15 May 2012

Book Review - Wicked As They Come

I love reading! Reading transports you to new worlds, takes you on adventures, opens new possibilities. How much better if it's a Steampunk book? Not just a new adventure, new characters to meet, but steam-powered carriages, ladies in corsets, clockworks? Just thinking about it makes me want to pick up a book! Alone. With a glass of wine.

I've read fantastic Steampunk fiction by the likes of Cherie Priest and Ren Cummins, who never disappoint. So after meeting Delilah S. Dawson via twitter, and watching her go through plot points, edits, cover art, and the eventual release of her debut novel, Wicked As They Come, I was anxious to pick it up. She has a wit about her, a zest for Steampunk, that not only made her instantly likable, but made me want to see what she put on the page.

I had the chance to meet this darling in person at S.T.E.A.M.Fest 2012, in a sporting top hat made of playing cards and a lovely corset made to match. She was heading a panel on the authoring and publishing processes, which quickly turned to a discussion of WATC. The sheer passion in her eyes, the joy on her face, as she spoke of her characters and plot made the book all the more intriguing. How fortunate for me that not only could I procure a copy from her on the spot, but she was gracious enough to sign it!

From that night through several more, I couldn't put it down! Criminy Stain is a lovable rogue, and in Leticia Paisely I could see a lot of myself: a fierce longing for life lived on my terms, fear of oppression from any quarter, and a determination to enjoy the life I have with those that I love. The plot moves at the perfect pace; the characters are instantly engaging. The world of Sang that Dawson has crafted is at once fantastical and believable. I imagine it's how our world would look in a simpler time; a Steampunk time.

If you haven't encountered these characters, or are new to Steampunk fiction, I can't recommend this book enough! Pick up a kindle copy, or a paperback, and relax as Criminy takes you on a guided tour of Sang, and love!

28 February 2012

Red Angel Comic Issue 3 - Review

Red Angel Cover, Issue 2
Issues 1 & 2 of WTFlux Comics' Red Angel were fantastic! Sheer, bloody brilliance! The story line is intriguing, sucking you in, and as an experienced book reader, this has the feel of a plot that has been fully mapped-out before any issues/episodes are created. Some book or tv series feel like the plot just bounces from issue to issue, no real cohesion, jumping around, entangling rather than engaging the reader.

Red Angel isn't like that. Red Angel is cohesive, intriguing, and flows well. The storyboard doesn't jump all over the page, enabling even novice comics readers like Yours Truly to follow it easily.

Red Angel Cover, Issue 3
Issue 3 doesn't disappoint! The artwork is sharp, beautiful imagery, the steampunk elements are absolutely delicious! I adore the details on the Red Angel herself, the figurehead, the logo that repeats on Tori's boot and 2458's chest piece.

The relationship between Tori and Quinn, captain of the Firebrand, is tense, adversarial, and at the same time electric and oddly compelling. You get the feeling that they will end up either as friendly competition, or in bed together.

I must say, as a self-proclaimed comic book newbie, Red Angel has me hooked! Poor WTFlux, I keep pestering them for the next issue! I can't wait to see what issue 4 has in store! If you haven't checked these out, you need to! Go, now! What are you waiting for?

Red Angel Art
Want to know more? See the lovely artwork in action? Unravel the mysteries that Red Angel tantalizes with? Purchase here, or purchase the digital download version here!

Click HERE to read my review of issues 1 & 2.

14 February 2012

Red Angel - Review

I'm not a fan of comic books. Sunday comics? Love them. Web comics? Some of them. Movies made from comic books? Adore. But paper comic books? Or worse, comic book enthusiasts... *shudder*

So when Larry Jarrell of WTFlux Comics asked me to review Red Angel, his new steampunk comic, I agreed. A bit reluctantly, but I love helping out other steampunk artists and startups.

What I found in Red Angel surprised me. Jarrell sent me issues 1 and 2, and I accused him of being a tease!

Red Angel focuses on one of my favorite aspects of steampunk: aerial dog fights! It has a strong, enigmatic female lead in Victoria Angel; her strength lies in her own abilities, not the tearing down of others. Were she real, that's an airship captain I'd happily serve under. As a rather independent spirit, that's saying something!

The crew of the Red Angel (Victoria, her sister and engineer Bridget, gunner Marcus Broadside, navigator Jovian, and 1st mate 2458) all think that by combating the Machines terrorizing the populace, and taking the odd coin as payment, they're helping; they think that opportunistic pirates have reanimated the Machines for their own profit. Until they capture the crew of the Firebrand.

Want to know more? See the lovely artwork in action? Unravel the mysteries that Red Angel tantalizes with? Purchase here, or purchase the digital download version here!

Oh, and Mr. Jarrell, sir, when can we look forward to the next installments?

19 January 2012

Networking, the fun way

"Steampunk: My Coal-Dusty Heaven" is a guest blog post I wrote for a very cool steampunk blogger I met on twitter, @suzannelazear.

I've had another blog ask to interview me, not because I'm the steampunkiest out there (I can dream!) but because of networking.

I've been retweeted by steampunk authors, artists, and musicians. I've virtually met a lot of movers/shakers and shapers of our wondrously steampunk world, all very cool people.

I've subscribed to steampunk news, blogs, and tweets. While my fondest hope is that Professor Raven's Curiosity Emporium blows up with adoring fans and eager customers, the exposure isn't what I really love about all this "networking".

What I really love about it is being on the front lines, fighting the good fight, and the occasional Zeppelin battle, to craft the genre the way we, the true steampunkers, want it.

Sure, it's popular now, and will be for a couple more years. But after the masses "trend" something else, we will still be part of this mechanized world, still dreaming of rivets, steam, and land-walking Cephalopoda.

Did I tell you this to brag? Or to scare you? Gawd, no...other than government-controlled mechs tearing up our carefully-crafted towns, what could possibly scare a steampunker? And how could my occasional retweet of Lord Likely (who's likelypedia is hysterical), or quote of Airship Ambassador's, possibly engender any awe? Really, I don't want my 15 minutes of fame; I just want to be an eccentric who's heavily involved in steampunk, craft what I love, and have my passion pay for itself.

No, I tell you all this to encourage you to "network" with like-minded steamers, to get to know each other. Most of us have day jobs, and require the odd assistance in the mundane world; having an ally to point you in the right direction sure could help a lot. Banding together into a cohesive worldwide union or resistance force ensures the steampunk world we love will never truly disappear, fall by the wayside, or be left in the dust of obscurity. Getting to know artisans and journeymen can teach you a lot! Attend a con, tweet your heart out, go out there with coat tails flying and goggles secure! I can't wait to meet you!

10 January 2012

Meet Vespa Nyx

The Unnaturalists, coming to print soon, by author Tiffany Trent, sounds like a good read! Danger, intrigue, strange creatures, alternate timeline, steampunky goodness... . Is it August yet??

spine-tingling synopsis
In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.

Tiffany sounds like a fantastic writer, and now after reading that, I have to go find her books! (Plus preorder this one!) She also has a great blog!

Going a slightly different direction

I've spent the past couple of years on this blog just sort of drifting. Parenting, kids' needs, family life, product reviews... not really sure where I wanted to go, no specific destination or even route in mind. And how do you know you've arrived if you don't know where you're going?

Today, I was hit by Tesla! I've been fascinated by the steampunk world and genre for several years now. I'm not very active in the online steampunk community, only participate on one forum, and that's very sporadically. I work full time at a job that pays the bills but that I love. I spend my spare time creating steampunk goodies, playing with my kids, domestic drudgery, and now exercising. Doesn't leave a lot of time for online steampunk networking, but there ya have it.

Much like an author, I've had characters in my head for a while, the start of a story around them. Only recently have I been able to bring those characters to life, fleshing out their appearances and beginning to craft their back stories. So much I want to do!

So I bid a very fond farewell to the "I'm a mommy" blog, and now my charming, handsome, debonaire alter-ego Professor Raven will be taking over. Fair warning: he's rambunctious, elitist, and eclectic at times!

01 October 2011

Disney World: Fun family vacation, or cash-guzzling torture?

In December, Disney was offering some great vacation packages. Since we've never taken the kids on a purely fun vacation (cuz we're boring and cheap, I guess?), we decided to take advantage of it. This was a trip nine months in the making. Oh, we had some grand plans! Character greetings, fabulous meals, adult night life, adventure... Grand.

We invited Grandma to come along, not as a built-in babysitter, but to spend some quality time with 2 of her 8 grandkids, and for me to have my mom to myself for a week.

My kids are six and three, 4' and 3'3". According to http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/, the big booger could ride almost everything, and the shorter one still had a lot she could do. So we settled on five days, four nights, the dining plan, and seeing every park.

Boy, did we! We combed every inch of all four parks! We rode nearly everything, saw nearly every show, several parades. We ate well, and still had about six quick-serve meals remaining when we left.

We have some truly priceless memories, some wonderful pictures, and fun souvenirs. We encountered friendly people, fantastic employees, and great sites. And, as exhausted as we were at the end of each day, I wouldn't trade it.

So, why am I writing this? Just to brag about our awesome trip? To whine about how tired and out of shape I am? To bemoan the cash machine that is Disney? Nope, even though some may apply. This wonderful missive is merely the prelude, the intro if you will, to an upcoming yet humorous list of family vacation dos and dont's.

Stay tuned to laugh at my expense!