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Archive for February, 2012

I am down to the wire with Steampunk Sequel Drama so please pardon the silence.

Facebook did something to the Steamed group and dropped all 400 of you.  We’re shifting over to a page — since Steampunkapalooza is in a month, you may want to like it.

Since I’ve been too busy writing to come up with a post for you today, I thought I’d share the great trailer for Emilie Bush’s new Steampunk Bedtime Story.  You can find more info about it on her blog: http://coalcitysteam.wordpress.com

 

About the book Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story –


It’s a dirty job, but he loves it.

St.John Murphy Alexander walks the world exploring for the Queen. He sees the most extraordinary landscapes, creatures and weather. He gets very, VERY dirty. Exhausted, he returns to HQ and gets ready for a well deserved rest and some sweet dreams.

This gentle book, written by Steampunk novelist Emilie P. Bush and brilliantly illustrated by William Kevin Petty, is the perfect wind-down for your little adventurer.

The book, to be released on February 28th (exclusively through Amazon.com and at a deeply discounted price on the launch date), features an automaton explorer who loves his work, even though it makes him very tired and dirty. As a bonus, an additional bonus tale “Three Cheers for Steamduck” is included in the full color book.

“It’s something totally new,” Bush says. “In the vast body of Steampunk literature, picture books have been totally left out. Her Majesty’s Explorer not only fills that void, it overflows it with joy and wonder. Kevin and I are really pleased to have had the opportunity to work on this project.”

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About the Author: Journalist and writer Emilie P. Bush has written two novels. Her first, Chenda and the Airship Brofman, was a “ripping good yarn!” and the tale was a 2010 Semi-finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The Gospel According to Verdu picks up the epic tale where Chenda left off – high in the skies. Emilie P. Bush lives, laughs and writes with her family in Atlanta.

About the Illustrator: William Kevin Petty is the founder of Allied Aethernautics, LTD., a Steampunk illustration company and specializes in exceptionally detailed pencil sketches and acrylic paintings. His work has appeared in Steampunk Magazine and across the web. Capt. Petty, when he is not deployed with the U.S. Army, lives and draws in central Louisiana.

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Today we welcome back Steampunk Author Maeve Alpin.

Maeve Alpin loves reading and writing about ancient times. It’s only natural that she loves alternative history just as much. She had a lot of fun combing the mystery and magic of ancient Egypt with the prim and proper, frill and lace, of an alternate Victorian age of steam robots and time travel machines for her As Timeless As Stone novella. Drawing on her love for a happy ending, she’s had sever…al works published: five romance novels, three novellas, and short stories in four anthologies. She lives in Texas with her family; her grown son, her granddaughter, and her spoiled cat, Severus. Visit her at   http://MaeveAlpin.com In addition to her Steampunk/Romances she writes Celtic/Romances under the name Cornelia Amiri

Steampunk Media

By Maeve Alpin

The captain and crew of Steamship Isabella along with the band Steam Powered Giraffe, The Spine, The John, and Rabbit in their robot makeup, discussed Steampunk media at Clockwork.con. As fellow artist there are many similarities between musicians and writers. Steam Powered Giraffes said, “We write what we write and the Steampunk community embraced it.” To a novelist that would be the same as saying, I write from the heart. I love people who write from the heart whether it’s regarding literature or music.

Also their statement that, “Steampunk music is developing, there is certainly no set definition” is also very true of Steampunk literature and my favorite cross genre, Steampunk/Romance. Great samples of Steam Powered Giraffes and their use of media can be found at their youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/SpineRaptor/featured, be sure to check out the Captain Albert Alexander video. Also check out the back-story of Steam Powered Giraffes. http://www.steampoweredgiraffe.com/cavalcadium//about.html.

Airship Isabella uses the media of videos as well.  Here is fan fiction piece, Fallout Houston.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzQ5OmZnwo8&context=C3080fd3ADOEgsToPDskIbbLq3NQpsNePeXqEvJ5nJ

Writers have used the media of book trailers for awhile but they are an even better choice now as more and more people are utilizing smart phones. Eighty seven percent of all smart phone owners read their email on the phone. Videos play well on smart phones so they are a great way to promote your Steampunk books.

Whether you’re speaking of a band, an airship, or a lone author, Steampunk is an esthetic and a mindset with limitless boundaries. For writers creatively utilizing media will help inform others about this genre we love and about our books. To sum it up, in the words of Steam Power Giraffe in their song Brass Goggles, “Wind me up, turn the gears.”

Here is the trailer for my Steampunk/Romance As Timeless As Stone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQEOp9l9ZFA

For everyone, the sequel to As Timeless As Stone, As Timeless As Magic is free at the Kindle store on Amazon from today 02/23/12 until 02/27/12. http://www.amazon.com/Unparallel-Adventures-Traveling-Egyptians-ebook/dp/B006VOW3PY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1329874762&sr=1-1

Blogging Contest: I’m giving away a free PDF Ebook of my Steampunk/Romance As Timeless As Stone to everyone who leaves a comment, please include your email address. Visit my website at http://MaeveAlpin.com

~Maeve Alpin

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Kim Lakin-Smith, author of Cyber Circus – shortlisted for this year’s British Science Fiction Association Best Novel award.  Her new work, Queen Rat is published by Murky Depths and is available from Amazon.co.uk, or order direct from the author’s website for a personalised, signed copy.  For more information about Kim and her latest news, visit www.kimlakin-smith.com or follow Kim at www.twitter.com/kimlakinsmith

 

The Real Inspirations for My Fictional Characters

by Kim Lakin-Smith

 Philip Reeve, luminary author of the Mortal Engines series, kindly described my novel Cyber Circus as “…definitely some kind of ‘punk’: violent, grungy, transgressive and bristling with attitude,” adding, “Compared with it, most Steampunk that I’ve read needs to be reclassified as ‘Steam-Easy-Listening’ or Steam-Middle-of-the-Road’.” Such descriptions from my favourite author left me humbled – also newly aware that while my writing is heavy on the mechanics, it is the ‘punk’ aspect of the steampunk genre which really gets my juices flowing. From my debut novel, the dark fantasy Tourniquet, to my recent short stories – The Harvest, The Killing Fields, Field of the Dead… – I’ve always been drawn to the rebel and the outcast. In Tourniquet, I focused on the punkish aspects of the gothic and rock music scene. In Cyber Circus, I concentrated on a dust-punk world where the freaks of the circus provide welcome relief from the drabness of existence. In my latest story, the Young Adult novella, Queen Rat, it is the teenage protagonists who add a punkish flavour.

                                     Queen Rat is set in the underwater world of the Free Ocean where 14-year-old Princess Ratiana Clementine Saint John of the submersible Victoriana is to wed Prince Simeon of the Aesthetes. Neither is keen on the match. Princess Ratiana – ‘Rat’ for short – is the Victoriana’s acting captain, given that both her parents are borderline senile. She is used to her rough tough people and, in spite of her personal tutor’s best efforts to refine her, has adopted their wild ways. In contrast, Prince Simeon is an orphaned Aesthete who is more likely to be found with his head in a book in the royal library than playing dodge with a cloud of jellyfish. They are an unlikely match – and desperately young to be forced into the constitution of marriage. But for a long time, the notion of a small pool of suitable partners combined with marriage at a young age was notorious among royal families across the globe. 

 In creating Rat, I wanted to pay homage to her most famous ancestor, the real life British monarch, Queen Victoria. While Victoria is often associated with the strict morality of the period, her actions as a young woman reveal the sort of spirit, strength and passion which underpins the character of Rat.

Victoria was raised under the Kensington System, a strict and complex set of rules devised by her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and her attendant and rumoured lover, Sir John Conroy. Reacting against the presence of the then King William’s illegitimate children at court, the duchess banned Victoria from any hint of sexual impropriety. Consequently Victoria shared her mother’s room every night, was not allowed to descend the staircase unattended, spent her days isolated but for her beloved King Charles Spaniel, Dash, and was consistently badgered to make Conroy her private secretary. Given the restrictions of her childhood, it is fascinating that, on inheriting the throne at age 18, Victoria banished Conroy from her presence. It wasn’t long before her mother too was evicted from the palace. Victoria remained distanced from the duchess for the rest of the latter’s life.

Someone who noted Victoria ’s feisty personality was her future husband, Prince Albert , who wrote “(She) is said to be incredibly stubborn and her extreme obstinacy to be constantly at war with her good nature…(She is said) to enjoy sitting up at night and sleeping late into the day.” Apparently the future queen’s quirks did not put Albert off – on the15th of October 1839, he accepted Victoria ’s proposal of marriage. The success of their union, which produced 9 children, alongside Victoria ’s extreme mourning for her husband when he died at the age of 42, reveals that she was not only spirited but intensely romantic.

There is also an essence of Prince Albert about my character Prince Simeon. Like Simeon, he was a foreign royal who combined intellectual pursuits such as the study of law, political economy, philosophy, art history and music, with physical prowess in gymnastics, fencing and riding. Notably, Albert was heavily involved with the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Similarly, he was gifted with a very clear sense of right from wrong. Over time he adopted many public causes including educational reform and a worldwide abolition of slavery, as well as running the Queen’s household, estates and office.

To my mind then, the ‘punk’ side of my steampunk novella Queen Rat lies in the ghosts of the monarch and her consort prince who inhabit my main characters. Rat and Simeon have to fulfil several life-threatening Grand Rites together before the knot can be tied; in order to survive they must learn to work together and utilise body, mind and soul. It’s a fairly useful analogy for a happy marriage, and one which served their famous ancestors well.

 ~Kim

 www.kimlakin-smith.com 

 www.twitter.com/kimlakinsmith

 

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Ever since she was young, Kiki Howell has loved to listen to a well-woven tale with real characters, inspired plots, and delightful resolutions. Kiki could spend hours lost in a book, and soon she knew that creating lives, loves, and losses with just words had to be the greatest thing that she could do. She has now had over twenty stories published between seven different small presses.

Mixing Genres into the Steam and the Punk

by Kiki Howell

Inspired to try my hand at writing my first steampunk story, I let my overactive imagination, one that often kind of works like well-oiled clockwork parts, needing lots of different genres to move together and create a finished piece. I wondered through ideas in my usual mix of genres, paranormal and erotic romance along with a touch of suspense, to see what kind of story line I might be able to crank out which included the parts and pieces of steampunk stories that I love so much.

First and foremost, I consider myself a paranormal author, though at times I do stray. Some sort of mythical creature usually shows up in some way in most of my stories – mainly witches with a few werewolves and vampires at times. I like sassy witches, so this took me right to the punk part. My historical period I love to write in is Victorian England, so social unrest was a easy given.

I took this a step further to put a chip on my witches shoulders, not only to have issues with the fastidious social standards of the upper ten thousand, but to also battle the whispers of what makes them different. Their mothers had married into the upper class, so it often takes a few generations to be actually accepted as one of them after that. On top of that, even close to a few hundred years past the witch hunts in England, these witches’ behaviors were suspect at times. So, they challenged the rules, used their magick to add to the unrest rather than conform to it, a social comedy of errors if you will.

Soon though, as the story was developing, I found the magick moving into the steam portions as well. I took my vampire, made him a failed inventor in life, and had my witch use her powers to help power his cast-aside contraptions. These inventions, with new-found magickal life, soon added to that comedy of errors the witches created in public to challenge the social customs.

So, I had the steam and the punk all wrapped up in the paranormal, but what about the romance? I would say second, although some may argue the point, that I’m a romance writer, some steamier than others *winks* Of course, relationships, romantic entanglements, are nothing new in the steampunk genre, nor is even erotic romance like I tend to write. Yet, I still took this up a notch to include the convention of sex magick to power the spells used in my story. The sex rituals created energy which became a magickal sort of steam if you will.

So, steampunk with its social statements and crafty inventions, paranormal with its witches and vampires and spells, historical with all the fun of the clothing and language, romance with all the steamy erotic moments…yes, I had fun mixing it all together.

 

Here is the blurb and an excerpt, the first few paragraphs of the story, to give you a taste of Love, Creativity & Magick: A Steampunk Valentine’s Day Tale. Guess the combination of genres is what made the title so long *giggles*

 

Blurb:

All acts of magick take on shades of gray in the end, especially for Emma, one of four females witches who by birthright belong in the social circles of the privileged upper ten thousand in London. Yet, by rumor of the unknown and the misunderstood, she stands apart, cut by her peers along with her cousins, because they hold a secret—each is gifted with magick.

Their elders had taught them respect for their powers even when mixed with a spanking amount of fanciful mischief. On the other hand, if a lesson was warranted, then white verses black magick could be hard to define. Nowhere was the color of steam more evident than in the matters of justice, a slippery term to define. Yet, they’d made breaking the laws of society their mission. Most of their nights at parties and balls were spent creating a magickal comedy of errors, helping the uptight aristocracy side step their fastidious standards.

Only this year, days before Valentine’s Day, a damnable day for women without suitors, Emma is not quite sure what is happening to her. Something dark and seductive, something not of this world, is luring her, possessing her, and she has no comprehension of what or who the presence really is. But, when he does show his face finally, and she feels him to be a nightwalker, she must fear not only the threat he poses to her blood and to the energy or magick he can suck from her, but also the danger he poses to her heart. After all of these days feeling him, wanting him, she has to wonder if her feelings are just a matter of his compulsion, if she is under this vampire’s own type of magick.

To complicate matters further, the vampire’s propositions are as exciting as they are scandalous, to teach her how to power her magick with the overabundance of sexual energy she bears. But, how he knows such things he remains elusive about. And there is the added attraction that this vampire was a failed inventor in life, one with a basement full of contraptions she finds she can power through the use of her sexual energy. Valentine’s Day seems like it could be all kinds of fun this year now.

Yet, in these days of social unrest and out-of-control creativity, what is a witch to do with a vampire? When Valentine’s Day rolls around, and a secret is revealed, what will be left for her?

 

Excerpt:

Through lowered lashes, Emma glanced in inappropriate ways at the masculine forms striding into another room, one where men of the upper ten thousand spent too much time devoted to hedonistic pleasures. Where they were going port would be drunk to access, talk would be dirty and the wagers would be dangerously high.

She was not paying particular attention to the exquisite tailoring of their clothes or the perfect knots in their neck cloths, which kept those in the privileged aristocracy at rapt attention. Instead, she mellowed without a drop of spirits by looking upon the places where the fabrics these men wore touched close to their skin, outlined for her the beautiful mysteries beneath. If the chaperones watching over their spectacles could follow the path of her eyes, scandal would erupt with their swooning cries.

Old ladies close to hysterics and tears just might amuse her more than usual tonight, days away from London’s time to celebrate love. Valentine’s Day to those of the female persuasion without suitors seemed wrought of the devil himself, a damnable and confounded affront against them. It surly would not be long before lacy papers, love knots and puzzle purses would start being exchanged, sporting all sorts of sweet rubbish. Puzzle Purses! Who wanted to go about the trouble of reading the many verses scattered among their many folds? Hell and blast, what is wrong with me? Even I’m not usually this cynical.

Of late, she’d no comprehension of what was happening to her. Something from outside, someone not of this world it seemed, pursued her, begged for her, haunted her. This being was dark and seductive, luring her into a state where sexual desires took over, built a lust, which couldn’t be quenched. Restless, she longed for something, someone she couldn’t find, for things she knew little about. She was a witch, a strong one, and yet, she couldn’t help fearing she was being possessed. Emma had played with scrying mirrors, but even she didn’t mess with demons.

“Well, of all the deuced, Devilish things! By the by, all the rakes have left the room earlier that usual. What shall we do now?” Miss Cecilia Ingram’s chin lifted as she spoke. Emma’s eyes scanned the room.

Her group stood in a quiet spot, a tiny alcove with windows overlooking the gardens. With her and Cecilia were Miss Isabella Hunt and Miss Laurisa Abbott. They were cousins, witches each of them, the only ones from families with magick in their circle of London. Their elders had taught them respect for their powers even when mixed with a spanking amount of fanciful mischief. On the other hand, if a lesson was warranted, then white verses black magick could be hard to define. All acts took on shades of gray in the end. Nowhere was the color of steam more evident than in the matters of justice, a slippery term to define. Yet, they’d made defining the laws of society their mission.

“Why, dare I say, Emma, we’ve created quite the magickal comedy of errors here tonight, and you’ve barely lent your hand to the cause. Some rebel you are, standing here quietly in such a bread and butter fashion, acting according to the rules, being a wallflower. Do you suddenly disapprove of our ways? Because, remember, we believe there are such ornaments of society present that would thank us for the chance to side step society’s fastidious standards. Such pretense is a bore.” The words of reprimand dripped from Cecilia’s tongue.

“Disapprove? Such a ridiculous notion. However, if it were up to you we would all keep to gentleman’s hours giving no heed to the dictations of civilized society at all,” Emma touched her fingers lightly to her chest feigning disapproval. Excitement tingled over her fair skin.

Tonight, the presence lingering around her promised. Looking at her friends, it was obvious she was the only one who heard the voice.

“We have a purpose of freedom,” Cecilia continued in a huff. “We’re setting the women of England free from wheedling away the hours either dancing or talking behind their fans.”

 

~Kiki Howell

~where love is a mystical thing~

http://www.kikihowell.com/2011/12/love-creativity-magick-steampunk.html

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Trisha Wolfe is the author of the YA Steampunk/Paranormal Romance DESTINY’S FIRE. Her published short stories have appeared in YA literary journals and Fantasy magazines. UNVEILED is her first novelette and part of a Dystopian series releasing TBA. She’s written four books in the past two years, and is currently working on the sequel to DF and a new Sci-fi project. She’s represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA Management.

Steamy Valentine Gifts for your Sweetheart

 by Trisha Wolfe

With Valentine’s Day so close, I thought it’d be fun to showcase some steamy Valentine gifts for lovers of Steampunk…or Steampunk lovers. Wow, there’re so many ways to make a play on words with Steampunk and Valentine’s Day I feel a little cheesy. But hey, gotta have fun, right? Anyway, I wish my pockets were deeper this year because there’re some awesome Steampunk Valentine gifts out there. I could easily get lost shopping for them…and go broke. I do mean shopping for others, of course 😉

For him: Steampunk Cufflinks. These are so cool! You can find them on Etsy here, and for around fifty dollars your man could be styling them for you this Valentine’s Day.

For your lover: Original artwork by Brian Kesinger in this Valentine’s card that reads: “Together we have built a great relationship”. You can order it at Clockwork Couture.

For him:   Tender Time Bomb Tie found at Etsy. Your guy will look dashing in this micro-fiber silk tie that you can you can have customized for him.

 For anyone: Make your own awesome Valentine’s Day cards! Buy the cardstocks and follow the directions at Inkadinkado to make these beautiful designs, or create an original one of your own.

 For her: Gothic Lolita Steampunk corset with red satin and lace and bodice with red lacing, listed at Etsy. Do I really have to sell this? I think this one might need to be listed as “for him” 😉

 For her: Steampunk Valentine Heart Ring, Key to My Heart. This ring is solid brass, romantic, and I think it’s the perfect Valentine gift. *swoons* You can find it at Etsy.

~Trisha 

Website: www.TrishaWolfe.com

Blog: http://TrishaWolfe.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://Twitter.com/TrishWolfe

Facebook: http://Facebook.com/TrishaWolfeYA

Goodreads: http://Goodreads.com/twolfe

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I’m still chugging away on the sequel to INNOCENT DARKNESS which is due at the end of the month.  I’m getting really good feedback from my betas.  It’s not perfect, but for the most part it’s coming together.  It seems that one of the most common bits of feedback is that I’m rushing through descriptions, so I’ll have to pay special attention to that (while not going off the deep end and compensating with too many) as I get this ready for my Editor.

Since INNOCENT DARKNESS releases in six months I’m going to start doing a giveaway each month.  This month the prize is a tiara and some cupcake stickers.  To win all you have to do is like my facebook page.  If you’ve all ready liked my page you’re all ready entered.  Contest ends Feb 29, 2012.

Also, my steampunk panel has been picked up for RWA 2012 conference in Anaheim, so I’ll be there with bustles on.

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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