Does she wear a top hat? Does she speak in a cockney accent? Does she use modern tech that looks like it was built during Victorian times?
Sounds like she is, but this top ten list can help you know for sure.
By: Alien Jones, Intergalactic Correspondent
Greetings Earth Losers.
The Esteemed Brainy One here. The intergalactic trade war over irregular pants continues, but alas, I have done all I can. I have since moved on to Dromodo, where the beings are fighting over the right to marry.
I have heard you humans have been squabbling over that right yourselves (i.e. who should and shouldn’t be allowed to marry) but the Dromodons have a different kind of fight going on.
None of them want to get married ever again. The government wants to hitch everyone up in forced marital bliss whereas the Dromodons just want to chill out and let their freak flags fly.
That’s what they call their genitals. “Freak flags.” Very disgusting. Just take my word for it. You don’t want me posting any pictures of that nonsense.
Anyway, I just received this transmission from Earth writer, Dakota Kemp:
Should storytellers cross genre boundary lines? Or should authors like Bookshelf Q. Battler and I be considered clinically insane for their penchant of smooshing together wildly disparate genres?
For example, I’m mashing together the steampunk and sword-and-sorcery genres in my novel, Ironheart: The Primal Deception just as BQB does with westerns and zombie dystopia in How the West Was Zombed.
Are BQB and I unrecognized geniuses or delusional losers?
Hmmm. Like Charlie Sheen on a Friday night, that question is loaded.
Perhaps I’ll start by taking a look at your latest novel, which I’m told just hit Amazon’s virtual shelves on May 12:
Well, you’ve got all the trappings of a good novel here. A serious looking man with a derby. Old warrior who looks like he’s up to something. Hot chick with a big ass weapon.
I like it. And really, the whole secret to good writing is that you, the author, like it. And it appears to me that you do.
People try so hard to put books into boxes and slap labels on them.
The big question is “Are you having a good time while you write it?”
If you’re having fun, then it will show in your writing.
Everyone is different. Some people are old ladies who love to write cozy mysteries in which their precocious kitty cats solve crimes.
Others are lonely housewives who unleash their pent up angst with steamy erotica.
Some people are like Bookshelf Q. Battler who beats himself up a lot over past mistakes and then inevitably writes stories about characters who goofed something up big time and are forever trying to make amends for it in some way.
The general advice I have heard from authors is that you try to “write for market” i.e. slap together a book that fits a cookie cutter cutout of every other book that is doing well, it probably will not do well if your heart and soul isn’t reflected in that book.
In other words, just write what you love to write about. If you love certain genres, and you enjoy mashing them up together, then by all means do so.
Think about it.
Do you want to eat a store bought cake that’s one in a hundred that was dumped off the back of a delivery truck yesterday?
Or do you want to eat a cake that was made with love by a little old lady baker who gets up at four a.m. every day?
The corporate clowns at your local chain grocery store don’t care about your taste buds or the art of cake making, but the little old lady who has studied baking her entire life certainly cares.
And perhaps that little old lady has a few tricks up her sleeve. Maybe she adds a pinch of cinnamon or a dash of nutmeg to her cakes to really make your taste buds sing. Corporate clowns will never do that. They’ll just bust out their calculators, crunch the numbers, and decide they can still sell cakes without the added expense of nutmeg.
You sir, are clearly a nerd (no offense as nerds are held up with more reverence these days) who loves the steampunk and sword-and-sorcery genres.
You took your time, put in the work, built your own world and then birthed it into this one.
Are you insane and/or delusional? No. If you enjoyed writing your book, it will show and once the word gets out, you’ll have way more readers than BQB’s paltry 3.5.
Dakota, there’s an old commercial for Reese’s peanut butter cups in which various humans complain in jest to one another, “You got chocolate in my peanut butter. No, you got peanut butter in my chocolate!”
Once upon a time companies just made chocolate. Then Mr. Reese shoved some peanut butter up a chocolate candy’s butt and people have enjoyed getting that much more obese ever since.
You’ll never know what people will like until you try. Mr. Reese loved chocolate and peanut butter. They’re better together, and I’m willing to bet that steampunk and sword-and-sorcery fantasy will mix just as well.
Sure, there will be plenty of squares who will tell you “don’t do this or that.”
They’ll tell you that genres are a lot like the lyrics to that fine 1994 song Come Out and Play by the Offspring. “You got to keep ’em separated.”
Except, no you don’t. Toss all the genres you want in a big bowl, mix them up, pop them in the oven, serve up your dish to the readers and let them decide.
By the way, don’t compare yourself to the lowly BQB. You two are in different leagues.
You sir, got a book to market, whereas BQB just screws around all day and maybe if I’m lucky he’ll write a chapter or two once a week. He’s not exactly doing his part to stave off the Mighty Potentate’s conquest of Earth.
But you are, and that’s why your name will be added to the protected rolls once the MP rolls into town.
Good luck Dakota and stop by to let us know how your book launch went.
Alien Jones out.
Alien Jones is the Bookshelf Battle Blog’s intergalactic correspondent, graciously lending the power of his brain to answer your questions.
Ask the Alien a question and he may very well plug your book or blog in his answer. Ask questions in the comments or tweet them to @bookshelfbattle
Together, we can promote self-published material and ween the masses off reality television, a form of entertainment that Alien Jones’ boss, the maniacal alien despot known as “The Mighty Potentate” despises so much that he’s plotting an invasion of Earth just to stop it.
Ah, the Victorian Age!
When gadgets were powered by steam and operated by cranks and levers and wheels and other such bullshit.
Some people are so enamored with the late 1800’s that they wish they could live there.
Heck, your girlfriend acts like that all the time.
From BQB HQ in fabulous East Randomtown, here are the Top Ten Warning Signs Your Girlfriend Might Be a Steampunk.
10. When she asks if you want to get high, that usually means she’s offering you a ride in her airship. (Although it could also be a pot reference. Steampunks aren’t necessarily against the idea of steaming up a spliff once in awhile…)
9. Wears goggles everywhere, for no apparent reason, even when they are not necessary. Alas, you can’t see her beautiful eyes or tell what she’s thinking about. (Hint: it’s probably steam.)
8. Demands that you also convert all of your gadgets to steam power. You thought your PC was slow before, try it when you have to turn a damn crank to get it running.
7. Her name is something wacky, like Ezmeralda Fibbleteegibbett or Lady Shamalamadingdong. Still refuses to take your name if you two get married.
6. Wears a top hat everywhere, even in the boudoir, which seemed interesting at first but now in the dark it just feels too much like you’re hooking up with Abraham Lincoln.
5. When people ask you what the hell a steampunk is, she gets mad at you when you reply, “I don’t know. It’s a blend of sci-fi and historical fiction in which modern devices are powered through late 1800’s steam based technology, and often all of this shit happens on a damn airship?”
She shouldn’t be mad at you because that answer was straight up spot on, yo.
4. She’s probably British. Every British person is, in secret, a steampunk plotting to take back the US colonies through steam powered weaponry.
3. Offered to bring some risqué steam powered uh, devices, into the bedroom. Sounded fun at first, but now you realize your crank isn’t the one that is going to be turned…
Plus, how the hell is that steam engine going to fit in your house?
2. Gets mad if you suggest changing it up once in awhile by using gas and/or electricity and/or some damn Duracells because “I don’t have all day to turn this crank, Steampunk Girlfriend!”
At any rate, bless you sir, and your steampunk girlfriend, for with her, every day will now be an adventure…in the skies…with steam!
Seriously, enough with the steam already.
3.5 readers, I think I might have invented something.
“The Storytelling Interview Series.”
As I’ve discussed ad nauseam, this October there will be an interview series on this site called “#31ZombieAuthors.”
Once a day in October, I’ll be interviewing a different zombie author.
I’ll be doing it in a fun way.
A zombie apocalypse will strike East Randomtown and it will be up to me to save the day.
Every day will feature an excerpt from my Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal, followed by the zombie author interview of the day.
I will actually take a break from the action to “call” authors using Alien Jones’ space phone.
It’s very tongue in cheek. At times, various characters will comment on my incompetence for calling authors when I should be fighting the apocalypse.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my 3.5 readers will receive this well.
The zombie authors have gotten a kick out of it so far, and these are all people who’ve successfully published, so they know a thing or two.
At the very least, no one’s told me, “This idea sucks! Get lost, loser!”
So that’s always a plus in my world.
Perhaps it might be too early to be thinking about the future. I should wait and see how #31ZombieAuthors goes.
BUT – it has recently crossed my mind that if all goes well, I could start applying this concept to other genres.
So you tell me, 3.5, which of these concepts would you like to see next?
YETI HEAT – THRILLER AUTHORS
BQB’s nemesis, the Yeti, devises some type of hilarious crime. BQB and Alien Jones get deputized as Jack Bauer style agents and have to unravel the furry snow beast’s plot before all is lost. Along the way, they stop to interview thriller authors.
CAPT. BATTLER’S CURIOUSLY FUNKY FLYING CONTRAPTION – STEAMPUNK AUTHORS
A contingent of steampunks crash their airship in East Randomtown. Their Captain has been murdered by a ne’er-do-well who has captured their city in the sky, forcing them to go on the run. The steampunks recruit BQB to become their new Captain and Alien Jones as his first mate. They go on a mission to oust the baddie and along the way, you guessed it, authors of steampunk books are interviewed.
UNTITLED BQB/VGRF ROM COM – ROMANCE AND/OR ROMANTIC COMEDY AUTHORS
BQB and Video Game Rack Fighter split up in a comical manner. It’s BQB’s fault because, well, it’s always the man’s fault, isn’t it? If you disagree, ask the woman. BQB goes through a series of hurdles to win back his lady love. In the meantime, romance authors are interviewed.
JONESING FOR THE COSMOS – SCI FI AUTHORS
Alien Jones recounts the tale of how he first met Bookshelf Q. Battler, as a result of being ordered by his ruler, the Mighty Potentate, to become a columnist for the Bookshelf Battle Blog. From time to time, AJ takes a break to interview a sci-fi author.
What say you, 3.5 readers?