Smoke and Steam Free Ebook

We’re running a promotion for our second anthology, Smoke and Steam. Beginning at midnight, Pacific Daylight Time, you can get a copy of the ebook from Amazon for free. The promotion runs through March 19 and ends at 11:59 PDT.

Smoke and Steam contains four Steampunk novellas from Corrugated Sky‘s authors. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, the Steampunk genre is a type of science fiction/fantasy/alternative history based on Victorian-era technology. Sometimes it includes magic, or werewolves, or man/machine hybrids. And airships and trains are pretty much de rigueur.

The adventures in Smoke and Steam include “Wings over Staria,” by JC Rock;
“Hekatite,” by Karen Garvin; “Heart of the Matter,” by Michelle Schad; and “Freedom for a Foster,” by Cathryn Leigh.

Head on over to Amazon during the promotion and download a free copy of the ebook. While you’re there, why not pick up a paperback, too? After all, it’s how the Victorians would have read their books!

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Ray Bradbury and Me

I have two chapters in this book about Ray Bradbury. The book is part of Salem Press’s Critical Insights series.

Toward the end of last year I was invited to write a biography and a critical context entry about Ray Bradbury for inclusion in Salem Press’s Critical Insights: Ray Bradbury. The book has been published and I received my author’s copy last week, just in time for the holidays. It’s a lot of work to research and write these kind of articles, but it’s always a pleasure to see them in print and to see what kind of other articles there are in the book.

Last summer my husband and I attended the Maine Astronomy Retreat for the first time. One day we left camp and drove to Belfast, Maine, and spent the afternoon strolling around. I saw a paperback copy of The Martian Chronicles in the window of an independent bookstore, and I was drawn to it, but in the end I didn’t buy it. About a month after vacation I received an email about this book project and all I could think was “Why didn’t I buy that book when I was on vacation?”

Odd things like that seem to happen to me fairly often. I suppose I could claim to have had an intuition about the book, but I think I was drawn to it because I’ve been thinking about rereading some of the books I read as a teenager, and The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451 were both on that reread list. I read both while working on the articles, and in fact I devoured them each in a day or two, staying up way too late because I just could not put the books down. I don’t remember that fascination the first time I read the books, and in fact I found The Martian Chronicles a bit hard because I’m more of a novel reader and less of a short-story reader. I always wanted to stay with Bradbury’s characters longer than he did!

My essays are a short biography, “Ray Douglas Bradbury,” and a longer piece, “Big Brother, Little Sister: Ray Bradbury, Social Pressure, and the Challenges to Free Speech.” You can work out from the title what it’s about, so I won’t go into details here. But, I would recommend reading Bradbury’s work, especially if you’ve only seen the movies. His word choices, the characters, the pacing of the stories — those are part and parcel of the atmosphere he brought to the worlds he created. You won’t go wrong spending an evening, or a few days, immersed in his work.

 

 

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 111

Interior of trolley at the Baltimore Trolley Museum.

Interior of trolley at the Baltimore Trolley Museum.

Welcome to this week’s Thursday Writing Prompt. I resisted the impulse to post a snow picture because I think more than a few of us are sick of the cold weather. But what would happen if we were permanently stuck with this weather? Suppose you lived on a planet where this is the way it is all the time. Winter isn’t just coming; it’s here. And it’s here to stay.

Write a short description of a planet where this weather pattern is the norm. Assuming the inhabitants have similar needs to us as far as their needs for air, water, food, and warmth, what adaptations would they have made to deal with their planet’s climate? Do they have something like cars, or do they use sleds? Flying machines? Are they that advanced?

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 107

Stonehenge "postcard" that I created from one of my photographs.

Stonehenge “postcard” that I created from one of my photographs.

Welcome to 2015 and this year’s first Thursday Writing Prompt! In honor of New Year’s Day I thought I’d give you a prompt that involved a new location and a new year, although not necessarily “new” in the sense of a linear timeline.

Imagine that you fell asleep after your New Year’s Eve revelries (or in front of the TV) and when you woke up the world around you was literally different. Instead of resting comfortably in bed or on the sofa, you awake to find yourself wrapped in a linen blanket and nestled in a pile of straw. And yes, there’s probably a flea or louse or some other unwelcome beast sharing the straw with you.

You jump up, noticing that the walls surrounding you are earthen walls. You panic and run outside. Your hut is just one of many small rough-built structures clustered along the edge of what appears to be a building site in an open field. Your mouth drops open when you see the massive stone sentinels — it’s Stonehenge — only it hasn’t been completely built yet.

Okay, now this is where you pick up the thread of the story. Who are you and why are you at Stonehenge? How did you get transported back in time? And just what is Stonehenge?