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

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

Kickstarting a New Project on a New Social Media Toy.

So, over the weekend, this happened…

In a nutshell, Pip and I attended Steampunk unLimited 2015, launched a Kickstarter for the fifth book in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, and had a blast with friends and fans throughout the weekend.

12005665_10207806377498556_512412240_oYes, I know I said “Steampunk unLimited 2016” in the video and all I can do is blame my lack of coffee and the desire to time travel, but I digress…

This Kickstarter really has come out of the box strong. We were already at the 50% mark within four days. I don’t think we saw that kind of love even for The Ministry Initiative. We’re doing all we can to keep the momentum going, and are optimistic that not only will we meet the initial goal for The Ghost Rebellion but we may also see some of those stretch goals come to fruition. There’s a lot of possibility ahead, and we are pretty stoked.

So’s one of our stretch goals—V’s Cosplay—who put together a quick little doodle here of Eliza using “grenade incentives” to get people to pledge.

Since we are talking about possibilities, how about we chat a bit about that video posted above.

IMG_5524If you’ve been paying attention to me on Twitter (as well as Books and Braun), you may have noticed a few tweets taking you to the official website for Periscope. If you haven’t heard of this new platform, here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve learnt in two weeks of testing, filming, and posting. Periscope offers you the ability to stream video from your smartphone or tablet, and opens your live broadcast up for comments and “Hearts” (Likes) that  interact with you and your content, all in real-time. You can video for as long as you like, and Periscope will continue the stream for as long as your data connection remains.

So you can see how much fun an app like Periscope would be at an event like Steampunk unLimited.

As for what you can do with Periscope from an author’s point-of-view, there’s a lot of ideas I’ve been kicking around, and if you want to read about those ideas, swing on over to One-Stop Writer Shop where I take you on a deep dive with the app. It’s a lot of fun.

So we are off and running with our Kickstarter. Please make sure to let people know about what we are up to!


Unexpected Monday Surprise: A Cover Reveal

steam_teeIt’s been a month.

I’ve been trying to get back into a groove, what with the new job (nearing a month being here and it’s been great!) and how that will affect my writing calendar. We’ve managed to get in a steampunk tea in Shepherdstown, West Virginia (photos from S4 by Bruce Press Photography are available for viewing and purchase) and a fantastic weekend at Steampunk unLimited (thank you to everyone who stopped by and said “Hi!”), all of which has kept me from getting back to the blog. My wife-of-infinite-awesome may need a cooler title, as Pip is keeping me in check with a variety of things, and finally I stole a pocket of time to talk to you about one of them. We’ve got some great news coming down the pike; but last week we were (pleasantly) surprised by our publisher-of-infinite-awesome, Ace/Roc Books, as they revealed to the world the next cover in the adventures of Books and Braun.

I now present to you The Diamond Conspiracy, the fourth installment in the award-winning Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series: Continue reading

A Game of Wait and See: The Hullabaloo over “Hullabaloo”


I’ve been getting tagged all week on social media platforms about the successful IndeGoGo-finded project, Hullabaloo. I was originally going to respond to this via Facebook, but it started to get too long, and thought this better suited for a blogpost.

First off, this definitely needs to be said — congratulations to the animators and creative team behind this project. After my own experience with Kickstarter, both the positive and the negative, it is always awesome to see brilliant, passionate crowdfunded projects not only hit their goals but surpass them. Well done, Team Hullabaloo. You kicked ass, and even grabbed the attention of io9 in the process. That is tremendous work, and I admire that.

Second, it’s nice that when people think of steampunk, they think of me, my wife, and the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. We’ve been working hard since breaking into the genre and it means a lot to me that people are curious as to my thoughts on steampunk creations.

So, what are my thoughts? Continue reading

Barbecue Zen: A Life Lesson from a Cookout

(photos from Nutty Nuchtchas and Bruce F Press Photography)

10385393_10201495629506364_381941092020939126_nThe week following Balticon 48, my social media feeds could easily be broken down to two topics: retrospectives of the event (which was awesome, by the way, and if you weren’t there—think about being there in 2015) and a variety of perspectives on the #YesAllWomen hashtag. While nostalgic and contemplative the looks back to the Memorial Day Weekend were, it’s been equally disheartening reading stories from people I admire and hold in high esteem like Dr Pamela Gay, Jared Axelrod, Chris Miller, either being victim of or watching others victimized by people who think they are cast in a season of Mad Men. Sure, there are men who behave badly in our culture but I had no idea just how deep this dark, twisted rabbit hole reached.

In this post I want to talk about both. In particular I want to talk about that amazing cookout you may have heard Balticon talk about on Friday night, and what we all can take away from it. Continue reading

RavenCon 2014: A Homecoming in April (Hail, Hydra…)

This week has been one temptation after another to rant a bit on topics ranging between Game of Thrones to pretentious nitwits in steampunk, but I have chosen a different direction for my weeks blogpost:


That’s right — RavenCon! Finally, after years of trying to make my hometown event happen, I am finally coming back to the weekend in April that I helped kick off seven years ago alongside Con Chair Michael Pederson. I, for one, am looking forward to the weekend!

It’s been a little frustrating not being able to make it, mainly on account of things like the lack of a day job; but after balancing the books and making sure the numbers weren’t misleading me, I can finally come back to my hometown (the second time within the month!) and enjoy some good old-fashioned geekery alongside such terrific people like Bill Blume, Gail Z. Martin, Michael A. Ventrella, the Geek Radio Daily crew, and Guest of Honor (and all around great lady!) Elizabeth Bear!

Want to know where I will be this weekend? Continue reading

Two Detectives: A Case of Lightning Striking Twice

peter-dinklage-lightbox-1As you all know, I have a thing for the Dinklage. 

When I first saw him in the *ahem* EMMY-AWARD-WINNING PERFORMANCE of Tyrion in Game of Thrones, I knew that if Billi were ever optioned for the big screen or for cable, Dinklange would be my first—and only—choice for the role of the dwarf detective. The wise-ass attitude. The swagger. The confidence. He was Billi in the best suits Westros could offer. This, of course, was a pipe dream as The Billibub Baddings Mysteries were settling comfortably as bygone titles in my career. I hadn’t really given the dwarf detective much thought until January when my better half and the rest of the Smoky Writers’ Retreat convinced me a Kickstarter to fund a third Billi—regardless of both my agent and other publishers showing no interest in the series—was a good idea.

So since Valentine’s Day, the dwarf detective and Dinklage have been in the forefront of my mind recently…

…and that why I was completely thrown for a loop when this bomb dropped in my lap: Dinklage is in talk for a new HBO series where he plays a dwarf detective.

Wait. Come again?! Continue reading

There and Back Again: My Return to Medifast

IMG_6563It was that awkward moment around Halloween 2012. Maybe you saw the image that went (mildly) viral? My costume was to be an homage to Monty Python, and I had nothing to worry about with it fitting as it was the “one size fits all” variety. I slipped on the base outfit and checked it in the mirror…

Then I turned to one side.

Then to the other.

When I smoothed out the front and my hand went out not down, I knew that a day I dreaded had finally arrived…

…but no, I’ll deal with it later. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as the costume made it look. Continue reading

Stranger on a Train: New York Comic Con

And awwwaaaay we go!!!

Between the surprise priority video job at work, our child getting sick, the drama of getting out of Manassas, and WordPress for the iPhone borking on me and devouring my post, it is hard to believe we are on the way to New York Comic Con and yet here we are, chugging through New Jersey…

The recent crisis at work this week brought about an epiphany: some people are under the impression that video editing is the same as putting together a PowerPoint presentation. Thing is, you can’t do in PowerPoint what I put together in Final Cut Pro. You want more than you average slide presentation. Yes I get that. But as Jimmy has learned under The Commodore’s tutelage: You don’t get anything for free.

Boardwalk Empire. That’s some incredible storytelling there.

I am taking some cold comfort in that I did something no one else could do. It’s what my friend Al Garnett calls “the price of being a badass” — you raise the bar and people expect you to go Superman at a moment’s notice; but then again, no one does what I do there. No one could. That’s fact, bro. Straight up.

So now, Pip and I head for NY ComicCon. We want to get a hardbound copy of Phoenix Rising to Felicia Day, and I’d like to get Mark Hammil to sign my copy of Batman: Arkham Asylum. Funny thing — even with being pro, I’m still the fanboi.

I can live with that.