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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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capesandclockworkbookcoverDuring a forgotten time when the world was powered by steam and clockwork, heroes arose to do battle against the forces of evil. Some were outfitted with the latest technology. Others were changed by the mysteries of science and magic, while a few came from the skies. Capes and Clockwork fuses the fantasy and beauty of steampunk with the action and adventure of the superhero genre. Tease your imagination with sixteen stories of good versus evil, monster versus hero, and steam versus muscle! 

The Capes and Clockwork Anthology was published on January 1, 2014 by Dark Oak Press – what a great way to start off the year!

I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to some of the authors of this anthology –

Are you primarily a short story writer or novel length?

Alan D Lewis:  I’ve written both and enjoy both. A novel gives you plenty of room to explore the characters and their worlds in my depth and detail. I prefer writing novels. On the other hand, short stories can tell a brief but compelling story, not weighing the reader down.

For me, writing a few short stories after finishing up a draft of a novel is a pallet cleanser, so to speak.

Logan L Masterson:

It’s hard to say, since I haven’t actually finished a novel to date. Wait. Maybe it’s not that hard. With Clockwork Demons in Capes & Clockwork, a very brief story in an upcoming werewolf anthology, and a novella from Pro Se Press, I suppose I’m really a short form writer. I enjoy exploring the economy of shorter works, and I think they support theme a lot better than novels.

David J Fielding: Though I have aspirations at being a novelist, I find myself concentrating on short stories at the present time. There is a challenge to take readers on a journey, with a beginning, middle and end and keep it to a limited word count. Perhaps that’s the influence of modern media on storytellers – the on-demand format, the hyper-link generation – micro-bursts of entertainment; when they want it, how they want it. As a writer it challenges you to convey your ideas and story in a streamlined way. You find yourself creating shortcuts. There’s a Stephen King short story Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut that (for me) is a great metaphor of writing short stories – and that new roads, worlds and layers are out there.

Christopher Valin: I haven’t written a novel yet, although I did write a history book. Most of my work has consisted of short stories, feature scripts, and teleplays. I grew up reading comic books and eventually worked in the comic business as an inker and writer, so I’ve always loved superheroes.

Brent Nichols: I write frequently at a wide variety of lengths, from short stories to novellas to novels. Each form has its challenges and its rewards, and I’m fairly comfortable with all of them. Mostly, I like to tell a story, and I don’t worry too much about length. The story goes from the start to the finish, whether that’s four pages or four hundred.

What aspects of the Steampunk genre do you find the most satisfying?

Alan D Lewis:  With Steampunk, I’ve always been drawn to the Victorian Era and the spirit of adventure and wonder. It was a time where anyone with some know-how could take a box of metal cogs and springs and invent wondrous contraptions. Balloons and airship were indeed flying during this time. Maybe not monstrous flying machines, but they did exist and were built by individuals, not by aerospace corporations.

So Steampunk let my imagination run wild with what ‘could have been’.

And superheroes? Well as a kid, I grew up reading The Avengers, Thor, and others. So writing about them wasn’t a problem but joy.

Logan L Masterson: The best thing about steampunk is the opportunity of exploration. The Victorian era was a brilliant time, and its settings allow authors to as some great what if questions. That there remained so many unknowns opens the field. We can explore social issues, the resurgence of mysticism, technology, and wide, vast dominions, all with the same breath.

Christopher Valin: As for Steampunk, it’s something I liked for many years without knowing it was a genre. For example, as a kid, ‘Wild, Wild West’ was one of my favorite shows.

But it wasn’t until six or seven years ago that I realized it was a genre in itself, and started not only reading it, but writing stories in that vein.

So being able to write a story combining the two and figuring out how to make it work was very satisfying to me. I loved thinking about how superheroes would have been over a hundred years ago.

Brent Nichols:  The beauty of Steampunk for me is the absence of limits in certain key areas. I grew up reading science fiction and old-fashioned adventure stories, and steampunk at its best combines the two.

The thing about Steampunk technology is that it feels accessible. You can’t take apart a piece of modern technology and tinker with it. Pull the cover off of your smart phone some time and see how far you get. So much of modern technology is simply beyond the grasp of an individual. Most science fiction these days doesn’t involve a solitary genius making a breakthrough or building an innovative new machine. That sort of thing is done by the huge R&D departments of major corporations these days, not one smart person with a lab in his basement.

In the 19th century, though, we had men like Edison and Tesla, and a few women, too, making truly astonishing discoveries and building devices that changed the world. Steampunk technology often feels like something you could create on your own, or at least take apart and tinker with, and understand. It’s just plain more fun than modern science fiction.

The other part of Steampunk that appeals to me is the ability to play in a wild, fascinating past world, when every corner of the planet was not yet mapped and measured, when there were still lost tribes and unexplored jungles and so many things that were simply unknown. A steampunk writer gets to play in that marvellous world, without the need to be limited by actual history. Steampunk worlds are alternate worlds, and we get to make changes. We get to say, let’s change that historical fact, or devise that gadget that would not, strictly speaking, actually work. Let’s keep the story rooted in history and technology that are basically sound and feel plausible, but let’s allow for wondrous machines and places and events, because it allows us to tell such awesome stories.

What writing challenges have you learned to overcome?

Alan D Lewis: When I first started writing, my main problem wasn’t with developing the story or plot or characters. It was with the mechanics of writing. The subject had never been a strong point in school and I struggled, early on with that fact. Storytelling always came easy. Writing did not. But I surrounded myself with other writers who weren’t afraid to point out my errors and encourage me to continue. I also had to get over the fact that it doesn’t have to be right the first time. A writer can edit and rewrite and rewrites some more. My first book was a long, long road, but I learned enough that the second novel took a fraction of the time to turn around from an idea to a published manuscript.

Logan L Masterson:  Steampunk’s challenges are relatively few for me. It’s really a natural genre, since I grew up reading mostly comic books and, you guessed it, classics. Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and so many others. I was a teenager before I got past Tolkien into other “modern” fantasists, so the fusion of science fiction and Victoriana was easy for me. Add my love of comic books, and Clockwork Demons may have been the easiest story I’ve ever written. The only challenge for me was devising a unique, distinctive technology for my world. Once I had that wound up (hah!), the rest fell into place.

Christopher Valin: For several years, I wrote almost nothing by screenplays, so the biggest challenge for me in writing short stories is probably changing my mindset and including more description and inner dialogue.

I’m still hesitant to include too much about how everything looks because I want to leave some of it to the ‘director’… which, in this case, is the reader picturing the story in his or her head.

Brent Nichols: Learning to tie my shoes was a big hurdle. More recently, I’ve been struggling with how to present the technology of steampunk in a way that’s plausible and interesting without bogging the reader down in a lot of technical detail.

The big problem with Steampunk technology is that most of it wouldn’t actually work. There were no airships in the Victorian era, no walking machines, no hydraulic spiders or steam-powered giant mechanical ants. Steam power requires vast weights of iron and water to function. The really cool inventions that steampunk writers and artists dream up simply wouldn’t work in the real world.

I deal with it by dreaming up gadgets that are just a little bit beyond the realms of physics as we know it. Far enough out there to be cool, but not far enough out there to be ridiculous. And I hint at alternate-reality technologies, things that, if they had existed, would have opened the doors of possibility and allowed the fantastic gadgets of steampunk to be real. Enhanced coal, for example. My fictional enhanced coal burns hotter and faster than real coal and makes some preposterous machines just a little more plausible.

Now, what are you waiting for? Delve into the Capes & Clockwork stories –

Buy Capes & Clockwork on Amazon.com
Capes & Clockwork Facebook page

For more information on the authors in this Q & A –

Alan D Lewis – www.dalanlewis.com
Logan L Masterson – www.agonyzer.com
David J Fielding
Christopher Valin – www.christophervalin.com
Brent Nichols – www.steampunch.com

From Ray Dean: Howdy from Hawai’i, folks! I’ve been a guest blogger on Steamed! on several occasions, but thanks to Suzanne who gave me the opportunity to do this on a regular basis. So the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month you will be subjected… err… entertained(?) by my blog posts… YOU WILL BE ENTERTAINED, I said… *cough*

Anywho… A hui hou (Until we meet again)

Ray Dean – www.raydean.net – My Ethereality

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