Isaac Newton–Alchemist

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Isaac Newton, at age 46, portrait by Godfre Kneller, 1689.

Isaac Newton is one of the towering intellects in the history of Science.  He formulated the laws of motion, investigated the nature of light, and invented calculus, among many other accomplishments.  Less well known, however, are his experiments in chymistry. Continue reading

Happy Birthday Michael Faraday!

September 22, 1791 is the birthday of my favorite scientist, Michael Faraday.

Here is a portrait painted of him at age 51, looking much younger than he does in most of his later photographic portraits.

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Portrait of Michael Faraday in 1841, painted by Thomas Phillips.

If you’re interested in reading more about this fascinating man, see this blog post.  A slightly more fictional Michael Faraday also features prominently in my latest steampunk adventure novel, “The Secret Notebook of Michael Faraday.”

The Secret Notebook of Michael Faraday — Now Available!

I am happy to announce that my second book, The Secret Notebook of Michael Faraday, is now available!

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This novel is the second I’ve written in the Airship Flamel Adventures series, but is actually a prequel of my first novel, To Rule the SkiesWhen I wrote that book, I came to the realization that I was starting in the middle of Professor Nicodemus Boffin’s story.  This new book tells some of his history.  Here’s the synopsis:

Nicodemus Boffin rose from a boyhood in the ash heaps of East London to reach the pinnacles of British science when he is mentored by the great scientist, Michael Faraday. When Boffin finds a secret laboratory notebook in which Faraday has described incomprehensible experiments, Nicodemus wonders if Professor Faraday has discovered a new science, or has lost his faculties. Nicodemus’s rival, Viscount Whitehall-Barnes, seeks to gain the notebook by any means necessary to study the descriptions of a strange orange mineral with unusual properties which he believes is the alchemists’ Philosopher’s Stone. Realizing that the Viscount must never learn the secrets of the orange stone, Nicodemus takes action to keep the knowledge hidden, protect his family, and preserve the legacy of his mentor.

Besides telling the story of how Nicodemus Boffin grows from a poor but uncommonly clever boy in the slums of London to the forefront of Victorian British science, the novel features pompous aristocracy, a surprisingly capable laboratory assistant, and snarky air pirates.  Several Illustrious Personages may wander through the story as well.

The Secret Notebook of Michael Faraday is available in paperback and Kindle format at Amazon, and in many other ebook formats at Smashwords.

Thirty Days Later is here!

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Thirty Days Later, the steampunk short story anthology that I mentioned here launched a couple of weeks ago at Clockwork Alchemy, San Jose, California’s steampunk con.  I am honored to be amongst the talented writers that have come together to create this collection.  The concept is a bit different:  each writer pens two short stories–separated from each other by Thirty Days.

Proceeds from the book will be donated to literacy charities.  You can order Thirty Days Later from Amazon as paperback and for Kindle, and from Smashwords for many other ebook formats.

 

The Anteprologue to “To Rule the Skies”–Redux

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Back in September 2014, when I was preparing to launch my first book To Rule the Skies, I posted on this blog, an Anteprologue to the novel, that is, a prologue that comes before the actual prologue that begins the book.  At the time, I likened it to the short between-seasons webisodes that Doctor Who was presenting, or the Marvel One-Shots that served to connect the various Marvel Cinema movies.

I’ve continued to putter on this piece and have now re-written it a bit and fixed what I thought were some inconsistencies.  So, in celebration of 2016 Clockwork Alchemy, San Jose’s steampunk con that’s taking place this weekend, I’ve now published it as a free download on Smashwords. Take a look at it and let me know what you think.  If you like it, you might be interested in the novel that it’s an anteprologue of, also available on Smashwords as an ebook for everything but Kindle, and on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback.

And if you’re at Clockwork Alchemy this weekend, stop by Author’s Alley and say Hi to me and all the other talented authors that will be there.

Thirty Days Later is Coming!

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Do you like steampunk and cliffhangers? Adventure and intrigue? Dragons and Sasquatches? Then you’ll like the forthcoming anthology Thirty Days Later, Steaming Forward: 30 Adventures in Time, featuring pairs of stories by favorite steampunk authors who have appeared at the Clockwork Alchemy steampunk convention!

Thinking Ink Press is proud to announce we will publish Thirty Days Later in time for Clockwork Alchemy this Memorial Day. Edited by AJ Sikes, BJ Sikes, and Dover Whitecliff, Thirty Days Later is the sequel to the steampunk anthology Twelve Hours Later: 24 Tales of Myth and Mystery, a charity anthology to promote California literacy programs, and Thinking Ink Press is proud to donate half the royalties of Thirty Days Later to promote literacy.

I’m honored to be included in this year’s anthology.  My stories involve a Victorian astronomer who makes a world-changing discovery.  Or does he?  Only his more sensible assistant knows for sure. Or does she?

Thirty Days Later will launch at Clockwork Alchemy in San Jose, CA over the Memorial Day weekend.  Stay tuned for more news!

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.