Archive for March, 2012

It’s that time of year again.

Every April here on Steamed we have 30 days of guests, prizes, and mayhem we like to call “Steampunkapalooza.”

I’m still working out the kinks for Steampunkapalooza 2012 but here’s our tentative line-up.


Monday April 2 – Zoe Archer

Tuesday April 3 – Tiffany Trent

Wednesday April 4 – Cindy Spencer Pape

Thursday April 5 – Seleste DeLaney

Friday April 6 – Jay Kristoff

Saturday April 7 Jim Best, steampunk artist

Sunday, April 8—Announcing our very special contest

Monday April 9—Lia Habel

Tuesday April 10 – RG Alexander

Wednesday April 11 — Christopher Beats

Thursday April 12 –Raye Dean

Friday April 13 – Inara Scott

Saturday April 14– Susan Volbrecht, Steampunk musician

Monday April 16 – Clay and Susan Griffin

Tuesday April 17 – Mark Hodder

Wednesday April 18 – Andrew Mayer

Thursday April 19 — Matt Delamn

Saturday April 21– Camryn Rhys

Monday April 23–Steven Harper

Wednesday April 25—Leigh Bardugo

Thursday April 26 – Kiki Hamilton

Friday April 27—Kady Cross

Monday April 30—Nico Rosso

As you can see we’re very excited and hope you’ll join us all April long. Don’t forget to join our facebook page for the latest news.

Oh, in case anyone’s interested I’m running a giveaway over on my blog for the necklace from my book and some other goodies.  If we get over 200 entries, I’ll add a pre-order of INNOCENT DARKNESS to the prizes.

Have a great week everyone.


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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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

Gail Carriger’s Book Signing & Review of Timeless

By Maeve Alpin

Gail Carriger, author of the Parasol Protectorate series, entered Houston’s Murder By The Book store where rows of people, several in Steampunk costumes, sat in chairs with her books nestled on their laps. She greeted everyone with a dazzling smile and a perky, “Hello, My Darlings.”

“I believe in leaving a party before it’s over,” was her response to the question, why is Timeless the last book. She explained that if she walked out and got run over she’d known she’d left behind a finished series. She likes the package wrapped up with a big bow on top. The author also mentioned that Clueless had a cliffhanger ending because she didn’t have a contract at that time. With Blameless she knew they’d be five books in the series.

Now that the Parasol Protectorate series is finished with Timeless, what we can expect next is a young adult series, The Finishing School, which takes place in what really isn’t a finishing school at all. Also she will soon begin the first book in a series about Alexis and Conall’s daughter, who is also Lord Akeldama’s adopted daughter, the Parasol Protectorate Abroad series. The first book will be called Prudence and the second Imprudence. We have something else to look forward to, we will see familiar faces in both series.

 As for Timeless, “The werewolves have a saying. It takes a pack to raise a child.” A pack, a vampire hive, a thespian troupe, and more if that child is a metanatural toddler, who walks at a young age. Young Prudence turns life tipsy every time she changes from human form to a toddler vampire, complete with fangs, when she touches any vampire, including her adopted father. She also transforms into a wolf cub, complete with fuzzy tail, when she touches any werewolf, including her own father. This makes life quite challenging for her preternatural mother, Lady Maccon, and her supernatural werewolf father, Lord Maccon,  as they venture forth from their odd home, in Lord Akeldama’s third closet, to an ocean liner for a voyage to Egypt at the command of a Vampire Queen, and to search for information about the God-Breaker Plague, also to find out what Alexis’s father was really up to at the time of his death, and for Ivy and her husband and their acting troupe to perform their rendition of The Death Rains of Swansea for the Egyptian Vampire court . As I read Timeless, I wondered if all four were tied together, and if so how. I was pleased at the revelations and the conclusion Gail Carriger came up with.

Timeless is a great finish to an incredible series. Witty, funny and creative, Timeless also prepares us for the Parasol Protectorate Abroad series with a new Vampire Queen and a glimpse of a new Werewolf Alpha in the future  I laughed out loud as I always do when reading Gail Carriger’s books. I will miss Alexia and I hope to see some of her in the coming series with Prudence. Timeless is a fun read, a great escape, and I highly recommend it.

Blogging Contest: I’m giving away an autographed copy of Gail Carriger’s Manga book of Soulless, an autographed copy of my To Love A London Ghost novel, and two Lady Mechanika comic books, Issues #1 and #2. To enter the contest, please comment below and include your email so I can contact you if you win.  Here is a trailer for To Love A London Ghost.


~Maeve Alpin

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By Lolita Marie-Claude

Hello there Hussies and Gents,

Since we are all writers here, I thought I’d share with you today my absolute favorite link for writing fantasy.

Now I know some of you don’t have much fantasy elements in your steampunk novel, but everyone has to think about their world building in terms of geography, politics, various customs and such. Even those who writes accurate historical novel.

So this link I love is for the World Building Questionnaire from SFWA (the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America).

It is a really comprehensive series of questions that will help you build your world and/or check that you thought of every single detail. It has categories of questions such as the physical world, customs and politics, social and daily life and so on.

I used this with my own world building and it made me think really hard about a lot of different aspect of my novels.

I totally recommend checking it out if you write any sorts of speculative fiction.

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox


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One of the great things about writing Steampunk, to me, is exploring what might have been.  To play around with history moving things forward and backward, pulling in different technologies, and generally exploring the “what ifs” and “never was.”

In INNOCENT DARKNESS the alternate history is there–after all, there are flying cars–but a lot of it is subtle.   In the true spirit of teenagers, if it doesn’t directly affect them, it’s not explained in great detail.

In my world, the civil war ends early because of a chain of massive earthquakes.  These quakes release aether, which can bring both creativity and devastation.  All this aether spawns the American Renaissance, a time of great innovation and rebuilding bring forth incredible things in just a few decades.

After all, I have to explain the presence of flying cars, hoverboards, and air pirates.

I also play around with shifting things around.   A great aether-induced quake destroys San Francisco, but it’s in 1895, not 1906.  My main character, Noli mentions the pier in Los Angeles, but the “pleasure pier” didn’t actually appear in 1916 and the carosel not until 1922.

I do all of these for various plot points, but everything is generally explained.  I also do my research, I find out what actually happened so I can change it to suit my plot.  Basically, it’s like knowing what the rules are so you can break them-do your research so you can tweak things to suit your needs.

For example, in Book 2, I include a territory called Deseret.  I had to do a lot of research on  Desert, which was an actual proposed state that never was,.  By learning about the actual history of Deseret, I could then change my Deseret to suit the story and the world I created.

Doing the research can not only be fun, but yield some great fodder for your story.  So much in histyory can be integrated without actually having to change or modify things.

For example, Noli is sent to a terribly reform school.  So I  pulled many of the things that happen to the girls from actual things used to treat women in Victorian mental institutions.  Many of these things were quite horrifying.  The sensory deprivation box Noli is put in was actually used to treat different sorts of “imbalances” during that time.  By researching how woman were treated in mental institutions and understanding exactly what sorts of things women were really institutionalized for, I could better create the terrifying environment of Findlay House.

These sorts of little historical explorations, of putting in the “never wases” and “could have beens”, are really fun for me, but then I’ve always loved history.

What’s your favorite part about writing Steampunk?

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The Shadow City : Putting the Punk Back into Steampunk

by The Catastaraphone Orchestra

New York is two cities sharing the same island. One of Light and the other of Shadow .”

Boss Tweed


                The Catatsraphone Orchestra is a collective of steampunk authors who have written collectively and published stories, non-fiction and novels for the past 6 years. Our style owes as much to Charles Dickens as it does Jules Verne. We are endlessly fascinated with the horrors and heroes of those often left out of steampunk fiction or relegated to color but are seldom the protagonists.  We are talking about the everyday people who struggled to make a living in the great 19th century cities. For every ingenious scientist there were thousands of men who kept the boilers fed while their children went to bed hungry. There seem to be endless stories of air-pirates but what about the all women gangs that prowled the East End of London and New York’s Soho? We do not believe that gentlemen’s clubs or opera houses are as interesting settings as Chinatown’s opium dens or the workhouses for the poor. A lady coughing blood into her silk handkerchief is less tragically romantic than a factory girl disfigured by the glowing phossy jaw, a fatal and gruesome disease caused by too much exposure to white phosphorous. The intricate fashions of the chimney sweep are as beautiful to us as the splendor of Beau Brummel’s suit. Many great stories can be found in the blind tiger taverns and teeming tenements if one only has the courage to explore.

Airships, goggles and clever clockworks are not only the property of the fabulously privileged but can also be appropriated by the punks of the 19th century.  Street urchins are not just sidekicks of clever detectives but have their own stories, heroes and villains. We all know that Fagin and the Artful Dodger are a hundred times more exciting than Oliver Twist. How about a story with a protagonist that is a shoulder-pusher for Boss Tweed instead of a special agent for Queen Victoria? A picket-line holds as much drama as any author could hope for. What we all love about steampunk –  the history, the mechanical speculations, the outrageous fashion, the mad adventure and danger, can be found in breathtaking abundance in the shadow city. The 19th century’s promise of progress was not the reality for the vast majority of Victoria’s subjects and it’s time we told their stories too, without pity or disdain.

Putting the punk back into steampunk is not just a matter of taste or style for us. Steampunk, with its alternative histories, has always kept an eye on the present. Retrofuturism is not just a gimmick to sell books but can be a serious and hopefully engaging attempt to learn from the mistakes of the past to better understand our present and shape our future. Fiction has the power to move us and open up new possibilities. The reality is that most of us will never be geniuses or fabulously wealthy but that doesn’t mean we don’t have stories that are just as important and meaningful. Steampunk can, and probably should be exploring more than corsets and clockworks, but a deeply problematic past that looks very familiar to our present.


–The Catastaraphone Orchestra has just  published a collection of stories and writings at Combustion Books.  Learn more at www.combustionbooks.org


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I’ve turned book 2 into my editor.  ~launches cupcake cannon~

Book 2 has been very interesting. I’m not sure if it was any harder to write than book 1, other than feeling like it *should* be harder because everyone told me book 2 is harder. (PS, there’s nothing wrong with you if it’s not harder).  Both book 1 and book 2 had their own unique challenges.  Really, the toughest part in Book 2 was consistency, making sure the characters still sounded like themselves, used the right slang, had the right eyes, and in one case, had the right name.  (oops).  Well, that and writing my airships…

I wasn’t on Twitter during book 1, and it’s interesting to see what effect social media and twitter had on book 2.  A random question spans a DM chat that births a subplot, a joke spans a character, a guest blog post also adds a subplot. 

I’ve been writing these characters since 2009 and I love when they surprise me.  In my final read through I learned something about a character that’s been there from the beginning, something I’d never known before which, while a surprise, will help me in book 3 (which I should probably write soon). 

Hopefully my editor will like it, and hopefully (when you read it in 2013) you will, too.  Until then, Book 1 is up on Netgalley and is everywhere for preorder.  (Pssst…it’s only $5 at B&N.)

ARCs and such for book 1 are going out…which is exciting and fearsome at the same time and a blog post in its own right.

Anyway, I’m going to go buy some chocolate.  I just got book 1 copyedits. 

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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By Lolita Marie-Claude

Hi there Lolitas and Rebels,

I am sorry if I have been away for so long. I am in the final stage of my Masters at UW and when I am not doing school work, I spend my extra time working on my steampunk manuscript. So I had to step back a little from the social media and blogging.

Nevertheless, I thought I’d share a nice visual writing prompt for today. Here are two lovelies that I would just die to put in my own steampunk world.

Since my stories are not of the steamy kind, I would not see any of them as the heroine. However, in my series, they would be called Odessa and Delphine and I think they would be aeronautic acrobats performing impossible aerial ballets, which would be both extremely dangerous and highly sensual, for the Cirque Acrobatique de La Penombre, a very secluded private club performing in the depth of the Paris Underground of the Belle Époque.

I am not sure how my hero would feels toward them, since Odessa and Delphine are not free women. They are in fact owned by Mr. Dupont, the circus manager who forces them to defy gravity over and over while performing in ways that pushes the boundaries of properties. Is my hero enticed by their young flesh so easily used and displayed to all, or does his noble sense make him want to take them away and shield them from the crowd ogling them?

I wonder…

Now let me know, how would you write those two beauties in your own steampunk fiction?

M-C xoxox


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