Now on my second proof - need advance reviews

My latest novel, Red Wheels Turning, is now starting to take its final form. It's quite close to our timeline, though it falls into the same universe as my previous alternate history novel, Beneath Gray Skies.

It's a prequel in that it's in the same universe as Beneath Gray Skies, and uses the same characters, but it does have some rather fantastic steampunk elements in it, which actually come from real life. The first of these is the Netopyr, an amazing tank designed in Russia in 1915, with 9m (nearly 30ft for the metrically challenged) tall wheels!

This wonderful piece of machinery forms the steampunk centerpiece to Red Wheels Turning, along with the Zaamurets – a self-propelled armored train (another real-life piece of Imperial Russian steampunk).

Here's my proposed cover (2 of them, actually):

I'm not sure that I will be able to get permission to use the rendered image as it is (the artist is in Moscow, and the image was produced nearly 10 years ago, I have discovered), so I may have to use a derivative image.

Anyway, I have just printed out the 64,000 words of the novel for the second time, in order to proof and revise once again. After this, I am going to be searching for nice comments and reviews to add to the rear cover, Amazon pages and blurbs and the like.

I am therefore very happy to let any S.W.A.G. members have a copy of the manuscript (bearing in mind that it is a draft, and the book may change a little between this and the final version) as long as:

  • you promise to keep it to yourself and not to pass it around.
  • you provide me with a few nice words to add to the back blurb (if you want to add any other criticism, you are welcome, as long as it's constructive!)
  • you provide feedback relatively soon (within a couple of weeks at most)

As I say, it's a prequel to another book, but you don't have to have read Beneath Gray Skies to enjoy this one. It also acts as a prequel to another longer book, which again will feature elements of steampunk and will delve much more into the alternative history side of things than Red Wheels Turning. This book has been planned and started.

So, please contact me via S.W.A.G. if you would like to read what I've written, and, if I like your comments, see your name in my book ("A wonderful read": Freda Jones, author of Steampunk Delights).

Views: 89

Comment by Christopher Paul on May 26, 2011 at 4:20pm

Hugh, Sounds like an interesting setup there, and I wish you well.


I'm not really a book critic, but I may be qualified to comment on your statements about the cover.


You might want to contact an IP attorney if you do not get permission to use the painted version of the cover. My limited understanding of copyright law makes me think that your derivative version would not in fact meet the standards required. 


Specifically, I do not think that running a work through a filter and pasting it on a background would be considered 'transforming it," and according to the copyright office, only the original creator of a work can create or give permission to have a derivative work created.  (


That being said, it looks like you are getting some artifacts in the layer with the painting on it. If you do decide to go w/ that version of the cover, let me know and I might have a few tricks that can easily help clean it up.

Comment by Lia Keyes on May 26, 2011 at 4:50pm

I think one of the other admins must have approved this post, not realizing that posts to the SWAG blog shouldn't be self-promotional without any informative or educational aspect. However, since there is already a comment in response to the post and therefore some educational value with regard to using copyrighted images, I will let the post remain.

In future, please limit all posts to broad interest, educational, informative, or entertaining posts, not requests for help or self-promotion. Requests for help can be added to our discussions on the forum (in the appropriate category) and self-promotion can be added to The Emporium group. Thanks!

Comment by Hugh Ashton on May 26, 2011 at 5:00pm

Lia - I appreciate your generosity here. Thank you.

For the copyright issue (the discussion of which, as Lia says, is of value, especially to independently publishing authors) I am attempting to make contact with the creator of the artwork, having signed up in Russian (a language I don't speak) as a member of a rendering site where the artwork is to be found - but so far with no luck, despite a direct message to the artist (whose Web sites are all now dead) and another to the site administrators. "Best efforts"?

As far as the quality of the artwork is concerned, I wasn't going for a "trace" effect, but was using the sketch filter, which leaves stray pixels and roughnesses on the outlines - is that what you were referring to, Christopher?



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