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Posts published in “Steampunk”

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

Surfacing

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An interpretation of the rocket equation.

Wow. It's been a long time. Or perhaps not as long as I thought, but I've definitely not been able to post as much as I wanted over the last six months or so. But it's been for good reasons: I've been working on a lot of writing projects. The Dakota Frost / Cinnamon Frost "Hexology", which was a six book series; the moment I finished those rough drafts, it seemed, I rolled into National Novel Writing Month and worked on JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE MACHINERY OF THE APOCALYPSE. Meanwhile, at work, I've been snowed under following up on our PRM-RL paper.

Thor's Hammer space station.

But I've been having fun! The MACHINERY OF THE APOCALYPSE is (at least possibly) spaaaace steampunk, which has led me to learn all sorts of things about space travel and rockets and angular momentum which I somehow didn't learn when I was writing pure hard science fiction. I've learned so much about creating artificial languages as part of the HEXOLOGY.

The Modanaqa Abugida.

So, hopefully I will have some time to start sharing this information again, assuming that no disasters befall me in the middle of the night.

Gabby in the emergency room.

Oh dag nabbit! (He's going to be fine).

-the Centaur

Back to Dragon Con!

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Hail, fellow adventurers! If you want to experience our world the way Jeremiah Willstone and her friends first experienced it, there’s no better way than to come to Dragon Con in Atlanta! I’ve been going to Dragon Con longer than almost any con - certainly longer than any still-running con - and after enough time here they put me on panels! And here they are:

  • Practical Time Travel for the Storyteller
    Sat 05:30 pm / Athens - Sheraton
    Panelists: Darin M. Bush, Michael J. Martinez, S.M. Stirling, Anthony Francis, Jack Campbell
    This panel discusses the real science behind time travel, as well as how these scientific theories can place both challenging and rewarding demands on the stories we tell. Time dilation, the grandfather paradox, and more will be explained as we discuss the stories that reference these theories.
  • Partners: Collaborating on Your Novel
    Sun 11:30 am / Embassy CD - Hyatt
    Panelists: Nancy Knight, Janny Wurts, Anthony Francis, Clay and Susan Griffith, Gordon Andrews, Ilona Andrews
    When writers collaborate, the results can be great--or horrible. How do you insure that your collaboration turns out well?
  • Plotting or Plodding?
    Sun 02:30 pm / Embassy CD - Hyatt
    Panelists: Janny Wurts, Anthony Francis, Lee Martindale, Richard Kadrey, Laura Anne Gilman, Melissa F Olson
    It's the story, stupid! Everybody loves a great story. This panel discusses how to create that unforgettable story roiling within you.
  • Magic Practitioners in Urban Fantasy: Witches and Warlocks
    Mon 10:00 am / Chastain 1-2 - Westin
    Panelists: Jeanne P Adams, David B. Coe, Linda Robertson, Kevin O. McLaughlin, Anthony Francis, Melissa F Olson
    Witches and warlocks in the genre range from being an accepted part of their communities to the most feared. Our panel of authors will discuss the characteristics of those in their works.
  • Write a Damn Good Book
    Mon 11:30 am / Embassy CD - Hyatt
    Panelists: Bill Fawcett, Peter David, E.K. Johnston, Diana Peterfreund, Anthony Francis

    Writers worry about all sorts of things, but the first thing to worry about is writing a great book. Here's how.

Other fun things at the con are the Parade, the Masquerade, performances by the Atlanta Radio Theater Company, and, of course, The Cruxshadows. So come on down and hang out with 80,000 fans of fantasy and science fiction! Some of them may become your new best friends.

-The Centaur

Guest Post on Speculative Chic!

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What makes you hang on the edge of your seat? I call that a favorite, and I talk about some of my current faves over at the Speculative Chic blog! [embed]http://speculativechic.com/2017/12/18/my-favorite-things-with-anthony-francis/[/embed] Go check it out!    

Timeline 10(ab)”’

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No progress on BOT NET for Nanowrimo yet today ... yesterday I got my daily word count, but today I needed to core dump some ideas I'd been brewing about a Jeremiah Willstone novella, "Crypt of the Burning Scarab".  I had a brain flash about how to make the plot work out, involving a twisty time travel paradox I haven't seen before, and wanted to make sure I read up enough physics and math to make sure the idea made sense, then wrote it all down before I dove back into Cinnamon's world of mathematical magic. But you know your plot is complicated when you non-ironically need a timeline point 10(ab)''' - that's point 10, timelines A&B, variant 3 (prime prime prime). Happy writing ... -the Centaur Pictured: A few of the math/physics books I've been reading on this idea, plus the "GBC" (Goodfellow, Bengio and Courville) Deep Learning book which I'm (re)reading for work.

My Daily Dragon Interview in Two Words: “Just Write!”

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So at Dragon Con I had a reading this year. Yeah, looks like this is the last year I get to bring all my books - too many, to heavy! I read the two flash fiction pieces in Jagged Fragments, "If Looks Could Kill" and "The Secret of the T-Rex's Arms", as well as reading the first chapter of Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine, a bit of my and Jim Davies' essay on the psychology of Star Trek's artificial intelligences, and even a bit of my very first published story, "Sibling Rivalry". I also gave the presentation I was supposed to give at the SAM Talks before I realized I was double booked; that was "Risk Getting Worse". But that wasn't recorded, so, oh dang, you'll have to either go to my Amazon page to get my books, or wait until we get "Risk Getting Worse" recorded. But my interview with Nancy Northcott for the Daily Dragon, "Robots, Computers, and Magic", however, IS online, so I can share it with you all. Even more so, I want to share what I think is the most important part of my interview:
DD: Do you have any one bit of advice for aspiring writers? AF: Write. Just write. Don’t worry about perfection, or getting published, or even about pleasing anyone else: just write. Write to the end of what you start, and only then worry about what to do with it. In fact, don’t even worry about finishing everything—don’t be afraid to try anything. Artists know they need to fill a sketchbook before sitting down to create a masterwork, but writers sometimes get trapped trying to polish their first inspiration into a final product. Don’t get trapped on the first hill! Whip out your notebook and write. Write morning pages. Write diary at the end of the day. Write a thousand starts to stories, and if one takes flight, run with it with all the abandon you have in you. Accept all writing, especially your own. Just write. Write.
That's it. To read more, check out the interview here, or see all my Daily Dragon mentions at Dragon Con here, or check out my interviewer Nancy Northcott's site here. Onward! -the Centaur    

Oh Myyy!

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  Wow. I guess a lot of books are going to be waiting for me when I get home tonight ... either the shipment of LATER anthologies for Clockwork Alchemy has arrived, or I really messed up my last Amazon Prime order. Be sure to come by Clockwork Alchemy to check them out, or look on Amazon!  

“The Fall of the Falcon” Audio

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Have you read Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine and wondered why Jeremiah ended up a Ranger when she always wanted to be a Falconer? Or would you like to get started following Jeremiah's tales on audio? Well, you're in luck! Our friends at Sage and Savant have read one of the earliest Jeremiah stories, "The Fall of the Falcon", for your auditory adventuring pleasure!

The Fall of the Falcon

By Anthony Francis
from the anthology Thirty Days Later, Steaming Forward: 30 Adventures in Time
If you'd like to find out what happens next, get a copy of Thirty Days Later and pick up where "The Fall of the Falcon" leaves off with the stirring conclusion, "The Rise of the Dragonfly"! -The Centaur

The Centaur Interviewed on Sage and Savant!

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One more interview with Sage and Savant ... me! https://www.sageandsavant.com/2017/04/05/anthony-francis-talks-about-jeremiah-willstone/
Q: In your story “The Fall of the Falcon” the main character is female, but she has a male name, Jeremiah Willstone. Why is that? AF: It’s more than just gender bending: it’s an outward sign of their society’s aggressive approach to women’s liberation. I wanted to tell a steampunk story about a young Victorian female soldier, but the Victorians didn’t have women soldiers – we’ve only recently started to allow them in our military. So I imagined a world where that wasn’t just a little bit different, but comprehensively different – a world where women’s liberation came a century early, and with twice as many brains working on hard problems, they were more advanced in 1908 than we are today. But I needed a way to communicate that in the story, and decided that the women in Jeremiah’s family took male names to try to achieve gender equality. With her history written into her name, I now had the storytelling power to discuss that issue as much as I wanted to – or let it slide into the background until someone innocently asks the question, “So, Jeremiah is female, but has a male name. Why is that?”
To read more, check out my interview, and also check out the podcast on Sage and Savant! -the Centaur  

Book Giveaway with TIP and S&S

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Holy cow, I almost missed this, and I helped organize it - we're giving away some anthologies in partnership between Thinking Ink Press and steampunk podcast Sage and Savant! http://www.thinkinginkpress.com/book-giveaway-with-sage-and-savant/ I have stories in three of the four books we're giving away - Jeremiah Willstone stories in the full-length anthologies TWELVE HOURS LATER and THIRTY DAYS LATER, and flash fiction in the Instant Book "Jagged Fragments". Sign up, best of luck, and I hope you enjoy it! -the Centaur

Dover Whitecliff on Sage and Savant

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Yet one more of my friends from Clockwork Alchemy, Dover Whitecliff, is interviewed on Sage and Savant! A visit to her sometimes witty, often wacky, occasionally wryly satirical alternate world always makes a fun read! https://www.sageandsavant.com/2017/04/18/down-and-dirty-with-dover-whitecliff-author-and-editor-at-thinking-ink-press/
Q: How did you come up with the theme for the Later anthologies? DW: The Treehouse Authors met for tea at Linde Lane Tea Room in Dixon and decided that we wanted to do a project together for literacy; an anthology was the obvious choice. But the theme is all down to Kiefer Sutherland. The news story of the day was the comeback of 24 and we had never seen an anthology with hour long stories before (though that doesn’t mean there might not be one out there that we missed). The paired stories came about to fill up a twenty-four-hour day, plus it offered the perfect tag line “You can find out what happens twelve hours later.” Penelope DreadfulleQ: Yak? Giant Chicken? Trebuchet? What gives? DW: It started with a dare in our email planning with the authors for Thirty Days Later. One author found a picture of a clockwork yak and threw down the gauntlet: “Bet you can’t fit a yak in.” Challenge accepted. Rumor has it that there are multiple yak sightings (bonus points if you can find them all). Since that was deemed “Way too easy,” the chieftess of shenanigans, Sparky McTrowell, raised the yak ante for Some Time Later with a trebuchet, and somehow a chicken was thrown in, possibly due to an excess of caffeine and chocolate. And Yes. I fit them all in.
To read more, check out her interview on Sage and Savant! -the Centaur

BJ Sikes on Sage and Savant!

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And yet another! Friend and fellow author / editor BJ Sikes is now interviewed on Sage and Savant! https://www.sageandsavant.com/2017/04/12/about-alternate-history-with-author-and-editor-bj-sikes/
Q: Is herding authors for an anthology indeed like herding cats? Why do you do it? Some Time LaterBJS: Absolutely. As chief cat wrangler for all three of the Later anthologies, I had to coordinate deadlines and revisions for not just the fifteen or so authors, but also our publisher’s staff. Why do I do it? The power, obviously. But in all seriousness, it’s the satisfaction of being an integral part of a fantastic collection of stories. Q: What was your favorite story to edit/write for the anthologies? BJ SikesBJS: That’s a tough one. There are so many great stories and they vary so much in theme, style, and content. I had a great time writing my own stories, especially the first one in Some Time Later, “The Descent.” That one allowed me to get my mycological geek on. I’m partial to Lillian Csernica’s Japanese mythology-inspired stories because they are unique but still feel steampunk.
To read more, check out her interview on Sage and Savant!

AJ Sikes on Sage and Savant

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Check it out - my friend and fellow author / editor / publisher AJ Sikes is interviewed on Sage and Savant! https://www.sageandsavant.com/2017/04/07/getting-to-know-author-and-editor-aj-sikes/
Some Time LaterQ: So, these anthologies, what’s the story behind these collections of stories? AJS: Beginning with Twelve Hours Later, the anthologies have been an effort at showcasing the authors who attend Clockwork Alchemy each year. We wanted to have a way of introducing the whole crew to new readers in one swoop, and we also wanted to give back to the community that attends the event. The charity component has seen over $400 donated to the San Jose Public Library system in the past two years, all of which is intended for literacy programs. We’ve been really pleased with the reception of both Twelve Hours Later and Thirty Days Later. This year’s anthology Some Time Later will round out the trilogy, and we think it’s the best one yet.
To read more, check out the article at Sage and Savant! -the Centaur

Auditions are Underway!

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Fantastic news … auditions are now underway for the very first Jeremiah Willstone radio theater play, “Jeremiah Willstone and the Choir of Demons,” based on the story of the (almost) same name published in Aurora Wolf magazine! Here’s the casting call, being handled by the director, Tony Sarrecchia:

Open casting call for an audio/radio drama.

Tony Sarrecchia (The Harry Strange Radio Drama​) is holding open auditions for a new Steampunk audio drama that will be produced in conjunction with the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company The story, an adaptation of Anthony Francis's Jeremiah Willstone series will be recorded in Atlanta and is scheduled to be available through several distribution channels later this year.

English actress and voice-over artist Emma Greene (Swamp Murders, The Harry Strange Radio Drama, An Elf’s Story) will play the title character who is a “third-generation female soldier from a world where women’s liberation happened a century earlier than ours” in tales of “betrayal, corsets, and ray guns.” Jeremiah has appeared in eight stories, with four more stories, a novella, and audio adventures on the way! Most exciting of all, she’s now appearing in her first novel-length adventure, Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine! A sprawling tale of brass buttons, steam-powered ray-guns, and rollicking adventure.

For this audio drama, director Tony Sarrecchia is looking for the following:

Detective Tenpenny: A middle-aged female detective with a slight British accent.
Sample lines:
#1: “Perfect! The world is falling down around me, and the Army sends me a green-skinned rookie. Can you at least make coffee?”
#2: “Oh, he’s a monster. Seven dead that we know of…all lost to some nefarious machines designed to disfigure and maul their victims.”

Doctor Waxwood: A 60-year physician. Refined Souther accent.
#1: “I am Doctor Waxwood, the patients attending physician. I trust you both know enough to maintain decorum and discretion.”
#2: “I would love to get my hands on the demons who would do such a thing to a child!”

Madame Windprice: A 50-year solider ravished by time and illness. English accent.
#1: “I saw them everywhere—if I were 20 years younger I’d have taken them all.”
#2: “Blood Boolean toys! Give me an old-fashioned analogue spectroscope any day!”

Ensign Adler: Young male or female solider. English or southern accent.
#1: “Jeremiah, hurry, we’re going to be late!”
#2: “Yes! You struck the nail squarely!”

Prof Kilroe: Male, military professor, 40s. Southern Accent
#1: “Outfitting is the foundation of Expeditionary work. Thanks to modern shape readers and auto whittling, we can customize each Expeditionary's gear to their individual bodies. Now, I'd like each of you to measure your hand and weapon as outlined on the board. (WALKING AROUND THE ROOM) Yes, good, good. Careful around the fingers. As you trace and measure, the wax cylinder is encoding a sound that will instruct the autowhittler to sculpt a new pistol grip customized to both your left Kathodenstrahl (cat-HOD-en-STRAHL) and your hand.”

Zane Cross: Male, villain, 30s. English or Southern Boston Accent
#1: “Do you propose we just shoot evil-glare at each other for the rest of the night.”
#2: “There is nothing COMMON about me!”

Currently, compensation is in credit and samples. This audition is for actors in the Atlanta Metro area (or those who can attend recording sessions in Atlanta).

Audition recordings specifications:
⁃ Mp3 at 44.1Khz 128 bit rate
⁃ Record each line separately
⁃ Label as follows: your name_character_line#.mp3
⁃ Send in a zip file (or Dropbox) to producer@harrystrange.com
In an email please include the following:
⁃ Your real name
⁃ Credits
⁃ Location
⁃ Phone/Skype
⁃ Willingness to perform in front of a live audience (not a requirement, just a nice to know)

You can contact Tony directly about the open casting call, or contact me at centaur at dresan dot com and I’ll pass it along.

-the Centaur

Pictured: a remixed picture of a wax-cylinder Edison phonograph, picture taken by Billy Hathorn and edited by me under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Guest Post at Magical Words

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Want to know more about the process of writing a novel? I believe that you should “put it all in” - to use all your inspiration on every project, and to not hold things back for later. Now is the opportunity; take it! To learn more, check out my guest post at Magical Words!

Putting It All In

One of the most important pieces of writing advice I’ve received is “put it all in.” If you’ve got a great idea, don’t save it for a great story: put it in the story you’re working on now. I can’t tell you how many times in the past I had a great idea that I felt I “wasn’t ready to tell,” but I can tell you that those stories almost never get told.

When I started writing a steampunk novel, I questioned what to put in it. I knew my protagonist was a young female soldier from the Victorian era, but what else should go in the story? Some things seemed obvious ...

To find out more about the novel that came out of this process, check out Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine wherever fine books are sold:

-the Centaur

A Day Without Women Would be the End of the World

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Today, March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day that began commemorating the anniversary of a women workers strike – and so perhaps it’s also being celebrated as A Day Without a Woman, another strike designed to call attention to how important women are to our society. But, science fiction writer that I am, I couldn’t help but think of literal day without women - and so, over on the Adventures of Jeremiah Willstone site, I talk about how “A Day Without Women Would be the End of the World”.

-the Centaur

Adventures in Women’s History

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This month, I’ll be talking about women’s history on the Adventures of Jeremiah Willstone site!

Jeremiah’s world is one in which women’s liberation happened a century early, so, with twice as many brains working on hard problems, they’re more advanced in 1908 than we are today - but that doesn’t mean we’re not trying! In March, the people of our universe celebrate Women’s History Month as a way to highlight the important parts of our history that might otherwise be forgotten, and so this month on the Adventures of Jeremiah Willstone I’m going to highlight various figures in women’s history and how they inspired various characters in the Jeremiah Willstone series.

We’ll be talking about women’s liberation pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft and how she inspired Jeremiah Willstone; women scientists Emmy Noether and Marie Curie and how they inspired Doctor Jackson Truthsayer; computer scientists Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper and how they inspired Georgiana Westenhoq, and women soldiers Kristen Griest and Chantelle Taylor and how they inspired characters like Jeremiah and Natasha Faulkner-Jain.

I’ll also talk a bit about Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day, and the whole notion of “history months” and how Bayes Rule helps us understand why singling out one group for recognition, which to some people seems prejudiced and unfair, really can be a fair thing if that group has been unfairly treated!

Stay tuned!

-the Centaur

Guest Post at Beauty’s Library!

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Want to know more about the philosophy behind Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine? Check out my guest post at Beauty’s Library:

Jeremiah Willstone is a special novel for me, because the smallest of inspirations blossomed into a project that reflects my deepest values. I fell in love with steampunk at Dragon Con 2009, where I saw many amazing steampunk costumes, in particular a young woman with a steam-powered gatling gun. My training as a science fiction writer makes me pick at the loose threads of imagined worlds, so I started to wonder not just what technology could power that gun, but what social changes could have enabled a young woman to become a Victorian soldier.

I’ve been interested in women’s rights since I was a child…

To read the rest, take a look, or to find out more about Jeremiah, check out The Clockwork Time Machine wherever fine books are sold:

-the Centaur

Author Spotlight at Bell Bridge Books!

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Over at Bell Bridge Books, I talk about how I came to love steampunk and how Jeremiah Willstone came to be!
Alright, I’ll admit it: I didn’t start out liking steampunk. When The Difference Engine came out, I just didn’t get it. I mean, Charles Babbage’s Difference Engines actually working, much less changing Victorian society? I didn’t buy it. Looking back, I think I just didn’t like alternate history, as I found other, similar novels off-putting.

But as I grew, I watched the steampunk movement grow too, hand in hand with the burgeoning maker community. At the same time I started attending the Maker Faire and admiring all the amazing contraptions our modern independent inventors were coming up with, I started noticing more and more steampunk costumes expressing the same kind of gutsy do-it-yourself, throw-it-all-together flair.

It all came together for me at Dragon Con 2009 …

To read more, check it out at the Bell Bridge Books blog! -the Centaur

JW&TCTM is HERE!

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At long last, Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine, my fourth published novel, is OUT in the world! You can get it wherever fine books are sold:

The Clockwork Time Machine tells the story of Jeremiah Willstone, a female adventurer from an alternate world called Victoriana, where, because women’s liberation happened a century early and twice as many brains ended up working on hard problems, science has advanced more in 1908 than it has in our world today - but inadvertently, these scientific advances attracted the attention of aliens called Foreigners, who have come calling to make this world their own!

When Jeremiah’s treacherous uncle steals a dangerous alien weapon and secrets it away on an airship to a possibly hostile shore, Jeremiah leads a strike team to retrieve it - and finds herself chasing him across the seas of time itself, with her uncle just possibly aiming to upend the entire world order she holds dear! With time running out, Jeremiah must sacrifice everything she is to save everyone she loves.


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Enjoy!

-the Centaur

JW&TCTM Release: February 23rd, 2017

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Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine will be out next week - February 23rd, 2017! Order it on Amazon, review it on Goodreads, or ask for it wherever fine books are sold!

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From an Epic Award winning author comes a sprawling tale of brass buttons, ray guns, and two-fisted adventure!

In an alternate empire filled with mechanical men, women scientists, and fantastic contraptions powered by steam, a high ranking officer in the Victoriana Defense League betrays his country when he steals an airship and awakens an alien weapon that will soon hatch into a walking factory of death.

Commander Jeremiah Willstone and her team must race through time in a desperate bid to stop the traitor's plan to use the alien weapon to overthrow the world's social order. With time running out, Jeremiah may have to sacrifice everything she is to save everyone she loves.

"Addictive, sassy, sexy, funny, intense, brilliant." -Bitten By Books, on Frost Moon

Epic Award winner Anthony Francis writes the Dakota Frost, Skindancer series and the Jeremiah Willstone series while working on robots for "the Search Engine Which Starts with a 'G'."