most avid readers, however, I wanted more than just the movie, I wanted to read something that was as entertaining and as exciting. A nautical adventure with a charming rogue of a pirate captain, written for adults (with adult content) but with a dash of supernatural fantasy as well – elements of which had made that first movie such fun to watch. I found many nautical-based novels, but they were all ‘serious stuff’ – Patrick O’Brian, Alexander Kent, C. S. Forrester … all good reads but without the fantasy fun, and barely a female character in sight. I simply could not find the book I wanted to read. So, I wrote my own.

The first Voyage led to more books in the series, and also generated several emails from fans who wanted to know how Jesamiah had become a pirate in the first place.

When the Mermaid Sings answers that question.

* * *


Virginia, Summer 1708

Calpin set his glass aside, rose from his chair, lifted a canvas knapsack down from a hook beside the door and began putting things in it: cheese wrapped in muslin, a clean shirt, and two small tobacco pouches which he held up for Jesamiah to see before packing them away. “For selling or for barter.”

He went to a seaman’s wooden chest situated beneath one of the two windows, peered out into the darkness, then closed the shutters before opening the chest. He tossed a leather three-corner hat to Jesamiah. “See if that fits. It was mine – good for wind, rain or sun, that hat. These were mine also.” He brought out an elegant box and opened the lid. Inside, a quality pistol, a powder horn, round iron bullets, replacement flints and the various paraphernalia required for keeping the gun in good working order. He closed the lid, slid the box into the knapsack, and added a tinderbox. “You might as well have these things, they are of no further use to me. You know how to load and use a pistol?”

Jesamiah nodded.

Calpin grunted approval. He buckled the bag and set it down beside the door. Before closing the chest, he brought out a sword and leather scabbard.

Handing them to Jesamiah, he said, “This was your father’s. It is an ordinary weapon, nothing of much value, but it is well balanced and well made. It’ll do as good for you as it did him.” He paused and looked Jesamiah in the eye. “It was not for us to find the courage to fight back, lad – that was for you to do. You will be on your own out there, you need to win your own battles.”

Jesamiah answered with plain frankness. “And if I do not, or cannot?”

Calpin’s answer was equally frank. “Then you will not survive. But you have already shown that you are a survivor. Those who have already been to Hell know the path back, and they can be dangerous people because they know how to survive what life throws at them.”

Tentatively, Jesamiah ran his fingers over the scabbard; he had never seen the weapon before. As far as he was aware, his father had always worn a gentleman’s rapier.

“It is kind of you,” he said quietly, “and I am sure this is a good blade, but…” He paused. “I want nothing of my father’s.”

“Suit yourself,” Calpin answered with a shrug. “Keep his things or sell them. It makes no difference to me, nor to your pa. Not now.” He rummaged in the chest again. “There are these, as well,” he said, handing Jesamiah a small wooden box. “Your ma gave them to me when she fell ill, God rest her soul.” He shook his head, pressed his nose between thumb and forefinger to hide a sudden flood of sorrow. Dona had been a good, kind woman. A good friend. “Anyway, she asked me to keep these for your birthday. I guess she would not mind if you had them a few months early.”

How I met Jesamiah Acorne (the tru-ish) story

About the Author


First published in 1994, Helen became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she writes a nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. She is now branching out into the quick read novella, ‘Cosy Mystery’ genre with her new venture, the Jan Christopher Murder Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working as a library assistant.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Talesand Life of A Smuggler. She lives in an eighteenth-century farmhouse in North Devon, runs Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction, and occasionally gets time to write…

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