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Archive for the ‘Edgar Allan Poe’ Category

ALNTcoverAll the Night-Tide includes stories inspired by Poems written by Edgar Allan Poe.

Dissever My Soul by: Aiyana Jackson
Poem – ‘Annabel Lee’
The Brightest Eye by: Charie D. La Marr
Poem – ‘Impromptu. To Kate Carol’
No More Incorporated by: Jay Wilburn
Poem – ‘Silence’
Folie a Deux by: Ray Dean
Poem – Eldorado
The True Kingdom by: Kenneth Sebastian
Poem – Eldorado
Ever More by: Andrea Lake
Poem – ‘The Raven’
The Horn of Israfel by: Regina Hansen
Poem – ‘Israfel’

I had the opportunity to collect some comments from the authors of this anthology –

How were you introduced to Poe’s work?
Aiyana – I don’t actually recall exactly how or when I was introduced to Poe. I remember reading The Telltale Heart when I was in my early teens, but if I remember correctly, I’d already developed an obsession with Annabel Lee and The Raven by that point. There is something darkly and deeply beautiful about his poetry and even at a young age (c. twelve) I was oddly attracted to that.
Jay – I was introduced to Poe’s work in elementary school. For some reason, Poe’s gothic sensibilities connect with an American Southern audience so deeply that he is seen as acceptable classic literature for young children.
Ray – Poetry reading in my early grades was the introduction, but in college I was treated to a front row ticket to a one man play called “I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe” written and performed by Dawson Nichols. His performance of a number of Poe’s works really stuck with me though the years. (I’m NOT telling you how many years – don’t ask)
Andrea – My mother was a fan of Poe’s work. She introduced me to his poetry in my early teens. The first one she read to me was The Raven. This one had a deep impact and I was struck, not only by the Gothic nature of the poem, but also by the narrator’s regret and sorrow.
Kenneth – I first read Poe as a young child. The first story I remember reading was the Pit and the Pendulum. I started reading his poetry soon after, and I can vividly recall my delight upon reading the line: From the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells.
For a bookish child with an ear for music, Poe’s poetry was a revelation
Regina – I ordered a book of Poe stories from the Scholastic Book Club when I was 9.
Charie – I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in love with Poe. As a child, I devoured books and he was always one of my favorites. The Tell-Tale Heart was always my favorite. I love the first line.

What about his work interests you?
Aiyana – I’ve always been captivated by the fatalistic love story. Any fatalistic love story, not only in Poe’s work but elsewhere. Poe however did write some of my favourites, and he wrote them incredibly well. Although I love Shakespeare, in my book Romeo and Juliet has nothing on Annabel Lee; the depth of sorrow he is able to portray is simply stunning.
Jay – I connected more to his poetry over the years from the same gothic nature that attracted and mesmorized so many other Southerners. Something about his word choice and verbal mystery reminds me of the darkness I see around me in people and places.
Ray – The human mind has a multitude of dark corners and shadows and Poe is not afraid to go exploring.
Andrea – There is an element of realism to Poe’s work. He writes about feelings and pain, and this is something we can all relate to.
Kenneth – What has always fascinated me about Poe is how all of his work is driven by sound. Rhythm and melody are what define his style, which is almost musical in its intensity and repetition. One must also appreciate Poe’s penchant for strange words like tintinnabulation. Has anyone else ever used that word? No, because Poe owns it.
Regina – His language, the interior struggles of his characters, the ways in which he makes fantastic events seem normal and inevitable.
Charie – The psychological aspects. Poe was one author who always delved heavily into the minds of his characters. It scary to me to read about the workings of the human mind and the resulting actions.

Where did your inspiration for the story come from?
Aiyana – My inspiration from the story quite simply came from my love of the poem, and the fact I had always wondered what had led to the devastating state of affairs that we see within it – Annabel Lee is dead, shut up in her sepulcher, while her lover is doomed to his grief. When considering it as the inspiration for a Steampunk story, I very quickly set upon the notion that the higher powers described within the poem as being jealous of their love – angels and demons – were actually men, in the guise of religious figures, who traveled around robbing people of what little they had, basically taking anything that seemed valuable. The notion was that Annabel Lee was very valuable, for she was a beautiful maiden. The protagonist (whom I named Edward) attempts to save her from this fate, however his actions inadvertently reveal the depth of their love for each other, and it is this that ultimately dooms them, for that kind of love is far more valuable than any amount of gold.
Jay- The poem “Silence” has always felt like it had a story hidden between the lines with strange, disturbing characters playing with the notions of life and death.
Ray – The search for gold… better yet, a CITY of GOLD! That would be enough to drive sane men… CRAZY.
Andrea – Heaven? I thought about The Raven and how it was the end of someone’s story. I thought about how The Raven might also be a name of a ship or vessel and as I made notes, The Raven morphed into a spacecraft, one transporting prisoners. Lenore became a political prisoner from a prominent family, while the ‘narrator’ took on the role of the fated ship’s Captain. The story took shape and was developed over a couple of days.
Kenneth – I like to write fiction that is grounded in fact. Percy Fawcett is a historical figure. He disappeared in the Amazon in 1925, and people have been searching for him ever since; more than one hundred people, in fact, have died in the attempt to discover the truth about his final whereabouts. El Dorado has always been a favorite.
Regina- My scholarship is on religion and the fantastic, particularly depictions of angels, so a poem about an angel was a natural fit. I found the setting while wandering around Boston’s industrial waterfront, not far from Castle Island/Fort Independence where Poe was stationed his military service.
Charie – I read all of his poetry, searching for one that really sung to me. Finally, I decided on the shortest of his poems, Impromptu For Kate Carol. Only four lines. I loved the words and the challenge of creating something from very minimal information. It left more to my imagination.

ATNTmap

Is this your first Steampunk story?
if so, what inspired you to write a story for this anthology?
if not, how is this story different from your other steampunk works?

Aiyana – This isn’t my first Steampunk story, I have written many others. My first novella, Encante, was published at the end of last year and that is the beginning of a Steampunk series, The Fifteen Solars, which will eventually consist of at least four novellas and a novel (possibly a trilogy). I wrote ‘Dissever My Soul’ so that it could fit into the Fifteen Solars world, however it is also perfectly capable of standing alone. It does differ from the other works in the series though, mainly in tone. It was after all based on a poem, and is consequently a little more poetic.
Jay – I’ve written a good bit of steampunk for publication in various markets and cross genre styles of steampunk in particular. When the call went out for Poe inspired steampunk, it felt like a call to me personally and one that may have seen the same hidden stories between the lines of his poetry that I had. The story felt like it was ready to be told. I tried to capture the gothic horror feel of Poe’s spirit in my own telling – both disturbing and beautiful.
Ray – Nope… the readers here at Steamed! have seen information on a number of my stories. This is my first story published in the UK. Very excited 😀
Andrea – Yes – The chance to be published was a massive draw, but I had never thought of using someone else’s work as a catalyst for something else before. It gave me new ideas and a new direction and I am very proud of Ever More.
Kenneth – My story The True Kingdom, taking place in 1928, is technically dieselpunk as I understand the term. My work might be called ‘historical science fiction’ as it is set in a definite time and place and is accurate in almost all its details. Restaurants, hotels, trains, schools, etc are all factual. I’ve recently finished a novella, which takes place in 1911 in the Catskill Mountains, a short story set in 1909 in the New Jersey Pine Barrens about the Jersey Devil, and a trilogy about real mermaids that mostly takes place in the Bahama Islands in the year 1900 (also in Florida and New York City). All my work is loosely connected.
Regina – Yes. The chance to work with material by Poe and the opportunity to write about an alternative timeline. That last is how I found my way into Steampunk, which I do enjoy reading.
No, I have one other. But I really can’t say what it is because it is for an anonymous anthology. Every author was asked to choose a new name. I chose a male name—I wanted to think of myself as George Eliot. It is Steampunk/Clockpunk. I was married to a watch and clockmaker. I don’t think that it really is all that much [different from my other Steampunk stories]. Both are tragic love stories that involve medicine.

What is your current writing project or next upcoming publication?
Aiyana- I’m currently working on the next novella in the Fifteen Solars Series, Honour, as well as the two following novellas, Andromeda’s Keeper, and the fourth (currently untitled). In addition I have the novel(s) for this series to complete, and another novel, Briar, which is a straight Fantasy novel that I have been working on.
Jay – I’m working on a novel about a group of teachers from a dysfunctional middle school (grade school) faculty in a small Southern town that are driven one by one to quit and turn to lives of crime and shadow. As with most downward spirals, they find themselves in deepening darkness and greater danger over time.
Ray – I’ve had a few stories published recently. The next one due for publication is a Old West/Werewolf story coming out from Dark Oak Press. And I’m continuing to write for a number of other anthologies.
Andrea – I’m currently working on a children’s story. It is a sci-fi fantasy about a lonely girl who finds a friend in the last place she expects.
Kenneth – I am turning my attention to preparing my trilogy Mermaids of the Mid-Atlantic Currents for publication. It’s so vast, I had to put it down for a while in order to actually finish some smaller pieces. Weighing in at circa 300,000 words, with its own language (the mark of a quality fantasy) and, again, accurate as far as all of its verifiable details from history, MOTMAC is in its final stages.
Regina – My next publication (with Susan George) is Supernatural, Humanity and the Soul: On the Highway to Hell and Back, a collection of essays on the television series Supernatural. It will be published by Palgrave this fall. I have also completed a supernatural novel set in 1950’s Canada and am continuing my scholarship on religion in film.
Charie – I had an anthology called Terror Train come out today. It is a series of horror stories that take place on a train. The journey begins with my story in New York City and ends in California. My story is satirical Noir—another genre I am quite comfortable writing. And the novel I am currently working on for MorbidbookS is Laugh to Death—in a genre I created called Circuspunk. It is a serial killing circus clown story. Very graphic. I like switching genres around.

You can pick up your copy ALNTcover

As a contributing author in a number of anthologies, Ray Dean enjoys writing about many different cultures. Steampunk speaks to her in a retroactive futurism that opens so many possibilities. Her blog, My Ethereality (http://www.raydean.net), explores history, culture, war and love in eras and countries that influence the Steampunk world.

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ALNTcoverThe dark twists and turns of Edgar Allan Poe’s mind have inspired many a nightmare and some hazy imaginings…

Aadenian Press has published “All the Night-Tide” – an anthology of Steampunk stories inspired by poems written by the Victorian writer.

This is the first of TWO posts about the release of “All the Night-Tide”


I asked Hazel Butler, the editor of the collection, about the anthology.

“When we were first batting around ideas for this anthology, there were a lot of them. So many possibilities. It was, however, eventually decided that since Aädenian Ink was founded for the express purpose of publishing Gothic and Steampunk art and fiction, it seemed natural that this, our first anthology, reflect that goal. The possibility of drawing on the works of Edgar Allan Poe presented itself very early on in the creative process as he is a much-loved Gothic author, and has such a wide range of works. It was decided that each piece in the anthology should be based on one of Poe’s uniquely dark and delicious poems. It was further decided that we wanted these stories to have a Steampunk twist to them.”

The selection process for stories can seem mysterious to some. Hazel explained how the stories were picked  for the anthology.

“The process of selecting the stories was quite a simple one in the end, at least in terms of the process. Editor Hazel Butler read all submissions and basically chose her favourites. That left a pile of about fifteen or sixteen. We couldn’t include all of those so it had to be whittled down. In the end she chose those stories that she felt had entered into the spirit of the anthology the most. In some cases this was simply a matter of them being well based on a poem and having a Steampunk theme or Steampunk elements. In other cases it was a deeper sense that they were truly quite Gothic in tone and reflected the nature of Edgar Allan Poe’s work quite well.”

The cover artwork is truly an amazing image and there are individual story graphics inside the anthology. I asked Hazel about the images in this volume: 

“The artwork is a combination of several images by artist Alice Rope, who recently did a large exhibit of bird studies. Three of these were of a raven or crow, and this tied in very nicely with the central ‘Poe’ image of the raven that was chosen for the cover design. The cover itself is a digital painting that was done by the Editor, Hazel Butler, who is also an artist and author. She used the raven to represent one of the most well-known poems of Poe, and the image of the woman, in all her Steampunk finery, holding the raven in a cage, was a good ALNTcoverrepresentation of what we were trying to achieve in the anthology – the melding of the two genres. On the back cover, the raven appears again in silhouette, this time free of the cage. Hazel and Alice also illustrated several stories each, with illustrations done specifically for the stories.”

The anthology is currently available at Amazon.com in hardcover. There will be a kindle edition available later.

 

Next week Friday, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from the authors…


As a contributing author in a number of anthologies, Ray Dean enjoys writing about many different cultures. Steampunk speaks to her in a retroactive futurism that opens so many possibilities. Her blog, My Ethereality (http://raydean.net), explores history, culture, war and love in eras and countries that influence the Steampunk world.

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61kc2VV+MoL__SL500_SX300_I’m intrigued when any writer blasts their characters out of the Victorian, or other historical era, and into outer space. Edgar Allan Poe did it with The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaallin in 1835, Jules Verne followed with The Earth To the Moon in 1865, and in 1901 H. G. Wells wrote The First Men In The Moon.  These Regency/Victorian/Edwardian tales offer great inspiration for modern steampunk writers. Jules Verne’s The Earth To The Moon was one of my greatest inspirations for Conquistadors In Outer Space.

1889I asked the authors of the new book 1889 Journey To the Moon, George Wier and Billy Kring, what inspired them to take their Steampunk story into outer space?

George: First of all, we really should have been in space (and I’m not talking about NASA or the ESA, I’m talking about ALL of us) a damn long time ago. All we’re doing here is correcting history’s big mistakes. What were those mistakes? Well, we let corporations, governments and bankers decide for us what mankind does–what his future is. You don’t believe me? Well guess what? What if Nikola Tesla had been allowed to finalize his experimentation in ambient free energy and give to the whole world wireless free energy? He was factually shut down by his “friends”. What if every single advance we’ve made in the past 150 years was not snatched up by corporate or government interests, patented, crated and put away in that hangar that comes at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark? I’ll tell you what, we would be REALLY free. We would be free of economic duress (“Come on honey, let’s forget about working and paying the mortgage and the light bill. We’re going to Arcturus”), we would be free of government suppression (“What border? You mean that imaginary line down there on the planet?”), and we would be free of corporate suppression (“I see IBM and GE stocks finally tanked.” “Oh? What are ‘stocks’?”). You see what I mean? This is the world we SHOULD live in. This is the world we were promised by our Founding Fathers. What happened to it? Well, from my point of view, it was: Industry, the Rise of the Banks and the Federal Reserve, Mechanization, Factories, World War I, World War II, the suppression of “Academics” who now “own” knowledge, etc., etc. What got lost? The family, true entreprenuership, innovation, art, style…all our dreams. No. Here’s the dream, as rough as it may seem. Much of it is contained in 1889. You have to read between the lines, but it’s there. Okay, that’s my short answer.

Billy: My inspiration came about because I wanted to create a sense of wonder and adventure in our readers like I felt the first time I read H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs and their space adventures; then we wanted to add some spice, with the characters and the twists and turns of a mystery to it, and all of it occurring in a steampunk universe (George’s idea!).  I thought that was a unique twist on the story. In a nutshell, I wanted readers to experience a fantastic adventure unlike anything they’d experienced before.

Maeve: Of course the next thing any writer thinks about when putting characters in outer space is world building. I kept the world building in Conquistadors In Outer Space simple  because the plot was so quirky, the concentration on the book is the relationship between the characters, and it’s short – a novella. So I pulled from the history of the DeSota North America expedition, the physical makeup of the eyes of some insects, and how to ride an ostrich, then I transferred that over to this alien planet with strange creatures and humanoid natives.

I asked Billy and George what they thought was the hardest thing about creating a Steampunk universe and what are the challenges and advantages of writing steampunk fiction?

GeorgeGeorge: I dunno. I don’t think it’s hard. Take a concept and run with it and let it live and breathe and think and it’ll start doing stuff all on its own. That’s kind of what happened with 1889.

For me the challenge is not to copy the Masters. You have to strike out in your own direction, and you have to be sure of yourself completely. After that, the world opens up and you can do anything, by which I mean…ANYTHING. There are no limits. You can alter time, speed up the harvest and teleport yourself off this rock. We did that with this book. Yeah. That’s the haps.

BillyBilly: I agree with George, writing 1889 was not hard in the sense of storyline, etc.  It practically pulled me along.  I guess if anything could come to mind, as far as being difficult, it would be that the way we wrote it made me wonder at times how I was going to proceed. And the way we wrote it was, one of us would take the story and write without talking to the other, then send it forward, and the other would start, using the same method.  That meant when either one of us received the manuscript again, there were always plot twists and unexpected happenings that made us (at least me), keep my game at a high level, so to speak.  No way to get lazy with these! So it was a little hard, but in a good way.

The challenge: Telling a unique story in a familiar universe.  The advantages: It frees the writer completely.

Maeve: I have never collaborated with other authors so my curiosity was aroused by George Wier and Billy Kring’s  collaboration of 1889 Journey To the Moon. I asked them what method did they you use for their collaboration?And if there was anything they took away from the experience that helped make them a better writer or the story a better story?

 George:  We emailed the book back and forth. I think I gave Billy the basic concept, told him in a general way where I wanted to go with it, wrote the first few pages, then handed it off to him. Whoa! Ten thousand or so words later it comes back. I read it with gusto and I was off like a shot–another 10-15k words, then back to Billy–20k words. I mean, whoa! Back and forth, back and forth. It was done within a few months. One of the fastest things I’ve ever done in my life.

The secret is to find the right collaborator. (Wink!) Okay, all kidding aside, you have to be able to have fun with the project. You also–and for some folks, this is going to be an extremely difficult concept–must be willing to put the thing in your partner’s hands for a given length of time, give them your blessing and let them run with it. I mean, really. Who would have thought? Trust? Another author? Trust them not to mess up your book? Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying. It’s because it’s a c-o-l-l-a-b-o-r-a-t-i-o-n. It’s not just yours. You really, absolutely and unequivocably have to make sure they make it there’s! I can do that now, for sure. But really, you have to be able to do it even before you “know” for sure. Also, I took away from this experience a much broader horizon. I could have never, not once in a million years, come up with some of the characters, the situations, the description, the dialogue, and the concepts that Billy Kring came up with. The man’s a frickin’ genius. So I suppose the real (REAL) thing here is to find someone who is either better than you are, or is potentially better than you are. Yeah,  what I got out this collaboration with Billy is a new way of looking at things. Anything can happen–and will–in a steampunk adventure. There are no rules. That’s the truth.

Billy: What George said!

It helped that George and I were friends before we collaborated.  And he is the one who thought we would be a good writing match for the story.  He’s outstanding at looking at an idea from about five thousand different angles and seeing which way is best to proceed.  He was the leader in this from start to finish.  And I agree with him, we wanted to make it fun for each of us to write, and to trust each other.  That was a big thing for both of us.  The other thing that happened almost from the first, was the story became magic, and each of us couldn’t wait to get the story back from the other and read how our adventure was going. The energy from that was amazing.  George is one heck of a writer, too, and that made me give it my best.  Some of the passages he wrote were scenes I could never have written, would never have thought about going the way the took it, BUT, that is why it is so entertaining, too.  There are surprises throughout the story, and that will make readers happy.

EternalMaeve: Though I have several published books under the pen name of Cornelia Amiri, I only have two Stemapunk books, To Love A London Ghost and Conquistadors In Outer Space available now but I plan to release Brass Octopus and re-release As Timeless As Stone and As Timeless As Magic later this year.

I asked George and Billy what other published works they had and what was next for them?

George: Plenty. First there’s the Bill Travis Mysteries, a series of 8 books (so far) based in Austin, Texas. They are wild rides, all mystery commingled with action-adventure, and a little sci-fi occasionally thrown in. Additionally, there’s Long Fall From Heaven (Cinco Puntos Press, 2013), and various short stories.

The continuation of this series, with the sequel, 1899: Journey to Mars1904: Journey into Time, and 1909: Journey to Atlantis. That’s first. I’m currently working on 7 major projects contemporaneously, including the next two Bill Travis books, a sci-fi collaboration with Robert A. Taylor entitled The Vindicators 2: Parsec, a multi-layered, almost Neal Stephenson-esque blockbuster about the Austin legal community entitled Personal Injury, and a number of others. I would, however, like to specifically say something about 1899: Journey to Mars. If 1889 was fun (let me tell you, it was a total blast!) then 1899 is warp drive. The Tesla robot fighting the evil Westinghouse robots, the characters (many of whom you will recognize both from actual history and from fiction) interacting, walking and talking and shooting down vampire singleship spaceships. Wow. You’re all in for a treat. Hey, you asked.

Billy: Yes.  Two suspense novels in my Hunter Kincaid series, QUICK, and OUTLAW ROAD, and one romantic suspense novel, WHERE EVIL CANNOT ENTER (under B.G. Kring).  My other mystery/suspense series (The Ronny Baca series) will begin very soon with the release of  BACA.

To continue on our other books in the series, and write my other novels, as well as writing screenplays and acting.

Maeve: Before I left Billy Kring, and George Wier I asked them to describe their writing in three words.

George: “Hot and Heavy.”

Billy: Lean and mean.

Here’s the blurb : I’m back in a time that never was–it’s 1889, and eleven people are on a strange steam-powered spaceship to the Moon. Included in the crew are such unlikely passengers and crew as: Billy The Kid, Nikola Tesla, Jack The Ripper, a Sioux warrior out for the blood of George Armstrong Custer (who did not die at the Little Bighorn), a Cossack warrior-princess, a battery of robots, a half-man and half-cyborg engineer, a Punjabi mathematician and linguist, a big-game hunter from Africa, and the grandson of Blackbeard the Pirate, not to mention the genius who designed the ship. There are aliens on the Moon with evil intentions, the robots are wound a little too tightly, and no one knows that the Ripper is along for the ride except for the Londoner himself. What could possibly go wrong? 

Here are their calling cardsGeorge’s Facebook Author Page   FB page for 1889: Journey to the Moon  Twitter: @billtraviswrite  Wordpress: www.georgewier.wordpress.com Billy’s Links: www.billykring.com

~          ~          ~

Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. Her latest Steampunk/Romance is Conquistadors In Outer Space, which is as crazy and as entertaining as it sounds. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus. Maeve Alpin will be at Comicpalooza in Houston this weekend please stop by her panels there.

 

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If you’ve never been to a steampunk con, let me say, you’re missing something. It is emersion into the culture at it’s finest. Where do I even begin?

Just look at that arm!

How about Friday? Friday early I arrived at the location of SteamCon II, which was held between the SeaTac Marriot and SeaTac Hilton. (For those of you not familiar with the Seattle area, that’s right across from the Seattle airport, which means it’s great for people flying in, but not so fun to walk between the two up the hill and down the hill depending on which activity or workshop you were interested in.) The registration lines looped around a bit like Disneyland, and people in the pre-registered line were all in costume, and so were most of those who were coming in to register that day for the event. Unlike other conferences and conventions I’ve been to, the costuming is a huge part of the experience. There’s eye-candy everywhere.

Fabulously Dressed Ladies in Workshop

They gave us a newspaper-like program heaped with so many different workshops and events it was likely to make your top-hat spin. What a glorious array! Everything from steampunk modding and how real gun fights work to magic and steampunk, and chats with the likes of James Blaylock (one

Tuesday Lolita Theresa Meyers with James Blaylock

of the founding fathers of the genre), Cherie Priest, Gail Carriger, Jay Lake, Nick Valentino and the intrepid inventor Jake Von Slatt, and a set of Steampunk ghost-busting enthusiasts from The League of S.T.E.A.M.

Member of The League of S.T.E.A.M.

There was a Grand Mercantile with a huge array of things to be purchased – feathers, leathers, hats and tea, corsets, books and jewelry (oh, good grief, does that actually rhyme?) You could find numerous opportunities to practice your acting skills in live action role-playing events (LARP), or game away in the various game rooms. (I attempted to sit in on a card and dice game of The Good, The Bad and The Munchkin, and having never played any sort of Munchkin was still horribly newbie and lost despite the best efforts of my fellow players at the end of an hour. Thank you to those of you who were so gracious and patient.)

The devine Cherie Priest on her way to a workshop

Friday also presented us with the First Annual Airship Awards, where lovely little airship statuettes were presented for the best in written, auditory, visual and community support of the genre. (Winners and finalists in each can be found at the SteamCon II website if you are curious.) They had a lovely dinner, and big screen flashing various images of the finalist. A few funny speeches and a lot of fun talk around the tables with fellow steampunk enthusiasts.

Saturday saw more workshops and the hosting of a most memorable afternoon tea and fashion show. The designers had some absolutely stunning clothes (which I believe there might be pictures of at the SteamCon website shortly).

A good doggone answer to What is Steampunk?

Due to an unforeseen series of most fortunate events, I was invited to fill in for an author who had to cancel at the last moment, so I spoke on three different panels and gave a reading. May I say, if you ever get the opportunity to go to a workshop by Jay Lake, do so. He is a veritable fount of one-liners that are both groan-worthy and very humorous at the same time.

That is a HUGE hand, mister.

We talked about what is steampunk, dissecting the genre, as it were, and after an hour came to the conclusion that it’s as much time period and aesthetic as it is a particular feeling to the work which is based in the gilded age where excess reigned supreme and exploration was rather mandatory, vs. diesel-punk which has roots more firmly grounded in the dystopian elements of the great depression and world war, where scarcity rules the day and invention is out of necessity to use and reuse whatever one had on hand to survive.

A Teapot handbag! How brilliant!

I went to workshops on ghost hunting in the Victorian era, steam cowboys and one about Hoaxes perpetuated by newspapers of the time by the likes of writers such as Samuel Clemens and Edgar Allen Poe, who apparently made a decent enough showing of it to have their tales of airships being spotted over the city, and animals escaping zoos in the midst of busy down-town cities very popular – and gasp, news of the day. In fact, I found it most fascinating that fictional tales were often intermingled with actual news items in such prestigious publications at The Boston Globe, and not much was done to distinguish between the two. (Wait, how is that so different than today’s reporting?)

L to R Nick Valentino, Tues. Lolita Theresa and Wed. Lolita Elizabeth

I digress. I went shopping in the grand mercantile and purchased a new corset, some tea and some Christmas presents. I had fun lunch with fellow Lolita Elizabeth Darvill. Late in the day I gave a reading from my Weird West set steampunk The Hunter, which doesn’t even come out until late 2011. I let the audience choose, from two sections, action or spicy. They unanimously picked the spicy version. Unfortunately, we’d spent so much time chit-chatting to start that we barely even got into the spicy bit before my half hour was up.

They actually move up and down!

I also took time to visit the art gallery. Wow! Such creativity. (I didn’t know if we were actually allowed to take pictures, so I opted not to.) There were three-dimensional sculptures, prints, clothing, jewelry and more.

Saturday night was the esteemed Outlaw Concert featuring three different bands, including the well-known steampunk stylings of Abney Park. There were people crowded, spinning, dipping and doing what suspiciously looked to me like the Tango out on the dance floor in front of the stage. We were admonished at the beginning of the concert not to leap upon the stage due to the damaging of equipment in the past from such behaviors. While I had to leave early (because I was driving back and forth from home each day rather than staying at the hotel) apparently the high enthusiasm kept up until 3:30 Sunday morning.

Lovely use of top hat and corset!

Which made giving a workshop at 9:00 am Sunday morning a bit of let down. A few hardy souls trickled in to hear about Steampunk Young Adult books, but by far, I think people were likely still dealing with the affects of the concert the night before. I was part of another talk later in the day about Character vs. Setting which was better attended.

I also went to a workshop about the history of steam propulsion that was incredible. Who knew the first hybrid steam/electric car was actually introduced in 1903 and the Prius in 2003? Makes you wonder what the auto industry has actually be working on in the last 100 years, doesn’t it?

Hey, Zombies! Mad Scientist with Brain Pack over here!

My overall impression is that steampunk cons are a meeting of the mind, the creative, social and intellectual (not to mention the dancing portion of one’s anatomy). If you really want to have a good time, prepared to bring comfortable shoes and costumes. Not just one costume, but at least one for each day, and possibly a forth for dancing or going to fancier dinners and events. And don’t be shy about being a mad scientist with a backpack brain on one day and an aeronaut hottie with brown bolero-length bomber jacket and brown leather and wool trimmed hot pants on another, and a high-society vixen with an outrageous top hat and bustle on the third. Everything goes as long as it relates back to the genre. And the array of hats is very impressive. One person at a workshop put it best, “I’ve discovered something about steampunk, there is no such thing as excess. One can never have too much of anything.”

No such thing as excess, I tell you!

Be prepared to shop for those things you’ll find it difficult to get elsewhere. Have business cards so you can share with fellow steampunk fans, and for the love of all that’s decent, if you are going to give a workshop, at least provide some type of handout to go with your brilliant Powerpoint so people will have something to take with them. There’s just too much information to store it all under one’s top hat and I found myself scribbling like a jibbering idiot to keep up.

All in all it was a fantastic event, so worthy in fact, that I’ve already pre-registered for next year! There’s steampunk conventions aplenty out there. If you are interested in the genre, think you want to write in it or would just like something fun and crazy to do for a weekend go to one! And of course this isn’t ALL the pictures…if you are looking for more check out the SteamCon II album over at www.facebook.com/TheresaMeyersAuthor or go www.steamcon.org and check out their gallery.

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Poe's GraveBy BEN NUCKOLS and JOSEPH WHITE, Associated Press Writers Ben Nuckols And Joseph White, Associated Press Writers Tue Jan 19, 6:22 pm ET

BALTIMORE – It is what Edgar Allan Poe might have called “a mystery all insoluble”: Every year for the past six decades, a shadowy visitor would leave roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac on Poe’s grave on the anniversary of the writer’s birth. This year, no one showed.

Did the mysterious “Poe toaster” meet his own mortal end? Did some kind of ghastly misfortune befall him? Will he be heard from nevermore?

“I’m confused, befuddled,” said Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

The visitor’s absence this year only deepened the mystery over his identity. One name mentioned as a possibility was that of a Baltimore poet and known prankster who died in his 60s last week. But there is little or no evidence to suggest he was the man.

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 Edgar Allan Poe is the only Victorian author to have an NFL Football Team named for his writing.180px-Poe_Grave_at_Westminster_1

BALTIMORE 

RAVENS!

You go, Edgar!

He’s probably the only writer in world whose life is celebrated yearly by a lone Toaster.  The Poe Toaster is the unofficial nickname given to a mysterious figure who pays an annual tribute to American author Poe by visiting the author’s original grave marker on his birthday, January 19. Though many gather annually to watch for the toaster and his yearly visit is supported by the Edgar Allan Poe Society, he is rarely seen or photographed. His identity has never been revealed to the public. The original toaster visited the tomb yearly between 1949 and his death in 1998, after which time the tradition was left to “a son.”  A bottle of cognac is usually left on his tombstone.

Thomas M. Disch has argued in his The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of (1998) that it was actually Poe who was the originator of the modern science fiction.

Poe’s work and his theory of “pure poetry” was early recognized especially in France, where he inspired Jules Verne, Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), Paul Valéry (1871-1945) and Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898). “In Edgar Poe,” wrote Baudelaire, “there is no tiresome snivelling; but everywhere and at all times an indefatigable enthusiasm in seeking the ideal.”

In America Emerson called him “the jingle man.” Poe’s influence is seen in many other modern writers, and in the development of the19th century detective novel. J.L. Borges, R.L. Stevenson, and a vast general readership, have been impressed by the stories which feature Poe’s detective Dupin (‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, 1841; ‘The Purloined Letter,’ 1845) and the morbid metaphysical speculation of ‘The Facts in the Case of M. Waldermar’ (1845).

One of his tales, ‘Mellonta Taunta’ (1840) describes a future society, an anti-Utopia, in which Poe satirizes his own times. Other tales in this vein are ‘The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Sceherazade’ and ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’. However, Poe was not concerned with any specific scientific concept but mostly explored different realities, one of the central concerns of science fiction ever since

Edgar Allan Poe was born January 19, 1809 in Boston, where his mother had been employed as an actress. Elizabeth Arnold Poe died in Richmond, Virginia, on December 8, 1811. His father, also an actor, had died in 1810 and Edgar was taken into the family of John Allan, a member of the firm of Ellis and Allan, tobacco-merchants. Edgar added the surname Allan as his middle name.

The cities of Baltimore, Maryland, and Richmond, Virginia, have wonderful POE MUSEUMS. There are Edgar Allan Poe Societies and several American universities have Poe Studies Departments. ZPOESTAT

Annabel Lee, is the most famous poem composed by Poe. Like many of his poems, it explores the theme of the death of a beautiful woman.  The narrator, who fell in love with Annabel Lee when they were young, has a love for her so strong that even angels are jealous. He retains his love for her even after her death. There has been debate over who, if anyone, was the inspiration for “Annabel Lee.” Though many women have been suggested, Poe’s wife Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe is one of the more credible candidates. Written in 1849, it was not published until shortly after Poe’s death that same year.

EDGAR ALLAN POE’S WRITINGS:

Tamerlane and Other Poems, By a Bostonian, 1827, was followed by a large body of work, some of which is still being adapted into films.

  • Metzengerstein, 1832

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  • MS Found in a Bottle, 1833
  • Morella, 1835
  • Shadow, 1835
  • Berenice, 1835
  • Loss of Breath, 1835
  • Bon-Bon, 1835
  • King Pest, 1835
  • Ligeia, 1838
  • The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, 1838 (unfinished)
  • Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, 1839
  • The Conchologist’s First Book, 1839 (ed.)
  • The Fall of the House of Usher, 1839
  • William Wilson, 1839
  • Silence, 1839
  • The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion, 1839
  • The Devil in the Belfrey, 1839
  • The Conchologist’s First Book, 1839 (with others)
  • Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, 1840
  • The Man of the Crowd, 1840
  • A Descent into Maelström, 1841
  • The Island of the Fay, 1841
  • The Colloquy of Monos and Una, 1841
  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue, 1841
  • The Masque of the Red Death, 1842
  • The Mystery of Marie Rogêt, 1842-43
  • Eleonara, 1842
  • The Oval Portrait, 1842
  • The Black Cat, 1843
  • The Gold Bug, 1843
  • The Pit and the Pendulum, 1843
  • The Prose Poems of Edgar A. Poe, 1843
  • The Tell-Tale Heart, 1843
  • The Oblong Box, 1844
  • A Tale of the Ragged Mountains, 1844
  • The Balloon Hoax, 1844
  • The Elk, 1844zpoeimgi
  • The Assignation (aka The Visionary), 1844
  • Thou Art the Man, 1844
  • The Spectacles, 1844
  • The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, 1845
  • The Premature Burial, 1845 
  • The Purloined Letter, 1845
  • The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade, 1845
  • The Imp of the Perverse, 1845
  • The Raven and Other Poems, 1845 
  • Tales, 1845
  • The Cask of Amontillado, 1846
  • The Domain of Arnheim, 1847
  • Eureka: A Prose Poem, 1848
  • Mellonta Tauta, 1849
  • Hop-Frog, 1849
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