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Now it’s even Easier to Subscribe to Steampunk Journal, Plus get Automatically Entered in Giveaways!

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We listened to your pleas, and created a dedicated subscription page for Steampunk Journal. Sure, you can always visit the Journal to see what is new, but if you become a subscriber you will also be entered to win fantastic Steampunk prizes!

We are working with a variety of partners to bring you a variety of Steampunk goodies year-round, but especially during April. We want to celebrate the anniversary of the word Steampunk all month long. Come celebrate with us!

 


So Excited for PBS’ Victoria to Begin!


Seeing Rejection From The Other Side

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Hiya Gearheads!

The CWC’s Steampunk collaboration, Army of Brass, is underway and I got to make my first selection this week. Five writers sent me five very different chapters, and I had a blast reading them all. But then, the moment of truth. I could only choose one, and then I had to write rejection letters to the other authors and it has really made me think a lot about this notion of “rejection.”

My only parameter as the coordinator is to “choose the chapter that moves the story along the best,” but best is one of the most subjective words in the English language! In our case, being grammatically perfect definitely isn’t our focus, and every chapter that is chosen goes through a round of editing before it moves on, but I also know that as a student of the English language I will have to make a conscious effort to overlook mistakes. I also know that I personally prefer to both read and write scenes where dialog does the heavy-lifting, but stylistically this won’t always jibe with what our writers submit. This isn’t to say I would never choose a chapter that didn’t have dialog, but being aware of my own bias is also important.

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I have received tons of rejection letters, and one of the most common phrases is “it wasn’t the right fit.” Before, I always felt like that was a non-answer, but I think I get it now. For this week’s chapters, several writers elected to introduce a new location and/or characters, but no matter how much I liked what they did with those characters I felt it was too early in the story to do it for the sake of the readers. This was a structural issue, and in no way a commentary on the quality of the prose I received. In short, they just weren’t the right fit at that time. Editors and agents receive so many submissions and there are so many different factors at play, that there are any number of reasons something might not be the right fit, and it isn’t at all personal. Now the trick will be to remember that the next time I get rejected… 😉

This is such an amazing project with so many talented writers, I know my job isn’t going to get any easier! But I sure am going to learn a lot.

If you’d like to keep up with the weekly mini-summaries of the project or to view our working world map, go to the CWC Facebook page and like to follow along.


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!


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I Did It!

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Happy National Novel Writing Month!

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participantI’ve been wanting to do NaNoWriMo for years, but November has never worked out to be good timing in the past. This year, I finally get my chance!

The goal is to write 50,000 words of a new novel in 30 days. Most novels are between 70-100k words, so if you get technical 50k is more like 3/4 or half of a novel, but it is plenty of words to serve as a foundation. I started my project in October so I could hit the ground running yesterday when it began in earnest.

If I’m going to do a thing, I like to do it well. I’ve got lots of outlines and notes to help carry me through, but I’m also going to need lots of time. So for the month of November, forgive me while I slack off a bit on my posting schedule here on For Whom The Gear Turns. I still plan to be posting regularly on my Facebook author page with excerpts and quirky facts I learn about America in the 1870s, so don’t forget to follow me there as well.

All month long I’m spinning the yarn of Viola Thorne, a con woman who is forced out of retirement when her past comes back to haunt her…Literally. Her story will take readers from the Old West across America on the Transcontinental Railroad and down the Mississippi on a steamer ship, and that’s just to get her back to New Orleans where she must solve a deadly mystery to atone for her twisted past.

Here’s a little piece of Chapter 1 of Mistress of None to wet your appetite.

A gentle sensation as light and dangerous as hornet wings fluttered on the back of her neck and slowed her hands. Miles away from anywhere anyone might possibly want to go, she should have been safe from prying eyes in the hot spring even in broad daylight, and yet she could feel someone watching her. Unwilling to let the peeping Tom know she was on to him, Vi went back to washing her hair but listened for the telltale the crack of a twig or the whisper of cloth to give her an idea of the infiltrator’s approach. If it came down to it, she could always reach out with her other sense, but only as a last resort.

She leaned her head back to rinse, the lather tinged a dull red from the henna she used to muddy her identity. The chance of being recognized out here in the territories was remote, but she still preferred to distance herself from her old life where she could and her chestnut hair was a small sacrifice for obscurity.

Though the frontier night continued to stretch out quiet and undisturbed before her, the presence was somehow drawing nearer. Her fingers brushed against her garter and the knife she always kept strapped to her thigh for just such an occasion. The chance it was a jack rabbit was as good as it was some poor soul wandering in from the gold fields, but naked and alone out in a distance corner of her ranch, she wasn’t in much of a position to take that risk. With a deep breath, she reached deep into herself and quested for the feelings that always tickled at the edges of her awareness.

After spending most of her life pushing the sensations away they were dull and distant, like the embers of a fire banked and left to be rekindled in the morning. She let her mind wash over and through the waiting coals and her long-repressed senses suddenly flared to life.

Even though her audience was over her shoulder, his outline burned bright and blue inside her skull. In one swift motion, her blade flashed moon-bright and hurtled toward the place he stood. A hollow thunk told her it had hit the tree behind him, just as she’d expected from the color of his aura.

“Are you crazy? Throwing around knives without looking,” the ghost cried in alarm and patted his chest where the knife had passed straight through him. “You could kill someone like that!” He took a few noiseless steps away from the offending blade as if it was going to jump out of the tree and bite him.

Vi’s mouth curved up in one corner. “You’re already dead,” she mocked. “What are you so worried about?”

Good Luck to All NaNoWriMo Participants This Year!!!


My Very Own Steam-Pumpkin Creations

During this most recent move to Michigan this fall I was forced to leave my art supplies in storage. Luckily for me, Ann Arbor has a fantastic shop called The Scrap Box where I could fill a whole bag with all sorts of amazing odds and ends for just a few bucks. I’ve carved simple pumpkins plenty of times, but I’d never built up a jack-o-lantern with accessories so I thought I’d give it a shot.

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My first impulse was to make an airship, and I realized that if I tipped a pumpkin onto its side I could get a blimp shape. The stem was the perfect base for the nose cone, and the gems were each a dime and look fabulous both in the light and the dark. I added an extra candle to the smoke stack and the light reflected off the aluminum tube and looked awesome.

img_9973I mentioned using power tools on this baby before, which was what I used to at least start the hole for each gem, then I used clay tools to make them the right size.

I think the engine was my favorite part to build. It’s a small cardboard box, the smoke stack tube and several funky foam shapes I found and painted gold.

img_0008But of course, every airship needs a captain! And the air gets awfully thin up there in the clouds so I made him a respirator and goggles.

The mask is a repurposed berry container plus some caps and foam tubes I found. Most of the mask is held together with toothpicks and a little hot glue. The eyes are another set of caps and some sticky backed foam. I hid the stem inside the top hat, that serves as the handle. At first I didn’t have enough air flow even though the area behind the mask is one large hole, so my captain also got a pair of ears to help.

“Why not just cut a hole in the back?” you ask. I’m glad you did.

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I decided my respirator needed a power source, so I cut a whole in the back to let the light from the “furnace” shine through. As an added bonus, there was moisture inside the pumpkin that made it look smoky! The red mesh is from a couple bags of oranges, and the box was originally meant to display jewelry so the window was already there.

 

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They’re Back! More SteamPumpkin Inspiration

During my first Halloween Extravaganza in 2014, I created a little gallery of Steampunk pumpkin designs.

This year, I’m taking it a step further. Think of it like trick or treating for your eyes.

Have you created a Steampunk pumpkin of your own? Send me your pics at ForWhomTheGearTurns@gmail.com and I’ll add them to this post!