steampunk


alderpodlogoAlderpod #22 is live! Huzzah.

I was going to do a special video podcast of this one, but that did not pan out. Instead, it only delayed the finishing of this one. Grr. Ah, well. What can be done?

There are a few short noes at the end of this (Brick) chapter, but hey–there’s only ten more chapters to go until the end. Exciting, exciting. The first Alderpod went live on April 22, 2008, so with 22 episodes since then, I’ve almost managed twice a month. I feel accomplished!

As always, let me know if you have any comments/suggestions/likes/dislikes. Remember, this is a podcasted draft, so I’m always looking for input. Special super shoutout to commenter Tintri who has not only read the whole book, but has also given me some incredible feedback!

3361044690_e6b0490a76_mTruly, Victorian/Edwardian, but these date to 1917 (the watch) and the 1930s, respectively, though certainly evocative of the Victorian aesthetic. These were passed to me by my great aunt, and they belonged to my great-grandmother, Evelyn. When my great aunt brought out the watch, I think my heart stopped. My eyes filled with tears. I never knew there were such heirlooms in the family, to be honest. Or if there were, I didn’t think they’d be mine.

3361042794_d3e27bf5bb_mThe watch was given to my great-grandmother on her graduation from high school which, at the time, was the only schooling she was allowed to have. As a woman, and a sister to a brother, the family would not pay or support her if she wanted to go to college. Such different times. But my great-grandmother was a poet, a writer, a guitar player, and by all accounts a remarkable person who always saw the good in people. I also have two of her yearbooks, and I will scan some pictures of her later; I look quite a bit like her! Though she was Swedish, she was dark-haired and dark-eyed.

3361045574_c706339a87_mThe pin was given to my great-grandmother by my great-grandfather, while they lived in Italy (he was a painter). It’s a miniature mosaic, and I think it’s a Japanese beetle. The Victorian aesthetic loves the bug, and this particular fellow is just so brilliant. Such remarkable treasures! I feel quite lucky.

I explained to my great-aunt what sorts of things I write, and I think she understood what I was trying to say better than most. Funny how that works…

alderpodlogoAlderpod #21: Chapter Nineteen – Princess, Priceless

Alderpod #21 is live! Huzzah. I had this all but uploaded right before I left for the West Coast, and then my son spilled (more) ice water on the MacBook, and we had to let it dry. Unfortunately by the time I left, I had not had a chance to finish it. As per usual, I also recorded #22, or Chapter 20, as well. I have to give it a good listen before I decide if it’s good enough to be released into the world, and it’s long. Long, long. But we’re not talking about 20, we’re talking about 19. Ahem.

This chapter, as I mention in the podcast notes, is about Ellin and Sylvan primarily, and their very odd relationship. Much of The Aldersgate is about the growing of relationships, or in this case re-kindling–The Ward of the Rose is really a little different than that, in that it’s where those relationships are truly tested. Although Ellin tries very hard in this chapter to go the way of a romance novel, as you’ll see, the outcome isn’t exactly as you’d expect in such as situation.

Again, sorry for the delay. Listen, enjoy; let me know what you think!

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but since starting Alderpod, I really haven’t taken a look at iTunes. When I opened it up yesterday I realized how awful it looked, how silly the paragraph explaining the novel was, and how unprofessional it was! I could never find Alderpod in iTunes, and that’s because–for some reason–it’s not listed as Alderpod. Add to that the fact that half of the podcasts weren’t showing up well… I’m a bit red-faced.

I will defend myself by saying that I’ve been just too wrapped up in a) being a mom b) dealing with family issues c) writing my posterior off and d) trying to podcast in my spare time. I am not a podcast junkie myself–I just don’t have time to sit in silence and listen. It’s unfortunate, but true. I’ve learned a great deal by trial and error and this was a huge error. That anyone has followed along this far at all is astonishing to me.

So, first: apologies. Alderpod is a labor of love, not a means of making big bucks or getting “discovered”. It’s a public draft, and the feedback I recieve is absoultely instrumental in my novel polishing process (which is what I’m referring to it as these days). That I’ve been a little sloppy in the actual implementation is not a surprise.

Secondly, if you have tried in the past to subscribe to Alderpod, and found a) messiness and b) missing podcasts, I would ask you to revisit the feed. You’ll find the missing chapters, and an updated explanation of the book. It’s part western, part fantasy, part adventure, part steampunk.

And lastly, as a friend of mine recently inquired: no, this is not a kissing book. The first chapters sound a little like a romance, but, if you wait it out you’ll see that I have a rather skewed perspective on romance. If you get through the first three chapters you’ll soon learn that nobody gets what or who they want, and most everything is more complicated than at first glance. And, in fact, though the first draft of this book had quite a few um, extended scenes in the bedroom, the podcasted draft version (technically the third draft) does not. It’s odd. I certainly hadn’t intended to cut the scenes out, they just didn’t fit the feeling of the book the second time through, and didn’t make the final cut.

A sincere thanks to those of you who have stuck by. I can’t offer much in the way of thanks except that I can let you know I’m working on a wiki for the world (to answer questions I’ve recieved about other cultures/history, etc) that even includes a fancy map! Ah, yes. No fantasy is complete without a map.

“Nothing’s impossible, Brick. It’s only our thinking that makes it so.” – Sir Gawen of Fenlie (by way of Shakespeare, perhaps)

Alderpod #20. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal. It turns out that the episode has a full-blown song in it, with guitar and voice, so I’ve got to get that down before I set it free, and I want it to be good. So, knowing me, I’m going to spend an inordinate amount of time on it. Hopefully by “inordinate” just a few more days will be enough, so I can get it out the door; I’m itching to get the rest of the chapters out.

So, thanks for the patience and the awesomeness as always. I think I’m also going to release an .mp3 of the song itself, because the quality always dies when it comes to compression.

Anyway… yeah, that’s the status report this morning. :)

Like many publications, the Willows Magazine is struggling. From Ben’s blog Literacity:

Well, it’s 2009, and things haven’t gotten much easier at the offices of The Willows. While Jade did finish up the issue, it was several weeks late…and that isn’t the only problem.

For those of you who don’t know, I pay for 90% of The Willows out of my own pocket; always have. Some advertisers sweeten the deal now and then, and my supply costs are (somewhat) covered by subscribers, but by and large, I buy stories and new features as I can afford them, and feel they’re justified. And I’ve always been rewarded by your loyal readership; I have no complaints on that score.

But this year opens on a rather underfunded Willows, which means we’re going to have to print and ship as we are able to afford it. Some of you have already received your December issues, and let me go on record as saying I feel humiliated that the rest of you have not, when it is almost February. I can only express my profoundest frustration. (You can read more here)

To top it off, some subscribers are kinda being jerky about the whole situation. What folks often don’t realize is that many of these publications are labors of love, with very small staffs, who often work thankless hours in editing and production!

Aside from being personally invested (my short story “Dr. Adderson’s Lens” will be in a future publication) the Willows is a rare gem of a publication that really represents Victorian/gothic/steampunk aesthetic and literature. If kids are willing to shell out $100 bucks for a pair of goggles or a corset, I hardly think it’s a stretch to think a subscription/donation/advertisement to be that difficult.

If advertising your wares is your thing, consider that they’re offering 50% off all advertising as well! That’s a pretty impressive deal, considering their rates are a steal to begin with!

UPDATE: So, yeah. The Willows is no more. So, there we go. Read the comments below for an idea of what’s gone on. Sorry to those who have bought subscriptions/ad space, and have not been contacted. I’m not affiliated with the Willows; I only had a story accepted there, and it never was published. I apologize that I can’t be of any more help.

alderpodlogoAlderpod #19 – Chapter Seventeen: Welcome

Huzzah! Another chapter done. Instead of putting my notes here, I decided to go ahead and babble a bit at the end of this one. So stay tuned at the end for ramblings and insight (hopefully…haha).

I’m also going to be releasing some bonus tracks in the next few weeks, where I profile the characters for you, talk about their inspiration, and how the approach has changed from book to book. Alderpod #20 is recorded and ready–I’ve only got to give it a last listen, and queue up the music. Now that the book is done it’s a bit easier to go. Hard to believe that I’m 2/3 through at this point.

alderpodlogoAlderpod #18 – Chapter Sixteen: Tarnish

Back to the castle, and the doings of Sylvan and Ellinora (yes a chapter with two…two…TWO PoVs!). News of the dissolution of the Order of the Asp has arrived, and Libby is not happy. Meanwhile, Ellin meets the new Alderdaughters finally arrived from the Territories and beyond, and she even makes a little vialc-laced speech.

And even though Sylvan’s supposed to kill Ellin’s husband, it doesn’t quite turn out that way.

The music is all me, and again I’m turning to real instruments: i.e. my voice and my guitar. So, some harmonies, which I thought made sense considering all the gals in this particular chapter. I had a little trouble with this chapter, but after a ride this morning, and some editing, I’m happier. So, yay.

I’ve already recorded the next chapter, which picks back up with the Asp and Brick, and just have to add music.

And if I should a little more nasal than usual, don’t adjust your speakers. Lingering cold/allergies. Sometimes I just have to keep going, and hope you’ll forgive me!

Okay, more effective if I actually liked champagne.

But, at approximately 3:3opm, EST, here on a very chilly blustery day in North Carolina, I completed the second draft of The Aldersgate.

That’s thirty chapters and a hefty 161,000 words. (Like me, it could stand to lose some.)

I started The Aldersgate two years ago, and finished the first draft one year ago. This has been the single largest project I’ve ever undertaken, and certainly the longest book I’ve ever written. Of the original 100K in the first draft, I salvaged somewhere around 5K, and rewrote everything else.

There were days that I honestly never thought I’d get to this point; sincerest thanks to some of the most awesome readers/listeners/Tweeters out there, too.

So, yes. In the meantime, I’m going to finish another WIP that is single person, pure fantasy, and will hover around 90K when said and done. Then, well, of course, I have to work on the sequel!

I want to share stuff with you that I’m writing now. Really, truly. I’m excited. Today, in spite of being a bad podcast day (thank the dog and the complex gardners for that…) it was a marvelous writing day. I’m like, two chapters from the end as we speak. You know what this chapter’s title is? Do you? The Aldersgate. That’s the chapter I’m working on.

This is where it get hard, and where everything is rewriting. My original draft’s ending was the weakest part of the book. I got so excited that I just… kinda threw everyone off a precipice. My husband, upon reading the book said, “Well, so much of this is awesome… except it sort of just stops, and the end is really hectic.” So this time I’m reinventing the wheel. I’m sanding, polishing, making the grain stand out.

The problem of course is balancing the narratives, a handful of which convene. Instead of jumping from character brain to character brain in each chapter, it’s happening multiple times within a chapter. It’s a bit like learning to shift gears in a car. Except, well, I can’t drive stick. So it’s still a little hectic at this point, at least from this perspective. When it comes time to record these chapters, I do hope you’ll weigh in.

Did I mention inventions? I’ve got some awesome inventions. Deadly and delightful!

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