Red over Red

Red over Red

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

One Long Blast - Vessel Getting Underway!

Okay, the Nautical Blog Hop is underway and I'm just 12 hours behind! I've been agonizing over what to write, have thought of and rejected a few ideas, in other words I have, as usual, been way over thinking this whole damned thing!

My latest book is Fin Gall about Vikings in early medieval Ireland.

It would make a lot of sense for me to write a blog about Vikings in early medieval Ireland. That way you, dear reader, would be tempted to click over and buy a copy of Fin Gall. Which is my latest book. But I decided not to do that. Instead, I will give away a signed copy of Fin Gall (latest book - did I mention that?) to a randomly selected person who posts a comment on this blog.

(That kind of business thinking, by the way, is the reason that I am in the financial state that I currently am in, and why I must now get up and wash the dinner dishes, rather than simply instructing my French maid to do them.)

Here's how it will work (the give-away, that is). I'll number the comments #1 to whatever, write those numbers on a piece of paper and have my scrupulously honest wife choose one from a hat. Then I'll give a free book to whoever said the most flattering things about me in their comment.

Just kidding. As far as you know.

So I've been agonizing on what to write. I thought about writing an article on the famous naval battle of the War of 1812 between the USS Enterprise and the HMS Boxer, the most significant naval action to take place off the coast of Maine (it ain't much but it's all we got). And the more I thought about it, the more I thought, Boy, does that sound boring!

And kids, here's an important tip for writers - if you think its boring, it's a good bet your readers will, too. Trust me on this, I'm a professional.

Boxer and Enterprise: Not as interesting as you might think...
Actually, the story of Boxer and Enterprise is fascinating, but being the 200th anniversary of the event, I have been talking about it nonstop and I don't think I can muster the energy for more.
And then I thought, why not write about my favorite subject - me!?
Okay I'm not really that egotistical, or at least I would not admit to it. But seeing as this is a Nautical Blog Hop and I've had the good fortune to do some nautical stuff, I thought I would write about some of the ships on which I have sailed.
A little backstory (that's what we writers call all the stuff that happened back before the story started)...
As a kid I always loved ships. Where other kids were into dinosaurs, for me it was always ships. I would spend recesses looking at pictures of ships. In middle school I built a 12 foot skipjack, my first boat.
Me, pre-beard, with my skipjack
Then, in high school, I discovered a) beer and b) girls and that was about it for any other interests. I ended up going to UCLA Film School to be a Big Time Movie Director. One day I was walking across campus where the sailing club had a 12' dingy set up and they were handing out fliers for sailing lessons. I looked at that boat, and it was like the moment in the movies when the clouds open up and a stream of light comes down on the protagonist and heavenly voices sing and you just know a piano is about to drop on his head.
I started sailing with the UCLA Yacht Club and all that passion for the sea awoke from its slumber and I developed a serious sailing habit (should have got into drugs - it would have been cheaper and healthier in the long run) Once I graduated and was making (for me) good money I bought a 27' boat and was living aboard it in Marina Del Rey. Then one day I read an article saying that the Golden Hinde, a replica of Sir Francis Drake's ship from 1577, was sailing in and they were looking for crew. And I thought, Hey, that's what I've always wanted to do!
And my life swirled off in yet another unexpected direction.
The Golden Hinde II - Who could resist?
Coming Next - Adventures on the Golden Hinde II 
Hopefully I have not killed your interest in the nautical Blog Hop, because there are a number of other blogs which actually have real, informative content! Check them out on the right hand side panel of this blog!


  1. I loved the humor -- and the backstory. And I want to hear about your adventures on the Golden Hinde II.

  2. I can relate to the writing dilemma. Waiting for that Eureka Moment can be a long wait sometimes.

  3. My husband got Fin Gall for father's day and loved it. And he thinks it would make a great movie. So there you go, you can use that film degree after all.

  4. Good humor as always, and I'm looking forward to the next installment of your adventures.

    Which is what you pros call hooking your reader. :-)

  5. Good tip, Jim! Don't be boring. Always enjoy your thoughtful meanderings. :)

  6. Since grade 6,the War of 1812 always fascinated me. I guess that's what happens living within a fifty mile radius of a lot of the important battles. For the 150th anniversary of our city, they had a re-enactment of a naval battle at Burlington Heights.Our city is also lucky to be the owners of two American battleships, the Hamilton and the Scourge, that sank offshore during a Storm. In Centennial Park, there is a memorial to all the sailors, who lost their lives.

  7. Love your post Jim (but then I always love your writing LOL) Thanks for this - and thanks for joining the Blog Hop!

  8. Great Post Jim . Different .

  9. It's a hell of a story so far. Looking forward to more of the Hinde voyage.

    P.S. I like Vikings too.