The Typesetting of an Eye

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As you slowly crack open the book, so do you creak open a door—only to find an eye staring back at you!

At time of launch, I had the worst time getting printed paperback copies of Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy from Amazon’s press. A lot of little changes happen during the final weeks of getting a book to press, and time was getting short. With only a few weeks to go, every time I’d submit a change, I’d get an email from Amazon’s press telling me I’d set my book for bleeds (a graphic that runs off the page), only my book had no bleeds. Which was not the case, so each time I’d refer them to page 142, the first page of The Eye in the Door, where there’s a very obvious bleed.

It got so bad that there was a moment when I began to fear I might have to cut the graphic in order to make the book launch. Something I was loath to do. It’s a fun little bit of typesetting, one where the eye, which is set within the inner margin of the page, slowly appears as you open to the first page of that chapter, mimicking the opening of the door—and revealing an eye staring back at you.

In the end, they’d always approve it, but I’d lose four to five precious days each time I made a change. And I desperately needed to have a lot of paperback copies for a bookstore signing I’d scheduled for the book’s launch. It was a real nail-biter but the books did get to me just in the nick of time.

Get the first six chapters for free!

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Signed paperback edition of Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy. Shipping included.

For an added personal inscription, Email me at Care_of_Finder@icloud.com and let me know who the book is for. (i.e. “for Emily” “for the Walton family” “for my Idiot brother” etc.) *This offer is currently only available to people in the US.

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“What an absolutely mind blowing, flame throwing, steampunking adventure!!” —T. Crum

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Human Memory More Like Clockwerk Memory Than Previously Thought

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As you may have guessed, given the titles, these articles are not for the faint of heart. Not a subscriber? Luckily, the summaries, available here and here, are free as the wind. Unluckily, they’re even more daunting than you could possibly imagine. Need proof? Here’s an excerpt from one of the summaries:

We show that a dynamic interplay within the macaque frontoparietal network accounts for the rhythmic properties of spatial attention. Neural oscillations characterize functional interactions between the frontal eye fields (FEF) and the lateral intraparietal area (LIP), with theta phase (3–8 Hz) coordinating two rhythmically alternating states.

What the heck was that, right? I’m afraid the problem here is what’s called sesquipedalian prose—that’s an unfortunate side effect of what happens when scientists attempt to talk to each other in public. But we’re going to give them a pass, because where would we be without scientists? We’d be in a world lit by fire, that’s where: Imagine a world without YouTube videos, without iPhones—without steam-powered tarantula cabs! How would people in the Steamwerks burg get to work? Or . . . werk?

Okay, so what’s this sesquipedalian prose, you ask? The prose part is easy—that’s just a fancy way of saying writing. Sesquipedalian is a little harder. It comes from the Latin word sesquipedalis, which means, literally, a foot and a half long. And Latin, in case you’re wondering, is a mostly dead, mostly moldy language that’s still occasionally mined by our friends the scientists for making up new words that are just as difficult to digest as the original Latin, but I digress.

Now, back to those articles. What they’re saying is that human consciousness only focuses on small samples taken from everything we see. For example, if you were looking a big, beautiful garden, full of thousands of plants and petals and leaves, you might notice only the bee over there that just started flying your way.

That’s exactly how Clockwerks view the world! Especially older Clockwerks. After all, the older the Clockwerk, the less complex the BrainBox. That means fewer rpm, less processing power, less memory—less everything, really.

But why take my word for it? Here’s Tiffany Widderchine explaining to Willa Snap how Clockwerks reduce the need for massive memory storage by sampling only a portion of what they see. I’ll spare you Tiffany’s reversed DLP projector analogy by starting right after Willa gets it:

“Einstein’s hair! I see it! But wouldn’t recording all those bits of light need tons of memory? I thought Clockwerks didn’t have much in the way of storage.”
“That’s true, a Clockwerk’s eyes do generate a lot of information, but the Clockwerk doesn’t have to save all of it to see where it’s going or remember where it’s been. And when it does decide to save something, it only needs to take a little snapshot. Think about it. We’re not all that different. Nobody remembers EVERYTHING they see.”

And there you have it, right from the heir apparent to the great Thiphania Widderchine, who, as everyone who’s anyone knows, was born in 1161 CE and abducted in 1203 by the Black Fez for building a highly dangerous thinking barn. Safely stowed in Grandeur, Thiphania built the very first sentient compact BrainBox, powered by her son’s #3 mainspring and housed in Torsicus Widderchine, one of the first bipedal sentient Clockwerks with free will.

Oh, Snap! Willa Snap has been shortlisted for the Internatinal Rubery Book Award

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Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy

There is plenty to like about this novel. It is full of fun, and clearly the product of a quirky, inventive mind, ideal for children’s writing. Willa is a smart, likeable child with no prejudices. She, her genius mother and practical father (no problem with gender stereotypes here) are kidnapped and taken to a world where they experience bizarre encounters with a variety of unlikely entities. The narrative is often very witty and the absurdity of the story is what carries it along. The pace is fast and the plot farcical in places which is what children will like about it. This would appeal to the 10-12 age range, although a certain amount of intelligence is assumed, otherwise too many of the jokes would be missed.

—International Rubery Book Award

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The Clockwerk Dress: Fabrics and Gears and Boots, Oh My!

The Fabrics

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The Gears

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A few Clockwerk bits . . . tick-tick-tick . . .

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Gilting the boots!

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Two Willa impersonator’s means two pairs of boots. C is a good bit taller than J. So, one pair of short heels (above) . . . and one pair high (below).

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