Tag Archives: Morgan L. Busse

Steampunk Worldbuilding

I was asked to share a while ago how I created the steampunk world for Tainted, the first book in my steampunk series, The Soul Chronicles. Before I begin, I think it is good to define what steampunk is. There are a lot of definitions out there, most of them wordy and abstract. So I took the common elements and narrowed them down to one statement: steampunk is the fusion of our history (usually Victorian Era or wild west) and science fiction/fantasy. The “steam” part comes from advance technology that is run on—you guessed it—steam.

I like to use the word “fusion” when defining steampunk. Why? Fusion is the process or result of joining two or more things together to form a single entity. With steampunk, you join the historical genre with the speculative genre and fuse them together with steam-powered technology to create a brand new genre.

So now that you know what steampunk is, let me share how I created my own fused world. For the historical aspect, I went with the Victorian Era. I love this time period because there was so much change that occurred during this era. This is when the Industrial Revolution occurred (perfect for my steampunk technology), many things were in the process of being invented (again, perfect for steampunk), advances and changes in the medical world, women were stepping into the world of higher education and science, and all the advancements of science itself.

For the speculative aspect, I went with fantasy. The idea for Tainted originally came from an online conversation where someone asked if necromancy could ever be used for good. I had this image of a woman who had been “tainted” by her father’s research, and although it opened her up to amazing power, it also was killing her on the inside.


And thus Tainted was born. But instead of straight up fantasy necromancy, I chose to use science instead, and ask the questions 1) Are there lines we shouldn’t cross in our pursuit of the unknown? 2) What happens if we cross those lines? 3) Does it hurt others?

Kat’s own abilities stem from science as well, namely, the laws of science. She can manipulate matter. This means she can cause things to combust, or move, or cause particles to draw together (forming a solid) or drift apart (creating liquid or state form). She can even cause time to stand still. But humans were never meant to contain such power, and so it is killing her soul.

Lastly, the steampunk technology. I chose to go with a more covert approach instead of flashy, in-your-face technology. Steam technology is part of the everyday world in Tainted, and thus not focused on as much by the characters, in as much we use the coffeepot to make coffee in the mornings, or use our cell phones to connect with other people, but we don’t sit there and gawk at how amazing our technology is. We simply use it. It is part of the background of our lives.

Now some steampunk authors love to build all sorts of cool gadgets and gizmos. Great! I wanted to focus more on the story of the characters and use the steampunk aspect as the backdrop to their story. I think ever writer has the freedom to be as overt or covert with their technology as they want to be. And I think it also depends on the story you are writing. If it’s about an inventor, then yes, you’ll probably have a lot of cool inventions. If it’s about a socialite, eh, not so much.

So there you go. To build a world of steampunk, you research your history piece, pulling together what works for your world, including cultural aspects, manners, beliefs, and even fashion. Then you choose if you want a more science fiction or fantasy feel (maybe even both), then tie those into your world. You want magic? Great! You want AI automatons? Great!

Then lastly, have fun coming up with your own unique steampunk technology and decide how covert or overt you want to be with it. Does it take center stage of your book? Or is it the backdrop? And how does it work? Some things you can get away with just showing it in use, but some things readers might want an explanation for, depending on how overt you go with your technology.

Now go forth and write!

To find out more about Tainted, click here.

This article was originally posted on janeenippolito.com 


Tainted a Finalist in a Cover Contest

Still not sure who entered the cover for Tainted in the Creme de la Cover contest held by InD’Tale magazine, but whoever you are, thanks! A couple days ago I received an email that the cover for Tainted is one of the final covers for the contest mentioned above. Wow! Now that contest is open for people to vote for the best cover. If you think Tainted is a great cover, would you consider heading over to Creme de la Cover contest and voting? I would much appreciate it. Thanks!


Release Day for Tainted!

Tainted_Hi_ResIt’s finally here! After months of waiting,Tainted comes out today! The question is, do you have your copy? If not, head on over to Enclave Publishing and purchase your copy now! www.enclavepublishing.com

What others are saying about Tainted:

“Wow! Wow! Wow! I loved everything about this steampunk novel, from the mechanical bird name Cricket to the description of the different modes of transportation. I didn’t think that Morgan Busse could exceed the excellence of her Follower of Word series, but she did. Tainted is amazing!”

“I am happy to tell you this books is AWESOME! I do not like science fiction and have never read any Steam Punk themed books but LOVED this story.”

“Steampunk is a genre that I’ve only recently come to appreciate. Tainted is one of the reasons it’s quickly becoming my favorite… The phrase ‘edge of your seat’ is overused. But it certainly applies to Tainted. The action scenes were especially well done. This book is a ‘must have’ on your shelf!”

“I really continue to enjoy Tainted. The more time I have to ponder it, the more meaningful it is becoming. Without a bunch of details, let me just say that I can relate to Kat on many levels and I know I will not be the only one.”

Also, don’t miss out on a chance to celebrate the release tonight on Facebook! That’s right, there’s a party happening! There will be plenty of chances to win signed copies of Tainted along with other steampunk memorabilia. You don’t want to miss out 🙂



More Book News

TaintedSo I have more book news to share! I am holding a Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Tainted. So what are you waiting for? Head on over now: www.goodreads.com

The second bit of news: after a lot of talk and much prayer, I am happy to announce that I am now represented by Steve Laube of the Steve Laube Agency. I wasn’t looking for an agent, but a great one came along anyway. Funny how God works that way!  www.stevelaube.com

How I met my Husband


I thought in lieu of Valentine’s Day I would share how I met my husband :).

Dan and I met on the battlefield…er…football field. We were both teenagers at the time. I had seen him around at youth group, but we ran in different circles. He was a senior, jock, and could bench-press over three hundred pounds (in other words, very large guy!). And I was a freshman: short, shy, and a book nerd.

That winter we both attended the same winter camp. When a spontaneous football game was announced, I was in. I love football and have a secret competitive side. We lined up with our teams. I was on one side, and Dan was on the other. The field was icy and the air brisk cold. The game was two-touch, but with all the ice, it was more like ice-skating meets football.

Halfway during the game, the football was thrown to Dan. The rest of his team had my team blocked. I was the only one who stood between him and the goal. My one thought as he came barreling toward me: he would not get past me.

I meant to two touch him, but instead slipped, grabbed him, and knocked him hard to the ground. Dan looked up at me, astonished. Then he laughed. I grinned back. I had stopped him from scoring.

I held out my hand to help him up off the ground. We spoke for the first time. He called me freight train after that. The years went by and we became good friends. If someone had told me that I would marry the guy I knocked down on that icy field, I would have laughed. Dan was funny and cute, but definitely not my type.

I’m glad God had other plans. Four years later, we went out on our first date, and a year and a half later, married. We still enjoy football, even get out and play it once in a while. And our children love to hear how mommy knocked daddy down when we first met.

That’s my story. Now it’s your turn. How did you meet your significant other?

Interview with Relz Reviewz and a Mention in USAToday

So a lot happened this week in my little writing world. First, I was asked a couple weeks ago if I would do an interview with Relz Reviewz. Of course I said yes 🙂 That interview went live this week, so head on over to their site to check out my latest interview (which includes little tidbits like if I could go back in time, where would I go?):  relzreviewz.com/morgan-l-busse-discover-more/

Secondly, Heir of Hope was mentioned over at USAToday’s Happy Ever after as one of “must-read romantic fantasies.” Wow! And to be listed with authors like Jessica Evanders and Mary Weber made it even sweeter! To check out the post, click here: www.usatoday.com/story/happyeverafter

When you’re a writer, you have your good weeks and your not-so-good weeks (those that require lots of chocolate to get through). This was a great week! I thank God for these bits of encouragement to keep on going 🙂

To All of Those Who Have Helped Me on My Writing Journey

A writer is not a hermit who writesI never had a chance to write an acknowledgement page for the Follower of the Word series. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is the last couple pages at the end of the book where the author thanks those who helped her write the book. I have had many people help me since the moment I wrote that first chapter for Daughter of Light and decided to do my own acknowledgement page here on my blog. So without further ado, here are the amazing people who have been a part of my writing journey:

First, my husband Dan. If you have read any of my interviews, his name comes up because he is my biggest supporter and cheerleader! He was the first one who encouraged me to write and believed in me. He provides time for me to write, a computer to write on (I’ll have to write about the day he came home with a laptop to surprise me), he takes care of the kids and house when I’m on a deadline, and those times when I have wanted to give up, he has talked me out of tossing my computer out the window. I am so thankful for such a wonderful, supportive husband!

Jeff Gerke. He saw something worthwhile in Daughter of Light and took a chance on me. Over the course of editing Daughter of Light and Son of Truth I learned so much from him. He’s a great editor who knows how push you to your limit without breaking your spirit. He does freelance and I highly recommend him! You can find him at http://www.jeffgerke.com/

My fellow authors at Enclave Publishing (formerly Marcher Lord Press). I don’t know what it’s like at other publishing houses, but here at Enclave we are a close knit group. We share ideas, encourage each other, help each other, and cheer each other on. I am so thankful to be a part of this amazing group of people.

My critique partners and beta readers: Ralene Burke and Jill Fortriede. You both get me and my writing, and help make it even better. Ralene is also a freelance editor and good at what she does. You can find out more about her at www.raleneburke.com

My proofreader: Julie Thiry. Thank you for seeing what I don’t see.

Steven Laube. When Marcher Lord Press was bought out, I wasn’t sure where I would end up. Instead, I found another person willing to take a chance on my work.

Karen Ball. Karen brought a different kind of editing to my work when she edited my third book, Heir of Hope. She is an amazing editor and helped me hone what I had already learned under Jeff. I am very thankful I was able to work with her.

My readers. A writer writes because they have something to say, but they also hope to find readers who resonate with what they write. I have found that in a special group of people who are both my readers and friends. I write my heart and soul into a book and when one of my readers writes back and tells me how my story impacted them, that makes all the sweat, tears, and time worth it. I don’t know what I would do without all of you! You charge on ahead, sharing posts, reviews, and your love for my series. That is something I cannot do as the author and I thank you for sharing on my behalf.

Lastly, but most importantly, God. Without Him, I would not be where I am today. I have been down some really dark roads, ones that would have led to certain destruction if God had not been at my side. Through my brokenness, God poured a story through my heart, a story that I have turned back toward God in worship. If you have been touched the words in my books, then you have been touched by my love for God.

There are many more people who have helped me over the years: people from conferences, other writers, teachers, and family members, and to each I thank you. A writer is not a hermit who writes alone in some dark office or cabin in the woods, emerging with an amazing story after a period of time. No, a writer is a human being who needs others to help bring forth her story and share it with the world. And for all of you who helped me bring forth mine, thank you.

Heir of Hope Book Tour

Heir of Hope Book tourGuess what today is? Yep! The official release of Heir of Hope. A couple websites have joined up with mine to celebrate the launch of the last and final book in the Follower of the Word series and many of them are giving away books!

Excited? So am I! So without further ado, here are the websites and what they are featuring, along with a link. Enjoy your tour 🙂

First up is Emily Anne Kopf with an interview yours truly. Find out how I started my writing journey and who has been my inspiration: http://zerinablossom.blogspot.com

Next we have Worthy2Read up with her review of Heir of Hope: https://worthy2read.wordpress.com/

Fellow fantasy author Angie Brashear is doing a giveaway on her website. Just answer her question in the comment section of her post (who is your favorite Follower of the Word character?) for a chance to win an EBOOK COPY of Heir of Hope! http://angiebrashear.com

Laura Pol over at Crafty Booksheeps does a character spotlight on Caleb Tala, the former assassin from the Follower of the Word series. Find out what his most treasured possession is and enter her giveaway for a SIGNED COPY of Heir of Hope! http://craftybooksheeps.blogspot.com

Janeen Ippolito is doing a 3-day tour of the locations found in the Follower of the Word series. Leave a comment on each post for another chance to win a SIGNED COPY of Heir of Hopehttp://janeenippolito.com

Ralene Burke has a tongue-in-cheek interview with Caleb Tala (he keeps coming up, doesn’t he?) over on her website. Check it out! http://www.raleneburke.com

And lastly, if you have never read the Follower of the Word series, Jason Joyner shares his review of Heir of Hope and if you leave a comment, you can be entered to win a COPY of Daughter of Light, the first book in this series. http://www.jasoncjoyner.com

To wrap up the celebrations, there will be a Facebook party tonight (5pm pacific). There will be laughs, conversation, and book giveaways. You don’t want to miss out on this! To sign up for the event, click here: https://www.facebook.com/events

Trivia Facts about the Follower of the Word series

As the release date for Heir of Hope approaches, the final book in the Follower of the Word series, I thought it might be fun to share some of the more interesting facts behind the characters, the setting, and the plot. Enjoy!

*I started writing this series almost exactly eleven years ago. Wow!

*Daughter of Light was originally supposed to be a stand-alone novel. About halfway through the first draft, I realize there was a lot more to the story.

*I completely rewrote Daughter of Light four times (and that doesn’t include the two rewrites during the official editing process).

*Many of the places in the Follower of the Word series are based on real places I have visited including the Oregon Coast, the Rocky Mountains, and the Mojave Desert.

*When I could, I would explore a place to write a scene accurately. For example, for the scene outside Avonai in Daughter of Light at night I went for a walk on the beach in order to see what it would look like, sound like, smell like, feel like, especially to see how well a person could see during a full moon on the beach. Verdict? You can actually see pretty well 🙂

*Nierne, one of the main characters, originally came from a group of islands to the west. Somewhere I found the name Nierne and it meant “western islands”. Since then, I have never been able to find her name again online and she ended up in the Thyrian Monastery instead.

*Knowing the ending to my books is very important to me before I start writing. However, when I discovered Daughter of Light would be more than one book, I had no idea how I would end the series. Two years later, at a Women of Faith conference, I was sitting in an arena filled with thousands of women and I suddenly saw the ending. I grabbed a napkin (the only thing I could find) and started jotting down the ending that would eventually become Heir of Hope.

*When Daughter of Light was originally published, there was no series name. When Son of Truth came out, we decided we needed a name for this series. I had earmarked Follower of the Word for the title for the last book, but we decided it made a good series title instead. So that left me to figure out a name for the last book. I realized the main theme for the last book was hope, and Rowen carries the hope of both her people and mankind, and thus Heir of Hope was born.

*The cover for Heir of Hope is based on a scene from the story.

It’s been quite a journey and hard to believe it is almost finished (at least for me). I hope to someday revisit this world, perhaps in the form of a novella that might extend Caleb’s story, or another series that takes a look at the Nordic Wars, an world-altering event that precedes the Follower of the Word series.

Heir of Hope releases April 21st. In conjunction with the release, I will be throwing a Facebook party that night that will include giving away a couple signed copies of Heir of Hope and a complete, signed set of the Follower of the Word series in their new covers. Of course, you are all invited 🙂 Just click here to let me know you are coming!

Heir of Hope Nightmares

Signed Copies Giveaway

Goodreads Giveaway

Hi Everyone! In celebration of the soon-to-be released Heir of Hope and the new covers, I am holding a giveaway for one signed paperback copy of Daughter of Light and Son of Truth in their new covers!

To enter, head on over to goodreads.com and enter the giveaway. I have provided a link for each book:

Daughter of Light

Son of Truth