Coming Soon: MonstraCity Press!

This is me jumping the gun just a bit… I wanted to hold this announcement until we had our logo designed and our first couple of covers ready to share. But given all the eyeballs this blog has been attracting over the past weekend (thanks to a controversy which I much, much would prefer had never happened, given reputations which have been unfairly maligned, but at least the other side is now getting a hearing), I want to go ahead and be a big blabbermouth and spill the beans before I’m ready.

My wonderful wife Dara and I are launching a new business together, a small press imprint called MonstraCity Press. MonstraCity will issue both ebooks (in all the popular formats) and Print On Demand trade paperbacks, which, thanks to very recent changes in the book distribution industry, can now be ordered by bookstores from major distributors (like Baker and Taylor) in the same fashion as they can order books from one of the Big Five (formerly Big Six) publishers.

U.S.S. Cairo, near sister of U.S.S. James B. Eads

Our first book project will be my steampunk suspense novel set aboard ironclad gunboats in the Civil War, Fire on Iron. Years ago, I had hoped this novel would be the first in a series starring August Micholson, Union gunboat captain who is saddled with the bizarre destiny of being transformed into a steampunk superhero in the midst of his country’s greatest crisis. But I was never able to find an editor for whom the book was just right (some liked the Civil War elements but felt the dark fantasy parts negated the commercially necessary steampunk label; others liked the antagonist of the novel much more than the protagonist and insisted that he should be the hero… a wish which kinda/sorta comes true at the very end of the book, by the way). So I never wrote additional books in the series. But now, thanks to the wonderment of do-it-yourself publishing, I may surrender to my selfish, self-indulgent desires and continue the series, if it finds an appreciative readership.

You can find a little teaser synopsis of the book here. It has plenty of Civil War naval action, combined with sorcery and the dark fantastic. I’ve been a Civil War naval buff since I was in elementary school, so this book combines a couple of my passions. And I believe the passion comes through in the writing.

Watch this space for more news! Lots, lots more to come!


  1. As an old sailor who lived a good while on modern and not-so-modern destroyers, allow me to assure you that there is a lot of room for yield in early warships in comfort. It may not sound like it deserves a lot of notice, but efficient sailors make for much more efficient ships. The differences between the Monitor-Merrimac(Virginia) battle and a knock down-drag out bar brawl are that it was bigger, lasted longer and had a slightly higher chance of drowning.

    If somebody had sailors who weren’t deaf and prostrate from heat exhaustion, the number of hits by an ironclad could easily be doubled. What makes this a matter of SciFi is that it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the USN started seriously testing the effects of crew comfort. Even today there are idiots who run sailors into the ground and expect good results. This is a non-trivial modification, but it could be done with the technology of the time, and it would mean the ship would prosper with more good sailors surviving bad times.

    What would be hilarious would be the inventor-savant trying to point out the habitability and ergonomic advances of the ship that actually make victory possible and all the politicians and enthusiasts pointing out minor and irrelevant weapons and propulsion modifications. “This ducting over the black gang keeps them cooler and lets them use much larger shovels to feed the boilers.” “Larger shovels! Write that down!”

    • Andrew says:

      Patrick, thanks so much for the helpful and fascinating viewpoint of an old destroyerman! I hope you’ll give Fire on Iron a look once Dara and I get it up on the interwebs and out there as a POD paperback. Glad you dropped by, and a pleasure to hear from you.

      • Although the newer ships were nicer to live on, the older ships were socially more comfortable. A steam Machinist’s Mate would correct your imposture by applying “1200-psi diplomacy” with his fist to your face. A Gas Turbine Technician would talk about you behind your back. In times of real trouble, you want the guy who you know where he stands working the problem with you, especially when he doesn’t like you. There is comfort in the safety of newer systems, but there is security in the kinds of people whose stories end in phrases like “…and then he got cut in half by the steam leak.”

        I imagine there is something in that you can use for the academics in a world with dark fantasy. Allow me to assure you that the difference between snipes (engineers) in a dark fantasy world and reality is decoration, not behavior. All the good snipes behaved like the boilers were cursed and trying to kill them at any given moment.

        You look for steam leaks with a broomstick; when the broomstick gets shorter, you’ve found the leak. If there are actual demons in the boilers that get loose, you might use dolls of babies to trap them. When stuffing starts flying, you’ve caught the demon. Something like that might work to draw curses off the boilers in battle.

        There is a lot of material here. You could write ten chapters about the engine room and barely scratch the lore out there in the world.

  2. This is great news. Consider at least one copy of each upcoming title already sold.

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