Twice Upon a Midsummer Night

[Epic announcer voice] In a world where I view reading time as one of my all-too-infrequent reprieves from a life lived in front of a screen [/End epic announcer voice], books on my Kindle app tend to languish unread indefinitely. So while I did at one point or another grab an e-copy of a certain retelling of Shakespeare’s classic “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with gears on it, I had yet to get around to reading it before I recently found myself on the editing team for the novel’s second edition.

(Yeah, I’m totes an assistant editor with Xchyler Publishing now, didn’t you know? :D)

“Oh, you helped edit the book?” says some guy lurking in the back. “Bah. Biased opinions.”

Not so, sir! …Madam? *peers past the blog stage lights* I can’t quite tell. No matter. I’m perfectly capable of disliking a piece of writing, whether I’m entitled to a piece of the profits or not. So be assured that my review to follow is as honest as I ever am in public.

“And just how honest is that?”

You’ll never know.

The Book: “A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk” (second edition!) by Scott E. Tarbet

Genre: Steampunk (surprise!)

Blurb: Pauline Spiegel, a master artificer like her mother before her, wants just one thing: to wed the love of her life, Alexander MacIntyre, a lowly undersecretary of the Royal Household. However, a long-term pact between her parents, and a noble House, stands between her and her happily ever after.

When a priceless mechanoid of unfathomable power is stolen, Pauline finds herself entangled in skullduggery and international intrigue, upon which the fate of nations rest.

Only with the help of her friends, and a brilliant scientist with a swarm of micromechanical insects, can Pauline survive the dark forces determined to destroy her. But will her betrothed and his rag-tag band of semi-mechanical soldiers reveal Alexander’s secrets as well?

Immerse yourself in this Steampunk retelling of Shakespeare’s classic, replete with the newfound wizardry of alternative Victorian technology, mistaken identities, love triangles, and deadly peril, set against the backdrop of a world bracing itself for war, and Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.


My Thoughts: On the whole, I much enjoyed the story. The plot was rather politics-heavy, for my tastes, so I’d have preferred that a number of the characters’ sermons about international policy and the course of history and whatnot wrap up sooner than they did. Nonetheless, it was a breath-bating adventure. Even going in with the assumption that all would end well enough (the novel is based upon one of Shakespeare’s comedies, after all, not a tragedy), my heart thumped fretfully over the thought of the good guys coming to grievous harm. That “rag-tag band of semi-mechanical soldiers” amused me no end, silly fellows that they were. And I will admit to developing something of a crush on the antagonist’s formidable second-in-command, somewhere along the way. (#TeamShaka)

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): Come for the clockwork, stay for the puckish shenanigans, say I!

And now, marvel at the book’s revamped cover.

AMNS Cover, Redesigned

Be a Hero, Be the [Book] Bomb

Aly and Mark, back in the day.
Aly and Mark, back in the day.

Here’s the deal, Ever On Wordians: My dear friend and fellow Xchyler Publishing author Alyson Grauer is going through one of life’s rough patches. Her father, Mark, is undergoing surgery for cancer, and the fight for his health is not coming cheap. The family could use some help footing the bills, and I’m here to share a few ways even the most sorta-kinda-flat-broke of us can make an impact.

1) Mark Grauer’s Cancer Fund on Every buck counts! Even if that single dollar is all you have to give  or if all you can afford is to spread the link around  show cancer and the Grauer family respectively just what you think of them, the crowd funding way.

2) The Generous Juli McCarthy. Quoth mutual friend of Aly’s and mine, jewelry artist Juli of Mockingbird Studio:

For the next 5 regularly-priced sales of Touchstone™ pendants from my website I will donate 100% of the purchase price (minus tax and shipping) to [Mark Grauer’s] fund. After those five sales, I will donate $5 per regularly-priced pendant sold until March 31, 2015.

A fine pendant for you, a sale for an artist, a solid for a family in need… It’s a triple win! Consider ordering a Touchstone™ pendant today.

Commedia Aly, Pirate Aly, and Steampunk Aly agree – a Touchstone™ is an anytime accessory!
Commedia Aly, Pirate Aly, and Steampunk Aly agree – a Touchstone™ is an anytime accessory!

3) Book Bomb for “On the Isle of Sound and Wonder”. I read and reviewed it. Will Scarlet interviewed the tale’s air spirit, Aurael. And on this day, Wednesday the 4th of March, a whole mess of people are gathering on Facebook to book bomb Aly’s debut steampunk fantasy Shakespeare retelling. To quote from the event’s page:

On the Isle of Sound and Wonder banner

A Book Bomb is something that indie authors have occasionally done for each other in the past in order to help members of the community in need. We pick one day where we purchase a copy of an author’s book; because of the concentrated buying activity on that specific day, Amazon takes note, and raises the book on their “bestseller” lists! This gets the author some extra attention and activity for their awesome piece of work, and helps them via the extra book sales.

On Wednesday, March 4th, at any time during the day, go to this link, and purchase an eBook copy of On the Isle of Sound and Wonder:
It’s important to do it on this day specifically, as it concentrates the activity that Amazon monitors to rank books. The more people who are shopping and see the book, the more likely it is that we can get more support for Aly’s dad!

You can also purchase a paperback or hardback copy; however, we are concentrating on eBook sales particularly in order to focus our efforts on getting the book to rank higher on Amazon, so more people will see it.
If you’ve already purchased this book once, that’s great! You can purchase it again [and] gift a copy to someone who might enjoy it! Any kind of activity works.
If you can’t buy another copy of the book, that’s cool – YOU CAN STILL HELP! Another factor that Amazon uses is ratings and reviews! If you’ve read the book already, then leave a review on March 4th and it will really help!


Me rocking my “On the Isle of Sound and Wonder” leggings and matching hardback.
Me rocking my “On the Isle of Sound and Wonder” leggings and matching hardback.

Well, gee. I’ve already got the book and posted a review. Guess there’s nothing for it: I’m gonna have to buy another e-copy and give it away!

How do you enter to win it? Easy.

– Share this post on Facebook

– Share it on Twitter

– Share it on [insert social media platform of your choice here]

– Reblog it to your own web space

Comment below to let me know you have done any or all of these things, and you’re in the raffle. You’ve got ‘til noon today (central time), at which hour I will select the winner and buy their prize.

**Be sure to include the e-mail address you’d want the e-book sent to in your comment entry.** I’m nocturnal now, y’all, and can’t be staying up all day-night to chase down the winner’s e-addy.

Now, MARCH FO[U]RTH and do this day whatever good you can!

Thanks from Aly and me. ❤

EDIT: Even after this blog’s raffle closes, there are more giveaways going down on the book bomb event page on Facebook. Check it out!