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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.

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Photo Credit - Night Fox Photos

Photo Credit – Night Fox Photos

Makers? Writers? Are we the same? Are we so very different?

Kawaii Kon 2014 descended upon Waikiki, HI the first weekend of April and there was fun to be had by all… cosplayers and mundane alike!  I was one of the mundane, suffering to walk the halls in everyday dress, leaving the cosplay to my son (Doctor Who 10 & Tulio).

I began the weekend with the ‘Ye Olde Intro to Steampunk Panel’ on Friday night. A number of local Steampunks came together to present a basic user friendly introduction to the Steampunk culture… there is only so much that can be covered in 50 minutes, but we did our best.

My part of the informational section was talking about Writing Steampunk and Steampunk: Hands Around the World.

Two of the other panelists, Abby and Rick from “Ricks Steam Punk Etc,” spoke about ‘making’ Steampunk gear.

Being a costumer/crafter I’ always fascinated by discussions on the subject and squirmed out of my table seat to find a seat on the floor to watch. They talked about three types of Steampunk Making and I thought I’d see how they compared to Steampunk Writing. Why? Cause I’m crazy like that… 😀

Photo Credit - Night Fox Photos

Photo Credit – Night Fox Photos

Three types – Scavenging * Modding * Tinkering

Scavenging – finding items that have been discarded and using it for your own purposes

Modding – taking an object created for one purpose and making it fit another

Tinkering – taking bits and pieces and cobbling something from the ‘ground up’

***

Writing as Scavenging – I know I do this all the time.

  • Find a starting line I jotted down at an earlier time…
  • Find a scrap of paper that I’d stuffed into my handbag with a few lines of dialogue…
  • Find a writing prompt or an image that strikes my fancy

Nothing wrong with using what wasn’t needed before and make it useful now… or keep it for another time down the line.

Writing as Modding – 

The first thing that comes to mind is mashups & re-imagining & re-setting. We see it all the time,

  • a modern retelling of Emma by Jane Austen hits the silver screen as “Clueless”
  • Tee Morris’ “Aladdin and his Wonderfully Infernal Device” mixing Steampunk and Aladdin together
  • taking a Victorian Era story and setting it in a Steampunk world of advanced steam-driven technology
Photo Credit - Ricks Steam Punk Etc

Photo Credit – Ricks Steam Punk Etc

Writing as Tinkering

Using the basic building blocks of fiction, but for those new to Steampunk, it might take a little bit of effort.

  • Science – using Steam era science can be new to some, but I highly recommend looking for information on what was already in use in the Victorian Era… you might be surprised!
  • Multicultural Influences – colonialism/imperialism from the Brit standpoint was to ‘Make the World England!’ but that doesn’t  mean that England was isolated while it affected other cultures. The use of Indian silk, Chinese err.. China, etc. What elements from other cultures will transplant themselves in your settings AND characters?
  • From the Ether/Aether – who says you can’t just ‘come up with something’ and write about it. Again, my favorite word in writing is VERISIMILITUDE! If you can make it SEEM real… in fiction it IS real!

Part of the fun that keeps me writing is the discovery of new people to inspire me, new ideas to explore, and new concepts to investigate, I hope you find the same things appealing and inspiring…

So… get going and create!

Keep in mind that there are just my thoughts at this moment… if you have other thoughts… please add them to the comments I’d love to discuss this further…

Ray Dean – Living in Hawaii has few perks when it comes to Steampunk – the main idea is the Victorian Era History that is so readily available…  

**sorry for the posting delay, had an issue with the laptop… crashes galore.

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Gail Carriger at Lone Star Worldcon 2013

Gail Carriger at Lone Star Worldcon 2013

About a month ago, at /LoneStar/WorldCon in San Antonio, I attended the “I Married A Werewolf” panel on Paranormal/Romance. The panel was made up of authors: Darlene Marshall, Carrie Vaughn, Charlaine Harris,  and also two authors with Steampunk credentials, Gail Carriger, well known author of the The Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing School series, and Jean Johnson, who in addition to her paranormal and sci-fi books wrote, Steam, a Steampunk short story in the The Mammoth Book of Time Travel Romance.

The label of paranormal romance came up and Gail Carriger mentioned that Orbit struggled with how to label her first book, Soulless. The label on the spine read – Fantasy/Horror.  Jean Johnson said, “I considered my book The Sword to be a Fantasy/Romance, but I don’t deal with labels, that’s the marketing department. The publisher labeled The Sword as a Paranormal/Romance.”

Gail Carriger explained that she played with actual genres in Victorian literature in her five books in the Parasol Protectorate series. The first was based on Gothic Romance, the second on Gothic Cozy, the third on an American Boy’s Adventure, the 4th on a Sherlock Holmes Cozy, and the fifth is in a Travel Journal style.

In another LoneStar/WorldCon panel I attended, Gail Carriger spoke about world building. Along with Gail Carriger — Bryan T. Schmidt, Amanda Downum, and Robin Hobbs made up the “Intricate Worlds Panel”. The first question the panel addressed was what are some of your world building pet peeves?

Bruan T Schmidt’s answered, “Things that get overlooked.”

Amanda Downum’s said, “A static world or a world that hasn’t evolved. Where things have always been this way. For example, they have always used swords and horse drawn carts and nothing will change.”

Robin Hobbs said, “Cities that have no reason for being there. Cities that are hard to get to, so the characters have difficult challenges in reaching them but there doesn’t seem to be any other reason for the location of the city.”

Gail Carriger mentioned her pet peeve was not making use of objects representative of the characters’ culture. “Don’t discount objects your characters own or have with them as they can be very telling to the readers about those characters.”

Steampunk at World Con 2013

Steampunk at World Con 2013

Ms. Carriger also gave advice for research and world building: “Call your local university. They are one of those untapped resources. Also, one of the secrets of world building is to piggy back on a culture that is little known or pick and choose and meld two cultures that never did blend in actual history.” She further advised, “You are the god or goddess of your own universe – you just have to explain the rules of your universe properly. You’re drawing up your own laws for this universe, so you can’t break those.”

The panels at LoneStar, WorldCon in San Antonio were great, full of interesting information and advice for my writing. Feel free to comment below with your own world building pet peeves or world building advice.

~   ~   ~

Maeve Alpin, who also write as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 published books. Her latest Steampunk/Romance is Conquistadors In Outer Space. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.

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Today we welcome MADemoiselle Veronique Chevalier.

Veronique Chevalier is the eccentric Françican (Français-American) Chanteuse (Songstress) known as The “Weird VAL” of Dark Cabaret.  She’s an unparalleled Parodist; a Steampunk-lish Chanteuse, and Spooky Polkanista, who has been described as a twisted incarnation of Edith Piaf from an alternate reality – the one in which her parents are Jim Morrison, and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and her godparents are Lucille Ball and Weird Al.  As a self-proclaimed “Mad Sonictist,” she takes maniacal pleasure in combining previously unrelated musical forms into new, unholy combinations. She vows to leave no genre unadulterated in her quest to create the ultimate Sonic Frankenstein.  She originated the genre of “Gothic Polka”. Her twisted brand of humour hits at the core of daily reality. Being gonged off the premiere season of America’s Got Talent (which is FAKE reality) was irrefutable proof her gifts are wasted on the masses.

What Is “Steampunk Music?”

by Veronique Chevalier

MADemoiselle Veronique Chevalier

There seem to be more and more debates floating through the aethers on the subject of “Steampunk Music,” so I wrote this piece from the viewpoint that I have as an artiste. Although I have performed at numerous Steampunk events, and shall continue to do so as long as the invitations keep coming my way, I don’t call myself a “Steampunk” artiste, per say.

I prefer the word “artiste” without any descriptors, because I create to please myself, and I appear at non-Steampunk events (Cabarets/Music Halls/Gay Venues/Burlesque Rooms) as well. I do feel very privileged and honoured that many fine folk in the community appreciate my special brand of ODDitory MADemoiselle-ness.

However, I know that people new to the Steampunk community, as well as long-time adherents, yearn for more musical choices, so that they might have a soundtrack, as it were, to complement the aesthetics and spirit that drew them to the community initially.

In the spirit of inclusiveness, I’d like to share a couple of invaluable resources for Steampunk-ish music. Incidentally, there is no universal agreement about what constitutes “Steampunk” music, since it commenced as a literary and aesthetic movement. However, it does seem to follow that numerous music artistes enjoyed by many Steampunks (and in whose ranks I am honoured to be included) are congregated in the following two websites:

Gilded Age Records
* http://www.gildedagerecords.com*
*https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gilded-Age-Records/122519387775698*

The world’s only artist collective, founded by Joshua A. Pfeiffer of Vernian Process & Evelyn Kriete, focused on musician’s combining old world aesthetics and sounds with current genres of music. Steampunk/Cabaret/Swing/Ragtime/Gypsy-Punk/Darkwave/etc.

Sepiachord
*http://sepiachord.com*
*https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_208390005860341*

Founded by Jordan Bodewell, “Sepiachord is the “genre that doesn’t exist”. It is to music what “Steampunk” is to literature and cinema: something that looks back to the past to comment on the present while looking sideways at the future. A cubist aural experience. As goth & glam are the bastards of David Bowie, Sepiachord is the made from the genetic material sown by Tom Waits.

Sepiachord is assembled like a clockwork orchestra, from such elements of music Sinister Circus, Cabaret Macabre, Chamber Pop, Organic Goth, Celtic/Gypsy Punk, Mutant Americana, Ghost Town Country It is the music our grandparents or great-grandparents would have listened to, if they were as off-set as we are.”

“A Sepiachord Passport” released under the Projekt Records imprint, is a compilation with a generous selection of 20 tracks by as many artistes, and is an excellent way to dip one’s toe into the Steampunk Music pool. It may be ordered from the Projekt website:

Coming late fall 2011, Steampunk is a two volume CD soundtrack for G. D. Falksen’s novel The Hellfire Chronicles: Blood In The Skies. This musical compilation represents the combined work of some of the top steampunk bands and musicians from across the world, who have come together to provide you with music to listen to while reading Blood In The Skies. The soundtrack also features an exclusive preview of the book, read by the author.

Disc 1

Disc 2

With great eSTEAM,

~Veronique Chevalier

http://weirdval.com/

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First up, there’s about a day left on the critique I have up on Operation Auction.  It’s for a Steampunk or YA proposal (or Steampunk YA–Elfpunkers, or any “punkers”, I’ll include you too).  Proposal = Query, Synopisis, + 3 chapters.  Come on, be generous and place your bidThere’s a lot of other good stuff up and it’s for a good cause.

The Romance Writers of American announced their RITA and Golden Heart Finalists. I’d like to give a special shout out to Zoe Archer for her nomination for Rebel and Cassandra Clare for her nomination for Clockwork Angel. Congrats to all the nominees!

So, who’s going to the Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention?

I will be there with bustles on.  You know I mean that literally, right?  Here’s my new bustle.

There’s going to be some great steampunk stuff.  (And I’m on a panel with Gail Carriger!!!!  I hope I don’t say something stupid.)
SPECIALTY: When Worlds Collide: Melding Reality and Fantasy in Historicals
Date: Wednesday April 6, 2011 02:15 pm – 03:15 pm
Event Type: Writer Industry Workshop                                                              Panelists: Zoe Archer, Gail Carriger, Nathalie Gray, Suzanne Lazear, Kathryn Smith

STEAMPUNK: Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?: Gadgets, Gizmos and Automatons
Date: Thursday April 7, 2011 02:45 pm – 03:45 pm
Event Type: Writer Industry Workshop                                                                               Captain: Kathryn Smith Panelists: Eden Bradley, Gail Carriger, Kristen Painter

STEAMPUNK: Writing the Steampunk Romance: Beyond Leather Corsets and Brass Goggles!
Date: Friday April 8, 2011 01:30 pm – 02:30 pm
Event Type: Writer Industry Workshop 

Panelists: Cindy Holby, Suzanne Lazear, Laurie McLean, Kathryn Smith
READER: Steampunk Social
Date: Friday April 8, 2011 02:45 pm – 03:45 pm
Event Type: Reader Social
Location: Beaudry A
There will be a fashion show with clothes from Clockwork Couture, cakepops, prizes, and other fun stuff! 

Other steampunk writers will also be there.  Check out all the authors doing the book signing.
Good stuff, right?  Make sure you say hello to me if you’re there. (No, I’m sorry, but I will have no romance trading cards for Innocent Darkness, since I have no art, unless you want to make me something quick quick.)
Steampunkapalooza 2011 starts soon.  It’s going to be incredible  and I am excited.   Have you seen our lineup and entered our giveaway yet?
Oh, and here are the boots the hubby got me from Clockwork Couture for my birthday.  I hope they come in time for RT.
Cute, right?  Now, if only I could find a black corslet/corset belt, that a) will get here in time b) isn’t a fortune.  I have one, the teen borrowed it and can’t find it (insert Le Sigh here).
So, are there any Steampunk events coming up that you’re looking forward to?

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In case you need books to read, here’s a great list of steampunk books. 

I have a case of the Mondays. 

I’m going to be doing a couple of panels at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in April in Los Angeles (including one with Gail Carriger, squee!)   

 I need clothes to wear.  I can’t actually buy things to wear, but I still need them.

If I could buy new steampunk clothes for this convention, this is what I’d buy:

I would get this beautiful skirt in black from Clockwork Couture because I could wear it with so many different things…Oh, how I want this skirt so much!

I would love to find a little cape like that to go with it.  I am also fond of hats.  I like this one I found on ebay to pair with it.

I have this wonderful tan asymmetrical steampunky blazer I wear to work.  I found this great skirt on ebay.  I bet I could put them together and create a nice look for a panel. 

I’d pair it with this lovely hat from Maritime Arts, only I’d want the ribbons and flower in green.

In case I actually make it to the masquerade ball, I’d want this mask in cream from Asfina on Etsy

If I had an infinite amount of money, I’d get this dress from Bound By Obsession, because it is really, really amazing and would match my clockhand tiara. 

Isn’t it breathtaking?  I covet this dress.

 

I love my clockhand tiara from EJP Creations.  But this one from SparklyJems is a beauty. 

 

Okay, that sums up my list of things I wish I could buy for RT.  If you’re going, look for me.  I’ll be there with bustles on…

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As you read this I’m on my way back home from Orlando, which is a terrible, horrible multi-plane hike across the time zones. Not very fun.

But the Romance Writers of America 2010 conference was fun indeed.

Fellow Lolitas Shelley Adina and Cindy Holby and I did a Steampunk panel along with agent Jennifer Jackson. I’d been terrified that no one would come, since we were opposite some great workshops. But as it turned out, it was standing room only with some very interesting people in attendance.

We got great questions ranging from women’s roles in steampunk to the darker aspects such as colonialism, imperialism, and child labor. Overall, I thought it went well, especially since I didn’t have the vapors…and with the outfit I was wearing I thought I might.

Another highlight of the conference was the Steampunk ball and Prism awards, hosted by the RWA Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal online chapter. Everyone was welcome to come in costume, so, of course, Shelley and I dressed up. I came as a Steampunk Princess, complete with tiara made of clockhands. Considering I was walking through a hotel at the happiest place on earth, I got quite a few looks from little girls.

I am convinced that fellow Lolita Leanna Renee Hieber is my long lost sister–and not because people get us mixed up. She was nominated for not one, but two Prism awards. There were a few jokes since she wore all black and I wore all cream. Does that mean one of us is the good sister and one of us the bad sister?


Leanna ended up winning in both the fantasy and best book categories for The Strangely Beautiful Tale of miss Percy Parker . Cynthia Eden also was a double prism winner, taking both the dark paranormal and novella categories.

Since the ball/awards was steampunk themed, there were some amazing costumes. I didn’t win the costume contest because my steampunk princess costume lacked gadgets.

Hmmm….what gadgets would a steampunk princess have?

Anyway, the conference was amazing, and I attended some excellent panels on everything from social networking to DNA and got to hang out with my fellow lolitas and YA writers (more about that on my personal blog over the next few days.)

I leave you with a couple of pictures from the Steampunk ball.

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