Speaking of paperback books......
Saturday from 2-5 I am running my first booksigning event for people in Omaha (or anyone who feels like trekking in for the event). I have two boxes full of exactly 72 books (why they shipped in multiples of 36 per box, I do not know) and need to spend this week getting media ordered, arranging for refreshments, and preparing for other things. I'm not sure what precisely one should offer at a book signing event (keychains? a dancing bear?) but luckily the event will be at FairyTale Costume so attendees will be poke through racks of wigs and bowler hats for amusement.
Just today I got my first review on Amazon for Steam on the Horizon, and I had to chuckle when I read:
A good read that has me wanting to know what happens next. Melissa Ann Conroy is now on the list of authors I will be very mad at if they die without finishing the series. Robert Jordan already let me down. Melissa, I'm counting on you and George R. R. Martin!
Okay, I have my orders: no dying until the Aether Saga is completed. I will endeavor to fulfill that directive.
July 12th will see me wending my way towards Urbana, IL for An Eclectic Affair where I will present a two hour steampunk writing panel and workshop and have some scheduled book signing events. A few folks from the Steampunk Society of Nebraska and one of my coworkers Maria is going along: Maria has never been to a con before, and I have been filling her head with tales of how wonderful cons are: three days of no sleep and constant noise and distraction. Urbana is also unique for containing the base of one of the helicopters I dispatch for at work. If I have time, I plan on stopping by the base to say hello to the good crew of the (helicopter) airship Airlife, perhaps talking them into taking me out for a ride.
Speaking of airships, I am in the middle of crafting a song about an airship. A few weeks ago, I encountered this passage in the opening chapter of Terry Pratchett's book Going Postal.
"The flotillas of the dead sailed around the world on underwater rivers. Very nearly nobody knew about them. But the theory is easy to understand. It runs: the sea is, after all, in many respects only a wetter form of air. And it is known that air is denser the lower you go and lighter the higher you fly. As a storm-tossed ship founders and sinks, therefore, it must reach a depth where the water below it is just viscous enough to stop its fall.
In short, it stops sinking and ends up floating on an underwater surface, beyond the reach of the storms but far above the ocean floor. It’s calm there. Dead calm.
Some stricken ships have rigging; some even have sails. Many still have crew, tangled in the rigging or lashed to the wheel.
But the voyages still continue, aimlessly, with no harbor in sight, because there are currents under the ocean and so the dead ships with their skeleton crews sail on around the world, over sunken cities and between drowned mountains, until rot and shipworms eat them away and they disintegrate."
As I read this passage, my mind conjured images up of an airship that dared fly higher than the others, so high that it broke the chains of gravity and now sails eternally in space. I've been working on lyrics for a few days now: I'm not much of a song writer, but I have a tune, an idea, and some good lines. Here is the chorus:
Aether and Clouds
For brave Captain Nolan was seized with a fever
To sail to the highest an airship had flown.
The crew, in their loyalty, followed their captain
Over the mountains of aether and clouds.
In a few weeks, I should have the song completed and will be posting a video. Acappella for now but I know some musicians with recording studios, so maybe we can do a studio version.
Another wonderful change in my life is that I started biking to work every day. I follow a lovely bike path that meanders past the Missouri River and offers a splendid view of Council Bluffs. The sun is rising when I leave work in the morning and glorious sunrise follows me as I bike back home. Inevitably, I keep on going, following the bike path as it leads to a lovely park. Deer scatter at my approach, their white tails flapping in alarm and the clamor of a thousand frogs croak in indignation as I pedal past their marshes. The scent of clover and grass fill the air and the woods are full of that rich, throaty scent of green growing things. I absolutely adore my daily commute and am exceedingly happy that I have such a wonderful trail to bike on.
So, yeah, that has been my life. I am incredibly busy but I have never been happier before in my life. Things are just so very, very good right now. I am so happy that my oldest brother Seth lives with me and we have so many good times together: biking, gardening, or simply sitting around talking. I am blessed with an abundance of friends, I have a steady job, my family is happy. I finally have a published book with more to come. God has been exceedingly, abundantly extravagant and I am overflowing with blessings and happiness, almost more than I can bear.
And with that, I will sign off for now. More to come!