When the Mermaid Sings by Helen Hollick


Welcome to the Book’s Delight and a stop on the Coffee Pot Book Tour for When the Mermaid Sings by Helen Hollick

The Details:


Book Title: When The Mermaid Sings

Series: The Sea Witch Voyages

Author: Helen Hollick

Publication Date: 21st June 2021

Publisher: Taw River Press

Page Length: 190 Pages

Genre: Historical/Nautical Fantasy



The Blurb: 

A prequel short read story to the Sea Witch Voyages of Captain Jesamiah Acorne 

When the only choice is to run, where do you run to?

When the only sound is the song of the sea, do you listen?

Or do you drown in the embrace of a mermaid? 

Throughout childhood, Jesamiah Mereno has suffered the bullying of his elder half-brother. Then, not quite fifteen years old, and on the day they bury their father, Jesamiah hits back. In consequence, he flees his Virginia home, changes his name to Jesamiah Acorne, and joins the crew of his father’s seafaring friend, Captain Malachias Taylor, aboard the privateer, Mermaid. 

He makes enemies, sees the ghost of his father, wonders who is the Cornish girl he hears in his mind – and tries to avoid the beguiling lure of a sensuous mermaid...

 An early coming-of-age tale of the young Jesamiah Acorne, set in the years before he becomes a pirate and Captain of the Sea Witch. 



Ms Hollick has skillfully picked up the threads that she alludes to in the main books and knitted them together to create a Jesamiah that we really didn't know.” Richard Tearle senior reviewer, Discovering Diamonds 

Captain Jesamiah Acorne is as charming a scoundrel as a fictional pirate should be. A resourceful competitor to Captain Jack Sparrow!” Antoine Vanner author 

Helen Hollick has given us the answer to that intriguing question that Jesamiah fans have been aching for – how did he start his sea-going career as a pirate?” Alison Morton, author 

I really enjoyed the insight offered into Jesamiah's backstory, and found the depiction of our teenage hero very moving.” Anna Belfrage, author 

I loved this little addendum to the Jesamiah series. I always had a soft spot for the Lorelei stories and enjoyed that the author cleverly brought her over from the Rhine valley to fit into the story.” Amazon Reviewer 


Trigger Warnings:

Sexual content, adult language.


The Excerpt: 




Today, 13th April, is my birthday. (I can’t believe that I’m 69!) and I’m delighted to share the day with my host for today’s Coffee Pot Tour Stop!


A brief bit about the Sea Witch Voyages:

I wrote the first Voyage (Sea Witch) back in 2005 after thoroughly enjoying the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Like most avid readers, however, I wanted more than just the movie, I wanted to read something that was as entertaining and as exciting. A nautical adventure with a charming rogue of a pirate captain, written for adults (with adult content) but with a dash of supernatural fantasy as well – elements of which had made that first movie such fun to watch. I found many nautical-based novels, but they were all ‘serious stuff’ – Patrick O’Brian, Alexander Kent, C. S. Forrester ... all good reads but without the fantasy fun, and barely a female character in sight. I simply could not find the book I wanted to read. So, I wrote my own. 

The first Voyage led to more books in the series, and also generated several emails from fans who wanted to know how Jesamiah had become a pirate in the first place. 

When the Mermaid Sings answers that question.


* * *

(Excerpt 11)

December 1708


The sense of panic was as crisp as an autumn-frosted Virginia morning when Jesamiah slid, hand-over-hand, down the backstay to the deck. Anna carried two swivel guns and two six-pound cannons along with an array of muskets, an unpredictable blunderbuss, some pistols and a few other hand weapons. She was a merchant vessel, not a fighting ship. Each pound weight of armament she carried meant a pound less of cargo – and profit took precedence.


The expression ‘running around like headless chickens’ sprang into Jesamiah’s mind as he watched the crew bustling about but not doing anything productive.


“We’ll never outrun ’er,” one man said gloomily.


“More chance outrunning her than anything else,” Tom Markham stated.


“Nay, they’ll mow us down like a scythe cuttin’ corn.”


“Might ignore us,” someone else suggested.


“We’d be best to ’eave to an’ surrender,” old Seth muttered through toothless gums.


“Could we not try outwitting them?” Jesamiah asked. Everyone stared at him as if he had suddenly sprouted a second head.


The usually grim-faced Stannis laughed, although his cackle was filled with derision. “Out of the mouths of babes,” he guffawed, then swiped the back of his hand across Jesamiah’s head. “Idiot.”

Captain Parker, however, creased his brows into a furrow and, tilting his head to one side, said, “Explain, boy.”


A faint blush tingeing his face, Jesamiah cleared his throat, and ignoring the sniggering and Stannis’s growl of disapproval, launched into his proposal, although, even as he spoke, he could hear the ridiculousness of the suggestion.


“Why can we not pretend to be Spanish? They will not attack another of their own kind, surely?” The sniggers increased to outright laughter.


“For one thing, we b’aint Spanish,” Stannis sneered. “We’ve no Spanish colours to ’oist.”


“How difficult would it be to make a flag?” Jesamiah replied. “All we need is a white background and some red material to fashion a jagged Cruz de San AndrĂ©s, a rough-edged red cross.”


“You think that’ll fool ’em?” Stannis retorted. “The boy’s addle-’eaded, Cap’n. Been in the sun too long. Salt water’s got at ‘is senses – the few that ’e ’as, that is.”


“Privateers often fool their prey with such a ruse,” Jesamiah countered, growing more confident. “Why not merchantmen, if it’s a way of avoiding conflict?”


“Maybe, lad, because we are honest merchantmen?” Captain Parker said with a half-smile.


“What use honesty,” Jesamiah countered, “when you’re dead –  or about to be?”


Indicating the conversation should be terminated, Stannis cut the air with his hand. “We be wastin’ precious time, Cap’n. We oughta be settin’ all sail an’ ’eadin’ for the nearest safe ’arbour.”


Captain Parker waved vaguely towards the horizon. “Which is at least four hours away, and, even with more sail, we will not outdistance a Spanish frigate.”


Stannis persisted with his objections. “A tardy flag’ll fool no one. They’ll demand we ’eave to, then what?”


“Then we tell them a plausible cock-and-bull story to set them in a different direction,” Jesamiah answered simply.


More laughter from the bosun. “’Ow careless of me, I forgot me book of Spanish nautical terms!” He thrust his snarling face close to Jesamiah’s. “They’ll soon work out we ain’t Spanish when they ’ear us talkin’ English.”


It took an effort, but Jesamiah kept a straight, calm expression. “Then I suggest we speak to them in Spanish. Sir.”


Resting his hand on Jesamiah’s shoulder, Captain Parker gave it a little squeeze and said kindly, “It was a good possible plan, lad, but alas, I speak none of their lingo.”


Jesamiah returned the smile, said with assured boldness, “But I do.” 


How I met Jesamiah Acorne (the tru-ish) story




Buy Links:


Available on #KindleUnlimited.


Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0968RQ6FS

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0968RQ6FS

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0968RQ6FS

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B0968RQ6FS



Author Bio:



First published in 1994, Helen became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she writes a nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. She is now branching out into the quick read novella, 'Cosy Mystery' genre with her new venture, the Jan Christopher Murder Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working as a library assistant.


Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She lives in an eighteenth-century farmhouse in North Devon, runs Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction, and occasionally gets time to write..


Social Media Links:


Website: https://www.helenhollick.net

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HelenHollick

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helen.hollick

Amazon Author Page: https://viewauthor.at/HelenHollick /

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/477847.Helen_Hollick

Newsletter: http://tinyletter.com/HelenHollick


  1. Thank you so much for hosting the tour for When The Mermaid Sings.

    All the best,
    Mary Anne
    The Coffee Pot Book Club

  2. Thank you so much for hosting today's Port Of Call during my Tour!


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