Book Launch: Steampunk Novelette

Update: This book is no longer available to buy as a standalone title. It can be downloaded for free from Patreon.

I have a new ebook out in the world – a steampunk novelette called “By Means of Clockwork Selection”. As a launch promotion, the book is available free on Amazon from 28th August to 1st September (2013). Full book details, and links to all the sellers, can be found on the official book page. Ramblings about the book can be found below.


Book Details

The gears on the cover come from an old clock, which I dismantled. There were other neat things in the clock, like a mechanical music movement, which may be coming to a cover near you soon.

And the book description:

Connie survived the plague that devastated plants, animals and clockwork alike. Her life has settled into the relative peace of farming clockwork ponies and marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Bess. But the threat of plague is never far away. Mutated oaks are spreading over the ruins of London and stories of outbreaks abound. She fears the worst when a pony collapses, but the true cause is far more surprising. It might be the key to rebuilding the world.


Cupcakes and Plans

Originally, I planned to make cupcakes for big releases only. When I told the family my next book was a steampunk novelette, the response was, “Steampunk cupcakes!” So it looks like I’m making cupcakes for short story releases too. Gears were a challenge as I couldn’t find any cutters locally, so I cut circles and fashioned them into gears.

There are standard gears and sky metal gears (also seen on the cover). The filler cakes have nothing to do with the story, as they were mostly an excuse for adding fudge pieces.

The next thing out will be an urban fantasy novel. Until then, I hope you enjoy this book*!


* If you’re of a social media persuasion, you might want to add it to Goodreads or LibraryThing.

Diving Belles – Lucy Wood

Diving Belles Cover - Mermaid and ocean illustration

First Published: 19th January, 2012
Genre: Fantasy / Short Stories
Available: | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble

Lucy Wood’s debut collection is a series of stories set in Cornwall. The central problems are average ones, such as dealing with moving away from a childhood home, losing a husband, or growing up, with some added folkloric complications. For example, a woman helps out her ex-boyfriend, who needs a lift to see a new house he might be buying, but she’s on a deadline as she’s turning into stone. A boy with a giant father isn’t growing, and frets about it while hanging out with a friend in a giant’s boneyard.

The feel of the stories is generally melancholy or wistful. They build slowly and fade out, rather than ending with a firm conclusion. Recommended for fans of literary fantasy and magical realism.

The Memory Eater – Matthew Hance (editor)

Memory Eater Cover - Cartoon head with pink bird eating the exposed brain

First Published: 19th June, 2012
Genre: Science Fiction / Short Story Anthology
Authors: Myra R. Taylor; John W. Otte; Ken Liu; Matthew Hance; Joe DiBuduo; Kate Robinson; Mike Kozlowski; j l mo; Lisa Martinez; Nicholas Conley; Wesley Gray; Bob Simms; Lisamarie Lamb; Lauren Kocher; Nina Pelletier; Kim Charles Younkin; Holly Day; Alex Shvartsman; Cassie Davies; Chad Jones; Justin Swapp; DL Thurston; Vivian Davenport; Lauren C. Teffeau; Kathie Huddleston
Available: | Amazon UK

The anthology is based on the premise that unwanted memories can be erased by a machine. Themed anthologies can suffer from the stories being too samey, and that was a big problem here. I read the first couple of stories, but after that, I skipped and picked a few at random from the rest. I’d hoped to see more of a range of situations, but the ones I chose all read as though they were set in near-future America, and focused on a heterosexual relationship problem. One story had a gay man being murdered for getting in the way of a different sex relationship, which is a negative trope I’d rather not ever see again, especially in an anthology with a heterosexual focus.

It’s possible there are some standouts in the ones I didn’t read, but I had no motivation to give the rest of the stories a chance.

When I first reviewed this, I said the stories were anonymous. Author names and bios are in a list at the back, but who wrote which story isn’t identified in the bios or on the stories. This was unfortunate as a reader (as I do like to know who authored a story, for better or worse) and bad for the authors themselves. I later realised there was a table of contents, but the book didn’t open to that page and it wasn’t the built-in table of contents Kindle recognises. All round, not a good way to format an anthology.

On the plus side, I didn’t see any issues in the editing and each story was illustrated. If you’re a fan of the themes I’ve mentioned, this might be for you.

Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories – JoSelle Vanderhooft (editor)

Steam-Powered CoverSeries: Steam-Powered, #1
First Published: January, 2011
Genre: Steampunk / Short Story Anthology
Authors: Mike Allen; Rachel Manija Brown; Georgina Bruce; Amal El-Mohtar; Sara M. Harvey; Meredith Holmes; N.K. Jemisin; Mikki Kendall; Matthew Kressel; Shira Lipkin; D.L. MacInnes; Shweta Narayan; Tara Sommers; Beth Wodzinski; Teresa Wymore
Available: | Amazon UK

There were a few stories I particularly liked. “To Follow The Waves” by Amal El-Mohtar was one, set in Syria with dream crafting technology. The post-apocalyptic Western “Suffer Water” by Beth Wodzinski was also a fun story. Overall though, a lot of the stories didn’t really hold my attention.

The Kindle edition has no formatting, making it harder to read. If you’re going to buy it, the print edition is probably a better bet.