New Green T-Shirt

Just in time for small business Saturday (and boy are we a small business), we've added a new t-shirt to our Zazzle store. It's a dark green t-shirt with the cover art from "London, Where It All Began." So, "why green" you ask? That's a totally appropriate question. First, we had fans ask about our one-of-a-kind green t-shirts that we originally made for ourselves two or three years ago. The other reason is that green fits the season of harvest and merriment. And check out our General Store for other goodies perfect for holiday gift giving.


London, Where It All Began T-Shirt

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AGSEM Tractor Show 2015

The weather is finally cooling off after a miserably hot Summer here in San Diego, so we were able to venture outside for the Fall Tractor Show at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum (AGSEM). There were engines large and small…and really big tools for those gigantic engines.

D&McT@AGSEM Drake_spanner
big_wheel tiny_engines

Getting Into the Swing of Things

Super special thanks to Scott “Zapp” Higgins and his wife, Carol, for chauffering us all around the museum grounds in their 1916 Russell steam tractor, including getting us a ride in the posh cook shack trailer for the parade (with our buddy, Justin Andrew Hoke from
Dreadfully Punk). You may recall that this particular portable building serves as the Mooney family home in the League of S.T.E.A.M.’s season three episode, “The White Wolf” where we play Jasper Mooney’s parents.

Sparky_cookshack tractor_parade Justin_cookshack

Riding in the Parade

Since Scott’s a blacksmith, he gave us a tour of the blacksmith’s shop. He swears this is his personal parking spot for the Russell.

Blacksmith_shop tractor_parking

VIP Parking

In exchange for the personal tour, Drake lent Scott an able hand hooking up the cook shack.


Tractor Hitchin'

All joking aside, Scott let Drake help him drive around, even in the parade.

Drake_Scott_2 Steamin
Stokin Drake_Scott_1

Drake and Scott, Steamin' and Stokin'

Our whole crew had a really smokin' time. Do it again next year?

Justin_riding tractor_crew Backside

Steaming into the Sunset

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Duel at Dusk 2015

Back by popular demand: Duel at Dusk! We all had so much fun last year, that we decided to do it again. Duel at Dusk 2015, held July 18, drew a grand and enthusiastic crowd of steampunks to watch the final four of an honest-to-goodness fencing competition battle it out for the most steampunk fencing trophies ever presented anywhere (although we may be biased).

Our deepest gratitude to
Team Touché Fencing for once again hosting the event. There were vendors galore.

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Vendors, Vendors and More Vendors

The fencing was exciting and a bit unorthodox at times.

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Thanks to Bob Mogg and the Starburner Galactic Courier Service for bringing the cool parlor backdrops against which so many attendees had fun taking pictures.

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Parlor Pics

Dude Vader was there mixing it up with Drake, our master of ceremonies, among others.

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Crossing Swords…and Thumbs

Bethany Jackson made us custom cupcakes that were amazing to behold and taste. The competition for them was pretty fierce in its own right.

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Cupcakes, Om Nom Nom!

We personally had the great honor of being cosplayed by not one, but two, of the best costuming couples in San Diego.

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So Many Drakes and McTrowells

And if you weren't able to make it out, you can hear the interviews and recap from our friends at Dreadwaves here.

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Dreadfully Delightful

Our fencers battled mightily…

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The Fierce Competitors

…all for one of these trophies.


Taking Home the Prize

See you again next year!

Comment Request

Krypton Radio Redux


If you’ve been following us on Facebook you might have heard that
Krypton Radio is rerunning the radio show of our first book, "London, Where It All Began." We're playing at 3 AM, 11 AM, and 4 PM Pacific time on Thursdays. A new show will run in these same time slots for nine weeks until they've covered all of “London, Where it All Began.”

For details on Krypton Radio shows and air times, see their table of show times.

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Comic Con 2015

Sparky here as your intrepid reporter, covering our five days at Comic Con.

It started like this: getting in on professional passes (thanks to publishing our first book in
hardcover) on our 15th wedding anniversary. Yep, we were made for each other.


Pro Passes

We spent preview night shopping and planning, like checking on
League of S.T.E.A.M. appearances.


Full Slate

And hanging with the
rock monster from season 3.


A Rock and a Hard Place

Rocky Olivares, one of the illustrators for "London, Where It All Began" was there and had our book for sale in the small press pavilion.


Rocky Sells "London, Where It All Began"

The ladies from
Blonde Swan and Mad Girl showed us how to make steampunk eye-poppingly colorful.


Steampunk Comes in Colors

Of course we saw lots of friends. This was really clever,
Joyce McCarthy and Christopher Hoage cosplaying Boston Metaphysical.


Cosplaying Boston Metaphysical

We'd been wandering the floor for a couple of days before we finally made it all the way to
Fred Jeska's booth. Rumor has it he was doing a ripping business.


Fred Jeska

Comic Con also had some really sweet, heartwarming discoveries. This woman's husband made her this fabulously detailed steampunk scooter so she can tool around in style.

steam_scooter_1 steam_scooter_2

Steam Scooter

True story: Drake has a weakness for Curious George. Okay, maybe Sparky does too. Suggesting that we're still 5-year olds at heart would not be entirely incorrect. At any rate, we spotted this guy with his toddler cosplaying the curious little monkey and his protector, the man in the yellow hat.


Curious George

But, the really big news was that our panel, "Steampunk as a Global Phenomenon" was accepted! Thanks to Colleen Kelly Burks for making it all happen for us through
ConDor Conventions. Yes, we totally owe you a return appearance as special guests; not that we mind because we had such an amazing time the last time.


Steampunk as a Global Phenomenon


Our Intrepid Panel

In addition to moderating, Sparky covered Russia and Scandinavia. Don't believe her shoulders, she really did know what she was talking about. Who else would relate steampunk style to pre-revolutionary Russian baroque. That bachelor's degree in Russian has to be good for something.


Sparky Scans Scandinavia

Justin Andrew Hoke, our very own steampunk Hawaiian cowboy from DreadWaves, did the honors for the Pacific Rim.


Justin Rocks the Pacific Rim

We were honored to have Trip Hope, producer of League of S.T.E.A.M. to do the heavy lifting on Europe and the UK.


Trip-ping Through the UK

Trip also helped us present a small gift to our favorite penny farthing rider, Jeb Haught, a tea towel from the inimitable Thomas Farthing that we picked up on our last trip across the pond.


Another Penny Farthing for Jeb

Drake got the challenging task of covering South America and Africa, but he brought his usual enthusiasm to bear.


Drake Gets Tells it Like it Is


Drake is into Africa

Did we mention we had the last time slot on the last day? Despite people's flagging energy, we had a full house. Thanks for helping us close out Comic Con in style this year!


Closing Out Comic Con

If you weren't fortunate enough to make it to Comic Con this year, or if your feet just gave out before the end, you can
hear the whole thing on a podcast over at DreadWaves.

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Clockwork Alchemy 2015

This is how Clockwork Alchemy started. This young man walked by our author table. When Sparky squeed in delight, he gave her a Grape Soda ribbon for her badge.

Russell, Is That You?

And speaking of author table, this was the first year where we had one at Clockwork Alchemy. Notice the spiffy new retractable banner behind us. Drake has been exercising his commercial illustration talents again to give us a mobile, professional presence.

Commerce in Action

While vending is a lot of work, it has some delightful moments, like
Kaja Foglio buying a copy of “London, Where It All Began.” Those of you who know our history know that “Girl Genius” started Sparky’s interest in steampunk, so this was a huge fan girl moment for her.

Kaja Bought Our Book!

We don’t have a picture, but
Dr. Brassy Steamington ran up during a rare spare moment in her busy schedule and blurted out, “I want a book! Shut up and take my money.” So we did.

Lots of our Treehouse Writers buddies were in the author’s alley neighborhood. A couple of our favorites were right next door.

Vending With the Messenger-Sikes Cabal

Speaking of the Treehouse Writers, we’re honored to be among them in “Twelve Hours Later,” an anthology whose net proceeds benefit literacy programs. We have two Drake & McTrowell stories in the book, “The Polychrome Wishing Jar” and “A Coincidental Theft.”

Twelve Hours Later
The cover of “Twelve Hours Later”

Several of the contributors read their stories at the opening night book release party.

Anthony Francis

Here’s an unusual picture of
Thena MacArthur. No, it’s not unusual that she’s reading. It’s unusual that she’s not clothed in colorful magnificence. We think she was undercover like her character, Miranda Gray.

Thena Incognita

Lovely costumes abounded.

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Steampunk Wonder Woman Wonders, “Sartorial Splendor or Hats Aweigh?”

What’s that? You’re wondering if there were shenanigans? You’re wondering why we’re keeping you in suspense. Do not be disappointed, gentle reader. Drake lent a hand to Justin Andrew Hoke for Idea Men.

The Idea Men

And there was this business at Sparky’s birthday party involving a Hookazoo from Belinda Messenger-Sike’s caterpillar costume. This isn’t what it looks like. This is the first two-person musical instrument that supposed to produce multiple musical notes. It didn’t really work, but that is how brilliant design starts. Okay, maybe you had to be there for this to make sense.


That’s right; Clockwork Alchemy once again coincided with Sparky’s birthday. Yay! Thanks to the Messenger-Sikes Cabal for the awesome birthday party. As a present, Drake commissioned this caricature of Sparky in her Queen of Hearts costume from
David Mejia.

Sparkys Army of Cards

Yes, we did Drake & McTrowell’s Hot Potato School of Writing™. We don’t have pictures this time, but we do have sound, compliments of
DreadWaves, which is part of Dreadfully Punk.

On the drive home, Drake said to Sparky, “Are we stopping for our usual post-con Mexican meal?” To which Sparky replied, “Is that a thing? Our thing?” Yes, as it turns out, it is. Something about a full weekend of steampunking, vending, presenting, and propping up heavy costumes makes one really hungry for this…

Tamales! Eating at Chevy’s in Gilroy

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Announcing Duel at Dusk 2015

Yes, we are presenting "Duel at Dusk" again!

Not familiar with the event? Well then, may we ask a not-so-simple question? What would happen if you had the excitement of the finals of a sporting event, fencing no less, combined with a steampunk parlor event? Well, that’s easy to answer! You would have Duel at Dusk 2015 with Chief Inspector Erasmus Drake and Dr. Sparky McTrowell as the Masters of Ceremonies, steampunk and fencing vendors, awards for our fencing champions, door prizes for the audience, a Starburner Galactic Courier Service exhibit, and much, much more.

8 P.M. to 11 P.M. on Saturday the 18th of July, 2015

Location: Team Touché Fencing Center
11468 Sorrento Valley Rd. Suite A-1
San Diego, California 92121

Tickets are no longer on sale, because the event is over and done. Please plan to attend next year!

On-line tickets may be purchased for $10 for adults and $5 for children (only available until July 17, 2015). Although we employ PayPal to help you acquire your ticket, a PayPal account is not needed. Price of admission at the door on the day of the event will be $15 for adults and $8 for children.

Poster for Duel at Dusk 2015

You can download the PDF file of the Duel at Dusk 2015 poster from here!

So acquire your tickets, stuff your photographic apparatus into your carpet bag, take in an early dinner, and come join us on the evening of July 18th to watch the competitors cross wits and steel!

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Book 5 Episode 2: How I Met Sparky’s Mother

Thanks, Wikimedia!

In this episode, Drake finally meets Sparky's mum. No pressure, right? Also, Sparky spots a Snake Oil salesman.

Click here to read the new episode ...

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Condor 2015

We have to start this bloop with a shout out to Colleen Kelly Burks for inviting us to be special guests at ConDor Con, San Diego's Longest Running Science Fiction Convention. We'd never been to ConDor before, so the weekend was a triple treat: new con, gracious treatment, and old friends.

Dreadful Punks were out in force and fine form.


Dreadfully Punk Panel

And speaking of Dreadfully Punk, Bethany Jackson executed a most creative costume rescue for Sparky. Sparky lost one of the buttons from the blouse of her canonical costume. Bethany offered up an earring from her tea dueling biscuit jewelry collection as a replacement; so sweet and thoughtful!

Bethany Biscuit Button (Earring)

There was a Starburner Galactic Courier Service induction ceremony where agents #32 and #33, Darren Wagner and Lindsay Rae Harold Wagner, were inducted and quite deservedly so.

Inducting Starburner Agents #33 and #32

Starburner Induction Ceremony

Even though we were on a number of panels and had a successful signing with Mysterious Galaxy, we found plenty of time to just hang out with friends like David Lee Summers and Oliver Von Bremen. In case you're wondering, this threesome is getting ready to play a game of Martian Dice.

Martian Dice

We met the Adventure Effect and Sparky got to join them on a panel on staying in character.

The Adventure Effect

The highlight of the weekend was playing Drake & McTrowell's Hot Potato School of Writing™ with guest co-authors Sherwood Smith and Jefferson P. Swycaffer. We were fortunate to have an early evening slot when nothing else was going on, so folks came out in droves. We played a brand new set of plot points and the game was off the hook. Thanks to Kyla at Kyla's Keepsakes for the pics.

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Riotous HPSoW

Poplock Holmes was a contestant for one of our games. We don't remember clearly what happened at the end of the game, but he's definitely making a dramatic exit.

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Poplock Makes a Break for It

Remember what we said about gracious treatment? ConDor comped us a lovely room. We all know what that means…room party! Fear not; we're not the rowdy type. It was just wall to wall friends eating and chatting.

Room Party

Well, maybe there was music too. This was a particularly sweet moment,
Hannah and Poplock Holmes doing an acoustic jam on the balcony.

Hannah and #poplockholmes

Needless to say, we're looking forward to next year. Colleen, sign us up!

Comment Request

Book 5 Episode 1: The Attempted Ten Dollar Exchange


New adventures await Drake and McTrowell as they enter San Francisco Bay as we begin Book 5. In this episode, Drake goes out to run some errands, and, well, things don't go as smoothly as planned.

Click here to read the new episode ...

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Wild Wild West Con 2015

Who's up for a little wild west steampunk fun?

Old Tucson Studios

We headed back to Old Tucson Studios outside Tucson for one of our favorite conventions, Wild Wild West Con. It featured some old favorites…like tea dueling!

But this was a new one on us. The dry desert air dried out the biscuits so much that they wouldn't crumble. So Madame Askew issued a challenge: sing and dance to “I'm a Little Teapot.” Hilarious!

I'm a Little Teapot

Why yes, Madame Askew, The Judge would like to tea duel and take home the grand prize…again.

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The Judge Dominates Tea Dueling

We're always on the lookout for clever new costumes and accessories like this parasol.

Release the Kraken

And this adorable steam bee.

Steam Bee

Wait, is that a toilet float on that Rocketeer's jet pack? Clever makers!

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Steampunk Rocketeer

It wasn't all “people watching” for us; we had two appearances every day. We premiered a new skit from Drake & McTrowell's Theater of the Historically Improbable, “The Case of the Competing Cryptozoologists.” We were graced by the participation of Wild Wild West Con's co-owner, Diana Given, in character as Lady Jane, the Butterfly Huntress.

Lady Jane, The Butterfly Huntress

We shared a table in the vendor barn with David Lee Summers where we were vending our book, “London, Where It All Began.”

Maybe We Shouldn't Quit Our Day Jobs Just Yet

Our vendor table even hosted a Gamera vs Godzilla rematch.

Gamera - Godzilla Rematch

More people are recording us these days. Our friend, Heather Bollman, shot this video of the audience participation part of our reading from our second book, “The Bavarian Airship Regatta,” … with sock puppets!

Interactive Sock Puppets!

And then Darren Wagner shot this video of Sparky dancing while
#poplockholmes serenaded her during his busking tour.

Pass the Tea, Please

Previously, Sparky lived in Tucson for a decade. One of her favorite restaurants was
El Charro. It was founded in 1922 and it's still there. A whole crowd of us from Wild Wild West Con went one night and chowed down on some authentic Sonoran-style Mexican food.

El Charro

Wild Wild West Con is always one of our favorites cons. We can't wait to see what they have in store for next year!

Comment Request

Steamathon 2015

We were tempted to just write, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” and leave the rest of this bloop blank. But then we wouldn’t get to share some really cool pictures, so these shenanigans aren’t going to stay in Vegas.

Four people in the San Diego contingent had birthdays that week, so we started the weekend with dinner at the steampunk-themed
RX Boiler Room in the Mandalay Bay.


RX Boiler Room Birthday Cookies and Table-Side Mixologist

If you get a chance, definitely go. Not only is it visually gorgeous, but the food is delicious and beautifully presented.

Speaking of visually gorgeous settings, the
Main Street Station is a Victorian casino. We had several gatherings in the Pullman Lounge that contains an actual vintage Pullman railroad car. Yep, it’s a very big room.


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Pullman Lounge and D&McT in the Pullman Railcar

We were asked to contribute to the festivities on short notice, so we gamely threw ourselves in (to the deep end of the pool). We played Drake & McTrowell’s Hot Potato School of Writing™ with
Kelly Varner and Justin Hoke as guest authors. D&McT is usually a pretty PG enterprise, but somehow the Vegas edition of the game was a little more colorful than usual thanks to these two madcap troublemakers. Drake as a Vegas showgirl? Need we say more?

Troublemakers All

This was followed immediately by an impromptu book signing in the vendor room arranged by our friends at
Rae-Wolf Designs.

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Autographs Anyone?

Sunday was
Jules Verne’s 183rd birthday, so there was, of course, a birthday party. It was also Lady Amethyst’s birthday, so Doc Phineas invited her to blow out the candles on the cake.

She Doesn’t Look a Day Over 100

Doc Phineas invited Drake to discuss Verne’s literary contributions, an activity that culminated in a chat between the two of them while Sparky engaged in a
shameless plug for the hardcover edition of “London, Where It All Began.”

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A Tribute to Jules Verne

One of the benefits of going to a con farther from home is that we get to see new people, costumes, and gadgets. We’ve seen a lot of steampunk wings, but none quite like these lovely brass ones.

Brass Wings

We saw an amazing Las Vegas-based “hoop artist” (is that the right technical term?) named
Dizzy Hips. In this picture, he’s hula-hooping using a 120-pound truck tire. It makes my back hurt just to watch.

Dizzy Hips

Steampunk Buddy Jesus with a clockwork orange? Sure!

Steampunk Buddy Jesus

While Sparky was dressed as a steampunk Queen of Hearts, we spotted another steampunk Queen of Hearts with her own Alice. So obviously we had to throw down.

QsoH_and_Alice Battle_of_the_Queens
Off With Her Head!

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen
Lord and Lady Towers, but it’s always a pleasure to see their latest creations.

Lord Towers

Of course, no steampunk convention is complete without a fashion show / contest. Not only did Drake participate, but he was presented with an award by Queen Victoria for being the most dapper. At least that’s the way I remember it.

All of the Fashion Show Participants

Dapper Drake Wins at the Fashion Show (Well, to be truthful, all the participants won something)

We had a great time and we were impressed with the fledgling event. We made the six-hour drive back to San Diego with the satisfaction of that only comes from shenanigans in Vegas.

Comment Request

HRM Steampunk Symposium 2015

If it’s January, we must be starting the con season with a partying good time on the beautiful Queen Mary. And what’s a party without a circus…

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Cirque Des Betes

…and some magicians? These two happen to be our favorites:
Aiden Sinclair and Dyno Staats. Is someone eavesdropping?

Aiden and Dyno Exchange a Deep Dark Magician Secret

Surely there must be music and dancing.

Yeah, We Know - Swing is Only Steampunk if it’s Lee Presson and the Nails

Or maybe
Poplock Holmes serving up some chap hop with a couple of really talented young fans dancing off?

Poplock_Holmes_warmup Dance_off
Monster Hunting Dance Off

Of course, it wouldn’t be HRM Steampunk Symposium without an epic party or two (or three) hosted by San Diego Steampunk in the Eisenhower Suite including Jeff’s birthday party with Thee Bluebeard serving as cake messenger.

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Now That’s a Birthday Party!

If you’re in the market for some improvisational hilarity,
Madame Askew is your go-to gal for serving as tea dueling ‘tiffin mistress. Are we right or are we right?

You Don’t Even Have to Know What She’s Saying to Know it’s Funny

Okay, maybe there was a serious moment or two. Aiden graced us with a private, Jack the Ripper-themed séance at midnight. It was brilliant and more than a little creepy.

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A Murder at Midnight

And remember, Green Woman loves Cthulhu because it’s that kind of con.

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Green Woman Loves Cthulhu & Preparing to go to the Masquerade Party

And lastly, it's good to be the queen, especially if it's the Queen of Hearts.

The Queen of Hearts
Yours Truly as the Queen of Hearts

Comment Request

A New Look to Our Web Site

We know that you have finished reading the first four books, and have gone back and re-read them. A few times. We can see the web page hits. And we know you’re asking, “Where’s the next book? You’re supposed to be working on the next book!” Well, you are right. Time for us to get writing again!

As we plan to start adding new story content to our web site, we also thought that now would be a great time to give the old site a new and better look. Just so you remember, it use to look like this:


A few things to point out. There is now a menu at the top of each page to give you quick access to all of the top-level material. There are Quick Links in the left sidebar, too, and we made them very image-rich to allow you to find what you are looking for.

Also the on-line books are laid out in an easier-to-read format. And a good deal of effort went into making the Store and Logbook more fun to go through. We also made it easier for us to maintain the web site, something that you don't have to worry about, but it effects us each time we generate a new post.

Click around and see what you think. Your comments are welcomed.

Comment Request