Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pirates, Dragons and Golf

AssassinsCloak has posted a review of The Sallee Rovers:

"The story is faced paced and action packed, with the characters and sailing well described and brought to life. For me it was a treat to read a novel set in this period that wasn't about the war between the British and French Empires and I look forward to seeing what direction the next two novels in the trilogy go."

Full review at:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

M. Kei Honored by the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation

Tonight was the Christmas and Volunteer Appreciation Party at the Kalmar Nyckel. I received several awards, some serious and some silly.

First, I was one of 28 people that received certificates for volunteering 400 or more hours in one year. We got a certificate and photo of the ship.

Next, I received my crew jacket for logging 500 lifetime volunteer hours.

I also received a Deck Chief certificate. A bunch of us entered deck chief training this year and all got certificates.

The silly award I received was the Boat Bum Award. I and one other person have logged over 500 hours sailing time and both received this award. Yep, it's official. I'm a boat bum :) (We already knew that.)

Various other awards were given, such as 1000, 2000, and 7000 lifetime volunteer hours, 10 years service, etc. Awards were given for maintenance, education, office work, etc, including cat care. (Regular readers will remember when Timmynocky needed emergency treatment on Martha's Vineyard.)

I am proud of my crew jacket. It's got my name (Kei) and the logo on the front and an embroidered portrait of the ship on the back. I have been lusting for one ever since I saw them last year.

Time to hit the books and really study up to be deck chief!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Sallee Rovers Wins Honorable Mention in Rainbow Awards

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) Alan Chin - The Lonely War (Zumaya Publications)

This is a very demanding but oh-so-rewarding book. While I don't know if I would read it again--at 303 pages which included some rough passages I'd rather not experience again--I can honestly say that this is a book that deserves to be read by fans of m/m who want a more realistic angle OR maybe something that is slightly off-center. It's a brilliant novel. One I'm happy I got the chance to immerse myself in. --Luce

This, I have to say, was the Jewel in the Crown of my Rainbow Award books. It was an EXCELLENT read. It kept me rapt and I can honestly say, that I never, ever, not once, knew what would happen next - but when whatever it was unfolded, I believed it. This, for me, represents very good quality writing. It is not predictable, it is realistic, emotionally engaging, engrossing and very well written. A truly worthy contender for the top spot in this category in my opinion. --Rosie

Andrew Waters, son of an American diplomat and a Chinese mother, already has two strikes against him when he joins the crew of the USS Pilgrim not long after Pearl Harbor--his mixed heritage and his pacifism. He never expects he will fall in love with his handsome commanding officer. The crew of the Pilgrim is captured and sent to the notorious Changi POW camp. The man Andrew loves will die without proper medical treatment. To save his life, Andrew makes a choice that could destroy not just his future but his life.

2) Donald Hardy - Lovers' Knot (Running Press)

My first historical and surprisingly great w/ mystery and paranormal aspectsto it. Thanks for this - who knows how long I would have gone without reading a historical if it weren't for your contest! : ) --Ethan D.

This was a wondefully told story-and for the M/M genre it rises well above most. The characters were well developed and quite real (important), the setting was marvellous, and the story was one that will not only keep you interested but will linger. I loved the supernatural element and all that went with it. A nice big thumbs up for this one. Love the Cover TOO!!! --Robert

Jonathan Williams has inherited Trevaglan Farm from a distant relative. With his best friend, Alayne, in tow, Jonathan returns to the estate to take possession, meet the current staff, and generally learn what it’s like to liveas the landed gentry now. He’d only been there once before, fourteen years earlier. But that was a different time, he’s a different person now, determined
to put that experience out of his mind and his heart….The locals agree that Jonathan is indeed different from the lost young man he was that long ago summer, when he arrived at the farm for a stay after his mother died. Back then the hot summer days were filled with sunshine, the nearby ocean, and a new friend, Nat. Jonathan and the farmhand had quickly grown close, Jonathan needing comfort in the wake of his grief, and Nat basking in the peace and love he didn’t have at home.But that was also a summer of rumors and strange happenings in the surrounding countryside, romantic triangles and wronged
lovers. Tempers would flare like a summer lightning storm, and ebb just as quickly. By the summer’s end, one young man was dead, and another haunted for life.Now Jonathan is determined to start anew. Until he starts seeing the ghost of his former friend everywhere he looks. Until mementos of that summer idyll reappear. Until Alayne’s life is in danger. Until the town’s resident witch tells Jonathan that ghosts are real. And this one is tied to Jonathan unto death…

3) George Gardiner - The Hadrian Enigma (GMP Editions)

I have never read anything by this author so was a little worried. however i enjoyed both the storyline and characters and will be looking for more books by this author in the future. --Lyne

Overall a very good effort. Thorough research, an interesting a plausible resolution to an age old mystery. There were no short cuts taken, the work was full bodied, interesting, full of facts and very well done. --Rosie

LUST. LOVE. REVENGE. COMING-OUT. An emperor's search for love destroys the very person he most adores. Crime/mystery/romance historical fiction based upon real events and characters of pagan Rome. Set two centuries before Rome's recognition of Christians, it is an era of intrigue, torrid relations, raging ambition, wild sensuality, & unconventional love. Caesar Hadrian's 'favorite' is found one dawn beneath the waters of the River Nile. Is it a prank gone wrong, a suicide, murder, or something far more sinister? Barrister & historian, Suetonius Tranquillus, & his courtesan companion Surisca are allowed
two days to uncover the truth on pain of penalty. They discover more than they bargained for ...

Honorable Mention:
4) M. Kei - Pirates of the Narrow Seas 1: The Salle Rovers (Lulu Press / Bristlecone Pine Press)
5) K.A. Mitchell - An Improper Holiday (Samhain Publishing)
6) Charlie Cochrane - Lessons in Trust (Samhain Publishing)
7-tie) Johnny Miles - Casa Rodrigo (Loose Id)
Ruth Sims - Counterpoint (Dreamspinner Press)
9) Jane Elliot - End of Trail (Manifold Press)
10) Fae Sutherland & Marguerite Labbe - Lotus in the Wild (Dreamspinner Press)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pirates of the Narrow Seas : Brag Sheet

Praise for Pirates of the Narrow Seas

PoNS 1 : The Sallee Rovers won “best full cast” and “Judge’s pick” in the Sweet Revolution Awards

PoNS 1 : The Sallee Rovers won “honorable mention” in the Rainbow Awards

PoNS 6 : The Sea Leopard won “honorable mention” in the Rainbow Awards

"This pirate tale is one of authenticity and chock full of action. One could put it on a par with C. S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series and Rafael Sabatini’s Sea Hawk and Captain Blood (if either of those two authors had Gay characters). The writing is masterly, the character’s full, the action page-turning. This is the kind of book that GLBT readers have always wanted to read about—their place in the history of adventure."--Rainbow Awards

“a dashing good tale full of adventure and mayhem, slaves and saviors, and the rigors and perils of life at sea”—Sage Whistler, author of Broken

“A swashbuckling tale full of colour, adventure and romance – a good read!”
—Gerry Burnie, Gerry B’s Book Reviews

“ an action-packed swashbuckler of the Captain Blood tradition”
—Nan Hawthorne, That’s All She Read

“well rounded individual personalities which it is a joy to follow”
— Astrodene’s Historic Naval Fiction

“nail-bitingly intense [ . . .] I highly recommend that you rush out and get this book.”
— Alex Beecroft, Speak Its Name

“The fight and battles scenes were gripping and more than once I found myself leaning forward in my seat”—Andy Eisenberg, Andy’s Musings

“the scenes onboard lateen rigged galleys, galiots, and xebecks are a delight [ . . .] an entertaining and engaging book”—Rick Spilman, The Old Salt’s Blog

“another page turner [ . . .] recommended reading”—Astrodene’s Historic Naval Fiction

“a book which can stand comparison with C. S. Forester’s Hornblower series”
—Alex Beecroft, Speak Its Name

“Think of the movie Master and Commander, but with two guys who sleep together. And I LOVED Master and Commander.”—The Thrifty Reader

“lures the reader into the story, transporting him/her back in time”
—Cindy Vallar, The Bookaneer

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Astrodene Reviews Men of Honor

I am very pleased that Astrodene's Historic Naval Fiction site has posted an excellent review of Pirates of the Narrow Seas 2 : Men of Honor.

"After reading the first book in the series I had high expectations for this novel and I was not disappointed, it was another page turner. [...] Whilst the narrative will be familiar to lovers of naval fiction set in the late 1700's it is based on a fictional history and the author uses this to full advantage as the plot takes unexpected twists and turns and the various naval powers fight it out."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Sneak Peak at PoNS 3 and PoNS 4

I've been at work most of the day sprucing up and improving my author pages at the GLBT Bookshelf. I have added thumbnails for all the ebok covers now, including the thumbnail of the cover for PoNS 3 : Iron Men. Although it is not yet out in ebook format, the cover is done, and the manuscript is at the coder, so I'm hoping it will be out in time for Christmas.

As usual, the ebook cover was done by Alex Beecroft. She found the image that is used on the cover and I'm very happy with it because it shows a Western sword side by side with a Turkish sword. To see the cover, visit the link above, choose PoNS 3 : Iron Men, and scroll down. Sadly, since it's not yet available for Kindle, the link won't take you anywhere, but it's coming. Eventually.

And speaking of 'eventually,' I've made progress with PoNS 4 : Hearts of Oak. I've hit chapter 33 of the draft, so we are now in the home stretch where I get to juggle all the pieces to make them come together and give a satisfying conclusion.

There is a new character introduced in PoNS 4 : Hearts of Oak, a 'bonny lighthorseman,' as the song puts it. He was inspired by a friend, Luc Alexander, the artist who retouched the cover of the paperback for PoNS 1 to give it a purple Sallee flag )not to be confused with Alex Beecroft, the ebook cover artist). Alex (the former) is a great fan of Hussars, and I have acquired the addiction from him.

The following artwork by French painter Gericault (famous for 'The Raft of the Medusa') depicts a chasseur, or French lighthorseman: This image was the inspiration for the character of Colonel Jan Karolyi, the Hungarian Hussar in PoNS 4.

The following image is a portrait of Lord Paget, who was commander of the King's Own Hussars during the Battle of Waterloo: He lost his leg in battle, and because he was such a handsome and popular man, it inspired advances in prosthetic technology to equip him with a prosthetic limb that would allow him to walk naturally. His leg went on to have an independent career: it was publicly exhibited for money in France for some years afterwards.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Radio De Danann: Songs of the Sea

My series, Pirates of the Narrow Seas, will be sponsoring a special segment of Radio De Danann the week of November 21st: Songs of Sailing and the Sea.

Learn more at: Radio De Danann is free Internet radio of the Pan-Celtic world, run by Nan Hawthorne.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Sallee Rovers at Reviews by Jessewave

"Fortunately, as well as all the action on deck, there’s a really good personal story going on alongside the description. It was this part of the book which had me hooked. The character of Peter was well rounded and I liked his slight aloofness which hid an honourable man who just wanted to get on with being the best officer he could [...] I felt all his frustration at his superior when Peter is punished for showing good sense instead of following orders to the letter; his powerful yearning for Roger and his despair at knowing that Roger could never love him back; and his confusion when faced with the dilemma of betraying his country or following a man he admires and respects." --Jenre

Complete review at:

Friday, October 15, 2010

PoNS 2 : Men of Honor Ebook Now Available

I'm pleased to report that the long-awaited book two of the Pirates of the Narrow Seas series, Men of Honor, is now available in a variety of ebook formats. You can buy it from Kindle, iBookstore, AllRomance, 1Romance, Rainbow Ebooks, and many other ebooksellers.

PoNS 2 : Men of Honor was reviewed by Nan Hawthorne at All She Read at

"Men of Honor is fast paced, action packed and exciting. [...] There are lots of vividly drawn characters in this novel, just as there were in The Sallee Rovers. Tangle, Shakil, and Perry are here, and Captain Horner, the ailing Captain Bishop's replacement, is a welcome addition. Towards the end a new character, a recently blinded Lieutenant Abbey, promises to be a refreshingly resourceful disabled character in a genre prone to stereotypes." -- Nan Hawthorne

PoNS 2 : Men of Honor was reviewed by Alex Beecroft at Speak Its Name

"unquestionably better than the majority of m/m Age of Sail books I’ve been reading recently. M. Kei has a fine grip on his period and his sailing details, and has produced a book which can stand comparison with C. S. Forester’s Hornblower series." -- Alex Beecroft

An excerpt is available at

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Online Pirates Steal $35K from M. Kei

Tonight I was Googling for Pirates of the Narrow Seas looking for new reviews, new booksellers, etc. What I found instead was a pirate site. I'm not going to share the ID with you because I'm not going to help people steal from me. Suffice it to say, this pirate site has served over 33,000 -- that's thirty-three thousand -- unauthorized copies of Pirates of the Narrow Seas. Had each of those 33K copies been purchased through a legitimate ebookseller, I the author, would have received approximately $35,000 in royalties.

Yes. You read that right. Online pirates have cheated me out of my livelihood. I have been hoping I could sell enough copies to make a living writing books. That so many copies of the books have been pirated is proof that I was right -- I could have made a living. If the pirates were paying for them. But they're not.

Guess how much I have received in royalties for ebooks so far: $35. That's thirty-five dollars. In other words, a thousand time as many copies of the books are being stolen as are being bought.

That just aint right.

So here I am, unemployed and slowly going broke, contemplating the prospect of having to apply to Walmart or some other retailer to get a seasonal Christmas job so that I can make some money to hold body and soul together a few months longer.

You know what happens when creative people have to devote all their time and energy to working at Walmart? They don't write books. Because Walmart chews us up and spits us out.

Here's the deal: if you like books, pay for them! The ebooks for Pirates of the Narrow Seas are all available for less than $7 each. That's less than the cost of a single movie ticket for three times as much entertainment. I think it's a fair deal. If you like the books -- and I think that you do, because it would be ridiculous for 33K people to steal a book they didn't even like -- please pay for them.

Heck, I know most of you don't know anything about me, so I made the first one available for free right here on this site. You can read an entire novel, my gift to you, by honest means. You don't have to use a pirate site. My hope is that if you like what you read, you will buy the additional books in the series. That's the deal: I give you a fair chance to find out if you like the books, and if you do, you give me a fair payment for the book.

If you have an unauthorized copy of Pirates of the Narrow Seas, please come clean and purchase a copy. If you really can't afford the $18 for a paperback or $7 for an ebook, or feel that the book's just not good enough to justify the cover price, send me a $1. Because the average royalty for the books is $1 (some resellers pay more, some pay less. $1 is the average.)

Send it anonymously to:

PoNS c/o M. Kei
P O Box 516
Perryville, MD 21903

There. You can purchase a clean conscience for just a few dollars. Paying authors for their creative work is not only the right thing to do, it's cheap.

If you love reading, please support authors!


M. Kei

Shopping for Pirates of the Narrow Seas

I've had some queries about how to purchase Pirates of the Narrow Seas. First of all, let me thank the fans and readers who have emailed and/or posted on their blogs. I appreciate your support, and I'm glad you're enjoying the books! I had fun writing them and I hope everyone has fun reading them.

Pirates of the Narrow Seas is available in paperback and ebooks.

You can buy the paperbacks at,, or many other online booksellers. Please note that the cover price is $18 US -- some online resellers are jacking up the price. There is no good reason why you should pay more than $18 US for them. If you're a budget conscious shopper, sometimes discount offers are made through To be apprised of such things, subscribe to Keibooks-Announce at googlegroups dot com. It is an announcement only elist that sends 0 - 6 emails a month. It will not spam you.

For those of you who dislike giving a credit card online, or who don't have a credit card or debit card with Visa/Mastercard enabled, there are some alternatives. For example, you could use PayPal. Or, since the books have ISBN numbers, you can order them through a brick and mortar bookstore. You can get the ISBNs by visiting any of the online retailers. An ISBN is an 'international standard book number' and is used by publishers and retailers around the world. If you've got it, you can order the book from just about anywhere.

Another economical way to get the books is to buy the ebook versions. The first two are out in ebook formats for a variety of devices. You can get it through Kindle, iBookstore,,, and other ebooksellers. The Kindle version is especially accessible -- text to speech is enabled on all books.

Further, you do not need a Kindle device. You can download the Kindle software for Mac, PC, iPad, and other devices and systems. (The software is free, but doesn't do everything the reader does. For example, it does not do text to speech.) The ebooks are less expensive than the paperback, but you will need a charge card or Visa/Mastercard enabled debit card or a gift certificate.

For those of you who do not have charge cards and would like to shop online, it is possible to purchase a Visa or Mastercard gift card. These can be very convenient, but check the fine print -- many of them charge monthly fees, service fees, or other charges.

It is also possible to read the first book, The Sallee Rovers, for free right here on this site. Look up to the right. The rough draft was originally posted at and is still archived there, but note that the paperback and ebook supercede it. The paperback and ebook are identical. All that differs is the method you use to read them.

Thank you all who are reading, reviewing, and recommending Pirates of the Narrow Seas. Please feel free to email me with your questions and comments.


M. Kei

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Men of Honor reviewed at That's All She Read

I am delighted to report that Nan Hawthorne has posted a review of Men of Honor, the second book in the Pirates of the Narrow Seas series at her blog:

"There is no question this is an exciting adventure. If a Spanish galleon is not firing on them, runaway carts are about to crush them, or someone has called someone else out for a duel. The Spanish send flaming ships to destroy a harbor, and Captain Tangle must follow another into a grotto and wage a gun battle within it." -- Nan Hawthorne, That's All She Read

I confess, book 2, Men of Honor, is my favorite of the three so far. I like them all, but writing this one was sheer fun. There was a certain amount of torture in writing the first one, but for this book I knew who my characters were and what they were up to. Of the three it most closely resembles the old-fashioned swashbucklers I loved when I was a child.

I have just finished listening Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood on my new Kindle -- it was Errol Flynn's depiction of that hero which firmly imprinted itself in my twelve-year-old brain as what a hero ought to be. I was rather chagrined to realize that I had named my hero 'Peter' -- and Captain Blood's Christian name is also 'Peter.' Peter Thorton's nemesis is Captain Bishop -- and Peter Blood's nemesis is Colonel Bishop. Both details I had forgotten long ago, but they must have been embedded in the fabric of my brain. Dare I mention more? "M. Kei" is a pen name, but in real life my middle name is 'Rafael.' Kismet, enit.

I do hope the rest of you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Choice of Broadsides

A friend pointed me to a 'choose your own adventure' game online, entitled Choice of Broadsides, located at:

It's a fun way to spend an hour, being witty and well-written. What I especially like is being allowed to choose your gender and orientation. Naturally I chose to play a gay officer :) I enjoyed my passionate romance with a French officer, although I was sorry the fortunes of war separated us.

Given that I wrote Pirates of the Narrow Seas because of the lack of characters in nautical fiction, it was wonderful to find a game in which the option was provided, and done with a dignity and wit. Choice of Broadsides is a nice little game that's worth an hour or two of your time.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Narrow Seas Received 'One Lovely Blog' Award has received the 'One Lovely Blog' Award. This is a community-generated award in which operators of historical fiction and related blogs bestow the award on those they think deserving. It is then incumbent upon the recipient to pass it along and recognize other blogs in the field.

It's gratifying to receive such rewards because the Internet can be a cold and lonely place. Many times I wonder if anybody is reading (hello, hello, anybody out there?), so the receipt of such an award gives me a boost that last for days. I love receiving comments and emails from readers, but an award from a colleague who respects my work has an extra something special to it--other writers in the field know just how tough historical fiction can be, especially when there are 'rivet-counters' who will pounce upon perceived inaccuracies. (Sometimes they're right, sometimes they're wrong, and sometimes it just doesn't matter.)

Unfortunately, I'm principally a poet and a tall ship sailor, so I'm not as conversant with the field of historical fiction blogs as others are. Some of the ones that immediately come to mind have been nominated before. However, credit is due where credit is due.

1. Nan Hawthorne's Booking History at Nan has been a keen supporter and helpful advisor in the field of historical fiction blogging. Although she was the one that gave me this reward, I am reciprocating because she's one of the genuinely professional and helpful people in the field, unfailingly courteous, insightful, and supportive for gay historical fiction.

2. Astrodene's Historic Naval Fiction Blog and the ancillary website and forums at Astrodene runs one of the most comprehensive online resources for historic naval fiction and non-fiction. He publishes reviews, catalogs, forums, interviews, and all kinds of good stuff. He's a courteous and conscientious host has been unfailing gracious to this newby in the field of nautical fiction.

3. Richard Spilman's Old Salt Blog is another great resource for fans of nautical fiction at He publishes reviews, history, stories, and sea lore. He's another fixture of the field, and fans with any interest in the sea would do well to check out his site.

4. A Room of One's Own is dedicated to fanfiction, especially historical fan fiction, and especially the Age of Sail. It was here that I discovered I was not the only one to appreciate the homoerotic potential of the Hornblower miniseries (*grin*)

5. Age of Sail blog. Another major resource for the field of nautical fiction. Here is where you can learn more about history and fiction, as well as view a really neat video of HMS Victory firing a rolling broadside at

6. Gerry B's Book Reviews. He reviews historical fiction and lots of other stuff, all with appeal for an LGBT audience. We need more good reviewers!

7. Elisa Rolle's Reviews and Ramblings. Elisa seems bent on reading and reviewing all m/m romance in existence, which is an even greater challenge given that English is not her native language. She also posts her reviews to Amazon and Goodreads, meaning excellent exposure for works she reviews. NSFW

8. Thrifty Reader reviews everything, including gay historical fiction. A lively and informal style is very readable at

9. Andi's Musing offers reviews and random blog posts about whatever strikes her at

10. Thistles and Pirates. Not technically a blog, but Cindy Vallar reviews and provides useful information to readers interested in pirates, privateers, corsairs, and related subjects in fiction or non-fiction.

11. Speak Its Name. The grand-daddy of the gay historical fiction blogs, with the admirable goal of reviewing every gay historical fiction novel ever published at

12. Historical Fiction & Fact Blog. A monster listing of historical fiction and fact blogs.

13. GLBT Bookshelf. Technical not a blog, but it's a great source for promoting LGBT work of all sorts in one wiki-based community. Thanks to Mel Keegan for running this project.

14. Boatswains and Bacteremia -~An Amalgam of Medical and Maritime History~ for those who are interested in historical medicine and maritime history, together or apart. A classic geek's blog covering a unique field at

15. Naval History Blog, from the US Naval Institute, Naval History & Heritage Command. An official blog of an official organization. Your tax dollars at work! But seriously, it's great to see historical information with an authoritative provenance, and it's especially good to see the historical material put in context as part of our military preparedness, past and present.

The rules for the "One Lovely Blog" award are as follows:

1. (If you) accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know that they have been chosen for this award.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Timmynocky Hospitalized

Readers of this blog will remember Timmynocky the Sailor Cat. I regret to report he is in the pet hospital tonight. He had a urinary blockage that made him a very unhappy kitty. This is common in neutered male cats. He is improving and we will pick him up tomorrow morning. We leave Martha's Vineyard after collecting the cat, but there is a good chance we will be embayed by strong winds roaring right into Vineyard Haven. Square-riggers cannot sail into the wind.

Once we get out we will be cruising Long Island Sound so we can drop Timmy off with the captain's former nanny, who will deliver him to a volunteer in New Jersey, who will get him to the shipyard. This is because the vet doesn't want Timmy to go to sea in case of complications. He needs to be ashore with ready access to veterinary care.

Martha's Vineyard is not very interesting. I had hoped to find some sign of local history, but it's obliterated by rich people. I'm looking forward to Long Island Sound; we will be going through New York harbor. In a tall ship. Yes!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tall Ship and Hurricane Earl

As many of you know, I crew on the tall ship Kalmar Nyckel, a reproduction of a Dutch pinnace that was originally built in 1625. As such, she predates the steering wheel and the jib sail. We have been in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where we rode out a four day noreaster with only minor damage (I repaired the Delaware state flag). We were due into Martha's Vinyard, but the Vinyard is no safe haven during a hurricane, so we diverted to New Bedford, Massachusetts. We are snug at the State Pier amid all the scallop boats. The Schooner Ernestina is also docked here, and we hear another tall ship is due in today some time.

A hurricane warning has been issued that includes us. I have been expecting this. My gut instinct has told me that the forecast has been too far east all along, and the forecast has been slowly creeping to the westward over the last several days. Much depends on other factors, but Hurricane Earl is a large hurricane that restrengthened to Category 4. I am off duty until 3 this afternoon, after which time I don't know when I will have a chance to check email or post. I do not have a camera, as Nikon did not honor their warranty and replace my camera when it died after only three months.

I have paid the obligatory visit to the Seamen's Bethel, the church made famous in Moby Dick. You can also read Jeffrey Woodward's excellent prose/poem about it in issue 3 of AtlasPoetica, available free online at: Click 'Read Atlas Poetica' and choose issue 3. The church still serves as a non-denominational place of worship and remembrance. They are attempting to raise money for restoration, so feel free to send them a donation. Here's a prayer that the current storm will not require the erection of any more cenotaphs upon its walls.

I have found New Bedford's waterfront to be much as Melville described it. Although I do not think I have met any cannibals, I have met Spaniards, Portuguese, Azoreans, Celts, Americans, African Americans, Quakers, and more in the 24 hours that I have been here--and I have not walked far. Just up the hill to Johnny Cake Street with its cobbles and historic signs. While most of my off duty crewmates have been in pursuit of beer and air conditioning, I have walked these old streets and listened to poetry rattling off the stones.

Most of the ports I have been too are nearly dead, populated more by yachts and souvenir shops than by fishboats, but in New Bedford I am surrounded by a forest of fishboats, mostly scallop boats. The Vila Nova do Corvo I has left her berth, I don't know why. I hope it is merely to a new berth and not out to sea. The Voyager, Curlew II, and Santa Maria are all rafted up with a host of others too densely packed for me to read their names, but the Fisherman has gone and so have some others. More boats are coming in: yachts from all the islands around: the Elizabeth Islands, Martha's Vinyard, Nantucket.

The harbor staff have been setting more mooring buoys to accommodate the influx. So far they have space enough to accommodate all comers. What will happen when the harbor is full and the hurricane gate is closed? Is it even possible the harbor will fill up now that fishing is in decline here as elsewhere? Once New Bedford and Fairhaven across the river were home to half the 700 whalers that hunted the seven seas. The forest of fishing booms I see now is not so impressive when I think about the leviathans of Melville's day.

For now the hurricane gate stands open, an ancient lighthouse at the entrance, welcoming all comers, just as New Bedford has always welcomed mariners from every nation and every sea. I was the only visitor to the Seamen's Bethel this morning. I sat alone in the pews and contemplated the cenotaphs. The dates spanned nearly two hundred years from the early 1800s to the 1990s. There in the humid silence it was easy to imagine their wights adrift forever in a stormy sea, looking always homeward for the light and open gate.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Men of Honor

Men of Honor is the second book in the series Pirates of the Narrow Seas. It's my favorite; I had a blast writing it. The title says what the book is about: honor. Today we don't talk much about honor, and we don't have much respect for those old-fashioned folks who believe in honor. Slogans like 'death before dishonor' seem like macho hyperbole. Yet honor was the social currency that enabled the upper class world of the 18th century to function.

A man's word was his bond. When he gave his parole, he lived by, and if necessary, died by it. It was entirely possible to release a man on parole and have him show up for his own execution. This is because if he ran away, he would lose his honor, and he would rather die than live without honor. Interesting studies have been done about how honor relates to access to financial credit, for example. A man's reputation was the only guarantee he could offer for his debts--which is one of the reasons debtors were dealt so harshly with. The man who could not pay his debts had broken his word. Thus men with reputations as liars found it difficult to access credit--and most other aspects of life among the elite of the 18th century. Sure, there were rogues who managed to survive anyhow, but that's because no system is perfect.

Peter Thorton is an honorable man. That is intensely important to him, and it's something that other men recognize in him. In Men of Honor, when he is arrested, he gives his parole and returns to duty as a lieutenant aboard the Ajax while he awaits his court martial -- a court martial that could kill him. He makes no escape attempt -- that would destroy his honor. He's given his word, and even though he has his moments of fear and weakness, he shows up for his court martial at the duly appointed time.

English law presumed a man innocent until proven guilty, and there were very few ways or reasons to keep an officer confined. Parole worked because it had to work. If lieutenants in trouble simply ran away, the system wouldn't work at all. Such a man would have no further career in the British navy, and he probably wouldn't have a career ashore, either. Desertion was punished with death to deter running away, but the real thing that bound gentlemen to the system was honor.

Although we accept incarceration as a suitable method of holding miscreants until their trials, ships have scant facilities for such things. In fact, a ship is effectively a floating prison, so there's really no need to confine somebody -- they aren't going anywhere. British ships anchored offshore instead of docking on purpose; few men could swim, and even if they could, a mile or two of salt water is a powerful discouragement. Furthermore, unless the man in question is a peril to himself or the ship, confining him deprives the ship of his labor -- and crews, especially the officer corp, were not so large that they could afford to give up the labor of a competent hand.

Thorton freely converted to Islam, and he freely confessed his religion, knowing what the consequences would be. There are various incidents in the novel wherein other characters behave contrary to the expectations of honor. Some of the officers haze Thorton by desecrating his Sallee uniform coat, but they do it in secrecy. When the crime is discovered, the morality is made explicit: that if a man does something, he should own up to it. If he isn't willing to own up to it, he shouldn't do it. By this standard Thorton, Horner, and Tangle are men of honor. They take responsibility for what they do and bear the consequences. You can trust them.

Related to the matter of honor is the matter of apostasy, which is the sin of converting to a foreign religion. Although apostasy is despised and lowers a man in the opinion of those who know him, it does not eliminate his reputation for truthfulness. It also bars a man from serving as a commissioned officer in the British navy. But note, the British navy is ruled by law, so even though everybody knows Thorton has converted to Islam, until the court martial he has not actually been convicted and therefore cannot be deprived of his commission, or his duties and privileges as a commissioned officer. Once he is court martialed, he is convicted of violating Article One (establishment of the Church of England), stripped of his commission and disrated, and fined to boot, in an amount that is equal to about one third of his yearly salary as a lieutenant.

The question then, is why didn't Admiralty accept his resignation? Knowing the debility of his religion, Thorton tendered his resignation in good faith. Acting-Captain Perry accepted it. In Men of Honor we learn that Perry was disciplined for overstepping the bounds of his authority. Although it isn't made explicit, it is easy enough to assume that since Perry was punished for doing things he shouldn't have, those things he did -- like accepting Thorton's resignation -- are null and void.

Well then, why not demand Thorton's resignation and redo it properly? Because Thorton has flouted the Admiralty's authority. He didn't wait for the Admiralty to accept his resignation before running off to the Sallee Republic. The Admiralty is predicated on total obedience to its authority; therefore the wayward lieutenant must be made to toe the line and punished as a deterrent to any other officer that thinks he can do as he pleases as long as he drops a note in the mail to the Admiralty.

That puts the Admiralty in a spot: force obedience to the Church of England, or force obedience to its authority? If the former, Thorton gets discharged, which is what he wants, and the Admiralty's authority is undermined. Ergo, the Admiralty chooses to enforce its authority and maintains Thorton in service as a midshipman. Thorton is required to attend Divine Service the same as everybody else; Horner testified as much at the court martial. The outer forms are being observed; the Admiralty doesn't give a damn what he actually thinks. It's an 18th century version of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

All of this is in the background. The details are there, the clues all add up, it's consistent. But the politics are not what the novels are about; the politics are what set events in action and impose consequences for them. Thorton himself is oblivious to most of this. All of this is subtext for the action adventure that unfolds. The purity of the main characters in the maintenance of their honor is in ironic contrast to the more pragmatic and corrupt figures in the background of the story. That's traditional in adventure fiction; our hero is always more pure and honorable than the corrupt world through which he is forced to move.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

#Amazonfail -- Incompetence or Just Willful Laziness?

After weeks of struggling and being sent in circles by Amazon associates who haven't any intention of actually doing their job, which is, you know, making certain their site works right and people can find the books they want to buy, I am resorting to only expedient a frustrated author has: blogging about it.

Pirates of the Narrow Seas is fiction. If you're a reader of this blog, that fact, if no other, is blatantly obvious. However, lists them as non-fiction. So, if you're looking for a romping good novel about pirates, you're obviously not going to look in a dry and dusty topic like Non-fiction: Gay Social Studies. You're just not.

I have done everything in my power (which isn't much, given that Amazon doesn't give authors much power), to get this fixed. Customer Service's response is: Log into Vendor Central and fix it yourself. So, I tried to get a Vendor Central account, but lo and behold, they won't give me one. Because yanno, I'm not a vendor.

The page for the novels themselves even have a link that you can click on to update your information. Except that you can't update the catalog information. You can post reviews, for example, but you can't actually fix the catalog entry. Mere authors aren't allowed to get their hands on the catalog data.

So, I tried the ever helpful 'Discussion Board' that's supposed to be there for us authors. You know, get support from your fellow authors (because you're not going to get it from Amazon), we are there to be free tech support for each other and save Amazon the expense and effort of actually helping the people they're trying to make money off of.

Except, it's not. Clinking on the button gives me a fail message "Referring URL too long." In other words, Amazon has installed a button that doesn't work that is supposed to take us to a place where somebody other than Amazon will help us.

I can't even figure out how to get into my damn author blog to blog about it there.

So, dear readers, I'm asking you for a favor. If you feel sorry for me, or maybe you're really bored and need something to do, please contact Amazon yourself and complain that Pirates of the Narrow Seas isn't listed correctly. I realize this is not exactly at the top of your priority list, but I'm at my wits end.

Thank you for your support.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gerry B's review of The Sallee Rovers

Gerry B calls The Sallee Rovers "A swashbuckling tale full of colour, adventure and romance – a good read!"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fan Review at Goodreads

Desmian Trog has posted an enthusiastic review of The Sallee Rover, book one in the Pirates of the Narrow Seas series.

"I never thought that a book in a completely different section of preference to my normal ones would ever muscle ahead of most of my favorite texts and plant itself so firmly and so highly in my list of favorite books. [...] From the depths of the descriptions to the pacing of scenes, lines and paragraphs to the momentum of the book itself, the entire text was rife with richness and detail, bringing to life a world I do not know and have visited little, and I found myself intrigued, drawn in and satisfied with all the exotic delights of history, environment, culture, setting and mood."

Read the rest at:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Slow Motion : The Log of a Chesapeake Bay Skipjack (Poetry)

Although this blog is dedicated to my series, Pirates of the Narrow Seas, gay fiction set in the Age of Sail, as mentioned, I have been crewing aboard historic wooden sailing vessels for some years now. I served my apprenticeship aboard a skipjack, and since I am a poet, I kept a log of several trips aboard that vessel in the form of short poetry. I published it as Slow Motion : The Log of a Chesapeake Bay Skipjack . I just discovered it has been listed as 'Recommended Reading' by the Chesapeake Bay Program

"The Chesapeake Bay Program is a unique regional partnership that has led and directed the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay since 1983. The Chesapeake Bay Program partners include the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia; the District of Columbia; the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative body; the Environmental Protection Agency, representing the federal government; and participating citizen advisory groups. For more, visit our overview of the Chesapeake Bay Program." --from 'About Us'

It's gratifying that the governments of the Chesapeake Bay region consider Slow Motion to be a significant work of literature up the topics of the Chesapeake Bay's boats! Slow Motion can be read free online at

In related news, poems from my first collection, Heron Sea, Short Poems of the Chesapeake Bay, have been selected by musician Erik Spangler for his upcoming composition, "Watershed Sound Poem." I don't know when the new work will be released, but I'm pleased to be included among the various Chesapeake Bay sounds, traditional music, and original composition that will make up the work. Erik Spangler's website is



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cindy Vallar Review The Sallee Rovers

Cindy Vallar, a professional book reviewer and webmistress of the Pirates and Privateers website, has posted a review of Pirates of the Narrow Seas 1 : The Sallee Rovers.

"As the story unfolds, it enigmatically lures the reader into the story, transporting him/her back in time to the period and places where Peter lives and visits."

Full review at:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Andy Eisenberg's Review of The Sallee Rovers

I just realized I forgot to post a link to Andy Eisenberg's review of The Sallee Rovers:

"My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loaded the The Sallee Rovers on my iPad for my flight back from the West coast and, whether seat-belted in or not, I was glued to my seat by the riveting story. It was wonderfully entertaining and interesting."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

M. Kei on the Main Deck

I'm pleased to report that I've now got my own forum on Astrodene's Historic Fiction site This excellent repository of Historic Naval Fiction hosts book reviews, catalogs, forums, and all sorts of interesting and miscellaneous information for the reader of nautical fiction.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Reviews of Pirates of the Narrow Seas

I have been fortunate to receive a number of positive reviews of The Sallee Rovers, the first book in the Pirates of the Narrow Seas series, and several reviews of book two, Men of Honor. It is interesting to see the different points of view of the different reviewers, what they comment on and how they interpret different aspects of the novel. For the curious, or the terminally bored seeking an hour's diversion, I post them here.

PoNS 1 : The Sallee Rovers

* Open Letters review “a true literary first: a gay seafaring novel that’s every bit as good with the ‘gay’ stuff as the ‘seafaring’ stuff [...] Pirates of the Narrow Seas has thrilling action sequences, complex, conflicted characters, and a healthy dose of contemporary realism.”:

* First ever review, by Sage Whistler, which she gave to me to post to the blog site “a dashing good tale full of adventure and mayhem, slaves and saviors, and the rigors and perils of life at sea”:

* Gerry B's review of The Sallee Rovers “A swashbuckling tale full of colour, adventure and romance – a good read!:

* Alex Beecroft's review of The Sallee Rovers at Speak Its Name “nail-bitingly intense [ . . .] I highly recommend that you rush out and get this book.”:

* Thrifty Reader's review of The Sallee Rovers:

* Nan Hawthorne's review of The Sallee Rovers “an action-packed swashbuckler of the Captain Blood tradition”:

* Andy Eisenberg's review of The Sallee Rovers “The fight and battles scenes were gripping and more than once I found myself leaning forward in my seat”:

* Astrodene's review of The Sallee Rovers “well rounded individual personalities which it is a joy to follow” :

* Rick Spilman's review of The Sallee Rovers “the scenes onboard lateen rigged galleys, galiots, and xebecks are a delight [ . . .] an entertaining and engaging book”:

* Cindy Vallar's review of The Sallee Rovers at the Pirates and Privateers website:

* Jessewave's review of The Sallee Rovers:

* Goodreads listing and reader reviews:

* AssassinsCloak's review:

*great epic historical M/M romance:

* Elisa Rolle's review of Pirates of the Narrow Seas 1 : The Sallee Rovers (Warning: Link NSFW Not Safe For Work)

PoNS 2 : Men of Honor

*Astrodene's review of PoNS 2 Men of Honor:

* Alex Beecroft's review of PoNS 2 Men of Honor:

*Nan Hawthorne's review of PoNS 2 Men of Honor:

* Elisa Rolle's view of PoNS 2 Men of Honor:

PoNS 3 : Iron Men

*Nan Hawthorne's review of PoNS 3 Iron Men:

PoNS 4 : Heart of Oak

*Yancy Carpentier's review of PonS 4 Heart of Oak:

The first of the books can be read for free at There's a table of contents at the top right corner that links into the chapters. A blog is not the most convenient way to read a novel, but hey, it's free. If you want convenient, you have to pay for it. Then you can get it as either an ebook or a print boo

Astrodene posts Spilman Review of The Sallee Rovers

Astrodene's Historic Naval Fiction site has posted Rick Spilman's review of The Sallee Rovers. Astrodene has been very kind to Pirates of the Narrow Seas, listing the series in his catalog with pictures and buying links, plus he has now posted three reviews to the site: his own, Nan Hawthorne's, and now Rick Spilman's. All are positive reviews, and it certainly helps the books' reputations to be so well featured on such an important site for nautical fiction.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Sallee Rovers, a Review, at

Rick Spilman, author of the Old Salt's Blog, published a review of Pirates of the Narrow Seas 1 : The Sallee Rovers, at

"Pirates of the Narrow Sea, Book 1 – Sallee Rovers by M. Kei is well written nautical adventure fiction with a twist or two, or perhaps three [..] The action at sea is set aboard a British frigate, a captured Spanish slave galley and a Spanish galiot, which is similar to a galley, but slightly larger. For ship wonks like myself, the scenes onboard lateen rigged galleys, galiots, and xebecks are a delight. The glimpse at these exotic craft and rigs, at least to Western eyes, was lots of fun. Likewise the chase and battle scenes between square rigged ships, galleys and galiots was also entertaining [...] The other unusual element of the Sallee Rovers is the protagonist himself. Lt. Peter Thorton is the son of a minister who ran off to sea after being discovered fondling a school friend. Yes, Peter is gay, suffering from unrequited love with a fellow British officer and totally confused regarding his urges, his honor and his upbringing. If this appeals to you it is definitely a reason to read the book. If it doesn’t necessarily appeal to you, this is not necessarily the reason not to read the book. There is much to enjoy in the novel not involving sexuality."

Read the complete review at:

Pirates of the Narrow Seas 2 : Men of Honor, 15% off until August 15

Pirates of the Narrow Seas 2 : Men of Honor
Purchase Pirates of the Narrow Seas 2 : Men of Honor with 15% off with coupon code BEACHREAD305

Disclaimer: Use coupon code BEACHREAD305 at checkout and receive 15% off Pirates of the Narrow Seas 2 : Men of Honor. Maximum savings with this promotion is $10. You can only use the code once per account, and you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer ends on August 15, 2010 at 11:59 PM so try not to procrastinate! While very unlikely we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so.

All other Keibooks titles are available for 10% off for the month of July.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Tall ship sailor available for readings, signings, and pirate talks

The following is my promotional letter sent to bookstores in hopes that they will be interested in hosting a reading, book signing, or talk by yours truly.

If you're a bookstore manager, special event coordinator, or otherwise interested in having me appear (East Coast venues only, unless you're willing to provide train fare), please contact me at: Keibooks (at) gmail (dot) com.

The pitch:

I'm the author of an exciting trilogy of nautical novels, the Pirates of the Narrow Seas, which feature the adventures of a gay officer in the British navy during the Age of Sail. It's a swashbuckling nautical adventure that takes places somewhere in the misty seas between History and Hollywood. Reviewers have likened my works to Master and Commander, Hornblower, and Captain Blood.

"the narrative is very fresh [...] giving us a strong insight into the world of galleys, lateen rigged vessels and the world from the corsair point of view [...] The various characters are given well rounded individual personalities which it is a joy to follow" --Astrodene's Historic Naval Fiction

The first book in the series won a Sweet Revolution Award and has been very well reviewed in both the straight and gay press. It is suitable for mature readers 17 and up (no explicit sex, but there are adult situations, sexual references, and violence (naval combat)). All three books are available in print through Ingrams and other major distributors, and the first is available as an ebook. The other two books will be released as ebooks later this summer and fall. All ebooks are enabled for text to speech for readers who would rather listen to their books than read them.

The series is: Pirates of the Narrow Seas

"Pirates of the Narrow Seas was a dashing good tale full of adventure and mayhem"—Sage Whistler, author of 'Broken'

and the books are:

Book One: The Sallee Rovers

"nail-bitingly intense . . . I highly recommend that you rush out and get this book."—Alex Beecroft, author of 'False Colours'

Lt. Peter Thorton of the 18th century British navy must struggle to come out gay while surviving storms at sea, ship to ship battles, duels, kidnapping, and more in his quest for true love and honor. Pirates of the Narrow Seas is an expertly crafted swashbuckler brimming with authentic detail and fully realized portraits of life at sea, written by a tall ship sailor and internationally acclaimed poet.

Winner of a Sweet Revolution Award for 'best full cast' and 'Judge's Pick'

Book Two: Men of Honor

Peter Thorton and his lover set out on a quest to rescue a captive duke who is the pretender to the throne of Portugal. Thorton is arrested and placed on trial for desertion and sodomy. Men of Honor continues the further adventures of a gay officer during the Age of Sail, replete with perils, excitement, and nautical detail.

Alex Beecroft, author of 'False Colors,' says it's "a book which can stand comparison with C. S. Forester’s Hornblower."

Book Three: Iron Men

Back in service with the British navy, Lt. Peter Thorton suffers misfortunes in love and war. Temporarily placed in charge of His Britannic Majesty's frigate Ajax, he is badly outnumbered by the vengeful Spanish and must fight his way free with the assistance of the dishonored HMS Resolute. On the way back to England he must ferret out mutiny and balance friendship against honor, only to be arrested once again, and face a final showdown with his old nemesis, Captain Bishop.

"It is a story that makes me almost see the people, see the times. I was so entranced that I almost felt the waves and swaying of the ship. I can't wait for the others to be published and released." -- a reader

I'm a tall ship sailor in real life, currently crewing with the Kalmar Nyckel (since December 2009). Prior do that, I did five years with the Skipjack Martha Lewis on the Chesapeake Bay. Unlike any other author of gay nautical fiction today, I have experienced many of the perils that face my characters, having been to the top of a swaying mast, been aboard a sinking vessel, and spent eight hours in an open boat in the middle of winter.

I'm available for readings of my own work, to sign books, or to participate in other events you might be hosting. I can also do my event in historic sailor/pirate costume, carrying the tools of my trade (sail knife and marlinspike). I photograph my voyages, and can provide photographs of anything from the ship's cats to sails.

In addition to discussing my own work, I can also discuss history and mythology of pirates, such as the little known fact that 'The Star Spangled Banner' was written to celebrate Americans foiling the British attempt to 'wipe out the nest of pirates' (aka 'Baltimore'). In addition to the song, Baltimoreans also celebrated by building the world's smallest fully rigged ship, the fifteen foot Federalist. They sailed it to Mt. Vernon and gave it to George Washington, but it was promptly destroyed in a hurricane.

I look forward to finding how I can entertain your patrons and promote the love of reading.


M. Kei

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Astrodene Review The Sallee Rovers

Up until now, no reviewer dedicated to the large and popular field of nautical fiction has reviewed Pirates of the Narrow Seas. I have been in suspense wondering how the book would rate with an audience that is large and knowledgeable in the field. I am therefore very gratified that Astrodene, owner of the large and handsome 'Historic Naval Fiction' website has given The Sallee Rovers a positive review.

Although he told me privately that it was such a good book he stayed up late to finish it, his review--like all of his reviews--is conducted with typical British restraint.

A few excerpts:

"This novel starts in traditional HNF style with Lieutenant Peter Thornton and his friend Lieutenant Roger Perry attending the Admiralty and recieving orders for the Frigate Ajax. However from that point onwards the narrative is very fresh. [...] The various characters are given well rounded individual personalities which it is a joy to follow the development of and whilst there is an M/M romance element to the book, to class it as such is to do it an injustice. It is a good swashbuckling naval novel."

Read the complete review:

He also reposted the entirely of Nan Hawthorne's very thorough review (with her permission).


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Sallee Rovers: 'Best Pirates' at All Romance

The Sallee Rovers, book one in the Pirates of the Narrow Seas, is rated in the top five 'best selling' and 'top rated' books in the 'Pirates' category at All Romance. What's especially nice is that it's a general list, not just a 'gay pirates' list. It features both heterosexual and gay titles.

In addition the paperback, Men of Honor, book two in the Pirates of the Narrow Seas series is finally on as is book three, Iron Men. Strangely, Iron Men is missing its cover. What's up with that? And sad to say, The Sallee Rovers, book one, is still not on in paperback (but the Kindle edition is there), even though The Sallee Rovers was approved weeks before the other two. Queries to Lulu and Amazon return stock answers that have nothing to do with my questions. It's a pain in the neck, but here's hoping all the paperbacks will eventually all appear there.

The Sallee Rovers #30 in the Historical category at 1Romance (also a mixed straight and gay list). They don't have a 'Pirates' or 'Nautical' category, so the competition is stiffer. #30 is quite respectable, considering how many straight and gay historical works it has to compete with.

It's still #3 on the Best Gay Multicultural Lovers list at Goodreads, #7 on the Best Gay Pirate/Sailor list, and appears on various other lists as well, including #28 on the Best Nautical Novels list, which is dominated by famous authors such as Patrick O'Brian, C. S. Forester, etc. It's #1 on the very small Best Gay Historical Fiction list.

I am anxious to see the quarterly sales report!


Monday, June 21, 2010

All 3 Ebook Covers Previewed on Facebook

Bristlecone Pine Press, the publisher of the ebook version of Pirates of the Narrow Seas trilogy, has posted all three ebook covers to their Facebook page:

The cover designs by Alex Beecroft look very good indeed. I signed off on the galleyproof for Book Two before I went to sea two weeks ago, so I expect to see it any day now on the usual ebook sellers, and shortly thereafter on Kindle.

Oddly, only Book Two has shown up in paperback on They drive me crazy.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Nan Hawthorne Reviews The Sallee Rovers

Nan Hawthorne has posted a thoughtful and insightful review of The Sallee Rovers at her blog, All She Read,

"Imagine a novel about life on a tall ship during the age of corsairs, privateers, and pirates, written by someone who who has sailed as part of the crew on such a ship [...] The author, M. Kei, [...] has faced many of the challenges and dangers his characters have. The result is exciting, rich, captivating, and authentic. [...] I dearly hope readers will not ghettoize novels like The Sallee Rovers because the protagonist is gay. If they do, they, like certain men who will not read a novel or see a film about a woman, are erecting an artifical barrier to a ripping good yarn."

Read more at All She Read at the link above.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Sallee Rovers -- now in ebook!

The Sallee Rovers

The Sallee Rovers

By: M. Kei | Other books by M. Kei
Published By: Bristlecone Pine Press
ISBN # 978-1-60722-017-6

Word Count: 115514
Heat Index

Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Reader, Epub

add to cart

Read More

Click here for the print version

About the book

Lieutenant Peter Thorton of the 18th century British navy must struggle to come out gay while surviving storms at sea, ship-to-ship battles, duels, kidnapping, and more in his quest for true love and honor. The Sallee Rovers, Book One of The Pirates of the Narrow Seas Trilogy is an expertly crafted swashbuckler brimming with authentic detail and fully realized portraits of life at sea, written by a tall ship sailor and internationally acclaimed poet.

An excerpt from the book

A couple of minutes later Foster came limping back up to the poop. “MacDonald says to tell you he’s astonished, but the forward bulkhead is holding. He took a measure of the middle bilge and has got three feet of water, sir.”

Maynard came up before Thorton could answer. The boy saluted, “Cap’n Tangle says to thank you, sir, but it won’t be convenient for him to come up until the irons are off.”

The slaves were busy rowing. They had given up trying to free themselves for the moment. With the frigate nowhere near there was no hope of rescue but their own strong backs.

“Who has the key?”

“I don’t know, sir.”

“Mr. Maynard. You are to find that key and take it to Mr. Tangle. Unlock him. Tell him to select a reliable man and send him round to unlock the other chains. Then return the key to me.”

“Aye aye, sir.” Maynard ran down again.

Maynard had lost his sou’wester and his blond curls were limp and plastered to his head. Still, with all the naked men aboard, it was very easy to spot the midshipman. Thorton watched Maynard free the tall Turk, who then handed the keys to the man in the next bench. The vessel was still pitching and rolling so that the men had to struggle to throw themselves onto their oars and fall back at the proper time to pull. This was a galley; men did not sit and scull like a rowboat on a lake: they put their whole bodies into it and used their weight and legs as much as their backs and arms.

Thorton’s knees were flexing like organ peddles, one rising as the other fell. His right leg was straight while his left was bent, then his left straightened while the right bent. It was like marching, but his feet never left the heaving deck and he never went anywhere. He was pleased to discover he was not seasick. He felt very proud of himself for that, then excited as he realized his situation. How many Englishmen had commanded a galley for even a short time on a doomed exercise? The news about the bulkhead cheered him; he might not sink. The Spanish had panicked and abandoned ship prematurely. His first independent command! His heart was joyful. He squared his shoulders and wished he had a spot of tea. He might feel positively celebratory if he weren’t so cold and wet.

The gale settled down to a good hard blow. The thunder gave up booming. The rain came down cold and steady. The galley wallowed as she was, wave after wave sweeping over her bow and washing her waist. Then a matted and sodden tangle of black hair appeared at the top of the windward stairs, followed by a gaunt brown face containing hollow eyes and a hooked nose. Next came a neck corded with tendons and a matted beard with a white streak in the middle. It did not cover a chest of broad shoulders with small dark nipples barely distinguishable from the mahogany skin. Far more noticeable was an ugly pinkish-tan scar the size of a hand that blotched the upper chest from clavicle to the right armpit. Powerful pectoral muscles were attached to chiseled abdominals that would have been admirable if they weren’t sunk so near to the spine that supported this bag of bones. Hair on the chest and arms did little to obscure the figure. Bony knees connected to well-defined calves and narrow ! ankles. The feet were almost comically large compared to the emaciated flesh. The frame was there to support a goodly physique two inches over a fathom high, but Spanish captivity had wasted the flesh. Thus the man called ‘Captain Tangle’ came on deck, water sluicing down his skinny shanks. Thorton avoided looking at the dangling genitalia, although it was hard to pretend that they weren’t there.

The creature—for it was hard to think such an apparition was a man, in spite of its form—saluted. Thorton saluted back. A baritone voice that once might have been melodious rasped out, “Isam bin Hamet al-Tangueli reporting, sir.” He spoke excellent Spanish, much to Thorton’s relief.

“Mr. Issa, ah, bin-um, tan-tangle,” Thorton stumbled over the Arabic syllables. He switched to Spanish. “Thank you for your good work.”

“Thank you, sir,” Tangle replied in the same language. He studied the English lieutenant. The body might belong to a filthy animal, but a cool intelligence gleamed in those brown eyes. He was quite composed for a galley slave who had nearly sunk, been abandoned to die by his masters, rescued by his own wits and God’s good fortune, and not yet certain of survival.

Thorton, who had felt himself to be in charge of the galley, was seized by a strange insecurity. “You are an experienced galley hand, Mr. Tangle?” he asked timidly.

Lips so thin as to barely deserve the name cracked into a wan smile. “I am, but I prefer a xebec.”

Thorton noticed he had omitted the ‘sir’ that British protocol required. Thorton also realized that should Tangle decide to take command, there was very little three Englishmen could do about it. Foster was standing near, but he was standing nearer to Tangle than to Thorton, which was evidence of where his loyalties lay. Thorton decided not to mention the omitted ‘sir.’ He did not want to pick a fight he was not certain he would win.

“Your advice regarding the handling of the vessel will be appreciated, Mr. Tangle,” he told the man.

Was that amusement in the Turk’s eyes? His expression didn’t change, but he replied drily, “It was good of you to give the ship to us, and even kinder for you to accompany us on our journey.”

Thorton stiffened. “We will make for Correaux, Mr. Tangle. It shouldn’t take more than three days to get there.”

“As long as you don’t meet the rest of the Spanish squadron and can get the bow up, I agree. Have you ever commanded a lateen-rigged vessel, Mr. Thorton?”

Thorton never had, but he refused to be bested. He changed tactics, “Are you a Turk, mister?”

“I am. A Sallee Turk, but a Turk all the same. Why do you ask?”

“Because the Ottoman Empire has a treaty with England that requires us to succor one another’s seamen when they are in peril at sea. Thus, at the risk of my own life, I have saved yours. It would be ungrateful for you to turn pirate and steal this ship away. Either she belongs to the Spanish, poltroons that they are, or to her rescuer, the English. She does not belong to the men on board, no matter how much they might long for revenge on the Spanish.”

Tangle played his trump. “I am Kapitan Pasha of the corsairs of Zokhara, and the Sallee Republic is at war with Spain. She is lawful spoils for me. I appreciate your kind assistance, so I will be happy to set you ashore where convenient, but since there is no treaty between my country and yours, I have no obligation to you.”

“There may not be a public agreement, but I think there is a private one,” Thorton countered. “It is the duty of His Britannic Majesty’s frigate Ajax to convey His Excellency Mr. Achmed bin Mamoud, envoy for the Sallee Republic to England, to his choice of ports in France. He carries a document to submit to the Dey in Zokhara for approval. I would hate to jeopardize the growing amity between our two nations by a premature bout of looting.”

Tangle’s forehead wrinkled as he absorbed the import of that. A louse crawled out of the white streak in his beard onto his lip and he brushed it away with his hand. Thorton took a step back. Now that the wind was dying the galley’s stench lingered. So did Tangle’s. The expression on Thorton’s face reminded Tangle that he was naked and filthy. He had been that way for so long he had ceased to notice. He looked down at himself, then down at the waist of the vessel where his comrades were still plying their oars. He rubbed his nasty beard in thought. Then he spoke.

“I have galley fever, Mr. Thorton. My days are numbered. What happens to me doesn’t matter, but what happens to these other men matters very much. Once their chains are struck, not one of them will endure having them replaced. We will die rather than submit.”

Thorton didn’t know what galley fever was, but he knew that men condemned to the galleys wasted away until they died at their oars. It took about two years—if a man had been strong and healthy to begin with. He said firmly, “The only submission I ask is what a free man may honorably give to another. I ask for the safety of the ship, good order, and a landfall at Correaux.”

“What happens if we meet your English master and his Spanish guests?”

Thorton shrugged. “That is not under my control, Mr. Tangle. I can give you no surety but for my own deeds.”

“Your concerns have been duly noted, Mr. Thorton.” Tangle turned to watch the men at work. He clasped his hands behind his back with his legs well braced. His pose was very much that of a captain at his post.

Thorton would not yield the point and stood beside him to gaze down into the waist. He also clasped his hands behind his back—the habitual pose of a man who had learnt not to put his hands in his pockets. He was accounted a tallish man among the English, but he was short of Tangle’s height in spite of wearing shoes when the Turk was barefoot. He could not help noticing the contrast. Thorton was properly dressed but Tangle wore his nakedness like ermine and velvet. The Englishman’s face was a coppery color because of the sun, but Tangle was a deep mahogany all over, including places where it was improper for a man to be tanned. The Turk was so hollow he looked like he must fail to carry his own weight and cave in, but he stood as erect as any English captain. Down below the men looked up at Tangle and their hearts cheered. They paid no particular attention to Thorton. It was Tangle they looked to for leadership and him they willingly obeyed. Slowly it dawned on Thorton that h! e had never had command of the galley and never would.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"a book which can stand comparison with C. S. Forester's Hornblower series"

Just a quick note--I'm briefly ashore and have a ton of things to do before going back to sea, so this won't be a full-fledged press release.

Men of Honor, the second book in the series, Pirates of the Narrow Seas, has been reviewed.

"M. Kei [...] has produced a book which can stand comparison with C. S. Forester's Hornblower series."


"The ample amounts of action keep the book moving fast and breathlessly onwards, and there are some real standout scenes of naval warfare. My favourite by far is the scene where the ships are being fought inside a cave. Wow! That was a corker."

—Alex Beecroft, author of False Colors.

Full review is at:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Perils of Self-Publishing

Long term readers of this site are probably aware of the trials and tribulations I have undergone in the attempt to publish Pirates of the Narrow Seas, but newcomers may be confused. To answer the recent question: This is the canonical site that will stay up-to-date and supercedes all other information.

Being a micropress, I have to do all my own publicity, and that means making use of all available means to blog, review, post, share, excerpt, promote, interview, etc. That can be confusing, but if you follow this blog you'll get the important information in a timely manner. (I also recommend subscribing to Keibooks-Announce (at) googlegroups (dot) com to receive email to your inbox. This announcement-only elist published 0-5 posts per month regarding my various literary projects.)

Pirates of the Narrow Seas series (aka 'PoNS')

Book One : The Sallee Rovers (PoNS 1)

This book was originally named 'Pirates of the Narrow Seas,' but people were confused that a book and the series had the same name, so I changed it to make it clear. Thus the book is officially: Pirates of the Narrow Seas, Book One : The Sallee Rovers. That's a mouthful, so most people just call it 'Pirates of the Narrow Seas.'


Free online: the version on this site (tweaked to fix typos, but no revisions)
Paperback: Via my micropress, Keibooks, orders fulfilled through -- if you love me and want more books, you will buy through this site because they pay the highest royalty to the author, which for a small press book matters. If you really, REALLY love me, you will send cash in untraceable bills to my post office box.
Ebook: I sold the ebook rights to Bristlecone Pine Press, and they are distributing it through All Romance, Kindle, Applestore, etc. This is not going as quickly as I had hoped, but I have signed off on the ebook proof, so soon?
Paperback: has declined to carry the series, so I have submitted to the Borg, I mean,, and submitted the book to their CreateSpace program in order to be able to sell it on I am awaiting approval. only pays the author about half of what does, but half of something is better than all of nothing, so that's why I did it.

These versions are all the same novel, just in different formats from different sellers. Giant publishers take care of all of this stuff by themselves and the author doesn't have to worry about it and it's simpler for the reader, but giant publishers aren't interested in gay nautical fiction. I posted the rough draft to way back in the day when I had no thought of formally publishing it -- I just wanted people to read it and send feedback. I have left it for archival purposes and in the hopes that readers at will find their way to this site for the rest of the books.

If you are a big publishing company that wants to give me a five figure advance, please email: Keibooks (at) gmail (dot) com

Book Two : Men of Honor (PoNS 2)


Paperback: Via my micropress, Keibooks, orders fulfilled through -- if you love me and want more books, you will buy through this site because they pay the highest royalty to the author, which for a small press book matters

Ebook: I sold the ebook rights to Bristlecone Pine Press, and they are distributing it through All Romance, Kindle, Applestore, etc. Will be released this summer.

Book Three : Iron Men (PoNS 3)


Paperback: Via my micropress, Keibooks, orders fulfilled through -- if you love me and want more books, you will buy through this site because they pay the highest royalty to the author, which for a small press book matters
Ebook: I sold the ebook rights to Bristlecone Pine Press, and they are distributing it through All Romance, Kindle, Applestore, etc. Will be released this summer.

Book Four : Heart of Oak (PoNS 4)

Versions: Not yet contracted. I am going to see how the first three books do before deciding where and how to publish.

Under construction - anticipated to be available in time for Christmas. If you are a wealthy benefactor who can't wait that long, contact me.

Rumors of Hussars waltzing with naval officers during an earthquake refer to this novel. Why Hussars? See this link:

Random Excerpts

Miscellaneous excerpts are published at, Astrodene's Historic Naval Fiction, the_macaronis elist, and random other locations. The excerpts are edited for brevity, so do not include all the details present in the same scene/chapter in the novels. They are teasers to entice the reader into reading the whole thing.

Promotions has been having various promotions; when I become aware of them I post them to this site. During the summer of 2010, readers who purchase $20 or more can get free shipping on books through -- buy the whole series and get free shipping! That saves you some bucks. The nice thing is, is eating the cost and not deducting if from our author royalties. Yay!

Pirates of the Narrow Seas review by The Thrifty Reader

Pirates of the Narrow Seas - Gay Nautical Fiction from Keibooks and Bristlecone Pine Press - for Immediate Release -- please share with all appropriate forums

13 May 2010 Perryville, Maryland, USA

Pirates of the Narrows Seas, the trilogy of gay nautical novels by M. Kei, continues to garner positive reviews and enthusiastic fans. The latest review, by Ames, of The Thrifty Reader, was posted on May 12.

“The Spanish officers abandon ship and jump onto the Ajax. Meanwhile, they have almost 200 slaves chained to the ship who are going to die unless Peter and his men can help. It's the Christian thing to do, even if it is disobeying a direct order. And then Peter is stuck on a sinking ship! While he's in the midst of freeing the slaves! Can we say chaos? [ . . .] I really enjoyed The Sallee Rovers. Although the romance wasn't the main focus, I was really interested in all the nautical stuff. Think of the movie Master and Commander, but with two guys who sleep together. And I LOVED Master and Commander.”

Full review at

Pirates of the Narrow Seas trilogy by M. Kei

Book One : The Sallee Rovers

Lt. Peter Thorton of the 18th century British navy must struggle to come out gay while surviving storms at sea, ship to ship battles, duels, kidnapping, and more in his quest for true love and honor. Pirates of the Narrow Seas is an expertly crafted swashbuckler brimming with authentic detail and fully realized portraits of life at sea, written by a tall ship sailor and internationally acclaimed poet.

Winner of a Sweet Revolution Award for 'best full cast' and 'Judge's Pick'

Book Two : Men of Honor

Peter Thorton and his lover set out on a quest to rescue a captive duke who is the pretender to the throne of Portugal. Thorton is arrested and placed on trial for desertion and sodomy. Men of Honor continues the further adventures of a gay officer during the Age of Sail, replete with perils, excitement, and nautical detail.

Book One in the series was #1 on the Goodreads "Best Gay Multicultural Lovers' and 'Best Gay Nautical Fiction' lists

Book Three : Iron Men

Back in service with the British navy, Lt. Peter Thorton suffers misfortunes in love and war. Temporarily placed in charge of His Britannic Majesty's frigate Ajax, he is badly outnumbered by the vengeful Spanish and must fight his way free with the assistance of the dishonored HMS Resolute. On the way back to England he must ferret out mutiny and balance friendship against honor, only to be arrested once again, and face a final showdown with his old nemesis, Captain Bishop.

Order all three through and get free shipping!

Paperbacks by Keibooks
Ebooks by Bristlecone Pine Press

P O Box 1118
Elkton, MD 21922-1118
Keibooks (at) gmail (dot) com

Sunday, April 4, 2010

10% off Pirates of the Narrow Seas during April

If you have been planning to buy a copy of my new novel Pirates of the Narrow Seas (, April is the month to do it!, home to Keibooks, is offering a special coupon for a discount of 10% off the cover price of one purchase. Visit and at check out, enter the code 'SHOWERS'. You may use it once during the month of April for a single purchase. Discount applies to book cover price, and does not include the cost of shipping and handling. The coupon can only be used for a single purchase, but you can buy as many books or journals as you wish in that purchase.

Happy reading!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Best Gay Pirate/Sailor Novels at Goodreads

Pirates of the Narrow Seas 1 : The Sallee Rovers is doing well on the 'Best Gay  Multicultural Lovers' list and Goodreads, and is now #1. Thank you, fans!

Somebody has set up a second list for Best Gay Pirate/Sailor Novels at Goodreads as well, and PoNS 1 is on that list too:

Plus there's a Best Gay Nautical Novels List:

Apparently fans of the genre are speaking up -- as well they should! These books are fun.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Best Gay Multicultural Lovers at Goodreads is offering a list of 'Best Gay Multicultural Lovers', and I'm pleased to report that Pirates of the Narrow Seas rates #12 out of 99 on their list. I don't understand their rating system since it doesn't seem to be based on votes, but I'm pleased all the same.

You can check out the list yourself at:


Friday, March 5, 2010

Pirates of the Narrow Seas 2 : Men of Honor Coming Soon

Captain Peter Thorton, Sallee rover, and his lover, Shakil bin Nakih set out on a quest to rescue the mad duke, Henrique, Duke of Coimbra, the man who wants to be king of Portugal. Shakil disguises himself to slip into the Spanish stronghold of Sebta, and with a Spanish fleet hot on their heels, Thorton, Shakil, and Henrique flee for their lives—only to run smack into the arms of the British navy.

Arrested for desertion and sodomy, Thorton is obliged to surrender his arms and give his parole and serve as a lieutenant aboard the Ajax under the dour and proper Captain Ebenezer Horner. His former friend, Lt. Roger Perry, becomes his worst enemy. He is harassed and taunted, in spite of his victories at sea.

Thorton's Sallee friends do not abandon him. Captain Tangle comes to his rescue, but the redoubtable corsair meets his match in the steely Captain Horner. Determined to do his duty and turn Thorton over for trial before the notorious homophobe, Admiral Walters, Horner must keep the impetuous Turk at bay even when being menaced by the Spanish who are bent on revenge against them all.

Men of Honor carries on the tradition of nautical derring-do in exotic and colorful locations, written by a tall ship sailor and internationally acclaimed poet, M. Kei.

Due to the terms of the contract with Bristlecone Pine Press, the e-book publisher that is publishing all three books, PoNS 2 is no longer available for free on this site. It will be available in print from and in a variety of e-book formats from on or about March 22.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pirates of the Narrow Seas to be published as e-books

I have signed a contract with Bristlecone Pine Press to produce e-books of all three Pirates of the Narrow Seas. As a consequence of that agreement, I will be pulling PoNS 2 : Men of Honor and PoNS 3 : Iron Men. Pirates of the Narrow Seas, renamed Pirates of the Narrow Seas 1 : The Sallee Rovers will remain free online.

If you're reading the books free online, you will need to hurry up and finish! Or else buy the e-books. I plan to pull them tomorrow.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Review: Pirates of the Narrow Seas 4.5 Stars by Alex Beecroft

"I highly recommend that you rush out and get this book."~Alex Beecroft

Today Speak Its Name, the website devoted to gay historical fiction, posted a review of Pirates of the Narrow Seas by M. Kei. The reviewer, Alex Beecroft, is well known for her own Age of Sail gay romances and is the author of False Colours, one of the best loved novels in the genre. She gives Pirates of the Narrow Seas 4.5 stars and calls it "nail-bitingly intense."

"[T]he story moved from the path, well-trodden by Forester and O’Brian, of adventures in the British Navy, and entered the realm of the Barbary corsairs [...] it becomes not only fascinating to find out that galleys have watertight bulkheads, but also vitally important for the story. The culture clash between Peter and Tangle was beautifully drawn and gripping—Peter simultaneously proving that he is an admirable, honourable man while learning to appreciate the Islamic way of doing many things, from daily washing to sail-handling [...] I loved the book. I enjoyed it immensely, and I thought it was a wonderful breath of fresh air that it concentrated on the culture of a maritime nation which normally gets cast as the baddies in AoS books."~Alex Beecroft

The complete review may be read at:

(Note: The reviewer worked from a proof copy. The typos mentioned were corrected before going to press.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowmageddon on the Kalmar Nyckel

I am currently attending sail training at a tall ship, a replica of a 17th century Dutch pinnace. I did snow watch this week for most of Friday-Thursday. A crewmate loaned me a camera to take the pictures in the link below. Sadly, the camera battery died, so half of the pictures didn't save.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Online Novels Lists Pirates of the Narrow Seas Trilogy

A big thank you to the folks at Online Novels for including links to all three Pirates of the Narrow Seas novels on this site! Online Novels contains links to over one thousand novels online by published and unpublished authors, categorized by type and searchable.

If you're looking for free novel reading online, this is a great resource.


Pirates of the Narrow Seas Reviewed by Elisa Rolle

Warning: Link Not Safe For Work

Elisa Rolle is a reviewer of m/m romances who reviewed Pirates of the Narrow Seas at her blog. Not surprisingly, she focussed her attention on the romantic aspects of the novel. That's fine, since her intended audience is readers of gay romances. A reviewer's duty is to meet the needs of her audience, describing a work sufficiently that they can determine if it is the sort of thing that will interest them. Given that it is a work of nautical fiction that happens to have a gay relationship in it, it probably will not satisfy most of her readers who are looking for a gay romance that happens to have ships in it. Although the review does not do justice to the novel, it does do justice to her readers.

With that caveat, she was quite astute in her reading of the major characters, Thorton and Tangle. For example, she (correctly) surmised from Thorton's inhibited behavior that something very bad happened to him in the past when he was a young man fresh in naval service. I don't reveal the details in book one, but they will come out in book two: Pirates of the Narrow Seas 2 : Men of Honor. She also described Thorton as a kind soul who will forgive everyone and everything, which is also very true. She doesn't see him as a captain, something Thorton himself has some doubts about. He does stick very much by the book. He is not 'heroic' in the conventional sense. He is a man of conviction and compassion with the courage to stick by both, although she did not put it quite that way.

She also described Captain Tangle as the wrong man to be Thorton's lover, seeing him as more of a pater familias. Very few readers have described Tangle as paternal or patriarchal, but he is very much so, and deliberately so. He is an old-fashioned patriarch: a man who is mature but still virile, concerned about, even paternalistic to those under him.

She correctly identifies Tangle as being too much for Thorton to handle in a romantic relationship, and describes him as being in Tangle's shadow, which is also the case. That issue is tackled in book two, Pirates of the Narrow Seas : Men of Honor. Unfortunately, she doesn't mention that Thorton jilts Tangle and doesn't stay with him at the end. I do think that's important about their relationship.

Regarding her reading of the characters, I was fascinated to see (like almost all my readers), she regards Lt. Roger Perry as a 'good guy,' in spite of him being a racist bastard who throws his best friend under the bus. Only Sage Whistler caught the racial/ethnic subtext and its significance, even though Perry gives a speech deriding Tangle for the color of his skin (he's dark). This matters. In PoNS 2, it matters a lot. I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil it for the reader who hasn't read Men of Honor yet.

Given her careful reading of the characters, I was a little disappointed that she was not equally careful in reading the text. In particular, she mentions historical accuracy, completely missing the point that it is not, in fact, a historical novel, but is instead a period novel. The difference is key: a historical novel weaves its story into the facts of history, which I did not do. On the contrary, I wrote a period novel in which I attempted to capture the flavor of the period.

As stated in the afterward, I freely invented people, places, and events to serve the purpose of the story. She made particular reference to the Sallee Republic, even going so far as to look it up in history books (and kudos to her for doing so), but she missed the explanation located right there in the book:

"Eel Buff doesn't exist and neither does the Sallee Republic. Although Eel Buff is a complete invention, the Sallee Republic of the novel is loosely derived from the real Republic of Salé."

I suppose most people do not read afterwords (although I always do), but it does seem incumbent upon a reviewer to detect what the author has attempted and to evaluate whether he has achieved his goal. Admittedly, it is sometimes difficult to deduce what the author is about, but I think I made it pretty plain in the afterward.