Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

by Teresa Barth

Emerald Green, by Kerstin Gier, published by Henry Holt & Co (English), 2013

Categories:  Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Time Travel

I just finished Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier, the third of the Ruby Red Trilogy.  The story is about a young lady by the name of Gwyneth who is one of twelve people who can time travel but she has a couple of extra gifts that nobody knows about.  One is she can see ghost and the best one is  Xemerius who is a gargoyle.   He loves eating other ghosts and spitting water. He adds a little comic relief. Her friend, Lesley, is a smart and loves solving puzzles and help Gwyneth figure out boys and who is out to get her.   Gideon is a time traveler too, and is the on again off again love of Gwyneth.  This story has more time traveling and more costumes.  I love reading about some of the costumes.  How they were made and the colors.  It helps me be in that time and place because of the images it put in my mind. I like second and third book of the series the best.  The ending was ok, I guess. We get the happy ever after but I would have liked to know a little more about Gwyneth and her family and friends and of course Xemerius.  Did she get Xemerius a cat? Will I ever know?

(This is the second of a review series of those books either available for sale at Steam at Harper’s Ferry, or steampunk or Victorian Themed books, in general. Want to submit a review? Send an email to info@steamatharpersferry.com with the book title and proposed review (not to exceed 250 words) for consideration.)


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On August 15, I did an introduction to steampunk literature presentation at the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library. I had a great time and hope the attendees did too!  There were some great questions and the library pulled together a wonderful collection to check out!

Here are some photos from the event (photos provided by Charlma Quarles with permission, copyright 2013).

Library Steampunk Event 1 - (c) Quarles 2013 Library Steampunk Event 2 - (c) Quarles 2013 Library Steampunk Event 3 - (c) Quarles 2013  Library Steampunk Event 5 - (c) Quarles 2013

Steampunk Literature event at Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library August 15, 2013

Steampunk Literature event at Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library August 15, 2013


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Current Exhibit – “Aware Amusings” by T. Jason Edwards

Through June 23, Steam’s Resident Artist, T. Jason Edwards will be showing some of his work from hisJason's_Spring_Show_2013_With_words_WEB_versionAware Amusings” collection. If you have been to the gallery, you may have seen samples of his work, but this is the first time that seven pieces from the collection have been shown together.

Around the World – Call to Artists

The next exhibit at Steam will have an “Around the World in 80 Days” theme. A “Call to Artists” has been posted on the website. Submissions for consideration are due June 15, 2013. The Exhibit opening is scheduled for June 29, 2013.

What’s New at Steam

Steam has released another publication under its SciFi/Steampunk imprint, Steam at Harper’s Ferry Press, entitled “Guide to Creating and Protecting Fictional Characters.” The Guide was released on May 19 at the Steampunk World’s Fair at a seminar called “Character Development and the Law” held by Cynthia Gayton. Here is an excerpt:

“This is an exciting time to be a creative in any enterprise. You can develop stories, illustrate and publish your work with great speed and minimal expense. Doing things on your own is both liberating and inhibiting. Yes, you can do it all – from start to finish – the product, distribution, display, advertising and promotion are all controlled by you . … This legal guide identifies five categories of things a creative should consider before putting her or his hard work out there for public consumption.”

This Guide, as well as the story “Of Steam and Spring” are available for sale at the Gallery as well as Amazon.com in a Kindle version.

Artomatic in Jefferson County – October 2013

If you have heard of the DC Artomatic, which has been held almost every year since 1999 in Washington, DC you know it is quite a spectacular art event.  Last year, Frederick, MD held its first Artomatic. This October, Artomatic comes to Jefferson County! It will be held at the Rock & Tile Building off of 340 (9154 Wolfcraft Way, Charles Town, WV). Please see their website.

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The ‘Guide to Creating and Protecting Fictional Characters” by Cynthia Gayton with illustrations by Jason Edwards was released at the 2013 Steampunk World’s Fair. This guide is for those who want to protect fictional literary and illustrated characters, generally, in the comic book and graphic novel fields, specifically. Here is an excerpt:

“This is an exciting time to be a creative in any enterprise. You can develop stories, illustrate and publish your work with great speed and minimal expense. Doing things on your own is both liberating and inhibiting. Yes, you can do it all – from start to finish, the product, distribution, display, advertising and promotion are all controlled by you. On the other hand, it could be a problem that all these things are controlled by you. Do you have the skills necessary to bring your product to market, including the knowledge to protect your creations?”

Guide Cover

The guide is available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

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Of Steam and Spring CoverOn Thursday, April 26, 2013, Steam announced the release of the next publication from our Steam at Harper’s Ferry Press imprint, “Of Steam and Spring” by V. Edwards Clarke with illustrations by Kasey Hendricks. Here is an excerpt from the story:

“A full moon rose between the mountains. Its light reflected from the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers at The Point. A crowd gathered on the Hill Top House veranda, bundled in furs, scarves, gloves and hats even though it was early Spring. … The chimes at St. Peter’s Church rang out at midnight, just as the moon completed a triangle above the uneven peaks. … The din started like a train whistle sounding through a tunnel. It grew louder and louder until its clamor blasted forth, powerful enough to awaken the ancient mountains. Lights flickered into being on the newly installed carousel which began to turn. A song began to play on the calliope. Its mournful noise was in sharp contrast to the joyful tunes with which people were familiar who visited the Park.”

There was a full moon on April 26 and for most of this weekend, I spent my time at the Hill Top House overlook handing out maps, flyers and coupons for the Second Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk and heard a train thunder through the tunnel more than a dozen times. But, there is no longer any carousel or calliope. Coincidence?

This story is about an enchantment of the Island Park’s carousel during the lifetime of Hill Top House’s original owner, Thomas Lovett. A Calliope Romance brought to you by Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

Limited physical copies are available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. Please email Steam if you would like a copy mailed to you. An e-book version will be available soon.

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Steam was hoping to participate in the Small Press Expo this year, but was an  unsuccessful would-be registrant. The tables are sold out already! But, since the plan was to publish online first, and then put out a print version in time for the event, all is not lost! There will be four SciFi stories released through Steam at Harper’s Ferry Press this year. The first story, while not exactly Steampunk, well, not steampunk at all, is hopefully entertaining to you. It is Monday afterall.

Here is the abstract for The Acme Corporation, a political science fiction fantasy, by V. Edwards Clarke:

“By 2020, the Libertarian Party was renamed the Capitalist Party. The ACME
Corporation dominated the health care, communications and entertainment
industries. ACME’s revolutionary product VisuaClear was invented to manage
perceived mental health costs, and was supported directly by the Capitalist
Party. But when a powerhouse like ACME finances campaigns and sells products
that exploit thought, what remains of a citizen’s free will?”

Thanks to Bot Studios for putting the story in Kindle format and designing the cover.



Our next story, “Of Steam and Spring” illustrated by Kasey Hendricks (whose print “Sleep in Heavenly Timepiece” you may have seen in the gallery) will be out next month.


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At the September Shameless Steam event, Larry Gillick referred to an author I hadn’t considered in many years – Marshall McLuhan. Way back when, in Wired magazine’s Patron Saint’s distant past, I felt incredibly cool knowing who he was thanks to an undergraduate communications class. He comes to haunt me in the steampunk realm with his book, “The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man” copyrighted in 1951. In his preface to the original edition, McLuhan writes, “[o]urs is the first age in which many thousands of the best-trained individual minds have made it a full-time business to get inside the collective public mind.”  He continues, “Why not assist the public to observe consciously the drama which is intended to operate upon it unconsciously?” Then he uses Edgar Allan Poe’s work “A Descent Into the Maelstrom” to illustrate how the main character studied the whirlpool in to avoid personal catastrophe.

I made, also, three important observations. The first was, that as a general rule, the larger the bodies were, the more rapid their descent; – the second, that, between two masses of equal extent, the one spherical, and the other of any other shape, the superiority in speed of descent was with the sphere; – the third, that, between two masses of equal size, the one cylindrical, and the other of any other shape, the cylinder was absorbed the more slowly.

The version I have is the Fiftieth Anniversary edition. If you are not familiar with his work, consider these quotes:


To what collective prayer is this amalgam of noble savage and the aristocratic sleuth an answer?

Is it just an accident that Tarzan, the nature force, is unclogged by family life? Just another cowboy?

The Boy Scout to end Nature Lore?

Is Superman’s jungle of criminals nearer to us than Tarzan’s jungle of beasts?

Do I think a lot about Sherlock Holmes? Not really. But I can’t seem to get enough! Why? McLuhan thought enough about him to offer his own analysis.

From Da Vinci to Holmes

Why are both scientist and artist crackpots and pariahs I the popular imagination?

Holmes, Renaissance titan or Last of the Mohicans ?

Watson, wife or mother of the virtuoso of crime?

The sleuth cult foreshadows the arrival of the police state?

Wow. That hadn’t crossed my mind at all.

Then he goes on to embarrass me with that which I have not read:

The popular sleuth thus offers a window onto a complex psychological landscape. This landscape includes the figure of the superman as he has taken his stand on all the moral, political, and scientific issues of the West from Da Vinci to Holmes. It also includes the platform at Elsinore and the ghost-stricken figure of Hamlet. Hamlet the Dane saw one ghost. The modern Hamlet stares at a whole assembly. And not least among these is Philip Marlowe, Chandler’s echo of Christopher Marlowe’s supermen Tamburlaine and Dr. Faustus, that Nietzschean politician and scientist.

Steam at Harper’s Ferry invites you to write a 500 word blog post on along the lines of McLuhan’s book “The Mechanical Bride,” either fiction or non-fiction. Please contact Steam via email for further information.

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I haven’t read this yet, but I was immediately drawn to the cover. The book is “Women and Public Life in Early Meiji Japan:  The Development of the Feminist Movement,” by Mara Patessio, winner of 2nd Place in the 2012 European Association for Japanese Studies Book Prize.


This is a costume look I’d like to see. The hats are great and the color schemes are very different from what I am used to.  The artist is Hashimoto Chikanobo.

The website book summary says:

“Women and Public Life in Early Meiji Japan focuses on women’s activities in the new public spaces of Meiji Japan. With chapters on public, private, and missionary schools for girls, their students, and teachers, on social and political groups women created, on female employment, and on women’s participation in print media, this book offers a new perspective on nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Japanese history. Women’s founding of and participation in conflicting discourses over the value of women in Meiji public life demonstrate that during this period active and vocal women were everywhere, that they did not meekly submit to the dictates of the government and intellectuals over what women could or should do, and that they were fully integrated in the production of Meiji culture.”

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Review – Clockwork Watch – The Arrival

Original Story:  Yomi Ayeni
Adapted by:  Corey Brotherson
Artwork, Lettering and Cover by:  Jennie Gyllblad
Title Design by: Fabio Duarte Martins

This beautifully drawn and conceived graphic novel is set in Victorian England, close to the end of Queen Victoria’s life.

The story begins:

“London. Steam billows out from every corner of the city while huge Zeppelin airships float in the sky overhead. Enter the world of Clockwork Watch, a place where Victorian values are coupled with anachronistic technology, not the least of which are the Clockwork Servants – the mechanical slaves that keep this society ticking along – this is the world of Steampunk.”

The novel has all the hallmarks of the steampunk genre, which are apparent in the opening lines, but there is a twist which sets it apart from most steampunk plots. The hero, Janav, arrives in London with his family from Calcutta. His father, Chan Ranbir, is the Head of Sciences at Calcutta University, who is working on a project called “Clockwork.” Janav meets an automaton named “B” whom he promptly renames Ashwin, which is the name of Janav’s best friend in Calcutta.

Unfortunately, Janav quickly encounters people and events which both anger and frighten him.

What happens next? The reader is given some clues, but certainly has more questions, about Janav’s future and the role Ashwin Number Two has in it.

There is an introduction by the creator, Yomi Ayeni, as well as an article by Corey Brotherson about the art of adaptation. Design, illustration and concepts by Jennie Gyllblad round out the publication.

I learned about this project via a IndieGoGo promotion in 2011, and it has been fascinating following the team as it produced not only the graphic novel, but the entirety of its production to create a transmedia experience.  IndieGoGo named this project one of its best of 2011.

By way of full disclosure, I did make a contribution and am very pleased with the result. I’m looking forward to the next installment!

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This weekend is the Mountain Heritage Festival – June edition. I went today to get my twice a year kettle corn and check out the new vendors. I was pleasantly surprised with the new additions and would recommend checking it out. What are your thoughts on the new logo for the Festival? I was looking for the Mountain Man dollar off advertisements in the local newspapers – and he wasn’t there! Mountain Man can be seen wielding his hammer in the parking lot, thank goodness.

Earlier this evening (June 8), I attended a book signing with local historian and author Bob O’Connor at the Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Public Library. I visited Winchester, Virginia for the first time on Wednesday, which was fortunate for me so that I could better understand some of the episodes Mr. O’Connor discussed during his presentation about his newest book, “A House Divided Against Itself”.

Steam at Harper’s Ferry will be having a new exhibit opening at the end of June – Gadgets, Guns & Gears. Looking forward to this one! Some really nice work has come our way.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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