Red over Red

Red over Red

Monday, September 8, 2014

Wifely Outrage!

In a fit of unreasonable passion, my wife made me get rid of these perfectly good Carhart pants, which for years had been reserved almost exclusively for ship work. Every tar stain and splatter of toxic bottom paint told a story. Ah, good by old friends! I'll wear you again in Fiddler's Green!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dubh-linn - Coming Soon!

The literary world is abuzz!

Dubh-linn, the long-awaited sequel to Fin Gall, should soon be available as a Kindle download or paperback. Dubh-linn (the original Gaelic spelling for the city of Dublin) continues the adventures of Thorgrim Nightwolf, his son Harald, Ornolf the Restless and the rest, along with some new characters I genuinely enjoyed writing. After all the trouble they encountered in Fin Gall, Thorgrim (who only really went a-Viking to please Ornolf, he having done enough of that sort of thing to satisfy himself for a lifetime) is eager to get himself and Harald home to Norway. But when Brigit, heir to the throne of Tara and the object of Harald's passion, comes to them pleading for help in her effort to take the reins of power, the Vikings once again find themselves enmeshed in the bloody struggles for power that the Irish wage against one another.

And, on a completely different note... Frequent visitors to this blog might have noticed (or would have, if there were frequent visitors to this blog) that it has not been updated in a while. Technical difficulties. I don't seem to be able to post pictures anymore, and I hate making blog posts without pictures. Not sure why, I just like posting pictures. So, I'm trying to figure out the problem in my spare time. Which does not exist. Stand by...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Author Interview!

Writer Mary Jean Adams has posted an interview with me on her blog, aptly named Mary Jean Adams. In the interview I discuss some of the issues of self-publishing, pros and cons. My thanks to Mary Jean, I appreciate the opportunity to write about some of these issues I have been thinking quite a bit about.

I just got an e-mail from a BBC reporter who wants to do an interview about Ann Bonny and Mary Read. That should be fun. A number of my books were done as audio books by a British company. Amazing how much better one's writing sounds when it is read with a British accent!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Readers Doing it Right!

If you are going to read Fin Gall (and you should read Fin Gall) then reader John Budd demonstrates how to do it correctly. His father, Russ Guibord, of Bristol, Maine gave him a copy to read on a recent trip to Ireland. John sent some pictures of the book in its proper setting....

Here's the book at Kilfenora Cathedral in Kilfenora

And it's truly proper setting, O'Connor's Pub in Doolin, County Clare.
The bloody book gets bought a Guiness and I don't!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Do You Love This Guy, or What?

For some reason I was thinking of this quote. It's one of my favorites, and  every time I read it, it inspires me to drag my sorry butt off the ground and do what needs to be done.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who
is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives
valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without
error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great
enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best
knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least
fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt
April 23, 1910

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Interview With Maritime Author Lincoln Paine

Here's a recent interview with Lincoln Paine, a friend and fellow Maine author. He's talking about his new book The Sea & Civilization, a monumental work that looks at world-wide maritime history from the time that there was such a thing. This is a book that you have to buy at the very least so that people can see it lying around your house and marvel at your erudite reading material.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Oh, Now I Get It...

When we did this Blog Hop, and Helen Hollick who organized it said it was supposed to end on September 21, she meant September 21 of this year!

I thought I had a lot more time than I did...

Okay, that might not be strictly true. I may have had an idea that the Blog Hop was supposed to be over the course of one week. But I didn't get to it. That's the problem with all this social media - how is one supposed to blog/Tweet/Snapchat/Snapple/Twaddle and write books at the same time? At least it's not like the old days, when you had to write with a feather (okay, true confession, I do in fact use a feather for blogging. Maybe that's what's slowing me down...)

Well, if anyone still cares, I'll continue this saga, begun during the Bog Hop, of some of the ships I've worked aboard...

I signed aboard the Golden Hinde II (see below) with the idea that I would be gone for half a year and then return to Hollywood and resume my promising career in the Entertainment Industry (promising to turn me into one of the winos on Hollywood Boulevard, that is). Anyway, I was off on the Hinde for a full year and when I got back to Los Angeles I sold everything and headed off for my next ship. Looked like the career change, which was supposed to be just a reprieve, would be semi-permanent.

Problem was, I didn't have a new ship. But my former Hinde shipmate Lisa had moved to Washington State, and, as a worthy boatswain I once worked with was fond of saying "A woman will drag you further than gunpowder will blow you!" He was right. Though he didn't say "woman." He used another word.

So off to Washington, where they had just completed the replica 18th Century brig Lady Washington in Aberdeen. Lisa and I were in Bellingham, but she ran off to work aboard the ship Edna in the South Pacific (another great story - but hers) so I went to Aberdeen to join the Lady Washington.

Lady Washington

The bad news was, the ship was broke, the town had no idea what to do with her, and they were not hiring anyone. The good news (for me) was, when they had initially rigged her they made a bad choice in the cordage they used, and all her standing rigging from the lower shrouds up, and much of the running gear, would have to be replaced. So they would be hiring folks real soon.

With money from the sale of all my stuff, including my boat, I was able to live in Aberdeen (not an expensive proposition) and volunteer aboard the Washington until they were ready to hire a rigging gang (ah, youth! and it's blessed freedom from obligations!)

Finally (I don't remember when - Spring of 1990? Fall? Hell, I don't remember what year it was last week) they hired on a rigging gang, first under the direction of Jamie White (who is now Director of the Texas Seaport Museum) and then under the able command of C. A. Finger, who supervised a majority of the work. It was a big job. The ship was entirely rigged when we started, so everything had to come down, her rig stripped off entirely until there was nary a rope on her. Then we spent months in the loft, building the new rig and finally setting it all up again.

Whipping a line aboard the Lady Washington

Charlie Finger, who was a great rigger but an ungodly pain in the ass to those in charge, told the Board of Directors, "We can do this job two ways, we can do it quick or we can do it right." Of course, they opted for doing it right. And that's what we did. Under Charlie's direction and through the efforts of some very talented riggers (I don't necessarily put myself in that category) we did a hell of a job. Charlie was a stickler for authenticity and getting it right, but he would also rein us in when we were getting a little carried away. You lose authenticity if you try to be to precise as much as if you are too sloppy, and Charlie would remind us of that with his regular cry of "Hey, we ain't engineering the f**king space shuttle!" I have honestly not seen many 18th century sailing ship replicas better rigged than the Lady Washington. Endeavor is, but there aren't many that can beat Washington.

That rigging job was a great experience. Nothing can teach you better how a ship's rig works than to help build one from scratch. With that done we set out on sea trials and a lot of local sailing, but nothing too exciting. The Gray's Harbor Historical (Hysterical?) Seaport still had a world of financial hurt and they weren't doing much.

Here I am in front of Lady Washington when the rig was done and we had set everything to check the lead of the running gear. And no, I did not just have one shirt and one pair of pants, even though I'm wearing the same ones as in the picture above. I probably owned three shirts at that point in my life.

Not too long after the ship was re-rigged, there commenced a great pissing match/struggle for control of the Seaport by various factions, the usual sort of small town (or big city) BS that happens with organizations such as this. Many of us were soon persona non grati. And that could only mean one thing - off to another ship!

Coming soon - Chapter Three, the Rose!