Check out this awesome Steampunk Collaboration with Army of Brass!
Greetings Romanpunk and Steampunk Aficionados! Steampunk celebrates its 31st birthday on April 27, so join in the festivities with the high-flying adventure, Army of Brass.
In case you DIDN’T KNOW…
“Steampunk” began as a literary genre, but has expanded to include fashion, music, art, and live events all over the world. During 2017, in honor of author K.W. Jeter coining the term in 1987, Steampunk Journal editor Phoebe Darqueling and the Collaborative Writing Challenge joined forces to create an amazing work that blurs the line between science and magic. Twenty international authors contributed chapters to this story full of gadgets, romance, and political intrigue set against the backdrop of a fantasy world informed by the culture of the 19th century. I hope to join up with this fantabulous group next year, since my series, the Steam Empire Chronicles, is now complete!
Wow! It’s the end of day 1 of my kickstarter and we’re barely $100 away from my goal of $750! This is so exciting! Thanks to all my supporters, and if you haven’t thought of joining the effort, $10 gets you the novel, plus any digital only rewards! Click to check out the kickstarter here.
And since every dollar raised goes to adding illustrations, you get the benefit of the ‘stretch’ goals regardless of pledge level. The cost of an illustration for the book is roughly $100-125 per illustration depending on various things, so the money will net me around 5-6 illustrations and maps with support for the formatting. Otherwise, it looks like we’ll reach our goal comfortably this go around!
In other news, they’ll be a new post for The Border on Monday for those interested 🙂 What do people think about the series so far? I’ve been tempted to turn it into a novella, but I’d love to hear some criteria on it beforehand. You can read part 1 here.
The official announcement of the Iron Tribune Kickstarter! Coming this Friday!
Salve! I bring glorious news in the name of the Emperor!
Iron Tribune’s Kickstarter stands prepared! The rewards have been created and our artificers are hard at work! You’ll see the first look at the cover for Iron Tribune. It’s my favorite one so far!
Now down for the nitty-gritty details. Our goal, fellow champions of the Empire, is $750 to allay the cost of illustrations and formatting. Any additional money shall go to adding yet more glorious illustrations and perhaps even an exciting poster! Reward levels shall be at $1, $10, $25, $30, $50, and $125. I’ve had to add on shipping for the books, but I believe it’s reasonable (Having learned that lesson the hard way last time.)
Current shipping charges are $15 for the rest of the world, and $3 for the US, which will increase a bit if you get all the print books (heavier!)
Curious about the other cultures in the Steam Empire Chronicles? Read on to learn more about the Nortlanders in the first part of this mini-series!
[a man walks up to a podium and taps on the microphone. There is a slight squeal, then the audio levels out]
Greetings all, and welcome to my brief lecture on the other cultures and notable political entities in our world today. Before I begin, please take note of this map – as you can see, it has been heavily modified and shaded in by yours truly, but it should give a good indication of some of our… less friendly… neighbors.
So as you can see, our exceptional empire is bordered by Nortland, the barbarian collective of raiders, miners, and other uncivilized tribes. It was believed that their forces were behind the invasion of Brittenburg and the assassination of the Primus Imperio in Rome.
As you can see, my map does not reflect the recent Roman invasion of Nortland, where our gallant forces crushed their Nortlander opponents. It is good that we have forced these barbarian savages into peace, for our other enemies have decided to take advantage of our northern focus to attack us from the east.
Yes, you heard me, the Mongols have unified once more and are pushing east from their bases in Bactria and Persia. The scattered rebellions of their Persian subjects that so aided us in our last war with them have been crushed. Whilst I have little love for our former neighbors, their sacrifice helped ensure our ability to hold the eastern half of the empire.
But before I broach that topic, let us turn back to the Nortlanders.
Savage and cruel, with a streak of cunning hiding beneath their gruff exteriors, the Nortlanders have secretly emulated us Romans for centuries. Consider their own mechanical creation, the Mechwolf. Quite obviously, they stole the idea from our own mechaniphant. But what good is a copy when faced with the real thing? I have heard that an unnamed chronicler was able to illustrate part of a battle between our own warmachines and those of the northerners, but you shall have to check out Copper Centurion in order to access those drawings.
In battle, the Nortlanders pride themselves on their hit and run tactics, preferring to strike and flee rather than face our brave soldiers in a stand up fight. Only when pushed back into a corner will they turn and strike, like a wounded bear. They are great lovers of the raid, and have, in times past, raided as far south as the lands of the Gauls and Britannia.
Their government is a hybrid of monarchy and tribalism, with Wardens serving as sub-kings over smaller tribes in the four cardinal directions, bowing to the overall king reigning in Midgard, or House of the Winter Gods, as the Nortlanders say. Of the Warden positions, those of the East and South are the most important and powerful, with the East Warden facing off against the Mongolian Khanates of Rus and the South Warden dealing with the Romans.
Technological wise, they are capable of adaptation and modifying stolen technology. Nortland culture does not have a ready place for scientists or engineers, and have imported or captured Roman or even Mongolian specialists for specific work. They have built and designed capable warships able to match our standard and imperial sized warships. However, they are very limited in their ability to maintain or service their fleet with the limited number of support staff. Thus, their ships are prone to breaking down, particularly in the harsh northern weather. Weapons wise, the Nortlanders favor stone over bolt throwers, and have minimal amounts of gunpowder weaponry. One piece of technology that they do have is the chain-axe, a mechanical saw attached to the standard war-axe form. When activated, the teeth of the chain axe allow it to tear through shields, armor, and flesh with relative ease. Chain Axes are even capable of damaging both our own Ostrichines and Mechaniphants. Rest assured that our own Roman engineers are looking at ways to modify the technology for our own use as we speak.
Tune in soon for our next chat on the Khanates of Rus and the East. Be sure to subscribe to the blog above, and follow me on facebook and twitter, so you can keep up to date on the latest news about the Steam Empire Chronicles!
As a veteran reader, I’ve read my fair share of battle scenes over the years. Now, as a writer, I find myself rereading many of those older stories and novels to see how different authors have approached battle scenes. I’ve taken these lessons and applied them to both Brass Legionnaire and Copper Centurion, and will continue to add on what I’ve learned in future novels!
First off, there’s a huge difference between writing ancient or fantasy battle scenes and sci-fi ones. After all, your weaponry, tactics, skills, battlefield knowledge, and technology (or magic!) all play a roll in how, where, and why you will fight. Urban combat in a medieval city will not take months to play out, as you have to fight it out toe to toe with your opponent. Not so the modern or futuristic era, where you can kill a man hundreds of yards away, then duck down through the sewers to the hidden bunker created in the apartment complex over yonder.
But what about for steampunk? How can I write a good battle scene for my novel if they include a smattering of things for all eras? Well that’s where I’m here to help!
First, remember that conflict is never about the weapons. It’s about a fight between two people/sets of peoples. Sometimes, in steampunk, we authors have a tendency to focus on the awesome gadgetry rather than the stories. Gadgets are cool, but humanity needs to be the guiding force. So show me how the character is feeling as he chops down his opponent. I want to see through the targeting reticule with him, slice off the zombie’s head with her, I want to feel and hear and taste (the iron tang of blood in your mouth! – Okay, maybe a bit gruesome, but you get the point) War is hell, it is experience. It is not some pretty dainty thing. Don’t treat it as such.
Second, do yourself a favor. Find a few movies that are in the time period closest to yours (or those with the closest weaponry-wise) and watch them. Not the extreme movies like 300, but rather a movie like Alexander. Think documentary over Hollywood flash. Don’t watch the newest “3 Musketeers” but find the original. Find a movie that shows you the battle panoramic style and close up. In other words – Do your research. While the weapons are not the focus of your story, they impact the use of tactics and how your army/soldiers fight. IE – My legionnaires are not going to charge a group of mechaniphants – They know perfectly well that they would get squashed. But they have created tactics to deal with them. you see the point.
Alternative – READ A BOOK(s)! Seriously – I read Julius Caesar’s The Conquest of Gaul prior to writing Brass Legionnaire. If you want people to take your battles seriously, demonstrate you understand what you are writing about.
Third, try to stay focused on one part of a scene at a time. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to go back and reread a battle scene because I just didn’t understand what was happening. Sometimes, that’s the point, and the character is also lost in the ‘fog of war’ but then that should be in your writing. Jumping point of view can be a killer, and unless he is floating high above the battlefield, it’s hard to give him that ‘power’ to know what’s happening on the other flank in real time.
Fourth, your character is not a superhero. He/She will get tired, confused, wounded, exhausted, mad with rage, etc. Express that. I read a book once where a character sliced his way through half an opposing army. He had been a poor, simple, teenage farmer forty pages earlier, received no training, and then went to war. Realistic Result – Farmer dies on end of swordsman’s blade. Or runs away before hand.
I want to see growth and training. My characters may be Roman Legionnaires and have gone through difficult training, but they are still more deadly as part of a team, not as lone wolves. Besides, the idea that Conan the Barbarian will destroy the bad guy’s army single-handed is a bit overdone, don’t you think? And remember, most real battles ended due to the arrival of nighttime or one side fleeing. Very rarely did the losing side stay around to get pummeled into the ground. Terrain or circumstance forced that.
Finally, Don’t make your opponents cardboard props. They shouldn’t be dumb and flat, they should be sneaky, conniving, tricky. They should have motivation and a basic knowledge of tactics and warfare. Warlords get that way because they… go…to…war. They won’t lose all that knowledge the second they face your hero’s army. A talented opponent makes for a better story, a more engaging plot, and the chance for sequels.
Whew! There you have it! Five easy steps to writing awesome battle scenes. You can apply them to any era or type of battle, not just steampunky ones! Enjoy, and take a sneak peek of Copper Centurion below.
I’m about 20 thousand words in. For those of you keeping track, I have not, and won’t meet my goal of finishing it before the family vacation (six days or so away, no way I’ll be able to type 60k words or so!) But I promise you, I’m making progress! Copper Centurion involves a lot more airship combat and larger conflicts than Brass Legionnaire, so here’s a first look at an (unedited and un-beta-read) part of a larger airfleet combat. I’ve tried to follow all the rules listed above, but once again, this is a rough draft.
“Centurion, get your soldiers into position. They appear to be trying to double up on our airships. There’s more than we thought.” He shouted over the humming of the engines. The tempo of the large propellers had increased and Julius felt the ship move faster under his booted feet.
“Check your gear, lads. If you’ve got the grappler, remember to aim for the deck or something that can hold our weight as we cross on those ropes. Everyone else, clear the deck with your repeaters before you cross.” Julius passed on the orders from the briefing earlier. “Let’s not bring any extra things across. We go in fast, and either capture the ship or set the flares, and get off fast. The flares should do the work for us, but we have to get off before the fire spreads to the Scioparto. I don’t think the Captain would like that!” His voice felt full of false confidence as he gave the rallying speech to his men.
The enemy airships closed in tighter, from what Julius could tell. His view was blocked off to his left by the large bulk of the Scioparto’s gasbag and airship proper. Straight ahead, he could see several enemy airships closing fast on the line of Roman fliers headed straight at them. To Julius’ inexperienced eye, the airships seemed to vary little in design or shape, except that they had two airships that were as big as the Roman flagship. One was bearing down on the left flank of the Roman formation and the Scioparto.
The flagship began firing, joined by the ships flanking it to either side as the two lines clashed in mid air. The rolling line of explosions and the cacophony of battle started soft but were soon loud and immediate as the enemy airships closed in, engulfing the entirety of the formation. Julius counted twelve enemy warships, equaling their number. And those were just the ones he could see.
From below, the sounds of metal and wood screeching came as the ship’s artillery ports opened. Julius and the men of the XIII Germania watched, anticipating the first salvo from the Scioparto with glee. A larger vessel appeared to be sliding towards them, closing the space until it was just parallel to the smaller Scioparto.
All at once, the artillery on the Roman ship fired, launching a barrage of explosive missiles at the Nortland vessel. This time, the artillery crews fired as fast as possible, joined by the smaller pieces on the exposed deck. Julius’ legionnaires tried to shield the exposed aircrews as they fired their lightweight weaponry. When the breeze blew away the smoke and fog of war that obscured their damage, Julius’ eyes went wide in surprise and he cried out in alarm.
As you can see, the giveaways end soon! And, if you are a smart and crafty person, you can enter to win in both places! One just requires a comment (the website) and the other simply requires you to be a member of Goodreads! If you sign up for both, and somehow win both, I’ll send you just one copy and redraw for someone else (it’s only fair after all!)
I have the actual books here. They are ‘proof’ novels, but they are exactly the same as the real ones! Hope you are excited! Sign up soon, the contest ends in three days!
Enter for your chance to win a free, signed, paperback copy of Brass Legionnaire! Contest ends May 31st, so hurry up and enter today!
It is with great pleasure that I announce the creation of my FIRST ever giveaway for Brass Legionnaire!
Here’s how it works. You comment below with your email address if you aren’t a wordpress person, or you simply comment with your wordpress account. (P.S. I won’t be using the email address for anything else!) The giveaway ends MAY 31st (because that’s when the books arrive in the mail!) I have exactly THREE books to give away to interested parties.
Why have a give away? Well, in the best of worlds, everyone who gets a copy of the book will be heads over heels in love with it and give me stellar reviews! In the real world, I’m simply hoping that people give me some honest and (hopefully!) good reviews.
It’s been a real journey to write this novel. I hope people find it worthwhile of their reading time. Oh, and did I mention that I’ll be signing each book – it might not be worth much now, but you never know about the future! I’ll announce the winners (randomly chosen by tried and true papers in a hat method) on June 1st (that’s a Friday). The books will be sent out that Saturday as long as I get addresses.
P.S. I’m poor, so only readers in Canada and the U.S. will be able to get a paperback copy of the novel. However, if you win and live elsewhere, I’ll send you a free coupon for smashwords so you can get your free online ebook copy.
So what are ya waiting for? Hurry up and enter to win!