Category Archives: steampunk

On the Up

Just to let you now, after my little grumble yesterday, my mood is on the up today.  Part of the reason for this is without a doubt, just the erratic alteration of hormones. That said. Other things had a definite uplifting affect. 

This first may seem like a odd thing to feel good about, but it brightened my day.  I work in the conservatory and it’s usually very cold, but I went in to start work around 08:30.  What was lovely, what pleased me was that I didn’t actually have to put the heater on. Small thing, but not having to spend on heating is a good thing to my mind.

Once I settled into work, I saw that at far-too-early-o’clock I had received a message asking if I was free for an editing commission later in the year – I am, and getting work always pleases me.  If you’re looking for a structural edit this year, contact me for a quote (see gailbwilliams.co.uk).

Later this morning, I saw a friend had posted a very nice note about my writing, my books both in crime and steampunk.  Added to that, other people, most of whom I don’t know, piled in with other compliments on my writing. Apparently, I’m still a little over sensitive today, as those touching thoughts brought tears to my eyes.

Then, I made a phone call to a local gardener.  I wasn’t expecting much as we’ve recently had trouble getting tradesmen to the house. However, not only did he turn up when he said he would, he gave us a good price and he started the job straight away.  Not only that – he finished it!

I also managed to get a load of tidying up done, which is always good for my mental health.

So this just goes to show that no matter how dark one day might feel, there’ll be light in tomorrow.

Leave a comment

Filed under crime, Natural Health, steampunk, Uncategorized

January Review

So what happened in January – it started well, but finished on something of a low.

Locked Down is out for review, and the ebook is up for pre-order, the paperback will be up shortly, but Amazon doesn’t allow books to be pre-ordered if they are print on demand, seems odd, but it’s their game, their rules.  So that will be joining the ebook shortly.  I have one review on Goodreads already, so that’s good, and I’ll have to start the promotional stuff soon.

I have been working on Speed of Aether, but to steal a friends comment, Spead of Aether isn’t warp speed.  I’m behind where I wanted to be with this novel at this point.   I’ve reached 46k words, but I should have finished the book by now.

This isn’t because of the book, it is all the distractions, self-publishing especially.

I also took a week out of writing Speed to do a 5,000-word short story for an open competition I heard about. Now the bones of that were down quickly, but it took a fair amount of polish.  The problem was, I didn’t submit it because the feedback I got included the fact that I’d misrepresented a certain fetish.  And after looking into that fetish a bit more, I got the point.  I had.  And though the story was still a good read if you knew nothing about the fetish, I didn’t think it was the right thing to do to put it out there.  So more research needed.  Then I’ll re-write it, ignore the 5k limit and I suspect at some point it will be coming out as a novella.

I’m also down on wordcount, because I have barely been able to work on anything this last week.  I’m picked up a lung infection from somewhere and it’s laid me very low.  I can’t take a deep breath without it making me cough, movement or any form or exertion leaves me breathless – now I admit I’ve not been fit for a while, but I could walk up a flight of stairs without it making me call for oxygen, can’t do that right now. It’s seriously affected my ability to concentrate too.  You wouldn’t believe how long it’s taken to write this blog. Still, it’s an infection, I have been prescribed antibiotics and it will pass.  I just wish it would pass faster.

This year I promised myself that I would read and listen to more.  At least one audiobook and one paperback a month.  It doesn’t sound like much, but both are things that have suffered due to my full schedule.

This month I listened to “The Invisible Library” by Genevieve Cogman. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, Irene and Kai are such fun and the story had plenty of interest points to keep me listening.  The only downside was the narrator, her breathy voice worked well in some places and in others (which was, unfortunately, most places) it annoyed me.  It was like listening to a vicious argument spoken like an M&S Foood advert – This isn’t, an, argument, this, is, an M&S argument.  Really there are times when you want the action to feel active and that narrator lost that impact for me a few times.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great book, I’d recommend reading it, I wouldn’t want to put you off listening to the audio either, but it was only a 4* for me.

This month I’ve mostly read an unpublished manuscript – which was brilliant!  It needs polish but if the author does what they need to do to get it published, I’m sure it will go down a storm. I’ve also read about half of “A Time for Silence” by Thorne Moore, very good Welsh-centric book. and part of “Dawn’s Early Light” by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, one of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels.  These are very different genres and very different storytellers.  But that’s been a good thing because I’ve been able to match what to read to how I was feeling.  Both have their good points, have to admit I’m enjoying the steampunk more as it a joyous adventure story, but there’s a more of an emotional connection with Thorne’s characters.  To be honest, there’s a character in there that I really don’t like, mostly because he reminds me of people I know. But isn’t that what the writers set out to do, entertain and evoke an emotional response?

Anyway, that’s me done for now. I’m going to listen to some “Mortal Engines” now, as that’s about all I have the energy for. I’ll catch up with you as soon as I can.

Leave a comment

Filed under crime, steampunk, Uncategorized, writing

Train Ride for the Dead

Most of us think of trains as a thing to take the living to work or for pleasure.  But that wasn’t always the case.

When cholera epidemic in 1848-49 struck, the cemeteries of London were full, and the dead had to be taken elsewhere.  So they built a railway for the dead, complete with a luxury lounge for the first class mourners.

I stumbled over this while looking for funeral arrangements in the 1800s, and the more I read the more interesting I though it.  The articles I read were more interesting than any I can lay before you, so the links are below.

NecropolisAlso worth a look for the photographs of the mourners lounge, it’s an exterior view but the image just shows the great care and workmanship that went into the building.  Now admittedly I’ve always had a soft pot for glazed bricks, I think they finish a building beautifully, and I mourn the lost of such things in the modern era.  Still, taste and time moves on, but it’s always worth keeping an eye on history and this might interest some of you.

http://www.transporttrust.com/heritage-sites/heritage-detail/london-necropolis-railway

https://londonist.com/london/history/this-london-building-used-to-house-a-death-railway-station

https://lookup.london/london-necropolis-railway/

1 Comment

Filed under steampunk, Uncategorized

Steampunk Firsts

Some say Steampunk started with KW Jeter in 1979 with Morlock Nights.  But did it?

Now I’ve read Jeter, Morlock Nights and Infernal Devices.  They are readable, but as often with books that are considered the first in their genres, not the very best.  I’d give them 3 out 5, which isn’t the recommendation it should be.

When I was at a convention in October, I was introduced to Pavane by Keith Roberts. This was first published in 1966, it was a teenager before Morlock Nights hit the scene.  And it is definitely steampunk.

But is that even the first?

I think there’s an argument that it’s not.

Back on 1st January 1818, Frankenstein was published.  Mary Shelley wrote about a man who used technology to control life.  This is often quoted as the first science fiction book, but was it also the first steampunk book? Okay, this isn’t Victoriana, but Steampunk is a broad church.  Frankenstein could be classed as Powderpunk, if only because of the setting.

So what of the elements of steampunk?

  1. A story set within a world using a real or imagined version of the technology of the 19th century

Well Frankenstein is set in a real world, and the technology used to bring the ‘monster’ to life is not a hundred percent different from a mix of modern technology, think limb transplant, defibrillator, iron lung.  You’d need all these to sustain a body, bring it back to life.

  1. Victorian-era class and economic structures

Well, it’s Georgian class and economic structures, but what else would the Victorian-era class and economic structures be built on.

  1. Implicit or explicit social critique

Oh definitely.  The way Shelley portrays the role of women in society is actually quite shocking to this modern reader.  Then there is the way that society condemns the monster on nothing more than his looks

  1. An adventure-oriented plotline

Well, what more adventure do you want than an outcast running from the society that shuns him through no fault of his own.  There’s running and hiding and travel to inhospitable regions. That sounds like an adventure to me.

  1. An emphasis on the empowerment of individuals in the face of industrial standardization and the advance of modern bureaucratic government

If the monster is anything, he’s an individual and he does find his way to empowerment in the end.  Though even I have to admit that this is possibly the one Frankenstein doesn’t fit.

This is a definitive statement, just a personal opinion, feel free to disagree.  If you’ve never read the books I’ve mentioned, they are all worthy of a try.  But so is Shades of Aether, and that’s a good introduction to the genre too.

3 Comments

Filed under steampunk, Uncategorized

Seven In One

Yesterday was the first time I ever attended a convention as a trader, and it was quite an experience.

This was BristolCon ninth year, and another writer friend of mine, Will MacMillian Jones, had suggested it would be a good place to promote my steampunk stuff.  Well, I’m always up for that kind of thing, especially something that it’s a million miles away from home.

So I contacted the organisers and booked half a table, got to the venue and set up – which took all of ten minutes.  Well, it was never going to take long, I only have one steampunk book written!

Of course, I didn’t want to look like a complete newbie, as well as Shades of Aether, I took copies of two other books to sell; Locked Up, my contemporary crime novel; and Cthulhu Cymreag 2, the anthology I have a story in.  I wasn’t entirely sure that these were appropriate, but one should never miss an opportunity.

Turns out having additional books was a great idea, table would have looked bare without, especially when it turned out that the person how had the other half of the table dropped out at the last minute, and I got to spread across the whole table.

20171028_093403-1

So I was there, copies of three different books to sell, all I had to do was wait was customers.

Sounds easy, but it never is.  Engaging with people is actually rather difficult.  It was easy to engage with other traders, with them we are all in the same boat, stuck together for however long the day lasts.  Potential customers, however are much harder to catch, especially when you have three books to glance at their covers and your sandwiched between the Oxfam Book Shop with tonnes of second hand books and Grimbold Books, with their many and varied new titles, their cute mascots, and their award – all very impressive.

Still, I engaged enough to sell, though I was a little surprised to find that at a Sci-Fi convention the first thing to sell was Locked Up. By the end of the day I’d sold two Locked Up, two Cthulhu Cymreag and three Shades of Aether. Seven books in one day is not much, but it’s good for what I had to sell.  It also means that I sold enough to cover the cost of the table, which is what you need to do at these things because it’s really about exposure.  I made some good contacts and booked another table for next year, I might even be on a panel or two.

So I will be at the 10th Anniversary BristolCon next year, and hopefully, I’ll have more titles to sell.

1 Comment

Filed under steampunk, Uncategorized, Writing Business