Category Archives: books

Quinne Darkover’s Steampunk

11752073_584865274987985_1822265805_o

I discovered a little over a year ago a wonderful Steampunk novel, The Captain and the Lady Fair:Changing Times by an author with the improbable name Quinne Darkover. I loved the book and reviewed it on Amazon, saying among other things that this was great steampunk with terrifically cool women.

11171882_584867218321124_1430919621_oYou can imagine my delight when I heard the second book was in progress, and now I can say it has been published! The new book, The Captain and the Lady Fair: Pathfinder is even better than the first. The addition of new characters and a wonderful rescue mission give this book more substance building on the relationships established in the first book. The writing is smooth and humorous, the characters well-developed and engaging, the plot daring. I’m not going to talk about specifics, because it is a sequel, and you really ought to read the first one first. No spoilers here.

I’ve interviewed Quinne about his writing and I hope you enjoy it. In his answers he gives inks to his books. I recommend reading the first book first (duh!) because of the necessary groundwork it provides, as well as the fact that it’s where the story starts. You won’t regret it.

Here is the interview:

Q:  Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
A:  Just an ordinary guy. Joined the military and spent the first 10 years doing repair on aircraft communication and satellite systems. Medical issues while in Africa forced me to change careers so managed AF clubs, both enlisted and officer.

Q:  What are your ambitions for your writing career?
A:  That my books become popular and enjoyed. No dreams of major dollars, just readers that like the works.

Q:  Which writers inspire you?
A:  Sorry to say, the names are long gone from my memory. I read everything I could get my hands on when I was a youngster. My main addiction became sci-fi. The pulp mags and Daw double sided books. I loved the stories, of course back then, stories where mostly about how something worked then moving to story. These days a writer says, “We activated the warp drive.” That tends to cover it.

Q:  So, what have you written?
A:  My first book was a cookbook, simple foods and mostly foods bad for you. Second was a steampunk novel, and third was the sequel. All of them are on Amazon. I have a blog I post to, as the mood moves me covering what I am working on as well as my take on writing, and I guess things that could be called writing tips.

Q:  Where can we buy or see them?
A:  My author page on Amazon is http://tiny.cc/49wu0x . I am working with Amazon to get my sequel that was released mid July linked to my author page. A direct link to the sequel is http://tiny.cc/ydxu0x .

Q:  Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?
A:  The central character is a Captain/owner of an airship. He is always trying to do the right thing and stand up for others but he is a rotten fighter.

Q:  What genre are your books?
A:  Steampunk. Generally steampunk takes place in the Victorian era with the dress and attitudes of the time. Steampunk can have anything that can be imagined as long as it is mechanical or steam powered. Basic electricity is available as well. It is a sub genre of sci-fi.

Q:  What draws you to this genre?
A:  I have no idea. Perhaps because the freedom of sci-fi letting the imagination roam, combined with the hope and optimism for the future.

Q:  Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
A:  I am an odd ball on that. I only see it with unknowns. Type cast stars would deflect from the characters and story.

Q:  When did you decide to become a writer?
A:  I wrote short stories in high school, and wrote a novel in the mid 70’s ( which got lost ).

Q:  Do you write full-time or part-time?
A:  If I am working on a book, it is full time, either at the keys or thinking about it.

Q:  Where do your ideas come from?
A:  Like most writers a thought or image comes to mind and it just keep expanding. On my first steampunk novel, I had a clear vision of the opening and the end, but nothing in between. I had to write it to find out how it got from A to B. The second, I had a vision of the start, I had to write it to see how it ended.

Q:  How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
A:  My mind has always been able to visualize, but I think in the process of writing over time, I have learned to listen to the voices in my head and close my eyes and see scenes.

Q:  What is the hardest thing about writing?
A:  Editing. ‘Nuff said.

Q:  What is the easiest thing about writing?
A:  I don’t think there is an easy but the easiest and best is when I see a scene playing like a movie in my head and my fingers try to keep up

Q:  What are your thoughts on writing a book series”
A:  I am doing that now. I don’t know how many total it will be as when I did the first one, I thought that would be it, but just the finish, thoughts of the second crept in. I thought I would take a nice break before doing a third but nooooo … the voices and visions have started already for a book 3.

Q:  Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
A:  First book, I hired an editor. XXX second I relied on writing groups, beta readers and lots of odd editing techniques.

Q:  What advice would you give to your younger self?
A:  Start writing now. Don’t wait.

Q:  Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A:  I have seen this question before and have thought what would be my answer. No one came to mind. If I had to pick, either Jules Verne or H G Wells. They are the ones that broke the molds on story writing.

Spread the word. This is good stuff!

My book is nearly finished!

I have written 4,000 of the projected 8,000 words to bring my book, Ascension of Peary, to an end. It will rest for two days and then I will edit this last part. It then goes to my beta reader, and my editor when I get it back from the beta reader. My projected publish date is September 18 on Amazon both for kindle and for trade paperback.

I workshopped with my buddies at the Burlington Writers Workshop last Wednesday. and they liked it but wanted it more literary. Then I told them that I was projecting it for ages 12 to 18. That changed the whole atmosphere, and we discussed the possibility of workshopping it with kids. We did not think that would work, so I went home in a bit of a funk.

I got an email about an hour later, with the subject “Your first Young Adult fan.” It turns out one of the participants got home and found her 9 year old was still awake. She decided to read him the first five or six pages of the 34 I had produced. He made her read it all, and then asked her to go download more. When she said there was no more to download, she quotes him as saying “That was amazing! I need to hear more. It’s so awesome. I can’t wait to hear what happens when she turns 18!” My first review! Admittedly for only a tiny piece, but it was good for my ego. I’ve sent her another 4000 words to share with him on the drive to his grandmother’s house, and we’ll see if he’s still enthralled.

Even better, another member of the group has two granddaughters at the lower end of my age spectrum. She will be sharing with them, and I will wait with bated breath to hear their response.

I’m so excited!

Apartments and books and other things.

I found another apartment that I really like and saw it last Wednesday. The landlord and I had a long talk in which I was totally honest with him. First, I told him that my current landlord is making scurrilous comments about me, my cats, and our respective cleanliness. His comments have cost me two apartments, but this one is in many respects the best. So then I told the landlord that I had 4 cats, which is true. He blanched. I then did my best to settle his concerns, but knew it was a stretch. We had a very nice conversation, and I left with minimal hope. He kept refreshing his ad on Craig’s List to bring it closer to the front, so I emailed him and indicated that I would give a nonrefundable deposit for the cats. Not having heard anything, I called him on Monday, and he indicated that he had not rejected me as a tenant, but wanted to show it for a few more days. I am now hedging my bets.

I go to look at two more apartments this week by Saturday. If one of those comes through, I will give him one more chance, and then go with the bird in the hand. Assuming I can stand one of the apartments.

Books are also problematic. I was planning to publish my book Fantastical Trips very soon. I have had a change of heart. It is not up to snuff. There may still be a story there, but this is not the writing with which to tell it. I had been letting it sit this month, planning on workshopping it one last time the first week in June. During the first couple of weeks of this month, I have been happily pottering away at another story I started last September. It had about 60 thousand words in it, and I wondered if it could be wrestled into something. I reread it, and immediately wrote the next 2500 words in the story. It is a much better written tale than Fantastical Trips, with better characterizations, better action, and a more devious plot. It needs work, but I will finish it in the next two weeks. I will go back, add more description, and send it off to beta readers. I have therefore cancelled the workshop on Fantastical Trips, and put it away. For how long? No idea. My heart says it’s dead, but my head says I can resurrect it.

Therefore, in the next month or so, I may have to change the complete look of this blog. The working title of the current WIP is Wandering Ways, which is descriptive of the story, but not a very exciting title. This is something I will have to think on, especially in redesigning the blog. But I have determined one thing from all of this. I want to write. I am learning the craft slowly. I cannot rush to publication with an inadequate piece of work, just for the sake of being a published author. But I also have to have faith that the stories I tell will find a home somewhere. I just hope it’s not in short stories!

But I must be mindful of one thing. I am now a month to month tenant in my current apartment. The landlord (the guy who lies about me) can evict me without cause with sixty days notice. It is a sword hanging over me.

Cats, books and other things

I have to admit that I am the proud human to four cats. All under the age of three, they manage to tear around my small apartment like a tornado, interfering with my second role, the writer of fantasy books. I use the plural form of the word “book” because I have six in process as well as two that I have written sketches about but haven’t started the actual writing of. And I mustn’t forget the one or two prequels of five of the books I’m working on.

Needless to say the concatenation of books and cats is a common meme, particularly in George Booth cartoons. His work could well be the humorous representation of parts of my life. I have a sweatshirt showing a cat swooning on a stack of books. The words are “Books. Cats. Life is good.” But he never to my recollection did one of a writer with cats. (Please feel free to disabuse me of this notion, as I would love to see his take on the issue.)

My cats have visited a number of calamities on me over the brief course of my writing career. Among them, the destruction of one computer, the deletion of a day’s work on one book, and the eating of a document that I needed to take with me to the Burlington Writers Workshop, among many other significant and insignificant atrocities. This is why I have made them characters in some of my stories. I somehow think I am appeasing the cat gods by doing this.

It is not the cat’s fault (I wish it were!) But the publication of Fantastical Trips is now put off, probably until June. I’ll keep you informed.