History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

19 November 2007

Kalen’s Pyrate Diary—Part the Fyrst

My friend Jess and I are attending the 2008 Pyrate Con in New Orleans (April 18-20) where I’ll be giving a couple of costume workshops (not sure of the final topics just yet) that center around the clothing of the Golden Age of Piracy (1680-1730).

I’m really excited about it . . . and it means I finally have an excuse to make my own version of the pink watered silk stays in the Victoria and Albert collection (ok they’re c. 1670, but I don’t care, I mean just look at them)!

Of course this also means I have to get crackin’ on a full costume. Jess and I could put together enough Fantasy Pirate costumes for all the Hoydens and then some right out of our closets (I think we have something crazy like 60+ years of re-enactment between us, Ack!), but it never pays to be the costume authority who looks like they don't know what they're talking about, or whose costume is "perioid" (vs. period).

I’ve hit upon the fabric for my coat (a fab pinkish velvet with black accents, you can see it to the left; not 100% accurate as it's not a silk or wool velvet, but sometimes you have to make do *sigh*), and selected a pattern to use as a starting place. I went with one from Reconstructing History, because I know they have a passion for historical accuracy, and they're just good people. Their patterns are so good in fact, that they were used to create the clothing for National Geographic's Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah.

Sometimes a pattern makes it all go faster, and sometimes it makes me feel like I’m running backwards through a vat of molasses (I often use the pattern as a starting point for the correct shape of the pieces, but draft the garment from scratch by draping it). We'll see how this one works out . . .

From time to time over the next six months I'll be posting here about my progress, complete with pictures and horror stories (there are always horror stories, LOL!). Perhaps in my next post we'll talk about buttons, as I've completely lost my mind and decided to make my own in the period style. *grin* Or maybe by then I'll know a bit more about how the costume is taking shape . . .

But for now, let's bring it back around to the world of romance. I've never written a pirate romance, but I can sure feel the temptation coming on . . . anyone out there love a good pirate romance? If so, tell me which ones you love and why!


Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Kalen, that sound's so exciting and New Orleans is the perfect place for it what with Jean Lafitte etc. I once went as a Lady Buccaneer for a Halloween party. As for pirate romances, Sharon and Tom Curtis back in the day wrote a book called Wildflower and I'm pretty sure it had a pirate theme. Also we know that Fabio wrote The Pirate (or Wendy Corsi Staub did and Fabio signed his name on the cover!). And I think Johanna Lindsay has written a few pirate novels. I would love to read a good pirate novel myself after seeing the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read my first pirate romance as a teen. It was called Into the Wind by Jean Ferris, the first of a great trilogy (Into the Wind, Song of the Sea, Weather the Storm). It was adventurous, classic, grand, and ever-so-passionate (without making me want to squirm). Although, to be fair, it really wasn't a pirate story, it was a privateer story. It's set during the War of 1812. People never write about that war.

I also liked The Least Likely Bride by Jane Feather. That was, obviously, a bit more steamy. But the heroine was smart, and I liked her for that.

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, well, pirate stories...yumm (instead of arrr).

I can't say I've read many, although some have had secondary pirates.

I'm still undecided if I'll dress up, since I would totally not be historically correct. But as New Orleans is sorta in my back yard, I hoping to make it.

BTW, I'm loving the pink stays!

7:28 AM  
Blogger Keira Soleore said...

Kalen, I'm in awe! I mean, look at those pink stays. They sure are pretty, and they sure look like stitching them is harder than rocket science.

And you know, if you write it, I'll read it. So do get cracking on your pyrate romance.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Kalen, your costume looks like it's going to be fabulous! I love pirate stories--I loved "Captain Blood" as a child and the Pirates of the Carribbean movies more recentlyl (the ride was one of my favorite parts of a recent trip to Disneyland). I can't think of that many pirate novels though (I actually have the "Captain Blood" novel by Sabatine that the book is based on , but I haven't read it yet). I think you definitely should do a pirate book to go with this confernece--I'd buy it!

10:38 AM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

I was once thinking of writing a pirate (or privateer) romance -- Marie-Laure and Joseph's now-American daughter Sophie sails back to France during the war of 1812 with her cousin Alfonse and brother Ben, is taken prisoner aboard a British privateer. I still like the idea, but I think you have to know something about being on a boat to write one well. And there's just so much to learn -- the gay guys from my book group shared their reference books with me (it seemed more than one of them had Patrick O'Brian/Hornblower cabin boy fantasies). ;-)
Someday, maybe.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Gang, I dragged my laptop into the office only to discover that the open wifi I used to be able to use is not locked. Dang.

I'm addicted to Captain Blood. I LOVE that book! I highly recommend it.

And Pam, if you have tall ship questions . . . I know some people. *grin*

5:02 PM  
Blogger Amanda Elyot said...

When I was a little girl, I used to have a fantasy about being kidnapped by pirates (oops -- too much information? :) )

I've always wanted to write about the lady pirates like Anne Bonny and Mary Reade, but editors keep telling me the subject has been done to death.

And yet, oddly enough, I've never read a pirate romance. The real thing was pretty violent (not to mention unhygienic) so maybe I prefer to leave it to my imagination's fantasy version of it.

Kalen, the Con sounds fun, though, and I would wear those pink stays in a heartbeat! Gotta say -- the fashion is the best reason for wanting to be (or hang out with) pirates! Your talk is going to be amazing!

George Macdonald Fraser's PYRATES is a hoot, that sends up with genre with love.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:26 PM  

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