Recent Links: #LGBTApril and More!

April is LGBT Month, and throughout the month, Pantomime & Shadowplay have been discussed out and about on the web.

LGBTMonth

LGBT Month is hosted by Laura @ Laura Plus Books and Cayce @ Fighting Dreamer.  It runs throughout the month of April and it’s here to celebrate LGBT+ readers, LGBT+ authors and of course LGBT+ books.

Cayce of Fighting Dreamer put up a great review of both Pantomime & Shadowplay: “I really loved how these books escape what’s common for most ya fantasy [. . .] and instead give us something truly unique and captivating. Pantomime & Shadowplay is so… unlike any (ya) fantasy I’ve read/heard of – I’m really glad I gave this series a chance.”

I also have a guest post on Cayce’s blog called “No Longer the Last Taboo – Intersex Characters in YA Fiction.”

Over at Uncorked Thoughts, I have a guest post on “The Somewhat Hidden Rainbow in Fantasy” with some resources on where to find LGBT fantasy.

At Dani’s Blog, Pen to Paper, I let you know 5 things you might not know about me, plus 5 things you might not know about Micah/Gene.

Over at Once Upon a Bookcase, Jo writes about intersex characters in YA, and Pantomime & Shadowplay get a mention.

Clover at Fluttering Butterflies has a post on Bisexual Characters for LGBT April, and Pantomime & Shadowplay are also mentioned there as well.

Over on the Diversity in YA tumblr, Pantomime is featured as part of a Diverse Dozen.

While trying to round up all my recent guest posts, I found this lovely review at Books and Beautiful: “Lam’s depiction of Gene/Micah’s personal story is lovely, thought-provoking, and one that I have become wholly invested in emotionally. The questions about self-identity that go through the character’s mind throughout the course of the story, the struggle to accept and understand… It felt real to me, and really got me in the heart.”

Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn says of Shadowplay: “[ . . .] it is still in my top five YA series going at this point.  The next book can’t come fast enough, I doubt I will ever tire of Micah and can’t wait to finally get some answers.”

One of the fun parts of having quotes from my book on places like Goodreads is my words end up appearing in different places on the internet, like before this adorable circus-themed wedding or this circus summer camp for kids!

This weekend I’ll be in Glasgow for Eastercon. Can’t wait!

Guest Post: Introducing BREAKSHIELD by J.B. Rockwell

J.B. Rockwell is one of the members of my online writing group, the Inkbots. She’s recently sold her debut to Zharmae, and so I invited her here to show off her cover and blurb and a bit about the book. Take a look! 

When Laura Lam offered me some space on her website to show off the cover of my upcoming novel Breakshield, I jumped at the opportunity.  After all, who wouldn’t want a shout out from someone who writes such wonderful and truly amazing stories as Pantomime and Shadowplay?  So thank you, Laura, for hosting me in your virtual home!

As for Breakshield, it hits the shelves on March 27, 2014.  I was beyond excited to get the official okay to post the cover art, and here she be:

breakshieldFound at the intersection of life and the afterlife, the Between is a place where science and reason are replaced by magic and violence. It is a place where Typhon and his Huntsmen of the Dark Waste spread like a plague and where Talents go to die. 

The only thing standing in Typhon’s way is Morgan Quendalen and the people of the Shining Lands. They are sworn to protect the last remaining Talents, a precious few who teeter at the edge of extinction.  Morgan valiantly fights, protecting these last remnants of magic in a war he’s not sure he can actually win. 

When Jamie Aster, a mortal Talent with undiscovered powers, is put under his charge, Morgan weighs his oath against a desire to save the Shining Lands. Could he kill a Talent if it meant saving his people?

Breakshield is my debut novel and the first in a series of three that I’ve signed with Zharmae.  As for the cover, well I absolutely love it.  Love-love-love it.  It’s pretty and badass all at the same time and – really – what else could I ask for?  The artist is an up-and-comer named Yanmo Zhang and he’ll be doing the cover art for the other two books in the series as well.  The man on the cover is Morgan Quendalen, the protagonist of this story, and he’s looking pretty badass as well.  I can’t wait until Breakshield  comes out because I think you’re gonna love it as much as I love the cover.  After all, it’s got everything a good fantasy story needs: swords and sorcery, evil beasties with long claws and sharp teeth, and it’s even got a fox familiar named Kitsune. 

Find out more about me at my author site, and follow me on Twitter if you like what you see.  Oh yeah, Breakshield is up on Goodreads if you’re interested, and check out these sites for cover reveals:

Winter Holidays in Ellada, and Pantomime for £1

snowflakeI have a guest post on the Strange Chemistry website about what winter holidays in Ellada are like. There’s also a brief Shadowplay snippet, and using the promo code, you can buy the DRM-free e-book from the Angry Robot Store for £1 today only, as it’s only a few weeks now until Shadowplay‘s release (egads), it’d be a good time to pick it up :-).

Winter Holidays in Ellada

Out and About

Image

Guest post on Strange Chemistry on my recent school visits to Dollar Academy, Keith Grammar, and Gordonstoun School

I’ve made a page about my visits and events this year, including booking information and testimonials

A review and Interview for YA Pride at More Than Just Magic

There’s another peek at my workplace, on this post at Author Allsorts you can also have a sneak peek at the first chapter snippet of Shadowplay, the sequel to Pantomime

Pantomime was featured on the DiversityinYA tumblr, which was cool!

Guest Post: Mike Stewart on Adding a Dash of Transmedia to your Writing

Today on the blog I have my fellow Inkbot, Mike Stewart. The Inkbots are an online writing group from the people who made it to the later rounds of Angry Robot’s two Open Door months. Mike has just self-published his short YA novel, Assured Destruction, and it’s an ambitious experiment on transmedia. It’s a lot of work, and it’s really interesting to see all the various outlets he’s creating for people to interact with him, his characters, and his story, and I hope it pays off.  Here’s Mike!

MikesHeadDo you want to separate your writing from the pack? To rise above the noise? Why not employ a methodology used by major Hollywood Studios, from the creators of SUPERNATURALS to HEROES, to many major films and gaming franchises like Assassin’s Creed? It’s called transmedia!

So … Transmedia … WTF is it? The best definition I’ve ever seen is, Transmedia=Storyworld.

It’s every entry point for your readers to your story. I’m not talking where they can buy your book, or your Facebook fan page, those are marketing channels, not story … channels. Are your characters on twitter? Do they Facebook or create videos on Vimeo or YouTube? Maybe there’s a puzzle in your novel that readers can solve on an iPad app which unlocks back story? These are story extensions. Transmedia creates opportunities for readers to discover your book, to continue the story, and creates a feedback loop between fan and author.

Here’s an example, this is the Storyverse for my novel ASSURED DESTRUCTION.

The company in the book has a website, the protagonist has a blog, there’s a secret website to discover, a Facebook page and every character has a Twitter feed that reflects their personalities.

So, for example, if you follow @Heckleena, you’ll gain access to her graphic novel origin story. If you tweet at her, she’ll identify something about you to make fun of. She knows your location, whether you used an iPhone to tweet, what time of day you’re tweeting, where you live, and how many followers you have. All things she can mock, just like her character in the book. I also personally monitor all the Twitter feeds and respond where appropriate.

Transmedia is about collapsing the distance between the book and the reader. It also serves to reduce the distance to the author, so the writer can identify areas of particular interest and develop them further.

Wanna try it? Here are a few tips.

• Plan for it from the start. Should Moby Dick be a Facebook app? Should Shakespeare tweet? Maybe, but we can do better than gimmicks.
• Keep the book standalone. Don’t mess with the fictional dream. Have all content be additive to the overall experience, but not entirely necessary for a compelling story.
• Leverage existing platforms. Don’t make your readers have to find and sign into a new platform or forum. Develop content where the audience is (Hint: they’re on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube).
• This isn’t marketing, it’s storytelling.

If you want to learn more about transmedia and whether it’s working for me, like my Facebook page and you can keep track. Interested in ASSURED DESTRUCTION? See some reviews on Goodreads, or learn more on my website.

Have questions? Ask away!

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About Assured Destruction

You can learn a lot about someone looking through their hard drive…Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online identities she calls the Shadownet.

Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide. The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They’re stolen from her family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the police found out, Jan’s family would lose its livelihood.

When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she becomes the next victim.

“A fun, fast-paced thriller guaranteed to distract teens from Facebook for at least a little while.” –Kirkus Reviews

Find Mike elsewhere:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

About the Book:
Assured Destruction Series
Assured Destruction on Goodreads
Trailer

Get the Book:
Itunes, Kobo, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Guest Post: Andrea Stewart: Submitting Stories Again, and Again, and Again…

I’m thrilled to welcome Andrea Stewart to the blog today. We met via AbsoluteWrite, as she was a hopeful through this year’s Angry Robot Open Door month, and so she joined our online writing group. I’m even more thrilled to say that Andrea has just won FIRST PLACE in the quarter finals of this year’s Writers of the Future contest, having her work judged anonymously by the likes of Time Powers & Larry Niven. Please welcome Andrea to the blog as she discusses perseverance.

Sometimes I think you have to be a little bit crazy to want to be a writer. Instead of spending your spare time playing video games, running around parks, or going out with friends, you type words on a keyboard. These words, taken together, may or may not be any good. And even if they’re good, they may not reach the level of great, and may or may not ever get published. Or read. It’s a lot of time and emotion to invest in something that might not pan out.

I ended up trunking my first manuscript, after a long period of querying. About a year ago, as I was working on my second manuscript (about a young woman who must balance her addiction to blood magic with saving a country and the people that she loves), I came up with an ill-conceived plan.

I like to write epic fantasy, and I like the sweeping, globe-trotting aspect of it, which means I tend to write long. Although I got partial and full requests for my first manuscript, agents expressed misgivings about the length. I thought if I could sell a couple short stories to pro markets before I started submitting my second manuscript, then I could put those credits on my query letter and ease those misgivings. It made sense to me at the time!

What I didn’t realize was that there aren’t a lot of professional markets out there for short speculative fiction. And since I was writing stories that stretched past the 5,000 word mark, I had even fewer to submit to.

I tried them anyways and was summarily rejected. Each time I wrote a new story, I thought it would be the one to get published, only to be proven wrong. And then I wrote The Story—the one that my writers’ group loved, the one that just seemed to have the right flow and rhythm. I submitted it to F&SF, and received a kind personal rejection. Clarkesworld: form reject, two days. Daily Science Fiction: another kind personal rejection, expressing that it was a hard decision.

The Writers of the Future contest was always on my peripherals, but I never submitted there. There was something intimidating about the contest aspect of it. But I submitted the story in June, not expecting much after the prior rejections, and resolved to self-publish it if I didn’t hear back.

In November, I got the call that my story was a finalist. On December 10, I got the call that my story had won first place.

I can’t completely express how overwhelmingly exciting this is for me (so exciting that I’m abusing adverbs!). This is the first time something I’ve written will be available in bookstores. It will be published this summer. It will be read.

So maybe writers are just a little bit crazy. The kind of crazy that doesn’t care as much about the piles of unread writing, about the time and the emotional investment, the long nights and frenzied drafting. Because getting that one “yes” can make it all worth it. It did for me.

Andrea is by day a contract specialist for California and by night a speculative fiction writer. We haven’t bullied her into getting a Twitter (yet), but you can find out more about her and her writing on her website. I have no doubt we’ll see plenty more from Andrea in the future!

Guest Post: Memory Scarlett on Re-reading Beloved Series

Today I’m thrilled to welcome Memory Scarlett of the excellent bookish Stella Matutina to the blog, on a subject that’s been on my mind quite a lot lately: finding the time to re-read your favourite book series. Memory shares some of her favourite series, some of which I’ve read and some I should obviously add to my endless TBR mountain. 

I firmly believe that rereading a beloved series is one of life’s great joys. I read, and reread, primarily for character, so nothing makes me happier than the opportunity to spend thousands of pages with my favourite fictional people.

Trouble is, rereading series takes time away from other books, especially if one prefers to binge. Between my on-hand TBR and all the exciting new books I hear about every day, it’s been a while since I’ve returned to some of my favourite series.

Here, then are my Top 5 Fantasy Series I Want To Reread As Soon As I Can Insert Them Into My Reading Schedule:

cover art for Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey, featuring a short-haired white girl astride a white horse Cover art for Magic's Pawn by Mercedes Lackey, featuring a long-haired white boy in a tattered cloak clinging to a white horse

5. Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series

It’s been almost seven years since I revisited these traditional fantasies, which played a huge role in my young adulthood. ARROWS OF THE QUEEN, ARROW’S FLIGHT and ARROW’S FALL were among the first adult-marketed fantasies I read, and the very first novels of any genre in which I encountered queer characters. They’ve remained in my heart all these years for their emotional intensity, relatable characters, and wide-reaching story.

Alas, the series now contains thirty books and counting, so I doubt I’ll manage to squeeze a reread in any time soon. My last one took more than a month, even though most of the books only took me a day or so to finish. (They’re hella addictive.) I’m tempted to read just a trilogy or two to tide me over, but I have a feeling that would quickly escalate into a full-on Valdemar binge, leaving everything on la TBR sadly unread.

Someday. Someday.

cover art for Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey, featuring a topless white woman in profile with her arms crossed over her breasts against a blue and purple background cover art for Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey, featuring a dark-haired woman in almost profile against a red and orange backdrop

4. Jacqueline Carey’s two Kushiel trilogies

I’ll admit it: I don’t love KUSHIEL’S DART as much as everyone else does. That’s a minor blip, though, because I absolutely adore the rest of the series. These alternate histories are lush and evocative, packed with vivid characters, delicious worldbuilding, and drool-worthy prose. The tears I shed over Phèdre’s love life! The anguish I felt for Imriel as he struggled to be good! Add in some elegant religious fervor, a gorgeously realized alternate world, and a few spies, and you’ve made me a happy reader indeed.

I finished the series in mid-2009 and haven’t yet reread it, despite encouragement from some friends who recently discovered Carey and can’t stop raving about her. Something tells me I’ll like KUSHIEL’S DART a great deal more the second time through, now I know I can fully invest myself in certain subplots.

Cover art for Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb, featuring a figure in a hooded white robe standing beside a young white boy holding a dog, with a blue-tinted tower in the background cover art for Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb, featuring two figures, one of whom is albino, riding a white horse and a black horse down a hill

3. Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series

Fitz and the Fool have my favourite friendship in all of fiction. (Hey, a fantastical tongue twister!) Hobb does many things really, really well in her series of intertwined epic fantasy trilogies, but it’s the connection between these two characters that ensures the books are never far from my thoughts. Hobb writes the sorts of relationships that live and breathe. It’s always possible to relate to her characters, even when they’re royally fucking up. Perhaps especially when they’re royally fucking up.

I’ve held off on rereading the three trilogies (and catching up on the new books that have been released over the last couple of years) because they’re hefty tomes, but I’m not sure I can hold out much longer. I must see Fitz and the Fool again.

Cover art for A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham, featuring a huge statue of a person overlooking a massive city rendered in shades of green Cover art for A Betrayal In Winter by Daniel Abraham, featuring a grey and blue toned city of tall towers, with a low bridge in the foreground

2. Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet

It kills me–kills me–that so few people know about these Asian-inspired epic fantasies. Fully three quarters of the time, the folks I recommend them to haven’t even heard of Daniel Abraham, let alone this particular series.

This must change. It will change.

I love these books in large part because they get better and better with each installment. Abraham ups his game at every turn, forcing both his characters and the reader to question their assumptions as attitudes shift and small details pay off. One could argue that there are no heroes or villains here–just people, doing what they think they’ve gotta do to get by. It’s powerful stuff.

I have a feeling my love for the books will grow richer and more complex with each reread, as I catch on to more of the subtle foreshadowing and the philosophical awesomeness.

Cover art for Melusine by Sarah Monette, featuring a red-haired white man with colourful sleeve tattoos twisted away from the viewer Cover art for The Virtu by Sarah Monette, featuring a red-haired white man crouched on a stone ledge

1. Sarah Monette’s Doctrine of Labyrinths

Okay, this one’s a cheat. These are my favourite books in all the world. I reread them every April, no matter how busy I am–except I skipped last year, because I was in one of those moods where I disliked pretty well everything, and I couldn’t have stood it if I’d failed to enjoy this dark fantasy quartet every bit as much as normal. I planned to leave it a month or two at most, but my mood persisted. Now I figure I’d best wait until next April.

But anyways

I love these books so much, and reread them so often, because I adore the characters. I consider them among the best in fantasy. I always bawl my eyes out for them (which has been problematic in the past, as I often read in public places), and miss them horribly when I’ve closed the final book. Their story is also jam packed with many of my favourite things, including (but not limited to): familial issues; random half-siblings; heartache; woe; heart attack-inducing tension; delicious worldbuilding; a keen awareness and subversion of standard fantasy tropes; magic; redheaded people; How Stuff Works; thievery; and a mammoth.

I’m wicked eager to revisit them in 2013.


This list is, of course, far from exhaustive. I could probably exchange any of the following series for numbers 4 and 5, depending on my readerly mood:

  • Marie Brennan’s Onyx Court series. Historical fantasy centered on the faerie court beneath London.
  • Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series. Dark, character-centric fantasy.
  • Elizabeth Bear’s Wampyre books. Alternate history with a vampire detective and a forensic sorceress.
  • R.A.Salvatore’s Drizzt Do’Urden novels. Fantasy adventure, and my guilty pleasure.
  • Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Historical and contemporary fantasy/horror which were my favourites before Monette.
  • Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain. Children’s fantasies which were my favourites before Rice.

Then there are the series I need to finish, like Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy and Ysabeau S. Wilce’s Flora books; the ones where I’m anxiously awaiting more volumes before I dive back in, like Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards Sequence and Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles; the ones I’m not entirely comfortable dubbing “series,” like Guy Gavriel Kay’s phenomenal Sarantine Mosaic; and the ones I’d include in a heartbeat if I hadn’t just reread them, like Ellen Kushner’s (and Delia Sherman’s) Riverside books and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

I could spend a solid year rereading, and I doubt I’d get through everything I want to return to. Sigh.

Guest Post: The Film of the Book – Bryony Pearce, author of Angel’s Fury

In addition to looking after the kids (I have two), and writing books as fast as I can, I also run creative writing workshops, do talks and run school visits and other events.

At my last few events, students have asked me whether or not I’d like my book to be made into a film. I’d like to think that perhaps they know something I don’t, but really the topic of films being made of books is probably top of mind due to the upcoming release of Breaking Dawn part 2, sigh.

Now, the obvious answer to that question is yes, of course I’d like my book to be made into a film, I’m not mad! If nothing else, I’d at least get some money out of it (which relates back to the other common question I get asked, are you rich? … I’m not).

Often students, or their teachers, will then follow up with the question ‘wouldn’t you be afraid that they would ruin the book? Wouldn’t you worry that the film-maker’s vision would then be the only one that readers would ever be able to see when they read your words?’

This is the answer I tend to give:

As a writer, I have a very clear picture of my characters, what they look like, sound like, even smell like. I know what they are wearing, how they walk, gesture, talk, tilt their heads and smile. The same goes for setting. I know what Cassie’s house and garden looks like, the layout and distinctive sounds and scents of the fictional German town Hopfingen. I know in intimate detail the Manor house where she goes for treatment, the farmhouse in which the group of patients choose to hideout. My job is then to try and convey that vision, alongside the story.

Once my words have left me, gone out into the world in the form of a published book, that’s it, I have no more chance to influence its reader regarding my vision. I’d love to be able to sit on every shoulder and point bits out – I hope you get my meaning here? Do you understand what Cassie is doing here? But I can’t. I have to trust my words.

However, I can’t see inside reader’s heads. I have no idea if Cassie, as she exists behind my eyes, is the same Cassie who has been imagined into existence behind each readers’. I know that there are the same number of Cassie’s as there are readers, but are they anything alike? In short, have I been successful? I have no clue.

If Angel’s Fury were made into a film I’d have the privilege of seeing inside at least one reader’s head. In making a film, the Director would be gifting me with the unique opportunity to view how he sees my book. What ‘his’ Cassie looks like, acts like, sounds like. The appearance of ‘his’ Manor house. If the actress cast to play Cassie looked anything at all like ‘my’ Cassie it would show me one important thing – I’m a good writer. I would finally get to find out whether or not I actually did my job properly.

Also, I don’t believe a film can possibly ‘ruin’ a book. The film-maker won’t be gathering up all copies and rewriting them according to his personal vision. Even if a film took great liberties with ‘my’ characters and storyline, the original book would remain.

It is true however, that no-one picking up Harry Potter for the first time, having seen the films, will be able to see the scarred little wizard as anyone other than Daniel Radcliffe.

In the same way, a film-maker’s vision would likely replace my own for any readers picking up the book after seeing a film made of it.

To this small concern I can say only one thing. The big pots of money will make you go away.

For more information about Bryony (especially if you would like to make her book into a film!), please visit her website www.bryonypearce.co.uk.
You can also follow her on Twitter @BryonyPearce. Her life isn’t hugely interesting, but she tries to make it sound more so where she can.

Guest Post: Dulcimers & Draughtsmen: Misconceptions of 18th Century Technology

Today I’m pleased to welcome to the blog a member of my online writing group, Rob Haines. He’s a veteran of last year’s Angry Robot Open Door month and wrote a book about warring chefs in an alternate Paris, which has some amazingly cool steampunk technology. Here, he discusses his research for writing his novel.

When I sat down to write a novel set in an alternate early-19th Century Paris, I thought I had a good idea of the level of technology available in Western Europe at the time: simple windup toys, tinny music-boxes, clocks with big swinging pendulums, that sort of thing. So I wrote a first draft based on my assumptions and a quick scan of the internet, exaggerating the level of clockwork technology available in line with the alternate history I was creating.

But once the draft was done and I buried myself in researching clockwork and automata in more depth, I rapidly discovered how wrong my assumptions had been. Even prior to the onset of the steam age, inventors and artisans the world over were no stranger to mechanisms so complex they can seem totally anachronistic to us, and suddenly the advanced technology I’d introduced in my draft seemed rather tame compared to reality.

As far back as the 12th Century, the Islamic scholar al-Jazari was renowned for his Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, a handbook on the construction of machines from complex astronomical clocks to hand-washing automata, providing soap and towels to the user at pre-defined points in the process. So if simple robotics were already well-known mid-way through the Crusades, what technological advances would the next seven-hundred years bring?

Flashing forward to the 1700s, French clockmakers were pushing forward the art of automata. Jacques de Vaucanson, a glove-maker’s son, built a life-size robotic flute-player which genuinely played the instrument, blowing air between articulated lips, modulated with a metal tongue, the airholes obstructed by its fingers – gloved in skin, after Vaucanson realised wooden fingers lacked the proper acoustics. It’s hardly surprising that when he created a set of automata to serve dinner for the visiting head of a religious order, the visitor declared Vaucanson’s creations to be profane, and ordered that his workshop be destroyed.

More impressive – and a little less creepy – is Henri Maillardet’s Draughtsman-Writer, the inspiration for the film Hugo:

 

When this marvellous device was rediscovered in 1928, its origins were unknown, but within its century-old memory – movements enscribed in the undulations of the cams beneath its feet – this writer held seven drawings and poetry, which it was designed to write on command. Once repaired, the automaton raised its pen and spelled out the name of its creator.

By this point it was clear I’d vastly underestimated the technology of the time, even if it was mostly employed in toys and amusements for the wealthiest members of society. I’d definitely be ramping up the complexity of automata and clockwork in my next draft. But even as I sat down to write, I encountered one last astounding automaton, far removed from my stereotypical ideas of toys and music-boxes; a beautiful German gift for the French Queen, Marie Antoinette:

 

Rob Haines is a writer, podcaster and ex-turtle biologist. His work can be found at www.generationminusone.com