Storytelling – or just me telling a story

Why let your voice be tamed?

The irrepressible Phoebe Darqueling at Steampunk Journal has posted the audiobook version of my story In the Cavern of the Sleepers, head on over to have a listen.

This was a really fun project. For the reading I had to try my hand at different voices. I also experimented with Audacity to get just the right meditation drone noise for the interstitial music.

It was surprising exhausting to do the reading. Paying attention to every word, switching voices, concentrating on keeping a measured pace but adding urgency when required, all took its toll. I enjoyed it, and if the chance comes along I would like to do it again. Next time I’ll be better informed about what it takes.

Go have a listen then pop back and tell me what you think. If you really liked it here are a few other readings:

Sonnets to Aurelia by Robert Nichols (Instagram)

An excerpt from Desole Habibti (Youtube)

An excerpt from Like Clockwork (Youtube)

My story is set in the jungles of India. If your steampunk interest leans more to airships you can also check out Phoebe reading Secrets and Airships by A.F. Stewart.

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The opening quote is from Emeli Sandé of course, and the photocredit goes to my cousins the Photosapiens

And you can find out more about my writing here

Jugaar and the art of sub-Continental steampunk

I was introduced to the concept of Jugaar * by my uncle many years ago and was instantly delighted.

The story goes that in the time of the Raj a British engineer was looking despondently at the broken coupling between train carriages. The train, he thought, could not run until a replacement part arrived from the foundry.

His workers, in a display of Indian ingenuity, came up with an alternative; bodged together from whatever they had at hand (whether it was intricately knotted steel cable, daisy-chained cargo hooks, or the simple expedient of some Herculean pehlwan holding things together by brute force is lost in the mists of history). The train ran on time and thus was born the jugaar: a join, just not the way you thought. The concept has expanded to refer to any kind of engineering hack or a simple, innovative solution using the materials to hand.

I was mostly delighted because this story linked my love of a bodge, born and bred in London, to my Asian heritage. Every repair with non-standard parts and build with what I had lying around the workshop was suddenly part of a grand tradition. I also loved the economy and efficiency of it. In our throw-away society a mindset geared to reuse, repurpose, recycle is of enormous and immediate merit. (You can check out my scaffold garden bench here)

This is my latest fix – when the plastic tab on the back of a twenty-year-old amplifier snapped, I opened it up, forced in some speaker wire, wrapped it around the connector and added a screw connector to the other end. Job done.

imag1911

You find this replayed all over the subcontinent: workshops running late into the night by tube light, a skinny guy on his haunches with an angle grinder or a welding torch finding a way to fix something with the bits and pieces of something else.

It is on the streets too, in the antique Bedford trucks belching black smoke that are somehow still on the road, every part so patched and mended that the original vehicle is only a memory. You might find a kid hanging out the door applying the brakes by means of a wooden block attached to his foot. Of course in this case, throw-away may be the better environmental and safety option.

blue and black truck on road near building and two motorcycles

Photo by Ali Madad Sakhirani on Pexels.com

All of which brings me to the paucity of Indian steampunk (I use Indian here because the historical setting of steampunk is pre-partition). Why is it that a society that has raised engineering creativity and bodging fabrication to a way of life doesn’t have a thriving literary sub-genre that revels in the making of things? I have only encountered this – Steampunk India –  (found by the incomparable Phoebe, of whom more below). Even my own “Like Clockwork” is set in Victorian England.

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And so to the world of “In the Cavern of the Sleepers” my story that will be in the forthcoming “Gears, Ghouls and Gauges” anthology. Steampunk set in India, blending science and mysticism, and an accommodation between Islam and Hinduism.

Here’s a blurb to whet your appetite:

facebook-cavern-campaign-blurb-1

 

We’re running the Kickstarter now to fund the project. At the time of posting it has already reached its minimum funding goal. Phoebe Darqueling is the engine and governer driving this anthology and its sister “Cogs Crowns and Carriages”. Check out Phoebe’s blog to get involved and see all the cool stuff available.

Facebook both covers campaign

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* linguistic note on Jugaar – it is sometimes spelt jugaaR, denoting the hard sound where your tongue curls to the top of your palate. Also sometimes transliterated as jugaard or jugaad. Whatever you do don’t roll it.

Find out more about my writing here.

From Sense and Sensibility to Steampunk (Guest Post on Gold Fever Press)

One of the neatest things for me, as a writer, is working with other writers. I belong to an active writing group full of wonderful people, such as my friend Ali Abbas. Last June, I had the pleasure of beta reading one of Ali’s novellas, “Like Clockwork,” which Transmundane Press released in February, 2017. I hope you […]

via Guest Post: From Sense and Sensibility to Steampunk — Gold Fever Press

Interview with Ali Abbas, author of Like Clockwork

Me, being interviewed!

Transmundane Press

Ali Abbas, the author of Like Clockwork was kind enough to answer a few questions for us. We hope you enjoy his interview; we did.

How much research did you do for Like Clockwork, and how much came from experience?

I worked for the Royal Navy for a while (in a civilian, non-sailing capacity). I picked up a lot about the culture and how deeply ingrained some standards and behaviours are from that time. Knowing my interest in these things, one of my colleagues loaned me a book of naval terms and history – there was nothing to do one an evening in Portsmouth but read it from cover to cover and back again.

In contrast, I knew next to nothing about clock making, the fashion of the time, and of course I had to double check some of the naval facts like cannon sizes and when certain ranks…

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The Great Blog Giveaway

Here it is – the first of the marketing promos from my publisher. Time to show the power of the internet.

It’s a raffle for a $10 Amazon gift voucher. With that you could buy a print copy of my book and have enough change to buy something that costs $4. Bargain. Or better yet, a beautiful fob watch, or thrill of thrills an ebook of my short stories.

Actually, Transmundane Press did the whole thing much more beautifully than I could – check out their teasers and giveaways page to see how marketing is done properly.

 

Still here?

OK Here’s the deal, you click on the link. It doesn’t take you anywhere sinister, just my author page (although the picture of two staring women with flames in the background is a bit sinister). That’s it. No need to like or share anything, although I’d be delighted if you did.

There are no restrictions. Family and friends can play, even people who have taken out restraining orders against me.

Get clicking

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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And if you made it this far down head over to youtube to see the trailer…