Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Posts tagged “steampunk

#RainbowSnippets: Curious Adventures

Happy Saturday!  Here’s my #RainbowSnippets post for this week – if you’re new to this, Rainbow Snippets is a chance to read and share 6 sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction every Saturday. There’s a huge variety from Steampunk, like mine, to Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comedy and everything in between. You can join the fun and read all the other fabulous snippets at the wonderfully friendly and supportive official facebook group here.
This week I’m snipping from the first book in my Ashton’s Kingdom series, The Curious
Adventures Of Smith And Skarry, which is now available to pre-order on Kindle or free if you sign up to support us on Patreon. Hugest thanks to everyone who has already pre-ordered, I’ve been really blown away by the support from everyone, it really does mean so much, thankyou 😀

 

This story started life on my kitchen wall, scribbled on the backs of envelopes and slips of paper whenever I got the chance and blue-tacked in place until there wasn’t room for any more and I had to start typing it up! It includes diverse characters from across the gender spectrum and beneath the humorous veneer it asks big questions about the important issues of power, identity and, most importantly,  fine china.

 

For reference, if you’ve been enjoying the Jack and Marjory snippets, this story happens immediately before those events, so Jack and Marjory are still working down the treacle mine at this point – and the Pirate Captain on the front cover is Jack Diamond who rescues them in book two 🙂
If you’d like some world background you can find it here in the INTRODUCTION which is at the start of the book as well.

We’re still on the opening of the first chapter and this week follows on from last week’s snippet which you can find here: #RainbowSnippets: Curious Adventures

 

You mean, you’re sure I’m leading you along a certain path, you are simply unsure as to how far down it you may proceed before you end up ‘astray’,” Mercurio sounded bored. “You know, I expected you to be more fun than this, Johnny, I honestly would have thought that Tinker’s blood in you would be crying out for a little mischief after the dull propriety of college life?”

Then, I’m afraid, you have made a grave error in your judgment,” Skarry stiffened slightly at the slur to his Mother’s bloodline but he reasoned that his friend was only displaying a common ignorance and chose to let it slide, “Breaking and entering is not my idea of ‘fun’,” he said evenly, “and, to be quite candid, when you said ‘night on the town’ I…”

You envisaged something different?”

 

 

Untitled design (1)

 

The evil overlord Wiz has seized control of all the tea, cake and magic in the universe. In a world crammed with dubious science and cream-powered technology, crippled by sugar tax and loose leaf ration books, overrun by cake smugglers, tea fiends and lemonade dealers, ruled over by Tea Time Lords and policed by vigilante mechanical angels, only a band of truly extraordinary adventurers can bring down this oppressive empire and save the good people of Ire from this tea time tyranny. Could these two would-be wizards, Messrs Smith and Skarry, and their band of land pirates, skywaymen, witches, orphans and other relentless rogues, be the anti-heroes The New World has been waiting for, or have they simply stirred up an enormous storm in a rather tiny teacup?

 

Wishing you all a most splendiferous week and don’t forget to check in at the #rainbowsnippets facebook group for more fabulous snippets of LGBTQIA+ fiction


#MythpunkMonday: Hopeless Maine and The Power of Mythpunk

Merry #MythpunkMonday! Today I’m going to talk a bit about the power of myth and the importance of Mythpunk in relation to that, then look in depth at some Mythpunk which I think really exemplifies just what the genre is capable of.

So, yay! The second month of #MythpunkMonday  is happening! If you’d like to join in and share Mythpunk related marvellousness – your own or other people’s! – then just dive on in using the #MythpunkMonday hashtag or in the comments here, or on your local street corner, or whatever floats your pea green boat! 😉

Myths have been around as long as people have – from the moment we could communicate we started telling stories as a way of understanding our world, preserving and passing on knowledge and, dare I say it, entertaining eachother.

Joseph Campbell (for all his faults) tells us that mythology, particularly when rooted in religion, provides a cultural framework for any one group of people (and Maureen Murdock provides a balancing feminist alternative to his ‘Hero With A Thousand Faces’)

If that’s the case, then folk and fairy tales are perhaps already the rebellious / punk siblings of the stories found in religious texts and preached to the masses as a means of social control ; the secret vehicle by which everyday folk can pass on and preserve their own knowledge, morals, beliefs and understanding. (certainly I like to view them that way!)

It’s easy to see how much power these types of stories can wield. They speak deeply to our souls on a personal level and a lot has been written about the link between myth and psychology by Jung and his followers old and new, but they also resonate in the collective consciousness and the morals, ideas and archetypes they convey slide easily from the lips of the storyteller or the words on the page into the minds of the masses to become accepted as ‘truth’

I’m not a huge fan of Campbell to be honest, but I do recommend reading his works / listening to his interview series if you get the chance because there is a lot to gain despite how out dated and annoying it all is on the surface. He does highlight the need for new myths to be constantly created which reflect and embed the changing understanding of individual and world wide culture – and Mythpunk really does leap out and answer that call doesn’t it?

So as well as being clever, original and entertaining, Mythpunk can be a vital tool in questioning the messages inherent in traditional myths, legends, folk and fairy tales and, like the folktales of old, can be a subversive tool by which ordinary people can voice, preserve and pass on their own values, knowledge and understanding in the face of mainstream dominant cultures.

Most of us live in an exiting technological age, where our punk stories, alternate cultural frameworks and subversive ideologies can reach beyond the small circle of the family hearth, clan campfire or village boundary and touch like-minds across the globe. In a couple of  weeks I’m going to start looking at what that means from a perspective of responsibility.

But today I just wanted to focus on the power of Myths and the very subtle, subversive power that Mythpunk can wield as well. Mythpunk has a wide variety of tools at its disposal from the voice it employs – which is often snarky, smart and sassy – to the deep-rooted symbolism which it irreverently, yet sometimes surprisingly tenderly,  toys with ; like a kitten with a ball of best knitting yarn.

In that vein, let’s take a look at one of my very favourite graphic novel series Hopeless Maine. This series bridges a wide ocean of genres including Gothic, Steampunk and Mythpunk but I’m just going to focus on its Mythpunk elements because, well, that’s why we’re here right?

WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE SERIES HOPELESS MAINE

 

 

 

 

Hopeless is a Gothic island just off the coast of Maine, shrouded in sentient mists and born from the imaginations of Nimue and Tom Brown.

People wash up here after the world has chewed them up and spat them out. Few come here by choice. Those who come can never leave. Those who leave can never come back… despite evidence to the contrary, this is what we are lead to believe, this is what the young folk are told, this is what the adults say…

Inside this little pocket-universe are woven together elements of myth, legend, folklore and magic in a beautiful parodic dance macabre.

Just like in the world beyond the mists, life here is hard and troubled and full of questions with no apparent or easy answers. Inhabitants are seldom who or what they seem, and this goes for the disturbingly sentient fauna and flora of the island too who, after all, were surely there before the people came…

And people do keep on ‘washing up’ on the shores of this little hidden isle – just in the same way that world-weary travellers often wash up eventually in a place where our previously held concepts, beliefs, morals, values and so-called truth and virtue and sanity all seem to slide away or stop making sense in the face of incontrovertible evidence that ‘everything is not the way we were told it was.’

The island’s ‘spiritual leader’ seems to embody this place of juxtaposition; on the one hand he is set up as an earthly ‘all-father’ ( being head of the island’s orphanage) … on the other he lacks the ability or will to actually do anything useful to help solve the enormous problems facing his ‘flock’ (other than his default go-to plan of human sacrifice… which is a little disturbing) He calls himself a Reverend… but exactly which religion he is devoted to is a little hazy and the fact that he seems to perform a lot of his devotions in secret, on an island populated by demons, is… curious to say the least. Still, he definitely doesn’t like witches… or does he?  You can read more about him here.

Another person who beautifully personifies this ‘crisis’ point is Mrs Beaten, and her regular blog posts are a treat to follow as she flies into one flap after another over the behaviour, depravity and dress sense of her fellow islanders… yet she is obviously far from innocent herself and her very-near-slips every now and then betray an interesting past and a complexity of urges and issues which are all actually possibly very nearly normal if only she hadn’t suppressed them for so long. (On the other hand she could be a multiple murderess with amnesia… only time will tell,  but in the meantime, she is definitely judging us all. )

Leaving aside the onion skin layers which parody, lament and poke fun at the condition of the human soul as it flounders in a sea of religious and moral rhetoric and contradiction, Hopeless, Maine is an island full of its own folk lore, magic and elusive myth.

From spoon walkers to night potatoes, there are magical creatures aplenty ; some are native only to the island, some are more readily recognisable from the outer-world and, as such, some are perhaps the monsters and internal demons the islanders have brought with them?

Not much here is edible, not much here sustains the flesh and while that is reminiscent of tales of ‘Fair Elf Land’ where the very air is all that’s needed to sustain life, on Hopeless the air seems to vampirically drain away the will to live – a sort of anti-fairyland perhaps?

There are spiritual entities on the island too. Voices are heard. Eyes appear in the mists. Certainly there are demons and certainly there are those who… associate with them… does this constitute a religion of sorts? A spiritual path through the confusing fog? Are these the Hopeless Gods and do their ways spell salvation for the community of Hopeless? Or should we all be pushing away the voices in the dark that whisper insistently what ‘needs to be done’? Is our new best friend only after our soul after all?

As a series, I have already mentioned that Hopeless poses far more questions about culture and society than it answers, as that is one of the many things I love about it. But there is an ironic thread which runs like red wool through its narrative – I say ironic because that thread is Hope.

Salamandra and Owen are not starry-eyed, lovey-dovey heroes who skip about telling everyone to Hope their way out of their problems like some sickening Disney movie… but through their tenacity, their faith in themselves, their honest endeavours to ‘keep pushing’, they personify Hope whether they mean to or are aware of it or not.

Even by the end of the first volume, I had faith that Sal and Owen would prevail – even if the island itself had to sink into the sea for them to do so – they just carry inside them that punk verve, that subversive spark that glows in the heart of the  Mythpunk genre and lights the way for change to slip in through the back door and storm the building.

 

If you like the sound of the Hopeless Maine series you can find it here:

 

 

 

 


#RainbowSnippets: Curious Adventures

Happy Saturday!  Here’s my #RainbowSnippets post for this week – if you’re new to this, Rainbow Snippets is a chance to read and share 6 sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction every Saturday. There’s a huge variety from Steampunk, like mine, to Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comedy and everything in between. You can join the fun and read all the other fabulous snippets at the wonderfully friendly and supportive official facebook group here.
This week I’m snipping from the first book in my Ashton’s Kingdom series, The Curious
Adventures Of Smith And Skarry, which is now available to pre-order on Kindle or free if you sign up to support us on Patreon. Hugest thanks to everyone who has already pre-ordered, I’ve been really blown away by the support from everyone, it really does mean so much, thankyou 😀

 

This story started life on my kitchen wall, scribbled on the backs of envelopes and slips of paper whenever I got the chance and blue-tacked in place until there wasn’t room for any more and I had to start typing it up! It includes diverse characters from across the gender spectrum and beneath the humorous veneer it asks big questions about the important issues of power, identity and, most importantly,  fine china.

 

For reference, if you’ve been enjoying the Jack and Marjory snippets, this story happens immediately before those events, so Jack and Marjory are still working down the treacle mine at this point – and the Pirate Captain on the front cover is Jack Diamond who rescues them in book two 🙂
If you’d like some world background you can find it here in the INTRODUCTION which is at the start of the book as well.

We’re still on the opening of the first chapter and this week follows on from last week’s snippet which you can find here: #RainbowSnippets: Curious Adventures

 

Mercurio Smith obviously valued his own neck above anything else on earth and his plans were never less than meticulous. No, the danger involved here was not Skarry’s objection.

What is your objection, now?” There was a mocking condescension (just a modicum, just enough to nip without drawing blood) flirting with the weariness in Mercurio’s voice.

Skarry frowned at him, “It’s stealing,” he said plainly.

Mercurio shook his head pityingly. The moonlight caught his smile and Skarry almost shuddered, ”You know, I’m beginning to think that you are far too demonic for my own good.”

 

Untitled design (1)

The evil overlord Wiz has seized control of all the tea, cake and magic in the universe. In a world crammed with dubious science and cream-powered technology, crippled by sugar tax and loose leaf ration books, overrun by cake smugglers, tea fiends and lemonade dealers, ruled over by Tea Time Lords and policed by vigilante mechanical angels, only a band of truly extraordinary adventurers can bring down this oppressive empire and save the good people of Ire from this tea time tyranny. Could these two would-be wizards, Messrs Smith and Skarry, and their band of land pirates, skywaymen, witches, orphans and other relentless rogues, be the anti-heroes The New World has been waiting for, or have they simply stirred up an enormous storm in a rather tiny teacup?

 

Wishing you all a most splendiferous week and don’t forget to check in at the #rainbowsnippets facebook group for more fabulous snippets of LGBTQIA+ fiction


#indiethursday: How To Successfully Self-Publish Your Steampunk Book on Amazon (Guest Post by Desiree. J. Villena)

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to this special “how to” edition of your favorite blog for all things steampunk! Gather ‘round the virtual fire — particularly those of you who’ve penned your masterpieces but have no idea what to do next — because today we’ll be talking about how to self-publish and sell your very own spectacular steampunk book on Amazon.

The gargantuan online retailer maintains a variety of reputations, from cutthroat marketplace and notorious Borders’ assassin, to a veritable land of milk and honey (if you know the right tricks). And though we as a self-respecting literary faction might want to turn our backs on Amazon, the fact is that it’s one of the easiest platforms for self-publishing authors to use, offering a simple upload process through its Kindle Direct Publishing unit and a range of exciting promotional options for authors.

On top of that, you simply can’t beat the consumer reach: Amazon controls roughly 80% of the ebook market in the US and UK, and significant portions in every other book-buying country too. Everyone knows Amazon, and most people use it, even if we may also shake our fists at the sky and scream “Damn you, Bezos!” whenever we hear about the latest Amazon travesty. Cognitive dissonance, economic convenience, willful ignorance — call it what you want, but Amazon’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

I mentioned “knowing the right tricks” in order to find success on Amazon, and it’s absolutely true that you can’t just waltz into the marketplace (metaphorically) and expect to make millions. Indeed, self-publishing a book is far from a glamorous business; you get more creative freedom and royalties than you would if you published traditionally, but you also have to put in about ten times the work. That said, if you’re courageous enough to put your book out into the world and you’re determined for it to succeed, you’re probably not the type to be dissuaded by hard work.

So with my slightly diatribical intro out of the way, let’s dive into the reason why all of us are here: presenting my most practical tips for self-publishing your book on Amazon and becoming the steampunk sensation you’ve always dreamed of being!

1. Build a devoted following

The most critical move toward successfully self-publishing almost any kind of book on Amazon is, unfortunately, the hardest. This is because it’s not about the publishing process itself, but what you do in the weeks, months, or even years leading up to your book launch: steadily building your following.

Imagine that each of your readers is a feral cat you are trying to tame; if you try to put a collar on it right away, it’ll claw and hiss at you. But if you leave some food out, coo at it, provide it a warm bed and maybe even a few toys, the cat will grow to trust you. By the time you go to slip a collar over its head, it won’t even notice — in fact, it’ll probably purr at the offer, happy to oblige. (This may be a little optimistic for a cat, but I digress.)

Basically, if you try to promote something to a new follower right away, they’ll unfollow you quicker than you can say elevenses. But if you ply them with interesting material, like interviews and reviews of other steampunk authors, they’ll stick around. You might get them to subscribe to a newsletter where you share your personal thoughts on the tropes and trends of the steampunk genre… and which you can eventually segue into talking about your own self-published book.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a steampunk blog or newsletter but you are active in relevant social media circles, try to capitalize on that! Engage in dialogue surrounding new releases and quintessential classics, squeal over fashion and fanart, and share cool and interesting images with your followers (I’ll talk more about this next). Maintain a friendly yet authoritative persona — this is helpful for any author, but especially in a niche like steampunk, where knowledge runs deep even among casual fans.

The point of all this is for other people to enjoy what you have to offer, trust that your content is high-quality, and believe that you are a talented person worthy of their support in the future. This method is known as “give, give, give, take,” and it’s highly effective in tight-knit communities like those of steampunk, where reputation is everything.

Speaking of ways to cultivate a strong reputation…

2. Create striking visuals

Steampunk has a very distinct aesthetic in both the literary genre and subculture as a whole. Even someone who knows very little about it can still hear the word and immediately envision clockwork and corsets. Of course, there’s often a difference between what people think of as “steampunk” and actual steampunk, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of popular perception to promote your book with some amazing art!

By far the most important aspect of this is your book cover design. In the publishing world, we like to joke about how “don’t judge a book by its cover” is totally backwards advice for authors; while it works as a philosophical adage, it’s simply untrue when it comes to actual books. Readers will inevitably judge a book by its cover, and decide whether to “look inside” or even buy based on the quality of the design. Which, to be fair, is sort of logical — if the author didn’t bother making an effort with the cover, why would the inner contents be any better?

This doesn’t mean you need to go to art school just to sell your book. However, you should put some serious thought and probably money toward your cover design, whether that means commissioning a friend or hiring a professional. As you’ll learn throughout this process, this is just one of many times when it’s helpful to have a community — you can ask other steampunk authors what level of quality they’ve gone for with their covers, as well as how they managed to afford it and/or if there’s a particular designer they’d recommend.

Don’t forget to look at other bestselling steampunk books on Amazon, too! Again, there’s a distinct dark-and-metallic aesthetic that universally indicates steampunk. But trends can change, and you want to ensure your book cover is clearly associated with this particular genre, both for your personal promotional purposes and on Amazon itself.

Finally, when it comes to visuals, don’t stop with your cover. If you have the budget for it (or some artistically inclined friends to help you out), you should absolutely get a few additional illustrations for your book. Steampunk is one of the most inventive genres out there, and while there’s something to be said for allowing your readers’ imaginations to run wild, it can also be incredibly powerful to provide some visual aids.

What’s more, you can tease these images alongside text previews from your book in order to give your followers a taste of what’s to come. Remember: give, give, give as much as you can before you take. Even something fairly simple (like, say, a tongue-in-cheek “wanted” poster) can make really fun bonus material for your fans.

3. Test out KDP Select

Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of self-publishing on Amazon. For those who don’t know, all self-publishing authors on the platform use Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP, to upload and publish their books.

However, within that all-encompassing process, you also have the option to enroll in KDP Select — a program that allows you to run various price promotions through Amazon, put your book on Kindle Unlimited, and earn higher royalties in certain territories. It’s free to enroll, but it requires 90 days of Amazon ebook exclusivity, meaning you cannot go through any other digital distributors for the first three months of your book’s release.

This is super-condensed summary of everything that KDP Select actually entails, but for our purposes, that’s all you need to know. Your conundrum now is: is it worth it?

The best thing about KDP Select is how easy it is to use. You can start promotions (either free or discounted) with the touch of a button, and then simply direct your fans to your Amazon page. Plus your book will automatically be discoverable on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers will read it and you’ll get a payout based on how many pages they get through.

The worst thing about KDP Select is, obviously, the fact that your book is restricted to Amazon — despite its far-reaching dominion, it can be unnerving to feel like you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. And if you live in one of those countries where Amazon isn’t quite so totalitarian, you may even be missing out on significant distribution and marketing opportunities. While you will be able to digitally distribute to other places once the 90-day enrollment period is over, you’ll be staking most of your early-launch momentum on Amazon alone.

I can’t tell you outright whether KDP Select is the right choice for you. However, I can tell you which factors to consider: How much help do you want with implementing promotions? Do you have followers who are willing to pay for your book at full price, or will they need a promotion to entice them? How important is wide distribution to you personally? Are you writing a steampunk series? (Series tend to do well on Kindle Unlimited.)

The one aspect of KDP Select that probably appeals to almost all steampunk authors is that there aren’t too many steampunk books currently on Kindle Unlimited. Not only is this a unique selling point for your marketing, but the steampunk-starved SFF readers who subscribe to KU will rush to your book like flies to honey. Of course, there’s no way of knowing how many people will end up read ingyour book through KU, but at least it’s free to get into their library.

4. Experiment with more promotions

Whether or not you decide to enroll in KDP Select and run an Amazon-sanctioned price promotion, there’s still plenty more you can do to externally promote your self-published steampunk book! There are oodles of book review blogs and promotion services that you can explore, not to mention advertising on your own blog and social media — though with relative restraint, since you still don’t want to scare your followers away (remember the cat lesson).

One hot tip for steampunk authors is to aim for quality, not quantity, when reaching out to potential reviewers and third-party promoters. By that I mean: don’t click on those directories and then send a canned email to every single contact on the list! Take the time to comb through your options and select 3-5 reviewers who you think could really help out your book, then write a personalized inquiry to each of them. Off the top of my head, I’d recommend The Kindle Book Review and BookDoggy for first-time authors. And of course, you can always ask for a review or interview from a steampunk-specific blog like this one.

You can do so much more with your own personal connections, too: ask a popular mutual follower about a cross-promotion, encourage your newsletter subscribers to leave a review, and maybe even offer a larger giveaway to increase engagement. The prize doesn’t have to be your book; the giveaway could be for anything steampunk-related, and indeed your followers might be more excited by the prospect of a cool clothing item or small piece of furniture than a book.

Whatever path you take, I certainly hope you’re in a better position to succeed than you were about 2,000 words ago. Steampunk is such a singular genre with an incredible community behind it, and every author’s  voice matters — so get out there and make yours heard.

 

Many thanks from all of us at Blake and Wight to Desiree for this fabulous guest post this morning! Here’s a little more about the author…

“Hello folks! My name is Desiree Villena and I’m a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace and resource hub for self-publishing authors. In the course of my work, I’ve become incredibly passionate about independent publishing and I hope to help as many aspiring writers as possible reach their dreams! I’ve also become a fan of steampunk over the past few months, which is what inspired me to write this particular post. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!”

#RainbowSnippets: Curious Adventures

rainbow keeper, put the fairy rainbow on the sky, magic ship in the dreamland, scene from wonderland,

image copyright Nadiaforkosh

Happy Saturday! And Happy Autumn too! I hope you all had a fabulous equinox and the
subsequent deluge hasn’t washed you all away! Autumn has definitely arrived with force here and I’ve moved all my wimpy plants indoors before the frosts hit but we still have tomatoes and sunflowers doing well in the garden and bees pottering about 🙂

 

Here’s my #RainbowSnippets post for this week – if you’re new to this, Rainbow Snippets is a chance to read and share 6 sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction every Saturday. There’s a huge variety from Steampunk, like mine, to Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comedy and everything in between. You can join the fun and read all the other fabulous snippets at the wonderfully friendly and supportive official facebook group here.
This week I’m snipping from the first book in my Ashton’s Kingdom series, The Curious
Adventures Of Smith And Skarry, which is now available to pre-order on Kindle or free if you sign up to support us on Patreon. Hugest thanks to everyone who has already pre-ordered, I’ve been really blown away by the support from everyone, it really does mean so much, thankyou 😀

 

This story started life on my kitchen wall, scribbled on the backs of envelopes and slips of paper whenever I got the chance and blue-tacked in place until there wasn’t room for any more and I had to start typing it up! It includes diverse characters from across the gender spectrum and beneath the humorous veneer it asks big questions about the important issues of power, identity and, most importantly,  fine china.

 

For reference, if you’ve been enjoying the Jack and Marjory snippets, this story happens immediately before those events, so Jack and Marjory are still working down the treacle mine at this point – and the Pirate Captain on the front cover is Jack Diamond who rescues them in book two 🙂
If you’d like some world background you can find it here in the INTRODUCTION which is at the start of the book as well.

Am I over-excited-nervous-babbling? lol, I think I may be…

This is the opening of the first chapter….

 

 

“You know what to do?”
“I know what you want me to do.”Jonathan Skarry tugged at his leather gloves and glanced up
and down the street. The rain-licked cobbles winked at him like a militia of snail shells in the
light from the guttering gas lamps overhead. He wasn’t nervous. He was reluctant, certainly, but
his reluctance had nothing whatever to do with getting caught.

 

Untitled design (1)

The evil overlord Wiz has seized control of all the tea, cake and magic in the universe. In a world crammed with dubious science and cream-powered technology, crippled by sugar tax and loose leaf ration books, overrun by cake smugglers, tea fiends and lemonade dealers, ruled over by Tea Time Lords and policed by vigilante mechanical angels, only a band of truly extraordinary adventurers can bring down this oppressive empire and save the good people of Ire from this tea time tyranny. Could these two would-be wizards, Messrs Smith and Skarry, and their band of land pirates, skywaymen, witches, orphans and other relentless rogues, be the anti-heroes The New World has been waiting for, or have they simply stirred up an enormous storm in a rather tiny teacup?

 

Wishing you all a most splendiferous week and don’t forget to check in at the #rainbowsnippets facebook group for more fabulous snippets of LGBTQIA+ fiction


#indiethursday: Tales Of Hopeless Maine Kickstarter

 

This #indiethursday I’m doing something a little different and waving the flag for the Tales Of Hopeless Maine Kickstarter which is steaming its way towards its third stretch goal! There are just 4 days to go to support this awesome project so here’s all you need to know…

Do you like adventure stories? Steampunk? Monsters and magic? Dashing heroines, doughty heroes? Do you like Verne, Wells, Lovecraft and Burroughs? Well here are two cracking yarns that you are going to love, both based around the popular world of Hopeless, Maine and both with illustrations by Tom Brown himself.

Why are there two books in this Kickstarter? Because printing them together will cost less overall, and we can still give you the choice to buy one, or both of the books.

Hopeless, Maine (for those of you who have not yet visited) is an island lost in time. Haunted and tentacle beset, it is home to strange creatures and even stranger people.

The Oddatsea is a set of four short stories that tell the tale of a Victorian adventuress; Lady Alison Pettigrew, who sets out in her steam-powered submarine to investigate the rumours around a mysterious island. Will she survive the perilous voyage? What befalls her? What does her dashing nephew Jason do? And how will it all end?

The first of these two Tales of Hopeless, Maine is written by Keith Errington, a professional, published author who writes comedy and adventure in equal measure. (You might also know his very best friend Count Rostov?)

 

New England Gothic is the story of Annmarie Nightshade, an orphan who becomes a witch on the island of Hopeless, Maine. There are betrayals, heartbreak and many dangers to overcome but there are also wonders, near escapes and strange journeys. You will meet dark sorcerers, a mad inventor in a lighthouse and the strangest familiar in the history of witchcraft.

This second tale is written by Tom’s partner and co-creator of Hopeless, Maine, Nimue Brown. It goes back in time to reveal the childhood and origin story of one of Hopeless, Maine’s most famous magical inhabitants – Annamarie Nightshade.

This is a prequel to the steampunk graphic novel series Hopeless, Maine. It stands alone but fans of the series will find much that they did not know, which will cast the events in Hopeless, Maine in an entirely new light.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE KICKSTARTER PAGE 

 

http://kck.st/2Zne2Tb

 

 

 


#indiethursdsay: Amster Damned

 

This #indiethursday I’m sharing my love of…

 

Blurb

A seemingly routine missing person case brings Alice Kittyhawk to Amsterdam where she discovers that locating a missing botanist will involve delving into the murky and illicit world of temporal displacement. Working with the mysterious Ministry of Lost & Found, Alice will have to take on some formidable foes and race against the clock in defiance of the odds which seem to be stacked against her.

 

To compensate for my lack of time to do long reviews just now, I’m using the #indiethursday hashtag to share the indie love and point at some fabulous indie books I’ve enjoyed reading 😀

So, what fab indie fiction are you reading / writing this month? Blessings on your brew and best of luck with all your indie endeavours, lets keep flying the flag for indie writing!


#RainbowSnippets: Jack and Marjory

Happy Saturday!

Last weekend we had a wonderful time at the annual kite festival – think endless sandy beach covered in giant kites including a purple and black dragon and a giant blue octopus! Plus vintage fair ground rides and candyfloss 😀 We also saw japanese kite fighting for the first time which was thrilling and got to shout ‘WASSSOIIII!” to cheer on our fave gekko kite 😀 This weekend we’ll be spying for the harvest moon and the last of the Perseids (we saw them right at the start of their peak but now we might have resort to the internet, lol) and basking in what seems to be ‘St Michael’s Little Summer’ come early!

Here’s my #RainbowSnippets post for this week – if you’re new to this, Rainbow Snippets is a chance to read and share 6 sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction every Saturday. There’s a huge variety from Steampunk, like mine, to Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comedy and everything in between. You can join the fun and read all the other fabulous snippets at the wonderfully friendly and supportive official facebook group here 🙂

So, here is the next snippet from Jack and Marjory – my novella-in-progress which gives two of my Bi-Gendered characters a chance to tell something of their own little side-adventure, which actually had a massive impact on the history of Ire in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ kind of way.

If you missed last week’s snippet you can catch up here: #RainbowSnippets: Jack and Marjory

If you want to start from the beginning you can do so here: https://blakeandwight.com/2018/09/29/rainbowsnippets-jack-and-marjory/

To recap, Jack and Marjory have completely lost track of the teaset thanks to the smooth talking painter / poet Michael Biscotti and his crew of Beautiful, Beatnik, Bastard associates…

 

Michael had told us to ‘come and find him later’ and then promptly vanished, leaving us surrounded by a superfluity of creative coves all far too stuck up their own chimney stacks to pay any attention to us. And, after a few minutes careful consideration, we was still not a stone’s throw on in our quest to take some sort of decisive action.

So we just sat back and enjoyed watchin’ the birds all doing their thing. It was true that we’d been stupidly distracted by the divine bastard that was Michael Biscotti and forgotten to notice what happened to the teaset ( and later we felt that in this respect our arrival at The Lion was not our finest hour) but for now the pressing matter of that fine porcelain and all it portented   was eclipsed by the pre-raphs turning the carpet into a canvas of tea-painted utopian scenes from mythical antiquity and Joyce Jameson standing on a table in the centre of the room, draped in the Mor-Irate flag crying 

“Whoever has the last bag of flour…  whoever has the last bag of flour…  push the  limits of the diaphane… find the soul of the commonest object… the soul of the teapot… the soul of the teasot… the last bag of flour…” 

 While two ladies sat on the floor surrounded by dried out teabags writing every word she said in tiny, tiny script on those tiny, tiny dried out bags, while five men stitched the finished ones together to make…  we had no idea… 

JACKANDMARJORYCOVER

being an entertaining and informative piece of travel writing by a couple of rogues on the run as they attempt to avoid the machinations of wizards, monarchs and a ruthless band of beatnik poets, deflect a civil war and deliver a priceless, historical tea set before the owner finds himself at the gallows.

 

Wishing you all a most splendiferous week and don’t forget to check in at the #rainbowsnippets facebook group for more fabulous snippets of LGBTQIA+ fiction 🙂 

 

book cover image by Renphoto 


#indiethursday: Jennings and Jennings Paranormal Investigators

This #indiethursday I’m sharing my love of…

 

Blurb

‘Jennings and Jennings, Paranormal Investigators, available for hire in the Home Counties. Are you plagued by supernatural goings on or troubled by fantastical events? We can help, using the most modern scientific advances, to rid you of even the most ancient of terrors. 3 pence an hour, double on Sunday.’

So ran the advert and soon came the requests for our husband and wife team to help out in these 4 comedy steampunk paranormal stories. Gasp, laugh, and be generally titillated as you encounter:

A haunted house, a strange case of mesmerism, a murderous fiend, and mysterious theft of alchemical artefacts.

 

To compensate for my lack of time to do long reviews just now, I’m using the #indiethursday hashtag to share the indie love and point at some fabulous indie books I’ve enjoyed reading 😀

So, what fab indie fiction are you reading / writing this month? Blessings on your brew and best of luck with all your indie endeavours, lets keep flying the flag for indie writing!

 


#RainbowSnippets: Jack and Marjory

rainbow keeper, put the fairy rainbow on the sky, magic ship in the dreamland, scene from wonderland,

image copyright Nadiaforkosh

Happy Saturday!

Autumn has arrived here with a vengeance but it seems the wind might just have died down enough for the kite festival this weekend – tentacles crossed!  😀

Here’s my #RainbowSnippets post for this week – if you’re new to this, Rainbow Snippets is a chance to read and share 6 sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction every Saturday. There’s a huge variety from Steampunk, like mine, to Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comedy and everything in between. You can join the fun and read all the other fabulous snippets at the wonderfully friendly and supportive official facebook group here 🙂

So, here is the next snippet from Jack and Marjory – my novella-in-progress which gives two of my Bi-Gendered characters a chance to tell something of their own little side-adventure, which actually had a massive impact on the history of Ire in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ kind of way.

If you missed last week’s snippet you can catch up here: #RainbowSnippets: Jack and Marjory

If you want to start from the beginning you can do so here: https://blakeandwight.com/2018/09/29/rainbowsnippets-jack-and-marjory/

To recap, Jack and Marjory have pretty much failed on their mission to deliver the teaset to Max, Max is now going to be hung for being an evil revolutionary and tea-addict and J&M now find themselves heading into the The Golden Lion and possible poetic peril…  (slightly less than 6 sentences this week, but they are long ones!)

 

So, The Lion has ghosts; for certain. But there weren’t room for a spirit when we got there; it was crammed from floor to rafters with bodies. Poets, painters, musicians, writers, actors, tea fiends, tiffin madames, gutter wizards, hex slingers, The Garish Regulars were there and even some of the scribes from the Burlington Arcade. 

Michael steered us unerringly through the coterious jungle of flesh and fancy fabrics and faces we recognised from theatre programmes and wanted posters.

“Christina! Darling! Bill! We’re back… yes, this is the Hex slinger, the ‘woman of the hour’…yes, indeed… somebody get Margo here some cake… and get us all a  Black Dragon we’re dry as rocks aren’t we dear?” 

If you’ve never been at a so-hot-you-might-combust party with a so-hot-you-might-combust poet’s hand on your shoulder and his silky voice like a smooth skinned chilli pepper spicin’ up the soup, then you’ve probably no sympathy for us at all, Pal, when we tell you that it was well over an hour before we came to our senses and found ourselves sat on the floor with a hip flask full of  oolong, a belly full of sponge and not the faintest idea what had happened to the teaset or what, exactly, we ought to be doing with ourselves.

JACKANDMARJORYCOVER

 

being an entertaining and informative piece of travel writing by a couple of rogues on the run as they attempt to avoid the machinations of wizards, monarchs and a ruthless band of beatnik poets, deflect a civil war and deliver a priceless, historical tea set before the owner finds himself at the gallows.

 

Wishing you all a most splendiferous week and don’t forget to check in at the #rainbowsnippets facebook group for more fabulous snippets of LGBTQIA+ fiction 🙂 

 

book cover image by Renphoto