You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Careening -- Pirates Watch Out!

        As a result of the research I did for my novel, Cassia, set in the NC Outer Banks and the Atlantic Coast in 1799, I have lots of interesting trivia about pirates and maritime customs I’d like to share.
        One practice is called “careening,” turning a wooden ship on its side to expose the hull. It was the most dangerous time for pirates as it made them vulnerable to attack.
        Ships’ hulls would become thick with grasses, seaweed, worms, mold, and organisms such as barnacles making the ships difficult to steer. Since speed was critical to pirates, it was necessary for the hulls to be scraped every two to three months.
        Careening also allowed for repairs of damage caused by dry rot or cannon shot and for coating the exterior with a layer of sulfur, tar and tallow to reduce leakage.
        A wooden ship would be beached at high tide to expose the ship below the waterline. This was also called “hove down.”

Hove down
        Ships would be taken to a shallow area and the masts pulled to the ground by securing the top halyard to an object such as a tree.
        The practice of heeling over a ship in deep waters by shifting ballast or cannon to one side was called “Parliamentary heeling.” It was a much faster way of cleaning the hull. 

In 1782, the HMS Royal George was lost while undergoing this procedure.

The Xanthakos Family Trilogy

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Cassia Book Launch September 14!

         Join me in celebrating the release of my newest inspirational historical suspense, Cassia. The Online Book Launch Party will be on FaceBook Monday, September 14 from 6-9 p.m. EST.  

      The party will be on my author page/event, Susan F. Craft, at this link:

      Come by, chat, and leave a comment for a chance to win some really great prizes.  

        The Xanthakos family’s sea voyage from South Carolina to the North Carolina Outer Banks turns ugly after they pressure their ship’s captain to rescue a pregnant woman thrown overboard from a slave ship. When the slave contracts smallpox, the captain maroons her, Lilyan and Nicholas and their children, Laurel, Paul, and Marion, on an island.

        After Nicholas and Marion leave to seek help, Lilyan and her children and the baby, whom they have named Cassia, are captured by pirates and taken to their island hideout under the command of the vile Captain Galeo (The Shark), but Paul escapes along the way.
        Galeo is attracted to Lilyan and orders her and Laurel to dine with him where reveals his plan to make Lilyan his own and auction Laurel to the highest bidder and where he forces them to witness a mock trial and a hanging.
        Heartsick to see her child exposed to such evil, Lilyan rekindles her long-dormant courage and forges an escape plan. Meanwhile, Nicholas faces his self-perceived failure to protect his family. He must abandon the life of a vintner and once again call upon the skills he honed as a captain in Francis Marion’s militia.
          Together they face the hardest challenge to a parent, watching as life tests the mettle of their highly sheltered and beloved children. Bolstered by their faith, they realize their strength isn’t enough to see them through and that God is in control.
        Will the Xanthakos children withstand their trials and learn to be as tough as their parents? Will the family be united and return to their peaceful Blue Ridge Mountain home?
One of the prizes is a sugar cinnamon candle and a packet of Cassia notecards.