As of last night, Safe Haven is available for the Kindle from Amazon and will soon appear on other distribution sites. This novel is simultaneously a move to a new genre area and a return to the elements you may have enjoyed in both Beneath the Mask and Shafter. Safe Haven is a Victorian sweet romance with a steampunk twist that changes the focus on proprieties to a point where law, not social convention, must be contravened. In many ways, it falls in the suspense subcategory of romance, but the cause of all their problems is not some faceless demon from the past. No, what makes Lily tremble is none other than our hero, and because the heart cares little for social limits, she trembles in fear of what he could do to her and her sister, but also because he makes her heart beat faster and her dreams turn to impossibilities.
The story behind this particular book is a tangled one.
Safe Haven introduces an alternate history where the eccentric watchmaker of earlier days evolves into one capable of reading the hearts and minds of complex machinery. The world was inspired by both the Girl Genius comic and the dangers of a classist society. The novel is the prequel to a series, currently in rough draft, that follows the adventures of Lily’s little sister, Samantha, some years in the future. I had not intended to write Lily’s story, but when I saw a steampunk novella call from Entangled Publishing, I was already developing this world in my head. Lily and Henry have small roles to play in The Natural Chronicles, but like all my characters, they have their own stories to tell.
The submission call gave me an opportunity to work in a world I was still bringing into being, and when the story coalesced, I didn’t hesitate to jump in with both feet. This novel hinges on the fine line between law and moral principle as one police officer, with a better understanding of the way of the land than most because of his noble upbringing, attempts to protect those the law ignores. Still, regardless of his reputation for understanding the needs of commoners, Lily isn’t willing to risk Samantha’s life on her hopes he can see the person beyond the knack for transforming mechanical objects when all he’s been taught tells him Naturals are monsters.
Clearly the version I wrote then was not accepted for that anthology. I had taken too many shortcuts to meet the length requirements, one in particular that made the editor who responded say no. I wish I had permission to quote her email, because it was quite encouraging. She gave me specific revision requests and another line at Entangled Publishing to submit the revised work to.
Well, her suggestions ended up requiring more length than even that line accepted, but I have to tip my hat to her for giving me the editorial direction to make Safe Haven so much stronger.
I hope you enjoy wandering through the Natural world as much as she did, and that this story wets your appetite for the stories to come.
Check out Safe Haven here, or by clicking the cover on the right side of any page. You can also read Chapter One. I look forward to hearing what you think of Lily, Henry, and the Natural world.
Also, I will be adding Safe Haven to the titles available for electronic authorgraphs shortly so you can get a signed electronic bookplate as well.