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Who wants to live at Highclere with me?

Edwardian Splendor – Highclere Castle (or Wentworth Woodhouse IRL) – Photograph Courtesy of Savills

So I fell down a great house rabbit hole today. I was looking up pictures of some of the English great houses, trying to scout potential locations for my steampunk character, Esme, to reside with her husband, the Earl of Harrogate (no, that’s not a real title), and I found an article on Architectural Digest listing some amazing English country homes for sale… including Highclere Castle from Downton Abbey! OMG. If I only had a mere 11 million! Wanna go in with me?

Chedington Court, Dorset UK – Courtesy of Savills

Also for sale was this beauty – Chedington Court. Just a quaint little place in the Dorset countryside, right? We’d have to rough it a bit, might have to struggle to find accomodations for our lady’s maid or valet, but I suppose if it’s just for the weekend… 🙂

One of my favorite things about writing steampunk – other than the steampunkiness of the gadgets and the airships and the Don’t Point That at My Continent weapons – are the Victorian influences. The gorgeous clothing, genteel manners, and elegant speech patterns create a civilized and rarified experience… right up until my sassy heroine sticks a gold-plated derringer up the charming villain’s nostril and threatens to blow his oh-so-proper brains out.

These lovely country homes are part of the fabric of those times. And just as soon as about a million of you fans go out and buy the first book in the upcoming series, The Harrogate Chronicles, (available this summer, so stay tuned), I’ll be booking a trip for me and co-author Susan Wachowski to stay in one of these grand old places!

In the meantime, however, as I am forced to enjoy more mundane environments, I believe a spot of tea is just the thing to lift my spirits. I’ll just call for my butler dog, Admiral Lord Nelson, to trundle the tea cart into my drawing room home office. Okay, so it’s not a tea cart, it’s a rusty Radio Flyer wagon with a wonky wheel. And in actuality, he refuses to be harnessed to it. So, I suppose I’ll be carrying the tea tray tea cup mug myself. Sigh. It’s just so hard to get good help these days!

Poodles, Admiral Lord Nelson the Pushy Poodle, Dogs

Adventures at Geneva Steam 2019!

My co-author Susan Wachowski summed up our Con experience so eloquently that it would be pointless to for me to even try. So enjoy, dear reader! We surely did!

Susan Wachowski

and about my first subscriber special perk!

Picture courtesy of Carol Hornung (c)2019

It is the wee hours of the night on Thursday and the pile in the living room next to the suitcase grows every few minutes. There is enough snackage to get us through at least 2 weeks of our 3 day stay-or the Automazomb apocalypse. A large stuffed Squid with overflowing tentacles sits in the chair. It must be time for Geneva Steam Con!

Geneva Steam was my first time as panelist at a convention as an author and not a painter or organizer. It was part thrill, part panic, and part wide-eyed apprentice who lost their goggles! Although Nan and I didn’t get our first book out in time for the convention (we’re waiting on an awesome cover artist), the convention was incredibly understanding and welcoming! We are thankful and grateful to Emily and

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Krakens, Conventions, and Embarassing Photo Opps!

Greetings from the other side of the Writer/Reader Veil. I’ve got some exciting news to share! Co-author Susan Wachowski and I are ALMOST READY to send the first in our new steampunk adventure series, The Harrogate Chronicles (working title of the series, atm) off to our editor (while waiting impatiently for the first peek at our cover). It was such a joy to write! It’s a tale of two strong, feisty women, from completley different worlds, come together to defeat a charming, roguish, and utterly dastardly man in acquiring a relic of unspeakable power. It’s like… Amelia Peabody meets Indiana Jones, a deux! We cannot wait to share it with you!

But while the publication date is a few months off, never fear… you’ll get a taste of the world and the characters very very soon. In fact, for Geneva Steam Convention (at which we’ll be appearing in just over a week), we’ve written a short story entitled Teacakes and Kraken Bait, which Sue will be reading from. And once we’ve ‘released’ it there, we’ll be making it available to you folks too! Watch this space, or my FB page for details on how to get a copy!


Image by Zianth on Pixaby

I will be also be doing a reading at the Con – a chapter from the first novel in the series, tentatively named (until our editor gets hold of it) Atahualpa’s Mummy. Pretty sure we’ll be posting that as a teaser here and there as well, so definitely stay tuned.

And speaking of the Con, if you’re local to the Chicagoland or southern Wisconsin area, please consider coming. This is a terrific con and Sue and I are thrilled to be able to attend this year for the first time. My costume is coming together, although it’ll probably take me another year or so to really be happy with it. Hmm… I smell embarassing photo opps now. LOL Anyway, hope to see you there!

Transparency & Identity

Let’s be clear here.  Not invisible, but transparent.  As in, minimally opaque.  Like a brand new window pane.  Nancy Bach is me.  Nan Sampson is me.  Nancy Sampson-Bach is me.  And I don’t have multiple personalities (well, no more than any other writer out there!).  However, I do need to have different ‘brands’ for the different genres I write in. So for mystery, I am Nan Sampson.  For Steampunk, Fantasy, and Science Fiction, I am Nancy Bach.  And IRL I am… well, I respond to a variety of names.  Even Mary (my father used to call me that, and no one knows why) or Amy (which my grandmother called me and which was the dog’s name).  LOL

So if you see my mug associated with any of the above, now you know why.  I AM a real person and I’m only ONE person.  I mean, really, I don’t think the world could handle more than one of me.  That might violate some hitherto unknown law of time and space, and things might go kerblooey.  Not good.

Anyway, just wanted to be, ahem, translucent, about that. 🙂

 

Old heroes don’t die – they just appear in your next novel.

Peter Tork

As some of you know, I am an enormous history buff.  And a bit of an obsessive personality.  Therefore it is not uncommon for me to sprinkle historical characters, some better disguised than others, into my fiction, as sort of personal Easter Eggs.  It started out as a bit of fun and because I’m a nerd, but now I am discovering a new purpose.

Let me rewind the tape player here for a moment.  I learned this morning of Peter Tork’s passing.  If you’re of my generation (read: older than dirt), you’ll remember Peter as the goofy one of The Monkees, that fabricated pop band of the 60s.  The death hit me like a punch to the gut.  As Freddy might have said, ‘Another one bites the dust’.

For me, it has been a hard few years for celebrity deaths.  When 2016 started out with the deaths of David Bowie, Glenn Frey, and Alan Rickman, I began to dread the next ‘event’.  They seemed to come fast and furious and I felt I was losing the touchstones of my youth.  Recently however, it has dawned on me that it wasn’t some sort of cosmic culling of my favorite people.  It wasn’t some celestial recall.  It was more to do with Time.

Those icons of my youth are simply starting to hit their expiration dates.  It’s not a matter of a bad year, it’s become the norm.  As sad and disheartening as it is, I must face the fact that my heroes, those people who helped me through my adolescent dark nights of the soul, cannot live forever.

Ah, said the writer in me, but they can!  Eureka!

All I have to do is pepper these folks into my fiction.  I can make them young and vigorous again – just like the Six Million Dollar Man.  I can inform a character with all their lovable, quirky, endearing traits, and maybe even a few of their more conflicted bits, and they’ll live forever on the pages of my stories.

So, be prepared.  One of these days in the not so distant future, you may be reading one of my steampunk adventures from The Harrogate Chronicles and say, hey, that highwayman reminds me of Tom Petty.  Or you’ll be enjoying one of the Gatekeeper fantasy novels and you’ll think, dang, Alan Rickman would be PERFECT in that role, and then you’ll smile.  And I will too.  And our heart’s pain will ease a little.

Requiescat in pace, Peter Tork.  You will be missed – but not forgotten.