Archive for September, 2013

Late again

September 27, 2013


I didn’t manage to send the post I planned while on our trip the Manitoba (actually, I cannot find the post I had started) so this is a new one.

The agricultural traction engine was snapped the weekend before we left for Manitoba, when we went to Heritage Acres so I could look at some steampunk things. This was it. We also sat and watched a tractor pull, where a succession of drivers vie for the longest distance they can pull a heavy drag. While it was entertaining so was the discussion from behind us from two farmers as they handicapped the competitors.

“Isn’t that a beautiful tractor?’ was a common comment. I could appreciate their dedication to the machinery even if I don’t find tractors particularly beautiful. But then I do find the big steamer a worthy object of fascination for a steampunker.

I learned something of the technique of driving in a tractor pull from the unofficial commentators behind us. Don’t start off too fast—slow and easy gets you further. Which is true in most things.

On the writing front—no sign of the review copies that were expected in the latter part of September. I had one recruited reviewer emailing today to ask if she had been forgotten. I guess I will have to tactfully ask about the review copies on Monday if they don’t appear sooner. The cover illustration hasn’t arrived on my Tyche page. Things must be busy there.

I will end here. With luck I will have found the article I started by the time i come to post next week.

‘night all.


This is the belated Post I promised last year

September 14, 2013

Yeah, I know I promised—but this time it’ll be different.


Oh Lord…where have you heard that before? How can I get you to believe me after not writing here for more than six months?


Well, I have some news, for one. This blog was started to keep readers up to date with my Iskander series novels. The last title of the series was published last year and I don’t plan more—


But I have a brand new novel that is the start of something new—Steampunk! And this blog will become the source for all that is new in this Steampunk world.


“Steam and Strategem” will be released in the middle of November by Tyche Books at the Pure Speculation Festival in Edmonton, Alberta. The Festival is a known magnet for Gear-heads…Steampunk fans…and my publisher tells me she has ordered a Steampunk costume—and asked what I will be dressed as. I guess I can’t go reading my Steampunk novel dressed as me—I have to conform. I am already collecting finery to dress Captain Benchmark, my new Steampunk alter ego. I’ll tell more about that in the next post.


Here, I want to reproduce the blurb on my publisher’s site so you won’t have to go to find it. (But the cover image will be on the page soon—and you just have to see it. Fabulous.)


Welcome to the Steampunk World of Regency…

…where the power of steam has already passed from the age of unsatisfactory experiments to the first country-spanning railways and ships that no longer sail at the whims of weather. Roberta Stephenson is the daughter of the ‘Father of Railways’…a girl almost raised in the engine works and through her experience, and education in the most advanced halls of Miss Mather’s Academy for Girls, is fit to become manager and designer at her father’s steamship yard on the Clyde.

And Britain needs Roberta’s expertise, for fate in this world has dealt more kindly with Napoleon, allowing him to extricate most of his army from Moscow in 1812, and granting him at least a draw at Leipzig in 1813. With developments of the steamships begun in France in 1783 he is ready to take one more gamble to rid himself of the interference of Perfidious Albion, and the island’s safety may depend on the steam powered rams Roberta is offering to their lordships of the Admiralty.

Complicating Roberta’s professional life are her romantic suitors: Lord Julian Bond, man about town and Admiralty spy; the enigmatic Symington Holmes with a mathematical tripos at Cambridge; and Engineer Lieutenant Alfred Worthington RN. It seems that Roberta is destined to choose one of these gentlemen, but will she choose wisely?


So, you may expect the next post here within a week. I will write it this evening in readiness, but we have to take a trip to Manitoba next week and I will have to post from a stop along the road.