Come out to pick up some great reads at the Book Fiends Readers Festival in Manchester

One thing I realized after attending my first steampunk festival last month is how much they love to read. When you consider classic authors like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are considered the Godfathers of Steampunk as we know it today, this much true. The steampunk genre revolves around everything from science fiction to romance, historical fiction to fantasy. But for some, its an obsession, and as an author, I want to encourage that type of obsessive behavior in people.

One of those groups is the Silk City Steampunk and Oddball Newt from Manchester, CT. They are hosting their third annual Book Fiends Readers Festival on Saturday, June 25, from 11am to 5pm at Cheney Hall, 177 Hartford Road, Manchester, CT. It is a celebration of steampunk, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, supernatural, paranormal, and poetry authors. The event is FREE and open to the public.

Besides meeting some great authors (including yours truly) and artists, there will be sword fighting demonstrations, food trucks, author panels, and BYOTC (Bring Your Own Tea Cup) for the Tea Cup contest. There will be a VIP meet & greet after the festival from 5pm to 7pm (tickets $10 per person). Visit Oddball Newt Productions for more information and for future steampunk events in Connecticut.

Events like these are great opportunities for you, the readers, to meet the authors of your future favorite books and pick up some great bargains to add to your summer reading list or to your bookshelf. Let’s help each other out in this endeavor. If you’re in the New York/New England area, I hope you take the time to come to the festival. I look forward to seeing you there!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available as a paperback/ebook at iUniverse Publishing,  Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series, is available as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid Publishing along with the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky PiratesThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of his current fantasy book series, plus so much more coming soon.

Watch City Steampunk Festival will turn gears and heads in Waltham, Massachusetts, May 7

With the Easter holiday weekend, I’m postponing the next installment of my Log Horizon fan fiction to let you know about an upcoming book signing event. I’ll be in Waltham, Mass., for the Watch City Steampunk Festival on Saturday, May 7, from 10am to 5pm on Waltham Commons, next to Waltham City Hall at 610 Main Street. The event is FREE and open to the public, rain or shine.

“Steampunk” is a literary and artistic movement that combines elements of Industrial-Revolution-era history and fashion with modern technology, science fiction, and whimsy. “What did the Victorians think the future would look like, and what if that’s the future that happened? What if everything that H.G Wells and Jules Verne wrote about came true?” said the Festival’s lead organizer, Melissa Honig.

This year’s event will feature multiple stages with music and performances; childrens’ activities; historical presentations; food trucks; and over 60 vendors bringing unique wares to Waltham the day before Mother’s Day. The Festival’s finale will feature rock band Celtica Nova. Just listen to them—bagpipes, violins, and rock n’ roll—they are amazing!

I’ll be there with my 2021 Firebird Book Award winner for Steampunk, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, as well as my books in the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. If you’re in the New England area, please stop by and say hello, buy a book, and be transported to a world of magic and machines. It’ll be a great time for all!

And just a little programming note, I will have the next chapter of my Log Horizon fan fiction next week. In the meantime, you can catch up on the story in its entirety on my fan fiction page!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.

The Last Magus joins The Outlander War as a 2021 Firebird Book Award winner

The Outlander War: Book 3 of the Forever Avalon Series, second-place winner in Fantasy, and The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, first-place winner in Steampunk, for the 2021 Firebird Book Awards, sponsored by Speak-up Talk Radio.

The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart was just named as a 2021 Firebird Book Award winner, first place in the Steampunk category. The Firebird Book Awards are sponsored by Speak Up Talk Radio. This is my second book to be recognized by these annual awards. In April, The Outlander War earned second place for fantasy from the Firebird Book Awards.

“Book contests are a proven way to tell the world that you have taken the time and effort to submit your work to scrutiny. An award seal on a book opens doors to interviews, press coverage, and lends additional credibility to writing and artistic careers, and dare we say–can increase sales.

“We chose the firebird to symbolize the award because the firebird is known as a magical helper and is believed to drop pearls from its beak when passing over peasant villages, to give the poor something to trade for food and other necessities. We hope, in some small way, that we too can help others via the donation aspect of these book awards.

“At Speak Up Talk Radio, our mantra has always been this: Speak Up–your words can change the world. You never know how your words affect those you may never meet. And to help you become a magical helper, like the mighty firebird who drops pearls, your entry fee is used as a tax deductible charitable donation to brighten the rooms of women and children in homeless shelters.

“All entry donations fund Enchanted Makeovers 501(c)3 women and children’s long term shelters renovation and transformation project, naming you as the donor.”

Marcus Gideon awoke at the crossroads outside the border town of Armändis. Lost, with no memory of his past life, he was left for dead by brigands… Stabbed through the heart. His life was saved by a blacksmith’s kindness who replaced his damaged heart with a mechanical, magical miracle—a clockwork heart. The gears turned, the motor spun, and his heart was beating again, powered by his magical energy.

Gideon was alive, but his savior was no ordinary blacksmith. Henry Botàn was a Magus, hiding out in Armändis to protect the weapons within his magical armory. The swords, spears, and other-worldly artifacts were potent in their rights, some cursed and even forbidden to wield. His responsibility was to protect these weapons from falling into the wrong hands, but he was old and past his prime. He needed an apprentice, and Marcus Gideon may be the one he waited all these years.

Now begins a new adventure, as Gideon searches for clues to his past, looking ahead toward his future in Attlain as THE LAST MAGUS. The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available as a book or ebook from Lulu and other booksellers.!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers. Get ready for The Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series, coming soon, and the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates.

Historical fiction takes you on another path, sometimes good and sometimes bad

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“The Man in the High Castle” fan art by Luis Guggenberger

I am currently in the midst of a major writing project that is different from anything I have written before. Historical fiction is not an easy genre to write. There are plenty of stories out there, like Harry Turtledove “How Few Remain” or Philip K. Dick “The Man on the High Castle” for example. These stories takes the world and turn it on end beyond what we know as history. It’s just science fiction but rather, as the term is coined, a historical fiction. These stories take one moment in history and with a simple turn of the switch, the world as we know it changed.

For example, in “How Few Remain” there was a moment in the Civil War where General Robert E. Lee sent out battle plans to his generals. One courier wrapped those plans around some cigars, but lost them enroute. These battle plans were found by a Union soldier and that gave them the edge over the Confederate general. This single moment in time changed the course of the war, in the eyes of the writer. That’s what it takes to create a good historical fiction… One moment in time changed and that brings about a new timeline. Doctor Who refers to this as a “fixed moment” in time, one that cannot change, like Rosa Parks refusing to get out of her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. By changing these moments in time, we can change the future. To that end, a writer of historical fiction must be a writer and a historian.

Granted, you don’t have to be a history major to write historical fiction, but you need to research the Hell out of it. My current #WIP is Corsair and the Sky Pirates. The story is based on one of those pivotal moments in history, a chance meeting between Nikola Tesla and Jules Verne. This is where my story begins, but I first had to research a simple question… Were Jules Verne and Nikola Tesla ever in France at the same time? That question was essential to my story, and the answer was yes. In 1887, Tesla was working for the Continental Edison Company in Paris, France. At that time, Jules Verne lived in Amiens, France, just north of Paris. There existed the possibility of that chance meeting, so as a writer of fantasy and science fiction, I made it happen.

From that meeting grew a story of a new world, a new industrial revolution started years earlier than expected. This would be a steampunk world where fragments of a meteor would power technology, built by Tesla from the imagination of Verne. Oh, what a wonderful world it would be, right? That is how a historical fiction begins.

Many books of this fashion focus on two distinct moments… The Civil War or World War II. Seeing a different outcomes to these monumental, worldwide clashes piques the curiosity of readers. We all look at the world and wonder what difference would be made at these pivotal moments, a world under Nazi rule or where slavery extended beyond the Civil War. These are evil times, easy to prophesize and lay out because evil has one goal… Power!

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Thomas Edison vs. Nikola Tesla

So, in my own historical fiction, I had that moment in history but I needed a villain. That was easy for me. As Tesla was my protagonist, the only choice for an antagonist was Thomas Edison. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Edison was an evil man. He was a genius, an inventor of the precursor of much of the technology we use today. But, he was also a capitalist, interested in making money. Like many corporations today, i.e. Apple, Google, Twitter and the likes, controlling the narrative means controlling the people in the world. That’s the villain I needed, corporations. When you move the industrial revolution forward, you’re automatically giving control over to the corporations that provide us with technology that makes our life easier, for a price. I wanted to represent our current addition to technology and bring it to bear in a steampunk, industrialized world. Edison was the perfect villain for my story.

That’s the beauty of writing historical fiction. You can change the world into something completely different. From turning Abraham Lincoln into a Marxist/Socialist (“How Few Remain”) to an alliance between Roosevelt, Churchill and Hitler to fight back an alien invasion (“Worldwar” series), it is an open book when writing historical fiction. The key is to base it in history. Where you go from there depends on the storyteller.

Research is the best thing for anyone writing historical fiction. I’ve learned more about the world at the turn of the century since I started writing this story. I learned about Jack Johnson, Geronimo, William Hearst, and more. From the people, to the countries, to the events, it is an open book… Better yet, an open world for any writer to explore. It’s the ability to create a world from one we all know, but make it new and make it different.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.

A new Steampunk Anthology from Crystal Peake Publishers to include “Corsair and the Sky Pirates”

Back in October, I entered a steampunk writing contest through Crystal Peake Publishers. I entered a short story Corsair and the Sky Pirates for their consideration. For the first time, my hard work and imagination paid off. My story was selected to be included in a Steampunk Anthology to be published by Crystal Peake. I am honored and blessed to be considered for this. This is the first time, as an independent author, that I’m being published without all the trappings of paying to be published. It’s just so amazing, I am on “Cloud 9 3/4” right now!

Corsair and the Sky Pirates tells the story of a chance meeting between Nikola Tesla and Jules Verne that led to a world powered by steam generated not from coal or fuel, but a meteor fragment. Tesla discovered a comet named Uriel was raining pieces of these powerful meteorites across the globe. It led to an industrial revolution years ahead of its time, along with an unparalleled rivalry between Tesla and Thomas Edison, but progress has a price. While the rich and powerful lived in luxury in this new world, the everyday people groveled beneath the boot of their corporate masters. One man brought hope to the downtrodden. His exploits were legendary, his crew infamous, and his airship a vision of the future. Corsair and his Sky Pirates flew around the world, carrying out deeds that spurred the imagination. These modern-day “Robin Hood” bandits stole from the robber barons and corporate elites and returned the spoils to the people.

I will make more updates on the other authors I’m honored to join in this anthology as well as where you can purchase this collection of steampunk short stories. Thank you for your continued support of this independent author and crazy dreamer. 2021 is starting out as a great year!

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.