Cocos Island Treasure by Stanley Mcshane – a #BookReview

It’s March and I’m participating in the Reading Ireland Month for 2019. This one is an action-adventure fiction by Irish author and artist Stanley McShane. He was my grandfather and you can read about the discovery of his manuscripts, paintings, and poems in my “About Us” page here.

March!

 Title: Cocos Island Treasure by Stanley McShane

Genre: Sea Adventures, Historical Fiction

Publisher: Rosepoint Publishing

  • ASIN: B007D58KZC
  • ISBN-10: 1468177338
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468177336
  • Print Length: 204 pages

Publication Date: October 8, 2012

Title Link: Cocos Island Treasure

Book Blurb:

Cocos Island Treasure by Stanley McShaneWhere did those rasty, barbaric theft-driven pirates bury their treasures in the 17th and 18th Centuries? Perhaps just a little south of the main South Sea shipping lane in a secluded harbor where a short paddle through shark-infested waters to the steamy, fetid jungle island could yield fresh water, food, and gold! Turn-of-the-20th Century fortune hunters from the schooner, Bessie, hunt where only ghosts inhabit–or are they all merely apparitions? Captain Dan was ready to retire until he gained access to a secret cipher–one that he felt sure was authentic enough to reap him millions and willing to risk one more salty adventure to seek the insanely rich treasures of Cocos Island.

Editorial Reviews:

“This book has it all, adventure, mystery and a touch of romance.” – Catmarie

“Cocos Island Treasure is an old school nautical adventure. This work is a window into the by-gone era where maps that detailed the bounty of famous pirate treasure was indeed plausable.” – S Mellen

“Not my usual subject of interest, but a recent documentary on Blackbeard peaked my interest. The author really seems to know his stuff about the subject, and the island itself.” – mpytlikhusb

“I haven’t read a good pirate novel since I read the Sea Wolf as a teenager. Cocos Island Treasure was even more interesting because it is a true story.” – Terry W Sprouse

“It was quite a trip to go back in time, not only considering the setting of the story, but the book’s birth three decades ago. A cross between Stevenson’s Treasure Island…full of the language of the day.” – N Lombardi Jr. author Justice Gone

My Review:

My grandfather wrote this book back in the late 1920s. My mother can remember him tapping out the manuscript with his two index fingers on an old Underwood–older, I’m sure, than the one I use for my logo. While I may be a bit prejudiced, I rated it a five star because I know he was there, walked that beach (Chatham Bay), climbed through those jungles and did his best not to disappear in the many bogs and crevices. (He later noted in a letter what a fun little trip it was!)

The author described this island down to the gnat’s eyeball. Since I’ve researched the island, I’ve found descriptions echoing his down to the wild pigs that were brought to the island and allowed to go feral. He wrote the manuscript over 90 years ago, turning his sailing adventure into a novel affirming the well-known rumors or stories of all the pirate treasures buried on the island, including the “Loot of Lima.” The treasure stolen by Captain William Thompson, commander of the Mary Dear, was purportedly the largest treasure ever hidden by pirates. So many stories abound regarding the captain and whether or not he survived. More stories published regarding whether or not the treasure was found. That treasure, however, was not the only one to be buried on the island by pirates. (The island is now closed to tourists or treasure hunters.)

It’s a fun, quick read and takes you back almost a century to sail on the schooner, Bessie. The book was written using sailing jargon and colloquialisms of the day and was kept faithful to his original manuscript. The narrative, however, remembers another famous pirate, Edward Davis. (It is said that he was one of the earliest buccaneers to have buried treasure on Cocos Island where he anchored in Chatham Bay as well. Cocos Island is approximately 340 miles southwest of Costa Rica.)

There were two additional sea adventures published, one describing the gruesome art of whaling in Lucky Joe and another after his year-long fishing experience out of Grimsby, England he called Sons of the Sea.

It is the anthology published in 2015, Sole Survivor, in which I pulled together several of his short stories, introduction to Lucky Joe, paintings, and poems. With the possible exception of Cocos Island Treasure, all are available in both paperback and ebook, now for free through Kindle Unlimited. (Busters of Bitter River is available only in ebook form.)

Add to Goodreads

Patrick John (Stanley McShane) Rose

See the amazing story of the painting that provides an updated cover version of Sole Survivor here. (Three of the above covers were provided by paintings.)

The Author: Stanley McShane is the pen name of Patrick John Rose and the author of one novel published during his lifetime in 1936, “Bitter River Ranch” by Phoenix Press. Patrick was born in 1872 aboard his father’s vessel, the Marguerite, and was the sole survivor when she sank. He sailed as a captain aboard his own ship until some time after the turn of the 20th century, whereupon he caught Alaskan gold fever and ventured north. It was in the late 1920’s/early 30’s that he eventually settled down to write about all of his adventures–both land and sea. “Cocos Island Treasure,” “Sons of the Sea,” “Lucky Joe,” and “Hot Air Promotions” were published posthumously through Rosepoint Publishing by his granddaughter. An eBook historical western novella was published in May, 2014 called “Busters of Bitter River.” McShane’s short stories, poems, and paintings were gathered in a fiction adventure anthology called “Sole Survivor” in 2015.

The vocal music background on the book trailer is provided by Marc Gunn, self-proclaimed Irish and Celtic Music celtfather. In addition to his albums, he offers a delightful podcast which was available for download on iTunes. Otherwise, check him out here.

My grandfather had an unusual writing style, often filled with slang, sailing terms, and sensitivities (or lack thereof) of his day. Have you attempted to publish one of your ancestor’s manuscripts? I’d love to hear about your journey!

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Advertisements

#CoverLove – In With the New – Or Maybe Not

#Cover Love – we do love our colorful, eye-catching book covers! It’s the first, all-important impression of any book. A yea or nay. Pick up and investigate further or lay down and look for something else. Unfortunately, we are a “judge the book by the cover” sort of people. As with any artistic endeavor–we know what we like or don’t like.

And if you’ve been reading and reviewing for any length of time, you’ve seen the evolution of covers as they have progressed, usually denoting a new edition of the book. What sparked the change in cover? Colors? Fonts? That sense of “branding?” Continue reading “#CoverLove – In With the New – Or Maybe Not”

You Won’t Believe Who Is Starring in This Movie!

DAY 30 PROMPT: If a Hollywood agent were to come knocking on your door with an offer to turn your book into a movie and told you that you could call all the shots, who would you have direct and star in it? Write the first paragraph of a glowing Rotten Tomatoes review of your film.

Who stars in the movie of your book?

First, and of paramount importance, would be the heart attack I’d have to survive after the man explained why he was there!

But if we are talking fantasy, then the next question would be “which book?” Since I’d have to assume one of the sailing adventures, I might well imagine that the same actor might be more than capable of making lead character in any of the three. Or….

Harrison FordSO! If I were to save some money (titter titter–in Hollywood–right!), might I combine an actor and producer in one fell swoop with either Clint EastwoodHarrison Ford or Clint Eastwood? (Well, you didn’t say it had to be a present day actor and this is my fantasy–right?) The free-wheeling Ford would make a fine Captain Dan McChesney (Cocos Island Treasure); strong, vigorous, with  fair-minded intelligence in his soft doe eyes. At the same time, Ford might have to find another island, as Cocos Island is uninhabitable, thus forcing the search for a more equitable location. (Maybe the insurance wouldn’t be as high on, say, Tonga, which appears to share many of the same attributes as Cocos Island.)

Clint baby, of course, brings that fierce presence to the screen, creating a no-nonsense compliment of men, capable and strong, but still willing to jump when Clint yells “Frog!” Yes, he could work as well……but maybe not for “Lucky Joe.”

“Lucky Joe” would require a separate producer–perhaps George Lucas–and actor. I like Johnny Depp. depp Depp, of course, would have to have his stowaway mate, Joe, who could be played by a much easier going Brad Pitt. Then the problem might be the continual fights between Depp and Pitt–but perhaps Lucas could keep them separate for the duration of the film–set to be a short one.

Sean ConneryDid I miss Sean Connery? Oh my no! Connery would make the protagonist in “Sons of the Sea,” Captain Beasley (he even has the beard!). Not sure that Connery would want to double duty as producer for this, though I know he is quite capable. The love interest (and yes, McShane did manage to include a love interest; whether or not he knew what to do with it is another question), Edith, Natalie Portmanmight be played by Natalie Portman. Why not, you ask, Jennifer Anniston? Oh, puleese, the over-used Anniston couldn’t make it more than one day in that bug and snake infested environment and in that heat her make-up would be a nightmare. No, I think we’ll stay with Portman. She might be able to pull off innocence a little better as well. Connery might be a tad old for Portman, but they are ACTORS–right?

Rotten TomatoesRotten Tomatoes says of the new film just out, Lucky Joe, “Depp does it again with quiet intensity, saving a weak rewrite of the original historic adventure by Stanley McShane. However, with Brad Pitt serving up redemption with the assurance that he is being guided by a force stronger than he, together all will survive whaling in the Bering Sea in 1901. Whether or not his angel saves his dopey ass in the wilderness of the Sierra’s is another question. You’ll have to see this whole thing to believe it. And you might! If Lucky Joe can bend a bawdy band of seasoned seamen to his will, nothing is impossible.”

Resource Box

 

Music Evokes Emotion

Day 18 of the Author Blog Challenge: Which song evokes the feeling/subject of your book? Music evokes memories, emotions, and can instantly transport us to another place.

AH! Transport us to another place–that’s it exactly! While there seems very little romance included in my grandfather’s books, except for hints of attraction, eyes that linger a little too long, hands that accidentally touch, the dialogue that is arrested, he does exude a manner of romance more common of a century ago.

I like to think these were all included in his manuscripts though it’s difficult to think of my grandfather as being a romantic. So I reached through to his proclaimed origins, the mysterious and powerful Celts, as he claimed Irish ancestors.

Talk about a rich history of music!  While the English word “Celt” is fairly modern, and “Celtic” actually refers to a family of languages, the Celts were well established a century before Christ. The music can cover a wide variation of distinctive styles including the melding of Folk, Bluegrass and Country because of the impact of the English-speaking world.

Seeking to find music that would complement the book trailer I created for Cocos Island Treasure, I received license from Marc Gunn, my favorite Celtic musician and self-proclaimed “Celtic geek” and “Celtfather” who produces award-winning free podcasts. His Irish and Celtic Music Podcast is one of the top music downloads on iTunes. In that broad range of accepted Celtic music, he includes Irish drinking songs (you knew that though, I’m sure), bagpipes, and indie musicians from around the world. Irish Celtic Music PodcastI used music licensed under Creative Commons by Kevin MacLeod for the book trailer “Lucky Joe”. Fortunately, Kevin has some great pieces and it is not difficult to find something powerful that is easily included background. While it doesn’t as closely identify the sailing origin as that of Marc Gunn’s music, it does evoke emotion, energy, and the spirit of the book. While “Take A Chance” and “Showdown” are not easily recognizable, it definitely gets the point across.

Music “takes us there” and sets the stage.

Virginia Williams