Friday, March 29, 2013

Nashville vs Washington Part 2

My last Nashville vs. Washington post was pretty darned successful and it was fun to write! This is an ongoing process as I notice more and more cultural differences between the two sides of the country.

Speed Limits
First on the agenda is speed limits. Basically, my whole life in Nashville, speed limits are a normal 35-55 on normal streets and 70 on the highway. In Washington speed limits are an insanely low 25-40 on normal streets and 60 on the highway... As you can imagine that causes problems for a Tennessee boy that's used to getting places quickly. I haven't had a wreck in over ten years (Knock on wood) and I'm sorry, but I can go 75 on the highway without endangering people around me. For me, the Washington speed limits are hilarious. I mean maybe one would expect that in Florida or Arizona where there's a large elderly population but in Washington? Really? I mean who goes 25 MPH anywhere unless your car is broken? I can almost skate faster than that.

Highway vs. Freeway
I've heard the term freeway my whole life but I've never been around people that use it. I understand that there's an actual definition difference between the terms but just as in Nashville where people use the term Highway for those big roads where you can go fast, in Washington they call all those same roads Freeways.

Credit Cards
This is a weird thing I see a lot here that I never see in Nashville. A lot of people house their credit cards/debit cards in little sleeves that they get when the card is issued. So it takes them longer to extract said card from their wallet and then from the weird sleeve. Note that being in Washington, many people have enhanced passport drivers licenses so sometimes the sleeves are apparently to protect cyber thieves from remotely accessing the information with some kind of electronic device. (Yes, I've heard this is real) But bank cards?

Reflective Fashion
Maybe Washingtonians are more of a blue collar lot but everyone and by everyone I mean a notable portion of the population from 10 year olds to 90 year olds wear roadside reflective hoodies (AKA sweatshirts) as a fashion. Sure there is a lot of road workers, dock workers etc that might require these for work but tons of people rock this as a fashion item. Basically they're a solid color hoodie (sweatshirt) with two or three reflective bars on the front and back. Clothing companies have even ramped it up putting designs and pictures (like deer, skulls and flames) intermingled with the reflective bars. Like I said, maybe they're just a more blue collar proud lot here but I see kids and older people rocking this all the time. I know little Timmy isn't working the graveyard shift on the side of the Highway (Freeway).

From my last post, a friend of mine commented about the differences in beer. And he's right, sort of, when it comes to the beer differences in the two states. In Washington the beer selection at a gas station absolutely murders what you can get in Nashville. The generic brews of Bud/Miller etc are primarily ignored in a gas station where they dominate most quick stops in the south. In Washington you can get nice pints of craft beer and the newest six pack of seasonal brew around every corner. The thing that Nashville has over Washington is the beer mega stores (and I don't mean places like Bevmo) Since you can't get high alcohol beer or a lot of craft beer in gas stations in Nashville, they have entire stores and big ones at that that are wall to wall beer. It's usually a touch  more expensive but they have beer that you can't even find in Washington. The selection at these places is mind boggling and often left me wanting to spend $1000 each trip.

That's it for now... more to come as I discover.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Artiface Club, A Steampunk Arts Coalition and So Much More

I've met a ton of amazing people in my adventures in the steampunk world. My first steampunk event was The Mechanical Masquerade in Decatur GA. I actually did a book signing at a little bookstore in Huntsville, AL in the afternoon then went to a DJed event in an ultra cool warehouse that night. Honestly, I was a bit nervous. I had no idea what to expect. From the second I walked in everyone was over the top nice. It's amazing to think back on that night because I met a lot of people that I consider good friends to this day. To name just a few, Doctor Q, Talloolah Love, John Strangeway, Sara Harvey, Bill Harrington, and William and Cindy MacLeod were all there that night and I have to say, I've never been to any event that even came close to meeting such amazing people.

Things in the Atlanta Steampunk community have grown exponentially since then. I dare say that Atlanta is the new capitol of the genre. Well, at least they are the Eastern capitol for the U.S.

As dozens of other subcultures rise and die, steampunk just gets bigger and bigger every year and as a testament to that growth, The Artifice Club (who had original founders of that wonderfully night at The Mechanical Masquerade) is doing something on a nationwide scale that needs to be recognized, promoted and supported.

The Artiface Club is expanding the entire sub culture to a new level by creating a non-profit organization that plans on making steampunk events in more than just the Atlanta area. I've been to a few of their events and let me tell you, they are absolutely unreal. It's everything you could ever want in a night of entertainment that's run with kindness, courtesy and flair that I've never seen before.

So before this gets too long winded with my infinite praises, I implore everyone to check out The Artifice Club's Kickstarter and donate, promote and share as much as you can. Seriously, these are some of the best people in the world and if there were a steampunk President, Doctor Q would win in a landslide. Help their cause and check out their Kickstarter today.

The Artiface Club Kickstarter

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thomas Riley and the Maelstrom cover revealed!

It's been a long time coming but the day is here that I can finally reveal the brand spanking new cover for my second steampunk book, Thomas Riley and the Maelstrom! As promised, my awesome blog readers will get the first peek a few hours before I spread the word all over the Internet. As I know, these are slated for a June release. I don't know the exact day but when I do, I'll be doing some really fun pre-orders with special features for my "Sky Pirates" new and old. Also, be on the lookout for a huge blog tour which is in the works now.

First off, here is the new tweaked cover for the first Thomas Riley novel which has been re-edited and with the first chapter of book two at the end. (Out on Zova Books)The new chapter will not only provide a fun teaser for book two but will also answer a few questions left by book one.

Thomas Riley and the Maelstrom is a darker book, a true act two if you will where a now even more famous Thomas and Cynthia leave their home country of West Canvia again in search for unlikely hero, Sam Burgess. In their latest adventure, Thomas and Cynthia's loyalty is put to the test as they face a new and even crazier evil genius, Doctor Wolfgang Gerhard who is in control of the very secret and world changing airship, the Maelstrom, which has the mysterious ability to control the weather. So without further adieu... the cover for Thomas Riley and the Maelstrom by the fabulous, Will Routon.