Baaa! Press
dead reckoning by michael corbin ray and therese vannier

“A captivating maritime story, both subtle and dramatic.” Kirkus Reviews

DEAD RECKONING by Michael Corbin Ray & Therese Vannier. On September 8, 1923, seven ships of the U.S. Navy’s Destroyer Squadron 11, led by Commodore Edward H. Watson on board the flagship USS Delphy, bore full speed into a treacherous section of California coastline informally known as Honda Point. Traveling south in single file “follow the leader” formation, the ships were attempting a turn into the Santa Barbara channel at night in heavy fog. They missed by several miles. One after another, in a span of just minutes, the destroyers jammed themselves to the rugged rocks that would be their fate. It was among the worst peacetime disasters in Navy history.

Dead Reckoning is a work of fiction inspired by these true events. The book follows the lives and passions of a group of enlisted sailors on liberty in San Francisco as their paths cross with an anxious diplomat recently returned from Japan. When that diplomat turns out to be a friend of their own captain, a series of minor conflicts and animosities builds to sudden tragedy and a night on the water that no man will forget—if they can first find a way to survive.

Publication date: Sept. 8, 2020
Hardcover, 144 pages
ISBN 978-1-940776-06-4
US $20.95


  • “Ray and Vannier tantalizingly chronicle the way in which the Delphy becomes a dramatic tinderbox … [T]he authors skillfully explore the dislocation of a sailor’s life, permanently unmoored and perpetually enticed by seedy temptations. In addition, the romantic spark between Haines and Ruby is electric—they seem to notice in each other both a casual indifference to conventional morality and a longing for a fuller life. As she puts it: ‘A grifter knows a grifter.’ A captivating maritime story, both subtle and dramatic.” —Kirkus Reviews
  • “A brisk and bracing read ... Written with a cinematic flare, Dead Reckoning makes history come to life, transporting readers to Prohibition-era California and breathing life into historical figures long dead but resurrected through a lucid and period-correct reimagining of their thoughts and actions.” —Glen Starkey, New Times San Luis Obispo
  • “Enjoy this book before it hits the silver screen. With a story so compelling and cinematic, populated with irresistible characters, it’s destined to become a major motion picture.” —Terry Rossio, screenwriter, Pirates of the Caribbean


“A fine historical fantasy tale featuring a memorable, tenacious protagonist.” Kirkus Reviews

THE LONG WAY by Michael Corbin Ray & Therese Vannier. Take flight to China’s Opium Wars of the mid-19th century in this epic historical fantasy. Young orphan Leung Chi-Yen, born into the seedy world of Canton brothels, finds an opportunity to escape her fate during the chaos of British attacks on her country. Along with an unreliable monk from the fallen Temple of Seven Dragons, she journeys to North America at the time of the gold rush, the Indian wars, and the taming of the Wild West. Can she forge a new life for herself in this strange, dangerous world? And what about that mysterious Chinese dragon that has followed her so far from home?

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