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Archive for the ‘Steampunkapalooza’ Category

As a contributing author in Shanghai Steam & the Steamfunk! Anthology, 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.

The Pacific Commercial Observer 
29 April, 18–
by Ray Dean

advertIt has come to this humble reporter’s attention that a rash of attacks perpetrated on women touring seaside locales has not given rise to widespread panic. The reason? A simple cure created by the world renowned chemist, Dr. Oh!

“I truly had no idea why such a thing was even needed,” heiress Wilhemina Chatsworth informed us as she lounged in the sitting room of her rented flat. Her feet pillowed on a richly brocaded ottoman, Miss Chatsworth made some mention of her injury. “I am able to move about on my own,” she assured me, “most likely I would have suffered a much greater injury had my most able companion not leapt to my defense.”

At such time, she did indicate the woman standing a few feet away. Dressed in a sensible day dress of woolens, the woman of indeterminate age and unremarkable looks stepped forward.

When asked for her name, the woman demurred, insisting that her actions were nothing out of the normal. That any other person, armed with Dr. Oh’s Octopodiform Deterrent, would be able to protect someone in their acquaintance from such an attack.

The atomizer, she explained, was one that contained an ample supply of the deterrent. Displaying the conveniently sized bottle, one that we are assured fits easily into a moderately sized reticule, she demonstrated how easy it was to use.

London Weekly Record
21 June, 18–

The shores of Lyme are known for their dark beauty and wild waves. Many flock to the town to experience the majesty of the ocean, but a sinister shadow now lies beneath the waves. A shadow with eight appendages has terrorized both visitors and denizens alike.

While many pressed for an increase of police at the water’s edge, the local constabulary asked that any visits to the Cobb be postponed until the danger had abated. On any given day, nearly a score of visitors could be found treading the slick stones beside the water.

One such visitor, a young woman by the name of Philomena Prentiss, was nearly dragged into the sea by the fearsome shadow.

As a few visitors raised the alarm and called for assistance, Miss Prentiss watched in horror as a second tentacle snaked out of the waves and wrapped around her wrist.

A gentleman nearby, who asked to remain nameless, gave the young woman great praise for her quick thinking and quicker hands.

“Even with the unwelcome attention of the mysterious beast, the young lady was able to loosen the strings of her purse and from its dainty confines withdraw a smart-looking bottle. One spritz and the creature rushed out to sea before the tides!”

When Miss Prentiss divulged where she had purchased the bottle of Dr. Oh’s Octopodiform Deterrent, the shopkeeper was soon sold out of the miraculous product and planning on ordering a number of cases for his stock.

ETSY listing –
http://www.etsy.com/listing/67383459/steampunk-advertisement-11-x-14-inch-art

~Ray Dean

http://raydean.net

 

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Jared Axelrod is an author, an illustrator, a graphic designer, a sculptor, a costume designer, a podcaster and quite a few other things that he’s lost track of but will no doubt remember when the situation calls for it. He is a founding member of the daily flash-fiction website 365 TOMORROWS, and the writer and producer of two science-fiction podcasts, “The Voice Of Free Planet X” and the serial “Aliens You Will Meet.”

 

I Prefer My Steam Punked

by Jared Axelrod

battle-bloodink-coverAshe, the protagonist on my graphic novel THE BATTLE OF BLOOD & INK is young, angry and poor. She spends half the book homeless. She spends the entirety of it trying to bring down an unjust government. Like the punk musicians and journalists of the last quarter of the 20th Century, Ashe believes in the power of violent speech to change the culture. She’s going to be heard, even if that means speaking with the volume and power of an explosion.

Ashe is a punk, or in the parlance of her world, a clouddog. She’s the rabble the upper crust dismisses, and her journey to be heard is the main thrust of the book.

Steampunk exists in a weird place. There is a lot to recommend it. The outfits are sexy, the DIY underpinning is marvelous, and the 19th  Century itself was a time of exploration and discovery the world over. All of this makes for a fantastic fictional setting. But it also takes an overwhelming amount of inspiration from an increasingly narrow cultural conceit. The use of “Victorian” and “Edwardian” to describe steampunk is especially problematic. Not only because countries other than Great Brittan  had a 19th century, but because tying the genre to white European royalty is exclusionary on both a racial and class level. I’m sure people who refer to steampunk as “Victorian Science-Fiction,” don’t mean to exclude people, but sadly the language does it for them.

B+I-001-largeI often wonder, though, if perhaps the biggest issue is that the exclusionary element IS part of the appeal of steampunk. I’m not saying that people get into steampunk because they want to be exclusionary. But it’s easy to fall into a focus on the upper class, and allow the dress and mannerisms of a wealthy Victorian to be celebrated. Even the scientists and explorer characters fit with in this umbrella, as those were the occupations of people of privilege.

This is understandable. Who doesn’t want to be part of a ruling class, even if only for afternoon? Or in time it takes to read a novel or short story? There’s no fun in dying of cholera, either, the end result of many a 19th century rabble rouser.

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But  there is so much to mine beyond wealthy Brits sipping tea and wielding rayguns. There’s one hundred years of history full of punk concepts! Things like cholera riots, gold rushes, suffrage  wars abroad and at home, and the fight for the right of entire subsets of humanity to be treated as people. The status quo was challenged often in the 19th century, and often violently, and those challenges gave us the world we live in today.

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Ashe’s flying city home of Amperstam is a fantastical place, set above a fantasy world. But within it is the grit and grime of police brutality, child-labor, kidnapping, torture, assassinations and everything else that kept an Industrial-Age city alive. And she’s fighting against, the only way she knows how. By making sure she’s heard.

I got a brand-spanking new paperback copy of THE BATTLE OF BLOOD & INK. Leave a comment with your favorite punk character in steampunk fiction, and I’ll pick on at random and send you a copy!

 –Jared

http://www.fablesoftheflyingcity.com/

http://www.jaredaxelrod.com

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Caitlin Kittredge writes both YA and adult books including The Iron Codex series. She is the proud owner of an English degree, two cats, a morbid imagination, a taste for black clothing, punk rock, and comic books. Visit her website at www.caitlinkittredge.com to learn more.

 

The Finish Line

by Caitlin Kittredge

itcoversmallI read a lot about starting a steampunk story—how to worldbuild, how to create compelling characters, how to mix up timelines and history to make a unique, compelling universe—but I don’t see much about endings.

The last book in my Iron Codex trilogy was released in February  and while I’m sad to have the journey end—as any writer would be—I never intended the series to be more than three books. I always had an end in mind, a destination for the journey. I don’t think that’s necessary—some of the best writers I know start with no end in sight and figure it out as they go. But I knew these characters and their world had a single story to tell, and then I’d exit gracefully.

ngcoversmallYet, as I drew to the end of writing The Mirrored Shard, I found myself leaving little things open. Aoife, Dean and Cal get their endings—some happy, some not so happy—and the plot that carried me for three books wrapped up, but I left more ends open than I anticipated. Was I just being wistful? Maybe. But I think it’s a sign that maybe I didn’t say quite all I had to say about the world of the Iron Codex. Maybe there’s a short story, or a novella in my future. I can’t say!

I like little openings for future stories scattered here and there in the natural arc of the story I’m actually telling. I don’t like ambiguous endings. I blame a childhood of serial stories, mostly in comic book form, that led me to be the sort of writer who has to leave a few trails of breadcrumbs here and there for alternate storylines.

The Mirrored ShardI tried to strike a good balance in Mirrored Shard—all the major threads ending where I’d always intended them to. But there’s still one large element left without resolution at the end of Mirrored Shard, and that’s absolutely on purpose. In another time, with another set of characters, this could absolutely be its own series. I’ve only ended one series before the Iron Codex, and since those stories were serial, not really connected, it was very different. The heroine got her ending, the plot wrapped up, and everyone could pretty much go home happy (except the bad guys, of course.) This time, I like to think I was smarter, and left myself with another story to tell, a small door left open to sneak back into this world I’ve devoted close to half a decade to writing in, imagining, dreaming about.

Like I said, maybe I’m just wistful. I love steampunk and Victoriana, so I know I’m definitely nostalgic!  But maybe in the future I’ll get another chance to go back to the start with a new set of characters and revisit Aoife’s world, explore that last thread left loose. Loose threads, after all, beg to be pulled and they exist in all of my favorite books. Tantalizing possibilities that, once explored, can lead to brave new worlds of their own.

~Caitlin

http://www.caitlinkittredge.com/

 

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Today we welcome authors Zoë Archer and Nico Rosso. They both write books in the  ETHER CHRONICLES series. Nico’s books include Night of Fire and Nights of Steel. Zoë’s books include Skies of Fire and Skies of Steel.

Steampunk Cannons

by Zoë Archer and Nico Rosso

Zoë: Thanks so much for having us here today!  Nico and I have been talking a lot about what constitutes steampunk cannon, especially because there are readers and writers of the genre who seek to define what steampunk is and isn’t.  For starters, I think one of the elements of steampunk that really drew Nico and I to write it was how wide open it was as far as interpretation.

I happen to love history, so I enjoy writing about historical aspects within steampunk.  But because we’re writing about alternative history, actual timelines don’t have to be adhered to. On top of which, I can shape social mores to suit my own personal ethos—which means women in more active roles, and a culture that accepts women in positions of power.  This way, I can incorporate certain details about life in another era, but also utilize elements from our own time period (or even a better world than our own) within that historical timeframe.  So in SKIES OF FIRE, Louisa works for British naval intelligence, while in SKIES OF STEEL, Daphne is a anthropologist.  And in SKIES OF GOLD, which comes out this summer, the heroine Kali is an engineer (as well as being half East Indian).  So I can shape history to suit my desires as a writer.

In general, I think the one aspect of steampunk that most writers incorporate is the late-19th century feel and aesthetic.  That might not be canon, but it is widely used. When readers see a cover with men in waistcoats and goggles and women in corsets holding unusual firearms, they understand that they’re going to read a steampunk story.

Nico: Because I’m the main technological inventor for the Ether Chronicles, one of the most consistent elements I try to adhere to are the materials and building techniques for the various steampunk inventions and vehicles.  Even though we’ve created an alternate history, it still has many similarities with the actual end of the 19th century, so I keep things grounded there as much as I can to keep the elements relatable for the reader.

In our world, and in the late Victorian period as well, many technologies were still hand made.  This is especially true for one of a kind experimental projects – like Jack Hawkin’s augmented arm in NIGHTS OF STEEL.  To create these things, I need to use what the inventors at the time had – brass, steel, iron, wood and leather.  Modern materials like aluminum and plexiglass aren’t available the world of the Ether Chronicles.  Neither are construction techniques like CNC part creators or plastic molding.

Some of our technologies are completely made up for our world, like the tetrol fuel used for the most advanced engines, but for the most part, things feel genuine.  That way, the characters can use them on a realistic level, and the reader can understand what each piece of technology does and how it works.  And if I’ve done things right, the reader could even imagine what it feels like to hold one of these inventions and operate all its gears and levers.

Z:  While Nico and I don’t follow an external canon, we stay consistent to the technological and sociological rules created within our alternate history…

N:  While at the same time using some of the landmarks of the actual past to ground them…

Z:  That way, readers can be immersed completely in the stories and feel that they’re real for the characters and themselves.

~ Zoë  and Nico

www.zoearcherbooks.com

http://nicorosso.com/

 

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I have a deliciously exotic post for you for Steampunkapalooza. Today, April 12, is national licorice day. Those amazing ancient Egyptians were the first to discover the wonders of licorice. Generous amounts of licorice were found in King Tut’s tomb and the use of licorice in an ancient beverage is recorded in Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Victorians loved licorice. It’s a perfect candy for a tea party. You can place a stick of it in your tea to stir it. Also a crystal dish filled with colorful Licorice Allsorts, a favorite English candy since 1899, will liven up your tea table. Of course licorice was just one of many ancient Egyptian influences on Victorian culture.

Constance Collier as Iras in Ben Hur, 1902

Constance Collier as Iras in Ben Hur, 1902

The Victorians loved costumes and Cleopatra influenced costumes were quite fashionable, used in the theater and to wear to balls. Of course actual Ancient Egyptian clothing and the Victorian idea of it were two different things. Pictured here are actresses Constance Collier, Sarah Bernhardt, and Maud Allan.

Sarah Bernhardt as Cleopatra in the 1890 production of Victorien Sardou’s Cléopâtre, and on the right, above, Maud Allan as Samone, 1910

Also, Inspired by authentic Victorian fashion plates of Egyptian costumes, the Steam Ingenious Cleopatra fancy dress project is recreating the gown Lady Paget wore to the 1875 Delmonico Ball in New York City. The portrait and photo of Lady Paget in the costume along with several fashion plates of Cleopatra style gowns are pictured on the blog.

The Egyptian Revival period also influenced Victorian furnishings.This chair belonged to Empress Josephine.

Victorians were fascinated with Egyptian mummies and unwrapping parties were quite stylish. George Mann tied Steampunk with mummy unwrapping in a wonderful scene in The Osiris Ritual. Here’s an excerpt from a Victorian mummy unwrapping party in the Steampunk/Romance, As Timeless As Magic.

Mister Mugrage yanked a strip of linen wrapping, tugging it off as he circled the mummy, unraveling it. He withdrew an amulet from the linen gauze and held it up. “Our first party favor. Who wants this lovely turquoise scarab?”

A lady in a large hat and a blue gown fluttered her fan. “I do, Mister Mugrage.”

“Madame Mills, by all means, this little gem is yours. It shall bring you great luck.” Mister Mugrage placed the treasure in the woman’s gloved hand as she giggled with glee.

Heru loosened his cravat before he gagged. The crowd’s thunderous applause fueled his anger. These amulets protected the deceased, helped him find his way in the afterlife, and this ridiculous man handed them out as party favors.

Mister Mugrage continued unraveling the mummy until he came upon the next find, a small hawk carved from blue lapis. He handed it to a man with a protruding belly and white beard, dressed in black trousers, a gray coat, and a green cravat. Heru fought the urge to grab the amulet back from the man‟s chubby fingers.

No sooner had the other guests congratulated the man than Mister Mugrage yanked the wrappings again. “Here we have a hollow gold beetle.” He placed it in Felicity’s hand. “What is this symbol on the top?“

Felicity peered at the golden insect, examining it closely. “Two crossed arrows over a shield, the symbol of Goddess Neith, deity of the hunt.”

“Who will have this fine beetle?” Mister Mugrage flashed a broad grin.

Heru wanted to yell for them to stop as he stood helplessly by, watching a corpse being violated for nothing but the fleeting pleasure of shallow people. He accidentally bit his tongue. He grabbed his jaw, and rubbed it.

A woman held up her dainty hand netted in a lacy glove. Felicity gifted the lady with the beetle amulet.

As Mister Mugrage unwound more linen gauze, he discovered a small statue with the body of a man and the head of a jackal.

“Anubis.” Finally, an idea struck. Heru swiftly stuck out his hand, almost grabbing the amulet. ”May I?” he asked in French.

“Oui.” Mister Mugrage handed it to him.

Heru knew this held the most powerful curse, for the priests who cast spells on the amulets wore the mask of Anubis. He flipped it over and read the hieroglyphic inscription. “You dare to touch this sacred mummy. You mortal man, whose flesh and skull will return to the desert sand. I curse you with the loss of your hands.” Heru clasped the amulet tightly, whispering the spell in Old Egyptian in the parlor just as he would have in the temple of Anubis. “Curse him, who disturbs the dead, who robs what the gods entombed. His hands should be severed if not his head, his cursed fingers doomed.”

“Give me that. Let me read it.” Felicity’s father reached for the amulet to grab it back from Heru. He gasped. His fingers fell limp. Mister Mugrage screamed, “My hands! They are numb, I cannot feel anything.”

Another fun fact, the coolest thing about Steamgyptianpunk is Heron (also called Hero) the Egyptian, in first century AD, invented the steam engine. His aeolipile was the first working steam engine in history.

Along with my  Steamgyptianpunk books, As Timeless As Stone and As Timeless As Magic there are several other steampunk books in my home library with Egyptian influences:  The Osiris Ritual by George Mann, The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers, Timeless by Gail Carriger, and Empire of Ruins by Arthur Slade.

My Contest to celebrate Steampunkapalooza is a giveaway of a pdf eBook of As Timeless As Stone. Leave a comment below and I’ll choose two winners. Please include your email so I can reach you if you are selected.

Here is a book trailer of As Timeless As stone:

Maeve Alpin

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Today we welcome Karen from Teen Librarian Toolbox — it’s time to get crafty! You don’t have to be an artisan to make Steampunk crafts. Here’s some ideas for kids and adults alike.

Steampunk Crafts

By Karen from Teen Librarian Toolbox

As part of Steampunkpalooza with author Suzanne Lazear, we are bringing you today some excellent Steampunk Crafts.

Steampunk USB Drive (using Polymer clay)
Ehow takes you through the 7 easy steps to make a fantastic Steampunk USB Drive.  If you search on Etsy and Deviant Art you will see that people are making and selling all kinds of Steampunk USB drives for quite a chunk of change.

Steampunk Jewelry
There are a variety of books out there that discuss making jewelry out of everyday things found in your toolbox.  These are all easily adaptable to make some amazing Steampunk inspired jewelry.

You can also use Pull Tabs, Beading Wire and Small Beads to make jewelry, like these ear rings found on Flickr. There are also step by step instructions over at Wiki How on how to make a pull tab bracelet. 

Check out these and other jewelry books at your library for tips, tricks & inspiration

(more…)

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Prudence for print -with trim -300 dpi -CMYKSibelle Stone is the pseudonym for award winning historical romance author Deborah Schneider. Sibelle writes sexy Steampunk and paranormal stories, filled with magic, witches, mad scientists, dirigibles, automatons, and creatures that would scare the panties off Deborah. In her spare time Sibelle enjoys dressing up in Victorian ensembles, modding play guns into something that looks a bit more sinister and wearing hats. Deborah/Sibelle works for one of the busiest library systems in the country and she’s been named Librarian of the Year by Romance Writers of America. Her first full-length Steampunk romance, Prudence and the Professor, will be released in May 2013. Visit her website at www.sibellestone.com to see what costuming fun she’s having throughout the year.
Steamcon – A Steampunk Adventure
by  Sibelle Stone
Steamcon III 052A few years ago I didn’t really know much about Steampunk. I’d seen some photos of Steampunk fashion and as someone who has written books set in the Victorian era as well as an adult who never, ever outgrew “dressing up” —I felt like I’d found my “people”.
Then, a friend emailed me and asked if I was planning to attend “Steamcon” in Seattle. Well, I live near Seattle and I was incredibly interested in the Steampunk sub-culture. So of course I said, “Damned right I shall be attending!” In my very best Victorian speak.How can I even describe attending an event where everyone seems to share an enthusiasm for all the wild, weird aspects of a pretend world? Better than Disney World? Well, there aren’t any rides but having the opportunity to be with like-minded folks who imagined, for even the expanse of a weekend, that we could be all be part of something bigger and better was intoxicating. (Not to mention the many social events at the bar).
steamcon2010-35There was amazing costuming, fabulous music—including ABNEY PARK and one of my favorite artists,UNWOMAN, plus workshops, a Victorian Tea, vendors, readings, gaming, and more. The weekend was packed with things to do, nice people to talk with and fun.
Since then, I’ve attended every Steamcon, including last year when the theme was “Victorian Monsters” which was perfect for the pre-Halloween experience. The costumes were even more outrageous, the workshops informative on a variety of topics, such as Victorian Mediums and Mortuary Traditions, plus the music, art, vendors and gaming.
2012-10-27_19-49-29_173If you can only afford to attend one Steampunk event this year, and you’re close to the West coast, I invite you toSteamcon V. It’s small enough to get to know people, but big enough for a variety of incredible programming choices.
The theme this year is “Around the World”. And say hello to me! I’ll be wearing the  Chinese silk jacket and amazing hat. There MUST always be an amazing hat!
~Sibelle

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