Archive for August, 2011

Winners and Stuff

So, my Innocent Darkness edits have been turned in.  Woot!

In case anyone’s interested, I’m teaching a month-long workshop on writing YA in September.  Details here.   (next online Steampunk workshop will be in November, we had great fun last time and many people were doing this in conjunction with NaNoWriMo). 

I have some WINNERS to announce for our Christmas in August giveaways. 

The winner of THE IRON THORN is:


The winner of DRACULA MY LOVE is:


Congrats!  Please contact me to claim your prize. 

Didn’t win?  We still have three books up for grabs!


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Today is the last giveaway in Christmas in August.  We have a few things open.  Thank you so much for entering.  We have some winners here

Enclave (Razorland #1)

By Ann Aguirre

Okay, so Ann Aguirre’s YA debut isn’t Steampunk, but there’s a lot for steampunkers to love in this book–even if you don’t usually like zombies, dystopian, or even YA.

In some distant (or not so distant) future Deuce’s world is an underground labyrinth of tunnels and a series of strict rules in a society where the death rate is so high children aren’t even named until they are fifteen.  Deuce is a huntress, her job it to brave the tunnels outside the enclave and avoid the monsters known as “Freaks” to bring back meat for the group.  She’s assigned a partner, Fade, who’s different from the other members in the enclave and entertains notions considered “dangerous” by Deuce–such as perhaps those in charge of the enclave are lying.  When the previously-thought-to-be-mindless Freaks develop intelligence, the elders ignore Fade and Deuce’s warning.  When the two of them are exiled, the only place left for them to go is topside. 

I love Deuce, because she’s a very smart, level-headed, practical heroine (and she’s badass, but out of necessity, because as a huntress, that’s her job).  Even though this book is YA, because of Deuce’s maturity and all the action, I think this book might appeal to those who might not usually pick up a YA, even if you’re not a dystopian/post-apocalyptic fan.

The world building is fantastic and well thought out.  I loved reading about the culture and customs developed by Deuce’s tunnel-dwelling society.  Unlike many stories in this genre, ENCLAVE isn’t depressing, but hopeful.  However, it is gritty — survival is life in Deuce’s world and they fight for it daily.  There’s a ton of action including some great (though gruesome) fight scenes against the Freaks (zombies, but they’re not described in the usual way, so if you usually avoid zombie books, you might give this one a try anyway.)  When she and Fade go topside I love how they react to what’s left of our world and I thought their reactions and thoughts to things we take for granted but they may have never seen or even heard about was fantastic. 

Overall, this was a face paced, well written book with great characters and some terrific dialogue.  I read this in two sittings and was completely sucked into the world Aguirre created (and usually I avoid books with Zombies.)

So, what’s your favorite dystopian/post-apocalyptic book?

I have a previously read ARC to give away to one lucky commenter.  It’s been read by more than me, but it is an ARC, with the CD in the back AND it’s SIGNED.  All you have to do is comment below.  Open internationally.  Contest closes September 10th, 2011 at 11:59 PST. 

Suzanne Lazear writes steampunk tales for teens.  Her debut novel, Innocent Darkness, book one of The Aether Chronicles, releases August 2012 from Flux. 

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Today we welcome Steampunk author Stella Price

Stella Price writes Steampunk as Dagmar Avery and runs the Authors After Dark convention. Her new Airship, the PenNInk, will debut November 2011 online. Watch for it. You can check out all her work at www.stellaandaudra.com

Airships. You know them, you lose them, you even write them into all your books of steamy goodness. But did you know that airships are real? No not in the “Duh, zeppelins and dirigibles…” way.

A lot of people outside of the steam community don’t know this but Airships are popping up all over the country. Airships, or groups or troupes with a common goal in the steam community, are responsible for conventions, events and performances. Think of them as non union unions. I personally know of 4 “official Airships” that do everything from Setting up events to performing at conventions and traveling to do panels.

So shall I introduce you?

The Airship Archon, from Ohio, is the premier steam group. I met the majority of them at MARCon this year and was greatly impressed. They work as a unit, and are committed to keeping the steam community an open and welcoming place for people to explore. You can see more about them at their website, www.airshiparchon.com

If you check the website for the Airship Isabella, their mission is much the same as Archon, as they are also populated by performers, Artists and visionaries, and they are committed to helping people create characters to get into the real spirit of steampunk.

The A.S.S. Titilus, the Northeast answer to the Archon, is all about performance, information, and fun. As Im personally close with the Captain, A Count Named Slick Brass, I have been able to see both on the forefront and behind the scenes what this Airship does. For those of you at AAD this year, the Crew of the Titilus came to wreak havoc on the con floor for Saturday, and they were the MC’s for the Steamball. They are staples of the East Cost Steam events and like most airships… are completely for Hire.

Now the 4th? Im proud to say Im part of the 4th, and we are affiliated with the Titilus (loosely… LOL). The Airship PenNInk, So named because the majority of our crew are writers, goes live via the web soon! Our mission is to bring the new horizon of steam literature to the masses of the steam community, as well as a unique fashion sense and sexiness the community is missing. And remember, just because your not showing a little leg, doesn’t mean it aint sexy!

I’m the Captain of this rag tag ship, along with my amazing crew: PJ Schnyder (Weapons expert), A.L. Davroe (our Anthropologist), Leanna Renee Hieber, Our perpetual passenger,  Lia Hable, Lady of All things pretty and tentacle driven (she hides them under all her voluminous skirts its quite frightening…) and Marilyn Hacket, our first mate and bringer of Airshanties.

But You know a crew doesn’t live on ink alone… And we have our support crew who must always be mentioned. Our Steamstress, Brandi, Mercenary Mandi, Madame Kelly, Our Barrister Kayleigh And Ladies James and Sandy… Without them the PenNInk would cease to function.


An Airship is easy to put together, and more airships out there I think is a good thing. You have a common goal? You enjoy the lifestyle, and dressing up and having a good time? Are you always in a group anyway? Start your own airship. It’s a great way to get known… or join an existing one… Most take crew all year long. It’s a great way to get into steampunk…

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I just want to let you know that I read each and every one of your guest requests and I do try very hard to bring on the guests you want to see, though sometimes they’re just not available.   I’ve gotten tons of requests for both for Cherie Priest as a guest blogger and to profile Boneshaker on Book Monday, and where, we haven’t yet worked out a time for her to come and guest blog, she did send me two lovely signed books to give away to you all (which was very sweet).

So, without further ado, Christmas in August continues…


The Clockwork Century #1

by Cherie Priest

Tor Books

Boneshaker is often considered one of the must read books in the Steampunk genre.

Besides the goggles, airships, and zombies, it’s a tale of many things.  It’s the tale of an alternate version of late 19th century Seattle where a test for a new invention, the Boneshaker, goes  awry and unleashes a subterranean vein of gas that turns people into zombies.

It’s the tale of Ezekiel, who sixteen years later sets off into the walled-off part of Seattle hoping to find some way to clear his father’s name.  A city teeming with danger–and the living dead.

It’s the tale of Briar, Ezekiel’s mother, and the widow of the man who invented the Boneshaker, who follows her son into the toxic city with the hopes of bringing  him back alive.

As a mom, I really could appreciate everything Briar did to protect her son.  She’s not perfect (but no mom is) and most importantly, when her efforts backfired, she continued to do whatever she could to protect him-even if it mean litterally going over a wall into a city teeming with danger and toxic gas.

This was a well thought out, well built, and well researched story that is easily enjoyable–and accessible to both Steampunk lovers and those new to the genre.  There is plenty of adventure, twists, turns, and goggles, driven by some stand-out characters.

Have you read Boneshaker yet?  Why or why not?

One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Boneshaker, another lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Those Who Went Remain There Still.   Both are open internationally.  Winners will be chosen at random.  Contest closes September 4, 2011, 11:59 PM PST. 


Suzanne Lazear writes steampunk tales for teens.  Her debut novel, Innocent Darkness, book one of The Aether Chronicles, releases August 2012 from Flux. 

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Today we welcome Steampunk author Seleste deLaney who’s going to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart.

Seleste deLaney started on her career path as a young child. Stories of talking animals soon gave way to a love of superheroes and science fiction. Her first foray into the world of romance came at age twelve when she envisioned a sweeping epic love story of two people thrust together and torn apart again and again by fate. As she recalls, the plan was for them to admit their love on his deathbed. But, as is often the case with pre-teen girls, a story of that depth gave way to other pursuits, and sadly it is completely lost other than vague memories.  After that, she occupied herself with short stories for a while, and then poetry until after she had earned a degree in chemistry, spent time as a high school teacher, and became a mother of two. Then she delved into writing fiction once more.  She never lost her love of the fantastic, and her stories now always reach into other realms. The worlds and people she creates occupy as much of her time as the real world, and she is most fortunate to have a family that understands her idiosyncrasies and loves her anyway.

Gun-Modding for the Artistically Challenged

by Seleste deLaney

For the Romantic Times convention, I dressed as a steampunk vampire hunter for one of the balls. I was supposed to have a crossbow, but that plan fell through at the last minute and I was in need of weapons. Since they had to fit in my suitcase (and I am bad at spending money), I bought a cute little derringer from Etsy. But it was so cute and so little (and didn’t fire darts like it should), I decided I should have a second one and set about modding it myself.

Now I’m preparing to dress as Ever, my heroine from Badlands, for FanExpo in a couple weeks and she’d probably laugh if someone handed her a derringer. I checked out Etsy and found a fabulous gun…for $70 plus shipping. Now this isn’t to say the gun isn’t worth that. The thing is gorgeous (and big). But there’s that thing about me not liking to spend money coupled with the fact that my son had the base weapon on his loft in our basement.

So yes, I decided to give it another go. Only this time, I’ve learned a few things.

1)     The first thing I learned is practice weapons are good. Get some cheap ones and see what you’d do if you were just winging it.

2)     Apparently the cheap guns (non-Nerf) don’t hold onto the paint as well, so don’t expect your practice ones to hold up well.

3)     Basecoats are a beautiful thing. For the new one, I sprayed everything with a light brown Krylon to start. It’s a good color because even if it shows through, it kind of looks like it should be there.

4)     Paintbrush variety if you’re hand painting is good. I don’t like to take the guns apart, so spraying only works as a basecoat for me.

5)     I suck at detail work. When I mentioned artistically-challenged, I meant it. I don’t have the patience for detail work. What that means is:

  1. Embrace what I can do. I like adding a little bit of gold rubbing on places where more artsy people would do some detail work. It still adds interest without making me cry or pull my hair out.
  2. Work around what I can’t. The really nice lines between the raised pieces? I can’t do it in black because I will screw them up, but a slightly darker brown just for a bit of contrast will work.
  3. Strive for perfect imperfection. A lot of modded weapons have a “worn” look to them. Artsy people have to try to get that by doing extra steps. The artistically challenged people have it easier. If we try to make ours perfect, odds are it’ll have just enough imperfections to fall under this header. WIN!

6)     Don’t forget a finish coat. After all the paint is very dry, spray it with clear coat. If you’re adding little baubles, I’d spray before AND after. (Might be wrong, but if the bauble pops off, hopefully that way it won’t take all the paint with it)

7)     Don’t rush the drying process. For RT, I only had a couple days and things weren’t “finished”. For FanExpo, I’m getting it done well over a week in advance so I have time to let it sit before I touch it again.

Now, I won’t pretend that my homemade gun is going to rock as much as the one on Etsy, but I also didn’t spend $80 on something I may break or forget while I’m in Canada. Plus, my kids are going to want to play with it, so better it’s one of their toys in the first place.

Do any of you have advice for novice modders? Or horror stories? Or want to smack me over the head with a tesla because I’m being silly?

~Seleste deLaney


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Christmas in August continues with a new giveaway.  Today we’re featuring Caitlin Kittredge’s The Iron Thorn and one lucky commenter will win a copy!

But first, the winner of the Yoda ornament…

Melina from Reading Vacation

Congrats, Melina!

Now, onto today’s feature.

The Iron Thorn

Book 1, Iron Codex

By Caitlin Kittredge

(Copy provided by Delacorte)

From Goodreads: 

In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft’s epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.

Aoife Grayson’s family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

I was very excited to read this book, because a) it’s steampunk, b) the MC’s name is Aoife, c) enter the Fae.


The Iron Thorn is set in Lovecraft, MA.  But her world is a completely re-imagined version of the US, a dim and grim world that’s been ravaged by a virus purported to cause madness and mutation.  The citizens live in fear of the virus, strange creatures, and of the government.  Any thought deemed illogical is heretical, including fairy stories, magic, and witchcraft.  Heretics are burned–or worse.  The city of Lovecraft is so gritty, the fear the citizens live in so intense,  it leaves me wanting to take a shower then cower under the blankets.

Because this world is so very different from ours, Kittredge has to do an incredible amount of worldbuilding to set the stage.  She does an amazing job of weaving her world–from the explanations of the machines to the social structure of her world–without being intrusive.

As much as I’m intrigued by Aiofe’s life–her being a student at the school of engines, her relationship with her mother who’s been deemed insane, and the orderly fear-driven life she leads in Lovecraft, for me the story really picks up when she and her best friend Cal flee Lovecraft to aid her brother.

From the moment she and Cal go to find a guide to smuggle them out of the city, she starts to realize how different the world is from what their leaders want them to believe.  The further she, Cal, and their guide Dean get from the city the more she’s pulled into the “heretical” world of magic and witchcraft her city’s government is so against.

This book is full of  surprising twists and turns.  Aiofe is a great MC-strong, smart, and open-minded yet unwavering in her core beliefs.  Cal, her best friend, is very much the opposite for much of the book–a hard-core rule follower and believer in what the city’s leader’s tell her.  But Cal does go with her on her dangerous adventure outside the city and comes through when she needs him most.  Dean, their guide, is a great foil for Cal.  Dean is a bit shady and operates outside the rules.

Kittredge does a great job of seamlessly interweaving magic and the Fae with the stark grimness of her Steampunk world.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next.

Want to win my copy?  Leave a comment below.  Open internationally.  Contest closes August 28th at 11:59 PM. 

Suzanne Lazear writes steampunk tales for teens.  Her debut novel, Innocent Darkness, book one of The Aether Chronicles, releases August 2012 from Flux. 

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Happy Friday everyone,

Here’s is your steampunk gadget for today:


instrument for measuring boiling point of liquids

Stay Steamin’
Lolita Marie-Claude 🙂
Marie-Claude is not here much these days because when she is not being a Steamed Lolita and writing Steampunk fiction, she is Dr. Bourque, a Physicist, Meteorologist and Oceanographer who is currently very busy working on a Master in Teaching High School Sciences at the University of Washington.

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The Vintage Parlor

Steamed has been nominated for an Airship Award in the community category!  Thank you so much for all your support.  The winners will be announced in October at SteamCon III.

Now, on to today’s special guest.

Today we welcome Anna Rowland of www.vintageparlor.co.

An Interview with Anna Rowland of The Vintage Parlor

Please tell us a little about yourself and your shop.

My name is Anna and I am the curator of The Vintage Parlor, an old fashioned collection of curious treasures, rustic antiques, and industrial salvaged goods for the victorian, steampunk, and gothic home. I live in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara above a bicycle shop on a busy street amidst a diverse collection of music, art, and culture. Aside from hunting for treasures for my shop I enjoy graphic design and photography (proud tech nerd and Apple fan), taking road trips up the California Coast, and creating jewelry through lost wax casting.
Have you always wanted to do this?  How did you get into it?
I’ve always considered myself creative and knew from a young age that I’d trade the normal 9-5 for the starving artists lifestyle. My little vintage shop began  when I wanted to combine my long time hobby of thrift store hunting with my merchandising and photography background. I graduated from The Fashion Institute Of Design and Merchandising with a degree in Visual Communications and have worked has a merchandiser and stylist, and makeup artist for a few big corporations, it was time I ventured out on my own and satisfied my overwhelming entrepreneurial spirit.
How do you go about selecting each piece?  
I’ve been collecting “things” for as long as I can remember. I find beauty historic curiousities, especially those pieces that lead my imagination to picture an objects lifespan. Where it’s been and all that it has seen. Who has loved it and who last discarded it. And then I pick it up and imagine where it is going next.
Do you have a favorite piece?
I’d say it is always changing, as there is a continuos rotation of unearthed discoveries. I do however, have an inclination to find both fascination and amusement in darker realms. Anything from the macabre side of the victorian era really gets me psyched.
~Anna Rowland

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Christmas in August continues with a book giveaway.  I’ve been wanting to feature this book for awhile.   I also have a *signed* copy of this for one of you that I got at RT 2011.  One lucky commenter will win it.  Open Internationally.  Closes August 22, 2011 at 11:59 PM PST.

Dracula My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker

by Syrie James
(Avon, 2010)
Blurb: (from Goodreads)
Torn between two men—a loving husband and a dangerous lover—Mina struggles to hang on to the deep love she’s found within her marriage, even as she is inexorably drawn to Dracula himself—the vampire that everyone she knows is determined to destroy.

I first read this book back in 2010 when I picked it up at RWA National and was blown away. It’s not Steampunk, but Dracula from Mina Harker’s POV–what’s not to love about that?

Syrie Jame tries very hard to remain as close as possible to the original Dracula story while telling it in 1st person from Mina’s perspective.  Being Mina’s story, this focuses on the romantic aspect using Mina’s secret journals in  shorthand where she reveals her deepest feelings and secrets, including her fascination with a man both terrifying and intriguing, a man everyone else seems to want to kill.

Mina is a great heroine–strong and smart, and Syrie James’ does a great job of using period language while keeping keeping the story fluid and accessible.  The vivid details bring the story to life, and even though most of the vampire-hunting takes place off page, the story still captivates with it’s sensual tale of a woman caught between two men–her husband and Count Dracula.

Overall, this was a lush and beautiful read.  It’s romantic bent may put off some, but if you’re a romance fan who also loves Dracula, then this makes for a fascinating, sizzling read.

I don’t give stars, but that doesn’t mean this wasn’t a good book.

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Happy Friday everyone,

Here’s is your steampunk gadget for today:


an instrument for measuring growth of plants.


Stay Steamin’
Lolita Marie-Claude 🙂
Marie-Claude is not here much these days because when she is not being a Steamed Lolita and writing Steampunk fiction, she is Dr. Bourque, a Physicist, Meteorologist and Oceanographer who is currently very busy working on a Master in Teaching High School Sciences at the University of Washington.

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People have been enjoying Marie-Claude’s Friday Gadget Feature so much, they’ve been sending me their ideas.  Since I’m on vacation I asked Raye Dean to share her’s with you.

Marooned in the Sandwich Isles (Hawaii), Raye Dean writes to keep the roar of the voices dull and her skills sharp.  www.raydean.net
Anemometer – Steam-era Gadget
The anemometer is a gadget used to measure wind speed/velocity or pressure.
The first description of such a device comes from approximately 1450 and given by Leon Battista Alberti (an Italian Architect). He described a disc, perpendicular to the wind, that rotated due to the wind’s force.
The Illustration shows a ‘Cup Anemometer’ and measures the wind’s speed. This particular version of the gadget was invented by John Thomas Romney Robinson in 1846.
The name of the device comes from the Greek word for wind “Anemos” or “Anemoi” the Gods of wind.
~Raye Dean

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Lolita Theresa is back out from her deadline cave from writing The Slayer, book two in The Legend Chronicles. Which gives me precisely one week to get all my costuming done for the upcoming Authors After Dark conference in Philadelphia. (And yes, there’s a booksigning on Saturday, August 13, at 2 p.m. that’s open to the public.)

Now while I can certainly sew my own costumes and have quite a bit of fun doing it, there are certain elements one cannot make easily by oneself (unless you happen to be a cobbler or milliner in your day job!) For me some of those items include hats, goggles and shoes. But it’s a tough decision, because for every character I represent, I really have to contemplate, what exactly to those shoes say about him or her? For that matter, what are your steampunk shoes saying about you?

For example these shoes are for a tinker, inventor or female mechanic. How can I tell? They are stable, practical and comfortable with ample detailing. If these are your thing, then you are likely good with your checkbook and don’t tend to go overboard on anything, preferring to limit your adventures to your library or laboratory.

These on the other hand (by their very name Zeppelin) look far more military and, exuding a no-nonsense-take-charge comman would be perfect for an airship captain. (Can’t you just picture these on Anglinea Jolie in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow?) Like the shoes, if these are your favorites, then you’re more of a leader than a follower and don’t like taking no for an answer.

An explorer, adventurer or naturalist might find these boots protective, sturdy and ready to run. They’ve got just enough extras (like the brass-look heel and fantastic rivets) to make them look fashionable, yet pratical. Perfect for trying to woo investors to back your adventuresome quests. If these are your thing, then you’ve got a side of you that longs to travel, enjoys doing more than watching and are likely someone who knows how to tell a good story about your exploits.

And these dainty little shoes are perfect for a Lolita dressed in ribbons, lace, flounces and frills. These are for the height of feminity. No housework please. That is for “others” to deal with.

Of course if all of these are simply too fancy for your taste and you really just want the good ‘ol Victorian basic black there are the standard granny boots. There’s nothing wrong with being the salt of the earth. You like meat and potatoes. You don’t need fancy cheese. And really, hanging out with friends and family at the backyard bbq is just fine with you.

Then there are the city folk, who wish they could explore, but are afraid it might get them dirty. So they only want to look the part. For them, these Manolo Blanick’s with a steampunk flair are simply a must. It’s a way to show you can afford to be steampunk, but without packing your dirgible about.

There’s just so many choices, as individual as the person who wears them. And each one says a little something different.

So if you are dressing to fit your steampunk character at a conference, what would be your perfect shoe?

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In between my mad dash to my deadline for ID and my two vacations this month, I need some posts that are quick and easy.

So, this month is Christmas in August.

Every Monday I’ll have a new giveaway for you.

To kick everything off I have a christmasy giveaway for you.  (Though most of them are books.)

As a kid, I had fond memories of trips to the Hallmark store with my mom.  I always loved to look at the pretty ornaments.

My sister is fond of them and often gets them for me for Christmas.

I married into a family full of Star Wars fans, so I love their Star Wars ornaments for presents.

They just debuted their 2011 ornaments and I have to say,  Yoda is  my favorite.  (But who doesn’t love Yoda?)

He’s about 2 1/2 inches tall, designed by artist Kristina Gaughran, and talks!  I know exactly who he’ll make a good present for.  I’m one of those people who starts their Holiday shopping around now.

You can win a Yoda of your own.  Just comment below for a chance to win.  Contest closes August 14, 2011 at 11:59 PST.  North American only please. (Sorry, International contest next week :))

What’s your favorite Christmas ornament of all time?  Have you started your shopping yet?


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