Photo of the Week: Steampunk Octopus

So, of course, today had to be one of the (albeit paltry) photos I took during the Saturday I spent at Steampunks in Space at the Leicester Space Centre. I had a good time. I learnt about making gin cocktails, caught up with friends, didn’t buy anything from the market (yay!), and of course, did a customary wander of the space centre’s exhibits.

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This particular octopus, Bluey, was made by my fiance. He [the octopus, not The Fiance] is hiding behind his bow tie a bit! You can find more of Chrono Creation’s stuff and like his page here.

Boosting: Airship Ashanti Multicultural Steampunk Calendar

A great way to support representation in Steampunk!

Beyond Victoriana

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The Airship Ashanti sent over this missive about a great project they are doing to support representation in steampunk, and also goes to a good cause. I’m happy to support their efforts in our community. Ofeibea Loveless of the Airship Ashanti writes:

In an effort to showcase the diversity of its local steampunk scene, Airship Ashanti is selling copies of its new 2017 multicultural steampunk calendar this fall. The calendar features members of the Cincinnati/Dayton steampunk community as well as holidays from cultures and religions around the world.

HRA Ashanti Captain Mandisa Njeri says the group created the calendar to be more inclusive of the various beliefs, religions, and backgrounds that make up the world around us.

“For several years, the HRA Ashanti has stood behind its calling to support its local community through multiculturalism,” she adds. “This calendar is a step in the right direction of inclusive society that…

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7 Quick Takes: A Recap of the Vanished

I know I’ve been absent from 7 Quick Takes Friday for a while now. Some of it has been out of my control – moving and all that jazz – but some of it, I must admit, has been laziness on my part. So, of all the things, this is a Friday catch-up, I suppose.

Seven Quick Takes

~1~

Oh, September, how you are a tricksy month, particularly for someone like me who took a rather distended break from blogging and writing et al, and whose mind now is struggling to settle back into routine.

~2~

I think I will relish returning to the normal routine of student work getting in the way of writing work, though. Giving myself a reason to get out of bed will surely aid my brain into inspiration during the day.

~3~

Speaking of which, that’s coming up soon. I get enrolled soon, and then lectures after that, though it still feels like a lifetime away. I know it will pass so quickly; and part of me wishes so, whilst the other is perfectly happy to freeze time in the here and now.

~4~

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What am I reading? Oh, wow, what a question, since, if one goes by my Kindle app, I am reading quite a number of things at once. For my own amusement, I recently stumbled back into reading THE SECRETS OF GHOSTS by Sarah Painter and published by Carina, a small press that has impressed (!) me with its selections of titles and way with voices.

~5~

Image result for heart of brassThere are a few books I’m reading for writing style inspiration:

THE DARK DAYS CLUB by Alison Goodman; HEART OF BRASS by Kate Cross; A GATHERING OF SHADOWS by VE Schwab.

A theme, right? Well, I have to read up in my fields. 🙂

~6~

On the writing front, I’m slowly rewriting my novel H, a historical fantasy that floats about from New York to Italy. Here, our plucky young heroine, Cathleen ‘Cathy’ Cattoway, returns to New York in the dead of night to question the man who last saw her betrothed.

~7~

When they docked unceremoniously in New York—Cathy’s boots slid her across the moisture-sleeked deck like untethered weights—the morning hung dark and heavy over Ellis Island, mist-less yet crammed with whispers of forbidden conversations out of their reach. Even the residue of last night’s Passing made Cathy’s hair stand on end. Out here the air was a mixture of gaslight fumes, the smell of bitterly cold air, and fouler scents, too…

Photo of the Week: Robots Worthy of Flailing

Okay, it’s not the greatest photo–but Steam Powered Giraffe live. Nothing more. That equals the squee. The excuse of this gif…

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I saw them live on Sunday night for the Lincoln Asylum at the Engine Shed for their official UK debut, and then we who came to the Empire Ball on the Saturday evening were treated to an acoustic version of their first four songs from the set. As I was closer (and the venue was a lot more intimate), this photo is from the first performance, where Hatchworth was jamming out to Fancy Shoes.

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HOUR OF MISCHIEF Review

(What’s this? Another review? Well, I read on the way to work, okay.)

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Born in a whorehouse in the slums of Fortuna and burdened with a prosthetic arm, seventeen-year-old JANET REDSTONE doesn’t think she owes the Clockwork Gods anything—which is why she makes a living stealing from their temples. But when she lands her team in prison, making a pact with the God of Mischief, ITAZURA, is the only way to right her wrongs and free her friends.

Janet doesn’t trust Itazura as far as she can punch him, but with her soul in his hands, she has no choice but to do what he says. The clockwork gods and the bad-tempered elder gods of the ancient past are locked in a game of cat and mouse and the human realms are caught in the middle. If Janet can’t somehow convince the gods to step in a save the world, humanity is in an abyss of trouble.

Using her unconventional wits, an impressive tolerance to alcohol, and a strong right hook, Janet has to convince the gods that humanity is worth saving. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more difficult to stop an apocalypse when you’re slowly being driven crazy by the Lord of Mischief, especially when he starts growing on you.

(Also, yay, an excuse to use Steampunk gifs!)

Author Aimee Hydman is someone I admire, having acquired an agent and deal during college/university. So, I was eager to get my teeth into her debut, particularly as it’s Steampunk right off the bat.

It’s hard for me to pick a favourite element of the book. The setting was luscious but not over-described – Fortuna, Janet’s home city lies on part of a clock-shaped world. I am rather jealous, actually, of how Hyndman incorporated her world-building into the Steampunk aesthetic of the novel and explained through it the human characters’ relationship with the clockwork gods.

Speaking of the characters, they were also engaging. Janet’s the kind of spunky heroine that my teen MC, Agnetha, would hate and be best friends with. It wad great to have the book narrated by Janet; she makes a number of questionable decisions – yet, one understands her reasoning and even supports her. Not only because we see it through her eyes, but also because she is fearlessly faithful to her friends.

Speaking of which, I was sad we didn’t get to see more of the Pendulum Thieves, but, again in retrospect that the is a book1, My favourite character, however, was the goddess Laetatia. Despite being world-weary and as assertive as Janet, she is a foil to Janet with her femininity and elegance. She combines Janet’s strong qualities with a softness that makes her an appropriate companion/big sister figure in the novel.

There was also a lot of set up for later, with hints of foreshadowing here and there that I appreciated. Got to love some subtle foreshadowing (though, Shakespeare does tend to ram it in your face…). Granted, I didn’t realise this was the first of a (potential) series until the final chapter, so I was expecting the mysterious elements to be wrapped up by the end. Okay, I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed they weren’t, but at the same time, I liked that they weren’t all solved. Hyndman avoided rushing the reveals with some deus ex machina explanation or the old “as you know, Fred…” trope. (You can tell I’ve been editing the end of my first-draft novel, cant you? *grin*)

I planned not to be interested in any potential sequels (I have too many books on my to-read list to be involved with series at the moment) but the cliff-hanger-esque feeling to the ending meant that there are so many questions still unanswered in the novel that I want to snatch up the sequel if it’s published.

4 Steampunk pieces out of 5.

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I took a star off for the typos I noticed. I consider this not the fault of the author but of the editor, who I would expect to have caught these things before publishing, and whilst I do admire Curiosity Quills Press, I have heard of a few editorial problems from them.

Would I recommend the YA Steampunk novel? Absolutely. It’s an adventurous quick read with a take-no-trouble-from-anyone heroine and, yes, a somewhat dreamy god who’d rather give you a trick than be a hero.

~

About the author:

Aimee Hyndman, by Aimee HyndmanAimee Hyndman has been writing ever since her toddler fingers could grasp a pencil. A lover of all things speculative fiction, she spent many a night penning the beginnings of novels that would never see the light of day. Now attending college in Iowa, double majoring in Creative writing and English, she has clearly never lost her love of the craft.

When not writing and avoiding her school work, Aimee enjoys reading, singing, and acting at her school’s theater department. She is also a lover of anime and all things Disney.

Her area of specialty is fantasy of all sorts but she dabbles in many genres— whatever she feels compelled to write at the moment. The plot bunnies are never ending but, luckily, so are the words!

 

Currently, on a Wednesday

The currently posts are meant to be on Tuesdays (or at least author Katy Upperman does it on Tuesdays, from whom I got the idea), and I fully tried to post it yesterday, but I’ve had so much catching up to do now I can’t do it until after 8pm that my work on it during the day turned into only half a post. And I didn’t even think of WordPress. #mylife #howdotheydoit?

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Loving…

Interacting with young ones in my new job. Their vitality and enthusiasm is so rewarding.

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Reading…

HOUR OF MISCHIEF by Aimee Hyndman. It’s a YA Fantasy/Steampunk with rich setting and relatable characters.

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Writing…

I was working on edits for Horology, but I’ve neurotically changed gears again, and have returned to WTCB with new ideas.

Watching…

Old Miss Marple episodes. I do missing having a daily or even weekly murder mystery hit to watch as I write and relax in the evenings.

Listening to…

Steam Powered Giraffe’s third studio album MK3. With the hour+ travel to work and back, I’ve been using my phone as my MP3 player again – complete with the music I listened to three+ years ago. As a consequence, I’ve not listened to my favourite band for a while, and, having been through their fourth album, space opera Vice Quadrant, multiple times, I’ve rather forgotten the joy of many of the songs in pop 50s-focused album MK3.

I’m just going to be mean and insert the teaser for Vice Quadrant, which will have you humming that fragment of Progress and Technology for hours until you go out and buy the song. 😉

Anticipating…

Moving out of the house I’ve lived in the last year for my third year of uni, which I’ll be doing in two weeks. I’m the last housemate around (And currently typing this in the space of my kitchen.), which means I’ve got a tonne of housework to be doing at some point in between working and doing much-needed (to keep my mental health stable) rewriting. I plan to work on the big bathroom this afternoon.

Wishing…

To get back into my writing mode. I have been wanting to keep pressing on with my editing for a while, and it just hasn’t happened.

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What have you been up to? Did you post a Currently… post this Tuesday?

Photo of the Week: Biscuits

My Instagram picture for today. As part of my reading challenge for this year, I’ve been trying to read more often, and I took the extra day we were given (leap year, woo!) to read a couple of chapters of A Conspiracy of Alchemists (long overdue reading), and I’m getting back into this Steampunk, and it’s giving me ideas for editing ‘H’.

Also with some snacks for today. Lotus biscuits. Would you believe these are vegan? Yum!

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