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Welcome to our new writer, P.C. Martin!

I'm very excited to introduce our new adaptation author, P.C. Martin. Like Daniel Cortes, P.C. Martin hails from Argentina - Daniel Cortes recommended P.C. when I told him I was looking for a new adaptation author.

P.C. presented me with some sample writing specific to Steampunk Holmes and I was very, very impressed. P.C. adds humor, drama, and action to the story and has plans to make some changes from the original "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans", which is fine with me since I don't think that story was working out so well. We'll keep many of the elements from the original, but we are going to re-arange things and basically modernize the short story. This may not sit well with traditional Sherlock Holmes fans, but the point is not to stick to canon but to introduce a new interpretation of a classic set of characters in a steampunk universe. Anyway, P.C. is an excellent writer and will produce a story that is as engaging as Daniel's art work. Welcome aboard P.C.!

The above scene is an unfinished illustration by Daniel Cortes of a meeting between Holmes, Watson, Mycroft and Lestrade in Mycroft's government office. It's not done and Daniel may not like my posting it, but its too cool and I just had to share it.


Steampunk Holmes

Back in June 2011, I posted about an idea I had to develop an interactive iPad adaption of a Sherlock Holmes story with mashup of steampunk. Since them we've made a lot of progress on the project developing the script, hiring wonderful artists and writers, and making deals to promote music as well as merchandise along with the book when its launched.

We've already been working on the book layout and have created some character portraits for the main characters. Daniel Cortes is also working on illustrating scenes from the story that will be animated and interactive. The whole project is really taking shape! We've also landed some deals to promote steampunk artists including Abney Park (their music is fantastic!) and even a super cool steampunk motorcycle, The Black Widow, that will be available for purchase through the book. More announcements on promotion of artist is coming so stay tuned!

I was able to dip into my savings - thanks to the support of my wife - to finance part of the development of this project but I'm going to need more funds to launch it. The art work by Daniel Cortes is stunning but its not free. Neither is the wonderful writing by P.C. Martin. In addition, there are lots of costs associated with development and marketing. To cover these costs I hope to raise some capital from, a social funding site that is really awesome. I'm floored by the willingness of people to support so many different artist projects (musicals, comic books, games, etc.) and I hope we can get some supporters of our own.

Our hope is that this first episode, "Steampunk Holmes: Legacy of the Nautilus" will be the first of many!

This particular post is going to be pretty organic. I reference it frequently from other posts and I want to keep the overview up to date, so I plan to make changes now and then to reflect new progress on the project.

The Black Widow Gets a Side Car

In Steampunk Holmes, Watson rides along with Holmes on the Black Widow in a very cool side car.

I asked Mikky Solifague to design one to Match the Black Widow, and within a couple of weeks instead designing one side car he designed three! They are all cool, but the one we chose is shown here - it's as beautiful as the bike itself and a credit to Mikky's design skills.

I'm not sure if Casey Putsch is going to manufacture the side car as an option with the Black Widow - it really depends on how Casey Putsch and Mikky feel about it. I'm fine with making just the bike available for purchase, but it would be cool if the side car was available too. We are discussing that now.


Steampunk Holmes and the Black Widow

Our hero, Steampunk Holmes, needs a cool ride, something totally radical. After searching for ideas I came across the motorcycle on the left, the Black Widow. It was designed by Mikky Solifague of Solifague Design in Russia. You can find some other images of it here. This is Mikky's 2007 design he has since updated in 2010, but I really preferred the 2007 design.

To make a long story short I contacted Mikky and asked permission to use its likeness in the Steampunk Holmes book. It's such a beautiful design I asked if he had ever built it. The answer was no, but if someone wanted to order one he could get it built. That set me to thinking.

Solifague Design's Black Widow
Remember the post I had about offering Steampunk merchandise for sale from within the app/book - done non-intrusively and with taste? What could be cooler than offering the Black Widow for sale? I spoke to Mikky about this and he was interested, and had someone in Moscow that could build it with some design changes. I wasn't comfortable having it manufactured all the way over in Russia. They would probably do a great job but with the language, distance, and time differences it would be difficult to coordinate.

I remembered having read an article about a race car engineer in Ohio who had built a real Batmobile in five months complete with a working jet engine (see pic below). It's been featured on Wired, Top Gear, Born Rich, Auto Blog, Endgadet and many other sites. The workmanship is really execellent.

I reached out to the engineer, Casey Putsch, to see if he would be interested in manufacturing Mikky's Black Widow. I was delighted to find out that he is interested! What's more is that Mikky loves the idea of having Casey manufacture his dream bike. I'm in the process of connecting Mikky and Casey so that they can modify the design of the Black Widow to be street legal and manufacture it in the United States!

What is really cool is that we will have Steampunk Holmes driving around London on this incredible chopper and people will be able to order the real thing directly from within the book itself - or at the least contact Putsch Racing to order one!

Now if that isn't the coolest merchandise associated with an entertainment property I don't know what is. I'm so excited!

It's not a done deal yet, but both Mikky and Casey are confident we can pull it off and have given me authorization to announce our intentions on my blog.

Update: 7/28/2011: Mikky has designed a side car to go with the Black Widow.

Just in case you didn't read about Casey's Batmobile, watch the video below and go to his web site to check it out. With Mikky and Casey joining forces to design and build the Black Widow you can bet its going to be the coolest motorcycle on the road. I can't wait to see the art work that Daniel will come up with showing Homes riding this bad boy!


Abney Park to provide music for Steampunk Holmes!

Abney Park
I'm really excited to announce that Noble Beast (my publishing company) has signed Abney Park, the best Steampunk Band out there, to provide music for the Steampunk Holmes app/book.

I've been discussing this with Captain Robert (Robert Brown) the lead, manager, and owner of Abney Park, for about three weeks. Robert Brown is a prolific musician and entrepreneur. In addition to having produced, written and preformed six albums by Abney Park, Robert has just launched "Abney Park's Airship Pirates" a Role-Playing Game based on the rich universe of Abney Park alternative universe. It looks like a lot of fun.

I've been listening to three of their albums "The End of Days", "Æther Shanties, and "Lost Horizons". I can't say enough good things about their music. It's excellent! I'm excited to work with Captain Robert to bring their music to the Steampunk Holmes app/book!

In addition to featuring Abney Park's music in the Steampunk Holmes book readers will also be able to access all of Abney Park's songs and albums for download to their iPhone, iPod, or iPad via iTunes from within the book. This is the kind of high-quality merchandising I was talking about in my an earlier post.


Introducing Doctor Watson

Doctor Watson
I'm really excited to show off the character design by Daniel Cortes for Holmes' famous side-kick, John H. Watson, MD. As promised, Doctor Watson has a very cool mechanical arm in Steampunk Holmes - he was wounded in Afghanistan in the Battle of Maiwand in 1880. In the first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, Watson has an injured arm, not a leg as in subsequent stories. We decided to modify things it a little so that he lost his arm and now uses a steampunk prosthetic.

A mechanical arm powered by steam technology might seem like a stretch until you discover that researchers at Vanderbilt University actually built one in 2007, and continue to research the use of steam technology to better power prosthetics. Of course we are not revealing the actual mechanics of the arm, it might be steam or it might be clockwork; but one thing is for sure: it kicks butt and has multiple attachments, including some firepower. In our story, Holmes and Watson have made a number of upgrades to his mechanical arm, which will prove very useful later.

The process by which Daniel Cortes illustrates characters is pretty cool. I provide him with some ideas about the character and his background, Daniel adds his own thoughts, and then I get a concept sketch. I might suggest changes but in most cases I love the concept and approve it. After that Daniel creates a color portrait.

I thought it might be interesting to see how a character progresses from wireframe to painted portrait in Daniel's studio, so I asked him to provide me with some before-and-after images. He did one better: He sent me an animated GIF which allows you to see the art from conception to the finished portrait.

Just click on the image at left to see the animation - it's very cool!


Concept Sketch for Mycroft Holmes

As I mentioned in my last post we've decided to make Mycroft Holmes Sherlock Holmes' sister in Steampunk Holmes. When Daniel Cortes was told that Mycroft would be a beautiful genius, this is the sketch he drew up - he had other things to do but couldn't resist taking a swipe at it.

It's a great start - we need to put her in something a bit more practical for attire, but otherwise I love her look (click on the image to see a larger version)!

Marta and I have also decided to have Steampunk Holmes and Watson ride around on a big-ass steampunk motorcycle with a side car for part of the story. I can only imagine what kind of cool imagery Daniel will come up with for that.


Here is another concept sketch of Holmes' sister, Mycroft, by Daniel Cortes - we'll probably use both as she appears a couple times in the story.

Mycroft Holmes is such an interesting character. She is as brilliant as Holmes but applies this intelligence differently. As described in the original story by Sr. Arthur Conan Doyle, Mycroft is an exceptionally important personage in the Government who takes
"The conclusions of every department are passed to him, and he is the central exchange, the clearinghouse, which makes out the balance. All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience. "
In other words, Mycroft is an intelligence analyst that is so ingenious that Holmes says that he not only works for the Government but that:
"Occasionally he is the British government ... the most indispensable man in the country."

Our Mycroft is as beautiful and vain as she is brilliant. Where Holmes is unkept, Mycroft is immaculate. Where Holmes is uninterested in sex, Mycroft's sexuality oozes from her pores. Where Holmes loves to get his hands dirty, Mycroft is almost allergic to physical labor. She makes a wonderful counterpoint to Holmes himself.


An update on the art and manuscript of Steampunk Holmes

Steampunk Holmes
Check out the portrait painting by Daniel Cortes for Steampunk Holmes (click on it to see a larger image). Daniel is going to start working on the book design with me next and then come back and do more portraits and scenes from the book. He's such a great artist I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

I've also been in nearly daily communications with Marta Tanrikulu about the story. Here are some of the things we have in mind - I don't want to give a way spoilers so I'm not going to reveal everything: Mycroft, Holmes' Brother in the Conan Doyle canon, is going to be his sister. I wanted to have a strong woman character in the story so I originally thought of Lestrade. But Marta convinced me that Mycroft is a better option because Lastrade always plays second fiddle to Holmes, while Mycroft is his intellectual equal.

We are also throwing Jules Verne's Captain Nemo and the Nautilus into the story. The original story, "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" is about a submarine and the ultimate Victorian submarine is the Nautilus so this mashup is a lot of fun. Anyway, I'm excited about the direction of the manuscript that Marta is working on and I can't wait to see a first draft.


Steampunk Holmes Merchandise?

Steampunk Holmes Pocket Watch
A while back I googled "Steampunk Holmes" to see if anyone had done a story with that title before. I was relieved to see that no one had but I was surprised to find that term was used to describe a pocket watch designed by a Steampunk jewelry and watch maker. This gave me an idea that I've been playing with:

What if the Steampunk Holmes app/book sold merchandise related to the story?

Since then I've been looking into it more and I'm really kind of excited about it. Imagine if you could read the story and then buy some of the clothes or devices in the story? For example, the pocket watch used by Steampunk Holmes. The other merchandise I had in mind was Music. I hope to have more to say about that within a couple of weeks.

What I love about the Steampunk genera is the gadgets and clothes - there are a lot of people who like to dress up in Steampunk and have Steampunk parties. The possibility of doing merchandising tie-ins to the story is really intriguing because if this kind of business is going to work at all its going to have to have a commercial aspect to it and what would be cooler than selling Steampunk jewelry, clothes, and gadgets?!

Of course it has to be done right or not done at all. I can't just stuff a bunch of banners for merchandise into the story - that would ruin it. But, if I could provide a menu option where you could go, when not reading the book, to view merchandise related to the story. That would avoid tainting the story with adverts and blatant product placements while providing a possible venue for earning more income beyond the cover price of the book.

One of the things I want to be careful of, however, is that I don't end up buying merchandise wholesale and shipping it myself. I've done that before in one of my other ventures and it was horrible. Instead I would like to be the conduit to sales allowing the vendors themselves to handle the customers relations - I'll just take a small percentage for referrals. Anyway, there is a lot of thinking to be done before I go down the marchandising road but I wanted to share the idea with those of you following the blog - this is in keeping with my totally open policy on the entire venture.

UPDATE: 7/27/2011

Announcements about Merchandising Deals for Steampunk Holmes