Sunday, April 22, 2012

Firehearth links to Captain Bligh

When the replica of Captain Cook’s bark ENDEAVOUR was built, the fireplace in the Great Cabin was based on one recovered from the wreck of the PANDORA – a ship built in the eighteenth century.
Following the court martial of Captain William Bligh for loss of his ship BOUNTY, Captain Edward Edwards sailed on the PANDORA in an attempt to find the mutineers made famous by the Mutiny on the BOUNTY (in which Captain Bligh was set adrift in a small boat and remarkably managed to navigate the boat 4000 miles to safety).
After surviving both the mutiny and the court martial, Bligh was determined to find the BOUNTY and its remaining survivors. At his insistence, the Admiralty despatched the PANDORA to search for it but was unable to find any trace and was wrecked in the process.
A few survivors of the mutiny were picked up in Tahiti and confined on the ship in what is now referred to as 'Pandora's Box'. Those men survived the shipwreck only to be returned to England to face trial.
Today the wreck of the PANDORA (discovered in the 1980s) is regarded as the most significant wreck in the South Pacific, and extensive archaeological and recovery work is being done on the site, including recovering the bones of some sailors who went down with the ship.
Pic: Great Cabin on the ENDEAVOUR replica with the open fireplace. The design is based on one from the Pandora (see pic centre left).

Treenail links past and present ENDEAVOURS

In May 1992, on its inaugural mission, space shuttle ENDEAVOUR carried a trunnel (a long wooden pin used for fastening timbers) into space. On return to earth, the Captain of the space shuttle ENDEAVOUR presented this to the Captain of the replica bark ENDEAVOUR. This trunnel was the last hammered into the ship – linking the C18th sailing ship to the C20th space ship.
The position of Endeavour’s last trunnel is marked with a small brass ring. It appears in the centre of the picture just above the table (Cook’s great cabin). I have had the pleasure of a short voyage on HMB Endeavour and served on board for 3 days as a tour guide when she was in Hobart in March 2012 as part of her circumnavigation of Australia

Saturday, April 14, 2012

FLOATING GOLD now on Amazon

A long last, I am pleased to see FLOATING GOLD up on Amazon as an e-book for Kindle readers.
The cost is only $3.99.

Currently I am busy writing the sequel and hope to have it finished in a couple of months.
I hope you will enjoy reading this age-of-sail adventure as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The classic nautical fiction authors, Patrick O'Brian and C.S. Forester inspired me to write in this genre.

Ten other e-book formats are available from Belgrave House

Sunday, April 08, 2012

A review - Discovering the Diamond - advice to new writers

‘Discovering the Diamond’ by Helen Hollick and Jo Field published by SilverWood Books, 2011 (read on Kindle).

‘Discovering the Diamond’ is an excellent, easy to read, well-structured guide, which allows for the novice writer to hone the base material of their manuscript into a polished gem which will knock the publishers’ eyes out (hopefully).

In this short book, multi-published author, Helen Hollick pulls no punches in stating that becoming a published author, either at the hands of a reputable publishing house, or through assisted publication outlets, or by pure self-publishing, is not an easy task. Even the perfect manuscript is not guaranteed a place on the bookshelf. But what this informative guide does is to lay down the ground rules which, if followed, will place the novice writers’ work in a competitive place, towards the head of the queue for assessment.

Like you and I, literary agents and publishing house editors are human beings, and the amount of time they can allocate to each manuscript submission is limited. Unlike the budding author (and published authors too), they cannot dwell for hours over a couple of pages, tweaking a word or phrase here or there, trying to polish the work to perfection. If you are lucky, they will read the first paragraph or perhaps a page of a submission, before either accepting it for further reading, casting it to the slush pile, or most likely, dropping it into the reject basket.

‘Discovering the Diamond’ lifts the lid on the transgressions of all authors – both published and novice. For example, too much tedium will bore a reader to death, and obvious errors in spelling, tense and syntax, along with obvious anachronisms, provide an instant no-go.

Hollick strongly advises writers to treat their work to the services of a professional editor and not to rely on a family member who will say he/she loves it despite all its errors.

Hollick also advises honesty in the way new writers look at both their own and other people’s work. And to illustrate each new section, she provides examples using scenes from her own books. My only comment here is that I found some of the passages a little over-long, and would have preferred more succinct examples.

Then there is discussion on layout and cover design, the use of contractions, and more, plus a timely warning about the pitfalls confronting new writers including the sharks, shysters and frauds who bubble with enthusiasm to publish your first book - at a cost!

Personally, as a published author both in mainstream and self-published outlets, I could relate to all that is contained in ‘Discovering the Diamond’. And though the information was not new to me, reading it was a timely reminder of the grammatical traps I can, and have fallen into, through complacency, when writing my novels.
I would recommend ‘Discovering the Diamond’ to any budding author seeking publication. Some real gems are contained within its pages.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Sailing on Europa - a bucket list wish

It's been on my Bucket-list for a long time.

But now at last, Europa is sailing from its home waters around Antarctica and coming to Australia in 2013 for the Tall ships Race.

As legs of the voyages are now available, I have placed a provisional booking to sail on Europa from Perth (Western Australia) to Melbourne, and then Melbourne to Hobart. What an event to look forward to.
I hope I get a berth.

Review for FLOATING GOLD by Michael Mendey

The following review appeared on and recently.
February 28, 2012
FLOATING GOLD by Margaret Muir

This review is by Malcolm H. Mendey

A nautical treasure that is, and a hunt that kept my attention from the first page to the last.

For writers of nautical fiction set in the Napoleonic period, the hiatus brought about by the `Peace of Amiens' offers a challenge. Ships were laid up or de-commissioned, officers and men found themselves unemployed. Not very much was happening at sea to keep the Royal Navy busy. Or was it?

So it was gratifying to stumble across Floating Gold, by Margaret Muir, I suspect an accomplished sailor as she has an excellent grasp of seamanship and, it must be said, an accomplished writer to boot. Born of a personal experience and a footnote from a news item, Muir has created a well-crafted and plausible tale of adventure on board one of HM's frigates, Elusive. An aptly named vessel, for an elusive treasure.

Oliver Quintrell, a young Post Captain on half-pay, is given command of a 38-gun frigate and secret orders. He learns his ultimate destination only when the ship is far from England. He does not learn the nature of the treasure until he reaches the destination noted in his secret orders and even then, it is less than obvious.

The ship and the crew deal with a succession of challenges, from the weather, to pirates, to murderers, all plotted superbly. Once returned to England, Quintrell's trials do not cease, as the author keeps the interest running as high as the seas to very nearly the final page.

Floating Gold is excellent story-telling. The principal characters are visual, immediately empathetic and human. This is an intelligent, well-structured and thoroughly enjoyable story, which for enthusiasts of nautical fiction is highly recommended.


FLOATING GOLD in 10 e-formats

FLOATING GOLD has just been released in the following e-formats:
PDF – (LIT) MSReader – (PRC) Mobipocket - ePub – (PDB) Palm - HTML - Word - RTF – (RB Rocket and e-bookwise – (KLM) Hiebook

A release for KINDLE readers on AMAZON will follow in about a week.

I love the cover.

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Lady Nelson greets Cook's Endeavour

March 2012 and HM Bark Endeavour (replica) sailed into the Derwent for a short stay in Hobart.
As she sailed along the River, she was passed by HM Colonial Brig (replica) The Lady Nelson.
The Lady Nelson's home port is Hobart.
Built on the Thames at Deptford in 1798, the original vessel was 16m long with a 5m beam and had centreboards in place of a keel.
Having sailed to NSW, in 1800 she was the first vessel to sail west to east on Bass Strait and in 1801, the first to enter Port Phillip Bay (Melbourne).

In 1803 she sailed up the River Derwent and helped establish the site for Hobart.
She was lost in Timor (possible pirated and crew murdered) in 1825.
The replica vessel which sails out of Hobart almost daily was built on the Derwent River.
Having sailed on the Lady Nelson, here is a little of my experiences.