This last weekend, 16th and 17th of November, was the book launch for “Steam and Strategem” at the Pure Speculation Festival in Edmonton. I made it up for the weekend and so did Margaret, the submissions (and everything else) editor for Tyche Books.
The driving was not good, but both of us had chosen to go up a day early and return a day later. So that way we both avoided the horrible weekend weather that had Highway 2 closed when all the ditches filled up with abandoned vehicles and there was no room for more. (I’m joking, but on Monday morning there were still over a dozen abandoned vehicles south of Leduc with police tape draped around them.)
The festival had a Steampunk theme, which was why Margaret had chosen to emphasize the steampunk features of my ‘Regency romance and steampunk’ novel and have us dress the steampunk part for the weekend. Well; I got out of them as much as possible once I learned that ‘civvies’ were okay for parts of the program. I had cobbled together some steampunk things (and it showed).
I selected most of my panels to teach me something about the Steampunk ethos, since I knew I was too clueless to pretend to be a steampunk author. The steam in my novel encompassed both ships and trains and as much ship building and pioneering issues as I could slip into the plot without readers expecting to have to write an engineering exam at the end of the novel. I believe I do have the same feelings for the ‘steam age’ as do longtime Steampunk enthusiasts and can claim that five of my seven published novels have important rolés for steam as well.
I also like airships. I have never been in one, but I was in the old airship hangar at Farnborough several times before B-Shed, as it was called, was taken down in the sixties. The frames have since been re-erected at Farnborough to commemorate the establishment’s beginning as the Royal Balloon Factory. If I may attempt another weak connection, my Mother told me she had seen the zeppelins caught in the searchlight beams in London during WWI.
The launch went quite well although my author reading could have been better if I’d remember to slow down. We sold some books and I autographed some—but somewhere shy of a million. Until the official release day, November 30th, information where to find pre-release copies can be found at http://tychebooks.com/book/steam-strategem/ afterwards they will be at all the usual outlets as e-books or POD paper.
I cannot end without a word or two about all those wonderful Steampunk people who made the weekend a fascinating success. The costumes were terrific, with the older men dressed and mannered like Queen Victoria’s parliament or armed forces, and the ladies either swaddled in elaborate finery or much less weighed down with unnecessary covering of their qualifications. I, as usual, gravitated to the ladies if I wanted to ask something and must not fail to thank Melissa and Sarah for their patient answering of my elementary questions. I think I feel a kinship to them all who share some of my contrarian instincts and while coping well with the twenty-first century prefer to celebrate the nostalgia they feel for the nineteenth. I have done my best to produce some fiction that compliments both their feelings and their love of stories of that bygone age.