Tag Archives: the travelers’ club – Fire and Ash

The BEST Cyber Monday Deal EVER!

If you think this blog site has some cool stuff – wait till you read my awesome books!

At Kindle you can get the following awesome books for:

JUST  99 cents to read the novel The Travelers’ Club and the Ghost Ship – Book one in an historical adventure series.  It’s steampunk – that is science fiction adventure set in 1880.


JUST 99 cents will also get you Twisted Nightmares!  This is an awesome anthology of short poems and stories featuring horror and freaky plot lines with frightening twists.


JUST $2.99 will get you The Travelers’ Club – Fire and Ash – Book two in the series and my best written novel yet published.


Nothing makes a better Christmas present for both you, your friends and family, and for me as an author, than for you to reach in your pocket (figuratively) and buy these timeless literary treasures.



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I Will Be Signing books at Hob Nobs This Friday

I will be at Hob Nobs Cafe and Spirits in Phoenix on Friday, August 2nd, signing copies of The Travelers’ Club and the Ghost Ship, The Travelers’ Club – Fire and Ash, Twisted History and Twisted Nightmares.  Come join me for this First Friday event.  They will have a live band playing starting at 8 pm.  I will be just inside the entrance starting around 7:30 pm.  I look forward to seeing you there!

hob nobs

Hob Nobs – 149 W McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85003


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My Interview with Ruth Jacobs – In the Booth with Ruth

I am pleased to say that Ruth Jacobs of Hertfordshire, England, “In the Booth with Ruth” has posted her interview with me.  Below is the link and the text.  Please check out her blog at ruthjacobs.co.uk and also her store.  She has novels for sale and also petitions for various human rights causes.  Thanks Ruth!



Michael Bradley

What’s your writing background? When did you begin writing and what inspired you? 

I was an abused child and escaped from reality by reading. I started reading encyclopedia at age four. I have read at least a book a week since I was twelve, and probably close to 5,000 at this point. I have always wanted to be a writer, but adults discouraged me and I went into various fields. Finally, at age forty-seven, I retired on my savings and started writing full time on April 1, 2011. 

How often do you write? And how do you manage to fit in writing among other commitments? 

I write every day and can pace up to a chapter per day. I write full time for the most part, but also do some consulting, public appearances, and teaching. I am a bit of a word processor. I have so many ideas and stories fully written in my head, that the actual act of writing feels like dictation from my own internal voice. 

In which genre do you most enjoy writing? 

I like writing the same genres I love to read. Fiction, historical fiction, steampunk, and fantasy. I write what I refer to as “pulp fiction” in that it is story and character rich, enjoyable, easy to read, and takes the reader away from the normal world. I do not try to write deep literary fiction with nuanced meanings you have to dwell on for days to understand. 

What draws you to write in that genre? 

I am a strong believer in writing what you enjoy reading. I feel you are a bit of a charlatan if you try to write something because it is popular or marketable. Ideas and writing come easily if you would want to read your own novels and stories if someone else had written them. I tell my readers honestly, that had I not written the stories, I would love to read them. 

Tell me about your current project(s)? 

I work on several things at once. For novels, my next is Blood Bank, a unique post-apocalyptic vampire novel, that is more about what it means to be human than about vampires. It is due out late summer 2013. After that, the third in the Travelers’ Club steampunk series will come out, The Travelers’ Club and The Lost City, late Fall 2013. I am working on next year’s Twistedanthology series, and on The Second Civil War, a political thriller set in 2024. Both I hope to release in early 2014. 

What are your writing plans for the future? 

My goal is to continue to release two or three books per year and a dozen short stories. My career goal is to have thousands of readers who enjoy my writing and look forward to the next story. Financially, I plan to break even, but I would trade profits for readers any day. I have stories bursting to get out and on to paper, and I just want others to read and enjoy them. 

Where can people find out more about you? 

My blog site at www.mbtimetraveler.com is a very eclectic selection of posts that interest me. Usually, I update the blog two or three times daily. Some are pictures, some are reposts of stories, some are original writing of mine. If you follow my blog, you will certainly gain insight into the unusual mix of interests floating around inside my head.

Twitter: @mbtimetraveler

My books can be found on Amazon: Twisted NightmaresThe Travelers’ Club and The Ghost ShipThe Travelers’ Club – Fire and Ash, and Twisted History. I also write movie reviews, book reviews, true science and other columns for multiple magazines, and I have had around forty short stories published in various publications.

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Some Novel Writing Tips

Here are some tips I have learned in my own novel writing.  I hope they help you as well:

1)  Each Chapter should have a specific purpose.  If you have ten things going on in a chapter, the reader has no idea what is important and what is not.  Focus your narrative on important things.  Use more descriptors for items that matter, fewer for areas the narrative just passes through never to return.  Get one part of your character or story arc done in each chapter.  If you have a movie you have to fit into 90 minutes you cut the scenes that are nice but not necessary.  A novel fits into roughly 40 chapters at 2,500 words each.  If you weave 3 major story lines and/or characters, you have just 12 to 14 chapters for each one.  Introduce, development, twists, double backs, near finale, the final climax, the anti-climax, all have to get done in that time.  A novel seems long, but  you only have so many “scenes” to tell your story, don’t waste any.

writing 1

2) Start your chapter with a reminder, end it with a tease.  Many people read like I do – they finish a chapter and go to sleep.  The next time they pick up the book might be awhile.  Just like TV series will show you scenes of what happened the last episode, then end with teasers for the next week, you need to do that in your chapters.  Start the chapter with a sentence or two reminding them where you left it the chapter before.  Don’t make them read a few pages to remember.  At the end you don’t have to leave some obvious hook like the old TV serials where the hero appears to be blown up, only to see that he magically escaped.  However, give the reader some reason to want to pick up your book again.  Your story should have enough interesting questions and story arcs to keep the reader wanting to know what happens next.  A chapter that ends flat might mean even more time before they read the next one.

3)  Don’t include all that cool narrative unless it is necessary to the story.  This is the hardest for me because I do so much research on my novels.  So, you are writing about a World War 1 story and you have so many things you want to talk about with trench warfare, the home front, cool historical factoids you want to share…  The problem is, your book is not a historical reference, but a fiction.  The story is the characters, not the setting.  You should strip out any narrative that does not surround the characters and their slice of it.  You might want to break into elegant narrative about the past four hundred years of history of the spot your character sets his foot, but the character, and the reader, only care about it if it influences the story.   So much I want to tell about the setting, about history, about cool things, but it does not help the story.  It hurts to leave it all out, knowing I will never revisit that spot in that point of history in other stories.  Still, you have to leave it out.

writing 2

4)  There is nothing cooler than having readers know your characters.  Going to book clubs, signings and events where people have read my stories and comment on them is a rush.  It surprises me that these readers know my characters as well as I do.  They know what they would do under different circumstances, their weaknesses, their strengths, what they look like, their aspirations.  I always wonder what I evoke in a reader with my prose.  When they tell you exactly what you wanted to convey, it is awesome.  The magic of the written word is transmitting a fictional character from your mind to theirs in simple words.  To do this, your characters needs to be complicated and real.  Try to avoid having anyone in your story that you don’t have a full character build-up behind them.  Gather characters in your daily life from friends, enemies, barristas, store clerks, fellow elevator passengers, anyone you meet.

5)  Don’t describe anything with a common view and over-describe new concepts.  If you say, “they walk into a sports bar.”  Every reader has an image that comes up.  It does not matter if their sports bar is the one you have in mind, it only matters that they see a sports bar in their mind.  I no longer describe the lay-out, the tables, or virtually anything.  They already have a mental picture and further description is distracting.  However, I have an airship in The Travelers’ Club – Fire and Ash that features prominently in several chapters.  In test reading groups, no one knew what it looked like, how big it was, or the layout.  Despite the fact that I had described it.  They simply had no pre-set mental image for the insides of an imaginary private airship yacht.  I had to add an entire chapter with one of the characters taking another on a tour of their ship as it was being readied for flight.  It turned into a fun chapter for me and solved the problem.  So, as an author, ask yourself – Does the reader have a mental image of the item or setting?  If yes, don’t describe it.  If no, over describe it.

kindle fa

6)  Focus on the core of your novel.  Is your character dealing with internal issues, like over-coming cowardice, finding love, a life of rejection, scars of abuse?  Are they dealing with action issues, like running from hitmen, the police, fighting in a war, putting out fires?  If the story is internal and emotional,  focus your writing on the internal dialogue and personal challenges.  Don’t dilute an emotional story with a lot of useless setting and spatial descriptions.  The action that the reader will care about is the emotional journey.  If you have a physical action story, build the narrative around that.  Is the character hurt, tired, hungry, thirsty, desperate for shelter?  Build on the action, don’t just describe it quickly.  Let the reader dwell on the excitement and the challenge of the physical environment.  I think we writers sometimes try to make all parts of our story detailed and lose track of what the reader is focused on.  Try to avoid red herrings to the reader that lead them away from the crux of the story and the main conflicts facing the characters.

Those are just a few of the things I have personally learned to include in my writing.  We are all different, so maybe they will help you and maybe they won’t.  At the very least, hopefully they will give you some additional ideas on how to approach writing your next story.



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Excitement and Frustration

So, I am going to be at booth #1629 at Phoenix Comic Con 2013 from Thursday May 23rd through Sunday May 26th!  That is the really exciting part.  I will be selling signed copies of Twisted History, The Travelers’ Club and the Ghost Ship, The Travelers’ Club – Fire and Ash, and the newly released Twisted Nightmares.

My wife will be selling vintage jewelry, Gatsby like hair decorations and pop culture creations at the same booth with me, from her Susanne’s Passions craft store.  I am really looking forward to this awesome event, both as a vendor, and as an attendee.  My friend and fellow author, Chris Wilke, and his family will be helping out at the booth some as well.

pcc logo

So why the mixed feelings?  Why the frustration?

It is because the “powers that be” at Phoenix Comic Con refuse to consider me for any panels.  I will not name the person, but I write articles for the same publication as this person.  Despite the fact that I have appeared at numerous conventions and appeared on local panels at LepreCon, DarkCon, and the Wild Wild West Con, the folks at PCC won’t return my calls or emails.  They even refused to talk to me in person.

Why?  Because I am Indie-published.  Despite the fact that PCC has panels each year on how to Indie publish, their guy in charge of writers only invites those published through traditional publishers.  In fact, the panels on Indie publishing have all authors who are traditionally published.  The exception of course is Michael Stackpole, a great guy who has been a mentor in my journey, who had many books traditionally published and now Indie publishes.


It is a shame that even at a cutting edge cultural event, the old social morays still stay in place, that some how an Indie published author is a “vanity press” author.  Some of their guests in prior years I have actually outsold as an Indie, and one of them had a book deal but did not even have a book out yet.  I know we each have our own path.  I even feel petty and small for being irritated by this.  However, I have real experiences to share with authors who go to events like PCC to see a panel on “Indie publishing.”  I have been on dozens of panels on the topic, been written up in local newspapers and media, and appeared at many writer conferences to give seminars on the topic.

I am very happy for the authors who are appearing, including a great person I worked with years ago named Amy Nichols who has her first book published, an awesome Children’s book.  Also there will be Jenn Czep, who is a wonderful person with a story in Twisted Nightmares.  Michael Stackpole, Timothy Zahn, Terry Brooks and Cherie Priest are all great people too.  Sam Sykes and Gini Koch I know and enjoy as well from meeting them and being on panels together.  I don’t even care that much not to be selected – it is not even being considered because I am an Indie that is frustrating.

I don’t usually rant.  I am a very upbeat guy in general.  For some reason this just annoys the heck out of me.


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Steampunk Style

Steampunk is sci-fi mixed with the 1830-1900 period, the Age of Steam.  It often supposed advanced technology based on steam power rather than modern oil and electrical power.  Two of my novels, The Travelers’ Club and The Ghost Ship. and The Traveler’s Club – Fire and Ash, are both steampunk adventures.  I post steampunk vehicles separately, as I do steampunk animals, steampunk insects, guitars, and steampunk people.  You can find all my steampunk related posts by typing “steampunk” into the search block on my home page.  This then, is the catch-all representation of some steampunk style.  Enjoy!


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Write Westerns? Great Resource for Writing…

This is another of the many great resources I have found as an author.  I write a lot of historical fiction, including Steampunk.  The “Age of Steam” is considered to be around 1830 to 1900, and closely associated with the Victorian Era as a result.  However, lots of stuff happened in the United States at that time, as well as other countries.  In America, we had westward expansion, the Civil War, the trans-continental railroad, the invention of metal, steam-powered navies, and massive industrialization.  My book, The Travelers’ Club – Fire and Ash, crosses America in 1880 and I did months of research to get all of the historical information correct.  A bit added here and there really adds flavor to a story.  For western “slang” appropriate to the time period, I found this site:



A Writer’s Guide to the Old West

1860’s ~ 1880’s

Being a small compilation drawn from period newspapers, books, and memoirs

Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show Players

Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show Players

The thing I like most about sites like this, is that they are well researched.  This one takes words and phrases from actual newspaper, books and memoirs written by westerners from the 1860s through the 1880s.  You can only throw a bit of jargon at readers or they get confused, but a smattering here and there lends a great deal of authentic feel to the story.  Michael Stackpole told me he likes to read journals of people during the time of his books, so he can find those rare gems of information lost to regular historical accounts.  It was great advice.

At the bottom of the site are all sorts of other useful links as well!

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Come By the Wild Wild West Con 2 Tomorrow and Say Hello!

Friday, March 8th, 2013, I will be appearing as a guest at Wild Wild West Con 2, the only Steampunk only Con at an actual 1880s theme park.  Old Tucson Studios, the site of over 300 movies and TV shows, will be hosting the event for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  It is hosted by the great folks at the Arizona Steampunk Society who have put tons of work into it.  A shout out to Diana, Jason and Noe and to the hundreds of others working to make this a fun and exciting weekend event.

Thanks to their gracious invitation, I will be there Friday, on a panel at 2 pm discussing writing steampunk, steampunk themes in literature and indie publishing.  Joining me on the panel are author/publisher/magazine editor Patti Hulstrand, and author/cover designer/computer whiz Chris Wilke.  Please stop by not only to see us, but all the great costumes, events, performances and live bands.  Here is a link:



Unfortunately, due to still recovering from recent medical procedures, I will only be able to attend the first day.  I will not have a vendor booth, but will be available briefly before and after the panel to sign copies of my Steampunk and other books.  You will also get to see me as my alter ego, dressed in 1880s western steampunk garb.  It is sure to be a great day for you and all you bring.  Lots of fun, and a unique experience.

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Who Do You Write Like?

I came across this very cool site on StumbleUpon called, I Write Like:


I Write Like

You put a chapter of a book you wrote/are writing, or a short story, or an article in the provided box.  It then tells you who the writing is similar to.  I can’t attest to its accuracy, but I found it pretty fun.

My results:

Chapter One Draft of Blood Bank – Margaret Atwood

Chapter Two Draft of Blood Bank – William Gibson

Second Chapter, The Travelers’ Club – Fire and Ash – James Joyce

Hop To It, One of my shorts in Twisted History – Chuck Palahniuk

So, I guess it is true I write in a different style whether writing horror, steampunk, or humorous history.

What results will you have?


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Steampunk Aircrew Part 4

Unfortunately, I am still recovering from the nasty flu virus going around so I am missing the Tucson-The Time Travelers’ Outpost at the Trunk Show Tour of 4th Ave at which I was scheduled to appear and sign my Steampunk books.  As a gratuitous plug – The Travelers’ Club and the Ghost Ship by Michael Bradley is currently just 99 cents on Kindle:


And the sequel, The Travelers’ Club – Fire and Ash is just $4.99 and can be found here:


Both cool Steampunk full length novels with a series of five volumes in the works.  I do not make anything from this site except good friends and fun, so feel free to buy a book if you wish and make my day even happier.

Back to the aircrew – This fourth installment is to crew your fourth airship.  You cannot pick them all.  Do you want to be a sky smuggler, merchant, pirate, loyal military vessel, explorer?  The air is yours, you decide.

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