Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Sirens Call Publication- The Horror of Steampunk Blog Post

With the release of each new anthology, Sirens Call Publications invites its contributing authors to write a guest post on their blog, to allow us to share our inspirations behind our pieces.

For the release of Bellows of the Bone Box, I was invited also, to have a good old ramble about what inspired me to write my short story, Clockwork Doll, and about what Steampunk means to me.  I hope you enjoy!

And if you stick with my little ramble, there's a little sneak-peek excerpt of my story too!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Bellows of the Bone Box- Steampunk Horror Anthology, featuring Clockwork Doll, out now!

Well, I'm a wee bit late to this party- we can all thank the disruptive and naff-tastic updates that Hotmail had last month!  As it goes, I didn't know until yesterday that my short story had been published as of April 17th, due to emails just not making their way into my inbox as the whole thing was updated!  Blasted technology!

Doesn't it make you long for simpler times?  Back when technology was more reliable, more refined?  Then maybe you'd be interested in this steampunk/horror anthology.

Bellows of the Bone Box, from Sirens Call Publications, is now available to buy in both kindle/e-book format, and in paperback.  My contribution is a short story called Clockwork Doll, and is set in an alternate Victorian London, but as the goggled skull on the front cover might suggest, these short stories aren't just typical, run-of-the-mill steampunk tales...

I love steampunk literature, as well as the fashion and aesthetic, so it was great fun to be involved with this anthology!  It also marks a particularly significant stepping stone in my writing career, as "Clockwork Doll" is the first short story I will receive payment for.  Its a small stepping stone, but as I say, significant, as being a professional author is my ultimate career goal.  While I can't quit the day-job yet, I can however say I am a published, official author, and my aspirations seem just that little bit closer to finally becoming reality.

What is steampunk?  If you're unfamiliar with this phenomenon, steampunk is both a literary movement as well as a fashion one.  For the purposes of this blog, steampunk often refers to a literary setting that takes place during the Victorian era or the Industrial revolution, but involves science fiction elements, usually such as technology that runs on steam and clockwork (as was usual for the time period) but far more advanced.  The genre, however, is far broader than that very brief description would have you belief, and covers a many different themes, such as exploration and alternative history (there are even other derivatives that cover different time periods in the same manner, such as "atom punk" or "diesel punk").  What is so interesting about the Bellows of the Bone Box anthology, however, is how the steampunk genre has been blended with horror in these tales.

Now that I'm finally on board this (steampunk) train, I'm hoping to participate in the publicity that follows, so please watch out for upcoming blog posts and the like!  In the meantime, if you would like to find out what exactly Clockwork Doll is all about, and what perhaps steampunk-horror is like, then click the links, buy the book, curl up with a cup of tea, and enjoy!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

May Blog Post- I'm BACK!

Hello everyone!

I'm very glad to announce that I'm BACK and feeling much, much better after my much-needed hiatus!  I don't have a huge amount of news, being as I was trying to use my break to chill out, but I do have a few updates to share.

If you read my blog you will know that the reason for my absence was mostly down to stress.  The beginning of this year has been very tough for me, and trying to keep up with Twitter, Blogspot, writing and all sorts of things was getting too much for me, what with all the things going on in my personal life.  We've lost some feline friends in the last few months, and its been a very sad time.  I've also had a lot of stresses from the "day job" affecting me.  I didn't intend to miss May's IWSG post, but as I had only just come back into the UK and it was birthday, I simply had no time, sorry!

I spent the last 2 weeks of April in the US visiting my fiance who I only see once a year usually.  Getting away from it all was something I clearly needed, but I was quite unfortunate to be struck by a horrendous dental infection (thank gods, and my dentist, for anti-biotics), and then pollen season in Ohio broke me out in hives!  Poor old me!  But on the upside, I got to see my Bear and have some good quality time with him, without any worries about work or writing.  It feels weird to say I've been home 2 weeks now, because sadly it feels longer, but in that 2 weeks I've had some cool things going on, and while readjusting is always a struggle for me, I do feel a lot of my stresses and concerns are finally lifting from my mind.  So back to work I go, and here I am!

Beltane Blessings

A little belated, for sure, but wishing you all some Beltane blessings at this time.  Beltane is also my birthday, and was celebrated in the most self-indulgent manner ;) I was unable to attend the Beltane ceremony I had intended to, but managed to hold my own little ceremony under a tree near my house; it was rather cute and little, and I think it went well, although may have confused the neighbours!

This is my photo of my "makeshift altar"- I was in a very pink-and-purple mood, so I bought along a rose quartz and a purple cat's eye (also appropriate as upon a "cushion" of wilted cherry blossom petals, sits my pendant of the Goddess Bast).  My pentagram sits in the middle, with some bluebells and cherry blossom flowers either side...after roses, these are my favourite flowers and are in bloom around my birthday and Beltane, so it seemed appropriate.  But also, I keep finding the blossoms ripped from their trees in clumps and just dumped on the floor, so I picked them up with the intention of putting them on the altar.  I also brought along a small offering of cheese which was gobbled up over night.  The whole thing went well very nicely, and I feel as though I've had some kind of fresh start- maybe the fertile energies of Beltane will help me with my endeavours and creativity :)

Writing Updates
Writing has been very slow for me recently, and slightly disappointing.  I've been absolutely neglectful of my EGL work, and had great intentions for attempting a bajillion different submissions, but little has come to fruition.  In the past few months, I've had only had rejections.  The first was annoying but I could kinda see where they were coming from.

The second didn't upset me at all to be honest, because it was such a nice rejection!  It was a story called "God Town" that had struggled a little with, but also was very pleased with, and had poured a lot of love into the tale, as well as a little humour.  Sadly, the submission turn out was huge, and God Town was not quite what they were looking for, however, the feedback was very positive, and left me in good spirits about getting it placed elsewhere.

The third rejection simply wound me up, as I didn't feel I was given any useful feedback, and as bratty as I might sound, I think it was probably turned away with little consideration.  I'm not usually one to blow my own trumpet, but with the subject matter in hand, not only am I confident that I was giving the publisher exactly what they were looking for, but also was using the otherwise very popular and overdone subject matter in a very unique way.  I wouldn't even be too surprised if they decided not to read it- the them I'd picked was a popular one and I had submitted close to the deadline, so perhaps they had already read something they'd liked and thought "sod the rest".  I'm not sure, and I can only speculate, but I was very annoyed by the whole thing.  I'm sure though that a similar subject will arise at some point, so their loss I suppose.

Meanwhile, on the upside, this week I began working on the edits of my short story "Skin", set to be published in the Impossible Spaces anthology by Hic Dragones!  Very pleased to have something positive going on, although editing is mighty hard work!  I have to say, I really do appreciate editors- they have a bloody hard job to do, and I certainly hope I don't make their work too much harder!

In the process of writing this blog post, I have found out some more news, which is pretty darn awesome, and if I can get it verified, will include it at the end of this post, and will probably dedicate another to it also!

(This is why it takes me forever to do blog posts :P).

Art (and Related Exciting Happenings)
Art has been a bit on the back-burner recently, although when I can get some time to draw I think it does help to relax me.  Most of the doodles I've been enjoying recently have just been sketches and ideas for my Puffin memorial tattoo, and I've finally decided I like the idea of having a sort of cameo-brooch style-frame in the design.

One piece of artwork I've been working hard on was completed and given as the gift it was intended- I'm going to admit now that I was an utter squishy fangirl who makes presents for musicians and artists that she has fangirl crushes on.  This artwork was a drawing I made for the musician/author/animator/all-round-creative-and-awesome bloke, Aurelio Voltaire; it was a tea-stained mock poster advertising fictional belly dancers (named the Clockwork Dolls, after my story of the same name) performing to his instrumental piece, "Tempest".  I'm going to wait to put up a photograph, as I'm still a bit...blushy...over the whole thing...but Voltaire is an absolute gentleman- he said he really liked it, made some lovely comments about my artwork, kissed me on both cheeks (squee!) and even gave me a keyblade pendant as a thank you gift! I tell you what, I've had a naff week following last weekend when I met him and saw him perform in London, but that little high just keeps me floating quite happily!


Well, I found out rather by surprise while writing this blog post that I've had a major development in my career as an author!  There appears to have been some sort of miscommunication mishap while I was absent, but as of April 17th, I have a second short story in PRINT.

That's right- Siren's Call Publications steampunk-horror anthology Bellows of the Bone Box is now published and for sale!

My short story "Clockwork Doll" is featured in this anthology- it is my second in-print (in-an-actual-physical-book-you-can-hold-in-your-hand-in-print!) and the first one I will actually receive payment for!!!

And you know what that means!

I am now officially, an author! ;)

Blog-post to follow where I gush about this- clearly I need something to celebrate after all that poop from earlier this year!

To buy copies of the book, please see Sirens Call Publications and Amazon:

I think that's a good place to wrap up May's blog post, so thank you, its great to be back!