Monday, July 13, 2009


I'm a fan of nautical history and fiction, especially from the 18th to early 19th century, and especially fore-and-aft rigs. I served my apprenticeships aboard a historical wooden sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay (USA) and currently crew on board a tall ships. I have published two books of poetry based on my experiences with the boat and the land and water (Heron Sea and Slow Motion).

Unfortunately, I have been frustrated by the lack of gay heroes in nautical fiction. There have been hints here and there, but they are extremely minor characters and always come off badly in their encounters with the virile and masculine and admirable heterosexual male protagonists. One day, feeling cheated once again by such an encounter, I decided to write a story to amuse myself. I had no idea where it would lead or what I would write about, but I didn't let that stop me.

The character of Lt. Peter Thorton, a repressed gay man serving with the British navy of the mid-18th century immediately sprang full grown from my brain. It struck me that having a gay character would be an interesting twist on the usual nautical adventure -- nautical fiction is rather formulaic, and it's hard to make a fresh and interesting story when following at the heels of Roderick Random, Frank Mildway, Mr. Midshipman Easy, Ishmael, Harvey Cheyne, Jim Hawkins, Horatio Hornblower, Jack Aubrey, Lord Ramage, Alan Lawry, and the many other fictional heroes of what is very likely the oldest genre in English.

The Adventures of Roderick Random was first published in 1748 and set the mold of a roguish but resourceful heterosexual male hero, following him from his childhood of petty delinquency into his early years as a very junior officer aboard ship, the bedding of many women, humorous misadventures, and the eventual success and rehabilitation of the hero. Even that modern movie member of the genre, Pirates of the Caribbean, follows a similar course, albeit with magic thrown in for good measure.

I posted the first draft to where I have been frequently frustrated with the FictionPress interface. However, it does provide various advantages, such as tracking how many people read each of your stories, forums, and a ready-made readership that go there looking for stories. But, as I have been working on the revision to the novel, it occurred to me that I could blog it and present the story in a way that is easier on the readers -- and hopefully myself. Blogging technology is a lot less buggy than, even if it doesn't give me stats on the number of readers.

Anyhow, I figure it's worthy trying out to see how well it works. If you like what you see, Follow the blog for chapters as they become available. And do post your comments -- I'd love to hear from you!


M. Kei


  1. Man I am so confused! Which version of this first novel should I be reading? It seems like this version is the newer, revised version, and the FictionPress version is the older one. But FictionPress has like 10 more chapters or something. Then there's the print version on LuLu. I just don't know what to read!!

  2. Sorry about that. The version on is the rough draft. It is longer... and I had complaints from people who thought it was too long. So, I edited it. But Fictionpress doesn't really handle the revisions very well, and I found the software frustrating, so I posted it here. The version here is the 'real' version.

    Because it was very well received, I went ahead and published it; sells the paperback version of what you can read for free here. Some people prefer an honest to god book to read (I know I do) and don't like to read online. Others are all about free books. Bristlecone Pine Press bought the right to the ebooks, so pretty soon the ebook will be available via Kindle, the Applestore, etc. That ebook is the version properly formatted for ebook readers, but it is the same story that you can read here.

  3. You're doing a great job of whetting my appetite! I enjoyed reading about your experience and I agree with you on the deplorable lack of gay characters. Now on to the story . . .

  4. P.S. I'm glad I'll be able to read this on my Kindle!