Archive for February, 2013


A reenactor and educator, Ray Dean has delved into many eras of the past, but Steampunk speaks to her in a retroactive futurism that opens so many possibilities. Her blog, My Ethereality(http://raydean.net), explores history, culture, war and love in eras and countries that might influence a Steampunk world.


by Ray Dean

steamfunk-cover-flyThere was something in the air at Anachrocon… or maybe it was in the rhythm running through the ground beneath their feet. Perhaps it was the rush of air as a new door opened in Steampunk… a widening stretch of ideas that seemed to dawn over the assembled group. An anthology had it’s own birthday at the Con… a Steampunk anthology dedicated and inspired by African Culture and characters.

Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade, editors and creative forces behind the STEAMFUNK! Anthology gave me a little insight into the behind the scenes work of putting together this book. `

Ray: What was the creative spark that brought about this anthology?

Milton:  The idea for the anthology came up during a discussion about steampunk and the lack of stories involving people of color.

steamfunk-coverBalogun: During a discussion on the Black Science Fiction Society site, we were discussing what Steampunk is and the lack of Black representation in it. Someone said “We should do an anthology of Steampunk stories with Black people as the heroes.” Everyone agreed we should and Milton Davis said he’d publish it. When someone asked what we should call the anthology, Maurice Broaddus said “I call what I write ‘Steamfunk’.” We decided we would roll with Steamfunk as the title.

Raye: When you were reading through the submissions, were there any stories that stretched your own definition of Steampunk/Steamfunk? What avenues/horizons did they open for you?

Milton: The story that stands out to me is Geoffrey Thorne’s The Tunnel at the End of the Light. I’m fairly new to Steampunk, so I wasn’t very familiar with the aether concept. I loved the story but was ready to reject it until Balogun explained to me that aether was very much a Steampunk trope.

Balogun: I believe my definition is just that – MY definition. It is MY approach to Steamfunk; how I express it. Others may express it differently and that is fine. As long as retrofuturistic, steam technology and / or aether technology is featured, it is Steamfunk. The setting…the era…whether it’s science fiction or fantasy does not matter much in Steamfunk. What all the stories did for me was show me just how limitless and fluid Steamfunk can be. The stories are so diverse, yet each one was exciting and thought-provoking. I am so happy to be a part of this rule breaking, history-making, world shaking anthology!

Ray: As you were ordering the stories within the anthology, what were some of your considerations? What themes/through-lines started to form?

awillofironMilton: We really didn’t have any particular expectation, at least I didn’t. I just wanted good stories that incorporated African and African American history into steampunk. The result is an excellent and varied collection of tales with a strong African American historical slant. There are stories where the main character just happens to be black and stories where the characters culture is essential. I think Steamfunk is a good effort at answering the absence our history and culture in Steampunk.

Balogun: At first, the idea was to ensure similar stories were separate from each other. However, the stories are so diverse…so unique, that wasn’t even an issue. Even the two John Henry stories are so different from each other and so brilliantly crafted they could be placed back-to-back and people would STILL enjoy the hell out of them both. So, we decided to order the book so that from the first page, through each section of the book, the reader will be drawn onward, pulled from story to story. There will never be any point at which the reader’s mind will wander. And even though this anthology is HUGE, I wager that most readers will get to the last page and wish there was more to read!


Ray Dean’s own story, A Will of Iron, appears in the STEAMFUNK! Anthology

See the STEAMFUNK! book trailer

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So far, since becpirate coupleoming a Lolita last year, I’ve been mixing my posts on writing steampunk with chronicling my adventure into the steampunk lifestyle. Discovery #1: Steampunk folks are diverse, warm, welcoming and loads of fun. As one wise gentleman told me the other night, waving out at a dance floor full of corseted and tricorned partiers, “Life is hard, complicated and often messy. This? This is just fun.” (That’s him below with the spouse.) Discovery #2: There is an enormous crossover between the steampunk crowd and the Renaissance Faire crowd. Enormous. Fortunately, a lot of hoops, corsets, skirts and blouses, belts, gloves, jewelry, etc. can do double duty. That makes the crossover a lot more affordable. But this weekend brought me to discovery #3: PIRATES!glenn & don`

Yes, there is an active and organized pirate community in Michigan. How did I not know this?

shoptrollThey call themselves Brethren of the Great Lakes and offer everything from a pirate festival on Lake Michigan to adding color to your random local event. They do lectures on maritime history. And yes, they throw one hell of a party. One of my steampunk friends (left) invited me to an event via Facebook, where he was going to be selling his magnificent leather goods. (Like the skirt I’m wearing in the photo above. See more of his awesome work at Shoptroll.net) That was the first I’d heard of the Brethren. Best yet, the event was right in my home town, so for a change, the spouse and I didn’t have to drive anywhere. pirate kala

During the afternoon, there was a fair inside a local hall, with booths selling everything from clothes to wigs, to pirate stickers to the best handmade caramels I’ve ever eaten. (War Pony Forge: Yum!) There was a pirate art show. A silent auction and raffle raised funds for this summer’s festival. A band played traditional music in one corner. The costumes and company were…piratical, loud, funny and courteous. Also much less smelly than their historical counterparts, an anachronism I applaud. There is no single era of piracy required in the costuming and fun.  A Renaissance admiral chatted happily with a steampunk airship pirate.shiver me timbers

In the evening, the party moved to a local watering hole, where we filled both of their banquet rooms. A rowdier band played rocked-up traditional music, and the event was so much fun that random locals paid their five dollars to come in, just because there were so many people having such a good time. (And there were lots of pirate wenches in corsets–duh.) Also to note was that many of the pirates were also members of the steampunk and Ren-Faire communities. In fact, they make something of an effort to have the pirate events fill in the gaps when there isn’t much Rennie stuff to do. And again, a lot of the garb is compatible. I see much more pirating in my future. Yarrr!

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When I sit on panels, I get asked questions all the time about how to make a story “sound” steampunk. The answers are as diverse as the authors who sit on the panels and the stories they create. Everyone has a different process and everyone’s stories have different needs (not to mention different editors will have different expectations.)

Some people try to recreate the feel of literature from the era. Other’s go for “steampunk lite” – sprinkling in Victorian slang like seasoning, or simply trying not to use any words that weren’t used then.

I really struggle with getting “sound” right (which is very different from voice). Getting the right blend of period language and accessibility can be tricky. YA, which is what I write, can especially be a difficult balance to strike. Where you want your story to feel like it’s from that time period you also don’t want it to feel like it’s an English class assignment.

Language and dialogue is important in Steampunk since it adds so much to your characters, aesthetic, and world building. Your characters don’t need to sound like they escaped from a period novel. However, their language should work for your world, while being accessible to your audience.  Depending on what you’re writing you may not want to sound like Dickens or Verne.

With Innocent Darkness and Charmed Vengeance I try not to make my teen characters overly formal while avoiding modern words, though they are from the upper class so it’s a fine line I really struggle with. Also, if your story is not set in England or some place under English rule, avoid making them sound too British—which can be easy to do (I’m guilty of this.) Also, don’t fixate one or two words and use them to death (I also do this unintentionally.)

Sometimes you may want to use the correct word for an era and it just doesn’t work for the story. For example — Innocent Darkness has a heavy Victorian influence, though it’s set in America not England. At the time, even in American, legs were referred to as “limbs.”  When I tried to reflect this in my story I got major giggle fits from my teen beta readers who either didn’t get it or thought it was so funny they couldn’t stop laughing.  So, I use “leg” even though it’s not correct because it is more accessible.

In Innocent Darkness, because my kids are upper class teens, I ended up making up the silly swear “flying figs.” Even though my main girl character fixes cars and hoverboards, she’s still a Victorian lady at the core, so I was looking for something that not only she would say, but V and James might let slip in mixed company.

In Charmed Vengeance I introduce some characters that are rougher around the edges, yes, air pirates. They speak differently from my kids, use different words—and swears (though they tend to watch their tongues when Noli is present, partially because her brother is aboard the ship and he’s a bit protective). One of my favorites of these phrases is “I don’t give a gear.” It’s fun and colorful, even if it’s not that strong.

Sometimes I re-purpose pre-existing words.  For example, where “dollymop” is an actual Victorian word, Noli uses it more colloquially to mean something  closer to “skank” or “ho” than “amateur prostitute.”

If you choose to use period slang in your story (and you don’t have to) there’s plenty of resources out there.  But don’t overload the story with slang–just use a few words here and there for flavor (though be careful not to overuse them).

Slang changes a lot based on class and even area. The way someone from a lower class will speak, and the words they’ll use, will differ from those of the upper class. So keep in mind that if you have classes, the socialites will sound different from your air pirates.

Also, different characters will have different vocabularies. For example, your scientists and inventors may use more technical language.

Here’s a link for British lower-class/underworld slang:

Old west slang for those of you writing Weird West

Here’s some more dictionaries and such:

Also, naughty words:

Good luck!

Suzanne Lazear is the author of the YA Steampunk fairytale series The Aether Chronicles. INNOCENT DARKNESS is out now. Book 2, CHARMED VENGEANCE, releases from Flux 8-8-13. Visit the series site at www.aetherchronicles.com.



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With the fluttering noise of the engine, the airship docks. I step out onto the platform and the blustering wind whips my red hair across my face.

“Welcome, to airship Steamed.” As I hold my purple hat on my head with one hand, I shake Melanie Grace Phillips’ hand with the other. “Watch your step.”

We stretch our legs in a long stride across the wide gap between the dock and the airship, to board. I lead her into the plush parlor.

Melanie Grace Phillips eases onto the crimson settee, featuring elaborately carved lion head legs and claw feet.

My first and favorite pair of Live Steamy's Bloomin' Bloomers.

My first and favorite pair of Live Steamy’s Bloomin’ Bloomers.

I sink into the chenille cushioned armchair across from her and lean forward. “Live Steamy, your Esty shop, carries everything from bloomers to Steampunk chandeliers, where do you get your inspiration?” The engine purrs and with a clinking nd rattling sounds the blue willow teacups shake on the pillar and claw tripod table.

Miss Melanie grabs the settee with one hand as the airship lifts off. “Generally I just collect a lot of junk, anything I see that I like the color, texture, shape or size of I pick up, haul around, save for later. I throw that junk in with all my other junk, and I step back and think what can I possibly do with this now. Sometimes it just hits me, it all comes together in a mad flurry of excitement and inspiration and it’s wonderful and awesome. And sometimes it doesn’t at all and I have no idea what to do with this hunk of… well, junk, in which case it gets pushed aside for the time being and must then patiently await its own day of possible inspiration. My favorite part about Steampunk is that it calls upon all your resourcefulness to reuse and recycle things.”

Nothing short of a genuine modern Southern Belle in hand made Southern Belle Ruffle skirts

I grasp the armrest of my chair as the airship rises. “Yes, I love being green: reusing, recycling and my favorite green message is read an eBook, save a tree.” Since the china cups cease rattling, I pick up the tea pot and poured my guest and myself a cup of Earl Grey. “I love your southern belle style ruffled tiered skirts. I also noticed you offer a full range of sizes in them from extra-extra small to plus sizes. How did you come up with the idea to use more than one color on the ruffles and the patchwork ruffles?“

“First of all thank you! The ruffled skirts are some of my favorite as well. And it is so much fun to wear.” Miss Melanie reaches her slender fingers between the plate of fresh lemon slices and the cream pitcher. She pinches a white cube from the sugar bowl and plunks it into her tea. “The idea came from staring one day into my open box of fabrics. I had so many mix match patterns, old drapes, old sheets, fabric swatches, and thinking my goodness, I need to do something with all of this stuff. The patchwork idea just sprung into my head because I had several fabrics of various patterns and colors that looked nice together. Then I had one of those poofy underskirts that I used for a Southern Belle costume I bought off etsy, so I thought I could sew the patchwork onto that and make ruffles! I’m a self taught seamstress so the first one was a little funky but that’s ok because I kept that one and I got it figured out so I could make more.” Miss Melanie picks up a demure spoon from the table and dipping it into her teacup, she swishes it side to side, taking care to not touch the sides.
“How ingenious. I adore the fancy antebellum skirts in patch work.” I pinch a slice of lemon, picking it up, I inhale the invigorating citrus fragrance as I squeeze a few droplets into my tea.” You offer several hand stamped steampunk garments. How did you get interested in the craft of stamping clothing?” I pick up the dainty saucer holding my steamy tea as the subtle, aromatic scent billows around me.

Live Steamy’s hand designed, hand stamped t-shirts, perfect for casual encounters

Miss Melanie lifts her tea cup from the blue willow saucer. “Live Steamy was founded on the idea of providing casual Steampunk, not just costuming. I have always found ways to fit my southern belle, Steampunk, Rococo, 50’s, 20’s and other styles into my daily wear. So making designs casual and wearable everywhere was just a natural part of building our business.” She tilts her teacup to her lips and draws in a long sip. “ But I actually started hand stamping shirts simply because I didn’t know how to silk screen. So that was just my creative way of working out the problem. But I love the freedom that the hand stamping gives me, it’s far more time consuming but I love doing it. And I stamp everything! Baby clothes, yoga pants and of course all of the t-shirts.” Melanie takes another sip, then sets her teacup on its saucer with a clink.

I bring my teacup to my lips, tendrils of steam rise from the cup and blow warm on my face. “I’m glad you started hand stamping clothing because yours is adorable.” I took a sip, savoring the taste, a subtle nutmeg flavor with leafy undertone and a slight tang of citrus. “When you’re designing your items do you make sketches first?” I return my cup to its saucer and set it on the table beside Melanie’s. ”Do you keep an art journal where you draw or note down ideas that you come up with?”

Live Steamy's offers one of a kind accessories - modeled by Melanie Grace Phillips

Live Steamy’s offers one of a kind accessories – modeled by Melanie Grace Phillips

“Oh, you make it sound so organized. I have a file box with a folder for ideas but it’s a scary place. There are really nice sketches of clothing designs on drawing paper and lots of mad scrawling on torn notebook pages and about 100 sticky notes with scribbles. And that is just what actually makes it into the folder. I have notebooks with ideas on corners and loose recycle paper with notes all over the place. If I can’t make a new idea right away I scribble a picture and jot down the idea and possibilities of how to make it happen and what colors or fabrics, all of that. Every so often I will sit down and try to neatly draw out an idea but its usually rubbish. My husband is the drawing artist, I am very tactile. I actually had him draw me a few forms and I traced them in black and now when I need to design I can just trace that form onto a new sheet and go for it from there, that helps a lot. But mostly I get an idea in my head and I just go to straight away to making it.”

I hear rattling and clinking. I glance at the tea table and see the cups and saucers shaking. I know what that means, the airship is landing. I have time for three short questions. “Since you work with a variety of items, how does designing different types such as jewelry, hats and clothing differ?Which do you find the most challenging? Which do you like the best?”

A little Dieselpunk, boots, belt, goggles and choker made by Live Steamy

A little Dieselpunk, boots, belt, goggles and choker made by Live Steamy

Miss Melanie holds on tight to the arm of the settee, bracing for the shaky landing. “I think I’m too feisty of a person to stick with one thing for long. When a new idea comes along I nearly overwhelm myself with the excitement of it and I throw myself into it completely. That is why we make such a huge variety of items. The challenge of this comes in a few different ways: tools, supplies and skills are the big ones. Making jewelry takes different tools than making clothing, making clothing takes different tools than making décor items. It gets to be super pricey when you need such a collection of different tools and supplies. Then there is the know-how. This is a huge challenge but also my favorite part. I love to problem solve and be resourceful. Figuring out how to make something I want happen is exhilarating. I think my biggest challenge though is actually making clothing. As I said earlier, I’m a self-taught seamstress, I deeply wish I would have paid more attention when my mother tried to teach me. I do not yet know how to read a pattern and often I run into complications when trying to figure out the technicalities of what article of clothing I want to make or change something into. Sewing is very exact. And I’m much more of a ‘where the stars fall’ type of person. I really wish that I could make corsets, getting to that skill level is a goal of mine. But as long as I’m always creating, learning and growing I’ll be a happy girl.”

“I know the readers of Steamed are happy to have met you. Not only to find out about your casual clothing for Cons they may go to and everyday wear, but also browsing the items in your store will help with descriptions and provide some inspiration to their writing as well.”

With the airship now docked once more, our chat comes to an end. We rise from our seats, walk out of the parlor and exit the airship, but lucky for us, Melanie Grace Phillips left her calling cards and will receive visitors anytime at Etsy www.etsy.com/shop/livesteamy, Facebookwww.facebook.com/LiveSteamy, Twitter – www.twitter.com/LiveSteamy and her Blogwww.livesteamy.blogspot.com.

~ ~

Maeve Alpin is the author of four Steampunk/Romances: Conquistadors In Outer Space, To Love A London Ghost, As Timeless As Magic, and As Timeless As Stone.

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Happy Valentines Day!
Today we welcome back author O.M. Grey!
O. M. Grey: Revisited, Revitalized, and Revamped
New Print Cover 4 WebI’m so very thrilled to be back here with the Lovely Lolitas of STEAMED! They have always been so supportive of my work, as has their readers, so thank you all for welcoming me back. I first visited STEAMED! in 2010, after the initial release of Avalon Revisited, which went on to become an Amazon Gothic Romance Bestselling novel. Then, life threw me a curve ball or two (or three), rendering it impossible for me to finish another novel after I had written The Zombies of Mesmer in the summer of 2010. Throughout 2011, the only thing I could write was short stories and blog posts, so that’s what I did. Due to personal challenges, my focus was just not what it was; still, I wrote what I can, and now so many of those short stories I wrote between 2010 and 2012 are coming to fruition! I’ve had short stories and poetry published all over cyberspace as well as in several eZines, journals, and anthologies.
On the other side of darkness, as I come back into the light, I finished another novel, a sequel of sorts, to Avalon Revisited called Avalon Revamped. I started the first draft at the beginning of 2013, and even with another personal tragedy, my husband suffering a serious accident and the untimely death of my dog due to trusting the wrong people to care for him while I was at the hospital with my husband for a week, I finished the 85,000 word first draft on my self-imposed deadline of 1/31/13. I will be doing revisions in March, after it gets back from some Beta Readers, but until then, I have plenty to keep me busy! After all, I have three years worth of books to write.
Through all of life’s downs, it is bearable because it is also sprinkled with the ups. And, despite the accident, which I’m thrilled to say my husband will make a full recovery, and the loss of my buddy boy, 2013 has already had a lot of ups! Avalon Revisited has been revitalized through RIverdale Ave Books! They loved the story and voice so much, that they re-released it both in eBook and paperback formats in January, complete with a teaser chapter for Avalon Revamped at the end. My publisher calls Avalon Revisited the “best vampire Steampunk EVER” and recalls when my agent, Louise Fury, ran into her office “breathless and told [her] she had found a masterpiece.” She, as so many, was hooked after the first chapter and says she read it straight through the night. So many NY Publisher’s loved it, but they said they couldn’t sell it with the Male 1st POV. For those of you who have read Avalon Revisited, you know that Arthur’s voice is what makes the book. As my publisher says, “Arthur Tudor is as memorable a vampire son-of-a-bitch at the Vampire Lestat.” If you haven’t yet read Avalon Revisited, now is the time! It contains 20,000 more words than the original 2010 release plus a teaser chapter for Avalon Revamped.
Now, Arthur and Avalon have new life, and Riverdale Ave Books hopes to make it the best-seller it should be. My agent called it Fifty Shades of Grey with vampires and murder in Steampunk London. Avalon Revamped is every darker and edgier than Revisited, with a ruthless anti-antagonist who will make you cheer for her brand of punishment the way you do for Dexter. Constance dishes out what those Lotharios deserve.
KissRainCvrAdditionally, several short stories have also been released in January, and more are planned in the coming months. My fabulous new publisher, Lori Perkins of Riverdale Ave Books, loved “A Kiss in the Rain” so much she released that as well for only $0.99.
About “A Kiss in the Rain
A gothic erotic ghost story from another era, A Kiss in the Rain is the tale of Eliot, a professor and inventor, and his unbearable grief over the loss of his dead wife. Though an expert in the new invention of electricity, it seems that even modern science cannot bring her back, but maybe there is a force even more powerful?
Here’s what one reviewer said about “A Kiss in the Rain”: 
“If you’re looking for a compelling short read that combines eroticism and the gothic, “A Kiss in the Rain” is an excellent choice. The author provides a tantalizing and mysterious context of a Victorian scientist’s heartbreak distracting him during his work. What happens next in the macabre setting of a nighttime graveyard blurs genre lines of horror, romance, and fantasy. A perfect lunch break read for those with a love of the sinister.”
The inspiration behind “A Kiss in the Rain” came from the same source as my horror short story “Twenty Minutes” and award-winning, hall-of-fame poem “New York Rain,” both published several times over the past year. Currently, “Twenty Minutes,” as well as my dark poem “Look Into My Eyes,” both first seen in SNM Horror Mag, will be a part of The Sirens Call “Women in Horror Month” eZine. “New York Rain,” my most popular poem, has been a part of the Bar None Group’s Hall of Fame since it first appeared there in 2011. It has since won a library award and is currently featured at The Rusty Nail along with another short story “Final Word.”
For a complete list of my published works and where you can read them, often for free, please visit my blog Caught in the Cogs at http://omgrey.wordpress.com, also a place to keep up with my fiction writing and nonfiction discussions on the dark side of love and romance. Subscribe today!
Thank you all so much for your support over the years. Now that I’m back in that proverbial saddle, I hope to be contributing to STEAMED! as a visiting Lolita more often, perhaps book reviews as I had once done years ago. In the mean time, please read some of my work, as there is much available for free, and if you like it, leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads, then consider supporting my work by purchasing “A Kiss in the Rain” and Avalon Revisited. Stay in touch by commenting on my blog, as I answer every single one, or just follow along silently, and you’ll be the first to know when a new dark treat from the cobwebbed corners of my mind is available to be devoured.
For now, leave me a comment here and ask a question to win your very own copy of “A Kiss in the Rain” PDF. Comments accepted through 11:59pm CST Saturday, February 16th. I’ll chose a winner on February 17th. Be sure to leave your email address so that I might notify you of your good fortune.
May you all find peace.

~O. M. Grey


“A Kiss in the Rain” http://goo.gl/1wGqw
Avalon Revisited:
Arthur Tudor has made his existence as a vampire bearable for over three hundred years by immersing himself in blood and debauchery. Aboard an airship gala, he meets Avalon, an aspiring vampire slayer who sparks fire into Arthur’s shriveled heart. Together they try to solve the mystery of several horrendous murders on the dark streets of London. Cultures clash and pressures rise in this sexy Steampunk Romance.

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shirtAt an SF con a while ago, I bought a T-shirt that says, “Steampunk means never having to ask ‘Is this period’?” That’s always a big choice when you’re writing alternate history of any variety. How much to keep the same and how much to change? It can be a fine line, trying to give your world that historical flair without simply writing a period novel with some incongruous touches. To quote my agent, “You can’t start out with Downton Abbey and then turn it into Jules Verne.” Well, I guess you could, but it probably wouldn’t work very well. As a former scientist, I tend to want a little order to my fantasy. Yeah, I get the irony.

I try to set my world up with “butterfly effect” differences. In the Gaslight Chronicles, magick (sic) exists and so do paranormal monsters. Therefore, the Order of the Round Table still exists, devoted to protecting England from those threats. After all, who better to organize such a force than Merlin, and who better than Lancelot to head it?  In my version of the 1850s, their descendents are still fighting the good fight. It’s a change from reality, but it’s got a logic to it.

The same goes for technology. In my world a man called Charles Babbage invented the first computers in the 1840s. (He really did, it just never got built. That’s the key change for a lot of steampunk.) In my world, he was also ennobled, and is known as Lord Babbage. From there, technology boomed, and along with it, pollution and other sciences, and women’s rights. Since the code for the Analytical Engine was written by Ada, Lady Lovelace (daughter of the famous poet, Lord Byron), it was proven that women could stand alongside men in intellectual pursuits. And then she founded a college for women in the sciences at Oxford University, which a few of my heroines have attended. (Wink from Moonlight & Mechanicals and Geneva from Kilts & Kraken for starters.) Again, there’s a logic, a cause-and-effect to things.

Is my steampunk realistic? Not in the least. There are vampyres and robot dogs and all kinds of other creatures and creations. But does the world make sense in of itself? A little. At least to me.


Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

In non-steampunk news, Nailed, one of my older erotic romances is being re-released today. Find out more from Resplendence Publishing.

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Clockwork Mafia Cover Reveal

Today we’re happy to host the cover reveal for CLOCKWORK MAFIA
by Seleste Delaney, the sequel to BADLANDS


Inventor Henrietta Mason is retiring from airships and adventuring to return home to Philadelphia. Determined to erase all trails leading to her late father’s duplicity, she dismantles his lab and removes all records of the Badlands gold. While in the city, she can’t resist the lure of a charity gala but winds up regretting the whole experience. Well, everything except a heart-racing dance with a certain U.S. Marshal.

His career and vengeance on the line, Carson Alexander must prove a connection between Senator Mason and the mafia. He lucked out happening across Mason’s strikingly beautiful daughter, only to have her slip through his fingers. On a desperate hunt to track her down, he never expects his search to take him into the brutal Badlands.

With a mechanically enhanced enforcer after them, only Carson knows the extent of the danger they face. He’ll have to win over Henrietta’s trust, and her heart, before it’s too late…

CLOCKWORK MAFIA by Seleste Delaney, available April 29, 2013 from Carina Press



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Today we welcome the Steampunk Romance Tour.

SteampunkRomanceTour_banner (1)

6 Scrumptious Steampunk Romance HeroesSteampunk romance heroes have a few traits in common—courage, strength, and smarts—but beyond that, the sky’s the limit. Authors have been creating yummy heroes in this subgenre so I decided to round up a few notable ones for you.

Christopher Redmond, a Man O’ War from Zoe Archer’s Skies of Fire

Special “telumium” implants make Captain Redmond a bigger, stronger, and faster soldier in a war that spans continents. Plus, the telumium works in a symbiotic nature with his airship. He can’t be away from the ship for long, so his superhuman abilities come at a price. There are other implications as well—what will he do for a living when the war ends? A real thinking woman’s hero!

Rhys Trahaearn, the titular character from Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke

This hero has bones of iron. ‘Nuff said.

Wellington Books from Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris’ The Janus Affair

Books is the head archivist at the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. He’s more suited to his desk job than investigations and field work, but don’t let his mild mannered appearance fool you. This endearing nerd of a hero has a few intriguing secrets that will make you sigh with pleasure.

Jack Hawkins from Nico Rosso’s Nights of Steel

When I first saw the cover for Nights of Steel, I was excited to encounter a person of color as the hero in a steampunk romance. Jack’s prosthetic arm is pretty impressive, too! As if that weren’t enough, he’s a bounty hunter and the setting is an alternate history American Old West. Sweet.

Phineas Hamilton from Nathalie Gray’s Full Steam Ahead 

Phineas is captain of the airship Brass Baron in an alternate universe. Check. He’s a too-cool-for-school anime style pirate hero (that hair!). Double check. He’s also a man of wisdom—he joins forces with the heroine despite her resemblance to an enemy race. Triple check!

Tucker Gentry from Beth Ciotta’s Her Sky Cowboy

This one’s a no-brainer. Check out this hero’s curriculum vitae: ex-Air Marshal; dime novel hero; he’s an outlaw who goes by the handle “Sky Cowboy;” he’s a rogue with a heart of gold *and* a ragtag crew of misfits; his airship is called the Maverick; and he has a dark secret.

Now that’s what I call a feast! Do you have a favorite steampunk/steampunk romance hero?

Giveaway time!

Leave a comment for this post and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the following ebooks (two winners will be picked at random):

Skies of Fire – Zoe Archer (winner’s choice PDF, ePUB, or .mobi)

Nights of Fire – Nico Rosso (winner’s choice PDF, ePUB, or .mobi)

And there’s more! Everyone who leaves a comment at any of the stops on The Great Steampunk Romance Airship Tour will be entered for a chance to win the Grand Prize:

$100 e-gift card (winner’s choice Amazon or B&N)

75$ e-gift certificate to Clockwork Couture

1 digital copy of IRON GUNS, BLAZING HEARTS (winner’s choice PDF, ePub, or .mobi)

Please include your email address. The deadline to enter all of the giveaways will be midnight PST on February 14. On Friday, February 15, check back here to see if you’ve won an ebook prize.

The grand prize winner will be announced on February 15 at The Galaxy Express.

About the author

Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express. She’s also an author in the subgenre. To learn more about her published work, visit heathermassey.com.

Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts  

(February 2013; Lyrical Press)

The West just got a whole lot wilder.

A woman on a mission… Scientific achievement isn’t enough for Violet Whitcomb. Life working alongside her renowned scientist father is filled with intellectual challenges, but what she truly craves is love and adventure. She’s resigned to a fate of academic pursuits–until a fateful trip across the American frontier changes everything. A rogue inventor known as the Iron Scorpion kidnaps Violet’s father and she alone is left to plan his rescue.

A man with a secret… Logan McCoy knows firsthand going up against the Iron Scorpion is suicide, but he can’t let Violet waltz into the villain’s lair alone. She may be a stranger, but she’s also the most compelling woman he’s ever known.

A perilous quest… Their attraction is undeniable, but their alliance turns contentious when Violet insists on including a third partner on their mission: her father’s latest invention and the world’s most advanced automaton, Arthur. The reason for Logan’s resistance isn’t clear until Violet comes face-to-face with the Iron Scorpion’s diabolical devices, and by then, it’s far too late.

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With the fluttering noise of the engine, the airship docks in Seattle and I step out to the platform to greet our guest today, Steamcon founder and Graphic Artist, Diana Vick.

She easily glides across the gaping space between the dock and airship and holds out a hand elegantly gloved in black leather. I slip my bare hand into her gloved one to accept her strong, friendly handshake.

Diana Vick“Welcome aboard airship Steamed.” I lead her into the parlor. “You’re just in time for tea.”

Diana steps over to the cushioned settee, which with the lion head legs and claw feet, and takes a seat.

“Nice gun.” I lower myself onto the soft chenille upholstered armchair across from her. “You know I love your art. How did you become interested in and get started in graphic design?”

“My mother is very artistic and she encouraged me when I was young.  I have always enjoyed doing art.  I’ve dabbled in a lot of different artistic outlets including animation, comics and collectible card art.  I try to do things that I find fun.  I am almost entirely self-taught and doing the graphic design work for Steamcon has been a challenge.  I learn a new skill each time.  I enjoy it immensely but I have difficulty working for business clients because I end up feeling drained too quickly.” Diana slips her gloves off her slender fingers in anticipation of teatime.

My hands are already bare as I am almost improperly casual aboard the airship.  “What is your creative process, for instance do you use an artist notebook to doodle ideas that come to you?”

“A lot of my work begins in pencil and then I use pen and ink.  Lately though, I have been doing more photo manipulation and digital art.  I wasn’t born into the computer age, so I am slowly learning ways to make it work for me.”

“I can definitely relate to that. I was a space-age rather than tech-age kid myself.” The airship begins lift off.  As the engine purrs, the china teacups on the coffee table rattle, and I grasp the armrests of my char. “What drew you to Steampunk?”

Diana eases back onto the crimson settee in a comfortable position. “Steampunk is a very creative genre and I like the imagery.”

“What is that wonderful quote you have about Steampunk, historical accuracy and goldfish? I understand you have several items available with that quote and the design you made for it.” Now that the teacups cease rattling as the ship flies smoothly,  I pick up the rosebud teapot and pour her a fresh cup of Earl Grey. I grasp the fine bone china saucer with the teacup resting on it and offer it to her.

Diana leans forward, taking the saucer and the teacup from my hand. “The quote is “Steampunk needs historical accuracy like a dirigible needs a goldfish.  It’s a playful way to say while you can have historical accuracy; it is fiction and fantasy so it isn’t necessary.  Some people get so uptight about things, and it isn’t really that big a deal.  I do have the quote available on t-shirts, mousepads and other things in my Zazzle shop, Steamporium” With her hand,  she glides the cup to her parted lips and takes a sip.

“I love it, but it’s just one of your many wondrous Steampunk designs.” When I pour tea for myself,  tendrils of steam rise from the cup and blow warm on my face.  “Do you have a favorite?”

Diana’s eyes beamed and the corner of her lips curled into a smile. “Stormchaser is probably my favorite.  One of the Hard Rock Café Steampunk girl pins is based off of her.  One of these days I may take the time to write the story behind her and her crew.”

“That would be an interesting tale. Speaking of Stormchaser, she, like much of your art, is anthropomorphic. Going back to Bryan Talbot’s graphic novel Grandville, anthropomorphic art is big in Steampunk. You have some wonderful anthropomorphic pieces such Explorer, Phillea Fogg and Steambunny, in addition to Stormchaser. What do you like about anthropomorphic art? What is your favorite animal to draw as human?”

“I was an anthropomorphic artist long before I ever got into steampunk, so it was natural for me to incorporate the two.  Disney’s Robin Hood is one of my favorite movies and I love to draw foxes.  I am currently working on an anthropomorphic steampunk coloring book.  My anthropomorphic work is available from my other Zazzle shop.  It contains a lot more than just steampunk as well.”

“I like foxes as well.” With my cup and saucer on the table between my chair and the settee,  I reach between the plate of sliced lemons and the spouted creamer cup of milk to the sugar bowl. Picking up a white cube, I plunk it into my tea. “You are the founder and vice chair of Steamcon, 2012 marked the fourth Steamcon. I can’t imagine all the work involved in putting that on, what are some major challenges?”

“The biggest one is that we always try to keep it fresh.  Each year we try a new theme, look for new speakers and endeavor to make it all new and exciting.  We try very hard to make it a different experience every time.” Diana took another dainty sip of tea, then she set her cup and saucer beside mine on the short table.

“What are some of your favorite things about Steamcon?” I picked up a polished silver spoon and stirred my  tea, creating a tiny maelstrom in the cup.

“I love the fact that almost all the attendees feel the need to dress up and join in.  You just don’t get that at most general science fiction conventions.  Most people will wear their street clothes to an event, but steampunk events seem to challenge people to dress up.  I believe in the anitpajamification of the world and especially America, so I do what I can to encourage it.”

” I totally agree. And, what a quaint word, anitpajamification.” I lay the teaspoon behind my cup, on the saucer. “What was the theme for Steamcon 2012 and some of the events that went with it?”

“Our theme was Victorian Monsters.  We had Rasputina as our musical guests since their music is appropriately spooky.  We had monster and monster hunter costume contests, panels about séances and the supernatural, a brunch set in Transylvania.  It was fun to explore a darker theme.”

“That sounds like a lot of fun. I see the Steamcon theme for 2013 is Steampunk Around the World. Tell us about that?”  I curl my fingers around the dainty handle of the teacup, lifting it to my lips, I take a sip, savoring the taste, a subtle nutmeg flavor with leafy undertone and a slight tang of citrus.

“For Steamcon V we are focusing on multi-culturalism in steampunk, also travel, steam transportation and global exploration.  We are inviting steampunks from around the world to show us what steampunk is like in their country.”

“That sounds fabulous, so much fun. Also , I noticed the two Hard Rock Café cloisonné pins you created to commemorate Steamcon. How did you come up with the design?” I return my cup to it’s saucer on the table with a soft clink.

“For the Steamcon pins, the design was based on the theme of that year’s convention.  For Steamcon III: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I designed a giant mechanical squid embracing a submersible. For Steamcon IV: Victorian Monsters I designed a mechanical bat.  The Hard Rock has also created four steampunk girl pins based off of designs that I did.  All of these pins were limited editions and exclusive to the Seattle HRC.”

“I love the designs. What process did you go through to submit the pin designs to Hard Rock Café and to get them created?”

“Actually, I happened to meet the HRC retail manager at the time and asked her about the possibility.  Since Emerald City Comic Con had done one, I figured it was an interesting possibility.  She got me connected and I submitted a design the next week. We chose the Historic Seattle Preservation.”

“In addition to Steamcon, your pin designs and other graphic art, you are also work in costuming, prop making, jewelry making, and makeup design. What type of challenges do you find in working in so many different type of creative areas?”

“I tend to just do my own thing.  If something interests me, I will try it.  I don’t look to others to teach me, so sometimes I make mistakes, but often I find new ways to do things.  I will experiment to see what works best.”

“I see the teacups are shaking. I know what that means, the airship is landing. I have time for one last question. In working in so many different creative areas, which one do you like best?”

Diana snugs on her gloves. “I love the synergy of them.  When I do my own costuming, props, makeup and jewelry, all the parts often work well, making a whole character.  When people comment on any one facet of it, I can be proud of my skills and choices.”  

With the airship now docked once more, our chat comes to an end. We rise from our seats, walk out of the parlor and exit the airship, but you can visit Diana Vick anytime at her blog, Tea & Automatons, or her Steampunk Costuming Gallery.

Maeve Alpin, who also writes under the name of Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 17 romance books, including four Steampunk/Romances. The latest, Conquistadors In Outer Space was just released. She lives in Texas with her son, her granddaughter, and her cat Severus. 

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