Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Posts tagged “Power

#WritingWednesday: In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers

Happy Wednesday! I’ve decided to (try, for a while, you know, let’s not delude ourselves as to my ability to stick at one thing for too long.. a-hem) use Wednesdays to share some short bursts of the stories I’m working on… because that way, I figure, I’ll be motivated to keep working on them 🙂

Right now (besides the Smith and Skarry adventures, which get quite enough attention in my other posts) I’m working on an LGBTQIA+  Mythpunk standalone novel called In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers whose central themes are identity, voice and power.

It’s based in a world where Time grows like grass and is harvested, where people of the four cities – Gnarl, Ash, Slain and Caligari – wear their whole lives on their backs in the form of patchwork story Cloaks. Those who don’t have a Cloak, have no clue as to who they are. Those who have Cloaks guard them jealously for fear of the desperate Daggers who would steal them for themselves.

The novel is divided into four books – The Book Of Bujo (which btw is a complicated word whose closest meaning would be heist/ joke/ prank/ trick), The Book Of Scales, The Book of Feathers and The Book Of End – but in the opening the reader finds themselves in a burned down library where the pages of all these books have been scattered, charred and disarrayed across the floor so the narrative has to be pieced together in fragments and the time line dawns slowly rather than being obvious from the start.

It’s ambitious, I’m scared about failing at the vision I’m aiming for, but I love pushing the boundaries of what I can do and I’ve done similar things with short stories so I really hope I can make it work, let’s see…

Victorian Steampunk Plague Doctor Assassin




If only you had come at another time. Sooner, perhaps, or later. Such a very great shame; who would have thought that words, which wreak such merry havoc with the world, would prove so fragile, after all? 




Only you know why you are here. 

Maybe you heard stories of fire, and came looking for the burning threads? 

Maybe you saw a glimmer, far and cold, and reached for it through the dark? 

Maybe, just maybe, you followed a path of heavy paw prints scorched in clay, their warm indent still laced with scents of sulphur, salt and iron? 

Perhaps your grandmother gave you a handful of matches to sell and there, alone, abandoned to the cold, you swallowed down their light, devoured and incubated their frail powder spark ‘til their soft-pulsing and insistent compass lead you down the silk blue gullet of the night, into the belly of Ullna?

What a shame it cannot lead you home again. Not that sort of light, you know? 

Well, but it matters not how you came or who you were before ; here, look, here is where you wanted to be all along, here is the dance, the dance of making and unmaking, the dance at the end of all things, the step that loops back to the beginning. Here is  the burning fire dance of Karash deep in the belly of the moon. 

Be patient, dance on, dance until the last thin wafer sacrament of yourself is licked away and then, stay, and dance yourself back whole, things are about to change, time is about to begin again, keep dancing and you will turn the universe to your own wild tune… 



There you go, I hope you enjoyed reading the opening 🙂 What are you writing at the moment? Feel free to share links to your own works in progress or Writing Wednesday posts in the comments 🙂

Blessings on all your writing endeavours!

#MythpunkMonday: The Star Talers

Happy #MythpunkMonday!

Today I’d like to share with you a little extract from one of my own own Mythpunk stories ; this is from The Star Talers – a short poem spun from elements of the original Grimm fairytale.

It was inspired by the historic treatment of Rromani slave dancers during the 13th to 18th centuries and the parallels between this and the modern cycle of poverty and exploitation that I have witnessed in the red light districts of British cities today. As such, it touches on  issues of slavery, abuse and recovery, sexuality, identity and self-discovery and ends with the hopeful thought that, ultimately, we can survive and journey on from our past…



The boy had been hollow rose

Carved out from the hip bones of his mother

Beautiful as a choked out sob against silk pillows

Beautiful as a neck bent back swanlike to display the pulse

Beautiful as an eggshell is to crush and feel the yellow juice spill down

And lap



Once. Once he had been that hole

A space to fill with so much Other Blood

Now he stands on the banks of a bright river, Old,

Full, frayed, and spilling out onto the bank

No one comes near

The fear of all the screaming demons, stench and blade sharp thorns that close around him

Holds the world away

But still he will stay

He heard a story once; a whisper, rumour, gossip or snatch of song that clung like a butterfly to his sleeve – there is a land across the river, where you can see the stars fall to earth and in their fierce, full, burning beauty there is peace…


Thankyou for joining me for my second MythpunkMonday! I really hope you’ve enjoyed it and if you have, feel free to join in and share some Marvellous Mythpunk that you have written, created or enjoyed. You can share using the #MythpunkMonday hashtag or in the comments here below if you like and I will try and make this a regular Monday thing 🙂

If you enjoyed The Star Talers excerpt, you can read the rest of it here on Vocal: