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All titles on this website feature GLBT characters and situations. If you will be offended, please read no further. By further exploring this site, you agree that you are of age in your part of the world, and are fully aware of the content of books and art displayed here. All images on this site are copyright. Site contents © DreamCraft, 2011
Fortunes of War





In the spring of 1588 two young men fell in love: an Irish mercenary serving the Spanish ambassador in London, and the son of an English earl. Then Dermot Channon must leave England when the embassy is expelled just prior to the onset of war, and Robin despairs of ever seeing him again. Seven years pass, and when Robin's brother is kidnapped for ransom in Panama in the years following the war between England and Spain, Robin sets sail with a fleet commanded by Francis Drake, hoping to bring home his brother. But soon enough the ship on which Robin is traveling is sunk by privateers � pirates led by none other than Dermot Channon. Reunited by a cruel twist of fate, the two men embark with passion on a series of swashbuskling adventures around the Spanish Main.

Read the first 10% of this novel right here, in PDF format

Novel length: 150,000 words
Rated: R (18+; sex, violence, language)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9750884-9-4
Publication date: August 2005
Publisher: DreamCraft
Price: $9.99 - ebook; $21.95 - paper
Cover: Jade


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READER REVIEWS:



FORTUNES OF WAR
REVIEWED BY E.R


"Fortunes of War" has everything a reader could want: beautifully crafted characters (the image of Robin's wide-eyed, innocent encounter with Dermot at the start of the novel is one that will stay with me for a very long time), swashbuckling action and plenty of romance. I was totally captivated.




FORTUNES OF WAR
REVIEWED BY CHRIS


I just finished reading Fortunes of War for the second time! The first time was five or six years ago when I was still in my twenties. I remember loving the storyline and the great character (and romance) development. I was a little concerned that now that I am 30-something, I would not enjoy the book as much. Wow, was I wrong. I enjoyed the book on a whole other level, now identifying more with the Dermot character rather than the Robin character. MK has an incredible gift for drawing you into his world. When I found out that the published version had actually been shortened, I wondered why. If the unedited version was as great as the edited version, I would have loved to have had the opportunity to read it.






Mel Keegan comments on FORTUNES OF WAR I grew up on Errol Flynn movies on TV (noooo, I'm not that old! Well, not yet, anyway). FORTUNES could easily be a Flynn movie, so long as you re-cast the Olivia De Haveland (spelling?) part with a young man who's delicious enough to take the place of an individual who was a screen icon in her own right! The research for this one consumed me for months. I've always had an interest in the sea, sailing ships, nautical history, but the era, 1588 to 1595, narrows all of history down to a seven year slice of time, and I was amazed by just how much we still know about that time. Writing the book was a challenge, because on the one hand I had the most delicous romance (Dermot and Robin) and on the other I had a monster adventure story trying to escape. The published version of FORTUNES is something like the fouth or fifth draft, and the hardest work was in cutting the book back to the 347pp which finally went ahead. It was originally much longer, and even after two months of cutting and pruning, FORTUNES wound up being the longest of the GMP books. I had a ball writing it, and it's one of five historicals I prepared. Only three saw print with GMP. Two more have been on the shelf for the better part of a decade; one of those is caught in limbo following the apparent dissolution of the paperback branch of Millivres (which bought out GMP and continued the paperback line for a short while after the merger). I have no idea what's to become of these novels at this time, but I love to write in the historical context. Will DreamCraft go ahead with them? It's far from impossible � though the success (or otherwise) of the HELLGATE series, plus the EQUINOX re-issue this year, will go a long way to determining the future of these stories. (Hint, hint: tell your friends about this webpage ... take a look at HELLGATE and, if you like it, tell your friends about that too!) GMP did a great job of presenting the text ... I had reservations about the cover, because I felt it depicted the character of Robin as too young. My character certainly isn't a child in the narrative ... and I don't dabble in fictions pairing kids with adults. The cover did bother me a bit. The Millivres (second) edition cover also bothers me, because the similarity between the models depicted photographically and my characters in the book can only be measured in negative numbers!






RESEARCH TALES:
SHIPS OF THE FRANCIS DRAKE ERA


The research for this one was a bear, but when you're interested in your subject, it's also a lot of fun. FORTUNES was researched long before the Internet really existed: back in the Telnet days, and I confess, though I used Telnet once or twice I never really got into it. Instead, I used about a dozen books to get the backgrounding for my novel; and two in particular were invaluable. George Malcolm Thompson's biography is another 'text book' that reads more like a novel. There's no big color pictures inside (!), but it's actually a better book than the other tome I used extensively: 'Campaigns of the Spanish Armada' may be beautifully illustrated, mostly in color, but ... yawn. It was still an invaluable research tool, but good lord, you were conscious of the fact it's a text book!

The major characters in FORTUNES are certainly fictitious, but a lot of the minor players are real-life personalities. Drake, Hatton, and the leading players in the politics driving the situation. I did take a bit of artistic license with the Spanish Ambassador. I usurped the real-life Ambassador and replaced him with Mauricio, Dermot's uncle. I wanted and needed to create a whole family history for Channon, and the Spanish side of his family are pivoral to the plot of FORTUNES ... they're also as fictitious as Drake, Hatton and others are real. The line between fiction and reality blurred, and I liked it that way!

The research took me into the history of ships, and also the history of maps and map-making. Some questions were never really answerable (such as the fine points of actually STEERING a galleon of the C16th, and in particular, Drake's ships, Revenge and Golden Hinde. A lot of the ships of the era were steered from a gigantic tiller ... others, you're starting to see a wheel. None of the research I was able to do regarding the *real* vessels (not the modern day replicas which appear in the movies, guys), answered the question as to which I should write about ... so I chose to go with the wheel when I spoke of the frigate which takes Robin out to the Americas and the gallizabra which brings them home ... why? Because it's far easier for folks of our generation to envisage a big ship being steered by a rudder-turned wheel than by a monstrous tiller. We associate a tiller with a small boat. None of the ships of that era have survived, apparently; and records are incomplete, at least as far as I was able to dig, and that was pretty deep. It's too bad, but it's also a minor point in the story and nothing to do with plotting. If I'd found major references to the tiller up on the steering deck, sure, I'd have gone to great lengths to describe it ... but there's nothing clear in this area. So why not simplify, and move the story along?

I would love to have seen a gallizabra. The popular tradition is that the Spanish ships were big, cumbersome, clumsy, and the 'little English ships' danced rings around them, ran in under their guns and pounded them to hell. This was true in 1588 ... but the Spanish ship designers learned fast, and it's tough that the popular tradition doesn't pass on what happened next! The gallizabra was more than a match for anything else on the water in those days, and I'm fascinated.

I described the clothes, food and houses of that world with every bit of detail I could get away with (without the book getting wordy, dry-bones or pedantic), and I think I did pretty well. It was amusing putting this webpage together ... the books came out for scanning-in of covers, and Dave's jaw dropped when he actually SAW the clothes. "They used to wear all that ...???" Yup. Maybe it was damn' cold and they needed the layers?The research for this one was a bear, but when you're interested in your subject, it's also a lot of fun. FORTUNES was researched long before the Internet really existed: back in the Telnet days, and I confess, though I used Telnet once or twice I never really got into it. Instead, I used about a dozen books to get the backgrounding for my novel; and two in particular were invaluable. George Malcolm Thompson's biography is another 'text book' that reads more like a novel. There's no big color pictures inside (!), but it's actually a better book than the other tome I used extensively: 'Campaigns of the Spanish Armada' may be beautifully illustrated, mostly in color, but ... yawn. It was still an invaluable research tool, but good lord, you were conscious of the fact it's a text book!

The major characters in FORTUNES are certainly fictitious, but a lot of the minor players are real-life personalities. Drake, Hatton, and the leading players in the politics driving the situation. I did take a bit of artistic license with the Spanish Ambassador. I usurped the real-life Ambassador and replaced him with Mauricio, Dermot's uncle. I wanted and needed to create a whole family history for Channon, and the Spanish side of his family are pivoral to the plot of FORTUNES ... they're also as fictitious as Drake, Hatton and others are real. The line between fiction and reality blurred, and I liked it that way!

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