Workshop Episode 17 (Guest Host: Anne Lyle)

The Roundtable Podcast, Workshop Episode 17, with Anne Lyle and Veronica GiguereAnne Lyle – who has released the first novel in her Night’s Masque trilogy, “The Alchemist of Souls”, with more wonders, delights, and thrills to come – rejoins us at the Roundtable (she gets the comfy chair) to workshop a marvelous tale offered by Veronica Giguere.  Join us as we explore an intriguing world fraught with intrigue, seafarers, pirates, ancient religions, and just a dash of Steampunk.  We had a blast with this one and we’re sure you will, too! (and definitely check out Anne’s Showcase Episode!)

PROMO: The Dunesteef Audio Magazine (

Workshop Episode 17 (Guest Host: Anne Lyle)

[caution: mature language – listener discretion is advised]

Check out this and all our episodes on iTunes…

Looking Ahead for Anne…

Upcoming Cons

…AND check out her website ( or follow her on Twitter (@AnneLyle).  Or do both!

Veronica Giguere’s Fabulousity…

Veronica is on Twitter too (@vforvoice)

…AND so is the mighty Doc Coleman (@Scaleslea) who’s website is

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Comments (9)

Doc did a great job filling in, but definitely missed hearing Brion’s thoughts. I had a question, I think coal was mentioned as a source…where on the land does that come from and who mines it?

I hadn’t explicitly planned out coal reserves, but it would be plausible for an island in a northern latitude to have coal reserves, much like the United Kingdom during the Industrial Revolution.

Ok, cool. As long as you have an answer for that. Good luck on your story, it sounds like a really good idea. Good episode overall too. 🙂

This was a great episode, although I may be biased since I am a huge fan of Veronica Giguere. After this episode was recorded, a story was posted on Escape Pod that she read; “Origin” written by Ari Goelman. So I got to enjoy Veronica’s voice twice this month.

I find I have very little to add, because most of what I thought of you guys came up with also.

I will add a refinement to what was discussed. In order for the main character to be torn between science and religion (and for her to choose a compromise path) then you need religion to be as valid a choice as science. Make the religion as legitimate as possible. It can’t be perfect of course, it will have limitations and flaws, but it has to serve a purpose for most people.

I like the suggestion that some priests can “read the wind” and predict weather (controlling weather would be too much). Especially with the extreme weather on this world. It is a plausible quasi-mystical mystery, and it balances the astronomy of the desert people and the steam power of the far colonies. The scientific explanation is that some people are more sensitive to air pressure changes, and learn to read the signs of clouds and weather patterns. The religious explanation is that it is a “gift of the goddess”.

I agree with you, Pete… one of the great things about the story Veronica has crafted is the elegant balance between such dramatic cultural elements. I can’t wait to see where she goes with it… in fact, she discusses some that in a recent post at her site (

You’re comment about the priests weather sense really struck a cord with me. One of the themes that seemed to leap out (at least during the podcast) was the juxtaposition of long-standing tradition/devotion and the powerful winds of change and innovation. I think that’s something we’re all resonating to these days (or maybe it’s just me) and well worth exploring.

I’ve really been enjoying your comments, Pete. With all the stuff we kick around during the show, there’s always aspects or perspectives we miss and it’s great to have you expanding on the conversation. Your contributions are much appreciated, sir. 🙂

While listening to the discussion, I had the following thoughts. First, what if this magical glowing rock Veronica mentioned was actually a lump of radioactive material? Normally radioactive objects don’t glow (now that Hollywood would have you believe that), but in certain circumstances — such as in the presence of other minerals or if seen through a specifically filtered lens — it can be seen to glow. Two, what if this world is the result of something like our world, where in the ancient days there was technology that ended up dooming its populace when a greenhouse effect melted all the ice and raised the water level. This might explain why the steampunkers have technology (perhaps they found it in the desert), why the water covers so much earth, and why certain religions might proscribe the things they do; i.e., because some ancient memories linger, and what happened before cannot happen again, even if we don’t know why.

Just some thoughts. Throw them out if they don’t work. 🙂

Wow. People can comment too? Who knew? As with every episode, I loved the suggestions made, but I was a bit surprised about how a planet with 80% water would be so storm riddled and dangerous. Isn’t earth something like 70% water? Is that 10% going to be that big a difference?

And a world without ice caps – would it have something like a gulf stream that takes warm water to cool places? I thought a lot of our weather patterns came from that sort of shifting of warm and cool waters across the globe. If the seas were more uniform in temp it might lead to fewer storms.

Oh, I happen to know as much about global weather patterns as I do what periwinkle tastes like. I’m just introducing myself and letting you know how much I love the show.

And the story sounds great.

Having had the distinct pleasure of working with Veronica multiple times over the years, I can vouch for this lady’s writing chops. She is amazing, and I’m hoping to do something with her in the future.

As far as the story, I gotta tell you, I’m amazed by the amount of detail that she threw out there, and between Dave, Doc and Anne, the refinements made this story a lot deeper than I think V expected, and defintely a lot broader. It could easily be an RPG setting as she originally intended or even just a story setting in general. I can’t really think of anything to add, except, of course, GO WRITE THE FRAKKING STORY, V!

Actually, I did have one thought. Dave mentioned that the protagonist was either seeing the end of the world or its salvation. I was thinking (always a dangerous thing) that perhaps this girl is just seeing it to a new beginning vice salvation. Perhaps the world has a “regular” cataclysm every few thousand years, and the water exchanges for land and vice versa. That would explain why this 20% of land has desert: It’s always been there, and may even be considered a safe place for the cataclysm. I don’t know… Just an idea, which is worth the paper it’s not printed on. Awesome show, and very cool concept, V.

(and I was late listening as I was dealing with both life and work. Booo life and work.)

I sent this vi email, but I thought I’d post this here to see what anyone else might think.

Veronica mentioned maybe including a subtle kind of magic into the world. What I thought was that it might work if the magic of the part of old religion that worships the sea. Specifically the magic could be related to ship building. Maybe they can make super-fast ships or extra strong or ships that can ride out any storm. This would be part of the reason her protagonist is going to the monastery in the first place. Her talent needs to be honed. It also explains why her family’s shipyard is the best in the world. Her family is particularly strong in the ship building magic.

This gives her a stake in the old system because, under that old religion, she will be respected and even honored for what she can do that no one else can. On top of that it gives her a role to play in the upcoming conflict. If the rebels using steam-punk technology don’t have anyone with that kind of magic on their side, their ships would be weaker in comparison to those more traditionally built. If her magic is particularly strong she would be able to bring together both sides and build ships that incorporate both the magic and the steam-punk science. That would keep up the tension between her and her cousin because, even one the side of the rebels, she’s still outshining him.

As an aside it would also help redress the balance of forces. Sailing ships would have absolutely no defense against flying ships. The pirates could threaten to drop weights on them from far outside of the effective rage of any weapon the sailors might have. Especially if the sailors don’t have anything mechanical. This effectively leave the sailing ships and, by extension, the old religion completely at the mercy of the steam-punk pirates. A completely one sided conflict is only fun for a little while then it just seems like bullying.

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