Steampunk, still at it?

I just got back from Burlingame, California (near San Francisco) where I attended a delightful steampunk event, Clockwork Alchemy. I’ve been to this convention for quite a few years and the costuming on the attendees always delights me. I did mention that I loved dress up, right? There are always way too many things to see and do, so needless to say, I missed a lot. One thing I didn’t miss was the Fashion Show because I got tapped to model an amazing gown created by the Clockwork Alchemy Fashion Guests of Honor Karin and Adam Lidl. I seriously did not want to give that outfit back. And the hat was completely adorable. I wish I had a photo of the back of the skirt. So. Many. Pleats. I could go on for days about this outfit but here’s a pic instead.

s 1880s gown, Lidl creation

I saw some new faces at Clockwork Alchemy this year, which gives me some hope that the steampunk fun will continue for many years!

In other happy steampunk news, author Kristen Brand, who has some beautiful covers for her steampunk books, has a new publisher.

Hoping her new publisher doesn’t change those lovely covers…And CONGRATULATIONS, Kristen, for getting them re-published!

It seems as if the steampunk genre still has some interest.

My apologies if you’ve clicked the link to buy The Ghost Machine or Clockmaker recently and found that the books have vanished from Amazon. They’re unavailable at the moment–but don’t worry, they’re not gone for good. They’ve been picked up by a publishing company and are getting ready to be republished–yay!! I’m thrilled that they’re […]

via Where are my steampunk books? — Kristen Brand


Stuck With Your Story? Why You Keep Hitting Walls and Dead Ends in Your Writing.

Sometimes rules stifle our creativity. I find them useful but sometimes, you just have to trust your intuition about characters or your story. No, I’m not switching from being a hard-core plotter but I value writing what feels right.

A Writer's Path

by Lauren Sapala

For the longest time I had major problems doing revisions on my writing. It seemed so easy for everyone else. Why was it so hard for me? Of course, I also had trouble writing. I hardly ever experienced that state of “effortless flow” everyone talked about, in which the words just magically spewed out of me down onto the page. For years—a lot  of years—I felt like something was wrong with me. I felt like I was a failure as a writer.

Then, I discovered something.

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Friday Book Share ~ Fav Writing Books

Need some suggestions on books about writing craft?
I think “The 12 Key Pillars of novel construction” by C. S. Lakin is a must read.
What are your favorite craft books?

Story Empire

Hey SE Readers. It’s Friday and time for another book share. I usually share a work of fiction (after all this site is about writing fiction), but today I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to share a few of my favorite (and most helpful) books on writing.

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi – I purchased this book when it first released several years ago and found it extremely helpful. Recently the authors published a new version that lists 130 different emotions.

Each entry defines that particular emotion, notes, physical signs and behaviors, internal sensations, mental responses, acute or long-term responses to said emotion, associated power verbs, and more.

Angela and Becca have also published The Emotional Wound Thesaurus, Negative Trait Thesaurus, Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Rural Setting Thesaurus, The Urban Setting Thesaurus, and Emotion Amplifiers.

I’ve found each of these books useful…

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Your Magic Garden

A shared story world between your works is also called a Magic Garden. I’ve been considering putting together something like it for my solarpunk stories set 500 years in the future in a submerged London. World building is fun so it wouldn’t be a chore.

How do you go about linking and using your created worlds in multiple stories?

via Your Magic Garden

Call for Submissions Wickedly Abled

I love that we’re seeing anthology calls for diverse works by diverse people. Thanks to Sumiko Saulson for bringing this to my attention.

Sumiko Saulson

Wickedly Abled CoverTheme: Dark fantasy and horror by disabled artists featuring disabled protagonists.

Looking for 1,500 to 5,500 words in length short horror and dark fantasy by disabled authors. Paying $10 flat and an eBook copy, plus offering unlimited at-cost print books to authors in the anthology.  Previously unpublished original work preferred, but reprints will be considered if the work is no longer in print or the work is older than ten years in age.

Please let us know if it is a re-print. No simultaneous submissions. We will want exclusive e-publication rights for one year (first publication rights if it’s unpublished).

Please submit it as a .doc or .rtf or .txt document, double spaced, 12 pt, Times New Roman or similar, to

Deadline: March 31, 2019

Cover art by Lillian Rose Asterios

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How You can End Up Paying to Sell an ebook on Amazon

The delivery fee Amazon charges for ebooks could really effect authors with illustrations in their books.

Story Empire

Hello SErs. Harmony here. Being a writer, I’d like to tell you a story …

Once upon a time, Amazon charged me for selling a book. Yes, that’s right. I ended up paying them $1.99 for selling one copy of an ebook. Um, that’s not right. Once I got over my indignant anger, I looked into it.

It came down to delivery charges.

Which I’d not realised Amazon did.

And if your book is oversized (see below), they will levy a hefty charge to deliver that book to your customer, leaving you out of pocket and owing them, rather than the other way around.

This happened after I reformatted a book. On my computer, the file size was fine. Only after using Amazon’s converter did the file become huge. Sadly, I didn’t notice anything amiss until I saw that negative sale charge on my sales dashboard. And by then it…

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Wraiths at the Window

This is a flash fiction in response to a challenge from mindlovemisery’s menagerie.

Idonny is the protagonist in a novel I’m working on. I can’t quite tell yet if it’s going to be #clifi, dystopian YA, or solarpunk. <grin>

Idonny slumped on her sofa and gazed at the rain pouring down the window. Algae, green and black, encrusted the bottom of the frame. It crept up higher every month. Soon it would obscure her view to the outside. Not that there was much to see, just concrete, the side of the neighboring tower block. The windows over there looked filthy too. No-one bothered to clean them anymore. The maintenance ‘bots had broken and no-one knew how to fix them.

She heaved a sigh and tore open a bag of crunchy veggie snacks. No actual vegetables had been harmed in the production of said veggie snacks and there was no actual flavor beyond salt, Reggie had liked them and she’d stocked up for him. He was dead now, killed during the almost constant fighting between the block gangs.

Idonny squinted at the window. The algal blooms in the corner of the window looked a little like Reggie’s face.

“Funny, never noticed that before.”

She lumbered to her feet and shuffled across the un-wood floor. The algae definitely looked like his face. Then she noticed another face. Her dad. She bit her lip. He was dead too, gone in a flood that also took her mother. And there was Mum’s face, smiling as always. Idonny had never had a photo of her parents. Maybe it was a good thing that the maintenance ‘bots had stopped cleaning the windows.

Strange Times at the Cupcake Pagoda

Here’s a little flash fiction I wrote in response to these six randomly generated nouns: death, butterfly, brooch, fear, strawberry, gun. It was a lot of fun so I thought I’d share it. Let me know what you think.


Janey stared down at the booth table, dazzled by hundreds of rhinestones littering the table. They were meant to be brooches but all she could see was ticky-tacky rhinestones stuck on everything. There were brooches shaped like teddy bears, all dressed up in various costumes, with colored rhinestones defining their outfits. Janey shuddered. Some of the brooches were shaped like cats or dogs. There were even shiny tractor brooches, done in yellow and green rhinestones.

God in Heaven, who would wear a rhinestone tractor brooch?

The vendor smiled a weary, desperate smile. Janey returned the smile out of habit and was about to turn away when she caught sight of a butterfly brooch. Shockingly, there was not a rhinestone to be seen on it. It was a dull black metall, unrelieved by any other color or even a decorative bit of metal delineating the eyes. It was incongruous sitting there amid all the sparkle and glitter of the rest, like some little insect of death.

“How much for that one?”

The vendor dropped her eyes to the table and frowned at the little black butterfly, confusion warring with irritation. It was as if she hadn’t even known it was there. Janey waited, not sure why she wanted to know. Was she honestly going to buy something from this cheesy craft fair at the Cupcake Pagoda? She was really only here for cupcakes and had stumbled across this little array of craft booths in the parking lot.

“…er, five bucks?” the vendor said, poker-faced now.


Janey stopped the vendor from wrapping the brooch up in scented tissue paper and declined the brown paper bag stamped with the words “Trudy’s Treasures.” She stuck the brooch on her faded Dead Kennedys t-shirt and grinned down at it. It looked almost venomous perching on her chest but Janey was pretty sure that butterflies couldn’t bite, especially not metal ones stuck to pin backs.

She sauntered into the Cupcake Pagoda and surveyed the cases. They were sparse today. All those crafty shoppers had got the best flavors. All that was left was strawberry cheesecake and some sort of vanilla with coffee beans stuck in the frosting. Janey sighed. Damn. She had been craving a Guinness brownie cupcake, perfect with a strong cup of java. The girl in a kimono behind the counter waited silently, looking bored. She looked past Janey out the door. Her eyes widened and she gasped, mouth twisted in a rictus of fear. Janey turned and saw a young guy with a gun at the door. She froze. He swaggered up to the counter, waving the 9mm around and said,

“Gimme your cash, babe.”

Tears filled the eyes of the kimono-clad girl but she hurried to comply, hands shaking as she opened the cash register. Janey didn’t move. The guy grabbed the cash then turned to Janey.

“Whaddya got?” he asked her, pointing his gun at her. She squeaked in fear and reached for her purse. A movement on her chest caught her attention and she glanced down, then stifled a scream when she saw the little black butterfly brooch moving and…growing? Yes, it was growing and before anyone had a chance to react, the dinner-plate-sized insect launched itself off Janey’s chest and into the air. The gunman yelled and threw his hands in front of his face, dropping his weapon. The butterfly landed on his shoulder and Janey saw long, glistening fangs sprout from its head. It plunged them into the guy’s ear. He bellowed with pain and fell to the ground, bleeding. The insect shrunk to its original size and tumbled off the guy’s head, clattering to the ground, inanimate. Janey stooped down to pick it up.

“Huh. Nice pin.”

Do you use random generators to get the words moving? Any favorites?