For Steam And Country – Now on Kindle Unlimited

I had a great conversation with my publisher today and with the exciting news about the Dragon Award nomination for Star Realms: Rescue Run, we agreed it’d be a great thing to run a promotion for my other novel, For Steam And Country. If you haven’t checked it out, go do so! It’s extremely well reviewed and free!
https://www.amazon.com/Steam-Country-Adventures-Baron-Monocle-ebook/dp/B071JNR9HB

Geekchats: All Things Steampunk with Beth Cato!

Tomorrow, Tuesday June 11th at 12 PM PST, I have a very special guest on for Geekchats, author Beth Cato, famous for her Clockwork Dagger and Blood of Earth series, some of the best steampunk and alt-history around. We’re going to chat all things steampunk from tropes to alt-history to final fantasy and back again. Full disclaimer: I have never received any cookies or other baked goods from Ms. Cato.

Watch below:

 

Beth Cato: http://www.bethcato.com/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Cato/e/B006S84MNO

And note that her novel, Breath of Earth is my recommendation for the Dragon Award for Best Alternate History. Vote Beth here! http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php

Jon Del Arroz: http://www.delarroz.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jon-Del-Arroz/e/B01NBOZVCP

And my Star Realms: Rescue Run is making great traction toward best military science fiction or fantasy for the dragons as well. Only a couple weeks left to nominate! http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php

#SteampunkMonth Review: Everland by Wendy Spinale

I went into Everland not knowing what to expect. I saw steampunk wings on a cover, heard it was a Peter Pan retelling but Steampunk, and that was enough to get me in the door. It turns out it’s more of a “twisted fairy tale” which I found out afterward is a genre in and of itself. Some of the Peter Pan elements were there. You had Hook and the Lost Boys and crocodiles and the like, but it really was its own story. It’s got much more unique elements than it has retelling, so be aware of the going in. I find that a good thing personally.

London has been hit by some devastating weapon/virus that has turned it into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The way they talk made the time period tough to pin down, but it seems like it was a WWI-WWII era type of event. At first I thought it was more Victorian than that, but there’s some technology and the way they talk that wouldn’t have fit for that time period. There’s no reference to Nazis or anything like that, it’s got its own timeline and own villains, including Hook’s mother who is a distant queen in Germany who apparently has been spearheading these assaults.

All the adults are dead, a trope we’ve seen before. And this one also has all the girls dead or dying, girls are a very rare thing in London. We have Wendy, who’s been renamed Gwen, taking care of her little brother and sister. They’ve been orphaned and Gwen is trying to just keep them safe – until they come across Peter and Bella (Tinkerbell, but just a standard girl with some wings steam-tech) who set them off on an adventure as Wendy’s sister Joanna is kidnapped by Hook. Wendy vows to do anything to get them back.

Over the course of the book we learn about the Lost Boys, where they hide, how they’ve survived and their dilemas, and a lot more about the virus. I was actually about to not buy the world because of a couple of things that get explained around 2/3 through the book in a little bit of a twist that I won’t spoil. It really makes the world work so if your’e having trouble with the disease and all that from suspension of disbelief point, it helps there.

I did have a little trouble in suspension of disbelief with the kids survival, especially the character Doc, with how much he was able to do, develop medicines etc. Seemed a little much for the age group, but this is aimed at middle grade who probably view later teenagers as their elders. A minor thing we can ignore.

Gwen was done great character wise. This is in first person present and actually there are chapters from Hook’s perspective, still first person present. Spinale (the author) does a great job of differentiating between these two perspectives and an A+ on characterization from that front. It makes the book worth reading.

The action really picks up toward the end, the pacing is absolutely execellent as well. There are some points where it’s just a little hard to suspend disbelief as it all picks up, but if you can get past that and just have fun, this makes for a good dystopia and good twisted fairy tale effort. The steampunk elements are pretty light other than some reference to zeppelins and a couple other things. I could have used a bit more worldbuilding across the board on that front to really get a feel for the differences for what’s going on. Some nice use of historical art and landmarks though make this worthwhile, especially for letting your kids read.

Overall, a fun and light outing, even in such a dystopian world. If you like Peter Pan, you’ll get a kick out of how Spinale twisted things, and if you enjoy dystopian YA, you’ll probably love this book.

8/10

#SteampunkMonth Review: The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis

The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis is a Steampunk war story about a woman who, by luck and her willingness to fight, becomes an airship captain. She is set up by the general, with his nephew Bernat being sent aboard to report on her and provide evidence she’s incompetent.

After the opening battle, the first third or so of the book progresses naturally along these lines with Josette trying to establish her command, and Bernat attempting to foil that, until it gets into the thick of the book where a great battle is promised and then delivered upon.

The plot is pretty straightforward so it’s a bit hard to talk about that without spoiling it, but those who want an epic steampunk war piece will not be disappointed. The amazon listing states this is in the tradition of Honor Harrington, and I think that despite the setting change from space to airships, this book delivers on that about perfectly. Fans of David Weber should absolutely love this.

For my personal tastes, the Weber-esque aspects were the weakest parts of the book. It goes into hefty detail on the workings of the airship, the procedures of the crew, etc. Now this isn’t bad writing by any means, it was all very competently done, but those stretches of pages don’t appeal to me, and they occupy large portions of the book’s real estate in hefty detail. That said, it will likely appeal to every other science fiction reader out there big time, so it’s understandable why it was written that way.

Where Bennis actually does quite well that goes beyond what Weber’s done in my opinion is provide a very excellent dichotomy of characters. Josette is rough, rugged and a hard worker to root for. Bernat at first may drive you crazy, and you’ll find yourself agreeing with Josette’s internal and external assessments of him, but he grows on you as his intelligence and wit are revealed. The side characters like Bernat’s lordly uncle and Jutes are well done and memorable also.

The best part of the book, however, is the tone. It’s so masterfully done and multi-dimensional. While it’s a very dark story, really highlighting the horrors of war and making a very gritty environment, the sense of humor and sarcasm from the characters makes a wonderful balance to that. I laughed out loud at several points during the book, which is very difficult to make me do. And at the same time I felt horrible for the characters for what they were thrust into. Being able to achieve both of those moods simultaneously is an incredible feat in writing. This adds a layer to the characters where they don’t just feel like military grunts.

It’s paced very well, and the developments are very nice in terms of the war. I wish we’d see a little bit more of the personal side of the characters, as things are hinted at but the focus stays very much on the war. That’s natural given the crazed state they’re in, but there are points where we could have seen just a little bit more of a push in that direction.

On the war itself, I do appreciate the author’s subtle anti-war messaging to it, the way that Bernat as a lordling really can’t explain what the war’s about and why it matters, nor can the military in Josette. They try, but the reasons are thin. They just have to destroy the enemy because. And sometimes our real wars feel like that in earnest, especially in the last few decades.  Josette’s sense of duty despite this is both admirable in points, and makes you want to scream at her to do something else – but it does always come off well developed and natural. This message didn’t come across as preachy at all either, which is a bonus.

On the flip side, I didn’t feel much sense of progress from Josette or Bernat internally. The latter gave up on his mission to destroy her, but didn’t really change or develop in much of a sense. Josette by the same token had her command firmed up, but the same in terms of lack of much internal development. And I didn’t get a great sense of resolution of the war – now this is consistent with the worldbuilding as the war is talked about as a multi-generational thing that never seems to end, but I would have liked a clearer resolution in that regard where I at least felt some progress was made one way or another.

There is one other message of the whole women are oppressed and held down and everyone’s sexist which is not subtle at all, and while at certain points of the book it can get a bit burdensome, I don’t find it as overwhelming as I have in some books. Still at this point, there are far too many books with that monolithic message where it rings propagandic from publishers in our society rather than ringing true, and it’s not fun to read in the least. For the majority of the book though, it doesn’t have much of an impact or cause too much of a problem.

The prose is about perfect. I mentioned the wit and humor at points, but the descriptions of all the airship components and the workings are really marvelous. You feel very immersed in the world as a reader, it’s incredible. This is a great steampunk fantasy world that’s sensible in every regard.

I’ve put a lot of criticism in here but the real reason for that is I was so immersed that I care about the book, settings, and characters. It’s very few and far between that a book makes me care to that level of detail or that I can envision so much of it so vividly.  I found all of it memorable, and extremely well done. I’ll go so far to say that this is the best book of 2017 to this point about halfway through the year. Highly recommended.

9/10

 

#Steampunk Month Retro Anime Review: Steamboy

The first comment my wife made for this movie was during the opening crawl, where she said “why is it that all these take place in Manchester, 1866.” Too true. Then again, she watches primarily BBC historical dramas, which all seem to take place in such a setting. This took a different take.

I watched the dubbed version becuase I couldn’t resist Patrick Stewart, which I found to be good. It was weird hearing an english accent iwth translated dialogue and lips that didn’t move quite right, but I’ll forgive that as a necessity of the movie.

This is the story about a boy who gets a mysterious package of some steam tech that his father/grandfather were developing. People are chasing after it because it can be used as war weapons, and he goes on an adventure to a world’s fair kind of set up that it escalates further into people tyring to steal tech, automotons attacking, and a giant steam castle that moves through the air and causes all sorts of havoc.

I found it interesting how all the charactesr talked about science as relgiion, almost creepily so. They kept saying science shouldn’t fall into the wrong hands, science would be gbest for humanity, this is the age of science! The mantra feels a lot like certain groups today, and it leads to the hubris and ultimate destruction wrought in the film.

The main character boy was cool. I liked everything about him, his initiative, his smarts, his willingness to defend himself. The O’Hara girl got kinda annoying at points, and the father and grandfather were downright stubborn. I’m still not sure what to conclude of it as the story while it follows a very linear path that’s predictable with the machinery, doesn’t really resolve the elements of the familial aspects that are inteesting at the beginning. They all kind of work together later, but the ultimate resolution is unsatisfying.

Overall, the pacing is pretty good, I liked the main character to watch all the way through, art was pretty decent, and I loved the steam tech all over the place–those concepts were awesome, but it was missing something that made it something to connect to in a big way like I had with Akira, one of Otomo’s other films. I know he took a long time to work on this, but the story could have been better honed. It’s worth a watch once, but probably not multiple times.

7/10

Great Book Launch!

Thanks again to everyone who bought For Steam And Country. Please remember to review on Amazon and Goodreads — it’s most important to have reviews when people are looking at it, like now. Write to what you know, edit it later. It’s a promotional tool, that’s all reviews are for, don’t have to overthink it.

I’m way too tired after working about 24 hours on marketing to post much substantive today. We’ll resume #SteampunkMonth posting on Monday with some cool topics 🙂

 

 

For Steam And Country Media Round Up

Release day has gone AMAZING! We’re already up to #1 hot release for Steampunk books, which just floors me. As it stands now it’s hovering around #4,000 on Amazon overall (big!) and #4 in Steampunk overall. Huge thanks to everyone who picked the book up.

The book is here if you haven’t seen it. If you have, please leave a review now! Even if it’s short, write based on what you know. You can edit it later. What it does is shows people who are looking at Amazon that other folk are reading and approve of the book, which is huge for getting random folk to click: http://bit.ly/forsteamandcountry 

Also don’t forget to copy your reviews/ratings to goodreads, and add to the shelf there. If you want to spend more time, there’s lists, and if you upvote the book that’s a big help too:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35378932-for-steam-and-country

Again thanks everyone so much especially folk in Realm Makers, CLFA, Gab.ai, Pulp Revolution, Superversive, Clockwork Alchemy and any other groups I may have missed.

Below is all the cool media coverage I’ve gotten all over the internet today (at least that I could remember, sorry if I missed your site, add to the comments if I did!)

For Steam And Country Media Round-Up:

Prequel Flash Fiction Story:

http://www.uprisingreview.com/battle-cry-liliana/  (Most important! read this with the book!)

Guest Posts:

http://www.castaliahouse.com/steampunkmonth-recovering-a-genre-that-never-existed-by-jon-del-arroz/

http://maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/favorite-bit-jon-del-arroz-talks-steam-country/

http://jimbossffreviews.blogspot.com/2017/06/writing-from-different-perspective.html

 

The Awesome Music Video:

https://benzwycky.com/tag/for-steam-and-country/

 

Sample Of Audio :

http://www.superversivesf.com/2017/05/25/one-page-podcast-steam-country-jon-del-arroz/

 

Interviews:

https://brefaucheux.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/congrats-to-jon-del-arroz/

https://www.oddnugget.com/steam-powered-prose-jon-del-arroz-writer-interviews-1/

http://www.uprisingreview.com/author-interview-jon-del-arroz/

https://daniel-humphreys.net/2017/06/15/new-release-day-for-steam-and-country/

Reviews:

https://thecatholicgeeks.com/2017/06/15/review-of-jon-del-arrozs-for-steam-and-country/

http://www.steampunkchronicle.com/ArticleView/tabid/238/ArticleId/637/A-Maiden-Voyage.aspx

http://injusticegamer.blogspot.com/2017/06/injustice-quick-reviews-28.html

 

Mentions:

http://injusticegamer.blogspot.com/2017/06/injustice-quick-reviews-28.html

http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/2017/06/15/signal-boost-for-steam-and-country/

http://www.scifiwright.com/2017/06/for-steam-and-country-by-jon-del-arroz/

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/267264/

http://www.bookhorde.org/2017/06/new-release-with-excerpt-for-steam-and.html

http://www.museled.com/2017/05/announcing-for-steam-and-country-by-jon.html

http://jimfear138.blogspot.com/2017/06/for-steam-and-country-is-available.html

 

 

Release Day!!!!

For Steam And Country is out! Today is the big day. I know you’ll really enjoy this book. Buy For Steam And Country, check it out, tell your friends. http://bit.ly/forsteamandcountry on Amazon now! Both paperback and ebook are available. Audiobook will be later. I’ll have guest blogs and interviews all over the internet today.

Synopsis:

Her father’s been pronounced dead. Destructive earthquakes ravage the countryside. An invading army looms over the horizon. And Zaira’s day is just getting started…

Abandoned at an early age, Zaira von Monocle found life as the daughter of a great adventurer to be filled with hard work and difficulty. She quickly learned to rely on only herself. But when a messenger brought news that her father was dead and that she was the heir to his airship, her world turned upside down.

Zaira soon finds herself trapped in the midst of a war between her home country of Rislandia and the cruel Wyranth Empire, whose soldiers are acting peculiarly—almost inhuman. With the enemy army advancing, her newfound ship’s crew may be the only ones who can save the kingdom.

For Steam and Country is the first book in the Adventures of Baron Von Monocle series by top-10 Amazon best selling space opera author, Jon Del Arroz.

 “Witty, charming and downright thrilling!  Del Arroz nails the feel of good old fashioned Steampunkery with wit, aplomb and of course… panache.” – Nick Cole, author of the Dragon Award winner, CTRL ALT Revolt

“FOR STEAM AND COUNTRY is a rousing girl-powered fantasy tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this action-packed airship adventure!” – Laurie Forest, author of The Black Witch

Excerpt:

Six people in dark clothes descended from the side of the ship’s hull, rappelling down long ropes. They hollered like maniacs, brandishing guns and swords.

Our guard stumbled backward, mouth agape. He shook where he stood, staring at me. His Wyranth uniform had several holes in it. Before he could do or say anything else, he fell to the ground.

Blood pooled around his body. I dragged my feet and backed away. Bile rose in my throat faster than I could suppress. I’d never seen a dead man before, let alone one killed so brutally.

The six commandos from the airship dropped to the ground. They spread out, five of them circling around me and James. One I recognized as Marina, but the sixth member of the party surprised me — Captain von Cravat. She glowered at me, but her attention shifted when more shots rang out.

One of the Liliana’s commandos collapsed. The three Wyranth soldiers who had left stood with their guns trained on us, using a nearby tree as cover. My rescuers returned fire, several shots hitting one of the Wyranth soldiers in the shoulder. He fell.

The other two Wyranth soldiers wasted no time. Major Anton moved the quickest, charging the circle of my rescuers. His companion fired his gun behind him to cover him, keeping Major Anton from getting shot. Before I could think to yelp, Major Anton had a knife to my throat.

For Steam And Country – Release Tomorrow – Your Marching Orders For The Grand Rislandian Army!

Tomorrow marks the release of For Steam And Country: Book One of The Adventures of Baron Von Monocle. I’m super thrilled to share this Steampunk fantasy novel with you. Reviewers are also loving the book. Steampunk Chronicle says it’s “a solid adventure tale, much in the mold of Patrick O’Brian.”

The goal is to make a huge splash on release day, and here’s how we’re going to do that together:

  1. Make sure to pick up a copy at http://bit.ly/forsteamandcountry (Remember, don’t buy this until tomorrow, Thursday, June 15th! We want the rankings to hit all on the same day)
  2. Share that link on all of your social media platforms and with any of your friends into fantasy/steampunk/science fiction. There’s a lot of Steampunk or book groups on Facebook, join and share! That does so much help you have no idea.
  3. Add it to your shelf, vote it up on the lists that it’s on so people see it. Leave a star rating. The link is here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35378932-for-steam-and-country
  4. Leave an Amazon review. Even if you’re only a few pages in, people who come to Amazon look for reviews to see how many other people are into something. You can edit it later when you’ve finished, but we need as many showing as possible day one. Write to what you know, be honest, but post it up there!
  5. If you’re on Gab.ai, we are taking over there. Post all day with the hashtag #ForSteamAndCountry so we can get a trending topic going. If you’re not, sign up: http://gab.ai . It’s easy and free. It’s a new social network and the people there are very friendly. It’ll take about 200 posts to get this trending, and I need your help! Talk about everything, ask questions, use the hashtag. I’m @otomo on there if you want to tag me. Can do this on Twitter as well of course. Please tag me with #Steampunk on there at least so this book comes up on that hashtag. Gab is my primary focus, however.

Then keep telling your friends. If you want, let your favorite authors know if you find my writing like their work. Get them to share too. It’s all about the multiplier effect of social media. Trust me, I’ve gotten some crazy things going before, and this time it’s about an AWESOME book so it should be easy. Everyone will love For Steam And Country, young and old.

On a side note. I have beautiful bookmarks to give out. I’ll mail them out to anyone who’s interested free of charge. Leave a comment below if you do, and I’ll grab your email from there and get your address.

Thank you so much for your support. It means a ton to me. I try to acknowledge everyone as best I can, but every single person who reads my work means the world. You’re the best readers anyone could ever hope for, and I hope to keep providing great books to you for years to come.

Tally ho! For Steam And Country!