Another Instafreebie Giveaway Promotion (this one’s pretty big)!

Another Instafreebie Giveaway Promotion (this one’s pretty big)!



This may be one of the final Instafreebie promotions I participate in for a while.

For a limited time, you can grab a FREE copy of The Inventor’s Son, along with a LOAD of other free books, by entering the SFF Book Bonanza Portal!

You’re probably wondering why I mentioned that this might be my last Instafreebie Giveaway for a while. This is because I am considering putting The Inventor’s Son Series into Kindle Unlimited. This is a program that Amazon has for people to subscribe and read all they want from a selection of Kindle books for one set monthly price. It seems like a great way to get more people to read my books, because Amazon would have them available to these readers.

If I enroll the books, however, I will need to make them exclusively available at Amazon, and I would not be able to put a full book into Instafreebie Giveaway Promotions like this one if enrolled. I cannot have the books anywhere else, either, aside from the paperback book still being available at Barnes & Noble. The Kindle versions would still be available for purchase as well as for borrowing, but no other stores can have an eBook version available.

I will have the eBooks still widely available through May 2017, and I may only have them in Kindle Unlimited for the summer.

What do you think of Kindle Unlimited? Do you think you’d like to see my books available to borrow from the program?

Posted by SB James in The SB James Author and Artist Blog, 0 comments
What is the Difference Between Steampunk and Gasplamp Fantasy?

What is the Difference Between Steampunk and Gasplamp Fantasy?


Recently I had come across the question of what the difference between Steampunk and Gaslamp Fantasy was. It started because I was telling people that I actually had written some Gaslamp Fantasy novels. It turns out that though people are actually familiar with what Gaslamp is, they aren’t aware of the name of the genre. So today, I’m going to outline the differences between Steampunk and Gaslamp.

Before I do that though, let’s talk about the similarity between the two related genres and figure out why they sometimes get confused. Steampunk and Gaslamp often have a similar outward appearance, and if someone looks at a picture of a character in a Gaslamp tale, they would immediately think of Steampunk. The top hats, the goggles, the corsets, the Neo-Victorian or Neo-Edwardian settings, and of course the gadgets and tinkerings and dirigibles… These all remind people of Steampunk. And Gaslamp Fantasy has all these elements as well.

But where they differ is subtle sometimes. Some people even consider Gaslamp as an offshoot of Steampunk. But it is actually a branch of the Historical Fantasy family. This link to the website Goodreads has a good list of Gaslamp Fantasy books, and this link to Goodreads that shows a list of Steampunk genre books.

Let’s select two books, one from each category, and examine the differences.

aeronauts windlass

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher: this book belongs in the Steampunk genre. Why? Look at the plot description:

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.


Soulless by Gail Carriger: This book, though very well known as Steampunk, is quite frankly a Gaslamp Fantasy book:

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Do you see the difference in the focus of the plot, just from the plot descriptions? In the case of Aeronaut’s Windlass, if you didn’t know that it was supposed to be a Steampunk book, you’d probably think the book was a space opera, with the focus being on a ship (dirigible airship in this case) that was damaged in battle (a space opera trope if ever there was one). The focus is on the technology, at least in this first volume of the series. Is there magic involved in this plot? Of course (this is Jim Butcher, after all), but as long as the scales tip in favor, plot-wise, on the technology and the gadgets, then it’s Steampunk.

In the case of Soulless, on the other hand, we see the words vampire, werewolf, supernatural, soul… If  you removed the name of Queen Victoria, you might think this was urban fantasy! We see nothing about gadgets in the book description (though in the book, the reader is shown various examples of more advanced Neo-Victorian technology). In this book, the focus is on the magic, and therefore this scale is tipped toward Gaslamp Fantasy.

In the case of my own book, The Inventor’s Son, there are gadgets and tinkerings (and in the case of The Explorer’s Son, huge dirigibles). In the plot description, you can see there is some focus on those things:

The Inventor’s Son is the story of young Ethan Stanwood, whose father is a brilliant, but reclusive, inventor and scientist. Sickly and isolated, Ethan’s entire world revolves around his father and his work. He believes that this is all life has to offer him, in spite of the latent magical talents he’d inherited from his long-dead mother that are beginning to surface.

When his father flees London one Monday morning, Ethan’s quiet life is swiftly turned into a fight for his survival. His father tasks Ethan with bringing his most important prototype that he was forced to leave behind when he departed. Unfortunately, he has only left the vaguest of clues for Ethan to follow in order to find him. Ethan has to find his father, but he must also face his father’s foes who will stop at nothing to get Ethan and the prototype.

In my series, I have endeavored to make sure there was a fine balance between the focus on tech and the focus on magic, because Ethan is the child of an inventor and a witch. Because the focus seems to be on Marcus Stanwood’s prototype and the struggle to keep it out of enemy hands, you could almost call it Steampunk. But the books actually focus more on Ethan’s journey with the development of his magical abilities, especially in the later books. This is what puts my books in the Gaslamp Fantasy and Historical Fantasy categories more than Steampunk. For the sake of simplicity, readers have shelved my books as Steampunk, and that would not be incorrect, technically, but they do belong in Gaslamp Fantasy as well.


Posted by SB James in The SB James Author and Artist Blog, 1 comment

Thinking of my Writing Journey, Steampunk, and my Blog, So Far

First off, I have a link here to my very first guest blog post:
K.J. Bryen will be publishing her new book, Lokte in the fall of 2014.
My guest post talks mostly about my writing journey so far and offers some tips that I’ve found are critical to surviving the first months of the self-publishing journey.
However, there is so much more, more than what can be covered in a single post. The entire exercise was quite thought provoking for me. One thought surfaced above all others: I may just have to start another blog!
If I start another blog, it will be dedicated to The Inventor’s Son. Once I start some heavier promoting and get Book 2 out, I’m sure that some readers might want to delve a bit deeper.
I’ve also joined the Google+ community Steampunk Tendencies. Their actual website is
When I see how many people are members of this group, and how elaborate their costumes and artwork is, I’m at once encouraged and daunted. Encouraged because Steampunk really does seem to be taking off and becoming more mainstream. Daunted because, compared to many of these people, my Steampunk resume is pretty thin as of yet. It’s such a fun genre, I’m sorry I didn’t get into this sooner.

Posted by SB James in Older Blog Posts, 4 comments

My Book, The Inventor’s Son, Has Gone Live!

If you like a book that’s got a Steampunk feel to it, has plenty of tension and some action, geared toward people who like YA, then check it out:

Posted by SB James in The SB James Author and Artist Blog, 0 comments

Here is the Cover for My New Book!

The Inventor's Son Cover

The Inventor’s Son Cover

I was hoping to get a feeling of this being like an old fashioned book cover rather than the ones we see all the time with photoshopped images on them.
I’ve uploaded the book to Amazon. As of right this second it’s still “in review” but I previewed it (to death) last night and everything looked good there.
I hope that from the cover it’s fairly evident that it’s a Steampunk book… I’m experimenting as much as I am writing. I remember years ago when I was in art class, I was working on a project that everyone else was doing. I had started making my sketches different than the other students, and suddenly, I got nervous, so I changed it to make my sketches look like everyone else. When it came time for the teacher to look at what we were doing, he looked at mine and said, “Well, you were going to do something different, but I’m disappointed that you ended up doing what everyone else did.” I took those words to heart.
Sorry if my thoughts seem a little disjointed; I’ve been up all night after hitting that “Save and Publish” button. Gonna make myself some coffee and then start doing my make over of this page as well as my Twitter, Facebook (yeah, just made the page yesterday, sigh) and all that…
If you’ve got any opinions, please let me know what you think!

Posted by SB James in The SB James Author and Artist Blog, 3 comments