The site has been in dire need of a little tidying up, and thanks to some art by the brilliant Brigid Ashwood (of whom I cannot say enough when it comes to her artistic talent) I’ve done a bit of a renovation! See: new background, new banner! And the best part? I did it myself, with CSS. And the site did not implode, the world did not end, and I’m actually happy with the results. For reasons I can’t quite comprehend, I’m far better at designing things on Pages than I am with Photoshop…

I also have a new tagline: Steampunk. Fantasy. Western. I mean, that really does sum up the whole thing, doesn’t it?

At any rate, watch this space! More meandering steampunk chatter, and some thoughts about writing weird west to come soon!

“I’m no more a knight than I am an ass, though I suppose at times there has been sufficient argument to support the latter claim.” – Emry Roy, from Chapter Five of The Ward of the Rose

Well, since finishing Alderpod a few months ago, it’s been a little quiet around these parts! I’ve been very much in writing mode and, until about a month ago, I’d been working on a variety of projects that had little or nothing to do with steampunk (or, else, they do, but my reasoning for thinking of them in such ways is as long and convoluted as possible, not the sort of thing to lend itself particularly well to the blog).

But now, back into the fray. First and foremost, I’m working on The Ward of the Rose, the sequel to The Aldersgate, as we speak. But I should point out that I’m working slowly and steadily. It’s been absolutely thrilling to return back to the setting of the story, and I promise to post some snippets of the story as it progresses. I recently scrapped about 30K of the original sequel, finding that I started much too late in the book and was skirting some rather important issues. That’s been resolved.

Also, I’ve noticed a recent uptick in Alderpod subscriptions. Thanks to those out there listening to the story, again or for the first time. I think all the technical issues are finally resolved! Also thanks to the reviewers, too. I don’t know what the future of the book is, but I promise I’ll keep you posted. The support and encouragement from readers of the last two years has been absolutely remarkable. I certainly never anticipated that my little podcast would do much, but I’m so glad it’s introduced me to some of you.

I’ve also been writing quite a bit of weird west stuff lately, in short story form, and I’ll let you know if and when you can find them. While not always steampunk, they’re all definitely Neo-Victorian, since they take place in a fictional alternate Arizona of the 1880s. You can get a glimpse of that world in “The Brass Pedestal” which was in Steampunk Tales #4 (which isn’t in Arizona itself, but what’s now Missouri… but it’s not called that since… well, I won’t get into that just yet!).

At any rate, expect more in this space in the weeks to come. I’ve got lots of ruminations on steampunk to share, and am definitely looking forward to the year, and the words, ahead.

From Chapter One of The Ward of the Rose

“It is your decision to make,” Cee said with a sigh, matching that of her grand-niece’s almost tone for tone. She folded her hands and leaned on the railing, gazing across the slope into the fog. “Let no one make it for you, dear Coralie. Gem will be with you always, and Professor too, I think. For as difficult as your journey here has been, you are standing at a crossroads of fortune.”

“Fortune?” asked Cora, almost laughing.

“As you said. There is war, there is discussion, there are decisions to be made. And you are not alone in this. While Maelys is concentrating on the Ardesian threat, and the growing Soderon force, the fact that one Alderclass girl has escaped her grasp will likely pale in comparison to what she must do. For now you are safer than you were before. Though I fear Renmen and Gawen do not agree on the course of the Order of the Asp… they will likely both try to win you to their sides.”

“Because of what I can do,” Cora said, staring down at her hands. She flexed her fingers, then curled them against her palms.

“You are a boon no retinue would want to let go—a key to health and restoration,” Cee said, dropping her voice. “But listen well to their arguments, and make your own choice, whatever it will be.”

“I wish you could come with me,” Cora said, turning to Cee. Tears came, and she tried to hide them, but Cee saw and put her arm about her shoulders.

Cee squeezed Cora against her. “I’m an old woman, Cora. My adventures are at an end. For now, I will pick up the pieces of my ranch here, help those servants and workers I have left put the fragments of their lives back together again. My place is here.”

“It must be good, in a way, to have such a place,” Cora said.

“You may yet someday, Coralie. You may yet.”

Chapter 28 – As It Goes; Chapter 29 – Fire & Rain

Well. There you go. The last two chapters in one long podcast. The reason? I was definitely in a groove recording this, and I wanted to keep that energy going throughout the recording. Since the two chapters are connected to one another, simply a continuation of the scene, I thought I’d read it all at one go.

There will be, as I mentioned, an epilogue. But, by and large, this is the actual ending of the book.

I’m not sure what to say, really. The story, at this point, rather has to speak for itself, doesn’t it? Admittedly this is the most nervous I’ve ever been to release a podcast, because this is where the rubber meats the road, where the grease meets the gear. It’s the end of this part of the story.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little adventure as much as I have.

Chapter 26: Preparation

Once again, here we are. I’ve been having a little bit of frustration with my recording equipment, and hopefully by the end of this week I’ll have a totally new setup: phantom power here I come! I’m working on ways to keep background noise to a minimum, which has been an issue throughout the podcast, but I did my best.

As I mention in the podcast itself, music is by my beautiful and talented sister, Llana Barron. You’ll be hearing this music again, so keep your ears open. Only three more chapters to go friends, and this ride will come to an end. Thanks so much for listening along the way…

Alderpod #25 – Castledeck and the Arabella

No, don’t adjust your feed. You’re reading it right: twenty-five episodes and counting! *throws confetti*

It just so turns out that today’s Alderpod is a little divergence from the norm, but within the realm of the Aldersgate Cycle nonetheless. It is a reading, or I should say performance, of my short story “Castledeck and the Arabella” which takes place some three years hence. Performed and produced by Arri Gaffer, with Anima Zabaleta providing the sweet voices of the lady characters, it’s quite an exciting take on the story!

I hope you enjoy listening as much as I did, and stay tuned for a #26, swiftly making its way to your ears…

Alderpod #24: Chapter 22 – Lady Vezina

Finding a little time on my hands this rainy day, I have recorded Chapter 22, Alderpod #24. I am trying hard to make up for lost time, and now that the book is creeping toward the final climax, that’s only fitting.

So, without further adieu!

Alderpod #23 – Chapter 21: Kaythra Bav

After much delay, Alderpod #23 is here. The lateness is regretful, but necessary. As you may have read, my sister is fighting Hodgkin Lymphoma, so I–as well as my family–have been out to California. I’ve been twice since March, and my parents have been going on alternate weeks.

That said, there’s been little time to record.

Your continued patience is appreciated!