Hunting a Sea-Glass Heart is a humorous blend of Pirates of the Caribbean and Golden Girls with a dash of magic.
Anne Bonny has changed little from the wild young pirate she was twenty years ago and chafes under the bonds of southern society in Charles Towne Carolina in 1741. The death of her father breaks these shackles and the subsequent theft of her sea-glass heart, a memento from her beloved Mary Reed, frees Anne to return to her piratical ways.
Sailing from port to port, the menopausal Anne revels in her freedom from corsets and societal constraints while she hunts down her stolen sea-glass heart, a traitorous ex-husband and the now-grown child she gave up to adoption.
About the author
Carolyn Charron is a speculative fiction writer who has always wanted to be a pirate or a wizard, preferably with a dragon companion. Her short stories have appeared in Renaissance Press' Nothing Without Us anthology of disabled writers which was nominated for a 2020 Prix Aurora award and in three of Flame Tree Publishing's Gothic Fantasy anthologies among others. On the editor's side of her desk, she read slush for Apex and Lightspeed Magazines and has been a juror for Speculative Literature Foundation grants.
She was fortunate to receive a Recommender Grant from Ontario Arts Council (OAC) to write this novel, the prequel to a multigenerational series of stories following a family of blacksmiths and their magical power over metals. The next novel has also received both OAC Recommender grants and Toronto Arts Council grant.
She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children and is still hoping for a pet dragon one day.
Excerpt: Hunting a Sea-Glass Heart (by (author) Carolyn Charron)
Anne checked the imprint in the sealing wax holding the parchment closed. The ornately curling W looked faintly familiar and a frown creased her brow as she cracked the wax open with a soft pop.
There was a single page inside, partially hiding the handwriting on the inside of the paper folded into an envelope. She opened it first. The much folded old broadsheet was similar to the one she'd tucked into her father's funeral coat earlier. This one was not Anne's own though.
Jack Rackham, her beloved Calico Jack, stared out at her from the page.
She caught her breath at the sudden surge of emotions. The last time she'd seen his rakishly handsome face was the day of his hanging. A pang of guilt swept over her--her final words to him had been unkind. Well-deserved, yes, but still unkind.
Putting the broadsheet down, she turned to the crisp parchment used as an envelope. There was a single line of neat printing centered on it:
AB, I know who you are and have stolen your heart. Meet me where you left your first bastard.
The sweat under her arms turned icy.
AB, Anne Bonny.
Someone knew her true name.
At her father's insistence, she'd kept her identity secret for twenty years. She'd gone by her maiden name Cormac, pretending to be her father's daughter-in-law to hide the truth--Jack Jr. was born out of wedlock. She had been married but not to Jack's father. To protect her son, she'd have agreed to any condition her father set.
Someone knew who she was, knew whose child was in her belly when Da had ransomed her from hanging. They knew that Jack was the son of two notorious pirates. And mentioning 'her firstborn' meant they knew Jack wasn't her only child with that pirate.
With shaking hands, she downed the shot of rum and splashed another into her glass.
The letter had to be from James Bonny, her erstwhile husband. She'd kill the man if she ever saw him again--it was his doing that Calico Jack, Mary and the others had been caught. Husband or no, she'd kill Bonny for making Jack lose his father. For making her lose the man who'd claimed her heart after Bonny had broken it.
But what was the heart the letter referred to? Her son Jack was her heart but he was safely in the bosom of the Royal Navy.
With a rush of fear, she suddenly knew the letter was referring to her sea-glass heart. A chunky piece of red sea-glass in the rough shape of a heart, it had been given to her by her other beloved, Mary Read, years ago. Other than her son, it was her most prized possession, being the only memento she had from the best years of her life sailing with her two lovers, Calico and Mary.
Abandoning her second drink, Anne rushed out of her father's office and flew up the stairs to her bedchamber. She yanked open the large drawer of her dressing table and shoved aside the small monogrammed velvet bags containing her jewelry, hunting for the one specially made velvet-lined box where the fragile heart was kept safe.
The tiny carved oak box was empty, the velvet lining still showed the imprint of the irregular chunk of sea-glass.
"God dammit all to hell!" Anne wanted to stab something.