The smell of comic books is in the air and that only means one thing: It is time for Phoenix Comicon. Now in its 15th year, the Phoenix Comicon (PHXCC) is bringing in a whole slew of comic book artists, actors, authors, and many other guests. GetOut had the great pleasure of speaking with local author Beth Cato. This year she will be presenting her newest book, “Clockwork Crown.” This is the second part of her duology that started with “Clockwork Dagger.” Her protagonist, Octavia Leander, continues her journey as a “medician” — a doctor with powerful magic — all while trying to survive in a war torn world. Cato describes it as a “steam punk take on Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express.’”

It’s a world Cato has been interested in for a long time, “as a kid my dad loved watching the horrible B movies from the ’50s up through the ’80s; like the old Flash Gordon movies, which is very Steam punk, and I loved that as corny as it was.”

Besides its fantastic alternate world, what truly makes “Clockwork Dagger” and “Clockwork Crown” are their female protagonist — Octavia. She is caught in tough situations with only her wits and strength to save her.

“As powerful as (Octavia’s) magic is she’s still very human and powerless, but won’t stop fighting.” Cato said.

Octavia is on a journey of self discovery.

“(She) is 22; she’s very accomplished; (and) is a battlefield doctor but she’s completely naive about the real world ... she grows up a lot in the course of the books.”

It is a journey that we each can relate to regardless of age.

Along with her duology, Cato has other stories all taking place in the same time and world as “Clockwork.” These stories focus on the secondary characters from the original duology and the repercussions of being around Octavia, Cato said.

Cato and her new work can be seen during all the days PHXCC is running. She will be at four different panels, Thursday and Friday, and she’ll have three signing sessions on the weekend. That seems like a lot, but Cato is practically a seasoned pro when it comes to the PHXCC.

“I attended as just a fan for several years, so I’ve been on both sides of the room, as far as panels and the nooks and crannies of the convention center.”

Beth Cato is one author not to miss. Especially the panel she is most excited to be a part of: “Food of Fantasy,” where according to her, “we’re all going to be crying at laughing so hard.”

More details can be found on her own website: bethcato.com, or at phoenixcomicon.com.

• Lupita Flores is the co-host of Popcorn Fan Film Reviews, a film critic, book lover, and all around geek. You can read and hear more of her work at popcornfanfilmreviews.weebly.com.

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