Thursday, November 15, 2012


My Indiegogo campaign ends at midnight, so there is still time to donate a few dollars and help keep me afloat financially while I write Steam on the Horizon. The money I have gotten through Indiegogo has helped keep me going financially, but that will be drying up soon and since I haven't reached full funding, it is back to work I go. So far, I have a waitressing gig lined up, but the reality of owning a house gobbles up a lot of income, and I am also looking for full-time work. However, what I am hoping to do is find another roommate - that plus waitressing should be enough to keep me out of the poor house. 

My friends, authors Tee and Pip, were kind enough to publish an article on their website that I wrote about my experiences with Indiegogo and Kickstarter. That and the article on Geek Life have been more ways of getting my name out there. It's always fun to see your name in print!

The past few days I have been digesting a book entitled The Crimean War: The Causes and Consequences of a Medieval Conflict Fought in a Modern Era. So far, this has confirmed what other researchers have said: the Crimean War was pointless from a political standpoint. Over half a million soldiers died in the war, about 252,000 Allied troops and 246,000 Russian. However, from this conflict rose an unprecedented level of growth and expansion. The war pushed the British military out of stagnation and forced it to adopt new innovations: it marked the last time British troops would fight in full dress uniform and march into battle with bands playing military music. The telegraph came into use for communication, the first news corresponder followed the troops and reported from the front lines, Florence Nightingale reduced the death rate at the hospital from 44% to 2.5% after being in the Crimea only six months. Alexis Soyer, a celebrated French chef of the exclusive English Reform Club abandoned his coveted position to take over the military kitchens in the Crimea and help better nourish the soldiers. Submarine science was being developed during the Crimea War. This entire time period was staggeringly innovative and despite the hundreds of thousands who suffered and died, much change and growth came out of this "pointless war" as many dub it. 

As I research and write, I can see how easily this trilogy could stretch to more than just three books - there is so much history and detail I want to pack into the tale, and I am just on the first book. In Books 2 and 3 when the Horizon starts sailing to India and the Far East, this brings in a welter of other historical opportunities. Just covering the Indian Rebellion of 1857 will be a prodigious challenge, not to mention opium production, the status of Chinese immigrants in England, laudanum, the list is endless. I don't want to skim or leave interesting possibilities alone, but then again, seven books of 400 pages each might be a trifle long to read, not to mention write. 

All this keeps me chewing on the question of, "Just how much technology do you need for it to be steampunk?" Much of the steampunk fiction I have read populates Victoria England with an abundance of Tesla coil toasters, self-rocking chairs, steam-powered guns, and as much futuristic technology as can be shoved into the tale. Steam on the Horizon, however, focuses on airships as the main technology and not too terribly much else: the spotlight is really kept on the story, not so much cool technology. Granted, without the advanced technology keeping the Horizon in the air and racing forward, the story would be pointless, but I've not put a lot of steam into my punk and I'm wondering if I need to greatly increase the amount during revision. However, I am reminded of Cheri Priest's book Boneshaker. She had a fairly tame amount of technology in her story, and the focus was more on the plot of the characters with the technology serving as a backup role. Also, The Sauder Diaries by Michel Vaillancourt has even less technology aside from absolutely spectacular and well-developed airships, and his book is unmistakable steampunk. In my estimation, both books are the better off for not being populated with high-tech gadgets, so perhaps Steam on the Horizon will as well.

Chapter 26 left Roberts on the last day of November with the snows coming. A few more chapters should suffice to get the Horizon and crew through the terrible winter in the Crimea then back to London in early March for the climax of this tale. I am looking forward to the revision process, partly because the earlier parts of the book are starting to fade from my memory; rereading everything should be an interesting discovery, one with red pen firmly in hand!

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