Brymlight Kickstarter is Live!

Brymlight Kickstarter is Live!

Kickstarter for 5 short stories in the Brymlight world is live and on its way!  Reward tiers to fit everyone’s pocketbook and reading style – yes, we have ebook *and* printed versions.  Higher tiers add some fun art options.  Premium tiers are there for someone interested in more unique experiences, like story dedication and livestreams.

Both Chris from LoreSmyth and I will be monitoring the comments and fielding questions throughout the campaign – come join the fun!

The ‘Punk’ in Steampunk

The ‘Punk’ in Steampunk

One of the reasons I enjoy writing in the Steampunk tradition is its focus on social and economic disparity.  I have tried in my writing to emphasize what I believe to be the ‘Punk’ part of Steampunk.  That part that focuses on the disenfranchised, the fringes, oppressed, and under represented classes and conditions.

I wrote many of these stories several years ago and they reflected my opinions and feelings at the time, probably no different than the classical writers like Verne and Wells did in their time.  As I review these stories getting them ready to be published, I am struck by how relevant, if not more so, that they are now.

Conflict, either direct or indirect and sometimes inadvertent, is the key to writing.  I have heard and read that many times and it rings true for me.  There are many forms of conflict, of course, ranging from character conflict with the setting to character vs character, and character conflict within themselves.

My favorite, as is my desire to write character driven stories, are the latter two.

Character vs. character in my steampunk western world is represented by the rich and elite oppressing the lower class to maintain their lifestyle all the while still being entirely dependent them.  Economic oppression, exploitation of workers, etc. is not a new theme by any stretch.  I like to toy around the edges with the interdependencies.  Are the privileged dependent on those they oppress?  Would they cease to exist if they could not oppress?  Do we create our own elite?  Do we need these elite we create?

If oppression is integral to the Punk part of steampunk, it clearly is not new either.  Captain Nemo was funding rebellion and hated imperialistic nations (Steampunk v1.0?).  Moorcock brings forward the same theme of oppression, that of colonists, in The Warlord of the Air (Steampunk v2.0?).  Yes, finally getting around to reading what many consider the inventor of Steampunk (v2.0).  No spoilers, Land Leviathan and Steel Tsar are queued up!  Can I really add anything new to the oppression theme?

My favorite is internal conflict – Character vs Self.  Self doubt, self esteem, anxiety, depression, maintaining control.  These themes are also as relevant now as they were when I first started writing in my world.  Weaving these themes into my stories and creating the flawed characters will, hopefully, let me put the grim reality into what I feel is my version of steampunk – what my publisher coined “Grimpunk.”

Anyways, heavy thinky post behind me, I would invite you to checkout www.brymlight.com for more information an upcoming Kickstarter to fund a small anthology of my short “Grimpunk” stories.  There is a place to sign up if you are interested in receiving updates on the KS campaign.

Voice and Editing

Voice and Editing

My first, introductory call with Paul (my editor) went great.  Total transparency here, I have never worked with an editor that would be taking a more technical look at my writing.  I have alpha readers, and I have greatly appreciated their feedback, but this feels like a whole other level for me.  In amongst geeking out on various things that we are, well… geeked about, we got to talking about writing and “voice.”

Before going any further – I have to say: I’m really excited about this project!  (bet you can’t tell)

One of the things we discussed was Voice and the use of colloquialisms. As an editor, this can make it hard for Paul to sort out whether I meant something to be grammatically incorrect as a colloquialism, or whether it’s just grammatically incorrect.

Stepping back for a second, its pretty cool looking at my writing through the eyes of someone else, an editor that is interested in preserving my writing style but also in cleaning up it and making it better.

We came up with a couple of basic rules (that I will also have to keep in mind as well!)
Grounders (lower social classes) generally walk on characters, will speak pretty heavily in slang and colloquialisms. Main characters, will be better spoken, but may slip into colloquialism when speaking with other grounders. Narrative voice will be the same. Highborn upper classes will be more formal.  I have read stories with slangy narrative voice and it just gets annoying pretty quickly.

Technical Plausibility

Technical Plausibility
One of the things I described to Paul (my editor) that I hope sets my writing apart from the usual steampunk is the plausibility of the technology.
The Brymlight stories rely on hydrogen as the source of energy – no crystals, alien substances, or other unexplainable magic. I tried to ground my writing in science and reality, if a bit stretched at times to make it work.
Hydrogen provides the lift that keeps the massive estates of the aristocracy afloat high above the plains of the American Colonies western frontier.  Ironically, those estates are both literally and figuratively tethered to the ground and their dependence on the lower classes that produces the hydrogen.
Production of the hydrogen is based on steam reforming, or steam methane reformation of natural gas.  One of the most common industrial approaches to manufacturing hydrogen and a number of other related products.  In the Brymlight world, the Whitley Hydro-Works is one of the largest producers of hydrogen, what our boffins are going to call “diprotium” and the more common term everyone else regularly uses: Brym.
Just for fun… steam reformation, in a deeper meaning, also refers to my break from the more traditional steampunk doctrine.

Tales from the Brymlight Observer

Tales from the Brymlight Observer

Official revival of my long neglected blog… because through happenstance, luck, karma, and long odds, I have stumbled into a small independent publisher who would like to publish my steampunk stories!!!

Where we stand right now:

  • We have settled on the “Tales from the Brymlight Observer” to be the umbrella name for the stories that are set in the steampunk world that you will see referenced through earlier blog posts as the setting for the West Wind and Due West.  The Brymlight Observer is an underground subversive newspaper that is proudly “Shining the Light on the Truth.”
  • Five short stories that are publish ready (they were originally submitted to various horror and other short story anthologies) are being edited by Paul.  My editor.  Paul.  Yes, my *editor* (sorry, still trying to get used to this!)  One of the five, Forgotten Memories, was previously published in a ghost hunting anthology the subject of other posts here.  A second was accepted, but the publisher ultimately did not release the anthology.  All of the short stories will be receiving new titles and cover art.
  • A kickstarter is in the works that will be publishing the five short stories in eBook format, a printed anthology, and some other goodies.  This is to help build awareness around publishing of the West Wind, which will also be receiving a new name and cover art.  A webpage has been setup that will be the home of the Brymlight Observer that includes an email sign-up if you want to keep up to date on the kickstarter and other goings ons: www.brymlight.com

Forgotten Memories – Anthology Cover Released

The cover to “Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation” in which my story Forgotten Memories appears has been posted.  Ok – now I am getting excited.

Forgotten Memories is one of several stories I wrote as world building for “The West Wind.”  It is Weird West tale set in Johnson City, one of the main locations featured in the book, with Rachel and Clarence West playing walk-on parts.  Unlike the book, however, I get to have some fun with the paranormal – ghost hunting obviously.  The story centers around “Joe” who wakes up in the Marbury Sanitarium with no recollection of his past or how he arrived there.  As the story unfolds, he begins to suspect that his circumstance is somehow related to a recent horrific riverboat accident.  His journey of self (re)discovery nearly becomes a descent into madness as he struggles to uncover the truth about his past.

Here is the cover!  More info over at the Facebook page of “Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation.”

 

Hunting Ghosts cover

Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation

I am excited to announce that my short story: Forgotten Memories will be included in “Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation!”

As the title of the anthology would imply, it is a ghost hunting story and it is set in the Steampunk Western world introduced in “The West Wind” and its sequel-in-progress “Due West.”

For all my Friends on Facebook – head over to Hunting Ghosts Facebook page and give it a “Like.”  You will also find the full table of contents and excerpts from the stories being posted.  More to come!