Posts Tagged ‘Gaslights and Rayguns’

Jeremiah Willstone Is on Her Way

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

clockwork-done-02.png

At long last, I have sent to the publisher my fourth completed novel, JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE: A Story of Love, Corsets, Rayguns, and the Conquest of the Galactic Habitable Zone.

This has been a long time in coming – in part because I had the not-so-bright idea of doing a related anthology, DOORWAYS TO EXTRA TIME, which has put me a solid year behind on my other writing projects – and in part because I had a lot of work to do. Lots of authors put their manuscripts through heavy revision, but the way I track changes gives a pretty clear view of my process:

Draft History
Started: September 7, 2009
Rough Draft: July 13, 2011
First Draft: March 10, 2012
Beta Draft: March 25, 2012
Beta Read: December 1, 2013
Gamma Edit: December 12, 2013
Gamma Draft: February 1, 2014

What’s less clear is the amount of research that goes into these books. For the story “The Doorway to Extra Time” I read parts of over 20 books on time travel. For THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE, with its alternate histories and their intricate relationships, I read far more – dozens and dozens of books and hundreds and hundreds of web pages.

clockwork-done-03.png

Now all that’s done, and the book is off to Debra Dixon at Bell Bridge Books. Hopefully I’ve learned from previous edits what it takes to make a great book; if not, I’m sure she’ll tell me.

As always, I leave you with an excerpt:

Lightning gouged a chunk of the wainscoting an inch from Jeremiah Willstone’s head and she hurled herself back, bumping down the stairs on her tailcoat, firing both Kathodenstrahls again and again until the oak doorpanels were blasted into sparks and splinters.

Her shoulders hit the landing hard enough to rattle her teeth, but Jeremiah didn’t lose her grip: she just kept both guns trained on the cracked door, watching foxfire shimmer off its hinges and knobs. The crackling green tracers crept around the frame, and with horror she realized the door was reinforced with newly-added iron bands. She’d intended to blast the thing apart and deny her enemy cover, but had just created more arrowholes for him-or-her to shoot through.

Jeremiah muttered a curse: the doors weren’t supposed to be reinforced! The Newfoundland Airship Conservatory was a relic, near sixty years old—and electric pistols had barely been invented when it was built in the 1850’s, much less Faraday armor. Yet this lot of miscreants had managed to erect in a few days barriers proof to the most modern thermionic blasters. In over nine years as an Expeditionary fighting the mad men and women who sought to let Foreign monsters onto the Earth, she’d never encountered a force as well-prepared as Lord Christopherson’s.

It made sense—the man had been in the Victoriana Defense League, and had their full playbook—yet there were dark rumors that he’d been bankrolled by Restorationist forces who threatened not just the Crown, but the Liberation Jeremiah held so dear. Given her history with the man, she hadn’t found the rumors surprising—but the complete lack of women soldiers among his ‘footmen’ practically confirmed them. Lord Christopherson wasn’t just in love with the monsters: he wanted to upend the whole Victorianan order. The man had to be stopped.

As the foxfire dissipated, the crackling continued, and Jeremiah’s eyes flicked aside to see sparks escaping the broken glass of her left Kathodenstrahl’s vacuum tubes. Its thermionics were shot, so she tossed the electric gun aside with a curse and checked the charge canister on her remaining Kathodenstrahl. The little brass bead was hovering between three and four notches. Briefly she thought of swapping canisters, but a slight creak upstairs refocused her attention.

No. You only need three shots. Keep them pinned, wait for reinforcements.

Now that Jeremiah is on her way, I’m returning my attention to LIQUID FIRE, which has a due date of April 1st, with a hopeful publication date in August. Wish me well, and hope that I have a picture like the following for LIQUID FIRE ready in the next month or so…

clockwork-done-01.png

-the Centaur

Who Am I?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

me in front of the bell bridge books promotional material for BLOOD ROCK

Who are you? Good question. I’m Anthony Francis, and I write stuff and make computers jump through hoops for a living.

What have you done? I’m most notable for the EPIC award winning urban fantasy novel FROST MOON and its sequel, BLOOD ROCK, which are about magical tattoo artist Dakota Frost and are therefore hopefully both more interesting than my ~700 page PhD thesis on context-sensitive computer memory. Also on the computer side, I’ve done some exploration of robot emotions.

What are you doing next? Forthcoming in the Dakota Frost series is the third book, LIQUID FIRE, and this November for National Novel Writing Month I plan to work on HEX CODE, the first in a spin-off series featuring Dakota’s adopted daughter Cinnamon Frost.

Are you working on anything other than Dakota Frost? I’ve also recently completed a rough draft of the first book in a new series, JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE. A short story set in this universe, “Steampunk Fairy Chick”, will be included in the forthcoming anthology UnCONventional.

What are you working on currently? I’m also currently working on a fourth new series with the working title STRANDED, a young adult science fiction novel set a thousand years in the future, featuring a spoiled young centauress who must rescue a shipload of children who have crashlanded upon a world she wanted to claim as her own. This story’s set in the “Library of Dresan” universe from which this blog takes its name and which was setting of my very first unpublished novel “homo centauris”, which I am now happily milking for its 57 billion year backstory.

Anything else? I have a flash fiction story called “The Secret of the T-Rex’s Arms” to appear on the Smashed Cat Magazine. I’ve also published one short story, “Sibling Rivalry” in the Leading Edge Magazine. I have a webcomic, f@nu fiku, on hiatus. And I’m actively involved with helping people succeed at 24 Hour Comics through tutorials that I and my friend Nathan Vargas have put together at Blitz Comics.

Is that enough questions for now? Yes, it is. Please enjoy.

-the Centaur

Back at Comic-Con

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

the gateway to comic-con

I’m back at San Diego Comic-Con again … my con home away from con home (my con home being Dragon*Con). Comic-Con is also where I get to visit with 125,000 of my closest friends.

the crowds begin

Like Dragon*Con, San-Diego Comic-Con has grown far beyond its original roots. The
con is about far more than just comics: it’s now a full bore genre media event.

the convention floor

They’ve got sexy space girls …

star trek babes

… sexy space guys …

the 5th, 11th and 10th doctors

… and everything in between.

the total recall car and robots

And lest there be any doubt about what I meant, here’s what I took the closeup of in that last tableau … I am a roboticist after all:

the total recall robot

While I’m here, I’ll not just be renewing my creative juices … I’ll be working on the final proofs for BLOOD ROCK, which is due the day after I get back.

If only I had a way to get more time…wait, maybe I do!

me and the tardis

Wish me luck!
-the Centaur

Rough Draft of The Clockwork Time Machine

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

jeremiah willstone, complete
I just completed a rough draft of my fourth novel! My first steampunk work, JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE, clocks in at 90,000 words of completed story!

done with the rough draft

The Title Page and Draft History of THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE

Here’s another excerpt for those who like a tease …

With Patrick’s blunderblast slung over her shoulder, Jeremiah whizzed through the streets on her autocycle, discharging its cylinder flat out, its teakettle scream and clanking frame adding another layer of mist and noise to the steam and bustle of Boston. Her legs were tensed, her knees bent against the pedals, half to jump the cycle over curbs, and half to keep the juddering vibration from the cobblestones of Beacon Hill from rattling her tailbone clean off.

She squealed to a stop before the Moffat’s, pulled the cylinder and tossed it to a street urchin. “Top me off?” she asked, hopping off onto the sidewalk with a whirl and pulling her bag out of its basket in one smooth motion.

“Yes, ma’am,” the boy said, taking the cycle. His eyes lighted on her vest, her denims—and on the big brass buttons on her lapels, a steering wheel, sword and airsail overlaid with a stylized V. “Are you an Expeditionary?”

Jeremiah smiled. “Yes,” she said, ruffing his cap so that tufts of blond hair showed. “Maybe one day you’ll become one too. Polish the brasslite a bit and there’s a second shilling in it for you. Quick now; I won’t be long.”

I’ve got some cleaning to do and a whole ‘nother draft before the beta readers can see it, but still … on to LIQUID FIRE!

-the Centaur

60,000 New Words

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Hit the 60,000 Word Mark!Victory! 72,037 words, 60,164 of them new. Boo-yah! I leave you with this:

“Fair enough,” Jeremiah said. “Alright. We know where we’re going, and how we’re handling this. And we all know who we’re facing: the Baron Abinger, who handed us all our hats on his last encounter. Be on your guard.”

She looked up at Lord Birmingham. “Sir, I have said what I need to say,” Jeremiah said. “I now place myself in your hands. This ship, and this mission, are yours. At your discretion, Godspeed.”

Lord Birmingham straightened. “Thank you, Commander,” he said. “All you need do is let Lady Georgiana and I guide you through the dark heart of Georgia, and then the rest of this mission is yours.”

“Then take us away, sir.”

Now I go take nap now.

-the Centaur

Cracked 70,000 Words

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

58,000 Added Words
Just reached 70,000 total words in THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE … 58,735 total added during this month, so it looks good to hit 60,000 words tomorrow. Woohoo!

As usual, Nano’s raw rough-drafty stuff, but here’s where we are in the story (suitably snipped and edited not to give too much away):

The engines of the Machine spun up with a terrific rising whine and discharged all at once, lightning in a bottle, illuminating the entire diving bell interior with a crackling foxfire glow. Even the handcuff that pinned her left hand to a support arch shimmered as the transelectric field rippled through it, but as she was grounded to the same pole it left her with little more than a shudder.

As the Clockwork Time Machine rattled and clacked, ticked and swayed through the tunnels of possibility, Jeremiah hunched in a little ball by the pillar in her bloodied shift, her left hand high over her head, twisting uselessly in the cuff as two footmen stood over her, watching, their six-strings at the ready. It made her feel small and helpless, even though they’d made the mistake of cuffing her bad hand; but she hadn’t the heart to do her usual scheming for escape.

She had to see this through.

-the Centaur

68,669 words … 56,755 of them new

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Two days of Nano left … God willing, there’s a good shot I’ll make 70,000 total words, perhaps even 60,000 added words. Progress continues!

I Can’t Stop Writing

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

At Work on the Clockwork Time Machine at Borders

At Work on the Clockwork Time Machine at Borders

I’ve “won” National Novel Writing Month for 2010, but I just can’t stop writing. I know I have bills to pay, books to edit, projects at work, and a massive cleaning project in my library … but THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE has me right now and I can’t stop.

But … really … is that such a bad thing? Since I’ve “won”, I’ve written 4200 more words, 2600 today alone. Fantastic!

-the Centaur

Viiiiictory … A New Series

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Winner's Badge for Nanowrimo 2010Once again, I have completed National Novel Writing Month! This year’s entry is the first in the Jeremiah Willstone series, THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE:

On an alternate Earth, the feminist revolution started a century early, technological progress doubled … and Mary Shelley’s granddaughter Jeremiah Willstone is an adventurer defending the world in a flying airship! She’s used to fighting off monsters with nothing more than goggles, an electric gun and the advice of a half-human computer, but what will she do when her own uncle changes the rules of the game … with a Clockwork Time Machine?

I’ve posted a few snippets in this series … let me see if I can find one which doesn’t give any key plot elements away.

With Patrick’s blunderblast slung over her shoulder, Jeremiah whizzed through the streets on her autocycle, discharging its cylinder flat out, its teakettle scream and clanking frame adding another layer of mist and noise to the steam and bustle of Boston. Her legs were tensed, her knees bent against the pedals, half to jump the cycle over curbs, and half to keep the juddering vibration from the cobblestones of Beacon Hill from rattling her tailbone clean off.

She squealed to a stop before the Moffat’s, pulled the cylinder and tossed it to a street urchin. “Top me off?” she asked, hopping off onto the sidewalk with a whirl and pulling her bag out of its basket in one smooth motion.

“Yes, ma’am,” the boy said, taking the cycle. His eyes lighted on her vest, her denims—and on the big brass buttons on her lapels, a steering wheel, sword and airsail overlaid with a stylized V. “Are you an Expeditionary?”

Jeremiah smiled. “Yes,” she said, ruffing his cap so that tufts of blond hair showed. “Maybe one day you’ll become one too. Polish the brasslite a bit and there’s a second shilling in it for you. Quick now; I won’t be long.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said, walking the cycle off.

Jeremiah turned to the tottering three-story shop, glancing up at the enclosed balcony jutting out from the newer brick buildings around it. Beneath the balcony, carbide-etched into the thick window of carbonate glass, were the words:

MOFFAT’S MECHANISMS & MYSTERIES

Her mouth quirked; as usual, today she was in the market for a bit of both.

Unlike last year, I didn’t have to write 38,000 words in only ten days. But I did do pretty well; I still have a few days of writing left and I’m going to try to push further on the story.

Victory Point for Nanowrimo 2010

Victory Point for Nanowrimo 2010

Prevail, Victoriana!

-the Centaur

One. Day. Ahead.

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

At last a day ahead...

At last, a day ahead on Nano … 28580 words out of a needed 26666 … even ahead of tomorrow, which needs 28333 … excellent, it’s all falling into place…

-the Centaur

“Then we shall follow,” Sir Alice said. “Commander Willstone!”

“Yes, sir?” Jeremiah said, standing at attention.

“It seems that Lord Christopherson has cracked the secret of travel to the past,” Sir Alice said, her own objections, once overcome, completely forgotten. “Outfit the Prince Edward with one of his own devices and hunt that blackguard down to the very ends of time,” she said. “I’ll see no-one destroy Victoriana on my watch, much less undo Liberation!”

“Yes, sir!” Jeremiah said. “Prevail, Victoriana—”

Lord Birmingham cleared his throat. “Sir Alice, might I remind you that the destination the Lady Georgiana has charted is over the dark heart of Georgia?”