Steampunk Hat Phase 2

It’s finished! I wish I had time to model it for you, but I’m way behind packing for the ACFW Conference, so I’ll have to take pictures at the genre dinner and post them for you then. In the meantime, here’s a very short video of Spook checking it out. Of course, anytime I start to video my pets they immediately decide not to cooperate. The lighting was awful when my son took pics of the hat, so I had to enhance them a bit. They don’t at all capture its essence. Yes, it has an essence. I promise.     Here’s a video. Still doesn’t have the same pizzazz as in person, but you get the idea! Remember, my character is a steampunk biologist (naturalist, but it’s Christian steampunk so I say biologist; it’s complicated). What do you think? Did I overdo it? Do you like your steampunk more streamlined? Let me know in the comments below! Tweet this: Check out this amazing steampunk...

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Steampunk Hat Phase 1

I need a steampunk hat to go with my genre costume at the ACFW National Writer’s Conference in Dallas, Texas. As I explain in the video below, I decided that making a steampunk hat would be less expensive than buying one ready-made from an Etsy store. I was wrong. The hat I really wanted was one like this (I adore ships): But it was $65.00. So, I thought to myself, I can make one for less. I love all the hats in the ChikiBird shop, so I sort of used them as inspiration. But guess what? I was so wrong about the price. Not only are feathers and other materials expensive, I don’t know what I’m doing! I probably should have just bought my hat. But since when do I do things the easy way? Below is a video of phase 1: the materials. And below the video are some first pics. I’ll post the finished product and my entire costume later, so stay tuned!     More pics to come! What do you think of it so far? Tweet this: Is it less expensive to make it yourself? Not...

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Live blogging from Realm Makers Conference with BREAKING NEWS!

I’m in Radnor, PA for the Realm Makers Conference! I am a slightly surprised to find myself here but there’s a nagging in my heart to learn how to write compelling YA, specifically in the Steampunk vein. I’m not really sure what to expect, but so far things are good. On my drive to Pennsylvania there was a rainbow! That’s a good sign, right? It took me two days to drive here from Indiana. Today before I checked into the conference I stopped at a mall in King of Prussia, PA, and had lunch at Ruby’s Diner. The clam chowder was so scrumptious I was tempted to order another cup! I sat in the diner and worked on my work in progress. I was pleasantly surprised to discover I can write pretty well in a diner environment. I need to try it again. Although, there aren’t any diners in my neck of the woods. Certainly not ones that have such great decor. I was wishing my guys were with me to enjoy such pretty bikes! The conference is on Villanova University’s campus. The college has beautiful old stone buildings and we’re staying in dorms. The dorm I’m in is actually an apartment. I have the entire thing to myself but there’s enough room for 4 people.                          Tonight as I type this I’m at the Splickety Magazine Critique Party. On the panel critiquing the first few pages of novels submitted and chosen before the conference are Tosca Lee, Jeff Gerke, Steve Laube and Avily Jerome. I’m so excited to hear Tosca Lee speak in the morning! I love her books. She has the sort of writing voice I love. Like liquid velvet. I’ll post again tomorrow (hopefully I’ll have some time to sneak in here to share with you) and let you know all I’m learning. Tonight the panel seems to be in unison regarding that first hook in the first few pages of a book. Lovely writing might be beautiful, but will it keep a reader’s attention? If you want to be published, you need to learn to write what sells. But if you want to write for your own pleasure, then write what you want! Tonight Steve Laube announced the new name of his publishing company (formerly Marcher Lord Press): Enclave Publishing! You heard it here first! Steve Laube making the announcement: Tons of excitement tonight! I wonder what tomorrow will bring? Click to tweet: Live blogging from Realm Makers Conference! Click to tweet: Steve Laube announces Marcher Lord Press now Enclave...

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Introducing Steampunk author Michael Vetter and a giveaway!

I am very pleased to introduce you to Steampunk/Sci-fi author, Michael Vetter. I became intrigued with Michael’s work after meeting him on a Steampunk forum. I’m fascinated with this genre and have been researching it for a book I’m formulating for the YA market. I’m also leaving next Tuesday to attend the Realm Makers conference in Pennsylvania! I’m looking forward to rubbing shoulders with fantasy genre authors as I have much to learn. I have a burden to write YA books that point young people to Christ. It’s much needed. Which is what drew me to Michael’s work. Michael very graciously agreed to be interviewed for my blog. I think you’ll find him and his work fascinating! (By the way, dear reader, if you leave a comment or question and tweet about this post (I’ve provided a handy dandy link below as well) you’ll be entered to win a free digital (.pdf) copy of one of his books — your choice!  If you use any of the other buttons, you’ll be entered each time you promote this post on social media. What a deal!) Thanks so much, Michael, for agreeing to this interview. Please tell us a little about yourself: My father worked for Pan America Airways so I grew up around airplanes and airports in Latin America all my life.  When I went to college in the U.S. I studied engineering, met my wife, Mary, and joined the Air Force. While stationed in Florida, we heard the Gospel for the first time and, after months of questions and resistance, accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. We grew spiritually through the years, served in many capacities at Salem Bible Church (www.salembible.org) while I worked in the defense industry, and recently retired. My wife and I have a grown son, two grandsons, and are involved in several ministries. Besides teaching adult Bible Sunday School and writing novels, I edit a newsletter for Grace Dental and Medical Missions (www.gdmmissions.org) and am a translator on medical missions trips to Spanish-speaking countries. We live in Salem,  NH, where the one month of brilliant fall foliage makes up for long winters of snow and cold. We enjoy long road and rail trips together and kayaking in the summer. What a fascinating journey to this point in your life you’ve had! I long to take a rail trip sometime, too. How can we find you online? Web page:  http://www.michaelvetter.net Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ChristianAdventuresBibleThemes?ref=hl Where do you write? (What’s your office like?) My best creative writing is done where I’m free from distractions so that means not in my cluttered office! My home office is where I have access to my reference books for research and Bible studies. Libraries...

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Ally’s Angle: Fantasy Literature: Through the Facade

Today’s post is written by my intern, Allison O’Neil. Last week I wrote about the value of nerd-thinking: the genuine desire and love of learning, teaching, and research. This week I want to explore another nerd-related topic very near to my heart. Fantasy literature (and a lot of sci-fi) are my favorite kind of fiction. While I love a good novel, and do enjoy a well-written read from almost any genre, fantasy books allow a certain kind of involvement which is rare in other kinds of reading. There are many explorations of this topic available in countless formats, but I will here explain the specific value of fantasy literature as I see it. A key element of most fantasy is the presence of a mission or quest. The main character(s) may or may not be aware of the quest as they begin, but the quest functions to give these characters a purpose in life. They have something to accomplish: usually in an effort to stave off evil, preserve a virtuous element of their world, or perpetuate their peoples’ survival. These tropes of fantasy must be interpreted in the context of metaphor, otherwise we would only have adventure stories. They are certainly that, but our analysis must go deeper. We, as readers, necessarily identify with the characters as we read a book. As we become attached to characters we like, we experience their turmoil and joy through them. Any book we enjoy contains features we recognize, whether a character, a place, or a feeling. Not only do characters function to allow us to experience adventure in our armchairs, but the literature itself represents elements of society. This is the key boon of fantasy literature, in my opinion. While other forms of literature are hampered by the desire or need to mimic reality, fantasy and sci-fi largely abandon this aim. That is not to say the observations and criticisms of social structures or patterns aren’t real—quite the opposite. By eliminating the imitative components of other literature forms, fantasy becomes more universal. Through artifice we see what is real.   Tweet this: Who’s your favorite fantasy literature...

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A new website!

I’m very excited to share my new website with you! It’s going to take awhile for me to learn this new platform. For example, how do I write a post? I’m still learning! Even as I work on this one, I’m not sure how to publish it. Tom Threadgill doesn’t know it, but he’s in for a lot of questions! You may wonder why I have a “steampunky” theme when I write contemporary. The thing is, I write a lot of different genres, and my favorite of them is history. Historical fiction is my second love after historical non-fiction. I’m also fascinated with the steampunk movement and have a few steampunk projects in the works. So stay tuned! Here’s the latest addition to my research library. In hard copy! I highly recommend this book if you ever plan to study up on Steampunk.  You can get it here. I’m super excited to be back to blogging again. I’ve missed it while my site was down and being reorganized. But I think it was worth the wait! What say...

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