Farewell, Musa

At the end of last week, I received a little sad news. But let me set the scene.

At the beginning of 2013, I was casting around the internet looking for writing inspiration when I came across a sort of submissions call: a small press called Musa Publishing were announcing a steampunk shared world project called The Darkside Codex, and their description of the setting sparked my interest.

theglasssealing-200I’d been tinkering with a steampunk idea for a while, but it wasn’t going anywhere, so I contacted the co-creator, Celina Summers, to request a copy of the story-world bible. Skip to the end – about nine months later I submitted a manuscript, and nine months after that, in May 2014, my first novel was published… this one:

Since mine came out, two more TDC titles have been added, one just last month, so it was a surprise to learn on Friday that Musa Publishing is closing down at the end of February – nine more months after my book came out. The doors will shortly shut for good, and that’s a shame.

Musa made every effort to put their authors first: contracts and royalties were always transparent processes, and now they are wrapping up their operations they are maintaining that philosophy, reverting rights to the writers and ensuring their organisation persists post-mortem long enough to pay everyone what they are owed. I’d like to thank all the people involved, but in particular the TDC team: Celina (and Richard C. White, her co-creator), series editor Damien Angelica Walters, Kelly Shorten for the cover art and our promotions wrangler Dianna Gunn.

As well as enabling me to call myself a published author, The Darkside Codex has also introduced me to the other series contributors, something else I’m grateful for. I wish Chris Pavesic, Eric Spannerman and Daniel Ausema all the best for the future (and, if you want to know something about each of them, why not follow those links to short interviews I’ve done with each of them).


What all this means for me and my novel isn’t yet clear. One way or another, The Glass Sealing is likely to become unavailable for a while, starting in March. But, one way or another, not forever.

From Cover to Cover

My plans for 2015 can be summed up pretty succinctly: Self-publishing.

Unfortunately, after years of cast-iron certainty that making a million lies just around that easy corner, it looks like I’ve delayed long enough to start getting the short end of the stick, what with the ungodly rise of Kindle Unlimited, the European Union waging tax war on Amazon, and so on and so forth. But what the hell, I’ve nothing else on.

I’m aiming to release at least eight titles next year, all of them small short story collections or standalone novellas, and I’m starting in the Weird West. Here’s the cover art (all hand-crafted by yours truly, this time at least, but with a nod of thanks to Mister Jez Patterson for the horror-pun title):

If you click that image, you can read an atmospheric excerpt to whet your appetite – but if you simply can’t control the urge already the pre-order page is up on Amazon (soon to follow on Smashwords and other good online retailers).

However, this post isn’t all about me – well, not quite, though I’m hardly impartial on the following subject either. It seems that the publisher of my novel are gearing up (thank you) to release a new novel in the steampunk shared world of The Darkside Codex, entitled The Caelimane Operation. Author Chris Pavesic unleashed her cover art earlier this week, and here it is:


Clicking through the image link will take you to Chris’ blog, where she hints at the mystery-thriller story to come. Both our books are out in January, so best of luck to Chris – and to ME, best of luck to ME, too!

EDIT: I’ve just discovered that Chris also put out a little book trailer – not usually my thing, these, but I have to admit I thought it was fun. I wonder if I’ve got time to do one myself? Just need a croaky old-timer to do the voice over and hawk at the spittoon…

The Glass Sealing




Enterprising engineer Arthur Singleton is on the verge of achieving all his dreams when they are snatched away from him. His sympathies for the plight of mistreated workers lead him to speak up in their support, but for doing so he is made a scapegoat by the heads of industry, falsely accused of inciting a riot which they orchestrated to keep the people in their place. With his reputation ruined and his career in tatters, Singleton vanishes into the squalid streets of Southwatch, determined to make a difference where it really counts: in the lives of ordinary men and women, forgotten or ignored by those who live in comfort and luxury above the Dark Cloud. 

Years later Singleton emerges from obscurity again as a secret leader in the Workers’ Movement, an underground protest organisation dedicated to challenging the status quo–but no change comes easy, especially when it threatens the profits of the wealthy. Looking down on their activities is Jocelyn Duville, heiress to a unique airborne transportation empire, who once considered Singleton more than a colleague and was an unwitting player in his wrongful disgrace. Now a darling of high society, Jocelyn is far from a conventional figure herself, refusing to simply marry and give up her independence. She has big plans for Southwatch, a proposal that will change the face of the city and write her name in the history books in the process. But her goals epitomise everything the Workers’ Movement struggles against, and they will not stand by and watch without a fight. 

However, these are not the only forces at play. Street gangs, the city government, and the strange, inhuman beings that live in Southwatch’s deep shadows all have vested interests in the outcome of the building conflict. Arthur Singleton and Jocelyn Duville will face off across a chasm of class, each wielding very different kinds of power–unaware that they are pitted against each other, and of the terrible consequences their actions will have on the city they both love.


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