Five Things I Learned When Writing a Young Adult Book

curseofthesilverpharoah_smallRecently, The Curse of the Silver Pharaoh went live on Amazon, print editions premiering this week at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, provided we get no unforeseen whammies from CreateSpace. (Thanks, Hurricane Matthew!) Silver Pharaoh is not my first novel, nor is it my first foray into steampunk, as many of you know. The thing about this book that has me fidgeting nervously as reviews start to trickle in is that Silver Pharaoh is my first step into the realm of Young Adult fiction.

And that terrifies me. Greatly.

I’ve got a lot of feelings about Y.A. Fiction, one being that those reading Y.A. are not necessarily “young” adults. Think about it—while Harry Potter could be easily dismissed as a “kid’s book” and is found in the Children’s sections of bookstores and libraries everywhere, just as many adults devoured the adventures of the Boy Who Lived just as ravenously as its target audience.

So, yeah, working in the wild and woolly world of Y.A. for the first time, I picked up a few things… Continue reading

Writing Is Not a Solo Sport


photo credit: Arne Parrott

Striking a hero’s pose here is Drew Mierzejewski. I briefly met him two years ago through Alyson Grauer. Now if Aly’s name sounds familiar, it’s because you can find her lending her voice to one of my podcasts here, hear her rock the steampunk here, do it again here, and then giving good panel at DemiCon 25. Aly’s got game. So does Drew. That might be one of many reason these two got married.

Check it out, Chicago. This is an up-and-coming power couple to watch. I’m just sayin’.

Thing about Drew—I wish I knew him better. Something just tells me we’d be talking to the wee small hours in the morning about…stuff. Deep stuff. I especially got that impression when I saw a random Facebook post from him yesterday about the road creatives walk. The entire thread is here, and you really should check it out or even chime in if you like, but this was the part that made me stop and think…

Therefore, I would like to place a hypothetical to each of you. Why do we do walk this road alone? There are many of us! Why do we not band together in a great bonfire of creativity and make art? Is it impractical? It is idealistic? Is it too terrifying? What is stopping us from creating a massive company that makes art year round, in which we pool resources and talent to make the best of what we have to offer? Now, I want to reiterate that I ask this in hypothetical but I do want to hear your thoughts on this. So please take a moment and tell me in the comments what you think. Tell me why.

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Just Not Feeling It: The Lack of Sympathy for Seth Grahame-Smith

PPZIt had been a while since I’d been able to blog and I wanted a topic that would get back on writerly advice. This morning, I was intending to blog a bit about the beauty of research. It’s something I was reminded of when I penned for a response to WIRED on the history of podcasting fiction. So “Research” was to be my topic du jour until I saw in my feed this morning the story of author Seth Grahame-Smith and his current battle with New York publishing house, Hachette. The Guardian reported that the author inspiring a string of mash-up novels (his being Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which led Quirk Books to publish other works such as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Android Karenina) is being sued by Hachette for delivering a manuscript that claims is an appropriation of a public-domain work.

Just let that kick around in your brain for a minute: A New York publisher is suing a guy who took a Jane Austen classic, threw in a few set pieces from The Walking Dead, re-packaged it for a zombie-hungry market, and made a metric fuck-ton of money off of it, for writing a book that was a knock-off of a public domain work…like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Hold on a minute…KandP-seriously

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Reflections on a Rebellion:  Another Book Release That Is Something Entirely New


Woah! Three blogposts in a week?!

It’s been that kind of week, I guess.

Today, a new book comes out. You would think on the fifth book in a series, this would get boring. It doesn’t. On this go-round, honestly, I feel like there’s more riding on this title than the previous ones. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove, and yet I feel like I have a lot at stake.

I knew that going into it. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel as anxious as I’ve been in the past. I’ve been on edge for well over a year.

The fear started with making the decision. Pip and I could have gone ahead and wrapped everything up with The Diamond Conspiracy, but we stopped and asked ourselves “Are we done?” The answer: We were having way too much fun with this series. We knew we could have wrapped up the story arc beginning at Phoenix Rising. Wellington’s and Eliza’s story? That was a different matter altogether. We knew two more books were in store for the two of them, and we knew if we wanted them to happen then we would have to fund them independently. I could still recall how hard my heart was going when we said “Let’s do this.” It would mean returning to Kickstarter, a whole new level of stress. Continue reading

Walk the Walk: Actions over Prayer in Light of the Orlando 49

trinity_churchYou’ve probably seen on my Instagram images of Trinity Episcopal Church. Really nice place. Good people there. Trinity are located in Old Town Manassas, headed up by Stuart Schadt and Vinnie Lainson. Apart from sharing the occasional photo, I tend to be tight-lipped about my church, my faith, and my walk with Christ.  I have a lot of reasons why. If you are ever curious about it, and you have some time, I can tell you all about it; but my faith is a personal journey…

…and with the recent events in Orlando, I feel like that journey is being tested.

The trend of “thoughts and prayers” in light of tragedy, once upon a time, was a beautiful thing. I can remember regarding it as a beautiful way of solidarity online. However, when the same people condemning marriage equality and gay rights now extend “thoughts and prayers.” the sincerity was gone. No, as a Christian, I shouldn’t be passing judgment, but it was hard to take a high road when one politician who tweeted “Jesus wept.” on the upholding of marriage equality suddenly is offering “thoughts and prayers” the day after Orlando.

I am done with “thoughts and prayers.” I want action. I want change. And with so many religious leaders offering “thoughts and prayers” I had to wonder if there was anything more beyond that.

Then I got an email from Trinity Episcopal today: Continue reading

Overwatch: A Heartbreaking Adventure of Heroes

A few weeks ago, Blizzard Entertainment released Overwatch, a new game that I’ve been seeing gamer friends repeatedly posting their anticipation over and over again in my social media feeds. The artwork online and preview videos on YouTube promised striking anime inspiration in its character design, a world of wild and wicket combat tactics, and a wide array of maps based on real-life locations. Pretty cool, I thought.

Then I watched this short film…

Now I wanted to play this game.

If you skipped by the animated short, what are you doing?! It’s only six minutes and so worth it! But if you can’t watch the short film, let me bring you up to speed… Continue reading

Where Have I Been? (A #TeaserTuesday from the TeeMonster)

Hey, everyone.

It breaks my heart to look at how long it has been since I have blogged, and yes, it matters a great deal to me. This blog is my getaway, my soapbox, and my coffee shop where I enjoy a heart-to-heart with you.

So where have I been?

Bonus points if Lord Flashheart’s reply
popped into your head…


So yeah, it’s been Crunch Month, and on top of all that, Pip and I hit the 2016 Steampunk World’s Fair (which was great fun, I can tell you…). When not getting ready for the Fair and continuing our streak with the podcast (recording tonight!), it has been recording the audiobook while checking the layout of the new book.

In other words, I have been here… Continue reading

Something to send you into the weekend…

It’s been a weird April 1. I’ve been a bit distracted as I’ve been thinking a lot about my friend, Joe, stressing out over getting into the Dogfish Dash (I got in), and prepping for a big event in Vegas. I’ve just felt a little out of sync.

Then I found this quote. Makes me feel ready to face the weekend, and things to come…

Wise words indeed.

This weekend, embrace this gift we have been blessed with.


In need of a pick-me-up this Tuesday…

Been groggy all morning, and on my first cup I was reminded of this delightful mantra…


This parody of “The Mentat Mantra” (first heard in the 1984 film version of Dune) called “The Programmer’s Mantra” apparently was originated by Mark Stein at Sunday morning at Boston’s Arisia in 1993.

Words to live by, I’m telling you.

Cover Reveal: The Ghost Rebellion (Book Five of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences)


Welcome to Cover Reveal Day, and I can tell you this, we are very, very happy with the end result…


When we kicked off that Kickstarter back in October, today seemed very far off but we’re here. This means we are one step closer to the release of The Ghost Rebellion, the fifth book in the award-winning Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. Kickstarter Backers will be getting their copies in May, but the book will be available to the general public (in both digital and eBook formats) on June 8th.

Today, you can pre-order the ebook now.

The amazing creative team that made this cover possible:

And here it is… Continue reading