Avast, Ye Airships!

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Continuing from the theme of last week, this week we take to the air with the pirates again and begin a discussion of Avast, Ye Airships. 🙂

In 2015, Mocha Memoirs and I wanted to publish a Steampunk anthology. As you might have guessed, I really like airship pirates–in fact, the book came out a year before the album and was actually one of the potential Kickstarter rewards for Pirates Vs. Dragons.

We will be going over the stories for the next few weeks like we did with Dark Divinations, RieTales, and Bruce and Roxanne from Start to Finnish over on the RieWriter website. Because we aren’t doing daily posts on each blog, we will be going over more than one story per post.

To begin, here is the table of contents (Author links where available):

Come and Be a Pirate — Rie Sheridan Rose
Beneath the Brass — Stephen Blake
Maiden Voyage — Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins
Colonel Gurthwait & the Black Hydra — Robert McGough
Captain Wexford’s Dilemma — Ogarita
Her Majesty’s Service– Lauren Marrero
A Wind Will Rise — Andrew Knighton
Hooked — Rie Sheridan Rose
Go Green — Ross Baxter
Lost Sky — Amy Braun
Miss Warlyss Meets the Black Buzzard — Diana Parparita
Plunder in the Valley — Libby Smith
The Clockwork Dragon — Steve Cook
Adventures of a Would-Be Gentleman of the Skies — Jim Reader
A Clouded Affair — Steven Southard
The Climbers – D. Chang
The Steampunk Garden — Wynelda Ann Deaver
Lotus of Albion — Steve Ruskin
And a Bottle of Rum — K.C. Shaw

 

The anthology opens with the lyrics to one of the songs from Pirates Vs. Dragons because it was too perfect not to use it, and Marc said: “Go for it.”

The first story is Stephan Blake’s “Beneath the Brass.” Written as a series of diary entries, it tells the tale of a young woman who was committed to a mental asylum only to be “rescued” by a cyborg and taken aboard a piratical airship. Her adventures with the pirates make for exciting reading.

“Maiden Voyage,” tells of a dancer and her companion who foil a pirate invasion of a luxury airship on its first voyage. It is a rousing tale of derring-do proving women should never be underestimated. 😉

In “Colonel Gurthwait & the Black Hydra,” two old hunters try to play a practical joke on a third who desperately desires to be included in their club. The results are not at all what they expected.

The premise of “Captain Wexford’s Dilemma” is that an airship has accidentally gotten itself possessed, and now the crew must figure out what to do with their unwanted guests.

“Her Majesty’s Service,” is an interesting tale of a “Spider” aboard a royal airship. These crewmen flit about the ship tied to the rigging like spiders on silken strings. It’s a hard job, but bears its own rewards, as Nandi discovers in the course of the tale.

Next week, we will continue the walkthrough of the Avast, Ye Airships anthology.

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Collaborating with Pirates…

Several years ago now, I received an email from my good friend Marc Gunn asking if I wanted to do another collaborative album after Don’t Go Drinking with Hobbits. This time, it would be a collection of songs about airship pirates hunting dragons. The song above was one of the resulting tracks.

Collaborating with another artist in any realm is difficult. Collaborating with another artist who lives in another state when you are trying to write songs and can’t play a lick on music except for a song or two on the recorder is nearly impossible! But we managed, and I think came up with a very successful album.

Pirates Vs. Dragons covers a wide range of topics, from joining an airship crew for the first voyage to the dragon’s side of the conflicts to the difficulties of being a girl on a ship full of pirates.

In fact, The Ballad of Jenny Malloy has proved rather controversial. On the one hand, it won a $50 prize in a poetry reading contest…but on the other, it has gotten some bad receptions when Marc sings it because people feel the ending is in poor taste. Honestly, I saw it as a story of a girl who winds up getting exactly what she wants…but apparently, it comes across as her being exploited by her crewmates. It’s probably not politically correct, but it wasn’t intended to be misogynistic either.

One of the other things about this project that was a lot of fun was the “journal” that goes along with it. Originally broadcast as podcasts leading up to the release, it was collected into this Kindle short story:

 

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The premise was that Marc had been kidnapped by these Steampunk pirates and was being forced to write an album of songs before they would release him. The journal adds insight into the songs while telling a story of derring-do all its own.

This collaboration was a lot of fun and gave me a chance to explore a Steampunk world other than that of the Chronicles.

For a chance to win a copy of the album as well as the journal, leave a comment below and include a way to get in touch with you. I will choose a winner on Saturday, July 18, 2020 to give people a chance to play. 🙂

 

EDIT: No players, no winners…

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That’s Entertainment!

Playbill-1875

The above is an actual program from a variety show that is preserved in the Library of Congress. If Alistair and Jo get back from the Continent in time, they could actually attend this show. If you look very closely, you can see that there were a true variety of performers–from musicians to politicians; comedy stylings to serenades. There was also some politically incorrect blackface performance which was typical of the period. Variety shows were the popular entertainment of the time. Theaters like the Bowery Theater catered to the workers and immigrants of the Lower East Side. Tony Pastor began using the term Vaudeville in 1876 as he bid to “clean up” the variety shows.

I found a great post about general leisure time on Sundays. (After all, most people would have to be working the other six days a week–and even Alistair should be in class most days.) The owner of this blog, Ephemeral New York, has a book out about The Gilded Age that I just ordered for MY collection!

Jo and Alistair could go out to dinner at Delmonico’s like Fred and Kevin do in the new book.

Perhaps afterward, they could go to a play on Broadway, which was already becoming established as a theatrical center. Theaters like Fifth Avenue Theater or Wallack’s Theater provided popular evening entertainment.

Maybe Leonora would join them for a night at the opera at the Academy of Music.

Or, perhaps, they would just spend a night in with Jo’s favorite Dime Novels which were the popular fiction of the day. If you would like to read one of Garrett Goldthwaite’s novels and see why Jo likes them, Practical Polly and The Village of Doom! is free until Monday, July 13, 2020 (and fairly reasonable in price after that.)

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Options…

What would you like to see here next, as we broaden our Steampunk horizons somewhat?

I have three anthologies of Steampunk stories I could do as I have been doing the anthologies on RieWriter.com.

I could do a feature on each of the individual short stories related to the Chronicles that are out there.

I could RieView some of the Steampunk I have read from other authors.

I could tell you about some of my favorite Steampunk music.

I am also trying to work up the nerve to do some visual stuff like videos or one-frame comics with the dolls…

What would you like to see first? Leave ideas in the comments so I know where to start. 🙂

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

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Because I Promised…

…I will attempt to discuss diversity in The Conn-Mann Chronicles and not offend anyone.

There isn’t much.

There are two reasons for this.

  1. The time period was not an extremely integrated era. It’s a cheap excuse, but it’s true. The neighborhood involved in middle-class New York in the 1870s was likely to be fairly homogenous. Though I am reminded by the editor over my shoulder that the Irish were considered a minority and highly discriminated against in this timeframe, and Jo, Bridget, and Kevin are all in this boat.

Now, in the story “The Most Alarming Incident at Doc Adele’s Laundry” in Lost        Trails  2: Forgotten Tales of the Weird West from Wolfsinger Publications Jo encounters an African-American laundress and her Chinese helper in the wilds of California, and I hope I have depicted both with respect. Mei Lin may someday become a continuing character…I just haven’t decided whose household to attach her to.

Which leads to reason 2.

     2. I am afraid to get it wrong.

Yes, that is the coward’s way, but I have studied enough of culture (I have a degree in Asian Studies) to know how badly people can get it wrong.

These days, having sensitivity readers is quite common, but I have enough trouble getting beta readers to give me regular feedback.

But that’s just a lazy excuse.

 

If the situation arises that a character would logically or historically be diverse, or where it really wouldn’t matter and therefore could be easily done, I would love to get more diversity into the Chronicles. Right now, this is where I am. And that isn’t good enough…

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Thought about It this Weekend…

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The book tour is over, and we are at a crossroads. What’s next?

I am considering book reviews, author interviews, music recommendations–any and everything Steampunk. What do you think?

It might take a while to set up some of these. Until then, I’ve had one suggestion for a topic from Twitter–discussing diversity in my world. That I will be exploring tomorrow.

And, after the (relative) success of the short story in-depths on the other blog, I am planning on doing the same for the Steampunk anthologies I have been a part of.

These are my current plans for the near future of this blog. If you’d like to see something more or something different, leave a comment. And join me tomorrow to discuss the diversity current and future in the Chronicles.

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Well…This Is It

people at the station

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Our final stop. There was a change of plans I just discovered. The Italian stop was replaced with Book Bloggin’ Princess. Things like this happen. Sorry I didn’t have more notice to give everyone.

So…what’s next?

I really do need to know what you want to see here. Character profiles with more depth? Reference material about the period? Steampunk reviews? Thoughts for the future?

I am growing very fond of blogging, but I need to know what else there is to talk about with the Chronicles between books…

Help! 🙂

Leave your comments below.

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Tomorrow the Train Pulls into the Station for the Final Stop on the Virtual Book Tour…

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It’s been a wild two months. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the blogs related to the tour as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Tomorrow is a visit to La libreria di Beppe, or Beppe’s Bookshop in English. It’s kind of exciting to think that someone in Italy was interested in talking about the book.

I thought today I would do a bit of postmortem analysis of the tour.

The tour has been fun as far as seeing the reviews, and so forth, but unfortunately hasn’t translated into sales. We’ve had 23 KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) read over the length of the tour and no actual sales.

Would I do it again? I’m not sure.

Pros:

  1. exposure to numerous sites that I would not likely have found otherwise.
  2. some new Twitter followers that likely have come from the tour notices.
  3. a new appreciation of blogging in general.

Cons:

  1. even on sale, it was an expensive marketing tool.
  2. there were no tangible results.
  3. part of the problem is that the book was not a new release. (Probably a BIG part.)

 

I learned a great deal from the experience. And I am extremely grateful to Dorothy Thompson of Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Tours for all her hard work. But I think I will keep looking for the right promotion tool…

See you tomorrow for our final tour stop–and then you guys will really have to help me figure out what I should talk about next for The Conn-Mann Chronicles.

 

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Blogging Is Becoming a Habit…

I really like talking to everyone every day, but it doesn’t give me much time to do everything else I need to get done. It’s something to get a handle on. In the meantime, working on figuring out the best way to do stuff.

blog icon information internet

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For example, I’ve been reading the great advice that I found on lifesfinewhine. Especially the advice about bringing visitors back to your site. I have managed to schedule one post ahead…and I need to look into doing more of that, but for now, I’m rather enjoying the break from “real writing,” though I have a lot of editing to do too, so I need to figure that work into the equation as well.

advertising alphabet blog close up

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I don’t spend as much time on Facebook as I used to, but it is a good way to interact with people. For example, the Coffee With Songs By Rie Sheridan Rose event today was a lot of fun. Lots of great comments and Marc Gunn was in fine form. He even sang “Scouring the Shire” for me!

I make sure that my blog posts all appear on Facebook and Twitter, and also share life events and fun stuff as well as other writing news.

advertising alphabet blog business

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I need to do more on Pinterest…mainly because it is a good place to storyboard and collect reference materials. I do have several boards so far. One for my photos pinned by other people. The aforementioned reference materials. And The Conn-Mann board among others.

There isn’t a photo spelling out Twitter, but this is one of the places I feel most successful. My impressions have been going up. It helps that I’ve been posting all the tour stops. We’ll have to see if it keeps up after Friday…

I am always looking for help with marketing and promotion, so if you have any advice or insights, let me know in the comments. 🙂

 

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Penultimate Stop Today

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Our final stop will be Friday, but today we visit Literarily Speaking for something a bit different–a First Chapter Review.

It was kinda cool to see how excited the reviewer was about the first chapter and how it seems to have made her want to keep reading, which was a great thing…

…the only problem was how it highlighted the confusion that can be caused by the Dime Novels at the beginning of each chapter in the first four books.

She calls the character “Kate” through the whole review. (I’ve made a polite comment about the mix-up, so it may be edited by the time you see it.) I hate to take anything away from Jo!

It brings to mind the old question…should I go back and take out the Dime Novels? Some people skip them as a matter-of-course. Some people don’t understand them and get a negative impression from the beginning, which is bad. Some people actually like them–myself included, of course… To me, they add to the ambiance of the period, and the plots of the Dime Novels are supposed to reflect the plots of the books.

What do you think?

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