I’ve had several great questions come, so I’m posting the answers for all to see.
The giant flying insects are termites. My ship’s crew just finished a big battle on the ground (lines of legionaries holding off hundreds of Doberman-sized termites) and are now in pursuit of several termite queens, who flew away from the battle.
Yes, definitely, the flying trireme with propellers instead of oars is very steampunk-ish. Its Roman era steampunk, so the armor and weaponry is still that of ancient Rome. The crew would be in what was called lorica segmenatata, which was the armor legionaries wore in the first two centuries of the Empire.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorica_segmentata) My hero is the ship’s captain. He’s armor is similar, except he get a red horse hair crest on his helmet.
The ship would resemble a trireme, or galley, with two propellers on each side instead of oars. She’s big, 200 feet long, carrying several large ballistae (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballista) and scorpios as artillery (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpio_(weapon) )
In the pursuit, they’re chasing several young queens through the air over ancient Briton. They nail one queen with their artillery, triggering the rest to come back and attack the ship. The fight turns into hand to hand combat on the deck of the ship.
(For those interested, I will be adding more steampunk creations and mad science in the later novels. This is just the first book, ‘A Taste of Alchemy’).