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.

Why I Won’t Be Writing for the Dark Crystal Anytime Soon

While I’m sure Jim was proud of the original product, I have to doubt he would have wanted this ‘contest’ to be run the way it is. What’s my problem? It’s that it’s set up as a blood, sweat and tears lottery. There is one winner and everyone else who sends a submission… forfeits their ideas. Yup, in perfect Hollywood form, the group running the contest claims every word that every writer sends them on the grounds that the company owns the copyright, so clearly you can’t use this work elsewhere.

I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure if I put my mind to planning, plotting, writing and editing a serious entry (a 40,000 word novella), I’ll be creating a few creatures, characters, etc, expanding the Dark Crystal world in ways no one else would quite approach it. This means my voice has value. If, as an artist, a writer, a thinker, I didn’t believe this, then I wouldn’t bother trying to sell my work to magazines and anthologies. I wouldn’t be trying to punch up a slew of novels to send to market. I would just post my stories on the Internet and hoped someone would someday look at them.

While the final product would be something inextricably Dark Crystal, that same product could be mined, deconstructed, if you will, for ideas for other works outside that world, and unbound by existing copyright. And it’s my right to scavenge such a piece, to redesign physical forms, to take the heart of the story and make it something that in no way belongs to anyone else. And yet, if you do decide to use (steal) my work and publish it with minor tweaks, giving me nothing at all in the way of recompense, where does that leave all of those wonderful not- DC bits? Used up, burned at the altar of corporate greed. Jim would be ashamed to have his name associated with such tactics.

Other Words: Minotaur by Joe Pace, pt 1

MinotaurNovelCover photo MinotaurCover.jpg

This is part one simply because I am super busy and have never been one of those “It was so good, I couldn’t put it down” people. I read in small chunks, as life and work allow. So how is it so far?

I had a little trouble getting into the first couple of chapters. Now, I have adjusted to our differences in style and am enjoying this tale of solar-system wide intrigue and politics. Action centers on a penal colony orbiting Jupiter. We learn about the warden, the ‘secret’ prisoner at Minotaur and follow a number of flashbacks that define these and other characters. These deeper characters are flawed, haunted and I can’t wait to see how they impact the overall storyline.

Check out the other reviews and comments on Amazon by clicking on the cover above and if you’re close enough, swing my the University of New Hampshire on Tuesday for a signing. I already have my signed copy, one of the first, and I look forward to finishing it during my more or less free week coming up. Find out more and reply to this event on Facebook. Or just show up to the UNH Bookstore 83 Main Street, Memorial Union Bldg. Durham, New Hampshire 03824 Tuesday, March 26, 11:00 – 14:00.