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Posts published in “Steampunk”

Jeremiah Willstone and the Adventures of Liberated Women in an Age of Steam!

What Are You Working On?

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There's an open call for comments at a post on Write to the End for people to list the current creative projects you are working on. My entry:

Hey, I’m Anthony Francis, and I’m a writer of urban fantasy, steampunk and science fiction. My day job involves the Search Engine That Starts With A “G” and my background is in artificial intelligence and emotional robotics.

I’m working on a steampunk novel called JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE, which is aaalllmost ready to send to beta readers. I’m also working on an interactive fiction and a screenplay in the same universe. I’ll be participating in Script Frenzy this April to get the screenplay done.

I’m almost done with the rough draft of LIQUID FIRE, the third urban fantasy novel in my Skindancer series featuring magical tattooist Dakota Frost. I’m excited about this one and hope to have it out to beta readers this summer. The first two novels in the series, FROST MOON and BLOOD ROCK, are doing very well.

I’m halfway done with the rough draft of HEX CODE, the spinoff YA series in the Skindancer universe featuring weretiger and math prodigy Cinnamon Frost. I’m also excited about this one which is going in an interesting new direction.

I’ve got the first third of a YA space novel called MAROONED out to the editor. We’re breaking it into 3 novellas and the first one, called “Stranded” we hope will come out this year. This will hopefully be a seven book series.

I’ve got a stalled webcomic called f@nu fiku I’m trying to restart, but while that’s going on I’m working with Nathan Vargas on, a project to help blocked comic writers and artists make progress on their dreams.

I’m writing a monthly column on writing on Write to the End called “The Centaur’s Pen” and I’m working on another column for my own website called “Getting Traction”, both as a part of trying to get into nonfiction writing.

I have many more projects in partial states of completion: novels, comics, artworks, webworks, computer programming investigations, games, and so on. But I’m comfortable not making a lot of progress on my side projects, because I’ve got enough main projects to keep me gobstackingly busy.

Just how I like it.

-the Centaur

Just how I like it, indeed. Do I agree with myself? Yes, I agree with myself. I am large, I contain multitudes, but we get along.

It's a surprisingly useful exercise to remind yourself of all that you're doing. So drop in on Write to the End and tell everyone what you're up to!

-the Centaur

Now that’s a sign we have a protagonist on our hands…

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Screen shot 2012-02-09 at 6.35.41 PM.png

Above is a wordle of the near-completed first draft (as opposed to rough draft) of THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE. Wordles are great visualization tools for your texts, and this one reveals ... well, yes, Jeremiah is the protagonist.

Actually, now that I think of it, the full title of the book is JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE so I should have expected that her name would bubble to the top.

Jeremiah's also the protagonist of "Steampunk Fairy Chick", which was published recently in the UnCONventional anthology now available on Amazon ... why yes, that was a shameless plug, why do you ask?

-the Centaur

Last gamma comments for STRANDED in…

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Alright, the last gamma reader comments for "Stranded" are in. (Gamma, because this is actually the second round of beta readers. :-) "Stranded" is the first novelette of three in a planned YA space adventure novel with the working title MAROONED. This will be part of a trilogy including MAROONED, PURSUED, BESIEGED, SHANGIAIED, COMMANDEERED ... oh damnit I've done it again, haven't I? "Stranded" is also the novelette I adapted for 24 Hour Comics Day. Don't know if I'll get back to that as I have already 3 books plotted out in this series and parts of the next two outlined. Hope to get "Stranded" the novelette out to the editor in the next two weeks for inclusion in an anthology maybe later this year (with MAROONED coming out next year we hope). When "Stranded" is away, then it's back to LIQUID FIRE (finishing the draft) and THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE (polishing the draft to send to beta readers). -the Centaur

The Stack is Growing

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FROM THE WRITER'S ANONYMOUS 12-STEP SUPPORT GROUP MEETING: Hi, I'm Anthony Francis, and I'm an author. ("Hi, Anthony!") To feed my addiction, I get stuff published.

My first published novel, the urban fantasy FROST MOON featuring magical tattoo artist Dakota Frost, won an EPIC e-book award. It's out in paperback, Kindle, in German as SKINDANCER, and soon to be audiobook thanks to the wonderful reading skills of Traci Odom. The second book in the series, BLOOD ROCK, came out last year to good reviews, and the third book, LIQUID FIRE, will come out later this year. A spinoff series starring Dakota's daughter Cinnamon Frost, HEX CODE, will come out next year, also part of a planned trilogy.

One of my short stories, "Steampunk Fairy Chick," was recently published in the UnCONventional anthology. The story, featuring steampunk adventurer Jeremiah Willstone, is based on a novel called THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE (again part of a planned trilogy) which I've got in rough draft form with a possible release late this year or early next year. Another of my short stories, "Sibling Rivalry," was published in The Leading Edge magazine in 1995, but is now available on my web site. I also write flash fiction. One of my flash shorts, "If Looks Could Kill", was just published in THE DAILY FLASH 2012 (pictured above) and another, "The Secret of the T-Rex's Arms", was just published in Smashed Cat Magazine.

My nonfiction research papers are largely available on my research page, including my nearly 700-page Ph.D thesis (hork). I and my thesis advisor Ashwin Ram have a chapter on "Multi-Plan Adaptation and Retrieval in an Experience-based Agent" in David Leake's book CASE BASED REASONING: EXPERIENCES, LESSONS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS, and Ashwin, Manish Mehta and I have a chapter on "Emotional Memory and Adaptive Personalities" in THE HANDBOOK OF RESEARCH ON SYNTHETIC EMOTIONS AND SOCIABLE ROBOTICS.

I have more writing in the works, including a novelette called "Stranded" set in the Dresanian universe from which this blog takes its name, and more writing on the Internet. But what I list above is The Stack At This Time - what you can get in print. Enjoy!

-the Centaur

Teaser for Steampunk Fairy Chick

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The UNCONVENTIONAL anthology is now available on Amazon, featuring my story "Steampunk Fairy Chick" starring Jeremiah Willstone, heroine of THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE. The editors of the anthology, Kate Kaynak and Trisha Wooldridge, have made teasers of the first few pages of each story available, and you can read the start of "SFC" here. If you can't wait for that, you can see the first two paragraphs below: Please enjoy! -the Centaur

Who Am I?

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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

Future Books

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piles of notes between caffeine fuel and computational engine An exchange from Facebook:
Anthony: Just finished a rough draft of JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE ... my fourth completed novel! Wallace: Anthony it is great that you have 4 what are they? We know Frost Moon, blood Rock, what was the 3rd? Barbara enjoyed putting them on audio. Anthony ‎#1 is one you haven't heard of ... HOMO CENTAURIS is my first completed novel written in the early 90's. The next two were FROST MOON and BLOOD ROCK ... the third one in that series, LIQUID FIRE, is about 75% done. THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE is the first in a new series. P.S. The working titles of the next three Dakota Frosts (4,5,and 6) are SPECTRAL IRON, PHANTOM SILVER and SPIRITUAL GOLD. The working titles of the next next three (7,8, and 9) are something like SPIRAL NEEDLE, HELICAL LANCE, and CIRCULAR KNIFE. And the working titles of ... I'll stop there. I can keep going, but I won't ... don't want to spoil the surprise. I've already mentioned some of the later ones online. :-)
Assuming I get that far ... no, I'm planning to get that far, and farther, God willing. -the Centaur Pictured: piles of notes between caffeine fuel and my computational engine.

Rough Draft of The Clockwork Time Machine

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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! [caption id="attachment_1128" align="alignnone" width="580" caption="The Title Page and Draft History of THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE"]done with the rough draft[/caption] 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

Closing in on a first draft …

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Some strange device I saw at the Maker Faire I'm getting close to a first draft of THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE. First book in a new series, and I'm having a blast writing steampunk. I've also written a story with the same characters, "Steampunk Fairy Chick", that I've submitted to an upcoming anthology. Very exciting! -the Centaur Pictured: a strange machine I saw at the Bay Area Maker Faire that looks vaguely steampunky, vaguely time-machiney.

Jeremiah Willstone Is On The Air

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The Mic at KFJC Somehow, after only 4 hours of sleep (AGAIN after trying hard to crash early and failing to take care of myself) and heavy rains on the way to Foothills College, I managed to stumble in to Ann Arbor's studio at KFJC at seven after ten and still made my reading time ten minutes later. I come on the air at about 25 minutes in to the audio archive, reading from JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE: 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 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 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 from. As the foxfire dissipated, the crackling continued, and her eyes flicked aside to see sparks escaping the broken glass of her left Kathodenstrahl’s vacuum tubes. Its thermionics were shot, and she tossed it aside with a curse and checked the charge canister on her remaining gun. 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.
Get it now, before it disappears from the archive a couple of weeks from now. -the Centaur