Admit it, those are about the coolest combination of words that the English language can concoct. Abney Park is first on the list because my wonderful friends Kristine and Charles just informed me today that not only are they obligingly carting me down to the Emerald City Steampunk Expo http://www.emeraldcitysteampunkexpo.com/ but they have also purchased Emerald Passes so that we can meet Abney Park. I am currently writhing in a cocoon of fangirl delirium, or at least I would be if this hadn't also entered the picture today
Kristine and Charles, in their incessant goal to spoil me utterly rotten, took me out to lunch today at Village Inn where this particular confectionery awaited us. It is dubbed the "Salty Hog" and yes, that is a piece of bacon resting on top. And yes, it was unbelievably delicious. Despite much coaxing, I only ate 2/3 of it since directly following the pie was a 45 minute bout of agony known as bootcamp fitness. Somewhere in the middle of it, I was doing pushups over a lake of my own sweat and pondering if 45 minutes of gladiator-intense exercising would be enough to counter all the calories I had just vacuumed up. The answer is no, but the pie was much too yummy to pass up.
So yes, back to Abney Park! I shall try to comport myself with all decorum and sensibility when I am able to finally meet Captain Roberts and crew, but I am half-afraid that all they will elicit from my lips is incoherent squealing and a series of genuflecting that I might be permitted to be a roadie for a few weeks. I can just picture the phone call now, "Mom, please take care of my dog for a few months. I'm going to be cavorting around the US as a band roadie." No, I will endeavor to be mature and look forward to thanking Abney Park sincerely for all their inspiration and creative spurring they have been - usually blasting "Building Steam" or "Aether Shanty" helps me get past a particularly troublesome bit of writer's block.
It will be a splendid steampunk con, that I am assured of, and Kristine and Charles have enthusiastically volunteered to help me hand out promotion material and spread the word about my book and kickstarter project during the con. The kickstarter project should be live by next week, and I am hoping to hit three steampunk cons (Octopodicon, Steamcon IV, and Emerald City) while my funding drive is ticking away, so the next two months promise to be lively.
One more installation of Chapter 1 should be forthcoming to round out the chapter, then I will create a url that has Chapter 1 in its entirety, after I have made some revisions based on excellent feedback. So please, if you have suggestions for Chapter 1, please comment! Some technical issues cannot be resolved now since I am still grappling with them, but I already know I want to lengthen the scene where the Horizon is falling towards the ground and explain more about how the crane latches onto her and brings her back onto the dock - thanks to Lady Saotome for her feedback regarding this!
Finally, I shall introduce you to Victoria Pickens, a reporter for the London Times. I did not plan for a female character to play a significant role in Book 1 because quite frankly I feel like it has almost become a requirement that an author must have a strong female character present. Me, being who I am, said, "Nope, I am not going to be dictated to about what I have to write in my book, thank you very much," and thought no more about the matter. Then there was the fateful day that Victoria stomped into my office, planted her gumshoes on my keyboard, and proclaimed, "You WILL write me. I WILL play a role in your entire trilogy, and you can fuss about it all you want. Start writing." My friend Lisa was also writing about this issue the other day on her blog http://waitingforaname.wordpress.com/ and insightfully pointed out "as writers, we follow our characters’ leads as much as they follow ours."
Victoria quickly came to life in Chapter 10 and as of writing on Friday, she had just published a very accurate and information-exposing newspaper article about the Horizon and Sir Smothers himself that very quickly made Captain Roberts realize it was prudent to get the heck out of England until things simmer down. With her article, Victoria also incurred the full wrath of the Smothers empire and now has her own troubles to manage, primarily by also getting out of England. While Roberts will have a love interest coming up in Book 2, I think that he and Victoria will also be embroiled in a love/hate relationship for awhile, just to add some intrigue.
Now, about that 1/3 piece of pie I still have yet to eat.......