Friday, February 14, 2014

The Ransom Pre-Release Party and Giveaway!

Ahoy! Welcome to the pre-release party for The Ransom, Book 4 in my Legacy of the King's Pirates Series!!
(cover design by Dineen Miller

Happy Valentine's Day!

Every Friday for the next 4 weeks, I'll be posting something about the book and characters and giving away a free copy of The Ransom (either e-book or print) to one lucky winner. All you have to do is read through the post and answer the question I pose at the end. Simple, eh?

For those of you who haven't read my Legacy of the King's Pirates series (What are you waiting for? Just kidding)  you won't be lost. Though some characters from the series are mentioned in this story, it is really a stand-alone.

Can I share something with you? The only time I've been more excited about one of my books releasing was with my very first one. It's so great to be back in the Caribbean and I just know you're going to love the story! So, without further adieu.

If you haven't already, sign up for my newsletter on the right hand side of this blog. ONLY newsletter subscribers receive the first word of SPECIAL PRICES, FREE BOOKS, and NEW RELEASES! 

Port Royal, Jamaica 1692

Living in a city deemed the wickedest in the world is no easy task for Miss Juliana Dutton. To make matters worse, with an ailing father and a drunken fool for a brother, she is forced to take over the running of the family business in order to survive. When a meddlesome suitor threatens to discover her secret and cast them all onto the streets, she agrees to a spurious engagement with the town buffoon, Lord Munthrope. She only hopes the man is trustworthy.

The Pirate Earl, Alexander Hyde, son of the infamous Captain Edmund Merrick Hyde, is the most feared pirate in Port Royal. Disillusioned with the religion of his parents and the pleasures of the world, Alex staves off his emptiness by leading a dual life to hide his deepest secrets.

A long-time enemy is out to destroy Alex and take Juliana for his own. Struggling to maintain her faith in the Divine, Juliana faces her problems bravely, but the harder she tries, the more it seems everything is working against her. Unwittingly, she and her weak fiancĂ© become entangled in the hostility between  the Pirate Earl and his enemy, while even more dangerous forces are rising up to destroy them all.

Allow me to present to you the heroine,

Miss Juliana Dutton. 

At only twenty years of age, Juliana Dutton carries the entire burden of her family’s support on her shoulders. With an ailing father and a wastrel brother, she has been forced to run the family shipping business in secret in order to keep them from poverty. With honey-blonde hair and sea-blue eyes, she is the object of much desire in the thriving British port town of Port Royal, Jamaica. In particular, the handsome naval officer, Captain Nichols is determined to make her his own. Yet something about the man puts her off. Besides, if Juliana has learned one thing in life, it is to not trust anyone. Everyone--in particular every man—in her life has abandoned her and let her down.  She is very charitable and her kindness extends to both orphans and to trollops down by the docks. Which is where she meets the infamous Pirate Earl, a man who continually appears at the exact moment in which she needs protection.  But can she trust a pirate?

Strengths: Confident, Hard-working, Smart, Courageous, Charitable, Kind, Nurturing
Weaknesses: Stubborn, Rash, Proud, Judgmental, Independent, distrusting
Quirks: To help sooth her fears and anxieties, Juliana plays the violin, an activity that was frowned upon for a woman in that time.

Inspiration:  I modeled Juliana after the women I’ve met throughout the years who, for some reason or another, have found themselves taking on the role of single parents and the sole providers of their homes. At one point in my life, I was such a person and I understand the strength it takes and the enormous weight of responsibility. I also understand the dichotomy of having a great distrust of men while longing for someone to trust and depend on, someone to share the burden. This is Juliana. Kind, good, desperate for help and love and to be able to trust anyone. She is a woman outside her time, trying to make it in a man’s world when the discovery of her secret would send her and her family onto the streets. I love her courage, her faithfulness to her family, her hard work and wit. And I cry with her in her exhaustion and fears.    

Question:  Do you know any women like Juliana who are the sole providers for their family? If so, what inspires you about them? Have you ever been in that position? Now transport yourself back in time over 300 years  and try to imagine the added stress of worrying that if anyone found out you were running a business, everything would be taken away from you. Any thoughts on how far women have come over the centuries??

Leave your answer, along with your email address.  Print copies only available in the US. E-book copies everywhere.

P.S. This book is not yet available in stores. Release date is early March!

Thanks for joining the party!!  Tune in next week to meet the hero, Alexander Hyde!


  1. OH YAY!!!! This looks like it'll be another winner. Thanks for hosting these giveaways and sharing tidbits about the characters. I can't wait for the book!

    Ps. Good morning, y'all! :)

  2. I cannot imagine having to take the responsibility of caretaker, for I have no real experience, and God has blessed me with an easier life than others. I've never been good at being the one "in-control," and that is one of my downfalls as a teacher's assistant for I have to be a leader of children. On the other hand, knowing that I'm not the one in charge can help me rely more upon God because I know that no matter where I am in life, He holds my life in His hands.

    What I can learn from looking at these other single ladies who are the ones in charge, is that I'm thankful. Sometimes I complain about the little things in my life, but then I see the hard situations of others and it makes me more thankful for the life I have. God truly has blessed me, and I need to remember that more often.

    - Grace

  3. I want to hug those women and give them a night off. Because I know how exhausting parenting and providing can be when there are two parents in the house! Looking forward to this book!

  4. My grandparents helped raise my cousin while her mother worked to provide for them both. Twenty years later, you can tell my aunt is trying to make up for the years she wasn't there.(buying expensive gifts for her grandchildren, all paid vacation to Hawaii etc)

    I can not imagine working and raising a family alone now so I can't begin to fathom how they did so 300 years ago.

    Thanks for the giveaway, can't wait to meet Alexander!

    arieljo12 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  5. I have the upmost respect for women who have to step up and fill dual roles (and sometimes more) to provide for their families. They never seem to think of themselves and try to ensure that everyone is provided for and if possible no needs unmet. Even when exhaustion and frustration try to overtake them they still rise to face another day. My hats off to all these ladies. Can't wait to read Juliana's story. Thanks for a chance to win it.

    1. Oops! Mis-typed e-mail address - should be Sorry!

  6. Fri Feb 14th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    My husband died suddenly, at a very young age, leaving me to raise "four boys" on my own. From 14 years of age down to 14 months of age -- it was a nightmare ! Would NEVER want to go through that again !!! And one of the four had major behavioural/emotional problems. I'm amazed we all made it through those years "alive" .... but with thanks to the Lord for His mercy and grace, and to close family/friends helping out ... we're still all here today, to tell the story. Raising children is difficult enough with two parents .... let alone, single-handed ! At the time, it probably made me a stronger person ... it was 'sink-or-swim' ! But as the years have passed, and with aging .... I find I just cannot take much commotion any more.
    No need to enter me in the draw, MaryLu. I am so looking forward to "The Ransom" coming out; and I have the first three Pirate books in my personal collection.
    "Happy Valentines Day" everyone !
    Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda

  7. My mother was the sole provider after my father left the family. She'd work day by day, and we'd really only get what we really needed. Then with my younger sister and I who had part-time seasonal jobs would help as much as we could to keep the house we have. I'd say my sister and I have been very close to be the providers, but my mother kept working as hard as she could, we'd work to help with the load she was carrying.

    Women have come a long way with providing for their family. It was that woman would only have to depend on a man to provide for them, granted not all women can depend on that. I am not saying it is wrong to not be provider for, but when the times call, there are women who need to help in providing as much as they can.

    Can't wait to read the book "The Ransom"!!

    In Christ,
    tlcfinch4 (at) gmail (dot) com

  8. I know I saw the photo of Amanda before reading the description of Juliana, but even after reading the description Amanda would have been my choice to portray her as well.

    My best friend is having to raise her niece (hopefully soon to be her daughter) by herself while caring for her unstable sister - it is a mess and if the situation had been in the past I would hate to see what she would have had to go through.

    I love learning about characters and what makes them tick so this shall be a fun few weeks. :)

    My email is -


    Thanks for the chance! Megan

  9. Yay for The Ransom, how exciting MaryLu!! Love the pre-release party and getting to know your wonderful characters :)

    I don't know any woman who has had to shoulder the responsibility Juliana went through, but what a blessing to celebrate such characters with this book. This would be a challenge in any time period, but I believe it was crazy difficult 300 years ago. The grace of God is a huge factor throughout the centuries, but i can't imagine what it would be like in those days to have to see your family through in those conditions.

    I soooo look forward to reading this! No matter what your characters go through, you always give them hope, MaryLu :) Have a great weekend and happy valentines to you!!

  10. I don't know one currently , but had a dear friend that did for a while. She only made it through help from friends and God. Women have come a long way. In some ways good, in other ways, not so good as women do play a different role than men. We aren't the same, and we weren't created to be. We need to recognize and embrace this. The cover is wonderful!

  11. Love the cover of The Ransom and I know it has got to be good . No I have never been in this position and don't really know anyone that is .. I would love to win a copy of the book . Thanks and blessings

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Being caretaker would be hard! I know many moms - and dads! - who do it on their own. They always look weary and overworked, but they love their kids and are struggling to provide. Sometimes they have to work too hard and kids fall between the cracks, but the parent is really trying. Single parents have a hard job and are noble for their efforts. They are hard workers. Women have come extremely far and still have a long way to go. They are not quite equal in pay, for instance, but in general, women seem to be equals with men. Women are a minority simply because there's fewer of us statistically in the world. In some countries women have regressed far back, people killing baby girls, etc., and maybe some women don't realize how negative that environment is to their emotional and mental health, and some do! But we can pray and seek God and share the Gospel and provide knowledge. "There is neither slave nor free, male nor female," in the Kingdom! Praise the Lord! I'm sooooo excited for this book because I simply LOVE the Legacy of the King's Pirates' series.

  14. My best friend is a single mother and I take my hat off to her because raising children in a 2 parent household is hard, but raising them on your own I know would be extremely difficult. My best friend is from Cuba (and we live in Scotland) and has no family here to help her but praise the Lord that He has placed great friends in her life that help her a great deal and she is so very blessed. I just couldn't imagine what it must have been like for women 300 years ago, there is so much more opportunities for women nowadays to provide for family where as back then women mostly had to depend on men.

    I haven't read The Legacy of the King's Pirates (yet!) but am hoping to very very soon as you have quickly become one of my favorite authors! Can't wait to read "The Ransom" too!

    Thank you for letting me enter the competition.

  15. Yes, my daughter. She is sole provided and is a cancer survivor as well. She has two teenage boys.

    godleyv [at]yahoo[dot]com

  16. One of my closest friends was raised by a single mom. Her father left when she was very little and her mom raised 3 kids, one with Down Syndrome, on her own. I cannot imagine the difficulties her mom dealt with over the years. I have a lot of respect for any single parent and the perseverance that they have to keep their family together and afloat. Thinking back to hundreds of years ago and adding the extra burden of society looking upon you as less than your male counterparts makes my respect and awe even greater for single moms.

    I loved reading "The Legacy of the King's Pirates" series and can't wait to check out the newest book. Thanks for the opportunity to win

    Jennifer Bretsch

  17. Happy Valentines Day! :) My mom was actually a single mom before she met my dad. She had to provide for the family and I can't even imagine the added issues from way back then!

    Amada (pronounced:

  18. What an exciting storyline! Especially when you ask...can you trust a pirate? My husband still thinks I'm joking when I mention pirates can love Jesus too! My friend Yoli was a single mom, going to school, working fast food and nurturing her children because her husband continually found other women to love. She is now a pastor's wife. Everytime someone comes up and asks - will you buy this bread to help some charity...she always does. She says I always remember what it was like to survive. Dios le bendiga to you and this book!

  19. This sounds like another great book! I think my daughter has the other books in this series so it would be fabulous to win a copy for her (I'm sure she'd let me read it).
    I'm a single parent. I'm thankful that my ex-husband provided support for our children. Since the youngest is almost 18, that will soon end. It's difficult. I work with a woman whose husband was deported so she is still married but having to raise and support their two sons on her own. She's doing a fantastic job of it.
    Congratulations on the new book and thanks for having this giveaway.

  20. So excited about this book!
    I have a niece who raised her two kids alone.....she finished college and worked hard and long hours. Her parents did help her when they could, but she had a hard time.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

  21. Looks like a good book.The lady in our picture is
    Miss Juliana Dutton. I can't imagine all it takes to raise 2 children on your own. Love this giveaway.

  22. Oh MaryLu, I am so, so, SO excited for this book!! I've loved all your pirate books and am thrilled to be getting more!! Congrats on the self publishing, too! We're definitely reaping the blessings ;-)

    Juliana (beautiful name, btw) sounds like someone we're all going to love and learn from. I do know women that are the sole providers for their families, not because their single mom's but because their husbands just don't take an interest and are more dispassionate bystanders in the home than being the leaders they're called to be, spending the money they make frivolously and on themselves instead of their homes and their children. Most of these women are saved but their husbands are not - perhaps that is the reason - but regardless, these women have a heavy load to bear. I'm not married, but I try to imagine being in their shoes as a wife and mother with little help and even less thanks. I know Jesus is their Rock, providing His strength, support, grace and love, but I also know these women want the men in their lives to do what God created them to do. Perhaps I'm straying off topic but your questions made me think of these dear women that I know and I just can't help but be grieved by their circumstances. On top of it all they're also in spiritual warfare for their husbands souls and their childrens... and I know they get discouraged at times...

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to meeting Juliana and seeing her story play out. Can't wait for your next post on the hero! *SWOON* I loved his daddy and I'm sure I'm going to love him, too!! ;-)

    Thanks so much for a chance to win!! ♥

  23. Hi, MaryLu!!

    I was a single parent - my boys are grown now. I worked more than one job at a time for a number of years - a difficult, tiring, task that left very little time to spend with my children, which I regret. I can't imagine having the additional burden of having to keep my work unknown. Women working outside the home is not only accepted now, but probably more women work - than not - not always because they HAVE to, but because they want a better lifestyle.

    I have also been a partial caregiver - a number of years ago, I worked an office job during the week and spent Friday evening to Monday morning every week at my ailing grandparents, caring for them. Presently, I help care for an ailing aunt, as her power of attorney.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of "The Ransom", MaryLu!!


  24. She did what she had to do.. Im proud of that It was dangerous to do but she did it
    God bless her
    Thank u for the giveaway God bless u
    Chris Granville

  25. I know of a single mother who is raising two teenagers and a pre teen.
    In spite of all the stress of an underpaid job, a car that is always broke down and failed relationships and all the other stressors she is a devoted mother and works hard to provide for her children. I admire her because in spite of it all she keeps on going without very much support.
    love the intro to your characters. Would love your book

  26. I cannot imagine at how hard it would be the one your family depends upon! I have a hard enough time watching my niece for a few days. My prays are with those who suffer from such a burden.

    I am excited that there will be another book in your pirate series!


  27. Ahoy there! Sorry for not responding sooner but I've been deep in edits on this book, trying to get it to the formatter on Monday. Anyway, THANKS for all the comments and your interest in winning!! I love reading through everyone's thoughts and wish I could respond to each one! I'll announce the winner next Friday, but if it isn't you, you'll have 3 more chances to enter! Thanks so much and God Bless!

  28. I know several women who have had to step up and be the sole provider for their families. They are some of the strongest most selfless women I know and I couldn't imagine doing what they do.

    Excited for the new pirate book MaryLu! Can't wait for it to come out!


  29. Oh MaryLu this sounds so good and I can hardly wait to read it... I know the trials of single motherhood well. Yo HO here we go together as a team, Marylu's Motley Crew Pirates and Me !!!! Its a daily thing running thru my head each time Daniel watches his favorite Pirates will never be the same past could have cared less about them, but now it seems a calling to me.
    Night Captain !
    Top Woman
    Linda Marie Finn

  30. The ladies that I know who are or have been the sole provider for their family are Christians. One thing they all have in common is their deep trust and faith in God. None of these ladies have college educations and have several jobs to make ends meet. I have noticed time and again how humble and dependent on God these ladies have to be for their needs. Every time they had something come up that seemed impossible God stepped in and worked it out. Sometimes it was groceries, another vehicle, electric bill, or an additional job. I think the more we have the less we seem to depend on God. I know I should be more like these ladies, but the question is am am I willing to lose the comforts I take for granted to let God supply these needs? Ouch. The times that does happen I know that it increases my faith. God's arm is still not too short and God still exists. If God has blessed us with more than we need, it's always a blessing to us to in turn to help supply the needs of people like these single mothers.


  31. You get women who are sole providers all over the world and they need not necessarily be of one faith. What sustains them apart from a faith would be the need to provide for their families and that children depend on them. Thank God for present times.

  32. No, I don't

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  33. Hey MaryLu,

    I have never read this series, I would absolutely love too. I give a lot of credite to the people who have taken care of either a family member or others.
    When my Grandma was living with us. I took care of her because she could not do a lot of things on her own. And in Feb she passed away at the age of 92. She was so sweet and I loved hearing her stories.

  34. What a wonderful book! Love the cover. Julianna sounds like a very inspiring heroine. It is amazing how far women have come over the centuries. Now women can do just about anything.

  35. MaryLu I am so excited that you have another pirate book coming out!! This story line sounds so intriguing, as only you can do. I know I am going to love Juliana's story. Juliana is the name I picked out for my last baby but my last baby turned out to be a boy so I had to use Joshua instead. :) I have to say I don't know a woman that has had to raise her children alone. I can't imagine having to be a single mom, I have been blessed to be a stay-at-home mom for my children all of their lives. I know it would have to be a hard life trying to take care of children and working too. I pray God blesses any woman that has to do that. Counting the days, hours and minutes until this Caribbean treasure is released!

  36. My grandmother was left a widow with 5 children under 10, with the youngest being under 1. My mom was 8 at the time of her father's death, and mom still doesn't know how my grandmother did it all. Thank God for farms, gardens, relatives, and neighbors. During WWII my grandmother was a Rosie and worked in a factory, so she was use to the hard work. Grandma will be 95 in October and is still doing pretty well. She's now is a great great grandmother of 2. I can't imagine everything Grandma has gone through in her life.

  37. My daughter is a single mom and it is really tough on her -- and us! Unless a women has a college education and a skill, she really has a tough time making it on the wages they pay here in SC. I DO admire her determination to go to work even when she doesn't feel well at all. It's odd but I was just talking to a friend who is a writer about this very thing yesterday. Many women long ago had to work in taverns, take in sewing, or take care of another's children, etc, if they lost their mates. It was really hard on women way back then, and I don't know how they made it thru, not having the opportunities women have today. Love this series -- can't wait to read The Ransom!

  38. oops-email addy for above comment: dianalflowers(at)aol(dot)com


  39. Sounds as my kind of book !

    I myself am single, but my mother brought up 5 kids, and very close in age to complicate it more :) I can´t even imagine all the hard work she put into us ! What ispires me the most is her sacrifice and care for the others, people or animals. Maternal love is very powerful !
    As for the women in the past - well, conditions change, but heart driven by love and care doesn´t, it is source of strength in any times. If you need to, you will find a way (and I am not saying it easily, you pay the price of course - mostly with your health and of course with your heart as well, you can become controller, untrusting, cold, pragmatic etc.). But hard times also drives you closer to God, as you can see that things are not possible just on your own, you can become humple and leaning on God´s love and strength (once again I am not saying this easily - the way to believe like a child is hard, but fruitful).

  40. Love a good pirate story! Love the name Julianna! Love your writing - the intricate and intriguing story-lines, the characters, the romance, the positive messages in them! And I love you!! :) Sooo looking forward to reading The Ransom, MaryLu!!
    I have known many single parents but haven't been real close enough to any, but that has never stopped me from fully appreciating the hard-work, sacrifice, and downright stamina these impressive mothers have!! And from what I've gleaned from reading historical's, I have an even greater admiration for those that forged out a life for themselves and their children in those much tougher times when there was barely any support.

  41. I known a few single parents. One that I know some what more than others is overworked and now she has some health issues come up. Can't even imagine what it would be like way back with all that julianna is going through. Things sure have changed since then...being able to do a lot more without worrying if it would be taken away or not.

  42. My sister had to raise her kids alone. the dad was around but not any help.. I would think it would have been very hard so long ago to run the business when women were to be used not to be successful without a man in charge.
    dkstevensneAToutlook ( DoT CoM)