Today is the last day of Steampunkapalooza. Thank you so much for your participation, for your comments, for entering our contests, and your continued support. This blog wouldn’t keep on if it wasn’t for each and every one of you.
There’s still room in my May steampunk online writing workshop. It’s different from the last one and I’d love for you to join us. Info here.
We still have some contests going on. Don’t forget that each day you comment during Carina Press week you’ll be entered to win a Carina Press prize pack of the four Steampunk e-books featured.
You can still win a $10 GC to Amazon or B&N, a Twisted Tale of Stormy Gail mug and trading cards, or another swag and book bag from RT.
Today we welcome back Steampunk author Cindy Spencer Pape.
Author of over forty popular books and stories in paranormal, historical, and contemporary romance, Cindy Spencer Pape is an avid reader of romance fantasy, mystery, and even more romance. Cindy firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Married for more than twenty years to her own, sometimes-kilted hero, she lives in Michigan with him, two adult sons & an ever-changing menagerie of pets. Cindy has been, among other things, a banker, a teacher, and an elected politician, but mostly an environmental educator. Her degrees in zoology and animal behavior almost help her comprehend the three male humans who share her home.
Research vs. Reality in a Steampunk World
By Cindy Spencer Pape
When Carina Press asked me to write a novella that tied into my Gaslight Chronicles series, I was thrilled. I loved writing the first book, Steam & Sorcery, with its blend of steam technology, Arthurian legend, urban fantasy, and uptight Victorian society. What I needed though, were characters to hang the story on. I didn’t want to skip ahead to any of the street children from Merrick and Caroline’s story. I wanted something that would bridge the gap between the generations.
Since I had the whole Order of the Round Table to work with, I decided on the young Marquess Lake. (Does the name du Lac ring any bells to tell you who he’s descended from, LOL?) But he needed a strong heroine. Someone who wasn’t impressed by his title or his powers. Someone with a career of her own. Then the title Photographs and Phantoms clicked in my brain and I knew she was a photographer, a savvy career woman, troubled by ghosts, or something like them. And just like the click of a shutter, it all came together.
Now came the tricky part. Much of the steam technology in my world is made up, my own version of alternate history. But in the late 1850s, photography was already thriving and evolving as both a science and an art. So I decided to leave it alone. Gasp. Yep, the only difference is that Amy has a clockwork cart to carry her equipment when she goes down to photograph tourists on the beach. The rest of her techniques are authentic to the era. I figured why mess with something that was already in place? Thus began a couple weeks of reading books and websites on Brighton Beach, England, photography in the 1800’s, fashions, and even the invention of fire escapes on buildings came into play. I think adding the factual details when possible helps set the tone for the clockwork pets and steam-powered zeppelins.
All of this was during the last couple months of last year. Then, as serendipity would have it, at Christmas, my in-laws passed on to us a big pile of family photographs. Imagine me grinning as I picked out cartes-de-visite, wedding photos, death photos (ick!) glass-plate albumin negatives, and Daguerreotypes, not to mention guessing years by the presence of hoops or bustles. I guess research is never wasted, is it? (grin)
To find out a little about my plucky Canadian photographer and her very British Knight, check out Photographs & Phantoms, a FREE download from Carina Press, to help celebrate their Steampunk Week.
Photographs & Phantoms
A Gaslight Chronicles Novella
Available as a Free Download from Carina Press
Blurb: Brighton, 1855
As a member of the Order of the Round Table, Kendall Lake is overqualified to be investigating strange phenomena at a seaside photography studio. But since the photographer is related to the Order’s most powerful sorcerer, Kendall reluctantly boards a dirigible to Brighton.
Amy Deland is haunted by a shadow that appears in some of her recent portraits. In each case, the subject died within days of the sitting. Does she have her grandmother’s gift of foresight, or has she somehow caused the deaths?
As Kendall and Amy search for answers, their investigation draws them together in a most improper way. But it seems the evil presence in the studio is determined to keep them apart…
~Cindy Spencer Pape
Comment for a chance to win a Carina Press e-book prize pack. Grand prize contest is open internationally. One entry, per person, per blog post during Carina Press week (so, if you comment all four days, you get four entries). Enter by leaving a comment in the comment box. Contest ends May 8, 11:59 PM PST.