Archive for March, 2013

Steampunk FAQ

Reposting this from one of my blog tour stops this week. Thanks everyone who helped Cards & Caravans spend two weeks in the Amazon top 20, even spending a couple days in the #2 spot! Happy Easter to those who celebrate.

Cards&Caravans_finalSTEAMPUNK FAQ

 What to ask (or not to ask) your friendly neighborhood steampunk author.  Here are some of the mostly commonly asked questions, how I usually answer and what I’d sometimes like to say.

1)      What the heck is steampunk, anyway?

This is the big one—the one we hear ALL the time. My answers range from snarky (Jules Verne on crack) to oversimplified (science fiction set in Victorian times)For folks my age and over, I sometimes reference the old Wild, Wild West TV show. The long answer, which I never say, is that steampunk is a blend of historical feel and advanced technology. It’s not just a fiction genre, although it certainly is that, but it’s also a mood, a feel, and a thriving social phenomenon. It embodies futuristic technology, sometimes fantasy elements, and a rebellious attitude, along with a return to pride in manufacturing and craftsmanship. Most of all? It’s a whole hell of a lot of fun.

2)      Why write steampunk? And why do you mix fantasy and/or romance elements into your steampunk stories?

Again, because it’s fun. I like writing books that I’d like to read. I love mixing history, SF, fantasy and romance. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s what I enjoy.

3)      What’s the coolest gadget you’ve invented for your books?

Gee, I’ve had cybermen and networked computers in Victorian London. Typewriter, telephone, germ theory and dirigible are all there ahead of their real time. Rings that eject poison darts and clockwork powered artificial limbs. Beyond all of that, however, the coolest creation in the Gaslight Chronicles world is George, the mechanical dog. George is kind of like Mr. Data on Star Trek. He’s exceeded his components and programming to the point where he’s really more or less a living creature.

4)      How much research do you do, or do you make it all up?

Short answer: Quite a bit. Long answer: I do a surprisingly heavy amount of research for my steampunk stories. I very carefully take the key incidents that changed my world from the one we live in, then I follow those changes and decide how they would have effected everything else in the world where the characters live. In my case, the tipping point is twofold: 1) Magic has always existed and been acknowledged, and werewolves, vampyres, etc. DO exist. Therefore the Order of the Round Table was never disbanded in England and still exists, Knights with extraordinary powers who protect England from supernatural threats. 2) The computer was invented in the 1840s, by a man called Babbage, and is called an analytical engine. (There’s history behind this. Babbage in fact, did design this machine, but it was never built in our world.) Since a woman wrote the code for this machine, women in the sciences were catapulted ahead of where they were in our world. I also do a lot of research on clothing, settings, historical events and figures. In Cards and Caravans, I had to tweak the Scottish legal system, since they weren’t really burning witches in the 1850s. But that means I had to know it before I could tweak it. And maybe, in a world where magic was a known reality, those laws might have been a little different.

5)      Have you read… (insert your list of other people’s books that are or may be close to my genre)

Answer: yes, no, maybe. Much steampunk is YA, and I don’t read a lot of that. I also don’t read a lot of hard SF, where it’s all about the technology and the world. I like my character-driven stories and my romance, so that’s most of what I read. I have read William Gibson’s The Difference Engine, which  is one of the seminal works of SF. Also, since steampunk is so maker-driven, there is a lot of self-published and web-original work out there. I read some, but may not have had time to read all of it.

6)      Who are your favorite steampunk authors?

LOL, besides myself? Snark. I love MelJean Brooks, Gail Carriger (except for the book where the main couple breaks up at the end—HATED that one) Kate Cross and Seleste Delaney. There are so many more I need to read, but haven’t yet.

7)      Where can I buy your books? Are they at WalMart?

My steampunk series, so far, is only in e-book. That’s kind of awkward in a community that wants everything to look like it’s 1885. So yes, you can get them at Amazon, or B&N, or the Carina Press website. No, you can’t get them at the grocery store. Sorry. I wish that wasn’t the case, believe me.

8)      How many more Gaslight books will there be? When is the next one coming out? Which characters are in it?

Truthfully? I don’t know. It depends on a lot. Mainly, sales. That’s the hard reality of the fiction business. The more they sell, the more there will be. A girl’s gotta eat, you know? There are two more on the table with my publisher. That’s all I know at the moment. The characters? Well, that’s up to the publisher, too. Let’s just say there’s one more MacKay sibling and a whole bunch of Hadrians who still need happy endings.

9)      Where do you get all your cool steampunk clothes?

Thrift shops. (I’m short, so a lot of skirts are floor-length on me, so I cheat there.) Renaissance festivals. The vendors there tend to be awesome, but pricey, so build your wardrobe a few pieces at a time. Catalogs and online companies like Victorian Trading Co., Pyramid Company, Corset-Story and Holy Clothing. Finally, there’s the custom vendors. That’s where things get really pricey, but really, really, cool. I’m not very crafty, but honestly, if you can sew, you have it made.

10)  Last question:  How do you come up with the ideas for all this far-out stuff?

Usual answer: No idea. I just have a wild imagination. Snarky answer #1: I’m just twisted like that. Snarkier answer: The idea fairy leaves them in my shower and under my pillow, so I find them when it’s least convenient.

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It’s nearly April, and April means Steampunkapalooza!

Steampunkapalooza is Steamed’s annual blog party we hold to celebrate our birthday. Yes, the Steamed blog is four! Four! 

All month long where will be special guests, prizes, and mayhem. I’ll post the full schedule for as soon as I have it!

Here’s to another great year!



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Glue on some gears and call it Steampunk. Heaven to Betsy, they’ll end  up on regretsy. This is the message of the fun and fabulous video by Reginald Pikedevant.

For anyone unfamiliar with the This Is Not Steampunk section of Regretsy, please take a look. You’ll have a good laugh at what people are willing to pass off as handmade Stemapunk crafts for prices far exceeding any work put into these items. Click here for Things That Are Not Steampunk

You may be asking, ok Maeve, how does this apply to writing? Sometimes I think authors are falsely accused of “this is not steampunk” simply because their author’s voice may not be similar to particular steampunk books that readers, editors or reviewers are use to. There is room in the Steampunk genre for a great variety. Steampunk by its nature, unlike other genres, is a cross genre to start with, historical/sci-fi. Though of course it is more than that.

There are elements that should be included in the genre. But when you transfer it from the voice of a sci-fi writer to the voice of a romance writer for example, you are may get a lighter or a sexier or in some books a more humorous tone. Some of these stories even have a quirkier or even chick-lit vibe to them. A great example of writing that is less somber than what might be termed traditional Steampunk yet is definitely Steampunk, and marvelous at that, is Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protection series.

Variety is beneficial to Steampunk. I write in a cross genre, Steampunk/ Romance, but as a reader I embrace other cross genres as well, Horror/ Steampunk/, Paranormal/ Steampunk, Westernpunk, Inspirational/Steampunk and more. If the basic elements exist along with skillful writing, I feel cross genres books are as good as any other Steampunk books. Some necessary elements for skillful writing are strong fleshed out characters, showing instead of telling, entertaining dialog that moves the plot along, and a damn good story that sweeps the reader into the book. When the book ends, if the reader is still immersed in the marvelous fictional world created for them, then the author has done their job.

As far as the basic element of steampunk, one is recognizable ascetics, such as: steam driven machines with gears, clockwork machines, mentions of Tesla or Queen Victoria, Victorian type dress, speech, and behavior, gadgets, automations, copper and brass, just to name a few. Another element is that the hero or heroine is a free spirits, they go against the grain of what society expects of them, they are out to make the world a better place, sometimes without knowing it.  There is also the element of a steampunk theme. Some of them are technology’s impact on gender, race, and class, a dystopian society or nature versus technology.

I do think there is writing in general, steampunk and otherwise, however, that does fall into the regretsy category. These are writers that submit or self publish incomplete books. They write the first draft of a novel, a great accomplishment in itself but instead of revising it again and again until the elements of the craft of writing are included to the highest level of perfection, they take the rough draft and edit it, only, and submit it to a publisher or self-publish it, usually on Amazon, as is. One could say they stick glue on it and try to sell it as a finished book, in that little or no revisions have been done. Many of these authors may not realize that apart from the creativity there is a craft to writing, a skill set that has to be learned.

If you want to write a book, Steampunk or otherwise, please take the time to learn the craft of writing. One of the greatest rewards of writing is the pride in knowing you created this amazing thing that comes alive when people read it. You will touch the hearts and souls of people you will never even meet and that they will not only like and remember the story you told, but they will feel they are part of it long after they’ve closed the book.
~ ~
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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Today we welcome the awesome Leanna Renee Hieber who’s going to talk to us about serialization. Join her every Tuesday, as she serializes her novel THE DOUBLE LIFE OF INCORPORATE THINGS.

Why serialize?

by Leanna Renee Hieber

LRH Author photo by Biz Urban gaslight closeupWhy serialize? Because I love grand traditions. And serializing happens to be a burgeoning trend these days across the genres, John Scalzi is doing it in Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Eloisa James in historical romance, why are we getting back to basics? Releasing fiction the old-school way – in serial? I can’t speak for other authors but I certainly know why I’m doing it:

a) it’s fun.

b) it suits the times of an episodic culture that likes weekly content in easily digestible pieces.

c) it’s fitting for me, a Gaslamp Fantasy author whose favourite classic authors all serialized something at some point in magazines like Dickens’ Household Words.

d) How very Steampunk; to serialize just like the Victorians did, but to do it via a blog, using easily available modern technology for this old-school concept.

I’ve always wanted to serialize since all my idols did it in various magazines, and considering my next full length series of Gaslamp Fantasy novels, THE ETERNA FILES, (Tor / Macmillan) isn’t scheduled until 2014, this is a great way to extend my presence in newly released fiction until then. Also, to be perfectly honest, the folks at Tor wanted me to blog more regularly, something I’d only been doing sporadically, so this fits the bill. Especially considering I’ve crossover characters from all my series that will appear in ETERNA FILES, readers will get a chance to meet a few of them along the way and I hope it will whet the appetite for all that’s to come. Everything I write, whether its Adult or Young Adult is PG-13 in content, so the dovetailing of these parallel Gaslamp Fantasy worlds works very well and readers seem to like seeing some familiar faces weaving in and out. By November the novel will be complete where it will then be available for sale in digital and print platforms.

Please join me every Tuesday at http://leannareneebooks.blogspot.com – You can sign up for email updates of new posts, RSS feed, Google friend-connect, whatever suits your fancy to stay in touch. I’ll have weekly teasers for the new content and post-serial discussions at http://facebook.com/magicmostfoul and of course I’ll be tweeting about it at http://twitter.com/leannarenee

About THE DOUBLE LIFE OF INCORPORATE THINGS, a finale of Magic Most Foul: Join spirited Natalie Stewart and dashing Lord Denbury in their penultimate battle against a deadly secret society wedding violent magic with unnatural paranormal experimentation. The year is 1880. In the gas-lit shadows of New York City, nothing is sacred. Yet that which is sacred is the city’s only hope.

See you every Tuesday at http://leannareneebooks.blogspot.com – Cheers and happy haunting!


Praise for Darker Still, an Indie Next Selection: “Original, haunting, and romantic.” – YA Bound — DARKER STILL (Magic Most Foul #1)  and THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART (Magic Most Foul #2)  are available in print and across digital platforms wherever books are sold.

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Today we welcome Mandy Brown, who’s going to share with us some submission do’s and don’t from an editor’s POV.

Mandy Brown is the former Managing Editor for eSteampunk, an e-magazine and Amazon bestseller.

Pet Peeves from a Steampunk Editor: Some Dos and Don’ts

By Mandy Brown

cover1I was a writer long before being hired as the Managing Editor for eSteampunk, and what I wanted the most then was some kind of direction on how to submit my work. How do you write a cover letter? What does it mean when it says that multiple submissions aren’t allowed but simultaneous ones are? I had so many questions, and the publishing world became a mystery to me just as the my writing path started to become more clear. Now I’m also on the other side of things, evaluating submissions and sending responses, and managing eSteampunk’s daily workings and needs. As its editor, I’ve developed a better understanding for how editors see submissions, and I’ve developed some pet peeves. Hopefully they’ll give you the insight I didn’t have and help you on your road to publication!

1) Cover Letter Crutch

A big mistake I see when reading submissions is that writers feel the need to tell me more than necessary about their piece. Cover letters are meant to introduce you to the editor. It’s your first impression. When you spend time to tell them about the characters’ personal histories and deep desires, you’re watering down your piece, and often I find I don’t want to read the piece after the cover letter tells me so much. When you explain your piece in the letter, you’re giving me the impression that you don’t think your piece will stand well by itself and using the cover letter as a crutch. If you don’t have confidence in your work, why should we?

6aK0uGreet the Editor-in-Chief or the Managing Editor in your salutation line. Name the piece you are submitting and provide a word count (for prose) or line count (for poetry). State whether or not the submission has been previously published and if it is also being sent to other places. And write a bio if the guidelines asks for one. But that’s all you really need.

2) The Ignored Revision Request

It’s been my experience that revision requests tend to be rare, which may explain why writers see “needs more work” and assume it’s a rejection letter. I send revision requests out from eSteampunk when I believe in a piece but also believe that it needs to shine a little more, needs a little polish. It’s always difficult for me to send a revision request out because I’m never sure if I’m going to see it again, and (lean in close as I whisper a secret) I really want to see it again! It’s hard to let a piece that shows so much promise go back to the writer, and it’s even more disappointing when I never hear back.

If you get a revision request, respond one way or another. A good editor will respect your decision either way, but an editor who takes the time to send a revision request, deserves a moment of your time in response.

3) The Burned Writer

coverI hate sending out rejections as much as I hate getting them. Every time eSteampunk gets a new submission, I get butterflies and hope it’s the next piece we accept. The unfortunate truth is we can’t accept everything that comes our way.

Believe it or not, editors receive scalding emails from rejected (and even revision requested) authors. It’s absolutely okay to write such emails, but don’t hit the send button. You can get your name blacklisted with that publisher, and editors of different magazines talk to each and know each other. It would be a shame to let a brilliant piece of writing later on be overshadowed in a moment of rejection pain.

It’s sometimes okay to ask for feedback. I try to provide that for writers who submit for eSteampunk, but I usually withhold the comments until a writer asks for them. Be careful not to ask for such feedback while you’re still bruised. It can be easy to take offense online.

Above all keep writing and submitting! I remember the names of people who persevere and send more work to us, even after getting rejected multiple times. (Another secret, I’m rooting for them!)

So there you have it, some of my biggest pet peeves as an editor. I hope they’ve given you some insight on how an editor might view your submission. It’s important to think about how you and your writing come across when you submit work, but it’s also just as important to see editors as human beings rather than robots just ready to hit the rejection button. Life of a writer can be hard, but it’s well worth it. Press onward! There are more cheering you on than you probably know, myself included.



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Carousel Horse(photo from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/)

The circus was a big part of British life in the mid-1800s. Much like the one run by Belinda’s great-uncle, traveling troupes featured side shows, trick riding, acrobats, clowns, and animal taming, along with early carnival rides. Some traveled by train, others by caravan, and my imagination has applied the steampunk elements. For a good article on Victorian circus, you can go here, to an article from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Here’s a tiny taste of what Connor and Belinda find when they go undercover in the circus: (excerpt ©2013 by Cindy Spencer Pape)

The morning of the circus opening was hectic, but Connor couldn’t help a sense of exhilaration. A crowd of people crowded around the fence watched anxiously as Nicky Smith, the owner’s nephew and mechanical army survivor, stoked the calliope, and performers scurried back and forth getting ready. The scents of animals and roasting peanuts filled the air.

Connor, in his role as assistant ringmaster, was meant to patrol the grounds, nominally overseeing all the workers, but mostly watching the crowd for their adversaries. Today’s goal was to establish that the magick in the circus as real and make sure it was impressive enough that word would spread. He’d spoke to Merrick and Fergus about the Builders’ Guild and the Architecture and Arts Association the night before, and Merrick would look into those today while the circus was busy here.

About half an hour before the gates opened, Connor ducked into the fortune-teller’s tent to make sure Belinda was ready to go. Rowan’s tail thumped as Connor walked in and the dog stuck his big head up for Connor’s scratch. Connor rubbed a wiry ear, but he only had eyes for Belinda. He’d grown used to her simple gypsy clothing of bright skirts and a peasant blouse during the last few days, but today she’d added to it, with brassy bangles on both wrists, big hoops in her ears and a red scarf covering the top of her head, while her dark curls spilled out from underneath. Even in layers of mismatched styles and colors, she still looked good enough to eat as she smiled up at him, her grandmother’s tarot cards in her hands.

“All set?” Willow and Rowan, sprawled on either side of her, shifted to make room for Connor.

Belinda nodded. “I remember my lessons on how to fake a reading in the crystal ball, and I’ve memorized what the various lines on a palm are supposed to mean. I practiced this week on most of our co-conspirators, so I think I’m ready.”

He slid into the chair opposite hers. “Show me.”

Belinda lifted an eyebrow. “You want me to read your fortune?”

“Exactly.” He winked.

“Very well, most honored sir.” She slipped into the persona he’d seen her practicing all week. “Would milord prefer the cards, to have his palm read or to plumb the mysteries of the crystal ball?”

“Oh, the crystal ball, by all means.” He settled into his seat, enjoying the show.

Her dark eyes twinkled up at him. “For the spirits to come, you must honor them with silver. Five shillings, if you please.” She held out her palm.

Connor handed her a five-shilling coin.

“You are most gracious, sir, as well as handsome.” Belinda laid both hands on the large quartz globe on a silver-plated stand in front of her and peered into it. “Think of a question, concentrate on the answers you wish the spirits to provide.”

“Very well.” He grinned back. “I have my question.”

He could feel her gaze dart to him when she wasn’t looking into the ball. “I see an image beginning to form,” she said. “A man? No, ’tis a woman. Her hair is dark, ah yes, but it isn’t your wife, no…she’s younger. A sister, perhaps? I see. Her eyes are just like yours—no, not in color, but the expression, the intelligence and humor, those are the same, are they not?”

“Give over,” Connor said, impressed by her acumen. “How did you know I was thinking of Melody?”


Contest: In conjunction with the release of Cards & Caravans, Cindy is running a contest for a $25.00 gift card to the e-book distributor of your choice, plus the chance to name a character in the next Gaslight Chronicles story. To enter, visit the “Contact Cindy” page on her website and send her a note. Mention which blog you saw this on and some little detail about the post. One entry per person per blog post. The complete rules and a list of post locations and dates are available on the “Contest” page on Cindy’s site.


Cards&Caravans_final About the Book: Cards & Caravans is book 5 in the Gaslight Chronicles steampunk romance series, and releases from Carina Press on March 18. Find out more here.

Blurb: Belinda Danvers isn’t a witch. But that won’t stop them burning her at the stake…

Connor McKay can tell at a glance that Belinda’s magickal powers are minimal at best. She can’t be guilty of murdering village children. There’s something suspicious about her arrest and lightning-quick sentence. Unfortunately, telling anyone how he knows would mean revealing his own powers. He’s been sent by the Order of the Round Table to help and he can’t just let her die.

Escaping from jail and running from vindictive villagers in her grandfather’s steam-powered caravan is more excitement than Belinda’s had in years. And despite the danger–or maybe because of it–she loves the time spent with her sexy rescuer. But there’s more to his magick than he’s letting on…

There’s something going on that’s bigger than the two of them. It’s time for good to make a stand.

Review: 4 Stars from Romantic Times: “All the trappings of a good steampunk novel are here..but most enchanting of all is the love that develops between the hero and heroine.


About the Author: Cindy S391766_509428429076163_422038333_npencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Award-winning author of 16 novels and more than 30 shorter works, Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband, two sons and a houseful of pets. When not hard at work writing she can be found dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book. Catch her online at:

Website: http://www.cindyspencerpape.com

Blog: http://cindyspencerpape.blogspot.com/

Newsletter group: http://yhoo.it/ni7PHo

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CindySPape

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gjbLLC

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Today we welcome M. Holly-Rosing.

M. Holly-Rosing is the writer/creator of the webcomic BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY. You can read the comic as well as buy the companion novellas (Kindle, Nook and Smashwords) and the print edition through the website.

Her short story THE CLOCKWORK MAN (A Boston Metaphysical Society Story) was published in eSteampunk Magazine (February). Another short story THE WAY HOME (A Boston Metaphysical Society Story) will be published in September as part of a comic anthology with Atomeka Press.

Steampunk and Clocks

By M. Holly-Rosing

What is it about steampunk and clocks? Where ever you look you see time pieces and their requisite gears churning away reminding us of the inevitable march of time.  It is a curious thing really, to be able to see seconds slip away on a mechanical device.

The astrolabium is a wonderful example of literally watching seconds, days and months pass by. Pre-dating this gorgeous mechanism, ancient Greek astronomers had developed a device to determine the position of the sun and stars. However, the astrolabium does more than simply count off hours, minutes, months, and dates.  It gives time beauty and substance in an existential kind of way. Designed by the famous clockmaker Philipp Matthaus Hahn (1739-1790), its origins and/or inspiration can be attributed to the tellurium clock, the Antikythera Mechanism of the 2nd century B.C. and possibly many others.  (Creativity and inspiration often seep across national boundaries and flourish in unexpected ways.)  Whatever its origins, the astrolabium uniquely reminds us of the passage of time with a miniature globe of the earth that rotates and revolves around a solid brass sun in this particular model.


Though it is beautiful, I find it rather annoying. I mean the part about watching your life slip away. But you see I have always liked clocks. Pocket watches, necklace watches, the old mantel piece clocks that once were so fashionable in days gone by.  I love to see the inner workings of clocks and watches for the simple reason I find the craftsmanship to be extraordinary.  And it’s just so damned pretty. If I had enough room in our house there would probably be clocks everywhere, but practicality won out and in their place are stacks of books.

One of my fondest memories as a child was to hear my grandparents’ grandfather clock chime in the early morning hours in their home in Oregon.  I knew my grandfather would be up soon, but I didn’t have to get up yet. So I’d snuggle in until the smell of coffee would waft up the stairs. By the time I dragged myself out of bed, I knew my grandfather would have decided what needed to be fixed that day.  For a child it brought stability, love and all the good things one hopes for in life.  And it all started with a clock.

So, what is it about steampunk which finds clocks so enticing and engaging?  And not just any type of clock, but ones where their inner workings are exposed for all the world to see and dissect.  It is my belief that in steampunk clockworks are a representation of the human heart.

Its ticking is the equivalent of a heartbeat. Its exposure a symbol of human frailty. Gears can falter, skip and even grind to a halt. The human condition all wrapped up in a mechanical device.

Steampunk has imbued clockworks with soul and a sense of purpose beyond the intention of their original makers.  You know the old saying, “you wear your heart on your sleeve?” In this case, it’s on the wall, in your pocket or in the palm of your hand.  And it can be crushed at a whim.

Clocks and time play a very large role in steampunk.  Loosely based on Victorian England sensibilities and technology, steampunk looks to the past for a new vision of the future.  For the uninitiated, you will see steam-based technology augmented with modern devices in steampunk fiction as well as fashion and home-built gadgets. Some make sense, others not so much. But that’s part of the fun.  Fashion is often ripped straight from Victorian styles, though more often than not the person wearing it has given it their own individual flair.

As the writer/creator of the webcomic and companion novellas for BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY, I worked within the framework of a specific time and place, but since I was working in fiction I had the opportunity to take a more modern point-of-view towards science and social mores.  It was challenging and rewarding. The challenge being making sure my time line made sense. The reward was when it all worked out.

Though I do not have any visible clocks in the webcomic, there is however, a “ticking clock” which lurks in the background. A “ticking clock” in the writer’s world means your protagonist must accomplish something in a specific amount of time or something bad will happen. In this panel from the second chapter, Samuel has met with B.E.T.H. to discuss what to do about “The Shifter,” a trans- dimensional being who has been killing people at an ever growing rate. Their job is to stop it before it kills again.

panel 1

The theme of clockworks in steampunk not only suggests the inner workings of the human heart but as I mentioned before evokes another time and place.  And in some cases, those times and places cross over in the most unusual way. In this panel from the first chapter of the webcomic, Duncan, who is a ghost, had hidden a camera from Caitlin’s vengeful mother. He has crossed over from another time and place to help someone he cares for.

panel 2

Since clockworks and time are inexorably linked, steampunk does what it does best in demonstrating another vision of the past with influences of the future. In this panel from chapter two, the men of B.E.T.H. are on a hill overlooking Boston Harbor. It is an image of an alternate history where dirigibles are common place along with a modern looking steamship which cruises into harbor.

panel 3


I have been a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy since I was a kid, but I was not introduced to steampunk until a few years ago by a dear friend. (I owe him one.)  BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY has been my first venture into steampunk as a writer, but I have funny feeling I may have found my home.  It allows me to explore the issues and themes which are important to me in a way that appeals to my own personal aesthetic.  For when you strip away the gadgets and the fancy clothes you discover that in steampunk, time is always at the heart.

M. Holly-Rosing

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BostonMetaphysicalSocietyComic

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mhollyrosing

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Mad Hatter Steampunk Tea Party

taken by Marilyn at Houston- Herman Park Mad Hatter Tea Party

Photo taken by Marilyn at Houston- Herman Park Mad Hatter Tea Party

There was a table set under the pavilion in Houston’s Herman Park and the mad hatter was having tea at it.  No sleeping doormouse sat beside him. Plenty of  squirrels scurried about the park, which are quite close to mice, but alas he didn’t try to put a squirrel in his teapot.

Group Photo - taken by Marilyn at Houston- Herman Park Mad Hatter Tea Party

Group Photo – taken by Marilyn at Houston- Herman Park Mad Hatter Tea Party

Along with the mad hatter, I and about forty other Houston area Steampunk enthusiast came to tea.

Alice - Taken by Marilyn

taken by Marilyn

Including Alice, complete with the white rabbit on her necklace.

We bought teapots and tea cups and, though the Queen of Hearts didn’t make tarts for us, we had yummy cucumber finger sandwiches, luscious blueberry scones, crisp ginger biscuits, grapes, cheese, brownies, and more. We even had a fancy parasol center piece and a Steampunk sign. Though it was a lovely day the pavilion offered nice shade. It was much like standing under a large mushroom.

The Mad Hatter

Though Alice was curious about the March hare’s watch, which didn’t keep time but told the year, here in the 21st century many of us have watches which do both, but we didn’t spread the best butter on ours or dunk them in our tea like Lewis Carroll’s march hare did. Still we had a great time drinking our tea.

The day was gorgeous and every time the little train in the park went by all the riders, parents and children, waved at us.

Waving at the train -taken by Marilyn

Waving at the train -taken by Marilyn

We smoked the hookah like Lewis Carroll’s large blue caterpillar and we played croquet like the Queen of Hearts court.

Lighting the Hookah

Lighting the Hookah

There were no cries of off with your head from the Queen but my croquet ball was smacked out by other balls several times. We used regular wire wickets, not soldiers doubled up and standing on their hands and feet to make the arches as they did at the Queen of Hearts’ croquet game. We also didn’t have to try to manage live flamingos for mallets or live hedgehogs for balls.

taken by Marilyn at Houston- Herman Park Mad Hatter Tea Party

Taken by Marilyn

Which is fortunate, as the chief difficulty of using a flamingo as a mallet is by the time you get its neck straightened out it twist itself round and looks up in your face with a puzzled expression. And the hedgehogs have a habit of unrolling themselves and crawling away.

Of course in Wonderland it is always time for tea since the mad hatter quarreled with Time last March it stays at six o’clock, but our tea party ran until 4 o’clock. Though somewhat sad, it’s good it came to an end so we could take our teapots and teacups home and wash them out rather than moving all the tea-things around as they get used up like the mad hatter, march hare and the doormouse did. After all, they couldn’t find time to wash them when it’s always tea time.

DSCN0246I had such a pleasant day at the Mad Hatter tea party, I half believe I went to Wonderland rather than Herman park. Though our Houston tea party get together has ended there will be many more events. In the meantime I will entertain myself with a large cup of tea and a long book, one with pictures and conversions. For as Alice would say, what use is a book without pictures or conversations. If you live in the Houston area and are interested in Steampunk meet ups and events visit Territories of Houston Steampunk and 42nd Airship Battalion

Maeve Alpin take by Marilyn

Maeve Alpin taken by Marilyn

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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