Archive for June, 2014

ALNTcoverAll the Night-Tide includes stories inspired by Poems written by Edgar Allan Poe.

Dissever My Soul by: Aiyana Jackson
Poem – ‘Annabel Lee’
The Brightest Eye by: Charie D. La Marr
Poem – ‘Impromptu. To Kate Carol’
No More Incorporated by: Jay Wilburn
Poem – ‘Silence’
Folie a Deux by: Ray Dean
Poem – Eldorado
The True Kingdom by: Kenneth Sebastian
Poem – Eldorado
Ever More by: Andrea Lake
Poem – ‘The Raven’
The Horn of Israfel by: Regina Hansen
Poem – ‘Israfel’

I had the opportunity to collect some comments from the authors of this anthology –

How were you introduced to Poe’s work?
Aiyana – I don’t actually recall exactly how or when I was introduced to Poe. I remember reading The Telltale Heart when I was in my early teens, but if I remember correctly, I’d already developed an obsession with Annabel Lee and The Raven by that point. There is something darkly and deeply beautiful about his poetry and even at a young age (c. twelve) I was oddly attracted to that.
Jay – I was introduced to Poe’s work in elementary school. For some reason, Poe’s gothic sensibilities connect with an American Southern audience so deeply that he is seen as acceptable classic literature for young children.
Ray – Poetry reading in my early grades was the introduction, but in college I was treated to a front row ticket to a one man play called “I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe” written and performed by Dawson Nichols. His performance of a number of Poe’s works really stuck with me though the years. (I’m NOT telling you how many years – don’t ask)
Andrea – My mother was a fan of Poe’s work. She introduced me to his poetry in my early teens. The first one she read to me was The Raven. This one had a deep impact and I was struck, not only by the Gothic nature of the poem, but also by the narrator’s regret and sorrow.
Kenneth – I first read Poe as a young child. The first story I remember reading was the Pit and the Pendulum. I started reading his poetry soon after, and I can vividly recall my delight upon reading the line: From the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells.
For a bookish child with an ear for music, Poe’s poetry was a revelation
Regina – I ordered a book of Poe stories from the Scholastic Book Club when I was 9.
Charie – I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in love with Poe. As a child, I devoured books and he was always one of my favorites. The Tell-Tale Heart was always my favorite. I love the first line.

What about his work interests you?
Aiyana – I’ve always been captivated by the fatalistic love story. Any fatalistic love story, not only in Poe’s work but elsewhere. Poe however did write some of my favourites, and he wrote them incredibly well. Although I love Shakespeare, in my book Romeo and Juliet has nothing on Annabel Lee; the depth of sorrow he is able to portray is simply stunning.
Jay – I connected more to his poetry over the years from the same gothic nature that attracted and mesmorized so many other Southerners. Something about his word choice and verbal mystery reminds me of the darkness I see around me in people and places.
Ray – The human mind has a multitude of dark corners and shadows and Poe is not afraid to go exploring.
Andrea – There is an element of realism to Poe’s work. He writes about feelings and pain, and this is something we can all relate to.
Kenneth – What has always fascinated me about Poe is how all of his work is driven by sound. Rhythm and melody are what define his style, which is almost musical in its intensity and repetition. One must also appreciate Poe’s penchant for strange words like tintinnabulation. Has anyone else ever used that word? No, because Poe owns it.
Regina – His language, the interior struggles of his characters, the ways in which he makes fantastic events seem normal and inevitable.
Charie – The psychological aspects. Poe was one author who always delved heavily into the minds of his characters. It scary to me to read about the workings of the human mind and the resulting actions.

Where did your inspiration for the story come from?
Aiyana – My inspiration from the story quite simply came from my love of the poem, and the fact I had always wondered what had led to the devastating state of affairs that we see within it – Annabel Lee is dead, shut up in her sepulcher, while her lover is doomed to his grief. When considering it as the inspiration for a Steampunk story, I very quickly set upon the notion that the higher powers described within the poem as being jealous of their love – angels and demons – were actually men, in the guise of religious figures, who traveled around robbing people of what little they had, basically taking anything that seemed valuable. The notion was that Annabel Lee was very valuable, for she was a beautiful maiden. The protagonist (whom I named Edward) attempts to save her from this fate, however his actions inadvertently reveal the depth of their love for each other, and it is this that ultimately dooms them, for that kind of love is far more valuable than any amount of gold.
Jay- The poem “Silence” has always felt like it had a story hidden between the lines with strange, disturbing characters playing with the notions of life and death.
Ray – The search for gold… better yet, a CITY of GOLD! That would be enough to drive sane men… CRAZY.
Andrea – Heaven? I thought about The Raven and how it was the end of someone’s story. I thought about how The Raven might also be a name of a ship or vessel and as I made notes, The Raven morphed into a spacecraft, one transporting prisoners. Lenore became a political prisoner from a prominent family, while the ‘narrator’ took on the role of the fated ship’s Captain. The story took shape and was developed over a couple of days.
Kenneth – I like to write fiction that is grounded in fact. Percy Fawcett is a historical figure. He disappeared in the Amazon in 1925, and people have been searching for him ever since; more than one hundred people, in fact, have died in the attempt to discover the truth about his final whereabouts. El Dorado has always been a favorite.
Regina- My scholarship is on religion and the fantastic, particularly depictions of angels, so a poem about an angel was a natural fit. I found the setting while wandering around Boston’s industrial waterfront, not far from Castle Island/Fort Independence where Poe was stationed his military service.
Charie – I read all of his poetry, searching for one that really sung to me. Finally, I decided on the shortest of his poems, Impromptu For Kate Carol. Only four lines. I loved the words and the challenge of creating something from very minimal information. It left more to my imagination.


Is this your first Steampunk story?
if so, what inspired you to write a story for this anthology?
if not, how is this story different from your other steampunk works?

Aiyana – This isn’t my first Steampunk story, I have written many others. My first novella, Encante, was published at the end of last year and that is the beginning of a Steampunk series, The Fifteen Solars, which will eventually consist of at least four novellas and a novel (possibly a trilogy). I wrote ‘Dissever My Soul’ so that it could fit into the Fifteen Solars world, however it is also perfectly capable of standing alone. It does differ from the other works in the series though, mainly in tone. It was after all based on a poem, and is consequently a little more poetic.
Jay – I’ve written a good bit of steampunk for publication in various markets and cross genre styles of steampunk in particular. When the call went out for Poe inspired steampunk, it felt like a call to me personally and one that may have seen the same hidden stories between the lines of his poetry that I had. The story felt like it was ready to be told. I tried to capture the gothic horror feel of Poe’s spirit in my own telling – both disturbing and beautiful.
Ray – Nope… the readers here at Steamed! have seen information on a number of my stories. This is my first story published in the UK. Very excited 😀
Andrea – Yes – The chance to be published was a massive draw, but I had never thought of using someone else’s work as a catalyst for something else before. It gave me new ideas and a new direction and I am very proud of Ever More.
Kenneth – My story The True Kingdom, taking place in 1928, is technically dieselpunk as I understand the term. My work might be called ‘historical science fiction’ as it is set in a definite time and place and is accurate in almost all its details. Restaurants, hotels, trains, schools, etc are all factual. I’ve recently finished a novella, which takes place in 1911 in the Catskill Mountains, a short story set in 1909 in the New Jersey Pine Barrens about the Jersey Devil, and a trilogy about real mermaids that mostly takes place in the Bahama Islands in the year 1900 (also in Florida and New York City). All my work is loosely connected.
Regina – Yes. The chance to work with material by Poe and the opportunity to write about an alternative timeline. That last is how I found my way into Steampunk, which I do enjoy reading.
No, I have one other. But I really can’t say what it is because it is for an anonymous anthology. Every author was asked to choose a new name. I chose a male name—I wanted to think of myself as George Eliot. It is Steampunk/Clockpunk. I was married to a watch and clockmaker. I don’t think that it really is all that much [different from my other Steampunk stories]. Both are tragic love stories that involve medicine.

What is your current writing project or next upcoming publication?
Aiyana- I’m currently working on the next novella in the Fifteen Solars Series, Honour, as well as the two following novellas, Andromeda’s Keeper, and the fourth (currently untitled). In addition I have the novel(s) for this series to complete, and another novel, Briar, which is a straight Fantasy novel that I have been working on.
Jay – I’m working on a novel about a group of teachers from a dysfunctional middle school (grade school) faculty in a small Southern town that are driven one by one to quit and turn to lives of crime and shadow. As with most downward spirals, they find themselves in deepening darkness and greater danger over time.
Ray – I’ve had a few stories published recently. The next one due for publication is a Old West/Werewolf story coming out from Dark Oak Press. And I’m continuing to write for a number of other anthologies.
Andrea – I’m currently working on a children’s story. It is a sci-fi fantasy about a lonely girl who finds a friend in the last place she expects.
Kenneth – I am turning my attention to preparing my trilogy Mermaids of the Mid-Atlantic Currents for publication. It’s so vast, I had to put it down for a while in order to actually finish some smaller pieces. Weighing in at circa 300,000 words, with its own language (the mark of a quality fantasy) and, again, accurate as far as all of its verifiable details from history, MOTMAC is in its final stages.
Regina – My next publication (with Susan George) is Supernatural, Humanity and the Soul: On the Highway to Hell and Back, a collection of essays on the television series Supernatural. It will be published by Palgrave this fall. I have also completed a supernatural novel set in 1950’s Canada and am continuing my scholarship on religion in film.
Charie – I had an anthology called Terror Train come out today. It is a series of horror stories that take place on a train. The journey begins with my story in New York City and ends in California. My story is satirical Noir—another genre I am quite comfortable writing. And the novel I am currently working on for MorbidbookS is Laugh to Death—in a genre I created called Circuspunk. It is a serial killing circus clown story. Very graphic. I like switching genres around.

You can pick up your copy ALNTcover

As a contributing author in a number of anthologies, Ray Dean enjoys writing about many different cultures. Steampunk speaks to her in a retroactive futurism that opens so many possibilities. Her blog, My Ethereality (http://www.raydean.net), explores history, culture, war and love in eras and countries that influence the Steampunk world.

Read Full Post »

Why Do We Love Sherlock Holmes?

We love Sherlock. We dress out dogs like Sherlock. All of our dogs love Sherlock.

Why do we love Sherlock…he’s a rather anti-social unpleasant man? That big mystery – Why is Sherlock Holmes Still So Popular?  – was the name and subject of a panel, headed by author Tony Lee, at this year’s Comicpalooza.

The first clue is Sherlock’s character flaws. Yes, Sherlock has his imperfections. After all, he is quite antisocial and arrogant, not to mention he’s a drug addict. But we forgive him for all that because of his brilliance. In fact perhaps because of his faults we appreciate his genius of deduction and crime solving even more. Flawed characters are fun to write and read, especially when they are so arrogant they have no idea they are imperfect.  Maybe that’s why we love him, we wished we didn’t realize our imperfections. Or maybe because despite all his weirdness, he’s so good. When we try to figure out a mystery before he does, we can’t. We love his mind even more because of his character flaws.

Another clue to the mystery of Sherlock’s continual popularity is that he fits into any timeline. Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes in 1887, a contemporary character of the time, the Victorian era, the 19th century. Many of our parents or grandparents grew up with Basil Rathbone as their idea of Sherlock Holmes from the 1939 film, The Hound of the Baskervilles and thirteen other movies in which he played the famed detective. Those films had a contemporary setting of the time, the WWII era of the 20th century and Sherlock fit right in.

Then from the 19th century to the 20th century Sherlock moved into the 21st century with the television shows and actors: Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Elementary with Jonny Lee Miller. Another contemporary television version of Sherlock is House with Hugh Laurie, which is a medical version of Sherlock Holmes.

Of course there is also the outstanding Steampunk adaption of Sherlock in the Robert Downey Jr. films:  Sherlock Holmes,  the second film, The Game Of Shadows and Sherlock Holmes three is apparently in development.

Sherlock continues to evolve with us. And everyone has their own favorite Sherlock Holmes like everyone has their on favorite Dr. Who.

Sherlock Holmes will probably be around a hundred years from now playing in some form of interactive hologram entertainment. People might read, watch or listen to Sherlock Holmes stories in a spaceship or in a domed community on Mars or the Moon.  I wouldn’t doubt it. And they’ll be trying to answer the question, Why is Sherlock Holmes Still So Popular?

                                       ~          ~         ~

 Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. Her latest Steampunk/Romance is Conquistadors In Outer Space, which is as crazy and as entertaining as it sounds. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.

Read Full Post »

Steam & Sorcery and Steamtopia!


It’s here! It’s finally here! Author happy dance in progress!

Steam & Sorcery is now available in trade paperback from Amazon.com.

Here’s the deal: it’s always going to say “Out of Stock” because this is a new sort of print on demand, that is literally one-copy-at-a-time, when it’s ordered. You order, they print one, they send it to you. It’s a very different model, but we at Carina Press are really excited to be trying it out. So please, at least take a look.

In other news, this weekend I’ll be at Steamtopia in Detroit. If you’re in the area, my panels and workshops are all on Friday and Saturday, since I’m bugging out a little early, to celebrate Father’s Day with my dad, who turns 90 this year.

What will I be talking about? Genre mash-ups, a how-to workshop on queries and pitches, building a magic system for your world, those Naughty Victorians (adult-only panel) and the pros and cons of different sorts of publishing. There will be a group booksigning on Saturday. Will I have copies of Steam & Sorcery? Not likely, unless the Amazon gods pull off a miracle, but I’ll have info and bookplates, and copies of several of my Ellora’s Cave titles. 🙂

When a Con comes up, I always have the great dilemma of what to wear. Which Cindy do I want to be this weekend?

Queen Cindy?

SP invasion of RF

Leathery Cindy?


Deck-Gun Cindy?


Sensible Cindy?


Formal Cindy?

With Sel

No-fuss Cindy?

white umbrella

Or Breezy Summer Cindy?

 So many choices? What do you think? Any thoughts or suggestions?

(Photo with parasol by Sergi Mazzotta. Photo as Clockwork Queen by Errant Knight Photography. Leather outfit by Shoptroll. Most corsets from Ties That Bynde, as well as green brocade skirt. Several skirts and white blouse from Recollections. Black Skirt, Stitches in Thyme. Hats Blonde Swan and Greenfield Village. Brown suit, LoriAnn Costume Designs.)

Read Full Post »

Once again, someone published an article disparaging a genre and all those who read it. In this case it was an article about how adults who read YA should be ashamed for themselves. (These sorts of articles seems to pop up about once a year.) It’s unfortunate when articles like this happen, since they’re usually sweeping in judgment, often saying that “adults” should read “real books” blah, blah, blah.

But it’s not just YA that this happens to. Romance. Chick-Lit/Women’s Fiction. They, too, are subject to haters. (It seems to me that a majority of these are dominated both reading and writing wise by women, but that’s a (very important) conversation for another day.)

Someone is always judging and dismissing those who read (and write) x or y genre, which is usually not the preference of the one doing the judging. The readers in question are told to read “real books.”

This is what I say:

shut up and read

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and they’re allow to not like certain types of books, but that doesn’t mean they’re should dismiss or disparage entire readerships or genres.

Also, the “real” book argument really gets to me. As a YA author (and a Steampunk author) I get the “when are you going to write a real book” question all the time.

What exactly makes a book “real” anyhow? How is writing a book for teens, or with kissing, or paranormal creatures, so hoverboards any less real?

Um, heck no. These books aren’t lesser. The readers aren’t lesser. The authors aren’t lesser. No less work going into crafting these stories than any other book.

There are plenty of merits to reading YA. Lots of people enjoy them. Lots of people write them. They make lots of people happy. This could be said for any other genre.

Read whatever you want. Read what makes you happy. Write whatever you want. Write what makes you happy.

Life is too short to not read (and write) whatever you like, so why limit yourself? Why not go all over the bookstore to find those books? Who knows what gems you’ll find? Why not write a story the way it wants to be written?

Every book, every story has value. Everyone is different. That is the beauty of having so many different types of books–so everyone can find a story that resonates with them.

So, be proud, adult readers of YA, readers of romance, readers in general. Books are awesome. it's ok to read YA


Suzanne Lazear is the author of the YA Steampunk dark-fairytale series “The Aether Chronicles.” INNOCENT DARKNESS and CHARMED VENGEANCE are out now. FRAGILE DESTINY releases 8-8-14. She runs with cupcakes, plays with swords, likes cupcakes, and thinks adulthood is over-rated.

Read Full Post »

ALNTcoverThe dark twists and turns of Edgar Allan Poe’s mind have inspired many a nightmare and some hazy imaginings…

Aadenian Press has published “All the Night-Tide” – an anthology of Steampunk stories inspired by poems written by the Victorian writer.

This is the first of TWO posts about the release of “All the Night-Tide”

I asked Hazel Butler, the editor of the collection, about the anthology.

“When we were first batting around ideas for this anthology, there were a lot of them. So many possibilities. It was, however, eventually decided that since Aädenian Ink was founded for the express purpose of publishing Gothic and Steampunk art and fiction, it seemed natural that this, our first anthology, reflect that goal. The possibility of drawing on the works of Edgar Allan Poe presented itself very early on in the creative process as he is a much-loved Gothic author, and has such a wide range of works. It was decided that each piece in the anthology should be based on one of Poe’s uniquely dark and delicious poems. It was further decided that we wanted these stories to have a Steampunk twist to them.”

The selection process for stories can seem mysterious to some. Hazel explained how the stories were picked  for the anthology.

“The process of selecting the stories was quite a simple one in the end, at least in terms of the process. Editor Hazel Butler read all submissions and basically chose her favourites. That left a pile of about fifteen or sixteen. We couldn’t include all of those so it had to be whittled down. In the end she chose those stories that she felt had entered into the spirit of the anthology the most. In some cases this was simply a matter of them being well based on a poem and having a Steampunk theme or Steampunk elements. In other cases it was a deeper sense that they were truly quite Gothic in tone and reflected the nature of Edgar Allan Poe’s work quite well.”

The cover artwork is truly an amazing image and there are individual story graphics inside the anthology. I asked Hazel about the images in this volume: 

“The artwork is a combination of several images by artist Alice Rope, who recently did a large exhibit of bird studies. Three of these were of a raven or crow, and this tied in very nicely with the central ‘Poe’ image of the raven that was chosen for the cover design. The cover itself is a digital painting that was done by the Editor, Hazel Butler, who is also an artist and author. She used the raven to represent one of the most well-known poems of Poe, and the image of the woman, in all her Steampunk finery, holding the raven in a cage, was a good ALNTcoverrepresentation of what we were trying to achieve in the anthology – the melding of the two genres. On the back cover, the raven appears again in silhouette, this time free of the cage. Hazel and Alice also illustrated several stories each, with illustrations done specifically for the stories.”

The anthology is currently available at Amazon.com in hardcover. There will be a kindle edition available later.


Next week Friday, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from the authors…

As a contributing author in a number of anthologies, Ray Dean enjoys writing about many different cultures. 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 influence the Steampunk world.

Read Full Post »

The first panel I went to at Comicpalooza, last month, was Friday at 10 AM, it was a make-n-take. The beautiful and lively anime voice-actress Claire Hamilton helped me and the other attendees create a tentacle necklace. I had so much fun in that make-n-take. I mean who doesn’t love tentacles?

Making Tentacles at Comicpalooza

Making Tentacles at Comicpalooza

We were all provided with polymer clay in a vivid selection of colors. The clay comes in four sectioned off areas. We each took one of those small sections in the color of our choice for the tentacle and a half section in another color for the suckers. We pulled off enough off the bigger section to roll and shape it into our tentacle. Twisting it around until we had it the way we wanted it. Then we took the half portion of a small section of clay and used the edge of our comicpalooza badges to slice it into small pieces. We rolled those into tiny balls for the suckers. We were each given a toothpick and used it to make the indentions in our suckers. We stuck the suckers onto the tentacle. We also used the toothpick to punch a hole in the clay so we could string it onto a cord for a necklace.   When we were finished we used special hand held dryers like blow dryers but hotter, to firm them enough until we could get them home and bake them. Heating our Tentacles

Once home we baked them in our kitchen ovens at approximately 110 degrees for about 30 minutes. When you try this in your on oven, please be aware oven temperatures vary so keep an eye on the tentacle to make sure it doesn’t bake over or under the needed time.

Here are some youtube videos on making tentacle necklaces:

Making tentacle necklaces is fun, easy and … very Steampunk. A tentacle necklace make-n-take is also a great panel to do for readers at a convention.

                                      ~          ~         ~

 Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. Her latest Steampunk/Romance is Conquistadors In Outer Space, which is as crazy and as entertaining as it sounds. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: