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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