Gothic Steampunk Gaslamp Fantasy. Bringing you uncanny heroines in shilling shockers and adventuress tales.
WONDERCON!! It's that time of year again *_* Held in the lovely Anaheim Convention Center (near some place called 'Disneyland'), I will be slinging books at attendees from my location at Small Press SP-043, in magnificent HALL C. Stop by! Don't duck!
Charm School Graphique Vol 1 was supposed to be in print by then, but after adding 8 new pages (plus all the other filler---and that animated flip corner* * *Stay Tuned, I'll explain Later* * *), I said, 'nope', not going to happen. I'm currently 4 pages away from finishing. Funny how a few weeks ago when I made the decision, publisher-me wanted to sock artist-me (I mean really---WONDERCON!! Why be there, then?), but artist-me walloped her with a chair and she hasn't gotten up since. ART. It's what keeps us going.
But what really keeps us going is art that tells stories. And frankly, I'd really like to return to the art of the Word. 4 more pages of sequential art that I could have written as a short story in a few nights rather than spend 2-3 weeks figuring out how to get drawn. Dark Victorian: Risen would have taken me 8 years in comic book form. :-p
The Pictures: I'll be sharing my table with the esteemed Kim Dwinell, illustrator and graphic novelist of Surfside Girls (a book TBA). Besides my Dark Victorian books I'll have bookplate stickers, made as a perk for the Charm School Graphique Vol 1 pre-order. E-Books loaded on to USB drives, leather ones and these light bulbs I fondly market as 'Tesla' bulbs. And I'll be bringing 1" inch pinback buttons too (I try to design new ones for each event), because it's punk rock, and also, chicks dig them. :D
Another thing happening whilst I'm at Wondercon: the photo cover shoot for the Dark Victorian books is finally ready to go. Model will fly in to the photographer's location, the commissioned outfit will hopefully be ready (the dress designer will Make It Sew!), and then another kind of wonderful creativity will start.
Thus, we spring into Spring. IF you are at Wondercon, come say hi! Otherwise, I wish you all an Extraordinary weekend. :)
all the best,
Overlord is a mnemosurgeon. Mnemosurgery is described thus: "Mnemosurgery is a technique by which one Transformer can enter the mind of another, viewing the subject's memories and giving the mnemosurgeon the ability to "edit" said memories, even to the point where the subject's personality is completely rewritten. The procedure is accomplished via spikes extending from the mnemosurgeon's fingers, which are typically inserted into the subject's neck. The surgical scars fortunately only show up under ultraviolet light. Mnemosurgery can sometimes lead to surgeons experiencing flashbacks—reliving inherited memories from the minds they've worked on."
In the Dark Victorian, the criminal dead are resurrected to serve as Secret Police. They're controlled using memory surgery. "'Memory surgery, Jim said in her hand. 'Amazing trick. You'll remember nothing of yourself, your previous life, your identity; none of it.'"
Sounds like menomosurgery to me, and Overlord was a dick who used that to do horrible, horrible things and torment people and kill them. And okay, maybe they aren't using memory surgery to kill people - but it kinda sounds like a dick move, to be frank. Because, yeah, playing around with memories? Willow did it in Buffy, and they do it all the time in Transformers. It's always a dick move that doesn't end well.
Okay, so I've gotten the Transformer talk out of the way, and the connection to the character for my challenge should be obvious. So, now you get yet another story. I can't remember when Charm School first came out, or why I picked it up. But I kept checking for more issues, and I can't remember why I looked up Elizabeth Watasin, but I did. I'd given up, to be honest, on more Charm School, but I was reminded of the comic or something so I looked her up on Amazon. I was aware that she wrote prose fiction, but.. does anyone else remember that craptastic episode of X-Files that William Gibson wrote? Because I loved the X-Files and I loved William Gibson so how could I not love that episode?
Writing well for one medium does not always translate to another. I was worried due to past experience. And it did take me a while to get into the flow of this story, but I think that was me being nervous more than this story, especially as once I got the flow, io cut just really flowed. Beautiful, even when horrifying beyond belief, but it's the beauty that makes the horror: without that, there would be nothing to compare.
There are also tantalizing hints of redemption, interesting subplots that tie into the main plot, and enough mystery to make me want to curl up into a ball wailing for more. And then I remember that, yay, I did wait long enough for the second volume to be out, too.
I'll be starting that quite soon. Remember I mentioned everyone playing around with memories in the Transformers universes? Yup, I can so use that. Or the whole resurrection bit 'cos zombie robots. (Fine. Zombie biomechanical lifeforms.)
Self purchase, Kindle Edition. This is a re-read review. But I haven’t read the comics since they first came out.
Originality: Extremely Original
Art/Colors: My only complaint is that the font in a few places is a little hard to read. I don’t know if this is because its the Kindle edition or not. But I DO love the art. Anything with faeries earns bonus points for me since I love faeries
Characters:. Bunny. She is attractive and funny (although not usually a fan of blond women). I like how she’s curvy, sexy and feminie PLUS she’s GAY! Dean, a bit too butchy for my taste, but still I like her. Fairer than, is very much trouble.
Overall, as good as I remember. But reading issues is hard since 26 pages is not just very long. There some cute panels at the end where Bunny and Fairer than talk to the readers but its not plot related. There is also a few cute pages where Bunny is talking with a doctor over her obsession with Fairer than.
If you haven’t read these before, or even if you have, I highly recommend them. So far only 4 issues are out on Kindle but more are coming. I don’t know if the collected graphic novels will be on kindle. But Elizabeth Watasin (author and artist) is on Booklikes.
I'M VERY PLEASED to announce that my indy, paranormal romance comic book, Charm School, is finally on Kindle, and more to be released, per week (issue no. 4 releasing this Friday!).
It had been out a while, just waited until the info aggregated to BookLikes' library system. :D I also have the issues available as PDFs via Gumroad: https://elizabethwatasinscharmschool.com/
When I can figure out how to make a digital comic in Epub format, I want them up at B&N as well, and then figure out iBookstore, and so forth. Panel enlargements with the Kindle Comicbook Creator requires that I test each issue thoroughly (as seen in me screenshots!).
Until I get Charm School into ComiXology, I think the Kindle will be the only place I can have panel enlarging.
There is also a *print* version, size 8.5x11, 72pp: Charm School Graphique Vol 1, which I have offered for Pre-Order whilst I add 8 more pages of new content:
If interested in a paper version, definitely take a look, as this offer is with goodies, such as a 3x5 sticker, bookmark, and 1" pinback button. :D
But more on that later. I've been juggling lots of stuff. LOTS. I saw an author pair post a pic of their whiteboard and thought: geez, why didn't I think of that? Because I keep thinking I'm forgetting something, besides the fact that Wondercon 2014 is only 2 weeks away. MEANWHILE. . . I did read a book! Something about Victorian sexuality, which I extensively tabbed (I'm not an underliner or highlighter, and yes, it was a paper book). I guess it's okay to have the next Dark Victorian novel brewing in my head whilst I do All The Things.
I guess. :-p Hope everyone is enjoying all their books!!
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