First I have a winner to announce. BBS Used Book Buyers you have won a copy of Jana Oliver’s The Demon Trapper’s Daughter. Please email me to claim your prize. There’s still time to win God Save the Queen by Kate Locke.
Now, on to today’s guest. Today we welcome Coleen Kwan, who’s first steampunk romance Asher’s Invention just released from Carina Press on Tuesday! ~launches cupcake canonon~
Coleen Kwan has been bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance whether it’s sweet or sensual. She lives in Sydney with her partner and two children. When not writing,she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching The Office. Visit her at http://www.coleenkwan.com
A Greek Inventor and a Famous Chef
by Coleen Kwan
Thanks for having me on your blog today!
When I started writing steampunk, I found I had to do a lot more research than I realised. Now, research is a great way to put off actual writing, and it can also be fascinating. As I trawled through the internet I stumbled upon some intriguing tidbits which I’d never known about.
Take the steam engine, for example. From my school days eons ago I assumed that the steam engine was invented around the turn of the eighteenth century by a Scottish engineer. Turns out an ancient Greek is credited with inventing the world’s first steam engine. Hero of Alexandria lived in the 1st century AD. He built the aeolipile, a steam-powered turbine.
The aeolipile consists of a sphere which can rotate on its axis and has nozzles bent in opposite directions. Water is heated, either inside the sphere or in a boiler below, and the resulting steam shoots out the nozzles, which creates torque and drives the sphere which then starts rotating. It’s not known whether Hero’s aeolipile was put to any practical use, or whether it was just an interesting curiosity, but it’s definitely a steam engine.
The aeolipile wasn’t Hero’s only invention. He also created automatons which he used to mount a fully automated play complete with special effects like fire and thunder. He also invented a vending machine which dispensed holy water when a user deposited a coin into a slot! This man was seriously gifted.
From steam engines to food. How much food did the average 19th century epicure eat? In Alexis Soyer’s ‘The Modern Housewife’ (published 1849) he details a list of average daily meals:
“BREAKFAST.––Three quarters of a pint of coffee, four ounces of bread, one ounce of butter, two eggs, or four ounces of meat, or four ounces of fish.
“LUNCH.––Two ounces of bread, two ounces of meat, or poultry, or game, two ounces of vegetables, and a half pint of beer, or a glass of wine.
“DINNER.––Half a pint of soup, a quarter of a pound of fish, half a pound of meat, a quarter of a pound of poultry, a quarter of a pound of savory dishes or game, two ounces of vegetables, two ounces of bread, two ounces of pastry or roasts, half an ounce of cheese, a quarter of a pound of fruit, one pint of wine, one glass of liqueur, one cup of coffee or tea; at night one glass of spirits and water.”
It’s also interesting to note the huge variety of food that was eaten in those times. They ate pigeons, partridges, grouse, plovers, teals, peacocks, deer, eels, turtle, hares, and a huge variety of fish.
Soyer was one of the most celebrated cooks in Victorian England. During the Great Irish Famine of 1847 he invented a soup kitchen in Dublin which dispensed soup for free to thousands of starving poor people.
So, a Greek inventor and a famous chef — just two of the interesting tidbits I uncovered during the writing of my first steampunk romance.
Five years ago, Asher Quigley broke his engagement to Minerva Lambkin, believing she was an accomplice in a scheme to steal his prototype for a wondrous device. Minerva swore she was innocent, though the thief—and Asher’s mentor—was her own father.
Now, sheer desperation has driven Minerva to Asher’s door. Her father has been kidnapped by investors furious that he’s never been able to make the machine work. Only Asher, now a rich and famous inventor in his own right, can replicate the device. He’s also become a hard, distant stranger far different from the young idealist she once loved.
Despite their troubled past, Asher agrees to help Minerva. He still harbors his suspicions about her, but their reunion stirs emotions and desires they both thought were buried forever. Can they rebuild their fragile relationship in time to save her father and their future together?
Purchase Asher’s Invention at
Carina Press http://bit.ly/KEP0io
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/Id8RZq
Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/IavZXG