I’m pleased to announce the sale of The Curse of the Brimstone Contract to Samhain Publishing.

This novel my first foray into steampunk romance and I’m thrilled to have the contract. It will be published sometime in the first half of 2014.

What drew me to writing steampunk? First, it was the idea of writing a Sherlock Holmes-inspired story. Holmes was one of my first literary crushes, and I have both annotated versions of the Canon, though my William S. Baring-Gould edition is much more well-worn than the recent one published by Barnes & Noble.

I have these volumes, two of my most cherished books

Aside from being able to write a detective inspired by Holmes for the first time, I also wanted to explore how technological advances affect people emotionally. And then there were the class and gender issues in Victorian society. It seemed a really ripe and complicated (i.e. fun for the writer) setting and storyverse. So complicated, in fact, that my attempt at making this only a novella failed. This story was novel-sized.

While the explorers and lords of the Victorian world are fun, I wanted to come at it from the point of view of the working people of London. Thus, my heroine became Joan Krieger, a Jewish seamstress with a long and honorable family history, who has visions of changing society’s fashions and perhaps change the role of women in society as well.

My hero is Gregor Sherringford, consulting detective.

If you’re an intense Sherlockian, you might recognize the origin of Gregor’s last name. But Gregor isn’t quite a Holmes-analogue. Rather, he’s more Holmes-inspired. He’s an inventor and investigator, but he’s also the youngest son of a powerful ducal family. He’s in semi-exile from that family because he’s the son of the previous Duke and  a woman of no means from India who the late Duke rescued from the streets of Calcutta and raised to the heights of English society.

Why would a powerful Duke marry an woman from a different race and class?


In my storyverse, the steam revolution has been fueled by mage coal, a type of stone that is created when a mage wields their magic. Mage coal is far more precious than gold. It lasts much longer than regular coal, burns more evenly, and burns hotter.

Those who possess mage coal, possess enormous wealth. And those who possess the magical abilities to produce mage coal are highly prized, such as Gregor’s mother. The upper classes like to believe they are the only ones gifted with natural magical abilities. They want to hold onto power.

They’re about to learn that denying the existence of lower and middle-class mages will cost them dearly.

Especially since Joan, aside from being a ‘radical’ in the field of fashion, is a highly gifted but untrained mage, though she’s unaware of this at first. Gregor is willing to throw off the rules of his father’s class and train her. They find more in common than ever expected, though I have to admit, it took me an entire novel to get them to the point of, well, you know. 🙂

So I have a Jewish seamstress with the natural ability to take on the ruling class, a consulting detective who’s half-caste and somewhat estranged from his older brothers, and, together, they solve the mystery of magical murders committed by a foe of unknown but vast abilities.

Thus, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, or as it says in the introduction, “the first of the adventures of Joan Krieger, radical seamstress and Lord Gregor Sherringford, consulting detective for special problems.”


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