Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Margaret McGaffey Fisk Presents The Steamship Chronicles Volume One Giveaway

Follow Sam's search for a place where she can be safe
A journey so vast it can't be contained in just one book!

The Steamship Chronicles Volume I
Secrets - Threats - Gifts


by Margaret McGaffey Fisk

My rating: 5 stars

Series: The Steamship Chronicles - Book 1
Publication Date: July 9, 2014
Publisher: ACOA
Genre: Teen/YA Steampunk
Print Length: 195 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble


An Alternate History Victorian Steampunk Adventure for readers of all ages.
Samantha Crill can read the hearts of mechanical devices and transform them into what they long to be. In a steam-powered Victorian England where only the wealthy can afford such sophisticated contraptions, the law does not look kindly on Naturals who destroy these purchases. Barely able to resist the demand of the devices, Sam becomes a danger to everyone around her, not in the least because the mechanicals show little restraint once changed.
Nathaniel Bowden, cabin boy on the oldest of the East India Trading Company’s steamships, intends to learn everything he can in the hope of becoming a captain in this age of productivity. He’s eager and willing, but his despised noble background and the engineer’s unprovoked loathing threaten his position with the crew.
If Sam can't learn to control her nature, the engine's whispers combined with Nat's curiosity will put his future — and both their lives — at risk.

by Margaret McGaffey Fisk

My rating: 5 stars

Series: The Steamship Chronicles - Book 2
Publication Date: December 15, 2014
Publisher: TTO Publishing
ISBN: 1631390090
Genre: YA Steampunk Fantasy
Print Length: 235 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Is Luck a Miracle or a Curse?
Luck alone has kept Sam undiscovered so far. She dreads the moment the crew learns their miracle and curse have a human face, but it’s Nat’s reaction she fears the most. When her Natural talents are revealed, all the ways she’s used her far-from-human abilities to keep the engine running may count for nothing.
Obsessed with the steamship's engine, Nat’s new position as the engineer’s apprentice is a dream come true even when a fierce storm tests the limits of his new skills. He basks in the praise of the engineer and crew once they're safe again, but their cheers soon turn to curses when Nat realizes the nearest island on the charts is nothing but a sandbar. With food and water running low, how is he going to keep Sam fed?
FIVE Star Review


by Margaret McGaffey Fisk

My rating: 5 stars

Series: The Steamship Chronicles - Book 3
Publication Date: July 16, 2015
Publisher: TTO Publishing
Genre: YA Steampunk Fantasy
Print Length: 230 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble


The Steamship Chronicles continue....

Savor the Joyful Moments

Sam has never been happier than aboard this merchant ship in the middle of the ocean. Most of the crew accepts her despite knowing about Sam’s Natural abilities. They tease and scold as if she were one of their own. She’d do anything to stay, but the captain has made it clear: Come the next port, her voyage is at an end.

Hiding Sam from the crew cost Nat dearly, but he doesn’t want her to go. The sailors view her as a good luck charm now, but as soon as something goes wrong, they will turn on the Natural. Transforming Sam into a boy and giving her Nat’s share of the profits means she might have a decent chance on shore. As long as she stays in control. If only they could discover a better plan.


1.  Tell us about Margaret the person, who is she, what does she like, etc. *This is a question Margaret has answered before, but her reply is worth re-reading!*

I am best described by the metaphor of my current residence, something I didn't realize until you asked. I live in a suburban, gated community where the state of my lawn is investigated frequently. I live here because my backyard borders on a wilderness area that grew out of an attempt to provide proper drainage for the suburban sprawl. Hawks grab mice and rabbits for a quick snack in the back while the patrols circle the front looking for things that would bring down the house value.

This very contradiction between manicured and wild matches me all too well. I'm a techie who loves computers, but I'm also the person who longs to wander in the forest and commune with the trees. Like our house, I masquerade as civilized when my heart is wild.


The perception of others falls in the “reader 50%” category of out of my control so I haven’t a clue. It might depend on the context in which you meet me, but I don't think the lines are demarcated all that distinctly. The "themes," if you will, of my life tend to cross over whether I'm hunting down a broken piece of code or hiking through a national park. I try to be fully involved in whatever I'm doing and enjoy every minute.


Let's say the apocalypse happens and we're reduced to basic tech. The wild side would win as I struggled to survive, but the odds of me not finding technical solutions is slim to nil. If I'm confined in a city with no nature, the tech side would, but I'd likely start growing rainbow coleus as I did when that was my reality. My baseline is efficiency, so I'd choose the side best adapted to the situation. That said, it's not really a matter of choice as both are integral to who I am. No matter my reasoned decision, the other part wouldn't stay dormant for long.


Honestly, I was writing before I knew what a computer was. I came late to the tech side, but the adventure has been part of me as long as I can remember. I believe we can treat life as a struggle or an adventure. The same events go from horrible to challenging just based on perspective, though admittedly sometimes that perspective is only available in retrospect.

As an example, I'll tell you of one adventure that had its definite upsides and downsides.

I was a bit of a tomboy growing up, always climbing, exploring, and pushing my limits. I hung out with older kids and was (and am) susceptible to dares.

Two of my friends, who were teenage boys and at least five years older than me, were going octopus hunting. I wanted to go and managed to convince my mother it would be fine. I'm an excellent swimmer, so the risk wasn't that great, but it was a long swim to the island and then, of course, there was the octopus.

My friends had spear guns, but I was just along for the ride.

My mother had warned me about every possible danger. She explained how octopuses caught prey with their suckers and dragged them to the bottom of the ocean until they drowned, so I had to stay out of reach no matter what. (Actually, I think that's alligators come to think of it, but that's what she said, possibly with help from the other adults in our party who were happy to spin tales for fun or mischief.)

We swam out to Church Island (called that because there's an old church on the top) and started circling the island, peering at the rocky underside for octopuses. Remember, though, my friends were older. That meant they were longer too. Soon they'd left me in the dust. After all, I was watching for the deadly tentacles.

The worst possible thing happened.

I saw an octopus.

I figure it was just as freaked as I was and made it half way across the globe in the time it took me to catch up to the boys where I babbled my terror and frustrated both of them. They had seen nothing, and of course, I had no idea where that one had been as I desperately raced away.

We kept searching, but then I got stung by a huge, transparent jellyfish and my leg burned. They beached me on the island while they went to get something to bring me back to the main shore.

It hurt a lot, and I had nothing else to do, so I started experimenting.

Guess what I discovered? Wet sand draws out the sting.

I sat there on the beach waiting for-EVER, and made wet packs of sand again and again until my leg was feeling pretty good. I'd almost given up on the boys when they finally returned with a float they'd borrowed from a stranger on the nearest beach.

They balanced me on the float, and pushed and pulled it back from the island to the beach where they'd gotten it. It was a far distance if not as far as our starting point, and I'd been on my own much too long. Besides, I wasn't doing a thing.

So I babbled.

I told them of my discovery, and right about fifteen feet or so from the shore, I revealed that my technique had cured the sting almost entirely...

...at which point they shoved the float toward the shore through the little jellyfish-infested seaweed. They'd had enough. I'd failed to mark the octopus and then I could have swam when they'd gone the distance twice to get the float.

Paddling the rest of the way to the shore when touching the water meant a thousand little stings wasn’t easy, but I made it.

I don't blame them. I understand their frustration entirely...now.

Besides, it makes the story just that much stronger, which what I mean about adventures. Without this perspective, the same tale goes this way:

Some older friends invited me to go octopus hunting. My mom scared me about octopuses so I ran when I saw one. My friends were angry with me. The End.

Not quite an adventure, and not the experience I had one bit.

SPEAKING OF THAT LAWN, WHO TAKES CARE OF IT? (I just threw that in for kicks)

Funny story there too, but I'll be brief. I had enough with lawn care as a kid while my husband grew up with gardeners. I said, we get a lawn and it's all on you. I help with emergencies and our sons have been known to help too, but my poor, deprived husband turns out to have an incredible green thumb. He's now an urban farmer (between the suburban house and the wilderness line) who fights with the wild squirrels for ownership over some of the most delicious heirloom tomatoes I have ever eaten.

Storyteller. Romance, fantasy, and science fiction with a focus on people and what makes them tick.

Margaret McGaffey Fisk is a storyteller whose tales often cross genres and worlds to bring the events and characters to life. She currently writes romance, science fiction, and fantasy but will go wherever the story takes her.
A daughter of diplomats, her early years were filled with many cultures, both very much alive and long turned to dust, and people who both pondered the great thoughts and were grand pranksters. Whether from wild adventures into the desert to climb sand mountains, poking around little known archeological sites, or visiting bazaars and inner cities, she came out of that time with a love of culture and an all too sharp awareness of culture clash.
She currently lives in a Nevada desertscape with her husband, and a rotating collection of cats and sons. When not exercising her creative muscles, she has been known to tame the relatives of beasts in the wild–feral cats.
In a different time, you’d find her before a bonfire or with a mug of ale and a lute spinning tales for all who are in earshot. Now, though, you can read her explorations of loyalty, love, and cultural conflict wherever you might be.

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  1. These are stories of pure adventure for kids! How many books will there be in this series?

    1. There are two more multi-book volumes planned, though not always with the same characters. Then there are notes for at least one more book based on a young man who designed mechanical theaters...that were a little more capable than they should be.

  2. These look really fun. I love adventure stories. Thanks for sharing this author!

    1. Hi, Laura,

      I clearly enjoy telling them (real or fictional) and I love finding people who feel the same. I hope you'll check out Secrets and enjoy your time with Sam and Nat.

  3. I love the sound of the write up on all these books and am very glad to see more are planned! Where do you draw inspiration from Margaret?

    1. This may sound strange, but often I don't know where the inspiration comes from until later. With this series, it wasn't until I was signing a copy of book 2 for my parents that I realized Sam had been germinating in my back brain since I was 12-15 years old and disassembling and reassembling my parents' travel watches.

      There's also clear influences from Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, while Dii ferreted out my love for adventure which inspires me to travel even when sitting still. But honestly, I can find inspiration in anything. The young man I mention above came from a non-fiction book on English history. A talented theatrical set designer is mentioned once. My character is an homage to such creativity.

      I love how things that pique my curiosity can come together in a way to entertain all of you as well.

  4. Hmmm...I'm not sure what I'd invent for the steampunk era. I'd probably invent a kitchen gadget, since I love to cook. I'd probably have to have a some kind of funky mixer, since I'm no longer able to mix things by hand (due to illness). I can't imagine simply doing without. Yes, I'd definitely have to invent a stand mixer that was solar powered (I can't imagine a steam-powered mixer - the steam could negatively influence too many recipes).

    1. Seems to me you'd want a Natural to help you out. Then you'd get one powered by aether (sort of like a mix of air and magnetism) and it would sing to you while it worked as the aether bound creations are semi-sentient in their own ways.

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  6. I'm not sure what I would invent. A really cool airship perhaps.

    1. They had a lovely replica of a steam zeppelin at Maker's Faire in San Mateo this year. You invent it, and many would come :).