That’s Kate on the Roof

Kate Cover

Possibly not my best cover, but Kate on a Hot Tin Roof, the first of the Unobtainium series, is out and available. Yes, that’s Kate. Yes, the roof is tiled.


Amazon UK:

Amazon US:


19 responses to “That’s Kate on the Roof

  1. Having read, and greatly enjoyed, all of your published books, I was looking forward to reading this. I bought it within a few minutes of receiving the e-mail notifying me of this blog post.

    Well, this afternoon, I finished it. I’m very sorry to say that I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t like the use of language that felt more Victorian than inter-war. The same goes for the descriptions of equipment. I liked the characters (but not their Victorian inhibitions). The plot wasn’t bad, and I understand the logic of putting it in that setting, but it didn’t really work for me. It wasn’t disappointing enough to make me give up after a few tens of pages (as I sometimes do), but I’m not at all sure that I’ll buy another in this series. Ultrahuman, yes. Steel Beneath the Skin, yes. Thaumatology, yes. Unobtainium, maybe not.

    I’m afraid there really is no way that the son of a knight would say “My father is Alexander, Sir Barstow-Hall.” This made me cringe, and was the point at which I nearly did give up. Charles would know that the title of a knight is associated with the bearer’s forename, not his surname, and would say “My father is Sir Alexander Barstow-Hall.” (Please see for confirmation of the correct usage.)

    Incidentally, why is Kate holding her sword with the blade projecting from the back of her hand instead of the front in the cover illustration? I’d have thought that that would make it very hard to use, especially with a blade as long as a katana’s.

    OK, I know I’m a pedantic so-and-so. It comes with the territory – a large part of my work is checking material for technical accuracy, and that’s come to include correcting our marketing department’s English. (One colleague tells me that I should have been an English teacher. Another has suggested that I should take up proof-reading professionally after I retire.) Sorry.

    By the way, your proof-reader is pretty good. I only noticed one typo that got past her in this book (a there/their substitution). It’s a shame she passed the incorrect title usage.

  2. Sorry you didn’t like it. And I’ll try to do better. Not that Charles thinks much of his father’s peerage. It’s “the title his grandfather refused to accept.” However, I should have checked the usage better.

    The Victorian language I won’t apologise for. This isn’t inter-war. There was no WWI in this version of history and some things have not advanced as much as they should have. Such as women’s rights; by 1920 more women should be able to vote thanks to a post-War law.

    And the picture… is a picture. 🙂 Style over accuracy in this case.

  3. Fair enough, Niall.

    I’m only one reader, so it’s no big deal that I was less keen on this one. No doubt others will enjoy it, and maybe more than they do your other work. Meanwhile, I’m still looking forward to seeing the next book in one of your other series.

  4. Every reader is important, but I obviously can’t please everyone with everything. Still helps to know what people think.

    I figured out what I need for Aneka 7, so you should be getting that next. Probably around the end of March.

  5. I finished this book two days ago. You managed to make an era seem interesting which I usually don’t like reading about at all. As with all of your books the characters were very enjoyable. I also like the diversity of your writing. Even though there are some obvious common themes each of your series feels unique.
    I noticed very few typos this time. You should correct some of the German sentences though. (I’d be willing to help. ;)) BTW do you get notified if someone marks a typo on their Kindle?
    I’m looking forward to your next book, whatever it may be.

    • I am honestly not sure whether I get notifications if you mark a typo on your Kindle. I do get “Kindle Quality Notices” which have always annoyed me, not because I get them, but because Amazon send them, but actually getting them to distribute a corrected document is about as much effort as writing the entire book! Try correcting my German and I’ll see if I get a notice. 🙂

      • I marked “Müssen wir nach ihr gehen?” as a typo and added the correct translation of “Do we have to go after her?” as a comment. (I assume that’s what you meant.) Please let me know if you want me to look at the other German parts.
        … I am probably fulfilling some German stereotype right now. 😀

  6. Like many others I’ve enjoyed all of your books, especially Ugly and the Aneka Jansen series. I’ve read all of these on a Barnes and Noble Nook. Do you know if the Barnes and Noble site will carry Kate on a Hot Tin Roof soon? I’ve noticed that they are sometimes a week or so behind.


    • B&N (and Kobo and more or less everything except Amazon) is distributed by Smashwords so when I publish something there it has to meet a few approvals and then be shipped, which can take a week.

      According to the channel page, Kate was shipped to B&N today, so you’ll hopefully see it available very soon.

  7. Just finished Kate on The Roof.
    I enjoyed it, maybe not as much as some of your other book. But I do like the way you are building the story and back ground of the time line ( world). Also the interaction of the main characters.
    Thank you

  8. I quite enjoyed Kate’s first adventure and the steampunk setting. It’s often fun to explore a new alternative universe and you’ve made an interesting one in Kate’s world. Loved reading about the airships and other technology and I am looking forward to seeing how the main character’s progress in the 2nd book after the events in the first.

  9. Just reading. Up to now I enjoyed it although (or because) it’s a quite different setting.

    Just one note: The German sentences ‘Müssen wir nach ihr gehen?’
    ‘Nein. Wir können hier nicht gefangen werden.’ are most likely not what you intended to write.

    “Do we need to pursue her?” would be “Sollen wir sie verfolgen?”
    “No, we mustn’t be caught here.” is “Nein. Wir dürfen hier nicht gefangen werden.”


    • My German is, sadly, not as good as once it was. That’s twice that’s been mentioned. Should have thought twice before putting German in there given there are quite a few readers in Germany.

      • “quite a few readers”? Don’t you know that is is enough to have one German reader to get told about mistakes? 😉

        The können/dürfen doesn’t really make a difference. I’d even prefer können (“it can’t happen”) over dürfen (“it mustn’t happen”). But the gefangen sounds a bit wrong to me. Geschnappt (snatched) oder verhaftet (arrested) would go better. But in the end, the speaker want’s to express that they can’t be found out, so bemerkt (noticed) or gefunden (found) may work nicely.

        Or maybe simply:

        “Ihr nach?” — “Nein, das könnte Aufsehen erregen.”
        “After her?” — “No, that could cause a stir.”

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