Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pirate Roll Call

My new novel The Seventeenth Island is available now on Amazon and in finer stores everywhere! Within its pages, a sailing vessel (the Affinity) of French pirates search for the buried treasure of their evil arch-enemy, a sadistic buccaneer named Vincenzo. While the crew are out to get rich on the spoils, the Captain's motivations are really about revenge over a past grudge that remains a mystery to the crew. Soon the dissonance between the goals of Captain Crespelle and his crew begin to form a growing wedge between them, as a series of strange incidents convinces the superstitious men that a curse has been placed on their voyage.

The crew of the Affinity are numerous, so much so that you may need a scorecard to tell the players at first. This, then, is a quick checklist of just a few of the colorful characters you will meet in The Seventeenth Island:

Colin. Resourceful tinkerer, inventor. Master Gunner of the Affinity. Has sailed with the Captain for many years after a bounty was put on his head in London for stealing a horse from an Earl. Goes only by Colin, which isn't his real name. Once, during an emergency when kidnapped by Cap'n Sourweed, built a working pistol in ten minutes out of a metal tube, some black powder, oakum, wax, and a nail.

Goaty. Real name Pierre Riel, "Goaty" was a friend and co-adventurer of Captain Crespelle for many years before officially signing on board as a member of his crew. Expert hunter, trapper, tracker, woodsman. Has insisted for a decade that his full pirate nickname is "The Invincible Goatherder", which absolutely no one calls him.

Crane. Second mate on the Affinity, Crane has been a very sporadic member of the crew for several years. When he saves up sufficient funds, he returns to his home in the south of France to bring money and gifts back to his wife and kids, who believe him to be in the French Navy and have no idea that he is a pirate. Crane is a excellent sailor and fighter, although he is easily given to greed and untrustworthiness. His deep respect for Captain Crespelle usually holds his shiftier character traits in check, however.

Guillaume. Born in slavery to African parents on a plantation in Bermuda and soon thereafter separated from them, Guillaume was one of the select few allowed to have an education - he speaks many languages - and was one of the personal servants of Admiral Eckley, the British owner of the plantation. Joined up with the Affinity after he and Courtemanche overthrew Eckley and took over the plantation. No longer remembering his given name and forsaking the name given him on the plantation, calls himself simply Guillaume. Has heard his parents are in Surinam and hopes to eventually find them.

Courtemanche. Quentin Courtemanche is the ship's sailing master/navigator/helmsman, although the actual duty of manning the helm is often parceled around to many other crewmembers as well. He sailed with the French Navy for many years before fleeing justice for killing a man in a saloon in Wales. "I dearly wish I could bring him back to life," Courtemanche humbly told the Judge before his facial expression turned to a sneer, "so I could go back and kill him again."

Pablo. Pablo Resendes is a recent addition to the crew, having become a de facto member when the Affinity had to hurriedly pull out of Portugal with him still on board visiting. Pablo, a widowed cooper, chose to stick it out with the Affinity.

Gaston. For most of his life, Belgian-born Gaston Lemmer was a dockworker in France. He visited the Affinity while it was in Dunkirk during one of its celebrations of a recent victory, and saw the ship was filled with beautiful women. Gaston, mistakenly assuming this was the norm for life on board, quit his job to join the crew. Though bitterly disappointed at first, Gaston has became one of the Affinity's most seaworthy men.

The Stoat. A wily Irishman whose real name is unknown. Signed on with Captain Crespelle eleven years ago after his previous Captain, Pine Cone Jack, was lynched by his own crew for banning tobacco. Tolerated by all despite the fact that he rarely seems to do anything on the ship but smoke and drink.

Jean-Michel. The only crewmember with the distinction of having come from a pirate family himself, Jean-Michel Chabot was born on a pirate ship and knows no other life. Though vastly overqualified to run a ship of his own, he prefers his position of first mate and does not seek to command.

Minty. Jacques Mintier worked at a fancy restaurant in Paris five years ago when he was fired for giving Captain Crespelle and his men one of the best tables in the house. The Captain, coming to his aid, offered him the position of cook on the Affinity. The two have been allies ever since. One of his and the Captain's greatest capers involved a drunken police chief, a bag of fake gold pieces, and a Tarentaise cow, but this just isn't the time or place to tell the tale.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lucky Thirteen

As I predicted here earlier, I haven't quite made the self-imposed deadline of "late April" for the simultaneous release of The Bartender and The Seventeenth Island. I've been too busy living the Hemingway lifestyle in Florida and South Carolina to actually, you know, do writerly stuff. But hey, deadlines are made to be broken, and as a great man once said, "the greater the project, the more deadlines it will miss." (Okay, I think I said that.) My latest tentative deadline is my birfday, May 13th, and I'm pretty sure at least one of these little opuses will rear its pointed little head by then. Unless I get distracted by something shiny, like reflections of a neon sign in a margarita glass or some female spy giving me the Sparkly Eyes Technique.

Meanwhile, I haven't been entirely loafing. While in Myrtle Beach, I did some work on an upcoming horror novel about a boxer which takes place in the 1930s, called The Alternation of Night and Day. And Solar Station A, a lengthy science fiction epic, is almost completed and will appear later in the summer. By year's end, we'll also see a novel that's not quite a sequel to The Devil and Daniel Boone but it does feature at least one of its characters. Also by year's end, all of the above titles - and more - will be available in fancy hardcover editions from Wakeling & Harbour, published independently of any Amazon-based platform.

That's all. As you were. Carry on. Blessed be.