I’m pleased to meet you. I’m AJ Clarkson, and in real life, I’m a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, and a sister, a born-n-bred Appalachian “hillbilly,” a musician, and a writer. Here on the Interwebz, I’m a shameless book junkie and lover of all things pulp adventure. I grew up reading Dracula and Robinson Crusoe, listening to old radio episodes of The Shadow, and working my way through my daddy’s enormous collection of Golden Age science fiction books and magazines (it really was enormous, running from 1934 to 1990-ish).
You notice I slipped the word “writer” into the conversation while you weren’t looking (I’m sneaky like that). This is my primary vice*. I started writing stories when I was eight or nine years old. My very first story, written at that tender age, was pulpy horror. I have since expanded my repertoire to include science fiction and fantasy, but I have never lost my taste for pulp. I love it. I’m not ashamed of it. Hell, I intend to perpetuate it!
*Okay, I also have a problem with junk food, especially salt-n-vinegar chips, sour cherry candy and pizza with extra cheese and pepperoni. I’m working on it, don’t judge me!
Right now there’s a budding renaissance for radio drama. The Internet is making it possible, and there are thirty or forty production companies online, putting out new content. A good 99.9% of these shows are free for the listening; just grab some popcorn and click for hours of audio fun. I’ll be making links available very soon, so you can take a listen. For myself, I work for Gypsy Audio, writing two radio shows: The Blackburn Gaslight Adventures (steampunk, naturally) and Fortuna (science fiction pulp about, gasp! Space Pirates!). I also do the occasional one-off story for them, usually, but not always, horror or fantasy. When my new shows go live on Gypsy Audio, I’ll be sure and link them here.
Sharing is what brings me to write this blog. I want to share what I love. Steampunk has been around for a few years and has spawned armies of corset-wearing, goggle-sporting fans, and I love it all. I’m going to talk about the books, movies, music, etc, that Steampunk has spawned, and the foundations from which it sprang. I’ll even be including the occasional DIY article. Dieselpunk and New Pulp are still in their early days and not as well-known; just to make things a little more confusing, there’s an enormous amount of overlap between these two genres. Young as they may be, I love them every bit as much as I love Steampunk. I’m going to try and convert you to those new passions, if you’ll just bear with me. We’re going to talk about the books and movies in the Dieselpunk/Pulp worlds.
We’re also going to talk about the real life history that influences and flavors the Steampunk, Dieselpunk and New Pulp worlds. We’ll look at the real life inspirations for Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones, we’re gonna talk about the famous criminals of the 20’s and 30’s, we’re going to talk about world wars and civil wars and how they flavored the adventure literature we love.
Moreover, I want you all to send me your cool links, your book review requests and movie recommendations. And please do send me pictures of your steampunk/dieselpunk/pulp costumes, props. Send me your poetry, your short stories, anything creative you’ve done in the genres. I’ll be posting those (along with my own cool finds) every Friday. Very soon we’ll be having contests with prizes for the best photos, stories, etc. There’ll even be real prizes! More details when I’ve figured it out. Even if you don’t do costumes or props (I don’t; I am an appreciater rather than a creator), I still want your commentary, your thoughts, your recommendations. This is going to be a dialogue as much as a blog, and a dialogue requires YOU!
Finally, starting very soon, I’ll be posting my own stories in the genres. The first are a couple of short stories and then a novella length story. They are set in 1940’s Europe in the grip of World War II. Paul’s a British mage, Ellie’s an American cat burglar, and together they’re fighting against Hitler’s magical and menacing war machine. Good pulpy fun! Assuming all goes well, the novella will start September 1, and I’ll post a chapter every Monday. Mark your calendars!
With that said, I know how annoying it can be to try and surf back through old blog posts, reading the story backwards, grrrr! So, once the stories have finished their run here, I’ll be making them available in a non-blog format. It’ll be going through Smashwords and Amazon, and they’ll be in PDF and various ebook formats so you can put them on your ebook reader or phone (I MIGHT even be getting them in audiobook format; depends on how much demand there is). When those stories become available, I’ll make sure you know about it and tell you how you can buy them.
I’m still getting the hang of this blog thing. Eventually you’ll see a Pay Pal “Donate” button on this page. If you’re enjoying my work and want to support it, please, donate early and often. It doesn’t have to be a lot (though I’m not gonna turn my nose up at large donations; I’m crazy, not stupid!); even fifty cents here and there add up eventually. Donations are not required, but they will help me continue to produce quality content for you, my readers.
I’m also hoping to keep a calendar of upcoming events. If you know of conventions, showcases, plays, what have you, that might be of interest to fans of Steampunk, Dieselpunk, and New Pulp, let me know and I’ll post them on the calendar. When/if I attend any cons (I’m on the East Coast, obviously, so that’s where you’ll most likely find me), I’ll let you know and we can do a meet-n-greet!
Have I hit all the bases? Yeah, I think so. Ideally, I’ll be updating on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Bookmark this page so you’ll be sure and catch each installment of my madness and my stories. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter. More involved questions, plus pictures and links for Fun Fridays can be sent to ajwriter(at)ajclarkson(dot)net . Comment as much as you like, send in those Fun Friday goodies, and get ready for some pulpy fun!
Y’all be good now and if you can’t be good, don’t get caught!