A few days ago, a new small press and a new Steampunk anthology took their first breaths… To help launch this new endeavor, I’ve put together a post to introduce the press and then the authors who have stories in the anthology. – Ray
First, a few words from the head of Witty Bard Publishing about the company and the new anthology:
My name is Anna Victoria Jones, I prefer to go by Victoria or V. I have been working in Marketing at a Fortune 500 company for about 3 years, prior to that I received 2 degrees in IT. I am back in college, pre-law, at the moment. I have always loved to read and write and I have stumbled into a lot of terrific indie authors over the years. I was shocked, however, that no one else that I knew had heard of them. I have also had a few friends go through a traditional publisher and they are seeing pennies of the profits and are not really seeing much in the way of promotion either. I looked around at publishing options and there really isn’t a middle ground.
I started Witty Bard Publishing, LLC (WBP) to bridge the gap between a total self-published author and a traditional large corporate publisher. I use my marketing knowledge and business skills to promote the authors that, otherwise, may go unnoticed by so many willing readers. WBP focuses on promoting and rewarding quality writing no matter the writer. The competitions we host are one way to do that very thing. My judges do not know the names of the stories or the authors while they are judging. This way there is no author bias on the part of my judges; they grade the writing on its own merits. My plans for WBP include continuing to host competitions, while also offering many other author services, including editing/proofreading, publishing, promotion, etc., more information on those services can be found on our website www.wittybardpublishing.com
. My main goal is and will always be to help authors receive the notoriety they deserve.
I am very new to the Steampunk genre. It is something that has always interested me, but I have never become that involved with it. After I decided that I wanted to do competitions I was trying to decide where I should start and a friend suggested Steampunk. I started learning more about Steampunk and I found it super interesting. I have enjoyed reading all the amazing stories that were submitted. I am super excited to see so much interest from the Steampunk crowd! If there is enough interest so soon, I may do another Steampunk anthology with the next set of competitions.
I think that this anthology has turned out very well! I was super excited by the amount and quality of entries and all the interest within the community. There is such a huge amount of diversity between the stories and I think that everyone can find something they love in the anthology. I cannot wait to publish it!
I am always looking to meet new people and I would appreciate any suggestions for future contests. I am also accepting applications for future judging spots, feel free to contact me. 🙂
I also had the opportunity to ask the other authors about their stories and writing…
(the images below will give you an idea of where our authors hail from)
1. Author Name – Website
Lee Parry – www.themire.co.uk
John Walton – www.facebook.com/john.walton.927543
Seamus Sweeney – www.nthposition.com/author.php?authid=217 or scarfaceproject.blogspot.com
Ross Baxter – www.amazon.co.uk/Ross-Baxter/e/B0041DO99U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_3
Nicole Lavigne – http://www.nllavigne.wordpress.com
Liam Hogan http://happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk
Ray Dean www.raydean.net
2. The first – Your story is published in the first “Witty Bard” Publication – how excited are you to be a part of this inaugural event?
Lee: Very excited. It’s the first competition I had entered and I was thrilled to have won.
John: Very, It’s always good to get in on the ground floor then you become part of the history
Seamus: It is an honour to be considered worthy of inclusion. It is an exciting development and I am extremely impressed with Witty Bard’s professionalism and enthusiasm.
Ross: Very excited, its always great to get a piece published and even better when its with an outfit like Witty Bard.
Nicole: Very excited. It’s a fun theme and I am looking forward to reading the other stories in the anthology. Doubly excited because this is also my first publication.
Liam: It’s always lovely to see one of my stories find a home, and being part of a “first” makes it extra special, hopefully Witty Bard can go on to many more anthologies, and I can say I was there at the start.
Ray: Love the energy of it all. Our publisher was so on the ball and things just kept rolling along. I hope to keep a strong working relationship with Witty Bard!
3. Is this your first Steampunk story?
If yes – what prompted your foray into the genre?
If no – did this story take you in a new direction within the genre?
Lee: No — I had previously self-published a novel that had significant Steampunk elements. It was more tongue-in-cheek and straight-up comedic than my novel. The novel had similar elements (as the short story’s protagonist was a supporting character in the novel) but was far heavier and dramatic than the short story.
John: I am currently busy with a series The Voyages of the Black Thistle No1. This is a back story of one of the devices and some of the characters. Which will eventually form a companion volume. So to answer your question, not a new direction but an opportunity.
Seamus: Not really, but it is my first published one. Various threads in Irish history have acted as my inspiration. One is a chap called Henry Joy McCracken, who was one of the United Irishmen who, inspired by the French Revolution, rebelled in 1798. McCracken was a Presbyterian mill owner in Belfast. It is one of the ironies of history that the movement for Irish independence was initially led by Ulster Presbyterians, who would in later times be the bulwarks of Unionism. Reading about that period in history and subsequent events, there are many other roads that things could have gone down. There was much sympathy between Catholic communities and “dissenter” ones, well into the 19th Century we read of the communities helping each other to build churches and meeting houses. Also, as someone raised and educated in the Republic of Ireland, little of the industrial heritage of the whole Island was taught to us. I was also inspired by a book called “Jacquard’s Web” which essentially described how the loom invented by Jacquard in the early 19th century was a form of early computer. So, somewhat in the spirit of Gibson and Sterling’s “Difference Engine”, I postulate mass computational technology arising much earlier, but using spinning/weaving technology. I retain, at least in broad terms, the social structure of those industries, with cottage-based spinning giving way to industrial processes as the 19th Century continued. And also it is very much a muscle-power based industry.
I’ve written three of these “flaxpunk” stories so far, of which “An Honest Ulster Spinner” is the middle story chronologically. The first story deals with Henry Joy McCracken with various other twists. It probably has more exposition than the other two, and another speculative fiction element which I won’t give away here. In “real history” McCracken was executed after the 1798 rebellion; that doesn’t quite happen in my timeline! The third follows Caroline, the daughter in “An Honest Ulster Spinner”, many years later. I’ve submitted both to various outlets so we’ll see what happens. They are standalone stories but with some overlap.
Ross: No. I’ve got a Steampunk Novella published with Phaze.com, available on Kindle. However, it’s Steampunk with a difference – it is erotic Steampunk written for a (very) mature audience (!)Writing erotic Steampunk pays well, but is a very narrow genre. The story in Witty Bard is more mainstream, and has allowed me to play a bit.
Nicole: It is the first Steampunk story that I have completed. I’ve read a few Steampunk stories and really enjoyed the juxtaposition of technology with history. Plus, it’s fun and the costumes look cool.
Liam: Ahem. I may have squeaked in by the narrowest of margins in definition terms. But that’s okay. I seem to have predated steam by (quite) a bit, and it’s rather less punk than others in the anthology! I tend to write all sorts of styles, depending on the seed-idea for the story – some horror, some sci-fi, some urban fantasy. And now, a little bit of Steampunk.
Ray: My first published story was Steampunk and so are a few of the other stories that are published or in the process of publication. This story is the first one that I’ve written that was set in my ‘hometown’ – The Hawaiian Kingdom/Sandwich Islands.
4. Hopefully your muse has continued to draw upon more Steampunk inspiration, are you planning to write more Steampunk stories? Short or novel length?
Lee: I am writing another short story set within the same universe for a similar competition, and I am also working on a second novel — again, set in the same universe.
John: Oh Yes – both
Seamus: I would like to explore this flaxpunk world more. I would see it developing as a series of vignettes and episodes, getting a sense of everyday lives lived in a specific world. At the start of 2014 I had notions of writing a story a month along these lines but things haven’t gone entirely to plan!
Ross: If the right idea comes along, then yes. I find it very hard to write Steampunk, and need a great idea to help me carry it.
Nicole: I have another Steampunk short story in the works right now that will be quite different from Stolen Cargo.
Liam: Absolutely. I’m going to try my hand at a proper Steampunk short story, for Steampunk Trails – Steam punk meets the Wild West. Lets see if they like it.
Ray: Have a bunch in the process of publication and I’m always working on more… both short and novel-length.
So… how do you get your copy???
1. Use any of these links to find a format to order:
2. Reply to this post and I’ll select a random participant to receive a KINDLE copy of the anthology
– to be considered, please have your ‘comment’ completed by end of Monday May19, 2014
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