An author of Speculative Fiction, speculates about fiction.


In my absence

It seems a lot of my recent posts have been apologising for not being around very much. This one will be no different, it seems.

Still, I’m sure you lovely folks don’t exactly live your lives waiting for me to post my next little ditty, so no harm done.

Anyways, I hope you’re all well! It seems that this year has moved along at break-neck speed and I can barely turn around without whole weeks having scurried by. The Steampunk season, as it seems to be to me, is coming to a close, I think. At least in the North. Howarth has a charity ¬†Steampunk event in aid of cancer research this weekend which I’ll be attending and hopefully doing some good there. Leeds has its usual Christmas Market coming up as well as an event on the 29th of November (which I can’t remember where it is at the minute but I’ll be there, anyway). There is also a Steampunk craft fair in my own fair Doncaster on the 1st of December which you should all try to get to. It’s their first time so it’d be great to show them some support. I’ll certainly be there if only because it’s above the Salutation pub and the bar will be only a few steps away ūüėÄ

And that will no doubt be very much done and dusted until after Christmas, I imagine. At least in my neck of the woods. But with a new year will come a lot of new, fun stuff. I certainly can’t wait for you all to meet Alan Shaw and join in on his adventures. I’m so excited that a wee just a little every time I think about it. I have reports from my excellent editor, Peter, that it’s well underway and the lion’s share of the edits might be done by the turn of the year. I’m really looking forward to reading his comments, as he always has a great insight, especially as a fan of Steampunk himself.

Other than that, I’m off to try and catch up with some more uni work. I seem to constantly be on the back foot this year and I need to get that sorted out.

Anyway, salutations, my friends.

Thanks for reading.

Make ’em laugh


If you read my last post, you’ll know what I’m talking about here, so I’ll keep it short. The Steampunk Doncaster event has an indiegogo page which we’re hoping will help us to make the festival extra awesome in June this year. If you hit the hyperlinks above, you can see the campaign itself, so feel free to share or donate or scoff and look at something more interesting.


What you WILL be interested in seeing is the outtakes reel of me trying to make that damned video with the help of Toucan Media.!

It certainly had me rolling, watching myself make cock-up after cock-up. Take a look:

And if for some reason that video doesn’t work, you can Youtube it HERE.

Let me know what you think! And don’t forget to share ūüėÄ

Thank for reading.

Steampunk needs you!

Hi everyone,

I don’t do this often, or at all, but I need your help.

As some of you may know, I’m the literary co-ordinator (Man of Words) for my local Steampunk Doncaster Festival. This year, on the 15th and 16th and June, we’ll be holding our very first event.

We’ve already got a stack of brilliant authors (including Jonathan Green, Anna Chen and the graphic¬†novel writing duo of¬†Moore and Rappion), a stack of brilliant crafters and tinkerers and an exhibit stacked with artists and sculptors. We’ll be based in Donacster’s Deaf Trust building, a huge old place with lots of history, and the main aim is to bring something to our local area be it artistically, or in terms of tourism in years to come.

Basically, we want to give back to the area we live in and love.

But here’s the thing. We can’t do it for free. Being a poor starving author, and the rest of the teeam being similar creative types, we’ve poured as much money as we can¬†into the festival to make sure it happens. But there’s only three of us on the crew and we can do no more than we already have. The Deaf Trust building, being a registered charity, has cost a small fortune in itself. And that’s why we need you to visit our Indiegogo campaign.

We don’t expect you to donate your life savings, or anything at all, for that matter. But every single hit, share, Like and Tweet we can get, spreading the word, is a massive help. And that’s where you guys come in.

If you need incentive, I look an absolute fart in the campaign video (well worth a chuckle, I assure you). Here it is!

Steampunk Doncaster Campaign

That’s pretty funny, right? What a doofus.

Anyway, please hit the page there and share your little hearts out. And encourage people you know to share it, too. We want to make this thing grow, year after year, and get better and better, so every little helps.

Thanks for reading guys!

Steampunk has eaten my life.

That’s right, it’s finally official. Just about every waking moment of my existence has become embroiled in some kind of cog-based awesomeness in one manner or another.

The Steampunk Doncaster festival continues to grow at an exponential rate (and there’s still room for more to get involved!), particularly my own section, the Litarium where we now have not only a stack of author signings and¬†workshops,¬†but graphic novelists, poets, competitions and the like going on. Brilliant!

We’ll also be shooting a video for a kickstarter campaign which might help us cover the costs of some of those brilliant things that’ll be going on. As¬†Steampunk Doncaster¬†is a non-profit kind of thing, we’ve begged and borrowed all we can so far, but to make it extra special I’m afraid cash is necessary; if only for posters, leaflets and to get our hands on some cool prizes for the competitions. So keep your fingers crossed, everyone,a nd I’ll post the vid as soon as it’s done.

Elsewhere, work on my next novel continues. The Adventures of Alan Shaw has almost had its first full edit and will soon be ready for consumption by Inspired Quill and a few trusted honest folk to let me know if it’s utter tosh or not.

And I’ve been making things again! As always, with festivals and the like coming up, I’ve been tinkering with some doodads for my outfit including some elbow pads (I’ve torn too many shirts falling off my velocipede) and a sidearm just in case things¬†get a little bit hairy…

For that Jaberwock that just won't stay down...

For that Jaberwock that just won’t stay down…

In progress. Lots of glue going on here.

In progress. Lots of glue going on here.

Nearly done. Just a few touchups to do.

Nearly done. Just a few touchups to do.

I’ll show you the final result sometime later in the week, I hope. Any ideas on improvements that you gusy might have are more than welcome ūüėÄ

I’m also gearing up (hardy har) for my appearance at the Doncaster Turn The Page literary festival next week where I’ll be expected to string together coherent sentences for a whole hour infront of a crowd. Trying to¬†figure out what people will be interested in hearing about from a little squib like me is baffling and I’ve had to turn to Twitter for suggestions. But not much has been forthcoming. Again, any suggestions are welcome! Otherwise¬†the festival¬†may be the last place I’m ever seen alive.

But that’s about all for now. Not a long post, but a succinct one, I’m sure you’ll agree. See you all soon!

Thanks for reading.

Busy busy busy…

It’s been insane lately. And brilliant.

I’ve mostly been working on contacting authors for the Steampunk Doncaster festival in June this year. As regulars will know, I’m the festival’s “Man of Words” which mean that I’m organising everything that goes on in the Litarium, a section of the fest devoted to words whether they be written, spoken or performed.

And the interest in attending the event has been brilliant so far. In fact, we already have several authors confirmed. Among the brilliant talent we have attending are L.M. Cooke, author of the Automata Wars novels, Meg Kingston who has written an intriguing premise with Chrystal Heart. Anna Chen, poet of the renowned Opium Wars saga will be performing her work with the aid of a guitarist.¬†As well as all these authors doing signings, talks, and¬†other activities, we’ll¬†also be hosting a discussion by Allegra Hawksmoor of the eminent Steampunk Magazine!

Not only that but we have copies of a true Victorian classic called Hartmann the Anarchist. Written in the 1800s, Hartmann¬†may have been the first book ever to use dirigibles in a science fiction story! There’ll also be fiction competitions for adults and children, and a Limerick jam just for fun where people can turn up and share their humourous or interesting little ditties with us. I can’t wait for that bit.

And it continues to grow. Other areas of the festival have artwork, displays, a HUGE trader’s market and other fun stuff going on.

Aaaaaand breathe…

So that’s what I’ve been up to recently. As well as the usual uni assignments,¬†day job and trying to find time to write. Which brings me to my next announcement. As part of the Steampunk Doncaster event, a new blog has been launched.¬†Starting as a bit of fun, the idea for the blog soon grew and grew until we now have a fully-functioning serialised story being posted on a weekly basis. Following Her Majesty’s Airship Deedworthy, the story will chronicle the adventures of the crew, including interviews with the airmen and women, and lead up to¬†a landing in June in Doncaster just in time for the festival…unless their adventures take them elsewhere.

As you might of guessed, it’s me who’s writing the story, and I have no idea what’s going to happen. I’m not planning ahead, not thinking about a plot, I’ll just see¬†how it turns out each week¬†and hopefully it’ll be a rip-roaring good adventure! The first installment is already up there, so go take a look and let me know what you think ūüėÄ

Hope to see you there!


Thanks for reading.

Guest Post – Steam Retro

Steam Retro have been making jewellery and other bits and pieces (for both the Gothic and Steampunk markets)¬†for a while now, selling locally in Spain at craft fairs and markets, and starting up their webpage¬†But they hail from far chillier climes. In fact, right around the corner from me in Yorkshire! Since they’ll be attending the Steampunk Doncaster event in June, I thought it only right that you all get acquainted. So here they are. Steam Retro in their own words:

“Growing¬† up in Yorkshire in the 80s it was difficult not to be a goth! Now we have more¬† fun in the world of Steampunk. As you know, we’re going to¬†Steampunk Doncaster¬†for our¬† first overseas adventure [and to try the beer!]. We’ve been trading on ETSY for 3¬† months, and after a slow start its now going really well, and we are learning/improving as we go along!”

Check out their first eBay listing:
You can also find them on Twitter at @SteamRetro. Check them out!
Thanks for reading.

After an absence (and added alliteration, apparently)

Hi everyone. Sorry I’ve not been around. I think I only missed one week’s actual¬†blogging, but I’ve been slacking off for longer than that. Or, should I say, I’ve been busy. Busy busy busy.

Spookier on the outside…

Last week, for instance, I went on a ghost hunt. You heard. Me and an intrepid group of friends went to Knottingly¬†town hall throughout the night to experience some ghastly goings-on. It ended up being extremely fun, and a little bit pants. But that was part of the fun. Wandering round in the dark with just our little group, torches in hand, creeping along like the Scooby Gang, was the best part of the evening. Although my inability to explain the table tipping comes a close second. If it wasn’t for the mediums and their total disregard for the laws of physics, I’d have been even happier (One fo them said that the grainy effect you¬†see when you’re in the dark is “seeing the energy of the world”. Nothing to do with photoreceptors, apparently). But, I had my trusty talisman to protect me:

Who you gonna call?

And this little group of gems to act as ectoplasmic cannon fodder should the proverbial shit “get real”:

Ready for action with their Indian restaurant menus clutched tight. (From left to right) Lindsay, the top of Hannah’s head, James and Laura; aka Janine, Slimer, Venkman and Egon.

Other than that, it’s been business as usual. Plugging Greaveburn, looking for places to do signings or just to turn up and do a jig (I’m quit the Jigenator, when I need to be). I’ve also applied for a couple of jobs totally unrelated to my current Nursing career. Gasp. That’s right, folks, I’ve gone for writing jobs. Jobs that will mean that I write for a living as well as for fun. This could be either empowering or catastrophic. I’ll let you know how it goes. Cross your digits for me.

Other than that, it’s been full steam ahead (pardon the pun) with my next novel. As some of you may know, it’s being tentatively named The Chronicles of Alan Shaw¬†(or just Alan Shaw for short), and it will¬†be my first forays¬†into Steampunk when I actually know that it exists. Unlike when I wrote Greaveburn and I had no idea. I’m not saying that I have any more of an idea now, but at least I’m going in with my eyes open and goggles firmly in place. Anyway, new project, new writing-high. It’s going well. I’m approx 75k words in, and only half way through as a rough estimate. It’s going to be an epic, I hope, with lots of juicy tidbits and complications and (without giving too much away) tie-ins, hopefully. We shall see…

Ooooh, let’s see…what else? I’ve been introduced to David Lynch films by the aforementioned James. I know, I know. Where have I been, right? Apparently buried under a laptop-shaped rock.¬†As we finished our ghost hunting endeavours at 4am, we decided on a movie marathon the next day which consisted of Lost Highway, Hook, The Crow, and Monsters Inc. Quite the eclectic mix there, but it was a blast. There was Haribo and pizza, and many-a discussion about what Lost Highway actually meant. I don’t think we got very far with that last part. But any excuse to watch Bill Pullman play an adult character is fine by me (We shall not forsake thee, Bill, for the crimes¬†of Casper).


And that’s just a few reasons I haven’t been around. Others include decorating and¬†starting my next Open University course, but they’re boring ones.

Don’t forget, folks, that the Greaveburn Competition closes at midnight tonight. There have been some great entries (even a saucy one) and I’ll post the winner next Saturday. If you’ve been slacking and haven’t entered yet, get on it! A few late entries will be forgiven because I’m not a totalitarian author by any stretch of the imagination, so there’s still chance.

Have a good week!

Thanks for reading