Monday, October 1, 2012

Adventures in Steampunk Fiction

Yesterday I received an Amazon recommendation via email to try out a new steampunk book The Sauder Diaries: By Any Other Name which is available via Kindle for just $4.99. I tried a sample and after just a page or two, bought the thing and devoured it over Sunday. What impressed me most about the book was its meticulous attention to technical details. Many of the steampunk books I have read gloss over the very pressing issue of "Okay, so just how exactly does that work?" but author Michel Vaillancourt did an excellent job describing his airship, The Bloody Rose, in great detail so that you ended up with an intimate understanding of just what went on to keep the airship in the air and flying forward (and at 80 knots at top speed - here I thought I was clever making the Horizon go 35 knots tops).

So yes, buy The Sauder Diaries and read it - this is a great steampunk book and Book Two in the series is soon to come out. Oh joy!

Today's agenda is to finish Chapter 15. I left Victoria and Roberts to their monkey problems as the Horizon makes its way to the Black Sea to do acts of derring-do and impressive flying right in the heart of the Crimean War. However, I am hindered by the fact that I have still not figured out if there is a way to sail a watership into the Black Sea - it looks like it is completely bordered by lands all around, so my question is how the heck did the English get their ships up there to fight in the Crimean War? One assumes that they had ships built and commissioned in countries bordering the Black Sea. Currently, I am having The Morning Star merchant marine sail to Istanbul, then the Horizon will take over from there. One of my revision exercises will be to find a history buff and ask him/her a million questions so I can get my details about the Crimean War down correctly. I was gratified to find out that The Sauder Diaries also dealt with the Crimean War also - thanks to this book, I have a lot of ideas and information to chew on. 

Today marks 40 days left to the end of my Kickstarter fundraiser  Funding has gone slow, and I am casting about for further ways of getting my name out there and charming money out of people's wallets. I know Octopodicon and Emerald City Steampunk Expo will be great places for me to get my name out there, and I am really looking forward to going. I've sent emails to many steampunk groups, posted posters, contacted some reporters, and sent a lot of emails. Granted, the fundraiser has been ongoing for just two weeks now, so patience is necessary. But I'm only at 3% funding, so I clearly need to do more promotion!

Also for today is decided which steampunk costumes to take to Octopodicon. I am thinking my airship officer costume, the steampunk cowgirl costume, and the one I wore for my pictures. My friend Marlene is coming over tomorrow to help me bustle the overskirt since I did a botch job last time. I now know I will be asking for an adjustable dressmaker dummy for Christmas; this will make costuming much easier.   
Twitter @Melissa_Conroy


  1. You should leave a review on Amazon since there are only a few there. I'm sure the author would love you for it!

    1. Yup, that is on my list of things to do. I also sent him a Facebook message today praising the book.

  2. The Mediterranean is linked to the Black sea by the Dardanelles and Boshporus straits, with the sea of Marmara in the middle - I remembered seeing something about this in the movie 300, and wikipedia picked it up from there! The Dardanelles is where Xerxes crossed on a pontoon bridge during his invasion of Greece. Istanbul sits astride the Bosphorus. Looks like they're a half mile wide at the narrowest, checking google maps. It's kind of crazy that two huge oceans are connected by such small waterways - a natural Panama Canal basically. Such is nature!

  3. Matt, thanks so much for the information! I am realizing at this point I need to get a good book about the Crimean War to help me shape the rest of the book since the Horizon will be directly involved. I'm glad there is a natural strait - I did some research and saw that a canal in Istanbul was built in this century but couldn't figure out if there were any natural straight anywhere. Great info!