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Posts Tagged ‘Middle Grade Steampunk’

First off, there’s still time to register for my writing YA class, which starts Feb. 14th. Details here.

Second off, I have the winners of the two copies of The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire Book 1. The winners are…

Alden Ash and Heather Hiestand

Alden and Heather please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize. Winners of Anya Bast’s Raven’s Quest will be anounced Monday.

Today we welcome Middle Grade Author David Burton who’s going to tell us about his new steampunk adventure for kids, Scourge (and giveaway some copies, too.)

ScourgeFirst, can you tell us a little about yourself and your latest steampunk creation?

Gladly! I was born in Windsor, Ontario (just across the river from Detroit) to parents who encouraged me to read from a very young age. I graduated from the University of Toronto with a major in Biology and a minor in Classical Civilization. I currently live near Toronto with my same-sex partner and our three boys (we adopted three brothers three years ago). And we have one basset hound that keeps us all in check. 🙂

Scourge is a middle-grade (ages 9-12) novel that is the first in a series. It centers around a young boy and his family that travel to the world of Verne. Naturally, there are dirigibles, goggles (my favorite part!), and absinth.

Here’s the blurb and the book trailer:

Two dads, five siblings, and goggles!

Grim Doyle has always known his life was not exactly “normal”, and things get even more curious when he discovers a set of stones that sweep him and his family to the fantasy, steampunk world of Verne – a place they had escaped from years ago. Now that they’ve returned, Grim and his siblings hide from the evil Lord Victor and his minions. And while learning about Jinns, Mystics, and the power of absinth they try to discover who is trying to kill them with the deadly Scourge.

Why did you choose steampunk as a genre?

For most of my life I would have considered myself more of a fantasy reader/writer. But looking back, prior to adopting our children I was a Final Fantasy addict for two decades, so a steampunk influence has been in my life a long time. In fact, that’s probably the greatest influence when it comes to this book (other than my boys, that is!). When we adopted our boys I watched what really got them hooked and that’s when I realized that I should go back to my roots and not focus solely on fantasy as a genre. Incorporating steampunk with fantasy was the perfect mix and it really allowed me to stretch my imagination for this series.

Why did you write it for middle grade?

There are great works out there in the YA category: Boneshaker, The Windup Girl, Leviathan, Soulless (and thankfully because of these, I think the steampunk genre is really taking off), but there isn’t as much in the middle-grade arena. Pullman’s His Dark Materials series is wonderful, but I thought there needed to be more. Fortunately, the voice of the narrative seemed to come out in a middle-grade format when I started writing it, so it worked out well.

Can you share with us a scene from Scourge?

Here’s a scene when Grim takes it upon himself to try to find a cure for the Scourge:

The streets were bare. The lampposts gave off a bluish-white light that reflected off the slickened streets. The moisture in the air settled into Grim’s bones. There were no moons or stars in the sky. The thick cloud cover had taken care of that. Yet despite the lack of life on the street, Grim couldn’t help but feel that there was something there, watching him. He looked for the strange bird that he had seen across the street, or the cloaked man.

There was nothing.

He stopped. A couple of sewer rats scampered across the road behind him. An alley cat, or maybe it was Pringles, was perched upon a steel railing. It paid him no heed, more interested in the rats.

Grim moved on, determined to make haste. He pulled his jacket about him to ward off the night’s chill. Three small dirigibles sped overhead.

He looked at the street signs, one at a time, yet none were Absolution Street. And none of the buildings had signs that read The Green Fairy.

Grim ducked into an alley at the sound of something coming up the street. One pair of boots and a walking stick that tapped the ground at a hurried pace. He stuffed himself between some old crates that smelled like bad cabbage and waited.

The footsteps turned into the alley towards him, and Grim shuffled back, trying to catch a glimpse of whoever was coming. All he could see were shiny boots and a pointed walking stick.

Grim turned and ran, twisting and winding through alleys. The footsteps continued behind him.

The passageways funneled Grim between large buildings, yet never seemed to lead him anywhere, or at least not to any street. It became a maze of darkened laneways and slippery cobblestone corridors. He tried various doors.

All locked.

The footsteps quickened. Grim ran, his feet sliding.

Until finally he came upon a door. On it was a metal emblem of a girl with emerald wings.

He yanked on it, and it opened.

Then a large, meaty hand reached out and tugged Grimwald Doyle inside.

Billy BonesSo what’s next for you?

Currently, I’m working on another children’s novel that I’m posting live at my blog as I write it called Billy Bones: Beyond the Grave. I’m also releasing a paranormal romance novel in the spring titled Broken, and I have a dark fantasy novel I released last year called The Second Coming. Naturally, I’m trying to work in the next of the Grim Doyle series as well. 🙂

You’re offering to do a giveaway. Can you tell us about that?

At my site, I offer an electronic version (ebook) of my novels with a dedication page, addressed to the purchaser, that is autographed by me. I also substitute the name of one of the minor characters in the book with the name of the purchaser. It makes for a unique version of the book for those that want it. So I’ll be giving away 3 of these for Scourge. I’ll let you handle the rules for the giveaway. 🙂
Good luck to those that enter, and thanks so much for having me here!!

Cheers!

David
http://davidhburton.com

Want to win one of three of these unique ebooks (for you or someone else)? Just comment here and three lucky people will be chosen at random. Open internationally. Contest closes Sunday, Feb 20th. 2011 at midnight PST. Good luck!

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We posted the last batch of author invasion winners.   Did you win?

Today we welcome Middle Grade Author J.S. Lewis, co-author of the popular Grey Griffins series. The Grey Griffins are a group of kids who become monster hunters. In their newest adventures, The Clockwork Chronicles meld Steampunk with adventure and magic. “The Brimstone Key” is the first book in this new series featuring the Grey Griffins. We have a copy of “The Brimstone Key” and and some amazing posters up for grabs.

J.S. Lewis is an American novelist and comic book writer. His novels include Invasion (coming December 2010), as well as The Brimstone Key (from the Grey Griffins Clockwork Chronicles), and the original Grey Griffins trilogy: The Revenge of the Shadow King, The Rise of the Black Wolf, and The Fall of the Templar (co-authored by Derek Benz). Lewis also wrote a twelve book comic book series based on Sony’s virtual world phenomenon, Free Realms.

A graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Broadcasting, Lewis has explored a career that includes news reporting, radio production, animation, graphic design, web development, mural painting, speech writing, video game development, voice over work, and marketing. He currently resides in Arizona with his wife and children.

Introducing a New Generation to Steampunk
by J.S. Lewis

I have a love/hate relationship with Harry Potter. Initially I refused to read the series because of the hype. Like most people, I have a rebellious streak. If you tell me how much I should love something, more likely than not I’ll despise it. Why? I wish there was a good explanation, but I can’t come up with one outside of stubbornness.

Years after its release, I finally picked up the first Harry Potter book. I was going to prove that the sensation credited for single-handedly bringing kids back to reading wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. I couldn’t wait to tell the world that J.K. Rowling was a hack. But there was a problem. I got hooked from the first chapter and now I’m a fan.

I truly am thankful that Rowling re-introduced kids to the wonders of books. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that in many ways I owe my writing career to her. Without Harry Potter, the Grey Griffins likely wouldn’t exist. Neither would Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Artemis Fowl, Fablehaven, The Spiderwick Chronicles, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Eragon, Charlie Bone, and a slew of other titles geared toward kids.

There is one problem, though. Any book with children and magic is in danger of being judged as derivative, whether it’s true or not. Is Percy Jackson simply Harry Potter with Greek gods? What about Eragon? Harry Potter on the back of a dragon?

In our latest release (The Brimstone Key) the Grey Griffins transferred from an average elementary school that would exist in just about any town in the United States, to Iron Bridge Academy, a special school for Templar youth where they learn to fight the monsters that go bump in the night.

Now if I were in Las Vegas, I’d bet the house that the word “Hogwarts” just popped into you head. I can’t blame you. Harry Potter is an enormous part of pop culture, so the comparisons are inevitable. That didn’t stop us from trying to make it different, though.

So if Rowling owns magic, we had to find our own niche if we didn’t want to be seen as derivative. Was that going to be science? Not likely. I can watch nature shows on television all day long, but I’m not a scientist and I don’t find the minutia of science interesting enough to become an expert. What about technology? Now there’s something I’m fascinated with. And is there any technology – real or imagined – more interesting than Steampunk?

We wanted to find a way to introduce a generation of young readers to the Steampunk subculture in the same way that Rowling introduced them to magic. We took our favorite elements and fused them with a secret society that lives in the shadows of today’s modern world. It gave us an exciting blend of today with the romantic qualities of an alternate history where Charles Babbage was Bill Gates, and clockworks served as nannies, butlers and soldiers.

We’re not alone in our quest, either. Thanks to books like Boneshaker and Dreadnought by Cherie Priest and Leviathan and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, Steampunk is becoming a household name – and that’s exciting!

–J.S. Lewis
http://www.jonslewis.com

 

 

How would you introduce a new generation to Steampunk? Buy your kids brass goggles? Hand out gears instead of candy next to the neighborhood kids next Halloween? Give everyone on your holiday gift list Steampunk books?

Two lucky commenters will win a great prize.

One commenter will win a copy of The Brimstone Key and a bookmark.

The other will a set of the following amazing posters (these are beautiful and suitable for framing):

* Sprig (a Welsh Faerie)
* Max (the hero of the story)
* Natalia and Brooke (the female leads)
* Tundra Troll

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Today we welcome author Arthur Slade, who writes The Hunchback Assignments series. Did you know there are Steampunk books for tweens/younger teens? He’s written two of them! The Dark Deeps , the second book in the series was just released and I have a copy to give away to one lucky poster!

The Hunchback Assignments

When Modo turns fourteen, his education is complete. He must first survive in London on his own, then, with the help of beautiful Octavia, he uncovers a sinister plot being carried out in the very sewers beneath London.

The Dark Deeps

Modo’s latest mission, to uncover the underwater mystery behind the sinking of several ships, seems impossible. There are rumours of a sea monster or something even more nefarious. An astounding secret in the depths of the ocean.
——————————————————————–

Steampunk Book Trailers
by Arthur Slade

Book trailers are a relatively new creation of the book publishing industry and they range from the “made on my home computer” to professional, movie-quality videos. I had created plenty of my own book trailers on my Mac, but to kick off The Hunchback Assignments I felt I needed to do something new and professional. I worked with a company out of Texas. I gave them the back cover copy, images from the Canadian, American, and Australian covers and they ran with it. They were able to provide powerful graphics, original music and, well, a “movie announcer” voice. Take a listen.

I was extremely pleased with how it turned out. How I wish my voice sounded like that! There was a good response to the trailer and it was fun to go back to the same company and see what they could do for The Dark Deeps.

Essentially this video is a sequel to the first one. The book trailers have become more useful than I imagined–I thought they would only be appearing on the internet but the trailers have been used on radio to introduce me before an interview (obviously they only used the audio portion of the trailer ), in bookstores to promote the book, and I use the trailers whenever I do a presentation–it’s a great way to lead off a reading and talk about the book. They certainly get the audience’s attention.

Plus, it’s almost like seeing a movie of the book come to life. Almost…

—————-
The Hunchback Assignments
“A terrific entertainment.” Quill and Quire. Starred review.

Arthur Slade was raised in the Cypress Hills of southwest Saskatchewan and began writing at an early age. He received an English Honours degree from the University of Saskatchewan, spent several years writing advertising and now writes fiction full time. He is the author of the “Canadian Chills” series of books, “Dust” (which won the Governor General’s award), “Tribes,” and “Monsterology.” He currently lives in Saskatoon.

Make sure you visit the other stops on Arthur’s book tour!

Previous stops on The Dark Deeps blog tour:

Friday, September 17 – ArtSlade.com
Saturday September 18 – Cynsations
Sunday, September 19 – Free the Princess

Upcoming stops on The Dark Deeps blog tour:

Tuesday, September 21 – Steampunk Tribune
Wednesday, September 22 – Suvudu
Thursday, September 23 – Steampunk Scholar
Friday, September 24 – Through the Looking Glass

Want to win an ARC of The Dark Deeps? just leave a comment below telling me which book trailer you liked better and why. Contest runs through 11:59 pm PST, September 30, 2010, open internationally.

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