The Great Blog Giveaway

Here it is – the first of the marketing promos from my publisher. Time to show the power of the internet.

It’s a raffle for a $10 Amazon gift voucher. With that you could buy a print copy of my book and have enough change to buy something that costs $4. Bargain. Or better yet, a beautiful fob watch, or thrill of thrills an ebook of my short stories.

Actually, Transmundane Press did the whole thing much more beautifully than I could – check out their teasers and giveaways page to see how marketing is done properly.


Still here?

OK Here’s the deal, you click on the link. It doesn’t take you anywhere sinister, just my author page (although the picture of two staring women with flames in the background is a bit sinister). That’s it. No need to like or share anything, although I’d be delighted if you did.

There are no restrictions. Family and friends can play, even people who have taken out restraining orders against me.

Get clicking

a Rafflecopter giveaway


And if you made it this far down head over to youtube to see the trailer…

Like Clockwork – Published!


It has happened. Thanks to Transmundane Press my novella is live and kicking. Head over to their store, or Amazon, to pop a copy into your shopping basket.

Transmundane Press Store

Amazon UK

Amazon US

See my previous post here if you want to read excerpts.

and I’ll shortly be adding all those lovely people who have added a promo on their blogs…


Like Clockwork – the cover

Mark the date: 28th Feb is our target for publication. Since my last announcement my friends at Transmundane Press have been busy coaxing my vision out of the virtual paintbrush of a designer, and here we have it.


Here’s a reminder of what it is all about:

Commander Raymond Burntwood of the Royal Navy has returned to England where he meets the reclusive heiress Lady Ariana Grayhart. After the scandal of a night spent dancing together, Ariana returns home to Northumberland. Raymond’s superiors—seeking information about Ariana’s father—dispatch the commander under the cover of courting the heiress.

All is not as it seems in the Grayhart household. Captain Grayhart is an invalid, the servants maintain a monkish silence, and secrets are layered upon secrets. Everyone has their own agenda, from Raymond’s friend and confidante Du Bois, to the family lawyer Sir Berwick, and Ariana herself.

In the midst of it all, Raymond must unravel the truth of Captain Grayhart’s decline and save Ariana’s reputation and fortune. In doing so, he learns dark secrets about himself that could tear his world apart.

And if that is not enough to whet your appetite here is an excerpt:

Mon ami, you have taken the enemy flagship as a prize.” Du Bois was in fine form that evening. He lounged in the little cubicle of the dark, panelled restaurant and pulled on a cigar, adding to the dimness. The clink of cutlery from the other diners was distant; this was evidently a place for quiet conversation between men of means.

“How so?” I tried not to take umbrage at his statement; my limited financial resources were a testament to my lack of success in taking ships as prizes. My record of sinking the enemy was, in contrast, something to be proud of.

“Lady Ariana Grayhart. She is the only child of Captain Grayhart, whose late wife was the only daughter of the Duke of Wearhaven. The title of course lapsed without a male heir, but she retains the honorific as the granddaughter of a Duke.”

“Of course.” I had no idea about this sort of thing, but a response seemed to be required.

“What that means is she is rich. Rich in the manner of my forefathers.” He ticked off the elements on his long fingers, “Grayhart money from trade and factories, Wearhaven land to invest it on, and of course, the grand weight of the title. Any one of those would be beyond the dreams of a bootstraps boy like you.”

He was not being unkind, what he said was true. I joined the Navy when my mother died. My father was a sailor I had never met, and who had long been lost at sea.

“The Grayharts already owned swathes of your cold country. Edward Grayhart marrying up into the Wearhavens caused something of a stir, but the result is that it makes Lady Ariana a unique catch. Her arrival in London from Northumbria was eagerly awaited, and all the landless second sons were lined up to woo her.” He pointed his cigar at me, “Until you came along.”

I laughed at that. “I had no idea of any of this.”

“That could be what attracted her, someone courting for courting’s sake alone.” He leaned forward and said in a conspiratorial tone, “The young ladies are, of course, agog with the romance and the scandal, as well as being delighted by the removal from the field of an unbeatable rival.”

“Removal from the field?” I laughed again. “You forget that I have been at sea all my life, what do I know of women and courting? Besides, I know nothing of her feelings, nor have I made any proposal to her.”

“Faugh, Raymond, hang your head in shame. In front of all London society, you dance with her all night. You both ignore everyone else. You even ignored me.” That last seemed to hurt him most of all. Sparks flew as he stubbed the cigar out angrily.

“And yet you sit there and claim to have made no proposal.” He gripped my arm, fingers like iron. “You may escape to sea again, and come home to marry the daughter of a baker or a spice merchant. But memories are long for girls, and London will not quickly forgive or forget yesternight.”

Head over to Transmundane’s blog to read another excerpt.

Make sure you bookmark my author site for all the links of where to buy, and follow me on Amazon so that the endearingly enthusiastic retailer can nudge you when the book is launched.



Coming Soon – Like Clockwork


This is a lesson in heresy. Britishness comes with an over politeness, and a self effacing reticence that means we often don’t ask, and don’t get. We hold back, which to other cultures can come across as aloof and rude. If you don’t get it, follow Very British Problems on Twitter. Lucknowites have it too, and regular readers of my blog will know of my connections there. So I have this thing squared.

Except, once, and only once, I put it aside. Those lovely, life affirming, literature loving people at Transmundane Press were running an open call for submissions. After the Happily Ever After is out now and I urge you to buy it, even though I’m not in it. It is significant because I emailed them and asked.

The question was about The Lesser Evil (my Harry Potter fanfic).

It fits the brief, I wrote, but… copyright.

The inestimable Alisha wrote back: I like it, but… copyright. Send me something else.

I emailed them a 26k novella. Like Clockwork. They liked it. They’re going to publish it. It’s coming soon.

There’s the lesson in heresy. Sometimes you just have to ask.

And now you’re asking: What’s it all about Ali?

Here’s where the teasing starts. It is a gothic suspense/horror/mystery/anti-romance with some steampunk elements set in Victoria England.

It is also a bit Hornblower without the sailing. I worked with the Royal Navy for a year in a civilian, entirely non seafaring capacity, almost twenty years ago. I still look back on that time with great fondness, and Like Clockwork is a hat tip to the wonderful people I worked with. The etching of Portsmouth Harbour hangs over my desk, and was, among other things, a parting gift from the project team. No client gives consultants parting gifts, but they did to me. The image below is of the note on the back.

Head over to TP to read the blurb. I’ll be over here listening to Dionne and getting misty eyed.

imag1466 * Project CAPITAL rolled out the MoD’s financial management system. 2SL/CNH = Second Sea Lord, Commander in Chief Naval Home Command, which is the part of the implementation I joined.

The Streetsweeper of Between (In Progress, Extract)

About 9k words into this story our heroine Cecilia and her travelling companion Jake (who is trapped in a small pocket watch case) encounter the unusual Archie. All subject to change, but I was having so much fun with it I thought I would share:




The last request was somewhat easier said than done. There were piles of clutter everywhere. Cecilia thought she spotted a chair back peeking out from under one such pile, and began excavating. Most of the clutter was papers, piles of them, littered with calculations. She held one up to meagre light from the window, the title in neat, clear script read “Time Dilations and Relativities in the Region of Between, by Archie Khwarizmi”.

“Which one have you got there?” he asked, coming over to peer around her elbow. He turned his head up so that he could look through his spectacles at the paper. “Ah yes, early effort, superceded of course by my theory of differential angular momentum, but still a good place to start for the beginner.” He looked at Cecilia, “Are you by any chance a mathematician?”


“Then what are you, other than a cat of course, that much is empirically obvious.”

“I’m not really sure, I suppose you could call me a seamstress for now.”

“Hmmm, well I have some items in need of repair, but there is not much call for seamstressing around here. Why have you come out all this way?”

“I’m on my way to see Nelli in the mountains.”

Archie blinked at her. “Really? All the way to the mountains. Well I suppose Nelli in the mountains could need a seamstress as much as anyone else, but it seems a long way to go. Did she ask for you?”

“Oh no, I was on my way there to see if she could help me answer some questions.” Cecilia had put the paper down and continued unearthing the chair. It emerged at last and she sank gratefully into it.

“In that case you have come to the right place, answering questions is what I do best. I’m a scientist, mathematician, accountant, and something of a philosopher as well.”

“My goodness, what do they call someone who does all that?” For a moment Cecilia was genuinely impressed. Mr Arris, with whom she had spent her early life, was a lawyer; Old Mother Gwen was a washerwoman and seamstress; Sten and Agnes were farming folk. She had never met anyone with four professions.

“An economist.” Archie replied with one of his big smiles.

“And you can help me answer questions?”

Archie hesitated, “well maybe not answer them, no. I can help you ask better questions and propose some possible theories on what the answers may be.”

Cecilia looked at him sceptically, “Just how many theories do you have?”

“Sixty three.” Archie said proudly.

“Sixty three!” Cecilia and Jake echoed.

Archie jumped back in alarm. “Who said that?” he called, looking about. Cecilia opened out the case, and Jake’s eye peered out curiously.

“Archie meet Jake, Jake, this is Archie, he’s an economist.”

“He’s a liar is what he is,” Jake’s mouth said. “Sixty three theories indeed. If anyone around here had sixty three theories I would have heard about them by now.”