It’s a bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a steampunk superhero!

In preparation for the impending release of Capes and Clockwork, the Steampunk superhero anthology, we’ve done a series of interviews.

I sat down over the Internet with Alexander S. Brown earlier this month to discuss the upcoming collection, his take on Steampunk and his approach to writing.

J: How did you find out about Steampunk? Or what was the first Steampunk story/novel/etc. you read?
A: I found out about Steampunk through author J. L. Mulvihill. I didn’t really comprehend Steampunk until I read Tales from a Goth Librarian by Kimberly Richardson.

J: What interested you in writing for Capes and Clockwork?
A: I became interested in writing for Capes and Clockwork at an extremely early stage. With the Dreams of Steam books and Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells, I learned that I enjoyed writing Steampunk. So when I found out there was another Steampunk anthology, I was instantly attracted to the project. When I found out superheros had to be included, I was literally hooked. Although I am not big into superheros, I do enjoy the essentials enough that I have always wanted to create a superhero of my own. This anthology allowed me to experiment and grow.

J: Are you working on any other Steampunk stories? Or do you plan to soon? Or do you have any others out there you’d like to tell us about, provide a link to?
A: I have Steampunk stories in the Dreams of Steam books and Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells. Until recently, I only wrote about specific characters that I recycled into multiple stories. These would be my Xavier Hess stories. I would eventually like to write a story where Hess meets with my superhero. I think those two forces coming together would be fun.

J: Do you incorporate magic/superpowers in your Steampunk? Or try to keep things as focused on technology and basically as realistic as possible?
A: It depends on the submission call. I enjoy writing magic-based Steampunk just as much as technology-based Steampunk.

J: Do you think society would be better off having developed steam power and never having used petrol/petroleum products?
A: Possibly so, it would definitely be less expensive to run steam power vs electricity and gas in this economy.

J: How much do you write each day/week?
A: I write close to 25 to 30 hours a week. Most days its 4 to 5 hours per day.

J: That’s quite a chunk of time. Do you have a routine when you write?
A: I do. Before I write, I normally sit down to enjoy some personal time. I clear my mind and relax and after about thirty minutes to an hour of doing this, I dive into my writing.

J: Do you have a special way of generating story ideas?
A: First, I pick a subject, then I consider how I can make this subject original, and finally I work out all of the fine details.

J: What are you working on now?
A: I am currently editing the sequel to Southern Haunts: Spirits that Walk Among Us. This sequel, Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness, is an anthology composed by editor Louise Myers and myself. I recently finished a vintage Halloween collection called The Night the Jack O’ Lantern Went Out which I believe Pro Se Publishing is going to grab. I have my manuscript, Looking Glass Creatures, in the hands of Seventh Star Press, and I’m outlining the sequel to my novel Syrenthia Falls for Dark Oak Press.

J: How do you use social media in regard to your writing?
A: Social media is the way of any modern day author. It allows authors to interact one on one with their readers. It allows them to reach out to other states and countries by doing nothing more than sitting at their computer.

Thanks for the interview, Alexander. Readers can find additional interviews with other authors from this collection here and here.

Breaking on Through

This has been a great year for me in many ways. I now have a son, I get to stay home with him most days and watch him grow, and I have finally started to apply myself to my writing. I sold my first piece, the first piece I sent out this year, right off the bat. I was flabbergasted, but I knew I’d earned it. The few stories I’d sent out previously had been incomplete or lacked polish. But I had been determined to publish something this year and I set myself to that goal from story one. I went through probably six or seven drafts on that first piece, needing it to be the best it could be.

Of course I knew it couldn’t last, as no one sells everything they write unless they’ve made a huge name for themselves. I was right in this, but I did get some helpful feedback on that second story and I think I’ll be reworking it at some point. I’ve been too busy chasing calls for anthologies and themed issues, though, deadlines haunting and taunting me. I’ve made some decent progress.

Last night, though, I received an email I truly didn’t think I’d see in this first year. Of course, this isn’t really my first year writing. I’ve been telling myself stories since grade school and writing down (at times) coherent stories since junior high school or so. I’ve been hardening myself against rejection, and even sent out a few pieces I ‘knew’ wouldn’t make the cut because something was a bit off, even though I couldn’t place the issues. Others, I felt were very good pieces, but perhaps I’d aimed too high as I did back in college when I sent some of my first submissions to places like Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine.

Thus, I opened a response email from a pro market online magazine expecting to see the usual, “We really liked this story, but it just doesn’t fit into this issue/ we can’t use it at this time, best of luck placing it elsewhere.” I hoped to see some kind of feedback I might use to hone or redirect the story, but while I had psyched myself out, this story was indeed ready for prime time. I am very happy to say that I have had a story accepted by Crossed Genres magazine for their Second Contact themed issue, due out in January of 2014. This is my first professional sale, for which I am grateful and excited on a number of fronts and which I hope will be the first of many.

In other writing news, I’ve done some interviews for the upcoming Capes and Clockwork Steampunk Superhero anthology in which I have a story, “Aeolus, Chiron and Medusa.” I’ll be posting interviews I’ve conducted and links to those in which I’ve been interrogated soon.

I would also like to point out that my Mad Scientist story also went live Monday here! It’s free to read.

State of the Stuff, Oct 1, 2013

My, how the weeks and months speed by when sleep is a rare commodity! Writing and updating this blog have slowed down, but I’m popping in to announce that an anthology, Longest Hours, Thoughts While Waiting (Amazon link), also here (B&N link) is out from Silver Boomer Books with my story, Raptors of the Deep. Also scheduled later this month is an instructional guide at Mad Scientist Journal which is a site posting stories based around… mad science! Experiments, pseudoscientific papers, etc. It’s fun. I’ll post again on or about the date, but it should be the 21st.

Preparations for NaNoWriMo have begun, while work on Knife Money has been slow. While I have a couple of markets I’ll be pursuing for short stories, these will be taking a backseat until the end of the year, in favor of noveling and editing.

During that time, though, I have a couple of additional pieces due out, a steampunk superhero tale and a faerie story about a type of fae called ‘stroke lads.’ While most of my shorts ache to be expanded into longer works, I’ve done some work with this latter and it may end up on the rack soon.