Well, as you may know from my over-enthusiastic last post, my first big signing in a proper bookshop was on Friday. Waterstones in Doncaster was a great place to be. They popped me in a little corner upstairs and left me to my own devices. Thankfully, just about everyone who said they’d come, did. So it was a great turn out. Some people brought their own copies to be signed, but most bought one while they were there. I practiced my signature a few times before hand, but it still ended up being inconsistent for each individual person. Ah well. I’m a beginner, after all.
Anyways, what’s really important is that I had a great time and was only really on my own for a few minutes at a time. People were chatty, friendly, and eager to talk about both my new projects and their own. I also got to talk to Jill Brooksbank who is organising Doncaster’s Literary Festival next year and has asked if I’d be free to attend and do a talk or two. Not sure why people would want to listen to little-old-me, but of course I agreed. Sounds great!
In other news…
“The Adventures of Alan Shaw” is going well edits-wise. I’ve had a major epiphany and completely re-written the third story which really pulls together the through-line and subplots. Pretty chuffed with it, so far. Now for the next story to get a taste of the same treatment…
Also, had a fantastic Halloween. Ended up going to watch The Shining at the cinema, complete with an extra twenty minutes of terror. I forgot how good that film is. We carved pumpkins (my first time), baked buns (not my first time), and watched Bubba Ho-Tep for my annual Bruce Campbell fix. Legend. Also, watched Trick ‘r Treat, starring Anna Paquin. A little-known gem, this deserves some cult status at the very least. Four horror stories all interwoven expertly. I would strongly recommend for horror fans.
Just before I go…I’ve been playing around with my Youtube channel. I’ve basically compiled some of my favourite music into a list so yo can all get a little look inside my head. This is far from a comprehensive list, but it includes a lot of sings that I;ve used to get me in the mood for writing in the past. Turn up your laptop and let it run, anyway. Tell me if you’re not in a very particular frame of mind when it’s done ;D
And that’s all for this week, folks. See you next time!
Thanks for reading.
It’s finally time for my favourite holiday of the year!
I love Halloween. It’s the time of year when everyone gets in the same mindset as me (if that’s possible). I think it probably started when I was a kid, watching horror movies that I shouldn’t have at that age, and all the best ones seemed to be shown at Halloween. I think it was probably some late-night marathon that first got me hooked on B-movies like The Blob, and then hammered home the “being scared is awesome” vibe with The Exorcist, The Thing, Alien, Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. Of course, these are staples of any horror lover’s childhood. And they probably sparked off me watching every other horror movie since to the point of addiction. To the point of writing my own horror stories, in fact!
Anyway, what I really love about Halloween is the tactile element to it. Those of you who are regulars will know I love tinkering with things. I’m a maker and a doodler underneath my writerly exterior. The costumes, the pumpkin carving, the baking, the scaring little kids when they knock on your door. It’s all brilliant. There’s nothing I like more than going all-out on a costume to make sure it looks really cool. I’m a cosplayer at heart, it seems.
Unfortunately this year no one will be dressing up. There will be no ordaining traffic on Doncaster’s York Road while dressed as Jesus (long story for another time). And so I won’t be dressing up, either. However, I have carved my first pumpkin; something I’ve always wanted to do and never got around to. I call him Eddie after one of my favourite vampire movies, the original Fright Night (You’re so cool Brewster!).
In other news…
Speaking of making things, I’ve decided to embrace my Steampunk soul a little more and mod(ify) myself a gun for the next convention. After some research, I decided on the Nerf Maverick, which seems to be a popular favourite. After a few false starts, and marking all the bits as I took it apart, I’ve finally got the base coats done. Just have the details to paint in, but here’s what I have so far:
Not bad for an amateur, eh? Also, if I haven’t mentioned this yet, I have another signing! This time I’ll be in my home town, Doncaster, nestled away in our local Waterstones branch in the Frenchgate centre. I’ve got my books, my sign, myself, and hopefully plenty of people will get curious enough to wander over. The lovely folks on the local radio and papers are plugging it for me (Thanks guys!) and if all goes well I won’t just be sat there on my own for hours on end. If you’re feeling adventurous, I’ll be at the above location from 11:30 this Friday (2nd November), until I get lonely and go home. Fingers crossed!
And that brings me to my last bit of news; perhaps the most exciting (at least for me). I have finished the first draft of The Adventures of Alan Shaw! How has this come so early? Well, as you may remember, Alan Shaw is a series of short adventures chronicling the life of the eponymous character as he grows up from a street urchin in the Age of Steam. As I’ve written these adventures, I’ve realised what an epic book this was going to be. I was half way through and already well over Greaveburn’s final word count. And so I realised that breaking the book into two volumes would not only be prudent, but pretty darned cool. And so that’s what I’ve done. And volume one is now sitting on my desktop, ready to edit.
Of course, with me being me, I’ve already started the edits, already made huge changes, added whole sections and fleshed out characters. That’s how I roll on my second draft. And I know it’s early days, but I’m really liking it. Generally if I’m enjoying writing it, I know it’ll be the best I can possibly do because I’ll put the effort in. Of course, whether that best is good enough is another deal altogether. I’ll just have to hope that I can get published again, and that you guys enjoy it. Time will tell. And in the meantime, I’d better get writing volume two. Although, I’ll be giving myself a little break before cracking on with that. I have uni work to do after all.
And that’s it for this week, folks. Hope you’ve enjoyed this wild ramble.
Thanks for reading!
On Greaveburn’s little outing to the Asylum convention in Lincoln recently, I met some damn fine folks. One of those folks was Anzenna Warren, a young artist with some serious penmanship skills. She bought a copy of Greaveburn and I took a look at her portfolio while we chatted, surrounded by a myriad of Steampunks from all over the world. It was an insanely perfect swapping or artistic materials the like of which I’ve never had the pleasure to experience before. And now, dear friends, I share with you some of Anzenna’s fantasic images, plus a little interview-style chat with the lady herself. Get your laughing tackle around this:
1. Obligatory starter for ten…tell us a little about yourself.
I originally grew up in Dulwich, South East London until last November when Ma, Pa, sis and I packed up and left for Lincoln. All very sudden. We visited Lincoln for a holiday that summer and loved everything about it. Fresher air, such wonderful people. Honestly, I have never been called ‘duck’ before going to Lincs! In the same year we viewed houses, bought a darn lovely one and moved North-ways. Now we are living happily with our two budgies, koi karp and three beautiful black cats. The End.
2. When did you first set pen/pencil/paintbrush to paper?
I’ve always drawn as a kid. Always. Thankfully for my parents I didn’t discover the walls with my wandering crayons. Kids doodle for a lot their lives but I really noticed I it enjoyed as a hobby about Year 2 or 3 with the boom of Pokémon. What was this new art? From Japan? So there WAS more animation than Cartoon Network and Aardman! I never traced my pictures, drawing Pikachu on my book covers and for my friends from sight then memory. By Year 4, Digimon had come out and a group of friends and I created our own evolving monsters; giving them stats, fake trading cards and making battles. I vow to hunt out those pictures and redraw ‘em, 2012 style!
I’ve never been able to paint. I used to ‘conveniently miss’ the art lessons where we were demanded to paint things because I was so dreadful, it was embarrassing. Honestly, a blind, limbless monkey, possibly dead could do better than I. *Sips tea. Continues.*
3. Who’s your favourite artist, and how would you say they influenced your own style?
I have very many inspirations but Jamie Hewlett in particular. I don’t always draw in his style- I have my own, of course. His was of drawing is so unique from Tank Girl to Gorillaz and all the other projects in between. I like the way he puts so much comedy into a piece, but can easily shock you with something heartfelt. And the music videos? *New Yorker accent* GEDDOUTA’ERE! I have a print of his work ‘Chums’ that he painted on a trip to Bangladesh to see the harrowing effects of floods due to climate change, which will have pride of place on my bedroom wall once it is redecorated.
Some other inspirations are: Chris Riddell Hergé, Stan Lee, Hayao Miyazaki, Matt Groening, Egon Scheile, Roy Litchenstein, Aubrey Beardsley, Beano/Dandy, Warner Bros, eBoy, Banksy. I highly recommend Googling those who are unknown to you. I would love to don the title of ‘Studio Artist’. Much like a Studio Musician can play all styles, I’d like to be able to draw in all styles- and do backgrounds, for goodness’ sake!
My artist friends are also a huge inspiration, real life and online. I attended school with: Rebecca, who could make paper art of anything and drew some of the most striking eyes and flowers I have ever seen. Sadie, who used ‘found objects’ dredged up from the Thames and bits from abandoned houses, making them new again. Posola, who uses textiles and makes custom jewellery with her heart as the centrepiece. My best friend, Ophelia who has possibly the most wickedly creative, twisted mind! We always bat around new ideas. They say you pick your friends, and I think I chose very well.
4. When I first saw your artwork, I thought that they were coloured using Photoshop, but that’s not so. What techniques do you use to get such a wonderful finished product?
More discipline than an Amish nun! I’m a self-named perfectionist. I despise ‘hairy lines’ unless working in someone else’s style and like a clean, smooth, graphic finish. I’d be a hypocrite if I said computer art wasn’t the way forward. I adore it and ultimately would like to work in CG-animated movies. I just prefer to utilise my natural skill without having to rely on the ‘undo’ button or eraser tool. Besides, in a power cut, the only PC I need is Pencil and Creativity! *Geeky snort-laugh*
Tools of the trade are Biros (Bic Fine), fineliners, Letraset ProMarkers Photoshop and Illustrator. When I first started with ProMarkers, I was dreadful! There’s a real knack to them. Instead of shading in tidy, uniformed lines, you’re better off scribbling in a whole area as quick as possible and wait for it to soak in. Layering and blending colours is good too. They have so many in their range, everything imaginable short of Neon Brown.
If I had to cement a routine to the creation of my art, this is more or less IT.
- An image pops up randomly in my head, say, in a deep sleep, on the loo or walking through town and I’d go out of my way to note it down. Keywords.
- At the next given point I’d do some rough thumbnail sketches working out poses and placement.
- A full page sketch is next. I work on until I am happy and ready to ink.
- Inked, I scan it, mainly to be safe. I hate making mistakes on original pieces when working traditionally so having a back up file is a must-have.
- Weighing up my technical skills on both Photoshop and by hand, it’s a case of which I feel works better for the piece. Really detailed or realistic = biro. Wanting a professional finish or more technical effects = Photoshop. Quick piece, a personal gift = ProMarkers.
5. So when you’re not doodling, what do you get up to? Video games! I’ve gone back to playing all the games I wanted to play as a kid, but was too young. The GTA series, The Warriors, The Godfather, Red Dead Revolver, Reservoir Dogs and so on all for the PS2. I’m no good at them, but I just like to have fun, tolchock a few grahzny chellovecks, like.
I’m an aspiring, amateur movie buff, working my way through the cult classics and controversial clips. Mostly 70s movies- they sure knew how to make a film then! Also thrillers, particularly Hitchcock. His movies are so well thought through (also thanks to a lot of great stories he adapted them from) that I fear if he had wanted to, he could have committed the Perfect Murder himself! …Maybe he did… he was too good. The man who knew too much…
I’m not always indoors! I borrow Motherington’s pushbike for a scenic ride around the village. I like to attend comedy events, having been to many a BBC recording in London. Mock the Week, Have I Got News For You and suchlike. There’s a great entertainment scene in Lincoln and it’s just getting better. Baking is also a lot of fun.
6.What brought you to Steampunk?
I attend a lot of Expos and conventions, usually manga and comic-books ones. Until I moved, I was a regular at the MCM Expo in London. There were always people in anime costumes, internet memes, video game characters, furries, superheros and so on. Gradually over the years, a new look arrived. People in top hats and militaria, canes, moustaches and sideburns, parasols, gowns and bustles carrying teapots just for show! I’d ask them what programme or game they were from and they’d shrug: ‘this is just me, how I wanted to dress’.
I actually managed to put a name to the look when I attended The Lincolnshire Steam Fair in 2011. One of the biggest events in the Lincolnshire calendar, it displays steam-powered technology such as farming equipment, classy cars, air-shows, organs, stalls, shows and a steam-powered Victorian fun-fair. I don’t know what persuaded me to put goggles on my hat that day, but I did and was noticed by some lovely, dapper Steampunk gentlewomen and a chappie. They told me all about it and practically signed me up to Brass Goggles (a Steampunk community website) on the spot!
Steampunk is for everyone. That’s why I was so happy at The Asylum event at Lincoln Castle, even my family dressed up- and they called me ‘strange’ when I went to conventions…
7. Your outfit at the Asylum convention this year was based on A Clockwork Orange. Was it Anthony Burgess or Stanley Kubrick that got you dressing like Droog?
I have to say somewhat shamefully, Kubrick. I love his interpretation, my favourite movie in fact, and there is no doubting he is a great director but in comparison to the literary work, there’s no match. The viewer doesn’t get into the head of Alex as much as the book does, heavily laden with the fantastically written Nadsat I now use daily (swearing mostly, since no one knows what I’m going on about) and really being part of the story rather than the observer. He tells his side, actively referring to himself as ‘Your Humble Narrator’, and wonderfully so. Despite this, I loathe the final chapter, 21. I don’t want to spoil for those who haven’t read it (BUT WILL READ ‘CAUSE I SAY SO), but it didn’t strike me with the same chord as the rest of the book. Let’s just say, the publishers and Kubrick, in my opinion, had the right mind to omit it when first published / scripted.
Did I watch the movie out of a vague Hipster-esque interest? Yes. But I watch it again and again because films of such quality are few and far between and simply watching the master at work, perfection personified, the cogs turning in his brain almost audible on the booming Beethoven soundtrack… O bliss, bliss and harmony.
I wore the iconic strikingly white, bowler topped, braced and booted uniform as imagined by lovely old Stanny K. In the book, it is black and resembles something a little rockier. Before next year or another gathering, I’d like to put much more of a Steampunk twist to it. The lower eyelash to become a goggle-eyepatch, a large wind-up key in the back and real deadly cut-throat britva! Or even the head straps of torture used in the Ludovico Technique. Hopefully I’d look a little more like Alex, and less like Dim after my diet…
8. Any plans for next year’s outfit?
I suppose I was a little brainwashed by the shear amount of pith helmets I saw! I’d love to be an explorer. I have many jars and trinkets and doo-dads about that I could use as evidence of my many adventures. I’m not too handy with making things, so I unless someone makes all my gadgets, I can’t be an inventor. Something like my character Professor Phineas Farflung. If I get enough money, I’d like to be a Steampunk furry. I haven’t seen one of those before and I love genre cross-overs. Hmm… It depends on whether my mechanical wings are finished by then, thus a different outfit entirely!
9. So what are you working on next, and where can we see more of your work?
I’m currently working on a business plan with the Prince’s Trust to become self employed and start getting my artwork printed on merchandise. Also I will be opening international commissions via PayPal as soon as I get off Jobseekers Allowance. *weeps* More obscurity, obscenity, observations and possibly some …objects? ‘OB’ words are hard… I’m constantly drawing, so nothing to fear. I’ve been rather inspired to write some more thanks to you, dear Craig! The adventure of Professor Phineas Farflung is in its beginner stages and some shorts are on the way… so watch this space!
It’s been real horrorshow to govoreet with you.
For the love of Bog, ignore the name of the deviantart page! I was 13 when I made it and I am too poor to change it!
And here’s where you can find more of Anzenna’s work!
Well, you’ve got sick of hearing me bash on about the competition entries for long enough, now. The moment has arrived for me to reveal the winner. But first, I’ll make you wait a little longer…mwahahaha
Good news on the signing front! I’ve been contacted by the lovely Amy at Doncaster’s branch of Waterstones, and they’ve offered me a spot on the 2nd November to turn up and hawk my wares. So, if you’re that way out on the 2nd, and in the mood for a chat, drop by and see me. I’m expecting to be very lonely for the day Keep your eyes peeled on the Tour Deets page for further updates.
Also, I forgot to mention it the other week, but I’ve been in the papers! Ok, it was a local newspaper, not exaclt front page or anything, but hey, I’ll take anything I can get! I only dropped a book off for them to take a look at and ended up with an interview which took about 45 minutes…and was then condensed down into this…
That was an excruciating photo seesion, I’ll tell you. As some of you may know, me and cameras just don’t mix. Speaking of which, I don;t know if you’ve noticed, but I have a new profile pic. The old one had been used for a small age and was a bit tired, so there’s the new one with me going for my “authorial” look (what a goit, eh?), taken in my study with my book wall behind me. This was after a previous post when both Pete Denton and Vanessa Chapman said I should get a new one. Who am I to argue?
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for (at least so I’ll shut up about it) *drum roll*
The winner of the Greaveburn Competition…
Chosen for the sheer balls it must have taken to take this photo. Also because, since entering, I know that some of the entrants have got impatient and bought a copy already (most of them signed by me already as well) and so have been removed from the running. Adding some much-needed smexy to the blog. Young children, avert your eyes. The winner of the Greaveburn Competition.
Sporting the latest in Greaveburn-related evening wear, Vanessa manages to exude the class and style I’d expect from my readers. Congrats, Vanessa, Greaveburn is on its way to you as we speak! Uber gutsy.
Other entries have been funny, inventive and utterly wierd. Kate’s puffer fish had me chuckling in particular. Natalie’s version of the “Keep Calm” meme is going on a T-shirt very soon, I think. Thank you to everyone who entered, though. And remember, folks, just because the comp it over doesn’t mean you can’t still be in the Reader’s Gallery!
Thanks for reading, folks. I hope you have a great weekend.
That’s right, folks, they couldn’t hold me! (Insert maniacal laugh).
Well, there was a lot of build up, a lot of nerves, and a lot of planning my outfits for the Asylum Convention in Lincoln last weekend, but it finally came and went in the blink of an eye. As my first convention, first Steampunk gathering, and first appearance/signing as an author, it couldn’t have been a better experience if I’d tried. The people were lovely, the weather was fantastic (although my wool waistcoat took a bit of a sweat-beating, I can tell you!), and I’m officially addicted. Even Laura, who’s nowhere near the level of geek that I am (at least not on the same subjects. What she doesn’t know about Shakespeare isn’t worth knowing) demanded that we go back next year. It’d be rude to refuse, right?
Suffice to say, it was pretty damned great. The costume competition was a particular high point, and the Tea Duelling championships had me cheering, rolling with laughter and booing like a pantomime dame. I have a video of my editor, Peter, in one of the early duels. Take a look…
The whole convention was a blast, really. If I tried to give you a blow by blow account I’d be here forever, so I’ll do a whistlestop tour. Favourite bits in no particular order:
1. The Bazaar with all the gadgets and gizmos and clothes, most of them handmade by some incredibly talented people.
2. Filling the grounds of Lincoln castle for an attempt at breaking the Guinness Book of Records’ “most Stemapunks in one place”. You should have seen us all! We can’t confirm that we did it officially…but I reckon we smashed it. We did a bloody mexican wave. That deserves an honourary mention at the very least.
3. Meeting the other authors, who were all lovely and very good with the advice. Raven Dane, who won this year’s best book award (and got all Gweneth on us…by her own admission). Jonathan Green who I had no idea it was him until he introduced himself. Aren’t internet pics so confusing? People look nothing like their online selves in real life. I unfortunately didn’t get to meet Robert Rankin of Sam Stone,which is a shame because I was hoping that some of their mojo would rub off on me with a handshake (damn and double damn), but they both seemed lovely from a distance.
4. Meeting the Inspired Quill team in person for the first time! As it turns out, we had a riot, sitting inthe pub and geeking out talking about Star Trek, Warehouse 13 and every other cultural reference we could think of. Eyeing up the revolving centrepiece in the Chinese restaurant while quoting from the opening scenes of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was particular favourite of mine. (The diamond Lao, the deal was for the diamond!)
Anyway, without boring you anymore, here are some more photos. I’ve removed the ones where I look a proper nonce which is basically all of them (I am NOT photo friendly)…but here you go
Hi, I’m sorry but I’m not here right now. What you’re now reading is the blog equivalent of an answering machine message. As you read this, me and the Inspired Quill team are at the Weekend at the Asylum convention in the fair city of Lincoln. Not only is it going to be my first book signing, but my first convention, and my first Steampunk event. I feel all raw and fragile. Be gentle. Depending on when you read this, I could be signing copies of Greaveburn, participating in any number of tea-based activities, or crying in a corner because everyone’s costumes are waaaay better than my own meagre efforts.
What ever the activity, I’m afraid it has taken me away from your loving embrace for the moment. But fear not, for I shall return with stories and pictures and all kinds of fun stuff to
bore interest you with next week (or maybe sooner :D).
If you can’t wait until then, please leave a message after the beep…
My name is Ravven, and I had the honour of being asked to do the cover for Greaveburn by Craig Hallam. This was a really involved project for a very interesting book and although we had some hiccups along the way, I think we both had fun.
First, though, some personal information. Such as…what’s with the name? I’ve been Ravven since the dawn of the internet (almost literally, which I suppose ages me terribly) due to the simple fact that that when I created my very first account Raven was taken, and so I became Ravven. I’ve used it ever since for both gaming, my artwork, and writing – in a sense, Ravven is more “me” than my original name. I began creating websites and digital art around the time that I started the goth zine Spiraldance (and if you remember that, you’re dating yourself!). These early baby steps led to a proper job in web design and web development, first for the great Musicians Friend in the US and then for a number of large ecommerce and social networking sites in the UK. It was great, it was well-paid, but a couple of years ago I decided to go freelance with my artwork. Hey, a recession is a good time to make these decisions, right? Right?
In any event, we didn’t starve and I can now change my LinkedIn profile to read “Book Cover Artist” rather than “unemployed.” I do covers in all genres, although fantasy and steampunk are my first and current loves. Information about my work can be seen here: http://www.ravven.com/blog/portfolio/book-cover-art/.
The process for creating the Greaveburn cover followed the usual process that a book cover goes through: a series of emails, mock-ups, changes both small and large, communication, miscommunication and the eventual coming to an agreement as to the image which best captures the feel of the book.
Note: the word “feel” is used intentionally, as very representational covers aren’t in style anymore. A cover should intrigue and it should try to capture the themes in the book rather than the plot. It should convey emotion, and finally it should make a promise that the book makes good on. If the cover says romance, the reader is going to be unhappy if the book is horror, and vice versa. Quite rightly the promise made by that cover should involve what happens on top of a bed, rather than what might be lurking beneath it.
The initial brief came from Craig with the following description:
Basically, my idea is to have the main character, Abrasia, looking out over a gothic cityscape (perhaps from behind like your cover for Mrs Havisham’s Mirror). She’s a blonde girl of about 16 to 17 years old, probably wearing a simple silk dress. Since it’s a proper cover we’ll need a wraparound so there are images on the back. I wasn’t sure if we could continue the gothic scene over onto the back, or have a separate scene, perhaps with the steampunk elements i.e. The Womb machine in a sewer/dark laboratory.
This was one of the first mock-ups:
In subsequent mails we determined that we would go with the anti-hero as a main figure, and Abrasia as a secondary figure. The city was to play a large part in the image as a character in its own right.
The next mock-up is below, and this one is a good example of how rough mock-ups actually are. There isn’t a lot of point in doing hours of painting on an image that may be totally wrong, so mock-ups are very rough composites made from watermarked stock, roughly cut out. Authors always seem to be taken aback by mock-ups at this stage and I have to keep reminding them to use their imagination.
I know. Rough as a bear.
The considerations involved in the Greaveburn cover were as follows:
- Create a living city from bits of stock – harder than it sounds without painting it from scratch, and yes there are some landmarks recognisable from your holiday snaps. Part of the challenge in doing photo manipulation!
- The feeling had to be fantasy, a bit ominous, and a bit steampunk. The Womb was portrayed on the back, where the steampunk influence is heavier. The city is looming and dark, and there is a hint of an undercity.
- When I am working on composition for a cover, I am looking at blocks of dark and light. The city is designed to frame the back, swoop up the centre to divide the two, and then frame the front. Both front and back have to work on their own as individual images.
And the result? Below. I want to give Craig thanks for the opportunity to work on this cover, as it was quite an experience. And ya know, if you are ever in the market for a cover artist…as they say, call me.
Ravven’s portfolio can be found here: http://www.ravven.com/blog/portfolio/
She can be followed on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/Ravven
This was the part that I was really worried about. As any author should be. If you say that you don’t care what the reviews say, you’re either a big fat liar-pants, or absolutely barking loony crazy. The reviews mean everything. Without reviews, there will be no more sales. No more sales means no more readers. And what are we Authors without our readers? You might as well take a space walk and scream at the universe, expecting an answer.
But, the review came, and it was good! Thanks to a pre-released copy going to The Steampunk Chronicle, I managed to get the nerve-wracking part over fairly quickly. Take a look at the actual review HERE. But basically, it’s a very good, well-rounded review. Good bits, bad bits, and the bad bits aren’t actually so bad, which is even better; some great constructive criticisms which will really help with Alan Shaw as I work on it.
Now for some stats. Everyone loves stats right? (groans from the crowd). Obviously I don’t know how many sales we’ve made, but I can tell you that Greaveburn hit the 12k mark in the Amazon Bestsellers Rankings. That’s pretty bloody good! I mean, these things change by the minute, so I’m hardly keeping track, but it’s nice to dip in every now and again and see that I’m only hovering on the edge of obscurity rather than being plunged into its choking depths. I’d call that a win!
I’ve also had my first interview with a newspaper, the local Doncaster Free Press. I only nipped in to drop in a review copy and there was a reporter pinning me to a chair and a photographer taking awkward-fixed-grin pictures of me against a plain background. Uber-uncomfortable, I’m sure you can imagine. And I also have my radio interview on the BookIt show TODAY! Listen in between 10am and 11am HERE (Click the Listen Live button anywhere in the world!) and you’ll see what an ass I make of myself…
As you can see, I’m very easily pleased. If Greaveburn does anything more than completely implode, I’ll be a happy little camper. No one’s heard of me. I’VE never heard of me, so why should it go stellar? It shouldn’t. But it’s a start. It’s a debut novel. It’s the first step on a long staircase; another thing to add to my writing C.V. And when I let myself think about it, it’s fantastic, exciting, and I’m committing the sin of pride every damn day. This is what we work toward, slave over, pray for and sign contracts in blood about. That book, on someone’s shelf. ANYONE’S shelf. And it’s happening right now. Excuse me a minute…
Ok, I’m done…until next time… But I don’t mind getting carried away, feeling good. I’m reminded of a video I once watched of Neil Gaiman addressing University leavers, talking about his early experiences as a writer, and how he was so wrapped up in the work and striving to be what he wanted to, that he forgot to enjoy it a little more. Well, Neil, as always, thanks for the advice! I’ll be sure to bear it in mind over the next few months.
Thanks for reading
Ladies and Gentleman, Goths and Steampunks, it is with great pleasure and a fluttery feeling in my nethers that I present to you a defining moment in my otherwise boring little life. For as long as I can remember, having a novel published has been my goal, my dream and, indeed, my life. Over the last five years in particular, making this dream a reality has taken up a LOT of my time and lowly amounts of brain power. It’ s been a long toil through the Forest of Rejection-Slips, and over the Mountains of No-Bloody-Publishers-Want-Me. But now, the gentle lull of I-Can-Do-This River has brought me to an ocean of Big-Headedness.
That’s right, Damsels and Trolls, the time has finally come to say the words…
GREAVEBURN IS NOW AVAILABLE
Insert fanfares, the HUZZAH of a thousand adoring minions, there’s bunting and someone is making baked potatoes on the barbeque, children are playing in the street and somewhere an octeganarian is complaining of the noise. But, in the immortal words of Gene and the Boys, I Want To Rock and Roll All Night (and party every day).
Since we’re sharing new things, why not take a look at the book trailer, below. Before anyone asks, the music is by a very talented young man named Andrew Price.
Since my hands are a-quivering and all the excitement is getting to my old ticker, I think I need to go for a lie down now. Don’t forget to check out the Launch Competition page above to get involved. And if you’re off to get a copy, I hope you enjoy it.
More than ever…
Thanks for reading.
If you’ve been around recently, you’ll already know the big news. If you haven’t…where HAVE you been? Oh, you have a life? Well, I hear they’re overrated. I won’t hold it against you. Better late than never.
Anyway, in honour of the publication of my debut novel, Greaveburn, I have decided to have a bonanza. Some lucky bugger is going to win things and that could mean YOU! But I’m not going to make it easy for you. Why would I? This isn’t the kind of giveaway you find on daytime tv where the question is something like:What is the name of the money-winning organisation for which millions of people buy tickets every week? Is it: A: The National Lottery B: The National Pottery C: The National Mockery (answers on a postcard, kids!)
No, we’re not going to do that, because that’d be crap. Instead, we’re going to go all Challenge Anneka on you. Below, you will find a couple of Greaveburn-related images. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to take one of these images (or one of your own making) and use it in the most imaginative way possible. The most outrageous/funny/obscure entry wins a personalised, signed copy of Greaveburn itself for your shelf and, of course, all entries will be put into a gallery for everyone to see and share (We’ll keep track of them on the new competition page). All mediums are accepted, including photos, vids, animations or whatever else you deranged readers can come up with.
Here are a few ideas to get you going:
- A tableau of you and your Steampunk/Goth friends brandishing the logo.
- Respraying your car/scooter/Harley Davidson with the cover images (That’d be freaking awesome).
- …or maybe a tattoo somewhere about your virgin flesh? (Soooo not worth the resulting prize!)
- Carve the title into a motorway overpass (I in no way endorse this vandalistic behaviour………although SOME might think it cool)
- Get your friends to spell out Greaveburn at a football game.
Whatever you come up with…camera *click*…email (Under my pic on the right, over there)…Simple!
I’m going to leave this open until the end of September, so pop back and see if you’ve won!
I’m sorry, did you think this was going to be about how to present yourself as an author to readers/interviewers and other such people you’ll be meeting along the way? No no. What I need, dear friends, is your opinion! If you were paying attention to any of my interweb outlets yesterday, you’ll have noticed that the ebook version of Greaveburn is now available for purchase. A-woo-hoo! This is a major step in itself, and I’m absolutely ecstatic, but it’s still just a warm up for the print copies being released on the 20th. Ok, self-plug over. Now what’s the relevance? Well, it’s got me thinking about how a professional writer comes across, and how important it is to how we’re seen. Surely the words are all that matters, right? Well, I don’t know. So, we’ll start with “Does The Look matter?”
Let’s have a think. Picture your favourite author. There aren’t that many, in the grand scheme of things, where I know what they really look like. But the ones that I do know by sight have a very particular look. Let’s have a look at the kind of folk I mean:
Neil Gaiman is a hero of mine. I’ve never been shy about sharing it. He’s an awesome writer, and incredibly versatile in what he can turn his hand to. I think his first ever book was a biography for Duran Duran (but don’t quote me. I may have my authors mixed up). But his writing isn’t just what makes him so damned cool. Just look at the dude. Long black coat, awesome hair, monochrome photos. He’s like a literary Neo. If only I could pull off an ounce of his coolosity, I’d think myself pretty darn hip and down with the kids.
The original dude of all dudes, as far as I’m concerned. The Discworld series is what got me into the Specualtive Fiction genre, and they still make me laugh on every re-read over 25 years later (Jeez, where did that go?). If anyone doesn’t like my writing, it’s Terry Pratchett’s fault. He inspired me to start creating my own worlds, even if thos early ones will never saw the light of day (and never will *shudder*). But look at him. He has a jaunty hat, he drinks tea, he’s covered in mice. And he still looks like the kind of guy you’d invite round for scones and a laugh. He looks like a really nice guy, and yet you take him seriously, too. Damn it, Terry! How do you do it?
Ok, obvious gender comparisons aside, Anne Rice knows how to work a look (take that Gok Wan). She looks like she would offer you apple pie and a glass of milk, then garrote you with that rosary and drink your blood from your skull. She also looks like she could walk into a room with Lestat and Louis, all nonchalant, and fit right in. She’s awesome; like a badass grandma that could roundhouse your head off with her oxford heels.
The Master himself. He doesn’t need to wear all black, he doesn’t need a cool coat. He’s got his specs and his typewriter, and that’s how he rolls. No one’s saying that Stephen King is going to win any Mr. World competitions. But that’s not the point of him is it? The point is, he could stand in front of Conan the Barbarian on PCP, and Stephen would just talk to him. Nice-and-calm. Before you know it, Conan’s screaming bloody murder and commiting Hara Kiri because he can’t handle the crazy that King has just dropped in his ear. Now THAT’S a writer! He also looks cool in a stripey shirt, of which I have plenty.
And so what have we learnt? Gaiman teaches us the virtues of awesome hair, cool coats and monochrome. Pratchett accessorises like a boss. Anne Rice preaches the virtues of a simple black number and a statement bob (not a choice I’ll be jumping on, I can assure you). And King shows us that sometimes the backdrop speaks proverbial volumes, and that can be all you need.
What does it all mean for yours truly? For a guy who’s just trying to break into the world of fiction, wielding his copy of Greaveburn like a Judeo-Christian tome and begging to be taken seriously? It means I need to get in the back of my wardrobe and have a rummage, that’s what it means…
Thanks for reading.
Well, folks, we’re on the last leg of the journey now. It’s been a long year, but Greaveburn is done, edited, covered, and at the printers. And so without much further ado, I would like to give you all a glimpse of what’s to come. This is the part I’ve personally been waiting for for a loooong time. Here’s what Greaveburn’s going to look like on the shelves!
(Drum Roll, please!)
Ain’t she purdy? Thanks to the incredible work of Ravven Kitsune, Greaveburn now has a face! Or faces…What you see here, folks, is Abrasia and Darrant against the backdrop of Greaveburn. I have to say that Ravven has done an incredible job here, not just artistically, which is obvious, but in getting the whole thing to look like it just leapt out of my head. fantastic work. Send her praise on Twitter and such.
But that’s not all. I can also reveal the OFFICIAL Greaveburn blurb! Or Greave-blurb, if you like (which I do, so there). Take a look:
A hero murdered.
A girl alone.
A city of villains.
From the crumbling Belfry to the Citadel’s stained-glass eye, across acres of cobbled streets and knotted alleyways that never see daylight, Greaveburn is a city with darkness at its core. Gothic spires battle for height, overlapping each other until the skyline is a jagged mass of thorns.
Archduke Choler sits on the throne, his black-sealed letters foretell death for the person named inside. Abrasia, the rightful heir, lives as a recluse in order to stay alive. With her father murdered and her only ally lost, Abrasia is alone in a city where the crooked Palace Guard, a scientist’s assistant that is more beast than man, and a duo of body snatchers are all on her list of enemies.
Under the cobbled streets lurk the Broken Folk, deformed rebels led by the hideously scarred Darrant, a man who once swore to protect the city. And in a darkened laboratory, the devious Professor Loosestrife builds a contraption known only as The Womb.
With Greaveburn being torn apart around her, can Abrasia avenge her father’s murder before the Archduke’s letter spells her doom.
So that’s what’s going down in the old town of Greaveburn. I hope it’s piqued your interest, because it’s on its way! Now as if that isn’t enough juicy stuff for you, I’d also like to draw your attention to the new page at the top of your screen entitled “TOUR DEETS”. That’s right, my little chickadees, me and the Greavesters are hitting the road this summer to meet some folks, sign some stuff, and have a laugh or three along the way. As we get new places to visit and details about when me and Greavesters will be there, the itinerary (scary word) will be updated on the DEETS page, so keep an eye on that new page for updates. I can’t wait to meet you all in person!
Thanks for reading!
Ladies and Gentelmen, this is an unscheduled public service announcement.
Today, a lovely little pick-me-up has occured. I got a phonecall from David North of the BookIt show on Doncaster’s local radio station Sine FM. Some of you may remember that I had an interview on a different show late last year but BookIt is specifically about books and…this time, it’s going to be about mine! As they had an unscheduled cancellation from another author, and David has just read Not Before Bed, he called to ask if they could record a reading of one of the stories and air it on the show! How cool is that!?
And so folks, this post is to inform you that if you listen in to Sine FM at 11am on Thursday (28th June), you will be able to experience one of my stories like they hever have been before!
If you’re in Doncaster, just tune in to 102.6 Fm on your radio. Or, if you’re anywhere else in the world, you can listen online here: http://www.sinefm.com/listen_live
I hope you guys get to have a listen. I’ll certainly be tuning in myself, of course. And then NEXT month, they’ll be airing an interview with little old me about the release of Greaveburn. I’m a proper Radio Regualr
I was watching The Book Show last week (I forget which day. It was raining at the Hay Festival, but this is Britain, so that's not really life defining.) and they had one of my favourite poets, Lemn Sissay as a guest. He's written a poem called 'Spark Catchers' to be erected in the Olympic Stadium this year, and I can't think of anyone more deserving, really.
When Stephen King started to write the Dark Tower series with The Gunslinger, way back in the mists of time, he said that it was reading Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings that inspired him to do it. King wanted to write a fantasy epic that would be as vast as the LotR universe. Hopefully, in years to come, if anyone ever reads my own work, it would be The Dark Tower series that I would quoet as inspiring me to write my own epic work of Speculative Fiction. That’s not to say that I dont love LotR too. I do. But there’s something about Roland Deschain and his Ka-tet that just resonates with me on every level imaginable. From that first famous line (which I quote verbatim when asked for an example of brilliant and simple writing) to the very last moments in Roland’s company, I can think of no other series that has rocked my imaginative world in quite the same way.
With that in mind, when I finally reached the Tower (because that’s how King makes you feel, like you’ve made the journey yourself) in book 7, I was utterly satisfied, utterly bewildered and felt utterly lost. Nothing I have read since has ever come close to being as EPIC as that series. But there’s a little saviour in the form of The Wind Through the Keyhole. Thank the Man Jesus, say thank ya.
As you may already know, this volume slots into the Dark Tower series between books four and five, filling in some blanks which I never knew were there in both the chronology of the story and history of Midworld (and Outworld, and all that lay outside and between). As a stand alone book, it might not shake you to your very foundation, but if you’re already a fan of the series (and if not, WHY not?) it’s like eating the best steak of your life (or asparagus stick, for you veggies) and, just as you finish, finding another tasty morsel hidden under the lettuce leaf on the side of your plate.
Suffice to say, the Wind Through the Keyhole makes for some tasty reading (extended the metaphor too far?). I dont want to talk about the plot in case of spoilers, but lets just say that its a brilliant way to insert an extra volume without shaking the foundations of everything that comes afterward. It’s a a very clever story within a story within a novel and this Russian Doll effect is what makes it really different. Of course, King has done this before in Song of Susannah, but The Wind Through the Keyhole does it better. If King had released this idea as a book in its own right, it’d be fantastic. As part of the Dark Tower series, it’s bloody brilliant. It’s times like The Wind Through the Keyhole when you realise (all over again) why King is a master of the craft, and why I envy his skill so damned much.
If you know the Dark Tower series, read it. If you don’t, then set aside a chunk of your life and bask in the awesomeness. I implore you.
Thanks for reading.
Oh yes, Zombies and Vamps, the post you’ve all been waiting for has arrived! After reading yesterday’s offering about his excellent novel, Dead Men, you have returned to get a taste of the author himself. And so, without any further ado and with no more preamble or fanfare, I give to you the poet, the author, and all round nice kinda guy, Richard Pierce.
Enjoy the trip – and it is a trip
In the lovely village I am fortunate enough to live in, I’m now talked of as the famous writer. Which is very odd, because I’m not famous at all. There is a common misconception that all published writers have a massive publicity machine behind them, that they’ll just be able to sit at home, in the comfort of their study chair, and watch sales rise and rise while they’re busy eccentrically producing the next masterpiece for their captive audience. Oh, and occasionally fielding phone calls from the publishers offering yet another all-expenses paid book tour to some exotic location. Unfortunately, real life in publishing nowadays very different to that. Or should that be fortunately?
A writer who has found a home for his or her first novel with a small independent publisher will get significant support on the editing side – Jon, my editor, spent hours with me going through the tiniest bits of grammar, meaning, punctuation, explaining the typesetting process etc etc – but when it comes to getting a big marketing push, there just isn’t the resource. It does make me smile when I tell people I’ve been here and there, and that I’m off to the US in June, and then add that I’m paying for it all myself. But, if I believe in the book, I have to do it, however uncomfortable it might be for my Yorkshire wallet.
The week Dead Men was launched, I was in London on the Monday, Portsmouth the next morning, then Doncaster in the evening and for the whole of Wednesday, then home, and another event here in the village on the Friday. I then spent a whole day in London doing 13 radio interviews (half of which were live), one after the other. And on Good Friday, I travelled all the way up to Dundee for a talk in the evening, and then back home on the Saturday. Cold and tired.
Now, don’t misunderstand me, this is not a miserable piece. I am not complaining. It’s been wonderful, sitting on trains, watching the countryside slide by (and the services have, on the whole been reliable, although with insufficient seating at times). It’s been even more wonderful, from a writer’s point of view, to be able to sit and watch lots and lots of strangers, absorbing their idiosyncrasies, storing them for future use, either as walk-on parts in some future novel, or as main characters who will write a whole book themselves, because they’ll be beyond my control.
The best things about all the travelling, though, and the book signings and interviews, are the individuals I got to meet, from crazy, rude people, all the way through to the people who engaged me in long conversations, even if they didn’t buy a copy of the book. It’s a hard slog, and sometimes hardly anyone turns up, but it’s worth meeting even just one person who’s interested, or one person who makes some sort of impression on you. That’s what a writer’s life is all about. Taking other people and putting them or their words into the stories we tell. Here are some of those people.
Like Fiona at the Natural History Museum, one of the Day Guides who help people to plan their days at that spectacular edifice, who calmed my nerves, talked to me about her mother who had met Charles ‘Silas’ Wright years ago when she was a young woman, the same Wright who features at the beginning of Dead Men. Fiona bought a copy for her mother who has since started regular correspondence with me – humbling.
Like Alan in Portsmouth, an Old Danensian like me, who turned up fifteen minutes early so he could show me photos of Portsmouth during the Second World War, who talked to me about my old school, and about how he loves Portsmouth now. ‘Oh, I don’t read much,’ he said to me when I asked him if he wanted to buy a copy of my book. ‘But my wife reads loads.’ And then he turned and left. That’s me put in my place.
A rowing couple in Portsmouth, a couple of lads walking round threateningly and telling me to you know what. Arms in the air. And then the best one, an Irishman whom I, feeling like a used car salesman sharking through Waterstones, approached and asked if he was interested in a book about the Antarctic. ‘Only if it’s about Tom Crean,’ he said, sounding even broader than the late, great Frank Carson. And then we spoke, not just of Tom Crean (who was a real real hero, who saved Teddy Evans’ life by walking over 30 miles without a compass through the freezing cold, and finished his days running a pub in Annascaul, The South Pole Inn), but of my new friend’s life, of the dreadful accident which had robbed is 30-year-old daughter of both her legs as she saved her own daughter from being run over by a refuse lorry on the way to school. And he wasn’t feeling sorry for himself or her, he was dignified, a caring father, a man complete and at peace with what life had dealt him and his family. ‘I’m just getting books for her so she doesn’t get bored,’ he said. We finished our conversation many times over, but turned back to each other time and again to add something else we felt we had to say to each other. I don’t care if I missed out on sales during that conversation. I just wish I remembered his name, but the piece of paper I wrote it down on has disappeared off with Lord knows what else I’ve lost. But the memory’s there. I wouldn’t be surprised if his name was Tom Crean the Third.
Doncaster was meeting old friends again, like noble Mick and Gray, at the Rovers, although they lost, and realising a dream, to have a page of the programme to myself, though I had always dreamed of it being as a player or a manager of the Rovers, but we can’t have everything. And making new friends, meeting twitter buddies like Craig, whose blog this is, who must be one of the kindest men on the planet [aw shucks - Craig], and his partner Laura, who helped me face the unusually quiet Creative Writing students at Hall Cross School. And Simon Saynor, from SineFM, who must be a long-lost half-brother of mine, who still has so much hair and so much energy he puts me to shame. What a craic that was, doing the Breakfast Show with him. All these people are so much more interesting and talented than I am.
An unexpectedly large crowd for my home event in Stradbroke. Lots of beer donated by St Peter’s Brewery, and me so nervous I forgot to thank them, although their MD was sat right in front of me. A friend, ill with cancer, making the effort to come and she rewarding me with a peck on the cheek as well as buying a book. And one lovely man whom I only know by site, coming and buying two copies of the book early and getting me to sign them because he had to rush off again. And Jack Stevens, from the band Cathedrals & Cars, being the most nervous I’ve ever seen him, because the other two couldn’t make it. And lots of familiar and unfamiliar faces. And talking till my throat could talk no more.
The water diviner in Diss Publishing who was ex-Royal Navy, who swore he could remotely divine water and was helping an African state find more water from his front room in Diss. ‘You don’t need divining rods any more,’ he said. ‘You don’t even need to be there. It’s all in the mind.’ And, you know, I believe him.
The crowd at Dundee could have been larger. Publicity angles had got confused, and so the event fell between two stools. But the eight souls who did turn up were wildly enthusiastic and made me go on for an hour and a quarter rather than the 45 minutes I’d planned. Michelle, the Australian girl with a very slight Scottish accent, and her East European friends, the two mature gents who kindly laughed at all my jokes and asked me really good questions. Nick, an old friend from Cambridge who works up there sometimes and had hidden himself from view when I’d gone into Waterstones before the gig, because he and his wife wanted to surprise me. Russel from the Waterstones up there was a brick (he writes crime novels himself), and the gathering down the pub afterwards with McEwans 80 was, er, lots of fun. And the folks at the Discovery Centre who gave me a free tour of Scott’s Discovery, which I later found out, back in Sassenach country, is haunted by quite a few spirits. Full cycle.
And so, now, as I brace myself for my US tour, as I try to edit my next book, A Fear of Heights, I look back at those wild crazy days just after book launch and wish I’d written it all down, in the minutest detail. Ah, but I have, and, like I said to Craig when I promised him this blog post – all the best stories are written in your head first.
Thanks to Richard for a great post! I’m honoured to have been a very small part of it. And now what you’re wondering is where you can find out more about this guy? Well, you can follow his Twitter with @tettig, or hit his blog HERE. Or, of course, you can buy his book…
Thanks for reading.
I don’t do this very often. Mostly because I don’t get to read half as much as I’d like, but mostly because I post reviews on Goodreads instead of on the blog. However, there’s an exception to every rule and this particular one is going to be broken by Dead Men.
Now, I’ve met a lot of fellow aspiring authors over the internet, mostly on Twitter, and read a LOT of independent work. Some good, some that still needed work. But now and again, I meet someone who really does deserve to be raised above us all; someone who deserves a healthy dose of props/kudos/respect. This post is my little nod to Richard Pierce, who I believe to be worthy of those three things.
Richard has done what many (including myself) aspire to do. He’s been published in the traditional rather than the self-published route. That means that he’s jumped those dreaded hurdles which wake us up at night, in a flop sweat, screaming unhinged syllables into the dark. You say that’s just me? Oh right…sorry. Anyways, he’s made it by hook or by crook, via a collection of poetry and now his book is on the shelves. Congratulations, Richard!
What’s astounding about this story is that I’ve actually found time to read it! Here’s the official blurb:
Birdie Bowers is a woman with a dead man’s name. Her parents had been fascinated by Henry Birdie Bowers, one of Captain Scott s companions on his ill-fated polar expedition. A hundred years after the death of Bowers and Scott, she sets out to discover what really happened to them… The discovery of Captain Scott’s body in the Antarctic in November 1912 started a global obsession with him as a man and an explorer. But one mystery remains why did he and his companions spend their last ten days in a tent only 11 miles from the safety of a depot that promised food and shelter? Dead Men tells the story of two paths. One is a tragic journey of exploration on the world s coldest continent, the other charts a present-day relationship and the redemptive power of love.
Now what’s interesting, and brilliant about Dead Men is right there in the blurb. This is not only a story about one of the greatest feats in human exploratory history, but its about the smaller event of two people falling in love. If you’re expecting a long-winded, overly glamourous re-telling of Scott’s journey, you won’t find it here. If you’re looking for a chick-flick style romance, go somewhere else. This book is neither formulaic or predictable. I can honestly say that there is nothing I’ve ever read which has been quite like Dead Men. The mix of a real-life, very relatable story and the themes of obsession are a fantastic contrast to each other, while Pierce shows us that they’re not Polar (excuse the pun) opposites at all. You don’t have to understand WHY someone becomes obsessed, you only have to accept it as part of them and, if you love them, maybe even embrace it a little yourself. Who knows? You might find something beautiful to share.
And that’s what Dead Men is all about, at least it was for me.
Now that the literary study is over and done with, what did I think? I can throw compliments at Pierce and his work until the cows come home and all f them will seem hackneyed and bland, or overly enthusiastic and hence ignorable. So I’ll put it this way. I bought Richard’s book from my Doncaster branch of Waterstones on a Tuesday afternoon. By 7 o’clock the next morning, I’d read it. More than that, I read the last page, and realised I was smiling.
Go and read it. Download it, buy the hard copy, have it sent to you on post-it notes, but read it. You won’t be disappointed.
And now for the surprise that I promised you all through Twitter!
If you tune into the blog tomorrow…Richard Pierce, author of Dead Men, will be guest blogging about his book touring experiences!
Thanks for reading.
Yes, I’m one of those people that just randomly types things like “Steampunk Movies” into Google and hopes to find something genius to watch. Of course, you end up with the usual list of top ten lists that you’ve seen before and nothing new. Well, my friends, this time I have gone deeper into the Matrix to bring you a juicy eye-feast. Youtube be praised!
As I have discussed in a previous post I’m always as looking for more examples of the incredible creativeness that Steampunk encourages. And here are some visual treats for you:
One of my personal favourites are the very kitch and toungue-in-cheek adventures of the League of Steam. They’re a team who battle paranormal beings. It’s great. Here’s an episode to watch, but there are loads more on their website.
My trip to Budapest, although only a few days, was the most surreal experience of my life. As some of you may know from my going-away post, I did absolutely no research about the city before going there. It was a literal out-of-the-hat type holiday. I didn’t know what places of interest to visit, what historical sites were there or any of the history of the country. I especially didn’t know the language. But when I got there, I realised that I DID know the city. In fact, for the last three years, I’ve been visiting Budapest in my head without even knowing it. Because, as I walked the streets, I realised that parts of Budapest were exactly how Greaveburn to look! I don’t just mean in a similar-kind-of-way. I mean in a This-is-what-was-in-my-head kind of way.
Here’s a gallery to show you what I mean, the captions, of course, are which Greaveburn buildings I relate to the real ones:
That’s only four pics, but I’m afraid they’re quite high res and I can’t fit any more on. Maybe I’ll do another gallery on a separate page later on.
Anyway, you get the idea. And with the edits for Greaveburn coming back from Inspired Quill for the second time, everything’s starting to feel just a little too real. We’re getting closer and closer, folks. The time will soon be upon us. I may sound calm right now, but expect some serious panic-posts very very soon
Anyway, now that I feel I’ve visited some of the places in my head, and that I may well be living in the Matrix, I’d like to suggest Budapest for your next trip. If you like to relax, but in a city environment, I can’t think of anywhere else I could suggest. It’s peaceful, despite being a big city. No one rushes around. The food is great. The exchange rate right now is pretty damn good. Just avoid the Austrian beer. NOT good. The local brew, Dreher, however, is great.
While we were there, we poked around just about anywhere we could. Especially in search of a good bar. But our strangest discovery was a little place called Verne’s, named after the incredible Jules Verne. And outside Verne’s, I found something that made me feel completely at home; a piece of Steampunk awesomeness:
Great isn’t it? I dropped a Greaveburn business card into it for some unsuspecting Hungarian to find. Who knows? I might get a following over there! (I’m not holding my breath hahaha).
As always, I’d like to apologise for how long it’s been since I’ve posted. I know I’ve been slacking off. But, as you will soon see, it’s all for a good reason. The next time I post, I hope, it’ll be to show you my Steampunk costume for the upcoming Weekend at the Asylum Steampunk convention. I intend to look utterly ridiculous, and I can’t wait! Keep your eyes on this spot!
Thanks for reading.