Steampunk Summer: What is Steampunk, Anyway?

After working on a steampunk book for over 2 years, it's hard to believe there was a time I didn't wholly embrace this growing phenomenon.  I remember seeing steampunk-themed pictures on Pinterest and thinking, Oh, that looks interesting, but I don't know if I'd ever go whole hog about it.

Guess who's gone whole hog?  Life would be so much more boring if we lost the ability to surprise ourselves.

So what is this steampunk everybody's talking about?  What draws us in and never lets us go?

Steampunk is based on two things.  Its premise:  that instead of electricity being the main or only big technology of the 19th century, steam-powered engines and good old-fashioned ingenuity run the show.  This leads directly to point number 2:  that steampunk brings together Victorian beauty, grace, and style mixed with the gears, grime, and clanking of machines.  Steampunk can vary widely by decade, inclusion of the supernatural, creating alternative histories, and even taking place on other planets.  But if it's labeled steampunk, it's probably got a healthy dose of adventure, brazen characters, fun, creative technology, and gusto.

Since steampunk by its very nature involves an alternate reality that (unfortunately?) never existed, there are no holds barred.  The sky is the limit - or in some steampunk stories, the best way to travel by ship or personal flying device.

I admire steampunk for its unique ability to influence and target all five senses.  Machines and period fashions dazzle our eyes.  Grinding gears and horses' hooves striking the streets fill our ears.  Sometimes it's absinthe on our tongues, sometimes it's grit.  The air smells of pollution but also baked goods.  In some stories, it's a hard metal wrench in our hands - in others, it's the feather-light fan behind which the heroine hides her face.

I think it's this universal quality that lets steampunk branch from books into pretty much every other facet of life:  cosplay, music, movies, comics, gadgets, trinkets, jewelry, crafts, and anything else that can be adapted to fit steampunk's general look and feel.

It's easy to see how I'm going to spend all summer covering this single topic.  Stay tuned for next week.  We're just getting started.  If you have a great steampunk picture of yourself, feel free to share it here or on Facebook.


Steampunk Summer Blog Event Starts Next Wednesday

Two weeks ago, I promised steampunk for the summer.  Starting next Wednesday, the first hump day of summer, this blog will be the official one-stop destination for all things steampunk.

Music, book reviews, author interviews, fashions, accessories, and anything else I can pack into 13 weeks, including, of course, an exploration of what steampunk actually is.

At some point along the way, I'll reveal the cover for my upcoming book, Steampunk Carnival, and let you know when it's available.  I'll share the unique backstory of how two characters I cut from completely unrelated books became the heroines of Steampunk Carnival and how a birthday vacation gave me extra inspiration.

Feel free to share this blog with any goggle-owning, airship-steering, bustle-cursing friends.  It's going to be a wild ride but, I know, a fun one.

Time to clean the engines and sew unused watch parts onto everything!  Here's the participant badge to look out for this summer:


The Official Green Hill Press Shop Opens on Etsy

After months of procrastination - and figuring out that my postal scale is giving me excessively high readings for book weights - the Green Hill Press shop is open on Etsy.com.  Thank you for your patience!

You'll find paperback copies of my novel, XZA, along with copies of Josh's poetry chapbook, Long Day in Rehab.  You can even choose signed or unsigned.

If you see this banner, you're in the right place:


GreenHillPress was taken as a shop name even though that shop doesn't exist anymore, so the name of our shop is GreenHillBooks.  As we publish more books in print, we'll add them to the shop as we're able.  Quantities are limited, so grab them up, and we'll order more.  We appreciate your support and hope you're looking forward to owning your own copies of our books.


The Three Series I'm Launching This Year

Most people probably don't know this, but I'm a highly ambitious person.  I like a challenge.  I love to solve puzzles.  Even when I was a kid, I collected money to help save the rain forest.  I understood the thrill of saying "Yes!" long before it became a fad or style of living.

When I realized I wanted to publish books and stories that would be the starts of three new series in the same year, I stood at the precipice for a second.  Did I want to commit myself to these projects wholeheartedly?  Did I want to risk spreading myself thin, wearing myself out, and jumbling all sorts of different ideas in my head?

The answer, of course, is yes.

What does this mean to you as readers or fans who aren't yet readers?  You get a lot of choices this year.

I gave you the medieval fantasy short story Prisoners to kick off the Brutal Worlds series in April.  Hopefully, I'll be able to follow that up with some of the aftermath of Janessa's actions by the end of the year.  Her revenge and escape lead to consequences for the entire kingdom, from the rebels to independent agents to the royal family.  Nobody leaves a story the same person they were when they came in.  You can find Brutal Worlds #1 on Amazon.


For long-time followers of this blog who read my original posts, you might remember a project I've been working on for ages called Demonslayer.  It follows a shifting group of characters with inexplicable mental abilities that let them help or hurt others as they wish.  Everything centers around 8th-grade counselor Joshua Thompson, aka Demonslayer, who could probably use some therapy of his own.  Instead, he gets redeemed by some characters and pulled under by others.  If this interests you - which it should - make sure you follow by blog or by Facebook so you don't miss out.  I'll post the cover for it on Facebook before I show it anywhere else.  It's wickedly cool.

The third series is as different from these two as they are from each other.  But I'm leaving it a mystery for now because it's going to be the theme of my blog for the summer.  I'll post the details for that in 2 or 3 weeks.  Let's just say if you like steampunk, this is the place to be for the next three months.

Whatever you're into, these are the stories I'll be offering through the rest of the year.  Happy reading, whoever's book it is!