Dopamine turnover in Asperger Syndrome

This website is a showcase for my writing. However, I don’t just write fiction. Three years ago, I got myself diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS), which remains a poorly-understood condition, particularly in women. Following my diagnosis, I set out to understand the causes and effects of AS.

In short, I did a great deal of reading and delved deeply into the scientific literature, which itself is far from reaching a consensus. My reading pointed towards AS being a hypo-dopaminergic disorder (similiar to ADHD, although very different in its visible symptoms) and this is the idea I pursued. To order my thoughts, I began to write them down.

This evolved into a scientific paper of my own, which is a review of the literature on hypo-dopaminergic conditions and my hypothesis on how AS fits into this model. Since I am not a qualified neurologist attached to an academic institution, paying the fee necessary for publication in a recognised scientific journal is beyond my means, although I would greatly prefer to publish it following peer-review. Therefore I present my paper here in the hope that it might eventually contribute in some way to the ongoing research on AS.

Best of British Fantasy 2018

Velocity was selected for inclusion in Best of British Fantasy 2018 – out today from NewCon Press and available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

is 26 pages of chariot-racing, cousin-loving and brother-beating action in ancient Micawater! It was previously only available in Turning Point, so if you missed it then, you can catch it (and many tales by other authors) in BoBF now.

My thanks to the editor, Jared Shurin, for including Velocity and for being such an all-round friendly chap.

Turning Point

What’s Steph been doing? Writing short stories, that’s what.

At turning points, we face decisions. Three of the Castle’s immortals – Lightning, Simoon and Jant – relate pivotal moments of their lives. A deadly chariot race forces Lightning to choose between his lover and his family; Simoon must decide what value he places on friendship, and Jant faces the consequence of his decisions to betray others. As a bonus, three short tales of the immortals’ deeds are extracted from the Histories written by Simoon. But which are myth, and which reality?

Turning Point is a collection of four stories. Two – ‘Velocity’ and ‘The Wheel of Fortune’ – have never been published in English before, and two – ‘The Bliss of Solitude’ and ‘Tales of the Immortals’ – are published here for the first time. The book also contains two maps of Hacilith – tracing the effects of the ‘Simoon Boom’ – and the Micawater family tree, which would definitely help if you ever get stuck talking to Saker at a party.

Turning Point is available for pre-order from Air and Nothingness Press. A limited edition of signed and numbered copies is available those who are as fast as a Rhydanne.

Turning Point cover

Rebel, rebel

The paperback of Fair Rebel is out today! It makes an excellent Christmas gift 😉 Get it from Amazon or your favourite bookseller now.


The other Castle novels have also been reprinted with new, matching, covers:


My new long short story, Tempo, was published today (in Dutch), available from Quasis. It was translated by wonderful Jasper Polane and the cover art was produced by the talented Todd Sanders.

In the year 625, five years after Saker took his place in the Circle as Lightning, he returns home on leave from the war. Instead of rest, he finds renewed rivalry with his brother Gyr; a rivalry which will be played out in a deadly chariot race which can only have one victor. But Saker has another reason to return to Micawater: his lover, Martyn. If she marries him, she will also be made immortal. Can their scandalous love prove stronger than the taboos which hold them apart?



Review of Fair Rebel

Rob Weber’s review of Fair Rebel.

‘The novel reads like Swainston never really left Fourlands. It is a seamless continuation of the story and I think most readers will agree it was more than worth the wait. Swainston is clearly not done with her creation. She leaves us with the promise of a sixth novel in the making…’

Fair Rebel out today!

Fifteen years after the last devastating Insect attack, the immortal Circle is finally ready to launch an offensive against their implacable enemies. This time they have a new weapon – gunpowder. Hopes are high.

But the Circle’s plans are threatened when the vital barrels of gunpowder go missing. Jant, the Circle’s winged messenger, is tasked to investigate. Soon it becomes clear that the theft is part of a deadly conspiracy . . . and Jant and his friends are among the targets.

As tensions rise, Jant races to foil the conspirators. Can he expose them in time – or will the crisis blow the Fourlands apart?

Available now as paperback, Kindle and epub!

Fair Rebel cover