Pre Release Peek: Mechanized Masterpieces 2 – Spotlighting Author Neve Talbot

Mechanized Masterpieces 2: an American Anthology is a collection of steampunk stories from authors around the globe.  This collection takes American classic literature and gives it a steampunk makeover, much to the delight of this reader.

Today we are spotlighting author Neve Talbot, author of the story “West End.”

pennyAs a child, Neve Talbot developed the habit of lulling herself to sleep by dreaming up continuations of her favorite books too soon ended. She never left off the habit, and eventually gained confidence in worlds of her own creation. She first cracked open a spiral binder in high school, and has spent the past decade dutifully penning her prerequisite one million words of bad writing before getting to the good stuff.

Now author, editor, story coach, and journalist, Neve currently lives with her husband under the pseudonym of Penny Freeman, in a quasi-reality filled with fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, Regency romance, the classics, and history books, suspended between the piney woods and sprawling metropolis of southeast Texas. She plans on exploring the world when she grows up.

“West End” is Neve’s third outing with The X, the others being “Crossroads” in Shades and Shadows, and “Tropic of Cancer” in Mechanized Masterpieces, of which “West End” is a sequel.

To learn more about Neve, check out her About me page!


An Interview with Neve Talbot:

As “West End” is inspired by Little Women, who do you envision playing your characters?

Liam Helmsworth for Theodore Laurence. I think he’s got the right mix of hunkiness, cockiness, and vulnerability to make it really come off.

Ian Somerhalder for Edward Rochester. He’s a touch too good-looking for the part, but he’s got a good combination of dark smolderingness and charm that works.

Julian Meeks (he has a much bigger part in my novel than he does in either Tropic of Cancer or West End): Morris Chestnut, I think. Julian’s a tricky character to cast.

Josephine March: smart, feisty, implacable, and impossible to forget? Emma Watson. Done.

Amy March: Amanda Seyfried

Beth March: This is a really, really difficult one because young actresses try to be sexy, rather than vulnerable and wise. Dakota Johnson has the right combination of both, but . . . ewww. She might be 50 shades of tainted. Too tainted for this angelic part. Victoria Morris seems like she has the sweetness for the part.

Bertha Mason: Halle Berry would make the perfect Bertha, except she’s a touch too old. Nathalie Emmanuel is also gorgeous, but she’s too young. In Bertha’s case, since age is a heavy factor in the plot of Tropic of Cancer, I’d have to go with Halle Berry.

Why did you choose the story of Little Women to convert into a steampunk tale? What is special about it?

Little Women was probably my first ‘adult’ reading experience. I must have been in the 4th grade. It’s held a warm place in my heart ever since. It seemed a natural choice to expand into Steampunk. Since my protagonists tend to be male, Laurie’s story got the nod. Finally, since this book is the sequel to Mechanized Masterpieces, I decided to tie this story into “Tropic of Cancer,”, my expansion of Jane Eyre.

What is your writing process?

I seem to do my best writing late at night, I think because my imagination has more room to maneuver in my brain. Traffic is much lighter. I also tend to write a lot, then delete at least half, then compress that into as succinct a text as possible.

When you have a chance to relax and read, what kind of book do you seek out?

I am a literary omnivore, but my favorites are biography, history, and historical fiction. I also have a fond spot for the classics. Fantasy and Steampunk have really strong historical components, with the world-building, etc., which is why I think I enjoy it. I’m a sucker for a good map. Maps are graphic history.

Do you have a current favorite book?

That’s like asking who’s your favorite child. The book that has had the most impact on me in recent years is Shadow of the Last Men by J.M. Salyards, recently the CYGNUS winner for science fiction.

What do you listen to when you write?

I usually need it quiet so I don’t get distracted. When I do listen to music, I listen to The Writer’s Trance, Orson Scott Card’s writing music on Pandora. Lots of emotive music without the distraction of lyrics.

Our writers out there are dying to know – Panster or plotter?

I used to be a pantser, which is how I made up my first million words of really bad writing. Now, I’m more a plotter, which makes a more finely crafted story. I believe in allowing a character to reveal themselves as the story evolves, which in its turn helps the plot itself to evolve. As they say, even the best battle plans mean nothing once the shooting starts. The same goes for writing. An author needs to be flexible enough to reevaluate and restructure their outline as they go, but having a general direction to travel and a goal to reach really helps. Also, plotters really are pantsers at heart. They just do it in a lot fewer words.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Follow your passion. Let your characters live you, and they will become real to your readers. Never stop learning. Every author deserves a good editor. If you find yourself telling others, “You just don’t get it,” you need to ask yourself what you can do to change it. The responsibility of communication is yours, not the reader’s.

What are some of your current projects?

Gosh. Here’s a partial list: my historical fiction I’ve sworn to finish this year; develop Tropic of Cancer story into a full-length Steampunk novel; a long-nurtured sci-fantasy that I’ve finally muddled out. I’m ready to start outlining that as well.



I had the pleasure of reading “West End” along with several of the other stories in this new installment of Mechanized Masterpieces. (I’m eagerly awaiting a time to curl up with a cocoa and warm fire to finish the rest!) In this story we get to experience Laurie’s life abroad as he goes about his studies and begins to specialize in the very steampunky field of medicine crossed with metallurgy and robotics. He has feelings for Jo and as readers we get to see his struggle with both life and love. However there is a nice little twist in the story from the original Little Women, one that I think readers will thoroughly enjoy.

I love the way the characters are handled. Each one has a unique and memorable attitude that plays of the strengths and weaknesses of the others.  The steampunk elements are masterfully created and play well with the other elements of the story, which is always nice when it comes to a retelling of a classic tale.

If you like stories that include steampunk, relationships and love, travel, wonder, and Victorian sensibilities, then this story is for you!


Hey, guess what? There’s a giveaway! Click the link to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A super big thanks to Neve and the awesome people at Xchyler Publishing for letting me participate in the book tour for Mechanized Masterpieces 2.  If you want to learn more, or to buy your own copy, click on the banner below!



To visit other sites on this blog tour check out the links below:

Sunday, 02.22.2015
A. E. Albert, A Writer’s Blog
Chosen By You Book Club
Liz’s Reading Life
In the Spotlight
Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Monday, 02.23.2015
I Feel the Need, the Need to Read
The Naughty Librarian’s Playground
Creativity from Chaos
Candy O’Donnell
A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus

Tuesday, 02.24.2015
Kitty Muse Book Reviews
Semi-short Chic
Mel’s Shelves
Ever On Word

Wednesday, 02.25.2015
My Bookshelf
Mel’s Shelves
A Virtual Hobby Story and Coffee Haus
The J. Aurel Guay Archive

Thursday, 02.26.2015
Addicted to Reading
A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus
The Author Visits
An Author in Progress
Penny Writes

Friday, 02.27.2015
Semi-short Chic
A Virtual Hobby Story and Coffee Haus
An Author in Progress
The Book Beacon
My Literary Quest

Saturday, 02.28.2015
Vampires, Crime and Angels . . . Eclectic Me
Fictional Rendezvous Books
An Author in Progress
Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind


Literary Interview with the Twins

Happy President’s Day everyone! I hope you all have fun plans to celebrate the day.

My friend and fellow writer Ginger Commander Mann had the brilliant idea to allow  the twins from her story “Jilted River” to interview the twins from my story “Breath”. Both our stories appear in the Xchyler Publishing fantasy anthology The Toll of Another Bell.

Head on over to her blog to check it out!

Twin Walks at the Edge of Time


LTUE conference

This Valentine’s weekend, instead of spending quality time with my ever lovin’, I get to spend it with a horde of fellow speculative fiction writers at the annual Life, the Universe, the Universe, and Everything Conference. I’ll miss my hubby dearly, and this is the best gift he could have given me, to allow me to go. It’s even double sweet, knowing that I’ve had the kids off track from school for the past three weeks and really needed to get away for awhile.

This year, however, marks a change. This year, I’m here with the awesome people at Xchyler Publishing and their booth and I get to promote their books, including the new anthology I’m in.

At previous conferences I’ve either gone it alone (which is not particularly fun) or with a friend or two, (which is way better). This conference tops them all because I’m surrounded by people I like to be with, and even better, have earned their approval. I’ve even found the inside edge to getting on the “expert” panels for future years.

That said, after the first day I’m exhausted and need a break, so this post will be short!


To see more pictures you can check out Instagram using the hashtag #xchylerpublishing

Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2015

This upcoming weekend my city will be flooded with an alien invasion. That’s right. Call the INS, Avengers, and Ghostbusters – The Salt Lake Comic Con FanX has arrived. From Jan 29 – 31 the downtown area will be flooded with Whovians, Trekkies, all manner of anime, DC and Marvel fans, Potter fans, Star Wars, and so many more that I can’t even count.

To pay homage to this three-day party educational event, today’s post comes from the land of fan created memes.  Well that, and with the kids out of school this week, this is all the concentration I can muster.


Image from

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falls for the bad guy

To check out the guest list or buy your very own ticket (or buy one for me, pleeeese?) go check out the Salt Lake Comic Con webpage. For even more information, and also a whole lot of fun, you can also go to their facebook page.


And if you are going, be sure to go find my friends at the Xchyler Publishing Table in the Purple 8 zone.  Tell them Jodi sent you!

Fantasy Anthology 2015 by Xchyler Publishing

I am excited to announce that my short story Breath will be included in the yet to be named 2015 fantasy anthology published by Xchyler, a fun and unique Indie press. These guys know their stuff and it’s been a pleasure working with them. Their past anthology titles include:


Terra Mechanica, a Steampunk Anthology: In an alternative past with an unrealized future, trek around the world and beyond in nine separate adventures, in the ships locomotives, and flying machines that power the Steampunk universe.


Moments in Millenia, a Fantasy Anthology: Travel with seven talented authors as they glimpse through time into Humanity’s future. Will mankind blossom and flourish, conquering the stars and time itself? Or, with selfishness, greed, and just plain bad luck send us all to the brink of destruction?


Shades and Shadows, a Paranormal Anthology: In the dead of night, you sense something other beyond your sight, out there in the darkness. You feel a breath upon your neck, cold and clammy, fecund with mold and decay. Your hair stands on end from no random chill. The air is still. No one is there. Travel with nine talented writers into their paranormal world, but don’t disregard that inkling that niggles somewhere in the pit of your stomach to leave the light on, to shun that dark room, and to pull the covers over your head. Whatever you do, don’t look under the bed.


A Dash of Madness, a Thriller Anthology: One man’s crazy is another man’s norm. Inside, eight bizarre stories explore twisted perceptions and challenge conceptions about right and wrong. With a fascinating dive into several unstable minds, the authors examine different avenues for exposing warped cognition and mutilated logic. Each delivers a disquieting glimpse of reality.


Mechanized Masterpieces, a Steampunk Anthology: Amid a cacophony of cranking sprockets and cogs, in chuffs of steam and soot, comes the expansion of classic literature into alternative Steampunk masterpieces. Follow nine skilled authors as they lead old friends and new acquaintances through Jamaica, Singapore, Cape Town, Denmark, Paris, London, and Geneva on a phantasmagorical Steampunk World Tour.


Forged in Flame, a Dragon anthology: Forged in flame, wrought in blood, bone and steel, from the bowels of the earth and the inner most chambers of the heart, dragons arise. Fired by their passion, inspired by legend, six talented storytellers delve into realms of myth and fantasy as they explore what it means to be human.