Tag Archives: dieselpunk

New Stuff Synopses Finished: Two Good, One Bad

So, that took a while, since July 16, as a matter of fact. In that time, I’ve also had a couple of mowings, a week-long visit from family (and several other family events) . Oh, and the release of Of Sentimental Value on Smashwords dot com (access my profile here). A busy month apart from writing, but I still found time to squeeze out two synopses for new material. And kill one other.

The first synopsis is something I’ve been worrying (playing with, not anxious with) for several months, so I finally committed to putting a work out. It’s a brand-new dieselpunk setting within a multi-theistic society. The first tagline I’ve come up with is “Sometimes belief is enough, especially for the gods.”
The production title is “CNF” and, because this will be my next short project, you’ll see regular (irregular?) updates here in the coming days.

The second synopsis is another Turning Springs work, with wind-up mechanical constructs in the old west. A sheriff must solve a murder just days before the election for his office, and his only witness is a machine that will lose its memory of the murder on the day before the votes are cast. Tagline? “Sometimes you do what’s right, whether it’s wrong or not.” (Too Yogi Berra? Hmm. Maybe.) The production title is “HDQ”, but you’re not likely to see any updates until after CNF has been sent out for copyright registration.

The third synopsis…well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Now it just seems bitter, preachy, and unpleasant. It’s too bad, because I wanted to have three items available for the next run. On the plus side, this is the way the process is supposed to work: it weeds out the junk before I spend a lot of time on it.

The good news? I finished killing off the third synopsis a few days ago and put that part of the process to bed.  As it happened over the weekend, I got an idea for another one. That’ll go into the process with a couple of others after HDQ goes out for copyright registration. Everybody’s got a place in line; no pushing, no shoving.

Comments or questions? I’d love to hear from you.

Next up:  I’m roughing an MGC chapter, first editing another one, and putting out a sample of the edited chapter here. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

More Landmarks

Well, how embarrassing. There are actually two landmarks in this post because I forgot to send the first after I did it.

That was because the cover image for “Of Sentimental Value” came together so quickly and easily that I just kind of breezed on to the next item on the list. Count me as one stunned bunny; I expected much more trouble with it. I finished that one on April 8.

(Shh, don’t tell anyone. The image is part of the north wall of my garage with a few weird Paint.NET effects thrown in. No affiliation.)

The thing that took up the most time between then and now was the synopsis for my project labeled YHR. The synopsis really helped me sort out some really big holes in the overall plot, including the idea that the main character’s name (and the book’s working title) basically revealed his big secret. So, to avoid the “Clark Kent’s glasses” effect, I changed name and title. Am I 100% sold? No, not really, but it’s better. And I’ve got time.

I was also able to sort through a few setting/genre issues. It’s dieselpunk, and, the way I’ve planned it out, it pretty much has to be. That’s good to know.

After this, I’m up for some PRIMP, including a few tweaks to my editing sequence. After that, I go right into testing those tweaks on chapters one through five of MGC. But you’ll hear from me before then. No, really.

Thanks for reading!

ANG Thumbnails Completed: THAT’S Where This Was Going

With the help of the synopsis for the ANG project that I completed a couple of weeks ago, I launched headfirst into writing a series of thumbnails that indicate the basic plot of the work. Some folks call them beats or scenes or whatever. I just call them necessary.

Putting all this together is, in great part, an aggregate process. The point is to make sure the central issues, the journey that your character needs to take, is represented by what happens. The thumbnails provide a general reading of the situations the character encounters while not getting too detailed. I find it to be one of the most difficult and time-consuming parts of the process, because I tend to focus much more on dialogue and character and motivations than I do on strict adherence to “first this happens, then this happens”. Setting that aside and focusing on not just what’s supposed to happen but whether it’s able to happen that way is hard for me.

It’s really a high level look at the shape and viability of the plot and it involves a lot of practical figuring. For ANG, I spent quite a bit of time figuring steam railroad times versus airship transit times. Considering the latter is largely hooey, I allowed myself a little wiggle room, but I couldn’t wiggle the geography of northern Illinois in the late 19th century, where and when the book takes place. It’s a lot like one of those “mole-swatting” games in an arcade; there’s always another fact that needs to be established, rejected, or changed. It’s an essential part of the process; doing it this early sets the fictional world and the story in which the characters exist on solid ground.

So, it’s done. The next step on ANG will be blocking, which I do look forward to, since that’s much more of a character process. It also moves from New projects into my list of Current projects, since now I know it’s a viable concern.

So, what am I doing next? I’m catching up on a little overdue business reading with an eye toward Engagement and PRIMP. After that, it’s Current project cover work for a short piece called “Of Sentimental Value”. Then I move on to a brand new project I’ve dubbed YHR, a little fantasy, a little dieselpunk, a lot of fun.

So, I’m going to go read. Thank you for reading me.

The Link Foundry for January 15, 2013

The first two weeks of January 2013 have passed with blinding speed here in northern Illinois. While I understand that time waits for no one, it is peculiarly human to expect time to wait long enough (in vain) for us to take a breath. And, oh, by the way, bright pleasant sunlight in January with an air temperature in the single digits? The meanest child-pulling-wings-off-of-flies trick of winter. Let us give a collective “harumph” to the weather and time both and look inward for our first couple of entries.

The more I catch brief seconds of decorating shows on various cable networks, the more i see individuality heralded (sometimes demanded) while at the same time maintaining a lock-step with popular color and decorating modes. It always puts me in mind of high school couture woes, where the groupdress is trumpeted as individuality. Austin, Texas seems to have stepped into the steampunk fashion mode.  Bravo for the publicity, Austin Statesman, but let’s not forget: it’s less about what everybody likes and more about what YOU like.

This profile of Baltimore, MD artist Maury Dickson in the Baltimore Sun puts a nice flourish on a working definition of steampunk:  “Steampunk is steeped in history, but it is not tied to particular truths.” In addition, it’s a triumphant story about overcoming Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Dark Roasted Blend was particularly fruitful this week for jaw-dropping material.  Though I only mined a few items for this listing, there’s much more on their site here.  One of my favorites.

I must confess to a guilty pleasure:  I love abandoned places.  Old machinery, old structures, bits and pieces of what was…all of it emblematic of the way people lived before. While I don’t want to go back to the times and situations documented in the powerfully emotive Urban Atrophy, it’s nice and creepy in an always-know-where-the-exits-are way.

This very pretty automated singing bird comes to us from Japan in the 60s, but it’s nice to hear the narrator provide such meticulous care and knowledge.

I’ve subscribed to the Dr. Grordborts site‘s newsletter without knowing exactly what that whole thing is about.  It looks to deal with steampunk tenets, but I’m not sure if the very talented author/illustrator is selling books or sculptures or a game system or any and/or all of the above. It’s intriguing, though, and I’m looking forward to my education.  Besides, any site that features the tagline “where science meets violence” is gonna get a bookmark from me anyway.

That’s all for today.  Thanks for joining me, and don’t forget to read…write…repeat.

The Link Foundry for January 10, 2013

A new year, a new set of numbers to remember.  Hope I don’t relapse into what happened at the beginning of last year:  I kept putting “19″ in front of the year.  I got over it, but dating work papers 1912 was a little disconcerting. Here are a few more disconcerting and delightful things.

Artist Remy Hoff has quite a few lovely pieces at his Deviant Art site entitled Industrial Forest.  My favorite?  On page 2 of his gallery, the piece titled Steampunk Ship: Brassheart.

I’m mostly an A-to-B guy as far as cars go.  If it gets me from point A to point B without breaking down or something important or critical falling off, I’m happy.  But this article from Dieselpunks.org’s Lord K about the Delage is amazing.  Hard to pick a favorite.

Lamps are becoming a popular way to add a bit of steampunk whimsey to your room.  Consider this fellow.  One problem though:  only eats metal flies.  From Instructables.

Love this wooden clock found at The Steampunk Empire.  One question:  if you need a glass of wine, do you lose the chime?

Finally, I just can’t help myself.  It seemed that the holiday season went by too quickly this year.  So, yes, here’s a Christmas embroidery design from Urban Threads via Doctor Monocle.  That’s not so bad, is it?

Well, 2013 is upon us, so I should actually go do something worthwhile.  Until the next Link Foundry, that is.

Until then, however, read…write…repeat.




The Link Foundry for December 18, 2012

As we pitch headlong toward the end of the year (or the end of the world, whichever you prefer), we take stock of the past year and look at the things we wish to change and the things we need not mess with.  For those who read these posts, this is one of the things I’ll be keeping.  It may look a little different, but it’s staying.

Anyone a fan of those capsule-shaped racing vehicles from the 30s?  Here’s some interesting material about Alfa Romeos from dieselpunks.org.

From shortly after the turn of the century (not the last century, but the one before) comes this short video regarding a lost jewel of the New York subway system:  The City Hall Subway Station.  Amazing what we just leave behind when we move on to the next shiny thing.  From Transit Transit via Dark Roasted Blend.

I’m all for mashups, combinations of unusual ingredients.  One such mashup I’ll be looking up over my time off in the next couple of weeks will be “Dirigible Days”, a web series mixing Cthulhu and steampunk.  Sounds yummy.  See the review here from The Gatehouse.

As time goes on, technology only gets small and faster, doesn’t it?  Bookshelves of books become e-readers and this beauty became…a lawn tractor?  From Doctor Monocle.

And finally, I leave you with a lovely horse to ride through the holidays.  From Doctor Monocle.

Be well, be kind, and don’t forget…read…write…repeat.  Thanks!

The Link Foundry for December 11, 2012

As we move closer to the holiday season, two phrases occur to me…Christmas is two weeks away?  And the new year is three weeks away?  Can’t be.  This must be some sort of holiday horror story.  I have 2013 goals to set, processes to finish, 2012 goals to examine, a blog to rework, photos to take, a Facebook account to re-engage…no, no, we have to re-set the year and give ourselves a little more time.  We can’t?  Oh, bother.  Fine, then.  I say grasp your lengthy task list with both hands and…set it over there for a few minutes.  I’m gonna.

I truly do get the idea that government and utility buildings should have some sense of authority to them.  (I have this sneaking suspicion that it’s the Montgomery Burns coming out in the leaders of these enterprises, but that’s just me.)  Still, when I saw this article on water towers from Dark Roasted Blend, it occurs to me that some of them belong at Peter Jackson’s Minas Tirith instead of at the corner of, let’s say, First and Main over by the Piggly Wiggly.

Sorry to miss the Midwinter Fair in the Netherlands last weekend, but some of the pictures are truly spectacular.  (Note to self:  if I ever build a small car based the Verne-ian submarine Nautilus, it needs a roof.  To keep the water out, ya know.  Every submarine car needs one.)  From The Gatehouse.

And speaking of automobiles, we have this article on the Maybach Zepplin from Dieselpunks.org, an unparallelled example of between-wars German automotive design.  It’s like an art deco painting come to life.  Goosebumps…I got goosebumps.

Speaking of lovely machines, here’s a steampunk orrery (model of our solar system, natch) that appeared for sale on Ebay.  Very pretty.

And finally, I prefer stills, but this video of a wine-pouring apparatus is amazing.  So amazing, in fact, that I might buy wine just to work this contraption.  The idea that utterly charms me?  Uncorking the bottle with the crank winds the mechanism to pour the glass.  Bravo a thousand times, Mr. Higgs.  And a thousand more.  Via Doctor Monocle.

Thus fortified, I take up my End Of Year To Do List again.  Oh, but look.  Time for lunch.  Farewell for now, EOYTDL.  Procrasti-what now?

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget…read…write…repeat.

The Link Foundry for December 4, 2012

Here we are in December, for Pete’s sake.  It occurred to me yesterday that 2012 will actually end four weeks from yesterday.  Whew!  I might just make it.  In the mean time, a short break to look at some cool stuff.

I’ll bet you’re not done shopping yet.  I know I’m not.  So, for those last few gifts, try this assortment of steampunk-y stuff from The Steampunk Tribune.

Grr.  I love Christmas music, but the latest chart-topping ingenue remaking a perfectly good classic is not my cup of anything.  So, I went looking for a few unusual Christmas carols and found these from the Pilsner Panther via dieselpunks.org.

A few good dieselpunk pictures never hurt, and you’ll find a lot of them at this Tumblr site.

Real-life Rosie the riveter pics here and…they’re in color!  From CBS News via dieselpunks.org.

For those of you who believe that the world will end later this month, we have the Four Steampunks of the Apocalypse.  From The Steampunk Tribune.

And a bonus for all of you who have that great steampunk idea that you’re dying to see on paper…a resource link page!  From CommuniCATE.

Thanks for reading!  Back next week.


The Link Foundry for November 27, 2012

“Black Friday is what happens to your soul after you trample another human being for a good price on a waffle iron.”  –  Overheard this past weekend

Not only did the American consumer return to the economic game this past weekend, but they’ve started playing Christmas music on a couple of our local radio stations.  Call me an old softie, but I really do enjoy the old carols (from classical to Rat Pack) and would listen to them year-round if it wouldn’t make me look like a nut.  Ah-ah-ah…no editorializing, please.  So, in honor of the freshly arrived holiday season (no snow yet again?!?), I present you with a few linky gifts.

First is an Australian festival weeks over now, but an interesting notion nonetheless.  They’ve combined a history of steam presentation with a steampunk festival.  Nicely done.

My jaw dropped when I saw this website for the steampunk band V is for Villains.  Innovative beyond all reason.  Wow doesn’t even begin to cover it.  A design suggestion for a future remodel?  The penny dreadful.

Etsy provides this lovely ring from enchantedbeas.  I really enjoy the juxtaposition of the rusty, rough band of the ring with the beautiful decoration of the adornment.  Very good job.

While this desk/mantel clock seems a touch busy in terms of color, you can’t fault the design of it.  I particularly like the pressure gauge at the top of the item.  Nice detail.

And finally, for those of you who purchased phones this past weekend that could fit comfortably in a shirt or jeans pocket, a little reminder of what the phone used to be.  From Dark Roasted Blend.

Thanks for reading!

PS:  Expect some big changes in the blog at the new year.  Like maybe…content that isn’t just a link collection?  Stay tuned!

The Link Foundry for November 20, 2012

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”  — Marcus Tullius Cicero

As we here in the United States recall our blessings this week with the company of family and friends and a gigantic meal, I also say thanks to you, my readers.  If you must travel, do so safely.  And please remember for Black Friday:  be kind to everybody.  Works out better that way.  Or, just stop at the sites below.  Saves a lot of hassle.

A nicely executed necklace here on Etsy, featuring an antiqued clock winder.  Simple tools do seem to have their own simple beauty, don’t they?

Fishing season is winding down in my neck of the woods, but this fellow seems like you’d be able to find him year round.  From The Steampunk Empire.

This?  This lamp?  I not only know how to do this, I can even tell you where the parts are in the store where I work.   If I think a little, I could even give a pretty good guess on the prices.

Okay, I admit it:  I’m a boxphile.  If I can put something in it, I want it.  Of course, if the box is this very cool dragon box, I want it even more.

I also have a fascination with swords ( own a couple myself) so when this very interesting item showed up, I was agog.  This I vow:  an item like this WILL show up in one of my works.  Oh, it will.

Thanks and Happy holidays to all!  And don’t forget:  read…write…repeat.