Archive for April, 2010

By Diana Vick

And Then There Was Steamcon 

I’ve been in science fiction fandom for a lot more years than I am going to cop to right now.  I’ve attended well over two hundred conventions.

 They have always been a great source of wonder, creativity and surreal adventure for me that I have never found anywhere else.  My husband and I met at a convention.  It’s still a shared love of ours.  We had been talking about getting more involved in running cons or maybe even beginning one, when we found ourselves swept up in a new community… steampunk . 

We knew that we had found the perfect new subject for our convention.  Up until that point, most steampunk events that I had heard of, had been music festivals or one day events or the theme of an existing general science fiction convention.  I saw a huge potential for a bunch of like minded folks to spend a weekend completely immersed in the world of Victorian science fiction, or steampunk. 

Steamcon was born. 

We based our convention on the armature of a science fiction convention, but we fully intended to expand the model.  Having attended anime cons, goth cons, furry cons and lots of general science fiction/fantasy cons, we had seen many different ways of running things.  We felt we could select some of the best aspects and combine them to the best advantage. 

We began to gather a crew made up of old con runners and some complete newbies.  We swore that the words “because that’s the way it’s always done” would be seldom heard.  Of course we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel either, so we got advice from many old hands at this.  Having not much starting budget, I went the route of viral marketing, using social networks on the internet, and creating communities specifically for Steamcon. 

I taught myself the skills and posted everywhere I could think of.  The veteran con runners told us not to expect to big a crowd.  First year cons in this area usually attract about 500 attendees, they said.  When our pre-registration numbers were almost double, we began to worry.   We suddenly found ourselves in the awkward position of needing to cap the membership so the space wouldn’t be too crowded.    

Our final numbers were 1350, which includes the small amount we could take at the door.  Amazing and gratifying.   The result of all our hard work was a bustling, lively, successful steampunk convention.   We had gotten the word out far and wide, and folks came from so many places.  New York, Texas, California… all over, even Europe. 

My greatest fear was that as the “face of Steamcon”, people would approach me to solve their problems all weekend long.  As the first few came up to me, I internally cringed, but they just wanted to say “Thanks!”  I spent the entire weekend meeting people and hearing about how much fun they were having.  Despite the things that went wrong behind the curtain, the audience was well pleased. They were having fun.  The best outcome a con runner can hope for really.   I am so proud of my fabulous staff and my wonderful husband, the convention chair.  I was the creative director or visionary but he was the details person.   It’s an unorthodox teaming, but it works for us.

As we gear up for yet another Steamcon, we are aiming even higher.  There were so many ideas that we simply didn’t have time for last year.  This year, with two hotels and twice as much space, I imagine we can be more than twice as entertaining. 

Our theme this year is the weird, weird west, a nod to our western roots, and it’s got so much potential.  From clockwork sharp shooters to Indian shamans, we expect the eye candy to be spectacular and that’s just the attendees. Many fun schemes are in the works.   Steamcon has come a long way from the fanciful idea we had to a fully fledged steampunk convention.  And we couldn’t have done it without our attendees.  You beautiful, creative, steamy folks!  Hope to see you all again in November at Steamcon II!  www.steamcon.org

(If you want to see some of the amazing attendees from last year: http://www.flickr.com/groups/steamcon/)

Diana Vick is vice chair, creative director, and co-founder of Steamcon, the largest steampunk convention held thus far.  For the past several years, she has been speaking on the topic of steampunk at many conventions across the country, beginning with the infamous “guerilla steampunk panel” that she instigated at Dragoncon in Atlanta.  She has been interviewed by Women’s Wear Daily Fast, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine and Marie Claire, and appeared on King Five News.   She has written many articles and guest blogs on the subject of steampunk and has many more in the works.  She has a few short stories and serials in the works as well.  One of her steampunk costumes took grand prize in the masquerade at Orycon in 2009.  Even her art has taken a decidedly steampunk direction lately and you can find examples of this on her Zazzle site at http://www.zazzle.com/artvixn*.   To find more of her art, costumes and articles, you may go to http://www.dianavick.com

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The Lolitas at RT!

By Marie-Claude Bourque and Elizabeth Darvill

We are so so busy at RT that it’s hard to even find 5 minutes to post a blog!

But we just attended the editor’s panel and when someone asked about whether editors were looking for steampunk, all hands went up!!!

Actively looking for steampunk for romance are:

Grand Central Publishing

Carina Press

Ellora’s Cave

Heather Osborne at Tor/Forge

Samhain (and news here: Samhain has a call for short story for a steampunk anthology, so submit your 25K stories!)

Authors Jessa Slade and Delilah Marvelle at the Ellora’s Cave party

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Today we have an amazing guest for you, but first, yes, we have some winners to announce (and who doesn’t like winners?)

First off, I’d like to announced the winner of a copy of Kate Milford’s new book The Boneshaker.

…drum roll please…

*~*~*GAIDA M.*~*~*

Congratulations, Gaida.  Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize.

Now, for the winner of the amazing gift basket from O.M. Grey.

…drum roll please…


Congratulations, Tamibates!  Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize.

On to today’s guest.  I am pleased and honored to welcome Kaja Foglio.  She and her husband Phil produce an amazing gaslamp fantasy web comic called Girl Genius.Who doesn’t love the tagline–adventure, romance, MAD SCIENCE! Kaja will be giving away a Girl Genius Omnibus, a pin assortment, and an original GG sketch by Phil to one lucky poster (and how cool is that??)

Please give her a warm Steampunkapalooza welcome!

Gaslamp Fantasy and a Sort of Love Letter to Steampunk

Sooooo…I have no business being here, but I was invited, so here I am anyway. Muhahahahaha.

Therefore I inflict myself upon you all. Have no fear, it’s only for one day, tomorrow the Chair of Steamcon will be here to talk to you. She is absolutely lovely and throws an incredible convention. Hock your raygun and buy a membership. It’s worth it. We’ll be there too, assuming they’ll let us back in. We did have a lot of fun last year.

And why do I have no business here? Well, mostly because I don’t actually use the word “Steampunk” to describe what I do. In fact, except for my eBay listings, (where I want people to actually FIND my auctions) and the odd review that I quote because they say such nice things about my books, I do my best to resist using the term altogether. Instead, I hide behind the blast shield of “Gaslamp Fantasy,” a term I thought I had read in the introduction to an H. Rider Haggard book, but in fact had cooked up myself out of a muddled memory, with a dash of the San Diego Gaslamp district thrown in. Probably a dash of Cream Sherry as well. Oh, well. Let’s hear it for muddled memory. And Sherry.

Oh. Right. Hello–I’m Kaja Foglio. Along with my husband Phil, I write and produce a story called Girl Genius. You can read it in its comic form at girlgeniusonline.com. We update three times a week, collect the pages into a printed volume every year or so, and were awarded a Hugo Award for it last year. We’ve been nominated for another one this year. Also, the members of American Mensa listed us as one of their top 50 Web sites for 2010. We are very, very lucky. Our readers are smart, kind and funny, they send us lovely presents and photos of themselves in their laboratories reading Girl Genius. They dress up as our characters at conventions. I mean, really now. We have a job where people bring us presents, and we have a huge amount of fun doing what we do. What more could we ask? Life is pretty good.

And it’s been getting better in recent years. We started working on Girl Genius in 1993, and finally brought it into publication in 2000. Since then we’ve watched as the literary genre known as Steampunk has morphed into an…well, actually, I really don’t know what. Certainly a fashion movement, which I know I never expected. And a sort of odd lifestyle thing that is reminding me a lot of my early days in the SCA, but with a lot less arguing about authenticity (and bless you all for that.) And of course, there is the rise in popularity of the actual literary genre. Or sub-genre, really, since it’s all pretty much fantasy/SF with a special, delicious twist. When we started working on Girl Genius, none of this was the crashing force it is now. There was “Steampunk” stuff out there, of course, but nothing like what’s going on at the moment. What’s going on at the moment is incredible.

This brings me back to my Gaslamp Fantasy. When we were first working on Girl Genius, it was going to be modern–sort of Cyberpunk, actually. But at the time, I was going through Phil’s old sketches and finding the most wonderful drawings–airships and cats with pocket watches and a superhero called “Locomotive Lars.” I was working on trying to come up with something involving mad science, since I…um… kind of have a thing for that… and I’ve long been a fan of Lovecraft and Poe and Shelley and Rider-Haggard and Wells and Verne (of course, Verne.) After a while of going through all these wonderful sketches, I said to Phil something along the lines of: “The modern stuff is boring. Let’s do something kind of Lovecraft/Verne-ish. You’ve done hard SF (Buck Godot, zap gun for hire) and Fantasy (MythAdventures) and modern (What’s New with Phil & Dixie), Let’s do something with this style you’ve been drawing but have never used.”  I probably used more words than that, because you really can’t shut me up sometimes, but I didn’t use the word Steampunk, because I didn’t know it then…

Fast forward to the year we actually got around to releasing Girl Genius in print. I knew the word by that time. But when it came time to publish the first comic, I didn’t want to use it. Let me go look at my Wikipedia entry, which I believe has an actual quote of something that I apparently said in print at some point:

–Tic Tic Tic–

AAH! My Wikipedia entry has vanished. I redirect to Girl Genius. Oh well, that sure puts me in MY place. Oh, the existential angst of being deleted from Wikipedia. Ouch. Anyway, I dug up the actual quote. Under “Gaslight Fantasy” no less. What on Earth is THAT? Gaslight? Really? Oh, well, here it is, at any rate:

“I called it Gaslamp Fantasy because, around the time we were bringing Girl Genius out, there was a comic called Steampunk on the shelves and I didn’t want any confusion. Plus, I’ve never liked the term steampunk much for our work, it’s derived from cyberpunk (a term which I think actually fits its genre well) but we have no punk, and we have more than just steam, and using a different name seemed appropriate. I mis-remembered a term that I had come across in the foreword to an H. Rider Haggard book, where the author was talking about Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Rider Haggard and that sort of pre-pulp adventure material, and came up with “Gaslamp Fantasy.” I felt a bit foolish when I discovered that I had made up my own term, but it works and I like it.”

So that’s what I said. Probably in my blog, which I’m pretty bad about writing in these days. At least I’m getting this done. But, yes. I didn’t want to confuse my thing with someone else’s thing. So I stuck something else on it. And that’s all it was. Really.

But these things have a way of getting away from one… and now, during interviews, people are asking me (with totally straight faces! It’s amazing!) how Gaslamp Fantasy differs from Steampunk. And expecting some kind of intelligent answer. From ME. HAHAHAHAHAHA! … I have no idea. Originally, it was a sidestep, a way of avoiding the toes of a noble colleague. These days, it’s my way of avoiding the “But THAT’S not STEAMPUNK!!!!” argument that I see playing out all over the internet. It happens all the time. The snark is unbelievable. Something is too goth, or too modern, or doesn’t have a damn (Ooh. I said “damn” in front of the Victorians. Sorry, folks. It’s the tipple.) steam engine right in the middle of it, and the dogs of the internet are released. You know what? I make my stories to please myself. I’m not interested in making my stories according to someone else’s mold. It’s not Steampunk as others see it? Okay. That’s fine. It’s MINE. I’m not trying to play by someone else’s predefined rules. Having my own goofy home-made label to hide behind has saved me SO MUCH grief. On the other hand, it has bitten me, as well, because…

The downside to being on record as having “dissed” the beloved Steampunk is that people think I don’t like Steampunk! I get people thinking that if they use the term to describe my work, I’ll be offended! Seriously. One simply can’t do anything without getting people all upset.

Let me set the record straight.

Do you know what it’s like to live with a head full of this stuff, and suddenly be able to go off to conventions and see it all? Everyone dressed so beautifully, with the most incredible gadgets… things I would have had to have Phil DRAW for me if I’d wanted to see them? Or worse, to hack away at drawing them myself? Ugh. To have well-wishers daily send me links to things that make my heart skip multiple beats? To see how many people out there are enjoying this, and making amazing things, and working on raising the tone of everything in their daily lives by the application of a healthy dollop of artistic fantasy? To stand on top of the Neverwas Haul: a three-story Victorian house that drives around at Burning Man, and that I’d only seen in pictures until recently? To get my picture taken on a giant brass snail (the Golden Mean) that spits fire, and sit on a giant metal ride-on trilobite that I would KILL for? The art people are making, the dreams they’re dreaming… Well, actually, if you’re reading this, you probably DO know what it’s like, don’t you?

Isn’t it wonderful?

I’ve just turned forty. So far, it’s been a good year. If the second half of my life is going to be filled with things like this, then I can only imagine that I was VERY VERY GOOD in my previous life. And to those of you who are making it thus? Thank you. Whatever it is that I make, (and we won’t get into that any more than necessary, oh dear, no, not after all this “Gaslamp Fantasy” business…) what you make is a true delight. Thank you.

Thank you.


Wow, what a great post.  Thank you so much, Kaja, for taking the time to visit us today.  To win the amazing prize (a Girl Genius Omnibus, a pin assortment, and an original GG sketch by Phil) all you have to do is post a comment.  That’s it!  THe contest is open until 11:59 pm PST, Sunday, May 2nd, winner will be announced Monday, May 3rd.

Tune in tomorrow for the last official day of Steampunkapalooza when we’re visited by Diana Vick from Steamcon!  After that, please keep visiting us most weekdays and the occasional weekend as my fellow Lolitas and I continue to bring you musings, mayhem, and all things Steampunk.  Thanks for making Steampunkapalooza a smashing success!

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Today’s guest Lolita is Emilie P. Bush, author of Chenda and the Airship Broffman. Let’s give her a warm Steampunkapalooza welcome. She’ll be giving away a copy of her book to one lucky poster.

Emilie P. Bush’s novel Chenda and the Airship Brofman is available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobel, Powell’s Books, and at several upcoming personal appearances at Sci-Fi conventions, including AnachroCon (Atlanta), Steampunk World’s Fair (Piscataway, New Jersey), Marcon (Columbus, Ohio), ConCarolinas/ Deep South Con (Charlotte, NC) and DragonCon (Atlanta).

Hi! I’m Emilie P. Bush. Long time reader, first time guest blogger.
Thanks to STEAMED! for giving me this opportunity. Now that you’ve given me the soap box, I’m just going to scramble up onto it and put in my plug for independent writers of Steampunk.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Steampunk began as a literary movement – long before many of us were born. I’ve often said that Steampunk is the love child of Mary Shelley, Nicola Tesla, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells (and that’s some weird love geometry, to be sure). The genes are sure there. (All of the works of Shelley, Vern and Wells are available for free in digital formats – and are soworth the reading!)  Then there are the true Steampunk classics — the roots of the modern movement: Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine, Jeter’s Infernal Devices, and Blaylock’s Homunculus, among many others.

In the last several years, the genre has exploded. Short Stories, periodicals, novella’s and novels. Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker is nominated for a Hugo this year! The work is good and plentiful.

Which brings me to the point. I’m a self published author, releasing late last year Chenda and the Airship Brofman. Several years ago, self publishing was the literary equivalent of dressing a hooker up and taking her to the prom. It’s what people who couldn’t get published by “real” publishing houses did. In recent years, the taboo about self publishing has changed, and for a very Steampunk reason. Nothing can stop the cream from rising to the top. The tastes of readers can change faster than the process of traditional publishers. Fueled by the can-do attitude that runs through the Steampunk society, I went for it.

And then, when my little masterpiece, my precious baby snowflake was finished, I let it go out into the world. There were good reviews and great reviews, and copies stared to sell to people who weren’t friends of my mom. E-mails from strangers came in telling me how much they liked the book! There’s nothing like a little positive feedback to let a writer know they are not just self deluding ego maniacs.

To be sure, self publishing is a hard row to hoe. Traditional publishing houses are very good at two things – marketing and distribution. In the digital age, distribution has become a snap for the independent author – thanks in no small part to Amazon.com and similar sites. Marketing is left in the author’s hands. The Internet can help there too, but one has to be willing to go out, each and every day, to put that precious snowflake into the light. No mistake, this is a JOB.

Looking to get a little more exposure earlier this year, I entered Chenda and the Airship Brofman into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition. Just me and 9,999 others. After several rounds of cuts, my little Steampunk adventure tale is a Quarterfinalist. The next round of cuts is TODAY. I’m thrilled and nauseated at the same time. Somewhere along the line, this ABNA competition became important to me. Personal.

I started to write Chenda out of a strange compulsion – feeling like I would die a horrible death or something if I didn’t write. The adventure flew out of me, and I was taking this shell of a woman out of her element, breaking down her world, roughing her up and sending her aloft on an airship. She traveled to places she never thought she would see and accepted a gift from the gods themselves. In the end, she became stronger, and finally became commander of her own life.

Like Chenda, I am looking for my place in the literary world, and I am choosing my own path to get there. I’m working hard, and pushing with my can – do attitude. I ask you now to take a look at some of the good independent Steampunk literature available on line and in periodicals like Steampunk Tales and Steampunk Magazine. They are bargains in e-formats (from FREE to a buck or two each – $3 for the Kindle version of my book) and well worth your time.

I also challenge you to recommend what you like. Twitter, Facebook and tap out your new finds in Morse code to anyone who’s listening. There’s more good independent Steampunk stuff out there to shout about. So, have your own adventure, find some hidden treasures and spread the word!


Thank you so much, Emilie, for visiting us today.  Good luck!

Emilie is giving away a copy of her book.  To win, simply post a comment or question for Emilie.  Contest closes on Friday, April 30th at 11:59 pm.  Winner will be announced Monday, May 3rd.

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Happy Monday, everyone.  I have some winners to announce.

First, we have the goodies from Lolita Elizabeth.

…drum roll please…

~*~*~*EDEN BRADLEY*~*~

Congratulations, Eden.  Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize.

Next up we have the ebook from Reginia Riley.

…drum roll please…


Sangu, congratulations!  Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail.com

If you won a tiara, I hit a few snags and I hope to send them out towards the end of this week or the beginning of next. I apologize for that. You can still enter to win a book from Kate Milford or an amazing gift basket (with brass goggles) from O.M. Grey.

Tuesday, April 27th Emilie P. Bush comes to visit. The creators of the Girl Genius Comic stop by on Thursday, April 29th. Diana Vick from SteamCon visits on friday, April 30th. Lolita Elizabeth and Lolita Marie-Claude will also be giving us updates from the Romantic Times Convention.

The Making of Steampunkapalooza

People have asked me how I came up with “Steampunkapalooza.”  I joke that Steampunkapalooza is what happens when an event planner is out of work.  Basically, it started out with a simple idea and then took on a life of its own.

When I decided that it would be fun to celebrate “Steamed’s” first birthday as a thank-you to our readers, a month-long blog party was far from what I had in mind. My original idea was that since we had regular bloggers Mon-Wed-Fri that I’d find guests once a week for the month of April as something different.  Or, if I got really lucky, twice a week.  I never imagined we’d have a different guest nearly every day for an entire month.

I made a list of a few of my favorite Steampunk authors and businesses that I thought might come on and sent out a couple of emails.  My first response was a polite “no.”  But the second response was a “yes” and had me doing the happy dance.  I opened slots up to all the other lolitas and kept making lists of people I thought might be willing to be a part of our party.  But I just couldn’t keep up, so I asked Lolita Elizabeth and Lolita Marie-Claude for help in getting guests.  They started reaching out to their own contacts and boom, we were suddenly out of Tuesdays and Thursdays.  It seemed like the more guests we booked the easier it was to get others.  A few people even contacted *me* asking to be part of our event.

We added weekends and started booking guests on “our” days.   I even worked up the courage to email some of my “dream” guests and was even more surprised when some of them actually agreed to come on.  I also got a little paranoid wondering if we left anyone out and that I’d hurt someone’s feelings.  (If I did, I’m sorry, we’d still love to have you on.  Email me.)

I’m not quite sure when exactly I coined the term “Steampunkapalooza,” but it fit, since between our guests and the amazing giveaways we were getting it was far cry from “just” a birthday party.  As me and the other lolitas joked, somewhere along the way we’d become “the real deal.” 

April 1st rolled around and then the party officially started as we kicked off.  We got more guests, more blog hits then we’d ever had, lots of new visitors, gave away super cool prizes, and had a ton of fun.  I’ll be a little sad to see it all come to an end on  April 30th.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a lot of work, too.  I spend hours every day formatting posts, moderating, emailing back and forth with guests and the other lolitas, and promoting our posts.  But it’s also been a fun and incredible experience.  I learned a lot along the way about follow up, coordinating, publicity, and how awesome and generous people were.  I’m still amazed at our incredible line-up.  Really, it belongs on a t-shirt (anyone one to take a crack at designing a concert-style “Steampunkapalooza” shirt with all our guests?)   My only wish is that I would have been eligible to win some of our amazing prizes, lol.

Truly, I am amazed and blessed not just by all those who participated, but by all of you, who visited every day, promoted our posts, entered our contests, and just stopped by to say hello.  Thank you so much, each and every one of you.  I’d also like to put a special “thank you” shout out to all our super guests and to the rest of the lolitas, especially Lolita Elizabeth and Lolita Marie-Claude. There would be no Steampunkapalooza without you.

As much fun as we’ve had getting to know all our great guests, ultimately we did this for you, our fans, as a “thank you” for being with us this past year. I hope all of you, both our longtime followers and those new to the blog, had a great time and will continue to visit us even after Steampunkapalooza comes to an end.  Lolita Elizabeth, Lolita Marie-Claude, and I will be back to our regular blogging days, with the other lolitas chiming in, as usual.  We’ll be introducing two new lolitas.  We’ll also be introducing “guest Thursdays” where we hope to bring you a visiting Lolita or special guest each week.

We’re looking for guests right now, if you have a suggestion, or are interested in visiting us on a guest Thursday, please contact me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail with either “Steamed! Guest request” or “Steamed! Guest suggestion” in the title.   Guests should either be Steampunk writers/musicians/artists/craftpersons/etc or be willing to do a Steampunk-themed post (those who might not be a Steampunk writer/artist/etc but love Steampunk).  If in doubt, email me anyway, maybe we can work something out.  Giveaways are always welcome but not required.

Thanks again for helping to make Steampunkapalooza 2010 a smashing success.  Will there be a Steampunkapalooza 2011?  You bet there will.

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I’d like to welcome today’s visiting lolita–debut young adult author Kate Milford. She’ll be giving away a copy of her upcoming release The Boneshaker.The adventure starts May, 24, 2010.

Lolita Suzanne:  Hi Kate, welcome to Steamed!  Thank you so much for joining us. You’re new young adult novel, The Boneshaker, comes out next month.  Is this your first release?  Can you share the story of “the Call”, the “email” or how you broke through into publishing?

Kate Milford:  Yes, this is my first. I originally moved to NYC to write plays. My friend Julie kind of put me up to writing my first attempt at a book, and helped me figure out how to do it. My second attempt was a short book called Gingerfoot, which became The Boneshaker. As far as the call/email goes, I sent out a ton of query letters (I think about 30). I had about six ask for chapters and three ask for full manuscripts. One of the agencies I queried was Scovil Galen Ghosh—they represent Cory Doctorow and Charles de Lint, and on their website Russell Galen had this absolutely wonderful statement about why he became an agent that I found really inspiring. Ann Behar had just been put in charge of SGG’s juvenile titles, and she emailed back asking for the manuscript. We exchanged a few emails and she asked for some revisions, which I did, and then she invited me to lunch and it wasn’t until the end of the meal when she said something like, “Oh, and by the way, I’d love to offer you representation.” What’s funny is that we had such a nice time chatting that it hadn’t even occurred to me to be at the edge of my seat waiting for her to make the offer. She sold the book almost a year later to Lynne Polvino at Clarion. I think at that point I was pestering my husband to check my email during the day because I couldn’t do it at work (I work full-time managing a shop in SoHo, and at the time I didn’t have a phone with email capabilities), so he got the email first and called me to tell me to call Ann. I got the news secondhand.

LS:  At least you got the news from your hubby.  That’s quite the story.  Can you tell us what The Boneshaker is about?

KM:  It’s set in Missouri in 1913 in a crossroads town called Arcane. Shortly after Arcane’s doctor goes to the aid of a nearby town suffering from a flu epidemic, Jake Limberleg’s Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show rolls into town, and although everybody’s skeptical at first, the hucksters win the town over pretty quickly. Only a few people get a really bad feeling about Limberleg and his cohorts, and one of them is Natalie Minks, who’s the thirteen year-old daughter of Arcane’s bicycle mechanic. So of course, it falls to Natalie to save the world from a bunch of diabolical snake oil salesmen. That’s the short version; there’s also Old Tom Guyot, who’s kind of a Robert/Tommy Johnson figure who met the Devil at the crossroads and beat him in a head cutting—a musical duel. There’s Jack, a drifter who happens to be passing through town at the same time as the Nostrum Fair for very specific reasons. There’s Simon Coffrett, who rented space to Jake Limberleg for the Fair and lives a mansion in a grove where albatrosses roost and the trees are hung with dozens of wind chimes. There’s a vicious harlequin, a lonely demon, and a mechanical fortune-teller that quotes Edgar Allan Poe. Basically, the book’s a big collection of Weird Stuff I Think Is Cool.

LS:  What an amazing, eclectic mix.  It sounds terrific.   The Boneshaker is “Steampunk” right?  What elements in it make it Steampunk?

KM:  I think so, but in order not to disappoint anybody who will read “steampunk” and expect an alt-Victorian world in which steam-driven technology plays a big part, let’s say it has a lot of steampunk detailing. Clockwork plays a huge part in the story. Jake Limberleg, the proprietor of the Nostrum Fair, collects automata—in fact, it’s Limberleg’s insistence that certain of his automata are perpetual motion machines that really convinces Natalie that something’s not right. The Paragons of Science, Limberleg’s colleagues, are specialists in Victorian (and earlier) medical technologies: Phrenology, Magnetism, Hydrotherapy, and Amber Therapy. The world of the Nostrum Fair, I think, has a very steampunky feel to it, even if its technology has more to do with clockwork and electricity (the fair’s electrical power, for instance, comes from bicycle-driven generators).

LS:  Sounds good to me!  So, where did you get the idea for this story?

KM:  Well, I did a lot of research into Victorian medicine and psychology for my first attempt at fiction. Then I found an article in the New Yorker on the Jamaica Ginger epidemic of the 1930’s. During Prohibition, patent and proprietary medicines were one of the common ways by which people found drinking liquor, and one of the most popular cheap medicinal tipples was Jamaica Ginger, or jake. There were all kinds of rules intended to keep medicines from being used for drinking, one of which was to regulate the amount of ginger solids used. Without getting too nerdy with the details, in order to adhere to the regulations but still have a palatable product, a chemical plasticizer was used (which happened to be a neurotoxin). There are a ton of blues songs that reference the symptoms that resulted, which were often called jake leg or, in one song, “the old jake limber leg blues.” This, apart from giving me the name of my villain, put me onto patent medicines and from there I started reading about traveling medicine shows. Somewhere in there I read Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Golden Compass, which definitely shaped Limberleg and Natalie. Plus my husband, Nathan, who gets me like nobody else, is constantly sending me links and book recommendations and making comments that start with some variation on, “You know what would be cool for your next Natalie story…” I’m really fortunate that my husband is not a writer.

LS:  Thank goodness for creative and understanding husbands.  Why Steampunk—what drew you to Steampunk and caused you to incorporate these elements into your story?

KM:  I just have always liked old stuff, weird stuff, mechanical stuff. I think, for instance, that old light bulbs and radio tubes are just beautiful, and I keep pretty ones in bud vases. The year I typed the end on my first book manuscript my reward to myself was an antique Underwood typewriter. I actually had never heard of it when I wrote the first draft five years ago or whenever it was, so I wasn’t out to write steampunk, precisely; I certainly didn’t know the conventions, didn’t have any sense of what people would expect from a “steampunk” novel. It was Nathan that brought the term “steampunk” to my attention, and once I realized there was this world of people who liked the same weird stuff I did and wrote about it, I was hooked. Now, of course, I’ve read lots, but clearly I’m not a purist. Then again, I sort of don’t want reading one of my books to feel like reading anybody else’s. The book I’m working on now, for instance, has some fairly insane gadgetry, a sweet pair of goggles, a difference engine inspired by Neal Stephenson and a ship I think would do Jules Verne proud, but it’s set in a contemporary city, it’s about contemporary teens, and there’s precious little steam.

LS:  That sounds fun, too.  Why did you choose to write for young adults?  What age group is this most appropriate for?  Will adults enjoy it?

KM:  My mom and I decided to submit manuscripts to a children’s book contest. I wanted her to finish working on this story she was writing (Uncle Fenton’s Pearls, which is still one of my favorite books) and start submitting it, and I’d finished that first manuscript I wrote which frankly wasn’t very good and I wanted to see if I could do better. So I wrote the first draft in two weeks in order to make the contest deadline (it wasn’t, you know, good or anything at that point, but I finished it, which was a big deal for me).

Age group—I’m really glad you asked this. The age recommendation on the book is ages 10 and up, which technically makes it upper middle-grade, I guess, but Amazon  has it for ages 9-12 for reasons none of those of us involved with the book can figure out, because there’s some pretty scary stuff in there. And yes, I do think adults will enjoy this book a ton. Natalie’s a young protagonist, but she and Jake Limberleg and Tom and the rest are, I think, pretty complex characters and part of a reasonably intricate story. In my humble (but probably biased) opinion, of course.

LS:  Tell me about the city of Nagspeake?

KM: Nagspeake was another of Nathan’s brilliant ideas that he was kind enough to let me have. I love cities and small towns, and I love fiction that brings a place to life to the point that it becomes a character. Nathan’s very much a tech geek, and he suggested I amuse myself while waiting for agency responses (this is when I was still querying The Boneshaker) by building myself a city, and his logic was that, online, my city could be as real as any other. So I started building Nagspeake.  It’s a coastal city built on the iron bones of an earlier city, the history of which nobody really knows because the city has a long-standing tradition in which the civic archives are burned every 25 years. This makes it particularly interesting to be building the city online—I wonder how long I’ll get away with it before the city government starts getting its back up over the fact that it can’t burn my work up along with everything else.

Nagspeake now exists in a cluster of websites (some more active than others—in the last year I’ve been pretty busy with other things) and occasionally on Twitter. The primary point was to build the city and have a few stories hidden within the content on the websites, but last year I wrote a draft of a book set there that I’m revising right now. That was kind of funny—my husband found out he was going to lose half his salary during the economic freak-out at the beginning of 2009, and I naively thought, I better get moving on a next book so I can save us if Nathan loses his job—because obviously a first-time novelist can just write a book fast and replace half of an information technology salary on like a month’s notice. (By which I mean: what was I thinking?) I’m also working on a cookbook (written by the proprietor of a Nagspeake candy shop and hooch parlor called Magothy Treats) and a collection of short stories. These may very well wind up being things that only entertain me (at least until the current work-in-progress hits the shelves), but just in case, here’s a special post for readers of The Age of Steam.

LS:  A cookbook?  That sounds like a lot of fun.  I think personal writing projects are vital to the mental health of writers. J Do you have any upcoming events/appearances?  Anything else in the works?

KM:  In terms of appearances, I know for sure I’ll be at BEA on Wednesday, 5/26. I’m still working on my summer schedule after that; as soon as I have specifics I’ll post it on my website. I’m also finishing the book set in Nagspeake, which I presume will be my next release; an older YA set on a forgotten highway across the U.S., and a follow-up to The Boneshaker.

LS:  That sounds fabulous, I can’t wait to read The Boneshaker. Thank you so much for stopping by and being part of Steampunkapalooza.

KM:  Thanks for having me to visit!

Winning the advance reader copy is easy, just leave a comment, or a question for Kate, below. To earn an extra entry, blog/tweet/post about Kate’s visit and let us know about it. You can also become a member of Kate’s Facebook Group or the Steamed! Facebook group or follow the Steamed blog. Let us know if you joined, or if you’re all ready a member to get your entries. Contest closes Tuesday, April 27th, at 11:59 pm PST and the winner will be announced Thursday, April 29th.

Tuesday, April 27th Emilie P. Bush comes to visit. The creators of the Girl Genius Comic stop by on Thursday, April 29th. Diana Vic from SteamCon visits on friday, April 30th. Lolita Elizabeth and Lolita Marie-Claude will also be giving us updates from the Romantic Times Convention. This is the final week of Steampunkapalooza, but the Lolitas of Steamed have all sorts of things in store in the coming months.

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Today is a very special day. We are helping O.M. Grey release her new book Avalon Revisited. But first…

If you live in the Los Angeles Area, on May 15th, 2010 the Los Angeles Romance Writers will be hosting National Bestselling Author Bob Mayer and his Warrior Writer Workshop at the Beverly Garland Hotel in North Hollywood. This is a fantastic workshop for writers of all levels. For more information please go here.

Also, I’d like to announce the winner of the “ear wings” from Creative Habits.

…drum roll please…


Rachel, congratulations, you’ve won a pair of ear wings.  Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail so you can get your prize.

You can still win a copy of Regina Riely’s book and goodies from Elizabeth Darvill (Lolita Elizabeth).

Now, on to today’s visiting lolita. I am very excited to welcome author O.M. Grey. To help celebrate the release of her new book, Avalon Revisited she’ll be giving away this yummy basket of goodies to one lucky poster. (Wow, it makes me wish *I* were eligible, lol).

O. M. Grey is rather camera shy and is a complete novice when it comes to modern technology. She prefers to live in the cobwebbed corners of her dark mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or tending the garden or drinking a hot cup of tea. Her first book Avalon Revisited was just released.

Big Bouncing Bustles

That fashion oddity known as the bustle originated in the mid-19th century, and albeit short-lived, nothing screams Victorian quite like the bustle. It lasted only a few decades, moving from its original crinolined petticoat in the late 1860s to the exaggerated form that nearly reached ridiculous proportions in the 1880s, wherein my story Avalon Revisited takes place, to disappearing altogether by 1906. The bustle is indeed a brief fashion trend that has not been seen before or since in mainstream styles, but it is ever so delightful. Thankfully for us all, the bustle is making a comeback on the fringe of our modern society through the Steampunk movement.

With high collars, covered ankles, and even skirted chairs, sexual repression was certainly at its height in the Victorian Era. Not even the Goody-Two Shoes of the Fifties can compare. And as repression goes, when something essential or natural is repressed to such a large degree, it comes out in rather odd, often sick & demented, ways. The brothels of Madame Jeffries are a perfect example (and I got some truly demented history from her. Yes, friends, the Chamber of Horrors in Avalon Revisited is historically accurate).

Although meant to exaggerate the form of the hidden female body in such stifled times, the bustle is quite charming. With it gathering of material down the backside of a lady’s dress, it most certainly draws the eye and attention there. The bigger the bustles became, the more eyes were transfixed by their swaying, bouncing beauty.

This is likely why my antihero protagonist, Arthur, loves bustles so very much, as his attention is always in that general area anyway. Actually, love is rather an understatement. The undead chap is quite simply obsessed with the bustle. Baby just needs quite a bit more back, it seems.

So bustles abound in Avalon Revisited, as do airships, vampire hunters & their modern gadgets, and perhaps even a mad scientist for good measure.

Perhaps through Steampunk Paranormal Romance stories like my Avalon Revisited, Katie MacAlister’s Steamed!, and Regina Riley’s Clockworks & Corsets, we’ve birthed an entirely new romance trend. Instead of bodice rippers… let’s have more bustle bouncers.

One certainly gets a decent dose of bustle bouncing in Avalon Revisited…

About the book:
Arthur has made his existence as a vampire bearable for over three hundred years by immersing himself in blood and debauchery. Aboard an airship gala, he meets Avalon, an aspiring vampire slayer who sparks fire into Arthur’s shriveled heart. Together they try to solve the mystery of several horrendous murders on the dark streets of London. Cultures clash and pressures rise in this sexy Steampunk Romance.

Allow me to I offer a special thanks to the fine artisans who donated their wares to my Steampunk Gift Basket & other prizes. Your generosity will not be soon forgotten.
Please visit their shops:
PH_Factor: (Steampunk Goggles)
RowanOfTheWood: (Steampunk & Dark Fantasy Jewelry)

Thank you so much for visiting us, today! We wish you all the best with you new book, it sounds fab. Who doesn’t love vampires, airships, and bustles?

To be entered to win the amazing gift basket, simply leave a comment or question below. You can receive extra entries by blogging/facebooking/twittering about today’s release party or by joining her facebook group, joining the Steamed! facebook or by following the Steamed! blog. (Already being a member/following counts, just tell us.) Just let us know what activities you participated in, one entry per activity. Contest ends Tuesday at 11:59 pm PST. Winners will be announced on Thursday, April 29th.

Keep tuning in for more great guests as the month of April, and Steampunkapalooza, comes to a close. Tomorrow, Sunday, April 25th we have debut YA author Kate Milford. Tuesday, April 27th, author Emilie P. Bush stops by. Thursday, April 29th we’re please to welcome the creators of the Girl Genius comic. Diana Vick from Steamcon visits on Friday, April 30th. Lolita Marie-Claude and Lolita Elizabeth will be running off to the Romantic Times Convention and will be giving us updates and pictures. Thank you so much for joining us today, come back and visit!

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by Marie-Claude Bourque

I was wondering the other day why it’s taking me so much time to write this book! I am quite busy with the promotion of my first release right now but it’s no excuse. I usually love to get lost in my favorite fantasy world.

Then it hit me. I’m scared! I am looking around at other Steampunk novel, looking at the possible readership and I am petrified! Will I meet expectation? What if it is too sexy, or angsty, what if I get Steampunk wrong. What if my own vision of it doesn’t mesh with everyone else’s!

I know how to build a story, I do think my plot is pretty solid but the rest! And then at the back of my mind, since I sold already, I’m thinking, will this sell?

So I am swallowed by the fear that my steampunk won’t please readers and that anyway it won’t sell! talk about paralizing! I’m writing to please others not myself. Big mistake!

Writing a first novel is great, you just go at it and write whatever is in your head! Who cares, at that point you don’t think anyone will ever read it anyway. But the others, your expectations are so high that you forget to have fun! You forget to just go for it and write the crazy things you dream up no matter what!

Time to shift gears and convince myself that this is my fun project. Who cares if it doesn’t sell (although I do want it as perfect as I can make it at this point in my writing career). I just want to spend a few hours a day roaming the alternative earth I created with my intense mystic witch and her crew of misfits and see her save the world! How cool is that!

She’s not scared, so why should I?

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Today I am joined by my fellow Lyrical Press author Regina Riley! Her steampunk erotica Clockworks and Corsets was released recently and she is gracious enough to come chat with me about it and giveaway an e-copy of her book!


Lolita Elizabeth: First off I am  pleased to welcome you here to our blog and thank you so very much for stopping by and helping us celebrate our birthday here at Steamed!

Regina Riley: Trust me, the pleasure is all mine. I’m just pleased as punch to be here among such talented and gifted folks.

LE: Your steampunk erotica Clockworks and Corsets recently released and I must say your cover is delicious! What kind of steamy goodness can we expect from your book? Maybe just a small hint?

RR: Sex. Lots and lots of hot, steamy sexy sex. Too small a hint? I can add more arousing adjectives if you like! More, you cry? Okay, well here is the blurb:

“Clockwork, steam and secrets power a passionate adventure in the skies.

Everybody’s looking for something.

Captain Rose Madigan of the airship The Merry Widow is looking for a paying job for her all-female crew. Gabriella Upstairs, her newest recruit, is looking for a reason to be glad she’s on board. And Madam Ruby of the Red House Bordello is looking for the secret laboratory of a missing mad scientist–and is willing to hire the airship. When they find the lab and its single occupant, Atom Loquacious, danger and passion start steaming up.

Everybody’s got a secret.

Captain Rose is secretly too ethical to complete this job. Gabriella’s secretly attracted to Atom. Madam Ruby’s secretly hungry for power. And the secret Atom is hiding might just threaten the lives of everyone on board.”

So you see there’s the run of the mill stuff like beautiful free spirited women, handsome dashing men, an adventurous airship, a bordello ran by a wicked madam and secrets, secrets, secrets.

Oh a steam powered sex machine. Of course.

LE: Is this your first steampunk?

RR: I have done a few steampunk short stories before, but this is my first published steampunk piece. I have since been a part of Steampunk tales, and Lyrical has picked up the second in the Clockworks series.

LE: Fantastic and congrats! Can’t wait to read it! What did you enjoy the most about writing steampunk?

RR: It’s fun on a bun! I love the style of steampunk, the flair it brings to the written word. The whole genre is just busting at the seams with possibilities. I also enjoy getting the so-called ‘proper’ ladies of the Victorian era into precarious situations, and letting them enjoy themselves a bit.

LE: Any steampunk movies or images influence you while you were writing?

RR: The music of Abney Park and The Unextraordinary Gentlemen played on a constant loop during the original drafts. In fact, my husband knows when I’m writing steampunk because he of the types of CDs left in the car stereo.

I also watched several of my favorite steampunk movies again and again and again. City of Lost Children, Steamboy, Wild Wild West, stuff like that.

Then I spent an entire weekend reading the web comic Girl Genius from end to end, and now follow it faithfully. They are a constant source of steampunk goodness!

LE: Abney Park, good choice! That scoundrel Captain Robert and his merry crew also inspire me frequently while writing! Do you ever dress up in the steampunk style to get in the mood for writing steampunk?

RR: I admit I have made both my husband and myself each a steampunk getup, but I do not wear such for inspiration. I, instead, was inspired to sew the clothes as a result of working on the steampunk writing. My husband believes he’s going to get a new steampunk item for his costume as a result of each piece I pen.

He has to wait his turn, because I have ideas for myself first this time.

LE: Ok, last question, any up coming steampunk projects you are working on?

RR: Lyrical just picked up the rights to “Pistons and Pistols” which is the second of the Clockworks series. It is set in the Wild West, in a sleepy all-male mining town. Imagine what Rose and her all-female crew will get up to there.

I am also laboring over a steampunk horror novel, which is tentatively titled “The Cold Beneath” the story of which centers on the Victorian race for the North Pole, via steampunkery of course.

The folks over at Sonar4 Publications allowed me the honor of compiling and editing their Anthology of Steampunk tales. The deadline is the middle of July, so keep sending those stories in. I can’t wait to read them all!

LE: Thanks so much for stopping by and indulging me a few questions!

RR: Again, the pleasure was all mine. I hope folks like Rose Madigan and her crew’s wild adventures. Just a warning, it’s not for the faint of heart, or libido!


Ok, now to business! To win an e-copy of Clockwoks and Corsets, simply leave a comment and I will draw one lucky winner on Monday!!! ~Elizabeth

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We have a terrific guest for you all today. But first I’d like to announce the winner of the clock hand earrings from EJP Creations.

…drum roll please…


Congratulations, Arwen!  Please email me at suzannelazear @ hotmail so you can get your prize.

Didn’t win?  You can still win the “ear wings” from Creative Habits or a copy of issue 6 of Steampunk Tales.

Let’s give a big Steampunkapalooza welcome to today’s guest–young adult writer Scott Westerfeld. Scott has written a number of incredible books for young adults including the Midnighters and Uglies series. His Steampunk book, Leviathan was released last fall with the sequel Behemoth to follow in October, 2010.


I’ve written five science fiction books for adults, and I’m best known for my Uglies series, which is also science fiction. So people often ask me, How did you wind up writing a steampunk series?

I should probably to come up with some sort of literary-sounding answer, but the real story is one of pure self-indulgence.

After the success of Uglies, I figured I could do pretty much what I wanted. That is, I had this one shot to write something that was maybe a bit less commercial, because I had a publisher and fans who would support me.

So I decided to embark on a series that contained all the props and themes that I personally enjoy, including, in no particular order: airships, walkers, derring-do, swords, awesome clothes, and strange chimeric animals. And really, steampunk was the only genre flexible enough to incorporate all these.

Steampunk is a literature of collage, in a lot of ways. You can build steampunk out of a whole bunch of contradictory elements, from the real past or from the Victorian period’s imaginary futures, from feasible alternate technologies or crazy pseudo-sciences like hollow earths and spirit photography. You can decide what to include based on visual appeal, or on story needs, or on world building, or even your personal politics (challenging colonialism and sexism is big in steampunk, after all).

I started my collage by imaging a world that was divided into two warring sets of countries. The Clanker Powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary, use machines like we do (but much steampunkier) while the Darwinist Powers, France, Britain and Russia, engage in a form of Victorian (well, Edwardian) bio-engineering. I had a girl dressed as a boy to serve in the Royal Air Navy, and the son of the Archduke Ferdinand disguised as a commoner trying to escape his father’s murderers.

Like I said, it was all the stuff I really liked, all crammed together.

But about sixty pages into the first book, I realized what was missing. You can’t do a collage without pictures! So at that point I spent an endless time (about a year) searching for the right illustrator. I finally found Keith Thompson, who created a sort of “Edwardian manga” style based on the illustrations in Punch Magazine of 1914.

To show you what I mean, here’s my girl-dressed-as-boy, Deryn, showing that engineered military beasts don’t scare her:

And here’s the eponymous airship over London:

At last, everything was in place. And luckily for me, my publisher really got it, and came along for the ride. They printed the books on wonderfully thick and heavy paper, and added color end papers with an amazing map that Keith created. It really looks and feels like a book from 1914. (Back when even books for adults had illustrations.)

After all, part of doing steampunk is living the part. Putting on the right frock or the perfect pair of goggles. So I’m pleased to bits that I wound up with the book equivalent of a velvet waistcoat.

Not to mention some pretty awesome clothes created by Keith:

But this is just between us. In interviews, I usually talk about wanting to create a metaphor for the collision of metal and flesh that was World War I, or something like that.

So don’t tell anyone, but it was mostly to have an excuse to buy a really good waistcoat.


Leviathan blurb (from scottwesterfeld.com)

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.


Thank you so much for joining us today, Scott!  Those illustrations are amazing, and I think a lot of us are partial to Steampunk clothes.  For more information on Scott Westerfeld and his books please drop by his blog and website. Watch for Behemoth in October, 2010!

Keep tuning in all week for more great authors as Steampunkapalooza continues. Tomorrow we have author Regina Riley. Please join us on Saturday, April 24th for prizes and mayhem as we help author O.M. Grey release her new book Avalon Revisited. Young Adult author Kate Milford stops by on Sunday, April 25th.

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 What does a brave adventure wear when embarking upon an epic quest to one of the largest gatherings of readers and authors of the romantic persuasion? Well for starters I crafted this fun little steampunk adventurer outfit. I made everything but the corset and armwarmers! I will be sporting this one day at the Romantic Times convention in Columbus, OH. I am going to be there networking and obnoxiously pimping my upcoming release “Bound by Blood”. It’s not steampunk, but Mila my kick ass vampire heroine rocks a set of goggles! I promise a detailed report upon my return! There will be a variety of costumed parties, of course I will produce photo proof! I will be cavorting as a Vampire, Fairy, and there is even an Alice in Wonderland theme and heading back to the prom…oh wait I guess I never did prom…oh well! I must catch my flying transport at midnight on tue/wed and arrive bright eye and bushy-tailed at 9ish and head straight into the festivities and insanity! Wish me luck!

I will be giving away a signed cover of “Bound by Blood” and a few of my fabulous pens today to hold you over until my return! All you have to do is comment away and let me know what parts of my RT adventures you will be most keen to hear about upon my return! ~Elizabeth

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Hold on to your fishnets, today’s visiting Lolitas are the one and only Smutketeers! (Today’s interview may not be appropriate for those with delicate sensibilities or under the age of majority.)

Lolita Suzanne: Welcome to Steamed! and thanks for helping us celebrate our birthday by being part of Steampunkapalooza. Could you please introduce yourselves and what you write?

Eden: I’m Eden Bradley, also soon to be published as Eve Berlin with Berkley Heat, and I’m the oldest of the Smutketeers-everyone’s big sister. Or grandma, depending on the day and how badly the others are misbehaving. I write contemporary, futuristic and paranormal erotica and erotic romance (so far, anyway), with a specialty in the kinky stuff. Well, not everything I write is kinky. Um… I suppose it depends on your definition of kinky…but I digress. I write for Bantam/Delta, Harlequin Spice, Berkley Heat, Samhain Publishing and Phaze Publishing. I love long walks on the beach, younger men, art, books and stiletto heels, not necessarily in that order. And Steampunk everything, of course!

Lilli: I’m Lilli Feisty. I think I’ve written a bit of everything: romantic comedy, light paranormal, urban fantasy… but my main focus is contemporary spicy romance. When it comes to my sex scenes, people often ask if it’s based on personal experience. Well, the answer is, pretty much! 🙂 I write for Grand Central Publishing, Harlequin Spice Briefs, Samhain and Ellora’s Cave. I’m the bad girl of the group. I’m the one you’ll find at the back of the bar, lounging in a chair smoking a cigar and waiting for one of Eden’s studs to bring me a cocktail. 🙂 I also cuss like a sailor. Mmm. Sailors. That’s the only reason I take long walks on the beach. 🙂 I also am obsessed with music, dancing and writing really horrid poetry.

Crystal: I’m Crystal Jordan…I write a little bit of everything that’s dirty, but mostly paranormal and futuristic erotic romance. Pretty much anything that allows me to say, “Well, it’s MY world and I say they can do it that way. It doesn’t matter if people can’t do that in real life. I get to make it up as I go along!” I’m the bossy one of the bunch, don’t you know? My publishers are Kensington Aphrodisia, Harlequin Spice Briefs, Samhain Publishing, and Ellora’s Cave. I’m happy to take a long walk on the beach with Eden and olge her younger men, but she can keep her four inch heels. I go barefoot (except for cute nail polish)!

R.G.: I’m R.G. Alexander and I AM the innocent one of the group. Don’t listen when they tell you I write mostly paranormal ménage and more—it’s all lies and slander. Okay…maybe not. I write for Berkley Heat, Samhain, and Ellora’s Cave. I would probably be watching Eden and Crystal walk on the beach with those studs as I spend hours trying to make the perfect sandcastle with my hubby. 🙂

Eden: Okay—R.G. is hardly innocent. Just sayin’. And just to clarify, I have ONE younger man and am blissfully happy with him, so there’s no need for anyone to lock up their sons. And my fellow Smutketeers are welcome to ogle my younger man any time they like. And Feisty, you know he’ll happily bring you a cocktail.:)

LS:  Well, I’m so glad you all can join us today.  How did you come up with the name “The Smuketeers” and your clever catch phrase “All for Smut and Smut for All?”

Eden: R.G. found a website that addressed the different psychological profiles of the four Musketeers, and she matched each of them to one of us. Then she was talking about doing a sci-fi series called ‘Smutketeers in Space’ with characters based on each of us, which we all thought was hysterical. That somehow turned into a Steampunk idea (R.G.’s agent is currently shopping that proposal).

How did we come up with ‘All for Smut and Smut for All’? We have a lot of four-way phone conversations (we all live in different areas of the country) and that was one of those strange, organic things that just happen with us a lot. You get the four of us on the phone together and anything can happen-it often devolves into something smutty from there. A lot of erotic fiction authors fondly refer to themselves as smut peddlers, so that term is tossed around a lot, and it seemed natural for us. I truly can’t remember who came up with the term ‘Smutketeers’ (maybe R.G. or Crystal?) or who first said ‘All for Smut and Smut For All’.

LS:  Those sound like some great phone conversations.  I do love the idea of “Smutketeers in Space.”  You four have a new continuality series coming out, the “Wasteland” series. What *are* these stories about? When will they come out and where can we buy them?

The Smutketeers: Our Wasteland Series novellas will be released one per week during the month of May from Samhain Publishing. Here’s the overall blurb, and one for each of our stories:


Coming from Samhain Publishing in May 2010!

In 2012, the world came to a grinding halt as radiation hit from a massive solar storm. Crops died, animals perished, cities fell, and humans became little more than beasts themselves. Under the threat of starvation, civility was reduced to mere memory. Only the strongest men survived, and physically weaker women and children wasted to nothingness.

More than a century later, humanity struggles in the desert Wasteland. The solar radiation rendered most women infertile, and the population dwindles more with each year that passes. Scattered up and down coasts, isolated cities eke out an existence from fishing, foraging, and hunting for what little game is left. Outside the city walls, men face the threat of pirates and raiders.

Few women remain, divided into four classes: Whores, Breeders, Priestesses, and Wanderers. They are as reviled as they are worshiped, a commodity any man must pay to touch. To touch a Whore, a man must sacrifice his riches. To touch a Breeder, a man must sacrifice his freedom. To touch a Priestess, a man must be chosen by the gods. And to touch a Wanderer may end up costing him his life.

There is only one rule in the Wasteland: survive.

Crystal Jordan~~ Book One: The Wanderer

Lilli Feisty~~Book Two: The Whore

Eden Bradley~~Book Three: The Breeder

R.G. Alexander~~Book Four: The Priestess

Crystal: Here’s the blurb for my book:


Release date: May 4, 2010

Love is the most dangerous experiment of all.

There is only one rule in the Wasteland: survive.

The few remaining women are as reviled as they are worshiped, a commodity any man must pay to touch. And to touch a Wanderer, he may pay with his life.

For Ezra, the risk is worth the reward. People speak his name with the same reverent terror reserved for ancient wrathful gods, but he must always be ready to fend off those who would take what’s his. And what he wants to be his is Kadira.

Kadira, adopted after she witnessed the slaughter of her devoted parents, has vowed never to love or need anyone. It seems only fitting that she, an outsider, accept Ezra’s demand in trade for the fuel technology her clan needs—but her deep, unexpected need for him is the torture she’s fought all her life to avoid. Worse, the greater her wrath, the more he seems to like it.

Ezra’s mercenary half delights at having the warrior woman in his arms. His scientist half can’t resist the urge to see what makes her react—and what makes her explode.

The real experiment: if the bond they forge is strong enough to make her want to stay.

Lilli: And here’s my blurb:


Release date: May 11, 2010

Her quest for freedom plunges her into dangerous waters…of desire.

Bryn is a “Rose”, but her life is no garden. A stolen child, prostitution is the only life she’s ever known—except on the nights she sneaks out in stolen men’s clothing to explore the city. A tiny taste of freedom that makes her long for a life outside sexual servitude, at the mercy of any man who can pay.

Xander remembers no other home except his pirate ship, smuggling weapons or anything else for a fee. He’s been happy with his life and his lover, Hawke…until he rescues what he thinks is a young man from robbers.

Figuring she can blend in with the crew, Bryn jumps at the chance to escape the Brothel. Then she discovers Xander and Hawke have a taste for pretty boys—and that she has a taste for them. In their arms, she embraces their incredible gift: control of her own sexuality.

Though women are considered bad luck at sea, Xander isn’t of a mind to give her up. Yet the time is drawing near when the ship must return to Wasteland to resupply. And what awaits them there is a danger that could tear them apart.

Eden: Here’s the blurb for my book:


Release date: May 18, 2010

Destined to serve the desires of an entire city, all she wants is one man. Or maybe two…

Born to the Temple, Nitara knows the Great Goddess’s plan for her: to bring life into what is left of an arid and wasted Earth. Since puberty she has been trained to arouse and titillate, to ensure the continuation of the human race.

As is the custom, the man captured for her is strong of blood, though considered little more than a wild animal. Yet when she looks into his eyes, she sees no primitive creature, but the man whose face and hands haunt her sensual dreams.

For Akaash, a hunter and warrior, it’s his shame that he will be sacrificed to a goddess he doesn’t believe in, for a people who are not his own, leaving behind his Wanderer clan—and his bonded lover, Dhatri. Locked in the bowels of the Temple, he has a month to ponder his fate, all while falling helplessly under the spell of the virgin temptress who will soon take his life.

With each tortuously erotic encounter, however, Akaash realizes that Nitara is as much a prisoner as he. If he can just get a message out to Dhatri, there may be a slim chance both of them can escape…

R.G.: Here’s my blurb:


Release Date: May 25, 2010

Damn the rules, damn the gods…even if he has to share her, she belongs to him.

High Priestess Xian has followed the Path of the Peaceful Sun since she was chosen at birth. Yet the joy she receives from helping others is overshadowed by her growing belief that the world they live in is…wrong.

At a crossroads, unsure of her ability to do her job—unsure of anything—she journeys to the ruins of the old city, hoping to uncover secrets that will give her clarity. Instead she finds the path to her goal clouded by an unexpected desire for her handsome guard, Hel, and for the battered stranger they find along the way.

Hel can’t prevent Xian from reaching out to the mysterious Siraj, but there is danger in allowing him to stay. Siraj belongs to no caste, follows no rules but his own. And Xian’s fascination with him makes Hel’s blood boil. No one can know that Hel has always loved her, or the secret he’s kept hidden for years. But Siraj’s advances, and Xian’s curiosity, force Hel to cross lines he never before dared…

LS:  Wow, those sound amazing.  What an incredible world and beautiful covers.  These stories are “erotica”, right? What can someone expect when picking up an erotic novel? How are they different from romance novels? Do they have strong characters? Strong stories? Would the “average Jane” enjoy them? (What about the average Joe? Do guys ever read your books?)

Eden: These stories are erotic romance, which means they all end with a happily-ever-after. The difference between erotica and erotic romance is that happily-ever-after, or at least a happily-for-now. While erotica focuses more on personal journey, erotic romance’s main focus is a developing relationship.

The difference between romance and erotic romance is that in erotic romance the sex is a crucial part of the story arc, character development and relationship development. It’s a sort of sub-plot in itself-in well-written erotic romance, anyway. And I believe strong characters and strong stories are crucial to any well-written book. Writing sex doesn’t absolve an author of the need to write a good book. I write very character-driven books, so character development is hugely important to me.

I think erotic fiction has a wide appeal-a lot of women you might never suspect read it. I get a lot of male readers from my appearances on Playboy Radio and I’ve definitely had fan mail from men, although I couldn’t say for sure if they are the ‘average Joe’s’. Maybe I don’t want to know-lol!

Crystal: Yes-mine always have strong characters and very strong stories. We each took a different group or caste of women in these stories so we could develop them and make them very individual and strong. I consider myself the average Jane, and I love them! As for the average Joe, I’ve gotten thank you notes from men-does that count?

Lilli: Sex all by itself is a story. Sex is when you’re the most vulnerable, when you’re the most intimate. Sure, it can also be hot, but when I write sex, it’s more about how my characters react to the sex, and that’s what I find interesting.

R.G.: My husband likes my stories. (But don’t tell him I told you.).

Eden: You know we can’t keep any secrets from him. He knows everything about all of us! R.G.’s husband is an honorary Smutketeer. We use him as a consultant.:)

LS:  Though each of you has your own story, the world is the same, right? How do the stories crossover? Do they need to be read in order? What challenges do you face when writing in a shared world? Was this a new concept for you all?

R.G.: Yes, the world is the same, and one we developed together over a period of nearly a year. It’s almost a snow-ball effect, where each story builds on the other. I wrote the last story in the series, and I tried to pull all the loose threads together. They can be read as stand-alones, but to see the whole tapestry, I vote for reading them in order.

Crystal: I’ve actually done a shared world before. One of the challenges I’ve found is that you can step on each other’s toes when trying to claim your own space, so one of the things we did to avoid that in this series was to share the basic world but each writer’s own caste of women we developed individually. So, there was a shared space, but also an individual space for each writer.

Eden: This is my first shared world. R.G. and I both wrote about the Temple of the Goddess, so we worked very closely together on developing that religion, and while we were writing we checked in with each other pretty much daily by phone and email. R.G. and I both incorporated characters from the Wanderer tribes that Crystal developed, so we made sure to check details with her, and Feisty checked in with each of us, as well. Consistency is crucial when writing a shared world with multiple authors.

I have written futuristic and sort of post-apocalyptic London-although the apocalypse was more a political breakdown-in my Midnight Playground vampire series from Samhain. Book One, THE SEEKING KISS, is out now, and Book Two, Bloodsong, will be out later this year.

Crystal: I’ve written shared worlds before, as well as futuristic and post-apocalyptic, in my books CARNAL DESIRE, UNTAMED, and in a series that is yet to be published (but check the Smutketeers blog for more news coming soon!).

R.G.: And Crystal also wrote futuristic in her novella, IN ICE, which is in Volume V of Kensington Aphrodisia’s Sexy Beast anthology. And that is a must read!

I’ve done alternate universe sci-fi in my books, WHO WANTS TO DATE A SUPERHERO and WHO NEEDS ANOTHER SUPERHERO, available at Ellora’s Cave. Though I haven’t written post-apocalyptic, I write a lot of alternate universe stories based on various world mythologies, especially my Children of the Goddess series, available from Samhain, and my Temptation Unveiled series, also available through Ellora’s Cave.

I had a great time creating the religion for our Wasteland series with Eden, which was based on a compilation of ancient earth myths and religions. I majored in anthropology and minored in mythology and religion, so these subjects fascinates me.

LS:  The idea of a post apocalyptic series is very cool, what gave you the idea to do that? Did one of you come up with the idea and share it with the others or did you come up with it as a group? Was selling the idea a challenge? What about writing in this genre? What difficulties did it pose versus writing contemporary?

R.G.: That was another four-way conversation gone horribly wrong, or horribly right, depending on how you look at it.

Eden: I think it went absolutely right!

Crystal: Was selling the idea a challenge? Hell no-we have the most awesome editor on the planet (luckily we all have the same Samhain editor). The moment we mentioned it to her, she was on board. She is the queen of Armageddon!

I don’t write a lot of contemporary, so for me it was ‘Thank God it wasn’t contemporary!”

Lilli: I write a lot of contemporary, but I have written some paranormals as well. I also love paranormal books and movies. I’m a huge Joss Weiden fangirl, and I think I put a little Firefly into my pirate ship.:) The biggest challenge for me was jumping into a world I didn’t create. While it was fascinating and fun, every once in awhile I had to turn around and go, “where am I?” LOL

Eden: I most often write contemporary, so for me it was a huge challenge. Although I had just written my first vampire futuristic for my Midnight Playground series, I’ve never done this much world-building before. It was hard, but I loved it. It was so much fun to get to write outside my usual box-there’s so much more creativity involved when writing an alternate world. I plan to do it as often as possible!

LS:  I would definitely say this was a conversation right.  So did you have the world first and then come up with your stories? Could you each share a little about your creative process?

Eden: We kind of started with R.G.’s Musketeer psych profiles, then went off from there-which is what usually happens with us. I ended up writing a virgin heroine, which is totally against type for me; obviously we didn’t all stick with those psych profiles. Except for Crystal, who will totally kick anyone’s ass. *G*

I can’t remember how we ended up there. So much of the writing process is a mystery to me, to be honest. My writing process includes a lot of chocolate and the occasional tears. Seriously. I have this Van Gogh-like belief that we must suffer for our art-lol!

Crystal: The process just happens-it’s like magic. And R.G. kept calling to tell us about these end of the world documentaries she was watching, until we figured out exactly what our particular 2012 apocalypse was about.

R.G.: The whole time Eden was writing THE BREEDER, she was totally manic-one day she hated it, the next day she loved it. That’s her process. *G*

Our editor knows a lot about apocalyptic theories, so she was a big influence.

Lilli: These girls did so much world-building, I was lucky. I just opened the door and stepped into the Wasteland. J And then added a few hot pirates and a prostitute. My favorite part was writing little things that referred to the other books. Like, at one point my hero mentions trading with this inventor. The inventor is actually Ezra in Crystal’s book, and you never meet him in mine, but I like how those tiny details tie the individual stories together.

LS:  That sounds very, very cool.  I do love the way they all overlap/interlink.  In the past decade there’s been an explosion of sub-genres. Has this growth made it easier or harder for “out of the box” stories to find homes? Are you excited with the whole movement towards genre-blending? How do you think this will influence the types of stories we’ll see on the shelves?

Eden: I think the publishing industry is more open to ‘out of the box’ story ideas in general, not just in cross-genre. My first Harlequin Spice novel, THE LOVERS (out in January, 2011), has a primary female/female relationship through part of the book, which is very new in erotic romance. I love that some of the publishers are willing to take on different, more challenging material.

LS:  You’re having an event at the upcoming Romantic Times Convention and a contest to promote your series, can you tell me about it?

Eden: We have several things planned for the Romantic Times convention, coming up at the end of April in Columbus, Ohio.

We’re doing another photo shoot, so we’ve been putting together our Steampunk gear. I’m such a costume geek, and I love Steampunk, so I’m in heaven! And we’re having a very special contest for those attending the RT Convention. We’ll be at Club RT to meet and chat with readers on Friday, April 30th from 11AM-12PM. We’re having a drawing, and we’ll dress the winner in Steampunk gear (unless they have their own, of course) to be photographed with us! There will be some other little goodies involved, too. You’ll be able to enter on the Smutketeers blog the week before the convention (we all leave on April 27th)  in case you can’t make the Club RT time, but the winner must be available for us to reach by cell phone at noon that day, and ready to be dressed and photographed at 12:30. We’ll publish photos on the Smutketeer blog. It should be a blast!

LS:  That sounds like so much fun.  I’m very jealous I can’t go, but some of the other Lolitas will be there.  Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Eden: Since this is the Steamed blog, I should mention that we’re kicking around an idea for a Steampunk anthology for next year, so stay tuned on the Smutketeers blog for more information! I have a sort of City of Lost Children-ish/cyberpunk idea, but erotic, so not so much the children part…lol! It’s just more about the tone and the vision.

We’ll also be presenting a panel at RT with Samhain managing editor Laurie M. Rauch on Thursday, April 29th from 10AM-11AM, ‘Sextopia, Writing Sex Scenes Across the Ages and Genres’. We’ll be doing some fun giveaways, so if you’re at RT, be sure not to miss it! I’ll also be participating in a reader party on Wednesday afternoon, ‘It’s Fun to Be Bad’, with some of the star authors of erotic romance, as well as last year’s Mr. Romance, Charles Paz! And I’ll be doing a paranormal panel with some truly amazing authors, including the fabulous Mary Janice Davidson on Wednesday morning.

I have a few releases coming up from Samhain. SUMMER SOLSTICE, Book Three in my Celestial Seductions series, will be out this summer, followed in the fall by BLOODSONG, Book Two in my Midnight Playground series. In May my second Harlequin Spice Briefs, NIGHT MOVES, an erotic train story, will be available. And in October I’ll be debuting my first Berkley Heat novel written as Eve Berlin. PLEASURE’S EDGE is a very romantic BDSM-themed erotic story. I’m excited about the new pen name (I write as Eve exclusively for Berkley), and my gorgeous new website: www.EveBerlin.com

R.G.: RT!! I can’t wait!
News, huh? Well I have my first Berkley Heat book, POSSESS ME, coming out August 3rd, I’ve just signed up for a new 3 novella anthology with Berkley Heat for 2011, and I’m finishing up several e-book series with Samhain and Ellora’ Cave. I also currently have a proposal out for an erotic romance series that is-yes-Steampunk! Cross your fingers.

Crystal: I can’t wait to do the RT panel with my girls. This is gonna be tons of fun!

Let’s see…what else do I have coming out? I just signed a new three book deal with Kensington Aphrodisia, so I have sequels to my shape-shifter books UNTAMED and ON THE PROWL in the works. I also have two erotic urban fantasy novels coming out in 2011 and 2012, but they don’t have official titles yet. Lots of magic, sex, tormented characters, and a few werewolf terrorists thrown in to keep things interesting.

In August of this year, I have SEXY BEAST 9 coming out from Kensington, which is about a mercurial woman who twists a stoic shape-shifter king into knots. Then in October, there’s PRIMAL HEAT, where an ancient race of alien shape-shifters come to claim their mates on earth. For e-books, I have a couple of series I’m working on for Samhain Publishing. First, of course, is the WASTELAND story with my Smutketeers. I also have my UNBELIEVABLE series about a naughty guardian angel who helps the truly hopeless cynics fall in love. Then I’m kicking off a series about demon triads that give you a triple dose of smut. Yummy!

Lilli: Yes, our panel is going to be so much fun! I am really looking forward to it. And now that I’ve overcome my fear of speaking in public, I’ve become quite the talker. And you just never know what’s going to come out of my mouth. J I’m currently finishing up a contemporary for Grand Central about an uptight L.A. chef who is forced to work for an earthy gal who isn’t impressed with his “cultured” ways. It’s a really fun book! And, of course, we have our Wasteland series coming out, which was super fun to write. And I’m currently working on a Steampunk series that takes place in Victorian England. The best part is I get to go to Burning Man this year as research. So much cool Steampunk art there! I can’t wait!

LS:  So many great things, wow.  Thank you for taking the time to come visit us today, we really appreciate it!

Smutketeers: Thanks so much for having us! We love visiting the Lolitas!

We hope everyone will visit us on our group blog: www.Smutketeers.com , and on our websites:





Thank you so much for dropping by today and we hope you come back soon. Yesterday we announced the winner of the Clockwork Couture ensemble contest. If you comment on that post you can also win a copy of issue 6 of Steampunk Tales. Simply Willow and her beautiful jewelery stop by tomorrow, Wednesday, April 21. Young Adult author Scott Westerfeld visits on Thursday, April 22. On Saturday, April 24th we have a very special treat for you, a release party for O.M. Grey’s debut Steampunk novel Avalon Revisited. Come join us for all sorts of fun and mayhem. We’ll be joined by debut young adult author Kate Milford on Sunday, April 25th as Steampunkapalooza continues all April long.

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Before I announce the winner of the ensemble contest, I’d like to thank everyone who entered–there were some amazing entries.  I’d like to thank Donna Ricci of Clockwork Couture for sponsoring the contest and bearing with me as I figured everything out.  I’d also like to thank our esteemed guest judge author Gail Carriger for taking the time to choose our finalists and winner. Did your ensemble final? I still haven’t heard from everyone. The finalists can be found here.

Okay, the winner of the $150 GC to Clockwork Couture is…

…drum roll please…

Mithril Designs and her “Absinthe Afternoon” Ensemble

Absinthe Afternoon
Absinthe Afternoon by MithrilDesigns on Polyvore.com

Congratulations Mithril Designs. Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail

Today we welcome John Sondericker, from Steampunk Tales magazine. We’ll also be giving away five copies of issue six.

John Sondericker III is the founder and publisher of Steampunk Tales, a modern electronic pulp monthly anthology of Steampunk fiction. Available for only $1.99 per issue on PC/mac, iPhone, eBook, and most mobile platforms, Steampunk Tales puts adventure in your pocket for less than the cost of a good cup of coffee.


John Murray Spear

That special place where creativity (plus insanity) meets technology can produce salacious tales of incredible dreams instantiated — or at least a failed attempt to do so. In pulp fiction it’s easy; our impossible dreams of steam-driven mechanisms capable of anything imaginable are within our grasp to create and operate. We’re only limited by our own imaginations.

Far distant from fiction are those who feel so inspired, whether by genius or madness, to actually bring these machines into existence. Some minds were brilliant, such as Nikola Tesla or Thomas Edison. Equally or perhaps even more interesting to the fiction fan are the nut-bags. John Murray Spear was one such man-bag, and his story — if you were to re-write the ending — would be one of the greatest steampunk tales in existence.

Born in Boston in 1804, John Murray Spear grew up as a member of the Universalist Church of America. He became ordained in early life but later quit the church and turned to Spiritualism, which was a new-agey movement that was popular from the mid 1800’s into the early 20th century. Spear then went on to claim to be in contact with a group of spirits called “The Association of Electrizers” who commanded him to build an incredibly awesome steampunk machine. He formed his own posse and away they went to get it done.


The following year, Spear and a handful of followers retreated to a wooden shed at the top of High Rock hill in Lynn, Massachusetts, where they set to work creating the ‘‘New Motive Power’’, a mechanical Messiah which was intended to herald a new era of Utopia. The New Motive Power was constructed of copper, zinc and magnets, all carefully machined, as well as a dining room table. At the end of nine months, Spear and the ‘‘New Mary’’, an unnamed woman, ritualistically birthed the contraption in an attempt to give it life. Unfortunately for Spear, this failed to have the desired effect; the machine was later dismantled.

In 1872, Spear claimed to have received a message from the Association of Electrizers urging him to retire from the ministry. He died in October 1887 in the city of Philadelphia, and was buried in the Mount Moriah Cemetery.

Well, bummer about that whole “not working” thing. Today he could have gotten boinged and sold his creation via Regretsy. The sad part is that a mechanical messiah leading us to a new era of utopia would be totally useful right now. Anyone else out there want to give it a try?


Thank you so much for visiting us, John.

Come visit their blog where they feature fresh contest from the coolest sites on the web and don’t forget to check out their forums and become a fan on facebook. For those of you who’ve been inspired to write Steampunk stories, here are their submission guidelines.

We will be giving away five copies of issue six of Steampunk Tales . We have copies for iPhone, eBook, and your PC/Mac. To win simply post a comment. The contest contest ends Thursday at 11:59 PST, winners will be announced on Saturday. We also have contests going on for clockhand earrings and for a pair of ear wings.

Stay tuned all week for some great guests. Tuesday, April 20th we welcome the one and only Smutketeers, who will be talking about their new series. Simply Willow and her beautiful jewelery stop by on Wednesday, April 21. Young Adult author Scott Westerfeld visits on Thursday, April 22. On Saturday, April 24th we have a very special treat for you, a release party for OM Grey’s debut Steampunk novel Avalon Revisited. Come join us for all sorts of fun and mayhem.

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Welcome to another fabulous week of Steampunkapalooza.  We have super guests for you this week. Monday, April 19th, 2010 we have John from Steampunk Tales, the penny dreadful for your iPhone. Tuesday, April 20th we welcome the one and only Smutketeers, who will be talking about their new series. Simply Willow and her beautiful jewelery stop by on Wednesday, April 21. Young Adult author Scott Westerfeld visits on Thursday, April 22. On Saturday, April 24th we have a very special treat for you, a release party for OM Grey’s debut Steampunk novel Avalon Revisited. Come join us for all sorts of fun and mayhem.

Yesterday the finalists for the Clockwork Couture ensemble contest were announced, was your ensemble one of them? Also, if you comment on that post you will be entered to win a beautiful pair of clockhand earrings from EJP Creations.

Before I introduce today’s visiting Lolita I have another winner to announce–after all, who doesn’t like to win stuff? I’d like to announce the winner of the amazing tatted cameo pendant by the fabulous Totus Mel.

Drum roll please…


Congrats, Jenn!  Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail

Today we welcome Cindi from Creative Habits who makes amazing upcycled Steampunk jewelry.


“Why are you buying all that junk?” My husband asked. My answer: for Steampunk Jewelry, of course!

Having been a gemstone jewelry designer for nearly a decade, the idea of making Steampunk jewelry presents itself as a quite intimidating, yet extremely exciting, new adventure in design. With my background and training in visual arts, I find that working with Steampunk jewelry provides a creative and interesting outlet. Throughout my youth, I most enjoyed the challenges associated with mixed media works – weaving (with inclusions), pottery (raku), metal-smithing, and two-dimensional conglomerations (paper with objects; wood and found objects).

The intrigue of Steampunk design arose out of my recent showing at festivals. For years, I had promoted my work solely on a website and at small gallery shows. My husband, and drafted business partner, begged me to begin selling my wares at festivals (too much inventory!). I am never meek about embarking on a quest, so to appease my partner, I applied to the 2009 Texas Renaissance Festival (the largest Renaissance Faire in North America, lasting for eight weekends from October through November) and was fortunate enough to be accepted as a vendor. This festival introduced me to Steampunk culture.

Customers would enter my shoppe, the Red Castle, and inquire as to the “gear” pieces I might proffer (many donning incredibly interesting goggles upon a top hat). Well, what was that all about? My shoppe helper (a devoted Steamer– my dear, Mildred) explained Steampunk to me. Having been a “Dr. Who” fan since the 1970’s (as well as a science teacher), I immediately understood the essence of Steampunk. But, I did not understand the jewelry…..

Procuring the necessary Steampunk jewelry inventory is, in itself, a challenge. One must search countless sites for the appropriate watch works, stampings, and the ever-essential, gears… and be adept as combining these seemingly incongruous parts into a harmonious whole. Thus, my work involves weaving discarded items, intricately engraved watches from the 1800’s, nostalgic ephemera, gemstones, pearls, and new components (cast or stamped from vintage molds) into a fresh, invigorating jewelry piece.

Although my line is new and limited, I anticipate creating many more inspired pieces. I hope you find these creations inspiring as well!


Thank you so much for joining us, Cindi!

Today Cindi will be giving away a pair of “ear wings” in the winners choice of silver or brass.  To enter, simply comment below.  For additional entries tweet, post, or blog about this post.  You can also join Creative Habits’ facebook group or the Steamed! facebook group. Or become a follower of this blog. One entry per activity, let us know what you’ve done so you can get proper credit (already being a follower counts.)

Contest closes Thursday, April 22, at 11:59 PST.  Winner will be announced Saturday, April 24th.

Thanks for stopping by and continue to visit us for more special guests, prizes, and mayhem as Steampunkapalooza continues.

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First off, before we get to today’s visiting Lolita, I’d like to announce the *finalists* of the Clockwork Couture ensemble contest. Thank you so much to everyone who entered, we had 44 entries! I am so glad I wasn’t the judge because there were so many amazing ensembles. Also, thank you to Donna at Clockwork Couture for sponsoring the contest.

The five finalists will each receive a tiara (because I’m all about tiaras, lol). The grand prize winner wins a $150 gift certificate to Clockwork couture. All winners, please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail so you can get your prize. The winner will be announced tomorrow.

The finalists and winner were chosen by our esteemed guest judge Gail Carriger. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to judge our contest.

The finalists are (in no particular order):

OM Grey’s “Gothic Steampunk Lolita” ensemble:

Marissa’s photoshopped creation:

Sangu’s Steampunk Outfit:

Steampunk Outfit

Mithril Designs’ “Absinthe Afternoon”:

Absinthe Afternoon

and VBunny’s “Black and White Tea”:

Black and White and Tea

Thank you again to everyone who entered, stay tuned for the winner!

Today let’s give a big Steampunkapalooza welcome to Edanna of EJP Creations, makers of fabulous clockhand jewelry, including my favorite–tiaras.  She will also be giving away a beautiful pair of earrings.

Recently, I was at an event that was attended by a horde of Steampunkians. My heart swelled with pride at the diversity, and enthusiasm emanating from it’s handsomely coiffed participants. There were brisk airship captains, elegantly refined Victorian ladies, dapper aristocratic gentlemen, cog-encrusted machinists, noir neo-Victorian mavens, burlesque carnival consorts, rakish goggle-donning scientists, and adventurers aplenty. Upon looking over this entire crowd the only thought that kept running through my head was, “THIS… this was the future I had always dreamed of. And if we can’t have zeppelins taking us to work each day, or adventures under the sea in great diesel-powered mechanized tubs then, by god, we shall make our own reality. Our groupthink will force it to happen, and we shall live as if this existence spans our entire globe!” I make my accessories for a clear and selfish reason. In adorning the coif of that elegant lady, or ornamenting the lapel of that mad scientist , my accessories help to flush out their character and accompany them on their next adventure. Fostering that reality into being by contributing a little of my vision for the world with a tangible, wearable bobble.

Distressed imperial elegance is the main thrust of my current designs. Apocalyptic chic, one might say, containing all the grandeur of toppled gilded empires, of their opulent treasures covered in dust and rubble. Encased for eons in their forgotten tombs only to be unearthed millennia later, shined up, and repurposed by a mad scientist of a woman wielding a hammer, and a pair of pliers. Using design elements from a bygone time, giving them a modern, urban spin. EJPcreations specializes in tiaras, chokers, earrings, necklaces, fascinators, and hair combs with a noir, and gothic flair. Creating body adornments with a hint of vampire elegance, a dash of Steampunk bravado, and plenty of Neo-Victorian sensibilities. Perfect for prowling the streets, haunting the clubs, or adding an aristocratic air to any outfit.

I have been creating unique and obscure items my entire life. Anything my little mind could dream up was instantly put on paper so I could work out the puzzle of making it a reality. Coming from a very creative family, this notion of making artwork in any form has been ingrained in me since birth. As an adult, this has primarily taken the form of wearable art, but I also enjoy creating other kinds of functional and mixed media creations as well. Contained in my artistic arsenal is an AA degree in Visual Presentation, a BFA in Crafts and Metalsmithing, and a BA in Anthropology with a focus in Japanese Urban culture and Primatology (specifically prosimians). In some amazingly mystic and extremely bizarre way all these studies have funneled into the work I produce today.


Thank you so much, Edanna, for visiting us. We really appreciate it. One lucky poster will get a pair of these earrings, which can be converted into clip-ons.  I have a pair just like them and they go with everything from jeans to corsets to little black dresses.  All you have to do for a chance to win is post a comment.

To get an extra entry, you can join EJP Creation’s Facebook Group and/or the Steamed! facebook group. Please let us know in your posts so we can give you your entry. If you already are a memeber let us know and you’ll still get the entry.

Blogging/posting/tweeting about this post and/or Steampunkapalooza also gets you another entry. Please let us know where and please don’t spam. For a final extra entry, you can subscribe to our blog. If you already are a subscriber, let us know so you get credit, too.

Contest ends Tuesday, April 20th at 11:59 pm PST and the winner will be announced on Thursday, April 22nd when YA rockstar Scott Westerfeld comes to visit. John from Steampunk Tales swings by on Monday, April 19th. Hang onto your fishnets when the Smutketeers join us Tuesday April 20th. Artist Simply Willow will be our guest on Wednesday, April 21st as Steampunkapalooza continues all April long.

I’m going to close with a really pretty tiara, because I can, lol.

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