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Archive for March, 2011

Okay, Jane Eyre isn’t a new release, nor is it steampunk, but it’s a classic and the new movie does feature lots of pretty dresses.  Also, I need to re-read it for a project.  Anyway, I have asked the super-fabulous Nicole from WORD For Teens to come and guest review it for me. So, how many times have you read it?

Nicole runs the successful YA book blog WORD For Teens. When not reading books or watching Doctor Who, she’s studying for her double major in journalism and English.

 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Review by Nicole of Word for Teens

What can one say about Jane Eyre that hasn’t been said already?

I adore Jane Eyre. I adored it when I first listened to the musical version in ninth grade; I adored it when I watched the amazing four hour BBC version in tenth grade; I adored it when I finally picked it up and read it in eleventh grade.

And even now, it’s something I reread and get excited for. I’ve seen the BBC movie Jane-knows-how-many times; I’ve read the book again and again; I’m more than excited for the new movie version that just came out. (Seeing it soon, eek!)

There’s just something about it. Yeah, it’s not written like most modern lit – either young adult or adult – is. It’s a very slow set up until the part of the novel I like best. A good third of the book, I think, is dedicated to Jane’s childhood. You really get in her head and see the miserable sort of situation she was in and why she grew up to be the way she was.

Normally, I’d hate that. I love being launched straight into the action, into the romance, into the real story. (I think that was one of the reasons it took me so long to finally read Pride and Prejudice; who cared what the Bennett sisters were doing? I just wanted to go to the first ball with Darcy, damn it.) But it’s so eloquently written that I still love it.

And don’t even get me started on my love of the characters themselves. Jane? Best heroine ever. Okay, maybe not best, but damn, I do love her. She refuses to change who she is and sticks to her guts. And Rochester? You really shouldn’t fall in love with a man who [SPOILER ALERT!] keeps his wife locked up in the attic and who[/SPOILER ALERT] makes you believe that he’s in love with another woman for a good chunk of the book. And yet…

Honestly, this is one of these classics I think everybody needs to read and form their own opinion on. Strong woman? A hunk of a man? An interesting plot? I mean, it’s got everything. (Including a fantastic modern version – Jane by April Lindner. I highly recommend reading that, too, but only after you’ve read Jane Eyre, or some references will be lost on you.) In my opinion, it’s much better than her sister’s Wuthering Heights and on equal terms with some of Austen’s works.

Oh, and there’s this.

~Nicole
http://www.wordforteens.com/

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First up, there’s about a day left on the critique I have up on Operation Auction.  It’s for a Steampunk or YA proposal (or Steampunk YA–Elfpunkers, or any “punkers”, I’ll include you too).  Proposal = Query, Synopisis, + 3 chapters.  Come on, be generous and place your bidThere’s a lot of other good stuff up and it’s for a good cause.

The Romance Writers of American announced their RITA and Golden Heart Finalists. I’d like to give a special shout out to Zoe Archer for her nomination for Rebel and Cassandra Clare for her nomination for Clockwork Angel. Congrats to all the nominees!

So, who’s going to the Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention?

I will be there with bustles on.  You know I mean that literally, right?  Here’s my new bustle.

There’s going to be some great steampunk stuff.  (And I’m on a panel with Gail Carriger!!!!  I hope I don’t say something stupid.)
SPECIALTY: When Worlds Collide: Melding Reality and Fantasy in Historicals
Date: Wednesday April 6, 2011 02:15 pm – 03:15 pm
Event Type: Writer Industry Workshop                                                              Panelists: Zoe Archer, Gail Carriger, Nathalie Gray, Suzanne Lazear, Kathryn Smith

STEAMPUNK: Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?: Gadgets, Gizmos and Automatons
Date: Thursday April 7, 2011 02:45 pm – 03:45 pm
Event Type: Writer Industry Workshop                                                                               Captain: Kathryn Smith Panelists: Eden Bradley, Gail Carriger, Kristen Painter

STEAMPUNK: Writing the Steampunk Romance: Beyond Leather Corsets and Brass Goggles!
Date: Friday April 8, 2011 01:30 pm – 02:30 pm
Event Type: Writer Industry Workshop 

Panelists: Cindy Holby, Suzanne Lazear, Laurie McLean, Kathryn Smith
READER: Steampunk Social
Date: Friday April 8, 2011 02:45 pm – 03:45 pm
Event Type: Reader Social
Location: Beaudry A
There will be a fashion show with clothes from Clockwork Couture, cakepops, prizes, and other fun stuff! 

Other steampunk writers will also be there.  Check out all the authors doing the book signing.
Good stuff, right?  Make sure you say hello to me if you’re there. (No, I’m sorry, but I will have no romance trading cards for Innocent Darkness, since I have no art, unless you want to make me something quick quick.)
Steampunkapalooza 2011 starts soon.  It’s going to be incredible  and I am excited.   Have you seen our lineup and entered our giveaway yet?
Oh, and here are the boots the hubby got me from Clockwork Couture for my birthday.  I hope they come in time for RT.
Cute, right?  Now, if only I could find a black corslet/corset belt, that a) will get here in time b) isn’t a fortune.  I have one, the teen borrowed it and can’t find it (insert Le Sigh here).
So, are there any Steampunk events coming up that you’re looking forward to?

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Tomorrow I’ll be over at Coffee Time Romance for the California Authors RT Kickoff Party.    You have to register with the forum to participate, but it’s free.  You can put “suzannelazear” in the refferal box so they know you’re from Steamed!  It runs from Midnight to Midnight March 25th and there will be tons of authors there. 

Steampunkapalooza 2011 is starting soon.  Have you seen our lineup and entered our giveaway yet? 

Today we welcome author Seleste deLaney.

An avid reader of all things speculative, Seleste deLaney broke into the ebook world in the summer of 2010 with her erotic paranormal short story, Of Course I Try, the firs in her Blood Kissed Series.  Badlands is her first, but definitely not last, foray into the world of steampunk. When not escaping to made up worlds, Seleste makes her home in southwest Michigan with her husband, two children, and two dogs who remind her at every turn that the real world needs her attention upon occasion too.

Why the West?

by Seleste deLaney

I read once that in the US, people who write steampunk fall into two camps based on geography. Those who live in east coast states write Victorian steampunk, those in the west coast states write Old West steampunk. I’m not really sure what that says about those of us who live in the middle. People have asked me more than once why I set my story in the Old West when Victorian steampunk has legions of fans already, especially among romance readers who don’t see it as too far a jump from historicals. Old West steampunk might pull some western fans, but without the promise of cowboys, it’s a much more difficult crossover.

So, yeah, a smart fledgling author probably would have gone Victorian.

But even knowing that, I prefer not to think I’m stupid. For me, the setting was all about the story I wanted to tell.

Once I started thinking about it, there was no question where Badlands would be set. Ever, my rather unconventional heroine, wouldn’t have been accepted in Victorian England…at all. While it seems feisty heroines are okay in that world, Ever goes far beyond spunk in a corset. She’s a near-man-hater with a penchant for violence and zero tolerance for propriety for the sake of propriety.  In short, she’s far too rough around the edges to find even an uncomfortable place in Victorian society.

But in an untamed Old West? She might have a home there.

Then again, the west was still ruled by testosterone in those days (as most places are even now). That was the point when I considered the possibility of the west being something other than uncharted territory. Right around that time, someone brought up a western either set in Australia or starring an Australian actor (I don’t really recall) and all the pieces fell into place. If the west was treated as untamable and unwanted, turned into essentially a prison-nation, what type of life would develop there?

Suddenly, Ever had a place—one where a woman like her was not only accepted but appreciated and even revered.  And even more, it became a landscape where the trappings of steampunk would be displayed in a different light than they would against the backdrop of a Victorian world. There the crisp clean curves of a dirigible stand in stark contrast to the harsh jagged mountain peaks. And the shining clockworks glisten against the rough grit and dirt. It would be a world where such things are coveted and feared in equal amounts.

In short, it became an evil scientist’s play land.

But to Ever and the women she commands, it is simply home.

~Seleste deLaney

http://www.selestedelaney.com

Badlands (Now available from Carina Press):

After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation’s border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union.

Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen’s assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever’s reluctant ally.

As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands— if death doesn’t find them first…

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Guess what everyone, it’s nearly time for Steampunkapalooza 2011, our annual month-long online Steampunk Birthday Bash!  We have an incredible lineup for you this year with some great people and giveaways and we’re still adding new things.  (We still have a few weekend days open if you have a suggestion/recommendation).   As you can see we have a lot of new faces and some of your favorites.  During April stop by every day for great guests, prizes, mayhem, and more.   Hold on to your fishnets, it’s going to be one heck of a party.

Also, the great folks at Tor have given us five, yes, five, copies of Stephen Hunt’s book The Rise of the Iron Moon to help kick everything off.  Want to win a copy?  Just tell me which guest you’re looking forward to the most and we’ll pick five commentors at random. 

Steampunkapalooza 2011 Tentative Schedule

April 4 Caitlin Kittredge

April 5 Saundra Mitchell

April 6 Dru Pagliassotti

April 7 GD Falksen

April 8 Felix Gilman

April 10 Mystic Pieces Jewelry Design

April 11 Mark Hodder

April 12 Andrew Mayer

April 13 George Mann

April 14 Mike Resnick

April 15 Tim Akers

April 16 Ren Cummins

April 18 Gail Carriger

April 19 Jaymee Goh

April 20 Beth Revis

April 21 Leanna Renee Hieber

April 22  Philippa Ballantine

April 25 Kady Cross

April 26 Crista McHugh

April 27 Marie Harte

April 28 Christine Bell

April 29 Cindy Spencer-Pape

 

It’s an exciting list, isn’t it?  So, who are you most looking forward to?  Contest closes April 1, 2011 at 11:59 PST.  Winners announced April 4, 2011.

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I totally forgot to put up the Feb edition of “In My Mailbox.”   I’m still very new to the whole Vlog thing.  I get so nervous and I just know I said something wrong.  And, oh, the faces I make!  I don’t think I’m doing this right.

The books I talk about in the Feb edition are

Invasion by Jon S. Lewis (YA, a C.H.A.O.S novel)

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge (YA)

Heartless by Gail Carriger (Adult, book 4 Parasol Protectorate, released July 2011)

Thanks to Orbit, Thomas Nelson, and Delacorte Press for sending me these books.

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!

 

Today we have paranormal writer Colleen Gleason who’s going to tell us about her new The Regency Draculia series–because Vampires look hawt in regency dress.

Born near Detroit, Colleen Gleason spent most of her adult life in Michigan. She attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, receiving her BA in English, and later went on to obtain her MBA from the University of Michigan in Flint.   After more than fifteen years of sales, marketing, and management experience in the health care industry, Colleen began her own health insurance agency, which she owned and operated for several years. However, her passion has always been writing fiction, and in late 2005, she sold her first two books to New American Library, a division of The Penguin Group.   Colleen also writes as Joss Ware.   The Vampire Voss, book one in the Regency Draculia series releases March 22, 2011. 

Paranormalizing History

by Colleen Gleason

I have to confess that I’m here to talk about books that aren’t precisely steampunk. Actually, they’re not even close to steampunk, except for the fact that they’re set in historic London (not even Victorian, no. Sigh.) and there are paranormal elements that don’t really feel steampunky at all.

However, Lolita Suzanne graciously invited me to talk about my historical vampire series called The Regency Draculia, which launches next week with the first of a back-to-back-to-back release schedule. The Vampire Voss, coming up first, can be described as Jane Austen meets J. R. Ward…or Stephenie Meyer, but darker and for adults.

My previous historical urban fantasy/romance series, The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, was actually more steampunkish than the Draculia series is simply because it was about a female vampire hunter who lived in Regency-era England. She had some gadgets and a few fun weapons, and it was actually my publisher at the time who suggested I might branch out into steampunk someday because I was so comfortable writing action and fantasy wrapped up with historical time periods.

I had to go look up steampunk, because at that time, I had never heard of it.

Now, of course, I’m much more familiar with it, and because of that, my 14-year-old daughter had to educate her Honors English teacher as to what steampunk was just a few weeks ago. (This being an English teacher whose favorite author is Charles Dickens.)

Anyway, I digress. I’m here to tell you a little about the Regency Draculia series, which I hope will appeal to the blog readers here because it’s fantasy set in a historical time period. The books have all the elements of a good Regency romance, but add in some sexy vampires—and some evil ones—a dark mythology, lots of action…and hopefully it comes out as a good story.

One of the things Suzanne thought I could talk about is paranormalizing history. (Nice term; I’m going to steal it.)

It’s so much fun to take what we “know” or think we know and add a paranormal element to it, and I find that doubly fascinating when doing it with a historical setting.

Those dukes and earls, the ones who have the strong family resemblance from grandfather to grandson? That’s because they’re really vampires, and it’s the same person, going out of sight (when the grandfather dies) and coming back into Society (when the grandson takes over the title).

And White’s—the famous gentleman’s club in London? That’s actually been financed by a cabal of vampires so that they have a place to hang out and feed without causing problems. They have private apartments in the back and below ground so they can consort without the sun burning them.

London Society is very conducive to being a vampire who is sensitive to daylight—partly because most of the time, London is befogged and the sun can’t shine very strongly. But also because it’s normal for the haute ton to sleep past noon and party all night. No one would think anything of it if a viscount or lady doesn’t spend much time awake during the day.

Also, my vampires find it incredibly titillating that every gentlewoman wears gloves during this time period. While their throats, shoulders, and a good portion of their bosoms are visible, it’s considered improper not to wear gloves. Which means if a vampire can charm a lady out of her gloves and take a little nibble on that soft, sexy part of the inside of the wrist….that’s quite enjoyable for them.

Those are some examples of how I’ve taken historical fact and “paranormalized” it for the purposes of the Regency Draculia. It was a lot of fun writing those books, and I hope you get a chance to check them out.

Here’s a little more about the books themselves:

In The Vampire Voss, Voss, the Viscount Dewhurst, has been a vampire for a hundred and fifty years. He agreed to sell his soul to Lucifer, and now he has everything he’s ever wanted: immortality, scads of money, imperturbable power, and all the women he can handle.

Everything is going along just fine, if not becoming a little routine after more than a century of pure hedonism with no negative consequences, until he meets Angelica Woodmore…who is the first woman he finds himself unable to enthrall and seduce.

The second book, The Vampire Dimitri, will be released near the end of  April, and is a Beauty-and-the-Beast-like tale about one of Lucifer’s vampires who realizes it wasn’t such a good idea to sell his soul after all. He gets paired up with Maia Woodmore, Angelica’s sister, who could be typecast in The Taming of the Shrew. Jus’ sayin’.

And in May we’ll see The Vampire Narcise, which is about a female vampire who believes there can be no such thing as love for an immortal. Because forever is a very long time!

Thanks to Suzanne for having me here to talk about my non-steampunky books. I’ll be around to answer any questions you might have!

 ~Colleen Gleason

 http://www.colleengleason.com/

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The Iron King

by Julie Kagawa

Book 1, The Iron Fey Series

I will warn you, this isn’t really a review, but more of an analysis of whether or not I feel this book is Steampunk, Elfpunk, or just a really good story.  This is also just my opinion. 

I’ve been hearing a lot about this book.  Mostly, it’s because I keep being asked the same question — “Is The Iron King Steampunk or Elfpunk?”  To which I always shrug and reply, “I don’t know, I haven’t read it.”  I went as far as tweeting Julie Kagawa, the author, and asking her (she probably though I was loopy).  She patiently replied that she didn’t think it was either. 

Finally, I got the time to read it to decide for myself. 

So…is it Steampunk or Elfpunk?

Honestly, I don’t think it’s either. 

Yes, there are definitely elements of both Steampunk and Elfpunk in the book, yet, in my personal opinion, they’re not strong enough to really define the book. 

This is not to say, it’s no a fabulous book — because it is a fabulous book–it’s just that according to me I wouldn’t define it by either label. 

There are some neat steampunky-elements among the iron fey.  Ironhorse just sounds plain old awesome.  However, if you’d remove these elements and just made them bad fey, the story would still stand.  I’m going out on a limb here and staying I wouldn’t even define it as having “steampunk elements” because there just isn’t enough steampunkyness, in my humble opinion.   

So, then, why isn’t it Elfpunk?  After all, there are fey roaming around the human realm, and there are rebellion themes?

This was much harder for me–and feel free to disagree.  If this story took place almost entirely in the human realm, I would say yes, but it seemed to lack that integration Elfpunk stories have, even when the characters go back and forth between the human and faerie realms.  That is not a bad thing, this story didn’t need more integration, everything she does for this story works well, it’s just that to me, this puts it out of the Elfpunk realm. 

There is a ton to love about this book.  It took me about a hundred pages to get into it, but I think it was because this was the first time I ever read an e-book (and I read it on my computer) than having to do with the actual story.  What floored me was the world building.  As you know, I am a big fat faerie lore nerd.   I love how she incorporated classic faerie lore and characters like Oberon, Puck, and Queen Mab into her story while giving everything her own twist.  There is action, romance, and a faerie world filled with creatures, which true-to-form, aren’t always nice.

Also, I’m a sucker for stories about bad bargains.  Oh yes I am. 

So, it you’re looking for a specifically Steampunk or Elfpunk story, this may not be the book for you.

But if you’re looking for a really good read, with lots of faeries and good folklore roots, then read away.

It’s number one in a series with three books out so far.  She’s even giving away a novella free until April.

Happy Reading.

~Lolita Suzanne

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