Today I am so pleased to welcome Rebecca Cohen to Joyfully Jay. Rebecca is here with her first post in a series she is doing with Joyfully Jay about her upcoming book, Captain Merric. Along the way she will be sharing her journey toward self publishing the book, as well as exclusively revealing the cover with us. Today she has also brought along an excerpt and giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

Long From the Short of It: The Journey From Short story to Novel aka Captain Merric Sails Again

2018 is the start of something new for me, I’m planning to embark on an adventure aboard the good ship self-publishing. Jay has graciously allowed me to share my journey here on Joyfully Jay in series of blog posts, and I’ll be offering readers the chance to win a copy of the ebook each time. I’ll discuss my adventures, and today I’m weighing anchor and introducing you all to my new project Captain Merric. A tale of pirates, long lost love and fighting for a happy ending.

Captain Merric was my first ever published story. It appeared in the 2011 Dreamspinner Press pirate anthology Cross Bones (which is now out of print). The original story was 12k words of piratey goodness, and dear to my heart as one never forget their first! I received the rights back in Oct 2016, but the story has languished in the doldrums as I didn’t know what to do with it. A year later when I was in desperate need a of something to distract me and something fun to work on, I decided to drag out the captain and give him spruce up. On re-read I decided it still had something about it, and I decided to add a few scenes to round some pointy edges, thinking it wouldn’t be more than an additional 10K. Three months and tens of thousands of additional words later, the new and significantly extended novel length Captain Merric is ready to set sail, but to where?

With the closure of a number of small presses, and those that are still open limiting what they will submit, I have decided to take the plunge into self-publishing.  There’s a nice symmetry about it, my first published work, extended to become my first self-published project and the butterflies and excitement are going crazy.

But the thing about extending a short, especially by this amount, and rewriting what was retained, is it’s not as easy as shoving a few (lots!) of new words in pre-existing gaps. For Captain Merric I had to go right back and decide what was to stay and what is to go. Those of you who read the original may remember that Captain Merric, pirate extraordinaire, was called James – but since I now have a ‘James’ for of another series (spin off from my Crofton Chronicles series), James has been renamed as Edward. And whereas in the original short story the point of view was solely from the British naval man – Daniel Horton – Edward now has his own voice. Extra scenes, a new plot (although the long-lost lovers reunited theme is the main flavour), and a different ending but definitely still happily ever after, and there’s not that much of the original left. I’ve upped the level of historical detail, given the settings (Caribbean and England (various places) in 1718) more depth and ploughed headlong into pirate goodness, with sea battles, kidnapping, waterfall shenanigans, all resulting in me having had a bloody good time writing it.

So I hope you’ll join me on my adventures over the coming months, when I share on this blog my journey and a few snippets from Captain Merric… oh, and the absolutely fabulous cover – but more about that beauty in later posts.


To wet your whistles, here’s a brief glimpse of what’s in store (unedited so hot of the presses!) – let’s just say Daniel is not going to make things easy for Edward:


“I should not have given up,” said Edward, returning to sit next to Daniel on the bed.

Edward leaned closer, his eyes glinting with expectation. Daniel put a hand to his chest and pushed him away. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“I was going to kiss you.”

The cheek of man, how dare Edward think he would allow such a thing. “I don’t think so. You thought so little of me, of the devotion we pledged to each other, that you turned your back on us after a single letter. While I am not unhappy you are alive, I will not so easily forgive the rest.”

“Daniel, I was an impetuous youth, thought spurned by the man I loved. I was too proud to look past the hurt, and I am sorry beyond words can convey.”

Daniel snorted in contempt. “Tell me, how long did it take for you to forget me? Did you slake your lust with a new willing body within the hour? Or was it the next day?”

“That is not fair. I thought you had cast me away.”

“The hour it is then. And from then on you have continued. From what your cabin boy said, you’re in the habit of defiling your prisoners.”

Edward scowled. “I am tied to no man or woman. I am free to go about my business as I choose.”

“I do not argue with you on that. But you will not bed me with a flippant word. I am not so easy to persuade.”

“I see no reason for you not to let yourself be persuaded. The past is past, and I am regretful. So why not once again enjoy the pleasure of each other?”

“It is not going to happen.” Daniel tutted at Edward’s incredulous look. “There are few souls who have not heard of the reputation of Captain Merric. I have no wish to be one of your long list of conquests that you have left scattered across the islands. You are going to return me to land, preferably somewhere close to a British port, and I’m going to arrange to have my mutinous crew hanged.”


“As you said what is past is past. I am no more in your future today, than yesterday before I knew you were alive.”


Captain MerricDraft blurb for the new Captain Merric (subject to change):

Set adrift and left to die by his mutinous crew, the last person Daniel Horton, officer in the Royal Navy, expects to come to his rescue is Captain Merric, the infamous pirate. Merric is known as much for stealing his victims’ hearts as their jewels; however, Daniel’s world is about to be turned upside as he recognises Captain Merric as none other than Edwad Merriston, a man he’d once loved, lost and grieved for.

Edward can’t believe Daniel Horton is on his ship. Learning that Daniel thought him dead and hadn’t dismissed him all those years ago, Edward will do everything in his power to get Daniel to give them a second chance of happiness. Daniel needs to get back to a British port to save his reputation and to brings his subordinates to justice, but Captain Merric is not about to let him go without a fight.


Rebecca CohenREBECCA COHEN is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and young son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.


Rebecca has brought four total copies of Captain Merric to give away once the book is released. We will pick the winners (4 in total – one from each post), after the cover reveal in March – so plenty of time to comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Monday, March 26th at 11:59 pm ET.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post
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