Archive for July, 2010

by Marie-Claude Bourque

The Steampunk novel is progressing quite nicely, thank you very much! I am solidly 2/3 in with a good grip on the story.

Plus the first chapter is totally done and revised. This is a good time to get this proposal done with most of NYC literary world either shut or slow down for August.

I am very please to have now filled 2 entire notebooks. Yep, it feels good to see this body of work before me. I know it takes more time, but having a physical reminder of the work I did already is really encouraging.

A fun/strange thing happened in my writing session today. I usually have a pretty good handle on my plot and characters. This book is planned way ahead and I have this scene where my heroine, a pretty aloof mystic witch decide to leave the hero behind.

They are stuck in a cave with all kinds of ghosts and the hero, your typical airship captain, has run away to save a crew member and he is not coming back. Meanwhile, the heroine, still on the right path with the Chief engineer, decides that they must plow ahead and leave the deadwood behind.

I wanted to have her convince the Chief that he had to leave his Captain behind to fulfill his own mission. The witch herself is on her life mission to save the world. I want this heroine to be flawed. I wanted to show that she is willing to leave a few people behind to save the whole world. I wanted her complex and I guess somewhat unlikeable.

But no, she surprised me this morning. This is the first time that I have a character behaving differently. She turned out to be heroic and runs to save the Captain.

I’m shaking my head here because it does complicates things. It would have been easier to have the Captain mad at her. Oh well… another situation to deal with!

Don’t you love fiction?!

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 Today, I want to welcome Nick Valentino the author of Thomas Riley to Steamed! I met Nick at the World Steam Expo, he was holding down a booth selling his books, as busy as he was he had time to chat with me. He is seriously one of the nicest people ever! If you are ever at one of the bazillion cons he does, make sure you stop by and say hi! He was nice enough to indulge me a few questions and he is also going to be giving away a copy of his book, Thomas Riley! So without more random ramblings from me…here is the interview with Nick!

Lolita Elizabeth: So I know you have your fabulous book, ‘Thomas Riley’ out and right now you are working on the sequel right? Tell us all about both books and where we can buy ‘Thomas Riley’!

Nick Valentino:Thomas Riley is book one in a trilogy. It’s about two weapon designers that do some bad alchemy and the only way to undo that alchemy is to kidnap the only man that has the knowledge. That same man happens to be their arch nemesis and the genius behind an enemy nation’s weaponry. Thomas Riley 2 is currently called “The Olympus” and revolves around a revenge bent ship, larger than a modern day aircraft carrier that can control the weather. Muhahaha! The book is available just about everywhere, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Joseph Beth, Davis Kidd etc… Online it’s at Amazon.com (which it’s currently on sale): http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Riley-Steampunk-Novels-Valentino/dp/1590807006/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273528435&sr=8-1 my

website: http://www.sirthomasriley.com

LE: You also just had a steampunk anthology you are a part of release…what can you tell us about that? And where can we buy it?

NV: Last week the steampunk anthology “Dreams of Steam” was released by Kerlak Publishing. It has a ton of great writers in it and I’m very excited to have a story included. My story is called “Engine 316” which is sort of a re-telling of the Rube Burrow’s gang with a steampunk flair. Basically, Rube and his gang members rob a train with something on board that should never exist in they’re time. From there, the boys run into a problem that turns life upside down. You can get it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon or if you want to come see me at an event I’ll have copies as well. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/e/9780982374559

LE: I know you’re very busy with well, everything. So what’s a day in the life of Nick Valentino like?

NV: It depends on the day really. Every day is a chaotic adventure and really I have no set schedule. Nine out of ten times I write late at night so that’s just about the only thing that has some order to it.

LE:  How do you write? Do you need silence? Do you write to music? Tell us a little about your process.

NV: I need to be alone and I write to music. I usually literally blast whatever I think fits the scene and I just start typing away. So basically, every part of the book has a soundtrack. I wrote a lot of Thomas Riley while listening to a band called Made Out of Babies. Yeah, I realize that sounds a bit odd but they seemed to fit nicely to me with all the action. The second Thomas Riley book is much darker and has been written to faster bands. I wrote a lot of the action scenes to a band called Wolves in the Throne Room.  I’m really enjoying act two of the trilogy because I love the creepy and dark stuff the most.

LE: How do you find a balance with writing and promoting your books?

NV: Honestly it’s really difficult. I’m on the road almost all the time so I find myself writing in hotel rooms. I’m to the point where I have to be pretty mean to myself and make sure I sit down and write. Basically the schedule is a constant barrage of promotion and marketing so it’s very easy to get caught up in that.

LE: While we’re at it, what conferences, book fests, etc will you be attending around the country?

NV: Wow… There’s a ton. Here’s what’s on the books for quite some time:
– 8/5/ -8/8 – Gencon (Indianapolis, IN)
side note from lolita Elizabeth-I’m going to this con too…so excited! *grin*

– 8/14 – Hastings (Memphis, TN)

– 8/15 – Books A Million (Southaven, MS)

– 8/27-8/29 – Fan Expo 2010 (Toronto, ONT)

– 9/2-9/5 – DragonCon (Atlanta, GA)

– 9/11 – Bookmarks Book Fest (Winston-Salem, NC)

– 9/21-9/22 – NAIBA (Atlantic City, NJ)

– 9/24-9/26 – Baltimore Book Fest (Baltimore, MD)

– 10/2 – Books By the Banks (Cincinnati, OH)

– 10/8-10-10 – Southern Festival of Books (Nashville, TN)

– 10/16-10/17 – The Texas Book Festival (Austin, TX)

– 10/22-10/23 – Georgia Lit Fest (Statesboro, GA)

– 11/7 – New Orleans Book Fair (New Orleans, LA)

– 11/13 – The Kentucky Book Fair (Frankfort, KY)

– 11/19-11/20 – SteamCon (Seattle, WA)

– 1/7/11- 1/8/11 – Shadowcon (Memphis, TN)

LE: What’s been your favorite Con and why?

NV: They seriously all have a special place in my heart. I’ve never been to a bad one exactly. They’ve all been really great in some way. Besides the obvious choices of San Diego Comic Con and Dragon Con, I have to say that I had a blast at CONvergence in Minneapolis. I was on some amazing panels and sold the most books for one event for the whole year. I don’t want to discount any of the others though because every one of them has been great.

LE: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you at a signing or Con?

NV: This was pretty awesome. I met a girl at MidSouthCon in Memphis TN that bought the book the first day and stayed up all night to finish it. That’s pretty awesome considering it was one of my first cons.

LE: Besides writing, what are some of your hobbies?

NV: Haha now I travel for the book so there isn’t much time for hobbies. I love to do stencil art although I haven’t had much time for it lately. I do reviews for a yet to be produced proletariat beer review site. I’ve also been toying with modding steampunk guns which is a lot of fun. I’m also a big ice hockey fan.

LE: What are some of your favorite steampunk books to read? Any recommendations?

NV: There are a lot of steampunk books out there and while I’ve enjoyed a lot of the more popular ones, I’m really interested in the new and underground books with great stories. A lot of the really fresh authors are coming up with stories that push the boundaries of steampunk, which I’m really enjoying. Chenda and The Airship Brofman by Emilie P. Bush is a really great example. There’s also quite the spicy author of a short called “Love In A Time Of Steam” that I just finished that was really great as well. Butt kissing = accomplished. *blush* Nick, you are so sweet, even if you were just trying to get on my good side. *giggle*

LE: We want to hear more! Please let the readers know about your website, where they can get your books, your facebook and Twitter… what anything else you may want to say.

NV: It’s funny, I feel like I have a million sites so here we go with a few:

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Riley-Steampunk-Novels-Valentino/dp/1590807006/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273528435&sr=8-1

Barnes & Noble http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Thomas-Riley/Nick-Valentino/e/9781590807002/?itm=1&USRI=Thomas+Riley

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=lf#!/?ref=home

Twitter http://twitter.com/SirThomasRiley

Thomas Riley http://www.sirthomasriley.com

Thank you so much for the time on Steamed! I hope to see you all out on the road soon!

Thank you Nick!!

Now, I bet you all want to know how you can win your copy of Nick’s book! It’s easy comment here to be entered! If you want more chances to win post this on twitter, facebook, myspace, etc, 1 entry for each place you post this! A winner will be drawn next Thursday! So go forth and comment and post! ~Lolita Elizabeth

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It’s true, while some of us Lolitas are going to the big gathering of Romance Writers of American in Orlando to celebrate the 30 year anniversary, some of us are staying home. But that doesn’t mean we won’t be busy. Far From it.

In fact, if you aren’t going to Orlando, I’d encourage you to get your steam on with Lolita Marie-Claude and me at some of the Summer Symposiums, Not Going To Conference Conferences and such online.  First up, Lolita Marie-Claude and I will be giving a two day workshop over at Romance Divas on steampunk. We’ll not only have a reading list, but give you some insights into writing for the genre and have an intensive question and answer session, so be sure to stop by!  You can get there by going to www.romancedivas.com and checking out their forums section. Class starts on July 29th. And the classes are free!

At the same time (because online means you can be two places at once, hazzah) I’ll be teaching a class on Backstory – The Mirror of Character starting July 28 for four days over at www.SavvyAuthors.com for their Summer Symposium. Click here to take you right to the symposium page http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/content.php?355-SAVVY-AUTHORS-SUMMER-SYMPOSIUM  There’ll be all sorts of classes for five days straight during the symposium including chats with editors and agents. Well worth it for the $30 year-long access you get to the site and all the classes they give. Marie-Claude and I will also be giving a live chat on steampunkery at 5pm EST on Saturday, July 31 at Savvy Authors, so stop by!

And while I’m not doing either of those, I’ll be a) writing on The Hunter (the first in my new steampunk romance trilogy coming out in 2011), b) sewing on a new steampunk costume to match the fabulous top hat that finally arrived in the mail this week, c) twittering @Theresa_Meyers and finding out what’s going on at the conference in Orlando even if I’m not there, or d) having iced tea spiced up with a bit of Firefly sweet tea peach vodka (because as much as I love tea, it’s too hot for hot tea past about ten am and because I know already the other Lolitas will be frequently the bar in Orlando, and one must simply keep up).

I’m also considering going online and trying a recipie or two for Key Lime Tart, just because I’ve heard that it is simply the thing one must have at the Swan and Dolphin in Orlando. And when life gives you lemons, ah, in this case limes, why not make a tart and have an iced tea with it!

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I don’t have anything profound for you today, I’m too busy getting ready for the RWA National Conference in Orlando, Florida.

I’m all packed, though getting a bustle, a day dress, and two ball gowns (one quite fluffy) into the suitcase with a dozen tiaras, two hundred bottles of nail polish, a large hat, and my “regular” clothes proved a challenge (I’m carrying on the hat).

I’m both nervous and excited about the conference. I’ve spent far to much time obsessing over what to bring. I do have some new pretties to wear from EJP Creations.

If you live near Orlando, Florida, there’s a giant admission free signing for charity open to the public, Wednesday July 28th. The full list of authors and details are here.

Fellow lolitas Shelley Adina, Leanna Hieber, Cindy Holby will be signing.

I think there might be others (and I apologize if I left anyone out) but right now I just can’t find anyone else on that giant list. Elizabeth and I will be there, we’re just not signing.

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Hieber is up for a Prism award, which will be giving out at the Steampunk Ball hosted by the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal chapter of the RWA.

If you’re a conference attendee, on Friday, July 30, Shelly, Cindy, and I will be giving a Steampunk panel – “It’s not about the brass goggles, the allure of Steampunk Romance” at 2 pm. Come by, sit in the front, and heckle me, since I’m totally and utterly terrified. This is the first time I’ve been on a panel like this. You will get to see my pretty hat.

I’ll be tweeting from the road (if I can get mobile twitter to work, lol) so if you’re so inclined you can follow me. Also, check back next week for lots of pictures.

There’s still time to enter to win the gear ring. You know you want it.

Have a great week everyone.

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Today we welcome back one of our favorite visiting lolitas, author O.M. Grey. Today she’s reviewing S.M. Peter’s Whitechapel Gods for us.

I pride myself in keeping my word.

Additionally, I have a strong policy of only writing good reviews. If I don’t like a book, I just don’t review it. I understand that there are many different styles of writing and storytelling. I understand that there are many different types of readers and audiences who enjoy things that I just don’t get. Take reality shows, for example.

This puts me in a bit of a pickle today because I gave my word to the lovely ladies at STEAMED! that I would review S. M. Peters’s WHITECHAPEL GODS.

I had been wanting to read this book for quite some time, so I welcomed the request to review it. Its cover is just breathtaking! Who wouldn’t want to read it, especially someone who loves Steampunk and dark fantasy, after seeing that beautiful cover? It’s mysterious and powerful. Dark and intriguing.


The book. Yes. Um. Well.

I actually found it quite difficult to get through the book. In fact, I couldn’t finish it. I gave up about halfway through.

So in the spirit of both keeping my word and not giving bad reviews, I’ll give you a short summary of the book and say the good things I can about it.

(from Amazon) In Victorian London, the Whitechapel section is a mechanized, steam-driven hell, cut off and ruled by two mysterious, mechanical gods-Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock. Some years have passed since the Great Uprising, when humans rose up to fight against the machines, but a few brave veterans of the Uprising have formed their own Resistance-and are gathering for another attack. For now they have a secret weapon that may finally free them-or kill them all…

Peters uses truly beautiful and descriptive language throughout the novel. Although I found the plot nearly impossible to decipher, the author has a wonderful imagination and he takes the reader through a nightmarish journey through Victorian London. This novel would normally be considered Urban Fantasy, as it does take place in London, England; however, the world S. M. Peters creates is such a completely altered version of London that I would definitely consider it High Fantasy. It has a myriad of characters in its dark world, although none are really developed enough for this busy author to care about any of them.

Still, if you love High Fantasy/SciFi with dark Steampunk elements, many, many, many characters, and beautifully descriptive passages, you will probably enjoy reading this book, especially If you have the time to decipher the plot and its characters. Through reading some other reviews of it, I have seen that a few have really enjoyed it after about page 200.

If, like this writer, you are busy and need to get into a book quickly to enjoy it, then I’d pick one of the other millions of books out there to read.

Bottom line, Whitechapel Gods just wasn’t my cup of tea.

O. M. Grey

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. Available at AMAZON, B&N, & wherever books are sold.

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I’m going to interrupt today’s regularly scheduled Steampunk post to speak of something I hope you find interesting.

Right now I’m working on a non-Steampunk story (*gasp* Oh, the blasphemy!) I’ve been classifying it as Urban Fantasy.

But the other day I realized that I was wrong.

It’s not Urban Fantasy, but Elfpunk.

Yes, Elfpunk is a real genre, not something I made up while bored.

Elfpunk takes Elves and the other creatures of Faerie and throws them into a contemporary story. These stories are often dark and gritty and may feature rock bands, car racing, or motorcycles.

How is this different from Urban Fantasy?

Elfpunk dosen’t have Werewolves and Vampires thrown into the mix. But there might be dragons…

There are also no made-up creatures. Sorry. That would pop it back into Urban Fantasy.

The biggest difference between Urban Fantasy and Elfpunk is that Elfpunk only uses Faerie creatures. But they don’t have to be of the Celtic persuasion, they can be Norse, Japanese, Slavic…the options are endless. The creatures stay as close to the original mythos as possible and any differences are explained as part of the world building. That means when writing Elfpunk you have to do your research thoroughly. (Though you should be doing your reserach anyway.)

But how is Elfpunk different from books with Faeries in it?

Ah, that’s where the “punk” comes into play. There are some very good, accurate, and well researched stories out there using Faeries that aren’t Elfpunk. Elfpunk isn’t always full-on dystopian like cyberpunk, but there’s often themes of rebellion, of fighting against society and challenging social norms. These stories can get dark and gritty.

The term “Elfpunk” got popular in the 1980s and 1990’s when there were some great “rock and roll elf” stories on the market. One of my favorites is Gael Baudino’s Gossamer Axe

Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks is also “Classic Elfpunk.”

I adored Mercedes Lackey’s Elfpunk books, including the SERRAted Edge and the Bedlam’s Bard series never knowing they were Elfpunk (or even UF, they were just really fun to read.)

Holly Black’s Tithe is a more modern example of Elfpunk. Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely could also be considered Elfpunk.

Elfpunk doesn’t necessarily have to even be in this world. Because cutthroat world of elves and other Faerie creatures Michael Swanwick created so closely mirrors our own, and it’s rather dark and gritty themes and concepts The Iron Dragon’s Daughter could also be Elfpunk. (I am so glad they’re reprinting this.)

So there you go, that’s Elfpunk. Let’s just say I’m having a very good time with this WIP…

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First off, I’d like to wish Lolita Elizabeth a happy release day. Her new book, “Love in a Time of Steam” releases today. You can find it here.

Now, on to today’s topic, one of my favorites, shiny things,

Have you seen the incredible gear rings from the folks over at Kinekt? They are the first company to introduce the concept of moving gears as jewelry. Yes, they have rings where the gears really work. Talk about distraction, lol.

Today I’ve asked them to come on and tell us about their rings. They’re even going to give one away to one lucky reader in their choice of size ($165 value, tell your friends, they have sizes 5-14). There’s a form to fill out at the bottom of the post in order to win. Will you keep it or will you give it as a gift to that special someone?

To understand exactly what I’m babbling about, you can see the ring in action here.

Very cool, huh?

What inspired you to develop the gear ring? It’s not your usual piece of jewelry.

Kinekt Design creator, Glen Liberman, has always been fascinated and inspired by small mechanisms and their complementary movements. Glen felt there was a void in the market so he teamed up with kinetic designer Ben Hopson to develop the Gear Ring, a product “complex enough to play with, yet simple enough to wear.”

We’ll you’ve certainly got an interesting product. What sort of research/work went into designing it? How long did it take?

The Gear Ring took slightly over a year design. There were mechanical complexities to it–making sure which metal would hold up the best over time due to the friction of the gears. Many, many prototypes were made. We made much use of SLA printer and Solid Works software program. We had to figure out how many gears on the ring would look the best, how much play should the gear ring have, etc. If its too precise or tight, the gears won’t move as freely. There was a balance between form and function. Finally, we agreed to where it is today. During this process, we were able to get the ring protected by numerous patents pending (both design and utility), as well as other Intellectual Property rights, both in the USA and Internationally.

That sounds complicated, lol. Can you tell us a little about the rings?

The Gear Ring is fabricated using 316L, which is the highest quality surgical stainless steel in the jewelry market. Stainless steel is highly durable and resistant to tarnishing, fading, scratching, and rusting. It won’t bend or break and is hypoallergenic for those with metal allergies. We have sizes 5 to 14 and the ring is for both Men & Women. Our rings are covered by a lifetime warranty. If the item becomes damaged or if there seems to be a manufacturer’s defect at any time we will gladly exchange it for a new one.

Nice. So, how can I get one?

Easy. You can either purchase directly from our website or call 1-888-600-8494 between 8:30am to 8:30pm eastern time, Monday-Friday. Comments, returns or all other questions can be sent to our email address — hello (@) kinektdesign.com

What other projects do you have in the works? Necklaces? Tiaras? I would simply adore a tiara with real working gears.

Yes, Kinekt Design seeks to bring you forward-thinking design objects and products that fuse together a modern aesthetic with physical interaction. It can be any objects and we are working on other jewelry related as well as non-jewelry products. Stay tuned.

Very cool, I can’t wait. Thank you so much for joining us. So, now for the important stuff. The contest runs until Saturday, August 14 at 11:59 pm PST. One winner will get a Kinekt gear ring in their choice of size. Please tell your friends.

To enter to win the ring, please sign up for their newsletter by filing out this form.

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I’ve been working hard compiling two Steampunk reading lists to use as supplemental material for some workshops the Lolitas and I will be doing. One list is for Young Adult/Middle Grade and the other is for Comics/Graphic Novels. (Other people are handling other the categories).

Here is what I’ve come up with with the great suggestions I’ve gotten so far (thanks everyone!) I’m going to put it out there one last time for feedback before I turn it in.

So, what am I missing? Suggestions appreciated! Thank you for all your help.

Young Adult/Middle Grade Steampunk Reading list
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (releases 8/31/10)
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The Boneshaker by Kate Milford
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
“His Dark Materials” series by Phillip Pullman
“Hungry City Chronicles” series by Phillip Reeve
“Larklight” series by Phillip Reeve
The Invention of Hugo Cabaret by Brian Selznick
“The Hunchback Assignments” series by Arthur Slade
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Steampunk Comic Books/Graphic Novels
Gary Gianni’s adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Baker Street
Cathedral Child
Clockwork Angels
Cyborg Ivy
Five Fists of Science
Kazu Kibuishi’s Flight
Gotham by Gaslight
Girl Genius
Jonah Hex
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Les Aventures Extraordinaire d’Adele Blanc-Sec
Steampunk (Wildstorm)

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Today we welcome back one of my favorite visiting lolitas, author Eden Bradley who’s not only one of the fabulous Smutketeers but also writes under the name Eve Berlin. Thank you so much, Eden, for coming and visiting us today.

A Journey of Pants and Other Steampunkian Things, Myself Included
by Eden Bradley/Eve Berlin

My travels to the 2010 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention began with a pair of pants…Well, it actually began long before then, when my fellow authors and dear friends R.G. Alexander, Crystal Jordan and Lilli Feisty and I decided to blog together, and the Smutketeers blog was born.

The four of us love Steampunk everything: fiction, clothing, the fabulous computers, furniture, cars and jewelry, being made by brilliant and creative minds. We all write various sub-genres of erotica and erotic romance, and since we all had Steampunk stories in mind, we decided the Smutketeers blog must be Steampunk in style-one uniting factor among many. Before we launched the blog we got together in the Nevada desert and did our first photo shoot. Blistering heat and high winds aside (and with the aid of a pitcher or two of margaritas) we managed some very interesting pics. As soon as it was done we knew we wanted to do it again! But since we all live in different areas of the country, it’s not often that we’re all in the same place at the same time. That time finally came for us at this year’s RT Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

R.G. found the most fascinating location for us-the Depot Rail Museum. There we were allowed to shoot in front of-and on-their antique Vulcan Locomotive, as well as in Car 100, an elegant private executive rail car originally built for Ringling Bros. in 1886.

We all wanted new costumes for the shoot-any reason to make a new costume!-and since this year I’m launching my new pen name, Eve Berlin (my first ‘Eve’ book,
will be out from Berkley Heat in October), I needed two costumes-one for Eden and one for Eve. Eden likes to wear her petticoats, so I wanted something a bit different for Eve, and decided she should be in pants. But finding the perfect pair of Steampunk pants isn’t all that simple, costume geek that I am, so I decided to make them myself-that’s half the fun, anyway! It began with a pair of inexpensive, tweedy pinstriped capri-length slacks bought at a local department store…

They weren’t terribly interesting, but made an excellent base for the design I had in mind. I immediately stripped the plastic buttons from the belt loops, replacing them with brass cogs and clockwork bits, some of which I had on hand (as any good Steampunk fan should!), and some which I purchased for this project.

But I also wanted to feminize the look a bit and add a dash of Victorian, so I bought a few yards of very wide cotton lace. The lace was a pale, yellowy cream color-not quite the right shade, so I tea-dyed them until I got the tone I wanted. Tea-dyeing is a simple process and antiques most fabrics beautifully—cotton takes the tea particularly well. I gathered the lace, sewing it onto two lengths of grosgrain ribbon which I would use to anchor it inside the hem of the pants. But before that, I wanted to add a bit more detail, because in my mind, Steampunk style is all in the details.

I spilt the side seams of the pants open at the bottom-just a few inches-folded and sewed the edges back, and hammered brass grommets in. I used a darling thin brown ribbon to lace through the grommets, corset-style, and tied them with a small bow, then sewed the lace into the cuffs. I decided to sew that thin ribbon onto the edge of all the pockets, and added some tiny brass studs, as well, then used some vintage-looking brass and silver safety pins to anchor several lengths of antiqued chain, and the pants were done! All I needed was a sheer Victorian blouse, a tweed vest, some antique pins and other bits of jewelry (most of which I made, as well), with some flowers and a bit of clockwork in my hair.

One thing I love about Steampunk is the variety of styles. You can be purely Victorian, or add other elements: Wild West, Cyber, Deisel, and there are a million ways in which the styles can be mixed and melded, resulting in a very personal style statement.

I loved the way the pants—both my costumes, actually—turned out, and the photographs too!

Back at home, R.G. Alexander has sold a Steampunk story to Berkley, and the rest of us are still working on our proposals. I am dying to have the time to write it. I’m hoping it’ll be next year, but my current contracts have kept me busy! I have my upcoming Eve Berlin release with Berkley Heat, and in January my first Harlequin Spice novel, THE LOVERS, will be out, as well as two more releases this year from Samhain, SUMMER SOLSTICE, Book Three in my contemporary Celestial Seductions series, out August 10th, and BLOODSONG, Book Two in my Midnight Playground vampire series, out September 7th.

You can stay tuned to all the Smutketeers’ book news on our blog: www.Smutketeers.com Or you can visit my websites: www.EdenBradley.com or www.EveBerlin.com. And you must visit the Smutketeers to see the pics from our latest photo shoot in our gallery! All for Smut, and Smut for All!

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Wow, we’ve reached 50,000 hits! Thanks for all your support. We have a really great contest coming up in a couple of weeks. We have more great guests and I have a special surprise I hope to debut in September. Thank you for making this blog what it is and please keep coming back to see all we have in store for you.

The Last Airbender
In Theaters now.

Okay, I know. The Last Airbender is hardly steampunk. But I took the tot to see it yesterday. Armed with chocolate and the knowledge that it would suck based on all the reviews I’d read, I braced myself for two hours of schlock that would pale in comparative to the cartoon the two of us had watched together, over and over.

I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t a brilliant movie that I’d go to the theaters over and over to see, but it wasn’t a bad way to spend two hours and we’ll probably buy it when it comes out on DVD.

For those of you familiar with the cartoon, the move focuses on “Chapter One: Water” which is the first season of the four season cartoon. I didn’t know this and had prepared for them stuffing four seasons into two hours. They didn’t and I’m glad.

There were plenty of times where I wanted to scream “show not tell” at the movie screen. The dialogue often felt very expository. I know trying to cram 11 hours of cartoon into 2 hours of move is difficult, but it’s not an excuse.

I didn’t find the location shifts confusing, nor did I think there were too many. But then again, I’m very familiar with the cartoon, so my mind was able to fill in any holes. Someone who hadn’t seen all four seasons over and over might not be as tolerant.

The movie felt rushed in places…especially the relationship between Sokka and Princess Yue, which was disappointing. That is a very important part of the storyline which continues to impack Sokka through the whole series. Though I still cried at a certain pivotal scene involving the princess, which I though was beautifuly shot and handed well.

Actually Sokka as a character disappointed me. One of the great things about the cartoon was Sokka’s emotion and reactions in comparison to the others, this felt like it was totally lacking in the movie.

But I liked Katara and I thought Uncle Iroh stole the show…but he was always a great addition to the cartoon.

I thought the cinematography was very good…but the cartoon was also very cinematic. I thought the flying bison was a rather good effect. And the fire nation boats. Wow. I thought those were better than the cartoon, as well as the fire nation machines. I would have loved to see more of them.

Sure, this movie lacked a lot of things including the heart, soul, and character development that made the cartoon sparkle. (Which was a little disappointing because it had epic potential) It also wasn’t nearly as dreadful as I was led to believe. I’d go see the next one.

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Happy 4th of July

The Steamed! Lolitas wish everyone a safe and happy

4th of July.

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By Marie-Claude Bourque

First I hope the Lolitas will forgive me for posting a day late. I know Friday is my day. Somehow the days just blend into one another these days…

So… the novel. Well let me tell you that’s it’s going very very well so far. I tallied up my word count this week to see that I am up at about 115 pages and almost half way through my scene list. I do know what will happen for the most part.

I am in the “middle” which is always hard but since this is an adventure with some romance and mysticism thrown in, I am having lots of fun.

So why did I choose steampunk?

When I started to write, I first came up with the Ancient series. That series has all that is me in there. Some French backstory, RI and shows my taste for witchcraft and wizardry. I didn’t know of this would sell so I moved to series 2.

I though I should write a sci-fi because I am a scientist but I was too scared. I had this great idea for a sci-fi but I just wasn’t ready.

So I read somewhere that paranormal should go beyond vampires and that demons are in, so I wrote a demon slaying story set in Paris. I still think it’s a great story and I may try to sell it when things settled down but for now it’s resting.

But I kept thinking about my sci-fi story. I told myself it would be my selling story, because it features all that is me, the science and the magic.

Then one day while I was knee deep into competing in the American Title and not writing at all, it hit me, the story had to be steampunk.

Why? Because I love historicals… but I’m too scared of writing one, can’t deal with all the details. I read a lot of regency and have been in love with anything Victorian since I was a kid. The steampunk fashion fits me so well.

Also because I love the science and the gadgets. In the Victorian era, scientists were great visionaries and I love that thirst for knowlegde and discoveries. As a scientist (I’m a Physicist and Oceanographer), I’ve stayed up all night trying to figure problems out, I’ve been at sea taking oceanographic measurents. That’s my world and I’ve been missing it a lot since I left my career to stay at home.

So Victorian fashion (and I love fashion and clothes – what can I say I’m French!) mixed with engines! I’m in!

I created a world that is run by extreme climate (I have a degree in Meteorology and love all things related to storms and wild climates). This premise is left from my sci-fi idea but it works so much better in the steampunk.

I also love travelling. I lived in Europe twice. The first time, I followed my dad through most European countries over a whole year and the second time, I lived in Paris for 2 years. I love exotic destination. My father worked extensively in Algeria and Morroco (sadly this is where he died a few years ago doing geology field work in the desert). I always wanted to translate his love of the desert in a book and here I have a chance to do it, because, and just go see an Abney Park concert to see for yourself, steampunk is all about exotic travel as well!

I also know an real (and I swear) cryptopzoologist. My PhD advisor, Paul Leblond, a retired oceanography professor is also a well-renowed cryptozoologist and published books on the topic. He calls monsters “undiscovered animals”. Once I started to write, I knew I’d have to have one of those scientists somehow somewhere! So steampunk? Yes perfect setting!

Lastly, I see steampunk with all kinds of things from the paranormal world, zombies and vampires. I stuck with the mysticism that I know, magic and witchcraft. Mostly to keep a link between my two series so that readers of the “Ancient” series will also like the steampunk story. Again witchcraft for me comes from the heart and I’m a big fantasy reader, writer and fan.

So I didn’t choose steampunk, I think it chose me!

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It’s Thursday, which means we have a special guest for you. Today we have the band Marizane.

Lolita Suzanne: Welcome to Steamed! We’re so glad you could come on. Tell us about yourselves. Have you always wanted to be musicians?

Todd Jaeger: Marizane consists of Todd Jaeger, Debbie Shair, and Jim Laspesa.
I have been playing music since I was about four years old. I started on the piano and then eventually took up the guitar and bass and then the Theremin. Debbie has also been playing music since childhood starting on the piano and was an early adopter of electronic keyboards given that her parents were involved in the home computer and electronics business in the early 1970s.

LS: Tell us a little about your band? How long have you been together? How did you come together as a group?

TJ: Well, Marizane was originally one of my projects (Todd). I originally intended to write a full “rock opera” with the fictional character would be named Marizane. I completed two songs that made specific references to this character but ultimately just adopted the name for the band that I was playing with at the time. This was around 1988. I met Debbie in 1992 by answering her add in a local paper for “Keyboardist seeks band for therapy and gigs”. I thought that was a great heading and immediately called her to set up a meeting. She was the only person that I had met with that understood what I was trying to do musically and she had a very unique style of playing that fit right in with the theatrical vibe of my songs at that time.

LS: How did you decide on this particular sound? It seems so different from anything out there. To me it sounds like Steampunk lounge music—something you might hear while sipping absinthe in a club full of air pirates with ray guns…

TJ: Well the sound of the music today is the result of our collaboration through the years. You can hear elements of it in the earlier songs that I recorded by myself but it really developed between the two of us.

LS: Is there a story behind your band’s name?

TJ: No, I just wanted the character to sound sort of like a classic B movie alien invader.

LS: Nice. Who doesn’t love alien invaders? So, what’s the best thing about being in a band? The hardest?

TJ: The best thing about it is sharing the blame when things go south, the hardest is not being able to take all the credit when it goes well.

LS: Can you tell us more about your most recent album? Does it have a back story? Do you have any favorite songs? Where can we buy your music?

TJ: “Cosmosis” is all about journeys. It could be literal travel or just psychological road trips through the mind’s cosmos. In either case the cowboys are real.

Favorite songs: “Monsters of Karri Mia”, “Fiddler’s Green” and “Ship for Brains”.

The album is available on iTunes and CDBaby as well as Amazon.

LS: Very cool. So, where can we hear you live?

TJ: Playing live can be tricky in terms of scheduling. Debbie is also playing keyboards for Heart and is frequently out of town on tour. However, we are just finishing building our new studio and rehearsal location “TomorrowLabs” with our partners (Wondermints and Brian Wilson members Nick Walusko and Darian Sahanaja). So playing some local shows is not out of the question in the near future.

LS: What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened at a performance?

TJ: Well, we do have the distinction of having played at a club that had two dead bodies on the premises, one being the displayed corps of a clown from the 1920s, and the other a taxidermied girl in a wheel chair at the foot of the stage. We also did a show for Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco on the night of September 11, 2001 because as he told us “just because Madona canceled her gig doesn’t mean you have to”.

LS: Do you have any new projects?

TJ: Right now we are just getting the new studio ready for recording, we will then be working on new material.

Thank you so much for visiting us. We really appreciate it. You can also find Marizane on Facebook.

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