Pretty broaches made by Pun!

I’m crazy busy this week, and I’m just leaving for a birthday celebration for my mom.  (Happy Birthday, MOM!)  So, I’m sorry but today’s post will be brief.  I’ll have loads more to say later on, I’m sure.

In the meantime, check out these lovely little broaches!  Aren’t they just delightful?  Not too ostentatious, just enough elements to be visually quite fascinating, clever asymmetry, I approve!  And I want one, lol.

 

Check out my friend Pun’s Etsy for ordering details.  We just met at Clockwork Alchemy, in California, and hit if off right away.  But when she said “oh, yeah, I’m making some broaches…” I didn’t realize they would turn out to be this lovely!  I suppose, I should have.  Sorry, Pun!

Join me now and support the little guy!  …or, girl, in this case.  Check out her Etsy, and share her art.

Twist is going to Clockwork Alchemy 2014!

UntitledI should probably mention this, considering the con starts Friday.   I had too much stuff to do to get ready for the con, and I plum forgot to tell anyone I was going.  Whoops!

Anyway, yes!  Twist will be making an appearance at this year’s Clockwork Alchemy con, in San Jose, California, from May 23rd through 26th.  Just like last year, I’ll be signing books at the table, and selling swag.  I’ll have the first 2 books on sale, and even some new shiny buttons.

20140519_123740If you’re in the San Jose area and like a bit of steampunk, come in for the day!  There’ll be musical and special guests, lots of things to buy with gears glued on, weirdos–erm…  I mean, wonderfully attired individuals, and a library of all things steampunk with loads of authors and book signings!

Of course, you know, I won’t get to see much of the con myself, as I’ll be mostly at my author table.  So, please do come and say hi!  It would be lovely to chat with you.  And if you come in costume, I’ll be taking as many pictures as I can and posting them all right here on the blog!  I had a lovely time meeting a lot of you last year, and I’m looking forward to seeing you again.

Suggested Reading: Echoes 2!

eBook coverAfter the success of Echoes: Neo-Victorian Poetry, we have now been gifted with another wonderful collection of poetry by JaniceT!

Once again, the works you will find in this volume are all of a classical style.  There are no confusing prose, or ostentatious turns of phrase.  These are poems that echo the more refined and understandable rhymes and rhythms of Emily Dickinson and Poe, but with JaniceT’s own unique voice.

I find that much of modern poetry is aloof and self-important, as if the work itself were looking down its nose at me with judgmental eyes, assuming that I could never truly understand its so-called greatness.  Others are so rough and simplistic as to make me wonder why it’s called a poem at all, and not simply a very short essay.  Slam poets can reach me once in a while, but usually I’m off-put by their aggressive shouts and clear intent to offend.  Either way, I always end up going back to the more inviting, delightful, and damned understandable works of old, where I can enjoy a moment of truth and beautiful melancholy with Yeats, or dance happily through the clean air with Shelly and his skylarks.

Because of all of this, I’m very happy to announce that JaniceT’s work is something anyone can easily relate to and enjoy.  She took great care and attention to give these pieces rhyme and structures that are familiar and comforting, while bringing up many new and fascinating ideas.  She writes both about the modern condition with poems about organic foods and on-line trolls, as well as venturing farther into Steampunk than before with airships and a delightful look at Verne.  All the while, you will find graceful moments of relateable human experience and true emotion.

If you’re put-off by poetry in general, or feel that you just don’t get it, then do yourself a favor and give this one poet a try.  These poems will welcome you in with open arms, and show you that this art form really is one that you too can deeply enjoy.  You were simply reading the wrong poems, all along.

Get the paperback or eBook on Amazon or Smathwords.

Get a taste for JaniceT’s work on her blog, at http://janice-t.weebly.com

Janice T’s Facebook page.

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Are you an author who loves Steampunk as much as I do?   Or, are you just a big big fan of a Steampunk/Neo-Victorian author?  Would you like to see  your favorite book, or your own book, featured on this blog?  Please leave a comment on this post with a short pitch and a link!   I’ll happily feature anything that I think will fit the style of my blog.  And even if I don’t feature it, please please leave your info in a comment anyway!  Who doesn’t love new books?

Suggested Reading: Top 5 Victorian novels every steampunk must read.

Sure, we all talk about the great Victorian novels, but how often do we Steampunks really sit down and read them?  We’re all so busy sewing, writing, reading modern Steampunk, larping and making, who’s got the time to read the classics?  Well, I do.  If you manage to carve out a few hours for a proper novel and a cup of tea, then check over this list to see if you missed any essentials.

1, Around the World in 80 Days,  Jules Verne.

That’s right, I’m on Team Verne.  Sorry Wells, but Verne is just more fun.  When I first realized that Steampunk was a genre, this was the first book I ever read specifically looking for Steampunk inspiration.  I gobbled it up in one breath and was inspired enough to start writing my own Steampunk adventures.  This book has it all: fantastic and unique characters, exotic destinations, Victorian social commentary, and enough humor, adventure, and excitement to delight anyone.  And for those of you who think, “Oh, I’ve seen the movie.  I don’t need to read it,” I will tell you that you’re utterly wrong!  First of all, there’s no balloon in the book.  Second, I have never seen a decent portrayal of Passepartout in any film or show.  And lastly, although one actor has played Phileas with dignity, none have ever truly captured the damn sexy subtlety of his true nature.  If you adore gentlemanly adventure like any good Steampunk, and you haven’t read this book, then you are doing yourself a great disservice.

2. The Time Machine, H.G. Wells

Don’t take my siding with Verne as an insult to Wells.  Even though a great deal of his novels were bridging past the Victorian era, The Time Machine is as much a part of Steampunk lore as goggles and airships.  This book has the Dystopian edge that permeates modern Steampunk, and more metaphorical social commentary than you can shake a stick at.  While I personally prefer more layered characters, I can say nothing at all against Wells’s skill in storytelling.  I would say that the movie (the original, not that weird thing from the 90s) did a better job of portraying the story in the way that it was written, and any movies based on Verne.  Even so, this great work deserves to be read.

3. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde.

Ah, Wilde…  I’ve had a literary crush on the work of Oscar Wilde since I was in my teens.  It usually takes me twice as long as normal to finish one of his stories, simply because I keep having to gasp, pause, and re-read every gorgeous line I find … which is usually about every-other one.  But wait! you say.  Wilde didn’t write about submarines or airship travel, or time machines!  No, he didn’t.  He wrote of men’s true nature and the murky, shadowed depths of the human soul.  In this glorious novel, Wilde explored the dangers of the ego-centered detachment, which the wealthy and the beautiful London aristocrats danced so blindly about.  Here in 2014, it can be difficult to get a clear perspective of what life was really like back there.  If you want to know the motivations of a Londoner of the time, feel the eerie quiet of an empty life in a grand old house, and taste the terror of one’s own limitless potential in a world of too much freedom, than you will find no better prorate.

4. A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

More than just taking us through wonderfully entertaining stories about murder and mystery, Watson provides another great snapshot of what life was like under the rule of Victoria.  From mentioning popular culture (like novels that were once wildly popular but are now unheard of, and which plays, operas, and even fashions were popular at the time) to noting that the sky over London is rather brown today, Watson weaves a tapestry of the time.  The way that the two characters relate to their world in the original stories, tells more than you will ever find on Wiki, or in any of the TV shows and movies that have been made from it.  Not that there is anything wrong with SherlockBBC.  I was simply staggered by the bulk of raw insight that I found in all of the Holmes stories.

5. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne

I mean really.  How could this book NOT be on any steampunk list?  Sure, there’s more fish genus than are at all needed.  Sure, Nemo’s past is never truly explored.  Sure, Ned can be a bit annoying.  But honestly, what would our beloved genre be with this massively inventive, thrillingly adventurous, and truly beautiful work?  All I can say is that, as with most of Verne’s works, you must be very careful when selecting a translation to read.  The first time I tried to read this book, I couldn’t get more than a few pages in before I got bored.  But, I found out later that I had been reading a highly abridged version, with truly awful re-writing.  I tried a much more modern translation by Walter James Miller and Frederick Paul Walter, and suddenly I couldn’t put the book down!  I tell you right now, if you ever tried to read this book and didn’t like it, it was entirely because of the translation.  Get a better copy and try it again today!

Well, that my top 5 classic Victorian essentials list.  What’s yours?  Do you agree with my line up?  Did I missing something dreadfully important to the genre?  Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.  And happy reading!

Picture Day: Bjorn Hurri’s Steampunk Star Wars.

There’s a lot of Steampunk Star Wars images and sculptures out there.  I’ve seen some fun cosplay too.  Today I’m going to treat you to my favorite version, with the art of Bjorn Hurri.  Click any image for enlargements and source pages.

      

      

      

What’s your favorite version of Steampunk Star Wars?  Drop a link or an image (site the artist if you can, please) down in the comments!

And may the steam be with you.

Top 10 Bizarre Victorian Inventions

This is someone else’s article, but I’m sharing because it made me giggle.

We all know that the Victorians could be a bit silly from time to time, and here are 10 great examples of that.  From mechanical stamp lickers, and automatic  smoking machines, to a Spherical Velocipede (which I totally want), there is something goofy for everyone!  Enjoy.

Top 10 Bizarre Victorian Inventions

Did this list not include your favorite silly inventions from the era?   Leave a comment and share it!