Fight Like A Girl Launch

Jo_RozOn April 2nd, Joanne Hall and I hosted the launch of our latest collaboration, the anthology Fight Like A Girl. It took place in the Hatchet Inn, which is one of several pubs that can lay claim to being the oldest in Bristol (it’s complicated).

Being BristolCon, we don’t believe in doing something easy when we could be doing something spektaklier, so with a little help from the Foundation fund and a lot of help from our friends (Hi John Bav!), we ran what attendees were soon calling a ‘mini-con’, with readings from contributors Lou Morgan, Sophie E Tallis and Danie Ware, whose idea it all was, and a panel discussion hosted with exquisite expertise by the lovely Cheryl Morgan. We had demonstrations of sword fighting from School of the Sword ladies Lizzie Rose and Fran Terminiello (also a contributor) and the astonishing Aikido black belt Juliet E. McKenna (Also a contributor.)

Cheryl has audio from the mixing deskfran and will no doubt be producing a high-quality podcast of the readings and panel in due course. I had video from my iPhone, supplemented by clips from Pete Sutton and photos from Sophie (cheers!), and have produced a lo-fi highlights reel of the afternoon’s entertainment, which you can view on YouTube here.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped make both the book and the event happen!


Fight Like A Girl GoodReads Giveaway

It’s tough to be a sword for hire when nobody’s hiring, but if you’re a bit short of funds to spend on your copy of Fight Like A Girl, enter our special Goodreads Giveaway. It runs from now until April 30th. The book launches on April 2nd, and features stories by female writers including Juliet McKenna, Gaie Sebold, Danie Ware, Lou Morgan and Julia Knight.

Enter using the widget below and please don’t forget to add the book to your To-Read shelf. Best of luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fight Like A Girl by Joanne Hall

Fight Like A Girl

Giveaway ends April 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Cap’n Clarke’s Airship Ball Report

Airship Ball 003 - sepia

…and it’s away! Saturday saw the second and final launch date for Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion, which now sails out into the world. Bon Voyage, old girl.

It was a… unique event, and an evening of firsts. The Folk House Cafe laid on a spread of cucumber sandwiches and superlative cake (I especially enjoyed the tiny coconut things), and folk turned up in their finery to eat it. We had the artwork from the anthology on display (unfortunately we had to tuck it out of the way, so you can get a better idea of it on Andy’s DeviantArt site.)


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John Hawkes-Reed talks robot elephants

The first divertissement came from John Hawkes-Reed, who gave us a world exclusive on an alternate history par excellence, of which you can read the transcript here: Hacking the Jaquard-7: the development of the steam-powered elephant automaton, complete with demonstrations of coding via organ-roll, and photographs telling of failed experiments therein.

We then had adaptations of two stories from Airship Shape; ‘Brass and Bone’ by Joanne Hall, adapted by Deborah Walker, and ‘Artifice Perdu’ by Pete Sutton, adapted by Pete and me.

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Ken Shinn, Myfanwy Rodman, Des Fischer & Jo Hall performing ‘Brass and Bone’


Ken Shinn again, Duncan Thow, Scott Lewis, Claire Hutt & Pete Sutton performing ‘Artifice Perdu’














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Cheryl gets cheese

Jo and I wanted to thank Cheryl for prompting us to do a steampunk anthology, and for going through unspeakable torment figuring out how to get Wizard’s Tower’s first ever print book into shops and through letter boxes everywhere. I was going to get a bouquet of flowers, but Jo suggested a bouquet of cheeses, and that seemed to go down pretty well. Cheryl has links to more info about the cheese on her write-up of the evening, if you’re into that type of thing.

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Half of Cauda Pavonis (people’s heads kept getting in the way)

Pat Hawkes-Reed's octopus cake

Pat Hawkes-Reed’s octopus cake

Next up were Cauda Pavonis, a local goth band who left their uber-drums at home and did their first ever semi-acoustic ‘unplugged’ style gig. It fit into the evening perfectly, with dramatic songs about Weyland Smithy and the carnivale noire.



The cake at this stage took a turn for the weird, courtesy of Pat Hawkes-Reed:






Heike Harding-Reyland as Queenie Green

Finally, we awarded the prize for the best representation of a character from Airship Shape. Honourable mentions go to just about everyone; so many people dressed up and they all looked glorious. There could only be one winner though, and a signed copy of Eugene Byrne’s Unbuilt Bristol went to Heike Harding-Reyland for her Queenie Green outfit. Many thanks to Eugene for so kindly donating the book, and for supporting the anthology with his incredible expertise on Bristol history. Well done to Heike for a truly amazing costume. I’ll leave you with Heike, her budding fern people, and a few other pictures of the revellers. Thank you all for coming, and making it such a fabulous night.

Claire Morley

Claire Fisher

Piotr Swietlik

Piotr Swietlik

Scott Lewis as 'Airship Shape'

Scott Lewis as ‘Airship Shape’

Kolonel Mustard as 'Bristol Fashion'

Kolonel Mustard as ‘Bristol Fashion’

Ken Shinn

Ken Shinn

Jo and I talk Airships with Cheryl on Ujima Radio

Cheryl has posted a link to a download of yesterday’s Women’s Outlook show, on which she and Paulette talked to various luminaries about women in the media before Jo and I invaded the studio to talk about Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion, and why steampunk and Bristol are such a perfectly engineered match.

Airship Ready – Launches Imminent


I’m a little tardy with the announcementising here, but there’s a bundle of Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion joy to shout about this week.

Firstly, the book is now available to buy as an e-book direct from Wizard’s Tower Press. If you prefer a good old-fashioned paper-based reading experience, you can get a print copy without causing capitalist guilt-pains by ordering from Tangent books. Amazon and the Book Depository have it, too, and currently they’re the places to head to if you want the hardback. (You want it. It’s silkily strokable.)

If you’re lucky enough to live in Bristol, you can also buy copies direct from us. We’ll be selling them at the Fringe reading in March (which I just happen to be reading at!) and at the two Airship Launch events.

The first and formal launch will be at Forbidden Planet on March 8th from 1-2 pm and will feature signings and readings from contributors. The second, sillier and more caketastic event will be the Airship Ball at the Folk House Cafe on March 29th in the evening. The Ball will involve dramatic readings, presentations, a Victorian picnic, a cosplay contest and music from Cauda Pavonis. Tickets are available from eventbrite, or (avoiding their fees) direct from us. Picnic tickets must be bought in advance, but a cheaper ‘latecomer’ ticket will be sold on the door, subject to availability. Contact me or comment here or on Facebook for more details.

There’s a discount on tickets for the Ball with a purchase of a print copy of the anthology.

What else? Oh yes, we had a lovely review from Martha Hubbard, who says lots of things but I’ll just quote this; “What has emerged is a collection of quirky, thoughtful, often challenging ‘what if?’ stories, that, whilst celebrating Bristol’s awesome technological achievements, and world class inventors and explorers, men and women of courage and curiosity, do not shy away at exposing its unsavoury past as a major slave transit port.”

…which is exactly what we were aiming for. \o/

We Will Publish – Join Us!

A couple of days ago, fellow writer and Bristol SF clan member Pete Sutton announced on Twitter that he was going to write, and submit, a story every month in 2014. Working on the stories would, as an added bonus, serve as warm-up sessions for writing a novel.

I immediately shouted ME TOO ME TOO and boarded that bandwagon with my cutlass between my teeth.

We bandied around the notion of punishment vs reward. I realised that I’m pretty much a ‘stick’ person (insert joeks here); I work best my shaming myself into doing it, so this project – public goals and all – is probably enough motivation in itself. Pete’s a ‘carrot’ person though. We decided that, if we could get enough people on board to ensure a decent pool of stories (after all, some of them hopefully will be sold), we’d do an anthology in 2015.

Peer review of each story is optional; I will pledge to crit every story sent in to the group.

In quick succession we hooked a few more writers, and the roster currently looks like this:

Pete Sutton (@suttope)
Roz Clarke (@zora_db)
Jon Allison (@joncallison)
Ian Millsted
Christopher Caldwell (@seraph76)
Derek Zumsteg (@milhous)
Stephen Blake (@uncannyblake)
Piotr Swietlik

More people would be very welcome! We realise that it’s pretty late in January, but if you want to join, don’t be put off – a story you’ve already written but haven’t submitted to market yet would do, or scramble something together quickly, or just skip January and carry on. You get a free pass – just this once, mind!

Whatever happens, at least one of the stories you write will see print, and hopefully many more.


Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion – ToC

Huzzah! Herewith the running order for Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion:

Less Than Men

Case of the Vapours, by Ken Shinn
Brassworth, by Christine Morgan
The Lesser Men Have No Language, by Deborah Walker
Brass and Bone, by Joanne Hall

 Lost Souls

The Girl with Red Hair, by Myfanwy Rodman
Artifice Perdu, by Peter Sutton
Miss Butler and the Handlander Process, by John Hawkes-Reed
Something in the Water, by Cheryl Morgan
The Chronicles of Montague and Dalton: The Hunt for Alleyway Agnes, by Scott Lewis

Travelling Light

The Sound of Gyroscopes, by Jonathan L. Howard
Flight of Daedalus, by Piotr Šwietlik
The Traveller’s Apprentice, by Ian Millsted
Lord Craddock: Ascension, by Stephen Blake
The Lanterns of Death Affair, by Andy Bigwood

Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion – #amediting

We’re a couple of weeks into the editing process for Airship Shape now, and everyone who submitted a story should have heard back from us. It’s been a lot of fun, as well as hard work. It’s particularly rewarding making contact with writers: some old friends, and some completely new to the SF&F scene. I can’t publish the contents yet, but watch out for that in the next couple of weeks.

Call for Submissions: Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion

That’s right! It’s time for another anthology. Joanne Hall and I are teaming up with Wizard’s Tower Press again, to bring you the best of Bristolian steampunk. The project is supported by the BristolCon Foundation, which aims to encourage up-and-coming local writers and artists working within the sphere of speculative fiction.

You can find out more, including details on how to submit, from the Wizard’s Tower website or the BristolCon site.