Join me in welcoming Marsha A. Moore to Highlighted Author.
I met Marsha a few years ago when we were both members of a Fantasy Novel critique group. I had the opportunity to review her work then and was thrilled when her first book, Tears on a Tranquil Lake, was published. It was book one in the Ciel’s Legacy series and now, she’s celebrating the release of book two, Tortuga Treasure. She also has Legend One, Seeking a Scribe, of The Enchanted Bookstore series coming out this month, and has written, Le Cirque de Magie, an historical urban fantasy short story and Sea Glass and Sand Memories, a paranormal short story.
I didn’t aim to be a fiction author. My path evolved to this end. While growing up I enjoyed reading, and for that reason I followed an English minor college program, actually just for fun along with a Biology major. Taking lit courses and writing essays for fun–strange, but true! Years later, I worked as a rock music reviewer. During that time, I was inspired by some of those experiences and tinkered with fiction. Initially, I wrote fiction based on the world of rock music. Through a lucky happenstance, a man who worked for a major book publishing house read my first attempts at fiction, posted on a music forum. He repeatedly encouraged me to submit my creative writing. Over time, I came to believe him and did. After that, a new world opened up and it’s been a wonderful time.
My writing style shows my early reading influences—fairytales and classic literature. In college, as an English minor, the years of lit classes instilled a love of older, more formal character voices. I use that style to help me create interesting variety among my own characters.
During the winter of 2008-9, I moved my mother from NW Ohio to Tampa. It didn’t take much to convince me to stay through the winter to help her get settled before I moved my own household the following summer. I enjoy folklore and legend, and sought interesting local tales. I was enthralled with the legends of pirates and mermaids surrounding the annual Tampa Gasparilla Festival, a tribute to the pirate captain Jose Gapar. Pirates, mermaids, and mermen naturally became the characters of my Ciel’s Legacy series.
I spend a lot of time researching and enjoy that part of the writing process. Often local events or places give inspiration and details. Certainly, the Ciel’s Legacy series has a dual setting of my local Tampa coastal area and the region of Tortuga (near Haiti) in the Caribbean. My husband and I have traveled a lot in the Caribbean. One of my favorite local Tampa area beaches—Fort DeSoto—inspired the initial setting for the series. I wrote most of the first book on that beach and still go there often to write through the afternoon.
Some details in the series on topics like pirating, Haitian vodou, and hoodoo magick required research time online and with plenty of reference books. I now know much more about the parts and workings of pirate ships. There are several types of sailing vessels and an intricate battle scene in Tortuga Treasure: Ciel’s Legacy. Loved that scene!
One of my favorite characters in the series, a vodoun mambo named Teega, influences the use of hoodoo magick in the story. She is a master, helping those she considers friends, but can be extremely dark and vindictive if crossed. Pirates in my story fear no one more than Teega. Some of the merfolk train under her to learn basic hoodoo arts. Forming her dark spells required plenty of research, but that was fun for me to weave into the storyline.
What they’re saying:
“Tortuga Treasure…Ceil’s Legacy” is a veritable treasure trove filled to the brim with magic, danger, merfolk, pirates, and romance. Readers can’t help being swept into the action of the story from its opening pages. This is not to say that the story in and of itself is rushed in any way. Marsha A. Moore does a wonderful job of balancing the quieter moments within this read with the more action packed scenes; taking great care to ensure that neither aspect is allowed greater precedence…If you like stories where hearts are true, battles are bloody, love conquers all, and fins are fabulous…this is the read for you!” ~WTFAreYouReading
“Rating 5 Stars! This book had such great description it’ll bring every word into reality. The pace and plot was edge of your seat, action packed and intriguing. The characters were engaging, and designed very well. I recommend this book to anyone who loves pirates, mermaids, mermen, and some hot action.” ~Melissa, WereVamps Romance
“4/5 Hearts: Really Great Read: Tortuga Treasure is a really great read, well written!! …after awhile I noticed that I was thinking in pirate and had to laugh at myself. Marsha engages you in a melodic yet melodramatic tale of mer~people and magic. I enjoyed reading this book you can take in the salty sea air and scenery as you read! I recommend this to anyone who like a little magic in their lives!” ~Keeping Up with the Rheinlanders
“…This is the second book in the Ciel’s Legacy Trilogy. even if I was not able to read the first one , I did not get lost or confused reading the sequel. Ciel provided some information about her past and it was done in such a way that was neither superfluous nor did it distract me from enjoying this second book. Author Marsha A. Moore’s world of merfolk, pirates and vodoo practictioners was certainly unique. The worldbuilding was excellent and so was her take on mermaids and mermen…I love how Ms. Moore steered clear of stereotypes. She gave mermaids a fresh look! The inclusion of vodoo also made the story more interesting and magical for me. All the characters are memorable in their respective ways…My favorite though is Pearl, a smart, talking cockatoo. There is more to her chatter and feathers that meets the eye and she plays a significant role in the story.” ~AO Bibliophile
Tortuga Treasure: Ciel’s Legacy
When Ciel first looks into Alvaro’s eyes she finds love. Bad timing. In the next instant he’s fatally stabbed in the back by one of his pirate mates. Her girlfriends warn her it will only bring on a heap of trouble to save him. Unable to resist, she gives him the gift of a new life as one of her kind—a merman.
Will their love encourage him to embrace life as a merman? Can love survive if he wishes to return to human form? Either way, her friends speak true. No matter how much mermagic and dark vodou Ciel and her friends cast, blood-thirsty buccaneers chase them across the Caribbean until Alvaro finally decides.
Warning: This book contains a magical cock-a-too, lecherous scurvy pirate dogs, hoodoo healers, the mark of the evil Black Spot, plenty of dark Haitian vodou, and passionate encounters on tropical beaches.
Tortura Treasure: Ciel’s Legacy
“Ye damned scurvy dog, Alvaro. Give me coins back,” barked a burly seaman, glaring at his mate on the far end of the long pier. His frizzled dark hair flopped as he lunged for and missed the other man, landing closer to us.
My tail fins were splayed out wide over the dock to soak up the warmth of the late afternoon sun. I quickly tucked them closer to my torso, so they wouldn’t be tread upon.
Having a well-muscled physique, Alvaro dodged with ease, his face lit with a wide grin. Obviously, he enjoyed the game of goading his partner, but seemed uninterested in fighting back. “I don’t have yer purse, ye black scoundrel. That new hand got lost in our cabin an’ likely lifted it.”
“Ye be a liar!” The heavyset man swung wide and hard. “An’ a good one—fooled me. Ye started as a crimp, but thought ye turned into me mate.”
Twisting away from more blows, Alvaro leaped close enough for me to get a better view. His black knee-high boots pounded the creaking wooden frame.
Curious, I remained where I sat near the edge, facing the row of gangplanks. Tall sailing ships stood proud, decorated with their pennants alongside Jolly Rogers. I’d seen enough skirmishes between buccaneers to take them as commonplace in this busy Tortuga port, good entertainment while my two mermaid friends and I chatted.
Dodging another fist, Alvaro jumped.
I leaned into my friend Omarosa. Her long, dark kinky hair away floated in front of my view. I brushed it away. “Quite the showman he is. So quick on his feet.”
“You ain’t lookin’ at his feet though, Ciel.” She giggled and gave my arm a playful slap.
I grinned and nudged her in turn, but kept my gaze fixed on the pirate named Alvaro. Most seamen were rather scraggly, reeking of body odor, missing a digit, limb, or many teeth. The captains and first mates often cleaned up smartly, wearing finery from their worldly travels, but not the crew. This man was neither a dandy nor a grubby hand. He wore well-fitting clothing, a faded black poet’s shirt, clean but frayed on the edges, as were his black trousers. His polished boots showed creases from hard wear. Straight black hair, as long as mine, hung over his broad shoulders to his hips, and swung out as he darted from side-to-side along the pier.
“The Jack o’ Coins just paid me that sum—me only earnings fer port. Hand it here, now,” the portly seaman yelled louder and faster. He backed the other against a stack of hogshead casks. “If’n ye don’t, I’ll be callin’ the buffer to give ye the keelhaul, tyin’ ye to a rope and draggin’ yer bones along the barnacles of the ship. How does that sound, matey?”
“I mean ye no harm, Tom. I don’t want to fight ye. Don’t force me to.” Alvaro paused, and then swung a hard punch into his gut.
Tom winced, bent forward, and clasped his hands to his stomach.
Immediately, Alvaro glanced down at me, intending to bound in my direction. When his dark eyes met mine, his mouth dropped open and he lost his balance, falling toward the edge of the pier.
In the next instant, while his gaze held mine, Tom lodged a dagger deep into Alvaro’s back. I saw shock, fear, and horrible pain in those dark eyes as well as a plea for help…and something else…a promise of friendship. In that moment, I measured the depth of his sincerity and warmth spread over me. The power of my mermagic latched onto the intentions his soul revealed and my body trembled with those vibrations.
He fell into the water, blade still buried in his torso. I jerked to dive after him, but Omarosa and Sesi held my shoulders. “Let me go,” I cried, straining against them.
“I know you want to help, but it doesn’t involve you,” Sesi cried, holding me down with her chunky, green flipper on top of mine.
Squirming against them, I wildly scanned the water. Alvaro didn’t rise to the surface. I couldn’t let him die. What I read in his soul promised so much I longed for. Determination surged adrenaline through my body, and I shoved Omarosa off me. I raised my flipper and dropped Sesi to the other side, all the while keeping sight of the shadowy form under the water.
Omarosa grabbed my wrist. “This is sure trouble you don’t need. Save that one and five others will be after you, and us.”
Alvaro remained below. I tore my arm free and dove in. The water tasted of minerals leaking from his bloody wound. With one forceful stoke of my flipper, I sped downward and located his body drifting motionless among the pier supports. His skin was blue and his open eyes had a distant stare, showing no recognition. Was he still alive? Powered by adrenaline, in seconds I assessed his state. I took hold of his arm to see if he gave a reflexive flinch. Nothing. No pulse throbbed against my fingers. I put my ear to his chest. His heart beat slowly and faintly, while mine thumped hard against my ribs. Contact allowed me to read his soul—dim, but still active.
Seconds mattered. Pulling him to the surface and letting time pass while his mates decided what medical care to give would make his death certain. There was only one hope. Could I do it?
Want more Marsha? She’d love have you visit. Here’s where you can find her.
Fantasy Faction staff page: http://fantasy-faction.com/staff-members?uid=38
Goodreads author page http://www.goodreads.com/marshaamoore
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