“My First Steampunk” on Steampunk Cavaliers

In case you missed the post on my Facebook author page, here’s where to find my latest interview. Steampunk Cavaliers is a collective of Steampunk writers who reviews books, write articles, and interview other Steampunk fans. I was asked to talk about my first encounter with Steampunk in a guest post for the Cavaliers.

I don’t believe in fate, but I do believe in the power of a single moment to drastically change the trajectory of a person’s life.

I was back in my native Minnesota for a visit, and a friend happened to have a show the same weekend. I always thought of her as a singer. But she’d recently started to perform with a burlesque troupe. Or, what she said was more accurately described as “nerd-lesque.” In addition to the sexy strip teases, the performers usually chose something from geek or pop culture to integrate into the act.

That month, they’d chosen steampunk as their theme. 

Read more

Steampunk Cavaliers are also a partner in the Network of Indie Steampunks, and serve as a stop on our blog tours.

Catch me at “Hallowondrous” in Toledo OH October 14-15

After giving my “30 Years of Steampunk” talk at the International Steampunk Symposium, the fine folks behind OddMall approached me about making another appearance. This will be the first Halloween edition of an event described as “not your grandma’s craft fair,” and I am thrilled to be a part of it!

In addition to the exhibit and its accompanying lecture, I’ll be giving another talk on the things Victorians found frightening. This is different from the “Make it Supernatural” talk I’ve given before, and will focus on the urban legends of Victorian London such as the “Great Garroting Scare.” Jack the Ripper brought the idea of a serial killer into the popular imagination for the first time, and at a time when your reputation meant everything, a doppelganger could spell ruin.

So, come on out to the Seagate Convention Center in Toledo Oct 14-15 to see my talks, check out my merchandise, and enjoy the hallowondrous frivolity for the whole family.

Find out more about Hallowondrous

Would you like me to speak at your event? Check out my list of topics.

Don’t Miss the Deadline to have your Short Story included in Army of Brass

Army of brass is the Collaborative Writing Challenge’s seventh novel. For the past few projects, they have also included short stories in the same genre as the project.

The deadline for submissions is just two days away! Get your stories, 2500-3500 words, submitted by Aug. 31 to make sure you are considered for the contest. First and second place winners have their stories showcased on the CWC website. First place also has their story edited and published in the pages of Army of Brass this fall.

Visit the CWC website for the guidelines, and GOOD LUCK!

Calling all Steampunk Short Story Writers – The CWC WANTS YOU!

As the Army of Brass draws to a close, we at the Collaborative Writing Challenge are turning our eyes to the horizon. In addition to showcasing the people who write chapters for the novel, our releases also feature a short story competition. We are a volunteer organization that donates 10% of our earnings to charity, so we ask that participants donate $5 to help get Army of Brass, and the accompanying short story, out into the world.

Here’s the basic idea, but you can get all the details at the CWC website.

Deadline: August 31, 2017

Who can submit: Anyone. You don’t need to have been a contributor to Army of Brass to enter.

Word count: Between 2500-3500 words. It must be a self-contained short story, and it must be in the Steampunk genre. (This, of course, covers a wide range of topics. Check out my definition of Steampunk on the homepage below the meme for guidance.)

They will award prizes to the first and second place submissions.

FInd out more


The Collaborative Writing Challenge’s Steampunk Project is Almost Finished…

With all the excitement surrounding No Rest for the Wicked, I’ve completely forgotten to post about Army of Brass. This fabulous collaboration started way back in December before I started this site, and has been simmering away on my back burner ever since.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Collaborative Writing Challenge, here’s the gist. Between 3-5 writers sign up to write a chapter each week. They get the full chapter that came before, as well as notes and summaries along the way. At the end of 30 chapters, we have a novel. As the story coordinator, it has been my job to select the chapter  to include in the book each week.

Unfortunately, the project has been plagued with a number of issues, including lack of follow through from writers. Even though the story should be wrapping up, there’s too much to do with the timeline for the original project. In consultation with the CWC, I’ve decided to change our approach to the collaboration in order to create a finale worthy of the hard work a few dedicated writers have put in over the past nine months. I have no doubt that my “advisory committee” and I will be able to bring the book to a thrilling conclusion by the end of the month.

The CWC is a volunteer-run organization. They recently announced they would be postponing the next collaboration. With six books finished and Army of Brass nearly complete, they want to take some time to regroup and make sure they are doing justice to the books that have already been published. Because of this, I really have no idea when to expect a release date for the finished book.

Also, a heads up for all of my fellow scribes! There is going to be a competition for a short story to include along with the book. You don’t need to have contributed to the novel, just write an awesome tale. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the release, as well as the contest.

Have a whimsical day! And don’t forget, you always have a choice, so choose to be splendid.

Novella + Novella + Revisions = No Rest for the Wicked is now a Novel!

I announced a few weeks ago that I decided to cancel the self-publishing release of my gaslight fantasy story, No Rest for the Wicked.

Editors from two different publishing houses read the novella, and they both decided to give me a combination of pass/accept. The first to respond said I needed to work on my pacing, but I was onto something good. She recommended a wonderful resource that I am sure many of you have heard of, Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! And asked me to stay in touch about possible working together.

The second editor to respond approached the Mistress of None series in a different way. From the beginning, she was asking me how I felt about novel-length works rather than novellas. I certainly planned to be writing novels, and I started to wonder if she was right about changing my approach. Even before she read the full manuscript, I had begun to outline a new take on the series.

By the time she emailed to say she was passing on the novella, I expected that to be her response. When I looked at the two things I had been viewing as separate books, I realized how much more powerful the themes would be if I had longer to develop them in a single work. She invited me to resubmit if I could give her something at least 70k words long. And I decided to take up the challenge.

I hadn’t quiet finished novella #2 yet, so armed with Blake Snyder’s insights about writing emotionally satisfying fiction, I started a new outline and revision from the beginning of novella #1. In total, bringing the two together came out at over 83k words. I’m thrilled with the result, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you! As a novel, No Rest for the Wicked has 45 chapters, so there are plenty more excerpts coming your way.

I still have no idea if that will be with a publisher or on my own, but progress continues for me, Vi, and our plans for world domination– I mean, publishing the books, of course.

Haha…yeah…that’s totally what I meant…

My Personal Plot Twist, AKA Germany, Here I Come!

Picture this:

I have just driven across the country in order to pick up my belongings. It has taken years of moving around, but I have finally signed the lease on an apartment and cobbled together a life in MI. Sure, I just sank all of what was left of my meager money in being able to move the stuff from MN to my new home. But it’ll be worth it to feel settled for the first time in several years. I’ve always been tied to the Midwest, and there are strong communities of people here who love Steampunk. What’s not to love?

24 hours exactly before the movers are schedule to arrive, my husband received an email. It is about a job posting that is absolutely perfect for him and his somewhat obscure, and highly specialized PhD. After something like 120 rejections over the past two years, this is an incredible find very, very late in the job hunt. This is the dream job, the one he’s been waiting for.

It is also in Germany.

And to make a long story about waiting bearably short, he got the job.

So, I find myself on the brink of moving abroad once again! Because of the aforementioned apartment, I will be splitting my time between the US and Germany for the first year of his appointment, which begins September 2017. And I plan to make several trips back every year to continue reporting on cons in the states. But starting sometime in 2018 I will be based primarily out of Freiburg, Germany.

I don’t know yet exactly what this means for me, except that I have no intention to stop writing. Fiction and nonfiction both mean a great deal to me, and in today’s amazingly connected world, it matters less and less where I hang my hat.

One really positive outcome is that I will have greater access to the world of European Steampunk. This means lots of chances to bring you something quirky, cool, and totally different while I continue to wander. I already have my eye on Weekend at the Asylum 2018 🙂

So, it certainly isn’t what I was expecting, but like any good hero hit with a plot twist, I’ve got to adapt and keep on striving. I’ll keep you in the loop as I find out more.

For now, have yourself a whimsical day!