Sunday, 31 July 2016

Published Tomorrow

It's finally here, the publication of our eBook tomorrow morning.
As you know, the book is a collection of “What If?” stories set around the events of 1066. I have contributed a story to the collection, called "If you Changed one Thing."

 The book is well worth reading and is a steal at £1.99 or equivalent.
 Here is the blurb,

Ever wondered what might have happened if William the Conqueror had been beaten at Hastings? Or if Harald Hardrada had won at Stamford Bridge? Or if Edward the Confessor had died with an heir ready to take his place? Then here is the perfect set of stories for you. ‘1066 Turned Upside Down’ explores a variety of ways in which the momentous year of 1066 could have played out differently. 

Written by nine well-known authors to celebrate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, the stories will take you on a journey through the wonderful ‘what ifs’ of England’s most famous year in history.

To get your hands on a copy, head to or
Or, for all the news on the book, including background and associated articles, head HERE to the blog site, where I will be publishing an article on Tuesday, August 2nd, there will be a FREE short story to go with it!

Friday, 29 July 2016

Out for a Meal

And the venue? The Breakwater Bistro in Brixham,  on the beach.

we had a table on the balcony,

overlooking the bay,

a seafood platter for me,

a veggie lasagna for Yvonne,

and a pint of Bays, 

what more could you want?

Saturday, 23 July 2016


The bird feeders had a new visitor, after the squirrels and the magpie that I've put up before we had a hungry pigeon as well.

As you can see, he posed for the camera before tucking in.
And this morning, as I was writing, I had a butterfly come in for a look around.

They really are amazing when you get close up to them.  Just ignore the dust, it looks worse because of the zoom. And if I'd known it was coming, I could have cleaned up!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The first review of 1066 Turned upside Down.

And we have to thank  David's Book Blurg for this one. Find the full review HERE
As you know, the book is a collection of "What If?" stories set around the events of 1066.
I'll leave you to go to Dave's site and read the full review, I'm just going to put two paragraphs here, the ones most relevant to my contribution. Although of course, the whole thing is a group effort that I feel very proud to have been a part of.
"What a brilliant book this was. I just love the idea that the authors have taken a period in time and let their creative juices flow. 1066 is a fascinating period to read about and to have these authors explore the “what if” was refreshing."
"One of my favourite stories had to be the tale by Richard Dee, the perfect mix of science fiction and historical fiction, where the butterfly effect is explored and that if you could travel back to the past even the slightest change could mean big changes to the future."
To get your hands on a copy, head to or
Or, for all the news on the book, including background and associated articles, head HERE

Sunday, 17 July 2016

A Fantastic Review

My thanks to @Barbtaub for her review of "The Rocks Of Aserol."
You can read it in full HERE, complete with an interview I did for her website.
But this is the gist of it.

My writing group used to meet at a steampunk pub in Glasgow, where I once got into a conversation with a couple who were dressed in 1890s-influenced costumes, complete with corset and brass-tooled telescope (her) and top hat with goggles (him). They explained with passion and in great detail how everyone else got steampunk wrong. Although I eventually sneaked off on pretext of finding the loo, I think that the couple would have been completely satisfied with the steampunk world-building in Richard Dee’s new novel,The Rocks of Aserol. As far as I could tell, he ticked off almost every trope:
·         Victorian Trimmings? Step into an orgy of Victorian prudish, class-conscious sensibility, full of over the top clothes, dashing heroes who will risk all for honor, the King, and a cup of tea.
·         Gadget-loving Geek? Our hero, Horis Strongman (he’s not) is a civil servant struggling to move into the middle classes, slightly ashamed of his fascination with technology and science, and completely innocent when it comes to the political machinations of his superiors, who see him as the perfect fall guy for their ruthless schemes.
·         Officer and a Gentleman? Horis is saved by the dashing former military hero Maloney, a part-time hotel valet with a clockwork arm and stringent code of honor.
·         Young Lady with Spirit? Grace is both smarter and more independent than the women bemused Horis has encountered before. To his amazement and delight, she makes up her mind that he needs her and proceeds accordingly.
·         Alternate history? Dragons!
·         Alternate technology? The internal combustion engine never had a chance against gigantic steam-powered installations and intricate clockwork artistry.
·         Romance vs Science? (Did you get the part about the dragons?)

When the very junior bureaucrat Horis Strongman is tapped to investigate a mysterious development in the rural coal mines of Aserol, he is pleased at the chance to experience life far from the bustling metropolitan capital. Given the mine’s strategic importance to the coal-driven economy, he is surprised that such an insignificant member of the ministry is sent to investigate. Still, he’s excited when that experience soon includes dragons, and even more thrilled when he meets the beautiful hotel clerk, Grace. But even the innocent Horis is soon aware that something very strange is happening at the mines.

After a horrifying tragedy occurs and Horis is set up to take the blame, he’s rescued by Grace and by the dashing one-armed former military hero, Maloney. Soon the three are deeply involved in uncovering a conspiracy that extends to top levels of society.

But the conflict goes even deeper, as scientific discoveries begin to question the hitherto unchallenged superiority of the steam-driven mechanicals controlling their world, especially as they look to conquer the skies above, despite the menacing presence of dragons. Balloonists are the darlings of the day, but controlled flight is the goal. The filthy water and air of the coal powered world is contrasted with the “natural” dragons (although flight in both human and dragon form is invariably lethal). Religion, although still an influence in the more “natural” countryside, is being replaced by the new devotion to technology. “Priests were becoming a rarity in the city and worship was declining, being replaced more with the religion of science.”

Author Richard Dee uses clever little tricks to remind us that we’re not in Kansas (or London) any more. Breakfast is a “fast-breaker”, at which you might enjoy “porker” and eggs, or perhaps even some “bovine”. Of course, like all proper Victorians, you’ll pair that with a nice cup of “char” (tea). While the country carriages are still drawn by “equines”, they are slowly being replaced by the steam-driven equineless-carriages.

While The Rocks of Aserol is undoubtedly an old-fashioned adventure in the tradition of HG Wells and Jules Verne, it is also clearly and quietly subversive. At every step along the way, the rulers and leaders of society are shown with their feet of clay, just as their religion of science is exposed for both its miraculous advances and its deadly costs.

The Rocks of Aserol goes for the heroic adventure, romanticism of gorgeous “artisan” build machines, and nostalgia for a manners-driven bygone era. But author Richard Dee just as cleverly deconstructs all of that as he exposes and makes no apologies for the deadly costs of such progress. The characters begin as stock genre cut-outs, but soon develop into well-rounded three dimensional people that you find yourself caring about, while the pace of the story is well-suited to the ups and downs of an old-fashioned adventure thriller. I wouldn’t hesitate to give it four stars and to look forward to the sequel.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Tales from Norlandia, Part 7.

Here is the sixth Flash Fiction trailer for the novel, only two more to go and then the main event.

The Rail-Ryde.

Aristote Graves was the driver of the Rail-Ryde to Aserol. Sat in his cab atop the tonnes of locomotive and coal he regarded the twin metal rails ahead of him. His seat vibrated slightly as the pressure was released from the boiler below and behind his position. He could imagine his engineer checking the pressures and the belt that fed powdered coal into the furnace to heat the water that gave them motion.
The enclosed cabin was a boon as well, with its padded seat it was so much better than the standing position of the first Rail-Rydes that he had worked on. His father had been a track engineer and was responsible for surveying and building the route that they were about to take, so from an early age, Aristote had been a Rail man.
He looked at his timepiece; it showed twenty minutes before the Ryde’s departure. It was time to make his final inspection.
He opened the door on the side of the engine and descended a short ladder to the platform. The terminus was huge and vaulted with a glass roof held in place by a metal lattice. Birds flocked under its protection, roosting in the frame. A group of small boys were admiring the engine and he waved them out of his way. But not unkindly, he had been one once after all.
Looking underneath the engine he could see no leakage of oils or water, save a small steam cloud from one of the drive pistons. That was nothing, as the seal warmed up it would expand. Reaching the coal wagon he climbed up its side, lifted a corner of the canvas cover and peered in. The whole wagon was filled with powdered coal, enough to see him to Aserol. Dropping to the platform he walked to the Bovine Shredder at the engine’s front. A wickedly sharp metal scoop, it was designed to clear fallen trees and other obstacles from the line. It was polished and secure. Aristote grunted, at the speeds he would be travelling he would have to rely on it; the brakes alone would never stop the Ryde for an obstacle.
He knew that brigands tried to stop Rydes to rob the passengers. They would place all sorts of things on the line. The carriages behind him had a sting though; there were soldiers with powerful gas guns in a recessed walkway atop each one. Commanding the high ground they were effective against anyone attacking the Ryde.
Dropping to the roadbed he checked the outside of the engine and then returned to the cabin. Lucas Meadows his engineer was sitting in the opposite seat to his, dressed in overalls with a greasy rag hanging from one pocket.
“Everything alright, Ari?” he asked and Aristote nodded, he disliked the abbreviation but everyone used it.
“Is all your gear in order, Lucas?” he enquired.
“Oh yes, the coal feed is good, we have water till the first pickup and she’s running sound.”
“Up pressure then, and engage the drive.” The shuddering increased as Lucas threw switches; the Ryde anticipated motion
Aristote opened his quarter light and peered out, back along the length of the Ryde. He saw the Ryde-Guardian wave a green flag, just as the station clock started to chime.
Without looking he released the brakes and heard them hiss. Then he moved the power control to the first position. With a wheeze and a jolt, the steam from the boiler flowed to the pistons, two on each side. The pistons moved cranks which turned the wheels. The engine moved off, picking up the slack in the couplings. The pistons made a regular hiss-clunk, all four in order. The carriages started to move. Smoke poured from the chimney. As Aristote moved the lever through each position the speed increased. The engine wobbled as points were crossed.
They burst out from under the glass roof, the sunlight dazzling. In front of them, the city laid spread out in all its glory. There were factory and Local chimneys belching smoke. Equine- and steam-powered vehicles of all sorts moved under the arched brick viaduct that the rails were laid on. Tall buildings housed the workings of the nation. In the distance, the sea glistened. The wheels clicked over the ties between the lengths of the steel rails.
Lucas was intent on his gauges, “Everything is good, Ari,” he confirmed. “I’ll get us some char.”
Aristote increased speed to maximum and the sounds from the pistons merged into one continuous roar. A brew would be nice, he thought.
Ahead the rails pointed south, arrow straight to Aserol and all points between.

If you've missed any of the parts, the easiest way to catch up is by clicking HERE, you will go to my website at episode 1.

Friday, 15 July 2016

SciFi Sentinel

My novel Freefall is featured in the latest edition of Scifi Sentinel magazine.

check it out at and on my website

Thursday, 14 July 2016

A little light decorating

I cleared out my study, stacking all the furniture in the spare bedroom.

Leaving me free to lift the old carpet and refresh the paintwork. The wallpaper was left as I like it, I just gave it a bit of a wash in the corners.

Two coats of paint later and a new carpet laid.

I could then repopulate it with my stuff, all sorted and decluttered.

I moved my desk so that the sun doesn't shine straight on the screen in the mornings

and got all my familiar things back in place.

 Like the coaster that my daughter made me when she was at infants school, 

which I still use for my mug,

I hope now that I have had a good clear out in the space, I can get the creative energy flowing.

And in other news, the first print run of "The Rocks of Aserol" have arrived. All ready for the big day, which is approaching very quickly now.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

More Book stuff.

The book I've been collaborating on, 1066 Turned Upside Down, is now available for pre-order.
Basically, it's a series of "what if's" surrounding the Battle of Hastings and features some very good writers (including me!) giving their ideas.
It's only £1.99 (or equivalent) so very good value. The link is HERE why not have a look?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Cooking Roundup

Back to the day job, after the promotion of my novels and short stories in the last few posts (if you want any more sci-fi stuff head over to )
I'm back to cooking and here are a few of the things that I've been making over the last week or so.

First up, a use for all my discard Sourdough Starter, as I think I said before, I use it to add flavour to my yeasted loaves. This week it was a wholemeal loaf that got the treatment.

And this week there was enough discard to use as a base for a beer batter, yes it was Onion Ring time again.

That's enough for a month or so, frozen and ready to reheat.

I also made a sort of frittata using thinly sliced sweet potato, shallots and steak, topped with cheese. I tried to use my spiralizer to cut the sweet potato but it was not strong enough so I ended up doing it by hand.

The pictures tell the story of assembly, it might not look pretty but the taste was fine.

Talking of my spiralizer, I have been making a very nice courgette spaghetti,

I can recommend that with bolognese.