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Archive for April, 2009

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               marie-claude-winner2_11695343_largeOur very own Marie-Claude is the winner of Dorchester’s American Title V Competition with her ANCIENT WHISPERS! 
 
  Marie-Claude Bourque — Seattle, WA    ANCIENT WHISPERS (Paranormal)Bio: A former oceanographer and fitness professional, I am now a stay-at-home mom to my two beautiful boys. Originally from Montréal, I immigrated to the United States in my 30s, first living in Rhode Island, then recently settling in the Pacific Northwest with my husband of 10 years, a Scottish Highlander.I was raised with French legends, told and sung by my late father, traditional stories that I now sing to my sons at bedtime. The sadness I feel over the fate of tragic lovers from these ancient legends and my interest in Celtic mythology have inspired me to use paranormal elements in my writing to reunite these doomed couples in happy-ever-after endings. (www.mcbourque.com)

ANCIENT WHISPERS

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The Baron speaks to his retainers.Or, as its billing more accurately put it, the “Girl Genius Victorian Mad Science Ball,” held on April 4 in San Mateo, CA. Put on by the Period Events & Entertainments Re-creation Society, the ball was set in the world of the Girl Genius graphic novels, which meant the very imposing Baron Wulfenbach (and his massive raygun) acted as host. And I mean imposing. The gentleman had to have been 6’4″ in jackboots, and if he had asked me to dance, I would not have been able due to the knocking of my knees!

My companions and I, despite having just disembarked from the airship from Paris, which meant we were still in traveling clothes, were welcomed with open arms. After a dance lesson (the rotary waltz is much more difficult than the Viennese, I discovered), the ball began. And the costumes! From airship pilots in skin-tight jodhpurs to mad scientists in lab coats to ladies in every state of dress (and undress) you could imagine, it was a spectacle. Learning to waltz

My favorite dance was “Lancers,” where the ladies face the gentlemen in a long set, and one figure involves drawing swords and charging across the floor. My 18-year-old partner particularly enjoyed this–understandable in a young man to whom the waltz was a new and unnerving experience.

We danced for a couple of hours and then retired. Next year I am determined to have an 1880’s walking costume for the occasion–or else a new ballgown!

CompanionsShelley

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IMAGER: New from Tor/Forge

 

Imager by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

Creating a new world of magic and mystery with Imager

By L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

A combination of steampunk, political, semi-thriller, and romantic fantasy? That’s about as close a one-line description as is possible to the books of the Imager Portfolio, which opens with Imager . Rhenn is a journeyman portraiturist on his way to becoming a master painter who discovers, with fatal consequences, that he is one of the few imagers in the city of L’Excelsis, capital of the continent nation of Solidar. Imagers are feared, valued, and vulnerable, and must live separately on the river isle in the middle of the river that divides the capital city, while providing services and skills to the ruling Council.

As a late-developing imager, Rhenn finds himself under the tutelage of one of the most powerful imagers—who forces the equivalent of a university education on Rhenn in months, before dispatching him to serve as a security assistant to the Council. Along the way, Rhenn makes enemies he shouldn’t, falls in love with the beautiful daughter of a family with connections in the underworld, and becomes a target for both the enemies of Solidar and a powerful High Holder.

One of the challenges of writing the Imager Portfolio was to realistically depict a different and sophisticated culture of a capital city. In my own experience of close to twenty years in politics, most of it in Washington, D.C., I found that there was a minimal amount of actual violence, but an enormous amount of pressure and indifference, great superficial charm, and continual indirect jockeying for power, with very little real concern for people as people. I’ve attempted to convey some of those dynamics, as they are expressed in a steam-and-coal-powered society that has the added benefit of some “imaging” magic. One of the key elements that illustrates the difference of this fantasy-steampunk culture is the religion. Because the deity cannot be named, there’s an underlying cultural skepticism and worry about emphasis on the importance of names, memorials, and the like, as well as a distrust of other cultures that exalt names and fame.

Because Rhenn has come to the Collegium Imago in his early twenties, having just begun to achieve a certain recognition as a portrait painter, he’s neither a youth learning the ropes nor a person of fully defined talents. Instead, he is essentially an adult faced with a mandatory career change, and one that could be fatal if he fails to make the transition from portraiturist to imager.

Imager (978-0-7653-2034-6 $25.95), the first book in the Imager Portfolio by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., became available from Tor on March 17, 2009. For more information about the series, visit lemodesittjr.com. To see L.E.Modesitt, Jr. on tour, visit: tor-forge.com/imager for cities and dates near you!

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You may think you’ve never read a Steampunk book or seen a Steampunk movie, but there’s a good chance you have. Find out more about Steampunk. It’s been around. You may even be WRITING IT!2509601257_24429a39c9

230111411STEAMPUNK is defined by Wikipedia as “subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominenece in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. These include works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used – usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era London – but with elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of “the path not taken” of such technology as dirigibles or analog computers; these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or a presumption of functionality.”

Steampunk Fiction focuses on real or theoretical Victorian-era technology, and includes steam engines, clockwork devices, and difference engines. The genre has expanded into medieval settings and often dips into the realms of horror and fantasy. Secret societies and conspiracy theories are often featured, and some steampunk includes fantasy elements. These may include Lovecraftian, occult and Gothic horror influences. Another common setting is “Western Steampunk” (also known as Weird West), a science fictionalized American Western.

Historical Steampunk Fiction usually leans more toward science fiction than fantasy, but a number of historical steampunk stories incorporate magical elements. For example, Morlock Nights by K.W. Jeter (who invented the term Steampunk) revolves around an attempt by the wizard Merlin to raise King Arthur in order to save the Britain of 1892 from an invasion of Morlocks from the future. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers involves a group of magicians who try to raise ancient Egyptian Gods in an attempt to drive the British out of Egypt in the early 19th century.

Fantasy Steampunk Fiction Since the 1990s, the steampunk label has gone beyond works set in recognizable historical periods (usually the 19th century) to works set in fantasy worlds that rely heavily on steam- or spring-powered technology. 

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