Gothic Steampunk Gaslamp Fantasy. Bringing you uncanny heroines in shilling shockers and adventuress tales.
Another year of FOGcon, Friends of Genre fiction, has come and gone, and I still haven't been present personally. :-P I thank writer friends Janice T (who provided these pics), and Emily Thompson for exhibiting my books with theirs! Gratitude!
If there were two of me, one to run about and promote and (finally) squeeze in workshops and panels, and the other to Write and make books, that would be cool. I think. I've yet to think through the ramifications of being cloned or split in two.
But since it's not possible for me to be in two places at one time (in my ignorance of dimensional manipulation), doing entirely two different things with great passion, sincerity, or whatever passes for obsessiveness (and selfishness), I must CHOOSE!
This is the year of making All The Books. I've finally laid out Charm School Graphique Vol One and I need to draw 3 more illustrations to round out that book plus receive the Foreword, graciously provided by Trina Robbins, a wonderful woman, cartoonist, and living historical figure. The digital comics version is up to 7 issues in DRM-free PDF format and 4 issues (still) in Kindle format. I'm still in the process of making the PDFs available (website hijinks), and I ought to start uploading the Kindle versions, even if they're all not converted yet (for review purposes). I've made the first submission to ComiXology but 'twill be a long while before I learn if I'm accepted into that selling venue.
Isn't the business of Making Books FUN? It beats emptying trash cans. Now whenever it pays more than panhandling on the street, I shall be doubly happy about this sick, sick passion. ;)
all the best,
EVENT: COME TO FOGcon 2014, where steampunk authors Emi Thompson of Clockwork Twist and Janice T of ECHOES will be, this Fri, Sat, and Sunday, in lovely Walnut Creek Marriott (CA), slinging books (and my Dark Victorians!) at SCIFI Fantasy and Speculative Fiction booklovers. Among the Guests of Honour will be the GHOST OF JAMES TIPTREE JR. I kid you not! Boo hoo, I shan't be there to get my picture taken with her spectre. :( THEREFORE, you must go and track her apparition down! :D And buy some books whilst you're at it! Have fun! http://fogcon.org/
From the site:
What is FOGcon?
Friends of the Genre (FOGcon) is a literary-themed San Francisco Bay Area SF/F con in the tradition of Wiscon. Each year we focus on a new theme in speculative fiction and invite Honored Guests ranging from writers to scientists to artists. We build community, exchange ideas, and share our love for the literature of imagination.
What this is: IN progress, the dressmaking and model fitting for the new Dark Victorian photo covers. More at: http://www.pinterest.com/ewatasin/new-dv-cover-ref/
This project has been in progress since October 2013, though I think I started dialogue with the principles involved since September. The Dark Victorian series is meant for eight books, and in making the decision to go to new photo covers, I also made the (expensive) decision to have the model cast and Victorian costuming designed and made. THIS IS what happens when writing an uncanny Victorian super heroine who happens to be an artificial ghost. Is there a stock photo for that? No!
It was time to move on from my own illustrations for the covers. Though I'm obviously no Random House, somehow as an indie author I've managed to swing this incredible project. It's basically like shooting the tiniest movie ever, not even a book trailer but many stills which I will gleefully utilise in many visual and graphic things, besides the book covers. As an illustrator, I am happy. *rubs hands*
And as a storyteller, I am amazed to see the character of Artifice come to life. I see lots of steampunk/sci fi authors dream of movie deals. It can't be helped, sci fi and fantasy tend to be very visual, fantastic stories. One steampunk writer sank dough into an incredible audio production. Another sci fi author into a book trailer (although that was more the investment of the director, who liked her book). But I've worked on movies and I think maybe that's why I'm not into those sort of ancillary projects or forms of expression, or in all practicality, that sort of expense.
I would Love to if I were well-financed, but I'm not. If I want my Victorian super heroine in 'real life', I ought to find a reasonable way how.
I could not do this, of course, without the amazing help of the photographer, Teresa Yeh, who has been hands-on and managing/coordinating the project from day one, and the dress designer Cavalyn Galano, who has been a wonderful collaborator in wrestling my vision into Victorian aesthetics. I am also grateful for the book cover model herself, the gracious Elizabeth Worth.
But we're not done yet! Perhaps a large third of the project yet to go, which is the actual shoot! And that third is not counting the final render into digital art. That, I must consider at another point.
While this progresses on the Dark Victorian series front, the Dark Victorian short story, "Alice at the Vesta" is with the editor, I am still working on getting the rest of the Charm School books into digital and at least one into actual print. Someone I admire has done me the kindness of saying 'yes' to writing the book's foreword. Thus, we keep going!
The *new* advert page for Charm School, to be included in the Charm School Graphique books. The first one I'd made (back in Oct) was errm, quite boring. So this is the snazzy one, full of digitally realized prettiness!
More! To be! Made! And then I actually have to draw, just for the front matter of the book.
"The suppression of inner patterns in favor of patterns created by society is dangerous to us. Artistic revolt, innovation, experiment should not be met with hostility. They may disturb an established order or an artificial conventionality, but they may rescue us from death in life, from robot life, from boredom, from loss of the self, from enslavement."
From Vol 5 of her diaries. ( and unfortunately, no, I'm not reading them---yet, but is yoinked from Brain Pickings ):
Me: "Alice At The Vesta", a Dark Victorian short story destined for a steampunk anthology (I keep forgetting the title), is back with notes! (Very good ones) from the beta-reader. I must now meditate!
I've also returned to getting Charm School Graphique Vol 1 into a print book. Some elements I'd worked on back in Oct 2013 now look 'eh'. Well, such is the benefit of Time. Gives me the chance to do it again, mostly right. ;)
I hope you are all enjoying your books! (envy!)
all the best, ~~eee
#amwriting 8K+ words on "Alice At The Vesta" (or the "The Vesta", still not decided). 10K limit on this steampunk anthology invite. >_< I think I've 1/4 more of story to write, and that may hit at 13-15K. I'd hate to withdraw from the antho, but I'll know in a few more nights if that must be so. :-/ Story is its usual density with lots of characters despite being one point of view. It also depicts the 'downstairs' of the Vesta. And no, the "Alice" is not the one of Wonderland, maybe I ought to drop that part (I can imagine reviews saying this is Lewis Carroll's Alice as a Victorian cross-dresser and servant at an exclusive London club. Yes, yes, exactly. :-p). I also once told myself I'd never write a 'downstairs' story because it would require too much research. So what do I do? Research:
FASCINATING. I was always getting pantries and larders mixed up.
Charm School's digital comics still at #4, 5 more to go. Print book volume one still needing more pages. Goood night. ^v^
A big thank you to new BookLikes followers! :) I hope you enjoy it here as much as I do!
I'm still setting up all things Charm School (am up to digital comic #4, need to work on new pages for Charm School Graphique Vol One--the 'ex-libris', title page, etc), and darn it, but the Dark Victorian short story has not been worked on for 4 days now. :(
I also remembered that March 7-9th is FOGcon: http://fogcon.org/
FOGcon is "Friends of the Genre", a literary science fiction/fantasy convention happening in the San Francisco Bay Area, and James Tiptree Jr is spectral guest of honour this year! :----(
"Why the long face, Elizabeth?" I'm glad you asked. I can't go! There's too much to do, and my gallivanting means nothing gets done (as proven by my events schedule of 2013). To miss out on the ghost of James Tiptree Jr makes me sad however. waaah! :-(
But my good friends and steampunk writers, Emily Thompson (Clockwork Twist series), and Janice T. (Echoes: Neo-Victorian Poetry), will be there and are kind enough to exhibit my books alongside theirs! Thank you, ladies! ^_^
I was so distracted by the ghost of James Tiptree Jr I forgot to say: I also recalled that I needed to make new promo freebies for FOGcon, especially with Charm School relaunching. Thus the 2x6 bookmark designs you see here. One bookmark, two franchises. ;) Everything seems legible and spelt correctly (I hope), and the batch order is now in.
More later, as there are several projects going---including the photoshoot for the new Dark Victorian covers (have I mentioned this already?). I will do a blog post about it.
all the best, ~eee ^v^
‘Forward to New Numbers’
by Christopher Logue
If this book doesn’t change you
give it no house space;
if having read it you
are the same person you
were before picking it up,
then throw it away.
Not enough for me
that my poems shine in your eye;
not enough for me
that they look from your walls
or lurk on your shelves;
I want my poems to be in your mind
so you can say them when you are in love
so you can say them when the plane takes off
and death comes near;
I want my poems to come between
the raised stick and the cowering back,
I want my poems to become
a weapon in your trembling hands,
a sword whose blade both makes and mirrors change;
but most of all I want my poems sung
unthinkingly between your lips like air.
Another shared by Theodora Goss:
"The work evolves on its own rather than with the author's intentions, but is always monitored by the critical eye of the writer. What is so difficult about this process is that one must keep the mind focused on two contradictory goals: not to miss the messages whispered by the unconscious and at the same time force it into a suitable form. The first requires openness, the second critical judgment. If these two processes are not kept in constant shifting balance, the flow of writing dries up. After a few hours the tremendous concentration required for this balancing act becomes so exhausting that the writer has to change gears and focus on something else, something mundane. But while it lasts, creative writing is the next best thing to having a world of one's own in which what's wrong with the 'real' world can be set right." --Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity
#amwriting What's described here is happening with my Dark Victorian short story, The Vesta, right now. I think because the work is within even more finite requirements, I'm more aware of this process (and am really glad it's been defined; I'm hardly articulate enough to describe what is happening except to be vague and mystical---which is annoying). Now it's been a week, I'm at 5K+ words (with a 10K limit, but if I go over, it's still beneficial; I can publish it on my own if I and my people can't cut it down). Despite trying to 'speed-write' for the sake of efficiency, discipline, and getting directly to the heart of the story, I'm still critical. I'll see what happens with the next novel, but I'm thinking this just may be my process. The outline gets laid down fairly quickly, but once I'm in there, I need to shape it towards what's important and everything spirals from there (and that's not a terribly fast process, nor dirty).
I'm glad to finally have an excuse to try a short though I've my fears; there are beautiful, elegant ways of delivering this particular form and I hardly think I've achieved it this time around, but 'tis a story, nonetheless. In other news, who is continuing the formatting of the Charm School digital comics and the print graphic albums? Bueller? Bueller? ;)
I am up to no. 3 of the Charm School digital comics. Six more to go, and no. 10 needs to be drawn!
all the best, ~eee
"What is fantasy? On one level, it is a game: a pure pretense with no ulterior motive whatsoever. It is one child saying to another child, 'Let's be dragons,' and then they're dragons for an hour or two. It is escapism of the most admirable kind--the game played for the game's sake.
"On another level, it is still a game, but a game played for very high stakes. Seen thus, as art, not as spontaneous play, its affinity is not with daydream, but with dream. It is a different approach to reality, an alternative technique for apprehending and coping with experience. It is not anti-rational, but para-rational; not realistic but surrealistic, superrealistic, a heightening of reality. In Freud's terminology, it employs primary, not secondary process thinking. It employs archetypes, which, as Jung warned us, are dangerous things. Dragons are more dangerous, and a good deal commoner, than bears. Fantasy is nearer to poetry, to mysticism, and to insanity than naturalistic fiction is. It is a real wilderness, and those who go there should not feel too safe. And their guides, the writers of fantasy, should take their responsibility seriously."
--Ursula Le Guin, "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie"
I'd just read this on Theodora Goss's facebook. It's that wilderness we aspire to, dangerous as it is, drawing us from safer places. And we're clueless, and we fear the price, and some of us will never understand it even as we try to write about it. This is what separates the common magic user from the wizards.
"the Bookhive is an amazing art installation by Rusty Squid. It celebrates 400 years of libraries in Bristol with 400 moving books. It's at Bristol Central Library until early March 2014"
. . . all it takes is a wee virus to knock me down for 2 weeks, and everything gets out of hand in that time! ;) Still coughing and counting, but we'll beat this yet.
THINGS: Just to cover things Happening, author Melanie Karsak hosts her SteamU in which guests give presentations on aspects of steampunk. As her latest guest, I take you into the world of The Dark Victorian. ^v^ Please visit to read an excerpt from Dark Victorian: BONES, where my heroine and agent of the Secret Commission, Artifice, visits the Royal Aquarium Exposition Palace and Pleasure Gardens for the first time and where a certain notorious journalist and the object of Art's affections, Lady Helia Skycourt, resides.
And at Steampunk Chronicle, I'm really pleased to find this wonderful review of Dark Victorian: RISEN by Prof Vernon Martin. The review, "I'll Take My Victorian Dark, Please!", can be found here: http://steampunkchronicle.com/ArticleView/tabid/238/ArticleId/385/Ill-Take-My-Victorian-Dark-Please.aspx
It is nice to know that my efforts are appreciated! :)
There was also a very positive RISEN review at Absurdly Nerdly:
And my books plus my editor's, JoSelle Vanderhooft (who's working on the Charm School novella I just finished), have been added by Danika of The Lesbrary to her list of "Lesbian Steampunk Books" over at Goodreads. I thank her for the addition and hope you'll all visit and check out what's on there!:
More to come, because I'm behind on everything. :-p
all the best, ~~eee
Body Chase, The Fall of Fairer Than: Has been sent to the beta-reader. v^v (I'm exhausted). The story had been sitting in me since 2002 or even earlier. I've probably mentioned this before, but the first CS story was Bunny's, then it would be Dean's, and then the 'last' story arc would be Fairer Than's. What I might have done in sequential art would have been different from what I finished in long fiction today. The story would have been the Same, the timing and some of the story and character actions, probably not. 'Tis the nature of two different story mediums. To draw characters inhabiting the bodies of other characters would have meant I'd go for the shortest scenes possible for optimum comedic (or Tragic) effect. ;)
When I first thought of 'The Fall of Fairer Than', it was of a pivotal scene between Bunny and Fairer Than in a rowboat. That sort of sounds funny but it's not, it's a very . . . it's a very significant scene. And perhaps I feel a little drained tonight knowing that now it's truly left me and will soon go out into the world. This is good. Stories need to come out and become something.
More Later. I have to get those Charm School graphic albums and digital comics set up. :)
I've just looked up spriggans, pillywiggins, pixies, sprites, hobgoblins, brownies, and trolls. Body Chase: The Fall of Fairer Than (a Charm School Novel), is dooone! KRAKTHOOM Now to read through and then to the beta-reader. ^v^ Draw will be back from the pet hospital tomorrow, and if this manuscript were on paper, he'd sit on it. Goood Nyte. ^,.,^
. . . boy, I needed a laugh! What's funny is that many of the points of this list is how I write Elle Black. Well, #15 in particular.
Draw, the kitteh, Update: He'll have surgery tomorrow! I'm going to do I don't know what. Be sleepless! Among many Accomplished things.
No writing update last night because I had to rush Draw to the emergency pet hospital. Kind of cliché to be careening through empty LA streets looking for that welcoming lit storefront and neon sign on Ventura. He couldn't pee, y'see, and interwebs told me that's a critical thing. But he's doing well now, and the doc says the kidney stones have to come out, ala surgery. Weee! How expensive. >_< So forgive me if I just go make lots more books. A good way to start the new year! (Remember to buy them. Actually, go now and buy them! Thank you! :D).
All the best, ~~eeee ^v^
( These links will take you to the International Amazon of your choice. 'Tis Magic! ):