Tag Archives: the earl of brass

Word Counts, “Winning”, and Giveaways

nanowrimo

According to the Camp Nanowrimo website, I “won” last night, which means I completed my goal of writing 15,000 words in a month. At 11:30 last night when I reached my goal, I was beyond thrilled. I literally doubled the length of my manuscript in less than a month. I know for some writers 15,000 words is a small word count total for a month, but for me, it had taken nearly four months to reach 15,000 words the first time (my classwork and lack of mojo are what I blame for this weird writing slump). The writing slump and lack of creative productivity drove me crazy, and when I started Camp Nanowrimo, I was expecting to once again ditch my goals like I did in April.

What surprised me about this experience was how seeing the bar grow and my daily word count goal be met day after day made it that much easier to write. Before this month, I tended to be a feast or famine writer. I would sit down at the keyboard and either write half a chapter or write nothing at all. During July, I found myself writing each night without fail at about the same time. I think this consistency is what led to my “success” with this experiment. They say it takes about two weeks to a month to form a habit, and I can say that by about the third week, my brain seemed to automatically engage around 10 PM to tell me, “Okay, let’s get this writing show on the road.” It happened whether I was tired or wide-awake, and from 10 PM to midnight (sometimes later if the words were flowing), I would type away. To start, I would edit what I wrote the previous night, but after one or two passes, I would get cracking. This seemed to work because by doing some minor editing/adding, I became reacquainted with my work and satisfied my need to edit at the same time. Next month, I hope to hit 45,000 words (aka write 15,000 words).

earl of brassWhy is there a random picture of a cover of The Earl of Brass you may ask? Because I am doing a giveaway of two paperbacks on Goodreads. You can find it here.

May the odds be in your favor. If you’re willing, I hope you will share my Goodreads giveaway with any friends you think may be interested.

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Both Books on Sale This Weekend

For the holiday weekend and the vote for gay marriage in Ireland, both books of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series are on sale for 99 cents on Amazon.

2 books 99 centsThe Earl of Brass: http://amzn.com/B00L4CWBVE
The Winter Garden: http://amzn.com/B00RU0R0YW

Both are set in the Victorian era and explore characters navigating a world that they feel excluded from. There’s cross-dressing, archaeology digs, underground civilizations, mad noblemen, soul-stealing machines, and a bit of romance.

If you’re willing, please spread the word and tell your friends. Sale ends Tuesday morning.

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Sales, Interviews, and Updates

As the title says, we have some updates, an author interview, and a sale. All fun things, I think, for a Friday.

eob 99c promo

SALE

So, first off, The Earl of Brass, book one of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices is on sale for 99 cents from May 22nd (today) until May 26th (Tuesday) on Amazon. If you’re looking for a summer read to transport you to the deserts of Palestine or back to Victorian England, look no further. If you’re willing, please spread the word as well, especially if you know anyone who isn’t historical fantasy or steampunk/gaslight fantasy.

**Update** Spur of the moment, I decided to make The Winter Garden 99 cents as well from May 23rd (Saturday) until May 26th (Tuesday). If you want to pick up BOTH Ingenious Mechanical Devices books for less than $2, head over to Amazon.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Next item of business: I did an author interview with the lovely Steve Turnbull. Mr. Turnbull is a fellow steampunk author who writes the Maliha Anderson series. To find out more about Steve Turnbull, check out his website. The author interview was featured in his newsletter here. You can get to know a bit about my process, what projects are coming up, and what I’ve learned along the way. I must admit, I love doing author interviews. By being asked questions, I often find I learn more about myself and my writing process.


UPDATES

I am part of a Steampunk media bundle from the Steampunk World’s Fair on We Bundle. It’s filled with music and a couple books including a short story by yours truly. It’s a name your own price thing, so you can spend as much or as little as you’d like on the bundle. It’s quite a bit of music and reading for the price, so if you’re interested, check it out here.

For the past few weeks, I have felt so stuck in my writing. When I’m feeling stressed out or torn between school and my personal projects (aka my writing), the words don’t flow. Oddly, I also get the urge to write when I have a ton of work to do, but I think that’s just an avoidance tactic. It’s been really hard to get anything done and have been stuck on the same chapter for two weeks. FINALLY, I finished it.

At first, I was just happy and relieved that it’s finished, but then I realized that I had finished my schoolwork completely, didn’t have to worry about my reading at the Steampunk World’s Fair, AND I got my grades for the semester, both of which were very good. As soon as the stress is off, it’s like someone unclogged the dam. The words come flowing out, and suddenly, I’m writing again. I don’t quite have the writing bug like I do sometimes, but I feel a lot better. I don’t think I’ll make my goal of 3-4 chapters for the entirety of the month. At this point, I’ll be happy with 2 finished chapters.


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Art Inspired by the Books

One of the things I love about having artwork commissioned is seeing my characters come to life. You imagine them in your mind, but no one but you has a clear understanding of what they look like. Over the past year, I have commissioned artist Fiammetta De Innocentis to draw Eilian, Hadley, Adam, and Immanuel, and I absolutely love her work. She has captured my characters perfectly, and I just had to share them with the world.

Eilian and Hadley from The Earl of Brass.

Eilian and Hadley from The Earl of Brass.

Adam and Immanuel from The Winter Garden.

Adam and Immanuel from The Winter Garden.

couplesketches___happy_b_day_kara____by_fi_di-d7qipel

Adam and Immanuel from The Winter Garden. My best friend commissioned this for my birthday

A Valentines Day sketch of Adam and Immanuel.

A Valentines Day sketch of Adam and Immanuel.

Adam and Immanuel a year or two after the events of The Winter Garden, strolling along the beach.

Adam and Immanuel a year or two after the events of The Winter Garden, strolling along the beach.

I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I do! Commissioning artwork is a great way to support an artist AND get some fabulous artwork of your characters.


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7 Days Until The Winter Garden Comes Out!

wg preorder banner 1The joy and fear that comes with a book release doesn’t decrease from book one to book two, and I am so glad it doesn’t.  Since there is only a week until The Winter Garden comes out, I wanted to post a small excerpt to give you another taste and teaser.  Here it is:

Miss Waters lingered in the stillness, listening to the wind lash against the windowpane. When she was certain she was the last one awake, she tiptoed to the dresser at the far end of the room and soundless slid open the bottom-most drawer. Shaking the lid off the box, she drew out its precious cargo of lace and silk. Her wedding dress had only arrived a few days before, but every time she was in the room, she found herself staring at it and lovingly stroking the fine fabric. Her mother would think her foolish for being so infatuated with something she wouldn’t wear for months, but she did love Alexander Rose. He would make her life better.

A steamer horn blared behind her, and she dropped the bridal gown as she flinched. Behind the bed curtains, the drapes danced in front of the open window. Katherine frowned as she tucked the dress back into its casket and crossed the vacant room. Staring out into the night, she saw nothing but the iron filigree of the decorative balcony rail just beyond her reach. She smiled to herself. Did she really expect to find a face glaring back at her? As she shut the window against the winter dampness, the murky tang of tobacco ash blew across her nose in a long puff. Her body froze before her eyes ever fell upon the massive figure obscured between the bed curtains and the window’s drapes. Katherine Waters hesitantly raised her gaze to meet the creature’s saffron eyes, which glowed in the shadows behind his molded leather mask.

Her throat tightened, refusing to form a sound, as she stepped back. The monster’s unnaturally long legs terminated in a metal, hoof-like pad, but as it stalked her, it moved with the controlled, rolling gait of a panther. The humanoid beast was nearly seven feet tall with elongated metal nails at the ends of its fingers, which caught the dying light of the fire as they flexed and reached as if to snatch her. His body was clothed in black but peeking from beneath his cloak were jutting brass ribs that covered empty yet opaline lungs. As her back collided with the oaken poster of her bed, Katherine stared into his face. While the mouth and chin were of a man, the top was that of a sharp-featured demon with curled horns. Had the devil finally come to collect her sullied soul?

“God, help me.”

“God has no business here, Kitty.”

If you have a Kindle, you can pre-order a copy for 99 cents here.  It will automatically be delivered to your Kindle on March 15th. If you prefer paperback, it will be out on the 15th for purchase.  I hope to make it available a day or two early, so it will ship closer to the release date.  Createspace really needs to make a pre-order feature for paperbacks.

If you are looking forward to The Winter Garden, I hope you will spread the word, and when you read it, please leave a review. Reviews are incredibly important to authors, not just for feedback but to show others that the book is worth reading, especially for an unknown like me.

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Finishing Book Two and What I Learned Along the Way

wg manuscriptIt’s done.  The Winter Garden is done.

Well, the story is finished.  While I was stuck on the third to last chapter (yes, I had finished the epilogue and part of the pen-ultimate chapter before I started that one), I decided to edit the first twenty-seven chapters.  Now, the editing is done as well and The Winter Garden (Ingenious Mechanical Devices #2) is off to my beta readers! Until they get back to me with their feedback, I will be taking a little hiatus from Emmeline, Immanuel, and Adam.  Every time I finish a novel, it’s a bit depressing.  I’m done with the characters (for now), the plot is finished, the bad guys have been dealt with, and now, I need to step back.  In my next post, I will discuss editing in more detail, but for now, I would like to impart what I have learned after publishing my first book and finishing my second. Continue reading

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The Earl of Brass: Blurb and Excerpt

Here is the blurb and an excerpt for The Earl of Brass, book 1 of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices.

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Blurb:

Lord Sorrell wants freedom. With the responsibilities of an earldom and a dominating father awaiting him in London, he escapes to the East, but he fears he will be grounded forever when a freak accident results in the loss of his arm. Depressed and facing a restrictive life, Lord Sorrell seeks what will make him whole again: a new limb.
Fenice Brothers Prosthetics is in jeopardy. Hadley’s brother is dead, and the business has fallen on her shoulders. Clients begin to turn her away and she soon fears the business will fail until she disguises herself as a man. But one person sees through her. In exchange for a new arm, Lord Sorrell offers her a chance at independence in the deserts of Palestine.
What they uncover is more precious than potsherds or bones. The desert hides secrets worth their weight in gold. Will Hadley and Lord Sorrell make it out alive or will they, too, be entombed beneath the sands?

 


Excerpt:

With a lurch, Eilian awoke just in time to see his trunk rapidly approaching the end of his nose. He tumbled over his luggage and into the paneled wall, landing in the narrow space between them as the trunk slid back into his chest. Grabbing the armchair, he hoisted himself to his feet only to be hit with a wave of nausea. The world felt as if it had been turned on its side. He forced his door open and staggered into the hall, swallowing down the bile rising up his throat. His gold pocket watch slipped from his vest and hung at an angle as he hobbled toward the observation deck, but when he reached for the rail, the ship rolled to the right as if shot from a sling, slamming him into the unforgiving wood. Screams erupted from behind closed doors. The heavy furniture slid, trapping men and women under them as they were thrown from their beds. As the aristocrats began to filter from their rooms, he scrambled to his feet in stunned silence, rubbing the sore arm he knew would soon contain a bruise to match the one on his leg. His eyes trailed to the world just beyond the mullioned glass of the ship. Only a few hundred yards below, lightning cracks illuminated the miniature people standing in the village streets, gazing up at the lumbering giant. He could nearly make out their features in the glow of the streetlamps. How could they be so low if they weren’t landing?

The captain’s stridulant voice was ringing out, calling for order, but Lord Sorrell didn’t hear him as he noticed the people below shifting slightly. They tilted, and as they did, his feet began to slide across the Turkish carpet of the observation deck. His stomach somersaulted as he grasped the rail, hoping it would pass. The moment his other hand reached the brass railing, the airship plunged forward as it yanked everything toward its bow. Eilian’s hands slipped down the bar, but the sinews of his arms and legs held firm. Passengers screeched as they fell to the floor and tumbled into the legs of chairs and great skeins of drapery and carpet. The reminders of home entrapped them and smothered them beneath their silk and Berber folds. The pops of glass globes from the gas lamps reverberated through the dirigible as the bow shot back up and teetered unsteadily. Eilian froze with his trembling hands clutching the rail. His breaths came rapidly as he strained to stand up, his body weak from the shock of holding on during the deathly plummets. For a moment, there was silence as the others waited for something to happen. The chilled night air whistled in through the glass of the observation deck, which had been shattered by a dining chair impaled in the brass mullion.

At the port observation deck, the cries of men and women rose to a shrill din. A man called for the captain after a child had been jettisoned overboard. As the dirigible continued its dull tour, Eilian caught a glimpse of her shattered body leaking blood into the capillaries of the cobbles below. Something is very wrong, Lord Sorrell thought as he calculated the distance below to be only three hundred yards. Taking a calming breath, his mouth was filled with the sulphorous odor of methane as it wafted from the globe-less gas lamps. If they were to go down, they would surely incinerate when the fire of the engines met the hydrogen of the gasbag and the methane in the gondola. A wine bottle lazily rolled past Eilian’s feet toward the nose of the ship. The HMS Albert had begun its final dive.

The field and the hard cobbles were rapidly approaching as Eilian ran toward the aft of the ship. Maybe if he could make it to the farthest point in the gondola, he would have a chance. As he reached the hallway, pushing past men and woman in motley brocade and black dinner jackets as they began to slide past him, his feet slipped from the polished floor. The world erupted around him in a maelstrom of cacophonous voices and groaning wood and metal as they struck flesh and earth. Fire flooded the ship as Eilian collided with the boards.

 ***

 Eilian’s eyes fluttered open as he lifted his head from the raft of paneling that lay beneath his bruised and swelling cheek. The fractured wood scraped his knees and palms as he hoisted onto his trembling knees and stared into the hall as it lay on its side. Flames burned through the remaining walls as he stepped over doorways and bodies as they lay broken, crushed beneath pieces of beds or impaled by the broken ribs of the dying airship. The drone of men’s voices wisped across the wind, but as Eilian followed them, they were drowned in the crackling fires and moans of the ship. The smoke burned his eyes and prickled his throat as he waited in the abyss for a means of escape. His back and legs ached with each movement, but he pressed on as pieces of elephantine canvas fluttered down, incinerating before they ever reached the ground.

Staring back at him between spilled trunks and lumps of fabric was the prime minister’s brother. His dull eyes were fixed on him with his mouth poised to scream, but his body lay splayed like an abandoned doll with his neck contorted at an impossible angle. Flames licked at his temples, biting his hair and nibbling away at his flesh. Eilian had seen funeral pyres in India, but nothing had prepared him for the demented dead, forever in agony once their suffering had ended. Wrenching his eyes away, he stepped over a woman and her child as they held each other. The disembodied voices crept over the wind, putting him back on the path to safety. When he listened again, the ribs of the dying ship groaned in pain as they sagged under their load.

He threw his arm up to stop the impact, but the beam knocked him down, pinning him beneath its red-hot iron. Eilian Sorrell screamed as the metal seared through his clothes and into his flesh until he was certain his heart would stop from the pain. Like a wounded animal, he thrashed and writhed until he worked his legs and torso free, but his right arm remained lodged and continued to burn. Kicking off the beam, he hoped to free his numb limb, but on the third attempt, the sole of his shoe melted onto the metal. Finally, he twisted and pulled, hoping sheer force would free it, and with the sickening release of suction and the smell of burnt meat, his arm dislodged.

Eilian averted his gaze, hoping what he saw was a hallucination as he heedlessly rushed toward the voices on the wind. His heart pounded as he saw the moon between the naked ribs of the dirigible. Flames leapt and popped beside him. Sweat poured down his back and chest, stinging his open wounds. The searcher’s lights pierced the gnawed openings in the outer hull as he burst into the cool night air. His knees gave way, and he collapsed into the dewy grass. Pain flared from his right side, squeezing the cries from his throat. As voices called out around him and tried to lift him onto the stretcher, they hesitated at his right side. Suddenly, the pain subsided, and the world went black.

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Series Introduction: The Ingenious Mechanical Devices

As I was trying to figure out what to write for my next blog post, I realized I never introduced the series The Earl of Brass and The Winter Garden are part of. The title of the series, The Ingenious Mechanical Devices, was taken from the name of a book by Al-Jazali called The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices.  The book was written in 1206 and describes over fifty automaton devices, such as mechanical clocks, pistons, programmable robots, automatic gates, and many other inventions.

imd book

While I was researching automaton devices for The Earl of Brass, I came across Al-Jazali and was immediately fascinated.  I don’t think many people realize how far back these robotic devices were being invented, I know I didn’t.  As someone who can barely put together an Ikea shelf, I am always fascinated by people who are able to create works of art that are not only beautiful but functional.  This book of automaton creatures and machines went perfectly with the aesthetic of steampunk as well as Eilian Sorrell’s love of Middle Eastern culture.  With each story in the series, there is a machine or creation that features in each book.  In The Earl of Brass, it is Eilian’s mechanical arm, and in The Winter Garden, there is an electric machine that can steal or deposit souls.  What the device will be in book three, I do not know yet. Continue reading

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Wrap-up and Resolutions

Wow, 2014 has been a crazy year for me.  A great year but a whirlwind of insanity at times.

This year, I began graduate school to earn my MFA in creative and professional writing, and now that a full year in the program has passed, I can say that I love it and believe I made the right decision.  I don’t think my parents were terribly pleased when I decided to change my course of study in the second half of my junior year from pre-med to English major, but I’m a lot happier reading and analyzing books and writing constantly than I ever was doing dissections and memorizing muscle groups (though biology and science still hold a special place in my heart and in my books).  In 2014, I also became a graduate assistant at the university I attend, which means I help out the professors and put together the end of semester newsletter as well as work on the department’s literary magazine. Continue reading

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What is Your Novel’s Sex?

I’m not sure many people think about the gender of their book while they are writing it, but when I began The Earl of Brass as an undergraduate, it crossed my mind.  While reading other steampunk novels, I was rather surprised by how the books seemed to either be very masculine (G.D. Falksen’s Blood in the Skies) or very feminine (Gail Carriger’s Soulless).  I wanted to write a book that was androgynous, that had no defining gender for itself or its audience.

As part of my research for writing The Earl of Brass, I read through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World as well as Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland in order to better understand Victorian and Edwardian adventure novels. There again, I found the gender gap.  In Conan Doyle’s novel, the men leave their women at home and go on an adventure full of dinosaurs and savages, and while Gilman infused her work with feminist ideals, it was very much an us-versus-them mentality with a muddled ending where the women and men fall in love and go back to America. Continue reading

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