Tag Archives: Steampunk

Review: Prosperity by Alexis Hall

I want to eat Alexis Hall’s brain with a nice Chianti. Admittedly, some of this sentiment is born of jealousy, possibly alcoholism. But mostly it’s respect. Total respect.

For starters, I’m going to boldly state that I rate Alexis Hall’s work on a different scale than other books. In fact, he makes me want to go back to my Goodreads lists and start handing out demerits to other stuff I’ve rated because he sets the bar so fucking high. He makes me want to reread books I thought I enjoyed just so I can throw my Kindle across the room this time around. So, where I rated his follow-up work to ProsperityThere Will Be Phlogiston, a four, that does not mean it is on par with other four-star books. It is hell and gone from other four-star books. Other five-star books, even. Basically, I couldn’t give it the same 5 stars I gave Glitterland, or Sand and Ruin and Gold. Or this. Goddamn, this book right here.

Alexis Hall is a genius and has thoroughly screwed my book-rating system.

Anyway, the book:

Hall pits heaven (Ruben, the ex-preacher) against hell (Milord, the uber-slimy-underground-mob-boss-type-guy), only they’re rather perversely sexually enslaved to each other (wait, could that be love?). And then he gives us the classic hooker with a heart of gold (mebbe) in our narrator, Piccadilly (who Piccadillied his own name–how damn cute is he?). He’s a conniving sewer rat who needs saving, but ends up doing a fair amount of rescuing of others as he risks life and fin on more than one occasion for the crew of the good ship Shadowless. They become the closest thing he’s had to family, and, surprisingly, something worth dying for if need be. Said crew includes the star-crossed lovers mentioned, the addle-brained-yet-cool-as-a-cucumber crackhead navigator, Miss Grey, and then there’s the captain. Oh captain, my captain. For me, Byron Kae was the show-stealer. God, did I want them and Dil to get together for a bit of the whatnot.

Who am I kidding? The world building, Hall’s exquisite voice, every damn character, the delish voyeuristic sex scene, the creeptastic clockwork parts, the space kraken—the whole damn thing was the show-stealer.

And with this, Alexis Hall moves into my top MM author slot. The honor includes such perks as being subjected to cyberstalking and embarrassing fangirling, and having your characters accents bastardized as I read your books aloud to my cat, possibly while he humps his favorite fuzzy pink blanket because he does that a lot. Check and mate. I’m sorry, KJ, but we’ll always have England.

5 Shooters

5 shooters



Following Submission Guidelines: Just Do it.

So here is an interesting blog post from author/editor Mitzi Szereto: http://mitziszereto.com/blog.  It got me thinking, how could people be so dense?  I know that every author has that file folder of stories that never made it to the dinner table.  And I think that it’s perfectly acceptable to spit-shine them and try to find another home for your rejected tales after they come back with a pink slip.  But for Pete’s sake, people, do your freakin’ homework!  No matter how much you love your little sliver of artistic genius and would kill to see it comfortably ensconced between a snugly, warm soft-cover, that doesn’t mean you can just send it willy-nilly to the first sub call you come across that pays well.

If the shoes don’t fit, put them back in your closet.  Maybe someday you’ll find the perfect pair of Peds so you can jam those suckers on your feet and take them for a spin around town.  Maybe, but maybe not.  But until you see those fine miracles of modern socks staring at you from a glowing store front, just begging you to come in and buy them because you two could make beautiful music together, don’t bother.

Another thought that occurred to me after reading this post was that I would never presume to write about a subject if I haven’t thoroughly investigated it first.  Take, for example, all of the Cthulhu mythos sub calls out there in Horror Land.  They are a-plenty, and I must say that I find them intriguing–but I haven’t read enough Lovecraft yet to get away with it.  Not only would it be a struggle to try to pull it off without a firm grasp of the sub-genre, but it would suck.  Period.

Do all of these steampunk calls sound like great fun?  You betcha.  But I have one steampunk romance on my kindle and haven’t gotten anywhere near it yet.  I’ve been too busy reading George R.R. Martin for the past year or so.  Those suckers are long.  I did take a quick break from the Lannisters and the Starks to read Mitzi’s “Red Velvet and Absinthe;” however.  Not only did it look great, but she said that I should in her sub call.  There’s that homework thing again.

One other thought while I’m on the subject.  I’ve read, via multiple sources, that the number one reason editors will reject a story–shockingly–isn’t because people simply can’t write.  It is (you guessed it) because authors don’t follow the guidelines.  They tell us all that boring, time consuming mumbo-jumbo, not because they want to make more work for us, but to make fewer headaches for themselves.  You would do the same.

So keep on sending in your strange fonts and attractively unique margins.  Be sure to hit the tab key LOTS so the recipients on the other end really know how little you care about their silly rules.  The most you will accomplish is you may cause a migraine for some poor souls who can’t figure out how to make their formatting requirements easier for Cro-magnon (wo)man to figure out.

How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?

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