Red Sails: My Foray Into Ebooks…

I’ve got a good deal of work coming out in the next few months, but before I gear up for those announcements, I wanted to take a moment to plug my e-novella Red Sails.

I'm not particularly happy with the tag line.

I was very wary about releasing a book solely in the e-format, and the way things are going with this book I can pretty much say I probably won’t try it again any time in the near future. I’m positive other authors are successful with the format, but I don’t believe it’s for me. I like print, 98.9% of the people I know will only read print, and a sizable number of respectable reviewers prefer to see a hard copy (and not a printout). I can’t hawk the book at a table, can’t autograph it for fans, and it doesn’t make much of a giveaway prize either.

But before this turns into an ebook bashing, I want to write about Red Sails, a little novella I enjoyed writing and feel deserves an appreciative audience before it fades into the misty horizon and rots among the innumerable ghostly hulks drifting in the waters of e-publishing.

Though it did meet with some initial excitement from the few reviewers who’ve taken a look at it, one of the most recent reviews seemed to me to be almost afraid to enjoy it. They called the plot preposterous, the action more suited to a screenplay, but then went on to say it was well paced, not overwritten, exciting, and a ‘pure romp,  throwaway Boys’ Own adventure fun.’

Well, that’s exactly what it was intended as…it’s a pirate story, about a ship of buccaneers with a vampire captain and a werewolf crew. It really is preposterous…but I invoke McMillan’s Law (a term coined by a friend), which states ‘Once you accept BLANK (in this case werewolves and vampires on a pirate ship) you can accept BLANK (I guess its inherent preposterous-ness). McMillan’s Law is often used as a feeble excuse in my circle of friends. You get the picture.

This story started out in a nerdy conversation I had on the way home from Comic Con a couple years ago with some friends and fellow writers. The question posed was, if you were to write something featuring zombies, werewolves AND vampires, what would it be?

I don’t know why I thought pirates, but I did. Maybe I was still hopped up on a geek high. All that was missing was robots. I wound up cheating a little, and the zombies went moaning off to another novella -‘Dubaku’ also set at sea.

I love Treasure Island, and Sabatini, and Robert E. Howard. I recalled too, a comic book from my childhood, which featured a pirate crew of vampires who met their match when they unwittingly raided a ship full of nuns bound for the New World, and busted into the cabins expecting wenches, only to be obliterated by the sacred vestments and accoutrements the nuns had with them. Cool story. I wish I could find it, but I have no idea what the title or company was, and google turned up diddly/squat.

Anyway, all that went in to Red Sails, which begins with Janek Puzan, a British colonial marine from Virginia  and prisoner of war being cast adrift on a busted piece of his prison ship along with a Spanish Blackfriar named Timoteo after a red sailed pirate ship deliberately blows their galleon to Davy Jones.

The pirates take Janek and Timoteo aboard and introduce them to their captain, Absolon Vigoreaux, who reveals his vampiric nature to them and informs them they will be set on a jungle island and hunted down under the full moon by the crew, who will at such time sprout fur and fangs as is their monthly custom.

Meanwhile, the cannibalistic Papua natives of the island in question have started up a religion around Vigoreaux’s monthly visits, really a sham worship engineered by an unscrupulous shaman to wrest control of the island from the chief and then feed him to the werewolves. The chief’s daughter Sampari comes of age and spurns the advances of the shaman’s son. She’s marked for death in the monthly visitation, so she takes off into the jungle and comes across Janek and Timoteo shortly after they are dropped off on the island. The three of them then have until nightfall to rally the natives and fight the werewolves and their undead master.

It’s a quick, bloody swashbuckler I hope would have made Howard proud.

But it’s only available in e-book on Amazon and from the publisher, a disservice I sort of wish I had not done it as I’m fond of the crazy little thing. If you’ve got a Kindle (and the Kindle app for PC’s is free to download), it’s 53 pages for less than two bucks.

Give it a try, m’hearties.

Published in: on August 29, 2010 at 3:58 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ebooks have their place but they are in their infancy. Sales for the average author are weak at present. Publishers will always quote their major big name authors which isn’t a true reflection of overall sales. Not great at conventions, signings, free gifts etc as you say Ed.

    • I feel like it’s not the best venue for smaller writers, for certain. I’ve heard over and over again the hardcore bibliophile argument that it doesn’t supplant the feel of a book, the sort of ‘notch on the gun’ aspect of displaying it on the shelf, but it seems like there are plenty of voracious readers who have embraced it. The big appeal for me personally is the convenience of the technology, the space saved, etc. But in a world where reading is down on average, it’s not the savior of the novel by any means (you still have to sit there and read it). I think if every Kindle title included some kind of text to speech feature (mind you, that didn’t sound like narration by Stephen Hawking or Robby The Robot) that might be a big improvement. My uncle works from home and often listens to audiobooks during the day. If every book on Kindle had an audio option, I think it could drive up sales.

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