Tag Archives: steampunk

August Author Update

August! Really?

Another month has come around the summer almost lost. The prospect of cooler days and darkening nights only entices me further into a world of typed words. A bit of snow is now less of a dream.

I have had a busy couple of months applying dramatic touches to Nimbus — The Theatre of the Moon: Book 1. Coupled with a rewrite of my first foray into novel work, The Snow Lily, which is progressing nicely, I’ve had a lot on my plate. I’m glad to have. There is nothing gives me greater pleasure than writing and I’m doing it all day long, so who am I to complain.

I read somewhere that paperback books are now reasserting themselves over ebooks, which was good to hear. You can’t beat the smell and feel of a good book, luxuriating over its details, deliberating over how it will end at the turn of every page. Perhaps the world isn’t completely digital just yet.

On a different note, (for those of you who are aspiring to write but don’t know where to start,) here are two writing sites/applications I have recently stumbled across. I can’t vouch for either, but they’re free, so it might help you in checking them out. Here are the links.

Penstra

MyStory

I hope the above are of some use.

As regards the next few months? Well, it’ll be a steady balance between hard editing, rewriting and new work. Much as I would love to have a steady line of books appearing on the shelves, I have a gut feeling I’m going to give birth to two or three at once!

Onwards and upwards.

Richard

Richard M. Ankers

Author of The Eternals Series

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June Author Update

Nimbus Takes Shape

Don’t rush.

Take your time.

Enjoy.

I might have these words stencilled to my eyelids because my fingers aren’t listening. No matter how hard I try to rein them in, they’re off. Tip-tap-tip-tap-tip-tap goes the keyboard like hailstones on a tin roof. Must be a storm coming. Perhaps there is?

I have quite literally this very minute, well, a few minutes ago, finished the second revision of my latest work. The Theatre of the Moon, Book 1: Nimbus, is now fully formed. I head into the third revision with detail foremost in my mind. Every word must count towards the overall story and there’s a lot of story to count to.

The advantage and disadvantage of writing fantasy is that it gives you leeway to push the boundaries, but the restriction of knowing you must have them. How far can they be pushed? Well, it’s going to be a loooooong way.

Don’t rush.

Take your time.

Enjoy.

The words are back again, and although I’m typing this so you know what I’m up to, I’m already far away. Best disappear whilst the brain is still working.

I’ll see you all soon.

Richard

An Unexpected Ride

Author’s Note: I was recently treated to an app that makes scripts from your notes. I have found this a real joy to use as I can pour myself into dialogue whenever I like and the whole thing comes out clean for later use. In fact, I can’t stop. Here is a little scene from my WIP. The great Victorian investigator Mortimer Headlock, and his associate Miss Grace Grace, are inspecting Albion’s latest aeronautical device. The aeronaut, Clarence Periwinkle, is their host. 

PS: If it’s any help to you, the app is called Untitled. My copy is on iOS and is currently half price. (Don’t laugh, I’m skint!)

Of Headwear and Social Etiquette 

Of Headwear and Social Etiquette.

A Perkin Perkins Steampunk romp.

Another social gathering at Buckingham Palace and manservant to the Royal Household, Perkin Perkins, is on yet another hiding to nothing.
“Poopkins,” sighed Her Majesty.
“Perkins, Ma’am.”
“Since when?”
“All my life, Ma’am.”
“Then why change it?”
“I haven’t, Ma’am.”
“Then why did I address you as Plopkins?”
“You didn’t, Ma’am. You addressed me as Poopkins.”
“Are they not the same?”
“Only if you say so.”
Queen Victoria tapped brass fingers on her steel plate jaw. “Then, I do.”
“As you wish, Ma’am.”
“So, Porkins, tell me. Why is that gentleman wearing his underpants on his head?”
“I cannot be sure they are his.”
“And why not?”
“He’s French, Ma’am.”
“Does that explain anything?” The Queen’s eyes blazed ruby anger from behind her owllike goggles.
“The French are very particular. To some they are trendsetters, to others, not. The onus is on the viewer to decide which shoe fits.”
“I was addressing his headwear not footwear.”
“A term, Ma’am. Merely a term.”
“Do we as Britannia’s finest think him a fool?”
“Oh, indeed we do, Ma’am. I can only speak as a humble servant, but I should imagine there anarchy if you were to don such a hat.”
Queen Victoria removed her horsehair wig, scratched at the metal beneath and replaced it at a jaunty angle. “Any ideas, Porkling?”
“I could have him politely ejected, I do speak French.”
“Can you be discreet?”
“Always, Ma’am.”
“Then do it, and don’t return until he’s off the property.”
Perkins bowed low and marched over to the giant of a man in question, his walrus moustache the only feature of note protruding from his underpants headwear. A whisper in his ear, inaudible to all else, and the Frenchman set to gesticulating, as is their way. Once he’d had enough, he allowed Perkins to lead him from the room and away from a hundred prying eyes, the gentry and usual toffs allowing their upraised noses to communicate their displeasure.
Only when long gone did the Chief Scientist of the Ministry for Empirical Advancement, one Sir Magnus Monk, sidle over to his monarch.
“What is it, Monk?” Snapped the Queen.
“We appear to be missing Sir Belvedere, Your Highness.”
“He is too tall to misplace, Master Monk. I suggest you look again. His moustache stands out at thirty paces, so it shouldn’t be hard even for you. And hurry up about it, too. I know he hates these shindigs, but it’s no excuse for non-attendance.”
Sir Magnus sidled off in his Quasimodo way, aquiline nose to the ground and hump raised.
He said he searched everywhere much to his monarch’s anger when he eventually returned. And to be fair, he had. Other than the Palace’s cellars, a cold, dark place where a man with a walrus moustache sat drinking with a manservant, both of whom wore their underpants on their heads.

Author Interview

The very wonderful author Julie Northup has kindly interviewed me about my current work in progress. If anyone would like to read about my future Steampunk project, its main characters and what will follow, please feel free to click HERE. You’ll see why I’ve not been here so much. 

Thanks in advance

Richard

Little Bird

Author’s Note: This is a scene I have decided not to use from my latest Steampunk Fantasy. The beautiful Miss Grace Grace has fallen foul of the evil Sir Magnus Monk, or so he thinks.

“I prefer the subtle prod, the suggestive wink, the perfect persuasion. Life is too short to wallow in misery when a bird has but to loose its wings and fly. I am a bird, Magnus and my wings refuse to be pinioned.”

“You are nothing!”

“Correction, sir, I was nothing. However, my father and late mother gifted me that most precious commodity.”

“Life?”

“Promise. This little bird, this canary, as some have said, has so much world to see, so many friends to smile with, so much love to find and lose and find again, that I shall never allow a petty, hawklike predator such as you to quell it.”

“And yet here you are tied to a chair before this… what did you call me… petty, hawklike man. Who’d have thought it other than I, after all, brains always trumps beauty.”

Sir Magnus Monk sneered the sneer of a lecherous old goat and ran one dirty, chipped fingernail along his prize’s cheek.

When the ropes Monk bound Miss Grace Grace with slipped to the floor with a gentle hush, her knee making contact with parts he’d rather have not shared, doubling the hunchback over so his nose brushed the mouldering carpet, she returned his sneer with a rather more elegant contempt.

“Yes, Sir Magnus Monk, slave to a fallen angel, a man some have said already damned, you are quite correct, brains always triumphs. Such a pity you have none.”

With that, Miss Grace Grace rose to her feet like the lithe beauty she was resplendent in her always canary-yellow garb and exited the room. She did not look back. The little bird had flown.

Sneak Peek: Britannia Unleashed

I’m so pleased and relieved to have just finished editing what will in a few months time be released as Britannia Unleashed that I thought I’d share a passage. I have spent the last three years editing The Eternals Series and this and for the first time in as long can now start writing again. (THANK GOD!) I have big plans for the Britannia books. Big, big plans!

I hope you enjoy this little snippet.

Richard

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From Britannia Unleashed section: A Certain Release.

Note: Britannia’s greatest investigator, an ageing Mortimer Headlock, is led to a dilapidated mansion by a lady that is not quite a whole woman. Here he meets a foe from his past. A dead foe!

Stocked with more paraphernalia than Headlock had ever seen in one place, the mansion mired in mismanagement. He glanced into what appeared a dining room and back across the hall to what might have passed for a lounge, both cluttered from floor to rafters with junk. Piles and piles of miscreant objects littered every surface with none left bare. The lounge was worst with the accumulated garbage almost touching the ceiling. Great heaps rose from the carpet, tables and chairs like a London cityscape reimagined in miniature with only one area, darker than the rest, ominous by its excavation. Something resided in that blackness; two glittering eyes confirmed it. Headlock noted them but said nothing, there would be time for such things later.

“Shall we take a seat?” No-Name enquired.

“Lead the way, Madame,” he replied. As he suspected, she led him away from their fellow resident. Holding aloft the lantern more for himself than No-Name, Headlock followed her through the warren that was her father’s home.

It was here that he imagined a reasoning for his companion’s strange gait. Whereas Headlock stumbled and bumbled into this item and that, a straight passage elusive, causing commotion after commotion of tumbling junk, she tottered between the stacks of papers, plants, furniture and more bizarre items like a world champion in avoidance. Her tottering seemed perfect in its side-to-side rotations to make haste through the accumulated detritus. Headlock’s longer strides were less so.

By the time he reached No-Name, she’d pulled up two chairs to a large, mahogany kitchen table, and sat, her hands by her sides. Headlock took his place opposite and began as he would in any procedural meeting by asking questions. “So, where is said ghost?”

“Close,” her cryptic reply.

“And how long has this demon antagonised?”

“All my life.”

“Hmm, that is unusual.”

“Is it?”

“Very. As a rule, the spirits of the deceased come and go at will. However, in my experience of such things, they almost always require something before departing.” Headlock found himself tapping the one bit of exposed table top for dramatic effect, his fingertip orchestra echoing around the room.

“And if they required something to facilitate not departing?”

“My apologies, Madame, but I don’t follow.”

She opened her small almost circular mouth to elaborate when something interrupted her.

“Headlock,” said a disembodied voice. “Headlock,” it came again shaking the room’s wooden beams with its depth of bass.

“Sir?”

“Mortimer Headlock.”

A dispassionate individual, though undoubtably male, Headlock found the voice’s owner both hard to read and altogether rude. As such…

“I would care for you to do me the service of addressing me face to face, Mister?”

“Sir,” hissed the voice. “Sir Magnus Monk.”

And the proverbial penny dropped.

Thank you for reading

Richard

Richard M. Ankers