The Adventures of Phineas Frakture by Joseph GatchPhineas Frakture originally came about as an avatar in the Second Life Steampunk sim of New Babbage.  Over the years that I had interacted with the other artists and writers who resided there, a series of stories were written involving their adventures.  I had felt that a backstory was in order, which became the first story in The Adventures of Phineas Frakture, entitled Phineas Frakture Versus the Dolonites.  At the time, it was a loose unfinished story until I discovered, an online weekly serial publisher, through an old school friend.  The story was submitted, accepted and was then followed up by three other stories which comprised the first book.

Steam Wars by Joseph GatchSteam Wars, continues on where we left Phineas in the first book, only war has broken out across the globe and Phineas is trapped in Europe as he tries to return home to New York.  The adventures span the globe and beyond while he searches for a cure for his ailing friend (who was affected by the Dolonite malady in the first book).  Eventually, the war spreads to Mars, where Phineas and a small band of survivors of Earth attempt to stop a second invasion of the planet.

I had originally discovered Steampunk as an artist through a 3D modeling company that offered a small line of Steampunk models.  Always interested in HG Wells, Jules Verne and other Victorian era novels, I was quickly drawn to the genre.  At the time, there was very little on the internet about Steampunk since it was basically in its infancy in the public mind and was ripe for discovery; thus I had found my way into Second Life to find out more about it through the sims that existed about Steampunk.  Sharing stories and role playing with the other citizens of New Babbage, I grew to appreciate the camaraderie among Steampunks and how the community grows by influencing each others’ artistic ideas.  Now, what had started out as an interest for me has become a major part of my life.

steamandsorceryvol1byjosephgatchWorking with has been a thrilling experience.  What started out as an online weekly serial has become three published books with more on the way.  The owner and CEO, Jim McGovern started the business only three years ago and it has grown into a great publishing house that recognizes the worth of both professional and amateur writers.  I would never have found my voice among the literary world if it was not for his company.  I have also found a kinship among the writers; so much that I have even co-written a crossover story between Phineas and another author’s character – Sir Vlishgnath the Cleansing Light, written by Daniel Mitchell.  Together we wrote the short story Steam & Sorcery, which is also available by BWN, and are currently working on a sequel which is available to read online.  We have also gotten together at local conventions.  I met Daniel, along with Jim, Amanda Meuwissen – my editor, and author James Helvig at the Chicago ComicCon in 2013.  This also managed to fulfill a twenty year old dream of appearing there.  Back in the day, I had aspired to become a comic book artist.  Unfortunately, that dream fell short and until I began writing, I had never expected to realize that dream.  So, when I heard that BWN was going to be in Chicago that year, it didn’t take much to get me to appear there.  It was an awesome experience, one that rivaled having been published.

What is next for me?  I have finished the third installment of Phineas’ adventures, entitled Chaos Theory, which wraps up his story arc.  I have decided to shelve him for now (I may bring him back eventually, but no plans as of yet).  In the meantime, I have revisited the first stories that I had written close to twenty years ago and am currently writing a new story called The Pirates of Kilgore, based in the 17th Century Caribbean, where a band of pirates attempt a major theft involving the Spanish Treasure Fleet.  My original short stories are being told as a mini-series under the name The Pirates of Kilgore – Incipiens and involve several of the pirates included in the new story arc.  It has been a dream of mine for as long as they were written to have them published.  Now, I finally have the chance to see them in print and share them with the world.

You never know.  What was once far out of reach is now mine for the taking.  My advice to all novice writers is to simply take a chance.  I did and my first book went to Amazon’s top twenty in the Steampunk category…something that I had never dreamed possible.  I may not be on the NY Times bestseller list but I’ve made it farther than I expected, which as I have said, you never know…until you try.

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