Get Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure for $.99 for a limited time!

Welcome to October! We’re nearing the end of 2020 (finally). The air is cooler. Leaves are changing colors. The air seems cleaner. Ahh.

I’m celebrating by completing the behind-the-scenes actions needed to have my upcoming mystery, Death on the Boardwalk (preorder here), finished and by offering my action-adventure novel, Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure, on Kindle for just $.99!

Amazon is running a sale on the book from October 2-9, 2020!

Here’s a recent review:

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Adventure Mystery – “Mr. Wygal’s book was a great adventure/mystery story. I couldn’t put it down. It was easy to read and kept me guessing.”

Get it on Kindle here!


Upcoming Appearance

I will be signing copies of my books at the Myrtle Beach Fall Fest on October 11, 2020 from 11-4. Get more information about the event here.

Death on the Boardwalk is now available for Preorder!

Caleb Wygal’s new Cozy Mystery, Death on the Boardwalk, is now available to preorder on Kindle! Preorders for the hardcover and paperback versions will likely come in November.

In case you missed it, here is the description of Death on the Boardwalk:

The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is normally an idyllic place. Until death arrives on recently widowed bookstore owner Clark Thomas’ doorstep.
When the body of a local businesswoman and environmentalist gets dumped by the back door of his shop, Clark finds himself in a unique position to investigate the crime. But should he? When it comes to murder, something else drives him he doesn’t want to admit.
As he launches his own search for the killer, Clark comes across a variety of colorful Boardwalk inhabitants who might have had reason to kill an otherwise beloved person.
Can he do it and start putting his wife’s death behind him in the process, or will it open up a fresh wound?

Death on the Boardwalk Book Description Revealed!

I hope you are doing well this weekend. It’s a gloomy, rainy day here in Myrtle Beach. I hope the weather is better where you are. 
   After a couple weeks of writing, erasing, workshopping with other authors, and my publisher, we have the book description for my next mystery novel, Death on the Boardwalk, ready to reveal! Without further ado, here it is:

   The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is normally an idyllic place. Until death arrives on recently widowed bookstore owner Clark Thomas’ doorstep.
   When the body of a local businesswoman and environmentalist gets dumped by the back door of his shop, Clark finds himself in a unique position to investigate the crime. But should he? When it comes to murder, something else drives him he doesn’t want to admit.
   As he launches his own search for the killer, Clark comes across a variety of colorful Boardwalk inhabitants who might have had reason to kill an otherwise beloved person.
   Can he do it and start putting his wife’s death behind him in the process, or will it open up a fresh wound?


The book is slated for release in mid-January. I should have an exact release date nailed down within the next few weeks. 

Until then, you can pick up my other mystery novel, A Murder in Concord, on Kindle as part of this $.99 Book Mega-Sale! Check it out here!

Death on the Boardwalk Cover Reveal!

I’ve had this day circled on my calendar for a while now. For many authors, choosing the cover of their next book is a hand-wringing, nerve-wracking experience. They say you only get one chance to make a first impression, and book covers are our introductions to you. 
   My next book, in case you missed it, is the first of a mystery series set in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It takes place through the often offbeat eyes of bookstore owner Clark Thomas. I’m still working on the final book description (which is going through its third draft at present), and I will reveal that to you soon. It should be released in January of 2021.
    For now, here is the cover! Let me know what you think. 

The opening line of my next novel and a question for you

a quick update on my writing, ask you a question about my next book, and let you know about this awesome promotion for some sizzling summer reads that I’m involved in. 
   This week, I’m starting on the second draft of a murder mystery titled Death on the Boardwalk. It’s the first of a trilogy (at least) in a new Myrtle Beach Mystery series that will exist in the Lucas Caine universe. (They might meet in an upcoming novel 😉). 
   Here’s a little preview for your eyes only.

So, here’s my question to you. Are you eagerly anticipating the next Lucas Caine novel, or should I write the last two novels in the Myrtle Beach Murders? I also have the next two Lucas Caine novels planned. Drunken Jack’s Revenge and (here’s a reveal no one has seen yet) Confederate Gold
   I had thought about alternating between the two. Myrtle Beach Mystery, Lucas Caine Adventure, Myrtle Beach Mystery, Lucas Caine Adventure, etc. etc. You get the point. 
   What do you think I should write next? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 


   If you are a reader of explosive Mysteries and Thrillers (like my novel, The Search for the Fountain of Youth) and subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, then check out this awesome collection of summer reads (it includes one of my novels).

Treasure and artifacts raised from the famed ‘Mercedes’ shipwreck

Here is an internal memo I received about the Spanish ‘Mercedes’ shipwreck. It comes from Lucas Caine, co-owner of Big Treasure Finders, LTD out of Morehead City, NC, I thought I would pass this along to you. Every now and then, he sends me some bits of info about lost treasures along the Atlantic Coast that he thinks might interest me. I think they could interest you as well.

Lucas Caine Adventures, Caleb Wygal

Hey Gang,

This one is just a tad bit out of our range, but I thought you might be interested to know that Spanish archaeologists recently recovered artifacts including silverware, candelabras, and bronze cannons from the shipwreck of the Nuestra Senora de Las Mercedes.

What makes this interesting is that the Odyssey Marine Exploration outfit had raised about 600,000 coins from the wreck back in 2007. I think everyone thought that was all there was to it until an international seminar was held in Warsaw in 2019 where it was revealed that there was more to the wreck.

Apparently, Odyssey only focused on the coins (which Spain eventually recovered in court), leaving behind everything else.

The Mercedes went down 30 nautical miles off the coast of Portugal on October 5, 1804. The British Royal Navy sank the ship in what is now International Waters, violating an 1802 peace treaty. Nearly 300 crew members perished. The Mercedes carried a huge load of gold, silver, and copper that sat nearly 4,000 feet beneath the surface for over 200 years.

In 2014, the National Museum of Underwater Archaeology of Cartagena began plans to recover what Odyssey left in the Mercedes. They collaborated with the Spanish Navy and Spanish Oceanography Institute to achieve their goal.

The team spent the next three summers sending down ROVs and mini-subs to capture images of what was there, develop an archaeological map, and extract artifacts. They found that the Odyssey team was careless in their excavation in preserving the wreck. But the Spanish team captured the images they needed at that depth and developed a strategy to regain the artifacts.

They used high-pressure water jets to clean the area around their targets, particularly the cannons. This enabled them to delicately remove the dense, gray substratum deposits layer by layer, the same way an excavation on land would take place. They found that most of the artifacts were laying just on top of the seafloor. It took 35 hours to excavate one cannon.

The artifacts are being analyzed and restored at the museum of Cartagena. Maybe we’ll have to take a trip to Spain to check it out someday.

Anyway, I just thought I’d let you guys know what’s piqued my interest this week.

You know I love sharing what I’m reading with you all, especially Lisa. This month, I found an ebook giveaway for people who love thrillers. It’s called the Must-Read Summer Thrillers, Suspense, and Mystery Novels. In it, you can find a couple dozen FREE books across those genres. Here’s a link to it. Let me know what you find.

See ya,

Lucas Caine

Jevon Carter’s ‘Treadmill Mentality’ kept him busy during quarantine

The ultra-competitive, hard-working Jevon Carter just couldn’t sit on his couch playing video games after the NBA shutdown.

On March 11, 2020, after Utah Jazz C Rudy Gobert tested positive for Covid-19, NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, made the call to suspend the season.

Playing in his second pro season, Carter had worked his way into a solid role with the Suns. He had been a bulldog coming off the bench. Head coach, Monty Williams, called on Carter to inject his intensity on the defensive end and to provide a boost on offense.

The Suns had just finished playing a game against the Portland Trailblazers when the NBA shut down.

Carter couldn’t believe it.

“It didn’t really hit me until they told me I couldn’t go into the gym anymore,” Carter said. “That’s when it hit me hard.”

So what does someone like Carter who finds himself suddenly cut off from the gym, his teammates, and coaches do?

He got on Google.

“I just went out and typed in different workouts,” Carter said. “I was going to outside parks and stuff, shooting on triple rims. It was super hard to hit on those rims. That was making me mad. I’m out there running all over the place, trying to get the ball.”

He did what he might have done had he still lived in Morgantown. He hiked. Hitting the trails and mountains around Phoenix to help keep in shape. He trained at home with his two roommates. Push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, crunches. Whatever he could do to stay in shape.

When not exercising or playing board games and cards, Carter exercised the mental part of his game. He watched film on the top guards in the league. Dissecting what made them the best, and figuring out how he could implement those traits and actions into his game.

When the NBA announced that they would resume the season–tentatively on July 31st–on a truncated schedule in a bubble in Orlando and that players could resume workouts on a limited basis, Carter leaped (probably literally) at the chance.

The Suns have a chance to make the Playoffs for the first time since 2010. Carter is ready.

“Let’s go shock the world,” Carter said.

With someone like Carter in the fold, they just might do that.

 


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Could Tavon Austin join David Sills in New York?

Although they never shared the same field in Morgantown, two Mountaineers could wear the same uniform in New York.

The Giants are looking to strengthen their stable of receivers. They already have the former WVU touchdown-scoring machine in David Sills on the roster. He spent most of his rookie season in the Giants’ practice squad before getting called up to the active roster.

Tavon Austin is still available as a free-agent, and his connection to their coaching staff could bring him into consideration as ESNY’s Ryan Honey suggests:

I know, Tavon Austin is nowhere near a tall option at 5-foot-8. Nonetheless, he has pure familiarity with Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who was his head coach in Dallas from 2018-19. Thus, Austin knows Garrett’s playbook and could easily become accustomed to the gameplans.

Austin hasn’t impressed much in the passing game since the 2016 campaign — one of his final years with the Rams. During that season, he recorded career-highs in both receptions (58) and yards (509) and notched three touchdown catches. Since that year, he’s caught a combined 34 balls for 364 yards and three touchdowns.

To be honest, he’s probably the last guy on this list who I’d want the Giants to sign, but you have to admit connections mean something in this league. Austin’s prior relationship with Garrett along with his offensive playbook could lead to the 30-year-old potentially signing a cheap deal to come to East Rutherford.

Whichever team Austin signs with will be the third of his pro career.

Could a destination closer to his childhood home in Maryland and the place of his college years in West Virginia be in his future?

Amelia Island Treasure and the San Miguel

Here is an internal memo I received about the long-rumored treasure said to be off of Amelia Island in Florida from the long-lost San Miguel. It comes from Lucas Caine, co-owner of Big Treasure Finders, LTD out of Morehead City, NC, I thought I would pass this along to you. Every now and then, he sends me some bits of info about lost treasures along the Atlantic Coast that he thinks might interest me. I think they could interest you as well.

Lucas Caine Adventures, Caleb Wygal

Hey Gang,

You know I’ve been talking about this Amelia Island Treasure for a while, so I thought I would give you some background on it.

The San Miguel set sail from Havana in July of 1715, along with 12 other ships bound for Spain as part of the Plate Fleet. The 1715 War of Succession had drained the nation’s funds and needed what was basically a stimulus package from their outlying lands in the Caribbean.

The fleet got caught in a bad hurricane near Vero Beach, FL. Eleven of the ships sunk, killing over 1,000 people. Some treasure was salvaged, but roughly half of it is still out there somewhere.

One ship, the San Miguel, was one of the 11 ships lost in the storm, but there’s reason to believe that it escaped and made it north before eventually sinking. The San Miguel was the fastest ship in the fleet. Logic dictates that it would have been given the most treasure since it could have escaped possible attacks from pirates. Blackbeard anyone?

Following the storm, the ship was last seen without a mast floating past St. Augustine (who can forget the last time we were in that city?) in a northerly direction.

The reason the San Miguel is so sought after is that it was the register ship of the fleet, meaning it had permission to carry important cargo and passengers. It likely carried the Queen’s Dowry full of silver, gold, gemstones, spices, tobacco, and indigo.

Polly L
Amelia Research & Recovery, The Polly-L, Fernandina Harbor, via AmeliaIslandLiving.com

Over the years, coins dated to the time of what would have been carried on the San Miguel have been found on Amelia Island.

Captain Doug Pope has spent years looking for the treasure aboard his 3-legged Polly-L research vessel. You should see this thing. It’s state-of-the-art and gives Pope and his crew the ability to stay over a site for days at a time. He’s spearheading the search for the San Miguel. Hopefully, he’ll find it.

Anyway, I just thought I’d let you guys know what’s piqued my interest this week.

You know I love sharing what I’m reading with you all, especially Lisa. This week I’m going all the way back to 1984 with Pirates, Planters, and Patriots: Historical Tales from the South Carolina Grand Strand by Rob Gragg. You know, in case we ever hunt for treasure down that way. You never know.

See ya,

Lucas Caine

Excerpt from The Search for the Fountain of Youth

Here is a brief excerpt from The Search for the Fountain of Youth. Enjoy!


. . . A gloved hand brushed aside several broken plates and grasped the bottle. The hand pulled it closer to a scuba diving mask for a better view.  

Lucas Caine couldn’t believe his eyes. After careful research and a tip from an offshore fisherman, he and his business partner, Darwin Trickett, discovered what they hoped was the wreckage of the Patriot. Since the ship disappeared sometime around New Year’s Day in 1813, rumors and legends of what happened to the ship and its passengers swirled.  

They discovered the ship in two-hundred feet of water in an area dubbed ‘The Graveyard of the Atlantic.’ Their first clue was a pile of ballast lying a depression. Upon closer investigation, they found the carcass of a ship covered by sand and other debris lying around the pile of rubble. Not much remained.  

The answer to the shipwreck’s identity might lie in the bottle clutched in his hands. To this point, he and Darwin had no definitive proof that this was the Patriot. 

The remains of the front half of the ship where the name would have been were no more. Lucas’s brother, Blake found a fork with, they think, a name engraved on it. Sailors during this period owned a fork on which they had their name inscribed. Lucas had to get the piece of cutlery back to the lab for further investigation and see if the name matched any sailor known to be aboard the Patriot

Not much survived. A pile of ballast and other lumps in the sand were the only clues of a shipwreck. Lucas did most of the diving. Darwin stayed on board their ship to give support. His size made it difficult for him to maneuver through the sometimes-dangerous wreckages. Darwin was six foot, eight inches tall and weighed over three-hundred and fifty pounds on a good day. Lucas stood a few inches shorter, still six-three, but had a body honed from years of swimming. 

They each recognized the other’s strengths and weaknesses. Their present roles in their company, Big Treasure Finders, Ltd., suited them.   

“Lucas?” Darwin called through Lucas’s earpiece. “Lucas, what’s up? Talk to me.”  

Lucas tore his gaze off the bottle long enough to take stock of his immediate surroundings. Small fish darted to and fro. Specks of algae floated in the water in front of his mask. 

“Uh, yeah. I found something,” Lucas said.  

“What is it?” Darwin giggled.  

Lucas sounded like Mickey Mouse due to the mix of air in his tank, which included helium. Darwin found it hilarious because he was big Disney fan. Lucas answered, “A bottle.”   

“A bottle? Neato. Fantastic.” 

 Lucas heard the sarcasm dripping in his friend’s voice. “Darwin, it’s not just any bottle. This thing has paper, a message perhaps, rolled up inside, sealed tight.”  

“You’re joking, right?” 

“Nope.” Lucas checked his remaining air supply. He would have to stop on his way to the surface to decompress to keep from getting the dreaded bends. “Darwin, I’m headed your way. Air is running low.” 

“Okay, get up here. Be careful.” 

“Trust me,” Lucas said. “I will.” 

 — 

A short while later, Lucas stood on the deck of their research vessel the Queen Anne’s Second Revenge. After he and Darwin, and the help from a few friends discovered Blackbeard’s lost treasure two years before, they went into business together searching for old shipwrecks off the Carolina Coasts and down into Georgia. Their venture was more expensive than they ever imagined. To date, none of those came close to holding or leading to what they found on their first adventure, but they’d done enough to stay in business. Barely.   

They quickly realized that deep-shipwreck diving was hazardous. Every dive held many forms of peril. A person could run out of air if they got tangled or trapped in wreckage during a dive. Of the ten million certified scuba divers in the United States, only a few hundred risked their lives and dive deep for shipwrecks.   

Lucas Caine and his younger brother Blake were two.    

The bottle sat in front of Darwin and Lucas on a white metal table against the portside wall. Findings from Lucas’s dive littered the table’s surface. A bead of water on the green glass dripped onto the tabletop. The boat rocked on the water. Seagulls honked overhead. 

Silence stretched as they regarded the significance of the bottle’s contents, Lucas said to Darwin, “Okay big guy. This is your area of expertise. Can we just uncork the bottle and see what the note says?”  

Darwin stroked the bushy goatee on his chin. Lucas remembered that when he first picked Darwin up in Raleigh, North Carolina on their way to the Outer Banks to start the search for Blackbeard’s treasure, it had been four or five years since they’d seen each other. At the time, Darwin had large, unkempt afro, thick beard, Coke-bottle glasses, and ratty clothes, not because that was his choice of style, but more because he didn’t have the money to do anything about his appearance. After they discovered the treasure, Darwin got a makeover. He kept his hair cut tight around his skull, owned a pair of glasses that would cause him to stand out at New York Fashion Week, and dressed only in Brooks Brothers clothing.   

He’d even lost weight, Lucas noted. At one time, Darwin’s appearance frightened small children. Now at thirty-years-old, he had a scholarly, welcoming exterior.   

“Usually,” Darwin answered, “you uncork the thing and see what’s in it.”  

It shouldn’t be that simple, Lucas thought, and then said, “I don’t know. If this came from the Patriot, it’s been down there for over two-hundred years. Wouldn’t the dampness and moisture surrounding the paper make the ink run? I mean, would we be able to read it?”  

“Dunno. Might be okay.”  

Lucas shook his head in consternation. “It seems like that’d be reckless. Popping the cork like that. Out here in the middle of the Atlantic.”  

Darwin shrugged his shoulders. “We could wait until we get back to the lab where we’ll be able to control the atmospheric conditions. Keep it cool and in low humidity.”  

“I prefer that way better.”  

“If you say so, boss.”  

Lucas and Darwin were fifty-fifty partners in their enterprise, but Darwin often let Lucas make the final call on important matters such as this.   

Lucas smiled. “What did I tell you about calling me that?”  

Darwin affected a look of innocence. “What? Boss?”  

“Yeah that. Don’t call me that. We’re equal in this thing, remember?”   

“I know,” Darwin laughed.   

“Besides, it makes me feel old.”  

“Whatever you say, boss.”  

— 

The wreckage of the Patriot rested in shallow water twenty miles off the coast of Nags Head. For centuries, the shifting winds and currents caused the sandbars to shift. The warm waters of Gulf Stream coming up from the Caribbean and the frigid Labrador Current streaming down from Canada come together here. Their collision causes stormy, dangerous seas. Ships passing through this region extending from the Chesapeake Bay to the north and to the Outer Banks to the south dealt with rough seas and dense fog common to the area.  

Hundreds of shipwrecks and thousands of skeletons litter the ocean floor in the Graveyard of the Atlantic. So many wrecks occurred here that the government required lifesaving stations placed every seven miles along the coast of the Outer Banks. These posts would later become the U.S. Coast Guard.  

Lucas had to get special permits to dive there.   

Over time, a shipwreck forms its own ecosystem. Tiny creatures attach themselves to steel and wood hulks. Those creatures draw predators that attract their own predators, and so on, all the way up the food chain. Open-water fish such as codfish, pollack, and tuna visit these wrecks to feast.   

One thing Darwin and Lucas did after starting their business was to develop a rapport with the offshore fishermen. Shipwrecks become the lifeblood of fishermen. Fat fish makes the fishermen’s bank accounts fatter.   

Fishing charter captains have their own secret spots. The secret spots made them rich. They build a collection of these sites as they operate. The fish are always there. They might discover these spots while scanning their bottom finder for sudden lumps out on the ocean floor. They don’t know what ship is down there, but they know these humps attract fish like moths to a flame. The captains don’t allow customers to bring navigation equipment with them because they don’t want their rivals to learn where their secret spots lay.   

Darwin and Lucas were not direct competitors to these fishermen. They traded money or other favors for information about a potential wreck site. One of these tips led to the discovery of the Patriot.  

The name etched on the spoon Blake found among the debris confirmed that this was, in fact, the Patriot

After finding the shipwreck, Darwin and Lucas waited several days for the forecast to cooperate before coming back and attempting another dive. Despite having a modern vessel, the conditions in this part of the ocean could make life miserable for salvors such as themselves. 

While they waited for the weather to clear, they returned to their headquarters in Morehead City. Once there, Darwin took the bottle to a special climate-controlled room they had installed during the construction of their office. This laboratory was like a rare-book room in a library: no windows, low humidity, and low temperature. Glass cabinets lined the walls while a long worktable sat at its center surrounded by chairs. A tall red chest sat in one corner, similar to a tool chest used by auto mechanics. It contained various implements for working on ancient and fragile artifacts: tweezers, magnifiers, surgical gloves, X-Acto knives, dental picks, brushes, and other small tools.   

Darwin rested the bottle on the stainless-steel table. Their lead assistant and researcher, Lisa Kramer, had lined a metal ice bucket used for chilling wine with dozens of packets of silica gel. The same small, white packets that come in shoeboxes. The silica creates a moisture-drawing barrier around the bottle. They hoped that this setup would suck out any water remaining in the bottle. Then, they could withdraw Theodosia Burr Alston’s letter without worrying about wetness disintegrating the paper or causing the ink to run.   

While Darwin and Lisa worked on preserving the bottle and its contents, Lucas reported their finding of the Patriot to the Society for American Archaeology, the World Archaeological Congress, and the Society for Historical Archaeology, the federal United States government, and the government of North Carolina. He gave the exact GPS coordinates and date of discovery. That way they would get credit for the discovery and hold the salvage rights.  

The world of marine salvage could be cutthroat. Companies and investors often spent millions of dollars trying to track down vessels laden with gold and treasure. They made a risky choice when leaving the Patriot for a few days due to the weather. If other salvage companies caught a whiff of Lucas and Darwin found, then there would be half a dozen ships steaming toward the Diamond Shoals within a few days, regardless of the weather.   

—      

There are 7.4 billion people on Earth. Humans are all over the globe. However, vast areas from the jungles of Central America to the savannahs of Africa to the icy escarpments of Antarctica have gone unexplored. 

While the archaeological world sends their resources to those zones to further our knowledge of the past, there are spaces tucked away, much closer to home, near where you live that are untouched.  

One such place in North America has gone unseen by the outside world for over four thousand years. It is near a populated area. People who passed by this entrance since the exploration of the continent began never knew of its existence. No one knew that a highly secretive tribe lives inside this opening.  

These people, they watch. 

They listen. 

Their ears have ears.  

The name “Lucas Caine” came into their hearing. Now they must learn more. And they will.  

Because nothing stops this group of people. Nothing.  

***

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