Blog Tour: The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill

In support of her tour for The Boxcar Baby, J.L. Mulvihill is stopping by the FlipSide to share her top ten steampunk inspired inventions. But before we get to her list, let’s take a moment to get better acquainted with her…

JLMulvihill-PhotoBorn in Hollywood and raised in San Diego, CA, J.L. Mulvihill has made Mississippi her home for the past fifteen years. Her debut novel was the young adult title The Lost Daughter of Easa, an engaing fantasy novel bordering on science-fiction with a dash of steampunk, published through Kerlak Publishing.  The Boxcar Baby, the first novel of her Steel Roots Series, was released by Seventh Star Press in the summer of 2013.

J.L. also has several short fiction pieces in publication, among them “Chilled Meat”, a steampunk thriller found in the Dreams of Steam II-Of Bolts and Brass anthology (Kerlak Publishing) and “The Leprechaun’s Story”, a steampunk urban Fantasy found in the anthology Clockwork, Spells, & Magical Bells (Kerlak Publishing)

J.L. is very active with the writing community, and is the events coordinator for the Mississippi Chapter of Imagicopter known as the Magnolia-Tower.  She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA), The Mississippi Writers Guild (MWG), as well as the Arts Council of Clinton, and the Clinton Ink-Slingers Writing Group.

And without further ado, I turn you over to J.L…

J.L. Mulvihill’s Top Ten Steampunk Inspired Inventions

1.         Steam Cars – Yes I know they really do exist and I would love to see one and ride in it just to say I did it.  The Stanley Steamer we all know and love because they get our carpets so clean once began as a motor carriage company and manufactured what?  Yes you guessed it steam-engine vehicles.  Before Stanley I think the earliest steam carriage came out in the 1800s and there were several companies who produced them.  However, Stanley Steamer and White are the two that predominantly stick out in my mind.  I think the invention of the steam carriage really put us forward in our evolution, a miraculous achievement.  Sadly there are not many old cars left due to WWI and WWII because the government sought out every scrap of metal they could find to melt down for ammunition and bombs.  I have seen some owned by collectors and in museums.  I believe I read that the UK recently came out with a steam car too in an effort to experiment with alternative environmentally friendly vehicles; it of course is a proto type and has not been released to the public to use.

2.         Dirigibles – Though there are zeppelins, blimps, and hot air balloons, I have dreamed of riding in one of those incredible flying machines you so often see designs and schematics for.  Sometime they are described so detailed in novels and short stories, that I feel as if they truly exist and often find myself gazing into the sky, hopeful to see one flying by.  “Those magnificent men in their flying machines . . .”

3.         The Wanderer – Does anyone remember what that is?  The Wanderer is the steam train from the original Wild Wild West TV series.  I used to watch that show when I was a kid, they were reruns of course I’m not that old.  I loved that cool train that had everything West and Gordon needed to protect America from the bad guys.  From the secret gun compartments, buttons and switches that did this and that, to explosive billiards, to a stable for the horses, not to mention the luxurious accommodations.  Wow what a cool ride that is.  By the way if anyone wants to give me a present I would love a replica of the Wanderer, small though, I don’t think I can fit a big one in my yard.

4.         The Nautilus – Oh my goodness do I have to say anything else.  I mean how awesome would it be to ride around under the sea in the steampunk version of the Nautilus.  Ok yes the man was certifiably crazy, but who cares with such an amazing ride, The Little Mermaid and King Titan have nothing on the Nautilus.

5.         H. G. Wells’ Time Machine – So if I am going to mention the Wanderer and the Nautilus, I have to mention the Time Machine because who would not want a time Machine.  I so wanted to get a copy of the round part of the Time Machine and put it up as a headboard for my bed but my husband was afraid we would pick up sound with it because of the design and be able to hear the neighbors across the street.  Hey maybe that is not such a bad idea, (snicker, snicker).

6.         Steam-Powered Robots or Windup Walkers – I’m not sure how the robot in Metropolis worked, and I know that in the Wizard of OZ the Tin Man only lived without his limbs and heart because of magic and love, but if you have ever read Tik Tok of Oz by Frank L Baum (1914), you would know he is the absolute wind up, steampunk, fella.  In my short story The Book from Dreams of Steam IV-Gizmos, I have a robot by the name of Ramses who is wind up and runs on steam.  I simply adore the concept of this invention.  I also would not mind the Coin Operated Boy referenced in the song by the Dresden Dolls, one of my all-time favorite songs.

7.         Clockwork Owl – I think that these really do exist and someone makes them and I have always wanted one.  Like the owl in the old version of Clash of the Titans, remember Bubo the owl?  I would really love a clockwork owl that would be my friend and go everywhere with me and save me from witches.  Alas, I think my cat would not appreciate the thing since a real owl tried to attack her once.  Maybe a smaller version would not be such a threat.

8.         Snake Venom Pump Gun – ok I cheated, I invented this one, and you have not seen it yet because it comes out in the second novel of the Steel Roots series.  I love it when I see Stempunkers create their own weapons so of course I had to create my own weapon which is a very simple air-pump gun that shoots out real snake venom which is very deadly and/or damaging depending on the potency of the snake venom.  I don’t suppose this is a very cost efficient weapon and if you run out of venom you better know where to get more or how to milk a snake, that should be interesting.

9.         Steampunk Boots, with Gadgets – Ok, I don’t know if I made this up or not but how neat would it be to have a pair of steampunk boots that had rockets in the bottom of the heals, and shoot out spikes from the toes.  Maybe have all kinds of wild things they could do just like the cartoon, (not the movie) of Inspector Gadget.  So maybe that is not steampunk but I swear I have seen something like that in the steampunk genre, if not then consider it another one of my inventions.

10.       Propelling Parasol – It stops the rain, it blocks the sun, and when you have to go, push the button and propellers come out and spin around.  The next thing you know you are flying over the city like Mary Poppins.  Yes, I know hers did not do that but there are some that do, it depends on the model you buy.

So there you have it, these are my top ten choices, at least for now.  I hope that you enjoy reading The Boxcar Baby and when you have finished feel free to let me know your thoughts on the Steel Roots Facebook page.  If you are interested in obtaining a signed copy of the book my next event will be taking place in Louisville, MS at the Backwoods Comic Festival.  After that event I am scheduled for CONtraflow in New Orleans October 18-20 and then November 15-17, I will be attending the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention.

Thank you for having me on The Flip Side of Julianne and until next time remember, to Dream in Steam.  J L Mulvihill

Great list J.L.! Now let’s take a quick look at The Boxcar Baby


Click on the cover! It will take you to Amazon!

Born in a boxcar on a train bound for Georgia. At least that is what Papa Steel always told AB’Gale. But now, fifteen years later, the man who adopted and raised her as his own is missing and it’s up to AB’Gale to find him. Aided only by a motley gang of friends, AB’Gale train hops her way across the United States in a desperate attempt to find her papa and put her life and family back the way it was. Her only guide is a map given to her by a mysterious hobo, with hand written clues she found hidden in her papa’s spyglass. Here is the Great American Adventure in an alternate steampunk dystopian world, where fifteen-year-old AB’Gale Steel learns that nothing is as it seems, but instead is shrouded in secrets and mysteries … and that monsters come in all shapes and forms. 

The Boxcar Baby is the first book of the Steel Roots series.

Thank you J.L. for taking the time to visit the FlipSide. If you would like to connect with J.L., you can find her on Facebook in three places: her personal page, the Steel Roots Fan Page, and the J.L. Mulvihill Fan Page; as well as her website and Twitter.


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