It all began with a tweet by @nataliezed.
A story prompt, courtesy of canlitgenerator.com, poking fun at the grand traditions and tropes of Canadian Literature. But the idea struck a chord with me, and as I tried to return to my work, I was distracted by the story growing in my mind. So, I started to write…
Merry Christmas Eve to you and yours! As a special treat for the holiday season, here is the origin story of Cat & Mouse, a short story I created for the Airmail newsletter. It’s the first in a new series of shorts following the exploits and escapades of your favourite sibling duo. My deepest thanks for being part of the extraordinary adventure I’ve had this year!
Sign up for the newsletter to get a special Christmas Eve story tonight and monthly updates on the Tales of the Captain Duke!
Cat searched her bag for the last of the biscuits and came up with crumbs. She took a deep breath before uncorking the water flask and turning to her brother with a smile.
“Here you are! Just enough to wet your whistle.”
She dribbled some into Morris’ open mouth. He giggled and most dribbled down his chin. For the hundredth time that morning, Cat reminded herself that a toddler could not be counted on to understand the gravity of their situation.
“Now dinner!” he exclaimed.
“Not just yet, it’s hardly tea time silly boy. You wouldn’t want to spoil your appetite. Soon we’ll have a grand feast.”
“But I’m hungry now.”
“No, no, not yet. Here, want to play with the telescope again?”
Cat was very nearly at her wit’s end, but there was no time for despair. Not when they’d made it so far already. She helped Morris climb onto the musty armchair she’d pushed to the boarded-up window, peering between the slats at the bustling town below. In the distance, the new tallport stretched high into the air, with airships of every shape and size gliding to and fro. If only they knew which one they were looking for.
Exactly one year ago I was standing in the back of the Ginger Press Bookstore in Owen Sound for my first book launch party. I was wearing a red dress and the heirloom amethyst necklace I inherited from my grandmother. The books were arranged beautifully around a portrait of Queen Victoria by my sister and cover artist, Sarah, and all my family was there to celebrate with me on a chilly Saturday afternoon.
I was only going to print 50 books. I had launched the eBook edition of The Stowaway Debutante in August and they hadn’t sold well. Mind you, I was half terrified that people would read my book at that time. But my mother insisted I print at least 100, and I had a tidy little tri-city book tour planned for my hometown, university town, and the city I’ve fallen in love with.
There were maybe twenty people in the bookstore when MaryAnn introduced me. And I had not yet mastered my explanation of what exactly “steampunk” was. But then I settled onto a tall stool, opened my first book, and began to read.
I remember the moment so clearly. I could hear the bell above the front door chiming as I wove the tale of Clara and her discovery of the gunpowder on the airship.
And the next time I looked up from the page…the bookstore was full. Packed. Standing room only, as people shuffled to the sides to make a little more room, and a little more room, as my community filled the space.
My heart beat faster, and I stumbled over a word. But I kept reading, and everyone clapped as the Captain Duke entered the scene.
I had no idea what to expect back then of releasing my little story into the world. I certainly didn’t expect to be here one year later, one thousand books later, typing this story for you.
Happy DOCTOR WHO Day!
Check out the latest episode of Reality Bomb – A Doctor Who Podcast for my wild speculation on the new season.
Spoilers…one of my most dreaded fears has already been confirmed, but I still have the return of Osgood to look forward to!
It’s my one-year author anniversary!
To celebrate, The Stowaway Debutante (Tales of the Captain Duke #1) eBook will be available for FREE on Amazon from August 14-16!
I’m so thrilled to hear that you’re enjoying the books! Ratings and reviews are so important for indie authors so that new readers will take a chance on our work. Thank you to everyone who has shared these stories and helped to spread the word!
I’m hard at work on Book 3 of the Tales of the Captain Duke, and I promise you that Events of Particular Significance will be resolved in a satisfactory way. (You’re going to love Professor Sewell…)
This month on Reality Bomb – A Doctor Who Podcast, I had the pleasure of an invitation from Graeme Burk to choose an episode of Doctor Who for the Gallery of the Underrated. Naturally, being a River fan, I chose Let’s Kill Hitler.
I like this episode because it’s our first glimpse of River before she’s River Song. The nature of her story is that we meet her out of order, out of time. Our introduction is her ending, and so we never quite see her becoming.
I’ll let you listen to my defense in the episode (second to last segment, but the entire episode is genius. Listen for my dear friend and beta reader Lori Steuart defending Clara’s right to a proper story arc), but I just want to emphasize one point. I think this episode is about the power of love and the choices we make. Melody Pond overcomes all her terrible conditioning in order to save the man she was destined to murder, to choose love, to choose to become the Dr. River Song we know and love. In the end, our origin stories are made up of our individual choices and personal agency on the journey to become ourselves.
What did you think of the episode? Comment below with your thoughts!
In The Stowaway Debutante, an encounter with the legendary Captain Duke sets Clara’s life on a new course filled with airships and adventure.
Now, the Tales of the Captain Duke continues in From Haven to Hell, where the pirates return to the hideout to find the traitor in their midst and Clara must learn to trust her new friends before her secrets tear the crew apart!
Digital editions of The Stowaway Debutante are now on sale! For a limited time only, you can catch up with Clara and the Captain for just 99¢ in advance of the release of the sequel on May 31.
Listen to the first chapter of Tales of the Captain Duke: The Stowaway Debutante.
Today is Ada Lovelace Day! A day to celebrate and commemorate the work of female scientists and engineers. Ada Lovelace is considered to be the first person in history who made the conceptual leap about the potential for Charles Babbage’s analytical engine. Her work is the progenitor of our modern day computer coding. And yes, she was a real woman, the estranged daughter of Lord Byron, who lived only to 36 years of age from 1815 to 1852.
To celebrate, I want to share the origins of the science in my steampunk fantasy series, the Tales of the Captain Duke.
In the steampunk history of the Captain Duke, a royal declaration by Queen Victoria in 1866 intended to secure her hold on the throne after the death of her husband had the unintended consequence of legitimizing gender equality years before it actually happened in ours.