My First Blog-iversary

One year ago today, I took my first tentative steps into this thing called “blogging”, and it has been an interesting year indeed.

I named the blog “Airship Flamel” after the airship that features in my steampunk novel “To Rule the Skies”.  As I was finishing up editing that book, I found that I had accumulated so many interesting stories and historical tidbits while doing research on the time and culture (Victorian). Writing a blog seemed the best and most fun way of writing some non-fiction as well.

Some statistics, thanks to the WordPress Insights page:  This entry is my 89th blog entry of the past year.  That includes re-blogs–I’m not above featuring the work of another blogger on Airship Flamel with proper credit, of course.  No sense re-inventing the wheel, and all that…

The most popular post has been “Did Mark Twain and Charles Dickens ever meet?” which I published back in October and has been read 299 times.  While I found it very interesting to ponder that question myself, the post wasn’t very popular at first, but then really took off in the spring.  I wonder if a teacher somewhere had given the question out as a essay topic.  Before then, my most popular post had been “The Colors of the Past” which examined how poorly early photographic plates recorded different colors, so that we really can’t always be sure what color objects are in period photographs.

In September, my novel was published both as an e-book and as a hard copy.  The second book in the Airship Flamel Adventures series is currently in draft form and my goal is to have it completed by May, 2016.

In December, I previewed Christmas with the Twelve Days of Steampunk Christmas posts which were re-tweeted by Airship Ambassador which generated much traffic to the blog.  They’re still being read almost every day.

In February, I started a new full-time job, which definitely put a dent into the time I had to write.  I’m starting to get the work-life, or rather, work-write balance back on a more even keel, so I predict more regular blog posts in future.

Most of all, I’d like to recognize some of the blog posts that pop up in my reader from some very talented and interesting writers.  Cogpunk Steamscribe gives an always interesting take on steampunk and writing from Down Under.  I don’t know how many times we’ve reblogged each other’s posts!  Another favorite is For Whom the Gear Turns which posts about Steampunk, London, and Making.  Mr. Lee Jackson, a prodigious tweeter, is the author of The Dictionary of Victorian London, an excellent resource for anyone doing research (or just curious) about just about any aspect of Victorian London.  His recent book, “Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight against Filth” is on my to-read list.

Finally, for the 4,481 times that someone has come to my blog during the past year, I hope that I have educated and entertained, and promise that I shall endeavour to continue to do so.

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Old House Idiosyncrasies #3–The Coffin Corner?

An item from the always interesting History Myths Debunked blog brings up the notion of the Coffin Corner.

Source: casacara.wordpress.com

Source: casacara.wordpress.com

In many old houses, at least in many that have steep winding stairs, at the bend in the stairs, there will be a sort of niche in the wall, typically housing a vase with some dried flowers, or maybe even a marble bust, if the house is fancy enough. These little niches are sometimes called “coffin corners”, and were purportedly built into the wall to allow a bit more room to navigate a coffin around the bend in the staircase.

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Fantastic Devices to Improve your Steampunk Reality: The Difference Engine

This post ponders a topic that I consider when writing Steampunk/Alternate History: How much real (vs. fantastical) science and technology to include in your writing.

Airships, Automatons, and Aliens...Oh My!

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Airships. Steam powered trains. Carriages drawn by mechanical horses, or self-propelled. When most people think of steampunk, these types of images frequently come to mind. Often these images are accompanied by automatons running amok, strange contraptions that bare little, if any resemblance to devices that currently exist, filled with cogs, gears and springs.

When it comes to the technology of a steam punk reality, the expectation seems to be big and impressive. But perhaps in a reality where the steam engine never gave way to the modern internal combustion engine, there is still a chance of a similar technological revolution. Perhaps in a world of steampunk, the world would be forever changed by a single device. A device that could take complex data and simplify it, translating it into information that the common man could use. We have the computer; our steampunk counterparts might have The Difference Engine.

For one…

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Encyclopaedia Caledonica–Airships

Note:  From time to time, I will be posting selections from what I’m writing, or entries from various fictional sources on background information on the world of my book series. (Are these blogs canon?  Sure.  For now, at least.)  I’ll denote them by using the Fiction tag and coloring the text blue.

The entry in the Encyclopædia Caledonica (1876 Abridged Edition for the British Public) for the “Airships” is as follows:

AIRSHIPS—The airship is the pinnacle of development of the art of air travel, having progressed past balloons (which lack the ability to travel in a desired direction, other than that provided by the caprice of the winds) and aerostats (which are merely tethered in place to the ground). Airships are thus equipped with means for both propulsion and navigation through the air.

History. It may be considered that the airship as a technological advance overcame many Continue reading