Author Archives: Paul Ramey

EDGAR WILDE CONTEST ~ Second Chapter

“Do you think he’s going to be disappointed?” Shelby locked arms with Edgar as they made their way to the cemetery to share the surprising results of their online research with St. Edmund Cemetery’s new curator, Amos Jones.

“Who knows?” Edgar said. “My money was on it being some kind of ritualistic trowel. Good thing our Facebook friends set us straight.”

“I kind of thought it might be a shoe horn,” Shelby said. “Or an old, wooden spear maybe. I just can’t believe anyone ever needed this kind of tool to perform such an easy task.”

“Never underestimate laziness,” Edgar said. “Anyway, at least now he’ll know what it is.”

“Edgah Wilde,” Amos hooted as they approached. The curator was arm-deep in a little pond at the northeast corner of the cemetery. Beside him lay a pile of soggy weeds. “Would ye just look at this! Don’t think Harknell evah took much pride in his landscapin’. Got a dang mess in heah. And — I’m sorry, miss, but I never did catch your name.”

“Shelby Emerson, sir.”

“I’d shake ye hand but I got all this nasty muck on me. So, I suppose ye got some kinda answer as to the object’s true identity? It’s the Spear of Destiny, right? I knew I’d found me a real museum piece.”

“It’s not the Spear of Destiny,” Edgar replied, not sure if the old man was joking or serious about the object being the spear reputed to have stabbed Jesus Christ during his crucifixion. “I’m afraid you’ll be let down a bit, actually. It’s not very exciting.”

Amos shot Edgar a cold eye as he began wiping his arms with an oily towel. “I’ll be judgin’ that, if ye don’t mind. So, whatcha find out, then?”

“It’s a Victorian-era page turner. It was used to turn book pages.”

“Page turner, eh?” A painfully wide grimace revealed the few surviving teeth still clinging to his gums. “Hard to imagine anyone strainin’ so much they needed a tool to do the work for ‘em. Makes ye wondah…”

Edgar and Shelby watched the man trail off into his own thoughts. Finally the cemetery curator’s head jerked back as if he’d been smacked on the forehead. “Pardon me, just filin’ it all away. When yer my age ya gotta keep track of every scrap, otherwise it just goes blowin’ down the road like a tumbleweed.”

“I’ll remember that,” Edgar started. “Anyway, I guess we’ll be going.”

“Not so fast,” Amos said. “Wouldn’t mind ye using your talents again, if’n ye can stay for a spell.”

“You have another artifact?” Edgar said.

“Sure do,” Amos said. “Found it jest yesterday.”

“Really? Let’s see it, then.”

Amos propped himself slowly into some semblance of an upright, standing position. Edgar And Shelby followed patiently as one foot shuffled past another, inching their way toward the little shed where they’d first met him.

“Yer kind to indulge an old man,” Amos said as he reached to the back of a shelf. Edgar and Shelby drew close. “Now whatcha make of this wicked-lookin’ thing?”

“Looks like a torture device,” Shelby said, memories of her recent experience at the top of Heaven’s Garden flooding back to her. “For fingers or something.”

“Don’t it, though?” Amos said. “Hate to think why this metal contraption was made. Edgah, ye evah seen one a’ these before?”

“I have no idea what this is,” Edgar said. “But I know who might. Shelby, can you get a picture?”

Shelby backed up, her arms wrapped tight around her. Noticing her discomfort, Edgar stood and held her tight.

“Don’t worry. It’s not what you’re thinking.”

“You’re sure?” Shelby whispered. “Cause that look just like what I think it looks like!”

“I promise you, it’s not for fingers.”

“Even worse!”

“It’s not for torture,” Edgar soothed. “I guarantee you it has some mundane purpose.”

“Don’t let yer heart thump ovah it,” Amos laughed. “Nobody in a cemetery needs torturin’ anyway! Too late for ‘em.”

“Nice. That’s comforting, Amos,” Shelby scowled.

“Anyway, best be runnin’ along, then,” Amos chuckled. “See whatcha come up with. Thanks again!”

EDGAR WILDE CONTEST ~ First Chapter and Guidelines!

Edgar Wilde and the Mystery of the Artifacts – Chapter 1

Edgar Wilde and his girlfriend, Shelby Emerson, wove their way through the field of gravestones.

“I don’t understand, Edgar. Where could Corinthian have gone?”

Edgar glanced at Shelby, instinctively squeezing her hand tighter. He still carried a painful, vivid memory of the cemetery curator dragging her down granite stairs, binding her to an ancient torture device as he railed on about some sort of magic book — a Lost Grimoire.

“Do you really care?”

“It’s just so odd that he’s disappeared like this,” Shelby said. “I know he treated us bad, but I can’t help but worry about him a little. I mean, what if he’s dead, lying in a ditch somewhere?”

“I’m just glad he’s gone,” Edgar said. “As far as what’s happened to him? It hasn’t exactly been weighing on my mind.”

They continued in silence across St. Edmund Cemetery to a small wooden shed located behind the Cemetery Administration Building. The main building had been Corinthian Harknell’s living quarters for decades. Someone new lived there now — a rickety old man with a bristly white beard was now tending the plots, and Edgar hadn’t had the heart or curiosity to introduce himself. Until now.

From inside the shed, Edgar could hear heavy objects being moved around. He wondered how the man could muster the strength.

“Amos Jones?” Edgar knocked on the open door.

“Who’s theyahh?” a frail rasp echoed back. “Ye’s on private property!”

“It’s Edgar Wilde, sir. You sent the note.”

A weathered brown face peaked out of the door.

“Edgah,” he smacked. “You’s the sleuth, aintcha; the boy who knows what’s what in this town. You knew Harknell, I hear.”

“I did.”

“He let you run ragged over this cemetery at night, draggin’ tour groups all ovah Creation.”

“That’s right.”

“Well, it ain’t doin’ the souls any good here, don’tcha know. Ain’t no final rest when people are tramplin’ the dirt above ya. I don’t reckon it. No sir, I surely don’t.”

“It’s just a bit of harmless tourism, sir. Others do it. It’s good for the town.”

“Yeah, that Stelton woman come by here already, tryin’ to get intah my sweet graces. Called you out, too. Says yer a bunch of trouble. That true?”

Edgar had wondered recently if anything would change once a new curator took over Corinthian’s job. He was starting to realize which way the winds were blowing. The cemetery tours he ran were his only source of extra cash and it sounded like Mr. Jones was not in favor of them.

“I suppose it’s possible that I’m a bit of trouble,” he finally replied. “But not when it comes to my tours. The groups I bring in treat this historic cemetery with the greatest respect — as do I.”

The old man’s one good eye gave him a head-to-toe, then nodded. “S’okay, I suppose. You dress somethin’ fine with yer suit an’ all; ain’t no beatnik. And that Stelton woman is stuffed with guff anyway, if you ask me.” He turned to Shelby. “You vouch for him?”

Shelby blushed at the unexpected responsibility thrust upon her, then nodded as innocently as she could.

“Okay, then. Good enough.”

“Don’t laugh!” Edgar whispered to Shelby as they watched the old head disappear back into the shed.

“Oh my god, where did they dig that guy up from?” Shelby giggled.

“Comin’?” the weathered voice finally barked from inside. “Got tea and crumpets gettin’ stale.”

When Edgar’s eyes adjusted to the dim light the wooden slats were letting slip through, he noted the absence of the promised refreshments.

“I’s just kiddin’ about that,” the old man laughed without looking up to see the two disappointed faces.

“No crumpets?” Shelby said.

“I do got somethin’ heyah, though. Somethin’ wicked strange, if you ask me. Thought you could shed some light.”

Edgar stared at the odd item on the dirt floor in front of them.

“Where’d you find this?” Edgar knelt down.

“Right here on the property. Looks old. I been around since Adam, don’tcha know, but I ain’t seen nothin’ like it before. Figure could be important or valuable. May even get me on Antiques Roadshow. I ain’t got no retirement, so here’s hopin’.”

“I suppose I could check it out. I don’t recognize it, either,” Edgar held it up for a closer inspection. “Can I take it for a few days?”

“I don’t reckon that’ll do,” the man crossed his skeletal arms and began pacing. “No sir. Don’t want it to leave my side. Tell you, though, if you got a Polaroid you could snap a shot.”

“I can do better than that,” Shelby laughed, whipping out her cellphone. “And I don’t mean to be rude, but Polaroids really sorta belong in the antiques pile as well!”

“I still like ta watch ’em develop,” Amos said. “Like watching’ ghosts show up. Somethin’ wondrous in it, don’tcha know.”

“Okay, I’ve got it,” Shelby said. “This thing didn’t come from a coffin, right?”

“No, ma’am. Comes from the sunny side of the ground. No need to be spooked.”

“Thanks, Amos,” Edgar said. “I’ll try to dig up some dirt on this for you soon.”

“Ain’t no rush,” Amos said. “Have yourselves a nice day now.”

“Are you really going to help that guy?” Shelby asked as they strolled back through the rows of slate and granite. “He’s really a little scary!”

“Yeah, why not?” Edgar replied. “He’s just ancient. And I’m actually really curious to find out what this thing is. I have an online network that’s good with this kind of stuff. We’ll post it on the web when we get back to the house and see if anyone recognizes it. Come on!”

“Okay, but this had better not draw us into another one of your spooky mysteries!”

“What?” Edgar laughed. “What could be spooky about an old object found in a cemetery?”

THE CONTEST! Ready to Become a Character in the Edgar Wilde World?

October 1 kicks off a month-long Edgar Wilde contest, and you may possibly be written in as an actual character in upcoming Edgar Wilde stories!

Edgar has been introduced to some very unusual historic artifacts, and he’s reaching out to his online community (that’s you!) to help him solve each of four mysteries. Every Friday in October, a picture of a different mysterious artifact will be published on the “Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire” Facebook page. It will be your task to guess the purpose of each object and report back to Edgar. Whoever guesses correctly the purpose of all four artifacts will be entered into a final drawing.

THE GRAND PRIZE:

  1. Appearance in an original Edgar Wilde short story! Being written now, this story will fall between the first novel (Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire) and the next book in the Edgar Wilde young-adult historical mystery series. The winner’s first name and possibly even some personal characteristics, hobbies and skills will be built into a brand new character and introduced in this short story (character creation and development will be completely at the author’s discretion).
  2. Appearance in the next Edgar Wilde novel, now in production. The new character introduced in the short story referred to above and based on the grand-prize winner will go on to play a significant role in the next novel! In addition, he or she may possibly also appear in subsequent novels (again, completely at author’s discretion)!

In addition, the grand-prize winner will receive an original copy of the short story that’s being written especially for this contest, signed by Paul Ramey. The short story will be published online as well, but only the grand-prize winner will own this unique, autographed copy.

GUIDELINES:

  1. Go read the already-written first chapter of the new Edgar Wilde short story above.
  2. Stay tuned for the first request from Edgar Wilde, due to appear Friday, October 4. “Message” your guess at the “Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire” Facebook page. Other help requests will appear subsequent Fridays (Oct. 11, 18 and 25). Each participant is allowed one guess per picture (four guesses total).
  3. Those who successfully guess the real purpose for each artifact will be entered into the final drawing, which will occur Thursday, October 31, at the stroke of midnight. (*If no one has successfully guessed all four, the top guesser(s) will be the ones entered for the grand prize.)

Sound good? Alright, get going! The first chapter of the short story is already posted, so check it out and keep a lookout this coming Friday for the first artifact mystery Facebook post from Edgar Wilde!

A Giddy Secret…

Cem stones 3About this time last year my family and I were in Salem, Massachusetts, visiting a dear friend and her newly-adopted son. It was an amazing visit, and provided many new insights as I fleshed out details of a New England town for my book-in-progress, Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire.

While we were there, my wife and I were both compelled to visit a fortune teller. It’s not something we subscribe to in general, but if you’re ever going to get your fortune told, Salem is certainly the place to do it! So I sat down, held out my hand, and bared my soul. A few of the questions that I asked were about my family (twins may still be in our future, apparently!). One question had to do with my new book.

“It’s going to be a big success,” she smiled before she even took my hand. “No doubt about it. This is going to be big, so get ready for it. By the way, do you know you’re psychic?”

So, as far as the psychic thing? I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

Last night I was watching an episode of X-Files and savoring a steep pint of Rasputin Imperial Stout, when the memory of that day came back to me. And you know what? As far as I’m concerned she was dead-on. Only six months out and already hundreds of e-book copies of Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire have sold (as well as a number of hardcopies), tons of 4 and 5-star reviews from happy readers have found their way to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads, and a treasured batch of top-notch book review blogs have given the book glowing, in-depth reviews as well as some amazing additional exposure. My novel even earned itself a cool half-grand at Jacksonville’s first crowdfunding event, One Spark.

And what about that kickass “Edgar Wilde” theme song!  Edgar Wilde

I remember looking deep into the psychic’s eyes as she spoke about future book success on that warm New England day and thinking cynically to myself, “Well, you wouldn’t tell me it’s going to be a flop, now would you?” But I must say, her words lingered within me for the next many months as I wrote steadily towards the finish line; a giddy secret I held close to my heart.

“It’s going to be a big success, no doubt about it. This is going to be big, so get ready for it.”

So what is this “Edgar Wilde Tours” brochure thingy anyway?

Basically, it’s the actual 3-fold brochure that Edgar Wilde uses to advertise his cemetery tours. My understanding is that Edgar commissioned this brochure when he was starting up his tour business, and it’s served him well over the past year or two. Inside you’ll see a basic layout of St. Edmund Cemetery, read a bit about Edgar’s featured tours, and even get a basic education as to cemetery iconography symbolism. You may even be sold on taking Edgar up on one of his nightly cemetery tours!

EW Brochure photo

Near the end of writing Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire I began thinking about possible related pieces of the Edgar Wilde world that I could create and use as cool, collectable perks or prizes. The very first thing that came to mind was designing Edgar’s tour brochure. Fortunately, this kind of collateral marketing piece designing is what my “day job” is all about, so I was able to quickly pull something together that I felt captured Edgar’s tour business (**rumor has it the brochure may even include a subtle clue or two concerning the next Edgar Wilde mystery!).

 

The official Edgar Wilde Tours brochure has now been professionally printed and folded, and looks pretty damned cool if I do say so myself. It is currently available only as a giveaway prize, or inside special signed copies of the hardback that come directly from me. Please reply to this blog post and let us know if you’re interested in acquiring an autographed copy of the book that includes the brochure. We’ve only printed a few of these cool brochures, and in the event that Edgar Wilde rides the J.K. Rowling path to movie stardom then these little promo pieces are bound to be one of the rarer collectables you’ll ever come across. The autographed book/brochure package comes in at $32.50; a little more than the $27.50 pricetag if you get just the book through www.lulu.com.

Lady Lisa’s Stunning New Steampunk Book Sets the Standard – Beautiful!!!

When I first read that “Victoriana Lady Lisa” Griffiths was releasing a Steampunk-related book, I knew it was going to be something special. Lady Lisa has Victorian/Edwardian credentials that distinguish her as truly unique in her field of passion. I recently had the honor of interviewing her about her past (and her passion for the past) for a recent blog post about her on www.ninemusepress.com. At the time of that blogpost, however, I hadn’t yet received my copy of her new book, International Steampunk Fashions. So it was with no small degree of anticipation that I awaited its arrival at my doorstep.

ISF Cover
The book is, in one word, delicious. Like any good tour guide, Lady Lisa offers a quick primer concerning the topic, setting the stage for what’s to come. Once done she steps aside, returns to the shadows, and lets the pictures do the talking (look closely, though – she’s in a few of those pix!). Every page is overflowing with Victorian/sci-fi photography contributed by some of the top Steampunk designers, photographers and models in the world. It’s a delightful kaleidoscope of corsets, clock gears and bowler hats, all luxuriously framed within an absolutely stellar book design by Danielle Farmer. There’s very little white space in this book – every inch seems to offer some bit of fascinating Steampunk eye candy. And fortunately the page dimensions are generous as well, giving the models and settings an opportunity to stretch out and overwhelm.

And Schiffer Publishing certainly didn’t scrimp as far as quality. The full-color, bleed-off-the-page printing is vivid and crisp, and the pages are heavy and hold the inks well. Being a book collector myself, I’m truly excited to see this well-produced work find a place of honor in my collection.

If you haven’t yet started exploring the world of Steampunk, Lady Lisa’s book is where you want to get your first taste. And if you happen to already have a penchant for that special magic that only happens when Victorian crinoline meets futuristic gadgetry, then so much the better – International Steampunk Fashions is the beautiful homage you’ve been waiting for. And thank you, Victoriana Lady Lisa, for being the perfect host and author on this stunning journey into the “future-past” exploding fashion movement that is Steampunk!

Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire – Blog Review Links

Here are links to all the exciting Edgar Wilde reviews and interviews out there in the blogosphere!

May-2013-Flyer

 

Amazon (a number of customer reviews appear here)

Barnes & Noble (a number of customer reviews appear here)

Cubic Scats

Goodreads  (a number of customer reviews appear here)

Minstrels and Heroes

No Wasted Ink

Old Victorian Quill

The Peasants Revolt

The Pen and Whisk

BestChapLit.com

**Please let me know if I’ve inadvertently left your Edgar Wilde book review blog link out. I will update promptly!

 

“Edgar Wilde” – the Live Tweet-Read

A few days ago I had the extreme pleasure of reading a live tweet-read on Twitter of “Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire” by Angela Goff. I must admit I’d never seen a live tweet-reading of a book before, so it was particularly fascinating and enjoyable — especially as the subject matter was my own novel. I was on the edge of my seat for the three days or so it took for her to complete it, just waiting to see what she’d tweet next!

With her permission, I have collected all of her cool live tweets as she made her way through the book, and they are posted chronologically below. Thanks so much, Angela, a very fun new way to experience my book!

Check out Angela’s blog at http://anonymouslegacy.blogspot.com/, where she talks more about live tweet-reads and more!

 

“EDGAR WILDE AND THE LOST GRIMOIRE” ~ THE LIVE TWEET-READ:

Just started reading #EdgarWilde tonight, but it’s definitely one I want to tweet-read to you guys. @PaulRamey @NineMusePress

I don’t tweet-read many books, just indie picks that hook me in quickly and keep me guessing. At 10% in, #EdgarWilde is already doing that.

History class + school bully + cemetery etiquette. HA. I like this. Wonderfully quirky. #EdgarWilde #YA #amreading @PaulRamey @NineMusePress

“There’s a wicked-hot angel statue over at Greenwood that’s got ’em hanging…” Poor #EdgarWilde. @PaulRamey #noonerespectsstoneangelsanymore

Great quirky humor here. Every character is an odd duck; and #EdgarWilde is the most awkwardly adorable oddball of the lot. #YA #amreading

Seriously. This guy sounds like the kind of kid I would’ve crushed on in high school. #EdgarWilde #amreading @NineMusePress

“Worst case scenario: She was actually flirting with him. He’d need to reevaluate his Saturday morning ritual if this kept up.” #EdgarWilde

Love it when #amreading conflict builds in a whimsical, non-rip-your-jugular-out way. #EdgarWilde has managed to do that – while I laughed.

Bahaha!!! #EdgarWilde and Shelby. That is all. #alreadyshippingcharacters #amreading @PaulRamey @NineMusePress

“Funny, the things we carry with us in this world – the many things that never let go.” – #EdgarWilde #amreading @PaulRamey @NineMusePress

I want a 21st century boyfriend who insists on wearing a Victorian top hat. And knows how to read microfiche. #amreading #EdgarWilde

Woah. #EdgarWilde has half the town mad b/c he’s investigating a 300 yo dead man no one remembers? AND he’s friends w/ the undertaker? COOL

OK. The undertaker quotes Greek poetry AND Victor Hugo? Death and romance in one man – he should give #EdgarWilde some tips. #amreading

Actually, I think he IS trying to give #EdgarWilde some romance tips. LISTEN TO HIM, Edgar. And don’t let Shelby get away #shipping #toocute

“You cannot help where you are born, by God, but you must certainly rise above it!” #EdgarWilde #amreading @PaulRamey @NineMusePress

All righty. Enough tweet-reading for now. Currently 25% of #EdgarWilde on my Kindle. Quick, engrossing read with a Goonies-esque fell to it

At job #3 for the day. Really need to make some time to read more in #EdgarWilde; I keep thinking about key scenes I’ve read, and chuckling

And yes I’m reading more #EdgarWilde even though it’s past my bedtime. So many mysteries and eddying subplots all coming together #amreading

Love the light romantic touches twined thru this mystery. #EdgarWilde + Shelby = SO CUTE. Best balance of info, action, & twoo wuv 🙂 #YA

@PaulRamey Glad it did! It’s always fun to tweetread a book I can really get into, with characters I can root for. #EdgarWilde did just that

I’m truly impressed by all the talent I’m finding in the indie, small press literary world. @PaulRamey‘s book definitely makes that list

“Victoriana Lady” Lisa Griffiths Publishes Book on Steampunk Fashion

I’ve been following Victorian/Edwardian devotee Lisa Griffiths on Facebook for some time now, both in her “Victoriana Lady” persona and on her deliciously dark “Victorian Mourning” page (which focuses on Victorian/Edwardian traditions, attire, artifacts, photography, etc., as related to funerary/mourning practices from the Gilded Age). Lisa is an expert in her field, so I was thrilled to discover recently that she was applying her wide-ranging passion to the exploding steampunk movement.

ISF CoverGriffiths has just published a book on the subject entitled International Steampunk Fashions, “…a fashion-backward collection featuring hundreds of intricate, creative, and visionary steampunk designs from top names in the business and fans from around the world. Presented in high-quality fashion photography, the looks in this compendium include head-to-toe Victorian-era style coupled with futuristic, sci-fi concepts, as well as hats, jewelry, and other accessories. With fashions from as far away as Europe, New Zealand, and the Americas, this volume celebrates the diversity and innovators of this international phenomena and showcases works by contributors such as G.D. Falksen, Jon Magnificent, Kato of Steampunk Couture, Lex Machina, Lee Ann Farruga, Daniel Proulx, The League of S.T.E.A.M., Cris Ortega, Jema Hewitt, Dim Horizon Studio, Starkall, Empire Art, Abney Park, Brute Force Studios, Veronique Chevalier, and many more. Complete with a foreword and “Steampunk 101″ by G.D. Falksen, this is the book for designers, fans, and collectors.” (*official book description)

“Two years ago I was asked to do a Victorian & Edwardian fashions book at Schiffer Publishing” recalled Griffiths in a recent interview. “By this time I had discovered steampunk online, through blogs and Facebook. I absolutely fell in love with its Victorian roots, and planned a steampunk chapter for the book.”

Surprised, however, at the overwhelming amount of submissions she received from all over the world, Griffiths quickly realized that her “planned chapter” on steampunk had outgrown her book-in-progress. The popular topic deserved a publication of its own.

“I called my editor and asked if I could do a steampunk book exclusively, and they said yes. That’s how International Steampunk Fashions came about.”

Compiling the book was easy, due to ready support from the steampunk world. “I researched the internet for photos that I liked, then contacted the model to ask if he or she would like to be included in the book. They gave me referrals as well. I contacted blogs, and joined a number of steampunk-related Facebook groups. I had amazing support from the very beginning of the project, and I’m very excited to be able to give them a platform where their vision and talents will be appreciated.”

Working on the book, however, was not without its hurdles.

“I was writing International Steampunk Fashions while going through a divorce,” she said. “Many days I wanted to just quit, but I didn’t want to let the contributors down. So I just pushed myself. It was like therapy for me, and kept me focused and sane. In the end, this book is a victory for me.”

"Victoriana Lady" Lisa Griffiths

“Victoriana Lady” Lisa Griffiths

This victory is certainly not her first, however. “Victoriana Lady” Lisa Griffiths is a nationally-acclaimed professional speaker/reenactor. She’s had a cameo appearance on one of the top-rated reality shows, Oddities, where she wore her antique mourning clothing and jewelry. She’s been featured in Victorian Homes magazine, a Pennsylvania Bed & Breakfast magazine, as well as numerous newspaper interviews. She also has released a DVD, Victorian Fashions At The Mansion, filmed at the nationally-acclaimed Stegmaier Mansion Bed & Breakfast, and she portrayed the highly respected nurse Esther Tinsley, circa 1900, in a DVD film entitled Haven On The Hill. (Both DVDs are sold out.)

Griffiths has a talent for transforming her passion for 19th century Victorian fashions into a romantic and memorable portrayal of life and times during the Gilded Age. She has also been a caterer of authentic afternoon Victorian tea parties for women and children, where homemade pastries are presented on family heirloom China and lace linens.

“I have loved the Victorian era since I was in grade school, when my great-grandmother showed me a photo of her grandfather who was a quartermaster sergeant in the Civil War. I was intrigued by the photo and asked if she had any more old family photos. She pulled out a box full of Victorian family pictures and I immediately fell in love with the fashions. So much, in fact, that even in college I was already adding Victorian pieces to my clothing. I guess I was steampunk before there was a name for it!”

International Steampunk Fashions can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other book outlets.

Contemplations at two days and counting…

March 21 is my birthday.

I’ll be 45 years old. 45 times around the Sun, as my custom-made t-shirt says. When you say it like that, it doesn’t sound that long. Hell, I still get carded. But still, halfway to 90 as well, so I guess quite a distance after all. And I’ve now lived longer than some of my favorite creative forces — Freddie Mercury, for starters. Jim Morrison, obviously. Karen Carpenter…

When I wrapped up my goth/rock opera CD Veil & Subdue, in 2009, the occasion was so incredibly exciting and suspenseful. I’d been working on the project for three long years — libretto, plot, lyrics, instruments, vocals, package graphics — and seeing it come to a closure of sorts was thoroughly gratifying, but sad too. I didn’t know what was about to happen with the project, but I had a definite feeling that I’d never work on something “that big” again.

Edgar Wilde started with a block and a spin. The “block” was the sudden reshaping of my world due to the arrival of my beautiful daughter, Sofia Alafaire, which I’ve talked about in a previous blog post. The “spin” was a horrifying hydroplane-on-the-wet-Interstate near-miss in late 2011. I’d thrown out a few sentences of what would become Edgar Wilde by then, but surviving such a fishtailing skid between a guardrail and a speeding semi added a definite imperative to the new project. I’d lived to see another day. My family was unhurt. What was I waiting for? What I still needed to do in my life, I needed to do it NOW.

Six months later, my hands raised from the keyboard to find I’d completed the first draft of Edgar Wilde. There was so much more work to be done on it, but that was okay. And so the past year has been spent editing — endlessly editing — but also coasting on the fact that I’d captured the tale. I knew I had it. It was just a matter now of shaping it and working it until it found its final form.

And here we are. In two days I’m launching my book, my first novel, the first (I hope) of a series of grand, mysterious, exciting Edgar Wilde adventures. Few of you will read this until days later, as we are keeping the book’s release — and my brand-new publisher, Nine Muse Press — under wraps until our big rollout on Thursday at 5:30pm. You’re most likely reading this blog entry post-release, and I hope you’ve bought my book, or are going to. More importantly, I hope you love a good mystery as much as I do, and that this tale takes you on a tantalizing journey through cemetery clues, rumors of witches, and the pursuit of a lost book of spells — The Lost Grimoire.

I can’t think of a better gift to receive to help celebrate my 45th trip around the Sun.

One Spark. Boom.

There is that moment, the moment when you interface with your own creative waves, passing through a wall of sheer determination, patience, and passion. And suddenly you are no longer throwing things out to in front of you, but are instead ahead of them, being pushed by them, being caught on a crest of momentum.

In the air, this is known as the Sound Barrier. Here in our little corner, it is Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire.

From countless months of editing and re-writing, suddenly – within the last two weeks – a profound swath has cut its way through, bringing my novel to an exciting, resonant culmination. It’s time to publish!!!

The release date is now set: March 21. My birthday. My 45th birthday, to be exact. And here I’ve been sitting around, trying to figure out how best to celebrate. It was only the day before yesterday that I realized that the realistic publication date for Edgar Wilde was about to intersect with the beginning of my 45th trip around the sun. How perfect! What better way to celebrate? (well, there are ways, but let’s not dawdle on that…)

But I’ve got to mention something else, another “sonic boom” that has propelled EW forward, and that is the splendid dovetailing that is the publication of my book and Jacksonville, Florida’s One Spark (www.beonespark.com) event in April. One Spark brings businesses together, asks them to sponsor various creatives around the city, and for a week in April people get to check out your wares, vote on them, and possibly leave your pot of gold much more bountiful than before. When Tina, Sofia and I stopped by Bold Bean Coffee the other day for some Curry Lattes, a chance meeting with someone involved in this project led to me checking it out. It was enough to inspire me to register my book as a creative project worth consideration. But it was another friend – someone else who’d signed up as a musician for the event (Joe Little, folks, of Red Pill Prophet! Check him out!) – who stayed on my ass enough to make sure I found the right vendor, and that I met all the deadlines. SUDDENLY, my novel, Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire, is going to be a featured creative project at Urban Grind Coffee Co., on the ground floor of the Bank of America bldg. in downtown Jax (that’s the closest thing to a skyscraper we have in these parts)! As an added bonus, I get to pitch my book project to the world on one of those days in mid-April, broadcasting Edgar Wilde over the Net to anyone out there who thinks it’s worth any sort of investment. The book could walk away with a few bucks and some nice press coverage…or quite a few thousand, which would be enough for Nine Muse Press to stake a claim in the PRINT arena and get Edgar Wilde a first HARDCOPY press run! I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this event, and am thoroughly using the energy from it to focus this e-book version of Edgar Wilde into a solid reality. by the time One Spark happens, we’ll have published the book online, hopefully gotten some impressive sales numbers, and received some glowing feedback as well. Stay tuned for all that!

So we are (counts fingers with giddy exhaustion) 13 days away from the official release of Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire! As I’d contemplated how and when to release the book to the world, I never could have imagined it would be just now, and just like this. The timing has given my 45th time around the sun a beautiful chiming, and One Spark has created a megaphone of incomprehensible impact. The wind is at our back, folks. Clear sailing toward dawn.