Friday, July 30, 2010

Second Verse, Same As the First

Everyone deserves a mulligan once in a while, right? I mean America is the land of second chances. So, it seems, is Eureka, the syfy-channel show about a town of wacky geniuses who always manage to screw something up.

When we left last season (or part-season; I can never get these syfy "seasons" straight), Jo, the testosterone-fueled deputy sheriff was in love with the cute but devious town rogue;
her boss, Jack, had moved on from his unrequited feelings for Allison (head of the Department of Defense-connected Global Dynamics, the corporation that runs the town), only to find that the woman he moved on with, Tess, is leaving him for a job in Australia;
Allison, whose remarriage to Jack's rival ended in disaster, is left alone to take care for a newborn and an older, autistic son.
This season opened with the same players in place. Tess is gone, Allison is a single mother, and Jo's boyfriend has just proposed. Hocus-pocus (and a lot of scientific jargon) and they are all whisked away to 1940s Eureka. High adventure ensues, including the long-awaited reconciliation between Jack and Allison.

But, as many sci-fi series have noted, you can't come back from the past without changing the present, so when the parties return, everything is different.
To Jo's horror, she is now overweight and the last person her boyfriend would marry, he isn't even her boyfriend; Tess not only didn't leave for Australia, she has (or is) moving in with a dismayed Jack, and Allison's autistic son has been miraculously cured--giving her a stake in maintaining this new present, as opposed to the others who can't wait to ditch it for the old one.

Whoa, Nellie!

I enjoy this show, but it's not at the top of my list. But I have to say that this plot twist was pure genius, Eureka style.

It shakes up all the relationships and gives them a second wind. The inevitable doldrums of happiness that come with finding true love is avoided. Now Jo and boyfriend are back at ground zero--as are Allison and Jack.
And there's more. Henry, the town's jack-of-all-trades, is suddenly married--to someone he never met before.







And Fargo, the nerd-prone junior scientist, everyone (including the audience) dismisses, is now head of Global Dynamics.
Can't wait to see how all these new twists play out. I only hope they don't give in and turn everything back to the way it was too soon.

In the meantime, kudos to whoever came up with this plot device. I would loved to have been a fly on the wall of the writing room.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stupid Questions Mothers Ask

One of my favorite topics here at the Otherworld Diner has perennially been how to balance parenting and writing, or, rather, how I wish it were easier to balance it. This long, hot summer, I've valiantly tried to keep my writing chin up while keeping my children fed and clothed. Who cares if the clothes are CLEAN, as long as they have them on, right? Anyway, here are some stupid questions I've asked this summer I really should have known the answers to.

1) What is this doing in the middle of the floor?
--- It doesn't matter what "this" is, it's obvious why it's in the middle of the floor. Because they were constructing an indoor toy mountain/waterpark/obstacle course/hayride/science experiment/etc.

2) Can you two finish up here? I have to go write something down before I forget it.
--- It doesn't matter what needs to be finished unless it's "eating cake"; the answer is no. They cannot finish up here and are completely incapable of putting away the toys used to create toy mountain, even though they handily dragged them all out.

3) What do you want for dinner?
--- Chicken nuggets, pizza or spaghetti. And if I'm stupid enough to ask, woe shall befall me if I do not make good on their demands.

4) Do you promise not to do that again?
--- As with #1, it doesn't matter what "that" is. They will do it again. Especially if "that" is "build a toy mountain in the middle of the living room so tall it blocks the new big screen tv and threatens the ceiling fan.

5) What in the world is going on in here?
--- See #1 but add fighting and screaming and something broken.

6) What do you want to watch on TV?
--- Cue arguing and inappropriate requests. I should have just started a Barbie movie without asking first, although that only works on the days toy mountain has not been constructed.

7) What do you want to pack to go visit Grandma?
--- Several toys, at least one of them broken after its stint in the foundation of toy mountain, two pairs of socks, a bunch of wadded up paper and a dress up dress. This is for a several day visit.

8) Where did you put my *insert important item*?
--- How should they know? They have amnesia from falling off toy mountain.

9) Do you understand why you're being punished?
--- No.

10) Did you do what your sister is saying you did?
--- No.

11) Are you finished picking up so I can vacuum?
--- Yes! (But no, as vacuuming toy mountain is neither safe nor possible.)

12) Do you two think you could quit fighting and/or leave me alone for just 10 minutes so I can do a teeny tiny bit of work?
--- Yes! (But no, as a land ownership battle over the north slope of toy mountain takes precedence to any promises made to Mommy.)

13) Are you ready for bed?
--- Yes! (But no, because when forced to pick up toy mountain, a project that took me riding herd on them the entire day, they just transferred it to the bedroom and now the bed is long gone.)

14) Can you please...*insert perfectly rational request*
--- No. (Silly Mommy. Don't you know saying "please" or being rational is a sign of weakness?)

So what are the stupidest questions you've asked your kids this summer or do you remember being asked by your parents in the past?

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quotes to Beat the Heat





Have you watched the news lately? Heat adversaries and temperatures over 100 are daily occurrences. To beat the roasting warmth, I’ve decided to present 13 quotes with the word heat in them.



  1. When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat. Ronald Reagan



  2. It ain't the heat, it's the humility. Yogi Berra



  3. Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. Russel Baker



  4. Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself. William Shakespeare



  5. Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.
    Henry David Thoreau



  6. When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat. Nelson Mandela



  7. Nothing splendid was ever created in cold blood. Heat is required to forge anything. Every great accomplishment is the story of a flaming heart. Arnold H. Glasgow



  8. If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back? Steven Wright



  9. Those who cannot understand how to put their thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of debate. Friedrich Nietzsche



  10. One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is to supply light and not heat. Woodrow Wilson



  11. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Harry S. Truman



  12. Some people change their ways when they see the light; others when they feel the heat.
    Caroline Schoeder



  13. If you can't stand the heat, don't go to Cancun in the summer. Ben Stein

    What’s the temperature where you live? What are you doing to beat the heat? Do tell.

    Sources
    http://www.brainyquote.com/words/he/heat172400.html
    http://thinkexist.com/quotes/



Please visit on Thursday, August 19, when multi-talented and multi-published author, Terry Spear will be blogging about her new release, Seduced by the Wolf.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The ‘IT’ Factor – Debut Author Lydia Dare

A Certain Wolfish Charm
Sourcebooks, April 2010

Book Blurb:
He gets crankier and crankier as the moon gets full…

The rules of Society can be beastly—especially when you’re a werewolf and it’s that irritating time of the month. Simon Westfield, the Duke of Blackmoor, is rich, powerful, and sinfully handsome, and has spent his entire life creating scandal and mayhem. It doesn’t help his wolfish temper at all that Miss Lily Rutledge seems not the least bit afraid of him, and in fact, may be as untamable as he is…


A woman whose charm is stronger than the moon…

When Lily’s beloved nephew’s behavior becomes inexplicably wild, she turns to Simon, the boy’s cousin and guardian, for help. But Simon’s idea of assistance is far different than hers, and Lily finds herself ensconced in his house and engaged to the rogue.

They both may have bitten off more than they can chew when each begins to discover the other’s darkest secrets…


The Pros:
• The plot had a lot of potential. I loved the idea of a young werewolf coming into puberty and needing guidance into man/wolf-hood. I just wish the author had spent more time on this aspect of the story. But unfortunately the author skims over much of Oliver’s enlightenment, pretty much omitting a pivotal scene where Simon supposedly explains to Oliver what he’s turning into. I would like to have witnessed this first hand and experienced the varied emotions I’m sure both were going through. Instead, she has Simon give the boy books on lycanthropy and says come back later if you have any questions. As the boy’s mentor/guardian, Simon needed to take a more active interest in educating his young cousin. I think it would have made him a deeper, richer character for it.
• There are some nice attempts at humor. Will, Simon’s brother and fellow werewolf, was definitely a scene stealer.

The Cons:
• Many short, pointless scenes and slow pacing – the middle especially drags
• There needed to be more conflict other than Simon hiding his wolf side from Lily. Since that was the only thing standing between them, there just didn’t seem to be enough meat to the story.
• I’m not sure I liked Simon as a hero. All he does is manhandle and lust after Lily. I realize the author was trying to show his animal nature but having him constantly pick her up and carry her off to places she doesn’t want to go (half the time in front of witnesses) just wasn’t done in polite Regency society. That would be scandal enough to ruin her. Then *spoiler alert* Simon practically date rapes Lily in the garden while a dance is going on during their first intimate encounter. It brought to mind the bodice rippers of the 80s. Simon came off as more Neanderthal than werewolf.

What Saved It:
The last two chapters when Lily finally learns what Simon is and accepts him, then he takes her as his mate. Well done and intense, packed with emotion and full of sensory detail. If the rest of the novel had read like the ending, it would have turned a mediocre book into a page turner.

The ‘IT’ Factor:
To be honest, I couldn’t put my finger on anything specific with this book that could have sold it. It wasn’t throw-it-against-the-wall bad but neither was it Keeper Shelf material. The writing was decent but a bit simplistic, the characters bordered on stereotypical, and the plot pretty basic for a werewolf story (except for the adolescent werewolf part which was skimmed over). The ending was very good but I honestly don’t think an editor is going to buy a novel based on two awesome chapters at the end of the book. The only thing I can think of is the combination of the Regency setting and the werewolf element. More and more Regencies seem to be incorporating a paranormal element of some sort these days to distinguish themselves from the pack. The idea Ms. Dare presented had great potential but I’m afraid the book didn’t fulfill on the promise nearly enough for me.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sorcerers and Airbenders and Dragons, Oh, My

This weekend I had a chance to get out to a couple of movies - most notably, twice for Sorcerer's Apprentice, which I thought was fantastic, and if you do paranormal, you need to go. It's about magic and spells and love - and how it all ties together through the centuries. There's even a scene - live action, of course - mimicking the original Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice - wonderful!

Nicolas Cage does well as a 1000-year-old sorcerer who's just a "little bit" crazy. And nerdy Jay Baruchel - if I was younger ... well, he's had at least three movies where he's gotten the girl, despite his rather nasal voice. Alfred Molina was scarily convincing as an evil sorcerer whose only goal is to free Morgana, the sworn enemy and murderer of Merlin. Since I grew up with tales of Merlin (The Hollow Hills, The Crystal Cave, etc), the storyline felt wonderful. I highly recommend the movie if you haven't seen it.

Beyond those considerations, though, these movies have a grasp of the paranormal - the magic effects, the dragons and other supernatural wonders that help those of us who write understand and imagine what can be done with just our imaginations. If you're not reading and watching movies and television to fill up your brain, you won't be able to write well. You have to feed the fire and see what's out there.

What do you do to fill your well?

Friday, July 16, 2010

What’s With Everybody

The next person who says, “I don’t like to take pills” had better not be close enough for me to smack. Doesn’t like pills, huh? No kidding! Who does? Okay, druggies do, but regular people, not so much. So why do I care? After all, I used to be one of those people. I would live with a headache rather than take a Tylenol. Taking antibiotics made me feel like I’d failed somehow. Then everything began to change.

It started with a I daily thyroid pill, I didn’t like the idea, but it was only one tiny pill. I could live with that, right? I felt better, lost weight, had more energy. It was a sacrifice, but it was worth it. Then there was chronic pain that had me taking Tylenol on a regular basis. Then my blood pressure went up and stayed up, and another pill became part of my daily routine. My minor asthma became worse and I had to use a daily inhaler along with the occasional rescue inhaler. My stomach required a pill, my chronic pain got worse and I learned to juggle different minor and major meds to keep it under control. And it goes on from there. Today I take a colorful variety of medications to keep my various ailments under control. Without some of them I could die. Others make life worth living. Do I enjoy taking pills/inhalers/liquids? Absolutely not. Does keeping up with them all take more time and effort than I’d like? Yes. Do I carry a printed list of my medications? Yes, I do. Well, I do when I remember to print out an updated list. (Excuse me while I make a note). Now, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, I was complaining. So what else is new?

Anyway, so it seems everybody I know, including my husband and best friend, are refusing to take pills. What do I care? Just because I take a handful every day, why should I care? So people around me are sick, depressed, have stomach issues, acne, sleep apnea, tired blood, frizzy hair, and brittle nails. What do I care if they refuse to do anything about it because I would involve taking...da-ta-taaaa... pills?

All right, all right, I’ll own up to my petty feelings. I admit that when others talk about not taking medications I feel just a bit like a failure. Okay, okay, a serious failure. Only for a moment. If it takes meds to keep this old girl going, then bring ‘em on! Cause I got me some serious livin’ to do!

Have a wonderful weekend!!



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kicking Caffeine's Butt

I've always had a trick stomach (and its cute little trick always involves nausea). Lately I've been having an even trickier time in a way that is suggestive of acid reflux. Before I signed up for the whole scope down the throat bit, I thought I'd try some sensible home remedies. Namely, I am kicking coffee, soda and caffeine to the curb.

I don't know if a higher than average number of writers have obsessions about their caffeinated beverages and their writing routines. Seems like most writers I know have to set the mood in order to write at peak productivity, which may involve anything from caffeine to music to scented candles to evil deadlines. I myself have become accustomed to the way caffeine improves my mental alertness with regards to writing and concentration.

But the stomach aches take precedence, at least for now.

I'm on day 3 of minimal caffeine -- I allow myself a soda or iced tea at lunch -- and so far it stinks. I estimate I had been having between 300 and 400 milligrams a day (according to the chart here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine) and now I'm down to 50 or less. I have a headache, I'm tired all the time yet restless, I'm depressed, I lack focus, I'm irritable, and I find myself staring at the empty coffee pot at least six times a day without remembering how I got there. Worse, the symptoms of reflux have decreased but by no means have disappeared.

At the same time, knowing I'm actually sad and depressed because I can't drink coffee -- that makes me mad enough that I'll be pleased once the withdrawals are over. Do I want any kind of addiction in my life? Heck no! Do I still long for coffee? Heck yeah! But for my health, I've got to put the coffee pot away and try to find other ways to keep myself focused enough to be a writer. Maybe day 4 will be an improvement....

Is caffeine part of your writing routine? What do you think you'd find it hard to part with and still be able to write?

Jody Wallace
http://www.jodywallace.com * http://www.meankitty.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Today's special - Summer Salad

Today's special: Here's a shout-out to Emeril's Prosciutto and Melon salad - it's great, easy and cool for a hot summer day. Got any cool summer dishes to share with your favorite diner?

Ingredients

* 12 wedges of fresh honeydew melon, about 1 1/2 inches thick
* Salt and pepper
* 8 thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma
* 4 cups of fresh arugula, washed, stemmed and patted dry
* Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 ounce pieces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
* 1/4 cup Balsamic Syrup, recipe follows

Directions

Season the melon with salt and pepper. Wrap two pieces of prosciutto around each wedge of melon. In a mixing bowl, toss the greens with olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Mound the greens in the center of four plates. Arrange three prosciutto wrapped melon around each mound of greens. Shave the cheese over the greens. Drizzle each salad with the Balsamic Syrup.

* Balsamic Syrup
* 3 cups balsamic vinegar

In a medium-saucepan, over medium heat, add the balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 30 minutes or until syrup-like consistency. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Yield: about 1/4 cup

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blood is sweet - and musical.

I'm watching True Blood, and while I don't want to get too involved in it, in the Postmortem, they talked about the world of the vampires with a "government" official. Very cool. The music is what makes this show so intense. They have chosen well with the sounds to go with hot southern nights and dark warm blood.

Music can be essential to writing and movies. Many writers, like Laurell K. Hamilton, choose specific music to write to. Others make up their own soundtracks as they go, choosing a mood with music and then working the "feel" of that music into their words. Movies rely on music to set a scene, create a mood, heighten emotions.

There are so many things you can do with music. And music can be an important part of your creative process. Have you ever bought movie soundtracks because you loved the music - whether it was a musical or a scary movie? Music moves you - and you can use it to keep you on your writing track by making your own 'soundtrack' to write by.

If you're writing about the past, you may want to choose classical music, or swing, or 70s,whatever period you're writing about. The internet is a great source to find what music was popular during the era you're working with. Or you can listen to music that stimulates your brain, makes you want to sing or run or cry, to help you find the mood you need for the scene you're working on.

Music is life - what music moves you? Let me know what you're writing to or with or for ... maybe your music will help someone else find what they need to keep their writing moving forward.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fun Facts for the Fourth

Hope you had a happy Fourth of July! Perhaps, like me, you’re still reminiscing about the food, fun and fireworks. It was a blast. ...

Did you grill out? If so, you were not alone. What did you eat? Ever wonder where that food came from? I did some research and I've come up with some answers.



1.Let's begin with a basic. Did you know that if you’re a U.S. citizen, you’re one of an estimated 309.6 million people?
2. Of that almost 310 million group, 76 million said they took part in a barbeque in 2009. Chances are many of those cookouts occurred during this mid-summer holiday.


3.You may have snacked on watermelon. Most likely that melon came from Florida which produced 818 million pounds of the tasty fruit.
4.Perhaps you enjoyed hot dogs and pork sausages. Those pork products likely came from Iowa. On March 1, 2010, farms in the Hawkeye state were feeding 18.9 million four-legged contributors (hogs and pigs).
5.If you dined on beef, those burgers or steaks probably came from Texas, which provides one-sixth of America's beef products.
6.Maybe you ate barbecued chicken. That chicken likely came from one of six states: Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi or Texas.
7.If you opted for baked beans with your main course, those beans may have come from North Dakota, which produces 34% of the dry, edible beans consumed in the U.S.
8.Did you top your burgers and hotdogs with ketchup? The tomatoes used to make ketchup more than likely came from California, which accounted for 95% of the processed tomato production in 2009.
9.How about corn on the cob, another grilling favorite? Many of us enjoyed those juicy, crunchy yellow kernels. About 66% of the sweet corn grown comes from five states: Florida, California, Georgia, Washington and New York.
10.Probably you also sampled either potato chips, potato salad or French fries at your barbecue. Half the potatoes grown in the U. S. come from Idaho or Washington state.
11.If you ate healthy at your barbeque, perhaps sampling only a salad, you may have garnished your lettuce with fresh tomatoes. About 70%of the fresh tomatoes sold are farmed in, yes, California -- along with Florida.
12.Speaking of lettuce for salad, you can thank California. Over 25% of all the lettuce raised in the nation comes from the Golden state.
13.After your satisfying meal, no doubt you watched a fireworks display. Those fireworks most likely came from China. In 2009, Americans shelled out $217 million on those dazzling explosions in the night sky.

Ah, those good times of the Fourth. I hope this holiday brought you plenty of fine food and friends. What did you eat? What did you do? Let me know. I’d like to hear from you.

Sources
http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb10-ff12.html

Monday, July 5, 2010

The ‘IT’ Factor – Debut Author Addison Fox

Warrior Ascended, Book 1: Sons of the Zodiac
Signet, March 2010

Book Blurb:
Millennia ago, the Goddess of Justice created a race of fierce Warriors, each imbued with a special power of the Zodiac, charged with protecting humanity from the darkest of evils.

Charming, proud, and impulsive, Leo Warrior Brody Talbot is fighting what may be his final battle. Enyo, the Goddess of War, plans to fulfill an ancient prophecy to destroy humanity by harnessing the dark power of the Summoning Stones of Egypt -- and there’s only one person who knows enough about the stones to help Brody diminish their strength.

Since her father’s murder, museum curator Ava Harrison has continued his research of Egypt’s ancient treasures. She’s just landed the exhibit of a century, displaying the Summoning Stones at New York’s Natural History Museum. Used to working alone, Ava is suspicious of the arrogant archeologist who’s been brought in to ensure the stones safekeeping–but his presence ignites an unexpected blaze of attraction.

Never in all his centuries has Brody met a woman who enthralls him like Ava. But, bound to protect her, he struggles to deny his passion as they are drawn into a dark and dangerous final reckoning between good and evil.


When I read the cover blurb for this book, I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to get. There have been a bunch of immortal warrior series put out lately and they all contain similar (if not identical) elements:
Immortal warriors/brotherhood tasked with saving mankind from evil – check
A god and/or goddess created the warriors and endowed them with their powers - check
The majority of the brotherhood lives in a frat house/mega-mansion together – check
The warriors have another entity inside of each of them which rules their personalities and gives them their powers, be it animal, demon or astrological – check
The guys have a tattoo on their bodies marking them as warriors -- check
Mousy scientist/librarian/museum curator heroine hiding a Victoria’s Secret body beneath baggy clothes – check
The anit-social heroine has dormant supernatural powers that come to the surface after meeting the hero - check

The Battle:
Obviously, others have done similar immortal warrior/brotherhood series like this one. Probably starting with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series, we also have Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld, JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, and Pamela Palmer’s Feral Warriors to name a few. Fox’s challenge here was to take what’s been done before and make it fresh. Let’s see how she did…

The Victories:
The author deviated from the standard plot device of the internal entity giving his human body extra power and/or traits and instead made each warrior’s sign a creature unto itself. It’s alive within them and manifests itself physically, coming out of the warrior’s body to fight beside him during battle. Brody is the Leo warrior so whenever the bad guys show up, his lion magically appears and helps save the day (and freak out any bystanders including the heroine). That was pretty cool.

The author also didn’t fall into the trap of once the heroine meets the hero, he whisks her away to the warrior McMansion and locks her in his bedroom “to keep her safe” and then she spends the rest of the book patiently waiting for him to return each night for a rousing bout of mind-blowing sex. While Ava is not the strongest of heroines I’ve ever come across, at least she was somewhat active in her own fate.

The Defeats:
Way too much introspection and backstory, often at inappropriate times. Wait, let’s stop in the middle of an intense chase scene to contemplate how hot the hero is for 3 paragraphs. Or in the middle of a fight scene, Brody pauses to recall how and when he got his lion tattoo and his powers.

Scene transitions were often jarring. The author seldom gives the reader cues as to where we are or how much time has passed.

The Draws:
I was worried that Fox, like some of the other authors who’ve done similar type series, would go the way of giving her heroes the names of their animal/sign complete with a funky spelling, such as Rham or Skorpeo. Thank heavens she didn’t do that. But I still have issues with the names she gave her characters. Brody is supposed to be 10,000 years old. I could buy it if Brody was short for something like Brodius or Broda, but Brody the Meek? Really? He was born in the Iron Age for crying out loud. I seriously doubt Brody was in the top 10 baby names for boys back when people were still living a tribal/clan-like existence. Same goes for the other brothers’ names whose books will soon follow in the series: Quinn, Grey, Aidan, Gage, Drake, etc. The names are way too modern for men born thousands of years ago. At least Kane’s name is Biblical.

The ‘IT’ Factor:
Fox’s ‘IT’ Factor is that she has a built in audience for lovers of immortal warrior/brotherhood type stories and she’s put a slightly different twist on it by going the zodiac route instead of with vampires, demons or shapeshifters. If you can’t get enough of immortal warriors defending mankind and finding their soulmates, you’ll enjoy this author.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Steampunk via Historical Research

I just researched steampunk and all its trappings for a story I'm thinking about writing. I started by reading up on the Industrial Revolution, the second Industrial Revolution, steam engines, electricity and railroads. If you know much about steampunk, you may be familiar with much of this, but just in case you're not, here are 13 things I didn't know about the origins of steampunk as both a concept and a genre.

1) The term "steampunk" was allegedly coined by author KW Jeter in 1987 in a letter he wrote to Locus Magazine.

2) MacGyver, I mean, Richard Dean Anderson was in a television series with a steampunk twist called Legend that ran for 13 episodes in 1995 on UPN. It was technically a 'science fiction Western.'

3) When I asked my husband if he'd heard of that guy who built that steampunky computer thingie back in the 19th century, he knew immediately I was talking about Charles Babbage and his difference engine. The much more complex analytical engine that is a favorite in steampunk alternate history tales, Babbage was only able to put on paper, not into being.

4) Steampunk is also a bit of a play on the genre of cyberpunk, but works of steampunk tend to be less distopian and bleak. Like the Victorian age, much steampunk embodies a sense of hope and enthusiasm about the limitless possibility of science and invention.

5) One of the earliest novels that started tilting the direction of steampunk was Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake published in 1959. This is aside from stories by Verne or Wells, which technically were science fiction novels at the time, not steampunk.

6) Ned Ludd, for whom Luddites are named, was probably not even a real dude. Luddites probably wouldn't have enjoyed steampunk anyway.

7) The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain in the 1700's, although some historians place its origins even earlier.

8) The cotton gin, another invention that helped push industry forward, was possibly invented by a lady instead of Eli Whitney. However, Whitney was a dude so he got the patent and then spent most of his time trying to defend the patent from farmers who "invented" their own cotton gins rather than pay the patent or separation fee.

9) The earliest dirigible was probably flown in 1785 when a dude crossed the English Channel with a big ole balloon, a set of wings, and a tail he used to steer. His name was not Icarus.

10) The oldest railways were hauled by humans, and they were around in the 6th century BC.

11) The first patent for a steam locomotive was by James Watt in 1794. First US transcontinental railway? 1869. And steam locomotives were still in use in many, many countries as late as the 1950's.

12) The first gas lighting utilities were established in London, England, starting in 1812, right in time for the Regency balls we read so much about in the romance genre.

13) You don't even want to know about child labor in factories, mines and other industries as the Industrial Revolution marched on, so I won't list any facts about that.

I still feel like I don't know much about steampunk, but at least I know what I don't know and I know what I need to research! Do you ever get that feeling when you start a new project?

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com
 
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