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Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

Ah, ‘tis the holiday season. And if you’re like me, you’re still likely pondering a few gifts for the harder to please people in your circle of friends and family. Well, if they love steampunk, may I humbly offer the following ideas to sweeten your holiday season?

Perfect for a Mad Scientist's kitchen

Let’s look beyond the mundane of another top hat, a pair of gloves or even a new sparkly set of goggles. For your mad scientist in the kitchen, how about a brand new test tube spice rack? Not only can you see the spices, making the kitchen all that more colorful, but you can actually tell when you are almost out of something as opposed to opening the jar and finding there’s only a residue left half way through your favorite recipe.

Eggnog tea from Market Spice

And of course, who doesn’t know a devoted tea drinker? How about ordering them something completely holiday infused—say eggnog tea? Oh, yes, it is real. And very, very tasty without so many calories! (Well, unless of course you add eggnog to it, which I’ve been known to do.)

There are also such flavors as Cranberry Cream, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Holiday Spice, Chocolate Mint and of course the favorite from the Seattle from the turn of the centry (last century, dears) straight from Pike Place Market, Market Spice which has both the appeal of an Earl Grey with its orange flavor and the strong hint of spices including cinnamon which makes it naturally sweet. 

See, teapots can be fun.

And as long as we’re talking tea, you might as well consider purchasing a beautiful new tea cup and saucer or teapot. There’s so many to choose from, but select well. Find out of the person is a serious tea drinker (in which case you ought to get a six-cup tea pot and a cozy at the very least) or a lighter tea drinker (in which case you could get by with a smaller two-cup size teapot). 

Cutest cupcake, follow the link to find out how to make it.

Holiday festivities would not be complete without some cake! And check out how delightful these little cupcakes with top hats, gears and goggles are! I also happen to have a lovely recipe for eggnog bread. (And let me tell you that it’s a lot more appealing than the authentic plum pudding I tried to make one year. It said to boil it in a sock. I did. A blue sock, which turned my pudding an odd, not very appetizing color! But once doused with brandy and set ablaze, no one seemed to care too much.)

Citrus scents, and oh so cute. Stocking stuffers?

Or perhaps they’d like a shiny new raygun? Or what about body and bath goodies with steampunk flair? These Key to My Heart soaps are both scrumptious to smell and have a fun key to remember them by long after you’ve enjoyed the last bit of lather.

And of course books!!! I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you to go out and find a new steampunk story to share with friends and family. Whether it’s a bound edition of Girl Genius or one of the new stories for a young adult like Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, sharing a story is a gift worth giving.

Here’s raising my tea cup to you in hopes that your holiday shopping steams ahead!

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Today is the last day you can enter to win a copy of Arthur Slade’s new steampunk Tween thriller “The Dark Deeps.”

Also, tune in Monday, October 4th, 2010, when we announce the lineup for our 2010 Halloween Author Invasion (and what exactly the author invasion is.) Be very afraid (but be excited, too.)

Today we welcome Lolita Leanna, aka Leanna Renee Hieber, author of the “Percy Parker” Gaslamp Romance series.  “A Christmas Carroll” aka “Percy Parker 2 1/2” will be featured in the anthology A MIDWINTER FANTASY which is an ebook to be released by Dorchester.  At the moment Dorchester has delayed the ebook’s release, but if you follow Leanna on Twitter, she’ll let you know when the ordering link goes live.

Gaslight Musings: Building on Your Atmosphere – Leanna Renee Hieber’s latest Strangely Beautiful venture:

It should be no secret that what draws readers to Steampunk, to Gaslight and also to the Gothic is atmosphere. Our favourite works are full of rich atmosphere and intense world-building. One of the important yet tricky things in writing series fiction, particularly if it’s fantastical, paranormal or all of the above, is coming up with ways in which your world still maintains its conventions but also grows in richness, complexity, conflict and intrigue. I think one of the best ways to do this is to make sure that if you introduce a new convention, to be sure that it comes from within the world you’ve already built rather than tacking on something new. Also, the beauty of series fiction allows us to dive deeper into secondary characters, and deeper into the world’s details, where these new flowers can really bloom.

In thinking of new aspects to introduce in “A Christmas Carroll” which serves as Strangely Beautiful series #2.5, featured in A MIDWINTER FANTASY anthology, I knew I needed something new within my spirit world, what I call the Whisper-World.

What I came up with was The Liminal. You’ll see it described in the brief excerpt below, and I didn’t realize until I wrote it that it’s a very Steampunk detail. The Liminal clock keeps magic mortal time; its hands are vast and the barrel tells the year, shifting its great lens to show its charges the necessary scene in any moment in time. But it is still a part of the Whisper-World; a place I’ve described as mysterious, vast and shifting, beholden to powers over life and death that mere mortals can only guess at. The Liminal fit into that premise smoothly.

I love writing series fiction for all of the reasons I’ve mentioned. I love getting the chance to give secondary characters their due, and I adore taking the world I’ve built and simmering further in it; not just the skin and bones but the marrow of the world. I hope you’ll enjoy A MIDWINTER FANTASY, which just released on the 28th! Each of the stories in the anthology features a respective world that the author has built upon for at least two series books. Please note, due to changes at Dorchester Publishing this is a digital / eBook release ONLY. Future books will be released in Trade Paperback, but the transition at Dorchester has caught this book without paperback printing of any kind.

Here’s a tiny excerpt involving The Liminal, Strangely Beautiful’s new world-building detail:

From “A Christmas Carroll” featured in A MIDWINTER FANTASY anthology:

Prologue – December 1888, at the edge of London’s reality

Three spirits murmured to each other, standing in the luminous Liminal that separated the waiting Whisper-world from the dazzling, drawing light of the Great Beyond.  The Whisper-world was quite the grey purgatory, while the Great Beyond, well…who possesses the words to describe Paradise?

The Liminal is a place where magic is discussed and made, from whence spirits receive duties and inspiration, where dreams are both created and abandoned. Where those who are worthy might become angels. It is a place where time is porous and malleable; it keeps its own clock. Here pasts are recaptured and futures glimpsed; here spirits from every walk of death—those still invested in parties on Earth—discuss their current designs on the living, for better or for worse.

The present trio at the Liminal edge was shrouded in shadow, and they contemplated parties in London, England, under the reign of Queen Victoria. Their clothing, too, represented various decades within Her Highness’ extensive reign, long may she live. The spirits stood before a living portrait rendered by exquisite hands: the vast proscenium of an elaborate stage dwarfed their spirit trio. The set scene laid wide before them was a stately school on a moonlit night, dim, eerie, engaging…and awaiting its players.”

For more about Leanna Renee Hieber, the Strangely Beautiful saga and A MIDWINTER FANTASY:

www.leannareneehieber.com

www.twitter.com/leannarenee

Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/sbsfan

– Strangely Beautiful Blessings!

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Happy Labor Day!

Summer’s done, it’s sad to say

The holidays will soon be on their way

The weather will be growing cool

Vacation’s over, back to school

(all the mothers say “hurray”)

Art by Zoe Stead

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It’s Memorial Day here, the official start of summer…of lazy days by the beach, summer vacation, and outdoor mayhem. I started to think about what a Steampunk Summer might look like…

You might start out with a pair of Steampunk shades to protect your eyes from the harsh summer sun, like these cuties designed by Steam-Heart.

When you hit the beach you could wear a Brass Bikini. Though it might not be the most comfortable of beachwear.

You could go for long rides on a slim and speedy Steampunk Motorcycle like this one by Choi Minsoo.

Making some Duct Tape Flip Flops and decorating them with cogs, gears, and other things would be fun.

You could take advantage of the weather and wear a cute Steampunky sundress like this one from Clockwork Couture. (Check out all their new stuff, it is fab.)

Or it might be nice to spend lazy days at the beach playing one of Stone Laboratory’s beautiful acoustic guitars.

What would you do?

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The Lolitas of Steamed! would like to wish everyone

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!

May it be filled with love, laughter, and chocolate.


“Mechanical Butterfly” by Hazel Elizabeth Fisher

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Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?

CHORUS:

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll have a sip of brandy now,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy yourself a cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine !
we’ll have a sip of brandy now,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have run about the skies,
and seduced the strumpets fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary day,
since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have fought air pirates bad,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give us a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

 

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by Marie-Claude Bourque

Steampunk Christmas Ornament by =ValerianaSolaris on deviantART

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