Posts Tagged ‘William Kevin Petty’


In Uncategorized on September 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm

We’ve got a cover….

What do you think? I think it’s SOOOO spunky!


Ducks in the Grass! Photo From Pam Bush (no relation)

In Uncategorized on September 12, 2012 at 7:48 am

AWKWARD! – Being a Bush is sometimes awkward. Mostly it involves being asked if I’m related to either of those two U.S. Presidents. Yes, I do have an uncle that lives on a ranch in Texas. NOT that guy. No.  But I will happily claim kin to Ms. PAM Bush (no relation).

An Engineering Marvel - Steamduck

Pam Bush says – “We can all fly, even if we really aren’t engineered for it. A-buzz-buzz.” Pam is a big fan of the BEE – which flies – even when it shouldn’t be able, too.

She sends this ducky catch and release DUCK PHOTO and gives us our THEME of the DAY: Ducks in the Grass. Pam is an engineer (read: smart cookie, this one) and she once won an award with her agency for designing artificial turf, or something really odd like that.

Now, she sent in this picture, and I picked it, and it has nothing to do with those pictures that were taken of us at Dragon*Con in Atlanta this year. Not one bit. (Kicking the dirt aimlessly.)

Isn’t it nice we’re having weather?

Oh, right. Ducks…

So – The story goes with Steamduck like this: Our plucky duck meets a goose, and realized that – like the goose – he really OUGHT to be flying as well as swimming. Steamduck goes back to visit the Otter – the tinker who built him, and asks the old dude to help him fly. With me? So they start dreaming up flying contraptions. All manner of crazy stuff. You’ll see when the book comes out October 10. BUT until then – SNEAK PEEK!

Otter's local 311 Duckfitter's Union.

There’s yer trouble…

This brings me to one of my favorite sketches from the new book. Kevin and I joked and laughed about this particular picture:

Emilie: Geez, Kevin. That’s some tool Otter’s got here.

Kevin: (LAUGHING) I know. I think it’s hilarious that he thinks he’s gonna use the giant wrench on that itty bitty duck.

Emilie: I can hear him now, “Fly, dang it! or I’m smackin’ you with the wrench!”

Kevin: It’d launch that sucker. Fer sure.

(AND SCENE!) – Steamduck I promise, won’t be smacked with the  wrench. He’s a well engineered duck, and Kevin is ALL ABOUT how that duck works, and doesn’t work. We do laugh about roughing up Steamduck from time to time, but Kev can practically draw that feathered bad boy with his eyes closed at this point. Hundreds of different angels for that duck. As a funny aside – I suggested to Kevin that he draw Steamduck with a Sousaphone (What? Sometimes life necessitates a musical Steampunk waterfowl. Oh, like it never happened to YOU?!). Kevin quickly explained to me that ducks don’t have lips. Good point, brother.

Back to the matter at hand: Duck in the grass:

From : http://nature-pix.blogspot.com/2011/09/animaux-canard-sur-lherbe-gros-plan.html

Canard debout sur ses palmes, hors de l’eau
Duck walking on grass, 2 feet away, out of the water…

Duck MADE of grass:

No not a FLOCK of ducks in the grass – A GRASS FLOCKED duck

Grass Whistling Ducks:

(Imagine THIS video here: http://youtu.be/_rO7iZezs-0)


Be sure to friend Steamduck on Facebook!

And the Steamduck RISES!

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Kevin and I have been working hard. Plotting, planning, rhyming, drawing…. We have a frame for a new Coal City Stories book, and the plan is good. Take a look:

I know. Kevin does FANTASTIC work. So charming.  He really sold me on that ice cream parlor font. Before I get all into what’s coming next, I want to take a second and thank ALL the folks – and especially the kids – who have made HME such a success. Now, before the media swarm…. Here’s today’s announcement press release:

Press release June 27th 2012

Author Emilie P. Bush and illustrator William Kevin Petty are proud to announce the release date of the follow up to their bestselling children’s book Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story.  On October 10, 2012, the waddling hero of HME – Steamduck – returns with another adventure in Steamduck Learns to Fly! 

 In this new tale, the plucky mechanical duck discovers that REAL birds do more than swim. He turns to his old friend and maker – the Otter – to learn a few things about flying. They try and fail with propeller contraptions, hot air balloons and more. Despite all the mishaps, the pair eventually defy gravity and take to the sky.

“With the success of Her Majesty’s Explorer, we thought long and hard about where we wanted to go with our darling characters. Steamduck has quite a following, and we wanted to make sure he was true to his heroic nature. Kevin is a pilot, and a huge fan of flight history, so we went with those ideas for our second Steamduck story,” says Emilie P. Bush.  “So, as he tries and fails with many different types of flight, he never gives up, and he never stops learning.”

Fans wanting to keep up with details and sneak peek images from Steamduck Learns to Fly! can follow the project on Facebook – as Steamduck has his own fan page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Steamduck/108061409309296


Working through the stoopidest rhyme scheme ever….

In Uncategorized on March 13, 2012 at 10:37 pm

As a writer, especially one who deals in fanciful worlds, one has to make rules for their universe and then STICK WITH THEM.

I find, most of the time, that it works out better that way, you have to get more creative than usual to keep up with the limitations of your world. Chenda’s world has no radios – so communication is often slow and a bitch. My rule and I had to live inside them.

Children’s books go the same way. Kevin and I have a bit of a loose rule for stories that no one can solve the hero’s problem for him. He’s got to save himself – more or less. It’s a good rule; kids can connect to that. It’s better if the hero grows and learns that he had it in him all along to do what must be done. And then I was stoopid, STOOPID, StOoPid and added a CRAZY rhyme scheme with the latest one I am writing.

14 line stanzas: the internal rhyming for lines 1 and 2, double internal rhyming in the first half of lines 3-14 with rhyming end couplets.

For example:

Opening lines –

What the world knows of mechanical ducks is they paddle through streams and in lakes.

And the waddling tales of mechanical ducks are for splashing while trailing through wakes.

Pattern for other lines:

First they inspected  through parts disconnected until they found just the right things:

flaps and a motor, two skids and a rotor, a scoop of cogs, sprockets and rings.

Uh, huh. That’s rough, but since I’m 3/4ths done, I guess I am stuck with it.

She sat all alone as her brains turned to stone and the rhymes dribbled out of her ears.

Hope Kevin can sketch, as my marbles I fetch, Oh, these rhymes are a pain in the rear.

Press Release: Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story LAUNCHES to the great placement on Multiple Amazon Bestseller lists

In Uncategorized on February 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Contact: Coal City Stories / Coal City Steam

Public Relations –

February 29, 2012

For Immediate Release:

Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story LAUNCHES to the great placement on Multiple Amazon Bestseller lists

Atlanta, GA —  Coal City Stories, publishers of  Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story, which is to launch Tuesday February 28th, 2012, the imprints first publication did better than expected in launch day sales rankings at Amazon.com. According to figures provided by the bookseller, HME:aSbs hit #1 on the Hot New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery and Horror chart at mid-day on Tuesday. Other hits include:

  • Peaking at #424 in Books (of the 4 million titles on Amazon, 423 were selling better.)
  • #3  in Books > 4-for-3 Books > Children’s Books > Literature > Science Fiction,
  • #33 in Books > Children’s Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy & Magic

Being included in Amazon’s 4-for-3 promotion seemed to be key to the velocity of sales on launch day. On pleased customer said, “I totally got suckered into the 4 for 3. If you’re gonna get 2, you might as well get 3 to get the free shipping. And if you pay for 3, you might as well get 4 for 3! Well done!” The price for the books was also discounted to $9.50 for the book’s launch. Initially, the publishers intended to return the price to $11.95 on Wednesday, but will holding off for one more day.

Amazon Customer Reviews for Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story, are also growing in number, and to this point are EXCLUSIVELY 5-stars.

# # #

Press Release: Her Majesty’s Explorer Launches to Rave Reviews

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2012 at 12:25 am

For Immediate Release:                                                               February 27, 2012

Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story LAUNCHES Tuesday – to rave reviews.

Blurbs and reviews are rolling in to Coal City Stories for  its first publication Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story, which is to launch Tuesday February 28th, 2012.

Atlanta, GA — Praise is rolling in from around the Steampunk community for a first of its kind Steampunk children’s book.  Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story, featuring a bonus story, “Three Cheers for Steamduck”, was written by Steampunk novelist Emilie P. Bush and illustrated by William Kevin Petty. The tale is receiving praise from illustrators, authors, bloggers and publishing organizations inside and out of the Steampunk Community. Here is what some early reviewers are saying:

“The illustrations are adorable!”  ~ Beyond Victoriana Blog

“I did enjoy Steamduck.  A wonderful whimsical story so real you might feel a little seasick. But in a good way.” Jenny ~The Bloggess

“St John Murphy Alexander marches the young reader through the excitement of exploration and duty, and lulls us with the tender familiarity of a comforting bedtime routine. The story is curious and intrepid, yet ready to be tucked in for a good night’s sleep.” ~ Nancy Overbury, Overbury Ink.

“St. John Murphy Alexander, “Her Majesty’s Explorer,” is literature’s most charming mechanical man since L. Frank Baum’s Tin Man.” ~ Jim Barnes Independent Publisher Magazine.

“I just finished reading Her Majesty’s explorer to Chloe (9 years old) and Isabella (just 6). They both loved it, and both wished they could have their very own Steamduck.”  Captain Robert of Abney Park.

“Utterly charming” ~M.K. Hobson, Steampunk Novelist

“This is the perfect childhood book for steampunk parents to introduce their children to the steampunk subculture. I use that term loosely. Steampunk has managed to increasingly wedge its way into popular culture and this book drives that opening wider and opens it to the youngest of readers.” John Iwasz, ComicBooked.com

“My syn­apses have always fired for a bot in uni­form…” ~ S. J. Chambers, co-author of The Steampunk Bible

“A story that is sweet and dreamy-a perfect bedtime story and a great introduction for children to Steampunk.”  ~ Benito, Corral, Betwixt Book Reviews.

“Absolutely charming.  It is the Dr. Seuss of Steampunk, and… I LOVED it.” ~ DJ Doctor Q, The Artifice Club and The Steampunk Chronicle.


THE BOOK LINK to AMAZON.COM. The book will be available on the 28th – for a special discounted price! http://www.amazon.com/Her-Majestys-Explorer-Steampunk-bedtime/dp/0984902805/

The Launch Page:  http://www.facebook.com/events/347525985265865/

The Her Majesty’s Explorer Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/HerMajestysExplorer

The blog: https://coalcitysteam.wordpress.com/

The Video Book trailer: http://youtu.be/kHb3Wpe3F2o

The Tease Read by Captain Robert of Abney Park: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=2931604900935

Chenda and the Airship Brofman: http://www.amazon.com/Chenda-Airship-Brofman-Emilie-Bush/dp/1449542549

The Gospel According to Verdu : http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-According-Verdu-Book-Brofman/dp/1461026466/

AMAZON UK Kindle link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Her-Majestys-Explorer-Steampunk-ebook/dp/B007AV8LVC/

AMAZON GERMANY Kindle Link: http://www.amazon.de/Her-Majestys-Explorer-Steampunk-ebook/dp/B007AV8LVC/

Amazon Italy Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.it/Her-Majestys-Explorer-Steampunk-ebook/dp/B007AV8LVC/

Amazon France Kindle Edition: http://www.amazon.fr/Her-Majestys-Explorer-Steampunk-ebook/dp/B007AV8LVC/

5 days to launch – Kevin is in the HIZ-OUSE!

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm

WHOOT! Kevin’s here in the ATL. That means we will be at AnachroCon TOMORROW! and we will be at the Gwinnett County Writer’s Guild tonight!

Books have arrived, (so many lives are now safe) as have the stickers and book plates and whatnot. We have an appointment with a tabletop of waffle scraps and some scissors to start cutting up the piles of sticker sheets that arrived. It’s a thing. Tedious, but a thing.

Interviews tomorrow and the Men Without Pants Party.

Day five is the doorway to”we can’t stop this ride now… even if we wanted to.” SO, life is good, and it’s all on track!

8 day to LAUNCH! Why Animal Butts are Hilarious by W.K.P.

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Kevin is taking over the blog today, because I can’t be trusted not to giggle through the whole thing. MY dirty little secret (that ain’t so secret, as it turns out) is that I love a good toot! joke. OR a joke that has anything to do with the region that produces toots! That scene in Blazing Saddles… the one with the cowboys having a dinner of beans? The height of cinema in my opinion. So, Kevin explains, so I don’t break a rib laughing. So, Kev: Tell us about the zebra-camel and the long tailed rabbits…

After Emilie and I had a pretty clear understanding of what each of us wanted from the project I set out to storyboard the pages.  Not really having any idea if this was standard procedure for most illustrators, it seemed smart to give Emilie a rough idea of the pages so she could scribble down observations and notes while I filled in details.  It worked out that way, more or less.


I got the story boards from Kev, and I said, "I love the way you drew the Zebra Camel." and he replied, "Yea, animal butts are HILARIOUS." True said...

We’d both decided that the scenes where Murphy gets his act together were pretty cut and dried, but a few shots of our explorer, well, exploring were called for. I attempted to reflect that Murphy was in an almost familiar landscape, so that the animals he encountered would be familiar but slightly weird to show that he was maybe on another planet but still unthreatening to our little readers.  I also tried out a little humor, and for that my guiding stars were my nephew Nathan and my niece Katie.

Suffice it to say that high brow humor doesn’t necessarily set the table upon a roar in that company.  So when I placed the perspective on one animal from shall we say, the rear quarter, it was as much to enable me to keep Murphy’s face in the frame as anything else. I sold it to Em by adding that kids find such things funny.  Apparently writers do as well….

Countdown – 9 days to LAUNCH – Steamduck’s baby photos

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Awww... How adorable!

The last couple of days, we’ve been sharing our history – Kevin and I. We thought it only fair to share Steamduck’s history as well. Here is a rare baby picture of Steamduck. Enjoy! Tomorrow – Why Animal Butts are HILARIOUS.

Until tomorrow…


The Launch Page:  http://www.facebook.com/events/347525985265865/

The Her Majesty’s Explorer Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/HerMajestysExplorer

The blog:https://coalcitysteam.wordpress.com/

The Video Book trailer: http://youtu.be/kHb3Wpe3F2o

The Tease Read by Captain Robert of Abney Park:http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=2931604900935

Chenda and the Airship Brofman: http://www.amazon.com/Chenda-Airship-Brofman-Emilie-Bush/dp/1449542549

The Gospel According to Verdu : http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-According-Verdu-Book-Brofman/dp/1461026466/

Countdown: 10 days to go. Kevin tells HIS side of the story.

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Today, with 10 days left until LAUNCH DAY, William Kevin Petty is taking over the Coal City Steam countdown blog. To which I say YEA!. Finally, dear reader, you get her the story of out project from his perspective. Take it away KEVIN:

In early January of 2011, I was one of roughly 300 soldiers of the 230th Sustainment Brigade setting off for what turned out to be a year in Kuwait.  I’d done two such deployments before, to Afghanistan and Iraq respectively, and while each is undoubtedly different, one must plan for the inevitable patches of inactivity while deployed.  To that end, I packed a sketchbook and pencils among my copious detritus, as deterrent against monotony.  You expect to be busy with duties, without a doubt, but downtime away from the comfortably familiar can be tough to face – ask any soldier.

There were a few other reasons I packed the art supplies. Being able to draw is dead useful in the military, by the way. Among these was a preoccupation to do something with all the sketches and drawings I’d built up in my portfolio over the last decade or so since I’d been pulling the camouflage gig. I confess, here to you today, that I had not one pixel of a plan for the pictures.

By May a routine had settled in and I’d figured out when I could draw and not get yelled at.  I’d finished a few and showed them around. Folks said they were Steampunk, or reminded them of such.  Worth looking into, I thought. To the interwebs, then.

After a few days of snooping, I ran across some helpful folks on Facebook, namely the Sacramento Steampunk crew and the League of Proper Villians crowd. After lurking around there, I was asked to do some illustration work for Penelope Dreadfulle – work that turned out to be loads of fun.  I built a website and called myself in business.

California being a bit of a commute from the Louisiana homestead, I checked things out a little closer to home. After a few tentative Facebook messages, I made friends with Emilie P. Bush, of Chenda and the Airship Brofman fame and wondered if I could illustrate an existing Steampunk work in such a way that anyone would know what they were looking at.  I did some fan art of the Airship Brofman and got a little bit of a squee.  An encouraging squee, to be honest.

I was still ascertaining whether or not this Emilie P. Bush person was serious. I’d read both Chenda books and knew that when she talked about putting a book together she meant it and meant doing it well.  In the end, I figured it was at least a productive use of what downtime I had in Kuwait and that I never really enjoyed working with people who were entirely sane, so what the hell. ((Editor’s Note: Really, Kevin? I find out NOW that you picked me to work with because of proximity and relative insanity? I think I might be offended… Oh, wait. I’m not.))

By this time, I’d fully considered the idea of seriously attempting a substantial illustrating effort.  To this point, I’d only been approached to draw a central character or event, which meant one or two drawings from a single body of work.  Her Majesty’s Explorer would mean creating a character and drawing every emotion, action and background over each and every page. A lot of work, sure, but what fun!

We’d decided on taking a character from an earlier work of an automaton rigged up in that cool uniform from the 24th Regiment of Foot- that one from those Michael Caine ‘Zulu’ movies. I dialed down in martial trappings into an explorer rather than soldier.  By doing so we’d intended to combine two archetypes of the Steampunk genre, explorer and automaton, and by making one of his eyes a lens, he’d have that Victorian monocle business going on. Furthermore, we’d add other visual elements from the Neo-Victorian palette to objects and animals that children would identify with.  Hence Steamduck, but more on him later.

Ideas bounced over and across oceans and a storyline developed.  Emilie and I worked out a way around time zones that was fairly convenient; while it was late in the PM over here I was drawing over there, so I could expect feedback every morning after emailing off the roughs in my Kuwait afternoon.  She got drawings along with her cornflakes most mornings. Nifty.

As September neared I traveled back home for two weeks R&R, and on my way back through the Atlanta airport, Emilie met me there for our only face to face meeting through most of the development phase of the project. A lot was settled at that USO stopover. ((Editor’s note: As I recall, Kevin spent a good bit of time watching, agog, the people milling around the atrium while saying, “People in civilian clothes are so fascinating.” To be sure, he’d been soaking in the military pool for some time.))

After R&R and getting back to Kuwait, my coveted routine met with a snag; I was told I’d have to go up into Iraq and help close down Victory base in Baghdad.  Uncle Sam frowned on us giving too much away via Facebook so I had to be cryptic, but the meaning was clear, the day job had to take the front seat for a while.  After a month of what turned out to be a great mission, I headed back to Kuwait to pack things up and get ready to head home. About half the book was in the bag by this time.

When the ink finally dried on the redeployment paperwork in January of 2012 I got back to Louisiana and as soon as I recovered from the shock of stateside gas prices work on the book was all consuming. When the smoke cleared and the project completed, I was struck with the startling realization that I actually had a book coming out, and by all accounts, people seemed thrilled with the result. It really seems to be a world away from where we started, and I guess it really is.


The Launch Page:  http://www.facebook.com/events/347525985265865/

The Her Majesty’s Explorer Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/HerMajestysExplorer

The blog:https://coalcitysteam.wordpress.com/

The Video Book trailer: http://youtu.be/kHb3Wpe3F2o

The Tease Read by Captain Robert of Abney Park:http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=2931604900935

Chenda and the Airship Brofman: http://www.amazon.com/Chenda-Airship-Brofman-Emilie-Bush/dp/1449542549

The Gospel According to Verdu : http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-According-Verdu-Book-Brofman/dp/1461026466/