Holiday Giveaway



Author C. Desert Rose is happy to bring you “If Death Should Love Me; Fate’s Endeavor Series Book 1” absolutely FREE for the first and last time this year. For a limited time only you can get If Death Should Love Me for FREE on Kindle.

Here are some reasons why you should run, right now, and get your free copy of If Death Should Love Me by C. Desert Rose.
  1. You may have gotten a Kindle for Christmas. Why not fill it up?
  2. Reviewers have fallen in love with If Death Should Love Me.
  3. IT IS FREE!!!
What more must be said?

Here is what readers are saying…


Can a love story come from death to the living or from the living to death? You’ll have to find out… As a paranormal romance series, I would recommend this one.” A. Lopez Jr, Goodreads.

If Death Should Love Me is a wonderfully written paranormal romance that offers a mixture of love, humor, and adventure.” Carol Cassada, Goodreads.

… I must say this book is WONDERFUL!!!!! I love it! I am currently reading it a 2nd time. You will not regret reading this book.” Drandie Dodson, Goodreads.

Try an Excerpt
If Death Should Love Me
Fate’s Endeavor Series
Book One
Copyright C. Desert Rose & AAPH
Comoros, Africa
197 A.D.
I was eighteen. A man in both body and mind. No longer was I the boy that wished to prove himself a man. There was no doubting it—everyone knew the man I had become. My wife, family and friends were proud of the person I now was. Everyone knew, as did I, that as the first born son I would be the inheritor of my father’s reign. Unless of course, something should happen to me. Now, in being a husband and a prince, I was of the right mind to have many sons. This was, after all, the way of my people.
I was hunting, readying my wife, soon to be born child and myself for the winter that was quickly approaching. From afar I heard my sister’s voice calling me. “Amari! Amari! Come… come quick! It is time!”
The thought came that I must have lost track of time, I had not realized that I had been away so long. That morning Sulika mentioning that she felt some discomfort. When I asked her if she would be alright, she assured me that she was fine, that there was nothing to worry about as she still had another two weeks before her child baring day. So clenching my teeth, I went ahead and left to hunt, deciding against my better judgment.
And yet, here was my little sister, gravely calling for me to return.
There was no denying it, the time had come. I would be a father. Today. Running fast through the jungle, making certain that I would not miss the big event, I practically flew through it. All of the women gathered together in Sulika’s birthing hut call out to me, urging me to hurry. Sulika had been calling for me. It was not customary that a man enter the birthing hut, but this time the women made an exception as I was being insistently requested by my wife.
Sulika’s mother came to me, “Amari. Please, hurry. She has been calling for you.”
Sulika?” I called softly, she heard me and looked over in my direction. Her skin so very pale—a thin blanket of snow upon rich chocolate skin, it was. Completely flushed of color. Her lips were dry and cracked.
She saw me and reached to me, “Amari,” she spoke, so softly, so void of strength, that I barely made out what she had said. “Come.”
Closing the distance between us, I sat at her side and took her hand in mine. Then grabbed a rag that was beside me and wiped her head. “I’m here now. Fear not.”
She smiled a very weak, fragile grin, “Yes. Thank you.” This birthing was indeed taking a toll on her.
“No worries love, soon it will all be over and you will be holding our baby in your arms in no time at all,” I smiled at her and continued chatting, hoping inwardly that it was making her feel better. “It will be a boy. Strong, like his father. His mother’s eyes. We will walk around the entire village displaying his greatness. Everything will be over before you know it.”
A contraction. She squeezed my hand with whatever strength she still contained. She moaned and whimpered. My heart broke for her. With my other hand, I rubbed her back, “I am here, love. I am right here.” She breathed, trying to ease the pain. Still it was of no use because she had no strength. No fight was left in her. So once again I commenced my babbling, hoping that to a certain extent it would help her feel better—even if just the slightest bit. “When he grows, I will make sure that he becomes the tribe’s best hunter. And, he will be the tribe’s strongest man,”
She looked at me with hopeless eyes. “What if it is a girl?”
“Well if it is a girl, she will look and be everything like her mother. Nothing like her father. I would not want to ruin a perfectly good thing.”
Another contraction. She tensed. I could feel the pain that ran through her also run through me. I wished and prayed to all the tribal gods that they would help me ease her pain somehow.
My mother pulled me aside for just a moment. “Amari, she is not well. We are doing everything we can. But, her labor is not normal. The child is breached. She is losing too much blood.”
My hands began to shake, I was irrecoverably unnerved. “What is going to happen, Mama?”
“I do not know my son. We are doing all that we can. I hope the gods help her through this.”
For a long time, I did not leave her side, not letting her hand go for a second. I could feel the life drain from her with every breath. I worried deeply for her and my unborn child.
After several hours of agony and pain, it was time.
All the women scurried around her, cheering her on as best as they could. Some ran about trying to collect cloths, others gathered hot water, some had tools in their hands. And Sulika, was weakened flimsy and lifeless. I panicked. They were screaming, yelling, fussing about.
All of it seemed like a blur. My eyes were fixed on my wife, observing that she was even paler now, than just a little while ago. I bent over her. If it was a reflex of protection or desperation, I do not know. I needed to collect my emotions. Then I kissed my wife’s forehead and whispered into her ears. “Everything is going to be alright.”
“No… it is not.” was her reply, and her words seeped out of her lips like soft, supple smoke from a dimming candle. Barely audible, barely there.
“Push, Sulika, push!” Someone demanded. She used whatever strength she had and pushed. This went on for just a few minutes. At one given moment she pushed with all her might. Then, I heard my wife take a long aching breath, and breathed no more.
My heart dropped to my stomach.
I looked at her, staring, hoping that what I had just seen was in my own imagination. I heard more commotion. The women were running amuck. They began to yell and scream to each other.
Everything turned into slow motion. Muffled voices, screams and cries. Yet my eyes were fixed on my wife. For a split second I looked down at the child. A girl. She was right, but the babe was lifeless as well. She flopped like a wet rag in the arms of my mother-in-law.
Just like that, it was all over. My wife and my child were gone. I had lost everything that meant anything to me in a matter of a day. I was broken. Destroyed.
I named the child Alala, meaning like a dream—for that was all that she had been. A dream…
We buried them together, the tomb read; “My FIRST and ONLY wife, Sulika and our little angel Alala. You will never be forgotten.”

So … Don’t delay!

Get your copy today!



Happy Halloween – to celebrate a snippet from ‘Marauders of the Missing Mummies’

I have just finished writing my children’s book Marauders of the Missing Mummies. Phew! It still needs tweaking and the like, but it is done. So I thought I’d post the first few paragraphs as a taster. If anyone wants to give any feedback, that would be so very helpful. What do you think about the cover? It needs work, but is it in the right direction?

Hope you enjoy it and Happy Halloween.

new cover for marauders

Chapter 1: We Are Not Alone

Darkness pushed against Cleo Dalby’s arms and legs as she struggled to make her way through the narrow chamber. Hands outstretched before her, she slid her feet forward, straining to hear something, anything. But every sound, even the skid-slap of her sandals on the stone floor, became lost in the gloom. On Cleo walked slow and tentative. Deeper into the world of corpses.

A sigh, long and weary-filled drifted towards her. A sound so sad that Cleo had to cover her ears with her hands. But it was no use. The moans and low murmurs continued, floating around her like tired moths. She tried to struggle on, but the wails tugged at her legs and she stopped. Intrigued by the muffled chatter, she dropped her hands and listened. Voices low and raspy swirled and scuttled inside her head.

“We, the dead, abide here. Quietly resting, hands on chest, faces tilted up to catch a ray of sunlight.”

“A futile gesture. For this far below the ground, there is only blackness and the weight of stone.”

“We, the dead, lie still, poised in readiness for our resurrection.”

“ Ah, what a wait we’ve had; so many years spent lying in a state of half remembered promises and expectations, grown dull with the passing of each century.”

“We, the dead, no longer know who we are. Memories fade and melt into our hollow skulls.”

“We, the dead, sometimes whisper to each other.”

“Husks of words from dried up lips that stick to the cold walls, waiting for the living to listen.”

Cleo touched the limestone with her fingertips, and thought she heard a murmuring of souls.

“We, the dead, can feel a presence.”

A breath of ancient brushed past her cheek. She shivered and rubbed her naked arms. The chill slapped onto her legs and spread upwards leaving pimples of stiff-hair unease on her sunburnt flesh. She gulped and said into the blackness, “Hello? Is anyone there? My name is Cleo.”

“Found out!”

“Not Yet.”


The voices ceased.

She called again, but no answer came. There was a smell of rot so strong that Cleo nearly vomited, but it disappeared and she felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She stood tall, shrugged, and said, “The dark is just an absence of light.” She shook the torch that was gripped in her hand. “Stupid, froggin’ thing. Work.” She patted it against her palm. “Work.” Something touched her shoulder and Cleo jumped.

“I thought I’d lost you.”

“Mother, don’t creep up on me like that.”

“I can’t very well do anything else, can I? It’s darker than a black hole in here.”

“I know. I can’t see a froggin’ thing.”

“What do you expect? We are half way down a pyramid. And don’t say ‘froggin’’ I know what it really means.”

Cleo mouthed the word again, and then once more, just because she could. A small sound like the noise from an un-tuned radio station buzzed through her ears. She put her fingers into her lugholes and wiggled them until the static din ceased. “Are you sure we are the only ones in here?”

“Apart from the mummies? Yes. Why do you ask?”

“Oh, nothing, I thought that…”


“You didn’t just walk past me and say something, did you?”

“No, I crept up behind you, remember?”

“Weird. I thought I heard someone say something.”

There was a long pause and Cleo reached behind her. She felt her mother’s hand and grabbed onto it. Her palms were sweaty and hot and she felt a tightening in her chest. A gasp, not form her own throat, swept across her forehead and down her neck. She squeezed her mother’s fingers and felt her mother squeeze back.

“What was that?”

“I don’t know Cleo, but it wasn’t a breeze from a window. Okay, we need light and quick.”


“Now is not the time.”

“But it’s my fault the torch won’t work. I didn’t change the batteries, sorry. Of course, if you’d brought wind-up torches instead of battery operated ones, then we wouldn’t be in this mess, would we, mum?”

“Oh, so now it’s my fault?”

A throaty groan billowed past their open mouths. Cleo swivelled round, buried her head into her mother’s chest and waited for the horrible noise to go away. It did not. She felt familiar arms wrap around her and press her close. But despite the comforting warmth from her mother’s body, the gurgling, growling continued. Growing louder until her ears almost hurt. “Why won’t it stop?”

“It has.”

“No it hasn’t. Can’t you hear it?”

“That’s my stomach.”

“What? Your stomach?”

“Yes. Because you slept in, again, we missed breakfast.”

“Oh, right, sorry.”

“Don’t sniffle. Come on, we can’t let some stale air that we’ve disturbed frighten us away. That’s what they want.”

“That’s what who want?” Cleo said and pulled away from her mother’s tight grip.

“The architects who built the pyramids. They were clever. They used all sorts of booby traps to scare looters away. All this noise and freezing wind, it’s a just a ploy to put us of the scent. Come on, let’s carry on.”

“Okay, but can you light a match at least? I really can’t see where I’m going.”

“Actually, there aren’t many left. We should save them. We’re going to need all the light we can when we find the hidden chamber and get inside the room. So, for now, you’ll just have to feel your way like me.”

Cleo ran her fingers over the wall and felt the uneven stone. It was dry and cool and smooth to the touch. Almost like skin. “Do you think anyone else knows about this hidden corridor?”

“I hope not. It took me almost a year to find out it existed.”

“So, there’s no one going to miss us and come looking?”

“Don’t worry, the guide didn’t notice us latch on to his tour, and I’m pretty certain that he didn’t notice us slip away.”

“Oh. And that’s a good thing?”

“Of course it is. Less chatter my girl and more moving. I don’t know about you, but I find this place somewhat scary.”

“I’m pretty creeped out.”

“Do you want to go back? You can if you want to?”

“No. I’m no quitter.”

“Well said.”

Cleo skimmed her feet along the rubble-strewn floor and continued to make her way forward. A wriggly thing landed on her bare forearm. She yelped and stumbled over something large and hard. “Ouch!”

“What’s the matter? Are you okay? Answer me!”

“I’ve bashed my froggin’ foot on something. It really hurts.” Cleo bent down and rubbed her big toe.

“You scared me when you called out. I thought…”

“What? That something dead had come to get me? A zombie mummy angry and mean because we dared to enter its domain,” Cleo said in a boomy voice, and then even louder, “Moohaha!” She expected a response, but when none came she coughed. “Stupid froggin’ pyramid. Should have some kind of lighting. They always do in the films.”

“Well, this isn’t a film and you should be more careful where you walk. I told you that there would be all sorts of things lying on the floor. And, I told you to wear walking boots, not those pink sandals. And stop saying ‘froggin’.”

Cleo screwed up her eyes and sucked air between her teeth. Her big toe throbbed and she struggled to keep back tears. But the pain was nothing compared to the agony of admitting that her mother was right. “I think it might be broken.”

“Can you move it?”

Cleo clenched her toes. “Ow! Yes, I can move it, but it hurts.”

“Well, it’s not broken, probably just a bit bruised. You’ll be fine. So, are you so terribly injured that you can’t go on? Because, if you can’t, you’ll have to stay here or go back up until I find the hidden chamber, all by myself. So, getting all the credit.”

Cleo shook her head. Then, realising that such a gesture in pitch darkness would be a waste of time, replied in haste, “No, I can walk.”

“ Are you sure? I don’t want you lagging behind and getting lost.”

“I won’t.”

“I don’t know. I shouldn’t have let you talk me into allowing you to come.”

“But, you said we were a team. You know, like you and dad used to be.”

Cleo felt the silence cover her like a blanket. Then the touch of her mothers hand on her arm. “Well, if you can walk, let’s carry on.”

“I think I need a plaster.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll strike a match,” Mrs Dalby did and the place exploded in a tiny glow from the burning stick of wood. “You’re not crying are you?”

Cleo wiped her nose. “No, I’m just sniffing.”

The smell of sulphur tickled her nose and in the flickering light, Cleo saw her mother crouch on the floor and rummage around in a rucksack. She pulled out a candle and lit it. Cleo smiled and her mother did too. “I’m sorry. I get carried away when I’m on an expedition and I’m not used to having a child…I mean, I’m used to being with your father. I wanted this to be a proper holiday, but after the phone call. Well, it felt like old times and you said that I should get back on the saddle.”

“I didn’t. I said that you should find the missing mummies because dad would have wanted you to. Plus, they are giving us a shed load of money.”

“You are your father’s daughter all right. Come here, let me have a look at that toe of yours.”

Cleo stuck her foot out and Mrs Dalby held the candle close to it. As her mother probed her flesh for signs of bruising or cuts, Cleo tried to see what it was that had tripped her in the gloom. “There is a cut under your toenail, so you’d best have a plaster to avoid infection. Who knows what kind of bacteria lurks amongst this ancient dust and sand. Now keep still while I put one on. Cleo, I said keep still. Stop wriggling.”

“There it is!” Cleo shouted.


“The thing I tripped on.”

For more information about me and my stuff, go to:

What is your book about?

During National Book Week in the UK, I visited a school to give a talk and a teenager asked me, “What is your book about?”

Well, I opened my mouth and nothing came out.

Photo on 20-08-2013 at 14.54 2

Mental images flashed through my brain, but no words.

IMG_0001         sacophage      IMG_2

I stammered a bit and after a few seconds that felt like hours I managed to blurt out a rough synopsis of m YA dystopian/sci-fi book series, The Song of Forgetfulness. ‘Echoes from the Lost ones and the second book, A Silence Heard, is about a future world where mankind’s numbers have dwindled due to climate change, famine and plague.

Amazon echoes pics

Animals are all but extinct and those that are left in NotsoGreatBritAlbion, are divided into forests dwellers and ultra hygienic City dwellers. Then there is the enemy – Agros who control the supply of food to the inhabitants. When they stop doing this and start raiding settlements to kidnap special children known as Meeks, hunger and fear prevail. The heroine, Adara, has a unique talent that she can use to call the only edible creatures left, the birds, to land. When her brother is abducted, she must leave the comforts of her hygiene home and go to look for him.’ Finishing with, ‘So, it’s a coming of age tale with a difference.’

venom silence amazon

Needless to say, I was mortified by my response. All I did was tell them the plotline, not the content, the meaning. I began an internal dialogue as I plodded back to my car, stomach churning and armpits sweating. Well, this what I think my book is about. Overcoming hardship in the face of disaster. Finding friendship amongst so-called enemies. Discovering true potential and understanding who you are in the grand scheme of things. Knowing what strengths and weakens you have when faced with life threatening situations. Becoming the person you want to be rather than the person others think you are.

IMG_3400 (1)I drove away and thought, why did I find it so hard to answer such a simple question? Then I asked myself, is it a simple question? As the author I know the plot of my story and the characters, and what happens to them, but having read the many reviews, and how readers have interpreted my tale, I realised that there is nothing simple about the message I’m sending to potential readers. I have included issues concerning mankind’s future, how technical advances can help and hinder, how power corrupts and, that I’m not the only person qualified to say what my book is about.

I will now list a few snippets from reviews:

‘A story of trust and faith “Echoes from the Lost Ones” is an adventure that takes you to a time and place like no other.’

‘A haunting tale of survival and determination.’

‘I enjoyed how McDonagh has broken down and restructured the system of spoken language to illuminate thousands of years of evolutionary changes while still being able to communicate the basic elements of humanity – civility and good-will.’

‘A world in which morals do not exist and yet somehow this little band manage to maintain a sense of compassion and humanity. It is a fight for survival against a cruel and destructive enemy who tries to obliterate any good left on the earth.’


Some readers saw things in my narrative that I did not. How fabulous is that? I have decided that the next time someone asks me, ‘What is your book about?” I’m going to ask them to read my novel and get back to me with the answer.

So, if you’re interested in letting me know what my book is about, you can purchase them on Amazon. Oh, and you can look at a couple of trailers too:

Book trailer 1:

Book trailer 2:



Author Spotlight Jeffrey Cook

Introducing debut author Jeffrey Cook and his unorthodox Steampunk novel – Dawn of Steam: First Light.


Why unorthodox? I hear you say.

Because it isn’t your usual Victorian, bodice ripping Steampunk romantic adventure. No – this is a gritty and action packed adventure. Full of historical details fact and fiction; it is entertaining, informative and funny.


In 1815, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, two of England’s wealthiest lords place a high-stakes wager on whether a popular set of books, which claim that the author has traveled to many unknown corners of the globe, are truth or, more likely, wild fiction.

First Light is an epistolary novel, told primarily through the eyes of former aide-de-camp Gregory Conan Watts, describing the journeys of the airship Dame Fortuna and its crew through journals and letters to his beloved fiancée. 

The first recruit is, necessarily, the airship’s owner: war hero, genius, and literal knight in steam-powered armor Sir James Coltrane. Persuading him to lend his talents and refitted airship to the venture requires bringing along his sister, his cousin, and the crew that flew with him during the Napoleonic Wars. Only with their aid can they track down a Scottish rifleman, a pair of shady carnies, and a guide with a strong personal investment in the stories. 

When they set out, the wild places of the world, including the far American West, the Australian interior, darkest Africa, and other destinations are thought to be hostile enough. No one expects the trip to involve a legendary storm – or the Year Without a Summer of 1815-1816. The voyage is further complicated by the human element. Some parties are not at all happy with the post-war political map. Most problematic of all, the crew hired by the other side of the wager seem willing to win by any means necessary. 

Dawn of Steam: First Light follows these adventurers, as they open up the world. In the process, their journey helps lay the foundations for an age of enlightenment and technology to come.

So, let’s get to know a little bit more about Jeffrey and his writing.


Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to writing?

I’ve wanted to be a writer all of my life. My start in storytelling came early. My father and I took a lot of road trips across the United States, for various reasons. During these trips, we would pass the time with him setting up a narrative, and having me voice my character within the story and make decisions for that character. Combined with starting reading very early, I developed a love of stories that has lasted all my life.
Other than that, I’m 39, 40 in September. I live in Maple Valley, Washington — about 35 miles from Seattle. I live with my wife of 15 years, a housemate, and 3 big dogs that are the household’s children. In addition to reading and writing, I’m a gamer (mostly tabletop role-playing games), do some writing work from time to time for Deep7 Games in Seattle, and enjoy watching sports, especially American football.

Where did you get the idea for the book and how much research did you do?
I didn’t originally set out to write a Steampunk book. I loved the look and aesthetic, but was a bit of an outsider to it. I had a waking dream that introduced me to two of the characters. Because of their particular set-up, they couldn’t be modern-day, so I did some research and world building to figure out a world that best suited them. Everything else filled in from there and resulted in a Regency-era Steampunk book as the best fit.
The major research went into the alternate history aspects of the book. While there is some obvious deviation, the book is still built on real history: real events come into play; real historical figures are mentioned or have shaped the world. A lot of the dress, mannerisms, etc. are also intended to closely mirror the actual 1815. There are some deviations, but most of them are intended to result from the premise of a single event happening differently, and leaving things alone that wouldn’t have been directly altered by that premise. Some of the events of the book were entirely unplanned initially, but came about due to the research, like the Tambora volcano eruption and the great storm of 1815.
All in all, I put much more time into researching the Regency era and events of 1815 and 1816 than I did writing.

Is Steampunk your favourite genre to write in?
Steampunk is the only genre I’ve written a complete novel in. In truth, it kind of surprised me. I’d been working on a superhero comic book for years and had given up at long last when my seventh different artist flaked on finishing the project. It’s still something I may go back to someday. Before the comic, I’d figured on eventually writing fantasy or maybe space-western-style science fiction.
I’ve done some writing for Deep7 as well, and do really enjoy fantasy work. I’ve also done some YA Science Fiction, which was very different from anything I’d ever planned on writing. Eventually I’d love to play with Westerns, maybe Steampunked, maybe played straight, or some space-western-style sci-fi. Right now, though, I’m definitely enjoying my early-era Steampunk.

Who is your favourite author and why?
My favorite book is Frankenstein, so Mary Shelley makes a strong case. Favorite author, though, I would have to give to C.S. Lewis. Voyage of the Dawn Treader was the first novel I ever read, and it really opened my eyes to the possibilities of much more complex stories beyond the children’s books I had. I think I read the Narnia series four or five times before moving on to anything else, and still have a soft spot for them.

Who or what inspired the characters and the story in your book?
Jillian Coltrane and Sam Bowe showed up in a dream. I woke up with the characters in my head, nameless, but more or less formed and demanding to be written. It started out as a comic book idea, since I was in the last stages of thinking like a comic writer at the time, with a premise of having this group of characters start each mini-story in an old-time photograph in some improbable location, then tell the story of how they got there. That turned into the book’s epistolary format. All of the other characters kind of evolved over time, but the original two have stayed largely the same since their inception.
As far as the story goes, because the characters fit best in the Regency, not the more typical Steampunk Victorian, I got the idea for the ‘Dawn of’ theme. Intentionally making the world more true to the real world, and just researching that heavily, and then as the story progressed, intentionally setting the stage for a lot of the tropes of Steampunk. Some of the things I really wanted to work with were expanding British influence across the world to a greater degree, setting things up for more empowered female characters, and laying the foundation for a more egalitarian society in general, to match the aesthetics of a more typical Steampunk setting. The improvements and spread of technology — and progress towards an age of technological enlightenment – was obviously also central. Within the books, the hope is that readers can see the beginnings of those things, which should be somewhat familiar to the typical Steampunk reader, while also still being very clearly early in deviation from real history towards those aspects. By the time the original trilogy is done, the hope is not only that they tell a story in their own right, but that they could, in theory, be one possible backstory for a dozen other Steampunk stories based upon the real world.

Who is your favourite character in the book and why?

I have two of them, but thankfully, they’re sort of combined into one thing. Sam Bowe is kind of the throwback, and a very intentional link to pre-punk times. There’s a lot going on with her, and not all of it is obvious. Along the way, she also gets to bring knives to the gunfights, save royalty with serving forks, and be a royal pain in the ass of the properly civilized. The fact that she adopts the one thing in the book that goes back much further than even Sam and Jillian, namely Bubsy the ornithopter (whose origin is a long story), just makes her even more fun to write at times.

Sam Bowe

Do you have a special place where you write?
I have a beat-up armchair that’s set up nicely for using my laptop in. I don’t write nearly as well at a desk anymore. The chair is in terrible condition, but still holding together.

Do you have a favourite book that you go back to and read again?
As far as novels go, not really. I have a lot of books I love that cover a lot of genres. Shogun, Frankenstein, the Lord of the Rings books, a number of old westerns and others have all gotten multiple passes, but no one thing I’d say I keep going back to. The things I do read and re-read a lot are gaming books. Odd as it sounds, they have a lot of good material for building characters and settings – and kind of return me to those old days of truly interacting with the story and having choices to make within it. For pleasure reading, though, I tend more towards trying to find something new to read than re-reading.

You say this is your first novel, was it difficult to write?
Not in the least. That first Nanowrimo flew by. I’d recently been laid off, so I had time to write, and after years of working at one of those soul-and-creativity-draining jobs, I had a lot of creative energy built up and suddenly had an outlet for it. I also found Gregory’s voice, writing letters in a Regency style, pretty quickly. I had the whole thing, what’s now three volumes, together by the end of that month.
Re-writes, edits, more edits, more re-writes and more edits took far, far longer. I’m not nearly as good at cleaning up my own work past the rough draft stage as I am at putting new content down on the page.

What has been the best and worst part of becoming an author?
The best part, honestly, is just writing. I love it, and have been dreaming my whole life of making a living at this. I’m not there yet, but I have the business cards that say author, and some good reviews from people who aren’t friends and family to say I may have stories worth telling. I write quickly, and I’m passionate about the creation of stories.
The worst part is a tie between editing and marketing. I have an editor now, which has made a lot of the process much, much more pleasant. I love creating new content. I’m not nearly as fond of trying to fix and adjust it just so or fixing my frequent run-ons and misplaced commas. Trying to find new ways to market the book and move towards the day when I have 7 or 8 books out and can maybe start thinking about calling it a realistic career is also a challenge and a time sink. I do appreciate meeting new people along the way, at least.

What are going to write next?
I have four books done in various stages of edits. The next thing I actually write probably won’t see the light of day for at least a couple years. That said, I’m working on both the fourth book of the Dawn of Steam series, taking the youngest member of the crew from the current stories (Matthew starts book 1 at 10 and finishes book 3 at 15 years old), jumping ahead 5 years, and making him the main character. I’m also working on a fantasy novel set in Deep7’s Arrowflight universe called Masquer’s Dance. I don’t know where anything but the Dawn of Steam series is going to go, but I’m pretty sure that the Matthew Fisher-Swift books are going to be another trilogy, while next year’s Accidental Inquisitor and the eventual Masquer’s Dance are one-offs, for now.

Is there a quote that you would like to share with everyone that sums you up as a writer?
“Write now, edit later.”
Not nearly as ground-breaking or inspirational as a lot of things out there, but that explanation of the Nanowrimo process made all the difference in the world for me in going from a poet (the only thing I’d had published previously) and would-be comic book writer to being a novelist. Learning to not restart and restart, and just keep moving forward, with no internal editor pauses was critical. Yes, the first drafts were horrid. They needed tons of rewrites and cleaning up. Despite that, they were first drafts that outlined a story from beginning to end.

Thank you Jeffrey for your in-depth answers to my questions. As a taster, here is an extract from the book.


“From the diaries of Jillian Coltrane (Translated from Greek)
February 24th, 1815

James, I know you shared some of my misgivings regarding this mission, though it is almost precisely the sort of opportunity we have been hoping for. I assure you that I am making some discreet inquiries into Elliott Toomes, per your request. His name is not entirely unknown to me, and my limited research with the resources present here within the house indicates that he served with distinction during the Colonial conflict, and was not unknown to our father. Likewise, he has some presence in the Royal Explorers Society.

Although all seems in order, he is quite difficult to read. I certainly did not care for the way he was looking at me and was grateful for at least the efficiency of lemon juice and the distraction of Harriet. I do not trust him, nor should you, though I believe that was abundantly clear. Pray, entertain him with drink and cards and see what more he might let slip in less guarded moments in the coming days. 
Mr. Watts is entirely what he seems. I know you are passingly familiar with his work from his writings during the war. I have found numerous of his articles, and verification of his story regarding how he came into possession of the camera device. If there is something more to this offer than it first appears, I do not believe he is any more a party to it than we ourselves.

Whatever my concerns, I still believe this venture into the unknown is well worth it. Only a short time returned from the war, and already I have begun to find the court scene tedious. This should also allow me to further delay our search for suitable candidates for marriage a time longer. I will continue to keep in touch with numerous hopeful mothers, of course, in case something should catch your fancy. 
The funding for the venture is secure, and I have already seen to making sure that our former staff are all available to continue in our service aboard the airship. I am certain the Fishers will resume their excellent works, and at least most of the engineering crew should still be available.

Given how much we were forced to retrofit the dirigible to suit our needs, I would be loath to bring anyone new in now. I will be sure to let you know if there are any difficulties, though to be certain, you may want to pay some of the crew personal visits and make certain they know that their loyalty, and, of course, their discretion, will be well rewarded. 
The other names on the list Mr. Toomes presented us with are still unknowns, but I am doing what research I may while we have all the resources of our library and files at my disposal. I will let you know what I find out. In the meanwhile, as you are better able to travel in society circles without need for extraordinary circumstances, I strongly recommend you make some inquiries of your own into Giovanni Franzini. That we are asked to work with a European seems odd, though Mr. Toomes assures me that he has connections and friends in places few Englishmen would, and such we may need. This may be the case, but if I do not trust Mr. Toomes, I am certainly not going to trust anyone else on his say so alone. 
When all the research is done, be certain to pack well for the trip, and add a handful of concealed weapons to our list of supplies. If we are going to travel with so many unknowns with so many of our secrets close at hand, best we be prepared for any eventuality. Despite these cautions, I am quite excited to be involved. I remain entirely unready for our shared adventure to end just yet.”

 You can contact Jeffrey and learn more about Dawn of Steam here:

 Dawn of Steam: First Light is available to purchase on