Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

Tag: Richard Dee

Opening Lines: Tales from Deepest Darkest Devon

This week’s Opening Lines blog features a brand new anthology of stories  – put together by the Exeter Author’s Association – of which I am a tiny part.

The anthology, Tales from Deepest, Darkest Devon, features 19 different stories from 13 authors, all living in and around the county; from Brixham, to Tiverton, Ottery St Mary to Bampton, and many places in between. The stories cover a wide range of genres, and offers a story for every literary taste.

Part of the sales from this book will go to the Devon Air Ambulance Trust


Devon; a land of beauty, of moors, villages and coasts. A place of stories, told by the people who live there.

Take a look beneath the surface of Devon with the Exeter Authors, nineteen tales from thirteen of the county’s finest writers.

Contains some adult (18+) material.

Bobbing. Discover why revenge is a dish best served with cider,

Make a wish. Devon is the place to spend the rest of your life.

The Dartmoor Dragon. Discover the magic on the moor.

Cutty Dyer. Quiet villages can hold deadly secrets

Winter Snow.  The old ways are the best

The Padding Horror. On the moors, an ancient evil is stalking its latest prey.

Under the Hunters Moon. You’re never truly alone on the moor

The Fairmile Green Man. Has Swampy and his protest been forgotten? A green man carving brings a much older story back to life.

Guardians. A peaceful little village hides a dark secret.

And many more.

Contributors: Jenifer Braund, Richard Dee, Maura Beckett, Chip Tolson, Brian Willis, Janet Few, John Hall, K. Y. Eden, Richard Lappas, Tracey Norman, Mark Norman, P.J. Reed and Jenny Kane.

Part of the sale price goes to the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

Here are the opening lines from my own story, Bobbing.

Feeling like a malevolent Eve slithering through the Garden of Eden, Libby did a slow twirl in the centre of the old cider barn.

The gauze dress was thin. It caressed her skin with a teasing arousal.

She was fertility herself.

If Robert hadn’t wanted her before, he’d definitely want her now. But then, if she was honest, that had never been a problem. Robert always wanted her. He always wanted everyone. And her boss usually got what he wanted.

The scrumpy’s pungent presence accosted Libby’s nostrils as she ascended the ladder propped against the eight foot high cider barrel. Empting two boxes worth of apples into the liquid, she watched as the fruit bobbed across the foamy alcoholic surface.

Smiling into the vat depths, Libby counted the apples, making sure there were enough for all the guests to have a go at capturing one with their teeth. Then, balancing carefully, she reached up to the ceiling. A stick was hanging horizontally from ropes above the barrel. Tying a beeswax candle to one end and an apple on string to the other, Libby gave the stick a gentle push. She watched with satisfaction as it swung back and forth over the barrel of bobbing cider.

Returning to the ground, Libby checked the collection of silk ties next to the steps. Each one waited patiently to fasten hands behind their backs of potential bobbers; thus eliminating their temptation to cheat.

Libby experienced an unexpected flash of power as she heard Robert’s distinctive footsteps approaching. It was difficult not to grin too widely when she remembered how pleased he’d been when she’d suggested he had the honour of being the first to attempt the ancient apple catching ritual.

Fingering her pentagram shaped pendent, Libby’s mind filled with images of ancient Pagan fertility rites she’d seen in history books.

‘You wanted a traditional Pagan celebration boss, and this is it. There’s alcohol soaked bread to be offered to the trees in the orchard, cider ready to be poured onto the roots to toast the crops health, apple bobbing, and of course, the apple stick.’

Allowing Robert to slip his arms around her waist, Libby wasn’t surprised when he shuffled close enough for her to feel his crotch against her butt.  Rather than examine the beauty of the Celtic scene she’d created, Libby knew Robert would be checking to make sure no one else was in the barn.

He glided his hands from her waist to her tits. She let him. As the moment to execute her plan grew ever closer, Libby’s body had been on the cusp of an increasing impatient sexual high.

As Robert pushed her back against the barrel, he peered up at the hanging stick. ‘It looks impossible! And dangerous.’

Easing away from his grasp, Libby climbed the ladder and lit the end of the swinging candle. Her eyes flared with the fizz of the wick as it caught…


You can buy Tales from Deepest Darkest Devon in paperback or as an eBook from Amazon via…

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Release Blitz: Life and Other Dreams by Richard Dee

February 15th is the release day for Richard Dee’s Life and Other Dreams


Rick lives here on Earth, now, with Cath. His life is boring, writing adverts for cat food and exotic holidays. When he’s asleep, he dreams vividly.

In his dreams, he lives as Dan, spending his time with his wife Vanessa. They live six-hundred years in the future, half a galaxy away. They’re explorers, searching for valuable minerals on Ecias, an alien paradise.

When the two worlds start to overlap, Rick starts to question what is real. Events in his waking and sleeping lives are mirrored, similar people inhabit both and coincidences mount up. Then disaster strikes in each world at the same time. In his dreams, Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Meanwhile, after one coincidence too many, Cath thinks that Rick’s dreams are hiding an affair and leaves him.

Is Rick going crazy, or can he be living in two places, two times, at once? If not, then which one of them is the reality? Will one life carry on when the other is on hold?

Let’s have a peep…

In this extract, I describe Rick’s visit to a psychiatrist, where he explains what he thinks are his dreams. He describes his life as Dan, on the planet Ecias, six hundred years from now.

“You’ve told me a lot about your dreams,” Doctor Borth said. “Can you tell me how real your life is when you’re in one of them? Do you feel surprised when you wake and find that you’re not there?” I wondered where this was going.

“It’s very real,” I said. “In my dreams, I have a full life. I’ve spent months on Ecias, done so much work. I’m a geological surveyor there, I checked out some of the technical terms I remember using, they all match. I’m not a scientist so I don’t know where they come from. When I’m there, I don’t think of here in the same way.”

He took more interest at that point, leaning forward. “So, when you’re on… Ecias, you use a technical vocabulary that you don’t in this life?”

“That’s right. It’s the same with the Latin names for plants and trees. And there’s more. I know things that can’t be true.”

“Wait,” he held up his hand. “What do you mean, things that can’t be true?”

“I can describe how a spaceship engine works, how we can travel faster than light. It all makes perfect sense to me. If I had the equipment, I could have a good try at making one for you. And I can use a multi-sensor mapping drone, use machinery that doesn’t exist.” I realised that my voice was getting louder; I was getting excited as I told him, remembering more and more as I went on.

“I’ve looked, none of it’s been invented but I use it all the time, I’m familiar with it, how it works and how it’s made. Hell, I can even tell you which planet the things are made on, who invented them. I don’t just use the stuff, if it breaks down in the forest, I can strip and repair it too.”

If that surprised him, he never showed it. His face was blank; the eyes behind the thick lenses gave nothing away. Maybe it was the sort of thing he heard all the time, perhaps his working life was filled with tales of galactic explorers.

“Interesting,” he muttered, almost to himself. “Do you live a day at a time in your dream?”

“If you mean, do I sleep there and wake there in the mornings, yes I do. In some dreams, I live on Ecias for a month or more. Before you ask, when I’m there, I don’t dream of here. Or if I do; I don’t recall it in the same way. When Cath left, I tried to remember and write everything down; I found that the act brought up more and more detail.”

“You mean like writing in a diary would here?” he suggested.

“I’ve never kept a diary, but I guess so. What I mean is that the act of remembering things prompted me to remember more things.” I showed him the thick sheaf of papers, the notes I had started on the day after Cath had left. There were more now, I’d added quite a lot to them, details about my findings online and the things that had happened with Anna had brought them up to date.

“Are they your notes? Can I see them?”

I passed them over, he flipped through the pages. “May I make copies?” he asked. “I can assure you that nobody but me will see them. I haven’t the time in this consultation to read them all.”

“Of course you can,”

“Thank you.” He stood and crossed to his desk. There was a small multi-function printer on it, next to a computer screen. He laid the papers on the tray and clicked a few buttons. There was the noise of the machine warming up. Soon, copies started to appear in the output tray. He had to reload the paper during the operation, I hadn’t realised how my rambling about life on Ecias had grown.

The machine finished. He returned my sheets to me and sat again. “Thank you, I will read them with interest. Now, tell me one specific thing,” he said. “Take a day in your life on Ecias and tell me about it. It doesn’t have to be a special day, any day you like.”

I thought for a moment, then I recounted the last day on Ecias that I had really been happy. I told him about the journey from our place into town, the time when Vanessa and I had ended up having sex by the side of the road. Telling him that, and he never flinched at some of the details, reminded me of the first time we had driven up to the place we would call home, our prefabricated cabin in the clearing. So I started talking about that.

I told him how the cabin had been dropped in by lifter, just as soon as we had cleared the undergrowth. From that, I remembered from the fun that Vanessa and I had doing it. I told him about the animals that we saw from our window, once they had got used to our being there. How we fed the local Sawgrass family muesli from our hands, how their tongues felt against our palms.

“Hold on,” he said. “Do you realise you’ve been talking for more than twenty minutes, you’ve told me more about the day you moved into the cabin, all the things you did, than I can remember about when I moved to my new house. And that was only a month ago. Not only that, it’s all consistent, there’s nothing that you’ve said that doesn’t follow logic, or change with repetition. It leads you to other memories as well, which indicates a consistent timeline.”

Here was the big question. “So, do you believe me?”

You can purchase Life and Other Dreams from Amazon at 

I’m Richard Dee and I’m from Brixham in Devon. I was never a writer, at least not for ages. I made up stories in my head, based on dreams and events in my life, but I never did much with them. Life, a wife, three daughters and now three grandchildren have kept me busy.

I spent forty years in shipping, firstly at sea, then in Port Control and as a Thames River Pilot, with adventures to match anything I could imagine. When I retired, I just moved them out into space, changed some of the names and wrote them down.

I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as chronicling the exploits of Andorra Pett, reluctant amateur detective. When I’m not writing, I bake bread and biscuits, cook delicious meals and walk the Devon coast.

My first novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of The Rocks of Aserol, a Steampunk adventure, and Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space, the first of a series featuring Andorra Pett.

Sequels to most of them have either followed or are in production. I also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection of alternative history stories. I’m currently working on more prequels, sequels, and a few new projects.

My website is Head over there to see what I get up to, you’ll find free short stories, regular features on writing, book reviews and guest appearances from other great authors. Click the FREE STUFF tab or the PORTFOLIO tab to get all the details about my work and pick up a free short story.

I’m on Facebook at RichardDeeAuthor  and Twitter at Richard Dee Sci-Fi I can also be contacted at


Many thanks Richard. Good luck with your new novel.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Opening Lines: Life…; and Other Dreams by Richard Dee

I’m delighted to welcome friend and fellow member of the Exeter Author Association, Richard Dee, to my place today for this week’s ‘Opening Lines.’

Let’s get cosy, sit back and enjoy the first 500 words (exactly), of some fabulous fantasy fiction…


Hi everyone, my thanks to Jenny for the opportunity to post here. I’m Richard Dee and I mainly write Science Fiction adventures, although I also dabble in Cosy Crime and Steampunk. Up to now, I’ve kept to straightforward tales of adventure, corporate misdeeds and conspiracy. With the odd murder thrown in.

Life and Other Dreams, the story I’m sharing with you today is a hybrid, a dual-time thriller. It started with a dream I had, where I found myself living in a slightly different version of my real life. That gave me the idea for Rick and Dan, two men separated by half a galaxy and six-hundred years.

Or are they?

Rick lives here on Earth, now, with Cath. His life is boring, writing adverts for cat food and exotic holidays. When he’s asleep, he dreams vividly. In his dreams, he lives as Dan, spending his time with his wife Vanessa. They live in the future, exploring another planet, searching for valuable minerals on an alien paradise. However, Dan is oblivious to Rick, he has no dreams about Ricks life, as far as he is concerned, he lives on Ecias and has no alter ego.

When the two worlds start to overlap, Rick starts to question what is real. Events in his waking and sleeping lives are mirrored, similar people inhabit both and coincidences mount up.

Then disaster strikes in each world at the same time. In his dreams, Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Meanwhile, after one coincidence too many, Rick’s wife thinks that his dreams are hiding an affair and leaves him.

Is Rick going crazy, or can he be living in two places, two times, at once? And which one of them is the reality? Will one life carry on when the other is on hold?

The first 500 words are set on the planet Ecias, six hundred years from now…

“Whoa! Vanessa, what are you trying to do? What’s the rush?”

The words were torn out of my mouth as we raced over the bumpy road, the open top of the buggy meant that you had to shout, especially when Vanessa was driving. She approached driving like she approached everything else, flat out and head on, daring it to get in her way or spoil her fun.

I gripped the armrests firmly and felt the harness dig into my shoulders every time we bounced, the suspension was doing its best, but at this speed it was fighting a losing battle with the rough surface. The road had been cut through the forest; the uneven sections filled in and levelled with rows of hardwood logs, held in place with a hard-packed mixture of earth and stones. The road swerved around the bigger trees and clung to the hillside. It was the sort of journey that you could sell to adventure-seeking tourists. At best, it was only just wide enough for two vehicles to pass.

You were supposed to sound your horn and slow down at the corners, in case there was a lorry coming the other way. Vanessa, predictably, didn’t bother. She kept the speed on and we shot around the corners not knowing what would be in front of us. “You can see the lorries through the trees,” she had explained to me, “if you keep your eyes open and look in the right place.” Maybe that was right, I had to hope that it was.

On either side of us, the tall trees were in full leaf; the equatorial sunlight shining through them was casting shadows over the road, exposing us to patches of light and dark as we headed into town. The air was warm and still, at least it would have been if we hadn’t been moving so fast that it felt like a full gale in our faces. Ecias was a paradise, with amazing scenery and beautiful wildlife. It was how Earth had probably been before we humans had got our despoiling hands on it. The trees had large flowers as well as their leaves; they were a magnet for bees, butterflies and multicoloured birds that looked like Earth’s hummingbirds. If you were quiet you could get right up close to them. Like all the wildlife on Ecias, they had not yet learned to fear man or what he could do to a planet.

We raced past a large warning sign. Fixed to a huge tree, it informed us in red letters that five-hundred metres ahead there was a sharp right-handed curve. An arrow underneath the letters emphasised the point. The good news was that after we had got around it, we could start our descent down the side of the hill into Richavon.

We weren’t in any particular hurry. While it was true that the supply ship was due, it would be here for at least a day.  Vanessa just liked the exhilaration that speed…

My current plan is for the novel to be published in late February 2019. You can keep up with its progress and find out more about me on my website at Head over there to see what I get up to, click the FREE STUFF tab or the PORTFOLIO tab to get all the details about my work and pick up a free novel or short story.

I’m on Facebook at RichardDeeAuthor  and Twitter at Richard Dee Sci-Fi 


Many thanks for visiting today Richard.

Come back next week for some opening lines from Rachel Brimble.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Guest blog from Richard Dee: What is Steampunk anyway?

It’s my pleasure to invite friend, fellow author, and member of the Exeter Author Association, Richard Dee to my site today. Richard’s latest book, A New Life in Ventis is available on pre-order now!

Over to you Richard…

Thanks Jenny for the invitation, now a few of you might be wondering what a Steampunk author is doing here, plugging his next work. Aren’t we straying a little off-piste?

And what is Steampunk anyway?

There are many interpretations of the genre, here’s mine.

Picture a world, a world without oil, without electricity. Imagine a place where the steam engine is King, driving vehicles and industry. Where portable power is provided by clockwork engines; powered by coiled springs. It’s conventional to depict this world as Victorian, because it gives us a reference point, it’s the nearest we can get in our experience. And let’s be honest; the costumes are pretty cool too!

But when you think about it, if oil and electricity had not been utilised in our society, where would our Victorian’s be today? Could we have vast aircraft, with jet engines powered by coal gas? Could we have clockwork computers, printing onto paper? Or mechanically driven moving picture shows? Of course we could, and so much more.

Who knows what else might have been invented by necessity? And what are the limits of the technology? Might the world even be a better place?

That’s an awful lot of questions in two paragraphs.

So you could say that a Steampunk world is really just a different us. Even though I called my Country Norlandia, it could just as easily be an England that went in a different direction. And as it’s us, the people in my world are no different to the people in Jenny’s or anyone else’s stories. They have the same emotions, the same vices and the same tales to tell.

My fictional world of Norlandia and the stories set there have romance, corruption, revenge, heroes, villains and all the other elements of any adventure, the only difference is that they are set against the background of smoking chimneys, coal dust and the whirring gears of fantastic machines. The technology is a character, not the main event. In the same way as a village or a beach, or even, dare I say it, a coffee shop?

Once I started creating the world, I realised that I could adapt a lot of what we have today and invent new ways to make it work differently. By keeping it practical and useful but just slightly ‘not the way it’s done here’ it enhances the difference in the setting. Things like the gas powered jet engine, it’s perfectly possible but not quite how we do it. And you can also have fun creating those little bits of back story that give the place its atmosphere, like the suggestion of myth and magic in exotic foreign lands, the novelty of Cofé and how the lack of instant communication makes people behave differently.

Anyway, if you wanted to learn the intricacies of Fantasy World building you wouldn’t be here, I’ll get back to the story.

A New Life in Ventis, the novel I came here to tell you about, is the second one that I have set in Norlandia. It follows the further adventures of Horis Strongman, an ordinary person who finds himself thrust into extraordinary circumstances. He’s a city boy, naive and out of place in the country. Luckily he finds a feisty sidekick in Grace, and then there’s his new friend Maloney, an ex-soldier with a mechanical arm and a dislike of authority, to keep him safe and on track.

In the first book, The Rocks of Aserol, published in 2016, Horis is the unwitting pawn in a conspiracy. Sent to be the expendable minion, he discovers a secret, falls in love and is rescued from the fate his unscrupulous superiors intended. He sets off to make things right.

A reviewer commented: – There’s something of a ripping yarn about this excellent tale of adventure. False accusations, discoveries kept secret, villains who murder to get their way, and the whiff of requited love – it’s all here in this classic steampunk saga.

That story was complete, or so I thought, I moved on to other projects. Then I started getting requests to continue the adventures from readers. One said, so, what becomes of the hero? All I’ll say is, the story does have an end but there are still questions unanswered. I think Mr Dee would disappoint quite a few readers if he didn’t come up with a sequel – or better still – a series.

And another commented, I absolutely adored it but the ending!!!!!!  What’s going to happen next? Please tell me you’ve written a sequel.

Seeing those remarks made me wonder, what could happen next? I knew that I had to continue the story; A New Life in Ventis was the result.

In the second book Horis experiences the joy of reunion, he discovers that the bad guys are still out to get him and will stop at nothing in their pursuit. He also learns…, well that would be telling.

Here’s what one of my fantastic team of beta readers said: – “A New Life in Ventis took off with a bang, and kept up the tempo throughout the entire story. Overall, it is another excellent book!”

And, if my editor is to be believed, there needs to be a third part to the tale as well. There are certainly enough possibilities, enough machines and fiendish adversaries to justify many more adventures for Horis, Grace and Maloney. And who knows, maybe Horis will find the quiet life he craves.

We will have to see what happens; the creation of the world so far has already resulted in an alarming amount of research and invention. Sufficient to make a book of short stories, Tales from Norlandia, which; incidentally, is now available exclusively from my website.

Here’s a chapter from A New Life in Ventis to give you a flavour of the story.

In the Provincial Hotel, Asero

Sayrah Faith was unused to flattery. So that when the stranger leant over the reception desk in the Provincial Hotel and complimented her on her appearance; she was unsure just how to reply. Flustered, she put her hand to the side of her head, patting her tightly wound hair.

“Oh sir, you should not,” she answered breathlessly, unaware that her normally well-hidden feminine instincts had made her react in the same way as the girls she considered ‘flighty’. The cheap novels she read so avidly described such situations as this, but she had never been part of one herself. She found that she quite liked the sensation it produced. It was just as the novels had described it.

“How may I help you?” she asked, attempting to strike the sort of pose that ‘heroines’ did. In her bone corset and tight gown and with her stomach sucked in she found the posture uncomfortable. Still, she reasoned, it might be worth holding it for a while longer.

“I’m looking for a room,” the man replied. Sayrah was on safer ground here. She pulled the pencil from behind her ear and automatically licked the point. Then she thought that perhaps she should not have done, as the man’s eyes widened. Flustered again she opened the ledger and ran her finger down the page.

“We have a single available,” she began but the man shook his head.

“Oh no, a double room for me,” he said. “I may be on my own but I do prefer comfort, a single bed leaves me no room to spread myself, don’t you agree?”

He was tall and thin, with a heavy moustache and side whiskers yet had an air of mystery and excitement about him. Sayrah was unworldly; in her mind she could hear her mother’s voice. ‘Double beds are only for marriage and the worst kind of adventures,’ she had used to say. Sayrah had never been a party to these ‘adventures’ and although she was aware of their nature had never been in a position to experience them. In her life thus far, men had treated her at best with indifference, it was because of her plainness and larger body she was sure, but this man had a twinkle in his eye and a kind face. Perhaps he was what the novels referred to as ‘the one’.

“I couldn’t say,” she blurted, then realised that wasn’t the right answer for a worldly wise woman to give. She blushed but the man never noticed.

“Now, my dear,” the man continued, “where might I get a good meal tonight with pleasant ambience? I know,” he added, “perhaps you could accompany me, I wish to know all about Aserol and I’m sure we might have an enjoyable time.”

Maloney was sat in the porter’s office, close to the desk, reading a news-sheet, his ears pricked up at the conversation. Sayrah was unable to hear the insincerity in the stranger’s voice and he did not like to think of her being gulled by a stranger. And there was another possibility; this may be an attempt to elicit information about Horis and Grace.

Since he had returned to work, Maloney had been alert, waiting for such a moment, he had no doubt that Terrance would seek Horis and Grace out for revenge and he wondered if this was just the start of things. Sayrah was an easy target for an unscrupulous agent after all. He merely needed to flatter her and she would be his. Maloney put down his sheet and crossed to the door, to better hear what else transpired.

“There is an excellent eatery on the sea promenade,” Sayrah said, she had never tried it but had longed to. As she walked alone some nights she had looked through the windows at the couples inside and wished herself there, in happy communion with ‘the one’. Pride would not allow her to go alone, perhaps tonight might be her chance to sample its fare. “It is called the Icthyus.”

“After the piscorae,” said the man. “Very well, I will call by speaker and arrange a table, is eight of the clock suitable for you?”

“Why yes,” said Sayrah. “I will be delighted to accept.”

“Good,” said the man. “Where is your speaker booth? I will set the wheels in motion.”

Maloney’s office was between the desk and the speaker room; he busied himself as the man passed then went to the other wall and listened carefully. He could hear the man on the speaker as he called the operator. But instead of asking for the eatery, he heard him ask for a number in Bingham. That was a town halfway to Metropol City. That alone served to warn him that his suspicions might be well founded.

The connection was made. “I am in Aserol,” he said, “with good news. Already I have a possible source of information; about one of the persons you wish me to find.”

There was a space while the other party replied, Maloney could not hear the words but guessed that the man was speaking to Terrance, or perhaps some representative of the government.

The man suddenly laughed.

“Some old spinster at the hotel where I suspect the three met. I think that the two were employees and your man was the guest. I’ve turned on my considerable charm and I have the lady eating from my hand. I will try to get more information from her tonight.”

There was silence as the other person spoke. The man laughed again. “If I must, if there is no other way,” he said. “But I would rather not; hopefully she will tell me before I have to do that.”

Again there was the silence. “Very well,” the man said. “I will report to you again at this time tomorrow, assuming that I survive the night.” Maloney heard the click as the call ended, then the noises as a second call was quickly made and a table at the eatery was booked.

Maloney stretched and straightened, peering through his door he saw the man speaking to Sayrah; no doubt he was confirming their meeting.

The bell rang. “Porter,” called Sayrah, “there are bags to take up.”


A New Life in Ventis will be released on November 1st 2018 as an eBook and paperback.

You can find more about Norlandia and The Rocks of Aserol at

Tales from Norlandia is available as an eBook at 


Many thanks for dropping by today Richard, and for sharing such a great story. Good luck with your new release!

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

Meet Richard Dee

Today I’m delighted to be handing over my blog to a fellow Devon based writer, Richard Dee. Why not go and grab a cuppa, and then come and get acquainted?

Over to you Richard…

Hello everyone and my thanks to Jenny for the spot today. Let me introduce myself.

I’m Richard Dee and I write mainly Science Fiction and Steampunk style stories. If that means space shenanigans, fantastic planets, and Queen Victoria on steroids to you, well that’s a pretty fair guide to some of what I do. If you don’t know what I mean, just take a look at the covers. And before you double take, yes that is a medieval helmet in one of the pictures.

I was actually asked to do a story for the 1066 Turned Upside Down project by the wonderful Helen Hollick.

For those who don’t know about 1066 TUD, it’s a collection of short stories offering an alternative take on the events surrounding the Battle of Hastings and what might have been. For my contribution, I chose to write about the butterfly effect and… well, you’ll just have to read it to find out. The book contains eleven stories from nine authors.

I did wonder if Sci-fi was a good fit for historical fiction but judging by these review comments that I found; I seem to have fitted in nicely.

“I found the inclusion of a story from Richard Dee, of the science fiction genre, a masterstroke and a worthy contribution.”

“One of my favourite stories had to be the tale by Richard Dee, the perfect mix of science fiction and historical fiction.”

“Richard Dee was another new author for me, but his submission stood out for a couple of reasons. Unlike his fellows, Dee put a bit of a sci-fi twist on 1066 and wrote a story that is set largely in the modern world. It was a dramatic shift and it threw me at first, but looking back I think the submission one of the strongest pieces in the anthology. I thought it was fun, I thought it was creative, and I liked how it allowed the reader a unique vantage point and perspective.”

To be honest, I’ve never really liked the idea of genres and stereotypes. When it comes right down to it, it’s all fiction and as well as the science mine all contain elements of every other genre, history, crime, war, fantasy and even a little romance. In fact, they’re populated by ordinary people; they have the same emotions and the same motivation as we all do as they go about the tasks I’ve set them.

The universes that they inhabit may be strange to us, but they’re natural to them. Science fiction is such a broad platform; mine is just as concerned with the triumphs of people as it is with the wonders of the science. To me, the science is just another character, it can have emotion and a voice, in the same way that any person or setting can.

I like to think of the words of Captain James T Kirk; when he was asked if he was from outer space. He simply replied. “No. I’m from Iowa; I just work in Outer Space.”

I hope that my stories work as stories and not just as “sci-fi.” That might make you wonder why I chose sci-fi as a vehicle for them. And the answer might not be what you would think.

When I first started writing, I thought that sci-fi would be easy to write, after all; how could you research the future? I could just drop my plot and characters into the future somewhere – easy! And that was mistake number one! I’m sure I do at least as much research as everyone else, just to make sure that all my settings have a basis in fact. And that at least part of it sounds true, or at least sounds possible based on what we know today.

The consequence of that is that on the way I’ve made up more back stories than I could shake a stick at. They form the basis of my Short story collection Flash Fiction and have given me short stories in abundance, enough for Flash Fiction 2 in fact. And the more novels I write, the more back stories I need.

As well as the usual creation of worlds, spaceships and technology; I’ve invented the inventor of faster-than-light travel and told everyone how he did it (The tale of Christopher Padgett), explored the dichotomy of time dilation (Tales from the Sleepers), and wondered how the future will see history (Looking back at our Future). I even invented a magazine to print the articles of future history that form the backdrop to my adventures (Galactographic!).

And in the new collection will be farming in Space (The Orbital Livestock Company), The Grandfather paradox (It works both ways), and much more, including several Steampunk vignettes from my world of Norlandia.

And now that I’ve invented these things, I can use them in all my universes. Nothing is ever wasted, and crossovers abound. And thanks to my loyal readers, what were originally intended to be stand-alone stories are becoming series.

My debut novel, Freefall, is a tale of loss, loneliness and the biggest story ever kept from us by an authoritarian government.

The second, Ribbonworld, features corporate espionage and conspiracy set on a planet that we have no right to exist on.

The third, The Rocks of Aserol, takes place in an alternative Victorian society where oil and electricity have never had a chance to shape the lives of the inhabitants.

Incidentally, until I started this one, I never realised what you could make of a world without the things we all take for granted. Never mind warp drive and photon torpedoes, in the Steampunk universe; the possibilities are as endless as they are ten thousand years from now!

And thanks to my readers Freefall now has a prequel. Myra will be published in about six weeks. And I’ve got enough ideas for a third story in the series as well.

Ribbonworld has a sequel called Jungle Green, which is destined to see the light of day soon and The Rocks of Aserol has a sequel in development. All these are the direct result of feedback. But they haven’t stopped me writing anything new.

One of my short stories has spawned a book, featuring a new heroine. Andorra Pett first made her appearance in a short story last year in my collection Flash Fiction.

After much encouragement, she is set for a full novel soon, it’s just about written, in the queue for editing and beta reading (if you’re interested, let me know), and the cover is done, now all I have to do is find the time to publish it.

Going back to Myra, to give you a small taste of what’s to come, the story is titled for the heroine in Freefall.

It was written to explain a remark our hero, Dave Travise, makes when he is continually reminded of the fact that Myra isn’t around anymore.  Here’s the quote from Freefall.

No matter how many times I hear the voice – it’s Myra by the way, it reminds me of the happy times. When she had put her voice print on the computer she said it was so she could order me around. It must be fifteen years ago but I sometimes look over my shoulder expecting to see her in the hatchway. You can still see the faint dent in the panel if you look closely, I try not to. The paint was worn there; I rubbed it every time I passed.”

A lot of people asked me what the significance of that dent was; rather than keep explaining, I wrote a book as an explanation. If you want to know more about the dent, and what happened to cause it, Freefall is available now and Myra will be published on March 15th 2017 in all the usual places. But here’s a clue.

“I turned, and even though I didn’t immediately realise it, it was then that I fell in love.”

Meet Dave Travise, at least that’s who his identity chip says he is. An ex-navy man on the run; somehow he’s ended up in a dead man’s shoes; on a new ship and on the wrong side of the law.

With no way to prove his innocence, he’s just got to play along and keep his head down if he’s going to survive. As if he doesn’t have enough problems, now he’s fallen for Myra, the engineer on his new home.

Pursued by criminal gangs and keeping one jump ahead of everyone, Dave and his new shipmates are going to need all the luck in the Galaxy just to stay alive.

Myra tells the story of how Finn Douglas, Naval Officer; became Dave Travise, Galactic trader. And what happened before Freefall.

And what do my readers say; well here are a couple of examples,

“I’m not usually a fan of Science Fiction but Ribbonworld is a thriller that would work in any genre.”

“FREEFALL is a rattling good adventure story, with a few unexpected twists, good characters and plenty of action.”

“There’s something of a ripping yarn about this excellent tale of adventure. False accusations, discoveries kept secret, villains who murder to get their way, and the whiff of requited love – it’s all here in this classic steampunk saga.”


So where does all this come from, where does a man who failed English at O level way back in 1974 get his motivation.

For me, it all starts with a film I saw way back when I was an apprentice in the Merchant Navy. We were in New York in 1977 and the locals were all raving about a new film called Star Wars. I went to see it and it blew my mind. The technology was understated, it was greasy and it was prone to breaking down, that made it more believable to me than any shiny gadget from the future that I had seen before.

This was the kind of future I wanted to write about, the kind where the hero’s in trouble and he pushes a button in the hope that something will actually happen. Where mankind has spread among the stars and bought all his Earthly vices with him. Or an alternative reality; where mighty machines powered by Steam and Clockwork drive a society that’s uneasy with the price of progress.

There was a pause while life got in the way, I got married, got qualified (Master Mariner, BSc, First Class Thames Pilot) and survived (just) having three daughters. Writing was way down on my list. Then I retired and with the time to think, the creativity really started. And once I got started then the ideas flooded in and the work poured out. Freefall was published in 2013 (34 years after I had the first idea), Ribbonworld in 2015 and The Rocks of Aserol last year. I have three novels currently in the final stages of publication, Myra will come out in March 2017, as for the others; I’m not sure about them yet.

And that brings me to the last part of my story, I self-publish. I own a publishing imprint, 4Star Scifi, and in that respect, I’m my own boss.

I don’t set myself deadlines and I don’t take a percentage. What I have is control and a marvelous, hand-picked team behind me. Without my editor, my cover designer and everyone else, the person who formats my work, the beta readers, and my fiercest critic; my ideas would be just that.

Of course, emotion is important in all my work, where would we be without it? Why would you mount a white charger if you didn’t want to rescue the maiden? Why would you caress a dent in the panel if you hadn’t loved and lost?

My website says “Welcome to my Worlds,” but they aren’t just mine; they’re the worlds that I think we all want to inhabit.


And now, some advertising

You can find me at, there’s all my news and lots of free content for you to enjoy, I try to post a new short story every month or so. You’ll also find details of my novels and works in progress.

I’m on Facebook at @RichardDeeAuthor

Amazon links to my books



The Rocks of Aserol:

1066 Turned Upside Down:

Flash Fiction:

To finish up, here’s a quick Flash Fiction from my website, my thanks to Jenny for the platform and to you for making it this far. I hope you enjoy it.

Man of Mystery.

The plastic bag lay on the bed where it had fallen from the package. This was it; the final piece of the plan had arrived. I was ready to begin.

I looked around the bedroom; it was a wreck, the doors had been ripped off the wardrobe and hung by the bottom hinges, the drawers were all tipped on the floor, contents strewn. The bed was unmade; quilt heaped. The heavy curtains were making the room dark; the window faced east and the room was normally filled with morning light. Not today.

It had taken me a while to achieve the look of a robbery and I had enjoyed every minute of it. I felt like I was starting to get my power back, that I was no longer at the bottom, a victim of events.

I picked up the bag; it was cool to the touch, a faint sweat on it from the cool poly-box it had arrived in, the box now in the back of my car.

Red Blood Cells it proclaimed in large letters; O Rh Positive, with a barcode. The contents felt thick and glutinous as they moved around under my fingers. It was my blood in there, taken a week ago at a special session. That was important. There were two tubes leading from the bag, one with a small tap arrangement. Taking a last look at the bedroom I opened it and squirted about half of the blood onto the bed, making a large irregular stain.

It’s true what they say, a little blood makes a lot of mess, the dark red liquid pooled on the bedding and sank into the mattress. Moving backwards I let the blood drip from the tube in a rough line toward the door. Moving quickly I dripped and splashed blood all the way down the stairs and to the front door.

As I passed each room along the stone hallway I saw that they had all been ransacked, I grinned, that had been more enjoyment, a primeval feeling of exultation in destruction, part of all of us. Even though it was my stuff; my memories I had really let myself go. There were no neighbours to hear and I had made a lot of noise.

By the time I had backed out of the porch and onto the gravel there was little of the liquid left in the bag. I squeezed the last of it out and took the bag to my car, putting it into the poly-box in the trunk.

Now I just had to finish scene-setting.

I went back upstairs and into the bedroom. I grabbed a towel from the en-suite bathroom and making sure I stood in the blood splashes I roughly wiped the blood on the floor. I made it look like a body had been dragged from the bed and bumped down the stairs. There was even the odd bloody footprint and I made sure that some smears made it onto the walls. It took a few minutes and the blood was starting to congeal by the time I had made it to the front door.

Back outside I pulled off my shoes, the ones with the distinctive tread and bagged them next to the poly-box. There was a pair of trainers on the back seat and I hopped around while I put them on, gravel stuck to one sock and made me wince when I put weight on the foot, I sorted that out and took a last look around.

My home for the past year looked serene in the early morning light, the door was ajar and the trail of red led inside. I glimpsed my face in the mirror as I settled into the driving seat, I was smiling, part one had been completed; I was dead and horribly so. I just had to dispose of a few things and part two could begin. I started the engine and drove away.

© Richard Dee 2016


Thanks for such a generous blog Richard! Fabulous stuff. Thank you for taking the time to put it together for us.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

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