Steampunk inspiration and resources

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Latest

Feeling More Naughty Than Nice? Check out the Hellfire Club

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Steampunk Journal Editor Matt Grayson is extremely pleased to announce that his Indiegogo campaign has gone live and is available for people to view and
pledge. The culmination of months of research, networking and preparation have come to a head and now he needs the help of the steampunk community.

If you don’t know the Steampunk Journal, it’s a lot like my counterpart across the pond and you should definitely check it out. Matt and I started our sites within a couple months of each other, and we both love to do reviews, editorials, and interviews about Steampunk, but most importantly, we both want to support the Steampunk community and see it continue to grow.

Grayson’s The Hellfire Club isn’t just another site of naked girls. It will be a gallery of creative photography by some of the best steampunk photographers in the country. Shoots will be up to artistic nude and feature all genders with the only restriction being that models must be aged 18 and over. This reinforces British steampunk as a wholly inclusive, all-welcoming community. Check out the steamy preview shots here.

Pledges on Indiegogo are most welcome and the perks involved are pretty sweet. They start at £10 which gives you a discounted month of access to the site once it’s up and running, then rises through to £150 for a year’s access and creative input into a shoot.

Companies can also get involved with the Special stages, such as a £350 pledge giving 12 months access to the site and sponsorship of three shoots. Up to £1000 pledge gives full creative control over a shoot with full brand placement and a feature in Steampunk Journal!

There’s Still Time to Sign Up for the Collaborative Writing Challenge! Begins Dec. 30

I learned a lot of things from participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo- Pre-writing is a godsend, I need to stop deluding myself into thinking I can write after 5pm, and I can write over 3000 words a day for a week straight if I have to.

But I also got a real taste of how very lonely being a writer can be.

Which makes me even more excited for the novel I will be coordinating with the Collaborative Writing Challenge! This is a chance to build up a really cool community of writers that I hope will go above and beyond this individual project.

The deadline for possible first chapter submissions is today, and so far we’ve got 7 submissions. I’ll be reading those submissions and talking over the potential for growth with the rest of the CWC over the next few weeks to narrow it down to three, then it will be time for people to vote on their favorite.

Didn’t write a starter chapter? No problem! I think writing the parts in the middle are the most fun, personally, because you wield so much power over the rest of the story. I’ll be starting my try for Project, 6, Esyld’s Awakening, Chapter 16 this week. It’s been 10 chapters since I saw the story last and I am really excited to see where it has gone when I wasn’t looking. Wish me luck!

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Here’s a quick reminder of how the whole project works.

  • Writers sign up for a chapter try by December 30. (We’ve reached our minimum number of authors to get the project going, but the more the merrier!) Sign up by filling out the form here
  • 3-5 Writers attempt each chapter, one week at a time. You’d have access to the following:
    • The chapter immediately before the one you attempt
    • detailed chapter summaries of any chapter that came before
    • detailed notes about characters, places, and any special objects or magic schema that may be at work
    • prompts and questions from the coordinator to help you decide which direction to take
  • The coordinator (me!) chooses the chapter(s) that moves the story along the best (and/or is my favorite for whatever reason. Sometimes we also combine multiple chapter attempts).
  • At the end, we have a 30-chapter book with at least 30 contributing authors who all get to put another book on their resume
    • 10% of proceeds go to charity!

These pins are available through my Kickstarter campaign!

And don’t forget, if your chapter is chosen at any point during the challenge, you’ll also receive a United we Steampunk, Divided we Fall pin by yours truly.

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I Did It!

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Steampunk on Kickstarter, Nov. 2016

Publishing

The Time Traveler’s Trilogy, Ends Dec. 20

It’s 1815, and Wellington’s badly-outnumbered army stares across the field of Waterloo at Napoleon’s forces. Desperate to hold until reinforcements arrive, Wellington calls upon a race of monsters created by a mad scientist 25 years before.

It’s 1815, and a discontented young lady sitting in a rose garden receives a mysterious gift: a pocket watch that, when opened, displays scenes from all eras of history. Past…and future.

It’s 1885, and a small band of resistance fighters are resorting to increasingly extreme methods in their efforts to overthrow a steampunk Empire whose clockwork gears are slick with its subjects’ blood.

Are these events connected?

Oh, come now. That would be telling…

My favorite reward: $5 pledge and you get the first ebook in the series by January.

Find out more

Film

Outlawed Faith, Ends Dec. 16

 

GENRE: Sci-Fi/Western/Steampunk

LOGLINE: In a dystopian universe, on a dead-end back water world, an orphaned boy and his sisters, one of which is a mystic Seer, try to escape from the sway of their megalomaniac uncle by seeking out the help of a reformed gunslinger.

PLOT SUMMARY: Young Jonah’s faith carries him and his sisters, Celine, and Cora to the borderland town, Harpdale, a dusty crossroads on the edge of the galaxy, where law is what one makes it. They seek out his mother’s old friend, the infamous reformed gunslinger Kulta; but what they find is more than what anyone bargains for. Outlawed Faith is a science fiction action adventure which brings forward a strongly charismatic, but unlikely and reluctant, hero to the rescue of innocence in danger. The story brings together a mashup of genres (Steampunk/Western) creating a perfect blend for adventure.

My favorite reward: $10 pledge gets you a download of the short, plus a download of the finished full film

Find you more

Gaming

Concept Crowd Gear, Ends Dec. 4 

The Game: 

The game will have a steampunk anime type stylized aesthetics. An unknown force brings magic to the equation, causing inexplicable phenomenon such as strange monsters and weird climatic changes that alter the setting and increase the conflict.

As the game grows, the core platform supporting the game will add new weapons, terrains, bosses, creatures, or mechanics. This allows for more repeat playing of the game.

The Process:  

Rewards for support include participation in the concepts section, voting rights during development, and credit for any contributions that are used in the game. Whether backers have a passion for drawing, modeling, or just have great ideas for the videogame, access to the forums is gained based on backing.

My favorite reward: a $10 pledge allows you to be a part of the design process and give feedback

Find out more

 

Steam Hammer, ends Dec. 15

Steam Hammer is the first hardcore sandbox-style RPG set in a dark and mysterious steampunk world. Experience the intensity as you try to survive on the mysterious Acribo Islands.

Steam Hammer features:

• a classic Victorian steampunk setting with wondrous mechanisms, machinery, weapons, armor, clothing, and—of course—steam and smoke.

• an open-class system that frees you from arbitrary constraints. Engineer, scientist, farmer, gunsmith, stormtrooper, sharpshooter, and more can all be combined and switched depending on your skill set.

• a huge open world for you to explore, travel, and terraform. Go where you will and master the land.

 Craft your Glory. Craft your Victory. Craft your Steam Hammer!

My favorite reward: $25 pledge gets you the full game and your name in the credits

Find out more

 

Pirates: Age of Gravitum, Ends Dec. 22 

In Pirates : Age of Gravitium, you play as a pirate captain looking for a solution to the upcoming threat of the India Company. Whether you want to become famous, rich enough or well prepared to fight is for you to decide. To help you during your journey, you can recruit a large variety of fellow pirates. You can also grow your headquarter to unlock new skills, accept missions for other factions or simply explore the world in search for treasures or easy targets to rob. But be careful ! You are not alone, and the other factions – the British, the French, the Dutch, the Spanish and the other Pirates – will make sure you pay for your crimes.

Sea itself is treacherous if you travel for too long, as the moral of your crew, like the hull of your ship, is far from being unbreakable.

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My favorite reward: 18 euros and you get the game, a chance to answer polls during development, and your name in the credits

Find out more

Off to the Teapot Races

My last event during Tesla Con last weekend was the teapot races. Twenty-seven cars and racers were there for the event, not to mention a large and appreciative crowd. I talked to a few racers who said they’d seen the event at the International Steampunk Symposium earlier this year and it inspired them to give it a try. I bet we’ll see a lot of these same cars at ISS 2017!

img_0161Most of the cars had a lot of trouble with the ramps, but this powerful silver racer made it through the entire track in under a minute. Definitely one to keep an eye on!

I told my brother-in-law about both the dirigible races and the teapots and he is now gung-ho about building some to race at next year’s Tesla Con. I can’t wait!

An Interview with Steampunk Author Daniel Ottalini and his Newest Release

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My husband is a Roman historian and I’m a Steampunk nut (in case you hadn’t noticed), so you can imagine my joy when I found a mash-up of the two! In a nutshell, his books are about an alternative history where Caesar survived the assassination attempt and changed the face of the world. I’ve started reading his Steam Empire Chronicles books recently, so you can expect a review in the future, but I got a chance to do an interview exchange with him as a fellow NaNoWriMo 2016 writer. When you’re done reading, head on over to his website to read and interview with me!

What project are you working on now?

I’m actually working on two projects at the moment. First, my novel Steel Praetorian is available for presale and I’m working on a blog tour and blog-a-thon this month as part of that release on December 1st. Writing wise, as part of NaNoWriMo2016, I’m working on Laurel Emperor, the fifth and final novel in the Steam Empire Chronicles series. It’s been an amazing journey going from zero to now six published books, and I can’t wait to share this one with everyone!

What book(s) are you reading now?
Right now I’m rereading the Belisarius series by David Drake and Eric Flint – One of my favorite Roman/sci-fi/historical style mash ups (yes, I know, it’s very ‘duh, that’s what you write too.’ but it’s truly a lot of fun to read.)

What is the most important component of steampunk to you? Why?
I think the most important part of steampunk is the conflict between groups – rich vs poor, union vs management, men vs women (gender roles, etc) imperial vs rebel. It’s funny because, normally, I’m a huge fan of the underdog, the scrappy rebels striving for a better…whatever. But in my own novels, the protagonists are the loyalists, who have an uphill climb against the rebels. Sometime in steampunk, its not about improving the technology, but about mastering what you have.

What part of the craft are you working on now (Like what part of writing do you need to spend more time working/learning about?)
I’m still working on breathing life into my characters in less obvious event-focused manner. In other words, building their character traits from the ground up. I’m actually planning on going back to my first novel and doing a serious upgrade in order to make those characters more believable and to improve the writing!

What three things are essential to your writing routine?
Silence.
Internet.
An outline – I’ve been using google docs to create a living outline. Before this I used a journal, and I’m a much faster typer than a writer. Plus I can access the same document everywhere, even share it with beta readers before I type the entire novel. Makes a lot of work much easier.

If you could cosplay any character from classic Sci-fi or Steampunk, what would you choose?
Wow, tough question – Character wise I’d probably want to go as Luke Skywalker from Star Wars, although in honesty I’d rather go as a rebel trooper of some sort – gotta love the dome helmets or the Hoth cold weather gear!

Do you have a favorite Steampunk-related memory?
Actually it was a video game – Rise of Legends for PC – A spin off of the Rise of Nations, itself a great game, truly inspired me as a young teenager. I loved how the background was an intersection of magic, mysticism, and giant smoke belching constructs. One of their units even inspired me in my own writing over 10 years later – the giant spider like trash hauler was definitely based on that idea.

If you could suddenly master any skill, what would you choose?
Oh wow, I think it’d have to be another language – I’d want to be perfectly able to read, write, and speak Spanish at all levels – this would be useful in my day job and in my writing career – multiple translations of my book for free/cheap? Here I come!.

Thanks Daniel!

You can find out more about him and his books (plus an interview with me tomorrow!) at his website, and don’t forget to pre-order your copy of The Steel Praetorian.

Greetings From TeslaCon!

img_0120I’m enjoying the great state of Wisconsin this weekend as an attendee at the 7th annual TeslaCon. The theme this year is Paris, and by extension all things French during the steam era. I’ve attended some great lectures on things like the catacombs and theaters of Paris, tips on upcycling thrift store items to create Steampunk fashion, and an overview of the Romantic movement in arts and literature in France compared to other places. The organizers have done a wonderful job of hiding speakers around the space to create atmosphere, plus all those awesome French advertisements they put up all over the hotel.

Here’s a few pics from the weekend so far🙂

Steampunk Book Review: Master of the World (1904)

master-of-the-worldI’m still slowly working my way through the classic science fiction works, but I recently found this short little book in a used book store and added it to the old “to be read” pile. After reading some other works of Verne I was, shall we say, underwhelmed by this much-lauded author, in a large part because they seemed to go on interminably. I’d hoped that Master of None would appeal to me more because it is so much shorter than 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but alas, it left me wanting more, and not in a good way.

In brief, it is the story of a strange vehicle and its many sightings. Somehow, people report seeing something that moves faster than any known machine, and they see it on land, sea, and the air.

I didn’t know until after I had finished it that this was in fact a sequel to a 1886 release entitled Robur the Conqueror, and perhaps if I had read the first book I’d have liked Master of the World more, but honestly, I doubt it. I don’t know if it is just a matter of translation and the higher frequency of the passive voice in French, or if it is a failure of my modern sensibility to be tickled by this old style of writing, but as a story described on the cover as a suspense/thriller I found it rather dull and predictable. I know the mad scientist bent on using his genius to bully mankind into betterment for no particular reason was still pretty new in Verne’s day, but he’d already been-there, done-that 30 years earlier with his most famous character, Captain Nemo.

On top of that, the was ending struck me as both abrupt and bizarre, and the whole tone of the story felt melancholy and hopeless about the future of humankind. One critic I read speculated that this was due to Verne’s failing health and dour disposition in his twilight years, but whatever the reason I wouldn’t say I’d recommend this one.

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