A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Eight: Blog Fifty)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Eight: Blog Fifty)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

Olanis wakes to the tinging sound of a cowbell Nippi keeps in the Galley.  It’s the single the Captain and the others have returned.  She groans as she pulls off her covers and dresses.  The first thing she sees is the Captain with “Storm Caller” heading down below deck.  She knows Alejandra will congratulate all the girls who battled last night and check on Gazala.  “Dizzying Blade” is already giving Arsema instructions.  She saunters over to greet those who returned.

“I want the Cannibal and Janet out of my room,” “Dizzying Blade” is saying in a tone that will tolerate no retorts.  “And I want all of my weapons placed back where they were but–,” she says as she rubs her chin in thought, “first get Amelie so she can be congratulated.”

“Aye, Master-at-arms,” Arsema says and dashes off.

“Greetings Master-at-arms,” Olanis says with a tired grin.  “And to you Helmswoman, and you Umi.” 

“Greetings,” each officer replies in turn.

As a completely exhausted looking Amelie steps up to the group, Olanis sees Arsema head towards “Dizzying Blade’s” room.

“You did a valiant job of defending our ship, Amelie,” “Dizzying Blade” says with pride until her eyes squint with suspicion.  “That dagger you have looks very familiar.”

Olanis watches with intrigue as Amelie very humbly holds out the dagger, with both hands palms up.

“You were exceptional, I heard,” “Dizzying Blade” says biting her lower lip.  “I have taught you well.  Hold onto it for now for soon we will be fighting a much bigger battle.”

Amelie’s eyes sparkle as she nods, flips the dagger so the handle is in her hand and disappears down the hatch, Olanis assumes to her hammock.

Following Arsema out of “Dizzying Blade’s” room is a disheveled Cannibal. 

“What happened to your neck?” Olanis asks Melinda.  There’s a thin red line in the centre and side of the Cannibal’s neck.

“Janet put her hammock too close to my bed,” Melinda says touching her wound.  “I got up to use the pottie and my head hit the rope of her hammock.  In a flash she cut me with a tiny blade.  I put one hand to keep the wound closed and the other up so she knew I meant no harm.  She never apologized but she did give me a cloth to cover the wound.  She’s a strange and deadly one.”

“That’s our Janet,” Olanis says with a grin.

“The Horse People have cannibals too,” “Wheel Turner” says.  “In some of their tribes they tie captured enemy male warriors between two trees.  The women bite off and eat their manly parts to improve fertility, and the men cut out their still beating hearts and devour them to gain their power.”

“That’s horrible,” Melinda says, and from the horrified expression on her face, Olanis believes she means it.

“The Horse People told you this?” “Dizzying Blade” asks.  “I heard nothing of it and I was there with you.”

“No.  Peg-leg told me,” “Wheel Turner” says knowingly.   “He also told me in some tribes the women cut off whichever breast is on the side they aim their bows with.”

“Perhaps,” Olanis says thoughtfully, “he is imposing other stories he’s heard on the Horse People.”

“Maybe,” “Wheel Turner” says with consternation.  “But it sure sounded real.”  Olanis sees “Wheel Turner” turn towards Melinda.  “He’s got a hooked hand where you ate most of his hand now.  And he’s called it Melinda in honour of you.”

The Cannibals face goes beat red.  “That’s so kind of him,” she says shyly.

“Peg-leg told me something as well,” The “Ship Protector” pipes in.  “as he looked at me with a sad ‘look at poor me’ expression and shuffled closer to me.”

“Come to think of it, he tried the same thing with me,” “Wheel Turner” interrupts.

“That’s when I pulled out my dagger and pretended to clean my nails with it,” The “Ship Protector” says.  “He told me when some of the Horse Peoples tribes capture enemy tribe women the women are given a choice.  They can become wives or be placed in a giant wicker like structure and burnt alive.  That their ashes are poured over the ground to make it more futile.”

“Fertile,” Olanis corrects her.

Where most of the weapons come from “Interview with Laura Suen, CEO of Fire and Steel”

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Andraya Watt as Assistant-Master-at-Arms, Amelie

With Thanks To:

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-One)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-One)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

(Part Seven) Amelie stands beside Arsema on the Fo’c’sle before the First Mate and the Navigator.  Amelie glances at an oil lamp hanging from an eyehook on the foremast.  The lamp cast shadows as it swings in the strengthening wind.  The ‘Ship Builder’ and ‘Navigator’ readapted an oil lamp that would have used whale oil or kerosene with one that now uses a plant oil.  They called the plant hairy olive balls because it tastes and looks like olives but is about the size of a teacup and has fibrous hairs growing out of the skin.  According to the ‘Navigator’ the ‘Ship Builder’ says it burns longer then whale, kerosene, and olive oil from Earth would.

“Arsema,” the First Mate says with a mischievous grin, “you will now be assistant Ship Protector.” 

Amelie sees Arsema’s eyes drop.

“You will be known as Master-at-arms of the sea, until our own ‘Dizzying Blade’ returns.”  Arsema looks up and smiles.

“Amelie, you are assistant Master-at-arms.   However, you will remain in your own hammock within the hold but moved closer to the hatch.  All the weapons must be moved out of the Master-at-arms’ room while our guest stays there.”

“Who is our guest?” Amelie asks in her uppity but enchanting French accent.

“A Cannibal named Melinda,” the ‘One Eye’ replies with a sardonic grin.

“Can we feed Mesi and Althea to her?” Arsema asks in her sarcastic but lovely Eritrea accent.  They all laugh.

“They’re still at each other?” ‘One Eye’ asks.

“Still, as always, sir,” Amelie says.

“Now that they’re bodies are more like a woman’s,” Arsema says as she looks around to make sure no one else is listening, “they compare their physiques.  Mesi presses out her big boobs as she glares up at Althea, and Althea measures her own with her hands and while glaring down at Mesi, says hers are actually much bigger.”

“Thank the two moons that they’re not men comparing something else,” ‘One Eye’ says with a grin.  “Arsema,” she continues in a more serious note.  “You and ‘Ship Protector’ are to return with ‘Storm Caller’ and help the Captain and the ‘Ship Builder’ release the Surprise from its current perch upon a jagged boulder.  That will mean diving underneath to check the damage.”  She turns to Amelie.  “Have Althea and Mesi practice sword fighting while the others pull in the nets to see what we’ve caught to eat.”

Amelie groans and nods her head.  Taking in a deep breath she says in Arsema’s direction, “Oh to be a mermaid at this moment.”

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Andraya Watt as Assistant-Master-at-Arms, Amelie

With Thanks To:

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier, Ninjato with Throwing Knives:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Street Colours for gemstone worn by Amelie: Streetcolours.com

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Six: Blog Thirty-Nine)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

“What was the plan,” ‘Wheel Turner’ asks passing over a biscuit and a wooden cup full of diluted rum.

Master Jo Anne watches in utter surprise as Melinda’s expression blossoms into hate and rage as she replies, “To feast on Barthadrow and his crew.”

Everyone, including Melinda spits.

“Worthy task,” she hears ‘Wheel Turner’ say with a nod.  “Well our Captain is impatient so the ‘Ship Builder’ and I will just lug this casket of liquid gold to the talk.” 

Master Jo Anne sees the ‘Ship Builder’ glance her way with concern.

‘I’ll be fine,’ she mouths back to him.

“I think the Navigator will agree with me when I say we are a Sisterhood,” Zala says.

“Aye,” she replies turning away from the ‘Ship Builder’.

“What sort of religion do you follow?” Zala asks the Cannibal.

“I follow the most righteous religion,” Melinda replies.  “Drebee is my goddess.  All other religions are backwards and despicable.”  Leaning forward the Cannibal adds conspiratorially, “They eat their own children.”

“But you said your world is overpopulated,” Zala says. 

Master Jo Anne smiles.  A real thinker is Zala.

Melinda’s mouth opens and she stares off with a confused expression on her face.  “Well, that’s what our priests tale us,” she starts to explain but then hesitates again.  Then she perks up and says enthusiastically, “They don’t take care of themselves and die of disease.  And the couples hate each other.”

“Should you be eating them then?” Zala asks.

“Let us talk about something else,” Melinda says and her smile is charming and persuasive although her mauve irises grow darker and the red specks increase in size.

“Yes,” she hears Zala agree.  She sees Zala move slightly farther away from Melinda.

“The one with the lost gaze and strangely misplaced missing finger seems handsome in a pitiful kind of way,” Melinda says with a smile that causes her canine shaped fangs to glint in the light of the two moons.  “Is he spoken for?”

“Yes,” Master Jo Anne replies curtly and before Zala can say anything.

“Here?” Melinda asks looking back at the Nagua.

Master Jo Anne slides her hand over the pommel of her rapier and partially withdraws it.  “It’s not to be discussed,” she warns through gritted teeth. 

“Well, no matter,” Melinda replies.  The look in Melinda’s eyes cause Master Jo Anne to think of a painting of the Greek or is it Roman deity, Apollo.  She shakes her head to clear her thoughts.

“So,” Melinda continues without any show of fear.  “Have you ever been in a place where one day it stops raining and the surrounding villages won’t let you in?”

“No,” Master Jo Anne hears Zala reply in a very inquisitive like tone.

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Six: Blog Thirty-Nine)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

“What was the plan,” ‘Wheel Turner’ asks passing over a biscuit and a wooden cup full of diluted rum.

Master Jo Anne watches in utter surprise as Melinda’s expression blossoms into hate and rage as she replies, “To feast on Barthadrow and his crew.”

Everyone, including Melinda spits.

“Worthy task,” she hears ‘Wheel Turner’ say with a nod.  “Well our Captain is impatient so the ‘Ship Builder’ and I will just lug this casket of liquid gold to the talk.” 

Master Jo Anne sees the ‘Ship Builder’ glance her way with concern.

‘I’ll be fine,’ she mouths back to him.

“I think the Navigator will agree with me when I say we are a Sisterhood,” Zala says.

“Aye,” she replies turning away from the ‘Ship Builder’.

“What sort of religion do you follow?” Zala asks the Cannibal.

“I follow the most righteous religion,” Melinda replies.  “Drebee is my goddess.  All other religions are backwards and despicable.”  Leaning forward the Cannibal adds conspiratorially, “They eat their own children.”

“But you said your world is overpopulated,” Zala says. 

Master Jo Anne smiles.  A real thinker is Zala.

Melinda’s mouth opens and she stares off with a confused expression on her face.  “Well, that’s what our priests tale us,” she starts to explain but then hesitates again.  Then she perks up and says enthusiastically, “They don’t take care of themselves and die of disease.  And the couples hate each other.”

“Should you be eating them then?” Zala asks.

“Let us talk about something else,” Melinda says and her smile is charming and persuasive although her mauve irises grow darker and the red specks increase in size.

“Yes,” she hears Zala agree.  She sees Zala move slightly farther away from Melinda.

“The one with the lost gaze and strangely misplaced missing finger seems handsome in a pitiful kind of way,” Melinda says with a smile that causes her canine shaped fangs to glint in the light of the two moons.  “Is he spoken for?”

“Yes,” Master Jo Anne replies curtly and before Zala can say anything.

“Here?” Melinda asks looking back at the Nagua.

Master Jo Anne slides her hand over the pommel of her rapier and partially withdraws it.  “It’s not to be discussed,” she warns through gritted teeth. 

“Well, no matter,” Melinda replies.  The look in Melinda’s eyes cause Master Jo Anne to think of a painting of the Greek or is it Roman deity, Apollo.  She shakes her head to clear her thoughts.

“So,” Melinda continues without any show of fear.  “Have you ever been in a place where one day it stops raining and the surrounding villages won’t let you in?”

“No,” Master Jo Anne hears Zala reply in a very inquisitive like tone.

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures

The Reason I Wrote:  Healing the Temple of the Soul (a story about body image and eating disorders)

The Reason I Wrote:  Healing the Temple of the Soul

(A story about body image and eating disorders)

By D. Watt, B.A., PT

I remember volunteering at a YMCA when a very thin girl came up to me.  She grabbed the skin of her arm and asked me how she could lose fat.  I could see her bone through her skin.  I knew very little about eating disorders then so I told her she didn’t need to lose fat but needed to add muscle.

On TV there would be fashion shows.  I expected to see eye appealing curves and femininity.  What I saw instead was skin and bone; androgynous wraiths wearing clothing that hung on their emaciated bodies.   

Initially I didn’t find many books about girls with eating disorders so I wrote a book about a girl struggling with an eating disorder and body image.  Knowing, that as a male, I could only take what I had heard, seen, and read and bounce it back to create the main character Cynthia, I decided to ask women I knew to read it.  It was strange to have women who had and were dealing with an eating disorder tell me I was on track while professionals who worked with individuals with eating disorders told me I was far off track.

Over the years I did find some books on eating disorders.  The one that stayed with me is Joan Ryan’s Little Girls In Pretty Boxes.  Ryan did research on female gymnasts and figure skaters and interviewed some of the athletes.  After mentioning the book to women I knew or trained my view of what causes eating disorders and body image struggles altered greatly.  Up to that point I had thought eating disorders were only a symptom of trying to control body weight and appearance.  I was shocked when I was told that much of it is caused because of physical, psychological, or/and sexual abuse at a young age.  Healing the Temple of the Soul deals more with the need to belong, attention, and sports.       

A client told me about a model friend of hers who was giving a seminar on modeling.  This was another eye opener.  Programs like Photoshop allow editors to completely change the physical attributes of a model.  A size three can become a size zero, facial features like freckles can be removed, bosoms can be enlarged or shrunk, and the neck and waist can be made thinner.  I am not a fan of what I would call the “mannequin” look. 

I wanted the cover to represent a scene in the book so I asked my Goddaughter to model for the cover of Healing the Temple of the Soul.  She looked healthy and vibrant in the picture so Stephanie McColl did an amazing pointillism portrait of her looking gaunt.

There’s a song I include in the book by Alanis Morissette called Mary Jane.  A verse in the song says what so many people who care are:

I hear you’re losing weight again Mary Jane
Do you ever wonder who you’re losing it for

Arcade Fire’s Creature Comfort points out the need for attention:

Some girls hate their bodies
Stand in the mirror and wait for the feedback

Now there’s a new song/message from Billie Eilish called Not My Responsibility in which she deals directly with body image and weight:

Is my value based only on your perception?

Or is your opinion of me?

Not my responsibility

Body shaming can come in many forms: too heavy, too light, showing too much skin, or not enough.  Sexual attraction is natural but it needs to be surrounded by respect.  The movie The Fifth Element comes to mind when discussing sexuality and respect.  Bruce Willis’s character Korben reaches out to touch a mostly naked Leeloo played by Milla Jorovich.  Leeloo grabs Korben in a strangle hold and tells him, “Never without my permission.”

The goal of Healing the Garden of the Body is to encourage anyone with an eating disorder or body image struggle that they can overcome their fears.                                                                                                                                                                                                I also wanted to point out that everyone has struggles and the importance of support.  Mostly though, I want people who are struggling to understand that there are others who care about them, including men.