Archive for January, 2012

Miss Jack Lewis Baillot is the author of the Steampunk adventure book, Haphazardly Implausible as well as the other three in this series.
Why I Write Steampunk
 by Jack Lewis Baillot
Before I start this post I would like to thank Miss Suzanne Lazear for allowing me this opportunity. 
 I am a young adult Steampunk author. I am new in the Steampunk world, having just discovered it by accident when I wanted to write a little tale about me and my friends in an airship. Since that time I’ve found Steampunk showing up all over the place. Surely you have as well. There are new movies coming out which have Steampunk elements – such as “Sherlock Holmes,” and the new “Three Musketeers,” which has a very cool Zeppelin in it. I’d go see that movie just for the Zeppelin.
 But maybe you are new to Steampunk as well. And maybe you are an author asking the question, “Should I give it a try? How do I know if I will even like it?” Well, maybe these questions will help you in finding the answer. 
 First, do you love history, particularity the Victorian Era? Steampunk isn’t limited to the Victorian times of course. I have seen it set in the Wild West as well, and recently in World War One in Scott Westerfeld’s “Leviathan Trilogy.” From what I have researched, the West and Victorian Era are the most popular settings for Steampunk. Even looking in movies this is seen. However, I think it is spreading to other times. After all, the Three Musketeers lived in neither of these times but that movie very much looks Steampunk. 
 A love for history is probably very important. Even though you will not be sticking strictly to historical facts you will want to stay within that time period. After all, in the “Sherlock Holmes,” movies they stayed withing the Victorian time period, and the same is with the movie, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” So, pick your favorite time in history and get started. 
 Second, do you love inventions? Steampunk inventions do not stop with the lazier guns and airships. Do some research to find other inventions that have found their way into this gene. A great place to do some investigating is in Scott Westerfeld’s books where you can learn about Walkers and living and breathing airships. Also, look through other Steampunk books. If you wish to create an airship read about other airships so you can get an idea on what you want. Remember, this is your book and your intentions. Get creative. But remember to stay within the bonds of the time period you have picked. Research the things they used during that period and ask the question, “What if they had done this instead of this?” Use the materials they had available at the time. 
 Third, (and maybe you don’t need to enjoy this, but it sure is fun) do you like designing fashions? Look around you and you can easily find Steampunk fashions. Type it on google and you will pull up all kinds of things. Goggles, leather, corsets, boots with buckles, aviator hats. You can even put your own twist on these fashions, research will help you in learning what Steampunk looks like so you will be sure to stick to that genre. And, this is something I’ve read somewhere, in Steampunk brown is the new black. Though I couldn’t tell you dead certain what that means (I’m not much interested in fashion myself) if you are to pick a color to use the most stick with brown. Leave black for the motorcyclists. 
 And remember to have fun. Even though this might take a bit of research, or a lot as the case may be, Steampunk is truly worth it. I’ve written books set in almost every period imaginable and every genre and I can honestly say Steampunk is by far the most fun to write. So, have fun! The world is at your finger tips. 

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I thought I’d pass this along to everyone.  This makes me wish I lived closer to the East Coast.

Steampunk Festival Fears Mother Nature

Steampunk World’s Fair takes unusual step to keep inclement weather from raining on parade

This May, the Steampunk World’s Fair will hit Piscataway, New Jersey with three days of the largest steampunk festival in the country – last year’s fair garnered about 3000 guests in total. With a nation of steampunks fondly reminiscing on the jam-packed events of the 2011 event and expectations just as high this year, any inclement weather could only result in soggy sadness. But this year, Mother Nature will not stand in the way. In preparation for unwanted precipitation, the event has specifically planned a special set of programs to take place in the rain.

This solution may be unusual, but The Steampunk World’s Fair is used to travelling unorthodox routes. Three years ago, it was among the very first of Steampunk events to approach Steampunk gatherings from a festival, rather than a convention, standpoint. The performance-heavy event focuses on creating the boisterous, exuberant atmosphere of a carnival or faire, rather than the calmer atmosphere of a convention. Says event creator, Jeff Mach, “rather than a situation where, if it rains, we just ‘make do,’ we’re going to actually have activities and programs which will blow your socks off!” It will take a grand amount of planning to get the rain program on its feet, but organizers are excited about its potential, urging guests to “Hope for rain!”

Of course, if it doesn’t end up raining at the fair, there will be plenty of delightful activities for guests to revel in. In addition to the largest array of Steampunk performances available anywhere, festivals of the past have featured everything from Why Not Cake, an imaginative company of gourmet cake artists; to visits from award-winning author Leanna Renee Hieber. So stick an umbrella in your top hat, because the Steampunk World’s Fair promises imaginative entertainment, rain or shine.

The creators of Steampunk World’s Fair are also notable for their annual Wicked Winter Renaissance Faire and Geeky Kink Event. More information on The Steampunk World’s Fair can be found at steampunkworldsfair.com


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Emily, aka “Professor Raven” runs Professor Raven’s Curiosity Emporium on Etsy.

Steampunk: My Coal-Dusty Heaven

by Professor Raven

I am in finally in heaven: steamy, coal-dusty heaven. Several years ago, I knew that I wanted to create, I wanted to write, I wanted the American version of success. I ran out and bought tools and supplies, the likes of which I knew nothing. My first attempts at jewelry creation were amateurish, awkward, and not beautiful. But I learned, refined my technique, my pieces became a wee bit more sophisticated. I still had no real focus.

I found the Twilight series (don’t hate) and thought that could be my focus. However, since all of my Twilight-inspired pieces had my own brand of sarcastic gothism imposed, they weren’t run-away best sellers. I still hadn’t found my niche.

About two years ago, I was introduced to the steampunk genre. Not only was I in love, but I had found a creative home, a style I not only understood, but a style I felt understood me. I’ve always been an imposter: a lonely, weird soul pretending to be normal. In steampunk, I found a place to belong! The steampunk community has been mostly welcoming, societal outsiders like me, friendly, warm, and weirdly entertaining. I found my focus!

Since embracing steampunk, I’ve not only narrowed my focus significantly, improved my technique, and started branching out to new mediums. I’ve met authors, bloggers, and been embraced as an artist in my own right. Sure, I’ve run into the odd purist who thinks that “merely slapping watch parts on something does not steampunk make”, but for the most part this is a welcoming community.

At my shop, I believe that steampunk is a state of mind. I love combining industrial, Victorian, and gothic elements into a cohesive piece. I love talking with other Steampunks and getting their unique take on our genre. I’ve started listening to steampunk bands and their eclectic sounds.

As a “social misfit”, I’m a bit perturbed that steampunk seems to be gaining mainstream ground; while this makes it easier for us to be accepted and find low-cost goodies, it also makes it harder to craft the genre we want, and harder for the true craftsmen to grow. I don’t count myself in the latter group *yet*, but I’ll get there.

While mainstream acceptance of the genre and its presence makes it easier for us to “explain” ourselves, I can’t help but wonder: what happens when popular opinion leaves us alone? And just how much more unique would our gear-driven world be if mass popularity hadn’t intruded itself?


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Like YA?

Love Prizes?

The YAmazingRace with MGnificent Prizes starts today at 12 pm EST.  Over 50 YA and MG authors are going to be giving away a boatload of prizes.

INNOCENT DARKNESS is part of leg 5.  If you’ve wanted Noli’s necklace and haven’t won one yet, there is one up for grabs.

Rules will go up here at 12 pm eastern time when the race starts.  Good luck!

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My apologies for the lateness of this post.

And the sequel adventures march onward…

I’ve spent the last week taking that completed draft and attempting to make it fit for human consumption. 

This included putting in the proper names for ship parts, adding a few literary quotes/references, adding in some proper Victorian terms, and fixing any errors I came across.

The draft is by no means perfect or finished, but off to the beta readers it goes.

Some of them were quite excited about it.  The day after I tweeted that I finished the draft I got an email from a beta going, “Saw it’s done, where is it?”  LOVE LOVE LOVE such enthusiasm.  I hope everyone likes it. 

The synopsis has also been written.  Often I’ll work off at the very least a skeleton of a synopsis, but this story has been so wonky in so many respects that I had to actually finish the draft because I *didn’t know how it ended*.

I’m still not sure if the first chapter works, we’ll have to see.  I listened to “Through Glass” by Stone Sour on endless loop through much of my December drafting (with a dash of Emilie Autumn for Steampunk-spiration) and I think it shows. 

Now, to get those first three chapters and the synopsis off to my editor….

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Today we welcome author Jon Heartless, who also writes under the name Barnabas Corbin.

A Cure for Christmas Schmaltz

by Jon Heartless

Congratulations. You’ve made it through Christmas. If you’re anything like me, you might well now be suffering from a festive hangover – not of drink, but sentiment, having been forcibly stuffed to the brim with Christmas schmaltz.

What has this to do with steampunk? Not much. But if you are feeling that you have overdone the Christmas cheer, then don’t worry, for I have the perfect remedy. Rise of the Steampunk Empire. An extremely grim work and, as such, the ideal antidote to the forced jollity of the last month or so. Think of it as a sort of literary indigestion tablet.

Why is the work so grim? Take a bow, Charles Stross. Those with good memories may recall that Stross trampled over the steampunk field some time ago, complaining that the genre was, in effect, a lie, as it didn’t realistically depict the nineteenth century. Although I could never quite grasp the logic of this, given that steampunk is a science fiction/alternate history mashup, the complaint did get me thinking about the undoubted social horrors of the era.

Child labour, colonialism, racism, slavery, the role of women, the poverty and neglect of those at the bottom of the social ladder – these are just some of the issues of the nineteenth century. All these elements began to coalesce until a story had taken root, a story that could examine the above concepts and, more importantly, the attitudes behind them.

This last is vital, as it can be overlooked that many Victorians saw society as being ordained by God, with the ‘proof’ of this divine blessing being the wealth and power of the British nation. Thus, while women were repressed by our standards, many didn’t view it as such because to them it was the natural order of things. How could you be repressed or inferior when you were put in a particular place by God? (Interestingly, I read an article recently which mentioned that some women in Saudi Arabia have much the same attitude today).

The best way of exploring this was to send modern characters back in time, to engineer a cultural clash between two opposing ideologies. Hence the plot of astronauts falling through an anomaly and emerging in the 1830s, where they are appalled at the levels of death, degradation, and inequality, but can make very few people understand their concerns. Concerns which are brushed aside by the autocratic Lord Desbois, who is determined to preserve society – and thus the world – the way God intended it to be…

So, the novel is bleak, upsetting, sometimes a little graphic, but it is also a genuine attempt to grapple with the attitudes of the nineteenth century, as well as hopefully being an absorbing read. And who knows? Maybe it will raise a fleeting smile of approval on Mister Stross’ lips…

Rise of the Steampunk Empire, published under my pen name Barnabas Corbin, is available now at Double Dragon Ebooks and third party sellers such as Kindle, Fictionwise etc.

–Jon Heartless/Barnabas Corbin

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Ding Dong the Draft is DONE!

Yesterday I typed THE END for book two of my Aether Chronicles series.


I was really afraid I wasn’t going to make it.

Well, technically I didn’t since my self-imposed goal was actually December 31, but Jan 2 isn’t too shabby.

91k in 2 months and 2 days isn’t shabby at all.

However, I’m not anywhere near done.

For the sake of vomiting out this draft and getting it on paper I glossed over some things….mostly the technical aspects and proper part names of the airships.  I will be spending this week researching all the things I didn’t research and filling in all the blanks I left.  I’ve never done that before and I’m not sure I liked doing it.  Certainly it took me out of my comfort zone.

I also need to clean up all the errors.  I am really bad about leaving out words, writing the wrong words, and the like. 

Then, it’s off to a couple of betas. 

Book 2 was tricky for me, mostly because I had to take it in a direction other than I’d originally intended and I really, really, really pantsed it.  Usually I know how a book begins and ends and just have to pants the middle.  Not so with this book…

It also didn’t end where I wanted to, and took some twists and turns I hadn’t planned on. 

We’ll see how it all goes.  Hopefully it’s for the better. 

Now…back to filling in those blanks. 

Suzanne Lazear writes steampunk tales for teens.  Her debut novel, INNOCENT DARKNESS, book one of The Aether Chronicles, releases August 2012 from Flux. Visit her personal blog for more adventures.

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Happy New Year

Wishes for a Prosperous and Happy New Year from Everyone at Steamed!


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