Posts Tagged ‘Kate Milford’

Today we welcome author Kate Milford.

Kate Milford is the author of The Boneshaker, has written for stage and screen, and is a regular travel columnist for the Nagspeake Board of Tourism and Culture. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. To learn more, visit www.clockworkfoundry.com.

Go, Steampunk, Go

by Kate Milford

I always feel like I have to start with a disclaimer when I contribute to anything related to steampunk. My books do tend to have steampunky things in them, but this has less to do with a particular interest in most of what makes steampunk steampunk than it has to do with a thing I have for devices—particularly old ones—and how we use them and think about them. I’m obsessed with antiquated technologies, I love mechanical things, and I like to think about technical theory and philosophy, plus most of what I write is historical, so there does tend to be some overlap with steampunk when I really get going. So as I was planning this post, initially I thought maybe I’d write a little bit about some of the devices I’ve been messing with lately. The post sort of changed about halfway through, though, and I started thinking about why it really is that antiquated technology makes me as happy as it does, and why it has worked its way into just about everything I write.

This wasn’t always the case. I’ve always loved history, but I can’t say I’ve always loved gadgets and technology. (In my head right now, by the way, I’m hearing Kip from Napoleon Dynamite singing but I still love technology…always and forever…)

Vertical Disc2In the time I’ve been thinking about what I might have to contribute to this year’s Steampunkapalooza, I’ve also been decompressing from turning in the first draft of what will be my fourth novel, The Left-Handed Fate (Holt, spring 2015, for those who are curious). Among the things I like to do with the antique stuff I love and the modern stuff that interests me is to take the modern tech ideas and map them back onto the older devices and technologies and practices. (This is how one of my villains in The Broken Lands wound up using a form of hoodoo conjury modeled off of the Linux bootstrap process.) This was a particularly important part of The Left-Handed Fate.

512px-Jacquard_loomIn LHF, the whiff of steampunk comes from what comes in the story to be called the Copley device: a perfect and devastating weapon that my young natural philosopher, Max Ault, believes can end the seemingly endless wars in the Atlantic. Max’s mission is to find the missing bits of the machine’s design specifications and recreate it before Napoleon’s spymasters can. The Copley device was inspired by three things: Jacquard’s looming head, a mythical confection called manus christi, and big old music boxes. For this post, I’m going to set aside talking about antique confectionery, although it’s fascinating and has about as bizarre a history as a fan of bizarre history could wish. Instead, let’s talk about antique information technology.

Anybody who knows anything about the advent of computing knows why Jacquard’s loom is fascinating to someone with a fascination for either steampunk or tech history: the punch cards. Weaving a tapestry, or a piece of wildly complicated brocade takes ages if done solely by hand; each weft thread, potentially, has to pass through a different configuration of warp threads than the one before. With some money and encouragement from Napoleon and building on earlier attempts by several other inventors (including Jacques de Vaucanson, who also happened to be a legendary builder of automata), Joseph-Marie Jacquard created a head that used punch cards to automate the weaving of complicated patterns. Punch cards like these were later one of the advances of Charles Babbage’s analytical engine over his earlier difference engine efforts.

If you’ve read The Difference Engine, of course, you’ll be nodding right along with all of this. If you read my first book, The Boneshaker, you might also recall that the prescriptions given out at Jake Limberleg’s Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show are written on cards with holes in them, which the man in the dispensary pockets for a moment before filling. Punched cards were used for programming and information storage throughout the nineteenth century and much of the twentieth. Herman Hollerith’s machines for tabulating the results of the 1890 US Census are particularly beautiful, if you’re inclined to geek out over things like that (and they have a fascinating and bizarre history of their own, including a thread that leads to a particularly dark place half a century later, after the descendants of Hollerith’s machines were used for Germany’s 1933 census).

Symphonion2Going back to looms, Vaucanson’s loom head, one of the earlier attempts at automated weaving that inspired Jacquard, used a metal drum with teeth, something very reminiscent of the cylindrical brass drums inside of many music boxes. (Excuse the fact that these pictures are out of focus; I think I might have been being a little sneaky when I took them.) Lots of music boxes store their programs on cylindrical drums; others, of course, are stored on disks. I suppose I liked the (blurry) music boxes here because I liked the way they hint at our modern information storage discs.

Plus, they’re just pretty. I like them as objects. They also help me visualize and understand the way we engage with information and technology. I guess that’s one of the things I like best about steampunk—using the trappings of older technologies allows us to have elegant, visual tools to re-imagine current ones. There are some people who can engage meaningfully with, say, lines of code and different programming languages the way others engage with forms of prose and poetry and different spoken and written languages.

I am not one of the former, although the more I learn the more I kind of wish I was. I’m 36; I grew up with computers but I didn’t grow up with them in the same way that my husband did, who is only four years younger than I am (and who also happens to be a world-class web operations engineer, so it could be that it’s not only a difference of four critically-timed years). I’m sort of right in the spot where they’re a perfectly normal part of my life and I assume their necessity and their value, but I only bother about exactly how they work when they don’t work the way I want them to. I can appreciate a really awesome smart phone, and I have definite opinions on Apple versus Android, but the device itself, much like my laptop, is not in any way magical for me. I suspect I’m really not alone in this mindset. Nor are the processes that make either my laptop or my phone run in any way interesting to me.

Except when they are, which is typically when I stop thinking about them as the processes that run my phone and think about them as the processes that might run something older and wildly unfamiliar. Something that has the sheen of the fantastic about it, if only because it is so far outside my experience. Then, out of their normal context, things like programming languages and bootstrap processes and data sorting begin to fascinate, to feel a bit like magic. But more than that, the way we think about technology—the way we build it, the way we use it, the philosophies behind it—also tells us very real, very meaningful things about the way we think and the way we communicate. And toying with technologies in different eras and exploring the social and historical implications of those technologies, of course, offers a whole other assortment of potential revelations and bits of food for thought.

And that, to me, is the great beauty of steampunk—most especially of all, the great beauty of steampunk for young readers. Telling a young reader I’m writing a scene about data sorting…well, there are some kids out there who might think that’s neat. Most won’t. And the message of the scene? Not all information is meaningful. Some is meaningful but only insofar as it allows you to find your way to the information you’re really looking for. And sometimes that information only turns out to be meaningful depending on what you, the reader/interpreter, do with it. Maybe your eyes aren’t glazing over yet, but I wouldn’t judge you if they were. All the same, I think those are really important things for young readers to think about and discuss. And we can find ways to make those ideas interesting, especially with tools like great stories set in great worlds where fantastic tech and trimmings give us new ways to raise discussions and debates that are meaningful to us in our own time and society.

Therefore, the scene in question takes place in an oddball asylum with a girl privateer being coached through the puzzle of a set of whalebone punch cards by a mad spinster who’s literally stained blue from the dying of silk threads. And magically, data sorting is suddenly not boring at all. Suddenly it’s weird and vaguely creepy and potentially awesome.

Go, steampunk.


Twitter: @katemilford

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Today we welcome Kate Milford.

 Kate Milford is the author of The Boneshaker, has written for stage and screen, and is a regular travel columnist for the Nagspeake Board of Tourism and Culture. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. To learn more, visit www.clockworkfoundry.com.

Spin Round, Wooden Doll

by Kate Milford

I don’t exactly remember when I started to become obsessed with automata. I’ll have to ask my husband; he remembers this kind of thing, largely because it’s usually through him that I find the weirder stuff I become interested in. But somewhere along the way I found a book and two stories that have loomed in the background of everything I’ve written since. The book was the Penguin edition of Sigmund Freud’s essays on the uncanny; the stories were Hoffmann’s The Sand-Man and Automata.

I should explain that I’m not a fan of Freud, and I disagree with about 60% of what he says in his essays on the uncanny. But I love Hoffmann. In fact, if what I write is in any way interesting to fans of steampunk, it’s because I’m a Hoffmann fan.

Among the things that I most love about steampunk is the constant presence of mechanical stuff. I love clockwork and vacuum tubes and old metals with patina, and I think my grandfather’s hand-drawn circuitry diagrams are like art. And because, not being particularly mechanically gifted myself, even though I understand the basics of how a circuit and an escapement work, they retain an element of the wondrous for me. This is what has drawn me to the genre—not the Victoriana, not the inventors, not even the presence of spunky, sexy girl geniuses prevalent in modern steampunk. Nope, what does it for me is the frequent presence of richly-imagined machinery, the exploration of mechanics and what can be done with them, and the philosophical questions these things raise about what it means to be human, and part of society.

For me, one of the great beauties of writing about analog and mechanical technologies is that for many readers in the twenty-first century (and especially for my target audience of kids and teens) they are familiar and unfamiliar all at once. It is easy work to push things like clockwork just a little further toward the unknown and render them (to use one of Hoffmann’s and my favorite words) uncanny. Consider the escapement; in a world of smartphones that render even digital watches mostly irrelevant, most kids—heck, most adults—have no concept of the workings of the antique clocks in the shadowy halls of their grandparents’ homes. They don’t know that they’re made up of things that, like the components of a piece of music, are called movements, or that those movements are made up of things with beautiful names like ébauches and assortiments (the latter of which includes the escapement). Even the beautiful word escapement is strange, evocative, almost forbidding. Consider the automaton, the otherworldly oddity of any sort of human or beast-shaped simulacrum that winds with keys and moves with unnatural and often frantic gestures, slowing down to stillness in a brief parody of a human’s much slower decline…until it is wound again and brought back to life.

Consider how ticking is like a heartbeat. Consider how it is like a footfall. Consider how it throws the passage of time in your face.

Writers and readers are drawn to mechanical technology for more reasons than I dare guess at, but I can tell you exactly why it speaks to me. I grew up surrounded by men who understood mechanical things and spent time tinkering with them both for work and for fun. As an adult I married a man who makes his living in bleeding-edge information technology and automation and who is a reader of Ray Kurzweil, Charlie Stross, Neal Stephenson, and others who philosophize about or weave tales touching upon the increasingly blurry line between natural and artificial intelligences. I chalk it up to my father and my grandfathers and my husband that I like writing and thinking about mechanics and technology, and I think our innovations and interactions with those things reveal our humanity by constantly causing us to question what it means to be human. That’s why I love science fiction and fantasy as much as I do; to me, they are nearly always reducible in some way to interesting questions of identity. And if I can have those questions plus a world of bespoke gadgetry and oddball clockwork and steam-driven innovation where the transistor never happened, well, cool. Because according to my dad, we got the transistor by reverse-engineering stuff found in the Area 51 crash, so really, a pre-transistor world is a better place to discuss humanity as defined by human technology.

Just kidding. But back to E.T.A. Hoffmann, and the uncanny beauty of the mechanical.

Writing at the turn of the eighteenth century into the nineteenth, Hoffmann was an innovative and dizzying storyteller who made no apologies for leaping between different points of view, beginning stories with letters and ending them with third-person narrative, or pausing for pages in the middle of a very tense tale for one character to lecture at length on the subject of music and humanity. A few pages on, Hoffmann might just reveal that that everything up to that point has been a story being told by another character who then stops his tale to explain that he’d rather be left with absorbing questions at the end of a story that force him to muse over it than to have it end tied up so satisfyingly that he has no reason to think about it any longer. And yes, that’s where that particular story (The Automatons) ends.

Hoffmann’s tales are also replete with panic about the possibility of mistaking a simulacrum of humanity for a real person. In The Sand-Man, one of the most famous of Hoffmann’s “night pieces,” the passing off of an automaton for a real girl causes the complete breakdown of an impressionable young man; in The Automatons you get a lengthy panic attack from one character who’s horrified by the idea that a mechanical thing could be allowed to make music. To Lewis, the character in question, music is a thing reserved for nature and for men, and while attempting to duplicate the music of nature is the highest and most worthy challenge a (human) musician can undertake, for an unnatural thing like a mechanism to create music on its own is an abomination. Just two examples from two of my favorites; there are so very many more I could list.

In Hoffmann’s world, human identity is a delicate bit of machinery in its own right, a program that can be damaged beyond repair far too easily. In his world, things like doubles, automata, puppets, even spectacles and telescopes, are causes of anxiety—they present the appearance of something they are not. The arts, which Hoffmann’s protagonists often feel passionately about, seem to be the things they cling to in order to prove that they and those around them are “real” people. Hoffmann, a composer and music critic who lived in an era of tremendous musical innovation and a time during which some of the most famous automata were conceived and built, seems to have viewed the ability to create as what we might call a Turing test today. He also seems to have had a unique sense of the way that what is familiar can be utterly terrifying if it is suddenly suspected to be not quite what one thought it was, and the more completely at home you feel with something—as Hoffmann must have felt about music—the more terrifying it could potentially become. Dancing, for instance. In The Automatons, after his lecture on the dreadfulness of automatons playing music, Lewis has special words of horror for the idea of a man dancing with a mechanical woman and not having a clue about her inhuman nature. Sure enough, it is so scarring to Nathanael, the protagonist of The Sand-Man that not even dancing with the automaton Olympia tips him off to her mechanical nature that when he breaks down at the end of the book screaming, “Spin round, wooden doll!”

Two hundred years later, the uncanniness of his tales is amplified by the fact that his simulacra are made up of things that, for me, already inhabit that uncomfortable but wildly compelling place where beauty and familiarity and oddity intersect. They are made of pocket spyglasses and clockwork and instruments that sing in unearthly tones. They are made of things that wind up, of things that tick with mechanical heartbeats but sing like angels. They are made of things that, like those antique clocks counting quietly in dark and dusty hallways, are easy to take for granted today until it comes time to admit that most of us really don’t interact with them or understand them at all.

After reading E.T.A. Hoffmann, it’s not as easy to walk by that clock. We pause, then we look closer and wonder if we really know what we’re looking at. Then we look at each other, and try not to wonder the same thing.

~Kate Milford

Twitter: @katemilford

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Today I have another Steampunk book review for you. But first we have a few book releases this week.

The Young Adult Steampunk adventure The Boneshaker by Kate Milford (who visited during Steampunkapalooza) is released tomorrow. I can’t wait to pick it up.

Breath of Heaven, Cindy Holby’s (aka Lolita Cindy) new historical romantic fantasy also comes out tomorrow. The cover is beautiful, isn’t it?

Ancient Whispers by our very own Lolita Marie-Claude, aka Marie-Claude Bourque, also comes out tomorrow. It’s paranormal romance and looks to be an amazing read.

Also, this isn’t precisely Steampunk, but who doesn’t love Ghostbusters?

Now on to today’s book review.

Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti

Imagine a world quite unlike our own–a great, industrial city where there are sky trolleys, winged messengers, and the city itself is run by a supercomputer and council of untouchables. In this city the caste system is alive and well. Those of the highest caste hide behind masks and robes. Even entering from one part of the city to another could be problematic depending on caste. Only the Icarii are free to move about from section to section and mingle among the castes.

Taya is a young Icarus, couriering messages across the city with the help of giant metal wings. A daring mid-air rescue causes her paths to cross with the Forlore brothers–charming Alister is a member of the highest caste and part of the council, but the brooding, surly Christof has forsaken his birthright and lives among the cities poorest as a clockmaker. Taya is plunged into a web of murder, mystery, intrigue, civil-unrest, and top-secret computer program. She’ll have to decide who to trust and who’s side she’s on, her life–and the fate of the city–depends on it.

Pagliassotti’s world is rich and alive, full of detail and nuance but not in an overwhelming way. You can almost feel the grit of the mines and hear the rustle of the fine robes and the hum of the Great Engine that is the heart of the city. This world is truly a fine example of genre blending–and genre bending–combining elements of fantasy, scifi, romance, steampunk, and clockpunk and not quite like anything else out there. Gadgets abound, from sky trolleys and metal wings to the Great Engine itself.

Clockwork Heart is a fun and exciting read, hooking me from the very first page. It felt a little heavy on the romantic elements in the beginning, but not enough for me to put the book down. The pace quickly picks up and we’re launched into a wild, intriguing story with plenty of twists, turns, and gadgets. Taya, Alister, and Christof are all compelling characters and the ending felt satisfying. The world building is unique and vibrant. The only thing I’d like to see is a sketch of the “Icarus Dress” that Taya wears to the party thrown in her honor. This would be a great escapist read to take on vacation or any time you want something a bit different.

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I’d like to welcome today’s visiting lolita–debut young adult author Kate Milford. She’ll be giving away a copy of her upcoming release The Boneshaker.The adventure starts May, 24, 2010.

Lolita Suzanne:  Hi Kate, welcome to Steamed!  Thank you so much for joining us. You’re new young adult novel, The Boneshaker, comes out next month.  Is this your first release?  Can you share the story of “the Call”, the “email” or how you broke through into publishing?

Kate Milford:  Yes, this is my first. I originally moved to NYC to write plays. My friend Julie kind of put me up to writing my first attempt at a book, and helped me figure out how to do it. My second attempt was a short book called Gingerfoot, which became The Boneshaker. As far as the call/email goes, I sent out a ton of query letters (I think about 30). I had about six ask for chapters and three ask for full manuscripts. One of the agencies I queried was Scovil Galen Ghosh—they represent Cory Doctorow and Charles de Lint, and on their website Russell Galen had this absolutely wonderful statement about why he became an agent that I found really inspiring. Ann Behar had just been put in charge of SGG’s juvenile titles, and she emailed back asking for the manuscript. We exchanged a few emails and she asked for some revisions, which I did, and then she invited me to lunch and it wasn’t until the end of the meal when she said something like, “Oh, and by the way, I’d love to offer you representation.” What’s funny is that we had such a nice time chatting that it hadn’t even occurred to me to be at the edge of my seat waiting for her to make the offer. She sold the book almost a year later to Lynne Polvino at Clarion. I think at that point I was pestering my husband to check my email during the day because I couldn’t do it at work (I work full-time managing a shop in SoHo, and at the time I didn’t have a phone with email capabilities), so he got the email first and called me to tell me to call Ann. I got the news secondhand.

LS:  At least you got the news from your hubby.  That’s quite the story.  Can you tell us what The Boneshaker is about?

KM:  It’s set in Missouri in 1913 in a crossroads town called Arcane. Shortly after Arcane’s doctor goes to the aid of a nearby town suffering from a flu epidemic, Jake Limberleg’s Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show rolls into town, and although everybody’s skeptical at first, the hucksters win the town over pretty quickly. Only a few people get a really bad feeling about Limberleg and his cohorts, and one of them is Natalie Minks, who’s the thirteen year-old daughter of Arcane’s bicycle mechanic. So of course, it falls to Natalie to save the world from a bunch of diabolical snake oil salesmen. That’s the short version; there’s also Old Tom Guyot, who’s kind of a Robert/Tommy Johnson figure who met the Devil at the crossroads and beat him in a head cutting—a musical duel. There’s Jack, a drifter who happens to be passing through town at the same time as the Nostrum Fair for very specific reasons. There’s Simon Coffrett, who rented space to Jake Limberleg for the Fair and lives a mansion in a grove where albatrosses roost and the trees are hung with dozens of wind chimes. There’s a vicious harlequin, a lonely demon, and a mechanical fortune-teller that quotes Edgar Allan Poe. Basically, the book’s a big collection of Weird Stuff I Think Is Cool.

LS:  What an amazing, eclectic mix.  It sounds terrific.   The Boneshaker is “Steampunk” right?  What elements in it make it Steampunk?

KM:  I think so, but in order not to disappoint anybody who will read “steampunk” and expect an alt-Victorian world in which steam-driven technology plays a big part, let’s say it has a lot of steampunk detailing. Clockwork plays a huge part in the story. Jake Limberleg, the proprietor of the Nostrum Fair, collects automata—in fact, it’s Limberleg’s insistence that certain of his automata are perpetual motion machines that really convinces Natalie that something’s not right. The Paragons of Science, Limberleg’s colleagues, are specialists in Victorian (and earlier) medical technologies: Phrenology, Magnetism, Hydrotherapy, and Amber Therapy. The world of the Nostrum Fair, I think, has a very steampunky feel to it, even if its technology has more to do with clockwork and electricity (the fair’s electrical power, for instance, comes from bicycle-driven generators).

LS:  Sounds good to me!  So, where did you get the idea for this story?

KM:  Well, I did a lot of research into Victorian medicine and psychology for my first attempt at fiction. Then I found an article in the New Yorker on the Jamaica Ginger epidemic of the 1930’s. During Prohibition, patent and proprietary medicines were one of the common ways by which people found drinking liquor, and one of the most popular cheap medicinal tipples was Jamaica Ginger, or jake. There were all kinds of rules intended to keep medicines from being used for drinking, one of which was to regulate the amount of ginger solids used. Without getting too nerdy with the details, in order to adhere to the regulations but still have a palatable product, a chemical plasticizer was used (which happened to be a neurotoxin). There are a ton of blues songs that reference the symptoms that resulted, which were often called jake leg or, in one song, “the old jake limber leg blues.” This, apart from giving me the name of my villain, put me onto patent medicines and from there I started reading about traveling medicine shows. Somewhere in there I read Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Golden Compass, which definitely shaped Limberleg and Natalie. Plus my husband, Nathan, who gets me like nobody else, is constantly sending me links and book recommendations and making comments that start with some variation on, “You know what would be cool for your next Natalie story…” I’m really fortunate that my husband is not a writer.

LS:  Thank goodness for creative and understanding husbands.  Why Steampunk—what drew you to Steampunk and caused you to incorporate these elements into your story?

KM:  I just have always liked old stuff, weird stuff, mechanical stuff. I think, for instance, that old light bulbs and radio tubes are just beautiful, and I keep pretty ones in bud vases. The year I typed the end on my first book manuscript my reward to myself was an antique Underwood typewriter. I actually had never heard of it when I wrote the first draft five years ago or whenever it was, so I wasn’t out to write steampunk, precisely; I certainly didn’t know the conventions, didn’t have any sense of what people would expect from a “steampunk” novel. It was Nathan that brought the term “steampunk” to my attention, and once I realized there was this world of people who liked the same weird stuff I did and wrote about it, I was hooked. Now, of course, I’ve read lots, but clearly I’m not a purist. Then again, I sort of don’t want reading one of my books to feel like reading anybody else’s. The book I’m working on now, for instance, has some fairly insane gadgetry, a sweet pair of goggles, a difference engine inspired by Neal Stephenson and a ship I think would do Jules Verne proud, but it’s set in a contemporary city, it’s about contemporary teens, and there’s precious little steam.

LS:  That sounds fun, too.  Why did you choose to write for young adults?  What age group is this most appropriate for?  Will adults enjoy it?

KM:  My mom and I decided to submit manuscripts to a children’s book contest. I wanted her to finish working on this story she was writing (Uncle Fenton’s Pearls, which is still one of my favorite books) and start submitting it, and I’d finished that first manuscript I wrote which frankly wasn’t very good and I wanted to see if I could do better. So I wrote the first draft in two weeks in order to make the contest deadline (it wasn’t, you know, good or anything at that point, but I finished it, which was a big deal for me).

Age group—I’m really glad you asked this. The age recommendation on the book is ages 10 and up, which technically makes it upper middle-grade, I guess, but Amazon  has it for ages 9-12 for reasons none of those of us involved with the book can figure out, because there’s some pretty scary stuff in there. And yes, I do think adults will enjoy this book a ton. Natalie’s a young protagonist, but she and Jake Limberleg and Tom and the rest are, I think, pretty complex characters and part of a reasonably intricate story. In my humble (but probably biased) opinion, of course.

LS:  Tell me about the city of Nagspeake?

KM: Nagspeake was another of Nathan’s brilliant ideas that he was kind enough to let me have. I love cities and small towns, and I love fiction that brings a place to life to the point that it becomes a character. Nathan’s very much a tech geek, and he suggested I amuse myself while waiting for agency responses (this is when I was still querying The Boneshaker) by building myself a city, and his logic was that, online, my city could be as real as any other. So I started building Nagspeake.  It’s a coastal city built on the iron bones of an earlier city, the history of which nobody really knows because the city has a long-standing tradition in which the civic archives are burned every 25 years. This makes it particularly interesting to be building the city online—I wonder how long I’ll get away with it before the city government starts getting its back up over the fact that it can’t burn my work up along with everything else.

Nagspeake now exists in a cluster of websites (some more active than others—in the last year I’ve been pretty busy with other things) and occasionally on Twitter. The primary point was to build the city and have a few stories hidden within the content on the websites, but last year I wrote a draft of a book set there that I’m revising right now. That was kind of funny—my husband found out he was going to lose half his salary during the economic freak-out at the beginning of 2009, and I naively thought, I better get moving on a next book so I can save us if Nathan loses his job—because obviously a first-time novelist can just write a book fast and replace half of an information technology salary on like a month’s notice. (By which I mean: what was I thinking?) I’m also working on a cookbook (written by the proprietor of a Nagspeake candy shop and hooch parlor called Magothy Treats) and a collection of short stories. These may very well wind up being things that only entertain me (at least until the current work-in-progress hits the shelves), but just in case, here’s a special post for readers of The Age of Steam.

LS:  A cookbook?  That sounds like a lot of fun.  I think personal writing projects are vital to the mental health of writers. J Do you have any upcoming events/appearances?  Anything else in the works?

KM:  In terms of appearances, I know for sure I’ll be at BEA on Wednesday, 5/26. I’m still working on my summer schedule after that; as soon as I have specifics I’ll post it on my website. I’m also finishing the book set in Nagspeake, which I presume will be my next release; an older YA set on a forgotten highway across the U.S., and a follow-up to The Boneshaker.

LS:  That sounds fabulous, I can’t wait to read The Boneshaker. Thank you so much for stopping by and being part of Steampunkapalooza.

KM:  Thanks for having me to visit!

Winning the advance reader copy is easy, just leave a comment, or a question for Kate, below. To earn an extra entry, blog/tweet/post about Kate’s visit and let us know about it. You can also become a member of Kate’s Facebook Group or the Steamed! Facebook group or follow the Steamed blog. Let us know if you joined, or if you’re all ready a member to get your entries. Contest closes Tuesday, April 27th, at 11:59 pm PST and the winner will be announced Thursday, April 29th.

Tuesday, April 27th Emilie P. Bush comes to visit. The creators of the Girl Genius Comic stop by on Thursday, April 29th. Diana Vic from SteamCon visits on friday, April 30th. Lolita Elizabeth and Lolita Marie-Claude will also be giving us updates from the Romantic Times Convention. This is the final week of Steampunkapalooza, but the Lolitas of Steamed have all sorts of things in store in the coming months.

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